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April 14, 2012


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kathy a.

there is an old war on moms -- you lose if you work outside the home, and you lose if you are stay-at-home. most women think if you can afford a choice, you should choose what works for you and your family.

other women think, what choice? as someone said a thread or 2 back (i think paula), there is not much of a choice if a mom needs to work to keep the family in shelter and some kind of food.

but i'm absolutely stunned at the extent to which there are efforts to cut off access to birth control as well as abortion. family planning has been constitutionally guaranteed for a long time, and has been considered necessary health care for a long time, and those decisions do not belong to politicians, or pharmacists.

excuse me, but condoms are pretty much it for birth control without a prescription -- and condoms only work if the guy is willing to use them, and they are not nearly as effective as other methods. prescriptions, one might recall, tend to be expensive if they are not covered by insurance.

it is not a small matter, whether one has access to birth control. the health risks to women of even a wanted pregnancy are considerable; why is this always ignored in these stupid arguments? i had complications with both my pregnancies. one of my lamaze classmates died of a complication; her daughter survived, but born quite prematurely by emergency c-section. (that was a fun class.) another friend's fetus died in utero, and for reasons i do not understand, she had to carry the dead baby until she went into natural labor -- you can imagine how great it was for her on the maternity ward. and so on.

why is it assumed that raising children, even if the child has health care, is without personal, financial, and other costs, even if the child is insured? i know great parents who absolutely could not bear and raise a child at particular times in their lives; great parents who were great because they had some control over timing. why is that bad?


SC - you are too generous, callowness implies a degree of ignorance. Those who advocate for these mysogynistic measures are not ignorant at all. They know full well that the consequences of their crusades, if successful, will impose upon all women; that greater than half majority who are less suseptible to utter bullshit.

What it comes down to in the simplest terms is that the right wing nut jobs want to make sure that any woman who happens to get impregnated through an act of pleasure and perhaps even bonding, must by law, carry such pregnancy to term because that happens to work nicely in terms of preventing such individuals from realizing any other potential. It binds them to the task of motherhood. Fatherhood enjoys a looser definition and is fungible, easily translated into child support payments whether they are made or not.

All to the purpose of providing an overabundance of willing labor, thusly to increase profits. One wonders, do the oligarchs think they can preside over a global population of slaves so passive that they will not revolt against being systematically impoverished?


Teh_Derp is strong with this one.

I'm old enough to remember when you had to at least be able to report well enough to overcome one's own rarified environment before one got an opinion column for The Atlantic. Friedersdorf just pulled this out of his rectum, and it would be better for all concerned if he put it back where he found it.

low-tech cyclist

I apologize to all for having not responded to comments in my thread on tax brackets, but I was busy Friday night and all of yesterday, and this morning I'm getting the "comments to this entry are closed" message. Locked out of my own thread - of all the indignities!

At any rate, in my experience that message doesn't always last, so hopefully I'll be able to get in later.

low-tech cyclist


the life prospects of my fiance, my sister, my mother, and my female friends and acquaintances, I can only conclude that they're mostly unaffected by whether President Obama wins the White House or Mitt Romney manages to unseat him....It's one of the many privileges of living in this country: daily life goes on largely unaffected by the whims of the man or woman who inhabits the White House.
Grrr. Argh.

One of the privileges of being straight, white*, and comfortably upper middle class or better in this country is that daily life goes on largely unaffected by the whims of the man or woman who inhabits the White House.

There, fixed that.

Because people situated as I am ARE pretty much insulated from being materially affected by who's in the White House.

The difference between Democrats and Republicans, between liberals and conservatives, at this level of affluence, is that we recognize that not everyone has the sort of comfortable path through life that we do. If the ACA gets struck down, for instance, tens of millions of Americans will be without insurance. None of them will be people that Conor Friedersdorf knows, in all likelihood. To him, that seems to mean they either don't exist, or really didn't deserve to be insured anyway.

