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Left In Lowell » Women's Issues

Left In Lowell

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October 22, 2012

Brown’s GOTV & Endorsement Blues

by at 7:41 pm.

On Sunday, in Lowell, Scott Brown held a rally. (Actually, it was more like a really?) But that can happen when you use such flawed surrogates, like Kelly Ayotte:
“I absolutely support and believe in marriage as between a man and a woman, and I do think it’s unfortunate that our state has made a different decision on that. And I know that many of you who are out there working at the state level, running for state office, I commend your efforts to repeal that law here in the state of New Hampshire. And I think that’s very important.

On Sunday, Kelly Ayotte helped Scott Brown diss on Elizabeth Warren and Federal Student Loan programs:

“Don’t let her fool you on that one,” Ayotte said, as more than 100 supporters cheered.

Brown said bills like the student-loan proposal backed by Warren are “not jobs bills, they’re tax bills.”

Yikes! 100+? The Brown clique should have kept it at the SAC club, like the last two times.

Elizabeth Warren held, what I would call, a RALLY. This rally was out in Northampton, on Sunday afternoon.

Elizabeth Warren draws 1,000 supporters in Northampton (more…)

May 22, 2012

The Trouble With Catholics

by at 11:02 am.

Not too long ago, I saw a short clip on City Life that made me wonder: Imagine If Muslims Made An Ad Like This One? Now, my friend George Anthes took exception to me making this point. He felt that it was more than appropriate for Catholics to assert their mores & values, as they headed into the polling booths to cast a ballot. In one regard, I fully agree. The point where I slip off is when politicians take the “will of the People,” as a mandate to codify dogma. It is perfectly fine for any politician/elected official to be “informed” by their faith, but it is another thing altogether to govern by it. The Constitution, dear readers, is very clear on this point.

In light of nitwits like former GOP presidential hopefuls, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, it wasn’t much of a stretch for me to be attuned to the consequences of impasssioned charlatans in the White House. Thus, I flipped the context of the video clip around, wondering if red blooded, apple pie eating, baseball watching, “Sarah Palin - real Americans” could sit quitely by, if Muslims asserted their faith in a similar fashion? You make the call.

Lately I have been tossing around this phrase: “You can’t rationalize a person out of an opinion, they did not arrive at in a rational way.” And this, I feel, is the trouble with Catholics. Well most, anyways.

March 1, 2012

More on Brown on Kennedy

by at 9:58 am.

This is a must read from David of BMG. It basically outlines everything we know about Kennedy’s position, from his prior support for bills that were in front of him. It also shows why it matters, against the backdrop of a wishy-washy editorial in the Boston Globe.

David writes:

They go on to say that, yeah, Ted Kennedy probably would have lined up with President Obama rather than Scott Brown, but Brown “is allowed to interpret” what Kennedy said and did.

Well, yes and no. Yes, figuring out what Kennedy would have thought about an issue he never precisely faced necessarily involves some guesswork. But no, Brown should not be “allowed” to simply make stuff up, or to ignore the evidence we have about what Kennedy’s positions were.

And we do have some good evidence.

The rest of his post is devoted to pretty much the kitchen sink in terms of outlining what Kennedy supported in the past, and what that most likely meant.

The bottom line is, Brown is not allowed to just get away with any interpretation of either the language of the bill, as I have repeatedly written. or as as David says again

There is a difference between “religious beliefs” and “moral convictions.” Senator Brown, take note – words have meaning, and you are not free to take the Humpty-Dumpty approach of substituting your own interpretation when the plain meaning of the words differs from it.

or the language of Kennedy’s past letter to the Pope, the bills he is on record as supporting, etc. David has a very nice and factual takedown of Brown and his shooting from the hip - does anyone actually believe that Scotto did any research into Kennedy’s likely position on a bill like the Blunt amendment before putting together his shamefully exploitative radio ad? I didn’t think so.

February 27, 2012

Do They Teach Reading Comprehension At Tufts?

by at 1:42 pm.

