Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Last Call

Republicans are just weird.  They decry that government interference in family life and important decisions are expensive and intrusive, bankrupting the country and bordering on dictatorship.  Then they proceed to send troops in to occupy tens of millions of uteri at taxpayer expense, particularly at the state level.

As restrictions on abortion and contraception have become the subject of state legislative action and Republican presidential candidates’ pitches to voters, arguments have focused on the issue’s moral and religious dimensions.
Less attention has been paid to the financial implications to states, businesses and women if governments impose policies that lead to increases in unplanned or unwanted pregnancies. The economic ramifications of such policies are important as the nation recovers from the worst recession since the Great Depression and governments work to reduce debts and deficits.
“There’s a simple math in place: more unintended pregnancies mean more public costs,” said Bill Albert, chief program officer at the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. “Especially for the deficit hawks, it is a penny-wise-pound-foolish strategy.”

Now Uteroccupiers(tm) know full well that it's not about saving taxpayers money, it's about using the power of the government to go after any group that sides with the Democrats as punishment.  It's also about wasting money on slut-shaming in order to say "Well, we can't afford your schools and roads.  maybe you should have thought of that before having sex."  They can't openly say this, of course, so the Orwellian logic they do employ is quite illuminating.

Kristi Hamrick, a spokeswoman for Americans United for Life, a Washington-based legal organization that seeks to overturn abortion rights, rejected that conclusion, saying the value of life can’t be reduced to dollars and cents.
“The unknown and absolute value of life is clear in what a person brings to society,” Hamrick said. “Let’s look, for example, at a girl who gets pregnant in college, does marry the father of her child, works to raise this child, and he becomes president. That’s Barack Obama,” she said, in a reference to the life experiences of the president’s mother.

Now let's pause for a minute on the fact that we have a conservative making the argument that at some point, even the hated Kenyan Colonialist was somebody's baby, and that he was loved.  I too am sensitive to that argument, having been adopted myself.  Second chances and all that.  But the thing is that she had a choice at the time, and it wasn't the state's job to tell her what to do, or to advocate for one choice over another when both choices are legal.  An actual conservative would understand that, but then again we're not dealing with actual conservatives, but Uteroccupiers(tm).

To them, it's all about the exercise of power of the state over these women in a cynical effort to trap the ones who deviate socially from their prescribed plan of Dominionist theory.  Nearly everything else that social conservatives do makes actual sense once put in the context of building a theocratic society where the wealthy are the favored people of the Divine Right of Cash, and they are morally superior to the rest of us.  Basic birth control is vital to women being able to control their own bodies, and if you're wondering why the GOP War on Women is so pervasive, it's because it's a keystone to women being independent members of society.  To have that choice available for the unwashed masses is of course an affront.

Bringing in the portrait of the President as a young man is just too much for them to resist, too.  They say that kids have to be brought into the world...and then they're on their own, apparently.

New tag, of course: Uteroccupiers.  Always up in your vajayjay.

Scott Walker Gets That Poll-Axed Look

Ed Kilgore over at Political Animal flags down this poll showing GOP Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is in danger of losing his recall election by 5 points.  What's the catch?  It's a Rasmussen poll.

A majority of Wisconsin voters now support the effort to recall Republican Governor Scott Walker.

A new Rasmussen Reports statewide survey shows that, if the recall election was held today, 52% of Likely Voters would vote to recall Governor Walker and remove him from office. Forty-seven percent (47%) would vote against the recall and let him continue to serve as governor.

That's Walker losing by double digits in reality.  And that's got to frighten the hell out of Team Scott.

Ann Romney Is Mitt's ACME Secret Weapon

Yeah, I call shenanigans on this Politico article this morning:

Ann Romney is the Romney Democrats fear most

No, seriously.  When the hell did Ann Romney even become a factor in this race, let alone become a source of "fear" for the Obama campaign and Democrats in general?

Ann Romney’s unexpected rock star status has the political arena buzzing about how her husband’s campaign will leverage her popularity in an election in which Michelle Obama — one of the most admired first ladies in history — will have an outsized and substantive portfolio.
Indeed, this 62-year-old grandmother’s contribution to Mitt Romney’s campaign could amount to the most relevant role a wife has ever played in a presidential effort — softening the edges of a flawed and awkward candidate who struggles to connect with voters.

Alright, look.  Ann Romney would burst into flames like an exposed block of lithium in a bathtub of water if she ever made physical contact with any human being who made less than six figures last year.  She has been completely irrelevant in this campaign, period...other than maybe the fact she has multiple Cadillacs and that she doesn't consider herself wealthy.  I mean it's not like the bar of "more likeable than Mitt Romney" is some Everest-class feat of unfathomable difficulty.  It means you can keep yourself from saying obnoxious things about how rich you are less than 50% of the time you open your damn mouth.  This does not make you a "rock star", it makes you roughly 99 out of 100 Americans.  The only reason she's the Romney with all the charisma is that she's kept her mouth shut so far, so she's at roughly zero instead of Mitt's negative billion.

And now she's a "rock star" who is even more important and more "relevant" to the Romney campaign than Hillary was to candidate Bill or Michelle was to candidate Barack Obama?  Man, you guys are just absolutely pulling things out of your ass now over there.  And no, the date on the article is April 2, not April 1, which is what I originally thought when I read this.

Naah, this is just egregious ass-kissing on the part of Roger Simon's folks.  This is wholesale fan fiction to try to cover up the fact that Romney is augering into the ground like Don Draper's liver.  Ann Romney certainly hasn't been an asset the other times Mitt has run for President, now has she?

Jesus, Politico, at least pretend like you guys aren't trying to create a horse-race out of bullshit.

