Tag Archives: politics

Does this REALLY need a title?

Any garden variety idiot knows a lie when it’s told.

just stuff I’m thinking about

(Note: if you are offended by “crazy right-wing nonsense about abortion, contraception, etc.” , or by Monty Python humor, too bad. Read, or read not.)

Just stumbled on that Johnny Depp quote up there. Really, I stumbled on it. StumbleUpon, if you haven’t seen it, is a great time-waster that will cater to your particular means of wasting time. Check it out. Or not.

Truth is, StumbleUpon isn’t what has been on my mind lately. Johnny Depp’s quote up there, and related issues, have been swirling around in my head. (Johnny Depp isn’t one of my favorite actors, but oh how I love Jack Sparrow…just sayin’)

I guess it started with the Susan G. Komen vs. Planned Parenthood thing. When I was a teenager, I thought that Planned Parenthood was actually about teaching women how to “plan” on getting pregnant, or not getting pregnant. I was stunned when I figured out that Planned Parenthood provided abortions. Sounded to me like the women going to PP for abortions where there because they FAILED to plan. Silly me. (Point of clarification: I haven’t actually been in a PP clinic. But several of my college friends had been. It was a ‘slap-self-in-forehead-and-say-DUH!’ moment for me.)

When this story hit the fan, I was fascinated by the amount of uproar it was causing. I pulled out my trusty calculator, did 20 minutes of online research, and crunched some numbers. I documented my process, as follows:

So, I’m wondering what all the excitement is about this. I read the Reuters, AP, CNN, USA Today, NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox…did I leave any of them out? Probably. Anyway, the funny thing is that I can’t find any actual dollar amounts, except for the $250,000 Mayor Bloomberg has donated to PPFA to help offset the loss of donations from SGK, and I see that thousands of folks are following his lead.

It took me 20 minutes of research to find the latest annual report from PPFA (2008-2009). They report a year-end net asset amount of $994,700,000. That’s $995 million dollars, rounded up. Round a little more, and you get $1,000,000,000. That’s $1 BILLION dollars.

Most articles report that SGK donated approximately $700,000 last year. Mayor Bloomberg has already replaced over 1/3 of that amount.

Percentage-wise, the annual amount donated to PPFA by SGK is…wait for it….0.07%. Seven-hundredths of ONE percent. Let me check the math again: that’s 700,000 / 1 BILLION times 100 to get the percentage. Yup, 0.07%.

Looks to me like PPFA won. And there’s a Washington Post article that agrees with me. Not the Washington TIMES, but the Washington POST.

I also checked out a current PPFA document on Services. “The core of PP affiliate medical service is contraception and accompanying health care, education and information. In 2010, [PP] provided 11 million medical services for nearly 3 million people, and helped to prevent approximately 584,000 unintended pregnancies.”

Now I’m moving from “just the facts” to “my opinion”….seems like PPFA should work a bit harder on their contraception “education and information” so that they wouldn’t have to spend so much money “preventing unintended pregnancies.” And, is it really ‘preventing’ if she’s already pregnant? Doesn’t sound like it to me. Maybe that wording could be a bit more accurate, something like ‘terminating 584,000 unintended pregnancies.’ Regardless of the semantics, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, or Benjamin Franklin thought so.  Maybe if PPFA educated more and aborted less, more PPFA funds could be allocated to cancer screenings. Probably wouldn’t have stopped SGK from buckling under public pressure, but I can dream, can’t I?

Addendum: See? The San Francisco Chronicle says so too.

So, SGK thought about taking a stand against PPFA in support of unborn babies, and then caved under public pressure. Ah, the power of FaceBook!

Now there’s a raging debate over ObamaCare’s contraception mandate. I’m having a difficult time finding a basic definition of what the mandate is, and I’m still recovering from the headache I developed after reading the “Affordable Health Care for All Americans” bill when it was first introduced. This is the most concise definition I could find: The “Health and Human Services mandate orders all insurance carriers to provide the full slate of ‘reproductive services’ at no cost.”

A couple of questions come immediately to mind. At no cost to whom, exactly? What does ‘full slate of reproductive services’ really mean? And the funny thing is that the current debate has nothing to do with either of those questions. It is, in fact, an argument over First Amendment rights, specifically the freedom of religion (or freedom FROM religion….Henry VIII had a lot to do with that particular language making its way into our Constitution,didn’t he? If you know your Monty Python, you’ll recognize this: “There’s a dead priest upon the landing.” “RC or C of E?” “How should I know?” “It’s tattooed on the back of their necks!”)

I find a lot of this angst to be unnecessary. If the full slate of reproductive services conflicts with an individual’s First Amendment beliefs, then is that individual going to partake of those services? Probably not. The bigger question is this: When did the Constitution of the United States become an instrument for determining what the government CAN DO to its citizens, rather than a document defining what the government CAN NOT DO to its citizens?

The bottom line in my world is this: being a parent of an infant demands that you put the rights of that infant ahead of your own. You want to sleep, but the baby is hungry at 2:00 AM?  Guess who wins? Not you. If you aren’t ready to become a parent, if can’t think of loving anything or anyone more than you love yourself, then take steps to prevent becoming pregnant, or becoming a ‘baby daddy.’ Prevention vs. termination. And yes, I know that nothing is 100% foolproof except abstinence. I personally don’t believe it is expecting too much of folks of child-bearing age who do not want to become parents to take precautionary steps, including abstinence, to prevent their fear from becoming reality.

In other words: grow up. Take responsibility for your own actions. If abortion is a large part of your birth control method, remember that you are aborting babies, not puppies or kittens. You are participating in causing the death of an innocent human being. There is another word whose definition is “participating in or causing the death of an innocent human being”, but I’ll leave it unsaid here.

Why is this so evident to me these days? That’s easy. I used to be an advocate for abortion rights, “free” contraceptives for me from my health insurance provider, all those things. Then I had Kate, 8 weeks premature. When I saw her for the first time I realized that I could have ‘terminated’ her, and it would have been perfectly legal in several states that had no prohibition on late-term abortions. And, a few years later, she asked me what a “partial-birth abortion” was. And I had to explain it to her.

It still makes me sick, thinking of that conversation.

Another twist of irony: I’m listening to Pandora radio as I write this. I have it on “quick mix” mode, which means I never know what’s coming next. What’s playing right now?

Amazing Love.

And my home page: Grief is the price we pay for love. -Queen Elizabeth II

doing it anyway

…..getting on an Amtrak train at 3:16 tomorrow morning and going to DC with a group of students from Baby Girl’s school. Don’t know who, or how many, or anything.

And we won’t mention why I probably shouldn’t be doing this just yet, but if you really know me then you know.

And it’s supposed to be insanely hot in DC for the foreseeable future, as if it’s not ever insanely hot in DC in the summer. I know, I’ve been there before in July and August.

But, this is a school-sanctioned, I guess you could say, trip. The coordinator is a guidance counselor, and the focus of the trip is American History, so of course when Baby Girl was invited to go she said yes and ‘mom, can you go as a chaperone?’ How weird is that, when your kid WANTS you to chaperone  their trips? Anyway, I was supposed to go to Cielo in June, but had to reschedule due to a surgical procedure that was supposed to happen that week, only it didn’t. And I am hell-bound (literally) and determined to keep this promise to her.

Funny, but true: today we were out running errands and talking about the trip and stuff. We’re supposed to tour the Capitol, and I said that Congress was in session. She asked what they were doing, and I said: “Trying to figure out that you can’t spend money you don’t have.”

And, SHE said, “Shouldn’t they already know that? Haven’t the seen the debt clock?” She’s 17.

Then Hubby comes home and says something about a compromise bill with 1 trillion in cuts, 1 trillion in new taxes, and an increase to the debt ceiling.

I swear, I used to be really good at mathematics. For heaven’s sake, I took engineering calculus in college for FUN, and aced it.

But, this just don’t add up.

I digress.

If you’re the praying type, please pray for us. For safety, for good health for everyone….and that someone, somewhere in Washington will grow a set.

things I believe

Been thinking about the difference between “respect” and “tolerance”. I think this quote from wikipedia (the “real” Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe) sums it up pretty well:

Respect should not be confused with tolerance, since tolerance doesn’t necessarily imply any positive feeling, and is compatible with contempt, which is the opposite of respect.

For example,   there have been several stories in the news about various high school graduation ceremonies that have been held in churches for years, mainly due to the large number of friends and family that want to attend the ceremony, but there are no facilities available  large enough to accommodate everyone, EXCEPT large church sanctuaries. This was true of my own son’s graduation back in 2008. According to the ACLU, if ONE person objects and threatens to sue unless an alternate facility is found, then the rights of that ONE persons outweigh the rights of the majority of those who are more interested in participating in the rite of passage of their sons and daughters, sometimes to the point of moving the ceremony to a smaller facility which accommodates a very limited number of attendees other than the graduates themselves.  The irony is that it may become necessary to for the offended party to be excluded from the very ceremony he or she objected to, due to lack of space.

Why do I care? I don’t have a child graduating from high school this year. It’s just an example. What I do care about is being respected vs. being tolerated. You may disagree with me, and I may disagree with you. If I tolerate your opinion on a particular issue, I listen, smile and say “That’s nice” and then walk away thinking to myself, “What a stupid way to think.” If I respect your opinion, my reaction should be, “I may not understand your opinion, but I respect your insight.”, with the hope that you, whoever you are, can respond in kind.

A few years back, we gave the youth at our church an assignment: “This I believe.” They wrote about their faith. They also wrote about the merits of chocolate vs. vanilla (or vice versa), Led Zeppelin vs. Pink Floyd, etc. You get the picture.

I’ve been quiet about a lot of issues recently because I know that what I believe on most of them are politically incorrect, and those of us who hold to any sort of politically incorrect opinion on anything are considered by the “enlightened” to be “knuckle-dragging morons.” That is not respect for a differing opinion, neither is it tolerance. It is the “politics of personal destruction.” It’s easier to say to someone with whom you disagree, “You are an idiot.” than it is to say “I disagree with you because…..” or “I respect your experience; here’s mine.”

Having said all that, here are some things that have been on my mind recently that I’ve kept quiet about, because I know what the response to what I have to say will not be popular. I’ve never been popular, so why start now, right? So…

This I Believe:

The death of Osama Bin Laden: The Americans who heard the news of OBL’s death and celebrated weren’t celebrating the death of an innocent man, or the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians, as were the Muslims celebrating in the streets on 9/11. They were celebrating the death of a mass murderer. I’m OK with that.

Capital punishment vs. abortion: I believe that these two issues are not incompatible because, again, there is a difference between ultimate punishment for an ultimate crime and the taking of innocent life. As I’ve mentioned before, I used to be pro-abortion, until I had a premature baby that could have been legally aborted. That would not have been a decision on what I could or could not do with my body; it would have been a decision on what I could or could not have done with HER body.

Faith: Everyone has faith in something, whether they want to admit it or not. Even an atheist has faith….faith that when he sits down in a chair, that chair will support his weight, unless prior experience has proven that the chair is unable to support his weight. Hopefully he learned something from the experience and won’t make the same mistake twice. Faith is a belief in something “unseen”, but it is also the ability to believe in something “unseen” because prior experience of what has been “seen” lends credence to what may yet be unseen, or not yet experienced. If you kick a dog enough, that dog develops faith that you will indeed kick him again. And that faith will lead to changed behavior: that dog isn’t going to keep coming to you when you call him because, chances are, he’s going to get kicked and he knows it.

Sarah Palin: Why do feminists HATE this woman, passionately? I grew up in the 70’s. Remember this commercial: “I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan…and never once let you forget you’re a man!” or whatever. We girls had it drummed into us that we could do whatever a man could do. Feminists fought for the right to have a career, a family, grab the brass ring. You may disagree with her politics, but as a woman, she has ably manifested a career and a family and is very unapologetic about it. She also chose to bring a special needs child into the world. She had the right to abort that child, but she didn’t. Is that why she is so hated, because she respected her child’s right to exist?

Israel: Does this country not have the right to exist? They are surrounded by people who don’t just want their land; they want the people of Israel DEAD. When other countries, including our own BTW, continually allow or even aid the PLO, Hamas, etc. to attempt to dismantle Israel piecemeal,  isn’t this the equivalent of condoning the Holocaust all over again?

Chocolate vs. vanilla: not open for discussion. Chocolate.

Led Zeppelin vs. Pink Floyd: Rachmaninoff

Citizen Zane vs. Casablanca: yes.

Scariest movie ever: A Face in the Crowd, followed closely by Citizen Kane.

So…..end rant. Have a blessed day, and if the word “blessed” offends you, define what “blessed” means for you and embrace it. I know what it means for me.

P.S. Proof that I do have a sense of humor. Plus, my daddy loved this little ditty, and the Muppets.

P.P.S…those of us raised in the South were taught, “If you can’t say something nice, then say nothing at all.” I don’t necessarily agree with that, but if all you have to say is that I’m a knuckle-dragging moron, then thanks, I already know that.

knuckle-draggin’ Neanderthal…..and proud of it

So, back in October of last year, congress-critter Alan Grayson (D-Fl) called Republicans “knuckle-dragging Neanderthals” for not supporting health care reform legislation begin rammed down their throats, unconstitutionally by the way. Can you say “conference committee”???? I can, and that’s not what’s happening in Washington to reconcile the house and senate versions of the bill.

But, that’s not the point.

Evidently, the phrase has taken a life of its own. (Notice that this Neanderthal knows the difference between its and it’s.) Anyone who, in any way, thinks that the Tea Party movement might be onto something is a knuckle-dragging moron. Translation: anyone who exercises his constitutional right to free speech, free assembly, or who dares question the motives of those who were elected to represent THEM, and then do whatever the heck they want once in office, who opposes anything happening in the current administration, is a moron. If I remember correctly, it didn’t work the other way. Anyone who opposed anything the previous administration did wasn’t a moron, he was just exercising those same rights.

And I did oppose many things done by the previous administration.

So, being the Neanderthal moron I am, this confuses me. In a city where you can’t smoke a cigarette unless you stand in oncoming traffic, the government is there to help you properly shoot up.

So, I put it to my kids. “Does this make any sense at all to you?” The 15-year-old, without hesitation, said, “Isn’t heroin illegal?” The 20-year-old said, “Are you serious?” I showed him the evidence. Then he said, “Heroin will kill you.” and “I can’t find the words to even begin to express how absurd this is.” I guess he’s having trouble finding words because he’s a product of public school education, whereas the 15-year-old, who immediately wants to know why the government wants to help people who are breaking the law, is now being home-schooled.

Since I’m a moron myself, I’m having trouble finding words to explain all of this. I have a theory, but it doesn’t quite hold water.

Heroin users need to know how to safely shoot up so they don’t kill themselves right away. Granted, heroin overdose, hepatitis C, or worse, might eventually get them. Just not immediately. As long as they’re shooting up safely, they can still pay their taxes. (Notice also that this moron knows the difference between there, their and they’re.)

The reason my theory doesn’t hold water is this: the same folks who write and enforce this kind of legislation also support abortion. How many potential future taxpayers are eliminated in this country every day? Recent estimates are somewhere between 3000 and 3500. Daily. I could do the math and come up with an annual figure, and then estimate what their annual contribution to the tax base at current minimum wage and federal tax rates would be. But that would just be showing off.

If someone doesn’t do something to stop Washington from spending money like a crew of drunken sailors, we’re going to need all those taxpayers! Maybe that phrase should be “crew of congress-critters punch drunk with power”??

/sarcasm off

The truth is sarcastic enough.

And darned scary.

on being out of touch

One of the really nice things about living out of my suitcase this summer has been the total lack of contact with TV. It’s a rule that, when in the DR, the TV stays off. There are no TVs at camp, nor was there a TV at Hatteras. So I’ve been blessedly clueless as to what’s been going on in Washington this summer.

Until this week.

Good grief.

The federal government running health care in America?

The president of the United States insulting the entire law enforcement population because one officer dared to do his job and an F.O.B. got his feelings hurt and created a disturbance?

Congress critters considering signing a 1000-page bill, that they haven’t read…wait, this sounds familiar. Health care, or economic stimulus? Does it matter??

There’s a fine line between being entirely clueless and being so overwhelmed with what’s happening that paralysis sets in.

Must find that line.

But, for now, clueless works. As does the ‘off’ button.

What happened to the money?

A few years back, North Carolina implemented the “North Carolina Education Lottery”. All proceeds from the lottery go to benefit public education in the Old North State. The same idea had been institutued in Virginia; the problem was that public education in Virginia never seemed to be receiving any benefits from said lottery. When the idea started to gain popularity in NC, I sent a note to the local newspaper and, amazingly enough, it was published.

I wanted to know if the officials touting the benefits of a NC lottery for education had done any research on the success of the program in Virginia or South Carolina.

Never really got an answer.

Fast forward to now.

Last week NC governor Bev Perdue announced a salary cut for NC teachers of, wait for it….one-half of one percent.

So, let’s pick an arbitrary salary amount, say, $32000 per year. The cut amounts to a whopping, wait for it…$160 bucks.

This measure was implemented to help offset a $3 billion budget shortfall.

I’m doing the math, and it don’t add up.

It gets better.

Yesterday there was a protest in Raleigh. Teachers from all over the state were present, protesting their salary cut.

I could talk about some of the things I heard these teachers saying at their protest, as broadcasted on the news last night. But I won’t.

I could also question how much money some of the teachers at the protest spent to get there as a percentage of their respective cut in salary. But I won’t.

Because something even more interesting happened during the broadcast of yesterday’s protest last night.

The winning numbers for last night’s drawing for the NC Education Lottery came across the news crawl at the bottom of the screen, during the coverage of the Raleigh protest.

There was something really, um, special about the juxtaposition of ideas displayed there on the little screen.

Wasn’t the lottery supposed to HELP public education?

Where’s the money?

I’m so confused.