It looks like Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) is trying to pick his opponent in the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall. [...]
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Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers took her first bite at the apple with trying to pretend that Democrats are actually the ones waging a "war against women" during her interview on Hardball last month. She came back for round two with Andrea Mitchell and was apparently undeterred by the fact that her party is the one that is passing all of these bills which go after women's reproductive rights, contraception, redefining rape, or funding basic health services, like cancer screenings.
McMorris apparently also hates poll numbers... especially when they're not going her way. Andrea Mitchell cited four of them all showing large numbers of women favoring President Obama over Mitt Romney, Rodgers claimed there was another one that was more favorable towards Romney, but was never asked to name which poll she was talking about.
And as Think Progress noted, Mitt Romney might want to consider getting himself some better surrogates than Rodgers and her ilk if he really wants women to believe he cares about their issues -- Romney Relies On Right-Wing Fringe Group To Bolster Support Among Women:
This morning, Mitt Romney?s campaign hosted a press call with women supporters to beef up the presumed GOP nominee?s flagging support among female voters. And while it was supposed to be about the economy ? it was called ?The Obama Economy Isn?t Working For Women? ? most of the call was spent attacking a democratic strategist?s (and CAPAF board member) poorly chosen comments about Romney?s wife, Ann.
The call featured Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Virginia Delegte Barbra Comstock (R), Concerned Women For America?s Penny Nance, and a ?mommy blogger.? But these surrogates are an odd choice to defend Romney on women?s issues.
Both McMorris Rodgers and Lummis voted against the Lilly Ledbetter pay-equity act (Ayotte was not in the Senate at the time of the vote, though most of colleagues opposed it as well).
Meanwhile, Comstock supported Virginia?s infamous bill to force women to be vaginally probed before getting an abortion, in addition its radical Personhood bill, and another bill that would prevent a woman from using her own money to purchase health private insurance that covers abortion.
Transcript of Mitchell's interview with Rodgers below the fold.
ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Ann Romney is not the only prominent Republican woman who is pushing back hard against the idea that Republicans are turning back the clock when it comes to women.
Washington State Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers is vice chair of the House Republican Conference, the highest ranking woman in Congress, Republican woman in the House.
Thank you very much, Congresswoman, for joining us today. You`ve been tweeting up a storm. You`ve talked about -- you`ve tweeted that the toughest job you have is being a mom to two young kids. It`s also the most rewarding job. Ann Romney is, of course, gone public today in defending herself.
Is this, though, a tempest in a teapot because Hilary Rosen does not work for the campaign, does not work for the White House?
REP. CATHY MCMORRIS RODGERS (R), VICE CHAIR, HOUSE GOP CONFERENCE: The fact of the matter is, Hilary Rosen is a prominent Democrat strategist. She has visited the White House 35 times. She does work and her firm does work with the DNC. They lean upon her. And her comments really, I think, play into what the Democrats have been trying to create, manufacture this war on women.
And we`ve seen that coming out of the White House. We`ve seen it coming out of the DNC where they`re trying to suggest that the women are waging a -- the Republicans are waging a war on women. And they`ve taken it too far. This is Hilary Rosen`s comments that now have taken it too far. And the fact of the matter is, it`s Obama`s policies that are failing, Americans are failing American women. It`s his policies that are concerning women right now, whether it`s his economic policies, his health care policies or the tremendous debt that he is leaving to our children and grandchildren.
MITCHELL: Well -- but with the polling has shown, clearly, is that there is an 18 or 19-point in recent polls gender gap where women favor President Obama over Mitt Romney. So, arguably women are getting a very different message as to his policies, President Obama`s policies, and Mitt Romney`s policies or at least the association that he`s had with some of, perhaps, the social issues that have been raised during this primary campaign.
RODGERS: It really, first of all, depends upon what polls you look at. And as women --
MITCHELL: Well, we`re looking at Gallup and "USA Today," and we`re looking at ABC/"Washington Post" most memorably. That`s just the most recent polls.
RODGERS: Right. There`s other polls that show that it`s not as wide. In 2010 the Republicans won the women`s vote. It was the first time since Ronald Reagan that the Republicans won the women`s vote.
Democrats know that they can`t let that stand. And they have been creating this distraction instead of really focusing on the real issues. And -- when you look at 2010 and what drove the women`s vote, I look at health care and the fact that women, American women do not support the president`s health care plan. They didn`t support it two years ago. They don`t support it today.
