This page shows all the posts for the "Health + Wellness" Category from E Pluribus Unum
The most current posts are on the main page.

June 19, 2007

Michael Moore's SiCKO: The Trailer

Laughter isn't the best medicine. It's the only medicine.

Get Well Soon.
June 29th.

May 22, 2007

Chinese Takeout


Why should any American buy any food made in China?

We don’t know what’s in it; it goes mostly unscreened by anyone. We know that a number of producers spike it with poisons and antibiotics to make it more profitable. This has been going on for years and when they were caught spiking food with urea and food began to be screened for that poison, they simply switched to a new one; melamine.

So far, poisoned foods we have discovered through the deaths of possibly thousands of our pets include wheat gluten and rice protein. We have found catfish imported from China to be illegally contaminated with antibiotics. Dried fruit laden with cancer causing chemicals, mushrooms laced with illegal pesticides and seafood coated with putrefying bacteria.

As it turns out, it is standard procedure for Chinese food manufacturers to put poison in our food and, if caught, find another way to get those poisoned foods into US markets.

Did you know that nearly all vitamins sold in the United States are made in China (they priced domestic manufacturers out of the business)? Did you know that they go virtually untested for their contents in the US?

The FDA has no means to solve this problem through inspections and testing and the US government has little pressure to bring to bear on the Chinese since, thanks to Republican fiscal policy, the Chinese essentially own the US government. The Bush administration is actually deregulating the importation of Chinese poultry products, possibly increasing the risk of avian flu.

Industry, the much-vaunted free market, won’t protect you from toxic products because there’s a lot of money to be made in Chinese markets. And, besides, when has the health or safety of consumers been much of an obstacle when it comes to making a buck?

However, there is one remedy for US consumers in the power of the marketplace: stop buying Chinese made food. First, you won’t have to worry about whether you are feeding your family toxic substances. Second, the economic effect of a significant boycott will quickly force the Chinese to find ways to guarantee the safety of their exports. One thing is certain: if you do nothing, nothing will be done to protect the safety of imported food.

As much as is practical, buy locally – it’s also better for the environment. Buy domestically produced seafood and meat. In processed foods that contain wheat, rice or corn gluten, ask the grocer and/or manufacturer if it was purchased from China – if they can’t tell you or the answer is “yes”, tell them you’ll buy something else. For a while, at least, stop buying vitamins – they are of dubious value anyway if you have a well-balanced diet.

Find your local farmer’s markets. Buy organic. Whenever you can, when it comes to what you put in your body and feed to your loved ones, buy American.

If you don’t take action to protect yourself and your families, don’t expect government or industry to do it for you. At least, until it’s too late.

May 20, 2007

“You're telling me that al-Qaida prisoners get better medical treatment...?”

Salon's Andrew O'Hehir reviews Michael Moore's newest, Sicko, and comes away impressed:

When Americans do get to see "Sicko," Moore says, "They will understand that this was about helping 9/11 rescue workers who've been abandoned by the government. They're not going to focus on Cuba or Fidel Castro or any other nonsense coming out of the Bush White House. They're going to say: 'You're telling me that al-Qaida prisoners get better medical treatment than the people who tried to recover bodies from the wreckage at ground zero?'"
Hmmm. Wonder how they'll spin that?

Oh -- and the part about Moore, a right-wing blogger and his cancer-stricken wife will blow your mind. But you'll have to read that part for yourself.

"I hope this film engenders discussion, not just about healthcare, but about why we are the way we are these days," Moore told us. "Where is our soul? Why would we allow 50 million Americans, 9 million of them children, not to have health insurance? Maybe my role as a filmmaker is to go down a road we might be afraid to go down, because it might lead to a dark place."
Dark but entertaining for sure.
When Moore interviews Tony Benn, a leading figure on the British left, his larger concerns come into focus. Benn argues that for-profit healthcare and the other instruments of the corporate state, like student loans and bottomless credit-card debt, perform a crucial function for that state. They undermine democracy by creating a docile and hardworking population that is addicted to constant debt and an essentially unsustainable lifestyle, that literally cannot afford to quit jobs or take time off, that is more interested in maintaining high incomes than in social or political change. Moore seizes on this insight and makes it a kind of central theme...
I haven't seen the film yet, and/but I have a concern here. If Moore presents this as a shadow-policy, coordinated at the highlest levels, I'm skeptical because everyone knows no one is in charge. But that's a minor point. Either way you cut it, it's a devastating observation.

So I guess this film is going to rile people up. There is certainly something in Moore that brings out the worst in right-wing Bush apologists. They just go...nuts when he pops up on the radar. Of course, maybe there's not so many of them left and the few-and-far-between might finally have learned how to control themselves by now.

