Friday Reads

Good Morning!

I’m so disgusted about the politicization of women’s health care at the moment, I really have to take a break on the issue this weekend during Carnival.  Nothing frosts my cupcakes more than a bunch of old viagra using religious nitwits sticking their noses in my daughters’ reproductive organs.  The fight for abortion rights was something my generation took on certainly.  But to re-fight birth control access?  AND to hear some old gray haired rich jerk make a joke about holding aspirin between my legs?  Outraged!  I am Outraged!

Foster Friess really doesn’t get it.  Check out his follow up comments to the ones that left Andrea Mitchell speechless yesterday.

Viewers didn’t get the “context of that joke,” Friess told MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell. Back in his day, Friess said, the birth control pill wasn’t available, so the thought of aspirin used as birth control would be pretty “silly” and “funny,” he said.

Friess also used the interview as an opportunity to attack the Obama administration’s birth control rule, saying that forcing insurance plans to cover birth control is like asking Muslim soup kitchens to serve pork.

Even Frothy said it was a bad joke and Friess writes big checks to the Frothmeister.  More, continuing explanations aren’t helping him either.

Evidently they’ve confused the issue enough that the polls show mixed support for the insurance birth control mandate.  Here’s some interesting analysis of polls on the topic from CNN.  We need to loudly commit to universal coverage for birth control and all women’s health issues right now.

According to the survey, 50% of the public disapproves of the Obama administration policy, with 44% saying they approve of the plan. The margin is right at the edge of the poll’s sampling error.

Surveys on this topic tell a mixed story because many Americans know little about the issue. Recent CBS and Fox polls indicate support for the new policy, using questions that describe the new policy in some detail. But in the CNN poll, when asked their opinion of the Obama policy with no details spelled out, support was much less and a large partisan divide emerged. A recent Pew poll also suggests Americans are closely divided, and that poll may hold the key to the differences. Nearly four in ten Americans say they have heard nothing at all about this controversy.

“The CNN poll illustrates the road ahead for the White House,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “If the administration can’t inform more Americans about the details of the policy – details that some other polls show to be popular – the public is likely to split along party lines. Many will dislike the plan simply due to the fact that this is an Obama initiative.”

“It’s a lot like President Obama’s overall health care measure, which most Americans say they oppose even though they approve of many of the specific programs in the new law – opponents can use it against the president as long as they can keep the focus on who made the policy rather than what the policy actually does,” adds Holland.

Sibelius needs to get out front about this too along with some constitutional lawyers.  I feel like we’ve been caught up in some kind of time warp that doesn’t just involve birth control, no in fact even the Essure Side Effect Lawsuit has similarities in how it’s dealt with.

Now that I”m finally curling up with ‘Confidence Men’, it seems a companion book is on the way.  It’s called  ‘The Escape Artist’ and it’s got more insider news on the Obama Economic team. It’s written by Noam Schieber of TNR and is due out next week.

As Scheiber writes, members of the president’s economic team felt that if they were to properly fill the hole caused by the recession, they would need a bill that priced at $1.8 trillion — $600 billion more than was previously believed to be the high-water mark for the White House.

The $1.8 trillion figure was included in a December 2008 memo authored by Christina Romer (the incoming head of the Council of Economic Advisers) and obtained by Scheiber in the course of researching his book.

“When Romer showed [Larry] Summers her $1.8 trillion figure late in the week before the memo was due, he dismissed it as impractical. So Romer spent the next few days coming up with a reasonable compromise: roughly $1.2 trillion,” Scheiber writes.

As has now become the stuff of Obama administration lore, when the final document was ultimately laid out for the president, even the $1.2 trillion figure wasn’t included. Summers thought it was still politically impractical. Moreover, if Obama had proposed $1.2 trillion but only obtained $800 billion, it would have been categorized as a failure.

“He had a view that you don’t ever want to be seen as losing,” a Summers colleague told Scheiber.

In case you’ve forgotten, I really don’t think much of Larry Summers.

One women’s issue that really turns me into a crusader rabbit is child brides.  The Guardian has an excellent article on the the problem in Kashmir.  It’s heart breaking from so many angles.

