First lady Michelle Obama invited military families to scope out the holiday decorations Wednesday in the White House’s newly decked halls. Then the first family’s second dog grabbed the spotlight.
Two-year-old Ashtyn Gardner, of Alexandria, Va. took a tumble after encountering the Obamas’ newest pooch, who was making the rounds. With a hand from the first lady, Gardner was quickly back on her feet and petting the dog.
The theme for Christmas at the White House this year - Gather Around - celebrates coming together with loved ones during the holidays. As in years past, much of the décor honored military service members. After delivering remarks in the East Room, the first lady joined White House florist Laura Dowling and White House chefs Cris Comerford and Bill Yosses to make holiday crafts and snacks with the visiting kids.
We first heard from Marni Evans a few days after she’d received an ominous voicemail. “I am calling from your doctor’s office,” the message began. An appointment for an abortion that Marni had scheduled for the next morning was suddenly canceled.
Marni isn’t the only woman in Texas who received such a call. On the last day of October, a conservative federal appeals court granted the state’s emergency request to reinstate part of an anti-abortion law that another judge had blocked just a few days earlier. That provision, which requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, will force many of the clinics in Texas to shut down. So, with the Fifth Circuit’s order in place, clinics had to start turning women away on the first day of November. Hundreds of women like Marni woke up to the news that their appointments weren’t going to happen.
Marni knew she still wanted an abortion — but she wasn’t sure if she would be able to get one in Texas. So she used her frequent flier miles to book a one-way ticket to Seattle.
“I thought that it would be a smart idea to just get out of Texas,” she explained. “I wasn’t sure what I would find at other Texas clinics because I was aware that over 100 women’s appointments had been canceled on the same day. And I was concerned that I would be stuck waiting for weeks and weeks and weeks.”
The California-based Ruth Institute (RI), a former project of the National Organization for Marriage Education Fund, split off from NOM and became independent on Nov. 1. Like NOM, while ostensibly working to strengthen marriage (for heterosexuals), it works against marriage equality. And like NOM, the RI has tried to soften its anti-LGBT image through tactics like selectively quoting from virulently anti-gay sources and claiming to support LGBT individuals while simply opposing their right to marry.
The RI’s founder and president, Jennifer Roback Morse, whose academic background is in economics, has mostly steered clear of the kind of vicious anti-LBGT rhetoric employed by some on the religious right. She has, for example, referred to “our brothers and sisters who experience same-sex attraction” as victims of the “sexual revolution.” Nonetheless, she has earned an entry in GLAAD’s commentator accountability project for anti-LGBT statements she has made over the years.
The RI claims that it is “Making Marriage [for heterosexuals] Cool.” The tagline on its website banner states “One Man One Woman For Life.” Thus, heterosexual marriage is the only “proper” context for sex and childrearing. The RI encourages “respect of contributions of men to the family” and using “lifelong spousal cooperation” as a “solution to women’s aspirations for career and family.”
Today marks the 20th anniversary of Frank Zappa’s untimely passing, a sobering and solemn milestone in my mind.
A sad fact of life; Frank Zappa has been dead for 20 years. I really miss him, he wielded an effective sword against apathy and ignorance.
— Charlie Vogel (@teleskiguy) December 5, 2013
Thanks in part to the lizards of LGF and the ever-changing “Frank Says” blurb in the bottom right corner of the site, the man and his music shall be recognized always around these parts of the internet. I, for one, am grateful that I at least got to share epochs with the man. His music will hopefully be listened to by other humans long after we’re all dead and gone.
RIP Frank Zappa, you are sorely missed.
This woman is pure evil.
Pamela Geller is telling her fellow anti-Muslim activists to convince Congress to reject a resolution “urging the Government of Burma to end the persecution of the Rohingya people and respect internationally recognized human rights for all ethnic and religious minority groups within Burma.”
The Rohingya minority have faced vicious persecution in Burma, but Geller accuses them of “waging jihad in Burma.”
Various human rights groups and media outlets, along with groups from the Heritage Foundation to the Brookings Institute, have described the persecution of the Rohingya in Burma as ethnic cleansing.
But not Geller.
She claims that the Rohingya are to blame for the atrocities against them because of a bombing at a Buddhist shrine in India by the Islamic extremist Indian Mujahideen, and is demanding activists stop the resolution from turning into a “battering ram to impose Islam on small, defenseless countries.”
Anytime Buddhist monks have to carry guns for self-defense, it’s a good bet that the Religion of Peace is involved.
