Oh, Alaska. What did we do before we knew of your weird ways, thrown into harsh illumination on the national stage thanks to half-term grifterbilly Sarah Palin? If not for that fortuitous bit of happenstance, we would never be checking out an Alaska-based blog, and we would never have known about the Republican (of course!) Fairbanks borough assembly member who does not like Ms. Magazine oh no he does not, and he will make sure it doesn’t appear in his local grocers.
Oh, yeah, first. We had to look up what the hell a borough assembly member is as well, because it is maybe some weird Alaskan thing? Oh wait. It looks like it is basically the City Council of Fairbanks, but with an Alaska-fied name. Anyway. Mr. Lance Roberts of the assembly felt like his eyes were getting assaulted by having Ms. Magazine looking at him when he bought lettuce.
Lance Roberts does not like the publication’s support for the reproductive rights of women, and demanded the Fairbanks Co-op Market pull the magazine from its shelves so that other shoppers couldn’t make up their own minds on the matter.
It has been nearly two years since officials in Hinds County, Mississippi, made a deal with prison reform advocates to fix the abusive and neglectful conditions at the Henley-Young Juvenile Center. The deal that the parties signed, and that a Republican-nominated federal trial judge approved, required local officials to act decisively to end the “unnecessary use of force, excessive cell confinement, and denial of rehabilitative treatment and services” that had deprived the inmates at this juvenile detention center of their constitutional rights to be free from cruel and unusual punishment.
Hinds County’s utter capitulation in the lawsuit, including the stipulation that it needed to fix scores of problems within the facility, has accomplished virtually nothing in two years. So little progress has been made, in fact, that reform advocates had to go back to court last week and seek to hold county officials in contempt for their lack of action.
Mary Tape was a biracial Chinese American woman who believed that her daughter, Mamie, should have the same access to education as white children in San Francisco. In particular, Mary Tape wanted her daughter to be able to attend public school. When the local school principal, Jennie Hurley, stood in the schoolhouse door to bar Mamie’s entrance on the sole grounds that she was Chinese, Mary Tape took Jennie Hurley to court. 43
In 1885, almost seventy years before the famous Supreme Court Decision Brown v. Board of Education desegregated American public schools, Mary Tape sued the San Francisco School District to offer public education to all Chinese children. Tape v. Hurley was one of the most important civil rights decisions in American history. In this ground breaking case, Superior Court Judge James Maguire ruled that Chinese children must have access to public education: “To deny a child, born of Chinese parents in this state, entrance to the public schools would be a violation of the law of the state and the Constitution of the United States.” 44
Yet even after the court found that the San Francisco Board of Education violated the fourteenth amendment in banning Mamie from the public school, the school still refused to admit her, stating that Mamie had not gotten her vaccinations i
In Edmondson’s eight-year tenure as a consumer advocate on the Virginia Board of Health, he could count on one hand the number of times he’d looked up and seen even a single newspaper reporter in the room. State regulatory boards’ proceedings rarely catch the public’s eye, and the health board was no exception. The members approve most regulations unanimously; the most dramatic issue they’d handled during his time, Edmondson says, was a decision about where companies should be allowed to dump solid waste. Although the governor controls appointments to the board, Edmondson, a real-estate developer who had served on a Northern Virginia health regulatory panel for 15 years before his appointment to the state board, had no inkling of his colleagues’ political leanings. “We were regulating shellfish-packing plants,” he says. “Politics didn’t come into it.”
That was before the 2011 legislative session, when the Virginia General Assembly rammed through an 11th-hour amendment to a bill about nursing homes. The amendment subjected the state’s 21 abortion clinics, which by law could only perform first-trimester procedures, to the same health standards as hospitals—including wide corridors, sinks in every room, and customized awnings over the front door. The regulations, part of a national anti-choice strategy to shrink the number of abortion providers, were a victory for Virginia’s Republican governor, Bob McDonnell, who was being touted as a potential vice-presidential nominee. But the law didn’t spell out the details of the new guidelines. That task was delegated to the Board of Health.
