Coat Hangers At Dawn

Following the attempts by the fundamentalist extremist religious right in South Dakota to ban contraception, abortion, sex ed and their war on everyone who disagrees with them.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Ten Questions - We Want Your Comments

Someone mentioned that the best way to figure out a direction to improve things is to just ask people what matters to them. We put together this list of common questions about how things directly impact people. Post moderating will be extremely lax. As long as you don't go off topic, attack people etc. we won't edit or delete your post.

1. Have you had to change jobs within the last six years due to layoff, downsizing, closing or the business doing something so bad it made you leave?

2. Do you have a substanial retirement nest egg?

3. Have you saved up money to send your kids to college?

4. Do you worry about your level of savings, paying off your debts, or your financial stability?

5. Are you confident in our national security or are thing things that concern you about it?

6. Do you have health insurance?

7. Are your health insurance premiums taking a significant portion of your pay?

8. Do you have gaps in your health insurance that require you to pay large amounts of out of pocket expenses?

9. Has what your insurance covers gone down in the last few years?

10. What issue that personally effects you have we not asked?

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Our To Do List For The 2007 Legislature

Call it a wish list or a to do list, but these are things that we think should be addressed in 2007. These do more to ensure consumer protection, individual rights and move the state forward than do debates about sodomized virgins.

Make Plan B compliance more regulated.
Adopt the Illinois plan for Plan B. This requires pharmacies to publicly post how many doses are in stock. If a pharmacy stocks contraceptives they must also stock plan B and must make the sale without questions, lectures or delays. The rules for this must be publicly posted with a state 800 number to file complaints for non-compliance.

They should reintroduce the EC in the ER legislation.
Avera seems to be the big complainer of this citing religious grounds. If they want to have a monopoly on half of the healthcare in the state they will have to compromise and properly serve all of the public. Their denial is religious discrimination against those who don't follow their supposed belief.
The new law should require all hospitals to provide EC to anyone who asks without screening questions about marriage, children or morality means tests. If a doctor refuses on religious grounds the hospital must provide a doctor willing to provide the medication. They should also not be allowed to make dispensing plan B contingent on submitting to a rape exam.

Require full disclosure of doctors and pharmacists.
This should apply to all pharmacists and any doctor who ever sees patients for reproductive care, including all OB-GYN and all family practice doctors. Both doctors and pharmacists should be required to declare their stance on contraception and that they are either willing or not willing to prescribe or dispense them. Their stance should be posted publicly on signage at the check in desk and be provided to patients that ask over the phone. This stance should be denoted with a standardized symbol next to their name on the public signage at the front desk of the clinic or drop off counter of all pharmacies. Doctors or pharmacists who prescribe or dispense contraceptives will be required to do so based on medical information only. They will not be allowed to use means tests of marital status, children, age or other morality means tests. The rules for this should be publicly posted at the front desk along with a state 800 number to file complaints for non-compliance. Non compliance should be a $1000 fine per incident, and loss of license for five years in more egregious cases or multiple verified complaints. Consumers have a right to know up front if they will be denied healthcare, not half way through a doctor visit or after handing over their prescription. We would not accept such deceptive tactics in any other consumer service.

Regulate crisis pregnancy centers.
These businesses should be regulated and inspected just like any other business and a license should be required to operate. The licensing fee should be at least $5,000 per year to cover the administration costs of regulating these facilities. They should be required to only provide counseling of any kind by licensed professional counselors who hold a state license and have training from an accredited college program in the fields of family or mental health counseling.
Crisis pregnancy centers should be barred from conducting ultrasound exams. (see more on this later) Crisis pregnancy centers should not be allowed to print, instruct or otherwise distribute inaccurate medical or mental health information that is known to be unproven or false by major research, science or industry groups. Violations should incur a minimum of a $10,000 fine per incident and permanent revocation of their license for multiple offences. Clinic owners or board members who have had a license revoked are not able to apply for a license as owners or board members of future clinics.
Congressional probes have found rampant issues of clinics providing the public with grossly inaccurate medical information.

