Thursday Reads

Rainy Day Boston, Frederick Childe Hassam

Rainy Day Boston, Frederick Childe Hassam

Good Morning!!

Here’s what I see as the major topics in the news today: world events stemming from Russia’s war on Ukraine; the ongoing Trumpist attack on U.S. democracy; and the new wave of Covid-19 cases.

Outgrowths of Ukraine War

Fascism and totalitarianism expert Timothy Snyder at The New York Times: We Should Say It. Russia Is Fascist.

Fascism was never defeated as an idea.

As a cult of irrationality and violence, it could not be vanquished as an argument: So long as Nazi Germany seemed strong, Europeans and others were tempted. It was only on the battlefields of World War II that fascism was defeated. Now it’s back — and this time, the country fighting a fascist war of destruction is Russia. Should Russia win, fascists around the world will be comforted.

We err in limiting our fears of fascism to a certain image of Hitler and the Holocaust. Fascism was Italian in origin, popular in Romania — where fascists were Orthodox Christians who dreamed of cleansing violence — and had adherents throughout Europe (and America). In all its varieties, it was about the triumph of will over reason.

Because of that, it’s impossible to define satisfactorily. People disagree, often vehemently, over what constitutes fascism. But today’s Russia meets most of the criteria that scholars tend to apply. It has a cult around a single leader, Vladimir Putin. It has a cult of the dead, organized around World War II. It has a myth of a past golden age of imperial greatness, to be restored by a war of healing violence — the murderous war on Ukraine.

You’ll need to read the whole essay to get the full impact of Snyder’s argument, but here’s a bit more:

We understand more about fascism than we did in the 1930s. We now know where it led. We should recognize fascism, because then we know what we are dealing with. But to recognize it is not to undo it. Fascism is not a debating position, but a cult of will that emanates fiction. It is about the mystique of a man who heals the world with violence, and it will be sustained by propaganda right to the end. It can be undone only by demonstrations of the leader’s weakness. The fascist leader has to be defeated, which means that those who oppose fascism have to do what is necessary to defeat him. Only then do the myths come crashing down.

Paris Street in the rain, by Gustave Caillebotte

Paris Street in the rain, by Gustave Caillebotte

As in the 1930s, democracy is in retreat around the world and fascists have moved to make war on their neighbors. If Russia wins in Ukraine, it won’t be just the destruction of a democracy by force, though that is bad enough. It will be a demoralization for democracies everywhere. Even before the war, Russia’s friends — Marine Le Pen, Viktor Orban, Tucker Carlson — were the enemies of democracy. Fascist battlefield victories would confirm that might makes right, that reason is for the losers, that democracies must fail.

Had Ukraine not resisted, this would have been a dark spring for democrats around the world. If Ukraine does not win, we can expect decades of darkness.

The Economist: The coming food catastrophe. War is tipping a fragile world towards mass hunger. Fixing that is everyone’s business.

By invading Ukraine, Vladimir Putin will destroy the lives of people far from the battlefield—and on a scale even he may regret. The war is battering a global food system weakened by covid-19climate change and an energy shock. Ukraine’s exports of grain and oilseeds have mostly stopped and Russia’s are threatened. Together, the two countries supply 12% of traded calories. Wheat prices, up 53% since the start of the year, jumped a further 6% on May 16th, after India said it would suspend exports because of an alarming heatwave.

The widely accepted idea of a cost-of-living crisis does not begin to capture the gravity of what may lie ahead. António Guterres, the un secretary general, warned on May 18th that the coming months threaten “the spectre of a global food shortage” that could last for years. The high cost of staple foods has already raised the number of people who cannot be sure of getting enough to eat by 440m, to 1.6bn. Nearly 250m are on the brink of famine. If, as is likely, the war drags on and supplies from Russia and Ukraine are limited, hundreds of millions more people could fall into poverty. Political unrest will spread, children will be stunted and people will starve.

Mr Putin must not use food as a weapon. Shortages are not the inevitable outcome of war. World leaders should see hunger as a global problem urgently requiring a global solution.

landscape-with-rain-wassily-kandinsky

Landscape with rain, Wassily Kandinsky

Russia and Ukraine supply 28% of globally traded wheat, 29% of the barley, 15% of the maize and 75% of the sunflower oil. Russia and Ukraine contribute about half the cereals imported by Lebanon and Tunisia; for Libya and Egypt the figure is two-thirds. Ukraine’s food exports provide the calories to feed 400m people. The war is disrupting these supplies because Ukraine has mined its waters to deter an assault, and Russia is blockading the port of Odessa.

Even before the invasion the World Food Programme had warned that 2022 would be a terrible year. China, the largest wheat producer, has said that, after rains delayed planting last year, this crop may be its worst-ever. Now, in addition to the extreme temperatures in India, the world’s second-largest producer, a lack of rain threatens to sap yields in other breadbaskets, from America’s wheat belt to the Beauce region of France. The Horn of Africa is being ravaged by its worst drought in four decades. Welcome to the era of climate change.

