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Immigrant song

And they wandered in
From the city of St. John
Without a dime

More pink ribbons

Cowards. Not to mention, corporate shills:

Komen, the marketing juggernaut that brought the world the ubiquitous pink ribbon campaign, says it cut-off Planned Parenthood because of a newly adopted foundation rule prohibiting it from funding any group that is under formal investigation by a government body. (Planned Parenthood is being investigated by Rep. Cliff Stearns, an anti-abortion Florida Republican, who says he is trying to learn if the group spent public money to provide abortions.)

But three sources with direct knowledge of the Komen decision-making process told me that the rule was adopted in order to create an excuse to cut-off Planned Parenthood. (Komen gives out grants to roughly 2,000 organizations, and the new “no-investigations” rule applies to only one so far.) The decision to create a rule that would cut funding to Planned Parenthood, according to these sources, was driven by the organization’s new senior vice-president for public policy, Karen Handel, a former gubernatorial candidate from Georgia who is staunchly anti-abortion and who has said that since she is “pro-life, I do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood.” (The Komen grants to Planned Parenthood did not pay for abortion or contraception services, only cancer detection, according to all parties involved.) I’ve tried to reach Handel for comment, and will update this post if I speak with her.

The decision, made in December, caused an uproar inside Komen. Three sources told me that the organization’s top public health official, Mollie Williams, resigned in protest immediately following the Komen board’s decision to cut off Planned Parenthood. Williams, who served as the managing director of community health programs, was responsible for directing the distribution of $93 million in annual grants. Williams declined to comment when I reached her yesterday on whether she had resigned her position in protest, and she declined to speak about any other aspects of the controversy.

But John Hammarley, who until recently served as Komen’s senior communications adviser and who was charged with managing the public relations aspects of Komen’s Planned Parenthood grant, said that Williams believed she could not honorably serve in her position once Komen had caved to pressure from the anti-abortion right. “Mollie is one of the most highly respected and ethical people inside the organization, and she felt she couldn’t continue under these conditions,” Hammarley said. “The Komen board of directors are very politically savvy folks, and I think over time they thought if they gave in to the very aggressive propaganda machine of the anti-abortion groups, that the issue would go away. It seemed very short-sighted to me.”

Whee

Progress!

(Reuters) – The number of planned layoffs at U.S. firms surged in January to its highest level in four months as retailers and financial firms cut jobs, a report on Thursday showed.

Employers announced 53,486 planned job cuts last month, up 28 percent from 41,785 in December, according to the report from consultants Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

January’s job cuts were also up from the same time a year ago, gaining 38.9 percent from the 38,519 layoffs announced in January 2011.

A surge in job cuts at the start of the year is not unusual, the report said. January is historically the heaviest month of cuts, averaging 101,084 layoffs between 1993 and 2001.

The Facebook bubble

A massive con job may be in progress, in the form of the coming Facebook IPO, which will supposedly value the company somewhere in the vicinity of $75 billion to $100 billion. More here.

Shame factor?

Apparently, enough people protested loudly enough to compel PA Gov. Tom Corbett to modify his mean-spirited plan to drastically cut the food stamps program.

Tuning out Newt’s noise

One Randy California guitar solo is worth more than a thousand political campaign speeches:

Newt’s new-found concern

Newt Gingrich is upset — downright indignant, it seems — because Mitt Romney is “not concerned about the very poor.” Even Jim DeMint is upset with Mittens.

Right. If you believe this, I know some hot new housing developments in Florida you’ll want to invest in.

From ThinkProgress:

…Despite all their new-found concern for the middle class and the poor, all three Republicans — Romney, Gingrich, and DeMint — support policies that would substantially undermine safety net programs and result in massive giveaways to upper-income earners and investors, while doing almost nothing for middle- and low-income Americans.

More on ‘Gasland’ arrests

Indiana’s union-busting law

Indiana Republicans have passed their “right-to-work” law. It was promptly signed by Gov. Mitch Daniels, who delivered the GOP’s rebuttal to this year’s State of the Union speech. The good news is that Daniels, a front man for corporate interests who has the looks and charisma of a soft-boiled egg, is in the final year of his term and can’t run again.

Also, ThinkProgress noted that Indiana had a “right-to-work” law on the books before, for eight years until is was overturned by the legislature in 1965. This time, Indiana Democrats fought passage of the new law by trying to make “right-to-work” a referendum issue…

…but Republicans, perhaps realizing that such a plan might lead to an ugly repeat of history, blocked those attempts. With studies showing that right-to-work is bad for workers and won’t actually help Indiana, however, Hoosiers may be yearning for a repeat of 1965 sooner rather than later.

Jump into the fire

Harry Nilsson:

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