September 11th, 2012

Fear the Hat!

Va. Lawmaker: Disabled Kids are God's Punishment for Abortion

Va. Lawmaker: Disabled Kids are God's Punishment for Abortion

By Brian Montopoli Topics In The News

Republican Virginia State Delegate Bob Marshall said at a press conference last week that God is taking "vengeance" on parents who have had abortions by making their other children disabled, according to the News Leader in Central Virginia.

"The number of children who are born subsequent to a first abortion with handicaps has increased dramatically," he reportedly said. "Why? Because when you abort the first born of any, nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children."

"In the Old Testament, the first born of every being, animal and man, was dedicated to the Lord," he added. "There's a special punishment Christians would suggest."

Marshall posted a statement on his Web site distancing himself from the comments.

"No one who knows me or my record would imagine that I believe or intended to communicate such an offensive notion," he wrote. "I have devoted a generation of work to defending disabled and unwanted children, and have always maintained that they are special blessings to their parents. Nevertheless, I regret any misimpression my poorly chosen words may have created as to my deep commitment to fighting for these vulnerable children and their families."

Marshall made the comments at an event calling for Virginia not to offer state funding for the group Planned Parenthood, which performs abortions.

Lupin's Hand gif

Bill O'Reilly - 'The US is on the verge of becoming a combination of Greece & Sweden'

Left behind

According to a new poll by The Hill newspaper in Washington, D.C., 54 percent of likely voters believe President Obama does not deserve another term based on his economic record. With rising gas prices once again punishing working Americans and with fear in the air over unemployment, there is a very good chance that Obama will join Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush as a one-term president.

And if Obama goes down, so does the liberal movement in America, which has made great strides over the past three and a half years. Consider the following developments:

  • Gay marriage is now accepted by most folks.

  • "Medical marijuana" is openly sold in many cities to people with no maladies whatsoever.

  • Anyone who opposes abortion can be categorized as biased against women.

  • Successful Americans and prosperous small-business owners are not paying their "fair share" in taxes.

  • And you are racist if you oppose Obama's liberal political viewpoint.

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Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

Japanese-American GOP ranks rare

Japanese-American GOP ranks rare

Like many Japanese-Americans living in Hawaii, Janell Yim loves eating "musubi" rice balls made with Spam and arranging flowers. When she travels, she never forgets to bring back "omiyage" for family and friends.

But when it comes to one of Hawaii's native sons, President Barack Obama, Yim and her fellow island state residents don't necessarily see eye to eye.

"Barack Obama was change for the worse," said Yim, a 50-year-old social worker, as she stood on the floor of the Republican National Convention, in Tampa, Florida, passing out purple leis to fellow conservatives.

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Yeah, gee, I wonder why few POC are Republicans. HMMMMMMMM.

And it's kind of amazing how the few POC that are Republicans give the same rationale for why there are so few - oh, it's just misplaced loyalty or somesuch. Never that people actually, y'know, use their brains and think for themselves.
Bree Gun

It’s Time to Stop Pretending Abortion and Birth Control Aren’t Economic Issues

Stop me if you've heard this one. The War on Women, as the GOP line goes, is a myth drummed by the liberal media to distract from important economic issues. Issues like jobs, the economy, and building a giant fucking oil pipe across the middle of the country. A real President would focus on things that matter to real Americans rather than spending the entire campaign playing in the Barbie aisle with the ladies and their special interest concerns. But since when did reproductive choices decouple from economic consequences? As long as pregnancy and childbirth cost money, and time that could be used to make more money if it wasn't being spent on kid-wrangling, a woman's ability to control the size of her family is the most important economic issue of all. So why is anyone getting away with pretending it's not?

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mus | like a bird in a cage

Rob Ford conflict of interest trial: What’s so hard about integrity?

One is left searching for answers one day after Mayor Rob Ford’s day in court to answer charges of conflict of interest.

Like, how to keep our local democracy from degenerating into solemn cynicism or hooting irrelevance?

