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Recent Posts


The ACA will reduce abortions

by Dan Burns on October 26, 2012 · 0 comments

This highlights a potential benefit of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, that I haven’t seen widely reported.

Specifically, women in the United States use long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) at a far lower rate than the rest of the developed world – less than 10% of American women choose these forms of contraception. Forms of LARC include intrauterine devices, such as Mirena or ParaGard and subdermal implants like Nexplanon. These forms of LARC are up to 20 times more effective than the birth control pill, but their cost often makes it impossible for many women to afford.

Researchers were surprised to find, though, that when these options were made available for free that their utilization increased dramatically. In fact, fully 75% of the women in the study selected a form of LARC (the researchers anticipated a doubling of utilization into the low-teens). And, as you would expect based on those numbers, unplanned pregnancies and abortions sharply declined…

Expand those numbers nationally, and there will literally be hundreds of thousands fewer abortions per year even if the rates don’t decline as much as they did in the St. Louis area. Enabling access to all forms of contraception empowers women and allows them to make the best decisions – from all the available options – for their lives and circumstances. For that, the Obama Administration deserves credit.

More on “women’s (in fact, everybody’s) issues,” below the fold.
From equal pay to contraception to Social Security and more, here are the top six lies that Willard Mitt Romney has told women.

Plans in Texas to restrict Planned Parenthood, if implemented, will likely have disastrous consequences.

A new university study has found Texas wanting when it comes to reproductive health care in the state. Researchers at George Washington University have found that if Texas manages to exclude Planned Parenthood from participating in the Texas Women’s Health Program (WHP), “tens of thousands of low-income Texas women could lose access to affordable family planning services and to other women’s health services.”

GWU has had its eye on the state since May, when it released a report questioning claims by Texas’s Department of Health And Human Services that non-Planned Parenthood providers could easily see the 50,000 or so Texans who currently rely on Planned Parenthood for breast and cervical cancer screenings, contraceptive supplies, and other basic preventive care. Lawmakers in Texas want to exclude Planned Parenthood from the program because they consider it an abortion “affiliate,” even though no Planned Parenthood clinic enrolled in the WHP provides abortions and the WHP itself cannot ever be used to serve a pregnant person-it’s intended solely for the use of Texans who do not want to be, and who are not, pregnant.

I got the following from Righteous Babe Revolution.


Women really should not be voting for Willard

by Dan Burns on October 24, 2012 · 0 comments

OK, neither should anybody else.  This is based on remarks from the second presidential debate, eons ago it seems like, but it bears reemphasizing.

There probably isn’t a worker in America, man or woman, who wouldn’t appreciate a flexible work schedule. Plenty of fathers would love to be home at night to care for their children. This is not exclusively a lady concern; it’s a family concern. And not every woman in the workforce wants or needs flexibility so she can rush home to cook dinner. And you’d be hard-pressed to find a woman who would be content to have a 25 percent smaller paycheck as long as she can race right home after work to get in the kitchen.

But that’s what Romney thinks is an answer to the question of equal pay: more cooking time.

More recent items of note, below the fold.
This is completely unsurprising.  Of course, the GOP presidential ticket supports the severest possible restrictions on access to reproductive choice.

We found a statistical association between the severity of a state’s laws restricting abortion and contraception and the incidence of harassment that targets abortion providers and their patients. In other words, facilities that provide abortions in states with heavy restrictions on contraception and abortion experience more harassment than do their counterparts in states whose laws tend not to interfere in patients’ decisions about birth control and abortion.

Harassment includes but isn’t limited to anti-choice protesters videotaping or photographing patients, approaching or blocking cars, recording patients’ license plates, making threatening phone calls, filing frivolous lawsuits, creating noise disturbances, forming clinic blockades, and posting patient or staff information on the Internet. We discovered a similar association between a state’s restrictions on abortion and contraception and the occurrence of “minor vandalism” at abortion clinics: broken windows, nails or oil on driveways, graffiti, garbage tampering, and glue in locks.

Proposed changes to Social Security could especially hurt elderly women.


