The Widdershins

Archive for April 2012

Two nuns at cocktail time


The vow of obedience leads the nun to imitate the obedience of Jesus Christ. By seeking God’s will for her and obeying her lawful superiors according to the constitutions of her particular group. As a member of her religious community, she searches for the will of God, not in arbitrary commands, but in prayerful reflection and dialogue with others.

Except it seems that our American nuns are being a bit too naughty and un-nunlike according to the Widow Ratzinger and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.  Now before this rather innocuous sounding name, this organization was known by another name:

Founded in 1542 by Pope Paul III with the Constitution “Licet ab initio,” the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was originally called the Sacred Congregation of the Universal Inquisition as its duty was to defend the Church from heresy. It is the oldest of the Curia’s nine congregations.

Yeah.  Well we know how that turned out don’t we?

Yes, the Pope is pissed at this group of uppity American Catholic religious women.  It seems the Leadership Conference of Women Religious is just not religious enough in the “right” way.  Good ole Benny has had his spies watching this group of nefarious women for a couple of years and it seems the good sisters have just not been toeing the line in some regards.  Benny even had a report prepared so he could document the nuns’ terrible ways. Because the nuns cannot address these issues by themselves, Benny has appointed a Rome-named panel of three male bishops headed by Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain to oversee the gals and to hopefully correct their errant ways.  In his report, Benny sets up the nuns first with the niceties and then slams them with the bad stuff.

The Holy See acknowledges with gratitude the great contribution of women Religious
to the Church in the United States as seen particularly in the many schools, hospitals, and
institutions of support for the poor which have been founded and staffed by Religious over the

Now wasn’t that nice of him?  I bet his little Prada-clad feet just tingled at that.  Now for the bad news.

So what exactly have the bad nuns been doing or not doing?  It seems to boil down to not speaking loudly enough against gay marriage, abortion and womens’ ordination.  It’s probably no big surprise that Benny has decided to punish the nuns since he was formerly the Vatican’s “doctrinal czar” before his elevation to the Papacy.  Among  the things the group was  cited for in the CDF:

Rome also chided the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) for sponsoring conferences that featured “a prevalence of certain radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.”

Oh my, does that ring a bell?

The report also states that: “while there has been a great deal of work on the part of LCWR promoting issues of social justice in harmony with the church’s social doctrine, it is silent on the right to life from conception to natural death.”  Oh boy, there’s that abortion thing again.  Could it possibly be that the nuns are out there in hospitals, jails, street centers, etc. and see the results of unplanned pregnancies on poor women and other such bad things and they realize there’s an *ideal* world as envisioned by the men of the Church and then the real, gritty world these women work in?

Further, the report said that:

“crucial” issues like “the church’s biblical view of family life and human sexuality, are not part of the LCWR agenda in a way that promotes church teaching. Moreover, occasional public statements by the LCWR that disagree with or challenge positions taken by the bishops, who are the church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals, are not compatible with its purpose.”  [bold/italics mine]

Hmmm…that must be that ole gay thing again.  Well you know what Benny?  Until you can get your boyz in the Roman collars to behave and keep it in their pants, leave the rest of us alone, mkay?

Another thing that seems to have pissed off the American bishops with the nuns was that they endorsed Obama’s health care reform over the objection of the bishops.  “LCWR and Network recently endorsed Obama’s compromise with the bishop over a mandate to provide insurance coverage for birth control for employees at religious institutions, even as the bishops continue to fight it.”  That must go back to that obedience thing again.  🙄

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We only part to meet again.  John Gay

Things have changed.  The campaign has not gone quite as planned.  Between proposed moon colonies, penguin bites, cruises of the Greek isles and crisscrossing the country on Moby Dick airlines, we have become reacquainted with the inimitable Newt.

As a Georgia girl, I have long muttered darkly about his claim that my home is his home.  While he certainly did teach history at one of our directional schools, and represented one of our more misguided congressional districts, he is a carpetbagger plain and simple.  He’s from Pennsylvania, and currently makes his home in Virginia.  Any affiliation with the Peach State is in the books, yet he managed to convince the citizens to vote for their runaway son.

