Wednesday, March 30, 2005

I read the news today

This appears in today's Boston Globe... Link above- story below.

WASHINGTON -- Some pharmacists around the country are refusing to fill prescriptions for birth control and morning-after pills, saying that dispensing the medications violates their personal moral or religious beliefs.

The trend has opened a new front in the nation's battle over reproductive rights, sparking an intense debate over the competing rights of pharmacists to refuse to participate in something they consider repugnant vs. a woman's right to get medications her doctor has prescribed. It has triggered pitched political battles in State Houses across the nation as politicians seek to pass laws either to protect pharmacists from being penalized or force them to carry out their duties.

"This is a very big issue that's just beginning to surface," said Steven H. Aden of the Christian Legal Society's Center for Law and Religious Freedom in Annandale, Va., which defends pharmacists. "More and more pharmacists are becoming aware of their right to conscientiously refuse to pass objectionable medications across the counter. We are on the very front edge of a wave that's going to break not too far down the line."

Clashes are occurring more frequently. Pharmacists often risk dismissal or other disciplinary action to stand up for their beliefs, while shaken teenage girls and women desperately call their doctors, frequently late at night, after being turned away by sometimes lecturing men and women in white coats.

"There are pharmacists who will only give birth control pills to a woman if she's married. There are pharmacists who mistakenly believe contraception is a form of abortion and refuse to prescribe it to anyone," said Adam Sonfield of the Alan Guttmacher Institute in New York, which tracks reproductive issues. "There are even cases of pharmacists holding prescriptions hostage, where they won't even transfer it to another pharmacy when time is of the essence."

That's what happened to Kathleen Pulz and her husband, who panicked when the condom they were using broke. The Walgreens pharmacy near their home in Milwaukee refused to fill an emergency prescription for the morning-after pill.

"I couldn't believe it," said Pulz, 43, who with her husband had long ago decided they could not afford a fifth child. "How can they make that decision for us? I was outraged."

Supporters of pharmacists' rights see the trend as a welcome expression of personal belief. Women's groups see it as a major threat to reproductive rights. "This is another indication of the current political atmosphere and climate," said Rachel Laser of the National Women's Law Center in Washington. "It's outrageous. It's sex discrimination. It prevents access to a basic form of healthcare for women. We're going back in time."

The issue could intensify further if the Food and Drug Administration approves the sale of the Plan B morning-after pill without a prescription, a step that would probably make pharmacists the primary gatekeeper.

The question of healthcare workers refusing to provide certain services first emerged among doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers over abortions. The trend began to spread to pharmacists with the approval of the morning-after pill and physician-assisted suicide in Oregon, with support from such organizations as the Pharmacists for Life International.

"Our group was founded with the idea of returning pharmacy to a healing-only profession. What's been going on is the use of medication to stop human life," said Karen L. Brauer, the group's president, who was fired from a Kmart pharmacy in Delhi, Ohio, for refusing to fill birth control prescriptions.

No one knows how often that is happening, but cases have been reported across the country, including in Massachusetts, California, Washington, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Texas, New Hampshire, Ohio, and North Carolina. Advocates on both sides say the refusals appear to be spreading.

Eleven states are considering "conscience clause" laws that would protect pharmacists like Noesen. Four states have laws that specifically allow pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions that violate their beliefs. At the same time, at least four states are considering laws that would require pharmacists to fill all prescriptions.

The American Pharmacists Association recently reaffirmed its policy that pharmacists can refuse to fill prescriptions as long as they make sure customers can get their medications some other way. That can include making sure another pharmacist is on duty or another pharmacy nearby is willing to fill the prescription.

Large pharmacy chains, including Walgreens, Wal-Mart, and CVS, have instituted policies that try to balance pharmacists' and customers' rights.

Women's advocates say such policies are impractical, especially late at night in emergency situations involving the morning-after pill, which must be taken within 72 hours.

As I read this I couldn't help but think "imagine if there was an aids cure that you had to get from the pharmacist and she decided to NOT give it to you- because she felt that god had DAMNED you and that's why you had aids."
My beliefs are that if you can't MORALLY do your job... You look for another JOB! If they want to be pharmacists, nurses or doctors then they have to put the NEEDS of the patient before their own. Could you imagine if a 'liberal' prison guard helped someone on death row get out of prison because they were MORALLY against the death penalty?