The Trumpist Attack on U.S. Democracy

This is from The Washington Post news analysis by Leigh Ann Caldwell, Theodoric Meyer: Trump uses Pa. primary to continue effort to undermine electoral system.

Donald Trump‘s continued effort to discredit or manipulate the electoral process is playing out in two distinct but related ways in the wake of Tuesday’s primary contests in Pennsylvania.

First, he is casting doubt on the result of the Senate GOP primary by once again making baseless claims that mail-in ballots are causing problems and suggesting his preferred candidate, Mehmet Oz, should just declare victory.

“It makes it much harder for them to cheat with the ballots that they ‘just happened to find,’” Trump said, providing no evidence, on his social media platform Truth Social, our colleague Colby Itkowitz reports.

Second, the nominee he backed for governor, Doug Mastriano, won the primary and if he wins the election in November, Mastriano would have considerable influence over how the state’s presidential election results are handled in 2024 when Trump may be on the ballot as our colleague’s Rosalind S. HeldermanIsaac Arnsdorf and Josh Dawsey explain.

Mastriano has been one of the staunchest backers of Trump’s false claims about the 2020 election and the steps he wanted officials to take to deny Joe Biden victory.

Rain swept street, by Mike Barr

Rain swept street, by Mike Barr

“As governor, Mastriano would have the opportunity not just to speak, but to act,” Roz, Isaac and Josh write. A possibility that is “worrying experts already fearful of a democratic breakdown around the 2024 presidential contest.”

“Those concerns are made especially acute in Pennsylvania by the fact that the governor has the unusual authority to directly appoint the secretary of state, who serves as chief elections officer and must sign off on results. If he or she refuses, chaos could follow.”

Read more at the WaPo link.

Reid Epstein at The New York Times: Midterm Stakes Grow Clearer: Election Deniers Will Be on Many Ballots.

Republican voters in this week’s primary races demonstrated a willingness to nominate candidates who parrot Donald J. Trump’s election lies and who appear intent on exerting extraordinary political control over voting systems. The results make clear that the November midterms may well affect the fate of free and fair elections in the country.

In Pennsylvania, Republican voters united behind a nominee for governor, Doug Mastriano, who helped lead the brazen effort to overturn the state’s 2020 election and chartered buses to the rally before the Capitol riot, and who has since promoted a constitutionally impossible effort to decertify President Biden’s victory in his state.

In North Carolina, voters chose a G.O.P. Senate nominee, Representative Ted Budd, who voted in Congress against certifying the 2020 results and who continues to refuse to say that Mr. Biden was legitimately elected.

And in Idaho, which Mr. Trump won overwhelmingly in 2020, 57 percent of voters backed two Republican candidates for secretary of state who pushed election falsehoods, though they lost a three-way race to a rival who accepts Mr. Biden as president.

The strong showings on Tuesday by election deniers, who have counterparts running competitively in primaries across the country over the coming months, were an early signal of the threat posed by the Trump-inspired movement.

This story about what’s happening in Idaho was published before yesterday’s primaries, but it’s still an important read. Christopher Mathias at HuffPo: Living With The Far-Right Insurgency In Idaho.

IDAHO — White nationalist Vincent James Foxx had a new video for his nearly 70,000 subscribers on BitChute, one of the few tech platforms that hasn’t banned him. On Feb. 16, he appeared wearing a baseball hat emblazoned with the state’s outline tilted on its side so that it resembled a pistol.

“We are going to take over this state,” Foxx declared. “We have a great large group of people, and that group is growing. A true, actual right-wing takeover is happening right now in the state of Idaho. And there’s nothing that these people can do about it. So if you’re a legislator here, either get in line, or get out of the way.”

Foxx, 36, isn’t from Idaho. He only recently moved from California to Post Falls. But in the video, he showed off photos of himself posing with a string of prominent Republican politicians in the state as he explained who he’s supporting in the upcoming primaries, slated for May 17.

gregory thielker Rainy day in Washington DC

Gregory Thielker,, Rainy Day in Washington, DC

He was especially excited about a selfie he’d taken a week prior: It showed him and fellow white nationalist Dave Reilly, a recent Pennsylvania transplant also living in Post Falls, standing alongside Idaho’s lieutenant governor, Janice McGeachin. All three were smiling.

“We’re supporting her,” Foxx said, bragging of his movement’s “deep connections” to McGeachin, whom former President Donald Trump endorsed in the GOP primary race for governor. Foxx then explained how his particular brand of Christian white nationalism is poised to conquer Idaho, then the country.

