PA congressman likens birth control mandate to 9/11

There’s Philly and then there’s the rest of PA, much of which is represented in the legislature by Republican yahoos such as this guy:

Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) today compared a new regulation requiring insurers to provide women birth control without a copay to September 11th or Pearl Harbor.

In a speech on the House floor, Kelly said it was such a travesty that women wouldn’t be paying hundreds of dollars a year in copays that it should go down in history as a great tragedy similar to those two events that killed thousands of Americans:

“…I want you to remember August 1, 2012 — the attack on our religious freedom. That is a date that will live in infamy, along with those other dates…”

Reported as threat?

Well! That worked out well, didn’t it? I say, let everyone have guns first and then we’ll try to create a system to take them away before they use them. Progress!

Nearly six weeks before the Colorado theater mass shooting, the university psychiatrist treating accused gunman James Holmes alerted the school’s threat-assessment team that he might pose a danger to others, KMGH-TV is reporting.

The ABC affiliate, citing unnamed sources, writes on its site that Lynne Fenton, who helped create the University of Colorado’s Behavioral Evaluation and Threat Assessment team, “contacted several members of the BETA team in separate conversations” about Holmes during the first 10 days of June.

Another improbable police report

This would be pretty funny if some poor kid in Arkansas wasn’t dead:

Police in Jonesboro, Arkansas have launched an investigation into how 21-year-old Chavis Carter was shot in the back of a patrol car Saturday night.

Carter, who died at the hospital, was in the passenger seat of a pickup truck that was pulled over by police just before 10 pm, reports WREG.

According to Officer Keith Baggett who was on the scene, Officer Ron Marsh found “some marijuana” and several new plastic baggies when he searched Carter. When they ran his information through dispatch, they found that he was wanted on a warrant in Mississippi, where he lived.

The cops then handcuffed him, searched him again, and put him in the back of the patrol car. While Baggett searched the vehicle, he claims he heard “a loud thump with a metallic sound” on his trunk and saw Marsh motion to him.

The thumping noise, according to the cops, was Carter shooting himself in the head.

The police report attributed the death to a self-inflicted gunshot, though when the two officers opened the squad car door, they found Carter’s hands were still cuffed behind his back. The gun, they said, was somehow missed in both searches…

Vidal on the media

Gore Vidal probably would have laughed at the fact that his death Tuesday at age 86 was the second biggest story yesterday morning on NPR, right behind the earth-shattering news of a badminton scandal at the Olympics.

From The Decline and Fall of the American Empire, a slim volume of essays by Vidal published in 1992:

The corporate grip on opinion in the United States is one of the wonders of the Western world. No First World country has ever managed to eliminate so entirely from its media all objectivity — much less dissent.

My kind of candidate

Jill Stein is the person I’d like to see in the White House:

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein and her running mate have been arrested at a sit-in at a Philadelphia bank over housing foreclosures.

The arrests came after about 50 party supporters staged a protest Wednesday against Fannie Mae, the government-sponsored mortgage lender.

Some tried to reach Fannie Mae’s downtown office through the adjacent bank. They staged a sit-in when they were denied access to the office building.

Stein and her running mate, Philadelphia activist Cheri Honkala (HAHN’-kah-lah), are among five people arrested. Police say they will face charges of defiant trespassing.

The demonstrators included several city residents struggling to keep their homes. Two met with Fannie Mae officials.

Tax cuts for the rich, forever

“Never assume,” as the say, except when it comes to Republicans in Congress, who will always champion the wealthy few, regardless of how badly things are going for the rest of us:

Defying US President Barack Obama, the Republican-held House voted to extend tax cuts for all Americans, framing a partisan divide over an issue that will not be resolved before November’s election.

House lawmakers on Wednesday rejected a substitute Democratic plan that would have let taxes rise for top earners, and then voted 256 to 171 to extend a package of Bush-era tax cuts for everyone for another year.

The move collides with a recently approved Senate bill that would extend the tax breaks for families making under $250,000 a year — about 98 percent of Americans. Obama has threatened to veto a bill that also extends the cuts for those making more than that threshold…

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