Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Monday, June 30, 2014

Supremes Decide That A Woman's Boss Can Tell Her How to Manager Her Family Planning


In a narrow decision, the Supreme Court found for Hobby Lobby and another company in their claim that allowing women, who are NOT members of their religious community and women who are nonbelievers, access to insurance coverage for contraceptive medications and devices, violates their "sincerely" held religious beliefs on family planning.

The decision is mind-numbingly wrong, wrong, wrong in every possible way.  The men who made this blundering ruling were, no doubt, influenced by the Roman Catholic Church's and other fundamentalist Christian sects' prohibition against family planning, and by favoring a particular religion's doctrine, they've violated the intent of the founding fathers that government shall not do so.

Here is Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg's blistering dissent:

 "The exemption sought by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga would…deny legions of women who do not hold their employers' beliefs access to contraceptive coverage" 

"Religious organizations exist to foster the interests of persons subscribing to the same religious faith. Not so of for-profit corporations. Workers who sustain the operations of those corporations commonly are not drawn from one religious community." 

"Any decision to use contraceptives made by a woman covered under Hobby Lobby's or Conestoga's plan will not be propelled by the Government, it will be the woman's autonomous choice, informed by the physician she consults." 

"It bears note in this regard that the cost of an IUD is nearly equivalent to a month's full-time pay for workers earning the minimum wage." 

"Would the exemption…extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah's Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations[?]…Not much help there for the lower courts bound by today's decision." 

"Approving some religious claims while deeming others unworthy of accommodation could be 'perceived as favoring one religion over another,' the very 'risk the [Constitution's] Establishment Clause was designed to preclude." 

"The court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield." --h/t Daily Kos

And all are Roman Catholics

When John F. Kennedy campaigned for the presidency, American Protestants feared he would be unduly influenced by Papist Rome.  Kennedy delivered a famous speech that allayed those fears.  Fifty-four years later the SCOTUS did what Protestants in 1960 feared Kennedy would do:  They favored religious doctrine over freedom from having a corporation impose its tenets on employees who do not share those beliefs.

More here:  Religious Freedom Frauds

 8 Other Laws That Could Be Ignored Now That Christians Get To Pick And Choose



 Hobby Lobby Invested In Numerous Abortion And Contraception Products While Claiming Religious Objection

Saturday, June 28, 2014

More Stupid Gun Deaths

A responsible, gun owning Kentucky mom stepped outside, leaving her 5-year-old son alone with his new birthday present — a brand new, shiny loaded .22-cal. rifle — and his 2-year-old sister.

Unfortunately, mom was outside just long enough for her son to fatally shoot his sister, Caroline Sparks, with his new present. Kentucky State Police Trooper Billy Gregory says that the shooting has been ruled an accident. “It’s just one of those nightmares,” he said, “a quick thing that happens when you turn your back.” He added that in the area it is not uncommon for parents to give their young children weapons. “In this part of the country, it’s not uncommon for a 5-year-old to have a gun or for a parent to pass one down to their kid,” he said.

The rifle that killed Caroline Sparks is a Crickett single-shot, and has a child safety, according to Cumberland County Coroner Gary White. The company’s web site features three .22-caliber rifle models for children and the slogan, “My first rifle.”


The death of a 2-year old girl by her gun-toting 5-year old brother was no "accident."  The parents should be charged with negligent homicide for allowing a 5-year old to own and operate a deadly weapon.  

I read a lot of whining and bitching on conservative blogs about spoiled children of indulgent parents and how this is ruining our country, but I never hear any of those same bloggers talk about the absolute insanity and mind-numbing stupidity of parents who give 5-year olds guns--the stupidity of imbecilic parents who believe a 5-year-old would have the judgement and maturity to understand the dangers in operating a deadly weapon.

No parent who allows a 5-year-old child to play with and use a loaded weapon can ever be labeled "responsible." 

Child endangerment and abuse is what that is.

Republican Logic

Friday, June 27, 2014

Army Clears Bergdahl of Any Misconduct During Captivity

Remember how the conservative bloggers, pundits, and FAUX NOOZ exploded with accusations, invective, and lies before the military even began an investigation?  And remember how the ninnyhammers on those blogs maligned Bergdahl and his family?

Yeah. Ninnyhammers: That's a really good description of those who rushed to judgment before knowing any facts.

Will they apologize for their vile and hateful accusations?

From The Wire:

As the Army continues to investigate whether Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is guilty of deserting his unit, this afternoon they said there is no reason to believe that Bergdahl engaged in any misconduct during his five years in captivity.

