The Rude Pundit on Yesterday's Stephanie Miller Show

The Rude Pundit on Yesterday's Stephanie Miller Show:
Extraordinarily late post today, so enjoy the Rude Pundit talking to Stephanie Miller about the speech Anthony Weiner should have given and how Rand Paul can go fuck himself.


Photos That Make the Rude Pundit Want to Down a Handful of Vicodin with a Wine Glass of Sweet Crude:
There's many reasons we in Left Blogsylvania often look to Canada as a beacon of hope, mostly having to do with universal health care and attention actually paid to infrastructure. But, just like its big brother to the south, Canada is sucking on that oil pipeline like a just-out Iowa 21 year-old on his first trip to Fire Island. And, of course, they get to reap its bounty all over Canada's face.

That's an oil spill in a forest and river in Alberta, from underground tar sands wells, and it's been spewing for over two months. Because why the fuck not?

Back in June, the company in charge of the well declared it "mostly contained," which, nearly 8 weeks later, seems like a bit of a lie, unless "mostly" means "not really."

In Calgary, the people are mostly concerned with cleaning up after the insane floods, which will end up costing $3 billion dollars, which, these days, is a lot to everyone but, you know, the oil companies.

America could learn from America, Jr.'s mistakes on tar sands and oil pipelines. But we won't.


Rand Paul Laughs at You Smug Yankees Wanting to Rebuild Your Storm-Wrecked Houses

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In Chile, the Fight to Legalize the Right to Choose Goes to Church

In Chile, the Fight to Legalize the Right to Choose Goes to Church:

In Santiago, Chile, yesterday, thousands of people marched in the streets to call for the legalization of at least some abortions in that big, growing nation.

Abortion was legal in some circumstances in Chile until General Augusto Pinochet, aka "That Torturing Motherfucker," outlawed it in all cases, even if the pregnant woman's life is in danger, in 1973, the year that Roe v. Wade gave women in the United States the right to choose. In the U.S. this week, the North Carolina legislature passed a law severely limiting or closing off the options for women who wish to have abortions, and three rural Planned Parenthood clinics announced they were closing in Texas, where the Attorney General said that abortion should be outlawed in all cases, even if the pregnant woman's life is in danger, just like Chile, where there are about 160,000 illegal abortions carried out every year.

The president of that country recently praised an 11 year-old girl who was impregnated when she was raped by her mother's boyfriend. Her mother said the sex was consensual. The girl said she looked forward to having the baby and holding it like "a doll."  President Sebastian Pinera said the girl showed "depth and maturity." This case is one of the reasons for several pro-legalization marches throughout the summer in Chile.

The march ended at the Cathedral of Santiago. The protesters interrupted a service, planted their signs on statues, and took over the altar.

It's good to know that, in Chile, the pro-choice forces realize who all the enemies are.


Rep. Steve King on Cantaloupe Calves and Hog Harvesting:
Republican Steve King looks like every white person's beleaguered uncle who comes home from his job selling washing machines at the local Sears, pissed off at everyone who couldn't get their credit approved for the purchase he spent time arranging, turns on Fox "news," drinks some cheap whiskey, and yells at the TV about how these spics and niggers are ruining the nation, even as he tries to cajole those very people into buying shit they don't need so he can get the commission. Truly, he is like some 1970s stereotype, the Silent Majority or whatever, the Last White Prick Standing.

Instead, of course, he's the congressman from northwest Iowa, a state that, like many others in the heartland, is dependent upon the cruel exploitation of tens of thousands of undocumented immigrant workers to keep the fields planted and harvested and to keep the meatpacking plants grinding up animal carcasses. King's district is new (he used to represent the 5th - now it's the 4th), since Iowa lost a seat in the House of Representatives in the last census. But King's district is also 96% white, and, hey, a motherfuckin' representative's got to represent.

So it was that, in an interview with nutzoid right-wing "news" webtoilet Newsmax, King argued against the DREAM Act and other legislation that would create a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants by citing the leg size of some of them: "Some of them are valedictorians — and their parents brought them in. It wasn't their fault. It's true in some cases, but they aren't all valedictorians. They weren't all brought in by their parents. For everyone who's a valedictorian, there's another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds — and they've got calves the size of cantaloupes because they're hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert. Those people would be legalized with the same act." The Rude Pundit hasn't spent as much time as he perhaps should contemplating the sexy, brown, rounded leg muscles of teenage Latinos. Rep. Steve King apparently has.

If you read the entire interview, King is actually fairly incoherent in how he describes the exploited immigrant work force and the debate over giving them a chance to live here without fear of deportation: "We do have people who are in Iowa who are advocating for some type of immigration reform..What they, of course, mean is amnesty — and then they tell me that I need someone to gather my eggs or I need someone to harvest the hogs. I need somebody to milk my cows. Those are arguments that get way ahead of themselves, but there are many, many businesses in the state and in the country that are for immigration because of the anticipation of having cheap, illegal labor ready to take those jobs. I remind them that if we become independent of illegal labor, we may fall back to a place where we're no longer depending upon illegal labor."

