Horrific news from Texas.
Mike Huckabee caused quite a furor with his reality-challenged rant against birth control the other day:
If the Democrats want to insult women by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it. Let us take this discussion all across America because women are far more than the Democrats have played them to be.
My favorite comment was by Lizz Winstead:
Where on the doll did Uncle Sugar touch you?— Lizz Winstead (@lizzwinstead) January 24, 2014
This image (click here and scroll down for the un-cropped version) has an entirely different vibe than the misogynist one to which it responds. It reminds me of a lyric by my late friend Michael Callen from his album Purple Heart:
"I’d like to be your music
I’d like to be your chair
I’d like to be the food you eat
and be the clothes you wear"
With a small gesture -- a Catholic cardinal at an ecumenical worship service asks a woman to bless him -- a prince of the Church opens a tiny window of hope.
At a hearing on January 9, Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), chair of the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, denied Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) the courtesy of testifying on his bill, H.R. 7, which would, among other things, permanently prohibit the District of Columbia from spending its local funds on abortion services for low-income women, and define the D.C. government as part of the federal government for the purposes of abortion. (At present, the prohibition against the District spending its own locally-raised tax revenues on abortions for poor women is prohibited by a rider to the District's annual appropriations bill.)
It is a standard courtesy for a member whose district is targeted by a bill to be allowed to testify on it. All Rep. Franks would do was to point out that the single witness the Democrats were allowed at the hearing could be Norton (the Republicans were allowed three witnesses), despite the fact that the bill also had nationwide implications and the Democrats needed a witness to discuss those provisions. The normal practice would be to allow the affected member to testify over and above the witness allocation. But Franks, in addition to being opposed to women's reproductive freedom and to the District's right to govern its own affairs, is opposed to basic courtesy toward a colleague.
I attended the Congresswoman's news conference on Thursday morning protesting the action by Franks. Speaking at the news conference, in addition to Congresswoman Norton, were Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), ranking member of the subcommittee, and D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray. The District of Columbia government is not part of the federal government. That is a fact that no law can change. The law, however, can make a mockery of itself, and can cause injustice. Fortunately, H.R. 7 has no chance of passing in the U.S. Senate. This bill is but one example of the mischief that we can expect from Congress if Republicans take control of the Senate in this year's midterm elections.
The Congresswoman's statement, and the testimony she would have given against this egregious infringement on the rights of the District and of its women, can be read here.
Laura Bassett reports at HuffPo:
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) introduced a bill on Thursday that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy in the United States unless the woman is a victim of rape or incest or her life is in danger.
Graham said that while reproductive rights advocates claim the bill will have a negative effect on women's health, he thinks it would only result in more people being alive.
"Nothing bad is going to happen," Graham said. "Good things will happen. Babies will be born that wouldn't have made it otherwise, and only God knows who they will grow up to be."
Thanks to Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) for her firm statement shown above.
I realize that what I am about to say is not an argument. But as I lay here before dawn checking my Twitter feed, I found this story. And Lindsay Graham is just an unscrupulous little overcompensating turd.
(Photo of Lindsay Graham by Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)
Think Progress reports a bit of good news.
That's it. I will not marry any woman who does this to herself. Oh, wait.
Rod Parsley and Perry Stone agree that "we're on the verge of legalizing abominations that have destroyed empires."
How many times can these guys mis-predict the Rapture, and all that other shroom-dream stuff from Revelations, and keep cleaning out the wallets of their gullible followers? Easy pickings.
The outcome of the harsh Texas anti-abortion bill is unclear this morning, as GOP officials try to steamroll over the rules and declare the bill passed despite the vote going past the midnight deadline. (Slate reports.) Expect a court fight. But women's rights advocates have a new hero in state senator Wendy Davis, whose filibuster was halted just after 10 pm, setting off procedural wrangling and loud chanting from the senate gallery. Whatever the outcome, the Republicans have awakened a sleeping giant, as General Yamamoto would say.
Adele M. Stan writes for RH Reality Check:
Despite its bipartisan support and 27 co-sponsors, Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), the committee chairman, struck from the [Defense Authorization] bill a measure offered by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) that would have moved the adjudication of all serious crimes (such as murder, rape, and sexual assault) into the hands of independent prosecutors in order to create a safer environment and more impartial judicial process for those who have been the targets of assailants in the military ranks.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said:
"I don't personally believe that you can eliminate the command structure in the military from this process because it is the culture," he said. "It is the institution. It is the people within that institution that have to fix the problem, and that's the culture. The people are the culture, so I don't know how you disconnect that from the accountability of command."
The action by Senator Levin and the statement by Secretary Hagel make them unfit for their jobs. There were more than 26,000 military sexual assaults reported last year. The current approach to dealing with the problem is not working. Thank God there are women like Kirsten Gillibrand and Barbara Boxer in the Senate to fight this outrage; but all of us need to back them up.
Laura Clawson at Daily Kos slams Senator Carl Levin:
Thanks to Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Carl Levin (D-MI), top military officers will substantially get their way: Solving the problem that's bigger than they imagined will continue to be up to their imagination. Levin is removing Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's proposal to make trained legal experts in the form of military prosecutors in charge of decisions about prosecuting sexual assaults from a defense spending bill....
Basically, the old white men in charge of the military said "trust us, we'll start taking sexual assault seriously and we'll make it stop even though we've done neither to date" and the old white man in charge of the Senate Armed Services Committee said "sounds good to me. How about if we make a cosmetic change that leaves you guys still completely in charge but pretends to add accountability?"
I was screaming at the TV. This is outrageous beyond words.
Anthony Rivas reports at Medical Daily:
The Obama administration has decided it will not appeal a judge's orders allowing the morning-after pill Plan B One-Step to be sold over the counter without age or point-of-sale restrictions.
Justice Department attorneys wrote in a letter to US District Judge Edward Korman on Monday afternoon that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services would make the single-pill form of the levonorgestrel drug available without restrictions, according to CNN.
"It is the government's understanding that this course of action fully complies with the Court's judgment on this action," the letter says. "Once the Court confirms that the government's understanding is correct, the government intends to file with the Circuit Court notice that it is voluntarily withdrawing its appeal in this matter."
Someone on Facebook this morning said, "Is it really that much for parents to have some say in their child's lives?" Here is my reply:
We are not talking about ideal family situations. In the event of a teen pregnancy, the parental role has already failed for whatever reason. Forcing the girl to wait until she can muster the courage to tell her parents only makes sense if preventing abortions trumps her welfare. For the government to intervene at such a moment by blocking access to the pill amounts to an attempt to solve one wrong by committing another. If need be, I will fight you on that.
A coerced pregnancy is just wrong. Of course the ideal is for unwanted pregnancies not to occur. But the answer to "Who decides?" can never be the government. Restricting access to Plan B One-Step was an illegitimate governmental intrusion. Anyone old enough to become pregnant needs to make her own reproductive choices, whether her parents like it or not. Blocking access to the pill only makes things worse. Of course, an anti-abortionist has no problem with coercion. But I do. That is why I am glad that Obama is accepting the judge's ruling. He was wrong to press this in the first place.
This is simply depraved. Gawker reports.
Forget about secession. Can we expel Texas?
Tara Culp-Ressler reports in ThinkProgress:
Not content with attempting to impose his anti-abortion agenda upon the women who live in the nation’s capital, Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) now intends to push for a nationwide bill to criminalize abortions after 20 weeks. Franks, who invoked the illegal abortion provider Kermit Gosnell to justify his decision to re-introduce a 20-week abortion ban in DC, now says that Gosnell’s crimes have compelled him to amend his bill so it applies to women across the country....
However, that’s a gross mischaracterization of the state of legal abortion services throughout the country. Abortion opponents have repeatedly attempted to twist the facts surrounding Gosnell’s high-profile murder trial to make it appear as if his crimes are rampant throughout legal abortion clinics. But that’s simply not the case. The Philadelphia-area abortion doctor was guilty of much more than simply breaking Pennsylvania’s law that criminalizes abortion after 24 weeks of pregnancy; he was also able to offer discounted prices for his services because he didn’t employ medical professionals or adhere to safety standards. Gosnell’s “house of horrors” isn’t analogous to the way that legal, sanitary late-term abortion clinics provide care to the women who need it.
I can't believe we have to fight this all over again, 40 years after Roe v. Wade. I am so tired of the religious fanatics and bullies in this country.
This has to be one of the best breaking news interviews ever.
PS: No, Mister Ramsey doesn't look a thing like D.C.'s former police chief of the same name. But he is one upstanding citizen. As he was eating McDonald's takeout when the rescue incident started, he got the following tweet from the fast food giant:
WaPo's Jonathan Capehart posted an item on Thursday titled, "Obama was right about Kamala Harris":
President Obama prides himself on telling the truth. And when he reportedly said that California Attorney General Kamala Harris is “by far, the best looking attorney general,” he spoke the God’s honest truth. But that wasn’t the only thing he said about the talented attorney with a national future. In fact, it was the last part of what he said.
