Sunday, May 13, 2012

Last Call

How to beat the "War on Women" charge if you're a Republican nutjob at the state legislature level in a red state like Kansas?  Pass a "War on Muslims" bill and call it "protecting women's rights" of course.  Kansas lawmakers are moving forward with a ridiculous and unncessary "anti-sharia" bill disguised as a law to protect women from the ravages of "non-American" religious edicts.

Kansas’ proposed anti-Muslim law also similarly asserts it is about promoting “American law for American courts.” (Note: the Constitution already establishes this in its Supremacy Clause.) Kansas Republican state Sen. Chris Steineger noted, the measure was “presented” to him as a bill specifically targeting Muslims:
But Sen. Chris Steineger, R-Kansas City, said a marketing campaign by supporters of the bill inundated him with materials that “explain why sharia law is coming and Muslims are trying to take over America.”
“I thought that was quite ludicrous at the time, and I still do,” Steineger said. “I pointed this out, because this was not presented as protecting the Kansas Constitution. The proponents of this measure, clearly by the literature they gave me and by the video link they directed me to, they presented this as protecting us against sharia law. Despite the fact that this doesn’t mention sharia, that’s how this whole issue was presented.”
Indeed, Kansas was bombarded by anti-Sharia emails and letters from out-of-staters. The bill’s sponsors and advocates proclaimed that it was really about protecting “women’s rights.” The bill helps “women know the rights they have in America,” said sate Rep. Peggy Mast (R). “To me, this is a women’s rights issue,” said Sen. Susan Wagle (R). Nevermind that these same legislators have been engaged in a war against women’s health, Planned Parenthood, the right to choose, and so many other far more relevant “women’s rights” causes.

Or if you're the GOP, keep the state safe for white Christian men by pitting Muslims against women as natural enemies.  See, we're protecting our white Christian women from the evils of Islam!

What nonsense.  Split the coalition  and divide and conquer.  The GOP is uniting America, alright.

Against them.

Time To Cough It Up, Washington State

Whooping cough is back, and in one Washington State county, a perfect storm of public health care cuts and parents refusing to immunize their kids has created a full-blown epidemic.

Whooping cough, or pertussis, a highly infectious respiratory disease once considered doomed by science, has struck Washington State this spring with a severity that health officials say could surpass the toll of any year since the 1940s, before a vaccine went into wide use.

Although no deaths have been reported so far this year, the state has declared an epidemic and public health officials say the numbers are staggering: 1,284 cases through early May, the most in at least three decades and 10 times last year’s total at this time, 128. 

The response to the epidemic has been hampered by the recession, which has left state and local health departments on the front lines of defense weakened by years of sustained budget cuts. 

Here in Skagit County, about an hour’s drive north of Seattle — the hardest-hit corner of the state, based on pertussis cases per capita — the local Public Health Department has half the staff it did in 2008. Preventive care programs, intended to keep people healthy, are mostly gone. 

And the problem is two-fold:  cuts in less-expensive preventative care in order to afford much more expensive testing and treatment for whooping cough now only assures more cases will be coming to treat later, requiring more cuts.

But the tinfoil hat anti-vaccine crowd on both the far left and the far right are just as responsible for this outbreak.  You don't immunize your kids?  Surprise!  They get sick!

The pertussis vaccine is commonly given in childhood, and many states require it for children of school age. But Washington State, according to a federal study last year of kindergarten-age children, had the highest percentage of parents in the nation who voluntarily exempted their children from one or more vaccines, out of fear of side effects or for philosophical reasons. 

So-called underimmunization — in which children do not get the full series of vaccinations — could also be a factor in compounding the outbreak, said Mary Selecky, Washington State’s secretary of health. 

Last year, the Washington Legislature passed a law requiring parents to prove that they had consulted a physician before declining vaccinations for their children. 

“We had the easiest opt-out law in the nation until last year, so what we also had was the highest percent of parents opting out,” Ms. Selecky said. 

And now you have the highest incidence of whooping cough right now.  See how this works, folks?  Anti-vaccine silliness and preventative care cuts don't just affect one parent's kids, but all of them.  This is just stupid how this was allowed to happen.

This is where government needs to step in.  And it is, at a much more ridiculous cost than vaccines would have been.  This is why America's health care costs are so high and why health care reform laws, when they fully kick in two years from now, are necessary.

