Monday, November 19, 2012

Taxes are good!

For what seems like forever, the Republicans have put the word "taxes" in an extremely negative frame.  The Tea Party took it even farther.  And most recent Republican candidates signed Grover Norquist's pledge not to raise taxes or implement new ones.  The GOP has, for decades, been associated with the anti-tax agenda.

Do I love paying taxes?  No ... but I'm putting myself in the same box as Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. who wrote in the 1927 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Compañía General de Tabacos de Filipinas v. Collector of Internal Revenue:

"Taxes are what we pay for civilized society …"  

Ah ... just what does that mean?  Let's take a look ...

Many government programs or activities work very effectively to solve society's problems.  And let's face it ... the government is the only way to make sure this country promotes our values such as justice.  So, the taxes needed to support those programs should be seen as a positive.  To put it another way, you can’t support the things the government does – like caring for the elderly, establishing justice, providing public education, fighting terrorism, and protecting the environment – and still maintain that the taxes that support those things are bad!

To be specific, here are just a few of the things our taxes support:

National security
National defense
Public education
Court system
Purification of air and water
Natural disasters

Okay ... just which of those do you want to give up?  Huh?  Do you want all of those programs - or even some of them - privatized?  Then be prepared to pay a LOT more for your individual subscription!

As linguist George Lakoff explains in “Progressive Frame for Taxes” (Rockridge Institute, August 25, 2006):  "Taxes are our dues — we pay our dues to be Americans and enjoy the benefits of American society. Taxes are what we pay to live in a civilized society that is democratic, offers opportunity, and has a huge infrastructure available to all citizens. This incredible infrastructure has been paid for by previous taxpayers. Roads and highways, the Internet, the broadcast airwaves, our public education system, our power grid — every day we all use this vast infrastructure. Our dues maintain it."

So ... quit your bitching!  Everyone needs to pay their fair share and that includes the wealthy and corporations.  American citizens pay less taxes than many people in other industrialized nations.  And we get more bang for our buck, too.

The next time a Republican calls "taxes" a dirty word, ask him what he wants to give up.  Then watch him squirm.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Ryan - help or hinder?

Mitt Romney named Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) as his vice-presidential running mate.  So ... just what does that mean to Romney? And to the voters?  This is MY take on the situation and I want to make this clear:  I speak for no one else.  I will NOT be sharing my opinions with my students; my job is to help them develop the tools they need in order to arrive at their own opinions.

Economics:  The Romney-Ryan ticket finally has something to tell voters.  Up until now, Romney ran as the "if you want to get rid of Obama, I'm the alternative whether you like me or not" candidate. He had no talking points, no plans, and couldn't even follow his own script.  Now the Republicans have an economy script - and it was written by Ryan in the form of the Ryan Budget (approved twice by the GP-controlled Congress and endorsed wholeheartedly by Romney).  

Ryan's budget gives additional, substantial tax cuts to the wealthy - at the expense of everyone else.  The theory is this: the wealthy will then invest, create jobs, and the wealth will - magically - find its way down to the rest of us.  Problem:  the wealthy don't invest and create jobs.  They send jobs overseas to save money and hike profits; they put money in offshore accounts in order to avoid taxes.  Uh ... does that sound familiar, Mr. Romney?  We already experienced eight years of those economic policies  with George Bush.  Add deregulation of a corrupt banking industry and two wars, and we ended up in the worst economic situation since the Great Depression!

So ... the Romney-Ryan ticket DOES give voters a VERY clear choice regarding the economy:  go back to what has already failed or be bold and push forward with a plan that hasn't been given the time (or cooperation) needed to make it work.  Warning to Obama-Biden:  we want to see your plans, too!

Ryan is a darling of the Tea Party folks ... but Romney already had them.  The GOP ticket will have to persuade independent and moderate Republicans that this is the way to go.

That brings us to social issues.  Ryan's budget changes the way this nation treats our elderly, our ill, our women, and our poor.  If you're over 55, you don't need to worry about Medicare being disemboweled but if you're under 55, you need to pay attention.  Instead of getting actual health care when you are at the right age, you will get a voucher so you can purchase your own health insurance - if you can afford it.  Ryan says competition will result in lower premiums but that's debatable.  If you can't find health insurance that your voucher will pay for ... sorry, you're on your own.   

I think that's going to be a tough sell to seniors - and those nearing the so-called "senior" years.  

Ryan (therefore, Romney) wants to change Medicaid - the poor's access to health care.  His plan would give block grants to states and give the states more freedom to determine who gets help - and how much.  But the money is much less than states get now.  So ... who's going to be left out?  

This tact will, of course, be very popular with the Tea Party and the rich Republicans.  Again, it may not play well with voters who have actually experienced some hard times and had to ask for assistance.  They vote, too, you know. (Okay, they'll vote unless they are prohibited from doing so by the current rash of Voter ID regulations that are designed to engineer a Romney win - hey, a top Republican admitted that - I didn't make it up!).

Ryan wants to privatize Social Security.  I don't know enough about his plan so if someone can give me some details, I'm listening!  But I will say this ... Social Security is NOT an "entitlement."  That money was yanked from my paycheck by my government and when it's time, I want some of it back!

As for women ... I see nothing about Ryan that should interest women who want to live in 2012 instead of going back to the 1950s. Romney, at one time, believed women should make their own reproductive choices; Ryan has never believed that.  He has voted for every anti-choice measure, including a couple that ban some forms of contraception.  Ryan  says he will not fund Planned Parenthood, thus throwing thousands and thousands of women under the bus when it comes to health screenings, prevention treatment, and contraception.  Ryan voted against re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act, a measure that's had bipartisan support since the very beginning ... until the current crop of Republicans took control of the House.

Romney won't get any female converts with Ryan on the ticket.  He will have the extreme right - but he had them all along.

Education:  College students can't be too thrilled with Ryan because he plans to slash Pell Grants.  For thousands of young people, those grants are the only way they'll ever be able to enroll in a college course, let alone get the education they will need to compete in a global economy and help THIS economy grow.

Bottom line?

The good news for Republicans:  Ryan actually gives the GOP ticket something to talk about.  It gives the campaign direction. 

The bad news for Republicans:  Ryan actually gives the GOP ticket something to talk about.  But the direction may be too extreme and too restrictive to be popular with the average American who doesn't have enough money for an offshore account.  

The good new for voters:  We now have a VERY clear choice.  We return to the Bush policies - and get what we got before.  Or we push forward ... put statesmen in office instead of pledge-signing ideologues ... and work together to solve problems and improve the future.

