Tag Archives: current-events

Today in News: Aaron Hernandez, Period Pics and Deforestation

31 Mar

I am trying to get back into my old habit of perusing the news in the morning with my coffee. Lately, I have just not been doing that. I used to pride myself in how up-to-date I was on the goings ons of the world but over the last year or so I have really fallen off. It’s depressing, actually. Maybe my mind has been too preoccupied with all the nonsense that has been happening over the past year and change. Or maybe I am just over-tired from my back-and-forth schedule. Or maybe I have just become intellectually lazy. (I really hope that last one isn’t the case because that would suck.) So, in an effort to combat what has been happening I decided that I would do a little bit of internet surfing. This is the result.

1. Aaron Hernandez

So I read this article in the Times about what is going on in the Aaron Hernandez case. You all might remember Hernandez. Former tight end for the New England Patriots who was accused of killing the semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd back in June, 2013. At the time it seemed like an open-and-shut case but apparently now it isn’t. The prosecution has called something like 100 witnesses to the stand, including Hernandez’s fiance Shayanna Jenkins. The night of the murder, Hernandez called Jenkins from jail to ask her to give some money to this guy Ernest Wallace who was eventually also charged with murder. She apparently drove to Rhode Island, met Wallace, pulled out the maximum allowed $500 from her bank account and gave it to him. She never asked questions. So yea, that’s weird. I mean, I would like to think that if I was dating someone and he called me and he was all,

“Hey, babe, drive to another state, pull out a lot of money from your bank account and hand it to this other dude”

I might be like,

“Hey, babe, why don’t you go fuck yourself I’m busy.”

But then again, to me $500 seems like a lot of money but maybe to the fiance of a pro-football player who had just signed a $40 million contract extension, $500 was like chump change. And maybe she has a really nice car that is fun to drive. I don’t have a car and I also don’t have a lot of money so maybe if I had a boyfriend and he called me from jail (?!) and was all,

“Hey, babe, walk to 9th street and give that guy Joe $20 for me”

I’d be like

“Yea, sure, it’s the least I can do since I you are in jail and all, you dumbass.”

All I’m saying is that it’s all relative, really. Maybe Jenkins regularly took inter-state road trips to deliver money to people. Maybe this was all in a day’s work, you know? Then there’s this other thing which is that Hernandez also asked Jenkins to take a box from their house and dispose of it and told her not to look inside. Or maybe he didn’t tell her not to but she didn’t look inside anyway. Either way she is claiming that she didn’t look inside and people are very suspicious of this. But here’s what I am thinking. So my mom always taught us that privacy is really important. So important, in fact, that when junk mail addressed to me gets delivered to my parent’s house, as it does on occasion, my mother will call me and ask if it is okay that she opens the mail so she can appropriately recycle all the different pieces. You could leave your diary open in front of me and I would never read it. So if someone told me to dispose of a box and told me not to look inside, I wouldn’t look inside. And even if they didn’t tell me not to look inside I wouldn’t look inside. None of my business, you know? But maybe Shayanna Jenkins’ mom doesn’t call her to ask her permission before opening her mail. Maybe Shayanna Jenkins would read your diary if you left it open on your kitchen counter and she happened upon it. I don’t know Shayanna Jenkins so I can’t say. But people are very suspicious because she disposed of this box after Hernandez was accused of murder and she still didn’t open it and I’m thinking, not only would I not open it because of privacy, but I also wouldn’t open it because of plausible deniability. I wouldn’t want to know what was in that fucking box. There could be a finger! Or a penis! (It was a small box.) And also, Jenkins had asked Hernandez whether he had killed Lloyd which to the prosecution makes the likelihood that she didn’t look in the box even smaller but to me it makes total sense. Let’s say, hypothetically, that I was dating a dude who was accused of killing someone and I had asked him whether he did it because I actually thought this was a possible scenario. If that dude who I thought was capable of killing someone told me not to look in a box, there is no fucking way I would look in that box. No thank you. I’m not stupid and, it seems to me, neither is Shayanna Jenkins.