As our politicians continue to pervert their exalted calling, citizens and courts employed to hold them to account are ridiculed, and all sense of balance is sacrificed on the altar of partisanship.

Increasingly, citizens appear incapable of passing sound judgment. Matters of public interest, reaching far beyond the immediate issue, are often viewed through the lens of the current political scorecard.

As such, the so-called Ford Nation — that tiny sliver of the electorate for whom Mayor Rob Ford can do no wrong, even if he sacrifices their firstborn — can find nothing to sanction in the mayor’s behaviour, even when the mayor grudgingly concedes culpability.

And the inveterate Ford haters just want to see him expunged from the city, by any means necessary.

The rest of us just want good government. And a little civility, common sense and integrity.

Conflict of interest is such a simple and clear concept that it is stunning so many politicians continue to get it wrong — some of them, wilfully. See Hazel McCallion of Mississauga.

The entire Toronto City Council came under grave scrutiny over a computer leasing contract that ballooned without notice. The Denise Bellamy inquiry was the result. And out of that came the provision of an integrity commissioner to guide council behaviour.

Imagine if you used company letterhead to solicit money from company suppliers to boost your terrific charity? If for some reason you lapsed and did, and a client complained, and your company ombudsman came calling, a reasonable response would be to cease and desist.

Mayor Ford, though, lives by his own rules.

He laudably refused to use taxpayers’ money to pay for his office supplies. But he also refused to understand why the rules would require him to report how much he spent, and on what. And when he used said stationery to solicit funds for his football foundation, and was told this was inappropriate, he balked, arguing it was his money that paid for the stationery so he could use it as he pleased. Finally, after much prodding from Janet Leiper, the city’s integrity commissioner, he heeded, grudgingly.

But Ford didn’t much listen to the woman charged to help city councillors stay on the straight and narrow.

When a citizen complained that Ford was using the muscle of his office to hit him up for cash, on city letterhead, Leiper told Ford the citizen had a legitimate beef.

In addition, Ford used the same tactic with lobbyists doing business with the city. One who gave a donation won a multi-million-dollar contract with the city. Leiper said council rules forbid such solicitations. Lobbyists might think they had to donate just to stay on Ford’s good side. And those who didn’t donate and didn’t get the contract might think that was the reason for their failure.

Ford, of course, conceded nothing. He didn’t apologize. He refused Leiper’s demands that he pay back the money, ignoring six warning letters. Leiper took the matter to council and council voted that Ford should repay the money. He didn’t.

By the time Leiper returned to ask council to enforce its ruling, Ford was the mayor. His new team of allies overturned the earlier vote, after Ford spoke on the issue and voted on it. The amount in question was $3,100 — enough for the mayor to fight to retain.

That’s a clear conflict of interest, period. The mayor spent four hours on the witness stand Wednesday, embarrassing himself, adding logs to two burning fires: one to smoke him out of office and another to fire up his campaign for re-election.

And local democracy turns to ash.

Fear the Hat!

Romney a wimp? Not so much, say gays who engaged with him as governor

Romney a wimp? Not so much, say gays who engaged with him as governor

Posted by Jim Lopata September 11, 2012 01:10 PM

Note: The following story is adapted from the September/October 2012 issue of Boston Spirit magazine.

By Scott Kearnan

It was 2004, after the Supreme Judicial Court had cleared the way for same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses in Massachusetts. Governor Mitt Romney remained a roadblock, endorsing a constitutional amendment that would ban it.

Julie Goodridge and other plaintiffs in the landmark case had written a letter to the governor, asking for a meeting. He ignored it, so they staged a press conference at his office to read the letter to the media. That, finally, got them through his door. Once inside, they were shocked.
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[Firefly] Inara

Egyptians upset at film, scale US embassy walls

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian protesters scaled the walls of the U.S. embassy on Tuesday, tore down the American flag and burned it during a protest over what they said was a film being produced in the United States that insulted Prophet Mohammad.

In place of the U.S. flag, the protesters tried to raise a black flag with the words "There is no God but God, and Mohammad is his messenger", a Reuters witness said.

