Friday, March 21, 2008

Blog Against Theocracy

I've decided to participate in the Blog Against Theocracy blogswarm this weekend, March 21-23, 2008. I'm sure it's only a coincidence that it falls over the Easter holiday...

Bloggers all across the country will be posting articles or thoughts about one of our most fundamental freedoms: the separation of Church and State. While I have some rudimentary background in political science, I have no desire to hold forth on the fundamental Constitutional guarantees which are currently being compromised by the irrational, morally bankrupt religious extremist who claims to be our Commander-In-Chief...

Okay, maybe I do, but instead I wanted to address a particular issue which is directly relevant to my daily life: reproductive rights. And I'm not talking about abortion, although I could... No, no, I'm going to stay on point.

When I was 16, my mom took me to see our family doctor to discuss the increasing symptoms I was having - which, back then, were still only referred to as "female troubles". To be more accurate, I had cramps. REALLY BAD cramps. Horrifically painful, debilitating, "waking up with slivers of wood under my nails from gripping the bedpost in agony" kind of cramps.

After an exam, my doctor explained that the best way to combat my symptoms would be to prescribe a regimen of birth control pills. Being Catholic, I was unsure how my mom would react to this news, but she was cool with it. After watching me suffer for years, I think she would have agreed to anything, but she also explained that this would actually be allowed under current Church teaching anyway, since there was a valid medical purpose.

Unlike some of my friends (you know who you are!), I was not sexually active at this young age, so my use of the drug I was taking - and have taken ever since, in some form - was purely medical in nature. Within a few months, my symptoms subsided to a somewhat more tolerable state, and everyone was happy - no harm, no foul.

Then I went to college. (Well, for awhile, anyway. But back to the point...) In this one instance, my complete and total dependence on my parents worked to my advantage. Since I still came home every few weeks, I continued to have my prescriptions filled at my home pharmacy.

Some of my new college friends, however, were not so fortunate - they were stunned to find that many local pharmacists refused to fill birth control prescriptions. This was particularly hard for freshman girls, who were required to live in the dorms and were not allowed to park cars on campus. The local girls just went home for their meds, like I did. But for a few, the only option was to take a bus to Planned Parenthood, where they could usually get their medications, although most found that their HMO or PPO insurance coverage would not apply for these out of network drugs.

I was baffled - and frightened. What would have happened if I had chosen to attend one of the out of state schools to which I had been accepted, and therefore couldn't get my prescriptions filled at home every month? Memories of the excruciating pain I had experienced years before flooded back... Plus, I had always heard that college towns were usually more liberal than their surrounding areas. How pervasive was this problem, if it was this bad at a state university?

The whole situation was so infuriating and downright ridiculous. The idea that some random redneck could make arbitrary decisions about my body and my right to treat my life-changing medical condition filled me with rage and disgust - it still does.

Looking back, I feel so naive - things have gotten much worse in this regard since my college days in the early 90's. And that's one of the many reasons why defending the separation of Church and State is so important. Just as all Americans have the right to worship how (and if) we choose, we also all have the right to do our jobs, raise our children, treat our bodies and live our lives free of interference from anyone else's religious beliefs.

Or, at least we should.

(If you think so, too, check out the First Freedom First website for details on their nationwide live simulcast event next Wednesday, March 26th. It's a free broadcast hosted at many theaters across the country - you can find one near you here.)

Now playing: The Cranberries - Salvation
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Five Years...And Counting

"I must say, I'm a little envious. If I were slightly younger and not employed here, I think it would be a fantastic experience to be on the front lines of helping this young democracy succeed. It must be exciting for you … in some ways romantic, in some ways, you know, confronting danger. You're really making history, and thanks."
---George W. Bush, March 13, 2008

Now playing: The Weepies - World Spins Madly On
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Six Little Words

So, it looks like I got tagged by Saoirse Daily 2.

Here are the rules:

1. Write your own six word memoir.

2. Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like.

3. Link to the person that tagged you in your post.

4. Tag five more blogs with links.

5. And don’t forget to leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play!

So, with no further ado, here are my six words:

Secret Assistant to the Regional Manager

I hereby tag:

Laura's MySpace blog

Repressed Memmeries

Live from the Wang of America

Sack Of Monkeys In My Pocket

Mom, Mother, Wife, Daughter

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Mr. Elrod Goes to "Wahington"?

Once again, I'm brimming with Hoosier pride.

As some of you may know, my congressional district here in Indy - the Fightin' 7th - is currently without representation in the House, due to the somewhat sudden (although hardly surprising) passing of longtime local politician Rep. Julia Carson in December.

Hoosiers will be hitting the polls this coming Tuesday for a special election to replace Carson for the remaining months of her term. As expected, the Democrats have thrown their support behind Julia's grandson, City-County Councilman Andre Carson.

And then there are the Republicans. Granted, winning this contest only guarantees a few months in the Congressional seat, since the regular elections are scheduled for this November. Still, a victory now would be a big publicity boost for any candidate, and would certainly give him or her a leg up on the competition this fall.

So it would seem that this might be a fortuitous opportunity for the Republicans to attempt to assume control of the 7th, which has been one of the few solidly Democratic districts in our exceptionally red state. Nonetheless, it doesn't seem like the GOP candidate, state representative Jon Elrod, is getting much support from the party.

Well, either that or Republicans are morally opposed to spell check. You know, maybe: "That Bill Gates shouldn't interfere with God's true plan for our spelling..."

(As an aside, I'd like to take this opportunity to point out that, while the nice people at Taking Down Words and Blue Indiana were kind enough to circle the misspelling of "commercial" in the above ad, the word "television" on the previous line is also misspelled. In for a penny, in for a pound, I suppose.)

And now for my favorite part of the story... the one and only Jon Elrod television commercial. While it is not normally my practice to post Republican campaign ads on my blog, I had to make an exception for this. Pay particular attention to the on-screen graphics at the beginning:

Wow! Now you know that's got to be one smooth campaign operation.

Stay classy, Indianapolis!

Monday, March 3, 2008

What Did YOU Do This Weekend?

Here's what I did this weekend...

I claim no ownership of this video - our seats weren't nearly this good. It's just from the same Ben Folds concert we attended this past Friday at Purdue.

I've been to plenty of concerts in my time, including lots of piano players (Billy Joel, Elton John). But I'm pretty sure this show marked the first time I've witnessed anyone playing a keyboard with another keyboard. Or playing 3 keyboards simultaneously: one with the left hand, one with the right hand, and a third with the right foot. Granted, both of these tricks sound a lot like things my 7 year old nephew would try if given the opportunity... and I can see that for free pretty much any time I want. But somehow it was still pretty cool.

So we enjoyed the concert tremendously (we give it 2 enthusiastic thumbs-up), but it was kind of bittersweet to be puttering around the old campus. And poor Mark is just now getting the feeling back in his legs from squeezing into the doll-sized theater seats in the 2nd balcony of Elliott Hall. But all in all, we had a great night.