Friday Links from The Political Carnival
When you're running for any kind of office, it's always best to tell the truth, speak your mind and let people know where you stand. And when you're elected to office, it's helpful to know what you're doing and how you're serving us.
A new candidate for a Michigan seat on the Republican National Committee wants gays "purged" from the GOP and claims homosexuality is a "perversion" created by Satan himself. Mary Helen Sears of Houghton County in the state's Upper Peninsula, elected vice chair of the Michigan Republican Party's 1st District last year, posted a rant in April on the Schoolcraft County GOP website -- preceded by a warning asking readers to "please use your discretion before taking any decisions based on the information in this blog."
Gee, how considerate of Ms. Sears to offer such a warning. We wouldn't want anyone to get the wrong impression of how she feels in this or any other issue. Face issues head on, I'm sure she always says.
"How do you handle a hungry man? The Manhandlers." That's the old ad slogan for Campbell's Soup. But that was way back in the mid '70s. We're in the 2024 generation. What does the vice chair of the Michigan Republican Party have to say now?
In the post, Sears claimed that homosexuals prey on children, argued that "Satan uses homosexuality to attack the living space of the Holy Spirit" and advocated that Republicans "as a party should be purging this perversion and send them to a party with a much bigger tent."
Where are the looney bin keepers and white-suited men when you need them? Can you believe this woman is a GOP member? On top of that she's a gay basher? And an ignorant hater?
Sadly she's not alone. Take Dave Agema, a former Michigan state lawmaker who has regularly made anti-gay comments and has been condemned by fellow Republicans, including Gov. Rick Snyder. He's also serving on the Michigan Republican National Committee.
Here I thought it was just West Virginia that's suffering the ill effects of tainted water. Surely there much be some leakage of some kind of crazy juice or insane sauce up in Michigan.
Ms. Sears is up in arms over the seeming tolerance of gays in our society. And the same with communism. She's attacking the higher education leaders as well:
...wrote that Communist college professors were indoctrinating young people and claimed that Charles Darwin's evolutionary theory "gave rise to Hitler’s Third Reich, Mussolini’s Italy and Stalin’s Russia."
She's lumped communism into the ills and dangers following any of us who dare allow gays to roam freely, preying on our young along with college professors who are out to corrupt our older children's minds. Paranoid, much?
"If the GOP continues down this trend and stand for perversions and the daily social fad ... The GOP will be truly dead and Satan will have had his day," Sears wrote.
It's at times like this when you can't help wonder who left the door open to the insane asylum.
Well you have to hand it to the Republicans, or actually two of them. Both from Michigan, they want to put their money where their mouth is -- and they want the rest of Congress to join them.
Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-Mich.) on Wednesday proposed a new bill that would require congressional salaries to be cut 15 percent any time Congress fails to balance the budget.
Bentivolio said his Spending Accountability Act, H.R. 3993, is needed to give Congress an incentive to cut the annual budget deficit, which is now at $600 billion per year and expected to rise.
"I think my colleagues need a little more motivation to do the right thing and balance the budget," Bentivolio said Thursday. "They're hitting the American taxpayer in the pocketbook by accumulating so much debt.
Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-Mich.) and his co-sponsor is Rep. Dan Benishek (R-Mich.), and must feel they have no chance at re-election because they're pulling out all of the stops to make one last, desperate attempt to woo voters and to keep their jobs. They're challenging all of their fellow Congress persons to balance the federal budget or take a pay cut. This certainly won't get them invited to too many congressional parties.
Voting against this bill would make the rest of Congress look like the money grubbing representatives they generally are. Gee, I kind of like that. Put up or shut up.
Of course this bill will never see the light of day, but even if, miracle of miracles, Boehner brought it to the floor, it wouldn't have much effect. If the bill were passed into law, it would not apply to the current Congress due to the 27th Amendment, which says pay adjustments can only apply to the next Congress, not the current one.
But you can't fault these two GOP'ers for trying -- at least they're willing to pay a price for not doing their jobs. Of course when you make a base pay of $174,000 a year, after taking a 15% pay cut, you're still doing okay -- $147,900. Not too shabby for working less that 120 days a year.
Why do we send people to prison? One reason is punishment for committing a crime. Another is to rehabilitate those who committed the wrongdoing. What good is locking someone up if they're just going to come out and commit the same or worse crimes? And so, that leads me to this report from ABC News 10 San Diego:
The part that interests me is the rehabilitation part of incarceration. If someone does time and then gets out of the slammer and commits another crime, then their initial stay behind bars was a failure in my eyes. We paid to feed, clothe and house them. Then we send them out to re-commit those crimes or maybe worse, new crimes they learned about while behind bars. In that case, we got nothing in return but more crime. So we didn't do our job.
