Thursday, May 26, 2011

Compare and Contrast: Unwanted Penetrations and Pete DeGraaf

Seems that Kansas State House Rep. Pete DeGraaf is having trouble telling a flat tire from a rape.

The Kansas legislature passed a bill banning insurance companies from offering abortion coverage as part of their general coverage (women who would want that coverage would have to buy that separately). During the debate, Rep. Barbara Bollier “questioned whether women would buy abortion-only policies long before they have crisis or unwanted pregnancies or are rape victims.” (As we already know, insurance companies just love to cover "pre-existing conditions.") Fellow Rep. DeGraaf replied that women should plan ahead for situations such as rape; after all, he plans ahead and carries a spare in his car. Just in case his tire is violently and unwantedly penetrated.

Check out this story in ThinkProgress.org.

While there is nothing wrong with planning ahead for unwanted situations in life (that is what a SIGNIFICANT part of self-defense training is about), Rep DeGraaf's comparison is totally bogus. Do we ask people to similarly plan ahead for heart disease, by forcing them to buy separate insurance? How about car accidents - will I need to purchase ER coverage because by law it can't be included in my general medical policy?

The real point is not about planning, it is clearly a blatant attack on women's abilities to control their own health care, particularly reproductive care. One of the oldest power ploys in the book. Don't fall for this one.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Do You Know TED?

TED Talks are Ideas Worth Spreading. At least that's their tag line. And it's accurate.

TED Talks are recorded and online, and free. The idea is to watch them, and spread them. They're given by highly thoughtful people, many of them established leaders in their fields, other new emerging intellects. As they say, riveting talks by remarkable people. Watch some, you'll certainly feel smarter.

Here are a few I've watched lately and I deem worth spreading:

Jim Fallon on the neuroscience of psychopathic killers:



Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues, on security:



Bruce Schneier, on "security theater," where what makes you feel safer may not actually be making you safer. So what will?



Do you have a favorite TED Talk?