2. Instagram Hates Menstruation!

I have to admit that I also hate menstruation. Shit fucking sucks. I mean, I know that it’s natural and necessary and all that jazz but man is it inconvenient! Every single month I get so sad knowing that for at least one night I will have to wake up once, maybe even twice, to change my tampon or risk waking up to a huge mess in the morning. But, whatever, it happens. And guess who it happens to? A lot of people. People that you know, even.

What does this have to do with Instagram? (My current favorite form of social media because I get to post photos of all the people’s drinks that I have dropped Peeps into at work for my own amusement, #YouveBeenPeeped, if you’re curious.) According to an article on Feministing, Instagram banned a photo that spoken word artist Rupi Kaur posted of herself with a period leak because it violated the app’s community guidelines. Kaur posted the following response to her Tumblr (a form of social media that I think is probably neat and would appreciate my “YouveBeenPeeped” series but just hasn’t made it into my normal rotation):

thank you @instagram for providing me with the exact response my work was created to critique. you deleted a photo of a woman who is fully covered and menstruating stating that it goes against community guidelines when your guidelines outline that it is nothing but acceptable. the girl is fully clothed. the photo is mine. it is not attacking a certain group. nor is it spam. and because it does not break those guidelines i will repost it again. i will not apologize for not feeding the ego and pride of misogynist society that will have my body in an underwear but not be okay with a small leak. when your pages are filled with countless photos/accounts where women (so many who are underage) are objectified…

So here is the interesting thing about this issue for me. I think that Raur should be able to post this photo of herself and I applaud her for doing so. It is important to normalize menstruation. It is a part of life and of growing up and of the continuation of our species and all that shit. But in knowing this, and being supportive of her actions towards this end, I don’t know that I would be able to post a photo of myself with a period stain. I will talk about it. I will write about it. But would I post photographic evidence? Probably not. Is it because that isn’t what I use my Instagram account for? Or is it because I don’t want to offend the people that follow me, despite the fact that there is absolutely nothing offensive about it?

I’ve been trying to do some self-reflection recently. You know, put into practice the things that I believe. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the way that I, despite knowing better, act in a way that supports the misogynist society that I hate so much. All those societal norms that sink into my head from years of being steeped in them and the ways that I reinforce them through my own behavior. Anyway, something to think about. And no, don’t worry, I won’t be posting a photograph of my bloody underwear any time soon…or ever. Just peeps, cats and road trips.

3. The World is Going to Hell, One Deforested Acre at a Time

According to The Guardian, “Brazil and Indonesia spent over 100 times more in subsidies to industries that cause deforestation than they received in international conservation aid to prevent it.”


According to Will McFarland, one of the author’s of the report by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) that published the findings,

“By making the cost of producing these commodities cheaper, subsidies increase their profitability and make them more desirable to investors. That in turn artificially inflates their growth, and threatens the rainforests further. With subsides running at over 100 times that of forest aid, we should be urgently trying to reform this system.”

I mean, I don’t know what you guys all took from biology class but for me it was something along the lines of [trees > not trees]. (Science was never my strong suit.) But in all seriousness, what the fuck is wrong with people? Why are we, as a species, so damn short-sighted? And this is certainly not me blaming Brazil and Indonesia. These subsidies are in large part an effort to continue to support massive over-consumption in the North. I know that things have been hard, economically, for a lot of people especially since the recent financial collapse. A lot of people are drowning in all kinds of debt, most notable for my cohorts student loans that are insanely, and I would even argue criminally, high. But we really have to stop putting a price on the irreplaceable. All of these crazy weather events that a lot of people are talking about are absolutely related to deforestation. And there just has to come a point when we realize that things just can’t be as inexpensive as we would like, and that buying things cheaply does actually come at a cost and just because that cost hasn’t always been monetized doesn’t mean that it doesn’t matter. As it turns out, money isn’t the only thing that’s important. We can’t put a price on everything and things that don’t have a price are not necessarily less valuable.

