Link to



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 9:13 am

The 540 mega million dollar lottery is the largest so far in US history. Who doesn’t dream about winning the lottery?  What they don’t envision is the nightmare associated with winning a mountain of money.  Doing something with it requires a lot of planning.

Buy your own ticket and don’t join the work pool option without an iron-clad contract.  The guy holding the ticket often skips out.

The odds of winning this lottery are 175,711,536 to one.  If you’re any good at all at math, you can understand that buying a ticket is a waste of money.   But, knowing you won’t win, you can have a lot of fun dreaming about how you’d spend all that money.

If you should be that rare winner, you can take a lump sum of $390,000,000 or opt for $20.7 million per year payments over 26 years.  Most people who opt for the lump sum payment spend all the money within five or six years and many are bankrupt at the end. It’s too much trouble to continue trying to manage it.  The people who want a part of your winnings will know where you live and will come out of the woodwork like army ants.   People you haven’t seen since  kindergarten will be knocking on your door wanting money.  Everyone has a story that they feel entitles them to some of your money.  As a consequence of the badgering, most people move and go into hiding.

So, be smart and don’t tell a soul you’ve won. Put your ticket in a safe deposit box and keep quiet about it for months.  Drive everyone crazy!  You can’t just walk into your hometown bank with a check for $390 million bucks and expect them to do something with it.In the meantime, line up a good team of five or six best friends that can be trusted, financial planners, attorneys, tax specialists, etc.   Get your ducks in a row before you tell anyone you won because everyone wants to know who robbed them of the win.   Once your identity is know, you’re a sitting duck for scammers, thieves and rapscallions.  You’re better off learning you didn’t win.

You can check for details here…


Newt Gingrich is cutting back his campaign schedule, will lay off about a third of his cash-strapped campaign’s full-time staff, and has replaced his manager as part of what aides are calling a “big-choice convention” strategy, communications director Joe DeSantis told POLITICO.

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 8:02 pm

Read more on Politico.


Filed under: prairie musings, religion — Peg Britton @ 1:48 pm

The Glad Tidings Assembly of God church in Middleton, Pa., has sparked outrage after a teaching exercise traumatized its youth group and left some with physical bruises, WHTM TV reports.

A shaken 14-year-old told the station two men came into the room with guns, pulled pillow cases over some of their heads, and pushed them into a van.

“They pulled my chair out from underneath me and then they told me to get on the ground,” the unnamed girl tearfully told WHTM. “And I was the first person to go into the van. I had my hands behind my back they said ‘just do as I say and you won’t be hurt.’”

The “kidnapped” youth group was then taken to their pastors house, where it looked like the minister was being attacked.

The girl showed the station the bruises she suffered from the event, and claims the men laughed while she cried in the van.

Despite claims from officials that the incident was only meant to teach teens what it’s like to be a persecuted Christian missionary, there could be serious repercussions for the church.

“It’s actually quite serious,” First Deputy District Attorney of Dauphin County Fran Chardo told the station in a seperate report. “False imprisonment of a child, someone under the age of 18, is a second-degree felony punishable up to 10 years on prison.”

Since the teens never agreed to take part in the “lesson,” church officials could be in legal trouble for the incident. WHTM also reported the man who “kidnapped” the teens was an off-duty cop, using a real, but unloaded, gun.

In the midst of potential legal ramifications, Andrew Jordan, the church’s pastor, told WHPTV he will still continue to carry out this lesson, but he will ask for parental permission.

From the Huffington Post.


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 10:05 am

Instructables user stickmop shares a trick to tell basic barometric pressure using a hot cup of coffee, tea, or cocoa; when you pour the coffee into the cup watch the bubbles. If they move to the edge of the cup quickly you can expect clear skies for the next 12 hours, if they hang out in the center expect rain in the next 12 hours, and if the bubbles move slowly to the edge you may get a bit of weather, but it will clear soon.

This trick came from a long ago issue of Backpacker Magazine. If you’re out camping without an internet connection it may come in handy someday.


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 9:56 am

I found this very interesting and thought you might as well.  It is from The Agurban - an Agrace Publication.

Pathways to Prosperity Project - Vocational Education Follow-up II

In another follow-up to our Vocational Education Agurbans, we want to share some interesting information we learned from the Pathways to Prosperity Project report, completed by the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The report is subtitled “Meeting the Challenge of Preparing Young Americans for the 21st Century”.

