Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Monday, February 27, 2012

Pre game changer pivotal as hell and this time they mean it primary pondering…


Thank you to everyone who offered happy birthday wishes last week – y’all are the best!

I just got back in town from a fantabulous trip to New York, NY…were C-Money and I got to try our hand at following maps (shhhhh…she’s better at it but if you tell her I’ll deny, deny, and deny)…and we took in the theater (The Agony and The Ecstasy of Steve Jobs…loved it…4 ½ Afro fluffs out of 5)…and then we drank and drank and drank some more with my pal from college (yay, Toni!!).

Anyhoo, I’m sure there are lots of people who are doing Oscar posts…but I’m going to listen to the advice of a former hairdresser who said that if you only have rotten things to say about something save it for a happy hour.

Onward!

Tomorrow is another primary day…and it is important...pivotal…a possible game changer, damnit!

And the choir asked… “Um, why does this primary matter so damn much?”

And a bitch replied… “So glad you asked!!”

The pundits say... Michigan matters because Romney was born there and he has to win, he just has to.

Romney says… Michigan matters because I offered the highest bid for it and I have to win, I just have to.

Santorum says… Michigan matters because I got a vision from above that the de-education anti-college anti-knowledge movement must begin there AND I got a text from the Bishops ordering me to kick-off the No Uterus Left Behind plan in the Upper Peninsula.

Pause…sip coffee…continue.

Newt Gingrich says (cheerfully)…Fuck all y’all! I ain’t leaving until someone begs me not to leave!

Blink.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A birthday post…


Shark-Fu & C-Money & Spider-Man a fabillion years ago

Today is my birthday…hooray!

I’m 39 years old, so I now I have a year to prepare my Soul Food Extravaganza 40th Birthday Realness Ball.

Lawd, the pressure!

Anyhoo…

This birthday is going to rock!

I’m going to a protest at Senator Blunt’s office in Clayton…because he needs to know that his amendment allowing any employer to refuse to cover any health related thing through insurance simply by stating a moral objection was wrong when he filed it, is wrong today, and will never be right.

If you live in or near St. Louis you should join me!

And then, I get to watch the Blues take on the Bruins…from my couch-based area while eating apple pie, but still.

And then…


… C-Money and a bitch are headed to New York, NY!

***hit play***

We’re going to see The Agony and The Ecstasy of Steve Jobs…and eat yummy food…and drink a cocktail or two or three…and eat some more.

Fantabulous.

Toodles!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Shark-Fu’s 2012 Election “gaffe”, my black ass post…


Shall we?

Lawd, it feels like we just went through this presidential election business!

Oh well, here we are again…and now is as good a time as any for a post on gaffes.

Reporters love to say shit politicians or political surrogates say are just gaffes.

But in the world of politics what is often excused as a gaffe is more likely a well-placed bit of code language proven to turn on the most wretched among us.

Best part?

The same reporters who excuse those well-placed bits of code language as gaffes have been and will continue to be used…kind of like the journalism version of a drug mule who continues to buy the bullshit that the racist/sexist/homophobic/bigoted/oppressive words alleged to have “just slipped out” weren’t spewed forth intentionally.

Bless their hearts!

My people call that bullshit.

In 2008, the list of rancidity sent out through Clinton surrogates and then quickly excused as a mere verbal malfunction-based gaffe was so extensive that Jack and Jill Politics created a wiki.

And all of the sudden shit looked intentional as a motherfucker.

Pause…sip coffee…continue.


The introduction of gaffes into the mix is as predictable as elections being held in November.

Blink.

Monday, February 20, 2012

On caring...


Longtime readers know that my older brother is autistic. I’ve written about my experiences as a co-guardian…my encounters with the system…and my general stress over balancing my guardianship role with my wish to just be his sister.  I’ve also written about those sister-brother moments that make all the drama I experience as a guardian worth it.

Well, I made dinner for my brother’s house Saturday. He has two roomies and they all have staff on site 24 hours a day. I brought over peppercorn pork loin, cheesy potatoes, and a salad…all of which was demolished, much to my pleasure.

