Thursday Reads: Women’s Bodies, Women’s Lives

Peonies, by Claude Monet

Good Morning!!

Even as we worry about Trump and Bolton starting a war with Iran and about the Democrats refusing to follow the Impeachment road map provided by Robert Mueller, American women must face the fact that our very personhood is being attacked.

Personally, I have decided that I will not vote for any man for president. The right of women to make decisions about our own bodies is too important.

Here’s the latest on the War on Women:

NBC News: Missouri Senate passes bill to outlaw abortion at 8 weeks.

Missouri’s Senate has passed what its authors call one of the nation’s most stringent anti-abortion bills, which would outlaw nearly all abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy.

The Republican-led Senate passed the bill, dubbed Missouri Stands With The Unborn, by a margin of 24 to 10 early Thursday morning….

Missouri’s move comes hours after Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed a bill that would introduce a near-total abortion ban in that state. Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio and Georgia have approved bans on abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can occur in about the sixth week of pregnancy.

Louisiana is following suit with its own “heartbeat” abortion ban, which was approved unopposed by the Louisiana House Health and Welfare Committee on Wednesday.

Abortion right activists are mobilizing in Alabama. The Washington Post: Governor signs Alabama abortion ban, which has galvanized support on both sides, setting up a lengthy fight.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — As a crop duster with a banner saying “Abortion is okay” hummed above the capitol, circling back and forth around the governor’s mansion, a group of women below let out a cheer.

Amaryllis by Piet Mondrian (1910)

“Just another day in Alabama,” said Mia Raven, director of People Organizing for Women’s Empowerment and Rights (POWER) House. “We knew this would pass and we got ready.”

Amanda Reyes, who works with an abortion fund, was wearing an “I’m on the pill” T-shirt, complete with instructions printed on the back detailing how to get a medical abortion. She also looked skyward: “Here it comes again! That’s just the coolest thing.”

Hours after the Alabama Senate voted late Tuesday to ban abortions in almost all circumstances — including in cases of rape and incest — women’s rights activists and abortion rights advocates said the decision to approve the nation’s strictest abortion measure has energized them. Knowing that the bill was designed to challenge Roe v. Wade, they are gearing up for the fight.

The Washington Post: Louisiana ‘heartbeat’ abortion ban nearing final passage.

BATON ROUGE, La. — A proposal to ban abortions in Louisiana as early as the sixth week of pregnancy continued to speed through the state legislature Wednesday, the same day Alabama’s governor signed the nation’s most restrictive law against the procedure.

Without objection, the Louisiana House Health and Welfare Committee backed legislation to prohibit abortions when a fetal heartbeat is detected, similar to laws passed in several conservative states that are aimed at challenging the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 decision that legalized abortion. Louisiana’s ban, however, only would take effect if a federal appeals court upholds a similar law in Mississippi.

Louisiana’s so-called fetal “heartbeat bill” is sponsored by state Sen. John Milkovich, one of several measures that lawmakers are advancing to add new restrictions on abortion. Senators already have supported the bill, which will next receive full House consideration, one step from final passage. Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards has indicated he will sign the measure if it reaches his desk.

The New York Times sums up the current abortion landscape: ‘The Time Is Now’: States Are Rushing to Restrict Abortion, or to Protect It.

Alex Katz, Tulips 4, 2013

States across the country are passing some of the most restrictive abortion legislation in decades, deepening the growing divide between liberal and conservative states and setting up momentous court battles that could profoundly reshape abortion access in America….

The national race to pass new legislation began last fall, after President Trump chose Brett M. Kavanaugh to replace Justice Anthony M. Kennedy on the Supreme Court, adding what some predicted would be a fifth vote to uphold new limits on abortion. Red states rushed to pass more restrictions and blue states to pass protections.

Now, as state legislative sessions draw to a close in many places, experts count about 30 abortion laws that have passed so far.

That is not necessarily more than in past years, said Elizabeth Nash, a legal expert at the Guttmacher Institute, which supports abortion rights.

What’s different is the laws themselves, which have gone further than ever to frontally challenge Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court’s 1973 ruling that established federal protections for abortion.

Read the rest at the NYT.

Interestingly, these extreme laws could be interfering with right wing plans to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Flowers in a Glass Vase by John Constable (c. 1814)

Even Pat Robertson thinks the Alabama law is too “extreme.” The Washington Post: Televangelist Pat Robertson: Alabama’s abortion ban is ‘extreme’ and has ‘gone too far.’

Longtime televangelist Pat Robertson decried Alabama’s new abortion ban as “extreme,” saying on his show on Wednesday that the state legislature has “gone too far.”

Alabama’s law, which has been passed by the legislature and signed by the governor, includes a penalty of up to 99 years in prison for doctors who perform abortions and has no exceptions for rape or incest, Robertson noted on his show.

“They want to challenge Roe vs. Wade, but my humble view is I don’t think that’s the case I’d want to bring to the Supreme Court because I think this one will lose,” Robertson told viewers of CBN’s “The 700 Club” on Wednesday.

David G. Savage at The Los Angeles Times: Supreme Court is not eager to overturn Roe vs. Wade — at least not soon.

The Supreme Court justices will meet behind closed doors Thursday morning and are expected to debate and discuss — for the 14th time — Indiana’s appeal of court rulings that have blocked a law to prohibit certain abortions.

The high court’s action — or so far, nonaction — in Indiana’s case gives one clue as to how the court’s conservative majority will decide the fate of abortion bans recently passed by lawmakers in Alabama and Georgia. Republican Gov. Kay Ivey of Alabama signed her state’s ban into law on Wednesday.

Pot of Geraniums, Henri Matisse

Lawmakers in those states have said they approved the bans in an effort to force the high court to reconsider Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

The justices have many ways to avoid such a sweeping ruling, however. And Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., in his 14 years on the high court, has typically resisted moving quickly to decide major controversies or to announce abrupt, far-reaching changes in the law.

Roberts’ history, along with the court’s handling of abortion cases in recent years, suggests he will not move to overturn the right to abortion soon, or all at once, and is particularly unlikely to do so in the next year or two with a presidential election pending.

At Slate, Dahlia Lithwick makes a similar argument: Alabama’s Extremist Abortion Bill Ruins John Roberts’ Roe Plan.

One could feel sorry for Chief Justice John Roberts. He is, after all, caught in an unsightly squeeze play between anti-abortion zealots in Alabama, and slightly less wild-eyed anti-abortion zealots in Georgia, Ohio, Tennessee, and Indiana (the court seems unable to make a decision on whether to grant the Indiana petition it has been sitting on for months now). There’s finally a five-justice majority within striking distance of a decades-long dream to overturn Roe v. Wade, and the anti-choice activists are getting ahead of themselves like slurring drunks at a frat party and making everything more transparently nasty than it need be.

Hibiscus by Hiroshige (c. 1845)

There are easy and near invisible ways for the high court to end Roe. That has always been, and remains, the logical trajectory. As Mark Joseph Stern has shown, when Brett Kavanaugh came onto the court, with his dog whistles and signaling around reproductive rights, it became clear that he would guide the court to simply allow states to erect more and more barriers to abortion access (dolphin-skin window coverings on every clinic!). The five justices in the majority would do it all while finding ways to say that such regulations were not an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to choose. The courts and state legislatures could continue their lilting love songs to the need for the states to protect maternal health and to help confused mommies make good choices, and nobody need dirty their hands by acknowledging that the real goal of three decades’ worth of cumbersome clinic regulations and admitting privileges laws were just pretexts for closing clinics and ending abortion altogether.

