War On Women? February 25, 2012Posted by gesvol in Current Events, Politics.
Tags: birth control, contraception, sexism, women's rights
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A bit hyperbolic for sure, but it seems that we always say everything is a “war on….” something (drugs, Christmas, Christianity, etc.). But given recent events and discussion, if you are a woman I wouldn’t blame you for wondering what the hell is going on lately. It seems like we are going backwards, debating issues that should be settled by now. Is this really America in 2012?
- We have a serious contender for the Republican nomination who is just flat-out against birth control pills. Period. End of story. Further, he is against prenatal testing. (Even given this, he is somehow GAINING support among GOP women, if the polling data is to be believed.)
- We have the major financial supporter of this same candidate making a “joke” on national television that sounded like it came out of a 1900′s joke book. Seriously, it’s one thing to tell a bad joke. But the damning thing here is it is just hard to see how anyone could find that particular joke funny AND have respect for women. The fact that not only he thought that joke would be funny but he was also comfortable enough to tell it on television says a lot not only about this man himself, but also about the company he keeps.
- Concerns out of an announcement from the Pentagon that rules would be relaxed that would allow women to further serve on the front lines. They are too emotional, blah, blah, blah. Or the men folk would feel like they would have to protect the poor things. Or something.
- We have leaders from a religious organization holding onto antiquated views regarding women’s health care balking at the idea that insurance coverage should be provided for contraception. Even though the requirement would only apply to organizations that they are affiliated with, not the actual church itself. And even though the majority of women of this faith do not follow the church’s teaching on this matter.
- Congress has a hearing to discuss this contraception rule. Testifying before Congress? 100% men. Because really what does this have to women? And even if it does, what do women have to add to the conversation? Why do we allow them to vote again? I mean, is this really the mentality here?
- We have the states getting in on the action as well. Right here in Alabama, they are in the process of passing a law that would require physicians to perform an ultrasound, either an external ultrasound or one produced by inserting a wand vaginally, whichever would produce the clearest picture (from my understanding as a practical matter that would mean the vaginal method usually), before a patient can consent to having an abortion. Really this is just about throwing obstacles in the way of letting a woman make her own choices. Why are women being forced to go through a procedure that they do not want or need by the government? Who pays for this extra procedure? But here in Alabama, there may be an even more clever motive behind this law. In Alabama, it is illegal to perform an abortion 20 weeks after a pregnancy. The ultrasound that would be required by this new law would generally be performed 18-22 weeks into the pregnancy. So you can see the kind of squeeze play on abortion logistics the combination of these two laws would create.*
So I get it, some people are against abortion. But what is amazing is that on the one hand, government wants to force everyone to carry births to term regardless of their viewpoints and ability to provide for a child. But then on the flip side, when it comes to provide funding for programs that would help the poor (among others) to be able to provide care and support for newborns, the view is that we can not do that because THAT’S big government intrusion. So okay, you must have this baby, but no we aren’t going to give you any help. How is this not a total recipe for failure?
Why not trust that people in general and women in particular are very capable of making these decisions on their own without government interference? That seems a lot better to me than setting a one-size-fits-all policy dictated by government that doesn’t appear all that well thought out in the first place (and yes, frankly, generally created by men).
*While I would like to say that I am the most enlightened man in the universe and was able to arrive at these conclusions on my own, that’s not true. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I am a complete Neanderthal. But many of these viewpoints and conclusions (particularly, but not exclusively, regarding Alabama’s proposed law) arose from a discussion I had during a run with my running partner this morning. It makes sense though, because my running partner is an intelligent women who also happens to be a mom. She offered insights that simply had not occurred to me, and part of that is as a guy I am not going to have the same experiences and perspectives that a woman will have. We NEED these viewpoints in these discussions (ahem..CONGRESS!).
Eww….Is That Santorum On My Shoes? February 18, 2012Posted by gesvol in Current Events, Politics.
Tags: GOP race, Republican presidential primary, Rick Santorum, Santorum
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Ever since I pretty much declared that Mitt Romney has the Republican nomination in the bag, not much has gone right for ol’ Mitt (the World’s (not so) Funniest Blog kiss of death strikes again!). I believe he has only won once, in Maine, and even that victory was very narrow and shenanigans may have been involved. This despite the fact that his campaign has by far the most resources and is the most organized. He is also the candidate backed by the Republican establishment. Conventional wisdom says that Romney should be starting to dominate by now, but it’s not happening (not yet anyway).
Instead, he is facing a major challenge from Rick Santorum. Santorum is now up in national polls. He is also leading in Michigan, the state where Romney was born and his dad was once governor. This is also a state where Romney (and his Super PAC) is outspending Santorum something like 50 to 1. If Mitt can not put Santorum away in this state spending that kind of resources, you have to wonder if he can put Santorum away at all.
So why Santorum? I think it is because he is not Mitt Romney and he doesn’t have that much personal baggage. He has only been married once. He seems like a decent father. He makes plenty of money, but a downright modest amount compared to Mitt, and he actually pays a decent percentage of taxes. He also seems like he is actually genuine, also unlike Mitt.
Yet I am sure you know what you get if you ‘google’ Santorum. If you don’t, click here. I’ll wait, but be warned, it is pretty sick. The reason that’s the top result is because a man thought Santorum’s views were so vile that he created that definition and then invited everyone to link to it so that it would rise in the Google rankings. So it’s safe to say, this guy does not like Rick Santorum. But not because of some crime or scandal. It really just boils down to Santorum’s viewpoints, which Santorum genuinely believes. They are just so backwards for modern America.
Rick Santorum’s Greatest Hits:
- He has compared consensual gay sex to bigamy, polygamy, adultery, and incest.
