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Gender: Female
Hometown: NY
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Current location: Florida
Member since: Mon Sep 6, 2004, 08:54 PM
Number of posts: 170,121

Journal Archives

Eric Boehlert: We still don't know who paid Kavanaugh's $92,000 country club fee

We still don’t know who paid Kavanaugh’s $92,000 country club fee
An incurious press
Eric Boehlert

By joining his fellow conservatives on the Supreme Court in declining to block one of the country’s most restrictive abortion laws, a Texas statute that bans the procedure as early as six weeks into pregnancy, Justice Brett Kavanaugh made good on his unspoken pledge to demolish Roe v. Wade. Kavanaugh’s actions could change the fabric of this country for decades, and empower radicals within the Republican Party to strip away more rights of Americans.

Against that dystopian backdrop let’s not forget two crucial historic facts. Kavanaugh lied his way through his confirmation hearings. Facing multiple and credible allegations of sexual assault, Kavanaugh lied about witnesses; he lied about corroboration; he lied about friendships; he lied about parties. He also lied about an array of other topics, including state drinking ages, vomiting, his yearbook, and his accusers. Kavanaugh lied about his grandfather, federal judges, warrantless wiretaps, and stolen emails.

Second, some deep-pocketed patron, or patrons, over the years have clearly covered Kavanaugh’s personal finances. Someone erased all of the many financial pitfalls he faced, including tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt, while setting up him for a luxurious lifestyle well beyond what he could afford on the salary of a federal judge. We still don’t know which benefactors paid for Kavanaugh’s $92,000 country club initiation fee in 2016 for the Chevy Chase Club while he was making $225,000 a year, had two children in private school, and was saddled with the most debt of his life, approximately $100,000.

The staggering country club fee, which Kavanaugh plainly could not cover himself, represented the most egregious hole in Kavanaugh’s make-no-sense financial disclosure made during his nomination. For instance, in 2006, he bought a $1.2 million home in a tony suburb of Washington, D.C. and made tens of thousands of dollars of upgrades while earning $175,000 and sitting on a modest savings account.

The disclosures should have been a huge red flag for the press. “The personal finances of Supreme Court nominees regularly come under scrutiny during the congressional vetting process,” the Washington Post reported in 2018. And Kavanaugh’s finances were by far the most befuddling of any Supreme Court nominee in modern history. But the press mostly yawned through the story.


Posted by babylonsister | Mon Sep 6, 2021, 09:24 AM (38 replies)

Media Keeps Repeating Forced Birthers' Lies About Basic Biology

9/05/21 6:30am

Media Keeps Repeating Forced Birthers' Lies About Basic Biology
At six weeks, an embryo does not have a heart. Period.
By Joan McCarter

Wednesday night, the PBS News Hour's John Yang said this in a news story about the U.S. Supreme Court's shadow docket overturning of abortion rights by refusing to stop the Texas law, the most punitive in the country, from going into effect: "[T]he new law bans abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is usually after about six weeks of pregnancy, before many women are even aware they are pregnant."

Part of that is true, the part where most women are not aware that they are pregnant. The other part, the heartbeat part, is pure spinning from the far-right extremist forced birthers. But it appears in national news story after story after story after story. That's a massive failure on the part of, well, everybody—but particularly the reporters telling these stories—to get their facts straight.

They are accepting without question the definition the forced birthers have given to these efforts, a term used precisely because it sounds sciencey and medical and real. It is not. There's just so much wrong here that there's a lot to unpack, from "six weeks" to "fetal" to "heartbeat. The part that Yang and almost all the others get right is that most people don't know that they're pregnant at this point, but there's even so much more than that.

First, the "six weeks." Because the moment of conception is an elusive thing to pin down in most cases, doctors use the first day of the last menstrual period as the starting point for counting. They've been using that calculation for nearly 200 years, since Franz Karl Naegele, a German obstetrician, came up with it in 1830. The calculation: establish the first day of the woman's last menstrual period, count back three calendar months, and then add one year and seven days to that date. Which is confusing as hell and is based on a 28-day cycle which many women don't have at all, and which is subject to change due to all kinds of factors from illness to stress.

Providers in Texas estimate that 85% of their patients are going to be denied care because of this law, because vanishingly few people are aware they are pregnant and able to schedule appointments to confirm that and able to schedule the procedure by the six-week mark. That's something Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor noted in her dissent, and proof that the Supreme Court needs more women of color, since she was the only one to use that fact to show just how extreme this thing is.

But the confusion about just how pregnant a pregnant person is is one of the things the forced birthers intended, and one reason they lit on "fetal heartbeat" as the point in time when abortion should be banned. So let's break that down. First, at this point the mass of cells in question is actually an embryo, not a fetus. It doesn't become a fetus for another month or so, according to medical science.

