Chemotherapy is no Walk in the Park…


Been a bit out of sync. I’m undergoing chemo for Lymphoma. I just thought I’d make a few remarks.  I’m certain I’ll come out OK. But it’s a tough way to go. I expect to continue the blog as I have been. Have no fear I’ve got lots of p0sts waiting in the wings, ready to go. You’ll hardly notice the difference.

Over and out for now… if anyone is interested… 


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Bigotry, a Four Letter Word…

…The “word” is HATE!

I was just writing a paragraph or two in my post ” Back to the Future…? about the inexplicable but noticeable bigotry abounding on the TP/GOPers attitudes about PRESIDENT Obama and the LGBT citizens, not to mention about things not WASP, especially MALE WASP. It occurred to me that the subject in itself needs a post of its own. So it is that  I express my opinion on that subject.  I think it needs expressing.

The undercurrents of bigotry and hate, run through certain factions of our citizenry like a malignant cancer. Spreading its poison throughout our political and legislative systems till it kills the organism, unless it’s checked. How much of LGBT hatred is based on some facets of the religious groups?  What of misogyny and the invasive nature of preventing women from full access and decisions about their own bodies and healthcare? No “War on Women” they say.

The short changing of the 99% compared to the “rights” of the 1%? You know what “they” say: “Helping people only makes them weaker.  we should do away with ‘entitlements’”.  Somehow, they seem to think, you should pull yourself up by your own bootstraps, even if you’re too poor to have boots and are barefoot. Make no mistake about it; this is the bigoted view from the greedy rich bastards against the “lower classes”.  Somehow, if you’re not rich like them, you’re lazy or not trying, according to them.

Though many of them did nothing to deserve their wealth,  except  to inherit it, and never actually worked a day in their lives, in the true sense of the word “work”. One of them admitted to making $57,000 a DAY! Just through his investments! Thurston Howell III is alive and well among the 1%! Some of the compassionate and caring super-affluent are actually using a great deal of their own wealth to help others, instead of investing more and taking more and more of the financial pie.

Continuing on, the “Birthers” and “he’s a Muslim” crowds, proves that anything is excusable to get rid of that  ” _____” (use your own expletive or pejorative to fill in the blank) in the White House. They don’t consider that he’s also half white, or maybe that infuriates them even more. How dare he assume that he’s worthy of the position.  Just an “uppity Black”, they think, and even spout wild rhetoric about unsavory characters he “palled” around with; Rev. Wright, secrets he’s hiding, conspiracy plots, and out and out lies and downright insults about their own POTUS. Why? Because “he’s not like us”, or he’s “the other”.  One politician recently said “He’s not really an American in his heart, He’s just not American”.

They have absolutely no respect for the office or the man. Pastors have even prayed for his death! Do you know of any other president that was so maligned with lies, innuendos, insults and half-truths?   Do you know of any other group that demanded  a birth certificate from any other POTUS, ever? They’ll claim they’re not bigoted or hateful, they just don’t like his politics, that’s all. Really? You could have fooled me. See some of the Tea Party signs, for instance.Some are so blatant as to be disgusting. You can Google them if you’re interested.

Any questions?

The above piece of rubbish, cheerfully donated to all by Terry Jones. You remember him, don’t you? He’s the  loving Christian pastor(?) who deliberately burned the Quran, because of his hatred of Muslims. Not only that, I understand he’s the cousin of Jim Jones! Remember the Jonestown massacre and the Kool-Aid? Insanity must be in the DNA.

Here’s another…Thanks to the TP/GOPers

Tell me again that it’s only President Obama’s politics they disagree with. No hatred or bigotry at all! Give me a break! All in all, bigotry of every ilk is in the hearts and minds of some of our own American citizens. They are the enemy within. We don’t need terrorists, some of our own are doing a pretty good job of destroying us from within. Perhaps these are the real terrorists. Maybe that’s what Bin Laden and his minions were actually hoping to foment.

There’s no denying this isn’t the same America I grew up in before 9/11. That has warped us almost beyond  recognition. What with the “Patriot Act”, TSA, the labyrinthine change in policies, regarding travel and privacy. Canada and Mexico are no longer our friendly neighbors, you can no longer move freely on our own borders.  Before this, I remember car trips over the bridge to Canada, from Detroit, when I was living there as a small child.

A few years old but just as true today…Discouraging isn’t it?

These days you have to have a passport to go north or south of our borders. Now every airline passenger is treated like a potential terrorist, with all kinds of unnecessary restrictions. How many air passengers were found to actually be terrorists? They even search 2 year old children and the disabled, people in wheelchairs and the extreme elderly.  I’ve seen reports of several revolting incidents in the name of “safety”. Has the TSA really stopped any act of terrorism? This is the USA?  The recent passport requirements to and from Canada and Mexico haven’t stopped the illegal immigrant migration from the Mexican border. I highly doubt any Canadian would want to sneak into our country, judging from some comments I’ve read from Canadian citizens. I think it more likely, some of our citizens might want to slip into Canada.

I almost forgot, a third element in this is FEAR. Fear of the “others”, even fear of your neighbor. No matter how undeserved, difference must be shunned; another component of unfounded bigotry. Remember the recent flap over the “so-called” Mosque on 9/11 ground?  It was actually blocks away from the site. Because of fear, bigotry and hatred of “the others”, it almost never got realized. Some of my neighbors and my terrific physician are Muslims. I just see them as neighbors and my doctor, like any other human beings. We are all humans, you know, and humans are varied in many ways, but we all belong to the same group; HUMANKIND.

I guess I’ll get off the soapbox for now. There are many other things I’ll be expressing in my blog. I have a lot of opinions, as you can see.

A  few more visual aids….

They start ’em young, don’t they?


The truth hurts…

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Back to the Future…?

