Sunday, February 19, 2012

The show ain't over until the pregnant lady sings

Well, it's been a week or two, and the American public, with their beagle-puppy attention span, can no longer remember the little tiff between Planned Parenthood and the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

(For those of you slipping into a CNN-induced haze, Karen Handel resigned as Senior Vice President for Public Policy of the Susan G Komen Foundation; she was widely accepted as being responsible for Komen deciding to defund Planned Parenthood.)

Being a Republican, Handel is, of course, wandering around trying to play the victim card, because martyrdom is the default strategy of the Right. Fortunately, the previously-mentioned attention span problem has pushed her deep into the sidelines where she belongs.

Her resignation letter included the following fascinating viewpoint.
We can all agree that this is a challenging and deeply unsettling situation for all involved in the fight against breast cancer. However, Komen’s decision to change its granting strategy and exit the controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood and its grants was fully vetted by every appropriate level within the organization. At the November Board meeting, the Board received a detailed review of the new model and related criteria. As you will recall, the Board specifically discussed various issues, including the need to protect our mission by ensuring we were not distracted or negatively affected by any other organization’s real or perceived challenges. No objections were made to moving forward.

I am deeply disappointed by the gross mischaracterizations of the strategy, its rationale, and my involvement in it. I openly acknowledge my role in the matter and continue to believe our decision was the best one for Komen’s future and the women we serve. However, the decision to update our granting model was made before I joined Komen, and the controversy related to Planned Parenthood has long been a concern to the organization. Neither the decision nor the changes themselves were based on anyone’s political beliefs or ideology.
Just so you know, there are a bunch of huge lies in those two little paragraphs. Let's consider two of them.

"the controversy related to Planned Parenthood has long been a concern to the organization"

Really? Has it, now?

Komen founder Nancy Brinker published Promise Me in 2010, a memoir about starting the Susan G. Komen Foundation because of a deathbed promise to her eponymous sister.

Consider this excerpt (from, remember, just two years ago):
In the book, she discusses how the Curves workout chain withdrew their support to Komen in 2004 due to Komen's grants to Planned Parenthood centers. Brinker is clear about why they refused to buckle to Curves' pressure:
"The grants in question supplied breast health counseling, screening, and treatment to rural women, poor women, Native American women, many women of color who were underserved--if served at all--in areas where Planned Parenthood facilities were often the only infrastructure available. Though it meant losing corporate money from Curves, we were not about to turn our backs on these women."
And despite Handel trying to claim that it was Foundation policy and she was just trying to enforce it, the people she worked with don't agree: it was entirely her doing, she came up with the excuse needed to defund, and she was the primary motivator pushing it through.

Now, despite her attempts to claim that she resigned in the face of a hostile "liberal media" (and, holy crap, do I wish that there was such a thing as a "liberal media"), considering the big picture, I'm personally willing to say that she didn't really resign, so much as she was forced out; at the very least, she put in her resignation before she would have been fired.

Why do I suggest this? (And let's be honest - I'm not "suggesting" it, I'm coming right out and saying it.) Because she wasn't very good at her job. She, in fact, failed badly, just a few months after being hired.

Remember, the job she was hired for was Senior Vice President for Public Policy.

Put aside your politics. Your personal feelings on "freedom of choice" vs. "abortion" don't make a bit of difference to the following argument. If anything, they get in the way. Suppress them for just a minute.

The evidence shows that she was the person pushing the policy to immediately stop funding Planned Parenthood. And that, by itself, is a blatantly stupid policy: when dealing with a group who hires as many lawyers as Planned Parenthood does, one truth should hold sway over every other consideration: if you publicly promise to give them money, you damned well follow through on that promise!

Lawyers love stuff like that. They can't even stand straight from the law-boner it gives them.

So, bad policy. From the Senior Vice President for Public Policy.

Second, and more important, "Senior Vice President for Public Policy" is an extremely fancy, extremely well-paid PR position. She's managing the public face of this charitable empire: the policies she sets up and advocates define how people see the Susan G. Komen Foundation. And when they end up looking like political hacks instead of public health advocates, somebody isn't doing their job.

Like, maybe, somebody in charge of Public Policy.

So, in the end, Ms Handel will probably get a book deal out of it, and a paying gig at Fox "News" whenever the subject of abortion comes up.

More importantly, what we have to do is keep an eye on the Susan G. Komen Foundation during the next round of grants. Because if they try to quietly stop giving grants to Planned Parenthood in the shadow of all this, that will tell us something about them, won't it?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sex lives of the rich and hypocritical

You might think that a person's sex life should be their own business. On the other hand, if you're like me, you might also think that, since Rick Santorum believes that he has the right to shove the government straight up every woman's vagina, then his own "love" life would be open season. So, just for fun, let's look at some of those pesky things they call "facts."