Fortunately for the nation, you can’t fool all of the people, even some of the time, and Newt will suspend his campaign.  Let’s spend this well deserved day of rest bidding the Newtster farewell, with all of the heartfelt “goodbye songs” that we can muster.

This is an open thread.

(1) Hit the Road, Jack  – Ray Charles

(2) Kiss This – Aaron Tippin

(3) Na Na Hey Hey – Steam

(4) I Will Remember You – Amy Grant

(5) Happy Trails – Roy Rogers and Dale Evans

Newt’s gone.   Well, not quite but he promises that come next Tuesday the press will no longer have Newt to kick around.  Or something to that effect. 

Ending a presidential bid with the same disinterest shown when he first announced, I doubt many care either way just as long as we never have to listen to his half assed gestures for attention anytime soon.

Anyway, Newt’s moving on since he finally came to the realization that though the GOP electorate has no love for Mittens, they really and truly despise him.  And deservedly so.

Newt always behaved like he was living in Roman times, appointing himself as the “know all” purveyor of just how things needed to be done.  His way.

The architect of the 1995 “Contract with America” that helped to usher in a wave of conservative congressional representatives, Newt rode a wave of visibility that rivaled the then sitting president, Bill Clinton.  Newt was everywhere there was a microphone, bloviating, expounding, intimating, threatening, abusing, and outright lying as he basked in the glory of being Speaker of the House.

But Newt reserved his greatest role as that of “moralizer” as he stood before the cameras, night after night, blown up with his own importance by calling for the impeachment of Clinton owing to his having “disgraced the Oval Office” caught conducting an affair of sorts with a young intern.   Newt was offended!

He was offended for the office, the congress, and the nation at large and it was seen as his duty to bring this entire tasteless event to a conclusion.  There was no limit to Newt’s high dudgeon.   “What will we tell the children?” he opined just in time for the nightly news slot coinciding with the family dinner hour used primarily to rile up those “devoted parents” who were attempting to shield the kids from knowing just “what is a blow job anyway?”

Newt was so offended and overwrought by his “devotion” to the nation itself that he embarked on a “relationship” with a staff employee some 24 years younger as his wife #2, whom he “dated” while still married to wife #1, was diagnosed with muscular schlerosis!  What a guy!  While Newt was waving the flag –and other bodily parts-he was busily breaking his own marriage vows as he pushed for the ultimate political punishment for another transgressor whose scalp he wished to claim.

Daring Clinton with a threat to “shut down the government” if his demands were not met, Clinton never blinked.  The dirt was on Newt’s hands as many voters rose up in protest with the idea that government checks and public services were placed in jeopardy over a “game of chicken” based solely for political gamesmanship.   Newt won few friends with this tactic.

But it was Newt’s own greed and an ethics failure that finally led to his ignomaneous downfall.  Cited by the House Committee on Ethics, Newt was found guilty and fined a sizable fee thus ending the stranglehold on his fellow Republicans who applauded silently seeing him go.  Newt never knew how to make friends.  Marriages, yes.  Alliances?  Not so much.  

But even this did not deter Newt for thinking he could still be POTUS.   Ego meet balls.   Same size.

Fast forward a few years and we have the “new and redeemed” Newt.  A Catholic convert married to wife #3, Newt now became the champion of “religious rights” if you can believe that one.   Referring to himself as a mere “historian”, he pooh poohed those who suggested he was on the payroll and in the pocket of his paymasters at Fannie/Freddie May, a institution under fire for shady business practices and hated by the Tea Partiers as a government giveaway program.  Ouch!

His campaign tour was all about selling books and videos put together by his choir singing wife, Calista, who stood by his side as another example of the Nancy Reagan helpmate, she of the adoring eyes.  It was difficult to look at her without dredging up his past indiscretions since it was she who was the “other woman” in that tawdry time, “dating” a man who at the end of the evening had to return home to another sick wife.

Newt’s positions during the debates and along the campaign trail were unbelievable.  Asking children to assume the duties of the school janitor for one.  Or that he was the self appointed “definer of civilization”.  Or that Medicare should “just die on the vine”.  There was no way this man could ever be President of the United States regardless of the delusional bubble he built for himself.

