Sunday, November 20, 2011

Planned Parenthood under attack

You know, there's so much to say about the Republican presidential candidates that I hardly know where to start. But I know this: if this bunch is all there is to chose from, voting for the Democrat is the way to go. That, however, is irrelevant to my thought of the day.

I don't get how the hypocrisy and contradiction can be ignored by people intelligent enough to inhale and exhale. Seriously. Just to go off on one rant: Planned Parenthood.

OK, you tell me you're pro-life. (I do not ascribe that term to the anti-choicers, but that's a post for another day.) Here's the thing. Already there is no ... NO in NOT ONE CENT of ... federal money used to terminate a pregnancy. Second. This is 2% of the business of Planned Parenthood. Not 90%, as Jon Kyl (R-Arizona) said on the House floor (then blew off as a "non-factual statement" ... seriously?). Most of what Planned Parenthood does is well-woman (and -man) care, and pregnancy prevention. "Planned" parenthood. Get it? Not "accidental" parenthood! Yet, the Republican Party has let itself be dragged by a few extremists into religious-zealot land. By saying/doing nothing, too many Americans are agreeing with this extreme position.

This fanaticism, for that is what it is, is threatening the lives of the millions of women that use the services of Planned Parenthood to stay healthy. Please tell me how you can say you respect life when you clearly want to remove means of care from these women (and men). If you disagree with your party about this, then you need to speak up. Now. Loudly. Often. Otherwise bad ideas will take over simply because good people did nothing (that saying is so old and familiar there's no need to attribute it here).

Speak up! If you're seriously pro-life, tell this crop of candidates - and your Republican representatives in Congress - that they should continue to fund PP so that there are far fewer unplanned pregnancies, and undiscovered cancers in the population of your fellow Americans. THEN perhaps you can perhaps begin to claim the "pro-life" mantle.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thinking Alike?

My country is turning into something much less than “free”.  In my country you are suppose to be free to think, do and say pretty much what you please (within the boundaries of the law of course).  It seems, though, that there are many exceptions to this rule. To name only a few: you are not free to be Muslim; apparently the “new rule” is this: some Muslims are radical therefor all muslims must be bad.  You are not free to need help to get through bad times. (Rule: there are some who take advantage of “the system” thus all help must be done away with.) You are not free to be homosexual.  Oh - well - you can be homosexual, just make sure you keep it to yourself and don’t ask for any special “privileges” like marriage or equal treatment or equal protections or anything.  You are not free to provide abortion services to those who need it even though it is a legal procedure.  Some would like to make you think you’re free to do so, but when targeting of such providers is allowed to go unrestrained, you really are not free.  You’re not really free to have an abortion either - not unless you want to be harassed as you walk into a clinic (IF you can even find a clinic!)  I wish we would start making it really difficult to get ammunition.  Yep, you can have your guns, but I’m not letting you buy ammo.  Sort of the same thought process as “yep, you can have your right to abortions but we’re gonna target anyone who dares to provide such a service and close every clinic we can.”
Think of the many things that are changing since the Republican sweep of 2010. Union busting is suppose to be illegal, but apparently not when being done by the government. Imagine what we would have if unions died out: huge corporations run by ethically bankrupt people could require 80-hour workweeks, no vacation, no holidays, no overtime pay, and how would people fight back? Go to another job where the same thing would happen?  Public television and radio are being defunded. Really? Is it too liberal? Has the right ever actually watched/listened? Or is it just another case of silencing any voice that does not think exactly like you? Planned Parenthood is being defunded. Apparently the right thinks poor women should not have access to birth control then when they get pregnant they should not have access to abortion or prenatal health services then when they have the babies, they should have to go hungry because no public assistance should be provided. Honestly, conservatives ... have you ever actually thought through the consequences of your sound bites? Or are you just swallowing the kool aid?
Public schools are not even free anymore. Every time I turn around, education funds are being cut AGAIN. Now some public schools are charging for books.  BOOKS! Seriously? Please tell me how voucher programs would help improve public schools? Do you not want ALL our children to be educated? There are many people that cannot afford books and other fees piled on due to cuts in our education programs. Apparently we are not free to be poor anymore. Has the USA become a place for only the wealthy? How does this contribute to making our - OUR - country “the best”?
Scariest to me is the overt, blatant voter suppression. Have you been following the stories of new requirements for voting? A photo ID is required.  Not a photo ID from a college or university (which has been accepted since Methuselah was a baby)  because students tend to think liberally thus vote Democratic (this was actually said; it is not my opinion). No, your photo ID needs to be from a government agency (think DMV). Meanwhile DMV offices are being closed in heavily Democratic areas while new offices are replacing them in heavily Republican areas. This makes it almost impossible for the poor (who tend to vote Democratic) to get to the DMV. This is not a joke. This is serious. This is going on in your country - my country - as I write this. I guess if you can suppress the voting of those who would vote against “your guys”, you can win ALL the elections ALL of the time. How is this different from Hussein-era “elections” in Iraq? How is this “freedom”? 
Apparently you are not free to think differently from the right anymore. The right has taken the stance that they own all elected positions, it’s their way with no compromise, and either think like them , shut up, or get out.  (How many times have you seen “I want my country back” since a Democrat became President?) Someone please tell me how this is different from the Taliban? From communism? From religious extremism? Can I think whatever I want and say whatever I want just as long as I never expect to be able to have anyone representing my idea of “how ought we live” to hold office?  It’s a sad time, Americans.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Anger and Unhappiness

