Archive for Women’s Issues
sets the stage:The women on the U.S. Supreme Court had a bit of a field day when the Texas abortion case of Whole Woman’s Health v Hellerstedt came before the court yesterday. The 2013 Texas law at issue requires clinics offering abortion services to meet standards set for ambulatory surgical centers. In addition, it requires doctors performing those abortions to have admitting privileges at local hospitals. Hannah Levintova at Mother Jones
The Texas health department argues that these provisions are necessary to protect women’s health—a standard that was established in 1992 in Casey as a legitimate reason for states to pass abortion restrictions. Casey also established, however, that the state’s interest in women’s health has to be weighed against whether an abortion law would place an “undue burden” on women seeking abortion care. This is where the plaintiff’s argument lies. Whole Woman’s Health, which runs three abortion clinics in Texas, argues that the burdens on women created by HB 2—clinic closures across the state that have forced thousands of women to travel hundreds of miles for abortion care—far outweigh any interest in protection of women’s health that Texas has. They point to many medical groups, including the American Medical Association, that have said ambulatory surgical facilities and admitting-privileges requirements are not necessary to provide safe abortion care.
Dahliah Lithwick takes up the narrative as Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Sonia Sotomayor question Stephanie Toti who argued on behalf of the Texas clinics:
President Barack Obama signs into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in the East Room
of the White House. January 29, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Joyce Boghosian)
President Obama yesterday proposed a new rule for employers to make it easier to identify discriminatory pay practices in the workplace:
Women workers in the United States earn 79 cents for every dollar men do. And President Barack Obama doesn’t want you to forget it.
Speaking Friday at a White House event celebrating the 2009 Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Obama proposed collecting pay data from companies with 100 or more people — and breaking down the numbers by gender, race and ethnicity. About 63 million workers would be covered, according to a news release accompanying his announcement, which aims to “focus public enforcement of our equal pay laws and provide better insight into discriminatory pay practices across industries and occupations.”
The White House also called again for Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, calling it “commonsense legislation that would give women additional tools to fight pay discrimination.”
It was a bit of delicious irony yesterday to see a Texas grand jury investigating Planned Parenthood over those hoaxed “fetal tissue” videos turn around and instead indict the anti-abortion activists who made them:
David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt were indicted by the grand jury for tampering with a governmental record, said prosecutors for the county in which Houston is located. The felony charge is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
As Digby observed, there’s no telling what “tampering with a governmental record” means in this case.
There was more irony last night when CNN host Chris Cuomo asked Glenn Beck whether he bore any responsibility for the emergence of Donald Trump as the GOP’s presidential front-runner. Beck described Trump as a “dangerous man”:
One hears repeatedly that questioning people’s motives is rude. Impolitic. Impolite. Paul Waldman a few years ago posted that motive questioning is toxic because it is akin to calling people liars and bad people. Then again:
I’m not saying that on certain occasions it isn’t reasonable to question someone’s motives. In fact, voter ID laws offer one such case. The idea that all these Republican legislatures set out to address the non-existent problem of people impersonating other people at the polls just because they care so deeply about the integrity of the ballot, and did so in a way that purely by accident has the potential to significantly reduce turnout by some of the people most likely to vote Democratic, is more than a little hard to swallow. I’ll absolutely grant that Democrats dislike voter ID laws primarily for the same political reason, because it means their voters may find it difficult to vote. But on the substantive merits, Democrats also happen to be right.
Perfect example. In fact, on several occasions federal courts have questioned the stated rationale behind passing these laws as without substance, including just days ago in the Texas case. But one of the most frustrating things about attempting to engage “a Republican argument” is precisely how often the arguments seem disingenuous. It is not as if rank-and-file activists are actively lying about their motives. It is that they have never questioned them themselves. They have simply heard and regurgitated the talking points so often that they believe their own bullshit and are beyond questioning it. The frustrating thing is not that they are lying to you. It is that in effect (to borrow a Colbert construction), they are lying to themselves at you.
Senator Elizabeth Warren’s keynote speech at the “Know Your Value” event in Philadelphia:
This is an invitation to a Waffle Brunch I help organize once a year. It’s a lot of fun – and if you don’t show up you’ll be missing out on some seriously awesome food. It’s known to local foodies as ” The Greatest Waffle Brunch In History.”
Chefs from around the world compete in Asheville, NC to decide who will be crowned “Master of the Waffle Iron And Supreme Potentate Over All Creation”.
To aid this culinary contest the community (That’s YOU) comes together to taste & vote on the waffles. Side-items such as fruit salad, bacon, and mimosas are provided by the attendees to share with one another.
This year all proceeds go to BAMFS – The Blueridge-Asheville Movement & FlowArts Society. (Look them up & “Like” them on Facebook.)
The Waffle-Off Championship is considered the most important event on Earth.
Cost: $5 per person + _ONE_ of the following items to share:
–> Real maple syrup (No HFCS please)
–> 1 gallon of organic orange juice
–> 1 bottle of Sparkling wine (aka: Champagne)
–> Bowl of fruit salad. (Doesn’t have to be organic fruit)
–> Something you want to share with the community, as long as it’s pre-cooked. (eg: Bacon, Mom’s breakfast strudel.)
Link to ticket page: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/1353721
Advance ticket: $5
Tickets at door: $8
Note: A small group, such as a family or couple, may show up with a single one of the above items and it will count for the entire group. (For example: A family of 4 can bring a single bottle of real maple syrup.) If you don’t have time to pick up one or create of the items, no worries, an additional $5 will be accepted.