It certainly doesn't have a heart, or a heartbeat at six weeks. It has cells that are starting to organize. What can be detected at six weeks is not a heart. “At six weeks, the embryo is forming what will eventually develop into mature systems. There’s an immature neurological system, and there’s a very immature cardiovascular system." The rhythmic sound that can be heard is "a group of cells with electrical activity. That's what the heartbeat is at that stage of gestation … We are in no way talking about any kind of cardiovascular system." That's all from Jennifer Kerns, an ob-gyn at University of California, San Francisco and director of research in obstetrics and gynecology at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.

Early cardiac activity—cells vibrating with electrical currents as they start to develop—is what is happening at six weeks.
"What's really happening at that point is that our ultrasound technology has gotten good enough to be able to detect electrical activity in a rudimentary group of cells." That's from Sarah Horvath, an ob-gyn with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Or in ob-gyn Jen Gunter's words, it's "fetal pole cardiac activity." It's not a heart.

But calling it heart makes people imagine an infant. "Using the word heartbeat here is an intentional obfuscation," Kerns says. "Hearing the word heartbeat plays upon people’s emotions … when in fact what it does is effectively ban abortions for many people, because many people don't even know they're pregnant at six weeks."

Horvath adds, "I do think there’s a deliberate conflation of terms going on in legislation in order to try to co-opt the science, or at least the scientific language. […]These bans are really just arbitrarily chosen points in time in a pregnancy that are strictly there because they want a complete ban on abortion care." Bingo.

Most reporters have been great at getting the "before a woman knows she's pregnant" part down, because that's easily understood and a widely shared experience. But using the word "heartbeat," saying as PBS's Yang did that the law "bans abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is usually after about six weeks of pregnancy," is just perpetuating bad science, bad medicine, and extremely deceptive politics.

We're going to be hearing a lot about this ban, especially when the look-alike laws start proliferating through Republican states. It would be a great service to everyone if the traditional media stopped accepting the deceptive, loaded, and false terms of the far right in talking about it.

Published with permission of Daily Kos.
Posted by babylonsister | Sun Sep 5, 2021, 03:36 PM (18 replies)

It's Time to Put the Right-Wing Zombie Death Cult on Trial

It’s Time to Put the Right-Wing Zombie Death Cult on Trial
This isn’t a “both sides” problem. And Joe Biden is just scratching the surface so far.
Wajahat Ali
Updated Sep. 04, 2021 3:21AM ET / Published Sep. 04, 2021 12:06AM ET


This isn’t a “both sides” problem. Of the 10 states with the most COVID-19 cases per capita, as of Wednesday, nine of them were led by Republican governors—surprise!—and voted for Trump in 2020, as The New York Times reported. Meanwhile, 16 Democratic states have statewide mask requirements for schools. Tennessee, one of the five states being sued, just set a new record for COVID hospitalizations, and previously moved to cut off all vaccine outreach to students and young adults.

Now, thousands of its school-aged kids have COVID-19 with no end in sight. Some school districts in the United States are even leaving it up to parents to decide if they will quarantine their exposed child or send the child to school to spread the disease to other unvaccinated children.

Meanwhile, conservative radio hosts and influencers who peddled anti-vax misinformation are winning Darwin Awards and dying weekly from the coronavirus.

However, this doesn’t stop the right-wing hate machine. Onward they persist with their nihilistic, counter-majoritarian death march.


Our kids are simply the bait and collateral damage.


Posted by babylonsister | Sat Sep 4, 2021, 11:55 AM (1 replies)

Bible Thumper Who Gleefully Listed AIDS Victim Names Now Sick With COVID


9/03/21 9:00am
Bible Thumper Who Gleefully Listed AIDS Victim Names Now Sick With COVID
Long-time radio host Bob Enyart and his wife both have the virus. They did not get vaccinated for "pro-life reasons," believing the vaccines contain aborted fetal cells.
By Ed Scarce

Yet another one of these godawful anti-vaxxer radio hosts/podcasters, who also used to regularly mock AIDS patients, has now been infected with COVID-19 because he refused to get vaccinated, "for pro-life reasons."

Source: Westworld

Denver Bible Church pastor Bob Enyart, a longtime Denver media personality who remains an active podcaster, made headlines last October when a lawsuit he filed prompted a U.S. District Court judge appointed by President Donald Trump to grant a temporary restraining order against the Colorado public-health order regarding COVID-19 and mask use at religious services, as well as rules limiting gatherings to 175 people amid the pandemic.

Now, however, Enyart and his wife, Cheryl, have both contracted COVID-19. Neither has been vaccinated, for what an August 2021 passage on Enyart's website, kgov.com, describes as pro-life reasons. "Bob and Cheryl Enyart have sworn off taking the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson vaccines because, as those firms admit, they tested these three products on the cells of aborted babies," it says.

