Sunday: Bible Club

The Vatican needs a little Fox “News” propaganda magic / training – APNewsBreak: VATICAN CITY – The Vatican has brought in the Fox News correspondent in Rome to help improve its communications strategy as it tries to cope with years of communications blunders and one of its most serious scandals in decades, officials said Saturday. Greg Burke, 52, will leave Fox to become the senior communications adviser in the Vatican’s secretariat of state, the Vatican and Burke told The Associated Press.

TPM: The younger generation is abandoning God in droves. A new survey by the Pew Research Center finds that belief in the existence of God has dropped 15 points in the last five years among Americans 30 and under.

Addicting Info: Americans becoming less religious – In the last ten years, coincidentally when the Millenials were growing up, the conservative movement went all the way old timey religion and became explicitly about hate and prejudice. Essentially, the religious right showed its true face and the Millenials found it repulsive. This is another one of those demographic changes, like the “browning” of America that signals the eventual demise of the conservative movement as we know it. Sooner or later, the wedge issues of race, sexual orientation and gender all based on religious “beliefs” will simply lose their potency. This is one of the major reasons the GOP is pushing so hard to restrict voting rights and enact as many far right laws as possible; they can read the same charts we can an come to the same conclusion: consolidate power now or lose it forever. The next 20 years are going to be some of the most corrupt and tumultuous in our nation’s history as the failing right goes to its grave kicking and screaming.

The teagelicals are doing a great job! Part of the problem?

via: jsenum

Self-identified “religious” people cannot hide their hypocrisy — A recent study found that the less religious people are, the more compassionate towards others they will be, according to a report by NPR:

In three experiments, the social scientists found that the less religious were more generous when presented with situations that stimulated their compassion, which the scientists defined as “an emotion felt when people see the suffering of others which then motivates them to help, often at a personal risk or cost.” [...] ‘The more religious, on the other hand, may ground their generosity less in emotion, and more in other factors such as doctrine, a communal identity, or reputational concerns.’”

Philadelphia Priest Trial: A Roman Catholic church official was convicted of child endangerment but acquitted of conspiracy Friday in a landmark clergy-abuse trial, making him the first U.S. church official branded a felon for covering up abuse claims. Monsignor William Lynn helped the archdiocese keep predators in ministry, and the public in the dark, by telling parishes their priests were being removed for health reasons and then sending the men to unsuspecting churches, prosecutors said. Lynn, 61, served as secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004, mostly under Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua.

Churches are getting political, but they still want their tax-exempt status – Reuters:  Pastor Jim Garlow will stand before congregants at his 2,000-seat Skyline Wesleyan Church in La Mesa, California, on Sunday, October 7, just weeks before the U.S. presidential and congressional elections, and urge his flock to vote for or against particular candidates. He knows such pulpit pleading could endanger his church’s tax-exempt status by violating IRS rules for a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. A charity can take a position on policy issues but cannot act “on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.” To cross that line puts the $7 million mega-church’s tax break at risk. Even so, Garlow not only intends to break the rules, he also plans to spend the next four months recruiting other pastors to do the same as part of Pulpit Freedom Sunday. On that day each year since 2008, ministers intentionally try to provoke the IRS. Some even send DVD recordings of their sermons to the agency. Last year, 539 pastors participated. This year organizers expect far more. Participants want to force the matter to court as a freedom of speech and religion issue. (via: azspot)

Churches, as an organization, can’t endorse political figures as a condition of their tax-exempt status, but 539 ministers challenged the IRS last year by endorsing or opposing a candidate for office.  This Reuters graphic takes a look at where churches are endorsing or opposing candidates the most.

Amen.

Morning Bunker Report: Tuesday 4.3.2012

It’s election day in Wisconsin, Maryland, and DC.

THE WHITE HOUSE / DEMOCRATS

Obama: Supreme Court won’t overturn health care law  – “I think [the individual mandate] is important and I think the American people understand, and I think the justices should understand that in the absence of an individual mandate, you cannot have a mechanism to insure that people with preexisting conditions can actually get health care,” said president Obama …  Overturning the law would be “an unprecedented, extraordinary step” since it was passed by a majority of members in the House and Senate,” he said. “I just remind conservative commentators that for years we’ve heard that the biggest problem is judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint. That a group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law. Well, this is a good example. And I’m pretty confident that this court will recognize that and not take that step.”

Andrew Sullivan comments, “Too aggressive? A harbinger of a campaign theme if the Court strikes the law down? Or a necessary self-defense? After Citizens United, I’d lean to the latter.”

Obama to slam Republican ‘social Darwinism’ — He will roast a budget passed by the Republican House of Representatives, and backed by the party’s presidential candidates, as a “Trojan horse,” according to excerpts of a major speech he was due to deliver later Tuesday.  […] “Disguised as deficit reduction plan, it’s really an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country. It’s nothing but thinly-veiled Social Darwinism… But Obama argues that the plan will punish the middle class and further enrich the wealthy, a message around which he is building his campaign for a second White House term. “It’s antithetical to our entire history as a land of opportunity and upward mobility for everyone who’s willing to work for it,” Obama was to say in his speech, in a repudiation of trickle-down economics. “By gutting the very things we need to grow an economy that’s built to last — education and training; research and development — it’s a prescription for decline.” […] Obama will also use his speech on Tuesday to make a new push for the “Buffett rule” a plan named after billionaire financier Warren Buffett, that would mandate that all Americans earning over $1 million pay at least a 30 percent tax rate.

“This is not your father’s Republican Party. This is a different party than I’m used to…. It really is different.”Joe Biden (source)

Joe Biden dismisses Mitt Romney as ‘out of touch’ — “Here’s what I don’t think that Governor Romney seems to understand,” Biden said. “It’s not just about the kid that doesn’t get to go to college because we’re not willing to help him. It’s about that parent, that proud parent looks at his kid and knows, ‘There’s nothing I can do to help this kid.’ … I don’t know that he understands that there are people like my dad who felt ashamed that he wasn’t able to borrow the money and apologizing to me. The worst thing in the world for a parent is to know they can’t help their child, whether they’re sick because they can’t get insurance for them because they have a preexisting condition, or they can’t help get them to college.” That doesn’t mean Biden is counting on an easy win, but he said the anti-government rhetoric out of the Romney camp as it fights to secure the nomination guarantees that voters will have a stark choice in November. “This is the first time the Republicans aren’t hiding the ball,” Biden said. “They’re saying exactly what they think. They’re not talking about compassionate conservatism.”

