Bomb.Repeat.Bomb is the new video off the latest Ted Leo & The Pharmacists album, Living With the Living. I've had the album for about a month now*, but I've refrained from posting anything on it (despite really, really wanting to) out of deference to Rich who refuses to do anything fun like listen to leaked copies of albums from super kick-ass punk icons. Silly Rich.

*Standard Disclaimer: Yes, I know, having a leaked copy of an album is both highly unethical (illegal, some might say) and possibly detracts from the experience of purchasing the album, ripping off the annoying plastic, and finally listening to the songs while perusing the artwork and liner notes. I say fuck that. It is a fangirl's prerogative to eschew the trappings of nostalgia-riddled rituals in the digital age. Oh, and I still bought the album anyway. On CD and vinyl.

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annamaria at 4:46 PM

2 spoke


“Pro-Lifers” once again show their commitment to death

Almost exactly five years ago, I fulfilled my six-month probationary period at work and was finally eligible for health insurance benefits. One of the first things I did was skim the provider handbook to find the nearest Planned Parenthood so that I could make a date with a speculum. But Planned Parenthood wasn't listed in the provider directory. So, I called MCARE and asked if there was a PP near me that I could use for my gynecological needs, only to be told that MCARE doesn't cover PP for annual exams—only abortions. Pleased as I was to find that first-trimester elective and therapeutic abortions would be completely covered at the PP of my choice, I was a little dismayed to find that my insurance company didn't think that PP, the largest provider of women's health services in America, had any utility beyond abortion. In fact, they'd probably be shocked to find out that most PP affiliate offices don't even perform abortions (or if they do, only one or two days a week), focusing instead on boring stuff like pap smears and breast and cervical cancer screenings.

Apparently MCARE and Missouri's Governor Matt Blunt have something in common:

For fifteen years, Planned Parenthood of Southwest Missouri clinics in Joplin and Springfield have offered free breast and cervical cancer screenings as part of the state’s “Show Me Healthy Women” program. Now Governor Matt Blunt has announced that he will cut off all program funding to Planned Parenthood and redirect it to other health clinics. “Patients should not have to go to an abortion clinic to access life-saving tests,” Blunt declared. Refusing to fund cancer screening at the clinics, he said, “ensures women may access important preventative care without contributing to abortion providers’ goal of facilitating the destruction of innocent life.”

PPSM has been providing quality health care to poor women for years—breast and cervical cancer rates have been dropping in the United States, and that is thanks to increased awareness and access to regular breast exams and pap smears, both of which help diagnose cancer earlier making treatment more effective. With lack of access to health insurance, and lack of funds to pay for life-saving treatments out-of-pocket, low-income women are disproportionately affected by breast and cervical cancer and have a higher mortality rate.

Governor Blunt is correct though—no women should have to go to an abortion clinic to receive cancer screenings. Of course, no women should be prevented from going to such a clinic if it is is closer to home or already that women's primary provider of reproductive health services. Or just because she feels like it. Cutting off access to health care—particularly from the largest provider of women's health services in the country—just to prove your fetus-love doesn't really do much to prove your pro-life (no scare quotes) chops. In fact, it shows a stunning lack of regard for the lives of poor women, who are more likely to use Planned Parenthood than a private doctor.

Oh, did I mention that PPSM doesn't actually provide abortions?

"[Governor Blunt] was being dishonest," says Kellie Rohrbaugh, director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood of Southwest Missouri, who says her office received a fax alerting them to the funding cuts 45 minutes before the governor's press conference. "We asked the administrator of the program if women had complained about going to Planned Parenthood, and she said we'd been a very good partner. We could get people in quickly, have them seen, refer them to treatment quickly if they needed it."

Hmmm...efficient, friendly, providing affordable quality care to people who most need it. It's obvious why PPSM's funding was first on the chopping block—it's giving lie to the anti's claim to the pro-life banner.