Fact 1: Rick Santorum married the former Karen Garver in 1990, and they have seven children (eight, if you count pickled Baby Gabriel).

Fact 2: Ricky has publically stated that he is completely opposed to all forms of contraception, and that sex should only be for procreation.

(Sadly, the original publishers,, an evangelical Christian website, got a little cranky that people were taking chunks of their interview and showing what Santorum actually said, usually in context. So they make the usual "copyright infringement" argument every time somebody extracts a bit of it. Ironically, since they hosted it on Youtube, they can't hide it away without losing access themselves. Drag forward to 17:55 for this bit.)
One of the things I will talk about that no president has talked about before is I think the dangers of contraception in this country, the whole sexual libertine idea ... Many in the Christian faith have said, "Well, that's okay ... contraception's okay."

It's not okay because it's a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be. They're supposed to be within marriage, for purposes that are, yes, conjugal ... but also procreative. That's the perfect way that a sexual union should happen. We take any part of that out, we diminish the act. And if you can take one part out that's not for purposes of procreation, that's not one of the reasons, then you diminish this very special bond between men and women, so why can't you take other parts of that out?

And all of a sudden, it becomes deconstructed to the point where it's simply pleasure. And that's certainly a part of it—and it's an important part of it, don't get me wrong—but there's a lot of things we do for pleasure, and this is special, and it needs to be seen as special.
As Ms Santorum is barely out of her 40s, there is no reason to assume that she's gone through menopause, although it's always possible. Adding these facts together, we have to assume that the Santorums did not mate like mad minxes during the nearly six years of her life that Karen has spent pregnant, or for the brief period of any hypothetical menopause which she might or might not have experienced.

Therefore, I think that it's safe to assume that, either Rick Santorum is completely hypocritical on the subject of birth control (always possible), or he and his wife have had sex between eight and twelve times total. Approximately once every two years.

You could fantasize that they make it special: a glass of wine, maybe some candles, with her in her most fetching flannel nightgown and him in nothing but a sweater vest.

But I suspect that that the dark deed is most likely performed with a minimum of foreplay, with the lights out, missionary style. I picture Ricky pumping away grimly, trying to finish as quickly as possible, before either of them starts to enjoy it. And when the vile depravity comes to an end, they both roll over and quietly sob themselves to sleep.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

(insert Jim Nabors reference here)

There is, if you look at the middle of these United States, right at the bottom, a godforsaken oozing sore of a state known as Texas. It is not a good place to live - it's a black hole of humanity and common sense, and it's where televangelists and crooked politicians go to die.

I was born there. And I would rather be castrated with a hammer than ever go back.

But I'm not going to run down the entire state; I don't have that kind of time right now. I'm just going to focus on one unique example of the kind of venal bundles of manure in a suit infesting the Texas legislative offices. He's a member of the US House of Representatives from East Texas, and his name is Louie Gohmert.

It is quite possible that he is the second stupidest Aggie in the history of Texas (tied with Rick Perry), but he is so much more than that. This man is a particularly special kind of crazy - put him in a room with Michele Bachmann and a bonobo on meth, and it's a tough call to say who will come out looking like the sane one.

He is (it almost goes without saying) a full-on birther: he, in fact, co-sponsored what came to be known as the "birther bill" (HR 1503), to "require the principal campaign committee of a candidate for election to the office of President to include with the committee's statement of organization a copy of the candidate's birth certificate..."

At one point, he became enthralled with "terror babies." You've heard of "anchor babies," where a pregnant illegal immigrant waits until her water breaks, then dashes across the border just in time to spew out her spawn, who then, under the 14th Amendment, is a American citizen. (It is, of course, a myth.)

Well, that paranoid fantasy wasn't bad-ass enough for our boy Louie! No, sirree Bob! He began openly coughing up the idea that terrorists were impregnating women, sending them to the US to have their "anchor babies," flying them back to wherever they came from, and then waiting twenty to thirty years to send them back as glassy-eyed kamikaze assassins who could gain easy entry into ANYWHERE and destroy ANYTHING!!! We're DOOOOOOMMMED!!!!

He successfully proved that he has less evidence for this than a UFO buff has of real illegal aliens by going on Anderson Cooper 360 and ranting incoherently.

But don't go thinking that's the worst conspiracy Louie can come up with. See, apparently, Obamacare, combined with our minor assistance in the Libya conflict, will inevitably lead to Obama ending up with a private army that only HE controls!! (cue sinister music)
"But then when you find out we're being sent to Libya to use our treasure and American lives there, maybe there's intention to so deplete the military that we're going to need that presidential reserve officer commissioned corps and non-commissioned corps that the president can call up on a moment's notice involuntarily, according to the Obamacare bill!"
And, of course, being a good Texas lawmaker, Louie isn't afraid to ignore that whole "separation of church and state" thing. The realization that California's Proposition 8 was unconstitutional made him a little cranky.
Said Gohmert: "The court, as I understand it today, struck down a law that said marriage is between a man and a woman. It's interesting that there are some courts in America where the judges have become so wise in their own eyes that they know better than nature or nature's God."

