What It’s Not About

I hate having to write about Rush Limbaugh.

He’s one of those who should not have ink spilled on his behalf and whose primary purpose is actually to have people pay attention to him. It’s kind of like when Osama bin Laden attacked these Untied States hoping that we would go berzerkers and do something entirely foolish and put ourselves on the road to bankruptcy, and then that’s exactly what we did.

Rush Limbaugh wants us to talk about him. And I don’t think it’s because he thinks he’s all that or because he’s merely a psychopath. I think it’s strategery. Because if we’re talking about Rush Limbaugh, then we’re not talking about Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum. It gives those boys a breather, which they could probably use right now as they prepare for a humongous electoral event.

Nonetheless, I feel compelled to write here because Rush’s suppositions regarding @SandraFluke (yes, you can follow her on Twitter) were just so damned bizarre, and his “apology” was written to allow these bizarre assertions to linger.

However, I think it’s vital to note that Limbaugh’s portrayal of Fluke’s testimony is wholly inaccurate, and that his ignorance, whether feigned or actual, speaks to the broader problem about the issue.

Because in order to actually understand this issue or at least to be intellectually honest about it, you must forget that what we’re talking about has anything to do with human sexuality. It plays a role, certainly, but in reality it’s not what all the furor is or should be about. What we’re talking about; what Fluke was talking about, is about access to healh care, not about bow-chika-bow-wow. Even Rush’s “apology” didn’t seem to understand this.

You cannot divorce contraception and women’s health care. I cannot tell you how many women I’ve known who started on “the pill” long before even smooching a boy was a possibility. They started on it because otherwise, they’d have to spend a week out of the month curled up on the floor in agony. Contraception is medical treatment. As is abortion. Unfortunately, opinion leaders like rush treat it like only so much punani politics.

Dear Lush Rimbaugh: This is not about sexual intercourse. It has nothing to do with sexual intercourse. It is about access to medical care and the fact that boneheaded thinking like yours impedes access to it. That’s what it’s about. One can hope that Fluke’s remarkable grace and Limbaugh’s utter bufoonery can help to elevate the notion.

KIAV to Albo: Can’t Say We Didn’t Warn You

A few days ago, this blogger predicted a dire consequence of all this talk about contraception and other issues in the general vicinity of it: Less leg for you. You start rattling your sabers about taking the power of contraception away from women, fellas, and next thing you know, you’re doing a lot more shaking hands with the unemployed and a lot less out-and-out kertanging.

Virginia Delegate David Albo has experienced this personally and for some strange reason decided to share the experience with his colleagues on the floor of the Virginia legislature.

To Albo’s credit, his telling of this sad tale actually elicits a belly laugh, which I reckon this legislative body probably needed since its inexplicable recent moves to pass a law that would subject a woman to essentially forced penetration just because she dared to exercise her constitutionally protected right to exercise a common and often even medically necessary procedure.

Albo, you see, was trying to get laid when a newscast came on the TV talking about this disgusting piece of shit of a bill. Well, I’ll let him tell the story.

I’m telling ya, fellas. You are tinkering with a good thing here and in the process you are going to be spending much less time getting stank on yer hang-low.

Trust Women. If not because it’s the right and sensible thing to do, then do it because it will help you get laid. I’m just saying.

Have an Abortion. We Dare Ya.

More on this from Bill Tchakirides…

Rachel last evening did a pretty good job examining the law the Virginia assembly is fixin’ to pass that ostensibly at its very un-worst only forces a woman seeking an abortion to succumb to an unnecessary medical test first.

What she and Virginia Delegate David Englin came to the precipice of saying but did not say was that the bill, soon to become a law, requires that a woman be raped before she may obtain an abortion.

Here’s the procedure they’re talking about foisting upon women:

They take one of these:

And they jam it all up in there. Like this:

Now this David Englin fella, he had a novel idea. Virginia has all of its government controlled by Republigoats, see, and not just any Republigoats, but some of the most whackadoodle Republigoats in the entire country. So this guy, who represents the People’s Republic of Arlington, knew he’d not be able to get the bill scuttled completely. So, he got it in his head to amend the bill to require the woman’s consent before undergoing this procedure.

The amendment failed.

So. From what I take away from this is that just by going into a clinic to get a Constitutionally protected medical procedure performed, a woman can all of a sudden end up with one these

in her vagina, and she will have fuck-all to say about it.

That’s rape. Or, at the very least, it is a violation. It is, certainly, a forced intrusion, and it’s being forced by the guv-ment in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

And what it actually is, friends, is a move meant to scare the living hell out of any woman who gets pregnant and gets it into her head to end the pregnancy.

In 1973, the law of the land decreed that abortion is a legal, and, indeed, a constitutionally protected practice. But this country hasn’t done a damned thing since to defend that right.

Do It All For The Nookie

Ladies, leave the room for a second. I need a word with the guys. Thanks.

