Mississippi governor's mansionThe minute the Mississippi legislature sent House Bill 1390 up to the governor's mansion last week, there was no question that Gov. Phil Bryant would put his signature to it. Monday, he did. And said:
"I believe that all human life is precious, and as governor, I will work to ensure that the lives of the born and unborn are protected in Mississippi. This bill requires all physicians associated with an abortion clinic in Mississippi to be board-certified or eligible in obstetrics and gynecology. To further protect patient safety in the event of a complication during the procedure, this bill also requires the physician to have staff and admitting privileges at a local hospital."The one remaining abortion clinic in the state, the Jackson Women's Health Organization, a six-minute drive from the mansion, already has three board-certified OB/GYN physicians on its staff. One of them has hospital admitting privileges. The other two can't get them because they live out of state and Mississippi bars non-resident doctors from obtaining admitting privileges. They live out of state for their own protection because they have been stalked and threatened. When you're an abortion provider, that isn't something to mess with. Because some "pro-life" assassin could decide to take you out.
The requirement is ridiculous anyway since the clinic already has an arrangement with local hospitals to admit any patient who develops complications from an abortion.
The owner of the clinic, Diane Derzis, says it can't be operated with just one physician on staff. Which means that, just like the other five abortion clinics once open in Mississippi, this one, too, is being harassed out of existence. The forced-birthers have been working at just the right combination of protests and harassments and legislative gotchas to shut down abortion providers, and they seem to have found it in Mississippi.
What worked there may not work elsewhere, at least not everywhere else. But the forced-birthers are flexible and innovative. And relentless. Had this bill not done the trick, legislators might have required abortion providers to be able to trace their ancestry back to Mississippians alive when the governor's mansion was built 170 years ago. Some proposals in some states are not far from being that ridiculous.
Derzis has said she may sue.
Rubbing elbows at exclusive, industry-sponsored "forums" might make sense for corporate bottom lines, and it might make life a little easier--or at least a little more fun--for stressed-out scribes, but it does nothing, really, for the consumer. And that[...]
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Wow. Just...wow. Those of you who have followed Haley Barbour's Pardongate closely will recall the story of Harry Bostick, a three-time DUI offender who was sitting in jail on a probation revocation when pardoned by Haley Barbour. The nutshell version is that Bostick had obtained his third DUI in five years, making him a felon. He was on parole for his third DUI conviction (the felony for which he was pardoned) when he was involved in an accident in which Charity Smith of Okolona, Mississippi, was killed. Of course, Bostick was driving drunk during the accident.
Well, CNN has obtained emails that show Barbour's office was well aware of the accident, and that those who had vouched for Bostick rescinded their endorsements in the wake of it. The CNN story begins:
For more than three months, Linda Smith has wondered how the man who police say was driving drunk and involved in a crash last year that killed her daughter could be pardoned for a previous felony drunken driving offense.
Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour has said he didn't know that retired IRS investigator Harry Bostick had been arrested for a DUI months after the state's parole board recommended that Barbour grant him a full pardon. (Police have determined that while Bostick was driving under the influence, he was not at fault for the accident)
But e-mails recently obtained by CNN show that Barbour's office was aware of Bostick's October DUI arrest months before Barbour pardoned him along with more than 200 other convicted felons during his last days in office in January.
"They knew it, and they didn't stop it," said Smith, referring to the pardon. "Why didn't they do something?"I recommend reading the full story, which may be found here. A tip of the hat to YallPolitics.com, who posted on the story first.
If it’s spring in Afghanistan, it’s time for a Taliban offensive.
Pres. Karzai couldn’t wait to blame NATO. From the UK Telegraph:
The Afghan president praised his own forces after they killed the final resisting members of insurgent suicide teams, but ordered an investigation into how the militants had been able to penetrate the city.
He spoke as Afghan intelligence officials said the string of coordinated assaults across eastern Afghanistan was carried out by the Taliban-linked Haqqani Network.
Mr Karzai said: “The terrorists’ infiltration in Kabul and other provinces is an intelligence failure for us and especially for Nato and should be seriously investigated.”
After seventeen hours of fighting, it ended.
Those in the tower were the last holdouts of a multifaceted attack which saw fighting in up to seven sites in Kabul and in three cities in eastern Afghanistan.
Witnesses described Afghan commandos clearing the tower floor-by-floor overnight to dislodge the militants who had seized it as a base to launch rocket and machine gun attacks into nearby diplomatic missions, including the British embassy.
Despite Nato claims that Afghan forces had dealt with the attacks on their own, witnesses said British and Norwegian special forces troops had been with the commandos and had fired heavy weapons into the tower. The Ministry of Defence in London declined to comment.
Krugman calls out Times contributor Steve Rattner as a concern troll for his economic distortion of the "true" cost of the Affordable Care Act. (You may have heard the wingnuts parroting the so-called "study" on which this horse hockey is based all last week?) Krugman doesn't pull any punches:
The way to cut through the whole double-counting nonsense is to ask the following: did the ACA improve or worsen the fiscal outlook compared with what it would have been without the legislation? The answer is that it improved the outlook ? the additional revenues plus cost savings outweigh the cost of the subsidies. End of story. Don?t take my word for it ? that?s what Robert Reischauer, the good trustee, says.
