Saturday, February 4, 2012

Must Reads

Elaine Liner: At Plano Children's Theatre, They've Shampooed All the Black Kids out of Hairspray

Pema Levy: What’s Really Behind Komen’s Cuts To Planned Parenthood?

Ross Douthat: Gingrich 2012? Going, Going, Gone

Gin and Tacos: Race for the Cure of Being Irrelevant

Adam Serwer: What Does Komen's Reversal on Planned Parenthood Really Mean?

Bob Cesca: "The Lesser of Two Evils" and Why Progressives Lose

Ruth Marcus: Why the poor should concern Romney

Greg Sargent: Faced with good news about economy, Romney dissolves into incoherence

Nick R. Martin: Brewer Has History Of Getting Facts Wrong

President Obama's Weekly Address - February 4, 2012

It's Time for Congress to Act to Help Responsible Homeowners

Friday, February 3, 2012

Planned Parenthood Not Out of the Komen Woods Yet

As most people, I was a little shocked and pretty stoked when I heard that the Susan G. Komen Foundation had reversed its decision to not grant Planned Parenthood future funds due to the political hackery of it's Senior VP, Karen Handel, despite its denial that the decision was politically based. Handel was on the losing side of a election for the Governorship of Georgia and ran on defunding Planned Parenthood. You'd have to be an idiot not to see that this was strictly a political move. If there's any doubt, why did Komen stop funding to institutions which also happened to be research centers for embryonic stem cells and not only looking for a cure for breast cancer?

But while I was initially pleased that they backtracked after the avalanche of shit that they brought upon themselves, I wasn't exactly thrilled about their statement. This particularly comes to mind:

...We will continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants...
Continue "existing grants"? That was never in question. In fact, when they released their initial defunding statement, they make the claim that the existing grants would be honored, just not new grants. And as far as applying for future grants, why would that be in question if the organization will basically continue what it's currently doing? Why would they be denied future grants?

Maybe I'm reading too much into it. Maybe it's the pulled funding to other facilities and research centers that also are at odds with the pro-life agenda that has me concerned about the sincerity of this statement. The only thing that would make a difference for me personally, would be if the foundation canned Karen Handel as a gesture of good faith that they really are just looking for a cure since their entire organization now seems to be in question.

Until then, continue donating to Planned Parenthood, or the American Cancer Society, or Johns Hopkins, or Sloan-Kettering. Let's be careful about jumping on the pink bandwagon again so soon.

Komen's Statement


Statement from Susan G. Komen Board of Directors and Founder and CEO Nancy G. Brinker

DALLAS - February 3, 2012 - We want to apologize to the American public for recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women’s lives. The events of this week have been deeply unsettling for our supporters, partners and friends and all of us at Susan G. Komen. We have been distressed at the presumption that the changes made to our funding criteria were done for political reasons or to specifically penalize Planned Parenthood. They were not.
Our original desire was to fulfill our fiduciary duty to our donors by not funding grant applications made by organizations under investigation. We will amend the criteria to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political. That is what is right and fair.
Our only goal for our granting process is to support women and families in the fight against breast cancer. Amending our criteria will ensure that politics has no place in our grant process. We will continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants, while maintaining the ability of our affiliates to make funding decisions that meet the needs of their communities.
It is our hope and we believe it is time for everyone involved to pause, slow down and reflect on how grants can most effectively and directly be administered without controversies that hurt the cause of women. We urge everyone who has participated in this conversation across the country over the last few days to help us move past this issue. We do not want our mission marred or affected by politics – anyone’s politics.
Starting this afternoon, we will have calls with our network and key supporters to refocus our attention on our mission and get back to doing our work. We ask for the public’s understanding and patience as we gather our Komen affiliates from around the country to determine how to move forward in the best interests of the women and people we serve.
We extend our deepest thanks for the outpouring of support we have received from so many in the past few days and we sincerely hope that these changes will be welcomed by those who have expressed their concern.

Women Win!


For the last three days, only one political story has dominated my brain: the horrendous shock that the right-wing had seeped into a national charity that most Americans still believed was acting on behalf of women's health.

