Saturday, March 10, 2012

Tweet of the Day

Must Reads

Greg Sargent: Dems twist knife in birth control fight

Dana Milbank: The GOP’s gasoline alley

Sen. John Kerry: Romney’s wrong-headed assertions about Iran

David Macaray: Rush Limbaugh Is No Joke

Kai Wright: How a Racist Email Reveals the Grand Old Party Has Become a Petty Affair

Jim Wright: The Absurdity of Rush Limbaugh

Limbaugh Defends Joseph Kony Solely To Be Anti-Obama

Some people will do or say anything strictly because it's in opposition to that evil, Socialist, Marxist, anti-colonial Kenyan world view, Manchurian candidate President Barack Obama. How much farther can Rush Limbaugh stick his head up his own ass. This time, Rush defends Ugandan leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, Joseph Kony. If you don't know what the LRA is...

The LRA is a militant group with a syncretic pseudo-Christian extreme religious ideology, known for the atrocities they commit against civilians, including murder, mutilations, rape, and in some accounts even cannibalism.
Directed by Kony, the LRA has earned a reputation for its actions against the people of several countries, including northern Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, South Sudan, and Sudan. It has abducted and forced an estimated 66,000 children to fight for them, and has forced the internal displacement of over two million people since its rebellion began in 1986.
But because Limbaugh and most of the GOP say and do everything they can to oppose President Obama, then they've got to be against this, right? It has to be some conspiracy to defeat the Christian faith if you go after someone who's "army" is called the Lord's Resistance Army. I mean, it's right there in the name! "Lord" is part of their name, therefore they must be fighting on behalf of God. ...Seriously.

How do you combat this type of idiocy and ignorance?

It reminds me of this Key & Peele comedy clip.

UPDATE: As Rush continued his statements, which aren't in the video, here's what he said:
...So that's a new war, a hundred troops to wipe out Christians in Sudan, Uganda, and -- (interruption) no, I'm not kidding. Jacob Tapper just reported it. Now, are we gonna help the Egyptians wipe out the Christians? Wouldn't you say that we are? I mean the Coptic Christians are being wiped out, but it wasn't just Obama that supported that. The conservative intelligentsia thought it was an outbreak of democracy. Now they've done a 180 on that, but they forgot that they supported it in the first place. Now they're criticizing it.
Lord's Resistance Army objectives. I have them here. "To remove dictatorship and stop the oppression of our people." Now, again Lord's Resistance Army is who Obama sent troops to help nations wipe out. The objectives of the Lord's Resistance Army, what they're trying to accomplish with their military action in these countries is the following: "To remove dictatorship and stop the oppression of our people; to fight for the immediate restoration of the competitive multiparty democracy in Uganda; to see an end to gross violation of human rights and dignity of Ugandans; to ensure the restoration of peace and security in Uganda, to ensure unity, sovereignty, and economic prosperity beneficial to all Ugandans, and to bring to an end the repressive policy of deliberate marginalization of groups of people who may not agree with the LRA ideology." Those are the objectives of the group that we are fighting, or who are being fought and we are joining in the effort to remove them from the battlefield.
Yes, President Obama is defending Muslims and killing Christians. That was what Rush was trying to get across to his ditto heads. And they'll buy it hook, line and sinker because they want to believe it.

President Obama's Weekly Address - March 10, 2012

Investing in a Clean Energy Future

Friday, March 9, 2012

Chris Christie's Bully Syndrome

Now granted, this is an edited video, mostly of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's response to law student and former Navy SEAL, William Brown. We don't see the possible and probable interruption(s) of Brown. But I really don't need to see a full, unedited version, because here's the thing: this is just another instance in a continuing pattern of Christie being a bully to constituents who attend his town hall meetings, teachers and teachers unions, call into his live, on-air interviews or anywhere else he happens to be speaking in a public forum.

The problem with Chris Christie (as if there were only one) is that he thinks he's Tony Soprano. He's not. He's an elected official, one of only fifty governors in the country. Yet Christie acts like he's a bouncer at the Bada Bing. He thinks he can say anything he wants. He's beloved by his party for being so "blunt." But what would his party say, if President Obama, during a town hall meeting where you know some serious and sometimes awkward questions will be asked, called a former Navy SEAL an idiot? There would be mass outrage of epic proportions.

