Our story begins back in 2006, when Alabama passed a Chemical Endangerment statute meant to protect children from harm in meth houses. Although it said nothing whatsoever about pregnant women and was never intended to apply to women who become pregnant while addicted or who use a drug during pregnancy, that didn’t stop prosecutors from jumping right in.
Make our state worse from the standpoint of environmental degradation? We are competing for the bottom of the list.
At SquareState of Colorado, Zappatero gives a senator the eye-roll in the direction ofSen. Michael Bennet [who was] lionized by Maureen Dowd/NYT for wanting even more Cuts than the Sequester: How could I have missed this?
Oh, wait, Maureen Dowd is irrelevant here in the heartland, but highly influential on the DC Cocktail Cicuit. And Michael Bennet's desire to impose Austerity at all costs caught her attention early this year:Voting to let the country fall off the cliff was an audacious, even precocious, move by the Democratic golden boy and presidential pet—one that, oddly, put him on the side of Marco Rubio and Rand Paul rather than Obama and Joe Biden. "It is an interesting group," he deadpanned about the naysayers. Rubio and Paul didn't have the chance to stake their careers on the Public Option. Bennet said he would, but demurred then, too, and let the Public Option die an unnatural, quiet death.
First up from the God Machine this week is a story out of South Florida, in which a mayoral candidate claimed an unusual political endorsement, which did not turn out especially well.
I've reported on developments at the intersection of religion and politics for a good chunk of my career, but I don't recall ever seeing a politician claim to have been literally endorsed by Jesus Christ. That is, before Anna Pierre, a registered nurse, made the claim in advance of this week's North Miami mayoral race.
"Yes, Jesus endorsed me!" Pierre said during a stop at the Gwen Margolis Community Center Tuesday morning as the polls opened. "I'm not nuts, if I'm a freak and nuts for Jesus, let it be! Let the world know that Jesus is it and when you have Jesus on your side you can go on." Pierre previously claimed she was being intimidated with voodoo tactics.
The Jesus claim was made on a campaign flyer posted to Pierre's Facebook page that reads "Anna Pierre, RN, is endorsed by Jesus Christ" and features a photo of the savior.
Pierre said the endorsement came to her in a revelation while on the campaign trail as she's been competing against six other candidates.
For some reason, local voters were not persuaded -- Pierre came in seventh out of seven candidates, getting slightly less than one percent of the vote.
Also from the God Machine this week:
* The AP reported this week that a prominent American priest of the Legion of Christ religious order has decided to leave the priesthood after admitting he fathered a child years ago. The Rev. Thomas Williams, who had worked as an MSNBC religion analyst, is now eager to care for his son and the mother (thanks to my colleague Vanessa Silverton Peel for the heads-up).
* Remember Harold Camping, who gained notoriety a couple of years ago after predicting the end of the world? This California-based Family Radio ministry has apparently fallen on hard times and begun selling off assets while laying off staffers (thanks to reader R.P. for the tip).
* The town of Muldrow, Okla., is in "turmoil" after the Freedom From Religion Foundation reminded the local public high school that it cannot promote and endorse the Ten Commandments. Many locals have organized large protests, but attorneys representing the school have said the religious displays will have to be removed.
* In Georgia this week, Gov. Nathan Deal (R) this week ordered the state Department of Natural Resources to put Bibles in cabins and lodge rooms at state parks. In a statement, Deal said, "These Bibles are donated by outside groups, not paid for by the state," adding that "any group is free to donate literature" for park cabins and lodges. I'll look forward to seeing which other groups take the governor up on the offer.
* And in Bangladesh, bloggers criticizing the abuse of religion by politicians have been labeled "atheists," and are now facing arrest and death threats.
Coming off a week of media-fed outrage over several "scandals" (IRS, Benghazi, AP), President Obama focused this morning's weekly address back on jobs, progress and the middle class—just as he did when he spoke yesterday in Baltimore. His focus:
There are three areas where we need to focus. One: making America a magnet for good jobs. Two: making sure our workers have the education and skills they need to do those jobs. And three: making sure your hard work leads to a decent living. The president talked of his recent trips to get out of Washington, D.C., and talk to people in cities across the nation like Austin and Baltimore. It is, he made clear, an effort to get out of the D.C. bubble and experience what ordinary Americans care about.
