Pink and red.

For the record, I’ve never had an abortion, but my wedding was performed by a minister whose day job was executive director of our local Planned Parenthood office, and he asked that, in lieu of a fee-for-service, we make a comparable donation to the cause. I did so without hesitation, and I will in the future, because the first birth control prescription I ever filled was written by a PP doctor. And because I did that, and kept doing it, I never had to deal with the consequences of an unplanned pregnancy.

So I’m pro-Planned Parenthood.

I’ve always been suspicious of the Susan G. Komen people, on the other hand, for reasons many of you have thrashed out in comments in recent days — I always thought they were more about marketing their pinkness than anything else. I don’t like the phrase “for the cure,” as it should be pretty clear by now that cancer will likely never be “cured” in the strict sense of the word, although treatments continue to improve and we know so much more about the disease that we may well get pretty close to the ideal. And one of the things we know is that one key to surviving breast cancer is early detection, and the nominal money Planned Parenthood gets from the Komen organization (not enough to pay the Komen CEO’s salary for two years) goes for breast-cancer screening.

Being wealthy women, I wonder if the Komen folks have considered how many women use the services at Planned Parenthood as pretty much the beginning and end of their primary care. You may not be able to afford a doctor and a mammogram, but if you show up at PP, they’ll at least give you a pelvic and breast exam and pap smear, free or close to it. And yes, surely PP will get enough to make up the loss this year, but what about next year, and the year after that?

So much has been written about this in the past few days, and I know I’m late coming to it. But women’s health — and especially the right of women to make decisions about their lives and reproductive health free from meddling from state legislatures, federal-court judges and the pink-ribboned busybodies in Dallas — is very important to me. Not one more penny for the pink from me. Don’t show me your pledge sheet for your walk/run/whatever for the cure. I cut off United Way in Fort Wayne for precisely this reason some years ago. Planned Parenthood was there for me when I needed them, and I think I need to be there for them now. It’s really that simple.

So. Bloggage?

Another good Bridge yesterday, with another installment in an ongoing project, following a number of families who were cast adrift by welfare reform in Michigan last year. You can read the stories there, but this was the angle I found most interesting:

…In 27 of Michigan’s 83 counties, the number of welfare cases is the same or higher than before the time limit was instituted.

Meanwhile, welfare cases in the state’s most populous county – Wayne County – are down 27 percent. In that one county alone, 8,621 families fewer families are receiving cash assistance.

Here’s another way to look at it: Of all families who have stopped receiving welfare checks since September, 54 percent live in Wayne County.

Wayne County = Detroit, in case you haven’t figured that out yet.

A little D-centric, but funny just the same, “Our How-To Guide For Making A Hardscrabble, Gritty, Post-Industrial Documentary About Detroit,” by the folks at Changing Gears. Well, there are a lot of them out there, and they all follow a pretty predictable model.

I hesitate to post this, but what the hell: The homicide investigation in Grosse Pointe ran straight off the rails night before last, with reports the husband maintained an S&M dungeon in the basement of one of his buildings. I disapprove of this sort of reporting — I try to be Dan Savage-like in my tolerance of other people’s intimate lives, but I couldn’t stop laughing yesterday about the reporter’s ominous lead-in to this piece, in which he gravely revealed the husband asked his playmates to call him “Master Bob.” This guy needs a new master name. How can anyone say “Master Bob” with a straight face? Master Roberto, Master Heinrich, Master Rudolfo, yes. Master Bob, Master Jim, Master Wally, no.

Off to work.

Posted at 9:45 am in Current events, Detroit life |

50 responses to “Pink and red.”

  1. adrianne said on February 3, 2012 at 9:59 am

    Nance, I threw out my pink ribbon pin, unfriended Komen on Facebook, and will never attend or support any of Komen’s pink ribbon crap again. This is completely outrageous. I don’t think Komen realized how furious people would react to their craven decision to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood.

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  2. coozledad said on February 3, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Maybe having to say “Master Bob” is a way of really ratcheting the thumbscrews on the self-abasement thing. He’d be smoking a pipe and wearing a cardigan, wouldn’t he?

