Monday, March 29, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
Forthwith, some of my more epic loans, lendees, and terms.
1. Hockey skates, Robin, 10 years. The last time I saw them they were in her shed next to her compound bow, but she's since (a) moved and (b) acquired a husband with (c) five kids between them, so (d) it's probably a good thing I don't play any more.
2. BENCH GRINDER, Jonathan, 8 years. I remember pulling it out of my current shed and putting it in the back of my truck. I forgot about it, Jonathan took another job, I never see him any more, and my yard tools languish in dullness. I have a file but also have tendonosis in my filing elbow. End of story.
3. Orbital sander, coffee grinder, one pair hiking boots, Dave, 7 years. The sander and coffee grinder made the trip with me up to Pinetop to help a somewhat unstable buddy work on his house; the boots stayed for use on future fishing trips; then he got married and kinda melted down, again, the wife took off, and the boots were her size. You do the math.
4. One copy Fun Home (Alison Bechdel), one copy 13 Tales from Urban Bohemia (Dandy Warhols), Gretchen, 3 years. I'm hopeful because I did catch a glimpse of the book on a high shelf the last time I was over there, and three years is merely the blink of an eye in tiempo Gretchense anyway.
On the flip side, I still have a copy of 'Tis (Frank McCourt) John lent me when I was laid up with a wrecked knee, probably ten years ago, and a copy of Primitive Technology: A Book of Earth Skills Jorge was foolish enough to show me at about that same time, and just recently threw out a large Tupperware container Ellen left at my house probably 12 years ago and never asked for back since she had borrowed it from her sister-in-law eons before that and didn't much care about it. Never liked the lid on that thing.
Do I have something of yours? Do let me know.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Public employees will no longer be able to get insurance that covers most abortions under the terms of legislation approved Wednesday by a House panel.
Sen. Linda Gray, R-Glendale, told members of the House Committee on Health and Human Services that state law already prohibits using public dollars to terminate a pregnancy except to save the life of the mother.
But Gray said that intent is thwarted by allowing cities and counties to offer health-insurance policies that cover abortion - policies paid for, at least in part, with taxpayer dollars.
Remember, this is the law that allows the state to assist in financing an abortion only when the woman risks death or "substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function;" rape is no excuse for relief here. And it's bill sponsor Gray's sniffing attitude toward the latter that enrages me like little else, at least this morning.
That does not include coverage for abortions in case of rape and incest. Gray said those situations can be addressed with prescriptions for the "morning-after pill," a high dose of hormones that can prevent ovulation or keep a fertilized egg from implanting.
Her legislation, though, would preclude coverage for that pill, too.
Gray said that ban should not keep any woman from getting the care she needs because she could simply pay the $300 cost of getting the pill out of her own pocket.
Oh, simply fish three hundred dollars out of your pocket! See how simple that was? Don't forget, though, that Sen. Gray also voted for HB 2564 last year, which enshrined into law a pharmacist or emergency room doctor's ability to tell a rape victim to fuck off when she asks for emergency contraception, so good luck with all that, ladies. There's more from a couple of Gray's cronies, whose names will be familiar to you if you read me or Homer very regularly.
The measure is backed by Cathi Herrod, president of the anti-abortion Center for Arizona Policy. She said that while courts have upheld the right of women to an abortion, they also have said there is no right to demand public funding.
Rep. Nancy Barto, R-Phoenix, defended the move. "The overwhelming number of citizens in our state do not approve paying for abortion," she said.
Well, guess what, Nancy and Cathi. People in this state do all sorts of shit on a regular basis that I don't approve of, but I accept that part of the deal of getting to live in a society that's above the level of band organization means having to chip in for stuff I don't like. Courts have upheld the right of men to smoke cigarettes on private property, so do I get to argue that there's no right to demand public funding for their lung cancer treatment just because I think smoking is nasty? What about women who choose to carry a high-risk pregnancy to term against medical advice and end up with a prolapsed uterus or an infant who needs months in the NICU and 24-hour nursing after that for the rest of its life? Should I have to pay for that? Erectile dysfunction? Should I pay for that?
