Category Archives: Birth Control

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Women, You Owe Us Explanations

Jimmy Wales, the founder and big boss of Wikipedia, told Scott Simon on Weekend Edition Saturday that 85 percent of the contributors to the free online hive-mind encyclopedia are male. Wales says that troubles him.

Troubles me, too. Wanna know why? Because it’s so goddamned easy to contribute to Wikipedia that a child can do it. And I’d bet more children, overall, than women contribute to it.

It’s a damned shame that the info resource used by most humans on this planet largely — very largely — reflects the POV of guys. Where are you, smart women? Why aren’t you adding to the entries about Émily du Châtelet and Rosalind Franklin? Why aren’t women who study Harriet Tubman tripping all over each other to add to the abolitionist’s Wiki page?

Do you know who Henrietta Leavitt was? How about Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin? Or, for that matter, Hypatia, Irène Joliot-Curie, Melissa Franklin, Zaha Hadid, or Indra Nooyi? They all have Wikipedia pages and, presumably, have been mostly defined therein by males. For that matter, why isn’t there a Wiki page on Siza Mzimela?

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[L to R] Hypatia, Melissa Franklin, Siza Mzimela

More Q’s. Why is the entry on Birth Control not a place we can read about the desire of women to enjoy sex without worry of conception? Only a woman can write that. The Birth control entry is very dry and clinical. The reasons women use birth control are not. Surely, women can dig up primary sources explicating the need and want to engage in non-procreational bonking. Instead, we’re treated to gobs of citations from vagina-fearing religionists about why birth control is worse than putting a Glock in the hands of a tot. (In fact, there’s even a separate, lengthy entry entitled Religion and birth control.

We hear a lot about mansplaining, the propensity of guys to lecture women. You know what? We could use a little womansplaining. No, wait — a lot of it, please. The tools and the opportunities are waiting. So am I.

Less News Is Bad News

I caught the news out of the corner of my eye that Al Jazeera America is going under and it saddened me. My primary news sources are NPR, the New York Times, the BBC, and Al Jazeera America (AJAM).

I get my AJAM fix online as I long ago gave up on TV as a dependable source for news. AJAM online always seemed to me to be sober and rational, its reports mercifully absent the shrieking, alarmist, celeb-worshipping crap most stateside corporate media shovel into our ear- and eyeholes on a 24-hour-a-day basis.

Even the look of AJAM’s home page was calm, its background color midnight blue with an Arabic script logo resembling a drop of water.

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Muted

The Big Mike school of journalism holds that there are no such things as pure objectivity, real truth, and the all-too-ephemeral qualities of fairness and balance our for-profit news mongers try to sell us. Ergo, I want to see human and global issues through the eyes of many and then try to make sense of the whole chaotic mess in my own head.

If you haven’t peeked into how other countries cover the news, I highly recommend it. You’ll be shocked at how differently the folks in Lebanon, Ireland, China, and Nigeria see things. That’s why my preferred news deliverers are an American nonprofit as well as a for-profit biz, a non-profit from the UK, and a for-profit one from the Arab world.

AJAM is the television news operation owned by the House of Thani, the gang of monarchists who run the tiny Arabian peninsula nation of Qatar. These dynasts love to play both sides of the coin, allowing the US and the UK to operate an air force base there from which the Allies can run bombing missions all around the Middle East whenever our generals feel moody. Qatar also has allowed the Afghan Taliban to run an office in the country. The royals like to brag about labor unions and women’s suffrage now being allowed in the country; left unsaid is the fact that both advances were forbidden until very recently. Qatari law allows for stoning and flogging for convicted criminals. Migrant African workers flock to Qatar for what are promised to be high(er)-paying jobs but many find themselves forced into abusive servitude and suffer severe human rights violations.

For some as yet unexplained reason, the royalists who oversee this mess have sunk good dough into a pretty decent news outfit. One possible justification for investing in Al Jazeera: the Qatari kings and princes simply want to make a buck.

Which they aren’t doing via AJAM, ergo that arm of the Al Jazeera Media Network will go dark by April 30th.