Read the rest at Slate.

(Mostly) male legislators are ignoring the realities of actual women’s lives.

When Senator Clyde Chambliss, a Republican, for example, was asked if the law would allow for incest victims to obtain abortions, he responded: “Yes, until she knows she’s pregnant.”

He did not elaborate on how someone would have an abortion before she knows she’s pregnant, outside of claiming, “It takes time for all the chromosomes to come together.”

Flower Garden by Gustav Klimt, 1905

Women’s bodies, lives, and futures are quite literally in the hands of men who seemingly couldn’t pass a high school health class. That’s part of what’s so hard about watching these debates: It’s not just that women’s rights and autonomy are being legislated away, but that it’s being done by complete morons.

This lack of remedial understanding of women’s bodies is not limited to Alabama. Representative John Becker of Ohio, a Republican, for example, sponsored a bill to limit insurance coverage for abortions, but claimed that it would have an exception for ectopic pregnancies, when the fertilized egg implants outside the uterus. “That treatment would be removing the embryo from the fallopian tube and reinserting it in the uterus,” he said, explaining a procedure that doesn’t exist and isn’t medically possible.

There is also Texas state Representative Dan Flynn, a Republican, who believes abortion requires cutting into a woman’s uterus, or Vito Barbieri, the Idaho state Representative, a Republican, who thought you could give a woman a remote gynecological exam by having her swallow a tiny camera.

Shannon Dingle at USA Today: I was 12 years old and pregnant. Alabama’s abortion ban bill would punish girls like me.

Roses and Lillies by Henri Fantin-Latour (1888)

I was that 11-year-old pregnant by rape in Ohio, except I had just turned 12 and lived in Florida….She is 11. She has experienced and is experiencing violating trauma. Maybe someday she will tell her story, but today is not that day.

I can tell my story, though. I was newly 12. I lived in a suburb of Tampa. I had gotten my period a couple years before, and it came regularly once it started. I knew to expect it every 32 days.

It was July, the summer between sixth and seventh grade, when days 33, 34, 35 and more passed with no period. I had read in one of my sister’s Seventeen magazines that periods aren’t always regular, so I figured this was my first one of those.

It wasn’t….I never chose to have sex at such a young age, but abusers in my family chose to rape me. I had lost count of the number of times by then. With a dad high ranking in the county sheriff’s office, I didn’t trust going to the police. I had tried to tell teachers and church volunteers, but that never went anywhere, either.

Please go read the rest if you haven’t already.

Women and girls in the U.S. are in real danger. For me this is the number one issue for women in the upcoming presidential election.

As always, this is an open thread.


Live Blog: Super Duper Tuesday Primary Election Returns

Florida

Good Evening!!

This will be short and sweet, because I’m still feeling very under the weather.

The cable networks are starting to give hints about the exit polls in the five states that are holding primaries today. It’s all pretty general so far, and I’m not math wizard enough to get much out it. It looks like it’s closed in Ohio and Illinois, and Missouri is still a mystery.

If Hillary performs as well as expected in Florida and North Carolina, she will end the night with an increased lead in pledged delegates. Bernie would need to win one of the big Midwestern states by a landslide to gain any ground on her.

As for the Republicans, I’m assuming Trump will win at this point. I don’t really care about them, but if you’re hearing interesting things about the GOP race, feel free to share them.

We’ll find out pretty soon what will happen on both sides. Polls will be closing in all of the states pretty soon and voting will be over everywhere by 8PM ET.

I’ve enjoyed watching the vote counts at the New York Times so far. FiveThirtyEight has an excellent live blog as well.

What are you hearing? Let us know in the comment thread and enjoy yourselves. Remember that Hillary already has a huge lead in pledged delegates; so don’t freak out if Bernie wins Ohio and/or Illinois, especially if it’s close.

 


Tuesday Reads: Super Duper Tuesday

Voting day coming up soon oh boy, Richard Hubal

Voting day is coming up soon oh boy, Richard Hubal

Good Day!!

Sorry to be so late in posting today. I’m really struggling with a sinus/chest cold and I don’t have much energy these days.

Today’s primary elections will actually be bigger for the Democrats than Super Tuesday was. The media is playing up the possibility that Sanders could win in Ohio, Illinois, and Missouri; but even if that happens, which I think is doubtful, Clinton should win handily in Florida and North Carolina. She will most likely end the night with an expanded delegate lead.

Trump will probably sew up the Republican nomination, especially if he beats Marco Rubio in Florida, which looks likely.

The attacks on Hillary Clinton are escalating as she gets closer to becoming the first woman presidential nominee of a major political party.

It’s kind of difficult to remember now, but at the beginning of the primary campaign, Bernie Sanders promised to run a positive campaign focused on the issues. It’s been quite awhile now since he switched to attacking Hillary Clinton personally and using innuendo to question her integrity. NBC News examines his move to negative campaigning.

Election Day 1944, Norman Rockwell

Election Day 1944, Norman Rockwell

A Month on Offense: How Sanders Upped His Attacks on Clinton.

The candidate who went out of his way to avoid attacking his rival throughout the summer, fall and winter has relentlessly unleashed on Clinton for three straight weeks, focusing on familiar talking points now strung together as a fixture of his stump speech.

“Now let me say a few words about some of the strong differences of opinion that I have with Secretary Clinton,” he now normally begins one portion of his speeches before hitting her on a litany of issues. The go-to critiques include trade, the Iraq War, and Clinton’s use of Super PACs.

Boos and heckles quickly arrive from his supporters as they outwardly delight in hearing the differences between their candidate and the Democratic frontrunner.

Chairing the Member, Hogarth 1755 (London)

Chairing the Member, Hogarth 1755 (London)

Sanders no longer makes any effort to tone down his followers’ abuse of Clinton and her supporters–whether in rallies or on social media. Instead, he encourages it.

Depending on the day, Sanders also has dinged Clinton on her and her husband’s support of the “homophobic” Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and her support from former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

“I do not want Henry Kissinger to ever praise me!” he roared during a Michigan rally at Grand Valley State University near Grand Rapids.

The shift in tone has been drastic. In 2015 and early 2016, even uttering Clinton’s name would draw headlines—then unwanted by the candidate himself.

“I cannot walk down the street—Secretary Clinton knows this—without being told how much I have to attack Secretary Clinton,” Sanders told NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell during the NBC’s January Democratic Debate, “Want to get me on the front page of the paper? I make some vicious attack. I have avoided doing that. I am trying to run an issue-oriented campaign.”

He still emphasizes issues, but things have changed since that debate.

They certainly have. Sanders has become just another dirty politician shouting lies and half-truths about his opponent. In on-line forums, his followers have taken his behavior as encouragement for stunningly sexist and racist attacks on Clinton. The similarities between the Trump and Sanders campaign are growing as time goes on. I don’t like to think what will happen if Sanders loses in Illinois or Ohio tonight.

Go to the NBC link to read the rest. It’s a long piece.

Philadelphia Election Day 1815, John Lewis Kimmel

Philadelphia Election Day 1815, John Lewis Kimmel

The media has found another gaffe to hang on Hillary. In her “town hall” with Chris Matthews on MSNBC last night, she said that “we didn’t lose a single person” in the 2011 Libyan intervention. Naturally, that is being interpreted to mean that she has forgotten the deaths of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and four others in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2012. Politico:

“Libya was a different kind of calculation. And we didn’t lose a single person. We didn’t have a problem in supporting our European and Arab allies in working with NATO,” the former secretary of state said during an MSNBC town hall on Monday night.