Maybe Chris Christie is a normal, guy next door. Who knows? But as governor, I don't want the guy next door that you can sit down and have a beer with while he eats all the spare ribs. I want a thoughtful, responsible, intelligent person. He, along with all elected officials, must be held to a higher standard. So sit back, Chris, take the question, take deep breath and answer it as politely as possible, then move on. Despite what you may think, you don't have the power to have somebody whacked.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Visual Aid


I'm a visual person. So a few weeks ago I decided I needed a chart that shows how many bills have been introduced to limit women's health care. But it was hard to find all the information to make an accurate chart. I even contacted my friend who is a well-connected Sociology professor on women's issues, and particularly women's reproductive care. But even her contacts couldn't get me information. Why? Because there is so damn much.

Today, I heard that the Guttmacher Institute released a report in January that documents the record number of bills proposed in 2011, across the country, to destroy abortion rights. I like their chart a lot. It's a very dramatic chart. But I still needed to make my own. Granted, theirs is based on facts and mine is based on rage, but you get the point.


Because The Bible Says So...

...that's why.

Via Alan Colmes:
Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK): Well actually the Genesis 8:22 that I use in there is that ‘as long as the earth remains there will be seed time and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night,’ my point is, God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.
The arrogance! Outrageous, I tells ya!

...Seriously, you can't make this shit up. Parody is dead. DEAD I TELLS YA!



This AZ bill would prevent parents from suing doctors for not telling them about any health conditions of their unborn babies. So, if a baby will have any life-threatening problems, the doctors won't be required to tell the parents prior to birth. Or, the parents don't have any recourse, at the least.

The reason: they don't want parents to choose abortion. SO, you may never consider abortion for a baby with health problems but because the doctor doesn't want to take that chance, you won't know to prepare for a baby's needs once its born. I, for one, would want to have everything lined up the second my child was born. To not be told of a health condition before the child's birth is the most backwards way of practicing health care. The right-wing's ideology is really putting lives at risk. How "pro-life".

And remember, all those transvaginal ultrasounds are meant to give women all the "facts" about her pregnancy. Or so the right-wing says.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

My New Policy


You know how the House Republicans required some Constitutional statement at the beginning of all new bills? Well, I've decided that from now on, any time a "Christian" wants to talk politics with me, they have to cite a section(s) in the Bible where JESUS (not Paul or Moses or anyone else) is quoted in support of their political stance.

If they want to say poor people are lazy, they have to show me where JESUS said it. Not where Paul wrote a letter to the Thessalonians. And if they can't support their political views with their more important religious views of CHRIST himself, then their principles are compromised and thus not even remotely relevant in a conversation. Not worth my time.

Let's Get This Straight


I just hit my limit of hearing jackasses talk about Sandra Fluke's Congressional testimony on contraception and getting it WRONG. Tony Perkins was on Martin Bashir and said that, although he wouldn't want his daughter insulted, his daughter would never go before Congress to talking about "sexual promiscuity".

THAT DID IT! I am about as pissed as I can be.

It's painfully clear Mr. Perkins didn't hear or read Ms. Fluke's testimony or he'd know that the only mention of contraception for sex was about a married couple who couldn't afford birth control any longer. It's painfully clear he takes his cues from Limbaugh and the right-wing talking heads on the value of LYING.Link
But what REALLY sent me into shaking, screaming, rising blood pressure mode was the next topic of discussion: transvaginal ultrasounds for women seeking access to their legal rights. He said that transvaginal ultrasounds are important for sharing FACTS with women.

Well, I suggest Mr. Perkins begin by educating himself on facts by reading and watching Ms. Fluke's testimony before he goes on air again to distort and further insult Ms. Fluke by making her out to be someone she's not. Yes, Mr. Perkins, facts are important. GET SOME! Perhaps you can help me educate Mr. Perkins by Tweeting him with facts @tperkins

Leader Pelosi, members of Congress, good morning, and thank you for calling this hearing on women's health and for allowing me to testify on behalf of the women who will benefit from the Affordable Care Act contraceptive coverage regulation.

