Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tacky GOP Halloween

This was the Virginia GOP last year.........maybe not the best approach;

and this is the poll results from FiveThirtyEight this year:


FiveThirtyEight Projections Dem Rep Margin
Polling average 47.9 46.9 Obama +1.0
Adjusted polling average 47.8 46.9 Obama +0.9
State fundamentals 47.4 47.2 Obama +0.2
Now-cast 47.8 46.9 Obama +0.9
Projected vote share ±3.0 50.1 49.2 Obama +0.9
Chance of winning 62% 38%

Are Halloween Costumes TOO Sexy?

I came across this topic from yesterday's Cenk Uygur/Young Turks on the Current TV network.

What is sad is that I haven't seen it brought up anywhere else. Sadly, I could not find a video clip of that interview about girls, sexualization at increasingly early ages, and specifically Halloween.

But I did find this clip about a more general issue of this as a problem. And that in turn has linked me to which has information about Halloween Costumes and our cultural assumptions.  Their article on Halloween costumes follows after the youtube video.

But if you have any questions about what the result of this kind of sexualization results in, look at the 'HoneyBooBoo' video clip that follows afterwards.

Why Halloween costume advertising is pretty much the worst
by Leah Debber

Anyone who has seen a packaged Halloween costume in the past few years has probably caught a glimpse of what the holiday has (de)evolved into. Halloween, which for many was once a time for candy and spooky stories, has been overrun by hyper-sexualized imagery. The day has largely become about the body and, more specifically, about the young, white, fit (and busty!) female body.
While there is nothing wrong with this body type in and of itself (or wanting to dress however you please on this day or any other day), the Halloween costume industry has featured it almost exclusively. This not only supports a form of body shaming, but it largely excludes women of color and of different sizes and ages from appearing in Halloween culture.
The over-saturation of the ‘perfect’ body image that is featured on costume package after costume package is selling more than just a revealing outfit. By emphasizing this one ideal, women who look different face forms of body shaming and alienation. Full-figured women, older women, and women of color are discouraged from participating in Halloween culture because they do not fit the image that is advertised as ‘acceptable’ for most costumes. It is implied that the only person who should be wearing a provocative costume is someone who is young, white, slender, and female.
The seemingly conscious decision to exclude most women from costume packages is completely unacceptable (there is, apparently, more body diversity on retailer websites). A lack of visibility and diversity implies that there is something wrong with differing from the created norm, or that it is somehow unappealing. This encourages women to further contemplate the way they look – something the media already encourages us to do the rest of the year – rather than kicking back to enjoy the holiday season.

The adult women’s costume section isn’t the only place that revels in body shaming though, as many even more problematic and offensive costumes can be found in the “funny” section of men’s costumes.
Some say that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery — but when it comes to Halloween costumes that mock the female body, that’s certainly not the case. Take, for example, Spirit Halloween’s “Giant Boob” costume. Nothing says respect for a woman more than a piece of her detached anatomy. And if that amount of objectification alone isn’t funny enough for you, have no fear, the nipple squeaks too!
Or how about Spirit’s “Droopers” costume? The costume comes with attached breasts which “droop” beneath a short crop top. The description asks, “ever wonder what happens to the girls who work at Hooters? There’s no real retirement plan when you’re a waitress”.
These costumes are shaming the bodies of women by turning them into objects meant to be ridiculed by men (note that these only appear in the men’s section). A breast is either ‘hot’ and then accepted within the main sphere of Halloween costumes, or it’s ‘not’ and therefore it becomes funny. Because the Giant Boob is not attached to a real, ‘perfect’ woman’s body, it becomes comedic. In the same way, because the Drooper’s breasts ‘droop’ and differ from the ideal, they become hilarious. This sentiment is not only ageist, but it’s insulting to the different bodies of women. There is already enough conversation that occurs on behalf of women’s bodies around Halloween (and in our culture at large), to which these costumes only add an extra disturbing element.
The point of this piece is not to demonize those who look like the women on the costume covers, or to bully all those who choose to sport these costumes. But rather it is a call-to-action for people to start thinking critically about our limited and gendered options for Halloween, and how they affect how we think about ourselves and each other. There are so many things about Halloween culture that are problematic, and looking at costumes is just scratching the surface. Hyper-sexualization, the prizing of some bodies over others and gender stereotyping has created a climate that actively perpetuates sexism in society.
Maybe it’s time we asked retailers like Spirit Halloween to take a stand and stop contributing to this harmful trend.

And now, from the classics! These are REALLY 'Old School'



Another Treat

The truth is scary.

Most Creative Use of a Pumpkin I've Seen This Year

Pumpkins, the Creators and the Destroyers

I was struck, growing up, by those who took delight in being creative - in carving elaborate pumpkins as part of really getting into the fun of Halloween. But this was true as well for other Holidays or season activities, not just Halloween.

There were those as well who delighted in smashing pumpkins, knocking down ornamental scarecrows, and for other season knocking over snowmen, or smashing down the walls of snow forts. Even when these people themselves made something, they seemed to take greater delight in the destruction of their creation than in the creation itself.

A friend of mine, japete over on Commongunsense, wrote a post about the last video on this page. Many of her commenters extolled the joys of target shooting produce, watching bullets make the veg explode like the gore in video games.

