Grab your morning brew, and let’s go!
- It’s farmer-labor day today at the WI Capitol building, starting at noon, complete with a “tractorcade.”
- Next, a piece I treasure. Plain Talk: Squandering 100 years of progress, by Dave Zweifel. Please take the time to click over and read this one sometime over the weekend if you can.
- Guess who is going to Egypt and Tunisia next week. In her FY 2012 budget request before Congress on Thursday, Hillary announced she will be meeting with transitional leaders in both Tunis and Cairo as well as with Libyan opposition while she’s in the region. For the new Arab world that is emerging to be new at all, women cannot be left behind. Who better to put that world on notice than Hillary Rodham Clinton?
(second link will take you to an AFP report on Hillary’s remarks at Friday’s Women in the World conference in NY. See also her remarks at the 2011 Women of Courage event for more.)
- This week–on International Women’s day no less–our advocate-in-chief helped to launch a Global Partnership on Maternal and Child Health, bringing a long-neglected development goal further out of the shadows. Brava, Madam Secretary!
(see also Hillary’s 100 Women Initiative. If you don’t know what it is, click and find out.)
- From Politico’s quotes of the week: “Her Excellency, Madam President… I love saying that.”
— Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, introducing the president of Kyrgyzstan at a State Department event.
- Hillary and Julia from their bilateral on Tuesday.
- If you’re a Hillary fan who can’t get enough of all things Hill and missed my essays from earlier this week, knock yourself out. One is the mischievously titled Hillary: Warmonger and the other is Women, Workers, and The Sisterhood.
- My response to Rand Paul’s hypocritical libertarian rant on “choice” (choice of toilet, that is). Shorter Wonk: I hope Rand has a working garbage disposal, because he sure talks a lot of trash.
- See here for RH Reality Check’s exhaustive coverage of the latest developments from yesterday. Also, Minkoff Minx wrote to her Georgia state representative, Stephen Allison (R-8) and received a letter from Rep. Allison that you might find of interest. Scroll to the end of the post to see it.
- My $0.02 on Allison’s response: The excuse that the most draconian of these bills will never pass is baloney. The rise of mini-Stupaks in states across the country has built up a momentum in the war against women, and that momentum is helping to get other horrible versions of these bills passed. Furthermore, the preponderance of such nonsense legislation clearly indicates a concerted effort to use women and their civil rights as a tool of division and distraction from the economy, degrading those rights in the process and blocking unfettered access to reproductive healthcare for women–all women. The rich will get their safe abortions on demand one way or another, and we all know it.
Tired of hearing about Charlie Sheen?
- Here’s the fix. At least on the Internet.
- Bernie Sanders introduces The Emergency Deficit Reduction Act. Sanders’ press release says the bill would a) create a 5.4% surtax on millionaires, yielding up to $50 billion annually for the US Treasury, and b) end tax breaks for Big Oil, yielding about $3.5 billion a year in new revenue. Thank you, Bernie Sanders!
- Krugman: Dumbing Deficits Down
- BBC News Magazine: Are call centres the factories of the 21st Century?
- Womancession/nifty graph pick of the week: Women Lead in Unpaid Work. Click graph for more info.
US Politics: 2012
- Nate Silver/NYT: Wisconsin Dispute Could Mobilize Democratic Base
- Andrew Leonard/Salon: Do rising gas prices spell doom for Obama?
- US News & World Report says wedge issues are back just in time for the 2012 electoral cycle. In other news… Water? Yep, wet as ever. (When did wedge issues ever leave?)
- Here’s a derivative piece if ever there was one… Cameron Lynch says Barack Obama is the “Surprisingly Silent President.” This echoes Ruth Marcus last week suddenly discovering that Obama is the “Where’s Waldo” president. Obama told America who he was from 2004 to 2008. The
creativeclueless class was too busy chattering away and creating “a different kind of politician” narrative to take note that Obama was telegraphing very clearly that he would make an indifferent kind of president.
- Have you read Glenn Greenwald’s takedown of the NYT editors and Andrew Sullivan yet? Glenzilla exposes the hypocrisy of their “Bush-tortured” defenses for Obama’s indefinite detention.
- Amnesty International petition to Secretary Gates and President Obama: End the punitive detention of Bradley Manning
- This next one is an amazing development. Via Laura Rozen over at her new Yahoo digs, The Envoy — Reporter: State Department official raps Pentagon treatment of Manning as “counterproductive and stupid.” We’re talking about PJ Crowley over at Hillary Clinton’s state department, y’all. He told that to veteran BBC reporter Philippa Thomas without thinking twice. Thomas blogged about it here.