I returned home to news about a certain Rick Santorum and his remarks about how Obama “looks down on the disabled” by supporting prenatal testing…because on Santorum’s planet prenatal testing is a tool designed by heathens to do away with all detectable disabilities. In the real world…prenatal testing allows expecting parents to know the detectable health status of their pregnancy.

That wretched ‘liberals don’t care about the disabled’ bullshit is just the latest in a long list of Santorumisms that Rick likes to spout and thinks he’s particularly empowered to spout because he has a daughter with special needs.

I’ve got news for the Santorums of the world – your policies barely meet the basic needs of my brother with special needs.

Y’all can use this issue as a campaign tool when you bring your political GPA above failing.

You care?

Well, my brother shouldn’t be told by his state that making $100 a month at a job disqualifies him for Medicare coverage…because conservatives under the dome passed a “reform” to punish poor people without giving a shit that many disabled people are poor.

Still caring?

My brother shouldn’t face a monthly food allowance of $160 per month…because conservatives under the dome think hunger is a motivator and fail to grasp the reality that special needs children will become special needs adults who still have…wait for it… “needs” like food.

And let me keep it real – we are the lucky ones to only have that shit to fret about.

I’ve had it with politicians using people with special needs to score political points with a base that can’t be bothered to employ, volunteer with, or look a person with special needs in the eye.

Oh, they talk the talk.

But they all too often fail to walk the walk.


That could and often would include autism treatments and therapies…just think of all of those kids with special needs that will be denied coverage simply because their parent’s employer claimed a moral objection.

And while you hesitate…Missouri already has incidents of “church plans” denying coverage for autism treatment even though the church in question has no apparent religious objection to autism or people with autism or the parents of people with autism.

Spare me the campaign rhetoric about who "cares" about people with special needs.

I’m from Missouri - you’ve got to show me.

***cue crickets*** 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Moral objections, forced confessions, and Senator Blunt’s amendment from hell…


Let’s jump right on in, shall we?

Longtime readers know that I had a hysterectomy in November of 2010.  I had fibroids and endometriosis, both of which had been treated successfully for a decade.

What folks might not know is that I had surgery to remove round 1 of my fibroids in 2001.  After that surgery I had my first experience with a denial of coverage – my surgeon prescribed Lupron shots for 6 months post surgery so that I wouldn’t have a period while my uterus healed. Lupron is widely prescribed for infertility…my insurance plan did not cover infertility treatments…so each month I had the damn near indescribably drama of explaining to the insurance company that I had fibroids removed and my doctor prescribed Lupron for something other than trying to get pregnant.

Trust that the woman working customer service at my then insurer knew more about my reproductive plans than my family...oh, and her boss too ‘cause we always had to call the manager in…um, and the pharmacy that we looped in for those multi-person conference calls…and finally the fantabulous staffer at my doctor’s office who was used to this bullshit and was often looped in when I was just too exhausted and stressed out my the process (two things one would think an insurance company would want a person just out of surgery to avoid…ugh).

I went through that bullshit once a month every month for six months.

Then I went on the pill…yes, that one…to make sure that my fibroids didn’t grow as rapidly as they had before and to try to keep my endometriosis at bay.

And the pill did all of that for a decade, until 2010 when I had a hysterectomy.

Pause…sip coffee…continue.

When I heard that a certain Senator Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) introduced an amendment to the Affordable Care Act that would allow any employer to refuse to cover whatever service they claim a moral objection to…well, I thought about my previous experience with Lupron and why I ended up on the pill.

I thought about having to explain my bitness to my employer...about having to make some sort of case for meds that are legal and that I have no moral objection to.

And I keep circling back to what the pill did for me…and what would have happened if I hadn’t been able to take it to control the growth of fibroid tumors and endometriosis.

I would not have had choices or treatment options.

I would have had a hysterectomy eleven years ago…at 28.

Not because I wanted to or even needed to...

...but because that would have been all I was left with.

Which is exactly what happens to many women who face a lack of access to health care…a lack of options and choices that results from a lack of coverage.

This so-called birth control battle is about a lot more than contraception...it is about not having to beg, negotiate, or endure a forced public confession to get access to services and medicine denied based on some employer’s morality glitch.