When AJAM came onto the scene back in 2013 after buying up the distribution network and the other assets of Al Gore’s Current TV operation, it hoped to reach into most Americans’ living rooms. Unfortunately, the very idea that an Arab-run news source would be infiltrating our happy homes caused some of AJAM’s biggest cable carriers to drop it.

Still, a year ago AJAM was able to gain entry into more than 61 million American homes, a penetration rate of better than 52 percent. Precious few people in those American homes chose to click to the news station, though, with daily viewership hovering between 20,000 and 40,000. That’s kids stuff.

Murricans didn’t care for AJAM despite the fact that it had been established as a Delaware corporation with administrative headquarters and main studios in New York and satellite studios in eleven other US cities. Who, after all, wants to be told by Arabs what’s going on?

You know this already but it needs to be iterated: the citizenry of this holy land wants to get its info strictly from homegrown leggy blondes, tough-talking older men, and Comedy Central jokesters.

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Church & State

Time to get scared, kiddies:

NO Times-Picayune Headline

Click Image To Read Article

Do I need to riff on this, or does the intrinsic insanity of it speak for itself?

Yeah, I’ll go with the latter.

Too Many People….

I hate to be a buzzkill to all those proud pappies and mammies who plaster zillions of pix of their trophy babies all over the interwebs, but my deeply held opinion is that we have way, way, way too many peeps on this planet.

I’ve heard humanity described as the ultimate invasive species. I won’t go that far but I cannot deny that the lot of us need too much of the limited tonnage of natural resources Ma Earth can provide. There’s flat-out not enough raw stuff to produce all the goods needed to elevate everybody alive to our Murrican standard of living. Not everybody can expect to drink water out of a plastic bottle, keep a calendar on a handheld electronic device, wear a pair of sneakers made by slave labor in China, and have a Double Quarter-Pounder with Cheese for lunch every day. Homo Sapiens sapiens would need two or three Earth-like planets to supply all the ingredients for that universal lifestyle.

Street Crowd

Oh, The Humanity….

Still, folks want us to go blithely and merrily along, procreating our way toward 8, 9, even ten billion cramped souls on this little rock, religious fundamentalists, primary among them. IDK why but the uber-pious loathe the notion of birth control in any form. I suppose it goes back to their codified worldview, which was formed and refined for a passel of pre-technological, pre-literate, overly-credulous, nomadic desert tribes in what we now call the Middle East. Nothing like having that forward-thinking gang set cultural and scientific policy for our 21st Century society, no?

Anyway, if you’re interested in reading both sides of the overpopulation argument, the New York Review of Books has a piece on a book by Jonathan V. Last entitled “What to Expect When No One’s Expecting: America’s Coming Demographic Disaster.” Last’s argument — one that’s pretty much advanced by all anti-birth-control-ists — is that if the pop. growth of this holy land is in any way curtailed, even slightly, why then these United States will be wiped off the face of the Earth by whatever gang is busy humping its way toward elbow-to-elbow existence.

The reviewer takes issue with Last in no uncertain terms. If you want more, here are a few other links for reviews of the tome:

Conservative news outlets, natch, are hot for Last’s book,

Nobody’s Poor

Speaking of having not enough — or not having enough…, oh, you know what I mean — recent research has found that, in this holy land at least, even the poor don’t want to be classified as poor, so any pol trying to get votes by declaring himself a friend to the needy isn’t going to find much of a sympathetic audience.

Weird, huh?

If you’ve been following these screeds of late, you know my feeling that most Murricans harbor the fantasy that they’ll be billionaires one day, ergo the electorate’s patience with pols who do the bidding of the Kochs, the Ricketts, and Sheldon Adelson. In a sense, common folk think that whatever benefits the plutcocracy will one day benefit them.

Great Depression

Not Us!

Talk about fairy tales.

Ironic — isn’t it? — considering the fact that the divide between the haves and have nots is growing enormous-er every second of every hour of every day.

So, back to pols erring in their siding with the poors, that’s the conclusion arrived at by Anat Shenker-Osorio, a political communications consultant. She writes in Salon that progressive candidates and sitting office-holders have to start using new terminology to show how much they love the more unfortunate among us. Or the less fortunate. Whatever, you know what I mean.

The idea being you can’t say, “Hey, guys, you ain’t rich and I’m on your side.” Our American egos are so fragile that if you think we’re poor, we don;t want you on our side.

Like I said, weird.

Too Many People…, Redux

My least fave Beatle, sure, but Ram was a cool album. And this cut fits today’s post theme.

The Pencil Today:

TODAY’S QUOTE

“Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all — the apathy of human beings.” — Helen Keller

THE ABORTION WAR RAGES ON

I voted in my first presidential election 35 years ago. I pulled the lever for Jimmy Carter over Gerald R. Ford. That November, 1976, I felt heady and powerful, having helped sweep the stink of Dick Nixon out of Washington.

I looked forward to a future that would include peace, a home and plenty of food for all my fellow citizens, affordable higher education for all, unfettered access to birth control and abortions, legalized marijuana, and, of course, jet packs.

What A Cool Future!

So here we are in 2012, fighting a war that makes Vietnam look like a historical hiccup, hunger and homelessness rampant, yearly college tuitions reaching $50,000, still no legalized pot, and anti-abortionists in charge of one of the two major political parties of this holy land. Oh, and no jet packs.

Anti-abortionists gathered outside the Monroe County Courthouse yesterday afternoon to proclaim to the world how much they love, love, love every human being on this planet — as long as those human beings are not comprised of any more than several hundred cells.

“We Love You.”

The annual Rally for Life has been going on for more than a decade around Courthouse Square. Yesterday, the anti-abortionists were met with counter-protesters who shouted, waved signs, and painted slogans on their bellies.

The fun came to an early halt when the so-called Lifers decided it was too windy and misty to testify about their adoration for embryos any longer.

My fave sign at the rally? One guy held a placard proclaiming, “My sperm is not a person.”

THE COUCH POTATO PARTY?

So, Mitt Romney and his super PACs used TV advertising to knock the hell out of Newt Gingrich in November and December. Then Gingrich used TV ads to knock the hell out of Romney this past week.

Now nobody knows who the Republican candidate for president is going to be. Nor can anybody figure out why the primary race so far has been such a roller coaster ride.

Has it occurred to anybody that Republicans just might be more dedicated TV watchers than anybody else in these Great United States, Inc.? Couldn’t it be that — despite their protestations to the contrary — if they see it on TV, it’s gotta be real?

Of course, the only things Republicans don’t trust on TV are science shows and the news (except for you-know-which channel).

PRAY FOR GUIDANCE

Joe Paterno, we learned yesterday during the sickening post-mortems following the child-sodomy-tolerating football coach’s death, used to lead his teams in prayer before every single game.

Answered Prayer

So prayer, we must conclude, is a worthy activity when one hopes to score more touchdowns than Ohio State but ain’t worth the effort when trying to decide if one should call the cops after being confronted with eyewitness evidence that a pal was busy anally raping a ten-year-old boy in the shower room.

And prayer certainly didn’t help JoePa decide to bar Jerry Sandusky from using Penn State facilities for further May-December trysts (oops — I meant February-December).

FIRE WITH FIRE

If you live in one of a dozen or so primary election states, the prayer set is going to shove gory images of fetal body parts in your face in a couple of weeks. That is, should you decide to waste several hours of your precious life by watching Super Bowl XLVI.

The Puppy Bowl: A Better Usage Of Your Time

Yep, extremist Randall Terry, who is running for president (he’s expected to come in first in the Martian primary) has bought ad time in 13 primary-state TV markets during the big game broadcast on February 5th.

Terry, you may recall, founded Operation Rescue, the terrorist organization whose Kansas branch greased the way for the 2009 assassination of Dr. George Tiller.

The Terry “campaign” is running the explicit ads in response to pro-choice blogger Sophia Brugato, whose 10fortebow Twitter page donated $10 to abortion rights groups every time Denver Broncos quarterback (and prayer fanatic) Tim Tebow scored a touchdown this past season.

