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marble falls

marble falls's Journal
marble falls's Journal
January 31, 2018

Texas Senator Shatters Table Trying to Silence Woman Testifying Against Anti-Abortion Bill

Texas Senator Shatters Table Trying to Silence Woman Testifying Against Anti-Abortion Bill
Posted By Alex Zielinski on Thu, Feb 16, 2017 at 12:30 PM


It only took state Sen. Charles Schwertner ten minutes of listening to testimony against anti-abortion bills before he broke a table.

Schwertner, the Republican chair of the Texas Senate's Committee on Health and Human Services, spent Wednesday morning introducing and defending a bill that would ban most women from donating fetal tissue from their abortions to science. His legislation was bundled with two other anti-abortion bills — one to throw out the safest abortion procedure for second-trimester pregnancies, the other to mandate all abortion remains are buried and cremated — penned by two other GOP senators, Charles Perry and Don Huffines.

After discussing the bills amongst themselves, the committee opened the floor to three hours of public testimony — which started with a bang.

"I'm here on behalf of all absent women, families and doctors across the state whose lives will be negatively impacted by this bill," began the testimony of Maggie Hennessy, a UT student and intern with NARAL Pro-Choice Texas. She was the fourth person to speak (of more than 50).

Hennessy verbally shredded Sen. Huffines bill against second-trimester abortions. Her voice shook with anger as she scolded lawmakers for openly putting women in danger.

"Ms. Hennessy —" Schwertner interrupted a minute into her testimony. "Your time is done."

Schwertner hit the table so hard w/ his gavel demanding that our intern stop talking during her testimony that he broke the glass. #txlege pic.twitter.com/2eZmOz0Cq5
— Alexa Garcia-Ditta (@agarciaditta) February 15, 2017

But Hennessy went on, saying, "I urge you to all stop playing with reproductive health care like it's your own political puppet." That's when Schwertner dropped the gavel — so hard that he shattered the glass table before him.

"Your time is done," he repeated.

That Schwertner broke a table while trying to silence a woman opposing a bill that would solely impact women is all the more jarring considering the events that grabbed headlines last week. During the February 8 confirmation hearing for now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell used an arcane senate rule to silence U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren's criticism of the former senator (which, perhaps to McConnell's chagrin, made her testimony go viral). Schwertner's reaction, coupled with McConnell's, sends a jolting message to Texas women.

And if Schwertner was really table-breaking concerned about the time allotted for public testimony, he probably wouldn't have let the first speaker (and dozens after), a representative from the anti-abortion advocacy group Texas Right to Life, ramble on in support for twice as long as Hennessy was allowed to speak.

January 27, 2018

Ex-federal prosecutor taunts Trump to fire Mueller in order to make next special counsels obstructi

Ex-federal prosecutor taunts Trump to fire Mueller in order to make next special counsel’s obstruction case easier
Tom Boggioni

27 Jan 2018 at 13:07 ET


Appearing on MSNBC on Saturday morning, a former federal prosecutor was sanguine about reports that President Donald Trump may yet fire special counsel Robert Mueller, saying that — instead of having a chilling effect on the investigation — the president will be handing the replacement counsel a gift of obstruction charges.

Speaking with MSNBC host Alex Witt, former prosecutor Cynthia Alksne said Mueller is so deep into an obstruction case against Trump that firing the special counsel would make the case a mortal lock.

“Last night on ‘The 11th hour with Brian Williams,’ you said ‘we all should keep our eye on the ball,'” Witt recalled. “What did you mean when you talked about these latest developments about Mueller What did you mean by that?”

“Well, I think there are two things at play here that we should stay focused on,” Alksne began. “First, there is an obstruction case. But let’s remember why there is an obstruction case. That’s what is important to remember. Why is he willing to go to these lengths to protect himself from the FBI and Mueller to keep them from finding out about Russian money and Russian influence on the election?”

“The second thing is, in all the hysteria of ‘oh, no, Mueller is going to be fired,’ we’re so far into this, your viewers should know, it doesn’t matter,” she explained. “If he fires him, it adds to the obstruction case and all the evidence being collected is still collected. It’s not like he sits in a little room with a green eye-shade. It’s not as if, if he’s fired, all the evidence leaves with him in a briefcase. This is all recorded information — the FBI agents take notes, they file them, the grand jury hears testimony, the documents are collected, and somebody else will step into his shoes.”

