Jul 202014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 90.  I’m still quite sore.  I have exercises to do between times, but the walking between home and bus stops and office total over a mile, in addition to the workout, stresses the same muscle groups.  No pain no gain, and I must be gaining plenty.  I will be AWOL much of this week,. because Tuesday and Thursday are both prison volunteer days.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:35 (average 4:19).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: Testing the political waters in Iowa today, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said that if he is elected President, he would bring the flow of illegal immigrants over the U.S.-Mexico border to a virtual standstill.

“There are ways of keeping people from getting to where they want to go,” Christie said, claiming that he was the only Republican hopeful with the hands-on experience necessary to fix the border crisis.

The New Jersey governor was vague about how he would halt traffic over the border, but exuded confidence that he was the right man for the job.

I’m sure PIGnocchio would not care any more for the people who die in that scenario than he does for the ones he killed on the off-ramp from the GW bridge.

From Daily Kos: Hmmm….

KELLY: OK. The controversy there is that some women abused that when it was allowed and would get a doctor to say, yes, her health requires a late term abortion. And then this happened in the case of Dr. Tiller, who wound up murdered, that he was providing late term abortions based on health concerns, when you had a viable fetus, a baby, growing in the third trimester. And no one really wants to return to those days, Patricia, do they?

Well I must admit this is the first time I have heard this reasoning.

You have to really have a twisted mind to come up with this type of perverted logic.

Translation:

Women who have late term abortions for health reasons endanger the lives of their physician, and if they keep doing it then that can only result in one thing. More dead physicians. Now you don’t want their blood on your hands, now do you?

Here’s the voting rights version. Black people should not be allowed to vote, because, when they first began trying to exercise that right, racists murdered civil rights activists, and no one really wants to return to those days, do they? Talk about caving-in to criminal demands!!

From YouTube: Bill Maher Rails Against Militarized Police Culture in Outstanding Monologue

 

He wasn’t as funny as usual, but he sure was spot on.

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0720Cartoon

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Jul 092014
 

One of the things that make the Holly Lobby decision so frustrating is that there appeared to be little the left can do in the short term.  Boycotting Hobby Lobby is great, and I fully support all who do so, but in truth, shopping in one of their stores is something I would never have done anyway.  On the other hand, we can put a dent in the finances of Eden foods, because so many activists are also into organic foods.  They certainly deserve it.

0709Eden

Yesterday on my public Facebook page, I began following the story of Eden Foods (this is a good place to start), an organic food company whose products are beloved by many friends, especially my vegetarian and vegan friends (they make beans and soy milk, among other products).

In 2013, the company and their chairman and sole shareholder, Michael Potter, sued the federal government for the right to deny contraceptive coverage to their employees. Here’s the court filing.

The plaintiffs, Eden Foods, Inc., and Michael Potter, appeal from a denial of their request for a preliminary injunction that would forbid federal agencies from enforcing that mandate against them. They contend that offering such contraceptive services to the employees of Eden Foods would substantially burden the plaintiffs’€™ religious beliefs.

Potter refers to contraceptives as "lifestyle drugs. [pseudo-Christians delinked]" He has compared buying birth-control pills to Jack Daniels. He believes that "Obama’s in your bedroom" and that he a defender of freedom, and has also characterized Obama as a dictator. Moreover, he actually can’t identify which religious principle in particular leads him to object to providing birth control.

Two things interest me here. First, I have my doubts whether an organic food company can survive a boycott from progressives. Whole Foods has managed to be an anti-union corporation with CEO who likes to go on Obama-is-a-fascist rants (speaking as a historian, this is not what fascism looks like) and yet still thrive. I rarely shop there, but they seem to do alright, in part by providing the only option for high-quality insanely-expensive fancy foods in many area. Eden Foods has to compete with other, less offensive (in public anyway. EDIT: I assume few CEOs share my values), brands.

