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Friday, February 27, 2015

The Daily Drift

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Obama Patriotism Poll Is An Indictment Of Republican Hatred of President and Country

A YouGov poll on President Obama’s patriotism accidentally revealed how deeply Republicans hate President Obama and remain angry at the country that elected him twice.
The YouGov poll found that by a margin of 47%-35,% respondents believed that President Obama loves America. Seventeen percent took the Scott Walker position of not being sure. Men (46%-37%) and women (49%-34%) believed that the president loved America. People in all age groups, with the exception of those over age 65, responded that Obama loves America. Fifty percent of respondents at all income levels responded that the president loves his country.
The reason this poll found that less than 50% of Americans believe that Obama loves America was Republicans. Only 11% of Republicans responded that this president loves his country. Sixty-nine percent of Republicans were of the opinion that this president does not love America. The areas of lowest belief in the president’s patriotism read like a demographic profile of the Republican Party. White people (41%-42%), those over age 65 (39%-47%), and those living in the Midwest (41%-33%) were the areas where the belief that this president does not love his country was the strongest.
This is another poll whose results were shaped by the unified Republican hatred and opposition to all things Obama. The poll was a more accurate measure of how Republican opposition to the president weighs down the results of any poll related to this president. The YouGov is a less a measure of feelings about Obama’s patriotism and more of a yardstick for the pathological level of Obama hatred that has gripped the right.
I wish some pollster would replace the response of don’t know with don’t care. It would be interesting to see how many people really care about frivolous debates on whether on the president loves his country. The question itself was based on a years old Republican claim that Obama doesn’t love America. The question itself is leading and unfair because there is isn’t a debate in this country over the president’s patriotism.
There is an attack by his critics on the president’s patriotism, but that isn’t the same as a factual debate on an issue. The YouGov poll did successfully measure the degree of hatred that Republicans continue to hold towards Obama. The poll is also a useful measurement of bitter Republicans remain about the fact that the rest of the country twice elected Barack Obama to be their president.
The YouGov is a great measure of political polarization, and how brainwashed Republicans are by their Obama hate. What it doesn’t tell us is if anyone truly gives a damn about Obama’s patriotism.

Conservative Forces Shut Down NC Poverty Center

HomelessThe University of North Carolina System voted to close its academic centers that focus on poverty, the environment and social justice. The UNC system operates numerous programs, which are usually designed for interdisciplinary or outreach work. Its decision to close three of those centers sparked outrage.
Supporters claim politics are at play.
face of poverty“Conservatives in the state have long complained that some UNC centers (and especially the poverty center) were being used for political attacks on Republican politicians and so had no place in the university,” wrote Scott Jaschik for Inside Higher Ed.
Of the three, the university’s Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity — which was founded by former U.S. senator and presidential candidate John Edwards in 2005 — was the focus of the most heated debate. Gene Nichol, a law professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill took the helm in 2008. As president of the College of William and Mary, Nichol drew the ire of conservative alumni over his diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Jim Carmichael, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and president of the state conference of the American Association of University Professors, called the vote an attack on academic freedom. “This is completely ideological,” he said. “It sends a clear message to faculty members that our freedom of speech is endangered.”
NCPovertyAccording to Jaschik, “Jim Holmes, the head of the board panel that recommended the closure of the poverty center, denied to North Carolina reporters Wednesday that politics had anything to do with the recommendations. He and other board members have said repeatedly that they are trying to be sure centers advance the university’s mission in a cost-effective way.”
The dean of the law school at Chapel Hill, John Charles Boger, mocked the idea that politics had nothing to do with the decision to target the poverty center. He said the board’s action “would constrict [the] breath of freedom. It would order the poverty center to turn aside from investigating conditions of human misery in our state that cry out for greater attention, not less.”

Good News For MSNBC: Rachel Maddow Has The Most Watched Non-Fox News Show

It has been a rough month for MSNBC, but the network did get one piece of good news. The Rachel Maddow show was the most watched non-Fox show in February.
According to TVNewser’s rankings:
The Five,” “The Kelly File,” “Special Report w/ Bret Baier” and “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren” join O’Reilly in the Top 5 cable news programs in both total viewers and the demo. Baier ranks No. 4 in both categories and is the only nightly news program to be ranked in the Top 5.
The highest-rated show in the demo that isn’t on FNC is CNBC’s “Shark Tank,” which lands at No. 8 on he list. CNN’s highest-rated show among the key demo is “Anderson Cooper 360,” coming in at No. 15. The “Rachel Maddow Show” is MSNBC’s top-rated program in the demo, averaging 143K viewers and finishing No. 26. However in total viewers, Maddow ranks No. 15, the highest-rated non-FNC program.
MSNBC is a network in transition. The Lean Forward network is beginning to clean out low rated shows. The rumor has been swirling for months that Rachel Maddow is going to move to 8 PM to replace the failing Chris Hayes experiment. The rankings show why it would be smart for MSNBC to move Maddow up an hour. MSNBC’s two strongest programs in terms of total viewers are Hardball and The Rachel Maddow Show. By putting the two programs together, MSNBC could have something to build a new lineup around.
Maddow still can draw viewers to MSNBC. The problem is that she has been surrounded by poorly viewed shows. When Keith Olbermann occupied the 8 PM slot, viewers hung around for Maddow after watching Olbermann. The problem with the current lineup is that viewers aren’t tuning into Chris Hayes, so viewers turn off MSNBC and don’t come back for Rachel Maddow at 9 PM. There is a place for Chris Hayes on MSNBC, but it isn’t on primetime weeknights.
Fox News is dominant because they retain their audience. Viewers turn on Fox News and watch for hours. The opposite is happening at MSNBC. There isn’t any build up as a lead in for Maddow. There is a liberal audience for cable news. Rachel Maddow’s viewership is still there. MSNBC needs to do a better job of surrounding her with the kind of shows that more of their viewers want to watch.

