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      Stumbled across this lovely chart the other day. The core fact most people, including the folks in the “best every world” Panglossian movement (like Pinker) don’t seem to understand, is that even if they were right (questionable), the prosperity we have is based on burning down our house. “Sure is hot! Hottest it’s every been!” […]
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The Instapaper Queue: September Edition

Straw goes here: Drinking Canadian milkshake

It’s time to see review what was interesting to me in the past several weeks.  Sometimes, these selections surprise even me.  Let’s take a look, shall we?

But before that, I’m still in awe of Ken Burns and his documentary on The Roosevelts.  I don’t know how he did it but he managed to get George Will to champion the New Deal.  Will even admits that FDR stopped stimulating the economy too soon in 1937.  It’s hilarious how Will becomes the voice of reasonable liberalism in this documentary.  I can just imagine what he’s thinking now that it’s being broadcast.  But it’s political genius.  Take one of the most visible conservative twits in America, who has never met a government program he didn’t despise or poor person he wasn’t able to be indifferent to, and make him say laudatory things about Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his policies.  It wouldn’t have quite the same impact with Paul Krugman providing the commentary. It’s too easy to pass Krugman off as a shrill socialist.  But making Will explain how the New Deal saved the country from Depression is demonically brilliant.

Now, onto our regularly scheduled instapaper queue review:

First up, here’s a post from Digby about the lack of foreign policy credentials among the potential Republican candidates for president in 2014.  It’s not what Digby says that annoys me, it’s the quote she includes from Chuck Todd.  Here’s the money quote:

Now here’s why I think Mitt Romney, it’s funny you bring this up, because I think the reason why Romney 3.0 has gotten traction is less about Romney, and more about the current issues of the day. I think the Republican 2016 field as we thought we knew it, think Scott Walker, think Chris Christie, think Marco Rubio, think Bobby Jindal, you know, throw those names in. I think if you have issues like national security front and center, that’s an incredibly shrinking, I feel like all of those guys are suddenly shrinking in stature. None of them, if the chief criticism of Barack Obama by a lot of people is you know what, he just wasn’t experienced enough, he just didn’t have a grasp of everything you needed to know to be able to be commander-in-chief, right?

HH: Yeah.

CT: That’s among, particularly among the conservative criticisms. Well then, how does Scott Walker fit into that? How does Chris Christie? How does Bobby Jindal? How does Marco Rubio? You know, they don’t, and so suddenly, Mitt Romney, while not having a lot of experience on foreign policy, certainly running for president and certainly now he can go back and say hey, I made these points against the President, and I look a little more prescient today than maybe some people thought three years ago.

Once we were racists because we didn’t think Obama was ready to be president.  Now, we are conservatives.  The insults just keep on coming.  On the other hand, the rest of the left seems to be particularly slow.  They apparently can not be taught.

Sidenote: I’m constantly surprised that regular Americans would find any Republican candidate fit to be president, regardless of foreign policy credentials.  Teddy Roosevelt, Lincoln and Eisenhower wouldn’t recognize that mob masquerading as a political party.

********************************

Here’s a funny short post by Andy Borowitz in The New Yorker explaining why Bernie Sanders can’t get elected president.  The System is set up to spit out people with integrity.  Says Borowitz:

“Bernie Sanders’s failure to become a member of either major political party excludes him from the network of cronyism and backroom deals required under our system to be elected,” said Davis Logsdon, a political scientist at the University of Minnesota. “Though that failure alone would disqualify Sanders, the fact that he is not beholden to a major corporate interest or investment bank would also make him ineligible.”

Because of his ineligibility, Logsdon said, the Vermont Senator would be unable to fund-raise the one billion dollars required under the current system to run for President. “The best source of a billion dollars is billionaires, and Sanders has alienated them,” he said. “Clearly he didn’t think this through.”