Seriously, if you can figure out what the fuck he's talking about, you must have a PhD in the language of fucktard. It seems like he's trying to thread some needle between admitting that the economy of his state would collapse without that "illegal labor" and standing firm against any bill that helps them because law and order or some such shit. Defending himself against condemnation by fellow Republicans, King told Breitbart "news" (motto: "Keeping Andrew's mouldering corpse propped up as long as we can"), "I don’t yet know of anyone who has raised a logical argument against my statement."

Which might be possible if there was anything logical about his statement. It's a bit of an unfair comparison because, you know, there's only one valedictorian per graduating class. Indeed, you could say that for every undocumented kid who is a valedictorian, there's another 100 slaving away in the meatpacking factories of Iowa, making less than 10 bucks a day harvesting hogs. They might be "legalized," too.

Or is that not logical?

(True story: the Rude Pundit was approached by someone to get paid to run Newsmax's feed on this here blog. His response email: "Thanks for the offer, but I'll decline. Newsmax is run by awful human beings who print lies.")


A Review of Chief Mark Kessler's Short Film "I'm Sorry for hurting feelings":
The police chief of Gilberton, Pennsylvania, Mark Kessler, has created an entire oeuvre of cinematic work for YouTube, including "Kerry & UN, can SUCK IT," in which he calls the decorated Vietnam War vet a "piece of shit traitor," and "Basic defensive pistol," where, in uniform, he shoots a picture of a clown he says is a photo of Nancy Pelosi without her make-up. Truly, Kessler traffics in intellectual inversions.

But Kessler's career on film has peaked with his latest, "I'm Sorry for hurting feelings." In the course of 2 minutes and 45 seconds, we witness the limits of the rage of the impotent man, one who lashes out at the world while secretly but knowingly revealing that he himself is the "pussy" and "cocksucker" he calls everyone who disagrees with him. It is, in a word, a masterful display of irony.

The film opens with Kessler in a simple outfit: cap, glasses, a t-shirt emblazoned with the insignia of the CSF, the Constitution Security Force, an organization that Kessler himself started, a kind of militia of one devoted to "protecting" the Second Amendment. He speaks to us seemingly sincerely, offering his apology to anyone who had "hurt feelings" over the profanity used in previous videos. Then Kessler, head bowed, walks off screen for a few seconds, allowing us to contemplate his words as we stare at the desolate dirt road and brush-covered hillside, a tall shrub delicately waving in the breeze, its shadow shifting along with it. Indeed, the sunlight itself provides the image a washed-out look, as if Kessler is, like the scenery, a man now bereft of anything except the most subtly animated life.

However, soon, the Chief pulls the rug out from under us. He returns, carrying an automatic rifle, perhaps an AK-47, and tells us, with great relish, "Yeah, I don’t think so. This boy don’t roll that way," adding, with elongated vowels, "Fuck you."

He then tells the viewers to "go fuck yourself" before firing the gun until it is empty at the hillside off-screen. It is at this moment that Kessler tips his hand: he is nothing without a gun. All of his masculinity, all of his courage, all of his identity disappear when he does not have a loaded gun in his hands. He takes out another rifle, an M-16, and fires that until empty. Finally, he takes a pistol with a large magazine and fires that.

Look at that picture. The gun is a disembodied cock and balls, a compensation for his own lack of both. If there is a clearer image of the pathetic, emasculated American male, the Rude Pundit cannot think of it.

The lack of genitalia bespeaks an emptiness of the soul: the way the guns are easily replaced when out of ammunition; the fact that Kessler is firing at nothing, not a target, not a tree, just shooting to show he can shoot, or perhaps firing at phantoms because they are easier to hit; the several seconds of silence each time that Kessler exits the screen, ostensibly to get another phallus/gun, leaving us to ponder quiet in the absence of the cacophony of the weapons; the isolating feel of a man, alone, filming himself, on a dirt road to nowhere.

We should thank Chief Kessler for his honesty, for his filmic art, and for his willingness to make brutally clear that he is a dickless coward who hides behind bullets.


Travel Day (But Enjoy Zombie Jesus):
The Rude Pundit is leaving Red State America after a fine visit. He'll try to post later today, but never fear: his flights will be protected by zombie Jesus.

Zombie Jesus has risen at Sacred Grinds, a coffee stand in an organic products shop on Canal Street, near City Park, in New Orleans, at a corner where three or four graveyards meet. You probably don't want to eat his flesh, but he sure wants to eat yours.


Ohio Gun Club Wants to Arm Everyone, Including Teachers and Killers:
The low-flying motherfucker is a more common species than you might imagine. All over the nation, low-flying motherfuckers exist, unseen until the moment that they end up fucking a mother and then, all of a sudden, you think, "What was that that just fucked all those mothers?" Of course, once you know that a low-flying motherfucker exists, you can do your best to flush it out and throttle that bastard before more mothers are quite unwittingly fucked. They are such small-dicked creatures that mothers may not even realize they've been fucked until they're told about that stain on their pants later. The problem is that even a low-flying motherfucker is still a motherfucker, and those motherfuckers are tenacious and hard-to-kill. Sometimes you try to stomp one out and it only gets stronger. So you have to approach the eradication carefully. Although, oddly enough, often sunshine is all it takes to do the trick.

Chances are that you never heard or gave a jolly rat's shit about the Buckeye Firearms Foundation. But now they will forever be known as "That Group of Assholes Who Want to Buy George Zimmerman a New Gun." Yes, the Ohio gun clubhouse is gonna take up the cause of arming George Zimmerman because someone might follow him and end up shooting him, perhaps in the course of a fight. Vigilante justice is a bit imprecise that way.