And I Quote

In An Unprecedented Move Harry Reid Puts The Screws To John Boehner’s Obstruction

reid says boehner must cave
Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) took the virtually unprecedented step of nailing John Boehner’s obstruction by announcing that Senate Democrats will not support any deal to fund Homeland Security unless Boehner caves first.
In an extraordinary sequence of events, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell offered Democrats exactly what they have been asking for Tuesday — “clean” full-year funding for the Department of Homeland Security. And Minority Leader Harry Reid said “no” — or at least, “not yet.”

McConnell’s offer of such a bill shorn of provisions blocking President Barack Obama’s recent immigration executive orders — which he said could happen quickly with Democratic cooperation — was put on hold by Reid, who said he was waiting to hear Speaker John A. Boehner agree to pass it through the House first.

“We have to make sure that we get a bill to the president,” Reid said. “Unless Boehner’s in on the deal, it won’t happen.”
In other words, Democrats aren’t going to agree to anything until Boehner makes the House vote on it first. Harry Reid learned for years of broken Boehner promises to know that the Speaker’s word is worthless. (Speaker Boehner promised that Homeland Security wouldn’t shut down, but the nation is just days away from exactly what Boehner said would not happen.) Reid is going make sure that the House Republicans can’t back out of any deal that is made.
Democrats aren’t going to get sucked into the House Republican dysfunction. Boehner needs to pass a clean funding bill for Homeland Security before Senate Democrats will sign on. Speaker Boehner’s office continues to suggest that they will not pass a clean funding bill, but if House Republicans are waiting for Senate Democrats to blink, they are going to be disappointed.
Rep. Boehner has earned every ounce of distrust that Democrats have for him. The message is clear. Senate Democrats aren’t going to give John Boehner any wiggle room. If Homeland Security shuts down, it’s going to be Boehner’s fault.

Bernie Sanders Lays Into John Boehner, “No More Excuses” Do Your Job

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) had a blunt message for Speaker of the House John Boehner. Sanders told Boehner to stop making excuses and do his job.
In a statement, Sen. Sanders said:
The Senate said in a clear, bipartisan way that the Department of Homeland Security should not be shut down and that we must remain vigilant against terrorist threats. The ball is now in the court of Speaker Boehner and his Republican House. Ninety-eight senators, including 54 Republicans, voted for a clean bill to fund the department. Speaker Boehner has run out of excuses. The House must pass a bill and get it to the president immediately.
According to National Journal, Democrats are worried that McConnell may stab them in the back, “The real concern among Democrats is that Sen. Ted Cruz or Jeff Sessions or another immigration hard-liner will force McConnell to stab them in the back. But Cruz said Wednesday that Democrats can’t blame him for their trepidations; he won’t delay passage of the bill.”
If Senate Republicans hold up their end of the bargain, the fate of Homeland Security will be up to John Boehner. The reality is that by cutting a deal with Democrats, Mitch McConnell got even with Boehner. For weeks, John Boehner has been throwing Mitch McConnell under the bus. Boehner has made it clear that McConnell is on his own.
Sen. Sanders’s statement perfectly stated the situation. The Senate united in a bipartisan agreement on a clean Homeland Security funding bill. The blame for the Homeland Security funding fiasco is squarely on the shoulders of the House Republicans. If recent history is a guide, Boehner will eventually cave and bring the Senate bill to the House floor for a vote. Boehner will be able to cobble enough votes together in the House leadership to pass the bill with the support of Nancy Pelosi and her Democrats.
The conservative bloggers and outside groups will be outraged, as President Obama and his united Democratic Party will triumph over the fractured and dysfunctional Republicans.

