Sunday, June 30, 2013

How Civilized Nations Respond to the Danger of Criminalizing Abortion

From Firedoglake:

 Bolivia is considering legalizing abortion.  About one-third of “maternal deaths in Bolivia are due to unsafe abortion.”

What You Really Have to Fear from Metadata

The NSA snooping story changes daily: They're reading our email! No, just counting our phone calls. No, just looking for patterns. No, they're watching us on the Internet.

Actually, it's better and worse than all that. Because the real winner is the plutocracy.

Jaron Lanier at The Nation explains:
The abuse of a system like PRISM would probably not look like a high-tech Stasi. PRISM is unlikely to be optimal for suggesting who should be dragged off in the night by a police state. (Though maybe the senselessness and randomness of violence is part of what keeps violent regimes in power, but that is another question.) Instead, PRISM could be the preamble to a regime of slow, subtle conformity.

A government could engage in undetectable targeted repression using metadata. Something like PRISM might be hooked up to a secret civil defense mechanism in which certain people are subject to a couple of extra steps when they apply for a loan, for instance. Our enshrined secret FISA court would hear that those who might be linked to terrorists—albeit in only an exceedingly weak, insubstantial, statistical sense—must be investigated before buying up American real estate. (That could be part of a terrorist plot, after all.)

If you are a conservative, please read this paragraph: a misuse of something like PRISM might manifest itself as a slight increase in the difficulty with which conservatives can get credit. The difference would be just slight enough to be almost impossible to document definitively. And yet over enough time, the results would be substantial.

If you are a progressive, please read this paragraph: a misuse of something like PRISM might manifest itself as a slight increase in the difficulty with which progressives can get credit. The difference would be just slight enough to be almost impossible to document definitively. And yet over enough time, the results would be substantial.

Metadata systems can turn the kind of broad, almost subconscious mechanisms that have persistently held back African-Americans and Native Americans into a science. It’s been hard to say exactly why certain demographics and neighborhoods seem never to get ahead. Analysis can sometimes be harder than engineering.

Metadata as a tool of political power would paint with such a broad brush that you’d barely be able to notice it. If only people who oppose a war are targeted, for instance, a judicious number of hawks would also be drawn into the dragnet. The effect would be slight and statistical, but with the power of compound interest over time. Metadata could perfect plausibly deniable discrimination.

In a sense, it already has. Metadata is a slow, relentless concentrator of wealth and power for those who run the computers best able to calculate with it. The only form of targeting that is absolutely reliable is distinguishing those who run the biggest computers from everyone else. The former group can concentrate tremendous wealth, while the latter group languishes behind. The rise of big computers is a primary engine of the rise of the 1 percent. Therefore, metadata scheming could probably also be applied to subtly align a population with a government over some years. After a decade or two, the political opposition might be poor, divided, cranky and ineffective.

The proof is already with us. Young people, weaned on free Internet services that spy on them, seem to have accepted an America in which their financial prospects are reduced, and in which no one should expect “privacy.” The acquiescence of our young people is historically exceptional and bizarre. In the metadata age, privacy needs a new definition, and it might be “freedom from being profiled.” Or “equity with those who use the biggest computers.”

Metadata is a more natural tool for a plutocracy than for a junta. Metadata is not a tiger; it’s a barnacle. But don’t underestimate a barnacle. Tigers are endangered, while the ship of state is becoming more encrusted every day.

Kentucky Lets Companies Fire You for Getting Abused

Speaking of social shaming.

Last week, Carie Charlesworth, a teacher in California and a victim of domestic violence, was fired from her job because her abusive husband invaded the school parking lot and put the school on lockdown. While her abuser was sent to prison, she was also punished for his crime by losing her employment.
The school’s action -– firing her because she is a victim of domestic abuse –- is sadly legal in most states. 
Just six, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, New York, Oregon, and Rhode Island, have laws on the books that bar employment discrimination against victims of domestic abuse or sexual assault, according to an up-to-date document tracking these laws from Legal Momentum. State Senators in California introduced a non-discrimination bill in February, which has been referred to committee.
You know what I'd love to hear? Explanations from the Penis Crowd in the Kentucky General Assembly for why they won't support a bill barring employment discrimination against victims of domestic abuse or sexual assault.

Will Kentucky's liberal women of the General Assembly step forward with a bill in January? Kathy Stein? Mary Lou Marzian? Ruth Ann Palumbo? Any Democratic male senator or representative?

C'mon, surprise me.

How They Did It

Destroy America's post-war prosperity, that is.  Gather 'round, children, for within living memory it was possible to put yourself through college working a minimum-wage job - without any loans. With just a high-school diploma you could land a job that paid enough with benefits to support a family with a house in the suburbs and two cars. And the rich paid enough taxes to support new highways, schools, parks and water systems.

What happened was not a natural disaster. It was carefully planned and meticulously carried out by the plutocrats who now insist a lords-n-serfs economy is just the way it has to be.

There are dozens of superb books on this subject, but if you want a quick overview, these two articles are excellent.
From Firedoglake:
 “Thirty years ago, the old deal that held US society together started to unwind, with social cohesion sacrificed to greed.  Was it an inevitable process–or . . . engineered by self-interested elites?”

 “How Republicans Made America A Top Poverty Creator”.
And this:

Why Even Educated, Professional Women Don't Report Sexual Assault

Because when they do, they get treated like this:

It’s the repercussions that bounce back and slam women over and over and over again afterwards that are really chilling. I’ve known people who were robbed, and no one afterwards questions their competence or the appropriateness of their activities at a conference; no one blames the victim. Why is rape different?

And she lost friends and reputation over something that was not her fault.


Is her attempted rapist now wrestling with his conscience and wondering whether he’ll be able to interact appropriately with his professional peers now? I doubt it. That anguish is left to his victims. He apparently has no worries that his fellow security consultants might reject him for his behavior…and he’s a goddamned rapist.
The shaming of sexual assault victims is the last but critical part of rape culture: it intimidates future victims from reporting,  thus letting rapists get away with their crimes even in a society that official condemns them.

Anyone who shames a victim of sexual assault - or even withholds full support - is an accessory after the fact.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The "National Security" Excuse Is, Always Has Been and Always Will Be Bullshit

From Firedoglake:

[T]he Bush-Cheney administration began [domestic] surveillance at least 7 months prior to 9/11″, bypassing the FISA court.  AT&T, Verizon and Bellsouth, apparently, agreed to participate.

Someone at Work You Don't Like? Report Him As a National Security Threat

It's easy!  According to the federal government, virtually any human behavior is probable cause for reporting your annoying coworker as a likely spy.

No, not in 1950. Today.

I know that people pretty much don't care about this Internal Threat Program (certainly the media doesn't) but perhaps you might find it a teensy bit interesting when you see the brochure they're using at the defense department.  Via Michael Moore:

This is a public document by the way. And yes it seriously says, "it is better to have reported overzealously than never to have reported at all."

Here's the FBI's version. Found it through a simple google search:


I don't know whether to laugh or cry.  These are so over-the-top paranoid that I can't help but wonder if it's some kind of a joke. But clearly, it isn't.  And if you read the original McClatchy story, you'll see that each federal department --- even the Peace Corps, has implemented this program.

Also note that this isn't just about national security. It's aimed at contractors as well as government employees and its designed to protect against "intellectual copyright" and proprietary information. And the personal factors in the FBI's list encompass the whole of the human condition as suspicious behavior: financial need, anger, problems at work with lack of recognition, disagreements with co-workers, dissatisfaction with the job, ideology ("a desire to help the 'underdog' or a particular cause")divided loyalty -- allegiance to another person or company, adventure/thrillseeker,vulnerability to blackmail. Indeed the only person who would not from time to time come under suspicion is a robot or a person so paranoid about being suspected that they act like a robot and totally avoid any real relationships among the people they work with.

Keep in mind that the Defense Department brochure even makes a point of saying that many "spies" have no access to classified material.  This means everyone in the government is under suspicion. That's absurd.
 Just for shits and giggles, use these brochures at work on Monday to identify employee behaviors you see that the federal government considers "reportable." My guess is that by the end of the day, there won't be a single "unsuspicious" person in your workplace.

Election Fraud, Brought to You Exclusively By Repugs

 A 28-year-old VA man has pled guilty” to charges of voter fraud and forgery of thousands of signatures on Newt Gingrich’s campaign ballot” in the VA presidential primary.
 Again, this is NOT voter fraud.  No one walked into a polling station and attempted to cast a ballot in someone else's name.
This is a variety of election fraud called petition fraud: forging signatures on a petition to get a candidate on the ballot.

Another variety of election fraud that only repugs commit is voter suppression: preventing Democratic voters from casting ballots by demanding costly identification, restricting voting machines in Democratic precincts, limiting voting hours to times unavailable to working people, etc.

There is no such thing as voter fraud. There is only election fraud, and only repugs commit it.

More from Brad Friedman.

"The question is whether we will have the courage to act before it’s too late.

Reject the Keystone Pipeline, Mr. President.  Then we'll know you're serious about arresting global climate change.

Full transcript here.

Somebody Tell Mitch: Do NOT Fuck With the NFL

Contrary to what GOP leaders appear to think, major-league athletes are not stupid. Many of them are also, um, you know - (whispers) black. Like the President. Who owns Obamacare.

Senate Republican leaders have sent letters warning six professional sports leagues not to provide the Obama administration any assistance in promoting Obamacare.

The letters, dated June 27, warn the chiefs of the National Football League, Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, Professional Golf Association and NASCAR that partnering with the administration to publicize the benefits of the health care law would damage their reputations.

“Given the divisiveness and persistent unpopularity of this bill, it is difficult to understand why an organization like yours would risk damaging its inclusive and apolitical brand by lending its name to its promotion,” wrote Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX).

The letters come days after Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said she’s spoken with the NFL about potentially partnering to let people know the benefits of the Affordable Care Act ahead of the implementation of its major components. (She said there was no deal yet.) The Republican senators rattled off a slew of conservative arguments against the law, stressing polls that signal its unpopularity with the public.
Yeah, about those polls. When you add the people who support Obamacare to the people who oppose it because it's not socialistic enough, you get a majority who want a public health insurance system.

Not that repugs are capable of telling the truth about anything.

NFL players, on the other hand, are trained to spot attempted fakes.

State Closes Last Private Prison

For all the shit Kentucky gets wrong - coughprescriptionsdrugscough - every once in a while the Commonwealth shows the nation how modern, progressive government is done.

From now on, the confinement, care and safety of every prisoner will be the direct responsibility of state employees and elected officials, whom the public can hold directly accountable.

That's the only way to make anything work in a democracy.

Oh, and save a shitload of money in the process.

From the press release 

Justice and Public Safety Secretary J. Michael Brown today announced that the Kentucky Department of Corrections would not enter into a new contractual agreement with a private prison in Marion County when the current contract expires on Sunday.

The decision means that for the first time in nearly 30 years, Kentucky would have no inmates housed in private prisons.

“Through the collaborative efforts of administration officials, legislative leaders, and local communities, we have made real, sustained progress in reducing the number of inmates while better preparing those who are incarcerated to re-enter society,” Sec. Brown said.  “This has created, for the first time in a generation, an opportunity to manage our inmate population with existing DOC facilities, county jails, and local halfway houses.”

Secretary Brown credited the bold policy changes contained in House Bill 463 from the 2011 legislative session with much of the progress in Kentucky’s criminal justice system.  The law modernized Kentucky drug laws and reinvested a portion of the savings from reduced prison costs into drug treatment opportunities for offenders who need help.

The department has up to 120 days to move all inmates from Marion Adjustment Center (MAC) once its current contract expires.  However, the exact transition schedule will be worked out between DOC and MAC’s parent company, Corrections Corporation of America.

MAC currently houses 794 inmates, including 232 non-secure custody inmates and 562 secure custody inmates. The department is preparing a transition plan to ensure that all inmates currently enrolled in a Substance Abuse Program (SAP) will either have completed the program prior to leaving MAC, or will be placed in a SAP elsewhere to ensure their treatment is uninterrupted. 

This opportunity to ensure continued treatment is available through the recent expansion of SAP beds in the department’s facilities, local jails, and through community mental health center contracts that offer more flexibility in providing treatment.

“One of the major considerations in making this decision was whether we could continue to meet the treatment needs of inmates struggling with substance abuse issues, and that has been assured,” Brown said.

CCA will determine the next course of action for its facility and employees.  If needed, employees of the private company will be assisted by a rapid response team from the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet and by the Personnel Cabinet in the application process for those seeking potential employment in state government.

It is estimated that inmates housed at MAC can be moved to other facilities available to DOC and county jails at an estimated savings of $1.5 to $2.5 million per year.

“The Department of Corrections continually reassesses its bed space needs, and this decision is further evidence of the department’s responsible and efficient use of state resources, as well as an indication that the reforms we’ve enacted over the past several years are working,” Brown said.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Your Grammar Nazi

No disrespect to the Rude Pundit, because I've seen this several places recently, but I think this says the opposite of what he meant to say:

Really, is there anyone who didn't think that TV chef and restauranteur Paula Deen didn't say "nigger" at some point in her life?
The double negative means the two "didn't"s cancel each other out so the questions asks if anyone thought she DID say it.

If you want to ask if anyone thought she did NOT say it, you'd phrase it this way:

"Really, is there anyone who thought that TV chef and restauranteur Paula Deen didn't say "nigger" at some point in here life."

In other words, no one thinks she did not say it; everyone thinks she did.

Count your "not"s; if it's an even number, they cancel each other out.

What the Abortion "Debate" Has Always Been

"Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers."
-- George Carlin

And here's the whole beautiful thing:

KY and IN: Don't Just Keep the Poor Poor; Make Them Even PoorER

Those bridges are built with tax dollars, including the tax dollars of the very working poor people who will be financially crippled by the new tolls.

As a Kentucky taxpayer who is paying for those bridges but who will use them maybe once a year at most, I say make toll zero for the working class and $100 each way for the fucking parasitic rich..

Joseph Gerth at the Courier:

Kentucky and Indiana have decided not to pursue lower tolls for poor and minority drivers on Ohio River Bridges despite finding that the charges would be “appreciably more severe or greater in magnitude” for them.

According to a draft report released Thursday by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the Indiana Department of Transportation, the two states are committed to finding ways to mitigate the impact on minorities and those with low incomes, but largely left it to the states to pursue those efforts.

People will have 30 days to respond to the draft report and then the states’ transportation agencies will begin assembling their final report, which would then go to the Federal Highway Administration, which requires the study for interstate tolls, for final approval. Work has already begun on the massive project to build two new bridges across the Ohio and reconfigure Spaghetti Junction in downtown Louisville.

Louisville Metro Council Woman Attica Scott, D-1st District, said she’s hopeful the states will reconsider and create a way for people who are struggling financially to pay less.

“What they’re saying is we’re going to take part of your paycheck just for getting back and forth to work,” she said.

The report said that the tolls would “cause a disproportionately high and adverse economic effect” on minorities and people with low incomes.

The draft report rejects discounting tolls and giving credits to low-income people who cross the bridge regularly.
 Here's an idea: Eliminate the fucking tolls - which are ALWAYS a tax on working people - and raise income taxes on the fucking parasitic rich to cover the infrastructure cost.

That's the way it was done in this country for more than 40 years, including the most prosperous and economically equal decades in history.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Terrorist Insects and the Poisoning of Western Kentucky

If you live in Western Kentucky, get the fuck out of there this weekend, and take all your animals with you, while waiving bye-bye to your vegetable garden. I mean it. Ag Commissioner Jaime Comer has declared mosquitos a terrorist threat beside which Al Qaeda pales in comparison, and he's gonna poison those motherfuckers to death.

No matter how many human beings get poisoned, too.

How do I know he's using a poison that will harm people? Because he's refusing to name it.

From the press release:

Agriculture Commissioner James Comer said the Kentucky Department of Agriculture will commit resources to conduct aerial mosquito control applications around Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley in an effort to knock down a significant infestation caused by heavy rains in the area. Department officials met with representatives of Gov. Steve Beshear’s administration last week, and the group put together a plan to address the problem.

“This infestation is beyond the capability of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture to control from the ground,” Comer said. “This is a serious problem for our friends in western Kentucky, and we want them to know that help is on the way.”


As a result of the entomologist’s report, the Department of Agriculture will work with private contractors — Clarke, a global environmental products and services company based in Roselle, Ill., and Dynamic Aviation of Bridgewater, Va. — to spray an area within two miles around the lakes between the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers to the north and U.S. 68 to the south. The total area to be treated is approximately 133,249 acres. Product will be applied at a rate of 0.8 ounce per acre.
"Product." Might we know the name of this "product." No. Its active ingredients? No.  The information on its Material Data Sheet supplied to emergency response teams regarding its toxicity and danger of exposure? NO.
No special precautions are necessary during the application, according to Clarke, but the company encourages residents with individual health concerns to contact their healthcare providers.
Like I said, Get. Out. Of. There.

Comer will appear at a town hall meeting in Trigg County next week to discuss the department’s plan and answer questions from the public. Roger Thomas with the Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy and numerous other state and local officials also will attend. The meeting will take place on July 2 at 9 a.m. CDT at the Renaissance Center in Cadiz.
HAHAHAHAHA. The spraying begins Jun 29!  Day after tomorrow! Three days BEFORE this meeting, at which the public will have no questions because it will be Too. Fucking. Late.

Wonder why in 10 grafs Comer found plenty of room for specious claims about the pesticide's safety, but not room for a single word - the name of the pesticide.  Could it be because it's this one?
In our focus on energy, let’s not forget the joy of pesticides. Certainly people in Wilsonville, Oregon won’t forget:
Target shoppers in Wilsonville, Oregon found a tragedy in the parking lot as tens of thousands of of bumble bees were found dead and dying on the pavement, along with honey bees and ladybugs. Shoppers notified Rich Hatfield, a conservation biologist with the Portland-based Xerces Society of Invertebrate Conservation, who went to the scene to investigate.
Oregon officials say preliminary results point to an insecticide that was used on the nearby European Linden trees. The trees were sprayed with a pesticide called Safari to kill aphids, an insect that destroys plants and vegetation. Safari is part of a group of pesticides called neonicotinoids that are known to kill pollinators such as bumblebees, Associated Press reports. The investigation is still under way. If the pesticide is the confirmed cause and it wasn’t used according to the label instructions, civil penalties could be handed down ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 per violation for gross negligence or willful misconduct, Dale Mitchell, program manager in the Agriculture Department’s pesticide compliance and enforcement section, told AP.
Why is this pesticide even legal? But hey, I’m sure that a pesticide that kills 50,000 bees has no effect on humans. So. Much. Confidence.
Fifty years ago, Rachel Carson, the author of Silent Spring, referred to pesticides and herbicides as biocides, literally "life-killer," because they kill living things.

If you're a living thing, stay the fuck out of Western Kentucky this weekend. 

What Will the Climate Speech Mean After Obama Approves Keystone?

Because that's what "significantly increase pollution" means: "Regardless of the facts about the effect of tar sands extraction on global warming, this narrow definition means I can justify approving a pipeline that will mean game over for human civilization."

Erik Loomis at Lawyers, Guns and Money:

First, Obama is absolutely correct to simply sidestep Congress here. In the long run, arguably the biggest impact of Congressional dysfunction could be that presidents regardless of party begin to ignore it and we move closer to unilateral rule. Of course, filibuster reform would help with this. Anyway, Obama still has significant power within the Executive Branch to shape policy and it is here he will leave his climate legacy.

Second, increasing carbon emissions standards on power plants is absolutely the best way to go about this, or at least it’s a very good first step. If it is a war on coal, then it is a war on coal. I know the UMWA and coal companies hate him for it, and what we really need is a clear program of green jobs in coal country to replace the jobs lost to environmental regulations, but sometimes you just have to make these hard decisions. 
Of course, the vast majority of coal jobs have already disappeared due to automation and industry disinvestment in Appalachia for new coal seams in Wyoming.

Third, Obama needs to take two steps he doesn’t want to take to show he is serious. First, he needs to not allow the Keystone XL Pipeline. If he lets that be built, it demonstrates that he is unwilling to do what it will actually take to slow climate change. Second, he needs to fight against coal exports to China. The Powder River Basin in Wyoming is now basically an enormous coal mine, mostly to serve an export market. West Coast cities are fighting against having their ports used for coal exports. Obama needs to step in here. I am skeptical on both counts.

Fourth, the plan really needs a more vigorous green jobs program and clean energy subsidies to replace dirty energy subsidies, but without funding from Congress, it’s hard to do too much here.

Fifth, none of this will probably make a molehill’s worth of difference in the ultimate battle against climate change. But a start is a start and you have to do something. Overall, it’s a positive speech, for whatever that’s worth.

As a sidenote, it’s also worth reading this essay by environmental justice scholar Robert Bullard on the need for historically black colleges to take climate change seriously. It’s an environmental justice issue.

Unfortunately, even those affected don’t always see it that way because unlike a toxic waste dump in your backyard, you don’t notice it every day.

