Serendipity SOUL | Wednesday Open Thread | India Irie Week!

Today’s  india Irie tune is READY FOR LOVE

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46 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Wednesday Open Thread | India Irie Week!

  1. GOP audience birth control

  2. Ametia says:

    Whitney Houston’s Death Coverage Examined By Lewis Black
    “Hey assholes! Someone died! Can we cool it with the word play?”

    Lewis Black isn’t happy. This fact is evident anytime he opens his mouth. Black, known for his angry rants, while simulating a mental breakdown, has a segment on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, where he examines various aspects of our society. On last nights episode, his segment “Back in Black”, took a look at how the media handled the death of Whitney Houston.

    “The media observed her passing in the tradition of the Native Americans — by using every part of the tragedy!” Black said. “For instance, did you know with very little skill you can turn a song catalog into hours of terrible segues?”

    Check out the video for yourself below:

  3. rikyrah says:

    Dear Willard,

    because you are a liar by nature, please understand that the internet is NOT your friend.

    OUR PRESIDENT is infringing on religious liberty with this birth control nonsense?


    No exemption for Catholic hospitals on `morning after’ pill
    December 09, 2005

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS — Gov. Mitt Romney abandoned plans Thursday to exempt Roman Catholic and other private hospitals from a new law requiring them to dispense emergency contraception to rape victims.

    Romney had backed regulations proposed earlier this week by his public health commissioner, Paul Cote, who said the new law conflicted with an older one barring the state from forcing private hospitals to dispense contraceptive devices or information.

    The Republican governor said at a news conference Thursday that he asked his legal advisers to review the matter after members of both parties criticized the regulations. He said the lawyers determined that the new law superseded the old one and that all hospitals should be required to offer the so-called morning after pill.

  4. rikyrah says:

    if anyone can find the video to match this Bashir transcript, I’d appreciate it:

    Bashir’s final comment:

    Clear the Air
    It’s now time to clear the air and if there’s anything more anathema to some Republicans than having to witness a black man being president, then it is the idea that someone of another religious faith, or no faith whatsoever, might possibly be in the White House. And so, having failed disastrously in that preposterous attempt to suggest that the president is not an American, they are now reviving their effort to imply that the president is not a Christian.

    But how does anyone prove that they are a Christian, beyond saying that they are? There is no birth certificate to produce, but there are some very clear signs. Sixty years ago, almost to the day, the great Oxford academic CS Lewis published a book entitled “mere Christianity.” The book was based upon some BBC radio talks that he gave during the Second World War. This is what he said:

    “If conversion to Christianity makes no improvement in a man’s outward actions – if he continues to be just as snobbish or spiteful or envious or ambitious as he was before – then I think we must suspect that his conversion was largely imaginary. Fine feelings, new insights, greater interest in ‘religion’ mean nothing unless they make our actual behavior better.”

    So let’s apply Lewis’ approach to three individuals – all of whole claim to be devout men of faith, all of whom want to be president.

    First Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney earlier this month said this about the president:

    “The newly elected President Obama told America that if Congress approved his plan to borrow nearly a trillion dollars he would hold unemployment below eight percent.”

    That’s an outright lie. The president never, ever said such a thing. In fact, that was a speculative projection written by Christina Romer and Jared Bernstein about the possible impact of a stimulus package and it was written before the president was even inaugurated.

    Mr. Santorum is selling himself as the most Christian of all the candidates. He says Satan is attacking the institutions of America. He talks repeatedly about the great men and women of faith who serve this country through self-sacrifice and generosity.

    But when it comes to his own personal commitment to charity, Mr. Santorum is remarkably quiet. And that’s because, in 2012, Mr. Santorum earned almost a million dollars and gave just 1.7 percent to charity. During the same period, the President and the First Lady gave almost 15 percent.

    So, the devout Catholic is apparently a hypocrite. And finally, Newt Gingrich. A man who believes that the Christian sacrament of marriage – lifelong monogamy – actually means sleeping with one woman at a time. So, there you have it: the liar, the hypocrite and the adulterer. And remember what CS Lewis wrote:

    “If conversion to Christianity makes no improvement in a man’s outward actions, then I think we must suspect that his conversion was largely imaginary.”

    The President of the United States is a Christian – but as for those three – in the words of Franklin Graham – “I don’t think any of us can be categorically certain.”

  5. rikyrah says:

    BREAKING: Bush Appointee Finds DOMA Unconstitutional |

    Moments ago, Judge Jeffery White of the District Court for the Northern District of California ruled
    that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) violates the Constitution’s
    equal protection clause in a case brought by Karen Golinski. Golinski,
    represented by Lambda Legal, “was denied spousal health benefits
    by her employer, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San
    Francisco.” White was appointed to the court by President George W. Bush
    in 2002. The decision represents a serious setback for House Speaker
    John Boehner (R-OH), whose Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG)
    defended DOMA after the Obama administration announced it would no
    longer defend the law.

  6. rikyrah says:

    Digging Deeper: Massive Bets on Political Micro-targeting
    By Walter Rhett, on February 22nd, 2012

    The party that wants to get government off your back knows all about you. They can match your voting record with the web sites you visit. They know your internet haunts. They can estimate the size of your gifts. They can even makes choices for you. But they also hide choices from you.