Second, I am always interested in the way that white wealthy Christians present themselves as victims (my public writing is coordinated under the general heading of "language, power, and privilege."). There is power in simultaneously claiming righteous might while also under assault by powerful and nefarious forces. It’s an old rhetorical move and remains widely spread among the American Christian right (see my CNN.com piece on Sarah Palin at the NRA). In response to the outrage at their position, Eden Foods has gone on the defensive-offense… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Daily Kos>

In a separate article, Daily Kos has a petition to the CEO of Eden Foods.  It threatens a boycott, so it’s certainly worth signing.  But this isn’t the first time this company has ventured into the arena of Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christian attempts to violated the rights of others to impose their own dogma.  I went to their own store locator and found six local businesses that carry their products.  I called them and have spoken with the managers of five.  One knew about this, and said the owners are making a decision on whether to stop selling Eden.  The other four did not even know about Eden’s involvement.  Two did not care, one said he would discuss the matter with the owners, and one was very angry that Eden would do such a thing.  She said that, if the owners would not pull Eden’s plug, she would advise her customers to choose different brands.

That’s what one tired old man can do.  Imagine what thousands of really pissed-off women could accomplish.

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Jul 052014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 75, and it occurred to me that, since most folks in the country get a holiday, I ought to as well, since it’s a slow news day, I’m tired, and preparing my holiday feast took three hours of cooking and prep, so this article is all I have.  The rest of the weekend depends on the availability of content.  Please be safe.

Late (early) update:

I just woke up.  I slept through the fireworks.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:59 (average 6:11).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: Kinda like a really scary jigsaw puzzle … oh, and the Congress Critters in the districts that make up those shaded areas? Yeah, they don’t want folks to see this map. Hint, hint.

0705USRO-low-wage

That high area in eastern Oregon is the sparsely populated Republican part of the state. Politically and culturally, it’s more like Idaho.

From The New Yorker: A new poll released Wednesday revealed that people rank President Barack Obama as the worst President since the Second World War, and also blame him for starting the Second World War.

While the respondents slammed the President for his handling of the economy, Iraq, and a host of other issues, his perceived role as the primary cause of the Second World War was the biggest drag on his numbers.

Even more troubling, when compared to the three leaders of the Axis powers during that war, President Obama polled at the bottom of the list, finishing far behind Emperor Hirohito of Japan.

LOL Andy. It may be accurate! If so, do I have to tell what TV channel those polled used to get their news?  (the real poll was demographically skewed).

From NY Times: In a decision that drew an unusually fierce dissent from the three female justices, the Supreme Court sided Thursday with religiously affiliated nonprofit groups in a clash between religious freedom and women’s rights.

The decision temporarily exempts a Christian college from part of the regulations that provide contraception coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

The court’s order was brief, provisional and unsigned, but it drew a furious reaction from the three female members, Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan. The order, Justice Sotomayor wrote, was at odds with the 5-to-4 decision on Monday in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, which involved for-profit corporations.

“Those who are bound by our decisions usually believe they can take us at our word,” Justice Sotomayor wrote. “Not so today.”

The court’s action, she added, even “undermines confidence in this institution.”

Monday’s decision and the order on Thursday were dual blows to the Obama administration’s efforts to provide contraception coverage, said Walter Dellinger, who was acting United States solicitor general in the Clinton administration.

This order, unsigned demonstrating their cowardice, directly contradicts part of the Hobby Lobby decision that the ruling applied only to closely held, for profit corporations. Wheaton College is neither. I promised you a slippery slope was ahead. The slide has started. For a better understanding, click through and read the entire article.

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0705Cartoon

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Jul 042014
 

I have read Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissent to the ruling in Hobby Lobby by the Fascist Five Injustices of SCROTUS (Republican Constitutional VD).  I recommend that you read it too (link follows).  As an easier reference found an article with an excellent summary of ten key points.

0704ginsburgRuth Bader Ginsburg wrote a scathing 35-page dissent in the disastrous 5-4 Supreme Court decision Monday granting corporations First Amendment religious rights to deny women birth control coverage. The court had ventured far out in to unprecedented territory by granting private companies the right to be exempt from laws their owners don’t agree with. Crazy! In their zeal to deny women access to reproductive healthcare, expand the rights of corporations and hurt Obamacare, "The court," she wrote, "has ventured into a minefield." 

