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Name: Don
Gender: Male
Hometown: Massachusetts
Home country: United States
Member since: Sat Sep 1, 2012, 02:28 PM
Number of posts: 60,536

Journal Archives

McCain Says U.S. Should Hold Off On Military Option In Ukraine


Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) on Monday said that the U.S. should refrain from using its military to intervene in Ukraine.

"Military action is off the table right now," McCain told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "But let's go back to peace through strength. What kind of a message are we sending when we're slashing our military and at the same time, the world is as disruptive and dangerous as any time since the end of the war?"

McCain said that the U.S. should instead pursue economic sanctions against Russia. When Blitzer asked the senator if sanctions would have an immediate impact on Russian President Vladimir Putin's actions, McCain admitted that it wasn't likely.

"In the short-term, probably not, because we have to regain our credibility, which we have none," he answered. "And, by the way, again, there are significant Russian populations in many countries -- in Poland, in Romania, in the Baltic countries. Does this mean that we will now acquiesce to Putin acting on behalf of the Russian population in parts of all these countries in the region?"


FDA expands over the counter access to generic emergency contraception

March 02, 2014 7:30 AM

The Food and Drug Administration has decided to allow generic versions of the most popular form of emergency contraceptive pills to be sold over the counter, without age restrictions, after all.

Last July, after a decade-long battle and under court order, the FDA removed the age restriction on sales of Plan B One-Step, which can prevent most pregnancies if taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex for women who weigh less than 165 pounds.

But in approving the product for sale without prescription, the FDA also granted Teva Pharmaceuticals, the drug's maker, an additional three years of protection from generic competition because it conducted an additional market study on the product's use by teenagers.

Women's health groups who had campaigned hard to make the product more widely available were disappointed in that decision because Plan B One-Step is considerably more expensive than its generic competition — often by at least $10.


When the right loved Vladimir Putin

Back when Putin was in the news for oppressing LGBT people, many conservatives said he had his virtues


Following Russia’s de facto annexation of Crimea this weekend, Republican leaders have begun forcefully criticizing President Obama, blaming his supposed weakness and tendency toward indecision for Putin’s aggressive move while suggesting that Russia’s autocrat wouldn’t have seized Crimea if he were more intimidated by U.S. power.

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, who has long been one of Obama’s most hawkish Republican critics on issues of foreign policy, said on CNN that America has “a weak and indecisive president,” a situation that “invites aggression.” GOP Rep. Mike Rogers, meanwhile, complained on Fox News that Putin was “playing chess” while the U.S., under Obama’s leadership, was merely “playing marbles.”

Yet all this tough talk from Republican circles is obscuring a salient fact: Until recently, conservatives were far more divided when it came to their estimation of Russia’s president. While no high-ranking Republican in his or her right mind would ever praise Russia itself, it wasn’t so long ago that many conservatives — especially those of a more socially reactionary bent — were celebrating Putin for his country’s controversial anti-gay laws, which they described as being interested primarily in saving Christianity and “traditional” values rather than discriminating against LGBT people.

Here are just a few examples of right-wingers cheering on Putin:


Rep. Steve King: ‘Self-professed’ gays could entrap businesses by pretending

By David Edwards
Monday, March 3, 2014 13:58 EST

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) on Sunday said that he opposed protecting LGBT people in hate crimes legislation because their attributes were not “immutable,” and so they couldn’t prove their sexual orientation.

During an interview with WHO-TV, King expressed regret that Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) had vetoed a bill that would have allowed business owners to use their religion as reason to discriminate against LGBT people.

“You’re an individual entrepreneur with God-given rights that our founders defined in the Declaration of Independence,” he explained. “You should be able to make your own decisions with what you do in that private business.”

King acknowledged that the public accommodation section of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protected individuals based on race, religion and other characteristics.

“And there’s nothing mentioned in there on self-professed behavior,” he said, referring to homosexuality. “And that’s what they’re trying to perfect, is special rights for self-professed behavior. And I think it’s difficult for us to define a law that would protect self-professed behavior.”

But when asked if his use of the term “self-professed behavior” meant that being LGBT was a choice, King said that he wasn’t sure.

“I think it exists across the continuum in some type of a curve, and I don’t know what that curve actually looks like,” the Iowa Republican opined. “I think some’s nature and some’s nurture. Some might be purely each. But I think a lot of it is a combination of nature and nurture.”

“And the one thing I referenced when I say ‘self-professed,’ how do you know who to discriminate against?” he continued. “They about have to tell you. And are they then setting up a case, is this about bringing a grievance or is it actually about a service that they’d like to have?”

“And doesn’t free enterprise provide that service if the demand is there? Someone can open up a cake shop, can’t they?”

In the end, King argued that LGBT people didn’t deserve equal protection because their sexual orientation could not be “independently verified” and can be “willfully changed.”

“And when we get into area of hate crimes legislation, I’ve opposed that because you’re punishing people for what you think went on in their head at the time they perpetuated a crime,” he said. “And it’s a murky area of the law. We’ve not gone that way until the modern era, and I think it gets very messy.”

Watch the video below from WHO-TV:



Full article posted with permission

5 Reasons Paul Ryan Is In A Budget Jam

SAHIL KAPUR – MARCH 3, 2014, 12:54 PM EST

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) muscled his signature budget blueprint through the House of Representatives for three straight years, basking in praise from the right and weathering criticism from the left for attempting to privatize Medicare and slash social programs.

This year, the budget chief faces a swath of competing pressures that give him little room to maneuver, and unprecedented divisions within his Republican conference that may leave him with no viable option but to ditch the project.