“So there’s no reason to be in a panic that if Mueller is fired — I mean, there’s Constitutional issue. But from a legal point of view in terms of worry about if the investigation will crumble, it will not if Mueller is fired,” she assured the host. “It’s going to be all right. We’re still going to go forward. Whatever they’ve found out, we’re going to find out, and then everybody can make a determination about what happened.”

“Well, that’s backed up by Senator Warner (D-VA), quoting what he said, ‘these are not the actions of an individual that has nothing to hide,'” host Witt added.

Watch the video below via MSNBC:

January 26, 2018

Republicans Just Tried to Claim that Medicaid Caused the Opioid Epidemic. Surprise, SurpriseTheyre


Republicans Just Tried to Claim that Medicaid Caused the Opioid Epidemic. Surprise, Surprise—They’re Wrong.
Nice try.

Julia LurieJan. 17, 2018 4:45 PM

Republicans seem to have found a new culprit to blame for the opioid epidemic: Medicaid.
“Every time a hard working American pays their taxes, they are inadvertently funding drug dealers with a new supply of high powered opioids that are poisoning our schools and our streets,” testified Otto Shalk, a prosecuting attorney from Indiana.

On Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, led by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), held a hearing on the supposed connection between Medicaid and America’s drug crisis. Johnson’s thesis, summed up in a report his team published today, is that Medicaid recipients are taking advantage of their free healthcare by selling their pain pills. The evidence, he argues, is the fact that states that expanded Medicaid have higher overdose rates—and his finding that 1,072 Americans have been charged or convicted of improperly using Medicaid to get pain pills since 2010.

The theory, which has been making its way around the conservative blogosphere for months, adds to the Republican critique of Medicaid: Free healthcare for the poor is not only disincentivizing Americans from working by providing free healthcare—it’s enabling those on it to make money by diverting their pills. “Every time a hard working American pays their taxes, they are inadvertently funding drug dealers with a new supply of high powered opioids that are poisoning our schools and our streets,” testified Otto Shalk, a prosecuting attorney from Indiana. “With the increased amount of the impoverished having access to medical care, there is a greater likelihood that those who are impoverished are going to see the opportunity for turning a profit, albeit illegal, on the street.”

The thing is, the argument doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. It’s true that overdose rates are higher in the 31 states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, and it’s true that opioid abuse is more common among poor Americans. But Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act took place in 2014—nearly twenty years after overdose rates started creeping up, and three years after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called the crisis an epidemic. (Check out our timeline of the epidemic for more details.)

Plus, today’s opioid epidemic is fueled by illicit fentanyl and heroin, which kill far more Americans than prescription opioids. There’s ample evidence to suggest that these illicit drug markets sprang up in the same places where opioids were overprescribed, and many of these states would later expand Medicaid. Today’s epidemic started with overzealous pharmaceutical marketing and liberal prescribing, not access to healthcare, noted Andrew Kolodny, co-director of opioid policy research at Brandeis University, in his testimony. As he said, “Opioid overdoses have been increasing in people with all types of insurance and in people from all economic groups, from rich to poor.”

The irony is that Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act gave millions of Americans access to addiction treatment coverage—which researchers on the right and left agree is key to solving the drug crisis. (Brandi, a recovering drug user who attributes her progress to her newfound addiction treatment coverage, is one example.) But recent Republican legislation—like the repeal of the individual mandate under recently enacted tax plan, or the proposed Medicaid work requirements—could cripple that progress. As Keith Humphreys, a Stanford psychiatry professor and Obama policy advisor, told me last year, Obamacare was “designed to be very broad, but at the same time we knew that if there was anything that this would help a lot for, it’s addiction.”
January 26, 2018

No, Trump Did Not Deny Reports That He Tried to Fire Mueller


No, Trump Did Not “Deny” Reports That He Tried to Fire Mueller
“Fake news.”

