Wednesday, February 13, 2013

February 13

Violence Against Women Act passes Senate 78-22

Red-state / family value Republicans in favor of violence against women

Barrasso and Enzi, Wyoming
Blunt, Missouri
Boozman, Arkansas.
Coburn and Inhofe, Oklahoma

Cornyn and Cruz, Texas 
Graham and Scott, South Carolina
Grassley, Iowa 
Hatch and Lee, Utah 
Johanns, Nebraska
Johnson, Wisconsin
McConnell and Paul, Kentucky 
Risch, Idaho
Roberts, Kansas
Rubio, Florida 
Sessions, Alabama

Rape is apparently a Mormon family value. Thanks, Mike & Orrin!

Senators Tom Coburn and John Cornyn believe protecting Native women from being raped is "unconstitutional" and a "special interest."

"What we've done with this solution is to trample on the Bill of Rights of every American who's not a Native American," Coburn said. "And I have no doubt — I am a hundred percent certain that this portion of the bill is going to be thrown out by the first federal judge that hears it." [...]

Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) said the provision was a product of the "unconstitutional demands of special interests," characterizing it as the reason for his opposition to the bill.

To say this 'tramples on the rights of non-native Americans' is to say that we're trampling on the rights of rapists and domestic abusers to commit rape and beat their girlfriends without consequence which, last time I checked, is not included in the Bill of Rights. Maybe I should read it again to make sure I didn't miss that part.

As we've covered here before, Native American women are twice as likely to be raped as other women and the overwhelming majority of attackers who assault and abuse Native Americans are non-native, American men who do not fall within the jurisdiction of local tribes.

In some rural villages, rapes are 12 times more common than the national rate, and for Native American women, generally sexual assault is more than twice as common as the national average, according to The New York Times. The Alaska Federation of Natives cites a 2010 report by the University of Alaska Anchorage Justice Center, finding that while only 15.2 percent of Alaskans are Native American, they are the victims of 50 percent of the domestic violence and 61 percent of the sexual assaults committed in the state. [...]

The men who commit these crimes are often not Native American themselves. Indian Country reports that "non-Indians commit 88%" of rapes and domestic violence against Native American women, but they are beyond the reach of local justice: "antiquated jurisdictional laws" prevent tribal justice systems "from prosecuting non-Native criminals."

A "special interest."

No thanks to Republicans, Senate Democrats passed the Violence Against Women Act today by a margin of 78 to 22. And the question once again is this — will Republican leadership in the House allow the bill to come to a vote? The bill will pass if they allow it to be voted on, but Speaker Majority Leader Eric Cantor still has a host of objections and perceived slights.

Update… Marco Rubio, the GOP's next great hope, voted against the Act today along with 21 other Republican men. All Republican women in the Senate voted for the act.

I'm sure this is all a part of their outreach effort.


Today in dishonest Fox News charts: Fox tries to convince viewers that China and Russia are far outspending the U.S. on defense. 

Reality: The U.S. spends more on defense than the next 12 top-spending countries combined. 


Here on Planet Earth, President Barack Obama has reduced total federal expenditures as a share of the economy from 25.5 percent when he took office to 24.7 percent in the last quarter.

Total federal spending as percentage of GDP since Reagan

Click to enlarge (Data: GDP and federal spending.)

George W. Bush, on the other hand, raised federal spending from 19.4 percent of GDP to 25.5 percent. Or, as House Speaker John Boehner puts it, President Obama is a coward who wants to cut spending but is too scared of voters to do anything about it.

House Speaker John Boehner Tuesday repeatedly challenged the president's willingness to go against his own party on issues that include reforms to social programs and spending.

"I think he'd like to deal with it [fiscal problems], but to do the kind of heavy lifting that needs to be done, I don't think he's got the guts to do it," the Ohio Republican said in a meeting with a small group of reporters for nearly an hour Tuesday morning. "He understands there is a spending problem. He understands that we need changes and reforms, and we need to solve these problems."

Sure, Speaker Boehner's attack wasn't grounded in reality, but let's give him some credit: at least he didn't accuse the president of being a secret Soviet apparatchik hellbent on destroying the American way of life. Instead, he basically accused the president of being a closeted Bowles-Simpson acolyte. That's progress, isn't it? Well, sort of.


Prayers - Xristian Xrazie Kimberly Daniels offers us a prayer for Owen Meany Barack Obama:
"Lord, expose the work of every witch, sorcerer, spiritualist or person from the dark side operating through his cabinet members or through anyone else closely associated with him. We block the power of the influence of the Yorùbá religion and all other groups of black people who worship their ancestors, in Jesus' name. We put barriers around the United States that will bind and block the witchcraft coming from Kenya to influence our president in Jesus' name. Let the power of every dedication of his past be broken, in Jesus' name."

(Charisma News)


Amazing Story About Owl Stuck in Florida Woman's Car Grill Yields Amazing Animated GIF



Last month President Obama indicated that U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan would soon accelerate and, according to USA Today, he will confirm as much tonight during his State of the Union Address.