This is just turning into a bizarre set of examples of a total misreading of plain old English.

Does Scott Brown actually know how to read? Does he have any skills at all in reading comprehension? Did Tufts neglect this very important part of his education? I know I learned those skills in grammar school, but man, if he got into college without them, one would have hoped Tufts could have picked up the slack somehow. I have never seen an adult this epically bad at plain old reading comprehension.

Because now Brown is reading extra meaning into a letter Ted Kennedy sent a dying Pope about religious exemptions where he wrote

I believe in a conscience protection for Catholics in the health field and I’ll continue to advocate for it as my colleagues in the Senate and I work to develop an overall national health policy that guarantees health care for everyone

and claiming that Ted Kennedy would share his view of the Blunt amendment! Who in their right mind would think Kennedy would support this amendment?? Kennedy was specifying that a doctor or nurse should have an exemption from performing a medical procedure their religion disagrees with (a la abortion etc). NOT that employers should be able to discriminate against covering birth control for employees of their non-core institutions like hospitals.

This is beyond sad and insane. I can’t believe a sitting US Senator would be this dumb and exhibit such poor intellect. Never mind how bad it would be if Senator Brown knows exactly what the language in the letter (and in the Blunt amendment) mean but has decided to lie about it, an even worse situation. A wrong interpretation of an obvious plain English statement, or a lie to distort and exploit Ted Kennedy’s legacy - either way, it’s flabbergastingly terrible.

February 26, 2012

Doubling Down On a Bad Hand

by at 5:45 pm.

In case you’ve missed it the last couple of weeks, Scott Brown has mysteriously found his line in the sand to wrap his reelection around, and it’s by signing on as a cosigner to the Blunt amendment, which reads (bold mine so we can remark on it later):

A health plan shall not be considered to have failed to provide the essential health benefits package described in subsection (a) … on the basis that it declines to provide coverage of specific items or services because— (i) providing coverage (or, in the case of a sponsor of a group health plan, paying for coverage) of such specific items or services is contrary to the religious beliefs or moral convictions of the sponsor, issuer, or other entity offering the plan; or (ii) such coverage (in the case of individual coverage) is contrary to the religious beliefs or moral convictions of the purchaser or beneficiary of the coverage.

Let’s evaluate this first from a campaign perspective, starting on the flip (this is a long post, but it includes videos!). (more…)

February 21, 2012

VA Vajayjay Probe Law On Hold; Texas Already Has It

by at 10:07 pm.

While the backlash over the requiring of transvaginal ultrasounds for abortions in VA has the Governor backing down (now saying he’ll “review the bill in its final format when it comes to him”) and the VA House postponing the bill two days in a row, in Texas, we can already see the results of a similar law, and others.

Just read through this post. Between places like Texas which have already enacted similar legislation, to Idaho outlawing the mere purchase of RU-486 (which is probably unconstitutional), state laws across this country have restricted, outlawed, and put huge burdens on women and their private health care choices, up to and including medically unnecessary vaginal probing.

Unmarried, impoverished and pregnant with her fourth child, McCormack faced the problem so many American women do because nearly 90 percent of the nation’s counties have no clinics or hospitals that will perform abortions. That is an outcome of nearly four decades of attacks by anti-choice forces. For her, the closest clinic was in Salt Lake City, a 150-mile drive. Because Utah requires a waiting period, she would have had to make the five-hour round-trip twice. The expense of the trip, the procedure and follow-up medical care also worried her.

Then she found out from her sister about RU-486, the abortion-inducing drug. Her sister ordered it, and McCormack took the pill as soon as it arrived. It worked. But there were complications that brought the fact of her abortion to the notice of authorities. In Idaho, self-induced abortions are outlawed. Although the original case against McCormack were dismissed last summer, they could be reinstated.

This woman, because her private medical matters became public, is, as Meteor Blades put it, treated in her community like a modern Hester Prynne. This is akin to the sort of bullying Jessica Ahlquist received. Unbelievable.

No woman in the world should vote Republican. Unless, ladies, you want to go return to dangerous back-ally abortions and more unwanted pregnancies due to lack of access to birth control.

Wake up, America. Republicans want to screw you, and then dump you with the consequences.

November 4, 2011

I Can’t Let This Slide

by at 11:56 am.

Howie Carr should have been fired a long time ago for his many misdeeds on radio/TV, not the least of which is lying through his teeth, but no respectable outfit ANYwhere should retain this asshole on their staff after he literally blames rape victims for their own rape. I demand that he be fired. Blue Mass Group has the post, but I will embed the despicable audio segment here, as well.

Howie Carr mocks rape victim 11.03.2011 by ScoutSound

I literally could not believe my ears when listening. It’s bad, really bad. Bad enough that if someone gave me a list of his commercial sponsors, I’d call for a boycott. If you want to associate your brand with this piece of shit, then my dollars will go elsewhere.

Call WRKO and tell them to fire this total jerk: (617) 779-3400.

Write to the Boston Herald via this contact form and tell them to stop running anything written by this slimeball. I just called the City Desk and the lady there hadn’t heard the clip, but pulled it up and assured me they would look into it, but we need to see enough call for action to warrant firing a regular columnist. I expressed my heartfelt disgust at anyone who would associate themselves with Carr.

And if you see any other media outlet with this guy spewing his crap on it, let us know in comments. I know he’s often a regular commentator on TV and in other print media.

Mocking and blaming rape victims is so far beyond the pale, it ought to be in the category of using racist terms, and, for most people, it IS.

July 12, 2011

This is Another Edition of Why NH Sucks

by at 4:00 pm.

Longtime readers of the blog know that I have a peculiar dislike of our neighbors to the north. I was born there, so I’m allowed. ;) There has been some progress there, like the passage of same-sex marriage in 2009 (though that’s in danger of repeal next year). But by and large, I wasn’t impressed with their education system…I was angered by the near-loss of all music and art programs in Manchester schools in my last year of high school…and I was furious when the NH legislature yanked funding out from under UNH, my alma mater, mid-year (ie after the budget had been passed and UNH started their fiscal year) which caused no end of chaos for departments, professors, and administrators, and the year after I left, their tight budgeting caused the loss of some of the best teachers in the departments of my major and minor. That was all between the years 1994 and 1999. You know. The boom years of our economy. *rolls eyes*

So the fact that New Hampshire (which I like to call “New Hamster” because the state is about as dumb as one) has managed to one-up the stupidity of its past actions, believe you me, is quite a feat. But it has. By defunding Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNE) (bold mine).

Planned Parenthood has stopped providing birth control pills and other contraception in New Hampshire after the state’s executive council rejected up to $1.8 million in funding for the group” because it also provides privately-funded abortions. After losing its contract — which paid for education, distributing contraception, and the testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections — the centers have “turned away 20 to 30 patients a day who have arrived to refill their birth control prescriptions.
Some women have told the center that the will likely “stop taking birth control because they cannot afford the higher prices charged by pharmacies” and an estimated 70 percent don’t have insurance to cover the prescriptions.

Did I emphasize enough that the public funding is not for abortions in any way, shape or form? PPNE does privately funded abortions. The public money helps them deliver other services, particularly for the underprivileged.

Let me tell you a little story as to why this makes me even madder than seeing my favorite Brit Lit professor laid off.

I’ve mentioned before that there was a period of time my husband and I were uninsured. Due to the great, fabulous “employer-based” system we have, we were employed by people who don’t give insurance - ie contracting and temp agencies. Yay for the American work environment.

Those same temp jobs (at the time) didn’t pay well (before we started working in MA, where the real jobs are). So we didn’t go to any GPs, desperately afraid of finding preexisting conditions, and not really in the fiscal situation to afford out-of-pocket expenses, anyway.

Except for Planned Parenthood. You see, I qualified for their sliding fee scale. In doing so, I could get heavily discounted birth control and GYN exams. In the case of birth control, it was a godsend.

Ever since those lowly days as a temp administrative assistant in NH, I have felt a profound gratitude to Planned Parenthood, so much so that I still use their services, as a full-paying insured client, so I can at least support them in that way. I have to hike to Boston to do it but it’s worth it to me. I do not know what we would have done without those services, and the fee help, during the first years of our life together. I would have been one of those women who would have lost access to birth control, which could have been devastating.

This is why New Hampshire is one of the stupidest, most backwards, idiotic states in the union. I will never live there again, you couldn’t pay me to educate my kids (if I had any) there, and if you are a woman, they’ll screw with your access to safe, legal birth control.

And just to kick women when they’re down:

“I am opposed to abortion,” said Raymond Wieczorek, a council member who voted against the contract. “I am opposed to providing condoms to someone. If you want to have a party, have a party, but don’t ask me to pay for it.”

Go fuck yourself, Raymond Wieczorek. No really, go and have an unwanted pregnancy because you couldn’t afford birth control, you whiny tiny-minded privileged old white asshole. Go back to the eighteenth century when you were born and get a leech treatment for your warts. The rest of us want progress, not old moldy assholes dragging us back to the Dark Ages.

New Hamster or Florida, both compete for Redneck Stupid State of the Year. By the by, Wieczorek is the former mayor of Manchester. Guess which years he was in charge??

April 22, 2010

Amazing - the South Wonders Why It’s Ridiculed?

by at 9:17 am.

I keep hearing the phrase, “let’s listen to the other side” and “we need to stop condescending to people, and stop making fun of people who live in the South, for instance, as being backwards.”

And then I read something like this (bold italics mine):

They’re considering a new law to keep women ignorant and ashamed.

The governor of Oklahoma is considering tough new abortion bills that would allow doctors to withhold test results showing foetal defects and require women to answer intrusive questions.

The results of the questionnaires would be posted online.

Women would also be required to have a vaginal ultrasound and listen to a detailed description of the embryo or foetus in a third bill passed by the legislature on Monday.

Again, I ask you, how the fucking HELL do you justify invading a woman’s privacy with her doctor like this, and then (falsely, albeit) claim that government should stay the hell away from your medical care? Goddamned hypocrites. First, you push a bill to WITHHOLD IMPORTANT MEDICAL INFORMATION from a patient. Next, you invade her private life with a required Q&A and THEN POST THE ANSWERS PUBLICLY - obviously to shame her from doing it in the first place. Then, if that weren’t enough, you also force her to listen to claptrap by prolifers who are NOT SCIENTISTS telling her her baby has fingernails and praying on her emotions exactly like cults do (oh wait, they are cults), in a time when she’s already dealing with enough, not to mention her fluctuating hormones?? And this isn’t some fringe contingent putting something crazy on the ballot, folks, THIS IS THE DULY ELECTED GOVERNOR pushing for this.

If you think I’m overreacting, there’s this. And take a look at this. And this. And remember this? And this? That’s just like from the last month or two. It’s like a disease down there, a goddamned plague, for which no one can find a cure.

Sometimes, I damn well wish the whole damn South had successfully seceded, cuz then they’d have gone down in flames economically as they tried to keep up with the rest of the world, instead of having us productive northern/midwestern/westerners propping their dumb asses up economically year after year. Why the hell did we northerners bother giving life and blood to keeping these idiot states in the union?? Seriously, I can’t see many redeeming reasons, except of course to force the end of slavery (no doubt had we let them go, they’d still be holding black slaves - just listen to the rhetoric down there regarding minorities). 150 years later, they’re still bassackwards.

Every day, someone is posting a link to some stupid ass bill that is either passed or on the brink of passing in (mostly) the Southern states (all right also Arizona and Alaska, so let’s oust them too). Sure, we’d have to move our capital north, since Maryland acts like one of them most of the time, but it’s a small price to pay. We’d have to keep Michelle Bachmann but once she has no idiot cronies from the South, she’ll just be an eccentric and entertaining loony instead of a dangerous minority-sometimes-majority legislator.

These people revere ignorance. They abhor science and education. They SUCK UP OUR TAX DOLLARS. The states from whence comes the bulk of these news items are a known drain on our income redistribution tax system. Most of them give less on the dollar than they receive in federal tax aid. And what do we get for propping up their economies? Shit like this. It’s enough to want to drive off a cliff at times.

They either better get their ignorant selves into the 21st century (hell I’ll settle for the 20th, even) and stop electing these crazy cult-driven hate mongers, or maybe we should just send their asses packing. Enough is enough. Give us our damn tax dollars back, they’re obviously a terrible investment. And of course, these are also the same morons, that are dependent on the largess of our taxes from the federal government, who want to abolish it. Not only dumb, but suicidal to boot. I say, give them what they want. Then close the borders so that they can’t illegally immigrate to the real United States. After, of course, we allow reentrance to all our northern/midwestern/western retirees who don’t want to remain there without Medicare and Social Security.

And yes, this is a rant. Read it as such, before you bother to post a comment about how mean and condescending I’m being, or how I am generalizing. Yes, yes, and yes. That’s why it’s called a rant. When my fellow women in Oklahoma are under attack like this from the loony not-so-fringe of their state, when they are being denied their rights and being shamed and humiliated as though they should be a subservient sex, I’ll damn well loose my venom on the idiots who allow this shit to happen. Goddamn, we’re in the year 2010 here. This just shouldn’t even be happening. It’s like the Dark Ages in some parts of our country for god’s sake. These people are being enabled to be batshit insane on my dime. So yeah, I’ll get angry about it.

September 2, 2008

The Failure of Abstinence-Only

by at 9:34 am.

The personal family trials of VP pick Sarah Palin should be off limits. Obviously the press has a right to report and discuss the pregnancy of her 17-year-old daughter Bristol, but hands off interviewing her, her friends and people surrounding her in a paparazzi-like frenzy.

That said, it’s still a legitimate discussion point, particularly because of Palin’s views on abstinence-only education.

Statistics (real ones, not the faked ones we get from the Bush administration) show that teens who get abstinence-only ed, instead of comprehensive sex ed (which always includes abstinence, as well as contraceptive and other alternatives) are just as likely to engage in sexual activity as their more educated counterparts, but of course less likely to know all the information that could prevent them from getting sick or pregnant.

A recent CDC report said that 1 in 4 girls has an STD (sexually transmitted disease). Another CDC report told us last year that abstinence-only was literally ineffective (information which the Bush administration tried to release as quietly as possible on a Friday).

Sadly, it seems that Sarah Palin’s daughter had become another statistic proving this point.

The right thing to do, the moral one, is to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies. I’m all for that. The route to do so, however, is not to lock your kids in a dark room blindfolded and hope they can trip and feel their way out on their own. I’ll say one thing - the McCain team is as opposed to real science and practical real-world solutions as the Bush administration has been. A fine legacy to take up if you ask me.

So I say let’s leave Bristol alone. However, her mother and her views on sex ed and a woman’s right to choose are totally fair game. And remember, the same right wingnuts who salivate over Palin and her family values are the ones who want to take contraceptives away - from consenting, even married, adults. Overturning Roe v Wade (which both McCain and Palin say they are for) overturns the reasoning for making bans on contraception unconstitutional.

And does anyone believe that McCain really knew about this? Of course he would say he did, even if he didn’t. “Uhhh…I meant to do that!” It’s like a comedy routine, only…it’s not funny.

All this, of course, shouldn’t overshadow Palin’s ethical troubles…which the McCain camp also says they knew about. Except they have now sent a campaign team to Alaska to, um, find out if there’s more to know. Oops!

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