    “This is my cave of humiliation. And that paneling? Solid walnut.”

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  3. Connie said on February 3, 2012 at 10:21 am

    I haven’t been able to bring myself to throw out my pink ribbon rubber duckie.

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  4. caliban said on February 3, 2012 at 10:29 am

    How about Master Willard? That’s what Seamus calls him while being tortured. And maybe Big Bobb (his vanity license plate on his Escalade) is just a Dragon Tattoo fan and Mrs. Big Bobb forgot the safeword. If I were going to express that sort of proclivity, I think Herr Lothar sounds good. Anyway, Master Bob will probably get to learn many more sinister Master names when he resides in Gen Pop. This business reminds me of Lady Heather the dazzling recurring dominatrix character on the CSI series, portrayed by Melinda Clarke.

    It’s surprising, but I have seen nothing about the NFL’s Komen Konnection since the whole brouhaha started. Players have been sporting Hi-liter pink gear this entire season:

    Undoubtedly, Tummy Tubbow is sticking with SGKF.

    New slogan: Pusillanimous in Pink.

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  5. Minnie said on February 3, 2012 at 10:33 am

    The whole PINK thing has always irritated me. For three years at the request of a friend who, along with her mother and sisters, had breast cancer, I did donate to a Run for the Cure. This year I just couldn’t bring myself to support Komen again. Now I’m so glad I didn’t. I’ve written the organization to explain why I will never again contribute. I will continue to donate to Planned Parenthood for all the reasons mentioned in this and the previous thread.

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  6. Scout said on February 3, 2012 at 10:35 am

    Komen in the spotlight and now people are finding out about a whole lotta things they didn’t realize about the organization and its policies and so-called principles. Like this:

    “So the Komen Foundation doesn’t want to be associated with the nation’s largest abortion-provider. But they don’t mind partnering up with a handgun maker.
    This gun is a beauty.
    And a portion of the sale of each P-22 Hope Edition will be donated to the Seattle Branch of the Susan G. Komen Foundation.”

    That is seriously fucked up.

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  7. mark said on February 3, 2012 at 10:42 am

    I’ve never been a fan of the Komen foundation, or most any other medical research charity. One of the reasons has been mentioned here already- extraordinarily high overhead compared to other charities. A second reason, for me, is that little of my donation would directly serve the community around me. So I would give to the local health clinin, but not American Cancer Society.

    Finally, It’s been my understanding that money is rarely the limiting factor in research efforts, at least for the “big” diseases. The limiting factor is the availability of trained researchers. More money can/does change this over time, but a lot of those with the background/education appropriate for research can also make larger bucks as treating physicians or developing better plastic for Apple.

    I think we saw this with AIDS research when the disease first emerged. While a lot of the commotion was over money, the real issue was one of priority. Certainly for the first few years, competent researchers had to be pulled from other areas, some of whch address other important concerns. No amount of money could create, in the short term, 10,000 new, highly trained and experienced research scientists.

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  8. Dexter said on February 3, 2012 at 10:45 am

    I attended a few workers’ conferences in New York a few decades ago. At a post conference party in a tiny apartment, some of us were sharing things we witnessed as workers. A Latina lady shared that she had been on the maid staff in the dwelling of one David Rockefeller. Since David was the number one man at Chase Manhattan, he was regaled as “the most important man in the world” in some circles. Anyway, the punch line is that the staff were mandated to address David Rockefeller as “Mister David”. How quaint!

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  9. Sue said on February 3, 2012 at 10:48 am

    Scout, that is just breathtaking. I mean really – I’m having trouble breathing because I can’t decide if I should gasp or laugh.
    And the SEATTLE branch? I thought Seattle was Portlandia’s soul sister.
    The head of NOW was on MSNBC last night and predicted that this would either destroy Komen completely or turn it into a shadow of itself within a few years. I thought that was a little over the top, but it appears that this thing is going places no one dreamed of and the brand destruction is pretty complete.
    It will be interesting to see if those who have been withholding donations to Komen since they began partnering with Planned Parenthood can make up for the money that’s going to dry up.

