Gay Ala. Lawmaker Threatens To Out Colleagues’ Affairs

Alabama state Rep. Patricia Todd (D) |AP Photo / Bob Gathany

This is not about gossip.

Alabama state Rep. Patricia Todd  wants to make her collegues aware of their double standards.  They are constantly denigrating gay rights and same-sex marriage as a “family values” issue while clearly practicing their own form of “debauched values” by touting the sanctity of marriage term incessantly when arguing against gay marriage.

TPM LiveWire

Todd told the Huffington Post that she threatened her colleagues after many lawmakers condemned a federal judge’s Friday ruling that struck down the Alabama ban on same sex marriage.

“I don’t have direct knowledge, because obviously I’m not the other person involved in the affair. But one thing you would never hear about me is that I ever cheated on a partner or had an affair,” she said.

Todd said that she will not tolerate “hypocrites.”

“If you can explain your position and you hold yourself to the same standard you want to hold me to, then fine. But you cannot go out there and smear my community by condemning us and somehow making us feel less than, and expect me to be quiet,” she told the Huffington Post.

American Sniper: Of course it is political.

kstreet607:

It’s also an economic boon for the the investors and producers of this box office bonanza. I personally will not see the movie because of its glorification of guns, period.

Originally posted on A Little Tour in Yellow:

308555id1i_TheJudge_FinalRated_27x40_1Sheet.inddAmerican Sniper gives me the opportunity to talk about the politics of art.  First I’ll let you know that I have not seen the film and probably won’t see it any time soon.  I am not that interested in the film.

However it seems that a lot of people are interested in the film, indeed very interested.  It is setting box office records.  That says something.  But the talk about the film says even more.  It has caused quite a stir, causing people to express opinions in favor and against.  That discussion has spun off into a metadiscursive chatter about the politics of the film.  Is it political or not?  Or is it “just a film”?

I don’t have to see the film to answer the question.  Clearly, the film is political.  I would argue that all art is political to some extent or another.  Some art more heavily vested with…

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10 Tips On How To Survive A Snowstorm

kstreet607:

Excellent article…

Originally posted on List of X:

snowstorm2Right now, a major snowstorm is pounding Northeast of the United States, with up to 36 inches of snow expected in less than two days. (For those readers who live in the countries with metric system, this is just short of a meter, and for those readers who live in Canada, this is just short of average.) Since this blizzard is expected to be one of the biggest snowstorms of the last few decades, proper preparation is crucial. Here are 10 tips on how to survive this snowstorm.

1)  Stockpile salt, shovels, snacks, stews, sweaters, socks, sleeping bags, snowshoes, skis, and any other stuff starting with the letter “S”.

2)  For your safety, stay off the roads. If you have had any experience driving alongside New York or Boston drivers, you know that this advice is relevant in any weather.

3)  Entertain yourself by using your smartphone and Internet to post status…

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Bill Clinton Warned Jeb Is ‘Real Threat,’ Christie Not So Much

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Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (R) | Jeff Chiu

I’m not sure if Bill Clinton is right.  I suspect he wants Jeb Bush to be the Republican nominee knowing the nation wants no part of another Bush in office.  Therefore, making it easier for Hillary’s chances of winning the Presidency in 2016.

TPM LiveWire

That’s according to an extensive piece in Politico published Monday about the former secretary’s possible presidential campaign. Former President Clinton, according to the Politico piece, got a “heads-up” from people in former President George H. W. Bush’s world just a few days after the former Gov. Bush announced that he would “actively explore” running for president. In the words of Politico, former President Clinton saw Bush as a “real threat” while Christie as more of a “sideshow.”

Early polling of the Republican primary field has shown Bush leading a host of other candidates.

Despite the politcal rivalry, the Bush family and the Clinton family are actually somewhat close. Former President Clinton has repeatedly visited Former President H.W. Bush in Maine every summer and former Gov. Bush once presented former Secretary Clinton with an award. Former President George W. Bush has also referred to former President Clinton as his “brother from another mother.”

H/t: DB

Disaster Strikes At Congressional Hearing To Promote Drones In US Airspace (VIDEO)

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This week’s congressional hearing on loosening restrictions on operating drones in US airspace quickly dissolved into farce, when the experimental drone crashed.

The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee’s hearing on the integration of commercial drones went from the sublime to the ridiculous when Colin Guinn, senior vice president of sales for 3D Robotics, decided to show off his Parrot Bebop drone during his testimony.

It all went horribly, and hilariously, wrong.

After the drone unceremoniously smashed to the floor before members of Congress, Guinn attempted a little light banter while the vehicle was re-calibrated.

“We can get it back up into the air in just about…just about one minute.” he says.

Shortly thereafter, the drone is once again launched into the air.  It hovers around for a moment or two before smashing to the floor once again.

“Whoops” grimaces Guinn.  “That’s your worst case scenario.”