In fact, that's all that the Army said:

" We have no reason to believe that he engaged in any misconduct."

We will wait for the results of the army's investigation on the various other charges that were brought against Bergdahl.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Risky Business and the Politics of Cruelty

Risky Business:

The Politics of Cruelty:

Charlie Pierce on Cruelty (h/t Ducky's Here):

We cheer for cruelty and say that we are asking for personal responsibility among those people who are not us, because the people who are not us do not deserve the same benefits of the political commonwealth that we have. In our politics, we have become masters of camouflage. We practice fiscal cruelty and call it an economy. We practice legal cruelty and call it justice. We practice environmental cruelty and call it opportunity. We practice vicarious cruelty and call it entertainment. We practice rhetorical cruelty and call it debate. 

We set the best instincts of ourselves in conflict with each other until they tear each other to ribbons, and until they are no longer our best instincts but something dark and bitter and corroborate with itself. And then it fights all the institutions that our best instincts once supported, all the elements of the political commonwealth that we once thought permanent, all the arguments that we once thought settled -- until there is a terrible kind of moral self-destruction that touches those institutions and leaves them soft and fragile and, eventually, evanescent. 

We do all these things, cruelty running through them like hot blood, and we call it our politics. Because of that, the daily gunplay no longer surprises us. The rising rates of poverty no longer surprise us. The chaos of our lunatic public discourse no longer surprises us. 

We make war based on lies and deceit because cruelty is seen to be enough, seen to be the immutable law of the modern world. We make policy based on being as tough as we can on the weakest among us, because cruelty is seen to be enough, seen to be the fundamental morality behind what ultimately is merely the law of the jungle. We do all these things, cruelty running through them like a cold river, and we call it our politics. It does not have to be this way. After the greatest exercise of systematized cruelty in the country's history, Abraham Lincoln gave the greatest speech ever given by an American president, and in its greatest passage, he called hold, enough. 

 "With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations." 

On one of the cruelest nights of 1968—which was a very cruel year; indeed, a year the cruelty of which eventually would claim his own life—Robert Kennedy stood in the dark in Indianapolis and offered a similar gathering hymn. 

 "And let's dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world. Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people." 

The time for camouflage is over. Cruelty is cruelty. It should be recognized as a fundamental heresy against the political commonwealth and wrung out of all its institutions. That is the only way out.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Science Sunday on Monday

Do you know exactly what happens in your part of the planet during the summer and winter solstices? During the spring and autumnal equinoxes?

I was at the beach to watch this weekend's summer solstice sunset; and while sipping some effete liberal chardonnay, I realized I didn't know the exact details of these yearly phenomena.

This website explains it beautifully for those of you who delight in such things.

Here is a photo of the gorgeous sunset at the beach from Saturday, June 21, 2014.

"Astronomy has been important to people for thousands of years. The ancient construction known as Stonehenge in England may have been designed, among other purposes, to pay special honor to the solstices and equinoxes. These are the times and locations during Earth's journey around the Sun that we humans have long used to mark our seasons.

But what is the solstice exactly?"

More here from the Old Farmer's Almanac.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Most Face-Palm Inducing Headline of the Week

Republicans: Obama must defend Christian values

WASHINGTON (AP) Leading Republicans on Thursday insisted that America's leaders must do more to defend Christian values at home and abroad, blaming President Barack Obama for attacks on religious freedom as they courted social conservatives expected to play a critical role in the next presidential contest.

"Those of us inspired by Judeo-Christian values...have an obligation to our country and to our fellow man to use our positions of influence to highlight those values," Florida's Sen. Marco Rubio said at a conference hosted by the Faith and Freedom Coalition, a group led by long-time Christian political activist Ralph Reed"  

(Yes, THAT Ralph Reed of the infamous Jack Abramoff scandal!)

So the party that hates any government intrusion in our lives, that despises government overreach, (especially when it advises healthy eating habits for our children and offers affordable health care to our citizens) yeah, that T-GOP now says it is appropriate for our government to promote one religion over all others by promoting its "values."

What the T-GOP means by "values" is a bit confusing, since it is: 

Those Christian values protectors who voted over 50 times to take away affordable health care coverage for millions of poor people; 

Those Christian values protectors who withheld Medicaid for the poorest of poor in those states where T-GOPer are governors; 

Those Christian values protectors who voted against minimum wage increases for the bottom earners--the poor--in this country;

Those Christian values protectors who cut food stamps for the poor by $8 billion;  

And those Christian values protectors who continuously blame and denigrate poor American citizens who receive government subsidies as "moochers" and "takers," while saying absolutely NOTHING about the billions of dollars that go to subsidize corporations.