- Compared those who promote gay marriage to those who attacked this nation on 9/11.
- He does not believe in birth control. Period.
- Suggests that doctors who perform abortions should be criminally charged.
- Suggests that global warming is a pure hoax.
- Recently said that President Obama is totally cool with Iran obtaining nuclear weapons.
- As Senator of Pennsylvania, he voted against raising the minimum wage eight times. But he did see fit to vote for $8,000 worth of pay raises for himself.
- Santorum recently suggested that we should just flat do away with public education.
- Money for student loans? A “no” vote from Santorum. Tax breaks (worth $2 billion) for oil companies? That got a “yes” from Santorum.
- Argues against education as a means of helping the poor.
- Complained about polls that said many women find it more professionally gratifying and socially affirming to continue to work outside the home instead of giving up their careers to take care of their children. Blamed “radical feminism”.
- Said that women shouldn’t be on the front lines in combat because of the emotions involved.
Really, I could go on and on. His social views are just so antiquated and wrong. It’s also really the only thing Santorum cares about. I’m sure he has an economic plan, but that is not what is driving his desire to be President. He wants to be in position to spread his social agenda onto the rest of us. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want any Santorum on me!
- When it comes to delegates, who has ‘The Math’ – Mitt Romney? Rick Santorum? Perhaps neither (dailykos.com)
- Mitt’s in trouble now; Santorum will be later (thehill.com)
- Romney: From Electable To Not Credible In Sixty Seconds (riehlworldview.com)
- FACT CHECK: Rick Santorum Is Just As Anti-Union As Mitt Romney (thinkprogress.org)
- How Does Mitt Romney Stop Rick Santorum’s Rise? (npr.org)
And Now For Something Completely Different……A Good Idea Coming From The Alabama Legislature February 12, 2012Posted by gesvol in Current Events, Politics.
Tags: Alabama, Alabama legislative pay cut, Alabama legislative pay raise, Alabama legislature
The new legislative session in Alabama has gotten underway and while so far it has mostly consisted of legislators being shocked that, due to revenue shortfalls, the governor’s proposed budget without any new revenue increases (because Republicans have pledged no tax increases for anyone ever) contained deep cuts and shell game maneuvering in order to balance, an actual good idea has also emerged. And that comes to a shock to me, because it is such a rarity that I hear anything coming out of a local government that makes me think ‘hey, that’s actually a pretty good idea’. (Usually when I hear ideas coming out of this state, it’s not a matter of if I will vomit a little in my mouth, but how much.)
A group of Alabama lawmakers are proposing tying legislator compensation to the median household income of Alabama residents. If median income goes up, lawmakers get a raise. But if it goes down, lawmakers get a pay cut. Tying compensation to the economic fortunes of Alabama citizens appears to be a nice positive incentive. Further, since this would be a constitutional amendment, lawmakers could no longer vote themselves a pay raise. This removes the conflict of interest that exists when one determines their own pay rate.
Perhaps this is an attempt at saving some face, after one Alabama legislator suggested that teachers should not get pay raises because God would not want them to, while in the same interview defending the legislature’s own pay raise. You see, teaching is a “calling”. If you raise pay, you might attract unsavory types who just aren’t meant to teach because God did not give ‘em the talent. So obviously the same logic would apply to lawmakers, right? No, and you are so silly to think that. No, when it comes to lawmakers, low pay would cause corruption. In this case, higher pay to prevent unsavory types from influencing policy is what is called for. Wait, are you saying this doesn’t make sense to you? Well I suggest you take out your Bible you heathen and get to reading, because it’s all in there! (I’m sure it is, this guy wouldn’t be making Biblical pronouncements if he wasn’t a Biblical scholar, right?)
Anyway, I do hope that the Alabama lawmakers do pass this new pay scale method. It would be nice to say that Alabama got something right, and has done something that other states should emulate for once.
Mitt February 5, 2012Posted by gesvol in Current Events, Politics.
Tags: Bain Capital, Mitt Romney, Presidential race
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It looks increasingly likely that Mitt Romney will win the Republican nomination for President. He’s the best of the bunch, but that’s not really saying much. Thoughts:
- He actually uttered the words “I’m not very concerned about the very poor” on national television. Unbelievable. Even the CNN reporter was all like ‘um, we must be having audio problems, because it sure sounded like you just said you don’t care about poor people, but that can’t be right, can it?’. Sure, the context of the quote makes the statement a little better but just. You would think that a person who has been running for political office for as long as Mitt Romney has would know to never string those very words together, ever, no matter what.
- $58,500 a day? That is what Mitt makes? That means that by the end of the day, he is already in the top 25% of income earners over the age of 25. By the end of the week, he’s in the top 1%. There’s the rich. There’s the super rich. And then there’s Mitt Romney.
- I think part of Mitt’s perception issue is not so much that he is rich, but the question of what did Mitt produce for society that is so deserving of such rewards. We can see the contributions from people like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. But what has Mitt Romney produced? Most of Mitt’s riches came from his time as co-founder of Bain Capital. Sometimes they make money by buying a troubled company, turning it around, and selling it later at a profit. That’s good. But sometimes they make money by buying a troubled company, having that company borrow heavily to turn around and pay them fees and dividends. Then the troubled company now saddled with more debt than it can handle goes under. That’s not so good. (Here, Jon Stewart explains this better than I can.)
Though he appears to be out of touch, Romney can definitely win. I don’t think he is going to inspire many people to vote FOR him. But if the economy tanks by election time (I fear we are heading for war with Iran, that could definitely do it), then people may well vote to fire Obama.