Senator Blunt’s amendment would turn some of the most common medical happenings into…well, into an absolute stress out like my Lupron drama.

And for the trolls currently contemplating a comment about how I could have paid for Lupron out of pocket – that shit cost $600 a shot back in 2001…multiply that by 6 months and then kiss my “liberty”.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Quizzicals on religious liberty in practice…

Shall we?

This has been one heck of a hectic month. I’ve barely had time to explore the wild world of recently filed state legislation, but a certain SB749 filed in Missouri by Senator Lamping (R-24) was just too intriguing to ignore.

SB 749 looks like another in a long line of Missouri-based legislative confusion seeking to place state law over federal law – in this case, the bill seeks to deny Missourians certain benefits of the Affordable Care Act.

Yep, you guessed it…this mess came from the meltdown anti-contraception groups are still having over the recent HHS ruling that contraception will be covered without co-payment or deductible in insurance plans and the Obama Administration’s subsequent clarification that those business-esque churches religiously opposed to contraception would not have to offer coverage in their plans.

A recent St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial sums up this fight against access to contraception very well.

Anyhoo, I couldn’t help but wonder what inspired Senator Lamping to resurrect the state’s rights arguments and legislative tactics of the pro-segregation South in defiance of contraception coverage without co-payment.

Lamping’s bio says that he works as the blah blah blah for a major St. Louis-based securities brokerage firm and is very active in his community. He has served as a member of the Finance Board and as Parish Council President for St. Alphonsus Church and as the treasurer for Boys Hope Girls Hope of St. Louis. He is currently serving as the Endowment Chair for St. Louis University High School, is a member of the Stewardship Committee for Our Lady of the Pillar and is a member of the Endowment Committee for the St. Louis City Academy.

Um.

Pause…rewind…hit play.

What was that about St. Louis University High School?

Senator Lamping is currently serving as the Endowment Chair at SLU High…the same SLU High that was in the news a wee bit ago.

Mmmhmm, SLU High made the news because the Catholic high school offers insurance coverage to employees through Christian Brothers Services…and Christian Brothers Services is a “church plan”…so when two teachers working at SLU High tried to access coverage for autism services guaranteed through the new Missouri autism insurance coverage mandate they were denied.

Yes.

For real.

Way!

Denied coverage for autism services and treatment…in the name of religious liberty because of a religious exemption granted insurance designated as church plans.

And the choir asked… “What is the religious objection the Catholic Church has against insurance coverage for autism therapies and treatments?”

I am so glad y’all asked!

None.

I’ve not been able to find a single religious objection the Catholic Church has to autism or autism treatments and therapies.

Note to trolls preparing to comment about Lamping having children on the autism spectrum – I’m aware. As the sister and co-guardian of an adult with autism I make a point of knowing everyone under the dome involved in the autism community.

Where was I?

Oh yes!

I found some internet residue from Lamping’s campaign website proclaiming his support of the autism insurance mandate that passed prior to his run for office.

Pause…sip coffee…continue.

What I wasn’t able to find was any comment from Senator Lamping on the refusal of SLU High’s insurance plan to adhere to that autism insurance mandate or the church plan’s confusing use of a religious exemption for refusing a treatment that the Catholic Church appears to have no religious objection to.

Which takes me back to that Senate bill, the curious use of religious liberty in practice, and the quizzicals sparked by Senator Lamping’s leadership roles within Catholic institutions when examined along side his filing of legislation that would effectively shield those institutions from covering…well, anything they don’t want to.

If SB 749 were to become law in Missouri then you can bet your happy ass the same liberated religions that would refuse coverage for autism treatments would move to expand their…liberty…to all manner of things we call healthcare.

Trust that the list of things insurance plans would not cover would quickly be as extensive as the list of organizations currently praising their minion du jour Senator Lamping.

***tilts head***

Come, come now…this was never about religious liberty.

This is about money and power and the power of money.

Which brings me to my final quizzical.

If claiming religious liberty is the new slick business move to shield insurance plans from the financial hit of actually covering healthcare…

…does that mean Senate Bills are the new way to fast track indulgences?

