Saturday, March 17, 2012

Proposed Legislation: Men's Reproductive Awareness Act

Today I'm proposing the outlines of legislation designed to help men become fully informed about the health and lifestyle implications of their choice to use erectile dysfunction medications. (That's Viagra and those other drugs whose marketing isn't quite as good.)

The bill would require any man seeking a prescription for Viagra to first be required by his or her physician to view a Lamaze video showing women giving birth. (Available here)  The man would have to view the video in the presence of someone who can attest that he sat through it, although he would of course be free, in the words of Tom Corbett, to close his eyes.

Then the man, during a mandatory 72-hour waiting period, would be required to carry a newborn baby around in an Ergo carrier during the Sunday morning hours when he'd normally play golf, change at least three diapers and then change the bag in a diaper genie.

And finally, any man aged 55 and older seeking a Viagra prescription would be requred to care for a 2-year-old for an entire afternoon, ensuring the toddler doesn't walk of the end of any dining room tables or climb out of a crib.

This legislation is designed to protect these men from making reckless decisions regarding their reproductive health that they may regret later. It's well-documented that most men who use Viagra and have babies they didn't want suffer from post-Viagra trauma syndrome.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Corporations Are Toddlers Too

The Supreme Court this week listened to arguments in a case that questions whether Royal Dutch Shell can be sued for aiding and abetting the Angolan government in the murder of a group of activists.

Now I'm not going to wrestle here with why on earth any US court would hear a case about a foreign company committing murder on foreigners in a foreign country. That's apparently something we do under a law called the Alien Tort Statute that was aimed at pirates like Blackbeard.

Part of our general habit of sticking our national nose (and military and apparently legal system) anywhere we please.

What apparently is at issue is whether or not Shell can be held responsible for killing people.

Their argument -- corporations don't kill people, people kill people.

This is one companies like to pull out when they know that none of the actual actors will get caught or punished. If the CEO were in fact the bad guy and still had that job, the company might just prefer that it be charged and BP has been over and over.   None of its executives have ever gone to jail but the company is a three-time felon.  You can learn all about that here. But I digress...

The Justices this week were pretty darn skeptical of the arguments that people could sue Shell for these crimes that were allegedly committed at the behest of the company and with its knowledge. Now I understand that it wasn't some set of incorporation papers that ordered the murders, it was people who were (if the story is true) working for Shell. But they were doing so (again, allegedly) as representatives of the company.

That the Court would wonder, aloud, whether Shell could be a defendant strikes me as a classic case of cognitive dissonance.

Justices Roberts and Kennedy both questioned whether a corporation could be held responsible for torture and genocide since the law banning those acts didn't overtly use the word corporation. THis is the same court that almost exactly two years ago in the Citizens United decision ruled that corporations have the same rights to free speech as people.

I just pulled up the constitution on another screen here and did a quick word search. The word corporation doesn't appear anywhere in that document -- at least not up through the bill of rights. It's certainly not in the first amendment that gives me the right to write whatever the hell I want here about this Supreme Court.

The court seems to be saying that a company can participate in the life of this country, enjoying the full rights of its citizens, without taking on the responsibilities of those citizens.  That sounds like life in my house when I had toddlers. They could eat the food, jump on the furniture,  and break all the toys they wanted and no one asked them to clean up or pay up.  But sometimes, when they went too far, I'd take away the toys and put them on top of the refrigerator.

So I'm thinking that if the court rules against Esther Kiobel, the Nigerian widow looking for justice, then we ought to go back there and ask them to take away some of the toddlers' toys, starting with the right to free speech.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


So I was trying to think of something witty to say about the Indiana rep who's calling the Girl Scouts a radicalized organization.

But, really, I think he's just got to be crazy. And stupid.

You can read about him here --

Radicalized organization that promotes the gay lifestyle?????  Come on, they're girl scouts. They were too geeky for me and I was pretty much a nerd when I was a kid.

Doesn't anyone think anymore before they allow idiotic things to spew from their mouths -- or in this case their keyboards? It's like this country is full of a bunch of (elected) kids who haven't yet achieved impulse control and say whatever comes to mind.

Anyway -- to get a sense of just how radical the girl scouts are, I looked up their pledge.  It's pretty darn cute actually.

The Girl Scout Law
I will do my best to be
honest and fair,
friendly and helpful,
considerate and caring,
courageous and strong, and
responsible for what I say and do,
and to
respect myself and others,
respect authority,
use resources wisely,
make the world a better place, and
be a sister to every Girl Scout.

Now that I look at it closely, perhaps they are radical. They are promising to do their best to be honest and fair.  Considering the behavior of our chosen leaders - state and federal - these little girls are really on the fringe.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Danica Patrick Drives Like a Girl

Fast.  And expecting to win.

I was lucky to have been able to spend an hour with Patrick yesterday when she visited the National Press Club to talk about her transition from Indy Car racing to Nascar this week.

When I asked her whether it bothers her that a lot of the attention she gets is because she's a woman, she said no. "I'm a girl and that gets me a lot of attention,"she said and went on to refer to herself as a "girl driver" a "driver who's a girl" and "proud to be a girl."

She's 29, married, and she never used the word woman.

By the end of the lunch I was practically giggling to myself with glee over this.

I was happy because the word WOMAN sometimes feels so heavy and big and tiring.  But I'm not allowed to be a girl because, well, when I was a young adult they told me if someone called me a girl, they were belittling me.  If they called me a girl, they were suggesting I was weak, childish, silly.

Girl, apparently, was an insult.

Let me tell you, Danica Patrick is not weak, childish or silly.

She was supremely confident and humble, a combination that's hard to pull off at the same time. When we met, she thanked me for having enough confidence in her to invite her to speak at the Press Club. She spoke to fawning men, reporters, young girls and the CEO of Nascar with equal ease. She discussed her auto racing success, ticking off the races she's won, and the ones she intends to win. Standing in 4-inch heels that brought the top of her head to about my forehead, she took questions from all comers with ease and wit.

"What part of your body hurts the most after a race?"

"My ego," she responded without hesitation.

When someone asked if her commercials degraded her, she was not the least offended.  She told the story of when she went to race in Japan and her travel visa described her as an entertainer. Her brand, she explained, benefited from her racing and her other strengths -- including how great she looks in a bikini. She talked about the business side of racing, discussed the ROI of sponsorship deals and then joked that she'd slipped in a smart word.

Danica Patrick was far too focused on the real business of auto racing she couldn't be bothered to be burdened with the political correctness of calling herself a woman over a girl.  She lives in a world where girl is not an insult. It's who she is.

"My goal is not to be the best girl driver. My goal is to be the best driver," she told the crowd.

You go, girl.