•    27 percent of people with post-secondary licenses or certificates - credentials short of an associate’s degree - earn more than the average bachelor’s degree recipient.

•    Demand for middle-skilled professionals is exploding in the nations’ hottest industry, healthcare, which has added over half a million jobs during the Great Recession. Openings for registered nurses and health technologists - positions that typically require an associate’s degree - are expected to grow by more than 1 million by 2018.•    There will be a huge number of job openings in so-called blue-collar fields like construction, manufacturing, and natural resources, though many will simply replace retiring baby boomers. These fields will provide nearly 8 million job openings, 2.7 million of which will require a post-secondary credential.

•    The Georgetown Center of Education and the Workforce projects there will be 47 million job openings in the decade ending in 2018, many of which will be replacements for workers who have retired or quit. While they predict that a record 63 percent of these openings will require some college education or better, they say that nearly half of these post-secondary positions will only require an A.A. degree or less. And virtually all of the sub-B.A. jobs will require the kinds of real-world skills students master in career and technical education. These include positions in nursing, health technology, commercial construction, manufacturing, and natural resources.

Not all students are college bound. While we would like to see more vocational education offered in high schools, hopefully technical schools and community colleges will adjust to fill this void. We will keep watch.


Filed under: political musings, Barack Obama — Peg Britton @ 9:08 am

I like Obamacare. I’m proud of it — and you should be, too.
David Axelrod sent an email to supporters with a subject line that read, “I like Obamacare.” The letter said in part…
Here’s why: Because it works. “I like Obamacare.”

Obamacare means never having to worry about getting sick and running up against a lifetime cap on insurance coverage. It gives parents the comfort of knowing their kids can stay on their insurance until they’re 26, and that a “pre-existing condition” like an ear infection will never compromise their child’s coverage.

It’s about ending the practice of letting insurance companies charge women 50 percent more — just because they’re women.

And Obamacare can save seniors hundreds of dollars a year on prescription drugs — and gives them access to preventive care that is saving their lives.

Several provisions in the health care law that have already been implemented are having a positive impact.

The health care law…

(1) is combating fraud and abuse, which in turns saves Americans money;

(2) has brought coverage to 2.5 million young adults;

(3) is delivering major savings to seniors on prescription drugs;

(4) is giving a boost to small businesses through ACA tax credits;

(5) has slowed the growth of Medicare spending;

(6) has provided new treatment options for cancer patients; and

(7) has offered new coverage protections for those with pre-existing conditions.

These are tangible, real-world benefits, making a meaningful difference in people’s lives.

“Obamacare” is, in fact, delivering on its promise, and helping millions of families who need the support.



Filed under: political musings, Pro-life/Pro-choice, LGBT, religion, Women's Rights — Peg Britton @ 8:27 pm

Ria Misra, Woman Up
After more than 60 years together, Jimmy Carter has announced himself at odds with the Southern Baptist Church — and he’s decided it’s time they go their separate ways. Via Feministing, the former president called the decision “unavoidable” after church leaders prohibited women from being ordained and insisted women be “subservient to their husbands.” Said Carter in an essay in The Age:

At its most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities.

And, later:

The truth is that male religious leaders have had — and still have — an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter. Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world.

After watching everyone from philandering politicians to Iran’s president taking a sudden look heavenwards when the roof starts to come down on them, it’s refreshing to see Carter calling out the role of religion in the mistreatment of women.

The question for Carter — and for others who find themselves at odds with leadership — is, when a group you’re deeply involved in starts to move away from your own core beliefs, do you stay and try to change from within or, at some point, do you have to look for the exit? Carter did give the former a shot — in recent years publicly criticizing and distancing himself from church leadership, while staying involved with his church. Now, he’s seeing if absence might do what presence did

See:  Losing My Religion for Equality by Jimmy Carter



Filed under: political musings, Koch Brothers — Peg Britton @ 10:02 am

Common Cause is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to restoring the core values of American democracy, reinventing an open, honest and accountable government that serves the public interest, and empowering ordinary people to make their voices heard in the political process.

Sheet: ALEC, the NRA, the Castle Doctrine and Trayvon Martin

By: Nick Surgey

March 23, 2012

Connecting the Dots Between ALEC, Wal-Mart, the NRA, and the Florida Law Cited By Some to Immunize Trayvon Martin’s Killer

(Prepared by Lisa Graves, Center for Media and Democracy, and Nick Surgey, Common Cause)

Early on the evening of February 26, 2012, George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin, 17, an African-American, in a gated community in Sanford, Fla. Trayvon, whose body was not identified until days later, was walking home after buying Skittles and tea. Zimmerman claimed the shooting was in self-defense. Citing a recent Florida statute known as the “shoot first” law or “Castle Doctrine,” police did not charge Zimmerman and did not seize the gun used to kill Trayvon.