*Why not male? Maybe it belongs too; I just couldn't justify it myself, but am open to its inclusion. My thought was that well-off women won't rely on Title X or Planned Parenthood to afford contraceptives, and even if Roe is reversed, abortion will continue to be legal in some states. A well-off woman would have to deal with the inconvenience of a plane flight to Los Angeles or Chicago or D.C. if she needed an abortion; it's the women who can't scrape together the plane fare who would be forced to give birth to children they don't want and can't afford to raise.

Needless to say, those women don't exist in Conor's world either.

low-tech cyclist

More Conor:

What's objectionable is 1) the implication that the Republicans who voted for this bill are motivated by antagonism toward women and engaged in an aggressive campaign to war on them (the truthful motivation is some mix of concern for protecting religious liberty and pandering to religious conservatives and opponents of sweeping health-care mandates).

Who gives a fuck about motivation? When we went to war in Vietnam, we thought we were fighting for freedom. Tell me how much that mattered to the people we bombed, to those whose lives we either destroyed or ruined. Same thing in Iraq: in addition to the WMDs, we were supposedly rescuing the oppressed Iraqi people. Again, it doesn't matter to the hundreds of thousands who died, and the millions in exile.

The Republicans are conducting a war on women. I don't give a good goddamn whether they're conducting it out of high principle or because they're just a bunch of worthless fucknuggets. It's the same goddamned war, either way.

I especially don't care whether they're conducting this war based on some high principle because people, not principles, are what matter. Anyone who is going to do damage to the lives of real people because of abstract principles is a morally abhorrent creature who ought to be called out as the worthless scum they are, rather than being defended on those grounds.

But since libertarianism is all about putting principle ahead of people, I guess I can't expect Conor to go that route.


Great post Sir C. I'm finding all this not only insulting and absurd, but exhausting which I suppose is part of the plan. As for the women involved in these moves against people whose lives are none of their business -- darned unfathomable.

I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. That your Sex are Naturally Tyrannical is a Truth so thoroughly established as to admit of no dispute…

— from a March 31, 1776, letter by Abigail Adams to her husband, John Adams, who, at the time, was in Philadelphia declaring American independence. Abigail, back home in Massachusetts, was running the family farm all by herself, while caring for their five children.

As for women's rights, Abigail would add both a request and a warning:

If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.

I'm with her.

kathy a.

more "for thee and thine, not me and mine" from mitt romney, who thinks poor mothers need to have the dignity of work outside the home.

and for women working outside the home, there are threats on the fairness front. some republicans consider the lilly ledbetter fair pay act to be a "nuisance" to business. i'll just bet -- if one wants to pay the ladies unfairly, by gum, the courts should just look the other way.


A bit of levity on the matter.

joel hanes

Who gives a fuck about motivation?

Republicans. When their policies destroy lives, they explain that they did it with the best of motives. Thus "abstinence education", which has troubling effects, is advocated because any other kind of sex-ed will give the appearance of acknowledging, and thus somehow condoning, active teenage sexuality.

"We must not appear to condone" is the Right's mantra, regardless of the actual effects of the resulting policies.

low-tech cyclist

A bit of wishful thinking from Kathleen Parker:

Ann Romney was merely trying to indicate what any woman should appreciate — that the sideline issue of contraception, prompted by requirements included in Obamacare, is not the primary concern of most women or of this election season, much as the Democratic Party and the Obama administration would like voters to think otherwise.

Keep telling yourself that, hon.
low-tech cyclist

Kathleen Parker has a strange understanding of the concept of "freedom of speech":

Ann Romney [and] Hilary Rosen...are entitled to both their opinions and their choices without fear of censure or condemnation.
No. They have a right to express their opinions without fear of physical reprisals, threats, or intimidation, without being stalked or having people peer in through their windows. And I would contend that they have a moral right, if not a Constitutional right, to expect that things that are rightly in the private sphere of their lives will be left there.

