Thursday, November 1, 2012

The State of Texas and its Ongoing Battle against Planned Parenthood

''Viva la vulva!'' photo (c) 2011, Timothy Krause - license:
Though they will deny it until the end of time, the GOP is engaged in a war against women’s reproductive freedom.  From ridiculous comments suggesting that a child created from rape is God’s gift, to the elimination and or restriction of clinics which offer abortions, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for a woman’s bodily autonomy to be respected. 

Planned Parenthood and the Texas government have been in and out of court for months over government funding. Last Thursday, Planned Parenthood lost its attempt in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to stop the planned defunding of its services and that of their affiliates because of abortion.   According to CNN, “The Texas Women's Health Program provides about 130,000 low-income women with family planning exams, related health screenings and contraception.”   On Saturday, Judge Amy Clark Meachum, issued a temporary restraining order, which inspired Governor Rick Perry to use twitter to state his objections.

Lost in the argument about choice is the fact that Planned Parenthood does a lot more than provide safe low cost abortions.  Planned Parenthood is a women’s health clinic where women receive free or low cost services for things like: pap & HPV Tests, breast cancer screenings, treatment for urinary tract infections, infertility, yeast infections & vaginitis, high blood pressure screening, cholesterol screening , the morning after pill, diabetes screening and anemia testing to name a few.  These are clearly essential services because 48.6 million people are currently without health care in the U.S.  Preventive testing and healthcare saves lives.   Thanks to universal healthcare, a Canadian born today can expect to live 81.38 years, in comparison to an American who has a life expectancy of 78.37 years.  That’s a difference of 3.7 percent.  The infant mortality rate is also lower in Canada, with 4.92 deaths per thousand to America’s 6.06 deaths per thousand.   Healthcare from the moment of conception, leads to longevity and greater quality of life.  That is what is at stake with the defunding of Planned Parenthood.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

LGBT People Don't Have to be Nice

Once again, wise words from Sparky, of Spark in Darkness.

It’s happened again. Well it’s never stopped happening. Tumblr, where common sense goes to die and fail goes to breed and thrive, had a rather reasonable post on what counts as allydom and what counts as the actions of a decent human being. And of course, we had a string of allies saying how “meaaaan” they were and they’re alienating people etc etc ad nauseum.

And then there’s Chris Kluwe’s rather awesome response to homophobic arseholery that should be embossed in gold. And what happened? While most have cheered, I’ve seen people gasping because of the swearing and disrespect. Really. I think his own words nicely sums that up. Now I could even see the point on “cockmonster” kinda, but swearing and disrespect? Seriously? Because the bigots bigotry wasn’t already rude and disrespectful?

And, of course, in response to my criticism of the raging bigots who keep occupying the equality’s minister’s seat, I’ve been chided that I need to “calm down” and wait and “engage” with the nasty homophobic bigots otherwise how will we convince them to support us! Oh I am sabotaging us!

And I say fuck it. Yes I have been mean and nasty which means, apparently, a load of people are now going to spit their dummies out and no longer support GBLT equality.

Really I would question how much of an “ally”  anyone is if they will decide that the entire movement of GBLT equality – or, indeed, any equality movement – is no longer worth their time or attention if one person who belongs to that group is unpleasant to them.

Even beyond unpleasant – even if I were a rapist, a murderer, a paedophile, a bad karaoke singer or someone who persistently knocks on your door of a Sunday morning to try and sell you something –  it is still patently ridiculous, enormously arrogant and exceedingly selfish to dismiss an entire equality movement and an entire marginalised group because one of them isn’t a very nice person. Really, this is the bar you put on your support? This is the standard we have to meet to be worth of equality? Absolutely impeccable behaviour from all of us at all times?

This doesn’t sound like someone who cares over much about equality or justice to me.

But, beyond that, I think being all kinds of unpleasant is quite necessary to achieve true equality and to see who is actually allies.

