Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Could Ebola Teach US Americans Geography?
The late journalist Ambrose Bierce commented that “War is God’s way of teaching Americans geography.” Yeah. As if Americans ever learn geography. Truth of the matter is, that picture to the left probably is where a disturbing number of Americans (well, nortemericanos, anyway) stand with respects to understanding our planet and how she is laid out. (More knucklehead geography is on view at Buzzfeed.)
Basically, even our most elite Americans are totally having Caitlin Upton moments—but particularly about the whole Africa and ebola thing.
For instance, at a school in New Burlington, New Jersey, two Rwandan students are staying at home due to other parents’ fear that they will infect other children with Ebola. Rwanda is as close to the Ebola outbreak as New York City is to Seattle.
In Hazlehurst, Mississippi, a school principal’s recent visit to Zambia has led to a lot of parents choosing to keep their kids at home. But Zambia is in Southern Africa, over 3,000 miles away from the Ebola outbreak — the same distance between New Hampshire and Los Angeles.
A school bus driver in Poplarville, Mississippi who recently visited Ghana is being prevented from returning to work. Meanwhile, in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, some parents kept their kids home when their school hosted two visitors from Uganda.
Seriously? People aren’t even Google-mapping where people are from? Can’t even do the most basic Wiki research into where folks are and how ebola works and then front that they are concerned? They have the maps—because they have the cell phones. Maps are even on cell phones, now. They have the gateway to non-stupid in their pockets.
So I am thinking the answer is “Nope.” Americans will learn geography when the stupid is pried from their cold, dead hands. Or possibly in the case of zombie apocalypse.
(X-posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 10/21/14 at 11:19 PM
Comments (2) •
Thursday, October 09, 2014
ISIS Gonna Get You If You Don’t Watch Out
It’s apropos that Rep Duncan Hunter’s (R-Hell, Yeah!) official website banner features a California skyscape dotted with hot air balloons . . . just sayin’.
In case you’re not that familiar with Hunter he’s the son of Duncan L Hunter (R-CA), former US congressman (1981-2009) and Republican presidential hopeful, for about two straw polls, in 2008. Hunter, Sr., a former Army Ranger who served in Vietnam, rose to chairman of the House Armed Services Committee during the 108th and 109th Congress.
Hunter, Jr. slid right into Dad’s seat, in 2009—House Armed Services Committee assignment and all—and has taken up many of Dad’s causes, as well—things like fetal person-hood, walling in the southern border, voting down international trade agreements and keeping the Military-Industrial Complex humming.
Hunter, Jr. has only been in Congress for five years but recognizes the value of the sound byte and appears to be Fox News’ Megyn Kelly’s go-to-guy on things military or national security-ish. Hunter is equally comfortable, though, with others much further to the right like Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. Hunter has had quite a few chinwags with Perkins over issues homosexual like the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and marriage equality.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 10/09/14 at 04:55 PM
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
National Review Online: Climate Activists Are Hysterical Losers
On Sunday some 400,000 Americans took to the streets of New York City and paraded their concern over global warming. As a result, National Review Online‘s John Fund took to his escritoire to pronounce them hysterical followers of raving Liberals like Al Gore and Mayor DiBlasio “and various Hollywood actors” which we know is conserva-speak for high-profile raving Liberals.
Fund would have us believe that he was “our man in the street” running alongside environmental activists, as they marched, gauging the mood and motivation that brought them there. Whatever . . . he claims to have spoken with “many” and, lo and behold, these are his surprising findings:
. . . they certainly didn’t act like a movement that was winning. There was a tone of fatalism in the comments of many with whom I spoke; they despair that the kind of radical change they advocate probably won’t result from the normal democratic process. It’s no surprise then that the rhetoric of climate-change activists has become increasingly hysterical.
He then goes on to tell us that he is in no way surprised by climate activists’ devolution into hysteria because they’re influenced by people like bestselling author Naomi Klein who recently released a book on climate change called This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate. Fund trashes Klein’s work in a short paragraph of cherry-picked excerpts, devoid of context, more befitting a college newsletter than the pages of National Review.
