Condolences, Apologies and Preparations for a disaster [Shorter Question Everything]

Like the Salahi scandal, the Secret Service scandal shouldn’t just be blown off as a triviality. Given the incredible uptick in assassination threats and rhetoric that have been directed towards the president, ANY ACTION, no matter how trivial it appears or is made to appear by the media, needs to be noted. With the Salahis, people were infiltrated to an event they had no business attending. Somehow they got past the Secret Service. With the Colombia affair, not only were extra people added to the scenario, but protection detail was diverted. I’m seriously hoping the rest of the detail is on task but make no mistake at the seriousness of this breach.


Not, “I’m sorry for killing/shooting/doing anything to your son”, but for the loss, as though he was a lone earring that fell behind the couch. This isn’t an apology. An apology would acknowledge the part Zimmerman played. This is mere condolence, and a disingenuous attempt at that: George Zimmerman To Trayvon Martin’s Parents: ‘I Am Sorry For The Loss Of Your Son’

Frank Rich on the National Circus: Hookers, Guns, and Stay-at-Home Moms:

Cartegena: Any chance of Secret Service misdeeds reflecting poorly on Obama?
Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post has floated the notion that this fiasco, on top of the scandalous (if so far disappointingly PG-rated) doings of GSA bureaucrats in Vegas, could be used by Republicans to impugn Obama’s “competence” as chief executive. Romney has already called for wholesale firings at the Secret Service, his go-to solution for “fixing” distressed companies when at Bain. But of more concern are the brutal facts of the case: eleven agents charged with protecting the president (plus another ten military personnel) were in dereliction of duty. A lot of people want to kill this president. Should we be worried that he is not being properly protected? I found it somewhat alarming that Dan Bongino, a former Secret Service agent (and the brother of a current agent) now running as a GOP senatorial candidate in Maryland, gave an interview to NBC where he gratuitously asserted that the Secret Service must give a Democratic president the same protection as a Republican president. Why was he stating the obvious unless he saw a problem at the agency? On the brighter side, at least Dominique Strauss-Kahn has yet to make a cameo in this story. [nymag/Frank Rich/20 Apr 2012]

On First Day, Romney’s New National Security Spokesman Jokes That Obama Committed Treason:
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Is Romney’s “Obama Isn’t Working” Campaign Strategy Another Racist Stereotype?

Ann Romney, Working Woman?: So there it is: the difference between a stay-home mother and a welfare mother is money and a wedding ring. Unlike any other kind of labor I can think of, domestic labor is productive or not, depending on who performs it. For a college-educated married woman, it is the most valuable thing she could possibly do, totally off the scale of human endeavor. What is curing malaria compared with raising a couple of Ivy Leaguers? For these women, being supported by a man is good—the one exception to our American creed of self-reliance. Taking paid work, after all, poses all sorts of risks to the kids. (Watch out, though, ladies: if you expect the father of your children to underwrite your homemaking after divorce, you go straight from saint to gold-digger.) But for a low-income single woman, forgoing a job to raise children is an evasion of responsibility, which is to marry and/or support herself. For her children, staying home sets a bad example, breeding the next generation of criminals and layabouts.

All of which goes to show that it is not really possible to disengage domestic work from its social, gendered context: the work is valuable if the woman is valuable, and what determines her value is whether a man has found her so and how much money he has. That is why discussions of domestic labor and its worth are inextricably bound up with ideas about class, race, respectability, morality and above all womanhood.

…We talk about employment or staying home as a matter of choice, which obscures what it takes to make that choice: money and a mate. Do books praising the stay-home life ever suggest that if it’s really best for children, the government, which supposedly cares about their well-being, should make that possible for every family? The extraordinary hostility aimed at low-income and single mothers shows that what’s at issue is not children—who can thrive under many different arrangements as long as they have love, safety, respect, a reasonable standard of living. It’s women. Rich ones like Ann Romney are lauded for staying home. Poor ones need the “dignity of work”—ideally “from day one.” [thenation/Katha Pollitt/18 Apr 2012]

New Romney Spokesman Used Twitter For Sexist Attacks: Presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s new foreign policy spokesperson Richard Grenell has an odd penchant for targeting the wives of male politicians and women in general on Twitter.