“She’s brilliant and she’s dedicated, she’s tough,” Obama said at a fundraiser this morning in Atherton, Calif. “She also happens to be, by far, the best looking attorney general.” The president’s compliment was greeted with laughter as he added, “It’s true! C’mon.” Yep, all true.
What’s also true is that Obama and Harris are longtime friends.
I hate to disagree with Jonathan, but the feminists who called out President Obama for his objectifying (though politely worded and not crude) comment about CA AG Kamala Harris's looks have a point. They acknowledged his pro-women policies. They were not calling him the enemy. But it's just the case that men are not commonly objectified in a similar fashion. In Ft. Worth in his last public speech, JFK noted good-naturedly the attention his wife Jackie was getting, and quipped, "Nobody wonders what Lyndon and I wear."
Can't we acknowledge the double standards at play in these situations without being accused of setting the place on fire? Hillary Clinton has had to put up with endless discussions of her hair and clothes in a way that her male counterparts do not. Come on, folks. It won't kill us to reflect on this.
Now that that's taken care of, when is Hillary going to get her pre-campaign makeover? Will she do Botox? What about those frumpy jackets? And that hair-- what was she thinking?
BTW, I loved the response to this controversy by my friend Walter: "The President overlooked Beau Biden."
Also: in addition to having a Pulitzer Prize to his credit, Jonathan Capehart is completely adorable and is always immaculately dressed. And Chris Christie should apply for his own zip code. And ....
Pam Spaulding tweets:
Three Cheers For Feminist Bloggers Who Called Out Obama’s Objectifying Comment About Female Politician | Mediaite http://bit.ly/XuXV10
"This victory shows that when the American people make their voices heard, Washington listens."
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) stumps bank regulators with the simple question of when they last took a Wall Street bank to trial. She talks about ordinary citizens who are aggressively prosecuted "to make an example of them," while the megabanks that do vastly more harm get off with settlements in which they pay fines out of their ill-gotten gains. "I'm really concerned that 'Too Big to Fail' has become 'Too Big for Trial.' That just seems wrong to me."
Thank the Goddess and the voters of Massachusetts that this woman is in the Senate. (BTW, love the Valentine's red.)
In case your brain went missing and you thought we were living in a post-sexist society, take a gander at this New York Post cover. Bullett Media comments.
My comment: The Secretary of State ate their lunch, and they're not man enough to admit it.
Paul Ryan is at it again. It's not just that the radical right learned no lessons from their defeat in the 2012 election. They are absolutely determined not to learn any such lessons. It is important for the rest of us to keep in mind that the fanatics who lost have not disappeared and are not giving up their efforts to control women's reproductive choices.
My look back at 2012 is now online at Huffington Post. It ranges from our NFL allies Brendon Ayanbadejo and Chris Kluwe to President Obama and NAACP President Ben Jealous to Senator-elect Tammy Baldwin to our sweep of statewide ballot measures in November to the GOP's self-destructive year to Africa's raised LGBT voices to family affirmation. 2012 was quite a ride!
Excerpts from a news conference criticizing unfair attacks against U.N. Ambassador Susan E. Rice. Above is D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. Below is Rep. Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11).
To be fair to young Luke Russert, his question was not just about Nancy Pelosi, but also about Steny Hoyer and Jim Clyburn. It may be ageist, but the cries of sexism seem pretty outlandish given what Russert actually asked. Also, he had not thought it up himself, but was relaying the privately stated views of other members of the House Democratic caucus.
Incidentally, whether Russert's question was legitimate or offensive of whatever does not depend on what one thinks of his having benefited from being the son of a famous journalist. He has struck me as sharp and capable. Personally, I have a great deal of respect for Pelosi, whose tenure as Speaker was quite productive. And I don't care at all how old she or Hoyer or Clyburn is. Ben Franklin was old when he pulled off some sly diplomatic maneuvers in Paris. Pelosi is quite effective at pulling together the House Democrats. I also like and respect Hoyer, who wants the top Democratic job (and the Speakership) himself. I have about a thousand concerns that matter more to me than their rivalry.
In tribute to our new women senators-elect, and to all those who answered the Republican Party's attack on women with a resounding electoral defeat on November 6, here is the great Aretha Franklin, in a performance in Stockholm in 1968. All she wants is a little respect.
Going into this election, I didn't think we could have another moment to compare with Grant Park in Chicago four years ago as the election was called for Obama. But tonight brought victory and vindication on so many fronts, reminding ourselves, our fellow citizens, and the world that Americans will not accept government by fanatics and bullies, we will not tolerate their war against women, and we will not continue to deny gay and lesbian couples and their families equal respect and protection.