That Florida law became the template for “model” legislation endorsed and promoted nationally by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a non-profit entity funded by major corporations and interest groups including Koch Industries and the National Rifle Association (NRA).  The bill expanded the long-standing right of self-defense by extending criminal and civil immunity to shooters who feel threatened by another, creating a statutory “right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force. . .”

ALEC has an annual budget of approximately $7 million and claims that hundreds of its model bills become law each year. It hides its inner workings, including the fact that its model bills often are drafted and always are pre-approved by corporations and lobbyists. ALEC calls itself the nation’s largest group of state legislators, but 98% of its funding comes from corporations and sources other than dues from elected officials.

In August 2005, in Grapevine, Tex., NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer asked legislators and lobbyists at a closed-door meeting of ALEC’s “Criminal Justice Task Force” to adopt the Florida “Castle Doctrine” bill as an ALEC model bill.  The NRA said her pitch “was well received,” and the bill was approved “unanimously.”(1)

At that time, ALEC’s public-private Criminal Justice Task Force was co-chaired by Wal-Mart(2)–the nation’s largest seller of guns and ammunition.(3)  ALEC’s staffer for the task force was Chris Oswald a former “State Liaison” for the NRA.

Corporate representatives and state legislators on ALEC Task Forces have equal votes on proposed model legislation,(4) so the Florida law was ratified by Wal-Mart and its 2005 public sector co-chair, Texas Rep. Ray Allen, along with other state legislators and corporate lobbyists. It was endorsed by a representative of the Koch-funded Heritage Foundation, according to minutes of the meeting issued by ALEC.(5)

In September 2005, that bill was adopted by ALEC’s National Board of Directors, which has a procedure to allow model bills to be approved if there is no objection. The public sector portion of the board was chaired by Georgia state Rep. Earl Ehrhart; the corporate board included Koch Industries, Altria (parent of Philip Morris), Coors, Bell South, and Verizon.  (ALEC says its corporate board does not vote. Corporations and elected officials have an equal vote in the task forces, where model bills are adopted, however.)

At the next ALEC Criminal Justice Task Force meeting, in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, in 2006, the NRA’s representative to ALEC, Tara Mica, reported on the “continued success” in securing passage of ALEC’s “Castle Doctrine” bill in other states.(6)

In 2007, an ALEC “Legislative Report Card,” boasted that the ALEC/NRA Castle Doctrine bill had been introduced or passed in numerous states.(7) ALEC also highlighted ALEC legislators who had introduced versions of the model bill, including Texas state Sen. Jeff Wentworth and Rep. Joe Driver.(8)

To date, more than two dozen states have adopted Castle Doctrine bills with ALEC/ NRA DNA.(9)  Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, an ALEC alum, signed into law an NRA-backed bill with some provisions similar to the ALEC bill in 2011. Similar bills are pending in other states.

The Florida bill that became the ALEC model was signed on April 26, 2005 by Gov. Jeb Bush, with the NRA’s lobbyist, Marion Hammer, standing alongside.(10)

NRA President Wayne LaPierre said NRA lobbyist and former president Hammer “conceived” of the Florida bill and lobbied it into law. (11)  She ridiculed opponents of the bill, calling them hysterical, and helped the bill’s co-sponsors, Florida state Sen. Durell Peaden (R-Crestview) and Rep. Dennis Baxley (R-Ocala), get it passed.

In 2005, Peaden was an ALEC leader, serving on the Executive Committee of the “Health and Human Services Task Force.” (12)

Baxley, a former head of the Christian Coalition in Florida, is also a member of ALEC. His legislative resume includes sponsorship of bills creating license plates honoring the Confederacy and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., (13)  Opponents of the “Castle Doctrine” bill predicted it would immunize racially motivated killers. Baxley recently said the law should not protect Trayvon Martin’s shooter.

As noted by, ALEC’s current crime task force, which continues to endorse the ALEC/NRA Castle Doctrine, includes Florida Rep. Ray Pilon.

The NRA has pushed several other ALEC “model” bills to change state laws on firearms:,_Prisons,_Crime,_and_Immigration.

For more:  Click here.