Short answer, yes. If legal medical procedures are covered even when another person could argue they aren't necessary, preventative, or deserved, then they all have to be. We don't get to decide we won't let publicly subsidized insurance pay for bypasses for people weighing more than 300 pounds because we think they brought heart disease on themselves, or for Cialis because we think when you're done you're done, or for procedures requiring blood transfusions because we think they go against God's design. You don't get to single out one perfectly legal procedure to exclude from coverage because you think it offends the God you've created, and restrict access to the drugs that will reduce the incidence of that procedure you despise, and then haughtily shrug and say that the whores can pay a prohibitive cost out of their own pockets if they want it so badly. You don't get to do that and sniff that you're taking the moral high road. Fuck off with your $300 out of pocket, Linda Gray.
It's really this Let Them Eat Cake attitude that puts me on Team Pie for life, y'all.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
State senators voted Monday to bar minors from getting birth-control prescriptions or treatment for sexually transmitted diseases without parental permission.
Sen. Sylvia Allen, R-Snowflake, said the legislation, which now goes to the House, is in the best interests of children. She said her own experience proves that to be the case.
"I had their moral, spiritual, emotional well-being at hand and worked as hard as I could to be a good parent," Allen said. "Government has no business interfering in that bond between a parent and a child."
Requiring a 17-year-old to get Dad's permission for pills to clear up a noxious itch and rash? What could possibly go wrong? But wait; this is Arizona. There's more.
SB 130, approved 16-13, also imposes similar restrictions on mental health screening or treatment, and mandates parental consent for sex-education courses.
Of course it does. The mental health subsection is worded like this:
Except as otherwise provided by law or a court order, no person, corporation, association, organization or state-supported institution, or any individual employed by any of these entities, may procure, solicit to perform, arrange for the performance of or perform mental health screening or mental health treatment on a minor without first obtaining the written consent of a parent or a legal custodian of the minor child.
...so it's unclear what the law would do to, say, interactions between a child and a school counselor--you know, that trusted adult kids are told they can go to if they have nowhere else to turn, say because the people who would have to sign the permission slip for a therapy session are the exact people creating the situation the kid needs therapy for.
Ha! What was I thinking? This is Arizona! All our school counselors have been laid off! Problem solved, bitchez!
Interestingly, the newspaper erroneously reported the bill as being SB 1305 rather than 1309, so when I was trying to find the original language of the Parents' Rights bill, I found out what 1305 is. It is an amendment to Section 35-196.02 of the Arizona Revised Statutes, regarding public funds. Take one guess as to where this is headed. Here's the original wording of that statute:
Notwithstanding any provisions of law to the contrary, no public funds nor tax monies of this state or any political subdivision of this state nor any federal funds passing through the state treasury or the treasury of any political subdivision of this state may be expended for payment to any person or entity for the performance of any abortion unless an abortion is necessary to save the life of the woman having the abortion.
And here's the amended language (in this case, an added paragraph):
Notwithstanding any other law, public monies or tax monies of this state or any political subdivision of this state shall not be expended directly or indirectly to pay the costs, premiums or charges associated with a health insurance policy, contract or plan that provides coverage, benefits or services related to the performance of any abortion unless an abortion is necessary to either:
1. save the life of the woman having the abortion.
2. avert substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.
Directly or indirectly. No word on how "indirectly" is being defined here, which means the most important question is exactly how fungible the legislature--and, inevitably, the courts--think public or tax monies are. If Frank "People on Welfare Can't Buy a Beer" Antenori's in charge, expect the thinking and enforcement to lean toward the draconian end of the scale. Oh, and poor women who end up pregnant because they're raped or in abusive relationships, and poor minor girls who are the same? You're fucked. Twice. No life-threatening (or bodily function-impairing, and here I have no choice but to assume they're thinking of the ever-important future-childbearing bodily function above all else) condition? Hope you've saved up for Pampers, you slut!
Wait, we're not finished here. Because it's Arizona, and a day without the legislature bringing the stupid would be a day without fucking sunshine.
The Arizona Senate is scheduled to vote Monday on a bill to strengthen reporting requirements on abortions.
Democratic Sen. Rebecca Rios of Apache Junction tried unsuccessfully to amend the bill to toughen confidentiality protections. Those included not identifying specific counties and hospitals where abortions are performed.