I was taking a taxi home after congratulating D.C. Council reform candidate David Grosso on his upset victory against ethically challenged incumbent Michael A. Brown, and passed along U Street past Ben's Chili Bowl, the Lincoln Theater, and the Republic Gardens. People were dancing in the street and chanting, "Four more years!" in celebration of President Obama's victory. But this is about so much more than the top of the ticket. What a glorious moment for this country's rich diversity, which has defeated the angry voices of racism, misogyny, xenophobia, and homophobia. Deepest gratitude to every activist and community worker, living and dead, who helped pave the way for this moment.
Update: Mara Keisling wrote on Facebook:
Had it not been for the aggressive and immoral (and effective) redistricting process the Republicans did after the 2010 census, last night would have been more clearly a generational repudiation of the increasingly extreme Republican Party. The Republicans only held the US House because they redrew the maps to solidify their extremism. Everything else went the Dems way. Republicans need to get their adults back in charge and just knock it off.
Amen to that.
This amusing ad from the Obama 2012 campaign is causing conniptions on the right. Mary Elizabeth Williams lays it out at Salon:
Lock up your virgins! There’s a dark-skinned, middle-aged man coming for them! And in other breaking news, archconservatives have absolutely no sense of humor....
On Twitter, conservative columnist John Podhoretz gently referred to the ad as “an unwise political move,” adding, “I don’t think appealing to undecided voters in the Midwest is in her skill set.” Fox News’ Megyn Kelly, meanwhile, could barely shudder out an “Appropriate?” I just hope none of these twisted-knickered conservatives ever find out what Sarah Silverman’s been doing to raise voter awareness.
But in the oddest responses of all, RedState’s Breeanne Howe described Dunham as a woman “who was raised in a wealthy, over-sexualized household,” and also evoked the “creepy” Putin ad. The best part, however, is how she declared that Barack Obama, like droit du seigneur-rocking feudal lord or Kurdish chieftain, “has asked for your daughters.” Your innocent, probably white, virgin daughters, ravished by that hymen-lusting brute in the White House. Breitbart’s John Nolte issued a similarly revolted response, bleating that “Obama has young daughters. But that didn’t stop him from releasing this commercial. Because this is what Obama thinks of your daughters.” Convenient, isn’t it, how conservatives like Nolte can’t or won’t distinguish between the president’s 14- and 11-year-old children and the 26 year-old Dunham? Don’t understand an appeal to adult women of legal voting age? Math is hard!
A political ad that openly flirts with sexual innuendo, one starring a woman known for her raunchy television show, will naturally have a built-in controversial element. But what makes the right-wing bluster entertaining is that it blithely ignores the basic reality that women and women’s bodies and sexual choices are already front and center in this election.
Jennifer Livingston, the morning anchor at WKBT News 8 in La Crosse, Wisconsin, responds to a bully. Jonathan Capehart gives her a "You go!"
Bryan Fischer here is talking about Democrats' support for women's right to choose abortion. I myself have been called a genocidaire (as the French elegantly put it) for this very reason. The distinction between one's personal moral beliefs and one's view of what should be the law in a religiously diverse society is entirely lost on these theocrats, of course. But we must keep pointing out their disrespect for that diversity, and calling them out for their bullying, for the sake of our fellow citizens who are paying less attention and are more susceptible to their propaganda. This election will be won at the margins.
(Hat tip: George Bakan)
(Hat tip: RightWingWatch)
Yes, Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), who is running for the U.S. Senate against Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), actually said on camera:
If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let's assume maybe that didn't work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist.
Okay, how many more aggressive ignoramuses are American voters going to elect? Naturally, many Republicans are eager to push Rep. Akin under a bus and have the driver hit reverse to run over him again. Sen. McCaskill warns them to think twice. But let's not get too caught up in schadenfreude; McCaskill still has an uphill fight. And the right wing war against women is deadly serious, emphasis on deadly. Do not take this election for granted. And if you have friends who are disenchanted and plan to sit this one out, please find a nonviolent way of changing their minds. As the man says in Cool Hand Luke, "What we have here is a failure to communicate."
Meanwhile, surprise surprise, Politico reporter Dave Catanese defends Akin.
I am wondering: how many times can God remove his protection from America due to our wickedness? Didn't Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson agree back in 2001 that God had removed his protection, and that was the cause of the 9/11 terrorist attacks? Are these guys accusing the Almighty of backsliding?
(Hat tip: Right Wing Watch)