Clinton may have been referring strictly to the U.S.-backed overthrow of Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, which indeed saw no loss of American lives and cost just around $1 billion. But her comments ignore the 2012 attacks at the U.S. mission and CIA outpost in Benghazi, which killed four people including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.

Right. After years of being attacked and blamed for the deaths of four people, Clinton has probably just forgotten all about them. Good grief.

The Sanders campaign committed a far worse gaffe yesterday.

Jane Sanders appeared with racist, anti-immigrant Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona and actually let him lead her on a tour of his “tent city.” It’s not clear the campaign planned this meeting, but why didn’t they hustle her away immediately when Arpaio showed up?

Channel 12 News: Jane Sanders meets with Sheriff Joe Arpaio, tours Tent City.

Jane Sanders wasn’t planning a tour of Tent City on Monday, but Sheriff Joe Arpaio made her an offer she couldn’t refuse.

Sanders planned to view Tent City from the fence, with the help of Puente leader Carlos Garcia. But Arpaio hustled over here from another news conference and the two of them talked policy, politics and Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. Sanders also asked inmates about the conditions and why they were in Tent City.

The County Election, George Caleb Bingham

The County Election, George Caleb Bingham

And of course, we know that Sanders surrogate Ben Cohen told Fox News he didn’t know if he could vote for Hillary Clinton in November. Jane Sanders later tweeted that she wasn’t expecting Arpaio to show up, but the damage was done.

As an antidote to the Clinton bashing from Sanders and the media, I suggest reading this post by Peter Daou at Blue Nation Review: Hillary Clinton Is (By Far) the Most Trusted Candidate in 2016.

Let’s define “most trusted” in its literal — and most measurable — sense: More people trust X than anyone else.

And let’s further refine that definition to an act of trust, such as a vote or public endorsement….

Hillary has been endorsed by a greater number of respected public figures and organizations than any other candidate. And more importantly, she leads all other candidates in the popular vote….

Take Bernie Sanders. He had the opportunity to vote against Hillary’s nomination for Secretary of State. After all, he voted against Tim Geithner for Treasury Secretary. Instead, he voted to confirm her, an affirmation of his trust in her ability to represent America to the world….

Think about the numerous political leaders, public officials, organizations, and labor unions who trust Hillary with their future. President Obama, John Lewis, Emily’s List, Lilly Ledbetter, Dolores Huerta, Jim Clyburn, Planned Parenthood, Human Rights Campaign, Julian Castro, Brady Campaign, Eric Holder, League of Conservation Voters, Tammy Baldwin, Kirsten Gillibrand, Claire McCaskill, Cory Booker, Sheila Jackson Lee, Bernice King, and countless more….

Most significantly:

NEARLY 5 MILLION VOTERS HAVE PLACED THEIR TRUST IN HILLARY.

That’s more than any other candidate in the 2016 election.

Let’s see what the media is saying about the possible outcomes of today’s primaries.

Graffiti in the central square of Tixtla, home of the rural normal school at Ayotzinapa, reads "Ayotzinapa lives. Voting causes death. Cursed government," in Tixtla, Mexico, Saturday, June 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Graffiti in the central square of Tixtla, home of the rural normal school at Ayotzinapa, reads “Ayotzinapa lives. Voting causes death. Cursed government,” in Tixtla, Mexico, Saturday, June 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

The Guardian: From Ohio to Florida, your cheat sheet for the next crucial primaries.

Although this Tuesday will be less frantic than Super Tuesday two weeks ago, when 12 states and one territory held primary elections, it’s just as important. By 16 March, the race for the White House could look very different depending on how Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio vote.

That’s partly because the delegate numbers in those states are so high – in total, 367 Republican and 792 Democratic delegates are available on 15 March. That brings us significantly closer to the finish line of having just two presidential candidates: at the moment, 33% of Democratic delegates have been pledged but by the time the polls have closed on 15 March, that number will rise to 50%. For Republicans, pledged delegates will jump from 46% to 61%.

Those percentages just mean that playing catch-up gets harder from here. Hillary Clinton is still on track for the nomination – to change that, Bernie Sanders needs to pick up at least 326 of the pledged delegates (in the Democratic race there are also 712 “superdelegates” who are not pledged to a specific candidate based on primary results, so they’re less relevant here).

On the Republican side:

The Republican contest is also likely to change significantly. If, for example,Marco Rubio fails again to pick up a single delegate (and polling suggests that’s a real possibility), his pursuit of the 1,237 delegates needed to win the Republican nomination becomes futile – even if he were to win every single remaining delegate after 15 March. That’s partly because, unlike Democrats, Republicans do not always distribute delegates in proportion to votes. In fact, four states holding Republican primaries on 15 March will be the first in this election to assign delegates on a winner-takes-all basis, which is why this date is such a turning point in the 2016 political calendar.

Check out some interesting charts as well as detailed discussions of each state’s demographics at the link.

Election day graffiti in Afghanistan, 4/4/2014

Election day graffiti in Afghanistan, 4/4/2014

The Washington Post: March 15 primaries: Will voting in 5 states cement front-runners?

Voters are casting ballots in the five states across the Midwest and Southeast holding primaries Tuesday — contests that could shore up the two front-runners or breathe new life into the lagging campaigns of their challengers.

On the Democratic side, Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) was working to pull off more come-from-behind wins in states where voters feel damaged by globalization, allowing him to claim momentum from Hillary Clinton. The former secretary of state enjoys a sizable lead in delegates but has not been able to seal the nomination.

The contests are especially important on the Republican side, offering a chance for billionaire Donald Trump’s remaining rivals to finally slow his march to the nomination with two winner-take-all contests that have particularly high stakes for a pair of favorite sons, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Gov. John Kasich of Ohio.

This one is a long and interesting read. I suggest you check out the whole thing at the link.

CNN: What’s Next if Marco Rubio Loses Florida?

Rubio, who began his White House campaign 11 months ago as a hero of Florida Republicans, now faces the prospect of defeat in his home state. For years, Republicans believed that Rubio was destined to be a presidential nominee and that even if he fell short in 2016, he would be well-positioned to run for governor in 2018.

But polls suggest Rubio might not just lose Florida — but get thumped here. A Quinnipiac survey released Monday found Rubio trailing Trump by 24 points in his home state.

A loss of that magnitude could be devastating to Rubio, and leave him in a tough spot if he ever wanted to seek public office again.

Quite a comedown. It will be interesting to see what happens when the polls close in Florida.

Florida’s polls close at 7PM ET (8PM in the Panhandle), North Carolina’s and Ohio’s at 7:30 ET, and Illinois’s and Missouri’s at 8PM ET.

So . . . what are you hearing and reading? Let us know in the comment thread, and please stick around for an exciting day! I’ll add a live blog later on for discussion of the returns.


Yes It’s a Live Blog: CNN Democratic Town Hall from Ohio State University

IMG_20151216_140553738

OY!! Here we go again!  There are some big races coming up on Tuesday and CNN has another Town Hall scheduled tonight for the two Democratic candidates for President. I’m going to sit through another one of these things. Please don’t leave me alone to it!!!

Just two days before key votes in Ohio and Florida, the final two Democratic candidates will appear in a CNN Town Hall tonight. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is hoping for a strong showing in Ohio, where he currently trails former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by a fair margin.

