Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Friday, October 18, 2013 10:25 pm

Former vagina-bothering Kansas AG Phill Kline has law license suspended

Filed under: Evil,I want my country back. — Lex @ 10:25 pm
Tags: , , ,

The Kansas Supreme Court delivers an epic smackdown to a guy who’s lucky he’s not going to prison:

Citing “clear and convincing evidence” of professional misconduct, the Kansas Supreme Court on Friday indefinitely suspended the law license of former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline.

The court found that Kline violated 11 rules governing the professional conduct of attorneys during his tenure as the state’s highest law enforcement officer and while he served as Johnson County district attorney.

The disciplinary action that led to Friday’s order arose from Kline’s investigation of abortion clinics while he was attorney general, and from his handling of a grand jury proceeding while Johnson County’s district attorney.

In case you’d forgotten who Kline was and what kind of slimy crap he pulled:

As attorney general and later Johnson County district attorney, he presided over investigations of the late George Tiller’s abortion clinic in Wichita [Tiller was murdered, in case you don't recall -- Lex] and Planned Parenthood in Overland Park.

Kline had accused Planned Parenthood and Tiller of violating state abortion law and covering for pedophiles by not reporting pregnancies of underage girls. Kline said he sought medical records of former patients to prove his case.

The investigation of Planned Parenthood produced a 107-count criminal indictment. The case against the abortion provider was later dropped by current Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe.

The disciplinary proceedings against Kline began in January 2010 when complaints were filed by Tiller’s attorney and the forewoman of a Johnson County grand jury called to investigate Planned Parenthood. The complaint accused Kline of misleading judges and mishandling evidence as he investigated abortion clinics.

The next year, 12 days of evidence and testimony were presented at a hearing before three lawyers appointed by the Kansas Board for Discipline of Attorneys. That panel found multiple incidents of misconduct and recommended indefinite suspension.

Kline’s objection to those findings triggered a review by the Supreme Court that led to Friday’s 154-page order.

The court found Friday that when he was attorney general, Kline committed misconduct by instructing members of his staff to attach sealed documents to a publicly filed document in violation of a Supreme Court order. He also told staff to file a court pleading that contained misleading information.

The court further found that as Johnson County district attorney, Kline failed to properly advise members of a grand jury about Kansas law and sought to enforce a grand jury subpoena against the grand jury’s wishes.

It also found that Kline gave false testimony to a judge and made “false and misleading” statements to the Supreme Court about the handling of patient records obtained during the criminal investigations. He also did not correct a misstatement to the state’s disciplinary administrator regarding the storage of patient records.

This case got to the state Supreme Court because Kline had disagreed with the recommendation of the Kansas Board for Discipline of Attorneys, which had sought his disbarment.

In a just world, Kline would have been permanently disbarred. In a just world, he’d have gone to prison for telling staff to file a court pleading that contained misleading information. Instead, he’s teaching future lawyers at Liberty University, the late Jerry Falwell’s joint. And he insists there was nothing wrong with what he did, so he’s no doubt fomenting in some future lawyers the belief that it’s OK to lie and cheat. So he gets to go on with his life, while Tiller is dead and some of his patients have suffered unconscionable violations of their privacy.

Of course, he and his lawyer continue to insist that he did nothing wrong. IANAL, but here’s a journalistic pro tip: When you’re a DA and your own grand jury’s forewoman tells the court you’re a crook, the odds are good that you’re a big damn crook.

 

Friday, October 26, 2012 7:43 pm

Republicans and rape; or, zygote fetishization

The recent comments on rape from a long list of Republicans including Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin, along with the fact that the GOP’s national platform has opposed safe, legal abortion since 1980, have brought “social issues” to the fore in a national election that ordinarily would have been almost entirely about the economy. (Not arguing that it should have been almost entirely about the economy — I’d’ve loved some discussion of global warming, Afghanistan and using drones for extrajudicial assassination, to name just three topics — just that it ordinarily would have been.)

I won’t rehash the moral arguments about abortion, but I will offer this quasi-theological observation: The people who argue that their faith dictates that a woman who is raped and becomes pregnant must carry her rapist’s baby to term are not worshiping God, or any god. Rather, they are fetishizing a zygote. Their “culture of life” has become the idolatry of a cargo cult. It is nothing that Jesus would recognize as God’s love here on Earth.

With her gracious permission and without additional comment, I offer this take from my mother’s cousin Edith Hay Harris of Houston, Texas* Durham, NC:

My two cents: I was a volunteer for Greenville (SC) Rape Crisis Council for 8 or so years, some time back. I don’t think anyone can imagine what these women and girls endured. I think a lot of people don’t realize victims come in all ages and from all walks of life. I still remember a woman with a husband and children who became pregnant from the rape and had to have the baby; a 68 yr old grandmother who was nearly beaten to death by her attacker who put her grandson’s training pants over her face while he raped her; and a 12 year old who was impregnated by a homeless man. In the last case, we took her to Atlanta for an abortion, since no one in Greenville was providing that service then, and United Way dropped us from their funding for doing so. So, yes, I still feel that rage so many years later. I think these Republicans actually have contempt for women and need to control them. Sort of reminds me of the Taliban.

*Oops. Cousin Elsie lives in Houston, not Edith. I knew this.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012 8:14 pm

Nah, there’s no war on women …

Filed under: Evil — Lex @ 8:14 pm
Tags: , ,

… except where we’re killing them to preserve their fetuses:

A bill giving more legal protection to Kansas health care providers who refuse to participate in abortions was on its way Wednesday to Gov. Sam Brownback, despite concerns it would limit access to birth control and allow some professionals to block life-saving care. …

The measure extends “conscience” protections to clinics, doctor’s offices and other facilities other than hospitals. People are protected not only from being forced to participate in abortions but from referring patients for abortion services or participating in the prescription or administration of any drug that terminates a pregnancy.

The legal protections extend to any individual or institution that “reasonably believes” that the use of a drug terminates a pregnancy. Some critics said that provision will allow doctors and pharmacists to refuse to prescribe or dispense birth control.

They also said it could allow a doctor to refuse to provide chemotherapy to a pregnant cancer patient because it might end her pregnancy.

Furthermore, critics said, patients wouldn’t know about a provider’s moral objections until the provider refused to provide treatment or dispense a drug – and the provider wouldn’t have to refer the patient elsewhere.

But it’s aaaaalllll a figument of our imaginations.

Thursday, March 22, 2012 8:52 pm

Incoming, or, War on women? WHAT war on women?

I’ve been beyond swamped lately. I worked for 40 hours straight this past weekend on a research paper (yes, “straight” means “without sleeping”), slammed through a boatload of reading and video-watching for school and am leading discussion this week in one of my classes. And that doesn’t even get into the day job and kids.

But I did a little Twittering over meals, during which I was battened onto by some troll claiming to have served someplace where women are second-class citizens and insisting that because the Taliban are stoning women and setting them on fire and whatnot, American women have no right to suggest that there’s a war on women going on in this country. I pointed out that he had the awareness and grasp of metaphor of your average cinder block and then blocked him because I’m too old for that crap.

But there’s a lot of that going around, as Angry Black Lady at Balloon Juice points out with this jaw-droppingly stupid rant from some woman named Cathy McMorris-Rogers. Her thesis: There is no Republican war on women; there is only a Democratic Party trying to scare women for political gain.

No, really:

Because I’m still swamped, I’m outsourcing my response to ABL, who can add a uterocentric perspective that I cannot. her language is a little coarse, which, in light of all the circumstances she describes, I ascribe to her being in good cerebrovascular health:

This woman is out of her f—— skull.  How DARE she? Democrats are scaring women to drum up votes?  Is she serious?  Let’s take a little walk down GOP F—ery Lane, shall we?

  • Republicans want to tax us if we choose to get an abortion.
  • Republicans are forcing doctors to flat-out lie to us about abortions increasing the risk of breast cancer.
  • Republicans are trying to force us to get permission from the man (Father? Rapist? Who cares!) before getting an abortion.
  • Republicans think we’re sluts for wanting insurance coverage for contraception—whether for birth control or otherwise—all the while demonstrating how utterly devoid of brain activity they are by suggesting that the doctor-recommended use for birth control is “a-pill-per-screw,” and that maybe we could pay for our ovarian cyst treatment if we’d just stop drinking so many f—— soy lattes.

(She left out one other one: Tennessee was until just recently considering a bill that would make public details about every abortion in the state, along with information on the doctor who performed it. Because, the sacred notion of medical privacy aside, there’s no way anything bad could come of that. But don’t take my word for it — we can just ask David Gunn, John Britton, James Barrett, Shannon Lowney, Lee Ann Nichols, Robert Sanderson, Barnett Slepian or George Tiller. Oh, wait, no, we can’t.)

Republicans want us to lie back and take it.  They want us to just “close our eyes” while they shame us and guilt us and emotionally traumatize us and out us to the public for making a choice about our bodies that has absolutely f—-all to do with them.  And they’re doing this under the guise of “education” and “life-affirmation”; attaching quaint and pithy names to horrific bills which violate our rights as humans.  Names like “Ultrasound Opportunity” or “Right to Know and See.”  Don’t worry.  It’s all about knowledge.

Knowledge is power, you see, and frankly ladies, you don’t know what the f— you’re doing.  You think you’re incubating baby iguanas in your wombs while storks slingshot babies through open windows in the dead of night.  No, no, silly one.  This here probe will give you all the knowledge about the birds and the bees that you need, and conveniently, since you’re pregnant in the first place, you’ve already consented to be vaginally probed by our metal knowledge stick. Hooray!

Oh yeah—and let’s not forget that we’re getting f—— FIREBOMBED for daring to believe that a woman’s uterus is hers.  Not her husband’s.  Not her boyfriend’s. Not her father’s or uncle’s or brother’s. And certainly not some f—— politician who does not now nor has he ever owned a uterus, or the feckless Republican women who fall in line behind these misogynist [asses].

And you can f— right off with that “oh, the firebomber was just a crazy homeless dude” crap.  As Melissa MacEwan at Shakesville so eloquently put it:

Guess who else is “crazy”? Anyone who sees a pattern of anti-progressive violence—and, very specifically, misogynist and/or homophobic and/or racist violence—and has the unmitigated temerity to suggest that, hey, maybe this [stuff] isn’t happening in a void.

All of this is to say the following—

Cathy McMorris-Rodgers? Jump up your own uterus, lady. You don’t speak for me. You don’t speak for thousands of women who don’t have the distinct privilege of standing on the Capitol steps spewing bullshit in order to protect the misogynist necks of the Republican men to whom you’ve sold your soul, your dignity, your humanity, your personal freedom, and, indeed your life; all the while knowing that should you or your daughter Grace require birth control or an abortion or any of the women’s health services that you and your ilk are viciously stripping from us, you will be able to get them.  After all, as a member of Congress, you have some of the best health insurance in the country!  And we all know that the rules which you seek to apply to millions of women—many of them poor women of color—don’t apply to the daughters of deluded state politicians from the Pacific Northwest. (Dontcha know.)

So, Cathy, you want to give up your reproductive rights? Or the reproductive rights of your daughter? Fine. Go right ahead.

But back the f— up off of mine.

And the notion that Democrats are scaring women by shining a light on the horrific human rights injustices that you Republicans seek to impose on us is patently absurd.  Democrats aren’t scaring women, Cathy. Republicans are scaring women.

I’ll go one better than that: Republicans aren’t just scaring women, they’re terrorizing women.

And I’ll borrow from another of Melissa’s Shakesville tweets to summarize:

There are a lot of things that don’t get called terrorism in this country, but chief among them is the anti-choice movement, which is the most brazen, unapologetic terrorist campaign in the US, its co-ordination and orchestration done right out in the open, where no one in the media or politics will call it what it is. It is an inherently violent ideology, backed by a decades-long campaign of intimidation, harassment and violence directed at abortion providers and abortion seekers, that is ignored by one party and mainstreamed as a central plank of its party platform by the other.

Now, Republicans will deny that they’re involved with such a thing, or that they even could benefit from it, let alone consciously try to cash in. To which I say, with all due respect: Bullshit.

It’s terrorism. The perps need to be locked up in SuperMax for the rest of their miserable, bitter, un-American little lives, and all their privileged enablers (and I’m looking at you, Cathy) need to be held legally and publicly accountable as well, because if there’s a war on terror, then that war, like charity, needs to start at home.

It’s the 21st century folks, and I’m damned tired of coddling criminals.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 8:49 pm

Devoured by moths and rust; or, Sex is the hill they have chosen to die on

As I’ve said before, the Roman Catholic Church is a continuing criminal enterprise, an international scheme to victimize children, intimidate and/or bribe the victims and their families and protect the guilty.

It is also, as is true of all people and most human institutions, a mixture of good and evil. It has spoken out on behalf of the poor (though, I would argue, not nearly loudly enough) many times, for example. And not that you’d know it because it has the megaphone turned down on this issue, but it  currently also is speaking out against a hasty rush to war with Iran.

But on some issues, the church speaks more loudly than on others. What it speaks most loudly on today in this country — abortion and other issues related to women’s sexual activity — is a matter of conscious choice. The church likely would deny this and claim that all its moral stands are of equal importance, which, even if it were true, would fly in the face of logic. All sin is equal before God, true, but here on Earth we have long since comes to grips, those of us in the reality-based community, with proportionality. That’s why we execute people for premeditated murder but not for parking violations.