That’s why I like getting out of the Washington echo chamber whenever I can – because too often, our politics aren’t focused on the same things you are. Working hard. Supporting your family and your community. Making sure your kids have every chance in life. And as is almost always the message in his weekly addresses, there's been improvement, but there needs to be more—improvement in the housing market, job creation, income growth and deficit reduction. We must continue these positive trends, he said, even as the auto industry is recovering, and tech and energy sectors are booming. He's going to continue, he said, to hit the road, and to work in the capital for bipartisan solutions to ongoing problems:
In the coming weeks, I’m going to visit more cities like Baltimore, and Austin, Texas – where I was two weeks ago; places where Americans are coming together to strengthen their own communities and economies – and in the process, making this country better for all of us.
And I’m going to keep trying to work with both parties in Washington to make progress on your priorities. Because I know that if we come together around creating more jobs, educating more of our kids, and building new ladders of opportunity for everyone who’s willing to climb them – we’ll all prosper, together.To read the transcript in full, check below the fold or visit the White House website.
If you're old enough, you remember hearing about missile gaps that reportedly posed danger. Here's another perilous chasm: the Consensus Gap. There is virtually no scientific controversy over climate change anymore, but a lot of non-scientists think there is huge controversy in the climate research community itself. Greg Laden explains:The point is, the gap between scientific consensus and public opinion is real, and very important. The consensus gap causes bad things to happen. ... Editorials in Main Stream Media that exploit the consensus gap could be compared to editorials at the New York Times or in the Scientific American or your local newspaper that demand more attention be given to the plight of Big Foot or the Loch Ness Monster. The degree of scientific consensus that those creatures do not exist is about the same as the degree of consensus that AGW is real, though the public “belief” in crypto-critters is less than the public “belief” that AGW is not real. Why? Because Main Stream Media has not taken Big Foot or the Loch Ness Monster seriously in quite some time.
Ten years from now it will be interesting to look back and see how Main Stream Media’s editorial writers who today are sticking with “the jury is still out” on AGW managed their reputations as they looked more and more like they belonged at the National Enquirer rather than a respected news outlet.
- Tanzania offers another clue in the fascinating story of primate evolution.
- Holy smokes, look at the line up of crazy to replace Saxby I-aint-gay Chambliss; no matter who wins, it will bear much science-blogging fruit in the years to come.
- Via the Stephanie Miller Show, I posted a few hilarious excepts from Housekeeping Monthly 1955 AKA The Good Wife's Guide How to Lose a Woman in Five Minutes. Snopes says likely fabricated but still expresses many such sentiments common at that time.
- What could go wrong with mind reading or thought control?
- Sometimes knowing too much science can detract from a sci-fi movie ...
- The sequester kills.
- NASA plans to return a sample of an Apollo class asteroid called 101955 Bennu. The object is about half a km in diameter so no need for record-breaking rovers. One of the strange forces at work this mission will check out is called Yarkovsky Effect: a miniscule quantum force which orbital mechanics must take into account as, over time, it can change change the orbit of a small body enough that it misses the earth ... or hits us.
What evidence does Ms. Noonan present for this second allegation?She cites four conservatives who were audited. Four cases out of 1.5 million. Please. This is "anything for a scandal" garbage and should be treated as such.
NY Times (news section, mind you):Republican charges range from the clearly questionable to the seemingly specious, and they grow by the day. On Friday, lawmakers sought to tie the I.R.S. matter to the carrying out of President Obama’s health care law, which will rely heavily on the agency. Whether they succeed holds significant ramifications for Mr. Obama, who will soon know if he is dealing with a late spring thunderstorm that may soon blow over or a consuming squall that will leave lasting damage. Watch over the next few weeks as Republican glee turns to frustration as the voters decidedly ignore the trumped-up charges.
More politics and policy below the fold.
Among the revelations this week was that Republicans managed to dupe the mainstream media into hyping their Benghazi scandal narrative by feeding them doctored information. The construction of an alternate reality of invented facts, combined with an irrational desire to smear President Obama with scandal, has become so ingrained in Republican culture that the Benghazi concoction might be described as a
Need help? Need to shout out the answer without spoiling anyone else's game?
*Remember to mention the number of the puzzle you're talking about.
[T]o build a new anti-poverty movement will require the kind of organizing and actions that are as creative, visible and gripping as the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Enter Stephen Lerner.
Lerner is a labor and community organizer who has spent more than three decades organizing hundreds of thousands of janitors, farm workers, garment workers and other low-wage workers into unions. These efforts resulted in increased wages, first-time health benefits, paid sick days and other improvements on the job. The architect of the historic Justice for Janitors campaign, he is currently working with unions and community groups across the country to break Wall Street’s anti-democratic grip on our politics and our economy.
