Monday, February 6, 2012

Weekly Roundup, January 30-February 5, 2012

By Blueberry T

For those interested in learning more about Sarah Palin's faked pregnancy with Trig, click here; there are also many resources on the right-hand sidebar.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Dusty takes a closer look at Mitt Rom[o]ney and Newt Gingrich. Mitt will say anything to be elected, and has reached absolute zero on the empathy scale. While he has mastered the art of smiling and saying what he thinks people want to hear, his recent gaffes, along with the Seamus story that won’t go away and revelations about his wealth and taxes (or lack thereof) paint a less flattering portrait. He really is not worried about the very poor, nor about sick dogs on the roof, nor about the truth about how we got into the economic mess, nor about a fair tax code, nor about firing workers. What about Newt? The height of the current GOP absurdity is that Newt Gingrich can run on “family values” or not being a Washington insider or being the one to clean up the economy. But he is able to tap into the Great White Fear and attracts “bully” and “pulpit” voters (nice one, Dusty!). BONUS: the Game Change trailer at the end of the post will bring a smile to many faces… enjoy!
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
This is Part 3 of Nomad’s brilliant series on the scandal-ridden Texas Youth Commission; here are Parts 1 and 2. This part ties together and explains the dreadful situation that juvenile inmates have endured in Texas. Fortunately, justice was partially served for some of the victims, and there were some heroes; but others got off and the terrible conditions and abuse of juveniles is not solved.
This is also a hugely important post regarding privatization of prisons and public policy about crime. Some key points: the “tough on crime” mantra of George W. Bush’s tenure as TX Governor led to an explosion in the prison population, pushing the system beyond the limits. This set the stage for profit-making by the GEO Group, which despite its poor reputation and due to its lobbying, was able to secure major contracts to run prison facilities. Sending people to prison is big business in Texas and elsewhere, and industry lobbyists have a growing influence on public policy about crime. Governors Perry, Brewer, Scott, Kasich and others are closely linked to companies that are privatizing prisons.
This post includes much eye-opening information; here is some. If Texas were a country, it would have the highest prison population in the world; its prison population increased sixfold from 1980 to 2006. One in 20 adult Texans are incarcerated/on probation/parole (2007). Despite a much higher incarceration rate in TX compared to New York, NY saw a greater decrease in crime and its rates of crime and murder are much lower than in Texas. More: nationwide, crime and violent crime are steeply declining, yet incarceration is going upward. I can’t do justice to the entire post: you really must read it to learn how profits are being made from the privatization of prisons and how detention of youths and immigrants are big profit centers. Kudos to Nomad for another tremendous job illuminating a very difficult subject.
Thursday, February 2, 2012
As we witness increasing efforts of the ultra-right to roll back women’s rights, sunnyjane reminds us of a terrible historical precedent that occurred in Romania forty-five years ago. In the post WWII period, Romanian women had access to safe, legal abortions, but that access was denied under the Ceausescu dictatorship. The government issued Decree 770, severely limiting access to contraception and abortion, to force women to bear more children. The results were disastrous. The mortality rate for pregnant and delivering women skyrocketed, and infant mortality and childhood malnutrition increased dramatically as well. Only with the fall of communism did abortion and contraception become legal again. The horrific conditions in Romanian orphanages, which came to world attention around 1990, should serve as a reminder of the terrible results of these policies to restrict women’s access to contraception and safe, legal abortion. Let’s hope (let’s vote) that America will not repeat these mistakes. The choice about this issue could not be more stark: the far-right continues to introduce anti-abortion and anti-contraception legislation, while the Obama Administration has issued rules requiring that contraception must be provided at no cost under the Affordable Care Act.
Friday, February 3, 2012
Dusty offers an excellent segue from sunnyjane’s post, looking at the provisions of the Affordable Care Act that require coverage for contraception as part of “wellness care” that does not require a copayment. She considers this issue in light of the constitutional protection of freedom of religion. There is a lot of hyperbole coming from the Catholic Church and others who are fighting this requirement, suggesting that it somehow infringes on their religious freedom. But as Dusty shows, the regulations allow for religious exemptions and do not force contraceptive services on anyone who does not want them, nor do they force anyone to provide services that may violate their religious beliefs. This is an excellent post that debunks a lot of the misinformation and clarifies some of the points that have been misinterpreted.
Saturday, February 4, 2012
Maelewis has a gift for putting in words what many of us are thinking, so it is appropriate that mae was the winner of Politicalgates first anniversary contest – well done! As she said so beautifully, we truly have become a community of friends. Leadfoot_LA also has a gift – she offers her “pictorial ode to Levi” (H/T Kathleen)… well, ahem, not much left to our imaginations here! I know that’s how you roll, Leadfoot, but I’m beginning to think you may need an intervention!! After maelewis generously donated back her prize, Kathleen put the cherry on the cake by “regifting” it from Politicalgates to Planned Parenthood – Perfect! (That’s a lot of P’s.)
In the midst of Susan B. Komen’s self-inflicted fiasco, I want to send ((((♥♥♥)))) to our readers who shared stories of living with cancer – their own or that of a loved one. Hugs from all of us to you and a deep bow of gratitude for sharing your personal lives with us; we are the richer for it and hope that our friendship gives you comfort and support (and a good laugh now and again, too).
Some Comments and Links:
Leadfoot (on Trump’s endorsement of Romney): Not surprising. They both like to fire people.
JulaUSA: …we all know that if men got pregnant abortion would be in the Bill of Rights.
Cackling Rad spoke for a lot of us: I've had friends in the health care industry complain to me that SGK siphons off a HUGE percentage of the money that is given every year to help fight cancer, to the point that other cancers aren't receiving anywhere near the same attention. But when you realize that most of that money is going to sell pink merchandise and organize flashy walks and races, and pay fat salaries, and pay lawyers to sue other charities, and fund lobbyists fighting national health care... Well, to say I am infuriated is an understatement.
Bandit Basheert: They don't care about a cure. They found the goose that lays their golden egg.
Yknott found this on HuffPo by Lilly Ledbetter.
Cheeriogirl and mmboucher linked to littlegreenfootballs on the ties between Susan B. Komen and Koch Industries.
Dusty highlighted this excellent post by margaretandhelen. Later Dusty and juicyfruityy linked to this amazing statement by a woman with breast cancer. DO NOT MISS THIS.
Alwaysthink linked to DailyKos on commercialization of cancer by Komen and others.
Mmboucher linked to politicususa on Rom[o]ney’s lies; this seems to go with Dusty’s first post this week.
ProChoiceGrandma pointed out this from Alternet on Komen/Planned Parenthood controversy.
HonestyinGov and sunnyjane pointed out maps so that people can track KeystoneXL. HIG also found this excellent piece by Barbara Ehrenreich on “Cancerland.”

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