Once the U.S. flag was hauled down, some protesters tore it up and showed off pieces to television cameras. Others burned the remains outside the fortress-like embassy building in central Cairo. But some protesters objected to the flag burning.

Many Muslims consider any depiction of the Prophet to be offensive.

"This movie must be banned immediately and an apology should be made," said 19-year-old Ismail Mahmoud, a member of the so-called "ultras" soccer supporters who played a big role in the uprising that brought downHosni Mubarak last year.

He called on President Mohamed Mursi,Egypt's first civilian president and an Islamist, to take action, without giving details of the film that angered him or other protesters.

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DC Comics - Superman/Batman 2

Poverty is more than tuna and pasta

By Richard Cohen, Published Sep. 10 2012

When I was 19, I lived in a furnished room on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. My kitchen table was the bathtub with a cover over it. I had no shower, and the common toilet was down the hall, where some guy named Michael kept trying to get in. I was going to college at night, working in the mailroom of an insurance company by day, and taking home something like $48 a week. Given the rhetoric of recent days, this qualifies me for president of the United States.

I was what is sometimes called “voluntarily poor.” I could have gone home to my parents, where a guest bedroom awaited. I probably could have hit up some relative for a short-term loan. What mattered most, however, was that I was in college. I would graduate someday, get a job, a wife, 21 / 2 kids, a split-level in the suburbs and live the conventional American dream. I was not stuck. I was on my way.

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Source: Washington Post

This articulated my biggest problem with Ann Romney's speech much more eloquently than I could. As a graduate student at a good school, I'm currently "voluntarily poor" in the same way the Romneys were and could come up with "tuna fish and pasta" anecdotes of my own. But I know better than to think my current experience gives me even the slightest idea of what it's like to be truly poor. Ann's speech just underscores how oblivious the Romneys are.
handle me

AIG Bailout Earns the US Government $2.7 Billion

WASHINGTON -- The Treasury Department says it has received an additional $2.7 billion from the sale of American International Group stock. The sale comes one day after the government reported a profit on its four-year investment in the bailed-out financial firm.

Treasury says the banks underwriting the sale have exercised their option to buy 83.1 million additional AIG shares at $32.50. Together with Monday's $18 billion in stock sales, Treasury says the government has recovered a total $197.4 billion from the company. That's all of its original investment of $182.3 billion plus a return of $15.1 billion to taxpayers.

The sales cut the government's stake in AIG to less than 16 percent. At the height of the financial crisis, the government held a 53.4 percent stake in the company. 


Somehow I doubt that any Republicans will mention this during the election season.  As much as I HATE the idea of bailing out investment firms and insurance companies, it's good to know that US government has not only been reimbursed, but made a profit on its investment.

From the Delhi police: Why women deserve to be raped

One of the most depressing aspects of writing about the recent string of rape cases are the responses these kinds of stories inevitably evoke. The Internet trolls come out in swarms to condemn the victim: for being out late at night, for being divorced, talking to strangers, drinking, dressing “provocatively”, and, the worst, for making it all up. Who are these people, I’d wonder, who genuinely believe that a woman would deliberately provoke sexual assault, and failing that, pretend she’d been raped – and go public with it.

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You guys probably know how I feel about" the "Sita-woman" that's constantly touted in Indian fiction (when, let's face it there are far stronger women in Hindu mythology to model fictional characters after...not saying the "Sita-woman" should be removed, just that more character-types should be written), the fact that marital rape is not recognized, that a man can escape punishment if he marries his rape victim, that a girl's family will manipulate her until she agrees, that in India women still go from being under their father's custody to their husband's...It's ridiculous that this occurs in a country that is so quick to demonize the treatment of women in "Muslim countries," it's pathetic and embarrassing that such archaic notions are the norm in a nation with so many Devi worshipers...from Durga to Meenakshi to Kali. Simply reprehensible.

(Mandatory disclaimer to anyone who is thinking this: No I'm not saying the US is in any way, shape, or form near perfection, so please don't start with the "But in the US..." crap!)

