neadods: (Default)
The most useful link I think I've seen in ages: A Simple Guide For Contacting Your Local Lawmaker And What To Say To Them:
http://consumerist.com/2014/01/23/a-simple-guide-for-contacting-your-local-lawmakers-and-what-to-say-to-them/

Exactly what it says on the tin: how to find the name and contact information of all senators and representatives and the most effective way of framing your message to them.
neadods: (compass)
So, there was this thing downtown yesterday...

The best laid plans of mice and Nea ran aground the moment they were put into place. The idea of meeting up at the Landsburgh Theater instead of the mall? Excellent. [livejournal.com profile] settiai, [livejournal.com profile] ladymalchav, [livejournal.com profile] ponygirl72 & hubby were right there, easy to see.

Me, [livejournal.com profile] thefannishwaldo, & [livejournal.com profile] suricattus? Not so much. I took us to the College Park metro on the basis that nobody seemed to have "discovered" it on Inauguration day, arriving at the station at 9:00 for a 10/10:15 meetup.

Well, it's been discovered now! The lines were across the station and up the stairs, with people coming in by the busload. Meerkat (that's [livejournal.com profile] suricattus, y'all) told me it would be a mitzvah as a local to squirm my way to the head of the line and help people out with our fare machines... and it would have the bonus advantage of making said lines move faster, getting us through. So I duly squirmed and pointed at buttons saying "punch that now" and shouted "IF YOU'RE GETTING A DAY PASS, IT'S $9! IF YOU'RE JUST GOING TO THE RALLY AND BACK, IT'S $4.80 TO UNION OR L'ENFANT STATIONS!" This was surprisingly popular; the guys behind us in line were all "Don't leave yet! Not until you show us!"

It took us an hour to get onto the platform; we were able to squeeze onto the first train that arrived, stuffed as it was, and it would take about another 40 minutes to get downtown. This trip turned out to be one of the success stories of the day. I've heard of someone who got to Greenbelt at 11:40 and finally got onto a train about 1.

Having finally made the meetup, we joined the flood of people onto the mall. It was shoulder-to-shoulder packed on the mall itself and up the stairs of the National Gallery of Art, West. However, there was space on the lawn of the Gallery between the retaining wall and the stairs where you could mostly hear the loudspeakers and sort of catch an edge-on glimpse of the jumbotron, so we set up a base camp there.

Signage was fabulous. Also surreal. [livejournal.com profile] ponygirl72's two-sided sign (We have nothing to fear but fear itself the zombie apocalypse / I am a Marxist (Groucho Marx glasses & mustache) was incredibly popular. There was a Waldo with a sign saying "I'm here." There was a little girl in a princess dress with a sign saying "I want my tea party back." There were riffs on the theme like "Give Please a Chance" and "Only Hitler is Hitler." On the more political side, there was "Taxes are good; they pay for stuff" and "Nothing to fear but Fox News." And then there were people in costume - superheroes, lots of Waldos, a couple of Doctor Whos, and a whole lot of "I'm not sure what that is, really..."

Sound was iffy - we got to hear Jon Stewart "singing" with all too much clarity, while it took jumbotron cues to know what Adam and Jamie of Mythbusters were asking the crowd to do. (There were often chants of "Louder! Louder!" to no avail. Apparently the actual rally permit was only for 60,000 and so the space and the volume were set for that. While Stewart said there were "10 million" and Colbert said "6 billion," I'm going with the Guardian estimate of 215,000-250,000 on the basis that they don't have a bias. Certainly they were blowing well over the estimated 60,000, which is why the audience just about died of laughter on Colbert's line "I'm afraid nobody came to our rally.")

At one point I went in search of vendors - we could see people carrying little towels that both Meerkat and I wanted. (We would find out after via Facebook that said towels were being handed out while we were on our way to the mall.) The crush went from thick to nigh impassible as I got closer to the front, so I squirmed my way up 3rd to walk around the gallery. By the time I tried to come back down 7th, the crowd was so thick and so still that I thought I would *never* make it back to base camp! I tried sending a text to Meerkat, but the bandwidth on the Mall was so blown that no calls were going through and texts were iffy. (She did get mine... about 45 minutes later.)

Mad props to [livejournal.com profile] settiai and [livejournal.com profile] ladymalchav, who had the good sense to bring food. There was much munching of peanut butter and even more munching of cinnamon teddy grahams. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

There was just no way in hell that it would be possible to get off the mall to make a 3:30 meet; I tried texting and later calling [livejournal.com profile] raqs, who I really wanted to meet up with after. As it was, we stayed in base camp and let the worst of the crowds shuffle zombie-like past us, then tried going to the front (I was still hunting vendors. Going to a rally and going home with money? So wrong.) [livejournal.com profile] settiai and [livejournal.com profile] ladymalchav peeled off to meet up with other friends, while the rest of us had a rather tiring on-foot tour of Chinatown looking for a restaurant with a less than a 2-hour wait. As it was, we eventually limped off to Union to say goodbye to [livejournal.com profile] ponygirl72 & her husband (who completely defines the strong and silent type) and take metro home.

By now it was 3 hours after the rally had ended, and we still had to let an overcrowded train pass us by on the way out of the city. And I hear there were fistfights at the next station because some people had been on that platform for over two hours and still couldn't crush onto a train. We ended up getting diner takeout and heading home to crash on the couch and watch The Librarian while reminiscing and drinking hot spiced apple wine.

Meerkat's on her bus back home, Mo's ushering, and Waldo's at the zoo all day, so I've crawled back into my pyjamas. I should write a review of Live 34 and do laundry, but I'm thinking that what I'm really going to do is catch up on a week's backlog of Sherlock fic while watching scary movies until it's time to fetch Waldo at the station. It's a plan.

Pictures to come later. And probably links to video of the rally.

ETA: My favorite sign of the whole day? "If you see my friend Amy, tell her Courney's looking for her."

ETA II: Meerkat's writeup & pictures Waldo, ditto
neadods: (contemplative)
Back in the early 90s, I went to work for a company so small that there were only two full-time employees: my boss and me. So the "company health care" boiled down to my boss telling me "buy a solo policy and I'll pay for it."

Back then, there was a pretty decent choice in self-held insurance; I picked a basic plan offered by one of the teaching hospitals (it worked a bit like an HMO, in that you got a major discount if you let the students poke at you) and it cost, IIRC, ~$40 a month. It wasn't hugely comprehensive, but it covered all I needed, including worldwide emergency treatment. (I've always loved to travel.)

Because *I* owned that policy in my name, I kept it for 7 glorious years. Without having to worry about continuous health care coverage I was able to go back to school, take tiny temp jobs while retraining my skills at school - even negotiate for better pay when I went back into the world as a technical writer for contracting companies. (I proved to HR that I had coverage; they added to my paycheck what they would have paid an insurance company for me under their plan. It was always more than I was paying out.)

Seven years of not having to refile paperwork. Of having the same team of General Practitioner/Gyno no matter where I worked. Of knowing I had the right paperwork and the right insurance card. Seven wonderful years of not worrying about COBRA or gaps between leaving one job and starting another. Of not turning down work that sounded good or educational because I needed better benefits.

And probably because such solo policies weren't as lucrative as billing employers, such solo policies went out of fashion. I think only one insurance company offers them now - so much for choice of coverage - and it costs hundreds a month. I got a note saying I had two months before my beloved policy went belly-up.

So I went onto work coverage. I'm a contractor - not the kind who works on buildings, the kind who is offered up as a set of employees for a set amount of time to another company on contract. The work is interesting, but it's a truism that you'll bounce from contract to contract and finally bounce out of the company looking for greener pastures.

Now, my current company (all hail my current company!) treats us magnificently, including regarding insurance. We've got a choice of policies and they cover the tab.

But in the four years I worked for the previous two companies, I had four health plans.

Repeat: Two companies. Four health plans.

They always want to find the better deal for themselves, so if the company switches insurance - and they can once a year, so they will once a year - you'd just better hope that if you have a doctor you like, they're on the plan. (Or that the doctors don't get pissed off and do the "Fuck insurance: gimme $2000 up front and I'll give you these services" plan.) You'd also better hope that your co-pay and your paycheck deductibles don't change too drastically, because if you're single, you're stuck. You've got to have whatever your employer does or go without or take your non-choice one option.

Wanna know a little secret? Want to know why I didn't call for a badly-needed ambulance at ChicagoTARDIS, because I really was THAT sick? Not only wasn't I entirely sure that the new company's health insurance had started to cover me yet or if the old policy would still cover me, I wasn't sure for *months* if I was carrying the right insurance card. I have enough of those dang things to play poker with.

The health bill is going to mandate that people can buy their own insurance, which means it mandates that they can buy their own insurance directly. And the free market being what it is, that means the first company to go back to offering reasonably priced, reasonably comprehensive solo plans is going to become rich beyond its wildest dreams of avarice.

