Could The End Of Political Hate-Speech Be Due To a Fluke?

By Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

Georgetown University Law Schooler Sandra Fluke may have been able to do something George Soros’ millions, a whole gaggle of Democratic strategists, and Al Franken’s book, Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot, couldn’t do – dethrone the King of Caustic in the court of public opinion.  She may have done something else, too. Something truly unexpected in red-blue battlefield where American politics is played. The feisty feminist may have just made political discourse civil again.

On February 29, 2012 (appropriately a leap year for such a pratfall), Limbaugh started the firestorm calling the 30-year-old women’s rights advocate a “slut” and “prostitute” after her testimony before an unofficial congressional committee in support of mandated private health insurance coverage for contraceptives. Fluke’s crime: calling for coverage of birth control drugs to treat her friend’s polycystic ovarian syndrome. Prescriptions for pain from ovarian cysts is just one of many noncontraceptive uses of birth control denied women when their employers refuse to include contraception services in their health care plans because of moral or religious reasons.

Refusing to accept Ms. Fluke’s motivation, Rush doubled down a day later offering what he termed was a “compromise” to contraception coverage: purchasing “all the women at Georgetown University as much aspirin to put between their knees as possible”. He continued that he “[ran] some numbers” on contraception costs and arguing that contraception coverage was “flat-out thievery” that would force taxpayers to pay to “satisfy the sexual habits of female law students at Georgetown”.

The rant was unrelenting: “So, Ms. Fluke and the rest of you feminazis, here’s the deal. If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it, and I’ll tell you what it is. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch,” bellowed the wounded giant. He then added, “Who bought your condoms in junior high? Who bought your condoms in the sixth grade? Or your contraception. Who bought your contraceptive pills in high school?” He described Fluke as “a woman who is happily presenting herself as an immoral, baseless, no-purpose-to-her life woman. She wants all the sex in the world whenever she wants it, all the time, no consequences.” By some counts, he attacked Ms. Fluke 46 more times that day and throughout the broadcast.

By March 2nd, Rush still wasn’t done with Ms. Fluke. Limbaugh said that requiring insurance companies to cover contraception is “no different than if somebody knocked on my door that I don’t know and said, ‘You know what? I’m out of money. I can’t afford birth-control pills, and I’m supposed to have sex with three guys tonight.’ ” He added “she’s having so much sex she can’t pay for it and wants a new welfare program to pay for it,” he’d be “embarrassed” and “disconnect the phone”, “go into hiding”, and “hope the media didn’t find me”. He continued later, “Oh! Does she have more boyfriends? They’re lined up around the block. They would have been in my day.”

Criticizing someone for an out-of-control libido must have caused even hardline — but memory-equipped — “ditto-heads” to blush. In March of 2009, Limbaugh was reportedly detained by US Customs officials for three hours  with 29 tablets of the male sexual enhancement drug, Viagra, in his suitcase. Limbaugh’s  Gulfstream IV jet (courtesy of Premier Radio Networks)  with Rush and 4 male buddies aboard had landed in Palm Beach, Florida, fresh off a stag party vacation in the Dominican Republic. Nothing newsworthy there except that the Viagra prescription was not in the radio celebrity’s name. Instead, it was “labeled as being issued to the physician rather than Mr. Limbaugh for privacy purposes,” according to Roy Black, Limbaugh’s attorney. For his part,  Limbaugh was nonplussed and in a bragging mood about his sexual proclivities south of the border. “I had a great time in the Dominican Republic. Wish I could tell you about it,” he beamed.

Such arrogance all but guaranteed a backlash from both Right and Left labeling Limbaugh both a bully and misogynistic. Advertisers began to hear rumblings from social media that boycotts were planned and got antsy, especially in view of the size of the potentially offended demographic involved. Laurie Cantillo, Rush’s old boss at WABC (770 AM) explained that,

It is perceived by many as an attack on young women. … Women 25-54 is the prize demo for most advertisers, and Rush’s remarks strike at the heart of the audience they’re trying to reach….

Reagan speech writer, Peggy Noonan, called Limbaugh’s remarks “crude, rude, even piggish,” and “deeply destructive and unhelpful.”  House Speaker John Boehner called the remarks, “Inappropriate.’ Senator John McCain (R-Arizona), the party’s 2008 candidate for president, said Limbaugh’s statements were unacceptable “in every way” and “should be condemned” by people across the political spectrum. Even the bow-tied ambassador from the Country Club Right, George Will, clucked that  Boehner’s remarks were more suited to a faux pas of using a salad fork for the entrée and lamented that “… it was depressing because what it indicates is that the Republican leaders are afraid of Rush Limbaugh.” Duh!  Now how about some coffee to really wake you up, George.

If the right was disappointed, the left was outraged. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), wrote that “Rush Limbaugh, the voice of the ultra-conservative right, issued one of the most vile tirades against women I’ve ever heard.” House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, called the diatribe, “obnoxious” and “vicious and inappropriate attacks.” Seventy-five Democratic Party lawmakers signed a letter expressing outrage at the remarks labeling them as “sexually charged, patently offensive, obscene”, “indecent” and “an abuse of public airwaves.” NOW described Limbaugh as  a “bigoted bully” and a speaker of “hate-filled speech” for trying to “shame a young woman for coming forward, speaking her mind and standing up for women’s rights.”

An apology was inevitable if not for ethical reasons then for financial ones. On March 1st, Rush issued the first of what critics would call his non-apologies. Grasping the golden EIB microphone on March 3rd, the Right’s most quoted standard-bearer bit the bullet saying:

For over 20 years, I have illustrated the absurd with absurdity, three hours a day, five days a week. In this instance, I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke. I think it is absolutely absurd that during these very serious political times, we are discussing personal sexual recreational activities before members of Congress. I personally do not agree that American citizens should pay for these social activities. What happened to personal responsibility and accountability? Where do we draw the line? If this is accepted as the norm, what will follow? Will we be debating if taxpayers should pay for new sneakers for all students that are interested in running to keep fit? In my monologue, I posited that it is not our business whatsoever to know what is going on in anyone’s bedroom nor do I think it is a topic that should reach a Presidential level.  My choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices.

Too little, too late. And besides, Fluke was not in an accepting mood.  Talking with Barbara Walters on ABC’s The View, Fluke said,

I don’t think that a statement like this, saying that his choice of words was not the best, changes anything, and especially when that statement is issued when he’s under significant pressure from his sponsors who have begun to pull their support from the show.  I think any woman who has ever been called these types of names is [shocked] at first. But then I tried to see this for what it is, and I believe that what it is, is an attempt to silence me, to silence the millions of women and the men who support them who have been speaking out about this issue and conveying that contraception is an important healthcare need that they need to have met in an affordable, accessible way.

Advertisers were not in a forgiving mood either.  confirmed that 141 — not 8 as once reported — sponsors have been identified in an internal Premier Radio Networks memorandum as declaring that their ad spots are to be run on controversy-free radio programming. Put another way, on Rush-free programming. The feminist trio of Gloria Steinem, Jane Fonda, and Robin Morgan  called for the FCC to ban Rush, and defender of all things woman, Gloria Allred, wanted the rotund pundit prosecuted.

Oh, there were some Rush defenders like actress/activist, Patricia Heaton, and the usual chorus of  wacky Michelle Malkin, educationally-challenged Sean Hannity, and Fox’ s trotted-out lawyer of the Right turned pundit, Megyn Kelly, but they were quickly caught up in the deluge and slinked away with lukewarm Twitter apologies (Heaton) or a quick change of topic (all the rest).

While extreme positions are easily dismissed as preposterous, they have the effect of focusing the debate on the reasonable propositions and then drawing a consensus as to the right course of action. It ‘s the case of two equally matched but exhausted palookas in a bar fight who are simply tired of the tussle that leads to no result and makes both look weak.  The fight may have gone out of both sides. Also the Law of Unintended Consequences may be at work, too. Speaking on msnbc’s Morning Joe, McCain’s 2008 campaign chief, Steven Schmidt, was asked to comment on McCain’s combative running mate Sarah Palin, the subject of  HBO’s new production, Game Change.  He made an interesting comment about the Hockey-Mom-Turned-Rogue, and in doing so, about the system the got her there in the first place.  ” She has become a person who I think is filled with grievance, filled with anger who has a divisive message for the national stage when we need leaders in both parties to have a unifying message. . . .” Schmidt seemed to be echoing Barbara Bush’s comments made a few days earlier at SMU about the 2012 campaign, “I hate that people think compromise is a dirty word. It’s not a dirty word,” the former First Lady emphasized.

The same sentiment was expressed by outgoing Republican Senator, Olympia Snow:

The great challenge is to create a system that gives our elected officials reasons to look past their differences and find common ground …. In a politically diverse nation, only by finding that common ground can we achieve results for the common good. That is not happening today and, frankly, I do not see it happening in the near future.

For change to occur, our leaders must understand that there is not only strength in compromise, courage in conciliation and honor in consensus-building — but also a political reward for following these tenets. That reward will be real only if the people demonstrate their desire for politicians to come together after the planks in their respective party platforms do not prevail.