It makes me think about messes. Like, let’s say you hypothetically decide to pour some beans into a cup and then you stupidly leave the cup on your kitchen counter and go for a run and then you come back and your cat has decided it would be REALLY FUN to see what happens if he knocks the cup off the counter and onto the floor. In short, the answer is beans everywhere. So now because you were hypothetically short-sighted, you have to spend like 20 minutes cleaning up the beans, knowing full well that you will be discovering errant beans for the next 6 months. That’s like trees. It takes moments to be a short-sighted asshole and cut trees down, but decades for new trees to come and replace them. And trees are way more important than beans. I mean, beans are delicious but they do not help us breath. (I know that was a piss-poor comparison but I really wanted to complain about my cat.)

Anyway, that’s all I got. But in case you just skimmed over portions of this because you were like what the fuck is she talking about here is a brief summary:

1. Aaron Hernandez probably did kill Odin Lloyd but it’s not actually that surprising that Hernandez’s fiance Shayanna Jenkins followed orders without questioning them;

2. We should be able to post period pics if we want to but also I need to do some self-reflection about my own role in the continued dominance of misogyny within our culture;

3. If we don’t all want to die from massive weather-related events we should probably stop subsidizing large-scale deforestation. Also, recycle.

Roe v Wade is 40!

17 Jan

I spend a lot of time on this blog writing about how, sometimes, being a woman really sucks.  I wrote about it here, when I talked about street harassment.  And again here, when I discussed this recent tragedy in Delhi.  And then here and here and here, when I went on about how much certain politicians and real estate moguls are complete asshats.  And, for one last example, here in a discussion of a particularly off-putting experience I had while bartending one Friday night.  Honestly, those are only a choice few, feel free to go adventuring through the rest of my blog for a few more fun examples.  Being female in this world is like constant fodder for me and this blog.  In fact, my first ever post on this blog was inspired by the fact that I am in possession of breasts and a vagina.  Without those things, who knows whether this blog ever would have come into existence!  Along those lines, I would like more than anything to weigh in on this whole Manti Te’o disaster and how disgraceful it is, as was pointed out by Melinda Henneburger here and here, that Notre Dame and the entire country got so riled up over the death of a fake person while, 2 years ago, the death of a real girl, Lizzy Seeberg, went almost completely unnoticed.  The same university machine that has used its resources and soap box to paint Manti Te’o as a victim – which maybe he is (either that or he is unstable and still deserves support) – claimed that Lizzy Seeberg falsely accused a different football player of sexual assault, a player who never sat out a day of practice following her accusal and IN FACT was not interviewed until 5 days after her death which was 10 days after the assault allegedly* occurred.  But I’m not going to write about that today.  Today is different.  Today I am going to use this opportunity, the 4oth anniversary of Roe v Wade, to talk about why I think being a woman, and specifically a woman in America, is awesome.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have now been sitting here staring at my computer for about 5 minutes trying to figure out how to proceed.

Okay.  Here goes.

I love the fact that when I was in school, every sport had to either have a team specifically for men and one for women, or, if there was no women’s team available, women had to be allowed to play with the men, or vice versa.  Granted, there were no female football players or male field hockey players, but the option was there.  Also, our football team sucked and so our sports heroes, as much as we had any really, were the members of the women’s varsity soccer team.  They kicked ass.

I love the fact that I can vote, can drive a car, can live on my own, can walk around with my head held high, making eye contact willy-nilly (but not with people who look like maybe they are crazy and want to (a) attack me or (b) get me to sign some sheet supporting environmental rights and just give them my credit card number right there on 5th Avenue!  Yea right.  Whaddayou think I am, stupid?).

I love the fact that when I was little and swore off skirts and dresses my mom, and society at large, was totally cool with me wearing sweatshirts with “Mr. Egghead” on the front or bright yellow overalls.

