Thursday, February 23, 2012

Mockingbird Serenade

Last year, in the weeks before my Mom died, I had the privilege of staying with her at night while my other sister worked. Her yahrzeit is Adar 10. During the last few weeks of February, a mockingbird would serenade each night. The first few nights, it was difficult to fall asleep but then, the charm of the bird song started to kick in. The video below is what is sounded like:

Today, at work, another mockingbird began his serenade. It is a beautiful reminder of the laughter my family shared in the last weeks of Mom's life. It is a beautiful reminder that Mom's last breath she took was laughing with us.

I can still hear the mockingbird's serenade and the echo of Mom's laughter.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

"Aspirin Between the Knees"

Foster Friess, the billionaire backer of Rick Santorum, doesn't seem to have much smarts in spite of his accumulated wealth. When speaking of the birth control issue that is frothing around, especially in Santorum's camp, this is what Friess had to say during an interview:

“Back in my day, they used Bayer Aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t that costly,” he said Thursday on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports, setting the host back for moment.

I haven't heard a phrase like that in over thirty years. My Mom said it to me just before I started having my period. What she was trying to tell me was that the best thing to do is abstain from sex before marriage. Then she told me about birth control.

The Republicans are trying their best to make the birth control health coverage issue about religious freedom. But it's not about religious freedom at all. It's about women's health. Some women need to be on birth control because of hormonal issues. Some need to be on it because they could die if they have children. The hearing today, led by Representative Issa was a farce and played for the 28% of those Americans who believe that women are incapable of making their decisions about their health. Their "expert panel" didn't have any health professionals and consisted solely of men.

It would be nice if teenagers chose to abstain from sex and that there isn't a need for birth control. The reality is that teens will have sex. Mississippi has only teaches abstinence in its schools now.

Mississippi now has the highest pregnancy rate among teens:

Mississippi, a comparatively poor state in the South, had a rate of 68.4 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 19 in 2006, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report. That marked a 13 percent increase over 2005.

And that's not all:

It has rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis among youth practically twice that of the national average.

Additionally, the Sex Information and Education Council of the U.S. reports that:

“Nearly 60 percent of Mississippi high school students report ever having had sexual intercourse compared to 47.8 percent of high school students nationwide. Moreover, teens in the state are nearly twice as likely to have engaged in sexual intercourse before the age of 13, and 50 percent more likely to have had four or more sexual partners than their peers nationwide.”

Rick Santorum, Representative Issa, most Republicans in Congress, and billionaires like Foster Friess are sadly deluded if they think people are going to us an "aspirin between the knees" or abstinence as birth control.

Rick Santorum views on sex:

Here is an actual Rick Santorum quote: “One of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is I think the dangers of contraception in this country.” And also, “Many of the Christian faith have said, well, that’s okay, contraception is okay. It’s not okay. It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.”
It’s pretty basic: Rick Santorum is coming for your contraception. Any and all of it. And while he may not be alone in his opposition to non-procreative sex, he is certainly the most honest about it — as he himself acknowledged in the interview.

Rick Santorum wants to do away with all birth control because its against his religious views. Kinda of scary that this man is actually in the running for President of the United States. I mean, do you really want Rick Santorum telling you how you must live your married life and you as a couple have sex?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Why Does Fox News Hate the Constitution?

The so-called "culture wars" are heating up. Apparently, Republicans, Rick Santorum, and Fox News doesn't like the fact that insurance companies must now cover birth control pills. To be fair, religious institutions do not have to provide that coverage. I can see that. What I can't understand is why some politicians, especially Santorum, believe that their faith and religious beliefs trump our US Constitution. Jon Stewart says it so much better than I can:

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The Vagina Ideologues - Sean Hannity's Holy Sausage Fest
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Jewish views on be fruitful and multiply are very different than Christian views.

In a most remarkable ending to the Mishnah of Yevamot, there is a disagreement cited between an anonymous teacher and Rabbi Yochanan ben Berukah. The anonymous teacher (whose view is accepted Jewish law) states that women are not obligated to be fruitful and multiply. In traditional Jewish law, it is a man's duty to marry and have children, whereas a woman is free to remain childless…

The whole birth control controversy is not about so-called "culture wars". It's about a group of people trying to foist their religious beliefs on everybody else. The US Constitution is a remarkable document. Let's not let Fox News, Santorum, and Republicans try to change us from a representative democracy to theocracy.