….Or as Pierce says, Obama’s bailing the ocean out with a thimble. 

Ayn Randy Goes for the Gold in Moronic Hate

Ted Cruz is going to have to up his game to compete with this. Or Rick Santorum is going to sue the Tribble-Toupeed One for plagiarism.

Joseph Gerth at the Courier:

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul suggested Wednesday that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act moves the country toward accepting marriages between people and animals.
Paul’s spokeswoman, however, said the senator was being sarcastic.

The comment came after radio talk show host Glenn Beck raised questions about whether the law could prohibit polygamous marriages following the ruling that requires the federal government to treat legally married gay couples the same as heterosexual couples.

“Who are you to say, if I’m a devout Muslim and I come over here and have three wives ... that I can’t have multiple marriages?” Beck asked Paul.

Paul responded: “I think it’s a conundrum. If we have no laws on this, people take it to one extension further, does it have to be humans, you know?
This is the repug game now: Say something over-the-top outrageously stupid and/or hateful to satisfy the slavering beasts of the repug base, then claim you were just kidding to keep the media and not-insane voters from having you committed.

And never forget: Paul beat a primary and then a general election opponent against each of whom he was given zero chance of winning.

This motherfucker is dangerous.

No remark is too stupid or hateful to accomplish both.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Attention Red-State Democrats: This is How It's Done

Come to Kentucky, Wendy, and run against Mitch McConnell.  He is TERRIFIED of women bearing giant cans of whoop-ass.


Were you unable to sleep last night because of the sound of women screaming WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK?!?!? coming out of the Texas state capitol? It all started when state Sen. Wendy Davis, Wonkette’s unanimous frontrunner for the Legislative Badass of the Year Award, stood on her feet all goddamned day to explain, in little itty bitty words that even Texas Republicans should be able to understand, why Senate Bill 5 — which bans abortion after 20 weeks, requires clinics to be certified as “ambulatory surgical centers,” and a bunch of other steaming donkeyshit — is wrong and stupid and unconstitutional and also wrong and stupid (and unconstitutional). As Yr Wonkette already ‘splained at you, all but five of Texas’s 47 existing clinics would have to close under this new bill.
But then? Oh, there were shenanigans!

As you might imagine, the menfolk of the Texas Senate did not appreciate having to listen to some lady running her mouth off ’bout ladyparts, as, clearly, that’s none of her business. State Sen. Bob Deuell, who is A Doctor and also A Idiot, even mansplained that none of this is even relevant because — we shit you not — pregnancy only results from “accurate intercourse.” Yeah. We can’t believe that shit either. Except that considering today’s Republican Party, we totally can.

But Wendy Davis, who is a superbad badass, just kept yammerin’ and yammerin’ and was all, like, “No, I will NOT yield.” Which is when the menfolk did some outside-the-box thinking (yes, we use that “thinking” word loosely) and decided they’d found a way to shut that whole thing down.

WHAT?!? you say. They just, like, made her stop talking? Why yes they did. Because she dared to discuss other Texas restrictions on abortion, and the menfolk kept saying that discussing abortion restrictions was not “germane” to the discussion of abortion restrictions, and some RIDICULOSE Texas procedural rule says that if the men whine three times and click their heels, they can end a filibuster.

In case you were watching the clock, yes, that was the exact moment that ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE.
The audience — and vaginas all across the land — started shouting “BULLSHIT!” so the Texas menfolk had the audience escorted and locked out of the room because lalalalalala, we can’t hear you! Shut up, men are talking!

They then proceeded to discuss, for, like, hours, whether the whining about referencing abortion restrictions in a discussion about abortion restrictions was “germane this” and “germane that” and yes, Jermaine was the worst Jackson, and argle bargle something something yadda yadda MAKE THE MEAN LADY STOP TALKING!

Finally, after they’d consulted themselves and their manual enough to convince themselves that yes, they were quite certain they did not want to hear any more from the little woman, they decided it was time to vote on their heinous bill. And that’s when the dogs of war were REALLY slipped and the crowd went wild. No, seriously, it went motherfucking wild. There was screaming and shouting, even as the very gifted state Sen. Robert Lloyd Duncan begged the crowd to please stop shouting at him and said, “If I can have some order,” to which the crowd basically shouted FUCK YOU AND YOUR ORDER! And when he tried to announce a vote tally — surprise! The menfolk got their way, according to his calculation! — the crowd erupted into chants of “SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!” and some more general shouting and outrage, while the GOP frantically looked for a parliamentary loophole so they could fool the crowd into leaving, then vote with no one in the chamber.

While the bill did not actually pass by the midnight deadline, the GOP decided it was just a heckuva lot easier to say it did. Congratulations, womens of Texas! You are cordially invited to go intercourse yourselves accurately.

Except wait! After a couple more hours of private conversation in quiet rooms, the GOP decided that maybe stealing a vote right in front of the whole world was not such a good idea, and that it was finally and bitterly willing to admit the official vote was recorded at 12:03 (that’s after midnight, for you clock-challenged Republicans out there). So SB5 is, it turns out, dead as fried chicken. Awww yeah.
As always on Wonkette, the comments are Not. To. Be. Missed. Here are my favorites:
Its also super awesome that the people were able to keep this from happening by being involved. Like right there involved. 
Molly Ivins would be so proud.
It's like, duh. Just when you thought there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between the two parties, the Republicans go and prove you're wrong.

The thing about democracy, beloveds, is that it is not neat, orderly, or quiet. It requires a certain relish for confusion.

from her last column, January 11, 2007: We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. Raise hell. Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous. Make our troops know we're for them and trying to get them out of there.

I'd say "RIP, Molly," but somehow I suspect her reply would be "oh hell no, darlin', we've got work to do..."

So would Ann Richards and Barbara Jordan...

Finally, from Juanita Jean:

Annoy Republicans: Spread the Word on Signing Up for Obamacare

If you can't stop the government from providing health insurance to working people, then prevent working people from finding out how to sign up for it.

Charlie Peters:

If you ever wonderedwhether the conservative base of the Republican congressional monkeyhouse gives a damn about anyone else, the fact that they're planning to slow-play their own constituents on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act ought to settle your mind for you handsomely.


This is indecent. This is inhumane. This is your Republican congressional caucus in 2013. And both of these clowns, who are on the public record now as saying they will make the lives of their constituents more difficult, will be re-elected. Easily. 
Steve Benen at Maddowblog:
In early May, Kevin Drum raised a point that resonated with me: "Dems need to be promoting Obamacare with the same fervor Republicans bring to the attack, pointing out its benefits and upsides at every opportunity. So far I haven't seen this ... but it better start happening soon."

In context, Kevin was making a political point -- the GOP intends to use condemnations of the Affordable Care Act as part of its strategy in the 2014 midterms -- but there's also a substantive angle to all of this: the public needs to know about the law, have some understanding of its benefits, and participate in the system. So far, we've seen no real public-relations campaign to speak of.

That's changing quickly and promotional efforts are gearing up in ways we haven't seen up until now. The above ad is being aired by Organizing for America, and within the Obama administration, the push is taking on a new urgency. To get a better sense of the pitch, take a look at the newly revamped, unveiled this morning.

