Summer of 2013

 Posted by at 09:53  Politics
Jun 262013

The summer of 2013 is only a few days old, but already it has made its mark on history.

Last night, the people of Texas stopped their “representatives” in the State Senate from enacting the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation. It may be too soon to celebrate on this one, however, as Texas Republicans are not beyond playing dirty politics to get their way. There is a possibility that Rick Perry could call a second special session of the legislature in order to get this bill passed. (Update: Perry has, as expected, called a second special session of the Texas state legislature. It will begin on Monday, July 1.)

In other news, the Supreme Court this morning ruled in favor of equal rights for all citizens of the United States of America. First, they ruled that the party in favor of California’s Proposition 8 did not have standing before the court and the ruling of the lower court on this issue will stand. Same sex marriages will soon resume in California. Second, they ruled that section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. Same sex couples who are married in one of the twelve states that currently recognize the civil rights of same sex couples can no longer be denied all the federal benefits enjoyed by married heterosexual couples.

So far a very good day in America.

UPDATE: President Barack Obama released the following statement on the Supreme Court decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act:

I applaud the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. This was discrimination enshrined in law. It treated loving, committed gay and lesbian couples as a separate and lesser class of people. The Supreme Court has righted that wrong, and our country is better off for it. We are a people who declared that we are all created equal – and the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.

This ruling is a victory for couples who have long fought for equal treatment under the law; for children whose parents’ marriages will now be recognized, rightly, as legitimate; for families that, at long last, will get the respect and protection they deserve; and for friends and supporters who have wanted nothing more than to see their loved ones treated fairly and have worked hard to persuade their nation to change for the better.

So we welcome today’s decision, and I’ve directed the Attorney General to work with other members of my Cabinet to review all relevant federal statutes to ensure this decision, including its implications for Federal benefits and obligations, is implemented swiftly and smoothly.

On an issue as sensitive as this, knowing that Americans hold a wide range of views based on deeply held beliefs, maintaining our nation’s commitment to religious freedom is also vital. How religious institutions define and consecrate marriage has always been up to those institutions. Nothing about this decision – which applies only to civil marriages – changes that.

The laws of our land are catching up to the fundamental truth that millions of Americans hold in our hearts: when all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free.

Texas math

 Posted by at 22:05  Politics, Republicans
Apr 212011

Gail Collins, op-ed columnist for The New York Times, has a must-read column published in today’s edition of that paper: “The New Anti-Abortion Math.

You should go read the entire column. I’ll excerpt a few bits from it here to whet your appetite (if that is necessary).

These days in the budget-strapped, Tea-Party-besieged State Capitol, you can be grateful for any funny anecdote, no matter how badly it reflects on Texas politics in general. Like the time Gov. Rick Perry defended the state’s abstinence-only birth control program by saying that he knew abstinence worked “from my own personal life.”

Right now, the state is wrestling with a fiscal megacrisis that goes back to 2006, when the Legislature cut local property taxes and made up for the lost revenue with a new business tax. The new tax produced billions less than expected to the shock and horror of everyone except all the experts who had been predicting that all along.

Governor Perry blames the whole thing on President Obama.

Texas’ problems are of interest to us all because Texas is producing a huge chunk of the nation’s future work force with a system that goes like this:

• Terrible sex education programs and a lack of access to contraceptives leads to a huge number of births to poor women. (About 60 percent of the deliveries in Texas are financed by Medicaid.) Texas also leads the nation in the number of teenage mothers with two or more offspring.

• The Texas baby boom — an 800,000 increase in schoolchildren over the last decade — marches off to underfunded schools. Which are getting more underfunded by the minute, thanks to that little tax error.

And naturally, when times got tough at the State Capitol, one of the first things the cash-strapped Legislature tried to cut was family planning.

There is more. Go. Read. The link is at the top of this post. I especially love the quote attributed to State Representative Randy Weber (R-Pearland).

“There’s been research done. … It actually shows the highest abortion rate is among women actively using contraceptives.”


Armed and dangerous

 Posted by at 17:27  Politics
May 312009

The big news today seems to be the murder of Dr. George Tiller in Wichita, Kansas…

Doctor who performed abortions shot to death

Dr. George Tiller, whose Kansas women’s clinic was the epicenter of the state’s battles over abortion for nearly two decades, was shot and killed at his church Sunday morning, his family said.

Tiller, 67, was fatally shot shortly after 10 a.m. Sunday at Reformation Lutheran Church, Wichita police said.

Sunday afternoon, authorities took a man into custody near Kansas City after stopping a car that matched a description of the killer’s getaway vehicle, according to sheriff’s deputies in Johnson County, Kansas. No charges had been filed and a motive for the killing was not immediately known.

Witnesses provided a license number for a powder-blue Ford Taurus they said the killer used to speed away from the church, police spokesman Gordon Bassham said.

Tiller was one of the few U.S. physicians who still performed late-term abortions. In 1993, he was shot and wounded through both arms outside his Wichita clinic. Shelley Shannon, an ardent foe of abortion, was convicted of attempted murder in the shooting and is currently serving a 20-year sentence in federal prison.

Tiller “dedicated his life to providing women with high-quality heath care despite frequent threats and violence,” his family said in a written statement.

“We ask that he be remembered as a good husband, father and grandfather and a dedicated servant on behalf of the rights of women everywhere,” the family said.

In a statement issued through Tiller’s lawyers, his family — a wife, four children and 10 grandchildren — said their loss “is also a loss for the city of Wichita and women across America.”

Warning: America’s right is angry, armed and dangerous.

Abortion is a hot button topic for the right wingers in America. It, along with gay marriage and gun control, is one of their favorite wedge issues. They get rather worked up about it.

I’ve never felt particularly strongly about abortion one way or the other. It has never really been an issue in my family or among my friends. I guess if I were pressed, I would come down on the side that says a woman should have control over her own body. I find it kind of ironic that those who oppose government sponsored health care on the grounds that government bureaucrats would then determine the kind of health care one receives (what exactly do they think the big for-profit insurance companies are doing right now?) are the very people who say that government should restrict the kind of health care available to women in this country.

At any rate, I hope Dr. Tiller’s assassin is caught and justice dealt swiftly. This business of killing people in this country because you disagree with them politically is getting entirely out of hand.