Are they gone? Excellent.

Fellas, I’d like to talk to you about contraception.

Now, don’t make that face. This is something you might not have considered.

If the ongoing war on contraception in this country is successful — and believe me, the assault on Griswold v. Connecticut that was discussed on this blog many years ago and since is well under way — you fellas are in for a whole lotta hurt.

Because if the pill is less readily available, if contraception is not as easy to pick up as is pack of gum (albeit much much more expensive), if Rick Santorum gets his way, then you’re not going to get laid nearly as often or as much.

There, I said it.

Nope, you’ll be back on the couch with a bag of frozen peas on your nuts by 9 p.m. instead of being naked in some broad’s apartment, spent and wondering how soon or how elegantly you’ll be able to slither out of there so you can catch the game with the boys.

If the pill dries up, so does “free love,” gents. That’s all there is to it.

So if the fact that the pill isn’t actually abortion and that these fascists are trying to say so nonetheless to push some twisted puritanical agenda isn’t enough to bother you, or if the fact that, in fact, contraception IS health care and should be allotted as such does not inspire you, keep this in mind.

If Rick Santorum and his weird chorus of crusaders against contraception succeed, it’s Tiddlywinks dates for you from here on out.

Fight the real enemy.

What the Komen Freak-Out Belies

I don’t think I even need to characterize the recent flare-up regarding Planned Parenthood and the Komen Foundation. Despicable. But I do have a few observations on the issue.

First, have a look at the Komen budget pie chart. This is an organization that spends as much on overhead as it does on screening and treatment. Given, the group’s concern seems to be more concerned with research and outreach. But imagine that.

Here’s a good graph on Planned Parenthood, by the way, which indicates that 96 percent of what this group does is contraception, STD screenings, and cancer screenings.

I wonder where your charity dollars should go.

That said, I do predict one thing: This is going to be bad for Komen for a long time. Wanna know why?

People LIKE Planned Parenthood.

Generally, people agree with the principles this organization utilizes. They believe that people should be able to plan their own families, you know, by using their brains. They think it’s nice for women to have a place to go to get their biscuits all retrofitted and stuff. Many people actually got their very first prophylactics at Planned Parenthood, which helped them not procreate before they were ready to do so.

I hope the “conservatives” will take note of this and that Planned Parenthood will as well. You have achieved semi-sacred cow status. Wear it well.

You’re Mixing Two Things

At first blush, it seems that Herman Cain is confused.

Or, is he?

I first thought he seemed confused here, which is not unthinkable. The Republican position on abortion is utterly confused because it flies in the face of the party’s fantasy that it stands against government interference. I initially thought what you were seeing here was a politician who was belying the difficulty in trying to hold both of those positions simultaneously in one brain.


I think that by the time you reach the end of the tape, your realize that Herman Cain is actually espousing something entirely different.

Herman Cain is quite honestly advocating a return to back-alley abortions.

He doesn’t want them legal. But, he says, if a member of his family needed one, wink, wink. In other words, Herman Cain espouses the very conditions that inspired Linda Coffee and Sarah Weddington to track down Norma McCorvey in the first place. In those days, abortion was illegal. Unless, of course, you had a few bucks.

Herman Cain makes it perfectly clear that he wants to return us to those days, when only rich folks could have that kind of access. Funny how when you strip issues down to a few fundamental parts, they tend to look the same as the others.

Fetus Fetish

Republigoats and “conservatives” have an unhealthy obsession with the human fetus, and it’s high time for those of us in more reasonable circles to begin framing the issue in this manner.

Check it: Last night, the House of Representatives killed a bill that would have recognized that strong-arming little girls into marrying perverts is a violation of said little girl’s human rights. Republigoats killed the bill at the mere suggestion that the bill would somehow lead to more abortions, although the bill didn’t even deal with the issue at all.

That, friends, is a fetus fetish, and it is high time that these folks are called out on it.

You’re not convinced?

On Oct. 11, 1996, Rick Santorum’s wife had a miscarriage. As reported steadfastly by The Washington Post a decade later, Santorum and his wife brought the remains home with them. They named it “Gabriel.” They and their children “kissed and cuddled” with it. Then they boiled it up and ate it.

Wait, no, that’s a typo. Sorry. Then, they held a mass and whatever. But, c’mon, when you read over that last sentence there, I bet you didn’t even skip a beat. The whole episode is just that bizarre.

We read recently too that the nation’s previous chief executive was also reared as a fetus fetishist. George W. Bush accounted proudly about how his mother had saved the flotsam of a miscarriage in a jar and had shown it to her son. I just hope when you do that you don’t accidentally stick that thing away next to the pickles.

What is a “fetish?” As defined, the word and the concept go beyond some asshole slobbering over some broad’s boot heel. Specifically, a fetish is “the attribution of inherent value or powers to an object.”

