Caturday Reads (kat edition)

Chinese Folk Art – Cat under the Tea Table

Happy Saturday Sky Dancers!

BB is still having issues with her sciatica so I’ll be sitting in the catbird seat today again!

An interesting article showed up today in The Washington Post suggesting that one day in 1973 changed our country.  I was a junior in high school and remember the day and events.  However, I never viewed it as being that significant. See what you think.   “Jan. 22, 1973: The day that changed America” written by James D. Robenalt.

It was a day unlike any other in U.S. history. Jan. 22, 1973, was the day Henry Kissinger flew to Paris to end the Vietnam War for the United States. It was the day the Supreme Court issued its opinion on abortion rights in Roe v. Wade. And it was the day the nation’s 36th president, Lyndon Baines Johnson, died of a heart attack in Texas at 64.

Few days have represented such a turning point in the trajectory of our history, and what happened that day started a chain reaction that turned politically nuclear, leaving us with the current landscape of unbridgeable divides.

Less than a decade earlier, the American populace had seemed as united as ever in a time of landslide elections and political consensus. The disintegration of that unity began well before Jan. 22, 1973, but no date more fully captures the end of the spirit of the ’60s and the start of a darker era of seemingly permanent political schism.

More than anything, the Roe ruling drew an enduring red line through American politics, where compromise was impossible and opponents were not only wrong but wicked. Every year since 1973, D.C. has been flooded in the days around Jan. 22 with antiabortion protesters for what has become known as the March for Life. (Last year’s events were called off because of the coronavirus, yet many still came to Washington. This year, despite the ongoing pandemic, the gathering took place Friday.) Promoters refer to the event as “the world’s largest annual human rights demonstration.”

The vaccine requirements for certain events at this year’s march sparked a vicious online battle, with many abortion opponents asserting that vaccines cause abortions or are produced using fetal cells. “It is tragic that a PRO-LIFE organization would be coerced into promoting ground-up murdered baby injections!” one person posted in the comments on the March for Life website. “This is evil.”

The radicalization of our politics would not have seemed possible to the actors who made Jan. 22, 1973, such a fateful day.

Chinese Folk Art Kitties, Zhu Suzhen

I do have to say that after a few years of just being relieved that women were no longer subjected to state control I had no idea there was a group of hardcore fanatics that would twist and turn every reality about the human reproduction process and gestation period into something unrecognizable and so focused on protohumans and unaware that viable 3rd term babies are simply born.  For me, it was just my first introduction to hard-core idiots.  We just used to call them “holy rollers” and got a good laugh at them if we saw their tents anywhere between our trips from Omaha to Kansas City on the backroads.

You can read the rest at the link including a triggering walk down Nixon Lane.

Mississippi Today reports that “Every Black Mississippi senator walked out as white colleagues voted to ban critical race theory. The historic, unprecedented walkout came over a vote on the academic theory that state education officials and Republican lawmakers acknowledge is not even taught in Mississippi.” This is reported by Bobby Harrison. The theory is clearly the new black welfare queen with a Cadillac trope. It’s another example of hard-core idiots. The struggle continues.

Every Black Mississippi senator walked out of the chamber Friday, choosing not to vote on a bill that sponsors said would prohibit the teaching of critical race theory in the state’s public schools and colleges and universities.

The historic, unprecedented walkout came over a vote on the academic theory that state education officials and Republican lawmakers acknowledge is not even taught in Mississippi. Republicans hold supermajority control of the Senate, meaning they can pass any bill without a single Democratic vote.

“We walked out as a means to show a visible protest to these proceedings,” state Sen. John Horhn, D-Jackson, said of the unprecedented action.

In 1993, Black caucus members left before then-Gov. Kirk Fordice delivered his State of the State speech in protest of his policies. But no Capitol observer could recall an instance of members leaving en mass in protest before a vote on a bill.

“We felt like it was a bill that was not deserving of our vote,” said Sen. Derrick Simmons, D-Greenville. “We have so many issues in the state that need to be addressed. We did not need to spend time on this.

“Even the author of the bill (Michael McLendon, R-Hernando) said this was not occurring in Mississippi,” Simmons continued.

Chinese Folk Art – Girl Stroking Cat on her Lap

Yes, it is also now the partial-birth abortion myth of Racism. It’s yet another law designed to signal hard-core idiots to panic over a nonexistent situation also.  And speaking of hard-core idiots, let’s see today’s reads on The Oath Keepers.