…I certainly don’t want to go there!

A friend e-mailed a few vintage advertisements to us to show how times have changed. This is the country our esteemed TP/GOPers want us to go “back” to;  I certainly don’t. This is their wonderful, myopic  vision of what they want to return to. When men were men and women knew their place. The halcyon days of yore. When wifey stayed home and cleaned the house spotless, took care of the kids, and greeted hubby all dressed up and looking radiant in her frilly apron and high heels. Ready to grant hubby’s every whim!  Dinner on the table and everything waiting just for him. Give me a break! These households only existed in the minds of Madison Ave. ad agencies and ‘50’s domestic comedies. “Father Knows Best” or “Leave it to Beaver”, anyone? The condescending chauvinistic attitude was still a prominent force, however. Even then, such idealism was fantasy. Ask some female senior citizen, what she thought of the ‘50’s.

See what I mean…?

More for your money…

Had enough yet?

Still not enough? “Merry Christmas Honey!”

One more for the road…

Of course, this is only one example of their illusory ideas. Throw in the old days of unionless  workers, and even children working for pennies on the dollars the bosses made. The inequality of incomes, no safety nets, soup kitchens, people selling apples for a few cents to buy bread for a starving family. All the “good” memories of times past. Ah, yes…The “impenetrable bubble”  the TP/GOPers are surrounded by.

May I interject a thought here?…

On the same subject “Job Creators”…

They’re working very hard to pull us back and prevent progress. To paraphrase an old saw “We don’ need no stinkin’ safety nets”. R-i-i-i-ght!  We also don’t need human rights, women’s health care choices, contraception, LGBT rights, a good public education system and college availability for all who want it, especially in science and math (we’re in 27th place on this, I believe, just below Hungary).

One possible explanation for why we’re so far down on math and especially science…

They probably long for “The Old Kentucky Home”, before MLK and the Civil Rights Movement. Think I’m exaggerating? Can you explain the obvious hatred and obstructionism, not to mention out and out lies about our duly elected POTUS? The first day President Obama  got into office, the “loyal opposition”,  said they must make sure he’s only a one term president. Did you notice the nasty smirk on McConnell’s face, as he intoned the words?

Is the obstructionism merely political or is there much more to this? I think the latter. Did you know they had a special meeting on the night of Obama’s inauguration? Did you know it was a conference by about 15 of the top TP/GOPers to destroy Obama’s first term in any way they could?  There’s a lot more to the TP/GOPers whine about  what the country used to be, way back before any progressive ideas sneaked in. Don’t forget the “birthers” still trying to discredit the “other” POTUS. How dare he! Do you recall any past president having to prove his birth record? I think any aware individual can understand the real meaning of the  TP/GOPer’s code.

Latest info on this debacle…The SCOTUS just denied an appeal to allow the continuation of the “birthers” suit against the president.

They just don’t wear sheets anymore…!

Take a good look at the ‘20’s, prohibition, the depression, even the ‘40’s through our hopefully more enlightened eyes of the 21st century. Do you get my drift? Can you understand the portents of the 21st century and its importance in the world?  Which makes more sense today, falling back into the past stagnation or progressing with an eye to the actualized future?

Some memories of the “glorious” past…

Depression era bread and coffee line

A depression era soup kitchen line,thanks to Al Capone. Would you believe he  actually set up several of them? 

There was no such thing as workman’s comp then…

More warm memories of times past…”The Grapes of Wrath” were not all that fictional. A migrant worker family of the era…

There are some who would like to undo civil rights and desegregation altogether and some who would turn our country into an extension of their religious beliefs and an oligarchy. It’s up to us; all of us, to continue to move  towards a  future that is truly enlightened and progressive.

Some visuals for your entertainment and enlightenment, I hope…

A large part of the problem …

The continuing story…

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My “Missionary Position” with Apologies to Christopher Hitchens

For the Good of their Souls…? 

Sometimes One Picture IS Worth a Thousand Words

There is NO Christian missionarywork that does any ALTRUISTIC good. The truest love for one’s fellow man is without strings. Trying to “harvest souls” is an agenda that does more harm than good. The truest charity is that without hidden agendas. Ask Bill Gates, an admitted atheist. He’s given BILLIONS of his own money, with his foundation, with NO STRINGS whatsoever. That is the true spirit of giving. He’s even trying to get other extremely rich philanthropists to contribute sizeable sums of their own money for the benefit of the world’s disenfranchised and suffering via a new non religious foundation.

Don’t tell me about Christian charity! It’s a bunch of hogwash! Until they do the works with NO AGENDAS and not pushing their brand of religion down people’s throats, they are no better than con men.

What missionaries did to our own Native Americans, in the name of Christianity was unconscionable. What damage Catholicism is doing to Africa’s AIDS epidemic is unforgivable.

They are all “Liars for Jesus”. That is not charity at all. It’s a scam. The carrot is “We’re doing good  things for you in the Lord’s name. We will help you”. The stick is the indoctrination into the dogma, any way they can. Some altruism! Pious hypocrites all.

This steamrolling of dogma of whatever ilk has done irreparable harm, not good in the world. Witness the Ugandan “kill the Gays” bills and the subsequent lies, violence and outright injuries, physical and otherwise perpetrated on the Ugandan LGBT population by the fanaticism of Fundamentalist Christians spewing their brand of toxic dogmas. How many more “converts” to Catholicism will die of AIDS because of the outright lies of the RCC and some other “Christian do-gooders” about condoms, birth control and family planning?  “But they’re doing so much good”, the unthinking will whine.

