Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Martha Burk delivers a chilling and accurate assessment of the Democrats' Woman Problem. Dems spend far more time trying to find new and clever ways to talk about abortion rights than they actually spend talking about a woman's right to choose motherhood or not.
Like a lot of women, I winced during the presidential debates, when Kerry essentially said: I'm Pro Choice and I'm sorry.
I can't forget how mortified I felt during the Party Conventions when Bush spoke about issues important to women, while reporting-for-duty Kerry sent his wife to do the job.
Martha Burk rocks. She will be at the upcoming NOW Conference here in Nashville!
The Democrats' Woman Problem:
The Kerry campaign shied away from talking to women at all, choosing instead to go for the white male warrior vote. Women’s advocates were alarmed about this from the beginning, when the Democrats refused to fund a strategy to get women to the polls, while the Bush team had a person in every precinct who was responsible for turning out the female “W” vote.
Leaving women out of the debate was not new for the Democrats. They have shown us in the last two elections that they don’t want to be too vocal about women. Every time George Bush said to Al Gore, “I don’t trust the government, I trust the people,” Gore had the perfect opportunity to counter with “except for women in making their own decisions about their own bodies.” He never once took that opportunity. In 2004, the Dems avoided “women’s issues” at every turn, even taking the Equal Rights Amendment out of the platform for the first time in 40 years. When their own internal polling showed the pay gap as one of the top concerns for women, the candidate didn’t want to talk about it publicly.
As for the abortion issue, only those far inside the Beltway could decode Kerry’s rambling answer in the final debate to conclude he was—sorry, Howard—pro-choice. Even so, the DNC is now blaming the loss on “being forced into the idea of defending the idea of abortion,” according to Dean.
And lifting “personal freedom and personal responsibility” from the Republican playbook —as Dean is now doing—won’t do any good either. When women get up on Election Day morning, they’ll still think about elephants.
What political capital?
[Just] 31 percent approved of his handling of Social Security, an all-time low in the Post poll, while only 40 percent gave him good marks for his stewardship of the economy and 42 percent for his management of Iraq, both ratings close to the lowest ever recorded in those areas. Other surveys have recorded similar findings, with Bush's approval rating as low as 43 percent.
In the latest No News Press Conference, the leader of the Empire responds to Amnesty International's documentation of U. S. human rights violations:
"It's absurd. It's an absurd allegation."
Not to be outdone, Cheney responds: "I frankly just don't take them seriously. ."
I feel so much better now.
Amnesty International Report 2005:
The blatant disregard for international human rights and humanitarian law in the “war on terror” continued to make a mockery of President George Bush’s claims that the USA was the global champion of human rights. Images of detainees in US custody tortured in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq shocked the world. War crimes in Iraq, and mounting evidence of the torture and ill-treatment of detainees in US custody in other countries, sent an unequivocal message to the world that human rights may be sacrificed ostensibly in the name of security.
President Bush’s refusal to apply the Geneva Conventions to those captured during the international armed conflict in Afghanistan and transferred to the US naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, was challenged by a judicial decision in November. The ruling resulted in the suspension of trials by military commission in Guantánamo, and the government immediately lodged an appeal. The US administration’s treatment of detainees in the “war on terror” continued to display a marked ambivalence to the opinion of expert bodies such as the International Committee of the Red Cross and even of its own highest judicial body. Six months after the Supreme Court ruled that the federal courts had jurisdiction over the Guantánamo detainees, none had appeared in court. Detainees reportedly considered of high intelligence value remained in secret detention in undisclosed locations. In some cases their situation amounted to “disappearance”.
The “war on terror” and the “war on drugs” increasingly merged, and dominated US relations with Latin America and the Caribbean. Following the US elections in November, the Bush administration encouraged governments in the region to give a greater role to the military in public order and internal security operations. The blurring of military and police roles resulted in governments such as those in Brazil, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Paraguay deploying military forces to deal with crime and social unrest.
The US doubled the ceiling on the number of US personnel deployed in Colombia in counter-insurgency and counter-narcotics operations. The Colombian government in turn persisted in redefining the country’s 40-year internal conflict as part of the international “war on terror”.
Monday, May 30, 2005
"Tennessee law enforcement officials don't typically arrest those who are ill [for marijuana use]. They target kids and young adults, racial minorities, people who remind them of the 1960s, guys with long hair or an earring." H. Wallace Maroney, Memphis attorney, quoted in the Nashville Scene
As my previous post indicates, that may be changing, at least here in Nashville where police are throwing the book (and making up charges, galore) at elderly cancer victims who dare to alleviate their pain with the use of medical marijuana.
Move over murderers and rapists, Nashville's elderly pot smokers are coming to join you in prison.
Do we really want to imprison our parents and grandparents? Is there that much free space in our jails and prisons? Do we have the necessary medical facilities in our prisons to care for all the elderly pot smokers? Are the people in charge insane?
ELDERLY PATIENTS THROW NEW WRINKLE IN MARIJUANA DEBATE
Reaching for a cane, the frail grandmother pads with uncertain steps to the tiny alcove kitchen in her two-room flat. Her feline alarm clock gets his grub, then Hiatt turns to her own needs.
She is, at 81, a medical wreck and a miracle, surviving cancer, Crohn's disease, and the onset of Parkinson's. Each morning Hiatt takes more than a dozen pills. But first she turns to a translucent orange prescription bottle stuffed with a drug not found on her pharmacist's shelf -- marijuana.
Peering through owlish glasses, Hiatt fires up a cannabis cigarette with a wood-stem match. She inhales. The little apartment -- a cozy place of knickknacks and needlepoint -- takes on the odor of a rock concert. "It's like any other medicine for me," Hiatt says, blowing out a cumulus of unmistakable fragrance. "But I don't know that I'd be alive without it."
With the US Supreme Court poised to soon rule on whether medical marijuana laws in California and nine other states are subject to federal prohibitions, elderly patients such as Hiatt are emerging as a potentially potent force in the roiling debate over health, personal choice, and states' rights.
No one knows exactly how many elderly use cannabis to address their ills, but activists and physicians say they probably number in the thousands. And unlike medical marijuana's younger and more militant true believers, the elderly are difficult for doubters to castigate as stoners.
Their pains are unassailable. Their needs for relief are real. Most never touched pot before. As parents in the counterculture '60s, many waged a generation-gap war with children getting high on the stuff. Now some of those same parents consider the long-demonized herb a blessing.
Patients contend cannabis helps ease the effects of multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, and rheumatoid arthritis. It can calm nausea during chemotherapy. Research has found that cannabinoids, marijuana's active components, show promise for treating symptoms of Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's, perhaps even as anticancer agents.
A recent AARP poll indicated that 72 percent of people age 45 or older believed adults should be allowed to use cannabis with a physician's recommendation. ( The poll indicated a similar proportion staunchly opposed to legalizing recreational pot. ) Conservative elders such as commentator William F. Buckley and former Secretary of State George P. Shultz have supported marijuana as medicine.
Hiatt and those like her are "more and more the face of the marijuana smoker," said Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance, which advocates treating cannabis like alcohol: regulated, taxed, and off-limits to teens.
Saturday, May 28, 2005
Correction made 5-31-05:
Follow-up visit was primarily conducted by armed Dept. of Revenue Agents
Update: This is a recommended diary at Daily Kos. Check out the discussion.
At 3:00 am, ten police cars descended upon a small modest home in East Nashville. There are only 7 homes on the tiny dead-end street, so it was something of a spectacle. After rousing the astonished inhabits of the home, police asked Dale to step outside where they attempted to persuade the tired and startled 60-year-old cancer victim to sign a form granting them permission to enter and search his home.
While the officers were practicing their art of persuasion, one female officer entered the home and ordered the inhabitants - Dale’s 20 year old daughter and her house guest - to stay right where they were. The terrified citizens did as they were told.
Outside, the persuasive argument went like this: While chasing someone through Dale’s backyard earlier in the evening, a police officer had “smelled” some marijuana. His flashlight subsequently revealed ten 18 inch tall plants huddled tightly together in a small patch of the ground. As if this wasn’t bad enough, there were also sixteen 6 inch plants protruding from four tiny plastic trays, the kind commonly used for seedlings.
Police had obviously snared a big time drug kingpin, hence no expense was spared, and the impressive and intimidating squadron of ten police cars was immediately dispatched.
Undeniably, the spectacle of ten police cars surrounding the small home and the groggy state of the man who was so rudely aroused from his sleep, were very persuasive factors. Police also informed the elderly barefoot gentleman that he would not be permited to go inside to retrieve a jacket or his shoes, until he signed the permission slip or until a warrant arrived. Once the permission form was signed, the other officers felt free to enter the home. The female officer went immediately to the refrigerator and opened the freezer door. One of her male colleagues quipped that she was always hungry. Laughter ensued.
Dale’s daughter sobbed quietly.
Concern for his daughter, as well as a good natured spirit, led Dale to take the invaders straight to his small stash of medical marijuana. The cancer victim had less than an ounce (less than 28 grams) of medical marijuana.
Police also confiscated some heavy duty paraphernalia.
Mild mannered and overly cooperative to the end, Dale finally did protest when an officer seized a package of cigarette papers. Gesturing toward his can of Bugler tobacco, Dale pointed out that the cigarette papers came with the tobacco and that without the alleged “paraphernalia” he couldn’t exercise his legal habit of rolling his own cigarettes. The officer ignored him. Officers then seized yet another unopened package of Bugler cigarette papers. Finally, Metro police seized a small tire gage, thinking it looked suspicious, but later they returned the item.
In Tennessee, possession of drug paraphernalia can get you one year and/or a fine of $2,500.
Folks who purchase Bugler tobacco might want to reconsider.
Despite Dale’s cooperation, it was daylight before the police finally left his home and hauled the big time criminal off to jail. His daughter performed the unpleasant task of calling her sisters and explaining, in between heartbroken sobs, that their beloved father was in jail. And she called me. As the mother of these beautiful young women, I got to experience, first hand, the kind of emotional devastation routinely inflicted upon families by the barbaric and inhumane drug laws so common in the U.S.
Dale reports that while he was being booked for his big time crime, several police officers and a considerably higher status official quietly told him that they personally see nothing wrong with the use of marijuana.
They are just doing their job.
Dale has been charged with manufacturing the controlled substance of marijuana in the amount of 136, 050 grams (303 pounds), or more, and possession of, with intent to sale, one kilogram, or more, of methamphetamine. (!)
While Dale was being booked at the downtown Nashville police station, Officer Neely pulled one of his daughters aside and informed her that someone had “tacked on” a “bogus charge of Meth.” Officer Neely advised the astonished young woman to be certain to get a lawyer in order to get the charge removed. The young woman reports that the officer did not appear to be surprised by the bogus charge.
It is not clear why the false charge was not immediately removed by Officer Neely or one of her colleagues or superiors.
The question that comes to mind: Were Nashville’s Finest waiting until they had a chance to locate some spare Meth before making the paperwork fit the bogus charge? As to why they might be motivated to tack on phony charges or grossly exaggerate the amount of marijuana seized, that will be discussed in a follow-up story.
The senior citizen has also been charged with possession of paraphernalia, i.e., two unopened packages of Bugler cigarette papers.
Are Nashville’s police officers corrupt or merely incompetent? I’m not sure, but I am sure that they deserve to be treated with the same amount of respect, fear and dread as your run-of-the-mill vampire.
This nightmare continues to develop. In the next post I’ll address the follow-up visit of Metro Police, in which they return with Revenue Agents who seize the senior citizen’s car, bank account, and home for failure to purchase drug tax stamps.
Ain’t life in Nashville grand? If you don’t live here, you probably don’t want to.
*The name of the drug kingpin has been changed. The name of the police officer has not. See also, Tennessee Independent Media Center. My thanks to Say Uncle and Drug WarRant for picking up the first installment of this story.
A new USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll finds that most Americans say they will likely vote for Hillary Clinton in the 2008 presidential election.
The number of Americans who strongly support her is on the rise, while the number who strongly oppose her is on the decline.
