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Archive for March 10, 2012

Cedar Valley Voices – The Funnel and Women’s Rights

Larry Hodgden of Tipton is among a group of writer’s who provide an alternative voice to Rep. Kaufmann’s column is the small town papers around Iowa City. He has graciously consented to allow me to republish these letters. Thank you Larry.

Crunch time in the Legislature

A number of bills have survived what’s called the funnel at the Iowa Legislature in Des Moines, only a few of which deserve debate. First a comment on one that didn’t survive and that was the attempt to prohibit public/private college boards from restricting weapons on campus. Now let us get this straight. First the law for County Sheriffs to issue gun carrying permits was changed from “may issue to shall issue” over their objection. Then the legislature voted to end the levy for mental health needs in each county in favor of a “regional plan”, however that might work. Regardless mental health care is underfunded and that is undisputed. And now a bill has been introduced in the legislature to force colleges to allow guns to be carried on campus. Someone needs to stop and think about the insanity of this deadly combination.

Campus shootings grab big headlines mostly because they are so rare. The numbers show .07 murders per 100,000 on campus while nationally it is 14.1 murders per 100,000 of young people aged 17-29. Misguided legislation like this will not make campuses safer and is bound to end badly. This legislation will likely be re-introduced next year so ask your legislative candidates how they stand.

The move to reduce commercial property tax is still alive and morphing as we write this. Now ask anyone if they like tax reductions and you’re sure to get an affirmative answer. A recent poll taken of 800 voters when asked about tax cuts resulted in 32% wanting income tax cuts, 23% wanted residential property taxes cut, 13% wanted corporate income tax cut and only 12% wanted commercial property taxes cut. Once again Iowans seem to be way out ahead of the legislators. And for good reason as they know when the Republicans start talking tax cuts, especially for their wealthy friends, they, the average Iowan, end up paying the difference. Do you really want to cut property taxes for Wal Mart and end up paying more in property tax, sales and income taxes to make up the difference? Watch your legislative candidates to see where they stand on this issue.

Women’s Rights

Why is it that men think they have the right to limit the choices women have when it comes to their bodies. And usually the excuse given is defending religious freedom. No one is denying anyone’s right to practice any religion they want, even when that religion would deny women access to medical and contraceptive care. That is what freedom of religion is all about. So I can choose a religion which supports women’s freedom of choice when it comes to their health, their bodies and their partners. And you can choose a religion which wants to prohibit those choices.

We can also choose a government which wants to protect the right of women to have access to health care and reproductive choices. One that recognizes and respects women as equals in the workplace and the military and does not make women into second class citizens when it comes to choosing a life partner. Or you can choose, or let others choose, a government which demeans women and threatens every right we have fought for and won. The choice is yours.

Women appear to have made a choice as 98% of Catholic women and 99% of all women use or have used contraceptives, often as a medical necessity. And most men support this choice and indeed even benefit from it. It’s a well known fact that contraceptives have prevented more abortions resulting from unwanted pregnancies than all the religious attacks on women’s choice ever could hope to.

Rushpublicans And The War On Women

For the life of me, I cannot understand why the Republican Party (my name, Rushpublicans) has decided to let their leader, Rush Limbaugh into a battle of hate for women. seems to me to be quite short sighted at best and at worst such a strategy could have huge long range disastrous consequences.

One would almost think what they believed was yet another in the pantheon of enemies that Rushpublicans have been creating, demonizing and then doing battle with over the past decade or two. They have redrawn Muslims into caricature enemies as they have also done with immigrants, people of color, the poor, and basically anyone who does not talk like them, look like them or have their portfolio.

But picking a fight with women is indeed taking on a group that if it united and flexed its muscle could drastically change how this country is run. Maybe this will be the wake up call for women to finally pay attention to some of the neanderthals that are making laws. It is long past time that women should have at least half the lawmaking seats in the country and this seems like a good time to start achieving that. If nothing else, the vast majority should now begin to understand which party and which legislators are on their side. Let me give a hint by saying this party gave America its first female speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.

Besides going to battle with half the population, the Rushpublicans have also enraged a huge number of men in this country who respect women. These men have had women close to them in their life who have shown them that women are more than just another group to be denigrated. Women who have been the mothers, the sisters, the daughters, the wives, the teachers or possibly the boss or co-worker. Most American men have good relationships with the women in their lives and as such are just as insulted by Limbaugh’s remarks.

What is almost as amazing as Limbaugh picking this fight with women is that none of the so-called leaders of the Rushpublican Party has enough guts to stand up to Limbaugh and say he was wrong. Mitt Romney only said “those are not the words I would have used.” Thus he endorsed Limbaugh’s sentiment, just not his language. Even a woman Rushpublican, Sarah Palin, defended him. Sarah, would you have defended him were that your daughter he was speaking of? In general he was, Sarah. Still OK with that?

But not only at the national level have the Rushpublicans failed to condemn Limbaugh. Gov. Branstad? Senator Grassley? Rep. King? This is the man that speaks for your party these days. How about Bob Vander Plaats? The silence is deafening.

Makes me almost wish that one of my all time heroes, Billie Jean King would come back for one last battle. She could challenge him to a duel of brain power at 50 paces. And once more, Billie Jean would vanquish an arrogant man. Because in such a battle, Limbaugh would come in unarmed.