See, since the Department of Justice is investigating the death of Trayvon Martin and Zimmerman's actions, the state of Florida has to keep all the evidence from the case, including the gun used to kill an unarmed teenager, which is the kind of souvenir no amount of money can really buy you. As the BFF (oh, just fuck them) says, "We have created the Zimmerman Second Amendment Fund. We encourage you to donate whatever you can afford, $100 ... $50 ... $25 ... even just $10. We will provide Mr. Zimmerman, who has no current source of income, with the funds he needs to replace his firearm, holster, and other gear. The rest will be set aside to fight similar injustices ... and they happen all the time." That means that after the one or two people who run the "organization" spend $300 bucks or so on a new 9mm pistol, they'll keep the rest of your coin. To fight for freedom or some such shit.

But if you think that giving a gift to Zimmerman is the only action of these, you know, motherfuckers, then you need to check out the top of their webpage. The BFF (that's just sad) isn't only re-arming a known killer in Florida. It's making sure that teachers in Ohio receive, in the words of the dickless soulsucking attorney for BFF, Ken Hanson, "active killer" training. Yep, the BFF is raising $100,000 to train hundreds of teachers to carry weapons and be able to shoot shooters in a cross-classroom shootout that will no doubt end with everyone fine in the 1st grade art class. The BFF wants you to give up $20 for a box of ammo because each teacher uses 1000 rounds of ammo per class. "So I guess the question is, 'Are our kids worth $20?'" the group asks.

On Saturday, the Rude Pundit drove past a bunch of mostly African Americans lined up near a pickup truck under I-10 at Poydras Street in New Orleans. He thought it was one of the marches for Trayvon Martin. But it was not. An African American man on the back of the truck was handing out sacks of food. The line, at least 50 strong, was there to get charity food. The Rude Pundit is gonna give $20 to Second Harvest Food Bank of New Orleans. On his donation, he will say, "Because no one needs more guns."
Big Rude Hugs to Last Week's Guest Writers:
All last week at this here joint, woman after woman wrote blog posts about the right to choose: what it means to have it, what it means to use it, what it means to lose it, and what it means to fight for it. If you didn't read them, do it now, fer chrissake. You will get a picture of the pro-choice movement at this moment in the places where women's rights are most in danger of being curtailed.

So a huge thanks to:

Susan Schorn

Tex Betsy

Alston Capps

Lainie of Occupy Austin

Meg Moen

Wendy of UniteWomen.org Ohio

KP from Kansas

Jenny Evans

Female, Fifty, and Furious

Emily Glenn

Melissa Hassard

Lori Garrott

Kat Rhodes

Amy in Austin

Sheila Fyfe

Southern Fried Feminist


Caitlin Bancroft

Thank you for allowing this writer to take a week off from having endless politics pierce his brain. But, mostly, thank you for your honesty and amazing stories and opinions.

Back later with more mansplained rudeness.


Storm Warning: Prepare for Hurricane Ken 

by Caitlin Bancroft

Pro-Choice Virginians, I have a really bad feeling.  My ovaries are freaking out and I have this crazy urge to stock pile birth control. But I think I know what is causing me to panic. Storm season has begun and Hurricane Ken is headed right for us.

Wait there a minute!! Before you start complaining about overly dramatic weathermen and crazy political commentators, please take a moment and check out the data for yourself.  You may find that I’m actually underreacting

First, here is what we know about hurricanes:
  • They are twisted doom-disseminators that rain destruction.
  • They are so large that we always see them coming, but they still scare us to death when they hit.
  • Long before they become actual threats, they start as harmless swirls of hot air.
  • Once they have started to rotate, they will continue to grow more powerful and more destructive until they no longer have the ocean’s heat to fuel them.
Now, here is what we know about Ken Cuccinelli:
  • He is a harsh, ruthless politician who advocates for discrimination and exudes condemnation.
  • He’s been up to the same old tricks for a while now, but that doesn’t make his presence less disturbing.
  • Before we elected him, he just a man with a head full of hot air and bad ideas.
  • From the first moment he took office, he has used his influence to wage an ever worsening war on the women of Virginia.
Ok ok, I know. You are already complaining about flimsy metaphors and looking up the Wikipedia page on hurricanes..”Where’s the proof?”, you ask. After all, you are not gonna run off and start barricading women’s health clinics without evidence of actual danger. Well, ladies and gentlemen, let’s survey the damage.

When Cuccinelli first showed up on our radar, he was more of an annoyance than a concern. We’re Virginians -- he wasn't our first anti-choice legislator and he certainly won’t be our last. But Cuccinelli was not content with preaching to the base and voting against the occasional comprehensive sex education proposal. It didn’t take long before we realized that he was a whole different kind of zealot. 
During his first two years in the senate, Cuccinelli patroned or co-patroned six different anti-choice bills. His legislation included a parental consent requirement, a “partial-birth abortion” ban, mandatory adoption information on the consent forms for an abortion, and a state-funded abortion alternatives awareness campaigns. Also there was this lovely bill mandating that doctors must anesthetize every fetus older than 12 weeks before any abortion in “a manner suitable for patients undergoing amputation.” If the physician failed to anesthetize correctly, then he or she would be charged with class 6 felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a $2,500 fine. An impressive career record for anti-choice legislator, but this was just the beginning for Hurricane Ken.