I actually believe the 2012 election is the most important one in my lifetime.  Unfortunately, many voters don't read anything other than the TV Guide or the mall sales promotions.  They'll vote based on 1) their political party or 2) a 60-second TV commercial.  Or they'll say politics doesn't affect them and they'll stay home. 

"The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality."  ~Dante

Friday, July 27, 2012

How about some parent/student accountability?

Maine Governor Paul LePage says school districts should pay for any remedial courses their graduates have to take in college.  Evidently, a recent study placed Maine 40th out of 41 states for improvements in student test scores between 1992 and 2011 for fourth- and eighth-graders in math, reading and science.

The governor is, understandably, unhappy with the numbers.  He's also unhappy that, according to his information, 54 percent of those entering Maine's community colleges have to take remedial courses to re-learn basic tools. The same goes for 20 to 25 percent of the state's four-year university students.

I understand why LePage is concerned ... I really do.  What I don't understand is his plan to make school districts pay for the remedial courses of their graduates.  The governor, a Republican, should know very well that GOP-controlled legislatures around the country have cut education funding.  Teachers have been laid off and many, many school districts have frozen salaries and dropped programs such as tutoring.

I have a different plan for Maine:  make students and parents responsible and accountable!  Hell, I'm evauated every year!  This past year, it took FIVE hours for me to prepare the required documents just for the pre-evaluation conference!  And it took me another FOUR hours to prepare the post-evaluation documents!  That's NINE hours I could have spent planning creative lessons, grading papers, calling parents, etc.  So ... why not include two more components in the accountability picture:  students and parents?

Let's just look at some student/parent responsibility, shall we?  The names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent but these were students (or parents) in my classes last year:

Pauline:  She made it to class on time just one or two times a week.  Sometimes she wandered in during the last fifteen minutes of class.  Her explanation?  "I just don't like to get up early."  For every minute she was late, she missed instruction.

Jose:  Never turned in a homework assignment ... not one.  He squeaked by the class with a D - 60.6% - (decent work in class and barely passing on tests) so he got credit toward high school graduation.  He's one of hundreds of students in my school who are quite comfortable with squeaking by.  Should Jose go to a community college, he'll get in - no doubt - but he most certainly will need some remedial classes because HE refused to get the basics in high school.

Ronnie:  During a test, I was walking around the room and glanced at his bubble sheet.  Hmmm ... his dark circles were in the shape of a car.  He wasn't even reading the questions!  His test score:  61% ... all through luck.

Mrs. Smith:  Her daughter had a hit-and-miss attendance ... just enough to prevent her from being dropped from the class.  I called home several times.  She told me each and every time:  "Johana is old enough to make her own decisions about coming to school."  I wanted to scream in the phone:  "Your daughter is 15 years old! YOU are the parent! DO your job!"  But I didn't because that would have ended up with a complaint being filed against me.  How dare I ask parents to do their job so I can do mine?

You have NO idea how many students and parents mirror the ones outlined above.

I work hard at my job and I work doubly hard trying to reach students who simply want to squeak by ... or don't care at all.  I'm a good teacher.  But I'm not a miracle worker. 

So, Governor LePage, state legislators, and the public at large:  Why not come up with some ideas that include student/parent accountability?  How about a mandatory study hall if a student earns less than a C at the first progress report?  How about mandatory summer school (with tuition paid by the parents, not the school district)?  How about mandatory parent attendance at conferences? I will bet my next paycheck that when parents are inconvenienced, or have to shell out money from THEIR checkbook, the situation will improve.

Last year at Open House, just NINE people showed up in my classroom.  Only SIX of them were parents.  That's out of 169 students!

Yes, I imagine there are some ineffective teachers ... just like there are some ineffective businessmen, politicians, doctors, and car mechanics.  But don't always blame the teachers and schools when two-thirds of the triumverate manage to escape their responsibility in the educational process!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

YOUR opinions ... should I take them seriously?

A new Obama TV ad brings to the public a series of statements made by Mitt Romney - statements that are clearly FALSE. The ad cites sources, making sure the viewing public knows where the Obama campaign folks got the information to back up the "Romney didn't tell the truth" assertion.

I love reading the comments section.  One of the comments was written by LaVaughn Moyer Jennings of Clyde, Ohio.  Since this woman put her comment on a public forum, I most assuredly can use it here.  The quote:

"Need to tell about all the crooked stuff the idiot in the W.H. has done.. I think you need to clean up your own act before you degrade other people...."

Yes, that is Jennings' opinion.  But how in the world can I take it seriously?  Really ... how can anyone take it seriously?

Jennings doesn't give one example of "crooked" ... she doesn't give specifics, information, details.  She makes claims she did not back up with any support, any evidence, any sign of rational thought process.  She doesn't give us a reason to take her opinion seriously.   

Even my high school students know better than that!

From the dictionary:  o-pin-ion  n. 1. A belief or conclusion held with confidence but not substantiated by positive knowledge or proof

It happens every year.  A student voices an opinion and that's when things change in my classroom.  Example ... I gave a simple essay assignment due the next day.  Here is the classroom exchange:

Student:  "That sucks!"

Me:  "Why does it suck?"

Student:  "What do you mean?"

Me:  "That is an opinion and I can't take your opinion seriously if you don't explain the rationale behind that opinion.  What facts did you use to determine that the assignment sucks?"

Student:  "I don't know what you mean."

I told him to think about it, that I wouldn't respect his opinion until he answered my questions.  Fast forward a half hour:

Student:  "I know why the assignment sucks!  I have to work tonight and I'll be tired when I get home from my shift at 8pm.  It'll be harder for me to write."

Me:  "NOW I understand and respect your opinon!  I disagree with you - this essay is only three simple paragraphs - but you've given me reason to take you seriously.  If you don't want to write the essay tonight, then come in at lunch and do it today."

After an exchange like that (one that I make sure happens every year), my students will begin to SUPPORT their opinions.  In fact, when a student utters a free-for-all opinion, another student will call out, "Where's your support?"

I try to make sure I support my opinions so people know what reasoning, what facts, what information pointed me in that direction.  And I don't mind someone asking me if I neglected to do so.

So ... LaVaughn Moyer Jennings ... you have every right to say what you want.  Now, if you want any credibility at all, if you want to be taken seriously, if you want anyone to give a rat's patoot about your opinions ... take a lesson from my students.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Romney: freeloader playing the game

A Republican friend of mine has this statement in her email signature:

"Apparently, I'm supposed to be more angry about what Mitt Romney does with his money than what barack obama does with mine."