It was clear that this was and always would be the same old arrogant, nasty, hateful, corrosive, hypocritical, bile inducing little man he has been his entire life.

He won’t be missed.  Unless he is busy working on Act 3, I think it is safe to assume that we may have seen the last of Newton Leroy Gingrich.  

 But then again, you never know.

Cartoon by Mike Lukovich 3/15/12

Finally, some good news, Widdershins! The newly feisty women of America have started scaring the Republican and Democratic Senators enough to take action on our behalf and pass the VAWA, 68-31. (The House will vote on the bill next month.)

Fifteen Republicans joined every Democrat in voting for the measure. The passage reauthorizes a wide variety of services for abused women and men for five years.

“This violence must end,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D) of Minnesota, one of the bill’s main champions, on the Senate floor Thursday. “And so we all know that we can no longer stand and say it is someone else’s problem. We can’t let our own differences, minor that they may be on various provisions, get in the way.”

While a few Senate Republicans did vote for the Act, there were some new provisions that made the more racist, homophobic members of the Grand Old Patriarchy a tad…uncomfortable.

Senate Democrats added provisions to VAWA that would help gays and lesbians receive domestic-abuse protections, make more temporary visas available for battered women in the United States illegally, and offer native American women more protection.

“A victim is a victim is a victim,” thundered Sen. Patrick Leahy (D) of Vermont, one of the bill’s lead sponsors, on the Senate floor Thursday. “You don’t say we can help you if you fit in this category, but sorry battered woman, you’re on your own, because you’re in the wrong category. That’s not America.”

Senate Republicans complained, among other things, that this expansion gets into controversial social issues meant to embarrass the GOP more than help women. [Heavens, why would the GOP be embarrassed by the Democrats pointing out their racism and homophobia?]

Sen. Jon Kyl (R) of Arizona said he could not support the bill in part because its language regarding the relationship between native American courts and US citizens was “blatantly unconstitutional.”

Concerns about the size and role of the federal government in state affairs also generated some skepticism.

“My opposition to the current VAWA reauthorization is a vote against big government and inefficient spending,” said Sen. Mike Lee (R) of Utah “and a vote in favor of state autonomy and local control.” He added, “We must not allow a desire by some to score political points and an appetite for federal spending to prevent states and localities from efficiently and effectively serving women and other victims of domestic violence.”

Leave it to the GOP to start screaming about states’ rights and the Constitution whenever they feel threatened by those of the non-white, non-straight persuasion. It’s such an old, tired, boring trope, it amazes me that anyone buys into it; but I can picture the Rushbots and the “Libertarians” nodding their heads even as I write. Sigh.

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I’m in politics.  I’m in government, so nothing surprises me.”  Andrew Cuomo

I agree with Mr. Cuomo for the most part.  That said, I am somewhat surprised at the speed of the ever-nimble Mitt Romney’s arabesque from a “severely conservative” position directly to the middle of the road.  At least when it comes to immigration policy – we’re still in the primaries, and there are still some immigration-averse states such as Texas that have yet to weigh in.  This is actually a pretty daring maneuver on Romney’s part at this stage of the game, but methinks he had decided to try to unring some rather clarion bells.

Lord knows, our immigration policy is a mess.  We have people brought across the border for farm employment who simply never go home.  We have people who come here on tourist visa who are still touring many years later.  We have people who risk it all to cross the Mexican border, frequently more than once, in search if a better life.  Some do not survive the trip.  Dubya had a pretty wide-open “guest worker”policy under consideration, basically for his supporters in agri-business.   The proposal flopped big-time, when his own party failed to embrace it.

Then there came the DREAM Act.  The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors was drawn up specifically for the benefits of those who were brought into the country illegally by their parents.  The bill was co-sponsored by Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and was first introduced in 2001.  This would basically allow any of the aforementioned minors to complete either at least two years of military service or two years at a college or university, then apply for legal residence.  The DREAM has turned into a nightmare, especially for Orrin Hatch who faces in first primary challenge in almost four decades.