Sadly, her clear-eyed reasoning did not sway the Court’s five arch conservatives, but it is worth reading her dissent here (starts on page 60.)

For those in a bigger hurry, here are highlights:

1. "Would the exemption…extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations[?]…Not much help there for the lower courts bound by today’s decision."

2. "Approving some religious claims while deeming others unworthy of accommodation could be ‘perceived as favoring one religion over another,’ the very ‘risk the [Constitution's] Establishment Clause was designed to preclude."

3. "Religious organizations exist to foster the interests of persons subscribing to the same religious faith. Not so of for-profit corporations. Workers who sustain the operations of those corporations commonly are not drawn from one religious community." … [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Alternet>

I have shared three to the articles ten highlights.  Click through for the other seven.  I not only agree with Ginsberg in sll ten highlights, but also with her entire dissent.

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Jul 012014
 

In 1982, Clarence “Teabag” Thomas, began an extensive, persistent and unwanted effort to get between Anita Hill’s legs.  He failed, but in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, he and the other four fascist Injustices of SCROTUS (Republican Constitutional VD) succeeded in placing themselves between the legs of millions of women.  The Republican effort  to do this has been even more extensive, persistent and unwanted.  At the came time they set an unconstitutional precedent by saying a corporation can have a religion, and that the beliefs of that corporation may be imposed on employees who do not share them.

0701HollyLobby

A divided Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on Monday that closely held corporations cannot be required to provide contraception coverage for their employees.

In an opinion authored by Justice Samuel Alito, the court ruled in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Burwell that the Obama administration has failed to show that the contraception mandate contained in the Affordable Care Act is the "least restrictive means of advancing its interest" in providing birth control at no cost to women.

"Any suggestion that for-profit corporations are incapable of exercising religion because their purpose is simply to make money flies in the face of modern corporate law," Alito wrote, adding that by requiring religious corporations to cover contraception, "the HHS mandate demands that they engage in conduct that seriously violates their religious beliefs."

The Affordable Care Act contains a provision requiring most employers to cover the full range of contraception in their health care plans at no cost to their female employees. The Obama administration had granted an exemption for churches and accommodations for religious hospitals, schools and nonprofits, but for-profit companies were required to comply with the coverage rule or pay fines.

Hobby Lobby, a Christian-owned craft supply chain store, and Conestoga Wood Specialties Store, a Pennsylvania wood manufacturer owned by a family of Mennonites, challenged the contraception mandate on the grounds that it violates their religious freedom by requiring them to pay for methods of contraception they find morally objectionable. The owners of those companies believe some forms of birth control — emergency contraception and intrauterine devices — are forms of abortion because they could prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus.

Monday’s opinion was written narrowly so as only to apply to the contraception mandate, not to religious employers who object to other medical services, like blood transfusions or vaccines.

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg filed a dissenting opinion joined by Justice Sonia Sotomayor and mostly joined by Justices Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer. Ginsburg warned in her dissent that the decision was not as narrow as it claimed to be. "In a decision of startling breadth, the Court holds that commercial enterprises, including corporations, along with partnerships and sole proprietorships, can opt out of any law (saving only tax laws) they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs," Ginsburg wrote.

Ginsburg argued that the government has a "compelling interest" in providing no-cost birth control to women. "Those interests are concrete, specific, and demonstrated by a wealth of empirical evidence," she wrote. "To recapitulate, the mandated contraception coverage enables women to avoid the health problems unintended pregnancies may visit on them and their children."… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <NY Times>

I did find some video coverage that was better than what I expected so early.

The Republicans won this battle in their War on Women.  Women can win the war with their votes.  I’m sure I’ll have more on this later this week.

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Jun 282014
 

Yesterday the Supreme Court handed down a rather surprising decision, disallowing the eight foot buffer zone around the entrances to Massachusetts women’s health centers that perform abortions.  I understand that it may well be Constitutionally correct, but from a practical point of view the decision could have tragic ramifications.  I do not understand why a much larger exclusion zone that protects the four Justices of SCOTUS and the five Injustices of SCROTUS (Republican Constitutional VD) is not also unconstitutional.  The plaintiff claimed that they just wanted to have “quiet conversations” with their neighbors and fellow citizens.

