Category Archives: politics

Obamacare Eggs and Ham


I wish I could make a decent joke about the Affordable Healthcare Act and women and reproduction ans stuff (thus tying in the Obamacare Eggs) but I can’t seem to make the link work.

I also fully admit to not know all the ins and out of AHA, which is why I’ve refrained from really discussing it, but no only are the premiums are coming in below the predictions of the Congressional Budget Office, but individuals will have an average of 53 qualified health plan choices. That’s pretty fantastic.

Then I saw this today, which just made me giggle.

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Inauguration Day 2013


It feel it’s fitting that this inauguration lands right ON Martin Luther King Jr. Day. I really do. I always hate to make it a race thing, but you really have to acknowledge it. It’s still a really big freaking deal that a black man (or even beige, cuz we’re the new black) is the President – the President – of the United States. I got emotional as hell on this day back in 2009, and I’m a little choked up again right now.

It shouldn’t even matter how you feel about his politics. You have to see what a huge advancement his becoming president is on this country, a country so young, not so far removed from our own history where a black man couldn’t even vote (143 years ago). It’s amazing. We still have a way to go, but we’ve come so far.

The dignity and that President Obama always carries himself with should be the inspiration for a generation of young black (no matter what percentage black you are) men and women alike. You want to hate on him, say he’s not black enough, call him bourgeois (or boo-jee), go ahead. He’s the President. What are you doing with your life?

“Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’ I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today!”

Dr. King… your dream lives on once more this morning through President Barack Obama. Free at last.

 

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Second Amendmenters


I don’t have an official opinion on gun-control. I think it’s pretty obvious which way I lean, but I truly don’t have an official stance.  but I do have a few questions for all the “Second Amendmenters:”

1. How often are you shot at or had your house broken into? Regularly? Change your lifestyle. Never? Then stop. Also, criminals are more likely to be unarmed if they break in, simply because they would face a much higher charge if they were. Not only that, but most breakins occur when you’re not home. Criminals may be, well, criminals, but most aren’t stupid.

2. Those of you who share the meme about the Pearl High School shooting, about how we never heard about it because some teacher with a gun stopped the kid… Did you know that’s untrue? The kid killed his mother, went to school, killed two girls (one was his ex) and wounded seven other people, and then left the school. The principal followed him – with a Colt .45 auto – and stopped him as he was trying to drive away. So… the principal detained him, but he’d already done what he came to the school to do. The fact that the principal was armed had anything to do with it.

3. Those of you who feel like Sandy Hook or the Aurora inhumanity would have been prevented or reduced if others were armed… Really? In mass confusion, you expect everyone to just turn vigilante? How do I know who to fire on? How do I know this isn’t so well-planned that the guy next to me isn’t also a “bad guy?” Even the police won’t fire on a suspect without a perfectly clean shot, with absolute certainty on who the true “bad guy” is.

And finally, 4. Do you even know what the second amendment says? If you think you do, I ask you, What well-maintained and organized militia are you a part of? Because that is the only group that is guaranteed the right to bear arms, per the constitution.

That being said, if you own guns for hunting, target shooting, etc, or just collect them because of mechanics or beauty (the way some people correct knives and swords), and you don’t even care about the above, then rock on. I was pretty into the COP .357 Derringer for a little while. No desire to shoot it at someone, but definitely would have loved to take it to a range.

It frightens me the way people are responding to the smaller clip laws with “that’s not enough bullets.” Just what do you need this gun for that you need to quantify that? You know that if you do need to fire on this fictional burglar, you do have limits, right? You can’t peg him 12 times.


Campaign Season and Election Round-Up


I’ve been neglectful, I’m so sorry. Part of it is just lack of motivation, part of it is lack of anything new to say. I mean, how many times can I really complain about the weirdos across the country who have the most asinine ideas about rape? Oh, I should take a moment to defend my stance, because all the rape theories these guys have stem from abortion in the instance of rape: I’m not saying that rape should be anyone’s go-to. God knows there are women who someone found this exponentially amazing level of courage to give birth to a child, some who kept that child and some who went the adoption route – my cousin would never have met his wife otherwise – but it still needs to be out there for women who can’t deal with that. It has to. Otherwise, in certain states the rapist can sue for custody and visitation. Are you shitting me?

