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November 6, 2012 6:51 pm

Election 2012

I, like many others in the USA, am glued to an election map watching the updates.

My state (Idaho) is pretty much a guarantee for Romney, which is disappointing, but hey – left-wingers do exist in Idaho and I did my part!

I didn’t receive a sticker for voting, which was also disappointing to me as this is the first election where I’ve voted in person – Oregon is entirely vote-by-mail. I loooooved vote-by-mail and I think we should adopt it nationwide as a method of improving voter turnout. It’s so much easier to vote in the privacy of your own home than it is to try to find time in your work schedule to physically make it over to a polling location. (I think the voting ballots should come with “I voted!” stickers though.)

……

For your consideration:

How I Lost Faith in the Pro-Life Movement

As I sat there in the student union reading over my lunch, I found that making birth control widespread and easily accessible is actually the most effective way to decrease the abortion rate. Even as I processed this fact, I knew that the pro-life movement as a whole generally opposes things like comprehensive sex education and making birth control available to teenagers. I knew this because I had lived it, had heard it in pro-life banquet after pro-life banquet, had read it in the literature. The pro-life movement is anti-birth-control. And opposing birth control is pretty much the most ineffective way to decrease abortion rates imaginable. In fact, opposing birth control actually drives the abortion rates up.

As I mulled this over, I realized how very obvious it was. The cause of abortions is unwanted pregnancies. If you get rid of unwanted pregnancies the number of people who seek abortions will drop like a rock. Simply banning abortion leaves women stuck with unwanted pregnancies. Banning abortion doesn’t make those pregnancies wanted. Many women in a situation like that will be willing to do anything to end that pregnancy, even if it means trying to induce their own abortions (say, with a coat hanger or by drinking chemicals) or seeking out illegal abortions. I realized that the real way to reduce abortion rates, then, was to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies. And the way to do that is with birth control, which reduces the number of unwanted pregnancies by allowing women to control when and if they become pregnant.

This post articulates so many of my feelings on the subject of the “pro-life” movement – it’s well-written and level-headed, and I would wholeheartedly recommend reading it, no matter what your position on the issue is.

3 Comments >

March 30, 2012 3:02 pm

(Un)Quiet

I’ve been pretty quiet lately; I think a lot of it is due to me reading a lot of political blog posts and feeling really disheartened with what’s going on legally these days.

For instance, Kansas House legislators have approved a bill that legalizes discrimination against gays and lesbians. This is so morally reprehensible to me that I am finding it difficult to come up with something coherent to say about it.

Pauls gave an example to explain why she backs the bill, saying an employer should be allowed to fire a “cross dresser.”

So… what, a woman who wears pants? Seriously. This person is in favor of someone losing their job because they might not dress according to society’s gender norms.

For example, an employer could fire someone if they discovered the employee was gay. Or a landlord could kick a renter out of their home. The religious exemption extends past places of business to universities, where students or instructors could opt out of a school’s anti-discrimination policy.

It is absolutely NOT an employer’s business who an employee is in love with. It just isn’t. You just know the companies that would perpetrate this injustice would likely not fire the married employee having an affair with the new secretary. Because even though it’s adultery, it is not THE GAY so it’s okay. I just… Ugh. People are people. Who they love is nobody’s business but the parties involved. Legalizing discrimination hurts everyone.

——

Then there’s that whole Sandra Fluke thing.

“What does it say about the college co-ed Susan Fluke who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex — what does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex.”
-source

Calling someone (ANYONE) a slut and a prostitute for requesting that heath insurance providers cover prescription medication is so, so far beyond the pale that I’m surprised there isn’t more outrage. What he said is in no way acceptable. (Plus, he didn’t even get her name right.)

His statement that she was “having so much sex” she couldn’t afford birth control and wants the government to pay for it is patently untrue – her testimony referred to a friend of hers who lost an ovary because despite needing contraception to treat her ovarian cysts, she couldn’t afford the medication. To continue on and say that, for requesting such a thing, she should be required to film her sexual activities for others’ enjoyment? I am nearly apoplectic.

