Thursday, August 21, 2014
Brevard County Commission Taking Liberties With Liberty
Back in May of this year the US Supreme Court ruled on a gnarly little problem that causes no end of mischief in America: the separation of church and state.
This was not the first time SCOTUS addressed the issue and it’s very unlikely that it will be the last. Nevertheless, this time around the court settled the question [at least for now] of whether or not the Constitution allows for prayer during government meetings. Long story short—the court ruled, in a 5-4 decision, to give brief, ceremonial prayers in civic meetings their juridical blessing.
Hosannas were heard throughout the land because American Christians construed the high court ruling as a victory and, apparently, felt much less persecuted because of it. All things being theoretically equal, a few other spiritual brands felt empowered by the decision as well. One such was the Central Florida Freethought Community which resides in Florida’s Brevard County.
It just so happens that the Brevard County commissioners have a long proud history of indulging in the quaint but questionable practice of invoking supernatural guidance before their meetings. To keep things democratic, commissioners take turns inviting local spiritual leaders to make up those invocations.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 08/21/14 at 08:44 AM
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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
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
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
GOP Launches Stealth Attack In War On Women: Bachmann For President!
If you think you have it hard, consider what a bad couple of years Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has had. After that one great day in 2011 when she won the Ames, IA straw poll, poor Michele hasn’t been able to buy a break . . . not that she didn’t try.
If it’s not the FBI, DoJ and Office of Congressional Ethics poking their noses into her business and saying mean things about her leadership skills, it’s the danged homos making the bottom fall out of the Gay Reparative market. Now Marcus is out of a
scam job and it’s all down to Michele, who—Criminy—just retired from the House. Book sales aren’t nearly covering the legal fees so it’s no time to be out of work.
But when the going gets tough, the tough get going . . . so Rep. Michele Bachmann, looking to her strengths, has decided that another run at the Oval Office might be just the thing!
The only thing that the media has speculated on is that it’s going to be various men that are running. They haven’t speculated, for instance, that I’m going to run. What if I decide to run? And there’s a chance I could run.
Like with anything else, practice makes perfect. “And I think if a person has gone through the process—for instance, I had gone through 15 presidential debates—it’s easy to see a person’s improvement going through that.
I haven’t made a decision one way or another if I’m going to run again, but I think the organization is probably the key. To have an organization and people who surround you who are loyal, who are highly competent, who know how to be able to run the ball down the field in state after state—because now I think the primary process will be very different this time. It will tighten up; it will be a much shorter run than it was before.
Translation: that last group of F*k ups threw me under the bus when they weren’t smart enough to cover their tracks.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 07/23/14 at 12:03 PM
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Coming Soon To A Kingdom Near You
Something truly hinky happened in The Heartland yesterday. Not that we weren’t forewarned . . . there was that little media dust-devil that arose, back in April, when Gov. Terry Branstad (R) released an official gubernatorial proclamation entreating Iowans to pray, fast and repent for the good of Iowa and the nation . . .
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Terry E Branstad, as Governor of the State of Iowa, do hereby invite all Iowans who choose to join in the thoughtful prayer and humble repentance according to II Chronicles 7:14 in favor of our state and nation to come together on July 14, 2014.
[read the whole freaking thing, which sounds David Barton-ish, here].
Well, July 14th arrived and, suddenly, the separation between church and state on the Capitol grounds of the Hawkeye State was only the thickness of a revival tent-flap where hundreds of Children of the Corn gathered for 11 hours of “non-denominational” prayer and repentance of a King James nature—from 7:14 am to 7:14 pm.
You see this was never meant to be your garden-variety non-denominational feel-good praying—it’s specifically prescribed to be according to II Chronicles 7:14, a favorite bible verse of Bob Vander Plaats, who has written a book entitled If 7:14. If the name Vander Plaats sounds vaguely familiar that might be because when Vd-P isn’t writing religious manifestos, he likes to run for governor of Iowa. At least in the Republican primaries for governor, he’s never quite made it beyond there in 2002, 2006 or 2010.