    Mitt Romney protests that he is one-of-kind, a single political entity whose beliefs and faith have never changed, but even as he argues the point, multiple Mitt Romneys in real time are showing up on the web. There’s Mitt Romney as spiritual guru, the capital mystic concerned with America’s soul. He’s for older supporters, party members, and donors; they get this ad displayed only a click away. There’s Mitt as the dog and family guy. Independents, undecided, middle-aged people are told he is like us. Either way (both ways!), Mitt is a manipulator. His version of democracy takes away your choice. His “Believe in America” is a high tech version that demands you believe what he tells you, while telling everybody different things. He may lack intimacy and warmth, but he is Big Brother personified.

    He is jumping squarely on your back and wants you to take him for a ride. He is secretly gathering information about you and your habits, and using that information to paint his image as a match for your values. And he doesn’t tell you that’s his way of restoring America.

    And in typical Romney fashion, “Two people in the same house could get different messages,” Romney’s digital director, Zack Moffatt said. “Not only will the message change, the type of content will change.”

    Political advertising is the ultimate milieu for flip-floppers, and net ads still fly under the radar but can have a big potential impact on any election, national or local. A campaign can now buy its own audience. Cheap. The Republican National Committee claims it can target your house with thousands of ads that only cost between $5 and $10 a batch. These ads move with virtual size and speed; in fact speed is their greatest force. They can strike in nanoseconds to drive the conversation, influence opinion, counter an attack, spread buzz phrases, scatter the attack and poison the political well.

    In micro-targeting, the candidate doesn’t modify his or her position to reflect the views of those he or she seeks to represent; instead, the ads try to get voters to modify their views for the candidates’ benefit! This micro-targeting technology has only been around for a decade; it began in Virginia in 2002 when a consultant firm sought to identify potential Republican voters in Democratic neighborhoods, and combined internet data mining with voter rolls. Now, micro-targeting is the fastest growing area of political consulting.

    So what you see on Facebook, the web, your mobile phone is not a chance encounter. Massive databases are multiplying and creating content for you, and others like you; the net that was supposed to bring us together as an engaging social community is really placing us into separated segments and bubbles, appealing to our predilections, following our quirks, making us comfortable with hatred and falsehood, and reaching out to us in our private world view. Campaigns, the private sector associations, political organizations, and political rainmakers like the Koch Brothers are all building their own massive networks of over 100 million names and habits of voters, including the restaurants where they eat.

    This is a universe in which democracy is rigidly managed and purpose driven. And it is only beginning.

    In fact, look for:

    Voter Supression Ads. These will be ads aimed at audiences discouraging voter turnout, reinforcing cynicism or inflated success, or lies about qualifications to vote. Previously done by word of mouth, look for ads of this type to go virtual this cycle.
    Excessive, no-holds-barred negative ads. These will resemble the kind Romney put on air in Florida to drive Gingrich from the race. These will pop up, disappear, reappear, create their own narratives. They will combine high negatives with high entertainment values. An example debuted in the LA City Council race, when a hip-hop based ad displayed supposed gang members spanking a hot pants-wearing, booty-shaking candidate while holding hands full of cash, alternating with arms filled with guns, to a highly infectious hip-hop beat and lyrics.
    We-are-the-World ads. These will link common concerns like jobs to false fears. The earliest example of this type goes back to the nuclear attack ad against Barry Goldwater featuring the famous daisy.
    But does it really matter? The Atlantic reports that: “from June 9, 2008 to the election, the number of people swayed by the Obama campaign’s “McSame” [ the fact McCain voted 90% with Bush] grew each day by 0.035 percent. Now 0.035 percent does not seem like much, much less something to spend millions of dollars on. But when you add up 0.035 percent-a-day over twenty-one weeks, you come up with just over 5 percent, which in politics is a very big number.”

    In this campaign, small ads will have big results, including the destruction of democracy.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Recalling A Pro-Choice Mitt Romney
    By Ta-Nehisi Coates
    Feb 22 2012, 1:08 PM ET8

    There’s a lot of good reporting in William Saletan’s piece on the GOP’s front-runner’s “evolving” views on abortion. I think this for instance is damning:

    On June 12, 1994, he and his wife, Ann, attended a Planned Parenthood fundraiser at the home of a Republican activist in Massachusetts. In May 2007, somebody outed the Romneys for having written a $150 check to Planned Parenthood, presumably for attending the event. The check, signed by Ann, was from their joint account. At this point, only the check was public. Reporters hadn’t yet learned about the event. Mitt Romney responded by attributing the check to Ann: “Her contributions are for her and not for me, and her positions I do not think are terribly relevant to my campaign.” (You can watch Romney’s answer on video here.) Six months later, a photo of Mitt at the event turned up. Did he not remember being there? Or was it just easier to pin the check on his wife and hope nobody found out more?

    Nothing in Romney’s evolving autobiography is more misleading than his claim that he never called himself pro-choice. During the 2008 presidential race, Romney told Fox News: “I never called myself pro-choice. I never allowed myself to use the word pro-choice because I didn’t feel I was pro-choice. I would protect the law, I said, as it was, but I wasn’t pro-choice.” (You can watch that clip here.) Romney has even dared his doubters to “go back to YouTube and look at what I said in 1994.”