Typically, whenever the state imposed new health-care guidelines, the board would “grandfather” existing facilities, allowing them to delay any necessary architectural changes until the next major renovation. “Our job was to work with hospitals or restaurants, or whatever it was, to keep them open,” Edmondson says. But Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican attorney general elected alongside McDonnell, told the board that because abortion providers had not previously been licensed or regulated by the Department of Health, a grandfather clause was inappropriate.
More: The Doctor Is Out
Fueled by public outcry, a bill to outlaw what’s known as “upskirting,” the practice of secretly snapping certain sexual photos, rocketed through the Massachusetts Legislature Thursday in an extraordinary show of legislative will.
The uncommon speed of the bill was a marked shift for the Legislature, which often moves at a deliberate and sometimes glacial pace, but lawmakers said outrage over a Supreme Judicial Court ruling the day before spurred the quick action.
“It is sexual harassment; it’s an assault on another person,” Senate President Therese Murray said of the secret photography and other acts of sexual survelliance that the bill aims to prohibit. “Women and children should be able to go to public places without feeling that they are not protected by the law.”
On Wednesday, the state’s highest court ruled that the state’s criminal voyeurism law did not apply in a case in which a man was accused of taking surreptitious cellphone photos and video up women’s skirts on an MBTA trolley.
A tiny space rock barely missed Earth today (March 6) in the third of back-to-back-to-back asteroid flybys over the past 24 hours, coming six times closer than the orbit of the moon.
The 25-foot-wide (8 meters) asteroid 2014 EC came within 38,300 miles (61,600 kilometers) of our planet at 4:21 p.m. ET (2121 GMT) today, NASA officials said. For comparison, the moon orbits Earth at an average distance of 239,000 miles (385,000 km).
“This is not an unusual event,” Paul Chodas, a senior scientist in the Near-Earth Object Program Office at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., said in a statement. “Objects of this size pass this close to the Earth several times every year.” [Asteroid Quiz: Test Your Space Rock Smarts]
At this point, Robinson said other bystanders and lifeguards had arrived and helped rescue the 3-year-old and the mother from the sinking car, as he carried the two older children to safety.
“When I was speaking to her, her eyes were like… stretched, wide, wide open. She was saying, she was repeating she was ‘OK’… that’s when she sped off,” Robinson said.
Authorities said the mother was incoherent when they tried to speak with her and did not answer questions immediately after incident.
Police today said at a news conference that family members called them Tuesday before the mother, who is pregnant, drove her minivan into the water, indicating they were concerned about her. Police made contact with her, but said the woman told them she was going to a domestic abuse shelter, and decided not to pursue further action.
A few hours later, she drove her minivan into the water.
Last October, Sen. Ted Cruz’s father, Rafael, was thrust into the spotlight when Mother Jones revealed that the septuagenarian businessman-turned-pastor had made a series of inflammatory remarks during several speaking engagements. These comments included the assertions that the United States is a “Christian nation,” that President Barack Obama is an “outright Marxist” who seeks to “destroy all concept of God” and should be sent “back to Kenya,” and that “social justice is a cancer.” At the time, Sean Rushton, a spokesman for Sen. Cruz, a Texas Republican, said, “Pastor Cruz does not speak for the senator.” But documents obtained by Mother Jones show that an aide to the senator serves as a scheduler for the elder Cruz and books his speaking gigs, including those for which Rafael Cruz might be paid.
When an activist, who has asked not to be identified, requested Rafael Cruz’s presence at an event, Lela Pittenger, a Ted Cruz aide, replied and forwarded a three-page “Pastor Rafael Cruz Event Request Form.” Pittenger, according to 2013 Senate records, was a regional director on Cruz’s Senate staff. She made $48,666 in salary working for Ted Cruz in the first nine months of last year. Her Facebook page identifies her as the Central Texas regional director for the senator and notes she lives in Austin. (In 2012, she ran against Ted Cruz in the Republican Senate primary as a “Rand Paul Republican”; she received 1.28 percent of the vote.)