Filed under: prairie musings, Ally Britton, Ringo — Peg Britton @ 2:38 pm

Springtime brings an awareness of many repair and cleaning projects that remain dormant and barely noticeable during the winter. Don’t you know? Believe it or not, we built this house 36 years ago and even the best stuff we used in construction eventually wears out.

So it is with doors. I’ve lost track of how many windows are in this house without triggering a recount, but there too many to ever have them all clean at any one time.  Doors are easy — there are six “regular” inside doors, with hinges, leading to three bathrooms, two bedrooms and the utility room while there are eight double  doors leading outside.  Escape routes.  Except for one “regular” door to the garage and a double front door, the others are six or eight-foot double sliding doors leading to decks and patio.  These doors were easy to open in my youth.  Not so much now.  I can say without equivocation that if you’re old and arthritic, shoving open an eight-foot sliding glass door  to allow an anxious, leaping 50 pound dog who wants outside “right now” to pee,  can be a challenge.

Ringo and I, as the only inhabitants of this special place, are constantly coming and going though one door or another on the main floor. Nonetheless, we want better and easier operation from doors than we now have.  Actually, we’ve been discussing the possibility of replacing some with French doors.  In addition to ease of operation, it will increase cross-ventilation, which will be delightful on nice days like today.

Today, my friends, Sam and Greg, came from K.C. to assess the problems and will return with all the necessary doors, grab bars, intermediate steps, etc.  in a few weeks to make the place more elderly accessible.  Sam works construction with his brothers.  Greg Connally helps with the “go for” and “hold this” chores.  They are really great and I’m lucky to have them do the work for me. They are working me around Ally’s remodeling project to house her commercial kitchen, which is pretty exciting.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: political musings, Pro-life/Pro-choice, LGBT, GOP, Women's Rights — Peg Britton @ 5:29 pm

Alaska Republican Says Women Should Have To Get Permission From Men To Get An Abortion
March 22, 2012
By Stephen D. Foster Jr.

Conservatives aren’t even bothering to cover up the real reasons why they want to ban abortion anymore. Now they’re just admitting that they want to force women to be submissive to men. A male Republican lawmaker in Alaska has let the cat out of the bag.

According to The Mudflats, Rep. Alan Dick (fitting name) “said in a House Health and Social Services Committee Hearing last week that he doesn’t believe that when a woman is pregnant, it’s really “her pregnancy.” As a matter of fact, he would advocate for criminalizing women who have an abortion without the permission via written signature from the man who impregnated her. He stated, “If I thought that the man’s signature was required… required, in order for a woman to have an abortion, I’d have a little more peace about it…”   He didn’t say whether a rapist would be able to send his signature by fax from prison, or not.

Rep. Dick’s sexist comments aside, Alaska Republicans are also seeking to pass legislation that would violate the privacy and personal liberty of women, and would even misinform them.

Despite the fact that the state Supreme Court in Alaska has ruled that women should have access to abortion without being burdened, Republicans in the state are waging war against women’s rights. In the state Senate, Republicans are pushing SB 191, which forces women to undergo an ultrasound before having an abortion. In the House, the GOP is trying to pass HB 363, which forces state employees to lie to women about their pregnancy options and bans them from referring women to abortion providers and other abortion services.

Clearly, this war against women is all about forcing women to be completely submissive to men. Mr. Dick said as much. These conservative males want to turn back the clock on women’s rights in America and go back to a time when women were property and were restricted to carrying babies and cooking in the kitchen. Many of today’s conservatives even believe that women shouldn’t be allowed to have jobs and should be punished for having pre-marital sex. It won’t be too much longer before Republicans try to repeal women’s voting rights out of some sick belief that women can’t be involved in politics. The Republican Party has become a laughingstock. It is a party that belongs in 19th or 18th century America or perhaps further back. It certainly doesn’t belong in this century. At any rate, the GOP is full of raving sexist chauvinist pigs and since women make up over half of the American population, Republicans are basically committing political suicide by attacking their rights, their privacy, their health, and their independence.



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 10:35 am




Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth Sites, Kanopolis, Kansas — Peg Britton @ 9:55 am

Kanopolis Reservoir, State Park, and Wildlife Area

Kansas’ first state park, with towering Dakota sandstone bluffs.