Ban ultrasounds from being done outside of licensed clinics and hospitals for non medical purposes.
There has been an increasing fad of non-medical ultrasounds for entertainment. These are marketed to expecting parents as a novel way to obtain a picture of the fetus to show family and friends. What they are not told is the medical risk from ultrasounds done in this manner and for reasons other than medical necessity. Sioux Falls currently has at least one of these photo studio ultrasound businesses. This is also a tactic of crisis pregnancy centers. Both these novelty studios and crisis pregnancy centers conduct these scans without a direct doctor's prescription and without a valid medical necessity. Ultrasound should never be done on a patient that has not been examined by a doctor and without a valid medical need. All of the major medical associations involved with sonograms and the American College of OB - Gyn have come out against this practice.

Institute a state drug importation program.
The state should implement a program identical to the Illinois plan that allows people to import prescription drugs from Europe and Canada from state-approved pharmacies. We should find a way to join Illinois program rather than inventing one of our own from the ground up. This will help South Dakotans lower their drug costs and in some cases could be the difference between people obtaining life saving medications or not getting them at all. Some drugs are as much as $200 cheaper through these programs.
This could be done with minimal state cost.

Some less urgent ideas:

Start a state education investigative committee.
We should be looking at how we can drastically overhaul the state education system. The goal should be to take it into the 21st century while not incurring drastic cost increases. More should be done to standardize day care and preschool so that more state certified options are available and there is less dependence on unregulated in-home daycare.

Increase unemployment benefits.
The current unemployment benefit is far lower than the adjusted for wages compensation in other states. People should be able to get 3/4 of their wages and up to a higher cap amount. Past cycles where large numbers of people were let go devistated families. The current rate is not enough for people to pay for the bare minimum of housing, food, utilities and gas to get around to find a new job. We should also do something radical and allow employees to use up to three months of unemployment as family leave for a new birth, for each parent without risk of job loss. Employees should be required to pay a percentage into the system to shoulder this. This is a real world action of valuing family.

Start an organized effort to get a rail line.
The economic development office should be compelled to explore and advocate for an Amtrak line between Omaha and Fargo to serve eastern South Dakota. There are a number of people muttering about this but nobody has put together an organized effort. Despite some conservative complaining about Amtrak and the purposeful under funding of it by the Bush administration it still serves a vital purpose to the country. As energy conservation and independence become more important Amtrak will become more vital and will eventually be re-energized. The reasons we have heard cited for putting in a line are that it would provide an additional selling feature to attract professionals and businesses to the state. Having easy access to two larger metro areas and access to the national rail system would be seen as a perk. It would allow people to have easier access to culturial and leisure options in places like Omaha. It would provide a more cost efficient and convenient way for professionals in a larger city such as Omaha to manage a satellite facility in South Dakota. It would provide another (and lower cost) transportation option for college students, seniors and those who can't drive. It would provide an alternative for travel during winter months when roads can be more dangerous. A line between Fargo and Omaha would allow people to jump from one major line to the other, providing more travel options nationwide. This would also provide a low cost option for travel. With airline travel being cost prohibitive, no national bus service in the state and high gas prices, another option would be welcome. Such a project would be a federal effort but the state could be key in spurring it into happening. This would be a selling point to new businesses looking at the state and another selling point for professionals thinking of moving to the state. South Dakota needs to start thinking first world instead of third world. If we do not quit treating ourselves as undeserving with limited opportunities nobody else will.

Look out of state for state revenue.
Increasing the tax on RV registration (can you say RV voters?).
Urging the credit card companies to consider being more benevolent toward the people of the state that allows them to loan shark the rest of the country might be an idea. Of course we could not force them to do this, that would be akin to a tax. But some public pressure and need to keep their image good with the people of the state might be enough to get them more interested. Yes they provide jobs but we provide the means for them to do business in ways most states would not. Encouraging them to make donations towards maybe oh, the schools or education programs could be an ideal option.

Our Predictions For 2007

Here are our predictions for 2007:

1.The Roger Hunt scandal will escalate and he will be booted.
CCK posted last week that Rep. Dale Hargens will challenge Hunt being seated. There will be more pressure to deal with Hunt and Long's pending action is still hanging out there.