The Senate's bill sponsor, Republican Linda Gray of Glendale, says there's no need to do that because the reports are intended only for statistical purposes.
Sigh. Haven't we been through this before, in Oklahoma? Oh, there are no specific identifiers recorded, the sponsors insist. It says so right in the bill!
A report required by this article shall not contain the name of the woman, common identifiers such as the woman's social security number, driver license number or insurance carrier identification numbers or any other information or identifiers that would make it possible to identify in any manner or under any circumstances an individual who has obtained or seeks to obtain an abortion.
Oh, okay. Whew! So what information that totes won't make it possible to identify a woman in any manner or under any circumstances will be recorded?
1. The name and address of the facility where the abortion was performed.
2. The type of facility where the abortion was performed.
3. The county where the abortion was performed.
4. The woman's age.
5. The woman's educational background by highest grade completed and, if applicable, level of college completed.
6. The county and state in which the woman resides.
7. The woman's race and ethnicity.
8. The woman's marital status.
9. The number of prior pregnancies and prior abortions of the woman.
10. The number of previous spontaneous terminations of pregnancy of the woman.
11. The gestational age of the unborn child at the time of the abortion.
12. The reason for the abortion, including whether the abortion is elective or due to maternal or fetal health considerations.
13. The type of procedure performed or prescribed and the date of the abortion.
14. Any preexisting medical conditions of the woman that would complicate pregnancy and any known medical complication that resulted from the abortion.
15. The basis for any medical judgment that a medical emergency existed that excused the physician from compliance with the requirements of this chapter.
16. The physician's statement if required pursuant to section 36‑2301.01.
17. If applicable, the weight of the aborted fetus for any abortion performed pursuant to section 36‑2301.01.
Man, my grandmother and her friends would fucking be all over this Name That Tune style and have just about any woman in town pegged by number 4, maybe holding out to number 7 if it was turkey-and-gravy day at the senior center and the woman in question had only lived in the town for a couple of months. Jesus. Should I be gratified that the woman's height, weight, and eye color are being excluded for now?
It's sprinkling rain today and the wildflowers are shivering with delight. This godforsaken state should grow nothing but nettles.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Healthcare, yes. I am still hugely disappointed that the putative party in power relented on the public option, but most of the other provisions in the bill--like, say, covering 36 million people who would otherwise be screwed, and eliminating pre-x denials, and closing the donut hole--are long overdue. So good start, there.
But let's talk about abortion and religion and executive orders, shall we? In a sop to Bart Stupak and his band of unnamed, unnumbered holdouts, Obama signed an executive order that double-dog promises to keep federal funds from paying for abortions for all but the standard, if cognitively dissonant, rape/incest/mother's life exemptions. On the plus side, the order simply reaffirms the odious, now-in-its-third-decade Hyde Amendment. On the downside, it extends the reach of the Hyde Amendment into the to-be-created health insurance exchanges, requiring abortion funds to be completely segregated from all other funds moving through said exchanges, effectively making abortion coverage so complicated and cumbersome to manage that most exchanges and involved companies will decline to offer it. Maybe the additional level of healthcare that will now be available to more women--assuming it encompasses increased contraceptive education, availability, and affordability, along with enhanced prenatal and postpartum care--will result in fewer unplanned or unsustainable pregnancies. That would be good. Obama blithely affirming Hyde, when even Stupak said the votes were probably lined up to pass the bill without him? Not so much. Not so much at all. More in-depth discussion is over at Jezebel, and is required reading.
The classiest endnotes to the healthcare debate came from (1) the House floor, where an as-yet unidentified but presumed Republican screamed "baby killer!" at Bart Stupak when he indicated he'd support the slightly more incremental encroachment on reproductive liberty represented by the XO instead of his own, more intrusive, amendment, and (2) outside the Capitol when protesting teabaggers (a) called Barney Frank a faggot, (b) spat on African-American Representative Emanuel Cleaver, and (c) called Rep. John Lewis a nigger.
Let that last one soak in. They screamed "nigger" at John fucking Lewis.
