Remember the saga of John Edwards and the $400 haircut? Well, it turns out that Edwards is a piker compared to Scott Brown; as noted here, the latter up $1401 in charges last year to make sure he stays ?well coiffed.?
Wonder when somebody is going to make a video like this about ?Wall Street Scott? (to say nothing of a column heaped with ridicule by Kathleen Parker ? what exactly was that Pulitzer for again?)?
?and yes, I have to admit this at last (sniff), so I might as well have fun with it.
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I have always really liked the Pointer Sisters. When they first came on the scene they were singing a remixed 40's style. It was cool. It was retro. They were very different from anything else on the radio. Then they came back in the mid-80's with some monster main stream R&B hits. Artist: Pointer Sisters
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We interrupt tonight's regularly scheduled open thread to fundraise for our sister site, Newstalgia. This is urgent. Simply put, the Newstalgia archives will not be available to us if we do not raise money for storage and maintenance of the archival records. None of the Crooks and Liars family wants to see that happen. Please give specifically at the button below, and yes, even five bucks helps. Consider giving that much or more from your tax refund to save our sister site. Thank you.
Open thread below....
These guys were really hot for about a year or so. Then they faded. Artist: SOS Band Tune: Take your Time
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Good evening! Here are some of the more interesting items gleaned today from the Internets, beginning with the Middle East.[...]
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As we get closer to election general election day 2012, we are starting to get a glimpse of what A-merry-ca will look like if republicans take congress, the senate, and the White House.
Here in Pistolvania the republican controlled legislature has already put a law into effect that will make it harder for grandma and grandpa to get food stamps.
"HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania Public Welfare Department will start asking food-stamp recipients next week to prove they do not have significant personal assets in order to qualify for benefits.
Advocates for the poor say the new policy will be expensive to administer and hurt families for whom the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program can be a lifeline. It goes into effect Tuesday, but it will be about six months before the department knows how many have lost benefits.
"The majority who will lose benefits - the significant majority - are seniors and people with disabilities," Julie Zaebst, policy center manager for the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger, said Friday. "In our experience, many of those folks are saving for medical expenses and funeral expenses." [Source]
If you owe creditors money when the republicans start running things again, your credit might be the least of your problems.
Just look what their friends in the health care industry are doing to people who owe them money. And this is with Obamacare.
"How did breast cancer survivor Lisa Lindsay end up behind bars? She didn't pay a medical bill -- one the Herrin, Ill., teaching assistant was told she didn't owe. "She got a $280 medical bill in error and was told she didn't have to pay it," The Associated Press reports. "But the bill was turned over to a collection agency, and eventually state troopers showed up at her home and took her to jail in handcuffs."
Although the U.S. abolished debtors' prisons in the 1830s, more than a third of U.S. states allow the police to haul people in who don't pay all manner of debts, from bills for health care services to credit card and auto loans. In parts of Illinois, debt collectors commonly use publicly funded courts, sheriff's deputies, and country jails to pressure people who owe even small amounts to pay up...
Under the law, debtors aren't arrested for nonpayment, but rather for failing to respond to court hearings, pay legal fines, or otherwise showing "contempt of court" in connection with a creditor lawsuit. That loophole has lawmakers in the Illinois House of Representatives concerned enough to pass a bill in March that would make it illegal to send residents of the state to jail if they can't pay a debt. The measure awaits action in the senate.
"Creditors have been manipulating the court system to extract money from the unemployed, veterans, even seniors who rely solely on their benefits to get by each month," Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said last month in a statement voicing support for the legislation. "Too many people have been thrown in jail simply because they're too poor to pay their debts. We cannot allow these illegal abuses to continue." [Source]
If you think that our jails are overcrowded with you Negroes now, just wait until the republicans bring back debtors prisons. You Negroes just love to get s*** on credit and not pay for it.
But it's not only Negroes, old people, and the sick, who are going to feel the wrath of my republican friends; young folks will be sharing in the misery as well.
I say this because Flipper's boy has a plan for student loans, and it is not good.
"The Ryan Budget Would Allow The Interest Rate For Student Loans To Double. ?There was wide agreement among members of Congress Wednesday that loans and grants are important, but there were questions about the $6 billion Obama proposal that would hold interest rates constant next year. Ryan?s budget would allow the rate to double as planned.? [Inside Higher Ed, 3/29/12]
2012: Cuts Proposed Under The House Republican Budget Will Likely Target Programs Like Head Start, Pell Grants For College Students And State Aid.?Under pressure from House conservatives, Mr. Ryan cut nearly $20 billion from spending levels set in the debt-ceiling pact, breaking faith with the Senate and potentially leading to a government shutdown this fall. Much of that reduction is likely to come from programs like Head Start, Pell grants for college students and state aid.? [Source]
What you disadvantaged people need is a really good PAC.
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An excellent video by a skateboarder who happened to travel to North Korea during Kim Il-Sung's 100th birthday. You wonder how many of these people are just faking it in order to avoid a firing squad.
The U.S. bishops' designated freakazoid-in-chief,
Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain
"Nuns have always had a different set of priorities from that of bishops. The bishops are interested in power. The nuns are interested in the powerless. Nuns have preserved Gospel values while bishops have been perverting them. . . .
"[T]he Vatican says that nuns are too interested in 'the social Gospel' (which is the Gospel), when they should be more interested in Gospel teachings about abortion and contraception (which do not exist). . . .
"It is typical of the pope's sense of priorities that, at the very time when he is quashing an independent spirit in the church's women, he is negotiating a welcome back to priests who left the church in protest at the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. . . ."
-- Garry Wills, in a NYRB blogpost, "Bullying the Nuns"
You notice how all the big organized religions have "defenders of the faith" like the American Catholic hierarchy's personal buttwipe, Bill Donohue, who rises in righteous indignation anytime his tiny reptile brain perceives -- or imagines -- the slightest public slight to his so-called faith? Of course all Buttwipe Bill really wants is to be Buttwipe of the Bullies.
The insidious thing about these loathsome toadies of the hierarchical top guns is that they never actually perceive anything the masters they worship say or do. So it may just be that Buttwipe Bill really doesn't know that the leading cause of such anti-Catholic feeling as there may be in the world is Catholics, or more particularly the power-mad sociopathic perverts of the Catholic hierarchy.
Starting at the top, of course. Pope Cardinal Ratguts prepared for his ultimate elevation to the Really Fancy Dress by being the scummiest perverter of souls his putrid guts permitted. But in fairness, uniquely qualified though he was for the assignment, he has mostly been continuing the mission of his monstrous predecessor, who under the guise of gee-whiz humility did everything in his power to purge official Catholicdom of every last soul who believed in the teachings of Jesus, everyone down to the lowliest parish priest who saw his job as a calling to uplift humanity rather than to serve the church's demonic Jesus-hating masters in their ritual enslavement of their followers.
So I suppose it was just a matter of time the man in the Vatican's Fanciest Dress declared war on about the only people left in his unholy establishment who don't share his satanic values.
By way of recalling that, contrary to official hierarchical dogma, the pope and his freakazoid henchscum truly don't represent the spirit of all Catholics. Here's Garry Wills's take, in a NYRB blogpost, on the latest chapter in the hierarchy's millennia-old war on women. (Shamefully, I've done some boldface highlighting.)
Bullying the Nuns#
The Vatican has issued a harsh statement claiming that American nuns do not follow their bishops' thinking. That statement is profoundly true. Thank God, they don't. Nuns have always had a different set of priorities from that of bishops. The bishops are interested in power. The nuns are interested in the powerless. Nuns have preserved Gospel values while bishops have been perverting them. The priests drive their own new cars, while nuns ride the bus (always in pairs). The priests specialize in arrogance, the nuns in humility.
There was a vogue, just after the Second Vatican Council, for some Catholics to demonstrate their liberation from Catholic schooling by making fun of nuns, as strict disciplinarians or prissy moralists. I wrote at the time that this was untrue of the many nuns I have known, beginning with the Dominican Sisters of Adrian, Michigan, who taught me for five of my grade school years. They taught me the Latin of the old liturgy; Father Sullivan, our pastor, just got angry at words mispronounced or forgotten. The Dominicans never physically punished anyone that I saw or heard of.
They were more supportive of talent than were most of the lay teachers I met in a brief experience of public school. I had no artistic inclinations, but classmates who did were encouraged. The nuns' genuine interest in their pupils can be seen in the fact that my seventh grade teacher kept in touch with me for all the years until her death in 1996. She was Sister John Joseph when I met her, but she recovered her real name after the Council, and as Anne O'Connor congratulated me on anything I wrote. (I would no more have kept up with Father Sullivan than with cholera.)
Anne O'Connor was just the kind of nun the Vatican is now intent on punishing. She had been a social worker before she became a nun, work that she loved and went back to several times as a Dominican. She was quick to shed the old habit (which was designed to disguise the fact that there was a woman somewhere in that voluminous disguising of hair, breasts, and hips), and quick to take back her own name. After she took on several high offices in her order, she became the mother provincial of the California branch of the Dominican order during the 1960s, coping with the changes of that volatile era on her college campuses.
Now the Vatican says that nuns are too interested in "the social Gospel" (which is the Gospel), when they should be more interested in Gospel teachings about abortion and contraception (which do not exist). Nuns were quick to respond to the AIDS crisis, and to the spiritual needs of gay people -- which earned them an earlier rebuke from Rome. They were active in the civil rights movement. They ran soup kitchens.
I saw their regard for the neglected or despised when our grade school had an influx of Mexican immigrants during World War II. The jobs left open when men went into the army were filled by Mexicans coming into the country to fill them. These families were not welcomed by some in the community, but the nuns insisted that their children, our classmates, must be treated as brothers and sisters.
Last week, following an assessment by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican stripped the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, representing most American nuns, of its powers of self-government, maintaining that its members have made statements that "disagree with or challenge the bishops, who are the church's authentic teachers of faith and morals." Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle has taken control of the Conference, writing new laws for it, supplanting its leadership, and banning "political" activity (which is what Rome calls social work). Women are not capable, in the Vatican's mind, of governing others or even themselves. Is it any wonder so many nuns have left the orders or avoided joining them? Who wants to be bullied?
It is typical of the pope's sense of priorities that, at the very time when he is quashing an independent spirit in the church's women, he is negotiating a welcome back to priests who left the church in protest at the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. These men, with their own dissident bishop, Marcel Lefebvre, formed the Society of Saint Pius X -- the Pius whose Secretariat of State had a monsignor (Umberto Benigni) who promoted the Protocols of the Elder of Zion. Pope Benedict has already lifted the excommunication of four bishops in the Society of Saint Pius X, including that of Richard Williamson, who is a holocaust denier. Now a return of the whole body is being negotiated.
None of the anti-Semitic ties of the Pius X crew matter to Rome, since that crew holds to the hard line against women priests, gay marriage, and contraception. They have also retained the Latin Mass, which Rome has been inching back toward. All these things, you see, are the work solely of male hierarchs, distrustful of the People of God -- who are the church, as defined by the Second Vatican Council. Those Lefebvre defiers of the Council are all the things the nuns are not, and all the things Rome wants to restore. The real Gospel must be quashed in the name of the pseudo-Gospel of papal monarchs. Poor Anne O'Connor -- she thought caring for the poor was what Jesus wanted. She did not live to see that what Rome wants is all that matters.
Rev. Dr. William Barber II, president of the North Carolina NAACP, arrived early to the fight to defeat Amendment One, the proposed state constitutional ban on marriage equality. He worked hard back in Sept. 2011 to avert its passage out of the legislature to the ballot.
He arrived early and he has stayed with the fight every step of the way. He has used his actual and bully pulpit to speak out on many occasions. He has stood with Amendment One opponents at rallies and events many times. Last week he taped a very powerful video message, seen above.
Thursday, the NAACP announced a statewide media campaign to "expose the truth" about Amendment One. Rev. Barber ties amendment proponents to the "same regressive, ultra-conservative Tea Party type folks" that have sought to roll back every progressive advance in education, voting and worker's rights, and attempts to repeal the Racial Justice Act. These are, of course, progressive advances we all collectively cherish, but also ones of particular concern for communities of color.
Rev. Barber references the revelation of National Organization for Marriage's abhorrent plan to drive a wedge between two key Democratic constituencies and says they "now somehow think the sons and daughters of the Civil Rights Movement cannot see through their Trojan Horse trick."
The NC NAACP will be running radio spots, robocalls, newspaper ads, and using their grassroots network in 50 county branches to work to defeat Amendment One.
This is really and extraordinary investment by the organization and its leader, and very much appreciated. Press release after the fold.