Late Night Open Thread: If It’s Good for the Goose…

Not that the bill will pass, but major props to State Rep. Stacey Newman. Per the STLMag website:

Missouri is home to some of the strictest requirements on abortion in the U.S., including a 72-hour waiting period and mandatory, state-directed counseling.

Missouri is also home to some disturbingly high gun crime rates. St. Louis and Kansas City each rank in the top 10 U.S. cities with the highest rates of gun violence, and a recent report showed that toddlers shot more people in Missouri than in any other state.

A new bill from State Rep. Stacey Newman attempts to tackle Missouri’s gun violence problem by applying the restrictions placed on women seeking abortion services to all prospective firearm purchasers, such as a requirement that anyone buying a gun first watch a 30-minute video on fatal firearm injuries.

“Since Missouri holds the rank as one of the strictest abortion regulation states in the country, it is logical we borrow similar restrictions to lower our horrific gun violence rates,” Newman said in a statement.

The bill, pre-filed Tuesday for the 2016 session, is doomed to die in Missouri’s Republican-controlled legislature, something that Newman knows perfectly well…

If we truly insist that Missouri cares about ‘all life’, then we must take immediate steps to address our major cities rising rates of gun violence,” Newman said. “Popular proposals among voters, including universal background checks and restricting weapons from abuser and convicted felons, are consistently ignored each session. Since restrictive policies regarding a constitutionally protected medical procedure are the GOP’s legislative priority each year, it makes sense that their same restrictions apply to those who may commit gun violence. Our city mayors and law enforcement drastically need help in saving lives.”

Full details at the link.

Now Can We Blame Political Rhetoric and Easy Access to Guns?

Ok, concern trolls, we now know that Robert Deer, who shot up and attempted to blow up and PP and stated “no more body parts” upon arrest wasn’t a transgendered leftist, and believed the following:

But in court documents and interviews with people who knew Mr. Dear well, a picture emerges of an angry and occasionally violent man who seemed deeply disturbed and deeply contradictory: He was a man of religious conviction who sinned openly, a man who craved both extreme solitude and near-constant female company, a man who successfully wooed women but, some of them say, also abused them. He frequented marijuana websites, then argued with other posters, often through heated religious screeds.


A number of people who knew Mr. Dear said he was a staunch abortion opponent, though another ex-wife, Pamela Ross, said that he did not obsess on the subject. After his arrest, Mr. Dear said “no more baby parts” to investigators, a law enforcement official said.

One person who spoke with him extensively about his religious views said Mr. Dear, who is 57, had praised people who attacked abortion providers, saying they were doing “God’s work.” In 2009, said the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of concerns for the privacy of the family, Mr. Dear described as “heroes” members of the Army of God, a loosely organized group of anti-abortion extremists that has claimed responsibility for a number of killings and bombings.

Now can we point out that irresponsible rhetoric from politicians ranting and raving about baby parts and abortion and Planned Parenthood might have contributed to his murderous spree? Is it still too soon? Just tell me when you feel comfortable. I don’t want to rush you.

Jesus fucking christ, I am so sick of the sniveling horseshit from people every time some lunatic is prodded into doing something evil. It’s a gigantic hoocoodanode, ain’t it? How were we supposed to know that this might cause problems:

During the second Republican presidential debate on 16 September, Fiorina made a sharp impact when she said: “As regards Planned Parenthood, anyone who has watched this videotape, I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama to watch these tapes. Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says ‘We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain’.”

If you continue to believe that kind of political rhetoric had no impact on this and other previous murders, you’re as full of shit as Fiorina but don’t have the balls to go all in like she does.

Blind Science Trials

It’s pretty weird how that whole theocratic crushing of ideas thing kicks in for Republican Conservative Champions Of Free Speech whenever the subject turns to a woman’s reproductive system.

University of Missouri doctoral student plans to continue research for her dissertation on the effects of the state’s recently imposed 72-hour waiting period for abortions, despite a state legislator’s push to block the research, the student told Al Jazeera in an exclusive interview.

“I stand by my research project,” Lindsay Ruhr said Wednesday. “I feel that my research is objective, and that the whole point of my research is to understand how this policy affects women. Whether this policy is having a harmful or beneficial effect, we don’t know.”