 Erin Mansfield / Stars & Stripes: Leaked Oath Keepers list names 20 current military members

When they enlisted in the military, they swore an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic, and to obey the orders all the way up to those from the president of the United States.

But then, while still in the service, they went on to swear a different allegiance — one to the now extremist, anti-government Oath Keepers. Dozens of military members vowed they would never obey potential government orders that group leaders considered acts of war or cause for a revolution.

At least 20 are still serving.

USA TODAY confirmed with all five branches of the U.S. military that 81 people signed up for the Oath Keepers while in uniform. The names are from a hacked list that a watchdog group shared with journalists last fall. The military members are in addition to the 40 current and former law enforcement officers USA TODAY confirmed in October 2021.

The Defense Department has known for decades that its members were joining extremist groups but often did not punish them, instead keeping in place a vague policy that banned their active participation, such as through fundraising or recruiting.

In December, the Defense Department clarified more than a dozen examples of active participation, but it’s unclear whether joining the Oath Keepers and remaining a member of the militia would run afoul of the new rules.

Hu Yongkai, Chinese Folk Cat Paintings

CNN: Videos show ‘Stop the Steal’ rally organizer saying he would work with extremist groups

An organizer of the “Stop the Steal” rallies that preceded the attack on the US Capitol a year ago said he would work with two extremist groups, who later had members charged in the attack, about providing security and housing for the January 6, 2021, rally in Washington.

In previously unreported videos from the social media platform Periscope reviewed by CNN’s KFile, Ali Alexander, a leader of the “Stop the Steal” rally and a central figure in the House select committee’s investigation of January 6, said he would reach out to the right-wing Proud Boys and Oath Keepers on providing security for the event. Both groups later had members charged in the attack on the Capitol, including conspiracy. Last week, the Justice Department charged the Oath Keepers leader and 10 others with seditious conspiracy related to the attack.

Alexander has not been charged or implicated in any unlawful act. He has denied working with anyone, including lawmakers or extremist groups, to attack the Capitol.

In other videos removed from Periscope — it’s unknown who removed the videos, when and why — Alexander claimed to describe further details of his communications and coordination with several Congressional Republicans pushing to overturn the election result. The lawmakers have denied planning rallies or coordinating with Alexander in any way.

Woman with Cat
Modern Chinese Art Painting, Mo Nong

And finally, from Lawfare: What Does the Seditious Conspiracy Indictment Mean For the Oath Keepers?

Attorney General Merrick Garland spoke at length recently on the Justice Department’s expansive efforts to prosecute “all January 6th perpetrators, at any level, accountable under law—whether they were present that day or were otherwise criminally responsible for the assault on our democracy.” President Biden pointedly referred to the events of the day as “an armed insurrection … looking to subvert the Constitution.” Indeed, the prosecution of Rhodes and his co-defendants serves to elevate these Oath Keepers to a new tier of criminal conduct, into territory far more significant than trespassing, assault or obstruction of a congressional proceeding. This indictment may also serve as a warning to other high-level members of domestic violent extremist movements who allegedly engaged in similar conspiracies, including Proud Boys leaders such as Ethan Nordean and Joseph Biggs and potentially Proud Boys president Enrique Tarrio.

The arrest of Stewart Rhodes is likely to serve as a short-term blow to the operational activities of the Oath Keepers as a formal entity. The indictment against him makes it clear how important he is to the organization. He allegedly ran point on creating online encrypted groups where he pushed out orders to his followers. In one chat, entitled “Leadership intel sharing secured,” he noted two days after the November election, “We aren’t getting through this without a civil war. Too late for that. Prepare your mind, body, spirit[.]” Four days later, he led an online go-to meeting with fellow Oath Keepers where he “outlined a plan to stop the lawful transfer of presidential powers,” according to charging documents. While Oath Keepers general counsel Kellye SoRelle announced she is taking over as acting president, it is unclear what a post-Rhodes Oath Keepers organization will look like, or whether it will enjoy the same significance in anti-government circles without Rhodes. Rhodes played an outsized role in the organization and, in many ways, was the glue that kept the group together.

As the prosecution of Rhodes and hundreds of other Capitol Hill Siege defendants continues, it is more crucial than ever to ensure the government’s efforts to combat domestic violent extremism focus not only on the individual hierarchical groups and brands like the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys but also on their ideological adherents who may not formally join organized groups. The government’s indictment makes it apparent that Rhodes felt the events of Jan. 6 were far from a final crescendo of anti-government activity in the United States, noting that after the inauguration, Rhodes “messaged others to organize local militias to oppose President Biden’s Administration.”