Even the committee’s chairman, the Republican Representative for Texas Lamar Smith (R., Texas), seemed underwhelmed by the display.

“I was hoping you’d fly it around the whole room — not just one location,” Smith said after the drone landed.

Congress handed the task of readying airspace for the integration of commercial drones over to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). While drones are currently prohibited for use, the FAA is granting a growing number of exemptions for certain industries. Earlier this month, regulators gave CNN authority to test drone systems for the purpose of news-gathering.  Amazon has also announced its preparation to dispatch products to customers using a drone delivery system called Amazon Air.

Civil liberties groups argue that the increasing prevalence of drones may soften people to the potential putfalls of such technology. Police in Grand Forks, North Dakota, are already using surveillance drones on the public.

“We see ourselves as the vanguard of the safe use of small UAVs for law enforcement,” said deputy sheriff Alan Frazier.

Such language does little to quell the concerns of those who suspect further roll outs over time, and the serious issues around privacy that such a move portends.

10 things you need to know today – 1/26/2015

AP WHITE HOUSE LOCKDOWN A USA DC

Secret Service Officers search south grounds of the White House on January 26, 2015 | (Photo: Susan Walsh, AP)

 The Week

(Via my email.  There is no longer access to the online version without a subscription.)

1. Radical Greek anti-austerity party wins parliamentary election

Greece’s radical left Syriza party, which is vowing to end the country’s tough austerity program, moved quickly to form a government Monday, a day after winning a decisive victory in Sunday’s parliamentary elections. Party leader Alexis Tsipras, at age 40 Greece’s youngest prime minister in 150 years, said the vote gave the party a clear mandate to end “five years of humiliation and pain,” signaling a showdown with lenders over the terms of Greece’s $270 billion international bailout. Greek stocks fell by five percent early Monday. [The Washington Post]

2. New York and the rest of the Northeast brace for historic storm

Airlines canceled nearly 2,000 flights on Monday ahead of a potentially historic winter storm headed into the Northeast. New Yorkers were expecting as much as 30 inches of snow to begin falling in early afternoon. New York City has only experienced two blizzards packing 26 inches of snow, one in 1947 and one in 2006. “Don’t underestimate this storm,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday. “My message for New Yorkers is prepare for something worse than we have ever seen before.” [ABC News, PBS Newshour]

3. Sixteen die in protests marking anniversary of Egypt’s uprising

At least 16 people were killed in Egypt over the weekend in clashes between police and protesters marking the fourth anniversary of the country’s revolution. At least 15 people, including three police cadets, were killed on Sunday. One woman, Shaimaa El-Sabbagh of the Socialist Popular Alliance Party, was killed — shot by police, colleagues said — as she marched with a group heading to Tahrir Square. Police deny firing the shots, saying they only used tear gas. [CNN, BBC News]

4. New York Assembly Speaker Silver agrees to temporarily step aside

Longtime New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver agreed Sunday to step aside temporarily as he fights federal corruption charges. Silver was under increasing pressure from Democrats to give up his duties. One person familiar with the deal said Silver, who was arrested on Thursday, would “not specifically step down, but step back.” Democrats will hold a closed-door meeting on Monday afternoon to consider the plan. [The New York Times]

5. Small aerial drone found on White House grounds

A device believed to be a small aerial drone, was found on the grounds of the White House on Sunday. Obama administration officials said Monday that the device posed no threat. The discovery came as President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are in India, although their daughters, Sasha and Malia, did not travel with them. The news came as the Secret Service has been trying to regroup after several security breaches, including one in September when a man with a knife scaled a fence and ran into the White House. [The Miami Herald]

6. Christie forms PAC ahead of possible presidential bid

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has formed a political action committee in what has been interpreted as an early step toward launching a bid for the presidency in 2016. The move made Christie the third high-profile Republican to consider launching a campaign, behind former Florida governor Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney, the GOP’s nominee in 2012. Launching the PAC, Leadership Matters for America, will let Christie recruit the staff and fundraisers he would need to start a campaign. [The Wall Street Journal]

7. Obama moves to expand protections in Alaska wilderness

The White House announced on Sunday that President Obama will ask Congress to classify 12 million acres in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska as wilderness. The designation would make it illegal to drill for oil and gas, or build roads on the land. The news was met with excitement from environmental groups and anger by Republican opponents, including Alaskan Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who called the proposal “a stunning attack on our sovereignty.” [The New York Times]

8. Church of England consecrates its first female bishop

The Church of England is consecrating its first female bishop on Monday. The Reverend Libby Lane, 48, said her ordination as Bishop of Stockport is a “profound and remarkable moment,” as it ends an uninterrupted tradition of male-only leadership for the 500-year-old institution. The church announced Lane’s consecration last month after a divisive debate over whether to allow women to become bishops. Critics said Lane’s appointment was merely symbolic, but she said she may be “the first, but I won’t be the only.” [BBC News, The Associated Press]

