Tuesday, February 28

Breaking for a yarn post

I've been doing a lot of knitting since the new year, and today I un-procrastinated, and kool-aid dyed two lovely skeins of Cascade Ecological Wool sent to me by a very generous blog reader.

I didn't like the blue lemonade, so I added the strawberry for a mauve result.  The blue lemonade was too light, and the lemon aspect of it probably compromised the depth of color.  Will probably resort to acid dyes for real blue yarn in the future, though I have no intention of ever knitting a Tardis garment, ever.  Never.    

This was very fun and I recommend it as a non-toxic activity for kids.  Middle child enjoyed it.  As the yarn soaks in the Kool-Aid solution the water turns clear as if by magic.  It must be wool or other protein fiber to work.  

Under the Desk has very thorough directions.  There are also several YouTubes of the process out there.  

Monday, February 27

Give that lad Santorum some mental help.

Nice try, Rick, but nobody is going to vote for an incumbent Democrat thinking "orgy!"  

And the comment thread in the related post is funny.  Lots of gay folks there think Santorum needs an de-closeting intervention, some porn to call his own, or at least some mental help.

Friday, February 24

The Professional Left Podcast Ep 116

proleft app ad 400px The Professional Left App is available at the App Store.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  We had file corruption issues this afternoon -- if you downloaded the podcast and only got 3 minutes or so, please download it again -- we re-posted it at Buzzsprout.  

The button below allows listeners to throw a contribution specifically towards the podcast.  Thanks for your listenership and support!  We really appreciate it:

Thanks again Marlene at ZMac Consulting and  Heather at Crooks and Liars Video Cafe for their help. And don't forget you can listen to our archives for free with no downloads or registration at Professional Left.

Wednesday, February 22

Why does Rush Limbaugh feel the need...

..to insert himself into the birth control debate?

It's Politico, promoting discussion of their own story, but still:

The conservative radio host was prompted by a recent POLITICO story headlined, “2012: The year of ‘birth control moms’?” which examined whether the issue of contraception will have women voters swinging left to back President Barack Obama’s reelection bid.
Limbaugh argued that Democrats are accusing Republicans — presidential candidate Rick Santorum in particular — of wanting to ban birth control in an effort to turn voters against the GOP. ... “This is a totally manufactured issue.”  He added, “They do not have the economy, they do not have one thing in Obama’s record they can point to and say, ‘You want four more years of this? Vote for us!’ So they have to gin something up, and they have done it here. And so now they’re going drum up this ‘birth control moms’? Isn’t that kind of contradictory? A birth control mom? How do you become a mom if you’re into birth control?”
Rush, the people who pay your ginormous salary overestimate your worth and your political acumen.  A smarter man would know when to totally, utterly, shut the fuck up. 

photoshop by Blue Gal; all rights reserved

Sunday, February 19

Actually, Mike Huckabee, we're all feminists now.

Keep it up, Rick.    You are actually doing us all a great favor.

The latest in his war on families making informed choices regarding family composition is his objection to amniocentesis.   No, really.

He's saying that when a woman is aware that she is carrying a Down's syndrome child, that information ENCOURAGES her to seek an abortion.  Well, he's right about that.  92% of couples who discover their child has Down's do make that decision in the privacy of their doctor's office.  

Rick Santorum thinks it's better we should be uninformed, because then we all have the opportunity to be Sarah Palin and bring our mentally retarded, Down's Syndrome embryo to term.  Then we can all get seven million dollar book deals to afford the care for that child for the rest of his life, and pray that seven million dollars WILL BE ENOUGH.   

Or maybe we can just ride airplanes from Texas to Alaska while leaking amniotic fluid.  That's a good choice, too.  It might bring about God's will for us without having to make a moral decision that would lose us the Republican Base.  Or it might not.

It's another war on couples making a choice on how they want their families to function.  Again,  92% of families who find out their unborn child has Down's syndrome, choose to abort.  A LOT of those women already have kids and know how hard parenthood is with a child who does NOT have medical needs.   Prenatal testing checks for all kinds of abnormalities that will affect the delivery of a healthy child when the parents decide to have the baby.  It's a medically accepted practice and Santorum is being ridiculous using this as a wedge issue against Obama.  Also, he's going to lose, and women are having their consciousness raised way beyond what the right wing should want, ever.

Pair all of this up with Santorum's statement that moms should just not buy an iPad if they want to afford their child's medications.   He is anti-family, the end.

Milking someone else's personal tragedy and incredibly difficult choices for political gain, financial reward,  or eternal salvation will fail in the end, Rick.  Be warned.  

Friday, February 17

The Professional Left Podcast Ep 115

proleft app ad 400px The Professional Left App is available at the App Store.

Links for this episode:
Lawrence O'Donnell on Santorum and the debate with conservatism.
The button below allows listeners to throw a contribution specifically towards the podcast.  Thanks for your listenership and support!  We really appreciate it:

Thanks again Marlene at ZMac Consulting and  Heather at Crooks and Liars Video Cafe for their help. And don't forget you can listen to our archives for free with no downloads or registration at Professional Left.

Podcast-able moment, just sayin'

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Thursday, February 16


Santorum's sugar daddy billionaire funder has suggested "aspirin between the knees" as a "cheap" contraceptive. 

An aspirin-sized brain and a big mouth is no way to go through life, asshole.   Also, your taxes are too low by about a billion percent.  

Friday, February 10

Ep 114 The Professional Left Podcast

proleft app ad 400px The Professional Left App is available at the App Store.

Links for this episode:

The Final Edition (Satire):  "Roger Ailes: 'Fuck It, I'll Just Be President Myself'"

Obama-Bush meet re automaker bailout, 2008

Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.

The button below allows listeners to throw a contribution specifically towards the podcast.  Thanks for your listenership and support!  We really appreciate it:

Thanks again Marlene at ZMac Consulting and  Heather at Crooks and Liars Video Cafe for their help. And don't forget you can listen to our archives for free with no downloads or registration at Professional Left.

Thursday, February 9

Visiting "The Final Edition" Today

I've always thought that if I had a million dollars I'd like to get my freak bloggers together and buy the "SPY Magazine" name and put something big online.  It turns out some SPY people are now doing The Final Edition and were kind enough to accept my submission for its lead story today.

As I wrote back and forth to the editor, I brought up the subject of payment.

"I assume I'll be paid in the universal currency of blogging known as Arianna dollars?"

And it was so. 

I understand if you get a million of those greenbacks, Ms. Huffington her own self will bring you ziploc-bagged leftovers from her Davos buffet.  

Note:  The Final Edition is not affiliated with Huffpo, obv.

Wednesday, February 8

Good Lord, who let Kathryn Jean Lopez on Twitter?

Crooks and Liars shares the above image; even on Twitter Lopez can't stay away from the C-word.

Here's what I wrote in 2009...

Kathryn Jean Lopez: Why I Care 

Back in November of 2006 I noted this quote from National Review Online's Kathryn Jean Lopez:

"Passing out contraception without any deeper context or conversation is degrading and disrespectful — to men and women. Tell me I'm crazy."

Oh honey. By the time I got your invitation, that show had opened on Broadway:

call her crazy

Now it turns out she's at it again, via Sadly, No!:

I may be delusional, but I think the American Revolution still trumps the urban dictionary in much of the country.

And my question isn't why she thinks the American Revolution trumps the Urban Dictionary in much of the country. Honestly, that ship has sailed.

She may be a victim of her own political lunacy, but in terms of her whole "call me crazy" "maybe I'm delusional" rhetorical, um, flourish? Maybe she thinks it's self-effacing. Maybe it's a cry for help.

Kathryn: speaking as one committed plump brunette leading political blogger to another, what it is, is bad writing. Take a good hard look at your NRO official keychain and just. stop. it.

Blog #AgainstTheocracy - Bigger and Better than Ever!

Actually, South Park Jesus, it's over a month away, but I want to get the word out.

Blog Against Theocracy is an annual blogswarm dedicated to the separation of church and state.  It takes place Easter weekend, (this year that is April 6-8) only because that is one time we can depend on the mainstream media to cover the religion beat.