Republicans lost as Homeland Security deadline looms

by Steve Benen
It’s tempting to think that Republican lawmakers, eager to avoid a Homeland Security shutdown later this week, are quietly scrambling behind the scenes. Sure, it looks like they’re doing no work whatsoever – they even took last week off – but perhaps that’s just the public view. Out of sight, GOP leaders may be working towards a resolution before the deadline.
Speaker John Boehner told a closed meeting of House Republicans Wednesday morning he has not spoken to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in two weeks, and added that it’s up to the upper chamber to figure out how to avoid a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security.
His comments came in a Wednesday morning meeting of House Republicans, just three days before DHS is slated to run out of money.
A veteran Republican senator told Politico yesterday, “It seems like McConnell and Boehner aren’t even talking to each other. It is mind-boggling.”
As it turns out, it doesn’t just “seem” that way; it is that way..
It’s quite an operation the Republican majority is running, isn’t it? McConnell and Boehner are careening towards an easily avoided ditch, but they’re not even speaking to each other about their direction.
As if this weren’t enough to rattle confidence in the GOP’s competence, the process is unfolding in an increasingly haphazard way. McConnell effectively waved the white flag yesterday, offering Democrats a clean spending bill that would avoid a Homeland Security shutdown in exchange for a separate bill in which Republicans would try (and fail) to undo President Obama’s immigration policy. Senate Democratic leaders said McConnell’s solution would work, but Dems want some assurances that the Republican-led House is on board with the plan.
Boehner and House GOP leaders have no intention of offering any such assurances. In fact, this morning the Speaker said his chamber doesn’t actually intend to do anything until the Senate acts on its own solution.
Complicating matters further, Boehner is very likely aware of the whispers about his job being in jeopardy.
Senate Democrats are refusing to sign on to McConnell’s proposal without a commitment from the speaker to move a “clean” DHS funding bill. But several House Republicans and their top aides have privately told POLITICO that a misstep by Boehner in this legislative skirmish could imperil his speakership.
One said that Republicans would weigh trying to remove him from the position if he relents on his promise to fight the president’s unilateral action on immigration “tooth and nail.”
Roll Call reported similar chatter, though (a) we’ve heard scuttlebutt like this before; and (b) those talking about an anti-Boehner revolt aren’t going on the record, so it’s hard to know whether to take any of it seriously.
The obvious solution is to simply move forward on a clean funding bill, just as Democrats have said all along. Republicans can agree to this now, and suffer a little embarrassment, or they agree to it after a DHS shutdown, and suffer a lot of embarrassment.
As the Speaker knows, if he brought a clean bill to the floor today, it’d probably pass, largely with Democratic votes (ignoring the Hastert Rule that Boehner occasionally overlooks). The conventional wisdom says the Speaker wouldn’t dare, but as Greg Sargent explained this morning, “[W]e’ve seen this particular thriller a number of times already. Here’s how it always goes: We are told there’s no way Boehner would ever dare move must-pass legislation with a lot of Democrats.  He’s stuck! Then pressure builds and builds, and Boehner does end up passing something with a lot of Democrats. Last I checked, he’s still Speaker.”
This time might be a little different – Republicans have convinced themselves the White House immigration policy is a death-of-the-republic kind of policy – but either way, there’s an endgame in sight.

Fox Host Dismisses The Dangers Of Right-Wing Terrorists After Years Of Deadly Attacks

Fox News host Eric Bolling suggested that there haven't been any recent examples of right-wing terrorism in order to downplay a recent Department of Homeland Security report warning of right-wing extremists. In fact, there have been multiple deadly right-wing attacks in the U.S. in recent years, far outpacing other types of extremist attacks.
DHS Releases Report Warning About Threat Of Right-Wing Terror 
DHS Intelligence Report Warns Of Domestic Right-Wing Terror Threat. As reported by CNN, the Department of Homeland Security recently released a report that warned about the terror threat from "right-wing sovereign citizen extremists." The report described these attackers as people "who believe that they can ignore laws and that their individual rights are under attack":
A new intelligence assessment, circulated by the Department of Homeland Security this month and reviewed by CNN, focuses on the domestic terror threat from right-wing sovereign citizen extremists and comes as the Obama administration holds a White House conference to focus efforts to fight violent extremism.
While groups like ISIS and al Qaeda garner the most attention, for many local cops, the danger is closer to home.
A survey last year of state and local law enforcement officers listed sovereign citizen terrorists, ahead of foreign Islamists, and domestic militia groups as the top domestic terror threat.
The survey was part of a study produced by the University of Maryland's National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism. [CNN, 2/20/15]
Fox Host Questions Whether There Are Any Examples Of Right-Wing Terror In Recent History
The Five's Eric Bolling: "You Can't" Name Examples Of Right-Wing Terrorism "In The Last Seven Years." During the February 23 edition of Fox News' The Five, co-host Eric Bolling questioned the validity of the DHS report, challenging co-host Juan Williams to name any examples of right-wing terrorism in the last seven years. After Williams said he "won't even get into it," Bolling replied, "because you can't." Co-host Greg Gutfeld joined Bolling, claiming liberals can only name two right-wing terrorist events "over four decades." [Fox News, The Five, 2/23/15]
There Have Been Multiple Deadly Incidents Of Right-Wing Terror In The Last Seven Years 
DHS Report: "24 Violent Sovereign Citizen-Related Attacks Across The U.S. Since 2010." The Department of Homeland Security report cited multiple violent right-wing incidents since 2010:
The Homeland Security report, produced in coordination with the FBI, counts 24 violent sovereign citizen-related attacks across the U.S. since 2010.
The government says these are extremists who believe that they can ignore laws and that their individual rights are under attack in routine daily instances such as a traffic stop or being required to obey a court order.
They've lashed out against authority in incidents such as one in 2012, in which a father and son were accused of engaging in a shootout with police in Louisiana, in a confrontation that began with an officer pulling them over for a traffic violation. Two officers were killed and several others wounded in the confrontation. The men were sovereign citizen extremists who claimed police had no authority over them. [CNN, 2/20/15]
New America Foundation: Right-Wing Attacks Have Resulted In 39 Casualties Since 9/11, 38 In Last Seven Years. An analysis from the New America Foundation shows that since the 9/11 attacks, there have been 18 incidents of right-wing attacks resulting in 39 casualties. [New America Foundation, accessed 2/23/15]
Southern Poverty Law Center: Multiple Plots, Conspiracies, And Racist Rampages From Right-Wing Terrorists In The Past Seven Years. In a special report titled "Terror From The Right," the Southern Poverty Law Center reviewed plots, conspiracies, and rampages from right-wing extremists that have occurred since the Oklahoma City bombing. According to their count, there have been 47 incidents that match that description in the past seven years. [Southern Poverty Law Center, accessed 2/23/15]

