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I’m Louise. Blogger. Wife. Designer of TruLu Couture Veils + Accessories.  If you’d like to know more, check out my bio.

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Entries in Personal Opinion (2)

Friday
Mar022012

{Rant} Abortion, Birth Control, Romania and Rush Limbaugh

I am SO sick of this whole birth control/abortion debate.

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Have we forgotten about the whole Roe vs. Wade thingy circa 1973? I was THREE years old. THREE. Many of you who read this blog weren’t even born.

Roe vs. Wade legalized abortion via the SUPREME COURT. Done deal, right? Wrong.

The argument in the politics du jour is that the government shouldn’t pay for abortions/birth control. The answer? Pull all government dollars that go towards the likes of Planned Parenthood.  Familiar with Planned Parenthood? It’s the place where lots of young women and women without health care can go to get pelvic exams, birth control and breast exams.

In 1986, I was 16 years old. Sex was still taboo and to have it was to label yourself a slut, particularly if you weren’t in a confirmed, long term relationship. My BFF at the time was a year older than I was. She was in a long term relationship. She’d been with her boyfriend for two years. Things were getting serious  and she was worried. There was a girl in our high school who had gotten pregnant who, rumor had it, had gotten so because  the condom had failed. It broke.

Suddenly, in the extremely bourgeois suburb of picture-perfect West Springfield, something was amiss. Pregnancy? Condom failure? WHA?

My friend was terrified of pregnancy. Wait, no. She was terrified of her abusive father. A father who I personally saw beat the crap out of my friend and her mother and who when I intervened, threatened me too. So when she begged me to come with her to Planned Parenthood, I drove her there with glee. I wanted to make sure my BFF was protected from stray boyfriend sperm as well as her asshat father.  

I stood with her and held her hand while she got her first pelvic exam. At Planned Parenthood.

So when I hear shit like this from douchebags like Rush Limbaugh, it sets my blood to FUCKING BOIL:

So, Miss Fluke and the rest of you feminazis. Here's the deal. If we're going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.

He’s referring to Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown University law student who was denied the right to speak at a controversial Republican hearing on contraception.

So let’s see…. an educated woman who stands up for her rights as well as the rights of other women is labeled a slut and a Feminazi for requesting to legally, and through proper legislative channels, discuss those rights?

Are you kidding me?

One of the reasons we’re all in an uproar about everything political is the way we’ve taken to discussing things. We call people names like slut, feminazi and douchebag. As soon as the name calling starts, all true discussion ends. It’s tough to maintain composure when a fat-ass, right-wing, pseudo-celebrity calls an intelligent woman a slut. It’s a stunt. It’s a radio ‘personality’ looking for publicity.

The problem is that there are people out there who freakin’ worship Rush Limbaugh. They think he’s an educated man (he dropped out of the well-known and oh-so-elite Southeast Missouri State University). People actually listen to what he says. I guess as a right-winger he’s cornered the market on family values: married four times, no kids and clearly watches internet porn. Anyone else smell his hypocritical manure?

But people listen to him and believe him. The Limbaughs of the world use verbiage like this as political fire bombs during election time. They pass insane laws, fast track legislation and generally get everyone in an uproar all for votes. VOTES. It’s certainly not for the safety and well being of our population.

So let’s talk about that safety and well-being. There has been some interesting research out there in conjunction with unwanted births and crime statistics. I’m fascinated by this so thought I’d share. Most of this is paraphrased from the research done for the book Freakanomics, so please keep this in mind.

We need to start with a history lesson.

In 1966, Nicolae Ceausescu became the Communist dictator of Romania. He outlawed abortions in order to build  a nation worthy of the New Socialist Man – it was an exercise in grandiosity and ego. Anyone familiar with Romania’s history during this regime knows that the dictator and his family lived in amazing wealth while their people suffered in extreme poverty. The population grew.

Ceausescu’s ban on abortion was designed to achieve one of his major aims: to rapidly strengthen Romania by boosting its population. Until 1966, Romania had had one of the most liberal abortion policies in the world. Abortion was in fact the main form of birth control, with four abortions for every live birth. Now, virtually overnight, abortion was forbidden. The only exemptions were mothers who already had four children or women with significant standing in the Communist Party. At the same time, all contraception and sex education were banned. Government agents sardonically known as the Menstrual Police regularly rounded up women in their workplaces to administer pregnancy tests. If a woman repeatedly failed to conceive, she as forced to pay a steep ‘celibacy tax’.

Ceausescu’s incentives produced the desired effect. Within one year of the abortion ban, the Romanian birth rate had doubled. These babies were born into a country where, unless you belonged to the Ceausescu clan or the Communist elite, life was miserable.