9. Birdman takes top prize at SAG Awards

Birdman took the top prize at the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday night, winning for outstanding ensemble in a motion picture. The prize boosted the film’s Oscar hopes, although its star, Michael Keaton, was upset by Eddie Redmayne, who took the best-actor award for his work in The Theory of Everything. Uzo Aduba took the prize for outstanding female actor for her role as “Crazy Eyes” in the Orange is the New Black. The series also won for best cast in a comedy. [CBS News, USA Today]

10. Duke’s Coach K gets his 1,000th win

The Duke men’s basketball team made a late-game comeback to beat St. Johns 77-68 at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, giving the Blue Devils’ legendary coach, Mike Krzyzewski, the 1,000th win of his 40-year coaching career. Duke trailed by 10 with just over eight minutes remaining, then went on a 28-9 tear. Krzyzewski was already the winningest coach in Division I college men’s basketball. He won that distinction three seasons ago in the same arena with his 903rd win, surpassing his mentor, former Indiana coach Bobby Knight. [Raleigh News & Observer, Sports Illustrated]

GOP Cuts ‘Civil Rights And Human Rights’ From Senate Subcommittee Name

This is actually quite scary.

Between this and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal suggesting Congress should amend the Constitution if the Supreme Court strikes down gay marriage ban, the assault on civil and individual rights from Republicans is facing a more ominous turn than anyone could have imagined…

TPM LiveWire

Sen. John Cornyn’s (R-TX) office confirmed to the Huffington Post that Republicans removed “Civil Rights and Human Rights” from the subcommittee name.

“We changed the name because the Constitution covers our most basic rights, including civil and human rights,” Cornyn spokeswoman Megan Mitchell told the Huffington Post. “We will focus on these rights, along with other issues that fall under the broader umbrella of the Constitution.”

Cornyn, the Senate Majority Whip, will chair the subcommittee.

“Senators swear an oath to support and defend the U.S. Constitution, and I take that sacred responsibility seriously,” Cornyn said in a statement. “The Constitution is the foundation of the freedoms and values we hold dear, yet for six years President Obama has treated it as an afterthought. It is the highest of laws and must be defended as such.”

Alabama Probate Judges Won’t Issue Marriage Licenses To Gay Couples After Ruling

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AP Photo/Seth Wenig

TPM LiveWire

“Many media outlets are reporting that the ruling, issued Friday by U.S. District Judge Ginny Granade, will allow same sex couples to receive marriage licenses in Alabama beginning Monday morning. The Alabama Probate Judges Association wants to ensure that all Alabamians are clear that Friday’s ruling does not open the door for the issuance of same sex marriage licenses,” the group said in a statement Saturday night, according to the Alabama Media Group.

Al Agricola, attorney for the group, said that the ruling does not require probate judges to issue licenses to all gay couples.

“The legal effect of this decision is to allow one person in one same sex marriage that was performed in another state to adopt their partner’s child. There is nothing in the judge’s order that requires probate judges in Alabama to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples,” Agricola said in a Saturday press release.

GOP Summit—The Good, The Bad And The Absolutely Crazy

Half-Term Governor of Alaska: Sarah Palin | Jim Young/Reuters

 The Daily Beast

GOP presidential contenders flocked to Iowa on Saturday to try out their pitches on the unofficial beginning of the Iowa Caucus. Hint: Sarah Palin has lost her mind.
You’re going to read a lot of analysis of this weekend’s Freedom Summit as the unofficial beginning of the Iowa caucus.Whether that’s true depends entirely on how many of those who attended are still standing one long year from now—and how many of those who didn’t attend (Jeb Bush, Rand Paul) have campaigns that are still alive and well.The event does serve as a gauge for a candidate’s willingness to pander, and it is the beginning of serious media scrutiny for all the candidates as 2016 candidates,not as quaint spectacles (Donald Trump, Ted Cruz) or interesting anomalies (Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina)…. or familiar former presidential candidates, who made up a non-shocking majority of the featured speakers (Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin).

What did we learn?

Palin is past her sell-by date.

It’s the unofficial policy of many serious political reporters (myself included) to not cover Palin speeches.  So it’s entirely possible I missed a key stretch of her decline that would help make sense of, or have prepared me for, the word-salad-with-a-cup-of-moose-stew that she presented.

Sample passage: “Things must change for our government! It isn’t too big to fail, it’s too big to succeed! It’s too big to succeed, so we can afford no retreads or nothing will change, with the same people and same policies that got us into the status quo! Another Latin word, status quo, and it stands for, ‘Man, the middle class and everyday Americans are really gettin’ taken for a ride.’”

