The Widdershins

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Fair warning Widdershins. This post is not for the faint of heart. There will be blood (and the measuring of) and hemorrhages and rouge placentas. Among the myriad of other women’s issues ignored, we have a an inexplicable rise in maternal mortality rates. Or maybe it’s not inexplicable at all – our legislators just don’t care.

C_0ahJNVYAACaOIStudies have shown that the US has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world. This NPR article mostly centers around one woman, but covers the stunning statistics. Lauren (who was a neonatal intensive care nurse) has a normal delivery and a few hours later is dead from a pretty common condition. Preeclampsia. They paid little attention to her dangerously rising blood pressure. When she complained of pain in the upper abdomen, they gave her an antacid. Her death could have been prevented with only an anti-hypertensive drug and magnesium sulfate. That’s just one woman with one condition. We’re woefully behind. (my bold)

American women are more than three times as likely as Canadian women to die in the maternal period (defined by the Centers for Disease Control as the start of pregnancy to one year after delivery or termination), six times as likely to die as Scandinavians. In every other wealthy country, and many less affluent ones, maternal mortality rates have been falling; in Great Britain, the journal Lancet recently noted, the rate has declined so dramatically that “a man is more likely to die while his partner is pregnant than she is.” But in the U.S., maternal deaths increased from 2000 to 2014. In a recent analysis by the CDC Foundation, nearly 60 percent of such deaths are preventable.

It’s a long article and a lot of it is about Lauren’s personal history and her husband’s reaction. But it covers many issues. While infant mortality has fallen, maternal deaths are soaring. This can no longer be ignored. There is hope. California (naturally) is leading the way. California decided it was tired of women bleeding to death during childbirth.

Dr David Legrew was mostly concerned with deaths from hemorrhaging, especially prevalent in women who had C-sections in previous deliveries. But it doesn’t take a genius to know birthing centers should be equipped with emergency items. A “hemorrhage toolkit”.

One key idea in the hemorrhage toolkit was to make sure hospitals were armed with all the best protocols and necessary tools that might save those moms’ lives in the event of a bleed.

At St. Joseph hospital, Lagrew showed me a simple beige, waist-high rolling cart with four drawers and red handles, known as “the hemorrhage cart.” Every hospital delivering babies should have one, the CMQCC toolkit says. The cart is filled with everything to manage a hemorrhage: medicines that slow the flow of blood, instruments that repair a tear or laceration, intrauterine balloons that can provide pressure and control bleeding from a uterus that isn’t contracting well.

“Minutes count, so you can’t afford to be thinking, ‘Hey, what med do I need to use next? Where do I find a balloon catheter to stop the bleed?’” Lagrew says.

Is that too much to ask? Better training and having what you need at hand?

I don’t think anyone will be surprised that the rates of death are much higher in Texas. I don’t think anyone will be surprised it’s 3Xs higher for black women. In fact, one study DFsMEjLVoAErtfOhad to separate Texas from their study because it skewed the results so badly. What do you expect from a state that defunds PP, closes PP and other abortion clinics, enacts restrictive abortion laws and refuses to expand Medicaid? (Like my own state)

A University of Maryland study released last year showed the mortality rate had doubled from 2010 to 2012. Plus this:

There were some changes in the provision of women’s health services in Texas from 2011 to 2015, including the closing of several women’s health clinics. Still, in the absence of war, natural disaster, or severe economic upheaval, the doubling of a mortality ratewithin a 2-year period in a state with almost 400,000 annual births seems unlikely. A future study will examine Texas data by race–ethnicity and detailed causes of death to better understand this unusual finding.

I wouldn’t normally link to a local (Texas) TV station (in fact the video is worthless), but I did want to share this:

State Rep. Shawn Thierry sought to look into one particularly disturbing trend that the Texas task force had found: Black women make up 11 percent of births, but 28 percent of death. Thierry, a Democrat from Houston, wanted to compare the risk of black women in different income brackets.

But Thierry’s bill – which was backed by the Texas Medical Association and American Heart Association – died along with a parade of other proposals after tea party-backed lawmakers, protesting a lack of movement of their own pet issues, used a House procedural maneuver to kill every bill on a legislative calendar that wasn’t supposed to generate debate.

“We haven’t done enough,” Thierry said.

And did I mention that this year’s session has ended so lawmakers will have to wait until they reconvene in 2019 to address the issue. What?! WTH Texas? Well, I’m sure they will eventually get around to it little ladies.

So let’s take inventory. All over the country, states are defunding and closing Planned Parenthood and other clinics, passing anti-abortion laws, trying to pass legislation so no employer has to provide insurance to cover birth control, hoping to remove pre-natal, neo-natal, etc. care from insurance policies (now guaranteed by the ACA). I’m sure I’m forgetting a few things. Help me out.

I’d just like to ask them – if you’re going to force women to have more children and brush off maternal deaths, who in the hell do you think will raise the children? These people are exhausting.

I don’t want to go too long, so I’ll add some other thoughts and links in the comments.

Open thread. (otherwise known as ‘what fresh hell did we wake up to today?’)

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Good day, everyone!  I’m giving Fredster a little break this weekend. I’m also going to steal his idea of odd news for a weekend post because it’s so nice to escape the crazy of politics, even for a few minutes. Maybe we can even learn a lesson or two.