    Let’s do that..

    In May 1994, when the Boston Herald asked him about abortion, he talked instead about “choice legislation.” Two days later, in a debate, he said, “I support a woman’s right to choose.” In September, Romney’s spokesman told reporters, “Mitt has always been consistent in his pro-choice position.” In October, when the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League called Romney a fake pro-choicer, the candidate shot back: “I don’t think it’s NARAL’s position to say who’s pro-choice and who’s not pro-choice.”

    Whether Romney ever said “I’m pro-choice” is beside the point. What’s obvious is that he used the language of choice and choose to signal his commitment to abortion rights.

    He also embraced Roe v. Wade. Contrary to the story he now tells–that he accepted Roe only because “the Supreme Court had spoken”–Romney argued in his debate with Kennedy that Americans “should sustain and support” Roe. For Mormons, sustain has special meaning. The church’s 12th Article of Faith exalts “obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.” To sustain others means “to uphold, to support, to assist” them. Romney was making a solemn commitment. On another occasion during the 1994 campaign, Romney said of Roe, “I want it to remain the law of the land.” And he endorsed the core of the Freedom of Choice Act, which would have preserved Roe rights in federal law in case the decision were overturned.

    Political points aside Saletan’s reporting makes it clear that Romney–perhaps more than anyone in either party running for president–has direct and personal experience with abortion. He has a relative who died having an illegal abortion. As a church bishop he grappled with the issue in specific cases. With that direct experience, Romney really has the experience to talk about abortion in some depth and as something more than the results from a focus group.

    He chooses not to–perhaps out of political necessity. But it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that for all the talk about the sanctity of human life Romney doesn’t much care about the issue. He seems to be personally opposed to abortion. But that doesn’t mean much–plenty of people who call themselves pro-choice are personally opposed to abortion. This is a question of policy–and one in which the energy of rhetoric contrasts with lethargy of action.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Political Animal


    February 22, 2012 12:35 PM
    Court Gets Second Chance on Citizens United

    By Ed Kilgore

    It’s not likely that anything fundamental will change, but it’s worth noting that the U.S. Supreme Court has just been given a chance to reconsider the empirical (or perhaps it’s better to say “nonempirical”) basis for its fateful decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The occasion is a stay granted by the Court in enforcement of a Montana Supreme Court decision involving a state anticorruption statute that is a direct challenge to Citizens United. Here’s what Justice Ginsburg had to say in supporting the stay:

    Montana’s experience, and experience elsewhere since this Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Comm’n, 558 U. S. ___ (2010), make it exceedingly difficult to maintain that independent expenditures by corporations “do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.” Id., at ___ (slip op., at 42). A petition for certiorari will give the Court an opportunity to consider whether, in light of the huge sums currently deployed to buy candidates’ allegiance, Citizens United should continue to hold sway. Because lower courts are bound to follow this Court’s decisions until they are withdrawn or modified, however, Rodriguez de Quijas v. Shearson/American Express, Inc., 490 U. S. 477, 484 (1989), I vote to grant the stay.

    Ginsburg is alluding to Justice Kennedy’s flat statement in the majority opinion in Citizens United that unlimited corporate or union contributions would not have a corrupting effect.

    As the Editors of the New York Times commented today:

    The Montana state court ruling rests on a careful review of the political corruption that led the state to pass its Corrupt Practices Act. The Citizens United ruling, by contrast, is based on no evidentiary record at all. The Supreme Court, on its own initiative, took up the broad question of corporate and union spending when the controversy in the case was much narrower. The court’s conservative majority essentially used the Citizens United case to overturn a century of established federal law by imposing its own legal theory, without relying on facts

    If facts actually matter to Justice Kennedy, there’s a clear basis for a second look at what the 5-4 Court majority has done to our system of financing campaigns.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Virginia Governor Backs Off ‘State-Sponsored Rape’ Ultrasound Bill, Promises To ‘Review’ Measure

    By Amanda Peterson Beadle on Feb 22, 2012 at 10:00 am

    A bill requiring women to undergo an invasive ultrasound before having an abortion has already sailed through the Virginia Senate, and was to be signed into law by Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) once it cleared the House. Under the proposed policy, most women seeking seeking an abortion will be forced to have a transvaginal procedure, in which a probe is inserted into the vagina, and then moved around until an ultrasound image is produced.”

    But now McDonnell is backing away from his previous wholehearted support of the measure. Earlier, he told ABC News he supports “the concept that a woman should have all of the information possible before she makes a decision about terminating a pregnancy.” Now, his office has clarified that he will “review” the bill if it passes the General Assembly:

    “Our position is: If the General Assembly passes this bill the governor will review it, in its final form, at that time,” McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said in a statement. He declined to explain the change in approach, but Virginia’s governors can sign, veto or amend legislation.

    The House and Senate have approved their versions of the bill. On Tuesday, the House postponed a final vote on the legislation…for the second day in a row. […]

    The officials with knowledge of Tuesday night’s Republican meeting said GOP leaders hope to introduce amendments on Wednesday, but it is unclear whether the rank and file would support them.

