Saturday, April 14, 2012

Headlines - Saturday April 14


Reaching Out, Touching Me, Touching You… WTF:

Like any state legislature dealing with 8 percent unemployment and thousands of its residents facing disenfranchisement, the Tennessee Senate is targeting the menace of underage hand-holding.

Last week, the Senate passed SB 3310, a bill to update the state's abstinence-based sex education curriculum to define holding hands and kissing as "gateway sexual activities." Just one senator voted against the legislation; 28 voted in favor.

So the next time you see a parent walking through a crowd holding their child's hand, recognize it for what it is- foreplay. Immediately alert the authorities about this predator.

Alternate title- Hand Jive

"I would shake hands with you, but we're in Tennessee and handshakes are considered a 'gateway sexual activity'."


Friends of magical panties enthusiast Willard Romney, the 1%-ers and their accountants, already have plans for how to get around the Buffet Rule, should it ever be enacted. (Bloomberg)


Although this particular agency has suspended the practice in the face of publicity, there is neither law nor constitution to prevent any jurisdiction - including your friendly neighborhood jail - from using it any time it likes.


When the Supreme Court ruled that police strip searches are legal and that all Americans who are taken into police custody should be prepared to submit to "visual inspection" I wonder if this is what they had in mind for women? From Kevin Gosztgola:

In the prison that operates under the umbrella of the Michigan Department of Corrections, women are forced to remove their clothing and spread the lips of their vaginas so that a guard can peer inside. Female prisoners are forced to do this after they meet with family members, religious workers, their lawyers, or anyone else who may visit them in prison.

Women who have been subjected to this depraved procedure have given voice in a letter submitted to the state's Corrections Department. Rather than outline what guards in the facility do, here are a few descriptions from victims:

They place you in a chair. You are completely naked. I had the officer then tell me, "spread your pussy lips." Then I had one tell me to put my heels on the chair and use my hands to open my lips. ... I feel like I'm being prostituted by these officers ... I am an abused woman, and every time this happens I feel completely lost again.


That Michigan practice is appalling. But I'd guess it doesn't fall outside the boundaries the Supreme Court set for strip searches. So ladies, even if you aren't a prisoner, if you find yourself in police custody, don't be surprised if they do this to you too. These things are all about humiliation and domination --- breaking your spirit. If they are allowed to do it, and I suspect they are under Florence, they very likely will.

The ACLU says this is sexual assault by the state. But I'm pretty sure the Supreme Court just said that was ok. After all, they said that anyone, even someone who had committed no crime and was in police custody on a trivial charge such as running a red light or failing to pay a warrant for parking tickets --- or civil disobedience --- could be subject to stripping naked and undergoing the above described procedure.

While I agree that this sounds like sexual assault by the state, it's probably perfect legal.

Gosztola updates:

It should be made extremely clear. What was happening to these women was a human rights violation that the US government opposes when it is done to Afghan women. Yet, under the guise of public safety, the Michigan Department of Corrections was routinely committing human rights violations at the Huron Valley Correctional Facility. Someone should be held accountable and be fired or, perhaps, even face prosecution; but there is a culture of impunity for government officials that develop and enforce policies which result in the cruel or inhumane punishment of human beings. Justice for female prisoners who were traumatized is unlikely.

Still legal, still constitutional, still going on everywhere.


In a new column rife with his usual brand of audacious conjecture, Keith Ablow of Fox News' Medical A-Team takes aim at Hilary Rosen and all working moms (and arguably all feminists), suggesting they are "anti-gender" and "despise the parts of themselves" drawn to motherhood.



Arizona Passes Bill Allowing Guns In Public Buildings, And Why Ever Not?

Arizona knows what is important, what is crucial to a functioning society, and one of those things is allowing Americans to exercise their second amendment rights just about everywhere, including public buildings, where people sometimes go when they are angry or mentally ill and kill their co-workers or strangers, but never mind. In the off chance that this does happen, now every Arizona stranger/co-worker could theoretically be THERE ready to shoot with his own personal death-maker. "I got this," these aspiring Corey Bookers will be heard saying to trained police officers. Oddly, Arizona's new law, which just passed, also "adds the requirement of having armed guards and metal detectors" — presumably in every public building in all of Arizona — which is totally cheap and no problem at all for this moneybags state. Meanwhile, over in Oklahoma, lawmakers are discussion the right to the "open carry" of arms as it pertains to…wild turkeys.