2. There will not be another abortion ban, just barely.
Republicans will again bring this mess up with a more moderated bill with certain exceptions. South Dakota is now on the national radar about this issue and they really stirred up a hornets nest. Expect all of the national watch dog groups and reproductive rights groups to have people, media and money already prepared to smack this down before it comes to a vote. State Democrats and much of the public are sick of this issue and last years debate exposed some truths about the people behind pushing these bans. The idea of a summer full of nasty divisiveness, crazy out of state protestors and poorly produced deceptive commercials will not go over well with a public still sick of the last time. Leslee Unruh is also not only facing a federal investigation into her fradulent tax return for not declaring her lobbying, she has lost the ability to get funding from Steve Kirby under the table. The million dollars Kirby funneled through Hunt's sham company won't be there next year and Kirby will not be willing to take the heat of publicly on record single handedly funding this. If a ban somehow does make it out of the legislature, expect it to be put to a vote, again.

3. Edwards and Obama will be the Dem ticket for 2008.
This will also be part of a drastic change in political candidates. Expect to see the fall of the fat old school white guy in a suit. People are tired of the uninspired failed and corrupt policies of the current batch of politicians. People see that drastic change is needed and the old guy network is not capable of creative thinking or being motivated to change things. Expect to see more younger innovative candidates at the state level too.

4. Fundamentalists will fall out of fashion.
This is already starting to happen as scandals like Haggard erode the illusion of moral authority within the religious conservatives. Dobson's power is quickly waning. He used to be able to fill arenas, now he can't fill a medium sized church. His influence over candidates has waned and political hopefuls do not see him as an asset anymore. They no longer provide a large enough cohesive voting base for the GOP or the Dems to bother with. Religious moderates will be the new hotness as will cross religion unity efforts.

5. 50/50 split on Johnson.
One of two things will happen and one is a sure bet. The sure bet is that Johnson will not give up his seat due to his recovery. The two possibilities are:
Johnson will fully recover and it will contribute to him being able to hold his seat indefinitely until he chooses to retire.
Johnson will opt to not run in 2008. Herseth will obtain his seat in a landslide. A young progressive Democrat will take Herseth's rep seat.

6. National healthcare will make progress.
It will not be passed until Bush is out of office but it will get lots of attention in the new Congress. It probably will not get much attention in the 2008 election but will most likely be passed if we have a Democratic president and Congress. The health insurance lobby will put forth a huge smear campaign but will eventually fail since 80% of the people want some form of national health insurance. It will be a national health insurance with private providers and not a socialized medicine with VA type clinics.

8. Thune will not be re-elected.
Ok, this is a 2008 thing. Thune will not try to run on a presidential ticket. He will try to retain his Senate seat and fail. Without Dobson to rile up the fundamentalists and without the big money GOP machine that was behind him to oust Daschle he's got nothin. The family values scam played in 2004 has run out of gas. His record is uninspiring and he hasn't done much for the state. He will be ousted by either a conservative Democrat or a moderate Republican.

9. Bush will resign.
Pelosi has already said they are not preparing to impeach Bush, but they will let him hang himself with his own incompetence. He has already proven that he does not want to take any advice on Iraq. This will be his undoing. He will continue to follow his own non-plan in Iraq until it becomes such a mess that he can't make excuses anymore. When he runs out of diversions and excuses he will resign. Bush will resign before he will accept help or admit his own failures. This has been Bush's mode of operation his entire career.

Next up, our to do list for the legislature.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

2006 Get Outta Town List

Scott Hudson has the 2006 "get out of town" list. This was an annual tradition over at the Tempest. Anyone remember that? When we actually had a real indie newspaper in town?
You can read the entire list and Scott's comments on why they made the list at his blog.

Here is our $.02 on Scott's list:

10. Argus Leader Magazine Monopoly.
Good pick. Besides the reasons Scott mentioned these various specialty magazine intended to look like indie publications simply suck. The articles are rarely interesting and provide all the insight of someone describing an orange. They also have a tendency to favor advertisers and friends of the writers rather than actually looking for things of interest around town. It seems as if they are desperate for material. ETC. magazine and whatever the new indie they have at Old Chicago, Last Stop and Caribou are slightly better but hardly as good as they could be. Sioux Falls is still sorely lacking in decent independent media that does more than simply be a vehicle for advertisements.
9. County Courthouse Employees and Computer System.
Anyone who has had the pleasure of living in southern SF (Lincoln County) can tell you that it is worth the drive to Canton to have to deal with license plates. It may be a 30 mile drive but it still beats standing in the oppressively long line on a marble floor with the unwashed masses of Sioux Falls for at least that long. Scott is right, at least half of those windows are closed at any given time and the process is less than efficient. It could be easily improved. Blame it solely on mismanagement in the county offices. They need to get with the 21st century.
8. Playstation 3 Campers.
The only thing that could have made this better would have been a blizzard for these jerks. Similar things went on all over Sioux Falls on Black Friday with people camping for hot items like LCD monitors only to try to sell them on Ebay for a profit. Many of these people ended up not getting the big bucks they hoped for and that is Karma. A couple of things could solve this. Stores like Best Buy need to issue pre-sale vouchers, one per person on things like a PS3. Stores should limit one item per person on the hot enticement items on Black Friday. Having the first person in the door grab all of an in demand item with the intent of scalping them on Ebay is starting to backfire. As more people waste hours in line to not get that hot item, more people are abandoning the cattle stampede all together. The other part of the solution is to refuse to buy these items for inflated prices on Ebay.
7. Best Buy’s Geek Squad.
Anyone who actually uses Greed Squad gets what they deserve. Sadly, Scott had to learn this the hard way. The horror stories of Best Buy repair and Greed Squad since they are now owned by Best Buy populate the internet. This is what you get when you trust your computer to an underpaid, untrained employee of Best Buy. On that same note, anyone charging $10-30 to work on your computer, shouldn't be. These days your better off greasing the palm (well) of the computer guru at work in their spare time.
6. Pam Homan.
We still can't figure out how this woman got this job. It was not on personality or accomplishment. It seems like it was just the next warm body in line. She is not an innovator or even a good status quo administrator. Sioux Falls should start looking for some "rock star" school administrator with a really good track record of innovation and results. Give Pam a job with the city nit-picking building permits for violations or something.
5. Darrell Viereck.
The series of events that Scott breaks down are just screwed up. That is old school small town politics and just needs to go away.
4. Jodi Schwann.
Her nasal shrill voice is not missed. The woman could barely read the script she was handed. Nobody can figure out why she is work $100,000 a year here either.
3. Road Construction Planners.
What kind of hell will they unleash next year? Close down I-29, 229, 41st street and Minnesota Ave all at the same time? This years mess really should have resulted in someone getting fired in a very public manner.
2. Jail4Judges.
This is what happens when the tin-foil hat crowd is allowed to run amuck. If anything should be learned from this is that the general public should not sign any petition that they can not get a real explanation for. This is also a prime reason we need to outlaw paid signature gathering. If you can't muster enough volunteers to collect signatures your cause probably isn't truely supported by the public.
1. Leslie Unruh/Roger Hunt.
Well of course and these two go without saying.

Here are a couple that could have been added to the list or at least get honorable mention.
Steve Kirby aka: the mystery donor. Kirby was the one behind the million dollar mystery donor for the state abortion ban and is by most accounts the person who funded the money for Hunt's fake company that funneled illegal money to Unruh's failed Vote Yes group. This kind of dishonesty and manipulation of the public's right to rule themselves is inexcusable. Kirby's various businesses do not largely benefit South Dakota's economy so he needs to take off to another tax shelter state.

Bill "sodomized virgin" Naopli should also get an honorable mention. The national media picked up this hicks inexcusable statement and it became the face of our state for weeks. The image of some uneducated cowboy booted misogynist indulging his fantasies on national TV is now burned in the minds of our fellow Americans everywhere. Thanks Bill.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Another Mega Church Pastor Bites The Dust

Were losing count. Today's bad pastor is Paul Williams, pastor of the 28,000 member Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis.

Williams is out after it was made public that he molested a family member. The current pastor, Steve Gaines is also in trouble. He knew about the molestation for months and took no action to protect Williams.

