Saturday, February 18, 2012

Must Reads

Brian Beutler: Why The GOP’s Payroll Tax Cut Cave Is An Even Bigger Deal Than You Think

Chez Pazienza: An Open Letter to CNN Regarding Nancy Grace

E.J. Dionne: Romney’s big problem: A missing aura of electability

Eugene Robinson: Drumming up a phony war on religion

Jason Linkins: Mitt Romney Causes CNN Debate Cancellation, Does Something Great For America

Evan McMorris-Santoro: How The GOP Went Back To The 1950s In Just One Day

Paul Krugman: Moochers Against Welfare

President Obama's Weekly Address - February 18, 2012

Continuing to Strengthen American Manufacturing

Thursday, February 16, 2012

First they came for...


First they came for gay marriages by I am not gay so I did not stand up.

Then they came for abortions but I was not pregnant so I didn't stand up.

Next they came for voter rights but I had a driver's license so I didn't stand up.

Finally they came for birth control and I STOOD UP AND I FOUGHT!

The GOP finally picked the one fight most Americans won't back down from. So I love that we are standing up! I love the men who are standing with us! This is the NEW Year of the Woman and we will elect Democrats who have stood and who will continue to stand for our rights.

Rick Santorum's Billionaire Backer

This is Foster Friess. Foster Freiss is not really a billionaire. Foster Friess is a multi-multi-multi-millionaire. Foster Friess is pouring millions into backing Rick Santorum's run for the Republican nomination for President. Foster Friess thinks all the hoopla over the contraception issue is much ado about nothing because it's "so inexpensive nowadays."

“You know, back in my days, they used Bayer aspirin for contraception. The gals put it between their knees, and it wasn’t that costly.”

That only scratched the surface. If you didn't see the whole interview (I didn't, but do I really need to subject myself to that?), read the highlights at the Politico link.

If Santorum doesn't distance himself from those comments for being crude in the least, and he won't because he need's Freiss' money, you can witness his downfall in the polls within a couple of weeks.

Gary Carter Dies at 57

NY TIMES: Gary Carter, the slugging catcher known as Kid for the sheer joy he took in playing baseball, who entered the Hall of Fame as a Montreal Expo but who most famously helped propel the Mets to their dramatic 1986 World Series championship, died Thursday. He was 57.
The cause was brain cancer, which had been diagnosed last May. Carter had been treated with chemotherapy and radiation, but his daughter Kimmy Bloemers said in mid-January that new tumors had been discovered.
1986 was a magical year for the Mets and for me as a Mets fan. I remember watching Game 6 holding my breath with two outs in the ninth and down two runs, and it was Gary Carter who singled into the outfield to start that improbable comeback.

Such a sad way to go out.

I found the women


Earlier, I posted a Planned Parenthood screen grab of the Darrell Issa hearing on "freedom of religion" where only men representing religious leadership were testifying. Many took to the Twittah machine to express outrage that only men were invited to speak about contraception. A friend of mine called Darrell Issa's office to express that frustration, only to be told the hearings were not about "birth control" but were about "religious freedom." I called his office and said that if the hearing is about religious freedom, then there should be women testifying about THEIR religious freedom. I suggested Representative Issa release a public statement explaining why he didn't think women had a say in the first amendment. I suggested that a table full of men talking about religious liberties implies he doesn't think women have any. The staffer told me that these were leaders and that their hierarchy is only men. I asked if there weren't ANY religious institutions that had women in leadership roles and she said, "I guess not." I told her that was incorrect and that there is even a prominent nun who actually sides with the White House plan for contraception coverage. I asked why she wasn't there today. The staffer even thought only Catholics were on the panel, despite there being a Jewish Rabbi.

So, we all freaked for good reason. Only one gender and only one view was represented in a hearing about the FIRST AMENDMENT -- you know, that amendment that allows for multiple views. Of all discussions, this should have had a variety of testimonies. There should have been at least one person on that panel testifying on behalf of the religious freedom of women to choose what to put in their body and to be allowed the same access to rights given to other men and women, despite their boss having a "conscience" problem.

But the second half of the testimony did include two women -- both representing religious university administrations. So, they had women testifying on a "religious freedom" panel and yet, they don't represent members of any religious belief -- they represent universities. Universities that are not legally allowed to deny employment based on a person's faith or "conscience." They are not allowed to force a religious mission, philosophy or doctrine on any employee. Therefore, what these women have to do with another woman's religious freedom to choose to take birth control is beyond me.

What's most troubling is that one of the women who testified is a medical doctor. And she has a problem with birth control.