As far as the accuracy of my movies goes, [says Moore] I think the record speaks for itself. Maybe people will say: He warned us about General Motors, he warned us about school shootings and he warned us about Bush.
Crikey. This'll definitely drive them around the bend.

I can hardly wait!

April 20, 2007

Insurance is for Catastrophe

by shep

Quite obviously, American insurance-industry-run heathcare is a failure teetering on collapse. It is completely unavailable to nearly one-sixth of the population and only tentatively available to everyone else, except for the wealthy. Employer-paid health insurance, the most accessible form of healthcare for most people, now drives our decisions about who we work for, who in the family works and whether we can afford to change jobs. People are regularly denied access to heathcare, because they are sick.

The system is poorly regulated, either by industry or government. 100,000 people die from medical mistakes in hospitals alone. The average cost for drugs is two to four times higher than in other industrialized countries and also injures and kills many thousands. The real regulator and last recourse for those who are harmed by the actions of insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and/or doctors is a widely-reviled tort system that siphons off huge amounts of money (in addition to the huge amounts siphoned-off by insurance companies themselves) that should be being spent on medical care.

Yet, our system is monstrously expensive compared to other industrialized countries. It severely undermines US competitiveness in world markets. As technology and our collective average age continues to advance, it is predicted that more people will be driven from the system, healthcare will have to be (even more) rationed, its cost will bankrupt the government, or all of the above. It also, due to the short-term profit motives of insurance companies, becomes ever more expensive because people don’t have easy access to wellness or preventative primary care that might help them avoid costly disease.

Our market-driven healthcare system is literally killing us. Only those whose thinking is corrupted by simple-minded market ideology remain committed to such a system and only the fact that our elected officials are beholden to the status quo industries’ campaign cash explains why we haven’t abandoned it for a rational alternative. Here are five critical things that we need to fix our current system that a market-based, insurance industry approach can never achieve:

1) Pool risk and cost as broadly as possible, creating the lowest average cost per person for healthcare.

2) Allow for a simple administrative system with a single point of contact, one set of rules and one processing system.

3) Create a level competitive marketplace for all healthcare providers.

4) Allow for an emphasis on cost-saving wellness, preventative and primary care.

5) Give the public-at-large control over the specific features of the healthcare system through their elected representatives.

We will be forced to adopt a government-administered single-payer system of some sort eventually, like every other industrialized nation on earth. The question now is only how much more human suffering and how many more $billions we will waste on the current industry-run system.

Next: what a government-administered single-payer system might look like, including the role for insurance providers (actually, I’ve already given that one away).

(Cross-posted at Queen Of All Evil)

Update: OK, I realize that saying healthcare, “is completely unavailable to nearly one-sixth of the population,” is a bit of hyperbole. What I am talking about is the entire system: primary care, specialists, screening, wellness, etc. If waiting until you're sick enough to wait four to eight hours to be seen in an emergency room and then being sued by the hospital and having your credit destroyed does it for you…

October 26, 2006

What voters expect (and want) the Democrats to do if they take Congress

In an eye-opening survey, Gallup has found that voters expect (and would approve of) Democrats doing the following things if they take over Congress on November 7:

  • Set a time-table for withdrawal of US troops from Iraq
  • Increase the minimum wage
  • Pass legislation to provide healthcare to those who do not have it
  • Allow Americans to buy prescription drugs from other countries
Similarly, voters do NOT expect Democrats to do the following, nor would they approve if they did:
  • Repeal the Patriot Act
  • Take steps to make same-sex marriages legal
  • Cut back on efforts to fight terrorism
Voters expect Democrats to do the following, but they do NOT approve of these actions:
  • Reject most of Bush's nominations for federal judges
  • Increase federal income taxes.
Lastly, voters do NOT expect Democrats to do the following, but would approve if they did:
  • Implement all anti-terror recommendations made by the 9/11 commission.
Bonus round: Voters expect Democrats to do the following and are evenly split on whether they approve/disapprove:
  • Conduct major investigations of the Bush administration.
Here's what Democrats have said they would do in the first 100 hours of a Democratic House of Representatives:
  • Raise the minimum wage
  • Repeal the Medicare legislation that forbids the government from negotiating with drug companies for lower prices
  • Replenishing student loan programs
  • Fund stem cell research
  • Implement those recommendations of the Sept. 11 commission that have thus far languished.
And my Republican friends tell me that they expect Democrats to do the following things (and that they do NOT approve):
  • Make George W. Bush's life a ghastly, living hell
  • Abolish Christmas
  • Provide unlimited nights and weekends for terrorists using cellphones overseas.
  • Install Osama bin Laden as Commissioner of Baseball

October 25, 2006

Jesus Hates Democrats, So Vote AGAINST Stem-Cell Research

(cross posted at Daily Kos)

Jim Caviziel, star of Passion of the Christ, appears in an anti-stem cell ad with a creepy subliminal message.