In the meantime, Enroll America, a nonprofit led by several former Obama campaign staffers, is spearheading enrollment efforts, "knocking on doors, advertising on television and radio and partnering with churches, civic groups, hospitals and celebrities."

All of this seems to be happening at once, and the timing is not coincidental: Sarah Kliff reported yesterday that there are now just 99 days remaining until Oct. 1, the point at which "millions can begin enrolling in the health care law's insurance expansion." It's an exciting opportunity, but the prospect of federal officials establishing insurance marketplaces in dozens of states is, to put it mildly, daunting. Complicating matters is the number of Americans who may not realize they should show up in the marketplace -- 42% of Americans still don't realize the Affordable Care Act is federal law, intact, not repealed, and not struck down by the Supreme Court.
If you know anyone who doesn't have health insurance, send that person to Obamacare is, literally, the greatest thing since Medicare.

And every person who signs up pokes a stick in the eye of obstructionist republicans.

Carbon Regulation Could Save Kentucky, If Only We Let It

Kentucky won't cut itself free from the rotting corpse of the coal industry until we're forced to.

Bill Estep at the Herald

Kentucky's coal-fired power plants produce a lot of carbon dioxide, so President Barack Obama's call Tuesday to limit such emissions from existing plants sparked sharp reaction.

Supporters saw a historic effort to step away from the brink of devastating climate changes. Opponents predicted economic ruin. Utilities said the plan could drive up electricity rates.
U.S. Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, and U.S. Reps. Andy Barr, Hal Rogers and Ed Whitfield, all Kentucky Republicans, condemned Obama's plan, saying higher electricity rates would kill U.S. jobs.
"He may as well call his plan what it is: a plan to ship jobs overseas," McConnell said in a speech hours before Obama released the plan.

Whitfield, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power, said the panel would hold hearings on Obama's plan and its anticipated economic effects.
Alabama native and Louisville city boy McConnell doesn't give a flying fuck about coal miners and their families, and Whitfield "represents" Western Kentucky from his long-time home in Florida.
Kentucky gets more than 90 percent of its electricity from coal-burning power plants, so the state is one of the largest carbon producers in the country — one of 18 where emissions went up from 2000 to 2010, according to federal statistics.
 Eastern Kentucky already has seen a dramatic drop in coal production and jobs as low natural gas prices led utilities to switch for cost savings.

Justin Maxson, president of the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development, said that as the administration moves to cut carbon emissions, it should invest in Eastern Kentucky communities long dependant on coal.

Officials at every level need to build a more diverse economy by supporting entrepreneurs and promoting sustainable forestry and wood products, energy efficiency, and local foods and tourism, Maxson said.

In his speech, Obama anticipated the charge that his plan would kill jobs.

U.S. businesses have responded many times before with innovation to reduce pollution without economic ruin, Obama said. "Don't bet against American workers. Don't tell folks that we have to choose between the health of our children or the health of our economy," he said.

Environmentalists and others applauded Obama's initiative.

"This should have been done a long time ago," said Suzanne Tallichet, chair of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth.

Reducing carbon pollution will benefit human health and the environment, she said.
But only shutting down fossil fuels for good will free Kentucky and the rest of the nation from carbon serfdom.

Read more here:

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Upstairs Lounge - Never Forget

I have to admit I had never heard of the massacre at the Upstairs Lounge before reading Chris Clarks' post today. But there's a reason for that.

The UpStairs Lounge arson was the deadliest fire in New Orleans history and the largest massacre of gay people ever in the U.S. Yet it didn’t make much of an impact news-wise. The few respectable news organizations that deigned to cover the tragedy made little of the fact that the majority of the victims had been gay, while talk-radio hosts tended to take a jocular or sneering tone: What do we bury them in? Fruit jars, sniggered one, on the air, only a day after the massacre.

Other, smaller disasters resulted in City Hall press conferences or statements of condolence from the governor, but no civil authorities publicly spoke out about the fire, other than to mumble about needed improvements to the city’s fire code.

Continuing this pattern of neglect, the New Orleans police department appeared lackluster about the investigation (the officers involved denied it). The detectives wouldn’t even acknowledge that it was an arson case, saying the cause of the fire was of “undetermined origin.” No one was ever charged with the crime, although an itinerant troublemaker with known mental problems, Rogder Dale Nunez, is said to have claimed responsibility multiple times. Nunez, a sometime visitor to the UpStairs Lounge, committed suicide in 1974.

Watch the trailer for Royd Anderson’s new documentary about the UpStairs Lounge:
Clarke writes:
It was a horrible murderous act, with 32 people dead, and Terry’s post is really hard to read. Not only for the description of the suffering (with a grotesque photo of the body of Metropolitan Community Church pastor Bill Larson, be warned) but also for the description of the reaction of locals after the event.
Tough reading, but do it anyway if you can. The victims at the UpStairs Lounge have been all but forgotten. They fucking well deserve better, and so do we.

Now We Get To Work

Well of course they did.

So, we don't get to depend on the Justice Department to protect our voting rights any more.

Because the race to suppress every Democratic voter has already begun.

That means we have to protect our own damn rights.

And that means we can't take state legislative elections for granted any more. Now every single seat counts. Every single vote counts.

We have to make sure that voting rights absolutists run for every single legislative seat and win every single legislative seat.

We have to talk face-to-face to every single Democratic voter out there and say point-blank: there is nothing stopping republicans from taking away your voting rights.  They will block everyone who is not a straight, white, xian male over the age of 40 from voting, and there is not a goddamn thing anybody can do about it.

They are YOUR voting rights: Defend them!

They were given to you by people who literally fought and died for them.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) urged Congress to enact legislation that would protect the freedom to vote on Tuesday, just hours after the Supreme Court struck down a portion of the Voting Rights Act that stopped discriminatory voting laws from going into effect in areas of the country with histories of disenfranchisement.

In a 5 to 4 opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts, the Court ruled that Section 4, which establishes the formula that determines which jurisdictions are subject to federal “preclearance” of changes in election laws, is unconstitutional. Congress will now have to decide which areas of the country still deserve additional federal scrutiny.

 “These men that voted to strip the Voting Rights Act of its power, they never stood in unmovable lines,” Lewis told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell. “They never had to pass a so-called literacy test. It took us almost 100 years to get where we are today. So will it take another 100 years to fix it, to change it?” he asked.

Congress voted to renew the Voting Rights Act in 1970, 1975, 1982, and 2006, each time with increasingly larger margins. Twenty Republican senators who are still serving in Congress supported re-authorization in 2006 and only 33 members in the House voted against it.

“It is going to be very difficult,” to pass legislation in this Congress, Lewis admitted, “but people said the same thing in 1965.”

 “I think what happened today with the Supreme Court will motivate hundreds and thousands of people, African American, latino, white, Asian American, Native Americans, men, women, students, to come out. The vote is precious.”


“I didn’t think that on that day when President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act, that I would live to see five members of the United States Supreme Court undoing what President Johnson did with those pens,” Lewis added. “We must not forget our past. We must not forget our history. If we forget it, we will repeat it.”
Defend your right to vote. Even if you have to riot in the streets.