I wonder why some people are so thrilled to be unhappy? Really.  There is one blog I follow (well ... I follow a lot of blogs, but right now I'm just talking about this one) ... that woman is one of the most miserable individuals on the planet! Honestly, every blog post has some level of woe-is-me in it!! I may have to stop following her even though I like her creativity.  I have another friend who is a mega-hypochondriac! She's "had" every disease under the sun! (In her mind, anyway) Remember when there used to be a "disease of the week" movie? Well ... she could star in them!  I don't see her much anymore.  Unhappy people are energy zappers. I'd rather zap my energy on about a zillion other things, thanks!

Then there was the road-rage shooting on the Buckman (bridge) yesterday.  One person arrested so far, and the mugshot is of one miserable angry-ass dude! You don't even have to talk to him to know he's angry - you just look at his face! Why are so many teenagers (yep, he is a teenager) so angry? The better question might be "what can I do to help/change the situation" but wouldn't I have to first know why the anger is there? I guess many of them don't feel their life is worth anything.  It's probably not worth much once they reach for a gun, is it? This kid wasn't the shooter .... maybe there's hope for him. He does appear to be the one that started the whole altercation, though.

I've read (more than once) that if you smile even when you aren't happy, you will get happy. I think it's true. Remember when we were little kids and the grown-ups would always try to make us smile or laugh when we were mad? There's something to it. I smile a lot!!! And it's not even fake. (OK once in awhile it's the smile to get myself out of a funk, but mostly it's genuine!! I'm a happy person! :-) I wish I could help unhappy people get happy.

Just had to get that off my chest.  Thanks.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Less Government: Hunger

"On the tiny farms on Mashonaland, which once provided the entire region with food, villagers have been reduced to eating crickets and beetles"
(full story and credits here:  BUGS )

Don't listen to just the soundbite.  Be careful what you ask for.


Friday, July 29, 2011

Less government: Rivers shouldn't burn

Time magazine. August 1, 1969:

"Some River! Chocolate-brown, oily, bubbling with subsurface gases, it oozes rather than flows. "Anyone who falls into the Cuyahoga does not drown," Cleveland's citizens joke grimly. "He decays". . . The Federal Water Pollution Control Administration dryly notes: "The lower Cuyahoga has no visible signs of life, not even low forms such as leeches and sludge worms that usually thrive on wastes." It is also -- literally -- a fire hazard."

Here's what "self regulation" looks like.  Are you sure you don't want any regulation?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Are career politicians ruining our democracy?

I've been doing a lot of thinking about this debt ceiling crap going on in Washington. (And no, there is no limit to the things that interest me! Politics. Quantum Physics. Constitutional law. Quilting. Knitting. I'm never bored.) I guess I'm thinking about it so much because I watch so many political commentary shows.

The debate about the debt ceiling has magnified congressional ridiculousness. We cannot afford this pettiness. Imagine what the collapse of the US economy would do to world markets. If you thought your 401K/investments looked bad in 2008, imagine what they'll look like if our politicians don't get on with the people's business. Why now? Why pick this fight now when raising the debt ceiling has been pretty much a no-brainer for years? I mean, it's not like we can say "Nevermind. We're not gonna pay our debts." If Congress really has some desire to get spending under control, then go ahead & raise the debt ceiling then get on with the business of cutting spending. (Actually do the people's business - what a concept!!).