“The solution is local politics: Amassing power in these pockets of the country until it’s time to unify,” he said. “I’ve only been here for a couple of months and I’m tapped in the way that I am. You can do it too.”

Fascists like Foxx are famous fabulists, experts at exaggerating their influence and success. But Foxx wasn’t just talking shit.

He is one of many far-right activists who have flocked to Idaho in recent years, where a large and growing radical MAGA faction in the state’s Republican Party has openly allied itself with extremists to a shocking extent, even for the Trump era. This faction is accruing more and more power in Boise, the state capital: Imagine a statehouse full of Marjorie Taylor Greenes and Steve Kings. At the local level, they have seized seats on school boards and county commissions at a fast clip.

Please read the rest. This could easily happening in other small states.

New Covid Wave

The Washington Post: Top Biden health officials sound warning on rising covid infections.

Top Biden administration officials warned Wednesday that one-third of Americans live in communities experiencing rising levels of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations and urged them to resume taking personal protection measures, including wearing masks.

The increase in new infections — nearing 100,000 a day — comes as the nation heads into Memorial Day weekend with its large gatherings and travel. That case count is almost certainly an undercount, officials said, given the widespread use of at-home tests for which results are often not reported to health officials.

Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, strongly encouraged those living in communities designated yellow or orange, indicating they have large numbers of new infections and hospitalizations, to consider wearing masks in indoor public spaces and taking other steps to protect themselves.

“As we’re currently seeing a steady rise of cases in parts of the country, we encourage everyone to use the menu of tools we have today to prevent further infection and severe disease, including wearing a mask, getting tested, accessing treatments early if infected and getting vaccinated or boosted,”she said.

Wednesday’s warnings from Walensky and two other officials — Ashish Jha, White House coronavirus coordinator, and Anthony S. Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser — came on the same day the United States surpassed the grim milestone of 1 million covid-19 deaths, a toll that even the starkest predictions at the start of the pandemic in 2020 did not anticipate.

In the Rain, ,Franz Marc

In the Rain, Franz Marc

Also from The Washington Post: How big is the latest U.S. coronavirus wave? No one really knows.

Experts say Americans can assume that infections in their communities are five to 10 times the official counts.

“Any sort of look at the metrics on either a local, state or national level is a severe undercount,” said Jessica Malaty Rivera, an epidemiologist at the Pandemic Prevention Institute, housed at theRockefeller Foundation. “Everyone knows someone getting covid now.”

Hospitalizations nationally have increased 57 percent since bottoming out six weeks ago. But the roughly 23,000 covid patients in hospitals over the last week still represent nearly the lowest hospitalization levels of the entire pandemic.The recentincrease is led by the Northeast, where hospitalization rates are almost twice as high as in any other region.

Reported cases of covid have also tripled in the Northeast in just over a month, driving much of the growth nationally, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.The country has averaged about 100,000 new cases each day over the past week —more than three times as high as at the lowest point in March.

The latest uptick in infections is testing a new CDC alert system adopted by many local and state governments that categorizes community levels of covid-19 as “low” even with the number of new cases rising to a level once considered high.

More than two-thirds of Americans live in low-risk areas under these metrics. But 43 percent of residents in the Northeastlive in areas considered high-risk, compared with 9percent in the Midwest and less than 1 percent each in the South and West.

I recommend clicking the link and reading the entire article.

morning-on-the-seine-in-the-rain-1898, Claude Monet

Morning on the Seine in the rain, Claude Monet

CNBC: U.S. faces unnecessary Covid deaths if Congress fails to pass funding bill, top health official warns.

Top U.S. health officials on Wednesday reiterated their calls for Congress to pass funding for the nation’s fight against Covid-19, warning that failure to act now would result in an unnecessary loss of life in the fall and winter.

Their warning comes as new infections and hospitalizations are on the rise as the more transmissible omicron subvariants sweep the U.S.

The nation is reporting more than 94,000 new infections daily on average as of Monday, a 25% increase over the previous week, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition, hospitalizations have increased 18% over the past week with about 3,000 people admitted with Covid every day on average, according to CDC data.

Dr. Ashish Jha, the new White House Covid response coordinator, said the fact that many people are now taking at-home tests, results of which are not captured in the data, has to be taken into consideration.

“We know that the number of infections is actually substantially higher than that, hard to know exactly how many, but we know that a lot of people are getting diagnosed using home tests,” Jha said during a White House update on the pandemic Wednesday. “We’re clearly undercounting cases. There’s a lot of infections across America.”

Those are today’s top stories as I see it. What do you think? What stories are you following?


Live Blog: Returns of the Night

In 17 years of voting at this polling place, nevr took longer than 5 minutes...today it took 1 hr and 5 minutes!

Good Evening!

Tonight we’re waiting for the returns from the state of Michigan even though there are three other states voting.  Hawaii, Idaho, and Mississippi are also voting although several of these are Republican voting events only.

