Saturday, February 18, 2012

Last Call

Closeted but anti-gay GOP official outed, has to resign in shame?  I've heard this story before.

An Arizona sheriff building a national profile stepped down Saturday from a state leadership position with Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign after a newspaper published allegations that he threatened to deport a former boyfriend.

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu denied the allegations during a press conference Saturday. He was co-chair of Romney’s campaign in Arizona and is a candidate for Congress in the state’s fourth district.

“I’m here to say that all of these accusations that are in one of these newspapers are absolutely false,” Babeu said outside his office, “except to the issues that refer to me as being gay.”

Babeu’s former boyfriend alleged in a Phoenix New Times report published Thursday that Babeu and his attorney threatened him with deportation if the man revealed their relationship. Babeu said Saturday he had no reason to believe that the man, identified in the news report only as Jose, was an illegal immigrant. The New Times reported the man is originally from central Mexico.

Somehow, I don't think Babeu's going to win in AZ-4.  Call it a hunch.  GOP Rep. Paul Gosar of AZ-1 will be running in AZ-4 anyway, since it was redistricted to become a super-safe GOP seat.  This would have been an interesting race, now Gosar will most likely win this in a cake walk.  Gosar's claim to fame? Calling for Eric Holder's resignation over Fast and Furious and basically voting against everything President Obama does.

As amusing as this story is, the Dems aren't going to be able to take advantage of it in AZ-4.  Not directly, anyway.  Gosar's vacated AZ-1 seat however may very well go back to the Democrat he replaced:  Ann Kirkpatrick.

Dear America:

"Politico asks if women should vote for Rick Santorum?  Why, the emotional little cupcakes would be crazy not to!"

--William Teach, Pirate's Cove

Bonus Verbatim Stupid:

On the flip side, perhaps women should be themselves offended that Democrats think that they aren’t capable of affording the small costs in paying for birth control themselves, and so worthless that women have to get someone else to pay.

Because nothing tells a woman she's worthless quite like an entirely male-driven political party saying that decisions about her sexual reproduction need to be legislated beforehand, and then calling the other political party misogynist and pandering for thinking women's health care benefits should be covered under insurance.

And yet, some women will vote for Rick Santorum.

Two Sides To This Eviction

The headline is guaranteed to raise an eyebrow. "Man Tries To Evict His
Mom, Mary Kantorowski, On Her 98th Birthday" is bound to upset people. His
own brother calls him a scumbag, and his mother is kinder but of the same
general opinion.

While it is true that Mary's son Peter is trying to get her to leave the
home, it doesn't seem that financial gain is his motive. He refers
immediately to her declining health and inability to take care of herself.
Mary has refused to live with Peter or accept any sort of assisted living,
so he claims he is essentially forcing her hand so she lives somewhere that
she can get regular meals on time, and have a little supervision to make
sure she is safe. Mary's lawyer fans the flames but adds no facts to the
situation. Mary wants to live there because it is the home she shared with
her husband, which is understandable. After all, more people are
volunteering to die at home and cite comfort and familiarity as the primary
reasons. However, relying on familiarity can be more than just a fond
feeling, it can be a crutch for an older person facing dimentia or