Rushton says that Pittenger is now a full-time staffer for Ted Cruz’s campaign operation. But Pittenger, according to Cruz’s Senate office in Austin, was part of his Senate staff until last month, and a message posted on Rafael Cruz’s Facebook page last November (when Pittenger was on the Senate payroll) refers to Pittenger as the senator’s aide who books Rafael Cruz’s appearances. Brenda Cash, president of Republican Women of Yoakum in Texas, tells Mother Jones that when she booked Rafael Cruz for a November speaking gig with her group, she did so through Pittenger. “I happen to know [Rafael Cruz’s] scheduler,” she says. “I spoke to Lela Pittenger…She was working for Sen. Cruz.”
Minutes before midnight last June 25, after state Sen. Wendy Davis concluded her 12-and-a-half-hour filibuster of a bill to severely limit abortion access in Texas, a colleague of Davis’ took the mike. Angered that the Republican leadership seemed to be ignoring female senators like herself, state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte asked, “At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over the male colleagues in the room?” The Davis supporters who’d filled the gallery suddenly erupted in applause, a roar that only got louder as order turned to chaos, midnight came and went, and the infamous SB 5 legislation was, for the time being, defeated.
Van de Putte’s 20-minute speech veered from the tragic (her family’s recent losses) to the euphoric to the hard-hitting. She singled out Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) for “throwing a temper tantrum” that shut down the federal government. Yet as any politician worth her salt knows, Texans don’t take kindly to criticism of their beloved state, and Van de Putte’s speech deftly walked the line between touting the so-called Texas miracle (“It’s because of Texas families that we’re succeeding”) and slamming her Republican counterparts for not investing in public schools and infrastructure.
Throughout her speech, Van de Putte hit on a populist theme: “I know who you are. I know where you’ve been. I know where you’re going.” She used that line to appeal to the teachers, tradesmen, communication workers, and others gathered in the ballroom, and she urged them to remember the words of Martin Luther King Jr.: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?” That populist message could play well should the GOP nominee be Dewhurst, a wealthy businessman who spent about $25 million of his own money on a losing US Senate campaign in 2012. Dewhurst has said this will be his last run for office; Dewhurst, who was worth at least $200 million heading into his Senate run, recently told the Associated Press he needs to “go back [to the private sector] and earn some money.” Patrick, the other GOP hopeful, has come under fire for his overheated rhetoric, such as describing the flow of immigrants from Mexico to Texas as an “illegal invasion.”
It was not to be a private belief: Jindal felt a moral imperative to evangelize, and classmates recall he was an active salesman for the Lord. He had embraced a traditionalist vision of Catholicism out of step with the modern church, one in which evil was something to be confronted not just spiritually, but physically. And it wasn’t long until he saw an opportunity to put his faith into action: In a 1994 essay for the New Oxford Review, one of a dozen pieces he would write for small Catholic journals about his conversion, he described participating in an exorcism of a classmate he called “Susan.” Jindal and Susan had shared a platonic friendship, but their relationship had frayed in recent months. Susan had begun having mysterious visions. She was also being treated for skin cancer. Visitors to her apartment reported a faint odor of sulfur.
“My friends were chanting, ‘Satan, I command you to leave this woman,’” Jindal recalled. “Others exhorted all ‘demons to leave in the name of Christ.’”
The church hierarchy sanctions exorcisms only with the blessing of a bishop. (A 2000 estimate put the global figure at fewer than 600 a year.) But Jindal didn’t ask a priest or any other church official for help, he explained, out of fear: What would it mean for his faith if he discovered the church was powerless to help his friend?
The conflict came to a head at a hurried evening intervention. “Kneeling on the ground, my friends were chanting, ‘Satan, I command you to leave this woman,’” Jindal recalled. “Others exhorted all ‘demons to leave in the name of Christ.’” Finally, another student showed up with a crucifix and cast the spirit away.
LAST YEAR, WHEN Jindal railed about the “stupid party,” he may well have been trying to highlight his own brainy reputation. It’s a brand he has carefully cultivated: Profiles of the new governor tended to emphasize his wonky smarts, characteristic of an administration that promised to be heavy on policy and light on flair. That, the thinking went, was exactly what Louisiana needed. Jindal was alternatively “slight, unassuming”; an “earnest dork”; “like a college intern”; “a regular Alex P. Keaton”; and the crown jewel of the bunch, a “boyish politician” so above it all that he “rarely bothers to eat or urinate when traveling.”