Our Common Good

An electronic board on Franklin Road in Caldwell juxtaposes photos of James Holmes, accused of killing 12 in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater last week, with President Obama. About Holmes, it says: “Kills 12 in a movie theater with assault rifle, everyone freaks out.” About Obama: “Kills thousands with foreign policy, wins Nobel Peace Prize.”

What’s the point? Obama broke his promise to bring the troops home and many young Americans have died, said Maurice Clements, who is helping keep alive the provocative libertarian tradition of the late Ralph Smeed, whose billboard (now electronic) is a Caldwell landmark. “We’re all outraged over that killing in Aurora, Colo., but we’re not outraged over the boys killed in Afghanistan,” Clements said of public sentiment.

What connects Holmes and Obama? Clements said he’s just comparing the way society reacts. “We’re not saying that Obama is a lunatic,” he said.

[…]

Sound off, learn more: Clements said he invites public feedback: (208) 250-2193; http://smeedonstate-ism.com/

McCormack came to him early last year, saying that she was a single mother living on between $200 and $250 a month and faced felony charges.

Authorities say on the day before Christmas in 2010, McCormack took abortion drugs to terminate a pregnancy that was more than five months along. An acquaintance heard that she’d done it and called police, who looked into the claim said they found a fetus in a box on her porch.

The county prosecutor charged McCormack under an Idaho law that makes it illegal for anyone other than a health care professional to be involved with terminating a pregnancy. Hearn defended McCormack and the case was dismissed. But it wasn’t a total victory, a judge tossed the charges “without prejudice,” meaning she could be prosecuted again at any time.

Meanwhile, Idaho lawmakers passed the fetal pain law.

Such regulations ban abortions after 19 weeks of pregnancy, under the premise that a fetus may feel pain at 20 weeks.

The scientific research that bolsters the measures has been the subject of heavy debate, but such bans have been gaining momentum among conservative legislators. A plan passed last year in Idaho with overwhelming support.

Hearn didn’t want McCormack living with the constant threat of prosecution and decided to turn the tables. Rather than wait for the law to come after his client, he and McCormack decided to go after the law.

They sued in federal court last September, fighting for McCormack’s right to take medication to induce an abortion and for doctors’ rights to prescribe such drugs. They also took aim at the fetal pain abortion ban, which they felt also violated women’s constitutional rights to privacy.

But U.S. Judge B. Lynn Winmill ruled the lawsuit wouldn’t get class-action status and that McCormack didn’t have the right to challenge some aspects of the law because she wasn’t currently pregnant and seeking an abortion.

So Hearn went one step further, filing a motion to intervene as a plaintiff himself, in his role as a physician who may want to prescribe abortion-inducing drugs in the future.

rhrealitycheck:

Wow. This guy. Needs to stop talking. And needs to stop proposing legislation to curb reproductive rights.

Idaho Senator Chuck Winder’s contact info:

Just in case any of you want to tell him how you use rape as an excuse to get your abortion or you want to volunteer for their live ultrasound demonstration which is scheduled to take place in the Idaho state Capitol on Wednesday afternoon. h/t ThinkProgress

theriverwanders:

pantslessprogressive:

“Rape and incest was used as a reason to oppose this. I would hope that when a woman goes in to a physician with a rape issue, that physician will indeed ask her about perhaps her marriage, was this pregnancy caused by normal relations in a marriage or was it truly caused by a rape. I assume that’s part of the counseling that goes on.” - Idaho State Senator Chuck Winder (R-Boise), suggesting that women may lie about being raped in order to obtain an abortion.
Winder made these remarks during closing testimony on legislation, which he sponsored, that would require women to obtain an ultrasound prior to an abortion.
Additionally, there would not be an exception for victims of rape, incest or women in a medical emergency. More from HuffPo’s Laura Bassett:

If Winder’s mandatory ultrasound bill becomes law, a victim of rape or incest or a woman with a medical emergency who is seeking an abortion must obtain an ultrasound first and the state will provide a list of providers. Nearly every provider of free ultrasounds in Idaho is a “crisis pregnancy center,” which aims to dissuade women from having an abortion. The woman would also have to obtain from a doctor a second ultrasound, which would involve an invasive transvaginal procedure if she is in her first trimester of pregnancy. Even if she averts her eyes from the ultrasound image and refuses to listen to the fetal heartbeat, she would have to hear the doctor describe the fetus in detail.

State Rep. Cherie Buckner-Webb (D-Boise) responded to Winder’s remarks:

Let me tell you, a comment like that is very painful. A comment like that is what keeps women from coming forward.

The legislation passed in the Idaho Senate 23-12 and now heads to the House.

This guy looks pretty douchey if ya ask me.

I couldn’t believe this when I first heard his statement on the news.  What a grade A asshole. 

theriverwanders:

pantslessprogressive:

“Rape and incest was used as a reason to oppose this. I would hope that when a woman goes in to a physician with a rape issue, that physician will indeed ask her about perhaps her marriage, was this pregnancy caused by normal relations in a marriage or was it truly caused by a rape. I assume that’s part of the counseling that goes on.” - Idaho State Senator Chuck Winder (R-Boise), suggesting that women may lie about being raped in order to obtain an abortion.