Not long after japete wrote her blog post, I watched a delightful documentary on our local PBS, Lords of the Gourd: The Pursuit of Excellence. It is about the people who raise those giant pumpkins one sees featured in competitions around this time of year on the news. It is a creative endeavor, a subculture of agriculture.

Watch the videos below, as our treat from penigma to our readers, and contemplate the difference between those who delight in creating something, growing something, and those who delight in destruction and the means of destruction.  I look at the guy with the gun 'carving' his pumpkin, and he seems to me a big dumb destructive jerk.

Watch Lords of the Gourd: The Pursuit of Excellence - Preview on PBS. See more from pbs.
But beyond that are the artists with the produce, who make it into works of seasonal art, however transitory.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

From Citizens for Election Integrity - Making our elections more honest than Voter ID

Please consider volunteering with CEI as well for the upcoming post election audit. This is where the public is welcome to observe each county as they do their own audit of random precincts to compare the paper ballot vote totals with the number they came up with from the voting machines. It also monitors how the ballots are secured and handled. This occurs at a date set by each county approximately a week or two after the election, so everyone volunteering themselves silly for their respective causes and candidates will have plenty of time to rest up before this takes place. Training with CEI is available, but contact them soon if you are interested!

We are fortunate to have more transparency than some states do, and to have this available to us in the state of Minnesota to guarantee to us honest elections.  My personal opinion is that this kind of volunteering does more to keep our elections honest than anything done by the voter fraud fanatics. That's part of why I decided to sign on to be an election judge this year in my precinct, and after the election, to be an election audit observer. - DG

Forward this newsletter to a friend

If you received this from a friend and would like to subscribe, please follow this link. Become an e-news subscriber

In the News
CEIMN research footnoted in Gov. Carlson and Gov. Dayton ‘vote no’ ad.(video)
Minnesota Public Radio, what we don’t know about the voter ID amendment. (video)
Let's keep it a clean Constitution, Jack Davies, former state senator, drafter of the form and structure rewrite of the Minnesota Constitution ratified in 1974
CEIMN report: The Cost of the Proposed Elections Amendment.
League of Women Voters Chart: The Constitutional Amendment on Elections. What It Says, What It Really Means.
CEIMN website, Proposed Amendment, with quiz at the bottom.

Find us on Facebook!
It’s going to be a close one, isn’t it? Poll after poll shows that the talking point that 80% of voters support a voter ID is an old one. It’s now down to the low 50s.
I’m sure that it will be painful for me and for you we lose by a few hundred votes. If that happens, we’ll wonder if there was just one more thing we could have done—just one more friend to call….just one more door to knock on.
We have a week. Let’s keep up our work. No, let’s increase our work.
Our Vote Our Future will be phone banking. If you go to this website, you can sign up. If you’re not in the Twin Cities you can also sign up with get out the vote (GOTV) work at that same website.
If the times and locations for the phone banking don’t work for you, please consider focusing on your own networks.
You may have friends who oppose the elections amendment but may—for one reason or another—decide not to vote at all. Make sure that they vote.
If you have friends who say a voter photo ID is not a big deal, show them the entire amendment language and tell them that putting this sort of language into our Constitution is a big deal.
If your friends say they are not registered to vote, remind them that we have Election Day Registration. In fact, show them this website so they can learn where they vote and what they need to register on Election Day.
Now is the time to prevent this poorly written amendment from being embedded into our Constitution.
Don’t expect the work to be done by someone else—you are the person who can help stop this.
Thank you for your continued dedication to this crucial issue!
Kathy Bonnifield
Executive Director
Citizens for Election Integrity Minnesota


The "Richest 1 percent is mobilizing to protect its privilege."

Consider Romney’s agenda. He’s for tax cuts for the rich, for ending the estate tax that applies to multimillion-dollar fortunes, for sustaining the “carried interest deduction” that allows private-equity millionaires like himself to pay lower tax rates than the police who patrol their streets. (link to article in comments)

Trash talking Romney-robots

It takes a lot of gall, a lot of real stupidity and shameful bias to dismiss all of the thoughtful, careful things that Colin Powell said in his support statement. I can readily believe that after the way the Bush administration used Colin Powell, particularly the neo-con advisers that are now flocking to Romney, that Powell wants nothing more to do with that group of failures.

This is just trash talk and dog whistle blowing. Sununu is a racist ass.

What a great visual - see how many people you can identify; it is NOT a random group in the picture.


It is NOT the Big Bad Wolf doing the Huffing and Puffing.....

It's time to stop believing in fairy tales, and to start believing in facts and science.

An inconvenient truth.

Guinea Pig Speaks Out - Ricky Gervais

A guilty pleasure: An Idiot Abroad 3 - First Look

Monday, October 29, 2012

FEMA /TEMA: You Cant Fix Tea Party Stupid

You can't fix stupid, a line from Ron White's comedy tour, applied to a variety of subjects. But you can laugh at it.......and sometimes that helps.

Worse than Katrina under Romney

What future generations, without assistance, does Mitts on R-money (to give it to the wealthy)  think there are going to be?

