I’m completely wrapped up in my photography right now. It’s all I want to do.
It is my escape and my addiction.
Still the real world calls. Work. Family. Critters. House work.
Photography makes more sense to me than just about anything going on out there. The Republican primary? I can’t say anything that isn’t already being said by thousands of other voices.
I can’t make sense of the full-scale assault on women’s reproductive rights. Yes, it is a war on women, one that Democrats/Progressives/Liberals have allowed to happen either by collaboration or apathy. While I agree with Gaius that women’s access to contraception should be of vital importance to men, it does not appear to be. And contrary to what he says, what is happening right now is not a war on the sexual revolution as a whole as only half of the “revolutionaries” are being targeted. If it were not so, we’d see hundreds of anti-pornography bills being enacted in state houses all over the country. We aren’t. How about anti-divorce legislation? Nada. It’s all about the woman and her baby-making parts. It is all about patriarchy and putting women in their place.
And I can’t make any sense of it.
I can’t make sense of a soldier engaging in wholesale slaughter of innocents. I can’t make sense of the wars he’s been sent to that pushed him over the edge. I can’t make sense of the bloodshed that is sure to come in retaliation. Hearts and minds, indeed.
I can’t make sense of two children dying in a fire caused by their mother’s religious “blessing” and then seeing her front and center at her children’s memorial service as though she is the victim. Does that sound harsh? I’ve toned it down.
I can’t make sense of politicians who think government should be run like a business, especially in light of the ”blood out of a turnip” nonsense that has been going on at work for three years now.
I still can’t make sense of what happened with my mother, try as I might.
I can’t make sense of much of anything, so I make photographs.
I choose the subject. I control the exposure and the processing. It is art and it is science, and right now, it is the glue holding me together.
I’m hearing Democrats making a lot of hay about the Republicans’ “war on women.” As outraged as I am at Rush Limbaugh, the Catholic Bishops, and pretty much any right-winger who tells me I have no right to look in his gun cabinet while he has every right to stick his nose between my legs, I can’t help but think that the fact that we are arguing over birth control has as much to do with alleged liberals and progressives as it does with those who would like to take us back 100 years.
Hillary Clinton had it right when she spoke to the U.N. 4th World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995:
It is time for us to say here in Beijing, and for the world to hear, that it is no longer acceptable to discuss women’s rights as separate from human rights.
These abuses have continued because, for too long, the history of women has been a history of silence. Even today, there are those who are trying to silence our words. But the voices of this conference and of the women at Huairou must be heard loudly and clearly:
It is a violation of human rights when babies are denied food, or drowned, or suffocated, or their spines broken, simply because they are born girls.
It is a violation of human rights when women and girls are sold into the slavery of prostitution for human greed — and the kinds of reasons that are used to justify this practice should no longer be tolerated.
It is a violation of human rights when women are doused with gasoline, set on fire, and burned to death because their marriage dowries are deemed too small.
It is a violation of human rights when individual women are raped in their own communities and when thousands of women are subjected to rape as a tactic or prize of war.
It is a violation of human rights when a leading cause of death worldwide among women ages 14 to 44 is the violence they are subjected to in their own homes by their own relatives.
It is a violation of human rights when young girls are brutalized by the painful and degrading practice of genital mutilation.
It is a violation of human rights when women are denied the right to plan their own families, and that includes being forced to have abortions or being sterilized against their will.
If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, let it be that human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights once and for all. Let us not forget that among those rights are the right to speak freely — and the right to be heard.
“Human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights . . . “
Then why are our rights always used as bargaining chips? Why are our private health care decisions “carved out” as something outside of normal health care? You think they haven’t been? Explain the Hyde Amendment to me. Explain President Obama’s Executive Order that enshrined the Hyde Amendment and now will never again have to come up for an annual vote in Congress. Explain all the “conscience clauses” for doctors, nurses and other “health” practitioners that allows them to deny women legal medical procedures that provider finds personally “immoral.” Explain why pharmacists have been given permission to refuse to fill a woman’s legal prescription from a licensed M.D. because he objects on “religious” grounds.
