Sunday, April 15, 2012

Teen rape victim jailed


Lisa Carey

And the War on Women continues apace.  

A few days ago I read this article about an “alleged” rape victim who was jailed.  Yes, you read that right, she was jailed while her “alleged” rapist goes free.  My anger over this issue has not abated since I read the article.  No need to read it – here is the video for you.

She is a 17 year old victim, who at the age of 16 was kidnapped, raped, sexually assaulted and actually came forward and reported the crime.  What courage that takes!  However for her efforts she is in jail (they are calling it custody in a juvenile hall) in order to make sure she appears to testify in his case.   So, while he goes free and prepares his case, she is in jail. Does anyone else see the problem with this? 

What is this Afghanistan?  Because in Afghanistan a woman that was cruelly raped by her husband’s cousin, was sentenced to jail.  He was sentenced to serve 7 years in prison and she was sentenced to serve 24 months but was released.   Her first appeal for release actually required that she marry her attacker, since she was pregnant from the rape.  That requirement has been dropped.

The young girl in question is represented by counsel who says, "I think it's outrageous that the DA's Office wants to put a rape victim – a juvenile rape victim – in custody, as if she were the criminal, in a case where she is the victim," attorney Lisa M. Franco told the Sacramento Bee. "You can't stomp all over her rights and put her in jail, when she's a victim, revictimize (sic) her and treat her like she's a criminal." 

"I can't tell you how terribly sorry I am that you're in the circumstance that you're in," the judge told the victim.

But the argument is that we have to “look at the big picture,”  "It's something that we have to look at the big picture on, there's a very dangerous man out there, we believe him to be a serial rapist, and we're doing what we have to do," said prosecutor Van Stalen.

The victim has missed prior court dates and cannot be forced to testify, however it was determined that her presence alone would win the case. She has run away from foster care three times, one time of which she used the opportunity to return to her mother’s house.  Honestly, I think I would too!

In the Sacramento Bee Assistant District Attorney Albert Locher said "It's the last thing we ever want to do. You never want to have a victim or a witness in custody. But you have to balance protecting the community. When you look at (Rackley's) background – multiple victims already – it's important that we try to prevent another victim from being harmed."

This girl has been in custody since March 27.  She goes before the court again on April 16th.  Her attorney says the girl is ready to appear and to testify.   Of course she is, she would do anything to get out of detention. Wouldn’t you?

What is this was your daughter, niece, or sister?   

Lisa Carey is a Yahoo Shine parenting contributor, Top 1000 Yahoo Voices Contributor as well as Houston Family Examiner and owner/author of Money Saving

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

"Private parts" and politics don't mix

by Lisa Carey 

Many states have started making decisions about women and their "private parts."  These decisions are wrong in so many ways and affect our families, our faith, and our future.

According to St. Louis Today: “The Senate passed a bill that would let employers deny health insurance coverage for birth control for employees who cannot prove a medical need for it.” On the same day, the House “passed a bill that would shield health care workers from participating in anything that conflicts with their conscience.

In Arizona,  House Bill 2625allows any employer to refuse to cover contraception that will be used "for contraceptive, abortifacient, abortion or sterilization purposes." If a woman wants the cost of her contraception covered, she has to "submit a claim" to her employer providing evidence of a medical condition, such as endometriosis or polycystic ovarian syndrome, that can be treated with birth control Arizona state Rep. Debbie Lesko (R) says: "My bill does one thing and one thing alone. It allows an employer with religious objections to opt out."  

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney: "Vote for the other guy" if you want birth control covered. 

Thanks to insurance "gender rating," women pay more for health insurance than men, even among plans that don't include female-specific services like maternity coverage.
Maine state Rep. Lance Harvell questions why pap smears are covered by insurance.
Rick Santorum declares that states should be allowed to outlaw birth control.

Be sure to see these 10 Reasons the Rest of the World Thinks the U.S. is Nuts and these 101 Assaults in the "War on Women" for even more myths and misconceptions about women's bodies and our health. 

These laws are a long time coming.  I just didn't see them.  Let's look at my family.  We have four children.  We lost two children during pregnancies. 