Blink.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

In a place where there is no space or time…

I came of age with Whitney Houston’s music.

I built dreams with her voice echoing through my mind.

I found the strength to cope with many a tragedy as the sheer power of her talent damn near held me up.

I fell in love…made love…fell out of love…and then did it all over again and her music was there.

Always there…

...until it wasn’t.

I woke up this morning saddened by her death and with her version of A Song for You playing through my mind.

Now I’m just going to listen to the melody because her love is in there…

...hiding...

...in a place where there is no space or time.

And now that her life is over…I’m remembering when it was almost like we were in a room together and it was like she was singing a song just for me.

There was just her voice.

My eyes were closed tight.

And the final note lifted..it soared, like air…

So beautiful I just had to shake my head in wonder at it.

So haunting…

…that I weep for the end of it.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Santor-mentum!

Anyhoo…

A certain Rick Santorum has swept a grouping of primaries, including my home state of Missouri’s non-binding $7 million dollar why-the-fuck-did-this-primary-happen primary.

As political pundits freak the fuck out and try to make the case that Santor-mentum is what they thought would happen all along, this bitch is doing a happy dance in my couch-based area.

No, I’m not a Santorum fan.

Ugh…that’d be like 75% weather being a fan of blizzards.

Nope, I’m dancing in my couch-based area because the gods of blog content have blessed me with a continuation of the GOP nominee selection process!

I was worried…even doubtful…after Newt’s Newt-based behavior started to turn off everyone except the fringe to the right of Cruella De Vil.

But I shouldn’t have doubted…

…or forgotten that Santorum was making all sorts of noise that he is in this to win this and totally prepared to go down in an angry homophobic race-baiting explosion of no-sex-for-pleasure frothified hate.

***pours cup of coffee while chanting thanks to the gods of blog content in hopes for a three candidate Newt/Romney/Santorum floor fight at the GOP convention***

Free is free, co-payments are payments, and I am so tired of this shit...

I have heard a certain faux-statement of reality related to the bizarre resistance against eliminating co-pays for preventive medicine one time too many.

Meds without a co-payment are not “free”.

If the word “co-pay” enters a discussion...then y’all are talking about insurance coverage.

If y’all are talking about insurance coverage...then folks are paying for insurance.

If folks are paying for insurance...THEN YOU ARE PAYING FOR MEDS & SERVICES!!

All the elimination of a co-payment does is allow Americans seeking preventive services and meds to do so without paying more money on top of monthly fees.

Because prevention is a good thing, people…it actually saves all of us all money and keeps those health insurance fees down.

If it makes people feel better they can always take their pay stub to the doctor and then look at the amount paid for health insurance really hard after the appointment is over.

Pause…sip coffee…continue.

This obsession with acting like not paying a co-payment is getting something for free reminds me of the fools who celebrate getting a tax refund as if their ass isn’t getting their own fucking money back.

Blink.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Getting my lobby on...

I'm heading to Jefferson City for the first pro-choice Lobby Day of 2012!

Happy, happy, happy...joy, joy, JOY!

Bitchitude shall be delayed until my ass gets back home.

Toodles!

p.s. Happy Missouri non-binding Primary Day! I'll be voting anyway 'cause I want the option of participating in the Caucus (yes...for real...Missouri is doing BOTH...sigh) but someone needs to pay for wasting $7 million on what is essentially theatre (I'm looking at y'all, MO GOP). Just sayin'.

Monday, February 06, 2012

“Give”…me a fucking break, Teleflora…

Hi y’all and Happy Monday!

Wince.

Let’s jump right on in.

I was going to do a post on the Super Bowl ads, but I woke up this morning feeling more pissed off on behalf of the men I know (the alleged target of these ads).

It’s bad enough that brands everyone and their mother uses feel the need to humiliate or objectify women to get a laugh - factor in the fact that these brands just blew around 3.5 million dollars for the pleasure and this bitch is wondering why some of these companies don’t sue their agency for reckless endangerment.

Case in point – Teleflora.

If I could I’d sit that creative team down for a face-to-face correction!