For instance, if you’re considering taking possession of a deceased raccoon on the side of 2015-07-25B-240x331the road, try to think through all the repercussions. Not because it’s gross or germy or anything,  but because it can create misunderstandings that endanger your life in other ways.

Mason County sheriff’s Lt. Travis Adams tells Seattle news station KOMO-TV that a man was walking along a highway Sunday dragging the roadkill behind him with a rope. The animal had been hit by a car, and he wanted to use it as crab bait.

Adams says two vehicles stopped, and people confronted the man because they thought he was dragging a dead dog. One person who had been in a pickup truck shot the man twice in the leg. Both vehicles then sped off.

No arrests were made, ’cause you know… stuff happens. I was surprised this was in WA instead of, say here in GA or maybe even FL. I guess rural is rural, no matter where.

Now for a Buyer Beware warning. If you’re thinking about purchasing a Good Luck Root online for the low, low price of $250, make sure you’re getting the right thing.

Poachers have been caught trying to illegally sell dried lizard penises online to unwitting customers looking to purchase a rare Indian root called “Hatha Jodi.” The root looks like two praying hands and is thought to bring good luck.

Hatha Jodi is used in religious ceremonies and is marketed as a good-luck charm or as a way to ward off spirits. The rare plant root is found only in remote areas of Nepal and central India, according to researchers. A team of investigators and scientists from World Animal Protection, a London-based wildlife-advocacy group, discovered hundreds of desiccated monitor lizard penises that were part of the Hatha Jodi scam.

Since the Monitor Lizard is a protected species, it’s a national offense. To make matters worse, you may not be getting either the Good Luck Root OR the lizard penis. Instead, it may be a plastic mold of a root/penis. Boy, you just can’t trust anyone these days…

Now for a story of a dead animal of another sort. Last Thursday, assuming all went well, a Kentucky Fried Chicken sandwich was launched into the stratosphere. It’s only going to be up for four days. Will those monitoring alien communications hear ‘finger-licking good’ come over the waves?

The sandwich, called the Zinger for its spiciness, will fly on a Stratollite balloon system designed and built by World View Enterprises. During its four-day flight the balloon is expected to reach altitudes of up to 50,000 to 80,000 feet (18,300 to 22,900 meters). It will be the “longest controlled stratospheric balloon flight with a commercial payload in history and the first-ever multi-day mission of the World View Stratollite flight system,” according to a statement from KFC. [World View’s Near-Space Balloon Rides in Pictures]

And then there’s lobsters. Poor lobsters. How could anyone not feel bad for lobsters? At imagesleast Italy is trying to lessen their misery.

Italy’s highest court ruled on Friday that lobsters must not be kept on ice in restaurant kitchens because it causes them unjustifiable suffering before they head for death by fine dining.

Judges accepted a complaint by an animal rights group against the owner of a restaurant near Florence who kept live crustaceans on ice, ordering him to pay a 2,000 euro fine ($5,593) and a further 3,000 euros in legal fees.

Upholding a sentence by a lower court, the Cassation court ruled that the fact that lobsters are usually cooked while still alive does not mean they can be mistreated beforehand.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A duck walks into a bar… A duck named Star gets drunk then goes home and has a brawl with a dog named Meggie.

They had a Mexican stand-off and stared each other out before the hound pounced – leaving the duck with his bottom beak split down the middle.

Barrie, 69 says the dog was tired of the Indian Runner duck’s drunken antics and Star finally pushed his luck too far.

imagesQQ4Z4FUKNot to worry. The duck is expected to have a full recovery. Another tragedy, besides death, was also averted:

Barrie was concerned that the injury would leave Star with a lisp that would put his performance career in jeopardy – as the duo regularly team up to raise hundreds of pounds for charity with their unique street double act.

But vets have assured Barrie that Star should be able to take to the stage again and the injury will not affect the duck’s dulcet tones.

See? All’s well that ends well. Except for lobsters.

Open thread!

 

 

 

Where to start? That’s the question that has bogged me down since the election. As DYB was saying the other day, by the time you write a post, a whole new world of crazy has opened and the insanity has moved on to lunacy. I can’t keep up. So, I decided if I’m going to lend a hand around here, at least until I get back into the swing of things, I’m going to have to leave it to the comment section to keep us up on the latest. I’d rather be lazy than crazy.

C4-I5AoXUAECgM5Speaking of lunacy, I thought I’d share with you a few Letters To the Editor from my hometown newspaper over the last few months. Right after the election, there was letter after letter calling for prayers for our New Leader. Since I like to try to analyze these people, (that might be my problem, right there) I started thinking. If Hillary had won would they have written that same letter? I think not. In fact, some of them came across to me as “Oh my God, he won. PRAY people, PRAY! PRAY as if your life depends on it!”. At least in my mind. Then a lady writes this simple message:

In response to the letters to the editor, “We Have Moved On” and “We Got God’s Attention”:

The writers of these letters seem to think that their prayers have been answered. I ask them to pray now to give President-Elect Donald Trump the wisdom he needs to keep the people of this country safe, free from prejudice and free to choose their own way of life and worship or not to worship.

Oops. Did a “real” Christian slip in there? Atheist? I don’t know, but no one responded. After all, what could they say? Pretty smart. That’s the way to do it. Phrase it just so, and what are they gonna do?