Dan FriedmanJan. 26, 2018 4:31 PM

Donald Trump on Friday morning didn’t really deny a blockbuster New York Times report that last June he had ordered the firing of Special Counsel Robert Mueller but had backed off when White House Counsel Donald McGahn threatened to resign in protest.

“Fake news. Fake news. Typical New York Times. Fake stories,” the president, who is in Davos, Switzerland, told reporters when asked about the story. Trump did not address the specific allegations in the report.

But that was good enough for the Associated Press to declare in a headline, “Trump denies Times report that he ordered Mueller fired.” CNN, ABC, and the Daily Caller all announced that Trump had denied the Times’ findings. (Mother Jones wrote that that Fox News hosts “parroted Trump’s denial of the report on Friday as ‘fake news.’”)


When Trump calls the Times report “fake news,” he might be saying he thinks it treated his concerns about Mueller’s alleged conflicts of interest too dismissively, or that he simply doesn’t like the story. His response is a classic “non-denial denial.” That’s a term for when the subject of a story issues a dismissive statement to the media without actually denying the report.

Trump has also described as “fake news” articles that rely on unnamed sources, as the Times piece does. This is a common media criticism. The idea is that readers should be skeptical of stories with unnamed sources, since others cannot easily verify the accuracy of their claims. But a gripe that an article uses anonymous sources is not an assertion that the article is false.


Trump may has avoided a direct denial of the story because an overt lie about an effort to fire the head of an investigation into him could be used by Mueller to demonstrate that Trump had intent to obstruct justice. Lying about the attempt could show that Trump was aware his actions were improper.

Yet Trump also obviously wanted to downplay the Times story. By labeling the scoop “fake news,” Trump obfuscated while giving his supporters something to rally behind. When publications describe Trump’s non-denial as a denial, they are unwittingly assisting him in this effort.
January 26, 2018

The Quiet Radicalism of Melania Trump

The Quiet Radicalism of Melania Trump

Melania Trump on the South Lawn of the White House in November.CreditAndrew Harrer/Bloomberg


By Kate Andersen Brower
Jan. 25, 2018

On the first anniversary of his inauguration, President Trump spent the day blasting Democrats for the government shutdown, suggesting that women marching in protest of his presidency were somehow celebrating it, and embroiled in allegations that he paid off a porn star to keep her quiet about their relationship. Melania Trump, meanwhile, commemorated the anniversary by tweeting a single photo of herself on Inauguration Day on the arm of a Marine. Her husband was nowhere in sight, and she did not mention his name. A few days later — on what happened to be the Trumps’ 13th wedding anniversary — she canceled her plans to accompany Mr. Trump to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

She may not be progressive. She may not be political. And yet Mrs. Trump may end up doing more than any of her predecessors to upend our expectations of the slavish devotion a first lady must display toward her husband.

Her reasons for doing so, of course, are almost certainly personal. With the exception of the Clintons, there has not been a more complicated first couple in modern history: Mrs. Trump is the third wife of a man who once told the radio host Howard Stern he would “give her a week” to lose the baby weight after their son, Barron, was born. During the 2016 campaign she was put in the position of defending him after a 2005 “Access Hollywood” video showed him bragging about groping women.


Maybe Mrs. Trump is more like Michelle Obama than people think. Though the mutual affection of the Obamas was obvious, Mrs. Obama was also the first first lady to challenge people to accept a woman who refused to play the role of the saccharine, adoring spouse. “I can’t do that,” she said in 2007 Vanity Fair interview. “That’s not me. I love my husband. I think he’s one of the most brilliant men I’ve ever met, and he knows that. But he’s not perfect, and I don’t want the world to want him to be perfect.”

Mrs. Trump is the most reluctant first lady since Bess Truman (who left Washington to return to her home in Independence, Mo., at every opportunity). Her apparent antipathy toward the job has made her more willing to ignore the rules and traditions that govern it. This quiet rebellion started with her decision not to move into the White House until five months after her husband took office. It gathered force when she swatted her husband’s hand away on an airport tarmac in Israel last year. By the time the Trumps leave the White House, Mrs. Trump may have done more to change our notions about this archaic position, which has no job description and no pay, and comes with impossible expectations, than most of her predecessors.