The Church, although a body of believers and a body of belief, also is an earthly institution with vast but finite resources. And so it, too, has to come to grips with proportionality and make choices. If the Church does not choose carefully, innocent people will be harmed, both as a direct result of the church’s emphasis and as an indirect result of the church’s refusal to emphasize other issues that could have helped other people. That’s going to be true whatever the Church prioritizes, of course. But one must wonder what could have led it to decide that abortion and contraception are more important than starting a war. As Matthew’s Gospel (6:21) says, where your treasure is, there your heart is also. And so we see that the Church’s heart — where it has allocated its treasure, defined as its efforts and resources as a megaphone of moral authority — is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Republican Party, siding with the powerful against the poor and poor in spirit, siding with those who refuse to comfort those who mourn, siding with warmakers against the gentle, siding with criminals against their victims, and on and on and on, all in contravention of the teachings of the Christ that this same church professes to love and worship.

Which makes particularly sad this comment from Athenae at First Draft:

“When it comes right down to it the Church has made a deliberate choice that sexual intercourse is going to be the hill they want to die on. And absent some massive backlash on the part of the faithful, dying is exactly what they’re going to do.”

Thursday, March 8, 2012 8:13 pm

It was a JOKE, you farking morons

The inestimable TBogg once joked — and I can’t find it now — that Republicans want to withhold all medical care from women of childbearing age because otherwise they might survive to have abortions. Now the Arizona Senate has taken a big step in that very direction:

It’s called a “wrongful birth” bill and it’s all about preventing women from having an abortion, even if it kills them. The Arizona Senate passed a bill this week that gives doctors a free pass to not inform pregnant women of prenatal problems because such information could lead to an abortion.

In other words, doctors can intentionally keep critical health information from pregnant women and can’t be sued for it. According to the Arizona Capitol Times, “the bill’s sponsor is Republican Nancy Barto of Phoenix. She says allowing the medical malpractice lawsuits endorses the idea that if a child is born with a disability, someone is to blame.” So Republicans are banning lawsuits against doctors who keep information from pregnant women so as to prevent them from choosing to have an abortion.

This bill is actually more disturbing than the Republicans seem to realize. Giving doctors such a free pass risks the lives of both the expectant mother and the fetus she carries. Prenatal care isn’t just for discovering birth defects and disabilities. It is also for discovering life threatening issues such as an ectopic pregnancy which often requires an abortion to save the life of the mother. With rare exceptions, ectopic pregnancies are not viable anyway, but Republicans are allowing anti-abortion doctors to keep life threatening information from pregnant women all because they are obsessed with stopping any and all abortions. Women may not know they have a life threatening condition until they die on the emergency room table. And the doctor couldn’t be sued.

And as nearly as I can tell, the American Medical Association is just fine with this.

And then there’s this:

Leticia Parra, a mother of five scraping by on income from her husband’s sporadic construction jobs, relied on the Planned Parenthood clinic in San Carlos, an impoverished town in South Texas, for breast cancer screenings, free birth control pills and pap smears for cervical cancer.

But the clinic closed in October, along with more than a dozen others in the state, after financing for women’s health was slashed by two-thirds by the Republican-controlled Legislature.

The cuts, which left many low-income women with inconvenient or costly options, grew out of the effort to eliminate state support for Planned Parenthood. Although the cuts also forced clinics that were not affiliated with the agency to close — and none of them, even the ones run by Planned Parenthood, performed abortions — supporters of the cutbacks said they were motivated by the fight against abortion.

Now, the same sentiment is likely to lead to a shutdown next week of another significant source of reproductive health care: the Medicaid Women’s Health Program, which serves 130,000 women with grants to many clinics, including those run by Planned Parenthood. Gov. Rick Perry and Republican lawmakers have said they would forgo the $35 million in federal money that finances the women’s health program in order to keep Planned Parenthood from getting any of it.

Although Texas already bars clinics that take such money from performing abortions, the new law is intended to prevent any state money from benefiting Planned Parenthood. “Planned Parenthoods across the country provide abortions, are affiliated with abortion providers, or refer women to abortion providers,” said Lucy Nashed, a spokeswoman for Mr. Perry.

Wayne Christian, a Republican state representative said, “I don’t think anybody is against providing health care for women. What we’re opposed to are abortions.” He added, “Planned Parenthood is the main organization that does abortions. So we kind of blend being anti-abortion with being anti-Planned Parenthood.”

The situation in Texas is mirrored in several other states that have tried to eliminate various methods of financing Planned Parenthood.

Re-read that bolded paragraph again. So, yeah, a lot of poor women may die for lack of health care that had nothing to do with contraception or abortion, but hey, at least we prevented a few abortions.Except that none of those agencies actually, you know, perform abortions. This is just people being dicks and punching defenseless women because they can.

And these are the people who call themselves pro-life.

Now somebody mansplain to me how there’s no War on Women.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010 8:07 pm

Today’s lesson

Filed under: I want my country back. — Lex @ 8:07 pm
Tags:

Terrorism works. So noted.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 7:16 pm

Odds and ends for 1/13

Espwa: Our church supports an orphanage in Haiti, Espwa (which means “hope”). The orphanage has a blog. The residents and staff, through (literally) shaken by the earthquake, escaped injury, although several lost loved ones elsewhere in the country. Moreover, the orphanage gets all its food and supplies overland from Port-au-Prince, and it’s not clear right now whether the roads are passable, let alone what shape the city’s shipping infrastructure is in. You can contribute online here.

Goldman Sachs CEO admits under oath to fraud, walks free anyway. No, that’s pretty much what happened. (UPDATE: But Jack Welch calls this “uneventful,” which tells you all you need to know about Jack Welch.)

Jackasses: The SEC, which ought to be clearing up the mysteries around AIG’s use of taxpayer money, instead is trying to bury them. And make no mistake: This would not be happening without the knowledge and approval of Barack Obama. Memo to the Democrats: One real good way to lose Congress is to let hosers like Rep. Darrell Issa play the good guy.

Steepening curve … and not in a a good way: A month ago, the Mortgage Brokers Association was predicting that its members would originate 24% less in mortgages in 2010 than 2009. Now, they’re saying that figure will drop 40%, from $2.11 trillion in 2009 to $1.28 trillion in 2010. That’s the lowest level since $1.14 trillion in 2000.

A clawback, but not for the taxpayers: A large pension fund has sued Goldman Sachs over its bonus policy, asking that money that would be going to Goldman employees go instead to it. Where that budgeted $22 billion in bonus money really needs to be going is the taxpayers, inasmuch as fully two-thirds of Goldman’s 2009 revenues were more or less directly attributable to taxpayers. But I suppose the retirement savings of cops and firefighters is a more productive place for it than Goldman execs’ pockets. And that is where the money (much of it, at least) will go, because Goldman will settle this toot de suite. It does not want its folks answering questions under oath.

A nation of pants-wetters, or, that high-pitched whine you hear is Ben Franklin (“He who would give up liberty for safety deserves neither … and shall have it”) spinning in his grave fast enough to light up Pittsburgh: A majority of Americans want to give up civil liberties to make themselves safer. Cheese and crackers, people, what are all the GUNS for … to HIDE BEHIND? MAN. UP. Or else the terrorists really do win.

Memo to aides to Massachusetts Dem Senate candidate Martha Coakley: I realize that losing Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat to a guy who posed nude for Cosmo might make one’s candidate a bit, um, testy, but still, don’t shove reporters. Or move to China if you want to do that stuff.

Jan. 23 is National Pie Day. I think I may head over to K&W and have some of the chocolate-creme to celebrate.

From Facebook’s Overheard in the Newsroom: Design Editor: “I want the font that makes people addicted to reading newspapers again.” Commenter Bruce Reuben: “The font would have to be made of crack.” Lex: “The font that looks like kick-ass, take-names accountability journalism. Yeah. That. Also.”

Harold Ford: Strikingly un-self-aware. I’m not a huge fan of Sen. Kristen Gillebrand, but having lived in NY I think she’s far more in tune with people than Ford is. As someone else put it, there’s a reason Alabama doesn’t send gun-confiscating atheists to the Senate.

Nobody does human like Tolstoy, as Ishinoy reminds us.

Tucker Carlson won’t tell you, so I (and Crooks & Liars) will: His new site, The Daily Caller, will have a whole section devoted to “environmental scepticism” [sic]. His primary funder — $3M in the first year alone — is a huge global-warming denier.

Now it’s up to Harry Reid … and Barack Obama: Arlen Specter says he’ll back Dawn Johnsen to head Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel. So that’s 60 votes. Let the flushing of the Aegean stables begin.

