The President has delivered condolences, both in a public statement and in a private call to Afghan President Hamid Karzai. But these may ring hollow to an Afghan public weary of war and occupation. The biggest near-term consequence is a delay to the[...]
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Remember Kindee Durkee, the California bookkeeper accused of bilking her high-powered Democratic campaign clients out of hundreds of thousands of dollars? She also did the books for a scam "Californians for Obama" political action committee, that four[...]
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Sen. Nina Turner of Ohio is concerned about men.
If you think about it, she’s right.
The FDA believes it’s important to find out why men need Viagra before dispensing the little blue pill. It’s important to be sure the cure fits what ails them.
From Dayton Daily News (h/t Think Progress):
A critic of efforts to restrict abortion and contraception for women, Turner says she is concerned about men?s reproductive health. Turner?s bill joins a trend of female lawmakers submitting bills regulating men?s health. Turner said if state policymakers want to legislate women?s health choices through measures such as House Bill 125, known as the ?Heartbeat bill,? they should also be able to legislate men?s reproductive health. Ohio anti-abortion advocates say the two can?t be compared.
The so-called “heartbeat bill” sponsored by Rep. Lynn Wachtmann is another arrow from the right in the war on women, which is causing Republicans to lose steam with the ladies across the country.
But maybe the notion of the “heartbeat bill” was the inspiration, because it’s important for men to have a healthy heartbeat before they start messing around and taking ED pills that could endanger their life.
We’re all concerned about the boys and, because we all know how irresponsible you can be about your health.
The War on Women is taking a new turn in Rhode Island. John McDaid of Hard Deadlines reports that Rep. Karen MacBeth is sponsoring a bill that would make fetal ultrasound mandatory before an abortion. You can email Rep. MacBeth at firstname.lastname@example.org to express your opinion of her legislation.
First the story about what happened in Afghanistan. BBC:
A US soldier in Afghanistan has killed at least 16 civilians and wounded five after entering their homes in Kandahar province, senior local officials say.
He left his military base in the early hours of the morning and opened fire in at least two homes; women and children were among the dead.
Nato said it was investigating the "deeply regrettable incident".
He is reported to have walked off his base at around 03:00 local time (22:30 GMT Saturday) and headed to nearby villages, moving methodically from house to house.Jesus Christ. I've been worried for a while now about how many young men and women are going to come back from ten years at war supremely messed up.
I?ve looked at about a dozen right wing sites this morning to see how they?d react to the news from Afghanistan, and the comments at every single one of them were full of people celebrating the killings, praising the soldier who allegedly committed them, and denying there was any crime, while at the same time frantically trying to blame the crime on President Obama.
But the worst site by far is the right wing?s premier news channel, Fox News:This is nothing! Wait until you see what happens to the n!qqqers here in the US of A when the new civil war starts!
THATS 15 LESS AFGAN POLICE WHO HAVE BEEN MUR D ER ING OUR TROOPS AND CIVILIANS
Obama just announced that he is personally going to provide fe la tio to every Afghani male to compensate for their loss.
The P O S P apoligizes to moooooooooooooslimes and doesnt have any respect for American solders ! Sent the ragehead obummerdeen and his entire family to Kenya where their dirty s c u m b a g b o d i e s belong !
This guy only did what the NewBIackPanthers promise to do to white babies.
Yesterday we talked about Congressmembers on the take from the armaments industry and from defense contractors-- particularly Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA) and Sen. John McKeon (R-AZ)-- are advocating for extending the already catastrophic and pointless occupation of Afghanistan... and for expanding it into Iran and Syria. Absolutely insane! These are dangerous sociopaths and voters in their constituencies should take the responsibility for removing them. We also mentioned the senators who had signed a letter to President Obama calling on him to accelerate the withdrawal from that country. Unmentioned at the time was another southern California Republican congressman who sees things very differently than his neighbor, bribe-besotted Buck McKeon. Dana Rohrabacher may be a right-wing extremist, but he at least has had some real life experience in Afghanistan-- he actually did pal around with the terrorists at one point!
Rep. Rohrabacher dressed up as a Talib on the extreme right
Nonetheless, as Karzai and his cronies scurry all over southern Europe building villas from the money they skimmed off the U.S. aide bonanza and from the drug trade, Rohrabacher us demanding we at least look into the warlord and druglord culture our tax dollars are bolstering in this forlorn country. Yesterday another tragedy took place, in the Pashtun heartland, sure to further inflame Afghans against the American occupiers and the government who many Afs now see as collaborators.
Western forces shot dead 16 civilians including nine children in southern Kandahar province on Sunday, Afghan officials said, in a rampage that witnesses said was carried out by American soldiers who were laughing and appeared drunk.
One Afghan father who said his children were killed in the shooting spree accused soldiers of later burning the bodies.
Witnesses told Reuters they saw a group of U.S. soldiers arrive at their village in Kandahar's Panjwayi district at around 2 am, enter homes and open fire.
The request for an investigation coincides with consideration in Congress of President Barack Obama's 2013 budget proposal that includes $2.5 billion for Afghanistan.
Rohrabacher's March 7 letter to the comptroller general of the Government Accountability Office asked for a report to Congress on US foreign aid funds that "have been stolen, diverted or otherwise inappropriately gone to, or benefited Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his family."
Rohrabacher is chairman of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on oversight and investigations.
"American taxpayer money must cease being diverted and abused by the leader of a country whose people America has tried so valiantly to help," Rohrabacher's letter said. "A report that thoroughly quantifies how much US foreign aid has gone to the Karzai family is urgently needed."
He cited media reports and Wikileaks cables as sources for his allegations.
The New York Times reported March 7 that Karzai's brother, Mahmoud Karzai, received interest-free loans to buy a stake in the Kabul Bank, where the allegations of financial corruption are centered.
They involve suspicions that bank and government officials skimmed foreign aid money intended to support US and coalition forces in Afghanistan.
The bank came close to insolvency but was bailed out by the Afghan government with funds partially subsidised by Western nations.
"It is time to know for sure, on the record, exactly how dishonest the government in Kabul has become and how much money we are wasting there," Rohrabacher wrote.
In a separate incident, four Afghans were killed and three wounded on Friday when coalition helicopters apparently hunting Taliban insurgents fired instead on villagers in Kapisa province in eastern Afghanistan, according to Abdul Hakim Akhondzada, governor of Tagab district in Kapisa.
Click here to view this media
From this Sunday's Meet the Press, it seems Marsha Blackburn has forgotten all about her own track record of inflammatory rhetoric and habitually lying to the electorate and fearmongering when she made this statement in regards to the lack of civility in our political discourse.
GREGORY: But do we as voters celebrate the friction too much?
BLACKBURN: I think that what we have to remember is what was just said, learn to agreeably disagree, to make your point because when the rhetoric gets too loud it's like I was saying, voters are saying don't yell at me, listen to me, and give me the facts. They want to be well informed and they're seeking to be well informed. That's why you've seen the rise of so many grassroots organizations. And quite frankly, I think it speaks to E.J.'s point of why the pundits are wrong so much now. Because the American people are going directly to sources, getting their information and they want us to respect them. And respect that they give us the opportunity to represent them I seek to honor that in everything I do every day.
This from the same woman who gave this little rant on the floor of the House of Representatives immediately after the Affordable Care Act passed -- Marsha Blackburn Attacks Social Security. She wasn't too terribly worried about civility in our political discourse or facts for that matter at the time. And unfortunately there are plenty more examples where that one came from of Blackburn regularly resorting to the same sort of hyperbole.
Click here to view this media
And the negativity among our political class was not what led to the AstroTurf "tea party" "movement" she's talking about in the first video above from this Sunday. Republicans took advantage of the hatred towards our first black president and the backlash among their base that were mad they lost the last presidential election, wanted to forget George W. Bush ever existed and used over the top political rhetoric to feed that hatred, not the other way around.
Of course David Gregory wasn't going to point that out since he was playing a little game of aren't both sides equal when it comes to the nastiness we've seen over the last couple of weeks out of the likes of Rush Limbaugh and the talking heads who have come out to defend him.
Full transcript below the fold.
MR. GREGORY: Let me talk about something bigger, as I've been alluding to throughout the program. We had this moment this week, the president at the press conference walking about why he called Sandra Fluke after Limbaugh had attacked her. And he was doing it for his daughters, he said. And it brought up this question of where civility has gone in our public discourse, in our political discourse, in the campaign and in Congress. Olympia Snowe talked about how polarizing Congress is as the reason she wants to leave.
Reverend, you talked about it when you were down South this week in Montgomery during your march. This was one of the points you made that had such resonance. I'll play it.
REV. SHARPTON: We are not each other's enemies, we're not each other's competition, we are not each other's adversary. If we lock arms like we did coming down Highway 80 and cooperate rather than compete, we can make America work for everybody.
MR. GREGORY: A Democrat saying that, it could be a Republican as well. It's a--it's a very important message. How does it ultimately resonate?
