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Member since: Sat Sep 26, 2015, 03:46 PM
Number of posts: 8,265

Journal Archives

The GQP in your state legislatures aren't unique - it's ALEC

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a nonprofit organization of conservative state legislators and private sector representatives who draft and share model legislation for distribution among state governments in the United States.

The Authoritarian Plan for a National Abortion Ban

This is an important read for those interested in reproductive choice.

The anti-abortion movement was never going to stop with overturning Roe v. Wade.

For years, Republicans have argued that their goal was to return the issue of abortion to the states. At no point was this believable; since 1984, the Republican Party platform has called for a constitutional amendment banning abortion. Having spent decades denouncing abortion as a singular moral evil, the anti-abortion movement will not be content to return to a pre-Roe status quo, where abortion was legal in some places but not others.

So it’s not that surprising that, with the possible end of Roe in sight, some opponents of abortion are thinking about how to ban it nationally. Last week my colleague Ross Douthat wrote about a debate within the anti-abortion movement sparked by a highly abstruse article by the Notre Dame professor John Finnis in the Catholic journal First Things. Finnis argues that fetuses are persons under the 14th Amendment, and that the Supreme Court should thus rule abortion unconstitutional. The political implication, wrote Douthat, is that just jettisoning Roe is “woefully insufficient.”

Finnis’s contention is radical, but apparently resonant. Damon Linker, a former editor at First Things and author of a book about the Catholic right, writes, “That is where the pro-life movement is headed — and the rest of the country better be ready for it.”

The threat isn’t immediate; it’s highly unlikely that this Supreme Court is going to adopt constitutional personhood. The justices are “not interested in reading the Constitution to protect life from the moment of conception,” said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, a legal group. “It would make so many things so incredibly difficult to give a fertilized egg all the rights and protections of a born human being.”

But the embrace, by some, of Finnis’s proposition is the latest sign of the right’s disenchantment with democracy, and its dream of imposing on the American people a regime that a majority of them will never consent to. Even Mississippi, after all, rejected fetal personhood in a 2011 referendum.
. . .
The 14th Amendment strategy, by contrast, is a plan to ignore voters altogether. It’s not surprising that it would gain currency at a moment when the right is going all-in on minority rule.
. . .

source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/05/opinion/us-abortion-bans.html

The financial burden on NCAA sports wears wingtips, not sneakers

Important read for those interested in truth and equity in NCAA basketball.

Never again let someone from the NCAA call women’s basketball or any other sport a “cost.” Connecticut’s Paige Bueckers is not a cost. She is the entire damn point. The real cost, the real burden in this iniquitous, contemptible system is the legion of skimmers and coasters led by the devious do-nothing NCAA president Mark Emmert and his board of governors cronies. There is the dead weight.

How many AT&T cellphone plans do the Connecticut women have to sell on ESPN to subsidize Emmert’s steakhouse dinners? How many bottles of Coca-Cola must the Stanford women peddle for free before their game is treated equitably and promoted decently by the NCAA? The biggest drag on collegiate sports, the real liability, is not women’s basketball. It’s these murkily titled, excessively salaried suits, who try to paint women’s teams as a revenue fail to cover their soft-padded seats.

At the top of NCAA headquarters sit 10 executives whose collective salaries amount to $8 million annually, topped by Emmert’s $2.7 million in compensation. That’s the U-Conn. women’s operating budget for an entire year.

Let me repeat that. The salaries of just 10 NCAA administrators could sustain the most successful program in women’s basketball for a whole season.
. . .
New Washington Post reporting by Ben Strauss and Molly Hensley-Clancy suggests the NCAA has understated the value of the women’s tournament by nearly $100 million. The women are blended into a $500 million ESPN package of 24 championships. The NCAA has said the women’s event is worth just 15 percent of that deal, or about $75 million. But people in the industry, including some who worked on that pact, say the women’s tourney in actuality is worth around a third of it — or $167 million.
. . .

source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2021/04/02/ncaa-women-basketball-tournament-cost-burden/

Decorah North eagles welcome first new eaglet of the year

Good News! A livelink is embedded in the article...

It's hatching season at the famous Decorah eagles nests.

Mr. North and Decorah North Female, eagles named for the location of their nest, welcomed the year's first eaglet on Thursday.

Watchers of the Raptor Resource Project's livestream had been keeping an eye on the egg for a couple of weeks and noticed a pip — the first hole broken in the shell — Wednesday.

The eaglet, named Decorah North 13, fully hatched on Thursday. The young eagle has found eating tough, failing on a handful of early attempts, but that doesn't worry officials with the Raptor Resource Project.