But that's as far as it goes, because the rest of us have free speech rights too. If we think their opinions are worthy of condemnation, we get to say so. And if something they say makes us angry, we have the right to express our opinions with words that convey our passion.

If Parker thinks the First Amendment means something different than this, perhaps the WaPo needs to give her a refresher course. Free speech is their business, at least in theory. (In practice, their business is harvesting Federal student loan money through bogus college courses, but it used to be free speech, and they should still remember something about how it works.)

kathy a.

isn't the background to the rosen remark that romney said he wished his wife was present, because she's been talking to women and they say their #1 concern is not contraceptives but the economy?

so, there is relevance when most women -- even mothers -- have worked outside the home; most women deal directly with "the economy" because they must find jobs, pay bills, arrange child care, somehow feed, clothe, educate, and provide medical care for themselves and their families. mrs. romney has not had that experience.

if mrs. romney is going to be put out there as the campaign expert on women's issues, particularly economic issues, comparing her experience to that of most women is fair.

as SC suggests, coverage of contraception costs the employer/insurer nothing -- because preventing pregnancy saves a bundle of medical money -- but it's a significant economic (and personal health) issue to women wishing access to contraception.

if the insurance costs of attending to pregnancy are high, the costs of raising an unplanned child are astronomical. and for women on a tight budget, the costs of just the prescription can be unaffordable.

this is not some little side issue. and it is in fact an economic issue for the women sought to be excluded because of their employer's beliefs. (imagine if the bishops decided their religious liberty required employees of church-owned businesses to tithe? it's like that.)

Paula B

>>f mrs. romney is going to be put out there as the campaign expert on women's issues, particularly economic issues, comparing her experience to that of most women is fair.

Really? Did you drop out the "not" in that sentence by mistake?

It doesn't sound to me like Ann Romney has ever had to work within a tight budget, but maybe the gain on family investments dipped when the market was way down. Like during those years when many of us lost 1/3 of our retirement savings. She might have had to cut back a smidgen on household expenses for her eight homes.

Kathy, thanks for pointing out the high costs associated with raising the fruit of an unplanned pregnancy. But, there's so much more to this issue than money. With all the moral ammo flying around, I'm waiting for someone to bring up moral issues associated with raising accidental children. I can tell you anecdotally that unplanned and unwanted children are at high risk for all types of physical and emotional problems. I'm sure Becky can point out quite a truckload.

Sorry to have been out of the loop on this important topic, but life has swept me away from the computer for a week or so. Also, I said just about all I have to say on the contraception issue on my blog a few weeks ago, when Rush dissed Sarah Fluke and that prompted a massive venting of my spleen.

We know the GOP has and always has had little respect for women, in general, and has viciously gone after high-visibility liberal women, including Hillary Clinton, long before she ran for presidential candidacy. What's important now is fending off attacks on our bodies from all sides, before we lose a lot of ground.

On the other hand, you might look at this point in history as a very loose parallel to the Civil Rights movement, when restrictions on rights helped forge large groups of people committed to the cause of protecting the rights of others. (The parallel does not hold up, however, when you consider the number of people who died trying to expand those rights.)

In this case, the GOP may have unwittingly offered women an opportunity to build unity between disparate demographics on the issue of women's rights over their own bodies. Don't forget, females currently are in the majority in the US adult population, in the workforce and in the voting booth. If we can keep our eyes facing forward, maybe we can push ahead so our daughters and granddaughters will not have to worry about losing control of reproduction.

Most of all, we need to stop reducing political benefits to simple cost-saving equations. We're talking about lives here, not grocery lists or comparison shopping.

Today on Twitter, Litbrit promoted a gem of an old post about a man's understanding of pregnancy here.

kathy a.

paula -- i wasn't clear! i really meant "comparing and contrasting" her experiences -- not "equating" her experiences.

her experiences are not those of most other women. "chipping away" at the trust fund in order to be a stay-at-home mother while hubby was in school is not the kind of financial sacrifice that most women can ever contemplate. but it appears to be her example of financial stress.

