Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York and Mayor Thomas M. Menino of Boston filming an ad for The Big Game.

Mayors Menino and Bloomberg, of Boston and New York, will field a half minute ad during the Big Game coming up in a few days in which they will call for stricter federal gun control laws.

The New York Times reports:

The two mayors are longtime allies on gun control and founders of a group called Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which has pushed for a stronger federal background check system.

Mr. Bloomberg and Mr. Menino shot the ad in New York early Tuesday. And, just as big Super Bowl advertisers like Honda and Volkswagen have been promoting their ads with previews on YouTube, Mr. Bloomberg publicized his at an appearance later Tuesday morning.

First the results: New Gingrich Did Not Lose by As Much As You Might have Guessed He Might.

By the numbers, as estimated by various news agencies:

ROMN: 47
GING: 32
SANT: 13
PAUL: 07
OTHR: 01

That’s a mighty strong showing for “Other” … it will be interesting to look into that.

Here’s the sequence over the last several days showing the March of the Numbers comparing Romney and Gingrich in polls

The last gazillian polls leading up to the Florida Primary. Romney has clearly always been the frontrunner. Except when he wasn't. These squiggles are comprised of moving averages that cover three polls in a row ordered approximately in temporal sequence, from Real Clear Politics.

The pattern we see in Florida reflects the pattern of the overall primary process. No one ever had any doubt that Romney was going to win this primary, but in fact, there were two times when he was not ahead in the polls, and at the last minute, note that Romney was dropping in numbers with Gingrich gaining . Ron Paul remains irrelevant.

Here’s the bigger picture. Before the Iowa Caucuses Romney was considered the most likely person to win. Santorum won.

Before the New Hampshire Primary was considered the most likely person to win. But Oscar the Grouch could have won that primary had he been from the Greater Boston Area, of which New Hampshire is a minor suburb.

Before the North Carolina Primary, Romney was considered to be the most likely person to win. Um. New Gingrich won that primary.

So, to date, the candidate who is repeatedly labeled as the most likely to win the nomination has won half of the contests and is being dogged by a formidable, if obnoxious, opponent.

Furthermore, TV pundits are getting something else wrong: Continue reading

Komen collects donations and uses the money to help with cancer. In the past, huge chunks of money were donated to Planned Parenthood to help pay for breast exams and other breast cancer related services at Planned Parenthood facilities.

Then, Republican Cliff Stearns, a Congressional representative from Florida, launched an inquirey against Planned Parenthood. This investigation is widely regarded as a senseless political move, a mean spirited attack on women and women’s health, and a bunch of crap.

Apparently, and the details are largely secret at this time, various Right Wing Christian forces went to work to pressure Koman into dropping its funding for Planned Parenthood, and Komen dutifully caved. They either made up or pulled out of their non-profit asses a rule that said that they can’t fund agencies that are under investigation by local, state, or federal agencies. Then, they interpreted this sham inquirey in Congress as an “investigation by a federal agency” which it is not.

And, thus, under the guise of following their sanctimonious rule, Komen stopped funding help for cancer screening and other breast cancer related services to countless poor and underprivileged women.

What can you do?

Then, after you’ve made yourself feel all good and like you’ve done something, actually DO SOMETHING:

  • Go here and make an emergency donation to Planned Parenthood to make up the shortfall.
  • Use the share buttons down below or any other means you’d like to let everyone you know that Komen has jumped the shark and will no longer be regarded as a valid charity by anyone who does not hate women.

What are you sitting there staring at this blog post for? GET MOVING ON THIS! NAO!!!11!!

Many of the details known so far are reported here.

Things have gone south in Oakland

On Saturday, Occupy Oakland re-entered the national spotlight during a day-long effort to take over an empty building and transform it into a social center. Oakland police thwarted the efforts, arresting more than 400 people in the process, primarily during a mass nighttime arrest outside a downtown YMCA. That number included at least six journalists, myself included, in direct violation of OPD media relations policy that states “media shall never be targeted for dispersal or enforcement action because of their status.”

After an unsuccessful afternoon effort to occupy a former convention center, the more than 1,000 protesters elected to return to the site of their former encampment outside City Hall. On the way, they clashed with officers, advancing down a street with makeshift shields of corrugated metal and throwing objects at a police line. Officers responded with smoke grenades, tear gas, and bean bag projectiles. After protesters regrouped, they marched through downtown as police pursued and eventually contained a few hundred of them in an enclosed space outside a YMCA. Some entered the gym and were arrested inside.

As soon as it became clear that I would be kettled with the protesters.

..

Read the rest here

On meet the press, no less:

“I reserve the right to endorse someone but at this point I have not made a decision about endorsing any one of the candidates,” she said. “We are still in the process and I really truly do, Bob, want to be a unifying person in this party.”

Uh huh.

Political analyst Larry Jacobs of the Humphrey Institute said Bachmann may be holding off announcing an endorsement for “drama’s sake.”

Uh.

source

After a surprising showing in South Carolina, New Gingrich pulled way ahead of Mitt Romney, in pre-Florida Primary polling. But that sudden increase in numbers quickly eased off and Gingrich and Romney remained very close for a few days, with Romney a few points ahead. Over the last 36 hours, Romney has put significant distance between his candidacy and Gingrich’s, with Romney polling consistently above 40% and Gingrich consistanly double digits behind. Santorum is holding steady at 12-14%, and nobody cares about Ron Paul.

However, in comparing all of the candidates in polls asking people across the country which Republican they would vote for, Romney is NOT a clear winner. In fact, Gingrich tends to score a couple of points ahead of Romney. In one recent poll (NBC/Wall Street Journal) Gingrich was 9 points ahead. In the most recent poll (Gallup Tracking) Gingrich was just 2 points ahead.

But the preference for Gingrich does not align with national polls comparing the various republican candidates with Obama. In these polls, Romney tends to come closer to Obama’s lead than does Gingrich, who tends to get his ass whupped by the President, with Barack Obama showing a double-digit lead over the hapless and blithering ex-speaker.

But a lot can change in two days. Gingrich is on the attack against Romney, and his main point of attack seems to be to point out how Romney is on the attack against Gingrich. I don’t expect this to change the outcome of the Florida Primary. Romney will win there, although is it always possible that he will win by less than the current polls suggest. But what may happen over the longer term is a shift in the overall view of Gingrich and Romney by Republican voters in general. I expect there to be a downgrading of support for both “Front Runners” as they continue to slam each other. Santorum will come out a minor winner over the medium term, possibly even taking a state or two if his strategy is managed effectively and his money holds out.

Just for fun here’s Ron Paul’s attack ad ad d d attack attack ack ack ad d against Gingrich:
Continue reading

This from NPR today:

The United States economy continued to expand modestly toward the end of 2011. The Commerce Department says it grew at an annual rate of 2.8 percent in the fourth quarter and 1.7 in all of 2011.

This means that the economy has expanded for the last two years, after a 3.5 percent decline in 2009. The economy did slow down in 2011. It grew 3 percent in 2010.

Unemployment is still high and not budging.

Here’s my question for you: Is there a point at which “recovery” becomes “growth” and wouldn’t that be good because we worship “growth”? Extra credit question: Should we really be worshiping “growth”?

This week, we’re talking about what may be the most stigmatized facet of human reproduction. We’re joined by Dr. Kate Clancy, anthropology professor and science blogger, to learn about the physiology and function of menstruation, and the history of how it’s been considered in medicine and myth. And on the podcast, biologist P.Z. Myers of Pharyngula looks at menstruation from an evolutionary perspective.

Click here for details.

I know that she does not want me to help her. Our friendship is based on paying attention to each other, so I know that being helped is not something she likes. If I do what I want to do, she’ll get mad and break both my arms, or at least, look at me very very sternly. So I stay away. I could tell her “I’m not helping you. I’m merely loving you, like the friend I am, and you are kindly letting me do that” but she’d break both my arms anyway. The thing is, it was hard to watch. She had taken the puck from a big scary player on the other team, skillfully moved it around the rink, shot it to a teammate who lost it to the other team’s player, then my friend took it back again, and was busy pushing back towards the goal and doing some very fancy puckwork when things went terrible wrong and she hit the ice hard, sliding about half way across the arena and slamming into the boards behind her own goal. Then there was what looked like convulsions but turned out to be her efforts to put her arm back into its rightful position. Continue reading

The Florida Primary is set for Tuesday, January 31st. Romney, Gingrich, Paul and Santorum are running. For a while there it looked like Gingrich was an easy winner, because his numbers were jumping rapidly in the polls, but things have settled down and it is starting to look more like a Gingrich-Romney horse race. Here are the numbers: Continue reading

Michele Bachmann will run for re-election to Congress. Photo from Wikipedia

Michele Bachmann, who recently dropped out of the Presidential race, will run for re-election to her seat in Minnesota’s Sixth Congressional District.

The district is likely to attain a different shape after expected redistricting prior to the election, which may affect the outcome of this and other nearby elections. The word on the street is that a very likely outcome would chop off the more liberal Stillwater section of the district, making the Sixth an easier win for Bachmann than it already is. The downside for Michele is that she lives in that part of the district, so she would have to either move (over to near my place!) to run in the Sixth, or stay in her new district and run against a popular Democrat, in the more urban and liberal Fourth District.