From the towering Dakota sandstone bluffs to the caves and crevices of Horsethief Canyon, the park and surrounding area offer rugged beauty. The park is split into two areas north and south of the dam. A marina, beaches, picnic areas, full-service camping areas, volleyball courts, and softball diamond make the area an all-round recreation spot. Horsethief Canyon, offers 26 miles of trails for hikers, horseback riders, and bicyclists. The 3,500 acre lake and 12,500 acre wildlife area provide anglers and hunters abundant fish and game. Nestled near the Smoky Hill River toward the northwest portion of the wildlife area is Faris Caves, which were carved by early pioneers and served as milkhouse, school house, and living quarters.



Filed under: prairie musings, political musings, Koch Brothers — Peg Britton @ 8:47 am

The Tea Party: Brought to You by Joseph Stalin
By John MacMurray

Stalin The Tea Party: Brought to You by Joseph StalinAnd if the title brought you a SAY WHAT??? moment, that’s understandable. So, let’s connect some dots and see what the picture looks like.

Let’s begin by asking ourselves what Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Glenn Beck, Joe Stalin (yeah, that one), Dick Armey, Dixie Cups, Brawny paper towels, The John Birch Society, The Cato Institute, Americans for Prosperity, George Mason University, FreedomWorks, Citizens for a Sound Economy, and the Smithsonian have in common?

And if your answer was something like, “Not a thing except they’re on the same page,” let’s start connecting. And when we finish connecting, we find that the picture looks like Charles and David Koch, the two brothers who own Koch Industries, in Wichita, Kansas. With estimated annual revenues of $100 billion, it is the second-largest privately held company in America.

Following the dots we see that President (and for this, Lord, we are thankful!) Barack Obama has had his Progressive agenda ambushed at every possible point by groups like Americans for Prosperity, an organization that David Koch started, in 2004.

In the same vein is FreedomWorks, headed by Dick Armey; FreedomWorks was founded by a merger between Empower America and Citizens for a Sound Economy, also founded by Koch Industries.

Television host Glenn Beck has also thanked the Koch family for their help, but does not elaborate on the relationship.

Before President Obama, President Bill Clinton had his energy and climate legislation hammered on mercilessly and constantly (and frequently dishonestly) by Citizens for a Sound Economy, a Koch Foundation-funded group.

Likewise, by the Cato Institute, a think tank which the Kochs provided the funds to launch back in 1977.

The Kochs also set up another think tank, the Mercatus Center, at George Mason University, in Arlington, Virginia. Established in the mid-eighties, the Center has become a leading source for deregulation policies. George Mason, however, is a public university and hosting an advocacy institution funded and controlled by the Kochs is highly controversial.

Just as controversial is the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History where the David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins, a multimedia exploration of the theory that mankind evolved in response to climate change, is criticized by many as a glib whitewash of any human involvement in global warming.

Ironically enough, the financial stake for this huge family fortune comes from Joseph Stalin. As the first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union’s Central Committee from 1922 until his death in 1953, Stalin hired Fred Koch, father of David and Charles, to construct oil refineries, pipelines, and train workers. Fred Koch delivered good value for Stalin’s money, and worked for the USSR for many years.

In later years, Fred apparently had second thoughts about the relationship, and helped found the virulently anti-communist John Birch Society.

Currently, the Koch family fortunes are bolstered by consumer products like Dixie Cups, Brawny paper towels, Stainmaster Carpet and the entire Georgia Pacific product line from plywood to modeling clay.

Exactly how much the Kochs have spent to make America over into their image of a Libertarian paradise may never be known outside the company and the foundations the family controls. Current Federal tax law permits anonymous personal donations to politically active nonprofit groups. But what can be gleaned shows spending somewhat north of $200 million since the late 90s alone.

However much the amount is, it appears to be well spent. During the 105th Congress, for example, the U.S. Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs held hearings involving Triad Management, another shadowy Koch-funded enterprise. The Koch brothers, their employees, and their banks simply refused to respond to subpoenas from the committee. And committee chair Fred Thompson (R-Tennessee) declined to follow up.

Currently, according to the Los Angeles Times, the Koch brothers have given a million dollars in support of Proposition 23. That’s the proposition that would delay implementation of AB 32, the law that would cut California’s emissions of green house gases to 1990 levels.

So, according to sources like PBS’ Frontline, and released Senate transcripts, the Koch brothers get their way by simply buying whatever and whoever they want. By using various tax exempt foundations to subvert or just ignore campaign financing laws, they are using our own money to take our government away from us.

Uncle Joseph would be so proud!

The following links are useful sources:

Bill Moyers interview on PBS: “Washington’s Other Scandal” FRONTLINE #1705. Air Date: October 6, 1998

Jane Mayer article in New Yorker Magazine: “The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama.” August 20, 2010

United States Senate Hearings

List of Koch Industries consumer products

Article on Triad Management Services (cross-reference to Frontline article, above):

John MacMurray teaches 7th grade language arts and social studies at Ladera Vista Junior High in Fullerton.



Filed under: prairie musings, Pro-life/Pro-choice, religion — Peg Britton @ 10:33 am

Horrible news for women’s rights from the Colorado state House…

Sat Mar 17, 2012 at 01:08 AM PDT

Breaking: “First Degree Homicide Of The Unborn Child Bill” Passes Colorado House On Second Reading

From State Rep Daniel Kagan (D):

“…we were unable to prevent the Republican majority in the House from passing on second reading the First Degree Homicide of the Unborn Child bill. Under some circumstances, it makes both termination of pregnancy and the use of the morning after pill a homicide. It also confers personhood on a newly fertilized egg.”

Tea Party legislators have been successful in passing 135 bills nationwide to limit women’s reproductive rights.

This is a partial step toward completely outlawing abortion in Colorado and for men to gain full control over women’s reproductive rights.

The thing is:  No matter what bills are passed and signed into law, abortions will not vanish  The results from the effort to control women’s reproduction includes unsanitary, back-alley abortions leading to the mutilation and death of many young women, which Tea Party activists say they deserve.

There should be no question regarding women having the right to control their own bodies without oversight from men.   Thoughtful men and women know that.  We need to pay closer attention and strenuously object to the efforts of Republican majority legislatures, driven by religious zealots, that are passing legislation to slowly undermine the reproductive rights of women.



Filed under: prairie musings, Dane Britton, Roy P. Britton, Todd Britton — Peg Britton @ 10:07 am

Especially to Todd and Karen who are celebrating their 28th wedding anniversary this day…

To Brit and me who celebrated 57 wedding anniversaries together on this day…

And, we’re thinking of Dane who, sadly,  died on this date at age 56…



Filed under: political musings, Pro-life/Pro-choice, LGBT — Peg Britton @ 4:57 pm

In Protest, Democrats Zero In On Men’s Reproductive Health

by Teresa Tomassoni

05:28 pm

March 15, 2012

Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner, a Democrat, has introduced legislation that would regulated men’s use of reproductive health services.

Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner, a Democrat, has introduced legislation that would regulated men’s use of reproductive health services.

For perhaps the first time in recent history, male reproductive health is at the forefront of political debate.

In at least six states, lawmakers — all women and all Democrats — have proposed bills or amendments in the last few weeks that aim to regulate a man’s access to reproductive health care. It’s their way of responding to the ongoing debate around contraception and abortion, said Jennifer Lawless, director of the Women & Politics Institute at American University.

Some would prohibit men from getting vasectomies, such as Georgia’s House Bill 1116, which states:

“Thousands of children are deprived of birth in this state every year because of the lack of state regulation over vasectomies.”

Others, like an amendment proposed by Oklahoma State Sen. Constance Johnson, restrict where a man can ejaculate, effectively outlawing all manner of sexual acts. The amendment says:

“Any action in which a man ejaculates or otherwise deposits semen anywhere but in a woman’s vagina shall be interpreted and construed as an action against an unborn child.”

And Ohio State Sen. Nina Turner recently put forward legislation that would require men seeking drugs like Viagra to first get a cardiac stress test to ensure their heart is ready for sexual activity. Oh, and they would also have to obtain certification from one of their recent sexual partners that they are indeed experiencing problems with erectile dysfunction. And they would be required to see a sex therapist before getting a prescription.

The bill states:

“The physician shall ensure that the sessions include information on nonpharmaceutical treatments for erectile dysfunction, including sexual counseling and resources for patients to pursue celibacy as a viable lifestyle choice.”

Turner says society has been programmed to accept the idea that legislators can regulate a woman’s ability to obtain contraception or get a safe abortion. “We don’t see anything wrong with it because that’s the way we’ve been socialized,” she told Shots. But now that the tables are turning and the focus is on men’s reproductive health, people think it’s strange, she said.

However, American University’s Lawless said that bills like Turner’s have almost a zero likelihood of becoming law.

Already, we are seeing some of them shot down. In January, the Virginia Senate voted against an amendment proposed by Virginia Sen. Janet Howell, a Democrat, which would have required a man to get a digital rectal exam and cardiac stress test before getting a prescription for an erectile-dysfunction drug.