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Bushs play by their OWN rules.

Ok... I'm sort of tired with the Terri Schiavo story. Again I mention that I feel for her and her husband... I don't feel that much for her folks who've had time to make peace with their daughter's fate and instead have tried to force their will on her husband and her. Worse to re-coup their losses, they are SELLING the list of the people who have already helped them with court costs to direct mailers.

However I felt I HAD to blog about the above story and try to bring to at least two more peoples attention to the fact that Jeb Bush, in the footsteps of his younger brother, is trying to break the law for his OWN idea of right and wrong. It seems that most of the 'left wing media' has decided to NOT talk about this story, even though it could damage Jeb's reputation. This happened several days ago and I only read about it in passing on the editorial pages of the New York Times today. It got buried because the right doesn't want people to KNOW how little they actually care about the law.
Basically for better or worse, depending on your pov, the Florida State Justice department AND the Federal Justice system both sided with Terri's husband to allow him to pull the plug. Because Jeb Bush doesn't agree with the judges... many he probably put on the bench himself, Jeb decided that he could 'save' Terri by sending state troopers in to 'bring Terri in'. I would say it's pretty clear that Jeb knew what he was doing was illegal, but again he's learnt from baby bro that popularity polls trump laws.

Fortunately, the local police let the State Troopers know that they were going to stand by the law and unless the State Troopers had a Judge with them... the local police weren't going to let the troopers near the hospice where Terri is located.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Schiavo Irony

First, I want it mentioned that I am *NOT* trying to make fun of Terri Schiavo or her husband. I think that what's happening to her in every way is a tragedy on a personal level. HOWEVER I find the whole neo con stance to be amazingly ironic.

Level One Irony: They campaigned in 2004 for the sanctity of MARRIAGE. They talked about the HOLY bond between a man and his wife.
And *YET*
Here they are saying the rights of the parents trump that of her husband because the PARENTS love her more then her wedded husband.

Level 2 Irony: Their stance on 'pro life' and yet they are FOR the death penalty. How can it be 'against god' for several Floridian judges to rule that Mr. Schiavo has the right to end his wife's suffering
And *YET*
The same people believe that it's ok for a judge in Texas to send a man to his death.

Level 3 Irony: In Texas, based on a law signed by W., a baby's life support was cut off AGAINST it's parent's wishes.

Level 4 Irony: While watching Fox News( briefly) earlier this week which seemed to be covering this story MORE then the Swift Boats for Truth, I was amazed at how many time the fox news heads mentioned Gore in 2000- pointing out that the Gore case( they didn't name it properly Gore V. Bush- just Gore 2000) showed precedence. As if to say that since the Supreme Court in 2000 put the Gore V. Bush case on the fast track- they should do the same NOW, here this case and like Gove V. Bush make a ruling that somehow only applies to the case at hand.
Meanwhile they've totally 'forgotten' to mention that this case has been traveling the State and Federal judicial circuit for several years and this was like the 3rd time that the Supreme Court decided NOT to hear it.

Level 5 Irony: Think of how much money this is costing the tax payers- from W. taking his jet from texas early to his calling a special session of Congress. Now imagine how many OTHER sick people could actually benifit from this money.

Level 6 Irony: I always thought it was the republicans who wanted LESS government in personal affairs.
And *YET*
this is more government. This is our politicans telling a man how his wife should die.

Level 7 Irony: It was pointed out in Thinking Ape Blues " I gotta wonder if they would go through so much trouble if it was a brown vegetable?"
I don't think so.

I wanted thinking ape blues to be my last ironic point, but I feel I have to mention that after all these ironies... maybe it's not so ironic that W. currently has his lowest post 9/11 approval ratings.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

W.'s Values

Ok this is a quick blipvert of something I feel *has* to be said.

In 2001, W got a report called Bin Laden likely to attack within the U.S. and this did not affect him from having a month long vacation in 2001.

Now in 2005, W. has cut his time in Crawford, Tx short so that he can sign a bill IF NEEDED to save the life of ONE woman who's husband, a godless heathen, wants to take her off life support. The republicans have called EVERYONE back from vacation to try and get this woman's life support tubes back in her.

Now I can't but think- how would the world be different, if the republicans in 2001 put the same effort into protecting us from terrorists as they are to saving Schiavo

Sunday, March 20, 2005

W. stands for Winner

On Thursday in the Boston Globe front page ABOVE the fold, I read that W. had got congress to vote AGAIN to drill in Alaska. This was the 3rd vote he called- after losing the first 2. He won this round 51-49. This told me that EVERYBODY voted, which isn't always the case, and since there are only 44 dems in the senate, a couple of republicans must have crossed the aisle.

However this angered me because I realized it wasn't JUST a case of W. winning AGAIN... but the fact a) he's like a dog with a bone, he just won't let go of an issue til HE wins and b) he always wins.

I mean think about it. Name me an issue where somebody has been able to say NO! to him and make it stick. The only thing W. has lost is his first run for public office( congressman of Tx). Everything else, he asks for it and he gets it.

So that's why he thinks he has a mandate for Social Security, because HE wants to reform it and NOBODY'S gonna stop him.

Rights and Wrongs

I spoke to my older brother yesterday and I was surprised at him... Mainly because growing up he was 'the angry young man' but now he beleives that us democrats SHOULD seek the middle ground. That the only way for dems to get power is to cave on a few points. I reminded him that 11 states in this union of ours voted against personal rights( I'm cleaning up my language here as I know I have a habit of using certian words in person for shock value). He pointed out that he wasn't gay so he didn't worry. I pointed out that our mother's second marriage was by a judge( our next door neighbor), what if the republicans in 2008 decided to get rid of civil/ non religous marriages. His retort was that wouldn't change their relationship.

I totally disagree... and while I didn't think of it at the time, as I really just wanted to stop talking to my brother, I felt I should post here 'They came for...' because if you don't speak up for others rights- who'll stick up for yours?

First They Came for the Jews

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.

Pastor Martin Niemöller- 1945

I'm putting this here as while this started as a personal talk- it really is political. I feel it's about treating others the way YOU wish to be treated. To stand up for others rights because a) it's the right thing to do b) if you don't think of others, who'll think of you?

I plan to send this to him right after I post it here.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Sometimes Good things Still Happen

California gay-marriage ban ruled unconstitutional
Eagerly awaited opinion likely to be appealed
(Excerpted from

In the eagerly awaited opinion likely to be appealed to the state's highest court, San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer said that withholding marriage licenses from gays and lesbians is unconstitutional.

"It appears that no rational purpose exists for limiting marriage in this state to opposite-sex partners," Kramer wrote. The judge wrote that the state's historical definition of marriage, by itself, cannot justify the denial of equal protection for gays and lesbians. "The state's protracted denial of equal protection cannot be justified simply because such constitutional violation has become traditional," Kramer wrote.

Kramer ruled in lawsuits brought by the city of San Francisco and a dozen same-sex couples last March. The suits were brought after the California Supreme Court halted a four-week marriage spree that Mayor Gavin Newsom had
initiated in February 2004 when he directed city officials to issue marriage licenses to gays and lesbians in defiance of state law.

Robert Tyler, an attorney with the conservative Alliance Defense Fund, said the group would appeal Kramer's ruling.

A pair of bills pending before the California Legislature would put a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage on the November ballot. If California voters approve such an amendment, as those in 13 other states did last year, that would put the issue out of the control of lawmakers and the courts.

In a hearing in December, Senior Assistant Attorney General Louis Mauro acknowledged that California is "a leader in affording rights" to same-sex couples. But he maintained that the state has a defensible reason for upholding the existing definition of marriage as part of an important tradition.

But a deputy city attorney, Therese Stewart, criticized "the so-called tradition argument," saying the meaning of marriage has evolved over time. As examples, she cited now-overturned bans on marriage by interracial couples, or laws that treated wives as a husband's property.

Kramer is the fourth trial court judge in recent months to decide that the right to marry and its attendant benefits must be extended to same-sex couples.

