Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sharia Law and Fundamentalist Christianity

Sharia Law and Fundamentalist Christianity

An intriguing look at similarities between Muslim Sharia Law and Fundamentalist Christianity.

Given the loony and deeply offensive statements by Missouri Congressman Todd Akin (Republican) about "legitimate rape," [sic] I thought it would be interesting to look into the heartless ways of rationales for vindictive attitudes versus women.

 And for anyone that had not yet looked into it, no, Congressman Todd Akin did not drop out of the 2012 race for senate against incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill (Democrat) by the 5:00 PM August 21 deadline.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tues PM: Todd Akin reaffirms decision to stay in the Senate race

From Democratic

Todd Akin reaffirms decision to stay in the Senate race

Source: Washington Post

Rep. Todd Akin, the embattled Senate candidate who used the phrase “legitimate rape” in talking about abortion and pregnancy, said Tuesday afternoon that he would stick to his decision to remain in the race.

In an interview with Mike Huckabee, who was an early endorser of the Missouri Republican, Akin said that his supporters have asked him to keep campaigning.

Read more:

Rep. Steve King Echoes Todd Akin: I’ve Never Heard Of A Girl Getting Pregnant From Statutory Rape Or Incest

From Democratic

Rep. Steve King: I’ve Never Heard Of A Girl Getting Pregnant From Statutory Rape Or Incest

Source: TPM

Rep. Steve King, one of the most staunchly conservative members of the House, was one of the few Republicans who did not strongly condemn Rep. Todd Akin Monday for his remarks regarding pregnancy and rape. King also signaled why — he might agree with parts of Akin’s assertion.

King told an Iowa reporter he’s never heard of a child getting pregnant from statutory rape or incest.

“Well I just haven’t heard of that being a circumstance that’s been brought to me in any personal way,” King told KMEG-TV Monday, “and I’d be open to discussion about that subject matter.”

A Democratic source flagged King’s praise of Akin in the KMEG interview to TPM. But potentially more controversial for King is his suggestion that pregnancies from statutory rape or incest don’t exist or happen rarely. A 1996 review by the Guttmacher Institute found “at least half of all babies born to minor women are fathered by adult men.”

Read more:

Thursday, August 16, 2012

BREAKING: Ecuador Offers Assange Asylum; UK Interferes

Breaking News in the last half hour, today, August 16, 2012: Ecuador has offered Wikileaks founder Julien Assange asylum,
Britain will not guarantee Assange's safe passage.
Coverage from the Guardian of Manchester, UK:
"Ecuador grants WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange political asylum Foreign Office 'disappointed' at announcement from Quito"
Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, has been granted political asylum by Ecuador after taking refuge in the country's embassy in London.

The announcement will increase tensions between the UK and the South American country, which has been warned that the situation could have "serious implications" for diplomatic relations.

Assange sought sanctuary in the embassy in Knightsbridge in an effort to avoid deportation to Sweden, where he faces sexual assault charges.

Ecuadorian ministers have accused the UK of threatening to attack the embassy to seize Assange after it emerged that a 1987 law could allow the revocation of a building's diplomatic status if the foreign power occupying it "ceases to use land for the purposes of its mission or exclusively for the purposes of a consular post".

Under international law, diplomatic posts are considered the territory of the foreign nation.

The Foreign Office has said the decision on Assange's application for political asylum would not affect the UK's legal obligation to extradite him to Sweden.

The asylum decision was announced by the foreign affairs minister, Ricardo Patino, in the Ecuadorian capital Quito.

The news was seen live by Assange and embassy staff in a link to a press conference from Quito.

Patino said the Ecuadorian government had conducted lengthy diplomatic talks with the UK, Swedish and US governments.

None could give the guarantees about Assange's future that the South American country was seeking and had shown "no willingness" to negotiate on the issue.

US authorities were specifically asked if they had any intention to seek Mr Assange's extradition so they could start legal proceedings against him and what maximum penalty he could face.

"The response from the United States has been that it cannot offer any guarantees. With these precedents in mind the Ecuadorian government, loyal to its tradition to protect those who seek refuge with us and in our diplomatic mission, have decided to grant diplomatic asylum to Mr Assange."