I've lived "you have to buy your own health insurance." I was even unemployed during that time to go back to school. I loved that policy and I miss it more than tongue can tell. Personally paid health insurance was fabulous!
neadods: (omg)
Seen in just about every newspaper article covering health care: Randy Barnett, a law professor at Georgetown University, said the lawsuits have a chance. "Never before in this country has the government mandated that a private citizen do business with a private company," he said.

Except for
- car insurance
- pre-sale car inspection
- home insurance
- pre-sale home inspection
- drug prescription sales

and more...
neadods: (omg)
So, on the 17th, I linked to Judge Land's excellent legal takedown of the whole Birther nonsense vis a vis Orly Taitz and Captain Rhodes.

In it, I said that Captain Rhodes had asked for a reconsideration, and Taitz was on the talkshows, slinging the word "treason" around.

Well! Make your popcorn and settle in comfortably, boys and girls, because the second act has started.

First of all, Captain Rhodes sent a letter to Judge Land saying that Taitz had filed the reconsideration motion without her knowledge or permission. I do not wish for Ms. Taitz to file any future motions or represent me in any way in this court. It is my plan to file a complaint with the California State Bar due to her reprehensible and unprofessional actions.

Ms. Taitz, however, not only proceeded, but her motion (here in pdf format) brings the batshit in new and interesting ways. Did you know that your father being an (admittedly disloyal and possibly treacherous) Subject of the British Crown invalidates the US citizenship of the child of a US mother regardless of that baby's place of birth? [p4] Yeah, me neither. She mentions that not agreeing with her position smacks of treason, and she whines he obviously hasn't read her "careful" research and also that she hasn't been given enough time to respond.

Well, Judge Land didn't need much time to point out that he told her he'd sanction her if she filed another frivolous petition with his court on this issue. It was deja vu all over again he starts, before getting into the meat of the matter, which is that the motion for reconsideration is denied and she has 14 days to show why he shouldn't land her with a $10,000 fine. [p2]

Page 6 is quite nice. Although the First Amendment may allow the Plaintiff's council to make these wild accusations on her blog or in her press conferences, the federal courts are reserved for hearing genuine legal disputes and not as a platform for political rhetoric.

In the meantime, other conspiracy theorists are coming up with reasons why the Rhodes letter was forged or false.
neadods: (omg)
Who knew that legal proceedings could be so entertaining to read? If you poke around my talibangelical/women's rights tags you'll find the smackdown given to Noel "I don't have to do anything in my job that might make me even hear the words birth control" Noeson, and if you poke around the ID tag, you'll find the Dover "Dude, Intelligent Design is too Creationism" Decision.

And now, Judge Land of the Middle District Court of Georgia has handed Orly Taitz her ass on a legal platter. (pdf warning)

Long story short, Orly Taitz has been treating the legal system like a slot machine, dropping in lots of little lawsuits in the hopes of someday winning the jackpot of a judge who agrees that Obama is not a natural-born citizen and thus not legally President. A particular favorite is filing on behalf of soldiers who claim they can't be sent to Iraq because President Barack Obama is not constitutionally eligible to act as Commander in Chief of the United States armed forces. [p1]

The spanking Captain Connie Rhodes and Ms Taitz get is GLORIOUS, starting with the Court finds that Plaintiff’s claims are frivolous... Furthermore, Plaintiff’s counsel is hereby notified that the filing of any future actions in this Court, which are similarly frivolous, shall subject counsel to sanctions. [p1]

How frivolous was it? First of all, Judge Land notes that she has already lost this case once, only to have Taitz go ahead and refile it in a different jurisdiction [p2] and that the argument that Rhodes would happily obey any order *except* deploying to Iraq, or she would deploy to a war zone if only GW Bush was still President are completely unconvincing arguments of "irreparable harm."

In the meantime, Taitz and Rhodes claimed, in court, that the evidence against Obama included Obama:
- not being in the country legally, much less being a citizen [p7]
- "might" have used multiple addresses, names, and social security numbers [p8]
- that the infamous Hawaiian short form birth certificate should be presumed fraudulent. [p8]
- being considered a fraud in the general opinion in the rest of the world [p8]

and my personal favorite:
according to an “AOL poll 85% of Americans believe that Obama was not vetted, needs to be vetted and his vital records need to be produced.” [p8]

My favorite of the whole thing is on page 9, though: Plaintiff’s complaint is not plausible on its face. To the extent that it alleges any “facts,” the Complaint does not connect those facts to any actual violation of Plaintiff’s individual constitutional rights. Unlike in Alice in Wonderland, simply saying something is so does not make it so.

