Supreme Court sees through Republican bullshit

One of the key strategies of Republicans lately has been to create a fake problem and then “solve it” in such a way that the real result takes away rights from people they don’t like.

There’s the fake “voting fraud” issue where their solution just happens to have the side effect of removing many Democrats from the voting rolls.

There’s the fake “transgender bathroom” issue where their solution just happens to take the rights away from people who merely want to pee in peace.

And of course, there are plenty of other fake issues they create, sometimes for the sole purpose of riling up their base and raising money. (War on Christmas, Benghazi, Obama is going to take all your guns, etc. etc.)

One of their more successful fake problems was the “protection of women” one. In many states, laws were passed to require clinics that provide abortions to meet standards that were completely unnecessary and which have nothing to do with the health of women. These restrictions made half of the clinics in Texas shut down.

The Supreme Court saw through all that today. The decision found that these restrictions “provide few if any health benefits for women, pose a substantial obstacle to women seeking abortions and constitutes a, ‘undue burden’ on their constitutional right to do so.”

Cartoon by Ann Telnaes. Yes, I know Scalia isn’t there any more, but I just love this drawing.

Do not underestimate the importance of the Court on your life. They are a way to protect your rights against rabid legislatures. And that’s why it is so important that you vote for Democrats, not just for the presidency but for Senate (so the President can get her nominees approved).


Editorial cartoon: Republican logic

The dead have more rights than women

by guest blogger Yvette d’Entremont (a/k/a “Science Babe“)

The buffer zone around funerals is three hundred feet, in a court battle that limited free speech of religious zealots.

The buffer zone of 35 feet around Planned Parenthood clinics was declared unconstitutional because of freedom of speech for religious zealots.

The takeaway from this is that dead bodies get more respect in the courts than women.   7171972292_02616f58e7_k

The decisions for these restrictions should be compared because, if these were just about where we are allowed to practice free speech, shouldn’t these buffer zones be the same? One would hope so. However, the behaviors of the two groups in question are entirely different.

Planned Parenthood is an organization that provides low cost OB/GYN care to women. This includes annual physicals, breast exams, and birth control. They do counsel women that abstinence is a way to avoid STDs and pregnancy, and they also counsel them on how to maintain your health in sexual relationships.  The organization fills a necessary role in the health care system.

About one percent of their services are for abortion. The other ninety-nine percent of women who go into their clinic are harassed by protesters for getting a breast exam.

Planned Parenthood protesters, allegedly aiming to protect life at all cost, have murdered in the name of their cause. These buffer zones were introduced after women were attacked not to limit the group’s speech, but to keep women and doctors from being killed.

Chief Justice Roberts wrote about the decision, “At each of the three Planned Parenthood clinics where petitioners attempt to counsel patients, the zones carve out a significant portion of the adjacent public sidewalks, pushing petitioners well back from the clinics’ entrances and driveways.”

How quickly Justice Roberts has forgotten the original intent of the laws, not to stop women from hearing a difference of opinion, but to stop them from being subject to harassment and violence that has come along with a lack of protection at these clinics. Given the current environment in which our senses have grown numb  with the news of weekly shootings, would we even bat an eyelash if a shooting happened at a Planned Parenthood?

Would Justice Roberts still want to protect free speech and give groups right to “counsel?”

Conversely, Westboro Baptist is guilty of spewing extraordinarily hateful and unpopular opinions, but they have never threatened or harmed somebody.  Given that the buffer zone has been declared unconstitutional at Planned Parenthood, a non-violent protest group has now legally been given an infinitely bigger buffer zone than the violent one.

Why are we giving a group that has a history of violent protest unfettered access to women who are trying to see a doctor?

As a woman who has been harassed en route into an annual doctor’s appointment because my doctor held some of her office hours at a Planned Parenthood, I thoroughly enjoy that my cozy OB/GYN’s office in Orange County comes with a koi pond and wifi. It’s a world removed from that cloudy day when protesters screamed at me in Boston.  Every woman should have that right to feel safe when walking to a doctor’s office.

And under law, shouldn’t there at least be as much protection granted to women as to a dead body?

Yvette d’Entremont is a forensic chemist and writer living in Southern California. She enjoys running, baking cupcakes with bacon in them, and cuddling her cat, Lexi (but really, she’s a dog person). She’s currently working on a crime novel in her free time and you can follow her antics on twitter @yvetteguinevere and on her Science Babe website.

Editorial cartoon of the day

Editorial cartoon of the day

Editorial cartoon of the day

Editorial cartoon of the day

Shades of Gray


I used to be an Angry Young Man, who believed that any sort of compromise with my core principles could not be tolerated.

Actually, I still believe that — except I’ve decided to redefine “core principles.” My core principles that will not be compromised have to do with ethics — I will not tolerate dishonesty, hypocrisy, and cheating.gray

But politics? Law? My marriage? Life in general? Sure, let’s work together to solve our problems.

I’ve learned, as I’ve aged and become wiser, that I’d rather work with the other side and get 50% of what I want than be stubborn and get 0%.

There are gray areas in the world. Not everything is black and white. Compromise is needed to get things done.

A lot of the arguments I get into with people over politics seem to do with this refusal to compromise; with people who see things only in black and white. (And this includes many on the left as well.)

In some ways, it is like those who strongly believe their religion to the point where there can be no compromise because that means you’re helping evil prevail. Abortion is the best example I can think of there. I am more than willing to compromise on this issue — I agree that there should be restrictions based on medical science. Those who see no gray areas will not budge.

There are also political believers who have similar ideas. They see the world also in absolutes that allow no compromise.

And, of course, you all know what’s coming. The issue that falls into that category these days is gun control. The extremists think that it is impossible to have any compromise because it’s a violation of their civil liberties as guaranteed by the Constitution. They feel that any attempt to prevent felons, terrorists or the insane from having guns is as much of a violation of their rights as throwing someone in jail without giving them a hearing.

As I’ve stated before, all rights have reasonable limitations. The 1st amendment is written about as clear as it could be (and much clearer than the 2nd) and there are many reasonable restrictions on the 1st. I agree with these reasonable restrictions, as does just about every other American, including the 2nd amendment extremists.

There are reasonable restrictions on the 4th amendment concerning search and seizure laws. There are reasonable restrictions on the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th. And just about every American agrees with those, too.

Yet when I talk about reasonable restrictions on the 2nd, suddenly people are calling me “anti-civil rights”. This despite my entire career being dedicated to the exact opposite.

Seriously, how do you deal with these people? Well, you can’t. You can lead someone to compromise, but you can’t make them think.

Some people never grow out of the “Angry Young Man” phase of their life.

The right not to be ridiculed?

The problem with many religious people is that they see any criticism of their beliefs as an attack — the so-called “War on Christmas” for instance. If you question their beliefs, they think you’re trying to take away their rights. This is ridiculous.

No one is beyond having their beliefs criticized in America. That’s one of the great things about our country and our 1st Amendment (which covers both freedom of religion and freedom of speech). You can believe whatever you want. It doesn’t mean you are beyond question or that people have to agree with you, or even put up with you.

Not surprisingly, many of those sensitive believers who cry about being discriminated against when criticized are the first to speak poorly about Muslims or Scientologists or Wiccans or Atheists. I’ve often found it hilarious how some Christians scream that Muslims are trying to instill “Sharia Law” in America (they’re not) while at the same time they’re trying to make abortion and gay marriage illegal because that’s what their religious law tells them.

Anyway, here’s a clip of my friend David Silverman on Fox today talking about this issue. (Just yesterday, we were having breakfast together discussing it…)

(As an aside, in case you’re unaware, David was the inspiration of the WTF face meme, which was the face he gave Bill O’Reilly when O’Reilly claimed God must exist because otherwise you can’t explain how waves in the ocean work. So far, David is my only friend who has become a meme.)


Why I cannot debate anti-abortionists

It’s just a complete waste of time.

You see, I agree that abortion should be illegal after a certain time, just like it is now. That time should be determined after looking at medical science, concerning viability of the fetus. As science changes, that date may have to be changed as well. It’s a decision based on facts and logic.

Anti-abortionists, however, think that a collection of cells is a “child” from the moment of conception. There is absolutely no evidence to support this position. It is entirely based on either a religious belief or some sort of emotional belief, neither of which belong in our laws.

So whenever I try to debate with these people, I talk science. It doesn’t work. It’s like trying to convince the True Believers concerning creationism or climate change. Facts are meaningless to them when these facts counter their already-held beliefs.

So lately, I have just ignored them. I will fight them every step of the way, because their religious views do not belong in our laws, but I won’t debate them.