Thursday Reads: Male Politicians and Pundits should Worry about their “Erectile Dysfunction” and STFU about Women’s Health (and Other News)Posted: February 9, 2012
I thought this painting was appropriate, since we are being dragged back into the 19th Century by both Democrats and Republicans these days. We all know about the war on women being waged by Willard “Mitt” Romney, Rick “the Dick” Santorum, Nasty Newt Gingrich and Ron “White Power” Paul. But Democrats have now been empowered the Catholic Church’s attack on Obama’s attempt to protect women’s health care.
Today former DNC Chairman and Governor of VA–and likely Senate candidate Tim Kaine came out against the requirement that contraception be included in health insurance policies.
Pat J is right. We need a women’s freedom party. Aren’t any of these dinosaurs aware that birth control (and abortion) have been with us during most of recorded history? Check out this series of photos in Newsweek drawn from the history of birth control.
Did you know that Aristotle recommended birth control methods for women in the 4th Century BC?
The philosopher recommended that women “anoint that part of the womb on which the seed falls” with olive oil in order to prevent pregnancy. His other top picks for spermicides included cedar oil, lead ointment, or frankincense oil. If the lips of the cervix were smooth, he noted, then conception would be difficult.
Ancient Egyptian women used sponges.
Long before Seinfeld’s Elaine Benes weighed the merits of a man to determine his spongeworthiness, women were using sponges as a method of preventing pregnancy. The sponge has its roots in early Egyptian civilization, and this photo depicts the variety of models available in the early 20th century. Those sponges were made of a variety of materials, and were sometimes drenched in lemon juice or vinegar to act as a spermicide. Today’s sponges (called, in fact, Today’s Sponge) are synthetic, and use a chemical spermicide.
Another early method was the chastity belt. Perhaps religious nuts like Rick Santorum and Mark Shields would find that one acceptable?
At Wonkblog, Sarah Kliff thinks the Obama administration “sees political opportunity in the contraception battle,” because of the data shown in this chart:
while Catholic leadership has blasted the new regulation, polls show that a majority of Catholics are actually more supportive of the provision than the rest of the country. A poll out Tuesday from the Public Religion Research Institute finds 52 percent of Catholic voters agreed with the statement, “employers should be required to provide their employees with health care plans that cover contraception and birth control at no cost.” That’s pretty much in line with overall support for the provision, which hovers at 55 percent – likely because Catholics use contraceptives at rates similar to the rest of Americans.
A majority of Catholics – 52 percent – also agree with the Obama administration’s decision to not exempt religious hospitals and universities from the provision. “Outside the political punditry, most Catholics agree with the administration on the issue,” says one Obama campaign official, explaining the view that this could be a political win.
And a lot of this likely isn’t about Catholic voters at all.
Rather, it may well be about the demographics that are most supportive of this particular health reform provision: young voters and women. In the PRRI poll, both groups register support above 60 percent for the provision.
Those two demographics are important here for a key reason: they were crucial to Obama’s victory in 2008. Third Way crunched the numbers earlier this month and found that the “Obama Independents” — the swing group that proved crucial to his 2008 victory — are, as Ryan Lizza put it, “disproportionately young, female and secular.”
Let’s hope Obama keeps all that in mind instead of bending to the will of the old gray white male Catholic Bishops and the elderly male fake-liberal pundits who won’t STFU and let women make their own choices.
Even some of the saner folks in the GOP are warning their wingnut colleagues that a fight against contraception would be a “disaster” for their party.
The new and unexpected war over contraception may not end up as only a battle between the White House and the Republican party. It could end up as a fight between the GOP and itself. As we saw during the 2011’s push to defund Planned Parenthood — when some Republican Senators rebuked their colleagues in the House for attacking the organization — Republicans on Capitol Hill do not speak with one voice on matters of women’s health. Now, as Speaker John Boehner seemingly prepares to turn the House GOP’s attention to contraception, pro-choice Republicans are warning that the GOP may become the next Komen For The Cure.
“I think this week’s outrage over the Komen decision should be a warning to the Republican party about how quickly there was a mass outrage over further and further attacks on general women’s health,” Kellie Ferguson, executive director of Republican Majority for choice, told me Wednesday. “You could see the same backlash on attacks on contraception.” ….
“For the last number of years, we in the pro-choice community in general — and we specifically as Republicans — have been saying as this pandering to a sort of social conservative faction of voters continues, you’re going to see the line pushed further and further and further,” she said. “And we’re now crossing the line from discussion of when we should regulate abortion to when we should now regulate legal doctor-prescribed medications like birth control, which is woven in the fabric of society as an acceptable medication.”
I’m sure glad that some Republicans get it. Nevertheless, John Boehner is determined to reverse the contraception rule.
“In imposing this requirement, the federal government has drifted dangerously beyond its constitutional boundaries, encroaching on religious freedom in a manner that affects millions of Americans and harms some of our nation’s most vital institutions,” House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a rare speech on the chamber floor. “If the president does not reverse the attack on religious freedom, then the Congress, acting on behalf of the American people and the Constitution we are sworn to uphold and defend, must.”
Oh really? The last I heard the Supreme Court decided that Americans had a right to make their own decisions about contraception. Good grief! I guess everyone is probably sick to death of hearing about birth control, but I just can’t get past this. I thought all this was settled more than 40 years ago. It’s time for all these old men to worry about where they’re going to get their next Viagra fix and STFU about women’s health.
I do have a few other headlines for you this morning.
A bill to legalize gay marriage in Washington state won final legislative approval on Wednesday in a largely party-line vote that moved the state to the cusp of becoming the seventh in the nation to recognize same-sex nuptials.
Washington’s Democratic Governor Christine Gregoire said she looked forward to signing the measure and “putting into law an end to an era of discrimination” even as opponents, led by religious conservatives, vowed to seek its repeal at the polls in November….
The Washington legislation cleared the state House of Representatives by a vote of 55-43, a week after the state Senate passed it by a 28-21 vote. Democrats, accounting for the lion’s share of support for the bill, control both legislative bodies in Olympia.
Several prominent Washington-based companies employing tens of thousands of workers in the state also endorsed the bill, including Microsoft, Amazon and Starbucks.
I wanted to call attention to this horrifying story from the Las Vegas Review-Journal: Video shows officers beating motorist in diabetic shock. This happened a year ago, but the video has just now been released by the victim’s attorney.
Adam Greene is on his stomach as a pack of police officers pile on him, driving their knees into his back and wrenching his arms and legs. One officer knees him in the ribs; another kicks him in the face.
“Stop resisting,” officers on the video yell, but Greene, his face pushed into the pavement, hasn’t resisted. He doesn’t even move — maybe can’t move — because he’s gone into diabetic shock caused by low blood sugar.
Greene has been awarded $292,500 to be paid by local and state authorities. He was badly injured in the beating, and had to be treated for broken ribs and severe bruising to his “hands, neck, face, and scalp.”
Alan Yatvin, a legal advocate for the American Diabetes Association and a Philadelphia attorney, said police across the country frequently mistake low blood sugar — called hypoglycemia when blood sugar is exceptionally low — for intoxication in people with diabetes.
A Web search on the issue returns dozens of video clips and stories similar to Greene’s.
Symptoms of hypoglycemia include shakiness, dizziness, hunger, pale skin, moodiness, aggressive behavior, loss of consciousness and even seizures.
“You need police to be trained in what to look for,” Yatvin said. “The problem is, there’s no authority over all police departments. Every department has its own procedures, and states have different rules and training regimens.”
My question is, even if Greene had been drunk, what would justify a hoard of cops beating him half to death?
There’s a long article at Alternet that I haven’t had a chance to finish yet, but that certainly seems worth reading: How Deep Is the Republican Christian Right’s Connection to the Anti-Gay Bills Sweeping Sub-Saharan Africa?
In the weeks following Hillary Clinton’s historic December United Nations speech claiming that “gay rights are human rights,” the conservative Christian community in the United States has castigated the Obama administration. Clinton’s speech was popularly interpreted as a rebuke of countries like Uganda, where the Anti-Homosexuality bill calling for the execution of some LGBT people, keeps popping up. The Christian Right is particularly outraged by State Department plans to withhold aid to countries that violate basic LGBT human rights.
At Right-Wing Watch, Brian Tashman posted immediate condemnations from 700 Club Host Pat Robertson and Christian radio host Janet Meffird. Robertson said, “This country cannot continue to violate God’s principles and to make a mockery of his laws and think we’re going to get away with it. And when the blow comes, it’s going to be horrible.”
Meffird jumped into the fray to support anti-gay measures on the table in Nigeria that include long-term
include long-term imprisonment. She dismissed claims that these anti-gay campaigns are stoking violence against LGBT people, asking, “All right, but they’re not killing them, are they?”
Matt Barber of the right-wing Liberty Council Action said, “[T]his Obama administration, instead of focusing on real human rights abuses, is trying to force nations to adopt America’s immoral positions on issues of sexuality.” Peter Sprigg, a fellow at the Family Research Council, called it an attempt “to impose an alien ideology on other countries.”
There are lots more examples of wingers supporter these inhuman laws. I hope to finish reading the article today.
At Salon, Steve Kornacki has a piece on how Romney will get back at Rick Santorum for getting in the way of his (Mitt’s) march to the GOP nomination: Rick Santorum will pay for this.
In his victory speech, Santorum crowed that “tonight, we had an opportunity to see what a campaign looks like when one candidate isn’t outspent five or 10 to one.” Which is true enough, but it also points to the main reason to doubt that Santorum’s trifecta will vault him into serious contention for the nomination: He’s got Romney’s attention now — which means that he’s in for the same well-funded abuse that Gingrich endured as soon as he won South Carolina. Actually, the abuse began on Monday, when Romney’s campaign realized that Santorum was going to do well the next day. But now it will intensify, with Santorum in position to use his impressive show of strength to further marginalize Gingrich and to emerge as the right’s consensus alternative to Romney.
Apparently, Santorum will now make a play in Michigan, which will hold its primary on Feb. 28. The state is an appealing target for him; it’s filled with the kind of blue-collar and middle-class voters Romney has struggled with elsewhere, and it contains a surprisingly sizable chunk of conservative evangelicals. It is Romney’s native state, but polls have shown the former Massachusetts governor is at least theoretically vulnerable. After that, Ohio and the Southern states that will vote in early March could also be good targets for Santorum. On paper, he could do some serious damage to Romney in the weeks ahead.
But the GOP campaign will look a lot different in these states than it did in the ones that voted Tuesday night. Expect Romney to engage Santorum directly, as he did with Gingrich (the next debate is in two weeks), and expect his campaign and his super PAC allies to spend heavily, flooding the airwaves with the sorts of negative attacks that helped do Gingrich in. Romney’s surrogates will get in on the act too. When Michigan’s primary arrives in three weeks, it’s just about impossible to imagine Santorum enjoying a 70 percent favorable rating in the state. Romney and his campaign are used to this by now: Every challenger who has suddenly surged into contention has fallen back to earth quickly.
Yup, Mitt is a mean motherf’er. This is going to be fun to watch. Meanwhile lots of pundits see trouble ahead for Romney because of his declining national popularity and the lack of enthusiasm of the GOP base–shown by the low turnout figures in the primaries and caucuses so far.
“I know what’s coming next,” Mr. Santorum wrote to potential donors in a fund-raising e-mail message on Wednesday. “I saw what Mitt Romney and his team did to Newt Gingrich after he won South Carolina,” tarring him with millions of dollars of negative advertising.
“They’re going to come after us now,” Mr. Santorum warned.
Sure enough, Mr. Romney began attacking Mr. Santorum directly on Wednesday, saying at a stop in Georgia, “During Senator Santorum’s time in Washington, the government grew by 80 percent and he voted to raise the debt ceiling five times.”
Raising the debt ceiling? That’s pretty weak. Romney is going to have to do better than that.
That’s all I have for now. What are you reading and blogging about today?