The biggest prize is Michigan where the front-runners – Donald Trump for the Republicans and Hillary Clinton for the Democrats – will seek to consolidate leads over their respective rivals.

Both parties are also holding primaries in Mississippi on Tuesday.

In addition, the Republicans are voting in Idaho and Hawaii.

Billionaire businessman Mr Trump is well ahead in the all-important delegate count, but a poor debate performance and some recent losses to Texas Senator Ted Cruz have raised questions about the solidity of his lead.

hawaiiWhat’s at stake?

It’s an important day for Republicans, in which 6 percent of the party’s delegates are at stake. And by the time the dust has settled tonight or (more likely) tomorrow, about 43 percent of the party’s delegates will be allotted overall.

But really, today is a prelude to the far more consequential contests taking place in one week. That’s because today’s delegates are allocated mostly proportionally, making it tough for any candidate to pick up a huge lead. Next week, though, Florida and Ohio will vote winner-take-all, and the outcomes there could have major implications for the future of the race, since Donald Trump has led recent polls of both states. If he wins those two, he could amass a delegate lead that will be very difficult for any of his rivals to surmount.

So expect Republicans to interpret tonight’s results mainly in terms of what they might mean for next week. Does Trump look mortal, as he did on Saturday, or will he rebound with a dominant performance? Is Marco Rubio truly in free fall, as some recent polls have indicated? Is the anti-Trump vote consolidating around Ted Cruz, or will it remain split?

As for Democrats, Hillary Clinton is up big in polls of both states voting today. A win in Mississippi tonight wouldn’t be a surprise, since she’s romped in the South so far, but it would let her continue to pad her lead in pledged delegates, which is already sizable. But if Sanders gets blown out in Michigan, that may indicate that Clinton is likely to win several other primaries in large, delegate-rich states outside the South — making analready tough delegate math challenge for Sanders even tougher.

Michigan is a state that’s undergone a vast change. It used to be the center of a great post-War industrial automobile industry but most of its lucrative union jobs are gone.  The auto industry is on the mend but no abandoned-detroit-high-schoolwhere as powerful as it used to be in the country.  It is perhaps a great test of the power of establishment vs. outsider revolution.

While Sanders has made awkward attempts to court African American voters, Hillary Clinton has deep ties to the community. She was the first presidential candidate to visit Flint, Michigan, a predominately African American city with toxic water.

Clinton hopes to appeal to people like Lawrence White, a 43-year-old state employee and owner of a small security firm who feels betrayed by every level of government and by both parties. “I’m not just singling out Governor [Rick] Snyder,” the African American Democrat told me in January. “All the politicians including the EPA are playing tit-for-tat, playing games at our expense. It’s everybody. It’s Republicans. It’s Democrats. It’s a globalization of not caring for the people of Flint.”

Just north of Detroit, in the suburbs of Oakland and Macomb counties, live the children and grandchildren of Reagan Democrats, white working-class voters who defected their party to support Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.

I grew up among Reagan Democrats; their racial and economic grievances were the soundtrack of my childhood. For people like Benson Brundage, a Macomb County contractor who told me in 2012 that welfare is racial “subsidization,” Donald Trump gives voice to their fears.

Mitt Romney dog-whistled at them in 2012. Now the former GOP nominee issuggesting that Trump is a bigot.

550x369x102422-004-E40CDA5E.jpg.pagespeed.ic.yKL-la4y8fPolls show that all the midwestern industrial states favor Trump and Clinton.  Here’s a list of the latest polls from RCP.  It’s bound to be a dismal day for Marco Rubio. That’s pretty obvious.  Is Kasich rising since these states should be favorable to him?

Ohio Gov. John Kasich has actually jumped ahead of Rubio for third place in Michigan, and is rising quickly, a Monmouth University poll out Monday showed. He appears to have worn well in last week’s Republican presidential debate, when he stayed out of the Trump-Rubio-Cruz scrum.

So imagine this scenario: Kasich beats Rubio in Michigan. Then, on March 15, Kasich wins his 66-delegate, winner-take-all home state of Ohio, and Rubio loses his 99-delegate, winner-take-all home state of Florida.

Find your presidential match with CNN’s 2016 Candidate Matchmaker

Suddenly, Kasich would become the leading moderate, establishment-type Republican in the race — and Rubio would lack a path forward.

There are a lot of “ifs” for that to happen. But for Kasich to stand any chance of turning what’s been a smaller-scale campaign that’s been much choosier about where he tries to compete into one with a real shot at quickly racking up delegates, Michigan is where it has to start.

Join us tonight for the returns!  I’ve put up a picture from each of the states.  As you can see, there couldn’t be a better example of the diversity in Americans and geography in the states voting tonight.downtown-boise-idaho-3213

Mississippi returns will come in first at 8 pm est so get ready!!!


