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Home country: US
Member since: Sat Jun 4, 2005, 09:56 AM
Number of posts: 14,427

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Expanding gambling and putting religion in schools - that goes together, right?

Disclaimer: I have no problems with friendly wagering between, you know, friends. However I am very opposed to the expansion of opportunities for profiteers to exploit those with addictions of any sort, and gambling is unfortunately an addictive behavior for many people.

It just strikes me a little ridiculous that on the one hand, the legislature in Harrisburg wants to put religious indoctrination in schools:


ACLU of Pennsylvania

Keep religion out of Pennsylvania's public schools

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives is considering a bill to mandate all public schools to display “In God We Trust” somewhere on school property. Religious proselytizing has no place in Pennsylvania’s public schools.

A mandate of the type in HB 1728 fails to recognize that 21st century America is a diverse country with people of many faiths and no faith. It is not the place of the government to preach to our children. That job belongs to parents and communities of faith.

House Bill 1728 is also counter to a foundational principle of American jurisprudence. There is a wall of separation between the state and the church.

But on the other hand, they continually look for ways to expand for-profit gambling venues (remember the attempts at lottery privatization earlier this year also):


Pa. bill would let bars host gambling

HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania House gave approval yesterday to a bill that could allow thousands of bars to profit from gambling contests called small games of chance while flushing some of the profits into the state's cash-strapped coffers.

The Republican-controlled House voted 102-96, with Democrats largely opposed, to send the bill to the Senate, where final approval is expected next week. Gov. Corbett also has signed on to the concept, which would represent Pennsylvania's largest expansion of gambling since 2010, when table games were legalized in slot-machine casinos.

Under the bill, about 4,500 bars and taverns could seek licenses to conduct pull-tab games, daily drawings and tavern raffles. Individual prize limits would be $2,000 for a single game and $35,000 over seven days, while raffles would be limited to one a month. The state's budget analysts expect - based on the experience in Indiana - that about 2,000 bar owners will get licenses.

The bill passed over objections to the expansion of gambling, the lack of time to review amendments inserted Tuesday night and the competition it would create for veterans' organizations that raise funds through gambling and programs for the elderly that are traditionally underwritten by the Pennsylvania Lottery.

I realize not everyone shares my aversion to organized gambling. However I'm betting you see the incongruity of proclaiming religion on the one hand and supporting exploitation of the vulnerable on the other.

Republican extremists WANT to trigger a financial crisis.

Just watching Bloomberg TV for a few minutes (I'm not a regular, I'd normally be at work), and the consensus seemed to be that failing to raise the debt ceiling WILL result in major financial damage and probably another financial crisis.

Then I realized, the Republican* extremists WANT exactly that. Because all they care about is their own power. If the economy crashes this year, by November 2016 many people will be completely oblivious to who caused it, and will blame Obama and the Democrats.

I am going to start planning my financial strategy around expectation that the elected Republican representatives of 2% of this country will cause a financial crash.

* Let's stop letting the Republican Party off the hook by always calling them "Tea Party" republicans or "Tea Party extremists". Until the Republican party disowns them, they ARE the Republican Party.

35,000 march in Dublin against Irish abortion bill

Source: USA Today

DUBLIN (AP) — Bearing rosary beads and placards declaring "Kill the bill! Not the child," more than 35,000 anti-abortion activists marched Saturday through Dublin to demand that the Irish government scrap plans to legalize terminations for women in life-threatening pregnancies.

Demonstrators from across Ireland, a predominantly Catholic island of 6.5 million, marched for two hours through the capital to Leinster House, the parliament building, where lawmakers next week are expected pass the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill. Speakers demanded that the government put its bill to a national referendum. "Let us vote!" the crowd chanted.

The two-year-old coalition government of Prime Minister Enda Kenny drafted the bill following last year's death of a miscarrying woman in an Irish hospital. Three investigations since have determined that Savita Halappanavar, a 31-year-old Indian dentist, died from blood poisoning one week after admission for a miscarriage. Doctors denied her pleas for an abortion, even though her uterus had ruptured, because the 17-week-old fetus still had a heartbeat. By the time it stopped, investigations concluded, Halappanavar already had contracted a lethal dose of septicemia.