Clinton praises U.S. for uproar over Limbaugh comments  – “As a woman and as someone who can vaguely remember being a young woman — and as a mother of a young woman of that age and generation — I thought the response was very encouraging.” “I think we need to call people out when they go over the line. They’re entitled to their opinion, but no one is entitled to engage in that kind of verbal assault,” she said, according to a transcript released Monday. […] “There’s been no place better to be a woman than in 21st-century America. So we cannot allow any voices to be given credibility that would undermine the advances that women have made in our country,” she said.

THE SHORT BUS: AKA THE 2012 GOP PRIMARY

Romney: Obama wants to ‘establish a religion called secularism’ – “I think there is in this country a war on religion. I think there is a desire to establish a religion in America known as secularism. They gave it a lot of thought and they decided to say that in this country that a church — in this case, the Catholic Church — would be required to violate its principles and its conscience and be required to provide contraceptives, sterilization and morning after pills to the employees of the church. … We are now all Catholics. Those of us who are people of faith recognize this is — an attack on one religion is an attack on all religion. It’s one more reason we need to get rid of Obamacare. It’s also one more reason we need to get rid of Obama.”

“I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote…”JFK (what religious freedom USED to mean)

Wisconsin Chaos Buries Romney’s Big Moment – Romney is on the verge of all-but-officially taking the GOP nomination on the strength of a growing delegate lead and impressive array of endorsements. But the Wisconsin contest, where Romney is favored despite starting behind Rick Santorum in polls last month, also happens to be taking place in the only primary state so far where the presidential battle is an afterthought. Instead, Wisconsin is dominated by Gov. Scott Walker’s recall battle and the ongoing legal fight over the controversial labor law that precipitated it. “Frankly, the presidential primary is being well overshadowed by the recall election,” Wisconsin GOP strategist Mark Graul told TPM. “People are just so hyper-focused on this recall that the presidential election is really just a distant second in most activists’ and voters’ minds, not just on my side of the aisle but with Democrats as well.” This week, the state officially certified the petition campaign to recall Walker, setting a June 5 date for the election that Democrats had gathered hundreds of thousands of signatures in order to force.

Rick Santorum Faces Triple Wipeout in Wisconsin, Maryland, and D.C. — The poll shows Romney leading 40 percent to 33 percent in Wisconsin, and here’s the key stat: Santorum has lost every state for which there is exit polling when the percentage of evangelical voters is less than 50. And in Wisconsin, says NBC, evangelicals make up 41 percent of the Republican electorate. Santorum’s failure to expand his base beyond very conservative and religious voters has hurt him badly in such states as Michigan and Ohio, even as he has racked up wins elsewhere. And he looks to be toast in Maryland, where a Rasmussen poll has him trailing Romney, 45 percent to 28 percent. Santorum has no intention of pulling the plug on his campaign, even if he gets wiped out on Tuesday. || me: HOORAY!

BEARING FALSE WITNESS: Santorum Claims California Universities Don’t Teach American History – “I was just reading something last night from the state of California. And that the California universities – I think it’s seven or eight of the California system of universities don’t even teach an American history course. It’s not even available to be taught.” In fact, of the 10 UC system schools, just one (San Francisco) doesn’t offer American history courses. But that’s because it doesn’t offer any humanities courses at all — it’s a medical school. Meanwhile, Berkeley, Irvine, Davis, Los Angeles, Merced, Riverside, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz all offer numerous American history courses. All require students to take U.S. history before they can graduate.

TGIF morning’s 6 ambiguously interesting things

1) Democrats / President Obama

  • A snip from the documentary of Bill Clinton on Obama’s decisions re: Detroit and OBL:
  • Obama Pressures Congress on Oil Subsidies - In the most spirited defense yet of his record on energy policy, President Barack Obama today dismissed his critics as playing politics by promising cheap gas without real solutions, and asked his supporters to pressure Congress to end subsidies for oil companies. At an event in Largo, Md., Obama said people “running for a certain office, who shall go unnamed” have been “talking down new sources of energy” and have dismissed his plan to double vehicle mileage standards by 2025. “I guess they like gas guzzlers,” he said. Obama said he expects Congress to vote in the next few weeks on ending subsidies for oil companies. “It is time for this oil industry giveaway to end,” he said. “I guess you can stand up for the oil companies … or you can stand up for the American people.” The president said the $4 billion a year in oil industry subsidies could be redirected to other sources of energy.

2) The Republican War on Women

  • Dems Hammer PA Governor Over Ultrasound Comments - Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) offered up some advice for women who don’t want to have a mandatory ultrasound before they terminate their pregnancy: Don’t look at it. Now Democrats are pouncing, holding up the line as evidence of the GOP’s continuing insensitivity toward women. The quote in question came after Corbett was asked at a press conference whether “making [women] watch” an ultrasound went “too far.” “I don’t know how you make anybody watch,” Corbett said. “You just have to close your eyes.”
  • Religious liberty not under attack in America, says majority - Another poll, another confirmation that the GOP’s narrative that their attack on women’s health is really all about religious liberty has sunk like a lead balloon. The Public Religion Research Institution asked a random sample of 1,007 adults 18 years of age or older whether religious liberty was under attack in the United States, and whether government-mandated birth control coverage was part of that threat. And the American public said, “are you kidding?” Washington, DC— On the heels of a months-long heated debate on religious liberty, a new national survey finds that a majority (56%) of Americans do NOT believe that the right of religious liberty is being threatened in America today. Roughly 4-in-10 (39%) believe religious liberty is under attack.
  • Bishops hold meeting, decide they still hate women’s health care - This week, the Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), led by Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, archbishop of New York and the president of the bishops’ conference, met to decidewhether they still hate women’s health care. Guess what? They do! In a statement issued by the committee, the bishops insisted that they are “strongly unified and intensely focused” in their “opposition to the various threats to religious freedom.” Religious freedom, as we all know by now, means their right to demand that women be denied access to health care the bishops don’t like. The bishops then proceed to do some serious false-witness-bearing: This is not about access to contraception, which is ubiquitous and inexpensive, even when it is not provided by the Church’s hand and with the Church’s funds. First, yes, this is about access to contraception. Second, no, it is not inexpensive. Third, no one is requiring the Church to provide it. And fourth, no one is forcing the Church to pay for it. But the lies don’t end there…