So what about the alleged double-counting? That exists only in the minds of the trolls. The Obama administration has never claimed that a dollar of savings somehow counts twice.
Does it matter that some of the savings accrue to the Medicare trust fund? Not for the unified budget. And as it turns out, not for the non-trust-fund budget either, because everyone understands that Medicare will be supported out of general revenues when the trust fund is exhausted, so any savings on trust fund spending eventually redound to general revenues.
There?s nothing here, except in the tortured word games of people who are desperately looking for a way to make trouble.
Apparently it helps to get the dog stone drunk first. Seriously, my dog tolerated the vacuum cleaner near her, not on her, when she was a puppy. Now she runs for the heavens.
A new report from the Williams Institute details the severe impact voter ID laws could have on transgender voters. Studies suggest that two out of every five transgender citizens (41 percent) do not have identification that matches their correct gender, largely due to states’ different requirements for changing birth certificates, if they allow a change at all. Many of the policies require documented proof of gender reassignment surgery, which not all trans people choose to undergo. In addition, the report found that harassment due to incongruent ID documents was more severe for trans people of color:
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is having quite a month. After a photo of her spawned its own internet sensation, new images from a nightlife hotspot in Colombia that show Clinton sipping on a beer and dancing have ignited a fresh wave of gossipy commentary.
The New York Post ran one photo on its front page under the banner headline ?Swillary,? apparently upset that she imbibes the same liquid as much of the rest of humanity.
But perhaps the best reaction to the shocking news that Hillary Clinton can have a good time goes to Nile Gardiner from the Heritage Foundation, who appeared on the Fox News show Your World with Neil Cavuto to attack Clinton for ?embarrassing? herself:
Hillary Clinton is a public servant, she?s out to serve the American people, to advance US interests. And I think that conducting herself in this way, as a senior US official on the world stage, doesn?t advance American interests in any way. In fact its downright embarrassing. It’s as though she?s auditioning for the sixth series of Jersey Shore rather than representing America on the world stage as the Secretary of State.
Gardiner?s remarks stunned even guest host Stuart Varney, who was filling in for Cavuto. Varney asked Gardiner if he would support a rule stating that no senior public official must ever be seen in a bar with a drink and/or dancing, to which Gardiner responded that he thought it was ?a pretty good idea.?
Fortunately, Varney promised to give his viewers ?both sides? of Hillary Clinton drinking a beer, so he invited on GOP strategist Dee Dee Benkie. To her credit, she defended Clinton, saying that ?she deserves a few beers.?
I’m excited to read all three of the finalists for drama: the winner, Quiara Alegrķa Hudes’ “Water By the Spoonfull,” about an Iraq war veteran working in a sandwich shop, and Stephen Karam’s “Sons of the Prophet,” about Lebanese-American family sound particularly entertaining. And I’m working on Manning Marable’s Malcolm X biography, about which more to come when I finish. But I’m sorry not to see a winner in the fiction category.
I think most people will assume that there isn’t a winner because the panel couldn’t get their minds around David Foster Wallace’s posthumously published and unfinished novel The Pale King. My regret is that Karen Russell’s Swamplandia! didn’t get the prize, and on a more personal note, I thought that book went down unusually earlier in the Morning News’ Tournament of Books. Swamplandia! is one of the most outstanding books I’ve read recently, a searing story about man’s attempt to reshape the land to his own desires, a family’s attempt to create and hold on to a grand mythology in the face of reality, and one of the most original young female protagonists in fiction in a long time, Ava Bigtree, who is half an orphan and possessed of a wild dream to succeed her dead mother as Florida’s most impressive alligator wrestler.
Swamplandia! is a magical realist novel. It features ghosts and spirits, and a miraculous voyage through the Florida Everglades. It’s also a picaresque, a novel that features a faux-Native American water park, a competing amusement park designed to replicate the experience of being in hell, casinos, miraculous rescues, and an enormous amount of teenage drama. But Karen Russell marshals all of those elements to tell stories about poverty, alienation from society, sexual maturity and sexual assault. Ava’s upbringing is decidedly unconventional: she’s grown up in a family that presents themselves as Native Americans even though they’re not, and that lives apart from mainland society. Ava, her sister Osceola, and her brother, Kiwi have never attended school. Their father is wildly unrealistic about their prospects of resurrecting the park after Ava’s mother dies, denying them their star attraction in a business that was ill-equipped to compete with modern entertainment anyway.
When their father abandons his children in promise of restoring their former glory, it’s meant to be a heroic quest that ends up revealing the rotten pillars that propped up a dream. Osceola takes up with a ghost who died as part of a quixotic government scheme to tame Florida’s swamps, conflating sexual and spiritual possession in a brilliant metaphor for the all-consuming nature of first love. And when Ava goes looking for her sister in the company of a mysterious man in whom she invests trust he proves to be manifestly unworthy of, her journey beyond civilization and to the gates of Hell are a powerful meditation on what it means to venture out into a world that refuses to abide by the rules you’ve been promised, and what it means to summon up the courage to survive trauma.
Pulitzer Prize-winning books are supposed to illuminate some aspect of American life. It would have been nice to see the committee give Russell some recognition for the kinds of American lives she chose to shine Everglades light on, and the mastery she brings to the task.