Tanning Mom #2: The Stupidity Sequel

     This time, instead of tanning her kids, a woman just left a six-year-old and a ten-month-old child unattended in a car while she went in and tanned.  A policeman found the children, and when asked the daughter pointed to a tanning salon to help him find her mother.

Thank God it was a cop who found the kids, and not one of the millions of perverts roaming the streets looking for prey.

Thank God the kids didn't die from heat, like we see every year.

What is amazing is that neighbors still call her a good mother after this.  This potentially deadly misjudgment could have easily led to the death of two children, and some are willing to dismiss it as a good mom having a lapse.  No.  A lapse is forgetting to brush their teeth, or failing to see a sharp corner that a toddler could hit.  Knowingly putting their safety at risk for a tan is far worse than a lapse.  It makes me think of when neighbors originally said George Zimmerman was a great neighbor and good man.  Turns out there are plenty of facts to show otherwise.

We don't know people as well as we think.  Facts speak louder than impressions.  Mothers who abandon their kids and leave the window cracked should not be in charge of children.

At least this story has a relatively happy ending.  With the numbers of kidnappings and sexual assaults against children, it very easily could have been worse.  I hope this woman grows up and realizes how lucky her kids are that they survived her and the world around them.

If You Ever Want To See Your Computer Again, You'll Do What I Say

A woman's computer repairs took so long that she filed a complaint with the Attorney General.  The business then offered to replace the computer they jacked her around on, only if she canceled her complaint.  Not surprisingly, some people have a problem with that.

Pam Stevens knew it wasn’t right, but she wanted her problem fixed, she said.
After months of repairs on her new computer at Fry’s Electronics, she said Fry’s wouldn’t tell her when she could get her computer back. She complained to the California Attorney General’s office.
She said that’s when Fry’s made her a deal: Tell the attorney her problem was fixed, and the company would give her a new computer.
When she said the company didn’t follow through, it was time to Call Kurtis.
“I find it very frustrating,” Stevens said, sitting next to the empty box for her $1249.99 computer. “It’s disgraceful, it’s a shame!”
It’s been repair after repair, for the better part of six months, Stevens said.
Finally fed up using her roommate’s computer, she got the state attorney general to look into it.
That’s when Fry’s offered her a newer, better computer — but only on one condition, she said.
“That I contact the state attorney general to let them know that this case has been resolved,” Stevens said.
The AG says just because she withdrew her complaint doesn't mean there will not be an investigation.  Still, it leaves one to wonder how often this happens, and ponder how wrong that stipulation is, because it allows the business to bully the customer. And in cases like this, not honor their word.

The Pain In Spain, Again

Tens of thousands protested this weekend against Spanish austerity measures as the anniversary of Spain's May 15th movement grows closer.

Chanting "they don't represent us," tens of thousands in Madrid railed early Sunday against Spain's government and austerity cuts -- venting their anger on the first anniversary of the so-called May 15 protest movement.

Many ignored a government deadline to disperse by Saturday night from the central Puerta del Sol plaza, prompting police to clear the square by 5 a.m. on Sunday (11 p.m. on Saturday ET), the interior ministry said.

About 30,000 attended the Madrid protest, and 18 were detained for resisting arrest or disorderly conduct, the ministry said.

In the early hours of Sunday morning, demonstrators were a loud and vibrant presence in the square -- as a large number of police, stationed at a nearby government building and along side streets, looked on and let them be.

Throngs of like-minded demonstrators also gathered over the weekend in Barcelona and about 80 other cities around Spain.

Barcelona saw about 22,000 protesters, while Valencia had 8,000 and Seville had 2,000, authorities said. All the demonstrations were cleared by Sunday morning, the interior ministry said.

The coordinated events marked the return of the "indignados" -- or the outraged, as the protesters became known -- who led Europe's first serious and significant grassroots movement against austerity and government budget cuts.

The indignados certainly made their voices heard and will continue to do so.  But with Spain's unemployment rate reaching 25% and and the austerity cuts only making that worse, it's just a matter of time before the bond market comes knocking, and Spain will become the latest eurozone country to need a bailout.

How will the eurozone react with France and Greece, too?  We're about to find out.  If there's one thing that could hand the United States over to the GOP, it's a European collapse that drops America back into recession territory.

We'll see.
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