3) Your 2012 GOP presidential candidates

  • Romney Campaign Dings Santorum: No, Puerto Ricans Don’t Have To Stop Speaking Spanish - On Wednesday, Santorum told the Puerto Rican newspaper El Vocero that islanders would have to be fully proficient in English, in order to genuine integrate into the main American culture — and he said, to comply with federal law — in order to be granted statehood if they wanted it.In fact, there is no federal law, either in the Constitution or current federal statutes, establishing English as a required official language of government business in order to qualify for statehood. (Though in the past, Congress did make such a requirement for statehood in 1811 for Louisiana, where French was widely spoken, and also in 1906 regarding the Native American languages spoken in areas of Oklahoma.) But the fact remains that Spanish is the primary language of Puerto Rico, and will continue to be so as a cultural fact for the foreseeable future.
  • The ‘Oops, Just Kidding’ Endorsement - Former Puerto Rican Sen. Oreste Ramos announced Thursday that he was rescinding his support for Santorum after the presidential candidate said Puerto Rico would have to adopt English as its primary language if the territory were to ever gain statehood. “Although such a requirement would be unconstitutional, and also would clash with our sociological and linguistic reality, as a question of principle I cannot back a person who holds that position,” Oreste said, according to the San Juan newspaper Vocero. “As a Puerto Rican and Spanish-speaking U.S. citizen, I consider the position of Mr. Santorum offensive.”
  • Stephen Colbert’s hilarious commentary on Santorum and Puerto Rico (and Santorum and everything else):
  • Rahm Emanuel to Romney: ‘If You Can’t Stand up to Rush, How Are You Going to Stand up to Russia?’ - “Now I’m not going to give advice to Republicans. They don’t take it and I don’t want to give it. They’ll make whatever decision they want to make,” Emanuel said at an event Thursday morning in Chicago. “You just take a look at the fortitude, the strength, the determination and the vision the president made on the auto industry and juxtapose it to Mitt Romney, who doesn’t have the fortitude, the strength or the character in my view to stand up to Rush Limbaugh. How can he stand up and make a decision to save 1.3 million manufacturing jobs? “That Oval Office requires vision. That Oval Office requires spine. That Oval Office requires determination and grit. Mitt Romney says, ‘Let it go.’ The president said the American workers are too important to let go, and he doubled down on the American workers. When a decision comes to the Oval Office, who’s got the fortitude, who’s got the grit, who’s got the determination and who’s got the back of the American people and middle-class families? And nothing coming into that Oval Office is easy. It’s not clear. And I think when you see the character, the fortitude and the strength measured up, and the determination to reject conventional wisdom and see around the corner what’s right for the American middle class, people who work every day, play by the rules, you’ll see the difference of the two individuals and their vision for America.”

4) The 21st Century Republican (tea)Party / New American Theocracy

  • Arizona Makes Another Attempt At Government Birtherism - Without saying as much, Arizona officials are working on yet another birther bill. This is the latest of several attempts by the state to try to prove the myth that Obama is not an American citizen. This time, an Arizona legislative committee is pushing a measure that would require presidential candidates to fill out an eligibility form before they can be put on Arizona’s ballot.
  • Arizona Birther Bill – The Birthers Are Strong in This One - I’m in sunny Arizona for a couple of days and, boy howdy, is the wingnut strong out here. The state legislature’s Government Reform Committee — yeah, that one had me on the floor, too — yesterday reported out a birther measure that was probably inspired by the comic stylings of Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s “investigation” of the president’s origins. [...] “Yesterday,” said Democratic state senator David Lujan, who was one of two votes on the committee against the measure, “I asked if this had anything to do with President Obama’s birth certificate, and they told me that Sheriff Joe’s investigation had given the idea added value. “It is frustrating. We have something like 250,000 people unemployed in Arizona, and we’re occupied with stuff like this. A lot of people, and not just Democrats, are just frustrated with the activities of the Tea Party folks. I don’t know what keeps them coming back like this. I really don’t. Not with everything else we should be addressing.”
  • WELL THIS IS SHOCKING: GOP frosh to back millionaires’ tax - Freshman Republican Rep. Rick Crawford will propose a surtax on millionaires Thursday morning, a crack in the steadfast GOP opposition to extracting more money from the nation’s top earners. The Arkansas Republican will unveil the plan during a local television interview Thursday morning, and plans to introduce legislation when the House returns next week, according to sources familiar with his thinking. Crawford will propose the additional tax— expected to be north of 2.5 percent — on individual income over $1 million as part of a broader fiscal responsibility package.
  • BOEHNER’S DO-NOTHING HOUSE PLANS TO DO EVEN LESS: Staffers: House won’t pass highway bill this month - The House will not take up the Senate’s transportation bill and its own version won’t hit the floor until mid-April at the earliest, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee aides told industry officials Thursday morning. Democrats on both sides of the Capitol are ramping up their pressure on the House after the Senate approved a two-year, $109 billion bill that garnered votes from nearly half of the Republican caucus. The general game plan over the next few weeks, as laid out by aides: continue rallying and gauging support for a five-year bill when members return to town next week. An extension of the current law, slated to expire April 1, would hit the floor sometime during the March 26 week.House members get a two-week break starting March 30 and don’t return to session until the week of April 16 — the earliest any other bill could come up for a vote, the aides said. || On Wednesday, Boehner said he “will take up the Senate bill “or something like it” this month.” Nope.

5) Misc

  • Natural Born Drillers – Paul Krugman - To be a modern Republican in good standing, you have to believe — or pretend to believe — in two miracle cures for whatever ails the economy: more tax cuts for the rich and more drilling for oil. [...] Thus Mitt Romney claims that gasoline prices are high not because of saber-rattling over Iran, but because President Obama won’t allow unrestricted drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Meanwhile, Stephen Moore of The Wall Street Journal tells readers that America as a whole could have a jobs boom, just like North Dakota, if only the environmentalists would get out of the way. The irony here is that these claims come just as events are confirming what everyone who did the math already knew, namely, that U.S. energy policy has very little effect either on oil prices or on overall U.S. employment. For the truth is that we’re already having a hydrocarbon boom, with U.S. oil and gas production rising and U.S. fuel imports dropping. If there were any truth to drill-here-drill-now, this boom should have yielded substantially lower gasoline prices and lots of new jobs. Predictably, however, it has done neither.