The town hall is being co-hosted by both CNN and TV One. CNN’s Jake Tapper and TV One’s Roland Martin will be moderating the event and inviting questions from the attendees.

The broadcast will air on CNN from 8 p.m. ET – 10 p.m. ET from Ohio State University.

Florida and Ohio vote on Tuesday which are two big states.  Thankfully, Florida is a closed state.    Ohio has a semi-open primary.   This means:

Under Ohio election law, you declare your political party affiliation by requesting the ballot of a political party in a partisan primary election.

According to Nate Silver’s Poll of Polls,  Florida has a 99% chance of going to Hillary.    She has a 98% chance in Ohio.  Remember, voting by switching affiliations for strategy purposes is important.  As we’ve seen, the NRA actively encourages its voters to cross party if necessary to vote against Hillary and for Bernie. Bernie’s voting base was 7% Republican in Michigan and he nabbed a lot of unaffiliated while losing Dems by 12%. It will be interesting to see what happens there.

Here is the list of RCP recent polls for further details of each data point.  The most recent poll of Missouri has Hillary up but Missouri has not be polled a lot so one data point should not be considered the be all and end all of statistics judging the state of a race.

At last this is a town hall because I could just cut and paste any townhall or debate from any where and come up with the answers to tonight’s townhall form Sanders.  Even with fact checking and corrections and complete horror about the internalized sexism and racism, it still the same stuff.  I’m not looking for anything but the repeat of 70s class frame.  I’ll probably faint if I hear any wee bit of modern socialist economic theory or intersectionality of sexism, racism and income differences.

I’m assuming that Hillary will have to explain when she tried to categorize the Reagan response to the AIDS crisis at Nancy Reagan’s funeral.  They eventually responded but only after a lot of folks died and a lot of opportunity was wasted.  Nancy did do behind the scenes work but only after Rock Hudson and Roy Cohen were seriously ill and dying. Before then, it didn’t seem to even register.   But, here’s the crux of Hillary’s response in a much more appropriate format.  It’s not a soundbite.  It’s a short essay. It recognizes that things that went on prior to Nancy’s change of mind.

Yesterday, at Nancy Reagan’s funeral, I said something inaccurate when speaking about the Reagans’ record on HIV and AIDS. Since then, I’ve heard from countless people who were devastated by the loss of friends and loved ones, and hurt and disappointed by what I said. As someone who has also lost friends and loved ones to AIDS, I understand why. I made a mistake, plain and simple.

I want to use this opportunity to talk not only about where we’ve come from, but where we must go in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

To be clear, the Reagans did not start a national conversation about HIV and AIDS. That distinction belongs to generations of brave lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, along with straight allies, who started not just a conversation but a movement that continues to this day.

The AIDS crisis in America began as a quiet, deadly epidemic. Because of discrimination and disregard, it remained that way for far too long. When many in positions of power turned a blind eye, it was groups like ACT UP, Gay Men’s Health Crisis and others that came forward to shatter the silence — because as they reminded us again and again, Silence = Death. They organized and marched, held die-ins on the steps of city halls and vigils in the streets. They fought alongside a few courageous voices in Washington, like U.S. Representative Henry Waxman, who spoke out from the floor of Congress.

We also will have to continue this crazy right wing induced meme that Hillary cannot be trusted.  Bernie’s been fact checked so many times you’d think  peopleBernie_Sanders_full2 would get the idea that what he says is way far-fetched and not particularly trustworthy.  Here’s the latest fact check on his tirades on job losses and NAFTA which are way exaggerated.  Both Hillary and Bernie are way more honest than any of the Republicans.  But why is it only Hillary has the trust issue?

Bernie Sanders wasn’t asked about his honesty or trustworthiness on Tuesday night. Instead, after that question to Clinton, he was asked, “Senator Sanders, you have demanded that Secretary Clinton release the transcripts of her paid Wall Street speeches. Why is this important? Do you have reason to believe that she says one thing in private and another in public?”

Did somebody say Wall Street? The good senator, of course, perked up immediately and happily hit the softball question out of the park, with all the now-familiar notes of righteous indignation.

No other candidate for president has been asked in debates about his perceived honesty and trustworthiness. Maybe it’s because other candidates are presumed to be honest and trustworthy, or maybe there’s a presumption voters don’t care about this trait in others.

Don’t play the woman card, right? We are sick and tired of hearing about double standards. People are not going to vote for Clinton just because she is a woman. If she loses, it’s because nobody trusts her – just look at the polls.

If you actually look at the Washington Post poll referenced on Tuesday night, it’s worth noting that only 27 percent of people found Republican front-runner Donald Trump honest and trustworthy.

And Sanders? Well, he wasn’t included in the poll questions about honesty and trustworthiness. Seriously. The honesty and trustworthiness questions were only asked about Clinton, Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.

Apparently we are to assume that Sanders is honest and trustworthy, or that he is unlikely to be the nominee – based, you know, on the polls.

Pollsters are either convinced by their own flawed polling that Clinton is the presumptive nominee, so they don’t even bother polling Sanders’ degree of trustworthiness, or they don’t believe Sanders’ degree of trustworthiness is relevant.

But only polling Clinton on whether she is “honest and trustworthy” and then using the answer against her in a debate against Sanders reinforces the myth that she is less trustworthy than him, and it surely helps him win one “stunning” victory after another.

I just mostly judge Bernie by the fact that everything he promises is not deliverable except with a vast revolutionary army.   You continue to read that he’s not really a APTOPIX_DEM_2016_Clinton.JPEG-04f7c_c0-133-4356-2672_s885x516credible candidate but how does that not translate into untrustworthy? 

But as appealing as Sanders may be, he is not credible as president. Elizabeth Warren would have been a credible candidate, but Sanders isn’t. The campaign he has been waging is a symbolic one. For example, the proposals he has made for free college tuition and free, single-payer health care suggest what might be done if the United States underwent radical change. Those ideas would be excellent grist for a seminar. But they are not the proposals of a candidate who is serious about getting things done as president—or one who is serious about getting elected in the country we actually live in.

I don’t find him appealing at all now.  He reminds me of the cranky uncle no one wants to invite for holidays because he lectures them, finger wags, and grouses each year on the same damn things.  The only difference between Sanders and the generic cranky uncle is that Sanders should’ve been able to do something about even a sliver of some of it by now.   Does this have something to do with it?  He’s missed a lot recently which is partially due to his campaign.

From Jan 2007 to Mar 2016, Sanders missed 136 of 2,870 roll call votes, which is 4.7%. This is much worse than the median of 1.7% among the lifetime records of senators currently serving. The chart below reports missed votes over time.

You can look at the analysis on Leadership at the same link (GovTrack) and find out some other things too. For example, his policy emphasis actually appears to be Armed Forces and National Security.  It’s almost twice as important as his second area which is health.

But, Rubio actually isn’t the one who missed the most votes. 

Unfortunately for Mr. Trump, that data point is a bit out-of-date. So far this year, Marco Rubio’s missed 90 percent of votes — a large proportion. But it’s actually the best record among the senators still running for president. The worst? Bernie Sanders.

160125225218-14-town-hall-0125-large-169But what has really gotten me recently is that not only are a good deal of his supporters nasty, Bernie keeps getting nastier.

Tuesday — a day when five states hold primaries — should give a better indication of whether Sander’s tough talk is paying off.

One of those contests is in Illinois, and Sanders isn’t holding back as he campaigns here. In Chicago on Friday, Sanders even took aim at Clinton for her close association with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, whose approval ratings are in the tank, particularly among black Chicagoans.