Fast forward to December 16, 1989. Know what happened? Nicolae Ceausescu lost his grip on Romania. Thousands of people took to the streets in protest. Wanna guess the age range of those protestors? Let’s see, 1989-1966 = 23….ages of the protestors ranged from 13 to mid-20’s. Ceausescu’s own ‘Socialist Army’ retaliated and put a bullet in his brain on Christmas Day 1989.

Now let’s slide on over to the US of A. On that very same day in 1989, crime was just about at its peak in the United States. When the crime rate began falling in the early 1990’s, it did so with such speed and suddenness that it surprised everyone. Most look at the demographics and say, “Well, the majority of the population in the US was older. How many geriatrics do you see knocking over the local 7-11?” According to studies though, demographic change is too slow and subtle a process – you don’t graduate from teenage hoodlum to senior citizen in just a few years – to even begin to explain the suddenness of the crime decline  in our country.

So what does this have to do with abortion? Here’s another history lesson:

In 1828, New York became the first state to restrict abortion; by 1900 it had been made illegal throughout the country. In the late 1960’s, several states began to allow abortion under extreme circumstances: rape, incest or danger to the mother. By 1970 five states had made abortion entirely legal and broadly available: New York, California, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii. On January 22, 1973, legalized abortion was suddenly extended to the entire country with the U.S. Supreme court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade.

The majority opinion, written by justice Harry Blackmun, spoke specifically to the would-be mother’s predicament:

The detriment that the State would impose upon the pregnant woman by denying this choice altogether is apparent … maternity, or additional offspring, may force upon the woman a distressful life and future psychological harm may be imminent. Mental and physical health may be taxed by child care. There is also the distress, for all concerned, associated with the unwanted child, and there is the problem of bringing a child into a family already unable, psychologically and otherwise, to care for it.

The Supreme Court gave voice to what the mothers in Romania – and elsewhere – had long known: when a woman does not want to have a child, she usually has a good reason.

In the first year after Roe v. Wade, some 750,000 women had abortions in the United States (representing one abortion for every 4 live births, the opposite of Romania). Time for another math equation! Take the early 90’s, let’s just say 1994-1973 (legalized abortion) = 21. See where this is going?  A generation has passed since women can make their own decision to abort. In sharp contrast to Romania, you have a sudden and extreme drop in the crime rate across the country. And wanna hear something equally freaky? Those first states to adopt abortion (New York, California, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii)? Guess which states crime rates dropped faster and first?

DING! DING! DING! YOU WIN!

Socially speaking. Historically speaking. Logically speaking. Fueled by data and research alone, keeping the government and Rush Limbaugh out of women's uteruses (uteri?) is clearly the better choice. Are there continued arguments as to the whether the government should fund them? Yes. Is there a better way than to simply pull all funding from Planned Parenthood? Yes. It’s called compromise. I wish politicians could understand that word.

I also wish that the GOP would go back to stealing our money rather than getting on their family value/morality high horse during election season. It’s old. And false. And filled with such hypocrisy it’s sick.

If you think because you’re getting married and planning to have a child that this doesn’t affect you? You’re wrong. This is seeping into birth control and if you’re on the pill, that may no longer be covered by your health insurance. Can you afford that? With insurance it’s anywhere from $5-$15 a month. Without it can be $20-$50. What if you lost your job? Your insurance? What then? What about the women RIGHT NOW who can’t afford it now, who get their prescriptions from Planned Parenthood, like my friend did in 1986? To call a woman  slut, to enforce celibacy amongst women only (somehow folks forget that it takes TWO to tango), to take away a woman’s right to protect herself from unwanted pregnancy? It’s just stupid. And in extreme cases (hello Romania!) dangerous to our society.

I’m exhausted over the issue. Aren’t you?

Friday
Jul082011

Dear President Obama

As most of you know, The Candyman and I moved to North Carolina as an immediate reaction to the “displacement” of my position in Nashville. While I work from home every day either on this blog, or TruLu Couture or hunting for the ever-elusive home décor product development position, I do work. As a part of the elusive job hunting scenario, I am an active member on LinkedIn and am a part of different groups that help inspire, lead, promote and guide. I belong to groups such as the Gift & Home Trade Association, Home Furnishings Industry Professionals as well as Wedding Industry Professionals. I get email updates on comments and articles and such that I try to breeze through each day. I was recently browsing a thread on one of my groups called Future Trends. Generally topics include things like why the sense of smell is not fully integrated into product design, bringing passion back to corporate planning and infographics on why people follow certain brands. It may not be the most riveting material, but it applies to my worlds, so I read. This particular thread was in response to the article 50 Things Every America Should Know About the Collapse of the Economy. Two men were going back and forth, not unkindly or with malice, but in a very professional way (surprisingly), bouncing statements and facts and links to articles back and forth, back and forth. I got tired of the rhetoric after a bit and scanned down to the bottom of the thread and found this:

This is a chilling letter from Lou Pritchett who use to be an executive to the president of Proctor and Gamble. The last sentence is the most chilling.
Lou Pritchett is one of corporate America's true living legends. He is an acclaimed author, dynamic teacher and one of the world's highest rated speakers. Successful corporate executives everywhere recognize him as the foremost leader in change management. Lou changed the way America does business by creating an audacious concept that came to be known as "partnering." Pritchett rose from soap salesman to Vice-President, Sales and Customer Development for Procter and Gamble and over the course of 36 years, made corporate history. Here's his take on the state of things today.
AN OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA
Dear President Obama:
You are the thirteenth President under whom I have lived and unlike any of the others, you truly scare me.
You scare me because after months of exposure, I know nothing about you.
You scare me because I do not know how you paid for your expensive Ivy League education and your upscale lifestyle and housing with no visible means of support.
You scare me because you did not spend the formative years of youth growing up in America and culturally you are not an American.
You scare me because you have never run a company or met a payroll.
You scare me because you have never had military experience, thus don't understand it at its core.
You scare me because you lack humility and 'class', always blaming others.
You scare me because for over half your life you have aligned yourself with radical extremists who hate America and you refuse to publicly denounce these radicals who wish to see America fail..
You scare me because you are a cheerleader for the 'blame America ' crowd and deliver this message abroad.
You scare me because you want to change America to a European style country where the government sector dominates instead of the private sector.
You scare me because you want to replace our health care system with a government controlled one.
You scare me because you prefer 'wind mills' to responsibly capitalizing on our own vast oil, coal and shale reserves.
You scare me because you want to kill the American capitalist goose that lays the golden egg which provides the highest standard of living in the world.
You scare me because you have begun to use 'extortion' tactics against certain banks and corporations.
You scare me because your own political party shrinks from challenging you on your wild and irresponsible spending proposals.
You scare me because you will not openly listen to or even consider opposing points of view from intelligent people.
You scare me because you falsely believe that you are both omnipotent and omniscient.
You scare me because the media gives you a free pass on everything you do.
You scare me because you demonize and want to silence the Limbaugh's, Hannity's, O'Reillys and Becks who offer opposing, conservative points of view.
You scare me because you prefer controlling over governing.
Finally, you scare me because if you serve a second term I will probably not feel safe in writing a similar letter in 8 years
Lou Pritchett
NOTE: This letter was sent to the NY Times but they never acknowledged it. Big surprise. Snopes validates its authenticity, but you can check it out at this link: http://www.snopes.com/politics/soapbox/youscareme.asp By Mike Fromowitz, Partner, President, Chief Brand Officer- MANTRA PARTNERS INC.

It’s probably no surprise to anyone (maybe it is), that I am a screaming liberal. OK, maybe not screaming, but liberal I am. The Candyman and I have recently talked quite a bit about what we see as the fear-based mentality of the conservative parties in this country. It’s all doom and gloom. It’s all pointing of fingers and clutching of monies and stamping of feet and hatred towards our President. While I do NOT consider myself well versed in all the political facts that I should in order to write the following (in response, in bold), it’s what I believe as a regular ol’ unemployed citizen of this country.

AN OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA
Dear President Obama:
You are the thirteenth President under whom I have lived and unlike any of the others, you truly scare me.

You are the ninth President under whom I have lived and unlike all but President Carter, you continue to inspire me and give me hope that you are indeed, looking out for the best interests of this country and that you’re not blowing smoke up my bum.

You scare me because after months of exposure, I know nothing about you.

After several years, so far, you’ve impressed me with your ability to remain faithful to your wife, a good father to your children and have not shown up on YouTube or Twitter with information or pictures about your private life that I do not wish to see or know.

You scare me because I do not know how you paid for your expensive Ivy League education and your upscale lifestyle and housing with no visible means of support.

I’m impressed that an intelligent Africa American and his wife can work hard, educate themselves, work as lawyers and pay for what they have. I also respect your right to privacy on how those were funded, as long as those means were legal and fair, which I assume is true, given no  reason to think otherwise.

You scare me because you did not spend the formative years of youth growing up in America and culturally you are not an American.

Mr. President, I spent my formative years being dragged from one state to the next and from one country to the next. I do not consider myself any less American having lived and traveled elsewhere in this world. I believe you feel the same.

You scare me because you have never run a company or met a payroll.

President Obama, many of our most successful leaders and presidents were farmers, businessmen and soldiers. Running this country as our largest companies do their own? No thank you. I’m okay with your lawyer, non-CEO status. 

