Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) told colleagues on the House floor on Tuesday that young boys and girls should take classes on traditional gender roles in a marriage because there are some things fathers do “maybe a little bit better” than mothers. > more ... (1 comments)
This is big news:
NPR has learned that Supreme Court Justice David Souter is planning to retire at the end of the court’s current term.
The court has completed hearing oral arguments for the year and will be issuing rulings and opinions until the end of June.
Souter is expected to remain on the bench until a successor has been chosen and confirmed, which may or may not be accomplished before the court reconvenes in October.
Expect an apopleptic, psychotic freakout from the wingnuts in the confirmation hearings to come.
I remember seeing this quote a long time ago (h/t Sully). It could have been uttered yesterday:
There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God’s name on one’s behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent.
If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in ‘A,’ ‘B,’ ‘C,’ and ‘D.’ Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of ‘conservatism.’
More than half of people who attend services at least once a week — 54 percent – said the use of torture against suspected terrorists is “often” or “sometimes” justified. Only 42 percent of people who “seldom or never” go to services agreed, according the analysis released Wednesday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.Here’s Poppa Sully:
So Christian devotion correlates with approval for absolute evil in America. And people wonder why atheism is gaining in this country. Notice the poll does not even use a euphemism like “coercive interrogation” – forcing Allahpundit to substitute it. (Even HotAir, it seems, finds it difficult to write the sentence: “Evangelicals are more likely to be conservative and conservatives are more likely to support torture.”) But it remains a fact that white evangelicals are the most pro-torture of any grouping. Mainline Protestant groups were the most opposed. A mere 20 percent of non-Hispanic Catholics believe that torture is never justified.Just like Jesus said: “Torture them, my brothers, for only through pain inflicted on the weakest among us shall thou reach the kingdom of heaven.” Oh, that’s not real scripture? Maybe something like the following is more apt:
Exodus 22:21 Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in Egypt.
Deuteronomy 27:19 Cursed is the man who withholds justice from the alien, the fatherless or the widow.
Psalm 9:9 The Lord also will be a stronghold for the oppressed, A stronghold in times of trouble.
Psalm 74:21 Let not the oppressed return dishonored; Let the afflicted and needy praise Your name.
Psalm 146:9 The Lord protects the strangers; He supports the fatherless and the widow, But He thwarts the way of the wicked.
Isaiah 29:20 For the ruthless will come to an end and the scorner will be finished, Indeed all who are intent on doing evil will be cut off.
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was recently speaking at Stanford University when a student asked her a question on waterboarding and torture. Here’s her response:
The president instructed us that nothing we would do would be outside of our legal obligations under the Convention Against Torture…Hear that everyone? Because the President authorized torture means that whatever the United States did pursuant to that authorization wasn’t illegal.
The United States was told, we were told, nothing that violates our obligations under the Convention Against Torture, and so by definition, if it was authorized by the president, it did not violate our obligations under the Convention Against Torture.
“When the President does it, that means it is not illegal.” — Richard NixonI’ve long believed that the widespread torture of detainees in our custody would hurt the soul of our nation not as a result of the actual breaking of the law itself, but rather the inevitable feverish attempts by the right to justify anything the President did as categorically legal and beyond reproach.
If this is going to be the case, why don’t we just get rid of the whole bothersome mess of electing a President and just install a hereditary monarch that can only be deposed in cases of manifest insanity or high treason?
At least then we’d be above-board with the values we’d be claiming to adhere to.
Unless we publicly unearth all of the horrific details of this dark period of our history, I am certain that our children and grandchildren are going to look back upon the first decade of the 21st century with profound shame.
Update: Here’s Steve Benen:
Update: Here’s the video:
I was especially impressed by Rice’s use of the phrase “by definition,” since it was literally the exact same phrase Nixon used to explain why presidents are incapable of committing crimes…
As for the substance of Rice’s argument, it’s fascinating to me how oblivious she is to its circular quality. Bush authorized torture. Is that legal? Yes, because Bush authorized torture.
The rule of law isn’t supposed to work this way. To argue, out loud, without humor, that the president is literally above the law is completely absurd, even by the standards of the Bush administration.
This is the kind of kind of argument that should lead Rice to be laughed out of polite company. That won’t happen, of course, but that doesn’t make her ideas any less foolish.
May this be the first and last time I use the phrase “100 days”. Here is the full video of Obama’s news conference tonight:
Reactions, via the Atlantic:
At MyDD’s liveblog, Jonathan Singer likes the ideology of Obama’s torture response: “Obama nicely swats down Cheney’s argument vis a vis torture, offered up by CBS Radio — memos don’t address the more fundamental questions of whether torture actually makes us safer on the whole and whether information could have been obtained otherwise.”Andrew Sullivan:CNN’s viewers, voting online, gave Obama a B+ on the event. “The White House gotta be pleased with that,” Anderson Cooper said. Fareed Zakaria, meanwhile, said Obama is comfortable with foreign policy questions but that he lost an opportunity to say something nice about Mexico and its handling of swine flu.TalkLeft’s Jeralyn liked Obama’s off-the-cuff style in answering a question about what had elicited various emotions from him as president: “President Obama is on TV talking about his first 100 days. I just tuned in. He’s answering a question, off the cuff, going through a list of emotions from surprise to enchanted to humble. It’s refreshing to see him speak without a teleprompter.”
