Karen C. Nolan

First They Came for Breast Health, Then Birth Control: Pin the Tail on the Nazi

In News commentary, Political commentary on February 8, 2012 at 3:27 pm

JC Penny recently hired Ellen DeGeneres as their new spokesperson, seemingly a good move, considering how well Ellen is received in society, and how well-liked, and accepted, she clearly is by the American public.  However, the conservative group One Million Moms (OneMillionMoms.com [A Project of the American Family Association]) is bashing JC Penny for hiring an active, open lesbian as spokesperson.  JC Penny’s customers are people with traditional family values, who will be very offended by Ellen, OMM claims on their website.  JC Penny is standing by their decision to make Ellen their frontwoman.  They are standing by Ellen, which, I think, is a good thing.   

So does Bill O’Reilly.  He has a pretty big problem with the social-conservative witch-hunting of Ellen, and he said so on The Factor: “The essential question is that a conservative group in this country is asking a private company to fire an American citizen based upon her lifestyle. I don’t think that’s correct.”

In fact, it’s blatant gay bashing wrapped in a blanket of Christian family values.  I’m reminded of Max Von Sydow’s line from Woody Allen’s Hannah and Her Sisters: “If Jesus came back and saw what was going on in his name, he’d never stop throwing up.”

Strange how, at a time when some conservatives are calling Obama a Nazi for trying to require that the Catholic Church obey the same standards as other organizations when acting as an employer (i.e., providing health insurance coverage of birth control), many of those same conservatives and conservative groups are aggressively attempting to relegate a whole segment of American society to second-class citizenship. 

Perhaps they should re-read the poem “First They Came” by Martin Niemoller, which is being grotesquely brandied about to paint a picture of the Obama administration as nothing more than a pack of brown shirts, and apply it to their own urges. 

People, newspapers, and corporations are not always what they appear to be. 

Karen Handel, former senior vice president of public policy at Susan B. Komen, may indeed be more at home at One Million Mean Moms.  She certainly wouldn’t have to lie to the public about her motivations and could actively pursue such lofty goals as cutting low-income women off from breast cancer screening at Planned Parenthood.  

Which brings me to my own urge to point out that Planned Parenthood may offer abortion services at some of their clinics, or, more commonly, access to information about how and where to obtain an abortion, but it certainly isn’t promoting abortion.  It promotes birth control, aggressively.  I think it’s fair and safe to say that Planned Parenthood has prevented far more abortions than it ever facilitated, which is another good thing. 

Komen has the right to be foundationally pro-life, and Planned Parenthood has the right to be foundationally pro-choice.  Komen can choose to associate, or not, with Planned Parenthood.  But blowing smoke up women’s arses about why it is pulling funding from Planned Parenthood is plain lying, it is offensive, and it is wrong.  Which is why supporters of Susan B. Komen need to take a closer look at this organization.  Karen Handel didn’t just so happen to trip and fall into her senior position at Komen.  Komen leaders chose to hire her as senior vice president of public policy, knowing her personal politics and goals. 

Clearly, Komen has for a long time wanted out of its relationship with Planned Parenthood because of Planned Parenthood’s involvement in the provision of — legal, by the way — abortions.  Fine.  They should have said that, and they never should have donated to Planned Parenthood in the first place, if associating with Planned Parenthood was so offensive to its pro-life values.  Instead they baited and switched.  Or tried to.  Hypocrisy can be expensive.    

The increasingly prominent social-conservative attack on the provision and availability of birth control is noxious as well.  Organizations such as Planned Parenthood, which support the availability of birth control for all women, not only help to improve the lives of women, children, and men by providing preventive health care, they help to prevent abortions. 

We the people need to start examining, very carefully, the organizations wielding so much power and influence in our country, and in our individual lives.  Groups like the American Family Association that don’t like gays marrying their loved ones and participating in society; churches that believe they are above the law; charities that claim to profess one set of values while covertly advocating for the opposite values all endanger our individual liberty.

It’s time to take off the blind folds and stick the pins in the real Nazis’ hearts. 


Philadelphia Coming Apart at Its Seams

In News commentary on January 31, 2012 at 10:24 am

I wonder if we could call Betsy Ross back from the dead, because we sure do need a good seamstress.

Philadelphia is fast becoming the City of Hateful Beatings, with the latest — known — random beating occurring the evening of Saturday, January 28, at 8:30 pm, at 15th and Chestnut.  This time the victim really was truly random — he wasn’t losing his temper, cursing and yelling and drawing the unfortunate attention of marauding savages; he was sitting in a cab at a red light when the savages dragged him out of the cab and started to wallop him.  When the cab driver jumped out of the cab to help, the savages started to beat him, too, until he started hitting back with his tire iron, which brought an end to the attack.

