Monday, April 2, 2012

Last Call

And Bon and I are now live at Raw Story at the new home for Angry Black Lady Chronicles.  Make sure you drop on by and say hello, and stick around for Raw Story's excellent coverage of the latest news without the corporate spin.  We're glad to be but a small part of the team there, and you can always find us here too, but man, we're completely jazzed to be on one of the biggest progressive news sites on the net.

Once again we want to thank you guys and for spreading the word about ZVTS.  It's hard to imagine that three and a half years ago, the thought of McCain as President pissed me off enough to start running my mouth, and the rest is history.  You guys went along for the ride and it's still going strong.


POTUS Nails It Yet Again

President Obama has taped a video message praising Planned Parenthood, and telling members he will continue fighting Republican efforts to cut their federal funding.

"For you, and for most Americans, protecting women's health is a mission that stands above politics," Obama said in the video entitled "a message to Planned Parenthood supporters."

"And yet, over the past year. you've had to stand up to politicians who want to deny millions of women the care they rely on," he said.

"Let's be clear here," Obama said. "Women are not an interest group. They're mothers and daughters and sisters and wives -- they're half of this country."

I'm so relieved and grateful that Obama sees the plight of women and is standing strong in protecting our rights. He understands that this is unfair, and that women are more than pawns to be shoved around in a big boy's game. We are people, not objects to be controlled and manipulated. We are citizens, and our government was designed and charged with protecting and serving us.

Our current leader understands this and fights on our behalf. I pray the next term allows us more of the same.  Yes, let's be clear here.

Voting With My Feet

As doctors are being given protection to lie to female patients, I have a lot of questions.  I'm not past the initial rage, but I understand that explaining the lack of logic in allowing doctors to actively lie isn't going to help.  These guys don't care about logic, only about control and power.

So what can we do when logic fails?  I'm afraid action is going to be necessary, if we can find ways to work around the stupidity that is slowly strangling women's medical rights.

First, if they are really going to allow this degradation to continue, women deserve to know which doctors are participating in this protection.  Why?  Because it will give doctors a huge competitive edge if they see the benefit of showing patients where their ethics truly lie.  If they aren't willing to attach their name to those morals, it kind of makes you wonder how strong those beliefs are, am I right?  So let's see some legislation forcing doctors to identify whether they believe in full disclosure or the protected right to lie.

When a business disappoints us, we boycott.  Doctors are businessmen at the end, without patients there is no income.  Perhaps we should do the same to doctors who would lie to a woman about her chances of surviving pregnancy.  Maybe we should encourage employees to boycott insurance that would deprive women the same coverage as men.  We should definitely show our scorn at the polls.  Believe me, as the time comes around, we will be reminding voters who served their citizens and who sold them out.

Just like any consumer, I'm going to vote with my feet, and I encourage you to do the same.  And while you're using those feet, please do your part in speaking the hell up before this gets any worse.

Sex Ed Shown To Be Beneficial... Yet Again

It has been reconfirmed -- yet again. Research conducted by the Guttmacher Institute indicates that sexuality education does not encourage teenagers to have sex sooner or to engage in more sexual risk-taking behaviors. As a matter of fact, it delays sex.
As governments fail to make sexuality education a priority or continue to fund abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, we're once again being given scholarly, evidence-based data that indicates the importance of comprehensive sexuality education. This complements Douglas Kirby's 2008 review of evaluation studies examining abstinence, comprehensive, and/or STD/HIV sex education programs. Kirby found that two-thirds of the 48 programs teaching both abstinence and contraceptive use had positive behavioral effects.

So given the good news such studies yield time after time, when will the politicians start to listen? How many research studies like these do we need before policymakers begin funding and supporting comprehensive sexuality education efforts? They've been ignoring the evidence for far too long, continuing to cultivate a culture of sexually ignorant youth, who lack the knowledge and skills necessary to postpone sex or protect themselves.

That's a darned good question.  When will the politicians start to listen?  When will hard proof and facts finally speak for themselves?  Will candidates like Rick Santorum stick his fingers in his ears if elected, and sing "nananananana" until the studies go away?  I guess he's so morally developed that he doesn't need for truth to get in his way.  I'll take it another step and ask, what happens if Rick Santorum wins the race?  Can you imagine an United States where global commerce and economic stability take second seat to his pursuit to rid the world of porn?  What happens when government decides it won't serve all the citizens, just the ones that meet their standards?  We are raising kids in a world where they may never know privacy or freedom.  Now, some uptight, prudish, science-hating legislators can start fighting sex education to keep us just how they want us... uneducated and knocked up.

There is also the responsibility of parents to provide The Talk and The Facts.  It's not that hard in the Internet age to get tips on talking to teenagers about sex, and giving them a realistic alternative to "just don't do it because it's eeeeevil."  If the schools won't do their job, it then falls to the parents, or better yet let both educate teens about making smart choices and taking care of their body.  Right now it's being done by HBO and Playboy, so yeah... it can get worse.

Access to facts is never a bad thing.  Ever.  I'm sick of hearing how awkward it is for parents to talk to kids about sex.  You know what's awkward?  Sitting in a doctor's office and learning you are HIV positive.  What about learning that you're about to lose your whole young adulthood to raising a child you don't want?  How's that for unpleasant?  With the way "slutty" females are being treated by government, does anyone want pregnancy or disease for their daughter?  It's already going to be hard enough to get birth control, thanks to Republicans.  Now we need to make sure more than ever that young adults see the importance of using it.

Even More Facebook Stupidity

You can add this one to the short but growing list of employers demanding access to Facebook accounts. After refusing to give her Facebook password to her supervisors, Kimberly Hester was fired by Lewis Cass Intermediate School District from her job as an aide to Frank Squires Elementary in Cassopolis, Michigan. She is now fighting a legal battle with the school district.