Folks, we have a serious problem here. Women's rights are being taken away -- prods are being rammed up women's vaginas to forcibly, against her will, influence her not to abort something that looks like a dot on a screen and doesn't have a heart beat. Women are being denied equal access to universal preventative care because of who their boss is. Voter ID laws are limiting how many women can vote. Previously apolitical charities are hiring ideologues to limit Planned Parenthood's impact on women's health. And the Boehner House has spent more time on abortion and Planned Parenthood than creating jobs.

So what are we going to do about it? Are we going to keep getting mad? Are we going to keep fighting this crap? Or are we going to get out the vote and kick these assholes out of office?

Suggestions appreciated in the comments on ways to stand up and create shock and awe!

"Where's Waldo?" or "Where are Women?"


Today a hearing is taking place on Capitol Hill regarding contraception coverage in health insurance plans. Planned Parenthood posted this picture of the hearing. Notice the absence of relevant witnesses?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

WWPRD? - What Would President Romney Do?

Had it been up to Mitt Romney, we would no longer have an American auto industry. Here's what he wrote in his New York Times op-ed back in November of 2008, two months before President Obama took office:

IF General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. It won’t go overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed...
...A managed bankruptcy may be the only path to the fundamental restructuring the industry needs. It would permit the companies to shed excess labor, pension and real estate costs...
...In a managed bankruptcy, the federal government would propel newly competitive and viable automakers, rather than seal their fate with a bailout check.
Seal their fate with a "bailout check." "'s demise will be virtually guaranteed." The Bain way, apparently. Maybe the only way Romney knows. Take over a company, bankrupt it and reap the profits.

So here we are, a little over three years later, and GM is back on top as the world's top auto manufacturer. So of course, you'd expect Mitt would think that perhaps even if the government didn't go about it the right way in his opinion, at least a million plus jobs were saved and Detroit is alive again. ...Nope. He doubled down.
The indisputable good news is that Chrysler and General Motors are still in business. The equally indisputable bad news is that all the defects in President Obama's management of the American economy are evident in what he did.
Instead of doing the right thing and standing up to union bosses, Obama rewarded them.
Blame the workers. Nice going, Mitt. Never mind that the UAW took significant cuts, in pay, benefits and pension to keep their jobs and keep the auto industry alive in this country.

Now, the US Treasury still owns about one-third of GM's stock and is holding off on selling it until it can at the very least, minimize losses. But what would Mitt Romney do?
The Obama administration needs to act now to divest itself of its ownership position in GM.
The shares need to be sold in a responsible fashion and the proceeds turned over to the nation's taxpayers.
Yes, if Mitt Romney were President, he would sell the shares of GM... at a massive loss.
Taxpayers have recovered roughly half of the government’s $49.5 billion investment in GM through stock sales and loan repayments.
To break even on the GM bailout, the Treasury Department would have to sell its remaining one-third stake in the company for roughly $53 a share. GM stock is trading at about half that amount, so the government would lose about $14 billion on the deal if those shares were sold today.
Something tells me that unless Ronmey is dealing in vulture capitalism, he really has no idea what he's doing.

Stewart Weighs In on Contraception Issue

Jon Stewart came back from vacation with guns blazing regarding the whole contraception debacle, and in regards to the previous post by JHW22, I'd thought I'd add it here. Brilliant.

Don't Mess With Me, It's That Time of the Month!


Let me start by saying I love the men in my life. I respect them and they respect me. So when I make the following statement, please know I am only making it about CERTAIN men. Ready? Men need to SHUT THE FUCK UP about birth control! Now, when I see the majority of male pundits and commentators and journalists (or whatever the hell we're supposed to refer to them as these days) going ON AND ON about freedom of religion in regards to contraception, I want to yell loudly enough so that each one hears me: "WHAT ABOUT MY FREEDOM OF RELIGION!?!?!"

I appreciate the women, especially the Catholic women, all over the teevee and radio and blogs and articles standing up for a woman's right to choose what to put in her body to prevent the arrival of something unwanted in her body. I love that the women's groups, on the heels of the Koman disaster, are Fired Up! Ready to Go! But even these wonderful women, speaking on my behalf and many of yours, are missing the KEY POINT in the debate. This isn't just about health care or access to preventative care or a woman's right to equality in benefits no matter where she works. This absolutely IS a debate about religious freedom: WOMEN'S.

