Tag Archives: obama

Tonight’s way too late political thoughts

A Tea Partier spit on Rep. Emanuel Cleaver and called him the n word; another called Rep. Barney Frank a “faggot.” A number of Americans believe Obama is a Muslim and a foreigner. Chris Matthews guest Dana Loesch insisted racism and sexism have nothing to do with their objections to healthcare reform and the rest of the Obama agenda. If that’s the truth, they better come up with better arguments than ugly ad hominem attacks. She also denied that Tea Partiers ever suggested secession. Even Fox News reported talk of secession at an anti-tax rally with Texas governor Rick Perry. While trying to defend Tea Party views, she shouted and talked over the host and other guest. Sorry, Ms. Loesch, I’m not buying it.

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Rhetoric, shmetoric

It’s nice to have a president who can actually string two sentences together.  It’s nice when he says things like this:

While we have come a long way since the Stonewall riots in 1969, we still have a lot of work to do. Too often, the issue of LGBT rights is exploited by those seeking to divide us. But at its core, this issue is about who we are as Americans. It’s about whether this nation is going to live up to its founding promise of equality by treating all its citizens with dignity and respect.

My Administration has partnered with the LGBT community to advance a wide range of initiatives. At the international level, I have joined efforts at the United Nations to decriminalize homosexuality around the world. Here at home, I continue to support measures to bring the full spectrum of equal rights to LGBT Americans. These measures include enhancing hate crimes laws, supporting civil unions and Federal rights for LGBT couples, outlawing discrimination in the workplace, ensuring adoption rights, and ending the existing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in a way that strengthens our Armed Forces and our national security. We must also commit ourselves to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic by both reducing the number of HIV infections and providing care and support services to people living with HIV/AIDS across the United States.

or

These issues affect not only the LGBT community, but also our entire Nation. As long as the promise of equality for all remains unfulfilled, all Americans are affected. If we can work together to advance the principles upon which our Nation was founded, every American will benefit. During LGBT Pride Month, I call upon the LGBT community, the Congress, and the American people to work together to promote equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Read the full proclamation here.

But what good are those words, when his Department of Justice writes things like this:

To deny federal recognition to same-sex marriages will thus preserve scarce government resources, surely a legitimate government purpose.

or

As a result, gay and lesbian individuals who unite in matrimony are denied no federal benefits to which they were entitled prior to their marriage; they remain eligible for every benefit they enjoyed beforehand. DOMA simply provides, in effect, that as a result of their same-sex marriage they will not become eligible for the set of benefits that Congress has reserved exclusively to those who are related by the bonds of heterosexual marriage.

or

DOMA does not discriminate against homosexuals in the provision of federal benefits. To the contrary, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is prohibited in federal employment and in a wide array of federal benefits programs by law, regulation, and Executive order…. Section 3 of DOMA does not distinguish among persons of different sexual orientations, but rather it limits federal benefits to those who have entered into the traditional form of marriage.

Read the full brief here.

Please join me in expressing disappointment about this brief.

Contact the President

Online.

via Twitter @barackobama or @whitehouse

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Comments: 202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414
FAX: 202-456-2461

Contact the Department of Justice, including Attorney General Eric Holder.

U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001

askdoj@usdoj.gov

Department of Justice Main Switchboard – 202-514-2000

Office of the Attorney General – 202-353-1555

Contact your legislators.

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Filed under homophobia, LGBT, Politics

Rethinking late-term abortion

In my earlier post about the murder of Dr. George Tiller, I said “I’m not much of a supporter of late-term abortions.”  When I wrote that, I was in the category of ignorant people disgusted by the idea of a woman who took six months to decide if she wanted a baby.  Additionally, we’re having this enormous argument over a tiny percentage of the total abortions performed.  In 2003, only 1.4% of abortions in the U.S. were performed at or after 21 weeks.

Since Tiller’s murder, story after story have come out about types of situations where women choose late-term abortions.  (There are various definitions of “late” so I’m going with after 21 weeks.  No fetus is viable before 21 weeks, and nearly all are viable after 27 weeks.) They are stories of horrible birth defects that aren’t detected early.

I just had a baby, so I know how some of these screening processes work.  An amniocentesis is done after the 16th-18th week.  They provide a diagnosis for certain DNA abnormalities, but since they present risks for the fetus, they are not recommended for every pregnancy.  The quad screen is also done around the 16th-18th week and assesses risk for certain abnormalities, but does not actually diagnose.  If the quad screen shows a high risk for something, it will be followed up by an ultrasound.  The ultrasound can be done between the 17th-22nd week, but my doctor said to wait til the 20th-22nd weeks to ensure the best view for the ultrasound.

So at this point, a woman may not know of a serious abnormality until the 22nd week of pregnancy.  After receiving this terrible news, it must take a woman a bit of time to decide how she wants to proceed.  If she chooses to terminate the pregnancy, there’s only three places in the whole country–now only two–that will perform the procedure for her.  Even more time will pass as she has to make an appointment and travel arrangements.  Time is passing, but now it cannot be blamed on indecisiveness.

Furthermore, I’m concerned about people, including our President, dismissing the mental health of the mother as a legitimate reason for a late-term abortion.  Then-Senator Obama stated:

Now, I don’t think that “mental distress” qualifies as the health of the mother. I think it has to be a serious physical issue that arises in pregnancy, where there are real, significant problems to the mother carrying that child to term.

