The Alabama Moderate

Painting the Red State Purple.

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Posts Tagged ‘government’

A “Woman’s Problem”

Posted by ALmod on November 7, 2009

It struck me today in this whole abortion debate over the House bill that there still exists a certain mentality.

Before I go further, let me address my own views.  I’m personally pro-life, but I also know (as a woman who has experienced pregnancy and childbirth) that the issue of women and reproduction is not quite so simple as either choose to have sex or don’t.  We have a whole other series of body parts that men do not have that carry with them their own potential to cause or have problems.  And when those parts (and the rest of our bodies) experience pregnancy, that carries a whole other set of potential problems in and of themselves.  Add to that the fact that human relationships are never simple.  What started out as a perfectly wonderful marriage from a woman’s perspective can the next day turn into a nightmare.  Add to that, we can be put through the health strain that is pregnancy entirely against our will.  Add to that the fact that a thousand and one different things can go wrong during a pregnancy that not only affects your life but the life of the child that you carry.

And at any time, the man can simply walk away with few (if any) consequences.

I would probably never under any circumstances elect to have an abortion, but I understand that there are complicated circumstances that do exist that would make it very hard for me to judge someone who would.

Now, all that being said, a certain ugly narrative has been going on during this whole health care debate.  Senator John Kyle, in particular, stood out by arguing that maternity care not be included in basic coverage because as a man he didn’t need it.  Now, as someone who would be expected to argue that every baby should have an opportunity to live, it strikes me as particularly unnerving that he would suggest that it’s acceptable to exclude coverage that would be needed for that to happen.  Indeed, without well baby checkups, many babies wouldn’t make it to the delivery room– including the male ones.

One commenter on the situation argued that if women couldn’t afford to buy extra coverage or pay out of pocket for such expenses that they shouldn’t have sex.  That same commenter today argued in context of the abortion debate that covering abortion was akin to having taxpayers pay for a woman’s voluntary sexual behavior.  Many nodded in agreement.  The problem with that argument– and ultimately with that mindset– is that at no time has a woman ever magically found herself pregant without the aid of a man, unless said woman was going to give birth to a religious figure.  Still, it’s “a woman’s problem.”

How different would this narrative be if men could get pregnant?  Would we be having these conversations at all?

What if we as women embraced the idea that pregnancy and other consequences of sex were indeed our problems?  What if we decided that it was as simple as being if we didn’t want those problems then we shouldn’t have sex?  Those problems don’t just end at the alter, either.  Married women would have to consider this as well.  What if Lysistrata had it right?  What if we just decided not to have sex?  Ever.  Married or not.  Girlfriend or not.  Because it is our problem like it or not because of the way this world makes it our problem alone, and maybe we should consider that at all times, even when we have a ring on our finger.

I wonder if that would then make it a man’s problem.

Posted in Health and Wellness | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Heart of the Problem

Posted by ALmod on September 27, 2009

So here I was just reading the letters sent to The Birmingham News, and this one letter in particular stood out to me.  Here’s the letter, and I’ll see if you can pick out what it was:

Health care: Country headed for fall

In last week’s Viewpoints section, a Baptist preacher proclaimed that every person is entitled to health care (“An issue of morality”), and a letter writer from Montevallo declared we needed more socialism (“Could use little more socialism,” Views of Our Readers).

You can put any name you want on what the U.S. government is doing in health care, and it is still illegal and unconstitutional. There is not one word in the U.S. Constitution that covers taking money out of the public treasury to cover charity.

The only thing the federal government is duty-bound to guarantee the people is “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” and this is covered in the Bill of Rights.

If this country continues in the direction our leaders have been taking us for the past 50 years, you only need to read about the rise and fall of the Roman Empire to see how this country is going to end. There are several good books on the subject, but I recommend “A Pillar of Iron” by Taylor Caldwell.

Jim McLendon
Birmingham

Anyone?

Okay, if you haven’t spotted it by now, I’m referring in particular to where Mr. McLendon appears to be referring to the U.S. Constitution regarding his statement about “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  That line is actually from the Declaration of Independence, and while it’s a good line, it’s not from the U.S. Constitution.  The preamble for the Constitution actually states the following:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Pay attention to that quote in particular because I’m going to get back to it very soon.

If you read the other letters, you’ll also note where someone else makes the statement that health care isn’t a guaranteed right in the Constitution and then backs that up with a Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruling.  Again, I’m sure it’s a fine point to make, but the SCOTUS doesn’t actually maintain the Constitution.  They merely interpret it, and they’ve been known to get it very wrong and can reverse their decisions.  The Constitution can be altered for the most part through the legislative branch, which is a completely different branch of our government.

I have a huge problem with people who say that health care isn’t a right because it’s not guaranteed in the Constitution.  Saying that only shows that one hasn’t read the Constitution or at least isn’t somewhat familiar with the contents thereof.  In particular, the argument that something isn’t a right unless specifically stated is thrown out by the Bill of Rights, Amendment Nine to be exact:

“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

In other words, Amendment Nine specifically states that it should not be assumed that a right does not exist merely because it isn’t specifically stated in the Constitution.  And then there’s that whole bit about promoting the general welfare that was mentioned in the preamble.  Whether or not you agree that health care would fit under the description of “general welfare” or that it should be considered a right, the mere argument or insinuation that something isn’t a right because it’s not in the Constitution is nonsense and easily disproven with the text itself.

Further, consider that you could have made the exact same argument about a woman’s right to vote about a hundred years ago.  The Nineteenth Amendment was ratified in 1920.  The Constitution changes, so even if your argument is that something should be specifically mentioned in the Constitution to be considered a right, well that can be taken care of.

Which brings me to my real beef.  Statistics show that only one-third of Americans can even name the three branches of government.  Can you?  (I’ll give you a hint:  Two of them are talked about thus far in this posting, and one of them is specifically mentioned by name.  The third will be talked about in a bit.) And that’s only the tip of the iceberg.  How many people can tell you what each branch does instead of just naming them?  Only about half of Americans can tell you who represents them in the U. S. Congress.  Most can’t tell you who is next in line for the presidency should something happen to both the president and vice president.  Even if they could, most couldn’t give you a name for the person currently holding that position, but I can guarantee you that if you gave them the person’s name, at least some will tell you they hate that person but couldn’t tell you exactly why.

Americans should know how their government works.  They should know these things beyond sound bites and talking points.  If you call someone a “socialist” or a “fascist,” you should know what those terms mean, and you should know that you know what they mean.  Nothing is more wince-inducing that watching Craig T. Nelson talk about how he was on welfare and got food stamps and he didn’t get any help.  It’s why birthers get laughed at when they start talking about the constitutional requirements of presidential candidacy and/or being a “natural born citizen.”  I’m not saying that it would change the stance of anyone having these arguments in either direction, but at least it might make for a more intelligent discussion.

Health care: Country headed for fall

In last week’s Viewpoints section, a Baptist preacher proclaimed that every person is entitled to health care (“An issue of morality”), and a letter writer from Montevallo declared we needed more socialism (“Could use little more socialism,” Views of Our Readers).

You can put any name you want on what the U.S. government is doing in health care, and it is still illegal and unconstitutional. There is not one word in the U.S. Constitution that covers taking money out of the public treasury to cover charity.

The only thing the federal government is duty-bound to guarantee the people is “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” and this is covered in the Bill of Rights.

If this country continues in the direction our leaders have been taking us for the past 50 years, you only need to read about the rise and fall of the Roman Empire to see how this country is going to end. There are several good books on the subject, but I recommend “A Pillar of Iron” by Taylor Caldwell.

Jim McLendon
Birmingham

Posted in Education, Federal Government, Mainstream Media, Public Outrage | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off on The Heart of the Problem

Gambling, Smoking, and Sales Tax! Oh My!

Posted by ALmod on March 23, 2009

There are some important votes coming up tomorrow in our state legilature, and I figured it’s high time I said something about these issues.

The budget. Please, for the love of all that is holy, get this done.  I realize that, in Alabama, it’s tradition or something for this to not get done.  I think I speak for most people in this state when I say that we wouldn’t miss this tradition.  I realize that some cuts have had to be made mostly because we’ve lost a lot of revenue in sales tax, which brings me to the next thing…

Sales tax on groceries. It’s time to cut the cord.  We have become far too dependent on a regressive tax.  I don’t mind higher income taxes, though I doubt I make enough to be affected by the increase.  At least income taxes are proportional to what I bring in.  Unless you suddenly require less food to survive  when your paycheck is smaller, I doubt you could argue the same about sales tax on groceries.  Yes, I do hold the whole “tax=bad” mentality, but I’m also realistic.  Taxes are needed to fund schools, public servants, road repairs, and all sorts of things.  I’d rather that we pay taxes as is proportional to what we make rather than have those who make the least be expected to pay out the higest percentage of their paychecks.

Bingo. It’s not your grandmother’s card game anymore.  That’s a shame.  I liked the card game.  But again, I’m a realist.  If you want to gamble, you’re going to gamble.  Prohibition doesn’t change that.  Meanwhile, groups will skirt around loopholes and put up establishments while we get chump change in return.  Legalize it and create a gaming commission to regulate it and tax it so that we can actually benefit from something that (let’s be honest) we’re already allowing.

Smoking ban. This is where you’ll see me disagree with a lot of Libertarians.  I have no issue with smoking tobacco being legal.  I have an issue with not being able to go a restaurant or other public establishment (or get a job in one) without having to breathe it.  Yeah, I’ve heard all the “blah blah your choice to eat out” arguments.  The way I see it, in areas where there are no regulations on smoking areas, I have the choice to stay home.  Period.  Smokers choose to smoke just as much as nonsmokers choose not to.  The difference is that there are no negative health consequences from being forced to breathe clean air.  “But I’d have to step outside to smoke, and it’s cold out there.”  Wah, wah…  I”m not forcing you to eat your entire meal out there.  Smoking is a legal choice, but it’s not a necessity.  Being able to work without being forced into an asthma attack is a necessity.  Yeah, I suppose I have a choice whether or not to work there, but considering today’s economic atmosphere, not everyone has that luxury.

The state constitution. I have mixed feelings on this.  It’s ridiculously bulky and makes it near impossible for local goverments to make necessary changes that they actually want to make.  However, it has also saved the citizens of JeffCo from the actions of their comically nonsensical county commission.  I’d let the people vote.  I’m sure we can draft a new constitution that would allow for the best of both worlds.

Posted in Alabama Government, Legislation | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »