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Poetry and snark blogger who also has a creative side (who knew?)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Balancing the Budget on the Backs of Women

image source
So, the Republicans in the House want to balance the budget and show their opposition to abortion. Thus, they have voted on a bill that will effectively cost the taxpayer more money in Medicaid healthcare dollars by increasing teen pregnancy, increasing sexually transmitted diseases, and  increasing unintended pregnancies among poor women. And it will increase abortions. Oh, and cancer too. And HIV and AIDS. Way to go!!!

The House voted this month to block federal funding to Planned Parenthood, a huge provider of reproductive healthcare to poor and uninsured women.  None of the federal funding received by Planned Parenthood goes toward providing abortion services. These services are provided out of a different fund altogether.  In addition, the House, in an Amendment drafted by Rep. Mike Pence (R., Ind.), voted to eliminate the entire Title X program, which was founded in 1970 and is the only federal grant program dedicated solely to providing individuals with comprehensive family planning and preventive health services, particularly to low-income families. These services include  breast and cervical cancer screenings, HIV prevention, education, and screening, pregnancy diagnosis, and counseling.

This is not just an attack on abortion, which, if I remember correctly, is still legal in this country. It is an all-out attack on women's health. By eliminating Title X, millions of women will lose access to the only healthcare they now have. They will have no means of acquiring birth control and will be at risk of unintended pregnancy. They will have no access to early cancer screening and detection and will be at risk of developing more advanced disease. Teen pregnancy rates will increase, and many of these teens will go on to give birth, as their access to abortion services will be increasingly limited. And just how is this supposed to save the country money? It won't. It will cost. It will cost money, and it will cost lives. But, what is the worth of health to a disadvantaged woman compared to the worth of political rhetoric to a politician? 

Friday, February 18, 2011

No, Just No

Imagine you are a third grade teacher. Little Britney raises her hand in the middle of math class for the second time that day. "Yes, Britney, what is it?" you ask, a little peeved. "Can I go to the bathroom?" "Again?" "I really have to!" she whines. "Okay, you may go as soon as Amber gets back." You try to regain focus on the math lesson. Not 5 minutes go by when another girl wants to be excused to the bathroom, and you notice that Britney has not yet returned. WHAT IS GOING ON? You have another teacher briefly watch your class while you march down to the girls' bathroom to discover...a bunch of  8 year-olds fixing their make-up!!! 

photo from tywkiwdbi

The marketing geniuses at Pacific World Brand have partnered with Walmart, the arbiter of all things tasteful, to produce Geo Girl, a line of cosmetics specifically formulated for tween girls. This is not the Bonne Bell Strawberry Lip Smackers that some of us remember from our early teens, but mascara, eye shadow, blush, and anti-aging products with "anti-oxidant exfoliants" because you're never too young to start looking younger! The products have "texting" names to emphasize the fact that these cosmetics are for the younger generation and not for us old fogies. Can you figure out what the names of these products are?
1. SPF 15 Lip Balm—J4G                     
2. Cleanser—T2G                  
3. Mineral Blush—QTPi 
4. Liquid2Powder Shadow—iCU 
5. Body Mist—TiSC    
6. Feather Lash Mascara—FYEO    
7. Lipshine—GR8
8. FaceShimmer—URA*                                                                   

In case you don't spend your time texting you BFFs, here are the answers:
1. Just 4 Grins
2. Time To Go
3. Cutie Pie
4. I See You
5. This is So Cool
6. For Your Eyes Only
7. Great
8. You Are A Star

Wait! you say. Most 8 to 11 year-olds don't wear make-up. But just think of all the money that a savvy cosmetics company could make if they did! Here's how Joel Carden, executive vice president for marketing and sales for Pacific World  explained the strategy behind Geo Girl:  "These are real cosmetics with natural ingredients that will create return purchases and create a true beauty consumer.'' See? You don't have to worry! They have natural ingredients! They are also eco-friendly because the marketing research suggested that tweens were aware of environmental issues and found them to be important. So your little girl can be an environmentally conscious skank!

I think Pacific World needs to take their marketing one step farther. What about the toddler demographic? How about Geo Baby? Not only would the cosmetics be made with natural ingredients but they would be safe to eat! It would be perfect for the Toddlers in Tiaras set. When they got hungry waiting for their turn at a pageant, they could just snack on their make-up! I can envision it- lipsticks in the shape of pacifiers, foundation that tastes like pudding...I'm going to go puke now. Excuse me.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Stand Back! I Feel a Rant Coming On!

What NOT to say to a woman you've just met who's in your ob/gyn office for an appointment with you because her regular doctor isn't available:

"Do you still get menstrual periods?"

What I wanted to answer: "Exactly how old do I look to you, bitch? I know that some women are in menopause by my age but by no means all. Do I look 80 years old? If I don't look at least 80, then don't ask me that question in that manner, you moron! How about, 'When was your last period?' Isn't that more subtle? Try that next time, you stupid cow!"

What I actually answered: "Yes."

And I still want to rip out her ovaries through her nostrils and hang them from my rear view mirror! (as a warning to others to be more sensitive when dealing with women "of a certain age.")

By the way, has anyone seen my hormones? And I've had a fuckin' migraine for the last 3 days that feels like someone's twisting my eyeball around in its socket.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Dan Snyder: Oy Vey!!!

If you live in or around the D.C. area or follow the politics of football, you may be familiar with the latest stunt of Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins. He is suing the Washington City Paper for an article that ran several months ago (The Cranky Redskins Fan's Guide to Dan Snyder From A to Z [for Zorn], an encyclopedia of the owner's many failings) which listed numerous mistakes and unethical behaviors Snyder has committed over the years. Mr. Snyder claims that the article contains "lies and half-truths," constitutes defamation of character, and that the cover illustration, which contains a doodle of him with devil horns, is anti-Semitic. Now, typically I don't give a fig about football, sports teams, or the goings-on thereabouts. However, being born and raised in the D.C. area and being Jewish, I feel I must say this: Dan, you're a complete disappointment and an embarrassment to my people!!!

Is it not enough that you have taken a beloved sports team and run them into the ground? Not even the return of our iconic Coach Gibbs could reanimate the team while you were in charge. Let's not forget that you moved the Washington Redskins out of Washington and into Maryland. Their practice facilities are even in Virginia. Despite the pitiful performance of the team, you continue to raise ticket prices to the point where longtime season ticket holders can't afford to keep their tickets and then sue them when they can't pay! Is that any way to treat loyal fans?!! Dan, I'm very disappointed in you.

Now about this article. I understand that it was not very nice. It may have even contained some hyperbole or misleading statements (I know you didn't really use Agent Orange to get rid of the federally protected trees blocking your view of the Potomac River. You just had them cut down after having a little chat with a Park Service official who okayed it for you). But here's what you don't seem to understand. Public figures are fair game. You are a public figure. You are a public figure because you own the Washington Redskins and because you are rich. People are going to write things about you. Look, I'm writing about you now. If you are smart, you behave in a way that will cause people to want to write positive things about you. If you are a whiny crybaby, people will want to write negative things about you. Suing the Washington City Paper falls into the whiny crybaby category. 

Furthermore, claiming that "...the cost of litigation would presumably quickly outstrip the asset value of the Washington City Paper," is a threatening remark that pegs you as a bully in addition to being a whiny crybaby. This is not a flattering portrait, Dan. Didn't your mother ever teach you that the best way to respond to teasing is by ignoring it? You not only didn't ignore it, you ran crying to the teacher and then threatened to have the whole school shut down!