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  10. BigHank53 said on February 3, 2012 at 10:58 am

    In even more irritating Komen news, they’ve quietly pulled research funding from any institution that’s been using embryonic stem cells. That’s twelve million dollars those institutions are going to have to make up on pretty short notice: more than one research project is going to get shitcanned.

    For the cure, as long as it’s a cure we like.

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  11. Julie Robinson said on February 3, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Guns but not stem cells. Oh Lordy. For any of us with loved ones suffering from diabetes or heart disease, stem cell research is our best hope. Stem cells even brought some sight back to two women in a study released a few weeks back. Komen is done.

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  12. Bitter Scribe said on February 3, 2012 at 11:13 am

    One of the stories I think has been seriously underreported over the last dozen or so years is the aftermath of “ending welfare as we know it” (which was, let us not forget, a Bill Clinton “centrist” initiative). How are poor people actually coping, especially in this economy? I haven’t heard a lot about it, and I can’t tell if this is because the bad effects predicted at the time didn’t come to pass or because most people don’t really care.

    It’s a serious issue, especially when the presumptive Republican candidate for president can so breezily state that he’s not concerned with “the very poor” because of their “safety net.”

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  13. caliban said on February 3, 2012 at 11:18 am

    I don’t question the NFL’s admirable intentions for a minute in partnering with Komen. But with the Super Bowl in the homestate of Goobernor Pinkerton Scab Unionbuster, and with the flagrant political nature of Komen’s dropping PP, Indianapolis becomes the eye of a political hurricane this weekend. A lot of those NFL behemoths are products of years of corn-fed, heartland, DeMolay indoctrination in all likelihood, and it’s likely that many of them have had pregnant girlfriends. They can’t get around the union bit by mouthing religious pabulum, though.

    I’m still wondering how much of this anti-PP vituperation on the right originates with John Kyl’s gargantuan lie about the organization’s services, which were, of course, not meant to be a statement of literal fact. Kyl infamously said that abortions are “well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does.” Wrong again, honey. Planned Parenthood services.

    The Komen president’s lame citation of the brand new rule against associating with organizations under investigation is risible. This is clearly an ad hoc rule intended to soften the PR blow of dumping Planned Parenthood. The investigation is not legitimate, it is a witch hunt by a demagogue Teabanger. Meantime, SGKF is granting huge research bucks to Penn State, which is under legitimate investigation by federal law enforcement for facilitating child rape. How’s that argument working out for you, Mrs. Brinker?

    This woman is scrambling like a cockroach when the lights come on.

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  14. Dorothy said on February 3, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Breaking news: Susan G. Komen for the Cure to restore Planned Parenthood breast cancer screening funds, Sen. Frank Lautenberg says.

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  15. caliban said on February 3, 2012 at 11:38 am


    At least it wasn’t “Massa”.

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  16. Sue said on February 3, 2012 at 11:38 am

    Planned Parenthood has been under attack for years by people who object to one aspect of its mission. Much effort has gone into taking it down and there has been some success. So, during the time that all this effort and money has gone to getting rid of the organization, what effort has been made to replace it, by the people who have been trying to get rid of PP? Where are the clinics that offer reproductive health service and education to women (and men) who can’t afford it, in some more acceptable model? Why work so hard to kill the whole thing without remaking it by removing those parts that are considered unacceptable? Obviously organization and money are not a problem.
    If it’s successful, the destruction of PP will have been years in the making. Plenty of time to build an organization acceptable to the destroyers.
    How’s that going, anyone know?

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  17. Jolene said on February 3, 2012 at 11:39 am

    You beat me to it, Dorothy. Just heard on MSNBC that Komen had completely reversed itself. They are apologizing for their earlier decision. Pretty amazing. What a fiasco. Will be interesting to see how things unfold for them after this.

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  18. Jolene said on February 3, 2012 at 11:48 am

    Just saw a clip of John Boehner struggling to react to today’s good job news. Really difficult to acknowledge the drop in the unemployment rate and claim that President Obama’s policies are destroying the economy at the same time.

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  19. MarkH said on February 3, 2012 at 11:52 am

    It’s probably too late for Komen, given all the resultant revelations of where their money is actually going.