Let me make this clear right up front:  Romney's multiple offshore accounts are legal!  They are absolutely legal, no doubt about it.

So, just why are people like me concerned about all his offshore accounts?  There are two reasons:

1) Romney wants tax cuts for the wealthy.  He says those folks - because of their money - create jobs, thus grow the economy.  He says this all the time when explaining his opposition to increasing taxes on on the wealthy.  Well ... please tell me ... how does his offshore money help grow the economy?   That money isn't HERE so it's not doing a damn thing for the American economy, now is it?  Hmmm ... it appears that other wealthy people can grow the economy, but he's exempt from that.

2) While legal, his offshore accounts set him apart from most other Americans.  I have to account for every dime of my teacher's salary, so why doesn't he?  I have to pay taxes on all my money, so why doesn't he?  I realize that our tax code allows this, but there's something wrong with this picture ... it's inherently unfair.  And it makes him a freeloader - the kind of person he recently denigated at a Republican rally.

Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) defends Romney:  “It’s really American to avoid paying taxes, legally." He even explained that it's a "game" we all play.  

I don't see this as a "game" at all!  I see taxes as a way to pay for the services we want and need.  If we want schools, we pay for them.  If we want protection from the military, we pay for it.  If we want garbage collection or libraries or decent roads or safe bridges ... we pay for it!

So, to my friend with the political statement in her email signature:  I'm not angry about Romney's money.  I AM disgusted that he is a freeloader who certainly doesn't need to be.  I AM disgusted that he expects everyone else to grow the economy but he won't.

And I believe that truly speaks to his character ... or lack thereof.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Scare tactics ... they WORK!

This past week on Fox News Sunday , Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said that Mitt Romney must be elected in November in order to "save America."  He also said that if President Barack Obama gets re-elected, "our way of life" is at stake.  WHAT? 

Oh, but Priebus wasn't finished: "Mitt Romney has to win for the sake of the very idea of America. Mitt Romney has to win for liberty and freedom."

 Omigawd ... grab the kids and dogs ... and head to Costa Rica with Limbaugh!

Keep in mind that the Fox News "journalists" didn't question Priebus; they didn't ask for specifics or explanations.   No big surprise there, right?  In other words, those "journalists" didn't do their job!

Priebus is very good at using the campaign scare tactic. He uses this tactic because he knows that many times straight facts simply aren't enough to motivate the masses to take a certain action.  It's much more effective to scare the crap out of them!

People who hear a frightening statistic or an alarming fact often take that information at face value ... and then act out of fear. That is the purpose of using scare tactics:  create a sense of fear or shock in the recipients. These fears, rational or irrational as they may be, are often enough to force people into making uninformed decisions or taking rash actions.

So, how effective was Priebus' statements on Sunday?  That afternoon I took my dogs to a fun match and heard two women talking about it:

Woman #1: "You HAVE to vote for Romney because if Obama gets back in there, we're going to lose our freedoms and our liberty!"

Woman #2:  "What makes you think that?"

Woman #1: "A very important man said it on TV this morning!"

It's clear that Woman #1 doesn't question what she heard - and she won't, either, because now she sees her liberty and freedom being yanked from her.  Why?  Because some man said it on TV.  Her vote in November will be cast out of a fear that has no factual basis whatsoever.

Karl Rove is the master when it comes to scare tactics.  He guided George W. Bush through all his campaigns, starting with the one for governor against Ann Richards.  One TV ad showed a woman being grabbed at gunpoint in a parking garage and then police draping a sheet over a young boy's body.  Bush, in a voice over, declared that Texas was the third most dangerous state in the nation and that HE would take action to change that.  

Factual?  No.  The crime rate had actually declined during Richards' term in office.

Effective? Yes.  People didn't check the crime stats ... they acted out of fear because they didn't want to be grabbed at gunpoint in a parking garage.

Rove used scare tactics in both Bush presidential campaigns, too.  And, it appears, the current GOP presidential campaign will continue the practice with Rove's guidance.

Now, before you get your knickers in a bunch, BOTH political parties have used scare tactics.  A great example is a TV ad that ran only once during the Johnson-Goldwater campaign in 1964 ...  but it sure got attention - and it resulted in a lot of Johnson votes.  It is STILL being referenced as one of the most effective TV campaign ads ever. Watch it!

Lyndon Johnson campaign ad

Scare tactic?  You bet! The message was clear:  if you vote for Barry Goldwater, we'll end up in a huge war with a giant mushroom cloud and there won't be any daisies left to pick.  That ad scared the livin' daylights out of people!  It's rather ironic, then, that Johnson proceeded to escalate the war in Vietnam after he was elected.

You can either become a victim of the scare tactic ... or you can make your voting decisions based on facts and evidence.  By the way, there is NO evidence that President Obama's re-election will result in a tyrannical government with no freedom or liberty for Americans.  None.  Remember ... we still have the U.S. Constitution in place and the three branches of government serve as a check and balance system to make sure that doesn't happen.

Why not be a responsible voter?  Why not ask questions and take a bit of time to check the facts before you vote out of fear?  Think about it:  decisions made out of fear aren't usually the best.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Tax? Penalty? Who gives a rat's patoot?

A friend of mine - Larry Ferguson - posted some of his thoughts about the health care controversy on his Facebook wall.  I asked his permission to share it with you.  Here it is:

"Obamacare, aka. Affordable Care it a tax or is it a penality...let me think about it......nope, couldn't care less. My health insurance costs are up because some asshole goes into the emergency room at the hospital, then walks out without paying and the costs for that asshole's care are shifted to people with insurance like me. What I do care about is that insurance companies will not cap what they pay for health care for me. I care that the insurance company will not be able to drop me if I get sick. I care that my grandkids with pre-existing health problems will be able to get insurance. I care that the CEO of insurance companies will not be paid outrageous salaries because the insurance company has to pay out 80%-85% in taking care of people or refund money to me. You can call it Obamacare or Larrycare, I really don't give a shit."

When I thanked Larry for allowing me to use his thoughts on this blog, he gave me some more to share:

"This country has a mandate that anyone walking into an emergency room has to get care. I have no problem with this. Many people cannot afford insurance or have lost insurance with loss of their job. The cost for care shifted to me is my problem. Concern for my grand kids with pre-existing problems is a worry for me. The fact that the mandate was a conservative idea and now they hate it because the President of the United States got it passed -  this is a problem. A mandate that if you can afford insurance you are required to get it or pay a penalty makes sense. I had hoped for either single payer or at least buy in to Medicare at 55 would have been the law...but ACA is a start. But, what do I know..."