Sir Charles

My sense is that neither Mitt nor Ann Romney has the slightest clue about what most families' lives are liked, whether the family consists of a single breadwinner and stay home spouse, a two career couple, or a single parent.

This alone would not be disqualifying. We have had wealthy presidents with enormous levels of empathy for ordinary folks -- look at FDR and JFK for example, both of whom overcame their incredibly privileged upbringings to act as champions of the poor and the working class.

But neither Romney exudes any of that empathy.

As to the manner in which they value the labor of non-working parents, it is revelatory to see Mitt's support to send single women on welfare out to work, even if they had very young children at home because they needed "the dignity of work." For women of a certain class, parenting is the highest calling, and for others, it's an excuse to shirk.

I hate these fucking people.

kathy a.

heh, paula. litbrit's only talking about a regular pregnancy. some come with bonus complications!

mine only involved [a] a frank breech baby (first the efforts of multiple physicians working all possible angles -- that one, too -- to "change" the position), and then the c-section), and the [b] early bleeding and threat of miscarriage (when my beloved was away and my son was one year, so i ended up training my son to climb out of the playpen so i could limit lifting), followed some months later by early labor (a week in the hospital on major drugs before she was big enough) plus worries about pregnancy-induced diabetes. that was all fun. i'm leaving other things out.

but i was lucky lucky lucky. both my babies were wanted, and we had health care, and i wasn't trapped in a bad relationship or abandoned by the father. i didn't have a stillborn and have to carry it to "natural birth," like one friend. mine were not severely premature, like my own sister -- whose survival in 1965 was a miracle (2.5 lbs., they usually died then at that weight), but she has had some lifelong difficulties, like hearing loss. my sister has done fine; our first cousin, who suffered brain damage from a lack of oxygen during birth, has not done so well despite intensive efforts. i did not die of an amniotic fluid embolism, like one woman in my lamaze class -- yes, that happened. my children did not have major malformations or disabilities, like those of several friends.

every one of the complications i mentioned happened with a wanted pregnancy. these kinds of things happen in unwanted pregnancies, too. i'm mad as hell about a lot of things lately, including cutting services to families in need -- but trying to take away access to family planning, trying to dismiss pregnancy as some little sacrifice? i'm volcanic about that.

Paula B

omigod, kathy! Yes, what's normal? And, you're among the healthy and lucky ones. Teens, malnourished women, physically abused women are more likely to have the problems you talk mention---low birth weight, prematurity, maternal complications and congenital defects. Unfortunately, those women are the ones most likely to be uninsured or insured through federal/state programs that are up for slashing by the GOP.

Paula B

Of course, no one would want to offend the sensitivities of the extremely religious, so women (religious or not) should just shut up and welcome pregnancy, whenever. Maybe we should also stop slaughtering cattle so we don't offend Hindus and learn to love the burqa so we won't offend conservative Muslims. Think of all the things we could give up to guarantee "freedom of religion" for all (at least, freedom of religion as defined by extremists in the Roman Catholic Church)!

kathy a.

i had not read one of SC's links before now, but it's pretty good on the war on women. in particular, a link in that piece shreds the notion that obama's economic policies are worse for women. puhleeeze. geepers. i don't know if romney is betting on the brilliance of his advisors, the presumed stupidity of the voting public, or what. but even he must know that what he is saying isn't true.


Sanctimony, vast wealth and utter obliviousness. Mr. Romney's material Mormonism also too. Take it away Mr. Pierce. Goldmine of links are much fun. :-)

Chapter next in Some of Us are More Deserving than Others .

kathy a.

barbara boxer on the war on women.


From kathy's link:

House Republicans have introduced more than 30 bills that would restrict a woman’s reproductive health care. Those same Republicans, who decry an all-too-powerful government, have no problem deciding what health care is right for our daughters, or sisters or mothers.