********************************

Olive Garden isn’t doing so well these days.  Maybe it’s because there has been a shocking deterioration in the quality of the food in the past 10 years?  (Just going by personal experience) No, says hedge funds invested in the Darden Group.  It’s the unlimited salads and breadsticks.  Ok, they have other suggestions too but most of them involve further cost cutting, which I suspect is behind the less than stellar cuisine lately.  Maybe hedge funds should stay out of the kitchen.

********************************

There were THREE articles in The Atlantic about the plight of sleeplessness on the workforce:

Americans won’t relax, Even late at night or on the Weekend

Thomas Edison and the Cult of Sleep Deprivation

When you can’t afford to sleep.

The last one is about low wage workers holding down 2 or 3 jobs to make a pitiful living get no sleep but the other two suggest that someone(s) at The Atlantic needs a break.

********************************

Robert Kuttner at the American Prospect speculates what Scottish independence might mean globally in Could Scottish Independence Set off a Cascade of Secession?  And if Texas and other southern states decides to secede, is it wrong to be giddy about it?

********************************

Vox is trying to figure out which party will win the Senate and can’t figure it out in Why Election Forecasters Disagree about Who Will Win the Senate.

I blame the Democrats for failing to provide the electorate with a compelling reason to vote for them.  Really, people, we’re talking about that crazy mob on the other side.  It shouldn’t be this hard.

********************************

This one is for RSB: How to get over your Ex.  The experts agree, trying to get back with your ex usually doesn’t work.  Get some psychological scar gel and move on.  There’s a reason why you broke up in the first place.

********************************

From Reuters, Pennsylvania Mother who gave daughter abortion pill gets 18 months in prison.  I’ve suggested in the past that women might have to take an RV into the desert and manufacture their own RU-486 but it was mostly tongue in cheek.  (or was it?)  It will be harder to shut down than meth labs.  When all is said and done, that’s they way abortions are going to go in the future.  You don’t want to be pregnant?  Take the cure.  There’s no stopping it.  It will be the quickest way to shut down abortion clinics than any crazy Right to Lifer has imagined.  No more screaming at shocked young girls, no more political football.  That being said, for this medication to be safe, it has to be given before 12 weeks.  The sooner the better.  It’s really important to know the gestational age of the fetus to avoid complications.  I’m not sure what went wrong with this mother daughter partners-in-crime pair but I hope this is a lesson on how NOT to do it.

I feel very sorry for this family.  It’s an all around bad situation.

********************************

Vox has 8 Facts That Explain What’s Wrong With American Health Care.  Number one reason: it costs too damn much.  Note that Obamacare didn’t do anything to curb health care costs like most nations with successful health care policies have done.  No, it simply straitjacketed the country into paying for it- with public money, and without a public option.  It ain’t no New Deal, let’s not kid ourselves.

********************************

From Vickie Garrison’s blog No Longer Qivering on Patheos, another entry in the Quoting Quiverful series, Birth Control Pills are for Selfish Women?  Yes, women who take birth control want to have fun without consequences.  We’ve heard that before.  But what’s the buried message?  Men can selfishly have fun without consequences and have an actual life with independence and that’s Ok.

Why do women actually get taken in by this stuff?

*********************************

From the Boston Globe, What’s Fueling Wage Inequality in the US?  From the article:

You might think of low- and middle-wage workers as falling behind in not one but two different races. First, their wages aren’t growing as fast as the wages of higher-income workers. Second, even when the economy does grow, that growth is increasingly flowing to wealthier households that have capital to invest.

Why, you ask?  I think we could go back to Karen Ho’s anthropological study of Wall Street in Liquidated to find the roots of the growing wage gap in the past 60 years.  Another factor is the Culture of Smartness.  Part of it has to do with the idea that people who work, particularly people who work with their hands, are the equivalent to people engaged in “trade” in a Jane Austen novel.  Those 18th and 19th century notions are making a comeback.  It makes it very hard for scientists to get ahead.  For one thing, the best ones are introverted and don’t sell themselves well.  For another thing, they use their hands to explore what is in their heads.  It’s kind of hard to do science any other way.  We used to do research the opposite way before the Black Death and the Enlightenment.  And what was the world like before then?  “poor, nasty, brutish and short”.

Don’t expect the Investment Class to develop a heart.  History shows that they don’t without some stiff persuasion.  But basically, the reasons why wages are falling for most people in the country is because we let it happen.

*********************************

Grain Piles Up, Waiting for a Ride as Trains move North Dakota Oil.  Who needs bread?

*********************************

Hillary beats everyone in 2016.  Water is wet.  Everyone has been waiting 8 years for her to be president.  It’s 8 years too long and probably too late but she’s the favorite.  Woebetide the party activists and party that tries to stand in the way of the American people this time.  Not saying she is going to usher in a liberal paradise or anything.  I’m just saying American are fed up.  They want the change they were promised but didn’t get in 2008.

*********************************

Ebola patient, Kent Brantley says “God Saved My Life”.  Well, he would say that, given that he’s a Christian missionary. He also received the serum from Mapp that we have discussed previously.  He’s an N of 1 and no one’s sure that the monoclonal antibody treatment actually worked. More data required.  I’d like to see clinical trials of God vs Serum.  Could be instructive.

*********************************

I think I’ll stop there for now.  There are a few more items in the queue. One probably deserves a post all to itself.

Gotta go.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

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Judicial Mischief

Well, that didn’t take long.  The ink had barely dried on the Hobby Lobby case before a.) we learned that the ruling actually applied to *all* birth control, not just the ones Hobby Lobby erroneously decided were abortifacients, b.) Rick Warren, the evangelical lite preacher Obama insisted be shoved down our throats at his inauguration decided that asking him and his kind to associate with LGBT people at work was intruding on their “religious freedom” and c.) John Roberts was lying through his teeth when he said employers, like Wheaton College, would simply fill out a form to get their birth control exemption from Obamacare.

I’m guessing that it won’t take long for the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society to determine that none of its permanent unpaid interns at their Brooklyn and Bethel sites should get blood transfusions.  Oh, it could happen.

But the bigger problem is going to be the bureaucratic nightmare that now will descend on the labyrinthine monstrosity that is already Obamacare.  And, no, Paul Krugman, it is not all that.  The ACA is a horrible piece of legislation and I speak from experience since I don’t watch cable TV anymore.  You don’t have to be a Republican to absolutely hate it and every stupid destructive thing it has done to the workplace.

So, yeah.  It’s pretty bad right now.  On the other hand, this ruling could be the eucatastrophe that spurs the good side to victory down the road.  You know, a REAL national healthcare policy that’s genuinely universal and has cost controls.  One that doesn’t have holes open for the exploitation of working people and protects the rights of women and LGBT people.

Or not.  The Democrats seem to be in some sort of psychogenic fugue these days.  You would have thought they would have had a 24/7 internet news outlet where their supporters could go to get the best opinion and strategy but, um, I’m not aware of one.  Nor have I seen a line up of liberal clergy condemning this ruling and its implications.  It’s like the whole party sort of checked out.

What’s clear is that the Robert’s Court is determined to destabilize the culture in such a way as to create chaos.  I don’t think this ruling was motivated by the religious convictions of the majority.  I think it was motivated by the ideological convictions of the political party that nominated them.  But at this point, I’m not sure what their aims are.   Do they even know?  Or is it just a power trip without a purpose?  Because that’s what it looks like.

What we really need is a Churchill right about now.

 

Politicizing gun control? Are you kidding me??

This is more dangerous and political than….

Update: Here’s a new article in the NYTimes about the candidates’ reluctance to talk about gun control.  What I get from this is that both candidates think they have more to lose from pissing off the gun nuts than half of the voters in this country.

It’s the biggest slap in the face to women who have been bumped down to second class status by the relentless discussion of personal reproductive matters, as well as dismissive of anyone who cares about unregulated access to guns and ammunition.  Do voters have ANY say at all in this country anymore about what is important to them?