Pic of the Moment

Mitt and the conservatives do not understand that the reason we have insurance, the reason we have emergency responders, the reason we have disaster relief is that we are profoundly stronger as a nation, including economically, the less we are affected by disasters and tragedies. This is true of individual disasters, this is true of local disasters, this is true of regional and national/multi-state disasters.

When we provide this assistance to people for the recovery from these disruptive events, we are all stronger, we are all economically healthier, we are all safer from the spread of disease associated with these events like cholera and other illnesses.

We are all better than this for humane reasons, when we provide this help, these services. Romney would privatize those things which are better provided WITHOUT it being for profit, and without it being privatized.

If we have learned nothing else, we should know from the disasters of fraud and GREATER expense from using contractors for military services in Iraq and Afghanistan that we receive worse service at greater expense and with less transparency and accountability when we use private providers. The myth that the private sector will do a better, more cost effective, less wasteful job is a myth. There are many government services which are provided MORE efficiently and less costly than the private sector. If you don't believe that, try sending a letter first class through any commercial service provider for the cost of a first class stamp.

That is part of the problem with the ideology of the right; they do not adjust or adapt their policies or assumptions based on facts and evidence. They ignore any facts that do not support their thinking -- and there are a lot of those facts.


Raise your hand

if this explains why we call right wingers hypocrites and liars, Donald the fool Trump, Romney, the whole lot of them.

It is because they ARE liars and hypocrites; they insult us with their insincerity and dishonesty.

Flakes: No, not snow; undecided voters!

Morality Derives from Ethics, NOT Religion

We can all agree on what is right and wrong, without being told by a deity that it is wrong to rape, murder, steal, etc.

Apparently when we put those deities in place as the authority for our laws and our ethical standards we have some problems pop up that do not occur when law is, instead, based on that agreement about right and wrong.

Religion is used to enforce conformity, not freedom, and it is all too often not only contrary to freedom of thought and freedom of conscience, but contrary to what is right and good, and better for our nation, our states, and our local communities.  Most of all, too often religion is contrary to what is best for the individual.

The Vote: Use it or Lose it

At least one woman leader of the tea party has said that the worst thing that ever happened in this country was women being 'given' the vote. Janis Lane, head of a Mississippi tea party says so; human harpy and media whore Ann Coulter said it in 2007. So did a state senator, a woman, in 2001 in Kansas. And so have tea party religious righties.

And of course, we have Antonin Scalia who doesn't see the Equal Protection clause of the constitution as opposing discrimination against women, which would also apply to our basic rights like voting on the basis of gender.

We even have southern right wing nuts, all good Christians in their own minds, claiming that we shouldn't have outlawed slavery, if the Bible institutionalizes it.  It's the same kind of thinking that asserts women should be subordinate and submissive, and that women and children should be struck if they are at all rebellious - even killed.

These people are monsters, they are evil, they engage in thinking that belongs in the dark ages, thinking and belief that is hideous and ignorant and lacking in ethics, values and fundamental humanity.  They try to use religion to justify monstrous policies and legislation.  They are morally bankrupt, and dangerous to individual people and even more dangerous to the nation.

Vote, vote and donate and volunteer to keep dangerous conservatives out of power, and take every opportunity to push back against this backward group of people and their political ideology.  They are a menace to our way of life and our fundamental national values, and the principles of the founding fathers we have improved upon since the original drafting of the Constitution.

<3 KC



That's on top of global warming causing such dessication of our forests that we have unprecedented forest fires burning down many of our states, causing increasing problems of desertification.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Romney Campaign Outsources to China

Proof is in action. You should trust what they do before you trust what they say:

The Intersection of Religion and Politics

We're still waiting on conservatives to become enlightened and factually accurate about race........

Why was Mitt Romney silient about this prior to 1978. 

In 1978 Mitt Romney had clout and stature within the Mormon Church, he was 31 years old so if he felt the churchs viewpoint was wrong then why did he NOT take a stand against it! To justify and distance himself and his family from the racist viewpoints of the Mormon chruch at that time he said quote "My dad marched with Martin Luther King Jr." which is actually 100% FALSE! Get real if Rommeys dad was ever with Martin Luther King Jr, the Romney family would have a photograph. So some people say I met "fill in blank" before but I did not take a picture with them, which I personally fully understand since I have met a few celebrities and athletes over the years but I did not take a picture with them either. However, ....George Romney was a GOVERNOR of a major state (where as you or I are not) and secondly MLK Jr was a Nobel Peace Prize winner doing something to change the world for the better (I like "fill in the blank" celebrity/athlete but they are not doing that), thirdly politicians do what is and has always been called "PHOTO-OP's" just for this exact reason.

