June 14, 2013 at 8:59 am #90723
GOP Men can’t stop talking about rape.
Published on Jun 13, 2013
President Obama delivers remarks at the LGBT Pride Month celebration at the White House. June 13, 2013.
TGIF and Good Morning.
As you go through your day, don’t forget JJP at TWIB.
Drop those links. Engage in debate. Give us trivia and gossip too.
And always, have a peaceful day.June 14, 2013 at 9:09 am #90724
Good Morning, EveryoneJune 14, 2013 at 9:10 am #90725
Unanimous court: companies can’t patent human genes
By Steve Benen
Thu Jun 13, 2013 2:02 PM EDT.
One of the year’s most important Supreme Court cases turned out to be an easier than expected.
The entirety of the ruling in Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics is online here (pdf).
DNA, the ruling said, is “a product of nature and not patent eligible merely because it has been isolated.” On the other hand, artificial genetic material created in laboratories can be patented.
NBC News’ Pete Williams and Erin McClam added that patient advocates expect the decision to increase competition and lower the cost of screenings for cancer risk and other genetic tests. Civil libertarians agree, with the ACLU noting that the court ruling has “lifted a major barrier to progress” in treating and preventing diseasesJune 14, 2013 at 9:12 am #90726
Memo to Pres. Clinton: Who are you calling a “wuss”?
MEMO TO PRESIDENT CLINTON: WHO ARE YOU CALLING A “WUSS“?
President Bill Clinton,
Your recent statements about Pres. Barack Obama regarding military action in Syria have gotten my dander up. And so I break my own rule about only focusing my blogging energies on defeating Republicans.
Just what is it, Mr. Clinton, about this President, Obama, that makes you hover around his presidency like an insufferable helicopter parent? That last word is what it is, right? You see him as a minor who requires your supervision, no? Just as in 2007/2008 you called him inexperienced , and angrily told the Late Senator Kennedy that in your “days, Obama would be fetching you coffee”, you just can’t give him space to govern in his own right, right? You see yourself as his chaperon? Armchair quarterback ?
In the first month of the 1st term, as the economy was imploding and Pres Obama was carefully calibrating his words to both provide the unvarnished truth about the dire state of the economy but simultaneously reassure us that we would be able to make it out of the doldrums, you marched onto GMA and other stations to undercut him. You sat there and admonished the President for relaying too gloomy a picture about the economy. You wanted him to lie to us. Sugarcoat the reality of the financial crisis? Why? Because you cynically thought we couldn’t handle the truth?
You poured cold water on the healthcare law’s chances of being upheld by the Supreme Court last year.
You wrote a book accusing President Obama of being “weak” in the wake of the debt ceiling debacle in 2011, when he decided to focus like a laser on income inequality. You lambasted him for turning into an “occupy Wall street” class warrior.
You two-footed Pres Obama’s campaign strategies when you inanely chastised him for pointing out the real life consequences of Bain’s business model on vulnerable working people. Your corporate coddling was bared for us all to see.
Constructive criticism and suggestions are one thing. Welcome they are. But to endless treat this President as if he had two left feet and no clue how to lace up his shoes, is downright condescending and infantilizing of a man who has cleaned up the bulk of your messes both on the domestic and foreign policy fronts — Dismantling DADT, Weakening DOMA, Passing Financial regulation Dodd-Frank Law, Successful Healthcare law after Hillarycare fail, Rebuilding WINNING Democratic party coalition, NAFTA review & Worker protection rules for all new Trade Agreements, Osama bin Laden capture, National Security oversight,
I lived through and closely studied your exploits during the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia and your dithering on Bosnia. Yet you have the chutzpah to accuse President Obama of risking becoming a “wuss” if he took a cautious approach to intervention in the Syrian mess?
We remember your fatal indecisiveness during the Rwandan Genocide, the massacre in Sarajevo, and the delayed intervening in Kosovo. You cannot pull a fast one on us today. The spectacle of you and John McCain prancing around as war hawks on Syria is SICK!
