Christy Hardin Smith

Judge in Stevens Case Starts Criminal Contempt Proceedings Against DOJ Officials

UPDATE: Judge Sullivan announced today that he will commence criminal proceedings against DOJ attorneys on the Stevens' case:

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Econopocalypse Goes From Bad to Worse

Anyone else getting that "bottom's gonna fall out of the tilt-a-whirl" feeling about the economy, too? It's an ugly day of news on the economic front:

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Michelle Obama Cooks Up Quite a Political Dish on the Food Network

Michelle Obama scored a huge coup, with an appearance on Paula's Party on Food Network, taking her "home cooking mama" appeal straight to the most sought-after demographic this year: women.  Get this from People Magazine:

"She was everything I thought she would be: Smart, great sense of humor and loves to talk about family," Deen told PEOPLE of meeting Mrs. Obama.

The pair prepared fried shrimp for Deen's show and Deen said, "I can tell she spends time in the kitchen – she was very relaxed when we cooked. And that lady is a good eater."

Not that it shows. "Did I tell you she is in the best shape ever? Everyone was staring at her amazing arms!" said Deen.

Food Network doesn't allow political ads, so this was huge in terms of reach-out.  Both campaigns have been running ads designed to hit female viewers -- during talk shows, soap operas, you name it.  Demographic strategery.

The GOP Thinks Organizing in Your Community is Worthless

Well, I suppose we should all just throw up our hands and let local children starve, let civil rights problems fester, and shut up and accept every problem for what it is:  our lot in life.  

Screw the poor.  To hell with women being allowed to vote.  Rollback the end of slavery.  And get yer hazmat suits, because your environment is about to be sold off piecemeal to the highest bidder -- hunters, fishermen, and wildlife enthusiasts be damned.

Welcome to Republican world, where trying to make things better in your hometown makes you something they laugh at proudly.  How's that feel America?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but without community organizers like Martin Luther King, Jr., we'd all still be dealing with separate water fountains for coloreds and Jim Crow Laws.  And I mean the old ones, not the new poll tax crap that Hans Von Spakovsky keeps trying to sneak in through the sewers.

Oh, and ladies?   No community organizers means that your voice doesn't count for shit.  No vote for you!

McCain Campaign in Bed with Abramoff Buddy Ralph Reed

John McCain is like a moth who just can't stay away from the corruption flame, given the sheer number of lobbyists and other questionable cronies, big money bundlers buying corporate inroads by funding his Presidential run, and other issues that have cropped up ... including serious questions about what all that money has bought from the sinking maverocity sham.

But this is a new low for the McCain Corruption Express, even for a campaign that has sunk pretty far into the ditch as it is. To wit:

FISA Vote Tomorrow

Tomorrow is the vote on the FISA bill. What say we welcome back Senators and their staffs from the 4th of July holiday with a rousing bit of patriotic support for the rule of law?

Last week, Blue America launched a call tool to help you get in touch with Senators regarding the FISA bill. We'd like you to put it to some serious use today.

We are asking Senators to vote IN FAVOR of the Dodd-Feingold-Leahy Amendment (S.A. 5064 to H.R. 6304). We're asking for a NO vote on cloture, and a NO vote on the final bill as well.

We also launched a tool last week to help you track activity and elected official public appearances in your area.

VA Ignores PTSD in Women

As a female soldier or Marine, you prepare for service with a lot of training with your squad, a lot of extra time in the gym, a lot of mental and physical preparation. But nothing could prepare you for an assault ... a sexual assault ... from one of your fellow soldiers.

What do you do, as a female soldier, when the VA folks in charge of your treatment don't think you merit psych care in the wake of this trauma? Via AnchorageDailyNews:

I asked the briefer, a VA psychiatrist, whether the VA also considered Military Sexual Trauma an experience that can lead to PTSD. He replied "no."

I looked at the physician with amazement. Many peer-reviewed journal articles assert that Military Sexual Trauma, or MST, is especially associated with PTSD. That the Veterans Administration continues to disassociate MST with PTSD is remarkable.

But it may be understandable, considering the military is a culture that ostracizes and ridicules women who "rock the boat" by reporting incidents of sexual assault and violence.

This is not an isolated opinion, unfortunately. Sen. Patty Murray, who has personal experience working with Vietnam vets in the VA system and understands the long-term ramifications of not doing this work properly, has been trying to give this issue a much louder voice on the Hill. Kudos to her. But it's going to be a long road to change.

McCain Needs to Be Held Accountable for Breaking Campaign Finance Laws

Yesterday, on behalf of a large number of progressive bloggers and activists, Jane went to the FEC and filed an official complaint against John McCain's alleged campaign finance violations. We've been asking a lot of questions about this, and the answers have been less than forthcoming. So, instead of just sitting here and stewing about yet another GOP ethical problem, we decided to put our action where our concerns were.

As you'll see from the video, Jane handed over the official complaint to the FEC yesterday to get the process going:
"John McCain is a campaign finance criminal who is flouting the very regulations he championed," Jane Hamsher commented while delivering the complaint. "He believes the law is for someone else, not him. It's the height of hypocrisy."

As Markos of DailyKos pointed out in joining the complaint, "John McCain has officially blown past campaign spending limits mandated by his original acceptance of public campaign funding. While he has signaled his intent to withdraw from such financing, that has been hindered by the fact that he used the promise of public funding to secure a campaign loan." Guess the campaign finance laws only apply when they aren't inconvenient for McCain's ambitions.

As you likely know, the FEC is stymied at the moment due to the Bush Administration trying to shove Hans Von Spakovsky and all of his "caging" and other alleged nefarious campaign activities onto the election commission as a GOP dirty tricks ringer. Because the Democratic-led Congress said "no way" to Hans being voted through in a bloc vote, the Administration and their pal, Mitch McConnell, have balked at any FEC commissioner vote in the Senate. Which means that in this very important 2008 election cycle, the FEC is unable to act promptly to enforce the campaign finance laws.

Horton Hears an Abortion Protest

Funniest story I saw all week was this blip from TMZ about anti-choice protesters infiltrating the Hollywood premiere of Horton Hears a Who to chant anti-abortions slogans at stars and their children as the credits rolled. (H/T Feministe) Never mind, of course, that the real Dr. Seuss told them to knock it off the last time the anti-choice folks tried to twist his words to their own agenda -- or that the book was written as:
...a quiet statement against political isolationism and, in the McCarthy era in which it was written, it seemed to be a plea for political tolerance. (Geisel cried foul, however, when the anti-abortion movement appropriated and politicized the central phrase from "Horton" -- "A person's a person no matter how small.")

Guess the wishes of the author and his tiny fans don't matter. Or, in the alternative, that making a public spectacle of yourself in front of a crowd of non-comprehending children and the author's widow can apparently become an addictive yet weird pastime. (Although I do wonder if the anti-choice folks dragged their own children along to the premiere as "kid props" to gain entry, don't you?)

In any case, we are hoping to take The Peanut to see the film later on today. She loves to see movies in theaters, and the Horton books are some of her favorite Seuss of all time -- she loves the Whos and the elephant who works so hard to protect them -- so it should be a fun time for the Smiths today.

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