Snow, long regarded as one of the moderate Republicans in the Senate who was willing to work with the opposition in promoting the public good, left the institution in disgust at what she called the “corrosive trend of winner-take-all politics.” When the beneficiaries of the Lee Atwater school of politics think things have gone too far, things have really gone too far.

Other signs also point to an increase of civility in the wake of the across-the-board outrage at Limbaugh.

John "Jack" DeGioia, President of Georgetown University

Following the lambasting of Ms. Fluke by Limbaugh, Georgetown President Jack DeGioia stepped up to defend his student’s right to speak and called for civility. The leader of the Jesuit school — that officially opposes the mandatory contraception services — eloquently laid out the case for letting the opposiong view be aired. In a letter to the school, DeGioia wrote, “[Ms. Fluke] provided a model of civil discourse. This expression of conscience was in the tradition of the deepest values we share as a people. One need not agree with her substantive position to support her right to respectful free expression.” He branded the reaction of Limbaugh and some other commentators as “misogynistic, vitriolic and a misrepresentation of the position of our student.”

And here’s what Carbonite CEO David Friend said about this company’s decision to pull its ads from the Limbaugh show.

No one with daughters the age of Sandra Fluke, and I have two, could possibly abide the insult and abuse heaped upon this courageous and well-intentioned young lady. Mr. Limbaugh, with his highly personal attacks on Miss Fluke, overstepped any reasonable bounds of decency. Even though Mr. Limbaugh has now issued an apology, we have nonetheless decided to withdraw our advertising from his show. We hope that our action, along with the other advertisers who have already withdrawn their ads, will ultimately contribute to a more civilized public discourse.

Friend made the statement in the face of a threat by investors to leave the Inc. 500 company if he abandoned the ad campaign on the Limabugh show. Sensa Weight Loss, another show sponsor, tweeted: “Rush Limbaugh’s comments are not in line with SENSA values so we are pulling our ads indefinitely which should be down in the next couple days.’  That tweet was mimicked by VitaCost, another longtime sponsor. GEICO Insurance issued a strongly worded statement that it was not a Rush Limbaugh sponsor and never would be one, “We do not place ads on Rush’s program. We do not sponsor the show. We have repeatedly alerted our partners that our ads are never to run during his program. If this does not change rest assured that we will remove all advertising from this radio network.” Tell us what you really think there, Caveman! JC Penney immediately followed suit on Twitter.

This incident bears striking resemblance to the 2007 scandal when long-time shock-jock Don Imus called the Rutger’s Women’s basketball team “a bunch of nappy headed hoes.”  Though known for his off-the-wall commentary, Imus was not insulated when sponsors and fellow performers at CBS demanded that his show be cancelled. Eight days after uttering the fateful words, it was. CBS later settled with the radio host but the public sentiment was clear.

The point to be made is that when Wall Street, Congressional Republicans, Congressional Democrats, and the media all agree that civility should improve, civility will improve. It seems now that they have.

Ironically, perhaps the first step in fostering toleration is in politely refusing to tolerate the intolerant. Sandra Fluke  taught us that important lesson by simply standing up for what she believed was right when it mattered.  Real persuasion starts in speaking your truth humbly, compassionately, knowledgeably, and honestly.  That may be the true antidote to the politics of haughtiness and hate. Sandra Fluke reminded us of that, too, with every word.

Sources: Linked Throughout; Wikipedia, Daily Beast; NY Daily News; Smoking GUn; Huffington Post

~Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

88 thoughts on “Could The End Of Political Hate-Speech Be Due To a Fluke?

  1. Sandra Fluke: Slurs won’t silence women
    By Sandra Fluke, Special to CNN
    Wed March 14, 2012

    (CNN) — Last month, students from several Catholic universities gathered to send a message to the nation that contraception is basic health care. I was among them, and I was proud to share the stories of my friends at Georgetown Law who have suffered dire medical consequences because our student insurance does not cover contraception for the purpose of preventing pregnancy.

    I joined these students in speaking at a media event because I believe that stories of how real women are affected are the most powerful argument for access to affordable, quality reproductive health care services.

    I also joined these students because now is a critical time to raise this issue in our public consciousness.

    Thanks to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, preventive care services, including contraception, will be covered by private insurance plans without co-pays or deductibles. If appropriately implemented, this important law will finally guarantee women access to contraception, regardless of the religious affiliation of their workplace or school.

    By now, many have heard the stories I wanted to share thanks to the congressional leaders and members of the media who have supported me and millions of women in speaking out.

    Because we spoke so loudly, opponents of reproductive health access demonized and smeared me and others on the public airwaves. These smears are obvious attempts to distract from meaningful policy discussions and to silence women’s voices regarding their own health care.

    These attempts to silence women and the men who support them have clearly failed. I know this because I have received so many messages of support from across the country — women and men speaking out because they agree that contraception needs to be treated as a basic health care service.

    Who are these supporters?

    They are women with polycystic ovarian syndrome, who need contraception to prevent cysts from growing on their ovaries, which if unaddressed can lead to infertility and deadly ovarian cancer. They are sexual assault victims, who need contraception to prevent unwanted pregnancy.

    They are Catholic women, who see no conflict between their social justice-based faith and family planning. They are new moms, whose doctors fear that another pregnancy too soon could jeopardize the mother’s health and the potential child’s health too. They are mothers and grandmothers who remember all too well what it was like to be called names decades ago, when they were fighting for a job, for health care benefits, for equality.

    They are husbands, partners, boyfriends and male friends who know that without access to contraception, the women they care about can face unfair obstacles to participating in public life. And yes, they are young women of all income levels, races, classes and ethnicities who need access to contraception to control their reproduction, pursue their education and career goals and prevent unintended pregnancy. And they will not be silenced.

    These women know how expensive birth control pills can be, with or without insurance coverage. For a single mother with kids, a woman making minimum wage, or a student living on loans, a high monthly co-pay could be the difference between buying contraception or one week of groceries.

    And imagine the financial burden of unplanned pregnancy and raising a child. For women without insurance coverage or with insurance that doesn’t cover contraception, the costs create a significant financial burden.

    Many women cannot medically use the least expensive types of contraception. As a result, many women, especially those 18 to 34 who have the most trouble affording contraception, simply go without. They face any number of medical risks as well as unintended pregnancy — all of which damage their productivity and the health of their families.

    Most recently, certain political commentators have started spreading misinformation about the underlying government regulation we are discussing. To be clear, through programs such as Medicaid, the government already does and should fund contraception coverage for the poorest women in our country.

  2. Struggling Clear Channel And Rush Limbaugh’s $400 Million Payday
    March 16, 2012
    by Eric Boehlert

    There was something very telling, and even morose, about the commercial break Rush Limbaugh took deep into his third hour of broadcasting on Tuesday’s show. Still at the center of an advertising firestorm that rages around his program as corporate America turns its back on the AM talker in the wake of his ugly, invasive, three-day smear campaign against Sandra Fluke, Limbaugh boasted he had thwarted the left-wing attack and they were the ones “shell shocked” at the turn of events.

    But the truth was that for days on his flagship station, WABC in New York, Limbaugh’s show had been stripped of key advertisers. Instead, the once robust revenue-generating program had turned into a feel-good forum where during commercial breaks WABC ran nonpaid public service announcements on behalf of the United Negro College Fund and New York Office of Emergency Management. That’s because WABC didn’t feel comfortable putting lots of advertisers on Limbaugh’s show, which up and down Madison Avenue had become poisonous in this wake of his misogynistic Fluke debacle.

    So towards the end of his show on Tuesday, the nine-figure salary talk show host went to commercial break and a paid advertiser did pop up. And it was a new advertiser, a sponsor who apparently had signed on amidst the controversy. The sponsor’s name? The Holy Name Cemetery in New Jersey, which was advertising a “pre-planning open house weekend.”

    How fitting.

    Whether Limbaugh’s show is in the midst of the death throes, only time will tell. But one thing is clear, the radio industry has never seen anything like the sponsorship controversy surrounding Limbaugh’s once-untouchable program. And it’s certainly never seen anything like the wholesale decision by his syndicator, Premier Radio Networks, to suspend barter ads for two weeks in an apparent effort to ride out the controversy. That was soon followed by news that advertisers are requesting Limbaugh’s affiliated stations provide “Rush-free programming grids” so sponsors can verify that their brands aren’t appearing on his show.

    “It’s unprecedented,” Holland Cooke, a talk radio consultant, tells Media Matters. He says Premiere’s startling advertising move “suggests things are worse than we know.”

    The question is: How long will stations be able to sustain the ad losses on Limbaugh’s show, and how does the host justify his $400 million pay in the face of the advertiser revolt?

    The boycott comes at a bad time for Premier’s parent company, Clear Channel. A conservative-friendly media behemoth with a soft spot for right-wing radio, Clear Channel continues to struggle not only with a depleted radio audience as more and more consumers migrate away from the AM/FM dial, but it’s also sagging under the weight of massive debt.