And how did this bastion of morality react in the 1990s when another epidemic was killing Americans?

He would gleefully read obituaries of AIDS sufferers while cranking "Another One Bites the Dust" by Queen, whose lead singer, Freddie Mercury, succumbed to the malady. "Listen to the words of the song and you'll understand why I did it," he told us at the time, as if his motives were somehow puzzling.

Here's hoping that Bob dies a slow, agonizing death as penance for his laughing at other's suffering.
Posted by babylonsister | Sat Sep 4, 2021, 06:18 AM (50 replies)

A Devastating Week for This Country

A Devastating Week for This Country
Thoughts on a flooded country, a theocratic state, and a creaking democracy
by David Dayen
September 3, 2021

It says something about the week we’ve just had that the surging disease killing around 1,000 Americans every day is a relatively minor story.

In one of the most disingenuous rulings in litigation history, the Supreme Court, without holding a hearing, effectively ended a half-century of legal abortion in the United States. The remaining shards of a Gulf Coast hurricane reached the populous Northeast and caused unprecedented flash floods and tornadoes. The most villainous drug pushers and mass murderers in our nation’s history secured personal immunity for their crimes for a pittance of their ill-gained fortune.

That was Wednesday.

In matters still ongoing, there are blazes in the West that have been burning so long this summer it makes the “Springfield Tire Fire” joke from The Simpsons seem prescient. Evictions are spiking during an ongoing public health emergency as our inability to govern makes it difficult to deliver large outlays of rental assistance. Unemployment benefits for more than 7 million are also set to expire in a matter of days, which The Century Foundation estimates would cost the broader economy $5 billion a week, in addition to leaving these millions of long-term unemployed with practically no assistance.

Plus, the lesser Texas legislative effort in the news this week is a not-so-veiled attempt to suppress the vote in traditionally Democratic areas. And, oh yeah, Kevin McCarthy is out there threatening companies if they comply with subpoenas—a sneak preview of the Republican return to power and something called “governance.”

It’s enough to sap away at one’s optimism!


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Sep 3, 2021, 07:57 PM (1 replies)

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Illegally Redefines What A Baby Is


Posted on Thu, Sep 2nd, 2021 by Jason Easley
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Illegally Redefines What A Baby Is
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick redefined what a baby is so that illegal bounty hunters can go after abortion providers.

Dan Patrick: But few can argue, even on the left, that that’s not a baby… https://t.co/3RjW5Ro4nO
11:02 PM · Sep 2, 2021

Patrick said on Fox News, “Few can argue, even on the left, that that’s not a baby. A little Texan alive in the womb when that heartbeat is detected, and so Senate Bill 8 has stopped the abortionists in their tracks because doctors are afraid of being sued because any citizen can bring a lawsuit against that doctor who performs an abortion. I’m proud that we passed it.”

Texas Isn’t Defining Personhood. They Are Defining Babies.

It is a chilling thought. Science has been going in circles with the personhood debate forever, but Texas has skipped the personhood debate and automatically deemed a heartbeat a baby, which is so bizarrely unscientific that it is frightening.

This is like Texas deciding that the moon is no longer a moon but a spaceship orbiting the earth. Texas Republican men have arbitrarily decided what a baby is.

The Texas law is wildly unconstitutional and already being copied by red states across the country.

The good news is that the federal legislature can easily short circuit this law by passing a simple bill granting immunity to anyone who provides an abortion or assists a woman in obtaining an abortion anywhere in the country.

In the meantime, Texas has delivered what Republicans have always dreamed of. A real-world Gilead where the state has defined what a baby is and now controls the bodies of women.
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Sep 3, 2021, 06:06 AM (32 replies)

Texas Antiabortion Groups Already Getting Tip-Offs About Potential Law Violations, Says Report



Texas Antiabortion Groups Already Getting Tip-Offs About Potential Law Violations, Says Report
Jamie Ross
News Correspondent
Updated Sep. 03, 2021 5:25AM ET /
Published Sep. 03, 2021 5:20AM ET

Antiabortion groups in Texas say they’re already following up on tip-offs from members of the public who are reporting those who are pregnant for possible violations of the extreme abortion ban brought in this week. The Washington Post reported that Texas Right to Life, one of the antiabortion groups that helped to pass the radical law, has set up a site where people can anonymously snitch on anyone who is potentially violating the ban. Legislative director of the group, John Seago, said tips had already started to come in, but none have been received that suggest clinics are continuing to carry out illegal abortions. “As far as we can tell, everyone is complying with the law on the industry side, so there is no aiding and abetting happening,” said Seago. Anyone in Texas now has the right to sue individuals involved with providing or facilitating an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy—before many even know they’re pregnant.
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Sep 3, 2021, 05:31 AM (53 replies)

Lindsey Graham Censured Over Infrastructure Vote

I missed this. But what platform?