Will Conservative Attack on McConnell Yield a Primary Challenge?

C'mon, you "real conservatives," put your money where your mouth is. You think Mitchie-poo is such a RINO, then primary his ass. Preferably with somebody who makes teatard Thomas Massie look like Bernie Sanders.

Down with Tyranny:

(Monday), Jim DeMint's radical right Senate Conservative Fund (began) it's (sic) advertising campaign against Senate Minority Leader Mitch ("Miss") McConnell. No, they're not trying to help Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes or community leader Ed Marksberry, both Democrats, beat McConnell. And they're not just trying to throw a noisy tantrum. What they are trying to do is to get McConnell to change his already horrible behavior. They want much worse behavior. This is what DeMint's PAC sent out over the weekend:
    Fellow Conservatives:

    U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is failing conservatives.

    Senator McConnell is the Republican Leader. He has more power and clout than any other Republican in the Senate and probably more than any Republican in the country. Yet he is not using that power to fight for conservative principles.


    Many of you have called Senator McConnell to urge him to stop this bill, but so far he is not listening. It's time to increase our appeals.

    We're going to launch a new radio and TV ad campaign on Monday to flood Senator McConnell's office with more calls so he cannot ignore us.

    We're not asking him to vote against the bill. A simple "No" vote is not enough from a leader. We're asking Senator McConnell to use his position as the Republican Leader to defeat it.

    We don't want excuses. We want results.

    Please make a contribution to the Senate Conservatives Fund today to help us flood Senator McConnell's office with calls.

    The amnesty bill is not just bad policy. It's also bad politics. Of the 11 Republicans who voted for amnesty in 2007, only two remain in office today-- John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC). The others have either been defeated or forced into retirement.

    Amnesty is a political loser for Republicans yet Senator McConnell is sitting on his hands while his colleagues march off this political cliff.

    Let's send McConnell a message next week and get him to lead.
 Oh, yes, please, Mitch: lead repugs right off this cliff.  Quick quick before they find another failure in the Paul clan to rally behind.

Yes, Zimmerman Will Get Away With Cold-Blooded Murder

In Esquire today, John H. Richardson writes that George Zimmerman is going to be found guilty of the murder of Trayvon Martin.

Last week, Steve M. explained how Obama's going to get the blame for the reaction if Zimmerman walks.

I agree that Zimmerman is very likely to be acquitted -- there'll be too many insinuations about Trayvon Martin and the sequence of events that night, and there's too much of a presumption in this country that a light-skinned man has the right to do anything he wants with a gun, especially when he encounters someone darker-skinned.
And I do worry that there'll be protests that don't stay peaceful -- please, folks, keep a cool head, and start preparing to be let down now.

I don't really think the media's going to expect Obama to dispel any racial tension if all this happens. The media hates Obama now. Beltway journalists think he's utterly ineffectual. (He's given them some reason to believe that, admittedly, but they all downplay the degree to which Republicans have made it their life's work to prevent him from governing.) On this subject, the press will just want him to go away.

Which gets us back to the early days of this story. TV news is going to play that "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon" clip over and over and over again -- as if that's what made this incident into a big story. The press will minimize the efforts by anti-racist and progressive groups to force this story onto the agenda. (The press is very good at pretending that progressive activism doesn't exist.) The implication is going to be that we could have all just ignored this if Obama hadn't opened his big yap and played the race card. (And yes, I'm talking about the so-called liberal media, very much including Dowd, Politico, Tapper, Harwood, et cetera.)

The message is going to be (a) Obama failed us by not eliminating racism and (b) Obama failed us by bringing up the fact that racism hasn't been eliminated. He should have just somehow solved racism, overnight, while we were sleeping, without disturbing us or nudging our consciences or otherwise making us uncomfortable in any way. He was just supposed to spread some magic tolerance dust and make all the bad stuff go away.
 As Charlie Pierce repeatedly writes, nothing good is going to come of the Trayvon Martin case.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Mr. Libertea Freedumb Votes for Forced Birth

Funny how the only ones the teatards want to have any liberty and freedom are straight white xian males.

From VoteNote

Abortion Ban – Passage - Vote Passed (228-196, 10 Not Voting)

The House detoured briefly from debating the farm bill to pass a measure that forbids abortions performed at 20 weeks after fertilization or later. The bill makes an exception for cases where the woman’s life is in danger or where rape or incest has been reported to authorities. Under the measure, physicians who violate the ban would face a maximum five-year prison sentence, fines or both. Six Republicans voted against the legislation, while six Democrats voted in favor. The justification for the 20-week limit was the belief that an unborn fetus can feel pain by 20 weeks of pregnancy. Although the medical veracity of this theory is debated, a handful of states have passed laws with the same benchmark. The White House issued a veto threat on the bill, and Democrats who control the Senate are expected to ignore the measure.

Rep. Thomas Massie voted YES

Massie Challenges Paul for Title of "Kentucky Congressional Moron"

See, when you elect to Congress people who hate Congress and just want to burn government to the ground, you get members of Congress who don't know what the fuck they're doing.

Joseph Gerth at the Courier:

You’ve got to wonder what U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky was thinking last week when he voted against the farm bill, which pays for everything from agricultural programs to food stamps.


The tough thing to figure about Massie, R-4th District, is why he has stirred the pot on the issue of industrial hemp — going so far as to co-sponsor an amendment to the farm bill that would allow universities to grow hemp, and to harangue and cajole his colleagues to support his amendment — and then once the House added his amendment, he voted against the underlying legislation.

Massie’s office even put out a news release crowing about his achievement in passing the amendment.
When it came time to pass the measure that included his provision that would allow the University of Kentucky and other schools around the country to grow hemp and research its capabilities, he blinked.

That’s right. Massie was successful in getting the Polis, Massie, Blumenauer Hemp Amendment passed but then, when it came time to pass the bill to which it was attached, voted against it.

The bill failed on a vote of 195-234.

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-3rd District, voted just like Massie — for the amendment and against the farm bill — but he didn’t sponsor the hemp amendment, and he didn’t put out a news release trumpeting its passage.
 Well of course Massie wasn't thinking, he was conservatard knee-jerking.

All you Northern Kentucky Democratic voters who couldn't be bothered to vote for the excellent Democratic candidate running against Massie, are you happy now? 

What Kentucky Laws Does Your Hallucination Tell You to Break?

Yes, boys and girls, it's finally here: Freakazoids Get Out of Jail Free in Kentucky starts tomorrow!

Tom Loftus at the Courier:

The one discordant note dividing Gov. Steve Beshear and lawmakers came from House Bill 279 — known as the Religious Freedom Bill — which legislators approved and Beshear vetoed. The House and Senate overrode that veto by wide margins, so it too becomes law on Tuesday.

The bill says laws and regulations can’t “substantially” burden someone’s “sincerely held religious belief” unless there is a proven compelling governmental interest in doing so.

Proponents, including the Catholic Conference of Kentucky, said the measure was necessary to ensure government has a compelling reason before it interferes with a citizen acting on his or her religious beliefs. But opponents, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, argued it could legalize discrimination.
Discrimination, hell: this bill lets freakazoids do anything they want. Anybody want to bet on the likelihood of a freakazoid actually doing jail time for beating a child to death in the name of religious instruction? For raping the gay out of a lesbian? For forcing a woman to give birth?

