Melissa McEwan

Utah Miscarriage Law Reduces Women to Fetus Incubators

Last week, Utah governor Gary Herbert signed into law Utah HB 462, known ignominiously as "the miscarriage bill". It was a reworked version of the original bill, introduced by Republican State Representative Carl D Wimmer, adjusted to address criticisms that the initial language "could have got women sent away for lifelong prison terms for falling down stairs or staying in an abusive relationship". The revised version "designates the 'intentional or knowing' miscarriage as criminal homicide" and "stipulates that a woman can be charged with homicide for 'the death of her unborn child', unless the death qualifies as legal abortion".

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Nobel Prize in Economics Goes to A Woman for the First Time

And she's from my home state, too! Woot!

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One Step Closer to Torture Prosecutions?

Attorney General Eric Holder has been teasing us for awhile with tantalizing hints he may actually investigate Bush-era torture cases, and now it looks like we're possibly one step closer, as the Justice Department's ethics office (which I believe was either dormant or on paid vacation during the Bush administration) has recommended investigations.

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WaPo Runs Fluff Piece on Anti-Choice Zealot Randall Terry

The Washington Post published a big profile of anti-choice leader Randall Terry today, and it's positively sickening in its whitewashing of his history.

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Is Marty Peretz Insane?

Years ago, I had a subscription to The New Republic.

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Kentucky Pastor Tells Followers to Bring Guns to Church

If there's one question to which I've always longed for an answer, it's: Who Would Jesus Shoot?

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Michael Savage Feels Oppressed

"The white Christian heterosexual married male is the epitome of everything right with America, and yet it is the white Christian heterosexual married male who has been made the beast of America."

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How Much Longer Will Michael Steele Have the Helm?

"Aww, trust me. Not me Baby! Nuh-uh. Not happening. No way, no how!"—RNC Chair Michael Steele on whether he would resign his position, March 5, 2009.

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Kathleen Sebelius Confirmed as Secretary of Health and Human Services

Not only has Kathleen Sebelius been confirmed as Secretary of Health and Human Services, she has been confirmed by a 65-31 vote, which means that there are, even yet, some Senate Republicans with functioning brains. Huzzah.

Dick Cheney Seriously Needs to Shut the F Up

This guy's like someone who got fired but keeps coming back to the job to tell you that you're not doing it right:

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When is a Tax Cut for 98% of Us Considered a Tax Increase?

"When is a tax cut for 98 percent of taxpayers portrayed as a tax increase? When some of the small handful of people whose taxes will go up happen to control the nation's news media."Jamison Foser, in his latest column for Media Matters, which is a must-read.

Poor Joe the Plumber Looks Lonely at His Own Book Signing


Joe the Multi-Faceted Hat-Wearer puts on his "Writin' Hat" to sign autographs last night at a Borders in DC, where "about 11 people wandered into the rows of seats set up hopefully in the basement" who he addressed "from behind a lectern and with a microphone … that seemed unnecessarily formal."

Never have I longed to be in DC so much as reading about this splendid event:

Church Shooter Who Murdered Progressives Pleads Guilty

The abhorrent shitbag who killed two and injured six more people at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee last year, because he hates liberals and believes Democrats "were responsible for his woes," has pleaded guilty to murder (and other charges) and has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

He smiled as he entered his plea, showed no remorse, and declined to make any statement to the court or to his living victims and dead victims' survivors.

At the time of his arrest, a search of his house recovered, among other things:

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Crazy Pentecostal Pastor Blames Horrific Fires on Pro-Choice Laws

The Australian state of Victoria is currently being ravaged by severe bush fires--a natural disaster of epic proportions, in which entire communities have been lost to fire. Nearly 200 people have already been confirmed dead, and the total may be as many as 300. Native flora and animal populations have been decimated.

Shaker Eden emails: "Nearly 1000 homes have been lost. To put that in perspective, the second worst bushfire ever left 70 people dead." And Shaker Rachel emails from Victoria: "Over 180 people have died, whole towns have been obliterated, and the fires are still raging across the state. It's an awful tragedy." (Donate to the Australian Red Cross' Victorian Bushfire Appeal here.)

Enter Pentecostal Pastor Danny Nalliah of (the unfortunately-named) Catch the Fire Ministries to pour some salt in the (literal) wounds--y'know, just like Jesus would.

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Cher Bitchslaps Republicans

"The Republicans [leading the country the last eight years] almost killed me. … I try to be charitable and there are some really good Republicans, but I just don't understand how anyone would want to be a Republican. I just can't figure it. I don't understand. If you're poor, if you're any kind of minority -- gay, black, Latino, anything. If you're not a rich -- I don't know. If you're not a rich born-again Christian, I don't get it." -- Cher, who should consider going on a national tour to movie-smack every Republican across the face and tell them to "Snap out of it!"

Justice Ginsberg Treated for Cancer

CNN is reporting that "U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had surgery today for pancreatic cancer."

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When Will Obama Wise Up and Give the Republicans Hell?