Mr Fund goes on from there to cite the unsavory impact of Liberal arch-fiend Leonardo DiCaprio, who is releasing a new film [which is DiCaprio’s day job] that Fund just knows he’s going to hate because it contains a Godzilla-like “carbon monster.” Or something.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 09/23/14 at 06:37 AM
Friday, August 08, 2014
Rev. Rick Wiles Welcomes Ebola - God’s Gift To America
The deadly outbreak of Ebola virus in west Africa has the world’s attention. The American Center for Disease Control recently declared that the current crisis is “unprecedented,” and, yesterday the World Health Organization (WHO), held an emergency meeting and declared that the Ebola epidemic in West Africa is “an international public health emergency.”
Not too many people on the planet are celebrating the Ebola outbreak . . . but then Reverend Rick Wiles is not like everyone else . . .
From his roost at “Trunews” radio, Wiles foretold:
This Ebola epidemic could become a global pandemic and that’s another name for plague. It may be the great attitude adjustment that I believe is coming. Ebola could solve America’s problems with atheism, homosexuality, sexual promiscuity, pornography, and abortion.
An interesting take, to say the least, on how politically selective viruses can be but then Rev. Wiles tells us just how to protect ourselves and our loved ones:
If Ebola becomes a global plague, you better make sure the blood of Jesus is upon you, you better make sure you have been marked by the angels so that you are protected by God. If not, you may be a candidate to meet the Grim Reaper.
Admittedly, some less extreme variations on that pitch can be found in churches throughout the land, but, Rev. Wiles is a multi-faceted prophet and, like others of his generation of doomsayers, has discovered the utility of enhancing his prophecy with a liberal dollop of partisan politics.
For example, the previous day, he shared these divinely-inspired insights on how President Obama could exploit the Ebola epidemic to grow the government and force Americans to be inoculated with a vaccine:
Obama would claim executive powers to mandate that every human being in the United States be vaccinated. They could use the panic to stampede hundreds of millions of people in this country to be vaccinated, in fact billions worldwide, they could stampede the world to receive to (sic) a vaccine against a deadly virus and nobody knows what is in the vaccine.
Which strikes me as peculiarly similar to the way in which Rev. Wiles “uses the panic” to “mandate that every human being in the United States” “make sure the blood of Jesus is upon you.”
Wiles would be easy to dismiss as just another self-educated End Times prophet with his own media operation. But a look at his guest book is pretty chilling. Evidently, quite a few Republican members, and former members, of Congress find it expedient to visit with Rev. Wiles, from time to time, for a convo on his latest conspiracy theory.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 08/08/14 at 11:16 AM
Friday, August 01, 2014
What Happens To A DREAMER Deterred?
Does he get swept up
like a felon a-roam?
Or hide as if on the lam—
in his home?
Does this bill go down
in a Senate defeat
or should a Presidential veto
stomp it complete?
And what should voters
make of this load—
Could this party implode?
Never mind my doggerel, as I pause to consider that the House leadership handed over the reins to people who say things like “I hang out with border patrol agents clandestinely”, and kids are loaded up with birth control pills before being set out on “rape paths”, and that migrants with “calves like cantaloupes” schlep backpacks with 75 lbs of marijuana over the border. (Which I still say is an amazing weight loss boot camp concept, no? Seriously, I think Rep. Steve King has never watched a Cheech and Chong movie if he thinks this is how “grass” gets up here.) So of course, they voted to end the work permits of over a half-million jobs-having undocumented young people who have basically not known any other country, and are in fact not in any way tied to the current border crisis (leaving them to be potentially deported to countries with which they have no ties), stepped up to pay for National Guard deployments—which is just going to corral, not contain, more young migrant folks who will just be put in the system, and brushed away the compassionate option to detain the youngsters until a hearing could be held to determine a possible refugee or asylum status—which does not at all address the plight these youths are fleeing, and sends them back into possible “rape paths” and into the hands of drug cartels.
So, uh, nice going GOP reps, you have some kind of thing to go back to the constituents that voted you in with? And oh darn, you think you will have Harry Reid to blame for this bill getting shot down once the Senate comes back, and not Ted Cruz?