Republicans Say Stomachs Connect to Vaginas and that Cancer is a Fungus

Healthcare has a lot in common with the environment, with Republicans, who know nothing about either, eager to pass legislation regarding both…
Representative_Vito_BarbieriThis week in Republican medicine: A woman’s stomach is connected directly to the vagina, and cancer is a fungus you can flush out with baking soda.
This is the appalling state of affairs in the Republican Party where our healthcare is debated.
Now I want you to pause right here, before we go into the details, and realize that David Lane, the Martin Bormann of the Religious Right, the guy behind the AFA’s hate-trip to Israel with the RNC, says that,
“We have forgotten God and our godly forefathers. We have allowed a holocaust in America and the government defiling God’s design for our sexuality.”
You mean, like that whole stomach-to-vagina connection God apparently came up with?
And Rick Wiles sat down with another conservative pastor, Laurence White, who complained that,
“They’re trying to make conservative, Bible-believing candidates look foolish because the Devil is the Father of Lies and he’s good at it.”
Oh gosh, we don’t have to try. And we’re not the one’s lying.
Nevada State Assemblywoman and Cliven Bundy supporter Michele Fiore (R), who might want to worry less about fake cancer cure and more about the IRS and federal tax liens, says that,
If you have cancer, which I believe is a fungus, and we can put a pic line into your body and we’re flushing with, say, salt water, sodium cardonate ([sic] through that line and flushing out the fungus. These are some procedures that are not FDA-approved in America that are very inexpensive, cost-effective.
She wants to actually introduce legislation that would allow quackery like her baking soda “cure,” calling it the “terminally-ill bill,” though a better name would be the “terminally stupid bill.”
This is the same Fiori, by the way, who last week said,
If these young, hot little girls on campus have a firearm, I wonder how many men will want to assault them. The sexual assaults that are occurring would go down once these sexual predators get a bullet in their head.
Of course, the greater danger would probably be shooting themselves in the head, like Michigan Republican Precinct Delegate Christina Bond did when she tried to adjust her bra holster. Bond had been a military policeman, and so presumably knew how to handle a firearm. How many “young, hot little girls” can say this?
This hasn’t stopped Fiore from claiming that if you oppose her plan to arm college hotties, you are pro-rape.
With reasoning skills like this, who isn’t going to listen to her cancer advice?
And the Associated Press reported Monday that Idaho State Rep. Vito Barbieri (R) asked while the House State Affairs Committee discussed House Bill 154, which would prohibit remote chemical abortions,
“Can this same procedure be done in a pregnancy — swallowing a camera and helping the doctor determine what the situation is with the child?”
To which Dr. Julie Madsen replied, “It cannot be done in pregnancy simply because, when you swallow a pill, it would not end up in the vagina.”
No. Really?
Women with magical bodies that repel a rapist’s sperm are bad enough, but according to Barbieri, presumably, a woman could get pregnant from oral sex. And Dr. Madsen is lucky she didn’t get reprimanded for saying “vagina” like Michigan Democrat Lisa Brown back in 2012.
All the astounded Barbieri could say to this was, “Fascinating. That certainly makes sense, doctor.”
Well, glad you think so.
Of course, the committee approved the ban. The Republican Party, local, state, or national, has not met an abortion ban it does not like.
Healthcare has a lot in common with the environment, with Republicans, who know nothing about either, eager to pass legislation regarding both.
The idea in Idaho, say Republicans, is to help women. As was pointed out to them by Dr. Madsen, it actually harms them when they live in remote areas and cannot easily see a doctor.
Republicans, of course, are lying. They have no interest at all in actually helping women.
Once he had made himself a laughingstock, Barbieri pretended he knew all along:
“I was being rhetorical, because I was trying to make the point that equalizing a colonoscopy to this particular procedure was apples and oranges. So I was asking a rhetorical question that was designed to make her say that they weren’t the same thing, and she did so. It was the response I wanted.”
What a clever fellow.
We got all the responses we wanted too. Remember, Rand Paul is a doctor (or so he claims), and a whole slew of Republican doctors ran for Congress in the midterms. The New York Times reported in 2011 that doctors were leaving the Republican Party for the Democrat, but there are apparently enough of them still out there that you need to beware.
My advice: before you let a doctor touch you, find out what his politics are.