6) Rush “Shock Blob” Limbaugh

  • Guess who’s knocking on Rush Limbaugh’s door as his advertisers flee like rats from a sinking ship? - It’s the people behind the infamous GodHatesFags website — the Westboro Baptist Church, the most notorious gay-bashing group in America — and they’re ready to step in to keep the embattled Limbaugh on the air. “As a matter of fact, I can confirm that,” Westboro spokesman Steve Drain told Hatewatch today when asked if the church was seeking to advertise on “The Rush Limbaugh Show.” “We’re preparing our first ad at this very moment, and we’ll have a 30-second radio spot ready to go by Friday.” Drain said he has been in contact with ad executives, but added that the Westboro spots will have to be produced before they are accepted or rejected. The radio ads would be posted as audio links Friday on the church’s websites, the Westboro spokesman said. [via: ABL]
  • Struggling Clear Channel And Rush Limbaugh’s $400 Million Payday - But the truth was that for days on his flagship station, WABC in New York, Limbaugh’s show had been stripped of key advertisers. Instead, the once robust revenue-generating program had turned into a feel-good forum where during commercial breaks WABC ran nonpaid public service announcements on behalf of the United Negro College Fund and New York Office of Emergency Management. That’s because WABC didn’t feel comfortable putting lots of advertisers on Limbaugh’s show, which up and down Madison Avenue had become poisonous in this wake of his misogynistic Fluke debacle.  So towards the end of his show on Tuesday, the nine-figure salary talk show host went to commercial break and a paid advertiser did pop up. And it was a new advertiser, a sponsor who apparently had signed on amidst the controversy. The sponsor’s name? The Holy Name Cemetery in New Jersey, which was advertising a “pre-planning open house weekend.” How fitting.

Wednesday morning’s 6 marginally interesting things

1) Rick Santorum

  • Santorum wins in Mississippi and Alabama - Former senator Rick Santorum (Pa.) pulled out narrow wins in the Alabama and Mississippi presidential primaries Tuesday, bolstering his claim to being the conservative alternative to Republican front-runner Mitt Romney. “We did it again,” Santorum told cheering supporters in Lafayette, La.; that state will hold its primary March 24. “Who would have thought . . . that ordinary folks from across this country can defy the odds day in and day out?”

2) Mitt Romney

  • Romney Blows Another Chance To Seal The Deal - It’s clear your candidate didn’t have a great night when you have to go on CNN and remind viewers not to forget about the American Samoa caucuses. And Eric Fehrnstrom — the senior Mitt Romney aide who found himself in that precarious position Tuesday night — would probably admit: this was not a great night for his candidate. Despite early attempts to temper expectations for Romney’s performance in Alabama and Mississippi, tight polls and the candidate’s own election-eve bravado created the illusion of an open door — another chance to seal the deal with a big, hard-fought win.
  • Mitt Romney Said He Was Going to Win Alabama - Making it worse, his advisor Eric Fehrnstrom told CNN tonight: “I don’t think anybody expected Mitt to win Alabama or Mississippi. As Mitt said, this was an away game for him, and I think that’s absolutely true.”
  • Romney: Forever Awkward / Tone deaf – Mornin’, y’all,” said Mitt Romney recently to a Mississippi crowd. He started his day off right, he said, with “a biscuit and some cheesy grits.” That would be cheese grits, but never mind. Would Romney greet an audience at a Jewish Community Center with: “Oy vey, did I ever enjoy my loxies and bagels this morning!”? Or African Americans with: “Yo, dawg, wassup?” Actually, yes, he might. Forever tattooed in the memory is the image of Romney approaching an African American baby at a 2008 Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade. Pointing to the baby’s necklace, he said: “What’s happening? You got some bling-bling here!”

3) Your 21st Century Republican Party / American Theocracy

  • McConnell: I’m Filibustering Seventeen Judges Because Reid Made Republicans ‘Look Bad’ - McCONNELL: It is highly unlikely any of these district judges are not going to be confirmed. We’ve done a number of them this year. We’ve done seven this year. District judges are almost never defeated. This is just a very transparent attempt to try to slam dunk the minority and make them look like they are obstructing things they aren’t obstructing. We object to that. We don’t think that meets the standard of civility that should be expected in the Senate. And, so, any effort to make the minority look bad or attempt to slam dunk them that is sort of manufactured as this is is gonna, of course, be greeted with resistance.
  • PA Passes The Most Anti-Democratic, Anti-Environmental Law in The Country - Pennsylvania, where the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were signed and where the U.S. coal, oil and nuclear industries began, has adopted what may be the most anti-democratic, anti-environmental law in the country, giving gas companies the right to drill anywhere, overturn local zoning laws, seize private property and muzzle physicians from disclosing specific health impacts from drilling fluids on patients. The draconian new law, known as Act 13, revises the state’s oil and gas statutes, to allow oil companies to drill for natural gas using the controversial process known as hydraulic fracturing or fracking, where large volumes of water and toxic chemicals are pumped into vertical wells with lateral bores to shatter the rock and release the hydrocarbons. The law strips rights from communities and individuals while imposing new statewide drilling rules.
  • Romney Promises To ‘Get Rid Of’ Planned Parenthood’s Funding - ”The test is pretty simple. Is the program so critical, it’s worth borrowing money from china to pay for it?” Romney said of federal programs. “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. The subsidy for Amtrack, I’d eliminate that. The National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities.”Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s Dawn Laguens responds: When Mitt Romney says he wants to ‘get rid’ of Planned Parenthood, he means getting rid of the preventive health care that three million people a year rely on for cancer screenings, birth control, and other preventive care. This is dangerous and out of step with what most Americans want. Mitt Romney simply can’t be trusted when it comes to women’s health. He supports so-called “personhood laws, opposes making birth control affordable and accessible, and wants to undermine women’s health care… [RSRomney attended a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood in 1994 and his wife donated to the group from their joint checking account.

4) Womenfolk (make me a sandwich!)

