Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Obamacare pro-family policies beginning August 1st.

What does “pro-family” really mean these days?  The term is used quite a bit by certain folks in regards to different policies these days, but when it’s all boiled down, what someone usually means when they say they are “pro-family” is that they oppose gay-marriage and abortion. Is that the only way to be “pro-family?”  It seems that if someone is really “pro-family,” they should support other policies that help families.

 The Affordable Health Care Act, or “Obamacare” as it is so commonly referred to as, does a lot to support families.  Unfortunately, because of all the demagoguery and misinformation by political pundits, few of these details ever get discussed. “Eight new prevention related health measures are now being provided to 47 million women under the Affordable Care Act. Previously some insurance companies did not cover the eight preventative services, or only offered co-pays or deductibles. However beginning on August 1, or at the next renewal date, the following services will be completely covered by the insurance companies.” (Houston Chronicle)

·    Well-woman visits.

·    Gestational diabetes screening that helps protect pregnant women from one of the most serious pregnancy-related diseases.

·    Domestic and interpersonal violence screening and counseling.

·    FDA-approved contraceptive methods, and contraceptive education and counseling.

·    Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling.

·    HPV DNA testing, for women 30 or older.

·    Sexually transmitted infections counseling for sexually-active women.

·    HIV screening and counseling for sexually-active women.

These new parts of the law are explicitly pro-family.  While traditional “pro-family” advocates emphasize that they are “pro-life,” rarely it seems do they do actually promote any policies that protect the lives of mothers.  Providing well-woman visits and Gestational diabetes screenings will help ensure the health of mothers and potential mothers across the country. 

By providing support and screening for domestic violence, “Obamacare” works to protect the often most vulnerable members of the family—the women.   Helping screen for and protect women from violence protects the family and is thoroughly “pro-family.”

As nearly any mother will confess, breatfeeding—despite that mothers have been doing it for thousands of years—hardly comes easy.  It seems pretty obvious to me that providing support and supplies to moms is a good thing. Breastfeeding is good for moms and for babies, perhaps one might say it is “pro-family” to encourage breastfeeding, as Mayor Bloomberg of New York City did.   

I could go on, but I think you get the point.  There are many other policies that are “pro-family” that don’t involve gay marriage or abortion and if one claims to truly be “pro-family,” it seems fairly logical that they should support policies that actually help that family rather than seek to repeal them.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Guns don’t kill people, people kill people—using guns…

Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve heard about the horrific shooting in Aurora, CO.  Tragedies like this have an ability to suck us in—we find ourselves watching hours and hours of coverage, seeing the same video over and over again.  Shortly thereafter we begin to try to make sense of senseless tragedies as our hearts and minds and prayers go out to those affected.  We’ll donate money or even hold a candle, but after a while life just of goes back to normal—and nothing changes; we’ve done nothing to address the problems that led tragedy or disaster in the first place.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was the first to speak out and say that we’ve got to look at how horrible things like this continue to happen in this country. Frankly I’m tired of reading about armed madmen walking into a church or a school or a mall and killing innocent people. I was in high school here in Colorado when the first large scale gun tragedy shook this state.  I played in a summer basketball league with kids from Columbine.  One of my teammates tragically took his own life unexpectedly a year or so later.  One of the best basketball players in the state, he had hid in a closet during the whole ordeal.  At my own high school, one of my teammate’s mother committed suicide some time later—the Columbine tragedy weighing heavily on her.  My father and I went to the memorial at the movie theater down the street from Columbine, so I’m not just trying to exploit a tragedy to get my political agenda across.

I’m going to be holding a new-born baby any day now, and I’ve got to wonder what kind of world she’s coming into.  So when someone respectable and intelligent suggests that we should revive the conversation about guns in our country, I don’t think it’s outrageous.   Of course President Obama isn’t going to touch it with a ten foot pole when he’s in a tight race for re-election as it is and Romney is already in bed with right-wing gun owners so that leaves people like you and me to have an intelligent, respectable conversation about it.

So here we go:

I’m sure you’ve heard the refrain before, that guns don’t kill people, its people that kill other people.  It’s said that someone could use a car, a baseball bat, or a sledgehammer to kill someone—but here’s the catch; none of those items are designed to kill or maim human beings.  A car is designed for transportation, a baseball bat to hit a baseball, and a sledgehammer for construction demolition.  Can something be misused or perverted from its purpose? But guess what most guns are designed for?