Kansas Republican Mary Pilcher-Cook Wants To Criminalize “Harmful” Books

A Republican senator in Kansas, Mary Pilcher-Cook, has introduced a bill to the state house to amend the current public morals standard. Senate Bill 56 would, according to The Courthouse News Service, “… amend Kansas’ public morals statute by deleting an exemption that protects K-12 public, private and parochial schoolteachers from being prosecuted for presenting material deemed harmful to minors.” In other words, any book could result in the arrest, prosecution, and possibly jailing of teachers and librarians, if “deemed harmful to minors.”
As I was reading two separate articles on SB 56, our 17-year old son came home from school. He takes AP English, and has been assigned books that Senator Mary Pilcher-Cook would find harmful, most recently reading 1984 by George Orwell. He’s also read The Shining, Huckleberry Finn, all the Harry Potter books, Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, and this coming summer, will hopefully devour Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. But Senator Pilcher-Cook’s bill doesn’t stop at criminalizing books; she also wants to punish sex-ed teachers. I asked our son what he thought of the Kansas bill. He shook his head, and said:
Books don’t influence kids to go “be gay,” or to believe in another god, or anything like that. And health education is very important; it supplies knowledge you need to know, and helps kids know how to prevent pregnancy if they decide to have sex.
People in power have tried to ban books for hundreds of years, under the guise of “protection.” Protection from what, exactly? Ideas that differ from your own? Lewd content? Who decides what is lewd, or dangerous? Some Republican politician, who probably read Flowers in the Attic eons ago, and believes young-adult fiction has nothing else to offer? JK Rowling, the creator of Harry Potter, has seen her books banned by right-wing Christians because they deal with magic. Some of the most wonderful books every written have been banned, and always for the same reason: Someone without a clue decides a book is “bad.” Here are just some of the books that made the American Library Associations of Banned or Challenged books from over a six-year period of time (2008-2013), and the reason for the ban or challenge.
*Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey. Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence
*The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group
*The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie. Reasons: Offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
*Beloved, by Toni Morrison. Reasons: Sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, violence
*Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley. Reasons: insensitivity; nudity; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit
*To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. Reasons: offensive language; racism
*Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich. Reasons: drugs, inaccurate, offensive language, political viewpoint, and religious viewpoint
*Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer. Reasons: religious viewpoint and violence
*The Color Purple, by Alice Walker. Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
*The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier. Reasons: nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group (this is one of our son’s favorite books)
*Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz. Reasons: occult/satanism, religious viewpoint, and violence
*And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell. Reasons: anti-ethnic, anti-family, homosexuality, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group
The list goes on. In 2007, The Golden Compass made the list; the reason given was “religious viewpoint.” Religious viewpoint. It is most likely that Senator Pilcher-Cook is a fundamentalist Christian, as are many other conservative Republicans. This means any book that does not conform to their viewpoint could be “deemed harmful.” Does that strike anyone else as frightening? And as for criminalizing the teaching of sex-ed, this is truly confusing. The right-wing is staunchly pro-fetus, so one would think conservatives might support education that gives young adults – who are most likely going to have sex anyway-the knowledge and tools to protect themselves from STDs, and unwanted pregnancy. National data shows teaching sex-ed is more effective at reducing teen pregnancy than abstinence-only programs.

Republican Ingorance

The Stupid ... It Hurts

Nevada Republican, Michele Fiore, Says Cancer Is A Fungus And Can Be Cured With Salt Water

If you’re not yet familiar with the Assemblywoman that the people of District 4 in Nevada elected to serve them since February 2013, allow me to introduce you to Michele Fiore. She describes herself as a “conservative, Catholic, gun-toting, second amendment, strong-ass woman” and brags that “as someone that carries a firearm on me like my panties and bra, I do break the law because I generally carry my gun in places where they say is a gun-free zone, because I’m not going to be a victim of a stupid law.”
She’s been drawing attention to herself recently by saying, among other things, “If these young, hot little girls on campus have a firearm, I wonder how many men will want to assault them. The sexual assaults that are occurring would go down once these sexual predators get a bullet in their head.”
That comment was completely dismantled by John Foubert, a professor at Oklahoma State University and President of One in Four, whose tag line is “One in four college women have survived rape or attempted rape.” Foubert says:
Image via OpposingViews.com
It reflects a misunderstanding of sexual assaults in general. If you have a rape situation, usually it starts with some sort of consensual behavior, and by the time it switches to nonconsensual, it would be nearly impossible to run for a gun. Maybe if it’s someone who raped you before and is coming back, it theoretically could help them feel more secure.
If that wasn’t enough to solidify her credentials as an idiot, she took to the public airwaves on her radio show “Walk The Talk” (and posted it on her Twitter account) stating that she believes that cancer is a fungus that can be cured by flushing the body with salt water:
If you have cancer, which I believe is a fungus, and we can put a pic line into your body and we’re flushing with, say, salt water, sodium ‘cardinate’ through that line and flushing out the fungus. These are some procedures that are not FDA-approved in America that are very inexpensive, cost-effective.
If you can stomach it, listen to the entire ridiculous episode from February 21, 2014. While you’re listening, remember that the people of Nevada elected her to represent them.
If that wasn’t ridiculous enough, a simple google search on her part could have prevented her from embarrassing herself (this time, anyway).  The American Cancer Society shows that this theory was foisted upon the public by an Italian then-physician, Tullio Simoncini, who came up with the theory that cancer was caused by yeast infections, or Candida Albicans.
The American Cancer Society reports:
[Dr. Simoncini] has been using unsubstantiated cancer treatments for 15 years… in 2003, his [Italian] license to practice medicine was withdrawn, and in 2006 he was convicted by an Italian judge for wrongful death and swindling… This has not stopped him from continuing to provide his controversial treatments, not only in Italy, but apparently also in foreign countries, such as the Netherlands.
They go on further to state:
No peer-reviewed articles in medical journals were found to support the theory that cancer is caused by a fungus infection or a yeast infection. Available peer-reviewed medical journals do not support claims that sodium bicarbonate works as a cancer treatment in humans.
All I have to say is:  Nevada, you brought this on yourselves.