Patino called for Assange to be guaranteed safe passage to leave the embassy but the Foreign Office insisted this would not be offered.

The minister said: "We trust that the United Kingdom will offer, as soon as possible, the guarantee for the safe passage for this asylum of Mr Assange and that they would respect those international agreements that they have signed in the past and that they have always respected."

He hoped the "friendship" with the UK would "remain intact".

"We share the respect for the same values of human rights, democracy and peace which are only possible once fundamental human rights are respected," he added.

A Foreign Office spokesman said the Government was "disappointed" by Patino's statement and stressed that the UK had a "binding obligation" to extradite Assange.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Veep Pick Ryan Makes Plutocratic Ticket; Ryan's Wealth Sources

Paul Begala: With Ryan, Romney Has the Plutocrat Ticket [scroll down: Ryan and his wife's wealth, includes a trust fund] by Paul Begala Aug 11, 2012 8:47 AM EDT By choosing Paul Ryan—the guy who wants to slash taxes on the rich and gut the government—Romney shows he’s decided to go nuclear in the class war.
In selecting Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney has doubled-down on the one thing he has never flip-flopped on: economic elitism. Romney, born to wealth, has selected Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, who was also born to wealth. As the former University of Oklahoma football coach, Barry Switzer, once said of someone else: both these guys were born on third and thought they hit a triple. There's nothing wrong with inherited wealth. Lord knows great presidents from FDR to JFK came into their fortunes through the luck of birth. But there is something wrong with winners of the lineage lottery who want to hammer those who did not have the foresight to select wealthy sperm and egg. Finally, we have peered into Mitt Romney's core. It is neither pro-choice nor pro-life; neither pro-NRA nor pro-gun control; neither pro-equality nor antigay. But it is pro-wealth and very anti–middle class. Mitt Romney has decided to go nuclear in the class war. Paul Ryan, the darling of the New York–Washington media elite, is almost certainly not the most qualified person Romney could have picked. Unlike governors like Chris Christie or Tim Pawlenty, or a former high-ranking White House official like Rob Portman, Ryan has never run anything larger than his congressional office or the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile. The elite love Ryan because he speaks for more cowardly members of their class; his stridently anti–middle class policies are music to their ears. You will often hear people who ought to know better dress up Ryan's savage economic priorities with euphemisms. Ryan wants to "fix" Medicare. No, he doesn't. He wants to kill it. Saying Paul Ryan wants to "fix" Medicare is like saying the vet wanted to "fix" my dog Major; that which used to work very well no longer works at all—and Major is none too happy with the procedure. Think about that. As my buddy James Carville has said, what would all the Best People say if Nancy Pelosi made her staffers read, say, Margaret Sanger? Or if Barack Obama made interns study Das Kapital? Sure, a few months ago, facing Catholic protestors at Georgetown University, Ryan said he renounced Rand. But as the national Catholic weekly, America, wrote, he did not change the substance of a single policy. Some renunciation. It seems to me Ryan has renounced Rand's politically incorrect atheism, not her morally bankrupt philosophy of Screw Thy Neighbor. Politically, the choice does the one thing Romney needed least of all: it shifts the focus of the 2012 presidential election away from the soft economy and onto the Ryan—now, Romney-Ryan—budget. The most radical governing document in a generation, the Romney-Ryan budget would dramatically alter America's basic social compact. No less an expert than Newt Gingrich called it "right-wing social engineering". Don't be fooled. Ryan is no deficit hawk. He voted for all the policies that created the current ocean of red ink: the Bush tax cuts for the rich; the war in Iraq; the Bush Medicare prescription-drug plan, the first entitlement without a dedicated revenue source. Ryan cloaks his brutal budget in the urgent rhetoric of fiscal responsibility, but that's a Trojan Horse. As the Center for American Progress has noted, under the Romney-Ryan budget, "the national debt, measured as a share of GDP, would never decline, surpassing 80 percent by 2014, and 90 percent by 2022." Ryan's real goal is to destroy the ladder of opportunity for the poor and the middle class. Look at his budget: Medicare would be shattered and replaced with a voucher system wherein seniors would be given a stipend and told to negotiate with the health insurance goliaths. According to the Congressional Budget Office, ten years after the Ryan plan was enacted, seniors would pay $6,400 per year more for the same health care, as the stipend would fail to keep up with projected cost increases. And that's just for starters. One out of every four