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  20. Sue said on February 3, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Well, good for Komen for backtracking. Now of course the backlash will start from those who have been congratulating them and promising to donate for the last couple of days.
    Lifting that curtain even for this short time was very revealing. I wonder how much permanent damage has been done. Before a couple of days ago, I didn’t know about the right-wing VP, the huge salary for the head, the pink guns for crying out loud, the pulling of funding from stem cell research etc. Even without the PP fiasco it doesn’t sound like the kind of charity I’m interested in supporting.

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  21. alex said on February 3, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    It’s a strange, strange world we live in, Master Bob
    You taught me all about how to polish a knob
    It’s a very strange world and I hate you, Master Bob

    You pulled a leather bullwhip from out of your behind
    And thrashed me with it daily ’til I nearly lost my mind
    And tricked me out in fishnets with stillettoes on my feet
    And sold my broken body to the people in the street

    It’s a strange, strange world we live in, Master Bob
    It’s hard not to grimace when I swallow a gob
    It’s a very strange world and I hate you, Master Bob

    I’ve seen right through the way you have been takin’ me cash
    And treatin’ me like filth and your wife like trash
    It’s all very int’resting the way you disguise
    If I didn’t know you better I would not believe my eyes

    It’s a strange, strange world we live in, Master Bob
    No hard feelin’s but I’ve found a new job
    You’re a very strange man and I hate you, Master Bob

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  22. caliban said on February 3, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Sue, interesting thing is, there are the so-called “crisis pregnancy centers”, run by anti-choice zealots, where women are browbeaten and frightened into NOT having abortions. They are told, for one thing, that an abortion increases a woman’s likelihood of breast cancer affliction by 180%. Obviously, such lies prey upon women and exacerbate situations rather than ameliorate them.

    This is all part of the spectacular rightwing contradiction on this issue. Anti-abortion, yet opposed to contraceptives and education on their use, and throw the health services out with the bathwater. Defies lucid and logical comprehension.

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  23. Sherri said on February 3, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    Komen, even with the reversal, will never get another dime from me. Planned Parenthood, on the other hand, is joining the ACLU on my list for annual gifts.

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  24. peter said on February 3, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Did you check the comments that were attached to the article that Scout linked? Let’s just say that if the reversal story is true, there’s going to be some really angry people with pink and black guns just itchin’ to use them. Serious – some of those comments sounded like the writer hasn’t left the basement in a long, long time.

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  25. beb said on February 3, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    The opposition to abortion / birth control / sex education all make perfect sense if you begin with the premise that sex is only for reproduction. Recreational sex is a sin. Education that might help someone, somewhere have an exjoyab;e, non-reproductive sexual encounter — that’s a sin. Having a wet dream…that’s a sin. It’s all a slippery slope of K-J jelly to hell.

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  26. caliban said on February 3, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Which part of the Song of Solomon did those prudish idiots miss when they committed the OT to memory, Beb?

    That semi-pink handgun Scout linked to is the model that Teabanging loony AZ state senator pointed at a reporter:

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  27. Sherri said on February 3, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    If you’re more into shotguns than handguns, you can pick up these these shotgun shells to support Komen:

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  28. caliban said on February 3, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Re: Sherri’s shotgun shells.

    Is there a product or service other than pap smears and mammograms they don’t offer in pink? I want some pink nunchuks and ninja stars. Surely there are Komen-pink condoms and dental dams. Special edition pink little blue pills?

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  29. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 3, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    If you are interesting in any non-Komen, non-dungeon materials, this is an article from “The Atlantic” that I hope gets broad play:

    “It feels cruel to point out all the Level-2 concepts Maddie doesn’t know, although Maddie is quite open about these shortcomings. She doesn’t know the computer-programming language that runs the machines she operates; in fact, she was surprised to learn they are run by a specialized computer language. She doesn’t know trigonometry or calculus, and she’s never studied the properties of cutting tools or metals. She doesn’t know how to maintain a tolerance of 0.25 microns, or what tolerance means in this context, or what a micron is.”

    Taken from page two of the linked story – it’s explaining this new world to high school students & parents that keeps me up at night, and having indigestion after lunch today. Three tries this morning, maybe one partial “I get it now.” 20 to 30 days absent, and almost everyone, kids & parents shrug and says “I’ll get a GED, find a job, work my way up; screw this.”

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  30. Brandon said on February 3, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Master Roberto, Master Heinrich, Master Rudolfo

    Maestros Roberto e Rudolfo, Meister Heinrich.

    Breast Cancer Action is a more grass-roots organization. It runs the Think Before You Pink project:

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  31. Heather said on February 3, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    This has been making the rounds on Facebook, and it’s the best simple retort to Komen’s colossal screw-up: women’s bodies are bodies, not just parts. You can’t treat some parts and not the other ones.

    Also on Facebook, some people are pulling out the old “abortion causes cancer” canard. Interestingly, the article I found refuting this suggested that women were at a slightly higher risk for breast cancer after childbirth, not abortion.

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  32. Charlotte said on February 3, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    Jezebel has been reporting the daylights out of the Komen story. Here’s a link to the $12 million dollars in research they pulled — which wasn’t even direct stem cell research, it’s just that someone, somewhere in those institutions might be thinking about using stem cells:

    Also, the PP reversal isnt’ really a reversal. They pledged to fulfill their current funding obligations, but sounds like they’re still cutting PP off in the long term:

    I’ve always been suspicious of them — too much about marketing, about group-think, and as someone who lost a 2 year old brother to cancer 40 years ago, I bristle at anyone who suggests that a “good attitude” will help you “win your fight” against the disease. Poor little guy certainly didn’t die because he had unresolved emotional issues, he died because it’s a terrible disease. Which actual scientific research in the intervening decades has rendered pretty much non-fatal to little kids like him. Not wearing pink. Doing research. Learning stuff with *science*. Sheesh.

    And “Master Bob”!? thank you Nancy for a much needed giggle this morning! snorted coffee all over the keyboard ….

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  33. Scout said on February 3, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    Komen’s Brinker does an about face, reversing the decision to de-fund PP.

    I’m not entirely sure that there isn’t a bit of weasel-wordsmith going on here when she states that PP will qualify to apply for grants in the future; just being able to apply does not mean the grants are approved. But after this debacle, they’d probably think twice before pulling another stunt like this because now people are more aware and will be watching for it.

    Despite the change of heart, I think their brand has suffered deep wounds. It was a very bad no good terrible week of fail for Komen. OTFS, Planned Parenthood has actually benefitted from SGK’s screw-up. That’s a good thing.

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  34. Karen S. said on February 3, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    Delurking only to say that the Komen “apology” really isn’t much of a reversal. It only says that it will fund the $250K already committed to PP for 2012. It doesn’t say it will give grants to Planned Parenthood in the future (never mind that it has pulled funding for research using embryonic stem cells because ick!). In my mind, it’s just not much of a reversal or back down at all.
    It really has been fascinating watching an organization crap so thoroughly on its brand. The people who did the crapping (chiefly Nancy Brinker with an assist from Karen Handel, a Palin-endorsed, forced birther Georgia Republican, who is Komen’s veep for public policy or something) still have their jobs. So what, if anything, has really changed?
    If nothing else, it got me to donate to Planned Parenthood. I’m just ashamed it took this to get me to do it.
    Okay, back to lurking…

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  35. caliban said on February 3, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    If a self-inficted wound to the foot can be mortal, Komen has done it. It’s reminiscent of Earl Butz telling “coon” jokes in Pat Boone’s earshot.

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  36. alex said on February 3, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    The Komen catastrophe is deja vu.

    I once worked for a large nonprofit that made exactly the same mistake, did exactly the same backpedaling and managed to piss off both sides over exactly the same issue. The only difference was that my employer staked out a position in the abortion wars that favored the pro- side.

    It cost the organization its good will in many places, not to mention a fair share of its dues-paying members, and when the American Bar Association cried uncle the way Ms. Brinker did today, it shot a big hole in its remaining foot.

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  37. Kirk said on February 3, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    This should make a good chapter in P.R. textbooks.

    I’ve always resented Komen’s big-footing of numerous other worthy causes.