Friday Reads: Zombie Memes

zombie-apocalypseGood Morning!

The Ebola Virus and the epidemic in Africa is real.  The right wing hysteria about the virus is rivaling the bad plots of the Zombie movies I’m watching during SyFy’s Countdown to Halloween.  I thought I’d spend some time separating the facts from the conspiracy theories today.  So let me start with one of the most outrageous Zombie Memes from one of the most vile women on the planet. Dementia or further evidence of the advanced stages of evil?  It’s your choice.

In an interview with WorldNetDaily published today, Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly weighed in on the unfounded theory gaining traction in the right-wing media that Central American young people are to blame for an outbreak of a childhood respiratory illness in the U.S.

“There are all kinds of diseases in the rest of the world, and we don’t want them in this country,” Schlafly told WND, adding that “of all the things [Obama has] done, I think this thing of letting these diseased people into this country to infect our own people is just the most outrageous of all.”

She went on to imply that President Obama is intentionally allowing people infected with Ebola into the United States because he wants America to be “just like everybody else, and if Africa is suffering from Ebola, we ought to join the group and be suffering from it, too. That’s his attitude.”

Conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly – author of “Who Killed the American Family?” – said she agrees Obama is responsible for allowing diseases to enter the country.

“There are all kinds of diseases in the rest of the world, and we don’t want them in this country,” Schlafly said. “And it’s Obama’s job to keep them out.

“Out of all the things he’s done, I think this thing of letting these diseased people into this country to infect our own people is just the most outrageous of all.”

Schlafly said the government should screen immigrants for disease before they enter the country, as was done at Ellis Island a hundred years ago.

“That was the purpose of Ellis Island – to have a waiting place where it was decided whether people were healthy enough or responsible enough to come into our country,” she said. “The idea that anybody can just walk in and carry this disease with them is just an outrage, and it is Obama’s fault because he’s responsible for doing it.”

When asked why the current administration hasn’t done more to prevent diseased illegal aliens or Ebola carriers from Africa from entering the country, Schlafly said Obama wants to make the U.S. more like the rest of the world.

“Obama doesn’t want America to believe that we’re exceptional,” Schlafly said. “He wants us to be just like everybody else, and if Africa is suffering from Ebola, we ought to join the group and be suffering from it, too. That’s his attitude.”

Yup, it’s despicable She. Still foaming at the mouth after all these years too.

Okay, so as not to overwhelm you with teh crazy all at once.  Let’s go to some science and medicine.zombies1

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told a top-level forum in Washington, D.C., that the Ebola outbreak is unlike anything he’s seen since the AIDS epidemic.

“I would say that in the 30 years I’ve been working in public health, the only thing like this has been AIDS,” Frieden said before the heads of the United Nations, World Bank and International Monetary Fund, according to AFP.

Frieden added: “We have to work now so that it is not the world’s next AIDS.”

Frieden’s comments come as the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S. died Wednesday despite intense but delayed treatment. The U.S. government also announced it was expanding airport examinations to guard against the spread of the deadly disease.

The checks will include taking the temperatures of hundreds of travelers arriving from West Africa at five major American airports.

The new screenings will begin Saturday at New York’s JFK International Airport and then expand to Washington Dulles and the international airports in Atlanta, Chicago and Newark. An estimated 150 people per day will be checked, using high-tech thermometers that don’t touch the skin.

The White House said the fever checks would reach more than 9 of 10 travelers to the U.S. from the three heaviest-hit countries — Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

President Barack Obama called the measures “really just belt and suspenders” to support protections already in place. Border Patrol agents now look for people who are obviously ill, as do flight crews, and in those cases the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is notified.

It’s unlikely a fever check would have spotted Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who died of Ebola in a Dallas hospital Wednesday morning. Duncan wasn’t yet showing symptoms when he arrived in the U.S.

signsofthezombieapocalypse_wpid-signsofthezombieapocalypse_zombies-cementerio1So the disease is ravaging West Africa.  That’s where the problem is and needs to be solved.

There are the facts about the state of the Ebola crisis. In West Africa, more than 8,000 people have contracted the disease and nearly half have died. In the U.S., there’s just one confirmed casethat of Thomas Duncan, the Liberian man who passed away in Dallas on Wednesday. Experts say that the caseload in West Africa is likely to get much, much bigger. As many as 1.4 million people could get the disease, with a large fraction of them dying from it. The same experts expect no similar outbreak here, even if a few more cases appear, because we have the personnel and the resources to limit exposure.

But all of the news on Wednesday was about developments here in the U.S.in particular, new screening efforts at five major U.S. airports, Duncan’s death, and reports of possible new cases in the U.S., including one in Dallas. You could tell by the questions that Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, fielded during a late afternoon press conference.  He got more than a dozen of them. Only two were about the situation abroad. (And one of them, it so happens, came from me.)

