Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Emails on Limbaugh-Fluke Flap

One of my work colleagues, a right-winger but a nice guy nevertheless, emailed me a link to a story about Bill Maher's response to the controversy over equating his calling Sarah Palin a nasty word for female genitalia and Rush Limbaugh's calling Sandra Fluke a slut.

Here is my email response, complete with misspellings:

OK, Maher’s really crude. Fine. He insulted Sarah Palin, OK I’ll give you that. But that still deson;t change that Rush totally distorted Fluke’s position and testimony. Maher was making a joke about how stupid he thinks Palin is. Limbaugh was taking Fluke’s testimony—which Repubs refused to hear--and turning it inside out. Fluke NEVER said she favored the federal government and taxpayers financing insurance coverage of birth control for herself and her friends. So how does that make her a prostitute? She’s only saying insurance should cover it. I realize Rush was attempting to use crude humor—he ain’t no Jonathan Swift by the way—but his premise was based on a lie. Also his characterization of her as a slut didn’t come across as a joke. He was really calling her slut because she had so much sex she needed all this birth control. To me a slut is a woman who has lots of promiscuous sex with as many different partners as possible. Taking birth control doesn’t meant that you sleep around, you could be sleeping with one person maybe once a week and still take the pills because you don’t want an unwanted pregnancy and have to have an abortion. It wasn’t so much Limbuagh’s name-calling that outrages the “liberal elite” but his characterization of women who use birth control—99 percent of the population has at one time or other—as promiscuous, immoral loose women.  

Then the response:
I see your point but that’s not what Rush meant, the fact is she was testifying about not being able to afford birth control and wanted someone else paying for it which in it’s self is wrong.
What ever happened to personnel responsibility in this country, do we need daddy government taking care of all of us 24/7?How about Viagra?
You could buy birth control pills from Walgreens for $10 per month.

Then I fired back
But he specifically said that HE the taxpayer had to pay for Fluke’s activities in the bedroom and that he deserved to see her sex tapes online to “get something for what he was paying for” Fluke was also making the point that some women NEED to take birth control for their health—such as her friend who lost an ovary. But given your position, I’m sure you agree Viagra shouldn’t be covered either—in spite of bob Dole’s sweet deal with the company who made it.

Then, my colleague said:
I agree, we shouldn’t pay for it, the truth is that if it’s a medical reason your insurance company will pay, but the doctor has to say you need birth control because of x.
As far as what Rush said I read the transcripts and he never said we should see a video, while in bad taste, I think this is all just to cover up the fact and to distract from the bad economy, and to fire up the lefts base .Nothing more, in fact they should give back the million dollars from Maher if they feel what Rush said was wrong.

I replied:
And on the second day of Rush’s rant, he did say sex tapes should be posted online. I agree it’s a distraction from the economy, but Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and the republicans started it.

No they didn’t in fact it was started then picked up by the media but it was a question asked by George Stephanopoulos during the debate, he asked the question which came from left field about contraception, which in no way has or is an issue nor are any Republicans looking to outlaw this, it was a gotcha question that the media and the White House decided to use as pure distraction.

Of course I couldn't let that one go and said:
Stephanopoulos did not bring it out of left field. A week earlier Santorum stated his views on contraception—that it was wrong and he as president would speak out against it—no he didn’t say he would outlaw it, but he did say he thought it was destructive and he would speak against it. He’s a major candidate, he raised a controversial issue , and Stephanopoulos was asking him about it. How is that a gotcha?

And BTW the whole Catholic, religious freedom thing was raised by Gingrich, even though several states have the same law about religious-affiliated institutions having to cover contraception, even Arkansas which was approved by your pal Huckabee when he was governor.  

I'll let him have the last word:
The sad truth is that this is a nothing issue, the country has never been in this bad of shape, and for anyone to even consider discussing this issue is foolish.
I’m not sure you agree with me but this country is in a death spiral because of several bad choices made by this president his desire to be more like Europe.
You can not mistake his constant attacks on class warfare as just a random comment; it’s what he has used to charge up his base.
We are now so burdened with debt as a nation and yet he wants more spending, you have to admit that we as a country will never be able to get out of this huge financial mess he helped create.

There were a few more exchanges, but you get the general idea. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Saga of 1001 Commercials

Walmart has these $5 DVDs. We actually have bought a few including a collection of old Alfred Hitchcock movies and TV episodes as well as five discs containing several hundred cartoons--mostly crappy ones like Caspar the Friendly Ghost and the Three Stooges, but mixed in there are some gems like some Betty Boops and Hoppity Hooper, a follow-up to the brilliant Rocky and Bullwinkle. We also got four military movies in one collection incl. Grey Lady Down with a very young Christopher Reeve and Battle Hymn with Rock Hudson and Marlon Brando's wife, directed by Douglas Sirk.