I love the fact that, at least theoretically, I can hold any job that a man can hold and that, maybe eventually, I will be paid equally for equal work.  (Well, I guess that one falls a little flat, doesn’t it?)

I love the fact that in my classes from grade school on through graduate school, my opinions were respected and appreciated as much as my male classmates and that my insight, having been gained from my experiences as a woman, were never, at least not to my knowledge, dismissed as feminist ranting.

I love that I live in a country that allows someone like Hillary Rodham Clinton to be where she is today.  (So glad that health thing is okay now!)

I love that I live in a place where I am able to express my opinions while at my job, with my friends, or on this blog without feeling threatened or unsafe.

I love that, at least theoretically and for now, if I, or any woman I know, find myself pregnant at a time when, for whatever reason, I feel I cannot or do not want to carry that baby to terms, then I have options.

I’m sure I am missing some things here.  There are plenty of other reasons that it is great to be a woman and, forgetting some things means that I am taking a few things for granted which is both good and bad.  It’s always good to be aware of the ways in which we have it good, but sometimes its nice to have the luxury to assume a few things, to have that battle be unmistakably won.  I do hope though that, when it comes to historic wins like Title IX and women’s suffrage and Roe v Wade, that we never forget how far we’ve come and how hard we fought.  We’ve got a long way to go, people, but let’s not forget where we came from.  Happy anniversary, Roe v Wade.  Today I would like to renew my vow to fight for your continuance.

*Man, I hate that word and everything it represents.  Something about the word “allegedly” makes me feel like by saying it that I am not believing the victim, which I do, because the overwhelming majority of the time rape and sexual assault victims do not report rape or sexual assault unless it actually happened.  So, “allegedly” is out.  Never again to be used on this blog.  That’s a promise.

Romney’s Logic, or lack thereof

15 Nov

I’m having a very hard time today.  Sometimes I feel like there is this thing called logic, and then all of a sudden something happens and I think that maybe my logic isn’t the right logic afterall because someone who is someone in the grand scheme of things, and not just in a little corner of the internet, says something that is so contrary to my logic that it’s like, wait, what?  Confused?  Let me explain.

I just read this article in the Times that has been going around in different forms about a conference call that Mitt Romney had with his donors and fund-raisers.  In this conference call he accused Obama of winning the election by giving “gifts” to different minority groups.  Okay, so when I see the word “gifts” I think Christmas, Channuka, birthdays!  Last year for my birthday I got this amazing new lamp shade* from Anthropologie (don’t mock me) and a great cherry red stock pot from Le Creuset.  So, did Obama run around giving people fancy new home accent pieces?  Perhaps some useful, and colorful!, kitchen items?  Maybe a sweet new pair of kicks?  No.  Here’s what Obama “gifted” the “minorities”** of this country:

“With regards to the young people, for instance, a forgiveness of college loan interest was a big gift,” Mr. Romney said. “Free contraceptives were very big with young, college-aged women. And then, finally, Obamacare also made a difference for them, because as you know, anybody now 26 years of age and younger was now going to be part of their parents’ plan, and that was a big gift to young people.”

And then there’s this.  Romney was very concerned that the president used his healthcare plan as a tool in mobilizing black and Hispanic voters:

“You can imagine for somebody making $25,000 or $30,000 or $35,000 a year, being told you’re now going to get free health care, particularly if you don’t have it, getting free health care worth, what, $10,000 per family, in perpetuity — I mean, this is huge,” Mr. Romney said. “Likewise with Hispanic voters, free health care was a big plus. But in addition with regards to Hispanic voters, the amnesty for children of illegals,*** the so-called Dream Act kids, was a huge plus for that voting group.”