I'm over the age of 40 but still able to have children, though in my case it could, though it sounds dramatic, kill me.   After the birth of my youngest I went on birth control, because it's the only way to keep me safe and a mother to the children I do have.   My insurance company quit paying for it, citing some law in the state that they were incorporated having to do with "birth control is not a medically necessary prescription" therefore it's not going to be paid. "

Yep, I heard it first, a little over a year ago, before the rampage against women's rights and health in 2011 began and I didn't listen.  So, I started paying my $85.00 a month for birth control on top of my $500+ insurance plan, even though I do have a medically mandated reason for needing it.  The insurance company didn't agree.   Now I continue to pay, in more ways than one if these practices are not stopped.

Thanks to Gov. Rick Perry, my young teenage daughter was going to be given a vaccine (which of course my insurance didn't want to pay for since she was only 14) because he decided it medically necessary to vaccinate against HPV.  At least some people were smart enough to overturn that decision and my daughter was spared having to explain her sex life (and lack thereof) to a doctor she didn't even have a relationship with. . . oh wait, maybe the doctor's wouldn't give the vaccine now because according to these politicians and mouthpieces, medical providers don't have to do anything that goes against their morals and doesn't this just give girls the idea that it's okay to have sex? After all they are now protected from a serious form of cancer.  They can still get pregnant though, because they can't get birth control. 

My younger daughters may find that their physical well-being in the future is compromised as medical providers, instead of  abiding by the Hippocratic oath to "first do no harm," doctors or other medical providers who are "morally against" a treatment, medicine or type of care and may withhold that  treatment, from you, me and our daughters, based on laws like these. 

Now your personal opinion may agree with those that say so and so shouldn't be on birth control.  But that's your personal opinion.  Personal being the operative word.  It's not politics.  It's not a law. It's my health and yours that we are talking about here.  It's your daughter's, your niece, your mother, and your sister and no one, but no one should be treating my private parts as public property.

So to all of you who are reaching into my womb, I say, "Hands Off!"  I won't tell you what to do with your body, don't you tell me what to do with mine. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The War on Women, A Progressive Man’s View

A (self-admitted) conservative male acquaintance recently asked me what the War on Women means. Herein I will attempt to answer him. 

First let me provide a shortened definition of War: War is an organized, armed, and often a prolonged conflict that is carried on between states, nations, or other parties typified by extreme aggression, social disruption, and usually high mortality…” For the past 10 or so years there has been a nationwide assault by right-wing Conservatives in this nation on women’s reproductive health (birth control, abortion and access those services, etc.) that could certainly fit the definition of War.  The political, social, and moral assault by all strata of conservatism at the federal, state, and local levels of government across the U.S. has been unrelenting in nature and socially disruptive. 

This Republican/Conservative sponsored War on Women has reached a fulcrum in the last two years as state after state has introduced legislation designed to limit women’s access to abortion and or contraceptives and the health clinics set up to administer them.  The nations’ most visible women’s health organization, Planned Parenthood has come under withering, sustained and unrelenting attack by the denizens of the right for its support of abortion services to mostly low-income women across the nation.

The morality-based attack (most recently dressed up in the guise of religious freedom and thereby a question of Constitutional freedom) on women’s reproductive health issues across the nation certainly seems coordinated and calculated by the right-wing and carried out by the Republican Party and their minions (Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Fox News, etc.) to disrupt and or upset established societal norms that were hard fought for and codified in establish law since the mid-1960’s.

Below are links to some of the actions taking place on the battle-front:

For me War on Women being waged by the Conservatives/Republican Party is not a moral, or ethical issue, but one of the Fundamental, Civil, and Human rights of women.  The moral argument fails if the rights of women as full citizens in this nation are to be respected and upheld and they are to be afforded equal protection under law! This is a War with abortion and religion at its corrupted core.

