On-Going Things that are Pissing Me Off 14

Well a few things have been on my mind and building up, so let’s begin.

Charter Schools and Voucher programs:  There is no evidence that Charter Schools are any better than public schools, there is evidence however that they are much, much worse. What is this about, the incessant need to cheap out on our children? What I mean by cheap out here is, the hiring of unqualified individuals with crackpots ideas to teach our children.

Creationism: Check.

Distorting test results: Check, Why does Michelle Rhee’s name always come up in these cases?  (Hey New Orleans, what’s up?)

Greenwald, because Greenwald… that guy is simply exasperating. I’m tired of him.

Climate change deniers.. seriously, what will it take for these people to wake the fuck up?

Politico, all of it, all of their reporters, Check out the link, Pot meet kettle.

Chuck Todd, who doesn’t seem to know what his job actually is, oh well.

Congressional Republicans, god they piss me off. So once again they are attacking poor people. Why do they hate poor people so much? I honestly don’t understand it.  Republicans actually worship at the Temple of Draco. I am convinced of this.

Congressional Republicans have rushed headlong into a draconian new cut to the nations meal assistance program known as  SNAP. The 5% cut will displace 3.8 million people from receiving this assistance.  Not a big deal for those Republicans and their big wig friends.  However, the SNAP program dollar amount is around $32.00 a week for groceries per person. Wow. If one gallon of non-organic milk is around 6.00, which is roughly 1/5th of the weekly allotment, how does one get adequate nutrition? And yet these horrible human beings, Congressional Republicans, are willing to throw 3.8 million more people off the rolls, even though they are only getting $32.00 a week. It’s a huge cut at a time when we should be putting more money into that program. We should be boosting WIC, Public Health programs and senior meals. These monies need to be restored.

There are huge societal consequences to malnutrition.

In children the effects are great from an early age in that it impacts cognitive abilities.

From the Nursing Times.

Here is more on the impact of malnutrition on children and pregnant women.

Effects of malnutrition on the elderly.

And let’s be honest here, cutting SNAP does nothing for the budget, it has no impact. If Republicans were serious about righting the wrongs of subsidized money we would quit subsidizing oil, natural gas, corn, commodity crops, military contractors and their cost plus bidding processes, etc and so on. Cutting SNAP just makes Republicans look like they worship at the temple of Draco.  Well they do worship at the Temple of Draco, that is part of the problem.

And now onto ACA, Republicans need to stop, just stop, they look like the biggest asses on the face of the earth.  Like Chris Hayes said on Real Time last night, let’s see what works, let’s get this law implemented and see what works, and we will go from there.  And frankly, this is the law, all three branches have affirmed this. All three.  Time for the opposition to get over it. They Lost. Time to  participate in the system we have created, contribute to new reforms, something anything, just quit being such pricks about everything by basically holding the entire country hostage because they are still mad they lost the election in 2008 and 2012.  If they don’t they will be left out of the process, because the more they dig their heals in and do nothing, or do things that have extremely negative effects on the nations already fragile economy, they will be thrown out of office, and that is just fine by me.

That’s all I got.

Have a good day.

Kermit Gosnell, Eleventh Dimensional Chess, Michelle Rhee, Rand Paul and Other Bullshit that Pissed Me Off This Week 5

Sigh, the right wing media is having a major melt down about Kermit Gosnell, complaining on and on ad-infinitum that the Main Stream Media is not covering the Gosnell story. Of course this is absolute BS, since I first starting hearing about Gosnell in 2011. The question must be asked, where was the right wing media in 2011 when it came to Kermit Gosnell, serial abuser of women in need? Oh right, it didn’t suit their purpose back then to talk about this at all, in fact it was a non-story to them. Why? Let’s review the work that was done in 2011 about Gosnell and his arrest in January of 2011:

http://www.myfoxphilly.com/story/17533017/doctor-allegedly-killed-babies-with-scissors

http://www.cnn.com/2011/CRIME/03/02/pennsylvania.abortion.doctor/index.html

http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Abortion-Doctor-Charged-With-Murder-114205094.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/23/us/23doctor.html?_r=0

http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/the-feed/item/11662-21tmmayor

http://www.delawareonline.com/article/20110128/NEWS01/101280337/AG-Beau-Biden-launches-probe-into-abortion-doctor-s-work-in-Delaware?nclick_check=1

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/23/kermit-gosnell-abortion-c_n_812702.html

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/01/19/national/main7261741.shtml

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1354889/Kermit-Gosnell-House-horrors-abortionist-1-8m-year.html

http://rhrealitycheck.org/tag/dr-kermit-gosnell/

There were just so many reports at the time of his arrest all about his clinic of horror. What we know is, that facility was not inspected by the state of Pennsylvania for 17 years. Of course the excuse wingers are using that the place wasn’t inspected in 17 damn years was because of a pro-choice policy, which is utter bullshit.  The Business Insider article does say that it was Governor Tom Ridge, Republican who ordered the Dept of Health to stop inspecting abortion clinics, and that isn’t because of  a pro-choice policy that is a direct result of conservatives not believing that the health of women is important. Let’s be clear, it seems Dr. Gosnell would have used hangers to give women abortions if he could have gotten away with it, the state of Pennsylvania was complicit. It’s disgusting but it has nothing to do with being pro-choice, it has everything to do with not believing women health is important. And now a bunch of men are enraged because they think the story isn’t being covered… more utter bullshit, and they don’t care one bit about the health of women, they care 100% about using this case to politicize the health of women. It certainly isn’t shocking.

Then we get to the 11th Dimensional Chess Meme, smh, really? The  I just hate the meme, it’s lame. Everyone who is using this term as though it has meaning, stop it, you sound stupid when you type it out day after day after day. Sheesh!