Carrying a fetus with genetic abnormalities is not physically harmful for the mother, unless the fetus dies and the body doesn’t spontaneously abort it.  But can you imagine the distress it would cause a woman–her entire family, really–to give birth to a baby with one of these disorders?

First let me say, I am not classifying Down Syndrome as a justification for late-term abortion.  The average lifespan of someone with Down Syndrome is 49 years, and only a small number suffer from severe to profound mental disabilities.  While working in therapeutic horseback riding, I met a woman in her early-20s who had Down Syndrome.  She lived in a group home, bagged groceries at a local supermarket, got to ride horses once a week along with other Park District activities, and generally seemed very happy with her life.

What do I think should justify a late-term abortion?

Trisomy 18 (aka Edwards Syndrome): Heart defects, kidney malformation, intestines protrouding outside the body, cleft palate, small head, small jaw, difficulty breathing, difficulty eating, extra fingers and toes.  50% of babies born with Trisomy 18 die in the first 2 months, 5-10% will reach their first birthday, 1% live to be 10.  The median life span is 5-15 days.

Anencephaly (warning: link contains graphic images): Fetus is missing all or part of the brain, top of the scull and scalp are usually missing.  Of the babies that survive birth, 60% die within 24 hours and 95% die within a week.

These are the two I am most familiar with, but there are probably others.

Now I understand when people who knew Tiller talk about how much he cared about women.  Now I’m concerned that there’s only two places left in the country where women can end such ill-fated pregnancies.

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Filed under Life, Politics

Prop 8 supporter to speak at Obama inauguration

This probably won’t come as news to you:

Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church and author of “The Purpose-Driven Life,” has been chosen to give the invocation at Barack Obama’s inauguration next month.  Warren supported California’s Proposition 8, comparing homosexuality to incest and child molestation, and claiming that allowing gay marriage violates freedom of speech and religion.

Obama defends the choice of Warren, saying that it’s all part of bringing together different view points and uniting the country.  Further he argues that Warren has done much to add poverty and social justice to evangelical priorities.  But in 2004, Warren released a list of five questions for Christians to consider while voting, calling them non-negotiable issues.  Here are the questions:

1. What does each candidate believe about abortion and protecting the lives of unborn children?

2. What does each candidate believe about using unborn babies for stem-cell harvesting?

3. What does each candidate believe about homosexual “marriage”?

4. What does each candidate believe about human cloning?

5. What does each candidate believe about euthanasia — the killing of elderly and invalids?

So where are poverty and AIDS relief on that list?

As for Obama’s desires to talk to people with different views, what’s the point of talking to someone with a list of non-negotiables?  The term implies that’s the nothing to talk about, by definition there can be no compromise.

EDIT:

Gays were thrilled to hear Obama mention gay Americans in his victory speech at Grant Park, but as Joe Solmonese put it this is a “genuine blow to LGBT Americans.”  You can read the HRC president’s entire letter here.

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Filed under LGBT, Politics

Share your thoughts with President-Elect Obama

Write to Obama here.

What I wrote:

Dear President-Elect Obama,

First, congratulations on your victory!  This was the first year I caucused, and my first presidential election when I didn’t feel like I was choosing the lesser of two evils.  My elation at your win didn’t last long, however.  Wednesday afternoon, I was crushed to hear of the passing of Proposition 8 in California.

My point in writing to you today is to implore you and Mr. Biden to rethink your stance on same-sex marriage.  While it’s exciting to see gays making progress and gaining acceptance, I find civil unions an unacceptable compromise.  Even if civil unions are made to grant every right that is conferred to heterosexual couples by marriage, it’s not the same thing.  When I hear people supporting civil unions but not marriage, the phrase that sticks in my mind is “separate but equal.”  In 1954, the Supreme Court decided that “separate is inherently unequal.”  That was true of education then, and it’s true of civil unions now.

I know that you probably also view marriage as a states’ rights issue, but as a constitutional law professor, you must understand the harm in using the U.S. Constitution and state constitutions as tools of discrimination.  Please do everything in your power to influence the repeal of gay-marriage bans that now stand in 40 states and pledge to veto any proposed federal gay-marriage ban.

Thank you for your time, and good luck in your Presidency.

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Candidate Crisis?!?

I’m not really expecting anything to come of this, but what if neither presumptive candidate is Constitutionally eligible to be President?

Obama campaign presented a forged birth certificate.

Arizona law professor says McCain isn’t a natural-born citizen.

Clinton vs Huckabee?

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I made it onto the radio yesterday

I left a message on the Conversation Feedback line on KUOW about this cartoon:

Read about it, hear my comment, listen to the whole program here.

Of course they only played the beginning of the message I left, making me sound like I was basically saying nothing. Listening to the entire show, I realized pretty much everyone was saying the same thing that I did: Yeah I get that it’s satire, but what about the people who don’t get the context? Will people believe that The New Yorker is supporting various rumors about Barack & Michelle Obama?

Considering that this morning, I once again thought about something I’ve pondered a few times. I find it offensive enough that people think Obama is lying when he says he’s a Christian, but the deeper problem is the concern that he’s a Muslim. So what if he is? Not all Muslims want to participate in violent jihad. A 2007 Gallup poll showed that Muslims worldwide and Americans equally believe that attacks on civilians are unjustifiable. I’m also amused by the idea that someone trying to hide that he’s Muslim would decide to portray himself as a member of a church with a pastor who spouted “Africentrism and black-liberation theology.”

While looking for a picture of the cover to post here, I found this article which seems very similar to my blog post–only more eloquent and informed.

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