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Sunday
May062012

Oprah's OWN Financial Headache | Catholic Bishops To Control Catholic Universities | Justice for Marissa Alexander

Daily French Roast

Anne is reading …

Oprah Winfrey admits that she is in the “climb of my life” in her efforts to build OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. Despite her popularity, Oprah’s OWN network attracts less than a 10th of the audience of her syndicated Oprah show.

The focus of OWN’s problems may be on Oprah herself, but Bloomberg Businessweek says that Discovery, half-owner of OWN, has poured at least $585 million into the network and may be forced to write off some of its investment.

Executives were counting on using a library of shows from Discovery Health to keep OWN’s costs low. That backfired, according to the person with direct knowledge of the operation, when programming such as Plastic Surgery: Before & After didn’t appeal to viewers tuning in for Winfrey’s signature mix of uplift and self-empowerment. OWN executives then scrambled to fill 160 hours of weekly airtime with mostly new shows, an unforeseen—and costly—turnabout.

Planned Parenthood Texas Update

A federal appeals court reinstated the order that prevents funding to Planned Parenthood Texas. As reported on AOC, a federal judge in Austin blocked the Texas legislation, citing the “potential for immediate loss of access to necessary medical services by several thousand Texas women.” The state of Texas appealed, claiming “irreparable harm” if the order wasn’t rescinded. On Friday, the US Court of Appeals in New Orleans reinstated the Austin-court injunction, writing that Texas omitted facts that call “into question” its claim of emergency. via Bloomberg Businessweek

DFR: Catholic Identity

Pope Benedict XVI has called on America’s Catholic colleges and universities to employ orthodoxy in theological studies at America’s Catholic colleges and universities and to accept oversight of bishops, writes Catholic News.

The pope emphasized the need for compliance with canon law in the appointment of theology instructors, who are required to possess a “mandate” from the “competent ecclesiastical authority,” ordinarily the local bishop.

The requirement for a mandate was underscored in 1990 by Blessed John Paul II in his apostolic constitution “Ex Corde Ecclesiae,” but many Catholic theology departments in the U.S. have yet to comply.

Stand Your Ground’ Not Working for Marissa Alexander

One is dumbfounded trying to understand the Florida case of Marissa Alexander, a 31-year-old mother of three children, now facing 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot in the ceiling as her abusive husband pursued her.

Alexander had no record before this incident. Her husband Rico Gray had been arrested twice for domestic battery, including an assault against his wife that sent her to the hospital. A protective order was in effect on August 1, 2010 when the incident occurred.

Marissa Alexander had given birth just nine days before the shooting, writes Huff Po. The couple had been married for three months.

If her case isn’t a stand your ground case in Florida law, I don’t know what is. Read on at Huff Po.

Friday
May042012

UniteWomen.org Calls Out PA (R) Congressman Joseph Pitts, Sponsor of HR 358 "Let Women Die" Bill

Joseph Pitts (R) PA

Open Congress Summary: Amends the new health care law so that no federal money could be applied to health insurance plans that cover elective abortions, even if the abortion coverage is paid for entirely with private funds. It also states that a federal agency can not force a health care provider that accepts Medicare or Medicaid to provide abortion services, even in cases when the mother’s life is endangered.

The above need to know about PA (R) Congressman Joseph Pitts is a public service announcement by UniteWomen.org.

MS Magazine wrote about Joseph Pitts and his Catholic bishops-driven vision of women’s rights:

The provision of the amendment that frees hospitals that refuse to perform emergency abortions from even the legal obligation of stabilizing and transferring individuals also creates a direct conflict with the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA), which since 1986 has required them to do so. This “conscience clause” would also overturn the recent Health and Human Services Department decision that requires contraception be covered by insurance at no additional cost.

Based on a recent Catholic survey, conducted by Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice, only about 14% of Catholics support Joe Pitts’ bill as Catholics who refuse to accept abortion under any circumstances. “Another 37 percent said it should be legal in just a few cases, 27 percent said it should be legal in most cases and 21 percent said it should be legal in all cases. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.2 percentage points,” writes PolitiFact.

Just yesterday, Cardinal Dolan admitted that the majority of Catholics don’t stand with his church on not permitting contraception or the demand of Catholic bishops that the Obama contraception mandate compromise infringes on their religious liberty. Listen to Cardinal Dolan at 2:30 on religious freedom.

Even more interesting, listen to Cardinal Dolan talk about Republican attitudes about immigration and substitute dying women in hospitals for immigrant families. With all due respect, I’ll agree that Cardinal Dolan is smooth. But let’s just get all the facts on the table in the Catholic bishops war on women.

