Tuesday, April 24, 2007

What To Do?

Last week I mentioned the appalling decision our oh-so-wise-and-virtuous Supreme Court just passed down regarding the recent federal ban on certain abortion rights. I've been doing a lot of reading this past week, trying to make heads or tails of the facts. As you can imagine, there has been quite a lot written in just a matter of days (more like hours, really) about this case. Pro-choice organizations have lost no time organizing protests and actions against it.

Pro-life organization have mostly been gloating.

To them I say this: Enjoy your brief moment of what you think is a victory. All this has done is mobilize a once complacent majority who foolishly believed they had a right to their own bodies. Those of us who have grown up in a post Roe vs. Wade era had no idea what government invasion into our most basic rights truly entails. Let me assure you, we won't stand for it. We're calling 'bullshit' on this one, kids. Oh yes.

In case you are unfamiliar with the decision, here are the basics:

* The Supreme Court has ignored past precedent and has outlawed a vaguely determined kind of second-trimester abortion.
* They have made no exception in cases when a woman's health is in danger.
* They have ignored findings by the most respected aspects of the medical community regarding the safety and necessity of such procedures in certain cases.
* The decision was passed with a narrow 5 to 4 margin with the most recent Bush appointees voting in favor of the ban.

Lynn Harris over at Salon.com has written an amazing and easily understood piece about this. I highly recommend you check it out.
Another fun fact - over 85% of abortions are performed before the so-called "partial birth abortions" would come into play. Also, there is no medical term for what the Supreme Court has just outlawed. The term "partial birth abortion" is a phrase cooked up by pro-life legislators to sound more like someone is killing a baby. Ah, fun with semantics.

I didn't want to write about this little news story until I had something to offer in the way of action. Luckily, there seems to be a lot mobilizing going on in response to this attack on our freedoms. Senator Barbara Boxer of California and Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York are sponsoring the Freedom of Choice Act. This act, if passed, would restore our reproductive rights as outlined in Roe vs Wade. It's crucial that our representatives hear from us on this issue. A "national call in day" has been organized for TODAY (4/25) to show congress how much support there is for this bill. You can bet the pro-life folks are going to be very vocal in their opposition, so we have to call in too. Go to the link below for information on who to call and don't forget to tell your friends who may be interested.


Here's some additional information from the National Organization for Women (NOW):
You can help jump-start the legislative reversal of last week's Supreme Court
decision, by making a phone call or sending an email. Join NOW and our allies
for a National Call-in Day on Wednesday, April 25, the anniversary of our 2004
March for Women's Lives, to ask your members of Congress to co-sponsor the
Freedom of Choice Act.

As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg put it in her stinging dissent, "the Act, and the Court's defense of it, cannot be understood as anything other than an effort to chip away at a right declared again and again by this Court." That effort to chip away at reproductive rights is well underway in state legislatures around the country and we have every reason to expect that this decision will galvanize those efforts. What can we do?

In addition to vigilantly opposing abortion restrictions that are proposed in our state houses, we need a federal law that will protect this right and place it beyond the reach of individual state legislatures. The Freedom of Choice Act would do just that. The Act would guarantee that women can exercise the reproductive freedom that was promised in Roe v. Wade and additionally would preserve that freedom should Roe be overturned by the new 5-4 anti-abortion majority on the Supreme Court

Call Your Members of Congress - 202-224-3121

Join women's rights supporters across the country for this national call-in day on
Wednesday -- and keep calling until you get through. Use the switchboard number above, and ask for your members of Congress -- or get their receptionist's direct phone number from our
directory. Ask for the staff person who handles this issue, and request politely that the member co-sponsor the Freedom of Choice Act. If your senator or representative is already a co-sponsor (see a list of Senate and House co-sponsors), say thank you (trust us, they're hearing from the other side!) While you're at it, drop them an e-mail for added impact. Send a message to both of your senators and to your representative today using our easy alert system.
I just called all my representatives. Here's the breakdown.
Congressman Berman - has already signed on as a co-sponsor of the bill. I expressed my thanks.
Senator Diane Fienstein - The staff member I spoke to wasn't sure if she is a co-sponsor, but did assure me that she is pro-choice and would be supporting the bill. I said "thank you" again!
Senator Barbara Boxer - She is already a sponsor on the bill so I just called to say "thank you" again and voice my support.
It was really easy to make the calls. Just ask the operator who answers to send you to the appropriate person's office and their staff will answer any questions you have and take note of your opinion.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Grab Bag

I've been thinking that I want to post something this week, but I'm having a terrible time focusing on one thing. There's so much going on in the world and in my life right now, it's impossible to pluck one item out of the air and write about it. I have therefore decided, to choose a few things and jot down some impressions. I hope you don't mind...

First, the news from Virginia Tech this week is heartbreaking. There aren't powerful enough words to express what's going on for those students, their families, the staff and community there. The healing process is going to be long and painful for those left behind.