REV. SHARPTON: I think the problem is that we've got to be mature enough to say we can be passionate and we can have some firm feelings, but that we don't have to poison the atmosphere. And I learned that in my own development. I used to say things that I really believed any kind of way I felt them. Ironically, the president mentioned his two daughters. As my two daughters got older I started worrying about what I was saying because they would question me. It's not cute to just exacerbate things. You could be right and do it wrong, or say it wrong. And I think that that would be the appeal that I would make, that yes, be passionate. I still march, I still protest, but don't get in the way of your message. And the ultimate goal should be to bring people together in the country to make progress. Even if we disagree how, we don't have to be disagreeable.
MR. GREGORY: But do we as voters celebrate the friction too much?
REP. BLACKBURN: I think that what we have to remember is what was just said, learn to agreeably disagree, to make your point because when the rhetoric gets too loud it's like I was saying, voters are saying don't yell at me, listen to me, and give me the facts. They want to be well informed and they're seeking to be well informed. That's why you've seen the rise of so many grassroots organizations. And quite frankly, I think it speaks to E.J.'s point of why the pundits are wrong so much now. Because the American people are going directly to sources, getting their information and they want us to respect them. And respect that they give us the opportunity to represent them I seek to honor that in everything I do every day.
Two real whoppers in the House last week: the "Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act," and the "Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act." Basically, two deregulatory bills with the word "jobs" tacked onto them.
That's a pretty low bar to match for the Senate, but they actually managed to do less, at least in terms of finishing bills. In fact, other than minor unanimous consent measures, the one and only substantive bill on the floor last week still didn't make it through to final passage. It's certainly not unusual for the Senate not to be able to wrap up a major bill in a week. But this transportation bill, supposedly a triumph of bipartisanship, has been on the floor for over a month now, and it wasn't until the middle of last week that a deal finally got worked out to get around a Republican filibuster. And so we ended last week in the Senate with votes on eight of 30 proposed amendments to this bipartisan marvel.
This week, the House definitely wins the award for doing the least. Because they're not gonna be there. It's another recess week on the House side.
The Senate will be in session, but no votes are expected until Tuesday. The pending business is still the transportation bill, and they'll be returning to that today. So far, all the amendments offered have been subject to "painless filibusters," allowing things to move forward by imposing a 60-vote requirement for passage directly on each amendment, instead of dealing with all the delays that come along with the 60-vote requirement you'd have to overcome anyway in invoking cloture.
I'd certainly anticipate more of the same this week, and probably with similar results (no amendments are passing, but Budget Act points of order against the bill are being waived). The fact that points of order are being waived seems to indicate that there's still some remnant of the bipartisanship once said to be behind this bill, after all. Which means that the filibuster was largely a matter of Republican huffiness over the initial attempt to block "message" amendments that nobody thought would or should really pass in the first place. That's where we are with these guys.
Once again, nothing wrong with the Senate rules. Everybody look away!
Full floor and committee schedules are below the fold. But I warn you, there's not much there yet.
Welcome to The Morning Pride, ThinkProgress LGBT?s daily round-up of the latest in LGBT policy, politics, and some culture too! Here?s what we?re reading this morning, but please let us know what stories you?re following as well. Follow us all day on Twitter at @TPEquality.
- Speaker Boehner and the House Republicans may soon intervene to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in a lawsuit from gay servicemembers seeking partner benefits.
- At the White House’s conference on LGBT homelessness Friday, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan highlighted the mistreatment of transgender individuals seeking shelter.
- Check out some of Rush Limbaugh’s worst attacks on the LGBT community.
- The marriage equality opponents at Vote for Marriage NC don’t have real North Carolina families to feature, preferring stock photos instead.
- One of Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) former presidential campaign staffers is now advocating for Minnesota’s marriage inequality amendment.
- Will George Takei do anything to fight anti-LGBT measures in Tennessee besides making funny videos?
- The Pennsylvania House State Government Committee will consider a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage this week.
- South Bend, Indiana will reconsider adding sexual orientation and gender identity to its nondiscrimination ordinance.
- Pat Robertson’s advice to a marrying lesbian’s sister: don’t be a bridesmaid, don’t even attend the wedding, and “tough luck” if that decision creates a rift.
- The governor of St. Petersburg, Russia has signed into law the bill that punishes anybody who distributes information (“propaganda”) about homosexuality.
- In Iraq, Shiite death squads are killing gays and “emos” ? those who wear Western-style fashion and hairstyles.
- NPR shares the story of a family that stuck together as their mom transitioned to being a man.
- GCB introduces the concept of a “white marriage.”
- Responding to Kirk Cameron’s condemnation of homosexuality, the Huffington Post highlights 13 things the Bible forbids other than homosexuality.