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  38. coozledad said on February 3, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    It should come as no surprise that the Komen foundation clusterfuck was brought to you by the orchestrators of numerous other clusterfucks.–Ari%C2%A0Fleischer?via=blog_1

    Every thing they touch turns to shit.

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  39. A. Riley said on February 3, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    I have to pipe in on Charlotte’s comment about the groupthink and “winning your battle” crap the pink crowd chants. (And deepest sympathy on the loss of your little brother.)

    My best friend has bought all the pink-ribbon shit and Oprah’s shit for years and years. Her own recent cancer saga has sharpened up her BS meter measurably — the realization that the whole “your attitude determines your outcome” thing is just the flipside of blaming the victim. Nasty shit.

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  40. caliban said on February 3, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    I was fairly devastated when my mom died of breast cancer. She hid it from me and my brothers for a long time, so we were all perfect victims of Susan Komen and donated a large amount of cash between us. This charity signing on with this anti-choice bitch is a blindside for me. My partner is a survivor and we thought we were doing something worthwhile, but bringing on that anti-choice Teabanger is just too much. They sure as shit didn’t inform me about thdis snake-haired whacko when they last asked me for money, and I feel I’ve been screwed over for a few cool grand that they have spent on shit I din’t believe in. That’s why I think Komen are Krooks. If Komen is institutionally an opponent of contraception and women’s health care education, they can kiss my ass. No matter what they claim afterward.

    I feel like an idiot for having supported these people. When they hired on that Teabanger redneck idiot, they did not inform me. That woman is Nancy Grace with only nubs for snakes coming out of her scalp. What is wrong with shitheads like this, that think they should see boutique OB-GYNs and the hoi polloi should grovel? This is Mittens America. These people don’t understand the idea of America, and when they talk about Christianity, they should risk lightning bolts. This shit is not what Jesus would do. He’d take care of the least of my brethren. That’s what he said, and that’s why I believe he knew what He was talking about. These assholes that defame His name get on my nerves big time.

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  41. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 3, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    I’ll be curious to see what Barbara Ehrenreich has to say about this all — she wrote eloquently about the “think positively” response to cancer, and made a number of glancing references to “pink ribbon people” as being in parallel to the problem she described in “Bright Sided.” Like the boss here, she’s not given to too much of an immediate, viscernal response, but when it comes out, it will be filled with feeling as well as well-researched information. (And if you haven’t read “Nickel and Dimed in America,” go find a pb or Kindle copy and do so now — it was pertinent when the boomtimes were on, and still quite relevant even though it’s now 10 years old.

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  42. caliban said on February 3, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    I feel like I am anti- abortion but I believe at the same time in women;s choice, Unlike Nancy, I;ve been through an abortion.
    and I hate it. I don;t hold that choice against anybody, I also don;t think we dilled a viable human being, I’d rather that child lived, I suppose, because I love her mother to this day, but I can’t second-guess what we did when we drove to New York. Anybody that wants to criticise is an asshole, That never went there. We don’t feel good about this to this day. So kiss my ass. Neither of us believe in in abortion, but we were in an impossible situation.

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  43. Rana said on February 3, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    Jeff, I’ve been thinking of Bright Sided a lot over the past couple of days. That, and Twisty Faster’s eloquently coarse rants against the whole breast cancer industry. (See here for a list of them; she also quotes from Ehrenreich’s “Welcome to Cancerland” here.)

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  44. brian stouder said on February 3, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    Jeff at 29 – your linked Atlantic article, which put human faces on the macro-economic challenges our country faces, was engrossing.

    Certainly, there are no easy answers. It was somewhat heartening to read the quotes from the meeting between the production engineer guys, who were saying they wouldn’t out-source production jobs just to save 10% on cost; although their 40% trigger wasn’t terribly re-assuring.

    Certainly, education will be a huge piece of the way forward. There was one matter-of-fact reference to “America’s broken education system” which I thought was flatly wrong-headed. Public education – at least in Fort Wayne, Indiana – (and elsewhere, I’d wager) is proceeding apace, and succeeding better than ever.

    But whereas unmotivated learners in China (for example) can take a job at some God-foresaken supplier of widgets for Apple (et al), unmotivated learners in the US really won’t have that sort of option.