Here’s another that no one responded to. I didn’t even try to analyze this. Yes, I spent five minutes reading about Baal (I get the golden calf) and no, I did not look up the scripture. (No offense meant to anyone) But after reading the title “God is not dead”, I was not expecting this:

Donald J Trump could have become America’s Baal, bursting onto the scene espousing his knowledge of everything. Trump’s ability to spew bluster laced with blatant lies enabled him to exercise mind control over a segment of the electorate that was angry and grossly uniformed. For others to judge their reactions would be a fool’s folly.

Thinking historically, the children of Israel danced around their golden calf. Nov. 8, millions of Americans chanted Trump’s name, endorsing and celebrating racism, hatred, bigotry, violence, lies, misogyny, ableism and the bilking of hard-earned money from countless victim’s of one man’s avarice. Their nations rejected intelligence, education and science  – the truly major things that help make America great. The rest of the world looked on in disbelief.

True Christians fell into despair while the Still Small Voice reassuringly whispered that there were millions that day who refused to bow their knee to Baal. God is not dead! The path can be found back in 2 Chronicles 7:14.

Huh. Takes all kinds, I guess. There’s just one other letter, of the religious sort, that I will have to paraphrase, but I remember it well. He was responding to this letter: (shortened a bit)

What do I say to my severely-disabled grandson that our new president thinks its okay to mock and ridicule his condition and that of others like him who struggle to live life in dignity? What do I say to my beautiful granddaughter when her new president speaks openly about it being okay to treat women in a demeaning, vulgar and threatening manner? How do I explain to my Sunday school kids that our new president thinks himself above the Creator – boasting of never having to ask God’s forgiveness for anything he said and done? How can I feel secure in voicing my beliefs when he has openly encouraged his supporters to physically attack those who oppose him?

For that heartfelt letter, he got this back (paraphrased ’cause I didn’t save it). “You tell your grandson, granddaughter and Sunday School kids to THANK GOD everyday that that criminal Godless liberal Hillary Clinton lost!”

Now you would think this stuff would make me mad. Actually it makes me LMAO. But now I’m having a sad. All those were from November and December. And now, nothing. Silence. I mean sure, way back in January there was this: (my bold)original

I have begun to wonder if Democrats will ever get over losing. I just witnessed a goodbye ceremony between the out-going POTUS and the out-going VP that eclipsed all other expressions of grief. Barack Hussein Obama presented Joe Biden with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. I must confess that I do not have a clue what that is.

I have never seen such fawning and pandering outside of the Democratic media. Barack Hussein Obama was proclaimed as a great president by glaze-eyed followers and likewise was Biden. Everyone, especially reporters, were engulfed in tears. It was truly a life altering experience for those who bought it.

I am always incredulous about the amount of drivel that lockstep Democrats are willing to swallow. All it takes is the willingness to accept anything that is told to them as fact, much like sheep. As a Democrat, you certainly would not want to be guilty of attempting an original thought.

What of BHO now, you might ask? I have an idea. First, he will rejoin Jeremiah Wright’s church. Making that good impression is no longer important. He will then seek out photo ops and mingle with his Hollywood cronies. Talk shows, anything to feed his ego.

He is the slickest politician I have ever seen. He can graduate from our finest schools, still claim racism, cry on demand, change his dialect and has been known to break out in song if needed.

In closing, after I watched a tearful Biden follow-up on the “View”, a show featuring a babbling group of clueless female Democrats, I resorted to Tylenol. Will it ever end?

Yeah, dude. That’s what we keep asking, too. Only it’s going to take a whole lot more than Tylenol. Tylenol won’t cure your stupid. Now the guy is off the radar. There is an occasional letter from another guy-all crammed into one- about political correctness, climate change is a hoax and keep your kids as dumb as possible. Better yet, homeschool them and don’t even teach them to spell C-O-L-L-E-G-E.

There were a couple of folks convinced that the votes of every head of cattle in Wyoming baf59b214d180f40466f43c5ca46e3ceb3b8c420e6d87589c7acdfd93d1ae303was more important than actual people in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens. I think they believe only flamboyant gay men live in Queens. I guess now that they don’t have Obama and Hillary to hate anymore, they must feel so lost. People have been trying to goad them out to no avail:

Yet another installment of right wing nut radio land and their toxic garbage with the sole purpose of dividing this country. To them, America is a terrible country under a Democrat, and a great one under a Republican, no matter how good or bad the country is being run.

[snip]

Now we have lyin’ Donald Trump a reality show/con artist using the same old GOP handbook from the Bush era. They want to go back to that? No thanks. Trump is a pathological liar with some major issues. I’ve never seen a person so full of it in my life. God help us all.

Some man wrote a beautiful referral for Betsey DeVos. He had grown up with her and her family in Michigan and they are fine, upstanding citizens. She will make a great Secretary of Education. (Wonder if he’s heard from Erik lately? Maybe a Christmas card?) He got a response from a woman who always make me smile when I see her name. She is hell on our local politicians, too.

When do know beyond a doubt that your elected officials are not working for their constituents? When they vote “yes” to appoint a person to head the Department of Education who spent her adult life and enormous wealth to block public education in her home state of Michigan.