Michelle Rhee’s reign of error in the DC schools is finally coming under some intense scrutiny, in light of the big testing scandal in Georgia. See the test scores of those kids in DC took a sudden rise, and it just seemed highly unusual for this to happen.  Cheating on standardized tests is at the core of this scandal and Rhee selling her so-called methods to other school systems is on the periphery.  There is plenty of evidence that Rhee’s policies encouraged teachers to cheat. Here is some evidence from a Frontline Investigation:

The DC-CAS scores at Noyes, where 81% of classrooms were flagged for high erasures, are themselves circumstantial evidence that supports Cothorne’s allegation. Below are the Noyes DC-CAS scores over five years; 2011 represents the year that security was tightened.

  2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Reading 44.14% 61.53 84.21 61.36 32.40
Math 34.24% 57.69 62.79 53.64 28.17

 
That represents a drop of nearly 50 points in reading between 2009 and 2011, and a drop of roughly 34 points in math. Note also that in 2011 Noyes students were scoring below their pre-Rhee level.

In all, data are available for 16 schools with erasure rates of at least 50%. DC-CAS reading scores rose in only two schools after security was tightened. Math scores rose in just 4 schools and declined in 12.

Rhee is the epitome of an educated grifter. It pisses me off that people seem to believe that improving scores always equals firing teachers. It isn’t that easy people, and for the most part teachers are very dedicated to helping children learn. I’m sick of people like Rhee who present easy solutions to improving education for the underprivileged, Guess what it isn’t easy. There are no quick solutions, we have to have community based solutions that include a change in how we view education. Where all children are not hungry when they begin class, where families have access to help, want to better education children, well the community must come together, and that has little to do with test scores. Melissa Harris Perry has the right idea, but of course she is attacked for it. But I know one thing for sure, Rhee took advantage of the DC system and helped no child learn.

Oh Rand Paul, sure thing black people need to know just how great Republicans are beginning with Lincoln, because they would never know what he did or anything really, unless a white person tells them.  What a great way to recruit people to your party, condescend to them repeatedly!

Yes it makes me mad that people are attacking Melissa Harris Perry for saying the raising children is a community responsibility, it is, how is that so wrong? Oh conservatives on the one hand you always insist how great thigns were in the past, when you would get in trouble at home after getting in trouble with a neighbor for being a pinhead, but if a liberal suggests that is important to raising children suddenly it is communism, socialism, social engineering and all wrong. Idiots.

There are many more things that piss me off on an on-going basis, but we can’t go over them here, this would be a never ending blog. Have a good Sunday my tens of readers!

2012 — Year of the Republican Legislative Assault on Women & Privacy 4

It is only March of 2012 and already this is turning out to be the year Republicans took their war on women to entirely new heights.

It might seem like it all began when the powers that be at the Komen Fund decided it was time to get into the game of shutting down Planned Parenthood. Shutting down Planned Parenthood has been a goal of the right since the abortion wars began. Controlling the type of healthcare available to women, effectively renders us children to the state, it’s right out of A Handmaid’s Tale, it is scary how far some of the foes of reproductive health will go. They do no only employ intimidation through threats of bodily harm, they have coupled that with enacting legislation effectively curtailing the rights of women to be full and total citizens of this country.  It’s shameful.

The quest for full citizenship for women has been ongoing since the founding of our nation, certainly the 19th amendment were the efforts of a very long struggle. We had to wait a longer time to gain control over our bodies. We are now losing that fight.

In 1965 women began to gain our own right to privacy over our own bodies, men somehow were born with that right, we had to fight to gain those rights. Griswold V Connecticut, established that a  couples had the legal right to make family planning decisions, it established individuals have a fundamental right to privacy.  This is why Griswold is so important and this is why Republicans attack Griswold, it wasn’t Roe V Wade that established the right to privacy, it was Griswold V. Connecticut and if they can successfully neuter Griswold state by state Roe v Wade can be effectively overturned.

William O. Douglas argued in the majority opinion that marriage is defined as an “association” and argues that because the Supreme Court had already found a right to privacy in associations, marriage was likewise protected. But it wasn’t on those grounds alone, Douglas also noted that the Third Amendment’s prohibition against forced quartering of soldiers, the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, the Fifth Amendment’s self-incrimination clause, and the Ninth Amendment’s provision that rights not specifically named are reserved to the people combine to create a broad constitutional right to privacy.

In 1972 those rights were extended to unmarried couples Eisenstadt v. Baird (1972) extended Griswold to unmarried couples. If married couples had a  “right of privacy” then unmarried couples and individuals have the same right under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.  Justice Brennan writing for the majority, ” If the right of privacy means anything, it is the right of the individual, married or single, to be free from unwarranted governmental intrusion into matters so fundamentally affecting a person as the decision to whether to bear or beget a child.”

Then came the 1973 Roe V Wade decision. What is particularly telling about this decision is that the Justices knew that this would cause a firestorm of criticism. Let’s look at what Justice Blackmum wrote for the majority:

We forthwith acknowledge our awareness of the sensitive and emotional nature of the abortion controversy, of the vigorous opposing views, even among physicians, and of the deep and seemingly absolute convictions that the subject inspires. One’s philosophy, one’s experiences, one’s exposure to the raw edges of human existence, one’s religious training, one’s attitudes toward life and family and their values, and the moral standards one establishes and seeks to observe, are all likely to influence and to color one’s thinking and conclusions about abortion.

The decision itself is a highly technical decision siting decisions that went as far back at 1891 in establishing an individuals right to privacy as an implied requirement of the constitution as it is not explicitly stated.