The preoccupation with what’s happening here, as opposed to what’s happening over there, is perfectly understandable. On Tuesday, a Gallup poll revealed that Americans today are as worried about contracting Ebola as they were about contracting H1N1, the swine flu, during that outbreak two years ago. By that time, millions of people had gotten H1N1 and thousands had already died. But people die from flu all the time, usually because they are very young or very old or already otherwise infirmed. It’s a threat that people have factored into their daily lives, if at all. Ebola is quite literally a foreign menace, one to which almost nobody gave much thought until a few weeks ago. The virus kills about half the people who get it, with little regard for age or health status of the person infected.

That fear goes a long way to explaining why the U.S. is implementing the new screening process at the airports. Customs and Border Patrol agents were already on the lookout for people with visible signs of the disease. Now they will add another layer of scrutiny. They will use questionnaires to screen for people who have been in affected countriesand, then, subject these people to temperature tests and more questioning. People who have fever or show other Ebola symptoms will be evaluated by quarantine officers from the CDC, then referred to local health authorities who will decide how to handle the cases. The primary goal is to identify any passengers infected with Ebola before they leave the airport.

But yes, the right wing is hysterical and afraid and lying as the right wing is prone to do.

Of all the issues that you would think would be non-partisan, Ebola should be at the top of the list. The disease is just a mindless germ that doesn’t check your race, gender, social class, sexual orientation or party identification before it strikes, suggesting both liberals and conservatives ¿Quién Está Creando Zombies Y Para Qué¿ 3have a stake in treating people exposed to the disease with compassion and care. And yet, to flip on Fox News or turn on any conservative media at all, you’d think that ebola was some kind of plague designed by the Democratic party in order to wipe out Republicans.

Blowing the threat of ebola out of proportion and trying to link it to Obama has been a constant theme on the right in recent days. Elisabeth Hasselbeck of Fox News literally demanded that we put the country on lockdown, banning all travel in and out. In a bit of race-baiting, Andrea Tantaros of Fox suggested that people who travel to the country and show symptoms of ebola will “seek treatment from a witch doctor” instead of go to the hospital. Fox host Steve Doocy suggested the CDC is lying about ebola because they’re “part of the administration”. Fox also promoted a conspiracy theorist who is trying to claim the CDC is lying when they caution people not to panic.

Other right wing media joined in. Tammy Bruce blamed ebola on the “Obama legacy”. Laura Ingraham said Obama was prevented from doing more to stop the disease because of his “core ties to the African continent”. Rush Limbaugh even went as far as to accuse Obama of letting the disease spread because he supposes liberals believe “we kind of deserve a little bit of this”.

Okay, so here’s a zombie mistake and a big one.   Justice Kennedy’s Typo Accidentally Stops Same-Sex Marriage in Nevada.

Yesterday, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy stunned America when he ordered a halt on Nevada’s same-sex marriages, less than a day after the Court voted to overturn a ban on gay marriages in that state. Turns out that it was a total accident. Yes, a big ol’ “oops, my bad” incident.

According to SCOTUSBlog, what happened was the following: The Ninth Circuit recently heard challenges to same-sex marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada, who, for the purposes of convenience, had combined both of their challenges into a single case. In two different rulings, the federal appellate court struck down both of these states’ bans, allowing same-sex marriage in Idaho and Nevada, and issued a mandate on the ruling to immediately enforce the new law. In other words, the moment that the Ninth Circuit struck down the ban, gay and lesbian couples could get married immediately.

This did not make Idaho happy, so they filed a request to Justice Kennedy asking him to put a stop on same-sex marriage in Idaho, so that state officials could review their case before the Ninth Circuit. Kennedy allowed it, but in a total brain fart moment, issued an order that put a stop on weddings in both Idaho and Nevada, even though nobody in Nevada had asked for a review, either.

Thankfully, same-sex marriages can still occur in Las Vegas for the time being, but unfortunately, nobody knows what the eff is happening anymore. As a result, the Ninth Circuit has recalled its order implementing same-sex marriage in Idaho and are asking for briefs as to whether they need to do the same in Nevada.

Good job, Kennedy. Look how much confusion your typo has caused.

Oh, another Zombie Meme replacing Benghazi these days.  It’s not only Ebola that’s Obama’s fault but also ISIL.  It’s all about killing white people!!!  Here’s some great links and proof from Politicus.toht-facepalm-jeff-robertson

We have shown that for the GOP, the threat of Ebola exists only as an excuse to attack President Obama, that it’s all Obama’s fault (of course) and that, Oh my God! Oh my God! It’s going to kill us all! Cue to Rand Paul diving under his bed.

We have also been closely following the rise of ISIL in Syria and Iraq, and have tried to show you the contrast between the Republican and the Democratic reactions.