I won't provide a link to the full ad -- it's easy enough to Google.

But, rest assured, it is a real ad. I understand it will be running tonight on TV during the World Series broadcast -- live from Missouri where Amendment Two is a hot-button issue in the close race between Republican incumbent Jim Talent and Democratic challenger Claire McCaskill.

The anti-stem cell bunch is running this ad to counter the powerful ad featuring Michael J. Fox -- you remember that convicted felon Rush Limbaugh mocked Fox for faking it or purposely going off his meds to shoot the pro-Amendment Two ad.

So now, the anti-crowd is rolling out some other big guns as well -- Jeff Suppan, the starting pitcher for St. Louis in tonight's game also appears in the ad.

Man, if ever there was a reason to root for the Detroit Tigers in the World Series, this is it!

Others appearing in the anti-stem cell ad include Kurt Warner of the Arizona Cardinals and Patricia Heaton of Everybody Loves Raymond.

These are the battle lines, people: We're for prevention, they're for punishment. One side wants life-saving research to go on; the other side wants to send you to Hell.

Send money to Claire McCaskill's campaign.

October 17, 2006

Hey Kids: Eating Junk Food Makes You Stupid

Now that its deal with McDonald's has expired, Disney is cutting trans fats and empty calories from any food that they license.

Continue reading "Hey Kids: Eating Junk Food Makes You Stupid" »

August 30, 2006

America eats its young

Garrison Keillor says we're sticking the next generation with debt and an unjust war. Solution: Cut healthcare for people with "Bush/Cheney" bumper stickers.

July 21, 2006

If You Disagree With Bush You Probably Drink Fresh Baby Smoothies

Jon Stewart was on fire last night:

  • Brownback And His Amazing Talking Embryos
  • Snowflake Children (How They Were Born And How They Got That Name)
  • The Simple Reason Why Bush Vetoed The Bill (And Why You Might Disagree)
  • Loophole In The Culture Of Life
  • You Can't Destroy Life To Save Life (Except In Iraq)
  • Undue Carnage vs. Due Carnage ("The Carnage They Had Coming")

July 19, 2006

Bush to stem cell community: Drop dead

Arthur Caplan:

With his veto the president has now reaffirmed a policy that never made any sense, garnered no scientific support to speak of, was abandoned by both houses of Congress and the leaders of his own party and, most importantly, got no traction with those most in need of the benefits of the research -- patients and their families.

The president has now told doctors, researchers and patients to drop dead. Science policy in the Bush administration is best made in the White House, not by scientists and not by Congress.

This is yet another example of the dangerous drift our nation is taking away from science, away from the future and backwards toward superstition and ignorance. The worst part? The embryos Bush wants to "save" will be discarded regardless of his veto. They will never be used to help the most important people of all -- the ones who are actually living their lives, hoping for a cure to end their suffering. Today, Bush turned his back and walked away from those people and their families.

P.S. And he did it in virtual secrecy, barring the press from witnessing his shameful act.

After weight-loss surgery, some find new addictions

Apparently, many weight-loss surgery patients adopt other addictive behavior, e.g., they'll start drinking like a fish. Psychologists even have a name for it: "addiction transfer," an outcome of substance-abuse treatment whereby patients swap one compulsive behavior for another.

Stem Cell Bill Passes; Bush Veto Expected Any Time

stemcell.jpgDetails here.

On a personal note, I have to tell you that my son was in Washington yesterday shooting some film for a documentary he is making on the stem cell issue. Among other things, he interviewed Representatives Mike Castle and Diana DeGette. They co-wrote and sponsored HR 810, the bill that Bush is expected to veto today.

And, in one of the more surreal moments of the day, he literally bumped into these guys (left) as their press conference adjourned.

July 17, 2006

The Senate Takes Up Stem Cells: Something for Everyone -- A Comedy Tonight!

(Cross posted at Daily Kos)

The Senate is debating a group of stem cell bills this week. In a nutshell those bills can be described like this:

  1. Real stem cell research ("Lift Bush's Restrictions And Get Down To Work")
  2. Fake stem cell research ("Lots of Loud Talking And Hand-Waving")
  3. Anti-stem cell research ("Prohibit Fetus Farming")
Oddly enough, all three bills are expected to pass with more than enough of a majority; Bush is slated to issue his first-ever veto of the only real one in the bunch, #1.

The other bills are primarily designed to provide political cover and lots of campaign fodder for Senators who might be worried about satisfying the constituents back home, most of whom favor a fully funded program of research. For example, most Senators will vote for #1 because people want it -- yet the Senate knows it will be vetoed by Bush. Most of those same Senators will also vote for #2 because they know it won't make a difference anyway if it passes. And, lastly, most Senators will vote for #3 because it prohibits something that wasn't ever going to have a snowball's chance in hell of happening in the first place.

Something familiar,
Something peculiar,
Something for everyone:
A comedy tonight!

Something appealing,
Something appalling,
Something for everyone:
A comedy tonight!

Nothing with gods, nothing with fate;
Weighty affairs will just have to wait!

Nothing that's formal,
Nothing that's normal,
No recitations to recite;
Open up the curtain:
Comedy Tonight!

Something erratic,
Something dramatic,
Something for everyone:
A comedy tonight!

Frenzy and frolic,
Strictly symbolic,
Something for everyone:
A comedy tonight!

July 12, 2006

Forget tort reform -- Democrats have a better diagnosis.

Ezra Klein explains that the problem isn't angry lawyers -- the problem is sloppy doctors. And now Sens. Clinton and Obama have offered a solution.

First, some facts:

Continue reading "Forget tort reform -- Democrats have a better diagnosis." »

July 11, 2006

Urgent Call To Action On Stem Cell Research Bill

Please take a moment today and contact your Senators about HR 810, the single most important piece of stem cell legislation before Congress.

From StemPAC:

This is the one that would rescind President Bush's draconian restrictions on stem cell research. This is the one that has (miraculously) already passed the House. If it is passed in the Senate, it either will become law -- or force President Bush to issue his first veto.
The Senate is slated to vote on this bill this week -- perhaps even as early as tomorrow. So you must take action on this today.

Here's a StemPAC video about the bill (The transcript of the video is below, as well as links to call your Senator to urge their support...)

Please continue below...

Continue reading "Urgent Call To Action On Stem Cell Research Bill" »

July 10, 2006

“Embryo farming?” It's called STEM CELL RESEARCH

(Cross-posted at Daily Kos)

If you've been paying attention, you know that Karl Rove recently gave a speech wherein he referred to stem-cell research as "embryo farming." I'm sure he chose that term after carefully determining that Republicans gave more money when that headline slapped them in the face upon opening the latest Republican fund-raising letter.

I think it would be a mistake for Democrats to respond to that kind of crap, but more on that in a moment.

Continue reading "“Embryo farming?” It's called STEM CELL RESEARCH" »

June 12, 2006

Nutritionist Marion Nestle tells you how to keep junk food from sneaking into your cart.

  1. Always shop the periphery. Don't go into the center aisles.

  2. If you do go into the center aisles, don't buy anything with more than five ingredients.

  3. If you can't pronounce the ingredients on the package label, don't buy it.

  4. Don't buy anything with a cartoon on it.

  5. If you don't want your kids eating junk food, don't have it in the home.
But wait...

Continue reading "Nutritionist Marion Nestle tells you how to keep junk food from sneaking into your cart." »

May 24, 2006

Tell Frist You Support Stem Cell Research Bill (HR 810)

May 09, 2006

Hooray for Latvia!

The U.S. ranks near the bottom of the statistics for infant mortality rates among modern nations. Only Latvia is worse off:

In the United States, researchers noted that the population is more racially and economically diverse than many other industrialized countries, making it more challenging to provide culturally appropriate health care.
That's it? That's the explanation? We're more culturally diverse so our babies die in greater numbers?
The U.S. ranking is driven partly by racial and income health care disparities. Among U.S. blacks, there are 9 deaths per 1,000 live births, closer to rates in developing nations than to those in the industrialized world.
There it is -- buried in the fourth paragraph. We should call that the Katrina Effect, i.e., if it's happening to poor black people, then it's OK to not take notice.
The researchers also said lack of national health insurance and short maternity leaves likely contribute to the poor U.S. rankings. Those factors can lead to poor health care before and during pregnancy, increasing risks for premature births and low birth weight, which are the leading causes of newborn death in industrialized countries.
It's pretty clear: sex education in the public schools, free contraception, liberalized abortion laws, and free health care for pregnant women are the cornerstones of the reproductive rights movement.

You're the decider -- what's your decision?

As faithful watchers of The West Wing know, the incoming President has 18 months, tops, to get anything done. So his/her campaign has to focus on what that is -- and leave the rest for later.

That said, I was interested to see this list of issues that Democrats in Blogville have reached consensus on.