My name is Sandra Fluke, and I'm a third-year student at Georgetown Law School. I'm also a past president of Georgetown Law Students for Reproductive Justice, or LSRJ. And I'd like to acknowledge my fellow LSRJ members and allies, and all of the student activists with us, and thank them so much for being here today.

We, as Georgetown LSRJ, are here today because we're so grateful that this regulation implements the nonpartisan medical advice of the Institute of Medicine. I attend a Jesuit law school that does not provide contraceptive coverage in its student health plan. And just as we students have faced financial, emotional and medical burdens as a result, employees at religiously affiliated hospitals and institutions and universities across the country have suffered similar burdens. We are all grateful for the new regulation that will meet the critical health care needs of so many women. Simultaneously, the recently announced adjustment addresses any potential conflict with the religious identity of Catholic and Jesuit institutions.

When I look around my campus, I see the faces of the women affected by this lack of contraceptive coverage. And especially in the last week, I have heard more and more of their stories. On a daily basis, I hear from yet another woman from Georgetown or from another school or who works for a religiously affiliated employer, and they tell me that they have suffered financially, emotionally and medically, because of this lack of coverage. And so I'm here today to share their voices, and I want to thank you for allowing them -- them, not me -- to be heard.

Without insurance coverage, contraception, as you know, can cost a woman over $3,000 during law school. For a lot of students who, like me, are on public interest scholarships, that's practically an entire summer's salary. Forty percent of the female students at Georgetown Law reported to us that they've struggled financially as a result of this policy.

One told us of how embarrassed and just powerless she felt when she was standing at the pharmacy counter and learned for the first time that contraception was not covered on her insurance, and she had to turn and walk away because she couldn't afford that prescription. Women like her have no choice but to go without contraception.

Just last week, a married female student told me that she had to stop using contraception because she and her husband just couldn't fit it into their budget any more. Women employed in low-wage jobs without contraceptive coverage face this same choice.

And some might respond that contraception is accessible in lots of other ways. Unfortunately, that's just not true. Women's health clinics provide a vital medical service, but, as the Guttmacher Institute has definitively documented, these clinics are unable to meet the crushing demand for these services. Clinics are closing, and women are being forced to go without the medical care they need.

How can Congress consider the Fortenberry, Rubio and Blunt legislation, that would allow even more employers and institutions to refuse contraception coverage, and then respond that the nonprofit clinics should step up to take care of the resulting medical crisis; particularly when so many legislators are attempting to defund those very same clinics?

These denials of contraceptive coverage impact real people. In the worst cases, women who need this medication for other medical reasons suffer very dire consequences. A friend of mine, for example, has polycystic ovarian syndrome, and she has to take prescription birth control to stop cysts from growing on her ovaries. Her prescription is technically covered by Georgetown's insurance, because it's not intended to prevent pregnancy. Unfortunately, under many religious institutions' insurance plans, it wouldn't be. There would be no exception for other medical needs. And under Senator Blunt's amendment, Senator Rubio's bill or Representative Fortenberry's bill, there's no requirement that such an exception be made for these medical needs.

When this exception does exist, these exceptions don't accomplish their well-intended goals, because when you let university administrators or other employers, rather than women and their doctors, dictate whose medical needs are legitimate and whose are not, a woman's health takes a backseat to a bureaucracy focused on policing her body. In 65 percent of the cases at our school, our female students were interrogated by insurance representatives and university medical staff about why they needed prescriptions and whether they were lying about their symptoms. For my friend, and 20 percent of the women in her situation, she never got the insurance company to cover her prescription. Despite verification of her illness from her doctor, her claim was denied repeatedly on the assumption that she really wanted birth control to prevent pregnancy. She's gay -- so clearly, polycystic ovarian syndrome was a much more urgent concern than accidental pregnancy for her.

After months of paying over $100 out of pocket, she just couldn't afford her medication anymore, and she had to stop taking it. I learned about all of this when I walked out of a test and got a message from her that, in the middle of the night in her final-exam period, she'd been in the emergency room. She'd been there all night in just terrible, excruciating pain. She wrote to me: "It was so painful I woke up thinking I'd been shot." Without her taking the birth control, a massive cyst the size of a tennis ball had grown on her ovary. She had to have surgery to remove her entire ovary as a result. On the morning I was originally scheduled to give this testimony, she was sitting in a doctor's office trying to cope with the consequences of this medical catastrophe.

