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Friday, April 05, 2013

Stories to Watch: 4/5/13

A federal judge rules that Plan-B emergency contraception has to be available over the counter -- without age restrictions. In his ruling, Judge Edward R. Korman wrote that the FDA's rules for the drug were made in "bad faith" -- i.e., based more on spineless political calculus than on science and the public interest. The Obama administration had better not appeal the ruling, because it's the one ray of sunshine in an otherwise bleak year for reproductive freedom.

Two more Democratic senators come out in support of marriage equality. This time conservadems Heidi Heitkamp of N. Dakota and Joe Donnelly of Indiana. At this point, these announcements hardly even feel like national news anymore -- more like local stories. it's also getting harder and harder to believe this isn't an organized effort by Senate Democrats to turn a traditional GOP wedge against them.

Ohio courts are bringing back Dickensian "debtors' prisons," where people are thrown in jail for debts "as small as a few hundred dollars." Needless to say, the legality of this is questionable at best.

Lately, religious conservatives have been threatening to leave the GOP. Ed Hudgins of the libertarian Atlas Society warns them not to let the door hit them on the ass on the way out. The GOP civil war rages on.

Gun control, schmun control... Who needs it? An Arizona Republican says elected officials should just wear bullet proof vests. That way, people get to have all the crazy guns they want and elected officials can just stop worrying. According the report, State Rep. Bob Thorpe says he started "researching body armor in the wake of the Tucson, Ariz. shooting that injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords." Thing is, Giffords wasn't shot in the vest region of the body, she was shot in the head region of the body. And what about the rest of us? Are we all supposed to walk around in Kevlar all the time? Someone needs to check on Bob and make sure he hasn't been shot in the head region of the body, because nothing about this makes any damned sense at all.

This is not heading in a good direction: as budget cuts reduce police forces, wealthier neighborhoods are turning to rent-a-cops and poorer communities are screwed. As wealthier people (read "donors") are protected from the consequences of austerity by their own wealth, they become even further removed from the world of ordinary, every day people. "Budget cuts are hurting your communities? Whiners! We suffered the same cuts and we're doing just fine..."

Pres. Obama is taking a beating from the left for backing cuts to Social Security. He should. For weeks. If you can't stand up for working people and the middle class, while protecting one of your one party's greatest acheivements, what the fuck are you good for? Seriously.

Finally, it's been a slow news day in American politics, so I won't stretch this post out. Just one more: CNN is considering reviving their political "debate" show, Crossfire. If you're too young to remember the show, imagine two partisan idiots throwing out biased talking points at the same time -- often with guests who do the same thing. At the end of the show, you were just as uninformed as you were before, because everything everyone said was contradicted by everything the other guy said. That is, on the rare occasion you could hear what anyone said, because they were all shouting at once. It was the most useless news show ever created and it should remain forever dead. Someone run over to CNN HQ in Atlanta and see if you can put a stake in its heart.

[cartoon via McClatchy Newspapers]

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