“I want to thank Rahm Emanuel for not endorsing me. I don’t want his endorsement!” Sanders screamed to the delight of a crowd estimated at 9,000 people. “I don’t want the endorsement of a mayor who is shutting down school after school and firing teachers.”

To drive home his point, Sanders held a news conference the next day devoted entirely to Emanuel, telling reporters that if he were Clinton, he would have refused the mayor’s support.

So, I have to admit that I expect Bernie to be nasty and I expect that Hillary will continue to be critizied and asked to apologize for everything her husband ever did, everything Barrack Obama ever did, ad infintum all while we hear how’s she’s an untrustworthy person.

The one thing I’d like to hear some one ask him about is this.  He’s not really been an active pusher of any bills through congress. But, he really pushed on this one.  How is this acceptable human behavior?

Sanders voted to dump Vermont’s nuclear waste in a majority Latino community in Sierra Blanca, Texas

In 1998, the House of Representatives approved a compact struck between Texas, Vermont and Maine that would allow Vermont and Maine to dump low-level nuclear waste at a designated site in Sierra Blanca, Texas. Sanders, at the time representing Vermont in the House, cosponsored the bill and actively ushered it through Congress.

Located about 16 miles from the Mexican border, Sierra Blanca’s population is predominantly of Mexican ancestry. At the time, the community was about two-thirds Latino, and its residents had an average income of $8,000, according to the an article in the Bangor Daily News.

The low-level nuclear waste would include “items such as scrap metal and worker’s gloves… as well as medical gloves used in radiation treatments at hospitals,” according to the Bangor Daily News. Clinton, then the First Lady, did not have a vote on the matter.

I can’t imagine any decent human being doing that to poor, disenfranchised people.

So, let’s see how it goes tonight.  I hope she finishes him off on Tuesday.  I can’t take any more of these where the nasty one isn’t Donald Trump.

My featured artist tonight is Ed Murawinski. 

Grab your popcorn and join us!!!!


Saturday Reads: The Shooting of Michael Brown and the Protests in Ferguson, Missouri

 

Demonstrators gather along West Florissant Avenue on Friday to protest the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on Aug. 9. Friday’s demonstration ended with protesters clashing with police followed by more looting. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Demonstrators gather along West Florissant Avenue on Friday to protest the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on Aug. 9. Friday’s demonstration ended with protesters clashing with police followed by more looting. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Good Morning!!

I’ve been following the events in Ferguson, Missouri for a week now. Last Saturday, 18-year-old Ferguson citizen Michael Brown was gunned down by a Ferguson police officer in broad daylight. That officer, who was finally named yesterday, is Darren Wilson. So far the media has not even been able to come up with a photo of Wilson, who had nearly a week to wipe out his media presence. He’s a complete mystery man.

After Wilson shot Brown multiple times, he stood over the body and called for assistance without informing dispatch that he had just shot someone. According to witnesses, Wilson did not check Brown for vital signs. Brown’s body lay in the street for an extended period–it’s not clear how long. No medical personnel were called to determine whether he needed assistance or to take his body to a hospital. Eventually police loaded the body into a police vehicle and took it away.

When family and others in the community protested, Ferguson police chief Thomas Jackson asked St. Louis County police to provide “security.” As we all know, there was an intense police crackdown on peaceful protesters, and journalists were harassed and even arrested as were several community leaders.

On Thursday, Governor Jay Nixon ordered Ferguson and St. Louis County police to withdraw their military equipment from the streets of the small suburb and had handed over control of security to Captain Ronald S. Johnson of the Missouri State Police. Johnson is a lifelong Ferguson resident and is African American.

On Thursday night protesters were left alone to protest peacefully, and police were dressed in normal uniforms. Johnson walked among the protesters and patiently answered their questions. Apparently Chief Jackson and his men were unhappy with the peace and harmony, so they found a way to sow discord once again.

Around noon yesterday, without informing Captain Johnson of what he planned to do, Jackson released an 18 page media handout complete with still images from surveillance video, in which he accused dead teenager Michael Brown of stealing a box of cigars from a gas station convenience store in what he termed “a strong-arm robbery.” The stolen property was valued at $48.00. Jackson released this information immediately after revealing that mystery officer Darren Wilson had shot and killed Brown.

The implication was obvious. Brown deserved to die because he had shoplifted some cigars. The pictures of the young man police claimed was Brown were splashed all over the media and internet–but nary a photo of Wilson appeared.

Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson announces the name of Officer Darren Wilson as the man who shot and killed Michael Brown, 18, last Saturday.

Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson announces the name of Officer Darren Wilson as the man who shot and killed Michael Brown, 18, last Saturday.

Hours later, around 4PM, Chief Jackson held another press conference in which he admitted that killer cop Darren Wilson had no knowledge of the shoplifting incident that Brown had allegedly been involved in. He supposedly stopped Brown and his friend because they were walking in the street “blocking traffic.” So why was the 18-page handout released, reporters asked? Because reporters had requested it, said Jackson. But that wasn’t true either.

According to “MSNBC contributor” Goldie Taylor, who spent last night trying to find any reporter who had requested information on the convenience store robbery, no one requested it–in fact no one in the media knew about the incident until Jackson revealed it.

Reporters had specifically requested the officer’s report on the shooting and Brown’s autopsy report, but those were not released. Reporters have repeatedly asked Jackson how many times Brown was shot and the locations of the bullets, but he has refused to answer those questions.

Naturally Brown’s family and other Ferguson residents were outraged by Jackson’s behavior. He had poisoned the atmosphere in town once again.

Last night began as Thursday night had, with peaceful demonstrations and normal police presence. But early this morning, outsiders showed up and for a short time looted Ferguson businesses, including the store that Michael Brown had been accused of stealing from. From what I’ve been able to learn on Twitter from people who were there, protesters tried to stop the looters and helped to clean up damage to businesses; and there are reports of that in the mainstream media.

I thought I’d just write my own summary of events to begin with, since this situation is so complex. The racism that has been on display has been just stunning. It’s as if we’ve all been transported back to a much earlier era. But unfortunately the racism is real. You can see it on display in the behavior of law enforcement members in Ferguson and St. Louis, and in the people on Twitter and media comment sections cheering on the hatred against and even the murder of African Americans.

dont shoot2

Some representative articles to read about recent events in Ferguson.

MSNBC: Michael Brown Killing: Police in Ferguson Fire Tear Gas Amid Looting.

Armored vehicles rolled back onto the streets of Ferguson early Saturday, as riot police faced off with looters in the Missouri town gripped by protests since the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black teen.

The violence broke the brief period of calm that had settled over Ferguson, Missouri, after outrage over the shooting of Michael Brown spilled over.

Protests had started off peacefully in Ferguson on Friday night. Rev. Jesse Jackson linked arms with protesters, leading them in prayer and urging them to “turn pain into power” while fighting back non-violently, NBC Affiliate KSDK reported. Shortly after midnight, crowds got rowdier and looting began to break out, according to KSDK….
Tear gas was deployed and riot police moved in, with some locals forming lines to protect local businesses from looters.
A handful of owners stood guard this morning at their businesses, doing their best to discourage any more looting or violence.

Rain fell on the scene of broken out windows and ransacked store shelves at businesses like Ferguson Market and Liquor.

The streets of Ferguson mostly were void of protesters by 6 a.m. as dawn broke and the rain continued after the violent night.