This all started in April 2011, when Hester was using Facebook on her own time (when she wasn’t working at the school). She jokingly posted a picture of a co-worker’s pants around her ankles and a pair of shoes, with the caption “Thinking of you.”

A parent and Facebook friend of Hester’s saw the photo and complained to the school. A few days later, Lewis Cass ISD superintendent Robert Colby asked her three times for access to her Facebook account. Hester refused each of the district superintendent’s requests.

Soon after, Colby wrote Hester a letter, a part of which said the following, according to WSBT: “…in the absence of you voluntarily granting Lewis Cass ISD administration access to you[r] Facebook page, we will assume the worst and act accordingly.” Hester says he put her on paid administrative leave and eventually suspended her. She chose unpaid leave, to collect workman’s compensation, and vowed to put up a fight.

Couple of things here. First, it wasn't smart to post a coworker in a stage of undress. Though they don't say so, it makes perfect sense this was taken in a bathroom. I'd be pissed (pun mostly not intended) if someone took a picture of me in those circumstances and published them without my permission. But then, I also notice the person whose ankles come into play was not behind the complaint. So what, if we offend a third party we are obligated to change our Facebooks?  For all we know the coworker was amused by this joke, and those on the outside just didn't get it.  But does this woman owe an apology or explanation to anyone but Ankles Lady?

I think not.

It is absolutely wrong of the school to demand her password. She could have shown them the page, for that matter the angry parent could have sent them the picture. There is no need to have a password for this. Their comment "because you refused we will assume the worst" tells you what happened. They assumed. There is no context, explanation or law to back up their request. Because she defended her right to privacy, they assume she is completely guilty and will be treated accordingly.

What administrator would consider this a sound strategy?  Idiots.

Romney Gets That Poll-Asked Look

The latest USA Today swing state poll shows a massive shift in the last six weeks as the GOP has gone full bore into their War on Women, and it's costing the Republicans dearly.

In the fifth Swing States survey taken since last fall, Obama leads Republican front-runner Mitt Romney 51%-42% among registered voters just a month after the president had trailed him by two percentage points.

The biggest change came among women under 50. In mid-February, just under half of those voters supported Obama. Now more than six in 10 do while Romney's support among them has dropped by 14 points, to 30%. The president leads him 2-1 in this group.

The numbers are even worse for Santorum.  It's painfully clear that if this keeps up, President Obama will win in a landslide.  The Tea Party Misogyny Monster has been unleashed and in six weeks it has turned into a 15 point swing in Obama's favor overall.  In these same swing states in late February, Santorum had a 5 point lead and Romney 3.   Now Obama is up 9 on Mitt and 11 on Rick.

The GOP War on Women is rapidly turning into a complete disaster for the Republicans.  No wonder so many GOP bigwigs are lining up behind Romney and want the primary season over ASAP so they can get back to lying about Romney's record and he can stop having to say he'd get rid of Planned Parenthood to keep Rick off his back.

Sadly, it's looking like it's too late.  Gosh, I'm all torn up.

Bully For You, America

Reasonoid Nick Gillespie takes to the WSJ to let America know there's no such thing as a bullying crisis in schools and neighborhoods as he rips into the new film "Bully".

Now that schools are peanut-free, latex-free and soda-free, parents, administrators and teachers have got to worry about something. Since most kids now have access to cable TV, the Internet, unlimited talk and texting, college and a world of opportunities that was unimaginable even 20 years ago, it seems that adults have responded by becoming ever more overprotective and thin-skinned.
Kids might be fatter than they used to be, but by most standards they are safer and better-behaved than they were when I was growing up in the 1970s and '80s. Infant and adolescent mortality, accidents, sex and drug use—all are down from their levels of a few decades ago. Acceptance of homosexuality is up, especially among younger Americans. But given today's rhetoric about bullying, you could be forgiven for thinking that kids today are not simply reading and watching grim, postapocalyptic fantasies like "The Hunger Games" but actually inhabiting such terrifying terrain, a world where "Lord of the Flies" meets "Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior," presided over by Voldemort.

Stop whining.  Life is Darwinian.  Deal with it, you little ferrets.
When it comes to bullying numbers, long-term trends are less clear. The makers of "Bully" say that "over 13 million American kids will be bullied this year," and estimates of the percentage of students who are bullied in a given year range from 20% to 70%. NCES changed the way it tabulated bullying incidents in 2005 and cautions against using earlier data. Its biennial reports find that 28% of students ages 12-18 reported being bullied in 2005; that percentage rose to 32% in 2007, before dropping back to 28% in 2009 (the most recent year for which data are available). Such numbers strongly suggest that there is no epidemic afoot (though one wonders if the new anti-bullying laws and media campaigns might lead to more reports going forward).
The most common bullying behaviors reported include being "made fun of, called names, or insulted" (reported by about 19% of victims in 2009) and being made the "subject of rumors" (16%). Nine percent of victims reported being "pushed, shoved, tripped, or spit on," and 6% reported being "threatened with harm." Though it may not be surprising that bullying mostly happens during the school day, it is stunning to learn that the most common locations for bullying are inside classrooms, in hallways and stairwells, and on playgrounds—areas ostensibly patrolled by teachers and administrators.

Everything's fine.  You know, except for the kids driven to suicide for being gay or fat or different or getting shot for walking down the street with an iced tea and a bag of candy, that is.  Jesus launch the helicarrier.  It's funny how these guys believe in the free market so much until it comes to the flash mobs actually getting called on ruining a kid's life, but I guess that's just culling the weak, right?


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