So, What Is It With Football And Prayer?

The “candidate” says if Brugato can raise dough for “killing babies” then he and his fellow mobsters must “fight fire with fire.”

BTW: Does it come as any surprise that a fellow like Terry might be averse to homosexuality, so much so that he has essentially disowned his son for the sin of being gay?

You know, family values, and all that.

REMARKABLE DEEDS

Parents these days are afraid to let their teenaged kids walk to the convenience store, right? Soccer moms (remember that term?) today must drive their precious spawn a block and half to the Circle K for their weekly supplies of Red Bull, condoms, and rolling papers.

That’s why this 16-year-old Laura Dekker chick’s just-completed excellent adventure is so jarring.

With the blessings of her parents, little Laura took a solo, around-the-world trip in her sailboat. She’s the youngest person ever to do such a thing, which may or may not help her advance in the business world when she becomes an adult — a landmark, I remind you, that is still some five years in the future.

Laura Dekker Got To Break Curfew 517 Nights In A Row

I’ve beaten this horse time and time again but it refuses to die. These narcissistic “accomplishments” are of zero value to anyone on this good, green (for the time being) Earth.

Celebrating these deeds and honoring their perpetrators as if they’d discovered a cure for autism is flat-out nuts.

I have a suggestion for the next pre-teen who wants to climb Mt. Everest or newlywed couple who wants to spend their honeymoon bonking high above the ground in a trans-Pacific hot air balloon ride: How about volunteering to work in a food bank or helping bring bedpans to elderly patients in your local hospital for a few weekends instead?

Now that’s heroic.

DIALOGUE

Mortgage banker Kathe Elliott-Doremus (one of the good ones — yes, such creatures do exist) FBed a fascinating nugget from the vault, Chicago’s “Dialogue, Part 1 and 2.”

Amazing, isn’t it, how nearly great that band was for a tantalizingly brief moment in time?

In fact, it was a Chicago Transit Authority (its original name until the real CTA threatened to sue) song that first introduced this aspiring teen radical to the term, “The whole world is watching.” The band’s eponymous debut album featured the twin-track “Prologue, August 29, 1968” and “Someday, August 29, 1968” which begins with raw audio from the Battle of Michigan Avenue. I stared at that convulsive event, rapt, on television when I was 12 and dreamed I could be there at Michigan and Balbo, in front of the Conrad Hilton Hotel, slugging it out with Mayor Daley’s cops.

Wishing I Was There

I was too young to make that scene. I would have had my skull dented, sure, and who knows where I would have headed after that. I could have become just another drug casualty or I might have been the next Tom Hayden.

Anyway, CTA seemed a harbinger of everything good and cool about pop music in the very early 70s. Lots of horns, a healthy dose of jazz, a political echo seemingly in each of its songs. But then — and I have no idea why — they turned to saccharine. It’s said Chicago is the second-most successful American pop band in terms of record sales after the Beach Boys. Most of those sales were of the treacly crap from their endless succession of unnamed, Roman-numeral-designated albums issued after that first release.

And then lead singer Peter Cetera struck out on a solo career, the output of which made Chicago’s pablum sound like the Dead Kennedys.

Chicago Transit Authority, Before They Turned Rancid

“Dialogue Part 1 and Two,” strangely enough, comes from Chicago V, showing that the band’s members still entertained a hint of the notion that music could be exciting.

Appropriately, Cetera’s is the voice of the Dialogue’s apathetic college student. He and co-lead singer Bobby Lamm talk about the state of the nation. “Don’t you ever worry,” asks Bobby Lamm, the socially-aware student, “when you see what’s goin’ down?”

“Well, I try to mind my business; that is no business at all,” Cetera responds.

Later, eerily presaging our times, Lamm asks, “Don’t you see starvation in the city where you live, all the needless hunger, all the needless pain?”

“I haven’t been there lately, the country is so fine. My neighbors don’t seem hungry ’cause they haven’t got the time,” blathers Cetera.

