“I hurt | therefore I exist” ~ Claribel Alegría, from “I am Mirror”

Poet Claribel Alegría (by Simon Hurst)

“Every time I name them
my dead are resurrected.” ~ Claribel Alegría, “Every time I name them” (Trans. Carolyn Forché)

Tuesday afternoon, foggy and cloudy, 61 degrees.

Today’s Two for Tuesday features Nicaraguan/Salvadoran poet, essayist, and journalist Claribel Alegría (May 12, 1924-January 25, 2018). Born Clara Isabel Alegría Vides in Nicaragua to physician father Daniel Alegría, her father opposed the U.S. occupation of Nicaragua in 1924; the family was subsequently forced into exile in her mother’s home country of El Salvador while Claribel was still an infant. Her obituary in The Washington Post refers to her as “a leading poet of suffering and anguish.” She was best known in the U.S. for the bilingual edition of her volume of poetry, Flores del volcán/Flowers from the Volcano (1982), which was translated by the poet Carolyn Forché.

A 1953 portrait

Algería’s work combined the personal with the political by sometimes focusing on the violence that plagued both Nicaragua and El Salvador for decades. Poet Daisy Zamora said of Algería that she had “unfailingly spoken up for justice and liberty . . . becoming a voice for the voiceless and the dispossessed.” In 2006 Algería received the Neustadt International Prize for Literature for which he had been nominated by Zamora. In her acceptance remarks upon receiving the prize Algería stated the following:

The poet celebrates humankind, the universe, and the creator of the universe. It is impossible for one to remain indifferent to the turbulence that our planet and its inhabitants suffer through: war, hunger, earthquakes, misery, racism, violence, xenophobia, deforestation, AIDS, and childhood affliction, among others. In the region from which I come, Central America, we love poetry, and at times we use it to denounce what is happening around us. There are many fine testimonial poems. The poet, especially where I’m from, cannot and should not remain in an ivory tower.

You can read more about her life and substantial oeuvre here or in her New York Times obituary here. Poet Carolyn Forché interviewed Alegria in 1984, and a PDF can be found here.

Today is the birthday of one of my favorite science fiction writers, Frank Herbert (October 8, 1920-February 11, 1986), creator of the Dune series.


Rain

As the falling rain
trickles among the stones
memories come bubbling out.
It’s as if the rain
had pierced my temples.
Streaming
streaming chaotically
come memories:
the reedy voice
of the servant
telling me tales
of ghosts.
They sat beside me
the ghosts
and the bed creaked
that purple-dark afternoon
when I learned you were leaving forever,
a gleaming pebble
from constant rubbing
becomes a comet.
Rain is falling
falling
and memories keep flooding by
they show me a senseless
world
a voracious
world—abyss
ambush
whirlwind
spur
but I keep loving it
because I do
because of my five senses
because of my amazement
because every morning,
because forever, I have loved it
without knowing why.

[This is a night of shadows]

This is a night of shadows
of sword-memories
solitude overwhelms me.
No one awaits my arrival
with a kiss
or a rum
and a thousand questions.
Solitude echoes within me.
My heart wishes
to burst with rage
but it sprouts wings.

62, 22, 9, 4, 32

 

“He described feeling an aversion to other people. Not a murderous rage, but a cold, dismissive hate. He hated others, he explained, the way some people hate broccoli.” ~ a reference to Aurora, Colorado gunman james holmes in a Washington Post ARTICLE (March 15, 2018)

Tuesday afternoon, cloudy, 79 degrees

Today’s Two for Tuesday does not feature poetry. Unfortunately, it features two mass shootings in two days: El Paso, Texas (22 dead, 26 injured) and Dayton, Ohio (9 dead, 27 injured in 32 seconds). Less than a week ago, 4 people were killed and 12 injured in Gilroy, California. Nowhere else in the world do events such as these happen with this frequency.  Yes, there are other mass shootings in other countries, but nothing like what happens here in the USA.

Tampa Bay Times front page

Yesterday, the Dumpster Fire in Chief actually used a medium besides Twitter to address the nation in a stilted speech in which he condemned the very racism and white nationalism that he continually stokes, in which he got the massacre locales wrong (Toledo for Dayton, and Houston for El Paso), and in which he tried to pin the blame on video games and mental illness. Consider, video games flourish all over the world. People suffer from mental health issues all over the world. But these things do not happen with this frequency anywhere except here.

Researchers do suggest that certain factors can be predictors as to whether or not someone can become a mass shooter: “a strong sense of resentment, desire for infamy, copycat study of other shooters, past domestic violence, narcissism and access to firearms.” However, according to criminologist Adam Lankford, a country’s rate of gun ownership is a far better predictor of public mass shootings than indicators of mental illness; Lankford, a University of Alabama associate professor, published a 2016 analysis of data from 171 countries in the journal Violence and Victims.

Additionally, the attempt to link violent video games to mass shooters only perpetuates a falsehood. Jonathan Metzl, director of the Center for Medicine, Health and Society at Vanderbilt University, states that there is no statistical link between playing violent video games and shooting people. A 2004 report by the Secret Service and the Education Department determined that only 12 percent of perpetrators in more than three dozen school shootings showed an interest in violent video games.

Time magazine created a chart showing the number of mass shootings in the U.S. since 1982; below is the section for 2019 alone (totals do not include the shooters), indicating that 62 people have been killed by mass shooting so far this year. We still have four months left in 2019, people. The statistics are grim:

Mass Shootings in 2019 (Time Magazine)
“We should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalizes racist sentiments; leaders who demonize those who don’t look like us, or suggest that other people, including immigrants, threaten our way of life, or refer to other people as sub-human, or imply that America belongs to just one certain type of people.” ~ President Barack Obama (August 5, 2019)

In 2007, after the shootings at Virginia Tech, I thought that there might actually be some leveling of the gun laws in this country. Then, in 2012, I believed that surely after the Newtown shooting of school children that we would come together as a nation and actually do something. Then in 2017, when one man killed 59 people and injured 527 in Las Vegas, I thought to myself, “surely now something will happen.”

I can be incredibly naive at times.

But something feels different this time. At least, I like to hope/think so. Consider—news organizations and pundits are actually calling these heinous events what they are: DOMESTIC TERRORISM. So many of us like to sit on our sofas within the safety of our homes and decry the terrorism that may be visited upon us by Al Qaida or some other group of Muslims or Mexicans or whoever we happen to most fear and loathe in our ignorance. But we need not look to the other to find the real threat, the true enemy. We need not worry about those who worship differently, or those whose skin isn’t Caucasian, or those whose accents aren’t ‘merican.

The enemy is within. It is us. The enemy frequents 4Chan or 8Chan or whatever other forum happens to be exploding with venom shared by the disaffected or outlying or just plain evil individuals who post their screeds in the ether. And as one commentator pointed out, these are not manifestos; labeling them as such gives these rants too much credit.

These terrorists are incubated and bred right here at home. They haven’t invaded, to use the dumpster’s term for anyone who has immigrated or who seeks sanctuary. The killers come from a few states over, or a nearby city or town, or even next door. The people responsible for slaughtering scores of Americans in recent years are more often than not white males who feel that the world just isn’t fair, who may or may not have been bullied, who contend that a brown man or black woman has stolen the job meant for them, who believe the Kool-Ade that this administration spews from the sacred pulpit of Twitter or proclaims vociferously at red-hatted events. And some simply want to be famous, or infamous, as the case may be.

“America’s is not a uniquely cruel culture, but it is a culture awash in guns. While bullies exist everywhere, the United States has one of the highest gun-ownership rates in the world. That’s what makes social rejection in this country so uniquely deadly.” ~ from “Why Many Mass Shooters Are ‘Loners’” (The Atlantic, August 5, 2019)

To label these hate-filled people as being crazy or mentally ill does a great disservice to those who actually suffer from mental illness and do not go on killing rampages. I would also contend that blaming mental illness alone for their actions gives them yet another excuse that they don’t deserve. True, some may have suffered from untreated conditions such as depression or schizophrenia, but the Dumpster’s “focus on ‘mentally ill monsters’ oversimplifies the role of mental illness in public mass shootings and downplays the ease with which Americans can get firearms” (ABC News).