Those are the Christian Values folks who called for President Obama to promote Christian Values, while at the same time they've done all they could to undermine those very values and ignored the fact that President Obama has worked to promote them.

via Infidel753, "Having it both ways."  

Thursday, June 19, 2014

2nd Amendment Rights Without Responsibilities, Part the Infinity

Words fail me:

2nd Amendment Rights Without Responsibilities:

A musician, teacher and new father is dead after a stray bullet pierced the wall of his Florida home on Tuesday and struck him in the back of the head.

The Panama City News Herald reported that 33-year-old Justin Ayers and his wife were welcoming their 3-day-old baby home from the hospital with relatives when Justin was killed.

The bullet came from the house next door, where 62-year-old Charles Edward Shisler picked up a .9 mm pistol by the trigger, causing it to discharge. When sheriff’s deputies arrived, they found Shisler standing on his porch, although he initially was “belligerent” and uncooperative.

 “The damn gun doesn’t usually shoot,” said Shisler, according to his arrest report. “You have to squeeze the hell out of the trigger to shoot it.”

 A blood test taken more than four hours after the shooting found that Shisler had a blood alcohol level of .079.

The legal limit for driving in Florida is .08. Shisler told deputies he had tried to pick up the gun by its trigger. After the gunshot, he said, he hastily tried to hide the weapon under his mattress.


PA man accidentally shot, killed by guest of honor at surprise birthday party

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Rightwing Benghazi Nightmare Comes True

President Obama Announces Capture of One of the Leaders of the Benghazi Attack.

Cranial Explosions All Over Wingnuttia

The Washington Post: 

 U.S. Special Operations forces captured one of the suspected ringleaders of the terrorist attacks in Benghazi in a secret raid in Libya over the weekend, the first time one of the accused perpetrators of the 2012 assault has been apprehended, according to U.S. officials. The officials said Ahmed Abu Khattala was captured near Benghazi by American troops, working alongside the FBI, following months of planning, and was now in U.S. custody "in a secure location outside Libya."

The officials said there were no casualties in the operation, and that all U.S. personnel involved have safely left Libya.


Last year, the U.S. Attorney in the District filed charges against Abu Khattala and at least a dozen others in connection with the Benghazi attacks. None besides Abu Khattala — who is expected to be arraigned in Washington — has been apprehended. Officials, speaking on condition of anonymity about the still-secret operation, would not say where Abu Khattala was being held. They said he was “en route” to the United States but would not say when he was expected to arrive.


Last month, Sen. John McCain released a statement with his sidekick Sens. Kelly Ayotte and Lindsey Graham accusing the Obama administration of sitting on its hands while letting Benghazi suspect Ahmed abu Khatallah roam freely. "Since we know where Ahmed abu Khattala is," they asked, "why hasn’t he been detained?"

But he has been detained. 

Now let's sit back and listen to the nutters tell us how this is another Obama failure. Anything this president accomplishes sends these folks into paroxysms of delirium while shooting nails of mass destruction out of their eyeballs.

Anytime Mr. Obama catches a terrorist, the wingnuts run around telling themselves that Dick Cheney should get the credit because BENGHAZI! And oh yes, IT'S A DISTRACTION!

"This is easily Obama’s biggest ruse since that time he killed bin Laden to distract from his birth certificate." 

And isn't this exactly what a Kenyan post-colonialist would do -- put Benghazi up front and center so as to distract from Benghazi? 

They are a source of never-ending amusement.  More entertaining than a sack full of squirrels.

Oh, wait...

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Ten Questions to Ask Your Conservative Family and Friends

via Allen Clifton of Forward Progressives

1) Do you realize that the House Majority leader of the United States of America was just defeated in their primary for the first time ever by an economics professor who couldn’t even answer a simple question pertaining to his stance on the minimum wage?

2) If you’re so big on “Constitutional rights,” why do so many conservatives believe that we should have left Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan to die based on the accusations that he was a deserter? You do realize that’s essentially sentencing someone to death without due process, right?

3) If 30 “urban looking” African-Americans strolled into a predominantly white upper-middle class neighborhood with AR-15′s and AK-47′s strapped to their backs, do you think the people living there would feel safe?

4) If a criminal, in possession of a gun, walks into some place determined to commit a crime (robbery for example) and you’re openly carrying your weapon where they can see it – don’t you think you would be the first person they’d target?

