Wherein I read things, laugh [or not], and pass them on to you…
Great news for fans of Thor, Heimdall and everything else that equals awesomeness — Idris Elba will be returning to play the guardian of the gate in the upcoming sequel ‘Thor 2.’
Elba confirmed in a recent interview that he was going to be coming back as Heimdall, the Asgardian guard of the rainbow bridge Bifrost who protects Asgard from any incoming intruders. [screencrush/El Guapo/15 May 2012]
The House has just passed a watered-down version of the Violence Against Women Act, by a vote of 222 to 205. The GOP-backed iteration of the bill strips out the provisions to protect undocumented, Native American, and LGBT victims that were included in the Senate version.
VAWA is usually a non-controversial, bipartisan effort, but this year has become a political talking point, with Republicans trying to slow its passage and providing fewer protections for victims. A misogynistic ‘men’s rights’ group has even voiced its support for the GOP’s version of the bill.
Meanwhile, a female Republican joined other women Senators in pressuring the House GOP to pass the Senate’s version.
…The President has issued a veto threat should the House version of the bill come to his desk.
Update: 23 Republicans voted against the passage of the bill, while 6 Democrats voted in favor of it.
Update: 196 men voted in favor of the watered-down version of the bill today: 191 Republicans, 5 Democrats. [thinkprogress/Annie-Rose Strasser/16 May 2012]
But at least one group is coming to the GOP’s defense. The National Coalition for Men (NCFM) has released a statement arguing that the Republican alternative will “ensure more of the abused are better served” and provide protections for the “true victims” of domestic violence — heterosexual men [thinkprogress/Igor Volsky/16 May 2012]
• If You’re Knocked Up in Kansas and Don’t Want to Be, You Better Hope You Get the Right Pharmacist
With the signing of a new expanded conscience clause bill in Kansas, Republican Governor Sam Brownback has now legally blessed a virtually open-ended number of situations in which “religious” workers can refuse to assist women under the guise that they believe they “may be” terminating a pregnancy.
Advocates of the law argue that it “updates existing law.” But by changing the law to include refusal to administer any drug that they believe may terminate a pregnancy, it opens the door to refusal of birth control and emergency contraception — both of which many anti-choice medical workers and pharmacists erroneously charge end very early pregnancies rather than preventing conception. The law could also allow refusal of even more medically-necessary drugs simply because they may relate to abortions. [alternet/RH Reality Check/Robin Marty/15 May 2012]
• It’s like the passive-aggressive cousin of Stand Your Ground. We could call it “Sit On Your Hands,” perhaps: You don’t have to help someone if you think they don’t deserve it, even if it’s a potentially life-threatening situation, and even if it’s supposed to be your job.
Arizona Congressman Trent Franks’ attempt to push a 20-week “fetal pain” abortion ban in Washington, D.C. (despite the fact that there is no science showing a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks) is at best just another chance for the Republican to show off his anti-choice credentials and allow anti-choice House members to woo their supporters with their love of restrictions on women’s reproductive health. At worst, it’s an attempt to create a piece of legislation which, if it does become law, would provide a direct track to the Supreme Court to challenge Roe V. Wade. There is no evidence for fetal pain in the second trimester of pregnancy, and fetuses are not viable at 20 weeks.
Either way, he’s not intending to let his moment of glory be overshadowed, even if that means refusing to let D.C.’s actual Congressional representative speak on the bill.
On Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee will be reviewing a ban on any abortion after 20 weeks, but Democratic Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, who represents the District, will not be allowed to testify, despite the fact that she would be the one who represents the women who would be affected by the bill if it passes. [RH Reality Check/Robin Marty/16 May 2012]
• “They’re like, ‘Well, the poor pitiful women that can’t afford to go out of state are just going to start doing them at home with a coat hanger.’ That’s what we’ve heard over and over and over. “But hey, you have to have moral values. You have to start somewhere, and that’s what we’ve decided to do.