But my disgust goes even further than that, in the sense that all these men are using words like “legitimate” rape. First off, yes, we all know there are woman and girls who cry rape. I know one. I hate her for it. However, rape is rape. Yes, some rapes are significantly easier to define legally and prove in court. Yes, some guys may have raped without even knowing it.

Here’s my PSA to all guys out there, especially young men still in that partying stage of life, particularly if you’re into just having a good time with a girl you might not really know that well: If she doesn’t seem at all into it, there’s a pretty good chance she’s not just a shitty lay. Take a moment to consider that she might not want any part of you inside of her, and she’s too scared or uncomfortable to speak up. Consider that she feels violated right now, and her only way to cope is to clam up and lay there in silence, hiding somewhere inside her own head.

 

So, that out of the way. Who else is stoked for FOUR MORE YEARS! I was admittedly a bit nervous when they initially began announcing poll results and Romney was up 33-3 in Electoral votes. And then we won. And I got no sleep because I was up all night waiting for my President to speak – despite the fact that he emailed me some two hours prior to tell me he was on his way to go speak.

And then this happened:

ObviousHatred

 

Particularly disturbing to me is the fact that S didn’t even know what freedoms are covered under the First Amendment. Also the conversation continued after that, but it got into personal aspects about T’s life.

I know that I was guilty of the occasional Mormom joke against Romney, but honestly, that shouldn’t even be part of the equation. This country has no official religion. People of all faiths live here. People of no set faith live here. They all vote here. They all are protected by (again) the First Amendment from having a specific religion thrust upon them. While I’m sure all leaders form their laws based on their own beliefs, but they need to take into consideration that other faiths exist. The hate-fueled posts I saw all over Facebook were just disturbing.

Like this one:

Blind Faith

I would post the entire conversation I had with this S, but it’s easier for me to just paste all my replies here in one fell swoop (I was on my phone so I replied one sentence at a time, haha). First off, Obama did not denounce us as no longer being a Christian nation, as we are not a theocracy and therefore have no official religious affiliation. Ergo, there was nothing to denounce. Second, no one cancelled the Day of Prayer (which I had never even heard of before until people accused him of cancelling it). The only thing that Obama did was not have a giant prayer service on the White House lawn like Bush used to. Not only that, but since the day of prayer is for anyone of any faith, there’s no risk of offending anyone. Third, what is this vigil? Find me evidence of it. Obama has never held this alleged vigil.

As far as ethnic bias, sure, it might be out there, and I’m betting there are thousands, if not millions, of black people who did vote for Obama in both elections simply because of that, but on the flip side, shouldn’t more women have voted for McCain and Palin? Also, how does that explain the millions of Latinos who voted for Obama? They’re not black? Or will you say that just because they’re also a minority (which they’re not, actually) they sided with the other minority? How does this count for the millions of white people who support Obama? Also… what about the other white people who voted for Romney, just because he isn’t black? The reason Obama received a large black vote ties to socioeconomics. Sadly, not many black people are affluent enough to benefit from an econmony under Romney. Period.

On that note, I’m off to dinner. Perhaps when I return, I’ll watch the finale and Reunions for BGC and begrudgingly write about them.

 


Election Day


In honor of Alice Paul, Lucy Burns, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and all the women that would not be silent, that would not sit there and look pretty, that paved the way for all the women who came after them and before us…
get your ass out there and make your voice heard.

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Obama: What Have You Done For Me Lately?


So we all know there are things Obama hasn’t done. Even as a supporter I can say that. I will throw a lot of it on Congress, stonewalling him at as many turns as they could, but I will also say that he came into office with a lot of great plans, but didn’t have a clue to implement them once he got there.