Part VIII of the decision begins this way:

The Constitution does not explicitly mention any right of privacy. In a line of decisions, however, going back perhaps as far as Union Pacific R. Co. v. Botsford, 141 U.S. 250, 251 (1891), the Court has recognized that a right of personal privacy, or a guarantee of certain areas or zones of privacy, does exist under the Constitution. In varying contexts, the Court or individual Justices have, indeed, found at least the roots of that right in the First Amendment, Stanley v. Georgia, 394 U.S. 557, 564 (1969); in the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 8-9 (1968), Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 350 (1967), Boyd v. United States, 116 U.S. 616 (1886), see Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438, 478 (1928) (Brandeis, J., dissenting); in the penumbras of the Bill of Rights, Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. at 484-485; in the Ninth Amendment, id. at 486 (Goldberg, J., concurring); or in the concept of liberty guaranteed by the first section of the Fourteenth Amendment, see Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390, 399 (1923). These decisions make it clear that only personal rights that can be deemed “fundamental” or “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty,” Palko v. Connecticut, 302 U.S. 319, 325 (1937), are included in this guarantee of personal privacy. They also make it clear that the right has some extension to activities relating to marriage, Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1, 12 (1967); procreation, Skinner v. Oklahoma, 316 U.S. 535, 541-542 (1942); contraception, Eisenstadt v. Baird, 405 U.S. at 453-454; id. at 460, 463-465 (WHITE, J., concurring in result); family relationships, Prince v. Massachusetts, 321 U.S. 158, 166 (1944); and childrearing and education, Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510, 535 (1925), Meyer v. Nebraska, supra.

They went further to state the the right to privacy is not absolute and site other cases as to why it is no absolute and then go on:

We, therefore, conclude that the right of personal privacy includes the abortion decision, but that this right is not unqualified, and must be considered against important state interests in regulation.

Their summary reviews their decision defines viability as the first trimester and sites the fundamental individual right to privacy.

And then all hell broke loose and ever since there has been a drumbeat to take reverse Roe V Wade.  Roe was decided at a time when legislatures and courts around the world were showing increasing respect for women’s right to self-determination in all aspects of life, including in deciding whether or not to bear children. Slowly the right wing has been winning the fight to restrict our fundamental right to privacy and control of our bodies by attempting to chip away at that right state by state.

Webster V Reproductive Health Services (1989) was the first Supreme Court decision that began to curtail Roe V Wade and chip away at the individual right to privacy. The Webster v. Reproductive Health Services ruled to what extent any state can impose restrictions on abortion by, for example, specifying at what stage in the life of an unborn fetus abortions might be obtained or whether government funds or facilities could be used to perform abortions. They did this under the watchful eye of Sandra Day O’Connor, she was the cover the Rehnquist Court needed and she willingly participated in the War on Women. Although she would never let them touch Roe V Wade, she did in this case allow a conservative supreme court to begin chip away at the edges of Roe V Wade.

It’s been downhill ever since. Think Progress has this great interactive map of current legislation in state legislatures to curtail women’s reproductive rights.

Let’s look at this map:

Legislation 2009 – Present

(incomplete I am sure)

Alabama SB 20: This bill would be known as the Abortion Coverage Prohibition Act.
SB 5:  This bill would define the term “persons” to include all humans from the moment of fertilization and implantation into the womb.
SB 12:  This bill would require a physician to perform an ultrasound, provide verbal explanation of the ultrasound, and display the images to the pregnant woman before performing an abortion.
HB 18: Abortion, prohibited on or after 20 weeks post-fertilization, exceptions for health of mother, Legislative findings regarding pain felt by unborn child, reports to Office of Vital Statistics, civil and criminal penalties, Alabama Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act
Alabama has not repealed its ban on abortion, enacted in 1852, last amended in 1975.

Alaska: SB191  An Act requiring an ultrasound before an abortion

Arizona: HB 2865 A bill to restrict women’s access to birth control and abortion care.
HB 2036 Prohibiting abortion after twenty weeks
HB 2625 Allows businesses to refuse to cover contraceptive coverage
HB 2800 calls for a defunding of Planned Parenthood

Arkansas HB1113: “Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act”

Connecticut: HB 5635  Intended to restrict the practices of crisis pregnancy centers, which often attract women by offering free ultrasounds. The law prohibits anyone from performing an obstetric ultrasound unless it has been ordered by “a licensed health care provider” and is for a “medical or diagnostic purpose.”
HB 6247 An act requiring the administration of an ultrasound procedure prior to the termination of  a pregnancy.
HB 5099 Also requires the administration of an ultrasound procedure prior to termination of a pregnancy.

Florida HB 277: 20 week ban
HB 839 20 week ban, no exceptions
SB 290 20 week ban
HB 1327 would require a physician to sign an affidavit stating that she/he is not performing an abortion because of the potential race or sex of a fetus or because of the pregnant woman’s race.

Georgia: HB 954: Fetal Pain bill, seeks to ban abortions after 20 weeks. McKillip argues that this is the point when a fetus can feel pain.

Idaho: SB 1349 Mandatory Ultrasound prior to abortion
HJMO 10 Employers right  to refuse to cover contraception

Illinois: HB 4085Forced ultrasound
HB 4117  targets facilities in which abortions are performed for excessive and unnecessary regulation in an effort to shut down women’s health care in Illinois.

Iowa: HF 2298 An Act relating to the prohibition of terminations of pregnancy and abortions, providing penalties, and including effective date provisions. (This Act attempts to ban any and all abortions, and is meant to challenge Roe V Wade)
HF 2033 a bill for an act establishing prerequisites to the performance of an abortion.

Kansas: SB 238 Pre-Abortion Notification Requirement
HB 2598 no health care services provided by any state agency, or any employee of a state agency while acting within the scope of such employee’s employment, shall include abortion.

Louisiana: SCR 101 & 102: Urges congress to reject a “Freedom of Choice Act” (an act that has never passed)

Michigan: HB 5343 20 week ban/fetal pain act
SB 150 Ultrasound requirement prior to abortion

Missouri: SB 749 Provides protections for religious beliefs as to the imposition of certain health care services such as abortion, contraception, or sterilization
HR 294 Urges the United States Congress to summarily reject the enactment of the federal Freedom of Choice Act.

Mississippi:HB 857 Unborn Child Protection Act 20 week ban
HC 61 Constitution; amend to provide that the right to life is a fundamental right and “person” applies to all humans from conception.
SC 555 Legislation to protect the life of an unborn child and to prohibit the use of public funds to pay for an abortion, except to save the life of the mother.
HB 1107 Forced Ultrasound prior to abortion.