5) If “the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” then why in the Nevada shooting (in one of the most pro-gun states in the nation) did no “good guy with a gun” stop the two shooters? In fact, the third victim would probably still be alive had he not tried to confront one of the shooters (he had a concealed weapon).

6) Do you realize that had John McCain been elected president in 2008, we’d still have tens of thousands of troops in Iraq and troops in Syria, Egypt and Libya – as well as still be fighting in Afghanistan? For the record, that’s 5 wars, not including what he might have done in Iran.

7) Explain to me how Ronald Reagan is an “American legend and conservative icon” when he illegally sold missiles to Iran to negotiate the release of American hostages, yet President Obama is “anti-American” and should be impeached because he traded five terrorists for Bowe Bergdahl? 

8) Are you aware that no matter how much oil we drill here in the United States, almost all of it still gets sold on the open market to the highest bidder? “Drill baby drill” doesn’t make any sense unless we essentially nationalize all of our oil. Are you then suggesting we nationalize our oil? 

9) In Iraq, Obama basically had 2 choices: Keep troops in Iraq indefinitely, costing trillions more over probably the next 10-20 years (because that’s how long it’s going to take to even try to establish real democracy in the country). Remove our troops, likely handing the country over to radical Islamic insurgents shortly after. Which solution would you have had him choose to clean up Bush’s mess? Oh, all while reducing our deficit and listening to the vast majority of Americans who wanted us out of Iraq. 

10) We all want energy independence. So, tell me, out of the following three which two are unlimited, can’t be taken away from us, don’t pollute and would completely remove us from relying on other countries to meet our energy needs?: 

  • Oil 
  • Wind 
  • Solar 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Bush's Fault


Re:  The political cartoon above, Jim Wright of Stonekettle Station wrote a beautifully scathing post about the very subject of the cartoon.

I urge you to go to the link and read it.

Wright is a retired US Navy Chief Warrant Officer, who "...was a Navy intelligence officer working in support of the invasion force. There’s not much I don’t know about the events leading up to war and the aftermath of the invasion."

Wright spares no one his wrath in his stirring rebuttal to Mitt Romney's statement on the recent attacks in Iraq:

"Tragically, all we’ve fought for in Iraq, all that 4,500 American lives were shed to gain, is on the cusp, potentially, of vanishing." - Mitt Romney, “Ideas Summit,” 6/13/2014

 Please do yourselves a favor and read Jim Wright's "Absolutely Nothing."



 Capt. Fogg of The Swash Zone has written about this subject as well.  Don't miss his post either.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Poems About Fathers

My Papa’s Waltz

The whiskey on your breath
Could make a small boy dizzy;
But I hung on like death:
Such waltzing was not easy.

We romped until the pans
Slid from the kitchen shelf;
My mother’s countenance
Could not unfrown itself.

The hand that held my wrist
Was battered on one knuckle;
At every step you missed
My right ear scraped a buckle.

 You beat time on my head
 With a palm caked hard by dirt,
 Then waltzed me off to bed
 Still clinging to your shirt.


You do not do, you do not do 
Any more, black shoe 
In which I have lived like a foot 
For thirty years, poor and white, 
Barely daring to breathe or Achoo. 

Daddy, I have had to kill you. 
You died before I had time—— 
Marble-heavy, a bag full of God, 
Ghastly statue with one gray toe 
Big as a Frisco seal 

And a head in the freakish Atlantic 
Where it pours bean green over blue 
In the waters off beautiful Nauset. 
I used to pray to recover you. 
Ach, du. 

In the German tongue, in the Polish town 
Scraped flat by the roller 
Of wars, wars, wars. 
But the name of the town is common. 
My Polack friend 

Says there are a dozen or two. 
So I never could tell where you 
Put your foot, your root, 
I never could talk to you. 
The tongue stuck in my jaw. 

It stuck in a barb wire snare. 
Ich, ich, ich, ich, 
I could hardly speak. 
I thought every German was you. 
And the language obscene 

An engine, an engine 
Chuffing me off like a Jew. 
A Jew to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen. 
I began to talk like a Jew. 
I think I may well be a Jew. 

The snows of the Tyrol, the clear beer of Vienna 
Are not very pure or true. 
With my gipsy ancestress and my weird luck 
And my Taroc pack and my Taroc pack 
I may be a bit of a Jew. 