    Virginians opposed to the ultrasound bill held a silent protest on Tuesday. Wearing stickers that said, “Say No to State-Mandated Rape” and “Private Property: Keep Out,” several hundred demonstrators locked arms outside of the Capitol. And a new poll shows that a majority in the state oppose the requirement, which has been spoofed by NBC’s Saturday Night Live and mocked on The Daily Show. “This is like a TSA pat-down inside their vagina,” Jon Stewart explained, contrasting McDonnell’s support for this measure and his opposition to TSA pat-downs.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Ind. lawmaker munches cookies to counter Girl Scout remarks

    After controversial remarks by one Republican lawmaker attacking Girl Scouts as a radical group that supports abortion, House Speaker Brian Bosma made his feelings clear Tuesday, one Thin Mint cookie at a time.

    Bosma, also a Republican, pointedly offered Girl Scout cookies throughout the day and munched them as he presided over the House.

    It was a snack prompted by state Rep. Bob Morris, a Fort Wayne Republican who recently sent an e-mail to fellow GOP lawmakers explaining why he had been the lone lawmaker opposing a resolution honoring the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts.

    In his e-mail, Morris said he had done “a small amount of web-based research” and had concluded the Girl Scouts was linked to Planned Parenthood— something both the Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood deny.

    Morris said that liberal Girl Scout leaders “indoctrinate” girls with Planned Parenthood principles and that the Scouts tout 50 role models, all but three of whom he said are “feminists, lesbians or Communists.”

    However, Deana Potterf, director of communications for Girl Scouts of Central Indiana, said issues regarding homosexuality, abortion and sex raised by the Indiana lawmaker are not issues addressed by the Girl Scouts.

    “Any kind of those issues are best left to the girls to talk with their families about,” Potterf said.

    She said the Girl Scouts is focused on helping girls develop courage, confidence and character.

    As for accepting transgender females into Girl Scouts, Potterf said, “If a child presents herself as a girl in Girl Scouts, she is welcome to participate.”

    Morris’ letter, first revealed by The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, prompted a flood of media attention that Morris clearly didn’t relish Tuesday. He told waiting reporters he would speak to them “momentarily,” then went to the House floor and refused to talk to them. When lawmakers left the House for a behind-closed-doors caucus, Morris pushed aside a TV reporter and ignored questions.

  11. rikyrah says:

    ‘Secular’ is not a dirty word
    By Steve Benen
    Wed Feb 22, 2012 9:39 AM EST.

    Campaigning in Michigan yesterday, Mitt Romney used a line of attack against President Obama that I don’t recall hearing from him before.

    Mitt Romney attacked President Obama’s “secular agenda” during a town hall in which he drew contrasts between himself and GOP rival Rick Santorum and defended his stance on conservative social issues for voters still making up their minds before next week’s primary.

    “You expect the president of the United States to be sensitive to that freedom and protect it and, unfortunately, perhaps because of the people the president hangs around with, and their agenda, their secular agenda, they have fought against religion,” Romney said….

    The Obama campaign pushed back, equating Romney’s comments with Rick Santorum’s “phony theology” tack from a few days ago.

    That’s fine, as campaign responses go, but the reaction overlooks an arguably more important problem: since when is there something wrong with a “secular agenda”?

    Putting aside the “they have fought against religion” nonsense — if the Romney campaign has any evidence to back this up, they’ve hidden it well — the notion of using the word “secular” as an attack is, at a minimum, unsettling. “Secular” is not a dirty word; in our country, it can’t be.

    To be sure, among developed Western nations, the United States tends to be one of the most religious. But that doesn’t change the fact that this was founded as a secular nation — our entire system of government, built around secular institutions, is based on a secular Constitution, which makes no reference to God or any faith tradition, and which guarantees a separation of church and state. Indeed, I’d argue that religious life has flourished in this country precisely because the government stays out of it.

    Every president, by the nature of his or her official duties, is supposed to have a “secular agenda.” What’s the alternative? Indeed, if Obama has a secular agenda, and Romney finds this worthy of criticism, exactly what kind of agenda should voters expect of a Romney administration?

    There are some countries that intermix God and government — Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan under Taliban rule come to mind — but they’re generally not countries the United States tries to emulate.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Chris Christie on tax fairness: ‘Shut up’
    By Steve Benen
    Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:30 PM EST.

    Piers Morgan asked New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) last night about Warren Buffett’s calls for tax fairness, and not surprisingly, the Republican governor didn’t seem especially receptive to the idea.

    “Yeah, well he should just write a check and shut up,” Christie said. “Really. And just contribute. I mean, you know, the fact of the matter is that I’m tired of hearing about it. If he wants to give the government more money, he’s got the ability to write a check. Go ahead and write it.”

    Greg Sargent explained, “It’s kind of remarkable that Republican officials in positions of real influence and responsibility continue to repeat this silly line in public without any apparent sense of embarrassment.”

    Let’s try to walk through this really slowly. The problem that Buffett and other wealthy people are trying to solve by calling for higher taxes on their class isn’t simply that they as individuals would like to be contributing more towards the tax burden, but can’t. Rather, the problem as they’ve identified it is a society-wide one: We need a massive boost in revenues to keep society functioning at acceptable levels and to address profound and intractable fiscal problems that threaten the country’s future.