No one forced any of these individuals to acquire a gun or several guns; no one filled their arms with multiple rounds of ammunition. That being said, they were not created in vacuums. They were indoctrinated into a world of hate via online chats and inculcated via televised screeds, and for some, their mental illness may have led them to be more easily swayed. Some, but not all. We must not downplay the role of hatred in all of this.

The enemy is us, and we are him. This enemy wants us to be afraid of the other. I would prefer to be angry, not at the other, but at the system that nurtures the environment responsible for gestating such people. I would contend that righteous indignation is the best response to such ignorance. I would aver that abiding intolerance should be directed at those elected to represent and protect us, the ones who refuse to do what is needed and right, the ones who so fear a gun lobby that they remain silent, offering only the standard thoughts and prayers, as if those thoughts and prayers could actually shield us.

I’m tired of hoping that things will change. I’m past the point of being shocked at the numbers. The numbers don’t lie; they leave the lies to the selectively impotent politicians, the ones who decry loudly that the concept of healthcare for all will destroy our national way of life, but remain mute in the face of the actual death knell to a free society: unabated killing after killing after killing.

We should all be mortified that our school children are now routinely taught what to do in the case of an active shooter. We should be weary that yet another candlelight vigil for families and survivors brings no actionable change. We should be embarrassed that the rest of the world views us as little more than savage heathens who strap on our guns before going to church or out to dinner and who love our guns more than we love our citizenry. How much longer must we be strong and resilient in the aftermath of gun violence? When will we finally get off our knees and do something more concrete after offering feeble thoughts and prayers that do nothing to assuage the violence. We should do all of this and more, but I fear that we will not, at least not in my lifetime, and I fear that we shall all continue to slow dance in this quicksand.


“The opinions that are held with passion are always those for which no good ground exists; indeed the passion is the measure of the holder’s lack of rational conviction.” ~ Bertrand Russell, from Sceptical Essays

 
Image result for quotes about how people will believe anything
(Thanks to View Pacific for reminding me of this one.)

“It’s hard to fathom the level of grubby exploitation you’ve reduced yourself to, to turn a buck off of people who are watching their loved ones die in slow-motion” ~ Daryl Khan, whose father hoped food-grade hydrogen peroxide would cure his wife Susan’s cancer

Thursday evening, cloudy again, 48 degrees.

Abraham Lincoln’s opinions on the internet notwithstanding, a little something different for today . . .

So you wouldn’t believe the number of websites, books, videos, and pamphlets that I found from supposed health gurus, truth tellers, and conspiracy theorists who want you to introduce food-grade hydrogen peroxide into your life, you know, for all of the health benefits, because it can cure gingivitis and cancer, simultaneously, and, well, just because.

Found on the Truth About Cancer website
PLEASE, PLEASE DON’T FALL FOR THIS! IT’S A BUNCH OF HOOEY THAT CAN DAMAGE YOUR INTERNAL ORGANS AND POSSIBLY KILL YOU!

According to a 2017 article in The Washington Post, “Hundreds of people have become severely ill and at least five have died after consuming high-concentration hydrogen peroxide that some people take as an additive to their diets, according to a new study.”

A ten-year study by the U.S. National Poison Data System and the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) was published in Annals of Emergency Medicine; the study encompassed the years 2001-2011. During that time, “nearly 300 cases of high-concentration peroxide poisoning were identified.”

Dr. Benjamin Hatten, the lead study author, told CBS News that

The poisoning resulted in significant physical injuries, ranging from respiratory distress to seizures, strokes and heart attacks. About 14 percent of the patients experienced heart embolisms, while 7 percent died or had long-term disability after drinking hydrogen peroxide.

According to the NCBI of the NIH:

Hydrogen peroxide is relatively unstable and will rapidly decompose, through an exothermic reaction, into water and oxygen in the presence of alkali, metals and the enzyme catalase, which is found in mucous membranes, liver, kidney, red blood cells and bone marrow (). There are three main mechanisms of toxicity from hydrogen peroxide: caustic injury, oxygen gas formation and lipid peroxidation ().

The brown bottles of hydrogen peroxide that most of us have in our homes are 3 percent solutions. That’s a big difference from food-grade, which is usually a 35 percent solution, and often these food-grade jugs are clear or milky, resembling bottled water or milk products, and that’s a big problem if you have kids in your home, especially if they cannot read. The average amount of hydrogen peroxide in things like toothpaste and mouthwash is .1 percent. For more related facts, go here.

Go here for a good article explaining why food-grade hydrogen peroxide is not good for your health.

A marketing campaign aimed at making you believe that this is legitimate

I know that it might seem odd coming from me that I’m so adamantly against ingesting so-called food-grade hydrogen peroxide, but the supposed health benefits of using this dangerous 35 percent concentration, even diluted have never been studied by any reputable lab.

HydroProx-35-Pure-35-Food-Grade-Hydrogen-Peroxide-Diluted-to-8

Look, in recent years I’ve been trying to find natural and/or homeopathic and/or cruelty-free products in all areas of my life, but, and this is a BIG but, I research every supplement and/or vitamin that I add to my regimen; I monitor side effects and any possible benefits before deciding whether to continue or discontinue. And I in no way claim to be an authority on any of this.

I can tell you that Manuka honey has natural antibacterial properties that can do wonderful things for minor skin wounds. And rosehip oil is a wonderful moisturizer for your face. And snail slime, yep, even that, has beneficial properties. But a solution of diluted 35 percent hydrogen peroxide will not cure cancer, nor will it help with diabetes, nor will it help to oxygenate your cells.

I wrote this post because I had been sucked in by an article on the whole food-grade benefits about a month or two ago (who remembers time, so ephemeral…), so much so that I even priced a bottle on Amazon at that time (which has supposedly since banned 35 percent solutions, but a few can still be found). But then I began to dig deeper, and I realized that what was being touted was snake oil—pure and simple. And that’s the case with many, many supplements, health rinses and tonics (like turpentine), etcetera that are on the market today.

All that I am saying is please, please do your due diligence. Be an informed consumer, not a ill-informed victim.

More later. Peace.


And FYI:

Image result for Poison control center

Antoinette Tuff’s 911 call on Ga. shooting suspect is a portrait of poise, compassion ~ Petula Dvorak, Washington Post

This is not Friday leftovers. Far from it. Such an incredible story must be reblogged again and again.

America, listen to Antoinette Tuff.

Please.

Thanks to her, this time there will be no funerals with tiny caskets, no candlelit vigils and no families broken by grief.

No one was shot Tuesday after a man slipped into an elementary school just outside Atlanta with an AK-47-style assault rifle, 500 rounds of ammo and “nothing to live for.”

Why?

Not because we listened to gun advocates who said we should arm teachers with weapons.

Not because we took the advice of the National Rifle Association, which said schools should have armed officers.

Not because we heeded the school board directives to make frightening “intruder drills” part of every curriculum.

Probably, a mass shooting didn’t happen because the gunman listened to Tuff, the bookkeeper at Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, Ga. Police have identified the suspect as Michael Brandon Hill, 20.

On Thursday, President Obama identified Tuff as a hero, with a surprise phone call thanking her for her act of bravery.

As soon as the man entered the school and fired one round into the floor, Tuff called 911 and stayed smooth and calm as a computer help line operator. She kept a conversation going among herself, the gunman and the 911 dispatcher.

She calmed him. She told him that he wasn’t alone in having troubles. Her husband walked out on her after 33 years, she said, and she has a “multiple-disabled” son. She soothed that man holding an assault rifle by telling him, “We all go through something in life.”

“I’m sitting here with you and talking to you about it,” she told him when he mumbled something about no one wanting to listen to him.

As she persuaded the young man to surrender, she said: “We not going to hate you, baby. It’s a good thing that you’re giving up, so we’re not going to hate you.”

She offered to act as his human shield, to walk outside the school with him so police wouldn’t shoot.

She even told him she loved him, cared about him and was proud of him as he began to stand down.

Are you listening to her, America?

Her 911 call — listen to the whole thing; it’s riveting — is a portrait of poise, compassion and selflessness. She was exactly what America is forgetting to be.

“What do they want? Why did they do this?” we wondered after Adam Lanza ripped apart an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., and killed 20 first-graders and six staff members in December, and after every one of the mass shootings that have become unbelievably frequent in our country.

When we were doubled over in grief after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, President Obama spoke about the sickening routine that this kind of tragedy has become.

“As a country, we have been through this too many times. Whether it is an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago, these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children,” he said. “And we’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.”

“The politics” proved too powerful to control the lethal arsenal that too many people believe they have a right to possess. The deaths of first-graders weren’t enough to change the gun-control debate.

Just because we dodged 500 bullets this time and all those sweet children in Georgia are alive doesn’t mean we shouldn’t go through the national soul-searching that comes after these tragedies.

In that school in Georgia, as the children and teachers began the intruder drills, the gunman gave Tuff a pretty clear list of what drove him to that school with that weapon and that plan.

“Call the news,” he told her. He wanted attention.

He said he was off his medication and “just wants to go to the hospital.” He wanted better health care.

He told her that he “wants to go on the intercom and let everybody know he’s sorry.” He wanted someone to hear him and to forgive him.

He wanted her to know it was easy to get an assault rifle when you’re on probation and mentally ill. He just took it from a friend.

After the suspect was in custody, Tuff exhaled.

“I’ve never been so scared in all the days of my life. Oh, Jesus,” she told the 911 operator.

Thank you, Antoinette Tuff, for using your head and your heart to save those kids.

“What are you?” ~ Possibly the most obnoxious question a person can be asked.

If It’s Friday, It Must Mean Leftovers . . .

I found something on my tumblr that I really wanted to share, but couldn’t figure out how to embed the slideshow in WordPress, so I’ll just have to provide the link. It’s called “The Questions People Get Asked about Their Race.” What I found so relatable is that I have had far too many of those comments/questions thrown my way. I still remember being asked as an 8-year-old child, “What are you?” How does a child answer that . . .

The adult me knows the answer: human.

Basically, people are stupid, and anyone who doesn’t think so should read the following story after looking at the NPR slideshow.

Quite frankly, the following along the same lines just blew my mind.

A Virginia couple was shocked to find a police officer in front of their home when they returned from running errands, but they were even more surprised by the reason for the cop’s visit– to question whether or not they were in fact their children’s parents.

Joseph, a white man who didn’t want his last name revealed, and his black wife Keana told Fox5DC that they were outraged after the policeman told them a security guard at their local Walmart had suspected Joseph of kidnapping his three young daughters.

“He asks us very sincerely, ‘Hey, I was sent here by Walmart security. I just need to make sure that the children that you have are your own,’” Joseph said.

“I was dumbfounded,” Keana said. “I sat there for a minute and I thought, ‘Did he just ask us if these were our kids knowing what we went through to have our children?’

The couple, who have been married for 10 years, have a four-year-old daughter and two-year-old twin girls. Joseph had taken the girls to a Walmart near their Prince William County home to cash a check and left after spending a short time in the parking lot. After speaking with the officer, they called the store demanding an explanation.

According to Keana, she was told a customer was alarmed after seeing her husband and children.

“Well, the customer was concerned because they saw the children with your husband and he didn’t think that they fit,” Keana told the news station. “And I said, ‘What do you mean by they don’t fit?’ And I was trying to get her to say it. And she says, ‘Well, they just don’t match up.’”

As interracial marriage rates increase, the birth of interracial children has soared in the past decade, with more than seven percent born in the year before the 2010 census. According to The Washington Post, Virginia leads the nation in the percentage of marriages between blacks and whites, making Joseph and Keana just one of many couples who may be subjected to similar treatment.

Although they were upset, the couple said they were not surprised by the incident. Walmart issued a statement to the TV station saying they were looking into the situation.

“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy.” ~ Ernest Benn

Rush Limbaugh as seen on The Daily Show (3-5-12)

                   

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” ~ H. L. Mencken

I must confess that I haven’t thought about Rush Limbaugh too much in quite a while. I mean, El Douchebag is not on the top of my things to think about. Unfortunately, maggot-head opened his mouth recently and spewed forth some vile that simply cannot be ignored. I’m referring to, of course, the Sandra Fluke tirade.

Sandra Fluke

For those of you who don’t know, let me summarize (for a full timeline, click here): Sandra Fluke is a Georgetown law student. Georgetown is a Jesuit school, by the way. Fluke, a co-president of the Georgetown chapter of Law Students for Reproductive Justice, testified before a Democratic forum on February 23, having been denied by Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) the opportunity to speak before House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s session on health reform law’s mandated coverage of contraceptives. The committee was probing whether the provision violates religious liberties. In her testimony, Fluke shared experiences by other Georgetown law students regarding access to female contraception, something the Jesuit institution does not believe that it should provide for its non-Catholic students seeking access:

Students who pay as much as $1,000 a year out-of-pocket for a birth-control prescription, a married woman who stopped taking the pill because she couldn’t afford it, and a friend who needed the prescription for a medical condition unrelated to pregnancy but gave up battling to get it.

“We did not expect that women would be told in the national media that we should have gone to school elsewhere” to receive contraception coverage, Fluke’s testimony stated.

“We refuse to pick between a quality education and our health.” (Washington Post)

Enter El Douchebag.On February 29, Limbaugh joined other right-wing politicos who likened Fluke’s testimony to women wanting to be paid to have sex. Said Limbaugh:

“She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex. What does that make us? We’re the pimps.”

The next day, Limbaugh again brought up Fluke on his show, saying to Fluke and other women, “Here’s the deal: If we are going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it. And I’ll tell you what it is. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.” (Washington Post)

Really Rush? Are you really that stupid or have the past decades all been an act? I would like to think that no one can be that stupid, but I know better, especially since you were not alone in the rush to judge the law student as sex crazed. Witness a headline on Hot Air: “Georgetown co-ed: Please pay for us to have sex … We’re going broke buying birth control.” In this particular post, Tina Korbe states the following:

Craig Bannister at CNSNews.com did the math — and discovered that these co-eds, assuming they’re using the cheapest possible contraception, must be having sex about three times a day every day to incur that kind of expense. What Fluke is arguing, then, is that her fellow law students have a right to consequence-free sex whenever, wherever. Why, exactly, especially if it costs other people something? When I can’t pay for something, I do without it. Fortunately, in the case of contraception, women can make lifestyle choices that render it unnecessary.

Five Male Witnesses Testifying Before House Oversight Committee

Hello? Again, really? Lifestyle choices? I know two young women who began taking birth control not so they could have sex but because they had health-related issues that could be eased with contraception.

To put it plainly, this issue, which until recently was being discussed by a group of men, is about women’s health (for more on how this issue is being discussed, click here). Women, informed women, are asking that they have access under their health insurance coverage to birth control, which is still legal in this country as far as I know. These women are not asking for someone to hand them money when they have sex. These women are not suggesting that access to birth control will make it easier for them to have sex with a wild abandon and without any thought to the consequences.

Under President Obama’s compromise, the religiously affiliated institutions that do not wish to go against their principles are not being forced to do so. The compromise calls for the contraceptives to be made available directly through the health insurer. Of course, this compromise is not good enough for those who view the issue as religious rather than health-related.

“We must . . . guarantee women control over their own reproductive decisions.” ~ Henry W. Kendall

And as for picking people’s pockets to pay for something they don’t support, let me put this in a way that you might be better able to understand:

Viagra. Yep, I’m going there. Viagra is available under prescription coverage with almost every health plan. Viagra is taken by men to help them to get and sustain erections. I’m pretty sure that erections are used for . . . shall we say sex?

And hey, I can do math too, and unlike some people, my math is based on facts: Viagra costs between $10 and $11 per pill. Using information found on just about any site on birth control pills, I calculated that the average of cost of one month’s worth of pills would be $32.50; divide that number by 28, the number of pills in a pack, and the average cost of one birth control pill is $1.16.

Now, I pay a lot for my health insurance each month. I know that my insurance plan covers the cost of both bc pills and Viagra. This means that if I look at it in the same way as Limbaugh and his cronies, which I don’t, my pocket is being picked so that some man can get an erection and have sex.

Ewwww. But let’s continue in this vein:

If I’m helping to pay for unknown males to get erections, then by Limbaugh’s logic, these same men should make videos of their sexual escapades and make them available to everyone for viewing, just like Sandra Fluke. Personally, I have no desire to see such videos.

And further, since my health insurance prescription coverage includes my medications for health issues over which I have no control, I’m not going to complain about the people who have access to Viagra any more than I’m going to complain about women having access to birth control.

As Jon Stewart points out in the video below, we all pay for things we don’t support. Our taxes are used for all kinds of things that we might find abhorrent. But trust me when I tell you that paying for birth control is a lot cheaper than paying for unwanted pregnancies. Paying for birth control is a lot cheaper than paying for surgeries to remove ovarian tumors. Paying for birth control is a lot cheaper than the time lost in productivity in the workplace by women who are completely incapacitated by their monthly periods.

And just remember when you accuse women of wanting special treatment: Viagra, for men only.

More later. Peace.

                   

Jon Stewart takes on Rush Limbaugh:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

“America has entered one of its periods of historical madness, but this is the worst I can remember” ~ John LeCarré

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“O, that way madness lies; let me shun that;
No more of that.” ~ Shakespeare, King Lear (III, iv)

The Legal Definition of Rape (as taken directly from legal-dictionary.com):

Rape is the commission of unlawful sexual intercourse or unlawful sexual intrusion. Rape laws in the United States have been revised over the years, and they vary from state to state.

Historically, rape was defined as unlawful sexual intercourse with a woman against her will. The essential elements of the crime were sexual penetration, force, and lack of consent. Women who were raped were expected to have physically resisted to the utmost of their powers or their assailant would not be convicted of rape. Additionally, a husband could have sex with his wife against her will without being charged with rape. Beginning in the 1970s, state legislatures and courts expanded and redefined the crime of rape to reflect modern notions of equality and legal propriety.

As of the early 2000s, all states define rape without reference to the sex of the victim and the perpetrator. Though the overwhelming majority of rape victims are women, a woman may be convicted of raping a man, a man may be convicted of raping a man, and a woman may be convicted of raping another woman. Furthermore, a spouse may be convicted of rape if the perpetrator forces the other spouse to have nonconsensual sex. Many states do not punish the rape of a spouse as severely as the rape of a non-spouse.

Many states also have redefined lack of consent. Before the 1970s, many courts viewed the element of force from the standpoint of the victim. A man would not be convicted of rape of a competent woman unless she had demonstrated some physical resistance. In the absence of physical resistance, courts usually held that the sexual act was consensual. In the early 2000s in many states, the prosecution can prove lack of consent by presenting evidence that the victim objected verbally to the sexual penetration or sexual intrusion.

Lack of consent is a necessary element in every rape. But this qualifier does not mean that a person may make sexual contact with a minor or incapacitated person who actually consented. Lack of consent may result from either forcible compulsion by the perpetrator or an incapacity to consent on the part of the victim. Persons who are physically or mentally helpless or who are under a certain age in relation to the perpetrator are deemed legally incapable of consenting to sex. (emphasis mine)

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“Today’s milestone is human madness. Politics is a part of it, particularly in its lethal outbursts.” ~ Julia Kristeva

I’ve been doing a slow boil* for a few days now as a direct result of those anti-choice pecker-heads in Congress, you know, the ones behind the proposed No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act (follow link for full text of bill as well as list of sponsors), which would effectively set back women’s rights over three decades to a time in which it was considered impossible for a husband to rape his wife, a time during which women who didn’t fight tooth and claw weren’t considered to have been really raped, a time in which saying no could be construed as really meaning yes, a time during which a woman’s wardrobe could be construed as code for “come and get me.”

I’m plenty pissed people.

Essentially HR3, which bone-head Boehner says is “one of our highest legislative priorities,” redefines rape as “forcible rape.”

No knife, no gun, no bruises, no wounds = no rape

Wee bit antiquated? Ever hear of Rohipnol people? But this is the kicker: 173 members of Congress,** including 16 women, support this bill. Boehner claims that current law “does not reflect the will of the people.”

Excuse me? The people? You mean the ones with penises? The ones who can never ever ever get pregnant against their will? Oh, right, those people.

According to Steph Sterling, a lawyer and senior adviser to the National Women’s Law Center, “It speaks to a distinction between rape where there must be some element of force in order to rise to the standard, and rape where there is not . . . The concern here is that it takes us back to a time where just saying no was not enough.”

At stake is the Hyde Amendment (enacted and renewed since 1976), which “prevents some federally funded health-care programs from covering abortions. For years, it has allowed exemptions in cases of rape and incest, and when the life of the woman is threatened.” In sum, Hyde excludes abortion for people receiving Medicaid (with exceptions as noted). Hyde also excludes coverage for federal employees with government-provided health insurance, (e.g., the military).