Like it or not, detest it or not, support it or not, abortion is legal in the United States as settled by Roe vs. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973). A woman has a right to choose if, when, how and where she will carry a child; her womb, her choice!  A woman’s womb does not belong to the state, nor to society, it is her, inside her body, it is a part of her, like a kidney, a bladder, a heart, a lung.  Women’s wombs are not public property, nor do they belong to the Catholic Church, or any religion for that matter; and they should not be the subject of public debate or public laws designed to govern their use and disposition. 

The current onslaught of proposed and enacted laws is stunning in their seeming hatred and disrespect of women at a fundamental level, as they not only seek to make it next to impossible to obtain an abortion (Alabama is seeking to close the lone abortion clinic in the state), but to separate pregnant women from all other citizens there by creating a class of citizens whose every activity is scrutinized by the state and subject to criminal prosecution as in the case of (then 15-year old) Rennie Gibbs who faces life in prison in Mississippi over the death of her unborn child. 

These onerous and despicable laws not only seek State control over what a woman does with her body, her vagina, her womb, but would give that power to almost anyone else who seeks it as well (employers, insurance companies, clergy, husbands, boyfriends, rapist) anyone that is except the woman; she is but a child, a scatterbrained, emotionally driven female who must be guided through life by level-headed White men who know best.  These laws are debasing, demeaning, mean-spirited, misogynistic, and hateful; they are an affront to everything this nation is supposed to stand for and they must not stand

Noted feminist, Satirist and Media Critic, Soraya Chemaly encapsulated the War on Women best in a recent article entitled: 10 Reasons the Rest of the World Thinks the U.S. Is Nuts in the Huffington Post when she wrote: "Mr. England unlike the calves and pigs for which you expressed so much empathy, I am not a beast of burden. I am a woman and I have these human rights:

The right to life.
The right to privacy.
The right to freedom.
The right to bodily integrity.
The right to decide when and how I reproduce."

She went on to state: My human rights outweigh any you or the state corruptly and cynically seek to assign to a mass of dividing cells that will eventually turn into a 'natural' person. Personhood-for-zygote based bills and related legislation, like Georgia's and hundreds of others, bills and laws that criminalize pregnancy and abortion and penalize women for being women, violate my human rights.”  

Both she and I are pissed!! I am tired of having to fight for rights that are already guaranteed under the Federal and all fifty state constitutions.  Are these laws, these stains on the intellect and common decency of any rational human being—the mark of an “Exceptional” nation Mr. Santorum?  I say no, far, far, from it!  I want America to be Exceptional, to live out the lofty principles of her founding, but how can we as a nation of over 300 million diverse people move ahead when Conservative Republicans seek to drag us back to 1900 with their archaic, openly misogynist laws?    

This is not the nation I want to bequeath my (4) daughters, and my (8) nieces; a country wherein they are branded “sluts” and “prostitutes” for daring to have sex outside of marriage like so many men habitually do.  This is not the nation I want to live in now where such hatred towards my wife, my daughters, my nieces, my friends is tolerated and held up as sane when in fact it denigrating and degrading to ALL Americans. 

At the end of her article Soraya Chemaly said this: In a 1851 speech in which she argued for equal rights for women, Sojourner Truth said the following: ‘The poor men seems to be all in confusion, and don't know what to do. Why children, if you have woman's rights, give it to her and you will feel better. You will have your own rights, and they won't be so much trouble.’"

And so, I have joined the battle on the side of the Angels because I truly believe in equal rights for all Americans, not just some. Human rights are universal they are not set aside especially for those who wield a penis and wear fair skin; we all deserve to live our lives with dignity, respect, and a modicum of happiness no matter where we choose to seek it.

Men: women are sexual beings, they want and enjoy sex every bit as much as we do, deal with it! Abortion is legal and contraception is a medical necessity for a modern American woman’s reproductive health; deal with it.  Women are not our playthings, they are not our property; they are human beings who deserve our respect, our understanding, and our support!

And so, I fight, with women on this issue, I stand shoulder-to-shoulder with my beautiful wife, daughters, nieces, friends, and citizens to let them know THIS man has their backs!  Like them, I will see these laws and these men—and in some sad cases women—turned out of office, and struck from the airwave and this hateful, destructive War on Women brought to a swift close with the victory flag waving high on the side of the Progressive, the rational, the sane!  Enough is enough.  

Have you had enough? Join us on April 28, 2012 for the National March Against The War on Women being held in all 50 states simultaneously. 

E-mail me at:      

I'm Back!!

Wow, I’ve been away for a while, busy with life.  I decided to giving political writing a rest after the 2008 election cycle, my mind and spirit needed the rest.  But as we cruise in to the 2012 election cycle, i am feeling the urge again the unburden my heart and mind.  

You see we are in a crazy political and social season in America.  Ever since Barak Obama became President of the nation the Conservative wing of the Republican Party has simply lost its collective mind! The result: we have been living through a 3-year long episode of the fucking Twilight Zone!  As the months drag by the Grand Old Party has been getting nuttier and nuttier; I have to admit that most of what they are advocating across a brad spectrum of issues is just plain nuts! 

So, I am back!  I have to have a release valve for my thoughts, more meaningful than Twitter and more unguarded than Facebook.  This is my private/public space, my canvas of of ideas that dare not shout their frustration elsewhere.  So look out from now until the end of this election cycle I will be posting here; it will be raw, emotional, terse, inspired, angry, and Progressive, but of course it will make sense!! 

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Inauguration of Hope

The inauguration of the nation’s 44th President is less than a week away, and the period finds my soul a kaleidoscope of mixed emotions. I am happy, I am anxious (a rarity for me), I am contemplative, I am troubled, I am tired, and I am exasperated, yet exhilarated. My soul embodies all of those emotions, but the one that rises to the top is pride. I am proud that to be an American, not a just Black American—thought certainly my pride in hue and tenor of my skin never wavers—but an American, who at long last is fully able to partake in the America of Martin Luther King’s imagining. It is most fitting that the day after we celebrate that great man’s birth, we inaugurate this nations first Black President!

I feel as though my long, oft-times lonely and seemingly fruitless ideological believe in the Principles undergirding the founding of this great nation—as embodied in the Declaration of Independence and Federal Constitution—have been finally justified by that actions of the majority of my fellow citizens. A broad spectrum of Americans from all walks of life elected Barak Obama to be our next leader because they saw past the color of his skin and embraced the content of his character. Many, many, Black Americans never thought they would live to see this momentous day come to pass, but here it is upon us, and now even the world, yes the world, is holding it collective breath, placing its hopes on a renewed America—and all that purports— squarely upon the shoulder of this man of African and American decent.

The nation is going through the worst economic upheaval since The Great Depression thanks in no small measure to the lack of stewardship and leadership of the outgoing Republican Administration. Now it is up to Obama to correct the course, to steer the ship of state back to calm, prosperous waters wherein the American Dream can once more flourish and be realized by all Americans without the scourge of corruption, or the ugliness of greed. Of course I am mindful that he cannot do it alone, but he can and does provide the leadership, vision and wisdom necessary to see us through to a brighter tomorrow.

To quote James Taylor: “Let us turn our thoughts today to Martin Luther King, and recognize that there are ties between us, all men and women living on the Earth; ties of hope and love; sister and brotherhood.” Barak Obama’s Inauguration Day is our day, let all Americans rise to the occasion and throw off the shackles of partisanship, racism, trepidation, hatred, and doubt that may divide us and celebrate the coming of what we all (should) hope will be a new dawn for our nation and indeed the world!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Republican Views on Auto Bailout Show A Stunning Lack of Vision

Republican Party lawmakers who are scratching their collective heads and wondering why they are now the party of the margins need look no further than the American automobile bailout for the answer as to why they are no longer trusted with the nation’s governance.

Despite the national economic meltdown, caused in large part by a free-market run aground upon the shores of unfettered greed, Republicans in Congress have suddenly found their conservative voices and refuse to vote affirmative on a proposal to float the "Big Three" auto-makers (GM, Ford, and Chrysler) low interest loans to help them make it to next spring intact. Despite the abject failure of the free market to self-correct time and again in American history without government guidance; i.e. oversight, Republicans continue to claim that “it” knows best. I loudly and strongly disagree.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a proponent of the free-market, a well-regulated free-market that is. An unfettered, unwatched, and unregulated free-market is not in the best interest of any human society, because not all citizens benefit, and human greed eventually proves corrupting and disastrous. I contend that a little socialism mixed with capitalism is the way to go.

And to that end I support floating a loan to the Big Three, because their demise would swell the ranks of the unemployed by some 3 millions according to most estimates. And it would weaken national defense and place an undue and unnecessary burden on an already sinking economy. Not to mention that a failed U.S. auto industry would severely hamper our ability to wean ourselves from foreign sources of energy. Yes, Toyota, and Honda build hybrid vehicles, but they are not American companies and therefore not vested in seeing that America become energy independent.

And yes, the Big Three (and the congressional delegation from Michigan) are partly to blame for placing the nails in their own covens and nailing them shut. Their foolish short-sided thinking the slavish devotion to quarterly profits blinded them to the inroads the completion was making into hybrid technology, so now they are playing catch-up. And instead of supporting the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) standards, they were a bulwark against them year after year, after year, to the determent of themselves, the American consumer, and the nation.

But, the current morass the Big Three find themselves in is not entirely of their own making. They are playing on an uneven field. Toyota, Honda, BMW, Daimler-Benz, and Hyundai do not have the active employee/ retiree health care and pension obligations that American car makers do, nor are their factories unionized. Health and traditional pension benefits place and enormous financial burden on American automakers, obligations the aforementioned foreign concerns do not share. True, GM did reach an agreement with the UAW late last year to move 340,000 retiree (or surviving spouses) health care cost off its books and onto the unions’ shoulders, but it cost them a staggering $30 billion to do so.

What is needed to prop up the Big Three for the short term is imaginative thinking. The government needs to lead in the fight to wean America from the teat of foreign oil. Instead of loans the government could and should invest directly in the Big Three in the form of stock. Government intervention in the auto industry is not unprecedented; it has taken action in the past; in the 1980’s the government floated Chrysler low interest loans and bought the company’s K-cars in order to help it stave off bankruptcy. It worked. Chrysler came back from the brink, the government made back it money, Americans kept their jobs, and Chrysler went on to start a new car segment. In short everybody won.

The infusion of cash into the Big Three would not only help keep the companies afloat, but also give them the capitol need to invest in hybrid technology. That would be step one.

Step two: replace the entire fleet of government owned vehicles with hybrids made by the Big Three. The U.S. government owns and operates some 642,233 vehicles according to GovCentral. In order to show the American people that it is serious about moving the country in the direction of energy independence, the U.S. government should take the lead in purchasing and operating hybrid vehicles of all types; e.g. plug-ins, hydrogen, and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), wherever feasible. In addition, the federal government should encourage state governments to follow its lead, and dramatically increase the tax incentives for private citizens to switch hybrids built by American car companies.

Step three: support and partially subsidize the building of an energy infrastructure that will support hybrid vehicles. This means an Energy Department led initiative to see the placement of at least one pump at every major gas in the nation devoted to hydrogen and CNG.

Would this cost a lot of money? Yes, in the short term it would, but short-term thinking is what got us (the U.S.) into this economic and energy mess to begin with. Its way past time to start thinking about long-term energy solutions for the nation. In the long term, this is a win/win proposition, because the United States has some of the largest know natural gas reserves in the world. And hydrogen is the most abundant naturally occurring substance in the universe; we don’t have to pay for it, just extract it, and man has been doing that for more than a century. Lets us not forget that water is two parts hydrogen!

Would we still need oil? Of course, but as we replace oil and gasoline with other forms of energy we would gradually import less and less and in time rely solely on domestic stock.

The United States is facing an economic earthquake on par with the Great Depression. The time for Pollyanna economic models that have heretofore proven largely unequal to the task of "forming a more perfect Union" should be set aside in haste to make room for other models that work in favor of all Americans. Letting the Big Three fail, thereby throwing millions more Americans out of work (remember 1.2 million Americans were let go in 2008 alone, and Citigroup just announced a layoff of 10,000 more) and all that entails to cling to a failed economic model that seeks to enrich to the few at the expense of the many is the kind of foolish, conservative, rose colored thinking that our nation can no longer afford.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

HE WON!!! Now He Must Govern!