Breaking News: Tornadoes Can Kill You

I understand why they are changing tornado alerts.  In a lot of ways, it's a good idea.  Reminding people that they can die from a tornado could save lives if they really listen to the warnings.  The tornado that devastated Joplin had nearly twenty minutes warning.  But tornado warnings are a dime a dozen, and by July any self-respecting Missourian will snort, roll over and know the odds are against waking up in Oz.  If we stopped and took cover every time the skies threatened to kill us, we'd starve and turn ghastly pale from lack of sunlight.

Zandar was visiting me the week that Joplin was demolished.  I don't know if he remembers, but there was a tornado watch every single day he was here, and warnings more often than not.  Of course people are desensitized to the sirens and the map on the corner of the television.

I do have a concern with ranking the severity of the tornado.  It implies that there may be survivable tornadoes. The reality is, even a small tornado has the potential to do huge damage, and it's hard to predict whether it will grow or fade.

The obvious issue is that we have seen little growth in resources given to predicting and monitoring tornadoes.  When technology advances, a little cooperation between Google Maps and The Weather Channel could save lives.  Sometimes you can only warn a wide swath and pray for the best.  There are several times that more specific information can be given, and let people know when the threat affects their neighborhood instead of the "somewhere in the county there may be a funnel cloud" message we see today.

Every improvement is a step in the right direction, but a Suri voice won't change people's reaction to a generalized and unimpressive warning system.

By the way, here's a picture of the tornado system I snapped from work, a full sixty miles after the tornado broke up.  If the sky ever looks like this in broad daylight... TAKE COVER.

Roundup: Good Reads

Please go here and read the Immoral Minority article about the Godless Vagina.

It's short and sweet, and totally worth the time.  Besides his obvious love for the female body, the graphic makes one of the best points I've seen so far in the women vs. government debate about health care.

Meanwhile, Obama stresses yet again the importance of healthcare and that it be available to everyone. While he surely has his own beliefs and morals, he realizes it is his job to take care of all Americans, and he is giving it his best shot.

Last but not least, Nancy Kaufman cuts through the crap and says what's really going on:

The whole environment surrounding a woman's right to access a safe, legal abortion -- the waiting periods, the ultrasounds, the lectures, the so-called informed consent -- is premised on the assumption that women are not capable of making their own moral, religious, and ethical decisions without the intrusion and supervision of the government. These requirements demean women as independent actors, particularly when it comes to making decisions about their own bodies and their own health care. They are intended to dissuade women from making a decision that is legally theirs to make by applying social pressure channeled by a legislative body.

That pretty much sums it up.

Even More Activism, Activate!

And on top of the health care reform oral arguments, please note that it's the same Alito-Roberts-Thomas-Scalia bloc plus Kennedy who have just handed down the ruling that police can strip search any suspect for any offense, period.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, joined by the court’s conservative wing, wrote that courts are in no position to second-guess the judgments of correctional officials who must consider not only the possibility of smuggled weapons and drugs but also public health and information about gang affiliations. 

About 13 million people are admitted each year to the nation’s jails, Justice Kennedy wrote. 

Under Monday’s ruling, he wrote, "every detainee who will be admitted to the general population may be required to undergo a close visual inspection while undressed." 

Justice Stephen G. Breyer, writing for the four dissenters, said strip-searches were “a serious affront to human dignity and to individual privacy” and should be used only when there was good reason to do so.
The decision endorses a more recent trend, from appeals courts in Atlanta, San Francisco and Philadelphia, in allowing searches no matter how minor the charge. Some potential examples cited by dissenting judges in the lower courts and by Justice Breyer on Monday included violating a leash law, driving without a license and failing to pay child support. 

But of course you have no dignity if you're arrested.  You can be subject to strip search for any arrest, period, before being put in the county clink.  And you can bet cops everywhere can't wait to humiliate the hell out of people who get busted for jaywalking.  And Kennedy's logic is just insane:

“It is not surprising that correctional officials have sought to perform thorough searches at intake for disease, gang affiliation and contraband,” Justice Kennedy wrote. “Jails are often crowded, unsanitary and dangerous places.” 

“There is a substantial interest,” he added, “in preventing any new inmate, either of his own will or as a result of coercion, from putting all who live or work at these institutions at even greater risk when he is admitted to the general population.” 

Yeah, we have to protect the criminals from lice, so strip poker for everyone.  Jesus.

Activism, Activate!

President Obama plays the famous "Activist Judges!" card when, for once, the phrase is properly used to denote the Supreme Court remaking one-sixth of the US economy and possibly the entire health care system...or more.

In his first thorough comments since the Supreme Court began weighing the constitutionality of health care reform, President Obama launched an impassioned defense of his law on Monday, and cautioned conservatives against embracing the judicial activism the right claims to deplore.

“Ultimately I’m confident the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected congress,” Obama said at a Rose Garden press conference. “And I just remind conservative commentators that for years, what we’ve heard is the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint. An unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law. Well, this is a good example. And I’m pretty confident this court will recognize that and not take that step.”

Yeah, this is exactly the point the President should be making as former editor of the Harvard Law Review and as a former professor of constitutional law.  The Supreme Court doesn't normally go about overturning entire laws and telling Congress to start from scratch.  There's ample precedent to uphold the law, and even conservative legal commentators admitted that the law would be upheld precisely because of 60+ years of legal precedent in favor of the Commerce Clause.  This weight of the court's prior decisions, stare decicis, should mean that the conservatives on the court are the least likely to impose the court's will over Congress.

Instead, just the opposite is true.  It's a dead giveaway to the "activist judges" having always been the "conservatives" on the court.  Surprise.


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