What horrendous crimes were committed by the early Christian settlers on our own Native American population? Anything from kidnapping their children, and “Christianizing” and “civilizing” them, to out and out genocide and lying and breaking treaties. Even today in the 21st century, there are some Native Americans that view the Christian cross symbol as akin to the Nazi swastika. (below)

“Compulsory Conversion of Indians by Jesuit Missionaries”

I will never support any religious charities, ever! I support only non-sectarian, secular charities with no hidden agendas. There has been a huge debunking of “Mother Theresa” and her RCC agenda, perpetrated on the poor, uneducated Hindus in India. I need not go into it here; Google is but a click away. No one can deny the blood that was shed and horrific acts perpetrated on the world in the name of some deity or other “for the good of their souls”! The underlying cause, of course; absolute power. You Know “Our God’s bigger than your god”. Therefore, you must worship our god, or else…

When I see some of these “heart rending” ads for the religious charities that exploit poverty stricken children, I get angry, not sad. It’s because of refusing to advocate birth control that the children have become unwilling victims. “Have as many children as your God sends”.  Forget about not being able to care for them. These are the children who wind up being sold as sex slaves or worse, or become the local street children. The children whose parents send them away, sell them or abandon them because they cannot afford or cope with taking care of them. I could go into my pro-choice “war against Women” stance here, but I’ve covered it, elsewhere on this blog. Of course, the more children available, the more impressionable victims of their indoctrination.  In time, you will get pliable adults from starting the indoctrinating early.

Most of these “missions” involve inculcating the uneducated and poverty stricken with pie in the sky. “A loving God” will take away all your cares, etc. Horsepuckey, I say! Then they’ll proceed to indoctrinate them with their brand of hooey! Setting them up for whatever their “God” deems. It matters not if they can’t afford to have a child born every year, or that there’s no mention of family planning or birth control from most of the dogmatic poisons they spout.

 “You will be rewarded in heaven”, but you must follow our rules or you will be punished for all eternity. If something terrible occurs in your life or come famine, flood, earthquake or tsunamis, it’s the “will of God” or “God has his reasons” or “we cannot fathom the mind of God”, or it’s a punishment from a grumpy God for some divine infraction, etc.  We mustn’t forget Satan, either (why does God allow Satan to run rampant in the first place when He could stop him?). But when you die and go to heaven… then you’ll be rewarded for all the suffering you endure (God rewards suffering, you know because it brings you closer to Him).  I could cover that here, too but there’s a post here on this blog on the subject. While you’re here on earth, however…tough cookies!

As you see I have many reasons for being anti-missionary. If I seem uncomplimentary, I am. I see no value in the missionary invasion of other cultures. What the people need is complete education, without mythological rules and regulations. Literacy beats superstition any day. Indoctrination with religion, short-circuits logic and reason of the masses. The only cure is true literacy and reasoning. You will not get that from any religion or missionary invasion, anywhere on earth.


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The TP/GOPers’ War on Women; Chapter II…

Still at it…!

Mat Bors hits a bullseye!


Still think this couldn’t happen here? Mat Bors again…


Another commentary…

Santorum is only the Tip of a Ginormous Iceberg…Vote Democratic 2012!

In the first post on this subject, I was mostly speculating on some of the possible attacks on the reproductive rights of women which were contemplated. Now in February of 2012, no less, their threatened possibilities have become realities.  Some  bills have already  been PASSED by the state legislature or on the way to becoming laws. I hope I don’t need a “Chapter III” on this subject.

There are some states that are setting impossible “standards” for Women’s abortion and health clinics. The so-called “standards” are arbitrary (such as the size of a janitor’s closet). They are completely unnecessary and are another way these states are trying to subvert women’s health care availability. These standards are almost impossible for most facilities to comply with, because of the expense, and the necessity for extensive remodeling. So they’re forced to comply or close. None of these are remotely connected to any legal or regulatory agency or requirements for these facilities.

The War on Women is still active, pervasive and despicable. These articles are a small sampling from the web. I am using them to show how widespread the objections to this debacle are. They are all over and from different sources. Women and men both are against these Draconian measures. The misogynistic onslaught continues as I type.

More frightening is the fact that so far, many of these measures have succeeded. The misogynistic, patriarchal zealots and bigots are trying their best to suppress  women’s rights to their own bodies! Whatever happened to the “Small Government” advocacy the TP/GOPers claim. I guess they meant small enough to fit in a women’s genitalia, literally, if you’ve heard about the legislated transvaginal ultrasound, see below. This is virtually legalized  rape.

                A medical diagram of transvaginal ultrasound procedure.


If this isn’t demeaning and misogynistic, I don’t know what is. Sometimes this procedure is medically necessary. However, this has been legislated as mandatory for the doctor and for any woman who wants an abortion. It isn’t medically necessary in this instance. Just another way to embarrass and confound a woman seeking a legal abortion. Some are even forcing the woman to look at the sonogram, so that “she’s aware of the whole situation” as if she’s too stupid or ignorant to know what’s best for herself.  More patriarchal  and religious bullpuckey. They also keep a copy of the sonogram in her medical records, as well. There’s even more obstacles put in the way of any woman seeking an abortion, even in the case of rape or incest!

Planned Parenthood debacle:

Susan G. Komen Apologizes for Cutting Off Planned Parenthood Funding


The Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation apologized today for cutting off funding from Planned Parenthood and vowed to revise the policy that led to an intense backlash against the nation’s largest breast cancer organization.“We want to apologize to the American public for recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women’s lives,” president and founder Nancy Brinker said in a statement today. “We have been distressed at the presumption that the changes made to our funding criteria were done for political reasons or to specifically penalize Planned Parenthood. They were not.

“Our original desire was to fulfill our fiduciary duty to our donors by not funding grant applications made by organizations under investigation,” she added. “We will amend the criteria to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political. That is what is right and fair.”

Planned Parenthood’s president, Cecile Richards, praised the move  and the “outpouring of support” her organization has received since the news caught fire. She also dubbed it as a watershed moment and a “learning opportunity.”