  • Another Religious Freedom® Law Will Allow Employers to Fire Women for Using Whore Pills - A proposed new law in Arizona would give employers the power to request that women being prescribed birth control pills provide proof that they’re using it for non-sexual reasons. And because Arizona’s an at-will employment state, that means that bosses critical of their female employees’ sex lives could fire them as a result. [...] Yesterday, a Senate Judiciary Committee endorsed Republican Debbie Lesko‘s HB2625 by a vote of 6-2, which would allow an employer to request proof that a woman using insurance to buy birth control was being prescribed the birth control for reasons other than not wanting to get pregnant. It’s all about freedom, she said, echoing everyone who thinks there’s nothing ironic about claiming that a country that’s “free” allows people’s bosses to dictate what medical care is available to them through insurance. [...] Further, Lesko states, with a straight face, that this bill is necessary because “we live in America; we don’t live in the Soviet Union.” [image: WWJD]
  • Obama team hits Romney for ‘get rid of’ Planned Parenthood comment “Planned Parenthood is a vital health care provider for millions of American women, giving them affordable access to life-saving services like mammograms and cervical cancer screenings,” she added. “Even more offensive is that he would justify on fiscal grounds the elimination of Planned Parenthood, which represents 0.01% of the federal budget, even as he proposes a $5 trillion tax plan that would give massive tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires. Whether it’s his support for the Blunt amendment, which would allow any employer to drop coverage for health care services like contraception because of personal beliefs, or these extreme comments today, it’s clear that American women cannot trust Mitt Romney to stand up for them.”
  • imageFLASHBACK: Limbaugh To “Feminazi[s]“: Love Your Body, “Because Nobody Else Does” - Rush Limbaugh is a pioneer in American misogyny: He popularized the use of the slur “feminazi” against women who seek to be treated equally in our society. Although he originally claimed that the word referred to “a specific type of feminist” and that there were “not many of them,” Limbaugh has routinely used it to attack feminists, abortion-rights advocates, and progressive women alike. In October 2008, he dragged out the slur to attack the National Organization for Women (NOW) for promoting “Love Your Body Day.” In a press release on its website, NOW said the day marked “another year in our campaign to educate and encourage women and girls to say ‘no’ to negative stereotypes and ‘yes’ to awareness, health, and a positive body image.”

5) President / Democratic Party

  • Obama files trade case against China, warns Beijing on ‘skirting the rules’ - China produces at least 90 percent of “rare earths,” and U.S. officials charge that it imposes export restrictions that unfairly raise the prices paid by non-Chinese firms that need those raw materials, making these less competitive on global markets. “We want our companies building those products right here in America. But to do that, American manufacturers need to have access to rare earth materials which China supplies. Now, if China would simply let the market work on its own, we’d have no objections. But their policies currently are preventing that from happening,” Obama said, stressing that the high-tech manufacturing at stake is “too important for us to stand by and do nothing.” The decision struck another blow at China at a time when U.S. lawmakers and other critics of Beijing accuse the rising economic giant of unfair competition that costs U.S. jobs, notably in manufacturing.
  • AFL-CIO ‘enthusiastically’ endorses Obama for reelection - Leaders of the influential AFL-CIO labor federation announced Tuesday it voted “proudly and enthusiastically” to endorse President Obama’s reelection effort. “We feel that he’s put forth bold initiatives and put people back to work, put revenues back in the country, put out a vision that expresses opportunity and fairness,” said Gerald W. McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. “We think he’s a good man.” The council spoke to Obama by telephone during its closed-door session, in which the president sounded “very engaged, very knowledgeable,” according to McEntee, who serves as chair of the AFL-CIO’s political education committee. The vote, among the AFL-CIO’s 57 member executive council, was unanimous.
  • Texas Democrats Look To Secure Alternative Federal Funding For Planned Parenthood In The State - Democratic lawmakers are trying to find alternative ways to keep Planned Parenthood clinics in Texas afloat just one day before the state officially bans the organization from receiving funding through the joint state-federal Women’s Health Program. Tomorrow, a new rule goes into effect stopping any clinic affiliated with an abortion provider from receiving WHP funds, and federal officials have said they will cut off funding to the state program if Texas bans Planned Parenthood from WHP. If the program stops, 130,000 women will lose their access to affordable health care.
  • Obama considers quicker exit from Afghanistan after Kandahar massacre - The president had those words for reporters from the White House this week, and echoed those sentiments again on Monday to KDKA in Pittsburgh. “It’s important for us to make sure that we get out in a responsible way, so that we don’t end up having to go back in,” said Obama. [...] But one day into the aftermath of the Sunday slaying of 16 civilians, the White House says they are looking for a faster way out of Afghanistan, even after already moving up the withdrawal date once in 2012. Prior to the latest episode, the US was expected to send 22,000 troops back to the States by September, leaving around 68,000 to stay until America formally forfeits in 2014. As for those remaining troops, though, Washington is now deciding if they should see an end to their tour as earlier as expected. [image: White House’s Flickr Stream]

6) Misc

  • Taking a time-out from trying to legislate women’s choices, Catholic Church Puts Legal Pressure on Survivors’ Network - Turning the tables on an advocacy group that has long supported victims of pedophile priests, lawyers for the Roman Catholic Church and priests accused of sexual abuse in two Missouri cases have gone to court to compel the group to disclose more than two decades of e-mails that could include correspondence with victims, lawyers, whistle-blowers, witnesses, the police, prosecutors and journalists. [...] “If there is one group that the higher-ups, the bishops, would like to see silenced,” said Marci A. Hamilton, a law professor at Yeshiva University and an advocate for victims of clergy sex crimes, “it definitely would be SNAP. And that’s what they’re going after. They’re trying to find a way to silence SNAP.” [...] William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, a church advocacy group in New York, said targeting the network was justified because “SNAP is a menace to the Catholic Church.”
  • Bill Donohue: It’s ‘a Lot Less Expensive’ To Fight Victims Of Pedophile Priests - Donohue was one of the most vocal defenders of the Catholic Church during the height of the church’s pedophile scandal in the early 2000s, and more egregiously, he remains one of the only people to publicly attack the victims and their supporters. During a radio interview in 2009, Donohue downplayed the charges being leveled by victims because “almost everybody who was abused wasn’t raped.” He also dismissed complaints of priests kissing and engaging in “inappropriate sexual talk” to minors as a non-issue, saying that he “think[s] a lot of these people are gold diggers looking to get money from the Catholic Church.”
  • Celebrated war criminal / profiteer and beloved chickenhawk DICK Cheney says CANADA is ‘too dangerous’ for visit - Cheney was set to appear at an event in Toronto on April 24, but canceled on grounds that the risk of trouble from protesters was too great. Cheney’s last Canadian appearance in September of 2011 erupted in violence as protesters swarmed the entrance of the private Vancouver club where the former Bush administration official and Iraq War architect was speaking. The protesters rained down verbal abuse on attendees and, in once instance, choked a security guard. Vice President Cheney was trapped inside the venue for more than seven hours as police in riot gear attempted to disperse the crowd and quell to the resulting melee.
  • Americans hate regulations in the abstract, but love them in the particular - The overwhelming majority of Americans believe that government regulations of the food industry, car safety, workplace safety, prescription drugs, and even environmental protection should either be strengthened or be preserved as they are, with only a small fraction believing they should be reduced. [...] Americans also tend to favor more regulation when asked about specific industries: a plurality believe that the health insurance, energy, banks and big corporations are underregulated.

