Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Last Call

And Romney goes the full Cotton Mather, telling a Missouri crowd he's for the end of Planned Parenthood.

Last year, Mitt Romney supported a Republican plan to eliminate federal funding to Planned Parenthood — a battle that almost shut down the government. And his support for this idea has not faded. Yesterday, Mitt Romney told a local TV reporter in Missouri that he would “get rid of” Planned Parenthood, among other programs, to reduce the deficit:
The test is pretty simple. Is the program so critical, it’s worth borrowing money from China to pay for it? And on that basis of course you get rid of Obamacare, that’s the easy one. Planned Parenthood, we’re going to get rid of that.
Beyond simply threatening a program that provides necessary health care for millions of women, Romney has also called for cutting funds for Title X — the only federal program devoted to family planning — from the federal budget. The program covers low-income women and men who are uninsured, and without it, about 5 million people would lose their access to health care and contraception. 

Please, somebody explain to me again how Romney is a moderate and as soon as he wins the primary he'll pivot to the center.  Are you willing to bet the reproductive health of five million women on the Tea Party letting him get away with anything short of knocking women's rights back to the Boardwalk Empire era?

I don't think so.

By The Time I Get To Arizona (You'll Have Been Canned)

So, what happens when Arizona combined being a right-to-work state with its own version of the Blunt Amendment?  As ABL notes, this.

Arizona House Bill 2625, authored by Majority Whip Debbie Lesko, R-Glendale, would permit employers to ask their employees for proof of medical prescription if they seek contraceptives for non-reproductive purposes, such as hormone control or acne treatment.

“I believe we live in America. We don’t live in the  Soviet Union,” Lesko said. “So, government should not be telling the organizations or mom and pop employers to do something against their moral beliefs.”

Lesko said this bill responds to a contraceptive mandate in the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed into law March 2010.

“My whole legislation is about our First Amendment rights and freedom of religion,” Lesko said. “All my bill does is that an employer can opt out of the mandate if they have any religious objections.”

Now here's the best part:  being a right-to-work state means you can be fired for anything that is not expressly protected or prohibited as discriminatory.  An earlier version of the bill did have this "protection" in it, as far as anything was being "protected" in his horrendous legislation:

“A religious employer shall not discriminate against an employee who independently chooses to obtain insurance coverage or prescriptions for contraceptives from another source.”

In other words, since taking retributive action against the employee for having insurance that covers birth control or getting it from a place other than the employer's insurance plan under that clause would count as discrimination (and therefore be illegal), even in a right-to-work state like Arizona, you couldn't be fired specifically for being on the pill.

That of course was before this protection was in fact removed from the bill.  Which means that yes, you can technically be fired for being on birth control because it offends your employer's religious sensibilities, specifically because the bill does not protect Arizona employees from employers seeking to do so as discriminatory.  Nice, huh?

Far worse an indictment of right-to-work laws, but this bill is also awful as it puts employers in charge of their employees' health coverage.  They can simply opt out of covering anything they want to.  So no, as an employer in Arizona, under this you could simply cut a whole buch of costs and say "No, your insurance doesn't cover it.  Not the policy from us."  Hey, who's going to stop them?

The Supreme Court?  Well, better hope there's not a Republican in the White House in 2013/2014 when this law, if passed, would get up there, eh?

The Devil Went Up To Toronto

Or in this case, the Nameless One chickened out from Toronto as he fears the protests from anyone outside Undisclosed Location country.

Former U.S. vice-president Dick Cheney has cancelled an April appearance in Toronto citing concerns Canada is too dangerous.

“He felt that in Canada the risk of violent protest was simply too high,” said Ryan Ruppert, president of promotions company Spectre Live Corp., which had booked Mr. Cheney for an April 24 appearance at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. 

It's going to be amusing watching the Pretty Hate Machine demand apologies from the entire country for something they haven't done yet, but I'm sure PM Stephen Harper will use the excuse to crack down more on his citizens saying bad things about people.  You know how rowdy those Canadians can get.

Hillary Says It Perfectly

Why extremists always focus on women remains a mystery to me. But they all seem to. It doesn't matter what country they're in or what religion they claim. They want to control women. They want to control how we dress, they want to control how we act, they even want to control the decisions we make about our own health and bodies.
Without pointing fingers or hurling accusations (see, it can be done!) Hillary Clinton gets to the root of the problem women face around the world.  Our clothing, actions, words and even medical choices are limited by men in power.