“So the woman comes forth with this frankly hilarious claim that she’s having so much sex – and her buddies with her – that she can’t afford it,” Limbaugh continued. “And not one person says, did you ever think about maybe backing off the amount of sex that you have?”
-source

Rush, this is not how the pill works. You take one pill a day, regardless how much (or how little!) sex you are planning to engage in that day. You do not take a pill before every sexual encounter. Frankly, it shocks me that a man (who, due to his widely publicized prescription for Viagra and his multiple marriages, is presumably having sex with women) would not understand the mechanics of taking contraceptive pills.

Also, why should she have to back off on the amount of sex she has? Slut-shaming is also not okay.

——

Then, there’s all hoopla about required ultrasounds (often transvaginal) as part of a prerequisite for abortions. One such bill was recently withdrawn in Idaho (and you can bet your britches I wrote to my congressman about it).

“[…] What I was hoping that it would accomplish is that it would give the mother one more opportunity to see the baby before she made that decision. … I think the more information they have, the less likely they are to have an abortion.”
-Sen. Steve Vick, R-Dalton Gardens (a co-sponsor of the bill)

It’s infuriating to me that the men coming up with these bills think that women are not capable of recognizing when having a baby would be a bad decision for them. I know women who have had abortions, and it was the best decision for them at that point in their lives. Women do not blithely get abortions, and I’m not sure why there’s such a strong misconception that they do.

——

This is a slightly more minor issue, but despite its (comparatively) high breastfeeding rates, Idaho is one of only four states that does not have a law protecting public breastfeeding, other than to say you can be exempt from jury duty because of it.

Surprisingly, for how awful the breastfeeding rates in Mississippi are, they have a pretty comprehensive set of breastfeeding laws:

Law allows a mother to breast-feed her child in any location she is otherwise authorized to be and excuses breast-feeding mothers from jury duty. Also prohibits discrimination towards breast-feeding mothers who use lawful break time to express milk.
-source

I was shocked to discover this lack of protection for public breastfeeding in Idaho a couple of months ago and it’s been weighing on my mind ever since. Anybody have any ideas how I can get this ball rolling? Despite watching Schoolhouse Rock in my youth, I don’t have the faintest idea how to get a bill introduced.

——

All of this makes my heart hurt, and I can’t stop thinking about it.

3 Comments >

December 10, 2011 12:03 pm

Quoted For Truth

From Rob Delany, Vice Magazine:

I placed so much stock in Edwards’ health plan because I am unable to shake the belief that there is anything more important to our nation’s future than A. access to affordable healthcare and B. education. Make it easier for your citizens to be healthy and smart and they will save you in ways you have yet to imagine. Make it difficult and your nation will swirl history’s toilet on its way to hell. When a person spends energy worrying about access to affordable healthcare they don’t have the energy to dream up the next Google. I’m sorry that this is a newsflash to some of you, but we are born dying and will each of us have “problems” that need medical intervention; it is not something to be ashamed of or afraid to experience. It is a condition of being alive and I am shocked that ANYONE WITH A HUMAN BODY would place obstacles in the way of their brothers and sisters getting a pill or a procedure that could help them.

The same goes for education. When your citizens’ minds aren’t stimulated by an excellent education, they don’t have the tools to think up the next life-saving vaccine. A country that doesn’t invest in education cannot claim for one second to be interested in its future. There are plenty of words to describe politicians who don’t make their constituents’ health and education their top priority, but for now I’ll let you pick one somewhere on the spectrum between “misguided” and “evil.” I will insist you tack on the word “shortsighted” as well.

2 Comments >

November 4, 2008 10:35 pm

History in the making

I am so happy that this country chose Obama for our next president. I will do my best not to gloat or rub it in people’s faces, but I will say the following two things:

1. During McCain’s speech when he first mentioned Obama’s name, I was disheartened and disappointed that his supporters booed at the mention. I think that’s sad. Conversely, during Obama’s speech when he first mentioned McCain, there was a round of applause and lots of cheering. I was impressed with McCain’s graciousness; not so impressed with the lack of grace from his crowd.