Somali pirates have scared off shipping … including the illegal trawlers that had depleted fisheries, so that legit fisherpeople are having a great year. Hey, you take your good news where you can find it.

Shorter WSJ: Watching TV will kill you dead. (I was never allowed to summarize medical research like this when I was a professional medical writer. I must say, this is fun.)

Bitters shortage: Does anyone who is not either a watcher of or a character on the AMC series “Mad Men” even drink Manhattans? And if so, why?

It’s over: Dan Rather’s lawsuit against CBS has been tossed, probably for good. In effect, the state court system’s Appeals Division identified problems in his case, then refused to allow any depositions or discovery, which could have, as the lawyers say, cured those deficiencies. Oh, well. Sucks to be him. That said, regardless of Rather’s error in relying on documents whose provenance he couldn’t/didn’t verify, other evidence indicates quite clearly that Bush was, in fact, AWOL.

What I’ve learned from reading about “Game Over” (besides the fact that I don’t want to read the whole book): You can make a lot of money publishing anonymous, 2-year-old gossip. And in real life, people who are dying of cancer and whose spouses are cheating on them don’t always behave as nicely as their Movie of the Week counterparts. OK, I already knew that last one.

I think this comment from liveblogger Teddy Partridge tells you all you need to know about the competence of counsel for the bigots defense in the California gay-marriage trial: “Sorry, this lawyer is asking really long questions and requiring YES or NO answers which makes liveblogging almost impossible”

Busted: The American insurance industry, while publicly claiming it favored health-care reform, was giving money to the Chamber of Commerce to produce and air anti-reform TV commercials. I am shocked, shocked, etc. Someone explain to me again why it’s a good idea to point a gun to American taxpayers’ heads and make them give these companies money. Someone else explain to me why the Chamber and the insurance trade group should get to keep their tax exemptions, kthxbai.

Speaking of health care, there’s this notion floating around that taxing health benefits will lead employers to give more to employees in the form of wages. However, this notion is not true.

Quote of the day, from Sen. Harry Reid: “I have no regret over calling [former Fed chairman Alan] Greenspan a political hack. Because he was. The things you heard me say about George Bush? You never heard me apologize about any of them. Because he was. What was I supposed to say? I called him a liar twice. Because he lied to me twice.” Cue Republican efforts to frame this comment as a “gaffe” in 3 … 2 …

This thing where Giuliani said there were no terrorist attacks on the U.S. under Bush? That was no one-time bit of misspeaking. That was an emerging Republican meme. Guys, Goebbels was a cautionary tale, not an exemplar.

Some judges just need impeachin‘, starting with Warren Wilbert, the Kansas judge in the murder trial of Scott Roeder, who assassinated* abortion doctor George Tiller. Wilbert will let Roeder argue that his killing of Tiller actually was voluntary manslaughter because, in some parallel universe, Roeder wordlessly put the barrel of a .22 to Tiller’s head and pulled the trigger because Tiller was doing something besides providing a legal and needed medical service. I hope I’m wrong, but I fear Wilbert just declared open season on abortion providers.

*He has signed a statement admitting to the shooting.

How Lucky could save the planet!


Monday, December 21, 2009 2:14 pm

Abortion and health-care reform

Filed under: We're so screwed — Lex @ 2:14 pm
Tags: , , ,

If I understand correctly — and I might not, or I might have at one point but then the bill changed — the version of the health-care bill now pending in the Senate says that you can’t use public money to pay for abortion. So if you’re getting any kind of federal subsidy on private health insurance, you have to set up a segregated account, paid for with your own money, for coverage of any abortion you or your dependent(s) might need.

This strikes me as legally/constitutionally problematic. I think it might be both a violation of the equal-protection clause of the 14th Amendment and a back-door way of circumventing Roe v. Wade. (I also think it creates a paper trail for the government on who has had, or thinks she might need to have, an abortion, which, from a legal standpoint, ought to be none of the government’s damn business where private insurance is concerned.) Which means it may become, intentionally or not, a vehicle for another Supreme Court challenge to Roe.

And with the current makeup of SCOTUS, I have no doubt that, all the rhetoric about “judicial restraint” notwithstanding, the conservative majority is even more eager to overturn Roe than they are to overturn the ban on corporate political contributions.

And since they basically ordered lawyers at gunpoint to bring them a vehicle for overturning that ban, I’m guessing that given the opportunity, they’d vote to overturn Roe without even hearing oral arguments if one of their number suggested that approach out loud. (I’ll bet at least three of them already have written their opinions.) It’s not like anyone could, or even would, do anything but yell.