I would appreciate it if more of us started nailing this very crucial point: the Bishops are NOT the only ones in the debate with religious freedom to protect. Let's keep the focus on the sacred first amendment (one I believe in to my core). As an atheist and a strong supporter of the separation of church and state, I think it's a vile offense of a woman's religious freedom to have her employer impose HIS religious beliefs on HER health care. I don't care if the female employee is a Catholic and that 98% of Catholic women use contraception. I don't care what the numbers are. I wouldn't care if only 2% of Catholic women used it. What I care about is that NO WOMAN be denied access to basic health care because some MAN doesn't like her ability to regulate her own menstrual cycle based on HIS, not HER, religious beliefs.

So, data aside, health reasoning aside, this debate should be about religious freedom and we should be reminding the world, that we, as American women, are entitled to this very freedom and stop letting the debate sound as if only men have the right to practice their faith. These men to keep their religion in their pants, not mine!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

GOP Walking the Contraception Plank

Is this how it's going to end for the Republican Party?

TPM: Not satisfied with President Obama’s new religious accommodation, Republicans will move forward with legislation by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) that permits any employer to deny birth control coverage in their health insurance plans, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said Sunday.
Currently, 28 states mandate that employers' health insurance cover contraception for its employees, eight of which require it regardless of whether they are religiously affiliated or not. Many Catholic universities and hospitals already provide the coverage. The Obama administration's religious exemption is far broader than current law and actually a loosening of restrictions. But for some reason, GOP leaders think they have a dog in this fight and are betting that this will be wedge issue to sway Catholic votes away from the President in the upcoming 2012 election. This despite the fact that 58% of Catholics believe that employers should be required to provide their employees with health care plans that cover contraception, and that 62% of women overall, a huge voting block to be sure, agree as well.

So not only are they tying one end of the Blunt Amendment rope around the Catholic opposition rock, but they're tying the other end around their necks with a flawed "religious freedom" argument and attempting to roll back existing law for employers whose businesses have nothing to do with religion, and tossing it off the wingnut bridge.
“The fact that the White House thinks this is about contraception is the whole problem. This is about freedom of religion, it’s right there in the First Amendment. You can’t miss it — right there in the very first amendment to our Constitution,” [Senate Minority Leader Mitch] McConnell said. “What the overall view on the issue of contraception is has nothing to do with an issue about religious freedom.”
McConnell went on to embellish the argument, claiming Obama is being “rigid in his view that he gets to decide what somebody else’s religion is.” He said that “this issue will not go away until the administration simply backs down.”
How can a career politician of McConnell's stature get the First Amendment so wrong? It's because he is ginning up another empty attack on President Obama. He just can't help himself. Let's review:
Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
No law "respecting the establishment of religion..." - meaning that the government will not make any one religion the official religion of the country. "...or prohibiting free exercise thereof." - meaning that you are free to practice any religion you choose without fear of reproach from the government.

So, no, Senator McConnell, it's not "right there" in the First Amendment. Just because you are free to practice religion as you choose and follow its supposed moral values, does not mean you can arbitrarily ignore the laws of the land thereby causing an infringement on another person's rights. It's a far, far stretch to say that requiring an employer to cover contraception in its health care benefits for their employees, even if that employer is the Catholic Church now playing a role in the secular world, is a violation of conscience. It is up to the individual in question to face their moral conscience when it comes to the usage of contraception made available at no cost via their health insurance plans. Catholics who work outside the realm of the Church as their employer have that health care right. They also have the right not to use it - because of their religious beliefs.

In fact, I believe that in this particular case, it is the Catholic Church that is in violation of the very thing it protests. If the employee in question is not of the Catholic faith, why should he or she be discriminated against and not have the same health care benefits they would have if they didn't work for a religious organization? Is that not an infringement of their rights? If the government favored the religious institution's view, would that not be a violation of the First Amendment, namely "respecting the establishment" of their religion in lieu of federal law? If this were the case, could a Catholic secretary working for an Orthodox Jewish lawyer bring a ham and cheese sandwich to the office for her lunch in clear violation of her employer's Jewish beliefs?

I happen to be indifferent on the exemption to churches that President Obama offered. But when the church clearly steps in to the province of secular business, whether it be a hospital or a school in which people of all faiths are accepted, then they should and must follow the rules and regulations of the secular world. You can't claim religious exemption when it suits you. In this contraception coverage "nontroversy," the majority of Catholics are right, it's the Catholic Church and the "anything anti-Obama" GOP that are wrong.

ADDING... Rachel Maddow had a great piece on this issue last Thursday night. Along with exposing the Republican candidates fighting it out for the Presidential nomination, she also took a swipe and the 60-something, white male Beltway pundits who seem to think that it's the President who is looking bad on this issue even though he's with the majority of Americans. I think she may have been referring to Chris Matthews.