Well, it's obvious Larry knows a whole lot more about the actual workings of health insurance - and the state of our health care system -  than most people in this country!  He understands that we are ALL paying for the uninsured and that's one of the main  reasons health insurance premiums are so high!  He understands that insurance - any insurance - is a risk pool.  You pay your premiums and that money goes into one huge pot, along with the premiums paid by everyone else.  When and if you submit a claim, the bill is paid from that huge pot.  When someone else submits a claim, her bills are paid from the same huge pot.  Uninsured patients get treatment, but never paid into anything.  Hospitals have to recoup that loss somehow, so those of us with insurance have higher bills. 

The anti-Obama folks (and, yes, that's exactly what they are) are yelling and screaming about being forced to buy health insurance.  GET A GRIP!  You are forced to help fund public schools even if you don't have children!  You are forced to fund public parks even if you never set foot in one!  Medicare taxes are taken out of your paycheck even if you aren't on Medicare! 

It's all a part of being a member of this society ... so grow up and deal with it. If you can afford insurance - but don't get it - you will pay a small penalty.  And that's how it ought to be because I shouldn't have to pay for your broken leg or your burst appendix.  If you can't afford insurance, you will NOT pay a penalty and there will be a variety of ways that you'll end up with health coverage - through Medicaid or the insurance exchanges.

So, yeah ... grow up.  You want to hate Obama?  Fine.  But find some other reason because the ACA is a win-win for everyone ... including you.

And to Larry ... thanks!  I suspect many, many people feel exactly like you do. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Come visit my classroom, McConnell!

Senator Mitch McConnell said that 30 million uninsured Americans is "not the issue" when asked how Republicans would provide health care coverage to those people.


It most certainly IS the issue!  And I challenge Sen. McConnell to come visit my classroom once school starts.  Here's what he will see (and I have seen this as a high school teacher).  I changed the names,  but these young people were students in my classes over the past few years:

1) Becky - she is in constant pain from something.  She is doubled over as she sits at her desk.  The nurse and I try to get her family to take her to a doctor but the family has no insurance.  Dad makes too much money to get on AHCCS (Arizona's version of Medicaid), but can't afford insurance for the family.  Finally Becky stops coming to school.  Becky was in my class several years ago and I haven't been able to find out what happened to her.

2) Jose - he doesn't pay attention in class, holds his face in his hands.  I find out he is in constant pain because his teeth are so rotten and infected.  We get him to a dentist who provides free services to our students, but the infection has run so deep that now it affects his entire jaw and sinuses.  His family has no insurance and as of the end of that school year, he hadn't seen a doctor.

3) Daniel - he missed several days of school and when I called home, he answered.  His mother was sick and he was staying home to care for her.  She lost her job and then her health insurance.  She couldn't afford COBRA because that premium cost is atronomical.  He informed me that his mother has cancer.  She died during the winter break that year.  Daniel was put into foster care and I don't know where he is now.

4) Yolanda - she missed several days of school and I found out she went to her dad's funeral in Kansas.  He died of complications from diabetes.  His health insurance company dropped him after a diabetic coma and no other company would take him because of his "pre-existing condition."  Make no mistake about it: our health care system killed Yolanda's father.

5) Myra - her dad lost his job and his health insurance for the family.  Right before this happened, Myra was diagnosed with a cyst on her ovary.  The family couldn't pay for the surgery even after selling furniture out of their home.  She was in constant pain until we found a gynecologist who would do the surgery at no cost.  It took this doctor weeks to talk the hospital into providing the outpatient surgery on a payment schedule.  In the meantime, Myra missed several weeks of school ... she dropped out. I just hope she's okay because ovarian cysts tend to come back.

Please keep in mind, these are REAL people.  McConnell says they "aren't the issue."  They ARE the issue and it's time we let the Republicans on Capitol Hill know that.  I would love for McConnell to come to my classroom and tell my students they "aren't the issue."  Face to face, McConnell!!  Do you have the guts to look these young people in the eyes and tell them they don't matter?

If REAL PEOPLE aren't the issue, then what is?  Well ... I have the answer to that:  the issue is President Obama.  The Republicans on Capitol Hill will do anything to get him out of office.The president built the ACA on the REPUBLICAN plan that Mitt Romney put into effect in Massachusetts ... a plan that works!  And now they are criticizing it and promising to repeal the law if Romney is elected? 

So, you tell me ... what's the issue?  Pretty obvious, don't you think?

Friday, June 29, 2012

Affordable Care Act - why all the angst?

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that most of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) IS constitutional.  That paves the way for major changes in the health care system in this country.  Actually, we don't have a "system" at all; we have a series of band-aids that were implemented to meet the health care needs of specific groups of people ... Medicaid, Medicare, VA, CHIPS, COBRA, etc.  But make no mistake about it: this country does NOT have a health care "system."

The United States is the ONLY industrialized country in the world that does NOT have universal health care!  And we call ourselves a progressive, compassionate country with moral authority?  Hogwash!  

Part of the problem now is that SCOTUS labeled the mandatory insurance provision a tax.  Of course the Republicans on Capitol Hill are now yelling and screaming "TAX, TAX, TAX!"  But let's look at this, shall we?

There is NO massive tax hike! Very few people will ever pay the penalty tax.  If you can afford insurance, you'll have it, therefore ... no tax.  If you can't afford insurance, there won't be a penalty tax at all!  The only way you'll have to pay a penalty tax is if you CAN afford insurance, but don't get it. People who are assessed the tax will pay less than the amount of the payroll tax increase that Republicans nearly allowed to occur. 

In addition, a new report from Families USA shows that 28.6 Americans (most in the middle class) will actually get tax cuts:

"We found that an estimated 28.6 million Americans will be eligible for the tax credits in 2014, and that the total value of the tax credits that year will be $110.1 billion. The new tax credits will provide much-needed assistance to insured individuals and families who struggle harder each year to pay rising premiums, as well as to uninsured individuals and families who need help purchasing coverage that otherwise would be completely out of reach financially. Most of the families who will be eligible for the tax credits will be employed, many for small businesses, and will have incomes between two and four times poverty (between $44,100 and $88,200 for a family of four based on 2010 poverty guidelines)."