    This problem will not be solved if Warren Buffett writes a check. Buffett’s point is that the scale of the problem requires his class as a whole to chip in a bit more to solve it.

    Quite right. That this is actually a fairly common GOP talking point — it was Christie’s very first instinct when asked about tax fairness — is depressing.

    Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), for example, has long championed the same idea: “[A]ll those rich, liberal democrats who are eager to pay higher taxes can do just that. They can write a check to the IRS and make an extra payment on their tax return to pay down the federal debt.”

    Christie’s argument may be nonsense, but it’s become routine nonsense.

    This really isn’t complicated. We’re a massive, modern nation with a vast economy, a large debt, and by modern standards, low taxes. We face real challenges, but they’re not the kind of challenges individuals can hope to resolve on their own, piecemeal. Whether Christie understands this or not, we need cooperative solutions built around shared action.

    Making additional tax contributions voluntarily — in other words, asking for a little more only from those willing to pay a little more — is ridiculous. The wealthy can afford modest tax increases, which in turn can help pay down the debt Republicans pretend to care about, while shielding many of those who can least afford to take another hit.

    Here’s hoping Buffett and others ignore Christie’s advice and choose not to “shut up.”

  13. rikyrah says:

    Political Animal
    February 22, 2012 9:44 AM
    UI: More Than Just An Extension
    By Ed Kilgore

    The package of “extenders” that was just enacted by Congress and that will soon be happily forgotten by most observers actually represented a bit more than the act of legislative throat-clearing it seemed to be. Yes, the extension of the payroll tax cut, of Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits, and the Medicare provider reimbursement rate “doc fix” were thrown together as must-pass items that neither party in Congress wanted the blame for obstructing. There was not a lot of public talk about substance, beyond conservative grumbling about the “dependency” involved in UI and the need for bigger changes in Medicare.

    But as Annie Lowery of the New York Times usefully explains, the UI provisions of the package actually include some interesting reforms in a very old system

    The bill, which passed Congress on Friday and President Obama has said he will sign, allows states to use unemployment insurance money for programs that help move the jobless back into the work force. Such programs, like Georgia Works, often offer employers wage subsidies for taking on and retraining jobless workers.

    The bill also requires states to reassess the eligibility of workers for their unemployment insurance — confirming, for instance, that a person receiving long-term benefits is actively searching for a job. That reassessment provides an opportunity to tailor career counseling and other re-employment services to the long-term jobless.

    The bill additionally expands “work sharing” programs that can help reduce layoffs at big businesses. In effect, businesses would have the option of cutting the hours of five workers by 20 percent each, say, rather than laying off one worker. The business could then use unemployment insurance money to help supplement the workers’ wages to make up for the lost hours.

    Though it seems a bit like a return to the policy debates of the late 1990s, when the economy was strong enough to make it useful to dwell on adjustments of skill levels to a fast-changing opportunities rather than simply maintaining a minimal safety net, the UI reforms in the extender package sound sensible. UI has not in any significant way operated as a “reemployment services” program, and it should. And wrinkles like “work sharing,” which is common in other countries, could have prevented unemployment from reaching and remaining at its current levels.

    It’s obvious why none of us expect significant legislative activity, much less policy innovations, much less policy innovations supported by people in both parties, in the current climate in Washington. But the UI changes represent a small ripple of hope in a sea indifference, cynicism and obstruction. Pretty much anything beyond that will require big changes in the political configuration of forces.

  14. rikyrah says:

    GO, MY SISTA, GO!!!!



    Serious satire: ‘It is the purpose of the General Assembly to assert an invasive state interest in the reproductive habits of the men of this state’
    By Laura Conaway
    Wed Feb 22, 2012 11:04 AM EST

    The Republican march against adult Americans’ right to make their own decisions about really private matters remains so unbelievable that parody has become a legitimate legislative response. Oklahoma got the “Every Sperm Is Sacred” protest amendment. Virginia got a measure to require prostate exams for Viagra prescriptions.

    And now Georgia State Representative Yasmin Neal has a bill that would ban vasectomies. After a Republican lawmaker introduced a bill taking away women’s reproductive rights, Neal decided that fair is fair. I typed out what she says in her announcement video, because I think it’s worth reading the whole thing:

    “Thousands of children are deprived of birth in this state every year because of the lack of state regulation over vasectomies. It is patently unfair that men can avoid unwanted fatherhood by presuming that their judgment over such matters is more valid than the judgment of the General Assembly, while women’s ability to decide is constantly up for debate throughout the United States. Women, our bodies, and what we do with it are always up for debate.

    “This bill has been drafted for all women who have the wherewithal to choose. The day has come where men should feel the same pressure and invasion of privacy that women have faced for years. I have introduced this legislation because it is the purpose of the General Assembly to assert an invasive state interest in the reproductive habits of the men of this state and substitute the will of the government over the will of adult men.

    “This bill states that vasectomies can be performed to avert the death of a man or to avert serious risk of substantial or irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the man. This bill mimics the abortion bills throughout the nation, and just like the abortion bills interfere with a woman’s right to choose, it’s only fair that the General Assembly debate the men’s right to choose, as well.”