Over the next five legislative sessions, Cuccinelli championed another eight anti-choice bills to attack reproductive freedom from every angle.. He tried to close Virginia’s clinics in 2005 with a proposed TRAP bill that would impose more stringent restrictions on the licensure process. When that wasn’t successful, Ken decided that he wanted the state of Virginia to imprison doctors for providing contraception to minors if the person “knew or had reason to believe” that the minor was sleeping with someone 3+ years older than themselves. Because duh, the way to protect young women is to bully their doctors into withholding birth control. Then, to add insult to injury, Cuccinelli demanded that doctors preserve the products of conception and fetal tissue from abortions performed on girls under the age of 15. So that when a young woman in Virginia gets an abortion because she couldn’t get birth control, the government gets to run intrusive tests without her consent. Because apparently in Ken’s mind, it’s more important to restrict reproductive healthcare than to actually offer resources and guidance to vulnerable youth. And we’re just getting started.

Even after years of attacking abortion access, Cuccinelli apparently felt that his efforts were insubstantial. Therefore in 2007 he went nuclear and co-patroned a “personhood bill” with his bff (and current GOP candidate for attorney general)  Senator Mark Obenshain. It is difficult to imagine a more destructive piece of legislation than a bill which grants the “right to enjoyment of life” to every fertilized egg. Most conspicuously, the legislation would have laid the legal groundwork to overturn Roe v. Wade and ban abortion in the state of Virginia – without exceptions for life, incest, or danger to the life of the women. It would also have outlawed several common forms of birth control and even some infertility treatments, including in vitro fertilization.  Fortunately, that atrocious bill did not pass. But in a last hoorah, Hurricane Ken championed the creation of special CHOOSE LIFE license plates to fund Virginia’s crisis pregnancy centers  – anti-choice facilities that lie to vulnerable women in an attempt to dissuade them from considering abortion.  Since Cuccinelli’s budget amendment passed in 2009, over $200,000 has been funneled to Virginia CPCs.

Which brings us to Ken’s arguably greatest achievement in his fight against women’s health: TRAP. In 2009, Hurricane Ken was elected to the office of attorney general. As the official legal adviser to the state of Virginia, the attorney general is supposed to be an unbiased officer who advocates on behalf of the state. But Ken Cuccinelli was not about to waste his new-found power on silly things like fighting unconstitutional laws. During his first year as attorney general, Hurricane Ken issued an official legal opinion of the state concluding that the Virginia Department of Health had the power to institute TRAP laws (and require abortion clinics to meet hospital standards of construction and care). But it was clearly just a coincidence that he was giving the state legislature permission to pass a bill that he had once patroned, right? I’m sure there was no bias involved when he gave his  anti-choice buddies in the General Assembly a thumbs-up to regulate our clinics out of existence.  Um…NO.

As expected, the Virginia General Assembly took the wink-nudge-nod and passed an extremely stringent TRAP bill in 2011. The new targeted restrictions of abortion providers (TRAP) reclassified every clinic that performs more than 5 abortions a month as a type of hospital. As such, each abortion clinic would have to undergo extensive renovations or be forced to relocate in order continue providing health care.

The suggested regulations were passed on to the Virginia Board of Health, who actually listened to medical professionals, precedent, and reason and decided to grandfather-in VA’s existing clinics, exempting them from these burdensome laws. Well, Hurricane Ken was not having it. In  a classic display of arrogance and ruthlessness, Ken Cuccinelli refused to certify the new regulations with the grandfather provision. He told the Board of Health that they were overreaching by granting an exception to current clinics; furthermore, he warned them that if they were sued, the attorney general’s office would not represent them. Seriously – the top lawyer in the Commonwealth actually threatened to refuse to protect the state from lawsuits. Unsurprisingly, the Board of Health heeded Cuccinelli’s threat and removed the grandfather clause, officially approving the new rules in April of this year. In the three months since its vote, two of Virginia’s women’s health centers have closed, and more are expected to follow. Only 1 of our remaining 18 clinics is currently TRAP compliant.  

I think it’s pretty obvious Virginians: We are facing down a storm of epic proportions. Hurricane Ken has been developing for years, and we know just how ruthless he is. Fortunately, we have the chance this year to stop the damage by defeating Cuccinelli’s gubernatorial bid & kicking him out of office for good. Gov. Ken Cuccinelli is a storm that Virginia will not weather well  -- and we cannot afford the devastation it will cause. If you have never heeded the warnings before, now is the time to get concerned – and we need your help to sound the sirens. To fight back, check out NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia’s website and blog, and follow us on facebook, tumblr and twitter to stay involved.

Thanks for your help, fellow fierce feminist storm-troopers!

Caitlin Bancroft is a legal intern at NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia and a disaster movie enthusiast. You can follow her on Twitter @caitbanc and share her feminist outrage on libertytochoose.tumblr.com.