Now you take Judy Lynn Hayman. She was 23 years old when she escaped from a Midwestern prison 37 years ago. Yesterday she was captured in San Diego where she lived a crime free life for THIRTY-SEVEN YEARS.
Hayman pleaded guilty in June 1976 to a larceny charge in Wayne County, Mich., and was sentenced to serve between 16 months and two years in custody, according to prison officials there.
Ten months later, she escaped from the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility. She remained a fugitive until this week, using various aliases.
Let's consider whatever she did was wrong, non-violent, but wrong. She pleaded guilty and served 10 months time -- perhaps enough for her particular non-violent crime of larceny. Unfortunately, her sentence was for a minimum of 16 months, so her early departure wasn't condoned.
Prison was too barbaric and cruel to her. She felt she was ready to reintegrate into society as a law abiding citizen. She couldn't take it any longer and she took a huge chance and broke out. We may think she was free, but think again.
She lived not only the remainder of her sentence but the ensuing 35 or so years constantly looking over her shoulder, the fear of being discovered and re-apprehended for who she really was, an escaped con. That's a hefty weight to bear. Living in fear can be even more of a punishment than a physical prison.
During that time she gave birth to, raised and supported a son -- he's living crime free so obviously she was a good and strong influence on him and his character or he'd be doing time in a cell like his mom once did.
The point is not whether this woman was right in escaping, but what to do with her now? Should she be charged with unlawful escape and add that onto her prior sentence or should we look at what the purpose was in incarcerating her to start with? She was to be punished, granted. And she did serve 10 months, basically 2/3's of her minimum sentence. But hasn't she proved by her exemplary existence after her escape that she had learned her lesson? Aren't those 30 plus years living in fear worth some credit?
I hope the Michigan justice system will take into consideration what for and why they sentence people to jail. I'd prefer a woman or man who's rehabilitated be back on the streets than someone who's served their term and reverts to recidivism. Prison isn't a good environment under any circumstances. Yet it does serve a purpose. But sometimes correctional institutions (notice the word correctional and not punishment) don't do their job. Maybe they did with Judy Lynn Hayman. She's proven she's learned the lesson of her bad ways. I'm hoping Michigan can see that and take it into consideration. We'll see.
If you're planning on getting raped in Michigan, you better have rape coverage first or it could bankrupt you.
Just after the Michigan state legislature passed a law banning private insurance companies to bundle abortion care coverage along with state-subsidized plans, the Democrat jockeying for the open seat vacated by Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) was quick to slam the law as bad for women while the Republican candidate has yet to make a statement.
Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI), the lead Democratic candidate in the race, was quick to slam Republicans in the state legislature for passing a new "rape insurance bill" into law.
So the male Democratic candidate immediately spoke out against this law. The Republican candidate -- former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R), allegedly a woman, has stayed quiet on the issue. How amazing, a male candidate sees all that's wrong with this bill and the Republican woman doesn't know yet. She hasn't been told by her party which way she should lean. Whichever way it is, she better keep her legs crossed. Talk about setting the women's equality movement back 50 years.
Let's boil it down. Recently, the latest way to get around the law regarding abortion is to try to exclude it from health insurance plans. These right wingers and religious zealots see an opening here. They want to deregulate the insurance industry pattern of providing coverage by making one part of normal covered procedures illegal to be covered. If that sounds convoluted, that's because it is.
Health insurance has always been bundled in order to give the consumer a lower cost. If you went with an ala carte menu of services, many of the things people are covered for would be avoided because they may cost too much or people don't think they'll ever need them. But of course, the one thing you leave off the coverage will come back to bite you and you won't be covered. So you'll go bankrupt or worse, the cost will be passed onto the taxpayers.
So here's the angle. If you make abortion coverage an elective, many people won't carry it. Perhaps they're single women who don't feel they'll need it. And most likely they won't.
According to the Department of Justice 1 in 6 US women will become victim's of a rape attack during their lifetime? Rape isn't planned by the victim. It's planned by the assailant. But the Republicans in Michigan want women to be prescient and know ahead of time when they're going to be attacked so they can purchase insurance. I can just hear a woman's plea, "No, please don't attack me, attack her over there. She's got insurance. I don't have abortion coverage in case my system doesn't automatically shut down."
Is there total insanity in Michigan and the other six states planning this outrageous, cold and calloused law? What the hell are they thinking?
Putting rape aside, what if during a planned pregnancy a woman's health becomes an issue in seeing the pregnancy to term. She may die without an abortion. She didn't think she'd have any need for a D & C but it became necessary to save her life. Where's she supposed to get the money for that procedure? It would have been covered by her health policy if the state house boys didn't screw around with it.