Read more: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/07/06/dublin-anti-abortion-march/2495449/

Repeating the key point:

Three investigations since have determined that Savita Halappanavar, a 31-year-old Indian dentist, died from blood poisoning one week after admission for a miscarriage. Doctors denied her pleas for an abortion, even though her uterus had ruptured, because the 17-week-old fetus still had a heartbeat.

The U.S. does not have a corner on anti-woman religious extremists, sigh. (Ok, THAT is not breaking news.)

For your amusement, and (hopefully) my education

Ok, seen on Facebook, a meme quoting Senator Feinstein as saying, this regarding the Dorner manhunt:

“When the gunman realizes that nobody else is armed, he will lay down his weapons and turn himself in…. that’s just human nature.”

With a link to a blog post on a site called "Palookaville Post". (I'm not wanting to give a link because it's obviously a RW nutjob site. If you really want to find the post, google is your friend. The date of the post is 2/7/13.)

Now, it's obvious to me that the article is bullshit. There is no actual reference for the remarks. The post actually says this - emphasis added -

“The Senators feel the best course of action is to remove all weapons from law enforcement and private citizens so no one else gets hurt,” said a Senate communications intern. “When the gunman realizes that nobody else is armed, he will lay down his weapons and turn himself in…. that’s just human nature.”

Also ... what the heck is this site anyway?

At least one comment says it is satire, like The Onion. I have seen elsewhere that it isn't credible. (It is obvious to me from the writing that it isn't credible. But nice to know that others feel the same way.)


some people are clearly taking this seriously. Yes, people who are disposed to think that this would come from Feinstein (Boxer is also referenced), but I mean, come on people. Give a legitimate quote or get off it.

So, anyway, my question to you all ...

1) anyone have any categorical info on just how whacked this site is, that might convince someone who, although conservative, still has a few functioning brain cells left?

2) can anyone give me a good link for a concise statement of how to evaluate information on the internet? In one of my college classes they gave 5 things - stuff like currency (is it recent?), credibility of source, authority of source (is it in their field of expertise?), and known bias, and I can't remember the other one - I'd flunk that test today, but "I know it when I see it", or at least I think so. Anyway I would love to have a good meme, cartoon, or something that I could post periodically when the frequency of idiocy in my newsfeed gets a little too high.

TIA for your help!

Lectures in History: CIA & Regime Change in the Cold War

This is a one-hour history lecture that was broadcast on C-Span3 yesterday.

I caught this at about the 8 minute mark while channel surfing. I'll admit that I can't often sit through an hour of C-Span. But this time I couldn't change the channel. This is a really interesting look at some more details behind some history that many of us here kind of know about but probably didn't get in our high school or college history classes. Ok, not very detailed, because he covers several events during the hour, but certainly more than I knew before.


Colorado School of Mines professor Kenneth Osgood looks at the CIA and regime change in the Cold War. Professor Osgood discusses several examples of the CIA’s involvement in covert regime change operations, including coups in Guatemala in 1954 and in Chile in 1973.

And actually, part of me is wondering how long this will be available on the C-Span website. Ya know?

What Obama's inbox looks like [yesterday]. (Hilarious)


I can't believe no one's posted this yet, but I couldn't find it here.* Not sure I have time to futz with moving the photo so that I can show it here directly, but if someone else wants to, have at it.

* I'm sure now someone will post the link to where it was posted on DU but for some inexplicable reason sank.

Bill introduced in PA legislature to defund Planned Parenthood


HARRISBURG — Even as some Republicans try to steer policy initiatives toward bread-and-butter economic issues in advance of the November elections, a small band of GOP lawmakers in Harrisburg tacked rightward Wednesday, introducing a bill to defund Planned Parenthood in Pennsylvania.

The legislation, similar to antiabortion bills crafted in other states, would bar all federal and state funding to the nonprofit, which provides abortions along with an array of other women’s health services.


Earlier this year, a group of House lawmakers introduced the “Women’s Right to Know Act,” a bill that would force women seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound of the unborn baby before the procedure. That bill has yet to reach a floor vote.

Last year, six other state legislatures stripped Planned Parenthood of public funding. Courts in each of those states except Wisconsin have since determined that those laws were unconstitutional and have temporarily blocked them. Other states have dropped similar proposals, and four — Kansas, Oklahoma, Ohio, and Michigan — are still weighing similar bills. In New Jersey, Gov. Christie last year blocked Democrats’ efforts to fund Planned Parenthood in that state.