Lindsey Graham Censured Over Infrastructure Vote
September 2, 2021 at 4:00 pm EDT By Taegan Goddard

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was censured by the York County Republican Party after he voted earlier this month to pass a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, the Columbia State reports.

The local party said Graham did not “represent conservative values and protect the Republican platform” when he voted in favor of the bill, which focuses on bridge and road repairs, electric vehicle charging station expansion and broadband expansion.
Posted by babylonsister | Thu Sep 2, 2021, 10:32 PM (3 replies)

Republican Demands 'Documentation' On School Mask Mandates. OOPS


9/02/21 9:22am
Read time: 2 minutes
Republican Demands 'Documentation' On School Mask Mandates. OOPS
Republican Tony McCombie filed a FOIA request for "feedback" on Illinois' school mask mandate. Governor JB Pritzker responded with 870 thank you notes from relieved parents.
By Frances Langum

This is what happens when a legislator gets too deep into the right-wing ecosystem.

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker has been science-based on Covid from the beginning. There is currently an indoor mask mandate throughout Illinois and that includes schools.

Republican Tony McCombie filed a FOIA request for "feedback" on Illinois' school mask mandate.

I'm betting her own Facebook page was so full of vitriol for anything the Democratic governor does, she thought it was a perfect "gotcha" moment to use the Freedom of Information Act to PROVE parents hate masks in school.

Governor JB Pritzker responded with 870 thank you notes from relieved parents.

A CBS local affiliate published some excerpts:

...some of the parents who wrote Pritzker letters expressed concerns that local school boards were caving to the demands of a loud, vocal minority instead of reinforcing the recommendations of medical experts and scientists...

“The loudmouths on the other side of the debate, jeering at the opposition and screaming their heads off at all the suburban school board meetings, would also be the first ones to scream and moan when they are forced back into virtual instruction because of another pandemic surge,” the mother from Elmhurst wrote. “We all agree that in-person instruction is the goal, but it’s still hard for me to believe these ignorant people don’t understand that a mask mandate, layered with other safety measures, is the only surefire way to get us there. Now I don’t have to contemplate expensive private school enrollment in order to keep my daughter safe.”

“I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for doing this,” [another] Elmhurst mother emailed to Pritzker’s office on August 4th. “When the Elmhurst 205 School District voted to make masks optional last week, I was devastated and shocked.

Now, that Republican legislator is upset that Pritzker's staff delivered the letters while she was out of her office. Really? I think he did you a favor.
Posted by babylonsister | Thu Sep 2, 2021, 01:34 PM (1 replies)

The Supreme Court May Have Just Handed Democrats The 2022 Election


Posted on Thu, Sep 2nd, 2021 by Jason Easley
The Supreme Court May Have Just Handed Democrats The 2022 Election

The Supreme Court’s refusal to act on the illegal Texas abortion law has flipped the abortion politics script and could cost Republicans in 2022.

The “Culture War” Flips To Democrats

NBC News suggested that the Supreme Court’s gutting of Roe v. Wade through inaction presents a new problem for Republicans:

Democrats in Washington, who face stiff headwinds in defending their majorities in Congress in next year’s elections, see a new opportunity to motivate voters who may have taken abortion rights for granted.

And Republicans are dealing with an unsettling new political landscape after having promised to outlaw abortions for decades to motivate their base.

Republicans Have Used Abortion As A Get Out The Vote Tool For Decades

The problem for Republicans is that they never intended to get rid of legalized abortion in the United States. They haven’t done so in the nearly 50 years since Roe because abortion was an easy issue to rile up their voters and get them to the polls. Republicans could promise whatever they wanted on abortion because they thought that it would never happen.

Thanks to Texas, and the Supreme Court, it has happened.

A new NBC News poll showed that the only majorities in the country who supported making abortion illegal were evangelicals, the South, and rural voters. 54% of the country wants abortion to be legal.

Evangelicals and rural people are declining populations in the United States, so the negative outweighs the positive by a large margin for Republicans on this issue.

Democrats Have Been Given A Massive Opening For 2022

Instead of having to defend their record of the past two years, Democrats can argue that control of Congress will decide the fate of legalized abortion in the United States.

This argument will be compelling in the states with open Senate seats like Pennsylvania, Ohio, and North Carolina. If Democrats add another two Senate seats while keeping control of the majority, they should have the ability to change the filibuster. If Democrats flip one open seat and defeat an incumbent like Ron Johnson in Wisconsin, the filibuster will be gone.

Thanks to the Supreme Court, the midterm election dynamics have changed, as Democrats now have an issue to fight for, and when Democrats show up to vote, Democrats win elections.
Posted by babylonsister | Thu Sep 2, 2021, 10:55 AM (50 replies)
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