Thursday, January 28, 2010

SOTU Address in Context...

Via Democracy Now.

We've all seen President Obama's State of the Union address and know basically what it says. This clip puts things into context.

R.I.P. Howard Zinn

We just learned that people's historian Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States among other books, died of a heart attack yesterday at 87. Our condolences to his family and friends.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Trust Women

Okay, the theme for Blog for Choice Day is Trust Women, a slogan based on a button Dr. Tiller used to wear before he was murdered. The question: what does that mean?

In a truly just world this would be a non issue. In this context it simply means that women, as individuals and in general, know what's best for themselves and their particular situation when they make decisions regarding their own bodies. Whether that means looking at their lives and deciding that an abortion is the best thing to do at the moment or choosing to have a baby, it's still up to the individual woman to look at her life and make that choice.

Seems simple enough, right? It should be relatively obvious that the individual should make the decision over what happens to their bodies, especially in situations like an unwanted pregnancy. However, as we all know, we don’t live in a truly just world.

Over the past decade a number of bills have been proposed in various state legislatures aimed at covertly limiting access to abortion. From requiring pregnant women to view ultrasounds of the fetus to waiting periods to counseling sessions to laws requiring parental and/or spousal notification/consent, these bills (some even passed into law in some states) are aimed at making a medical procedure that’s legal more difficult to get, especially for poor women or women who have to travel long distances to get an abortion. While some people claim these measures are to protect the unborn, supporters of these measures also tend to state that they want the women to know what an abortion is before they have the procedure.

Apparently, these legislators and their pro forced birth supporters are under the impression that a woman who chooses to terminate a pregnancy is unaware that she’s getting an abortion. One of the talking points some in the anti choice/pro forced birth movement like to state regarding abortion is that women get it for selfish reasons such as to not miss a trip to Europe or to fit in a prom dress. Along with the various proposed bills, statements like these have one purpose: to imply that women act on impulse and are incapable of knowing what’s best for them when it comes to medical procedures and their own bodies. This approach not only manages to insult the intelligence and logic of each individual but manages to be the most glaring and obvious sign that they believe women can’t be trusted to make their own decisions.

The truth is there is no one reason why a woman would have an abortion or choose not to have one. The reasons are as varied as each individual and take in factors ranging from current circumstances to past abuse to the simple realization that one may not be ready to be a parent at this time. While the anti choice/pro forced birth movement would like to hypothesize women as one monolithic group, it doesn’t work that way with human beings.

That’s where trust comes into the picture. Since we can’t live other people’s lives, we have to understand that it’s up to them to decide what to do in a given situation. Abortion isn’t an issue that just pops into a woman’s mind at the spur of the moment. It’s something that a woman has thought about and discussed. As for things like the consent laws mentioned earlier, most women facing an unplanned pregnancy discuss the issue with their families before making a decision and the women that don’t bring it up to them usually have a legitimate reason not to discuss her choice. To demand the consent of a third party into what should be a personal decision between a woman and her doctor annihilates the issue of trust and turns the status of a woman from human being with agency over her life to nothing more than someone’s property. That is the issue.

Trust requires that we view human beings as individuals who can make their own decisions and deserve accurate information in order to do so. Too often, especially when it comes to issues in the reproductive freedom and reproductive justice movement, the powers that be along with certain people practicing a rigid interpretation of their chosen religion have chosen to mislead and condescend to both men and women interested in this issue rather than do the right thing and realize that individuals can and should make their own decisions regarding these issues whether it’s exercising their right to get an abortion or choosing to give birth in a manner that they don’t feel dehumanized by to even making sure that people have access to contraception and emergency contraception without unnecessary delays or other people using their values to deny someone the right to exercise the decisions they made and wish to stand by in their own lives. Only when a woman can make a choice on these matters in a climate free of intimidation or fear of reprisals and/or violence can a society be said to truly trust women.

It seems so simple when you think about it.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Earthquakes, Prisons and Haiti

Democracy Now reports that the tragic earthquake has had the strange effect of freeing the prisoners at Haiti's National Penitentiary in Port au Prince. While some people would see this as something to fear there's an irony - many were not charged with any crime. Watch the clip.

Amidst all the questions the arise from a tragedy like this ranging from the bottlenecks in getting aid to whether there's a possible occupation to the stories of people still being pulled out alive from teh wreckage stories like this don't get as much recognition as one would think.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Couldn't Say This Better Myself - Taxes and Health Care Version

I saw this video post over at Pandagon and had to post it here. The Center for Reproductive Rights put out a video on the Hyde Amendment (which since 1976 has banned Federal funds for apying for abortions) and asked a number of people what they don't want their tax dollars going for. A definite worth watching clip.

So simple a concept. Almost jealous I didn't think about this approach.

And They Wonder Why People Think Both Parties Are the Same

In the WTF category, reportedly the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is urging Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan (yes, the guy behind the insidious anti choice amendment in the health care reform bill) to run for re-election out of fear a republican could win his seat.

You know the Democrats have always been kinda wishy washy over the past few decades (thanks a lot for that, Democratic Leadership Council), but at least they used to know where to stand on the reproductive freedom issue. Now, it seems my concern that they'd gladly throw that right under the bus and sell women out for a few extra votes was more right than I ever thought. Sickening on way too damn many levels.

via Feministing.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Not Under The Bus

Via Feministing.

Just found out today was the WOmen's Media Center Not Under the Bus Day of Action to demand women's rights be protected under the current proposed health care bills currently being reconciled in Congress.

For more information on what can be done see this take action page.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Scary Times Are Never Dull - 2010 Edition

Came across this scary article from Democracy Now covering a documentary on the rise of the white power movement these days. Scary times.

I wish I could say that these fucking idiots surprise me, but they don't - sadly. Wish these assholes would get a clue and realize the real enemies in terms of class and economic reasons share their skin pigmentation. Sickening!!!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Re: How to Commemorate the 100th Issue

As you most likely have figured out by now, The Trouble With Normal is just around the corner from putting out the 100th issue of this fanzine. As such we felt it was appropriate to plan something special to celebrate this occasion that nobody thought would happen (I never even considered it myself when we began work on issue one back in 1992). Now we have got the clearance to spill the beans and let you know what’s up…So, before we forget, we’re proud to formally announce


The show is scheduled at be held on Saturday May 1, 2010 at Mojo's in Columbia, MO.

Currently slated to play the show at this point in time are the following:
Big Medicine
Pat Boone's Farm
Jerusalem and the Starbaskets
Non Serviam
More TBA

We're currently approaching some out of town bands we want to have play. Since we're still in the extremely tentative stages we will announce these bands when we know if they can play the show or not (remember its still four months away as I type this).

Hope this helps. Feel free to come and enjoy this event. We'll let you know more about the show as we get more info and the date nears.