Muslims are waging jihad in Burma. But the Buddhists aren’t having it. Muslim Brotherhood groups in the US are agitating for UN intervention. Scroll and read Hamas-CAIR’s call for support of US resolution 418 calling for intervention. Please contact your Congressmen and Senators and tell them to VOTE NO on resolution 418. We have seen this before. It led to President Clinton sending US troops to fight for the Bosnian Muslims against the Christian Serbs, leading to the establishment of the first Islamic state in Europe (Kosovo).
Support the Buddhists in Burma. Seriously. Do this. I am in Boston, as our free speech lawsuit is being heard today, but I will be working the phones, and so should you. Burma is 90% Buddhist. These are a peaceful people. The Muslims have brought war to Burma. Bodh Gaya, the holiest site for the Buddhists the world over, was bombed in a series of Islamic terror attacks. Hamas-CAIR must be stopped from using the most powerful government in the world as its battering ram to impose Islam on small, defenseless countries.
- See more at: rightwingwatch.org
The anti-vaccination movement has long since become a public menace. It’s responsible for the resurgence of numerous serious diseases that were on the decline, including measles, mumps, and whooping cough.
Now the movement has been given a big booster shot by Katie Couric, who devoted a large portion of her daily talk show Wednesday to some highly emotional and scientifically dubious claims by critics of Gardasil, a leading vaccine for human papillomavirus, or HPV.
The segment focused on a mother convinced that her 20-year-old daughter died after a cycle of Gardasil immunization and a second family whose 14-year-old daughter fell ill after the shots. Neither presented any medical evidence to support their claims.
Alarm about the show’s HPV segment was raised in advance by science writer Seth Mnookin, who reported that he had been contacted back in July by a producer for the show, who suggested that the segment would be aimed at debunking the misconception that childhood vaccines are linked to autism. This is a dangerous claim retailed by, among others, the starlet Jenny McCarthy, who currently has a perch on the talk show “The View.”
Video at link
That’s why the city is establishing a new domestic violence task force.
It will focus on state-of-the-art training for Chicago Police officers to help them develop more proactive responses to high-risk situations.
The city will also establish a new shelter that will provide services for victims and their families.
Twenty years ago, Deborah Graham was a victim of domestic violence. Graham says her husband was physically abusive and hit her repeatedly.
Today, Graham is a woman of influence, the 29th Ward Alderman sharing her very personal story.
“January 10, 1994 is the day I left my house running,” said Graham.
Last spring, my half-sister Michele called me concerned about her 21-year-old daughter’s mental health, as she’d had several bouts of depression and it appeared another one was coming on. This time, Michele was eager to get in touch with her daughter’s therapist before their next meeting. She had some new—and potentially treatment-altering—information.
“Her tests came back,” Michele told me. “Turns out she’s got a MTHFR-gene mutation. We’re waiting to find out which kind.” This was not a conversation anyone would have had 10 years ago, and it’s not one that many are having now. But if personalized, gene-based medicine keeps expanding into the brain sciences, it might be.
Michele, who works as a medical researcher in Australia, may know more than the average parent about the potential of genetics in treating psychiatric conditions. She had read studies that a mutation in the MTHFR gene may increase the risk of psychiatric disorders. Depending on the variation of the mutation, it could also signify which medications are most useful—with some studies recommending folate supplements instead of, or in addition to, antidepressants.
Be advised. The United States House of Representatives — one-half of the national legislature, which is one third-of the national government, if you’re keeping score in civics class — exists now solely to gin up enthusiasm in, and to raise money from, the increasingly demented political base of the Republican party. It is a campaign mechanism, not a governing institution. If it were a governing institution, it would have actual leaders who would tell the more demented members of firm to knock this pointless shit off and get on with the business of proposing policy alternatives as part of the business of running the country.
There is no leadership in the House. John Boehner’s off somewhere in a pith helmet, carrying a flashlight and a map, and looking for the spot where they buried the mason jar containing his balls back in 2010. The leadership of the House exists outside the House. It can be found in television studios, and on the radio, and in quiet boardrooms where very wealthy people cut checks to finance exotic and dangerous political maneuvering on the part of dim and addled backbench congresscritters. This keeps the government entangled in nonsense and off the backs of the very wealthy people who consider themselves the country’s true owners.
— A fourth Canadian soldier in a week has died in an apparent suicide.
The body of Master Cpl. Sylvain Lelièvre, 46, was discovered at CFB Valcartier on Monday.
Lelièvre was a member of the Royal 22e Regiment (the “VanDoos”) who served in Bosnia and Afghanistan.
An investigation continues.
Another soldier told Canadian Press that the moment the Canadian military told him in November he was being discharged because of his post-traumatic stress disorder, he felt his live was over and he attempted suicide.