That's your tea party movement right there in a nutshell. There's a black guy in the White House who wants a slight increase on affluent people's taxes so that everyone in the country gets at least some basic level of healthcare and doesn't have to die from an unfilled cavity, instead of the current system of the uninsured poor waiting until a treatable condition morphs into an acute, catastrophic condition before showing up at the emergency room, resulting in everyone pitching in at a considerably higher rate and everyone's care levels being compromised. The black guy wants everyone taken care of, so they're losing their shit and screaming about the end of the world and, now, letting the pointy white hats slip out a little too much so that anyone who's paying attention can see it, can hear it when they scream nigger at a man who nearly lost his life during the civil rights battles of the 1960s. Because in the end that's all they are, all they have left. Fuck off, teabaggers. You got yours. Now it's time for everyone else to get theirs.
Friday, March 19, 2010
So it's fascinating to hear retired Marine General John Sheehan's explanation for the former atrocity. It wasn't so much Slobodan Milosevic's fault after all! It was The Ghey!
A retired Marine general told senators on Thursday that the Dutch Army failed to protect the city of Srebrenica during the Bosnian war partly because of the presence of gay soldiers in its armed forces.
[Following the collapse of the Soviet Union] the Dutch allowed troops to join unions and enlisted openly gay soldiers. Dutch forces were poorly led and unable to hold off Serb forces in 1995, leading to the execution of Bosnian Muslims and one of the largest European massacres since World War II, Sheehan said.
Who knew we needed to put "genocide" on our list of general failures, right after "objectively disordered," "intrinsic moral evil," "destroying society," and "making straight men feel squicky unless it's hot straight girls pretending to be lesbians we're talking about?" I sure didn't.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
As usual with this sort of thing, the comments on Wonkette are the only things keeping me from spiraling into complete heart-and-soul-schmerz. Good job, Teabaggers. Your country thanks you. By which I mean Jesus weeps.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Saturday, March 13, 2010
I've argued since August that the evidence was clear that the White House had privately negotiated away the public option and didn't want it, even as the President claimed publicly (and repeatedly) that he did. And while I support the concept of "filibuster reform" in theory, it's long seemed clear that it would actually accomplish little, because the 60-vote rule does not actually impede anything. Rather, it is the excuse Democrats fraudulently invoke, using what I called the Rotating Villain tactic (it's now Durbin's turn), to refuse to pass what they claim they support but are politically afraid to pass, or which they actually oppose (sorry, we'd so love to do this, but gosh darn it, we just can't get 60 votes). If only 50 votes were required, they'd just find ways to ensure they lacked 50. Both of those are merely theories insusceptible to conclusive proof, but if I had the power to create the most compelling evidence for those theories that I could dream up, it would be hard to surpass what Democrats are doing now with regard to the public option. They're actually whipping against the public option. Could this sham be any more transparent?
If an alternative political party would like to start trying to curry favor with me, this would be a great time to start. Who decided that having progressive principles and having a spine must be mutually exclusive? Meanwhile, enjoy your mandated insurance purchase in a competition-free environment.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
I hate to write this email to you tonight, but the truth is that the Governor's Budget is Going to Pass out of the Senate tomorrow.
I'm so sorry. I fought for 10 hours last night to defeat that budget in the Appropriations Committee, but the majority party prevailed!
I spent time pointing out to them how the Democratic budget proposals suggested closing some of the $10 billion in tax loopholes that could have been closed and helped out the budget deficit. I reminded them that there are $250 million in tax credits that we could suspend and re-direct to help out vulnerable populations. I told them of other budget options, even raising revenue. It all fell on deaf ears.
Tomorrow we go to the floor for the first vote on the Governor's budget.
As you well know, it is a very ugly budget...it really throws people under the bus in favor of the conservative hardcore ideology of cut, cut, cut Government.
Oh, by the way, they eliminate 45,000 kids off of KidsCare health coverage! And they eliminate Adult Education who helps 43,000 adults earn their GED after dropping out of school. Eliminate them! Why, when these programs cost a mere $300 per person and re-direct a person's life down a more useful path rather than ending up in our jail/prison system?
They just don't want government helping people...they want people to help themselves! Of course, that's what we want but you can't cut off your nose to spite your face. We have to look at the state as a whole and stop promoting a belief system that works against our future needs.
Cutting taxes doesn't solve the kinds of problems Arizona is facing!
And, if the 1 cent sales tax doesn't pass on May 18th, they have huge cuts of $800 million planned already to education and universities.