Gohmert then brought up the Supreme Courtjustices in Iowa who were ousted last year after a vicious campaign by anti-gay activists over their support for marriage equality:

"Nature seemed to like the idea of an egg and a sperm coming together because of pro-creation. Apparently [the judges] thought the sperm had far better use some other way biologically, combining it with something else. But the voters of Iowa came back and said you know what, if you're not smart enough to figure out actual plumbing...then perhaps we need new judges, and that's what they did."

(Youtube pulled the video from the original link, so I substituted one from ThinkProgress, where they also point out that Proposition 8 had nothing to do with procreation, because it didn’t even mention whether same-sex couples could raise children.)

So, that's our boy Gohmert. Not the brightest of all possible lawmakers, but certainly one of the more entertaining. But I think that Louie outdid himself this week.

See, Gohmert sits on the House Natural Resources Committee (because presumably all the members with functioning brain cells want to avoid that one), and his biggest interest this week? Making sure that Alaskan caribou get laid. Of course, to do that (and this, ladies and gentlemen, is the genius of Louie Gohmert), he needs to make sure that we spend more money on the Alaskan Pipeline.
It seems that Gohmert is also something of an expert on animal husbandry. Here's his theory: The caribou very much enjoy the warmth the pipeline radiates. "So when they want to go on a date, they invite each other to head over to the pipeline," he informed his colleagues. It's apparently the equivalent of being wined and dined. And that has resulted in a tenfold caribou population boom, he concluded.

"So my real concern now ...if oil stops running through the we need a study to see how adversely the caribou would be affected if that warm oil ever quit flowing?" he asked.
Because god only knows how they mated before there was a pipeline in Alaska.

People of America, I give you... Louis Buller Gohmert, Jr. Humanitarian, father, and caribou fucker.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Whatever you do, don't say anything good about the auto industry

What follows is the video, and the transcript for a Superbowl ad starring Clint Eastwood.

It’s halftime. Both teams are in their locker room discussing what they can do to win this game in the second half.

It’s halftime in America, too. People are out of work and they’re hurting. And they’re all wondering what they’re going to do to make a comeback. And we’re all scared, because this isn’t a game.

The people of Detroit know a little something about this. They almost lost everything. But we all pulled together, now Motor City is fighting again.

I’ve seen a lot of tough eras, a lot of downturns in my life. And, times when we didn’t understand each other. It seems like we’ve lost our heart at times. When the fog of division, discord, and blame made it hard to see what lies ahead.

But after those trials, we all rallied around what was right, and acted as one. Because that’s what we do. We find a way through tough times, and if we can’t find a way, then we’ll make one.

All that matters now is what’s ahead. How do we come from behind? How do we come together? And, how do we win?

Detroit’s showing us it can be done. And, what’s true about them is true about all of us.

This country can’t be knocked out with one punch. We get right back up again and when we do the world is going to hear the roar of our engines.

Yeah, it’s halftime America. And, our second half is about to begin.
That was it. A simple celebration of a recovered auto industry. Nothing political, and carefully sanitized pictures of a union rally, with all the union signs photoshopped out.

But they made the mistake of using "halftime" as a metaphor for "the time to rally your team, build up confidence, and get back in the game." Which, of course, caused the Far Right to just completely lose their minds.

They decided it was a call for a second term for Obama. That, plus the fact that the auto industry was saved because the president loaned them money, and the shrews and screamers of the right wing noise machine went ballistic.
"WTH? Did I just see Clint Eastwood fronting an auto bailout ad???" said Michelle Malkin, the conservative blogger. "I think Clint Eastwood’s credentials as a conservative have been overrated for some time," added David Limbaugh, the brother of Rush and himself a conservative author.
Karl Rove was "offended by it." (Which is OK with me - I'm offended that Karl Rove is still allowed out in public.)
"I'm a huge fan of Clint Eastwood, I thought it was an extremely well-done ad, but it is a sign of what happens when you have Chicago-style politics, and the president of the United States and his political minions are, in essence, using our tax dollars to buy corporate advertising."
But reread that transcript. Watch the video again. Or perhaps, notice that both Eastwood and Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of Chrysler, have said that there was no political spin to the ad.

Doesn't matter. It didn't say that the Kenyan Devil-baby infesting the White House is destroying our Way of Life, so the attack hamsters continue to shriek and spew spittle. Because that's how they roll.