- Required Reading for all Liberals: Lynn Parramore’s Torture: The Movie (via New Deal 2.0) and Margaret Kimberly’s Peace Prize Torture (via Black Agenda Report).
- Adam Serwer (via the American Prospect) has an important read up that puts it all in perspective… Good Cop, Bad Cop: “On counterterrorism, the only difference between Republicans and Obama is rhetorical.”
Disaster in Japan and Elsewhere
- Foreign Policy’s The Cable: Crowley deleted tweet comparing Middle East ‘tsunami’ to Japan crisis.
(Also, Crowley confirmed his comments about Manning to The Cable:”What I said was my personal opinion. It does not reflect an official USG policy position. I defer to the Department of Defense regarding the treatment of Bradley Manning.”)
- See the NYT’s photojournalism blog — Lens — for dramatic shots of the devastation from the 8.9 quake and tsunami in Japan, as well as other harrowing pictures from around the world yesterday, that tell the story of tragedy and strife.
- “The way humanity manages or mismanages its nature-based assets, including pollinators, will in part define our collective future in the 21st century. Human beings have fabricated the illusion that in the 21st century they have the technological prowess to be independent of nature. Bees underline the reality that we are more, not less dependent on nature’s services in a world of close to seven billion people.”
–Achim Steiner, the executive director of UN Environment Programme
This Day in History (March 12)
- First fireside chat: “It is your problem no less than it is mine. Together we cannot fail.” –FDR, 1933 (even FDR sounds like he’s saying Solidarity forever!)
What Kind of Liberal are You?
- Take the quiz. I’m a “Working Class Warrior.” How about you?
- I mostly linked to this silly quiz so I could share this priceless bumper sticker quote from the first question: “May the fetus you save be gay.”
Song of Protest for Saturday
Extra verse added to the PPM version: “Show me the famine, show me the frail, eyes with no future that show how we failed, and I’ll show you the children with so many reasons why there but for fortune, go you or I.”
I’m turning the Saturday reads over to you in the comments… Take the quiz and let us know how you score, share a song, link us to what’s on your blogging list this weekend…and have a great day!
I included a brief link on this story in the Monday reads, but it got buried at the end and I thought this deserved it’s own spot on the frontpage anyway.
Some fun stuff went on here in Texas last Thursday in the debate over the sonogram-before-you-exercise-your-civil-rights law.
Furious at the sexist paternalism and anti-choice nuttery behind this bill—but unable to do anything to stop it—pro-choice Texas legislators instead decided to engage in a bit of performance art to draw attention to the hostility towards women and short-sightedness inherent in these ultrasound bills that condescendingly masquerade as caring.
Ah, some of that “Feminists Behaving Badly” spirit I wrote about in December is making an appearance as the war on women continues unabated! It’s about time.
Houston state representative Harold Dutton got the most coverage for repeatedly making the point that “pro-lifers” drop all pretense of caring about life the second it can’t be used to punish sexually active women. In rapid order, he introduced three amendments that were tabled by the majority, who really didn’t want to address the issue of the wellbeing of actual children when potential children matter so much more to them. All three amendments addressed what should happen if a woman looks at a sonogram and decides not to have abortion.
Guess what the first, second, and third amendments were. I bet a lot of you could! We’ve got a running commentary in the comments suggesting this sort of thing all the time:
The first amendment would have required the state to pay for the child’s college tuition, the second required the state to pay for the child’s health care until age 18, and the third required the state to pay for the child’s health care until age six.
Now, of course these amendments were blocked, but Dutton made the point we all know so well. The rightwing assault on women’s rights has nothing to do with protecting the life of children.
There were more amendments in addition to Dutton’s, and they just get more clever. Representative Joaquin Castro of San Antonio offered up an amendment that would require abortion clinics to give medically accurate advice about contraception (which they already do). Of course, that amendment too was tabled. Castro also added amendments that called for the state to a) expedite the Medicaid application process for women who get sonograms and b) protect abortion patients from stalking, harassment, and violence. Neither passed, of course.
And, here was the amendment from Rep. Marisa Marquez of El Paso:
Sec.A171.057.AAMANDATORY VASECTOMY. On an application under Section 171.056, a court shall order a man to undergo a vasectomy if it is shown that:
(1) the man is the father of the pregnant woman’s child outside of marriage; and
(2) previous to the date of application, the man was a father to two or more other children by two or more other women outside of marriage.