An ad that makes the fucked up from the floor up case that “you give and you receive” to pitch sending flowers on Valentine’s Day in exchange for (I’m guessing now since soooo much time and attention was spent on the model’s application of lipstick) oral pleasure…Lawd, give me strength…is equal parts false advertising and insulting.

But the kicker is that the dumb-asses behind this insult to the senses knew they were going to run during the Super Bowl and therefore should have known that the women in the lives of the men they think they were hooking up with a guaranteed blow job were most likely watching the ad too...which taints any flowers sent through Teleflora with all the affection of the first time the woman getting them got called a whore at a bar for refusing a drink from a stranger.

Ugh.

Um, I’m serious…I heard a collective “ugh” sound throughout my neighborhood immediately following that ad.

Anyhoo, we all deserve better than this. The bulk of the ads targeting men during the Super Bowl insult the hell out of them even as they perpetuate dangerous and demeaning stereotypes about women.

Pause…consider…continue.

That brings up a new quizzical.

If one of the reasons why advertising agencies continue to insult the hell out of women despite our buying power is that there are not enough women in the fucking room when these fools come up with their “ideas”…


…then what the fuck is the excuse for the ads these fools come up with to target men?

***cue crickets***

Blink.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Pondering breast cancer, politics, and the 2 percent...

 

_________________________________________________

It has been one hell of a week, hasn’t it?

Happy Friday!

Shall we?

As most of you know, the Susan G. Komen Foundation chose to defund Planned Parenthood of grant funding for breast health programs that cover exams known to save lives.

In my home state of Missouri, Planned Parenthood affiliates perform 13,000 breast exams…2 percent of which are referred for additional examination.

Komen’s crisis management fail post announcement has opened up space for a broader examination of the charity’s operation and alarming social conservative roots.

But I’m going to do what Komen didn’t do - focus on the mission and the 2 percent of Missouri women who went into a Planned Parenthood exam room full of fear and uncertainty and walked out with resources, information, and Planned Parenthood standing with them as they begin the journey to defeat breast cancer.

Tis easy to become distracted by the rants from the right attempting to distort the breast health services Planned Parenthood provides.

Let me be clear so that it is forever crystal – Planned Parenthood breast health exams save lives and many of those lives are the women of color those opposed to reproductive justice profess to give a shit about even as they cheer Komen's indefensible move.

Indefensible in the face of the daunting breast cancer mortality numbers black women face.

Indefensible in the face of the reality that Planned Parenthood breast exams filled a gap in the health care system that far too many fell through.

Indefensible in the face of the fact that it is Black History month and we should all be focused on making breast cancer a part of Black “history” instead of creating hurdles that hinder access to care and services.

And indefensible when I consider the 2 percent - the sister who needs someplace to go because she felt something and knows she shouldn’t ignore it but doesn’t even know where to begin…the survivors who barely survived, because women dying due to lack of access to health care is acceptable to those opposed to reproductive justice…and those women who fought like hell, until the very last breath left their body, yet didn’t beat breast cancer because it was diagnosed too fucking late.

Shit.

Pause…collect thyself…continue.

The Komen Race for the Cure in my city of St. Louis is one of the few events that truly unite the city.

Rich, head-above-water, or poor.

LGBT, straight, somewhere on the Kinsey scale, or questioning.

Black or White or Asian or Native America.

Catholic or Jewish or Muslim or Quaker, Atheist, or Pagan.

Thousands of St. Louisans gather together, lace up sneakers or line up wheel-chairs, and walked-run-roll-shuffle...TOGETHER...united for a cure to breast cancer.

I’ve done the walk…I’ve reached the top of that hill to see the sea of people in front of me.

I’ve felt the rush of hope.

This cause deserves better than being dragged into the political muck by conservative operatives.

And the 2 percent…those women who need the breast health services funded by Komen grants and provided by Planned Parenthood…yeah, they deserve better than this as they face the fight Komen lost sight of.


Donate to the Breast Health Fund if you can.

Sign the Open Letter and Stand with Planned Parenthood.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Hold please...

Posting is delayed so that the House of Bitch can get reconnected to the internets.

This involves AT&T...

...so pray for us.

Blink.