I have always been scared of you, 
With your Luftwaffe, your gobbledygoo. 
And your neat mustache 
And your Aryan eye, bright blue. 
Panzer-man, panzer-man, O You—— 

Not God but a swastika 
So black no sky could squeak through. 
Every woman adores a Fascist, 
The boot in the face, the brute 
Brute heart of a brute like you. 

You stand at the blackboard, daddy, 
In the picture I have of you, 
A cleft in your chin instead of your foot 
But no less a devil for that, no not 
Any less the black man who 

Bit my pretty red heart in two. 
I was ten when they buried you. 
At twenty I tried to die 
And get back, back, back to you. 
I thought even the bones would do. 

But they pulled me out of the sack, 
And they stuck me together with glue. 
And then I knew what to do. 
I made a model of you, 
A man in black with a Meinkampf look 

And a love of the rack and the screw. 
And I said I do, I do. 
So daddy, I’m finally through. 
The black telephone’s off at the root, 
The voices just can’t worm through. 

If I’ve killed one man, I’ve killed two—— 
The vampire who said he was you 
And drank my blood for a year, 
Seven years, if you want to know. 
Daddy, you can lie back now. 

There’s a stake in your fat black heart 
And the villagers never liked you. 
They are dancing and stamping on you. 
They always knew it was you. 
Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I’m through.

My Father’s Hats 

 By Mark Irwin 

  Sunday mornings I would reach 
high into his dark closet while standing 
   on a chair and tiptoeing reach 
higher, touching, sometimes fumbling 
   the soft crowns and imagine 
I was in a forest, wind hymning 
   through pines, where the musky scent of 
rain clinging to damp earth was 
  his scent I loved, lingering on 
bands, leather, and on the inner silk 
  crowns where I would smell his 
hair and almost think I was being 
  held, or climbing a tree, touching 
the yellow fruit, leaves whose scent 
  was that of a clove in the godsome 
air, as now, thinking of his fabulous 
  sleep, I stand on this canyon floor and 
watch light slowly close 
   on water I’m not sure is there.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Week in Review via Cartoons

Interesting use of the word "bigotry" in a sentence from the Oxford Dictionary: 

 Definition of bigotry in English: 

Syllabification: big·ot·ry 
Pronunciation: /ˈbigətrē / 

NOUN Bigoted attitudes; intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself: the report reveals racism and right-wing bigotry

Thursday, June 12, 2014

It's a gun world after all.

It's a world of sorrow, a world of tears
It's a world of terror, its a world of fear
There's so much that we share
That it's time we're aware
It's a gun world after all

It's a gun world after all
It's a gun world after all
It's a gun world after all
It's a gun, gun world

There is just one moon and one golden sun
And just one shot, terror for everyone.
Because the N.R.A. has lied
And their influence is wide
It's a gun gun world

These are photos of children with real guns, not toys.  Gun manufacturers sell them so that they look cute and the children's parents can color coordinate the deadly weapons with their children's decor.

Photos by An-Sofie Kesteleyn of Amsterdam

Bulletproof blankets would protect students in case of school shooting

This Map Shows The 74 School Shootings Since Sandy Hook



Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Cantor Out!

The idea that there was room to the right of extreme righty, Eric Cantor, seemed ridiculous, but yet his primary opponent, Dave Brat (yes, that's his real name), found just that and beat him:

Jonathan Chait:

[T]he biggest issue by far was immigration reform. Cantor was no reformer, really. He rejected the bipartisan immigration reform deal that Marco Rubio and other Republicans had negotiated in the Senate. But he did hope to salvage some partial compromise, perhaps allowing some illegal immigrants who had been brought over the border as children, and thus could not be deemed personally guilty, to stay unmolested. Brat rejected even that. Any token of conciliation was too much. He still uses the old lingo, calling undocumented immigrants “illegals.” The immediate, and probably correct, reaction in Washington is that Cantor’s defeat wipes out whatever tiny shred of a hope that remained for immigration reform.

For all practical purposes, the CW is that immigration reform, like Cantor's bid for re-election, is DEAD.

But wait, there's more.  Did the Democrats in the 7th district contribute to Cantor's loss? 

Here are some analyses via Andrew Sullivan's blog:

Sullivan blog reader:   I live in the 7th District in Virginia, and I am a Democrat who voted for David Brat in the open primary. There has been a whisper campaign going on among the Democrats in the district for the last few weeks and it resulted in many Democrats coming out to vote for Brat. We felt especially encouraged after the 7th District committee nominated Jack Trammell to be the Democratic candidate for the seat last Sunday. We now feel we at least have a fair chance at winning it. (By the way, Jack Trammell is a professor at the same small college as Brat, Randolph-Macon.) Well, not quite the Democrats of Mickey’s dreams, I guess. 