Here is Mitt Romney on Meet The Press in 2007 trying to "explain" it/himself. Now pay attention he said his DAD (not him) marched with Martin Luther King Jr. which is 100% FALSE! Yet another lie with Mitt Romney and it isnt even from this 2011-2012 campaign:

Mitt Romney's father George Romney did NOT march with Martin Luther King Jr:

Black people and early Mormonism - 

Oh you dont think I am aware of Harry Reid being a Mormon? Or big Republican Senator (former one GOP POTUS candidate) Orin Hatch. Or a guy whom I like former Utah Governor, former US Ambassador to China, former GOP POTUS candidate Jon Huntsman, etc etc. No...I know. But the difference is those men mentioned DO NOT hide what they believe in. Those men DO NOT have over 20 years of FLIP FLOPPING on the issues/LYING or being HYPOCRITICAL. Mitt has decided to not only embrace Donald Trump (thus embracing BIRTHERISM) but now he has continued to do it himself (see the link below) and his now famous "No one has asked for my birth certificate" comment.
Mitt Romney: "No One Has Ever Asked To See My Birth Certificate"!/photo.php?fbid=427997157246110&set=a.227154890663672.57203.217866534925841&type=1&permPage=1

Outsource this


Says it all about the marriage amendment

Here is "Why I'm Voting NO!" Share your reason here ->

President and Right Wing Secular Saint, Ronald Ray-gun ALSO Campaigned Comparing Sex to Voting!

I just love to poke holes in the right wing hypocrisy with a sharp stick.

Talking points memo tracked down a quote of Ronnie 'Star Wars' Ray-Gun campaigning for the presidency in late October 1980, making a clear comparison to voting and sex.  Both the reference to 'pulling on the lever' as a metaphor - a clearly phallic stroking reference - and 'it only hurts for a minute and then it feels just great' sure sounds to me like a comparison to what women are told about losing their virginity, 'for the first time', clearly a virginity reference. 

The biggest difference between the two appeals for voting and a candidate, Ronnie was appealing to men, and Dunham was primarily appealing to women, and was in many respects less crude.

Here's the WaPo quote, found by TPM:
“I know what it’s like to pull the Republican lever for the first time, because I used to be a Democrat myself, and I can tell you it only hurts for a minute and then it feels just great.”
Hypocrites and prudes, afraid of sex, ignorant about sex, intolerant towards sex, and viagra-junkie pervert sex tourists who rant against and of course, grossly misrepresent, sex.

Is the right the 'value party'? Hell no, unless your values are double standards and a bad attitude towards women and sex.

Republicans and Tea Partiers = hypocrites and prudes.

More Flop Sweat on Abortion for Romney on the Murdoch statement

If you watch Romney dodging reporters, with his 'which way out of here' line, you can see a reprise of the flop sweat from the debate. It has been postulated very persuasively that candidate Ryan is also being kept away from uncomfortable questions by reporters. Romney has that same fakey nervous smile that caused him to be characterized as a wimp. He is fake, he is a fraud, he is not a nice man, he is not a good leader.  Most of all he is interested ONLY in buying the election to further enrich himself and the already wealthy special interests that back him.


Political Will

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Fifty years ago today

Soviet-R-12-nuclear-ballistic missile.jpg
CIA reference photograph of Soviet intermediate-range
nuclear ballistic missile (NATO designation SS-4)  
in Red Square, Moscow

The Cuban Military Crisis resulted in what is known as black Saturday.  Historians consider it the closest conflict to breaking out in nuclear war of the 20th century Cold War era.

PBS did an excellent documentary, Three Men Go to War, about the political figures of President John F. Kennedy, Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro, and Premier Nikita Khrushchev of the Soviet Union.

Alfred Hitchcock did an excellent fictional version of the French role in his movie Topaz, in alerting the U.S. to the leaking of NATO secrets and the infiltration of the French government of Charles De Gaulle by Soviet intelligence agents, just part of the backdrop to American U-2 pilots discovering the missile sites while overflying Cuba.

On October 27, 1962, another U-2 flying over Cuba was shot down, and later that evening, the U.S. Navy dropped depth charges on a Soviet submarine challenging the U.S. blockade of Cuba, not realizing the sub carried at least one nuclear torpedo.  And later that evening, another U-2, that was supposed to be sampling nuclear fallout from Soviet bomb testing, took a wrong turn due to the Aurora Borealis, and invaded Soviet airspace for 90 minutes.  The Soviets scrambled their MiGs, chasing the U-2, flying on fumes, back over the Bering Strait, and the U.S. in turn launched F-102s, also armed with nuclear air-to-air missiles.

The upshot was that was that - obviously - nuclear war was avoided, Kennedy pulled some old, obsolete missiles out of Turkey in a secret deal and Krushchev pulled the missiles out of Cuba in exchange for a promise not to invade.

Earlier this week, Fidel Castro, the last of the three still alive, although supposedly having relinquished power, at least day-to-day operational power to his brother Raul, made an appearance at the Havana National Hotel to prove he's not dead yet.

I would encourage readers to check out the PBS web site on an important historic event, something we should all know about our own history, and world history, with parallels to our modern era politics.  The entire 13 day Cuban Missile Crisis is far too complex to address here in the detail it deserves; but it is a classic example of what a difference the individual in the oval office makes.

Black Saturday 1962, it's an important date - then and now.

More on the politics of Racism in the 2012 election

I've written here about incipient racism in this country for some time now.  It is not as blatant, it is not as accepted, it is not as overt as it once was, but it is still there.  It is present in the views of those, primarily in the south, who oppose marriage based on race.  It is present in the views of George Zimmerman when he made false and inaccurate assumptions about drugs, alcohol and criminal intent, as well as the right to be where he was, not only about Trayvon Martin but about all the other black men and boys on whom he called 911, when they did nothing wrong.