dollars spent on transportation—which is already underfunded—would be cut. Veterans' benefits would be cut 13 percent from what President Obama says is needed. Young men Paul Ryan voted to send into combat would suffer once more on the home front. Education would be cut, food safety, air traffic control, environmental protection—almost everything that makes us safer, smarter or stronger—would get hammered. How can a budget so brutal not make a dent in the debt? If you have to ask you have not been paying attention. What is the holy grail for princelings like Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan? Of course: tax cuts for the rich. The Tax Policy Center crunched the numbers and found that under Romney's proposal, 95 percent of Americans would see their taxes go up by an average of $500, but millionaires would receive an extra $87,000 tax cut. The net result: an $86 billion annual shift in the tax burden away from those making over $200,000 a year and onto those making less. And so Romney Hood has his Friar Tuck. And somewhere in hell, Ayn Rand is cackling with glee. Like The Daily Beast on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for updates all day long. Paul Begala is a Newsweek/Daily Beast columnist, a CNN contributor, an affiliated professor of public policy at Georgetown, and a senior adviser to Priorities USA Action, a progressive PAC. For inquiries, please contact The Daily Beast at Ryan's budget is the fiscal embodiment of the deeply evil, wholeheartedly selfish so-called philosophy of Ayn Rand. In fact, Ryan has described Rand as "the reason I got involved in public service," and reportedly makes staffers read her works.
Ryan has family business connection to earth moving industry. A mini-Dick Cheney II in some senses: In recent years, he has significant investments in Oklahoma mineral industries. Read on in Politico.
Unlike Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan’s personal wealth is no mystery Read more: By DAVE LEVINTHAL | 8/11/12 11:46 AM EDT The details of Paul Ryan’s personal wealth are no mystery — unlike those of Mitt Romney. And while Ryan is nowhere close to the nine-figure wealth Romney boasts, he isn’t exactly hurting, either. Latest on POLITICO Hirono, Lingle prevail in Hawaii Meet Janna Ryan Ryan is liked by friends and foes Is Ryan just Mitt squared? 8 Dem slams against the Ryan budget Mitt hugs Ryan, not budget Ryan’s overall net worth falls between $927,100 and $3.20 million, making him the 124th wealthiest member of the House, according to an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics of the new Republican vice presidential candidate’s 2010 personal financial filings. (PHOTOS: Scenes from Romney's running-mate announcement) Additional personal financial disclosures by Ryan, who by law has each year filed such reports since entering Congress in 1999, indicate that the Wisconsin congressman has maintained well-above-average wealth for the duration of his congressional tenure. Ultra-wealthy Romney, in contrast, has largely occluded his recent personal financial history. He’s refused to release his recent tax returns before 2010, and unlike Ryan, is under no obligation to release annual personal financial disclosure reports. While running for president in 2007, Romney did file a federal public financial disclosure report that listed hundreds of assets across numerous financial categories. Ryan, meanwhile, has to date been under no significant pressure or obligation to release his personal Internal Revenue Service filings, although calls to do so will likely begin immediately. “It’ll be very, very interesting to see if Ryan releases his tax returns,” said Kathy Kiely, managing editor for the nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation, which tracks political money. Ryan’s latest personal financial disclosure report, which covers calendar year 2011, lists several dozen stocks and mutual funds he or his wife, Janna, own. Ryan’s individual investments are generally modest, ranging in value from $1,001 to $15,000. (Federal law only requires lawmakers to report their assets and liabilities in broad ranges.) These include stock in well-known companies that run the gamut from tobacco and oil interests to fast food and athletic wear. Among them:, Air Products Chemicals, Accenture, Berkshire Hathaway, Estée Lauder, McDonald’s, Kraft Foods, Nike, Praixair, Ralph Lauren, Starbucks,, Mastercard, Google, Wells Fargo, Procter & Gamble, IBM, United Technologies, Visa, General Electric, ExxonMobil, Apple, Bristol Myers Squibb, Citrix Systems and tobacco companies Altria and Phillip Morris. Ryan also reported a holding in the Ryan Limited Partnership worth up to $250,000. He reported no financial liabilities. (PHOTOS: Paul Ryan through the years) Janna Ryan also individually reported a living trust fund worth $1 million to $5 million, that ranks as the largest asset they collectively reported for last year. She also individually reported up to $250,000 in assets tied to gravel rights with Blondie & Brownie LLC, $100,000 in mineral rights holdings, as well as up to $100,000 worth of holdings in the Little Land Co. All are located in Oklahoma. Read more:

Friday, August 3, 2012

Oklahoma So Hot, Streetlamps Melting in Over 110 Degree Heat

Oklahoma is so hot that street lamps are melting"
By Tecca | Today in Tech, Yahoo News | August 2, 2012
Highs of 115 degrees are taking its toll on the nation's heartland

It's hard to not be concerned with global warming when its effects are right in front of your eyes. Sure, it's one thing when the ocean begins to reclaim islands, but when you can see the effects in your home town, well, that's another story altogether. Case in point: KFOR TV in Stillwater, Oklahoma is reporting that temperatures are so high that the street lamps have begun melting.

To be sure, Stillwater is suffering from one heck of a heatwave. It's expected to reach 115 there today, 108 on Friday, and 109 on Saturday. And warmer temperatures are nothing new: July represented the 23rd month out of the last 28 that came in warmer than average.

It's possible the heat itself isn't responsible for the event — it's being reported on Facebook that a nearby dumpster fire may have been the cause of the melting plastic light housings. Still, that dumpster fire was caused and aggravated by the record heat and dryness. And if dangerous, spontaneous fires aren't reason enough to go green, we don't know what is.

[Image credit: Patrick Hunter via Facebook]

This article was written by Fox Van Allen and originally appeared on Tecca

Fortunately, despite 15 straight days of 100 degree + temperatures, there have been no heat-related deaths.
"This July, EMSA [Emergency Medical Service Authority] responded to 127 heat-related emergencies and took 82 people to the hospital . . . .
This year, Grandfield has had 41 days of triple-digit heat, and Oklahoma City has had 20 days. No official heat-related deaths had been reported in 2012 going into Wednesday, according to the medical examiner’s office."

Thursday, August 2, 2012

ACA Section: New Women's Healthcare Coverage Expands Today

"New health insurance plans for women now include services without co-pays" [Scroll down for birth-control coverage story from Julie Rovner of NPR.]
* Affordable Care Act
* August 1, 2012, By: Elizabeth SanFilippo

* Affordable Care Act
* Women's Health
* August 1
* contraception

President Obama's Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, but it wasn't until today, August 1, that women on new insurance plans gained access to new health benefits, many of them related to preventative services, without having to owe a co-pay.

Of the new health insurance offerings, Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland said:

"Women will be able to have access to essential preventive services that will provide early detection and screening for those situations where they're most at risk, and also provide opportunities to care and services that they need as wives and mothers."

The new services offered include breastfeeding supplies and counseling, gestational diabetes screenings, STD screenings, contraceptives, prenatal tests, pap smears, as well as annual wellness exams. Prior to August 1, many insurance companies were charging women extremely high co-payments, which can incredibly discourage women from seeking services that prevent diseases and health issues later in life.

One foundation, Raising Women's Voices for the Health Care We Need, is touting the enormous benefits to so many women.

"These are services that women need across the lifespan and that many women postpone or just don't get because of the high cost. Women of all ages and races stand to benefit tremendously from this provision of the health care law," said Raising Women's Voices co-founder Lois Uttley.

Unfortunately this huge movement forward for women's rights and women's health still isn't completely set in stone. Republicans continue to vote against the new health care law and vow to get rid of all funding for these provisions in the 2013 budget.
Not only that, but insurance plans that existed prior to the health care reform law may have "grandfathered" status and are not be required to offer these free services until the plan is renewed. VP of health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, Gary Claxton, explained: "You may or may not have them offered to you, and if they're offered, you may have to pay cost sharing. In other words, you may have to pay a portion of the costs."
Even so, August 1, 2012 is a huge step forward for women's health. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, 47 million women in the U.S. stand to benefit from these new policies.
© Elizabeth SanFilippo 2012
From "Under Health Law, 'No-Cost' Birth Control Starts Today" -Julie Rovner of NPR, August 1, 2012