Glorious stuff! Do go read it all.

Rhodes has asked the judge to reconsider. Taitz's response was to say that the judge should be tried for treason (and compare her trials and tribulations to Nelson Mandela's).
neadods: (freedomfromreligion)
The Obama Administration is wasting no time in repealing the skewed 'moral conscience' act. This rule, passed at the nth hour of the previous Administration, allowed anyone in medicine the right to refuse to do anything that conflicted with their conscience without reprisal. The head of Health and Human services, in the face of already existing laws that protect doctors from not having to perform acts against their beliefs, felt that this was needed - and that if it passed and women were denied birth control (which he equates with abortion), that was "an important statement." (That web page now appears to be blank.)

I've had a few statements of my own regarding living in a country where people are already denying women their legal rights in the name of illegally enforcing said women to have to live within the dictates of beliefs they do not share.
neadods: (omg)
I've talked about the Presidential election, but I haven't talked about the other big issues being voted on. And with the hoopla done over one of them and the outrage building on another, I want to bring all three into perspective.

Yes, three. Three hot, contentious social issues were up for public ballot.

First
Whichever way the Presidential vote went, either a black man or a white woman was going to end up in the highest posts of Government. And because there are still plenty of people who have issues with race or gender, that did have an impact on the race. To a small fraction, but a fraction that isn't hard to find, race and gender were MORE important than qualifications and campaign platforms.

That's sad and that's wrong, but it is.

Second
Women's rights battles went beyond whether Sarah Palin should or could be part of the Cabinet. South Dakota, already home of the strongest anti-choice rules in the nation, tried again. Because, as McCain pointed out with his air quotes in the debate, the "health" of a women is just rhetorical flair that can mean anything (and he was speaking for a wide range of non-medical people who believe exactly that) South Dakota defined health in Measure 11: immediate major organ failure. Not not even minor organ failure (hell, who needs kidneys when there are dialysis machines?) Immediate major organ failure only. Two years ago it was up for ballot and the people rejected it. This year it was up for ballot and the people rejected it. The whackjob who keeps pushing Measure 11 says she's going to put it on the ballot again in 2010, because the voice of the people isn't enough when the voice of the people keeps damn disagreeing with her.

That's sad, and it's wrong, but it is.

Third
California's Proposition 8 was the most famous of the gay marriage ballots, but it wasn't the only one. Gay rights has been an even bigger flashpoint than abortion these days, mostly because it's been a while since Roe v Wade, but it's still a novelty when a state decides, like California, that the current laws are unConstitutional and must be expanded. Personally, I would have thought that the very notion of a "one man, one woman" movement funded by a church originally founded on polygamy, much less the idea of Utah telling California what rights apply in their state would have been laughed out of the ballot, but I underestimated the overwhelming fear of "Teh Gay." There are plenty of people who don't mind being told who can visit them in hospital and who can inherit and who can peck a kiss in public as long as they don't have to deal with something uncomfortable to them.

That's sad, and it's wrong, but it is.

Keith Olberman was brilliant about this. And unusually for his Special Comments, he wasn't angry, he was so upset that he kept choking up.


Do I want to see Proposition 8 pass? Hell, I want equal rights for all citizens, gay and straight, at the Federal level. But when I look at the Obamas gearing up for their move and the South Dakota measure going down in flames, I can't help but think "Two out of three ain't bad."

If nothing else, it frees up energy and resources to work on that third.
neadods: (yay!)
YES! WE!! DID!!!

I'm going to be downing doubleshots all day long just to stay upright because I stayed up to the concession just to be sure. And there's a song been stuck in my head all week, but I've been afraid to even think it through. (Yes, I'm afraid I'm about to songfic a political post!)

Hey Nellie, Nellie, come to the window.
Hey Nellie, Nellie, look at what I see.
He's ridin' into town on a sway-back mule.
He's got a tall black hat and he looks like a fool.
But he sure is talkin' like he's been to school, and it's 1853.


Race is a huge issue in this country. So is terrorism. And in this climate, a black man whose name was close to the terrorist's who attacked us and who shared a name with a Middle East dictator, ran for President. In one precinct, a "typo" actually had "Barack Osama" on the ballots and it was "too expensive" to print new ones.

He also talked like he'd been to school. And in certain demographics, that makes you an "elitist" and "slick" and unfit to run the country.