In other words, the Personal Responsibility for Sexually Active Men Amendment!
I don’t even have to tell you what happened to that one.
As you may have heard by now and probably suspected anyway, the draconian forced sonogram (i.e. forced pregnancy!) law passed the Texas House, and it did so naturally without any of these amendments.
But, it’s clear that the so-called “Culture of Life” is a promiscuous emperor who’s not wearing any clothes and doesn’t care about zygotes, blastocysts, embryos, or fetuses once they’re born or about preventing unwanted pregnancies or even helping poor women pay for the freaking sonogram. Nor about the safety of the poor deluded damsels in distress they believe have been brainwashed into having abortions. And, the pantsless deadbeat babydaddy emperor certainly doesn’t want to see any forced vasectomies.
Just this morning I ran across this doozy in a roundup of headlines at the Austin American Statesman:
New York Times columnist Gail Collins recently said Texas “ranks third in teen pregnancies… and it is No. 1 in repeat teen pregnancies.” That statement is Mostly True, according to PolitiFact Texas.
Governor Goodhair (miss Molly Ivins along with Ann) fasttracked this ridiculous sonogram bill, declaring an “emergency” status for it, but if the Texas theocratic equivalent of the Taliban really wants to focus on a pregnancy-related emergency, perhaps they should look at the fact that Texas is tops in teen pregnancy–once again making our state the national buffoon of rankings. Their abstinence-only, forced pregnancy agenda looks like an even bigger joke when considered in this light.
Then again, teen pregnancy seems to be something they *want* to be tops in. For some reason which makes no logical sense, the Huckabees and the Palins find more fault with the pregnancies of financially independent women like Natalie Portman or the fictional Murphy Brown while they applaud the fictional Junos.
Anyhow, the lead story at that Statesman roundup is about Perry appearing with Grover Norquist tomorrow. More anti-tax rhetoric in store, woohoo.
See for the rightwing, we’re all subhuman and corporations and clumps of red whatnot are “people” — except for when it comes time for “personal” responsibility. Then suddenly, those of us, adult and children, who are living and breathing suddenly are “people” with “responsibilities.”
The right talks about our budget like it’s a family affair, which it’s not as Kat so expertly explained in her last post, but when it comes time for even the forced sonogram that they’ve declared an “emergency” for, well, it’s not so family-ish anymore, it doesn’t take any kind of village.
This is the oligarchy’s distraction from passing any kind of meaningful economic policy. That in itself is a devastating cost to all of us, but added onto that is the fact that this distraction is being born on the backs of women, their civil rights, and their families.
Just take a look at this story about a Nebraska family — Her baby wasn’t expected to live, but Nebraska law banned abortion:
There was less than a 10 percent chance their child would have a heartbeat and be able to breathe on its own. There was an even smaller chance – estimated at 2 percent – that the baby would ultimately be able to perform the most basic functions on its own, such as eating.
Robb and Danielle, left alone in an exam room, held each other and discussed what to do. They just couldn’t see the logic in exhausting painful, expensive medical procedures after being told they had almost no chance to save their baby’s life.
They decided: There are worse things than death.
“So (the perinatologist) came in, and we said we’d just like to put an end to this nightmare and can you help us. She said, no, she can’t,” Danielle said.
The perinatologist said Nebraska’s abortion law, which had been in effect less than two months, would not allow Danielle to terminate her pregnancy because her baby still had a heartbeat and because her own life was not immediately jeopardized.
The couple went home to wait, brokenhearted. They acknowledge they could probably have gone to another state to terminate the pregnancy. Danielle said she felt intense stress and wasn’t strong enough emotionally to deal with an unfamiliar place and doctors she hadn’t met.
Eight days later, Danielle went into contractions, and baby Elizabeth was born to her 15-minute life.
Legislating pregnancy is inhumane. Rights should not be up for public policy debate.
“This isn’t culture. This isn’t custom. This is criminal.” –Hillary
Don’t mess with lefty hearts and minds across this country. The liberal tendencies of the electorate are going to come roaring out with this kind of overreach. Pretty soon we’ll have feminists and socialists behaving badly all over the place. Not, because we’re all extremists, but because the political dialogue in this country has moved so far to the right, that the radical notions of freedom, equality, and the government needing to leave us alone so long as we’re not infringing on everyone’s rights will be seen as very far left notions.