Picking up where Laffy left off yesterday in her great post Fed Up Dems...
If I knew what women want, I'd be a kazillionaire because I'd write a book about it and rake in the dough. The truth is I have no idea what women want. I know this because I'm married to a wonderful woman. And just when I think I've got it figured out, I'm told I'm wrong, asked what was I possibly thinking and then met with a silent shake of the head. My male, married buddies tell me I'm lucky that it's just a silent shake of the head.
So building on a platform of I'm no expert, I do know some things. I know that women want and deserve the right to self-determination, just like the guys. They don't want to be treated differently -- just fairly. And I don't have any argument against that.
But the Republicans do. Their mostly white, older men composite seems to feel that women are inferior mentally and emotionally, that they're not capable of rational decisions -- even with it comes to their own bodies and health issues. More of them think along the legitimate rape lines than in rational scientific reasoning. And those genteel, Southern Gentlemen who demurely dismiss women with their cloak of protecting them from themselves, "those sweet little souls. They are so lovely, aren't they -- like a field of violets or Lady Slippers, swaying in a warm, summer's night." And all the while the Lindsay Grahams spew their charming tripe, their mind is busy with the melodic refrains of "Dixie."
In the wake of Roe v Wade, individual states, feeling the decision of the SCOTUS was wrong, have set out to correct this injustice. They've taken a clearly decided issue and are chipping away at the rights determined by the highest court in our land. That's the conservative, right-wing way.
Finally, after assault on assault at the state's level, accelerated in every red state with a Republican-led legislation, women's rights and protections are being circumvented or even stricken. This has got to stop.
Well, the slow moving but well-intentioned Democrats in Congress have finally had enough. They've gone from being a sleeping giant to a forceful vociferous champion of women. Release the Kraken-- Sen. Richard Blumenthal. HuffPo reports:
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) will introduce the Women's Health Protection Act of 2013, joined by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Reps. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), Judy Chu (D-Calif.) and Lois Frankel (D-Fla.). The bill would prohibit states from passing so-called Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws, which impose strict and cost-prohibitive building standards on abortion clinics, require women seeking abortions to have ultrasounds, and create other barriers to abortion access.
Looks like good ol' Connecticut Senator Blumenthal's gonna be gettin' sometin' sometin' from Mrs. Senator B when he goes home on his next break. And you know what, he deserves it. My only criticism is why this took so long. The last pro-active abortion legislation to pass through the Senate was in 1994, with the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act. That made it a federal crime to block or harass patients or doctors who entered or exited abortion clinics.
When Republicans don't like something, they propose a bill and there's immediate discussion, press coverage and oftentimes votes. In the case of Obamacare, 42 votes. Of course that's the House and they're led by government shutdown fever and Republican leader, Speaker John Blunder.
Blumenthal's bill wouldn't automatically overturn states' existing anti-abortion laws, but because federal law trumps state law, it would provide a means to challenge them in court. The bill would direct judges to consider certain factors in determining whether a restriction is legal, such as whether it interferes with a doctor's good-faith medical judgment, or whether it's likely to interfere with or delay women's access to abortion.
This bill will surely pass the Senate. In the House, it'll probably never even come to a vote. But when the 2014 elections come around, you can add that to the Democrats long list of things the Republicans did -- stopping immigration reform, shutting down the government, restricting women's rights, repressing voters rights, obstructing qualified presidential appointees to the bench, pushing for war with Iran, and so many others. I'll need another blog just to continue the list. And like my wife, I make lists.
A week ago, three U.S. congresspersons, Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) and Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) wrote in a letter to the Food and Drug Administration. They complained that e-Cigarette companies are taking advantage of a “loophole” in current regulations that allows them to escape the type of oversight given to the rest of the tobacco industry.
Really. The tobacco industry is getting nervous. That can't be all bad. Remember, these are the peddlers of cancer sticks they call tobacco cigarettes.
What this trio of representatives is really complaining about isn't regulation of the product based on contents, health, or dangers. It's competition. Commerce. They're doing their dirty deeds under the guise of trying to protect children from vaping -- using eCigs.
First, I don't want to see kids smoking. Certainly not cigarettes. Yet the health hazards equated to eCigs and related vaporizing devices, according to the Daily Consumer Alert are not all that drastic.
A few of the benefits claimed from using the electronic cigarette:
No tar, tobacco, carbon monoxide, or ash.
Get the same amount of nicotine as a regular cigarette.
