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image courtesy of Imagine magazine
NOT an actual photo of
TN State Rep. Jeremy Durham

It has long been my contention that conservatives give lip service to the Constitution, but do not in practice support the content in that Constitution.


The continuing hypocritical efforts of conservatives, particularly those who are southern evangelicals, demonstrate equally a desperate desire to regulate the lives of others, demanding conformity to their own beliefs, while not themselves behaving consistently with those beliefs.  We have the interference in the lives of other people, while not managing one’s own very well, in the example of Tennessee’s own state representative Jeremy Durham, pervert for Jesus.


Evangelical Tennessee
State Rep Jeremy Durham Is ‘Banished’ From Capitol Complex After THIRTY
FOUR Women Accuse Him Of Inappropriate Sexual Behavior

Lawmakers in Tennessee have ‘banished’ a state representative by moving
his office at the state Capitol complex after more than three dozen
women have accused him of inappropriate behavior.
Rep. Jeremy Durham’s office is being moved to the ground floor of a
building across the street from the Capitol, House Speaker Beth Harwell
announced Thursday.
According to Attorney General Herbert Slatery’s memorandum to Harwell,
he is investigating Durham’s ‘pattern of conduct’ toward women after 34
current and former lawmakers, lobbyists, staffers and interns allege
that he made sexual comments, used his position to obtain personal
contact information from women, try to meet women alone, involve alcohol
in his interactions with women and inappropriate physical contact with
them while working at Legislative Plaza, CBS News reported.

I have to wonder if Jeremy Durham will have any office when the next election cycle comes around in Tennessee, not even one across the street.  But then again, by promoting the anti-LGBT bathroom harassment bill, he might get in good with those other pervy and ignorant conservative Evangelicals again.  They go in for a lot of forgiveness so long as one conforms and grovels sufficiently, as we have seen in the past.
The establishment clause of the Constitution requires no preferential treatment of religion. That is simple enough, yet conservatives tend as a group, over and over, to attempt to replace democracy with theocracy.



We see it in the mediocre legislators of Tennessee who are persisting in trying to give preferential treatment to the Bible.  Thurs. (April 14th) Gov. Haslam vetoed an attempt to make the Bible the official book of the frankly mediocre at best state of Tennessee.



But the conservative religious extremists in government are hell-bent on pushing this through anyway, and don’t give a tinker’s damn about the provisions of religious freedom in the Constitution.


From the Raw Story:

The lawmakers who sponsored the measure vowed to hold a vote that
would overrule Haslam’s veto. A simple majority in each legislative
chamber would overrule his decision.
“According to polling, 62 percent of all Tennesseans favor making the
Holy Bible the state book in order to recognize its significance from a
historical, economic and cultural standpoint,” the House sponsor,
Representative Jerry Sexton, said.
“Senator (Steve) Southerland and I are prepared to move forward with a veto override and we plan to do exactly that.”

Because Tennessee is, apparently, not dumb enough or second rate enough without that next step?  Seriously, this is a state legislature which has far more important and far more legitimate issues with which to properly concern itself than forcing their religion on people.


It made an interesting cab ride recently where my driver, whom we’ll call Tom, knowing I do research especially fact checking, asked me if it were true, as he had heard on right wing talk radio (an occupational hazard of cab driving apparently) that four out of the five first presidents had been either ordained as clergy or held a degree in religion of some kind, and therefore that was the reason we have “In God We Trust” on our money and “under God” in the pledge of allegiance.  And no, none of those first five presidents were particularly religious; in fact George Washington is on record as never having taken communion and rarely attended church, and the other four were Deists.


We have been stuck (for the moment) with “In God We Trust” and “under God” because President Eisenhower (I DO like Ike, as Republican presidents go) made a deal with a group in politics known as ‘the family’, the same bunch of people who started the National Prayer Breakfast.  They are the same group who tried to get the death penalty for being LGBT in Uganda with pseudo-science.  So, we have the family influence continuing in politics, pushing an extreme form of religion, after their early success; but we also got the Interstate Highway Program which dramatically contributed to our success post WW II.


I’d call that a barely fair tradeoff of good (the highway system) for evil (crackpot religious conservatism).



66758002Unfortunate but not surprising in the least.

A fifth of the information in Minnesota state-produced pamphlets given to women seeking abortions has been deemed medically inaccurate by new academic research.
The study examined pamphlets produced by states that have “Woman’s Right to Know” laws. Under this law, Minnesota requires that before moving forward with an abortion, women must receive a Minnesota Department of Health pamphlet on risks associated with abortion and fetal development, as well as information on resources if she decides to carry to term.
(Minnesota Daily)

Minnesota has laws mandating this misinformation, as well as a waiting period and parental notification. Of course we shouldn’t count our pomegranates while they’re still on the tree, but if a best-case scenario eventuates in November and the DFL gets legislative supermajorities, that would be a good time to show some respect for women and get rid of those laws. Unfortunately, too many still buy that choice and other women’s issues are politically toxic. Or at least they still try to use that as cover for general gutlessness.


In writing previously about the hatred on the right for anything related to sex, gender and human sexuality, the following is worth sharing from Pharyngula.  It deals directly with the right wing attempt to fake they are an accredited genuinely scientific group, when their real purpose is to promote false information about children specifically and the LGBT community more generally.

In responding to and evaluating the claims made in the legislature, it is imperative we recognize what is factual and what is …..dangerously dishonest CRAP.

We can expect to see sources like the bogus American COLLEGE of Pediatricians quoted in the upcoming anti-trans bathroom use legislation promoted by the intellectually dishonest MN GOP.  Lying is for losers, and it is what the MN GOP does when the facts are not on their side; they fake the facts and they lie outright.  They are not above using the work of bogus groups to do so.

For those of you not familiar with Pharyngula, they are a well-respected Minnesota blog that does an excellent job of FACTUAL science reporting and commentary.

From Pharyngula:

Speaking of bad science, never trust the American College of Pediatricians

I know! It sounds so official and sciencey! It’s got “college” in it, which is formal and academic, and “pediatricians”, which are a kind of doctor, and you can never go wrong slapping “American” on your brand label. But they are a lie.

It’s also because the ACP is not a legitimate medical organization; its name is designed to be mistaken for the American Academy of Pediatrics, which is a national organization with some 60,000 members. The ACP, by contrast, is estimated to have no more than 200 members, and it has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its anti-LGBT positions.
“The American College of Pediatricians urges educators and legislators to reject all policies that condition children to accept as normal a life of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex,” the statement reads. “Facts – not ideology – determine reality.” The “facts” that follow actually reflect a social conservative ideology that rejects the very reality of what transgender children experience.


plannedOne word: vile.

A new bill being pushed by 37 Minnesota Republicans would strangle funding for preventative women’s healthcare – stuff like breast exams, pap smears, and the pill.
Their real goal, of course, is to damage Planned Parenthood. And if that means making basic healthcare a whole lot worse, so be it.
Currently, Planned Parenthood is the only clinic to receive direct federal family planning funding, known as Title X. The clinic uses the money to serve low-income and uninsured people at 15 of its Minnesota clinics. It also sends money out to 22 rural family-planning clinics across the state.
(City Pages)

Eleven states have now cut Planned Parenthood funding, and more are working on it. PP has other sources of funding, so their clinics are not being shut down in general by this, but it is bad. It’s among the most prominent examples of how people are being hurt by extreme, and increasingly desperate, right-wing governance. With the electorate moving leftward, wingnuts see no choice other than to double (at least) down on the extremism and hope for a miracle. They lack both the courage and the integrity to admit that they’re wrong and “the liberals” are right.
Would that we could figure out how to get angry (with good reason) young women to show up at the polls in force, every time.
Comment below fold.


66758002The oral arguments today seem to have gone reasonably well.

When the Court took the case it appeared that, if Justice Anthony Kennedy — who typically votes to uphold abortion restrictions — sided with Texas, Roe v. Wade would effectively be dead.
That’s not going to happen anymore, in large part because the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia took away the fifth vote Texas needed to uphold its law. The good news for abortion advocates is that, after Wednesday’s oral argument, it doesn’t look like Texas has a fourth vote either. There is a very real procedural complication in this case that could delay its ultimate resolution, possibly for a couple of years. But if he has to reach the merits of this case, Kennedy appeared inclined to strike down the law.
(Think Progress)

The “procedural complication” is discussed in some detail in the linked article.
The possibility, probably a fantasy, that I’ve been indulging is that SCOTUS will take this opportunity to strike down all laws restricting a woman’s choice to exercise her fundamental rights in this matter. That would include Minnesota’s waiting period, misinformation, and parental notification requirements. Like I say, apparently highly unlikely, but we can hope.


66758002People are working to try to get President Obama to come through in doing more to help protect women’s fundamental right to reproductive choice.

Anti-women, right-wing extremists in Congress are relentless in their commitment to take health care, including abortions, away from women. One of the most powerful tools they have is the Hyde Amendment, passed in 1976, which prohibits the use of federal funds for any health benefits coverage that includes abortion…
It’s bad enough that women have to fight so hard to defend their constitutional rights against right-wing Republican extremists. It’s even worse when Democrats are also standing in the way. The Hyde Amendment has been re-authorized every year for the past 39 years, under Democratic presidents and with Congress in Democratic control. When President Obama ran for president he promised he would work to end Hyde’s dangerous intrusion on “a poor woman’s decision to terminate her pregnancy.” He has failed to follow through on that promise, not only by endorsing Hyde in each of his seven budgets but by allowing the Stupak Amendment to strip access to abortion from ObamaCare.
(Credo Action)

Related items:
“States added another 47 abortion restrictions in 2015. No doubt there are more to come.”
“Groups Push Obama to Clarify U.S. Abortion Funding for Wartime Rape.”