You scare me because you have never had military experience, thus don't understand it at its core.

Simply because our country no longer has a draft and because you’ve been either too young/too old to serve in a war or because you simply chose a different career path doesn’t mean you aren’t capable of leading troops or this country.

You scare me because you lack humility and 'class', always blaming others.

Mr. President, I believe you are the coolest cucumber behind the podium. I also believe that sometimes the truth is ugly and hurts.

 You scare me because for over half your life you have aligned yourself with radical extremists who hate America and you refuse to publicly denounce these radicals who wish to see America fail.

Mr. President, I see you as an ambassador to all, listening without reproach and making sound judgments after careful consideration. I wish I could always do the same.

You scare me because you are a cheerleader for the 'blame America ' crowd and deliver this message abroad.

Mr. President, taking responsibilities for ones actions and admitting fault is courageous.

You scare me because you want to change America to a European style country where the government sector dominates instead of the private sector.

President Obama, the private sector of our country has taken it’s liberties to the extreme, creating self-entitled loop holes. As a country we must be responsible. If that includes government sanctions to control and teach until we learn, I’m all for it.

You scare me because you want to replace our health care system with a government controlled one.

The population of our country is obese, sedentary and sick. Health care costs continue to rise. Again, company controlled entities make it harder and harder to get healthy, stay healthy and keep costs to a minimum. If we can’t do it alone, then we need help.

You scare me because you prefer 'wind mills' to responsibly capitalizing on our own vast oil, coal and shale reserves.

Mr. President, please continue to fund research to encourage alternate forms of energy before we completely deplete the earth of its natural resources.

You scare me because you want to kill the American capitalist goose that lays the golden egg which provides the highest standard of living in the world.

 Mr. President, please kill that goose. The highest standard of living is now relegated to the top percentage of people in this country, not the country as a whole.

You scare me because you have begun to use 'extortion' tactics against certain banks and corporations.

President Obama? Do what you’ve got to do to get our money back from banks and corporations who have mismanaged funds for decades in order to line their own pockets.

You scare me because your own political party shrinks from challenging you on your wild and irresponsible spending proposals.

Mr. President, there are party members who are scared of the challenge you have laid on the table to step up, shut up and get to work on new ideas and proposals. Fear is a strong emotion and some find it easier to not  do than to do. I’m sure you can handle those people appropriately.

You scare me because you will not openly listen to or even consider opposing points of view from intelligent people.

"Opposing views from intelligent people" have been running this country into the ground for the last decade. Perhaps, Mr. President, those intelligent people will shut up and listen themselves? Let’s hope so. 

You scare me because you falsely believe that you are both omnipotent and omniscient.

Mr. President? You are the President. You probably know a lot. I’ll have faith that you do unless proven otherwise.

You scare me because the media gives you a free pass on everything you do.

President Obama, I have no idea what the media gives you or takes away from you. What is a media free pass?

You scare me because you demonize and want to silence the Limbaugh's, Hannity's, O'Reillys and Becks who offer opposing, conservative points of view.

I am not sure how, Mr. President, you are silencing anyone. However, if you are able to remove Limbaugh, Hannity, O'Reilly and Becks as doomsday, naysaying talking heads? I’d sure appreciate it.

You scare me because you prefer controlling over governing.

Verb

govern (third-person singular simple present governs, present participle governing, simple past and past participle governed)

  1. (transitive) To make and administer the public policy and affairs of; to exercise sovereign authority in.
  2. (transitive) To control the actions or behavior of; to keep under control; to restrain.
    Govern yourselves like civilized people.
    a student who could not govern his impulses.
  3. (transitive) To exercise a deciding or determining influence on.
    Chance usually governs the outcome of the game.
  4. (transitive) To control the speed, flow etc. of; to regulate.
    a valve that governs fuel intake.
  5. (intransitive) To exercise political authority; to run a government.
  6. (intransitive) To have or exercise a determining influence.
  7. (transitive) To require that a certain preposition, grammatical case, etc. be used with a word; sometimes used synonymously with collocate.

Sometimes governing IS controlling. Someone needs to be in charge, no?

Finally, you scare me because if you serve a second term I will probably not feel safe in writing a similar letter in 8 years.

Mr. President, we all know that unless we change, truly change, as a country we could fail ourselves. On your watch, I don’t think you’d let that happen despite what others say against you. It is my hope that a second term will lengthen the stride of our baby steps towards a new, better and repaired county.

Sincerely,

The Thirty-Something Bride

*Note: Commentary, political views, comments, opposing or otherwise- all are welcome here. Name calling will not be tolerated and any comments doing so will be deleted.