I don’t think that’s how things really stand, at all. Because in one breath, yesterday, there was a little inhalation of “The President will have to act unilaterally because we can’t get our shit together”. And today, the exhalation is: “The President will still have to act unilaterally, because this is the nonsense we come up with when we do get our shit together”.
Guess what? Both options are not helping. Our tax money is paying for the GOP House to be less than useless, and sue Obama for doing things on his own, and then a taxpayer-funded Representative like Michele Mouth-Breathing Bachmann talks about putting a handcuff on one of his hands. While all this election-year floundering is basically called “leaving it up to the President to fix it and take blame”?
You know, some people might think this is transparently bullshit. But I suspect sadly enough that it still isn’t transparent enough for regular voting people. This was a purely political and useless vote, and it will be loved by somebody(ies), nonetheless.
(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 08/01/14 at 10:39 PM
Thursday, July 31, 2014
Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh is one of those very special people in our midst who is a God-mind-reader. Such people are obviously invaluable to the rest of us, who are not similarly gifted, because they are in the unique position of being able to tell us what God wants us to do. God wisely planted Twinkle on the Alabama Public Services Commission so He could guide Alabama’s energy choices.
And, so it is that the president of Alabama’s utility-regulation commission advised citizens to pray for the failure of a proposed EPA crackdown on coal pollution in order to preserve Alabama’s “way of life.”
I will not back down. We will not stand for what they’re trying to do to our way of life. I hope all the citizens of Alabama will be in prayer that the right thing will be done.
Clearly God hates the EPA and love’s Alabama’s coal-burning lifestyle. And, I guess that we should be grateful that Twinkle appears to have gotten over opening PSC meetings with “pray away the gay” sessions.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 07/31/14 at 11:45 AM
Friday, July 25, 2014
House Republican Caucus: The Gang That Couldn’t Think Straight
Well, Speaker Boehner Sues the President is officially a thing now. The House Rules Committee, the gatekeeper for legislation and resolutions to get to a floor vote, ruled yesterday, along partisan lines, to allow it. Personally, I’m all for it because, lately, the GOP’s flair for far-fetched, stagy political tactics is the “gift that keeps on giving” for Democratic fund-raising.
And House Democrats certainly made the most of the amendment process, yesterday, to press that advantage. Nobody covered that quite as well as Rachel Maddow and David Corn, last night . . .
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 07/25/14 at 12:36 PM
Monday, June 23, 2014
Happy Chemtrails To You
Sometimes it’s just so hard to decide whether or not science is a friend or foe of mankind. For example, when science tells us that we are damaging our planet because we are greedy capitalists squandering resources like spoiled children? Totally Foe. But if science or pseudoscience can be tortured into supporting our weakness for magical-thinking and political chicanery, well then! better living through chemistry, yo!
So it is that when certain denizens of Arizona tired of puzzling over the mysteries of the Sedona Vortex, or searching the Superstition Mountains for the treasure of the Lost Dutchman Mine, they cast their eyes to the skies to scan for UFOs . . . and Chemtrails!
We are all used to seeing the condensation trails or “contrails” exhausted from jet airplane engines. Then, one fine day, someone with a lot of imagination and not enough to do made the startling discovery that contrails don’t disappear as fast as they used to back in the day. I suspect that, somewhere on theplanet, some specimen of Homo sapiens has dedicated him/herself to timing the vanishing point of contrails because . . . intellectual curiosity?
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Posted by Bette Noir on 06/23/14 at 01:42 PM
Friday, June 06, 2014
The Spy Who Smeared Me
Is there anything more pathetic than an 80 year old ex-CIA agent running his own home-based spy shop in San Diego? Maybe . . . maybe a professional journalist who takes the private spy seriously enough to write long pointless Exclusives! for Fox News based on the private spy’s “secret intel” alone.
The ex-spook, in this instance, is one Duane “Dewey” Clarridge who served in the CIA during the 1980s as a senior operations officer. Clarridge was indicted for lying to Congress during Iran-Contra hearings, but was pardoned by Poppy Bush during his trial.
Clarridge was forced to resign from the CIA but wasn’t quite ready to quit spying and contracted his expertise out. His story, needless to say, is interesting, in its own right, and anyone who wants to do a deep dive can find long form articles in The New York Times, here and here.
In my opinion, it is enough to say that Mark Mazzetti, of The Times, got it in one when he described Clarridge’s operation as “something of a cross between a Graham Greene novel and Mad Magazine’s “Spy vs. Spy.”
Clarridge communicates with his “field operatives” in Afghanistan and Pakistan—complete with code names like Willi and Waco—via email, then, poolside in San Diego, he compiles the info received into intelligence summaries that he peddles around to a network that includes such intelligence mavens as Oliver North, spy thriller novelist and frequent guest of Glenn Beck, Brad Thor, and, most recently, James Rosen of Fox News.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 06/06/14 at 03:40 PM
Sunday, June 01, 2014
Leave No Man Behind
Nothing makes Republicans madder than President Obama doing his job and succeeding. They’ve spent the last few weeks blowing up pseudo-scandals, like Macy’s parade balloons, that they hope to keep inflated through the summer.
Poor old Prosecutor Gowdy is still arm-wrestling with Judge Issa over witnesses and trying to get his “show horses” to finish reading Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America’s Enemies before the big trial.
And BOOM! along comes Obama saying I’ll see your Benghazi Special Investigation, your IRS and VA scandals and raise you a high-profile Imperial Presidency prisoner swap.
There! you want something to cry about? I’ll give you something to cry about.
But they’ll have to be smart to put points on the board with this one because no one really wants to hear any whining about a soldier’s homecoming . . . they’re not smart, though, are they?
Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA) and Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) said in a statement that Obama is required by law to notify Congress 30 days before any terrorists are transferred from the U.S. facility. They said Obama also is required to explain how the threat posed by such terrorists has been substantially mitigated.
The top Republicans on the House and Senate armed-services committees cautioned that “we must carefully examine the means by which we secured [Bergdahl’s] freedom,” warning that the U.S. had effectively reneged on its policy not to negotiate with terrorists.
Which is a curious statement since the US has not designated the Taliban a terrorist organization. But, by now, we should be used to our Congresspersons playing fast and loose with facts.
In addition, how is it that a Congress that has been one of the most shamefully ineffectual, abysmal flops in the history of American governance can get all snippy about being sidelined when something real needs to happen? If these people had to operate for one week in their beloved free market they’d be toast. All of them.
Perhaps, if Congress hadn’t been so anxious to stymie the president’s pledge to close Guantanamo and had been more inclined to provide those Gitmo prisoners with anything like due process they wouldn’t have still been been moldering away there to use in a swap.
And, about that 30 day notification law? It was attached to last year’s defense bill to prevent Obama from moving on Guantanamo closure. When he signed that defense bill last year, Obama said that “other provisions of the bill on military programs were too important to jeopardize” by vetoing it outright. Instead, Obama signed the defense bill but also issued a signing statement contending that the notification requirement was an unconstitutional infringement on his powers as commander in chief and that he therefore could override it.
And he did. Imagine that, a politician who means what he says.
The White House said it moved as quickly as possible given the opportunity that arose to secure Bergdahl’s release. Citing “these unique and exigent circumstances,” the White House said a decision was made to go ahead with the transfer despite the legal requirement of 30 days advance notice to Congress “due to a near-term opportunity to save Sergeant Bergdahl’s life.”
The administration determined that given these unique and exigent circumstances, such a transfer should go forward notwithstanding the notice requirement.
Especially since the alternative was to go hat-in-hand to the same Congress that already shut down Bergdahl’s release once, in 2012.
As Raw Story reports:
In addition to using congressional oversight, special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman was told by Republican leadership that negotiating an exchange of Sgt. Bergdahl that involved detainees from Guantanamo Bay would be the president’s “Willie Horton moment.”
Does it get any more cynical than that?
