Posted: August 13, 2015 Filed under: Crime, Criminal Justice System, education, Media, misogyny, morning reads, Republican politics, The Media SUCKS, U.S. Politics | Tags: abortion, China, elementary school, GOP Clown Car, Hillary Clinton, homework study, Jimmy Carter, Julian Assange, Mike Huckabee, Planned Parenthood, play, Tianjin explosions, Wikileaks
Girl reading on a stone porch, by Winslow Homer
The images in this post are from the blog, Reading and Art. I don’t have any central theme this morning, just a mixed bag of news stories. beginning with damaging explosions in Tianjin, China.
CNN reports, Tianjin blasts: Dozens dead; areas of Chinese port city devastated.
But what was it that set off the terrifying blasts that ripped through warehouses housing hazardous chemical materials, sending fireballs shooting across the sky and shaking tall buildings more than 2 miles away?
Hours later, amid the destruction in this northern Chinese port city of more than 13 million, the exact cause remained unclear.
A thick chemical odor hung in the air. Fires still burned in the waterfront industrial district where the explosions went off. And the grim toll kept mounting.
At least 44 people are confirmed dead, 12 firefighters among them, officials said Thursday. More than 500 are hospitalized, 52 with severe injuries. Dozens of firefighters are missing.
Local authorities suspended firefighting efforts Thursday because of a lack of information about the “dangerous goods” stored at the warehouse at the heart of the blasts, the state-run Xinhua news agency said.
CNN has dramatic photos at the link. A few more stories on the disaster:
Vice News: Video Emerges of Horrific Tianjin Explosion as Death Toll Rises.
USA Today, 12 firefighters among 50 dead in Chinese port city explosions.
This is a developing story, and it sounds like the death toll is likely to rise.
Girl reading under an oak tree, by Winslow Homer
You’ve probably heard by now that Jimmy Carter has cancer that has spread from his liver to other organs.
Washington Post, Former president Jimmy Carter, 90, announces that he has cancer.
Former president Jimmy Carter announced Wednesday that he has cancer and will be undergoing treatment at Emory Healthcare in Atlanta.
Carter, 90, said the disease was discovered during recent liver surgery to remove “a small mass” and that the cancer “is now in other parts of my body.”
“I will be rearranging my schedule as necessary so I can undergo treatment by physicians at Emory Healthcare,” Carter said in a statement on the Carter Center Web site. “A more complete public statement will be made when facts are known, possibly next week.”
In a statement, President Obama said he and first lady Michelle Obama wished Carter “a full and fast recovery.”
“Our thoughts and prayers are with [wife] Rosalynn and the entire Carter family as they face this challenge with the same grace and determination that they have shown so many times before,” Obama said in a statement released by the White House. “Jimmy, you’re as resilient as they come, and along with the rest of America, we are rooting for you.”
The president also spoke with Carter on Wednesday evening to wish him “full and speedy recovery” and extended best wishes on behalf of himself and first lady Michelle Obama, White House spokesman Eric Schultz said.
According to NBC News, Carter said “a more complete public statement will be made when facts are known, possibly next week.”
Sunlight and shadow, by Winslow Homer
Sweden has dropped some of its charges against Julian Assange.
Wall Street Journal, Sweden Runs Out of Time on Parts of Assange Probe.
STOCKHOLM—Swedish prosecutors on Thursday ran out of time to pursue two of four investigations into allegations of sexual assault against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been living at the Ecuadorean embassy in London since 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning.
Prosecutors said that probes into suspected unlawful coercion and sexual molestation would be dropped as the five-year limit that Swedish law allows for such charges to be brought has come to an end.
The five-year deadline for a second count of sexual molestation will be reached Aug. 18, prosecutors said. If the statute of limitation on that allegation also comes into effect, Mr. Assange would be left facing a single, more serious accusation of rape, over which prosecutors have until 2020 to question him….
Mr. Assange was accused of the crimes by two women during a visit to Sweden in August 2010. Prosecutors requested Mr. Assange return to Sweden from the U.K to face questioning.
The WikiLeaks founder, who denies the crimes, refused to return to Sweden, saying he feared he would extradited from Sweden to the U.S. where he could face trial over the publication by WikiLeaks of classified U.S. documents.
Assange says he is disappointed, according to BBC News.
The Wikileaks founder said he was “extremely disappointed” and said the Swedish prosecutor had avoided hearing his side of the story….
He sought asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, fearing he would then be sent to the US for questioning about the activities of Wikileaks.
Under Swedish law, charges cannot be laid without interviewing the suspect.
Mr Assange said he was innocent and claimed prosecutors had refused to visit him at the embassy.
They also refused to promise not to send him to the US if he were to go to Sweden, he said.
Mr Assange said: “I am strong but the cost to my family is unacceptable.”
The new novel, by Winslow Homer
In clown car news, Mike Huckabee said some more insane things about Planned Parenthood and abortion.
Talking Points Memo, Huckabee: DOJ Should ‘Criminally Prosecute Planned Parenthood.’
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) on Wednesday laid out how he would tackle Planned Parenthood without the support of Congress if he were elected president.
When asked on about Iowa radio host Simon Conway about Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood after an anti-abortion group released numerous edited videos about the women’s health organization, Huckabee said he would use the Justice Department.
“I would have a Justice Department that would begin to criminally prosecute Planned Parenthood for violating federal law and selling body parts,” Huckabee told Conway….
“I would also invoke the 15th and Fourteenth Amendments,” he said on Wednesday. “This is the power that we have to stop this incredible, barbaric scourge of abortion. Not just stop funding Planned Parenthood, but we need to invoke the Fifth and 14th Amendment. The Fifth Amendment guarantees due process for every person. The 14th Amendment guarantees equal protection under the law for every person.”
Huckabee said that he believes that unborn children are people, guaranteeing them Fifth and 14th Amendment rights.