This is from The Mother Jones link cited in the above Tweet. You can read the precise details there.

In court filings this week, the Justice Department further revealed the scope of the alleged plot by Oath Keepers to mobilize a heavily armed “quick reaction force” (also known as a “QRF”) just outside of downtown Washington, part of a plan to unleash violence in the nation’s capital and stop the lawful transfer of the presidency to Joe Biden. One filing, a detention memo in the case against Oath Keeper Edwards Vallejo of Arizona, hints that more people could yet be charged in connection with the conspiracy. Evidence it contains also shows that extremists have embraced Trump’s most recent rhetoric reinforcing the lie that the 2020 election was stolen from him through fraud, messaging that continues to fuel a violent far-right movement.

Hu Yongkai, Chinese Folk Cat paintings

Ed Pilkington–writing for The Guardian–elucidates the troubles of the Trump Family Crime Syndicate. “House of Trump is crumbling’: why ex-president’s legal net is tightening”.

In a new filing released this week designed to pressure Trump and two of his children – Ivanka and Donald Jr – into facing questioning, James forensically dissects how such strikingly large valuations came about. The 2011 estimate for the Scottish property, her investigators discovered, included an estimated £75,000 ($120,000 at 2011 exchange rates) for undeveloped land at the site.

Investigating deeper, they found that the figure had been created for an article in Forbes magazine. The revelation prompted a line in this week’s filing that must be among the tartest in US financial history.

“It thus appears,” James writes, “that the valuation of Trump Aberdeen used for Mr Trump’s financial statement was prepared for purposes of providing information to Forbes magazine in a quote.”

James’s legal document is packed with similarly juicy titbits. The 2014 value of the Scottish golf club was based in part on the projected sale price of 2,500 houses on the land, even though none of the houses actually existed and the company had planning permission for only half that number.

In 1995 the Trump Organization bought a parcel of land in Westchester, New York, known as the Seven Springs Estate, for $7.5m. By 2004 it was valued at $80m and by 2014 at $291m. That 2014 figure, James notes in another exquisitely tart reference, included a valuation of $161m for “seven non-existent mansions”.

The juiciest titbit of all concerns Trump’s former home, the gilded Fifth Avenue temple to his own ego dubbed “Versailles in the sky”, in which he lived before moving into the White House. James’s investigators were puzzled to find the Trump Tower triplex in Manhattan was listed at $327m in 2015, based on the apartment’s size, allegedly 30,000 sq feet.

In fact the property is 11,000 sq feet, which produces a value of $117m. That’s an overstatement in Trump’s official financial statements of more than $200m.

You might think this family of hard-core idiots was talking about the size of fish caught or the length of the family jewels.

James is pursuing her investigation as a civil case, which means that were Trump to be found liable it could cost him heavily in fines and penalties. More seriously, James is working in coordination with the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, a similarly tenacious and relentless prosecutor equipped with a large and highly experienced team of investigators.

Bragg is asking exactly the same questions as James: did the Trump Organization commit accounting, bank, tax or insurance fraud? The critical difference is that Bragg’s investigation is criminal, threatening Trump not with fines but prison time.

“Trump could end up in an orange jumpsuit at the end of that one,” said Timothy O’Brien, a senior columnist for Bloomberg Opinion.

So, history rolls on and rolls over a lot of people.  Just remember, we’ll shortly enter the Year of the Tiger. 

The Year of the Rat (2020) was about survival, and the Year of the Ox (2021) was about anchoring ourselves in a new reality. The Year of the Tiger will be about making big changes. This will be a year of risk-taking and adventure. We’re finding enthusiasm again, both for ourselves and for others. Everyone is fired up, generosity is at an all-time high and social progress feels possible again.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

Friday Reads: meh.

Good Morning!Bread-and-Circuses

There’s a lot of panem et circenses around this time of year.  There are all those bowl games which really do serve as a form of superficial appeasement for having to spend your days slaving for one of America’s many unpleasant employers doing things that are unfulfilling at best and reprehensible in all likelihood.  Afterall, there’s been all this credit card debt ran up over the last few months so the indentured will have to continue at it regardless.  Then, we all need to be appeased for having to put up with the ongoing insults piled on us by the Republican Congress and most urban police departments.  There sure is a lot of news that should make folks want to lie around in a stupor.