It is not a blogswarm against religion.   Bloggers who believe in religion and those who don't are equally welcome here.   What we share is a common commitment to the First Amendment to the Constitution and, paging Teabaggers, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the current and former denizens of Komen, its guarantee of church-state separation.

Everyone can choose their own topic concerning anti-theocracy.  My theme this year is simple.   Like the most famous unwed pregnant girl of all time, I stand with Planned Parenthood.

And as I said when I first published this photoshop:

...before anyone goes all "Sacrilege!" on my ass, I believe with my heart of hearts the Mary is the mother and sister and companion to every frightened girl who enters a Planned Parenthood clinic for HELP.   And I know for a fact that not every pregnant woman who enters a PP clinic gets an abortion.   Many of them go there so their babies will be born HEALTHY.   And in many parts of the country, it's the only place many women CAN go for prenatal care.   Think about that, fundie mofos.

UPDATE:  This from Tengrain, which we both agree is over the top and totally called for.

Tuesday, February 7

In the artist's studio with Blue Gal and Newt and Callista Gingrich

A funny thing happened on the way to photoshopping Newt Gingrich musical record albums.

Stephen Colbert has been having a lot of fun with those, but this photo was not a photoshop.  It was just add the text and bingo, you've got country-Newt in his pensive solo period:

Photoshopping Newt and Callista Gingrich as Tammy Wynette and George Jones should be a natural fit, right?

Take this:

Mix in summa this:

Give it a soft focus, and voila:

Except, so what?  It doesn't look that different.   I think Newt and Callie and George and Tammy (yeah it does sound like Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice but that's another photoshop) have something in common.  Artistically, they are their hair.   Or, in other words, without her hair, Callista Gingrich is nobody.

Anyway, I didn't want the photoshops to go to waste, but sometimes it's back to the drawing board.

Thank the good lord my 13 yo son is not alone.

Pizza is a GameStop accessory for the Nintendo Wii.

And this from a blog called "Ninjas, every goddamn day."

We have found his tribe.  Praise be.

And keep the young man in your thoughts today he's getting braces.

Monday, February 6

Welcome to the Culture War

There are three reasons I will willingly give up sleep: to care for a sick child, to have sex with my husband, and to watch Up with Chris Hayes. This weekend Hayes featured four (four!) women panelists to talk about Komen and birth control. Enough said. I highly recommend watching the whole show online if you are cable-free or not a morning person, but for me this moment was the money shot of this weekend's offering:

There's so much here, (I love that we are calling out "witchhunt" and "bullying" when it comes to PP) but particularly Chris Hayes's statement that "This is the Culture War."

None of us can be neutral in the culture war over Planned Parenthood.

What we are confronting here is that defending Planned Parenthood on the "nice pink" issue of breast cancer screening DOES MEAN defending Planned Parenthood on the not-so-pink issues of contraception and yes, abortion. There is a direct link between the Catholic Bishop freak out on health insurance to cover contraception and the Komen brouhaha. It's women. And it's women in a very "Wake Up White Women!" way.

We privileged white women with educations and laptops and smartphones and wide access to the twitter streams of our congressmen, can't be neutral or even silent.

We can't say "I would never have an abortion but don't want to restrict access for anyone else" and stand aside while state legislatures around the country restrict access for everyone else.

We can't wear a pink ribbon and attend Estee-Lauder sponsored Pink Events, and  say we're doing our part for women's health, while being silent about the bullying of Planned Parenthood by the Dallas denizens of Komen. The Komen brand must be taken out, primarily because they are a corporate tool for advertising as "pro-women" while blindfolding consumers to the environmental and behavioral causes of cancer. And while Komen and Virginia Slims alike would never have enough audacity to put pink ribbons on cigarettes...

...I doubt Komen's lawyers looked carefully into the not-at-all-subtle pink ribbons throughout the model's sweater and thought about spending their half-million in attorney's fees on suing big tobacco.   There might be some Phillip Morris heiress who'd love some fashion show tix.

not a photoshop
And about the Catholic Church and this whole birth control / health insurance issue. First up, Melissa Harris-Perry is right, this is a huge argument for single-payer health insurance: get the employers out of the picture. And the Catholic Church has since its inception cast a very wide net for membership, allowing for ethnic and other cultural differences under the big umbrella of Catholicism (Italian and Irish Catholics alike take the same communion).

The bishops have also made a bargain with their female parishioners -- come to church, pay your tithe (ha), and take communion, and we won't ask about your IUD. Get married in the Church and we won't ask about your premarital sex. Baptize your kids and we won't ask why you only have two and they seem "spaced" contrary to biology.

And then they let Newt Gingrich become a member.

  But as I said in 2009:

 But it's not just that Gingrich doesn't realize that people can look up what he said five years or five minutes ago on the internet tubes. Newt has become a Catholic, I believe, because old-style Catholicism buys into what he (and Republicanism) have believed all along: that you may not be perfect, but you are always forgiven, provided you profess loyalty and devotion to the ideology involved. So as long as you SAY you believe in the Holy Catholic See/Grand Old Party ideology, no matter how much you lie or how big a hypocrite you are, the indulgences will come at you fast and easy.

From Wikipedia, which in this case is a pretty accurate rendition:
An indulgence, in Roman Catholic theology, is the full or partial remission of temporal punishment due for sins which have already been forgiven. The indulgence is granted by the church after the sinner has confessed and received absolution. The belief is that indulgences draw on the storehouse of merit acquired by Jesus' sacrifice and the virtues and penances of the saints. They are granted for specific good works and prayers.
The Republican Party and the 24 hour news cycle (that apparently needs them to fill up 'fair and balanced' programming minutes) doles out indulgences all the time. That's why compulsive gambler Bill Bennett and Christian Right/Gambling benefactor Ralph Reed can appear on CNN as Republican analysts and Wolf Blitzer doesn't bat a eye. It's why Newt Gingrich himself is allowed into the green room at This Week any Sunday morning he likes, whether Paul Krugman sits next to him or not.

It's why despite his horrible record and affairs and total hypocrisy he may be the standard bearer of his party, the party of family values, in 2012.

And notice, John Edwards won't.
So apparently (and this is none of my business), you can be a birth-control using woman and also a Catholic.

You can't be a woman who wants to continue to use birth control and vote Republican.   They are after your birth control, and the days of being neutral in the culture war are over.   Katha Pollit totally gets it:
First they came for abortion, but I didn’t care because abortion was for sluts. Then they came for sex ed, but I didn’t care because the kids can learn all they need to know at home. Then they came for birth control, but… Wait a minute! Birth control? They’re coming for birth control? I need that! For nearly a decade prochoicers have been warning that abortion foes were gearing up to go after contraception, but the possibility of losing birth control was too far-out for most people to take seriously. And you know prochoicers—they’re always crying wolf. Well, wake up, sleepyheads, it’s happening.
Driftglass often says "never bet against human nature."  Human nature works first and foremost toward economic ends.  This is why women in ancient Rome limited family size with contraception, and women who can afford it have done so before and ever since, regardless of church edict.

But contrarily, this neutrality thing over women's health is exactly about human nature -- it is human nature to want to protect our daughters from the dangers and heartbreak of a bad (in any way) sexual experience.  We don't want to think about our daughters having sex, at all.   We WANT to think of them as pure as the driven snow, because they are our little girls.  I think it's Dave Barry who tells the story of how awful it is to announce to your in-laws that your wife is pregnant, because your father-in-law has to actually acknowledge that his daughter has had sex...with YOU.

So in this argument let's assume that your 23-year-old daughter is a virgin on her wedding night. Let's just assume that.  The question becomes, do you want Rick Santorum and the Council of Catholic Bishops determining for your sainted daughter and her chaste husband, the number and spacing of your totally legitimate, only conceived in wedlock, grandchildren?  Regardless of whether they have worked long enough to save for a house or even have moved out of your basement?  IS THAT OKAY WITH YOU?

Because you have to decide that, now.


