Saturday, November 7, 2015

Maddening Headlines

So today’s news is full of maddening headlines.

  1. Court Takes Birth Control Case: Another challenge to the Affordable Health Care Act. When the Supreme Court takes up a birth control case, it can’t be good, considering the current make-up of the court. In this one, non-profits challenge a requirement that they provide health insurance coverage for contraception. I’m dreading this.
  2. Mormons Bar Gay Couples: The Mormon church stiffens its stance against gay people. It will consider them apostates and prevent children of gay couples from joining the church until they’re 18. Wow. Apart from the basic horribleness, what's with the bar against the children? They’re tainted with ‘gayness’? So weird.
  3. Governor-Elect Pledges to Take Clerks’ Names Off Kentucky Licenses: The new governor of Kentucky made this a priority. Because that will really help the people of Kentucky. Furthering Kim Davis’ bizarro position that she can use her government job to further her religious views. Worse, he’s pledged to end Kentucky’s health insurance exchange and phase out the expansion of Medicaid coverage. Because it’s a good thing for people to not have health insurance?? I don’t get it. Why should Republicans’ belief that less regulation is a good thing make people sick? He’s playing with people’s lives.

Sunday, November 1, 2015


I haven't posted much of anything to this blog in a few years but I'd like to revive it. If you come across this blog, just know that I'm in the process of updating the info in the sidebars, such as blogs I'm following, etc. As of today it's all outdated.

The Horrors of China's One-Child policy

According to the Washington Post:

In 2012, 6.7 million women in China were forced to have abortions under the one-child policy, according to official statistics. Rates in previous decades often topped 10 million a year. As a result, experts say, suicide rates among women in China are significantly higher than among men, in contrast to global norms.

Unimaginable numbers of girls are secretly aborted or killed in infancy every year by parents seeking boys, skewing the sex ratio dramatically.

In the past four decades, hundreds of millions of men and women have been forcibly sterilized or had intrauterine devices inserted, per Chinese family-planning policies.

The vast majority of people are still scared to speak out, but many, including some of the cadres involved in enforcing the policy, say they feel bitter to this day.


This is absolutely horrifying on so many levels. I really wish China could be punished for its innumerable human rights violations instead of, for example, being awarded the Olympics.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

I'm so angry about the Senate's failure to pass gun control. It's such a minimal thing and they couldn't even do that. Our government is dysfunctional.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


What difference does it make whether Susan Rice said Benghazi was caused by terrorists or extremists when she appeared on TV a few days after the event? I just don't get the significance. The most I've seen is Republicans saying she might have "spun" the truth. Even if she did, isn't that what those Sunday political talk shows are for? Every politician spins the truth.

Anyway, why is it bad for the administration to change its views of the facts based on evolving information? This just seems like a big brouhaha over nothing. I really don't see a conspiracy or cover-up.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


The post-election analysis of how the Republicans lost the election is driving me crazy. I've heard a number of discussions and read several articles and in every one, when Republicans are questioned about how they can do better next time, they completely avoid the real problems. Every time they say the same things: we have to appeal more to minorities and to women. But they ignore the obstacles to doing so: their party's racism and rigidly pro-life agenda.

In Charles Blow's analysis of exit polls and election results in the New York Times yesterday, he points out that the states that had the highest proportion of whites voting for Romney are the states with the highest population of blacks (e.g. Mississippi). Conversely, the states with the lowest populations of blacks had the highest percentage of whites voting for Obama (e.g. Maine, Iowa). I think the explanation is obvious. A lot of the people voting for Romney are threatened by a black President. But Republicans can't acknowledge that a large part of their appeal in the last few decades has been racism ('the Southern strategy'). Not to mention the rise of the Tea Party, which is almost explicitly racist, inspired as it was by opposition to Obama. Everyone knows this, but it can't be discussed openly. Black people know it too. Why would they vote for a racist party over the first African-American president? There's really no way for the GOP to undo the effects of decades of racism on their part.

When Republicans talk about appealing more to women, they mention women having more control over their bodies, etc. Well, I don't understand what that means in the context of a virulently anti-choice party. The GOP has been pro-life for decades now, even radically so (i.e. no abortion even in cases of rape). This past election cycle, they even challenged women's right to contraception (and by the way, I love how this is discussed as if it were only a women's issue when it profoundly effects men as well). The entire discussion was profoundly insulting to women and made us feel as if the GOP wants to take us back to the mid-20th century. So they expect women to just ignore this? Their candidate talked about women in the workplace as if it were some kind of aberration ("if women are going to be in the workplace..."). He refused to even embrace women's right to equal pay, instead implying that it should be left to the discretion of individual employers' largesse. This is ridiculous, in this day and age. I haven't heard Republicans say a single thing that seriously addresses their problems with women.

(As a footnote, apparently the majority of white women voted for Romney. So the problems aren't with white women as a group. Although I wonder if this would be the same if the Democratic candidate were white.)

Basically, the problem is with their policies and positions. Putting more minorities and women up for office would probably help somewhat, but that doesn't change the fact that the GOP has a history of appealing to racists and failing to acknowledge the actual role of women in the modern world.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Election thoughts

I'm going to be really disappointed and depressed if Romney wins this election. I can't believe this election is neck and neck. I find Romney just...awful, and the Republican platform is ridiculous. If he wins, it will be because of the economy and because Obama hasn't made a good enough case for what he would do differently in the next four years. I think Romney wouldn't be so bad if we could just get rid of the entire Republican party that's behind him, that wants to take us back to the nineteenth-century. And Ryan. Ugh, don't get me started.

If Benghazi is a determinative factor, I'm going to be totally disgusted because I think it's a fake issue, completely manufactured to make political points. I hope Obama is able to make this clear in tonight's debate.