Also see http://triblive.com/news/1843969-74/legislation-parenthood-planned-health-metcalfe-pennsylvania-abortion-family-funding-planning

Caterpillars, Cocoons And Unplanned Parenthood


This is a Good Read. (yes of course, that's why I'm posting it here.) Can't think of anything to add that isn't already covered fairly well in the article. Except if you've been head down to the grindstone at work all week and have no idea why caterpillars are suddenly in the news, google news is your friend.


Also in Wisconsin, this past Sunday, a homemade bomb went off at a Planned Parenthood clinic. This may have been the first well-publicized literal attack on Planned Parenthood during the primary season, but the entire premise of reproductive rights, with Planned Parenthood as the symbolic torchbearer, has long been firmly in the crosshairs of the Republican Party.

Reince and Repeat may not believe his party has started a war on women, but proposing legislation that would punish a group of people without hearing from them has been a casus belli in this land before. I wonder what the Real Tea Party Patriots (of 1773) would have thought of a congressional birth control panel featuring five men.


Republicans have decided to make Planned Parenthood the branded boogeyman representing birth control and reproductive choice. Therefore, I propose that if they want to attack Planned Parenthood, they should also have to defend unplanned parenthood.

Convincing any logical person to practice abstinence is not happening—the value proposition of sex now destroys any unlikely potential celestial rewards later. We should also not rush people into ill-suited marriages, or let their sexual frustration build up to where they make this important decision while under pressure and acting irrationally, a la fast food at 3 a.m. on an empty stomach. If we want a society where people pick a life partner and/or have children when they feel ready to take on the responsibility rather than have the responsibility fall on them, we'll have to deal with one that has premarital sex, contraception, planned relationships and yes, planned parenthood.

Best organizations for promoting women's rights via US law?

Just wondering who you all think are the best organizations - best as in most strategic and effective - in organizing women and protecting women's rights, particularly those rights which enable a woman to determine her own life course. Obviously reproductive rights would be huge, but it would also include access to employment, education, health care and other services.

I am interested in what organizations focus on these issues. I think I'm most interested in those that work politically to defeat the most heinous candidates and elect the most decent. But it would be interesting if there were also something like SPLC for women, that focuses primarily on pursuing legal action in women's rights' cases. (For anyone who doesn't know, SPLC - Southern Poverty Law Center - prosecutes a lot of hate crime cases, in addition to doing a lot of other work to fight bias discrimination.)

I'm guessing NOW would be near the top of the list. How effective do you think NOW is? (how is it that bills are getting passes to drag us back to the dark ages?) Are there other organizations?

Komen pro-death* VP promised to defund Planned Parenthood


As I wrote earlier, the Race for the Cure has decided to stop funding breast exams at Planned Parenthood clinics after pressure from religious right anti-abortion activists and Republican House members. Is it a coincidence that the Race for the Cure new senior vice president is a Republican anti-abortion activist?

2010: Georgia's Republican Secretary of State Karen Handel runs for governor on a platform of defunding Planned Parenthood.

2011: Republican politico and anti-choice activist Handel is hired by Susan G. Komen for the Cure, an organization that runs the annual breast cancer fundraiser "Race for the Cure," and that gives hundreds of thousands of dollars to Planned Parenthood to conduct breast exams on women around the country

2012: Komen stops funding Planned Parenthood's breast exams after pressure from who? Republicans!

It makes one wonder whether Karen Handel had a hand in accomplishing, as the senior VP at Komen, what she couldn't accomplish as a Georgia Republican anti-abortion activist - defunding Planned Parenthood.

More on Komen's new Republican senior VP:

.... (go to the link!)

* yes I changed the title. so-called "pro-life" is really pro-death: THEY PREFER THAT WOMEN DIE. They care about the idea of 'an innocent baby' (even when it's a clump of 4 cells) but when it comes to the already born, living woman, they insist that a WOMAN MUST GIVE HER LIFE - even to bear A RAPIST'S BABY.

"Pro-life" is the biggest misnomer in the lexicon. They are really PRO DEATH. It's time we called them on it. And stop giving to parasitic, so-called "charities" like Komen - give to the organizations that actually care for the people who need it. Planned Parenthood if that's your thing, or even a local food bank - far better than supporting the right wing scum that run Komen.
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