This is the result of your inaction in Rwanda in 1994June 14, 2013 at 9:15 am #90727
The line Rubio will not cross
By Steve Benen
Thu Jun 13, 2013 3:11 PM EDT
Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-Fla.) off-again, on-again support for comprehensive immigration reform is, at least for now, on track. Despite last week’s threats, the conservative Floridian has not betrayed his allies and has not walked away from the legislation he helped write.
There is, however, one issue that would force the Republican senator to walk away.
His line in the sand has nothing to do with border security or tax penalties or provisions related to learning English. Rather, Rubio just can’t tolerate gay rights.
At issue, of course, is a provision from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), who wants to allow U.S. citizens in long-term same-sex relationships to sponsor foreign partners for green cards. The measure was defeated in committee, but Leahy intends to introduce it again on the floor.
The odds of success are poor — even Democrats who agree with Leahy fear derailing the bill — but Rubio wants to make it clear to his allies on the right that equal treatment for same-sex families would simply be a bridge too far.
It’s always good to know where a policymaker’s true priorities lie.June 14, 2013 at 9:19 am #90728
Republicans Really, Really Don’t Care About Improving Healthcare
—By Kevin Drum
| Thu Jun. 13, 2013 11:29 AM PDT
Ramesh Ponnuru argues today that Republicans are foolish for hanging their hats on the likelihood that Obamacare will die a fiery death in 2014, sweeping them into control of Congress and then, two years later, into the presidency. That won’t happen, he says. Instead, Obamacare will die a slow, painful, lingering death, and Republicans need to get busy now coming up with a replacement healthcare plan for when that happens. But what should it be?
Congressional Republicans have not reached agreement on what should replace Obamacare, let alone a strategy for enacting that replacement. The best option for replacing Obamacare would be a plan that made it possible for almost everyone in the country to purchase catastrophic insurance (and possible for most people to buy insurance that goes beyond catastrophic coverage) by removing the obstacles that government policy puts in the way of that goal.
A plan to do that would involve six key steps….
I’ll spare you the six steps. It’s all the usual stuff—catastrophic coverage, high-risk pools, tax reform, etc.—and I think Paul Waldman’s response pretty much says what needs to be said:
The biggest problem with this kind of appeal is that he will never, ever get anything beyond a tiny number of Republicans to invest any effort in coming up with a health-care plan. That would involve understanding a complex topic, weighing competing values and considerations against one another, and eventually getting behind something that will be something of a compromise. And let me say it again: They. Just. Don’t. Care.
I don’t blame Ponnuru and others for trying to get conservatives to embrace some kind of healthcare plan. I think they’re kind of crazy to think their proposed plan would (a) work, (b) be politically attractive, or (c) be popular, but maybe that’s just my liberal bias talking. What’s not my liberal bias talking, however, is the plain fact that conservatives don’t care about expanding access to healthcare. As Waldman says, the evidence on this score is overwhelming. They opposed Medicare. They opposed CHIP. They’ve opposed every expansion of Medicaid ever. Only brutal strongarm tactics got them to support their own president’s prescription drug plan, despite the sure knowledge that killing it would likely lose them the White House the following year. And of course, they’ve opposed every Democratic attempt to pass universal healthcare legislation in the last century.
During that same period, Republicans have never shown any interest in a plan of their own. They periodically put on a show whenever Democrats propose something that looks like it might have legs, but it’s purely defensive. When the threat goes away, so does the show. This has happened like clockwork for decades.
There is no way—repeat: no way—to broaden access to healthcare without spending more money. That’s something Republicans have never been willing to do, and they’re less willing now than ever. Nor is there any way to tap dance around this. You can try, but you’ll get caught pretty quickly. There’s just no way to square this circle.June 14, 2013 at 9:24 am #90729
House GOP to Hold ‘Special Conference’ On Immigration
By Jonathan Strong
June 13, 2013 4:19 PM
House leadership just announced a “special conference” on immigration for July 10, offering members a closed-door session to talk about the GOP’s strategy on an issue that is deeply dividing the party.
The move comes after Steve King had gathered the necessary signatures to force such a session and discussed his strategy on the issue with National Review Online. There has been increasing scrutiny on whether Speaker John Boehner would be willing to pass an immigration bill in violation of the so-called “Hastert rule,” which requires the support of the “majority of the majority.”
Since successfully coming to agreement on a short-term debt-ceiling strategy at the January House Republican retreat in Williamsburg, Va., House leaders have increasingly sought to give rank-and-file members ample opportunity to provide input in such settings.
Regarding whether King had forced the session, a leadership aide said the special conference had been in the works for “several weeks.”June 14, 2013 at 9:25 am #90730
Whither White America?
June 13, 2013
More thoughts on the future of white people.
“Majority-minority” is an unusual term—by definition, minorities are no longer such if they’re in the majority—but it’s a convenient shorthand for what most people expect to happen in the United States over the next few decades. A growing population of nonwhites—driven by Asian and Latino immigration—will yield a country where most Americans have nonwhite heritage, thus “majority-minority.”
The most recent analysis from the Census Bureau seems to bear this out. Last year was the first year that whites were a minority of all newborns, and based on current rates of growth, they’ll become a minority of the under–five set by next year, if not the end of this one. Overall, the government projects that within five years, minorities will compromise a majority of all Americans under the age of eighteen, something to keep in mind when trying to project future political support for both parties.
There’s more: For the first time in more than a century, the number of deaths among white Americans exceeds the number of births. More than ten percent of the nation’s 3,143 counties are “majority-minority,” and in 13 states and the District of Columbia, the under–five population is already “majority-minority.” By 2043, the Census projects, America’s white majority will be gone.
One fact stands out in all of this, however. The fastest growing group of Americans—by far—fall under the “multiracial category.” If past research is any indication, these Americans are likely the product of intermarriage betweens whites and Hispanics (the most common interracial pairing) or whites and Asians (the next most common one). While we identify them as nonwhite, we don’t know how they’ll identify themselves in the future.
My hunch is that—as (certain groups of) Latinos and Asians integrate themselves into American life—a good number will identify themselves as white, with Hispanic or Asian heritage, in the same way that many white Americans point to their Irish or Italian backgrounds.
Indeed, if there’s anything to take away from the history of white as a racial category, its that it’s flexible; who “counts” as white is fluid, and changes with social and economic circumstances. The only constant to “white” is that it isn’t “black.” Even now, a biracial person of African American heritage is most likely to be identified as simply “black.”
Which gets to something I’ve argued in the past. While there’s no doubt the United States will become a place where people of Asian and Hispanic heritage are common, that’s not the same as saying it will become a “majority-minority” country. Given our history, and continued assimilation, intermarriage, and upward mobility among Latino and Asian Americans as a whole, there’s a good chance the United States will remain a “white” country, where “white” includes people of Hispanic and Asian heritageJune 14, 2013 at 9:27 am #90731
Six months after Newtown
By Steve Benen
Fri Jun 14, 2013 8:00 AM EDT.
The massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary happened six months ago today, sparking a spirited national debate about how — and whether — to take steps to reduce gun violence. As Rachel explained on the show last night, the campaign thus far has seen mixed results.
In Nevada, for example, the state legislature recently approved a proposal to require background checks on gun purchases, including private transactions, closing the gun-show loophole. A recent statewide poll showed 86% of Nevadans supporting the measure, including 78% of self-identified conservatives.
Perhaps this could be the kind of common-sense measure that Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) could sign into law? Apparently not.June 14, 2013 at 9:29 am #90732
Former CIA chief of staff: Snowden is “delusional” and could be “aiding our enemies”
By Jonathan Karl, Richard Coolidge, and Jordyn Phelps |
A former CIA chief of staff says U.S. officials are concerned that NSA leaker Edward Snowden could be “aiding our enemies” by handing over sensitive U.S. intelligence to the Chinese government.