Hey Nellie, Nellie, listen what he's sayin'.
Hey Nellie, Nellie, he says it's gettin' late.
Says all them black folks should be free,
To walk around the same as you and me.
He's talkin' about a thing they call democracy, and it's 1858.


Nobody expected him to make it past the primaries. Not against the high-powered campaign of someone who had already spent 8 years in the White House as the spouse of a popular but contentious President.

And then a thing called democracy put him at the head of the ticket.

Hey Nellie, Nellie, come to the window.
Hey Nellie, Nellie, hand me down my gun.
For the men are cheerin' and the boys are too,
They're all puttin' on their coats of blue.
And I ain't got no time to sit and talk to you, and it's 1861.


A lot of people were afraid he'd be shot just for running, like Bobby Kennedy. Just a couple of weeks ago they caught a couple of racists who had planned on making his attempted murder the end point of racial violence.

Hey Nellie, Nellie, come to the window.
Hey Nellie, Nellie, I've come back alive.
My coat of blue is stained with red,
And the man in the tall black hat is dead.
But we sure will remember all the things he said, and it's 1865.


The battle was hard fought right up to the end. But in the end, he not only got the traditional Democratic states. He took Ohio. He took Virginia. He took Indiana. And North Carolina, which hasn't voted Democrat since the early 70s, ended too close to call.

Hey Nellie, Nellie, come to the window.
Hey Nellie, Nellie, look at what I see.
There are white folks and colored walkin' side by side,
A-marchin' in a column that's a century wide.
It was a long and a hard and a bloody ride, and it's 1963


Hey, Nellie, Nellie, it's 2008. And I'm so damned proud of my country that I keep crying.

Linkages

Sep. 5th, 2008 06:56 pm
neadods: (laughter)
The New Adventures of Queen Victoria weighs in on the election. Liberals will find it hilarious. Conservatives probably not so much, but the comment about America as a whole is certainly true.

On the non-political side, a fascinating article on how to do cabling without a cable needle. It's not just "slip it to the other needle." Well illustrated, if you click.

Hmmm... I'm just about to start a cabled project...
neadods: (freedomfromreligion)
If you're American, care about women's rights, and have not yet emailed or written, the 30-day comment period on the Department of Health and Human Services Proposed Regulation Ensuring that DHHS Funds Do Not Support Coercive or Discriminatory Policies is still open. (HTML version here.)

I have talked about this before.

There have been many responses to this. None of them include a precise example of what health care would be like under this rule - so today I'm going further back in my posts to show you the future Leavitt envisions: the saga of Neil T. Noeson.

In April of 2005, the State of Wisconsin Pharmacy Examining Board reprimanded him and limited Noeson's license. This was in response to the fact that Noeson had not informed his employer of his objections to providing birth control, which ultimately led to his being the only pharmacist on duty one day, refusing birth control to a patient, refusing to refer her elsewhere, and refusing to pass on the prescription to the next pharmacist she found. She sued. He hid behind the very conscience clause that Leavitt proposes. The Pharmacy Board concluded (emphasis added):

The Wisconsin Pharmacy Examining Board has never held that a pharmacist is not entitled to exercise his or her conscience in the practice of his or her profession, nor is Respondent’s exercise of conscience the basis for prosecution of this case. Rather, this case is about following professional standards in the exercise of one’s conscience. This, Respondent failed to do. The discipline recommended in this Order is a consequence of Respondent’s failure to act as a professional. The Respondent is not being sanctioned for exercising his conscience. Rather, he is being held accountable, as would any other registered pharmacist, for engaging in a practice that departed from the standards of care that govern his profession.

Page 9 of Leavitt's proposed regulation whines the standards of professional organizations have been used to define the exercise of conscience to be unprofessional. Read that again, in conjunction with what the Board actually said. (And note that at no point in Leavitt's regulation mentions standards of care or patients' rights.)

This is not the end of the Noeson story. He went to a different pharmacy, one which had other pharmacists on staff to help women wanting birth control, even having a separate basket for such drugs so he didn't have to touch him... but he refused to talk to women who asked at the desk, refused to tell anyone else they were there, and even refused to answer the telephone lest he be asked about birth control. Unable to deal with that amount of refusal to do his damn job, they fired him.

He sued them over the very conscience clauses Leavitt cites as current legal precedent.