Betsey DeVos has no degrees in education, has never attended a public school and has spent millions (Amyway fortune) on legislation to make charter schools, vouchers and “for-profit schools” non-regulated. Her effort took money away from the public education system.

Mrs. DeVos comes from a religious sect that believes parents should be responsible for their children’s education. Few parents today have the skills or resources to properly educate a child for 12 years in preparation for the 21st century.

My four great-grandchildren need public schools. I signed petitions, wrote letters, called my people. So how did the vote go? Democrats voted against and all but two Republicans for her. The GOP keeps claiming they are the party of Lincoln-this man who studied by candlelight and was kept warm by a fireplace which he most likely had to stoke, would be appalled.

Why is it there are billions and billions of dollars to buy votes from our elected officials, but putting some of that money to the education of our children now and for the future isn’t even in the playbook? Why did our elected officials vote against their own community and children?

The Republican party is an exclusive members-only club and if you have the money, you are in! If not “work harder, make more and then you can be like us!”

Mrs. DeVos will dismantle what has taken 50 years to establish. This was a vote by Republicans against our social order, aside from the fact that they have “dead souls” toward children.

Ooouch! ‘dead souls’ toward children. I love this woman. I don’t know her, but I love her. Now, you would think that would provoke a reaction, but no. All silent on the home front. This was in February. There has not been a single “Atta Boy” letter about Trump and company. No mention of his name. Not even when an occasional lib’rul writes about his EOs polluting our environment. No one is willing to stand up for him.

That’s what it was all about. After the black man termed out, they weren’t gonna let THAT damn woman tell them what to do. Nothing else matters anymore. They can kick back, fat and happy and grin from ear to ear while it all burns down around them. Their work is done.

Open thread. What’s going on in the “real” world?

Happy Weekend everyone. I’m filling in for Fredster today because I think we can all agree that if Fredster needs a break, Fredster gets a break! I know we usually do a music post on weekends, but I can’t think of a genre to suit the mood. I don’t think we want mellow and slow. (seems sad) If I hear cheery and up beat I just might throw something at the screen. So I thought I’d go with something else.

When I started bookmarking these links in September, planning this post for November, I had a completely different scenario of the future in mind. It’s neither here nor there for the post, but it’s certainly not for some outcomes. Please keep in mind my links are from September/October when the action was happening.

On Monday, November 14th, our  wonderful legislators will be back from their latest090808_congressional_recess month-long vacation to begin the “lame duck” session. So, let’s look back to where they left off when they adjourned at the end of September.

They did manage to pass a stop gap budget to prevent a government shutdown, at least until December 9th. Since they haven’t passed an actual, full-on budget since 1997, when Bill Clinton was President, I guess it’s the best we can hope for.

The biggest stickler was funds for Flint, MI. Nancy Pelosi insisted the Democrats would be willing to shut down the government if the Flint aid was not there. Mitch McConnell was adamant that the Flint aid be put into the Water Resources Development Act instead. The Dems had no problem with that. They just didn’t trust them as far as they could throw them to actually do it.

“It isn’t promised that it will be in there. It’s promised that it will be considered,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters Tuesday.

Pelosi said the bottom line for Democrats is that Flint funding needs to end up in one of the two bills by week’s end, and it doesn’t necessarily matter which one.

“We’re hoping to leverage it one way or another,” she said. “Our minority caucuses do not want to vote for a bill that does not have Flint in it.”

With House Republicans sounding so sketchy on including Flint funding in the WRDA, Democrats seem to have taken a firm line. “Put it in the CR, put it in the WRDA bill that’s in the House now ― not some promise that, ‘Oh well, we’ll pass the WRDA bill and maybe it will be in conference,’” House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) was also skeptical of Ryan’s promises. “Why isn’t he making it happen? Why isn’t he helping us? We can’t trust the House,” she said in a Senate floor speech.

The Democrats stood their ground on this. It was obvious McConnell and Ryan had no intention of including Flint in the WRDA either. They believe it’s a state issue and not up to the Feds. After much rigamarole, bluster and threats, Flint was included in the WRDA and both bills passed. Flint was allotted $170 million. That seems like a measly amount to me considering their needs. (Zika funding got a cool billion) I’m fairly certain Flint will not see another dime, at least for the next four years. What do they care? It’s only real human lives we’re talking about.

The criminal justice reform bill (Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act) came within an inch of passing. They’ve been working on this for two years and it has HUGE bi-partisan support. It’s supported by Obama and Newt Gingrich. Koch Industries and the ACLU. Thedo-nothing-congress conservative group Freedom Works and the liberal group the Center for American Progress. It’s been a year since they held their big press conference.

“This is truly a landmark piece of legislation and is the biggest criminal-justice reform in a generation,” Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa said at the time, flanked by both Democrats and his fellow Republicans. “There are things in here that each of us like. There are items that each of us would rather do without. But this is how the process works here in Congress.”

They had the votes, they knew it would pass and that Obama was ready to sign. But, nooooo! I don’t care about their excuses. It’s not they didn’t have time, it’s not even dysfunction. It’s because they were heading home to face their base and looking to be reelected. Any vote, yes or no, before elections is based on saving their own hides. They left whining about getting it done in the lame-duck session. (bold is mine)

Advocates are looking to the Lame Duck, the session after Election Day before the end of the year, for action, hoping that a post-election environment will help the cause.