That being said, what has he done? Well,  I’ll tell you (some things on this list might not be laws exactly, but they demonstrate the direction society is going):

  • Signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, restoring basic protections against pay discrimination for women and other workers
  • Significantly increased funding for the Violence Against Women Act
  • The American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009: a $789 billion economic stimulus plan
  • Created more private sector jobs in 2010 than during entire previous administration
  • Provided $12.2 Billion in new funding for Individuals With Disabilities Education Act
  • Voluntary disclosure of White House visitors for the first time in US history
  • Appointed first Latina to the US Supreme Court
  • Promoted social responsibility through creation of serve.gov, a national database of volunteer opportunities
  • Reversed ‘global gag rule’, allowing US aid to go to organizations regardless of whether they provide abortions
  • Signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, giving the FDA the authority to regulate the manufacturing, marketing, and sale of tobacco
  • Signed New START Treaty – nuclear arms reduction pact with Russia
  • First president to endorse same-sex marriage equality
  • Extended Benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees
  • Appointed more openly gay officials than any other president in US history
  • Provided travel expenses to families of fallen soldiers to be present when their deceased arrives at Dover AFB
  • Reversed the policy of barring media coverage during the return of fallen soldiers to Dover Air Force Base
  • Launched recovery.gov to track spending from the Recovery Act, providing transparency and allowing the public to report fraud, waste, or abuse
  • Provided the Department of Veterans Affairs with more than $1.4 billion to improve services to America’s Veterans
  • Signed the Children’s Health Insurance Reauthorization Act, which provides health care to 11 million kids — 4 million of whom were previously uninsured
  • Health Care Reform Bill, preventing insurance companies from denying insurance because of a pre-existing condition
  • Health Care Reform Bill, allowing children to remain covered by their parents’ insurance until the age of 26
  • Issued executive order to repeal Bush era restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research
  • Signed the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Act, the first piece of comprehensive legislation aimed at improving the lives of Americans living with paralysis
  • Developed stimulus package, which includes approx. $18 billion for nondefense scientific research and development
  • Signed the Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Act to stop fraud and wasteful spending in the defense procurement and contracting system
  • Issued executive order to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay
  • Ended CIA program of ‘enhanced interrogation methods‘ by requiring that the Army field manual be used as the guide for terrorism interrogations
  • Established Credit Card Bill of Rights, preventing credit card companies from imposing arbitrary rate increases on customers
  • Tax cuts for up to 3.5 million small businesses to help pay for employee health care coverage
  • Tax credits for up to 29 million individuals to help pay for health insurance
  • Require health insurance plans to disclose how much of the premium actually goes to patient care
  • Cut prescription drug cost for medicare recipients by 50%
  • Expansion of Medicaid to all individuals under age 65 with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level
  • Added 4.6 billion USD to the Veterans Administration budget to recruit and retain more mental health professionals
  • Lifted restrictions granting Cuban Americans unrestricted rights to visit family and send remittances to the island
  • Eliminated subsidies to private lender middlemen of student loans and protect student borrowers
  • Significantly expanded Pell grants, which help low-income students pay for college
  • Increased funding for national parks and forests by 10%
  • Expanded hate crime law in the US to include sexual orientation through the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act
  • Provided stimulus funding to boost private sector spaceflight programs
  • Appointed nation’s first Chief Technology Officer
  • Signed financial reform law establishing a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to look out for the interests of everyday Americans
  • Signed financial reform law requiring lenders to verify applicants’ credit history, income, and employment status
  • Signed financial reform law prohibiting banks from engaging in proprietary trading (trading the bank’s own money to turn a profit, often in conflict with their customers’ interests)
  • Signed financial reform law allowing shareholders of publicly traded companies to vote on executive pay

So… you know, it’s not like he was sitting around twiddling his thumbs all these years. Just in case you were wondering. The big one, of course, is the location and elimination of Osama Bin Laden, but I’ll let the servicemen keep that one.


Iron-Jawed Angels: The Final Stand


Last of three
(Part One, Part Two)

Alice Paul

Alice Paul celebrates suffrage victory, 1920
Courtesy Library of Congress

The first arrests were made on June 22, 1917. Lucy Burns and Katharine Morey were the first two women to be arrested. They sat at the station house for hours before the police came up with the charge of obstructing traffic, but there were dismissed and never brought to trial. This continued for a few more days before the Administration realized this tactic was not actually frightening the women. Now the offenders would be brought to trial. On June 26, the women were brought to trial and sentenced to pay a fine, which they refused, on the grounds that the fine would be an admission of guilt and they were guilty of nothing. They were then sentenced to prison. Katharine Morey, Annie Arneil, Mabel Vernon, Lavinia Dock, Maud Jamison, and Virginia Arnold were the first prisoners for suffrage in the United States.