Bill Clinton vs. Clown Trump

by Dog Gone on January 7, 2016 · 0 comments

donaldtrumpfoolyear-354x470Bill Clinton is an extremely popular former president, more popular than any recent past president and more popular than the current sitting president, Obama, and much more popular than any recent Republican president (either Bush), per  President Bubba is generally regarded as the most popular president of the past 25 years.

THAT makes Bill Clinton a major threat to the potential success of Donald Trump, as a major asset to Hillary Clinton.  Since Bill cannot be elected to a third (or fourth) term as president, it is arguably the next best thing to elect him first spouse, putting him back in the White House in what would presumably be at the very least an advisory capacity.

As a substantive thinker and accomplished speaker, aka the Explainer in Chief, Bill by simply existing, by doing ‘that thing he does’, underlines the failings and shortfalls of Trump in every important category, including appearing presidential, without ever acknowledging Trump by name.

It is a weakness on the part of the thrice-married Trump to go after either of the Clintons for any issue relating to marital infidelity, given his own egregiously bad track record in that regard.  While Trump’s excuses for his infidelity has been that he was too busy with his work to be a good husband, it is a hard sell that he was busier, or had more obligations and responsibilities than the leader of the free world.  And Bill Clinton has survived his public womanizing scandals just fine — and those scandals have NEVER translated into his being unsympathetic to the advancement of gender equality.
>UNLIKE Donald Trump, Bill Clinton has never been accused of domestic violence towards his wife or any other woman.  And contrary to claims by Trump, Bill Clinton never ‘lost’ or was denied a license to practice law either.  But Trump and his conservative supporters don’t value facts in the slightest.  They thrive on attitude over substance.

There is every possibility that attacking Bill Clinton to get to Hillary Clinton will backfire on ‘the Donald’, who is more of a cartoon character than a serious candidate.

The Chicago Tribune noted just today, in covering Bill Clinton:


The former president is the most resilient politician of this, and probably any, era. He seemed doomed when the sex scandal involving a White House intern erupted during his presidency. Republicans then foolishly tried to remove him from office for lying about sex. That backfired: Bill Clinton led his party to unusual gains in the 1998 midterm elections and left office in 2001 with a 66 percent approval rating.

Even right wing nut not-news, Newsmax, home of crackpot conspiracy theories and fact-free rubbish, noted that failing right wing extremist candidate and former Arkansas governor and purveyor of quack diabetes cure,  Mike Huckster-be, admits that Bill Clinton is extremely popular — even among Republicans, a huge concession from the far right.


GOP candidate Mike Huckabee said Monday that he does not agree with critics who say Bill Clinton will be a liability for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, saying that even Republicans would pick the former president after seven years of President Barack Obama. …”He’s still popular with a lot of Americans. Frankly, after seven years of Obama, a lot of Republicans would take Bill Clinton back, warts and all, just because at least he understood how to govern. He was not the kind of person who utterly demonized the other side legislatively.”

Meanwhile, Turnip-top Trump is broadly viewed as a huge – or ‘YUGE’ embarrassment, and never more so than while our closest ally, the UK, is debating banning Trump from visiting the country. The king of rubbish plans for border walls is being kept out – such poetic justice, such pure and unadulterated Karma. In spite of his inexplicable emotional rather than substantive appeal to Republicans, (because there IS NOTHING substantive about Trump) it is unlikely that he will succeed in attacks against either Hillary or Bill Clinton using this lame and extraordinarily hypocritical appeal.  I would expect that we will be seeing proxies for Clinton underlining this moral failing on the part of Turnip-top.


plannedThe Colorado Springs attack was not some rare outlier.

Threats and attacks on abortion providers have spiked dramatically in the four months since an anti-abortion group calling itself the Center for Medical Progress released a series of heavily edited videos purporting to show Planned Parenthood officials “selling baby parts.” In September, the FBI noted an increase in cyber attacks and arsons, and warned that it was “likely criminal or suspicious incidents will continue to be directed against reproductive health care providers, their staff and facilities.” In October, a Planned Parenthood facility in California was fire-bombed, following three similar incidents in Illinois, Louisiana, and Washington. A clinic in New Hampshire was spray-painted with the word “murderer,” and then, a few weeks later, attacked by an intruder wielding a hatchet.
(The Nation)

Throughout the recent escalation of violence by anti-choice zealots, as well as the longer-term rise in threats, intimidation, and criminality, the Obama administration has largely confined itself to serious-sounding talk, presumably because of the common “wisdom” that abortion is a losing issue for Democrats. That’s not just pitiful. It’s gross dereliction of the duties of their offices. The FBI undoubtedly knows who is running the forced-birth terrorist groups. Arrest, prosecute, convict, and imprison them. If the fee-fees of the anti-choice minority get hurt in the process, tough.