All I'm saying is there could be another side to this. My favorite aunt
has Alzheimer's, and since I am the last of my family I had to make some
pretty tough decisions. My aunt was a fiercely independent woman (gee, I
wonder if that runs through the family). From her early teens she had paid
her way through this world and answered to nobody. Until I stepped in,
that is. See, people were stealing her money and family heirlooms.
Technically she was giving them away, but she forgot what she had done
before they ever pulled out of the parking lot. She wasn't eating
regularly, and often thought she was in Kansas City instead of Springfield,
where she moved just a few years ago. I had to take her to court and
establish guardianship and conservatorship. Her dimentia made her a danger
to herself and others. One of the times she thought she was in Kansas
City, she was driving. I had to take her car away, and because she was in
such poor mental shape, she thought I was trying to kill her. Because she
kept trying to run away and claim abuse, we had to put her in a nursing
home to ensure her safety and mine as well. While Mary Kantorowski isn't
in that bad of shape, I do sympathize with the legal and moral obstacles of
taking care of someone who has crossed the line of needing supervision to
make sure they eat, are clean and healthy, and have access to medical care.
Sometimes that family member can look like a villain even when they are
fighting to do the right thing. And let me tell you, nearly six years
later, part of me is still exhausted and angry over that chapter in my
life. Sometimes you have to take measures like assisted living to protect
your conscience from worries of neglect, even when they resist. How would
anyone feel if a 98-year-old woman they loved fell, broke a hip or died a
slow quiet death from malnutrition? In the end we have to answer to our
conscience, and perhaps that is what is going on here. I know my aunt
called distant family begging for help, and they called me to chastise me
for interfering. Of course, they were three states away and hadn't seen
her in a decade, and were unwilling to help me deliver daily meals and
check on her, but I also notice the brother who calls Peter a scumbag
doesn't state his level of involvement. I wonder if that is an accidental

Maybe he is a jerk. Maybe he is a loving son. It's hard to tell here, but
in the end I hope this woman gets the love and attention she needs,
regardless of the measures that are necessary. And at a glance, I have to
say her son seems to want the same thing.

Also, for any readers who may be thinking of a relative in similar
circumstances, check with your state's assistance programs. From Meals on
Wheels to full time care, you have options. A third party will screen your
relative and give you an idea of what steps may be necessary, but you can
feel good that you have done your best and followed the right procedure.
Most states have a dedicated Department of Aging that oversees elder abuse
and neglect, and has legal options to help someone into assisted living.

There's An App For That, You Know

And we have yet another drunk pilot endangering lives. We're not talking
the "one stiff drink" over the limit, we're talking intoxicated to the
point of being wobbly.

The thing is, there's an easy fix for that. A little commitment from the
airlines would allow for an alcohol screening before allowing the pilot to
board, and apparently an increase in the random drug testing wouldn't hurt.
I am a firm believer in screening when heavy equipment and lives are at
stake, and it's hard to find a better example than a commercial airline
pilot. Heck, even smart phones can be fitted with a breathalyzer add-on to
ensure sobriety.

Frontier Airlines had "reasonable suspicion" that the pilot was impaired,
yet didn't arrest him. Despite the fact that they surely could have had
him tested, they instead delayed the flight for two hours and set another
pilot in charge. They refer to their zero tolerance policy, but when you
don't get in trouble, I'm not sure where the zero tolerance comes in. When
a pilot is so hammered the shuttle guy is suspicious, you've got a problem
on your hands. It would surely make me think twice before flying Frontier.
While this problem has been across the board, we now know at least one
airline where you are just detained until you can pass a breathalyzer and

Come on folks, paying passengers are all being treated like terrorist
suspects, but that security has to apply to employees, as well. Passengers
should have a reasonable expectation of safety, and this problem is so
widespread it has become a running gag. The only problem is, the punchline
can get people killed.

Marry, Marry, Why Ya Buggin'?

The NY Times has a very interesting article this morning on the socioeconomics of women and child-bearing.  It states that evidence (that goes along with women having children later in life now) points to women under the age of 30 who do have children are now more likely to have them outside of marriage rather than in one.

It used to be called illegitimacy. Now it is the new normal. After steadily rising for five decades, the share of children born to unmarried women has crossed a threshold: more than half of births to American women under 30 occur outside marriage.
Once largely limited to poor women and minorities, motherhood without marriage has settled deeply into middle America. The fastest growth in the last two decades has occurred among white women in their 20s who have some college education but no four-year degree, according to Child Trends, a Washington research group that analyzed government data.
Among mothers of all ages, a majority — 59 percent in 2009 — are married when they have children. But the surge of births outside marriage among younger women — nearly two-thirds of children in the United States are born to mothers under 30 — is both a symbol of the transforming family and a hint of coming generational change.
One group still largely resists the trend: college graduates, who overwhelmingly marry before having children. That is turning family structure into a new class divide, with the economic and social rewards of marriage increasingly reserved for people with the most education.
“Marriage has become a luxury good,” said Frank Furstenberg, a sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania.