President Obama plans to announce Tuesday that 34,000 more U.S. troops will be home from Afghanistan at this time next year, said people familiar with his State of the Union speech.

That would reduce the American military presence in Afghanistan by about half, and maintain the schedule to end the U.S. combat mission within two years.

Obama will also say that reductions will continue through the end of 2014 as Afghans take responsibility for their own security.

While I will praise this announcement, I expect the Far Right will say it's too soon, and the Far Left will say it's too late.



These speeches are always wish lists but last night's seemed even more so than usual. After watching clips of the Senate Armed Services Committee hearings, where Republicans were taking turns intimating that a former Republican Senator was a secret mullah at worst, and a fellow-traveling closet Muslim at best, and after witnessing what it takes to get the House to agree to anything, the notion that any of what Obama proposed during that speech will do anything but die in committee is hard to swallow.

But I will say that the last few minutes, where he mentioned guns and voting, two issues where well over two-thirds of the population agree that something must be done, were pretty well done political theater. John Boehner looking like his piles were acting up, and refusing to applaud a hundred year-old lady who waited in line hours to vote, were just what Obama and his team wanted us to see. And a galley full of victims of gun violence, including the police officer who was shot 15 times, juxtaposed with gun nut Ted Nugent also sent a pretty good message, as did Obama's request for a vote on the gun legislation.

I have no idea what "regular people" think of these speeches, but if they stayed tuned until the end, they got another dose of the key Democratic message: the country will get nothing that it needs from Republicans. We're always complaining about Democratic messaging but I thought the last 10 or so minutes of that speech were top-notch, especially when judged against other State of the Union addresses.


According to Politico:

MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Tuesday night knocked Sen. Marco Rubio's GOP response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union as "primitive."

"I thought it was Tinkertoys," Matthews said after Rubio delivered his address. "I thought it was primitive, something you would hear on a high school debating team."…

"First of all, he went after government as some kind evil, then he admitted he had gone to school on student loans," Matthews said. "Well, [...] I mean, I'm very pro-government. And he admit he was, too. He said, I love Medicare because of how it takes care of my mother, how it took care of my father with dignity. He said, I went the student loan route, I got my education."…

"It was almost like a YAF-er convention speech, Young Americans for Freedom speech, from the 1950s," Matthews said. "There was no originality to it. It was basic. Again, it was Tinkertoys. It was a kid's presentation of a philosophy reduced to maybe the 9th grade level. I'm sorry, that's what it was."

Politico also has video & a transcript of Rand Paul's Tea Party rebuttal-to-the-rebuttal. It runs across four pages. Here are the first three paragraphs:

I speak to you tonight from Washington, D.C. The state of our economy is tenuous but our people remain the greatest example of freedom and prosperity the world has ever known.

People say America is exceptional. I agree, but it's not the complexion of our skin or the twists in our DNA that make us unique. America is exceptional because we were founded upon the notion that everyone should be free to pursue life, liberty, and happiness.

For the first time in history, men and women were guaranteed a chance to succeed based NOT on who your parents were but on your own initiative and desire to work

Says the man who owes his entire career to his old man. It doesn't get any better; don't bother clicking over unless you need a checklist of every "bipartisan" cliche that ever brought Dancin' Dave Gregory to estactic release. "America has much greatness left in her," and if only enough voters were dumb enough to believe him, Rand Paul believes he could yet steal it all.


cowboy_joeThis is an interesting story (via) with a must-watch video, if you're into dumb state legislators, about a woman who wrote a letter to every member of the Wyoming state legislature and one of the replies she received. It started like this:

I'll be blunt. If you don't like the political atmosphere of Wyoming, then by all means, leave. We, who have been here a very long time (I am proudly 4th generation) are quite proud of our independent heritage.

I lived in Wyoming for a few years and a very common sight was a pickup with a bumper sticker with Cowboy Joe (that's him in the graphic) and one word, "Native". I've spent a fair amount of time in surrounding states, and my experience is that the "Native" attitude is strongest in Wyoming, though you do see it in other rural Western states. The notion that there's some innate virtue in staying true to the accident of your birth is a hallmark of close-minded stupidity, so I'm not surprised that a 4th generation resident of one of the states with the widest streets and the narrowest minds would brag about it.

Sounds like Utah.


'Senator Cruz Has Gone Over The Line': Colleagues Slam Ted Cruz For Irresponsible Rhetoric On Hagel


Sheriff Joe's Posse Would Like To Surprise Your Children With An Armed Sex Offender


Carve another notch on your holster, Heart Attack Grill. A Las Vegas man known as the unofficial spokesperson for the "Heart Attack Grill"restaurant died from exactly that on Monday. But here's the eulogy for the ages: "He lived a very full life," said the restaurant's owner, Jon Basso. "He will be missed."


Noted Hate Group, American Family Association is outraged! Outraged, I tell you, that married same-sex couples in the military will have the same benefits as other married couples, including burial rights at Arlington. They know for a fact that there are no dead, gay soldiers there or their boyfriends or girlfriends. Oh, wait. (American Family Association)


Bob Cesca: President Obama's Ambitious State of the Union

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