According to thinkprogress.org, by narrowing the Hyde Amendment language, “Republicans would exclude the following situations from coverage: women who say no but do not physically fight off the perpetrator, women who are drugged or verbally threatened and raped, and minors impregnated by adults.” The measure would also raise costs for businesses who want to offer employees insurance plans with abortion coverage, by eliminating health care tax deductions and benefits that have long been a part of federal law.***

One of my personal Congressional faves, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), wasted no time in letting her GOP colleagues know how “absolutely outrageous” she views this intrusive bill: “To have H.R. 3, the Republicans’ third most important priority, say that rape cannot be an exception to federal funding for abortion . . . sends an incredibly strong message to women.”

“To suggest that there is some kind of rape that would be okay to force a woman to carry the resulting pregnancy to term, and abandon the principle that has been long held, an exception that has been settled for 30 years, is to me a violent act against women in and of itself . . . Rape is when a woman is forced to have sex against her will, and that is whether she is conscious, unconscious, mentally stable, not mentally stable,” the four-term congresswoman added.

Consider, if HR3 were to pass, victims of of incest and statutory rape resulting in pregnancy would be unable to use Medicaid to pay for an abortion, and if the victim were covered under her parents’ health insurance policy, HR3 could effectively make it impossible to use that private insurance by not allowing the parents to “use money from a tax-exempt health savings account (HSA) to pay for the procedure. They also wouldn’t be able to deduct the cost of the abortion or the cost of any insurance that paid for it as a medical expense.”

As for the incest exception under Hyde, the proposed bill would only allow federally funded abortions if the woman is under 18. Grandaddy’s little secret could remain his secret under the ambiguously arcane and archaic language of HR3.

I’ve said it before, and I will scream it to the rafters if I have to: People with penises have absolutely no right to make decisions for those without said appendages, especially when it comes to matters of health.

Keep your frigging laws of my body.

No peace tonight. Sorry. 

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*If you want to skip the ranting and just go to the sources, here is a list of the ones consulted in writing this post:

http://womantribune.com/hr-3-taxpayer-funding-abortion-act-offensive-women

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/rape

http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/01/republican-plan-redefine-rape-abortion

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/gop-introduces-%E2%80%98no-taxpayer-funding-for-abortion-act%E2%80%99/

http://amaditalks.tumblr.com/post/3009672649/h-r-3-co-sponsors-on-twitter

http://thinkprogress.org/2011/02/01/dws-rape-language/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/31/AR2011013105207.html

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/02/wasserman-schultz-gop-rape-violent-women/

http://www.nwlc.org/our-blog/abortion-overreach-could-raise-your-taxes

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**Unfortunately, as had been reported in some sources, Daniel Lipinski is not the only male Democrat (no female dems) supporting this appalling rewrite on the definition of rape under the guise of federal funding for abortion. Here is the most recent list found, which was found on Amadi Talks

Dan Boren (OK)
Mark Critz (PA)
Joe Donnelly (IN)
Daniel Lipinski (IL)
Collin Peterson (FL)
Nick Rahall (WV)
Mike Ross (AR)
Heath Shuler (NC)

If you wish to contact any of these cavement (dems or repubs), you can go here to find contact info. If I have omitted any names or listed anyone in error, please let me know.

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More from Steph Sterling clarifying this aspect of HR3:

So what would this mean for a real family?  Take a father of three working as an assembly lineman who loses his job when his manufacturing plant closes.  Right now, he’s eligible for the Health Coverage Tax Credit to help with the costs of his $13,770 premium.  But, because his insurance plan included coverage of abortion—even though he never knew about this benefit and no one in his family ever used it—H.R. 3 would suddenly make him ineligible for the benefit and would cost him $11,236.

Other tax benefits are on the line, too.  Right now, a woman who makes $25,000 is eligible to deduct any amount over $1,875 she spends on health expenses, including her insurance premiums, from her taxable income.  If H.R. 3 were enacted and her health insurance plan includes coverage of abortion, she would lose a $1,731 deduction.  More than 7.5 million families claim this particular medical expense deductions—and each of them would lose the deduction if their plan covers abortion.