The Catholic Church now owns one hospital in six in America. Even without HR 358 American women now are left to die in emergency rooms and not even stabilized, if a needed drug or medical procedure could possibly harm her 1” zygote. Her existing children don’t matter nor does her distraught husband, because SHE has no right to personhood.

We all need to listen to each other and let the voters decide what’s right for the future of our daughters and granddaughters in America. As for contraception, Cardinal Dolan says that the bishops must “get our act together on contraception”. It didn’t sound like the bishops would be bending but rather launching a major new legislative assault on women’s rights to contraception in America.

Is Joe Pitts the Catholic bishops’ man to ban birth control in America?

(R) Congressman Joseph Pitts works for the Catholic bishops and not for the voters of Pennsylvania OR the rights of American women, men and families. Pennsylvanians must FIRE Joseph Pitts at the ballot box in November. Let him become a Catholic bishop because he refuses to represent the beliefs of the vast majority of Americans and American Catholics and to uphold the core Republican-led Supreme Court decisions giving women the right to control our reproductive choices.

The people MUST claim our rights in November 2012 by firing Republican Joseph Pitts. ~Anne

Related May 5, 2012: PA Aryanna Strader (D) vs Rep Joe Pitts (R) | Big Pharma & Heath Care Against Women’s Rights

Thursday
May032012

Motivated Reasoning in American Politics | Was Richard Grenell More Republican Misogyny? 

Daily French Roast

Anne is reading …

The Republican Brain

Any book entitled The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science — and Reality is certain to create controversy. The Atlantic publishes an informative and comparatively neutral passage from Chris Mooney’s analysis of how we’re built for bias in public life.

The idea is called ‘motivated reasoning’ — thought and argument that sounds rational and debate-worthy but actually isn’t.

Our human brains are the product of an evolutionary process. The older parts — including the subcortex and the limbic regions — operate in the nether land of survival of the fittest and fight or flight response, riddled with often involuntary, rapid-response reactions.

The more sophisticated prefrontal cortex is able to reason abstractly, learn language and generally drive decision-making with more conscious, goal-directed behavior. Comparatively-speaking, the prefrontal cortex runs slow.

Another potential liability expresses itself also in the way our old brain functions with our new one. The theory of motivated reasoning prompts us to protect our theories with “a diverse battery of cognitive defenses designed to repel attacks” on our positions, writes psychologist Paul Klaczynski of the University of Northern Colorado.

Perhaps motivated reasoning isn’t a liability but an asset. It’s possible that human reason didn’t evolve as the pursuit of the objective truth. The power of persuasion, getting members of your group to behave in a specific way, has historically been key to group survival and the development of civilization. 

Motivated reasoning inevitably leads to bias, as both Republicans and Democrats employ selective reasoning skills to reinforce our key beliefs and keep us on track.

By the same token, the theory also suggests that if you insulate yourself from belief challenge, you are leaving yourself vulnerable to the worst flaws of reasoning, without deriving any of the benefits of it.

DFR Boys Club

Richard Grenell: More Republican Misogyny?

The short-lived appointment of openly gay Richard Grenell, who formerly served as an aide to John R. Bolton, United States ambassador to the United Nations in the Bush Administration, focuses on the rejection on his homosexuality and support for same-sex marriage.

Writing about Grenell’s departure before getting started, the NY Times says:

“It’s not that the campaign cared whether Ric Grenell was gay,” one Republican adviser said. “They believed this was a nonissue. But they didn’t want to confront the religious right.” Like many interviewed, this adviser insisted on anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

Indeed the right responded. “If personnel is policy, his message to the pro-family community: drop dead,” Tweeted Bryan Fischer, a Romney critic with the American Family Association.

Ironically, Grenell himself had a history on Twitter. Before dwelling on his “women issues”, it’s a fact that the Romney appointee swiped at Newt Gingrich, saying “I wonder if newt has investments in Lipitor.” Suddenly gone were 800 other Tweets, mostly targeted at women.

Examples of Grenell’s now deleted Tweets include:

Obama: No Condom Left Behind

rachel maddow needs to take a breath and put on a necklace

Hillary is starting to look liek Madeline Albright

note to children: when your mom is a grandmother DO NOT let her wear backless dresses

#FreeContraception is really Obama’s population control strategy

More Boys Club

Dolan Admits Catholics Don’s Agree With Church’s Birth Control Prohibition Think Progress