Miley Cyrus and the issues of slut-shaming and racial condescension

Clinton Yates over at the Washington Post:

Her bawdy performance, that featured Miley and other dancers twerking on stage, drew criticism as lewd, grotesque and shameful. MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski went so far as to say Cyrus “is obviously deeply troubled, deeply disturbed, clearly has confidence issues, probably eating disorder,” on Morning Joe Monday. But what exactly is so disturbing about Miley Cyrus?

It seems that we still can’t handle what it’s like for a young woman to be able to perform, as she chooses, without layering in a heavy helping of insults as well.

Screw people for telling a 20-year-old that she can’t be who she wants to be. Who in the world wouldn’t like to go out on the edge of what their current life and existence is, and play around?

Miley has the guts and the privilege to do whatever she wants and be whomever she wants. She doesn’t tell you how to live your life, she sings and dances. And of all the crap going on in the world, you’re going to get pissed at her for it?

Here are a few quotes I tweeted that I find relevant:

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.E. E. Cummings

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.T. S. Eliot

If you are not afraid of the voices inside of you, you will not fear the critics outside of you.Natalie Goldberg

I did yesterday what they wouldn’t, so today I can accomplish what they can’t.The Rock

 

Cumulus planning to drop Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity

Rush LimbaughThis is a big deal and a nice scoop for Politico:

In a major shakeup for the radio industry, Cumulus Media, the second-biggest broadcaster in the country, is planning to drop both Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity from its stations at the end of the year, an industry source told POLITICO on Sunday.

 

Limbaugh will be losing WABC in New York, his home station for the past 25 years, and nearly 7% of all of his stations in total. My understanding of this is that this stems from the infamous Sandra Fluke scandal. Neither Limbaugh nor Hannity are drawing enough advertisers to make their shows worth the cost to Cumulus any longer.

Things America does that really piss me off

CIA operatives pretended to be health care workers in Pakistan providing polio vaccinations in order to gather intelligence on the location of Osama bin Laden, and intentionally didn’t properly give the vaccination to children and adults because they literally didn’t care about helping anyone:

What Dr. Afridi actually did was concoct a pretextual vaccination program, whereby Pakistani children would be injected with a single Hepatitis B vaccine, with the hope of gaining access to the Abbottabad house where the CIA believed bin Laden was located. The plan was that, under the ruse of vaccinating the children in that province, he would obtain DNA samples that could confirm the presence in the suspected house of the bin Laden family. But the vaccine program he was administering was fake: as Wired‘s public health reporter Maryn McKenna detailed, “since only one of three doses was delivered, the vaccination was effectively useless.” An on-the-ground Guardian investigation documented that “while the vaccine doses themselves were genuine, the medical professionals involved were not following procedures. In an area called Nawa Sher, they did not return a month after the first dose to provide the required second batch. Instead, according to local officials and residents, the team moved on.”

That means that numerous Pakistani children who thought they were being vaccinated against Hepatitis B were in fact left exposed to the virus. Worse, international health workers have long faced serious problems in many parts of the world — including remote Muslim areas — in convincing people that the vaccines they want to give to their children are genuine rather than Western plots to harm them. These suspicions have prevented the eradication of polio and the containment of other preventable diseases in many areas, including in parts of Pakistan. This faux CIA vaccination program will, for obvious and entirely foreseeable reasons, significantly exacerbate that problem.

As McKenna wrote this week, this fake CIA vaccination program was “a cynical attempt to hijack the credibility that public health workers have built up over decades with local populations” and thus “endangered the status of the fraught polio-eradication campaign, which over the past decade has been challenged in majority-Muslim areas in Africa and South Asia over beliefs that polio vaccination is actually a covert campaign to harm Muslim children.”

Buzzfeed’s Andrew Kaczynski:

that’s horrible and even more so that information has been left out of the several books I’ve read detailing the raid.

I realize this news is old by now, but the fact that it’s been consistently ignored by the American media and left out of apparently every single book recounting the killing of bin Laden, it’s something that needs to be regularly repeated so that Americans understand the true cost of what this country did.

Leaked report shows high civilian death toll from CIA drone strikes

The United States has consistently claimed only a tiny number of non-combatants have been killed in drone attacks in Pakistan – despite research by the Bureau and others suggesting that over 400 civilians may have died in the nine-year campaign.

[..]

Of 746 people listed as killed in the drone strikes outlined in the document, at least 147 of the dead are clearly stated to be civilian victims, 94 of those are said to be children. (Source)

I haven’t kept up on terrorism statistics this year or really over previous years. The only research I ever did in this area was comparing civilians killed by Hamas in Israel, and civilians killed by the Israeli military (usually in Gaza). Best I can recall, the Israeli government killed far more civilians than Hamas did over a 5-10 year period.

To think that the United States has killed more civilians in Pakistan over the past 10 years than Hamas has in Israel is staggering.

Federal judge nixes HHS political interference over contraception pill

A Brooklyn federal judge, in a Friday slap at the Obama administration, ordered the feds to end all age restrictions on sales of the controversial morning-after pill.

The Food and Drug Administration was given 30 days to abide by the ruling from Judge Edward Korman, who blasted U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius in his decision.

The FDA made the right call by approving Plan B for all ages based on sound science and medicine, while HHS did the always wrong thing and overrode based on politics and/or personal morals.

That’s the sort of faith-based governance we got from the Bush administration and it was disappointing when the Obama administration continued that civic malfeasance. It’s a disservice to the people and heartening that the courts are bringing common sense to the table by putting medicine and science before politics and other considerations.

Democrats would win House in a landslide in 2014 without GOP gerrymandering

Have Republicans actually managed to permanently steal the House of Representatives through gerrymandering, which is unconstitutional in the extreme?

Looks like it:

According to a Quinnipiac poll released today, if the election were held today 43 percent of the electorate would support a Democratic U.S. House candidate, as opposed to just 35 percent who would back a Republican. That 8 point lead for Democrats is significantly more than the GOP’s margin of victory during the 2010 Republican wave election (6.6 percent) and even more that the Democratic margin of victory during the 2006 wave (7.9 percent) — when Democrats were bolstered by both an unpopular Republican president and a failing war in Iraq. And yet, if Democrats succeed in maintaining this substantial lead through next year’s congressional election, they will likely emerge with a tiny majority of just 5 seats.

[…]

Indeed, Republican gerrymandering was so successful during the last redistricting cycle that Democrats would likely need to win the national popular vote by more than 7 points in order to win the barest of majorities in the House.

The old rule of thumb based on hundreds of years of election results is that winning 51% or more of the total votes for all House races virtually guaranteed winning a majority of the seats.

Republicans changed that in 2010 and have redrawn districts so politically and so effectively that as TP notes and I’ll put it in reverse, Republicans could lose the popular vote for the House by almost 7 points and still retain a majority of the seats and control of the chamber.

Forget voter fraud, there’s virtually none of that in America. This is election fraud, this is the GOP stealing not just elections, but control of an entire chamber of Congress. Democracy isn’t being threatened by taking away your guns, it’s already been taken away via gerrymandering, and it’s Republicans who stole it from you.

NC GOP looks to cut taxes, increase budget deficit

The state’s personal and corporate income tax rates would gradually decrease under two major tax bills introduced Wednesday by leading Senate Republicans.

Under Senate bill 669, the personal income tax would fall to 4 percent by 2016 for most households, and married couples making less than $12,500 would pay no income tax. The state’s current rate for the top income bracket is 7.75 percent – the highest in the Southeast.

The legislation doesn’t specify any offsetting spending cuts or other revenue increases, so this will increase North Carolina’s budget deficit, making plain and pathetic liars of the Republicans who promised fiscal conservatism and budget sanity in 2010.

Another important thing, new Republican Govenror Pat McRory is already rolling around in the new Raleigh swamp:

Gov. Pat McCrory’s campaign raised $156,394 with the help of nine men and a woman who will take their seats Thursday as his appointees to the state Board of Transportation, according to financial disclosure statements released Wednesday by McCrory’s office.

The Republican culture of corruption is alive and well.

All 22 votes against the Violence Against Women Act were Republican men

From ThinkProgress:

The Violence Against Women Act reauthorization passed through the Senate on Tuesday afternoon, by a vote of 78 to 22. Of those opposing the legislation, all 22 were Republican men. Every female Senator supported the bill.

Among the most notable votes against the bill were Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). Here’s a look at all 22 opponents of VAWA:

Click through to see a picture of all 22 Republicans.

Friends of Fraud

Paul Krugman’s latest op-ed in the Times, on why the GOP is trying to kill a federal agency tasked with protecting consumers and preventing fraud in Big Finance:

How can the G.O.P. be so determined to make America safe for financial fraud, with the 2008 crisis still so fresh in our memory? In part it’s because Republicans are deep in denial about what actually happened to our financial system and economy. On the right, it’s now complete orthodoxy that do-gooder liberals, especially former Representative Barney Frank, somehow caused the financial disaster by forcing helpless bankers to lend to Those People.

In reality, this is a nonsense story that has been extensively refuted; I’ve always been struck in particular by the notion that a Congressional Democrat, holding office at a time when Republicans ruled the House with an iron fist, somehow had the mystical power to distort our whole banking system. But it’s a story conservatives much prefer to the awkward reality that their faith in the perfection of free markets was proved false.

The Undecade

Krugman on the necessity of Republicans to rewrite history to make their agenda viable:

The point about the fake history that expunges the Clinton years is that it turns the budget into a story in which nobody is at fault because everyone is at fault, and the problem is a generic issue of runaway spending. No, it isn’t; we would have come into this crisis with very little debt if the GOP hadn’t always insisted on tax cuts.

It’s revenue, not spending. The party that made “stave the beast” a platform of its campaigns didn’t cut taxes for you, they cut them to unbalance the budget to create a justification for savage cuts.