Would it have been beneficial to Donald Trump for his wife to stand beside him in Davos and show a united front, as we have come to expect from first ladies? Absolutely. Does she care? Probably not.

Kate Andersen Brower is a CNN contributor and the author, most recently, of “First Women: The Grace and Power of America’s Modern First Ladies.”

Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook and Twitter (@NYTopinion), and sign up for the Opinion Today newsletter.

January 24, 2018

9 Explosive Claims from Michael Wolff's Book That the Media Missed


From the KKK to Richard Nixon, a multiplicity of horrifying accounts emerge.
By Chris Sosa / AlterNet
January 24, 2018, 1:32 PM GMT


3. Trump’s preferred health care solution is Medicare-for-all.

The president had to be coached by his right-wing handlers to prevent him from embracing socialized medicine.

“All things considered, he probably preferred the notion of more people having health insurance than fewer people having it. He was even, when push came to shove, rather more for Obamacare than for repealing Obamacare,” Wolff writes.

“As well, he had made a set of rash Obama-like promises, going so far as to say that under a forthcoming Trumpcare plan (he had to be strongly discouraged from using this kind of rebranding—political wise men told him that this was one instance where he might not want to claim ownership with his name), no one would lose their health insurance, and that preexisting conditions would continue to be covered. In fact, he probably favored government-funded health care more than any other Republican.”

While the conclusion is the opinion of the author, a direct quote attributed to Trump is eyebrow-raising. It finds Trump flat-out toying with a health care solution to the left of the traditional Democratic position.

“‘Why can’t Medicare simply cover everybody?’ [Trump] had impatiently wondered aloud during one discussion with aides, all of whom were careful not to react to this heresy,” Wolff writes.

January 22, 2018

Donut eating champ arrested for breaking into a donut shop

There was a hole in his plan.
January 22, 2018

Doughnut-Eating Champ Arrested In Doughnut Shop Break-In

Doughnut-Eating Champ Arrested In Doughnut Shop Break-In
By Ed Mazza
Elizabeth City Police Dept
Bradley Hardison was arrested last week in connection with an alleged break-in at a doughnut shop in North Carolina.


There was a hole in his plan.

A former doughnut-eating champion was arrested in North Carolina last week after police said he broke into a Dunkin’ Donuts, the Virginian-Pilot newspaper reported.

Bradley Hardison, now 27, made national news in 2014 when he won a police-sponsored doughnut-eating contest in Elizabeth City, then was arrested days later in connection with a series of break-ins in a neighboring county. Sheriff’s deputies had seen the media reports of his doughnut-eating contest victory and recognized him as their suspect.

Hardison was convicted and received a suspended sentence in connection with those break-ins.

This time, Hardison allegedly broke into a safe at a Dunkin’ Donuts in Elizabeth City in November and took an undisclosed amount of dough, according to WAVY, the NBC station in Portsmouth, Virginia. He’s now facing a series of felony charges, including breaking and entering, larceny, safecracking and probation violations, court records showed.

“That’s unfortunate that he continues to break the law and continue on this path in his lifestyle,” Lt. Max Robeson of the Camden Sheriff’s Office, who arrested Hardison in 2014, told the Daily Advance after learning about his latest run-in with the law.
January 16, 2018

Michelle Obama just went to the beach and racist Trump fans are livid at her outfit

Michelle Obama just went to the beach and racist Trump fans are livid at her outfit

By Vinnie Longobardo
Published on January 15, 2018


Republicans, trying to change the topic from what a rascist pig they elected President and the impending government shutdown that Trump is causing with his immigration intransigence, attacked former first lady Michelle Obama for wearing beach clothing to the beach. according to a new report on Opposing Views.

Yeah, that’s how Republicans celebrate Martin Luther King Day, making inappropriate accusations towards the first African-American woman to be first lady.

Michelle Obama was in Miami Beach with her daughter Malia when they headed out to the sand wearing an outfit wouldn’t get a second glance, much less blistering internet comments, from any of the other casually dressed tourists and locals present.

Dressed all in white at the beach, with fashionably ripped-denim cut-off shorts, a white blouse, and a black bandana, sunglasses, and hoop earrings, Mrs. Obama looked like she was perfectly dressed for a day at the beach, but Republican trolls were posting comments online like she was a homeless woman crashing a party at a 5 star hotel.