These are not church members that are falling left and right. These are leaders of large churches and so far all of them ultra conservative and very vocal about their right to be the morality police for society at large. There appears to be a disproportionately large number of conservative pastors getting in trouble.

Bay Buchanan Outs Herself As A Bigot

There has been a dust up recently over Rep. Virgil Goode's bigoted commentary about incoming Rep. Keith Ellison's decision to use a Koran for his ceremonial swearing in, in his office.

If you have not read it yet here is one of the more offensive passages:
"if American citizens don't wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran. We need to stop illegal immigration totally and reduce legal immigration and end the diversity visas policy pushed hard by President Clinton and allowing many persons from the Middle East to come to this country. I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States if we do not adopt the strict immigration policies that I believe are necessary to preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America and to prevent our resources from being swamped."

Never mind that Ellison was born in Michigan, converted to Islam as an adult and his family has been American citizens as far back as the 1700's.

It was Buchanan's comments about this issue that were completely out of line. She started with trying to make excuses for Goode's comments:
"I don't see any problem with any of the above, none whatsoever. I think what he -- what he is trying to say, which I think is a legitimate point, is that, as a nation, we should get control of our immigration laws, and make certain we have a national debate as to what is our best interests as to who is coming and who we are inviting into this country."

Nice. It makes one wonder what Bay's immigration test would be. White? check. European? check. The woman is a bigot but she knows coming right out with it would be socially unacceptable. She had no reply when she was informed that Ellison was born here. She also avoided addressing Goode's slam on Islam and freedom of religion and instead attacked immigration, something that is not an issue with Ellison's planned use of the Koran.

But then Bay gets really rolling. She tries to tap dance around her bigotry about Islam knowing that Goode is already being highly criticized for making his bigotry public. So she goes for the low hanging fruit and blames the Pagans. When all else fails go after the smaller group, the harder to identify, the one least able to actively defend itself.
"His religion, to me, is a strength, his strength. I mean, I will tell you what I'm far more concerned about in Congress, is -- than a Muslim, is the pagans we have up there.
I think they are a greater threat to us than anyone who has some religious beliefs

So exactly what is Bay saying? There are a couple of definitions for pagan. Websters refers to pagan as someone who follows a polytheistic religion, one who has little or no religion, or neopagans. Other sources define pagan as rural folk or anyone who does not follow a Christian belief. No matter what definition Bay wants to claim she is using all are rather bigoted, intolerant and attacking a group of people simply for not being like her.

If she meant pagan as in non-christian or those who follow a religion commonly referred to as pagan as a slang for lumping those beliefs she is quite the bigot. So if your not Christian or possibly Jewish your religion does not exist and your an enemy of the state? So the Buddists are destroying the good old USA? Maybe it is all those Wiccan lobbyists?

If she is trying to refer to those who do not practice a religion or actively practice one she is not only a bigot but poorly chose her words. If she wanted to slam athiests or people with more secular leanings she should have just came out and said it. It still does not make it right and it is still bigotry. Calling a class of people the enemy of the state because they have a differing view on religion than you do is still bigotry.

Option number three is the less used "rural folk" that was generally the Roman definition of pagan. That would mean she was blaming the red staters for the ills of the country. While that might be a very accurate statement it probably was not the one she meant.

The real problem in DC is people like Bay Buchanan and Virgil Goode spewing religious bigotry at other people and trying to claim that she has some sort of ownership over the country due to their religious affiliation. You could take every statement these two made and insert "Negro" in place of the other groups they are slamming and they would sound like David Duke.

What is quite ironic is that Bay Buchanan is a mormon. Many of the bible beaters she is trying to fire up do not even consider her to be "true Christian".

Thursday, December 21, 2006

US Workers Get The Shaft

US workers are losing big in all categories when compared to the rest of the industrialized world and in some cases we do worse that those in under-developed countries.

The US and China are the only industrialized countries that do not require paid vacation time. Even the traditional voluntary vacation offerings fall far behind the rest of the industrialized world.

The US and Australia are the only industrialized countries that do not require paid sick leave.

US along with countries like Swaziland, Australia, Slovenia, Latvia, Papua New Guinea and Lethoso
are the only countries who do not have paid parental (maternity) leave

The US is one of the few countries who do not have universal health care. All of the industrialized world except for Mexico, South Africa and Thailand have universal care. The other three who do not are working on implementing it.

