The Watering Hole, Thursday, February 23rd, 2012: I Have a Thesis. And It’s Mine.

Governor Bob McDonnell (R-Virginia) is currently in the process of reviewing the Commonwealth’s restrictive new “personhood” law prior to potentially signing it into law. This is the bill (SB484) that contains the “informed consent” language, which (translated from the legalese) “[R]equires that, as a component of informed consent to an abortion, to determine gestation age, every pregnant female shall undergo ultrasound imaging and be given an opportunity to view the ultrasound image of her fetus prior to the abortion.” I’m sure that pregnant women of Virginia will be ever-so-thankful if Bob grants them a free poke-and-a-prod prior to having an abortion. (Yes, that was snark.)

You may remember Bob McDonnell as the newly-minted and previously unknown Governor who provided the Republican rebuttal to President Obama’s first State of the Union speech. (Or you may not – he was not impressive.)

Well before Bob McDonnell acquired the power to possibly make a lot of women more unhappy than they already are, he had ditched his job and decided to attend Regents University. His recently resurrected 1989 thesis, titled “The Republican Party’s Vision for the Family: The Compelling Issue of the Decade”, is a frightening vision indeed. I’ll just give you the introductory “Abstract”, and let you read the entire work for yourselves:

“The traditional family is the cornerstone upon which Western civilization has been built, but changes in demographics, ideology, and political philosophy during this century have resulted in the decline in the strength of the family institution. The model relationship among church, state, and family, based on history, law, and scripture, is presented as a framework in which legitimate public policy decisions must be made to facilitate family restoration.

“Fundamental Republican Party principles concerning the family and the role of government are articulated, and recent federal legislative initiatives are analyzed for consistency. Political factors affecting family policy development are examined to determine why Republicans are not more successful. The paper concludes that Republicans must stay consistently committed to their principles, communicate more effectively with the American public, and take bold action to restore the family to a position of strength in modern society.”

Between the Abstract and the Introduction, McDonnell includes a quote from, inevitably, Saint Ronnie Reagan.

(Sigh) I’ll leave you to it, then.

This is our Open Thread: have at it, folks.

Oh, and my apologies to John Cleese’s character Ann Elk and her theory.

117 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, Thursday, February 23rd, 2012: I Have a Thesis. And It’s Mine.

  1. His semi-eloquent crapola is nothing more than the aggressive merging of church and state.
    I suspect most of this was written for him by the party.

  2. The Washington Post yesterday reported on the masters thesis of Virginia GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell. As the paper noted, McDonnell argued, among other things, that working women and feminists are “detrimental” to the family; that government policy should favor married couples over “cohabitators, homosexuals or fornicators;” and that the court decision legalizing the use of contraception by unmarried couples was “illogical,” because at the time non-marital sex was itself a crime.

    My god, the first paragraph is enough to scare one to death. This man is a whacky as Ricky Santorum.

      • They definitely are birds of a feather.

        Here’s a bit on Ricky and his “home state”. He is the popular GOP candidate, however, Obama is more popular than Santorum in Pennsylvania. There may be a problem for Santorum when it comes to the Pennsylvania primary. The Republic controlled redistricting committee majorly screwed up the state districts so much so, that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the redistricting was unconstitutional (PA state constitution). And they thought that they were being slick by waiting until the end of December 2011 to finalize the map. Their map got challenged by several municipalities and the municipalities won. The PA Republic party is challenging the court decision which means that the presidential year primary which is generally held in April may be postponed until May and Ricky might be out of the running at that point. As of yesterday, there hasn’t been a decision as to when the PA primary will take place. It’s a cake walk for the Democrats but a big fuck-up for the Republics. The GOP really doesn’t know how to govern.

  3. Bottom of page 54 says a lot.
    “The Republican strategy must be to exersise perserverence and chip away at the fringes, as has been done with abortion funding, pornography and long term health care”.

    I happen to believe that all three of those things improve society.

      • I have to confess that I didn’t read much of it at all, but I had heard lots about it, including the fact that, although he had disavowed it in order to get elected, he was certainly going by his own playbook once he became Governor.