2. Three hundred thirty eight to one hundred fifty six at last count. The people have spoken, and they want Obama.

I am incredibly proud of this country.

6 Comments >

November 4, 2008 10:26 am

Election Day!

In short:

Vote OBAMA!

I think you should vote for Obama/Biden for the reasons outlined here and here. They will have a positive impact on our country and I firmly believe they are the best people for the job.

If you’re in California:

Vote NO on Prop 8

Would you go up to your best friend and say, “I don’t believe you deserve to have the same rights I do?” Prop 8 is proposing this very thing – marriages that already exist and are recognized by the state of California would be annulled simply because they are same-sex marriages. I find this cruel. If you are in California, please vote “no” on Prop 8.

Everywhere else:

VOTE!

Get out the vote! Make sure you know the issues and exercise your right to have a say in what goes on in this country.

1 Comment >

October 26, 2008 1:21 pm

Civic Duty

I just performed my civic duty and filled out my ballot. Oregon is fully vote-by-mail, so you get mailed a voting pamphlet and your ballot, and you can fill it out in the privacy of your own home. I have decided that this is one of the best ideas Oregon has ever had – you could vote in your underpants if you wanted! I personally enjoy not leaving my home to go stand in line for forever and ever to be at the mercy of a voting machine that may or may not work.

This does mean that I don’t get an “I voted!” sticker, but the convenience totally outweighs the lack of a sticker.

5 Comments >

September 16, 2008 5:16 pm

My Gal

This article by George Saunders had me in hysterics at work:

“Where was I? Ah, yes: I hate Élites. Which is why, whenever I am having brain surgery, or eye surgery, which is sometimes necessary due to all my non-blinking, I always hire some random Regular guy, with shaking hands if possible, who is also a drunk, scared of the sight of blood, and harbors a secret dislike for me.”

The cadence and the stream-of-consciousness run-on sentences and political commentary just kill me.

1 Comment >

September 12, 2008 2:17 pm

Calling All Undecideds – Part I

If you are currently undecided who you are voting for in this year’s US Presidential election, or if you are planning on voting for the McCain/Palin ticket, I implore you to read this post. I am going to try to be as respectful as I can while outlining why I find the McCain/Palin ticket objectionable and why I think you should vote for Obama/Biden.

Part I will discuss the McCain/Palin issues, and Part II will discuss the Obama/Biden issues.

(more…)

3 Comments >

February 10, 2008 7:03 pm

You Knew It Was Coming.

Somebody stop me – I seem incapable of avoiding clicking on news articles or videos cheering on Barack Obama. My left-leaning politics are well-documented on this website (much to the chagrin of my parents, I assume) but man does Obama inspire me. I want to print downloaded PDFs as posters and hang them in my windows and use the thoughtfully provided buddy icons on my gTalk chat thingy. I want to see this man become our next president.

This morning I spent a good amount of time perusing YouTube for Obama videos after watching something somebody posted on Digg. It was of Obama giving a speech (full text) about religion in America, and it sounds so sappy and awful but I teared up about halfway through when he says this:

In fact, because I do not believe that religious people have a monopoly on morality, I would rather have someone who is grounded in morality and ethics, and who is also secular, affirm their morality and ethics and values without pretending that they’re something they’re not. They don’t need to do that. None of us need to do that.

BIG HEART. He admits you do not have to be religious to be moral or ethical, and would, in fact, prefer someone non-religious with those qualities than someone religious who lacked them, and then goes to say that we shouldn’t have to pretend we are something we are not. How can I not support this man? For pete’s sake, a former president once said this:

No, I don’t know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God.
— George Bush, to American Atheists’ reporter Robert Sherman in 1987, while serving as vice-president

Awesome, thank you. I live in this country, I pay my taxes, I go to work, I am an upstanding member of my community, but I should not be considered a citizen or a patriot because I don’t believe in the same god as you. So infuriating.