You also might remember Vd-P as the guy with the pitchfork at the head of the mob who successfully ran off the three justices on the Iowa Supreme Court who voted to overturn Iowa’s Defense of Marriage Act in Varnum v. Brien.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 07/15/14 at 02:59 PM
Wednesday, July 09, 2014
GOP Shooting Blanks In The War On Poverty
Today, Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) submitted a post to RealClearPolitics.com entitled “Why the War on Poverty Failed & How We Can Win It.” Let me spare you any undue excitement—he never really got around to detailing either.
Evidently. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) has stepped away from his somewhat embarrassing stint as front-man for the GOP’s “50 Years of Fail” concern trolling over the fact that, despite the War On Poverty program there are still poor people. That leaves the position open for some newbie back-benchers to cut their teeth on.
Whatever . . . Rokita has picked up the torch but appears to be having a little trouble keeping it lit. As we know from past encounters, Rep. Rokita is a bit of a wag—you might remember him as the chauvinist swashbuckler who reprimanded CNN journalist Carol Costello about her barbed questions during last Fall’s government shutdown, saying “Carol, you’re beautiful, but you have to be honest as well.”
Or that time, in 2007, when, while encouraging Republicans to appeal to more African-American voters, Rokita cited the statistic that 90% of African-Americans vote Democratic then asked:
How can that be? Ninety to ten. Who’s the master and who’s the slave in that relationship? How can that be healthy?
You get the picture . . . so Todd starts out waggish:
Fine, I admit it, you caught us red-handed—the Republican Party is the party of the “rich.”
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 07/09/14 at 01:48 PM
Friday, June 20, 2014
There’s a lady lawyer in Minnesota whose long-game is to serve on the US Supreme Court but, for the time-being and God-willing, she will hone her judicial skills on the Minnesota State Supreme Court. The state Republican Delegation took a good 30 minutes to endorse Michelle McDonald after she gave a rousing, Bible-waving speech in which she promised to base her judicial opinions on Biblical principles. [First Amendment be damned!]
And, in a nod to the Founding Fathers, Ms McDonald wound up with the theocrats’ favorite spurious quotation of George Washington:
“. . . it is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”
One of the ways that Ms. McDonald hopes to impress future SCOTUS-scouts is her “radical belief that the family courts should be abolished” the result of an epiphany she experienced after serving 25 years in family court.
As Mike Mosedale on politicsinminnesota.com reports:
Citing inspiration from her clients, grandson, the film “Jerry Maguire” and Pope John Paul II, McDonald then composed a “Miracle Mission Statement” toward making that belief a reality.
Asked to elaborate on those views during the interview, MacDonald was soon overcome by emotion. “These [issues] are of great interest to me,” she said, pausing to wipe her tears, “because families are being ripped apart by our court process. I’ve seen it over the last 27 years.”
After composing herself, MacDonald confidently asserted that her latest legal salvo — part of a long and bitter custody fight between a client and her ex-husband — will be “the case that eliminates courts for families all together. It will happen in [this] case.”
Or, maybe not, if one takes into account some of the legal hijinks and courtroom histrionics that have taken place during that trial to include:
. . . a judge ha[ving] her removed from the courtroom and placed in a cell.
According to the documents, MacDonald was handcuffed, placed in a wheelchair, and then returned to the courtroom, where she continued to argue on her client’s behalf. She was, however, jailed for multiple days, though never charged.
Meanwhile, there were a series of adverse rulings in McDonald’s case, one of which was an unsuccessful bid for the case to be heard by SCOTUS. Failing that, McDonald brought a federal suit against the presiding judge seeking more than $330 million dollars in damages for her client and her client’s five children.
Not to mention:
She further claimed in the suit that John and Mary Does 1-20 — unnamed government employees who work for police agencies and the courts — “have a secret agenda intent on family annihilation, societal breakdown, intimidation, emotional abuse, isolation, using children, economic abuse, coercion and threats.” The suit does not specify the damages sought from those parties.
That suit was dismissed by a US District Judge while McDonald was auditioning for the Republican endorsement.
So, far Ms. McDonald looks like a perfect fit for the Minnesota [cough, Bachmann] GOP. More of an Orly Taitz than a Clarence Darrow . . . so, it comes as no surprise that we have an alert state Republican, Doug Seaton, of the Judicial Election Committee, telling McDonald that he was concerned:
“that we’re going to have a situation where the party’s endorsement process is going to be held up to ridicule, and you’re going to be held up to ridicule, and attacked in a campaign as not having judicial [comportment] and not being neutral and being a little bit of a wild woman.”