It was present when Romney Campaign Co-Chair and former governor Sununu dismissed the endorsement of Gen. and former Sec. of State, Republican Colin Powell as being race-based.  Powell was very specific about why he did not endorse former governor Romney, he cited the advisers, he cited the domestic policy and foreign policy.  I was surprised that Colin Powell did not even more emphatically underline how much of a repeat of the past mistakes of Dubya the new 'Dubya' disaster aka Romney has in his policies.

As one pundit noted this morning, the idea that black Americans will only vote for Obama on the basis of race is ludicrous; they've voted in every election where they were ALLOWED to vote in the past for exclusively white candidates. They still voted.  No one is asserting that white candidates can't see beyond race when THEY vote, although there have been a few Romney supporters who have made it clear that was their motivation, as in those who wore t-shirts or carried signs proclaiming "It's the WHITE House" or similar sentiments.

There are clearly 'dog whistles', statements which carry a loaded message with wording designed to appeal to certain prejudices, biases, or other strong sentiments.  That seems to be the case with the Sununu statement, which plays to the support from specifically white voters for Romney.

This issue will affect not only the national election, but our state election for Congress with Rep. Ellison, who has been wrongly attacked by the nut job Rep. Bachmann with farcial claims of membership in the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as any other candidates who are black, bi or multi-racial, or hispanic running 'down ballot' from the elections to federal office.

CNN this past August had this about the growth of the more extreme racism in the United States; (writing on this topic here has resulted in an increase in traffic on Penigma from white supremacists, openly avowed racists.)

The rise of white supremacy in America

There are hard numbers on the rise of hate in America. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, hate groups have increased 69 percent since 2000.
A "hate" group is defined as a group or movement that practices hate, hostility or violence towards another race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. There are hate groups in almost every state in the country - 84 of them in California, 65 in Georgia. Florida, New Jersey, and Texas round out the top 5 states with hate groups. What's fueling this resurgence of hate? OutFront tonight: J.M. Berger, who has been tracking these groups as a contributor to Foreign Policy magazine and Heidi Buy-Rick, the director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center. 'Swimming upstream,' white supremacist groups still strong Hundreds of white supremacist groups are active in the United States today and are experiencing a kind of resurgence, experts say. They are in the spotlight this week in the wake of a deadly shooting at a Sikh temple outside Milwaukee. Authorities have said they are looking into whether the gunman, who was killed, had ties to such a group. "I know they're out there. I try not to alarm the public too much, but it's something that really needs to be taken a hold of now because more and more we see facts coming out that this is happening more often and more often, and it's not going to stop anytime soon," said David Gletty, who worked as an undercover informant on extremist groups for the FBI. (read the full article at the link) What makes the article below interesting is that it does specifically address political affiliation and racial attitudes; however it seems a safe and reasonable extrapolation to assert that racism is more accepted and more overt on the right than in the center or on the left.
And more recently, from the AP at MSN news: Poll: Slim US majority has prejudice against blacks AP By Jennifer Agiesta
A new Associated Press poll finds that, four years after the US elected its first black president, racial attitudes have not improved. A slight majority of Americans now express prejudice towards blacks.
WASHINGTON — Racial attitudes have not improved in the four years since the United States elected its first black president, an Associated Press poll finds, as a slight majority of Americans now express prejudice toward blacks whether they recognize those feelings or not. Those views could cost President Barack Obama votes as he tries for re-election, the survey found, though the effects are mitigated by some Americans' more favorable views of blacks. Racial prejudice has increased slightly since 2008 whether those feelings were measured using questions that explicitly asked respondents about racist attitudes, or through an experimental test that measured implicit views toward race without asking questions about that topic directly. In all, 51 percent of Americans now express explicit anti-black attitudes, compared with 48 percent in a similar 2008 survey. When measured by an implicit racial attitudes test, the number of Americans with anti-black sentiments jumped to 56 percent, up from 49 percent during the last presidential election. In both tests, the share of Americans expressing pro-black attitudes fell. " As much as we'd hope the impact of race would decline over time ... it appears the impact of anti-black sentiment on voting is about the same as it was four years ago," said Jon Krosnick, a Stanford University professor who worked with AP to develop the survey. Most Americans expressed anti-Hispanic sentiments, too. In an AP survey done in 2011, 52 percent of non-Hispanic whites expressed anti-Hispanic attitudes. That figure rose to 57 percent in the implicit test. The survey on Hispanics had no past data for comparison. The AP surveys were conducted with researchers from Stanford University, the University of Michigan and NORC at the University of Chicago. Experts on race said they were not surprised by the findings. "We have this false idea that there is uniformity in progress and that things change in one big step. That is not the way history has worked," said Jelani Cobb, professor of history and director of the Institute for African-American Studies at the University of Connecticut. "When we've seen progress, we've also seen backlash." Obama himself has tread cautiously on the subject of race, but many African-Americans have talked openly about perceived antagonism toward them since Obama took office. As evidence, they point to events involving police brutality or cite bumper stickers, cartoons and protest posters that mock the president as a lion or a monkey, or lynch him in effigy. "Part of it is growing polarization within American society," said Fredrick Harris, director of the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University. "The last Democrat in the White House said we had to have a national discussion about race. There's been total silence around issues of race with this president. But, as you see, whether there is silence, or an elevation of the discussion of race, you still have polarization. It will take more generations, I suspect, before we eliminate these deep feelings." Overall, the survey found that by virtue of racial prejudice, Obama could lose 5 percentage points off his share of the popular vote in his Nov. 6 contest against Republican challenger Mitt Romney. However, Obama also stands to benefit from a 3 percentage point gain due to pro-black sentiment, researchers said. Overall, that means an estimated net loss of 2 percentage points due to anti-black attitudes. The poll finds that racial prejudice is not limited to one group of partisans. Although Republicans were more likely than Democrats to express racial prejudice in the questions measuring explicit racism (79 percent among Republicans compared with 32 percent among Democrats), the implicit test found little difference between the two parties. That test showed a majority of both Democrats and Republicans held anti-black feelings (55 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of Republicans), as did about half of political independents (49 percent). Obama faced a similar situation in 2008, the survey then found.