Choosing Abortion Over Child Abuse

Welcome - My name is Ellen, and I am passionate about life, equality, women's rights, freedom, privacy and spiritual growth. I love photography and writing.   I am the PR/Media Director for the Florida chapter of UniteWomen.org.  A big thank you to The Rude Pundit allowing me to be here today. You can follow me on Twitter @Victrisselle

Choosing Abortion Over Child Abuse

My blood is boiling. I barely sleep anymore. Who the hell do these legislators and governors think they are that they can put so many women's lives and mental well-being at risk by their pernicious legislation? Who are these self-designated arbiters of decisions that should only be decided by a woman and her doctor?  The new laws in Florida, Texas, Ohio, North Carolina and many other states are cruel and inhuman. I believe some are also unconstitutional because they take away my civil rights and my sovereignty over my body.

Worse yet, the new laws are based on one group's desires to hold on to the patriarch at ALL costs, and on another group's RELIGIOUS beliefs. Beliefs that do not coincide with my religious or moral beliefs. So who's religious beliefs take priority, mine or theirs? Separation of religion and government was foremost in the minds of our founding fathers when crafting our Constitution. It was structured this way to avoid the long, bloody history of religious wars in Europe and elsewhere. Yet, here we are 230 plus years later, at great risk from a small fanatical, religious, ignorant minority. I say "ignorant" because, when you lack education and knowledge....you ARE ignorant - as opposed to stupid. These changes in our laws are fueled and financed by religious groups, the Patriarchy, ALEC, the Koch Brothers and others. They will go to any lengths to further their agenda and enact legislation. And in the process of forcing their beliefs on others, they are putting many lives at great risk. I will not obey laws based on another person's religion. EVER.

When people put more stock in a Bible written eons ago by a group of misogynistic Arab men than in science and facts, they are ignorant. When people put more stock in religious beliefs than in citizen's civil rights, you are also dangerous. I respect all individual choices - even if I do not agree with them. Just like I support freedom of speech - even if I do not agree with the opinions being expressed. I believe there are many paths to God. This planet has room for all views and paths, including the path of not believing in God. Some of the most caring, compassionate, moral people I know do not believe in God.

If I had gone through with any of my pregnancies, I think it is very likely I would have ended up in jail for child abuse, or worse. I did not grow up in ideal circumstances. My childhood included incest, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, divorce and abandonment. My mother and step-father sold our house and moved to Florida at the beginning of my senior year of high school. They left me with a car so I could get to school. I ended up living in a coed house on Youngstown State University's campus. I feel robbed of my childhood. I lost the ability to trust or to be truly intimate with people. It also left me with intense, uncontrollable rage. When deep hurt remains unresolved, it turns to rage. My father terrified me so much that, in spite of no physiological causes, I did not get my first period until 9 hours after leaving the funeral home for the first time the day after my father died. I was 29 years old. I did not want to be a woman while my father was still alive. That is deep fear.

When I got married, I wanted to have children. I always assumed I would in spite of having a career. After long and painful consideration, I realized that I could not allow myself to have children as long as I had uncontrollable rage. I did not want to take the slightest risk I might harm a child in any way. I could not live with having harmed a young soul. I did not have abortions because I did not want children. I had them because I love and respect children. I had them because I was fairly certain I would physically hurt them in a blind rage. I will never know for certain, but I can live with not knowing more than I could live with the horror of hurting a child, physically or emotionally.

Had I been forced to have a child when I got pregnant, due to laws or lack of affordability, it would have put myself and the child at great risk. I doubt the courts or public would show leniency to me if a child was badly hurt or dead. The pro-life people could care less what happens to either of us after the child is born. They are not for life, only the birth. If they did care, our social services would be strengthened, not cut. The Food Stamp program would not be at risk. If they were truly pro-life, they would not be taking away women's access to affordable contraception or reproductive health care, which will result in deaths. In their smugness, they claim they are preserving life. Whose? Theirs?

Florida only passed one abortion-related law in the 2013 that addressed the birth of a live birth during an abortion attempt. Florida women got lucky in 2012. No abortion laws were enacted - though not for lack of trying. Republicans introduced 11 bills to restrict abortions, but all failed to pass.

Women's abortion rights in Florida took its biggest hit in 2011. Gov. Rick Scott decided that hurting women and restricting their civil rights is something worthy of celebrating.  He threw a big party at the governor's mansion on August 1st to celebrate the four tough new abortion bills that went into effect on July 1, 2011. I found it painful watching dickhead Scott celebrating with his cohorts in a mansion paid for by all of Florida's citizens when I knew the newly enacted laws would actually hurt women and could result in bad outcomes or deaths. I guess it could have been worse. Republicans introduced 18 bills to restrict abortions in 2011.

After seeing some of the new laws in other states, I am starting to think that Florida fared just a bit better than other states -- like Texas.  The only way we can fight these draconian laws is to get out of our homes and into our communities to educate and register voters. Grassroots organizing does work and is very effective. If we do not take action to create change, we will get what we deserve. I urge everyone to volunteer and drag along a friend or ten.  It is a dire situation and women are at great risk in many states - not just Florida. Take action. Volunteer. Please. Lives depend on it.

#AlabamaLege: Y'all Are Not My Deciders

#AlabamaLege: Y'all Are Not My Deciders

I'm pro-choice for many reasons and though I could fill a book about being cheerfully childfree, I had to pick one reason to write about for this post. Thus, I wanted to pick one issue that would perhaps open up the tiniest sliver of doubt in the minds of those who still cling to the notion that a fetus is somehow more important than its host. Not that any of those types would be wandering around this blog, but adding my story it to the chorus felt right. (Side note: I appreciate His Rudeness for featuring all these pro-choice voices. This blog is my new happy place.)