But Lame Duck will be difficult because the legislation still has to pass both the House and the Senate, a huge feat in a slow-moving process.

Funny how a couple of months and a Presidential election can completely flip things 180. I’m sure McTurtle’s “probably not” turned into a big “hell no” on November 9th. After all, Obama really wanted this and McConnell can’t have that.

But on Thursday, McConnell threw water on any hope of bringing it before the Senate in the lame duck session when lawmakers return after the election, chalking it up to disagreement in his caucus.

“We’ve got about three weeks back here after the election,” McConnell said, adding that his priorities are funding the government and an appropriations bill for medical research.

“With regard to the criminal justice issue, it’s very divisive in my conference,” McConnell said. “I’ve got very, very smart, capable people without regard to ideology who have different views on that issue. Whether we can take up something that controversial with that amount of limited time available, I doubt.”

Paul Ryan claims to be a proponent of the bill and yet… (bold is mine)

Sentencing reform is still one of Ryan’ priorities, though he failed to start considering the issue in September like he’d originally planned.

“We have more work to do to talk with our members about the merits of criminal justice reform,” Ryan said Thursday.“There are a lot of our members who just have not looked into this issue well enough and it’s those undecided members who have not formed opinions that we’re going to be communicating with in the weeks ahead.”

Paul, Paul, Paul. If you have members who don’t know enough about a bill that’s been floating around two years, please sit them down and speak to them as if they are 3rd graders. Then, tell us who they are so we can point and laugh.

Even though it would save us beaucoup bucks (80 billion a year) and the majority of the country wants it, that’s not important. McConnell has an Obama win to kill. If they can’t get this bill through this session for Obama to sign, it will never see the light of day, at least for the next four years with AG Giuliani. But, hey! It’s only real human lives at stake here!

The 911 bill, JASTA (Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act) would allow families of the victims of 9/11 to sue Saudi Arabia. That’s really extraordinary. I’m not sure how I feel about the bill itself, but I sure can’t blame the families for wanting to hold someone accountable for financing that operation. It seems like a pretty big challenge to sue Saudi billionaires, but I’m sure there is a passel of attorneys  lined up to give them a hand. (no offense to any lawyers who may be around *cough cough*)

Now, Obama had explained why this was a bad idea and when the bill got to his desk he vetoed as promised and released a three page statement saying why.

In a three-page statement explaining his decision, Obama said he has “deep sympathy for the families of the victims of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 (9/11), who have suffered grievously. I also have a deep appreciation of these families’ desire to pursue justice and am strongly committed to assisting them in their efforts.”

But, Obama believed the bill was misguided and argued it would open up US government personnel and service members to lawsuits overseas.

JASTA threatens to reduce the effectiveness of our response to indications that a foreign government has taken steps outside our borders to provide support for terrorism, by taking such matters out of the hands of national security and foreign policy professionals and placing them in the hands of private litigants and courts… Second, JASTA would upset longstanding international principles regarding sovereign immunity, putting in place rules that, if applied globally, could have serious implications for U.S. national interests.

Well, the Senators wanted to go home before their elections and brag to the voters how they “stood with the American people” so every single one, except Harry Reid, voted toVETO OVERRIDE override the veto. Was Harry the only one that read Obama’s statement? Before they even got out the door they started having regrets. Mitch McConnell, bless his little black heart, blamed it on Obama’s ‘failure to communicate’. Did he not read the damn three page statement?!

Even 28 lawmakers who had just helped to pass the first override of Obama’s presidency sent a letter to their own leaders Thursday saying maybe there should be changes.

So Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) leveled at least partial blame on Obama.

“That was a good example, it seems to me, of a failure to communicate early about the potential consequences of a piece of legislation,” McConnell told reporters before Congress got out of town until after the elections. “By the time everybody seemed to focus on some potential consequences of it, members had already basically taken a position.”

“I think it was just a ball dropped,” McConnell added. “I wish the president — I hate to blame everything on him, and I don’t — but it would have been helpful had he, uh, we had a discussion about this much earlier than last week.”

Paul Ryan, who didn’t even vote:

“I’d like to think that there’s a way we could fix [it] so that our service members do not have legal problems overseas, while still protecting the rights of the 9/11 victims,” said House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), who backed the bill in public statements though he did not cast a vote during Wednesday’s override.

Every once in a while, someone accidently tells the truth.(bold is mine)

“I share Senator Corker’s frustration on JASTA,” Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking member Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said, referring to the bill by its acronym. But he faulted “circumstances that neither he nor I could control, nor could the administration control – and that is the timing of JASTA required us to take the veto override before the recess.”

Boy, they sure have a whole lot of ‘fixing’ to do in the lame duck session. I don’t know how they will accomplish that since McTurtle says he only has time for the budget and medical research. (whatever that means) Do these guys have a single clue of what they’re doing?

Please feel free to post any music you like. I know Leonard Cohen is on a lot of people’s minds this week. And let’s hear your latest thoughts and share some linky goodness! Open thread.

 

We’ve heard soooo much about Hillary’s voice over the years. The pitch, the tone, the volume. Throughout the election we’ve watched the pundits spend more time discussing DorothyParkertoneofvoicethe characteristics of her voice than the words she actually said. I can’t think of any other woman, whether politician or someone in power, who has had their voice analyzed this way. Even with all the criticism of her as the First Lady, I don’t remember anyone suggesting she should modulate her voice. It seems to me, this scheme started in 2008.

So, it’s nice to run across a humorous piece that talks about Hillary’s voice from another angle. It must be true because the media says so. “Hillary Clinton Has Been Finding Her Voice Since 1993”

It was January 16, 1993, and the Associated Press was ruminating on the supposedly contradictory nature of the woman who would become, in four days, the First Lady of the United States.

[snip]

They quoted her mentor Marian Wright Edelman as saying, “We are complicated people… I’m sure she will find her voice. She’ll do it in her own way.

What Edelman may not have anticipated is that Hillary would find her voice and lose it and find it again over and over and over for 23 years.

And so began Hillary’s glorious adventure looking for her voice like Dora the Explorer searching for the map. She found it in Beijing in 1996, but must have lost it because everyone was looking for it again when she ran for U.S. Senate in 1999. Apparently, sheThis-way-to-your-voice1 didn’t need her voice while she was a Senator because in 2008, the search was on again. She must not have needed it as Secretary of State either because Bloomberg said so.

And then her voice was gone, because in August of 2015, Bloomberg broke the news that she had found it.

“Hillary Clinton Finds Her Voice Making Gun Violence Plea Following Roanoke Murders,” Bloomberg reported. “It really wasn’t what she said, but how she said it, with what came across as honest heartbreak.” 

2016 turned out to be a bonanza year. She found her voice several months in a row. The last, snarky line: (spoiler alert)

Asked if she would be willing to submit for an interview on this subject, the Clinton campaign didn’t respond. Perhaps she couldn’t find her voice. 

What about Hillary’s voice in the 23 years prior to 1993? The one where she gave the first student commencement speech at Wellesley, at the age of 21 years, that earned a hillary-clinton-wellesley1_custom-a8c5ca1d2549da0d91af7a8c17f059b1a7ded8c0-s800-c15prominent write-up in LIFE magazine’s ‘Class of ’69’? The voice she used to graduate Yale Law School, the one she used when she was staff attorney for the Children’s Defense Fund, when she was first female chair for Legal Services Corporation, first female partner at the Rose Law Firm, asked to sit on the impeachment inquiry staff during the Watergate scandal? (Now THAT’S a real scandal)

If I started listed everything else she and her voice accomplished, including when she was the First Lady of Arkansas, we’d be here all day. My question is – how did she manage to do it all if she had yet to find her voice? Hypnosis?

Another thing that always seems to be missing. Just think of all the things Hillary has not only given her voice to, but how many have been given their own voice because of hers. Women and causes all over the world who were not being heard…

In 1997, Hillary and former SOS Madeline Albright started the nonprofit Vital Voice Democracy Initiative to give voice to women and put them in leadership positions. The positive response led to the Vital Voices Global Partnership, which advances women’s economic, political and social status around the world. And that is just one initiative. Hillary speaks for so many and gives many more their own voices. The positive effects of Hillary’s voice are so numerous, they are incalculable.

You never know who will be next. This is a young woman named Ella Dawson who has a STD (STI). Rather than hide in shame, she decided to become an activist to raise awareness. She was promptly and viciously attacked by – you guessed it – the “alt-right”. She tells of some of her experience here and her feelings about Hillary’s Reno speech.

I’ve been a Hillary Clinton supporter for years now, but the importance of her campaign for President didn’t hit home with me until I watched her speech last week in Reno. I know so many writers who are terrified to even mention Breitbart by name online because we so often pay for it. There Hillary was, literally reading Breitbart headlines from the podium as the audience gasped. She was unafraid of the Alt-Right’s vulgar, distorted conspiracy theories, their character assassinations, their sexist photoshopped memes. And despite her fearlessness, she was able to recognize their danger without validating their ideology.

I have never seen a politician understand the danger of the Alt-Right. It made me sad that a fringe hate community has become so central to American politics that a presidential candidate has to make a speech about them. But it also filled me with genuine, raw hope for the first time since I became an activist. Finally, someone took the threat of the Alt-Right seriously. And it could only be Hillary, who has experienced their loathing for decades, long before Twitter even existed. She reminds me of myself, or of the woman I hope to become: resilient in the face of opposition, unbroken by decades of sexist attacks and restrictive stereotypes. Her candidacy is proof that the Alt-Right will ultimately fail. There is no amount of screaming and threatening that can halt progress.

If I could say anything to Hillary Clinton, it would be thank you. Thank you for making me feel less alone in this daily battle against hatred online. Thank you for never wavering in your pursuit of the full equality of women. Thank you for speaking, no matter how much talking heads criticize your tone of voice. Thank you for pushing this country forward, and thank you for taking us with you. I’m with you.

When I watched Hillary’s Reno speech I was a little surprised and more than a little afraid for her when she started, not just taking names, but naming names and kicking ass. Not just Trump, but Alex Jones, Steve Bannon, Breitbart… She even called out some guy on Twitter “white-genocide-TM ” and said – flat out – he’s a bigot. She called out the “nationalism” of Nigel Farage and Putin. I thought at the time how brave she was.