Digby:
This flawed [two-party] system hums along most of the time fairly well, but in times of crisis it depends upon the good will of the minority to stop using its built in extraordinary powers to obstruct and join with the majority to solve the problem, whether its war or depression or, conceivably, environmental catastrophe. Unfortunately, we are dealing with a rump, regional minority party today which does not believe in compromise under any circumstances.

…Republicans believe that until Democrats sign on to their ideology, openly and without any deviation, they must stop them, no matter what the consequences. When they are in the majority, they dominate without apology and when they are in the minority, they throw themselves into the machinery to obstruct anything that isn't part of their agenda. They are perfectly willing to destroy the country.
I don't think Obama gets this. In fact, I think he actively disagrees with it. And it has always been one of my biggest problems with him: "Obama positions himself as transcending the ugliness of partisanship, but I like knowing that Edwards and Clinton hate the goddamned Republicans as much as I do. I love it when Edwards gets into his zone and talks about corporate greed with fury at the anti-American fatcats seething so clearly just below the surface. I love it when Clinton talks about the GOP through gritted teeth and hides a snarl behind a smile when the name Bush passes her lips. I trust that. And I trust it because I can't imagine anyone who believes the things I do isn't that. fucking. angry. at the Republicans at this point."

Israel Withdraws from Gaza

As ("kind of crassly") promised, Israel has withdrawn from Gaza in conjunction with the commencement of Obama's presidency, thus having, as Spencer Ackerman put it, "take[n] advantage of the blind eye of the Bush administration one final time." Meanwhile:

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Krugman Has a Problem with Sanjay Gupta

Krugman:
I don't have a problem with Gupta's qualifications. But I do remember his mugging of Michael Moore over Sicko. You don't have to like Moore or his film; but Gupta specifically claimed that Moore "fudged his facts", when the truth was that on every one of the allegedly fudged facts, Moore was actually right and CNN was wrong.

What bothered me about the incident was that it was what Digby would call Village behavior: Moore is an outsider, he's uncouth, so he gets smeared as unreliable even though he actually got it right. It's sort of a minor-league version of the way people who pointed out in real time that Bush was misleading us into war are to this day considered less "serious" than people who waited until it was fashionable to reach that conclusion. And appointing Gupta now, although it's a small thing, is just another example of the lack of accountability that always seems to be the rule when you get things wrong in a socially acceptable way.
Avedon:
Anyone who can utter that many conservative lies and talking points about single-payer/"socialized" medicine is, to put it generously, the wrong choice - and looks an awful lot like a signal from Obama that he doesn't give a damn about one of the most vital issues facing us. It's not bad enough that he said before that he doesn't support single-payer, but he clearly hasn't learned anything of value in his long period of running for president. Another "Up yours!" to the people who voted for him thinking he had to be better than this.

...I don't consider Gupta an honest voice in the healthcare discussion, and I don't think anyone should. As a medical journalist, he's not really that good - he's on TV because he says things The Villagers like, which means conservative bull.

Iowa Court to Consider Same-Sex Marriage

Well, this could be interesting:

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David Letterman Makes McCain Squirm

So last night, John McCain finally showed up on David Letterman's show, after blowing him off two weeks ago. Here's the whole interview (and if someone can find a transcript, please drop a link in comments):


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Obama Honors Women in Combat

In July of this year, a grim threshold was passed: 100 female service members had died in Iraq. Sixty-one of those deaths were hostile; i.e. "occurring during combat or enemy attacks," despite the fact that women are still not officially allowed to serve in combat positions. It's one of the "women's issues" that doesn't get much attention, but for the thousands of women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, and for the families of those women, it's no small thing -- not just being officially prohibited from serving "on the front lines," but the reality that many of them already are serving "on the front lines" in two wars where the front lines can be wherever the next suicide bomber decides they'll be.

So this is pretty significant:
Mr. Obama would consider officially opening combat positions to women. Mr. McCain would not.

"Women are already serving in combat [in Iraq and Afghanistan] and the current policy should be updated to reflect realities on the ground," said Wendy Morigi, Mr. Obama's national security spokeswoman. "Barack Obama would consult with military commanders to review the constraints that remain."
It's not a promise to allow women to serve equally, but the recognition that women are already in serving in combat is a big step in the right direction.

Al Gore Had a Plan to Avoid this Economic Crisis 8 Years Ago

In the middle of the night last night, I awoke from a dream about Al Gore. It wasn't really a dream in the traditional sense, so much as it was a memory. I was recalling, from somewhere deep in my subconscious, one of his debates against Bush in 2000, during which Gore was talking about how he was going to take the budgetary surplus created during the Clinton presidency and put it in a lockbox to protect our social safety net.

And Bush was sneering at him.

When I woke up, I remembered how Al Gore was viciously mocked for his "lockbox" campaign theme, everywhere from SNL skits to mainstream debate coverage: "He must have used the word 'lockbox' about 20 times." Even after he'd lost, the media harangued him about his lockbox: "Well, maybe the beard should go into the lockbox!"

Al Gore's lockbox was routinely treated like the butt of a joke. Silly, nerdy, wonky Al Gore with his dorky lockbox!

Bailout Agreement Tentatively Reached

And I'm getting that slightly nauseated feeling I get every time I hear the phrase "bipartisan consensus."

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