"The chow might not always reach the moving target, but practice makes perfect while the hatchling strengthens neck muscles to get bites and its vision comes more into focus," they said in a Facebook post.
. . .

source: https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/entertainment/2021/03/26/decorah-north-eagles-first-new-eaglet-2021-nest-egg-hatch-eagle-livestream-live-cam-raptor-resource/6986010002/

Iowa GQP legislators keep voting against public opinion

The GQP-run legislature has been on a rush to pass pro-gun, anti-public education, pro-cop, anti-city, voter suppression, and anti-free speech laws all session. Of course, they can't leave abortion alone, either, despite the public's opposition.

Iowa Poll: Less than a third of Iowans support anti-abortion constitutional amendment

Fewer than one-third of Iowans now support the Legislature’s push for an amendment that says the state constitution does not secure a right to abortion, according to a new Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll.

Support for the proposal has dipped slightly from 33% last spring to 31% this year, the poll found. Opposition has also risen, with 58% of Iowans now saying they’re opposed, up from 54% a year ago. The remaining 11% of respondents are not sure.

The Republican-controlled Iowa Legislature is working this year to approve the amendment. It would change what abortion opponents say is an overreach by the Iowa Supreme Court in a 2018 decision that found there is a fundamental right to abortion in the Iowa Constitution. Those who support a legal right to abortion oppose the amendment, saying it could lead to extreme abortion restrictions.
. . .

Rest of the article: https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/politics/iowa-poll/2021/03/26/iowa-poll-less-than-third-back-anti-abortion-constitutional-amendment/4655603001/?utm_source=desmoinesregister-Daily%20Briefing&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily_briefing&utm_term=hero

Senator Joni Ernst voted against more than half of Biden's cabinet

This is no surprise to anyone paying attention to Ernst's voting record.

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst has voted against confirming 12 of President Joe Biden’s cabinet appointees. . .
. . .
Only 10 of the 50 Republican senators have voted against more of Biden’s appointees than Ernst: Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, Rick Scott, Tom Cotton, Tommy Tuberville, Bill Hagerty, Rand Paul, Richard Shelby, Marsha Blackburn, and Tim Scott.

Iowa’s senior Senator Chuck Grassley has voted against 5 of the 21 cabinet members confirmed so far.

Both of Iowa’s senators have voted for nine of the Democratic president’s picks:
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen (15 Rs opposed)
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (2 Rs opposed)
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg (13 Rs opposed)
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack (7 Rs opposed)
Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo (15 Rs opposed)
Council of Economic Advisers chair Cecilia Rouse (4 Rs opposed)
Attorney General Merrick Garland (30 Rs opposed)
Small Business Administration Administator Isabel Guzman (17 Rs opposed)
U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai (unanimously confirmed)

Ernst and Grassley voted against 5 nominees:
Homeland Security Director Alejandro Mayorkas (43 Republicans opposed)
U.S. representative to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield (21 Republicans opposed)
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm (35 Republicans opposed)
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland (40 Republicans opposed)
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra (49 Republicans opposed)

Ernst has voted against confirming 7 cabinet members whom Grassley supported:
Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines (10 Rs opposed)
Secretary of State Antony Blinken (22 Rs opposed)
Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough (7 Rs opposed)
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona (33 R opposed)
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge (34 Rs opposed)
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan (34 Rs opposed)
Labor Secretary Marty Walsh (30 Rs opposed)
. . .
Ernst’s office has released only one statement explaining a vote against a Biden appointee (EPA administrator Michael Regan). Her staff have not responded to Bleeding Heartland’s inquiries seeking insight about her general approach to evaluating prospective cabinet members or her reasons for opposing certain officials. In communication with other reporters, staff said Ernst’s no votes on Haines and Blinken were grounded in her concerns about the multilateral Iran deal.

Source: https://www.bleedingheartland.com/2021/03/23/joni-ernst-voted-against-more-than-half-of-bidens-cabinet/

Defense Sec. Austin replaces Trump appointees on panel to strip Confederate names from bases

I'm impressed by Secretary Austin. It's like he's been waiting his whole career to fix the DOD.

President Joe Biden and his top officials are once again showing that they won’t hesitate to throw out the terrible, often last-minute, appointees Donald Trump tried to seed throughout the government. This time, the effort is to de-Trumpify a panel tasked with stripping Confederate names off of military bases and other property.