Now this has some proclaiming that Charles Murray's latest screed on the decline of White America is now "vindicated" along with conservative scolding of women in general, but it seems to me that the actual theory one can take away from this is anything but.

Having children as a single parent is tough on both the parent and the child.  There's plenty of evidence that there is a definite socioeconomic effect here.  But please note that Republicans are running on removing the most obvious options societies can use in order to prevent that from becoming more widespread.

Republicans are increasingly against birth control.  Republicans are increasingly against same-sex marriage.  They are against adoption by same-sex couples.  They are against changing laws that would give the legal and economic benefits of marriage to same-sex couples and civil unions.  They are against changing deportation laws that would break up families.  They are against strengthening domestic violence and abuse laws.  They are against the notion that the government should ensure men and women are paid the same for the same job.  Oh, and yes, Republicans aren't real fans of abortion, either.

So you tell me, which party actually wants to do something about the income inequality that's caused by this?  All the evidence I see is that Republicans want to perpetuate this mess, if not completely reverse what progress has been made.

No Defense Of The Indefensible

Attorney General Eric Holder and the Justice Department have determined that they believe Title 38, the legislation that bans married same-sex couples from receiving military spousal benefits is in violation of the Fifth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause.  As such, they'll no longer defend it in court.  Holder's letter to Congress reads in part:

“The legislative record of these provisions contains no rationale for providing veterans’ benefits to opposite-sex couples of veterans but not to legally married same-sex spouses of veterans,” Holder wrote. “Neither the Department of Defense nor the Department of Veterans Affairs identified any justifications for that distinction that would warrant treating these provisions differently from Section 3 of DOMA.”

Holder said DOJ would no longer defend the provisions in Title 38 which prevent same-sex couples who are legally married from obtaining benefits. He said that Congress would be provided a “full and fair opportunity” to defend the statues in the McLaughlin v. Panetta case if they wished to do so.

It's a step.  In the end however, it will take either the legislative or the judicial to overturn DOMA.

The Long, Stupid Defeat Of Willard Romney, Part 2

Via John Cole, ABC's Jonathan Karl discovers the entire problem with the GOP, and that is what the party leadership will do if Mittens can't win Michigan ten days from now.

A prominent Republican senator just told me that if Romney can’t win in Michigan, the Republican Party needs to go back to the drawing board and convince somebody new to get into the race.

“If Romney cannot win Michigan, we need a new candidate,” said the senator, who has not endorsed anyone and requested anonymity.

The senator believes Romney will ultimately win in Michigan but says he will publicly call for the party to find a new candidate if he does not.

The mystery GOP senator goes on to say that Santorum and Gingrich would lose 35 states to President Obama, and that the person the party needs to turn Jeb Bush.

To recap, the Big Idea to save the party is talking the bother of the man who destroyed the economy into running as their party's savior.

The train wreck is fascinating.  Epochal, if you will.  Cole's right though.  They're terrified of Santorum as the nominee.  They know it will mean a generation of wilderness for them.  If Santorum wins Michigan and does as well as I think he might on Super Tuesday, the Conserva-schism I've been predicting for two years will rip the party in half.  Over the river in Ohio, Attorney General Mike DeWine switched his endorsement from Romney to Santorum this week, completely throwing the Romney camp for a loop.  They had no clue it was coming.

"To be elected president you have to do more than tear down your opponent. You have to give the American people a reason, a reason to vote for you," DeWine said. "Rick Santorum has done that. Sadly, Governor Romney has not."

DeWine was originally a Tim Pawlenty supporter, but Pawlenty dropped out of the race last summer and DeWine later endorsed Romney.

The damage could be so bad, the Democrats might actually take the whole ball of wax.  If Mitt survives this, he'll be so weakened and so far to the right he'll never recover.  If Santorum wins this, the GOP may implode in November.  And if Jeb Bush enters the picture after Super Tuesday, the GOP leadership's credibility will be totally shot with their base.  It'll be a bloodbath.

This is starting to look better and better for the Dems daily.

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition!

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