Romney is Terrible on Women’s Issues, and…

by Dan Burns on August 17, 2012 · 0 comments

His presidential running mate, Paul Ryan, is the absolute pits.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) cosponsored a bill that would give fetuses full personhood rights from the moment of fertilization, which was even rejected by voters in the socially conservative state of Mississippi. He voted to defund federal family planning programs, authored a budget that dismantles Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, all of which disproportionately aid and employ women, and voted multiple times to prevent women in the military from using their own money to pay for abortions at military hospitals.

Ryan also supported a highly controversial bill that Democrats nicknamed the “Let Women Die Act,” which would have allowed hospitals to refuse to provide a woman emergency abortion care, even if her life is on the line.

I would characterize the belief systems of men like Ryan, on women’s issues, as something along the lines of “barbaric.”  Though what’s clearly going on, behind the bluster, is that they’re intimidated by – indeed, frightened, even terrified, by – independent, self-reliant women.  Men like that, and their unfortunately still all-too-common female allies, don’t belong in power.

This article focuses on what a retrograde Romney/Ryan presidency would do to women, economically.

Most people know Paul Ryan for his budget plans. There’s plenty of pain to be found in his budget for the lower and middle class, but women in particular make out poorly (literally) if his budget gets a presidential signature. Add in other policies he’s proposed or supported, and the picture becomes even bleaker.


For some perverse reason, there’s been an idea, prevalent for a long time, that the rights of women to make personal choices require some sort of explicit legal justification.  In fact, in any rational, enlightened society, such rights should be a given, regardless of what lawyers, judges, and (most of all) politicians might say and do.

U.S. Supreme Court “Justice” Antonin Scalia has a different take.

During an interview on (July 29), Fox News host Chris Wallace asked Scalia why he believed that it is a “lie” that women have a Constitutional right to abortion.

“Nobody ever thought that the America people voted to prohibit limitations on abortions,” the 76-year-old conservative justice explained. “There’s nothing in the Constitution that says that.”

“What about the right to privacy that the court found in 1965?” Wallace pressed.

“There’s no right to privacy in the Constitution — no generalized right to privacy,” Scalia insisted.

More below the fold.
More on originalism, and other approaches to constitutional interpretation.

Originalists think that the best way to interpret the Constitution is to determine how the Framers intended the Constitution to be interpreted. They look to several sources to determine this intent, including the contemporary writings of the framers, newspaper articles, the Federalist Papers, and the notes from the Constitutional Convention itself.

Originalists consider the original intent to be the most pure way of interpreting the Constitution; the opinions of the Framers were, for the most part, well documented. If there is an unclear turn of phrase in the Constitution, who better to explain it than those who wrote it?

What “originalism” really means, is that its adherents get to try to force their selfish, cowardly, reactionary excesses on all of us, on the grounds that that’s how they read the “intent” of the authors of the U.S. Constitution – a document produced by 18th-century post-colonial gentry (mostly, anyway), based largely on the socio-political musings of a 17th-century English philosopher (John Locke).  We don’t have to get sunk in philosophy, ourselves, here.  Simple common sense tells us that there is no way to a) know what was “intended” by a group of people working well over two centuries ago, in a very different world, socially and intellectually, and b) how to genuinely and effectively transfer said “intent” to our contemporary circumstances.

I don’t care how many of them went to Ivy League law schools and so forth; to put it precisely, if perhaps a tad disrespectfully, “originalist” is in fact nothing more or less than a category of “idiot.”  Any “originalist” is clearly incompetent to deal effectively with a complex, changing world, and should not be in any position to exercise power over others, political or otherwise.


Who’s Buying Into the War on Women?

by Dan Burns on July 27, 2012 · 0 comments

Conservatives in the U.S. House are pushing yet another vile War on Women assault.  I would suggest three primary reasons why they keep doing this;  the first two are well-known, but I think the third is somewhat overlooked.

1.  A lot of the people behind this legislation really do believe that women should just be man-serving baby boxes.  (“Man-serving baby boxes” isn’t mine;  I got it from a comic on DKos, a while back.  I wish that I remembered which one, so I could credit it properly.) Among other things, then they wouldn’t have to worry about being challenged by, and subsequently humiliated by, women on traditionally male turf. Practically every woman in Congress (the few exceptions include Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC)) is far more capable then Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT), the primary sponsor of this legislation (who is also challenging for Jon Tester’s Senate seat, and I would say currently is at least even money to win), and all of his Tea Party colleagues.  Intelligent, independent, self-reliant women terrify them.  That’s well-known.

More below the fold.
2.  In electoral terms, this is meant to maximize turnout among social conservatives, especially the evangelical right.  I have nothing new to add to that.  

3.  In my experience, an awful lot of men that are not right-wing fanatics also have “issues” with women, that can be politically exploited.  Though I rarely do it any more, in my younger days I knocked back many, many cold ones, often with companions that had been through one or more divorces and/or relationships that ended in bitter acrimony.  They were mostly decent guys, but were not necessarily given to a lot of absorption in nuanced thought.  If you were talking politics in general, they often seemed at least half sensible, but let it get more personal, and there was often a strong tendency to blame their exes for everything wrong in their lives, like their crappy jobs and lack of realistic prospects for better ones. It wasn’t logical, but there it was.  And, despite the fact that Republicans in charge are likely to mean disaster for their economic futures, they would absolutely be vulnerable to a message of “Vote for us, and we’ll put those b****** in their places!”

Oh, I’d try to talk to them, and they’d often walk (unsteadily, due to blood alcohol contents) away purporting to agree with me, but the next time that their exes pissed them off (they themselves being blameless, you know)…you get the picture.  After all, if it wasn’t for human beings being fundamentally irrational in the first place, there likely wouldn’t have been a modern conservative movement to begin with, and it certainly wouldn’t still be a force, given its record.


It’s been well over forty years since the modern feminist movement in the U.S. really got going, but the evidence leaves no doubt that many men – including plenty that weren’t yet born during the 1960s – are profoundly intimidated, even terrified, by women in anything other than subservient roles.

There are indications that the current deluge of assaults on women’s rights and freedoms aren’t flying as easily and gracefully as their proponents no doubt took for granted that they would.  They’ve got the “silent majority” on their side, you know.

But the times, they are a-changin’. And as Republicans (and some of their Democratic enablers) have become increasingly bold and blatant in their War on Women, Americans-and even usually tone-deaf Democrats in Congress-are waking up and fighting back and, most importantly, realizing that fighting for women isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s the politically smart thing to do too. For Democrats, it’s electoral gold. For Republicans, it’s a losing issue, driving women away from the Grand Ol’ Party in droves.

They’re all great, but this is the best piece of “highlighting the crazy” proposed legislation, in the matter of reproductive health and choice, that I’ve seen yet. It’s from Ohio.

Before getting a prescription for Viagra or other erectile dysfunction drugs, men would have to see a sex therapist, receive a cardiac stress test and get a notarized affidavit signed by a sexual partner affirming impotency, if state Sen. Nina Turner has her way.



Rush Limbaugh has decided upon a new line of defense, and other conservatives are joining in, thereby showing they just can’t — or won’t — understand what it was he did that’s so awful.

Limbaugh is saying what he did is just name-calling not so bad as what rappers do. Others have come to his defense, saying liberals call women names too, as if this was about name-calling. Let me see if I can spell it out for them, why this isn’t about name-calling, the choice of words, and this certainly isn’t an “Imus moment”.

Not that I’m excusing the name-calling. There isn’t an excuse. There’s a difference between attacking politicians or media figures with the platforms to hit back as opposed to someone who can’t hit back, Limbaugh’s MO, but even that’s a tangent. It about the lies, not the words chosen to tell those lies.

When Don Imus referred to some female black basketball players as “nappy-headed hos”, unless he meant literally they would follow up the game by selling themselves for sex, he wasn’t lying about them. He didn’t accuse them of cheating to win the game, of secretly being men, or of demanding lots of contraceptives so they could have lots of sex. It was similar in that the basketball players didn’t have their own radio show to defend themselves, but the racist word choice did not entail false accusations against them.

In other words, what Imus did is not nearly as bad as what Limbaugh did. What the Daily Beast writer accuses some liberals of saying about some prominent women is not nearly as bad. Take out the nasty words, and what’s left is nothing. That is, nothing was said other than the crude names. However, take out Limbaugh’s crude word choices, and what we’re left with is still Limbaugh said things about Fluke that were false, that he had no reason to believe, and that looked intended to destroy the reputation of someone without a forum for defending herself.

Those lies are what he refuses to apologize for, or even defend his remarks as accurate. He, and the conservatives who are defending him, are either oblivious to what he did, or they think lying to destroy the reputation of someone you disagree with is OK. So no, the semi-apology won’t make this go away.

UPDATE: Not just sponsors are dropping Limbaugh’s show, now a station has canceled it.


Rush Limbaugh loses a sponsor

by Eric Ferguson on March 3, 2012 · 2 comments

h/t Think Progress

My theory was Rush Limbaugh’s audience is so far off on the hate-wing of the right, that he could say anything with no consequences as long as his audience stayed with him. I’d like to be wrong. Here’s the first indication I am. Thanks to Limbaugh for showing that this issue isn’t about the religious rights of employers to deny their employee’s treatments they find morally objectionable, and it’s not even about contraception. It’s about those conservative men who have such disrespect for women, in Limbaugh’s case “hatred” seems the right word, that they see women as whores who must be either punished, controlled, or used.

Sleep Train announced on Twitter that they’re no longer sponsoring Limbaugh’s daily hate-fest:


Minor pet peeve: why do even people who despise this blowhard call him by his first name? “Rush” is no friend. Leave that for the dittoheads.

For anyone who didn’t subject themselves to the misogyny, here you go:


Bachmann lies about Republicans being pro-women

by The Big E on February 21, 2012 · 2 comments

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) can handle the cognitive dissonance of being self-appointed Queen of the Tea Party yet also completely subservient to her husband in all matters. Watch her as she appears on CNN and states that the Republican party is “extremely pro woman” and has no problem with her fellow Congressmen holding a hearing on contraception and not letting a single female speaker appear on behalf of the Democrats.

Republicans want to invade the doctors office when a woman wants to discuss contraception or abortion. Yet, in the next breathe they claim to want to protect liberty and freedom.

Only freedom for certain people in certain circumstances.

Republican positions on contraception, abortion, torture, civil liberties, surveillance and privacy are completely at odds with what they say.

As then Chair of the Republican Party Michael Steele said:

“You have absolutely no reason – none – to trust our words or our actions at this point.”


Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) is well known for saying truly crazed things. This time she let loose about the Obama Administration’s executive order regarding contraception. They now require all health plans to provide women with access to contraception. This has unhinged many right wing nut jobs … so Bachmann isn’t alone.

The Minnesota Republican also had some harsh words to say about the president’s recent controversial contraception ruling.

“We saw last week what Obamacare looks like: it’s effectively one man, the president of the states, who can be himself a health care czar or dictator and make one decision, and everyone else in the United States has to follow,” Bachmann said.

This quote is quite funny on several levels.

First for the gaffes:

  1. Its President of the United States, not president of the states … apparently, she’s so flummoxed by this executive order she’s forgotten this?
  2. She’s forgotten that the President can make executive orders for certain areas. All Presidents of the United States have done this.

Second for playing talking point word salad:

  1. Obamacare
  2. Czar
  3. Dictator

She seems to have somehow forgotten to include socialism, fascism, tyranny and slavery into her quote. Maybe because I don’t have the entire quote on this?

Third for the inability to form grammatically correct sentences:

  1. Nothing wrong with: “one man who can be himself” but append a noun like czar or dictator and we’ve reached the pinnacle of teabagger conjugation.

We on the left have never asserted that she doesn’t have the right to her opinion. Its just that when you combine all three aspects that I’ve mentioned and then roll it into her documented patterns of fear-mongering and conspiracy theorizing, its patently obvious she’s s nutter.