For example, Steve Scalise thinks he’s smarter than the rest of us and that his dalliance with hate groups will eventually be forgotten.  More information has come out from that shows the Duke henchmen who set up his speech before a group of White Nationalists has been telling tales.

Two days ago, Slate ran a piece quoting Kenny Knight, a close associate of David Duke, who booked the room for the white supremacist group, known as EURO. Knight claimed that he invited Scalise to speak to the “Jefferson Heights Civic Association, which was largely comprised of elderly people who lived in his and Scalise’s neighborhood.” The meeting of the civic association, Knight said, just happened to be held in the same room as the EURO conference held later that day. Knight told The Times-Picayune that he “was not a member of EURO and did not arrange for any speakers at the 2002 conference.”
The right-wing ran was the story, billing the entire controversy as little more than a hoax.

But, as it turns out, Knight was lying. Not only was Knight a member of the EURO group but “documents filed with the Louisiana secretary of state’s office list him as treasurer…” He is also listed as a member of the group in a 2002 news release for the conference in question, where he was scheduled as a speaker.

Asked about the discrepancy and the state document listing him as treasurer of the group, Knight hung up twice on a reporter for The Times-Picayune. Eventually, Knight said “Is that 15 years ago? I don’t even remember that. I’m not communicating any more with the news media. I’m finished with y’all.”

If you have any further questions, ask David Duke. In an interview with the Washington Post, Duke said he “recalled Knight reaching out to Scalise in the weeks before the conference to come and update attendees on state affairs, and that Scalise accepted without reservation.”

Duke’s group isn’t the only certified hate group that Scalise has been known to pander around.  Of course, this guy thinks that the League of Women Voter’s is a “liberal” group and akin to EURO as BB pointed out yesterday.  His barometer of circo-massimo-vroegerpolitical extremists seems way off.  But, Congressman Sleaze also loves him some Tony Perkins who is another certifiable hater.  Perkins’ record of extremism and hate politics is legendary.  Scalise has no problem with him and his group either.

But that is not Scalise’s only affiliation with a noted hate group. He is also aregular on Tony Perkins’ radio show, Washington Watch With Tony Perkins.Perkins heads the Family Research Council, which the Southern Poverty Law Center condemns as virulently anti-LGBT. According to the SPLC, the Council “often makes false claims about the LGBT community based on discredited research and junk science. The intention is to denigrate LGBT people in its battles against same-sex marriage, hate crime laws, anti-bullying programs and the repeal of the military’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy.”

Perkins, also from Louisiana, has connections to Duke as well. In the mid-’90s, while acting as a campaign manager for Woody Jenkins, then a candidate for the U.S. Senate, he paid $82,500 for Duke’s mailing list. Like Scalise, he improbably claimed he didn’t know the list was attached to Duke, but happened to file a false campaign disclosure form to hide the payment, and was subsequently fined $3,000. Three years later, while serving as a state representative, he gave a speech to the Council of Conservative Citizens, another white supremacist group.

While plenty of Republicans are against same-sex marriage, most don’t go so far as to ally themselves with Perkins. For the House majority whip to have that kind of allegiance may turn some heads.

Unfortunately, House Dems don’t seem to want to make anything of any of this.

Democrats are taking a strikingly cautious approach to the controversy surrounding House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and his speech to a white supremacist group in 2002.

The vast majority of Democrats are not calling for Scalise to resign, or for leadership to drop him. But they are tying Scalise to other Republicans and arguing the issue is emblematic of a party Democrats argue is at odds with minority groups on a range of policies.

Strategists say the approach reflects a few factors.
Democrats don’t want to get too far in front of the story, particularly since it is unclear whether Scalise’s 2002 address to the European-American Unity and Rights Organization is an isolated incident.

It’s also possible that Democrats are quite happy to see Scalise continue to be a part of the GOP leadership, since it will allow them to return to the story about his address to a group founded by David Duke repeatedly between now and Election Day 2016, when Democrats hope a broader electorate will help them win the White House and take back House and Senate seats. Only Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (N.Y.) has called for his resignation as majority whip.

aa-Roman-decadenceThere’s more news about Cops Go Wild in the news.  A NYPD cop has turned himself in for attacking a female MTA employee.

An NYPD cop has surrendered in an attack on an MTA worker, officials said Thursday.

Police Officer Mirjan Lolja, 37, was suspended after the assault in which the Metropolitan Transportation Authority worker — who was on-duty and in her uniform — was allegedly put into a bear hug, thrown to the floor and choked, cops said.