Saturday morning’s 6 somewhat interesting things

1) “Things are strange… things are happening to me.” — Mitt Romney, campaigning in southern states. Look, at least the President can visit ANY state in the nation, including southern states, without appearing like he’s desperately trying to entertain strange and terrifying lifeforms from a planet outside our solar system that’s known for sudden, violent attack. And cockroaches in an agricultural building… is that where Romney thinks all the cockroaches are typically kept, stabled for the night, if you will? Or what? Señor Romney thinks agricultural buildings = cucarachas?

2) Rush Limbaugh Scandal Proves Contagious for Talk-Radio Advertisers - Rush Limbaugh made the right-wing talk-radio industry, and he just might break it. Because now the fallout from the “slut” slurs against Sandra Fluke is extending to the entire political shock-jock genre. Premiere Networks, which distributes Limbaugh as well as a host of other right-wing talkers, sent an email out to its affiliates early Friday listing 98 large corporations that have requested their ads appear only on “programs free of content that you know are deemed to be offensive or controversial (for example, Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Tom Leykis, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity).” This is big. According to the radio-industry website Radio-Info.com, which first posted excerpts of the Premiere memo, among the 98 companies that have decided to no longer sponsor these programs are “carmakers (Ford, GM, Toyota), insurance companies (Allstate, Geico, Prudential, State Farm), and restaurants (McDonald’s, Subway).” Together, these talk-radio advertising staples represent millions of dollars in revenue.

3) Republican primary voters older, over 90% white - The National Journal ran the numbers: So far, according to exit polls posted on CNN.com, whites have cast at least 90 percent of the votes in every Republican primary except Florida (83 percent) and Arizona (89 percent). In every other state except Michigan (92 percent) and Nevada (90 percent) whites have comprised at least 94 percent of the GOP vote this year. That includes Georgia (94), Virginia (94), Ohio (96), Oklahoma (96), Tennessee (97), South Carolina (98), Massachusetts (98), Iowa (99), New Hampshire (99), and Vermont (99). By comparison in the 2008 general election, whites cast only 74 percent of the total vote. [...] The GOP has been trying to keep their nearly-all-white base riled up with race baiting statements (see: Newt versus Juan Williams; Santorum and “blah” people; the entire birther conspiracy theory; the current attempts at generating outrage over Barack Obama once “hugging” some black guy). It may inspire their current members, sure, but there’s clearly no long-term future there. Eventually that base is going to start, well, dying.

4) Fox Doubles Down On Fluke Conspiracy Theories - On Thursday, Bill O’Reilly speculated that Sandra Fluke — the Georgetown law student who testified about the need for insurance coverage for contraception and was then subjected to unrelenting misogynistic attacks by Rush Limbaugh — was a White House plant. O’Reilly based his suggestion on the fact that Fluke is now being represented by former White House communications director Anita Dunn’s PR agency. As we’ve noted, that conspiracy theory imploded when it became clear that Dunn’s PR firm started representing Fluke pro bono on Monday and that prior to that Fluke was fielding media requests herself. Nevertheless, O’Reilly and fellow Fox News host Eric Bolling were still trying to push Fluke conspiracy theories tonight.

5) Most of Obama’s “Controversial” Birth Control Rule Was Law During Bush Years - In December 2000, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that companies that provided prescription drugs to their employees but didn’t provide birth control were in violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prevents discrimination on the basis of sex. That opinion, which the George W. Bush administration did nothing to alter or withdraw when it took office the next month, is still in effect today—and because it relies on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, it applies to all employers with 15 or more employees. Employers that don’t offer prescription coverage or don’t offer insurance at all are exempt, because they treat men and women equally—but under the EEOC’s interpretation of the law, you can’t offer other preventative care coverage without offering birth control coverage, too. “It was, we thought at the time, a fairly straightforward application of Title VII principles,” a top former EEOC official who was involved in the decision told Mother Jones. “All of these plans covered Viagra immediately, without thinking, and they were still declining to cover prescription contraceptives. It’s a little bit jaw-dropping to see what is going on now…There was some press at the time but we issued guidances that were far, far more controversial.” [image: sandandglass]

 
 

6) It Is a War on Women, and It Is Not Stopping - Anyway, the ladies from Becket want us all to know that this isn’t about contraception. It’s about religious liberty, which is now threatened because secular insurance companies have to provide birth control free as part of a general health-care package even to those people who work in Catholic institutions. [...] The point of this is to show that, as heartening as the polls on these issues might be to Democrats, and especially to the Democrat in the White House, the people who seek to truncate brutally the right of women to control their bodies and, specifically, their health care, are organized, well-financed, and they simply do not stop. There is nothing on the other side of the argument that compares to the network of organizations that apparently have decided that this is their last best chance to roll those particular rights back, and that are prepared to fight that battle on every front possible. This is not encouraging. [images: sandandglass]

  • They just don’t know when to quitHouse Speaker John A. Boehner signaled on Thursday that House Republicans would continue the fight. “I think it’s important for us to win this issue,” Mr. Boehner told reporters just before the Senate killed a Republican measure with a vote of 51 to 48. “The government, our government, for 220 years has respected the religious views of the American people, and for all of this time there’s been an exception for those churches and other groups to protect the religious beliefs that they believe in, and that’s being violated here.”
  • Georgia Lawmaker Compares Women to Cows and Pigs - “Life gives us many experiences,” he explained. “I’ve had the experience of delivering calves, dead and alive — delivering pigs, dead and alive. … It breaks our hearts to see those animals not make it.” [...] House Bill 954 easily passed last week by a vote of 102-65.  Opponents have said that the so-called “fetal pain” bill would force women to carry stillborn fetuses or to have a Cesarean delivery. Doctors could also face 10 years in prison if they are involved in illegal abortions.
  • SMALL WONDER THEN that the GOP is losing women  - When the Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey asked last summer which party should control Congress, a slim 46-42 percent plurality of women said it should be the Democrats. But in a survey released Monday, compiling polling since the beginning of the year, that figure had widened considerably to a 15-point advantage for the Democrats, according to polling by the team of Democratic pollster Peter Hart and Republican Bill McInturff. Fifty-one percent favored Democratic control; only 36 percent wanted to see the Republicans in charge.