So, what is the big deal?  We have in this "compassionate, progressive" nation over 30 million people who do not have access to health care.  That's shameful!  And here's why including them in the insurance pot is good for everyone:

Uninsured people typically wait to see a health care professional until they are really ill.  By that time, the illness has progressed to the point where it is more serious and requires more involved and more costly treatment and, perhaps, hospitalization.  Who do you think pays for that care now?  WE DO!  If, however, they have access to health care, they will see doctors for checkups, health screenings, and treatment that could be less extensive (and less costly).  They will be in the insurance pool and that makes a huge difference in the overall picture.

It's clear many people only hear the "you'll be forced to get health insurance" argument.  They haven't taken the time to see what the Affordable Care Act really does - and really means to them.  A woman I work with is outraged that she should be forced to get insurance.  Uh ... she's on Medicare right now and that paid for her knee surgery!  Perhaps she doesn't know that the Affordable Care Act has already reduced the amount of money she pays for prescriptions!  Or, maybe she doesn't care ... this law was passed by Democrats and, well, she's not a Democrat.

If you want to see what the Affordable Care Act means for YOU, check out this interactive website:

Affordable Care Act - for YOU

After you check it out, ask yourself if you will benefit in any way from the Affordable Care Act.  If you do, then get on board and support it.  It's time to take politics out of health care!

Friday, June 15, 2012

A step in the right direction - immigration reform

The Obama Administration announced today that it will stop deporting and begin granting work permits to younger undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and have since led law-abiding lives.

Right on, Mr. President!

Details of the plan haven't fully been announced, but here's what we know right now (and this comes from the Huffington Post):  "Undocumented immigrants will be immune from deportation if they were brought to the United States before they turned 16 and are younger than 30, have been in the country for at least five continuous years, have no criminal history, graduated from a U.S. high school or earned a GED, or served in the military. They also can apply for a work permit that will be good for two years with no limits on how many times it can be renewed."

Yes, yes, I know ... the GOP will be gnashing its teeth.  And many people will disagree with me when I say this is good for our country!

These young people did NOT make the decision to cross the border illegally, yet they are being punished for it. Many of them graduated from high schools here - honors classes!  Now they can come out of the shadows and become productive, contributing members of our society.  

Several weeks ago, I ended up in a conversation about this with an associate .  I couldn't believe the venom that spewed from her mouth when this topic came up.  She had absolutely no understanding of the issue, only hatred - hatred that she couldn't even explain!  

I agree with her that border security should be enhanced, but we also need to consider the people already here.

I have my flame-retardant undies on, so take your best shot.  Congress could have passed the DREAM Act, but Republicans blocked it.  Now President Obama has made a move that's good for these young people and good for our country:  if these undocumented men and women get an education, work and pay taxes, we all win.  

Yeppers ... I'd say this is a win-win situation.  Won't that be nice for a change?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

I remember ...

I read.  I read whatever I get my hands on.  I read news - especially news that affects me as a person living in the United States of America.

And I'm disheartened.

I feel as though the boat has sailed and I'm still standing on the dock.

I grew up in a time when FEMALES took a back seat.  I remember being told in high school that I couldn't be a member of (or take classes) in the FFA - Future Farmers of America.  I could be nominated for FFA Queen, but I couldn't be a part of it ... even though my background was animal science and I was planning on a career in the industry.

I remember meeting with my advisor at Colorado State University the first time.  He told me he "didn't like female vets" and didn't like "female vet students" and told me flat out that he didn't want to ever see me in his office again.  For four years, I forged his signature on registration papers.

I remember being denied admittance to veterinary school because "it would be waste of resources to train a woman who might get married and have children."

I remember watching the total destruction of a family of four when the 12-year-old daughter was denied a legal abortion after being sexually assaulted.  TWELVE years old!  And ... I was in the damn delivery room and watched that child deliver a "thing" that wasn't even close to being a human being.  That girl's body was NOT ready for pregnancy or childbirth.  But there were no options for her - or her parents - before Roe V. Wade.  And because of that ... ALL members of that family were destroyed ... dead or in prison.  I'll tell you the story if you ask.

I remember being told that "women can't be news people on radio because nobody trusts them."  And then I stormed my way through a 22-year career in radio broadcasting.  And it wasn't easy.  I thank Bob Crites for giving me a chance ... and I ended up in the positions of DJ, News Anchor, News Reporter, News Director, Public Affairs Director, Talk Show Host.  And all the way to the end, I was someone who stood out because I was a woman.

I remember being told that I couldn't get a raise ... the same raise as my male counterpart who was doing the SAME job as I was ... because "Joe had a family."  Uh ... what in the hell were my two sons?

I remember the days when contraception was NOT available to all women in the United States.

I remember when male doctors treated female patients as "things."  When I saw my first obstetrician, I started asking questions and he said, "Don't worry your little head about this."  Uh ... WHAT?  This is MY pregnancy, MY baby, MY life!"  I fired him and found a female OB/GYN.

Well ... things have changed ... right?  Uh ... not so much.  Since the Republican Party became the "in crowd" in Congress and state legislatures around the country, women have been shoved to the back of the bus.  What I (and others in my generation) worked so hard for, has been destroyed.  

A doctor in Oklahoma recently denied a rape victim the early emergency contraception medication.  Why?  Because it was against the doctor's "beliefs."

In Virginia, women - even those who are dealing with a life-threatening pregnancy - must undergo an ultrasound and a waiting period before terminating her pregnancy.  How many lives will be lost because of this law?

In Arizona, doctors can now LIE to women about the state of their pregnancy.  Doctors do NOT have to tell women in that state about any medical issues that might warrant an abortion.

In Arizona, women are classified as pregnant two weeks BEFORE they had the sex that could have resulted in a pregnancy!

Congress turned down a re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act.  Why?  Because it included Native-American women, undocumented immigrant women, and gay/lesbian women.  Hmmm ... it's okay to commit violence against a certain group of females?  I find that unacceptable!  Just read the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and see if YOU can excuse the congressional action.

Now do you see why I'm disheartened?  Women's rights have been moved back to the 1950s!  And I don't hear the young women of America fighting back.  They grew up in a time when they didn't have to fight and they don't understand that THEY are now the targets of the people who want to keep them down.

I wish ... oh, how I wish ... that our young women would fight.  FIGHT!  Fight to keep the rights and protections that were won for you!  FIGHT for your dignity and your privacy!  


And I'll fight with you.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

EQUALITY UNDER THE LAW - where do YOU stand?