For years, there has been some distrust of Komen and their spending, questionable relationships leading to silence or approval of things scientists question and the balance of brand vs. integrity. But that was a fairly small rumbling under the surface of the global charity's image. Perhaps it was too overwhelming for most people to ask if a giant in women's health advocacy may not be doing as much good as we needed to believe.

I, for one, have never been a Komen supporter. Something about their strategery has always bothered me. Perhaps it's because I hate pink. But I think I tend to shy away from monolithic organizations whose basic work isn't something I can see. I don't see the researchers in action. I don't see Komen breast clinics anywhere. But I see pink blenders and coffee tumblers and, now, possibly guns.

What I see and support are Planned Parenthood clinics. I actually see where my donations go.

But, overall, Americans believed Komen was an organization that acted on good faith, with integrity and with the sole purpose of reaching as many women as possible. Until three days ago, when we learned they didn't want to reach women who go to those very Planned Parenthood clinics I see around me.

Sure, they had a few reasons: they changed their policies to prevent funding to organizations that are being "investigated", or they changed their strategy to be more laser-like with their funding choices, or they just want to help women and by saying no to Planned Parenthood, they can give more to someone else.

But when you look at their 990s, it's clear that they have plenty of money to continue supporting Planned Parenthood AND increase grants to other organizations and even add new ones. Komen has been so effective that they have more money than the can spend. According to GuideStar (you can get a free account to see financials on any charity) their last year breaks down like this:Link

Revenue and Expenses

Fiscal Year Starting: Apr 1, 2010
Fiscal Year Ending: Mar 31, 2011
Contributions $285,794,584
Program Services $34,417,471
Membership Dues $0
Special Events $27,473,679
8522668 $1,623,681
Total Revenue $357,832,083
Program Services $282,981,996
Administrative Costs $26,276,602
Fundraising Costs $33,720,165
Payments To Affiliates $0
Total Expenses $342,978,763
Assets & Liabilities
Total Assets$492,190,210
Total Liabilities $295,307,087
Net Assets or Fund Balance at the end of year $196,883,123
They still have $196,83,123 left over. So why the need to make changes to better strategerize? They said that Planned Parenthood doesn't do mammograms so they wanted to give money to clinics with mammogram equipment. Well, I'd like to see data on the number of small towns with Planned Parenthood that have another clinic in town with actual mammogram equipment. My guess is close to NONE. So, they were going to move money away from Planned Parenthood because Planned Parenthood only gives mammogram "referrals"? I live in a pretty good-sized suburb of a pretty big city. And yet, not one of the doctors I've received my well-woman exams from actually had mammogram equipment. They all refer their patients to the local hospitals for mammograms. So I found that Komen excuse ridiculous.

But they also said they changed their policies to not award funds to organizations under any type of investigation. That makes sense. I've worked the grant process before so that seems reasonable. But, um, anytime I've seen anything like that, the organization had to have actually been found guilty of wrong-doing. And this was where I think Komen fell apart. I truly believe they coordinated their policy change with the Congressional "investigation" and it seemed like a slam-dunk excuse: have a reasonable out while ALSO drawing attention to the ongoing investigation that isn't technically on-going since nothing is actually going on.

There's no way Komen didn't anticipate backlash. They HAD to know there would be protest on the left, and maybe even in the middle. But they had so many on the right who were waiting for this day, that they probably expected a boost of donations and support from the right. I think the right has been acting on pure ego for the last three years. They take aggressive actions as if they are the standard-bearers of values. It hasn't occurred to them until now that maybe their egos got too big. I don't think Komen expected their doctors and researches to cry foul. I don't think it ever occurred to them that they were blinded by their own ideology and were walking into a disaster.

A few things had to have happened to make this week transpire the way it did.

First: as soon as Planned Parenthood was told of this decision, before the holidays according to Cecile Richards, they went into messaging and planning mode. Planned Parenthood was working with Komen to change their minds WHILE they were preparing to tell America that they were sad and surprised. Cecile was calm, composed and classy in every interview. Planned Parenthood's messaging was ONLY about the women who would lose access to care and NEVER about demonizing Komen.

The second thing that had to happen was Komen didn't prepare. They were so unorganized, defensive, inconsistent and sporadic, that I can't see any possible coordination on messaging or planning. They seemed so caught off guard that there is no way they expected what they got. And to not expect this was naive and out-of-touch. The last two years in America has been about organizing, protesting, defending. Why the hell would they not expect this? Because they are convinced that the American people are with them. They expected liberal backlash. But I don't think they prepared for an American onslaught. And the right-wing media is spinning this as a liberal-only issue. But I have heard many Republican, anti-choice women say they were appalled by Komen's actions. They were ill-prepared and it showed.

The last thing that had to happen to make this week happen the way it did: every damn step the GOP has taken since President Obama was sworn in. They have obstructed the President, our doctors, our uteri, our rights, our tax dollars. They have stopped American progress every step of the way on every issue. Americans are so used to it by now. We're stunned and not stunned at the same time, each time they do something new. But Americans didn't see the right-wing covert operation taking place in Komen. So when word got out that Komen was betraying women by denying funds to Planned Parenthood, Americans were SHOCKED and PISSED OFF. Komen took something fairly sacred and crapped all over it. And because we've had enough, and because the right-wing has already make a mockery of government, we hit the roof, blew it off and kicked its ass all over the place.

So, where do we stand now, as far as Komen goes? Well there are a few points to make here. First, no organization is always guaranteed money every year. So they were never "safe". And if today, Komen hadn't reversed their decision to change their policy and commitments, then we'd need to find a way to get Planned Parenthood half a million dollars every year to make up for each year's loss. Yes, we raised a few years' worth for them this week. But we're pissed. What was going to piss us off next February or the next? What would have spurred us to donate then? Well, here's the deal, if Komen denies Planned Parenthood a grant next year, for ANY reason, we will be spurred. So, now Planned Parenthood is getting our money and Komen money. And next year, they will either get Komen money or our money. But Komen's backtracking ensures we will be waiting and watching and preparing to act.

People will be watching Komen more closely. Women are already digging deeper into Komen's financials, their grant lists, their stance on things like embryonic stem cell research and BPA. Women who haven't left Komen for good, will be paying closer attention. And because Planned Parenthood has been consistent and open, more women may start donating more regularly. Also, more breast cancer organizations will start getting deserved attention.

And, finally, we sent a message to the right-wing that they can't have everything. They are done trying to destroy us from the inside out. Komen's decision today is a message to all America that they realize we will NOT allow right-wing stealth attacks anymore. We're on a mission and we are organized. And we are fucking pissed off.

Our next steps should include pressure on Komen to fire Karen Handel who has, no doubt, brought her right-wing ego and tricks to the decision making and could change Komen's pledge to protect ObamaCARES to reflect her strong opposition to it. And we should demand an ethics violation inquiry into Congressman Cliff Stearns and his staff and a possible coordination between them and any organization acting on behalf of Komen to create the false pretense of an investigation and/or for wasting tax dollars on a witch hunt.

Today, Congressman Stearns said

“In response to the original decision by Susan G. Komen for the Cure to stop funding grants to Planned Parenthood, Planned Parenthood raised the equivalent funds within 24 hours. Although I wasn’t involved in either decision, it is clear that Planned Parenthood does not need the Komen funding. I believe that Planned Parenthood could be, and should be, totally self sufficient, as with so many other non-profit organizations, and spare America’s hard-pressed taxpayers the $487 million Planned Parenthood received in public funding. As Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, I will continue the investigation into Planned Parenthood’s use of taxpayer funds. This oversight is necessary because of its record of fraud discovered through state Medicaid audits and its other abuses and illegal activities, such as ignoring state reporting requirements on sexual abuse.”
I bolded the most disgusting part. Of course Planned Parenthood raised all kinds of cash this week. They were under assault. To use this historic attack on Planned Parenthood to draw a funding conclusion is willfully deceptive and egregious. So, let's not let this man go about his days without some serious fury.

We should keep the momentum of this week and make clear that "We're fired up! We're ready to go!"

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Biggest Loser

Yeah, I know "The Biggest Loser" is a reality show weight lost contest and that Donald Trump's faux reality show is called "The Apprentice" or "Celebrity Apprentice," but it really should be changed, because truly, the only loser bigger than Trump could be Mitt Romney for actually accepting his endorsement today in Sin City.
LAS VEGAS - Donald Trump endorsed Mitt Romney here Thursday afternoon in a joint appearance that lasted less than seven minutes and included no questions.
The two men stood behind a lectern emblazoned with a gold “Trump” plaque (a large Romney sign hung off to the side, largely out of the TV shots), and the endorsement came amid several impromptu news conferences that Mr. Trump organized for himself.
It seems as though The Donald can't go less than three weeks without looking for headlines like his like depended on it; like the blood in his veins would dry up if he gave up his media whorishness.

It all started yesterday when Trump made a statement on his favorite medium, Twitter:
I will be making a major announcement today at 12:30 pm PST at Trump International Hotel & Tower, Las Vegas, Nevada. The announcement will pertain to the Presidential race. All media welcome.
All media welcome?! Say it ain't so!

At no point in my though process did the idea of Trump announcing an independent run come to mind. My initial thought was that he was going to endorse Romney but was too chickenshit take the lead and do it earlier because his ego wouldn't be able to handle betting on the wrong horse. He waited until after the Florida primary, saw that Newt Gingrich was dead in the water and then thought he'd make a grand announcement and take credit for being a king maker once the odds-on favorite eventually won the nomination.

Then there was rumor that Trump was to endorse Newt Gingrich, and it got me to thinking that perhaps his ego was so bruised after Newt was the only candidate to accept an invitation to the ill-fated Trump debate, that he'd back the one person who was loyal to him. But is loyalty in Trump's repertoire? That rumor quickly faded and so I was left with the chickenshit theory, which happened to be the correct one.

How ironic that the man who made "You're fired" his catchphrase endorsed the man who said he likes "being able to fire people"? The one saving grace in the whole fiasco was that on Groundhog Day, Trump decided to make the Romney endorsement himself instead of letting the groundhog that lives on his head do it.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Mitt's Let Them Eat Cake Moment

Although there are no official records of Marie Antoinette ever having said the phrase, "Let them eat cake" has been attributed to her as an example of her ignorance to the condition of the poor during a French famine. And here is likely Republican nominee for President of the United States in the 2012 Election, Mitt Romney, and his "let them eat cake" moment.
“I’m in this race because I care about Americans,” [Mitt] Romney told CNN’s Soledad O’Brien this morning after his resounding victory in Florida on Tuesday. “I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I’ll fix it.”
Is that safety net the one he would gut if Romney ever took office? Repeal Obamacare? Gut critical programs for the poor in an attempt to balance the budget? Yet another example of Romney being completely out of touch with everyone who isn't a one percenter. Actually, one tenth of a one percenter.

He says he cares about Americans... just not poor Americans.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Posted by JHW22

I am LIVID! About as LIVID as I get and if you knew me in person, you'd know that's pretty fucking LIVID!

Susan G. Komen decided to stop giving grants to Planned Parenthood. Why? Because they hired some right-wing FREAK who has had it out for Planned Parenthood and she decided that because PP is being "investigated" (by fellow Republicans who have it out for Planned Parenthood) they can't get any grant money.

Some gal, in a Facebook comment thread, is saying it's a good thing because abortion increases chances of breast cancer and that PP should only raise private money and Komen should only spend money on research. Forget the fact that the Komen money PP gets IS private money and forget the fact that Komen has given money to PP in the past FOR detection of breast cancer, and forget the fact that, according to Komen's own site:

Research clearly shows abortion (also called induced abortion) does not increase the risk of breast cancer.

Here's the crux of our problem, America. We let FUCKING IDIOTS drown in misinformation to the point that an organization with a reach like Komen's WILLFULLY hires an ideological hack and then they make a decision that essentially relegates the Komen executive board to "Death Panel" status.

The more the right-wing chips -- hell, JACKHAMMERS -- away at PP, the more women will DIE. It's not hyperbolic to say so. Women need access to screenings of all kinds. And yes, some women need access to abortions. But the micro-cosmic backlash on abortion has become a macro-cosmic attack on ALL women. Women who aren't pregnant or seeking abortions will die because right-wing zealots are keeping life-saving services from them because they think that, somehow, this action prevents abortions.

I don't know where Susan G. Komen stood on abortion. But I'd really like to know what she would think about her name becoming the ugliest name associated with women's health care right now.

Don't just be pissed. DONATE to Planned Parenthood, FIGHT all the right-wing candidates in your state, VOTE on election day!

Do NOT let anything keep you from voting, folks! And VOTE wisely. A woman's life may depend on it.