Nebraska:LB 540 the bill which prohibits funding under this bill from going to “any entity that performs or promotes elective abortion services or with any entity that affiliates with any entity that performs or promotes elective abortion services.”
LB 675 Requiring ultrasound prior to abortion

New Hampshire: HB 1653 It is the purpose of this act to protect as a basic civil right the right of all health care providers and/or institutions, to decline to counsel, advise, pay for, provide, perform, assist, or participate in providing or performing health care services that violate their consciences. Such health care services may include, but are not limited to, abortion, artificial birth control, artificial insemination, assisted reproduction, human cloning, euthanasia, human embryonic stem-cell research, fetal experimentation, physician-assisted suicide, and sterilization.

New Jersey: AB 848 Requires physicians to provide patients opportunity to undergo obstetrical ultrasound or sonogram within 48 hours of performing abortion.

Nevada: Initiative — Personhood

North Dakota: HB 1371 limitations on the performance of abortion and abortion reporting requirements.
HB 1445 A bill that requires abortion-performing doctors to inform their patients that the abortion will end the life of a “whole, separate, unique, living human being.”
HCR 3015 A concurrent resolution urging Congress to reject the bill known as the Freedom of Choice Act, which would invalidate virtually every abortion-related regulation enacted by the people of North Dakota through their elected officials.
SB 2394 Bill prohibiting pregnant minors from consenting to their own prenatal care except in limited circumstances.

Oklahoma: HB 1595 The measure requires physicians to provide detailed information to the Oklahoma State Department of Health about the abortions they perform.
SB 1433 a statutory measure asserting that human life begins at conception.
SB 1274 the Heartbeat Informed Consent Act.

Pennsylvania: HB 1077 An Act providing for ultrasound test requirements to determine gestational ages of unborn children.

South Carolina: S 98 20 week ban, fetal pain bill
H 3406 Prohibits insurance plans offered through a health care exchange from covering abortion except in cases of life endangerment; prohibits private insurance plans from covering abortions except through “abortion riders” paid for with a separate premium.
H3026 Mandates a 24 hour waiting period after having an ultrasound prior to an abortion.
H3408 Allows healthcare providers and employees and health insurance providers the right to refuse to perform, counsel, make referrals for legal medical procedures or prescribe or administer drugs based on conscience objections. Amended to include insurance ban described above.
S.102 Prohibits insurance plans offered through a health care exchange from covering abortion except in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest.
S.165, S.245, and S.616 Establishes full legal personhood at the moment of fertilization, threatening access to legal abortion, contraception, and in vitro fertilization.

Tennessee: Amending the state constitution to restrict access to abortion.

Texas: 2011 Texas Legislature votes to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood leaving poor women. Some 130,000 low-income Texas women who get free exams and contraceptives through Medicaid could lose those benefits as a result of the dispute.
Mandatory Ultrasound Law: The impact of a controversial new Texas law that requires women to have a sonogram – and listen to a description of the fetus as well as its heartbeat – at least 24 hours before they can get an abortion is far from clear. Texas has at least 36 different pieces of legislation currently that will limit a what kind of health care a woman can receive in Texas.

Utah: HB 90 This bill amends the Utah Criminal Code by enacting the second degree felony of “criminal homicide abortion.”
HB 114 Mandates funding to defend HB 90 if challenged.
HB 222 requires that at least 24 hours before a physician performs an abortion of an unborn child who is at least 20 weeks gestational age, the woman on whom the abortion is performed shall be informed of any anesthetic or analgesic that would eliminate or alleviate organic pain to the unborn child and any medical risks associated with the anesthetic or analgesic.

Virginia: SB 817 Choose Life License Plate Proceeds from these plates are directed to pregnancy resource centers
HB 1285 Virginia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act; penalty prohibits an abortion after 20 weeks gestation unless, in reasonable medical judgment, the mother has a condition that so complicates her medical condition as to necessitate the abortion to avert her death or to avert serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function. The prohibition is predicated on the assertion that a fetus is capable of feeling pain at 20 weeks.
HB 1 Provides that unborn children at every stage of development enjoy all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons, citizens, and residents of the Commonwealth, subject only to the laws and constitutions of Virginia and the United States, precedents of the United States Supreme Court, and provisions to the contrary in the statutes of the Commonwealth.
HB 462 Requires that, as a component of informed consent to an abortion, to determine gestational age, every pregnant female shall undergo transabdominal ultrasound imaging and be given an opportunity to view the ultrasound image of her fetus prior to the abortion. Virginia’s governor signed this legislation on Wednesday March, 7, 2012.

This is a round up of some of the current assaults on reproductive health in state legislatures around the country. This is an indication of an all out war on the reproductive rights of women, including in some cases a war on contraception. Republicans all over the country should be forced to defend their party’s platform and what elected Republicans around the country are doing to curtail women’s reproductive rights. This is an assault on the constitutionally protected right to privacy. If we allow them to continue to chip away not-so-slowly at Roe v Wade it may be decades of legislative battles to to reassert those rights.

*The image above comes via the Guttmacher Institute.

Weasel Words 5

“Those aren’t the words I would have used.”

Wait, what? Yes that was Romney’s response to a reporter when asked about the Limbaugh controversy. Really Mitt? I say those are Weasel Words!  Mitt don’t you understand that saying that is worse than not saying anything at all! Dude seriously. Basically Mitt, you seem to be saying that you fundamentally agree with Rush, Inevitable Mitt is an inevitably weak candidate.