In his defense of the Arizona law, one Senator Al Melvin says, in so many words, that guns bring out our natural animalistic tendencies. Because we are animals. Melvin says society consists of "the unarmed sheep, armed sheep dogs — and the wolves who are the bad guys." Yes, thanks for clarifying that wolves represent bad guys. Melvin, blitheringly:

It takes sheep dogs to protect the sheep from the wolves. And the more of us that have concealed weapon permits and take advantage of it, and with this type of legislation, we have a safer society.


Another Senator, Steve Smith, essentially scoffs at the whole THIS WILL COST MILLIONS part of the equation. "As far as I'm concerned, there is no cost too high to protect my constitutional rights," he said. Which, oh god, if only Mitt Romney would talk like this, he would be sure(r) to lose in November.

Meanwhile, over in Oklahoma, TURKEYS. Wild turkeys are threatening the human animals, and the human animals who have gun permits would like permission to display the weapons that they carry with them just about everywhere. Partly so that the wild turkeys running rampant across the state will SEE the threat of death holstered upon the humans and promptly trot away. Defendants of a new "open carry" bill, including Tim Gillespie, who is president of some gun club or something, says "we live in a dangerous world."

Senator Ralph Shortey, Republican, and the guy behind the "ban aborted fetuses in food" bill, supports this bill and also argues that people in Oklahoma shouldn't necessary even need a gun permit, let alone be legally required to conceal their weapons, because, time for Nostalgic Congressional Storytime:

I was in oil and gas. I was out on a lease at one time and I got attacked by a turkey. Wait until you get attacked by a turkey. You will know the fear that a turkey can invoke in a person. And so I beat it with a club. That was all I could do.



Seamus was lucky

Romney-2012At least he didn't become dinner.

Super-hard-working and totally-not-wealthy-stay-at-home-with-the-maids mom Ann Romney is going to have a birthday party hosted by the also not-wealthy former President of Marriott Hotels, Northwest Airlines, assistant to Nixon and H.W. Bush and National Finance Committee Co-Chair for John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign Frederick Malek III -- which is fitting because Mr. Malek and the Romneys share the same love for dogs.

Fred, however, takes his love for dogs to a whole new level. He loves the way they taste.

In 1959, Mr. Malek III and some of his buddies, covered in blood, were arrested for killing and barbecuing a dog.

"Joined by Sheriff Harry P. Backes, two deputies had found two men walking toward the park entrance; the two men told the deputies that they had struck a dog and were going to bury it.

Further investigation revealed three others hiding in some weeds, the sheriff said. Because the men's car was saturated with blood and they gave conflicting stories at the time of their arrest, Sheriff Backes thought there might have been a connection between the dog incident and a strong-arm robbery earlier in the evening.

After checking the blood-spattered pants of one of the men at the state crime laboratory in Springfield, it was determined that the stains were animal and not human blood. Backes said the men then changed their story and said they had "caught a dog and were barbecuing it."

Police then found the skinned animal on a spit in the park. The insides of the dog had been removed, and a bottle of liquor was found on a nearby park table. Backes said the men told him they had been drinking earlier in the evening at a West Bluff tavern."


"Karen and I are life members of the NRA and we wanted to announce today that I talked to Chris and now Bella is a life member of the NRA too. And I hope it's a long life."

Bella is Frothy's 3-year old daughter, the one whom he uses as an anti-abortion cudgel.


This should be the final word on the Hilary Rosen issue (Ann Romney does not understand the plight of working women)…but it won't be. Republicans are going to milk every ounce of faux rage out of this one.

To tie so many talking heads who appear on cable every day to either campaign is a preposterous exercise, and a standard neither side of the political debate should want. If the Obama camp is responsible for Rosen, is Romney responsible for GOP Rep. Allen West's outrageous accusation that 80 Democrats are communists? Is he responsible for Sherriff Joe Arapaio (Romney's '08 Arizona campaign chairman) and his birther conspiracy theories? Absolutely not. If that were the standard, the campaign would just be day after day of candidates disavowing random pundits and supporters' comments. That Republicans feel they have to stoop to this suggests a real desperation. Let's not let this become the new normal.

Too late. It is the normal in Republican politics and has been for a long time now. Furthermore, you can expect to see a lot more of it in the weeks and months ahead.

It matters not to Republicans that Hilary Rosen is neither a spokeswoman for the DNC nor an advisor to the President. She is a paid political commentator for CNN. Period. She also happens to be a democrat which is all Republicans need to know to somehow tie her comment in with President Obama. Politically, it's the right move for Republicans. Romney was way behind with women voters. Ethically, the Republican ploy is wrong in so many ways but since when did doing the right thing have anything to do with politics…especially Republican politics.