So now I am going to think back to when Bush did that stimulus plan.  Remember that?  When all of a sudden we all got a check for some money that we were then supposed to spend out in the world to stimulate the economy?****  A lot of people thought that was  good idea.  A lot of people might have called that a gift.  Same goes, I think, for the money a family is “gifted” through access to healthcare.  All of a sudden here is this money not being spent on incredibly costly healthcare that can be repurposed.  It can go towards buying a car, saving to send a child to college, starting a business, or any other number of things.  Or! That family that now has been “gifted” healthcare has healthcare for the first time and is able to seek preemptive medical care rather than relying on emergency room visits or costly procedures to take care of something that could have been avoided.  Now people who previously had to suffer unnecessarily with treatable ailments can get the needed, and widely available, treatment.  It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

All sarcasm aside.  Here’s the thing about all of this.  I find Romney’s comments to be amazingly condescending and rude not only to the man that bested him in the election, but to all of us who voted for that man.  By using the word “gifts” Romney was intentionally playing into an understanding of the word within the political realm as equivalent to a bribe.  There were no bribes involved.  Romney lost the election because while he was yammering on about non-specifics concerning job creation, foreign policy and military strategy, Obama was listening to people and trying to figure out what would actually make this country a more reasonable place to live.  Lack of equal access to birth control and concerns about unwanted pregnancies?  Here, free contraception (not to mention a continuation of Roe v Wade).  Concerns about pre-existing conditions and sky-rocketing healthcare costs?  Here, the Affordable Care Act.  Children of undocumented immigrants not getting a fair shake at the American Dream?  Here, the Dream Act (co-written by Republican Orin Hatch, by the way).  What Obama did was present himself as a man capable of leading this country.  What he did was he listened to the people, and he came up with, or supported, feasible solutions.  That’s not called giving people gifts, Romney, it’s called governing.

So here’s maybe an idea, rather than trying to make up ludicrous, and inaccurate, excuses for why you lost the election, why don’t you look actually at why you lost.  You lost because you were non-specific about things that mattered.  You lost because you listened to the party establishment and aligned yourself with the uber-conservatives rather than the majority of the country.  You lost because you failed to realize that things have changed and you have to convince more than just the white men of your ability to lead.  You lost because you erroneously believed that the person who raised the most money would win the biggest prize.  You lost because you dismissed so many of us.  It sucks, Romney, because like John McCain pre-2008 I always thought you were one of the good guys.  One of the listening guys.  I don’t know, maybe my logic is all wrong.  To me, the logical thing to do would be to bow out gracefully and go back to the drawing board.  Rather than calling sound policy ideas gifts, why don’t you and your party think about how to answer the people’s needs using sound conservative principles.  The Republican party, as far as I know, isn’t about hanging people out to dry.  It’s about a much needed alternative to the Democratic approach to governing.  Although I am a lifelong liberal, I honestly believe that the only way to make this country work better is having a healthy debate.  It’s like an athlete.  An athlete uses the talent, drive and abilities of her biggest opponent in order to become better.  For the Democratic, or Republican, party to live up to expectations and possibilities, for this country to live up to expectations and possibilities, there needs to be drive.  The Democratic party can only be its best incarnation when it is striving to be a better alternative to the best incarnation of the Republican party.  The opposite is just as true.  Unless we have two (more would be better) healthy and functioning parties, we can not have the best governing strategy possible.  For this country to get on a better road, we need some good debate and some healthy competition, not a bunch of blamers and a party-wide abandonment of the needs of the majority of the country.  It’s called logic, Romney.  You should try using it.

*My lamp shade looks sort of like this only significantly more awesome.

**Sometimes use of the word minorities annoys me because it’s not accurate.  Rather than an explanation of numerical fact, it’s more like a forced state of being.  I, as a female, am not actually a member of a group that makes up a minority of the population but am still considered a minority.  Why don’t we call a spade a spade.  We “minorities” are not necessarily the “minority.”  We are the oppressed.  The overlooked.  The intentionally ignored.  The annoyance.

***I despise, I mean despise, the term “illegals.”

****This girl totally took that check and put it straight in her savings account.  Totally against the rules.

Friedman’s Not-So-Novel Idea

29 Oct

Yesterday in the middle of my work day I received a text from one of my really good friends. It read as follows:

The Friedman column is fucking pissing me off. Why would I expect him not to fucking pretend that what he is writing is nothing feminism has been saying for YEARS!