Astounding! They just don't understand that they are eating their seed corn.
I will still continue to fight to stop that budget, but they wouldn't bring it to the floor if they didn't already have their votes lined up.
I'm sorry, but I want you to know what's happening up here.
Tomorrow will be a sad day for Arizona!
PS: And next Tuesday they will begin their attempt to allow the Payday Lending industry to continue.
It's one grenade after another up here.
Thanks for standing with us in fighting these horrible cuts.
District 28, Tucson
1-800-352-8404 X 6-5262
Appropriations Committee, Ranking Democrat Health Committee Education Committee
What an amazing fucking state I live in.
Anyway. The parents got old, one passed away, and the other is in a nursing home, and the family house is in need of a lot of work before whatever happens next can happen. So the de facto brother-in-law hired me to build bookcases and tables and countertops in the guesthouse portion of the property in preparation for renting it out again. So we have been busy, me sawing and sanding, the girlfriend scraping and painting, the de facto brother-in-law's girlfriend painting and cleaning and wrangling electricians and plumbers. And some of de facto's sister's kids dropped by and variously pitched in and pitched a fit.
They don't want the house sold, or substantially changed, even when some of that change involves scrubbing years of grime from the kitchen cabinets or emptying drawers of decades' worth of sweepstakes entries, lunch menus, expired credit cards, expired medications. They don't live in town, of course, and have made minimal appearances here over the years, never--save this last visit, by one of the four--to help with the house, either physically or fiscally. They were a military familty growing up, so I understand their distress at seeing Grandma and Grandpa's house--the anchor of their childhood memories--fall into disrepair, and understand how painful it can be to think about a place that has always meant family to you more than any other pass into strangers' hands and be closed off to you forever.
It's unnerving when a place you thought was immutable proves itself vulnerable to time after all, when having to untether your memories from a house unmoors your sense of self along with them. But a house without the people is little better than a mausoleum, an empty stage with a set but no actors, a shell populated only by increasingly distant memories. My own anchor back in southern Illinois is slowly being cranked up too, my own grandparents' house set to sell on May 1, the yellow house with high ceilings and warm lights where my childhood self lives poised to move on into other hands, another family, ready for the next set of generations and memories. I don't want that house and everything in it to go away either, but I know it's not my call. I haven't been there and am too far away to help go through the drawers, the boxes, the closets crammed with stuff. Anything my uncle saves for me will be a gift.
It sucks. But it's also inevitable in our mobile reality. Here in my girlfriend's adopted family's home I sweep up as I go where I've moved the kitchen table away to make room for my saw and try to keep the sawdust intrusion to a minimum, putting things back as I found them, doing what I can to ease this transition as my own proceeds apace without me a thousand miles away. I hope they will like what I build for them.
Thursday, March 04, 2010
Fuck Bart Stupak.
Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., today said he and 11 other House members will not vote for the health care bill unless it includes more stringent language to prevent federal funding from going toward abortion services. Some Dems want to remove public funding for abortions from Obama's proposal.
"We're not going to vote for this bill with that kind of language," Stupak told "Good Morning America's" George Stephanopoulos today, referring to the Senate health care bill, which includes less restrictive language than what the Democratic lawmaker proposed in the House.
Stupak said he is willing to take the criticism that will be hurled at him if he blocks the bill because of the abortion language, but that he won't back down on his principles.
Aaaaaaaand drink. Oh, finish the whole thing. Now the required reading, first a refresher from last year courtesy of Katha Pollitt (well, courtesy of my friend who sends me this stuff when I miss it the first time around), responding to the meme that prochoicers need to just suck it up and accept that perpetually increasing abortion restrictions are just the price we (women) have to pay for healthcare getting passed:
You know what I don't want to hear right now about the Stupak-Pitts amendment banning abortion coverage from federally subsidized health insurance policies? That it's the price of reform, and prochoice women should shut up and take one for the team. "If you want to rebuild the American welfare state," Peter Beinart writes in the Daily Beast, "there is no alternative" than for Democrats to abandon "cultural" issues like gender and racial equality. Hey, Peter, Representative Stupak and your sixty-four Democratic supporters, Jim Wallis and other antichoice "progressive" Christians, men: why don't you take one for the team for a change and see how you like it?For example, budget hawks in Congress say they'll vote against the bill because it's too expensive. Maybe you could win them over if you volunteered to cut out funding for male-exclusive stuff, like prostate cancer, Viagra, male infertility, vasectomies, growth-hormone shots for short little boys, long-term care for macho guys who won't wear motorcycle helmets and, I dunno, psychotherapy for pedophile priests. Men could always pay in advance for an insurance policy rider, as women are blithely told they can do if Stupak becomes part of the final bill.