How long before it's illegal in Kentucky to commit blasphemy by saying mean things about freakazoid hallucinations?

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Mitch McConnell Takes $1.3 Million in Bribes to Let Corporations Poison Our Drinking Water

I've been saying it for more than 20 years, ever since I read Water, the Nature, Uses and Future of Our Most Precious and Abused Resource, by Fred Powledge: the wars of the next century are going to be over not oil, but water.

The news has finally caught up with Powledge.

Down with Tyranny:

If you were listening to NPR (last week), you may have heard their report about water rights in the U.S. "Oil was probably the fluid of last century where there was a lot of turmoil, and I think water is the fluid of this century," explained Michael Walsh, a major general with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

    So often, we take water for granted. We turn on the faucet and there it is. We assume it's our right in America to have water. And yet, water is a resource. It's not always where we need it, or there when we need it.

    Rivers don't follow political boundaries-- they flow through states and over international borders. And there are endless demands for water: for agriculture, drinking, plumbing, manufacturing, to name just a few. And then there's the ecosystem that depends on water getting downstream.

    So what are our legal rights when it comes to water? And who decides?

The NPR report talks about the role of Congress and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, municipalities, ranchers, fishermen and American Indian tribes. But they never got around to what trumps all of them: Corporate America, where the bottom line is... the bottom line. Greed and avarice trumps all, especially when you're talking about "the fluid of last century." Tom Kenworthy made the case over the weekend that fracking is already straining U.S. water supplies.

    As the level of hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells in the United States has intensified in recent years, much of the mounting public concern has centered on fears that underground water supplies could be contaminated with the toxic chemicals used in the well-stimulation technique that cracks rock formations and releases trapped oil and gas. But in some parts of the country, worries are also growing about fracking’s effect on water supply, as the water-intensive process stirs competition for the resources already stretched thin by drought or other factors.

   ...As the Ceres report concludes:

        Shale energy development highlights the fact that our water resources were already vulnerable before additional demands were introduced. Regulators, water managers and ultimately all significant economic players who rely on abundant supplies of water must double-down their efforts to better manage this limited and most precious resource.

Worse news: because of the role of money in our politcal system-- i.e., systemic bribery-- those charged with protecting our clean drinking watre supplies (something that basic) have given a green light to Big Oil and Gas to ignore previous clean water regulations and frack away to their hearts' content. I thought this might be a good time to mention the dozen most corrupt Members of Congress in terms of Big Oil shillery. These are the Oil and Gas whores still in Congress who have made sure our watre would be poisoned-- with the amounts they have taken from Big Oil in blatant, legalistic bribes:

    • John McCain (R-AZ)- $3,043,404
    • John Cornyn (R-TX)- $1,990,350
    • Joe Barton (R-TX)- $1,734,255
    • Steve Pearce (R-NM)- $1,479,701
    • Jim Inhofe (R-OK)- $1,457,696
    • Miss McConnell (R-KY)- $1,348,311
    • Don Young (R-AK)- $1,193,613
    • David Vitter (R-LA)- $1,144,385
    • Mary Landrieu (D-LA)- $1,086,084
    • Mike Conaway (R-TX)- $942,118
    • Pete Sessions (R-TX)- $868,346
    • Lord Charles Boustany (R-LA)- $803,655  
You can live without fossil fuels. You can live with cars, without electricity, without even an IPad. You can even live without indoor plumbing.

You can't live without drinkable water.

And that's exactly where Mitch McConnell's good corporate buddies want you - unable to live without drinkable water, the last gallons of which they will own. 

Dead Fuel Walking: Finally, CO2 Regs on Coal

About. Fucking. Time. Let's hope it's not Too. Fucking. Little. Too. Fucking. Late.

Think Progress

The White House tweeted on Saturday that Obama’s long-awaited climate speech will come Tuesday afternoon at Georgetown University. The President said in an accompanying video (below):
In my inaugural address, I pledged that America would respond to the growing threat of climate change for the sake of our children and future generations.
This Tuesday, I’ll lay out my vision for where I believe we need to go –- a national plan to reduce carbon pollution, prepare our country for the impacts of climate change, and lead global efforts to fight it.
The Washington Post reports that, “Obama will couch the effort not only in terms of the nation’s domestic priorities, but as a way to meet the administration’s international pledge to reduce the country’s greenhouse-gas emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels.”
If he's serious, it means the end of fossil fuels. Because you can't cut greenhouse gas emissions and keep the fossil fuel industry.

This is gonna be a fight to make passing the Affordable Care Act look like a post office naming bill.


Recognizing Honorable Service


Representatives Charlie Rangel (D-NY) and Mark Pocan (D-WI) announced Wednsday that they will sponsor a bill to correct the records of gay and lesbian service members who received less-than-honorable discharges purely on the basis of their sexual orientation.

An estimated 114,000 members of the U.S. Armed Services were kicked out for being gay or lesbian, prior to the 2011 repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Many who served with distinction received dishonorable or general discharges — instead of the honorable discharges they’d have otherwise received — for no reason other than their sexual orientation.

According to Rangel and Pocan, some gay and lesbian former service members are blocked from voting, unemployment benefits, participating in the GI Bill and receiving veteran benefits such as health care, VA disability, and ceremonial burial rights at military cemeteries, as a result of their unfavorable discharge status.

Immigrant Denied for Atheism


Name one freakazoid ever denied citizenship for thinking an invisible sky wizard runs the world.

Divine Irony:

Margaret Doughty, an atheist and permanent U.S. resident for more than 30 years, was told by immigration authorities this month that she has until Friday to officially join a church that forbids violence or her application for naturalized citizenship will be rejected.
Doughty received the ultimatum after stating on her application that she objected to the pledge to bear arms in defense of the nation due to her moral opposition to war. According to a letter to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services by the American Humanist Association on Doughty’s behalf, officials responded by telling her that she needed to prove that her status as a conscientious objector was due to religious beliefs. They reportedly told her she’d need to document that she was “a member in good standing” of a nonviolent religious organization or be denied citizenship at her June 21 hearing. A note “on official church stationary [sic]” would suffice, they said.
Hopefully the Freedom From Religion Foundation, American Humanist Association and the ACLU will join forces to take the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to court and overturn this illegal, unconstitutional and discriminatory requirement.
Sign the petition demanding Homeland Security Stop denying U.S. citizenship to people based on their lack of religious affiliation at:
This is so completely fucked up. You can have a moral objection to something without it being backed by a religion.
True, but this isn't about moral objections needing to be backed by religion.  This is about freakazoids in Homeland Security demanding religious belief as a requirement for citizenship.

That's a religious test, and it's blatantly unconstitutional.

UPDATE: Somebody in either the legal or public affairs department finally figured it out. Homeland Security backed down.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Even Guntards Don't Deserve Tasing

If they're not armed, just point and laugh until they go away or give themselves a stroke.