        I plan to read the entire thing tonight, if I can stomach it.

  4. From the Washington Post link… The thesis is a wistful ode to a bygone 1950s America, when, Mr. McDonnell noted, 70 percent of American families were led by working fathers and homemaker mothers, and “every state in the union made sexual intercourse between unmarried persons a crime.”

    What was the punishment for sexual intercourse between unmarried persons? Unwanted pregnancy? Is this part of what is driving this ban on birth control? Another thought, white babies are profitable in the adoption business as there is always a market for white babies. I’m not trying to make light of adoption because I know people that made that decision and it was not an easy decision to make. I also know people that have adopted babies and have provided a good home for them. With Republicans, it’s always about money. Every decision is based on money or the bible and the bible doesn’t mention birth control. It only instructs the readers in how to prevent spreading sexually transmitted diseases.

    • This article is from 1997, but at the time there were still 26 states with adultery laws on the books. The laws themselves are throwbacks to English common law and, according to the article, virtually none have been enforced post-WWII. They are “blue laws”, many of which persist in various state laws because no one has bothered to vote them out. As a kid in Oregon in the late 50s, I remember that no stores were open on Sundays and I believe that was actually a law at the time.

  5. Thank you Jane, that is perhaps the scariest thing I have read since childhood.
    Cats: If you think the first paragraph is scary read the whole thing.

    • The old testament actually contains health care rules in a sense. In order to get people to stop their promiscuity and the spread of STDs, the leaders of the Hebrews decided to add a rule to their holy book. So they told their people that sex outside of marriage was a sin and for women, it was punishable by death because women were the disease carriers. Actually, the Judeo-Christian faith blames all misery on women. The sin wasn’t Eve eating the apple. The sin was Adam giving into Eve’s desires. Eve was the temptress. In other words, women were not to be trusted.

      Another healthy living rule. Hebrews were forbidden to eat pork because of the worms that lived in the muscles of pigs. The whole Kosher preparation of food was started for reasons of cleanliness. If the leaders wanted the people to follow better health habits, they needed to know that these habits were “God’s law”. Religion was used and is still used to control people. It’s the opiate of the masses.

  6. I do believe part of the motivation for destroying the middle class is to bring families closer together…like the Waltons (the TV show, not WalMart). Kids are moving back home after college because there’s no work. Grandparents are moving in with thier kids because they can’t afford a managed care facility. (eventually, because they have no Social Security).

    Utopia. Grandparents, children and grandchildren all living under one roof, trying to survive anyway they can – only most won’t own a mountain full of timber to cut and sell.

  7. From the thesis:

    Riga concludes that in 15 years of Supreme Court cases ending in 1979, the view of marriage as an indissoluble lifelong commitment had been abandoned. In its wake it the perverted notion of liberty that each individual should be able to live out his sexual life in any way he chooses without interference from the state.

    Thus, the Republican notion of liberty is that the state regulates each individual’s sexual life.

  8. In the 1950’s 70% of the typical American family consisted of a working father, a homemaking mother, and one or two children.

    In the centuries before, with agrarian societies, the family consisted of a working father, a working mother, and working children, all born about a year apart. Everyone worked on the farm as soon as they were old enough. The homemaking mother was possible only because strong unions and trade barriers increased the working man’s wages enough so that he could provide for a family on the strength of his earning power alone. That wasn’t true in the early days of the industrial revolution, where women worked in sweatshops under dangerous and deplorable conditions for minimal pay.

    Oh, and if mom and dad only had one or two children, someone was using some form of birth control. The Dick van Dyke Show was not a documentary.

  9. “anti-family incentives in the federal Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program, which in most states disqualifies a woman with a mail financial provider living in the house.”

    That much I agree with. Having done a short stint as a “welfare worker” I noticed that AFDC was legislated immorality – a woman was fairly well-off if she had several kids and was living with a man who was not the father of any of them. (mind you, this was considered “immoral” at the time).

    • I was on welfare with two children and I barely survived. If it wasn’t for good friends and good family, I probably wouldn’t have had enough to feed the children. I was down so low I had to look up to see my shoe laces 😦 It’s been all up hill since. I must say, it was a learning experience and I feel that I am a stronger and more compassionate person as a result.

  10. Single persons have struggled under these archaic ideals too.
    If one chose to not get married or have children, they were perceived as being abnormal, regardless of sexual orientation.

    • Employers discriminate against single people.
      They want you married and mortgaged, otherwise you may just tell your boss how you feel and take a walk.
      Or, even worse. You could be a whistle blower.

      • Funny how we’re supposed to live in a democracy, but we spend our lives within corporations which are little better than feudal systems …. why am I doing this again?

  11. Our wretched governor disavowed much of that thesis in order to get elected. He lied.

    Only the most inadequate men want women who fail to function at the highest level of their capabilities. My husband has always felt freed by the fact that should he disappear I would be able to provide for myself and our family.

  12. I think we need to pass a law requiring anyone who advocates the bombing of Iran to view footage of dead and dismembered Iraqi children.

    • I’d rather require them to serve in combat for whatever war they’re advocating. Love to see Tucker Carlson in a foxhole. This one is so stupid that I’d just like to see idiots like him challenged by the media with numbers like the population, the geography, the sheer size of Iran–obviously questions about Iran’s right to self-protection, their role in the region or their incredibly long history can’t be asked because that’s all nuanced and shit.

      • Tucker walked back his comments from yesterday, a whole lot:

        “It’s my fault that I got tongue tied and didn’t explain myself well last night. I’m actually on the opposite side on the Iran question from many people I otherwise agree with. I think attacking could be a disaster for the US and am worried that Obama will do it, for fear of seeming weak before an election. Of course the Iranian government is awful and deserves to be crushed. But I’m not persuaded we or Israel could do it in a way that doesn’t cause even greater problems. That’s the main lesson of Iraq it seems to me.”

  13. We have all struggled with how to convince our conservative family and friends that their way of looking at the world just isn’t right, particularly on issues like Global Warming and Climate Change. In Chris Mooney’s upcoming book, he explains why our efforts have been, and will likely always be, futile. An excerpt from Alternet:

    http://www.alternet.org/teaparty/154252/the_republican_brain%3A_why_even_educated_conservatives_deny_science_–_and_reality/

    • It is maddening but we have to keep trying. If we can’t convince the adults there’s still a chance that the children might develop an open mind.

      It would also be interesting to compare what kinds of colleges and courses of study the GOoPers attend. I would be willing to bet that the overwhelming majority of Reichwhiners have degrees in subjective disciplines, like law and economics, rather than objective sciences. Plus, one needn’t be smart to gain a degree. Bible Spice, for example, got a journalism degree despite never learning to speak her native tongue. The whole damned party is a textbook case of Dunning-Kruger effect. Some misguided institution gave them a scrap of paper that “proves” how smart they are and, from that point on, it’s impossible to sway them from their beliefs.

  14. Have I recently mentioned how much I hate the “librul media”? looking around the major market “news” sites I can’t find anything about the sheer, mind-numbing, dishonesty of the GOP candidates. Not a peep about the accusation that the POTUS “made infanticide legal”, nothing about Syria being “Iran’s path to the sea”, nothing about anything.

  15. It didn’t sound right to me either. Josh Marshall at TPM asks “WTF, Newt?”:

    “When I was watching the debate last night I did a double-take when I heard Newt say that ‘reforming’ the federal Civil Service system could save “a minimum of $500 billion a year.”

    That sounded pretty crazy to me since that’s like 15% of the entire federal government. And the vast majority of federal spending goes to the military and transfer payments like Social Security and Medicare.

    Well, we looked into it and it turns out that the federal government’s entire payroll, even including the military, came to just $432.6 billion in fiscal 2011. In other words, if you fired everyone who works for the federal government you couldn’t save $500 billion.

    Our requests for comment from the Newt campaign have yet to be returned.”

    • I had to tune out for much of the “debate” because my blood pressure goes up when I hear people lying. But, from what I did watch, I don’t think there was a single 100% factual statement in the whole “debate”.

      I don’t really know why it bothers me so much but Mittens’ claim that Syria is “Iran’s path to the sea” keeps replaying in my mind. I will admit that I had to do a 10 second Google search to confirm the fact that Syria and Iran don’t share a border but I already knew that Iran has its own ports. I can’t understand, for the life of me, why the “moderator” can’t correct blatant errors about objective facts. Mr. King may not know that the two countries don’t share a border but, unless he can read the news without it ever being processed by his brain, he has to know that Iran has sea ports.

      • Sounds like something I’d expect to hear from Palin. Iran’s entire southern border is the sea, for Pete’s sake. To get to Syria, they’d have to go through Iraq which didn’t go over so well the last time.

        • I was a bit shocked myself. I realize that Mittens will say ANYTHING to score another vote but I didn’t really think he was that ignorant. Oh well, facts are seldom convenient when one is warmongering and he knows the Reichwhiners neither know nor care about little details like that.

          • Sanctimonious pRick was opining that “Syria was a Puppet State” of Iran.
            There may have been some talking point in the Gooper playbook that neither Mittens nor Frothy really looked into – just picking at random and vomiting their opinion.
            As has been pointed out by you and gummitch it isn’t rational that Iran would need Syria…they don’t share a border

        • And if you’re Fox News graphic dept. you place Egypt on the map between Syria and Iran. And Bachmann didn’t know Libya was in Africa, and Palin thinks Africa is a country.

  16. I posted this yesterday but I think it’s important enough for a replay. Here’s the bottom line. We are drilling here and now, we are drilling more than the rest of the world combined, and gas prices are going up. I think this fact is important enough to contact our Reps. and Senators and demand that they make this point at every opportunity. The Reichwhiners’ claim that Obama is standing in the way of domestic energy production are simply false and we have to, somehow, get this message out.

    http://thinkprogress.org/green/2012/02/22/429785/gas-prices-fact-domestic-oil-production-has-soared-under-president-obama/

    • Great point, pete. When I get home tonight (because I can’t do it from work), I will spread the word about this to the Twitterverse.

      On another point, and someone please correct me if I am (as usual) wrong, but as I understand it, Venezuela’s oil is the kind (very heavy?) that requires a lot of refining and is hard to get at, but the only reason it’s even profitable for them to drill there is that the price of oil is so high. If all that is correct, then why don;t we tell those speculators who are driving up the price of oil to knock it off if they hate Hugo Chavez so much, and the price of oil will go down along with Chavez’ power. Again, if my reasoning is correct, this is something Republicans should be behind 110%.

      Lastly, it’s absolute bullshit to say that “oil is a vital national security interest.” That can’t possibly be true because if it were, then why would we let kids speculating on the open market drive the price up so much that our military forces have to pay more for the oil they need? I know RWers have an easier time holding contradictory thoughts in their heads at the same time, but we LWers have to start metaphorically beating them over the head about this point. Either it;s not really “vital” to our national security (meaning our lives don’t really depend on it) and you let the “Free Market (an oxymoron) charge whatever they want for it, or it IS vital to our national security interests (meaning our lives DO depend on it) and you nationalize our supplies in the interest of protecting our nation. Where am I wrong about this? Please, other than greed wins out, what is wrong with my view on this? I really want to know. Is it vital or isn’t it?

      • In no particular order.

        1. Oil companies don’t put a well into production unless said well is profitable. This is why they are sitting on more than 30 million acres of leases and countless capped wells rather than paying the upfront costs to put them into production.
        2. Much of our domestic oil is very high quality but the costs of actually drilling and manning our wells is relatively high.
        3. I’m not sure about the quality of “Hugo’s oil”. Obviously, it’s cheap enough that refining it is profitable.
        4. We are currently the third leading oil producing nation on the planet. We could lose all foreign sources of oil today and the military and commercial transport would still have plenty of fuel. Gas for consumers would go up and there may even be rationing but industry and the military would not stop dead in their tracks.
        5. We could adapt to a country without gasoline without death and destruction. Living without plastics and the countless other products made from petroleum would end civilization as we know it. That’s why turning our precious petroleum into pollution and noise so that we can drive 5,000 pound SUVs that go 0-60 in 6 seconds is effing stupid.