* Kids under the age of 10 and press get in free.
So, to summarize:
What: 2015 Waffle-Off Championship & Brunch
When: Sunday – March 29th 2015 @ 10:00am – 12:30pm
Why: To answer the most important question of all time: Who makes the best waffles IN THE UNIVERSE!!!???
This event is a benefit for BAMFS: Blueridge-Asheville Movement & FlowArts Society (Look us up on Facebook)
Where: The Asheville Commissary – 3080 Sweeten Creek Rd Asheville, NC 28803. (Formerly CinTom’s Frozen Yogurt) Refer to this Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/rztBY
This is a rain-or-shine event.
Don’t you like a good new fashioned dust up between two biologists who you would expect to agree on most things? A recent hypothetical draws a strong reaction which draws an even more outlandish hypothetical. Biologist, author, blogger and atheist PZ Myers recently wrote in a post titled The only abortion argument that counts:
We can make all the philosophical and scientific arguments that anyone might want, but ultimately what it all reduces to is a simple question: do women have autonomous control of their bodies or not? Even if I thought embryos were conscious, aware beings writing poetry in the womb (I don’t, and they’re not), I’d have to bow out of any say in the decision the woman bearing responsibility has to make.
Which drew this reaction from Richard Dawkins:
Blogger said woman's rights over own body extend to abortion even if fetus conscious & writing poetry in womb. I profoundly disagree. 1/2
— Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) August 23, 2014
(Cross-posted from Hullabaloo.)
A report from the Guttmacher Institute shows how cutbacks to reproductive health services have particularly hurt poorer women. Even as the need has increased over the last decade-plus, the number of women actually receiving publicly funded assistance has fallen by 9 percent.
While public support for contraceptive services for poorer women dates back to 1970, that portion of the safety net has been failing, particularly in states that refuse to expand Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act, and with increasing attacks on women’s health services, writes Tara Culp-Ressler.
The issue has recently been getting worse. In the period between 2010 and 2012 alone — when attacks on publicly-funded clinics intensified — the number of poor adult women in need of contraceptive services increased by 12 percent. In Texas, where lawmakers’ crusade against abortion has undermined the entire family planning landscape over the past two years, this health care crisis is coming into sharp focus. Advocates are holding up the state as a negative example of what happens without Title X.
Michael Hiltzik points out the folly in attacking Title X reproductive health services.
In more recent years, however, congressional conservatives have had their knives out for Title X. The program was openly made a target of the right wing’s attack on Planned Parenthood, for example. The religion-based attack on ACA-mandated contraceptive services–the Hobby Lobby effect–is more of the same.
Let’s be blunt here: There is no more witless public-health position than one that targets women’s reproductive health. Preventing unwanted pregnancies pays off in multiples by reducing the burden on healthcare institutions and improving women’s work and career prospects and the health of their families.
Yet ultimately these policies are neither about economics nor religion. Which makes it even more annoying when religious business people argue that it is their rights being infringed by being required to pay for employee health care plans that include coverage for contraception.
Employment is a form of contract in which employers agree to compensate employees for their labor with a package of cash and benefits. Once those services have been rendered, the employer has incurred an enforceable debt. The money passing through the employer’s account to purchase health insurance he had contracted to pay as compensation is no longer his, but the employee’s to spend as she/he chooses. But framing it that way treats employees as equal economic partners in the employer/employee relationship. And in the new neo-feudalism, “job creators” can’t have that.
In the end, the attacks on women’s reproductive health services — as well as on labor — are not just about religion or economics, but about power. About reaffirming who’s in charge and who isn’t. As I observed at my home blog,
In every economic argument these days, notice the unstated assumption, how among both top Republicans and Democrats that the concerns of the employer, the entrepreneur — his needs, his convenience, his profitability, his confidence, his incentives — are always front and center, the primary topic of debate and of legislation. And the needs and concerns of workers without whom nothing gets done are a secondary, even tertiary concern. Because all Americans are equal, but some are more equal than others. Once you tune your ear to listen for it, you hear it everywhere.
Welcome to Orwell’s Farm.
Over at the Great Orange Satan, Ken Bernstein (aka, teacherken) beats me to something I’ve been meaning to write about. He revisits a 2012 AlterNet post by mutual friend, Sara Robinson: Why Patriarchal Men Are Utterly Petrified of Birth Control — And Why We’ll Still Be Fighting About it 100 Years From Now:
Robinson suggests 500 years from now looking back, the three great achievements of the 20th Century are likely to be the invention of the integrated circuit (without which the internet does not exist), the Moon landing (which she thinks will carry the same impact as Magellan’s circumnavigation of the globe), and
the mass availability of nearly 100% effective contraception. Far from being a mere 500-year event, we may have to go back to the invention of the wheel or the discovery of fire to find something that’s so completely disruptive to the way humans have lived for the entire duration of our remembered history.
A professional futurist, Robinson explains why men are so threatened. Since the dawn of humanity, biology limited women’s options and roles in society. And men?
They got full economic and social control over our bodies, our labor, our affections, and our futures. They got to make the rules, name the gods we would worship, and dictate the terms we would live under. In most cultures, they had the right to sex on demand within the marriage, and also to break their marriage vows with impunity — a luxury that would get women banished or killed. As long as pregnancy remained the defining fact of our lives, they got to run the whole show. The world was their party, and they had a fabulous time.
Pete singing one by his sister, Peggy. He was 94, the New York Times reports. We will miss him.
For Mr. Seeger, folk music and a sense of community were inseparable, and where he saw a community, he saw the possibility of political action.