Lastly, there's the claim of anti-Semitism. The City Paper article featured a photo of Snyder with devil horns and a goatee drawn on. Snyder claimed this was a historically anti-Semitic representation of Jewish people. When I read this, I did a spit-take on my morning coffee! So, now Dan Snyder is the Ethnic Avenger! When did you suddenly develop your cultural sensitivity, Dan? Was it before or after you defended owning a football team with an ethnic slur for a name that is demeaning and insulting to Native Americans? Do you no longer find the name "Redskins" an honor and a tribute or do you now find it ironic given the claims made in your litigation? How do you feel about the name "Fighting Kikes?"

Dan, I don't usually kibitz, but take my advice and stop this nonsense. Stop worrying about what the papers say about you and focus on your work. More importantly, focus on your wife and your kids. Spend some time with your family. Eat some good food. Have a glass or two of wine. Read a good book instead of scouring the papers for journalists to sue. And if you still feel like whining to someone, instead of hiring a lawyer, use your gobs of money and hire yourself a good shrink!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Zero Common Sense

Andrew Mikel II and unknown thug
What is the difference between a dangerous, antisocial thug who presents a threat to others and a stupid, bored, 14 year-old boy? Don't ask school officials at Spotsylvania High School, for they sure as shit don't know! They recently expelled high school student Andrew Mikel II for shooting plastic pellets from a plastic tube at fellow students during lunch. They also called in a deputy sheriff to charge Andrew with 3 counts of possession and use of a weapon and misdemeanor assault. What the heck happened to "Hey, Andrew! You could put out someone's eye with that! Hand it over!"

This offense to common sense is happening because of our ZERO TOLERANCE policies for weapons in schools. Although they may seem like a good idea, zero tolerance policies are a public relations ploy with often disastrous consequences for kids. These policies leave no room for individual discretion, mitigating circumstances, or application of consequences when a child commits a violation. Bring a weapon to school and you get expelled. It seems to make sense, but in reality, it often does not. For instance, in Mikel's case, despite the reluctance of the school's hearing officer to expel Mikel, school officials insisted. They claimed that his pellet spitter was a "projectile weapon" because it was "used to intimidate, threaten, or harm others" and that the federal Guns Free School Act mandated that he be expelled. While I don't condone shooting plastic BBs at fellow students, I really don't think Mikel's behavior warranted expulsion and criminal charges, both of which will now be on his record permanently.

I've seen teen lives ruined by zero tolerance policies run amok. I once worked with an 16 year old- adolescent male who was at risk of dropping out of high school due to truancy, poor grades, and behavior problems. His was the case where I first learned the Southern expression "showing his butt," which means "showing disrespect." Had I known this initially, I would not have wasted 10 minutes looking for a kid with his pants down at the high school! But I digress. I saw this kid for twice weekly counseling and helped him manage his time, his impulsiveness, and his anger problems. I consulted with his teachers to help keep him succeed in class. His grades began to improve and it looked like he might be on target to graduate. Then, one morning, someone spotted his hunting rifle in the gun rack on his truck where he'd left it after a weekend of hunting. His truck was parked in the student lot at the high school. The kid didn't even realize he'd left the gun in the truck. He was immediately expelled from school. He never returned to school and never graduated.

Again, that gun should NEVER have been on school property. It could have been a dangerous situation. But it wasn't. The student had no history of threatening others or carrying weapons of any type (other than legally hunting). He did have a history of poor time management and forgetfulness. Might it not have made more sense to suspend him for a few days, require a gun safety class, and perhaps have him do some community service rather than expel him from school? Why create one more person without a high school diploma who will now face poorer job prospects and have even more anger at the system?

Kids should be held responsible for their actions. However, the consequences should fit the crime, and we shouldn't criminalize childish misbehavior.

Farewell Jack and Meg

If you're going to break up a band, Take a lesson from the White Stripes Jack and Meg White and do it with style, class, and dignity. No backstabbing, no trash talking, and no farewell tours. “The White Stripes do not belong to Meg and Jack anymore. The White Stripes belong to you now and you can do with it whatever you want. The beauty of art and music is that it can last forever if people want it to.” Though I was a latecomer to the Stripes, I'll miss them; it bears repeating...