Grenell, who served as George W. Bush’s spokesperson at the UN and was announced as the Romney campaign’s new representative yesterday, has gone after Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, Callista Gingrich, Sandra Fluke and others. He also asserted that President Obama’s children should be fair game for political debate. [thinkprogress/Judd Legum and Alex Seitz-Wald/20 Apr 2012]

Has Ron Paul Sold Out To Israeli Lobby?Ron Paul Shocks Campaign Staff With New Position On Israel: Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul revealed this week that he would support moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, a surprising position that contradicts conventional wisdom about Paul’s stance toward the Jewish state.

Paul first made this position known Wednesday night, during a private meeting with evangelical leaders interested in helping the Texas Congressman reach out to the conservative Christian community.

According to a transcript of the meeting obtained by Business Insider, the leaders started off the meeting by asking Paul whether he would sign an Executive Order to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a major policy objective for Israeli hardliners and many leaders in the Christian Right.

“The real issue here is not what America wants, but what does Israel want,” Paul told evangelical leaders, according to a transcript of the meeting obtained by Business Insider. “If Israel wants their capital to be Jerusalem, then the United States should honor that.” 

“How would we like it if some other nation said ‘We decided to recognize New York City as your capital instead, so we will build our embassy there?’” he added. 

Even Paul’s senior campaign aides were surprised by his response. [informationclearinghouse/Grace Wyler/21 Apr 2012]

Pentagon has ‘successful plan’ with hundreds of Tomahawks deployed near Iran: America’s plan B for Iran “will be successful,” promises US defense secretary, Leon Panetta. Reports suggest this is no sable rattling, as the US strike groups deployed to the Persian Gulf may be carrying some 430 Tomahawk missiles.

­Washington has not yet dropped its “all options” stance towards Iran, who, they fear, may be building nuclear weapons. The confirmation was obtained by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer from Panetta on Thursday. [rt/20 Apr 2012]

Right-Wing Group Will Take Up Voter Suppression Effort Dropped by ALEC: The National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR) will be stepping into the breach the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) left this week when it disbanded its voter suppression arm. Because having as many people vote as possible is very dangerous to Republicans, who aren’t so popular, the Right has to make sure that someone is in charge of returning the nation to Jim Crow days, and now the NCPPR is it.

It’s forming a “Voter Identification Task Force,” according to a press release obtained by PR Watch. [Daily Kos/Joan McCarter/21 Apr 2012]

U.S. government recommends publication of bird flu papers: The U.S. government will support publication of two controversial research papers, officials said Thursday. The studies report details of experiments in which the deadly H5N1 influenza virus was engineered to pass between mammals, officials said Thursday.

The decision, released via a statement by Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, lands three weeks after a U.S. government advisory board that had initially recommended against publication of the two studies changed its position after further consideration.

Members of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity voted unanimously in favor of publishing a manuscript prepared for the journal Nature by Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the University of Wisconsin, Madison. On a 12 to 6 vote, the group also approved publication of another paper, by Dutch virologist Ron Fouchier, in the journal Science. [Los Angeles Times/Eryn Brown/20 Apr 2012]

Egg-as-Person Bill Dies in Oklahoma House of Representatives: Senate Bill 1433, Oklahoma’s legislative attempt to define life as beginning at conception, has been stalled in the Oklahoma House of Representatives and will not come to a vote this session. After passing the Senate earlier this year, the bill was put on the House agenda for consideration yesterday. Proponents and opponents alike filled the House Gallery and after a tense day at the capitol, the bill still had not been heard. [rhrealitycheck/Rachael Vinyard/20 Apr 2012]

Due To New Law, Planned Parenthood Of Wisconsin Suspends All Medication Abortions: Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin (PPWI) announced today that they will be forced to end distribution of all medication abortions — known as the abortion pill — because of a new law just enacted that has too many gray areas and makes it too legally risky for the organization to continue providing the pill.

The law, Act 217, is part of Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) anti-abortion agenda, aimed at making it harder for a woman to choose an abortion. [thinkprogress/Annie-Rose Strasser/20 Apr 2012]

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