Of course, Obama’s action in this case is not without precedent. In the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan faced a similar dilemma - seven Americans held hostage by Iranians in Lebanon. Ronald Reagan felt that, as president, “he had the duty to bring those Americans home.” He decided that giving Iran 1500 missiles was a fair trade. I’d say Obama did a much better deal trading five Taliban members and saving the missiles for another time.
Taliban is not al Qaeda. Taliban is not designated a terrorist organization by the US. Neither are these people being repatriated, they have been handed over to the Qatari government, an American ally in the region.
Meanwhile, while admitting they celebrate Bergdahl’s release, McKeon and Inhofe warned that the exchange “may have consequences for the rest of our forces and all Americans.”
“Our terrorist adversaries now have a strong incentive to capture Americans. That incentive will put our forces in Afghanistan and around the world at even greater risk,” they said.
If Congress would like to discuss presidential actions that “put our forces . . . around the world at even greater risk,” perhaps the time is right for a thorough investigation of the Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq . . . ? Or their cavalier abandonment of said Wounded Warriors when their medical care requires more funding than our parsimonious Congress is willing to dole out?
Posted by Bette Noir on 06/01/14 at 11:40 AM
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Game of Drones: Paranoid Patriots About To Scare Themselves To Death
What happens when you put a bunch of unemployed conspiracy theorists, low-info vigilantes and well-armed paranoiacs out in the desert sun to dry-roast for a couple of weeks?
SHIT! happens! that’s what.
The Fantasy Justice League members that have #occupiedcowtown this month to protect Cliven Bundy’s inalienable right to suck the government teat dry, are starting to show obvious signs of PTSD following the anticlimactic Battle of Bundy Ranch.
The Battle itself took place a few weeks ago, without a shot being fired, but militia-types from all over these great United States were having so much fun on maneuvers, using soldier lingo and walkie-talkies, that they decided to hang out with the Bundy family indefinitely, to make sure that Bunkerville, NV is rendered safe for democracy.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 04/29/14 at 12:29 PM
Monday, April 21, 2014
Meet The Press Hosts Panel of Dicks To Discuss Presidential Low-T
David Brooks must be pining for his lost youth now that he’s a newly-single balding, middle-aged guy tending toward paunch. That’s the only good explanation for the sophomoric little round-robin that took place on Meet the Press yesterday, during which Brooks questioned President Obama’s testosterone levels, while the rest of the bobbleheads nodded and grinned:
Basically since Yalta we’ve had an assumption that borders are basically going to be borders, and once that comes into question, if in Ukraine or in Crimea or anywhere else, then all over the world … all bets are off . . .
… And let’s face it, Obama, whether deservedly or not, does have a — I’ll say it crudely — but a manhood problem in the Middle East. Is he tough enough to stand up to somebody like Assad or somebody like Putin? I think a lot of the rap is unfair, but certainly in the Middle East there is an assumption that he’s not tough enough.
How insipid is that? Let me count the ways . . .
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Posted by Bette Noir on 04/21/14 at 08:19 AM
Friday, April 04, 2014
Modern conservatism in the US is predicated on a bizarre, ongoing inversion of reality. Item: an addled B-movie actor explodes the national debt and is lionized as a champion of small government. A cowardly, none-too-bright male cheerleader from a patrician clan is packaged and sold as a brush-clearin,’ neo-Churchillian cowpoke.
The party that bankrupted the country through ruinous, pointless warmongering and Wall Street wilding markets itself as the fiscally responsible foreign policy grownups. The party that allows a gun manufacturer flak organization to intimidate it into allowing terrorists and the floridly crazy to purchase unlimited semiautomatic weapons bills itself as tough on crime. Etc.
So it shouldn’t be surprising that conservatives’ perception of their ongoing defeat in the culture wars is exactly the opposite of reality on every level too. But that doesn’t mean we can’t laugh at the ahistorical ranting. Cue the Powertools, lamenting the resignation of erstwhile Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich:
So the liberals claim another scalp. This is something new in our history, as far as I know. Until now, private citizens could hold whatever political beliefs they wanted, and support political causes as they chose.
