Think back on all the tales that you remember… of Whackalot.

It has been a tough week or so for Kathryn Jean Lopez with her beloved Catholic church making NAMBLA look like a bunch of Boy Scouts (hey-o!) and young Republicans of her age group busting through almost $2000 (all in singles) frequenting drinking establishments featuring nakey-topless strap-on awesomeness.

Dark days, indeed.

But it’s NRO hopey-beggy week and, just like sweeps week on your local teevee news, NRO is going all-sexytime all-the-time. Unsurprisingly they’re not very good at it, as Roy documents splendidly here, but K-Lo has certainly gotten into the spirit of things or, as Billy Idol once put it: In the midnight hour she cried- “more, more, more:

The piece we published today on the devastating effects of pornography has kept a steady stream of e-mails coming into my inbox. Some telling devastating tales. Some confessions. Some adamant defenses of pornography from frequent users. Some cries for help.

Please feel free to keep them coming. I’ll report back here before too long.

Good night for now.

I think someone is going to see God tonight, if you know what I mean and I think you are as nauseated at the idea as I am.

(Image courtesy of the wonderful folks at Wonkette. Comments there is teh awesome also too.)

NC: An April Fools’ Day DADT delivery to Rep. Sue Myrick

It's April Fools' Day. A perfect time for jokes and humor… and a perfect time, as always, to bring more awareness to the repeal of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell.”

Grassroots activists with the Charlotte Rainbow Action Network for Equality (CRANE), myself included, are taking the day as an opportunity to raise awareness and educate locally and statewide, and we're taking our message directly to U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick. 

(Photo right: 13,500 plastic soldiers are standing ready to fill these camo buckets for deliver to Rep. Sue Myrick.)

Our message is clear: Only a fool would stand in the way of our national security and military readiness. “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” is a failed policy and must be repealed now. Rep. Sue Myrick must sign on as a co-sponsor. 

To get our message across, we spent the last month collecting plastic, toy soldiers from community members while engaging them and raising awareness. We've collected 13,500 toy soldiers, each representing the gay and lesbian patriots discharged from service simply because of the sexual orientation. We deliver them to Rep. Myrick with a stern demand: Sign on as a co-sponsor of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act today. 

Our delivery and press conference will take place at 11 a.m., April 1, at Rep. Myrick's Charlotte office. Stay tuned for an update… 

Our full press release, detailing expanded statewide actions targeting Rep. Larry Kissell, Sens. Richard Burr and Hagan and Rep. Mike McIntyre after the jump, along with video from our Feb. 26 press conference kicking off the March on Myrick Campaign…

(more…)

NYT: Secretary of Army says he won't pursue DADT discharges

Gee, Mr. President — here’s one branch on board; what’s with the lack of spine to pursue the legislative end to DADT?


The secretary of the Army, John M. McHugh, said Wednesday that he was effectively ignoring the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law because he had no intention of pursuing discharges of active-duty service members who have recently told him that they are gay.

Mr. McHugh, the Army’s civilian leader and a former Republican congressman from upstate New York, said that he had initiated the conversations with service members in recent months as part of the Pentagon’s review of how best to carry out a repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law, which requires that gay service members keep their sexual orientation secret or face discharge.

…Mr. McHugh, who spoke at a breakfast with Pentagon reporters, said it made no sense to pursue discharges of service members as he speaks with them about the change in policy. Mr. Obama, Mr. Gates and Admiral Mullen have all asked commanders to assess opinion within the military about the change in law.

Mr. McHugh said it would be “counterproductive” to “take disciplinary action against someone who spoke with me openly and honestly.”

Note this is not an indication that it’s a promise to stop discharges if someone self-discloses to someone other than McHugh; if I were in the Army and read this I’d hardly see this as a sign to come out of the closet. (more…)

DADT experts: Obama's DOJ misrepresented, mischaracterized views to defend discriminatory policy

It just goes from bad to worse inside the Beltway when it comes to drop-kicking the LGBT community by this Administration. It’s one thing for bloggers to call out the biased and homophobic defense of DADT in court by the DOJ, but when I read this piece by Chris Johnson at DC Agenda, “Gay advocates assail Obama’s Justice Department,” I couldn’t believe my eyes.

Pro-repeal advocates like Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center and Nathaniel Frank, a senior fellow at Palm, both respected voices on open service in the military (and friends of the Blend) are charging that the zeal by the DOJ to defend preventing gays and lesbians from serving in the mililtary has clearly, to put it charitably, “overcompensated” to the nth degree.  The Justice Department named Belkin and Frank as because of their depositions in the case of Log Cabin v. United States. Frank:

“The way they portrayed me is preposterous and I’m not sure that any person in good faith hearing what I had to say could conclude what the [Department of Justice] concluded in their [request for] summary judgment,” he said. “I specifically said having a concern about privacy is not irrational, but using that privacy concern as an argument for the need to ban gays is irrational.”