See, I want a equality, I want justice and in that struggle I very much want straight people to support me. I want straight people to have my back. I want straight people at my side. I even want straight people willing to stand between me and the fire.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Walking Dead Season Three, Episode 3: Walk with Me

This episode opens with a helicopter flying and suddenly it starts to experience turbulence and it looks like an engine blows out. The helicopter lands in the bushes and from a distance, Michonne and Andrea see the smoke. Michonne checks out the crash and sees that two are dead but she is forced to leave the crash site when two vans pull up.  Michonne and Andrea hide in the bushes and watch as the men kill the zombies who have been attracted to the noise from the crash. One of the men grabs a zombie out of the helicopter and Andrea wonders if they should show themselves, but Michonne warns that they should be cautious. Unfortunately, Michonne's zombies and reveal their location, so she sneaks up to them and beheads them.  There is an order to move out, so Michonne and Andrea think that they're clear but Merle sneaks up on them from behind.  He uses a weapon on his new false hand to kill the zombie that sneaks up on him and Andrea faints.

Andrea is in a car and she is blindfolded.  There is a small gap and she can barely see through it.  Michonne is sitting in the vehicle right next to her. When we next see Andrea, she is getting medical treatment.  Andrea asks to go but the person treating her suggests that they stay the night and points out that it's dark out now.  Merle sends the doctor on her way and tells Andrea that he knows that they were probably hoping that he was dead.  He says that when he was found, he was starving and thinking about committing suicide and meeting Darryl on the other side.  Merle asks about his brother and Andrea tells him that Darryl did go back for him but he was already gone.  Merle still blames Rick for locking him up in the first place and Andrea tries to explain by saying that they wanted to keep looking but a lot of people died. She tells him how Darryl stepped up and became a valued member of the group.  Finally, Andrea asks what they want from them and Merle says that he plucked them out of the dirt and suggests a thank you. Michonne reminds Meryl that they had a gun pointed at them. When he starts to ramble, Andrea says thank you.

The Governor enters the room and asks them how they are doing? Michonne asks for their weapons back and he tells them they can get them back at the gate. Andrea is upset because she saw them put a gun into the skulls to two dead men and the Governor then informs her that whenever someone dies, they become a walker.  He tells them that they are free to leave whenever they want to but Andrea needs a solid nights sleep. The Governor offers them medical care, food, and keys to a vehicle if they stay the night.  The Governor then opens the door and says, "welcome to Woodbury." Michonne and Andrea walk out and see that the residents have erected a bridge to keep the walkers out.  Andrea asks if they are military because they are carrying heavy artillery and the Governor says that these are weapons they have collected over time.

The Governor escorts Michonne and Andrea to a room and tells them that they even have food and running water for showers. He promises them that they are safe there. Andrea asks about the pilot and the Governor says that Dr. Stevens is doing all she can. He leaves and tells them that if they need anything, there men will be waiting outside the door.

The next morning, Michonne and Andrea are getting the tour and learn that there are 73 people living in Woodbury and that the walls have not been breached in over a month.  Apparently, the Governor has a tight leash on the town and this includes a sunset curfew.  The governor is interviewing the pilot from the helicopter and learns that ten in his group escaped. The governor promises to find the land group that he was with and bring them to Woodbury.

After leaving the survivor, the Governor enters a building and catches Merle bickering with a scientist. He asks about Andrea and if she is from the group in Atlanta who left him on the roof. The Governor asks Merle to talk to Andrea again to see what else he can find out. The scientist pulls the cover over Michonne's zombies and explains that what she has done to them brilliant.  The Governor asks why she kept them and the scientist says they're camouflage. The scientist says that the zombies are starving, they're just doing it more slowly that we do. The scientist wants to question Michonne and Andrea but the Governor says that Merle is handling it.  the Scientist tries again and says that letting Merle talking to the women is a mistake.

The Governor sets up a meal for Andrea, Michonne, the scientist and himself. The scientist asks if they believe the walkers remember the person that they were trapped inside like an echo.  Andrea says that she thought about that one time before a walker tried to bite her. The scientist ask about Michonne's zombies and suggests that she knew them once but Michonne does not answer. Andrea asks if they expect what they have at Woodbury to hold but Michonne says that it will hold. The governor says that the real subject is what happens in the walls - "it's about getting back to who we were." Throughout the conversation, Michonne keeps looking at the governor with hate in her eyes.  The governor says that they are going to take back what's theirs, only this time they won't be eating each other. For her part, Andrea looks intrigued and even raises her teacup to the Governor.  The Governor gets up to go and Michonne stands and says that they want their weapons.  The governor again reminds them that their weapons are waiting for them at the gate, but again suggests that they should wait awhile and check out the town.
Read More