I know not all of you agree with me or my beliefs, but I beg you, if you are in the US and are eligible to vote, please register and do so when it comes time. I would encourage you to vote for Obama because I feel like he would be the best person for the job (Hillary is just too divisive for me – if she gets the nomination you KNOW a zillion people will turn up to vote for John McCain primarily because they can’t stand the thought of her winning the presidency) but really, as long as you do your research and vote for who you truly believe in, that makes me happy.

5 Comments >

October 5, 2007 12:13 pm

Imbiciles.

This makes me absolutely LIVID: Ann Coulter wants to take away women’s right to vote.

And honestly? I didn’t think it was possible, but this infuriates me even more:

I am a woman, and I support repealing the 19th Amendment as well. Can any of you dispute the statistical FACT that if we took away women’s right to vote, we’d never have another Democratic President elected? I think only one Democratic President in that last 60 years was elected with a majority male vote. Why is it that the Democratic Party can’t get men to vote for them? I know why women (especially single women) vote Democratic: because they need a daddy or hubby to take care of them.
-Rory

My brain hurts from trying to fathom this comment. As though having a Democratic president were the worst that could happen? I don’t care if that is a “statistical FACT” or not – it’s still a horrible, wretched reason to drag this country back to the last century.

You want to know why women vote for Democrats? THEY HAVE WOMEN’S INTERESTS IN MIND. It’s possible that men do not vote as much for Democratic candidates, but I’d guess it’s primarily because they do not have as many personal, close-to-home issues to feel strongly about as women.

Seriously? Getting rid of women’s rights to vote because you don’t like which candidate they choose? That, to me, is practically the very definition of being anti-democracy. I can’t imagine voluntarily abolishing your right to have a say in what happens to your own country, your own family, and your own body because you don’t like how other women vote.

Rory’s follow-up comment was this:

Because, missmolly, Republicans like Ronald Reagan won’t let government take care of poor, defenseless little women. Strong women vote GOP!

…and then this:

I would gladly give up my life if it means no more Democratic Presidents get elected.

Again, as though that were the worst that could happen? If that’s not voting on the party line, I don’t know what is. “Who cares about the issues – as long as they’re Republican, I’m good.” It’s a label. A LABEL. I could have a vehemently pro-choice, pro-gov’t sponsored healthcare, anti-death penalty, pro-women platform and label myself a Republican. Would “Rory” still vote for me then?

Also found on Digg: Lady worries about the effects of jackhammer noise on her unborn baby whilst smoking a cigarette. She apparently remains unconcerned about the effects of cigarettes on unborn babies.

A selected comment from that post:

What surprises me most is that this woman is actually pregnant. The fact that she’s complaining about something means she’s definitely a Lib, and Libs usually murder their babies before they get too far along. Maybe this slut is holding out for a partial birth abortion.

What surprises me is that “Jehovah” thinks all “Libs” are baby-hating assholes. “Usually murder?” C’mon. Liberals don’t hate babies – we like babies so much that we want them to be born to parent(s) who WANT them and are able to care for them. And oooh does that “partial birth abortion” bit get me. That makes it sound as though it’s a party she can’t wait to get to; as though it were a risk-free procedure anyone would choose willingly; as though she is purposefully waiting so she can forgo the less-complicated procedure in favor of the more angst-ridden, complicated, emotional procedure.

Don’t feed the trolls, I know. It’s so hard not to, though, when what they say is so demeaning.

4 Comments >

August 1, 2007 10:03 am

To Hell in a Handbasket

Do you ever get the feeling that the United States is going to hell in a handbasket? Or is that just me?

I know it’s a product of reading the news, which is always remarkably sensationalist. JK Rowling talked about the Harry Potter books and said she felt compelled to kill off parents to show how truly evil Lord Voldemort is, and the headline was “Rowling says, ‘I wanted to kill parents.'” Seriously? I mean, I suppose it worked because I clicked on it, but couldn’t it have been something else a bit less… punch you in the face?