Each cartridge costs less than $2 and is equivalent to an entire pack of cigarettes.
Average consumer can expect to save over $1,000 each year.
You won’t “smell” like a smoker any longer.
Different flavors are available.
No more second-hand smoke.
Yet because there is no tobacco in these products, they don't fall under the strict guidelines the FDA has set up for tobacco products. One of those restrictions has to do with access to anyone under 18.
Will kids start taking up eCig usage and vape? You bet, just like with regular cigarettes. But is this healthier for them? Probably, but that's what research is for.
Then the question becomes, before a product is deemed needing regulation, do kids need extra protection, just in case? Hesitantly I say, maybe. But I'm not sure yet of the motives of the people trying to bring parity with the tobacco industry regulations. I've got questions as to who's bidding these congresspeople are doing. Are they interested in the children, or is this a lobbyist attempt to help out what could be a dying cigarette industry?
Maybe if they want to bust open their books and return any money they've received in contributions in the past or currently, I might be inclined to be less dubious of their putting some "sin" in sincerity.
If vaping grows as rapidly as it looks to be doing, there's cause for tobacco to worry. Cigarettes won't die out forever, but they may becomes yesterday's news.
A year ago I didn't know anyone who had tried an eCig. Today I know a few. And those are all people used to smoke cigarettes. They don't anymore. I've asked if they enjoy the experience and unanimously they say yes.
Formerly, the cigarette smoker's clothes and even their bodies reeked of old cigarettes. Their breath wasn't fresh, and when they'd taken a hit or two in my presence, I got a headache from the smoke smell. Not now. With the eCig usage I noticed nothing more than a light waft of soft, fragrant aroma. It's less than passing by mid-summer, night-blooming jasmine.
So maybe these congresspeople should cool their jets. Do some research. If eCigs require more regulation, it'll come. But after research.
Until then, check out the newest advertising for eCigs. An adult campaign isn't going to get kids to want to give vaping a try. See for yourself.
Hmm. You know what I wrote up above -- Never mind.
Okay, so six counties in the north east quadrant of Colorado voted this week to secede. They want to form their own state. Well, we all know that ain't gonna happen. It takes more than a group of counties to make this a reality. It takes the approval of the state legislature and U.S. Congress for the secession effort to succeed. According to history, the last time a state willingly ceded territory was when Maine split from Massachusetts in 1820.
And what would we do with all of our flags with 50 stars? Would we have to sew on a 51st?
Well, maybe not. You know the old saying, be careful what you wish for. Well, how about this for a cost saving measure: We let Texas have what it wants -- to become it's own country. Then we lose them and we pick up North Colorado and we don't have touch the flags one bit. When one door closes, another opens kind of thing. You gotta like that.
But the idea of succession and even leaving the states and becoming it's own country is not new in Texas. HUFFPO:
A year ago this week, more than 125,000 people signed a secession petition asking the Obama administration to “Peacefully grant the State of Texas to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government.”
Remember, by new government they mean new country. They already have their own state government. They're looking for sovereignty. Maybe they'll even decide to have a King ruling the new kingdom.
So what if Texas is successful in leaving? What kind of void would that leave the rest of us in? I'm sure the Astros, Mavericks, Rangers and Cowboys would still belong to our sports leagues. But, if we did grant them sovereignty, let's see how we'd fare. Here's some of what we'd have to give up.
1. We shed the state with the worst health care in the union. Yup, Texas is dead last.
2. Texas is on the bottom of women's health issues with among the strictest anti-abortion laws in the nation. We gain there.
3. The Lone Star State has discriminatory religious beliefs. They make it a requirement to pledge belief in a "Supreme Being" in order to hold public office. Atheists not allowed to run.
4. Women in general are cheated out of rights, wages and their votes in Texas. A 2013 report by the Center for American Progress gave the state of Texas an “F” for how it treats women.
5. Texas leads and has led the country in executions, with 503 since 1976. Pro or anti-capital punishment, there's still too much going on there in Texas.
6. Houston, the largest city in the state and fourth largest in the U.S. bars domestic partner benefits. Not exactly a welcoming place for LGBT partners.
7. New voter laws in the state make it hard for legal residents to vote. It's designed to eliminate women, students, minorities and the elderly. So our country would become more honestly represented.
And finally, we'd have Ted Cruz. He'll become a tri-citizen. He's Canadian by birth. American (still debatable with birthers) by his mother's nationality and Texan because that's where he's hoping to be anointed their first king.