I'm not even sure I actually want to watch the debate. But I might regret it if I don't. I suppose I'll force myself, painful as it is. I find them super boring, but I like forming my own impressions instead of relying on the media.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Here's another thing I was thinking about during the debate: Romney said he was a product of small business. I suppose technically Bain was small because it didn't have many employees, I'm assuming. However, this is hardly your corner laundromat or 7-11. This is high-powered private equity, wheeling and dealing, playing with the lives of average Americans, millions at stake. Romney is part of the elite; he comes from money, he's a JD/MBA from Harvard. For Romney to try to associate himself with your average small business is just ridiculous and completely misleading.

This was demonstrated during the discussion of the Detroit auto industry. Romney's entire discussion of bankruptcy was at odds with how the average person understands the term. The way he used it was referring to corporate reorganization, which indeed is part of the bankruptcy code, so it was technically correct. However, in normal, everyday usage, people think of bankruptcy as liquidation, going broke. He really sounded like a private equity guy at that point, as if he had no understanding of how most people use the word 'bankruptcy.'

Second Presidential Debate

As an Obama supporter, I was relieved that he did better in this debate and fought back on Romney's lies and misrepresentations. 

I thought Obama did well, but not as well as the pundits seem to think. For one thing, he could have done a much better job of tying Romney to the far right positions he's taken during the primary season. He could have done a better job of pointing out Romney's flip flops over the years as evidence that Romney seems to have no core beliefs and will likely be a pawn of the far right if he's elected President. Additionally, he didn't distill down the Republican position the way Biden did: given their history, who do you trust?  I also thought Obama had a tendency to be defensive about his administration rather than telling us what he would actually do in the next four years. What's Obama going to do differently if he gets re-elected? We don't know.

Following up on that, Romney's best moments were when he pointed out that Obama has had four years and hasn't improved things, that the economy is still not doing well.  However, I thought Romney came off as a bully. He started right off the bat, with the first question! He was arguing with Candy Crowley as soon as the thing started! I mean, come on, that's ridiculous.

I was disappointed that Obama didn't mention climate change in the discussion of energy policy and gas prices. I thought the argument about exploitation of natural resources on public lands was a bit obscure. Romney seemed to think everyone agrees that this is a good thing and Obama should have been doing this more. I thought it was a bit more controversial than that. No one mentioned that gas prices are highly dependent on the vagaries of a world market.  No one answered the actual question asked, either, for that matter.

I really don't understand what point Romney thought he was making when he pointed out that Obama said Benghazi was an act of terror the day after it happened. He acted like he was making some big "gotcha" moment. It made no sense. And what is the big deal anyway? I don't understand the supposed scandal over this. Does anyone really think there was some kind of cover-up? That's what the Republicans are implying, if not stating outright.

Romney had no answer to the question about pay equity for women. None. His response was that he tried to hire women in his administration in Massachusetts. Well, that's nice, but what about policies that will help women overall? Nothing. What about actually saying you support pay equity for women? Nope. Also, this phrase: "If women are going to be in the workforce..." Bad. Yes, Romney, of course they're "going to be in the work force"! Women have been in the workforce for a long time. Contrast this with Obama talking about women being breadwinners, which is a much more accurate characterization.

Romney's response to Obama bringing up contraception was terribly misleading. He said he thinks everyone should have access to contraception. "Access to contraception" is not the same thing as getting insurance coverage for contraception. You can have "access" to it, but it's meaningless if you can't afford it and your insurance doesn't cover it. That's the same thing as saying increased regulation of abortion clinics that essentially puts them out of business has no effect on women's right to an abortion. That right is meaningless if insurmountable hurdles are placed in front of it.

(maybe more thoughts later)

Friday, October 5, 2012


I can't believe this. I just came across these quotes from Justice Antonin Scalia of the US Supreme Court:

[From AP]:

Scalia calls himself a "textualist" and, as he related to a few hundred people who came to buy his new book and hear him speak in Washington the other day, that means he applies the words in the Constitution as they were understood by the people who wrote and adopted them.
So Scalia parts company with former colleagues who have come to believe capital punishment is unconstitutional. The framers of the Constitution didn't think so and neither does he.

"The death penalty? Give me a break. It's easy. Abortion? Absolutely easy. Nobody ever thought the Constitution prevented restrictions on abortion. Homosexual sodomy? Come on. For 200 years, it was criminal in every state," Scalia said at the American Enterprise Institute. (emphasis mine)

In other words, he has prejudged all cases concerning these issues. Shouldn't he recuse himself from all such cases, since clearly he isn't considering them with an open mind.

His philosophy doesn't allow for changing mores. Does he think slavery should still be legal, since the framers didn't intend the Constitution to ban it? Come on. Marital rape was legal until only a couple of decades ago. Does he think that's okay too, since wives were their husband's property in the 18th century, to do with whatever they wanted?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

First Presidential Debate

Lies, lies, and more lies. That's what I got out of the first presidential debate. I like Barack Obama. I voted for him in the last election. But I've been disappointed in him as a President. I thought he did okay. Not great, but okay, especially given that Romney backed away from every position he's taken in this campaign.

Take away-

1. The only Americans who exist, in political lala-land, are the middle class.

 2. Your lies can pile up a mile high and the chattering classes don't care, as long as you do it with "style." How can you be the "winner" when you lied through your teeth through the entire debate?

 3. The media love the idea of a Romney comeback because that means it's a horse race again and there's more to talk about.

 4. I'm disappointed that Obama didn't do a better job of presenting himself and refuting Romney's lies. But the media don't seem to think Romney's lies are significant enough to detract from his "win." I don't get that.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Fairness or the lack thereof

Mitt Romney's 13.5% tax rate: an illustration of many things that are wrong with the way our country is run.