Category Archives: politics

Why knowing about ALEC is important

Paul Krugman has a must-read piece up on the influence of the shadowy corporate-sponsored group, American Legislative Exchange Council (“ALEC”), on state legislatures.

For one thing, the “shoot first, avoid arrest” bill that has allowed Trayvon Martin’s killer to avoid charges was drafted by ALEC.  ALEC has also provided multiple state legislatures with voter ID bills intended to suppress the votes of minorities, the poor, and the elderly.  It should be a surprise to no one that many members of ALEC are the corporations that are bring us the privatized prison-industrial complex, and who are also bringing us privatized, for-profit schools that are bringing profits to its members at the expense of actual education.

We are looking at a very, very bleak future for the vast majority of our citizens if ALEC continues to write our state’s laws unchecked.

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Catholics rally to continue taking public tax money while imposing medieval religious values on non-Catholics

Today I am (relatively) hard at work at my desk.  The weather here in Chicago has taken a turn from the sunny, late spring-like days of the past week to rainy and chilly.  So I am surprised to hear chanting and screaming coming in through the thick glass of my 20th floor window.

Oh.  It’s the local “pro-lifers,” egged on by our home-grown Pro-Life Action League, rallying for the freedom to continue sucking at the public teat while denying access to contraception through their insurance coverage to their non-Catholic employees.  Hilariously and ironically, one of their loudest chants is the word “freedom.”  Today’s ridiculous, riddled-with-irony rally has provoked irritation, contempt, frustration, and a certain sense of “how can this be a real thing in the world” bemusement.

It is a fact that no actual churches will be required to provide contraception coverage through their insurance programs.  It is also a fact that there is no government mandate that Catholics actually avail themselves of contraception.

On the other hand, institutions such as hospitals, which are publicly funded to a substantial degree, and which provide services to the general public are and should be required to follow the same standards as every other large employer.

You know what?  If the Catholic church wants the right to impose its asinine religious values on all of its employees, it needs to wean itself off public money.  Until then, they can really go fuck themselves.  The Catholic hierarchy is a deeply morally troubled institution, and their continued insistence that they have any sort of moral authority is just fucking laughable.  The idea that any Catholic employer’s minimal contributions to its employees’ health insurance programs violates the institution’s conscience is so fucking ridiculous that I find it difficult to believe that anyone, anywhere is falling for it.  It’s insurance coverage.  It’s a benefit of employment.  If we accept this brain-damaged argument that the employer’s portion of health insurance premium contributions violates religious principles, then surely the paychecks that go to employees who might use contraception is an even more egregious violation.  After all, there isn’t even the middle man of the insurance company standing between the flow of money from the institution to the employee.

We live in a bizarre, bizarre universe.


Ladies heading into the election season, never forget that Republicans hate you!

The same Wisconsin Republican shitheel legislators, Glenn Grothman and Don Pridemore, famous previously for introducing Senate Bill 507, which specifically blames single mothers for child abuse, are now on the record as discouraging women from seeking divorce, even in instances of abuse.

Pridemore, in his infinite wisdom, helpfully explained that abused women should just send their thoughts back to what originally attracted them to their husbands to begin with.

Close your eyes and think of England, ladies.


Exposure to chemicals in the environment possible root cause of obesity epidemic

Washingtons blog has a somewhat terrifying article up about our exposure to chemical toxins, and how it may be a major contributing factor to the obesity epidemic.  Many of the chemical toxins contained in plastics and other common household products act as endocrine disruptors in the human body, and can have permanent effects on how our bodies regulate weight.

From the article:

Consumption of the widely used food additive monosodium glutamate (MSG) has been linked to obesity.

Pthalates – commonly used in many plastics – have been linked to obesity. See this and this.  So has achemical used to make Teflon, stain-resistant carpets and other products.

Most of the meat we eat these days contains estrogen, antibiotics and  powerful chemicals which change hormone levels. Modern corn-fed beef also contains much higher levels of saturated fat than grass-fed beef. So the meat we are eating is also making us fat.

Arsenic may also be linked with obesity, via it’s effect on the thyroid gland. Arsenic is often fed to chickens and pigs to fatten them up, and we end up ingesting it on our dinner plate. It’s ending up inother foods as well.

A lot of endocrine-disrupting pharmaceuticals and medications are also ending up in tap water.

Moreover, the National Research Council has found:

The effects of fluoride on various aspects of endocrine function should be examined further, particularly with respect to a possible role in the development of several diseases or mental states in the United States.

Some hypothesize that too much fluoride affects the thyroid gland, which may in turn lead to weight gain.

Antibiotics also used to be handed out like candy by doctors.  However, ingesting too many antibiotics has also been linked to obesity, as it kills helpful intestinal bacteria. See this and this.

 Now, considering that corporate industry is responsible for the majority of these environmental toxins, and has been profiting off the use of them, isn’t it reasonable to suggest that their tax rate should be increased to help alleviate the harms they are causing to the general public?  If the development of diabetes in an individual can be directly traced to his or her exposure to environmental toxins produced by corporate industry, why should that individual be subject to the crushing costs of health care?  Taxes on corporate profits should reflect the extent to which pollution and toxins are destroying our health and our environment.