The US minimum wage has not gone up in nine years. Today the minimum wage is worth $3.95 when compared to the wage hike in 1996.

While US companies complain they can't afford to pay workers more or provide benefits, Wall Street is bathing in billions in profits. You know, profits from those companies who somehow can't afford to pay their workers a living wage or provide benefits. Bankers at Goldman Sachs are getting holiday bonuses anywhere between $600,000 and $100 million each this year.
That's not their wages, that is their individual holiday bonuses, each

Companies whine about the high cost of healthcare insurance for their workers. The cost of health insurance has outpaced the increase in wages. As an example in Kansas wages rose 15.6% while the cost of healthcare insurance went up 78.5%.

Studies into the US healthcare system have shown that doing away with employer tied private healthcare insurance would decrease costs by 40% while at the same time providing care for every citizen in the country.

At the same time health insurers are raking in obscene profits:
"As a for-profit enterprise, our health care system has been fabulously successful; and never more so than in the last 6 years. Since 2000, profits for health insurers have risen at double-digit rates for a total increase of over 120% on revenue increases of 21 percent. “They're making boatloads of money,” said Tom Boldt, a senior health-benefits consultant quoted in Investor’s Business Daily. The health insurers have shared some of their profits with their CEOs. Average pay for the five top executives at 16 of the largest health insurers is now over $3 million a year. John Rowe of Aetna was paid $22 million in 2005; and Larry Glasscock at Anthem, was paid $25 million in 2003. Both pay packages are dwarfed by the $125 million received in 2005 by Dr. William J. McGuire of UnitedHealthGroup.

Even with these generous CEO pay packages, investors have done well. The stock price for the 17 largest health insurers has almost tripled since the beginning of 2000. Aetna stock, for example, has gone from barely $7/share to over $40/share today, giving an annual return of over 30%. Profits for companies providing health insurance have risen at the same time that more Americans are losing health insurance and a smaller share of premiums is going towards health care. This coincidence is no accident but is the result of carefully calibrated company policy to reduce coverage for sick people. Aetna, for example, has pushed up its stock while cutting its rolls to 13 million down from 21 million at the end of 1999. Despite a one-third fall in revenues, profits rose nearly eight-fold, to $934 million from $127 million. Company spokesman Fred Laberge explained that “We focused on profitable [emphasis added] growth rather than growth at any cost.” "We lost a lot of membership,” he added, “but we're OK with that.”

Does anyone not get this yet? All of that money your bleeding out of your pockets is not going to try to keep that poor hospital from going under, its buying some investment banker a new Lamborghini.

While the Health Insurance industry is busy rolling in your money, hospitals have adopted more and more aggressive collection methods for those left holding the bills because they were uninsured or their insurance left them burdening a large portion of the bill. Tactics like arresting people for not keeping up payments or seizing homes and bank accounts. The worse is a tactic called "body attachment" where they can arrest people for not paying their bill. This has come under fire in certain states.
""Late one night in 2000, a police cruiser pulls up inside of a house on Mr. Bushman's house. A officer handcuffed the burly truck driver and took him away to jail. The charge, missing a court hearing about a $579 hospital bill. The hospital that pursued Mr. Bushman, a 295-bed, not-for-profit facility called Carle Foundation Hospital is one of several that has at times applied debt collection tactics that are shunned by many other creditors. It has filed hundreds of lawsuits, garnisheed patients' wages and seized tax refunds. Since 1995, Carle, the primary teaching hospital of the University of Illinois confirms that it has sought $164 arrest warrants for debtors who missed court hearings."

None of this would be happening under universal health care and it would cost nearly half overall.

There needs to be drastic changes to the employment landscape and they need to happen now. Do not let the scare tactics fool you, there are very few businesses who would be damaged by these changes. Most of what would impact larger businesses would be to have to give slightly less profit to their shareholders. For smaller businesses, having the healthcare burden removed would make providing other benefits much easier.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

9 Out Of 10 People Have Premarital Sex

This long running survey included people born as far back as the 1940's and concluded that 9 out of 10 people have had premarital sex. Not only did the study show that the concept of abstinence til marriage is not happening, it shows that it hasn't happened in the past either.