  3. After having sired two children, I had a vasectomy — for which I paid cash since I had no insurance to cover the procedure. All men who feel themselves disposed to discourse upon the subject of unwanted pregnancies and abortions for women should do the same, just to set a good example. Actually, men should just shut up about women’s health issues. Period.

  4. Did Anyone In Conservative Media Actually Read Or Listen To Sandra Fluke’s Testimony?

    No because we knew it was a set up or at least inclinations it was a setup. She went from this poor 23 year old, third year college law student to a 30 year old activist who through her boyfriends father most likely made all the connections needed to get where she is today. Not to mention the fact that she claims she can’t afford to pay for birth control now but when she graduates the average starting first year salary for someone like Ms. Fluke from Georgetown is estimated between $140k and $160K. Far from poor.

  5. Bdaman, That salary you mention is for those that work in big corporate law. I don’t think Ms. Fluke was headed in that direction. Ms. Fluke is clearly headed to public interest law where the salaries are maybe around $40 to $60k.

  6. As far as advertisers

    .Michael Harrison told The Daily Caller that Limbaugh’s numbers likely are going nowhere but up — despite the anti-Limbaugh push. Harrison is founder and publisher of Talkers magazine, the industry’s leading trade journal. According to Harrison, even if all the publicity is negative, it is a “good bet that Rush is enjoying pretty high ratings” last week and going into this week.

    While some have been boasting that Limbaugh has lost 140 advertisers, the accuracy of that claim has been debated. Some radio advertisers have requested to be on a “no-buy” list for Limbaugh’s program, which is an advertising strategy and not a boycott of any specific program according to Michael Harrison, the founder and publisher of the radio talk industries trade journal Talkers magazine.

    Harrison told The Daily Caller’s Caroline May why those claims were not true.

    “It has nothing to do with fleeing, boycotting [or] censoring,” he said. “It’s just that certain advertisers have certain shows on a list that they don’t want to be on because they don’t want to be on controversial programming, and this has gone on for years.”

    Limbaugh told listeners this week he will be running four new commercials starting Friday

  7. Elaine M:

    Thanks for the great contribution. It’s hard for some conservatives to read when blinded by an ideology of hate.

  8. William C. Mutterperl

    Bill is a partner in Reed Smith’s Financial Industry Group. He specializes in providing high level counseling to CEO’s, General Counsel, Boards of Directors and members of senior management of major financial institutions.

    As the former Vice Chairman of The PNC Financial Services Group, he held management responsibilities for certain PNC staff functions, including legal, compliance, legislative affairs and media relations, and he was responsible for implementing best practices for corporate governance. He served on several senior management committees, including Mergers and Acquisitions, Corporate Re-Engineering and Consumer affairs, and also served as management liaison to a special ad hoc committee of the Board of Directors dealing with regulatory affairs and corporate governance. He also served as a PNC representative on the Board of Directors of BlackRock Investment Management, one of the largest investment management firms in the world.

    Bill also had a distinguished 25-year career at FleetBoston Financial Corp. where he served as its Executive Vice President and General Counsel world-wide, responsible for all legal affairs of the company.

    In addition, Bill served as Executive Director of the Independent Oversight Board for Arthur Andersen, headed by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker. The other members of the Independent Oversight Board included current and former CEO’s of major U.S. companies. Bill advised the Board on proposed best corporate governance practices to be adopted by Andresen in the wake of governmental investigations and criticisms of that firm.

    In private practice, Bill was a partner in the business law division of Brown Rudnick Berlack Israels in Boston, specializing in corporate governance issues. He began his legal career at the law firm of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP.

    In his roles at PNC and Fleet Boston, Bill developed expertise in myriad legal disciplines and related business activities, including:

  9. bdman:

    I fail to see how her earning potential bears in the slightest on the controversy. If earnings generated fom controversy is a bad thing, serial gadfly, Rush Limbaugh,is the locus of evil with a nine figure salary for simply tossing red meat to his rabid and habitually bitter minions.

  10. Because it was all based on what she could or could not afford and now the optics are bad because she cried poor mouth and every corner you turn she appears to be rich. Vacationing recently in Spain and Italy posting drunken pictures on Facebook. Thats why.

  11. Bdman:

    Actually her focus was a plea for a friend who suffered from polycystic ovarian syndrome, but why let a fact stand in the way of a guttural tirade against sex itself.

    Here’s the words,if they matter:

    “Without her taking the birth control, a massive cyst the size of a tennis ball had grown on her ovary. She had to have surgery to remove her entire ovary as a result.
    “On the morning I was originally scheduled to give this testimony, she was sitting in a doctor’s office, trying to cope with the consequences of this medical catastrophe.
    “Since last year’s surgery, she’s been experiencing night sweats and weight gain and other symptoms of early menopause as a result of the removal of her ovary. She’s 32-years-old.
    “As she put it, ‘If my body indeed does enter early menopause, no fertility specialist in the world will be able to help me have my own children. I will have no choice at giving my mother her desperately desired grandbabies simply because the insurance policy that I paid for, totally unsubsidized by my school, wouldn’t cover my prescription for birth control when I needed it.’
    “Now, in addition to potentially facing the health complications that come with having menopause at such an early age – increased risk of cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis – she may never be able to conceive a child.

    If you want to cull away the BS here’s the entire transcipt:

  12. That is your take MESPO her testimony was about alot of things not just her friend. But for all intents and proposes it is backfiring because of bad optics.

    The liberal media started using this term optics to describe things which I never really heard of the term being used before. The closest term associated for me would be a visual, like looking at the visual. Anyways this new craze using the term optics makes me look at things a bit more differently. For example

    The director of Kony 12 save the children, wow great idea. Fastest viral video ever. But now the optics are no good after he got arrested yesterday for being naked and masturbating on a public street. It just don’t look good. Grown man trying to save kids gets caught naked masturbating on a public street.

    XL pipeline, gas prices are going through the roof, Obama says we are doing all we can, makes jokes that we are drilling everywhere but behind the scenes does everything he can to cancel the pipeline. The optics don’t look good. Now they want to try and make it look like he’s really trying by getting photo ops at drilling facilities and the optics won’t be good either from an environmentalist or global warmist stand point.

    As they say Mespo, It is what it is and what it is is ugly.

  13. bdman:

    There’s “take” and there’s truth. Her testimony speaks for itself and while she highlights more examples of the plight of her friends caused by the Right’s reflexive disdain (and fear) of anything sexual or feminine, the basic point is that she is a good person trying to help others. In kindergarten we all learned what kind of person attacks a good person trying to help others for their own selfish (and occasionally psychological) reasons. That simple “truth” still stands today.

  14. NAL, from your link

    Yes, you read that right: The real news of the CBO estimate is that, according to its models, health care reform is going to save even more taxpayer dollars than previously thought.

    I want to be clear about something. The Affordable Care Act has flaws: Among other things, it reaches fewer people and provides less financial protection than I would prefer. The revised CBO report actually suggests this problem will get mildly worse, since it also expects slightly fewer people to end up with insurance. That’s one reason why the law will cost less; it’s helping fewer people. Another reason is that more employers pay penalties for not offering insurance and more people pay penalties pay penalties for not obtaining it. That’s obviously not great, either.

    The report also had one finding that give us at least a little pause: CBO now projects the number of people with employer-sponsored insurance will drop by 4 million people, on net. It’s still a small effect, representing less than 2 percent of the total population with employer-sponsored coverage. That’s well within the margin of error of these models. It’s also difficult to tell why CBO thinks this will happen

  15. Struggling Clear Channel And Rush Limbaugh’s $400 Million Payday

    The boycott comes at a bad time for Premier’s parent company, Clear Channel. A conservative-friendly media behemoth with a soft spot for right-wing radio, Clear Channel continues to struggle not only with a depleted radio audience as more and more consumers migrate away from the AM/FM dial, but it’s also sagging under the weight of massive debt.

    From a Forbes report, earlier this year:

    Clear Channel’s consolidated businesses are struggling amid a sea of losses and a $19.9 billion debt load, meanwhile its largest revenue source, radio broadcasting, is a loss leader. Overall, the combined company is set to lose over $200 million in 2011 after notching $4 billion-plus annual losses during the recession.

  16. Of course it’s all moot unless you have doctors to provide you with the care in the first place.

    Doctors Say Obamacare Is No Remedy for U.S. Health Woes

    America’s doctors have conducted a full examination of the president’s health reform law — and their diagnosis of its effects on our healthcare system isn’t good.

    Nearly two-thirds of doctors expect the quality of care in this country to decline, according to a new survey from consulting giant Deloitte. Just 27 percent think that the law will lower costs. And nearly seven of every 10 doctors believe that medicine is no longer attractive to America’s “best and brightest.”

  17. How exactly does a spokesperson use his or her personal background to ‘setup’ the other side in a debate?

    Aren’t the ‘issues’ the issue and not the persons background?

    ‘You took unfair advantage and set us up by coming here to discuss precisely the issues we came here to discuss’!?!?!?

    How could anyone in a debate be set up by questions like ‘who gets birth control’ or ‘who pays for birth control’. Haven’t these questions been in play and under discussion essentially all of our adult lives?

    The only ‘setup’ I see is trying to make a persons background the issue rather than discussing the issue.

    There are important issues to discuss here. Ms Fluke’s bright future is not one of them.

  18. “There are important issues to discuss here. Ms Fluke’s bright future is not one of them.”


    Well said, but Bdaman needs to do his thing which is to try to distract one’s vision from the real issue. He does this so regularly that one might suppose he was either paid, or terminally blind to the excesses of the cause he so voraciously champions. i.e. The deference and support of the 1%, no matter what their excesses.

  19. .

    March 14, 2012
    Susan G. Komen: Where’s the Party?
    Posted by Amy Davidson


    “I am writing to inform you that we have cancelled the Annual Awards Gala that was originally scheduled for May 17, 2012,” Blythe Masters, the chair of the board of directors for the Greater New York City affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, wrote in a letter dated yesterday. Now, why would that be? Instead of an event for which tickets might to sold to all sorts of people—some, presumably, still angry that the national Komen organization had tried to cut its ties to Planned Parenthood before pressure from its supporters made it reverse that decision—there would be another kind of event:

    I would, however, like to cordially invite you to join me as my special guest at Keeping the Promise: The Grantees’ Breakfast, where we will announce our new 2012-2013 grantees…

    The Grantees’ Breakfast; will, the letter noted, be “by invitation only.” (“Please note that this invitation is not transferrable.”) The Gala was supposed to be at Gustavino’s (“It’s been cancelled for reasons I can’t divulge,” someone speaking for Gustavino’s, who declined to give his name, said.) Vern Calhoun, a spokesman for the affiliate, said: “After much discussion, the Board of Directors of the Greater New York City Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure decided to postpone our new spring event, the Awards Gala, to a later date because we were not certain about our ability to fundraise in the near term.” Calhoun said that one of the grantees at the substitute breakfast event would be Planned Parenthood of Nassau of County; specifically, a program called Sisters United in Health/Hermanas Unidas en la Salud, which provides uninsured and undocumented minority women health information and access to breast-cancer screenings. (The grants total three million dollars, and another $1.4 million for research will be announced, Calhoun said.)

    That concern about fund-raising may have been well founded. The letter was received by a friend who used to donate to Komen regularly but, like many others, had recently excoriated them on their Web site for interjecting politics into women’s health care. Other affiliates are reconsidering events, too.

    All of this raises a question: who won the fight over Komen and Planned Parenthood? Komen’s support for the anti-cancer work Planned Parenthood does is in place, for now, at least while people are watching. But that uproar was followed by Rush Limbaugh’s pillorying of Sandra Fluke and attempts by the Republican candidates to outdo each other with invectives directed at Planned Parenthood, and even the basic principle of accessible contraception. “Planned Parenthood, we’re gonna get rid of that,” Mitt Romney said (he was apparently referring to getting rid of any federal funding, not outlawing it). The candidate whose views were most extreme in this regard, Rick Santorum, won the primaries in Alabama and Mississippi last night. Margaret Talbot, in a Comment this week, notes that “eighty new restrictions on abortion rights that were enacted by state legislatures in 2011, up from twenty-three in 2010.” But Planned Parenthood itself, and not just its abortion work, has become a target. Who won the Komen fight? It’s too early to tell; it’s still going on. There just won’t be any skirmishes at a gala in New York this year.

    Read more

  20. @bdman, two words seem the proper response to your weak arguments today: so what?

    What you cannot possibly change, no matter how Limbaugh-esque you choose to become, is that the GOP has lost women, likely for a generation.

    One word sums up your role in that future: deal.

  21. Rush Limbaugh and the Right-Wing Nervous Breakdown
    For a Republican Party already suffering from a yawning gender gap, Limbaugh’s hijacking of the news cycle last week must have been unwelcome news.
    By Eric Boehlert
    March 7, 2012

    It turns out that even in cases of emergency, the GOP Noise Machine has no off switch.

    Republicans learned that painful lesson as the Rush Limbaugh “slut” fiasco made headlines for days on end. With the Voice of the Republican Party engulfed in one of the most damaging (and self-inflicted) controversies of his career, and with parts of the GOP Noise Machine scrambling to actually defend Limbaugh, as well as to echo his misogynist taunts, it’s been the larger conservative movement that has been absorbing the worst blows.

    For a Republican Party already suffering from a yawning gender gap, Limbaugh’s hijacking of the news cycle last week must have been unwelcome news. But this is what happens when Republicans sponsor an irresponsible media Noise Machine that’s designed to offend and attack and is designed to dehumanize its political enemies. This is what happens when the wheels fall off in spectacular fashion, like Limbaugh spending three days smearing, by name, a Georgetown University Law School student as greedy nymphomaniac having so much sex “it’s amazing she can still walk.”

    It’s no secret Republican leaders live in fear of Limbaugh and over the years have found it almost impossible to publicly criticize even his most outlandish and hateful statements. Those few who did stop forward were often forced to then quickly reversed course and apologize to Limbaugh. Just like Republicans have had to bow down to kingmakers at Fox News and embrace their lowest common denominator programming

    The truth is the conservative movement in America has become a media-based one, delegating an absurd amount of influence to bloggers, cable channels and talk show hosts. In turn, that movement suffered a collective collapse last week. Incapable of self-reflection, player after player, including those at Fox News, rushed forward to condemn the law student and/or to insist the AM talker had done nothing wrong by, A) insulting the young woman, B) mocking her parents C) demanding she post videos of herself having sex online, and D) suggesting she was using condoms when she was in elementary school.

    Large portions of the right-wing media complex saw nothing wrong with that kind of behavior; saw nothing wrong with the 53 bullying smears Limbaugh unloaded on the student in front of his national radio audience. Not only did they defend Limbaugh, they lashed out at anyone who suggested the titan talker lacked common sense. And then they stomped on Sandra Fluke’s reputation some more.

    A sample of the swill:

    -Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin denounced Fluke as a “femme-agogu tool.”

    -The right-wing site Jawa Report illustrated a post about Fluke with a picture of a tattoo that reads “Semen Demon.”

    -Pam Geller wrote that Fluke is “banging it five times a day” and that “calling this whore a slut was a softball.”

    -Accuracy in Media’s Don Irvine called her a “skank.”

    -Former CPAC Blogger of The Year, Ace of Spades, called Fluke a “shiftless rent-a-cooch from East Whoreville.”

    -Michelle Malkin guest blogger Doug Ross used “Got Slut?” in a headline and suggested Fluke suffered from “nymphomania.”

    -Dana Loesch complained the controversy surrounding Limbaugh’s three-day “slut” campaign represented a “manufactured” story. (This, before Limbaugh responded to the “manufactured” story by issuing a rare public statement.)

  22. “The only ‘setup’ I see is trying to make a persons background the issue rather than discussing the issue.

    There are important issues to discuss here. Ms Fluke’s bright future is not one of them.” (bigfatmike)

    Well said

    It is, of course, in Limbaugh’s best interest to spin the discussion away from the topic of women’s health and focus it instead on some sort of creepy old man’s sexual fantasy that can only be supported by prodigious consumption of Viagra. His sponsors determined it was not in their best interests to go along for the ride.

    Women, and the men who understand the importance of women’s health, swatted him down with ease.

    The issue Ms. Fluke addressed remains highlighted despite all efforts to turn the subject of women’s health into some sort of sick sexual fantasy.

    Prescriptions for pain from ovarian cysts is just one of many noncontraceptive uses of birth control denied women when their employers refuse to include contraception services in their health care plans because of moral or religious reasons.

  23. TPMDC
    The Right’s Sandra Fluke Conspiracy Theories: A Guide
    Sahil Kapur March 14, 2012

    Searching for an escape hatch now that the contraception wars are spinning out of their control, Republicans and conservatives are working to turn the Sandra Fluke saga into one big liberal conspiracy.

    As Fluke vows that slurs won’t silence women, here’s a handy guide to the theories floating around on the right about the Georgetown law student who was smeared by Rush Limbaugh and has since created headaches for the GOP.

    Conspiracy No. 1: The White House Planted Her!

    Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly believes he’s found the smoking gun in the liberal plot: The public relations firm that represents Fluke, SKDKnickerbocker, counts White House alum Anita Dunn among its partners. “A-ha!” O’Reilly declared triumphantly. “So this whole deal comes back to the White House.”

    SKDKnickerbocker says its dialogue with Fluke began only after she became a household name, but even if that weren’t the case, here’s what O’Reilly’s theory boils down to: The White House secretly enlisted Dunn to convince a woman to testify at a House Republican hearing about contraception, in the hope that she’d be rejected, receive lots of attention for it, later testify at a Dem hearing, get called a “slut” and “prostitute” by Limbaugh and thus embarrass senior Republicans who would be hard-pressed to unequivocally rebuke him.

    Conspiracy No. 2: House Democrats Trapped Republicans!

    An anonymous “Republican committee source” told The Washington Examiner’s Byron York that House Dems “played games” with the GOP in the run-up to the hearing that lit up the brouhaha. The aide said Dems first proposed Fluke as one of two witness options and, after the GOP chose the other one, insisted they only wanted Fluke and told the other not to show up.