I could feel the anger pulsing through my cell phone. Obviously, I had to read it immediately if not sooner.  I checked up and down the bar to see the status of all my customers drinks and got to reading.  The premise of the article is basically that Friedman is “pro-life” but not in the way we all talk about being pro-life, as in the opposite of pro-choice.  He is pro “respect for the sanctity of life.”  Friedman has seen the light.  This paragraph basically says it all:

In my world, you don’t get to call yourself “pro-life” and be against common-sense gun control — like banning public access to the kind of semiautomatic assault rifle, designed for warfare, that was used recently in a Colorado theater. You don’t get to call yourself “pro-life” and want to shut down the Environmental Protection Agency, which ensures clean air and clean water, prevents childhood asthma, preserves biodiversity and combats climate change that could disrupt every life on the planet. You don’t get to call yourself “pro-life” and oppose programs like Head Start that provide basic education, health and nutrition for the most disadvantaged children. You can call yourself a “pro-conception-to-birth, indifferent-to-life conservative.” I will never refer to someone who pickets Planned Parenthood but lobbies against common-sense gun laws as “pro-life.”

Friedman makes a good point.  Read the article.  But the thing is, just like what my friend said to me in her enraged text, he is making the point feminism, the point women have been making for years.  Being in support of a woman’s right to choose is not only an end, but it is a means to other ends.  Allowing women to choose is part of a bigger conversation about quality of life, about freedoms, about capabilities, about possibilities, about empowerment. In the mainstream acceptance of the terms “pro-life” (or “anti-choice” as many of my ilk refer to it) and “pro-choice” I think of the former as an exclusionary opinion and the latter as inclusionary.  Pro-choice people are not requiring women to terminate a pregnancy.  Some of us might not even be comfortable with the idea  of abortion for ourselves.  I think all of us would love it if there didn’t have to be any abortions at all.  There is room in the pro-choice movement for everyone to do exactly with their bodies as they think is appropriate for themselves and their lives, be that terminate a pregnancy or carry a pregnancy through to term.  Pro-life takes that choice away, that legal and safe choice, and makes the decision for someone.  Either carry the fetus to term or endure a possibly life-threatening, illegal, unregulated procedure.  There is not room in that school of thought for everyone.  There is not room for me.

I guess this is a topic that I have been having a hard time with.  While I want to include men in the conversation about women’s rights and bodies, while I want more male allies, I don’t want men dictating the parameters of a conversation that women have been having for decades.  Let us spearhead this one, guys.  Listen to us.  Talk to us.  Take us seriously.  This is an important issue all the time and not only when you decide to give it a minute of your time.  This has been mattering to us for-fucking-ever, and not just every four years.  We’ve been talking about it.  We’ve been educating one another.  Where have you been, Friedman?

But I’ve gotten off topic.  Friedman’s point is an important one for sure.  But as a woman, it is incredibly, incredibly frustrating and angering to see that a point that feminists have been making for years and years does not get mainstream space until it is said by a right-leaning white man acting like he came up with it all on his own.  I’ve seen my friends sharing the link to the article on Facebook and, though I’m glad the point is making its rounds in the interwebs, I am frustrated that as women we have become so accustomed to our opinions being ignored and then, years later, being co-opted and taken seriously only through the medium of a male voice that we don’t even notice it any more.  It’s part of life.  It’s like, “wow!  Friedman!  What a great and original idea!” without the follow through of “wait, didn’t I talk to my mom about this very same idea when I first started learning about abortion clinic bombings and assassinations of abortion providers?  Hasn’t this term ‘pro-life’ always seemed somewhat misleading?”   It’s like that old saying, “if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”  Only I’m gonna change it.  “If an opinion is voiced by a woman and no one talks about it, did that opinion ever actually get shared?”

And to my friend who sent me the text in the first place, I am thankful for you.  You help keep me sane.