Republican Thinks Women Can Get Gynecological Exams by Swallowing Cameras

Vito BarbieriNothing compares to Republican idiocy when they wander into that deep mystery of women’s reproductive health, especially if it means understanding a woman’s anatomy and how it functions.  Republicans have a well-documented record of ignorance on the subject of rape. We all remember Todd Aiken’s claim that women can’t get pregnancy during “forcible rape”.  Aiken doubled down on the absurdity when he claimed we have magical powers to “shut that whole thing down.”  Other Republicans called rape lemonade and a blessing.
At any rate, Republican ignorance combined with their on-going obsession with placing severe restrictions on women’s reproductive choices, is a serious matter.
Just when you think Republican ignorance has reached its all time low, another Republican politician comes along to prove Republicans can always take stupid and ignorant to new levels on a whole range of subjects.  Not only do they lack understanding of the fact that women do know they are carrying a future child when they are pregnant and put a great deal of thought into the decisions they make pertaining to their pregnancy.
Of course, Republicans always manage to find a new way to express their ignorance and stupidity that surpasses the previous.
Meet Idaho State Rep. Vito Barbieri, who it won’t surprise you to learn, is also a Republican.  During a discussion about comparisons between colonoscopies and telemedicine abortion procedures, Barbieri made comments that if not for the consequences would make a great SNL skit.
This discussion occurred during a committee hearing in which the members are considering a bill that will ban doctors from overseeing chemical abortions via video conferencing.
After claiming that colonoscopies can be done with drugs, Barbieri offered up the idea that women can have gynecological exams by swallowing a camera.  Fortunately, Dr. Julie Madsen, who was testifying before the House State Affairs Committee where this exchanged occurred, was there to give Barbieri some basic lessons on a woman’s anatomy.
Thanks to Raw Story, you can listen to the exchange between Rep. Barbieri and Dr. Madsen here.
Barbieri: “You mention the risk of colonoscopy; can that be done by drugs?”
Dr. Madsen: “It cannot be done by drugs.  It can, however, be done remotely, where you swallow a pill, and this pill has a little camera and it makes its way through your intestines, and those images are uploaded to a doctor who’s often thousands of miles away who then interprets that.”
Barbieri: “Can this same procedure be done in a pregnancy — swallowing a camera and helping the doctor determine what the situation is with the child?”
Dr. Madsen: “It cannot be done in pregnancy simply because, when you swallow a pill, it would not end up in the vagina.”
In earlier testimony, Dr. Madsen offered this criticism of a bill that is overly intrusive on women’s medical choice, but even goes to the point of dictating how doctors should practice medicine.
“I’m wary of a group of medical laypersons such as you specifying the nature of medicine, and that is exactly what this bill does. It specifies how a doctor provides medical care – including how the care is documented in the patient chart.”
Granted, Barbieri’s ignorance about women’s anatomy is the stuff of a SNL script.  The problem is when someone with that level of ignorance wants government to control women’s reproductive choices and dictate how her doctor provides reproductive care.

Republican governor relieved to have embraced ‘Obamacare’

by Steve Benen
File Photo: Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval speaks during the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 28, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, File)There’s no shortage of high-profile Republicans gearing up for the 2016 presidential race, but there’s one name that probably should be in the mix, but isn’t.
Imagine a popular Republican governor, easily elected twice in a battleground state President Obama won twice. Imagine he’s Hispanic, young, won re-election last year by a ridiculous 46 points, and has seen his state’s unemployment rate drop quickly in recent years.
I’m referring to Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R), who seems like an almost-perfect presidential candidate for his party, but who hasn’t even considered testing the White House waters.
To understand why, consider Sandoval’s perspective on the pending Supreme Court case that may gut the Affordable Care Act.
“I made a decision early on that we would be a state-based exchange because I felt it was in Nevadans’ best interest to run their own,” Sandoval said, even boasting that twice as many Nevadans enrolled this year over the first round. “I’m just pleased,” he added, “that we don’t have the anxiety of the outcome King v. Burwell.”
At first blush, this may not seem striking at all – a governor embraced a sensible policy that helped his constituents have access to basic medical care. It’s the sort of thing most Americans might expect every well-intentioned governor to do as a matter of course.
But in political terms, we’re talking about a Republican governor who embraced the dreaded “Obamacare” – including Medicaid expansion – and is “pleased” he implemented the Affordable Care Act in a way that may help protect his state from his party’s Supreme Court justices. 
The Nevada Republican also sided with congressional Democrats on unemployment benefits, and when the courts struck down the state ban on marriage equality, Sandoval didn’t see the point in putting up a fight.
This isn’t to say the governor is some kind of Republican In Name Only – he’s really not – but he has demonstrated some pragmatism and moderation on some key issues.
And the result is the kind of record that GOP voters in a presidential primary would reflexively reject out of hand.
Postscript: I’ve seen some suggestions that Sandoval could join the Republican ticket as a vice presidential candidate. Anything’s possible, but the Nevada governor is pro-choice. How many pro-choice candidates have been on the GOP ticket since Roe v. Wade? Zero.

West Virginia Republicans Want To Throw People In Jail For Helping Uninsured Get Obamacare

West Virginia state House Republicans are proposing a new law that would make it a felony for anyone to enforce the health care law. In other words, any employee that would help a West Virginian get access to affordable healthcare would be committing a crime.
According to The Charleston Gazette:
In another salvo against the federal Affordable Care Act, some Republicans in West Virginia’s House of Delegates want to make it a crime for state and federal officials to enforce the health-care law.
Under the GOP-backed bill (HB2309), federal employees would face felony charges, while state workers would be arrested for a misdemeanor offense, if they try to administer any federal regulations under the Affordable Care Act. The legislation also declares the federal health-care law “invalid” in West Virginia.
“It’s one thing to oppose the Affordable Care Act, but it’s another thing to make it a criminal act for people to do their job,” said Perry Bryant, who heads West Virginians for Affordable Health Care. “This is really an extreme piece of legislation, as extreme as anything I’ve seen this session.”
Under the bill, federal and state officials who implement the Affordable Care Act in West Virginia could be sentenced and imprisoned for a year or more. Fines range from $1,000 to $5,000.
This is a strong contender for craziest proposed law of 2015. It will probably come as a surprise to Republicans, but they can’t declare a federal law invalid and make it crime to enforce the law. The proposed Republican bill is unconstitutional on many levels. Federal law supersedes state law. States can’t decide to make a federal law illegal, and throw people in jail who enforce it. None of this is the way that our system of government works.
A recent study found that West Virginia has benefited the second most of any state in the country from the ACA. Naturally, the Republican response has been an attempt to criminalize the ACA.
The real criminals are Republicans in states like West Virginia, who are determined to kill their own citizens by denying them access to healthcare.

Native Tribe to Rick Scott: Let Us Build a Casino on Our Land or We Start Growing Pot

The Poarch Creek tribe has given Florida Governor Rick Scott an ultimatum: either the Republican-controlled House and Senate will allow them to build a casino on land the tribe owns, or they will have no choice but to grow and distribute marijuana.
The U.S. Justice Department granted tribes the right to grow marijuana on their sovereign lands last December.
While some tribes have expressed concerns about weed’s potential influence on the youth in the reservation, where alcoholism rates are high, it appears that the right to grow marijuana has come in handy as a bargaining chip.
Stephanie Bryan, the Chairwoman of the Poarch Creek tribal council, told the Associated Press that the tribe is “entitled to negotiate a compact with the state.”
This is the kind of stuff Parks and Recreation episodes are made of, and I am totally, 10o percent for it.
It’s about time our government started listening to Natives. A big step forward in that regard was when President Obama established the first Tribal Nations Conference, a platform for Natives to voice their concerns and issues to the federal government.
Amplifying the voices of Natives is a priority for us here at BNR. From calling out anti-immigrant protestors to fighting against the Keystone XL Pipeline, the tribes are saying exactly what needs to be said in this country.
I’m interested to see what Rick Scott does in response. The stakes are high, and if he doesn’t act soon, many people in Florida will be too.

Link Dump

corporations write off fines as tax deductible
yikes!  we are running out of helium
cheaper robots could replace factory workers
insurance companies are making the sickest patients pay more for their drugs
papa john's ordered to pay nearly $800,000 in wage theft case
5 facts that show Americans are struggling
those with darker skin report slower police response time
global warming affecting alaska dog sled race
how the war on drugs got started
climate denying scientist got a million bucks from the fossil fuel industry
science says eat with your kids
marijuana does not make you more likely to crash your car
holier and healthier than thou: republican virtue and healthcare
California DMV failing to register millions of voters
if critics wrote about male directors the way they write about 'Selma' director Ava Duvernay
unions make wealth more fairly distributed
why are conservatives such whiny cry babies?
most of America's rich think the poor have it easy
speaking while female
Americans are fleeing religion
anti-vax doctors should lose their licenses
Colorado offered free birth control - and teen pregnancies fell by 40%
Sam Brownback tried to turn Kansas into a republican utopia - and the results are laughable

Duke Energy Faces Criminal Charges And It Probably Won’t Matter

Dan_River_Danville_VirginiaAround this time last year an old storage plant in North Carolina began leaking coal ash into the Dan River. By the time the leak was discovered, 39,000 tons of the stuff — mercury, arsenic and lead — was flowing freely into the river. And 27,000 more tons of contaminated water also leaked into the river.
The disaster prompted a closer a look at Duke Energy’s safety practices and the company was hit with five more environmental citations. Think Progress reported a North Carolina judge forced Duke to stop groundwater contamination at its fourteen coal-fired plants in the Tar Heel State.
It’s not as if the Dan River spill came as a surprise. Environmental groups had unsuccessfully sued Duke for years to get the company to halt its coal ash practices. All told, Duke has more than 60 plants, 16 of which are coal-fired and that doesn’t include storage facilities.
DukeSpill2Now it might have helped if North Carolina had a governor willing to stand up to the company that had just polluted the one of his state’s most precious natural resources. One glitch: North Carolina’s governor is Pat McCrory and before he became a politician, McCrory worked for over 20 years at Duke Energy.
After the spill went public, McCrory sold his Duke stock, which he had failed to disclose on his ethics form.
Last week, federal prosecutors filed criminal charges Duke for violations of the Clean Air Act.
Now, it’s not like anyone from Duke is going to jail. They aren’t. Duke didn’t even challenge the case, they admitted wrongdoing and paid a fine.
Despite the best efforts of energy companies, spills, explosions and accidents involving carbon-based fuels keep happening over and over again.
But in 2015, some politicians, including those running for president, think that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should be closed. Not scaled back, but closed entirely. Slamming the EPA for its “job-killing regulations” is guaranteed to get applause at a Republican rally. But it does nothing to clean up the Dan River.
If you criticize a persistent polluter like Duke, you’re called anti-business or someone who hates capitalism. And that’s a falsehood.
Those who hate the EPA so much, ought to go down to the Dan River and imagine it as your main water source. It seems like the only time people realize the importance of something is when they have to deal with it in real terms.
About the fine Duke has to pay, it’s just over $100 million. $100 million sounds like a lot of money.
McCroryMeme1-300x204Yet Duke’s stock price has gone up 11 percent since the spill. And its market capitalization (that’s how much Duke stock is owned by shareholders) is $56.3 billion. Pay $100 million but you’re worth $56 billion? For those of you who are bad at math like me, it’s like you have a hundred dollars and someone fined you about 18 cents.
In its most recent financial statement, Duke reported $5.56 billion in revenue. In other words, the fine just won’t matter much to Duke.

Why Is This Cop Bullying a Homeless Man?

Homeless man police brutalityNot only has Florida effectively made the homeless criminals, but apparently some police officers think they are entitled to slap the hell out of them.
A Fort Lauderdale police officer has been suspended with pay after a video materialized on YouTube showing the officer shoving the homeless man to the ground and then slapping him. Hard.
Officer Victor Ramirez can be seen on the cellphone footage which was posted on Sunday, escorting a man, who the Miami Herald has identified as Bruce Laclair, out of a Broward bus terminal.
HomelessDudeWhen Ramirez knocked Laclair to the ground, Laclair responded with a “fuck you.” Ramirez proceeded to scold Leclair and told him to get up. Laclair tried to talk to the officer but Ramirez decided to let his latex-gloved hand do the talking and rather viciously slapped Laclair across the face, causing the man taking the video to let out a loud, “Whoa!”
“I’m not fucking around with you,” Ramirez said. Obviously not. Ramirez put Laclair in handcuffs and led him off jail, charged with trespassing. Laclair was later released on bail hours later, according to the The Miami Herald.
Ft. Lauderdale has passed laws making it illegal for homeless people to sleep on public grounds or to display their possessions. Don’t get it wrong now, it’s still okay to show off those hideous brown Louis Vuitton bags, just don’t get caught carrying everything you own in a brown bag.
copAnd Miami is looking to pass a law that would outlaw the use of pillows and blankets on sidewalks. So slapping isn’t the only cruel and unusual punishment being doled out to the homeless.
And Florida isn’t alone in helping to make the lives of people on the streets more hellish, either. Last year there was an incident in Albuquerque where two officers shot and killed a homeless man after he’d surrendered, and in 2012 officers in Fullerton, California so severely beat a schizophrenic homeless man that he was put on life support for five days before being removed from it and allowed to die.
These violent actions cannot be tolerated, nor should we continue to ignore the plight of the homeless. It would cost us less to provide the chronically homeless with permanent housing and case managers to watch over them than it does on maintaining them on the streets.
Officer Ramirez has clearly shown that he doesn’t have the temperament that is needed when dealing with public. Possibly some time spent volunteering at a homeless shelter (supervised of course) will cause him to respond more with his heart and less with his hands.