There is no neutrality in this culture war any more.

And in exchange for your enlistment, WE WILL NOT MENTION that a very large part of Planned Parenthood's constituency is sexually active young women who don't want their parents to know they use birth control.

PS.  We're going along with the wedding-night virgin myth, even though it wasn't even true for Grandma.  Enjoy this no-premarital sex song from the thirties.  Because it's a lovely song, but even in 1938, Bob Hope knew it was a joke.

UPDATE:  Joan Walsh speaks to fellow Catholics.  Definitely worth a click.

Saturday, February 4

An Open Letter to Kathleen Sebelius, Sec of HHS

As read on this week's podcast.

Dear Secretary Sibelius:

 Thank you for all you are doing to improve access to healthcare for all Americans. I am writing you regarding the shortage of ADHD medications nationwide.

This past Monday I attempted to fill a prescription for my child for 30 mg. capsules of Focalin, a medication that has helped my ADHD child function in school. I understand that this medication is often abused by college students and others, because it is, to use the common term, “speed.” So I and a great many other parents do what is required by law to help control fake prescriptions and abuse, and each month I drive to my pediatrician’s office and pick up a paper prescription for this medication, as required by State and Federal law, and drive it to the pharmacy by hand.

The pharmacy I normally use, which happens to be a Walgreens, did not have enough of the capsules to fill my prescription this past Monday. They did have ten capsules in stock. They informed me that if they provided me with those ten capsules, my entire prescription for thirty capsules would be voided, and I would need to return to the pediatrician for another prescription.

The math did not add up to me. Nearly all prescriptions are for a month, thirty pills, why would they have only ten? “Because the manufacturer provides them to us in bottles of one hundred.” I was told.

I followed, to use the words of a former vice-presidential candidate, “common sense conservative solutions,” and presumed that if this Walgreens had ten capsules left over from filling three prescriptions, there must be at least two other Walgreens in my hometown ALONE with ten pills on the shelf. Could those bottles be combined so at least one Walgreens pharmacy could fill one prescription for one desperate parent, ESPECIALLY since there is a well-documented nationwide shortage of this medication? No, I was told. The pharmacies would be required to fill out a DEA form to transfer this medication from one pharmacy to another, and that is just not done. (cc: Walgreens corporate HQ).

What if I, as a desperate mother attempting to get a medication for which there is a documented nationwide shortage, agreed to relinquish my paper prescription and drive to three different Walgreens to pick up ten pills at each? The pharmacy could fax the prescription and even a photocopy of my valid drivers’ license to each of the pharmacies so my identity and validity of my prescription would be known ahead of my arrival to pick up the pills? The pharmacy technician suddenly caught on to my creativity. No, but I could go to my doctor, get three prescriptions for ten pills each, dated ten days apart, and fill them every ten days for a month. I would owe a separate co-pay, if any, for each of the ten-day prescriptions. But by the end of the month I would definitely have my thirty pills!

Is this any way to manage prescriptions for a much-needed medication for which there is a documented nationwide shortage? Okay, now I am reaching a delusional state, but wouldn’t it make sense for the taxpaying mothers of ADHD children to rise up and demand a regulation from the Secretary of Health and Human Services that pharmaceutical companies bottle their pills in 30 pill increments?

I was going to suggest a law passed by Congress, but I’m not that delusional.

Also too (Sarah Palin is a GIFT, I tell you!) perhaps you as Secretary could also apply your considerable intelligence in this area to the HUMAN-MADE obstacles that exacerbate a documented shortage of needed medications.

Thank you again for all you do.

Yours in Christ,

Friday, February 3

Ep 113 The Professional Left Podcast

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Link for this episode: From The New Yorker -- Homeschooling mom supports Newt Gingrich but is unaware of his three marriages.

The button below allows listeners to throw a contribution specifically towards the podcast.  Thanks for your listenership and support!  We really appreciate it:

Thanks again Marlene at ZMac Consulting and  Heather at Crooks and Liars Video Cafe for their help. And don't forget you can listen to our archives for free with no downloads or registration at Professional Left.