Finally, Cetera advises Lamm, “Well, if you had my outlook, your feelings would be numb. You’d always think that everything was fine. Everything was fine.”

And isn’t that the perfect crystallization of what passes for thought in the this holy land in the year 2012?

The Pencil Today:

TODAY’S QUOTE

“Just when you thought there wasn’t a dime’s worth of difference between the two parties, the Republicans go and prove you’re wrong.” — Molly Ivins

BUTT-HEAD MORALITY

Here’s all you need to know about the anti-abortion crowd. Last night, four of the devout men — emphasis on men, just in case it slipped your notice — running for the Republican nomination for president genuflected at the altar of the “pro-life” god in South Carolina.

That would be the god, I remind you, who frets obsessively over the safety of those blobs of cellular material the “pro-lifers” call “persons” and then promptly ignores once the blobs develop into what the rest of us would consider human.

Don’t these people know personhood begins the moment papers are filed to establish a corporation?

If This Is A CEO, Then It’s A Person

Anyway, Personhood USA gathered “pro-lifers” together so they could tell each other how righteous they are and to listen to Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Ricky-girl Santorum, and Rick Perry each claim to be holy.

Good to know that when our economy is teetering on a precipice, when the country seems to be in the throes of a seizure, when there’s not enough money to keep schools and libraries running properly, when climate change and nuclear proliferation threaten our very future, the pious folks of Personhood USA can keep their focus on women’s uteri.

Last night’s seminar was actually a dialectic musing over precisely when a human being comes into existence. Believe it or not, it’s a question that racks the brains of these folks. Not too long ago, they pushed for a law in Mississippi that would declare “personhood” begins at the moment the egg is fertilized.

So, in other words, if you snuff the life out of a fertilized egg, you’d be committing murder.

Now of course, the problem with that is many, if not most, forms of contraception entail killing the fertilized egg. Which would mean, say, birth control pill users would really be no different than Tucson shopping mall shooter Jared Loughner.

As Bad As One Of Those Birth Control Pill-Takers

A lovely bunch of thinkers, these “pro-lifers,” no?

The debate moderator (a guy) asked Rick Perry (ditto) when he thought life begins. Perry responded, “When the sperm and the egg come together….”

At which point — get this — many in the crowd started tittering.

Yeah, that’s right. Tittering.

Hilarious

As in, “Tehe, he said sperm.”

As in a couple of twelve year-olds sitting around giggling about sperm and dicks and vaginas.

As in Beavis and Butt-head.

Personhood USA.

Pro-life?

THE GAY DISEASE

Some members of the titterering set got together after a Texas confab last weekend and declared front-runner Mitt Romney to be suffering from the dread disease of “homophilia.”

I shudder to think of it. Romney’s office must be decorated with posters for Broadway musicals at the very least.

The First Symptom

“… [M]ost South Carolinians and I have a sane and healthy homophobia,” said the Rev. Huey Mills, some big-shot evangelical.

Sane?

Huey?

Anyway, some other big evangelical leader named Tony Perkins will make a personal appearance with the anointed one, Ricky-girl Santorum, today in South Carolina, two days before the state’s primary. Ricky-girl was tabbed by the Texas evangelical gang as their fave for president.

Endorsing Santorum?

GAY CAR PRIDE

The world hasn’t completely lost it mind — and least not just yet. The state of Indiana this week became the first in the nation to issue a “gay” license plate.

The proceeds from the $40 plate will go to the Indiana Youth Group, which helps gay teens.

Of course, people who have a “healthy and sane homophobia” probably are certain the IYG “helps” teens by luring unsuspecting adolescents into their nefarious clutches.

Because, you know, it’s as easy as Mom’s apple pie to convince a hormone-flooded 15-year-old high school jock he really prefers Clay Aiken to Megan Fox.

Typical Teen Boy: “Gee, Clay Aiken Or Megan Fox — I Can’t Decide!”

I would offer my sincerest congratulations to the great state o’Indiana but the decision to issue the gay plate was forced upon it by a Supreme Court ruling.

 

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