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Michigan House Leader Silences Rep Lisa Brown for Using Word 'Vagina' on House Floor | Cave Art May Be Neanderthal

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The Panel of Hands at El Castillo cave in northern Spain. The hand stencils are dated at 37,300 years old, the disk is at least 40,600 years old. (Image courtesy of Pedro Saura. / June 14, 2012)Using a new method of dating antiquities and artifacts, a large group of independent scientists have dated hand stencils in Spain to be as much as 10,000 years older than previously-dated cave art in France. Believing that the art is nearly 41,000 years old and coincident with the evolution of modern humans from Neanderthals, researchers conclude that it’s possible that the cave paintings could be associated with Neanderthals, writes the LA Times.

NPR adds to the discussion:

Archaeologist Joao Zilhao from the University of Barcelona is part of the team that did the work. He says his gut tells him it’s Neanderthal art.

“We can’t be 100 percent certain that they did it,” Zilhao says. “I think that there is a strong probability. My point is the evidence for symbolic behavior among the Neanderthals already exists.”

Neanderthals did perform ritual burials. They made decorative beads and other ornaments. Pike also notes that DNA evidence now suggests that modern humans and Neanderthals interbred.

Related reading: Study: Neanderthals Wore Jewelry and Makeup NPR

France: 37,000-year-old ‘vulva art’ Global Post

Scientists believe that 37,000 years ago, the vulva was sacred — at least in wall art discovered in the south of France. Today in America, not only is the word vulva or vagina considered to be pornographic, it is a banned word in the Republican War on Women.I

Michigan Silences Women Legislators

The Spittin’ Sisters of Women who are also legislators sent messages loud and clear about their opposition to Michigan’s massive omnibus abortion bill that passed the House by a 70-39 vote on Wednesday. The Michigan Senate is not expected to take up the three-bill package until September.

In one of the more dynamic moments in the debate, State Rep Lisa Brown was prohibited from speaking on the House floor Thursday, after ending a speech in the video above with the word vagina. Brown stated that her Orthodox Jewish faith mandated that abortion be the right of any mother needing one to save her life.

“I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina, but ‘no’ means ‘no,’ ” said Brown, D-West Bloomfield.

State Rep. Barb Byrum, D-Onondaga, also wasn’t recognized to speak Thursday for a disturbance she caused on the House floor Wednesday when the GOP majority wouldn’t allow her to propose a ban on men getting a vasectomy unless the sterilization procedure was necessary to save a man’s life, writes the Detroit Free Press.

Yesterday’s consideration that the Catholic bishops’ hierarchy hire someone to soften the messages in their assault against American women and Catholic nuns on behalf of fertilized eggs begs the question of whether they understand at all the depth of anger turning against them. Sugar-coating their agenda surely won’t stop the hatred that is building against the bishops among many American women.

Democrats Retain Arizona's Gabby Giffords' Seat | American Nuns at Vatican | Catholic Bishops Defeated in ND

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Then-representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) with Ron Barber in Tucson, Jan. 23, 2012. (Matt York / AP Photos)Democrats held their Arizona House seat in the special election to replace former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords with a win much larger than expected. Ron Barber, one of 13 people injured in the Tucson gun shots rampage that also severely injured Giffords, won his seat in an Arizona district that leans Republican.

Barber beat 30-year-old Tea Party Republican and former Iraq-serving Marine Jesse Kelly, who also lost to Giffords in 2010. The two will face off again in November. The Daily Beast writes:

Kelly, who in his earlier race against Giffords sought to diminish Social Security and Medicare, was endorsed by the controversial ALIPAC, an immigration PAC associated in news reports with extremism. In his first campaign, Kelly played to gun lovers, posing in camouflage gear and raising money by shooting a machine gun with donors who ponied up $50 each.

In his second campaign, Kelly changed his image to family man and Republican businessman who would grow the economy and kill Obamacare. He posed in ads with his grandfather, vowing to preserve Social Security and Medicare.