So here's my story: I have a rare, undiagnosed condition that causes some of my bones and tissues to grow oddly and unpredictably throughout my life. Since I have no formal diagnosis, I worry about the health implications an unplanned pregnancy would mean for me. Not only have multiple specialists advised me that pregnancy itself is risky for my body to take on, but I also worry because I am certain I don't want to bring a child into the world with the same condition I have. Since it's an unknown syndrome, testing would likely be inconclusive (especially before 20 weeks), but geneticists believe it could be passed on. Thus, the decision to procreate should rest with me alone – the dreaded gene carrier, potential fetal hostel, and possible special-needs parent. Only I know what it means to live with this condition over a lifetime and only I can judge if it’s fair to deliberately deal this hand to a new person. Only I know if I am physically and mentally ready to withstand the toll of pregnancy and if I'm ready to parent a child, potentially born with severe medical challenges. By outlawing abortions after 20 weeks, states have removed options and merciful choices when fetal anomalies are discovered, or have at a minimum made those options significantly more arduous to exercise for women and couples. Furthermore, women seeking abortion are stonewalled with waiting periods, permission slips, invasive and unnecessary procedures, and to add insult to injury, often the advice they’re given is tainted by medical professionals fearing for their licenses, all while the she is fearing for her very life.

Throughout my childhood my mother worked hard at a job she hated so that we had excellent health insurance. No procedure, specialist, or distance was too extreme to get the best care for me. Now, however, as a grown, employed, tax-paying person with good benefits, my insurance coverage pales in comparison to what my mom provided me. (For example, on her insurance a prescription I frequently need is $10; on mine, it's $105 for the same two-week supply.) If I had a child with similar early-life complications I shudder to think...  the extensive testing, specialist care, corrective and reconstructive surgeries, rehabilitation, medical devices... I simply couldn't afford it. Then, there’s the burden of having available work leave, affording travel, and securing qualified childcare. And that’s assuming my own condition wasn't worsened after a pregnancy and delivery. To force pregnancy and birth on women is torture. It's inhumane. It's incompatible with the ideas of privacy, autonomy, and bodily sovereignty. It robs us of self-determination.

At some point, a choice is made. Right now, legislators want to play judge and jury and determine each and every case that is “worthy” of a golden ticket to the clinic. This is ridiculous! We have over 300 million citizens and I'm just one person with a funky medical condition. I want to live my best life and for me and my partner, that means a childfree life. I reject the idea that sex is only for procreation. I refuse to beg my doctor to administer a couple of pills, forced to cite a laundry list of defenses for my choice. I resent being told by multiple pharmacists that they won't fill my scrip because of their “morality,” even though they chose to enter the ever-altruistic industry of Big Pharma. And I certainly don't deserve to be shamed and intimidated by "Sidewalk Angels" (gag) decrying me as a murderer when I visit a clinic for my basic healthcare needs.

Alabama’s state motto is: Audemus jura nostra defendere, Latin for, “We Dare Defend Our Rights.” I have a right to bodily autonomy and self-determination and our out-of-touch legislators can’t dissuade me from that charge.

I tweet about reproductive rights @SthrnFriedFemst.

Banning Abortion Is Bad For Women.
It’s Bad For Virginia Business, Too.

Hi — I'm Sheila, a blogger from Virginia. Well, actually I’m the chief stenographer for the fascinating felines who opine at My Cats Are Democrats. If I knew how to purr, I’d do it in The Rude Pundit’s direction — for giving me space to point out that the Republicans are terrible in ways we perhaps haven’t yet dreamed.

On top of all the havoc that Republicans are wreaking on our Constitutional rights, healthcare and lives, damage to the business world is the other destructive legacy that’s sure to result from the GOP’s war on women.

And it’s definitely going to be something that our now-scandal-tarred governor, “Transvaginal Bob” McDonnell, and his anti-choice, anti-fun-sex-even-between-married-people attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, will leave the Commonwealth of Virginia. Here’s how.

First, a little background: Virginia is really two states — the blue one that Barack Obama carried twice, and the red one that the Republicans and teabaggers are in charge of down in Richmond.

Virginia is the populous, ethnically diverse Washington suburbs, which stretch into Prince William County, where I live. And it’s also the state of Liberty and Regent Universities, of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, of Gadsden flag and "choose life" license plates, and gun shows at the county fairgrounds.

But it’s not going to stay that way.

The Republicans here are, as in other states, demographically doomed. (Heck, even Liz Cheney is abandoning us.) Commonwealth-wide, Virginia is purple and trending blue. Regent Law School grad Bob McDonnell knew that, which is why he downplayed his right-wing Christian background and ran for his constitutionally limited single term as a business-friendly non-ideologue à la Mark Warner or Tim Kaine.

But that was then, this is now. Today, we have McDonnell-mandated ultrasounds, and Cuccinelli-coerced abortion-clinic building standards. (A women’s clinic in Fairfax is Cootchy’s latest victim.) These new laws are sapping women’s healthcare resources, cutting them off from necessary services, and, of course, stomping on their Constitutional rights. And I’m convinced that Virginia corporations with active recruitment efforts and well-crafted succession plans are secretly very unhappy about it.