All of this has been done on the Democrats’ watch or with their acquiescence.
You might not realize it but a lot of us of the female persuasion have been warning about this for years. We were told to not rock the boat. Can’t you see we’ve got really, really important stuff to do FIRST? Your turn will come, we were told. In the meantime, can you come help out with the phone bank or walk a precinct? Yes, we LOVE women! We VALUE women! Really, really, really! But, you know . . . the Republicans!!!
In order to pass President Obama’s “signature” Health Care bill, women’s rights regarding their right to choose was sold down the river. Abortion was singled out for special treatment. No other medical procedure was given this carve out. This was done by Democrats who, instead of drawing a line in the sand, caved.
Another example: The Lily Ledbetter Act passed both houses of Congress early in 2009, but the more important Paycheck Fairness Act, the bill that would actually put some teeth into Lily Ledbetter, and after having passed the House in 2009 by a greater margin than Lily Ledbetter, languished for two years in a Democrat-controlled Senate until just before the 2010 election when it was becoming clear that Democrats were probably going to get their asses handed to them, so they’d better throw the wimmenz a bone. The vote didn’t happen until after the “shellacking” and failed pretty much on a straight party vote. Hmmm. Do you think that this bill might have stood a better chance if it had been voted on at the same time as its sister legislation? Why wasn’t it? Because, women’s priorities always take a back seat. Always. Until it is an election year and the Dems need to get us stirred up again so we’ll walk those precincts and staff those phone banks.
There may be a huge backlash now because of the overreach of the conservatives, but what is happening now is not an event in isolation. All along the way Democrats and “progressives” gave them the green light to take an inch, and then another inch and then a yard, then half mile until, well, here we are. As Dr. Violet Socks writes:
Women’s contraception is the only medication associated with normal human activity that is described as some kind of weird off-the-wall thing that shouldn’t be covered by insurance. The only one.
We told you they wouldn’t be happy until they put all women under their thumbs. Those of us who embrace a secular government and the separation of church and state also warned you about the dangers of letting other people’s religions interfere in our government.
You didn’t listen.
Maybe now you will.
(By the way, I was quite pleased to hear that the Democratic women walked out of Darryl Issa’s hearing the other day. Let me know when the all Democratic men do the same. Seriously, when are all of you going to have our backs?)
As a recovering partisan these days and after watching Pres. Obama’s compromising conservatism, I no longer feel the urgency to support a political party who has threatened dire consequences if I don’t vote for them. Beyond foreign policy, economic, and civil rights issues mentioned above, Pres. Obama has also chosen to short-change women again and again on our freedoms, starting in the health care bill, then by executive order that empowered conservatives of both parties, and finally by making the decision on Plan B that would have come from Mitt Romney, too.
This also why I no longer give money to NARAL, NOW, or the Democratic Party. Toothless. All of them.
Let me be blunt: Rick Santorum is suggesting that after a man violates my body without my consent, sticks his penis in my vagina without my consent, ejaculates into my body without my consent, impregnates me without my consent, that he, Rick Santorum, should then have the right to force me to submit my body for nine months to a pregnancy I do not want, force me to submit my body to all that pregnancy can entail, from morning sickness to milk-engorged breasts to stretch marks to potentially life-threatening complications, and then force me to push out a baby I did not consent to conceive through the same vagina that was raped nine months earlier, and then decide whether to parent my rapist’s child or give up my child for adoption.
We woke up to six inches of snow that had fallen overnight, so I’m delaying the drive into work until the sun comes up and raises the temperature a bit.
In the meantime, I’m clicking through my blogroll.
David Gorski over at Science-Based Medicine takes on Ann Coulter’s radiation “vaccine.” It is an excellent and informative post, and he links to a handy-dandy radiation chart at xkcd which should help put some minds at ease.