“How on Earth can a person who is a zealous advocate, maybe pushing the line, be suitable for a judicial position? And how is that going to reflect on the party’s endorsement process, the other statewide candidates…is that going to be a problem? How are you going to respond to it?”
McDonald demurred from answering Seaton’s questions but agreed that his concerns were valid.
And, all of that, of course is incidental to McDonald’s recent DWI arrest, trial still pending. As briefly as possible, McDonald was pulled over for speeding by police, refused alcohol testing, told the officer that she was a “reserve cop, a lawyer and would walk home” but vigorously protests her innocence.
Personally, I don’t find it astonishing that a lawyer, or a supreme court justice for that matter, might have a DWI in his/her closet.
The point here is what Michael Brodkorb says:
MacDonald’s candidacy should have raised numerous red flags. But in a rush to endorse a judicial candidate, the warning signs were missed and now people are pointing fingers.
Keith Downey, chairman of the Republican Party of Minnesota told the Star Tribune last week, “none of us, including the convention delegates, were aware of this information about the candidate.”
Contrary to the statements made by Downey, MacDonald’s arrest was known by numerous Republicans, including the person appointed by Downey to oversee the committee to determine if the convention should endorse a judicial candidate – Doug Seaton.
As the former Deputy Chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota, I will state without hesitation that MacDonald’s endorsement proves the current party process of endorsing candidates is fundamentally flawed and in desperate need of reform.
The fact that Downey, the top elected official of the Republican Party of Minnesota, claims he was unaware that a candidate with a pending criminal trial was endorsed for the Minnesota Supreme Court, is the best evidence I can point to that Republicans need a new process to select candidates for office.
Posted by Bette Noir on 06/20/14 at 12:16 PM
Monday, May 12, 2014
Let’s Smack Our Churls!
As if the kidnapping of Nigerian schoolgirls by a fundamentalist Islamic terrorist organization wasn’t bad enough, at least one American right-winger is making light of the situation, presumably because Michelle Obama made a heartfelt plea on behalf of the girls on Saturday.
One could chalk Hoft’s jape up to mere sexism and racism- heh, they’re only girls, and it’s only Africa, doncha know- but I believe that the right-wing doesn’t wish to take this atrocity seriously for a more existential reason. “Boko Haram” translates as “Western Education is Sinful” and the group not only targets Nigerian Christians but Muslims who are not seen as sufficiently pure in their devotion. A similar fundamentalist group in Mali burned manuscripts in a Timbuktu library that represented centuries of Islamic jurisprudence. The Boko Haram group is a bunch of nihilists, seeking to destroy anything which doesn’t adhere to their particular narrow vision of the Islamic faith.
Here in the U.S., a common refrain among religious fundamentalists is that secular education is undermining traditional American values- “western education is sinful” or, to put it succinctly, Boko Haram.
Basically, the raison d’être of Boko Haram and, for instance, the American Family Association is identical- they both want to purge their respective societies of secular values. It’s no wonder that Hoft, a right-winger through-and-through, wants to make light of the kidnapping of Nigerian schoolgirls who were slated to be sold into arranged marriages in order to “control” them. With the American Right’s mania about “purity” and the evils of secular education, one would have to suspect that Hoft would back a similar kidnapping of female students by a fundamentalist organization that would force them into “traditional” marriages- he’d just disagree about which “holy” book’s precepts were used to justify the crime.
I want to see two things happen- bring back the girls and let’s smack our churls!
Cross-posted at my eponymous blog.
Posted by Big Bad Bald Bastard on 05/12/14 at 05:18 PM
Tuesday, May 06, 2014
“Out, damned spot! Out, I say!”
Has a sitting governor ever taken it upon herself to absolve her constituents of murder most foul? Maybe, but I don’t recall it.
Here’s a remarkable statement by Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin (R-Edrum) in a column published yesterday that addressed the recent botched execution:
“Justice was served. The people of Oklahoma do not have blood on their hands.”