“I would take that position. I would act on behalf of those unborn children, and I would let those who want to slaughter babies, those who want to sell their body parts, let them sue me,” he said.
In response, Melissa McEwan writes:
Again, this is less like chipping away at Roe and more like taking a bulldozer to it.
I have said many times (for instance) that fetuses are valued more highly than the people who carry them, that the potential life of every fetus is more important than the actual life of a pregnant person. Never has this been more clear.
If Mike Huckabee, or any of his fellow Republican candidates, had their way, fetuses would have not equivalent rights, but more rights than any pregnant person.
Protip, Huckabee: “Slaughtering babies” is already against the law.
The country school, by Winslow Homer
CNN reports on a study showing that kids in elementary school are getting crushing amounts of homework.
Kids have three times too much homework, study finds; what’s the cost?
The study, published Wednesday in The American Journal of Family Therapy, found students in the early elementary school years are getting significantly more homework than is recommended by education leaders, in some cases nearly three times as much homework as is recommended.
The standard, endorsed by the National Education Association and the National Parent-Teacher Association, is the so-called “10-minute rule” — 10 minutes per grade level per night. That translates into 10 minutes of homework in the first grade, 20 minutes in the second grade, all the way up to 120 minutes for senior year of high school. The NEA and the National PTA do not endorse homework for kindergarten….
Parents reported first-graders were spending 28 minutes on homework each night versus the recommended 10 minutes. For second-graders, the homework time was nearly 29 minutes, as opposed to the 20 minutes recommended.
And kindergartners, their parents said, spent 25 minutes a night on after-school assignments, according to the study carried out by researchers from Brown University, Brandeis University, Rhode Island College, Dean College, the Children’s National Medial Center and the New England Center for Pediatric Psychology.
That is ridiculous and harmful. Children at younger ages learn far more from play and interacting with other kids than from regimented school assignments.
“It is absolutely shocking to me to find out that particularly kindergarten students (who) are not supposed to have any homework at all … are getting as much homework as a third-grader is supposed to get,” said Stephanie Donaldson-Pressman, the contributing editor of the study and clinical director of the New England Center for Pediatric Psychology.
“Anybody who’s tried to keep a 5-year-old at a table doing homework for 25 minutes after school knows what that’s like. I mean children don’t want to be doing, they want to be out playing, they want to be interacting and that’s what they should be doing. That’s what’s really important.”
The Pope is coming to the U.S., and one of his stops will be at a jail in Philadelphia.
Reuters: At drab Philadelphia jail, anxious times precede papal visit.
One of 17 stops on the pope’s first U.S. tour, the visit to the inner-city jail is a reminder of the emphasis the Argentine pontiff has placed on social justice issues since being named head of the Roman Catholic Church in March 2013.
The pope’s stop at the Philadelphia facility will be the latest in a series of prison visits by Francis, an outspoken opponent of the death penalty and lengthy prison terms. He has counseled teenagers in juvenile detention in Brazil. In Bolivia, he kissed inmates in the country’s most violent prison.
His visit also comes at a time when a growing number of Democrats and Republicans are questioning tough criminal sentencing policies that have left the United States with the highest incarceration rate in the developed world. Barack Obama, who last month became the first sitting U.S. president to tour a federal penitentiary, has called for legislation overhauling sentencing rules.
Advocates for prisoner rights say they are pleased the pope has decided to put the issue on his agenda during the U.S. tour, which will include attending a conference on family life in Philadelphia, plus stops in Washington and New York.
Morning glories, by Winslow Homer
I was going to write about Hillary and the media’s obsession with her emails, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Instead, here’s an inspirational piece from Peter Daou and Tom Watson at #HillaryMen.
Hillary’s Path to History Will Get Much Rougher and She’s Ready.
There is a manic urge among the media, the GOP and the elite commentariat to Stop Hillary – to block a woman from reaching the pinnacle of American political leadership.
Each poll, news story or issue that appears to harm her is seized upon with a strange combination of desperation and glee. It’s an unsavory process but Hillary knew what she was in for when she decided to seek the presidency a second time.
As #HillaryMen, we’re undaunted by the negative stories, unwavering in our support for Hillary and unyielding in our commitment to help smash the ultimate gender barrier.
Ending a 44-0 shutout that has lasted nearly a quarter millennium was never going to be easy. There is no cakewalk to the White House. And certainly not for a woman.
We’ve worked in politics and media for nearly two decades. Peter is a veteran of two presidential campaigns, including Hillary’s 2008 run. We’ve seen every permutation of every attack, every rise and fall in the polls, every gaffe and every zinger, every debate moment and debate aftermath, every nervous election night and every election surprise.
We know what lies ahead for Hillary’s campaign and we realize there will be times when the obstacles seem insurmountable. They are not.
For all practical purposes, the 2016 race is just getting underway. As the first summer of the campaign winds down, the rhetoric heats up and political prognostications start climbing in pitch. The fall frenzy begins in a matter of weeks.
I plan to head over to #HillaryMen every time I get angry and/or anxious about something written or said about her in the media. In case you haven’t read it yet, here’s a link to “The Facts about Hillary Clinton’s Emails” at her campaign website.
What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links on any topic in the comment thread, and enjoy your Thursday.
Posted: June 27, 2015 Filed under: Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, morning reads | Tags: Bobby Jindal, ERA, Mike Huckabee, right wing reaction to Marriage Equality, Votes Rights Act
Hope your weekend is going great!
It seems Republicans are having terrible, horrible, very bad weeks because even when you attempt to stack the Supreme Court with wankers, there are still times when some of them respect the constitutional rights and civil rights of individuals. They also occasionally respect the lawmaking process. Aren’t they sorry they can’t clone Uncle Clarence Thomas, the right wing rubber stamp of all things truly UnAmerican?