Scan the list and tell me -- which one of these you would campaign on?


I think the "liberal netroots" does have a fairly clear consensus on a number of issues. I'm not going to claim every liberal blogger or blog reader agress with everything on this list - that'd be ridiculous - but nonetheless I'd say there's a pretty obvious general consensus on the following:
  • Undo the bankruptcy bill enacted by this administration
  • Repeal the estate tax repeal
  • Increase the minimum wage and index it to the CPI
  • Universal health care (obviously the devil is in the details on this one)
  • Increase CAFE standards. Some other environment-related regulation
  • Pro-reproductive rights, getting rid of abstinence-only education, improving education about and access to contraception including the morning after pill, and supporting choice. On the last one there's probably some disagreement around the edges (parental notification, for example), but otherwise.
  • Simplify and increase the progressivity of the tax code
  • Kill faith-based funding. Certainly kill federal funding of anything that engages in religious discrimination.
  • Reduce corporate giveaways
  • Have Medicare run the Medicare drug plan
  • Force companies to stop underfunding their pensions. Change corporate bankruptcy law to put workers and retirees at the head of the line with respect to their pensions.
  • Leave the states alone on issues like medical marijuana. Generally move towards "more decriminalization" of drugs, though the details complicated there too.
  • Imprison Jeff Goldstein for crimes against humanity for his neverending stupidity
  • Paper ballots
  • Improve access to daycare and other pro-family policies. Obiously details matter.
  • Raise the cap on wages covered by FICA taxes.
I'm sure I could think of a few more things. I left off foreign policy because I find that most people who write about it imagine they're playing the game of Risk. It's nice to have nice bumpersticker doctrines which are ultimately meaningless, but basically "put grownups in charge" is my prescription. Kick the petulant children out.

...adding a few more things which would be obvious if we weren't living in the Grand and Glorious Age of Bush:

  • Torture is bad
  • Imprisoning citizens without charges is bad
  • Playing Calvinball with the Geneva Conventions and treaties generally is bad
  • Imprisoning anyone indefinitely without charges is bad
  • Stating that the president can break any law he wants any time "just because" is bad
...oh, and I meant to include:
  • Marriage rights for all, which includes "gay marriage" and quicker transition to citizenship for the foreign spouses of citizens.

February 16, 2006

Mark Warner: “If the Republicans offer fear, we need to offer hope.”

I've only had limited exposure to Mark Warner (mostly on paper). And I wasn't exactly bowled over.

But the following piece presents Warner in a different light. And the post is so good that I'm going to apologize in advance for copying-and-pasting the whole thing...

From Reality Bites Back:

How does a pro-choice, pro-government, pro-tax Democrat get elected with an 80% approval rating in the state of Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and Grover Norquist? How do you counter Republican fear mongering, deception, fear mongering, cronyism and fear mongering? How do you win amidst an ocean of red, riled to a blood-thirsty, mouth-foaming torrent by Rove, Luntz and shotgun Cheney? Last night, I got to meet former Virginia Governor Mark Warner and hear from the man myself. And here's what he had to say...

"Virginia is a southern state." He made that clear as day. `It's not part of New England. It's the state where the Christian Right makes its home. It's 2 to 1 Republican, but there is a way to win.'

His tactic to approaching the Republican base starts with: "I'm a Democrat but, contrary to what you may think..." He paused, indicating that's the way he begins every appeal to a conservative area. He continues `I may not check every box of what you want, but I want to work with you to solve the problems that are important to you.' He mentions jobs, healthcare, education, economic development, and key to this, creating opportunities for `regular Americans' to stay in the community they grew up in by helping those communities compete in new industries of the future. He says he also boldly declares "I will never take away your guns. We need to enforce our existing laws. I'm not going to add a whole bunch of new ones." This, to counter the wall of deception by the NRA's constant "lib'ruls wanna take your guns away" droning.

Continue reading "Mark Warner: “If the Republicans offer fear, we need to offer hope.”" »

February 10, 2006

Anne Lamott on Faith and Politics...and Abortion

I was born a Christian and later chose to become a Jew. I was a liberal pretty much all along and I can say that being a liberal was the hardest thing of all. Oh, not for the reasons you might imagine; but rather for having to endure all the lunkheads who can't figure out how I can be religious AND a lefty at the same time.

Which brings me to one of my favorite authors, Anne Lamott, the novelist and essayist. Miss Julie turned me on to her book Travelling Mercies. Her most recent book is Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith. She writes eloquently and with great humor about her life before and after finding religion, in her case Christianity. For those of you who have forgotten what it was like being a Christian who actually believes in Jesus' teachings of non-violence and helping the poor, Anne is a good place to start.

Anyway, recently Lamott was a panelist in a discussion about politics and faith. And eventually they got around to the topic of abortion:

...and everyone just lost his or her mind.

Or, at any rate, I did.

Maybe it was the way in which the man couched the question, which was about how we should reconcile our progressive stances on peace and justice with the "murder of a million babies every year in America." The man who asked the question was soft-spoken, neatly and casually dressed.

First Richard, a Franciscan priest, answered that this is indeed a painful issue but that it is not the only "pro-life" issue that progressives — even Catholics — should concern themselves with during elections. There are also the matters of capital punishment and the war in Iraq, and of HIV.

Then Jim, an evangelical, spoke about the need to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, and the need to diffuse abortion as a political issue, by welcoming pro-choice and pro-life supporters to the discussion, with equal respect for their positions. He spoke gently about how "morally ambiguous" the issue is.

I sat there simmering, like a samovar; nice Jesusy me. The moderator turned to me and asked quietly if I would like to respond. I did: I wanted to respond by pushing over our table.

Instead, I shook my head. I love and respect the Franciscan and the evangelical, and agree with them 90-plus percent of the time. So I did not say anything, at first.

Then, when I was asked to answer the next question, I paused, and returned to the topic of abortion. There was a loud buzzing in my head, the voice of reason that says, "You have the right to remain silent," but the voice of my conscience was insistent.

I wanted to express calmly, eloquently, that pro-choice people understand that there are two lives involved in an abortion — one born (the pregnant woman) and one not (the fetus) — but that the born person must be allowed to decide what is right.

Also, I wanted to wave a gun around, to show what a real murder looks like. This tipped me off that I should hold my tongue, until further notice. And I tried.

But then I announced that I needed to speak out on behalf of the many women present in the crowd, including myself, who had had abortions, and the women whose daughters might need one in the not-too-distant future — people who must know that teenage girls will have abortions, whether in clinics or dirty backrooms. Women whose lives had been righted and redeemed by Roe vs. Wade. My answer was met with some applause but mostly a shocked silence.

Pall is a good word.

And it did not feel good to be the cause of that pall. I knew what I was supposed to have said, as a progressive Christian: that it's all very complicated and painful, and that Jim was right in saying that the abortion rate in America is way too high for a caring and compassionate society.

But I did the only thing I could think to do: plunge on, and tell my truth. I said that this is the most intimate decision a woman makes, and she makes it all alone, in her deepest heart of hearts, sometimes with the man by whom she is pregnant, with her dearest friends or with her doctor — but without the personal opinion of say, Tom DeLay or Karl Rove.

Well said.

February 02, 2006

What will NARAL do to pro-choice Senators who voted to end Alito filibuster?

I can tell you this: if it were the NRA, those Senators would be toast.

But let me back up for a moment...

I understand how NARAL can back a pro-choice Republican over his/her Democratic opponent who might be mushy on the issue. Rhode Island Republican Senator Lincoln Chaffee is an exellent example of this approach. Although Chaffee will vote with the Republican majority on just about every other issue, he is expected to be a strong advocate for reproductive freedoms.

NARAL's approach is similar to another single-issue group, the NRA. They will back the candidate who favors the NRA position if s/he is running against one who does not, regardless of party affiliation almost every single time. They will even back a pro-NRA losing candidate as long as the winning candidate favors gun-control. The NRA does this because they are strong advocates for the the issue that defines their very existence. You have to admire that.

But now here's the part that really frosts me:

What I don't understand is how NARAL can stand by and watch a filibuster against a truly hostile Supreme Court nominee fail because pro-choice Senators vote against the filibuster. And that means pro-choicers of either party.

Oh, they voted against confirming Alito the next day, but we all know that vote was totally meaningless. You can block Alito with 41 votes one day. But the next day it takes 51 to reject his nomination. Doesn't it make sense to go for the block? Of course it does -- especially if you are NARAL and you have a substantial war chest and lots of clout across the country.

Here's a list of Senators who voted to end the filibuster one day, and voted against confirming Alito the next.

Akaka (D-HI)
Baucus (D-MT)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Carper (D-DE)
Chaffee (R-RI)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Inouye (D-HI)
Kohl (D-WI)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lieberman (D-CT)
Lincoln (D-AR)
Nelson (D-FL)
Pryor (D-AR)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Salazar (D-CO)

Again: they voted against confirming Alito when it no longer mattered. When the outcome hung in the balance, they were AWOL. And so was NARAL.

Bottom line: Judge Alito is hostile to Roe. I have no doubt he will vote against upholding it each and every time it comes before the court. And/But if every pro-choice Senator had voted for the filibuster, we might not have Alito on the court today.

Yes, I know what you're thinking: the only way to guarantee pro-choice judges is to win elections. We need to put a pro-choice President in the Oval Office. We need to put a pro-choice majority in the US Senate. That is, in fact, the NARAL position.

But does that really mean we give up the fight when it is right on our doorstep? How close to forced childbirth do we have to get before we start fighting?

NARAL knows all this. They knew what was at stake. So why didn't they pull out all the stops? Why weren't they in the thick of it? What's all that money for, if not this? When will NARAL start fighting? Are they waiting for the NEXT wingnut nominee?

Like I said above: if this were the NRA, those Senators would be toast. But NARAL? They've apparently given a pass to the likes of Senator Chaffee.

So, here's what I want you to do:

I'm going to ask a favor of you. If you're a member of NARAL and you think I'm right, I want you to please contact the national organization and express your displeasure with their complacent attitude.

NARAL Pro-Choice America
1156 15th Street, NW Suite 700
Washington, DC 20005

Main Number: 202.973.3000
Main Fax: 202.973.3096

You can also contact these major donors who give significant funding to NARAL and let them know there are serious questions about how NARAL is approaching this issue.

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
300 Second Street
Tel (650) 948-7658
Fax (650) 917-0546

Michael Finley, President
Turner Foundation, Inc.
133 Luckie Street NW
2nd Floor
Atlanta, GA 30303
Tel: 404-681-9900
Fax: 404-681-0172

Pick up the phone. Send a fax. Send an email. Too much is at stake. You never know when the next Justice will retire or pass away.

Don't wait until it's too late. Do it now.


UPDATE: NARAL's response to another angry consituent.

(HT to Jane Hamsher)

January 11, 2006

Subscribe to E Pluribus Unum

Those of you that want to read this blog via a web-based news reader can now choose from several popular choices listed below. You can also find these links near the bottom of my sidebar, just below the Search box.

Just curious -- how many of you do this and what readers do you use?

Subscribe to E Pluribus Unum
(via Feedburner)

(also via Feedburner)

Subscribe in NewsGator Online

Subscribe in Rojo

Add E Pluribus Unum to Newsburst from CNET

Add to Google

Subscribe in Bloglines

Add E Pluribus Unum to ODEO

Subscribe in podnova

January 03, 2006

Interview with Laura Leyva, candidate for Florida State Legislature

thumb.jpgLaura Leyva is running as a Democrat for a seat in the Florida state legislature. I think she is bright, energetic and has a good chance of winning. I've written more about her here.

Below is a short interview I conducted with Laura over the weekend.

Tell me about the people of district 107. Who are they? What are their hopes? What keeps them awake at night, what worries them?

District 107 is a very diverse area. It's largely Hispanic - about 54% and more than 60% speak Spanish. It also has some of the wealthiest areas and poorest areas in Florida. So economic issues such as health care, education, wages are very important.

If elected, what would you do to help them with their worries and hopes?

As a health care professional, my top issue is health care. I am committed to improving the access and quality of primary care in our community while working with providers to contain costs. I know we won't be able to help everyone with every problem, but I know we can do better.

You ran once before in a different district and lost. What was your biggest mistake then and how do you plan to avoid it this time?

Last election I ran for the State House in a district that, honestly, can't be won by a Democrat. I also ran against the incoming speaker of the House - a popular and powerful Hispanic. But I ran in that seat because that's where I lived and I wanted to serve. Even so, the experience in 2004 has helped me be a better candidate this time. I know who to call, what to say and where to go. And it's working. And having moved across town, the district I live in now is an open and highly competitive seat. As the only Democrat running, I know we will do well in 2006 and have a real opportunity to win this seat.

You've seen Laura's ad (upper right corner of the blog). Please take a moment and click over to her site and make a donation. As I said, she's capable, she's for the right issues and she has a chance to win -- give her your support today. Click on the ad and send her some money. Thanks.

January 01, 2006

How you can turn a Red state Blue

You've heard me say it before: I think it is a bad idea for the interests of government and the interests of business to coincide.


Because in the world of business, one share equals one vote. But in the world of governance, one person equals one vote.

What this means is that for our system of governance to work best, the natural power of money cannot be allowed to outweigh the natural power of the people.

Easier said that done, right?

Fifty years ago, a politician in California said "Money is the mother's milk of politics." It was true then and, despite the efforts at campaign finance reform, it's true now.

Republicans have a natural advantage: their fundraising activities are organized around their corporate contacts. By calling on the heads of large corporations (remember Enron and Ken Lay?) they can gather in hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign cash.

Democrats are at more of a disadvantage -- our business contacts are not nearly as deep or as wide-ranging. But the Internet, especially blogs, have given us a way to catch up. In the last election cycle, Democrats used the Internet to draw nearly even with the Republican money-machine.

Now we're looking at the 2006 election cycle and that is where you can help.

I'm writing to tell you about a Democrat running for a seat in the Florida Legislature: Laura Leyva:

  • Laura is a South Florida native of Hispanic decent.

  • Laura is an MD and is very active in Miami's medical and social services communities.

  • She is the director and founder of Family AIDS Coalition, a non-profit organization focusing on the needs of families and individuals affected by HIV/AIDS.

  • Her commitment to serve her community on this important issue has made Laura a frequent contributor to local and national media programs.

  • She also serves on the Board of the Unity Coalition of Miami-Dade County.

  • Beyond health care, Laura is committed to serving as a passionate advocate for small businesses, neighborhoods and senior citizens.

  • And Laura is also serious about meeting the high standards of the Democratic Party in delivering accessible and affordable health care, protecting the rights of everyone and investing in education.
Here are some important facts and figures about Laura's campaign:
  • Laura is running in Florida's state legislature District 107 -- Key Biscayne, the Brickell area and parts of Miami Beach and Little Havana.

  • The district is more than 60% Hispanic. Laura’s Cuban-American roots will help her represent the district well.

  • Laura is the only Democrat running in a district that is 61% non-Republican.

  • If elected, Laura would be only the second Hispanic woman in the Florida Legislature.
Here's how you can help (and I'll let Laura do the talking here):
My consultant thinks that asking for help on blogs is a waste of time and money.

So we have a friendly wager going. I bet him that blog readers would help our campaign raise $2,500 in the next two weeks.

He bet it couldn't be done.

If I win, and we raise $2,500 or more, he'll pay for the ads himself! If he wins, we stop advertising on blogs.

So I need your help.

Click on my photo on the upper right of Ara's blog and make a small contribution.

You can make my consultant eat his words and open his checkbook!

Making a contribution will not only open my consultant's eyes, your donation will be put to use winning a swing seat in the nation's largest swing state!

So there you have it: You can help a young Democrat win a seat in the Florida Legislature with a simple click of your mouse.

More important than that, you can help even the score in this country between the power of money and the power of the people. And wouldn't that be a welcome relief to know you've had some small part in turning a red state into a blue state?

But don't wait -- her wager with her consultant ends in less than two weeks. Do it right now, before you open your next email, or scribble a reminder on a post-it note, or before the next phone call comes in or before you have to run that next errand.

Here's what to do to help Laura right now:

  1. Click on her photo (upper right).

  2. Scroll down to the bottom. You can make a donation with your credit card...

  3. ... or with a check.
That's how easy it is. Don't wait -- you can make a difference, but only if you do it now.


P.S. If you contribute $100 or more and include your phone number, Laura will call you personally to say thank you.

December 27, 2005

Here's what it looks like when abortion is all but illegal

Welcome to South Dakota:

  1. There is only one abortion clinic in the state. It operates only once a week. Sometimes Monday, sometimes Wednesday, depending on when an abortion doctor flies in to the state.

  2. An anti-choice task force is successfully lobbying for a law "requiring that a woman watch an ultrasound of her fetus, that doctors warn women about the psychological and physical dangers of abortion, and that women receive psychological counseling before the abortion, among other measures."

  3. The procedure costs $450. The state refuses to pay any of it, even in cases of rape or incest..By the way, South Dakota is home to the poorest counties in the nation.

  4. Some women in the state have to travel 700 miles in one day to get the procedure done.

  5. It's not just abortions. The laws also apply to the RU-486 pill.

  6. A law, currently blocked by Planned Parenthood, requires the doctor tell the woman prior to the procedure that "abortion ends the life of a whole, separate, unique living human being."
And by the way, South Dakota is one of several states with a "trigger law," which will make abortion illegal the minute Roe is overturned.

But wait, there's more:

For those who are ambivalent about a woman's right to choose, those who support the right only in cases of rape or incest, imagine being raped in South Dakota. Imagine having no money to pay for the trip hundreds of miles away, imagine not having enough money for the $450 procedure. Imagine telling the doctor you've been brutally raped, and the doctor telling you that the collection of cells inside you is not your rapist's mark, but a "unique living being." Imagine being forced to undergo an ultrasound. Is that exercising your right to choose? Or is it having obstacle after obstacle thrown in your way to make you change course?
(HT to georgia10)

Full Feed RSS

Creative Commons LicenseThis weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Powered by
Movable Type 3.2