I don’t much listen to anything Rush Limbaugh says, he’s been this way for more than 20 years. To this day I still believe it was worse when he referred to a young girl maybe she was 12 the way he did Chelsey Clinton. That was so much worse than this, he has never in his entire career discontinued the use of misogyny in the name of comedy for his act.  I even figured his apology if there ever was one would be half-assed, he wouldn’t mean it and he would use his own form of weasel words to obfuscate the issue at hand. All that was predictable, and expected. I didn’t expect Mitt Romney to basically support the premise of the Limbaugh attack on Fluke, that she was just a promiscuous person who should be discounted and excoriated for exercising her right to testify before congress as an American citizen.

He and his staff can only be described as tone deaf to the issue at hand. Does Mr. Romney agree to the 46  other personal attacks on Fluke? Limbaugh spent an inordinate amount of time attacking Flukes parents, what is up with that? (OMG, OMG I linked to mmfa, it’s a conspiracy) Wow Mitt, do you really agree with the Rush when he said that Fluke just wanted to be paid to have sex? Wait, you would have said it with different words or something, what words would you be using exactly anyway?  Just asking, cause maybe you should not have said anything at all if you weren’t going to be as clear as the advertisers that have taken the opportunity to deliver the Karmic bitch-slap he so richly deserved. Do you also not know how contraception in the form of the pill works?

Yes, Mitt Romney is the classic Eddie Haskell style weasel, he will tell you anything you want to hear if you are a Limbaugh conservative, ( i.e. deeply angry older white guy, who sees himself as a tough guy, who is fairly well off but for some reason wants to hold the mantle of the victim).

On any number of occasions the entire country has witnesses the weasel behavior of flip flopping Mitt Romney. The quickest flip we’ve seen so far is the Blunt-Rubio flip, that one lasted a full 25 minutes I think before he flipped and made the claim that he is an idiot and he simply didn’t understand the guy who asked him about Blunt-Rubio. I read somewhere that the McCain campaign had 200 pages of Mitt’s flips. It isn’t rocket science, everyone knows this, Mitt Romney has an opinion, if you would like to know what his opinion is, please  tell him what it ought to be. That is the word on Mitt, he he fundamentally has no real conviction other than he wants to be President. Therefore he is more than willing to be who you want him to be.

Want him to be a chickenhawk, he will tell you he is ready to go to war against Iran. Want him to tell you the Massachusetts health care plan sucks x one million, no problem and he will deny that he ever said any different even if there is irrefutable evidence proving otherwise.

Mitt is a  master weasel wordsmith, his  failure to differentiate himself from Limbaugh might just make women believe he doesn’t like women either, just like Rush Limbaugh and further that he thinks Ms. Fluke deserved to be attacked for accepting an invitation to testify before congress on reproductive health. He just would not have referred to Fluke as a slut or prostitute. Well then, thanks for clarifying it Mitt, most women are going to remember this come November.

Crossposted @DAGBlog

Overreach 4

I thought we might be finished, I thought Republicans might retreat from some from their extremist anti-womyn, anti-contraception, anti-human medieval belief that females are chattle. Did they, nope, they doubled down dug themselves a trench of quicksand. It is unbelievable what these dudes are willing to do to destroy their party with their public jihad against womyn.  In their massive opposition to prescription drug coverage for womyn they remind  me of the old story of Bison following each other mindlessly off a cliff, this cliff being the cliff of fair and equal access to  prescription drug coverage for womyn.

Yesterday began with Daryl Issa’s, Chairman of House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, holding a hearing hilariously and ironically titled:  “Lines Crossed:  Separation of Church and State. Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience?” It was great because of course Congressman Issa had no womyn on his original panel of dudes he called to testify on behalf of Issa’s conclusion which came long before he called this hearing,  It is obvious that for Issa and his pals in congress that hearing on contraceptive coverage was held to find a way to get to no, using whatever possible including banning womyn who are pro-choice from testifying at the hearing.

That is how the day began, but as we moved quickly into afternoon we heard Rick Santorums SuperPac guy Mr. Foster Friese. Friese stunned Andrea Mitchell when he made the statement that womyn in his era used and asprin between their legs as their form of contraception, which I guess explains all those teenagers getting married in the 1950’s and early 60’s.  He was doing what all those old guys do, he was inferring that womyn who use  contraception are sluts. Yikes, and all Santorum’s staff can say, is that Friese doesn’t work for the campaign. Umm, Okay.

Overreach is the word of the day, Republicans are carrying on in Newt’s footsteps, they love overreach, although they don’t see it as overreach. Issa and his crew make excuses, THIS ISN’T ABOUT CONTRACEPTION, they scream, no, no, this is about RELIGIOUS FREEDUMB. You stick with that dudes, and you will see your party shrink enough for us to drown it in the bathtub, to quote your leader Grover Norquist.

This is part and parcel of what Julian Sanchez , David Frum, Jon Chait were discussing all last year, the Epistemic Closure of the Republican Party. It isn’t only the case that Republicans are purging some of their best thinkers from their club, David Frum from the American Enterprise Institute or Andrew Sullivan a man who was once considered a “good conservative” and Bruce Bartlett, who was fired by a right wing think tank called the National Center for Policy Analysis in 2005 for writing a book critical of George W. Bush’s policies, who has written that he even lost a great many friends and been shunned by conservative society in Washington, DC after his book came out, sacrilege!

And then of course there is this little piece of information from a survey conducted by Democracy Corps, which finds the Republican brand:

is in a state of collapse — over 50 percent of voters give the Republican Party a cool, negative rating. The presidential race and the congressional battles are interacting with each other to drive down their lead candidate, the party, and perceptions of the congressional Republicans.”

According to that survey those voters who gave Democrats victories in 2006 and 2008 are back, in a big way, in particular among unmarried womyn.  Their direct assault on our rights is going to kill off their chances in the fall, it will mostly likely affect those running down ticket as well, this issue alone will relegate Republicans to a smaller and smaller slice of the electorate.  And they don’t seem to care one bit.