These women and all other women who were arrested were sentenced to three days in District Jail. They served their time. Upon further arrests, they were sent to Occoquan Workhouse in neighboring Virginia for terms of thirty or sixty days. This still did not deter the women from standing in their picket line. As one woman was arrested, another one simply took her place in line. When she, too, was arrested, another woman fell into her place, and so on, until the entire horde of women was taken into custody.

Occoquan Workhouse was a prison of the poorest conditions. The prisoners were stripped of their clothes and personal belongings, given coarse, stiff uniforms, and were not allowed to speak to each other, or even smile. The food was deplorable, stale and sour bread, rotten soup with maggots and worms in it, and half-cooked vegetables. Mrs. Frederick Kendall of Hamburg, New York was put in a “punishment cell” under a charge of “impudence.” She was forced to wear the same clothing for eleven days, and she was even refused a nightdress or clean linen for her cot. Her toilet was an open pail, and she was denied water for toilet purposes. Her diet consisted of three thin slices of bread and three cups of water, which was carried to her in a paper cup that dripped so badly that the already small supply was half gone by the time it got to her cell. Other prisoners were often summoned by the guards to attack the suffragists. The condition of the prison was eventually leaked out, and even some friends and supporters of Wilson protested the way the Administration was handling the suffrage issue. The creation of the Suffrage Committee in the House was finally granted, but this did not satisfy the women.

Tired of the incessant pickets, the Administration ordered longer prison terms. Instead of a sixty-day term – approximately two months – they started to give out sentences of six or seven months. The women’s response?  More pickets and a protest from inside the prison. Lucy Burns started to organize her imprisoned allies, but officials sensed the plot and moved her to solitary confinement immediately. This only hastened the rebellion. The demand to be treated as political prisoners was written on a piece of paper that was passed through holes in the walls until a complete petition had been created and signed by all the prisoners. This document represented the first organized group action ever made in America to establish the status of political prisoners. The Commissioner’s response to this demand was to put everyone who signed it in solitary confinements, where they were denied some of their usual “privileges.”

On October 22, Alice Paul was arrested and sentenced to seven months at Occoquan. Officials decided to make an example out of the ringleader. The second Paul tried to organize a hunger strike she was taken away and force-fed. The report was that she was being fed in order to keep her alive, when in reality force-feeding has nothing to do with nutrition. A tube is forced up the nose and down the throat of the victim and liquid is poured into the stomach. It is a painful procedure that can cause illness, internal injuries, and even death. Most victims immediately regurgitate everything. In a final attempt to discredit her, Paul was held in psychiatric ward, where she wasn’t allowed to sleep and she was treated as if she were insane. The rest of the women were continually mistreated. In November, on a night that came to be known as the “Night of Terror,” the women were shoved into walls, choked, thrown down steps, and dragged around, sometimes by the hair. Lucy Burns was treated with especial cruelty. When she resisted being taken away, she was beaten. When she continued to call out to the women to find out if they were okay, she was threatened with a straitjacket. She was then handcuffed by her wrists to the top of a cell door. The women continued huger striking and were repeatedly subjected to force-feedings. One of the women wrote a graphic description of the ordeal of a force-feeding.

In the end, under intense pressure, President Wilson ordered the release of the prisoners. On November 23, a trial took place regarding the imprisonment of the suffragists. It was declared that they were illegally sent to Occoquan, that they were supposed to have been put in District Jail. The workhouse prisoners were then taken to District Jail to finish their sentences, where they persisted in hunger striking almost to the point of collapse. The Administration realized they could not afford to force-feed the women and risk the social consequences, nor could it let them starve to death and still risk those consequences. By this time one thing was perfectly clear: The discipline and endurance of the suffragists could not be broken. On November 27, 1917, the doors of the jail were opened and all the suffrage prisoners were unconditionally released.

The women went right back to work. Alice Paul designed a commemorative pin for all the women who had been in prison. It was a tiny silver replica of a cell door bound by a delicate chain and heart-shaped lock. On January 8, 1918, all 218 arrests were declared unconstitutional. Wilson became a warm advocate of suffrage, but until the amendment was added, the women would not stop the pickets or the protests.