From another Sullivan reader: Here’s a theory to support your reader who, though a Democrat, voted for Brat: in 2012, roughly 47,000 people voted in the 7th District Republican primary. This time, roughly 65,000. Now let’s assume that of those 18,000 new voters, 16,000 were Democrats voting to axe Cantor, then rework the numbers if they hadn’t voted: Cantor would then have had around 29,000+ votes, and Brat would have had around 20,000+. Which would have worked out to approximately 59% for Cantor, which is where he was at in 2012 and much closer to his internal polling showing him with a lead of 34% among likely REPUBLICAN voters. I’m thinking time will show that Democrats in his district were fed up with him, and decided to do something about it.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

"Preventing Cable Company F**kery"

Take the time to listen to John Oliver talk about why you should care about net neutrality (or as he prefers, "preventing cable company f**kery.")  Then visit the website to register your comment on this issue.  

Oliver's explanation is simple and direct.  So please don't just sit there.  

Do something!

Go HERE and click on 14 - 28. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Open Carry -- New Rule




 Not hilarious, but horribly tragic: 

 TPM's Josh Marshall's Mystery of the Day 

 "One minute you're encouraging armed extremists to menace law enforcement officials with firearms, next you're hearing that one of them ambushed and killed a couple cops on break eating a pizza. How could such a thing happen?"

Saturday, June 7, 2014

"...for good people to do evil..."

Nobel laureate in Physics and atheist, Steven Weinberg, once observed that good people will always do good, and evil people will always do evil.  But for good people to do evil, that takes religion.

That's the only possible explanation for the following ongoing atrocious report coming out of Ireland:

800 long-dead babies found in septic tank by home for unwed mothers

 The bodies of nearly 800 babies have been found in a septic tank by a home for unwed mothers in a small town in Western Ireland in County Galway.

“The Home”–as it was actually called–housed thousands of so-called “fallen women” and their children from 1925 until it closed in 1961. While the women often left “The Home” after their period of indentured servitude was up, many of the children were not so lucky. This, apparently, is what became of many of them.

The children were not murdered by the Bon Secours nuns whose care they were left in, not deliberately anyway. Documents simply show that these children had a very high infant mortality rate due to malnutrition and neglect, as well as diseases like measles, convulsions, TB, gastroenteritis and pneumonia. This was hardly uncommon for these type of homes, as the infant mortality rrate for “illegitimate children” was nearly 25% during this period. The records show that nearly two babies died a week at “The Home,” and apparently, upon death were thrown in the septic tank rather than buried.

This is the natural outcome for any religion whose emphasis is concentrated on sexual sins and on punishing only women for them.  We see this sort of misogynistic hatred in many of the world's major religions, where women are seen as unclean temptresses who, even when raped, are blamed for the shame they bring upon their families, and are often murdered because of that shame.  

In Catholic Ireland, a young woman who became pregnant out of wedlock brought shame to her family and village.  She was sent to a Catholic home run by nuns where she probably gave birth in terrible pain and suffering after which her baby was taken from her to be cared for by the nuns until it was sold for adoption or died from sickness and thrown into mass grave.  She was then indentured to that Christian facility to pay for her sins and sentenced to many years of forced labor  as a washer woman or other servile work that those who ran these homes meted out to these young women.  

And make no mistake, the goal was to make these young women suffer for, as Andrew Sullivan wrote, "...the crippling, toxic, near-insane fixation on sexual sin as the core ideology at work here. A view of sex that is riddled with shame and disgust, in which simple human nature must be so expelled and exterminated it requires a secret mass grave to keep the lie in place." 

From Salon:  "Though the full details of what happened to those children may never fully be explained, the strong implication of severe abuse and neglect cannot be ignored. But horrific as the record of deaths is — a rate of at least one every two weeks, for decades — and the cavalier way in which these tiny human beings were disposed of, it would be almost easy to consider these atrocities a thing of the distant past. Speaking on RTE last week, secretary of the Tuam archdiocese Father Fintan Monaghan said, “I suppose we can’t really judge the past from our point of view..." 

But judge is exactly what the Catholic Church did to the young unwed mothers who were placed in these homes and condemned for their mistakes.  Those young women were judged to be undeserving of compassion and tolerance, and their children were judged to be less than human and treated as such. So, yes, Fr. Monaghan, we really CAN judge the past and the atrocities committed by your organization.