“I’m totally outraged,” Joe Costales, chairman of Transport Workers Union Local 100, said of the allegations. “We’re not safe with members of the public, and now we’re not safe from the police.”

The 28-year-old conductor was on the southbound D train platform at the Tremont Ave. station when Lolja confronted her about 2:30 a.m. on Dec. 23, officials said. She was hospitalized with minor back and neck injuries.

A police chief in Georgia has shot his wife.BreadAndCircuses-1

The wife of Peachtree City Police Chief William E. McCollom is in critical condition after being shot by her husband Thursday morning.

Police responded to the couple’s home in the 100 block of Autumn Leaf shortly after 4:15 a.m., where they found the victim, 58-year-old Margaret McCollom. She was taken by helicopter to Atlanta Medical Center.

The GBI will handle the shooting investigation. GBI spokeswoman Sherry Lang originally said Chief McCollom called 911 to say he accidentally shot his wife twice with his service weapon. After further investigation, Lang said it was determined that only one bullet had been discharged.

Investigators won’t say where McCollom was injured, or what led up to the shooting, only that it occured in the couple’s bedroom.

Peachtree City Manager Jim Pennington says as standard procedure, the chief was put on administrative leave and the GBI asked to spear head the investigation.

So, the biggest news of the holiday was the death of former NY Governor Mario Cuomo.

Ever-eloquent Mario Cuomo, a son of Queens who rode his rhetorical gifts to three terms as New York governor and tantalized Democrats by flirting with a run for President, died Thursday. He was 82.

Cuomo passed away five hours after his oldest son, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, wasformally sworn-in to a second term in Manhattan. The elder Cuomo was too ill to attend. He died of “natural causes due to heart failure” at his Manhattan apartment surrounded by his family, Andrew Cuomo’s office said.

“He couldn’t be here physically today … but my father is in this room,” Andrew Cuomo said in his inaugural address.

“He’s in the heart and mind of every person who is here. His inspiration and his legacy and his spirit is what has brought this day to this point.”

As governor, Mario Cuomo wrestled with two recessions and presided over a massive expansion of the state prison system. A liberal, he bucked the political winds by wielding his veto pen year after year to block the restoration of the state death penalty.

So also coming up on the bread and circuses radar is the Super Bowl and the State of the Union Address.  Which one will titillate the American Public more?  Yes, the one with endless commercials that last longer than the actual play itself.  Well, I could be talking about the opening of Congress, but you know it’s the football game.   La Sigh. La Sigh. La Meh.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

Thank the Buddhas! It’s Friday!

Good Morning!

This has been one damn long week!  It’s coming to an end with the Republicans who are out to kill women again.  A clump of cells is just so much more important because it might be a man in about 9 months, doncha know?  A horrible bill that would cause publicly sanctioned death by forced pregnancy crept on to the house floor yesterday.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi blasted an abortion bill the House will vote on later Thursday — claiming that the legislation could ultimately make women “die on the floor and health care providers do not have to intervene.”

The bill, called the Protect Life Act, would ban the federal funding for abortions and bar women from using tax subsidies from the health care law to buy insurance that cover abortion – except in cases of rape, incest or the health of the mother. It would also ensure that health-care providers are protected if they believe that performing abortion procedures clashes with their personal beliefs.

“Under this bill, when the Republicans vote for this bill today, they will be voting to say that women can die on the floor, and health care providers do not have to intervene if this bill is passed. It’s just appalling,” Pelosi told reporters on Thursday. “I can’t even describe to you the logic of what it is that they are doing.”

Pelosi and other Democrats dismissed the bill as a “waste of time” and criticized House GOP leadership for bringing up a bill that isn’t directly related to jobs and the economy – particularly since the abortion legislation has a dim chance in the Democratically-controlled Senate.

“This bill substantively puts women’s health at risk,” said House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).

Just imagine if there were these kinds of conscientious clauses were attached to all forms of government spending?  How many extremist religious views do we have to suffer through in this country? What if every one of us got to walk away from our job responsibilities because we consider something objectionable?  This is just more evidence that our society has fallen into the hateful agenda of religious extremists! Their rights to be objectionable should not be given precedent over the rest of society and medical and scientific evidence.  Thank goodness this bill will go no further and shame on Boehner for letting the Let Women Die bill come up to a vote.