- Watch: A father gets a “Born This Way” tattoo to support his bisexual son:
Other stories below: Climate Change And Food Pressures Adding Challenges to World Water Supply; Use of Public Transit Grew in 2011
If Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) needs examples of official waste and abuse as he runs for governor, he could cite the harassment that he conducted against climate scientist Michael E. Mann, a costly episode of government overreach that is finally over.
This month, after nearly two years of legal proceedings, the Virginia Supreme Court halted the attorney general?s investigation of Mr. Mann, who used to teach at the University of Virginia. Twisting a law designed to root out embezzlement of state funds and the like, the attorney general had demanded oceans of documents ? including Mr. Mann?s e-mail correspondence ? from U-Va. But, along with some technical legal problems with his demand, Mr. Cuccinelli didn?t offer any reasonable suspicion that Mr. Mann had committed anything resembling fraud ? even as the attorney general proposed violating scientists? sacrosanct freedom to conduct research without political pressure. Multiple independent reviews of Mr. Mann?s record have found that the professor did little more than participate in the normal push-and-pull of scientific inquiry.
The world’s water supply is being strained by climate change and the growing food, energy and sanitary needs of a fast-growing population, according to a United Nations study that calls for a radical rethink of policies to manage competing claims.
“Freshwater is not being used sustainably,” UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said in a statement. “Accurate information remains disparate, and management is fragmented … the future is increasingly uncertain and risks are set to deepen.”
It says that demand from agriculture, which already sucks up around 70 percent of freshwater used globally, is likely to rise by at least 19 percent by 2050 as the world’s population swells an estimated 2 billion people to 9 billion.
Farmers will need to grow 70 percent more food by that time as rising living standards mean individuals demand more food, and meat in particular.
After many years in which evolution was the most contentious issue in science education, climate change is now the battle du jour in school districts across the country.
The fight could heat up further in April, when several national bodies are set to release a draft of new science standards that include detailed instruction on climate change.
The groups preparing the standards include the National Research Council, which is part of the congressionally chartered National Academies. They are working from a document they drew up last year that says climate change is caused in part by manmade events, such as the burning of fossil fuels. The document says rising temperatures could have “large consequences” for the planet.
Most climate experts accept those notions as settled science. But they are still debated by some scientists, helping to fuel conflicts between parents and teachers.
At a time when Congressional Republicans are scrambling to find ways to blame him for rising gas prices, President Barack Obama plans to spotlight the progress his administration has made in saving people money at the pump and reducing U.S. reliance on foreign oil.
The White House unveiled a new report early Monday that boasts of several successes by the administration in making America more energy independent over the past three years.
“During the last year alone, we established new incentives to increase safe and responsible domestic oil and gas production; proposed the toughest fuel economy standards for cars and trucks in history; provided millions of Americans with efficient and affordable transportation choices; launched new programs to improve energy efficiency in our homes, buildings, public transit, aviation and roadway systems; and took unprecedented steps to make the United States a leader in the clean energy race,” reads the cover letter to the report, titled “A Secure Energy Future: A Progress Report.” The letter is signed by Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, among other Cabinet officials.
In another indication that more people are getting back to work, Americans took 200 million more rides last year on subways, commuter trains, light-rail systems and public buses than they did the year before, according to a new report by a leading transit association.
Americans took 10.4 billion rides on public transportation in 2011 ? a billion more than they took in 2000, and the second most since 1957, according to a report being released Monday by the American Public Transportation Association, a nonprofit organization that represents transit systems. The increase in ridership came after the recession contributed to declines in the previous two years.
Unions may be united in working to re-elect President Barack Obama, but their leaders also are trying to repair bitter divisions over his rejection of an oil pipeline from Canada to Texas.
Trade unions representing workers who stand to benefit from thousands of new construction jobs from the Keystone XL pipeline are furious at other unions that joined environmentalists in opposing the project.
AFL-CIO leaders hope to smooth tensions at their executive council’s annual winter meeting, which starts Monday in Orlando, Fla.
The rift reflects a decades-old conflict between union leaders who believe creating jobs is paramount and others who are more strongly aligned with progressive groups on environmental and social causes.
The UK government wants nuclear power to be given parity with renewables in Europe, in a move that would significantly boost atomic energy in Britain but downgrade investment in renewable generation, according to a leaked document seen by the Guardian.
The move would in effect remove the most important prop from the beleaguered renewable energy sector ? the Europe-wide targets stipulating that a proportion of each member state’s energy must come from renewable sources.
That target should be scrapped when its current phase ? requiring member states to generate 20% of energy from renewables ? runs out in 2020, according to a secret submission to the European commission.