The speech (perhaps a generous description) went on 15 minutes past the 20 minutes allotted other speakers. And even as she ended it, one sensed less a crescendo than the specter of a gong, a hook to pull her off, or—a sincere thought I had—an ambulance to take her… somewhere.

No one else embarrassed themselves out of the race.

The event was organized by immigration hawk Rep. Steve “Cantaloupes” King (with the help of Citizens United) and many pundits fretted (or eagerly anticipated) 47-percent-style gaffes in the service of speakers trying to out-xenophobe each other. I may have missed something, but the anti-immigration rhetoric stayed on the “self-deport” side of offensive. Santorum did some under-the-breath dog whistling in reference to legal immigration, positing that the U.S. is home to more non-native citizens than ever before. He contrasted those non-native-born workers to, ahem, “American workers.” As far as I know, if you work in America, you are an “American worker.” Unless Santorum is thinking of something else.

The soft bigotry of low expectation works!

Scott Walker continues to clear the “not Tim Pawlenty” bar, but no one seems to realize how weak of a standard that is. National journalists cooed over Walker’s relatively energetic speech, apparently forgetting they were comparing it to other Walker speeches. In a similar vein, Chris Christie did not intentionally piss anyone off or bully the audience. Christie gave what seemed a lot like a national-audience speech—probably the only speaker that played it so safe.

Sen. Mike Lee gave some sensible, serious suggestions.

I may be engaging in more expectation management, but I was pleasantly surprised by Lee’s earnest and non-applause-line-ridden speech. He beseeched the audience to look for a candidate that was “positive, principled, and proven”—all while explicitly taking himself out of the running. In what could have been a direct jab at his fellow guests, he quipped, “The principled candidate is not necessarily the guy who yells ‘Freedom!’ the loudest.” He could have been quoting Elizabeth Warren when he softened typical GOP bootstrap rhetoric: “Freedom doesn’t mean ‘You’re all on your own,’” he said, “It means, ‘We’re all in it together.’” Elizabeth Warren would approve.

The GOP is going to need to figure out how to run against someone who is not Obama.

Even Lee, who gave what might be the most forward-looking speech, hung many of his arguments on the framework of undoing what Obama has done. Every other speaker followed suit, and some of the night’s biggest applause lines had to do with the same “fake scandals” that already proved insufficiently interesting to the American people: Benghazi, with a dash of IRS. They speak of repealing Obamacare with the zest of people who think of the House’s own fifty-plus attempts as mere warm-ups. Even their foreign policy script has Obama and the specter of American decline as its primary villains—foes that have defeated them twice before.

Harvard Media Chief Hits The Nail On The Head: Conservative Pundits Damaging The Country

Alex Jones to leave Shorenstein Center July 1, 2015 |Harvard Kennedy School Photo

  1. Alex S. Jones is an American journalist who has been director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government since July 1, 2000. Wikipedia

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This past Wednesday, Alex S. Jones announced his departure from Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on Press, Politics and Public Policy. In so doing however, he gave a scathing assessment as to the status and nature of the media in this country, with the conservative pundit network and money in news solidly in his sight. And the cause, in the end, he blames on the lack of objectivity:

“I wish they could be more objective, I don’t begrudge them their particular politics, I just wish they weren’t simply one note, I think it’s damaging.”

By failing to be objective, he points out in an interview with Media Matters, the pundits have abandoned journalism entirely.

There’s no question that the people like the right wing pundits — left wing too, to a degree, but they are dwarfed by the right wing — have done a lot of damage to this country in my opinion, I don’t consider that journalism, I consider that to be advocacy.

… it’s more catering to what will draw an audience rather than what is important … if anything it’s the shift toward what has been thought of as the local television model, anything that will attract a crowd, but not necessarily invested in issues and in policy questions and in political debates and things that are of genuine importance.

I think it’s gotten worse, I guess because it’s gotten so much faster. All of the inherent weaknesses of a human enterprise like journalism are exaggerated and amplified by the speed of technology, being careless and being wrong and jumping to conclusions and not doing your homework, those were all there before the web, but the web makes them all realized quickly.

The technology of course has changed everything, the thing that I hope would not change and the thing I would express as my number one concern is that the values that were imbedded in the journalism that has been traditional, I hope that they will endure and be projected in this new media world. I think that is essential to there being credibility that will keep genuine news a force for good.

There is a place for advocacy, for lacking objectivity, but news reporting and journalism are not those places. By the pursuit of quick money, of junk journalism, these media outlets who claim to be news, mostly on the right-wing but with some left-wing pundits joining them, have damaged the very system we all rely upon.

It becomes a damaging cycle. Outlets which transition to advocacy become more profitable, as marketing opportunities become easier for catering to. This in turn pushes other media outlets to turn to similar advocacy, in order to meet the increased profitability for their owners. Instead of focusing on journalistic integrity, the process becomes a race to the bottom, a failure of journalism.

H/T: Media Matters