I have a little experience with this, having managed to survive the events of September 11th, 2001 when I was working near the World Trade Center. I have one little bit of advice for anyone connected with this terrible incident: Turn off your television. Seriously, get out of the house, avoid newspapers, TVs, radios - just get away from it. The media is going to be feeding on this story for weeks. You don't need to see it. It's not healthy.

After 9/11, it was impossible for anyone to avoid all the news reports and disturbing images. They will take a toll on you and your delicate state of mental health at times like these. Get outside, go for a walk, go to a silly movie...anything. You'll drive yourself crazy if you immerse yourself in the evening news. Take care of yourselves and your friends/family. Don't worry about what's going on with the reporters.

And please know that people are praying for you and sending out all the good healing energy we can.

On to other shitty news. What the hell is going on with the Supreme Court? Wait, don't answer that. I know exactly what's going on. Our lovely president has appointed just enough scary, Christian conservative, S.O.B.s to the court to start chipping away at Roe vs. Wade until every woman in this country is legally no more than a barefoot-baby-producing-machine beholden to the old white men in power for any decisions that concern her own health. Y'know, I think the less I write about this today the better. I'll probably just get myself into trouble. Besides, I'm thinking the recent 5 to 4 decision to ban partial birth abortions is worthy of it's own, detailed and well thought out post. Yeah...more on that later.

In other thoughts:

I got my admission letter from California State University Northridge this week! I'm going to be a junior in college. I've never been that before. Very, very cool! I am really looking forward to finding out what classes I can take (women's studies?) and actually getting to take a journalism class or two. Hooray!

Also, a thought about spring cleaning.

I finally sold my old car this week! I'm also getting rid of an old computer desk. All of this purging of stuff is requiring me to go through closets, reorganize, prioritize and generally throw away lots of miscellaneous stuff. Some of these things are connected with an old relationship that I've been sloughing off for a little while now. I would have expected it to make me sad, but actually... it's incredibly freeing.

Who new spring cleaning could be so liberating?
Hmmmm, there's a few other things I could carry on with but I'm going to wrap this up now. I hope everyone is having a great week and is looking forward to an even better weekend. I'll catch up with y'all in a day or two!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Spring Has Sprung

Happy Spring everyone!

I'm sorry I've been lax in my posting lately but who can think about blogging when it's so beautiful outside? I have the spring fever something terrible right now. It's so nice out I can barely drag myself back to the office after I escape for lunch. Not to mention that this week is (gasp!) mid terms! Oh, the horror.

One very cool outdoor activity I got to partake in was going to a horse show this past Saturday. In the past I've talked a little bit about my mom and her horse Kahlua-n-Cream. Mom and my step-dad got Kahlua from a group that rescues horses from Premarin farms in Canada. She's been growing up into a beautiful horse and she and my mom have been working very hard together, getting ready for this dressage show last weekend. I was lucky enough to get to hang around and see what all the hard work has been leading up to.

Horse shows are generally early morning affairs. When I was in high school, I remember many mornings, getting up well before the crack of dawn and trying to convince a sleepy horse to get into a trailer. Poor Shadow (my horse) would look at us like, "You have got to be kidding, right?" Mom would help me get all my tack together, make sure I had all my show clothes, all of Shadow's wraps and blankets and treats (a horse needs cookies too!) and we'd set off for yet another horse show. I usually went to hunter/jumper shows with Shadow. This involved a lot of me memorizing courses of jumps and Mom...not looking. She'd do all the hard work with me and then it would be just too much for her to watch.

I look back over my childhood and it is just filled with band concerts, horse shows, choir concerts, school plays, piano recitals, solo and ensemble festivals etcetera ad infinitum. My poor parents sat through endless hours of this stuff. They really should get some kind of medal or merit badge for all that time and unconditional support. Those seventh grade band concerts alone make me cringe for them.

Last Saturday, though, the shoe was on the other foot. There I was with my mom at a horse show and she was the one trying to remember her dressage test and I all I could do was pat Kahlua on the nose and tell Mom that she was going to be great. She rode two different training level tests which means she had to memorize two different "routines". No mean feat when you're riding a five year old filly who isn't always interested in staying in the arena, much less picking up the right lead in a twenty meter circle. I could barely watch the first test. I was so excited and nervous. I really wanted her to do well because she'd worked so hard and it meant a lot to her.
Well, they came out of the arena and everyone who had been watching clapped. They did great! We found out later that Mom and Kahlua got the highest score in that class so they got the blue ribbon! It was all very exciting and quite an accomplishment at their very first show. I felt like such the proud...daughter.

I can never say thank you enough to my mom for the years she's spent supporting me. Any time I've jumped into some new phase of my life, she's been there for me no matter what. I could call her tomorrow and tell her I've decided to take up Yak herding in the Andes and, as long as it made me happy, I know she'd help me pick out the best Yak herding gear and send me on my way. (as long as i promise to call often and come home for Christmas.) There is no "thank you" big enough for that. So, I'll just have to try and repay the favor as best I can...

Mom and "Lulu" riding training level test #1: