Shorter Question Everything
Or: Just about had enough of your bullshit. Move onto something serious. It does tend to highlight the very real problem the right wing is having in corralling the teabaggers.
• Hagel’s far-right critics, led by freshman Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), have delayed the confirmation process by making demands for information that no cabinet nominee has ever been asked to provide, including transcripts of speeches that don’t exist, and confidential financial information for private companies Hagel has been associated with. As of late Wednesday, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) was willing to indulge Cruz and his allies as they made unreasonable demands. As of this morning, Levin has apparently grown tired of Republican obstructionist tactics.
• Michigan’s Republican House Speaker shut down a bill that would have forced women seeking an abortion to first undergo a transvaginal ultrasound, saying he has “absolutely no interest” in mandating the procedure. “While I want to be sure women have access to the best technology available, I have absolutely no interest in forcing a woman to have a transvaginal ultrasound,” House Speaker Jase Bolger (R) said in a statement Thursday. “This House of Representatives will not pass a bill mandating transvaginal ultrasounds.” A spokesman for Gov. Rick Snyder, R-Mich., said that the governor also opposes the legislation. “Gov. Snyder is not at all supportive of this legislation and has zero interest in seeing it come to his desk,” Sara Wurfel told TPM. Republican legislators in the state had proposed legislation that would have required the “performance of a diagnostic ultrasound examination of the fetus at least two hours before an abortion is performed.”
• A bill introduced by nine Republican state lawmakers in Iowa on Wednesday would define abortion as “murder,” sending doctors and raped women who terminate pregnancies to jail. State Rep. Tom Shaw says that he authored House File 138 to protect human life, whether “you’re a zygote, an infant, a teenager or an adult.”
• Half of Liberal MPs support Trudeau for leader. Eighteen MPs have hitched their wagons to Trudeau, and three are supporting Marc Garneau. The other seven leadership candidates haven’t been endorsed by any MPs. Several MPs are remaining neutral or haven’t yet made up their minds.
• A Canadian naval officer who handed over secrets to Russia for more than four years, damaging Canada’s relations with the United States and other key allies, was jailed for 20 years on Friday. Sub-Lt. Jeffrey Delisle, dressed in a blue hooded sweatshirt and jeans, showed no reaction when found guilty of breach of trust and handing information to a foreign entity that could harm national interests. He was also fined $111,817 (Canadian), the sum he received from his Russian spy masters.
• Nothing says ‘keeping you safe’ quite like closing down a base that keeps people safe: Vancouver coast guard base closure is in keeping with public safety, says Harper. The Kitsilano base is in the heart of Vancouver’s waterfront and is considered the busiest base in Canada, responding to more than 350 calls per year. Its closure was announced last spring along with the closure of three other B.C. coast guard communication centres as part of the government’s deep budget cuts.
• An external hard drive containing the personal information of nearly 600,000 Canadians was last seen in August – three months before anyone notice it was missing. The data on the drive contained the social insurance numbers of 583,000 Canada Student Loan borrowers, many of whom have wondered since last month just how long their information has been missing.
• We talked yesterday about Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, who told his audience on Wednesday night that NBC News hasn’t reported “anything” on the drones story. It was, of course, a deeply odd claim — NBC broke the drones story, which was then amplified right here on MSNBC. We learned yesterday afternoon that O’Reilly intended to “address” his error, which I hoped meant he’d issue a correction. He didn’t. At the very end of his broadcast, O’Reilly complained about “more deceit from the far-left.” It went downhill from there.
• Aurora Shooting Victims Now Being Harassed By Gun-Nut Conspiracy Theorists: It’s not just people in Newtown, Conn., who are being harassed by conspiracy theorists. In Aurora, Colo., things have gotten so bad that prosecutors this week requested that the names of victims’ families be redacted from future court documents to spare them from “relentless contacts by proponents of purported ‘conspiracies.’”
• Two more Marines charged in urination case: A U.S. Marine captain and a sergeant were charged in the matter of a video showing Marines urinating on dead Afghan militants, officials said. Capt. James V. Clement and Sgt. Robert W. Richards were charged in late January with violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice for misconduct during operations in Helmand province, the Marine Corps Times reported.