Busy Bishops Update

LCWR President Sister Pat Farrell and executive director Janet Mock at the Vatican yesterday. Both sides in the discord between American nuns and the Vatican described yesterday’s talks in Rome as open and cordial. But the Vatican wasted no time in reiterating that it expects the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) to change its way to energetically promote church doctrine “as Faithfully taught through the ages”, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The Vatican charges that the LCWR has been “silent” on those issues that are most important to the church leadership: abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality and the ordination of women.

The LCWR has received an overwhelming demonstration of support from ordinary Catholics, theologians and many religious orders who praised the work of American nuns in helping the poor and sick and educating millions of youngsters.

Related reading:

Franciscan friars back American nuns in Vatican spat USA Today

Are Catholic bishops abandoning nonpartisanship in contraception battle? LA Times

Religious freedom measure soundly defeated Grand Forks Herald


Republican Waddell Defends VA's Women's Strife Force PAC | Americans' Net Worth Pummets 

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Families’ median net worth fell nearly 40% between 2007 and 2010, plummeting to levels last seen in 1992, the Federal Reserve said in a report issued today. Writes WSJ:

Median net worth of families fell to $77,300 in 2010 from $126,400 in 2007, a drop of 38.8%–the largest drop since the current survey began in 1989, Fed economists said Monday. Net worth represents the difference between a family’s gross assets and its liabilities. Average net worth fell 14.7% during the same three-year period.

The drop was driven in large part by the collapse of the housing market, leaving home owners with a median home equity of $75,000 in 2010, down from $110,000 in 2007.

Family incomes were also hard-hit with a drop in median family income to $45,800 in 2010 from $49,600 in 2007. Average income fell 11.1% to $78,500, down from $88,300.

Meanwhile, families worked to drive down their level of debt. Fewer families reported having debt of any kind in 2010 than three years earlier: 74.9% of families had some sort of debt in 2010, down from 77%. However, among families with some kind of debt in 2010, the median value of their debt was unchanged from three years earlier and the fraction of families with debt payments larger than 40% of their income remained nearly constant. Read on at WSJ.

Related: Bye bye McMansions. Hello renting and downsizing. That’s the main message of a new study by the Demand Institute division of the US Conference Board. 

Forbes contributor Males Poulos writes an excellent piece Memo to Mitt Romney and Barack Obama: Neither Sector is “Doing Fine”.

Women’s Strike Force: New Girl in Town

In late March, AOC reported on the amazing success of the newly-formed Virginia Women’s Strike Force PAC, formed after the debacle of VA’s proposed vaginal ultrasound bill, with the singular purpose of electing pro-choice candidates.

The Richmond Times Dispatch jumped on Strikeforce in late May, saying that while it claims to be bi-partisan, the group is really a who’s who of Democratic activists: Mame Reilley, a Democratic consultant who chaired the women’s caucus for the Democratic National Convention; Leslie Byrne, a former Democratic member of Congress; Kristen Amundsen, a Democratic state lawmaker from Mount Vernon; former Democratic Del. Robin Abbott; and more.

Republican Katherine Waddell, President of the Women’s Strike Force has called out the Richmond Times Dispatch, sharing not only her Republican credentials but a long list of Republicans who have joined Democrats and Independents in creating campaign coffers for pro-choice VA politicians.

Waddell has been a Virginia Republican for many years, serving as a  State Central Member, Virginia Federation of Republican Women for many years. WSF also boasts the support of outstanding former Virginia leaders Panny Rhodes, Jim Dillard, Bob Bloxom, Mary Helen Morgan and Jan Schar, writes Waddell.

Women’s Strike Force is a bi-partisan PAC that will recruit and support Republicans, Democrats and Independents, men and women who favor women’s reproductive rights. The WSF mission is to defeat Virginia state legislators who voted in favor of trans-vaginal ultrasound and personhood bills.

The Republican War on Women — with the help of select Democrats — has forgotten that both Republicans and Democrats have been unified for women’s reproductive rights for four decades. Simply stated, the girls are fighting back — and across party lines.