This past week, President Obama made history.  He became the first U.S. president to affirm EQUAL PROTECTION UNDER THE LAW - for ALL Americans.  If you missed it, here it is:

President Obama

Let's be clear about one thing:  this isn't about "gay rights."  

This is about EQUALITY and EQUAL PROTECTION UNDER THE LAW for every American.

These concepts appear in our founding documents, the very core of our existence, and we talk about them as if they really exist.  But they don't exist - not until those concepts become a reality, not until every single person in this country wakes up every morning knowing that she or he is a valued, equal person under the law.

The religious right is gnashing teeth and beating breasts.  They say they have "gay friends" but in the same breath, say these friends should not be treated with the same legal protections they enjoy.  They are very willing to label a certain group of people as second class citizens - and they're even proud of it!

Twenty percent of North Carolina voters went to the polls last week.  The "twenty percent" who bothered to vote decided to amend the state's constitution to include a ban on same-sex marriages.  To hell with the people that amendment will hurt or even destroy.  To hell with the idea of equality.  

They don't get it - and neither do most Republican lawmakers or the apparent Republican candidate for president. That's because they do NOT truly understand the concept of EQUAL PROTECTION UNDER THE LAW.  They want that protection for themselves, but do not believe it should extend to all others.

It's time to take a stand.  You either support EQUAL PROTECTION UNDER THE LAW for everyone ... or you don't.  You can't have it both ways and you can't sit on the fence.  You can't single out any group of Americans, and deny to them the same legal protection that you hold dear, without admitting that you feel superior, that you deserve those constitutional protections, but others don't.

President Obama took a stand.  In doing so, he took a huge political risk.

What are YOU going to do?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Planned Parenthood - a terrorist group?

I thought I'd heard it all.  I thought the Republican assault on women couldn't get any worse.

I was wrong.

The Attorney General of the great (?) state of Texas compared Planned Parenthood to a terrorist organization while defending a new state law.  WHAT?

Here's the skinny:

A federal law makes it a felony to give money to a terrorist organization, even if the funds are specified for nonterrorist activities.  Greg Abbott, the esteemed (and elected by the people) Texas Attorney General, says that giving federal money to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screenings, pap smears, STD testing and birth control is just like giving a terrorist organization money for humanitarian activities ... only nobody REALLY knows how the money is spent.

Basically, the entire issue comes down to abortion.  Yep ... no big surprise here, right?  Some Planned Parenthood clinics offer abortion services, but not every one.  And ... in Texas, NOT ONE of the eight clinics that received federal money provides abortion services!  Let me repeat:  NOT ONE!

Planned Parenthood is - or was - part of the Texas Women's Health Program.  About 130,000 low-income women were served by this program.  But because Texas wouldn't fund Planned Parenthood, the federal government stepped in and required that Texas not discriminate.  Abbott, bless his little pea-pointed head, said that the state of Texas would prefer to shut down the entire Women's Health Program rather than allow it to fund Planned Parenthood!

So, what will happen to these 130,000 low-income women?  Where will they get their mammograms and cancer screenings?  Where will they get their contraception?  WHERE will they get their medical care?  It's clear:  they won't get that medical care because they can't afford it.  

All one has to do is look at Planned Parenthood's Annual Report ... the last one is for the year 2010.  You can see it here:

Planned Parenthood Annual Report

In case you don't have time, here it is.  Here are the programs and percentages of funds used for those programs:

STD Testing & Treatment = 38%
Cancer Screenings & Prevention = 14.5%
Contraception = 33.5%
Abortion Services = 3%
Other women's health services = 10.4%
Other services = .6%

So ... even though only 3% of Planned Parenthood services go to abortion - nationwide - and NONE of the 8 clinics in the Texas Women's Health Program provide abortions - Abbott and his Republican cronies would rather gut the ENTIRE program than throw a few dollars to Planned Parenthood.

Abbot, I gotta tell you:  you are as looney as the people who voted you into office!

And ... the Republicans say there's no "war on women?"

Sunday, April 22, 2012

You want to protect me? REALLY?

A young man I don't know (but know of) is running for a seat in the Arizona House of Representatives.  I perused his campaign web site to see how he stands on the issues facing this  state.  

Maybe this candidate is running as a Libertarian; I don't know because I couldn't find a party affiliation. I see lots of libertarian views on his "issues" page and, several times, found myself nodding in agreement. 

But this is where my agreement came to a screeching halt.  Mr. Candidate says he is pro-life and believes "in laws that protect women, children, and families."  This one-liner comes under the heading of Protect Life.

So, Mr. Candidate ... just how am I being protected when you want to prevent me from making very personal, life-altering choices?  Is it because you assume I'm too stupid to make decisions on my own?  Am I so incompetent that YOU feel YOU have to make those decisions for me? That is incredible arrogance on your part and it's not very pretty.

I am certainly not a fan of abortion, but I also believe women can decide what's best for themselves - and their families.  I am not qualified to make that decision for other women ... and neither is any state lawmaker.  It's really very simple:  if you have a moral or religious objection to abortion, then don't get one!

The Arizona Legislature that Mr. Candidate wants to be a part of has passed some outright vicious anti-abortion laws.  One even declares a woman pregnant two weeks before she has the sex that could make her pregnant!  So now, this young man wants to be a part of the body that believes it is qualified to enter the health care arena - and play doctor.  And it appears he will vote right along with the rest of the whackos.

Mr. Candidate ... at least be honest.  You don't want to protect women - living, breathing, thinking, loving human beings.  You want to protect a fetus - at the expense of a woman.

I guess I really do need to be protected.  From you.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Sex Education and contraception?

I used to think that sex education belonged at home.  I believed that parents should be teaching their children about sexual matters, not schools.  But as my own sons were growing up, I heard some of the stuff their friends were saying about sex and realized not all parents feel comfortable with these discussions and there was a lot of misinformation floating around.

Today, we see sex education being used as a political football.  Republican controlled state legislatures (at the behest of church leaders) have quietly been changing the sex ed programs in public schools.  Those programs no longer include a discussion about contraception!  Those programs now say abstinence is the only way to prevent pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases.

Well ... duh ... yeah ... if we super glue pants zippers and issue chastity belts and make sure our young people know that "abstinence" means ANY sexually-oriented activity involving ANY body part, then they might be protected against pregnancy and STDs.

But here's the problem:  these religion-backed programs are not giving our young people the whole picture.  At some point, teenagers grow up and don't we want them armed with the information they'll need as young adults?  Information they should have before making the choices and decisions that are sure to come?