Congress only overrode one Trump veto during his four years in the White House—after Trump vetoed a defense bill to protect the names of military bases honoring Confederate traitors to the United States. The veto override passed the defense bill putting into place a three-year process to strip Confederate names off of bases, buildings, streets, ships, aircraft, and more, with an eight-member panel doing the work involved. But Trump, of course, tried to stack that panel with his people at the last minute. Now, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has replaced them with more diverse members with more respect for history.
. . .

source: https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2021/3/19/2021826/-Defense-Sec-Austin-replaces-Trump-appointees-on-panel-to-strip-Confederate-names-from-bases

McConnell's filibuster threats are already backfiring: Biden signals support for major Senate reform

As usual, another excellent article by Heather Digby Parton.

Mitch McConnell has finally managed to get the Democrats to understand they have nothing to lose

During the Trump years, there was an excessive amount of hand-wringing over the fact that he and his administration were exploding all the "norms" that had previously held our government institutions together. His insulting behavior and crude lack of decorum woke up many a pundit to the idea that much of our system was dependent upon a good faith adherence to the spirit of democracy as much as any formal rules, regulations and laws. He came to Washington without any serious understanding of how government worked and he didn't care when it was pointed out to him. Many were left shocked at how feeble our institutions had turned out to be in the face of someone who had no respect for them.

But let's not kid ourselves. Those norms had always only been as strong as the people who were charged with upholding them and those agreements were unraveling long before Trump entered politics. So we should have seen it coming.
. . .
On Tuesday, he angrily declared that if the Democrats were to change the rules as he routinely does when he is in charge, the Republicans would respond by defunding Planned Parenthood and loosening gun restrictions as soon as they get the majority, which he will do in any case if it pleases him.
. . .
McConnell's extreme politicization of Senate norms, grinding the Obama administration to a halt and then confirming hundreds of extremist judges, including three onto the Supreme Court, demonstrated that he has absolutely no respect for democratic norms. He didn't try to hide it. And that was his big mistake. By being so smug and so flamboyant in wielding his power (remember "we'll fill it"?) he finally managed to get the Democrats to understand that they have nothing to lose by going around him to enact their agenda and letting the people decide if they like the results. If it works out they, will be re-elected. If not, they did their best. That's democracy, after all, the most important norm of all.

source: https://www.salon.com/2021/03/17/mcconnells-filibuster-threats-are-already-backfiring-biden-signals-support-for-major-senate-reform/

She Came to the US to Study With Only $300 in Her Pocket --

Now She’s a NASA Director For the Mars Rover

What an uplifting story of a truly inspirational person.

For a little girl growing up in Colombia in the 1980s, a science career with NASA may have seemed about as likely as setting foot on a faraway planet. These days, however, Diana Trujillo is an aerospace engineer.

In fact, she leads a 45-person team at the NASA laboratory that’s responsible for the robotic arm of the latest Mars rover.
. . .

Rest of article at: https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/diana-trujillo-nasa-role-model-mars/

GOP Can't Figure Out How To Make Joe Biden Black, A Woman Or Both

Nothing new, but a good read.
Republicans are struggling — hooray! — to “define" Joe Biden or, more to the point, falsely smear the president as a Kenyan socialist demonic baby eater. Their scuzzy tactics worked so well with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. What's different about Uncle Joe? That will likely remain a mystery for as long as Biden remains an old white guy.

From the Associated Press: "There's just not the antipathy to Biden like there was Obama. He just doesn't drive conservative outrage," said Alex Conant, a longtime GOP operative, who worked for the Republican National Committee in 2009 as they labored to undermine then-President Barack Obama.

There's not much “labor" involved with going full racist against the first Black president. (Which AP actually noted! "Biden, who focused a portion of his campaign trying to win back working-class white voters who left the Democratic Party for Trump, also inherently does not face the racist attacks aimed at Obama or the sexist ones targeted at Clinton." Will you look at that!)
. . .
They've started to focus their attacks on Vice President Kamala Harris, who is both Black and a woman. She even has her own racist “birther" controversies. Conservatives are now implying that Harris is the true power behind the throne because unlike Mike Pence, her duties are more comprehensive than massaging the president's ego.
. . .
It's reasonable that world leaders would view the young, badass vice president as a future commander in chief. Preparing Harris to take the conn is responsible leadership from Biden, not an abdication of duty. The New York Post reported that Pence didn't speak directly with any world leaders during his final year in office, even though there was a global pandemic and he was theoretically the head of the coronavirus task force.

Harris isn't running the country, but conservatives probably wish she was. Their bigoted bag of tricks just aren't working against Biden.

Source: https://www.wonkette.com/gop-cant-figure-out-how-to-make-joe-biden-black-a-woman-or-both
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