Even of those who abstained into their 20's, the majority had premarital sex at some point.

This jaw dropping comment from Bush's in-guy at HHS Wade Horn about the study: "He insisted there was no federal mission against premarital sex among adults.

"Absolutely not," Horn said. "The Bush administration does not believe the government should be regulating or stigmatizing the behavior of adults."

Horn said he found the high percentages of premarital sex cited in the study to be plausible, and expressed hope that society would not look askance at the small minority that chooses to remain abstinent before marriage."

But in October of this year Horn announced the government's abstinence for adults program.

Wow, what a liar.

Of course when confronted with the reality that nobody is paying any attention to her abstinence crusade, Leslee Unruh showed her typical lack of any basis in reality.
"Leslee Unruh, who runs a South Dakota-based organization promoting abstinence-only education, contended that increasing numbers of young people were open to remaining chaste until marriage."

Studies show that most abstinence-only programs do not help teens delay having sex, and some show evidence that these programs actually deter teens who become sexually active from protecting themselves from unintended pregnancy or STDs.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has called it failing and lacking. They are demanding
that teens get the facts on sex education.

Many of the abstinence programs give out false or medically inaccurate information.

Oh, and don't forget Bush just put one of these frothing anti-contraception nuts in charge of federal contraception funding.

Rounds Nominated for "Zero Of The Year"

Gov. Mike Rounds has been nominated as zero of the year on a NARAL 2006 Heros and Zeros poll. Go here to give Mikey your vote as the biggest zero of 2006.

BTW, SD Healthy Families is on the nomination list of heros.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Another Gay Evangelical Pastor Gets Shoved Out Of The Closet

Yet another one. Christopher Beard was asked to resign from the same Denver area church that Ted Haggard ran. New Life Church assembled a board to investigate all church staff to weed out any who were gay. This is the third pastor to be outed in the last few months.

It sounds like an epidemic. According to Focus on the Family they get hundreds of calls from gay pastors trying to square who they are with the Evangelical anti-gay church doctrines.

Even in the pews there are many gays who wish to be who they are but still follow the denomination or church that they felt met their religious needs.

For a faith (specifically Evangelical denominations) that is publicly so anti-gay they seem to have a considerable number among them. Don't forget that Haggard was an extremely vocal anti-gay activist before he was outed.

Monday, December 11, 2006

What To Get Us For Christmas

Rounds Shills For Insurance Industry Using State Funds

Mikey Rounds is currently using his office to shill for the Long Term Care Insurance industry.

Rounds, a former insurance salesman is pushing a state sponsored campaign to get people to buy long term care insurance. This type of insurance has come under fire for frequently being sold to people who do not need to be buying it at that point in their lives. LTC insurance has also been criticized for companies not being around in 20-40 years when the policy is needed, and you lose all your money. Coverage may be insufficient, or you may not qualify for benefits.

Consumer reports has a good rundown of the pitfalls of this type of insurance.

Long Must Make An Example Out Of Hunt

AG Larry Long confirms that Roger Hunt did indeed break the law when he illegally funneled campaign funds to Vote Yes on 6 through a sham corporation.

What remains is the action Long will take against Hunt. Hunt's actions were extreme in the amount of money, impact it had on the ballot issue and the clearly questionable actions he took to pull it off. Hunt's arrogance toward the state should also be taken into account, he clearly thinks he is not only above the law, but that he can reinterpret the law for his own needs. Because of this Long needs to make an example out of Roger Hunt. Long should use every method at his disposal and not negotiate on prosecution or sentence demanded.

The issue that should be demanded for resolution above all else is disclosure of the source of the funds he laundered. The citizens of the state have a right to know who attempted to illegally influence on of the most notable ballot issues in state history. We should except no less than full disclosure. Long should get Hunt under oath in court and if he refuses to reveal the source he should be put in jail on contempt of court until he discloses the source.

Hunt should also be expected to face the full sentence. The sentence itself is fairly minor, 30 days in jail and a $200 fine is pretty lax already. He should also not be given the VIP treatment that Janklow received. We should not be giving preferential treatment to someone simply by virtue of their wealth or social status.

