When States Punish Women

From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/03/opinion/03fri1.html?_r=1&src=tptw

Published: June 2, 2011

The Obama administration has rightly decided to reject a mean-spirited and dangerous Indiana law banning the use of Medicaid funds at Planned Parenthood clinics, which provide vital health services to low-income women.

The law, signed by Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana in May, is just one effort by Republican-led state legislatures around the country to end public financing for Planned Parenthood — a goal the House Republicans failed to achieve in the budget deal in April. The organization is a favorite target because a small percentage of its work involves providing abortion care even though no government money is used for that purpose.

Governor Daniels and Republican lawmakers, by depriving Planned Parenthood of about $3 million in government funds, would punish thousands of low-income women on Medicaid, who stand to lose access to affordable contraception, life-saving breast and cervical cancer screenings, and testing and treatment for H.I.V. and other sexually transmitted diseases. Making it harder for women to obtain birth control is certainly a poor strategy for reducing the number of abortions.

On Wednesday, the administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Donald Berwick, said the Indiana law, which is already in effect, violates federal Medicaid law by imposing impermissible restrictions on the freedom of Medicaid beneficiaries to choose health care providers.

Continue reading at: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/03/opinion/03fri1.html?_r=1&src=tptw

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Does religion belong at AA? Fight over ‘God’ splits Toronto AA groups

When I was working on getting sober I kept running into the “Jazeeus Thingie” and the religion made it hard for me to get what I needed from AA.  I could have used a good Atheist AA.

From The Star Toronto Ca.:  http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1002750–does-religion-belong-at-aa-fight-over-god-splits-toronto-aa-groups

Leslie Scrivener
June 3, 2011

It uses “fellowship” to help chronic drinkers quit the bottle. But there is little fellowship in a schism that splintered the Alcoholics Anonymous umbrella group in the GTA this week.

At issue is this question: Do alcoholics need God?

On Tuesday, Toronto’s two secular AA groups, known as Beyond Belief and We Agnostics, were removed or “delisted” from the roster of local meetings. They’ve disappeared from the Toronto AA website and will not be in the next printed edition of the Toronto directory.

The dispute started when Beyond Belief posted an adapted version of AA’s hallowed “Twelve Steps” on the Toronto website. They removed the word “God” from the steps, which are used as a kind of road map to help drinkers achieve sobriety.

“They took issue with a public display of secular AA,” says Joe C., who founded Beyond Belief, Toronto’s first agnostic AA group, 18 months ago. (In keeping with AA’s tradition of anonymity, members are identified by first names only.)

It proved popular enough that a second group started up last fall; it took its name from a chapter in the AA bible entitled Alcoholics Anonymous, commonly known as the Big Book. The group, We Agnostics, had only recently completed the paperwork to be part of AA before being booted out.

“What is unusual is that this didn’t happen in some backwater, but that it happened in a liberal, democratic, pluralistic place like Toronto,” says Joe.

Continue reading at:  http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1002750–does-religion-belong-at-aa-fight-over-god-splits-toronto-aa-groups

Eating Fossil Fuels for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/06/03-11

by Tom Engelhardt
Published on Friday, June 3, 2011 by TomDispatch.com

If you didn’t know better, you might think the planet was simply piling on to make a point.  The extreme weather events of the last year have proven little short of biblical.  As a start, 2010 had the dubious distinction of tying 2005 as the hottest year on record and the 34th year in a row with temperatures above the twentieth-century norm. Meanwhile, just to mention a few high (or low) lights of the past year: massive flooding hit the record books when 20% of Pakistan was engulfed, parts of eastern Australia (the size of France and Germany combined) went underwater, and the Mississippi River Valley was turned into Waterworld.

Then there were fierce droughts and heat waves like the one that, with its associated wildfires, almost burned down Russia last summer, or the one that still has China’s Yangtze River region in its grips, or the “historic” drought and associated wildfires that continue to plague Texas, or the “exceptional dry spell” now settling into northern Europe (and helping send global grain and food prices soaring).

Look northward, and stunned scientists are reporting that anywhere there might be ice — the arctic, its open waters, the Greenland ice sheets — it’s melting faster than anticipated (which, of course, means earlier and more sizeable rises in sea levels and greater flooding of island and coastal areas globally).  Peer southward, and the vast Antarctic ice sheet is reportedly experiencing a similar more-rapid-than-expected meltdown.  And keeping to the theme of water, don’t even get me started on the increasing acidification of the oceans and its ensuing dangers.