We have shown that for the GOP, the threat of ISIL exists only as an excuse to attack President Obama, that it’s all Obama’s fault (of course) and that Oh my God! Oh my God! They’re going to kill us all! Cue to Lindsey Graham diving under his bed.

It is surely significant that yesterday Time Magazine should profile the Republican response to the ISIL “scandal”: GOP Ad Claims ISIS Plot to Attack U.S. Via ‘Arizona’s Backyard.’

As Time’s Zeke Miller and Alex Rogers describe the ad, which was posted to YouTube yesterday,

The National Republican Congressional Committee ad opens with grainy footage of black flags and fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) holding rifles on military vehicles. “Evil forces around the world want to harm Americans every day,” an ominous voiceover states. “Their entry into our country? Through Arizona’s backyard.” The spot goes on to recount how Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), locked in a close re-election fight with Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin, has voted against border security legislation, suggesting that she “leaves Arizona vulnerable.”

Chris Wallace of Fox News has already planted the suggestion in viewers’ facile minds that Ebola could come across our Southern Border and that it could be used as a weapon. It doesn’t matter after those words are spoken than an expert debunks them. The damage has been done.

The brain damage was done to any one that actually believes these things years ago.

So what’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Just By Chance: Quick Evening News Reads

Hello!

Minx here…We are still waiting for the modem to come in, I watch for that FedEx truck…even though I know the tracking shows delivery on Saturday or Monday. In an act of desperation, I hooked up the modem that has been causing all this trouble, and it worked. For how long I do not know, if the recent past is any indication, it will go down shortly. So I am taking the opportunity to upload a post, a quick one.

Hopefully these links will be new for you…

I caught this item from Idaho earlier this week, In Gov. Butch Otter’s Cabinet, women make less money than men

Idaho Agriculture Director Celia Gould has been with Gov. Butch Otter from the first day of his administration in 2007, having been a leading figure in his campaign and a respected former legislator.

She is the highest-paid of the women in Otter’s Cabinet but ranks just 16th among all top full-time officials. The median salary for 11 women in the Cabinet is $85,446; the median for the 33 men is $103,002.

“We really do have a glass ceiling in Idaho,” said Rep. Wendy Jaquet of Ketchum, the senior Democrat in the Legislature and a member of the budget committee.

Jaquet compared Gould to Commerce Director Jeffrey Sayer, who was hired in October. Gould oversees 259 employees, Sayer 53. Based on Jan. 1 pay records now searchable at IdahoStatesman.com, Gould makes $106,621. Sayer makes $145,018.

“Director Gould is about $38,000 under the newly employed Jeff Sayer,” Jaquet said. “You can’t argue she doesn’t have as many employees. Our state is no different than the national averages that show women reach a ‘glass ceiling’ for promotion and pay.”

You can read the excuses and responding silence from the Governor’s office at the link up top. It is obvious that Idaho is not the only state which pays its women less than men, but it is quite annoying to see just how high Idaho ranks in the male/female pay gap.

In other state news, a report has just been released that measures states on the strengths of their public corruption and government openness laws…and my state, Georgia came in last, a rank state officials dismissed as a “biased hit job.” Georgia last in public corruption laws

The report, released today, scored states on 330 “corruption risk indicators” including open records law, campaign finance rules, and auditing and budgeting procedures. Georgia received an overall grade of 49 out of 100, an F.

The study was conducted by the Center for Public Integrity and Global Integrity, two Washington-based nonprofits that champion government reform, and Public Radio International, using journalists and academics from across the nation to compile the data. Representatives for the groups said it is the most thorough and wide-ranging study ever done on government accountability.

Georgia officials, who based on previous reports said they were surprised the state did so poorly, questioned the criteria used and the man selected to conduct the initial audit.

The report awarded no A’s, but most states passed the exam. New Jersey received the highest grade.

Let me tell you this, if New Jersey got the highest grade, then those Georgia folks better come up with a better reason to dismiss the findings.

I do not know if this link was brought to your attention this week, it is from The Seattle Times and it regards the medical center which cleared Robert Bales, the soldier who killed 16 Afghan civilians earlier this month.

Local News | 40% of PTSD diagnoses at Madigan were reversed | Seattle Times Newspaper

A Madigan Army Medical Center screening team reversed more than 40 percent of the post-traumatic stress disorder diagnoses of patients under consideration for medical retirement since 2007, according to information released by U.S. Sen. Patty Murray.

That is the first paragraph…please, read the whole thing…there is just too much information to quote bits and pieces from.