To finally see a president who truly grasps the vital nature of retaining the rule of law, core Western values and, at the same time, the need to fight Jihadist terror with all the legal, humane weapons we have is an enormous relief after the callowness and cowardice of his predecessor. It was great to hear him talk of the experience of Britain during the Second World War.Digby on the whole “100 days” nonsense:
It’s hard enough to believe CNN has actually reassembled their election night team to “grade” Obama on his first 100 days and then tell us what to think about his press conference tonight, but they actually had people write in with grades for their Senators, which is based upon, as far as I can, tell absolutely nothing — and is obviously being freeped. (Right now you have exactly 1 minute to grade Tim Geithner! Hurry!)
This whole 100 Days ritual navel gazing has always been stupid, but they’ve reached unprecedented heights this time. They’ve turned it into a Major TV Event, in which the only thing that actually happens is that the usual fatuous gasbags blather on for hours about nothing in advance of a mundane press conference. Talk about riveting television.
The good news for the team is that the consensus is that Obama is popular and doing well. The bad news for the country is that shallow, puerile psuedo analysis never actually helps anything.
Speaking in front of Congress today, Rep. Virginia Fox (R-NC) not only proved herself to be both a liar and an idiot, she also desecrated the memory of Matthew Shepard, who was killed in a horrific anti-gay hate crime back in 1998. Not only that, she did it all in front of Matthew Shepard’s grieving mother!
First, to the question of whether Rep. Foxx is an idiot. Read this story from Gleen Greenwald and figure out the answer for yourself:
The House of Representatives today is debating a hate crimes bill which, among other things, would impose heightened penalties for crimes “motivated by prejudice based on the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of the victim.” One of the GOP leaders opposing the bill on the House floor is Rep. Virginia Foxx of North Carolina, and — bizarrely and rather amusingly — she decided to feature something I wrote as a basis for her opposition to the bill…
When I began receiving emails earlier today informing me that Rep. Foxx had cited me as an eloquent and steadfast opponent of hate crimes laws, I was rather surprised, since I’m quite certain I’ve never before said or written a word about hate crimes laws. I was therefore confounded that I was being praised for my moving opposition to this bill.
This blogger has solved the mystery. The post that Rep. Foxx is quoting is one which condemns hate speech laws. That is why its title is “The Noxious Fruits of Hate Speech laws.” It has nothing to do with hate crimes legislation. Hate speech laws and hate crimes laws are entirely different, since the former punishes the pure expression of ideas while the latter involves the commission of actual crimes, usually quite violent and serious crimes. One can easily and coherently oppose the former but support the latter.
If the above proves that Rep. Foxx is a drooling idiot, add the following evidence to the pile on the question of whether she’s also a shameless liar and a cruel, heartless political opportunist:
As the House of Representatives debates an expansion of hate crimes legislation, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) has taken the rhetoric to a new level, claiming that those who say Matthew Shepard was murdered in Wyoming for being gay are perpetrating a “hoax” on the American people.
“I also would like to point out that there was a bill — the hate crimes bill that’s called the Matthew Shepard bill is named after a very unfortunate incident that happened where a young man was killed, but we know that that young man was killed in the commitment of a robbery. It wasn’t because he was gay. This — the bill was named for him, hate crimes bill was named for him, but it’s really a hoax that that continues to be used as an excuse for passing these bills,” said Foxx.
To literally add insult to injury, it turns out that Matthew Shepard’s MOTHER was in the gallery when the heartless Rep. Foxx was callously dishonoring her son’s memory:
“Matthew Shepard’s mother was in the gallery yesterday and I believe she was back today — so I’m sorry she had to be around to hear it,” said Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.). “It’s an urban myth… And I’d tell her that man did land on the moon and the moon wasn’t made out of green cheese.”Regardless of Rep. Foxx’s fact-free claims to the contrary, Matthew Shepard was in fact killed in an incident of anti-gay violence:
The New York Times reported in 1998: “According to the local police and prosecutors, the two men lured Mr. Shepard out of a bar by saying they were gay. Then, the Laramie police say, the pair kidnapped Mr. Shepard, pistol-whipped him with a .357 Magnum, and left him tied to a ranch fence for 18 hours until a passing bicyclist spotted Mr. Shepard, who was unconscious.”Reps. John Lewis and Debbie Wasserman-Shultz called out Rep. Foxx for her despicable bullshit:
“She should be ashamed,” said Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), himself a victim of a hate crime during the struggle for civil rights. “That is unreal, unbelievable. The law enforcement people and almost every reasonable person I know believes he was murdered because he was gay.”The fact that we let drooling, cruel barely-sentient idiots like this through the door of the Capitol building never ceases to amaze me.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), stared in disbelief before answering a question about the statement. “It’s just sad the Republican caucus has been reduced such a fringe,” she said. “It’s sad they would go out of their way to prevent people from getting justice.”
Update: Not to be outdone, the other members of the Heartless GOP Assholes Brigade stepped up to the plate today and whipped themselves up in an orgy of paranoid, hate-inspired rhetoric:
These people need to be locked away in a padded room — with nothing but gay nurses.
REP MICHELE BACHMANN (R-MN): I feel that this hate crime legislation could be considered the very definition of tyranny.
REP. GRESHMAN BARRET (R-SC): This bill would inhibit religious freedom in our society — a scary thought.
REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R-TX): You think a pregnant mother does not deserve the protection of a homosexual? You think a military member doesn’t deserve the protection of a transvestite?
REP. STEVE KING (R-IA): I, Mr. Speaker, oppose and I defy the logic of the people that would advocate for such legislation the very idea we could divine what goes on in the heads of people when they commit crimes.
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