February 18th, 2011

*betty draper reading

$7 mil for a NASCAR sticker is wasteful? HDU!

Dem Rep Receives Threat Over NASCAR Proposal (DOCUMENT)

Evan McMorris-Santoro | February 17, 2011, 1:30PM

Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) alerted Capitol Police Thursday after a threatening fax arrived at her office attacking her proposal to strip Pentagon sponsorship from NASCAR teams.

McCollum's staff tells TPM this is the first time they've alerted the police about a threat made against her office since the health care debate.

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McCollum's proposal seeks to ban the military from spending taxpayer money on racing sponsorships. Currently, the Army sponsors a car in the NASCAR's Sprint Cup series to the tune of about $7 million per year.

McCollum contends that money -- which NASCAR says helps boost Army recruiting -- is wasted.

Since announcing the proposal, McCollum's office has received more than a few calls from irate NASCAR fans upset at what they perceive as a slight against their sport.

"We've had calls," Bill Harper, McCollum's Chief of Staff, told TPM. "Lots of Mississippi people, North Carolina people. We had a Florida person."

Asked what the callers say, Harper replied, "'Get your hands off my NASCAR', mostly."

Harper said he found it "ironic" that McCollum's amendment, which he said is the exact kind of government waste-cutting the new Republican majority has championed, is riling up NASCAR fans to the point of calling McCollum's office.

"We've heard innumerable times that the Republicans were elected to send a message from the people that we should stop spending money," he said. "And yet the people who sent that message want us to spend $7 million for a sticker on a NASCAR."


Planned Parenthood funding debate gets personal as lawmaker tells of her abortion

 The House chamber was silenced on Thursday night when California Rep. Jackie Speier (D) revealed that she had to have an abortion.

The revelation came as debate on an amendment to defund abortion provider Planned Parenthood neared its third hour.

Speier shocked the lower chamber, half-full of lawmakers and staff, still hard at work on a government funding measure for the third straight day.

Speier said she intended to speak to a different topic but was so upset by her GOP colleague Rep. Chris Smith’s (N.J.) preceding five-minute speech during which he read graphic depictions from a book of a woman describing the experience of having an abortion.

“I really planned to speak about something else but the gentleman from New Jersey just put my stomach in knots because I’m one of those women he spoke about just now. I had a procedure at 17 weeks pregnant with a child who moved from the vagina into the cervix. And that procedure that you just described is a procedure that I endured,” Speier said.

At that moment, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who had been standing in the aisle of the Democratic side, took a seat to listen to her fellow Golden State colleague.

“I lost the baby. And for you to stand on this floor and suggest that somehow this is a procedure that is either welcomed or done cavalierly or done without any thought, is preposterous,” Speier said, glaring at the Republicans on the other side of the aisle.

Though Planned Parenthood is banned from using federal dollars to perform abortions, conservative Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) led the charge to defund the family planning organization.

Republicans lined up to support Pence’s amendment to deny funding to the women’s reproductive centers as Democrats fiercely defended it.

At 9 p.m. the lower chamber began debating Pence’s amendment to the underlying bill that would provide funds to the government until the end of the fiscal year in September.

With more than 500 amendments submitted to the continuing resolution (CR), as the measure is known, most of the debates on those items lasted little more than 20-30 minutes.

But the debate late Thursday, hours after the House was initially set to vote on the continuing resolution, seemed unending for staffers, lawmakers and reporters in the Capitol as the House creeped toward final passage of the CR.

Member after member rose to give subdued but emotional five-minute speeches with graphic descriptions of abortion procedures, from those in support of Pence’s amendment, and heart-breaking stories of women’s lives being saved from Planned Parenthood, by lawmakers opposed to the amendment.

Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler (N.Y.) rose to accuse Republicans for their “war on women,” and called the amendment a “bill of attainder.”

“I hear that we must punish Planned Parenthood by defunding them because they’ve committed a number of sins; sin No. 1, they are large abortion providers, even though none of those abortions are paid for by the federal government,” Nadler said on the House Floor.

A bill of attainder punishes an entity for a crime without having stood trial.

Several speakers later, GOP Rep. Louis Gohmert (Texas) took to the podium to argue that the amendment was not a bill of attainder.

“No one is being found guilty of a crime here, I know about those things,” the former district judge said as dozens of exhausted lawmakers watched from seats on the floor.

Nadler, sitting in the back of the chamber on the Democratic side of the aisle, rushed to the leadership table to engage in a conversation with Gohmert, but the former Texas judge refused to yield time to Nadler.

“I know the gentleman is one of the smartest people I know but this is not a bill of attainder,” Gohmert said after Nadler requested time to ask his GOP colleague a question.