At the root of all this is the false-equivalence fallacy that Republicans are hoping to set up to counter the real attacks on women's rights they have been engaged in for the last several months. Steve Benen explains.

One the one hand, we have a party that has pushed for restricting contraception; cutting off Planned Parenthood; state-mandated, medically-unnecessary transvaginal ultrasounds; forcing physicians to lie to patients about abortion and breast cancer; abortion taxes; abortion waiting periods; trap laws at abortion clinics, forcing women to tell their employers why they want birth control, opposition to prenatal care, and measures that make it harder for women to fight pay discrimination.

On the other hand, we have a media pundit with no connection to her party's presidential campaign who said something about Mitt Romney's wife professional background.

Whatever one chooses to call what it is Republicans are striving to do with women's rights, the bottom line is that it is part of their public policy. They are not mere words. They are actions which have been taken at the state level which affect in very real ways matters pertaining to women's health. And there is nothing to suggest that given the power once more, Republicans would not move forward in the same manner at the federal level. Case in point: the Blunt amendment.

At the best of times, Republican's brand of politics is depraved. In times of desperation, as they currently find themselves in…watch out. Think of a rabid dog, foaming at the mouth, forced by it's own insanity into a corner and you'll have an idea of what to look forward to over the next six months.


The Rude Pundit: Oh Fuck Ann Romney


Hero of the week

Dammit, how did we miss this? Future President of the United States (and current Mayor of Newark, New Jersey) Cory Booker continues to kick all kinds of ass. Not only does he spend his winters personally filling pot holes and shoveling cars out of snow banks, but this week he literally rescued someone from a burning building.

NEWARK, N.J. — In a smoky stairwell, with embers falling from the ceiling and his neighbor slung over his shoulder, Cory Booker called it his "proverbial come to Jesus moment."

The mayor of New Jersey's largest city was carrying out a constituent he had rushed into a burning home to save, first pushing aside his security detail who tried to hold him back by his belt. He didn't feel like a hero: "I felt terror," he told reporters on Friday, holding a children's fire safety video with his burned, bandaged right hand.

The 42-year-old mayor, who has dug out snowbound residents in a blizzard, lived in a rundown housing project to make a point and tagged along on police patrols to lecture drug dealers, took on a new status Friday: the politician who can do almost anything.

Chris Christie can barely climb out of his helicopter without a forklift and Booker is rescuing people from death. I'm looking forward to watching Booker electorally humiliate Christie one of these days.


This is a sight to behold.

Politico's chief political analyst hadn't heard of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the first major piece of legislation signed into law by our first black president, until this week.

It's no wonder how the beltway press is so easily played by the "both sides are the same" meme.

I look forward to expert analysis of the War on Women from someone who can't even see the goal posts. Okay not really.


Of the 50 or so Tea Party backed candidates who won seats in Congress in the 2010 midterms, no one wears their wingnut badge of crazy with more vigor and hyperbolic stupidity than Florida's Allen West. A sampling of the man's work…

  • "If Joseph Goebbels was around, he'd be very proud of the Democrat party, because they have an incredible propaganda machine."
  • "[Liberals], take your message of equality of achievement. … You can take it to Europe, you can take it to the bottom of the sea, you can take it to the North Pole, but get the hell out of the United States of America."
  • "[Liberal women] have been neutering American men and bringing us to the point of this incredible weakness — to let them know that we are not going to have our men become subservient. That's what we need you to do. Because if you don't, then the debt will continue to grow…deficits will continue to grow."
  • "Every time I see one of those bumper stickers [the Coexist movement], I look at the person inside that is driving. Because that person represents something that would give away our country. Would give away who we are, our rights and freedoms and liberties because they are afraid to stand up and confront that which is the antithesis, anathema of who we are."
  • [The Democratic party is a] "21st-century plantation. So I'm here as the modern-day Harriet Tubman, to kind of lead people on the Underground Railroad, away from that plantation into a sense of sensibility."

And the latest from the Congressman forced to leave the military after abusing an Iraqi detainee and firing a gun inches above his head

I believe there are about 78 or 81 members of the Democrat Party that are members of the Communist Party.

It's called the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Someone needs to tell Allen West that the Cold War has been over for 20 years and that the Republican party's new 'commies' are Muslims, immigrants, Latinos and gays. Has he not been reading the internal memos from head office?

I like this response to Mr. West from one of our readers.

Somebody should just ask him to publish his list. Put up or shut up.


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