Ryan hasn't yet announced whether he will or won't offer an updated proposal this year. Perhaps tellingly, he refrained from criticizing Senate Democrats after they announced last Friday they won't be writing a budget. His office declined to comment on Monday. For a theoretical exercise that has no real chance of becoming law, attempting to pass a budget resolution this year is a high-risk, low-reward proposition for Ryan.

Here are five reasons why the House Budget chairman is in a jam.


Boehner To Run For Speaker Again, In 'Better Shape' With Caucus

Source: TPM


House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) indicated he's in great shape to run for speaker again.

"I think I’m in better shape with my own caucus than I have ever been in the last three years," Boehner said in an interview with the Cincinnati Enquirer posted on Monday. Boehner has already filed paperwork to run for speaker again.

Boehner has had to shoot down some rumors that he might retire at the end of 2014.

Some Republicans have also used association to Boehner as a line of attack on the campaign trail.


Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/boehner-better-shape-caucus

Issa Tries To Dispute Fact Checker Pinocchio's, Gets Even More Pinocchio's

IGOR BOBIC – MARCH 3, 2014, 12:52 PM EST

Confronted by Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace this weekend about a number of misleading statements on Hillary Clinton and the 2012 attack on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) offered a flimsy defense that gained even more "Pinocchio's" from Washington Post Fact Checker Glen Kessler.

As chair of the House Oversight Committee, Issa has been spearheading an expensive, nine-month investigation into what many Republicans believe is an administration "cover-up" of the attack that led to the death of U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens.

Wallace played a clip of a speech Issa delivered in February again touting his "suspicions" that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the Defense Department to "stand down" with support aircraft on the night of the attack.

"But the Washington Post Fact Checker cited that bipartisan report you mentioned, the Senate Intelligence Committee, that there were no stand-down orders, and there is also no evidence that Clinton ever spoke to Leon Panetta, then defense secretary, that night," Wallace said. "And for the second time, they gave you four Pinocchios, which is their highest level of falsehood. How do you respond to that, sir?"


Michigan’s witness in gay marriage trial barred


DETROIT (AP) — A judge barred an Ivy League law student Monday from testifying at Michigan’s gay marriage trial, saying he might become an expert witness someday but his opinions wouldn’t help sway this case.

It was a blow for the Michigan attorney general’s office, which had offered Sherif Girgis as its first witness in defense of a 2004 constitutional amendment that bars same-sex marriage. Girgis has written and talked about a historical defense of marriage between a man and a woman going back to ancient philosophers such as Cicero and Plato. He’s pursuing a law degree at Yale University and a doctorate in philosophy in Princeton University.

“The fact is you’re still a student. Someone else is still grading your papers,” said attorney Ken Mogill, co-counsel for two Detroit-area nurses challenging the gay-marriage ban. U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman said Girgis is smart, articulate and bound to become an expert in his field. “But not quite yet,” Friedman said.

The trial entered its second week Monday. Earlier in the day, Lisa Brown, a Democrat and the elected clerk of Oakland County, was asked about an email sent last October from the attorney general’s office during a hearing in the case.


Read more: http://www.salon.com/2014/03/03/michigans_witness_in_gay_marriage_trial_barred/

Collection Plates Empty As Backlash Builds Against NJ's 'Bishop Of Bling'

ERIC LACH – MARCH 3, 2014, 11:11 AM EST

Churchgoing Catholics in New Jersey are closing their wallets to the church following reports that the Archbishop of Newark is having a large addition built on the already-large home where he will spend his retirement, The Newark Star Ledger reported on Sunday.

The Newark Archdiocese's plan to build a $500,000 addition to the retirement home for Archbishop John Myers received press attention last month, prompting a public backlash. One Star-Ledger reader wrote a letter to the editor dubbing Myers the "Bishop of Bling."

In its story on Sunday, the Star-Ledger spoke with parishioners, some of whom said they were cutting off contributions to the church entirely, and others who said they would still support local parishes but won't give to the archdiocese's annual fundraising appeal. A spokesperson for the archbishop told the newspaper that the annual appeal has in recent years brought in between $10 million and $11 million.

"We need to start an ‘empty envelope month’ to replace the archbishop’s annual appeal," Maria Bozza told the Star-Ledger. "If parishioners in every church in the Newark Archdiocese sent in an empty envelope, then they will get the message."


Ross Douthat’s Canny (and Utterly Dishonest) Defense of Homophobia

By Mark Joseph Stern

A married lesbian couple brings their children to a restaurant. The host refuses to seat them because, as he explains, interaction with gay people violates his religious beliefs. The mothers speak to the manager, who reminds the host of the restaurant’s non-discrimination policy and demands that he seat the family. Who is the victim? The mothers, who must explain to their children why their parents’ mere existence is, for some, a despicable sin? The children, who were forced to watch their parents shamed and humiliated in public?

None of the above, according to New York Times op-ed columnist Ross Douthat: By his moral calculus, the host would be the true victim, the family the “victors,” and the hypothetical—which is far from fanciful—demonstrates not the continuing threat of discrimination in America, but, rather, the marginalization of devout Christians at the hands of bellicose pro-gay forces.

In his most recent column, Douthat strives to reframe the current debate about anti-gay discrimination (and even segregation) into one about sincere believers being brutally trampled by gay rights activists eager to bury religious freedom. It’s a failed effort, but a useful failure nonetheless. Arizona’s anti-gay bill may be dead, but several more are alive and kicking, and Douthat neatly anticipates the many straw men, euphemisms, and verbal chicanery anti-gay forces will deploy to make their case.

In fact, Douthat’s column is such an effective piece of homophobic apologia that I expect many red state politicians to borrow from its playbook in the coming months and years. To make their job easier, I’ve laid out the most effective means of disguising raw hatred as religious liberty and rounding discrimination down to “dissent.” If you’re thinking about introducing an anti-gay discrimination bill to your own state’s legislature, you should pay close attention.

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