Howell proposed her amendment in response to a controversial bill that would require women seeking abortions to undergo ultrasound imaging first. The bill eventually passed and was signed into law after vaginal ultrasounds were dropped from the requirements.

The ultimate goal in proposing bills related to male reproductive health is not to get them passed, Lawless said. By drawing attention to these bills, she said, Democrats are looking to motivate independent and undecided voters, especially women, to show up at the polls in November for the general election.



Filed under: political musings, LGBT, Civil/Gay Rights — Peg Britton @ 8:17 am

From EMILY’S LIST: Top 10 Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Attacks on Women’s Rights

By Alison McQuade on 03/14/2012 @ 10:50 AM

Tags: Why Women

The Right Wing decided it wanted to play Monday Morning Quarterback with my lady parts this year. It seems like an odd choice for a recreational activity, especially since there’s no legislative or medical reason to suddenly introduce radically restrictive and dangerous legislation on women’s health and bodies. Maybe someone should introduce them to Pinterest instead.

Here are our Top 10 Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Attacks on Women’s Rights (just in the last 6 months!)

1.   The Blunt Amendment. Reasonable religious exemptions weren’t enough for Roy Blunt. This amendment would have allowed your employer – not your doctor - to decide what kind of health care you could get based on his or her own personal moral or religious convictions.

2.   The All-Male Birth Control Panel, or the Man Panel. Congressman Darrell Issa convened a panel to discuss the coverage of birth control – but refused to include any women.

3.    Susan G. Komen Foundation defunds Planned Parenthood. Komen opted to cut off funding to the largest provider of reproductive health services in the US because of their new VP’s objection to a mere 3% of their activities.

4.    Rush Limbaugh Calls Sandra Fluke a Prostitute and a Slut. After Sandra Fluke stood up for women everywhere, Rush Limbaugh took to the airwaves and called her a prostitute and a slut for speaking out in favor of birth control coverage. He also said she should have to put videos of her having sex online to compensate the taxpayers who “are going to pay for your contraceptives.” Classy.

5.    Forced Trans-Vaginal Ultrasounds. Republican legislators in Virginia invited the commonwealth into the exam room when they proposed a bill that would require women seeking abortions to undergo an invasive, medically-unnecessary vaginal probe before their procedure.

6.    Texas defunds Planned Parenthood. Under Governor Rick Perry, the state of Texas banned funding to Planned Parenthood because it provides abortion services. In the end, though, this fight has only served to hurt low-income women looking for breast cancer screenings, birth control and pap smears.

7.    Women in the Military Should “Expect” to be Raped. Responding to a 64% increase in the reports of rape and violent sexual assaults in the military, Fox News pundit Liz Trotta responds, “What did they expect?” She goes on to say that there is a bureaucracy of people to support these women who are being “raped too much.”

8.    Foster Friess Suggests Women Put Aspirin Between Their Knees. Rick Santorum supporter, Foster Friess, reminisced about back in his day when ladies put aspirin between their knees for birth control. Back in his day, people also died of polio.

9.    Santorum wants to deny birth control coverage because he thinks it’s available and affordable. Despite the fact that most forms of birth control still require a prescription and 1 in 3 women have reported struggling to afford birth control. Santorum feels there is no barrier to access, so it shouldn’t be covered by insurance.

10.    Mitt Romney doesn’t understand a woman’s reproductive system. Romney has publicly supported “personhood amendments,” which would ban abortion by declaring life begins at conception. When asked about how this affects birth control, Romney seemed to be completely unaware that hormonal forms of birth control stop implantation, not conception and would be banned under any personhood amendment.



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 8:51 pm

Study: All Red Meat Linked to Premature Death
Researchers found that eating even small amounts of unprocessed meat upped study participants’ chances of dying by 13 percent.
By Rachael Levy | Posted Tuesday, March 13, 2012, at 10:23 AM ET

A Harvard study published online this week says that all red meat is linked to higher risk of premature death

Bad news for red meat lovers: A new long-term study published online this week from the Harvard School of Public Health suggests that eating any type of red meat significantly ups one’s risk of premature death.

And contrary to what the researchers had hypothesized at the outset, processed meat isn’t the only culprit—unprocessed meat appears to increase the risk, as well.

