If you're a Republican member of the Ohio legislature and don't toe the party line, they strip you of your committee assignments.[...]
Read The Full Article:
Looks like all those poison pill policy riders House Republicans attached to the budget -- on abortion, the environment, etc -- are the big sticking points preventing a deal to fund the government. Which is pretty telling indication of how serious the[...]
Read The Full Article:
In a new development surrounding the infamous meeting between Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant (R) and Republican senators (first reported here, with follow up stories here and here), word is spreading at the Capitol of plans to depose each and every Republican senator regarding the meeting.
A request for subpoenas is reportedly imminent.
Here we go. The maps are on their way to the Senate. Will Phil Bryant and Billy Hewes let them vote? We'll find out soon. The Senate starts their business at 10 a.m.
46% of Mississippi Republicans say inter-racial marriage should be illegal, to 40% who say it should be legal. And it seems Palin does better with the racist crowd.
Palin's net favorability with folks who think interracial marriage should be illegal (+55 at 74/19) is 17 points higher than it is with folks who think interracial marriage should be legal (+38 at 64/26.)Barbour is the GOP favorite in the state, unless you look at just the ban-inter-racial-marriage crowd, then Huckabee jumps to the head of the list.
If Barbour makes a bid for the White House, he would have home-state support. His 37% in an eight-candidate field puts him at almost a 2:1 advantage over the next contender, neighboring Arkansas? Mike Huckabee, who earns 19%. Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin each get 10%, with Mitt Romney back at 6%, Michele Bachmann at 5%, Tim Pawlenty at 3%, and Ron Paul at 2%, with 9% undecided or preferring someone else.The south, and the Republican party, still have a serious racism problem. And Mississippi is at the head of the pack. And what's really sick is that 46% of Republicans were willing to admit to a stranger (pollster) that they don't approve of the mingling of the races. Imagine how high the REAL number is.
Without Barbour in the race, Huckabee gets most of Barbour?s supporters, jumping up to 35%, followed by Palin?s 20%, Gingrich?s 18%, and Romney still way behind at 8%, and the others pretty much running in place. Romney has typically done poorly in Southernstate primary matchups in recent PPP polls, but this is his worst performance yet.
46% of these hardcore Republican voters believe interracial marriage should be illegal, while 40% think it should be legal. With Barbour included, Huckabee gets more support (22%) from the former than the latter (15%), as does Palin (13-6). The support for Bachmann (10-2), Gingrich (13-8), and Pawlenty (4-1) works the opposite way.
I was there in 1995 when the government closed because of a budget stalemate. I had to tell most of the Labor Department's 15,600 employees to go home and not return the next day. I also had to tell them I didn't know when they'd next get a paycheck.
There were two shutdowns, actually, rolling across the government in close succession, like thunder storms.
It's not the way to do the public's business.
Newt Gingrich got blamed largely because his ego was (and is) so big he couldn't stop blabbing that Clinton should be blamed. (Gingrich's complaint of a bad seat on Air Force One didn't help.)
But the larger loss was to the dignity and credibility of the United States government. When average Americans saw the Speaker of the House and the President of the United States behaving like nursery school children unable to get along, it only added to the prevailing cynicism.
Cynicism about government works to the Republicans' continued advantage.
Case in point. House Budget Chair Paul Ryan unveiled a plan today that should make every American cringe. It would turn Medicare into vouchers whose benefits are funneled into the pockets of private insurers. It would make Medicaid and Food Stamps into block grants that allow states to ignore poor people altogether. It would drastically cut funding for schools, roads, and much else Americans need. And many of the plan's savings would go to wealthy Americans who'd pay even lower taxes than they do today.
Ryan's plan has no chance of passage - as long as Democrats are still in control of the Senate (even Democratic deficit hawks like Kent Conrad and Ben Nelson are appalled by it) and the White House.
But this so-called "blueprint" could be a blueprint for America's future when and if right-wing Republicans take charge.
Which is where the cynicism comes in - and the shutdowns. Republicans may get blamed now. But if the shutdowns contribute to the belief among Americans that government doesn't work, Republicans win over the long term. As with the rise of the Tea Partiers, the initiative shifts to those who essentially want to close it down for good.
That's why it's so important that the President have something more to say to the American people than "I want to cut spending, too, but the Republican cuts go too far." The "going too far" argument is no match for a worldview that says government is the central problem to begin with.
Obama must show America that the basic choice is between two fundamental views of this nation. Either we're all in this together, or we're a bunch of individuals who happen to live within these borders and are mainly on their own.
This has been the basic choice all along -- when the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution, in the Civil War, when we went through World War I and World War II and the Great Depression in between, during the Civil Rights movement and beyond.
The President needs to remind us that as members of the same society we have obligations to one another -- that the wealthiest among us must pay their fair share of taxes, that any of us who loses our jobs or homes or gets terribly sick can count on the rest of us, and that we have collective obligations to our elderly, our children, and the rest of the planet.
This is why we have government. And anyone who wants to shut it down or cut it down because they say we can't afford it any longer is plain wrong. We are the richest nation in the world, richer than we've ever been. We can afford to remain a society whose members are in it together.
A terrific article in the Jewish Forward today explains what was behind Judge Richard Goldstone's decision to amend his original findings on the Gaza war: social pressure.
The article describes how Goldstone's community in Johannesburg summoned Goldstone to a meeting with the Jewish Federation at which communal leaders essentially indicted Goldstone for being a traitor.
"It was a heavy meeting. They went in very hard against him. There were no smiling handshakes afterwards. Avrom's [the head of the South African Zionist Foundation] opening statement was pretty merciless."
The meeting in South Africa came on the heels of Goldstone's 11th hour decision to attend his grandson's bar mitzvah -- a decision he took only after threats were withdrawn by prominent community members to protest outside the synagogue. Did all this add up to an emotional punch that would cause Goldstone's turnaround? It may be too simplistic to reduce the process to that. But several friends cited what they viewed as the cumulative toll of a stream of calumny hurled at the famously unemotional jurist.
"It has been like watching an innocent man whipped at the stake," said Goldstone's friend Letty Cottin Pogrebin, founder of Ms. magazine. "His dedication to Israel is so strong and rooted. He suffered at the thought that his work was being used to delegitimize Israel. It truly wounded and pained him."
"His family is taking terrible strain," reported a close South African friend who would speak only on condition of anonymity. "He told us, 'If I had known what it would do to my family, I wouldn't have done it.'"
According to these friends, Goldstone didn't fully understand how politically charged any criticism of Israel could be, and was blindsided by the anger and emotion the report engendered.
In other words, Goldstone couldn't handle the anger of friends and, perhaps, even members of his family. (His family's decision to go ahead with a Bar Mitzvah at a synagogue that banned the Bar Mitzvah boy's grandfather from attending seems positively bizarre).
So Goldstone decided to appease his crowd. His article in the Washington Post was not designed to repudiate his own report (and it didn't). It was designed to win back the friendship of people whose nationalist feelings were hurt.
This is all understandable, if not admirable.
It is also common. The cravenness of some progressive Jewish organizations (like the Reform movement) in supporting the Gaza war may be dictated as much by social ostracism as by donor intimidation organized by AIPAC. Even J Street, which bravely opposed Gaza, felt the need to praise Goldstone's decision to step back from his original report.
This fear of ostracism by fellow Jews severely damages the ability of progressive Jews to help end the conflict. So long as they are always looking over their shoulders to see what the status quo crowd is saying, their effectiveness is limited.
It doesn't have to be that way. If progressive Jews really believe that ending the occupation and supporting a Palestinian state is in Israel's best interests, they will turn the tables on their "mainstream" friends and ask them why they are supporting policies that will inevitably lead to Israel's demise. If progressive Jews honestly believe that the occupation is a cancer on Israel, they will say it loud and clear. They will stop being intimidated by people who have been proven wrong about pretty much everything since 1967 and who have done immeasurable damage to the Jewish state.
As for losing friends, so what? Doing the right thing is often (maybe even usually) unpopular. Do you think the abolitionists didn't lose friends and offend reactionary clergy? How about the European Christians who fought anti-Semitism in the 1930's? Or, of course, the brave South Africans who fought apartheid?
