Tuesday, May 14, 2013

"Killer Boobs" and other short takes

-- Resist the double entendre'.

As previously mentioned in yesterday's Texas Progressive roundup, and particularly in light of Angelina Jolie's disclosure, I thought I would point again to Amy Valentine's blog-to-book on the topic of surviving breast cancer. My friend Karen Derr did something about it -- she walked 26 miles a few weekends ago; you can too (if you're in Boston this weekend, or Chicago in June.)

If we strongly support women who make the same choice as Jolie -- women who must summon the physical and emotional strength to fight their disease and who must at the same time disregard our society's opinion, evaluation, or judgment of their choice -- then we perhaps change society just a little.

Which is way overdue with respect to women's choices as it is.

-- This is another brick in the wall against conservatism. Of any nationality.

An outspoken nationalist mayor said the Japanese military's forced prostitution of Asian women before and during World War II was necessary to "maintain discipline" in the ranks and provide rest for soldiers who risked their lives in battle.

The comments made Monday are already raising ire in neighboring countries that bore the brunt of Japan's wartime aggression and that have long complained that Japan has failed to fully atone for wartime atrocities.

Toru Hashimoto, the young, brash mayor of Osaka who is also co-leader of an emerging conservative political party (emphasis mine), also told reporters that there wasn't clear evidence that the Japanese military coerced women to become what are euphemistically called "comfort women."

"To maintain discipline in the military, it must have been necessary at that time," said Hashimoto. "For soldiers who risked their lives in circumstances where bullets are flying around like rain and wind, if you want them to get some rest, a comfort women system was necessary. That's clear to anyone."

Historians say up to 200,000 women, mainly from the Korean Peninsula and China, were forced to provide sex for Japanese soldiers in military brothels.

It's no different in Europe, or Afghanistan, or the United States. Conservatives. Blow. Goats.

-- In reference to the Zombie Apocalypse that is the Texas Legislature at the end of every session (I'm speaking here more of bills than I am sleep-deprived lawmakers), Charles thinks there might be a flicker of hope for Medicaid expansion. As I posted in the comments there, I do not. Paul Burka is right on all counts here. Joe Straus is weak tea, everybody knows it, and those drinking a stronger brew have all but nailed him to a cross.

I'm not surprised and I'm not sorry, as least as it concerns the Speaker. But the real problem for Straus and his long-term prospects as leader of the Texas House -- just as it was when we traded Kay Bailey for Ted Cruz, just as it will be when we eventually trade Rick Perry for Greg Abbott -- is that a replacement only makes it worse for Texas going forward. In the short term, anyway. (Hurry up, Battleground Texas.) More about this in the next...

-- Ted Cruz is probably hurting the Republican party more than he is his presidential aspirations with his TeaBagging platitudes and fomenting the rage of the Freak Right Wing. This ignores both historical precedent (see: Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and ultimately Mitt Romney) and popular opinion. While the public is still yawning about Benghazi and the IRS, Republicans who think the Libyan embassy attack is a worse scandal that Watergate cannot find the city on a world map. Even Dick Armey mistook Benghazi for Bangladesh.

If the GOP House indeed wants to take us back to the late '90's and relive Bill Clinton's second term, so be it. That seems to be a tremendous price for them to pay, but they appear not to have learned any lessons from the first go-round. I don't believe the "scandals" they've whipped up have impacted Hilary Clinton's 2016 prospects one iota. 

I further don't think that they will.

If Clinton runs for president and picks a Latino/a running mate -- consider the prospects of what a Castro might mean to turning Texas bluer faster -- then (absent unknowable future events) I seriously doubt whether the Republicans get a chance to sniff the White House until 2032. As ignorant as they are, I believe even the GOP understands this... which is why they are screaming so loudly now. That party is right on the verge of going extinct, and instead of grabbing a life preserver, they grasp at straws.

Once more: not surprised and not sorry.

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