He lost the first case. He appealed. In April 2007, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago handed him his ass on a platter. The very regulation that Leavitt suggests is reasonable and right a Chicago court finds "would impose an undue hardship... an accommodation that requires other employees to assume a disproportionate workload (or divert them from their regular work) is an undue hardship as a matter of law." (page 4 of the pdf)

Leavitt keeps talking about the hot topic of abortion (limiting of which he apparently considers "an important and legitimate social statement".) Noeson refused BIRTH CONTROL, something the vast majority of American women use. He refused to tell his own supervisors what duties he would or would not perform. He prejudged and refused to serve women. He refused to answer the fucking phone in case he had to hear something he didn't want to hear!

THIS is what DHHS thinks "nondescrimination" looks like. This is the test case of what the DHHS wants to make legal, acceptable, and praiseworthy behavior. If you think this is not the sort of "caring service" that you, your mother, your sisters, your wife, and your daughters should be subjected to, if you don't want to see the floodgates opened to yet more normal and needed services reclassified as "objectionable," then WRITE NOW!

Your voice DOES make a difference. Under the stewardship of Leavitt, the DHHS has also come up with such nonsense as assuming and treating all women as if they are "pre-pregnant" and redefining all forms of birth control equaling abortion. Both of these bits of utter nonsense were shot down as regulations after sustained public outcry (as you can imagine, due to some 98% of American women using birth control at one point or another). This is yet another attempt to get the same notion across, and even if we can't get the notion that women have rights through Leavitt's pointy head, we can make sure that his personal bigotry does not become Government regulation.

Palin

Aug. 29th, 2008 07:43 pm
neadods: (2008)
If ever I needed proof that McCain's little red trolley has run off the tracks, it's his nomination of Palin for Veep.

Apparently convinced that all Clinton supporters will vote for anything with boobs, he has decided to woo liberal feminist Democrats away from the party by nominating an anti-choice, anti-gay rights, anti-environment, anti-science woman. Basically, a woman who stands against anything Clinton stands for.

Having shot himself in the foot with the Clinton supporters, he's put a bullet in the other foot by bringing a woman into the party that has already had some horrifically sexist things to say about women in politics and who has a fraction of the political experience of Obama... which is already too little for McCain.

And just to ice the cake - he's restoring dignity to office by nominating someone about to come under investigation.

Way to go, McCain.


On the other hand, I'm pretty sure I woke up in an alternate reality. Pat Buchanan raving with praise for Obama? A female VP nomination from the Republicans?
neadods: (freedomfromreligion)
In some ways it doesn't matter who Obama's running mate is because I wouldn't vote for McCain if you put a gun to my head. However, now that the choice is made, it should be examined. )

Most importantly to me, Biden has a rating of between 75 to 100% from NARAL and Planned Parenthood, which makes sense for someone who wrote the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). This makes him the perfect person to contact regarding Bush's latest loogie smearing down the Constitution, the upcoming Health and Human Services Regulation to Protect Health Care Providers From Discrimination

Know how the far right likes to frame basic human rights - child custody, employment, hospital visitation, marriage - as "special" rights when homosexuals want them? Well, this little bit of legislative sleight of hand puts conservative Christians in a protected class by making it illegal for them to have to aid the termination of a pregnancy - "termination" redefined as birth control of any sort and "pregnancy" redefined as the moment of conception - regardless of the wishes and beliefs of the patient.

Think I'm making this up? The full text is online as a pdf. Pages 1 and 2 provide means of responding to the Department of Health and Human Services during the 30-day comment period.

I've run a search, and the words "woman," "fetus," "mother," "baby," aren't even in the document. What is there is a whole bunch of whining about how "standards of professional organizations have been used to define the exercise of conscience to be unprofessional" and the health care profession is "intolerant of ... certain religious beliefs" (p 9)

My heart bleeds purple peanut butter in sympathy. How dare organizations set standards of provided care and expect all their members to actually provide it! Page 10 goes on to snivel about "the mistaken beliefs that rights of conscience and self-determination extend to all persons except health care providers."

Everyone else in the world has the choice to not take a job if it conflicts with their personal convictions or to put up and STFU. I can think off the top of my head of about 25 different medical careers that don't ever bring abortion or birth control into the issue - there aren't a lot of cardiologists or radiologists or orthopedists having "conscience" problems on the job. So that whole "we're discriminated against" dog won't hunt. What they're asking for is the right to not do their job AND keep their job AND not be penalized, a "right" extended to no one else anywhere.