But, somewhere in my foggy brain, I knew I was missing something. I watched the media and knew they were missing something. Finally, I got it. It wasn’t what she did, it was why she did. She went where others fear to tread. She gave the media time to dig into the dungeons of the “alt-right” and inform the general public. That didn’t happen because they are afraid of them. Yeah, I said it. The media are scared of them. Why wouldn’t they be? They know what these people are capable of including threats to their kids and family.

While we were watching the media’s non-reaction to their own announcement that the head of Breitbart was Trump’s new CEO (say what?), Hillary and folks decided they would have to take it into their own hands. While the media was wasting time questioning Hill’s surrogates about the Foundation and emails, her team was gearing up for this speech.

So, here’s the why. Hillary didn’t want her surrogates and supporters to bare the brunt ofdear-haters-i-have-so-much-more-for-you-to-be-mad-at-just-be-patient-858536 bringing these rock-dwellers into daylight. So, she did what needed to be done. Herself. She’s not about to let these white supremacist, racist, misogynistic, bigots hide behind some benign “alt-right” label. She used those very words. She took that pressure, that burden, off her supporters and onto her own shoulders as she has done many times before. It was like she was waving both arms in the air and yelling “Hey Haters! I’m over here! Come bully ME!” It was the most courageous thing I’ve seen in a long time.

I wish I could be that fearless. I am not. But, I think I’ll leave a few Post-It notes around the house with the last words of Hillary’s commencement speech.

Fear is always with us, but we just don’t have time for it. Not now.

Especially, not now.

Open thread everyone.

I’ve lived my entire life in the South, the majority of that in Georgia. There are plenty of wonderful reasons to live in the South – until you run into that solid Red brick wall of politics. The dynamics of politics at the State level are one thing, but the local yokels are another. You often hear of the Republican party as God, Guns and Gay. ‘Round these here parts, I tend to think of it as the three Rs. Redneck, Religious and Rich. The Rednecks cover the racists and the guns. The Religious cover the Gays. The Rich don’t care about either, they just vote with their wallets.

For all the stereotypical Southern behavior we hear about, I very seldom encounter it.rednecks But when I do, it stays with me a long time. In the late 1990’s, I was sitting at a traffic light, here in this small town, when I noticed the bumper sticker on the car in front of me. “Too bad Hillary wasn’t married to OJ”. I could not, for the life of me, figure out what this redneck thought Hillary had done that would provoke such a message. At that time, she had tried to get healthcare for all and had failed, she refused to stay home and bake cookies, she had written a book, she gave her “women’s rights are human rights” speech and oh yeah, her husband had been a cad. I had to assume he just didn’t like an uppity woman and he thought his sticker was a hilarious joke. I have to admit, the parking lot scene with Kathy Bates in Fried Green Tomatoes crossed my mind.

Religious Republicans are much different and have to be divided into at least two groups. The fundamentalists/evangelicals and the “normal” – who are mostly just nosy and rude. When a new, quaint little store opened on our little town square, my sister insisted I come with her to see it and meet the  really nice proprietor. When she introduced me as her sister, the woman cocked her head and said, “You look familiar. What church do you go to?” Whatever happened to Hello, nice to meet you? I said, “Well, it’s certainly not yours, is it?” I can be rude too, if need be. We Southerners are not all syrupy charm.

Fundamentalists and evangelicals are a different breed and need to be avoided, if at all possible. Once, a friend of mine had an emergency appendectomy. Her mother in law visited her in the BARSOTTI-2-obit-articleLargehospital and brought a Get Well card. Her handwritten note inside started “Now that the devil has been expelled from you…” That’s just creepy. But it gets worse. Another friend called me years ago to tell me the mother of a mutual friend was dying. When I asked why, she said – um, err, well… it’s leukemia, but don’t tell anybody – you know how these old folks are.

You see, if you’re unfortunate enough to suffer from a disease or a disorder, it’s because you have sinned sometime in your life. So, this elderly lady who did everything she thought she was suppose to – married, went to church, stayed home to raise her kids (who took care of her in her old age), lived many years as a widow – was now feeling shamed on her death bed. That’s messed up. Like I said, avoid at all cost and hope they go the way of the dodo bird.

There’s not much to say about the Rich Republicans. They have nothing in common with the Rednecks and Religious, even if they attend church. It’s only about their bottom line. I do know a few well-to-do liberals. They do exist, but they tend to live in their own little world away from the rest of us. I also know Christians who are liberal and loyal Democrats. They are the ones who walk the walk by seeking out need and doing what they can to help without judgment.

Now, the local newspaper is a great source of entertainment for me. Sure, sometimes I get irritated, but what’s the use? It’s better to just point and laugh. Even the “Publisher” of the paper has to write a column occasionally to get in a few digs. His typical Republican Trump whine is – Trump is short on manners and needs a bar of soap for his mouth, but he’s a successful businessman who could turn Washington on it’s ear. *double splutter* At least he can say his name. He has some trouble with that when it comes to Hillary.

And the former first lady, well, I’ve never witnessed such a calamity. I like her campaign logo, and that’s all I can say positive about her. She needs to go on a long, private vacation. You know what I mean?

Dude. You are an educated man with a long career in journalism. You might want to grab a dictionary and look up the word calamity. (hint, Hillary ain’t it) While you’re at it, educate yourself on the proper use of titles and rein in that white male privilege thang. Ya’ know what I mean?