The House approved an anti-abortion bill Thursday that takes aim at the health insurance subsidies in President Barack Obama’s health care law — and gives both parties another chance to rally their bases over yet another abortion fight.

The “Protect Life Act” would ban women from using the health reform law’s tax subsidies to purchase health plans that cover abortions and would allow hospital and health care providers to refuse to provide abortions if they have objections on grounds of conscience.

The vote was 251-172, with 15 Democrats voting for the bill and two Republicans opposing it.

Republican supporters of the bill, introduced by Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Pitts, say it would merely ensure that no taxpayer money is used to subsidize abortions.

“The left has moved so far that they object to this simple, common-sense measure that would protect taxpayers from having their money go to a procedure they find abhorrent,” said Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.). “Simply put, we must end what Obamacare did. We must stop subsidizing abortions with federal taxpayer dollars.”

Isn’t it shameful that Pompeo should be allowed to so thoroughly lie on the floor of congress?  There is absolutely no substance or reality to a word in his quote.

Crazy ol’ Ron Paul had a wardrobe mishap during the debate the other night.  It seems he wore falsie eye brows and one went rogue.

X marks the spot where the falsie got away from the brow.

For those of you not yet riveted by the Republican race, Mr. Paul, the dark-horse libertarian with equally dusky brows, was a victim of hot lights, faulty adhesive or merely a devilish optical illusion when his right eyebrow seemed to dip toward the stage at Dartmouth College.

Seen on television, Mr. Paul appeared to have a second, thinner brow under the one headed south, creating a delicate X over his right eye.

Since we’re already on the subject of dinosaurs and other ancient animals that should go extinct, here’s something on the T. Rex.

Tyrannosaurus rex grew faster and weighed more than previously thought, suggesting the fearsome predator would have been a ravenous teen-ager, researchers said Wednesday.

Using three-dimensional laser scans and computer modeling, British and U.S. scientists “weighed” five T. rex specimens, including the Chicago Field Museum’s “Sue,” the largest and most complete T. rex skeleton known.

They concluded that Sue, who roamed the Great Plains of North America 67 million years ago, would have tipped the scales at more than 9 tons, or some 30 percent more than expected.

Intriguingly, the smallest and youngest specimen weighed less than thought, shedding new light on the animals’ biology and indicating that T. rex grew more than twice as fast between 10 and 15 years of age as suggested in a study five years ago.

“At their fastest, in their teenage years, they were putting on 11 pounds or 5 kilograms a day,” John Hutchinson of the Royal Veterinary College in London told Reuters.

Here’s an interesting take on Occupy Wall Street from former NY AG and Governor Elliot Spitzer.

Occupy Wall Street has already won, perhaps not the victory most of its participants want, but a momentous victory nonetheless. It has already altered our political debate, changed the agenda, shifted the discussion in newspapers, on cable TV, and even around the water cooler. And that is wonderful.

Suddenly, the issues of equity, fairness, justice, income distribution, and accountability for the economic cataclysm–issues all but ignored for a generation—are front and center. We have moved beyond the one-dimensional conversation about how much and where to cut the deficit. Questions more central to the social fabric of our nation have returned to the heart of the political debate. By forcing this new discussion, OWS has made most of the other participants in our politics—who either didn’t want to have this conversation or weren’t able to make it happen—look pretty small.

Surely, you might say, other factors have contributed: A convergence of horrifying economic data has crystallized the public’s underlying anxiety. Data show that median family income declined by 6.7 percent over the past two years, the unemployment rate is stuck at 9.1 percent in the October report (16.5 percent if you look at the more meaningful U6 number), and 46.2 million Americans are living in poverty—the most in more than 50 years. Certainly, those data help make Occupy Wall Street’s case.

But until these protests, no political figure or movement had made Americans pay attention to these facts in a meaningful way. Indeed, over the long hot summer, as poverty rose and unemployment stagnated, the entire discussion was about cutting our deficit.

This is certainly an interesting perspective at the Uk Guardian on Obama’s fall from grace!  Just read the headline and grabber subtitle: ” How Barack Obama went from cool to cold.  Barack Obama’s measured approach won him the White House. So why do supporters think he lacks the ‘fierce urgency of now’? “

There are two particular areas where most commentators and the public feel that Obama has fallen short. The first is the economy. Poverty and repossessions are at a record high, the Dow keeps tanking, the deficit keeps growing and unemployment remains stuck at around 9%. Yet the man who recalled Martin Luther King’s evocation of “the fierce urgency of now” on the campaign trail has struck few as being either fierce or urgent as the nation teeters on the brink of another recession.