On Todd Akin, this time with a little more anger

21 Aug

Okay.  So, as I wrote yesterday, I was done talking about the Todd Akin thing.  At that moment.  Well, that moment has passed and my anger has been renewed.  Partially that anger was renewed by reading Eve Ensler’s amazing post from yesterday on Huffington Post.  If you haven’t yet read it, get on it now.  It is so worth it.  It is worth it for so many reasons.  Here is one:

You used the expression “legitimate” rape as if to imply there were such a thing as “illegitimate” rape. Let me try to explain to you what that does to the minds, hearts and souls of the millions of women on this planet who experience rape. It is a form of re-rape. The underlying assumption of your statement is that women and their experiences are not to be trusted. That their understanding of rape must be qualified by some higher, wiser authority. It delegitimizes and undermines and belittles the horror, invasion, desecration they experienced. It makes them feel as alone and powerless as they did at the moment of rape.

And then there’s this:

Were you implying that women and their bodies are somehow responsible for rejecting legitimate rape sperm, once again putting the onus on us?

And this:

Why don’t you spend your time ending rape rather than redefining it? Spend your energy going after those perpetrators who so easily destroy women rather than parsing out manipulative language that minimizes their destruction.

And so much more in between.  She says all the things that I could never articulate.  That it would take me a few days to really come to.  My initial reaction to his “gaffe” was an exasperated exhale, a violent roll of the eyes, and the need to slowly and methodically rub vertically between my hairline and the bridge of my nose, a habit I have developed in recent years at times of intense frustration.  I swear one of these days I am going to rub right through to my skull.  My initial reaction was full of disgust, but I honestly don’t think I fully realized the deep-rootedness of the issue associated with Todd Akin’s comments.  He was idiotic, sure, we all think that’s the case. Even Shawn Hannity thinks he should withdraw himself from the Missouri Senate race.  But the thing is, it’s not because many of these people disagree with what Akin said.  They disagree with the way that Akin said it.

Meanwhile, in Texas, a court of appeals ruled today that the state can withhold funding from Planned Parenthood clinics before the original case, in which Planned Parenthood sued the state of Texas for a law that violates their freedom of speech, goes to court in October.  (For a more eloquent and less confusing explanation of the pending litigation, read this Times article.)  These clinics provide health care for low income women for things from regular gynecological exams to cancer screenings, from maternal health care to contraception.  And yes, abortion services.  It is important to note, however, that no state or federal funds go to finance abortions.  They go towards helping poor women with no or insufficient health insurance obtain access to quality, and essential, services.  As Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, said, this case

has never been about Planned Parenthood — it’s about the women who rely on Planned Parenthood for cancer screenings, birth control and well-woman exams.

The reason I bring this up is that issues like the one in Texas have been cropping up with alarming regularity.  Todd Akin is not alone.  He has many, many people who agree with him.  Many people who think that women don’t know how to make decisions about their own bodies.  Many people who think that women cavalierly make the decision to have an abortion.  Many people who think that women will scream rape to obtain an abortion in places where rape, incest and the health of the mother are the only exceptions to an all out ban on abortion.  Don’t believe me?  Just watch this video of Eric Turner of Indiana.  As I said, Todd Akin is not alone and his ignorant statement was not an isolated opinion.  Let us use this moment of anger, and hurt, and disbelief to blow the roof off the party who, just today, the same day they were calling for Todd Akin to step aside, approved a party plank that would strive to outlaw abortion without any mention of exceptions for rape or incest.  This is our time, ladies and allies.  We are too smart for this and there is too much at stake.  We need to hold the Republican party accountable not only for the statements of Todd Akin, but for those of many others.  And, more important still, we need to hold them accountable for the anti-woman legislation they unceasingly push on us.  As Eve Ensler rightfully said,

I am asking you and the GOP to get out of my body, out of my vagina, my womb, to get out of all of our bodies. These are not your decisions to make. These are not your words to define.