I seriously think that a lot of today’s Republicans have mental health issues. Is there a syndrome for reaction to losing privilege or is that just some kind of perverse temper tantrum best left to unruly toddlers? They definitely have a warped sense of what is moral.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal jumped the shark a long time ago with his insistence that Birmingham, UK had No Go Zones where Muslims ruled with shariah law. This is odd given he’s been trying to make Louisiana a No Go Zone for anything but radical evangelical, right wing christianists.
Jindal continues to show just how much he’s losing it with the idea that we’d save ourselves a lot of money by just getting rid of the Supreme Court. Read your constitution much PBJ? How much do you hate this country?
Jindal’s office also provided remarks on the court’s ruling from a speech in Iowa on Friday.
“The Supreme Court is completely out of control, making laws on their own, and has become a public opinion poll instead of a judicial body. If we want to save some money lets just get rid of the court.
“Yesterday, Justice Scalia noted that in the Obamacare ruling “words have no meaning.
“Today, Chief Justice Roberts admitted that the gay marriage ruling had nothing to do with the Constitution.
Marriage between a man and a woman was established by God, and no earthly court can alter that.
“Hillary Clinton and The Left will now mount an all-out assault on Religious Freedom guaranteed in the First Amendment.
“Regardless of your views on marriage, all freedom loving people must pledge to respect our first amendment freedoms.”
Jindal is among the many Republican using religious freedom as an excuse to discriminate and disobey the law. You also hear the worn out refrain of state’s rights. These are the same arguments that were used to protect slavery, continue segregation, deny interracial marriage, and promote all kinds of basically evil things. If any one is guilt of promoting the tyranny of religious rule, it is folks like Bobby Jindal. It’s also the same throwback states refusing to carry out the SCOTUS decision legalizing marriage equality. Louisiana’s Governor and Attorney General are being complete assholes about issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. The elected officials in many southern states are acting like cheeky, spoiled little brats who didn’t get their way.
Louisiana and Mississippi are the only two states left in the country not issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples, according to Washington Post reports.
In Louisiana, Attorney General Buddy Caldwell on Friday indicated that he will not instruct parish clerks of court to immediately issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
In a statement, Caldwell’s office wrote that “it has found nothing in today’s decision that makes the Court’s order effective immediately.”
“The Attorney General’s Office will be watching for the Court to issue a mandate or order making today’s decision final and effective and will issue a statement when that occurs,” the statement noted.
In the statement, Caldwell expressed disappointment in the high court’s ruling.
In Mississippi, Attorney General Jim Hood said in a statement: “The Office of the Attorney General is certainly not standing in the way of the Supreme Court’s decision. We simply want to inform our citizens of the procedure that takes effect after this ruling. The Supreme Court decision is the law of the land and we do not dispute that. When the 5th Circuit lifts the stay of Judge Reeves’ order, it will become effective in Mississippi and circuit clerks will be required to issue same-sex marriage licenses.”
Before the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling Friday, Louisiana and Mississippi were two of 14 states with a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. After the court’s ruling, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Texas, Michigan, Ohio, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia and Florida began issuing licenses.
Clearly, many folks in the South still haven’t gotten the idea that we’re a country ruled by laws and not their pet religious fetishes. Even the dissenting SCOTUS justices were way off the petulant scale and not only on the wrong side of history, but wrong about history. Chief Justice Roberts cited a list of civilizations that supposedly had his modern, wanker christianist view of marriage in the dissent. Simple research and googles would have disabused the Justice of his conveniently wrong views.
In his written dissent to the Supreme Court’s decision to effectively legalize gay marriage in all 50 states in the United States, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. made a conspicuous gesture to the rest of the world. He referred to the “social institution” that the majority of the court was “transforming,” and anchored its legitimacy in the currents of history.
…the Court invalidates the marriage laws of more than half the States and orders the transformation of a social institution that has formed the basis of human society for millennia, for the Kalahari Bushmen and the Han Chinese, the Carthaginians and the Aztecs. Just who do we think we are?
It’s not quite clear to WorldViews why Roberts decided to implicate these four particular cultures in his opposition to the legalizing of gay marriage. But we can suggest reasons why they are hardly exemplars of “traditional” unions between men and women.
It’s absolutely funny how completely wrong definitions of “traditional marriage” can be. Here’s the actual practices of the Kalahari Bushmen.
These hunter-gatherers in sub-Saharan Africa have long been the world’s stock image of “primitive man,” and presumably that’s why Roberts referenced them — as the stereotype of an atavistic people, whether it’s fair or not. (It’s not, but let’s move on.) The Kalahari Bushmen don’t have very strong wedding practices, and don’t pay much attention to ceremonies around mating.
Early European accounts of tribes and kingdoms encountered in southern Africa included details of warrior women styling themselves as kings (not “queens”), polygamous households where lesbianism was common, and even ancient Bushmen rock paintings depicting explicit homosexual sex.
Ouch. I already mentioned the misogynous and incest-based traditional marriages of ancient Greece yesterday. You really have to look to the Dark Ages to get even a remote historical resemblance to what these crack pot religious whackos describe as “traditional marriage”.
In fact, when you really dig into the history of marriage, the only consistent feature is change. My own professional group, the American Historical Association, filed an amicus brief that leveraged the combined expertise of twenty historians of marriage. The AHA brief used examples drawn largely from American history to show that marriage has never been solely about procreation, with issues like property management taking center stage. Moreover, Ruth Karras, author of Unmarriages, told me in an interview that marriage has almost never been about joining one man and one woman, but instead about “two families.” In that sense, same-sex couples looking for equal protection under the law with respect to healthcare and property rights are pretty consistent with “traditional marriage.”
That is, if there even is such a thing as “traditional marriage.” Karras began studying the multiple forms of medieval marriage—or at least the socially-accepted and often semi-legal long-term forms of relationships—because of her frustration with the idea that, “there was some sort of time that we could go back and look at where marriage was this perfect ideal between a man and woman for purposes of reproduction or creating family. The Middle Ages clearly haunts that formulation.” In fact, Karras continued, for many medieval people, “traditional marriage didn’t even exist. Yes, for aristocrats there was this system, but it’s really not very possible to know much about how people without any money formed and possibly didn’t form their marriages. People seem to have this idea that until the 1960s in America, everybody was pro-marriage—in fact, in the Middle Ages a lot of people lived in other kinds of relations besides what was recognized formally as marriage.”
So many of these folks have views based on what they read in the incredibly fabricated St James Bible which was put together in the early 17th century.
The King James Bible is considered by many today to be the ‘original’ Bible and therefore ‘genuine’ and all later revisions simply counterfeits forged by ‘higher critics’. Others think the King James Bible is ‘authentic’ and ‘authorized’ and presents the original words of the authors as translated into English from the ‘original’ Greek texts. However, as Tony points out, the ‘original’ Greek text was not written until around the mid fourth century and was a revised edition of writings compiled decades earlier in Aramaic and Hebrew. Those earlier documents no longer exist and the Bibles we have today are five linguistic removes from the first bibles written. What was written in the ‘original originals’ is quite unknown. It is important to remember that the words ‘authorized’ and ‘original’, as applied to the Bible do not mean ‘genuine’, ‘authentic’ or ‘true’.
We have an entire group of people–including elected officials and SCOTUS justices that basically can’t get beyond a nearly completely fabricated, contradictory, and false account of what may or may not be a set of fictional characters. Thank goodness the Constitution isn’t grounded in promoting religion even if so many of the whackadoos in public life build their entire life’s delusions around it.
Some of the most disturbing comments have come from crazy Mike Huckabee who is still running for President and searching for relevance beyond a small group of Southern Baptists.
Republican presidential candidate and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) said Friday in a statement that he would not “acquiesce to an imperial court” and its decision to make gay marriage legal in all 50 states.
Huckabee’s comments came after the Supreme Court’s decision on gay marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges.
“The Supreme Court has spoken with a very divided voice on something only the Supreme Being can do-redefine marriage,” Huckabee said in the statement. “I will not acquiesce to an imperial court any more than our Founders acquiesced to an imperial British monarch. We must resist and reject judicial tyranny, not retreat.”
Huckabee called the ruling “unconstitutional.”
“This ruling is not about marriage equality, it’s about marriage redefinition,” Huckabee said. “This irrational, unconstitutional rejection of the expressed will of the people in over 30 states will prove to be one of the court’s most disastrous decisions, and they have had many. The only outcome worse than this flawed, failed decision would be for the President and Congress, two co-equal branches of government, to surrender in the face of this out-of-control act of unconstitutional, judicial tyranny.”
Huckabee also questioned the authority of the Supreme Court.
“The Supreme Court can no more repeal the laws of nature and nature’s God on marriage than it can the law of gravity,” Huckabee said. “Under our Constitution, the court cannot write a law, even though some cowardly politicians will wave the white flag and accept it without realizing that they are failing their sworn duty to reject abuses from the court. If accepted by Congress and this President, this decision will be a serious blow to religious liberty, which is the heart of the First Amendment.”
Again, we have some people that are totally unhinged and seem to have no concrete knowledge about even the most basic facts about the creation of our Republic and the Constitution.
Religious liberty is not a right to force your religious fetishes on others. Religious liberty deals with the ideal that the Government cannot establish a state religion and force its tenets on every one in the country. What these whackos do in their homes, churches and minds are their own business. What they do with our government and public lives is something completely different. You don’t have to be a constitutional scholar or lawyer to grok that.
Here’s another short list of what the Republican Candidates for President say about the ruling. Can there be any doubt that these folks are out of step with the majority of people in the country and will only be relevant in outback states where they wreck the economies and persecute minorities? I wrote about Bush and Rubio yesterday so I’ll just fill you in on the other troglodytes.
Of the reactions released so far, all by Republican presidential candidates opposed the Supreme Court ruling, as expected. But they differed in tone. Some were defiant, others appealed for respect.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who is expected to enter the race soon, called the ruling “a grave mistake” and reiterated his support for a constitutional amendment.
“The only alternative left for the American people is to support an amendment to the US Constitution to reaffirm the ability of the states to continue to define marriage,” Governor Walker said in a statement.
Such an amendment would be impossible to pass, observers say, given the requirement that three-quarters of the states ratify it, and so his pronouncement is effectively a symbolic gesture. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, another 2016-er, is the biggest champion of a marriage amendment.
Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, who announced his candidacy Wednesday, was also clearly not in the “court has spoken” camp.
“Marriage between a man and a woman was established by God, and no earthly court can alter that,” Governor Jindal said in a statement.
As the governor of a state that did not already recognize same-sex marriage, Jindal’s posture toward Friday’s ruling has special significance. Ditto Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who is expected to enter the race soon.
“Neither governor would be able to do anything to stop same-sex marriage in their state,” in light of Friday’s decision, National Journal notes.
“But they could take actions to speed up or delay implementation of the ruling – actions that would surely become a topic of the presidential campaign over the next year.”
At press time, Governor Kasich had yet to release a statement on the decision, though in April he told reporters at a Monitor luncheon that he would be willing to attend a gay friend’s wedding, suggesting some ease with the issue. But he was also clear that he supports only the traditional definition of marriage.
It is still unbelievable to me that we can literally be held hostage by reactionaries in mostly lowly populated, insignificant states and the rural populations of some of the mid-sized states. Popular support for the issues like marriage equality are at all time highs and continue to show upward trends. Still, horrible reactionary pundits and republican politicians continue to thwart progress towards full enfranchisement of racial and religious minorities, ethnic minorities, GLBTs, and women. I’ve been reading some of the worst things ever from the always wrong Bill Kristol. This man should not be allowed a public forum other than his irrelevant rag. Since when is granting civil rights “Peak Liberalism”?
We see a French Revolution-like tendency to move with the speed of light from a reasonable and perhaps overdue change (taking down the Confederate flag over state buildings) to an all-out determination to expunge from our history any recognition or respect for that which doesn’t fully comport with contemporary progressive sentiment. The left’s point, of course, is not to clarify and sharpen appreciation for our distinctive history; the point is to discredit that history.
And the point is not to advance arguments and criticize alternative views; it is to deny the legitimacy of opposing arguments and to demonize opponents and purge them from the public square.
We see a pitiful aversion to standing up to barbarism abroad and a desperate willingness to accommodate and appease. This requires an amazing ability to shut one’s eyes to reality, and an extraordinary refusal to make tough decisions and assume real responsibilities. As Harvey Mansfield put it in the 1970s, “From having been the aggressive doctrine of vigorous, spirited men, liberalism has become hardly more than a trembling in the presence of illiberalism. . . . Who today is called a liberal for strength and confidence in defense of liberty?”
Since when is liberty defined as the right to take liberty away from others?
Maybe, these assholes should pick up a few things written by Thomas Paine and embrace the true roots of revolution.
“Whatever is my right as a man is also the right of another; and it becomes my duty to guarantee as well as to possess.”
― Thomas Paine, Rights of Man
The real struggles for complete civil rights still exist. There is ENDA and there is still the ERA. There is correcting the Supreme Court’s evisceration of the Voting Rights Act. In those last links you will see that there is work going on to get all of these things on track. Until we are all safe from discrimination in our public lives including in our jobs, in our ability to live where we choose, in our ability to exercise our voting rights and to achieve pay equity, none of us are safe.
No matter what these jerks say, their religion isn’t a get out of complying with our laws free card.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Posted: May 19, 2015 Filed under: 2016 elections, morning reads, Republican politics, U.S. Politics | Tags: Ben Carson, Bobby Jindal, Department of Education, Donald Trump, George Pataki, Jeb Bush, Koch Brothers, Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Rick Santorum, same-sex marriage, Scott Walker
In this today’s Washington Post, Dana Millbank belatedly latches onto a very old meme–The Republican field is a clown car–in order to promote one of the clowns.
“If you can’t take a joke,” Lindsey Graham has said , “don’t run for president.”
Graham, a senator from South Carolina and one of umpteen Republicans running for president, can take a joke — which is why he appreciates the absurdity that is the GOP field. There are far too many candidates (so many that there are concerns they won’t all fit on a debate stage), and to gain attention they are juggling, tooting horns and blowing slide whistles like so many painted performers emerging from a clown car.
“I do bar mitzvahs, birthday parties, weddings, funerals — call me, I’ll come,” Graham told a crowd in New Hampshire last month. He said voters should ignore Hillary Clinton and “look to the 35 people running for president on the Republican side. And just shoot up among us until you get one of us out of the tree.”
But what if you are the joke? Just think, Graham could be the first obviously closeted gay man to win the nomination of the party that hates gays and wants them to be second class citizens.
Ted Cruz tried for his 15 minutes of fame by holding the first announcement. Marco Rubio drew thousands to Miami’s Freedom Tower. Mike Huckabee brought in aging crooner Tony Orlando but was easily eclipsed by Ben Carson, who had a musical extravaganza and a video putting the candidate in the company of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr.
Former New York governor George Pataki, perhaps the smallest of the GOP Lilliputians, announced on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” last week that . . . he will make his announcement on May 28. Donald Trump announced over the weekend that he would make an announcement in June and that “the announcement is going to surprise a lot of people.”
It would probably surprise a lot of people if Trump said something that made sense.
Sigh . . . .
Also in this morning’s WaPo, Bobby Jindal hints that he too will have an important announcement soon: Bobby Jindal launches presidential exploratory committee.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) on Monday formally launched a presidential exploratory committee, the clearest indication yet that he is gearing up for a White House run.
“For some time now, my wife Supriya and I have been thinking and praying about whether to run for the Presidency of our great nation,” Jindal said in a statement. “If I run, my candidacy will be based on the idea that the American people are ready to try a dramatically different direction. Not a course correction, but a dramatically different path.”
The Louisiana Republican has made frequent visits to key early voting states in recent months, testing a message centered on the need to “restore the American Dream,” which he says President Obama’s “weak leadership” has diminished. But despite his experience as governor and a compelling personal background as the American-born son of Indian immigrants, Jindal has struggled to make an impact in national polls of potential Republican candidates.
If Jindal does anything “dramatically different,” I’d be stunned. But he’ll just be peddling the usual Koch brothers gibberish to very small audiences.
What are the other clown car occupants up to?
Rick Sanatorum has been busy either grossly misinterpreting or blatantly lying about a book he supposedly read.
Buzzfeed: Harvard Professor: Rick Santorum Is Misusing My Book To Say “All Black Men Are Sexual Predators.”
Last week, former Republican Sen. Rick Santorum called men who father children with multiple women “sexual predators.”
When making his argument to the socially-conservative Cornerstone organization in New Hampshire, Santorum cited statistics on marriage from Harvard professor Robert Putnam’s book, Our Kids.
“Another new statistic just came out in his book. A majority of children being born out of wedlock today in America are born in families where the father is in the home. But they’re not married,” said Santorum. “So they are born to cohabiting couples. So the majority of children born out of wedlock are born to cohabiting couples. And what does Putnam say about these? They stuck to them longitudinally, they never get married. Let me use that term, never, like one or two percent ever get married.
“And he compared it when he was growing up in the 1950s and when children were conceived out of wedlock, what happened in the 1950s,” added Santorum. “We all know what happened in the 1950s and here is the amazing thing, this is Putnam saying this, 80 plus percent of these marriages succeeded.