Not surprisingly, there is a striking gender gap.
Almost 60% of women will likely vote for Clinton, compared to only 45% of men.
No doubt about it, Hillary Clinton as a candidate in the 2008 presidential election is going to add a whole new dimension to politics as we have always known it. I can't think of a more effective way to persuade large numbers of American women to get serious about paying attention to the predominantly male sport.
We'll also get the bonus of experiencing some very interesting private and public gender dramas. Many of these will be far easier on the American psyche with Hillary Clinton as the first female presidential candidate on a major party ticket. Remember when Geraldine Ferraro ran for Vice President and Americans got uncomfortable at the sight of her husband standing in the background?
That won't be a problem with Bill Clinton. There is no other man in the country so qualified to be America's first First Gentleman.
The man has been there, done that. He has nothing to prove. Thus, the all-consuming national concern for the welfare of the fragile male ego will be largely appeased, or at least more so than if any other woman were to run.
It's true that Condi Rice would not have to contend with the problem of a First Gentleman standing behind her, but America has never been ready for a single man as president, why would it suddenly be ready for a single woman?
Clinton's strongest supporters are under age 30, low income, and liberal, of course.
Eighty percent of her likely supporters are liberal, 58% moderate and 33% conservative.
Is there a Republican alive who could garner the likely support of 33% of liberals?
Why no, there is not.
Friday, May 27, 2005
Tennessee's drug tax, or Tax on Unauthorized Substances is no tax at all, rather it is punishment before you go to trial. If you are found guilty, you get yet more punishment. If you are found innocent, well, too bad, cause the Bill of Rights is null and void in Tennessee.A family member just had all his money and cars seized for the marijuana tax; they put a lien on his house. He was busted over the weekend here in Nashville for a few baby-sized plants and a small amount of commercial weed. For this, they say he owes almost as much as his house is worth.
I thought people were innocent until proven guilty in this country. This man is almost 60 years old; he is recovering from cancer. This mild-mannered, kind-hearted elderly man smokes marijuana to alleviate pain and depression. They have charged him with dealing and are taking everything he owns before he even goes to court!
Without a car, how does he go to work? Without money, how does he obtain a lawyer? Since he’s not in the best of health, all of this may be enough to kill him. They call it a tax, but it is obviously punishment. He was told that regardless of whether he is found innocent or guilty, he will not get anything back.
This is obviously unconstitutional, but do we even have a constitution any more?
I’ve been doing some frantic researching, and intended to write a more complete story, but right now I don’t feel so good. I’ll post again later. (Apparently the same law or laws very similar have been ruled unconstitutional in some other states.) If anyone has any knowledge or ideas on this, please share them. Right now, I just need to figure out how he can get some competent help. Or, how I can take all my family and friends to Canada.
Documenting the state of Tennessee's utter disregard for the constitutional rights of citizens, or the constitutional rights we used to have:
Tennessee’s new drug tax law - Tax on Unauthorized Substances law –became effective in January 2005. Public Chapter 803 SB 2419 - HB 2796
Description of law from TN Dept of Revenue
Say Uncle has a very interesting discussion of Tennessee’s unconstitutional drug tax law. He also has a copy of the TN form you are supposed to fill out, like if you are a drug dealer and want to notify the government that you are a drug dealer by paying "taxes" on your illegal substance.
Thursday, May 26, 2005
As I said in the previous post, I'm posting a copy of this historical document because feminist history is really really important and because this is as good a time as any to think about how many of the Rights that feminists demanded in 1967, have actually been obtained in 2005.
Now [National Organization for Women] Bill of Rights
Adopted at NOW’s first national conference, Washington, D. C., 1967
BILL OF RIGHTS
I. That the US Congress immediately pass the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution to provide that “Equality of Rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex,” and that such then be immediately ratified by the several states.
II. That equal employment opportunity be guaranteed to all women, as well as men, by insisting that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforces the prohibition against racial discrimination.
III. That women be protected by law to ensure their rights to return to their jobs within a reasonable time after childbirth without loss of seniority or other accrued benefits, and be paid maternity leave as a form of social security and/or employee benefits.
IV. Immediate revision of tax laws to permit the deduction of home and childcare expenses for working parents.
V. That childcare facilities be established by law on the same basis as parks, libraries, and public schools, adequate to the needs of children from the pre-school years through adolescence, as a community resource to be used by all citizens from all income levels.
VI. That the right of women to be educated to their full potential equally with men be secured by Federal and State legislation, eliminating all discrimination and segregation by sex, written and unwritten, at all levels of education, including colleges, graduate and professional schools, loans and fellowships, and Federal and State training programs such as the Jobs Corps.
VII. The right of women in poverty to secure job training, housing, and family allowances on equal terms with men, but without prejudice to a parent’s right to remain at home to care for his or her children; revision of welfare legislation and poverty programs which deny women dignity, privacy, and self-respect.
VIII. The right of women to control their own reproductive lives by removing from the penal code laws limiting access to contraceptive information and devices, and by repealing penal laws governing abortion.
From: Sisterhood Is Powerful: An Anthology of Writings from the Women’s Liberation Movement, ed. Robin Morgan, 1970. New York: Random House, p. 512-14. (see sidebar if you'd like to own this classic feminist text. Note it is dirt cheap, and what does that say?)
Note: This may be online somewhere, but this is a copy I typed out a few years back.
It's really true. The National Organization for Women is having its 2005 conference right here in Nashville, Tennessee.
Yes, Virginia, there are feminists in the state of Tennessee.
Feminists from all across this Red state are very excited about the upcoming NOW Conference here in Nashville. No offense to Howard Dean, but a gathering of a thousand or more feminists has far more potential to shake things up and energize those of us doing the work in the trenches than a mere visit from the DNC Chair. Some say the city/state will never be the same.
I can't think of a better time for a record number of feminists to come together. With Bush set to spend the next three and a half years shredding women's rights yet further, and calling it 'freedom on the march,' self-defense alone is reason-a-plenty to come to this year's NOW conference. With a record number of Supreme Court Justices set to retire or die, there has never been a more urgent time for the feminists of America to unite.
I urge you to drop whatever it was you were thinking of doing the first week of July and come to the NOW Conference. With a bit of luck, we will still have the right to assemble come July, and so can share our ideas and strategize toward the goal of defending women and their families from the most outrageous assault on women's rights in recent history.
You can sign up at the NOW Conference site. (It's one of the easiest registrations I've ever encountered.)
If you can help, email Cynthia. There is still a need for drivers for the speakers, housing space (no need to feed guests), as well as help with assorted miscellaneous projects/tasks.
All the Conference details are at the NOW Conference Site, but here's a glimpse:
Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey
Tillie Black Bear
There will be lots of interactive workshops. "The goal of these sessions is to send participants home with new inspiration and tactics to organize in their own communities . ."
Some of the broad range of subjects expected to be covered in the workshops:
LGBT Legislation: Hate Crimes and Marriage Discrimination
God and Politics
Education and Title IX
Cultural Challenges Facing Young Women (hip hop, street harassment, dating violence)
Young Feminists: Organizing and Mobilizing
Young Feminist Mentoring
Violence Against Women
The War on Drugs
Corporate Greed and Accountability
NOW PAC will also hold its popular Political Institute
Finally, while I don't have time to comment on it (sleep deprivation here), I'm going to quickly post the National Organization for Women Bill of Rights, Adopted at NOW’s first national conference, in Washington, D. C., 1967.
Because feminist history is really really important, and because this is as good a time as any to think about how many of the Rights - which were hoped for in 1967 - have actually been obtained in 2005.
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Republicans continue to froth at the mouth over the Nuclear Compromise, and much of the poison is settling on Dr. Frist, a.k.a. the ineffective and weak Senate Majority Leader.
This has got to be a major blow for Frist. The Senate Majority Leader has a well-documented history of some serious vanity issues.
Here are a few Republican frothings that suggest Frist may be the real loser in the Nuclear Compromise. The Dems may have won the longterm benefit of provoking yet more division among the already divided and already poisonous Republicans.
The Republican Manchester Union-Leader editorializes:
"SENATE MAJORITY Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., is not doing his Presidential ambitions any favors by continuing to let Democrats run the U.S. Senate with the help of squishy Republicans like John McCain, Susan Collins and Lincoln Chafee [...]
Frist has again showed that he is no match for Senate Democrats. If he cannot effectively lead 55 Republican senators, how can he be trusted to lead the party and the country three years from now?" Via Daily Kos - who points out that this very Republican newspaper is in the "first-in-the-nation primary state."
Republican pundit Ben Shapiro at Town Hall:
Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) -- Majority leader? What majority leader? McCain made Frist look foolish and probably prevented Frist's ascent to the Republican presidential nomination in 2008. Frist should have pushed the nuclear option sooner and whipped his senators into line. Now he's left an emergency message with Fox's "Nanny 911."
Norman Pawlewski, of the Iowa Christian Coalition:
"[Frist] let them do this. He's the leader of the Senate. If he's so weak as a leader of the Senate that he can't control his own troops, then he's not much of a leader."
Call me crazy, but, at this particular moment, I'm clinging to the hope that the Dems know what they are doing.
The following email from Rep. Chris Clem (R-Lookout Mountain) is a perfect illustration of the mentality of many of the elite white males who govern the state of Tennessee. Like Rep. Clem himself, the letter reeks of unmitigated arrogance and contempt for the 'little' people. The Republican lives in an ultra white wealthy suburb of Chattanooga. And it shows. He certainly has no understanding or compassion for those of us who do not. Humility is a lesson he has yet to learn.
The state's expanded Medicaid health care plan - TennCare - covers almost one fourth of all Tennesseans. So when Rep. Clem disparages, ridicules and mocks the Tennesseans who are on TennCare, the Republican is disparaging, ridiculing and mocking almost one fourth of the state's population.
Rep. Clem is famous for sponsoring bills that harm people who are not like him. He has sponsored a bill that would outlaw adoption by gays and a bill that would outlaw civil unions. Of course, he supports a legislator's right to control the bodies of women.
It comes as no surprise to discover that Rep. Clem is fully on board with the Governor's plan to terminate the health care coverage of 323,000 sick, elderly, poor and disabled human beings. Not only is he on board, he seems to relish the prospect.
One of the many things that Chris Clem does not get is that a nation's greatest resource is its people. The failure to nurture that resource by the provision of health care for all is a public policy guaranteed to lead to a nation of the sick and dysfunctional. The U.S. health care system does about as good a job as its educational system. If you're wealthy it's the best in the world. If you're not, you are screwed. And so is the nation.
In his last election, Rep. Clem ran unopposed.
His Arrogance, Rep. Chris Clem Deigns To Speak To, And Pass Judgment On, The Lowly Subjects Beneath Him:
From: Chris Clem [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, May 24, 2005 8:49 AM
To: Lori Smith
Subject: RE: The TRUTH about TennCare - it involves you
TennCare is not an entitlement. This is a free handout. Not a single person is entitled or owed free healthcare. Accordingly, there is nothing wrong with reducing such entitlements. If the state decides to give out anything the state should be allowed to limit such free treatment in any way.
The treatment is not limited. Only the free treatment is limited. Anyone can get as much treatment as they want. But, they only get a certain amount of free treatment. This is "socialism light." Anything Bonnyman proposes is full blown socialism if not communism.
These people are not grateful for this free handout. It is one thing to say, "I know I don't deserve free medical care. I know that TennCare costs some working people a great deal. I know many people pay their own way and through taxes pay for others as well. I do appreciate their sacrifice to not only pay their own way but to also pay for others. I really need TennCare and would appreciate anything the state citizens will do."
Instead, most emails we get are more like,
"I demand that you pay anything and everything my doctor and I want without question, without limits, without co-payments and without deductibles. I don't care if you have to cut education or raise taxes. The only thing that matters is that someone else pay for my problems. And, if the government does not agree with this demand then you are nothing more than a godless, cruel, heartless, brainless fool that is no better than a murderer. After all, I pay a few hundred maybe even a few thousand dollars a year in state taxes. That entitles me to free public education, fire protection, roads, and police protection. I know my taxes were never meant to pay for healthcare, but I need it. So, I also demand $15,000 a year in free healthcare. I am more entitled to the average workers hard earned money than they are! Do whatever is necessary to have others pay for my healthcare. Raise taxes on others or cut education. Whatever it takes to have others pay for my problems."
Having said the above, I do believe your email to be a bit kinder than the second example given above.
From: Lori Smith [address removed]
Sent: Tuesday, May 24, 2005 6:26 AM
To: Chris Clem
Subject: The TRUTH about TennCare - it involves you
Dear Rep. Chris Clem,
To think there will be such a thing as a "soft landing" for any TennCare enrollee who is cut is absurd and inaccurate. Accurate is "unnecessary and extreme hardship and suffering." And that's only a start.
1. Any legislator who has an in-depth, first-hand knowledge of the TennCare / budget issue - including the unethical politics accompanying it - knows the entire program and budget CAN be saved and has the duty to stand for what is just and right - not follow the status quo and cave
to political pressure.
2. Any legislator who in not completely informed on all the issues must thoroughly educate themselves BEFORE voting on a budget that includes TennCare cuts. This means you must slow down. And you have until June 30th, 2005 to do so.
Comes a time in everyone's life when they must make some tough decisions. Standing up for what is just and right is not always easy or popular.
The time is here. It's your choice.
Email His Arrogance
Call His Arrogance: (615) 741-2746
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Crooks and Liars has an excellent summary of reactions to The Compromise. Reactions on the Left are thoughtful and mixed, while those on the Right are best described as unrestrained frothing at the mouth. The hysterical reaction of the Right is making me feel somewhat better about a compromise I did not want.
Update on Spousal Rape Bill – I’ve heard from two credible sources that the Governor plans to include the needed funds for this bill in his budget. This appears to be the final week of the legislative session, so we should know something very soon. Stay tuned.
Of course, there is still the problem of opposition from neaderthals such as Rep. Frank Buck (D) who fear that if it becomes illegal for men to rape their wives, women might lie! Since there are plenty of neaderthals in the General Assembly, it's still a good idea to contact your Rep. and Senator (and Frank Buck) and ask them to please bring Tennessee out of the 19th century by outlawing spousal rape.
Thanks to everyone who helped spread the word about the deplorable status of married women in Tennessee. If you missed some of the discussions, you can catch up here (where there are more blog links) and at Bitch. Ph.D and Light up the Darkness. Sorry for not including all the blogs who wrote on this issue (there were a lot!).
Here is yet another testimony to the fact that in every advanced or industrialized nation, except the U.S., healthcare for all is a top priority. The author's astonishment at the difference in the price of health care in Greece and the U.S. mirrors my own experiences in Canada and the U.S.
Also check out her blog; among her things she compares the price of strawberries purchased from Nashville's Green Hills Kroger to those purchased in Greece.
Elevated from the comments section:
"As a former Tennesseean who relied on TennCare, I've been distressed to read all the things that have been happening regarding TennCare of late.
I am now living in a country, and a continent, that places national health care as a top priority for all it's citizens (and the wives of their citizens, ie. me). The irony is, as cheap as the cost of healthcare and prescriptions is here in Greece, we can actually *afford* to pay for it without health insurance. The discrepancy in prices of healthcare/prescriptions here and that in America has astounded me. We are talking differences of 200%, sometimes more.
It's a damn shame, and I hope somehow the people who need TennCare come out on top."
Monday, May 23, 2005
Viagra For Rapists UPDATE#2:
TEXAS - "nearly 200 registered sex offenders in Texas have obtained Viagra and other sex-enhancing drugs through Medicaid . . . "
FLORIDA - "Attorney General Charlie Crist says the Medicaid program paid 93-thousand dollars to provide Viagra to 218 Florida sex offenders over the last four years . . . "
NEW YORK - "Gov. Pataki yesterday ordered a total ban on Viagra for all city and state sex offenders on parole — even if they pay for it themselves . . . "
UPDATE: "Scores of convicted rapists and other high-risk sex offenders in New York have been getting Viagra paid by Medicaid for the last five years, the state's comptroller said Sunday. . . While the auditors didn't review the situation on Viagra reimbursement by Medicaid in other states, he said they have no indication that the policies are different elsewhere."
"Sex offenders have been getting Viagra covered by Medicaid, but rape victims across the country can't even get emergency contraception when they go to the hospital."
According to a survey released by the ACLU of Tennessee, “only one quarter of surveyed Tennessee hospital emergency rooms always provide emergency contraception to sexual assault patients.”
Do sex offenders receive Viagra via Medicaid/TennCare in Tennessee?
And why is it necessary for our legislators to waste valuable time discussing the pros and cons of providing emergency contraception to rape victims? What are the cons?
The right of rapists to reproduce themselves?
For information on the emergency contraception bills which Tennessee legislators continue to discuss, see Thoughts of Average Woman.
Dr. Frist has completely neglected the health care needs of his home state
How ironic that Republicans are now running attack ads which accuse Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of "abandoning his small-town Nevada values in favor of D.C. -style Democratic politics."
Meanwhile the Senate Majority Leader, famous for his insistence that he is first and foremost a doctor, plays Senate War Games in Washington while his home state faces "by far the largest state cutback in public health coverage in the history of the country." According to Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, if the cuts to the state's healthcare plan proceed as planned: "Many people will die. They will die silently and quietly outside of public view, but they will die."
Here in Tennessee, there has been no sign whatsoever that Dr. Frist cares.
Instead, the Tennessee Senator leads Congress in the shameful failure to address the real problems of Americans. The Senate Majority Leader fiddles with senate procedural rules while his home state suffers an unprecedented health care crisis.
Yet, Senator Frist took time out from Senate War Games last Friday for a commencement address at the Medical University of South Carolina. With a straight face, Dr. Frist told the students:
"Just as we unleash the power of freedom around the world, so too must we unleash the power of medicine and the caring, compassion and healing that comes with it."
Perhaps Frist's Rovian words do not ring quite so hypocritical in South Carolina or around the world as they do here in Tennessee.
Tennessee is still waiting for the Senate Majority Leader to unleash a little of that care, compassion and "power of medicine" in his home state. Time is running out for the 323,000 elderly, sick, disabled and poor who are about to have their access to health care nuked.
In a recent press conference, State Senator Jim Kyle (D) pointed out that while Frist has come to the aid of other states experiencing far less severe health care problems than Tennessee, he has completely neglected the health care needs of his own state.
"Kyle said the state has one of the highest ranking members of Congress in Frist and should get the same bailout that states like Louisiana, Alabama and New York recently received in their Medicaid programs."
While Frist entertains the nation and the world with his Will He or Won't He Pull the Nuclear Trigger tease, there is an altogether different deadly countdown in the Senate Majority Leader's home state.
What you can do to: Stop the Draconian TennCare Cuts
What you can do to: Stop Dr. Frist's Nuclear Explosion
From Tennessee Health Care Campaign:
Despite what you may have read or seen in the media, most of the new revenue going into TennCare is one time money to help the state terminate people from TennCare, not to keep enrollees on the program or to reform the TennCare Program.
It is critical for us to keep up the pressure on our state legislators not to approve a budget with these cuts in enrollment and in benefits.
There are radical changes in the legislative schedule for this coming week beginning Monday, May 23. We need at least 50 people at each vigil time listed below. Please realize that this will, most likely, be the last week in the legislative session. We will conduct vigils at the following times at Legislative Plaza in Nashville. Before each vigil and reading of the litany of names, we meet in the legislative plaza cafeteria. We need people to try to make the 4 events on all three of the days. However, If you can only make one day, then Tuesday or Wednesday is the day.
Go to http://www.tenncare.org/ to check daily schedules. There are likely to be changes to the schedule so check every day.
Monday, May 23 - Meet in Legislative Plaza in the cafeteria area at 12:00 Noon - Vigil time (12:30 PM to 2:00 PM)
Tuesday, May 24 - Meet in Legislative Plaza in the cafeteria area at 8:00 AM - Vigil time (8:30 AM to 9:30 AM)
Tuesday, May 24 - Meet in Legislative Plaza in the cafeteria area at 1:00 PM - Vigil time (1:30 PM to 2:30 PM
Wednesday, May 25 - Meet in Legislative Plaza in the cafeteria area at 8:00 AM - Vigil time (8:30 AM to 9:30 AM)
Thank you for working to change your schedule.If you cannot come to the legislative plaza, then please call your state legislators this weekend. Go to http://www.legislature.state.tn.us/
Everyone has one state senator and state representative. The message is very simple: These proposed cuts in enrollment and benefits are not necessary, through better management hundreds of millions of dollars can be saved. Do not vote on a budget with these cuts.
For more information or to sign up to the activist email list, see:
Tennessee Health Care Campaign.
Saturday, May 21, 2005
Katie Brownell threw a perfect game Saturday in Oakfield, N.Y.
The biggest difference between Katie Brownell and other girls may well be that she is not subjected to the customary gender segregation in children’s sports. It doesn’t take a Simone de Beauvoir to understand that the primary reason girls and boys are segregated - even for one-legged races at the tender age of five - is the fear of harming the oh-so-tender male ego. That may seem harsh to some male readers, but it’s not nearly as harsh as telling 5 year-old girls that they aren’t good enough to play with the boys.
When my daughters entered school they were tall and leggy; they could have outrun any boy in the school. So ‘naturally’ they were only permitted to race against the girls. Five years old, and already they were on the “B” team.
The very big problem with the longstanding tradition of protecting the self-image of little boys is the utter disregard for the self-image of little girls. The only reason ‘playing with the boys’ is a high status activity is because of the untold centuries of affirmative action on behalf of the boys. All of that affirmative action has definitely harmed the girls.
But I don’t hear anyone talking about reparations.
Shy Smile. Mean Fastball
"As the only girl in her upstate Little League, 11-year-old Katie Brownell had already made her mark. An all-star since she was 9, Katie plays hardball better than almost any boy her age in Oakfield, Alabama, Elba and Pembroke, her home turf of farm towns between Rochester and Buffalo.
But nobody expected what happened on Saturday. Katie pitched a perfect game.
Her pitching on Saturday mowed down the opposing Yankees in an 11-0 shutout before a stunned crowd of about 100 parents and friends in the bleachers of the Oakfield Town Park.
"I can't imagine being a boy that has to face her at the plate," said Eric Klotzbach, an engineer and the president of Katie's seven-team league in Genesee County. "It has got be a shot to the ego."
Her perfect game was even more perfect than the common definition of the term, which refers to a pitching performance in which every batter is turned back, either by striking out or hitting a ball that results in an out.
Katie made it simpler: She struck out everybody, yielding no more than two balls to any batter.
"I can't remember this ever happening," said Mr. Sage, who was on duty with his Rochester fire company and missed Saturday's game, but said he received several phone calls from excited relatives as soon as Katie struck out the final batter in the six-inning game.
He said players on other teams in the league might find it unnerving to be overpowered by a girl on the pitcher's mound, but that Katie's teammates "think it is great that she's on our side."
In the season's first game, she allowed only one hit and struck out 14 batters in five innings.
She is also a major threat at the plate, with a batting average of .714 after three games.
Ms. Bischoff said her daughter had been an avid baseball player since she was about 6, and learned the game from two older brothers. But she said Katie's first year as the only girl in the Little League was trying, and her teammates sometimes told her she should play softball with the other girls."
Friday, May 20, 2005
This post at Daily Kos identifies a number of Republican Senators who will vote against the Nuclear Option - if they vote their conscience. Tennessee's Lamar Alexander is one.
"I am one of the Republicans who believe such a rules change is not a good idea--not good for the Senate, not for the country, not for Republicans, and not for Democrats. The Senate needs a body that by its procedures gives unusual protection to minority rights."
-- Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee -- Senate floor statement, 04-12-05
As the Daily Kos post stresses, many Republicans will not vote their conscience. Under the leadership of the likes of Bill Frist, Lamar Alexander will likely have his arm twisted so thoroughly that he'll vote against his better judgement. Urge Sen. Alexander to vote his conscience.
Contact Info for Senator Lamar Alexander:
Voice: (202) 224-4944
Fax: (202) 228-3398
Paging Dr. Frist: Severe Health Care Crisis Threatens Lives of Your Constituents - Please Help the Schiavos of Tennessee
Pasted below is an open letter from Mary Sue Bennett of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Ms. Bennett is one of many Tennesseans who will die if Governor Bredesen succeeds in his goal of balancing the budget by cutting hundreds of thousands of sick, elderly and disabled from the state's health care rolls.
According to Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, a national nonprofit consumer advocacy group, "What Bredesen is proposing is by far the largest state cutback in public health coverage in the history of the country. Many people will die. They will die silently and quietly outside of public view, but they will die."
Other states have received federal funds to bail them out of crises this severe. Yet, the Governor of Tennessee refuses even to ask for federal assistance. The democratic Governor says the political climate is such that it is futile to ask. Governor Bredesen refuses to ask even though the state has a certain senator in Washington who wields an inordinate amount of power.
The Senate Majority Leader says he is first and foremost a doctor.
The Governor won't ask, so I am asking, and Mary Sue Bennett is asking. Dr. Frist, your state is in the throes of a severe health care crisis. Tennesseans are going to die without your help.
The "Terry Schiavos of Tennessee" desperately need your help. Dr. Frist, please remember the people who sent you to Washington. Dr. Frist, you can save lives, if only you will.
A plea for life-saving health care, from
Mary Sue Bennett of Murfreesboro, Tennessee:
I've been praying a lot and need to say what's on my heart. I have written to all our state legislators but I also want the people of Tennessee to know what will happen to some of us who depend on TennCare for our very lives. I am not a well-educated person but I have feelings, concerns and a mountain of fears right now.
In a way, we TennCare enrollees are the Terry Schiavos of Tennessee. The only difference between us and her is that she didn't know what was taking place. We, however, will be fully conscious when our "life supports" are cut off and we can't get our medicines, oxygen, ventilators, cancer treatments, cardiology treatments, insulin shots and other things needed to keep us alive. Another difference between us and Terry Shiavo, is that our Senator Bill Frist, who is a doctor, went to bat for Terry Shiavo, but we haven't heard a peep from him about helping avoid the catastrophe about to befall hundreds of thousands of Tennesseans.
I am only one of the 323,000 people to be cut, but without TennCare I will die. There is no way around it. I require tracheotomy supplies to prevent staph infections, which I will have to battle the rest of my life. A staph infection it is not pleasant, to put it mildly. A suction catheter is put down the trachea tube to suck out the phlegm. It hurts and you have to fight for breath. I also use a ventilator at night; otherwise my brain cells will die from lack of oxygen. I take 22 prescriptions for various health problems, including diabetes, osteoporosis, heart arrhythmia, depression, panic attacks, etc. Since I have no income, I cannot pay for these things. For the "lucky" ones who don't lose their TennCare, prescriptions will be limited to four or five a month. Tell me, how do you choose?
This may not affect a lot of people in Tennessee, who have access to health care. They may even take it for granted, but it can be all gone in a heartbeat. If not for the grace of God, some of you could be sitting right where we are now: sick, scared, and fighting for our lives. We are uninsurable and cannot get other health insurance. Even if we become bankrupt, it's unlikely we can qualify for Medicaid.
I'm sure as a lawmaker it is hard to make these decisions and I do pray for them everyday. But if they can find the money for dog parks, baseball parks, football arenas and so forth, why can't they find the funds to save human lives? People are locked up for being cruel to animals but in this case it seems that humans are not as valuable as dogs. There should be a law preventing cruel treatment against humans too.
Mary Sue Bennett
Thistle Rock Court
The rest of Mary Sue Bennett's letter is here.
Office of Senator Bill Frist, Washington, DC
Email available only on website:
Governor Bredesen's Office
Thursday, May 19, 2005
Moveon.org's latest ad:
For two hundred years the senators and fair judges were keepers of peace and justice in the Republic until one senator, seduced by a vision of absolute power, seeks to destroy . . .
Call Your Senator 202-224 – 3121
The image of Dr. Frist as the Evil Hooded Villain is the best laugh I've had since before last November. Gawd is he ugly! Even if you have a slow connection (like me), you have to see this. (top left at moveon.org)
A lot of the whales are moaning and groaning about the "politicization" of the new Star Wars movie. Tough. Ordinary folks - like my 85 year old mom - are in need of every bit of re-energization they/we can get. Most of all, we need to laugh again, damnit.
Bravo to a courageous young woman: Alysha Cosby
Although the Roman Catholic School claims to have a policy of nondiscrimination, the pregnant student was not allowed even to attend classes during the last few months of the school year. Alysha Cosby was instead required to study at home, due to “safety concerns.” This sounds suspiciously like the old “you show, you go” rule that was in full force back in the dark days before second wave feminism and Title IX.
No doubt it was also "safety concerns" that prompted school officials to deliver Alysha Cosby's diploma to her home and even to omit her name from the graduation program. The unwed father was apparently permitted to attend school for the full year. The unwed father was permitted to participate in the graduation.
He's a stud. She's a slut. Gawd, when are these male supremacists going to die off?
Banned from graduation for the crime of contributing the ovum instead of the sperm, Alysha Cosby waited until the end of the ceremony before bravely announcing her own name and walking proudly across the stage. Her courageous act of resistance was met with applause and cheers from some of the audience.
School officials had a different response. Unbelievably, Alysha’s mother and aunt were escorted out of the hall by the police!
Alysha’s mother, Sheila Cosby said: "I can't believe something like this is happening in 2005."
Many of us have been saying almost the exact same thing ever since 2000.
One thing for sure, about the only time we hear of outrages such as this one is when some brave soul draws a line in the sand and resists. (can you hear me, Newsweek?)
Thank you, Alysha Cosby.
Presumbably St. Jude Educational Institute, in Montgomery, Alabama, does not receive any federal funds. Else it would be guilty of violating Title IX. Yes, Virginia, private religious schools often do receive federal funds, so we can't be sure that St. Jude does not.
Title IX was passed by Congress on June 23, 1972. The civil rights law prohibits discrimination in education programs and activities that receive federal funds.
Before Title IX:
Female students were not allowed to take certain courses, such as auto mechanics
Male students could not take home economics
Female athletics generally consisted only of cheerleading
Most medical and law schools limited the number of women admitted to 15 or fewer per school
Many colleges and universities required women to have higher test scores and better grades than male applicants to gain admission
Women living on campus had curfews
Women faculty members were excluded from faculty clubs and encouraged to join faculty wives' clubs instead
Female school teachers often had to leave their jobs when having children
Pregnant and parenting students were forced to drop out, thus abandoning their education altogether
After 3 1/2 more years of Bush, this may well be our brave new world.
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Harpers has posted an account of American soldiers flushing the Koran - a story the magazine published two months ago. Via Wonkette
Think Progress proves the Senate Majority Leader from a rich white suburb in a dirt poor state can too be amusing.
Frist Implodes on the Senate Floor:
SEN. SCHUMER: Isn’t it correct that on March 8, 2000, my colleague [Sen. Frist] voted to uphold the filibuster of Judge Richard Paez?
Dr. Frist: [T]he um, in response, uh, the Paez nomination - we’ll come back and discuss this further. …
Bill Frist, the man who didn't bother to vote until he ran for office in the 90s, is about to unleash all hell. Here's hoping the Dems make him live to regret it.
The nuclear option begins this morning. Bill Frist has announced he will seek a vote on Priscilla Owne - an extremist whom Texans say wants to rewrite law from the bench. The Washington Post has this script for how it will play out.
. . .
Raw Story provides links to numerous accounts of religious desecration similar to the one reported by Newsweek.
Talkleft has more:
For two years, the media has reported on detainee claims that interrogators at Guantanamo and Kandahar desecrated the Koran, threw it in the toilet and worse. Today, the Washington Post recaps some of the claims.
The New York Times calls upon Sen. John Warner, Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee to investigate the claims. The LA Times calls on the Administration to close Guantanamo and provide detainees with legal protections. . . .
And Norman Mailer asks: Was Newsweek Set Up?
According to the report, women in the U.S., the world's richest nation, do not do as well overall as women in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. The maternity leave offered by the U.S. puts the nation in "league with Lesotho, Swaziland and Papua New Guinea."
The World Economic Forum's Gender Gap Index report finds Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Denmark and Finland have done the best job at narrowing the economic gender gap.
The study measured the gender gap in “equal pay for equal work, access to the labor market, representation of women in politics, access to education and access to reproductive health care.”
Sweden ranks number 1 among the 58 nations studied.
“The report noted that Nordic countries are characterized by strong liberal societies, government transparency, welfare systems and wide access for women to education, and political and work opportunities.
The report covered 30 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries and 28 emerging ones. New Zealand, Canada, Britain, Germany and Australia rounded out the top 10, while India, Mexico, Brazil, Greece and Venezuela completed the bottom 10. France was ranked 13th, the United States 17th.”
Inadequate maternity leave, along with the absence of maternity-leave benefits, subsidized childcare and economic opportunity were judged to be responsible for the poor showing of the U.S. The U.S. also compared poorly in the areas of teen pregnancy and maternal mortality.
Even in the days when many Americans viewed their government as very liberal, the nation lagged far behind other wealthy countries in the provision of social support for women's vital social contribution of caregiving work.There’s still no reason to believe that replacing the Republican regime with a Democratic regime will change the dismal fact that the caregiving work that falls to women is devalued in the U.S. to such an extent that it is viewed as not really “work” at all.
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
In 2005, U.S. public policy still does not consider women's traditional work of caring for children to be of importance. If anything the feminist dream of quality child care centers as free and plentiful as public parks, appears far more unattainable today than in the 1970s.
Sen. David Fowler, famed for being one of this state’s most self-centered and arrogant aristocrats on the Hill, recently contributed his two cents to the field of child development.
''How much is there you can teach a 4-year-old? My guess is that it doesn't take five and a half hours.''
The senator was trying to amend the pre kindergarten bill so that low income children would receive 3 hours of instruction rather than 5 ½ hours. In the Republican's view, the minds of 4 year olds are of limited capacity.
What do all those caregiving women do with children all day long? Why they sit on the veranda and eat bon bons, of course.
Now we know why child care workers in this state and nation receive far less pay than parking lot attendants. I mean everyone knows it takes a man with a brain to care for car, but only a lowly woman to care for a kid.
The good news about the fact that women are still the socially designated caretakers of children, is that the likes of David Fowler will continue to have little or nothing to do with the children. That's just one of the many silver linings of sexism as we know it. Of course, the really bad news is that men like Fowler continue to supervise the women and children, or make public policy which continues to harm far more of us than it helps.
We are the only industrialized nation without a social welfare policy based on the belief that a nation is responsible for its children.
As Dorothy Smith points out, it should come as no surprise that men fail to see "women's work" as valuable and essential and important cultural work, for it has been delegated so thoroughly and cloaked in such invisibility, that the men simply do not perceive it.
Somehow the pre kindergarten bill passed, and so despite the efforts of arrogant Republicans such as Fowler, roughly 6,000 low-income mothers will get some help with the problem of caring for small children while simultaneously flipping burgers and answering telephones for the likes of Fowler.
A few other choice thoughts from the limited mind of Sen. David Fowler:
"People who do filing and answer the phones - they can be replaced for a dime a dozen. Their incentive is to show up for work, do your job every day, don't complain, don't moan. If you don't like it, leave!"
"Sick days to me never made much sense, and are abused by slacker employees - especially those I'm stuck with in the government."
"In the private sector, if my secretary needs to go to the doctor, I ask her to try to do it in the morning or the afternoon, and she can go, and if I feel like she's abusing it, I fire her."
I think we all know that the "people who do filing and answer phones" are women.
If you should feel the urge to give this 'public servant' a piece of your mind, you can reach him here.