Source: [The Hill]
She is amazing for this.
clay matthews

Wisconsin's Largest School District Closes Friday; WI Dems Still Hiding in Illinois

The Milwaukee Public Schools have canceled classes for Friday because of the high number of teachers calling in sick.

"With these staff shortages, we will not be able to provide safe and appropriate class settings," Superintendent Gregory Thornton said in a statement.

MPS remained open on Thursday when thousands of teachers statewide called in sick to attend protests in Madison over Gov. Scott Walker's budget repair bill. More than 400 teachers called in sick on Thursday, about 20% above normal and MPS officials said those teachers would face some type of discipline.

TMJ4 reported this morning that more than 600 MPS teachers called in sick today.

At least 14 other districts in central Wisconsin, including Madison, Janesville and the Wisconsin Dells, also canceled classes due to the protests.
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Good communication equals good sex

The comments in the source..are interesting. Another good piece by Nina Funnell.


A while back I was giving a workshop on "enthusiastic consent" with fellow sexual ethics researcher and writer, Rachel Hills. During the workshop we met a young woman who provided some interesting and intelligent insights into consent based on her experiences in the BDSM community.

She explained that in BDSM sex (which involves bondage and discipline as well as domination, submission and sadomasochism) there is often a fine line between pleasure and feeling violated. And it's not always easy or straightforward to tell how other sexual partners are feeling or thinking.

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Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

Finally world champion! Congrats, Belgium! You're #1!

Belgium celebrates record government waffling - Divided nation comes together to claim title of country that took longest time to form a cabinet

Many would see it as a humiliation, but for Belgium it’s an excuse for a party: the country’s citizens marked 249 days without a government Thursday, a figure that they are treating as a world record.

Day to day the crisis pits the leaders of six million Dutch-speaking Flemings against those of 4.5 million French speakers, but people from across the country put aside their differences to celebrate the occasion.

In Dutch-speaking Ghent, organizers hoped 249 people would strip naked to mark the days of the crisis as part of a party that drew thousands.

There were free fries, Belgium’s national dish, in Leuven and lots of Belgian beer in the French-speaking student town of Louvain-la-Neuve.

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Governor Walker himself caused the "crisis" in Wisconsin, and now expects workers to pay for it.

Walker gins up ‘crisis’ to reward cronies

Wisconsin needs to be fiscally responsible.

There is no question that these are tough times, and they may require tough choices.

But Gov. Scott Walker is not making tough choices. He is making political choices, and they are designed not to balance budgets but to improve his political position and that of his party.

It is for this reason that the governor claims Wisconsin is in such deep financial trouble that Wisconsinites should view this as a crisis moment.

In fact, like just about every other state in the country, Wisconsin is managing in a weak economy. The difference is that Wisconsin is managing better -- or at least it had been managing better until Walker took over. Despite shortfalls in revenue following the economic downturn that hit its peak with the Bush-era stock market collapse, the state has balanced budgets, maintained basic services and high-quality schools, and kept employment and business development steadier than the rest of the country. It has managed so well, in fact, that the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau recently released a memo detailing how the state will end the 2009-2011 budget biennium with a budget surplus.

In its Jan. 31 memo to legislators on the condition of the state’s budget, the Fiscal Bureau determined that the state will end the year with a balance of $121.4 million.

To the extent that there is an imbalance -- Walker claims there is a $137 million deficit -- it is not because of a drop in revenues or increases in the cost of state employee contracts, benefits or pensions. It is because Walker and his allies pushed through $140 million in new spending for special-interest groups in January. If the Legislature were simply to rescind Walker’s new spending schemes -- or delay their implementation until they are offset by fresh revenues -- the “crisis” would not exist.


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Also, the Rachel Maddow show did extensive coverage on this last evening.

ETA:  Also, Ed Schultz covered this issue earlier this week.

Saudi authorites detain founders of new party

CAIRO – Authorities in Saudi Arabia have detained founding members of a new political party and told them they must withdraw demands for political reform as a condition for their release, the party said Friday.

The detainees refused to sign the pledge, said the Umma Islamic Party, which was formed earlier this month by 10 university professors, political activists and business people,

Political activity in oil-rich Saudi Arabia, which follows strict Islamic rule, is severely restricted and all power rests in the hands of the ruling family. The fledgling signs of political demands in Saudi Arabia come at a time when pro-democracy protests against authoritarian governments are sweeping the Arab world.

The Umma Islamic Party has urged the kingdom's rulers to start a dialogue on reform, including improving the status of women.

In a statement e-mailed to The Associated Press, the party said all founding members were arrested Wednesday.
One of the founders, Sheik Mohammed bin Ghanim al-Qahtani, was quoted as saying he and the others did not commit a crime to justify the arrest and that they were exercising legitimate political rights.