Knees pressed against her chest, Sakina huddles near the window of a sparsely furnished house. Her face is lit by a solitary ray of sunlight creeping into the cold room. It creates shadows around the petite woman who is wrapped in a ragged shawl.

Sakina, 22, was a teenager when she was sold by her family for 1,200 rupees (£15) to a stranger over the age of 60. Her sister, who organised the deal, had duped Sakina by presenting a “young good-looking” chap before the marriage ceremony. She was shocked at seeing the elderly man on the wedding night. Rendered helpless by youth and poverty, there was no escape for the bride. “Nobody helped me,” she said.

Uprooted from her home in Kolkata, Sakina was sent to live far away in Pakharpora, a small village in the Budgam district of the Kashmir valley. The journey 1,200 miles from east to north meant getting used to an entirely different culture and climate.

Time has passed but Sakina cannot reconcile herself to a husband who fails to emotionally or sexually satisfy her. “For the last two years he has become totally impotent,” she said.

The young woman still dreams of marrying someone she loves. But the fear of being torn apart from her two children prevents her from leaving.

What is it with all these old men that cannot leave young girls and boys alone?  I just do not get it.

Ever been seated near a screaming, crying child on a plane and felt like jumping out the window?  I remember sitting in a plane at Heathrow with a screaming child and a mother begging the Brit Air flight attendants to please warm up the baby’s bottle.  Lots of us offered to do it since none of them would.  Well, some one in Vietnam actually did something close to that.

A mom with a screaming child wanted a quick getaway from a plane on the tarmac in Vietnam and asked for help. The man next to her obliged by opening the emergency exit and triggering the escape slide.

An airport official says the man will be fined up to $950, and it will cost $10,000 to refit the slide.

Nothing in the news article about actually using the slide, however.

I’m getting ready for the Mardi Gras and the usual onslaught of kids and out of town visitors.  If you’re interested in checking out some of the parades, try this link!  They are all broadcast live from in front of Gallier Hall.   There are also some great pictures here at Bloomberg with the report that income from Mardi Gras makes up 1.5% of our NOLA annual GDP!!    Patricia Clarkson rode the Big SHOE for the Muses Krewe last night.  Muses is an all women’s krewe that I almost joined right after Katrina.  Their favorite throw is handpainted and decorated shoes!  Muses is 100o women strong!   The parades start at 6:30 pm and Hermes, D’Etat, an Morpheus roll tonight.  Check them out if you get a chance!!

So, that should get us started! What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


56 Comments on “Friday Reads”

  1. This quote from the post regarding the CNN poll struck me – “CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.- If the administration can’t inform more Americans about the details of the policy”. Isn’t it the media’s job to spread the news & inform people? What is Obama supposed to do? Leave the Oval & go door to door, putting state business on hold? I am so tired of stupid. Have you considered starting a Skydancing online news channel?

    Although I don’t have any skin in the game, I’m still beyond angry over the contraception issue. What riles me the most? That the Catholic Church, primarily, is being held up as the Keepers of Morality. This story was on NPR this AM: CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “If the administration can’t inform more Americans about the details of the policy Personally, I feel EVERY priest, bishop, cardinal, pope et all is guilty. Either they molested numerous children (mostly boys) or they covered up the molestation and moved the offenders to new territory & new victims, or they knew about it and looked the other way, keeping their mouths shut. It’s like any Boyz Club – be they ministers, doctors, cops, veterinarians – they close ranks & protect their own. Fuck those they serve, both literally and/or figuratively. And the oaths they take – not worth the paper they’re written on.

    Al Sharpton had a great segment with Melissa Harris Perry last night:

    And on the child bride front, IMO girls & women are just seen as another “natural” resource to be exploited. And it’s not limited to developing countries. Girls are smuggled into the US daily to work as slaves for wealthy people or used as prostitutes. As long as families see no value in daughters and prefer sons, this will continue. Maybe if someone finally invents a blow up doll with a functioning uterus, maybe women can escape this fate. Sorry, but in Cynical Mode this morning. Just wish this damn “cold” would go away. So tired of being sick.

    • bostonboomer says:

      It used to be the media’s job to inform Americans of factual information, way back in the mists of time. Now they’ve decided their job is to report both “sides” of every issue, even if one side is factual and the other “side” is completely made up anti-science fantasy and baldfaced lies.