Or ... maybe even the information they need right now?  Here are some statements I've actually heard students make ... statements they believed were facts:

"I thought you couldn't get pregnant the first time you have sex."
"You can't get an STD just by kissing."
"But he pulled out in time and you can't get pregnant - right?"
"Oral sex really isn't sex."
"If you stand up and walk around after sex, you can't get pregnant."
"We're doing the rhythm thing so I'm safe."
"What are those things called?  Condoms?  Sure, he'll put one on - I think."

Three of the above statements were made by pregnant girls.  One statement was made by a girl that did end up pregnant.  I don't know where those teenagers got their information, but you can bet it wasn't from a good, comprehensive sex ed program!

A discussion about contraception most definitely should be included in a sex ed curriculum.  If you don't want your child to hear about it, then opt out of the sex ed program!  If your religious beliefs will be offended by a contraception discussion, then pull your child out of the program - have him sent to the library during the class time!  It's as simple as that!  But do not think, for one minute, that your beliefs should be applied to all students.

There is nothing wrong with including contraception in a comprehensive sex ed program because - sooner or later - these students need the information.  While that's going on, YOU teach your religious beliefs and your morals ... that way, your child gets everything he/she will need when the time comes to make some very important decisions.

Would you rather our young people get the actual facts  .... or are you going to be satisfied with what they "learned" from the kid down the street?  If you need a reminder, go back up and look at the student statements again.  

Interesting ... the word "abstinence" doesn't appear in any of those statements ... 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Socialism - what's the big deal?

I keep hearing people call President Obama a "Socialist."  That comment always comes with a sneer, accompanied by blood vessels that appear ready to burst.  It's as if the speakers equate a "socialist" with "wife beater" or "sex offender."  The word "socialist" has become an extremely ugly label.

So ... let's take a look, shall we?  One standard definition is hard to find because it means a lot of things to different people.  Here's one definition I like:

Socialism refers to a broad array of ideologies and political movements with the goal of a socio-economic system in which property and the distribution of wealth are subject to control by the community for the purposes of increasing social and economic freedom, equality and cooperation.

So what does that mean?  Maybe some examples would be good.

Public schools
Publicly-owned airports
Public parks
Public libraries
City roads
Public beaches
City fire departments
City police departments
Benefits for members of Congress
Public health clinics
Social Security
Public universities
City garbage pickup

Really ... don't these fit in the definition?  The property and wealth are controlled by the community - and public taxes go to pay for them.  The purpose is for the common good.

Let's face it:  Socialism is an integral part of what sustains this country - and it's always been that way.  In fact, socialism played a part in the colonies becoming a new country:  taxes paid for part of the American Revolution!

So the next time, someone yells "Obama is a Socialist!" ... ask what road he drove on to get to where he is.  Ask her if she has a child in a public school.  Ask if Medicare paid for his last surgery.  Ask if his garbage was picked up by the city this week.  Ask if he's glad we had a military to defend us in World War II.  

And then sit back and smile when you get a blank stare.  Those folks won't get it.  They never do.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Blog every day - are you crazy?

I received a couple messages via Facebook asking why I don't update this blog every day.  WHAT?  ARE YOU CRAZY?  I have a demanding job! I'm too busy! I have dogs to care for and train! I have a life!

And then there's another reason.

Most people blog about the things that frustrate or anger them.  I'm no different.  Right now, the Republican ideology has me wondering if there's any sanity left in the world.  And that's what this blog would be about every single day.  Here's an example:

This past week,  a weekly acquaintance of mine (I see her once a week and sometimes more) was talking about her upcoming surgery and she said she was so glad Medicare would cover every dime of it.  I mentioned that I was glad her surgery was going to happen prior to the GOP Budget Plan being approved.  She looked at me with a quizzical expression and I went on to explain that Paul Ryan's GOP Budget (approved by the House of Representatives) would gut Medicare.

She said: "It's sure better than that communist ObamaCare!"

The little nice angel on my right shoulder told me to keep my mouth shut.  The activist angel on my left shoulder told me to tell her she was full of crap.

I said, "ObamaCare has provided health insurance to thousands and thousands of people who didn't have health insurance before - it saves us money in the long run.  And it protects the Medicare that's going to pay for your surgery."

She replied (YELLING, by the way):  "And he isn't even qualified to be President!  He's a Muslim!"

Okay ... now we're into the ad hominem attacks.  But did I shut up?  Nooooooooooooooooo ... ::sigh::

Me:  "And then there's the Republican War on Women ..."

She replied with a vengeance:  "Those laws are to PROTECT women!"

And then SHE stormed off and proceeded to talk about me and my horrendous views to another person in attendance - of course, making sure I could hear the conversation.

I, however, was thinking about those laws.  Did she mean the laws that invade a woman's privacy beyond belief?  They protect women?  The laws that assume women have no ability to make decisions for themselves ... they protect women?  The laws that prevent women from basic reproductive health care?  They protect women?

So ... back to the original point of this blog.  Why in the world should I write something every day?  Well, I shouldn't.  And I won't.

But maybe I should write when I feel the urge because now I know there are WOMEN who will throw other women under the bus just so they can continue identifying with a particular political party.

Yamamoto said as the Japanese planes were bombing Pearl Harbor:  "I fear we have awakened the sleeping giant."

I hope the Republicans' actions have awakened American women. And I intend to keep ringing the alarm.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The latest GOP assault on women!

Well ... here we go again!  Just when we thought it wouldn't get worse ... it has!  For whatever reason (and I sure can't figure it out), the Republicans continue to wage an all-out assault on women.  

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was passed in 1994.  It sought to improve criminal justice and community responses to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. The VAWA gave victims a new voice and more access to services.  The law also made it clear to law enforcement, the courts, and a new generation of families that domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking are crimes that this society will not tolerate.  

Bottom line:  the VAWA protects women.  Even though men can be victims of these crimes, women are the traditional victims (and for a lot of years, had to hide in the shadows.)

VAWA was reauthorized in 2000 and again in 2005.  Each time, the law was improved with some additions such as a legal assistance program for victims, new prevention programs, some federal funds to help keep rape crisis centers open, and the new services for children and teenagers.


Until now.

It's time to reauthorize the VAWA again, but now the Republicans want to scuttle the law.  Why would they want to do that?  Since its inception, this law has brought nothing but positive changes ... including more than 600 state laws to combat these crimes.  Since 1996, the National Domestic Violence Hotline has answered over two million calls. Businesses have joined the fight against violence against women. There are now employee assistance programs that help victims of domestic violence - male and female.