Hunt should be made an example that our state will not look the other way and you will not be able to talk your way out of election corruption. Hunt has thumbed his nose at every citizen of our state repeatedly. There were mentioned of similar instances though lesser in nature of other groups trying to conceal funding sources, those too should be pursued but Hunt should be held to full account for his actions.

Both Long and Nelson have said that they want to further clarify the laws so in the future there is less room for people to try to pretend there are loopholes. This does need to be done, it will make things easier, even though the laws already there are clear. In addition to further clarification the penalties need to be increased. Make it a felony, make the jail sentence one year and increase the fine to $10,000 per incident.

Long needs to begin prosecution before the next legislative session.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Free EC Day!

Wednesday December 6th is FREE EC DAY!

Planned Parenthood in Sioux Falls and Rapid City is giving away Plan B this Wednesday.
You must be 18 and have ID in hand.

Sioux Falls
6511 W. 41st St.

Rapid City
619 Mountainview Rd.
(back side of Baken Park)

With only 50% of the pharmacies in the state carrying Plan B and who knows how many pharmacists ready to push their religious agenda on women in South Dakota having Plan B on hand is a very smart idea. Even if you don't think you would ever need it, someone you know might.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Ruh Roh!

The White House and the FDA may find themselves in a bunch of trouble over their purposefully stalling Plan B going OTC and the stupid under 18 age restriction.

The Center for Reproductive Rights has gotten approval from a New York judge that will allow them to subpoena White House officials and questions them about their involvement in the three year delay on the drug with the FDA.

And the reason for all of this? Pandering to the religious right. Do we even need to point out how many abortions not having access to Plan B may have caused in the White House effort to appease "the base". BTW, isn't Al Quaeda arabic for "the base"? Hrmmm..

As far back as 2003, then-FDA commissioner Mark McClellan agreed to an unprecedented meeting with a White House domestic policy adviser to discuss the Plan B application. And Dr. Janet Woodcock (who also warned that Plan B would create teen sex cults) came right out and said Plan B shouldn't be sold over-the-counter to teens -- not because of the science but "to appease the administration's constituents."

Read the rest of this at Feministing.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Teen Pregnancy Down. Guess Why?


The American Journal of Public Health and Columbia University have concluded a study on teen pregnancy. The good news is teen pregnancy is down 34%. The study showed that 86% of that was due to improved use of contraception. Only 14% of that was credited toward reduced sexual activity. Of that 14% when you look at the other factors in the study it shows that much of that is simply due to teens becoming sexually active later in life.

The abstinence only pushers may be quick to jump on that small fraction and claim it as their success but they would be very wrong. The study showed that when teens hit age 18 that 100% of the decline was due to contraception use. There are also a number of factors that could be contributing to teens delaying sex. Differing lifestyles than in previous decades, more access to other activities and more attention being paid to teens at risk and programs for inner city youth. The study found that abstinence only education was flawed and could pose to deteriorate the current success if the government chooses to abandon traditional sex education for teens in lieu of the religious based abstinence only programs.

"These data suggest that the US appears to be following patterns seen in other developed countries where increased availability and increased use of modern contraceptives have been primarily responsible for declines in teenage pregnancy rates," Santelli and colleagues write.

"Our findings," they conclude, "raise questions about current U.S. government policies that promote abstinence from sexual activity as the primary strategy to prevent adolescent pregnancy.""

Someone needs to hand this study to each and every legislator, should they attempt to institute "abstinence only" education as law again this session.

Abortion May PREVENT Breast Cancer

To be exact the abortion pill RU-486 has been found to possibly have the properties to prevent breast cancer.

"No one is suggesting women use the abortion pill that way. But the provocative experiment helped illustrate how the notorious breast cancer gene BRCA1 does its dirty work, by spurring a hormone called progesterone that RU-486 happens to block."

Why this is so important is that now researchers can look to refine or spin off the aspect of that drug that can control or suppress progesterone for women who are at risk for breast cancer.

The research also has the nice side effect of providing yet another example to refute the made up claim frequently used by anti-choicers that abortion causes breast cancer.