      • Again, I blame FOX. Their Fair & Balanced meme along with calling all media that isn’t theirs “The Liberal Media” has so disturbed the MSM that they feel the need to do point/counterpoint on each & every issue. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter that generally the Right Wing representative is talking nonsense.

        There was a clip on Politics Nation last night of Bob Schieffer interviewing Herman Cain. He called into question Cain’s insistence that 95% of abortion clinics are built in African American neighborhoods. Unfortunately, Schieffer hadn’t bothered to determine what the actual percentage is. Rev. Sharpton’s team did the research. It’s 6%.

        When outright lies are allowed to air, without any proof and without any challenge of the statement, it then becomes the Truth to at least a small percentage of the population. And 95% seems to be a favorite Repug number. See Kyl & Hatch.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        They also seem to get the story wrong and keep pushing the false information, or delete the story with no official correction.

        Whoops! Fox and Friends Mixes Up GM With GE In Chevy Volt Report | Mediaite

        On Friday’s Fox and Friends, segment producers accidentally flubbed a report that GE was ordering their employees the GM Volt. GE was mixed up with GM on the chyron and the teleprompter, causing a temporary panic on set. “GM is struggling to sell its Chevy Volts and the company is forcing its workers to drive them!” guest host Juliet Huddy erroneously began reading.

        “Awwwww!” co-anchor Steve Doocy lamented, clearly torn up inside about employees having to drive company-bought electric cars.

        I hate those fox dimwits.

        Amusingly, Green Car Report’s John Voelcker just yesterday anticipated a segment like this was on the way: “Stand by for shrieking from certain segments of the media about how ‘GE Forces Employees Into Electric Cars!’”

        And this one:

        Politico Fail: ‘Reporter’ Mistakes Wisconsin State Flag for Union Flag | Video Cafe

        From The Majority Report — Unions Replace Wisconsin Flag with their Own…or Politico Reporter is Stupid:

        Politico has deleted a post by reporter Donovan Slack where his union hate is so blinding, he confuses the Wisconsin state flag with a labor union flag.

        Video at the link, check it out.

        Oh, this is a bit OT but while at Mediaite for that top link I saw this:

        Report: Stephen Colbert Suspends Taping For His Ailing Mother | Mediaite

    • northwestrain says:

      That happens in the USA — the Fundamentalist Mormons (FLDS). Women are viewed as baby making machines. Texas bungled their raid on the FLDS compound — Texas got some convictions of the men. Girls were married off to old farts as young as age 12.

      I’m bringing this up because of the universal appeal to keep women pregnant and uneducated by male dominated cultures and cults.

      Not much will change until women rise up — and that requires education and exposure to the fact that women’s rights are human rights. In the FLDS cult the women behave because they don’t want to lose their children. So the moms are submissive and obedient to their husbands.

  2. Pat Johnson says:

    I don’t think this is too far fetched to consider that what is being done to women is a form of “fascism”. This crowd is bound and determined to have their way no matter the consequences regardless of the harm that will erupt from bowing to these measures.

    The most striking of all is that in many instances the legislation is being presented by women against their sisters. Bound by the idiocy of “religion” these fools are perhaps the most dedicated to the cause.

    Why are we so fearful of Sharia Law when right here and now the same practices are being put into law, state by state, with the consent of a very few who are in the position to make it happen.

    The “creeping crud” of religious beliefs is distorting the meaning of the First Amendment and corrupting the meaning of the separation of church and state.

    I want more voluble politicians, women’s groups, and the medical community to fight back with everything they have before we become a nation of sheep held back by superstition and delusion.

    “Tolerating the intolerant leads to intolerance”. Could it be any more apt than this?

    • Pat, I haven’t heard of any anti-women bills proposed by women. I don’t doubt that they are because not only women but members of other “groups” have often been complicit in the destruction of their other group members. Obviously there is the example of SGK, but are there specific bills you can point me to?

      I think it would be interesting to write a comparison between the Santorum/Catholic/Christian moral rules vs Sharia Law moral rules for women. I’ve been threatening to get a burka (sp?) for the last couple of years. Is FGM far away?

      • Pat Johnson says:

        From Fredster’s post at the Widdershins:

      • Fannie says:

        Connie, is not proposed by women, they are supported by those women. They have passed 80 bills that connect to women’s reproductive rights, it would be a good study to see which women are supporting these bills.

        What I hear Pat saying is that those religious women are far worst when it comes to supporting men and not their sisters. I think it’s because they live in fear of their lives.

  3. orsay54 says:

    I too, share your UTTER DISGUST!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Pat Johnson says:

    Delusion much? Let’s revisit the “belief systems” that overshadow commonsense:

    1. A religion that believes the Messiah was born of a virgin who was visited by angels and upon death floated up to heaven.

    2. A religion founded by a con man who was accosted by an angel and led to a hidden trove of “plates” somewhere in the state of NY and who was given permission by god to have as many child brides as possible in order to gain a castle in the sky upon death.

    3. A religion that believes “demons” reside within human because of an eruption that took place on some planet thousands of years ago and instigated by a being known as Xenu.

    4. A religion that believes “spirits” live in cows.

    5. A religion that promises 72 virgins await in heaven for suicide bombers.

    6. A religion founded by a man who took a walk up a mountain and returned with 10 admonitions dictated by god “written” on rocks.

    7. A religion who advocates that “god hates fags”.

    8. A religion that shuns science/medicine and believes only prayer will heal the sick.

    9. A religion that believes handling live snakes is a test of faith.

    10. A religion that believes all humankind are born sinners and that every word written in the bible, no matter how fantastic, is the word of god.

    11. A religion that believes that saluting the flag and celebrating birthdays is a “sin”.

    Now start adding in numbers of amendments and interpretations that suit whatever purpose you have in mind to keep the “faithful” in fear like eating meat on Friday, banning of pork products, coffee, dancing, contraception, then declaring these to be following “god’s will” and you have “religion” based on superstition that promises an afterlife overseen by a being who has kept a faithful record of your deeds.

    This is what the separation of church and state was addressing: believe what you want but keep it to yourself.

    Crazy? I will let you decide.

    • Great roundup of the world’s religions. Isn’t it interesting that the majority, if not all, believe that women are subordinate to men or that women aren’t quite fully human. I wonder where we would be if the Virgin Mary had given birth to a daughter instead of a son.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Yes, isn’t that interesting. It’s amazing the amount of effort men have gone to throughout human history to control women.

      • dakinikat says:

        That assumes that there was actually a Mary, Joseph, and Jesus which by all accounts there was not. Romans were prolific historians. Funny how all those histories and city records written down and preserved have no mention of any of that. It isn’t until much latter a bunch of story books scrolls show up after Constantine locks up all the local priests and tells them to come up with a roman religion. Then oddly enough the mithras story which was written down a lot suddenly gets a change of cast.

  5. Pat Johnson says:

    Better yet, adorn yourselves with collars, habits, jewelry, habibs, yarmulke’s, just in case there were any questions surrounding your belief system. Why should you be the only one to know just what religion you subscribe to?

    Nothing says “this is what I believe” than shoving it in the face of anyone passing you by.

    Invent titles: pope, cardinal, bishop, reverand, prophet, pastor, shaman, then dress for the part. This validates your “moral authority” and allows you to cram, jam, and slam your superstitions down the throats of everybody else.

    Do I sound like a lunatic braying at the moon? This is how insane this stuff is when presented as “religion” and inserted into the lives of those who may not wish to live within the confines of this stuff.

    Trace most of this stuff back to its etiology and it can be found contained of the “parable” of Adam and Eve. (Who lived a mere 10,000 years ago and rode dinosaurs to church every Sunday).

    And that is all it is: parables written for the then masses in a time when less than 1% of the population could read or write in a lawless age.

    But for those who can accept that a “loving god” is capable of raining down death, destruction, disease, and chaos for the sheer purpose of “testing” our faith, then reason has no place in the conversation.

  6. bostonboomer says:

    Some right wing asshole named James Poulos asks the question, “What are women for?”

    Because men are the default humans and women only exist for some supplementary “purpose,” apparently.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Even the commenters on that right wing website are dumbfounded by Mr. Poulos’ stupidity.

      • Pat Johnson says:

        Thanks for inserting that hateful link, bb.

