Evening Reads: Outrageous…bloody outrageous!

I am so disgusted with today’s “hearing” on birth control that I can’t even express the way I feel without using phrases that contain words like… “Fuck” and “You” and “Assholes.’

Perhaps I should have warned you, this post contains language not safe for work, school,  church…or congressional hearings.

So, here are the top headlines at Memeorandum:

Democratic Women Boycott House Contraception Hearing After Republicans Prevent Women From Testifying | ThinkProgress

A picture of the witness table:

Issa also dismissed the Democrats’ woman witness as a “college student’ who does not “have the appropriate credentials” to testify before his committee.

Darrell Issa Compares His All-Male Anti-Contraception Panel To Martin Luther King | ThinkProgress

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) has been catching flack for holding a panel today relating to women’s access to birth control that featured zero women, but Issa won’t let the fact that few Americans agree with his position deter him. Taking to Twitter this evening, he fired back with a always-appropriate Martin Luther King Jr. comparison:

Indeed, as King knew, the “arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice” and depriving women who work for Catholic hospitals of affordable birth control. Issa’s hearing also featured giant posters of King and other historical greats whose footsteps the panel was apparently following in, like President Kennedy, and Mohandas Gandhi.

But as Adam Serwer points out, King actually wrote that he hoped state and federal governments would appropriate “large sums of money” to educate people about birth control.

Rep. Darrell Issa Bars Minority Witness, a Woman, on Contraception – ABC News

A Capitol Hill hearing that was supposed to be about religious freedom and a mandate that health insurers cover contraception in the United States began as an argument about whether Democrats could add a woman to the all-male panel.

“Where are the women?” the minority Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., asked early in the hearing.

Santorum Sugar Daddy Foster Friess Gives ‘Gals’ Contraception Advice: Put An Aspirin Between Your Knees | ThinkProgress

Given that Aspirin is not a contraceptive, Friess seems to be suggesting that women keep the pill between their knees in order to ensure they legs stay closed to prevent having sex. Conspicuously, Friess doesn’t put the same burden on men.

Friess’ general attitude seems consistent with the candidate he supports. Santorum personally opposes contraception, has pledged to lecture women on the dangers of birth control if elected president, and thinks states have the right to outlaw it.

How The GOP Went Back To The 1950s In Just One Day | TPM2012

Very neatly, and on three separate fronts, conservatives in America turned the clock back to the 1950s with their rhetoric about women’s rights Thursday, according to women in politics on both sides of the aisle. This could be a big problem for the GOP when the calendar reaches November.

Let’s take a look at Thursday, February 16, 2012, the day Washington fell into a time-warp.

On Capitol Hill, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) held hearings on contraception and religious freedom that produced the now-famous picture of a table full of men called to weigh in on access to contraceptives. Democrats wanted a woman — a Georgetown law student with a friend who lost an ovary because the university doesn’t cover birth control — to say her piece at the hearing, but Issa wouldn’t let her on the panel. He said she wasn’t “appropriate or qualified” to discuss the topic at hand.

Jaws dropped in the women’s rights community.

“She didn’t have the right credentials?” NOW President Terry O’Neill scoffed. “I’m thinking to myself, ‘Buddy, you and your little panel over there don’t have the right anatomy to talk about birth control.’”

News about women’s attire at CPAC and the shit that spewed from Friess are beyond religious freedom:

Friess’ comment was astonishing in two ways. First, it derailed the entire contraception debate that Republicans have been desperate to keep about “religious freedom” rather than make it about, well, who does or does not keep her knees together. Second, there wasn’t a woman around who didn’t have a guttural reaction.

“I want to punch that guy in the face,” said one female operative who called me on an entirely unrelated matter. Phone calls and IM conversations for the rest of the day included similar appraisals of Santorum’s biggest financial backer.

So there you have it: modern women being told by Republicans that they’re not qualified to talk about their own sexual health, are dressed like “whores” and probably need birth control because they’re so slutty. And this is just in one day.

Uh…the article forgot a couple of items… voting against the Violence Against Women Act: GOP Oppose Violence Against Women Act Because It Helps Too Many | Care2 Causes

The state sanctioned rape of women who want to use their rights to legal abortions:State-Sanctioned Rape: Trans-Vaginal Ultrasound Laws in Virginia, Texas, and Iowa | RH Reality Check

Anyone who thinks this is a religious liberty or religious freedom issue are fucking batshit crazy…delusional…sexist…discriminatory…dumbass…cruel…demeaning…dickwads…and that includes the women who go along with this shit.