Monday, November 23, 2009 6:06 am

Memo

TO: Bishop Thomas Tobin
FROM: Lex
DATE: 11/23/09
RE: Priorities

Dude. You need to worry a lot more about people without adequate food and health care, and about bringing pedophile priests to justice, than you need to worry about the voting habits of one politician.

Just sayin’.

Monday, November 16, 2009 1:09 am

Yet another reason why the Stupak amendment and its backers must be slapped around

I blogged a little while ago about the inanity of the Stupak Amendment, a mind-numblingly stupid and unconstitutional rule pushed hard by, among others, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. But other than Catholic reflexive opposition to abortion, I completely overlooked another significant motive for the bishops’ behavior, one that definitely bears discussion:

The scale of the church’s involvement in the rapidly growing $2.5 trillion dollar American health care industry is staggering.

What the Stupak-Pitts amendment does for the Catholic health care system is omit a competitive advantage secular and other religiously-affiliated hospitals without doctrinal restrictions can use to simultaneously market their services to both the expected influx of newly insured patients and the outpatient medical professionals who will treat them.

By restricting insurance coverage of women’s reproductive health care, the competitive barriers faced by Catholic institutions will be eliminated …

First rule of investigative journalism, kids: follow the money.

Friday, November 13, 2009 8:49 pm

Odds and ends, Nov. 13

  • Typing Under Ladders: Today’s Friday the 13th. I have exactly no interesting Friday-the-13th stories to tell. To the extent that I can remember the dates at all, two of the unluckiest days of my life, one involving romantic failure and one involving serious physical injury, occurred on the 4th of a month.
  • Home Game: Khalid Sheikh Muhammad and four other accused planners of the 9/11 terror attacks will be tried in civilian federal court in New York, just blocks from Ground Zero. The wingnuts are soiling their drawers at the thought of terrorists (accused, but still) on U.S. soil. Me? I think the U.S. court system can handle the case and that the FBI and NYPD are more than up to handling the security. This ain’t, in other words, an issue over which I’m going to lose any sleep. Nor should you.
  • Bloviation By Other Means: I watched CNN’s Lou Dobbs only enough to determine that he was a pompous, phony ass upon whom none of my time should be wasted, and so I don’t care that he left CNN except that I think he’s planning to run for president. Or for governor of Alaska. Whichever.
  • Nice Guys: Married women who learn they have a serious illness are seven times as likely as married men to end up separated or divorced.
  • Back from the Dead: Under the guise of deficit reduction, the rich are coming after your Social Security again. Don’t let them get away with it.
  • Undessicated after all: You remember when we rammed our manly missile into the moon a few weeks ago? Turns out the moon was wet. All innuendo aside, while this doesn’t throw everything we thought we knew about the moon up for grabs, it changes quite a lot, including the consensus on whether there ever might have been life on the moon. Cool.
  • Double Standard: If pro-choice women are considered immoral for threatening to oppose any health-care reform that bans spending federal money on abortion, what does that make the Roman Catholic Church?
  • Delay, Deny & Hope That I Die: Why would Senate Republicans delay extending unemployment benefits for weeks and weeks, and then finally vote unanimously in favor of them? Because procedural rules made delay the functional equivalent of denial, so they could screw people and still look good as far as the voting record went. Bastards.
  • Listening to the People Who Were Right: Ten years ago, Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., correctly told his colleagues that repealing the Glass-Steagall Act was a bad idea, one that within 10 years we would come to regret. So why is it that Byron Dorgan isn’t running all things financial in Washington today? Did you not just hear what I said? He correctly told his colleagues that repealing Glass-Steagall was a bad idea.
  • Cyber Pearl Harbor has already happened. Twice. Both times on George W. Bush’s watch, although so far as anyone can tell, it doesn’t look like Obama has learned anything from his predecessor’s mistakes.
  • I Believe the Technical Term for This Is “Fraud”: One reason Chrysler got a lot of taxpayer money was that it was going to produce greener cars. Only now that it has actually gotten the money, guess what it’s not doing?
  • Another Sin to Lay at the Feet (Tentacles?) of the Vampire Squid: Oh, nothing much, really. Just an oil scam. A $2.5 trillion oil scam.
  • Relatedly, and finally, Why Goldman Sachs Should be Broken Up, by, interestingly enough, Goldman Sachs.

Sunday, November 8, 2009 12:10 am

Plenty of worthy targets in this world, but ….