Note how Planned Parenthood and its many, many millions of supporters aren’t calling for the deportation of all white anti-choice males, or making them register in a government database, or anything like that. Progressives, unlike too many conservatives, do not turn into whimpering blobs of quivering gel every time something bad happens in this world.
(Addendum: A list of attacks on abortion providers going back to 1976.)


clown carThere was an odd moment during the last Republican debate. Just one? Well, this one was mostly missed, though it jumped out to me. John Kasich said, “I was on Morning Joe at a town hall, and a young student stood up and said, ‘Can I still be idealistic?'” It was odd because, first, does any real person talk like that? Maybe so, but the second oddity is Kasich trying to appeal to young voters, because that hasn’t exactly been his strength lately.
During a recent town hall at the University of Richmond, Kasich had students behind him where they could appear on camera, but getting him to take a student’s question was evidently a lower priority. When finally he called on a student, before she could ask her question, he decided to anticipate her question by saying “I’m sorry, I don’t have any Taylor Swift concert tickets.” Sure, because what else might a young adult be interested in? No need to take my word for it that she felt patronized. Take hers.

The older members of the audience chuckled as my friends’ jaws dropped to the floor. It was astonishingly clear that Gov. Kasich did not come to Richmond for my vote.

While the lectures were condescending, the real issue was that Kasich chose not to listen to students in his forum. Most of the questions came from older members of the community, many vocalizing their support of Kasich before throwing him a softball question. Kasich barreled through a Planned Parenthood question, dismissing the young woman who posed it, and derided me when I had the audacity to raise my hand. Kasich came to Richmond to pander to retired Republicans. He could gain points by belittling me and my peers, so that’s what he did.
What continues to strike me is the hypocrisy of his condescension. He touted his ambitious energy as an 18-year-old man, but as soon as I, an 18-year-old woman, exhibited ambition, I became the target of his joke. The same passion that drove Kasich to speak with President Nixon drove me to ask the candidate a question I care deeply about.

This is the candidate touting that a student asked him a question about idealism? The reason Kasich would say that in the debate is obvious. He’s trying to signal to Republicans that he can address their problem with younger voters because they respond to him. Well, looks like “respond” can be negative as well as positive.


Invited Guest Commentary

by Invenium Viam on October 25, 2015 · 1 comment

Movie Review: Suffragette

Betty Folliard

Betty Folliard is a former state legislator, founder of ERA Minnesota and Executive Producer and host of A Woman’s Place ( on AM950Radio.

by Betty Folliard


I recently saw the sneak preview of the movie “Suffragette” with a friend (soon to open in Minnesota on November 6th). The film is a powerful call to action.


Seeing the hardships women endured and the fight it took over many decades just to secure the right for women to vote – let alone to be treated with justice – made me once again grateful for those who took up the cause. The film also make people acutely aware that our struggle for equality is unfinished.


There is no constitutional protection against gender-based discrimination in our constitution. Religion, race, national origin, and even guns are all “suspect classifications” afforded strict scrutiny under the law, but gender is missing from that list.


An Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) would protect Americans from the whims of Congress. Without this constitutional protection, all of our piecemeal laws dealing with discrimination on the basis of gender are nails without a hammer.


Contrary to public belief, the ERA did not pass last century. Minnesota ratified the ERA, but the effort fell three states short of passage before an arbitrary deadline took effect scuttling the momentum. Now there is a renewed effort to pass the ERA. Seven of ten Minnesota congressional members are co-authors of legislation to remove the sunset on the ERA. Only three more states need to ratify the ERA to finally embed it in our federal constitution. If you live in districts represented by Congressmen John Kline, Tom Emmer, or Erik Paulsen, ask your congressman to sign onto HJRes51. At the state level, ERA Minnesota activists from every corner of the state will push a state constitutional amendment that mirrors the federal ERA, alongside our resolution to Congress to remove the sunset on the ERA – an effort which passed through the Senate 55-6 this year.


Take action. Ask the question of our presidential candidates: If elected, will they champion the ERA?.


Then take more action. The next Minnesota Legislative session begins on International Women’s Day – March 8th. This is an unique opportunity to highlight the unfinished business of pay inequity, violence against women, pregnancy discrimination and laws that unequally discriminate against men – all the issues that will be addressed by an ERA into our constitution. ERA Minnesota will be there that day in numbers too big to ignore. Help us make equality a reality.


Suffragists drafted the ERA amendment in 1921. See the film. Join the fray.

Comment below fold.

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