Remember that guy I linked to a week or so ago? This is his pet project, only now it's inching from "piss-poor idea" to "law of the land." There is a 30-day comment period. Let the HHS *and* your congresscritter *and* your Presidential candidates of choice hear from you.
neadods: (disgusted)
Proponents for a federal amendment to ban gay marriage go to court to stop their California statewide proposition from being described as "Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry." Why? The description, although accurate in a state that permits gay marriage, is "prejudicial."

"We feel the ballot language is so inflammatory that it will unduly prejudice voters against the measure," said Jennifer Kerns, a spokeswoman for ProtectMarriage.com-Yes on 8. The proposed "fair, non-prejudicial" wording on the ballot - 'Marriage,' or 'Rules Regarding Marriage' - has the minor problem of not actually telling people what they are voting for or against, which would be putting this statement into the state Constitution: Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.

This is being touted by the "vote yes" supporters as *not* having an impact on gay rights. Because if you didn't have a right in the first place except by some sort of aberrant mistake for a month or two, then it's not taking anything away, now is it?

(Someone remind me which of the Ten Commandments is the one about bearing false witness? I'd also like to see the Bible that defines marriage only as between a man and a woman, I really would. Because last time I looked at mine it also defined marriage between a king, his 3000 wives and concubines, a shepherd and his employer's two daughters, and a bunch of other alternatives, right down to a family including a man, his wife, and his wife's servant's kid and also a man, his daughters, and their incestuous pregnancy. So somebody's Bible seems to be missing a chapter or 50. And this is before I even go through recorded history which has recorded quite a few permutations on the 1 man+1 woman model.)

I'm not even going to link to the Orson Scott Card ravings about how horrible it is that activist judges are applying the law equally to citizens instead of letting some people's rights be decided by majority vote. Let that happen and you've got women thinking they can vote and slaves walking around like freedmen and now you're gonna have CATS AND DOGS LIVING TOGETHER! MASS HYSTERIA!

*eyeroll*
neadods: (freedomfromreligion)
My f-list exploded last night with the news that the Department of Health and Human Services is not only attempting to make it legal for care providers to refuse to provide care on the basis of their religious beliefs, but to also redefine most forms of contraception as abortion. I hope that the stink as this splatters across the web and print media will lead to a quick burial and mutters of "we were only thinking about it," just as with their previous attempt to rule all women to be treated as "pre-pregnant." (And if you want to read a rant on the subject, [livejournal.com profile] naamah_darling's is the best (and utterly NSFW) with a less profane follow up citing places where strongly worded outrage will do a little good.

There is going to have to be a Supreme Court case about personal rights (as in "your right to swing your fist ends at my nose and your religion doesn't trump my right to direct my wishes on health care.") And we need it soon.

But in a quieter way, sometimes the good guys win. Two library stories. In one, local members of a church group got their panties in a wad because the library computers can (and are used to) access Teen Planned Parenthood. (Among other complaints, sex ed is "pornography.") The library board voted unanimously to keep the site linked.

In the other, a librarian responds to the request to remove a children's book about gay marriage. Beautifully written anti-censorship piece, with a side order of "the Founding Fathers didn't found this country for the same reason your minister told you."
neadods: (Default)
Doctor Who:
I haven't read it through yet, but it's such an interesting concept I'm going to advertise it: [livejournal.com profile] netgirl_y2k's Jackie and Mickey story, The Idiot's Guide to Foiling Alien Invasions. There's a pair that needs more love, individually and as a team.

After Elton has a wonderful article about Kickass Women in Sci Fi. The money line: Its hard to not make this list heavy on Doctor Who companions..

ETA: Run over to [livejournal.com profile] wendymr's right now and read her post-Midnight fic. Have hankies.

Knitting:
Pierre the Yarn Snob's Drinking Scarf and Seamless Afghan patterns. I'm not sure I'm entirely grasping the second one, but it looks interesting enough to try.

Politics
I've been trying to decide if I should make this its own post or move it to the front, or what, because this is far more important to me than just archiving a couple links that might be of interest to other folks.

Despite the beliefs, writings, and policies of our Founders, despite the rights clearly laid out in the First Amendment, religion has been encroaching more and more upon the Government. I'm not talking about "In God We Trust" on the money or "One Nation Under God" in the pledge, I'm talking about schools "teaching the controversy" instead of teaching actual, provable science, through pharmacies being set up specifically to pander to the religious scruples of their owners rather than provide legal, over-the-counter birth control to women.

Two Presidents have gone on record saying that I - half of whose family can trace back to the Revolution - should not be a citizen because I am an atheist.

McCain, who once "straight talked" about the damage this has done to the country has done a 180 and is practically giving public blow jobs to the far religious right.