Then I see things like pharmacists suing over dispensing the morning-after pill or stories of women fleeing to a hospital directly after being raped only to be told that because of the hospital’s religious affiliation, they would not be receiving emergency contraception. To me, this is a blatant disregard for one of the most important duties of a doctor: CARE FOR THE PATIENT. So what if you don’t like the idea of someone preventing a possible pregnancy as a result of a rape? Why punish the woman? It seems as though these doctors (or pharmacists) value the possible life of an unborn child more than the living, breathing, troubled woman. Why else would they refuse to dispense it, even on religious grounds? What they are saying is “We do not care for your future, or how you intend to cope with this traumatic event, or the possible outcome of a baby and what that will mean for you or your life. We just want that possibility of a baby kept alive.” Or, I guess alternatively they are saying “Even though you and your doctor have chosen what is best for you, I think I know better, and I don’t trust you to make your own decisions regarding your future.” Either way it’s infuriating and demeaning. ETA: Proposed new bill in Ohio requires women to get a man’s permission for an abortion. As though we didn’t have enough of a patriarchy to begin with.

A recent study says religious doctors are no more likely to help the poor or underprivileged than non-religious doctors. Interesting, no?

There also seems to be a rash of news stories like “Two children found dead in trash bags under sink” or that awful story about the lady with four (dead) premature fetuses in her house, of varying ages, who was only discovered because she was admitted to the hospital with heavy bleeding presumably after delivering one of them early.

And then this new thing I don’t really understand about Rupert Murdoch and the Dow Jones? And something about the Wall Street Journal? Whatever it is, it sounded bad, like he might be gaining control of another media outlet. If that’s true, I think it’s awfully sad since it’s already so hard to get even moderately unbiased information. Monopolies are rarely helpful to society.

Ohio election records from 2004 have mysteriously disappeared. Which is awesome, you know, because they could have proved the election was stolen. Dick Cheney recently claimed he can ignore executive orders because he is not part of the executive branch, but now he does not like to say he is in one branch or the other. He’s also defending Justice Alberto Gonzales throughout his whole scandal. Seriously guys, does it not end? (ETA: Cheney believes Bush will be remembered fondly on his deathbed. Are they all delusional?)

I know a lot of people abstain from reading the news, and I think that’s commendable. I have to ask though, how the heck do you stay on top of everything? I don’t like being uninformed or ignorant about current issues, but I also don’t like to be bombarded with insane, sensationalist crap all the time. I do generally prefer the BBC news website over MSNBC, just because I feel like they’re more objective since they’re not actually within the US, but where else do you go to get news?

And why are there so many political scandals lately? Is anybody on the level anymore? I am feeling disheartened and rant-y about the US lately.

4 Comments >

March 14, 2007 9:55 pm

Conflict of interest

After a solid day of listening to the new Type O Negative album, I have to say that I am enjoying the music a lot. I like both of their sounds, the faster stuff (Carnivore-esque) and the more “cuddly,” slower stuff, so I’m generally happy with whatever they put out.

I am not happy, however, with the subject matter of the song “These Three Things.” Apparently, Peter Steele returned to his Catholic roots and rediscovered Christianity (so I have heard), and several songs on the new album reference his beliefs. “These Three Things” in particular is about being vehemently against abortion, calling it “infanticide” and “the worst sin you’ve ever performed.”

If you watch a lot of Seinfeld, you will totally get it when I say that I feel exactly like Elaine right now. (Season 6, “The Couch.) Elaine dates this hunky moving man but is forced to break up with him because he doesn’t support a woman’s right to choose, and she can’t be with someone who feels that way.

I don’t want to begrudge anyone their beliefs – don’t get me wrong. It’s totally within his rights to believe whatever he wants to, and to write songs about those beliefs. It’s just that they’ve always been this very irreverent, sarcastic band that liked to poke fun at all forms of religion – that’s part of why I liked them – and all of a sudden they’ve got these religion-y, anti-choice songs and it’s out of the ordinary and I’m put off by it.

The awful thing is that I really, really like that song. It’s awesome musically. I just… Now I feel like endorsing them means endorsing the message in that song and I don’t like that.