    The question arises – what will intelligent Americans (like Maddie, in the article) with limited educations be able to do?

    I will resist the overly-easy temptation to make any of several sarcastic remarks about one of our national political party’s completely contradictory “policy” ideas, and instead ponder one nugget that the article pointed out.

    The hard-to-manufacture (and therefore made-in-America) precision fuel injectors became indispensible to the automobile industry, because they had to come up with a way to improve fuel economy – thanks to government-mandated fuel economy standards – without sacrificing engine power.

    So (judicious) government regulation does not automatically equal “job killing”

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  45. Kaye said on February 3, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    “Nickel and Dimed in America” was an eye-opener when I read it several years ago. I bet she couldn’t find enough jobs to write that book today.

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  46. Linda said on February 4, 2012 at 5:25 am

    This is off-topic, but it’s heartening that Republicans finally rooted out some of that voter fraud they are always complaining about. What’s especially fun is the quote from St. Daniel, the governor/media darling, in which he says White can keep his job–the one in charge of enforcing voting laws in Indiana–as long as his convictions could be reduced to misdemeanors.

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  47. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 4, 2012 at 6:55 am

    Brian, I reacted just the same way on the unfortunate, lazy use of “broken education system” at the end of the very well-written, carefully considered article. For all of the rest that was looked at without assumptions or cant, and laid out as it is, that was a sad lapse. The education system is not prepared for the future as well as it can be, and our expectations of what a K-12 education system can do are surely broken and dysfunctional, but what educators and administrators have done with what we’ve asked of them is in the whole impressive. We just can’t figure out how best to educate the 10% who are not able or willing to push down their impulsiveness and put on enough conformity to make a go of sitting quietly in classes for hours a day and months a year — but who can and want (sort of) to learn and understand.

    I’ll still say: if you, or more to the point, your child, were to be placed at random into any high school in China, the US, and any European country, you’d be making a rash bet if you picked anywhere but here. A rural HS in West Virginia is still better than 90% of what China has; Europe, pretty denials aside, ruthlessly tracks and sorts from late elementary, and then compares their 9-12 graders to our everybody. To be fair, I’d be content with my son in any random Finnish high school, unless he turned out to have a vowel allergy. They do some interesting stuff: but they’re also like Iowa vs. the other 49 states. Their geography & demographics make their lessons somewhat un-scalable.

    Anyhow, our system isn’t “broken,” but it can use ongoing modernization and modification if we’re going to do right by the Maddies and the Marvins and multitudes.

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  48. Dexter said on February 4, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Hah! Blindsided! Went to bed to a forecast of mild weather and awoke to snowplows working and 4.0 inches on the ground and more piling up quickly. It is pretty and the Labbie dog loves it. We seem to be the only area in NW Ohio getting snow this deep.

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  49. beb said on February 4, 2012 at 11:23 am

    Linda @46: sweetie-darling, there are no “off-topic” comments here. It’s all good.

    Jeff (TMMO) @41: Americablog dug up some comments from Barbara Ehrenreich from Harper’s in 2001
    that seem relevant to the discussion.

    And Jeff again @47: I agree, it isn’t our education system that’s broken,, it’s thast it’s no longer possible for a kid coming out of high school to find a good paying job that will allow him or her to start a family.

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  50. caliban said on February 4, 2012 at 11:33 am


    I agree with you on American education, but the Teabangers and fundagelicals are certainly out to break it. How about a consonant allergy in Wales?

    Welsh place names are largely descriptive, eg: Mynydd Bach is small mountain (Mynydd = mountain, Bach = small). A famous example of this is:-


    Which roughly translates as:-

    The Church of St. Mary by the pool with the white hazel near the rapid whirlpool by St. Tysilio’s church and the red cave.

    Why have those wasteful public school systems and crooked teachers’ unions fallen so far behind on Welsh language education? “Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?”

    As far as voter fraud is concerned, I’ll be happy when they lock up the dueling banjos hayseed inbred James O’Keefe:

    And it’s interesting that Indiana has a doughboy version of Ohio’s Ken Blackwell.

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