  15. rikyrah says:

    It Don’t Matter to (Conservative) Women

    by BooMan
    Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 09:52:45 AM EST

    In my experience living in western Michigan, many Republican women in the state are truly single-issue voters. They oppose abortion and won’t even consider voting for the Democratic Party despite being aligned with them on most issues. That’s why I’m not surprised that Santorum’s positions have not created a gender gap among the Republican electorate in Michigan.

    Among Republicans in that time period [since December], Santorum has shot from 37 percent to 70 percent favorable.
    There’s evidence that Santorum’s comments about social issues may not have hurt him so far among women.

    The former Pennsylvania senator has been unapologetic in his opposition to abortion and his concerns about working moms, women in combat and contraception – some of the many examples he cites while making the case that he would draw a clearer contrast than Romney against Obama.

    For all that, there’s little evident gender gap between Romney and Santorum, the AP-GfK poll showed. Santorum, who made some of the comments while the poll was being conducted Feb. 16-20, runs even with Romney among both Republican men and women. And Republican women may be rallying to his defense: Seventy-five percent of GOP women have a favorable impression of Santorum, compared with 66 percent of Republican men, the poll found.

    Michigan has an open primary, so there probably will be a gender gap in the exit polls, but it won’t be coming from the Republican women, especially outside of the Detroit metro area.

    It’s probably possible to create a wedge between being pro-life and screwing around with women’s health care coverage, but Romney, Gingrich, and Ron Paul are incapable of exploiting that distinction.

  16. President Obama Sings “Sweet Home Chicago”

  17. Talking Points Memo @TPM:

    Man nominated as Gingrich delegate pled guilty to ‘voter fraud’

  18. @Colorlines:

    The Dark Cloud the Supreme Court Just Cast Over Affirmative Action

  19. Michelle Obama on the road: 3,500 jump ropes in hotel room

    WASHINGTON–First Lady Michelle Obama work out routine while on the road includes jumping rope in her hotel room–3,500 jumps each morning. She discussed her drill in an interview out Wednesday with SIRIUS XM host Joe Madison. Hat tip to Obamafoodorama for flagging the interview.

    Joe Madison: “Talk about how the Obamas live what they preach when it comes to…[the ‘Let’s Move’ initiative]….how do you work out when you are on the road?”

    Mrs. Obama: “….I brought a jump rope and in my hotel room, I got up this morning and I jump roped. I did seven sets of 500, so by the time I finished I had done about 3500 jumps…I had my cardio in, took a shower, got ready, got dressed and I’m here.

  20. Ametia says:

    Federal worker prevails in discrimination case against Social Security
    By Joe Davidson, Published: February 21

    During this extended period of cloudy federal employee horizons comes a wee bit of sunshine, the story of a worker who took on Uncle Sam and won.

    But it took her more than a decade to do it.
    As the federal workforce endures a two-year freeze on basic pay rates and faces a possible increase in pension payments and as new employees will have to contribute more to their retirement program, Barbara Murchison has reason to smile.

    A decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit could finally end her employment discrimination case against the Social Security Administration (SSA), which began 11 years ago.

  21. The Raw Story @RawStory

    Feingold says Citizens United has opened the floodgates of corruption:

  22. Conservatives Start To Sound The Alarm Over Rick Santorum’s Extremism

    Republicans are staring down the increasingly real possibility that Rick Santorum could snatch the presidential nomination away from Mitt Romney and with it any idea that they could mount serious opposition to President Obama in the fall.

    As a result, many have started to hit the panic button, and they’re doing so in a way you probably wouldn’t have expected from the GOP, which still counts evangelicals among its strongest and most reliable base vote. Nevertheless, the freakout is evident from the Romney-allied Drudge Report homepage right through to radio host Laura Ingraham’s national airwaves.

    Rick Santorum, conservatives and his opponents started to say Tuesday, is just too dang extreme.

  23. Ametia says:


    Coming up at 10 am EDT. * AUDIO ONLY

  24. HuffPost Politics @HuffPostPol:

    Santorum makes prenatal testing a campaign issue, says it encourages abortions

  25. rikyrah says:

    February 21, 2012 4:31 PM
    Mitt’s Friends Open Up New Front on Rick

    By Ed Kilgore

    It’s been an implicit part of the rules of engagement in the GOP presidential race that no candidate can be criticized for being too conservative, particularly by Mitt Romney. Thus Rick Perry drew fire not for flirting with secession and nullification theories, or for complaining about “lucky ducky” poor folks who didn’t pay taxes—but for expressing sympathy for the children of undocumented workers. Similarly, Newt Gingrich never got attacked for his anti-Muslim demagoguery or his regular descriptions of the president as a “secular-socialist”—but for once professing belief in the climate change “hoax” and criticizing Ronald Reagan.

    The game has continued up until now with Rick Santorum, whose wacky views on cultural issues have never drawn a breath of complaint from Romney or other Republicans. No, instead they want to talk about Rick’s fiscal “liberalism.”

    That’s why it’s very interesting today that two of Mitt’s highest-profile enablers, Matt Drudge and Jennifer Rubin, seem to have broken the seal on a whole new line of attack—on Santorum’s faith-based zaniness.