Jeremy Bash told Politics Confidential that Snowden had access to “very sensitive information” in his job as a government contractor and could do “tremendous damage.” He said the government’s concern goes beyond the documents that were leaked – extending to the knowledge that Snowden still stores in his head.
“If a foreign government learned everything that was in Edward Snowden’s brain, they would have a good window into the way we collect signals intelligence,” Bash said.
“He has information in his head, he’s making threats, he’s on the loose,” Bash added. “We don’t know what other documents he copied, and we don’t know who else he’s talking to.”
While Bash said that Snowden is “very dangerous,” he also describes him as “delusional.”
Bash said some of Snowden’s allegations are almost certainly wrong, taking particular aim at his claim that he has the names of everyone in the U.S. intelligence community.
“I didn’t have access to that when I was working for a head of an agency,” Bash said of his time as the chief of staff to then-CIA Director Leon Panetta. “And the head of the agency didn’t have it. It’s highly compartmented for exactly this reason, so that that information cannot fall into the hands of any one single individual.”
As for Snowden’s claim that he could intercept any ordinary American citizen’s emails, passwords, phone records and credit cards, Bash said it was “totally wrong.”
“It’s almost impossible for me to contemplate that he could,” Bash said. “The requests have to be documented. You can’t just turn on a switch and start surveilling any American that you want to. You’ve got to go through a lot of legal process.”
For more of the interview with Bash, and to hear what he had to say about Hollywood’s portrayal of the NSA, check out this episode of Politics Confidential.June 14, 2013 at 9:29 am #90733
theGrio treats Harlem teens to ‘Man of Steel’ screening
by theGrio | June 13, 2013 at 5:54 PM
Warner Brothers’ highly-anticipated superhero epic Man of Steel hits theaters this Friday and the movie studio presented theGrio with 20 tickets to an early screening in New York City.
To tie into the theme of the latest Superman movie, which tells the story of a one-of-a-kind hero, Warner Bros. asked theGrio to invite deserving members of the local community who aspire to achieve greatness in their everyday lives.
So theGrio invited students and faculty from Brotherhood/Sister Sol, a Harlem-based youth development organization that provides comprehensive and long-term support services for students ages 8 to 22.
“We provide rites of passages, intensive environmental work projects, job training and college guidance among many other resources and activities,” Khary Lazarre-White, the organization’s founder, told theGrio.
The organization — also often referred to as Bro/Sis — was founded in 1995, and has provided valuable resources to students in Harlem, and beyond, who usually come from lower-income families.
“They’re all so deserving, I love those kids,” says Lorisse Bentine, a chapter leader at Bro/Sis. “I’m truly thankful to Warner Bros for giving us this opportunity. This is a big deal and the students are all very appreciative. This is the type of opportunity that they don’t get all the time from whey they come from.”
The students arrived to the Times Square movie theater at 7 p.m. and were buzzing with excitement. They were all members of Bro/Sis’ comic and environmental club and had a strong interest in Superman and comic book heroes.June 14, 2013 at 10:27 am #90739
Senate Democrats discuss need for ‘black agenda’
Associated PressBy SUZANNE GAMBOA | Associated Press – 15 hrs ago..
WASHINGTON (AP) — The sole Democratic African-American senator cast doubt on the need for a “black agenda” from the president and on its chances of passage in Congress during a Democratic forum with largely African-American reporters Wednesday.
Massachusetts Sen. William “Mo” Cowan said the issues that black Americans are concerned about are the same as those causing white Americans concern, although to different degrees.
“I think he has to stick with the agenda and what he thinks is going to move the country forward,” Cowan said referring to President Barack Obama. Cowan is temporarily filing the seat vacated by John Kerry who is now secretary of state. Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina also is African-American.
Since his election in 2008 as the first black president, Obama has been hounded by questions about how well his administration has addressed the needs of the black community.
He has had some vocal detractors but also supporters, like Cowan.
Cowan and other senators participating in the forum organized by the Democratic Steering Outreach Committee, agreed that if Obama had sent a package of legislation as a “black agenda,” its chance for passage would be slim.
“It would not be dead on arrival in the Senate. It would be dead on arrival in the House,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.
On the other hand, Obama has had some pieces of legislation that could positively impact black Americans, such as the Affordable Care Act intended to provide access to affordable health care, Cowan said.June 14, 2013 at 10:57 am #90740
HUD Housing Study Reveals Blacks, Minorities Still Face Discrimination
Jun 13, 2013
By D.L. Chandler
This week, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Urban Institute released data from a study, regarding housing and racial discrimination. The study suggests that African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians are less likely to learn about specialized housing programs than White buyers.
The study, “Housing Discrimination Against Racial And Ethnic Minorities 2012,” found that real estate and rental housing agents do not display an equal amount of options when compared to Whites. Although HUD officials acknowledge that the discrimination of the past has been in steady decline, the insidious practice of denying Blacks and minorities access to properties is persisting.
“Fewer minorities today may be getting the door slammed in their faces, but we continue to see evidence of housing discrimination that can limit a family’s housing, economic, and educational opportunities,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan in a press statement. “It’s clear we still have work to do to end housing discrimination once and for all.”
“The forms of discrimination documented by this study are very difficult for victims to detect,” added Urban Institute’s Margery Turner. “To detect housing discrimination today, HUD and local fair housing organizations need to conduct proactive testing, especially in the sales market, where discrimination appears higher than in the rental market.”
The Urban Institute conducted the study, using a “paired testing” method to collect data. Simply put, the researchers compared the results of White and minority home buyers in 28 major metropolitan areas, including the Washington Metropolitan region, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Cleveland, Boston, and Atlanta.
The Institute used trained testers who are White, Black, Asian, and Hispanic to inquire about randomly selected properties in their testing region. The testers in the paired groupings matched in age, gender, family structure, and earnings.
On paper, these testers were qualified buyers or renters and secretly recorded the treatment they received while in the field.
It was found that African-American home buyers learned about the existence of 17 percent fewer homes and were shown 18 percent fewer properties. On the renters’ side, 11 percent fewer units were “advertised as available” while they were shown 4 percent less units than Whites.June 14, 2013 at 11:37 am #90741
Scott Walker’s enemies list
By Steve Benen
Fri Jun 14, 2013 10:35 AM EDT.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), poised to become the new Gov. Ultrasound, recently appointed a college student to the state university system’s board of regents, which ordinarily wouldn’t be especially interesting.
Except, in this case, Walker withdrew the appointment soon after making it — and that’s proving to be quite interesting, indeed.
Gov. Scott Walker has withdrawn his appointment of a University of Wisconsin-Platteville student to the UW System’s Board of Regents — a student who signed a petition seeking to remove the governor from office in a recall two years ago.
“His nomination has been withdrawn,” Walker’s press secretary Tom Evenson confirmed Thursday morning. Evenson did not immediately respond to questions about the reason for the withdrawal.
It was just Monday when the Republican governor named Joshua Inglett to the UW System Board of Regents, saying in a statement, “I know he will serve the UW System and his fellow students well.” And by all appearances, that confidence made a lot of sense — Inglett is a good student, studying engineering physics at UW-Platteville, and has served as a resident assistant in a dormitory.
But a few days later, the governor’s office discovered that the student had signed an anti-Walker recall petition two years ago. All of a sudden, the invitation was revoked.