It may remain a mystery to her, but I can tell her why this is where they go... because it works.  Nowadays you're not supposed to judge someone based on race, age or marital status.  But if they have boobies it is totally fine to blame them for the ills of the world and set laws to keep those silly women from messing it all up.  It works, and as long as it works any group with a control fetish or need to throw their weight around have an easy target.

It's just that simple, folks.

Would You Like Fries With That Nap?

A Florida woman was found passed out on pain pills in her car while her son played inside a Deltona McDonald's, sheriff's deputies told the News-Journal.

Deputies were called to the fast-food chain location after two women found Jessica Jones, 28, allegedly slumped over the steering wheel of her car in the parking lot. Cops say they found oxycodone and the anti-anxiety drug alprazolam when they searched her.

Meanwhile, her 8-year-old son was in the restaurant's play area unattended. Witnesses told cops that they saw Jones go into the McDonald's and buy the boy a Happy Meal before retreating to her car.

When she awoke, Jones allegedly had slurred speech, and cops noticed a pill on her floorboard. She was charged with child neglect and two counts of prescription pill possession.

You know, sometimes commentary isn't necessary. I think this pretty much says it all, except that I hope the boy has been placed with competent care.

Bully Pulpit Bull

Ezra Klein argues in a New Yorker piece that the President's bully pulpit isn't the great tool it used to be in the age of assumed GOP Senate filibusters (and may actually hurt a President).

The annual State of the Union address offers the clearest example of the misconception. The best speechwriters are put on the task. The biggest policy announcements are saved for it. The speech is carried on all the major networks, and Americans have traditionally considered watching it to be something of a civic duty. And yet Gallup, after reviewing polls dating back to 1978, concluded that “these speeches rarely affect a president’s public standing in a meaningful way, despite the amount of attention they receive.” Obama’s 2012 address fit the pattern. His approval rating was forty-six per cent on the day of the speech, and forty-seven per cent a week later.

Presidents have plenty of pollsters on staff, and they give many speeches in the course of a year. So how do they so systematically overestimate the importance of those speeches? Edwards believes that by the time Presidents reach the White House their careers have taught them that they can persuade anyone of anything. “Think about how these guys become President,” he says. “The normal way is talking for two years. That’s all you do, and somehow you win. You must be a really persuasive fellow.”

But being President isn’t the same as running for President. When you’re running for President, giving a good speech helps you achieve your goals. When you are President, giving a good speech can prevent you from achieving them

It seems counter-intuitive, but Klein goes on to argue that an impassioned speech is red meat to the opposition in either party, and presents an immediate avenue for clashing with the White House.  Lawmakers make news when they conflict with the President, that's Village Sunday Talk Show 101 right there.  It also serves as the basis of talking points that the opposition can use to scuttle or confuse the issue, or become a rallying point.

Klein's argument is far more an indictment of our current incestuous Washington/The Village arrangement more than anything else.  The press immediately treats any SOTU-level speech as insincere blather, political posturing and worthless rhetoric.  No wonder then than this President's speeches are boiled down to "LOL TELEPROMPTER" all the time by his opponents.

The bully pulpit is bemoaned in the press as useless by the cynical Villagers who helped make it so.  Shocking, I know...

The Big GOP Primary Thread: Southbound And Down

The South is covered in a thin, nauseating layer of Santorum this morning as Slick Rick took Alabama by 6 points, 35% to 29% for both Gingrich and Romney, and Mississippi by 2 points, 33% to Newt's 31% and Mitt's 30%.

And yes, this means Romney came in third in both contests.  He did make up some ground by winning Hawaii with 45% of the vote to Santorum's 25%.  But the fact is, Romney can't close the deal with the most strident members of the base and he now has a serious problem on his hands.

That means, of course, that the GOP has a major problem on its hands. Yes, when Romney is finally nominated, Republicans will get behind him...but not all of them.  He got 30% or less in Alabama and Mississippi, and you can't tell me that there won't be Republican voters there will stay home and do nothing rather than vote for Romney.

The battle now moves on to open primaries in Puerto Rico this weekend and Illinois on Tuesday, Puerto Rico's contest is winner-take-all and Illinois's 69 delegates are a bigger haul than even Ohio, and a week from Saturday is Louisiana's contest and Missouri's convention caucus.   After that, we head into April, including New York and Pennsylvania on April 24.

It's looking more and more like Romney may not be able to wrap up the 1,144 delegates he'll need by the convention.  If that starts becoming clear, expect the pressure on Gingrich to really heat up.

StupidiNews, Pi Day Edition!

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