Distorting Reproductive Health: The Anti-Woman Beltway Media 2

There has been a frenzy of media discussion about a recent Health and Human Services decision regarding birth control. Let’s go over some facts:

The regulation:

Requires employer who offer health insurance with prescription drug coverage that contraception would be required coverage. If and only if the insurance offered already covers prescription drugs. What they were saying is that contraception is one of those drugs that must be covered. This had nothing to do with a co-pay or any other media driven distortion of the issue. This is a fact.

The other fact that has been ignored by the majority male beltway media is this:

In December of 2000, the US EEOC made it clear that an employer’s failure to provide coverage of contraception, when it covers other prescription drugs and preventive care, is a violation of protections against sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act; those protections for employees’ benefits include no exemption for religious employers.

Beltway pundits continue to present this issue as an argument about co-pays and that all religious organizations will have to buy insurance that covers birth control and that is all a lie, a huge god damned lie that those beltway pundits have deliberately twisted this issue, even though the issues is about prescription drub coverage. When we make the analogy that those plans cover Viagra but not contraception it is the truth, no matter how much yelling those men do, no matter how much they twist the issue, this is about prescription drug coverage, why the hell does no program on cable present this issue correctly?  It angers me. We also know this, cable tv shock jock shows are deliberately leaving women out of this conversation.

What happened? Why did the media grab this story and distort it until they controlled every aspect of it. They were fresh off the highs of the Komen Story, lots of people paid attention to that story and they realized how important and divisive is the issue of Reproductive Health, and how it is so damn good for ratings. This is a better issue than abortion which is like arguing religion, can’t.be.done.These kinds of media frenzies most often give the Republicans an advantage. They are always able to ragify their crowds. The president has a quieter group, far more enraged than those Republicans and this issue is going to bury Republicans in the fall. Sen. Roy Blunt (R) Mo is expected to offer an amendment that would permit any employer or insurance plan to exclude any health service, no matter how essential, from coverage if they morally object to it. This Think Progress report has the language of the bill. Suffice it to say it is Roy’s attempt to get some publicity for himself, knowing full well that this amendment is DOA.

We womyn can see exactly what is going on here. Another Think Progress report after analyzing guests on this issue on the cable shock-jock shows they prefer not to have women on their shows. The Think Progress report Of the 146 guests who have come on cable news shows to discuss the decision between Monday and Thursday, 91 were men. Congressmen, and I mean men went nuts, all over the beltway. Joe Scarborough and Mika couldn’t even be bothered to have a woman on their show to  balance the views, no, they took the dive into all the anti-woman rhetoric they could, they began the lie that this was about convents having to carry insurance coverage for birth control, whey convents are explicitly exempt. I expect Faux Gnus to distort and lie about the issue, but MSNBC let those men carry on the, allowed those men to distort the issue. It is disgusting what they did, they are supposed to report issues fairly, they are not supposed to control the trajectory of legislation or regulation over the American people, in particular over womyn. I never see them protesting the coverage of Viagra, Cialis, but women get the short-shrift because everyone seems to believe our bodies are not our own, but our bodies can be controlled by society at large.

To than attitude I say Fuck You very much Beltway Media and the rest of you anti-woman asshats, you’ve been pwned by the President. Here is the message you should take from our anger, we will not let this happen again. You will not create a political football with our bodies again without us (we womyn) banding together fiercely fighting back against the misinformation you willingly and happily spread.

Chris Matthews Constitutional Lawyer(?) Vs. David Boies 4

Well I had the displeasure of watching Chris Matthews have a complete meltdown over this Health and Human Services regulation requiring church-affiliated employers to cover birth control. I really mostly like Matthews because he usually has a pretty lively show, but there are times well he sure does insist he knows things he simply doesn’t know. Like today, when he insisted he knew this regulation would be struck down by the Supreme Court because it is a definite limit on First Amendment rights of religious people. Well let’s go to the tape!

One thing we know for sure, Sister Carol Keehan, President of the Catholic Health Association in Washington has talked to innumerable Catholic Reporters in DC, because to a person, when they are ranting about this regulation they mention her, those Reporters mention her name. She above all has made a huge issue of something she and many of those Catholic Hospitals she presides over already must comply, according to a 2000 EEOC decision.

First Chris introduces us to the old white guy, Catholic brigade in Congress who insist this is the worst thing that has ever happened to the country and to religious entities. As you can hear him insist, he is advancing the idea from some senators and men in the house of representatives that this is for sure not Constitutional.

Let’s be clear  in December of 2000, the US EEOC made it clear that an employer’s failure to provide coverage of contraception, when it covers other prescription drugs and preventive care, is a violation of protections against sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act; those protections for employees’ benefits include no exemption for religious employers.

This is very important and all the regulation HHS is requiring simply codifies that EEOC ruling. Chris Matthew is completely wrong and  he has worked hard to distort this issue. When you listen to him rant, you can see he has no comprehension of what exactly is going on here. He wrongly insists that convents will have to cover nuns with contraception. Sorry  Chris, wrong, wrong, wrong, you are completely wrong. But he rants on, even so far as making the claim that David Boies would lose if this goes to the Supreme Court, hahaha, I guess because Chris knows the law better than David Boies! I wonder how many cases Chris has had before the Supreme Court of the United States? hahahah… right NONE.  Does he want to stick with that? Hmm it made him look like and utter fool.   Boies is fairly knowledgeable about the law! Hahahaha, I know that is an understatment. Chris simply rants and rages about this terrible, horrible awful thing. David Boies, what does he know about the Constitution, Chris Matthews knows more about the Constitution than some damn Constitutional Lawyer. Take that Boies.

Chris meltdown is epic near the end, where he yells at John Heilemann and basically calls him a shill for the administration! Of course Heilemann was ill prepared to offer proof to Matthews and no-one has mentioned the 2000 EEOC ruling. Why didn’t Heilemann know this, but why is Chris freaking out about this, does he miss his days as Bill Clinton’s executioner?  The study of state regulations on this issue was not done by the administration of course but it was done by the Guttmacher Institute. They are not an shill of this administration. Their Mission:

The Guttmacher Institute advances sexual and reproductive health and rights through an interrelated program of research, policy analysis and public education designed to generate new ideas, encourage enlightened public debate and promote sound policy and program development. The Institute’s overarching goal is to ensure the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health for all people worldwide.