Republicans want to force us all to pay for the religious beliefs of others


image: liberalsarecool

How Republicans Are Trying to Force You to Pay for Others’ Religious Beliefs

So, let’s be clear: nobody’s religious beliefs are being threatened by including birth control in the basket of preventive services insurers must offer. If your religion compels you to either abstain from sex or have unprotected sex, you’re more than welcome to do so and we’ll have to content ourselves with hoping that your partner isn’t picking up any STDs on the side.

But when it comes to using the power of “big government” to coerce the rest of us into paying higher insurance premiums for those beliefs, well, that’s what the separation of church and state is all about. We’re just demanding the freedom not to have to pay for your antiquated religious views.

via: sarahlee310

Currently Rick Santorum is the official leader / mullah of the newish God’s Own Party, or as Howard Fineman has now defined it, the American Faith Party (AFP) [of the] conservative Judeo-Christian-Mormon Republicans.”  Only Santorum can lead the fight to impose this group’s religious beliefs on everyone else in the nation. And that’s the point.

It’s not about these people having “freedom” to practice their religious views or to police their own — it’s about imposing their religious views across the country — policing you and yours. As we’ve seen, it’s very important for them to legislate who has sex and how, who gets married, who covers birth control, and who gets to choose what to do with ones’ own body or private life. Simply put, the religious right wants a United States of Theocracy, much like Afghanistan except Republican Jesus will guides us. It’s such a joke — and every Republican in Washington should be deeply ashamed of themselves for allowing it to get this far.

As an example of this groupthink, here’s a terrible (fair warning) Pro-Santorum song with the lyrics, “We’ve got a Man who Understands that God Gave the Bill of Rights!”  But you really have to see / hear it to believe it. Oy.

via: reagan-was-a-horrible-president 

Religious “freedom” and contraception: 10 Catholic teachings that Rick Santorum doesn’t care about


image: pictureisunrelated

Juan Cole points out that there are at least ten Catholic teachings / opinions which Cardinal Rick Santorum chooses to ignore — while he obsesses about contraception, religious “freedom,” and women’s rights:

The right wing Republican politicians who have been denouncing the requirement that female employees have access to birth control as part of their health benefits as an attack on religious freedom completely ignore the church teachings they don’t agree with. Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich are both Catholics, and wear their faith on their sleeves, but they are hypocritical in picking and choosing when they wish to listen to the bishops.

(Brief summary)

1.  Iraq War
2. Health care should be provided to all Americans
3.  Opposition to the death penalty / executions
4. Increasing federal minimum wage
5. Welfare for needy families
6.  Worker’s rights: wages, organization, joining unions
7.  Israel’s withdrawal from Palestinian territories
8.  Arizona’s law on treatment of immigrants
9. Treatment of illegal immigrants
10. Preventative war

Read it all…

The GOP wants to give your boss “moral” control over your health care

It’s been a week of outrage with the Republican Party and healthcare (specifically, women’s), and Roy Blunt’s (R-MO) amendment to the Affordable Care Act is certainly the most despicable contribution of all – or as Elizabeth Warren calls it below, “cold, political calculation“:

The GOP Plan to Give Your Boss “Moral” Control Over Your Health Insurance | Mother Jones

Last week, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) offered a “conscience amendment,” to the law, pitching it as a way to allay religious employers’ qualms about providing birth control to their employees.

But Blunt’s proposal doesn’t just apply to religious employers and birth control. Instead, it would allow any insurer or employer, religiously affiliated or otherwise, to opt out of providing any health care services required by federal law—everything from maternity care to screening for diabetes. Employers wouldn’t have to cite religious reasons for their decision; they could just say the treatment goes against their moral convictions. That exception could include almost anything—an employer could theoretically claim a “moral objection” to the cost of providing a given benefit. The bill would also allow employers to sue if state or federal regulators try to make them comply with the law.

If Republican leaders get their way and Blunt’s bill becomes law, a boss who regarded overweight people and smokers with moral disgust could exclude coverage of obesity and tobacco screening from his employees’ health plans. A Scientologist employer could deny its employees depression screening because Scientologists believe psychiatry is morally objectionable. A management team that thought HIV victims brought the disease upon themselves could excise HIV screening from its employees’ insurance coverage. Your boss’ personal prejudices, not science or medical expertise, would determine which procedures your insurance would cover for you and your kids.

“One of the fundamental purposes of the Affordable Care Act was making sure all health insurance plans cover basic services. The Blunt amendment would do away with that,” says Sarah Lipton-Lubet, a policy counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union. “A business could deny coverage for cervical cancer screening for unmarried employees, out of opposition to premarital sex.

Read more…

Here’s Jon Stewart describing how he, as an employer, would use Blunt’s amendment on his own employees and their health:


“Lets just start with what the statute says. The statute says that in effect any employer or any insurance company can decide that it has a personal moral objection to providing any kind of health care coverage for anyone and therefore they’re not going to do it. So, if your employer says, ‘You know, I don’t like that vaccine thing, I’m going to have an insurance policy that doesn’t cover it for your children’… that’s just too bad you’re out there on your own now. This is just a cold political calculation. That they can appeal to the employers and insurance companies, who might not want to spend money, and at the same time try to stir up some kind of misinformation among people of good faith by calling this an attack on religion. I think this is why people really hate politics.” – Elizabeth Warren

Contraception: America’s #1 problem

The Republican Party has officially named “contraception” as the newest evil-doer. Birth control will now join Iraq, Iran, and North Korea in George W. Bush’s “Axis of Evil.”

The GOP’s war on contraception - Not satisfied with President Obama’s new religious accommodation, Republicans will move forward with legislation by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) that permits ANY employer to deny birth control coverage in their health insurance plans, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said Sunday. “If we end up having to try to overcome the President’s opposition by legislation, of course I’d be happy to support it, and intend to support it,” McConnell said. “We’ll be voting on that in the Senate and you can anticipate that that would happen as soon as possible.”

John Cole - ATTN: Moderate Republicans- at this point, you are out of excuses. No more BS about trying to take the party back. No more crap about your principles or how you are an old school conservative or just don’t feel comfortable with Democrats. You vote Republican, you vote for the maniacs. No more bullshit excuses to help you sleep at night. You vote for them, you are one of them. Period.