Belkin:

“They completely misrepresented my statement in the deposition. They were not being truthful about my statement because they said that I claimed that there is a rational basis for the privacy arguments, and I claimed no such thing.”

Wow. Are we in Bizarroland where President Obama has a Justice Department led by Alberto Gonzales? And if you think that’s an overstatement, why is the Obama DOJ operating like an arm of Elaine Donnelly’s Center for Military Readiness?

Frank also took issue with the Justice Department’s repeated references to experts on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” with the use of quotation marks.

For example, the brief says in a footnote that “LCR’s ‘experts’ ultimately seek to challenge the wisdom of the DADT policy, a challenge that is irrelevant under rational basis review.”

Frank said the repeated reference to experts in quotation marks is “highly unusual” for the Justice Department and “may have gone too far.”

That’s a favorite tactic of the religious right to polish their anti-intellectual credentials, and make it seem like there’s no such things as a homosexual, so they’ll put homosexual in quotes,” he said.

It should surprise no one that they couldn’t find a live body at the DOJ to respond to Frank’s and Belkin’s charges that their remarks were out of context or misrepresented.

Surf over and read the rest. It will give you agita about this administration. Obama apologists on LGBT issues — there’s no excuse for this.

Joe Sudbay has more. (more…)

Hegghammer Of Thor (And Takfiri Scholarship)

The definitive last word on Bret Stephens, Lady Gaga, Haifa Wehbe, Nancy Ajram, Palestine-or-Western-decadence-as-takfiri-motivator, Sayyid Qutb and deliberate stupefaction belongs to the Norse God Of Counterterrorism. By Odin’s Beard!

How do we know that Palestine is more important than Westernization for the anti-American jihadists? First, al Qaeda’s leaders have spoken more often about Palestine and other political issues (pdf) than about moral corruption. Second, when al Qaeda recruits cite their reasons for joining, they more often mention Palestine, Chechnya, and other political issues (pdf) than they do examples of Westernization. Third, incidents of anti-American violence and vandalism in the Middle East have tended to increase during or shortly after dramatic events in Palestine. Fourth, recruitment to al Qaeda has tended to expand during or shortly after escalation of hostilities in Palestine. Fifth, al Qaeda militants are happy to embrace aspects of Western culture when it suits them — witness the use of videos and music in jihadi propaganda — and they are arguably more pragmatic about matters moral and ritual than many other Islamists.

In Hegghammer’s counterterrorist Valhalla, reason and evidence win debates. He’ll never get a Wall Street Journal column that way. But he may be called an antisemite!

Wednesday Night Hump the Jukebox

Before we get started…

Regarding American Idol:

Michelle Dellamore – She seemed to have a decent voice, but her song choice was pure crap. Seriously, the entirety of America hates Creed. Choosing a Scott Stapp song was clearly her downfall.

When people who actually give a shit about American Idol trash Creed this does not portend 2010 Summer Stadium Tour.

Okay, now music:

Winter Hill – Doves
Great Expectations – Jurassic 5
Heart of Glass – The Bad Plus
Thunderstorm – Matthew Sweet
Shadows – Sunny Day Real Estate
Dogma – K.M.F.D.M.
Cradle and All – Ani DiFranco
Novelty – Joy Division
634-5789 (Soulsville, U.S.A.) – Ry Cooder
Corvette – Golden Smog
…and: She Cries Your Name – Beth Orton

I have a hankering for new music and I’m looking at new CD’s from The Soft Pack, Local Natives, Frightened Rabbit, and Bear In Heaven. Any imput/commentary on these bands (in comments) would be appreciated. Thankyew.

Late Night: Beg Your Pardon, Jedi Wolverines, But What We MEANT Was “Give Us Money So We Don’t Have to Get Actual Jobs”

A startling revelation from that World-Renowned scholar,  J. Goldberg, Pt.Ld.

This combination of state power and murderous, genocidal intent is nowhere on display in America today, not in the Obama administration (contrary to what some overheated right-wingers claim) and certainly not among out-of-power conservatives and “tea partiers.”

Well, that’s a relief. And it’s best not to be confused on this point. Dr. Goldberg has, you’ll recall, assured us at some certain length (specifically, interminable) that Liberals are Fascists. But, you see, they are nice fascists, of the sort that don’t do what historical fascists most liked to do, namely, beat the everliving shit out of people they don’t like. To be sure, that doesn’t mean they’re not fascists, a term Goldberg specifically uses because he is, uh, opposed to name-calling. But still, gosh, genocidal intent! Obama? How ludicrous and absurd and ludicrous! How vulgar. Judicious Scholars such as the Reasonable Conservative J. Goldberg would never dare suggest such a thing…

(If you don’t already know where this is headed, welcome, new readers.)