As a Black-American (African-American if you prefer) man, I was keenly affected by President Barak Obama’s victory last night. I have never been more proud to be an American. Last night Americans showed the world and each other that we are not a static society stuck in the morass of our racially charged past. We, the United States, have come a long way since the days of Jim Crow and all of the pain and suffering it ushered in for the countries Black citizens.

Last night that light upon a hill shinned much brighter, the Constitution gleamed in its enduring ideological strength, and Martin Luther’s Kings words, spoken so long ago, reverberated around the country and the world. Americans have chosen their President based on the content of his character and not the color of his skin!

But, now he must govern, not from the left or right, but from the center. He has a mandate from the American people and his character thus far suggests that he will not squander it on needless. He will lead, but will the Republican’s in Congress let his govern without too much partisan luggage? Time will tell, my fellow Americans, time will tell.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Hope Floats as Obama Speaks

Anticipation and emotions ran high last night on the eve of Barak Obama’s acceptance speech and rightfully so. He needed to define himself for the American voter, frame his presidency, and show that he had the strength to battle John McCain on the tough issues facing our Republic while maintaining some semblance of civility. Barack hit it out of the park and his words of hope, spirit of harmony, and drive to restore the promise of America reverberated across the globe!

"America, we are better than these last eight years…[We] are a better country than this."...Barack Obama

...And I am proud; a proud American, a proud Black man. Prouder still than when some 23 years ago as a young Petty Officer 2nd class I manned the rails of the battleship U.S.S. Iowa (BB-61) as she silently, slowly, and majestically slipped into the port of La Harve France. She was the first American warship to do so since WWII and along the banks of the walls and jetty’s that surrounded the port French citizens waved hands and small American flags. Up until last night I had never been so proud to be an American!

And I am hopeful. Hopeful that my fellow citizens will see what and my wife and millions of other Obama supports see in this man: optimism for the future of our nation; a renewal of the America’s can-do spirit that has been sapped by eight long years under the heels of an incompetent gangs of fools, and; a restoration of American moral suasion and standing that Bush and his minions so ineptly squandered.

"This moment - this election - is our chance to keep, in the 21st Century, the American promise alive."...Barack Obama

These are no mere words at least not to me. Bush and his ilk have managed to sully America’s image abroad, and diminish hope here at home. The majority’s willingness to sacrifice freedom and well established American values for the promise of security has appalled me over these last eight years. But more than that, the Bush Administration unchecked shredding of our founding papers has put at risk the very Republic so many look to as the last best hope for freedom and democracy in the world. Four more years under another Republican Administration would further erode our nation’s intellectual and moral base, leading to an almost irrevocable slide towards meritocracy, and indeed threatens the very nature of our representative democracy! Is that what we want for our children and our children’s children?

"America, we cannot turn back…[W]e cannot walk alone. At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to walk into the future."...Barack Obama

At the end of Mr. Obama’s speech last night I sat in stunned silence for long moments taking in what I just heard and saw. And truth be told, I had to hold back the tears! More than ever I am convinced that we need this man as our next President; he is a leader, a husband, a father, a proud Black man with a healthy, beautiful Black family. Barack is a symbol to all Americans, indeed the world, a living example if you will of the American dream lived, the American promise fulfilled; he is the very embodiment of these hallowed words: “We the People in Order to Form a more Perfect Union.

We have come to a nexus in our history where as a nation we either throw off the shackles of fear and hopelessness and rise to new heights of achievement, self reliance and world leadership under an Obama Administration, or we continue our downward slide toward economic stagnation, dependence on foreign energy and foreign money as well as world marginalization and isolation under a McCain Administration.

Wise men and women will cast their lot and those of their children with Obama; those not so wise, those hemmed in by the narrow thinking of yesteryear, those frozen with fear and devoid of empathy, will cling to the hollow promise of McCain who promises more of the arrogance short-sided thinking of the Bush Administration.

I’ve made my choice, and I chose HOPE!