Every Sperm is Sacred, Every Sperm is Good....

From MikeB by way of Under the lobsterscope:

Masturbation is a terrible sin if you're roman catholic. Where or where is the outrage about that?

The reality is that masturbation and all of the other ways of achieving orgasm are good for men's health (and presumably, if they are responsible about it, happiness) relating directly to prostate health, especially as they get older. Depending on the source, recommendations range from twelve to  twenty-one or more orgasms a month are recommended for prostate health.

The British National Health System actually included advocating a healthy and active sex life as part of material provided to school kids - more progressive than anything you'd ever see in this country.  But then, they DID give the world Monty Python....

It's Saturday; have a little fun.

Romney Actively Opposes Gay Parents

We had a discussion here on the blog earlier about Romney's opposition to gay parents of chilren - their birth children OR adoptive children, as well as having campaigned for a Constitutional Amendment to ban gay marriage in Massachusetts. The Obama campaign has correctly identified Romney as badly homophobic.

From today's HuffPo:

Romney: 'Some Gays Are Actually Having Children. It's Not Right on Paper. It's Not Right in Fact.'
We've witnessed many Mitt Romneys, but the one unearthed by the Boston Globe's Murray Waas yesterday is perhaps the most vicious and cruel: a zealot who, as Massachusetts governor, became hellbent on stigmatizing the children of gay and lesbian parents, labeling these kids as outcasts and causing them to suffer hardship throughout their lives.
Waas reveals how, after gays and lesbians in Massachusetts won the right to marry in 2003, Governor Romney wouldn't allow the Registry of Vital Records and Statistics to revise birth certificate forms for babies born to same-sex couples. The plan was to have the box for "father," for example, relabeled "father or second parent." But according to documents obtained by Waas, Romney rejected the plan, demanding the agency continue using old forms. Romney then demanded hospitals get permission from his office each time a child was born to a same sex-couple in order to cross out, with a pen, the label "father" or "mother," and write-in, with a pen, "second parent." (Romney also required gay male parents to get a court order before any birth certificate was issued.)
Those children would then go through life with birth certificates that marked them as strange, abnormal, less than everyone else, punished because Romney didn't approve of their parents. As a Department of Health attorney warned Romney, the children would be disadvantaged and would have trouble applying to school or getting drivers licenses as adults, particularly in a post-9/11 world where they might be considered security risks, having birth certificates that appeared altered. It was a "violation of existing statutes," the attorney warned Romney. But Romney waved off the warnings, not caring about the the legal, psychological or personal ramifications.
Romney hadn't even previously fathomed that gay people had children. Boston Spirit magazine reported last month that when gay activists met with him in his office in 2004, as Romney was backing a failed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in the state, Romney remarked, "I didn't know you had families." Julie Goodridge, lead plaintiff in the landmark case that won marriage rights for gays and lesbians before the Supreme Judicial Court, asked what she should tell her 8-year-old daughter about why the governor would block the marriage of her parents. According to Goodridge, Romney responded,"I don't really care what you tell your adopted daughter. Why don't you just tell her the same thing you've been telling her the last eight years."
Romney's retort enraged a speechless Goodridge; he didn't care, and by referring to her biological daughter as "adopted," it was clear he hadn't even been listening. By the time she was back in the hallway, she was reduced to tears. "I really kind of lost it," says Goodridge. "I've never stood before someone who had no capacity for empathy."
Months after his battle with the Registry of Vital Records began, as Wass reports in the Globe, Romney spoke before the Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington:
He outlined his misgivings about the request from the Registry of Vital Records. "The children of America have the right to have a father and a mother,'' Romney said in his prepared remarks. "What should be the ideal for raising a child? Not a village, not 'parent A' and 'parent B,' but a mother and a father.'' Romney also warned about the societal impact of gay parents raising children. "Scientific studies of children raised by same-sex couples are almost nonexistent,'' he said. "It may affect the development of children and thereby future society as a whole.''
The following year, 2005, Romney spoke to conservative voters in South Carolina, as he trained his eye on the presidency. "Some gays are actually having children born to them,'' he said. "It's not right on paper. It's not right in fact. Every child has a right to a mother and father.''
Does it really matter whether his actions and statements were motivated by Romney's authoritarian Mormon faith or were a pander to evangelicals as he sought the presidency, or both? That he could be so zealous, cold-hearted and cruel should alarm everyone about the prospect of Mitt Romney becoming president.