    The trouble with that is Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) said at the hearing that it was his own staff who decreed Fluke not “appropriate” or “qualified” to testify. Regardless of whether Dems tried to pull a fast one, the rejection of Fluke from that panel had a lot to do with making her a national story, and that was the GOP’s own doing.

  24. Sandra Fluke Affair Proves that it’s Right-Wingers Who Are the True Adherents of Saul Alinsky
    By Joshua Holland

    One of Alinsky’s rules — again, I know this because conservatives keep telling me — is that you’ve got to: ‘Pick the Target, Freeze It, Personalize It and Polarize It.’ And that’s exactly what Rush Limbaugh and his slut-shaming is about. Sandra Fluke, after all, is not a prominent figure on the national stage. She is a a young woman in law-school who testified about the experience of a friend who required birth control pills to battle cancer. And here she is, a target picked, frozen, personalized and polarized.

  25. The Biggest Right Wing Lies About Sandra Fluke

    Rush Limbaugh may have received the most notoriety for his smears of Sandra Fluke, but he is not the only one who has been spreading misinformation and outright lies about the George Washington University law student. Limbaugh has been joined by the likes of FOX News’ Bill O’Reilly, CNN’s Erick Erickson, Big Journal’s Dana Loesch, The Blaze’s Mytheos Holt, CNS News’ Craig Bannister, Michelle Malkin, Pat Dollard, Barbara Curtis, and others.

    Here are some of the things that have been ‘claimed’ about Ms. Fluke since her testimony before a panel of House Democratic Party members on February 23, 2012:

    1. Sandra Fluke is a fraud and possible White House operative who “went to the school strictly to challenge its insurance’s contraceptive policy, not even as a real student.”

    Truth: This unfounded allegation stems from other Right Wing opinions that because the Washington Post reported that Fluke was interested in the contraceptive coverage issue before attending George Washington University and has since actively lobbied the school to change its policy, then that must be why she really went to school there.

    2. She “self-identified” as 23 years old when in fact she is 30.

    Truth: Fluke never mentioned her age during her testimony.

    3. “The busy coed drained her savings account paying $3,000 over three years for her contraceptives.”

    Truth: Fluke stated, “Without insurance coverage, contraception can cost a woman over $3,000 during law school.” Notice the use of ‘can cost’ and ‘a woman’ as opposed to ‘did cost’ and ‘me.’

    4. Fluke wants tax dollars to pay for her birth control.

    Truth: Fluke neither mentioned tax dollars nor government funding during her testimony, but spoke in favor of contraception coverage by private insurance plans.

    5. Fluke claimed, “women in her law school program are having so much sex that they’re going broke.”

    Truth: Fluke spoke of the fact that “forty percent of female students at Georgetown Law report struggling financially as a result of this policy” of not providing contraception coverage. She did not speak about the sex lives of her fellow students.

    6. Fluke testified “that she simply cannot stop getting it on” and has an “inability to control her urges.”

    Truth: Fluke did not talk about her sex life during the testimony.

  26. Bdaman1, March 17, 2012 at 8:37 am …..FACTS do not sway you, you are a wall of STONE. I had a conversation with a friend last night and we talked about how the right has made it impossible to trust ANYTHING in the media…we have become, then, fine fact checkers….the discourse from the right has been both coarse, and full of dis….and ultimately toxic.
    I know people (including myself) who become physically ill at some of the disgusting rhetoric that is passed like a putrid cloud into the public forum…I am looking forward to the airwaves being a ‘NO RUSH’ zone.

    Fluke was no fluke.

    She is respected because that is what integrity looks like. And ‘we’, the public, are STARVED for it. I agree with Babs Bush, compromise is not a dirty word….but I will add that it cannot be acheived until there is integrity in the argument from both sides…facts based in truth and a willingness by those in the argument to remain true to the FACTS and not just players on one side against the other…with only somebody ‘else’ losing.

    It’s not a bloody football game, for most of us it defines the parameters of how we will be able to live our lives and contribute to the society of which we are a part.

    Women are more than 50% of this society. I imagine that must be a tad scary to the likes of the Rush’es of the world….

  27. News from the Granite State:

    New Hampshire House Passes A Bill That Falsely Claims Abortion Causes Breast Cancer
    Mar 15, 2012
    Zachary Bernstein, Guest Blogger

    Across the nation, lawmakers are debating several different anti-abortion bills seeking to make it more difficult for women to have an abortion. One tactic is “informed consent” measures that require women to be given information before an abortion — even if they do not want that information or getting it would violate medical guidelines.

    Now, the New Hampshire House has passed a bill that, along with mandating a 24-hour waiting period, requires doctors to give women “informational materials” before an abortion that aren’t even accurate, including that there is a link between abortion and breast cancer. Here’s the text of the bill:

    “It is scientifically undisputed that full-term pregnancy reduces a woman’s lifetime risk of breast cancer. It is also undisputed that the earlier a woman has a first full-term pregnancy, the lower her risk of breast cancer becomes, because following a full-term pregnancy the breast tissue exposed to estrogen through the menstrual cycle is more mature and cancer resistant.

    “In fact, for each year that a woman’s first full-term pregnancy is delayed, her risk of breast cancer rises 3.5 percent. The theory that there is a direct link between abortion and breast cancer builds upon this undisputed foundation.”

    The problem is that a direct link between abortion and breast cancer is not only disputed, it has also been rejected by multiple health organizations. The National Institutes of Health, American Cancer Society, and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists are a few of the groups who say no such link has been scientifically proven. Even the Susan G. Komen Foundation denies there is a link.

    That has not stopped Republicans, including presidential candidate Rick Santorum, from peddling this theory. Nor is New Hampshire the first state where such a bill has been proposed — Kansas and Oklahoma have both considered legislation with similar provisions. But it is hard to understand how a bill can protect women’s health when it gives them incorrect information.

  28. For Women’s Rights, Another Round of Defensive Victories
    Emily Douglas on March 15, 2012

    In recent months, a bubbling stew of Republican extremism, tone-deafness and rank misogyny aimed at a series of poorly chosen targets (Planned Parenthood, Sandra Fluke, breast cancer activists who also use birth control) have turned pro-choice women into a potent and wide-awake political force. A DCCC appeal decrying the “war on women” raised over $1 million. In last week’s cover story, Elizabeth Mitchell reported that Planned Parenthood drew 1.3 million new supporters in 2011 and raised $3 million in the wake of the Komen controversy alone. Viewed one way, what should be happening is happening: women are waking up (E.J. Graff), making their displeasure known, and wielding political capital accordingly (Irin Carmon). The attacks on birth control are turning off independent and moderate women, who are now taking a second look at the once-beleaguered president. And Obama will be ready for them: he is staking his re-election in large part on women voters.

    Moments like this are clarifying, and can act as a teaching tool. Americans, who strongly support access to birth control and the birth control coverage mandate in specific, are catching on to Republican hostility to a key tenet of contemporary American culture. The attacks on birth control are demonstrable proof that the religious right, including the Republican presidential candidates, intends, at root, to re-impose archaic sexual mores and roll back the clock on women’s equality. It is about women, not about unborn babies. Irin credits the amped-up outrage to the “growing realization that these aren’t isolated incidents, but rather systematic attacks based on a worldview that is actively hostile to female self-determination.”

  29. Elaine M.1, March 17, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    The Biggest Right Wing Lies
    The majority of right wingers, (I’m become to believe), can not conceive of a perspective that is rooted in advocacy and not self-serving. The Sandra Flukes of the world will always be strange to them.

  30. James in La

    “What you cannot possibly change, no matter how Limbaugh-esque you choose to become, is that the GOP has lost women, likely for a generation.”

    according to Wootsy

    “Women are more than 50% of this society. I imagine that must be a tad scary to the likes of the Rush’es of the world.”

    So, if the GOP has lost women this must mean the democrat party has gained, right?

    But yet looking at the latest poll numbers Obama is dropping like a rock. One would think that his approval numbers would be going up because women who are more than 50% of this society have all turned on the GOP. The people, men and women, at this particular moment in time, could care a less about contraception, could care a less about global warming, could care a less about Sandra Fluke. What they care about is jobs jobs jobs and the price of gas. Unfortunately you guys say I’m trying to distract when it’s the administration that’s doing it with the issue of contraception as a way to distract you from the real issues. People need jobs to buy food not birth control pills. If they are spending an extra $20 a week for gas that’s $80 a month worth of food. Get real

  31. TPM2012
    Republicans Still Trying To Thread The Needle On Contraception
    Evan McMorris-Santoro March 16, 2012

    A pair of polls out this week appears to prove what the Democrats have been saying for weeks: The Republicans have lost the national contraception war. But Republicans are prepared to press on in the states, where they say the polling and the electorate favor them.

    New polling shows a majority of Americans are so far unconvinced — they see the fight over access to contraception coverage as a women’s health issue — not a matter of religious liberty. What’s more, they don’t think religious liberty is generally in peril.

    A Bloomberg poll released Wednesday found 62 percent of all respondents say the fight over new rules requiring insurance plans to cover contraception “involves health care and access to birth control.” Around 70 percent of women said the same thing.

    That’s not great news for the GOP, which has banked on voters agreeing that religious liberty is endangered.

    Another new poll out Thursday confirms Republicans are not persuading voters to see things their way. Fifty-six percent of respondents in a Public Religion Research Institute poll “do not believe that the right of religious liberty is being threatened in America today.” (Thirty-nine percent do believe it is under threat.)

    It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Early in the contraception fight, many Republicans said Obama had finally gone too far, giving the GOP the angle of attack it needed to press the case that he was out of touch with average Americans. Some in the GOP warned the Republicans against trying this, but they forged ahead anyway.

    The polling suggests the national fight has gone the way Democrats (and the GOP critics) said it would. Republicans on the national level are now on the defensive. The NRSC, which has been pushing back hard against Democratic plans to capitalize on the contraception issue in Senate races, says the issue still plays in their favor on the ground in the states.

  32. BDAMAN: “So, if the GOP has lost women this must mean the democrat party has gained, right?”

    That will be for voters to decide. The GOP is not interested in focusing on the things you mentioned or we would be talking about them. They do not discuss jobs because they are not interested in creating jobs.They do not run for office in the traditional manner, as they have zero governing achievements on which to run.

    They instead expose their hands at all times as wanting to weaken government at all levels such that it can toppled, an the waiting theocratic oligarchy can be ushered in. They put forward mock candidates who lie and lie and lie, and do not care that we can all now hear it, and repeat it, thanks to the great video vault. The GOP is interested in helping no one, most exclusively, itself.

    The attacks on women are coming from the federal, state, and local levels, all at once, now, in some dreadful last gasp to try to turn the clock back to 1812. They have been losing with the gays, so it was time to switch targets. They chose unwisely.

    Women will be left with a crystal-clear choice. And the GOP will lose.

  33. Grand, Old and Anti-Woman
    March 15, 2012

    Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska got it half right on Tuesday when she told her Republican colleagues that their party was at risk of being painted as anti-woman. It would be more accurate to remove the hedges and say flat out that the G.O.P. is anti-woman.

    There’s really no other conclusion to reach from the positions Republican lawmakers, and the contenders for the party’s presidential nomination, have taken on contraception, abortion and reproductive health services, including their obsession with putting Planned Parenthood out of business.

    Republican opposition to reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act certainly won’t help the party’s reputation. That law, which provides federal money to investigate and prosecute domestic violence, has had broad bipartisan support since it was enacted in 1994. Congress renewed it in 2000 and 2005 without struggle.

    Senate Democrats have revised the law to include LGBT victims of domestic violence, dating violence and sexual assault. New provisions would also allow more immigrant victims to claim temporary visas. The latest version has five Republican co-sponsors, but it failed to garner a single Republican vote in the Judiciary Committee last month.

    Despite what Republicans might say to the press, the Democrats did not dream up these changes to infuriate their opponents—they were responding to calls from groups that help victims of domestic violence. A 2010 report from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs detailed a woeful shortage of services for LGBT violence victims – including scarce access to shelters. An expanded Violence Against Women Act would reflect the reality of American life in the 21st century – when gay men and lesbians actually get married and illegal immigrants cannot merely be deported or wished away.

    Naturally, certain out-of-control right-wingers are eager to fight over this bill. Phyllis Schlafly said last month that it promoted “divorce, breakup of marriage and hatred of men.” Because, I guess, women whose husbands are beating them should stay in those relationships and just try to work it out. Or maybe because if we provide assistance to lesbian women whose girlfriends beat them up, straight women will hate their boyfriends. (Honestly, what is the logic here?)

  34. @BDAMAN: Elain posted this, excerpted from Republicans Still Trying To Thread The Needle On Contraception
    Evan McMorris-Santoro March 16, 2012

    “It is about women, not about unborn babies. Irin credits the amped-up outrage to the “growing realization that these aren’t isolated incidents, but rather systematic attacks based on a worldview that is actively hostile to female self-determination.”

    BDAMAN, is this your world-view? If it isn’t you have nothing to worry about.

  35. James in LA,

    Pointing out the folly of the GOP’s attack on women is only going to frustrate Bdaman.

    Good work.

  36. “So, if the GOP has lost women this must mean the democrat party has gained, right?”
    I can’t remember a time when there wasn’t an inverse ratio between gas prices and political polls…it’s like a guaranteed thing…Dems do better…..gas prices rise……Dems do worse…..gas prices go down…..
    which makes me REALLY wonder what are the true market movers…and why? I mean really….it sure ain’t supply and demand….supply and control maybe….

  37. Bdaman,
    It isn’t just about contraception. The war on women also includes the right to decide what to do with their own bodies. For some reason you don’t think the government should be regulating corporations through the EPA, but you have no problem with the Republicans regulating women’s bodies.
    The Texas issue is in response to Perry’s defunding of Planned Parenthood clinics that service women patients and the fed regulations don’t allow a state to defund.

  38. Right you are, rafflaw.

    Obama Administration Ends Medicaid Funding For Texas Women’s Health Program
    By Amanda Peterson Beadle on Mar 16, 2012

    Federal law prevents states from banning specific providers from Medicaid programs, leading to the Women’s Health Program showdown. Mann said that while they try to give as much flexibility as possible, “on this case, federal law precludes us from doing so.”

    Last year, the federal government gave $39 million for the program. The state pays $1 for every $9 Medicaid puts into the program, but Gov. Rick Perry (R) has insisted the state will fill the gap to keep the program going without including Planned Parenthood. Texas Democrats are seeking alternate federal funds to continue the program through a different route.

  39. Planned Parenthood Official Says Texas Clinics Will Have To ‘Cut Corners’ Without Women’s Health Program Funds | Now that Texas has forfeited millions in Medicaid funds for women’s health because Republicans cut off Planned Parenthood from the program, the organization’s local affiliates in Texas are preparing to cut back, said Rochelle Tafolla, vice president of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast. She told the Washington Post’s Sarah Kliff that they are not anticipating closing clinics, but “we are going to have to figure out ways to cut corners to make sure we’re here when women need us.” Texas’ Women’s Health Program, which is no longer receiving federal funds that made up 90 percent of the program’s funding, provided access to health care for 130,000 low-income women. “To see that Governor Perry would rather score political points than focus on women’s health care, it strikes me as a pretty callous move forward,” Tafolla said.

  40. Republican-Controlled Arizona Legislature On Cusp Of Defunding Planned Parenthood
    By Scott Keyes on Mar 16, 2012

    Arizona is the latest battleground in the conservative war on women as the state legislature appears poised to strip funding from the women’s health care provider Planned Parenthood.

    Earlier this week, an Arizona Senate panel approved HB 2800 on a party-line vote. The Arizona Senate Committee on Healthcare and Medical Liability Reform’s move came on the heels of support from the Arizona House, which approved the legislation earlier this month.

    If HB 2800 is indeed passed by the full Senate, Gov. Jan Brewer (R) is expected to sign the legislation into law, stripping state funding from any group such as Planned Parenthood that performs abortions.

    Unfortunately, the move would have a pronounced impact on poorer Arizona women who rely on places like Planned Parenthood for many of their health care needs. As the following chart shows, abortion accounts for just 3 percent of the patient care provided by Planned Parenthood. The other 97 percent included mammograms, STI treatment, and other health services.

    If passed, Arizona will join a growing list of Republican-led states to cut funding for Planned Parenthood. The largest was Texas, who last year stripped the women’s health provider of approximately $47 million in state funds. As a result, 12 clinics were forced to shut their doors, many in rural areas with few other health care providers. Other states, such as New Jersey and Wisconsin, have taken away funds as well.

    Former Surgeon General Richard Carmona, who is running for Arizona’s open U.S. Senate seat, criticized the state legislature, calling the Senate panel’s approval was an “extremely misguided” decision. “As a longtime health care professional,” Carmona told ThinkProgress, “I can say without hesitation that restricting access to reproductive health care is detrimental to the health and safety of women. Period.”

    Arizona state law already prohibits using tax dollars for abortions. The real effect of HB 2800 would be to take away necessary health care services to low-income Arizonans.

  41. POLL: Texas Voters Want The State To Keep Funding Planned Parenthood | Fifty-nine percent of Texas voters oppose a new rule that cuts off funds from the joint state-federal Women’s Health Program to Planned Parenthood, while 38 percent of voters approve of it, according to a new survey from Public Policy Polling. About 130,000 women could lose their access to affordable health care because of this measure, which Texas Health Commissioner Tom Suehs approved in February. “Texas voters are sending a clear message to Governor Perry: they think the Women’s Health Program is important and that he should leave it alone,” wrote Tom Jensen, director of Public Policy Polling.

  42. Raff the post is a left leaning paper and is not to be trusted.

    Just teasing, but thats how you responded to one of my links as have others.

  43. “Perry, who slammed the federal government constantly during his short-lived bid for the Republican presidential nomination, has directed state health officials to find the funding to keep the program going from other parts of the budget, but he has promised not to raise revenues to cover the costs.”

    Robbing Peter to pay Paul?

  44. Mespo, Bdaman:

    Why is birth control a right? People with physical handicaps have no insurance coverage for vans or lifts or special adaptive equipment or in home care if they need it. Most pay for that out of pocket or require help from charities to cover these expenses. Those expenses can run into 10’s of thousands of dollars a year. A van equipped with a lift and automatic doors is around $50,000 for a new one and $35,000 plus for a decent used one. In home help is $12-$20/hour with a 2-4 hour minimum or over $1,000/month.

    Why is a Rx you can buy at Wal Mart for $9 per month considered a big deal? Go to Wal Mart with a Rx from your doctor and buy the god damn thing and quit bitching that you cant get it from your employer or from the student insurance policy.

    And what about people with orphan diseases who have to pay thousands of dollars a month for medication to stay alive? I think they would be very happy to pay $9/month to Wal Mart.

  45. Bron,

    My elderly mother’s walker was covered by insurance. Why should Viagra prescriptions for men be covered by insurance but not birth control pills for women?

    “Why is a Rx you can buy at Wal Mart for $9 per month considered a big deal?”

    Which birth control pill/contraceptive are you talking about?

    I have to wonder why so many right-wing men are bitching about health insurance coverage of contraceptives for women. How about people like you and Rush quit your bitching?

  46. The storyline being pushed by the left regarding birth control seems as disingenuous to me as the right’s staunch opposition seems misguided.

    The left is telling two different stories – one about how ubiquitous birth control is and how reasonable it is that it should be available as part of healthcare plans. This I largely agree with. But then at the same time, they are pushing the storyline that birth control is only marginally related to recreational sex, and is really about “preventative female reproductive health” – preventing ovarian cysts, and all.

    The left will then lambast any suggestion by a conservative or moderate, however, that birth control covered by taxpayer money should require proof that is is being used for medical (and not recreational) purposes. The accusation will be that “the right fears and despises sex and feminism.” But doesn’t this reasonable compromise come directly from the logic and rhetoric employed by the likes of Ms. Fluke, when her testimony is so largely geared toward serious health concerns unrelated to the use to which 90% of birth control users will put the medicine?

    I just wish there were a little bit more intellectual honesty going on in this debate. Maybe if there were, it’d become less of a debate and more of a conversation.

    (Personal stance: I have no moral qualm with sex or with birth control. I think it should be available to anyone and everyone who wants to buy it, and it should be subsidized, as other legitimate medications are, only for those who have a legitimate medical need for the drug.)

  47. B95,

    Do you think that married women have a “legitimate medical need” for birth control if they and their husbands want to limit the number of children that they have?

    Who suggested that the cost of contraceptives should be covered by taxpayers?

  48. Bron,

    “Why is a Rx you can buy at Wal Mart for $9 per month considered a big deal? Go to Wal Mart with a Rx from your doctor and buy the god damn thing and quit bitching that you cant get it from your employer or from the student insurance policy.”

    Well, if god damn birth-control is so god damn cheap, and you’re not paying for it with your god damn taxes, why are you god damn bitching about god damn insurance policies paying for it?

    Now quit your god damn bitching.

    Sounds really cranky, stupid, and disrespectful when people talk like that, doesn’t it?
    Now try keeping a civil tongue in your head. Civility is what this article is about.

  49. “I just wish there were a little bit more intellectual honesty going on in this debate.” I’ll try.

    Federal law requires that an insurance company wishing to sell a universal health care policy in interstate commerce must sell a policy which covers all health issues which an insured might face.

    A health policy which lacks payment for contraceptives fails to cover various women health issues, to wit: those related to an unwanted pregnancy and some others that aren’t. No one has a problem with the latter. The use of contraceptives to prevent pregnancy is the issue

    Who doesn’t believe that pregnancy is a serious health issue?

    If you happen to be such a blithering idiot, please identify yourself by copying the following line and pasting it in a reply so that we may know who to ignore henceforth:

    “Pregnancy is not a health issue.”

    Contraceptives which prevent pregnancy prevent the onset of a serious health issue, i.e., a legitimate medical need. Just like a flu shot. Or taking insulin.

    Of course, those in favor of a ban have another concern – contraceptives permit women to engage in sex with whomever they want, whenever they want including outside the bonds of marriage. You know, like guys. And some folks don’t like that. They just can’t stand a woman who is willing to accept and explore her own sexuality on her own terms.

    The ban on contraceptives is an attempt to subjugate women to the opponents’ moral code. And the opponents feel very strongly about this.

    And so do I – get your goddamned hands off my daughters’ bodies.

  50. Bron,

    Birth control pills require a prescription….that requires a visit to a physician. Add that to the cost. Birth control pills are not “one size fits all”. The $9 generic may be contra-indicated for many women.

  51. The Sandra Fluke “Co-Ed” Conspiracy
    By David Weigel
    March 15, 2012

    This was how Sandra Fluke described herself when she testified before a special — and let’s be honest, media-centric — hearing on birth control funding.

    “My name is Sandra Fluke, and I’m a third-year student at Georgetown Law School. I’m also a past president of Georgetown Law Students for Reproductive Justice or LSRJ.”

    Now, this was how Rush Limbaugh described Fluke in the broadcast that kicked off weeks of advertiser protests.

    “What does it say about the college co-ed Sandra Fluke, who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex, what does that make her?”

    Spot the difference. Fluke said she was a law student. Limbaugh said she was a “college co-ed.” These aren’t interchangeable terms. Calling someone a “co-ed” implies that he/she’s an undergrad — certainly, he/she couldn’t be a past president of a law school club.

    While Limbaugh was digging in on Fluke — he only apologized the following Saturday — quadrants of the conservative blogosphere were getting his back. An early “scoop” came from Gateway Pundit, Jim Hoft’s news blog, and the site that first revealed the 9/11 Truth petition that got Van Jones fired.

    “Georgetown “Coed” Sandra Fluke Is a 30 Year-Old Women’s Rights Activist”

    Fluke had never pretended to be a current co-ed. The evidence for the claim is that Fluke, in other interviews, had described some decisions made when she was younger. Seriously. That’s the evidence. In her testimony — which the tenor of anti-Flukism suggests the critics haven’t read — she spent most of her time talking about a lesbian student who used birth control to manage ovarian cysts. The idea that Fluke misrepresented herself as a doe-eyed co-ed living a hardscrabble existence was totally invented by Limbaugh, who basically just riffed off the news clips that had irritated him. (He does this sometimes.)

    This takes us to Gateway Pundit’s latest Fluke story: An expose of Facebook photos she took when she and her boyfriend vacationed a year ago. “Poor Sandra Fluke… She Wants You To Pay For Her $9/Month Birth Control As She Frolics in Spain & Pompeii.”

    Sorry, no, not actually what she’s been campaigning for. When Democrats opted for Fluke, and not Barry Lynn, as their sole pro-birth control panelist, they must have realized that a female voice would do more for the testimony. But did they realize how Fluke-obsessives would start embarrassing themselves For the Cause?

  52. Bron:

    “Why is birth control a right? People with physical handicaps have no insurance coverage for vans or lifts or special adaptive equipment or in home care if they need ”

    Most enlightened Western societies have adopted universal healthcare as a right of citizenship and provided for government sponsorship or subsidy. It’s called “providing for the general welfare” and an inherent right and responsibility of a government. We’re a little slow on the uptake given our Puritanical aversion to anything sexual or women-friendly (another vestige of our religion of love – Chritianity), but it’s coming. In the meantime, we’ll have to fight these battles over what private insurance has to include. That is the case in this debate Fluke has raised.

    By the way it’s a national disgrace that those least able to care for themselves aren’t aided by the government they and their families pay (and have paid) to do just that.

  53. “I just wish there were a little bit more intellectual honesty going on in this debate. Maybe if there were, it’d become less of a debate and more of a conversation.”

    Oro Lee,

    Your 3:10am answer to B95’s comment was elegant in its impact and conciseness. To me B95’s comment was the same old “balance game” that is played out so often in the media. It is the same framing of arguments that would give equal time to creationism vs. evolution. Your comment brilliantly summed up and demolished that argument with a just right minimum of words.
    Your ending sums up my feelings too, with one minor addition on my part

    “get your goddamned hands off my daughters’ [and granddaughter’s] bodies.”

  54. Elaine:


    Some equipment is covered, most is not. A person needing a walker is not the level of handicap I am talking about.

    Go to a MDA summer camp and volunteer and listen to the stories the parents tell.

    Birth control and how to afford it isnt even a tempest in a tea cup.

    As I said before pay $9 for the pill at Wal-Mart.

    This is a ridiculous topic. Rush didnt make enough fun of it. Ms. Fluke must be dumber than dirt or have an agenda.

    If the school or the employer doesnt want to cover something it is their right not to. Quit whining and go get a job waiting tables; 1 night a month to cover your birth control pills.

    People ought to be outraged over the idea that this woman or any woman or any man for that matter has a right to tell an employer or any organization, what she or he is entitled to.

    Dont like the compensation, find another job. Dont like the fact that Georgetown doesnt provide Rx birth control go to another law school.

    So what if they cover Viagra? It isnt the question. The question is does a private entity have a right to determine what is and is not covered?

    When I need something not covered by insurance I buy it out of my own pocket and dont go whining to the government that it isnt covered. I take care of myself, find alternatives or I do without.

  55. Mespo:

    health care is not a right owed to us by government.

    If health care is a right and you can force doctors into it, then I think legal representation should be paid for by government and lawyers salaries should be capped.

    Why should people go bankrupt filing for divorce? The general welfare should cover everything why limit it to health care? What about food, shelter (why should people pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for a house), transportation, clothing?

    Pay for it all, why limit it to health care? Food is every bit as important as health care, more so actually.

  56. Bron:

    “Pay for it all, why limit it to health care? Food is every bit as important as health care, more so actually.”


    Agreed. That’s why we have a Food Stamp Program, WIC Program, and school lunch subsidies among others. Not all rights derive from the vaporous, ethereal land of Natural Law. Sometimes we just give them to ourselves by majority vote. Although it would be hard to argue that Natural Law doesn’t at least include some form of maintaining the subsistence of our fellows who can’t for themselves. Even the most base animal knows that much about living.

    Bottom line we have a communal right for the government to support the general welfare. How we accomplish that depends on our pocketbooks and our compassion. No one is advocating a free lunch for those who can pay, just a little compassion for those who can’t and a little more of our own money to spend for butter for us instead of guns aimed at another.

  57. Bron,

    There is more than one kind of birth control pill. I asked which one you were talking about.

    I’m not sure why you’re complaining about health insurance coverage of contraceptives when you think it’s fine for health insurers to cover Viagra. Is it because women take birth control pills and men take Viagra?

    “Go to a MDA summer camp and volunteer and listen to the stories the parents tell.”

    Why not fight to have better health insurance coverage for everyone–including children with MDA and other severe medical problems?

    BTW, Georgetown’s health insurance plan covers contraceptives for its faculty and staff–just not for its students.


    Head in Sand Syndrome – Getting Fluke’s argument wrong on purpose

    Georgetown, a private Jesuit University, requires their students to have health insurance. You can have your own health insurance or you can pay for the university’s health insurance. Here is a statement from the Georgetown website – For all students, good health is essential to achieving educational goals. Because maintaining good health requires access to health care when you need it, Georgetown University requires the students described below to have health insurance. So, let’s all agree that were not talking about providing services to those who are not paying for it. This has nothing to do with Obama Care. This has nothing to do with government takeover. Instead, it has everything to do with students paying for services and only getting a portion of what they paid for.

    Now, let’s look at Sandra Fluke’s testimony in front of the Democratic forum. She said, “I attend a Jesuit law school that does not provide contraception coverage in its student health plan.” She went on to say, “…without insurance coverage, contraception can cost a woman over $3,000 during law school.” So, in a nutshell, what these women are asking for is that the health insurance that they’re currently paying for extend its benefits to cover women’s contraception. I just don’t see how this is unreasonable. Those institutions that are religiously based and are opposed to contraception for whatever reason could easily offer an alternative insurance plan that would be completely maintained and administered by a third party so that there is no religious objections. It seems that compassionate alternatives like this simply escape many of these religious institutions. There is no excuse for people who are paying for health insurance not to get the comprehensive health insurance that they’re paying for. That is the argument here. We are talking about students who are paying for comprehensive health insurance getting something less than comprehensive for their healthcare dollars. Questions?

  58. Aside from the fact that pregnancy should not be a punishment for sex or that celibacy is the appropriate response to insurance companies and employers not providing it pregnancy is a medical problem for many women. Women need birth control because pregnancy can kill them and makes them ill.

    Does anyone see a corollary in this whole argument with the philistine argument that arose over homosexual sex and AIDS? If there wasn’t gay sex there wouldn’t be AIDS and if gay people have sex and get AIDS then it’s their own fault and insurance companies shouldn’t have to pay for it and take a loss nor should the government have to pay for it. It was considered a subsidy for sin but that was just another way of discriminating against gays because as a group people felt comfortable about kicking them around publicly.

    Just try making the argument that Sickle Cell Anemia shouldn’t be covered because some Jews and African Americans are being punished by god for being Black or Jews. Or that they shouldn’t procreate if they don’t want to pay the cost of treating their children if/when the gene is passed along. Or that it’s in the long term interest of the nation to have to deal with the consequences of untreated illness for millions. Can’t do it and wouldn’t dare. Why is it that no such hesitation is present when women’s health, specifically contraception is the subject?

    You (Bron) and others may couch contraception and who pays for it and gets it as an establishment clause argument or an economic/free market argument but I’ve heard it all before and it’s just BS. It’s about who gets to kick who around based on how you feel about them as a group.

    The only virtue of an argument like this one coming up every now and then is it lets you know who your friends are.

    “Doubling of maternal deaths in U.S. ‘scandalous,’ rights group says

    Deaths from pregnancy and childbirth in the United States have doubled in the past 20 years, a development that a human rights group called “scandalous and disgraceful” Friday.

    In addition, the rights group said, about 1.7 million women a year, one-third of pregnant women in the United States, suffer from pregnancy-related complications.

    Most of the deaths and complications occur among minorities and women living in poverty, it noted.

    Amnesty International issued a report Friday that calls on President Obama to take action.”

  59. lottakatz,

    Well said!

    What many of these far right-wing misogynists like Limbaugh want women to do: Just say “NO”…to every man but them.

    Guys–I refuse to call them men–like Limbaugh seem to hate intelligent, well-educated, outspoken, thoughtful women who can’t be intimidated by the likes of them. I think they fear them.

  60. Mespo:

    “No one is advocating a free lunch for those who can pay, just a little compassion for those who can’t and a little more of our own money to spend for butter for us instead of guns aimed at another.”

    I wont disagree with that sentiment. It is how it should be. People who truly cannot fend for themselves should be helped as much as they need.

  61. Elaine:

    It should be the employer’s right to provide whatever level of insurance he can afford and to determine the coverage based on his conscience. It should be the employee’s right to turndown the job if the benefits disagree with their moral code.

    It isnt about Viagra or birth control.

    By the way I am in favor of birth control being part of an insurance policy but that is me. Someone else may have a different view and I dont think they should be forced to provide it if they disagree with it.

    How would you like it if your daughter was forced to take birth control when she wanted to have a baby? All of these laws and government dictates cut both ways. And if you set the precedent that government can make an employer provide birth control what prevents a radical christian from forcing women to not take birth control? Or a radical population controller to force women to take it?

    Maybe I am not thinking about it the right way but that is what it seems like to me.

  62. lottakatz:

    You are wrong about that at least as far as I am concerned. It is about government limits with me and that is all.

    I want government to have as little power as possible.

    In a truly free society this would not even be an issue. Sandra Fluke would have gone to another law school which was in keeping with her views and that would have been that.

    I dont agree with the RCC view on birth control but they have a right to their opinions just as planned parenthood has a right to their opinions. I dont think the government has any business involved in either one.

    If Sandra Fluke was trying to force planed parenthood to provide sonograms prior to providing abortions, I would be against that as well.

    There are people on the right who I think are little taliban dandies and I would be seriously concerned if they ever got any real power.

  63. Bron,

    “How would you like it if your daughter was forced to take birth control when she wanted to have a baby?”

    “And if you set the precedent that government can make an employer provide birth control what prevents a radical christian from forcing women to not take birth control? Or a radical population controller to force women to take it?”

    What does that have to do with the HHS contraceptive mandate? It doesn’t force women to take birth control pills or use other forms of contraception if they choose not to. It would, however, cover the cost of contraception for women who DO choose to use birth control.


    “Maybe I am not thinking about it the right way but that is what it seems like to me.”

    You got that right! Maybe I should add: I don’t think you are really “thinking” about it..or maybe your thinking is a tad fuzzy. Have you been smoking something that your doctor didn’t prescribe?

  64. As mentioned in this comment

    Bdaman 1, March 17, 2012 at 9:18 am

    XL pipeline, gas prices are going through the roof, Obama says we are doing all we can, makes jokes that we are drilling everywhere but behind the scenes does everything he can to cancel the pipeline. The optics don’t look good. Now they want to try and make it look like he’s really trying by getting photo ops at drilling facilities and the optics won’t be good either from an environmentalist or global warmist stand point.

    President Obama to Visit an Oil Field!!

    by Keith Koffler on March 19, 2012, 8:00 am

    Updated March 19 at 8:00 am ET

    With gasoline prices marching north, President Obama next week will take a break from worshipping the sun and putting his finger to the wind when he actually highlights energy projects that provide lots of energy.

    The White House is desperate to repair the damage being done to Obama’s campaign by the price at the pump, and aides have suddenly begun portraying him as a great apostle of oil and gas drilling.

    In what may go down as one of the worst political blunders of his presidency, Obama late last year bowed to environmentalists’ pressure and rejected the Keystone pipeline’s route through part of Nebraska, delaying by at least a year a major new source of oil just as gasoline prices started going through the roof.

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