Enough already. Prochoicers have been taking one for the team since 1976, when Congress passed the Hyde amendment, which Jimmy Carter would later defend with the immortal comment, "There are many things in life that are not fair." Time for the theocrats and male chauvinists to give something up for the greater good--to say nothing of the twenty prochoicers, all men, who supported Stupak out of sheer careerism. After all, if it weren't for prochoicers, there wouldn't be much of a team for them to play on.
If you need to make additional and possibly expanded or more specific and detailed toasts at this point, feel free to leave them in the comments. Then schlork down the rest of your glass and settle in with last week's column from Jessica Arons, in which she takes Stupak's insistence that no abortion be funded with any federal dollars, no matter how indirectly, to its reasonable conclusion.
Money in Stupak's world is "fungible," or interchangeable, meaning whatever money the government gives you frees up private money for you to use on something else. So every dollar the government pays toward your health insurance premium allows you and the insurer to spend private funds in that plan that you might not otherwise have had on abortion. To Stupak, that subsidization is the equivalent of a direct payment.
But by that token, every government benefit a woman receives, whether monetary or in-kind, whether for healthcare or for something else, could be seen as subsidizing an abortion if she has one.
Either there is no such thing as indirect funding or everything receives indirect funding, but there is no in between. Either the government pays for abortion or it does not. Stupak, who until recently lived in the "C Street House"--a townhouse owned by a religiously affiliated organization that receives a tax exemption--cannot accept indirect subsidies in one area but reject them in others.
Remember, water in equal measure to alcohol, and two ibuprofen and a dollop of toothpaste before bed--face it, if you'd planned on keeping that liver forever you would have started treating it better a long time ago--and hope tomorrow isn't a workday in your world.
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
1. Spring training is upon us, and the Cubs have (a) ditched Milton Bradley, which is like foisting off the FORGERY card in Masterpiece on somebody who wasn't paying attention, (b) lost roughly 20 pounds of Carlos Zambrano, which may or may not help him delay his inevitable meltdown until May, and (c) got themselves bought by new ownership, which includes an out lesbian community activist. Of the three, I'm most excited by (a). That guy was pure poison on the field and in the clubhouse. Did he kick puppies on off days? It's possible.
2. My brothers are displaying an alarming lack of brainpower, by (a) running up enough debts to have collection agencies calling my dad's house, by doing things like not realizing being on a cruise ship means international phone rates which means a $500 bill when you get home after five days, which then means not having a phone any more (the older one), and (b) weighing whether or not to take my niece to the doctor when she's sick, because my brother lost his insurance, because he decided to change jobs (didn't actually lose the first job, just decided to take a more interesting and oh by the way TEMPORARY job instead) during a recession with two little kids and a pregnant wife (the younger one). They're actually brothers from a different mother (how long have I been waiting to say that?), so mitochondrial DNA FTW!
3. The downside of #2 above is that we do share the same father, which means I get to deal with said father's increasing depression and drinking due to the asshole factors being exhibited by his male spawn. Thanks, guys.
4. Moving from family to Family, the WPS season is upon us as well, with plenty of excitement promised by the LA Sol's dispersal. The competition level should be amped up a notch, and more internationals are flocking to our fair shores as well. Atlanta Beat, you were dead before you even started. The hotdog stand color scheme and logo design should have been the first hint that you should scrap it and start over. Well, every league needs a doormat, and as a Red Stars fan I have nothing to say but THANK YOU ATLANTA.
5. Also, carpentry. My afternoons and weekends are being consumed by building bookcases and tables for a rental property held somewhere within my too-lesboriffic-to-explain extended family. Lungs are full of sawdust, knuckles are nicked. And I need a masonry bit for the adobe walls.