I caught up with the Daily Show this morning and did you know that if we want to discuss regulating access to guns, even just sloooooooowing the process down so that murderous paranoid psychotics can’t get their hands on them without raising suspicion, that we are “politicizing” gun control?

Yep, not only that but it’s an “unpopular” position for a candidate to take.  Really? And how do we know it’s unpopular if no one is allowed to discuss it publicly?  Can we take a vote on that?

The New York Times is a master of understatement on the issue:

Responding to the tragic shooting in Aurora, Colo., Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York,called on the presidential nominees Barack Obama and Mitt Romney to come up with a comprehensive gun control policy.

That might require political courage. Despite feelings of outrage over the horrific loss of life from shootings like the one on Friday, support for gun control has declined. Can a politician, particularly a presidential candidate, buck conventional wisdom and show leadership by calling for an assault weapons ban, even if it might not be popular?

Ok, let me put it this way.  The President is supposed to be a leader.  Leaders lead.  That means they persuade people to do things they might not otherwise do. So, if the presidential candidates do not want to talk about how families’ lives and finances have been ruined as a result of free access to guns no matter how crazy the buyer is, because it *might* make them unpopular, then maybe they should find another profession.  They could become accountants or ceramic artists where leadership on public matters is not a desired characteristic.

But wait!  There’s more.

While it is completely unacceptable for us to discuss gun control because congress is exhausted by the subject and the issue is now “settled”, it is perfectly fine to discuss and find ways to regulate lady parts because that is NOT settled, even after 50 years when we all thought it was.

So, to recap: Gun control- unpopular, exhausting subject that is so five minutes ago.

Your Reproductive Organs- perpetually pleasing topic of conversation, politically popular, never goes out of style, DESPERATELY IN NEED OF IMMEDIATE REGULATION!

this. These are not at all dangerous or political.

Guns- kill human beings with jobs, responsibilities, lovers, children, parents and friends.

Your Reproductive Organ- May contain human beings that might develop all the characteristics of a gun victim.  Or it may not.  Or may be waiting for a player to be named later.  The people that potential human touches is limited to one- the bearer.

I don’t know about you but I think we could all stand to hear a lot less about the latter and a whole lot more on the former.  Gun control needs to get as much attention as possible.  You can call it politicizing if you like, like I give a f^&*.

I call it self-preservation, maturity and common sense.

We’ve got our priorities all wrong if it is so outre to talk about how gun access has changed people’s lives permanently and destroyed their futures but have verbal diarrhea every damn day about whether or not some coed should have unfettered access to Lo-Ovral.   There’s something very wrong, tribal and unmodern with American society today if we think that somehow it’s OK to treat half the population as cattle that needs to be herded but the wannabee warriors in the crowd are allowed to be as violent as possible and no one is supposed to talk about these inconsistencies.

It’s sick.

Will someone please tell me where the women’s orgs are?  Why they f^&* are we putting up with this s^&* during election season and letting the candidates get away with it?  This is outrageous.  No piece of legislation on reproductive rights should go to the floor of any legislative body without a companion piece of legislation that keeps guns out of the hands of crazy people.

Let’s make a deal: We’ll stop politicizing gun control when politicians stop politicizing our vaginas.

******************************

Tana French, the only mystery/thriller writer I read, has a new book featuring more of her characters from her Dublin murder squad.  The new title is Broken Harbor.  I love the way French writes.  Her characters are vivid and deep, the dialogue snappy and sharp.  It’s hard not to like some of these people, even the flawed ones.

Three days until my Audible credits renew.  I can barely stand it.  If you’re looking for a good beach read that is not brainless chick lit and interested in diving into mystery a la French, start with In the Woods.

******************************

Totally off topic, this is Jack Van Impe and his dotty wife Rexella talking about The Rapture.  These two are very clever.  It feels like Van Impe uses rapid fire scripture citations to invoke some kind of trance state.  There are people out there who think he has this stuff in instant access memory.  I think he’s either reading it from the teleprompter or listening to the bluetooth in his ear.  Or maybe he does have it all memorized because he’s done this schtick for so long.  But to me, I hear “Oh, we got trouble, right here in River City” playing music in the background.

