Saturday Night Music

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Tim Pawlenty Ignorant of US Constitution, therefore Unfit To Serve in Elected Office

Tim Pawlenty appears to be ignorant of the first amendment in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

This pretty much prohibits establishing a state religion be it Fundie Christianity, Mormonism, Scientology, Islam or the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

From Think Progress:

Pawlenty: U.S. Should Not Be Governed By Religious Law — Unless It’s Christianity

By Igor Volsky
Mar 25th, 2011

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty (R) is now disputing Adam Serwer’s suggestion that the presidential explorer may have a “Sharia law problem” with his conservative Republican base because he attempted to increase minority home ownership in Minnesota, including a program that would have made it easier for Muslims to purchase homes. As Serwer’s piece explains, “many Muslims hold that the paying or charging of interest is prohibited, which makes it difficult to purchase a home in the United States.” Banks have begun offering “Sharia compliant” products “which structure the payments in a sort of house-buying layaway plan” and in 2004 — with Pawlenty’s urging to increase minority home ownership — the Minnesota Housing Financing Agency “decided to partner with a local group, the African Development Center, in ‘developing culturally sensitive products,’ that would allow Muslims to enter the market.”

But as Ben Smith reports, Pawlenty is now denying he ever approved the partnership and says he dissolved the program as soon as he heard about it:

“This program was independently set up by the Minnesota state housing agency and did not make any mention Sharia Law on its face, but was later described as accommodating it,” the spokesman, Alex Conant, said. “As soon as Gov. Pawlenty became aware of the issue, he personally ordered it shut it down. Fortunately, only about three people actually used the program before it was terminated at the Governor’s direction.”

Pawlenty’s objection: “The United States should be governed by the U.S. Constitution, not religious laws,” Conant said.

But that’s not what Pawlenty tells Christian audiences in Iowa and New Hampshire, where he’s been using his personal faith (he is an Evangelical Christian) to build support for a presidential bid. In fact, during an interview with Christianity Today in late January, Pawlenty argued that elected officials should apply their faith to government:

I started with the perspective of someone who says that faith is separate from public law and public service; it really isn’t. We have, as a country, a founding perspective that we’re founded under God; our founding documents reference and acknowledge God, and acknowledge that our rights and privileges come from our Creator. […]

I remind people that our country is founded under God, and the founders thought that was an important perspective.

During a recent address to the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition, Pawlenty proclaimed, “The Constitution was designed to protect people of faith from government, not to protect government from people of faith.” He added, “we need to be a coutnry that turns toward God, not a country that turns away from God.”


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Progressive groups launch campaign to fight GOP’s ‘War on Women’

From Raw Story:

By Sahil Kapur
Friday, March 25th, 2011

WASHINGTON – A trio of progressive and women’s groups will unveil a new front in their ongoing campaign Friday afternoon calling on House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to “stop the war on women,” Raw Story has first learned – a reference to the anti-abortion measures Republicans are advancing.

The abortion-rights organization NARAL has joined forces with the women’s group EMILY’s List and to mobilize activists against what they call a “war on women currently raging on Capitol Hill.” The three groups will mobilize their supporters and gather signatures to deliver to Boehner on Tax Day in a show of opposition to a provision in the bill that may conceivably permit IRS agents to audit women who had an abortion due to rape or incest.

“Talk about putting government in our bedrooms!” said EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock, calling the measure a “major intrusion into the private medical decisions” of women. “Boehner’s Boys will hear from Americans across the country with one clear message: Stop the War on Women. Now.”

The heart of the campaign is to express disgust for H.R. 3, a top GOP priority called “The No Taxpayer For Abortion Act,” which beefs up restrictions on abortion access in the United States. The bill has secured the votes necessary for passage on the House floor, and has been successfully maneuvered through the Judiciary and Ways And Means Committees.

“Americans have had it,” said NARAL president Nancy Keenan, “and are spurring into action against Speaker Boehner and the 221 co-sponsors of H.R. 3, who will face a public backlash from all over the country come Tax Day and beyond.”

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Geraldine A. Ferraro Dies at 75

I remember how proud I was when Walter Mondale chose her as his vice-presidential candidate.

The world would be a far better place had the Democratic Party won the election of 1984.

I also remember the vicious sexism of the press and the right wing misogyny directed at her.  There wasn’t a single voice in the Republican Party that asked, “Have you no decency?”  There were no crocodile tears regarding the vicious attacks on her.

Which is why I have never felt the least compunction in throwing it back at soulless and brainless harridans of the right.  Being tough isn’t just dishing pain out nor is it just taking the beating.  Being tough is taking the beating and not crying fake tears but getting up and fighting back.

From The New York Times

She Ended the Men’s Club of National Politics

Published: March 26, 2011

Geraldine A. Ferraro, the former Queens congresswoman who strode onto a podium in 1984 to accept the Democratic nomination for vice president and to take her place in American history as the first woman nominated for national office by a major party, died Saturday in Boston.

She was 75 and lived in Manhattan.

The cause was complications from multiple myeloma, a blood cancer that she had battled for 12 years, her family said in a statement. She died at Massachusetts General Hospital, where she had been undergoing treatment since Monday.

“If we can do this, we can do anything,” Ms. Ferraro declared on a July evening to a cheering Democratic National Convention in San Francisco. And for a moment, for the Democratic Party and for an untold number of American women, anything seemed possible: a woman occupying the second-highest office in the land, a derailing of the Republican juggernaut led by President Ronald Reagan, a President Walter F. Mondale.

It did not turn out that way — not by a long shot. After the roars in the Moscone Center had subsided and a fitful general election campaign had run its course, hopes for Mr. Mondale and his plain-speaking, barrier-breaking running mate were buried in a Reagan landslide.

But Ms. Ferraro’s supporters proclaimed a victory of sorts nonetheless: 64 years after women won the right to vote, a woman had removed the “men only” sign from the White House door.

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Arkansas Moves to Limit Abortion Access

From Mother Jones:

By Kate Sheppard| Fri Mar. 25, 201

Anti-choice state senators in Arkansas passed a bill on Thursday that could limit access to abortions for women in the state by subjecting clinics to the same standards as outpatient surgical centers.

That bill would have the anticipated impact of making non-surgical abortions much harder to obtain in a state where it’s already fairly difficult. The law would force clinics or doctors that provide women with abortion pills like RU-486 or Mifeprex to follow more stringent rules applied to outpatient surgical centers. The bill’s Republican sponsor dubbed it the “Abortion Patients’ Enhanced Safety Act”—creating the impression that the bill is only designed to protect women.

The state’s Planned Parenthood branch says the measure is specifically designed to target them, since their two clinics in Fayetteville and Little Rock are the only ones that offer medical abortions in the state. They already only offer them up to 8 weeks after conception, and they don’t provide surgical abortions, which make the new rules arbitrary, says the group. They would now be required to make major changes to their facilities, including providing recovery rooms and additional bathrooms, with no practical reason to do so.

Abortion rights groups often refer to this type of law as “Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers”—or a TRAP law. The idea is that you make the regulations so burdensome that it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to actually provide legal abortion services. A similar effort was passed last month in Virginia that would make outpatient facilities subject to the same regulations as hospitals.

“It’s a burden and it targets us specifically,” Murry Newbern, director of community affairs at Planned Parenthood of Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma, told Mother Jones. “This is just a tactic that people that want to reduce access to safe, legal abortion use make it more expensive.”

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