The arrests will only "increase the political tension among the Saudi people who, like other Arab peoples, aspire to real political reform based on their right to freely express their opinions, hold political gatherings and elect their lawmakers," the statement said.

The party called on the government to release its founding members.

oh holy shit
  • chaya

Facebook adds civil union, domestic partnership to relationship statuses

Facebook users now have two more ways to describe their romantic arrangements.

In a gesture of inclusiveness aimed at the gay community, Facebook on Thursday added "In a civil union" and "In a domestic partnership" to its official list of relationship statuses.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but a gay rights group, which announced the change, cheered it.

"By acknowledging the relationships of countless loving and committed same-sex couples in the U.S. and abroad, Facebook has set a new standard of inclusion for social media," Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation president Jarrett Barrios wrote in a statement.

Barrios said that GLAAD and several other gay-rights groups met with the company to push for the change.

The option is now available for Facebook users in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, France and Australia, the group said.

CNN sauce
lost // jack

Single mothers viewed negatively, poll says.

WASHINGTON — Even as they have grown more comfortable with same-sex or unmarried couples raising children, about two-thirds of those in a recent poll still view single mothers detrimental to society, according to a new poll of attitudes toward the country’s soaring number of nontraditional families.

Most types of nontraditional families are broadly accepted or at least tolerated, including same-sex couples with kids, unmarried parents, and childless women, according to a poll from the Pew Research Center. But two decades after TV’s “Murphy Brown’’ caused a public furor by having a child without a husband around, many people still draw the line when it comes to single motherhood.

The poll illustrates how dramatically attitudes have changed from the not-so-distant past, when the typical family was a married couple with children and virtually every other kind of family was considered abnormal. Today nuclear families make up 1 in 5 households in the United States, census statistics show. And nearly 4 in 10 births are to unmarried women, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

“People aren’t embracing these changes, but they are accepting them,’’ said Rich Morin, a senior editor at the Pew Center and author of the report. “The days when people were made to wear a scarlet letter or were shunned after a divorce are ancient history.’’

The poll asked about 2,700 people their thoughts about seven trends in modern relationships that are upending what used to be considered the traditional family: unmarried parents raising children; gay couples raising children; single mothers; partners living together outside of marriage; working mothers; interracial marriage; and women who never bear children.

The poll results suggest that Americans fall largely into three equally sized camps.

Roughly a third said the trends have no impact on society or are positive. People who were positive about the changing family were overwhelmingly women, Hispanics, and East Coast residents who rarely if ever attend religious services.

Another third considered most of the changes harmful to society. The only trends they accepted were interracial marriage and fewer women having children. People who were unhappy with the trajectory tended to be older white Republicans who are married and religiously observant. They also were more likely to be from the Midwest or South.

The third group tended to accept all the changes except for single motherhood. Virtually all said the growing prevalence of mothers who have no male partners around to help them raise children is bad for society. This group tended to be young, Democratic or independent, and more heavily minority.

With so many different kinds of families, many people see firsthand the impact on children, Morin added, and consider it mostly positive.

“We see gay and lesbian couples raising children in loving environments,’’ he said. “We see young mothers going off to work and coming home to raise happy, well-adjusted children. Then we see the sometimes tragic consequences of single parenthood, with just one person juggling so many roles.’’

Andrew Cherlin, a Johns Hopkins University sociologist who studies families, said the poll underscores the widespread acceptance of two-parent families, of almost any ilk.

“Working mothers are acceptable to almost everybody,’’ he said. “Two parents who are unmarried are tolerated or acceptable. But many people, including single parents themselves, question single-parent families. There’s still a strong belief that children need two parents.’’


I'm kind of surprised that so many people across the country are supposedly accepting of different family types; then again, New England is a traditionally liberal area, so that probably put a spin on the article.

Also, something that I would have liked to have seen explored is whether age impacts how a single mother is viewed. For instance, I would imagine that a young single mother would be more frowned upon than an older single mother.
Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

Few states follow mental health gun law

AP finds few states follow mental health gun law

More than half the states are not complying with a post-Virginia Tech law that requires them to share the names of mentally ill people with the national background-check system to prevent them from buying guns, an Associated Press review has found.

The deadline for complying with the three-year-old law was last month. But nine states haven't supplied any names to the database. Seventeen others have sent in fewer than 25, meaning gun dealers around the U.S. could be running names of would-be buyers against a woefully incomplete list.

Officials blame privacy laws, antiquated record-keeping and a severe lack of funding for the gap the AP found through public records requests.

Eleven states have provided more than 1,000 records apiece to the federal database, yet gun-control groups have estimated more than 1 million files are missing nationwide.

"If the mental health records are not current from our sister states, the quality of our background check is going to be compromised," said Sean Byrne, acting commissioner of the Division of Criminal Justice Services in New York, a state that has submitted more than 100,000 records.