Another argument against tougher gun control laws is that they will only impact the law-abiding citizens, since a criminal already disregards law and order as it is.  Ok, but again, the alleged shooter was a law abiding citizen until he went out and blew away 12 people in a horrific tragedy.  We’re all law-abiding citizens until we go out and break the law.  It doesn’t seem unreasonable to ban a high-powered rifle capable of doing irreparable harm to scores of people in seconds or perhaps for local law enforcement just to check in when someone is suddenly stockpiling guns.

And don’t tell me that more people there with conceal-and-carry guns could have saved the day.  In a dark movie theater, with hundreds of panicked people running and screaming, and with a gunman geared up in a bullet-proof vest and helmet is someone really going to be able to calmly stand up and take out the assailant with a headshot amidst the chaos.  Law enforcement professionals train for hours and hours for such situations.

I’m not trying to trash on the 2nd Amendment either, but when conservatives constantly cry that the founders didn’t envision “equal protection under the law” applying to homosexual rights, I’ve got to think they didn’t foresee semi-automatic rifles either, the guns back then were one-shot and reload muskets.  So if we’re going to talk “Original Intent” in one area, shouldn’t we at least be consistent?

So what can we do about this?  The NRA doesn’t own the conversation.  Can we at least start by being honest with ourselves? Guns do kill people—because they are made to.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Clearly – I’m the stupid one

As economic conservatives and libertarians have become increasingly emboldened, preaching their gospel of tax cuts for the rich and gutting of social welfare programs, I’ve become more and more perplexed.  Try as I might to understand the logic of their economic policies, the more I thought about it, the more it baffled me.  Well, thank goodness, I now know the truth; I’m just plain stupid—or so says
“capitalist evangelist” Wayne Allyn Root in a recent op-ed for FoxNews.com

Funny, I don’t remember Jesus praising rich people as “job creators” in the Gospels, but again, I’m the ignorant one.  Root says that the problem with those who adhere to the fiscal policies of Obama and other liberals is “economic ignorance.”  Myself and others like me who support “big government” programs like food stamps and other forms of government aid for the poor are stupid and ignorant.  Even worse, Root says, we are out of touch.  Those in the private sector (Oh, sorry I didn’t type that in gold letters to signify their greatness) are the ones with “boots on the ground.”  If there’s anything that comes to mind when I think of Romney and his $10,000 bets, his wife’s couple of Cadillac’s, and net worth of $250 million, it’s that he’s down to earth.  But truth be told, before now I hadn’t realized how stupid I really am.

Root’s examples of why the private sector is sucking so badly under “liberal stupidity” are without-a-doubt bullet-proof.  Root references the closing of the ESPN Zone restaurant chain, and because restaurants never fail, this certainly is just another example of the doom and destruction liberal policies cause.   Another example is Las Vegas and the casino industry (who knew “the strip” was “Main Street America?”)  The economic troubles of casinos certainly must be Obama’s fault, because a trip to Vegas is the LAST thing I’d want to cut from my monthly budget.  Heck, if that fact that millions of people aren’t blowing their hard-earned money boozing it up in Vegas isn’t a sign of failed democratic policies, I don’t know what it! A third rock-solid example of the horrible economic suffering of the private sector is that NFL owners can’t sell-out their stadiums anymore.   Really? The Green Bay Packers, the only NFL team that releases financial information, are doing quite well.  Even the Cleveland Browns, one of the worst teams in the league, seems to be doing quite well according to Forbes.com.  But again, I’m certainly missing something—because I’m ignorant.

From this stupid person’s point of view (me), I’d like to see Root cite one of the many public opinion polls which recognize the ignorance of liberal policies since there are apparently so many out there I should “just take a look at.”  And I don’t understand why it’s necessary to make use of Red Herrings instead of actually refuting the economic policies of Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman.  (Obviously the Nobel Prize people are stupid as well for having given him the award!).  But Root says I simply need to “connect the dots” which clearly I’m not able to do, so my only semi-intelligent conclusion is that I just must be plain stupid.

Disappointing as it is to be told I’m stupid after all this time, I’m actually kind of upset about it.  I’ve spent a lot of time and money on a graduate degree which I’m hoping to finish up this year.  Now, I’m wondering what’s the point, because after 3 years, I’m perhaps more brainless than ever.  I think I need to have a talk with my place of higher education and ask for my money back! Because clearly, I’m the stupid one.