15 Too Many Bad Candidates

This list may not be exhaustive or complete. It should also include Paul Ryan.


We've redefined marriage before; time to do so again!


Friday, October 26, 2012

Good Animation, Bad Republican Policy

Just Sayin'


From John Kenneth Galbraith

I grew up on Galbraith's writing; he was arguably the most famous economist of his time, not only in the United States, but in the entire world. Unlike certain conservative economists, he never had to apologize for being horrifically wrong about the need for regulation of certain aspects of the financial sector that were responsible for both a national and a global economic collapse and major depression. He was good at what he did; he was more than competent, he was superb. He speaks insightfully here; he died in 2006 just ahead of the Bush administration's economic policy / conservative policy massive, epic failure.  Those same policies, under Romney, would be as devestatingly failures all over again.  The intentions of the right are clear; Galbraith names it, calls it out for what it really is.


This is upsetting the prudes and hypocrites on the right

I first learned about this ad by reading a tea party / white whine party blogger who was complaining about it as 'over-dramatic' and 'manipulative'.  All I know is that if Rush Limbaugh doesn't like it, it must be good, and worthwhile, and patriotic, because Rush is the opposite of all those things.
Rush thinks that this ad insults women; no, RUSH INSULTS WOMEN, and the right wing culture war against women insults women.
From Politico: Rush Limbaugh: Lena Dunham ad insults women
Rush Limbaugh said Friday that actress Lena Dunham’s ad for President Barack Obama — in which the HBO “Girls” star talks about her “first time” (it’s actually voting for Obama, not like losing her virginity) — insults women as “monolithic sex machines.”

“I don’t know if it’s going to work or backfire. It’s insulting to women. It again looks at women as monolithic sex machines who want to make sure they’ve got unending birth control pills and then a free trip to Planned Parenthood the next day, all paid for by Obama,” Limbaugh said on his radio show, according to audio posted by Daily Rushbo. “If I were a woman today, I would feel insulted each and everyday. The way they look at women: all thinking the same way, all wanting the same things.”

Limbaugh joined other conservatives who are outraged about the 26-year-old actress’s ad.
Limbaugh added: “Some people look at it and think it’s cool and it’s hip and it’s representative of the current modern-day pop culture. But I think it’s an insult to women everywhere. I mean where the hell is Gloria Steinem? Gloria, is this what you all have been fighting for all your lives? An ad like this? An appeal to women as sex machines?”

There is nothing - NOTHING - in this ad about Planned Parenthood, about monolithic sex machines, about 'unending birth control pills', or about women 'all wanting the same things'. This is all Rush's fantasy, the same fantasy he concocted and then tried to ascribe to Sandra Fluke when she spoke about the use of birth control pills for a therapeutic use for an illness.  This from the man who has apparently taken sex tourist trips to venues which prominently feature underage girls in prostitution with a bottle FULL of a huge number of boner pills.

This is like bulemia criticism from an avowed glutton.

Rush Limbaugh's answer to contraception, left; Rush Limbaugh's audience, below:

Defininely NOT women!

Hell no, this ad is not offensive to women; this ad is just funny and insightful.  I have no regrets about when and with whom I lost my virginity.  I remember equally vividly my first time voting; I voted for a Republican, and afterwards, I had voter remorse -- like buyer's remorse, but in many respects it was far more serious because unlike my sexual maturity and decision on a partner, it affected a LOT more people, and affected them adversely.
I made my decision about sex for the first time after reading some excellent guidelines for deciding when I was ready, who the right partner was, so that the decision was one that I could be happy with for the rest of my life.  Because I was 18, even though I had researched the political positions of the leading candidates, I voted the way my parents voted.
If I had done the same thing with my sex life, simply done what my parents told me was right instead of thinking for myself,  I would have missed out on a lot of important experiences. I would definitely have virginity remorse.
The ad already has a parody, longer, but funny in a different way if not as clever as the original. 
The irony is that while claiming the original Obama ad is 'manipulative' and 'over-dramatic', the number of white right extremists running around saying really crazy and hysterical and of course, factually inaccurate things is amazing.  These people are certifiable nut jobs, who have no business pointing any accusing finger at anybody.
First we have the preceding example of Mitts on R-money lying to voters in Defiance Ohio about Jeeps being outsourced to China when in fact Jeep is ADDING 1100 jobs in Detroit Michigan.
Then we have Diane West and Frank Geffney, right wing wackos that hang with nut-job and Minnesota embarrassment Michele Bachmann in her insane attack on Hilary Clinton's aide, claiming that the attack in Benghazi was a 'fortunate' event because it helped Romney. 1. No, it was a tragedy; and 2. I don't think it hurt Obama, but Romney's response to it has certainly backfired on him.
The we have the stupidest man ever to be elected to Congress in the history of the United States, Louis Gohmert, claiming the Obama administration is being advised and directed by the Muslim Brotherhood.
And not to be outdone for embarrassingly stupid, we have former Bush ambassador, John Bolton, now a Romney advisor, asserting that Obama is going to 'reinstitute blasphemy laws'.  Ummm hello? As I wrote here, a number of individual states, as well as a number of European nations do have blasphemy laws on the books -- but no one is using them, and there are no federal blasphemy laws for Obama to RE-institute.  Not that Bolton and reality or fact were ever close on any occasion.
Then we have another Romney adviser, Whalid Phares, claiming that Obama has 'quit' the war on terrorism, and claiming that the Obama administration is now WORKING FOR the Muslim Brotherhood.  Yeah, right  - tell that to bin Laden.  Tell that to Morsi of Egypt.  Tell that to Quadaffi - although of course to discuss the subject with either Quadaffi or bin Laden, you'll need a spiritual medium.
We also have Bryan Wilson of the dreadful American Family Association, claiming that Obama is waging war on Christians because he included options for contraception in Obamacare.  No one is forced to use it; but it is available in spite of some people wanting to deny it to other people -- including Christians who use and want coverage for contraception.
Faith 2 Action president Janet Porter claims Obama was 'demonic' in the debates; yup, because you have to worry about demonic possession in this election (but do not compare anything to life benchmarks like voting).
I could go on and on; the list of crazies on the right from birthers, to the wing nuts who claim that Obama is secretly muslim because of his wedding ring (?), to those who claim Obama is really gay - and killed all of his previous gay lovers, which is why no one is coming forward about it.  The list is endless, because there is no end to the insanity, melodrama, hysteria and hair on fire screaming manipulation and exploitation and just plain LYING and election dirty tricks of the right. 
The conservatives are NOT the values party; they are the immoral lying bastards party.  Nothing muslim, gay or supernatural about it; just plain old dirty greed and power grabbing politics as usual, topped with a generous dollop of hypocrisy.