Maybe it's time to grab the 'war on women' narrative and reframe it, because these decisions affect men in this country as well. Fathers, sons, boyfriends. Even silly drunken frat-boys shouldn't be forever punished by these legislations being created to punish the sluts. I mean, these people are inviting the return of the shot-gun wedding, modern-style, with DNA paternity testing. Called child-support, in perpetuity. Idjits.


Great post, Sir C. I have had it with our elites and their Village enablers with their endless false, absurd equivalencies. Conor is obviously auditioning to be the new David Broder. And Lex--LOL!

BTW, I was talking to some friends over the weekend, and they agreed with me that the GOP will never let Obama nominate a SC justice to replace one of the Gilded Age Five. Just thought I'd mention that.


Good column by Jamelle Bouie at the AP on the false equivalence problem.

Can anybody tell me how to put links into comments??? Needs to be in words of one syllable for this computer idiot.

kathy a.

becky, here are the instructions. scroll on down to hyperlinked text. it doesn't look right, but it works. use the "preview" button to check before posting; if it messes up, you can fix it.


Also, Becky. See l-t-c's tutorial in the Wednesday, April 11 comment thread. Easy, brief and clear instructions. :-)


beckya at 10:43 RE SCOTUS. That states exactly why we have to make sure that Obama has solid majorities in both the house and senate after the next election. Without that we are screwed. The present court is both corrupt and ideologically authoratarian.

I have a bad feeling about this election coming up. The rethuglicans have had four years to engineer as much malfeasance and chikanerie as is possible and there is no doubt they will sling it all at Obama, the greatest possible humiliation they can impose on him is being a one term president. That will really put the mud people in their place and make sure we never have another leader who isn't a perfect white man or appropriately dumb and malleable white woman.

The reality is we need leaders of intelligence, vision and with a firm grasp on the simple but seemingly elusive concept that wishing for something does not make it true.

Here's a thought, what does anyone here suppose would happen if an organization targeting anti-abortion zealots for "elimination" sprung up?

Double standard? Why yes, emphatically yes.


It almost makes one wish that young Mr Friedersdorf and his 'fiance' should experience an unplanned pregnancy or two and see how they like them apples. Even with freely available and affordable abortion, it's no picnic. Or perhaps a planned but horribly complicated pregnancy. Or a multiple pregnancy where one of your twins doesn't sleep throuh the night till he is six.

Almost. I feel bad wishing those things on another woman.

Life may yet teach him something. But he's not showing aptitude.

Maybe it's time to grab the 'war on women' narrative and reframe it, because these decisions affect men in this country as well. Fathers, sons, boyfriends. Even silly drunken frat-boys shouldn't be forever punished by these legislations being created to punish the sluts. I mean, these people are inviting the return of the shot-gun wedding, modern-style, with DNA paternity testing. Called child-support, in perpetuity. Idjits.

They don't plan to enforce this part.

low-tech cyclist
Sir Charles

KN, Emma, and Mandos!

Our international contingent -- as we spread discontent globally.

Yeah, one is struck by the hubris of so many young libertarian types, who seem unable to imagine that public policy could actually impact them, that they too could experience a birth control failure, or a high risk pregnancy, or a fetal anomaly, or any of the other things that prompt millions of people to have abortions in the U.S. every year.

Not only is there a failure of empathy, but also a fundamental failure of imagination in terms of the cruel jokes that life tends to play on people -- libertarians included.

Paula B

On the other hand, we have males with high-level security clearance hiring prostitutes as part of a work detail in another country. Considering what we know so far, we have to assume they also operate this way no matter where they are. I say these guys should be REQUIRED to use birth control, under penalty of death. What do the GOP moralists have to say on this issue? I'm sure they'll say it is a gross aberration in conduct tied to the election of a black president.


Not only is there a failure of empathy, but also a fundamental failure of imagination in terms of the cruel jokes that life tends to play on people -- libertarians included.

My impression of libertarianism is that this particularly deficiency is one of its general features. Between that and its inability to notice its own utopianisms I simply can't abide libertarianism.