The Los Angeles Times reports that eating a 3-ounce steak—roughly the size of a deck of cards—once per day upped the chances of dying during the study by 13 percent. Replace that serving with processed red meat, like a hot dog or two slices of bacon, and the risk shoots up to 20 percent among study participants.

While red meat has long been associated with increased risks of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, CNN points out that the study, which tracked upward of 110,000 adults for more than 20 years, is the first to investigate how swapping it out altogether might increase a person’s lifespan.

“Eating a serving of nuts instead of beef or pork was associated with a 19% lower risk of dying during the study. The team said choosing poultry or whole grains as a substitute was linked with a 14% reduction in mortality risk; low-fat dairy or legumes, 10%; and fish, 7%.”

The Times reports that at least one researcher, who wasn’t involved in the study, questioned the data since there could be many errors in the way food questionnaires were collected over the years. But the Harvard researchers stood by their conclusion that no amount of red meat is good for human health.

“If you want to eat red meat, eat the unprocessed products, and reduce it to two or three servings a week,” the lead author of the study told the paper. “That would have a huge impact on public health.”

Meanwhile, vegetarian diet advocate Dean Ornish, who wrote an editorial accompanying the study, said that a plant-based diet’s benefits weren’t limited to human health: Going meatless helps cut U.S. annual health care costs, minimize the livestock industry which contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions and slow the destruction of forests for pasture, he wrote.

You can read the study, which was published online Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine, here. For more detailed information about the study’s findings, read this Los Angeles Times article.


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 6:12 pm

Vocational Education - Is it a Thing of the Past?

Our October 25, 2011 Agurban, Who Needs a Job, discussed the skills gap between workers and the jobs employers had available We thought that this recent article was a good follow-up: “Some employers want return of vo-ed training”.

It is no secret that workers with college degrees earn more than those without. But, as one metal fabrication company president says, “You don’t need a four-year degree to run our sheet metal fabrication robots, but you do need to know geometry, how to read a blueprint, and how to use a tape measure.”

“We have a lot of people who are in high school who could be doing a vocational track, who could be learning these technical skills, but they’re not,” said Neal McCluskey, and education analyst at the Cato Institute.

As recently as the early 1980s, American high school students had the choice of taking college prep or technical classes. This two-track system still thrives in countries like Germany, a country considered a role model by experts who study labor and education issues.

Two-year technical schools and a growing number of community colleges offer education in hands-on fields like health care technology, mechanics, or nursing, where job shortages are rife, but students and parents often overlook this option.

Germany’s two-track educational system also works because it’s integrated with apprenticeship programs, a rarity in American industry.

In Charlotte, NC, manufacturer Siemens opened a factory to produce gas turbines. The company worked with local Central Piedmont Community College to design a curriculum teaching would-be workers how to operate the equipment.

Initiatives like this are helping to balance the disconnect between jobs and skills, but experts say kids should get an earlier start learning the skills they’re going to be using for the next four decades or so. Waiting until college to learn skills like applied math or equipment operation, puts many American students at a disadvantage, especially when they may have to shoulder the cost of higher education.

We have seen some of our local high schools eliminating their vocational classes. And they likely will not return as the teaching equipment was sold. We are also hearing from local manufacturers that they have good paying jobs that high school graduates could succeed at if they had the vocational training that students in the prior generation had.

What is happening in your community and in your schools? We would like to share some good ideas with our readers.



Filed under: political musings, Pro-life/Pro-choice — Peg Britton @ 3:53 pm

Fired For Using Birth Control? It Could Be Possible In Arizona
March 13, 2012

A proposed law in Arizona could give employers the right to fire women who use birth control. The bill, which sailed right through the state’s Senate Judiciary Committee, grants employers the right to ask for proof that contraceptives are being taken for non-contraceptive reasons.

Arizona House Bill 2625, authored by Majority Whip Debbie Lesko, R-Glendale, would permit employers to ask their employees for proof of medical prescription if they seek contraceptives for non-reproductive purposes, such as hormone control or acne treatment.

“I believe we live in America. We don’t live in the Soviet Union,” Lesko said. “So, government should not be telling the organizations or mom and pop employers to do something against their moral beliefs.”

Arizona, like nearly half the rest of the country, is an at-will employment state. “At will” simply means that an employee can be fired without cause. Not only would the bill grant employers the right to pry into a woman’s (and only a woman’s) medical history, it would give them opportunity to fire women for simply having a sex life. Imagine this conversation… (For the rest of the story, click here….)

Next Page »

Powered by WordPress