So, here’s Trouble in River City.  Compare and contrast:

Tuesday: Fits and starts

I followed a link from Susie Madrak’s place yesterday to a post on AlterNet by Sara Robinson called Why Patriarchal Men are Terrified by Birth Control.  Robinson makes several good points that most of us probably figured out several decades ago.  The “scriptures” were written at time when transfer of inherited property depended on having the right credentials.  You could always be sure who your mother was.  Your father?  Ehhhhh, not so much.  And, so, for thousands of years, culture was pretty fixed around keeping an eye on the ladies.  Biology was destiny.  And I guess that the extinction of silphium complicated matters somewhat when it came to having a life outside of marriage.  (Hmmmm, I wonder if you can get an aloe vera plant to express silphium’s active ingredient in its resin?  Yeah, probably.  Now, that would make an interesting horticultural blockbuster.)

But that all changed with the pill and earlier forms of birth control like the diaphragm and the condom.  With reliable birth control, all those scriptures and cultural artifacts seemed anachronistic to those of us who came of age in the 70’s and 80’s.  Because they were.  That old time religion doesn’t apply to us.  I turned my back on the Old Testament probably as soon as I was able to reason out how inapplicable it was to modern times in every way from evolution to gender discrimination, slavery and birth control.  Why the heck we’re still expecting anyone to bow and scrape to these old rules is beyond me.

But Robinson says that we’re going to keep fighting this battle for a few more hundred years because the menfolk need some time to get used to the idea that they’re not alone at the top of the food chain anymore.  I’m not sure I agree with her there.  In Europe, the religious are getting more rare.  Oh, sure, there’s still gender discrimination and violence but that’s a function of how accountable we make the perpetrators.  When there is political will to crack down on it, that will start to fade away.  Of course, women will always be at a disadvantage as far as upper body strength is concerned and rape can be used as a method of control and violence.  I don’t know what we can do about that short of retrofitting our vaginas with taser devices.  But books have been written about how the human species has become less violent over the centuries and I see no reason why rape should be an exception.

Evolution is not necessarily smooth and linear.  Who would have thought just a century ago that the internet would put all of the knowledge of human civilization at our fingertips and change the world?  Look at how much damage we have accomplished just since 1993.  My youngest daughter has never known a world without google.  My oldest learned to read on a computer.  And yet, this year, we are fighting tooth and nail to keep SOPA and PIPA from turning the clock back on what we can do with the internet.  So, there are fits and starts with every new thing.  Birth control has had a profound effect on our culture and this is just a glitch, a short one.

I’m still of the opinion that there is an age factor at work in this latest push back on women’s bodily autonomy.  The most socially conservative voters are elderly and came of age before they had the chance to form their lives according to their own desires.  Many women in their 70’s had responsibility shoved down their throats and their opportunities spirited away by the era they were born into.  If they had been born only a few years later, their lives would have been so much different.  The men of this age, on the other hand, lived in the salad days of post war America where any hard working guy could own a house and a car and earn a pretty decent living with a pension.  Must have been swell.  The guys that came after them have seen their livelihoods diminish over the past 30 years.

I think as the older generation dies off and the newer generation who has thought through the Old Testament problem comes of age, the pendulum will swing away from the patriarchal fear of birth control and this will happen on a much quicker timeframe than several hundred years.  But what has happened to us as a culture, with our diminished expectations, is a result of an economic assault on us by some very determined conservatives.  And those predators have been with us forever.  We need to develop a pill that prevents selfishness and arrogance.  That will be the next modern medical miracle.

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Check out this post about dyeing your macbook.  The third picture nearly gave me a heart attack.  I don’t know why you’d want to do this.  White goes with everything.

This macbook decal is a lot less permanent:

There’s more where that came from.  Check out more decals here.

Why Obama’s cave looks bad depending on your gender

I noticed that Charles Pierce at Esquire is getting a deluge of “you’re wrong about this one, Obama totally scored” comments on his post about how braindead stupid Obama’s cave to the Catholic bishops was over the birth control controversy. Here’s what Charles said about it in his How Obama’s Lady Parts Deal Empowers the Church:

The Church has claimed — and the president has tacitly accepted — the right to deny even its employees of other faiths the health-care services of which it doesn’t approve on strictly doctrinal grounds. That is not an issue of “religious liberty.” That’s the enshrinement of religious thuggery in the secular law. By accepting that frame, the president has left himself dependent on the avaricious to bail him out against the arrogant. This is not a comfortable place to be.
And that’s not even to get into the obvious fact that women’s-health issues have been treated as little more than a bargaining chip by a Democratic president. Again.

[…]
I see from the peanut gallery that it is suggested that I may have underestimated the president’s political jujitsu on this issue. However, I’d like to hear a clear exposition of the following: What political advantages has the president gained from his accommodation on this issue that didn’t exist in the status quo ante? Before the controversy broke, health-insurance plans had to cover contraception, except in the case of explicitly religious organizations engaged in specifically religious work, and all the polling data suggested that the American people wanted it that way. According to all available polling data, the bishops were already a marginalized opposition holding firm to a marginalized opinion. The traditional Catholic policy on birth control already was as unpopular and ignored as it had been since 1965. The Republicans were already on the losing side of this issue. Yet, in less than two weeks of ginned-up phony outrage, the marginalized opposition got the White House to move off its original position. Now, if you want to argue that all of these political advantages have been increased and sharpened because of what the president did — e.g. the bishops now look even more unreasonable — I guess you can, but I’d argue that they don’t really give a damn about that, and they never have. I’m less sanguine than Amanda is that the White House will be running “We Saved The Pill!” ads this fall. I think the whole argument for “religious liberty” — a phrase the president never should have used in its current political context — is going to spread throughout the campaign now, and it’s going to revitalize all the social issues. I do not believe in cooler heads prevailing, or that this is a reasonable nation willing to listen to reasonable accommodations. But, hell, I could be wrong, too

This issue is going to look different to you depending on your gender. If you’re male, or simply a loyal Democrat who doesn’t want Republicans to win this fall, you’re probably all “what’s the big deal? He helped out the Liberal Catholics who were looking for cover. Slam dunk! Partay!”. If you’re a woman, you see this as capitulation to the very idea that anyone needed cover to do the right thing.  Obama just blew oxygen into a dying ember giving new life to a very unpopular position. If you’re a woman, it’s now necessary to jump through yet another hoop to get the medical services you want and need. It’s another fucking bothersome workaround in a world of workarounds.

Do any of you guys know how difficult it *still* is for females to get recognition in school for talent in math and science? I’ll give you an example. In 7th grade, the advanced math class in my daughter’s school learning algebra in one year consisted of 21 children, all of them there on the basis of a teacher recommendation, not merely math scores from the previous year. Of those 21 children, 14 were boys and 7 were girls. The selection was made solely at the discretion of the previous year’s math teachers from their classes in 6th grade that were 50/50 in gender representation. It is much harder for a well qualified girl to get into a math class like that in the 21st century because girls get rewarded for compliance and good behavior, not making leaps of mathematical logic.  Girls who are left out and are still determined to take advanced math have to go through complex workarounds.

We are forced to workaround and workaround and workaround for services and resources and recognition. It’s absurd that this decision by Obama to give liberal Catholics cover is treated as some kind of victory for him and women. The problem is between liberal Catholics and their anachronistic, unrealistic, celibate, patriarchal church hierarchy. The rest of American women don’t care what Catholics do and we should not be under any obligation to give them cover and make it easy for them while making it harder on ourselves.

But it’s worse than that. Because now that Obama has allowed religious liberty to creep into the election year issues, he has taken the bait for the religious conservatives to push their agenda and for Republican operatives to use it as a way to split the Democratic base. Once again, Obama has failed to treat women as adults and equal citizens who shouldn’t be forced to endure yet another workaround to appease some religious institution. And that religious institution is even more despicable because they know that there’s no way to enforce their rigid belief system on their own female adherents much less the rest of the country’s women. It’s simply an inconvenience that must be endured so that some liberal catholics can save face.

The same thing happened with abortion. It was merely a few workarounds, a few inconveniences. If you really need an abortion, it will still be there for you. You just need to assuage the consciences of a few religious people. That’s how it started. But how has it ended? In some states, there is only a single provider and women have to risk losing their jobs to get an abortion. It’s no longer just a few workarounds. Now, it’s a major ordeal. How is that fair to women who have no religious proscriptions about getting an abortion? The same thing is about to happen to birth control. This is no time to celebrate or think it’s no big deal. It is THE BIGGEST DEAL.

It wouldn’t matter if it were birth control or abortion. When you tell women to take the backdoor to these things for no other reason than that some religious institution is going to be displeased if they don’t, you leave the way open for the religious to make other demands.

Rick Santorum gave some preachy little sermon on women in the military praising their special contributions. Oh, please, if Rick Santorum had been president back in the 80’s, would we ever have had a Sally Ride in space? Or would her earthbound position have been praised as “special”? Yesterday, Janice Voss, space shuttle astronaut of 5 missions, died at the age of 55. What a thrilling life she must have had. But if she had been born 20 years later, she might have spent a lot more of her life jumping through hoops, going through workarounds and hacking her way through the system to get recognition and praise and equality.  Life in the hard sciences for women is still pretty rough and praise is extraordinarily rare. Females have all of the opportunities of their mothers but they have to hack through an ever thickening jungle of regulations on their bodies. We have gone backwards in the past 20 years. The election of 2008 accelerated that process for women because the man we elected used every trick in the book to appeal to conservatives instead of his base. He’s going to continue to capitulate because men do not know what it’s like to be constantly inconvenienced. So, no, this was no triumph. Obama has shown over and over again that he is no feminist and women are getting the message that they are on their own. We won’t forget.

God Forbid we Should Change the Status Quo

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Jake Tapper of ABC News had an “exclusive” interview with President Obama today. The first part of the interview was shown on ABC News hour tonight, more will be shown on Nightline tonight, and the rest on Good Morning America tomorrow. Tapper asked the President about the abortion language in the “health care reform” bill passed by the House on Saturday night.

“I laid out a very simple principle, which is this is a health care bill, not an abortion bill,” Obama said. “And we’re not looking to change what is the principle that has been in place for a very long time, which is federal dollars are not used to subsidize abortions.

Saying the bill cannot change the status quo regarding the ban on federally funding abortions, the President said “there are strong feelings on both sides” about an amendment passed on Saturday and added to the legislation, “and what that tells me is that there needs to be some more work before we get to the point where we’re not changing the status quo.”

Call me crazy, I thought Mr. Hope ‘n Change was elected because he wanted to change the status quo. Can someone please explain to me why it is so important to make absolutely sure there is no change in the status quo on funding abortions? And furthermore, doesn’t the Stupak amendment already guarantee a very big change in the status quo? So does that mean Mr. Obama will do something about the Stupak amendment to return us to his beloved status quo? It’s not really clear, but no, I don’t think he plans to do anything but sit around waiting for someone else to take responsibility for this ongoing nightmare of a health care bill.

Obama told ABC News’ Jake Tapper that he was confident that the final legislation will ensure that “neither side feels that it’s being betrayed.”

“I want to make sure that the provision that emerges meets that test — that we are not in some way sneaking in funding for abortions, but, on the other hand, that we’re not restricting women’s insurance choices,” he said.

I don’t know what the heck that means except that Mr. Obama is not going to take any kind of stand. He’s going to carry on with the “on the one hand…on the other hand” crap until someone else take responsibility for limiting women’s rights so dramatically that many of us are still in shock. But Mr. Bipartisanship is still trying to please both “sides.” Of course both of those “sides” are mostly made up of very rich, old men.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said today that the President is not going to “take sides” on the Stupak amendment controversy.

The White House on Monday signaled it would keep its distance in the increasingly vocal debate over whether health insurance reform should include language related to abortion.

When asked whether the president supported Rep. Bart Stupak’s (D-Mich.) amendment to prohibit the public insurance plan from covering abortion services, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs dodged the question — multiple times.

“Well, ask me that right before Christmas and the end of the New Year,” Gibbs said during today’s press briefing, noting the president still expected to sign a healthcare bill before the year’s end.

The press secretary later clarified, “We will work on this and continue to seek consensus and common ground.”

Now there’s a surprise. Has Barack Obama ever taken a stand on anything? I don’t think so. And once again he’s going to vote “present” while women are stripped of what reproductive rights they had left. Good luck finding “common ground” on the abortion issue. If there is any common ground, it’s a very small strip of land indeed.

Meanwhile the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the house bill *only* makes older people pay twice as might for health insurance as older people. These are the figures:

under the House’s 2-to-1 cap, a 20-year-old would pay $3,169 in annual premiums and a 60-year-old would pay $6,339 for comparable plans, if they both had incomes above the subsidy-eligible level. Under a bill passed by the Senate Finance Committee, which had a 4-to-1 age-rating ratio, the 20-year-old would pay $2,258 and the 60-year-old would pay $8,357.

I have never in my life had to pay more than $2,000 for health insurance. The idea that I could ever afford to pay more than $6000 or $8,000 per year is unimaginable to me. What have these so-called Democrats done to us?!!

We are so screwed. I guess I should be grateful that I’m past menopause, so at least I won’t be needing an abortion. It looks like some young women are going to be finding out what it was like when I was in college. No birth control, no abortion, no help for women in crisis.

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Hillary vs The Bushies on Birth Control: Vigilance Never Sleeps

While Barack Obama is loping around Europe and the Middle East, doing his best CIC impression, Hillary is back at work taking on the Bush plan to recategorize some forms of birth control as abortifacients.  Give them an inch and they’ll take a megaparsec.  Peter Daou, Hillary’s internet director, sent us this post today cross posted at The Reality Check and Huffington Post.  We are honored to post it here as well.:

An Outrageous Attempt by the Bush Administration to Undermine Women’s Rights

Sen. Hillary Clinton's picture

The Bush Administration is up to its old tricks again, quietly putting ideology before science and women’s health. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is poised to put in place new barriers to accessing common forms of contraception like birth control pills, emergency contraception and IUDs by labeling them “abortion.” These proposed regulations set to be released next week will allow healthcare providers to refuse to provide contraception to women who need it. We can’t let them get away with this underhanded move to undermine women’s health and that’s why I am sounding the alarm.

These rules pose a serious threat to providers and uninsured and low-income Americans seeking care. They could prevent providers of federally-funded family planning services, like Medicaid and Title X, from guaranteeing their patients access to the full range of comprehensive family planning services. They’ll also build significant barriers to counseling, education, contraception and preventive health services for those who need it most: low-income and uninsured women and men.

The regulations could even invalidate state laws that currently ensure access to contraception for many Americans. In fact, they describe New York and California’s laws requiring prescription drug insurance plans to provide coverage for contraceptives as part of “the problem.” These rules would even interfere with New York State law that ensures survivors of sexual assault and rape receive emergency contraception in hospital emergency rooms.

We’ve seen this kind of ideologically driven move from the Bush Administration before. Senator Patty Murray and I went toe to toe with the Bush Administration to demand a decision on Plan B by the FDA. We won that fight and we need to win this one too.

When I learned about these proposed rules, I immediately joined with Senator Murray to call on the Bush Administration to stop these dangerous plans. I am joining with New York family planning and healthcare advocates to spread the word. Now is the time to raise our voices. I will continue to press HHS and I hope you will join me. I have posted information on how to get involved at www.hillpac.com.

Come by for Cocktails sometime, Hillary, you’re more than welcome.