        • Agree with you save for one small point … screw the military. They use way too much oil and waste nearly all of it. Time to cut the military way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way .. (etc) back. Cut the military till we can drown it in a bathtub (to coin a phrase, sort of).

          Venezuela’s crude is indeed heavy. Not so bad as Canada’s tar sands, afaik, but far from the ‘sweet light crude’ that’s most desirable.

          Bottom line is simple: the world has to find the means to get away from oil asap, and screw the buggers who’ll be losing money (fortunes) in the process. I’ll weep for them so all will be well.

          • I was just pointing out that the U.S. military won’t shrivel and die without oil even if we want it to. As for the fortunes…

            Huge fortunes are made whenever there’s an energy revolution. One example is how the coal barons of old fought tooth and nail against the upstart petroleum and then, once they figured out how to make it profitable, many of the same coal barons made new fortunes in the oil business. Today’s oil barons can do the same with greener energy sources as they have already done with natural gas. The myth, that new energy sources will harm the world economy, is what we need to fight tooth and nail.

            (BTW. The U.S Air Force and Navy have developed synthetic fuel, and even experimented with “biodiesel”, in jets over the last few years. They would not have done so if they were not aware of the fact that the oil won’t last forever. Of course, a gas turbine can run on just about any liquid or gaseous fuel from kerosene, through natural gas and LP, to pure hydrogen. Among the many technologies that we should be exploring; turbine-electric hybrids make a lot of sense. One would only need a turbine about the size of a coffee can and could replace mechanical drive trains with cables and motors. An equivalent of 100-150 mpg is very feasible even if there are some losses due to dealing with the heat and noise inherent in gas turbines.)

            • They say that the Stone Age didn’t end because of a lack of stone…. but I am fed up of cavemen with the last remaining stones telling me I can’t use iron.

          • Yes and no. Some petroleum products have known, direct, replacements and others do not. Hemp has a lot of uses but not quite as many as petroleum. It would make more sense to use hemp for the bulk products like fuel, lubricants, fabric, and paper while saving the petroleum for those things we can’t replace, yet, with another source. The other uses for hemp will develop once we start producing the biomass. The simple fact is that it’s folly to continue burning petroleum for fuel. And the maddening part is that a significant portion of people just don’t, can’t, get it.

      • Wayne, you are correct about the quality of Venezuelan crude – it is generally heavier and more sulphurous than West Texas etc. The refining technology is more expensive to build and run (sulphur is nasty shit) so the margin on that crude is not so good. But if the price is high enough… then people will use perfectly decent natural gas to heat water to steam which they then stick into the ground and melt bitumen out of the sand above it and suck it back up through a pipe and send it to Chicago or wherever. Does this make sense?

        My mantra to your ‘Free Market’ comment is:*all* oil is foreign once it is out of the ground and in the hands of a private or publically traded company. And unfortunately it *is* a national security interest. Which is why you’d think that we spend money on making it *not* be a national security interest.

  17. The sheep believe anything the guys on the stage say. If Newt said he was George Clooney’s twin-yet-conservative brother, they’d believe him.

    • Just a minor quibble.

      The sheeple believe whatever they say as long as it fits with established dogma. When one of the creeps actually goes off message and says something true or begrudgingly gives credit to a “librul” idea? The sheeple become confused and outraged. Of course, that isn’t enough to make them actually crack a book open and check the “facts” that get thrown around.

  18. QOTD:

    “The popular belief that today’s Republican establishment is moderate is false… [T]he Republican establishment is in the position of the lookout on the Titanic who sees the ship speeding toward the iceberg ahead. They are dreading a disastrous collision like the one the party experienced in 1964. But the bitter irony of the present moment is that it’s the establishment, not an insurgency, that was responsible for charting this course to begin with,” – Geoffrey Kabaservice, The New Republic

    • Ari does the typical Repugnant side-step on the question.
      The ‘Neutered bloated cuss’ needs to be put out to pasture.
      Forgotten forever.