Charles Johnson - Just amazing. In the space of a few months the Republican Party has gone from opposing abortion to opposing birth control — even though the vast majority of Americans use contraception of some kind. They’re not even trying to use the “religious exception” excuse any more. It’s a flat out war on contraception.

Amanda Peterson Beadle - Ryan and his Republican colleagues are arguing against a policy that a majority of Catholic voters support and that major Catholic organizations favor, including the Catholic Health Association, the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities and Catholic Charities USA. The Rev. John Jenkins, president of the Catholic-affiliated University of Notre Dame, supported President Obama’s compromise, calling it a “a welcome step toward recognizing the freedom of religious institutions to abide by the principles that define their respective missions.” As Republicans stand with the conservative Catholic bishops in opposition to allowing women to receive contraception at no cost, they are embracing an increasingly extreme anti-contraception position, with which even many Catholics disagree.

Bob Cesca - McConnell is lying through his teeth. This has nothing – absolutely nothing – to do with religious freedom. You may have been able to get away with making that argument before the compromise, but this doesn’t hold up to even minute scrutiny. The Republicans can’t win on national security, they can’t win on the economy, and they no scandals to impeach over. The culture war is all they have. And by the way, can anyone show me the passage in the bible which reads “and thee shalt not provide birth control to thy neighbor.” Was that in the Ten Commandments and I missed it? Where’s Mel Brooks when you need him?


Source: seriouslyamerica

Sunday morning’s 9 interesting things

1) Romney Wins Maine Caucus - Tiny turnout. || From Nate Silver: Mitt Romney’s narrow win in Maine didn’t do much for him in terms of delegates, but it did spare him some bad press. || Note: Romney must be very thankful for the 194 individuals who voted for him over Ron Paul. Maybe Maine wasn’t aware there was a caucus happening? 

2) Poll: Santorum now leads GOP primary race - In a new poll released Saturday from liberal polling firm Public Policy Polling, Santorum’s huge Tuesday night wins has now seen him surge ahead of both Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich nationally, leading the race at 38 percent. Romney is now in second place at 23 percent, while Gingrich is fading in third at 17 percent. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) is in fourth place at 13 percent.

3) Santorum quote:

“I believe and I think the right approach is to accept this horribly created — in the sense of rape — but nevertheless a gift in a very broken way, the gift of human life, and accept what God has given to you. As you know, we have to, in lots of different aspects of our life. We have horrible things happen. I can’t think of anything more horrible. But, nevertheless, we have to make the best out of a bad situation.” - Rick Santorum on pregnancy resulting from rape

4) Obama quote:

“Whether you’re a teacher, or a small businesswoman, or a nurse, or a janitor, no woman’s health should depend on who she is or where she works or how much money she makes. Every woman should be in control of the decisions that affect her own health. Period. This basic principle is already the law in 28 states across the country.” - President Obama (via: sarahlee310)

5) Things the Catholic Church is and is not concerned about for $100, Alex?

VERY IS: Your lady parts and your pregnancy choices. Catholic bishops reject Obama’s ‘accommodation’ on birth control - Faced with a religious-based outcry over his birth-control mandate, President Obama on Friday unveiled an “accommodation” he said “protects” the religious freedom of churches opposed to contraception. Just hours later, the Catholic Church rejected the plan. Obama’s compromise, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) said Friday, “continues to involve needless government intrusion in the internal governance of religious institutions, and to threaten government coercion of religious people and groups to violate their most deeply held convictions.”

IS NOT: Sexual abuse of children by priests. 8,000 instances of abuse alleged in Archdiocese bankruptcy hearing - Sealed documents filed in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee bankruptcy identify at least 8,000 instances of child sexual abuse and 100 alleged offenders – 75 of them priests – who have not previously been named by the archdiocese, a victims’ attorney said Thursday. Archdiocese spokeswoman Julie Wolf said she did not have enough information to respond to the assertion, made by attorney Jeffrey Anderson during a pivotal hearing before U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Susan V. Kelley. Anderson represents about 350 of the 570 victim-survivors who have filed claims in the case.

6) About This Religious Liberty Stuff - When did the 1st Amendment change from basically saying that you can practice whatever religion you want and you won’t be burned at the stake as a heretic and we’re not going to form or recognize a national religion like the Church of England? When did it change to “everyone everywhere has to do what a bunch of old catholics in funny hats wants, because otherwise it hurts their feelings?” And why does it only apply to certain religions?  [...] Does no one realize how absurd the Catholic Bishops are behaving? They are attempting, by dictate, to do precisely what the 1st Amendment bans, which is the establishment of a national religion. It’s obscene. And it is completely political. They are no longer functioning as a religious organization, but as a political party.

7) Breitbartocalypse Is Nigh! - Here’s Breitbart bellowing like a ruptured cow at the OWS protesters at CPAC. Jesus God, what a braying ninny. Does he think screeching inanities until his neck veins pulse alarmingly and being led away by security personnel is some sort of rhetorical triumph? What an asshole. || Note: I could only take about 10 seconds of this video. See if you can do better! Breitbart apparently switches from  yowling “behave yourselves” to “stop raping people.” Lol. Yeah. Drunk, obv.

8) REPORT: By A Nearly 2 To 1 Margin, Cable Networks Call On Men Over Women To Comment On Birth Control - Out of a total of 146 guests who discussed contraception, the cables invited 91 men compared to 55 women as commentators. In other words, males comprised 62 percent of the total guests who commented on contraception. Fox was the most gender stratified network – on the Business network, 10 of 11 guests were male; on the News side, male pundits took up 65 percent of the guest lineup (28 men vs. 15 women). Sixty percent of MSNBC’s lineup was male (44 men vs. 31 women). And while CNN was more evenly balanced, it was still slightly tilted in favor of male perspectives (9 men vs. 8 women).

9) Does Watching Violence Lower Violence? - While exposing kids to the latest cadaver on CSI — or to Jack Bauer’s lessons in successful torture on 24 — is probably a bad idea, watching an action movie might in fact reduce violence among adults. A recent study in the Quarterly Journal of Economics suggests that violent crime rates actually dropped when a blood-splattered blockbuster was in the cinema in the United States. The authors Gordon Dahl and Stefano DellaVigna looked at data from 1995 to 2004 and concluded that violent movies deter almost 1,000 assaults on an average weekend in the United States.

Thomas Jefferson: Religious “freedom”

“SECT. II. WE, the General Assembly of Virginia, do enact that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.”

Thomas Jefferson, “Bill for Religious Freedom,” (1777). Drafted for the Virginia legislature.

Politicalprof