See, Virginia is home to some pretty big industries — like agriculture, tobacco, shipbuilding, tourism, banking, consulting, healthcare, finance and tech — and celebrated “best employers” like Accenture, Booz Allen Hamilton, Capital One and Deloitte.

Important companies like those are constantly chasing high-quality talent from around the country, and competition is fierce. Too many employers are pursuing too few highly skilled executive/management candidates, especially in fields like IT, finance and engineering. And with times so tough for recruiting, Republicans in states like Virginia — by passing anti-abortion, anti-family-planning, and anti-women’s-healthcare legislation — are making it even harder.

That’s because Republicans are balkanizing America — turning it into a bunch of states you want to live in because you can pursue happiness in them, and a bunch of states that you don’t because you can’t. States where you can terminate a pregnancy, get a contraceptive, marry whom you love, stay safer from guns, rely on a social safety net, vote without a hassle, and have your kids learn science in school — and states where you can’t. States with a good quality of life, and states without.

A few years back, an executive recruiter cold-called my husband with a job opportunity. It was a great job, she said, located in a city in America’s heartland. He turned her down flat — wouldn’t even interview for it, because the state in which it was located had, thanks to Republicans, gone off the political deep end. (And he felt this way even though we had long since passed the stage that Jeb Bush would describe as “fertile.”)

The recruiter was surprised and puzzled. I assume that she no longer is. Because since that time, Republicans have only gotten worse, creating right-wing Siberias where no smart, clear-thinking American will ever want to move — states like Texas, North Carolina and Kansas, or even Ohio and Wisconsin.

The Old Dominion, unfortunately, has joined that list. What ambitious and progressively minded young woman (or young man, or young couple) would want to take a job in Virginia, when McDonnell and Cuccinelli have openly vowed to “make abortion disappear”? That means making women’s healthcare disappear. But abortions will not go away. The women who may need them will — especially up-and-coming professionals who refuse to live somewhere they have no rights.

What will it take for Virginia businesses to speak up? Sadly, not because the state is forcing itself into our doctors’ offices. They’ll start screaming when enough talented people tell recruiters who want them to live and work here, “Hell, no, I won’t go.” When a CEO in another part of the country announces to his employees that they’re relocating to, say, Norfolk, Virginia Beach or Richmond, and his best workers quit rather than move.

Are you one of those talented women whose skills Virginia businesses crave? If so, the economic power is in your hands. Please think about using it.

Meanwhile, Virginia Republicans heedlessly, obliviously bash on. Their candidates for statewide office this fall are living proof. Vote for them, and you’ll be electing: 1) Cootchy governor, 2) an attorney general candidate who thinks women who have miscarriages should be reported to the police (just in case they’re having self-induced illegal abortions), and 3) a maniac for lieutenant governor who says Planned Parenthood is a hate group and who makes Cuccinelli look like a flaming lefty.

The GOP war on women is giving my state’s business community a long, slow heart attack. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But soon. I promise.

(IMAGE: The seal of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in all its half-naked glory. Don't tell Cootchy!)
Texas Senator Hegar—I hope you are RIGHT and there is a God and a Heaven and a Hell. 

I hope that you are right because that means you will burn in hell.

I can think of no more fitting price to pay for your mean, hypocritical behavior in the State Capitol this past few weeks. That Christian god whose ass you lick so diligently has a huge reputation for charity, and you displayed NONE regarding the omnibus abortion legislation. When you find yourself assigned to hell, along with Governor Perry and the rest of your conservative cohorts, I think you will discover that this battlefield you paraded around so self-righteously here on earth set you all up for eternal damnation.

When this bill was signed by Governor Perry you said, “There has been no other piece of legislation that I have ever worked on — nor any that I will ever work on — that has weighed so heavy on my mind, on my heart and literally on my soul.”  You dishonest, ignorant, son of a bitch—how brazen of you to pretend to being a leader, an informed decision maker representing ALL of your constituents, when all you are is a poor excuse for what an elected official should be. I don’t give a damn what your soul says you pious loser. Abortion is legal in the United States and yet you are proud of your service as Perry’s lackey to make this end run to limit access to abortions—an action that will have a far greater negative impact. Have you looked at the map of the loss of clinics in Texas? You may see unborn lives saved, but I see a brutal slash of savage meanness that will be crippling for Texas women and the families that love them from the Rio Grande Valley, up the 1,254 miles of the Texas/Mexico border, into the great plains, and across the panhandle. Your chickenshit legislation will close down clinics that serve many of the state’s poor, rural, and underserved populations. You think that’s going to make your GOD happy? I don’t.

