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The last line of defense

by Susie
A doctor speaks out about vaginal ultrasounds. Via Athenae.


by Susie
David Dayen on the coming Grand Bargain:

Democrats and Republicans in Washington are going to look for a substitute deficit package in the lame duck session, the point of the lowest ebb of political accountability, with members of Congress who will never face voters again participating, after America has elected a new Congress and possibly a new President. We know that deficit hawks of both parties are already making their plans on this substitute. It could include slashes to entitlement programs when they actually need to be increased to be adequate. It could include a raft of tax cuts even though they have done the brunt of the work on exploding the deficit, without the value of helping the economy. And what it will most surely not include, unless the work gets done today, is the perspective of those ordinary Americans who would rather not see their futures sacrificed for the betterment of the well-off in society.

And remember, “White House officials said this week that the offer is still on the table.”


by Susie
Oh, come on. Your law did exactly what it was intended to do: Give paranoid minority-hating gun nuts a ‘get out of jail free’ card:

Ironically, the author of FL’s ‘stand your ground’ law former Sen. Durell Peaden, thinks George Zimmerman should be arrested for Trayvon’s murder. From the CBSNews link:

The authors of Florida’s controversial “stand your ground” self-defense law say George Zimmerman should probably be arrested for shooting Trayvon Martin, reports the Miami Herald.

“He has no protection under my law,” former Sen. Durell Peaden told the newspaper.

Florida’s law,  called “stand your ground” by supporters and “shoot first” by critics, was passed in 2005 and permits residents to use deadly force if they “reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”

Traditionally, self-defense laws did not typically extend beyond a person’s home, but the Florida law, and at least 20 more passed across the country since them, allows a resident to “meet force with force” almost anywhere, including the street or a bar.

A gathering menace

by Susie
No, it wasn’t a “bad apple” who killed those Afghan families. It’s all too common.

ALEC killed Trayvon Martin

by Susie
Oh yes they did. They did it by lobbying to pass the crazy “stand your ground” guns laws that allow you to kill someone for no other reason than the fact that the person with the gun thought you looked threatening. And this is where that leads us:

The legislation apparently preventing the successful prosecution of Trayvon Martin’s killer was reportedly adopted by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as model legislation that the shadowy group has spent years promoting across the country with the help of their allies in the National Rifle Association.

Formed in 1973 by conservative activists including Paul Weyrich and state legislators like then-Illinois State Rep. Henry Hyde, ALEC has earned infamy throughout the progressive movement for its ability to promote model legislation favorable to its corporate funders through statehouses across the country.

Legal experts have noted that Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law may prevent George Zimmerman from ever being successfully prosecuted for the killing of Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman has claimed that he acted in self-defense, and court precedent indicates that the State has the heavy burden of disproving this in order to win a conviction.

Florida’s statute on the use of force in self-defense is virtually identical to Section 1 of ALEC’s Castle Doctrine Act model legislation as posted on the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD). According to CMD, the model bill was adopted by ALEC’s Civil Justice Task in August 2005 — just a few short months after it passed the Florida legislature — and approved by its board of directors the following month.

Since the 2005 passage of Florida’s law, similar statutes have been passed in 16 other states. This was no accident. In a 2008 interview with NRA News, ALEC resident fellow Michael Hough explained how his organization works with the NRA to push similar legislation through its network of conservative state legislators:


HOUGH: We are a very pro-Second Amendment organization. In fact, last session, I’ll get off-topic here real quick, but some of the things that we were pushing in states was the Castle Doctrine. We worked with the NRA on that, that’s one of our model bills that we have states introduce.

NRA got what it paid for. According to a 2002 report from Defenders of Wildlife and the Natural Resources Defense Council, the NRA is “a longtime funder of ALEC.” The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) reports that the gun lobby group was a “Vice-Chairman” level sponsor of ALEC’s 2011 annual conference, and that an NRA operative was “the co-chair of ALEC’s Public Safety and Elections Task Force for a number of years, until the Spring of 2011.”

The language in Florida law which may protect Martin’s killer from prosecution states:

(3) A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

The language is identical to ALEC’s Castle Doctrine Act model legislation, which they have been working hand in hand with the NRA to pass across the country:

3. A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place [other than their dwelling, residence, or vehicle] where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another, or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

Class war

by Susie
So thanks to the corporate whores on SCOTUS, we get outcomes like this:

Debbie Schork, a deli worker at a supermarket in Indiana, had to have her hand amputated after an emergency room nurse injected her with an anti-nausea drug, causing gangrene. She sued the manufacturer named in the hospital’s records for failing to warn about the risks of injecting it. Her case was quietly thrown out of court last fall.

That result stands in sharp contrast to the highly publicized case of Diana Levine, a professional musician from Vermont. Her hand and forearm were amputated because of gangrene after a physician assistant at a health clinic injected her with the same drug. She sued the drug maker, Wyeth, and won $6.8 million.

The financial outcomes were radically different for one reason: Ms. Schork had received the generic version of the drug, known as promethazine, while Ms. Levine had been given the brand name, Phenergan.