“You get the sense that this president, while intellectually engaged, is not emotionally engaged with what the American people are going through,” says Michael Fletcher, the Washington Post’s economics correspondent. “People want to feel there’s someone out there fighting their corner even if that person doesn’t win.”

Charlie Cook, one of Washington’s premier political analysts, believes there’s only so much Obama can do at this stage. “I think the problems are more objective,” he says. “Yes, he tends to lecture and tends to be professorial. I think that’s a problem, but I don’t think it’s the problem. I think eloquence only gets you so far. I think the emphasis was on going on television and trying to explain his agenda, to the point now where I think if the American people haven’t hit the mute button their finger is very close to that button where they just don’t listen any more. If things get better, we’ll re-evaluate, but right now – we’re not listening.”

Drew Westen, academic and author of The Political Brain, thinks they would listen if Obama changed the pitch. “What Americans really needed to hear from Barack Obama was not only I feel your pain, but also I feel your anger. And he’s a person who just doesn’t do anger. And if you can’t be angry when Wall Street speculators just gambled away the livelihoods of eight million of your fellow citizens then there’s something wrong with you.”

Here’s some spicy Cajun chit chat from James Carville who thinks that the Republican field for 2012 is pathetic! This downtown NOLA girl couldn’t agree more with that uptown NOLA boy!  It’s actually a fun comparison of republican presidential wannabes past and present.  I’ll just go for the lowest blow here.

Moving on to Michele Bachmann vs. Howard Baker (I’m sorry I couldn’t help myself.) Baker served in the U.S. Navy, was elected to the U.S. Senate, was asked to serve on the Supreme Court by Nixon, and served two terms as Senate minority leader. He later received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and inspired the formation of the Howard H. Baker, Jr. Center for Public Policy at the University of Tennessee. Could you see Michele Bachmann being nominated for a Presidential Medal in the near future?! Of course, some people might say, to be fair to Bachmann, Baker has never claimed to cure anyone of homosexuality.

Go read them all.  It’s a hoot!

So, I’ve got two articles to send off for publication by Sunday and I need to prepare for my paper presentation in Denver a week from today.  I think this should get us started on some interesting morning reads!  What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

They think they own our Bodies

Update:  Women’s Health Outrage of the moment: BREAKING: Appropriation Committee sticks gov’t-funding law that cuts $372 mil in funding for Planned Parenthood/family planning into HR358

The Republican Party is waging a war against American women and is being joined by a few bad Democratic sell outs.  Representatives like Joe Pitts are attacking the rights of women to make personal health-related decisions daily.  HR#3 is just the first of a series of bills designed to narrow definitions of rape, prevention, and what constitutes federal support of women’s reproductive health.  Any one that voted for any Republican under the guise of being pissed at Democrats should take this as a lesson.  Republicans cannot be trusted to do right by women.

This is nothing less than a crusade against the autonomy and adulthood of women. We need to take to the streets again. This is the latest affront: Under Banner of Fiscal Restraint, Republicans Plan New Abortion Bills.

All but invisible during the midterm elections, the abortion debate has returned to Congress.

Invoking the mantra of fiscal restraint that has dominated House action since lawmakers reconvened last month, Republicans began committee work this week on two bills that would greatly expand restrictions on financing for and access to abortions. Another bill, one that would cut off federal dollars to women’s health care clinics that offer abortions, is expected to surface later this year.

“This House is more pro-life than it’s ever been,” said Representative Joe Pitts, Republican of Pennsylvania and the author of one of the bills to limit money for abortions.

Democrats in both the House and Senate immediately fought back Tuesday, working closely with reproductive rights advocates. They have appropriated the Republican charge from last year that Democrats were working on a liberal policy agenda instead of on job creation and the economy, and turned it on its head.

We’re fortunate that some Democratic office holders are fighting against this religious crusade against American Women.  Others are not as reported here by StarkReports.  Is HR#3 so overreaching that it could end even the watered down abortion rights that we now know in the US?  Will Democrats like Harry Reid be complicit?  The Youtube above and the quote below cover the recent Democratic Press Conference on Republican attempts to control women.  It makes this important point.  Dozens of Democrats will probably join their crazed Republican counterparts to pass this abomination.  There is one thing in particular that I’d like to point out in bold below that will let you know why no woman that respects her own autonomy can vote Republican period.  This should also increase our skepticism of Democrats too.