Today, July 18th, when you and your crew were signing and celebrating your bill, I was flat on the floor of a clinic in the Rio Grande valley. I was weighing my options, as an unexpected and serious illness while traveling with my children left me with a few bad choices. Turns out medical options are scarce down here, and when you are sick—and I'm sure it gets worse when you are sick and scared—you find yourself making decisions based on a lot of things that should not rank above a healthy outcome. But here I am, a 50-year old professional woman with cash in my purse and a friend that made the trip to the valley to sit beside me in my pain—and I was trying to decide if the cost of an ambulance to a decent hospital an hour away was worth it. I can’t get up off the floor and I’m thinking about cost—and I have insurance. I’m also realizing I’m too sick to travel and too sick to stay in such a medical wasteland—and I don’t know what to do. Let me tell you something, with all the things I have going for me I felt screwed. An 8-hour drive when I'm sick? A higher cost for services that were inexpensive or free in the past?  But YOU, and that half-assed excuse for a Governor, and the rest of your conservative league of falsely pious shits have just condemned tens of thousands of women (with far fewer resources than I have available) to feeling screwed for years to come. Are you not afraid, really, truly afraid, that this action will haunt you all?

I cannot find the words for my rage.

If men got pregnant, this sort of legislation would never, ever, be considered.

If ANY of you elected pricks and thin-lipped bitches think abortion hasn’t been the option of choice for women you love (your MOTHERS, your DAUGHTERS, your SISTERS, and your WIVES)…think again. I’ve been to those clinics and there were plenty of affluent, white, Christian, gals in there that were YOUR family members. I don’t blame them for not telling you, you are certifiable ASSHOLES and no one would trust you with such a personal and painful choice. I do blame YOU for thinking you know what’s best and trying to deny women in Texas access to choice.

You stand on the floor of the Texas Legislature and whimper about LIFE, in a state that executes more humans than most nations. Governor Perry sent his 261st inmate to death just this month. Don’t the lies about your belief in the sanctity of life stick in your throats?

And WOMEN”S HEALTH as a concern? Did some of you arrogant, wretched people reference concerns for women’s health to justify your “playing god” legislation? NO ONE IN AMERICA thinks this legislation has a single thing to do with health. It’s a war on abortion access and you have the unmitigated nerve to suggest that you care about health when Texas ranks DEAD LAST in America in health care services on the 2012 scorecard issued by the federal Agency for Health Care Research and Quality. Texas has the HIGHEST rating in uninsured citizens, and yet in 2011 our state’s morally bankrupt Republican majority underfunded Medicaid by billions
I went to the Texas Capitol with my 10 year old daughter when I read that the State Senate was forcing a showdown on June 25th. I took both kids to hearings earlier in the week, but only my 10-year old daughter and I were there the night a big crowd became an “unruly mob” and was written into the history books.
The lines wove crazily through the Capitol, up stairways, down stairways, around rotundas, through north and south wings…it was a cheerful group. Mostly women, almost all in orange, ranging in age from 4 to 94.
We chatted, looked for news on iphones and ipads, and speculated on if Senator Wendy Davis had opted for a diaper or a catheter. (She has two kids—and those of us that have given birth were disinclined to think any woman that has given birth twice could hold her piss for 13 hours.) Food was passed out by volunteers, and water bottles were distributed frequently.
It felt more like camping out for tickets for the Dixie Chicks than a political event.
But there was a charge in the air—and as things heated up on the Senate floor around 10:30 pm, the crowd became more alert and tension rippled through as bits and pieces of news reached us.
When the filibuster was stopped, on dubious grounds, the crowd surged into a different mode.
Lines became tight crowds, buzzes became roars.
It crossed my mind as the DPS troopers tried to work through the crowd to the doors of the Senate Gallery, that they were being pretty polite—but who, really, would want to escalate things with a bunch of women and children?
When the screaming and shouting began in earnest, we knew what we were doing.
We were trying to drown out the business of the Texas Senate.
It was deliberate, heartfelt, and justified.
And we won a victory of sorts.
The majority Republicans were caught with their pants down—unable to finish what they started and caught falsifying the records to cover their tracks.
They backed up, backed down, and then Governor Perry called them all back for another round.

Make no mistake—this is a war on abortion by 117 elected officials (plus Perry and Dewhurst, the worst of the lot) from a state with more than 26 million residents.

This is war.
And I aim to fight.

I have been down to the Capitol to submit testimony, march, shout, and stand many times since the night of June 26th. The crowds get bigger and bigger. There are more men, more children, and more indignant women. There are folks in blue on the “other side” but they are terribly underwhelming as a whole.
This battle was lost, but, I think, not the war.

I am an unlikely soldier in this war, but I will NOT allow everything I have learned in the past 50 years to go unsaid.
I do not think a pregnancy is the same thing as a baby.
I have miscarried after the first trimester and that bloody mess was not a baby.

I would NEVER insist a woman get an abortion, and I would NEVER insist a woman complete a pregnancy.
That fewer than 100 mealy-mouthed men and a dozen tightly wound, conservative bitches would vote to decide to limit my options to end a pregnancy is stunning.

The audacity.
The hypocrisy.
The rule-breaking, the cheating, the FRAUD from Republicans crowing about their moral high ground.
We should all be terrified that they do so publicly, proudly, and oblivious to what this means.
It means Rick Perry and his band of right-wing, like minded legislators think they can do whatever they want.
Pro-death penalty legislators promising to protect life.
Anti-gun control legislators worried about a safer community.
It would be funny if it were not so terrifying and sad.

I could write for years.
I will fight forever.

So when I say “GO TO HELL” to these insufferable shits, I don’t mean “get lost” or “I hate you.” I mean I really, really, really hope there is a hell and they congregate there for eternity to burn in shame for being cruel, for being arrogant, and for being WRONG in taking this action.