        For a moment there I thought my insanity was taking shape but after reading Poulos I can safely say that I may “only be having a moment”.

        This guy has to live within his narrowmindedness 24/7.

        But hey, if it serves as an opportunity to slam a liberal, go for it. It’s what they live for.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        @BB 929

        I know, that made me lol when I was reading the remarks at the bottom of the page…funny.

    • peggysue22 says:

      It appears when the right-wing has no argument for their bigotry and sexism, they attempt to put a patina of ‘deep-thinking’ on the position. The Poulos op-ed is nothing more than gobblety-gook masquerading as analysis. They’re on the wrong side of things and are desperately looking for a way to wiggle out from beneath the rubble.

      Keep it up and the Republicans will utterly destroy themselves. We can hope!


    • Minkoff Minx says:

      I read this Poulos “article” last night and couldn’t believe it.

      Curious Daily Caller Writer Wants To Know: ‘What Are Women For?’ | Mediaite

      Jezebel has a great commentary about it as well…Look at the tweet he sent out when he posted it…cc to all men.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        Oh, maybe it wasn’t Jezebel…alicublog

        THAT’S WHAT THE NEW BREED SAY. James Poulos, a promising young rightwing intellectual, breaks it down:

        In a simpler time Sigmund Freud struggled to understand what women want. Today the significant battle is over what women are for.

        I’m going to make a wild guess and predict: On the one side, babies and Jesus, and on the other side, sterility, plus maybe careers, soft drugs, Tumblr, and kittens.

        None of our culture warriors are anywhere close to settling the matter. The prevailing answer is the non-answer, a Newt-worthy challenge to the premise that insists the real purpose of women is nothing in particular.

        I’m liking my odds thus far.

        If the conservative movement’s nominal unity is actually belied by a stunning range of right-wing views on the status and purpose of women (and believe me, it is), the left’s alleged philosophical uniformity on the woman question is a complete fabrication — despite the fanatical discipline and norm-enforcement of much of the liberal cultural establishment.

        I’m not expecting to hear an actual explanation of this “stunning range” of conservative opinions of what women should be — maybe it has to do with this idiotic CPAC slutwear debate — but I am eager to hear about “the left’s alleged philosophical uniformity.”

        The purpose of lifting the left’s Potemkin skirts is not to score tits for tats.


    • Not much of the article made any sense at all. The title however is either an attempt to draw fire or this guy is a supreme misogynist. I think the latter when he referenced women’s connection to nature. Most religions (not Native American religions generally) are based on the premise that Man is separate from Nature. That god created Nature for Man to use, abuse, rape, pillage & plunder, much like Man treats women. They deny our inclusion in the animal kingdom. Why, because god was created in the image of man, except they reverse it to support Man’s supremacy over all of their god’s creation. And when I say Man, i don’t mean humans, I mean the ones with penises.

    • NW Luna says:

      I was going to say the author must have flunked Biology 101, since embryonic humans start out with the model as female, with some tweaks later during fetal development that result in male anatomy. Metaphorically it’s Eve first and then Adam made from Eve.

      But of course the wingnuts have no use for science.

      • Teresa says:

        The wingnuts have no problem that paintings of Adam and Eve include belly buttons. They don’t show much understanding of that process at all ;-).

      • bostonboomer says:

        He must have flunked Freshman English–if he even took it.

    • dakinikat says:

      Oh no he didn’t. Maybe we should stick him in the serengetti with a spear and loin cloth and tell him to fetch dinner.

  7. Minkoff Minx says:

    This little story is one to make you laugh out loud too:

    Brittany Molina, BYU Student, Given Outrageous Valentine’s Day Note (VIDEO)

    But it was far from a love note. Molina tweeted a picture of the letter, which read:

    “You may want to consider that what you’re wearing has a negative effect on men (and women) around you. Many people come to this university because they feel safe, morally as well as physically, here. They expect others to abide by the Honor Code that we all agreed on. Please consider your commitment to the Honor Code (which you agreed to) when dressing each day. Thank you.”

    Molina then followed up, tweeting a picture of her outfit, which consisted of a dress, cardigan and tights:!/brittanyjmo/statuses/169585172348538880

    But wait…this is not the first time the BYU has been in the news of late:

    The Mormon university, which according to KSTU refused to comment on the incident, found itself in the news last week when a video surfaced of a comedian in blackface asking students about Black History Month.

