Political Cartoon is by Mike Luckovich in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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Doonesbury has always been an excellent cartoon. Cartoonist Gary Trudeau realized long ago that he doesn't have to make up anything -- the politicians do plenty of things insane enough to keep him supplied with material forever. This week he's taking on the Republican requirement that any woman seeking an abortion in the state of Texas (and now Virginia, also) must be raped with a 10" vaginal ultrasound wand (even if she objects to the procedure).
Any individual who did that to a woman against her will would be convicted of rape and given a long (and well-deserved) prison sentence. It is no less a rape when it is ordered to be performed on a woman against her will by the state of Texas. Rape is still rape whether it is done by an individual, a group, an organization, or a governmental body. The human body is sacrosanct (whether male or female), and no invasive procedure should ever be done without the full and un-forced consent of the person whose body is being invaded.
There may be a few of you who say this can't be rape because it's not done for sexual gratification. If you believe that, then you're a moron. Rape is not now, and never has been, about sex. It is about power. And that is just what is being done by the state of Texas (and Virginia). The state, thanks to the Republican-controlled government, is trying to demonstrate its power to control a woman's body.
These are the same people who tried to deny equal rights to minorities until forced to grant them by federal law (and are still trying to do this -- just look at the Republican redistricting plan for Texas). These are the same people who deny equal rights to gays/lesbians by refusing to allow them to marry. And these people (Republicans) want to keep women in a second class status in America by denying them control over their own bodies.
They use (or rather misuse) their 1st century religion to justify their attempt to keep white men at the pinnacle of power in this country (in spite of the fact that in this secular country the Constitution is supposed to be the ultimate law -- and it says ALL people should have equal rights).This must stop!
Past efforts to impose their misogynistic beliefs were bad enough, but this latest action goes way too far. Rape, including state-sanctioned rape, is just wrong and can never be justified -- not even by religion, ANY religion.
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Political Cartoon is by Dave Granlund at davegranlund.com.
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It looks like racism is alive and well in Sanford, Florida. The picture above is of 17 year-old Taryvon Martin. He was visiting his father in a Florida gated community, and walked to the store where he bought some iced tea and a bag of Skittles candy. As he walked back to his house, he was followed by a 28 year-old white man who claimed to be in the "neighborhood watch". He accosted Martin (even though he had already called police and been told not to approach him) because he said Martin was "walking suspiciously".
An argument ensued, and Martin was shot to death (even though he was unarmed and posed no clear life-threatening danger to the 28 year-old). If Martin had been white (instead of African-American), I doubt he would have even been approached by anyone. And that means he was shot to death because he was African-American).
The shooter should have been arrested and charged with murder (or at the very least manslaughter). But he wasn't, and no charges have been filed against him at all. The police said he shot the 17 year-old in "self-defense" (evidently a package of Skittles is a dangerous weapon when possessed by an African-American youth).
Frankly, the racism obviously involved here doesn't stop with the 28 year-old shooter. It evidently extends to the police and the District Attorney. You can bet if Martin had been the one with the gun and the 28 year-old in possession of a package of Skittles, Martin would have now been in jail (and probably without a bond). This is a miscarriage of justice that should not be happening in 2012 America.
If you agree, please go to this website and sign the petition demanding the District Attorney take appropriate action. We must take a stand to stop this kind of racist injustice in this country.
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At the crack of dawn, I’m booked to be on CNN’s “Early Start,” hosted by Ashleigh Banfield and Zoraida Sambolin.
Two segments during the 5-7 a.m., with other panelists, which are scheduled for the bottom of both hours.
Political Cartoon is by Mike Thompson in The Detroit Free Press.
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Fred Eaglesmith -- I Like Trains at Haddon Lake Park, June 16, 2010.[...]
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Today jobsanger is officially six years old, and I'm happy to say it is doing better than ever. It took a while to find an audience, but the blog has experienced a slow and steady growth for several years now. The blog has about 600 readers a day now and recently passed the 1,000,000 mark in page views. That doesn't make me one of the "big boys" (like Daily Kos, for instance), but it's decent and that makes me happy.
I want to thank all the fellow bloggers who have been kind enough to include this blog on their blogroll or link to my posts. I also want to thank the sites who carry some of my posts (like Best of the Blogs and The Rag Blog). You have all contributed to the growing readership. But most of all, I want to thank all of the people who come here to read my scribblings (both commenters and lurkers). You are deeply appreciated.
Now it's time to perform an annual ritual -- the re-posting of the very first post on jobsanger. It wasn't a great post, but it did set the stage for everything that was to come later. Here it is:
Hello out there! This is my first blog and my first attempt at blogging, so if you do accidently drop by and read the blog, cut me some slack. I hope to get better over time. This is not meant to be a news blog. This is an OPINION blog. This is my place to gripe, whine or blow my top when I get disgusted with politics, religion or culture in general. I am a left-winger who is not afraid of the "s" word. If you prefer to call me a socialist, that is fine with me. I am not a religious person, but I believe all people should be free to practice whatever religion they wish or none at all. I don't get upset until you start pushing it down other people's throats. I am a political Independent, since I see both the republicans and democrats as being corporate owned. Although I am male, I am pro-choice and consider myself to be a feminist. I believe in EQUAL RIGHTS FOR EVERYONE [no exceptions]. That should give you some idea of where I'm coming from. If you do read this blog, I hope you enjoy it and come back from time to time. Thanks!
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I was still a kid when Creem sent me to London to go on tour and hang out for a few weeks with The Clash, this new band whose record was deemed by CBS to be too wild and bizarre to release in the U.S. I already thought they were the best band in the world from their import records. But the records barely did their live shows justice. During the tour Joe Strummer got hepatitis and went to the hospital and the band was grounded so we mostly did a lot of hanging around. Mick Jones was good friends with Tony James, guitar player for Generation X and I became friends with those guys through him. A couple years later, Sammy Hagar-- between gigs with Montrose and Van Halen-- asked Chris Knab and I for a cool "punk" song for him to cover. One of us came up with Patti Smith's "Free Money", which he recorded and did real well with. He asked me to come up with another one. I sent him "Wild Youth" by Generation X (above) but he misheard the lyrics and started working on a song called "Wild Jews."
I have no idea how many Jews, let alone wild Jews, voted in either Alabama or Mississippi Tuesday night. But we do know how many young people voted. If Republicans are trying are trying to persuade young people not to vote-- and judging by the state ID laws they're passing, they certainly are-- they have succeeded in those two states.
Eight percent of eligible voters under the age of 30 in Alabama and five percent in Mississippi participated in yesterday?s primaries, according to exclusive preliminary analysis by the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement.
Former Sen. Rick Santorum was the overwhelming choice of young Republican voters in Alabama and Mississippi with 41% and 45% of the under-30 vote, respectively. In Alabama, Gingrich followed with 28%, while former Gov. Mitt Romney only gained 16% of youth support. In Mississippi, Romney snatched a close second-place finish with 24% of youth vote, while former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich won 22%. Rep. Ron Paul finished with 12% youth support in Alabama and 9% in Mississippi.
Democrats, civil liberties groups, labor unions, the NAACP and others have complained that the bill will disproportionately hurt the elderly, the poor and the disabled, who make up the lion's share of voters who typically do not have photo IDs. Those groups also tend to vote Democratic.
Other states with voter ID laws have been facing legal challenges. In Texas, the U.S. Department of Justice's civil right division on Monday objected to a photo voter identification law because it found it would have a greater impact on Hispanic voters. As a state with a history of voter discrimination, Texas is required under the Voting Rights Act to get advance approval of voting changes from either the Justice Department or the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.
Also Monday, a second judge in Wisconsin struck down that state's voter identification law, calling it unconstitutional because it would restrict the right to vote. That came less than a week after another judge ordered a temporary injunction on it.
And in December, the Justice Department rejected South Carolina's voter ID law on grounds it makes it harder for minorities to cast ballots. It was the first voter ID law to be rejected by the department in nearly 20 year.
In Pennsylvania, the ACLU, as well as Democrats in the Senate, have said they will challenge the bill in court as soon as it becomes law.
The United Nations Human Rights Council is investigating the issue of American election laws at its gathering on minority rights in Geneva, Switzerland.. This, despite the fact that some members of the council have only in the past several years allowed women to vote, and one member, Saudi Arabia, still bars women from the voting booth completely.
Officials from the NAACP are presenting their case against U.S. voter ID laws, arguing to the international diplomats that the requirements disenfranchise voters and suppress the minority vote.
Eight states have passed voter ID laws in the past year, voter ID proposals are pending in 32 states and the Obama administration has recently moved to block South Carolina and Texas from enacting their voter ID measures.
"This really is a tactic that undercuts the growth of your democracy," said Hillary Shelton, the NAACP's senior vice president for advocacy, about voter photo ID requirements.
In a Fox News interview prior to his trip, Shelton said the message from the NAACP delegation to the Human Rights Council is that the photo ID law "undercuts the integrity of our government, if you allow it to happen. It's trickery, it's a sleight-of-hand. We're seeing it happen here and we don't want it to happen to you, and we are utilizing the U.N. as a tool to make sure that we are able to share that with those countries all over the world."
The United Nations has no legal jurisdiction over the American electoral system, which Shelton acknowledges. Asked whether he thinks that the U.N. should be involved in domestic American laws, he answered, "No, not specifically. The U.N. should certainly be involved in sharing a best practice for the world."
"We're the greatest country on the face of the earth, but we can be better still," he said.
?We were never supposed to win,? says Morse. ?I mean-- 22, openly gay, in an old Irish Catholic community.? He has not wasted time, firing five staff and quietly persuading the city council to vote off the president who had held the position for 26 years. That was on his first day. ?Unfortunately, a lot of folks in Holyoke City Hall assume they are going to be here for their entire lives, and my mindset is that if you want to be here, you have to live, eat, and breathe it?the job has to be your life.?
Dori Dean, Morse?s Scotch-drinking, Patriots-loving chief of staff, recalls that, before his inauguration, there was plenty of ribbing in City Hall about Morse?s age-- a running theme during the campaign. ?The joke was that they were going to bring diapers and talcum powder, rattles, and all these baby accoutrements to City Hall to accommodate our arrival,? she says. ?Then, when we showed up with the axe and started chopping folks? heads off, the tenor changed. No one is talking any shit now.? To date, four lawsuits for wrongful termination have been filed by former city employees.
...Speak to almost anyone who has known or met Alex Morse, it seems, and you will get a version of this story. Lorie Banks, his algebra teacher in middle school, recalls running into Morse three years ago at the gym and asking what he was planning to do. ?He said, ?I?m going to run for mayor of Holyoke,? ? she recalls, ?and I said, ?Sign me up, because I know you are going to do it.? ? Alexandra Zapata met Morse in sixth grade, when they were selected for a summer program at Deerfield Academy, a Massachusetts prep school. She says, ?I never believed it wasn?t going to happen. He was so serious about it from the age of 11.? Dorothy Albrecht, who taught Morse math in high school, says, ?He had this in mind at 15. Myself, I think he wants to be president -- and for all the right reasons.? Each year Albrecht gives a lecture in which she tells her students that even the smartest kids she has taught had to do their homework. ?And then they always ask who was one of the smartest kids, and I say, ?Alex Morse, and he always did his homework.? ?
Kids who always do their homework, who run for student councils, who are top of the class at everything, are not supposed to be popular. But Morse is that rare breed-- the popular nerd. For successful politicians, popularity is a certain kind of skill. It?s how they win elections. Morse campaigned for a week in fifth grade to win the Martin Luther King Jr. Award (in part by offering to redistribute the contents of his lunchbox). ?I just wanted to win,? he says, simply. ?I always push myself to do the best.?
...Morse?s first post-inauguration encounter with the old-boys? network he deposed is at a meet-and-greet for a local congressman, Richard Neal, at the Elks Lodge, a bland, squat building on the outskirts of town. As Morse and the congressman stand with their hands clasped before them, we are subjected to an exhausting roll call of the great and the good who are present-- former mayors, city councilors, former city councilors, officials with the redevelopment authority, a former Speaker of the House, the director of the Chamber of Commerce, school superintendents, the President of the Firefighters Association, the Treasurer of the Firefighters Association, the Vice Chairman of the Fire Department, and other firefighters too numerous to mention.
Finally, Morse is introduced to a smattering of applause. There are some allies in the room, but many more who aren?t, and the mayor recycles a Kennedy-esque line from his inaugural address: ?We don?t have to see eye-to-eye to walk hand-in-hand.? He also throws in some self-deprecating wit about his upcoming 23rd birthday-- ?I?ll soon be over the hill?-- that earns a polite chuckle. (Morse is good at pulling this particular rug from under the feet of his detractors-- at his Inauguration Ball a week later, he welcomed guests to his bar mitzvah.) Sullivan told me that some of those present later complained to him that Alex delivered a ?me, me? speech, but Sullivan dismissed them as old-guard critics who saw Morse as a threat. ?It?s just whiny crap from politicians, doesn?t mean anything,? he said. At a recent conference of municipal leaders in Boston, Sullivan encountered similar resentments, mainly focused around Morse?s outsize profile, and believes one of Morse?s challenges is to avoid being cast as an arrogant upstart. ?I know people who say they feel inspired by him the way they were by a young JFK or Martin Luther King Jr.,? he says. ?But we should temper that a little because it could hurt Alex?s growth. His image may come to seem arrogant, and he?s not like that.?
By attacking Morse?s age, however, his opponents may have done him a service. For decades, old-school Irish-American Democrats dominated the political culture in Holyoke. ?If they were white and they were Irish and their name was on the ballot, you were required to flip the switch,? says Sullivan. But demographic shifts in the last few decades have altered the political calculus. With 43% of the city?s population under 30, Dori Dean thinks an apt comparison is Egypt or Tunisia, where the old guard was overthrown by a newly mobilized youth. ?You look at international politics, you look at national politics, you break it all the way down to local-- it?s all about the economy,? she says. ?Everyone needs a goddamn job. You see who?s benefiting, who?s not. Everyone?s grown tired of it.?
Michael Kusek believes the focus on Morse?s age may have deflected attention from his sexuality. ?We?ve played the parlor game of, ?Well, if he was 32 and gay, would he have won?? ? he says. ?A lot of people never got around to the gay thing because they were so focused on the age thing.? At the same time, Morse?s absence of discomfort or delicacy around his sexuality feels radically liberating. By refusing to play it down, he challenges people to deal with it. He likes to tell a story of visiting a senior center and spending three hours there, kneeling down at each table, shaking hands, introducing himself. ?There was one woman, about 80 years old, with a walker,? he recalls. ?She came up and grabbed my hand, looked me in the eye, and said, ?I just want to thank you for what you did at the age of 16, coming out. You saved a lot of other kids? lives.??