And now, of course, the American West has been experiencing a record-tyingly fierce tornado season that has yet to end, with damage that beggars the imagination.  And yet if global warming comes up at all in the mainstream media, it’s generally only to argue about whether an event like those tornadoes is (or is not) connected to it — a question that, at the moment, remains unanswerable and, in some ways, beside the point.  The danger to us from global warming is demonstrably real, a fact emphasized by the most recent record-breaking news: despite all the talk about mitigating it, more fossil-fuel burning led to more carbon dioxide being spewed into the atmosphere in 2010 than at any previous moment in history.

It’s a conundrum.  Our global civilization was built to eat fossil fuels for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, not to speak of those irresistible midnight snacks, while disgorging ever more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.  And yet if we keep it up at this pace, somewhere not far down the line the adjective “biblical” will seem a paltry enough thing in comparison to the world of Xtreme weather we’ll experience.

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/06/03-11

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French Socialists May Expel Member Speaking Out on Strauss-Kahn

Thus demonstrating that Socialists can be the same sort of rapist sheltering misogynistic pigs as right wingers. Misogynistic dickwaddery was one reason so many women gave the fuck you finger to the Left and devoted themselves to Feminism during the Second Wave period of the late 1960s and 1970s.

In cases of rape I believe the woman, especially if the woman is also part of a class that falls into Thurgood Marshall’s category of “Despised, dispossessed and discriminated against.”  Which includes most women outside of the highly privileged classes.

But what the French Socialists are doing is beyond the pale.  They are expelling women for saying this pig raped or sexually assaulted them.

Misogyny has no place on the Left and should not be condoned as part of multi-culturalism.

From the New York Times:   http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/02/world/europe/02france.html?scp=3&sq=strauss%20kahn&st=cse

Published: June 1, 2011

PARIS — Nine years ago, Anne Mansouret dissuaded her daughter from filing a legal complaint for attempted rape against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, a prominent member of the Socialist Party in France and the former husband of one of her best friends.

But now she is speaking out about what happened and what other Socialist leaders knew. And some Socialists — deeply embarrassed by the allegations against the wealthy man who was likely to be their presidential candidate next year — have called for her expulsion from the party.

In a series of interviews, Mrs. Mansouret — by turns defensive, emotional, argumentative and uncompromising — said she did it to protect her daughter, Tristane Banon, now 31, and the party itself.

Ms. Banon, a journalist and novelist, asserts that Mr. Strauss-Kahn, who is facing criminal charges in New York of attempted rape of a hotel housekeeper, tried to rape her during an interview in an empty apartment in 2002 — grabbing her arm, pulling off her bra, trying to unzip her jeans, fighting with her on the floor and ignoring her cries of “no.” She described him as “a chimpanzee in rut.”

Party leaders knew of her daughter’s experience with Mr. Strauss-Kahn, Mrs. Mansouret said, but chose to ignore it. And she herself felt stymied, in part, because Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s second wife, Brigitte Guillemette, was one of her best friends and the godmother of Ms. Banon.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/02/world/europe/02france.html?scp=3&sq=strauss%20kahn&st=cse

Employment growth brakes sharply in May

From Talking Points Memo: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/2011/06/employment_growth_brakes_sharply_in_may.php?ref=fpb

Lucia Mutikani
Reuters US Online Report Top News
Jun 03, 2011 08:32 EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Employment rose far less than expected in May to record its weakest reading since September, while the jobless rate rose to 9.1 percent as high energy prices and the effects of Japan’s earthquake bogged down the economy.

Nonfarm payrolls increased 54,000 last month, the Labor Department said on Friday, with private employment rising 83,000, the least amount since June. Government payrolls dropped 29,000.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected payrolls to rise 150,000 and private hiring to increase 175,000 in May. The government revised employment figures for March and April to show 39,000 fewer jobs created than previously estimated.

The job creation slowdown confirmed the economic weakness already flagged by other data from consumer spending to manufacturing. It could stoke fears about the depth and duration of a slowdown that started early in the year.

The Labor Department said severe weather last month, including tornadoes and flooding, in the Midwest and the South did not materially affect data collection.

Continue reading at:  http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/2011/06/employment_growth_brakes_sharply_in_may.php?ref=fpb

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