So they have this big bin where they toss all the $5 DVDs and my partner found a three-disc set called 1001 Commercials, advertising itself as showing a history of pop culture in its most simple form--TV ads from the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. I do enjoy trash from other eras, so I plunked down the fiver. The anthology included political films promoting Eisenhower's reelection in 1956, a training film for Kodak camera salesmen, a short documenting how tobacco is a major industry and the health concerns aren't really anything to worry about. My favorites including spots for products no one consumes anymore. Like, when was the last time you heard anyone ask for a 7up? And what happened to Ipana toothpaste? That was hawked by this beaver who fought a gruesome caveman representing tooth decay.

But after viewing a bunch of Chesterfield cigarette commercials, I wanted to see the toy ads, but the TV gave me a signal I'd never seen before: SCRATCH OR STAIN ON DISC. I ejected the disc and there was a small scratch. Rats! I could access the food commercials on this disc, but the toys and PSAs did not show up.

The next day I took it back to Walmart and they said I could return it for the same DVD or one of equal value. That meant searching through the $5 bin again. Of course I couldn't find it, but I did come across the sixth season of Weeds amidst the debris. (I've seen the first four episodes of season one, but that's it.) I took it back to customer service, but they said "Sorry, this is $20."

"But it was in the $5 bin."

They didn't budge. So I said, "Well the other two discs in the set are fine. How about giving me $2 back and we'll call it a day." That didn't fly either. I had to return the whole set or I could go back and scrounge through more crappy DVDs. I decided to keep the set. When I feel in the mood, I give reviews of the commercials.

The Republican War on Recreational Sex

The economy is getting better, so Republicans must shift the focus to contraception. What a brilliant move! Let's alienate women, more than half of the voting population. Actually it's just working out this way, I don't honestly think the RNC is meeting to determine talking points on birth control pills and vaginal probes. But, what is happening is incredibly damaging to the Republican brand. Under the guise of "religious freedom," the party is fighting a war that has been decided decades ago--women have a right to use birth control without shame. I grant the Reps are not trying to take that away, but they are trying to restrict it where they can and whittle down abortion rights until they are non-existant.

Attack 1--some Republican-controlled state legistlatures are forcing women who want an abortion to have unnecessary sonograms so that they will regret their decision. In Virginia they even tried to get an invasive probing signed into law. The idiot governor said he didn't realize that's what the probe would do and now has blown his chance to be considered for VP.

Attack 2--Catholic-affliated organizations seek to deny contraception in their health coverage. You know the details of this brouhaha and I still don't understand the objection to contraception. If you want to prevent abortions, why stop contraception? It just doesn't make sense. Oh, you want to stop all recreational sex, OK, now I see.

Attack 3--Defame the opposition and haul out the slut word. Rush, the real spokesman of the party, called Sanrda Fluke a slut and a prostitute for daring to suggest Georgetown University, a Catholic university, cover birth control. He based this ridiculous claim on a false premise: that Fluke was advocating the government pay for her insurance and therefore, in Limbaugh's twisted mind, pay for her to have sex. Forget that she was saying some women need to take birth control pills for health reasons (a friend lost an ovary because she couldn't afford the pills), Fluke never said she thought the taxpayer should pick up the tab. That seems to be invented by Rush--and also picked up by Bill O'Reilly who defended his fellow blowhard on his Fox propaganda hour. Limbaugh claims he's Jonathan Swift or something and didn't really literally mean what he said. He's just a satirist, just like Bill Maher, oh BTW, he goes on to say, Maher called Sarah Palin the c word and you liberals didn't get your panties in twist. How come Bill gets a pass and you're all over me like a ton of bricks? See how he tries to avoid the issue and doesn't answer the charge that he basically went too far. Yes, Maher was extreme, but unlike Fluke, Palin is a major political figure and Maher is a comedian, unlike Limbuagh who is a commentator. Maher was making a joke and saying in nasty language that Palin is a jerk and Limbaugh was making a wildly ridiculous claim based on incorrect data. (He ain't Jonathan Swift.)

Anyway, Orange Man Speaker Boehner called Limbaugh's remarks "inappropriate"--OOOO! How brave. George Will, with whom I usually disagree, said eating with the wrong fork is inappropriate. Limbaugh is reprehensible. And Rick Santorum called Limbaugh "absurb" and an "entertainer." Sidenote: Santorum gets sick over JFK's affirmation of the separation between church and state, but Rush is just absurd. Ricky also says he views the separation of the two entities as meaning the government does not get to tell the church what to do. But he didn't finish the analogy--namely the church doesn't get to the tell the government what to do either. He left that part out, maybe because he thinks the church SHOULD tell the state what to do.

I've wandered off topic. The upshot--Limbaugh was forced to apologize to Fluke after several advertisers pulled out of his radio show. The apology read like he had dictated it through gritted teeth. We'll see if this damages his standing as much as the anti-sex war is damaging the Republicans.