February 26th, 2014


Test Tube Teens

You'd think someone who screws so many voters would understand reproduction better.

The whole thing started in the state of Virginia, with a vote on a bill that would make ultrasounds mandatory for anyone seeking an abortion (the better to guilt trip them with) and a vote on a fetal personhood bill.  This would not only effectively ban all abortions in the state, but would also throw the legality of some forms of contraception such as the morning after pill.  Among the people voting in favor of this was Virginia State Senator Steve Martin (R).

The Virginia Pro-Choice Coalition reached out to him on February 14th, Valentine's Day.  They sent him a Valentine's Day card urging him to protect a woman's right to choose and to support reproductive health options "including preventing unwanted pregnancies, raising healthy children and choosing safe, legal abortion."

Martin's response?  He went to his Facebook last week to rant about women's bodies.  Here's the showstopper -- "I don't expect to be in the room or will I do anything to prevent you from obtaining a contraceptive.  However, once a child does exist in your womb, I'm not going to assume a right to kill it just because the child's host (some refer to them as mothers) doesn't want it."

Yes.  He referred to a pregnant woman as a "host."  Did I mention this guy was on the Senate Education And Health Committee?  What, pray tell, was the selection process like?

On Monday, he edited the post and changed "host" to "bearer of the child."  Nice try, but people suspected he might do that and screencapped that shit for GRATE JUSTICE.  Save this to your hard drive.


And furthermore, "If it's your expectation that I should support such nonsense, I will be breaking your heart," he wrote. "You can count on me to never get in the way of you 'preventing an unintentional pregnancy.' I'm not actually sure what that means, because if it's 'unintentional' you must have been trying to prevent it."

Like I said, Martin edited the post on Monday.  He says he changed the word "host" people took it the wrong way.  Oh, no shit, ya think?  "I don't see how anyone could have taken it the wrong way," he said (any volunteers to diagram this for him?  -- G). "It was me playing their argument back to them. Obviously I consider pregnant women to be mothers."
Tarina Keene is the executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, and she fired off the following in an email -- "Sen. Steve Martin obviously has zero understanding of the reality of reproductive choice and what it means for women to have control over their bodies, families, and lives.  His remarks demonstrate what exactly these extreme lawmakers mean when they talk about 'personhood' - that pregnant women are no more than vessels. Even more outrageous, he also fails to understand how he as a lawmaker can help empower women to reduce unintended pregnancies -- something that should be a common goal for all."

If they ever decide to consider retroactive abortion rights, I think Sen. Martin would make a fine poster child.

And Now, One For Guys Who Like Playing With Their Balls

I hope you guys have saved up some irony, because a man named Jack Burkman has just used up the free supply for the time being.

Burkman is the CEO of Burkman LLC.  In case you couldn't guess from this little bit of narcissism, Burkman is a lobbyist.  Specifically, a Republican lobbyist.  He used to appear on the cable news channels all the time, but in the last few years, he scaled that back in favor of expanding his clientele, and he's done pretty good at it.  Now, Republicans like to brag that one of the planks in their platform is that the government has no business telling private industry how to conduct itself.  But Burkman is preparing legislation that will do just that, and he's going to put the arm on R lawmakers to get this out there.

Now, you're probably thinking this has something to do with Obamacare.  A reasonable guess, but wrong.  Burkman's target is the National Football League.

Ah, you're probably now thinking, he must be concerned about the concussions and other injuries that the league has either been in denial about or has swept under the rug.  Another reasonable guess, but also wrong.

Prepare your face for the impact of your palm -- Burkman wants to introduce a bill that will bar gays from playing in the NFL.  Nothing else, not the NCAA, not any indie leagues, just the NFL.

Now, you're probably thinking, What the fuck?!?  What does a national bill have to do with football?  Well, Burkman feels that banning gays from the NFL is the first step towards Saving The Republic.  While the government shouldn't be sticking its nose into private enterprise, "there are times when that is trumped for reason of great urgency or necessity. And I think this is it, because I see the society sliding in the wrong direction."

Now, lest you think this is just about discrimination, Burkman points out that some of his best friends are gay.  Jesus, not this shit again.  His prediction of their reaction to this? "I think they would respect it.  I would hope that they would respect that a person is doing what he thinks is good public policy and doing what he thinks is right for the country."  People like me think what's good for the country is getting rid of special interest money.  Where's our press and support?
"I felt that if the NFL doesn't have any morals, and people like [Commissioner] Roger Goodell, who are just go-along-get-along guys, just want to appease advertisers, appease corporate America and all that stuff.  I figured, well, it is time for conservatives in Congress to step in and define morality for them."  I bring this up because a reporter mentioned that, as far as defining morality goes, Burkman's name was allegedly on a D.C. madam's client list. "The story simply was false.  I'll say what I said on the air at the time. It is simply a false story. The numbers listed were never mine. It was planted by somebody in the liberal blog world. My life has been far from perfect. I am hardly any type of embodiment of moral perfection.  But I have never let that stop me from doing what I think is right for the nation."  The only thing that would make this "moral stance" funnier is if he got Newt Gingrich to stump for this.  I might actually die laughing.

The bright side is this just seems to be a stupid publicity stunt.  He claims that one Senator and five Reps are interested in co-sponsoring the bill, and he could get five of the first and thirty-six of the other within three weeks.  But he isn't giving any names.  Not only that, but all he's said is he's creating legislation.  He hasn't produced any actual wording.  Not that it would help, since the Supreme Court established back in the New Deal days that the government can't do shit like this.  In fact, he's the one who revealed this whole thing to the world.  He issued his own press release, this isn't something else anyone else came across and felt worth reporting.

One reporter seized on Burkman's statements that a gay man disrupting the delicate equilibrium of a locker room and asked if that was also a concern for congressional locker rooms? Openly gay politicians share gyms there, so should they be prohibited from serving in Congress?
"That is up to Congress," Burkman said.  Spin spin sugar.
Burkman was willing to say having separate locker rooms for gay and straight players "would be a start."  Notice he said "start," not a solution.  As far as comparing this to the color barrier of major league sports, he says, "That is a completely different thing, a different issue. Race, skin color, have nothing to do with it," Burkman said. "This is not about bigotry. It is about common decency and civility. Society is moving to a point where we are going to have unisex bathrooms and the next generation thinks that is OK."

All joking aside, there is actually danger here.  Burkman is making the same assumption the R's did back in the 2012 elections -- that the majority of voters are not happy with a black President and marriage equality and other civil rights victories and will vote for any candidates that promise to restore the old status quo.  Burkman himself told reporters that maaaaaaaaybe the bill could be used by an R primary challenger to defeat an incumbent in the primaries.  Yep, Burkman is a Tea Partier!

Welcome to the Lunatic Fringe.  Your bunk is right over there.