After some of the protesters blocked the entrances to businesses and civic leaders, including St. Louis Alderman Antonio French, arrived early Saturday, the scene calmed and the brief outbreak of looting ended.

The police line was still in place near West Florissant and Ferguson avenues but had not advanced to the site of the protest line as of 2:30. Officers also did not move in during the looting.

Outrage In Missouri Town After Police Shooting Of 18-Yr-Old Man

It’s amazing how quickly a few assholes can ruin things for people who have worked so hard to bring peace and justice after the death of an unarmed young man. Chief Jackson must be very happy with his handiwork this morning.

KDSK.com: Protesters tried to keep looters out of stores.

Several hundred people congregated on a busy Ferguson street Friday night as protests continued nearly a week after 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer. It was peaceful until about midnight, when a large crowd broke into the convenience mart that Brown allegedly robbed the day he was killed. The looting continued there for several hours, with looters entering and exiting freely with as many items as they could carry, including the store cash register.

The looting took place despite the best efforts of some who said they were among the peaceful protesters who marched early in the evening.

Michael Davis was among those who were peacefully protesting when things turned violent. “It was positive. Everything was going fairly well with everyone out here during the day. But as it turned night, it got hectic and things got out of hand in front of the Ferguson Market and Liquor store.”

According to Davis, they were having some success in calming things down until police showed up and teargassed the crowd. At that point looters “broke through his protective line and into the store.”

New York Times: Emotions Flare in Missouri Amid Police Statements.

One day after roiling tensions over the police shooting of a black teenager here began to subside, emotions flared anew on Friday as the police identified the officer involved but also released evidence that the victim was a suspect in a convenience store robbery moments before being shot.

The manner in which the police here released the information, which included a 19-page police report on the robbery but no new details about the shooting, led to the spectacle of dueling police news conferences, one led by a white officer who seemed ill at ease and defensive, and the other dominated by a charismatic black officer who expressed solidarity with the crowd even as he pleaded for peace.

The white officer, Thomas Jackson, the police chief in Ferguson, gave a series of incomplete accounts that sowed confusion about whether the officer who shot the teenager knew he was a suspect in the robbery. The black officer, Capt. Ronald S. Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, expressed his displeasure with how the information had been released.

“I would have liked to have been consulted,” he said pointedly about the pairing of the shooter’s identity with the robbery accusation.

Washington Post: Protests and looting return to Ferguson overnight, but most want peace [a collection of tweets from journalists covering Ferguson last night]

Reporters on the ground in Ferguson, most of whom have been there for nearly the entire week, painted on Twitter a dramatic and sometimes frightening scene as the unrest mounted. Emotions were heightened Friday after Darren Wilson was named as the officer who shot Brown and the Ferguson police released video surveillance of Brown allegedly stealing cigars from a convenience store.

The clashes throughout the night seem to have divided the protesters, pitting some who were assembling peacefully against others who were looting businesses in the St. Louis suburb.

As of early Saturday morning, some protesters were helping store owners clean their destroyed shops and many were eager to draw a clear distinction between the angry rioters and the other protesters.

 Head over to that link to read a Twitter timeline.

ferguson signs

More relevant links.

The Washington Post, Seven in 10 black Americans say the criminal justice system treats them unfairly.

Mother Jones, Exactly How Often Do Police Shoot Unarmed Black Men?

Reuters Column, Less than human: Do some police take a step beyond simple prejudice?

Peacock Panache, Conservative Hypocrisy: Bundy Ranch Versus Ferguson Protest Media Coverage.

Addicting Info, Ferguson Police Excuses Destroyed As Anonymous Shares Dispatch Recordings (AUDIO).

Mother Jones, Meet the St. Louis Alderman Who’s Keeping an Eye on Ferguson’s Cops.

Washington Post, Required reading on race, Michael Brown and Ferguson, Mo.

Spocko at Hullabaloo, What’s the Media Strategy of #Ferguson Protesters? The Police Have One. 

The Atlantic, Echoes of Michael Brown’s Death in St. Louis’s Racially Charged Past.

The Atlantic, The Roots of Violence in Ferguson Run Deep.

Jonathan Chait, Joe Scarborough, Mike Allen Form Journalistic Axis of Evil.

I know there’s plenty of other news; I’ve just been focused on this story. Please feel free to discuss and recommend links on any topic in the comment thread.

 

 

 

 


Live Blog: Caucus Results…Will Man on Dog Prevail?

Oh Boy!

What a day…one minute we are getting news that Karen Handel is now Quiterella II, Prop 8 gets voted down, Obama may cave to the Catholic Religious Right and Santorum may actually carry the three states having Primary Elections/Caucuses tonight.

A protestor "glitter bombed" Rick Santorum at a campaign rally in Blaine, Minn., on Tuesday.
Ben Garvin/Getty ImagesA protestor “glitter bombed” Rick Santorum at a campaign rally in Blaine, Minn., on Tuesday.

Mitt Romney’s campaign sought to downplay the importance of three non-binding presidential contests Tuesday evening, as one of the former Massachusetts governor’s underdog challengers aimed to revive his flagging campaign through strong performances in several low-profile contests.

Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator and Iowa caucus winner who has struggled to break through in national polls, hoped that by upsetting Romney and conservative challenger Newt Gingrich in one or more of the evening’s votes, he could emerge as Romney’s most formidable opponent on the right.

Republicans in Minnesota and Colorado were set to head to caucus sites, while voters in Missouri have been casting ballots in a presidential preference poll (an actual caucus vote will be held on March 17). Delegates are not technically awarded in the three contests tonight, but will be bestowed later in state party meetings.

Still, campaigning in Blaine Tuesday afternoon, Santorum spun the day as a potential turning point in the Republican presidential primary.

“I feel great that Minnesota is going to change the direction of this race tonight,” Santorum said.

Romney is not looking to win big: Romney Camp Sets Expectations To Zero For Tuesday Contests | TPM2012

Tuesday night sees GOP caucus contests in Colorado, Missouri and Minnesota. And it would seem the Romney campaign’s internal polling suggests things aren’t looking too great for the GOP frontrunner in any of them. His team is scrambling to submerge expectations to ocean-floor depths, sending out a memo downplaying the contests’ importance and stressing that the March 6 Super Tuesday states should be the real test of Romney’s momentum.

The polls in Missouri close at 8pm…Minnesota caucuses begin at that time so let’s just get down to the results.

Here are some sites where you can find the results…

H/T Boston Boomer for this link:

Here Come The Results GOP Candidates Tested In Three More States Talking Points Memo | Breaking News and Analysis | TPM

The remaining GOP presidential candidates face tests in three states tonight: Missouri, Colorado and Minnesota. Follow every twist and turn at TPMLiveWire.

 

Live blog of Tuesday’s GOP contests – CNN Political Ticker – CNN.com Blogs

Seventy delegates are at stake in Tuesday’s Republican presidential contests, the largest haul to date in the race for the White House. Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul are vying for the delegates up for grabs in the Colorado and Minnesota caucuses. No delegates are at stake in the non-binding Missouri primary.

You can follow election results on Twitter with hashtag: #cnnelections

This should get you caught up until now:

7:24 p.m. ET – Bachmann said the Minnesota caucuses “literally could go to any of the four candidates.”

And although she said she doesn’t regret dropping her White House bid, she did say, “I miss the debates most of all.”

7:21 p.m. ET – Former presidential candidate and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann said she did not participate in her state’s caucuses because she was doing her job in the House. She told @wolfblitzercnn she “would be if I could.”