In the House of Representatives, the Republican side declared that it would give more than a two-thirds majority vote for the amendment. The pressure was now put on the President to secure enough votes from the Democratic side. On January 10, 1918, the amendment passed by a 272 to 136 vote. It was exactly forty years from the first time the amendment was introduced into Congress and exactly one year from the appearance of the first picket banner. Attention was now focused on the Senate. Sixty-four out of ninety-six votes were necessary for passage. At the time the amendment passed in the House, women’s suffrage only had the support of fifty-three Senators. Seven months later, it had gained nine more – only two votes short – and the President would not guarantee that he would make an effort to secure them.

The Senate was about to recess, and there was no assurance from the Democrats whether suffrage would be considered before or after the recess. The National Woman’s Party decided on a national protest on August 6, the late Inez Milholland’s birthday, which gathered at the base of the LafayetteMonument. The women were arrested, and they demanded to have a charge made against them or be released. They were charged with “holding a meeting in public grounds” and “climbing on a statue.” They were sent to District Jail for ten days, fifteen if they climbed the statue. The place they were taken to was a building in the swamps of the District Jail grounds. It had been declared unfit for human use in 1909 and had stood empty ever since. Demanding to be treated as political prisoners, the women commenced hunger striking upon the refusal. Due to the strike and the telegrams of protest from all over the country, the Administration gave in and released the prisoners.

After a lengthy debate in the Senate, the Democrats found themselves between a rock and a hard place. They could not afford to refer the amendment back to the House Rules Committee, nor could they afford to go to a vote and have it fail. The October 1 vote failed by those two missing votes, and one voter instantly changed his vote, allowing him to move for reconsideration.

When the President refused to lend any assistance to the women, it became clear to them that he’d only move if under attack. They returned to the picket line, and decided on a perpetual fire. On New Year’s Day, 1919, they lit the fire with wood from a tree in IndependencePark, Philadelphia. They were, of course, arrested, but since no charge could be applied, they were released. Later, someone found an old statute that prohibits fires in a public place in the District of Columbia between sunset and sunrise, so the women were again arrested and charged. The Administration feared more hunger strikes so the judge pleaded with the women not to go to jail, offering probation if they promised to be good. They would make no such promise and started their hunger strike the moment they were taken away. So many women were arrested in the following days that the judge grew weary and started dismissing cases without trial.

President’s first appearance after his return from the Peace Conference in France was at Boston Common. When twenty-two women gathered with their banners, they were told they could not be there when the President passed by. They replied, however, that that was exactly where they had to be. Consequently, as the President drew near, the women were arrested, and the sight of it thrilled the Boston masses more than anything the President said. The women were charged with “loitering more than seven minutes.” It was an astonishing situation: Thousands of people loitered from curiosity the day the President arrived and went home afterwards. But twenty-two loitered for liberty, and were taken to the House of Detention. Telegrams of protest flooded from Boston to the White House.

Following more debates and disagreements in the Senate, the amendment still did not get passed. This led to more protests, more arrests, and more violent attacks against the women. Luckily for the suffragists, two new Democratic Senators had been elected who had no opinion either way about the amendment. It was up to the President to sway them, which he did.

Kentucky Governor Edwin P. Morrow signs ratification of the Anthony Amendment January 6, 1920
Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Congress convened for a special session on May 19, 1919 for prompt passage of the amendment. On May 21 it passed by a vote of 304 to 89. The Democratic National Committee immediately passed a resolution calling on the states to hold special legislatures to ratify the amendment as soon as it was through Congress so that women could vote in the national election of 1920. Finally, on June 4, 1919, the declaration that “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex,” that was first introduced in 1878 by Susan B. Anthony was submitted to the states for ratification. On June 10, 1919, Wisconsin was the first state to ratify the amendment. August 18, 1920, marked the day that the 19th Amendment was completely ratified, giving women the right to vote. A week later, on August 26, the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution became law. In November, all women were allowed to vote in the United States national election for the first time.

This year, honor these woman. Be heard. On November 6, 2012, go to your polling place and utilize the right that these brave women (and even men) fought for, what they bled for, starved for, and earned – for me, and for you.

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