The Senate will soon be voting on what should be an uncontroversial bill: the Paycheck Fairness Act. The Act would expand and strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the Fair Labor Standards Act, in order to address the, yes, still very real pay gap that exists in almost every single profession.
This is one of those no-brainer bills that should fly right through Congress with unanimous bipartisan support. But since Republicans hate women—and fairness—they've previously blocked the bill in Congress and are giving every indication that they'll do so again. Because even though Republicans are desperately trying to prove they don't hate women, and even though Mitt Romney has said he thinks equal pay is just dandy, the reality is that Republicans quite like the way things are, thank you very much. And they don't see any reason why we should bother to address the pay gap, or enforce equal pay laws, because that's not fair to employers who currently enjoy exploiting the reduced price of women's labor.
Cue Dana Perino, former mouthpiece for George W. Bush and now a Fox "News" bobblehead, perfectly articulating the Republican Party's dismissal of the silly little notion of equal pay:
Well that it's just yet another distraction of dealing with the bigger, major financial issues that this country should try to be dealing with. This is not a job creator. This will actually—there is an argument that it could actually hurt women.Oh, sure. Equal pay will hurt women because, um, stuff. But that's not all dim bulb Dana has to say:
I'm for equal pay for women for doing the work that they do.No, Dana. If you do not support laws to require and enforce equal pay, then actually, you're not really "for equal pay for women." You're "for employers being able to pay women whatever the heck they feel like paying, even if it's less than what they pay male employees." It's a subtle distinction, I know, but try to keep up. Or offer up meaningless anecdotes from the morning paper. Whichever:
Interesting story in The Wall Street Journal today that there is an amazing crop of women right now that are on the verge of becoming CEO in the next five to ten years.Oh, yes, that is interesting. You know what's even more interesting, Dana? That "amazing crop of women" who are just a hop, skip, and a decade away from becoming CEOs are going to get screwed more than women in any other profession:
The Institute for Women's Policy Research took a look at pay for the most common men's professions, and the biggest gap came in the very area that's supposedly the most meritocratic job title in the country: CEO.Oops.
Now, we know that Dana Perino isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer, since she thinks there's no reason to know anything about world events that happened before she was born—and the Equal Pay Act was signed into law before she was born—but this concept is so simple, even she should be able to wrap her little mind around it. If you believe that women deserve equal pay for equal work, then you must support laws to enforce equal pay because employers aren't going to voluntarily do it. If they did, the pay gap wouldn't exist.
Now, Dana, if that's still too complicated for you to understand, maybe you should go home and ask your husband about it. Perhaps he can explain it to you.
This week's good, bad and ugly below the fold.
- Shit is fucked up and bullshit in Texas. Many shots were fired in the ongoing battle, led by Gov. Rick Perry and his fellow anti-woman Republicans, to defund Planned Parenthood, even at the expense of denying basic health care to 130,000 women. First, a federal judge ruled that "state officials cannot exclude Planned Parenthood from a health care and contraception program for low-income women." The next day, Judge Jerry Smith of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the lower court's ruling and said that Texas can exclude Planned Parenthood from its health care program. Then, on Friday, a three-judge panel ruled that actually, no, the state cannot exclude Planned Parenthood. What will happen next week? Who knows?
But in the midst of all the judicial back and forth, Laura Bassett at Huffington Post reported this tidbit:
In the appeal for the emergency stay, a team of attorneys led by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott compared Planned Parenthood to a terrorist organization. [...]The Texas attorney general immediately took to Twitter to deny it:
Money is fungible, and taxpayer subsidies -- even if 'earmarked' for nonabortion activities -- free up other resources for Planned Parenthood to spend on its mission to promote elective abortions ... (because '[m]oney is fungible,' First Amendment does not prohibit application of federal material-support statute to individuals who give money to 'humanitarian' activities performed by terrorist organizations).
Just one little problem with that denial: it's a lie. The brief goes to great length to argue that, as with terrorist organizations, every penny that goes to Planned Parenthood is tainted because any grants—even if they are specifically designated for non-abortion services—allow Planned Parenthood to engage in activities that Texas argues (wrongly) are "fundamentally inconsistent with the goals of the Women's Health Program." What are those goals? According to the brief:
The Women’s Health Program is designed to promote women’s health and reduce unwanted pregnancies by encouraging family-planning methods and birth-control strategies[.]
Gosh, doesn't that sound an awful lot like Planned Parenthood's mission too?
- Now that the Senate has passed the Violence Against Women Act, House Republicans are trying like hell to sink it. Tell your representatives to support the Violence Against Women Act.
- Here's a thought: If your job is to provide health care, and you have a "conscience" problem with providing health care or even talking about health care, get another goddamned job. Or move to Kansas:
A bill giving more legal protection to Kansas health care providers who refuse to participate in abortions was on its way Wednesday to Gov. Sam Brownback, despite concerns it would limit access to birth control and allow some professionals to block life-saving care. [...]
The measure extends "conscience" protections to clinics, doctor's offices and other facilities other than hospitals. People are protected not only from being forced to participate in abortions but from referring patients for abortion services or participating in the prescription or administration of any drug that terminates a pregnancy.
The legal protections extend to any individual or institution that "reasonably believes" that the use of a drug terminates a pregnancy. Some critics said that provision will allow doctors and pharmacists to refuse to prescribe or dispense birth control.
They also said it could allow a doctor to refuse to provide chemotherapy to a pregnant cancer patient because it might end her pregnancy.
- Georgia just became the seventh state to ban all abortions after 20 weeks, with no exceptions for rape or incest.
- Offered without comment:
[Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David] Prosser, the subject of an ethics complaint filed in March with the Supreme Court, said in his response to the complaint Monday that the commission “may not investigate or prosecute protected speech, advocacy and etiquette of Wisconsin Supreme Court justices when they are deliberating in confidential closed conferences.”Okay, one comment. Choking a woman is not a matter of etiquette; it's assault. Okay, one more comment: Fuck you, Prosser. No, seriously. Fuck you.
The three alleged ethics violations stem from a June 13 incident in which Prosser acknowledges putting his hands around the neck of Justice Ann Walsh Bradley “to protect himself” and a February 2010 incident in which he admits calling Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson “a total bitch.”
- Proponents of Florida's Stand Your Ground law claim that it's a "pro-woman" law. But here's an interesting little data point:
Florida’s Stand Your Ground law actually exempts the overwhelming majority of female victims from its so-called protections — the law does not apply to domestic violence cases.So in Florida, if you see a kid walking home with a bag of Skittles, you have the right to shoot him dead because you fear for your life. But if your husband beats the shit out of you and threatens to kill you, you don't have the right to shoot him dead because ... uh ...
- Arizona just defunded Planned Parenthood because nothing says "pro-life" like denying health care to women.
- Well, isn't this adorable? Republicans had a secret meeting about how to get Republican women excited about Republicans:
But a visit to the closed-door meeting Monday found Republican women in the crowd eager to push back against Democratic suggestions that the GOP is anti-woman. The Republican leaders behind the event, however, were not as eager to talk about what even Mitt Romney has admitted is a failure to connect with women. [...] But attendees at the conference signaled that some were, in fact, smarting from the Democratic attacks.
- Why, yes, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is waging a war on women's health:
USCCB's testimony in the case—which is still ongoing—was revealing: It argued that reproductive health services simply weren't important. In one filing, lawyers wrote, "USCCB disputes as a matter of principle that abortion and contraception are 'medical services' that any person 'needs.'"
- Given the bishops' official position that reproductive health care isn't really health care, this is rather remarkable:
Three weeks after the Iowa Senate rejected a Dubuque anti-abortion activist for a seat on the Iowa Board of Medicine, Gov. Terry Branstad has nominated a prominent Catholic priest for the spot.So this dude, who belongs to an organization that officially rejects reproductive health care as legitimate, is now responsible for deciding who gets to practice reproductive health care in Iowa? What could possibly go wrong with that?
Msgr. Frank Bognanno, the pastor at Des Moines’ Christ the King Catholic Church, has spoken against abortion, which his faith condemns. The medical board, which licenses physicians, gets involved in the issue when abortion opponents file complaints about abortion providers.
- Do not fuck with the Girl Scouts:
Since remarking in February that the Girl Scouts of the USA were a subversive group of commies and abortionists, Indiana legislator Bob Morris of Fort Wayne has received only one campaign donation. This is a great example of why you do not fuck with the Girl Scouts — they will bleed you dry while singing campfire songs and teaching girls everywhere important life skills. And afterwards, they'll get a "VANQUISHING POLITICAL ENEMY" merit badge.
- The Oklahoma Supreme Court told the Every Sperm is Sacred egg worshippers that no, an egg is not a person, and that's such a stone-cold stupid non-issue, that no, the good people of Oklahoma cannot even vote on whether an egg should be a person because such a question is "clearly unconstitutional."
- Your bonus video for today:
I want to say a little something that's long overdue
The disrespect to women has got to be through
To all the mothers and sisters and the wives and friends
I want to offer my love and respect to the end.
This week's marching orders:
- Become a co-sponsor of the Equal Rights Amendment.
- Tell your senators to support the Paycheck Fairness Act.
- Tell your representatives to support the Violence Against Women Act.
- Donate to Planned Parenthood.
Now go forth, sluts, and raise hell.