  19. Here’s a bit of good news. It looks like grassroots democracy won a round in Virginia. This should be a lesson to all of us to speak up, be heard, and vote with our conscience and checkbooks. This horrid “personhood” bill looked like a slam-dunk but now it’s been, at the very least, pushed back. I would still love to read/hear some of the emails/phone calls the Virginia legislators received over the last week or so.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/23/virginia-personhood-bill-defeated-senate_n_1297463.html

    • Hooray!
      Now we must insure that every Virginian remembers in November exactly what happens when you elect republicans.
      I’m sure all those calls were just dripping with good ol’ southern politeness, just like me 🙂

  20. Stop-motion created with over 12,000 pieces of construction paper, shown as it was shot, with no effects added in post. Makes me wish I paid more attention in Kindergarten.

      • That would suggest that she simply looks good and wins nothing – I though DP was competitive…. but then when rednecks turn left, I turn off.

      • Patrick was among the top 10 before contact with Aric Almirola’s Ford lifted her Chevrolet off its wheels and sent the car spinning.

        Seems there were at least 15 guys doing worse, until the last lap of the race, which is when these wrecks can happen.

        Anna wasn’t a bad tennis player, until her back gave her trouble.

        • I don’t follow drivers, I do study the cars. That being said; i get the impression that Danica wouldn’t get as much attention if she wasn’t gorgeous. She sounds like a driver who “would have won the poll if her tire didn’t go flat” or “was on the lead lap when she crashed”.

          (NOTE: I do realize that many drivers have had long and successful careers without winning a single race. Finishing a race without getting lapped or crashed is a major achievement.)

    • Remember the video this winter of the young girl in a toy department going off on “princesses and all that pink stuff”?
      Looks like Disney got the message!

  21. Perhaps this is only a big deal for those of us involved with public transportation, but for us it is very good news. Currently, 20% of the money brought in by the fuel tax is dedicated to mass transit, bicycle and pedestrian projects. The right wing fanatics in the House had seen this as an opportunity to further their radical social engineering goal of eliminating services to regular people. For the time being, the regular people got a reprieve.

    • I can not, for the life of me, understand the aversion and hostility for mass transit. Having spent much of my life waaaaay out in the country i understand that it doesn’t work everywhere for everyone but there’s just no rational reason why any town of more than a few square miles shouldn’t have a bus and/or rail line.

    • That is a big deal – especially for my youngest sister who is
      Executive Officer Customer Service and Marketing for an SF Peninsula public transportation system!

  22. Abortionomics:

    “A new report, “Abortionomics: When Choice is a Necessity,” shows that “lower incomes and rising unemployment are affecting Americans’ choices about pregnancies,” and in the recession abortion rates, particularly among poor women, are on the rise.

    David Frum looks at the GOP field’s contraception debate through the eyes of cash-strapped young people:

    “The party on display on the stage in Mesa proposes that most of the burden of fiscal adjustment fall on their generation—while exempting the more fortunate generations now over 55. And as they try to cope responsibly with these harsh circumstances by postponing fertility, they hear one of our two great parties debating whether they are doing something morally objectionable—and nobody raising a sympathetic voice on their behalf or expressing any understanding or even acknowledgement of their situation.”

  23. Steve Chapman details the ways Obama is using the federal government to protect religious conscience. His conclusion:

    “[T]he administration isn’t simply doing the politically appealing thing. Anything but. Those who endorse letting faith-based groups have a free hand in hiring are mostly religious conservatives who wouldn’t vote for Obama if he resurrected the dead. The congregations victimized by zoning regulations are too small to matter. Prison inmates [denied access to religious literature] generally can’t vote. There is no detectable political gain in anything Obama is doing here… The president’s detractors may continue to portray him as a secular fanatic with, as Rick Santorum claims, an “overt hostility to faith in America.” Before they do, though, they might want to remember the Ten Commandments — especially the one about bearing false witness.”

    http://reason.com/archives/2012/02/23/obamas-defense-of-religion

  24. Nice astronomical conjunction just past sunset here, the waxing crescent moon below two planets, nearly in a direct line and equidistant from each other. Venus and another planet, I’ll have to look up whether it’s Jupiter or Saturn.

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