It boggles the mind that these lawmakers (who supposedly represent women as well as men) would want to drop a law that has been so beneficial to so many.  Why?

Here's the answer:  THIS year, an amendment has been added to the VAWA.  It adds new provisions that would include the lesbian/gay community, Native Americans on tribal lands, and undocumented people.

That's right!  The Republicans don't want to reauthorize this law because they have "concerns" (their word, not mine) that these new groups of people will be protected.

Hmmm ... what does that tell you about these lawmakers?  They're willing to protect you if you're not gay/lesbian ... or living on a Native American tribal land ... or you aren't in this country with the proper documentation.  

Or maybe ... just maybe ... it's even simpler than that.  Maybe they don't want to protect you because you're a woman.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Contraception crisis .. I just don't get it!

Contraception wasn't legal in this country in all 50 states until 1965 (and then only for married women).  This is a battle I thought we'd already won.  Until this year.

So let's look at this "controversy" in a rational, logical manner, shall we?  The whole flap over contraception is linked to abortion, no doubt about it.   Now, I don't know anyone - not one person - who likes the idea of abortion.  So, what do we do about it? We sure as heck don't limit a woman's access to contraception because that makes NO sense whatsoever!

What leads to abortion?  1) unwanted/unplanned pregnancies or 2) medical necessity

We can't do much about abortions that are needed for medical reasons (and there are quite a few of those reasons, by the way).  But we CAN do a lot about unwanted/unplanned pregnancies. We can make contraception available and affordable!

Contraception >>> fewer unplanned/unwanted pregnancies >>> fewer abortions.

Really ... come on ... it doesn't take a rocket scientist to grasp this concept (unless you happen to be a Republican Congressman, Senator or state lawmaker).  Somehow these GOP legislators don't get it: provide contraception and the incidence of abortion will go down.  Perhaps they should read the results of this worldwide study:

Study Findings - Read it here

In 2010, Planned Parenthood provided 3,685,437 people with contraceptive services.  This includes birth control pills and devices, female sterilization procedures, vasectomies, and emergency contraception kits.  This amounts to 33.5% of the services Planned Parenthood provides ... over a third of the entire program!  Yet Republicans have voted in several states to strip Planned Parenthood funding because some facilities provide abortion services (that's just 3% of the entire program).

Planned Parenthood Annual Report

GOP presidential candidates Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich all say they will gut Planned Parenthood if they end up in the Oval Office.

Wow!  What a way to cut off your nose to spite your face!  Take away the very thing that can reduce abortion!  

My message to the Republicans:  You can't have it both ways!  You cannot reduce the incidence of abortion by denying accessible, affordable contraception!  If a woman has any religious or moral objection to birth control, nobody will force her to use it.  But if a woman wants it - or needs it - no state or federal lawmaker should get in the way.

Maybe the only way to get this message across is to deny Republicans any votes this November ... just like they want to deny women access to birth control.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Let me say right off the bat:  This is NOT about abortion.  Each of us has a view on that emotional topic and I respect each view even though it might not agree with my own.  However, when I look at the political scene right now, abortion was the starting place for Republican lawmakers in Washington and in state legislatures around the country.  

In order to circumvent Roe v. Wade (which made abortion legal in this country), lawmakers have come up with a wide variety of laws and proposed laws.  Some are already in effect; others are on the fast track for passage due to GOP-controlled legislatures.

These laws will affect YOU - in ways you may not even know.  I was griping on Facebook the other day about how it appears young women simply don't care about what's happening around them.  But one of my young female friends said:  "It's not that they (we) don't care, it's that they don't know to care. They don't think the gov't can do the things they have proposed."

I know young women are busy ... going to school, starting careers, getting married, taking care of children.  But the laws made right now are going to affect you because government most certainly can do the things lawmakers have proposed.  Let me repeat that:  The laws made right now are going to affect you!

Here are some examples - and they come from laws already passed and those near passage:

1) "Personhood" laws ... birth control will be illegal and YOU will have no control over if or when you have children.

2) If your employer has a religious or moral "objection" to contraception, he/she will be able to keep the company insurance from covering that (even if you must take birth control pills to deal with other medical problems such as ovarian cysts, acne, endometriosis, painful menstrual cramps, etc.)  YOU will be paying for birth control out of your own pocket even if you are paying part of your insurance premium costs.

3) YOU will have to prove that you're not taking birth control pills for contraceptive purposes if your employer has a religious/moral objection to contraception and demands that proof.  If you can't provide it, you can be fired from your job.

4) Your doctor can lie to you about YOUR pregnancy (and any complications he/she sees) if he/she has an objection to abortion and thinks that's what you may choose.  And you can't sue for medical malpractice, either.

5) Some abortion bans do not make exceptions even if the life of the mother is at risk.  In other words, should an abortion be medically necessary, YOU will not receive the treatment - and YOU may well die.

6) If you want an abortion for whatever reason (medical problem included), YOU will have a intravaginal probe shoved in your body as mandated by the state.  And YOU will have to pay for this invasive, uncomfortable, unnecessary procedure.

7) Government funding for groups like Planned Parenthood is being dropped.  For millions of women, Planned Parenthood is the only place they can get medical care including cancer screenings, mammograms, STD testing and treatment, and contraception services.  If YOU need Planned Parenthood (or similar groups), YOU will be out of luck.

8) If your doctor finds you are carrying a dead fetus, YOU will have to wait until "natural delivery" to release it from your body and YOU will just have to hope antibiotics can save you from systemic infection.

I can go on ... there are more.  Lots more. The only way to prevent more laws like the ones above is to use your power at the ballot box and vote out the people responsible for this insanity.  Every single one of the above laws/proposed laws is being supported by the Republicans.  There are a few Democrats who jumped on that bandwagon, but not many. The issue centers on YOU and YOUR choices.  YOU, along with your doctor, should make medical decisions ... not a group of lawmakers who don't even understand what they're talking about.

YOU can stop this, but first YOU have to register to vote and then make YOUR voice heard loud and clear.  Young women comprise a huge voting block in this country, but that power goes to waste because voting statistics show that this same group does not vote!

Remember ... this isn't about abortion.  It's about YOU and YOUR choices.  And this coming November is critical.  Make no mistake about it:  this November IS critical.  I've already fought the battle and I'll fight it again - but you have to do your part, too, because YOU are the ones who will be affected the most.