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annamaria at 7:56 PM

0 spoke


Theatre of the Absurd at Casa Annamaria

La Famiglia does Albee proud

Friday night dinners are a tradition for La Famiglia; all the Mitten State dwelling siblings congregate every other Friday at Mama and Papa G’s house for pasta and political discussions. Okay, so the political discussion is a relatively new thing, and one that only happens when we’re feeling particularly feisty. Mama G hates it when we talk politics, mostly because the four siblings that usually show up to dinner are Republican Brother, Fundie Sister, Liberal Brother and Me. Needless to say, discussions quickly turn to arguments which often give way to bedlam. In deference to Mama G’s hypertension, we do our best to temper discussions with humor, despite the heartfelt desire to jump across the table and settle the issue mano a mano.

Last weekend Liberal Brother had prior engagements that prevented him from joining us for our biweekly brawl. As a result, the righty faction was in high form, tossing about their particular brand of religio-conservative inanity. I present Friday Dinner, a Comedy in Four Acts:


Fundie Sister brings up the case of a California girl who was suspended for saying “that’s so gay” in response to a boy who was taunting her for being Mormon. Actually, I take that back, the girl wasn’t suspended, despite Sister’s protestations to the contrary; she was given a warning and a notation was made in her permanent record (are they still using that one?). The school instituted a zero-tolerance policy on hate speech (including what some—not me—consider innocuous phrases like “that’s so gay”) after two boys were paid to beat up a gay student the prior year. Sister immediately starts on the persecuted Christian tip, and lambastes the school for not equally punishing the boy who used anti-Christian hate speech, all but arguing that the incident is proof positive of the homosexual agenda’s attempt to eradicate and marginalize Christianity. Had the boy asked if a Muslim girl’s father was a terrorist, Sister argues, he would have been punished for his anti-Islamic hate speech, but anti-Christian speech is just fine and dandy in today’s godless and secular world.

Remember, I’m without the assistance of Liberal Brother here, and am trying not to further stress my poor mother’s already beleaguered heart, so I’m silent as a church (ahem) mouse while my sister does her best impersonation of the severely unhinged. Finally, I agree that suspension is too harsh a punishment* but argue that some kind of correction or punishment was necessary. Even if, or perhaps because, the girl in question did not understand that “that’s so gay” is never an appropriate euphemism for “that’s stupid,” someone at that school needed to explain to her that homophobic language has no place in the public square. Further, I agreed that if indeed that boy was making anti-religious statements, he should have received an equal punishment or correction. Sister rolls her eyes to indicate that I am so naïve if I really believe that anyone cares a whit for the poor, persecuted Christians. I bite my tongue and restrain my hands so that I don’t smack the smug look from her face.


Dinner is served. I erroneously assume the conversation will turn to less controversial topics. I am wrong. Republican Brother can’t help but bring up the plight of the poor Mormon girl again, only this time to weigh in and declare that he doesn’t even consider Mormons to be Christians anyway. Fundie Sister agrees.

Seriously, read that last sentence again: Fundie Sister agrees that Mormons are not really Christians. Then whence the fucking anti-Christian hate speech? Honestly, I know that it’s folly to expect consistency, but I have to wonder if anti-Semitic speech is somehow going to be used as proof of an anti-Christian bias in her mind. After all, Christ was a Jew!


Somehow the conversation turns to Anna Nicole Smith. Don’t ask. Sister tells us that John Travolta was on TV saying that if only Anna Nicole had been a Scientologist, she would still be alive today. Sister and Republican Brother then take turns mocking Scientologists for their “crazy” beliefs. Annamaria bleeds from the mouth as she bites her tongue some more; apparently mocking (the beliefs of) religious folk is just fine so long as you can claim the moral high ground of being a Christian.


Dinner ends. I set about clearing the table to get the hell away from my siblings and avoid further mouth injury. Unfortunately, I can’t help but overhear them discussing the Republican presidential candidates. Republican Brother distrusts McCain and Giuliani; Sister agrees and vows to vote for Romney in the Michigan Primary.

Mitt Romney is a Mormon.


* I also take this back. Having not read up on the case of the Maligned Mormon Miss, I was unaware of the specifics of the case. Turns out she was not 8-years old as my sister claimed, but fifteen at the time of the incident. At fifteen, you know better. Suspension is a completely appropriate punishment (even though the school thought otherwise).

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annamaria at 2:50 PM

3 spoke