Chris of course gets the issue completely wrong, and makes the claim that the administration is lying about those 28 states who already have this regulation, he made  the claim this is propaganda, and yet according to the Guttmacher study, Heilemann is completely correct.  Chris deliberate distorts the issues of course, I think because he likes to hear his own voice and is convinced he is always correct. He tipifies all that is wrong with cable-tv shock jockery, as they ascribe to the theory that the louder one yells the more right you are. So even though he seems to think this rule will require convents to have this kind of health coverage but of course they are one of the exemptions. Duh Chris! Holy Crap dude.

David Boies is a reasonable person, with a quiet demeanor, he doesn’t believe this would go to the Supreme Court, ever, because of the 2000 EEOC rule. It is amazing to me the media has been allowed to blow this issue up out of proportion, they have been allowed to make it some sort of scandal, some sort of first amendment issue.  Matthews is out in front of the political distortion making false claims and yelling anyone down who doesn’t accept his false claims.  Most of those pundits on the east coast are Catholics it seems and they are towing the line of those repulsive cardinals and bishops who covered up child abuse for all those  years, these men have no relationship with an actual god or with being close to god, or purporting to know God’s will, they ignore God’s will when they want too.  But when it comes to women, as usual, the Church, it used to be my church too, shows just how much they do not respect women, but that has been going on for centuries. Their willingness as usual to involve themselves and their institution in politics should spell the end of their non-profit status.

This episode should be another link to the power of cable tv shock-jockery and how they pull the political strings by making an issue out of something that has been in existence since December of 2000. When they decide to make an issue out of a non-issue politicians respond, no matter what the majority of Americans believe.

This time we need to place the blame for this compromise that is coming not because of congress or the President but cable tv shock-jock BS, they actively decided to control this issue and effect change. I am so tired of us allowing them to control the US through this kind of faux-news.

Chris Matthews Vs. David Boies

I may re-splice this a later today and will include it in an update.

Today in Outrage: Old Male Pundits Unite to Exclaim Dismay About Stuff that Already Happens 2

Oh geez. Really? I didn’t really pay attention to this so-called outrageous action by HHS’s new regulation mandating the coverage of contraception for women without a co-pay. Those bastards, I didn’t know I should be outraged about something that already happens.

I also found out via Old Pundit Alpha aka Mark Shields, who exclaimed on PBS the other night, “This is going to be cataclysmic for the Whitehouse”. Waa… he continued on rather histrionically about how horrible this decision would turn out to be. Then I noticed Old Pundit Beta aka David Brooks, sitting there ready,leaning forward oh so hard and so ready to respond to this burgeoning controversy, the greatest mistake ever made by any administration, “This,” he said, “is the most under-reported story of our time all religious people resent this intrusion into their lives, even if it has already happened in 28 states!!!”

Check out the 30 seconds of amazing punditry which predicts an election over contraception and the simmering anger of Catholic women.   THE HORROR, THE HORROR, RUN FOR YOUR LIVES TO YOUR RON PAUL, END OF TIMER, BUNKERS OUR DEMOCRACY IS OFFICIALLY DESTROYED AND THE PRESIDENT LOSES NOW, HE SHOULD JUST WITHDRAW ALREADY. Umm, say what?

Disclaimer:

No Womyn, Catholic or Otherwise were force fed birth control pills in the writing of this blog.

CrossPosted @ DAGblog

The Komen Memos and the War on Reproductive Health 1

Today Jeffrey Goldberg exposes the Komen Memos, prepared early in January to obfuscate the firestorm they knew would occur when they made moves to target Planned Parenthood in a larger war that the ultra right is waging to curb no vanquish complete access to health care for women. We aren’t just discussing abortion now, we are also discussing contraception and ultimately whether or not women can make choices for their own bodies without interference.

Today we all know Komen reversed their decision because of a sustained backlash against the group for politicizing the health of women.

December 16, 2011: According to this memo sent out to Affiliates for SGK that grant eligibility criteria had been rewritten, bullet point 2 states this:

Further, should Komen become aware that an applicant or its affiliates are under formal investigation for financial or administrative improprieties by local, state or federal authorities, the applicant will be ineligible to receive a grant. An organization may regain its eligibility once the investigation is concluded if the organization and its related affiliates are cleared of any wrongdoing.
This was Komen’s warning shot to Planned Parenthood.
The internal documents in the form of memo’s to Officers and Directors on the Foundations Talking Points regarding changes. Of course this indicates they knew there would be a firestorm of criticism about their action to assist Republicans in their efforts to close Planned Parenthood all over the country. We know Komen expected criticism from talking point 3 and onward, these talking points are all about how to answer questions regarding unfunding the mammogram program for low income and underserved populations.
However the lie that more groups than Planned Parenthood are involved in the revised eligibility code because the Komen talking points point to no other organizations that will no longer receive funds from Komen due to the new criteria.
Three pages of talking points which defend the Foundations decision to unfund a planned parenthood program that helps people obtain what could be a lifesaving procedure.
Komen’s reversal is good, but what is exposed is that the Foundations efforts to assist ultra right conservative Christians in their war on women and reproductive rights. Komens willing participation the War on Women is disappointing,Why did Komen throw itself into the middle of the political battle over women’s reproductive health? Why did they take the side of the hard right forces that have not just demonized women’s health issues, but have undermined access to care.
Let’s look back at 2011 briefly. According to a study conducted by the Guttmacher Institutue, the first half of 2011 916 measure were introduced by legislatures across the country related to reproductive health and rights and by March of 2011 15 new laws passed.
  • expand the pre-abortion waiting period requirement in South Dakota to make it more onerous than that in any other state, by extending the time from 24 hours to 72 hours and requiring women to obtain counseling from a crisis pregnancy center in the interim;
  • expand the abortion counseling requirement in South Dakota to mandate that counseling be provided in-person by the physician who will perform the abortion and that counseling include information published after 1972 on all the risk factors related to abortion complications, even if the data are scientifically flawed;
  • require the health departments in Utah and Virginia to develop new regulations governing abortion clinics;
  • revise the Utah abortion refusal clause to allow any hospital employee to refuse to “participate in any way” in an abortion;
  • limit abortion coverage in all private health plans in Utah, including plans that will be offered in the state’s health exchange; and
  • revise the Mississippi sex education law to require all school districts to provide abstinence-only sex education while permitting discussion of contraception only with prior approval from the state.
It wasn’t that long ago that alternet did a great overview of the 10 worst states for women. It’s a good read and has some great information about states where women aren’t considered full citizens. This is happening all over the nation, the continue degradation of women as full citizens of the United States.
Komens move has shined a harsh light on its own behavior but also gives us some insight into exactly how far ultra-right will go in order to shrink access to health care for women, by targeting poor women these groups have overplayed their hand. And I thank them for that, because women will be paying close attention this election year. It is very public now, just how far Republicans are willing to go and how far their surrogates are willing to go to make sure women do not have access to health care. They will do anything to rid the nation of legal and safe abortions, even so far as cratering a Foundation that used to be considered non-partisan. Thanks for letting us know that wasn’t true, the truth does set us free and it sets our money free. I don’t know that Komen can recover from this, and I am not sure they should.