They make 85 percent of the health care decisions in this country. They don`t like the idea of the federal government interfering with their ability to make those important health care decisions for themselves, for their families.
Women are also starting businesses at a record rate in America. It`s really exciting to see women, entrepreneurs. It means that they also understand what the federal tax burden, what regulations coming out of the government mean on their ability to be an entrepreneur, be successful, create jobs.
MITCHELL: Well, isn`t --
RODGERS: And so I think women are looking at all of these issues.
MITCHELL: Let me just ask whether it`s any more fair to blame -- to blame Mitt Romney for what Eric Fehrnstrom said about Etch-A-Sketch because he was an adviser, a staff member, and here you`ve got a case where, yes, she`s a prominent Democratic woman, but she doesn`t work for the campaign. She does not work for the White House. They immediately disavowed it. David Axelrod and Jim Messina immediately tweeted out that they disagreed entirely. Michelle Obama has tweeted that they -- that she disagrees. She`s a stay-at-hole mom.
So won`t it be harder to make this stick against President Obama when his wife is a homemaker and has not worked --
MITCHELL: -- outside of the home?
RODGERS: Right. Well, this is -- this is really one comment by the Democrats that has been a drumbeat over the last few weeks, few months by prominent Democrats, the DNC, the administration suggesting that there`s a war on women being waged by the Republicans. And so, I -- I would add this comment to many that have been made as they`re trying to write this narrative.
And the fact of the matter is that they`ve taken if too far. And that it`s being exposed that there is no war on women. What`s happening is that there`s a distraction that the Democrats are trying to distract the American people from the real issues. And the real issues are that President Obama`s policies are the ones that are failing Americans.
They`re failing American women. Whether it`s his economic policies, his health care policies or the debt that he`s accumulated.
MITCHELL: Thank you so much for joining us. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, we should point out, a mother of two and the wife of retired Navy commander and a four-term member of Congress. Thanks for joining us today.
RODGERS: Thank you.
Luther creator Neil Cross, in an interview in which he confirmed that the four-episode third season would be the end of the character’s run on television, also had some interesting things to say about white writers trying to create characters who are specifically intended to be black (the casting for Luther proceeded on a race-neutral basis, as I reported last year):
It was cast as a character, purely and simply, which is one of the aspects that attracted Idris to the role. I have no knowledge or expertise or right to try to tackle in some way the experience of being a black man in modern Britain. It would have been an act of tremendous arrogance for me to try to write ? and you have to try to imagine the quote marks around the words ? a black character because I don?t know what a black character is and we would have ended up with a slightly embarrassed, ignorant, middle-class, white writer?s idea of a black character, which would have been an embarrassment for everybody concerned. I suspect that there?s a dearth of decent roles for black actors because most writers are white and they try to write their idea of black and it?s an embarrassment.
In theory, I appreciate this kind of humility and think it’s important. But I also think it’s the kind of thinking that can easily feed the continuing dominance of white characters unless you’re deeply committed to race-neutral casting, and to the idea idea that the actors you cast may contribute substantially to shaping the backstories and motivations of the characters you created. If you can do that, and leave for a black, Hispanic, or Asian actor to come in and bring new accents, physicality, and insight into the characters’ decisions that might not fit cleanly with white defaults, than I’m all for the idea that white writers shouldn’t try to specifically write black characters out of respect for the points where their insight ends. But if you’re not in a position where casting is race-neutral, where the default will always be white, then I’d rather have actors flagging some characters as non-white. Otherwise, the palatte’s in danger of staying depressingly, dully monochromatic.
The appointment of M. Zuhdi Jasser, a Muslim-American activist who spends his time railing against Islamic extremism, to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom sparked a controversy. MSNBC reported yesterday that a coalition of 64 Muslim groups voiced their opposition to Jasser’s appointment, by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), to the commission.
Muslim Advocates head Farhana Khera, former counsel with the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, told MSNBC, “Sen. McConnell should rescind his appointment.”
Muslim-Americans and organizations are right to view with disdain Jasser’s ties to less-than-savory anti-Muslim bigots. The MSNBC article captured this nicely by describing Jasser as “a controversial figure who many American Muslims see as a shill for anti-Muslim bigots.” CAP’s “Fear, Inc.” named Jasser as someone “often tapped by the Islamophobe network as a validator of their views on Islam and Muslims in America.” Jasser could start to alleviate these concerns by disavowing an Islamophobic group he’s associated with.
Gaffney, one of America’s most notorious Islamophobes (and sometime conspiracy theorist, including noxious “bitherism”), among other egregious positions, contends that the problem is not Islamism (political Islam) or even radical, extremist Muslims, but the faith of Islam itself.
Clarion, under the guidance of Gaffney and his like-minded cohort, produces hawkish films such as 2006′s Obsession that lambast Islam as a faith, even as they proclaim to target only radicals. Jasser narrated another Clarion film called The Third Jihad. Jasser is featured prominently in the trailer:
Speaking to the The New Republic last year, Jasser had some limited criticisms of the film:
One part of it talked about Muslim population concerns, which I did not like. I disagreed with it. Obviously, I want the Muslim population to grow. My kids are Muslims. I want them to have Muslim kids. But you know, listen, you?re not going to agree with everything people write… I think if [viewers] hadn?t seen that there?s a Muslim that?s part of the solution, it would have been worse.
In January, the film came under attack in a New York Times editorial. The New York Police Department was criticized for showing it, and NYPD commissioner Raymond Kelley apologized for his appearence in the “inflammatory” film. But Jasser defended it in a New York Post op-ed and the National Review.
Less than two weeks after Jasser defended the film, Clarion Fund again invited controversy by uncritically posting in its newsletter reader comments that attempted to legitimate the views of Norwegian anti-Muslim mass killer Anders Breivik. After ThinkProgress reported on the comments, Clarion scrubbed the newsletter from its archives, but the organization failed to apologize and even refused to comment on or explain the incident.
Nonetheless, the newsletter confirmed that many accusations of anti-Muslim animus behind the Clarion Fund’s sleek, PR-friendly facade are well-founded. Coupled with the involvement by Gaffney — who has said practicing Islam is “sedition” — Clarion lurches beyond the pale of reasonable public discourse.
Jasser should begin to rehabilitate his image among American Muslims — even while maintaining his criticisms of the community and radical extremists — by disavowing the group.
Though many politicians sympathize with those who are saddled with exorbitant student debt, Foxx, who chairs the House subcommittee on higher education, had a different take. Appearing on G. Gordon Liddy’s radio show, the North Carolina congresswoman recounted her own experience paying for college, where she worked her way through and graduated after seven years. Foxx then pointed to her own experience as justification for why she has “very little tolerance for people who tell me that they graduate with $200,000 of debt or even $80,000 of debt.” “There’s no reason for that,” she concluded:
FOXX: I went through school, I worked my way through, it took me seven years, I never borrowed a dime of money. He borrowed a little bit because we both were totally on our own when we went to college, totally. [...] I have very little tolerance for people who tell me that they graduate with $200,000 of debt or even $80,000 of debt because there?s no reason for that. We live in an opportunity society and people are forgetting that. I remind folks all the time that the Declaration of Independence says ?life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.? You don?t have it dumped in your lap.
Listen to it:
Despite Foxx’s implication, these loans are not taken out frivolously. They are taken out because of the soaring cost of college. In other words, because the price of college is so high — and House Republicans are working overtime to cut Pell grants for one million low-income students — the amount of loans required to pay for it is also high. Indeed, student loan debt topped one trillion dollars last year, orders of magnitude larger than in the decades prior.
Still, Foxx’s distaste for large loans does not appear to extend to the mortgage sector. In Foxx’s 2010 financial disclosure statement, she owned two individual mortgage notes worth up to $250,000 each, from which she earned as much as $20,000 in payments.
I mentioned earlier today that the President issued an executive order to create an interagency working group to oversee hydraulic fracturing, the process used in extracting natural gas. This order creates no regulations on fracking on federal lands, or[...]
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It's Friday the 13th and the "War on Women" is still everyone's favorite topic of conversation.Watch: [...]
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Fundie Christians are, indeed, a bunch of control freaks. And much like their Middle Eastern sharia-loving counterparts, they won't be happy until marriages are arranged by parents without the parties concerned actually even meeting before the ceremony. I suppose this law, if passed, will result in hoards of flashlight-carrying Sex Police patrolling the local lovers' lanes.
But really, it's that they just can't bear the thought of someone having unpunished fun somewhere:
MEMPHIS, TN - (WMC-TV) - Tennessee senators approved an update to the state's abstinence-based sex education law that includes warnings against "gateway sexual activity."
In a new family life instructions bill, holding hands and kissing could be considered gateways to sex. Planned Parenthood said that allowing state government to define local sex education curriculum could backfire.