When there is a death in the womb, it is tragic. I have known many women to whom this has happened. It is not an uncommon occurrence. It is horribly sad. Women generally need to grieve when this occurs.

But the anti-abortion folks are rife with people who anthropomorphize dead bodies. Not even those aborted by medicine, but those aborted by the Lord. It’s in the friggin’ Washington Post: The man brought a dead body home and had his children snuggle with it. He named it and took it outside for a game of catch for goodness’ sake. (And it threw better than Gary Dell’Abate! OOOOH!)

The antis have an unhealthy obsession with the human fetus, and a new frame should be cast to recognize it. They proved this last night, when they lined up against a bill designed to actually protect real living children against the off-chance that it might possibly maybe harm a batch of theoretical children who do not actually exist.

Fetus fetish. Let the word go forward.

Amy Lynn Gillespie

There’s one thing regarding the tale of Amy Lynn Gillespie that doesn’t make a lick of sense to me.

I mean, not much of it does actually make sense. Let me review a bit now so you can see what I mean.

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette of Nov. 17 says that Gillespie got into some legal wrangling starting in 2004 with convictions for shoplifting.

Then, she was caught lifting stuff from a Giant Eagle in 2007, and then from a Macy’s.

Then there was that soliciting charge in 2008. Ouch. Followed by failure to heed her probation in February 2009. She won a work release but then she violated its terms and was sent back to the slam.

She violated her work release terms, apparently, by getting pregnant.

Then, on January 13, she died in jail, and her mother’s lawsuit claims she died because the jail neglected to offer her even rudimentary care for her bacterial pneumonia.

All of that shit just makes you want to bang your head against a wall. But here’s what kills me.

There was a protest.

Not a barnburner, maybe 20 people, the paper reported. But.

The march was organized by New Voices Pittsburgh: Women of Color for Reproductive Justice. Joining the effort were the Human Rights Coalition, The Birth Circle, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Women and Girls Foundation and the Women’s Law Project.

Where are the “pro-life” groups?

This was a woman who was pregnant and by all reports intended to be a mom. Through its negligence, though, the justice system and the penal system snuffed out the lives of not only this young pregnant woman, but also of the itsy-bitsy-wootsie-wittle baby she was carrying (I wish I could blame this on a corporately-held penal system, but by all research I can track, Allegheny County jails are all government-run).

Why aren’t the “pro-life” groups out in full force protesting this macabre set of events?

Hasn’t the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania essentially conducted an abortion here? Why would anti-abortioners not want to offer their voices regarding this?

Interesting, isn’t it, that when there’s a mother to defend as well as a fetus, these assholes are nowhere to be seen, eh?

The Assassination of Dr. Tiller

If you haven’t seen it, you’ve got to see Rachel Maddow’s hour-long look at the murder of Dr. George Tiller in May 2009. There are several aspects to this special that makes it especially worth viewing.

The first part of “The Assassination of Dr. Tiller” that makes it such important viewing is the snippets of testimony from Tiller’s convicted assassin, Scott Roeder.

I think it’s easy to dismiss Roeder as a fringe political element. I also think that’s a wrong thing to do. Because I think more of what the right wing does is fueled by logic similar to Roeder’s than any observer might realize. I don’t think that many of these folks might have the stomach to gun a man down in his own church. But I do think that their seemingly righteous, simplistic call to “save the babies from being murdered” can lead to some monumental leaps of justification for them. I think a good number of right-wing politicos these days feel quite comfortable lying about their own record, lying outright about policy, about doing anything at any cost to win, because Jesus Christ wants them to stop all the horrible baby murdering. I believe that Scott Roeder’s simplistic world view is more pervasive than most of us might understand. And I believe it is driving a good deal of our politics.

I loved hearing Dr. Tiller describe how he came into his abortion practice. Here’s what he said, during an interview in 2000 by Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health.

Patients in the practice we had asked me if I was going to do abortions like my father did. And I was horrified! Why would these nice people say that he was a scumbag type physician? But the women in my father’s practice for whom he did abortions educated me and taught me that an abortion is a matter of survival for women.

In the beginning, Dr. Tiller took (and, it seems, simultaneously developed) his own best advice: Trust women.

The most outstanding aspect of this program comes about 22 minutes in, when Maddow interviews some of Tiller’s former patients. One woman was 25 weeks pregnant and was told that her child had less than a 3 percent chance of surviving the birth. The second had already painted the nursery but was told that her child would likely be severely disabled. What is clear from these interviews is that such a choice is never made lightly and is certainly something not to be judged until you’ve waddled a quarter-mile in some woman’s Crocs.

The scariest thing, I think, about this event is that it worked.

Dr. Tiller’s Wichita clinic closed, as did two others in that city. Now if you live in that neck of the woods and need such care, you gotta to to KCMO or to Denver. They may not have been able to overturn Roe yet in the courts. But they’re succeeding in pushing us back to pre-Roe days nonetheless.