“Bullying and trying to make political women’s access to health care is a losing political strategy,” Richards said in a conference call with reporters today, adding that she looks forward to resuming a partnership with the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure cut off funding Tuesday for about 19 Planned Parenthood clinics that provide breast cancer screening and other preventative services.

Planned Parenthood affiliates have received about $680,000 per year from the foundation and provided about 170,000 clinical breast exams and 6,400 mammogram referrals through those funds, mainly to low-income and minority women.

The foundation said its decision was spurred by a recent policy change that prohibited it from funding organizations that are under investigation. A congressional committee, led by anti-abortion Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., is looking into Planned Parenthood affiliates to see whether they used taxpayer money to fund abortions.

But critics charged that the move was solely political and based on the pressure that the Komen foundation has been facing from anti-abortion groups over the years. Planned Parenthood was the only grantee among 2,000 other organizations whose funding was cut off under the new policy.

Critics also linked it to the foundation’s recent hiring of Karen Handel, a former Georgia Republican gubernatorial candidate who is an outspoken opponent of Planned Parenthood. Brinker denied that Handel was involved in the decision.

A number of Komen foundation board members resigned in the wake of that decision.

Meanwhile, the move spurred a flood of support for Planned Parenthood. The group has received more than $3 million for its breast cancer program since Tuesday. Cyclist Lance Armstrong’s charity group, Livestrong — which has never before donated to the group — became the latest high-profile organization to give money, donating $100,000 to the Planned Parenthood’s cancer services fund. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he would keep his pledge announced Thursday to give $250,000 and $1 for every dollar Planned Parenthood raises up to $250,000.

“I think health care is at the top of the list [of things] we have to worry about. I don’t think politics should enter it,” Bloomberg said in an interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell today. “I’m glad they reversed it but the bottom line is Planned Parenthood is an organization that was providing a great service in terms of screening for cancer and they do a lot of other good things.”

Oil tycoon Lee Fikes and his wife also gave the group $250,000, and it raised more than $650,000 from across the country. Indie rock band The Decemberists today pulled its support from the  Komen foundation, saying it will now give all its funds to Planned Parenthood’s Breast Health Emergency Fund.

(Addenda: Of course the PP debacle is still active.  Many states are trying their best to destroy Planned Parenthood altogether! Although only a very small percentage of PP’s services are abortions, the right wingnuts falsely accuse them of being the largest abortion  mills in the US. Another ploy to stop any women’s health care. Without PP, many women wouldn’t be able to afford healthcare services elsewhere;  men too.)



Virginia’s Ultrasound law:

This is what they’re forcing women and their doctors to submit to…

Virginia’s Proposed Ultrasound Law Is an Abomination

Under the new legislation, women who want an abortion will be forcibly penetrated for no medical reason. Where’s the outrage?

By Dahlia Lithwick |SLATE

A Virginia law would require a woman seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound, whether medically necessary or not.

Image by Stockbyte.

This week, the Virginia state Legislature passed a bill that would require women to have an ultrasound before they may have an abortion. Because the great majority of abortions occur during the first 12 weeks, that means most women will be forced to have a transvaginal procedure, in which a probe is inserted into the vagina, and then moved around until an ultrasound image is produced. Since a proposed amendment to the bill—a provision that would have had the patient consent to this bodily intrusion or allowed the physician to opt not to do the vaginal ultrasound—failed on 64-34 vote, the law provides that women seeking an abortion in Virginia will be forcibly penetrated for no medical reason. I am not the first person to note that under any other set of facts, that would constitute rape under state law.

What’s more, a provision of the law that has received almost no media attention would ensure that a certification by the doctor that the patient either did or didn’t “avail herself of the opportunity” to view the ultrasound or listen to the fetal heartbeat will go into the woman’s medical record. Whether she wants it there or not. I guess they were all out of scarlet letters in Richmond.

So the problem is not just that the woman and her physician (the core relationship protected in Roe) no longer matter at all in deciding whether an abortion is proper. It is that the physician is being commandeered by the state to perform a medically unnecessary procedure upon a woman, despite clear ethical directives to the contrary. (There is no evidence at all that the ultrasound is a medical necessity, and nobody attempted to defend it on those grounds.) As an editorial in the Virginian-Pilot put it recently, “Under any other circumstances, forcing an unwilling person to submit to a vaginal probing would be a violation beyond imagining. Requiring a doctor to commit such an act, especially when medically unnecessary, and to submit to an arbitrary waiting period, is to demand an abrogation of medical ethics, if not common decency.”*

Evidently the right of conscience for doctors who oppose abortion are a matter of grave national concern. The ethical and professional obligations of physicians who would merely like to perform their jobs without physically violating their own patients are, however, immaterial. Don’t even bother asking whether this law would have passed had it involved physically penetrating a man instead of a womanwithout consent. Next month the U.S. Supreme Court will hear argument about the obscene government overreach that is the individual mandate in President Obama’s health care law. Yet physical intrusion by government into the vagina of a pregnant woman is so urgently needed that the woman herself should be forced to pay for the privilege.

The bill will undoubtedly be enacted into law by the governor, Bob McDonnell, who isgunning hard for a gig as vice president and has already indicated that he will sign the bill. “I think it gives full information,” he said this week on WTOP radio’s “Ask the Governor” program. “To be able to have that information before making what most people would say is a very important, serious, life-changing decision, I think is appropriate.”