State Sen. Kurt Schaefer, a Republican from Columbia, Missouri, who chairs the Missouri state senate’s interim Committee on the Sanctity of Life, sent a letter in late October to the University of Missouri calling Ruhr’s dissertation “a marketing aid for Planned Parenthood — one that is funded, in part or in whole, by taxpayer dollars,” according to a copy of the letter posted to Schaefer called for the university to hand over documents regarding the project’s approval and said that, because the University of Missouri is a public university, it should not fund research that he said would promote elective abortions. Missouri law prohibits the use of public funds to promote non-life-saving abortions.

“We are still in the process of responding to Sen. Schaefer’s request for documents,” Mary Jenkins, public relations manager for University of Missouri Health, said Wednesday in an email. Schaefer did not respond to Al Jazeera’s multiple interview requests.

Now, let’s break this down here because there’s a national theater chain’s worth of projection going on.  First, let’s pause to contemplate that Missouri’s state senate actually has an interim Committee on the Sanctity of Life.  Is this going to be a permanent thing in the future? Will this committee mobilize in case Springfield is attacked by extra-dimensional beings dedicated to drawing silly mustaches on all life, ruining its sanctity? I’d like to know.

Second, let’s have a discussion of just how much Christian Taliban fascism garbage that’s packed into this story here. Republicans have long stated that waiting periods, required counseling, forced ultrasounds, etc. before abortions are to be allowed are good for women and change societal behavior in a way that positively affects people, in particular how women act (and please put aside the notion that Republicans think women are broken, stupid creatures that constantly need vaginal guidance, that is.)

Somebody finally decided to take that theory, which is a testable theory, and decided to research and test that theory scientifically as part of a doctoral research project at a university, so far so good.  But instead of even waiting for the findings, Sen. Schaefer is effectively saying that research cannot even be done on this subject because it might support the notion that women may be harmed by all these restrictions.

Then you have to make the jump that research that might show women are harmed by abortion restrictions are automatically promotion of  abortion itself, and that doing the research at a public university is automatically promotion of abortion. Finally you have to make a massive, rocket-assisted leap in microgravity conditions to reach the notion that a state legislative body has the power to effectively censor a university doctoral thesis that hasn’t even been completed yet.

I mean, we’re all aware that religious fanatics will go to extraordinary lengths to control a woman’s body here, but this is super bonus hyper bonkers mode even for these guys.

But nobody should be surprised.

Nutpicking Can Be Fun…

…until you realize that these guys, were they to be nominated, would get 45% of the vote just for showing up.

But still, some mid – day recreation, first from the kiddie table:

In a fundraising email flagged by The Washington Post’s Dave Weigel on Thursday, the Republican candidate bragged about his ability to take on “radical world leaders.”

Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 1.33.20 PM

Damn, women can be pretty terrifying, eh, Ricky my boy?

Alright.  I admit that the closest Santorum is going to get to anything oval will be if he sits on a hula hoop, but still, that’s a Republican former senator who made an actual impact, for a time, on the presidential race as recently as four years ago.  That he’s not been gently, kindly escorted off stage in a nicely padded and very secure topcoat is a measure of how batshit insane half of the American body political has become.


But not as terrifying a measure as the current status of our next contributor:

Carson also defended the idea Wednesday evening when asked by reporters about it.

“The pyramids were made in a way that they had hermetically sealed compartments. You wouldn’t need hermetically sealed compartments for a sepulcher. You would need that if you were trying to preserve grain for a long period of time,” he said, according to MSNBC.

The only consolation I can take from the fact that the current GOP frontrunner doesn’t want you to pay any attention to that stupid archaeology stuff is that it isn’t just climate expertise he disdains. He’s an equal opportunity science denialist.

OK.  That’s no consolation at all.

I’d point and laugh — but then you’d see my own terror in the trembling of my finger tip.

Seriously:  that people like Santorum and Carson matter even momentarily in a presidential race is more than just a measure of GOP pathology.  It’s a sign of its own version of endtimes.  I think I want to save the full thumbsucker for another post, but the derangement of so much of the electorate (Houston voters freak out over even the remote possibility of a penis in a women’s bathroom?!) is not just-a-once-every-four-years freak show.  It’s not even on some level political, or not entirely so.  The world is apocaplyptically misbehaving for a lot of folks, and Carson and Santorum are as much as anything the straws in the wind of that much greater dislocation.

And with that, I’m galumphing into dread pundit territory.  Run away! (and talk amongst yourselves).

Image:  Antonio Parreiras, The crazy man from Chevillat, 1920.

ETA: Perhaps I went a little overboard on the categories. Ah well….

ETA 2:  OK, for readability porpoises, just removed some categories.  Killjoys.

Who You Gonna Believe?

Stanford University, or your own lyin’ eyes?

Interesting story in yesterday’s Times on a divorce case at Stanford’s business school that cracked open a window on the question of gender discrimination at the school and at the Hoover Institute, the right-wing academic bolus hawked up onto Leland Jr.’s farm.

Much huffing and puffing by Stanford’s administration about how no policies were broken and that there’s nothing really to see here but some unwritten rules that might need to be written down (you think?):

John Etchemendy, Stanford’s provost, would not discuss the claims about the business school and Hoover in detail. He said that Stanford had hired separate outside investigators and that neither had found systemic discrimination. But he acknowledged “weaknesses in management” and said they were being addressed.


That’s very nicely weaseled, if I do say so as a connoisseur of the “oh-sh*t, reporters!” dodge-and-weave.  But the true delectable in this mess in response to the reports of the unpleasantness of being female amonst the Hoovers.  Here’s the gist of the complaint:

At the Hoover Institution, which has been a haven for former Reagan and Bush administration figures including George P. Shultz and Condoleezza Rice, a departing employee wrote a seven-page letter to Mr. Etchemendy detailing a “dysfunctional” atmosphere of “cronyism” in early 2013. That spurred Stanford to begin an investigation.

Hoover has 181 full-time employees, more than half of them women, but the research and senior fellows are overwhelmingly men. A new director at Hoover started last month.

The investigation faulted Hoover’s leadership for not casting a net wide enough to bring in new faces. One cultural problem, it said, was membership by Hoover’s leaders in the Bohemian Club, an all-male private club in San Francisco that dates to 1872.

Those of you familiar with San Francisco’s secret history — or Armistaud Maupin’s Tales of the City series — may know about the Bohemian Club, by the way.  It’s both an intriguing example of the oddities to which the rich and powerful subject themselves and a type specimen of the hidden networks through which the 1% exert power.  But that aside, savor this bit of exculpatory reasoning from Stanford’s chief counsel:

Ms. [Debra] Zumwalt cautioned against reading too much into the Hoover report’s conclusions.

Just because the majority of women interviewed felt that it was not always a respectful workplace, she said, “that does not mean that it was not a respectful workplace.”

Oh, counsellor!  I know you’ve got a job to do — but is that all you’ve got?!  #WeakSauce, I’d say.

Snark over:  anyone who labors under the misapprehension that the United States is an equal-opportunity meritocracy isn’t paying attention.  But you  knew that.  Which is reason ∞ why, whatever the failings of the donkey party, there is a difference between a party that explicitly acknowledges that sad fact, and one that denies the plain evidence of their own lyin’ eyes.

 Image:  Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, In the Cafe, 1898.

Open Thread: Mind The Gap, Ladies

So, about that “non-existent” gender pay gap because women refuse to get competitive degrees in high-paying fields…


If only more women had MBAs and had years of relevant work experience rather than getting degrees like MBAs and having years of relevant work experience, I’m sure they would make just as much money as men, right guys?

Open thread.

Please Proceed, House Republicans

With Orange Julius on the way out, the conventional wisdom is that the nutjobs will be sated long enough to get some long-term funding deals done and to get America out of “lurching from GOP-created crisis to GOP-created crisis” mode. I’m not buying that simply because when you reward bullies, they don’t back down. But if House Republicans really do want to shut the government down this week over Planned Parenthood, they’re not going to have very much support.

Nearly seven in 10 Americans — 69 percent — oppose shutting down the government over funding for Planned Parenthood, according to the results of a new national Quinnipiac University poll released Monday.

Just 23 percent support closing the government over the dispute. Even among Republicans, a majority of 56 percent to 36 percent opposes a shutdown due to Planned Parenthood.

At the same time, 44 percent to 39 percent said they had a favorable opinion of Planned Parenthood, with a significant gender gap. Among women, 50 percent to 35 percent approve of the group, while men disapprove, 43 percent to 38 percent.

But as far as cutting off funding to the group, 52 percent said they would oppose doing so, compared with 41 percent who supported such an action. Women opposed such an action by a wide margin — 60 percent to 34 percent — while men responding to the survey supported an end to federal funding 49 percent to 44 percent.

Not even Republicans want to shut down the government over Planned Parenthood at this point.  Well, Republican men do, but that’s it.  We’ll see where it goes, but this is a fight the GOP has already lost.