Any number of versions have danced their way through Congress.  The latter versions require arrival in the United States prior to the age of sixteen,  verified residency for at least five years prior to application,  a high school diploma (or GED or have been admitted to college under some other unspecified criteria), be between the ages of twelve and thirty-five, and demonstrate good moral character.  So far, no go on this one either.

Needless to say, Hispanics in general are less than thrilled with the Republican viewpoint that they should be swept from the nation.  To be fair, Mitt Romney had one of the nicer proposals in his “self-deportation” plan, but there was still a rather amazing amount of xenophobic posturing for what is essentially a moot point:  illegal immigration is down, and deportations under Obama are at the highest point in years.  Yet he yammered on ad nauseum about vetoing the DREAM Act, and how Arizona should be a model for all states.  Some of Arizona’s law is reasonable  – the part about checking the immigration status of a detainee to see if ICE is looking for then – and some is not.  (SCOTUS is working their way through it as we speak.)  Needless to say, Mitt has painted himself into the far-right corner with a four-inch brush and is now wondering how the hell to get himself out.   His campaign has been vociferously denying as much as they can, given the hyper-developed state of film clips these days, but all is not well.

Unsurprisingly, some rather nasty shocks have been present in the polling data.  I have seen some on the teevee that show Obama ahead of Romney by some thirty points with Hispanic voters.  Therefore, the candidate must find a way to kiss and make up with legal Hispanics – you know, the ones that vote.

Personally, I would have immediately fired Kris Kobach, the zealous author of the Arizona law.  Nope, instead Mitt chose to keep Korbach and enlisted the help of Senator Marco Rubio, who has had a skirmish or two over immigration himself.  It seems that Marco is now acting as an emissary to Hispanic Dems in Congress to see if they might work something out.  Transparent much?

Anyhow, Rubio’s Republican version of the Dream Act would have basically the same framework, with one large exception – no pathway to citizenship.  None, nada.  Essentially, these kids can serve in the military, become college graduates, live here, pay taxes, and die here with no hope of becoming a citizen.  Because of a poor decision made by their parents, the best that they can hope for is to become legal second-class non-citizens of the United States.

Needless to say, I have some problems with this plan.  I have some problems with illegal immigration as well, but the DREAM kids did nothing wrong.  Their parents came here illegally, and we have had a long-standing tradition of not visiting the sins of the father onto the child.  I see no reason why this should differ.  Further, Senator Rubio is Cuban, and our Cuban immigration policy continues to be “wet foot-dry foot”.  In other words, if you can get at least one foot on dry land, the Coasties stop chasing you and you are now a legal resident complete with a Social Security card and any benefits – housing, SNAP, Medicaid – that you might require during your adjustment period.  No other Hispanic nation enjoys these benefits, and Senator Rubio is well aware of that.  Further, at least in South Florida, there is not a lot of love between the Cuban community and other Hispanics, and a large portion of this might just be the difference in immigration policies.   Marco Rubio may not have been a stellar choice in this particular arena.

I also have a very large problem with creating a legal sub-strata of people.  If we say that you’re okay, you should really be okay – legal and all.  The military has a long history of expediting citizenship for its members, and I have to wonder if DREAM will supersede this practice, leaving the fates of men and women who are willing  to defend our nation in a worse state than that which they currently enjoy.  Personally, I’m completely in favor of citizenship for anyone who chooses to keep the country safe.  Insofar as the educational option, I’m okay with legal residence.   That said, I’m none too keen on an amorphous grey semi-legal status into which we pitch children who did nothing wrong in order to satisfy the Republican base.  I suppose that it would be preferable to involuntary deportation, but that’s about all.

The initial DREAM Act enjoyed a measure of bipartisan support.  Rubio’s version seems more calculated to making Romney’s dreams come true than filling a public need.

This is an open thread.

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April 2012

Kellyanne Conway’s new job

Take the kids to work? NO!

That moment when *your* pussy gets grabbed

You go gurl! h/t Adam Joseph

“The” Book

Nice picture of our gal

Time till the Grifter in Chief is Gone

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Manafort’s Jail Photo

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