    As I write this, the top of the Drudge Report has one of those screaming headline “stories” about Santorum’s “Satan Warning”—along with excerpts from the 2008 Ave Maria speech that us liberals have been discussing for the last several days. Drudge very specifically includes a quote from Santorum’s disparagement of mainline Protestants as having left “the world of Christianity.”

    Meanwhile, WaPo blogger Rubin has a long, inflammatory post calling Santorum a “reactionary”—not a term you hear often in the Right Blogosphere these days—for talking about theology and contraception and in general “seeking to obliterate the national consensus on a range of issues beyond gay marriage and abortion.”

    Now perhaps these are unrelated developments, and Drudge and Rubin are not acting as surrogates for Romney in this case. But I really doubt either of them would launch this particular type of attack on Santorum if they thought Team Mitt would disapprove. Could be that Romney is rattled enough by the Santorum Surge, and concerned enough about what might happen in MI and AZ next Tuesday, that he’s approved a Second Front designed to undermine support for Rick in those segments of the Republican electorate where loose talk about Satan and “un-Christian” mainline Protestants and contraception really isn’t that welcome.

  26. rikyrah says:

    Watergate Manufacturing, Inc.

    by Zandar

    As Steve Benen notes, pretty much everything is “Obama’s Watergate” to Republicans: going on vacation, eating a hamburger, brushing his teeth, and he possibly may have farted once HISTORY’S GREATEST MONSTER ahem sorry. This week’s Watergate, according to the American Spectator, is…Media Matters.

    No, really.

    They’re comparing the paranoid President Nixon’s private investigators hired to find anything they could on his political opponents to…a media watchdog group. See, a media watchdog group that calls out Republicans on their lies HAS to be working for President Obama, who HAS to have an “enemies list” just like Nixon! Q.E.D.!

    And former Reagan official Jeffrey Lord spends 8 pages on this tortured logic. Well, really, he spends 5 and a half pages rehashing Watergate itself, and the rest on that bastion of journalistic freedom, Tucker Carlson, and his hit jobs on Media Matters at the Daily Caller.


    Media Matters head David Brock wrote a book: The Fox Effect: How Roger Ailes Turned a Network into a Propaganda Machine. And of course, the Obama White House HAD EVERYTHING TO DO WITH THE BOOK because of course the CIA and the FBI and the NSA and every other intel agency in DC had to have illegally mind-controlled the patriots at FOX to say bad things about the President because…umm…CHICAGO WAY! WHITE HOUSE THUGS! KENYAN TYRANT! No way these guys are journalists who cracked the unknown secret that FOX News doesn’t like Democrats!

    Investigations are needed! Questions must be asked! And Jeffrey Lord says the President must be shamed into resignation because this is the WORST THING A PRESIDENT HAS EVER DONE. Just the fact that Media Matters exists is central to his point! It is irresponsible not to speculate!

    Seriously. 8 pages of this. It’s hysterical. There’s Obama Derangement Syndrome, and then there’s American Spectator, where tinfoil is a way of life.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Found this in this month’s Town & Country:


    It was Andrew Jackson who first planted a magnolia tree on the White House lawn, with a sprout from a tree near his Tennessee home. THat Jacksonian impluse to reuse and recycle is alive and well. Jewelry designer Kara Ross has been commissioned to create wood cuffs and trays to be presented as gifts by the Obamas to visiting heads of state and their spouses. The pieces – the bracelets are inscribed with the First Lady’s name, the trays with the President’s – are made from wood that has fallen from the White House trees.

  28. rikyrah says:

    This is Mitt Romney

    by BooMan
    Tue Feb 21st, 2012 at 08:07:37 PM EST

    Based on the January filings with the FEC, Barack Obama has raised more money from small donors (those giving under $200) than Mitt Romney has raised in total. Romney has raised 90% of his money from big donors (those giving more than $200). Without the Super PACS this would be completely disastrous because big donors can only give so much to the campaign and then they are capped out, while Obama can keep going back to his small donors for more. Romney can get around that limitation thanks to the Supreme Court’s outrageous decision in the Citizens United case, but that doesn’t mean he’s not in trouble. The truth is that Romney’s campaign is rapidly going broke.

    The Romney for President committee spent nearly $18.8 million against more than $6.5 million raised in January, and it reported $7.67 million cash on hand as of the month’s end.

    At that rate, by the time February is done, Romney will be selling IOU’s to the Chinese to keep his campaign going. By comparison, the president has $96 million in cash on hand and no immediate need to use any of it. And, as I’ve noted, most of his donors are in position to give several more times before they’re maxed-out.

    I don’t usually enjoy Dana Milbank’s irreverent style, but his latest column does capture the reality on the ground for the Romney campaign.

    In terms of sizzle, Sen. Rob Portman makes Mitt Romney look like Lady Gaga. So when the two men shared a stage in suburban Cincinnati on Monday afternoon, the result was pure and unadulterated ennui — exactly the sentiment greeting Romney’s presidential aspirations in the Republican electorate.
    “If you think,” the Ohio Republican exhorted the crowd, “we need fresh new direction and decisive leadership in the White House, then Mitt Romney is your man.”