That’s been the defense of this type of ultrasound law from the outset; it’s merely “more information” for the mother, and, really, what kind of anti-science Neanderthal opposesinformation? Pretending that this law is just a technological update on Virginia’s informed consent laws has another benefit: You can shame and violate women, while couching it in the language of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s gift that keeps on giving—his opinion inGonzales v. Carhart. That opinion upheld Congress’ partial-birth abortion ban on the grounds that (although there was no real evidence to support this assumption) some women who have abortions will suffer “severe depression” and “regrets” if they aren’t made to understand the implications of what they have done.*

Never mind that the evidence indicates that women forced to see ultrasound images opt to terminate anyhow. According to the American Independent, a new study by Tracy Weitz, assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco, shows that “viewing an ultrasound is not an indication that a woman will cancel her scheduled procedure, regardless of what emotional response the sonogram elicits.” Weitz summarized her findings in 2010 when she said that “women do not have abortions because they believe the fetus is not a human or because they don’t know the truth.”

Of course, the bill is unconstitutional. The whole point of the new abortion bans is to force the Supreme Court to reverse Roe v. Wade. It’s unconstitutional to place an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy, although it’s anyone’s guess what, precisely, that means. One would be inclined to suspect, however, that unwanted penetration with a medical device violates either the undue burden test or the right to bodily autonomy. But that’s the other catch in this bill. Proponents seem to be of the view that once a woman has allowed a man to penetrate her body once, her right to bodily autonomy has ended.

During the floor debate on Tuesday, Del. C. Todd Gilbert announced that “in the vast majority of these cases, these [abortions] are matters of lifestyle convenience.” (He has since apologized.) Virginia Democrat Del. David Englin, who opposes the bill, has said Gilbert’s statement “is in line with previous Republican comments on the issue,” recalling one conversation with a GOP lawmaker who told him that women had already made the decision to be “vaginally penetrated when they got pregnant.” (I confirmed with Englin that this quote was accurate.)*

That’s the same logic that animates the bill’s sponsor in the House of Delegates, Del. Kathy J. Byron, who insisted this week that, “if we want to talk about invasiveness, there’s nothing more invasive than the procedure that she is about to have.” Decoded, that means that if you are willing to submit to sex and/or an abortion, the state should be allowed to penetrate your body as well.

I asked Del. Englin what recourse there is for the ultrasound law, and he told me that the governor, while unlikely to veto the bill, still has the power to amend it to require the patient’s consent or say that physicians can opt not to do the vaginal probe. One might hope that even the benign act of giving women “more information” not be allowed to happen by forcing it between her legs. Or is that what we call it these days?

Whatever happens in the commonwealth, it’s fair to say it’s no accident that this week the Legislature also enacted a “personhood” law defining life as beginning at conception—a law that may someday criminalize contraception and some miscarriages as well as abortion. Today was not a good day in the War on Women. Abortion is still legal in America. Physically invading a woman’s body against her will still isn’t. Let’s not casually pass laws that upend both principles in the name of helping women make better choices. (more on “personhood” below)

 Corrections, Feb. 16, 2012: This article originally misidentified the Virginian-Pilot as the Virginia-Pilot. The article also mistakenly characterized Gonzales v. Carhart as striking down the partial-birth ban. It also misidentified Del. David Englin as a representative. (Return to the corrected sentence.)

(Update I: Seven other states including North Dakota and Texas, already have mandatory ultrasound laws in some form on the books. A federal district judge in Texas initially blocked a law there that requires doctors to describe an ultrasound in detail and play the fetal heartbeat to a woman seeking an abortion. But a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overruled that decision in January and allowed the law to go into effect.)

(Update  II Excerpted from Mc D0nnels statement:

“…Thus, having looked at the current proposal, I believe there is no need to direct by statute that further invasive ultrasound procedures be done. Mandating an invasive procedure in order to give informed consent is not a proper role for the state. No person should be directed to undergo an invasive procedure by the state, without their consent, as a precondition to another medical procedure.

For this reason, I have recommended to the General Assembly a series of amendments to this bill. I am requesting that the General Assembly amend this bill to explicitly state that no woman in Virginia will have to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound involuntarily. I am asking the General Assembly to state in this legislation that only a transabdominal, or external, ultrasound will be required to satisfy the requirements to determine gestational age. Should a doctor determine that another form of ultrasound may be necessary to provide the necessary images and information that will be an issue for the doctor and the patient. The government will have no role in that medical decision.”[Addenda: The legislature did NOT pass the revised bill. They only want the original version. They said they’d rather have no bill than change ANYTHING in the original bill!])


“Personhood” Bills:

Mississippi Legislature Trying Again For A Personhood Amendment

From Jillian Rayfield-TCM

 Republicans in Mississippi are hoping that second time’s a charm for a “Personhood” amendment.

This week, a Republican lawmaker in Mississippi’s House of Representatives introduced a measure to get an initiative on the November ballot that would ask voters to amend the state’s Constitution “to provide that the right to life is a fundamental right and ‘person’ applies to all humans from conception.”

House Concurrent Resolution 61 would “provide that the right to life is the paramount and most fundamental right of a person; to provide that the world ‘person’ applies to all human beings from conception to natural death.”

Personhood bills effectively outlaw abortion, and, depending on the language, make illegal certain types of birth control and even in vitro fertilization.

Mississippi’s new measure seems written to address those concerns, with the language “certain activities that are not affected or prohibited by this section, including contraception or birth control not killing a person, in vitro fertilization or other methods of reproduction, medical treatment intended to preserve life, or miscarriage.”

HC 61, nicknamed “The Right to Life Amendment of 2012,” was co-authored by three Republicans and one Democrat, none of whom immediately returned TPM’s request for comment. It was referred to the House Constitution Committee.

In November of last year, voters in the state soundly rejected a similar Personhood measure, by a margin of 58%-42%.

In a Facebook posting, Les Riley, the head of Personhood Mississippi, called for supporters to act on behalf of the legislation in response to a Planned Parenthood press release in opposition to it. Riley wondered: “Do they have more enthusiasm to protect death than we do to protect life?”

The Oklahoma Senate passed a measure last week that also defines life as beginning at conception, as did the Virginia House.

 AbortionMississippiPersonhoodPersonhood MovementPersonhood USA


Jillian Rayfield is a Reporter/Blogger for TPM, and started as a News Intern in May 2009. She graduated from Cornell University in May 2008 with a degree in Film, and worked as a Research Assistant for a market research firm in London in between.



No co-pay birth control insurance and “religious Freedom”:

 Access to Birth Control Does Not Violate Religious Freedom — And It Is a Moral Imperative

Robert Creamer – Huffington Post


In many respects it is amazing that in 2012 there is a controversy over women’s access to birth control.

Let’s be clear, the current controversy over the Obama administration’s rules that require all employers who provide health insurance to provide birth control without a co-pay to its women employees, has nothing whatsoever to do with religious freedom.

It has everything to do with an attempt to take away women’s access to easy, affordable birth control, no matter where they work.

Birth control is not controversial. Surveys show that 99 percent of women and 98 percent of Catholic women have used birth control at some time in their lives.

No one is trying to require that anyone else use birth control if it violates their religious convictions. But the convictions of some religious leaders should not be allowed to trump the rights of women employees to have access to birth control.

The rule in question exempts 355,000 churches from this requirement since they presumably hire individuals who share the religious faith of the institutions in question. But it does not exempt universities and hospitals that may be owned by religious organizations, but serve — and employ — people of all faiths to engage in decidedly secular activities. These are not “religious institutions.” They are engaged in the normal flow of commerce, even though they are owned by religious organizations.

Some religious leaders argue that they should not be required to pay for birth control coverage for their employees if they have religious objections to birth control. This argument ignores the fact that health insurance coverage is not a voluntary gift to employees. It is a part of their compensation package. If someone opposed the minimum wage on religious grounds — say because they believed it “discouraged individual initiative” — that wouldn’t excuse them from having to pay the minimum wage.

If a Christian Science institution opposed invasive medical treatment on religious grounds, it would not be allowed to provide health care plans that fund only spiritual healing.

Many Americans opposed the Iraq War — some on religious grounds. That did not excuse them from paying taxes to the government.

The overwhelming majority of Americans oppose taking away the ability for women to have easy, affordable access to birth control. A Public Policy Polling survey released yesterday found that 56 percent of voters support the decision to require health plans to cover prescription birth control with no additional out-of-pocket fees, while only 37 percent opposed. Fifty-three percent of Catholic voters favor the benefit.

Fifty-seven percent of voters think that women employed by Catholic hospitals and universities should have the same rights to contraceptive coverage as other women.

No doubt these numbers would be vastly higher if the poll were limited to the employees of those hospitals and universities because eliminating the requirement of coverage would cost the average woman $600 to $1,200 per year in out-of-pocket costs.

But ironically, requiring birth control coverage generally costs nothing to the institution that provides it. That’s because by making birth control accessible, health plans cut down on the number of unwanted pregnancies that cost a great deal more. And of course they also cut down on the number of abortions.

That may help explain why many Catholic-owned universities already provide coverage for birth control. For instance, a Georgetown University spokesperson told ThinkProgress yesterday that employees “have access to health insurance plans offered and designed by national providers to a national pool. These plans include coverage for birth control.”

The University of San Francisco, the University of Scranton, DePaul University in Chicago, Boston College — all have health insurance plans that cover contraception.

And, finally, this is nothing new. Twenty-eight states already require organizations that offer prescription insurance to cover contraception.

Of course the shocking thing about this entire controversy is that there is a worldwide consensus that the use of birth control is one of society’s most important moral priorities. Far from being something that should be discouraged, or is controversial, the use of birth control is critical to the survival and success of humanity.

In 1968, the world’s population reached 3.5 billion people. On October 31, 2011, the United Nations Population Division reported that the world population had reached seven billion. It haddoubled in 43 years.

It took 90,000 years of human development for the population to reach 1 billion. Over the last two centuries the population has grown by another six billion.

In fact, in the first 12 years of the 21st Century, we have already added a billion people to the planet.

It is simply not possible for this small planet to sustain that kind of exponential human population growth. If we do, the result will be poverty, war, the depletion of our natural resources and famine. Fundamentally, the Reverend Malthus was right — except that the result is not inevitable.

Population growth is not something that just happens to us. We can choose whether or not to reproduce and at what rates.

No force is required. The evidence shows that the population explosion stops where there is the availability of birth control and women have educational opportunity.

That’s why it is our moral imperative to act responsibly and encourage each other to use birth control. And it’s not a hard sell. Children are the greatest blessing you can have in life. But most people are eager to limit the number of children they have if they have access to contraception. We owe it to those children — to the next generation and the generation after that — to act responsibly and stabilize the size of the human population.

The moral thing to do is to make certain that every woman who wants it has access to birth control.




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Blame the “Liberal Media”…?

It’s All the Fault of the “Media”…?

No, I have not changed my opinions…

This is just one illustration of how the current crop of TP/GOPers  view the world. Bill Maher says they are in an impenetrable bubble, and facts can’t get through. Not only facts, but truth, reality, and the actual world doesn’t penetrate the “bubble” either. Ergo this “political(?)” cartoon. Everything is that gol-durn “Librul medya’s” fault. To quote one of my favorite progressive pundits, Cenk Uygur, “OF C-O-O-O-URSE”!

I first came upon this right wing apologist, when I was browsing a comics web site. I saw she was a female, which is very unusual for a political commentary panel. So I checked her current, at the time, panel, out of curiosity.  She had the TP/GOPer  points down perfectly.  Illustrations of the “bubble” of the right wingers, personified. Her panels are reminders of why I’m  glad to be a Liberal, Progressive, secularist. For that, I thank you Lisa Benson.

It’s the media’s fault that Newt had three marriages and two messy, divorces, and all his baggage. You know it’s not his fault he was married and had a mistress when he called out to impeach Clinton for the Lewinsky affair. It was that damn media again. It certainly wasn’t his fault that he divorced his first wife while she was in treatment for cancer and he was having an affair, at the time. The media again. He then took the mistress as his second wife and…guess what …? Calista came along. Damn that media. His ethics violation? The media. Turn poor school kids into school janitors  so they learn how to become earners (no work ethics, you know)…Newt again. What about the pampered rich brats? Dad just watches his dividends grow, who needs a work ethic? (see Mitt, below).

How dare the so-called “liberal” media bring up the TP/GOPers unabashed bigotry, super-pacs and character flaws, the “birthers”, decimating education and of course, repeal “Obamacare” Their desire to defeat Obama, no matter what harm they cause as a result.  The obstructionism of their manic power hunger and bigotry, oozes from their every pore like pus from an infection. The refusal to even consider that trickle-down economics never worked. Their inability to understand what the word “inequality” means. What inequality? The 1% are all doing fine, no inequality there. The 99%? What are they complaining about? No inequality whatsoever, they’re all equal, to each other.

I don’t need to single out Newt. We have a grand array of mediaphobes in the TP/GOPer primary ranks. Between Bachmann and her many gaffs and “Pray the Gay Away” “hubby”.  Herman Cain and all those “disturbed” women, while he was dallying for 13 years on the side with a female “friend” he was helping out, without his wife knowing a thing about it. Herman’s “9,9,9,” turn it upside down the devil’s in the details (my snarky observation).  Mitt’s $57,000 a day,  just from investing, without a day’s actual work. “Corporation’s are people, my friend”…!  For an interesting view of the facts about Romney’s “Mexican” heritage, do some Googling,etc. Too complicated to go into it here.  Paul wants to do away with all government and the safety nets. Come to think of it they all do.

Dare I mention Rick S. and his misogynistic and anti gay rhetoric? , How about wanting to make birth control and abortion illegal under ALL circumstance. “If you’re raped, make the best of it”…? Man on man =“man on dog”?  Trying to turn us into a theocracy (read Christianocracy). Of course he’s not the only candidate trying to destroy women’s rights, and LGBT rights, is he?   Even Trump wanted to get in the clown car. We lost Rick Perry, the unannointed pastor of Texas, too bad, more comic relief. Let’s also not forget the Camp site  he frequented with the unmentionable name (not so funny). Huntsman, since he seemed constantly at the bottom of the ladder is more of a footnote.

By the way, who’s actually aiding and abetting the clash of the classes?  Could it be the Grover Norquist “pledge” to not raise taxes ever,  on, you know the “job creators”, the 1%? Who’s he, the king of the TP/GOPers? The 99 percenters “envy” the rich? No one envies EARNED success not even the 99%. So who’s fomenting class warfare here?

Because of the media we can get at the facts, reality and understand things we couldn’t without it. We can also usually spot the false media info, as well. We all know which media lie and warp facts, and which don’t; or at least if we’re well informed we should know the difference. I’m not absolving the Democrat’s either, but they haven’t yet blamed the media for Weiner, Clinton, Spitzer, etc. They exhibited some self-blame for their wrongdoings.

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Obama and the “Birthers”…

Don’t They EVER Give up…?

Sounds a bit like a fairytale, doesn’t it? In a way it is. The “birthers” are the same ones who believe the fairy tales that reducing taxes for the 2% wealthiest and the corporations, will lower the deficit and create jobs. Privatizing Social Security and using a Voucher system for Medicare will improve it.   Breaking unions will make the economy better and small government means small enough to fit in a woman’s uterus. With all those fairytale ideas, is it any wonder they will insist Obama’s birth certificate, even the long form, isn’t proof of his American citizenship? Ask Trump!

Of course, left unspoken is the actual reason for all this “birther” nonsense. No need to go into what this is code for. We know why they’re trying to discredit our DULY ELECTED POTUS, words aren’t necessary. I am thoroughly ashamed of these people.  I’m also embarrassed for the whole country. The world isn’t blind to the bigotry and prejudices behind this obsession to find something, anything they could use against Obama, even if it makes sense only to the perpetrators.

Does anyone recognize the elaborate machinations that would be needed to successfully create this “Birther” fiasco? Firstly, in 1961 when Obama was born they’d have to determine he would run for president in the 21st century. Then they’d have to get huge amounts of collaborators, to fake the certificate of birth and fill in the information. They’d need doctors, nurses, officials the records departments, perhaps hundreds of people to cooperate and create this fake birth certificate for Barack Obama.  Then, of course bribing the Hawaiian officials and government to preserve the illusion he was born in Hawaii. ALL THIS WHEN HE WAS JUST BORN SO THEY COULD MAKE HIM THE POTUS IN THE 21st CENTURY?  Somehow they knew he’d be voted in as POTUS? Are you birther idiots serious? Really? I find this amazing! You actually believe in this conspiracy? The same would hold true if this was accomplished after the fact.   Wake up! GIVE ME A BREAK!

How stupid, or is it hateful are these “Birthers”? If he were a Muslim, that wouldn’t even disqualify him, we have Muslims in congress. However he happens to be Christian. Though I believe religion should be left out of politics altogether. You know or should; “The Separation of Church and State” in the Constitution? We even have an atheist in congress, so what?

This goes beyond policy disagreement. We all heard the GOPers talking about doing whatever they could to disparage and discredit Obama’s getting another term. Even before they knew what his policies were. They have been true obstructionists at every turn. It’s a wonder Obama managed to get anything through.  The insistence on dismissing the Affordable Health Care Plan as the disdainful “Obamacare”, for instance.  Just one example of total disrespect, not only for the person but for our own POTUS.

The Clown Prince of the Apprentice and Strange Comb-Over has made some veiled racist comments.  He also has expressed doubts about Obama deserving to be accepted in an Ivy-league college.  The fact that Obama  graduated Summa Cum Laude and was president of the Harvard Law Review is irrelevant, of course! Perhaps he thinks the TPers will take him in as a serious presidential candidate if he disses the one in office.  Of all the names, The Donald’s on top, but with a whopping 19%!! That’s not saying much for him or any of his fellow GOPer hopefuls. Again, they’d never have thought of being so openly insulting if Obama  hadn’t dared to be other than pure white, Caucasian stock. Why else have the detractors been working so diligently to find something, anything to discredit Obama’s authenticity?

I think I can assume what these right wingnuts want when they talk of “getting their country back”. Back from whom and what? I don’t think anyone needs a map to figure that out. There’s been many news stories about not so subtle e-mails, comments  and posters, showing a total disregard for civility and decency on the part of many a TPer and GOPer. Oh, they’ll deny it, but the facts speak for themselves. So does their insistence to make this country over into a Christianocracy, ignoring the separation of church and state in our own Constitution!

I am thoroughly and completely disgusted with the political GOP/TPer climate.  I can’t believe that people willingly squandered their valuable voting power on these undeserving power hungry, greedy, vicious, uncaring people. How could they?  Did those who sat on their hands, had snits, and decided not to vote, to “show them”, win anything? It’s a cliché I know, but what were they thinking?

Update: As of this writing (May 1, 2011) Obama has made the impossible, possible!  He, and the concerned military, Intelligence, cabinet, etc. managed to formulate a plan over months that resulted in finally, finding and killing Osama bin Laden! Yet even with this, his detractors refuse to give him any credit for successfully bringing this distressing chapter to an end! They are even claiming that W deserves credit for this! W, who actually said he didn’t care about OBL anymore ; that he didn’t think he was important! Yes, W said that, it’s on video for all to see!

Update II: As of May 16, Trump has decided not to run for presidential candidacy. Surprise! Did anyone actually think he was serious and not being his usual media whore self?

Update III: Trump, as of about a week ago (today is June 19,2011) is threatening he may still run, after all. You think? Right now the front runner is Mitt Romney, and not at a huge number either. His percentage 24%.

Update IV: As of this update (Dec.17,2011) yes, I know, a bit of a time gap. The “Birthers” are still trying. Now Georgia, lovely Georgia, wants to exclude Obama’s name from their presidential ELECTION BALLOT ! This stupidity goes on and on. Trump still hasn’t given up either. By the way, he’s threatening to possibly run for president again. (sigh)

The newest update on this farce as of  1/27/12. It really does seem like a fairytale; “The Neverending story”.

Update V: That’s right! More on “The Neverending Story”. Now (3/2/12) Joe Arpaio, already in legal trouble for his ethics or lack of them, has been skulking around this “conspiracy”. He claims there may be evidence of fraud. This after he hired some hacks, possibly to prove his points at taxpayers’ expense!

More of this in Huff Post here:

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What’s so Wonderful About Suffering?


During Easter season for Christians, the media are overrun with articles about the subject. Of course a huge part is the suffering of Christ as he carries his burden, and is crucified, etc. How He suffered and died…for our sins. The crucified figures of Christ in Catholic churches, are supposed to be inspiring, I think it’s macabre, myself. Of course most Catholics wear a cross with the crucified figure as some icon, men and women both. The protestants wear the plain cross. How a symbol of torture becomes a holy icon is beyond me.

This whole idea of accepting suffering, your cross, so to speak makes no sense. Why would any God worth worship be considered in a positive light because  your suffering is supposed to bring you closer to Him?  I don’t see how the suffering of a child wracked with pain from starvation or horrifically painful bone cancer, should be anything positive, in any way. Yet the dogma insists suffering is good for your soul’s development. Tell that to a three year old in constant debilitating pain from some terrible disease.

This is just another ploy to get the unfortunate roped into the idea that you are loved more by this God for this suffering.  Accepting  your  “cross” because you’ll be rewarded in heaven for your burden in this life. I refute the very idea of this sado-masochistic concept. Yet there are some fanatics that will masochistically inflict physical pain on their own person as a penance or a way to suffer more. “No pain, no gain”? I don’t see the point. Of course, this isn’t exclusive to the Abrahamic religions, either. But the concept is the same in any religion that accepts the concept of suffering as “Growth toward the diety”.

Abrahamic religions are rife with these schizophrenic, pointless concepts. God is love, but sends you to hell if you don’t love him. God will visit untold suffering and misery on Job, a hapless victim of a wager with Satan to prove that Job has faith and love for God no matter what.

Abortion, according to some (not in either bible anywhere by the way) is a sin but having unloved, mistreated, abused and unwanted children is good?  Abortions “kill babies”, that’s terrible, but killing an adult doctor or nurse that will help assist in abortion is OK?  Homosexual marriage is sinful but an adulterous hetero relationship is OK, if you are repentant?  If you repent or confess your sins, the most heinous of crimes will be forgiven?  No wonder the prisons are overcrowded.

Add to that the illogical belief in mythological characters and events, taken as actual holy writ, and there’s a recipe for almost anything being excusable, even the veneration and justification for inconceivable human suffering. They always say “We can’t understand the mind of God” or tout “God’s perfect plan”. Then there’s the old chestnut “It’s a mystery”, or “God works in mysterious ways”.  No one answers the question, why should any suffering or pain be any  good? How then to explain animals suffering and pain? They don’t even have souls according to the dogma. How could pain and suffering be good for their souls?

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