Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Smart Women, Stupid Women, Marriage Equality and Your Right to Remain Silent

First off, right off the bat, WENDY!

That's right, Wendy Davis--holy cow, what an amazing person, huh?  Wendy for Governor, Wendy for Senate, Wendy for President!  Thank you, Wendy, for putting yourself out there for women.  I hope you can turn Texas BLUE!

Here's a video from her last campaign, and I'm posting it because it segues into something else I wanted to discuss:

You see, just a couple of days ago, I saw a piece about what may possibly be the most ill-informed woman alive.

Jodie Laubenberg

Yes, that's a live link.

Now, Ms. Laubenberg, who has been stumping for an amazingly restrictive abortion law in, of course, where else, TEXAS, stated that (and I'm paraphrasing here) there's no reason to keep abortion safe, legal, and available, because women can just go to the emergency room and have a RAPE KIT performed.  Which, according to this silly person, "cleans women out."

I may scream myself to DEATH.  

I spent years working with rape and domestic abuse victims, mostly in the Emergency Room.  I'm wondering, Ma'am, precisely what part of a RAPE KIT "cleans a woman out?"  Is it the swabs for gathering DNA/semen samples from the victim's rectum, vagina, and/or mouth?  The baggies and vials into which those swabs are deposited?  Perhaps it's the DROP CLOTH the victim is required to stand on as she removes her clothing (meant to catch any evidence that may drop off as she disrobes).  Maybe it's the PUBIC COMB used to comb through the victims pubic hairs in search of any left behind by her attacker?  The fine-toothed comb used on her head for the purpose of finding her attacker's hairs?  Is it maybe the combing and sampling done to her loved ones and friends to eliminate their evidence from consideration?  Oh, wait, I know!  Duh!  It's the little "orange sticks" used to dig evidence out from under the victim's fingernails, isn't it?

You misinformed (and misinforming) woman.  You slow, dangerous creature.  It's bad enough when mean, cruel old men turn on women, but when one of our own does it, and does it in such a spectacularly Sarah Palin-ish way, it's particularly painful.

And enraging.


So, this meme came across my wall yesterday.  Not the first time.  Heck, might not be the first time I've blogged about it.  But, as always, it got me going.

Okay, one, I almost never share anything that admonishes me to share.  It's just a thing.  Two?

I don't necessarily agree.  There are . . . issues.

First, when I shop ANYWHERE with employees who have kids, I'm helping with dance lessons, team jerseys, moms and dads putting food on the tables, paying mortgages, etc.  That goes without saying, and I find it disingenuous to suggest that those things are only true if I shop small and local. That said, I do NOT shop Walmart.  Why?   Well, because their business model offends me and their treatment of employees horrifies me. I shop Wegmans and Costco, both of which are known for their fair treatment of workers.

In addition, shopping small and local is, almost by definition, more expensive.  Some of us are able to make that financial leap.  For others?  Not so much.  Plus, shopping small and local often leaves us either unable to find products we need OR having to drive from place to place to shop rather than doing it all at one central location.

Which  brings us to the environmental impact of shopping small and local.  It can be a CO2 disaster.  It can be a pesticide and herbicide disaster.  It can be an irrigation disaster.  You see, when large operations produce large amounts of food, they tend to do it far more efficiently than small farms.  In addition, when foods are shipped en mass, it tends to produce a lot less CO2 per pound of food.  And finally, when we drive from market to market, store to store to find our locally grown foods and whatever-friendly products, we're pumping an astonishing amount of exhaust into the air and chewing through a breathtaking amount of fuel.  

I'm not arguing against locally grown or local businesses, but understand that there are trade-offs.  For the benefits (and there are benefits, to both individuals and communities as well as to any livestock involved), there are definite drawbacks.  Some smaller farms are pooling resources and combining harvests for more efficient shipping and distribution, which is wonderful.  Some are making weekly shipments to large, central distribution areas rather than having individual consumers drive dozens (or more) miles to make pick-ups.  Again, this is wonderful, and it helps address the above concerns.  Some small farmers are engaging in friendlier, more responsible, more conserving methods of irrigating, fertilizing, etc.  And, again, that's wonderful.  We should encourage that.  But the next time you gear up to go nuts on someone who shops at a larger grocery store, remember that YOUR way has it's own drawbacks and downsides.  

Here, a couple of links:

CO2, wasted water, and chemicals aside, there's also the "opposing" side's issues of "factory farming" livestock, widespread mistreatment of animals, and the use of various substances to treat infections, encourage wowser growth, etc.  Oh, and we have the whole GMO thing going on with larger agribusiness.  So this is NOT an easy issue, and what's the TOP concern for me might not be for you.  You may have your own "thing."  It's been my experience that farmers who sell animal products at the Farmer's Market don't tend to box their animals up in small cages and treat them like hell.  That's not a guarantee, just an observation.  And that might be something that sways you.

All of that said, we shop at the Farmer's Market for specific products one day a week.  Our Farmer's Market is close (less than three miles) and the farmers who come there are, in fact, LOCAL.  They aren't driving 100 miles to sell a tiny bit of produce.  They are open about their growing practices, and those we patronize use water-saving, low-chemical methods of growing.  Still not as efficient or as clean (CO2 per pound of produce-wise) as huge agribusiness, but improving, and, for us, worth the trade-off because we're not driving from place to place and our food isn't being driven long distances in small amounts.  For us, it's worth the trade-off one day a week.  And that's what I'm talking about--I'm not condemning small growers (gosh, no!) or local businesses.  Instead, I'm saying we should all be aware of where our stuff comes from and how it gets to us rather than embracing dippy memes aimed at influencing without real information.


An extremely mixed bag from the Supreme Court this past week or two.  On the bright side?  Well, the repeal of DOMA and the striking of Prop h8, of course, plus the decision that human genes cannot be patented.  On the not-at-all bright side?

Chewing away at the underpinnings of the Voting Rights Act.  It only took HOURS for various legislators from various "red" Southern states to start hatching plans to interfere with voters of certain "groups."  When Governor McDonnell said he was handing it over to Ken Cuccinelli, something cold grasped my heart.  Virginia is a state vulnerable to the effects of "redistricting."  Virginia is a state that has already seen interference at the poll, limited poll access, and interminable polling lines.  This can't get anything but worse.

Another not-good SCOTUS decision?  The attack on our "right to remain silent."  

If this doesn't scare the daylights out of you, it should.  Refraining from answering police questions now considered admissible evidence of guilt?  

Here, from the piece:  " . . . 
prosecutors argued that Salinas’ silence during a police interview prior to his arrest was a “very important piece of evidence” and that only a guilty person would have remained silent when questioned about his connection to a crime."

That is terrifying.  "Only a guilty person would have remained silent."  How breathtakingly McCarthyish.  How happy Edwin Meese must be right about now.

What a mess.

So, while I'm thrilled about DOMA and Prop 8 (and the gene patents), fact is, we lost a lot of ground to what has shaped up to be a conservative activist court.  The damage they do could last . . . forever.


Boy, that was pure-D politics.  That's all I've got today.   Oh, except the Boy is 1/3 of the way through his annual exams, and seems to be doing quite well.  Love him like nobody's business, you know.

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