And then there is this, which again…is a link from March 19th, but you may have missed it. It’s Come To This: Watch TSA Agent Pat Down Handicapped Child | Mediaite

Has TSA finally gone too far? A video from 2010 — that just recently surfaced — featuring a young child strapped to a wheelchair being pat down by TSA is taking social media by storm. The incident occurred during the spring of 2010 at Chicago O’Hare International Airport during a family trip to Disney World. The child’s father was enraged by the security check of his son. “I was told I could NOT touch him or come near him during this process. Instead we had to pretend this was ‘OK’ so he didn’t panic,” according to comments on the video purporting to be the child’s father.

The video, which was uploaded March 17, describes the child’s ordeal with the TSA agent:

A toddler in a wheelchair is stopped by the TSA at ORD (O’Hare Airport in Chicago) and forced to into a sequestered area. On his way to a family vacation in Disney, this 3 year old boy is in a body cast for a broken leg. Despite assurances from his father that “everything is ok”, he is physically trembling with fear while he watches his two siblings, mother, father, grandfather and grandmother pass through along with everyone else…only to be singled out.

According to MSNBC.com reporter, Harriet Baskas, the boy’s father, Matt DuBiel, said the video was made in spring 2010 during a family trip to Disney World. “We had a baby five weeks ago, and I was looking at some old family videos on Saturday night, and I got incensed and emotional watching it.”

I have another US crime/court news item to share with you. This one hits home because it is about a family that lived in my town of Banjoville…aka Blairsville, Georgia. My daughter went to school with this little girl, and the murder suicide took place down the road from where we used to live until recently. Topix: Innocent Man’s Life Destroyed by Anonymous Online Poster – ABC News

This article is a preview of the story that will air tomorrow on ABC’s 20/20.

PHOTO: Gene Cooley, of Blairsville, Ga., with his late fiancee, Paulette Harper, and her daughter.

The 20/20 crew filmed this report in early October…and it caused a stir on Topix, the very site that the story is about.

Topix Chief Executive Officer Chris Tolles said the company, started in 2007, was created to bring more news and information to small towns through articles and citizen reporting and open debate among users. The site operates in 5,000 towns and cities, averaging 125,000 posts a day.

Yet in some cases, the site reads less like a local newspaper and more like a graffiti wall. Mixed in with the mundane chitchat and community news are anonymous personal attacks.

I won’t go into the sordid details, they are given a quick mention in the preview article…but if you do get a chance to watch 20/20, please remember the personal lives that were destroyed in a violent murder suicide…and the ensuing hate fest and nasty “feeding frenzy” attack on Cooley from the local residents of my little mountain red-neck town…These are the same folks who pack the First Baptist Church every Wednesday and Sunday.

And lastly, the trailer for Dark Shadows, a movie based on my favorite gothic vampire Barnabas Collins, was released this week. Oh, I can’t wait to see this movie!

Hope this post can get uploaded to the blog…I miss you all very much. Being without the internet has been a terrible experience, it made me realize just how addicted I have become to that thing we call the world wide web.


Idaho Woman Challenges State’s Anti-Abortion Laws

Remember Jennie Lin McCormack of Pocotello, Idaho, who was prosecuted for inducing her own abortion a few months ago? The case was later dropped for lack of evidence, but McCormack has now filed a lawsuit challenging Idaho’s 1972 law that makes it a crime for a woman to terminate her own pregnancy, as well as a new “fetal pain” law that bans abortions after 20 weeks, according to Reuters.

The lawsuit is believed to be the first federal court case against any of several late-term abortion bans enacted in Idaho and four other states during the past year, based on controversial medical research suggesting a fetus feels pain starting at 20 weeks of development.

Modeled after a 2010 Nebraska “fetal pain” law yet to be challenged, similar measures were considered in at least 16 states this year as anti-abortion groups made good on sweeping Republican gains from last year’s elections.

When McCormack realized she was pregnant in 2010, she was desperate to have an abortion. She already had three children and could not afford to support another on her tiny income of $200-$250 per month. But she couldn’t afford a surgical abortion either, so she asked her sister to order some pills on line that would help induce abortion. A woman named Brenda Carnahan, the fetus fetishist sister of one of McCormack’s friends turned her in to police.

More from Reuters:

The 1972 Idaho law discriminates against McCormack and other women of limited means in southeastern Idaho, which lacks any abortion providers, by forcing them to seek more costly surgical abortions far from home, the lawsuit says.

The newly enacted Idaho law banning late-term abortions was not yet in effect when McCormack terminated her own pregnancy using abortion pills she obtained from an online distributor at between 20 and 21 weeks of gestation on December 24, 2010, according to her lawyer, Richard Hearn.

But Hearn, also a physician, argues that both the 1972 law and the newly enacted Idaho statute pose other unconstitutional barriers to abortion. He cited, for example, the failure to exempt third-trimester pregnancies (25 weeks or more) in cases where a woman’s health, not just her life, is at risk.

This is obviously a very important case for women to keep an eye on. Someone needs to challenge the slew of new state laws that have sprung up since the 2010 midterm elections.