“And children were raised in stable homes. Now these fathers leave the home and not just father children with that particular women, they father a child with another women, and another and another. We have created predators, sexual predators particularly where, again, Putnam—low income America.”
Voters will spend the next year trying to figure out the different shades of the GOP presidential candidates.
Here’s what Putnam had to say about Santorum’s comments.
“I’m a progressive and I think the evidence is that first of all, there has been a collapse in the working family class family, black and white, and that’s bad for kids,” Putnam said responding to Santorum in a speech to promote his book last week.
Putnam said Santorum misinterpreted what he was saying and took advantage of “the fact I was trying to be open.”
“But there is a presidential candidate, who yesterday quoted me as saying therefore—he’s quoted me as saying all black men are sexual predators. I’m not going to say who it is but what I’m trying to say is, he’s a conservative and he took what I was saying and sort of so misinterpreted it that it’s nothing like—it’s just isn’t even in the universe of what I said. But that’s an example of how at least this one guy was in effect taking advantage of the fact that I was trying to be open. He says ‘isn’t it amazing that this liberal’, actually he said ‘this extreme leftist at Harvard acknowledges that blah, blah, blah.’”
Another clown car occupant, Rand Paul wants to eliminate the Department of Education (Rick Perry and Mike Huckabee do too). Think Progress explains: What Would Actually Happen If Rand Paul Eliminated The Department Of Education. According to TP,
We wouldn’t have a federal department to administer Pell Grants to students….
There wouldn’t be any oversight over states when they break civil rights laws….
There wouldn’t be a department to check on rampant inequality between low-income school districts and wealthy districts.
We would have inconsistent education data, as the quality of data would vary among the states….
There would be more gender discrimination within schools….
There would be no way to hold schools accountable for the funds they receive.
Of course for the GOP clowns, those are goals that should be wholeheartedly supported.
Jeb Bush stumbled out the block and has continued to stumble and stagger on his path to an as-yet unannounced presidential candidacy. Here’s the latest from Reuters, via Yahoo News: Jeb Bush sees no constitutional right to gay marriage.
(Reuters) – Republican Jeb Bush said in a weekend radio interview that he does not believe the Constitution grants a right to gay marriage, emphasizing his support for “traditional marriage.”
The Supreme Court is expected by the end of June to make a landmark ruling that could make gay marriage the law of the land or return the decision to individual states.
“It’s at the core of the Catholic faith and to imagine how we are going to succeed in our country unless we have committed family life, (a) committed child-centered family system, is hard to imagine,” Bush told the Christian Broadcasting Network show, “The Brody File, in an interview broadcast on Sunday.
“So, irrespective of the Supreme Court ruling because they are going to decide whatever they decide – I don’t know what they are going to do – we need to be stalwart supporters of traditional marriage,” said Bush, who converted to Catholicism 20 years ago….
Bush also said in the radio interview that Christian business owners should be able to refuse, “if it’s based on a religious belief,” to provide services to same-sex couples.
But at Slate, Mark Joseph Stern notes that: Jeb Bush Accidentally Made a Brilliant Argument Against Anti-Gay “Religious Liberty” Laws.
Jeb Bush has an odd conception of liberty. As governor of Florida, Bush strongly opposed same-sex marriage, preferring to force committed gay couples to live as legal strangers with no ability to formally adopt their own children. As his presidential campaign warms up, though, Bush has taken a selectively expansive view of liberty.According to Bush, anti-gay business owners should have a legal right to refuse service to same-sex couples seeking to celebrate their relationship.
Bush’s support for anti-gay “religious liberty” laws are no surprise—unless you happen to have believed that silly BuzzFeed report that he would be “2016’s gay-friendly Republican.” What is surprising is that Bush framed his endorsement of such laws in a way that beautifully illustrates exactly why the usual argument for such laws is so fatuous. Take a look at his comment:
A big country, a tolerant country, ought to be able to figure out the difference between discriminating against someone because of their sexual orientation and not forcing someone to participate in a wedding that they find goes against their moral beliefs. This should not be that complicated. Gosh, it is right now.
At bottom, Bush is arguing that the law should differentiate between identity and conduct. He believes the state may protect gays from discrimination because they’re gay (identity), but not because they’re celebrating a gay relationship (conduct). Unfortunately for Bush, this argument fails quite spectacularly in the wedding context, because homosexuality is an identity defined by its conduct. To be gay is to be attracted to, and maybe marry, someone of the same sex. There is no more fundamental way to discriminate against a gay person than to refuse to serve them based on the fact that they are marrying someone of the same sex.
Koch brothers favorite Scott Walker is having some not-so-funny (from his point of view) problems. He has been a target of corruption investigations for the past couple of years. Now this from The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: Records indicate Scott Walker was copied on letter promising loan to donor.
Madison — State records say that Gov. Scott Walker received a copy of a 2011 letter pledging a $500,000 taxpayer loan to a now-defunct Milwaukee construction company headed by a Walker donor, seemingly contradicting statements by the governor and his aides that he was not aware of the award.
A spokeswoman for Walker said that, in spite of the records, a copy of the letter from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. was never delivered to the governor’s office.
The Sept. 9, 2011, letter from Paul Jadin, WEDC’s chief executive officer at the time, was sent to William Minahan, owner of Building Committee Inc., a company that is now being sued by WEDC for defaulting on the unsecured loan without delivering the promised project and the jobs it was supposed to create.
Jadin said in his letter of intent that he was writing “on behalf of Governor Scott Walker” and noted “cc: Scott Walker, Governor” at the bottom.
Walker’s top cabinet appointee, then Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch, urged WEDC officials to provide the loan, and Walker’s then-chief of staff Keith Gilkes attended an initial meeting on it, according to records provided to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel by the Walker administration.