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Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

Japan cancels whaling season due to group's obstruction

Japan cancels whaling season due to group's obstruction, official says

Japan has canceled the rest of its winter whaling season, with a top official reasoning that environmentalists' obstructive efforts made it dangerous for whalers to stay on the high seas.

Japanese Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Michihiko Kano told reporters Friday that the country's government halted whaling because of actions taken by the animal rights group, Sea Shepherd. He stressed that Japan did not want to do so, but felt its hand was forced.

"From the viewpoint of our crew's safety, we have decided to cut short the research whaling at this time, against our will," he said.

The decision marks the first time Japan has canceled its whale hunt in the waters of the Antarctic since it started the practice in 1987. In 2005, Sea Shepherd began its bitter battle with Japanese whalers, monitoring them and occasionally getting into altercations. What Japan calls its winter whaling season typically extends into mid-March.

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It's going to be interesting to see how the Japanese press reports this. Needless to say, the Sea Shepherd normally doesn't get very good press over here.
Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

Japan sees alarming rise in child abuse

Japan sees alarming rise in child abuse

She is a precocious little girl, in pigtails and rainbow rimmed glasses, all spark and determination. The 11-year-old attacks origami with the mission to build a flying bird.

Creating an object of beauty contrasts with the ugliness this child has suffered at the hands of her own parents.

The director of Nonohana-No-ie orphanage nods at us, signaling this girl is one of the of abused children who reside at this protective facility. Seventy percent of the children here, between the ages of 2 and 18, are victims of abuse and neglect so severe the police removed them from their parents' custody.

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George Takei's Wonderful Valentine's Day Surprise For Japanese Internment Camp Survivor

Teaming up with the Japanese American National Museum, actor George Takei honored a survivor of one of America's more disgusting decisions: to force more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans and Japanese natives into internment camps in the 1940s, because, uh, they looked like the enemy.

Source: Queerty
Music - Lynn Smile

Coulter 'insanely jealous' of Sarah Palin

Washington (CNN) - Conservative columnist Ann Coulter has made some enemies in her years as a right-wing firebrand, but she's still jealous of Sarah Palin's ability to agitate the left.
"I especially love her for her enemies, I'm insanely jealous of that," Coulter said last night on MSNBC. "I love her for how she makes liberal heads explode."

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LOL at her "making liberal heads explode" comment. Pretty sure she makes liberals' heads explode due to her stupidity, not her logic.

Also, sorry mods! I'm out of it. Source is now included AND there are tags!

SD not done bullying women yet

Will Draconian South Dakota Force Women to Visit Religious Pregnancy Centers Before Abortions?

The "justifiable homicide bill" is gone. But a new SD bill would force women to visit Christian counseling centers before seeking abortions. It's expected to pass.

The South Dakota legislature was on the receiving end of a media frenzy this week when Rep. Phil Jensen introduced a bill that would allow a murderer to plead “justifiable homicide” if they killed anyone who threatened the fetus of a pregnant woman, a law many took to be declaring open season on abortion providers in the state.

The proposed law was shelved, but the assault on women's right to an abortion isn't over. Lost in the commotion is a more sinister law that is about to be voted on as well, which will mandate all women who want abortions must first undergo a counseling session with a representative at a crisis pregnancy center and prove that she is not being coerced into her decision.


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The wording of the bill is actually even worse than what's given in the article: 

" (4)    There exists in South Dakota a number of pregnancy help centers, as defined in this Act, which have as their central mission providing counseling, education, and other assistance to pregnant mothers to help them maintain and keep their relationship with their unborn children, and that such counseling, education, and assistance provided by these pregnancy help centers is of significant value to the pregnant mothers in helping to protect their interest in their relationship with their children; and

            (5)    It is a necessary and proper exercise of the state's authority to give precedence to the mother's fundamental interest in her relationship with her child over the irrevocable method of termination of that relationship by induced abortion."

Child Abuse or Tough Love?

Mom puts son on Tampa street corner to tell of poor grades

By Robbyn Mitchell, Times Staff Writer
In Print: Friday, February 18, 2011

TAMPA — Head hanging low, he stood near an East Tampa street corner for nearly four hours Wednesday afternoon.

James Mond III, 15, wore a sign around his neck with a message:

"I did 4 questions on my FCAT and said I wasn't going to do it … GPA 1.22 … honk if I need (an) education."

People honked. Lots of people.

This was his mother's idea. Ronda Holder, 33, a Tampa hair stylist, said she wanted James to realize the importance of an education, afraid he will otherwise wind up on the street.

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Source: St. Petersburg Times

Editor's Note: I just fixed the link at the bottom.
Akuma River

Middle East North Africa Protests - How Libya and Bahrain are killing their own people.