Now taking this look at how losing Texas would effect us I'd say it's worth a right-quick consideration. We save on changing our flag. We save on seats in Congress because North Colorado is much smaller in population than Texas. Gone will be the biggots, racists and uncitizen-like minority that runs that state. Don't tell me this isn't a win-win situation.
Finally, while so much of this country is consumed with making women's access to safe, legal abortions harder and harder to find, California leads the way -- again -- in allowing women to be responsible for their own bodies and their reproductive rights. Instead of moving backwards, the Golden State is moving forward. Governor Jerry Brown signed into law abortion provider legislation yesterday.
The gist of the legislation, as reported by Breitbart:
The bill, AB 154, passed both houses of the state legislature withstrong support from Planned Parenthood and pro-choice groups. Planned Parenthood stands to benefit most directly from the bill, as non-physician staff at its clinics would be able to obtain abortion licenses.
The bill permits licensed non-physicians to perform two kinds of abortion in the first trimester--by medication, and by aspiration, which requires the insertion of medical instruments into the uterus.
According to Fox Channel 5 in San Diego, 53% of California counties don't currently have access to certified abortion providers. That meant that a large number of women had the legal right to the procedure, but not the access. With the signing of the bill, a majority of Califorina women will now have a likelier chance of receiving this safe procedure and at a lower cost, easier access and with shorter wait times.
It comes down to this. Women have the legal right to their own bodies. Fair and reasonable access should never be the issue. That will be lessened now in California.
Want to see how important this decision is? Watch this:
This attempt to control the rights and privacy of women was supposed to go into effect as of August, but now it will be on hold until the court considers the merits. Merits? What merits?
A federal judge on Monday temporarily blocked North Dakota's anti-abortion law, which banned the procedure as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.
Judge Daniel Hovland said the state's anti-abortion law — the most restrictive in the country — is "clearly unconstitutional under an unbroken stream of United States Supreme Court authority.” [...]
“The State has extended an invitation to an expensive court battle over a law restricting abortions that is a blatant violation of the constitutional guarantees afforded to all women," Hovland wrote.
The judge is a GW Bush appointee, by the way.
The Center for Reproductive Rights filed the lawsuit on behalf of North Dakota's only abortion clinic.
One by one, Republican-run states have tried to eliminate women's access to health services by writing laws that result in closing down clinics that can't possibly meet demands laid out in those laws. See: Bye-bye women’s rights: “If you live where the Republican party is in control now, right now, this is your life”:
Their ultimate goal is to get an abortion rights case in front of our currently very conservative Supreme Court as they use it as a wedge issue politically. In the meantime, women are already turning to "self-abortion," endangering their own lives in order to receive the care they should be getting legally.
So these laws aren't stopping women from undergoing procedures; instead they're causing them to pursue unsafe methods that could cut their own lives short.
So much for reaching out to women in the GOP's increasingly unsuccessful attempts to rebrand the party:
Where Republicans have taken the reins of state power across the country, they have used it single-mindedly to shut down women's health clinics just since the last election.
And it is not like we didn't have a national fight about this issue in that election. I mean, for their national ticket in 2012, Republicans picked an anti-abortion hard-liner ticket, a vice presidential contender who said he would even force a rape victims to bear a rapist's child against their will. And a presidential contender who, for his part, pledged frequently to end Planned Parenthood. Said he would cut off federal funding for Planned Parenthood, he would end it.
He said he would overturn Roe v. Wade. That's what he hoped for. The Democrats responded to the Republicans' initiatives by stepping up their support for women's rights....
...In the Republican/Democratic general election races all over the country, saying that Democrats would be the ones to defend women's rights and the abilities to decide their own pregnancies without the government. Democrats warning across the country that a vote for Republicans would be a vote to ban abortion in this country...
Republicans lost the last election nationally really badly. They lost the white house really badly. They lost seats in the Senate. They lost seats in the House. Nationally, in the last election, Republicans lost and Democrats won.
But, national isn't everything. And if Republicans are in control in your state, this is what they have decided to do with state governance now.
Since that election, that is what they have decided state governance is for now. If you live where the Republican party is in control now, right now, this is your life.
Iknow its not a beltway story, doesn't feel like a national story because nobody adds up what happens in the individual states to see how it affects American women, to see how it affects American rights in an aggregate sense, that's not the way we do beltway reporting in this country, but this is a national story that is significant in terms of the way it's going to affect women's health, women's lives, and American families for generations to come.
This is the national story.
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