“In closing Governor Walker and I are firmly committed to doing everything possible to expedite the processing and awarding of this incentive award,” Jadin wrote in the letter.
Read the details at the link.
And from the La Crosse Tribune: Hours after damning audit, Scott Walker calls off WEDC-WHEDA merger.
Gov. Scott Walker has cancelled a planned merger of two economic development agencies after a new audit said Walker’s job-creating entity failed to follow statutes or its own policies when making financial awards.
The audit released Friday also says the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. failed to meet all statutory requirements related to program oversight and that staff “did not consistently comply with policies established by WEDC’s own governing board” which is chaired by Walker.
The audit comes as Walker had been calling for a merger of WEDC and WHEDA, the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority.
Within hours of the audit release, Walker issued a statement calling for that merger to be removed from the state budget along with a merger of two other state agencies.
“After hearing concerns from legislators, stakeholders, and the WHEDA and WEDC boards, we asked legislators to remove the proposed agency mergers from the state budget and we asked the bill authors to not move forward with the proposed separate legislation,” Walker said.
Walker also had proposed a merger of the Department of Financial Institutions and the Department of Safety and Professional Services into one regulatory agency. That merger is also cancelled, he said.
Wisconsin Democrats are gloating . . .
“While Scott Walker has completely abandoned Wisconsin to advance his presidential ambitions the continued incompetence and ineptitude at his Economic Disaster Corporation is bordering on criminal negligence at this point,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said in a statement.
Meanwhile, wicked witch Hillary Clinton and her husband (who is a different person) got paid a lot of money for making speeches. Horrors!
That’s all the clown car news I have room for today. What else is happening?
Posted: May 1, 2015 Filed under: morning reads | Tags: conspiracy theory, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Texas Crazy, US military invade Texas?
I think I’ve seen the word “lunatic” used in more headlines recently than I’ve ever seen the word used. You won’t even need two guesses to get the reference in mind. Lunatic is an interesting word that is usually associated with a mentally ill person and generally is a throw back word used in less enlightened times. But, it seems appropos even if it’s directed at folks actually making major policy decisions for our country and states. Teddy Roosevelt said something interesting about the ‘lunatic fringe’. He popularized that term around 1913. He said “Every reform movement has a lunatic fringe. The same political party that produced Teddy Roosevelt now is producing reactionary reform in that everything they suggest seems to take us back to periods prior to post-civil war reforms or worse.
So, the first headline is from Salon and has to do with the state of Texas and its new elected crazed Governor of the moment. Digby writes that”Right-wing lunatics think the military is planning to invade Texas. Here’s why.”
In fact, it appears that the right wing in this country has become downright hostile to the one government institution they heretofore had defended with every fiber of their being: the military. This week, members of the conservative fringe, having apparently become convinced that the army is holding a large training exercise in the American southwest in order to prepare the ground for a federal government takeover of Texas, are themselves metaphorically spitting right in the faces of U.S. soldiers:
“It’s the same thing that happened in Nazi Germany: You get the people used to the troops on the street, the appearance of uniformed troops and the militarization of the police,” Bastrop resident Bob Wells told the Statesman after the meeting. “They’re gathering intelligence. That’s what they’re doing. And they’re moving logistics in place for martial law. That’s my feeling. Now, I could be wrong. I hope I am wrong. I hope I’m a ‘conspiracy theorist.’”
Yes, we all hope that Bob is a conspiracy theorist. It would be disturbing indeed if the U.S. military were preparing to invade Texas and turn it into Nazi Germany.
That’s even way south of a conspiracy theory. I suppose that’s why lunacy is involved.
Paul Waldman–writing for The American Prospect–inkles the l word too. The title is hauntingly similar: “Indulging the Lunatics on the Right” and it’s on the same topic. Is the Governor of Texas indulging the lunatics on the right or is he actually an example of the lunatic having taken over the asylum?
So in response to the fact that some of Texas’s dumbest citizens emerged from their doomsday prepper shelters long enough to harangue a colonel about their belief that martial law is coming to their state, Governor Abbott issued an order to the National Guard to monitor the movements of the U.S. military just to make sure they aren’t herding citizens into re-education camps or dropping Islamic State infiltrators into Galveston. I guess we’re safe from that, for the moment anyway.
Every politician encounters nutballs from time to time, and it isn’t always easy to figure out how to respond to them. But what’s remarkable about this is that we aren’t talking about an offhand remark Abbott made, or an occasion in which a constituent went on a rant to him and he nodded along to be friendly instead of saying, “You, sir, are out of your mind.” This is an official action the governor is taking. He’s mobilizing state resources, at taxpayer expense, because of a bizarre conspiracy theory that has some of Texas’s more colorful citizens in its grip.
It’s really hard to keep people from believing outlandish things. But you don’t have to indulge them. And that’s what so many Republicans do with the crazies on their side: They indulge them. Doing so doesn’t reassure them or calm them down, it only convinces them that they were right all along and encourages them to believe the next crazy thing they hear.
If it were only a few national guard units in a state well known for doing weird things in a big way, I could almost go for the coddling, indulging, encouraging meme. However, what do you call it when a set of House Republicans actually want to start passing laws that are blatantly unconstitutional because they prefer to ignore all the amendments passed after The US Civil War? Exactly how many states emptied their asylums during the Reagan years, only to vote them into office now as long as they are Republican, white, and of a certain majority religion?
A House Judiciary subcommittee took up the question Wednesday afternoon, prompted by legislation sponsored by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) and 22 other lawmakers that, after nearly 150 years, would end automatic citizenship.
The 14th Amendment, King told the panel, “did not contemplate that anyone who would sneak into the United States and have a baby would have automatic citizenship conferred on them.” Added King, “I’d suggest it’s our job here in this Congress to decide who will be citizens, not someone in a foreign country that can sneak into the United States and have a baby and then go home with the birth certificate.”