Since every Representative in the Republican House majority is anti-choice, and since there are probably dozens of anti-choice Democrats that will join them, HR3 will assuredly pass the House.

In the Senate, Harry Reid is anti-choice and has been rolled by Mitch McConnell and the Republicans at every turn. Moreover, procedure in the Senate is much more amenable to minority priorities. Abortion supporters are hopeful, but nobody is saying with any degree of certitude that HR3 will die in the Senate.

With that in mind, I decided to ask the people in the room if they were willing to withhold their support from the President if he signed the bill if it reached his desk. Nadler dodged the question, saying it was premature. I pointed out that there was a reason he called the press conference: that he didn’t wan’t to see this bill become law. He stayed silent on the President.

The Republican party no longer represents a sane alternative to the Democratic Party.  Still, the Democratic Party cannot be trusted to do the right thing by women either.  Women have no choice but to ensure that any one that is willing to sell us out to religious extremists in the Democratic party does not get our vote.  PERIOD.

HR#3 and its counterparts make women second class citizens.  There is no other personal health decision that the government feels the need to make for any man.  This says that the majority of people in Congress and a good deal of them in the Senate do not think we are adult enough to make a ‘moral choice’.  It also continues the special treatment of fetus fetishists to opt out of paying taxes for women’s health while forcing the rest of us to pay for their bridges to no where, their murderous wars, and their religion-based stupidity like ‘abstinence education’.   The rape redefinition trick is still in these bills too.

One bill, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” would eliminate tax breaks for private employers who provide health coverage if their plans offer abortion services, and would forbid women who use a flexible spending plan to use pre-tax dollars for abortions. Those restrictions would go well beyond current law prohibiting the use of federal money for abortion services.

The bill, sponsored by Representative Christopher H. Smith, Republican of New Jersey, has drawn fire over language that undercuts a longstanding exemption on the ban on using federal money for abortions in the case of rape or incest; the measure narrows the definition of rape to “forcible rape,” a term that his office has never defined. Democratic lawmakers and others repeatedly hammered on the term, saying it suggested that victims of statutory rape and other crimes could not get abortions paid for with federal money.

While Mr. Smith’s staff said last week that the term “forcible rape” would be removed from the bill, the staff of Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, said that language remained intact as of Tuesday.

Another bill, sponsored by Mr. Pitts, addresses the health care overhaul head-on by prohibiting Americans who receive insurance through state exchanges from purchasing abortion coverage, even with their own money. The bill is essentially a resurrection of a provision in the House version of the health care law but was not in the Senate version.

The bill would also permit hospitals to refuse abortions to women, even in emergency situations, if such care would offend the conscience of the health care providers.

We now have senators whose narrow religious views will be used to define rape and will allow hospitals to let women die.  Many of you have heard this story before, but my daughter has already experienced some of this conscious clause bullshit during her forth year in Medical School while doing a rotation in Michigan.  A resident left my daughter–not a qualified physician at the time–and a nurse to clean up the remnants of a botched abortion that was rapidly going septic in one woman’s uterus.  That’s right.  This woman was left by a doctor to a fourth year medical student and a nurse as a result of an abortion-gone-wrong.  The doctor basically left her to die.  Thankfully, my daughter was a competent and conscientious caregiver and so was the nurse.  This last bill allows entire hospitals to walk away from dying women.

These bills would go no where with out the duplicity of Democrats like Nebraska’s wacko Senator Ben Nelson.  We need to make it loud and clear that we will not contribute to any mass campaign fund that includes support for people who believe women are not adult enough to make moral decisions for themselves.  You need to make sure that your donations do not go to Democratic Politician’s PACS that can sneak money to these culprits.  Lastly, we need a pledge that pro choice Democrats will not sell out women for any reason.  There needs to be an absolute understanding that these bills will not reach the President’s desk and if they do, the President will not sign them.

Woman’s should not be hung on a cross of bipartisanship or kumbaya centrist compromises.  It’s time to make that very clear. We do not want to return to the days of forced pregnancy or wire hangers. We need to know that we can trust each and every one of them to stand by us before they get any form of support from us.  This includes the President.

Rachel Maddow is on the forefront of this fight.  You can follow her efforts and get more information here at The Maddow Blog. Send letters to your congressman via NARAL.  Support Planned Parenthood here.  Read more Feminist bloggers on this.  We are not alone in our fear and outrage.  Here’s the latest from Shakesville:  ‘Take Your Legislation OFF  Me‘.