Here's a test for your princples against police use of tasers: a heckler at a gun control rally was tasered by police for shouting at a victim of gun violence:


Yes, this person is definitely a creep. But ... he didn't physically threaten anyone, did he? Indeed, his resistance, like many people, seems to be a reaction to being shot through with electricity, not the cause of it. It seems to me to be a rather natural reaction.


I completely disagree with his stand on guns and yes, we should probably all be more polite in general. But I think the police could have handled the situation without deploying a taser. They used to be able to do it all the time. Even gun nut hecklers don't deserve to get shot through with 50,000 volts merely for expressing their opinion, however vociferously, at a public rally.
Meanwhile, the search for a police department that trains its officers to handle non-violent situations in non-violent ways continues.

Pam's House Blend:
This is madness. I haven’t posted a Taser piece in a while, but this abuse of the “non-lethal” shock device is outrageous. Since when is an unarmed, naked child on the side of the road a threat to a law enforcement officer? This occurred in Ashland, Oregon, where motorist Adam Bednar saw her wandering at 4 AM.
Bednar says he drove alongside her while he called police. He says the trooper who arrived called for her to stop, and when she didn’t respond threatened twice to taze her. After giving no response, two little red dots appeared on her back, then metal barbs.
“She seized up and she fell face first on the ground,” said Bednar.
State police officials say it was necessary to prevent her from wandering further into the road and putting herself in danger. Bednar, who helped troopers apprehend the girl on the hood of his car, says he isn’t so sure.
“She wasn’t going off the road, she was set on walking down the freeway,” said Bednar. “And I think that, had [the trooper] waited for back up, they could have gotten her without the Taser.”
Didn’t wait for backup, didn’t use what should have been standard police training to physically subdue the child (how about tackling, wrestling her to the ground, blocking her path with the vehicle, anything — are these not procedure anymore?). The girl, who was unaware of her surroundings — she has severe autism — was returned to her family and not charged with any crime.
 Not madness. Laziness. And disrespect.

"Abortion on Demand and Without Apology" - Sign the Petition

In the midst of repugs in state legislatures around the country and in the fucking U.S. House of Representatives competing to see who can pass the most outrageously unconstitutional women-are-just-incubators-so-let's-torture-them-a-lot bills, New York's legislature seemed a beacon of rationality and hope.

The abortion proposal would bring a 1970 state law into line with a more expansive 1973 federal law, allowing late-term abortions if a woman's health is danger. The current state law sets a higher bar, allowing the risky abortions after six months of pregnancy only if the woman's life is in danger.
No. Wrong, wrong, wrong. This is not rationality and hope. This is promoting the freakazoid lie that women's bodies are an appropriate object of legislation.

For rationality and hope, look to Sikivu Hutchinson at Black Skeptics.
For Every Woman In Every State
The Reversal of Abortion and Birth Control Rights Must Stop Now!
The following statement from the Stop Patriarchy Coalition is in response to the crisis that confronts women’s human rights, women’s self-determination, economic justice and social justice in the United States.  Last week, Christian fascist Congressman Trent Starks introduced a nationwide bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks into the House of Representatives.  Comparing abortion to “the Holocaust and slavery”, Franks attempted to capitalize on the publicity around the trial of former abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell to elicit support for this extreme, dangerous legislation. Although the Ninth Circuit Court struck down a similar bill in Arizona last week, the recent explosion of anti-abortion and contraception legislation has fatally comprised reproductive justice and imperiled the future of women’s health care:
We recognize that women are full human beings who must have the right – through unrestricted and unstigmatized access to birth control and abortion – to decide for themselves when and whether they will have children. We reject the view that a woman’s highest purpose and fundamental “duty” is to bear children, even those she does not want or cannot care for.
Reproductive rights are in a state of emergency.
This assault on the right to choose abortion is not driven by “concern for babies” or women. The fact is, this “pro-life”movement stands unanimous in its opposition to birth control and comprehensive sex education, the most effective means of preventing unwanted pregnancies. Republican leaders in this movement have fanned hatred of women by shaming women who have sex, belittling the monstrous crime of rape, and in other ways.
The truth is: Fetuses are NOT babies. Abortion is NOT murder. Women are NOT incubators.
For too long, millions have watched in alarm as yesterday’s outrageous and unthinkable attack has become today’s “compromise position” and tomorrow’s limit of what can be imagined. This dynamic must be broken. The political leaders of the Democratic Party cannot be relied on to do this. While posing as the last bastion of defense against these attacks, these “leaders” have in fact seriously undermined reproductive rights by seeking “common ground” with fascists and religious fanatics, by ceding the moral high ground, by severing abortion from women’s emancipation and by refusing to stand up when abortion providers are murdered.
We must rely on ourselves. We call on people everywhere to:
  • defend abortion providers who are under attack
  • speak openly and positively about abortion, including their own
  • mobilize mass protest against every new attack wherever it takes place
  • find the ways to come together to wage a determined fight to defeat this entire war on women
This July and August, there will be an abortion rights caravan traveling across this country to many places where attacks are most severe, including being in North Dakota on August 1st when new laws are set to go into effect that would criminalize abortion after six weeks and shut down the last clinic in the state. We support this action as well as other efforts across the country to defend abortion providers and defeat similar laws in other states. We pledge to resist and call on all who care about freedom, justice, and women’s lives to do the same!
Forced motherhood is female enslavement.
Abortion On Demand and Without Apology!

"Tell them the time for excuses is over."

Actually, Mr. President, the time for immigration restrictions is over. This nation grew the fastest and most prosperously when we had no immigration restrictions at all. Don't try to mend immigration restrictions; end them.

Full transcript here.

Even for the Cesspool That Is the Transportation Cabinet, This is Vile

Technically, Kentucky state employees are protected by civil service rules, known as the merit system. In practice, state workers have no legal protection from abusive bosses.

Valerie Honeycutt-Spears at the Herald:

A former Transportation Cabinet employee filed a lawsuit this week saying she endured constant sexual comments, was instructed to clean up the blood of a dead deer and had a supervisor who exposed his genitalia to her and urinated on her shoes.


The supervisor would pass gas in front of her to embarrass her in front of co-workers. He bought a canister and sprayed a foul odorous mist around her desk, according to the lawsuit complaint. The lawsuit said the supervisor exposed his genitalia to her and urinated in front of her on multiple occasions, at one point urinating on her shoes.

Smith, the only woman in the office, was told that she wasn't welcome at the office's Thanksgiving dinner, and she was the only employee not to get a pay raise, the lawsuit alleged.

Smith alleges that when she filed a grievance with the Transportation Cabinet, she did not get a response within the required 30 days.

Smith alleged that when she went to the office on May 21, a fellow employee told her the supervisor said that she was not allowed in the office. A co-worker — who was not identified in the complaint — grabbed her by the waist and kept her from going to her desk.
Lots more sickening details at the link.

In many Kentucky counties - the vast majority of Kentucky counties - the only decent steady jobs not in the county school system are in the local highway department of the state Transportation Cabinet.

So if you're a sexist, racist, homophobic, disgusting pig, you can wallow in the slop for 30 years and retire on a good pension.

But girls aren't welcome, and those who force their way in will suffer for it.

I'm just surprised she wasn't gang-raped.