Cowardly Culture Warrior Mitch Daniels Makes His Move

When Mitch Daniels said he wanted to end the culture wars, he meant start one:

Republican Governor Mitch Daniels released a statement Friday afternoon saying he will sign legislation stripping federal funds from Planned Parenthood in Indiana, the first state to make such a move.

“We do around 500 pap tests a week,” Indiana Planned Parenthood President Betty Cockrum told TPM in an interview earlier on Friday. “We will be making phone calls to Medicaid patients all over the state and telling them, either you have to pay for that pap test out of pocket, or you need to find someone else who can take you as a Medicaid patient. We can’t do it anymore.”

There are 28 Planned Parenthood centers in the state. Almost 60 percent of patients seen last year were living under the poverty line.

We just had a two year long debate that started with the premise that we needed to expand access to health care. Republicans are now launching an effort to close existing, affordable health care clinics, state by state. Paul Ryan’s plan will throw millions of current Medicaid recipients off Medicaid. We’re going backwards.

The Republican health care plans are designed to make certain fewer people have access to affordable health care. Did the people who voted for these guys know that Repeal and Replace meant “repeal the existing health care system”? I don’t believe they did.

I love the Friday night release of his bold and principled statement, by the way. I think I prefer culture warriors who are out in the open about it.

Live dispatches from the Royal Wedding


Note: What with Donald Trump behaving like David Duke and the many terrible tornado deaths, I feel a little guilty joking about anything.

However, as some fine young women once sang “Some Days You Gotta Dance”. On with the badinage.

9.52am BST – Well, my little carbuncles, I’m finally seated in the Abbey after being patted down for twenty minutes by a most obliging young Pakistani policeman. I haven’t had that much fun in months.

I was a little sad that he took my little Beretta away, even though I explained that I was a trained marksman and might need it if any revolutionary outrages were to be perpetrated during the ceremony. He was lovely though, and said he would put it somewhere safe and I could pick it up before I went to the lunchtime reception at the Palace, just in case Camilla got out of hand. Which was nice.

On my way in I was screamed at hysterically by several young women who apparently thought I was Tara Palmer-Tomkinson. It must be because the monkey-gland facial I had on the plane coming over made my nose go all wonky. The poor dear has had so many years of chronic cocaine abuse she can barely breathe without a short length of Louis Vuitton-branded hosepipe up each nostril, and with me in this new wig we look like twins.

The atmosphere in London is quite extraordinary, what with the street parties and the bunting and the crowds of nylon-clad chavs waving flags to celebrate the fact that a bunch of elitist wankers with no chins can spend more on a wedding cake than any of them will earn in their entire life. As a result, I admit that I’m quite excited to be here, even though I would normally be in sympathy with the 75% of London residents who are apparently cowering in their homes with the music turned up loud pretending the whole thing isn’t happening.

You may have read that the police are using special signal-blocking technology to stop the punters tweeting or calling from inside the Abbey. Never fear, I didn’t work in the CIA for 42 years and not learn a few things about sneaking information past the officialdom of third world countries. I’m carefully concealing my iPad under the most gorgeous stole made of dead badgers. It looks a bit like Robin Williams’ wedding night, but I think it’s fooled the police so far.

I’m sitting next to that nice Gareth Thomas, the rugby player – real football, dears, not that padded-up excuse for a game Americans play. I must say that William and Skinny Kate do appear to like their gays, what with Gareth and Elton and Edward and that young Australian swimmer in the pearls. There’s even a whole group of queens in dresses up at the front of the South Nave.

Just minute, dears.

Oh. Really? Gareth is telling me that the men in dresses are actually Archbishops and Cardinals and suchlike. Who’d have thought that Cardinal Brady would look better in a beaded Givenchy gown and Jimmy Choo pumps than I do?

10 am – Bear with me for a minute, dears. I’ve just spotted an empty seat next to that lovely David Beckham and I’m going to nip over for a minute to chat him up.

10.05am – How embarrassing. I’d been sitting chatting to David about his balls for a few minutes before I noticed the muffled squeaking coming from somewhere underneath me and realised the seat wasn’t empty and that I’d been sitting on little Vicky Beckham. I offered her a breath mint to make amends. She accepted, even if she did put half of it away for later. A girl has to watch what she eats.

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The truth is out there

Goddammit. I post a righteous <a href=””>rant</a> about the world thinking Americans are all insane and then half an hour later the entire United States goes stark raving birther-mad just to prove me correct.

Anyway, it was the 5th of August 1961.

Keith and I had been in Nairobi undermining the more moderate sections of the Kenyan independence movement because Jack Kennedy wanted to piss off the British. It didn’t take much work in those days – either to undermine the more moderate sections of African politics or to piss off the British. Death of Empire and all that.

We’d had a very successful couple of weeks, but it finally came time for us to leave. This pleased me no end, not least because Nairobi was a pustular, pestilent shit-hole that even the Brits didn’t want. Dust, dirt, disease and not a decent bar in the entire place.

We arrived at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport mid morning. Well, it was called an international airport but frankly it was just a room with one desk with two angry black men behind it which served for both ticket sales and check in. There was a goat tied near the door which they used to hitch to a cart for moving the luggage to the plane.

We lined up next to the goat to check in. I immediately noticed the young couple at the desk in front of us because they were a mixed race couple – he was black and she was white – which was still quite unusual at that time. He was trying to book airline tickets all the way through to Hawaii, which was causing untold confusion, while she was fussing over the most adorable tiny brown baby. It had huge ears, but a lovely smile. She kept calling the baby Barack, which I remember because I thought it an odd name.

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Voting Controversy: Right or Privilege? Opinions Vary

Conservative leader makes inadvertent admission, then retracts:

Minnesota state House Speaker Kurt Zellers (R), who is strongly pushing for passage of a voter ID law, has now backed away from comments he made in a radio appearance on Wednesday — when he said of the act of voting: “I think it’s a privilege, it’s not a right.”

“When you go to even a Burger King or a McDonald’s and use your debit card, they’ll ask you to see your ID,” Zellers said during a late-night interview, the Star Tribune reports. “Should we have to do that when we vote, something that is one of the most sacred — I think it’s a privilege, it’s not a right. Everybody doesn’t get it, because if you go to jail or if you commit some heinous crime your rights are taken away. This is a privilege.”

His personal opinion on voting is interesting, in terms of understanding the conservative soul, but here’s the text:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

“I think it’s a privilege not a right” and “This is a privilege” are extremely definitive statements to make in error, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he now knows voting is a right.

Now that he’s learned voting is a right, I’d like to ask this conservative leader why he compared voting to a private commercial transaction in a fast food restaurant. Because using a debit card isn’t a right, and driving a car isn’t a right, nor is purchasing alcohol or cashing a check or any of the other ridiculous examples conservatives and media use when they’re trying to change public opinion and perception and present voting as a privilege rather than a right. They’re still wrong. Voting is a right, so a comparison to commercial transactions or any random privilege is inaccurate. It’s a poor comparison. Yet, conservatives and media persist in disseminating these misleading comparisons.

In any event, A brand new voter suppression law in Minnesota won’t stop the accusations from conservatives that voters and others are breaking the law. I know this because Ohio passed a voter ID law well prior to the 2006 elections, and nothing changed. Conservatives and media promoted the voter fraud lie in Ohio all through the 2008 election, after passage of Ohio’s voter ID law.

Passage of the law made no difference at all. The ID provisions made no difference at all. The completely unsubstantiated accusations that voters were breaking the law continued.

Voter fraud is like birtherism. No matter how many documents the voter presents, no matter how many hoops the targeted voter jumps through, conservatives and media will continue to launch and promote this completely baseless attack, because repeating the accusation over and over and over is the whole point of the exercise. They’ll repeat it until it sticks to the voters who are the target of the attacks, voter ID law or no voter ID law.

Here’s an excellent primer on the politics of voter fraud accusations (pdf)

We’re off to see the lizard

Hello, my dears.

Great excitement and surprise at Shady Pines today, as I have finally received my invitation to the royal wedding next Friday.

In order to be entirely accurate, I should say that everyone else is excited and surprised. Marge is running around burbling about how beautiful Diana is, and the other girls have already started engaging in blatant bribery with spirits and pharmaceuticals in order that they might be chosen as my “plus one”.

I’m not surprised, given that I phoned Betty Saxe-Coburg-Gotha at Buckingham Palace last week and mentioned that I was a little put out that Elton Fucking John and that cadaverous bint Vicky Beckham received their invitations before I did. A few passing references to the special services I provided to Stupid George during the war and certain information about Paris road underpasses that Betty really doesn’t want leaking out, and before you could say “overprivileged inbred hereditary bloodsuckers” a nice little man in full livery was standing on the front doorstep of Shady Pines, panting and clutching an envelope.

Excited is probably also an overstatement. It will be nice to have an excuse to visit Harvey Nicks and Harrods, and Westminster always looks so lovely when it’s done up for a wedding, but it’s really just another chance for Phil the Greek to try to get into my pants. I’ve been dealing with him since 1952 and frankly it does get a little wearing fending off the racist old git’s wandering fingers.

Even worse, I then find out that Big Red Sarah isn’t even invited, and she’s the only member of the family I can actually stand for more than five minutes at a time. Perhaps I’ll call her and tell her that she can come with me. That will put a badger up Betty’s monogrammed knickers.

It all puts me in mind of the week before Diana and Charles got married. We were at Windsor, and I was sitting having breakfast with Betty. Charles was off communing with his cabbages, and the two of us were watching Diana up the other end of the table trying to eat her bacon with a spoon while taking the occasional sip out of the salt cellar. Betty said something about calling the wedding off because she didn’t want a vacuous moron marrying into the family. I seem to recall I asked her why she would want to break with a centuries old tradition, which made Betty cross for some reason.

Anyway, young Ms Middleton seems like a nice enough thing, even if she does look a bit like a constipated horse at an all-you-can-eat apple buffet.

A fairytale wedding of the balding and increasingly plain heir to the throne to a commoner with an eating disorder and a mad father, coupled with the frenetic attention of the British tabloids and the pathetic hopes of the British public for a happy ending.

How on earth could anything go wrong?

[Cross-posted as usual at Sarah, Proud and Tall.]