This law in these states is bad on so many levels. But you don't have to drink all the poison in the glass to die. It might only take a sip. Michigan is drinking from that vessel right now. If there's a woman in Michigan who votes Republican after this, she deserves the results of the full glass of this potion.
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I recently posted Canada's booming oil sands industry offering a "choice between whether we starve to death or are poisoned to death". That was one of our many, many stories about how the oil industry is slowly destroying our environment (scroll) and life on this planet. We can't take much more pollution before the damage becomes irreversible. Oh wait.
Today I opened my Los Angeles Times and, once again, another pipeline leak story reared its slimy head. This time it was in North Dakota, and once again, it was a disgustingly frustrating tale of destruction and irresponsibility:
At least 20,600 barrels of oil leaked onto the [North Dakota farmer Steven] Jensens' land from a pipeline owned by Tesoro Logistics, one of the largest land-based spills in recent history. Neither the pipeline company nor the state informed the public of the spill for 11 days.
To put things into perspective, the Kalamazoo River spill in Michigan, where cleanup has gone on since 2010 (!), also gushed more than 20,000 barrels of oil.
Did I mention that a Shell pipeline broke in Texas, spilling 30,000 gallons of crude? And hey, how about that Arkansas pipeline rupture, folks?
But back to North Dakota:
No one knows how long the pipeline was leaking before Jensen discovered it, nor why sensors on the pipe failed to detect the leak. Neither the state nor the company could say what the pipeline's capacity was. Experts on pipeline spills question the accuracy of Tesoro's leak estimate, disputing its methodology.
By the way, Jensen is worried that the goo could seep into the groundwater. He smelled the oil in his wheat field before he saw it, which makes to wonder how long the pipe had been leaking. Why wasn't he alerted again?
The questions have stirred concerns about North Dakota's handling of a major spill, especially because thousands of miles of pipe are being installed as part of the state's oil boom.
And then there's that little thing called accuracy:
The company initially reported that 750 barrels had spilled, but a week later revised it to 20,600.
Let's see, gimme a second here, gotta do the math; subtracting 750 from 20,600, carrying the one, calculating.. calculating... got it! Hey, that's only a difference of 19,850 barrels. Pffft! Chickenfeed. Why, whoever would be so critical as to fault Tesoro for a measly little 20,000 barrel error?
Steve Wereley, professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University and an expert on spill flows, who helped establish an accurate flow rate for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil volcano in the Gulf, put it this way:
"If we're talking about tens of thousands of barrels, shouldn't you notice 20,000 barrels missing at the end?"
And there's this:
The company has cleaned up about 3,000 barrels of oil. The remediation is expected to continue until late 2014 and to cost about $4 million, the state and Tesoro said.
Again, the Kalamazoo mess is still being mopped up, and it's been three years and counting.
Meanwhile, Jensen is still fretting about what's in his water supply. Silly Steven. What's he so worried about?
Guns don't kill people, conservatives do. Sometimes. Or wish they could kill themselves with said guns. Sometimes.
In this case, Douglas Sedenquist, a GOP radio talk show host and political activist tracked down his estranged wife and texted her that he had a 7 mm rifle aimed at his own heart. When the police showed up, he had his "long rifle" pointed at his own stomach.
Did I mention he used to beat his kids?
A Republican activist who has been a conservative radio talk show host in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is scheduled to plead Sept. 3 in Brown County Circuit Court to charges stemming from a weapons disturbance involving his estranged wife.
Yes, a former Republican state official, undoubtedly a "pro-lifer," allegedly held off police officers with a high-powered rifle while threatening suicide in a mall parking parking lot.
If that doesn't reek of "right to life," I don't know what does.
But that's not all. They also charged Mr. Love the Fetus Hate the Child with misdemeanor disorderly conduct and, of course, with sending that message to his ex threatening suicide. He could get four years in prison and $12,000 in fines.
His estranged wife told police they had been married for 22 years but separated in July 2012 after he beat up their two teenage daughters, the complaint says.
You thought I was just being a mean old Lib when I pointed out his blatant hypocrisy and threw in that Second Amendment Remedy headline? Think again:
Sedenquist’s Twitter account identifies him as a Christian, father, radio talk show co-host, labor freedom advocate, Delta County GOP Vice Chair and Michigan GOP state committeeman... Postings by him on various websites reveal him to be an advocate for right-to-work legislation, Second Amendment rights and other conservative issues.
Douglas Sedenquist in all his Christian, family valuesy glory:
— Doug Sedenquist (@Sedenquist) June 2, 2013
— Doug Sedenquist (@Sedenquist) May 28, 2013
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Kuwaiti Citizen Detained at Guantanamo since 2002
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