For the Truly Enlightened, the precise sense in which Obama is a fascist is, according to an older, presumably less “evolved” Goldberg, or in other words a Goldberg of last summer, not that sense in which Obama has genocidal intent, heh, but, er, that sense in which his intent is genocidal:

From the LA Times:

Reporting from Washington — President Obama suggested at a town hall event Wednesday night that one way to shave medical costs is to stop expensive and ultimately futile procedures performed on people who are about to die and don’t stand to gain from the extra care.

In a nationally televised event at the White House, Obama said families need better information so they don’t unthinkingly approve “additional tests or additional drugs that the evidence shows is not necessarily going to improve care.”

He added: “Maybe you’re better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller.”

There’s an interesting contradiction here. According to the pro-choice perspective, it’s outrageous for the state to interfere in a woman’s decision to terminate a pregnancy. But it’s pragmatic and reasonable for the state to consider terminating a person, if some money can be saved.

This logic is nothing new.

The final link, and you could see this coming down Broadway with its fly open blaring a tuba and rocking a clown nose…  is a Wikipedia Final Solution link.

Goldberg has a powerful expressive interest in whipping up the crazy, but is terribly afraid of being called on it because then he just looks like a clown, and he desperately wants to be Taken Seriously.

Douche.

Watercooler – Boehner Critical Of Obama Drilling Plan

House Minority leader John Boehner is a tough man to please. Here’s what he had to say about Obama’s decision to open up the Atlantic coast and more of the Gulf Coast to drilling:

“The Obama Administration continues to defy the will of the American people who strongly supported the bipartisan decision of Congress in 2008 to lift the moratorium on offshore drilling not just off the East Coast and in the Gulf of Mexico, but off the Pacific Coast and Alaskan shores as well. Opening up areas off the Virginia coast to offshore production is a positive step, but keeping the Pacific Coast and Alaska, as well as the most promising resources off the Gulf of Mexico, under lock and key makes no sense at a time when gasoline prices are rising and Americans are asking ‘Where are the jobs?’

It’s long past time for this Administration to stop delaying American energy production off all our shores and start listening to the American people who want an “all of the above” strategy to produce more American energy and create more jobs."

This was supposed to be a concession to the Republicans. When is Obama going to stop trying to placate people that are determined to do nothing but antagonize?

What’s on your mind tonight?

Insurance Industry Goes to War on Health Care Regulations

photo: waynewhuang via Flickr

We’ve been covering the dangers of a pure regulatory structure to deal with insurance company abuses, rather than competition through a public option, for some time, mostly in real time during the health care debate. It didn’t take the insurance companies more than a few minutes once the Affordable Care Act was passed to dispute a key passage about pre-existing conditions for children; I suggested they were using the issue as an excuse to raise premium rates.

Dan Froomkin now sizes up the insurance industry’s next move, and agrees that they will scrap for every advantage to turn the ACA even more to their advantage. Froomkin quotes some experts in this long game from the insurance companies:

“This is what you’re going to see as each element in this plan comes up for implementation,” said Marcia Angell, a former editor of The New England Journal of Medicine who now teaches at Harvard Medical School. “This insurance industry is going to give up nothing.”

In the short run, companies are expected to keep doing what they’ve been doing, which means, among other things, jacking up their rates. “There’s nothing to stop them from raising their premiums, and that’s what they’re going to do,” said Angell, a supporter of “single-payer” health insurance […]

“In the meantime, they can continue to cherry pick the healthiest customers, while foisting the sick into the new high-risk pool,” said Wendell Potter, a former senior health insurance executive at CIGNA who went rogue and became a consumer advocate.

That’s only the beginning, though.

“They also will continue to try to shift more and more of the cost of health care from them to the people that are enrolled in their plans,” Potter said. That involves moving people currently in managed care, with its relatively modest co-pays, “out of those plans and into high-deductible plans that make people pay thousands of dollars before the company will pay a dime,” Potter said.

“Managed care was last decade’s silver bullet,” he told HuffPost. “The new silver bullet for the insurance industry is the high-deductible plan. More and more people will not get a dime from their insurance companies.”

Megan Carpentier helpfully lists ten ways the insurance industry will simply maximize profits at the expense of their customers. Among the more devious ways? Making it more difficult for doctors to fill out claims, reducing insurance company payouts (this is basically like skipping out on the check after a meal); marketing only to healthy people, like putting the insurance office on the top floor of a building with no elevator; using current overhead expenses as part of the “medical loss ratio” that’s supposed to direct premium dollars into medical treatment; and using the “unhealthy behavior” loophole to try and expand the community rating adjustment well beyond just smoking.

We’ve talked about all of these before. But I don’t think supporters of reform are ready for the bonanza of lobbying that will focus on implementation of the regulations. . . . (more…)