  8. Teresa says:

    I think this article offers some interesting insights into what happened yesterday. No suprise at the number of right wingers were for mandated contraception before they were against it. But this article does a nice job of summarizing them.

    And dare I add that I think Mr. George W Bush may have been to the left of Obama on the issue? — Because he felt no great need for ‘compromise’. Of course, the subject didn’t ever come up, tho.

  9. Minkoff Minx says:

    Charlie Pierce: Blunt Instrument – Esquire

    Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri is a dolt who currently should be learning to run the Slurpee machine at a convenience store on a logging road outside of Branson, and not fouling the atmosphere of the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body.

    Read more:

  10. Pat Johnson says:

    And for all you “naysayers” out there, Quiterella has just possibly, may be, could be, leaving the door open to a brokered convention that may lead to her “stepping in” on behalf of the country.

    Just don’t let your hopes rise too quickly in the event that this just might not happen. But still…..

    Another validation on my “Year of the Stupid”. For every one who drops out there is always another waiting in the wings.

    Pass the Motrin!

  11. bostonboomer says:

    Ten Thoughts about the House’s All-Male Panel Convened to Discuss My Vagina

    8. That hearing was good, but having Fred Phelps there would have made it even better.

    9. That hearing was good, but having it in Salem in the 17th century woud have made it even better.

    10. I’m holding a hearing in which an all female panel will testify for weekly colonoscopies performed on the male clergy and GOP members who participated in today’s hearing. We will also discuss Virginia State Sen. Janet Howell’samendment requiring men to have a rectal exam and a cardiac stress test before obtaining a prescription for erectile dysfunction medication.

    • Colonoscopies aren’t that bad. This, however, sounds like fun for the boyz: I wonder if they have this done before they can buy Viagra/Cialis. And, damn, isn’t it a shame that before the vaginal ultrasound that the woman doesn’t get a few minutes alone to “watch a porn video?”Actually it’s a wonder the PTB haven’t added watching a video showing the development of a fertilized egg to a viable baby. How dare we disrespect the honor of carrying Their seed and bringing forth their offspring.

  12. ralphb says:

    Virginia Is For Morons

    Charles Pierce on the Virgina bills. I especially like the comment below. It was a mistake to let the Texas bill slip pretty much under the national radar.

    I just wish that all this outrage had been around last year, when my home state of Texas passed an identical law, which is being enforced as of this month, having successfully survived its first court challenge. A challenge brought by physicians, by the way. One woman legislator actually brought the ultrasound probe onto the floor of the chamber during the debate so noone could make any mistake about the procedure they were voting to mandate. It didn’t matter.

  13. dakinikat says:

    Ponder the implicit claim he is making: that it is desirable for the President of the United States to opine on and shape public policy according to his notion of what is “special.” As he surely knows, what is “special,” what ought to be kept “special,” and what is required to keep sex “special” are all deeply contested matters. They inevitably turn on judgments shaped by faith, moral reasoning, and intuition. The American people, having wrestled with these questions, have concluded in overwhelming numbers either that contraception doesn’t make sex less special – or that if it does make sex less special, the tradeoff (less special sex in return for fewer unwanted pregnancies or abortions or STDs or more pleasure or human connection) is worthwhile.

    Any politician who regards the adult use of contraceptives as a matter under his purview cannot lay claim to the limited government label, nor can he credibly invoke a tradition rooted in the pursuit of happiness. And it’s baffling that a presidential candidate would survey a world of poets, clergy, cognitive neuro-scientists, novelists, happily married elderly people, and a polity with sexual tastes as diverse of ours, and regard politicians as a useful authority on what kind of sex is special.

  14. Interesting piece on Here & Now today about how more women lose insurance following a divorce:

  15. OT but sad story about the developmentally disabled & their treatment in privatized group homes.

    Seriously, if the disabled cannot be treated compassionately, and there are shoddy records and bookkeeping, just imagine when all of the prisons are privatized. It’s all about profit, profit, profit – not providing adequate, quality services.

  16. foxyladi14 says:

    money trumps people. 👿