Watch out ladies, Republicans and their surrogates don’t think we can make our own decisions, nor do they believe we should be able to speak freely with our health care professionals. They will do whatever it takes to make sure we head backwards to 1961 before Griswold, they are stripping us of our rights as full citizens and we need to fight back.

Blogging While Female: Empowerment and Electronic Communication in a Civil Society 6

What is blogging while female? What is it about so many blogs, whether they are of the liberal, conservative or middle of the road blogs that sexism becomes the mode of what is deemed civil discourse? What is female empowerment and what constitutes an on-line civil society and how does it contribute to the overall meaning of civil society? In the end, how do we become more effective communicators and more inclusive of other voices.

I’ve been on-line so-to-speak since 1988, when I began participating in the EICBBS, with my 1200 baud modem and my interest in energy related issues. It was a civil forum run by professionals. We discussed energy and energy related issues, and most of us had more personal knowledge of those participating. The energy community at the time was small, so we knew each other personally. Since that time, the on-line world has evolved into a reflection of society at large and it isn’t reflecting a pretty picture.

E-communities can be terrific, when the participant is not on the outside of the active part of the community. Obviously like-minded people gather in these communities to discuss issues and life in general.  It seems however it is easy for these communities devolve into cliques or what I like to call “the bully posse”, where camaraderie is traded for ideological purity, where rational discussion is literally frowned upon, where some lie in wait for certain commenters or bloggers to begin their attacks, not letting up until said commenter just disappears.

As women, we’ve been dismissed and condescended to the entirety of our existence. I could tell you stories, because as women we weave the stories of our personal lives into how we communicate our ideas and how we form our worldviews. As some have surmised, it is how we gain our voice. We carry those stories with us, it is how we evolve as people, it is how we connect as humans. I realize this is only acceptable once you are truly a member of the group, it is only then that the overly male population of the blog allows that type of communication style. If you are not part of the group, this style is often referred to as meta and deemed unacceptable. But this is the method we use to coax women out of their shells, how they gain their voice in a world that intends them to remain voiceless. Knowing that men and society overall finds our style almost wholly unacceptable, leads us to form our own communities, where our style and our efforts to find our voice are nurtured and deemed acceptable. We have made gains, many, but there is much sexism that remains and permeates many e-communities, including this one.

More disconcerting of course is that the Presidents methods are deemed ineffective because of course he utilizes a less confrontational style, so here and many other blogs, certain bloggers call the president a coward, a wuss, a pussy,  much of the language used to deride him, even in the “liberal/progressive” community falls right into the trap of overt sexism and many women react strongly to those words. When I see them here in a blog, in a comment, I become depressed, because it is one more indication that women and our methods of being in the world are not acceptable. It seems to easy for so many in the so-called progressive community to use degrading feminine terminology to taint the President. Deeming him as unacceptable as most women, because we engage in community building, we seek to make change by compromise and building bridges, and daily on liberal blogs those methods are derided.

It depresses me because it indicates as a society we’ve made few gains in our efforts to become equal, even in the so-called liberal/progressive political movements. We’ve lost, because the majority of men then still see us as inferior to them and because this President seems to be one who believes, as many women do, that we should build bridges with those who don’t hold the same beliefs in order to build a better and more civil society. They seem to view him merely as a woman, who is inferior to them. If what I am writing were not true, why on earth would anyone in a professional capacity say that Hillary should loan the President one of her balls? Inferring one more time this President isn’t man enough to do the right thing, by fist fighting and arguing and making a spectacle of himself ala Anthony Weiner or Alan Grayson. There is rampant sexism in progressive e-communities and it turns women off. I realize it is merely a reflection of how our society has evolved. However it does make it difficult to fully participate in those communities. The words used against us and the President cut like a serrated knife, ripping us apart, reminding us we are not to be included in creating solutions because how we relate to the world is simply not acceptable.

I personally don’t know how to be a part of that kind of community I believe it is a concerted effort to erase women one more time from society. It is an effort to silence us one more time.  These are concerted efforts to limit civility and drive wedges into communities that might have once been more cohesive.   I have a stake in the future of this society, I don’t want a future where we our first instinct is to do nothing more than fight. We have to work hard to attain a truly civil society and I believe the same is true of any on-line community.   It falls to each of us as individuals to curb our tendencies to create disparate tribes that continually war with each other over ideology, if we do not, our society falls apart, and we only have ourselves to blame if this happens.

Crossposted at DAGblog