The reason for my sarcastic characterization of Coulter’s scientific nonsense is because her article uses many of the same tactics as any denialist. Chief among these is that Coulter takes the germ of a scientific controversy and then uses it to try to imply that the scientific consensus is fatally flawed. In this case, the scientific controversy is over how dangerous low level exposure to radiation is used to imply that the radiation from a nuclear disaster is not potentially harmful.
Every time someone mentions Dr. Oz to me, I cringe. This is why:
Or, one could say that there are times when Dr. Oz’s knowledge isn’t equal with that of skeptics who actually pay attention to these things. Otherwise he wouldn’t be so amazed by Edward’s transparent schtick. But he is, and once again he uses the argument from incredulity. Worse, he uses his position as a physician to create a false argument from authority. Just because he can’t imagine a scientific explanation for what John Edward does, Oz assumes that there isn’t one, and most of his audience accepts his authority as a surgeon as being reason enough to accept his assertion that science can’t explain Edward:
But I can’t make up an explanation for what John Edward does. And, again, what was most eerie was his level of detail, the concreteness of it all.
Which is, of course, what psychic mediums do. It’s what they do and have done for hundreds of years, if not longer. It’s not for nothing that John Rennie characterized Oz as the “great and gullible.” Dr. Oz was gullible when it came to faith healing and quackery, and he surpasses himself in gullibility in his treatment of John Edward and psychic mediums. What they do and how they do it are not mysteries to, for example, James Randi or Joe Nickell, who quite properly described Edward as “hustling the bereaved.”
For more on cold reading, see my recent post, Sunday Morning Video: “But, the psychic knew things no one else could know!”
PZ Myers on the Republican abortion police:
Why are they doing this? Because they are spoiled children who refuse to think that a few pennies from their pocket might end up helping some horrible woman who got pregnant.
Desert Beacon explains: H.R. 3: The More You Look The Worse It Gets
The more things change, the more they stay the same. I posted this on my FB wall when Greenwald first posted it: Libya and the familiar patterns of war
All that said, it is striking how wars — no matter how they’re packaged — ultimately breed the same patterns. With public opinion split or even against the war in Libya (at least for now) — and with questions naturally arising about why we’re intervening here to stop the violence but ignoring the growing violence from our good friends in Yemen, Bahrain and elsewhere — the administration obviously knows that some good, old-fashioned fear-mongering and unique demonization (Gadaffi is a Terrorist with ”deadly mustard gas”who might attack us!!) can only help. Then there’s the fact that the same faction of war-loving-from-a-safe-distance “hawks” that took the lead in cheering for the attack on Iraq — neoconson the Right and their “liberal interventionist” counterparts in The New Republic/Brookings/Democratic Party officialdom world — are playing the same role here. And many of the same manipulative rhetorical tactics are now wielded against war opponents: the Libyan rebels are the new Kurds (they want us to act to protect them!), and just as those who opposed the attack on Iraq were routinely accused of indifference toward if not support for Saddam’s tyranny, those who oppose this intervention are now accused of indifference to Gadaffi’s butchery (as always: are those refraining from advocating for military intervention in Yemen or Saudi Arabia or Bahrain or the Sudan or dozens of other places indifferent to the violence and other forms of suffering there?).
Finally, Gaius on our warrior culture.
The prestige of soldiers goes hand in hand, as the propagandists of NRO well know, with the prestige of war.
Together, these have led us in a little over 200 years from a struggling birth to being the world’s unique hyper-puissance, spending all on our own almost as much on military power as the whole rest of humanity, combined, in support of a global military presence and of wars fought in regular sequence as far as half a world away.
Is that what we want?
If not, then with all due respect for the remarkable Senator Webb, I must say we can no longer afford the customary American admiration for martial virtue.
[ . . .]
The American love of war, victory, and soldierly virtue has made us what we are, today.
Like it or not.
H/T to nvrdc
I realize a lot of people got Friday off, but for my company, today is the “observed” New Year’s holiday. I’ve got to put away the Christmas decorations, clip Nina’s claws (horrors!), and do research on sex ed curricula for my role on the LCSD Sex Ed Advisory board. But before I do that, here are some links for you.