    Silence in the audience.

    “If you’re looking for work or you have friends who are looking for work,” Portman went on, in monotone, “then Mitt Romney’s your man.”


    “If you think government has grown too large,” the senator continued, “then Mitt Romney’s your man.”


    Five more times, Portman tried the refrain, and each time it produced no reaction. He hurried through his script, straightened out his pile of index cards and called forward Romney, who gave an equally lively speech that praised, among other things, ulcer medication.

    If you’ve spent the last four years surfing in the liberal blogosphere, you might be under the misimpression that Obama’s base is disillusioned and won’t respond the same way they did in 2008. It’s simply not true.

    The number of donors to the campaign is staggering compared to the last election. According to numbers provided to The Huffington Post by the campaign, there have been 1,309,644 individual donors to the campaign. The campaign passed 1 million donors on Oct. 17, 2011, 189 days earlier than during the 2008 election.
    The campaign stated when it hit the 1 million donor mark, that 98 percent of the donations received by the campaign came in increments of less than $250. This is somewhat misleading as it represents the amount given per donation, not per donor; some donors giving small amounts ultimately give more than $200 in the aggregate.

    Obama will be criss-crossing the country this summer and fall appearing before sold-out throngs of adoring organizers and fans. Romney will be more like Spinal Tap, working small halls, dealing with cancellations, trying to explain gaffes like the “Smell the Glove” cover and the miniature Stonehedge stage props. Should he stick with “Hell Hole” and “Sex Farm,” or should he try to sell them with “(Listen to the) Flower People”?

  29. rikyrah says:

    Girl Scout Troops Banned From Va. Church

    St. Timothy in Chantilly cites Planned Parenthood “affiliation”

    Monday, Jan 23, 2012 | Updated 4:22 PM EST

    Several Girl Scout troops in Chantilly, Va., have been banned from meeting at a local Catholic church and a neighboring school.

    St. Timothy Catholic Church said that scouts won’t be allowed to meet or wear their uniforms on church property. The edict also applies to the adjacent St. Timothy School, which enrolls students from preschool to eighth grade.

    According to the Arlington Diocese, the pastor did not believe the National Girl Scouts membership to the World Association of Girl Guides & Girl Scouts aligned with the message of the church, stemming from a perceived connection between WAGGGS and Planned Parenthood.

    The Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital said its parent/national organization is not WAGGGS, but instead Girl Scouts of the USA, which does not have a relationship with Planned Parenthood.

    A spokesman for the diocese released a statement that says in part:

    “Every pastor in the diocese has the responsibility to determine how best to use their parish facilities, consider the requests of outside groups, and reconcile such requests with the needs and mission of their parish community.”

    The regional Girl Scouts council said it will make sure the troops affected can find a new home.

  30. rikyrah says:

    GOP shuts down Sandra Fluke (again)
    By Steve Benen
    Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:00 AM EST.

    Last week, the House Oversight Committee, led by Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), held a one-sided hearing on contraception access, featuring an opening panel of five conservative men — and no one else. Democrats on the committee had invited a witness, Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke, but Issa refused to allow her to participate.

    House Dems aren’t taking “no” for an answer.

    In case it wasn’t already apparent how politicized women’s health has become on Capitol Hill, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Tuesday that a Democratic panel will meet this week to hear testimony from just one witness: Sandra Fluke, the woman who House Republicans refused to let testify at their hearing on the birth control rule last week.

    Pelosi announced that the House Democratic Steering & Policy Committee will meet Thursday at 10 a.m. to discuss women’s health. A senior Democratic aide said it is common practice for party leaders to use that committee to cast a spotlight on overtly political matters.

    “We’ve used the Steering and Policy Committee as a place to highlight what the Republicans ARE NOT doing with their hearings,” the aide said in an email.

    There was, however, an unexpected twist yesterday afternoon. The Democratic Steering & Policy Committee’s hearing will be held in the House Recording Studio, in order to help broadcast the event, except in this case, it won’t be seen by anyone outside the room. According to House Dems, the Republican-controlled Committee on House Administration has refused to allow the hearing to be televised.

    In other words, the House GOP blocked Sandra Fluke from testifying at a hearing last week, and now they’re apparently blocking Sandra Fluke from testifying at another hearing this week.

    And what is it, exactly, about Fluke’s perspective that has Republicans so concerned? The law student wants to share the story of a classmate who lost an ovary due to an ailment that could have been treated with birth control.

    Here’s a video of Fluke, sharing a perspective the House GOP apparently doesn’t want you to see:

  31. Ametia says:

    Adele Flashes Middle Finger at Brit Awards

    Adele has won two prizes at the Brit Awards ceremony in London, but was at the centre of controversy after one of her acceptance speeches was cut short.

    Her speech was halted after she picked up the prize for best British album. She also won best British female.

    “I flung the middle finger. That was for the suits at the Brit Awards, not my fans. I’m sorry if I offended anyone but the suits offended me,” she said.

    Ed Sheeran also won two awards – best British male and British breakthrough.

    Coldplay were crowned best British group for a record third time, while former X Factor boy band One Direction beat Adele to the award for best British single.

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