The Tuam historian Catherine Corless discovered the extent of the mass grave when she requested records of children's deaths in the home. The registrar in Galway gave her almost 800. Shocked, she checked 100 of these against graveyard burials, and found only one little boy who had been returned to a family plot. The vast majority of the children's remains, it seemed, were in the septic tank. 

Corless and a committee have been working tirelessly to raise money for a memorial that includes a plaque bearing each child's name. For those of you unfamiliar with how, until the 1990s, Ireland dealt with unmarried mothers and their children, here it is: the women were incarcerated in state-funded, church-run institutions called mother and baby homes or Magdalene asylums, where they worked to atone for their sins. Their children were taken from them. According to Corless, death rates for children in the Tuam mother and baby home, and in similar institutions, were four to five times that of the general population. 

A health board report from 1944 on the Tuam home describes emaciated, potbellied children, mentally unwell mothers and appalling overcrowding. But, as Corless points out, this was no different to other homes in Ireland. They all had the same mentality: that these women and children should be punished. Ireland knows all this. We know about the abuse women and children suffered at the hands of the clergy, abuse funded by a theocratic Irish state. 

Andrew Sullivan of the Daily Dish calls this a crime against humanity which, so far, seems to be an apt description of what was done to these women and children: 

 Let us call this what it is: a concentration camp with willful disregard for the survival of its innocent captives, a death camp for a group of people deemed inferior because of the circumstances of their birth. When we talk of mass graves of this kind, we usually refer to Srebrenica or the crimes of Pol Pot. But this was erected in the name of Jesus, and these despicable acts were justified by his alleged teaching.

"...for good people to do evil, that takes religion."

Friday, June 6, 2014

D-Day, June 6, 1944

Our dear friends in France were there for the commemoration.  Here are some photos they sent us from earilier today, with their charming son, Paul.  (Note the Red Sox tee-shirt).

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Gun Nutz in the First Degree by (O)CT(O)PUS of The Swash Zone

Are there are no laws to prevent people like Doug Varrieur from menacing a neighborhood?  Bullshit!  If you want to stop an obnoxious Rambo wannabe, check your local or state laws on "menacing;" then call law enforcement and press charges:
Menacing Law; A Legal Definition  
Menacing is a crime governed by state laws, which vary by state, but typically involves displaying a weapon or a course of conduct that intentionally places another person in reasonable fear of physical injury or death. The following is an example of a state law that deals with menacing: 
S 120.13 Menacing in the first degree 
A person is guilty of menacing in the first degree when he or she commits the crime of menacing in the second degree and has been previously convicted of the crime of menacing in the second degree within the preceding ten years.  Menacing in the first degree is a class E felony. 
S 120.14 Menacing in the second degree 
A person is guilty of menacing in the second degree when he or she intentionally places or attempts to place another person in reasonable fear of physical injury, serious physical injury or death by displaying a deadly weapon, dangerous instrument or what appears to be a pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, machine gun or other firearm; or he or she repeatedly follows a person or engages in a course of conduct or repeatedly commits acts over a period of time intentionally placing or attempting to place another person in reasonable fear of physical injury, serious physical injury or death.
Let’s get something straight here: ALL RIGHTS HAVE LIMITS!  Free speech does not give anyone a right to broadcast messages over a PA system at 1,000 decibels in the middle of the night.  There are laws that prevent “disturbing the peace.”

Property rights do not mean owning and operating a porn palace or a strip joint in residential neighborhoods, or in proximity to schools or houses of worship.  There are zoning laws that prevent rogue business operators from despoiling your neighborhood.

Freedom without responsibility is not freedom.  Rights without reasonable restrictions are no longer rights when people turn themselves  into a public menace.  Shame on legislators - in thrall to the NRA - for turning decent and peaceful neighborhoods into lawless wastelands. When the NRA pushes gun rights to this extreme, what recourse to you have?  Lawsuits?  Vigilante justice?  This is no longer funny.  

Follow-up post:  Transient Sanity Events by Capt. Fogg of The Swash Zone

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Hey Republicans! Make up your minds!

Here's the guy Republicans in 2008 nominated to be the President of the United States (and we're not even going to talk about the woman he chose to be a heartbeat away from the presidency).  

This is the guy the GOP believed should lead the country:

via Daily Kos and Think Progress:

This is Senator John McCain earlier today:

 Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), a former prisoner of war in Vietnam, said Tuesday that the prisoner swap executed by the Obama administration to bring Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl home from captivity in Afghanistan was a "mistake."