According to a 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Study, 61 percent of Memphis City high school students and 27 percent of middle school students have had sex. That's higher than the national average.
Planned Parenthood said these numbers are why a new sex education bill promoting abstinence is not realistic.
"If the state of Tennessee gets to create the curriculum, it has to create something that umbrella reflects everyone," said Planned Parenthood Director of Education Elokin CaPese.
Tennessee House Bill 3621 and Senate Bill 3310 are currently up for debate.
In the bill, a uniformed policy on sex education is defined with terms like "gateway sexual activity." Also listed are statewide instructions on how to teach family life curriculum.
[...] If an instructor goes beyond the curriculum, the bill gives parents more legal rights, stating, "The parent or legal guardian shall have a cause of action against the instructor or organization for actual damages."
Progressive legislators have consistently supported policies that benefit mothers and pregnant women, from passing the Affordable Care Act to supporting family leave legislation and funding for Planned Parenthood. Yet in spite of this record, right-wing media are leveling baseless accusations that progressives have launched a "war on moms."
Affordable Care Act Covers Many Preventive Services For Pregnant Women. From a fact sheet on the list of preventive services covered by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act from the Department of Health and Human Services:
Covered Preventive Services for Women, Including Pregnant Women
Note: Services marked with an asterisk ( * ) must be covered with no cost-sharing in plan years starting on or after August 1, 2012. See Affordable Care Act Rules on Expanding Access to Preventive Services for Women.
- Anemia screening on a routine basis for pregnant women
- Bacteriuria urinary tract or other infection screening for pregnant women
- BRCA counseling about genetic testing for women at higher risk
- Breast Cancer Mammography screenings every 1 to 2 years for women over 40
- Breast Cancer Chemoprevention counseling for women at higher risk
- Breastfeeding comprehensive support and counseling from trained providers, as well as access to breastfeeding supplies, for pregnant and nursing women*
- Cervical Cancer screening for sexually active women
- Chlamydia Infection screening for younger women and other women at higher risk
- Contraception: Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling, not including abortifacient drugs*
- Domestic and interpersonal violence screening and counseling for all women*
- Folic Acid supplements for women who may become pregnant
- Gestational diabetes screening for women 24 to 28 weeks pregnant and those at high risk of developing gestational diabetes*
- Gonorrhea screening for all women at higher risk
- Hepatitis B screening for pregnant women at their first prenatal visit
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) screening and counseling for sexually active women*
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV) DNA Test: high risk HPV DNA testing every three years for women with normal cytology results who are 30 or older*
- Osteoporosis screening for women over age 60 depending on risk factors
- Rh Incompatibility screening for all pregnant women and follow-up testing for women at higher risk
- Tobacco Use screening and interventions for all women, and expanded counseling for pregnant tobacco users
- Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) counseling for sexually active women*
- Syphilis screening for all pregnant women or other women at increased risk
- Well-woman visits to obtain recommended preventive services for women under 65* [Healthcare.gov, updated
[Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 4/12/12, via RushLimbaugh.com]
CNN's Loesch: "Democrats Declare 'War On Moms.'" In an April 12 post on Breitbart.com's Big Journalism, CNN contributor and Big Journalism editor Dana Loesch titled a post attacking Rosen's comments "Democrats Declare 'War On Moms.'" [Big Journalism, Breitbart.com, 4/12/12]
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Via Paul Krugman, we learn about what promises to be an excellent new book of essays, background, and analysis ? The Occupy Handbook.
The work has 66 contributors include, including these luminaries:
The Occupy Handbook is a source for understanding why 1% of the people in America take almost a quarter of the nation's income and the long-term effects of a protest movement that even the objects of its attack can find little fault with.Roger Lowenstein blurbs:
"More than a scrapbook of the recent Occupy Wall Street movement, The Occupy Handbook, a compilation by our best journalists, thinkers and economists, puts the story of America's revolt against inequality in welcome historical perspective.The book will be available just in time for tax-deadline-day, April 17. You can pick it up at a local independent bookstore, or from Amazon.
From the barricades of 1848, to the barrios of modern Chile, to the improbable campgrounds thrown together in the shadows of New York skyscrapers, the Handbook examines the budding question of whether democracy can foster a more equal, and also a more prosperous, society.
Insightful pieces by Gillian Tett, John Cassidy, Bethany McLean and many more prepare you to think about the next outbreak of outrage and activism-which is only a matter of time."