We Are So Screwed (Pharyngula) For the espousers of voodoo economics, this makes perfect sense.
The Manchurian Candidate (Newsweek): He’s a moderate? Obama needn’t worry. The guy won’t make it out of the primary.
The Coming GOP War on Women (Alternet): I’ve got to wonder. Why do posts regarding the assault on choice in the “progressive” blogosphere rarely, if ever, mention the Democratic co-sponsor of the Smith-Lipinski bill? All you ever hear about is Bart Stupak (why this particular villain never seems to rotate out is beyond me). As you know, I’ve had this one on my radar screen since July.
The merger of journalists and government officials (Glenn Greenwald – Salon.com)
There’s just no difference in how they think, what their values and priorities are, how completely they’ve ingested and how eagerly they recite the same anti-WikiLeaks, “Assange = Saddam” script. So absolute is the WikiLeaks-is-Evil bipartisan orthodoxy among the Beltway political and media class (forever cemented by the joint Biden/McConnell decree that Assange is a “high-tech Terrorist,”) that you’re viewed as being from another planet if you don’t spout it. It’s the equivalent of questioning Saddam’s WMD stockpile in early 2003.
[ . . . ]
What an astounding feat to train a nation’s journalist class to despise above all else those who shine a light on what the most powerful factions do in the dark and who expose their corruption and deceit, and to have journalists — of all people — lead the way in calling for the head of anyone who exposes the secrets of the powerful.
[ . . . ]
It’s extraordinary how — even a full month into the uproar over the diplomatic cable release — extreme misinformation still pervades these discussions, usually without challenge. It’s understandable that on the first day or in the first week of a controversy, there would be some confusion; but a full month into it, the most basic facts are still being wildly distorted. Thus, there was Fran Townsend spouting the cannot-be-killed lie that WikiLeaks indiscriminately dumped all the cables. And I’m absolutely certain that had I not objected, that absolute falsehood would have been unchallenged by Yellin and allowed to be transmitted to CNN viewers as Truth. The same is true for the casual assertion — as though it’s the clearest, most obvious fact in the world — that Assange “committed crimes” by publishing classified information or that what he’s doing is so obviously different than what investigative journalists routinely do. These are the unchallenged falsehoods transmitted over and over, day after day, to the American viewing audience.
In the meantime, the media is trying to make something out of the “mysterious” death of blackbirds and drum fish in Arkansas. This AP article on the bird incident explains some plausible causes, but that won’t deter the conspiracy nuts.
Scientists are investigating whether fireworks, poison or bad weather might have forced the birds out of the sky, or if a disoriented bird simply led the flock into the ground.
[ . . . ]
Rowe said many of the birds suffered injuries from striking the ground, but it was not clear whether they were alive when they hit.
Blackbirds have notoriously bad eyesight. If startled at night, they could easily fly into the ground, Rowe said. A few grackles and a couple of starlings were also among the dead. Those species roost with blackbirds, particularly in winter.
Violent weather rumbled over much of the state Friday, including a tornado that killed three people in Cincinnati, Ark. Lightning could have killed the birds directly or startled them to the point that they became confused. Hail also has been known to knock birds from the sky.
[ . . .]
Rowe said poisoning was possible but unlikely. She said birds of prey and other animals, including dogs and cats, ate several of the dead birds and suffered no ill effects.
“Every dog and cat in the neighborhood that night was able to get a fresh snack that night,” Rowe said.
Sorry. I just had to include that last line.
You all have a good day. I’ll be checking in later.
Bill Ben Nelson.
And Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins? If I believed in it, there’d be a special place in Hell for them. Moderates my ass. I never expected anything different from Kay Bailey Hutchinson, and Lisa Murkowski was too busy worrying about her recount to give a shit about other women. Hey, hey, TNA, what sort of excuse are you gonna come up with today?
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