Bachmann declared her plans in an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday. The Republican congresswoman had been mum on her plans since folding her presidential campaign after a poor showing in the Iowa caucuses earlier this month.

source

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans:

Last month, I went to Andrews Air Force Base and welcomed home some of our last troops to serve in Iraq. Together, we offered a final, proud salute to the colors under which more than a million of our fellow citizens fought – and several thousand gave their lives.

We gather tonight knowing that this generation of heroes has made the United States safer and more respected around the world. For the first time in nine years, there are no Americans fighting in Iraq. For the first time in two decades, Osama bin Laden is not a threat to this country. Most of al Qaeda’s top lieutenants have been defeated. The Taliban’s momentum has been broken, and some troops in Afghanistan have begun to come home. Continue reading

Sea Monkeys Made of Straw

So, you’ve got what you think is a problem in your community. You know you’ve got a bunch of arguing happening, and you observe what you believe to be fallacies mixed in, probably due to the strong feelings the topic brings u. You have some strong feelings yourself, whether about the community or the subject or about the behavior you witness. Your SIWOTI meter is pegged. What do you do?

Defending Our Mother’s Gardens: In Observance of Roe v. Wade

In her landmark work In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens, Alice Walker wrote: “What did it mean for a black woman to be an artist in our grandmother’s time? Our great-grandmothers’ day? Did you have a genius of a great-great-grandmother who died under some ignorant and depraved white overseer’s lash? Or was her body broken and forced to bear children (who were more often than not sold away from her)—eight, ten, fifteen, twenty children—when her one joy was the thought of modeling heroic figures of rebellion?”

Is feminism skeptical? (or: are ninjas awesome?)

Every damn conversation we’ve had over the past several years in our respective atheist/skeptic communities that even approaches the topic of feminism, or discusses women in any way, seems to attract the sort of person in our communities who demands that we prove that feminism — the idea that women are human beings and should be treated with basic human dignity — is skeptical. Who evidently believes that the natural overlap between skepticism and feminism is insufficient for the topic to be broached. That the feminists in the skepticism community are not turning a skeptical eye to their dogmatically held beliefs that women shouldn’t be systematically mistreated or disadvantaged by any social structure that we humans have built.

The remarkable adaptability of ‘family values’ voters

The Republican party likes to portray itself as defenders of ‘traditional family values’, which seem to many of us to be synonymous with narrow-minded, bigoted, and religiously-motivated ones. But that’s fine. People have their own moral standards and need some measures by which to evaluate candidates and they have every right to expect the candidates they support to have the same values that they do.

But what is odd is that rather than letting the values determine who their candidate should be, many of those voters seem to reverse the process and let the candidate determine their values at any given moment.

Islamophobia is used to scaremonger people into silence

The Guardian has published a letter calling for an inquiry into the ‘anti-Islam’ press.

Whilst racism must be unequivocally condemned, the signatories – like the Guardian, confuse racism with a criticism of Islam. They are not one and the same no matter how many letters and articles the Guardian publishes.

Islamophobia is nothing but a political term …

Hello, Hello Again!

Hi everyone!

My name is Natalie Reed, and I’m newly arrived here to Freethought Blogs. Before this move, I was a writer for the Skepchick network, and managing editor for sister site Queereka. I’m young and grossly unqualified, but people seem to enjoy what I do. “What I do” generally being posts on trans and queer issues, gender, sexuality and so on from a skeptical, secular perspective.

All that whinging and hand wringing about slavery, taking the land from the Indians, and all that stuff is very annoying, especially when the assertion is made that our founding fathers had anything do to with all that. Even though they did. But still, it is very annoying to have the names of those who saw fit to found this nation besmirched by the so called “facts” of “history.”

And that is why the Tennessee Tea Party wants to make it illegal in the Mottoless State of Tennessee to teach the truth. Here’s the wording they propose:

“No portrayal of minority experience in the history which actually occurred shall obscure the experience or contributions of the Founding Fathers, or the majority of citizens, including those who reached positions of leadership.”

Continue reading

It appears that the airport scanner in Nashville’s airport found something on Rand Paul, but he then refused a pat down and was instantly detained, according to Presidential Candidate Ron Paul. The TSA claims that Ron is lying about Rand, and that the latter was not detained.

Apparently, later, Paul booked another flight and got through the screening. Presumably he dumped whatever he was holding during the first attempt through security. I wonder what it was.

(source)