“The ripped white shorts! Hard to believe she was ever a First Lady,”one commenter wrote. “Getting too much inspiration from Beyonce, I think.”

“Totally inappropriate for her age and who she is,” said another. “Her daughter looks embarrassed. Rightly so!”

“Why holes on the white cut offs?.. looks a little trailer trash,” added another person who apparently hasn’t visited a mall in the last 20 years.

“The whole family has no class,” added another user. “Thank god they no longer represent us!”

This last comment is the most unbelievable of all given the current occupants of the White House. With Melania Trump’s past as a nude model, one has to wonder what their definition of “class” could possibly be.

Luckily more intelligent defenders of the former first lady came to the rescue in the comments section.

“I don’t think Michelle needs our approval,” one commenter wrote. “She is a self confident, elegant woman.”

“Former First Lady on holiday. So what?” another user asked. “She was in the public eye for long enough. Now leave her alone.”

“Not a fan but always liked her style. She does look great. So do her kids,” wrote another. “Family should be left out of politics.”

“To the commenters here that are along the lines of ‘And she is still headline news….why?’ I’ll tell you,” one perceptive reader explained. “People are pining for the days when they had a beautiful, intelligent, eloquent first family who had some decency.”

Now that’s an opinion that’s difficult to argue with.

And not any word about the porno star "dating" POTUS.
January 13, 2018

Non Trump: Obama on Letterman's pod cast - interesting stuff


Obama: Innovations that helped elect me now dividing the country

by Mike Memoli

WASHINGTON — Former President Barack Obama says the same innovations in technology that helped make his historic election possible have now evolved to exacerbate the nation’s political divides, keeping many Americans inside partisan "bubbles" of their own making.


"One of the biggest challenges we have to our democracy is the degree to which we don’t share a common baseline of facts," the 44th president told Letterman for his new Netflix series, "My Next Guest Needs No Introduction."

"What the Russians exploited but it was already here is we are operating in completely different information universes. If you watch Fox News, you are living on a different planet than you are if you listen to NPR," Obama continued.

"That’s what’s happening with these Facebook pages where more and more people are getting their news from. At a certain point you just live in a bubble," he said. "And that’s part of why our politics is so polarized right now. I think it is a solvable problem but it’s one we have to spend a lot of time thinking about."


"We essentially built what ended up being the most effective political campaign in modern history. So I had a pretty optimistic feeling about it," he said. "I think that what we missed was the degree to which people who are in power, special interests, foreign governments, etcetera, can in fact manipulate that and propagandize."


"When you become president and you’re in the Oval Office you feel, ‘OK, now I have to act presidential.’ And we lost track of what had gotten us there, and that was our ability to tell stories and relate to people," Obama said. "In fairness part of it was, the world economy was collapsing and I had two wars that I had to deal with. So that’ll make you kind of serious."


"One of the things that Michelle figured out in some ways faster than I did was, part of your ability to lead the country doesn’t have to do with legislation, it doesn’t have to do with regulations, it has to do with shaping attitudes, shaping culture, increasing awareness," he said. "She’s doing all this cool stuff I’m standing behind a podium and I’m droning on and on about, ‘Well, the legislative strategy for such and such.’ And people are clicking the television trying to find something else."


"I think there was a sense I’d run the race, I’d completed it, I was proud of the work that we had done, and that I was ready for the next stage," he said. "The stereotype of former presidents is you’re sitting around your house waiting for someone to call, lonely."

"No, that’s me," Letterman quipped.

"But the truth is it felt exciting," Obama added.


"We’re the only advanced democracy that deliberately discourages people from voting," he said. "What ends up happening is we have some of the lowest voting rates of any democracy on earth. The truth is that people opt out themselves because they just don’t think anything can happen."


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Hometown: marble falls, tx
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About marble falls

Hand dyer mainly to the quilters market, doll maker, oil painter and teacher, anti-fas, cat owner, anti nuke, ex navy, reasonably good cook, father of three happy successful kids and three happy grand kids. Life is good.
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