Filed under: Aiee! Teh stoopid! It burns! — Lex @ 12:10 am
Tags: ,

Both sides of the abortion debate need to come to grasp with a certain reality: abortion is legal in the United States. And because it is legal, there is no constitutional basis for treating it differently from treating any other medical procedure.

This fact has long escaped the notice of Republicans, but apparently even Democrats are now failing to grasp it. The House voted 240-194 tonight to ban federal insurance plans from covering abortion, an extension of a longtime, and badly misguided, ban on the use of federal funds for abortion.

But, but, but, we think abortion is horrible and so we don’t think our tax dollars should be spent on it, the anti-abortionists whine.

Well, bitch, I think launching an illegal invasion that killed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians is horrible, too, and so are torture and warrantless domestic wiretapping, and yet my argument that our tax money shouldn’t be spent on such endeavors goes unheard somehow. Why the hell should we listen to you?

Digby, who is just on fire today, comments:

I suspect that the [House] leadership decided that abortion was the least important thing they could throw to the slavering Blue Dogs to take home as a victory over the liberals in this debate. And they had to find a hippie to punch to make the thing acceptable to the villagers*, so they decided to punch the desperate pregnant girl. She’s used to it.

Since the Republicans have made themselves irrelevant with their obstructionism the Democrats have decided that in order to further the president’s edict to change the tone and further bipartisanship they will just have to compromise with themselves.

*”villagers” = Digby’s term for the Washington insiders, including most leading figures in the national media, all of whom are much more conservatively biased than is commonly claimed by Republicans.

Saturday, October 31, 2009 12:25 pm

Subsidizing murder

Filed under: I want my religion back. — Lex @ 12:25 pm
Tags: ,

Excusing deviant behavior is the shortest path to Hell. Just ask the Christianist right:

An Army of God manual. A prison cookbook compiled by a woman doing time for abortion clinic bombings and arsons. An autographed bullhorn.

These are among the items that abortion foes plan to auction on eBay and other Web sites in a fundraiser for Scott Roeder, the Kansas City man charged with killing Wichita abortion doctor George Tiller.

“This is unique,” said Regina Dinwiddie, a Kansas City anti-abortion activist who will sign the bullhorn. “Nobody’s ever done this before. The goal is that everybody makes money for Scott Roeder’s defense.” …

[Auction organizer Dave] Leach and others would like to help Roeder hire a lawyer to present what is known as a necessity defense. That strategy would argue that Tiller was killed to prevent a greater harm — killing babies. Other anti-abortion activists charged with violent crimes have tried to use such a defense but with little success.

Good luck with that. Not even Antonin Scalia will buy that argument.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009 8:05 pm

Common ground is overrated

This is what happens when you try to be reasonable with unreasonable people:

As the White House readies its plan for finding “common ground” on reproductive health issues and reducing the need for abortion, a major debate has emerged over how to package the plan’s two major components: preventing unwanted pregnancies and reducing the need for abortion.

Many abortion rights advocates and some Democrats who want to dial down the culture wars want the White House to package the two parts of the plan together, as a single piece of legislation. The plan would seek to reduce unwanted pregnancies by funding comprehensive sex education and contraception and to reduce the need for abortion by bolstering federal support for pregnant women. Supporters of the approach say it would force senators and members of Congress on both sides of the abortion battle to compromise their traditional positions, creating true common ground that mirrors what President Obama has called for.

But more conservative religious groups working with the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships say they would be forced to oppose such a plan—even though they support the abortion reduction part—because they oppose federal dollars for contraception and comprehensive sex education. This camp, which includes such formidable organizations as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Southern Baptist Convention, is pressuring the White House to decouple the two parts of the plan into separate bills. One bill would focus entirely on preventing unwanted pregnancy, while the other would focus on supporting pregnant women.

For these groups, making abortion illegal isn’t even the primary goal. Their primary goal is controlling the behavior of Americans, even those Americans who do not share their religious views. They don’t believe in a right to safe, legal abortion. They don’t believe in artificial contraception (access to which has been the law of the land since the Supreme Court’s Griswold decision in 1965). They don’t even believe in the right to privacy.

These are not reasonable people, these are not honest people, and these are not people who deserve any role in policy making in a free country. They want to use the mechanisms of a free society to deny freedom to others without so much as a shred of justification. That’s unacceptable.

Friday, August 22, 2008 10:04 pm

No more paying taxes. Sweet.

Filed under: Aiee! Teh stoopid! It burns! — Lex @ 10:04 pm
Tags: , , ,

” “People should not be forced to say or do things they believe are morally wrong,” Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt said.

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