7:17 p.m. ET@stevebruskCNN: Where next? Romney campaigns (and raises $$) in Atlanta tomorrow. Gingrich tours Cleveland plant. Santorum holds events in Dallas area.

For the State of Colorado Republican Party Caucus Results

For the State Of Missouri | Election Night Reporting

Minnesota caucuses: results, visits and political geography – 2012 Campaign Republican Primary Tracker – The Washington Post – The Washington Post

Politics and Government – 2012 Presidential Watch – The Caucus Blog – NYTimes.com

We will keep things updated in the comments below, see you there.


Thursday Reads

Good Morning! It has been dark and dreary here for weeks it seems. I know the sun has come out a few times, but most of the time it has been either raining or about to rain. I think I’m beginning to suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Or maybe it’s just watching the 2012 presidential campaign. Either way, we’re talking dark and depressing.

On Tuesday Newt Gingrich told Larry Kudlow (yeah, I know) of CNBC that Obama is the “food stamp president,” and he (Gingrich) will be running against him as the “candidate of paychecks.”

“We are going to have the candidate of food stamps, the finest food stamp president in the American history in Barack Obama and we are going to have a candidate of paychecks.”

The former House Speaker went on to say Obama represents a hard-left radicalism. He, on the other hand, wants big tax cuts and big cuts in the federal government.

LOL! Obama is the furthest thing from a radical, and I doubt if he gives a damn about food stamps. I don’t know how Gingrich gets away with this stuff. Oh yeah, the media sucks. He spewed more lies too:

Gingrich also reiterated his claim that he is not a lobbyist. While he’s been steadily rising in the polls, he’s also been under scrutiny for his consulting work with mortgage giant Freddie Mac.

“I do no lobbying; I’ve never done any lobbying. It’s written in our contracts that we do not do any lobbying of any kind. I offer strategic advice,” he said. “The advice I offered Freddie Mac was, in fact, aimed at how do you help people get into housing.”

Gingrich also referred to himself in the third person in talking about the sad ending of his career as Speaker of the House.

“The job of the Democrats was to get Newt Gingrich. They couldn’t beat any of our ideas so they decided to try to beat the messenger,” he said. “I think it actually will help people understand what happened in that period and how much of it was partisan.”

Poor Newt. He’s filthy rich, but he can’t stop obsessing about the paltry help poor and unemployed people get from food stamps. Last week he claimed that food stamp use has increased dramatically under Obama and that recipients use their food stamp money to take vacations in Hawaii. According to Politifact as reported in USA Today:

PolitiFact, a fact-checking project of the Tampa Bay Times, noted in May that Bush made “more aggressive efforts to get eligible Americans to apply for benefits,” and new rules took effect to broaden eligibility for the assistance. At the time, PolitiFact said:

Gingrich oversimplifies when he suggests that Obama should be considered “the most successful food stamp president in American history,” because much — though probably not all — of the reason for the increase was a combination of the economic problems Obama inherited and a longstanding upward trend from policy changes. On balance, we rate Gingrich’s statement Half True.

As for Gingrich’s claim that food stamps can be used to go to Hawaii, the federal government has clear rules about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (or SNAP). Basically, you can buy groceries or the seeds and plants from which you can grow your own food.

Right now Gingrich is the clear front runner for the Republican nomination. According to a new CNN poll, he has double-digit leads in three of the first four primaries, Iowa, South Carolina, and Florida. And he is catching up with Romney in New Hampshire. According to the poll, much of Gingrich’s support is coming from tea party types.

I wonder if these folks realize that when back in the day, when Newt was one of the most powerful people in DC, his fellow Conservatives worked hard to get rid of him? And some of them still don’t want him back in power.

As former House Speaker Newt Gingrich trumpets his leadership skills in his quest for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, a different picture of his stewardship emerges from some GOP lawmakers who served with him during a failed 1997 coup attempt against the controversial speaker.

Twenty disgruntled Republicans in the House of Representatives squeezed into then-Rep. Lindsey Graham’s office in July 1997 and rebelliously vented about Gingrich. They were tired of his chaotic management style, worried that he was caving in to then-President Bill Clinton, and sick of constantly having to defend him publicly on questions about his ethics or his latest bombastic statement.

“Newt Gingrich was a disaster as speaker,” said Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y.

As Gingrich seeks to gain the world’s most powerful office, it’s worth recalling that when he once held great power in Washington, his own conservative Republican lieutenants rebelled against his rule less than four years after he led them to House majority status for the first time in 40 years. And their disaffection evidently helped persuade him to step down as speaker the next year and leave office.

King, for one, still believes that Gingrich’s widely disparaged egotistical complaining about the poor treatment he perceived from then-President Clinton on an Air Force One flight in 1995 is why Republicans suffered blame for federal government shutdowns later that year.

“Everything was self-centered. There was a lack of intellectual discipline,” King said

Karl Rove has an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal in which he blasts Gingrich’s pathetic campaign organization.

In the short run, Mr. Gingrich must temper runaway expectations. For example, his lead in the RealClearPolitics average in Iowa is 12 points. But what happens on Jan. 3 if he doesn’t win Iowa, or comes in first with a smaller margin than people expect?

That could happen in part because Mr. Gingrich has little or no campaign organization in Iowa and most other states. He didn’t file a complete slate of New Hampshire delegates and alternates. He is the only candidate who didn’t qualify for the Missouri primary, and on Wednesday he failed to present enough signatures to get on the ballot in Ohio. Redistricting squabbles may lead the legislature to move the primary to a later date and re-open filing, but it’s still embarrassing to be so poorly organized.

That’s because Gingrich had no expectation of doing this well. He just entered the race so he could sell his books and his wife’s films. But it turns out Gingrich will be on the ballot in Ohio after all. As for Missouri, Gingrich claims he didn’t want to be on the ballot there because the primary is non-binding.

In a press conference in New York City today, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich declared that he never intended to qualify for the ballot in Missouri and that failing to meet the deadline was “a conscious decision, not an oversight.”

The primary is non-binding; it is followed a month later by caucuses where Missourians pick their convention delegates. But every other major candidate is participating in the primary, which gives the public an idea of where Show Me State voters stand.

“We have never participated in beauty contests,” Gingrich said when asked about his failure to qualify for the ballot. “We didnt participate in Ames [the Iowa straw poll], we didnt participate in P5 [a Florida straw poll].” ….

But failing to qualify for the ballot was widely seen as a sign of Gingrich’s lack of campaign organization.

Another sign is the papers he filed in New Hampshire. His papers were sloppily written in pen and he fell 13 short of the required 40 delegates.

It’s going to be interesting to see what happens. I think Romney should still win New Hampshire, but the question is how many Southern states he can carry. Of course I’d be enjoying watching the Republican primary mess a lot more if there were a liberal Democratic candidate to vote for.

Oh, Romney did come in first in one poll: the one that counted the number of jokes told about the Republican candidates on late night TV.

OK, I’ll let go of my obsession with Republican nomination campaign for now and give you some other things to read.

Last Friday, Eric Boehlert of Media Matters may have been the intended victim of a right wing James O’Keefe-type scam designed to make him look like hypocrite for writing in support of the Occupy movement.

It was the middle of the day on Friday, and Eric Boehlert heard a knock on the door. A senior fellow at Media Matters, a nonprofit watchdog that challenges conservative news outlets, Boehlert works from his Montclair, N.J., home.