0628Abortion-Hate

The Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously struck down a Massachusetts law that barred protests, counseling and other speech near abortion clinics.

“A painted line on the sidewalk is easy to enforce, but the prime objective of the First Amendment is not efficiency,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote in a majority opinion that was joined by the court’s four-member liberal wing.

The law, enacted in 2007, created 35-foot buffer zones around entrances to abortion clinics. State officials said the law was a response to a history of harassment and violence at abortion clinics in Massachusetts, including a shooting rampage at two facilities in 1994.

The Massachusetts law was challenged on First Amendment grounds by opponents of abortion who said they sought to have quiet conversations with women entering clinics to tell them about alternatives. “Petitioners are not protesters,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote.

The court was unanimous about the bottom line but divided on the reasoning, with Chief Justice Roberts writing a narrow opinion. The law blocked too much speech, he said, “sweeping in innocent individuals.”… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <NY Times>

I can understand their point that it is not Constitutional to exclude people with no intent to violate the women’s rights and innocent passers by, who may be transiting the zone for reasons that have nothing to do with the clinic.  Of course the problem, is that Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christians are fanatical believers in a right to life that begins at conception and ends at birth.  They do not believe that abortion providers and others who assist women to exercise their rights have the right to life.   We know this, because they have murdered several.  If you believe that the extent of their “speech” will be those “quiet conversations”, see me about the wonderful bridge I am selling.  The one plus is that the decision leaves the door open to similar legislation that does not “block too much speech”.

The best coverage I have seen on this subject is from Rachel Maddow.  Sadly I cannot take credit for the added portrayal of Scalia at the beginning.

That covers it well.  I do not have a quick solution for this dilemma, but I do have an idea.  Someone needs to file a suit claiming that the exclusion zone around the Supreme Court violates the Consxtitution, because it “blocks too much speech” and is “sweeping in innocent individuals”.  Then we can see if the Justices and the Injustices think they should get to have “quiet conversations” with crazed wing-nuts with guns.

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May 282014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow on a busy day.  I prepared and gave my grocery order to Store to Door and spent several hours researching the WYSIWYG comment editor problem.  Finding a fix for that is like finding liberal Republicans in office,  Tomorrow is grocery delivery day.  Day 37.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:16 (average 4:49).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: As someone who is not American, I first heard about "purity balls" (eesh, that name) for the first time in 2014. It shocked me that fathers and daughters attend these dances to pledge her "purity" and virginity until she is married, giving her little choice or education on, you know, the importance of her own personal choices.

Then I saw this trailer for the documentary "Daddy I Do," which highlights the bigger issue: the serious lack of sexual education in America. Watch filmmaker Cassie Jaye explore the issue in the video below.

 

The video does an excellent job of exposing the devious way Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christians are violating the establishment clause in the 1st Amendment and the way they seek to make women chattel: proferty first of the father and then of the husband.

From Daily Kos: NextGen Climate Action—the Super PAC founded by Tom Steyer, the former California hedge fund chief who seeks to counter the Koch brothers’ climate-change propaganda machine with money from his own fortune—produced this ad calling them out for a verbal duel.

 

LOL! Buk-buk-buk-buk-Koch-a-doodle-DO!!!

From Alternet: That Elliot Rodger, the now dead suspect in the UC Santa Barbara shootings, was deeply misogynistic has now been well reported. Less known is that the alleged mass murderer engaged in other kinds of hate-mongering, posting racist messages on PuaHate.com, the online forum primarily known for its fomenting of hatred for women.

According to Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hatewatch blog, Rodger ranted on the site against interracial dating, black, Asian and Indian men.

Six months before his deadly shooting spree, Rodger posted a message entitled: “Saw a black guy sitting with 4 white girls.” He proceeded to express his rage about the fact that white women would consort with men of color.

Click through for more GOP Hate. That explains his belief that violence in support of hate is justified. He listened to and followed the principles set forth by Republican politicians, pundits, and media.

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0528Cartoon

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