If you say so, Lady MacBeth. Fucking sociopath. I wish I thought the horror and absurdity of this would make a damn bit of difference.
[X-posted at Balloon Juice]
Posted by Betty Cracker on 05/06/14 at 10:48 AM
Sunday, May 04, 2014
The Lord Is My Campaign Manager
Frequently, on Sundays, I get the urge to take a peek at what the religionists are getting up to. I’m not sure why, it just feels kind of right.
Sure enough, it took no time at all, to come across this guy—Richard Darrell Trigg of Tennessee who is very busy, right now, starting up the Christian Party PLUS setting up a presidential campaign.
That may seem, to some, to be a particularly ambitious agenda but, Mr Trigg has no doubt that he will succeed because The Lord directed him to do these things.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 05/04/14 at 12:38 PM
Thursday, May 01, 2014
Tennessee Snags War On Drugs/War On Women Twofer
A few weeks ago, I posted an article about a state bill that had landed on Tennessee governor Bill Haslam’s (R) desk to be either vetoed or signed into law. That bill was SB 1391 which made it a crime, specifically assault, to be a pregnant illegal drug user. Most states don’t prosecute drug users, only traffickers. That’s because the law sees drug use as a medical issue, rather than a criminal one. And oceans of data confirm that treatment has a far more beneficial effect, than incarceration, on drug addiction. But that’s all about to change, in Tennessee, for female addicts who become pregnant.
In a giant leap backward, Gov. Haslam signed SB 1391, a horribly ill-conceived piece of retrograde legislation, into law, and it will go into effect on July 1, 2014. According to his signing statement, Gov. Haslam judiciously considered copious amounts of expert opinion and signed SB 1391 into law anyway:
. . . after “extensive conversations with experts including substance abuse, mental health, health and law enforcement officials. The intent of this bill is to give law enforcement and district attorneys a tool to address illicit drug use among pregnant women through treatment programs.
It would be interesting to know who those experts were, exactly, because they certainly weren’t experts from . . .
The American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and other major medical associations — joined by local doctors and addiction specialists — [who] have warned that measures criminalizing pregnant women will only discourage them from seeking prenatal care and drug treatment. These concerns were made expressly clear to the governor by groups like SisterReach, a Tennessee-based reproductive justice group and Healthy & Free Tennessee, a state-wide reproductive health coalition.
“Despite our advocacy attempts and regardless of the impact this law will have on marginalized families; despite the danger that medical professionals have noted a law of this magnitude will cause, our governor chose his party over the experts,” SisterReach founder and CEO Cherisse A. Scott said in a statement. ”This law separates mothers from their children and is not patient-centered. Tennessee families who are already being hit the hardest by policies such as the failure to expand Medicaid, poverty and a lack of available drug treatment facilities will be most deeply impacted by this bill. Mothers struggling with drug addiction in Shelby County, rural communities throughout Tennessee and poor mothers and their families will be the ones who suffer the effects of this dangerous legislation the most.”
. . . must have been some other, better experts.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 05/01/14 at 09:50 AM
Monday, April 28, 2014
Rupture, Not Rapture
Via Tengrain, we have the tale of Alex Jones calling out Glenn Beck for insufficiently supporting deadbeat rancher Cliven Bundy. Jones believes that Beck is working for the Kenyan Usurper, setting up the right-wing loons up for the jackbooted thuggery of the latte-sippin’ lefties:
“They’re positioning him as a Judas goat to lead the liberty movement. It all just clicked. He is actually Benedict Arnold, he actually works for Obama. And I’m sorry I have to say that. He really does!”
Poor Beck, he steals Alex Jones’ schtick, then backpedals in one instance, and now he’s Benedict Arnold. On his end, perhaps because he sees the coming backlash and his getting drummed out of the loonbertarian fringe, Beck is seeking the refuge of religious whackaloonery... because religion is the last good refuge for an utter scoundrel. Addressing the commencement of Liberty University’s graduating class, he’s gone full-on “Rapture Ready” fundagelical millennialist, claiming that God is coming back “to settle scores”.
One could chalk up Glenn’s latest “Road to Dumbasscus” moment as an example of Jerusalem syndrome, but I have a more cynical view. I suspect that Beck sees the coming Rupture among the far-righties, so he’s going to switch gears and talk about the Rapture to reinvent himself as a religious figure, having failed as a political pundit. Unluckily for him, Glenn is a couple of horsemen short of an apocalypse.