It’s no small task to undo a principle, enshrined in the Constitution and upheld by the Supreme Court, that defines the United States as a nation of immigrants. It’s particularly audacious that House Republicans would undo a century and a half of precedent without amending the Constitution but merely by passing a law to reinterpret the 14th Amendment’s wording in a way that will stop the scourge of “anchor babies” and “birth tourism.”
Iowa not only births lunatics, it sends them to the District to create laws. They can also be elected governor and run for President as the candidate of Theocracy.
Mike Huckabee rallied a crowd of Hispanic evangelicals on Wednesday night, pushing back in the debate over religious freedom just one day after the Supreme Court heard oral arguments to determine whether states have the right to ban same-sex marriage.
“I respect the courts, but the Supreme Court is only that — the supreme of the courts. It is not the supreme being. It cannot overrule God,” he said. “When it comes to prayer, when it comes to life, and when it comes to the sanctity of marriage, the court cannot change what God has created.”
His well-received speech at the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference came just days before the former Arkansas governor is expected make his 2016 announcement in Hope, Arkansas, on Tuesday followed by a campaign swing through Iowa.
Huckabee, who won the Iowa caucuses during his 2008 presidential bid with support from Christian conservatives, has never shied away from weighing in on social issues and warned that “our country’s in trouble because we lost our landmarks of faith.”
He doubled down on his argument that Christian business owners are being “criminalized” when they face legal action for not agreeing to participate in same-sex weddings, an issue that has spurred the recent religious liberty debate in Indiana.
“Somebody’s got to be willing to take on the institutions that challenge and threaten our ability to believe as we believe, because when religious liberty is lost, all liberty is lost,” he said.
Did you notice he’s chosen Hope, Arkansas for the annoucement? I can only imagine the Clinton hatefest that will ensue. After all, hatred is the calling card of the religious lunatics of Huckabee’s ilk.
Both Huckabee and Rand Paul continually call for their version of Father Knows Best while their own children behave more than badly. Huckabee’s son tortured and killed a dog. Huckabee lectured the Obama’s on their parenting, however. Rand Paul is now lecturing black people in Baltimore. Paul said the violence is about a “lack of fathers”. What does he call the root of the obvious issues displayed by his son’s behavior?
Presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) weighed in on the turmoil in Baltimore on Tuesday, standing with police and blaming the violence on a lack of morals in America.
“I came through the train on Baltimore (sic) last night, I’m glad the train didn’t stop,” he said, laughing, during an interview with conservative radio host Laura Ingraham.
Railing against what he repeatedly called “thuggery and thievery” in the streets of Baltimore, Paul told Ingraham that talking about “root causes” was not appropriate in the middle of a riot.
“The police have to do what they have to do, and I am very sympathetic to the plight of the police in this,” he said.
As for root causes, Paul listed some ideas of his own.
“There are so many things we can talk about,” the senator said, “the breakdown of the family structure, the lack of fathers, the lack of a moral code in our society.”
He added that “this isn’t just a racial thing.”
Paul’s son was recently cited for a DUI. This is his third run in with the law involving alcohol.
Presidential candidate Rand Paul’s son, William, received a citation for driving under the influence of alcohol this past weekend, according to reports.
Police reportedly encountered the Kentucky GOP Senator’s 22-year-old son on Sunday morning after his Honda Ridgeline rear-ended a parked vehicle in Lexington, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.
READ: Sen. Rand Paul’s son arrested, charged with underage drinking
William Paul has had two prior alcohol-related interactions with law enforcement, including a charged assault, the paper reported.
The son sustained minor injuries after the Sunday crash and has been charged with driving under the influence and for not having car insurance, according to the local media reports.
Wonkette kindly fills us in on some of the other details of his drunken behavior including assaulting a flight attendant. Of course, Senator Aqua Buddha was no pillar of morality at his age either.
That would be William Hilton Paul, son of Rand Paul, getting himself in law trouble — for the third time (thus far) in his brief 22 years — for illegally boozing. (And kindly note, people, that was eleven IN THE MORNING.) The first time this thug in need of a father got busted, it was for drinking under age and assaulting a flight attendant, but, like every other thug who flaunts the law to do disorderly violence, he just had to perform some community service and take a class about not doing that. Which he failed because he got busted for underage drinking again later that year. WHERE WAS HIS FATHER?!?! Cleary he does not understand, as Rand Paul does, that “we do have problems in our country” — fathers not sticking around to teach their kids not to do riots and looting and drunk driving, for example — “but there can be no excuse for the behavior.”
It’s really too bad kids these days don’t have the right kind of family structure and the right kind of moral code to know better and not engage in this kind of lawless behavior. Good thing Rand Paul is running for president. Clearly, he’s the perfect dad for the job.
As for the flight attendant, that was so 2013.
William Hilton Paul, the 19-year-old son of Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and the grandson of former presidential candidate Ron Paul, is being accused of physically assaulting a female flight attendant during a flight last weekend, the Charlotte Observer reported.
The publication said the Charlotte-Mecklenberg police confirmed that Paul had been charged with a misdemeanor assault on a female by “aggressive physical force” on Saturday.
This is also the libertarian that says religion can be a part of the US Federal Government. Confused much?
Republican senator Rand Paul, who currently represents Kentucky and is a prospective presidential candidate for the upcoming 2016 elections, told religious leaders during a private prayer breakfast last month that the First Amendment does not say religion has to be kept out of governance.
“The First Amendment says keep government out of religion. It doesn’t say keep religion out of government,” Paul said. “So, you do have a role and a place here.”
I suggest a new, extended definition for lunatic. It should include something about being a Republican and having an excessive attachment to religious craziness. I could go on a little more here, but then you’d have to find out the latest news on Governor Jindal and I hate to torture you with any more tales of fringed lunatics.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?