I know I'm not all that articulate (now, or ever really), I know that I sound angry, that's because I am pissed off.

Also, I tried to add appropriate tags, but this is the first time I'm posting here, let me know if I should add or remove any.

Some comments that I've wanted add (because of the discussion here, and other places).  This isn't just an issue in North India or Delhi. These sorts of attitudes exist all over, even in the South, even in Kerala (Devi worship, matrilineal inheritance among certain Hindus and Muslims).

And, I don't think it's fair to blame men or the men, as far as I'm concerned Indian women share at least 51% of the blame. They're smart, educated, have the vote, and are leaders but they accept such treatment. They follow and are obsessed over the "Sita-archetype," they slut shame, they ask husbands "why didn't you just slap her" after wives had the audacity to ask their cheating husbands who they're talking to on their cell, why they left the room. Sexism -whether against women or men- is always the fault of both the men and women of society. The mothers, mothers-in-law, sisters, friends should do more to change attitudes, because the attitudes of these police officers reflects the attitudes of society.


How Obama Got The Democrats' Groove Back on Foreign Policy

Mitt Romney Can See The Soviet Union from His Mansion.

Stealing the Hymnal

The Democrats might have real differences over foreign policy with their Republican challengers, but you wouldn't know it from listening to them.

Having spent the last two weeks in Tampa and Charlotte at the Republican and Democratic National Conventions and listening to an interminable number of political speeches I'd have to say the number of remarkable events, aside from an old man yelling at an empty chair, were somewhat few and far between.

But there was one notable exception on Thursday night at the DNC in Charlotte. In what was a highly effective, though somewhat unremarkable acceptance speech Barack Obama made the following comment, "My opponent and his running mate are new to foreign policy" -- and then he paused. The crowd, quickly grasping the implications of the comment, began to laugh and then applaud.

It was an amazing moment; even transformational in the politics of national security and foreign policy. Barack Obama and the Democrats weren't simply criticizing the positions of their GOP opponents -- they were openly mocking, even ridiculing them as lightweights, as blusterers and blunderers not up to the responsibility of U.S. global leadership.

It wasn't long ago that this was precisely the line of attack used by Republicans in attacking Democrats like Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, Bill Clinton, John Kerry, and even Barack Obama. To see Obama do it to Romney represents a veritable sea change in how the two parties talk about foreign policy on the campaign trail.

And it wasn't just Obama. Sen. John Kerry, in his barn-burner of a convention speech called Romney an "extreme and expedient candidate, who lacks the judgment and vision so vital in the Oval Office." Together, Romney and Ryan were, "the most inexperienced foreign policy twosome to run for president and vice president in decades," said Kerry. He joked that "President Mitt Romney" were "three hypothetical words that mystified and alienated our allies this summer" and he suggested that Romney seemed to be basing his analysis of Russia as America's "number one geopolitical foe" from too many viewings of Rocky IV.
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Could foreign policy actually affect the 2012 presidential election?

As Fred Kaplan observed in Slate over the weekend, for the first time in a loooooooong time, the Democrats feel more secure on foreign policy and national security issues than the Republicans.  When John Kerry starts making derisive references to Rocky IV, you know something strange is going on.  As for Barack Obama, his convention acceptance speech was kind of middlin' -- except when he started talking about foreign policy.  As Kaplan noted: 

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Why Mitt Romney's foreign policy platform might cost him the 2012 election

When we last left off, your humble blogger was speculating on the ways in which foreign policy had cost Mitt Romney during the campaign.  In this post I want to expand on that theme -- with an assist from the just-released-this-very-minute-from-embargo 2012 Chicago Council Survey of American Public Opinion and U.S. Foreign Policy.

To set the table:
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A blink's as good as a smudge to a deaf


The New Yorker has a Facebook page, which a lot of you like, or maybe it’s just one person with a lot of time on their hands, liking the page over and over again. But in any case, it’s a whole lotta like. We like that.

What we don’t like is that we got temporarily banned from Facebook for violating their community standards on “Nudity and Sex,” by posting this Mick Stevens cartoon:

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