“Explain the difference between the generic and the real one — it’s just a different company making the same thing,” Ms. Schork said.

Across the country, dozens of lawsuits against generic pharmaceutical companies are being dismissed because of a Supreme Court decision last year that said the companies did not have control over what their labels said and therefore could not be sued for failing to alert patients about the risks of taking their drugs.

Now, what once seemed like a trivial detail — whether to take a generic or brand-name drug — has become the deciding factor in whether a patient can seek legal recourse from a drug company. The cases range from that of Ms. Schork, who wasn’t told which type of drug she had been given when she visited the hospital, to people like Camille Baruch, who developed a gastrointestinal disease after taking a generic form of the drug Accutane, as required by her health care plan.

“Your pharmacists aren’t telling you, hey, when we fill this with your generic, you are giving up all of your legal remedies,” said Michael Johnson, a lawyer who represented Gladys Mensing, one of the patients who sued generic drug companies in last year’s Supreme Court case, Pliva v. Mensing. “You have a disparate impact between one class of people and another.”

Bug, or feature?

The Supreme Court ruling affects potentially millions of people: nearly 80 percent of prescriptions in the United States are filled by a generic, and most states permit pharmacists to dispense a generic in place of a brand name. More than 40 judges have dismissed cases against generic manufacturers since the Supreme Court ruled last June, including some who dismissed dozens of cases consolidated under one judge.

The most awesome thing ever

by Susie
And I really, really want one.

Many kinds of Catholic

by Susie
Including “ex”, which is what I am.

Occasionally family members try to talk me back into the arms of Catholicism, but I have no interest in the political organization formerly known as the Catholic church — except as nostalgia, back from the days nuns and priests were chaining themselves to the front entrances of bomb makers. Now, that was a religion I could respect!

When it’s gotten to the point that you need to have the condom talk with the American Catholic church hierarchy (you know, because they’re the ones who are humping under the covers with the right wing), when the same shameless bishops and cardinals who covered up the rape of children are telling married Catholic couples what they should be doing in the bedroom or what they shouldn’t have in their medicine cabinet, well, it seems to me there’s no real Catholic church left to save. Your mileage may vary.

I just keep wondering when it will occur to American Catholics that they should simply start their own kinder, gentler church. I think Jesus would approve.

Even crazier

by Susie
Bruce Dixon on why Obama makes Republicans even crazier. Go read it all:

Three things happen when a corporate right wing Democrat steals Republican positions.

The first is that because of the two-party duopoly, when a Democrat moves rightward, his constituents have nowhere else to go. Democrats and Republicans have cooperated, in most of the fifty states, to throw up massive barriers to ballot access for third parties, and by requiring big money to access broadcast and cable networks, the corporations who fund both parties limit public discussion to what their corporate funded politicians are saying.

Freed from the need to represent the have-nots, who must now vote for him no matter what he does, or an even worse Republican, the right-leaning Democratic president can now claim he is looking for “the center,” or to pick up Republican-leaning voters. In the Clinton era, these sought-after voters were called “Reagan Democrats,” and Clinton got a lot of them in 1996.

The second thing that happens when corporate Democrats steal the policies of Republicans, is that since they nominally represent the have-nots, who now have nowhere else to go, they are often more effective at imposing Republican policies upon the polity.

Rick Santorum is a liar

by Susie
And so is his wife. I mean, if I didn’t already know he belongs to a religious group (the C Street Fellowship) that says it’s okay to lie to get into power, I’d figure it out from this:

Appearing on Piers Morgan last night, Rick Santorum’s wife, Karen, tried to address concerns that her husband is “anti-woman,” noting that when she went on a book tour several years ago, he supported her by staying home “changing diapers and making meals and cleaning the kitchen.” She went on to promise women that, if her husband was elected, they would have “nothing to fear” when it comes to the issue of contraception:

KAREN SANTORUM: It makes me really sad that the media tries to do that to him. They try to make it look like he is something that he’s not. Rick is a great guy, he’s completely supportive of women, he’s surrounded by a lot of very strong women, and I think women have nothing to fear. When it comes to contraceptives, he will do nothing on that issue.


PIERS MORGAN: When you say he’ll do nothing on the contraception issue, do you mean that, if he was to become President, that he would basically respect a woman’s right to have contraception if that’s what she chose to do?

KAREN SANTORUM: Absolutely. And he has said that.




In fact, Rick Santorum has made a point of attacking contraception at several points during the campaign. Last year, he pledged that, if elected, he would end federal funding for contraception, arguing, “It’s not okay. It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.” Santorum has also claimed that states have the right to ban birth control, in defiance of a Supreme Court ruling, and dismissed it as a “minor expense” despite the fact that a year’s supply of the Pill could cost up to $600.

While polls show that most Americans do support women having access to contraception, Rick Santorum and the other Republican candidates have taken the opposite stance throughout the campaign. The notion that women have “nothing to fear” from a Santorum presidency does not match up with his rhetoric.

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