And tonight, Barack Obama stood in a church and said this:
[E]ven if we did have only Christians in our midst, if we expelled every non-Christian from the United States of America, whose Christianity would we teach in the schools? Would we go with James Dobson's, or Al Sharpton's? Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? ...

Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason. I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God's will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all.

Now this is going to be difficult for some who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, as many evangelicals do. But in a pluralistic democracy, we have no choice. Politics depends on our ability to persuade each other of common aims based on a common reality. ... To base one's life on such uncompromising commitments may be sublime, but to base our policy making on such commitments would be a dangerous thing. And if you doubt that, let me give you an example.

We all know the story of Abraham and Isaac. Abraham is ordered by God to offer up his only son, and without argument, he takes Isaac to the mountaintop, binds him to an altar, and raises his knife, prepared to act as God has commanded. ... But it's fair to say that if any of us leaving this church saw Abraham on a roof of a building raising his knife, we would, at the very least, call the police and expect the Department of Children and Family Services to take Isaac away from Abraham. We would do so because we do not hear what Abraham hears, do not see what Abraham sees, true as those experiences may be. So the best we can do is act in accordance with those things that we all see, and that we all hear, be it common laws or basic reason.


Obama has always reminded me of Kennedy and the parallels are getting even stronger with me, considering that Kennedy had to give a speech saying that he would not put Papal policy over American policy.
neadods: (bleh)
I was not, by the standards of my previous post, a lucky fish. Nor am I feeling particularly better. Feh. Have spent much of the day re-re-re-engineering the Roma afghan pattern. At this rate, I will spend as much time designing it as I will knitting it.


In the WTF is happening to our leaders? section, McCain calls DC "The City of Satan" (tidily implying that anyone who isn't going in there with an UnConstitutional Christian mandate is equally satanic) and Bush vetoes a bill because it banned torture. The torture techniques associated with the Spanish Inquisition and which the U.S. condemned as a war crime after WWII are now "practices that have a proven track record of keeping America safe." Really? PROVEN? Funny, I'm pretty damn sure I can point to centuries of proof that torture does the exact opposite, muddying intel by getting people to confess to any damn thing. Rather than rant, I'm just going to point you at [livejournal.com profile] nemo_wistar's excellent post on the subject.

If it's one thing that infuriates me more than anything else about this government for the last few years, it's this constant feed of bullshit in an attempt to somehow make us believe that the things we do to "defend our freedom" are somehow different and more morally permissible than the tactics our enemies use to try to defeat us.


[livejournal.com profile] calufrax recced this one, and I'm pretty sure it's already in my fic recs tag (how could anyone forget a title like "N is For Not On Your Life, You Horny Little Prick"?), but I'll repeat it: Around the Universe in 26 Letters.

Also, via [livejournal.com profile] jooj, proof positive that a list of titles can not only be a fic, but a hilarious one: The Torchwood Paper Trail, a list of standard forms at the T3 office.

Alien Brought to The Hub
* A. For Diplomatic Purposes
* B. For Interrogation
* C. For Observation
* D. For Medical Purposes
* E. For Sexual Purposes (Unofficial, added to the rosters after J. Harkness began working at TW-3.



Dude! A yarn party not that far from my place!
neadods: (2008)
Seen the Obama Yes, We Can video? Courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] drho, this is the McCain version. I laughed so hard I scared the cats.
neadods: (disgusted)
It's not even the end of the primaries, and already the vote-rigging has begun:

New Jersey voters arrive at the polling place, find out their party affiliation has been switched, and cannot vote until a judge straightens it out.

One Democrat was not only told she was a Republican (and had to interrupt a jury trial to get the judge's permission to vote in the proper primary), the system said she had voted Republican in the 2000 primary, which she had not done!

Naturally, not everyone was willing to take off a day from work and chase around to get it fixed, and thus defaulted on their chance to vote.

[P]oll workers told incredulous voters... that the stylus used for touch-screen voting was actually an inkless pen to fill out paper ballots. Even the ballot scanning machine knew better, he said, rejecting all 20 ballots as blank. "Each time, the judges overrode the scanner and recorded the vote," [WHOSE vote, I want to know!] he said. By 3 p.m., only five of the 20 voters had been contacted to return to recast their votes.

And again, people are deliberately disenfranchised.

The first one smells suspiciously like Diebold getting caught with its pants down for previous vote-rigging, but the second one is utterly staggering in its coordinated and deliberate attack on voter's rights and shameless ballot-stuffing.

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