The Jeep Creep and his Lyin Veep:
Romney Is Campaigning
by Consistently, Continuously LYING to Try to Get Elected.

Mitt Romney is a jeep creep, which is to say he lies about Jeeps and jobs, as has his Vice Presidential candidate, Paul Ryan did when he lied about the auto manufacturer in Jaynesville.

He deliberately goes far beyond accidental inaccuracy into deliberate deception and misrepresentation, he does it regularly, he does it often, and he does NOT EVER correct his errors -- another thing about which he lies to voters.

Republicans are lying in robo calls and mass mailings to voters about important information for the upcoming election.  They have deceived as a deliberate massive campaign tactic in the past, and they continue to engage in election tampering in this election.

Do not reward them with a single vote.

Here is one of Mitt's on R-money's most recent whoppers:

Why Romney's bogus Jeep claims matter


A Jeep plant in Ohio

Mitt Romney campaigned in Defiance, Ohio, last night, and rolled out a new argument. "I saw a story today that one of the great manufacturers in this state, Jeep, now owned by the Italians, is thinking of moving all production to China," he said. "I will fight for every good job in America, I'm going to fight to make sure trade is fair, and if it's fair, America will win."
There are a few problems with this line of attack, starting with the simple fact that Romney wasn't telling the truth. As Chrysler itself explained, the company intends to build Jeeps in China to be sold in China, but isn't moving American jobs abroad.
On Oct. 22, 2012, at 11:10 a.m. ET, the Bloomberg News report "Fiat Says Jeep® Output May Return to China as Demand Rises" stated "Chrysler currently builds all Jeep SUV models at plants in Michigan, Illinois and Ohio. Manley (President and CEO of the Jeep brand) referred to adding Jeep production sites rather than shifting output from North America to China."
Despite clear and accurate reporting, the take has given birth to a number of stories making readers believe that Chrysler plans to shift all Jeep production to China from North America, and therefore idle assembly lines and U.S. workforce. It is a leap that would be difficult even for professional circus acrobats.
Let's set the record straight: Jeep has no intention of shifting production of its Jeep models out of North America to China. It's simply reviewing the opportunities to return Jeep output to China for the world's largest auto market. U.S. Jeep assembly lines will continue to stay in operation. A careful and unbiased reading of the Bloomberg take would have saved unnecessary fantasies and extravagant comments. [emphasis in the original]
All of this, incidentally, is rather ironic given the successful efforts of the Obama administration when it comes to China and Jeeps, specifically.
Greg Sargent explained well why this matters: "Romney may very well be the next president. That's a position of some responsibility. Yet he and his campaign rushed to tell voters a story designed to stoke their fears for their livelihoods without bothering to vet it for basic accuracy. This is not a small thing. It reveals the depth of Romney's blithe lack of concern for the truth -- and the subservience of it to his own political ambitions."
Indeed, we can take this a step further.

Romney specifically urged business leaders to give their employees voting instructions -- many took Romney's suggestion seriously -- and as a consequence, workers in a growing number of businesses are being told their jobs may be dependent on the outcome of the election.
Romney's comments in Defiance are part of the same kind of fear-based argument: vote the right way or you'll be unemployed. Your livelihood is at stake, so support the candidate who opposed President Obama's successful rescue of the auto industry and got rich laying off American workers.
For additional context, it's worth noting that the Detroit News reports today that Chrysler is adding an additional 1,100 new jobs. Why? To build more Jeeps right here in the United States.

Personally, I'm waiting for Romney to get struck by lightning for his deliberate dishonesty; if we're lucky, he'll be standing next to Lyin' Ryan when it happens.