Ever heard of the McCarthy hearings? Where a wingnut senator persecuted private citizens and destroyed their livelihoods because of their political beliefs? See, when the party of free markets decides to regulate political beliefs, it does so via the government.
What happened to Eich is a free market phenomenon. You can make the argument that the companies and developers who balked at the prospect of working with a CEO who thinks gays are icky should have given Eich a chance. But the companies and developers are independent agents who are free to vote with their feet because freedom.
Over at Heritage.org, they’ve discovered the power of government policy in leading social change:
Policy should prohibit the government from discriminating against any individual or group, whether nonprofit or for-profit, based on their beliefs that marriage is the union of a man and woman or that sexual relations are reserved for marriage. Policy should prohibit the government from discriminating in tax policy, employment, licensing, accreditation, or contracting against such groups and individuals.
Okay, so you guys were for prohibiting the government from discriminating against same sex couples in tax policy, employment, licensing, accreditation or contracting, right? Nope.
Once again, the self-proclaimed anti-nanny state crusaders and champions of free markets are revealed as sniveling hypocrites. Hoocoodanode?
[X-posted at Balloon Juice]
Posted by Betty Cracker on 04/04/14 at 07:31 AM
Wednesday, April 02, 2014
SCOTUS Shows Love for the Rainmakers and Buckrakers
In the home of the brave, free speech comes with a price tag, as the Supreme Court decided in a 5-4 (No! Really?) decision in the McCutcheon v. FEC case, which basically gives rich folks the license to print ballots.
Maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but here’s the deal—if putting your money where your mouth is, is a form of free speech, then some animals on this farm are obviously more equal than others, if laws that try to keep the rich from drowning out the voices of the not-so-much are seen as onerously violating the rights of the people who can afford to pay for this here microphone and mean to use it.
It kind of says, if you can’t afford to pay for the good sound system, you might as well shut up.
There was some dancing around in that decision about whether campaign financing was about quid pro quo—look, I get it. The decision for letting our politicians be bought outright was centered on not making it for each trick they turn out, but letting them perform on a retainer basis. And that’s sweet, but let’s call it what it is. And let’s not pretend that our transactional political system isn’t about quid pro quo because the paymasters don’t give direction when our little dears can figure out what they are supposed to do to please Daddy without all that much direction.
Now, there might be an antidote to the influence of money in the form of a critical, tough, independent media who can cut through the “talk” of money and see to it that “bullshit” hits the road. A lot of our mainstream media might not necessarily recognize that cutting through the bull is their job, though. That’s kind of why I see blogging as important. Maybe this cosa nostra can strike a little bit back at the pezzanovantes that want to make peasants out of us. But otherwise, I encourage everybody to vote the fuck out of the GOP, because, let’s be honest, they are the most boughten and paidest-for. I’m all for kicking the Koch-machine—how’bout you?
(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 04/02/14 at 10:08 PM
Hobby Lobby’s Deeply Held Investment Convictions
“Being Christians, we don’t pay for drugs that might cause abortions.… something that is contrary to our most important beliefs. It goes against the biblical principles on which we have run this company since day one,” Hobby Lobby founder David Green, in an article for USA Today.
Well, at least since Day One 2012, when Obamacare compelled businesses to include emergency contraception in employee health care plans and David Green, owner of Hobby Lobby, decided to sue the government over that requirement.
Before that, Hobby Lobby’s employee health care plan covered both Plan B and Ella which their brief, filed with the US Supreme Court, describes as “products that can prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus,” which the Greens consider abortion.
Scientist’s refute that statement based on how the drugs actually work—to prevent fertilization, in the first place—nevertheless, it is the Green’s “deeply held religious belief” that the scientists are wrong and that they, the Greens, channeling their God, are right.
Now, some cynics might label the Green’s position somewhat politically-influenced and a whole lot hypocritical. Evidently, the deeply held religious beliefs at the heart of their case struck them rather late in the game—a la Saul on the road to Damascus—knocking them off their ass, when President Obama commanded them to continue doing what they were doing.
But, oh dear, bless their hearts, that’s only the beginning . . .
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Posted by Bette Noir on 04/02/14 at 10:16 AM