Speaking of calamities, the paper did a man-on-the-street piece. In this case, it was a woman who was 70 years old if she was a day. She got the oft-asked question “What three events have happened in your lifetime that you will never forget where you were when you heard about it?” She said “the assassination of JFK, the attacks on 9/11 and Benghazi.” Really? Of all the events that have happened over all the years and Benghazi is in her top three. Not the Beirut bombings in ’83 that killed 241 of our servicemen and 58 French soldiers? Not the 2,000 people who died in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina? How about Sandy Hook when 20 children and 6 teachers were murdered at school? Any of that ring a bell? Nope. Benghazi. I’m pretty sure I, too, know where she was when she heard about it. On her couch watching FOX “news”.

The best part is always the Letter to the Editor. There are plenty who are just plain loco en la cabeza. But, there’s one guy I look forward to. He’s a prolific writer of 8910f0d91c5b62f1dd17a26c757781fdLetters and he never lets me down. Over the years, he has called President Obama evil, immoral, communist, Kenyan and Muslim. I guess he likes to mix it up. For the past two years, all his letters have come with a warning – I’m not saying it’s time to take up arms, but you might want to stockpile some ammo! Now, I’m getting a little worried about the fella’. His latest:

If Clinton wins this election with the promises of free college, etc, our beautiful country is doomed. Buy all the guns and ammo you can, because you are going to need them to protect your family when the government bankrupts the country.

Trump may not be the best, but he is the best to survive the coming of more fascism. Obama could have  really moved the country forward instead of back 100 years. Now the choice is ours to make.

There is sooo much wrong with that, but why bother to break it down? It would be futile, since this man’s mind is set in stone. I hope he has a family member who can check in on him. Or a nurse…

So, that’s a few of my experiences of dealing with the zealots with a little gossip thrown in. Thank goodness they are few, even if they leave a lasting impression. I guess I’ll have to wait patiently for the demographics to change. I hope y’all don’t have to deal with this in your neck of the woods. Who are these people? Apparently, they are my neighbors and they vote. With a vengeance.

Open Thread

 

Settle down, class. Let’s talk  grammar. Don’t worry. I won’t be asking you to diagram sentences.There will be no test. This is more about prepositions and conjunctions. Prepositions are words that create a relationship between other words in a sentence by linking phrases to the rest of the sentence. Conjunctions connect words, sentences, phrases and clauses.

My links and quotes here are from articles that are not that recent, but are good examples0988a70e95330193a35d34259adbc2de of the importance of such words.

Let’s start with “if”. Last year at a forum, Hillary was asked about Social Security. She gave her normal, detailed ideas that any lefty should love. When she came to the part about raising the retirement age, which she opposes, this is what they fixated on. [bold is mine throughout the post]

If there were a way to do it that would not penalize or punish laborers and factory workers and long-distance truck drivers and people who really are ready for retirement at a much earlier age, I would consider it. But I have yet to find any recommendation that I would think would be suitable.

Oh my. Hillary The Granny and Grampy Starver. There’s even a “but” in there, too. Her critics completely ignored everything else she said and spread those two sentences across the web. Does any one believe there will ever be a recommendation to divide Social Security recipients based on the type of job they held? As if.

Let’s move to “and”. I am, in no way, criticizing this brave mother from Flint, MI. She is considered a whistle blowing hero for the attention she brought to the lead crisis. This is more about the responses I heard and read after this exchange. LeeAnn Walters asked Hillary and Bernie if they would promise to require water systems in the US to remove lead pipes. Hillary’s response:

“We will commit to a priority to change the water systems and  we will commit within five years to remove lead from everywhere.”

While Ms. Walters didn’t like either answer (she has her reasons), she hated Hillary’s more saying: “To tell a Flint resident that we’ll handle this in five years is no different than what the city was telling us and what the state was telling us”. I scanned the comments to see if anyone else noticed the “and” in Hillary’s quote. Apparently not. Even those who were supportive of Hillary missed it. So, Hillary became the Jim Jones of Toddlers.

nclb-test-cartoonNow for the “but”. Hillary was asked about the death penalty by a man who was released from Death Row after serving 39 years for a crime he didn’t commit. Hillary had a long, nuanced and admittedly, run-on answer. I’ll break it down. She said she was very uncomfortable with the death penalty and would breathe a sigh of relief if the Supreme Court eliminated it tomorrow. Then she spoke about Timothy McVeigh, 9/11,  etc. and said it should be held in reserve for certain types of federal crimes, but only on a limited basis. She caught blowback from both the right and the left on this, who were ignoring the elephant in the room. That is, does anyone think this country will elect a Commander In Chief who takes the death penalty off the table for terrorists and mass murderers? Not gonna happen. But, no matter. The right said she’s soft on crime and the left thinks she’s Hillary The Executioner.

By another definition, prepositions are abstract words that have no concrete meaning. In and of themselves, yes. But, when they are overlooked and/or used to twist the entire narrative of a message, they are powerful. Maybe if we revived the skill of how to diagram a sentence, these teeny, tiny words would be more notable. Is it any wonder our future Madam President feels the need to “guard” her words?

 

Class dismissed and Open Thread.

 

 

 


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Kellyanne Conway’s new job

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