Dawn of the Brain-Dead

Having lived through a school shooting in high school, I do understand the somewhat hypersensitivity that people increasingly have these days at the mere suggestion of school terrorism-based threats, but where should we draw the line, really?

In the article quoted, we've a high school student who wrote a fictional story about zombies overrunning a high school (a story that did not utilize/mention anyone or thing in his home county, including his own school). Zombies people. Zombies. Zombies!


What are prosecuters and judges thinking here? Is there really a viable threat that this kid can raise up actual honest to God zombies and overrun a school with them? I mean, if this kid can do such a fantastic thing, I want to meet him. Zombies.

Not a story about taking a gun to school and wreaking havoc. Not a story about bombing a school, harming a student, any such thing. A fictional story about zombies, people. Bleeping zombies.

I think the part that touches me the most is that the school English teacher he wrote the story for apparently didn't seem to have a problem with the story. It was the student's grandparents who read his story and turned him in to the police for it. Now that's some tought guffing love if ever there was any.

I hope and pray that the judge (or jury if applicable) remembers a little thing called the First Amendment when they sit for the hearing on this one.

Zombies, people!

Student Arrested For Terroristic Threatening Says Incident A Misunderstanding

A George Rogers Clark High School junior arrested Tuesday for making terrorist threats told LEX 18 News Thursday that the "writings" that got him arrested are being taken out of context.

Winchester police say William Poole, 18, was taken into custody Tuesday morning. Investigators say they discovered materials at Poole's home that outline possible acts of violence aimed at students, teachers, and police.

Poole told LEX 18 that the whole incident is a big misunderstanding. He claims that what his grandparents found in his journal and turned into police was a short story he wrote for English class.

"My story is based on fiction," said Poole, who faces a second-degree felony terrorist threatening charge. "It's a fake story. I made it up. I've been working on one of my short stories, (and) the short story they found was about zombies. Yes, it did say a high school. It was about a high school over ran by zombies."

Even so, police say the nature of the story makes it a felony. "Anytime you make any threat or possess matter involving a school or function it's a felony in the state of Kentucky," said Winchester Police detective Steven Caudill.

Poole disputes that he was threatening anyone.

"It didn't mention nobody who lives in Clark County, didn't mention (George Rogers Clark High School), didn't mention no principal or cops, nothing,"
said Poole. "Half the people at high school know me. They know I'm not that stupid, that crazy."

On Thursday, a judge raised Poole's bond from one to five thousand dollars after prosecutors requested it, citing the seriousness of the charge.

Poole is being held at the Clark County Detention Center.

And if you think his zombies are a credible threat, beware the legions of vampires I've been amassing to swoop down across Utah.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Censorship is a many splendored thing.

When I read the above article- I wasn't sure which was more amusing- ABC censoring a show about Censorship... or the reader comments pointing out it's NOT censorship.

Basically David E. Kelly wrote a script for Boston Legal where he had a guy from Boston Public fit the school's TV with fox blockers... to stop the kids from watching Fox because the character believes fox to be a piece of right wing garbage. ABC told him to change the script... and the above linked article has BOTH scripts.

I think I'm more peeved by the right wingers say it's NOT censorship... that ABC has the right to change the product to avoid lawsuits. How is that different from Clear Channel dropping Howard Stern because he cussed too much for them? It's not.
Yes the patron of art can change something but you have to check the reasons to decide censorship... And what ABC is doing is censorship. They changed the script not to make it flow better but because( for whatever reason) they didn't want to air an attack on Fox's News creds.

I expect the networks to be balless at this stage of the game... I mean several ABC affiliates opted out of showing private Ryan for FEAR of getting in trouble with the FCC. But let's call a spade a spade. ABC, most likely out of fear of either Fox or the FCC, ORDERED a script change for tonight's Boston Legal.

Heck, part of the reason I think it's censorship is because ABC did NOT complain about how unrealistic this is... because they haven't really worried about realism in The Practice and Boston Legal. Which is to say, I'd find it more acceptable if they had tried to scrap it based on the idea of how many Boston PUBLIC schools have cable for the students? Then the idea of 'gee white out Fox so we don't get sued'