Can I ignore it and be like people who listen to rap, but don’t focus on the fact that it talks about smacking bitches up and stuff like that? Or really racist black metal? I don’t agree with the message but the music is good. It’s never really been possible for me to ignore lyrics of songs entirely – half the time that’s what I find interesting about the song, but… this is my favorite band and I want to feel good about liking them, and now they’ve gone and made that all difficult.

MUSIC CRISIS OMG.

11 Comments >

November 14, 2006 7:38 pm

Inarticulate

:note: Edguy

I think this is asinine: Woman kicked off plane for breastfeeding. It’s just so… GAH. SHE WAS FEEDING HER BABY. They serve snacks on the plane, so it’s obviously not a “no eating on plane” issue. I’m sure some people have horrible manners and chew with their mouth open and gobble their food, and somehow a (covered! discreet!) woman gets booted from a plane for feeding her baby. Stupid.

These accounts of Congo war victims (very graphic subject matter) make me upset. The things that happen to these women are so horrid. Can you even imagine? I hate to. I hate to even think that somewhere, this is actually happening, and it is happening to a lot of women. And babies. And senior citizens. The fact that it’s happening to anyone is despicable.

I can’t really articulate how I feel about the second topic. It’s like, I’m so far removed from it that it’s difficult for me to believe that yes, this sort of thing does happen in other places of the world, and it happens a lot. Hospitals are overflowing with victims of violent rape, so violent they require a hospital stay. That’s so awful I almost can’t fathom it.

I also have a hard time fathoming the fact that we’ve been at war for several years now. It’s sometimes very possible for me to forget we’re even at war. When I think of a country being at war, I think of bombs, cratered cities with orphaned children, food shortages, power shortages, air raids, bomb drills, propaganda posters, war bonds… Stereotypical war stuff. It almost bothers me that here in America we can mill about and go on with our daily lives, oblivious to the fact that other countries are experiencing these sorts of things, sometimes directly through our influence. How is it possible that we can be so oblivious? It’s WAR, for chrissakes. WAR. I feel like I should be sacrificing in some way – salvaging for the war effort or something. Is this stupid? I guess war to me seems like it should be similar to what I’ve read about World War II.

My deep thoughts for the day. :|

5 Comments >

November 9, 2006 9:02 pm

Bleeding Heart Liberal

:note: Eddie Izzard “Circles” DVD

I’m very happy at the moment about recent political proceedings, hence the poll off to the right there. Already the Democrats want to raise the minimum wage to $7.25 (£3.79)! When I was working in Idaho, they only had to pay you 5.15 per hour. FIVE DOLLARS. For an hour of your hard work. And apparently that’s the current national requirement – so depressing.

Another plus: to find a better direction for Iraq. How long have we been waiting for that?

And Rumsfeld! RUMSFELD RESIGNED! I was in SHOCK when I heard that, and then positively overjoyed. I’ve no idea who the new guy is, but let’s hope for the best, eh?

Oregon defeated the “minors must notify parents before abortion” thingy. Very excited about that. (Please do not think that I am excited about abortions – I am excited about the OPTION for them, should one be in the position to need the option.) We also voted in lovely things like preserving land for parks and things, supporting schools, and supporting the library. I heart my liberal state.

Other things of interest:
Mexico City passes gay union law, and Spain approves gay marriage bill to join the Netherlands and Belgium in allowing same-sex marriage. Hurrah! Equal rights for everyone!

Speaking of equal rights, some asshole company in Houston, Texas refused to do landscaping for a gay couple simply because they were gay, saying the company “choose[s] not to work for homosexuals.” How f’ed up is that? They were basically exercising their right to choose their clientele, but how is that not completely discriminatory? It makes me so upset that people think it’s okay to do that. I don’t agree with the threats (death, sodomy, etc.) being made against the family who owns the company, but I do think they are assholes and deserved to be called out on their discriminatory actions.

Oh, and Britney ditched Kevin.

5 Comments >