I suppose it’s possible that Walker had some other hidden reason for rescinding the invitation a few days after announcing it, but on the surface, it certainly looks like the governor is keeping an enemies list
State Sen. Fred Risser (D) told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “If signing a recall petition disqualifies a person, that means a million citizens are no longer eligible for public service in this administration. Risser added that the Republican governor has created the “most partisan government we’ve ever had in my experience.”June 14, 2013 at 11:43 am #90742
Faces of Hope: Every Girl Needs a Dance with Her Dad
Jun 13, 2013
By Patrice Gaines, BlackAmericaWeb.com
One evening each June, young girls in party dresses and shiny shoes arrive at a Richmond, Va. City jail for a date with their dads. They are escorted inside by the sheriff and met on a red carpet by their fathers, who for the occasion have been allowed to trade in their jumpsuits for suits and ties.
The fathers, also sporting boutonnieres, place wrist corsages on the girls. There are hugs and kisses, photos, then dinner and finally, dancing. Strong arms embrace tender shoulders and the room is filled with the sense that something very important is taking place.
The event, called “Dance of Their Own,” is organized by Camp Diva, a group that holds summer and after school programs that teach girls leadership and entrepreneurship and basic life skills. Angela Patton, director and co-founder of Camp Diva, said the girls of the organization came up with the idea for the event.
As part of the program’s curriculum, girls study the difference between community service and real change and learn to become critical thinkers and leaders.
“They identify problems and create a project to create the type of change they want to see,” said Patton.
The girls have worked on issues such as animal rights and bullying. But about six years ago, said Patton, “They saw a lot of the social issues related to them came out of the fact they didn’t have fathers in their life.”
So the girls created “Date with Dad Dinner and Dance,” which is held annually in March in Richmond.
“The girls chose March because it’s Women’s History Month. They felt to be productive women, they needed fathers in their lives,” said Patton, who noted that the event started with 20 fathers and daughters and now draws over 500 people.
In addition to that dinner, the March weekend is full of community activities that brings out fathers and their supporters.
Darius Johnson has escorted his daughter Phoebe, now eight, to the community “Date with Dad Dinner and Dance” since she was three years old.
“I like the idea of an event specifically geared to promote a relationship between a father and daughter,” said Johnson. “Being there and seeing the fathers and daughters is a powerful feeling. I always spend time with her, but that’s a special day for her.”
The event had already become a major community affair when a couple of years ago Patton asked Camp Diva member Franiqua Davis, then 12, if she was going to attend. Franiqua said, “No.” Surprised, Patton asked why.
Franiqua, now 14, recalls the conversation well.
“I told her my father was incarcerated and it wouldn’t feel right without him.”
Patton told her the program had “fill-in” fathers, male mentors from the community who escorted girls without fathers.
“It wouldn’t feel right knowing I did not have my father with me for that special moment,” the young girl insisted.
Franiqua, who her mother said was very shy before joining Camp Diva, admits she surprised herself by speaking up about something she used to never talk about. She was also surprised that Angela Patton understood. In fact, inspired by Franiqua, the “Dance of Their Own” event at the jail was created. Patton said since its beginning, she has taken girls ages five through 17 to the jail for the memorable evening.
The fathers who participate are serving sentences for non-violent crimes like drug possession. The sheriff usually greets the girls and escorts them in, handing them off to their dads. This year the event was held on June 8. Patton said Gov. Bob McDonnell attended, leading the girls in and delivering a “Father’s Day message that was extremely supportive, not judgmental, and talked about giving second chances, co-parenting and re-entry.
“Dressed in suits, the attitudes of these grown men change,” said Patton. “Then you can hear the girls oooing when they come in and see their fathers, especially those who may have never seen them in anything other than pants hanging below their waists.
“A radio personality announces each father and daughter. The daughter is on the father’s arm and he pulls out her chair and makes sure she takes her seat.”
During the night, there are activities aimed at getting father and daughter to talk to one another and to build memories. Each father and daughter receives a journal. The daughter writes on the first page of the father’s book and he writes on the first page of hers. Each gives a video message to the other also and the messages are incorporated in a personalized CD given to each girl and father later as a memento.
“Leaving is always very emotional, but they leave with a memory and a sense of hope,” Patton said. “We always end in a circle after a Soul Train line.”
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