O/T This is sad news about Levon Helm who is now very ill. I still play The Band and Robbie as needed.

Paula B

Ohhh, I was just going to post the same thing, Nancy. I'm heartbroken. I think Garth is still alive, as well as Robbie.


More o/t I'm afraid.

Mitt Romney is utterly, finally hopeless, not to mention brazenly craven.

Oh indeed. He and Ted Nugent together at last. Let's add Ted to the Romney family photo shoot shall we? Here's a classic Nugent 'move over guys' moment, I believe. Autographs all round I gather. Ann could saute the squirrel and dog for her guest donor and *high-profile* backer. Jesus Mary.


Has anyone here read The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins? If you haven't I would give it a high five and say you should. It puts our existence in a kind of new perspective that may shock some people. Because it is fundamentally true.

For the females on this thread as a male all I can say is that I have limitless empathy for your decidedly disadvantaged station due to biology. That males are inclined to exploit that disadvantage is worse than shameful, and deserving of excomunication. If we are to advance and explore the universe as an intelligent species, then we must also survive as a species, and for that we must depend on biology, because to date it is beyond our ken. So for the future, female humans will have to put their lives on the line to continue the species.

It is a comment is it not on the state of our science that our long term survival still depends entirely on the primordial mechanism of sex.

Yet we are unique in that we, of all the millions of organisms that have evolved over the long history of the earth, have become aware of the biochemistry that controls us, and are able, through science to constrain our futures. We have the ability to predict. With accuracy.

Paula B

Great news: ALEC pulls back on nutso stuff http://bit.ly/I4Cidk


Does anyone here believe that ALEC is going to change their agenda? If you do I have a very nice bridge I would like to sell you at an incredibly reasonable price, it spans the East River between Brooklyn and Manhattan.

This is just diviersionary. The underlying issue is whether the whole Alec scheme was really an elaborate and under the rader system of bribery, graft and corruption. To my mind it is pretty clear that it was. In fact there is no evidence that it is not still the same set up.

A few corporations have ostemsibly abandonded ALEC, that is no where near enough. The whole cabal needs to be exposed and called to accuount for their subversive activities. They clearly have subverted government with money.

One wonders, when will the rule of law apply to the right wing zealosts?

Sir Charles


I certainly don't think that they will do so out of any change of heart.

I think, however, without the backing of large mainstream corporations though they will be considerably less well-funded or effective.

And I think large publicly traded companies are going to give them a wide berth. They are not worth the possible boycotts or shareholder activism they might prompt.

Paula B

KN--Actually, that bridge may already have been sold. NYC is looking to privatize as much property as possible to raise $$$.
As for gullibility, yes, but it doesn't last long. Sometimes we need to believe those things we shouldn't believe.


SC - seriously? The Kochs alone could well afford to dump a billion dollars into ALEC and not even sniff at the set back, in fact they could make up the difference in a a few months simply by gaming the oil commodities markets. Which they are already doing incidentally. Moreover it is my understanding that some 500 major multinationals are participants in ALEC, so just exactly how much impact does the desertion of a hand full of companies have on their overall ability to buy politicians who are notoriously cheap whores, lock stock and barrel? None. Zip, nada. A republican state congressman can be had for a couple hundred thousand dollars, that is chump change to these guys, and there are plenty of buyers. The truly sad thing is they are such cheap whores that they don't have the common sense to bid up their own price to the point that free market economics would come into play and perhaps toss the whole apple cart. They can be bought with less than a million dollars, that makes them think they are high rollers, top of the world and all that, when their owners are sitting on 50,000 times that kind of money. Fools.

Paula B - I am not sure what you mean about gullibility. But I am fairly sure that I could now be a very rich man if I was willing to lie through my teeth and con greedy wannabes with promises of great results from things that are long odds. Sure, privatize everything, that is the ideal of the libertarian and theocratic fanatics. Insatiable greed.

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