A victim hitting back, with a weapon no less.  Sounds like a very good idea.  Effective, too.

The cops caught the perpetrators a few minutes after they fled the scene and took them into custody.  The three teens, two aged 17, one aged 15, are facing aggravated assault charges, possibly even hate crime charges, too, because apparently the teens, who are black, were casting racial aspersions upon the victims, who were white, before and during the physical attack.

The City of Philadelphia is a bomb not waiting to explode but in the process of exploding.  The explosion has reached such traditionally safe and peaceful neighborhoods as Society Hill and Old City, and is now making its mushroom cloud way into the center of Center City during prime Saturday night time, when all kinds of nice people, of all classes and colors and nationalities and religions, come out for dinner, to hear music, to have drinks, or just to enjoy each other’s company by having a walk.  In peace. 

These people, all of them, deserve to be safe, they deserve to feel safe. 

Most people of all races, religions, and nationalities are good people.  They just want to be happy and live in peace with the people they love. 

Well, in Philadelphia, they better beware.  Because the other people who are not good, who are not happy, and who do not just want to live in peace with the people they love, are increasing in number and becoming much more aggressive.  And they are expressing their anger and hate, physically.

Mayor Nutter is well aware of this, and he seems to be trying to take action.  But he, and the citizens of Philadelphia, are in a real pickle.  Because what can be done? I don’t think any of us want to live in a society that has armed police officers on every street corner — or do we? What price safety? What price peace? It is a larger question, obviously, given the situation of foreign terrorism, and not one easily answered.   How really to combat domestic terrorism (which is what this new trend of crime amounts to)? Waging the two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq sure didn’t help much, but could it have, had it been waged differently, with a bit more determination to fight back the way victims of violence and terrorism actually should fight back?

The way the innocent react — whether the Innocent is the United States against the Taliban and the countries that give safe harbor to terrorists or Philadelphia against marauding gangs — matters. 

It is relevant that the cabbie who managed to get to his trunk to grab his tire iron and started beating the beaters did indeed stop the beating.  In a matter of seconds.

Is it time for the Nice People to weapon up and fight back? Clearly.  Once the rotten people realize that they don’t rule the streets, that if they are going to hit or shoot or stab someone, they very well might get hit, shot, or stabbed back, they will stop hitting, shooting, and stabbing. 

Three cheers for that cab driver.  We all, citizens, Mayor Nutter, and the United States itself, have something to learn from him.

Joe Paterno: He Didn’t Dare Disturb the University

In News commentary on January 27, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Joe Paterno, who, you must already know, died at age 85 January 22, has had a tremendous amount of news coverage since that death.  A ridiculous amount of coverage of his funeral, for example.  Maybe a reasonable amount of coverage considering his vast accomplishments in football coaching and charitable giving.  Most glaringly, however, is the shockingly little coverage of his failure to do the right thing when the right thing was most in need of being done.

And you already know what that is, too.  Call the police, er, the real police, not the University police, when Mike McQueary told him he saw Jerry Sandusky sodomizing a child in the football showers.  Paterno claimed that McQueary just claimed to have witnessed an “incident,” so somehow just reporting this to Athletic Director Tim Curley was enough action.  I don’t understand how, even if McQueary didn’t say the words “raping,” “sodomizing,” “having sex with,” “messing around with,” Paterno didn’t do a double take and say “WHAT??? What the hell do you mean, an incident? What the hell did you see???” and then called the police.  The Grand Jury in 2002 certainly had enough information to get a pretty darn good idea what had been going on in that shower.  And I don’t buy for one minute that this was the only peep of pedophilia Paterno had heard regarding Sandusky over all those years.

The reputation of Penn State was the most important issue.  Paterno was an integral part of the University Ubermensch, and he did his duty as such.  Keep it quiet, don’t say anything to anyone.  And so they did, they all kept it quiet and didn’t say anything to anyone, while God knows how many boys were raped, humiliated, and stripped of their innocence by a monstrous, raging pervert.

How can a man who colluded in a cover-up of the violation of children be so blindly hailed as a near saint? He may have been one of the greatest college football coaches in history, he may have been a great donator of money to charities, but when he had the chance to do the most important thing any of us could ever have a chance to do — protect a child who is being harmed — he passed.

The overwhelming questions should not have been so overwhelming if Paterno was the man who was so excessively celebrated this week; such a man should never have had any indecision on the subject of protecting children; such a man never should have made wrong decisions so in need of revisions that were, of course, never made, despite there having been the time.  Paterno should have dared to disturb the universe of Penn State, and it shouldn’t have been so daring a thing, to protect children.  At the end, when all the efforts at concealment, when all the hushes had proved in vain, when all the thin walls came crashing down to reveal the ugly truth, I wonder if it was worth it for Paterno, worth it after all.


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