Are your insurance premiums helping pay for the Catholic Church’s sex crimes?

I assume that everyone who has a television or even just glances at the news online every now and again is aware of the current temper tantrum being thrown by newly elevated Cardinal Timothy Dolan and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops over whether the employees (non-Catholic and Catholic alike) of their publicly funded institutions (such as hospitals) are entitled to insurance coverage for contraception.  The USCCB’s bullshit argument is that the minuscule amount that the Catholic Church contributes to the payment of the insurance premiums is enough to violate their religious principles that women should be nothing more than meat envelopes, suitable for the temporary storage of either penises or fetuses.

I also assume that the same group of “everyone” is more than vaguely aware that the Catholic Church has been aiding and abetting its priests in the rape of children for the past several decades, and has been subject to a barrage of litigation because of it.

One thing that I will not assume that “everyone” knows is that the Catholic Church’s insurers, who have issued liability policies to the Church over the past many decades, are the source of a major portion of the funding that goes towards defending and settling these lawsuits.  Who are those insurers?  Basically every major property and casualty insurer in the market.  We are talking about decades of insurance coverage.  Although the actual priest/rapists themselves are not eligible for insurance coverage, due to the fact that insurance does not cover intentional acts, the Church itself is eligible.  This is because the plaintiffs also include causes of action against the Church for negligent hiring and negligent supervision.  Negligent acts are eligible for coverage, intentional acts are not.  That’s not really here nor there, though.

My point is that if we accept the bullshit argument being put forward by the USCCB that its small contribution towards payment of insurance premiums is enough to violate the conscience of the Church, then we should also accept that any premium dollars paid by anyone to an insurance company that does or has covered the Catholic Church for its liabilities violate the consciences of people who are opposed to child rape.

I don’t know about you, but I’m opposed to child rape, and I am opposed to my premium dollars contributing to the Catholic Church’s decades of sex crimes.


Dear Kirk Cameron and Not-Joe the Not-Plumber, tolerance doesn’t mean I have to agree with you.

Nor does “tolerance” mean that you get the right to spout your noxious, vile opinions, and everyone else has to shut up and listen.

So, Kirk Cameron appears on Piers Morgan for an interview.  For those of you who do not know, Kirk Cameron has developed into a radical fundamentalist Christianist, who denies evolution, and is virulently anti-gay.  Why did he get an interview slot on Piers Morgan?  Who the fuck knows.

Anyway, Piers asks Kirk several questions about his radical anti-gay views.  Kirk responds by saying that he believes that homosexuality is sinful, unnatural, and “ultimately destructive” to civilization.  He is thereafter criticized, heavily, for that statement.

In response to the criticism, Kirk says this:

I should be able to express moral views on social issues, especially those that have been the underpinning of Western civilization for 2,000 years — without being slandered, accused of hate speech, and told from those who preach ‘tolerance’ that I need to either bend my beliefs to their moral standards or be silent when I’m in the public square. I believe we need to learn how to debate these things with greater love and respect. I’ve been encouraged by the support of many friends (including gay friends, incidentally).

Similarly Samuel Wurzelbacher, otherwise known as Joe the Plumber, which is weird, because his name is not Joe, and he is not a plumber, appeared recently on CNN.  Having just won a Republican primary in Ohio, there was at least a legitimate reason for him to appear on CNN, I suppose.  Anyway, he is also asked about his publicly expressed, radical anti-gay views, including a prior statement that he wouldn’t let any gay people near his children.  Samuel gets all testy about the line of questioning, referring to them as “gotcha” questions, and finally saying the following:

I’m allowed to have my opinions as an American, but it seems the left becomes very intolerant when you have an opinion other than what they state.

Kirk, Sam, I hate to break it to you, but “intolerance” does not mean what you think it means.  Yes, you are allowed to have your opinions.  CLEARLY, you are allowed to have and express your ignorant, hateful, vile, prejudiced, small-minded, mouth-breathing opinions.  If you were not, you would not be invited on nationally broadcast television programs.

However, the right to have and express your opinions does not include the right to be immune from criticism.  Nor does it include the right to prevent me from having and expressing my opinion, which is that your opinions are utter shit.


Wisconsin Judge enters temporary injunction against Republican attempt to suppress the vote

Nice to see some good news coming out of Wisconsin.  By way of background, the Wisconsin legislature, currently being run by a bunch of nightmare retro-fuck Republicans (but I repeat myself…) passed a horrendous “voter ID” bill designed to suppress the vote.

Judge Flanagan issued an order temporarily barring the implementation of the act.  Included in his findings are that the Act (surprise!) has a disproportionate effect on minorities, the indigent, and the elderly, and that “the scope of the impairment has been shown to be serious, extremely broad and largely needless.”  Again, what a surprise.

Full article at the link below.

Judge bars voter ID law temporarily – JSOnline.


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