Since last year's surgery, she's been experiencing night sweats and awaking and other symptoms of early menopause as a result of the removal of her ovary. She's 32 years old. As she put it: If my body indeed does enter early menopause, no fertility specialist in the world will be able to help me have my own children. I will have no choice at giving my mother her desperately desired grandbabies, simply because the insurance policy -- that I paid for, totally unsubsidized by my school -- wouldn't cover my prescription for birth control when I needed it. Now, in addition to potentially facing the health complications that come with having menopause at such an early age -- increased risk of cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis -- she may never be able to conceive a child.

Some may say that my friend's tragic story is rare. It's not. I wish it were. One woman told us doctors believe she has endometriosis, but that can't be proven without surgery. So the insurance has not been willing to cover her medication, the contraception she needs to treat her endometriosis. Recently, another woman told me that she also has polycystic ovarian syndrome, and she's struggling to pay for her medication and is terrified not to have access to it. Due to the barriers erected by Georgetown's policy, she hasn't been reimbursed for her medication since last August. I sincerely pray that we don't have to wait until she loses an ovary or is diagnosed with cancer before her needs and the needs of all of these women are taken seriously, because this is the message that not requiring coverage of contraception sends: A woman's reproductive health care isn't a necessity, isn't a priority.

One woman told us that she knew birth control wasn't covered on the insurance, and she assumed that that's how Georgetown's insurance handled all of women's reproductive and sexual health care. So when she was raped, she didn't go to the doctor, even to be examined or tested for sexually transmitted infections, because she thought insurance wasn't going to cover something like that, something that was related to a woman's reproductive health.

As one other student put it, this policy communicates to female students that our school doesn't understand our needs. These are not feelings that male fellow students experience, and they're not burdens that male students must shoulder.

In the media lately, some conservative Catholic organizations have been asking, what did we expect when we enrolled at a Catholic school? We can only answer that we expected women to be treated equally, to not have our school create untenable burdens that impede our academic success. We expected that our schools would live up the Jesuit creed of "cura personalis," to care for the whole person by meeting all of our medical needs. We expected that when we told our universities of the problems this policy created for us as students, they would help us. We expected that when 94 percent of students opposed the policy, the university would respect our choices regarding insurance students pay for completely unsubsidized by the university.

We did not expect that women would be told in the national media that we should have gone to school elsewhere and -- even if that meant going to a less prestigious university. We refuse to pick between a quality education and our health, and we resent that in the 21st century anyone thinks it's acceptable to ask us to make this choice simply because we are women.

Many of the women whose stories I've shared today are Catholic women. So ours is not a war against the church. It is a struggle for access to the health care we need. The president of the Association of Jesuit Colleges has shared that Jesuit colleges and universities appreciate the modification to the rule announced recently. Religious concerns are addressed, and women get the health care they need. And I sincerely hope that that is something we can all agree upon.

Thank you very much.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Notorious D.I.C.K.

Well, where to start? After Rush Limbaugh's non-apology apology for calling Sandra† Fluke a "slut" and a "prostitute," he tried to make excuses for himself for why he used those words, and tried to compare his profession to that of a rapper.

“Talk about a double standard,” Limbaugh said on air Monday, according to Dylan Stableford. “Rappers can say anything they want about women [and] it’s called art. And they win awards.”
Whether you like rap music or not, it's considered an art form because it's something that is created. When has Rush created anything other than a shitstorm of hate? Sorry, Notorious D.I.C.K., you're not a rapper.

And good for Sandra Fluke to reject Limbaugh's non-apology. He said he was sorry for using those words, but I don't remember him saying he was sorry for wanting to see sex tapes of Fluke in return for something he's not paying for, which also seems to be overlooked by those covering this story. In fact, calling her a slut and a prostitute was tame in comparison to the other things he said.

*One more thing: Did anyone notice that last all week, Limbaugh was pronouncing Fluke's name "Fluck" as in rhymes with "Fuck"? Only today has he been pronouncing her name correctly.

(† A previous version of this post mistakenly named Ms. Fluke as Sarah, and has been corrected.)