Cross-posted at my eponymous blog.
Posted by Big Bad Bald Bastard on 04/28/14 at 11:05 PM
Sunday, April 20, 2014
The Chocolate War
I hope those of you who celebrated Easter today have gotten over your sugar hangover, because battle has been joined. There is now an, admittedly half-hearted/half-assed, War on Easter, declared by Fox News.
The “war” stems from a display erected in Daley Plaza by The Freedom from Religion Foundation, extolling **GASP** reason and the separation of church and state. Even worse, this “War on Easter” is **HORRORS!** unholy. What kind of unholy monsters would advocate for reason and the separation of church and state? What sort of monsters, indeed?
Those who would undermine the separation of church and state make the dubious assumption that their particular brand of church would be the established one. The Founders, with the horrors of the Thirty Years’ War still scarring the European psyche, well knew the tyranny of established religion.
As an aside, I have to laugh at the use of the word “unholy”... almost everything on the planet is “unholy”. For example, with one notable exception, hand grenades are unholy.
I think the real issue is that, for most people, the Easter eggs and bunnies, and the baskets full of candy have supplanted the religious festival to a large extent. The fundies have lost The Chocolate War so now they’re throwing a temper tantrum:
Cross-posted at my eponymous blog.
Posted by Big Bad Bald Bastard on 04/20/14 at 08:19 PM
Friday, April 18, 2014
We Got Trouble. Right Here in Latta . . .
Since this story broke there has been a huge international out pouring of support for Chief Crystal Moore. There is an active petition on change.org calling for the South Carolina State Ethics Commission to investigate Mayor Bullard’s firing of Crystal Moore.
There’s a twitter campaign #StandWithChiefMoore and a gofundme.com donation page to help Chief Moore with legal costs and to tide her over while she’s off the Latta payroll.
Townspeople are gathering for prayer vigils and flooding Mayor Bullard’s phone lines [843.752.5115] with protest calls.
Bring it, Roasters.
If you’ve never heard of Latta, SC, you’re not alone. Latta is home to 1,410 souls (8 more than Mayberry), Catfish Creek Baptist Church and a brand new homophobic mayor, Earl Bullard.
Meet Mayor Bullard:
WBTW-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Florence, SC
Bullard ran uncontested last year and was installed in office in January, 2014. And Latta hasn’t been the same since then. Many elected officials are motivated to run for office because they believe that they have some good ideas for improving things and it was pretty clear, even before he took office, that Bullard wanted to make a few changes immediately.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 04/18/14 at 11:47 AM
Monday, April 14, 2014
Tomorrow, in the wee hours of the morning throughout much of the United States, there will be a total eclipse of the full moon corresponding with Passover. During a lunar eclipse, the Earth is positioned between the moon and the sun, and the moon is obscured by the shadow (there are two regions of shadow, the penumbral and umbral regions)- during a total eclipse of the moon (as opposed to a total eclipse of the sun or of the heart), sunlight passing through Earth’s atmosphere colors the moon a shade of red. This reddish hue has inspired the term “Blood Moon” for eclipses of this sort.
Religious nutbars being what they are, whackaloon John Hagee believes that four coming lunar eclipses signal Earthshaking events, perhaps even the dawn of the “End Times”. Religious fundies can even spoil the beauty of the celestial dance.
Religious people are often characterized as humble people, but I think that’s total B.S. Every religious fundamentalist sees him-or-herself as the center of momentous events, a witness to the climax of history. In reality, each and every one of us is a tiny speck of matter on a slightly larger speck of matter, as Douglas Adams put it far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy, and I would add, not even a particularly distinguished galaxy at that.
We are not that important in the grand scheme of things, no matter what interpretation of an ambiguous passage in a book written by Bronze Age goatherders and passed through many translations over the course of the last couple of millennia is favored by a crazy religious fundamentalist in Texastan. Get over yourselves, fundies. Enough of this bloody lunacy.
Cross posted at my eponymous blog.
Posted by Big Bad Bald Bastard on 04/14/14 at 05:48 PM