Lerner lays out a powerful case about the intersection between poverty and Wall Street accountability—and how a Wall Street accountability movement can transform an economy that offers so few pathways out of poverty, and so many ways to keep people impoverished.
Here is our conversation:
Greg Kaufmann: Why is the Wall Street accountability movement now the focus of your work, and what is the potential you see there?
Stephen Lerner: One of the challenges is that there are so many things wrong right now—that you can be involved in any of a thousand causes. The problem is if they are disconnected it doesn’t add up to anything. So, people who are opposed to poverty have a dozen different things they’d like to move on the Hill, none of which are likely to pass at this time.
If you look at some of the biggest issues of the day—whether it’s the loss of wealth in communities of color, the housing crisis, the student debt crisis, local and state governments cutting jobs and services because of debt—you can connect all of these issues to the original economic crisis of 2008, and the growing and continued dominance of the Wall Street big banks.
The majority of people in this country are either impacted by student debt, the ongoing housing crisis or the crisis of the public sector. And you can trace so much of it to Wall Street. This means instead of having twenty separate campaigns, you can have one campaign, that says how do we rebalance and reorganize the economy so that it benefits everybody—not just a teeny elite at the top.
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2012—Mitt, you dunce, you have to remember your lies:We all know that Romney is a major liar. We've seen it over and over during this campaign. The pile of his lies already has grown enormously and the general election campaign is barely under way.
For someone with his assets, you would think he would have hired himself a better coach of effective lying. He can certainly afford it given the gobs of cash he's sucked up by destroying jobs and being rewarded for it. But apparently he's been a cheapskate on that front. Because he just isn't very good at it despite all the practice.GOP thought they could lie & lie about the Benghazi emails because they didn't think press/public would ever see them. WH said, Here. #oops
— @steveweinstein via web
On today's Kagro in the Morning show, Greg Dworkin on the dying embers of the "scandal" fires. Kevin Drum reports that news outlets got burned by Republican sources on those Benghazi emails, and Armando calls for Jonathan Karl's head. The bizarre story of a holocaust denier reinvented as a Hollywood conservative player. A brief #GunFAIL update. Doctor Who asks about Joan McCarter's post on Reid's plan to call for a vote on the Cordray nomination. Our thanks to show sponsor Audible! Be sure to get your free audio book, download here.
- The Heritage Foundation co-author of their study deeming certain immigrants to be an irredeemable drain on society resigned this week, but still insisted his past arguments about the lower IQ of Hispanics and other non-whites were misunderstood.
- We are governed by morons.
- Pat Buchanan, who is apparently still alive, resurfaced to demand the Republican Party execute a new "Southern Strategy" to protect themselves against the electoral difficulties posed by "people of color." Nobody ever accused Pat of being subtle.
- The American Family Association says that the AARP is turning our old people gay.
- There's no limit to how badly you can screw up and still find success in the Republican Party. First Mark Sanford wanders back from the Appalachian Trail, now the person who came close to destroying the Komen Foundation in her anti-Planned Parenthood crusade is running for the Senate in Georgia. The only question is whether she can beat out equally far-far-right GOP Reps. Paul Broun, Jack Kingston and Phil Gingrey, or as Georgia calls it, the "batshit sampler."
- Another case in point: Allen West is headed to Fox News. That is, if Florida Gov. Rick Scott passes up on appointing him Lt. Governor of Florida.
- The right is still convinced that Planned Parenthood is one big abortionplex. That it might not be doesn't even enter their minds.
- Peggy Noonan uses the IRS scandal as springboard for her new conspiracy that the administration is targeting conservatives for IRS audits as punishment for supporting Romney or saying bad things about ObamaCare. She bases this on a handful of conservatives who have said they've gotten audited in the last few years, and that couldn't possibly just be a coincidence that only a completely addled person could work themselves into a lather over. Everybody knows non-conservatives never get audited by the IRS, right?
These are the people who rule us. In the realm of people who don't rule us and never will, resident Fox "and Friend" Steve Doocy theorizes that the IRS is going to use ObamaCare to deny hip replacements to known conservatives. As a connoisseur of all things tin foil, even I'm impressed with that one. And talk about catering to the Fox News audience!
The full list of Friday night's citations are posted after the jump, but here's a link to the publisher's page for Gregory Johnsen's "The Last Refuge: Yemen, Al Qaeda and America's War in Arabia."