Progressive Jews need to break with the status quo crowd. The path of compromise will get them exactly nowhere. And it will be Israel, even more than Palestinians, who will pay the price.
POSTSCRIPT: Some of the progressives who are intimidated on matters relating to Israel are the same people who would never back down on economic issues, marriage equality, the environment, immigration, civil liberties and a host of other issues. The difference is that the mainstream Jewish community allows deviation on every single issue but Israel, the one area in which progressive Jews can do the most good. There will be no "Profile in Courage" awards for those who are progressive only when it won't cost them financial support or "friends."
Click here to view this media
Chloe Steward, a 15-year-old girl in Ankeny, Iowa, woke at 3 a.m. to find Benjamin Foster, a consultant for Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), banging on her back door.
Foster was arrested and charged with public intoxication and trespassing, according to KCCI.
"The Steward family said Foster was drunk and was trying to get home to a friend's house in Johnston," the station reported. "They said he vomited in their backyard and scared their daughter."
Marching in step with the GOP’s nationwide war on a woman’s right to choose, the Idaho legislature gave final approval to a bill that would outlaw abortions after 20 weeks. Modeled after Nebraska’s first-in-the-nation measure, the bill — like the one passed in Kansas last week — is based on highly disputed medical research that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks. Idaho’s bill, however, also fails to include exceptions for rape, incest, severe fetal abnormality or the mental or psychological health of the mother. “Only when the pregnancy threatens the mother’s life or physical health could a post-20-week abortion be performed.”
In 1990, Idaho’s anti-abortion Gov. Cecil Andrus (D) vetoed a similar bill expressly because it failed to provide a rape or incest exception. “The bill is drawn so narrowly that it would punitively and without compassion further harm an Idaho woman who may find herself in the horrible, unthinkable position of confronting a pregnancy that resulted from rape or incest,” he said.
But this year during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, state Republican lawmakers found plenty of reasons to advocate for it. State Rep. Shannon McMillan (R) argued that women who were impregnated under “violent circumstances” should have no choice because it’s not the fetus’s fault. State Rep. Brent Crane, the bill’s sponsor, took it a step further. Believing that “tragic, horrific” acts of rape or incest are the “hand of the Almighty,” Crane said women should trust God to turn the consequences of their sexual assault into “wonderful examples”:
“Is not the child of that rape or incest also a victim?” asked Rep. Shannon McMillan, R-Silverton. “It didn?t ask to be here. It was here under violent circumstances perhaps, but that was through no fault of its own.”[...]
The Idaho bill?s House sponsor, state Rep. Brent Crane, R-Nampa, told legislators that the “hand of the Almighty” was at work. ?His ways are higher than our ways,? Crane said. “He has the ability to take difficult, tragic, horrific circumstances and then turn them into wonderful examples.”
Crane?s belief that good can come from such horrific circumstances may be one shared or embraced by a sexual assault victim. However, that interpretation, that belief, that choice should be made by the woman ? not forced upon her by law. The right to choose is not about the ?innocence? or ?guilt? of the fetus ? or of the woman for that matter. It is about a woman being able to decide whether she is willing and able to carry a pregnancy to term.
The bill does more than compel sexual assault victims to carry pregnancies to term, it makes it a felony to perform such an abortion and allows spouses and relatives to file legal injunctions against physicians who break the ban. The bill also sets up a fund that can accept donations to defend the bill — a needed provision since the Idaho attorney general has issued two legal opinions declaring the bill unconstitutional for violating the Roe v. Wade decision’s viability standard.
Despite the lack of constitutionality or compassion, the bill passed 54 to 14 with only one Republican joining all 13 Democrats in opposition. The bill now heads to Gov. Butch Otter (R) “who is expected to sign it.”
For the past five months, I've grown increasingly concerned about the steady surge in oil prices. Back in November,I noted that several sectors could be affected if oil moved past $100 a barrel. With oil now approaching $110 a barrel, you can forget that qualified statement. Oil will affect various swaths in the . . . → Read More: 3 Sectors to Avoid During High Oil Prices
Read The Full Article: