Saturday, December 17, 2011

Last Call

Gotten some rather pointed disagreement about my indefinite detention post today in the comments.  Good.  I welcome your discussion.  By all means, if you disagree with me and make a reasonable argument as to why, I'll listen to you.  I'm just screaming into the darkness without you guys.

My response to that is this:  As bad as this decision is, as bad as it was having his won party put him in the position to sign it due to an 86-13 vote in the Senate that a presidential veto would not have stopped, the other party's frontrunner really is showing a complete disregard for anything but the executive.

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is doubling down from Thursday’s Fox News debate on his vow to abolish federal courts if he disagreed with their decision.

According to The Hill, in a conference call with reporters, Gingrich indicated that it was in the president’s power as commander-in-chief to deem any Supreme Court ruling irrelevant if he or she in the White House disagreed.

The former House Speaker used the Supreme Court’s ruling against the Bush administration exceeding its constitutional authority in handling suspected terrorist detainees at Guantanamo Bay in 2008 as a basis for his extreme view.

“They just ignored it,” he said. “A commander-in-chief could simply issue instructions to ignore it, and say it’s null and void and I do not accept it because it infringes on my duties as commander-in-chief to protect the country.”

And either President Obama or someone like Newt Gingrich is going to be President, period.  All the wishful thinking about a third party is not going to make a whit of difference.  And of the two choices, I will take Barack Obama every time.  I do not like this decision.  I understand why he made it.  I continue to support his presidency over the Republicans who have at every turn demonstrated they would be far worse.


Fire Walker Chronicles, Part 6

The recall motion against Wisconsin GOP Gov. Scott Walker continues to grow, and his latest assault on women's health care will surely add more signatures to the petition to throw him out of office, as Susie Madrak explains.

The Wisconsin Well Woman Program is an 17-year-old state service created to ensure that women ages 45 to 64 who lack health insurance can access preventive health screenings. It is administered by the Department of Health Services and provides referrals and screenings for breast cancer, cervical cancer, and multiple sclerosis at no cost.

The state currently uses a number of contractors to coordinate and provide those services, including Planned Parenthood. But now, in a move that could leave many women in the state without access to the program, the Walker government is ending Planned Parenthood's contract.In four Wisconsin counties, Planned Parenthood is the only health care provider currently contracted as a coordinator for the cancer screenings. Coordinators evaluate women for eligibility, enroll them in the program, and then connect them to health care providers that can perform the exams. The coordinators also do community outreach, letting women know that there are options for preventative care even if they don't have health insurance. Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin has been a contractor since the program began—including during the terms of previous GOP governors Tommy Thompson and Scott McCallum—but the group recently learned that its contract is being terminated at the end of the month.

Beth Kaplan, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health Services, told Mother Jones that no decision has been made on the contract and would not comment on why it might not be continued. But Tanya Atkinson, executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin, says they were told that the state is cutting them out of the program. "They have very clearly stated that they were ending the contract with us," she says. [UPDATE: Walker himself has confirmed that the state is ending its contract with Planned Parenthood.]

So the GOP crusade to eliminate Planned Parenthood continues, and Scott Walker signs up for his duty from his corporate masters and works as hard as he can to prevent his constituents from getting cancer screenings.  What a pro-life thing to do, eh?

The Truth Shall Cost You Votes

Ron Paul may be absolutely correct when he told Jay Leno last night that Michele Bachmann "hates Muslims" but let's be honest here:  hating Muslims is a requirement for winning the GOP primaries.  That revelation won't hurt Bachmann one iota.

When asked by host Jay Leno what he thought of his rivals, Paul shook his head, slowed his voice and said, “she doesn’t like Muslims, she hates them, she wants to go get ‘em” — in reference to the comments Bachmann has made on the campaign trail over her willingness to attack Iran over its suspected nuclear program.

The comment was especially surprising for Paul, who up until now has shied away from personal attacks.

The comment even left the audience and host Jay Leno momentarily stunned.

That's some funny stuff right there, especially coming from Ron Paul, Avowed Racist.  Perhaps that's why he's stayed away from the personal stuff until this week, but he's in striking distance in Iowa and he knows it.  He needs to shave off every point he can from the also-rans.  And really, what are the other Republicans going to do?  Deny hating Muslims?  Accuse Paul of being a racist?  I'd like to see that happen.

I'm betting however that Paul pointing out this "unfortunate" fact about Bachmann is going to hurt him.  Racists don't like being reminded they are racists.

Sheepish Chrome Extension Gives Insight To Tracking

Initially, Sheepish doesn't seem like much, but once you start moving around to new websites and seeing how many different places are tracking your every click, it might be a bit of a surprise. You can set Sheepish to block the tracking once your list gets populated or just let the ads continue to do their thing. Not everything that tracks you is always bad, sometimes its as simple as Google Analytics, but if you want a more covert and private browsing experience, Sheepish is worth checking out.

It's surprising to see how often your movements are tracked, including data you wouldn't think about such as where you came from, go to next, how long you spend on a page, etc. This is a good way for us to understand how we're being tracked as well as put a stop to it if we wish. You can click here for screenshots and step by step directions.

At Last... My Heart Breaks

Nobody lives forever.  We know this, and yet we're surprised by grief when the inevitable comes to pass.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – "At Last" and "Tell Mama" blues singer Etta James, whose health has been fading in recent years, is now terminally ill, and her live-in doctor is asking for prayers.

Dr. Elaine James, who isn't related to the 73-year-old entertainer, tells the Riverside Press-Enterprise ( that the singer's chronic leukemia was declared incurable two weeks ago.

The doctor has cared for Etta James at the singer's Riverside, Calif., area home since March 2010.

Elaine James says she's spreading word of the singer's ailments so people will pray for her. She says fans know Etta James has been sick "but not how sick."

Prayers indeed.  A woman who brought us much joy (and not just that one song!) will be leaving us soon.  I pray for her, and for those who are close to her. 

No, Americans Are Not Subject To Infinite Detention

And Milt Shook does an excellent job of explaining what's actually going on with the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) legislation, what it means, and who is responsible for it.

Obama doesn't have a line-item veto, so he can’t veto the “Indefinite Detention Bill” without vetoing the entire NDAA. Now, you may think that would be a good thing, but would it? It’s not just about the troops. What about all of those civilians who might lose their jobs for at least a month or two, while Obama and Congress, including teabaggers, who have declared defeating Obama as their main goal, worked out a new NDAA without that little amendment, assuming they could do so? What do you think canceling all those defense contracts for a month or two would do to the unemployment rate? How about six months? What would happen to all of those small towns that depend on the military bases and contractors to support their small businesses? Do you imagine the GOP might be a bit energized after the unemployment rate suddenly rises to 10%?

Those of you who claim “principle” when you discuss this need to stop. Many pros and emos claim Obama’s showing a “lack of principle” by signing this “Indefinite Detention Bill.” Forget the fact that you're claiming a lack of principle when you're lying to the public about a bill that doesn't exist. You’re actually advocating for an action that could put millions of people out of work for a few months, and forcing our troops to lose their meager pay for a few months for… what, exactly? What are your “principles” when you advocate for that, in order to kill an amendment that will probably ultimately have zero effect on anyone, and might even die in the courts?

I don’t like this amendment any more than you do. But you know what? If he vetoes this bill to kill that amendment, and then causes the Republicans to win in 2012, they’re just going to pass the same bill, and allow President Gingrich/Romney/Perry to detain people at will, anyway, right?

So we see why President Obama needs to pass a bill like this.  But what about the "indefinite detention of US citizens" part?  It's crap, and here's the main point:  the bill's Section 1021 (e).

(e) AUTHORITIES.—Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.

I don't think it gets any more clear than that.  It's in the friggin text of the bill, and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to you.  Got it?

Now ask yourself why they are lying to you.  And do read Milt's piece.

On the other hand, I am very disappointed with Sen. Al Franken.

The bill that passed on Thursday included several problematic provisions, the worst of which could allow the military to detain Americans indefinitely, without charge or trial, even if they’re captured in the U.S.

No, Al, it does not.  Which means you didn't actually read the bill.  Try doing that next time.

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition!

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