It's all due to career politicians, I think. I know our process is broken. Our democracy has turned into a risky game of "king of the hill". It no longer matters what's right for the country, or what a person's ideology is: if the other party said it, it must be bad (even if it was a good idea 6 months ago). I don't know the cure, but I have some ideas. OK maybe one idea. Term limits.

If you really listen to what our politicians are saying - and I mean really listen - you'll always end up hearing "I'm doing what I have to do to get reelected". Hmm. I'm voting for these folks to do what is best for our country. If they've lost the courage to make the tough decisions, they aren't doing me any good by being my representative. Imagine if they didn't have to think about being re-elected. Oh, there would be some down-sides for sure but I do think the positives would far outweigh the negatives.

If our politicians weren't concerned about being re-elected, maybe they would learn to compromise again. Isn't that what governing is all about? We're pretty much a split country (Democratic, Republican), so why should any one party get all the decisions? When I hear any congressperson say "the American people want this", I wonder which "American people"? Which half wants this? Our two party system used to serve us well when the politicians would actually agree to compromise. (Ever studied the stories of the the writing of our Constitution? Talk about a lot of compromise!!!!) If we limited everyone to one six-year term, we'd eliminate the root cause of a lot of the problems in Washington today.

Imagine campaigns where huge corporations couldn't buy the election. Imagine our candidates not being indebted to those corporations. Imagine the Congress actually doing the business of the people instead of jostling for camera time which will translate to campaign dollars. Our Constitution was put in place so we would not elect kings (and queens), but unlimited terms and unlimited money seem to be doing just that.

I wrote to my congressfolk to express my frustration with their antics. You should do the same. Here's a link for you to easily email any of your elected representatives: email my rep
If you're interested in starting a drive to implement term limits, leave me a comment or email me. I'd be willing to lead the charge!

Friday, May 27, 2011

More on open- (or closed-) mindedness

It makes no difference to me if my next-door neighbors are male/female, male/male, female/female. If they love each other and want to commit for a lifetime, why shouldn't they get married?

I do not see what possible impact the marriage of same-sex couples could have on male/female marriage. (And before you go "quoting" the Bible on me, be sure you want to abide by all those other things that are abominations. Like seafood.)

Look inside yourself & see if you can find any real reason to be opposed.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

With all due respect to Shakespeare ...

... the more pertinent question is "How ought we live?" That's the question all us political philosophers like to debate.

Today I'm thinking about the current talking-heads noise over Paul Ryan's budget plan and it's implications to Medicare. Lots of opinions on that these past couple of weeks. So I come to the question (of the day): do you want to live in a society that takes care of its people, or just leaves them to their own devices? Although I love political debate and welcome all comments, I ask only that you look inside yourself for the answers. Do we want a government that ignores those less fortunate than us? (In this instance that would refer to those that would have no access to health insurance if Medicare became a voucher system.)

Never being one to keep my opinion to myself ... the idea of "each man for himself" makes me think of corrupt countries with corrupt dictators who show no mercy to those who are unable to take care of themselves. Those dictators do not care if their fellow countrymen are suffering as long as they can continue to be in power and live in the lap of luxury. Besides - seems to me that the good ol' U.S. of A. will come in and provide for the suffering. So why are we against helping our own?

Is the system broken? Hell yes. Any system that has been around long enough gets its share of bad apples. But it seems to me that saying we should turn it into a voucher system does nothing to fix the "brokenness"; it's kind of like saying we should all be in jail because some people commit crimes. Maybe if we had socialized medicine ....... just saying.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Dialing down the vitriol by looking inside ourselves

A couple of days ago I read a story about a 16-year old being threatened with rape for daring to criticize Michele Bachmann. (see story here: )

I'm not naive about the level of vitriol in our political discourse but I am now way beyond disgusted. Can you imagine the hate it takes to threaten a 16-year old?

I make no secret of being a liberal and no secret that I therefor disagree with a lot (but not all) of the politics of the conservatives. I wish them no harm, however!

Something about Barack Obama has really set off the right, though. There was the Birther issue (now resolved by the publishing of the long-form birth certificate, although there are those that still will remain unconvinced), the "czar" issue (as if this president were the first to appoint a "czar"; he was not. President Reagan created the first drug czar, by the way (although this still was not the first time the term "czar" was used)), and, for many, anything that comes out of Obama's mouth.

The Obama-haters should, in fact, look at the similarities between our current President and President Reagan (who is a demi-god - or maybe just a god - to the right). Many of Obama's ideas echo those of Reagan (leading this liberal to wonder if Obama is a secret Republican :-). So here's my question of the day: do you disagree with the ideas of Mr. Obama, or do you just disagree because it's Obama? Did you disagree when a Republican president proposed the same idea?

In my own small attempt to put some of this vitriol back in the box, I would ask you to look inside yourself and see why you disagree with Obama's ideas. If it's because you have an intense dislike for him, fine: at least admit it to yourself. But if you dislike the idea because of the idea itself, ask yourself if you disliked the idea when a Republican presented it. At least be honest with yourself. I know not everyone can look into themselves this way but I hope at least some of you will try. Maybe then the future voters will not learn to be afraid of voicing their opinions.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Another Infamous Day

Well .... I've been wrong before, and I'll be wrong again, but I think I'm right about this: with no intent to insult my Republican friends, today will be marked as the day that elected Republicans, collectively, went too far.

In a surprise move - that has nothing to do with the budget - Wisconsin went ahead & stripped the unions of most of their collective bargaining rights.
Michigan will now allow a city to be taken over in a "fiscal emergency" (with a way-too-loose definition of fiscal emergency), and then the person that takes over can fire any or all of the elected officials, strip unions of their bargaining rights, nullify contracts, and take over schools.
Republican governors, "coincidentally", have all decided that collective bargaining needs to be done away with (you DO remember reading about life before unions, don't you?)
Florida wants to eliminate almost all taxes on corporations then fire 9000 people to make up for the loss of income.

All of this while giving huge tax breaks to the wealthy and to hugely profitable corporations.

Looks like all the noise about President Obama being a socialist was nothing but a smoke screen to cover up the fact that our rights are being stripped away from us so quickly and so boldly it's frightening. I think all of us better pay more attention, open up our windows, and shout out that we're not going to take it any more. Then .... we have to not take it anymore & keep protesting until rights are restored, the wealthy pay their share, and corporations give back to the country that made them wealthy.

Today's moves are truly disgusting.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Soldier funerals & those "church" protesters

I've been thinking a lot about free speech these last few days (ever since the Supremes handed down the 8-1 decision regarding the "church" (that term is loosely used here) protesters at the funerals of our fallen soldiers). I'm sharing these thoughts because writing helps me make sense of things that sometime seem to have no sense.

The Supremes - in a rare near-unanimous decision (only Justice Alito dissented) ruled that these "church" members can continue to protest: their speech is protected whether we like it or not. (I'm not sure how someone carrying a sign that reads "God hates fags" can really be called "religious", and how a group of people whose sole purpose seems to be to hurt the families of dead soldiers can be called a "church", but that's a discussion for another day.) Now ... I was pretty disgusted when the Supremes ruled that corporations have the same free-speech rights as us humans, but after thinking about this week's "church" decision, I have to agree with the 8 justices that are protecting the ugly speech.

Here's the thing ..... these "devoutly religious" "Christian" people are protesting at military funerals because they really believe that soldiers are dying because of our (the United States') tolerance of homosexuality. (Seriously???? Can these people read newspapers???) But what is so ironic is that these soldiers died protecting their right to say these things. It's a dilemma, isn't it? (Side thought: "Christian" ... try to picture Christ carrying a sign that reads "God hates fags". That'd do wonders for religion, wouldn't it??) So all things considered, I think the soldiers would also side with the Supremes even while they are disgusted by the protesting.

I hate the protests. I think the "church" people are wrong for putting grieving families through even more misery. I also hate KKK rallies and protesters at clinics that provide abortion services. But after musing over this for a few days, I've decided that I prefer the protests and rallies over the limiting of speech. If the court had stopped the funeral protests, what speech would be stopped next? It is the beauty - and sometimes gut-wrenching freedom - of our democracy to be able to protest without fear. We have our fallen soldiers to thank for protecting that freedom.