This is outright war against women. Period.

I saw a tweet today that said, I vote and I sue.

Well, dammit…the GOP assholes stepped up the war on women today. We have to stop this insanity now.

Thursday Reads: Sophia Loren, the Zombie Brain, the War on Women, and Much More

Good Morning!!

The news has been so depressing lately that I thought I’d at least start out with something nonpolitical. Last night I read a fascinating interview with Sophia Loren from the new Vanity Fair. Loren talked about her painful childhood:

Raised in Pozzuoli, a small town of fishermen and munitions workers outside of Naples, Sophia experienced some of the worst privations of the Second World War—terror, bombing, starvation. Born in a charity ward for unwed mothers in Rome on September 20, 1934, Sofia Scicolone was taunted throughout her childhood for being illegitimate. Her mother, Romilda Villani, was a proud beauty who returned to her family home in Pozzuoli to live down her shame; in Catholic Italy then, being an unwed mother was not just a scandal, but a sin. They moved in with Romilda’s parents, an aunt, and two uncles; Romilda soon had another child with Riccardo Scicolone, who still refused to marry her and who would not even give Sophia’s younger sister, Maria, his name. Now eight people shared their apartment. Until she left Pozzuoli, Sophia never slept in a bed with fewer than three family members.

By 1942 they were starving, living on rationed bread, hiding from the air raids at night in a dark, rat-infested train tunnel, full of “sickness, laughter, drunkenness, death, and childbirth,” as she described it in A. E. Hotchner’s 1979 authorized biography of her, Sophia, Living and Loving: Her Own Story. Romilda foraged for food for herself and her two daughters, but Sophia was so skinny her school-mates called her “Sofia Stuzzicadenti”—toothpick.

Romilda was so beautiful that people mistook her on the street for Greta Garbo. She was once offered a screen test in Hollywood, but her mother wouldn’t allow her to go to Hollywood. So she became a stage mother.

Sophia Loren in 1950

At 14, Sophia blossomed. “It was as if I had burst from an egg and was born,” she often likes to say. Suddenly, she started hearing wolf whistles when she walked down the street. Romilda entered Sophia in a beauty contest—Queen of the Sea and Her Twelve Princesses. They had no gown for her to wear, so Sophia’s grandmother pulled down one of the pink curtains in the living room—like Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind—and made an evening gown. Romilda took Sophia’s scuffed black shoes and applied two coats of white paint to them. When they showed up, Sophia was intimidated by the more than 200 contestants in their real gowns, jewels, and flowers, but when it came time to parade in front of the judges, she comported herself with serene dignity. She was chosen as one of the 12 princesses, winning $35, a ticket to Rome, and several rolls of wallpaper, which the family happily used to cover the cracks in the plaster of their apartment caused by the wartime bombing.

And the rest is history. Go read the article. It might make you feel more cheerful than the political news. I’ll leave it to you to read the part about Sophia and Cary Grant and why she turned down his marriage proposal to stay with her much older, shorter lover Carlo Ponti.

Next up is an article from last October that I just happened upon a couple of days ago. If you have a somewhat warped sense of human like I do, you’ll get a kick out of it: How to Survive a Zombie Attack
A fight-or-flight primer to outliving the urban undead.
Hey, it might even help us deal with the Republican presidential candidates. My favorite part is the explanation of the zombie brain by two neuroscientists.

“Zombies have attention-locking problems. When they see something, they fixate. It resembles damage to the parietal lobe (1)—a condition called Bálint’s syndrome. So a zombie will fixate on you, but if you can distract it, it might lose track of you entirely. Zombies are stiff and have balance problems because of damage to the cerebellum (2). It’s the same way you feel when you’re really drunk—you’re suppressing the cerebellum too.” —Timothy Verstynen, Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition

“In a human, the brain stem, at the top of the spinal cord, is responsible for the core functions of life—respiration, heartbeat. But since zombies don’t breathe or have heartbeats, the core function of the zombie’s existence is controlled by the part of the brain that controls appetite: the hypothalamus (3). If you hit a zombie right between the eyes with enough force, you can go straight back horizontally into the hypothalamus.” —Bradley Voytek

Getting back to true life horror, Dakinikat sent me this article from The American Prospect by Sally Kohn. It’s about Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York who is going be made a Cardinal soon–undoubtedly a reward for leading the war on American women. On the occasion of his promotion Dolan plans to give a speech about the need to attract lapsed Catholics back into the fold.

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