 "This decision to bring Sgt. Bergdahl home -- and we applaud that he is home -- is ill-founded. It is a mistake," McCain said during a Senate Republicans press conference on Veterans Affairs reform. "And it is putting the lives of American servicemen and women at risk and that, to me, is unacceptable to the American people."

And this is Senator John McCain earlier in 2014, in February, to be exact:

On the February 18 edition of CNN's Anderson Cooper 360, McCain explained that he was previously opposed to the idea of releasing the five Guantanamo prisoners in peace talks, but that he was now "inclined to support" a proposal that would release the men in exchange for Bergdahl. 

When Anderson asked for a second time, "if there was some -- the possibility of some sort of exchange, that's something you would support?" 

McCain reiterated his support: 

COOPER: Would you oppose the idea of some form of negotiations or prisoner exchange? I know back in 2012 you called the idea of even negotiating with the Taliban bizarre, highly questionable. 

MCCAIN: Well, at that time the proposal was that they would release -- Taliban, some of them really hard-core, particularly five really hard-core Taliban leaders, as a confidence- building measure. Now this idea is for an exchange of prisoners for our American fighting man. I would be inclined to support such a thing depending on a lot of the details. [...] 

 COOPER: So if there was some -- the possibility of some sort of exchange, that's something you would support? 

 MCCAIN: I would support. Obviously I'd have to know the details, but I would support ways of bringing him home and if exchange was one of them I think that would be something I think we should seriously consider.

McCain isn't the only roaring hypocrite and partisan hack criticizing the Obama Administration for doing exactly what Republican Congressmen and women wanted done:

Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) just last month:

 “We also must continue to keep Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who has been held prisoner by the Taliban for nearly five years, in our thoughts and prayers – and I renew my call on the Defense Department to redouble its efforts to find Sergeant Bergdahl and return him safely to his family.”

Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK):

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) — the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee — has also said that the U.S. “must make every effort to bring this captured soldier home to his family.” But appearing on Fox News just days after Bergdahl’s release, Inhofe criticized the administration for agreeing to free “people who have killed Americans, people who are the brain power of Taliban.”

Politicians Delete Digital Praise of Bowe Bergdahl Release

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Bergdhazi! Bergdhazi! Bergdhazi!


I hesitated to post anything about Sgt. Bergdahl's rescue because all the facts are not known.  That, however, doesn't stop the right from accusing the Obama administration of all sorts of traitorous motives and other foolish speculation.  This is how they operate:   "If President Obama did it, we're against it!  It's wrong and facts be damned!

Oh, and SUPPORT OUR TROOPS!  Except when the Kenyan Commie Nazi Usurper America hater supports them!

Until more is known about the situation, I will believe what this man has to say, for now, and not the yahoos out there who think they know the facts:

General Martin E. Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, released this statement today: 

"In response to those of you interested in my personal judgments about the recovery of SGT Bowe Bergdahl, the questions about this particular soldier’s conduct are separate from our effort to recover ANY U.S. service member in enemy captivity.  This was likely the last, best opportunity to free him. 

As for the circumstances of his capture, when he is able to provide them, we’ll learn the facts. Like any American, he is innocent until proven guilty. Our Army’s leaders will not look away from misconduct if it occurred. 

In the meantime, we will continue to care for him and his family. Finally, I want to thank those who for almost five years worked to find him, prepared to rescue him, and ultimately put themselves at risk to recover him."

More here:

Conservative bloggers were for Bergdahl release until Obama did it

And this:

Republicans take a 'leave that man behind' view when it's Obama getting Bergdahl's release

"Regardless of circumstances ... we still get an American prisoner back," Obama said during a news conference in Warsaw, Poland. "Period, full stop -- we don't condition that."

Pentagon spokesman Adm. John F. Kirby: 

"When you're in the Navy, and you go overboard, it doesn't matter if you were pushed, fell or jumped," he said. "We're going to turn the ship around and pick you up." 

"This isn't an uncommon view among Republicans talking about the military, either—or at least, it isn't uncommon among them when there's a Republican president. In fact, some of the same people who were urging the White House to free Bergdahl 'using all means necessary' a few months before his release are now joining the outrage."

h/t Daily Kos

13 Things You Need to Know About Bowe Bergdahl


 (O)CT(O)PUS of The Swash Zone has more on this developing story: 

 CNN: Unfair, Unbalanced, and Worse than Fox

Republicans in Congress praised the POW swap, then got their talking points orders from Drudge, Limbaugh, and the rest of the attack dogs, and scrubbed their approvals. Hypocritical GOPers at their finest.