A short, bearded man stood outside, holding a clipboard and wearing a Verizon uniform. He asked Boehlert if he’d be willing to take a customer survey. Verizon had, perhaps coincidentally, been at the house a week earlier to handle a downed wire. Boehlert quickly agreed and noted that a Verizon worker had actually failed to show up when he said he would.

But the interview questions got weird and then weirder. The man kept talking about Boehlert being rich and being able to work at home, Boehlert began to smell a ratf*ck.

“After he mentioned my salary and that I work from home, all the bells went off, and this is not who this guy says he is. Therefore, I kind of lost track of the exact wording of the question, but it definitely was like very accusatory of me and I’m a hypocrite and how do I have this supposedly cushy job while I’m writing about real workers and the people of the 99 percent,” said Boehlert.

“So there was this pause, and I said, ‘You work for Verizon?’ And he just sort of looks back at me and [says], ‘Will you answer the question? Will you answer the question?’ And I said, ‘Can I see your Verizon ID?’ And he wouldn’t produce any Verizon ID, and I think he asked me another time to answer the question. And basically I just said, ‘I’m done so you can leave now.'” ….

By now he [Boehlert] had realized that the man was likely pulling a political stunt, and James O’Keefe’s notorious “To Catch a Journalist” project came to mind as a possibility.

“The only sort of comical part was he forget which way he was supposed to run in case I started following. He ended up sort of in the road, and he sort of turned left and then right,” said Boehlert. “The last I saw him he was in a full sprint down my street running away from my house.”

In the Massachusetts Senate race, Elizabeth Warren is ahead of Scott Brown 49% to 42%, her biggest lead so far. But some people are *very concerned* because at a recent candidate’s event Warren was asked if she knew in which recent years the Red Sox had won the World Series, and she answered 2004 and 2008 instead of 2004 and 2007. Horrors! Paul Waldman has a very funny piece about it in The American Prospect.

In today’s election news, a candidate for the World’s Most Deliberative Body is facing an earth-shattering scandal because she said “2008” when she should have said “2007,” demonstrating to all that she is utterly incapable of representing the interests of ordinary people. As the normally even-tempered Taegan Goddard indignantly described it, “Elizabeth Warren (D) and the rest of the Democratic field for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts couldn’t answer a simple question about the Boston Red Sox at a forum yesterday. Apparently, they learned nothing from Martha Coakley’s (D) defeat two years ago…”

Here’s what Waldman had to say about this nonsense:

I don’t think anyone in Massachusetts could in good conscience vote for someone who is unable to identify both the state’s fourth-largest city and its third most commonly spoken language. I mean, what are we supposed to do, send someone to the Senate who doesn’t have a command of all master of state-related trivia? The answer is clearly to amend the Constitution so 12-year-old winners of the state geography bee can become senators.

Reporters, I beg you: If you’re going to discuss this “gaffe” and others like it, do your audience a service and explain why this is supposed to matter. And I don’t mean just by saying, “This reminds people of when Martha Coakley called Curt Schilling a Yankee fan, damaging her candidacy.” I mean explain specifically what exactly misremembering the Sox series victories as 2004 and 2008 instead of 2004 and 2007 tells us about the kind of senator Elizabeth Warren would be. Does it mean that despite all the other evidence to the contrary, she really doesn’t care about ordinary people and will upon taking office immediately introduce legislation to make the purchase of brandy snifters and riding crops tax-deductible? Then what?

Yesterday a got an e-mail from Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) about an attempted Republican takeover of the Detroit city government. Bloomberg had a piece about it yesterday.

Detroit has the highest concentration of blacks among U.S. cities with more than 100,000 residents, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. It will exhaust its cash by April and may run up a deficit topping $200 million by June.

Last week, Governor Rick Snyder, a white Republican, ordered a review that may lead to appointment of an emergency manager, rekindling rancor in a city scarred by race riots in 1967. Detroit lost one-quarter of its population since 2000 — much of it to largely white suburbs.

Four Michigan cities are controlled by emergency managers. All have populations that are mostly black. If Detroit joins them, 49.7 percent of the state’s black residents would live under city governments in which they have little say.

Michigan’s emergency managers have sweeping authority to nullify union contracts, sell assets and fire workers. Snyder has said he doesn’t want one for Detroit, though he called the city’s financial condition severe enough to warrant help.

Michigan citizens are currently collecting signatures to put repeal of the law on the ballot in 2012.

A maintenance man Ryan Brunn, 20,has been charged with the brutal sexual assault and murder of 7-year-old Jorleys Rivera, who disappeared on Friday in Canton, GA.

Keenan said Brunn, who has no known criminal record, had keys to both the empty apartment and the trash compactor bin where Rivera’s body was placed.

“We are confident that Brunn is the killer and that is why he is in custody,” Keenan said, declining to detail what evidence investigators have against him….

Keenan said investigators focused on Brunn after receiving information from the public. Brunn had been under police surveillance since Tuesday night. Keenan said the investigation will continue for several months.

“This is a mammoth case,” Keenan told reporters at a news conference in Canton. “We believe that this horrendous crime was planned and calculated, and we’ve recovered a lot of evidence.”

At least he was caught quickly. But another innocent young child is gone.

Yesterday the Obama administration overruled the decision of the FDA to make Plan B available without a prescription to women of all ages.

Wednesday, the Department of Health and Human Services upheld their decision to dispense Plan B One-Step—a one-pill emergency contraceptive—to young women only with a doctor’s prescription, overruling an FDA request to make the drug available over the counter to women of all ages. The restriction only applies to women under the age of 17. In a statement on the HHS website, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius outlined the administration’s reasoning: The FDA’s conclusion that the drug is safe, she says, did not contain sufficient data to show that people of all ages “can understand the label and use the product appropriately.” The outliers, she says, are the 10 percent of girls who are physically capable of child-bearing at 11.1 years old, and “have significant cognitive and behavioral differences.” HHS makes no mention of women older than 11 and younger than 17—statistically, those far more likely to be having sex, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
Wednesday, the Department of Health and Human Services upheld their decision to dispense Plan B One-Step—a one-pill emergency contraceptive—to young women only with a doctor’s prescription, overruling an FDA request to make the drug available over the counter to women of all ages. The restriction only applies to women under the age of 17. In a statement on the HHS website, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius outlined the administration’s reasoning: The FDA’s conclusion that the drug is safe, she says, did not contain sufficient data to show that people of all ages “can understand the label and use the product appropriately.” The outliers, she says, are the 10 percent of girls who are physically capable of child-bearing at 11.1 years old, and “have significant cognitive and behavioral differences.” HHS makes no mention of women older than 11 and younger than 17—statistically, those far more likely to be having sex, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

So if you’re under 17 and you’re raped, you’re going to have to figure out how to see a doctor and get a prescription. Isn’t that just ducky?

I’ll end with some better news for women. The FBI has decided to expand the definition of rape.

An October vote by the Advisory Policy Board’s UCR subcommittee recommended the board at-large change the definition of “rape” to “penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”

Activists said the new definition was needed because the current one does not recognize that men can be raped, women can rape women, inanimate objects can be used to commit rape or that rapes can occur while the victim is unconscious.

Many local law enforcement agencies use a much broader definition of “rape” than the FBI, causing thousands of sex crimes to go unreported in federal statistics.

The FBI had been under pressure by the Feminist Majority Foundation, which launched an email drive urging the agency to update the definition.

Now let’s start doing more to protect women and children from rapists.

That’s all I’ve got. What are you reading and blogging about today?