Winder made these remarks during closing testimony on legislation, which he sponsored, that would require women to obtain an ultrasound prior to an abortion.

Additionally, there would not be an exception for victims of rape, incest or women in a medical emergency. More from HuffPo’s Laura Bassett:

If Winder’s mandatory ultrasound bill becomes law, a victim of rape or incest or a woman with a medical emergency who is seeking an abortion must obtain an ultrasound first and the state will provide a list of providers. Nearly every provider of free ultrasounds in Idaho is a “crisis pregnancy center,” which aims to dissuade women from having an abortion. The woman would also have to obtain from a doctor a second ultrasound, which would involve an invasive transvaginal procedure if she is in her first trimester of pregnancy. Even if she averts her eyes from the ultrasound image and refuses to listen to the fetal heartbeat, she would have to hear the doctor describe the fetus in detail.

State Rep. Cherie Buckner-Webb (D-Boise) responded to Winder’s remarks:

Let me tell you, a comment like that is very painful. A comment like that is what keeps women from coming forward.

The legislation passed in the Idaho Senate 23-12 and now heads to the House.

This guy looks pretty douchey if ya ask me.

I couldn’t believe this when I first heard his statement on the news.  What a grade A asshole. 

Openly lesbian state Sen. Nicole LeFavour is running for the U.S. House of Representatives in Idaho’s second congressional district.

There are two other Democrats in the primary. The winner will face incumbent Republican Mike Simpson in a district that includes northeast Boise, Mountain Home, Twin Falls, Ketchum, Burley, Pocatello and Idaho Falls.


Like many of the more recent versions of the model legislation (i.e. everything since the big blow up in Virginia over what some called “state-sanctioned rape”), the Idaho bill doesn’t state what type of ultrasound — vaginal or abdominal — has to be performed.  But one thing they do mandate is who should perform the ultrasound.

The bill states that either a doctor or someone else at the clinic where the abortion is being performed must administer the ultrasound. And that is what is causing the problem.

Women’s health activists are arguing that conducting an ultrasound in many cases can add around $200 to the cost of an abortion. For a large share of women seeking to terminate a pregnancy, many of them lower-income, the additional expense can cause true financial hardship.

Not to worry, says legislators.  Part of the bill requires the Department of Health and Welfare to maintain a list of places where women can obtain ultrasounds for free.  The list will be created by groups that contact the department and state that they provide free ultrasounds.  The list, which will be posted on a state-sponsored website that doctors and abortion providers can direct women to, is expected to be populated almost entirely by Limited Pregnancy Health Centers.

In other words, crisis pregnancy centers.

Rep. Carlos Bilbao, R-Emmett, sponsor of HB 530, told the House Health & Welfare Committee, “If it’s for medical reasons, I have no problem. It’s also legal for you to use it to end life, that’s your business. But I say to you and the federal government, do not ask me to pay for your abortions and your contraceptives. Do not. And the federal government is saying I will.”

Bilbao said his bill was prompted by the federal health care reform law requiring contraceptive coverage as part of basic health care. It would let any policy exclude contraceptives because “I do not know whether it’s going to be a pill used to end life or fix a medical problem,” he said. “When I think it is wrong, it is wrong whether you like it or not. That is for you to judge.” He urged passage of the bill.

runfromtheherd:

Just as the Idaho National Laboratory finished cleaning up one of its nastiest nuclear waste dumps, some leaders in eastern Idaho are looking for ways to bring a different kind of nuclear material to the state.

Nationally, U.S. reactors have generated 65,000 metric tons of spent fuel, of which 75 percent is stored in pools, according to Nuclear Energy Institute data. A spent fuel rod gives off enough radiation to kill people a foot away in a matter of seconds.

With 30 million rods sitting in pools like those that failed at the ill-fated Fukushima Dai-ichi plants in Japan, this is a problem now and will be in the future.

And the money quote:
Idaho’s Republican Central Committee approved a resolution earlier in July that said “used nuclear fuel is not a waste product, rather that it should be considered by the state as an asset-based material with all the legal ramification included under federal law,”
Nuclear waste isn’t waste. It’s an opportunity, people!

Read more: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2011/09/13/1797072/will-spent-nuclear-fuel-find-a.html#ixzz1XqDAERSr


runfromtheherd:

Staying with this image for the evening.
I just caught the local school superintendents on NPR. Our public school district now has a per-pupil expenditure of $4,000/student. This is the lowest in the nation for districts over 25,000 students. Last place. We’ve lost $43 million in the last 3 years just from this district. Teacher salaries have been cut a few times, & they’re slated to be cut further in the next several years. 
Let me repeat: teacher salaries will be cut every year for the next 6 years. Oh, but good news! That money will be funneled into pay-for-performance. And that never ends up in political and fraudulent disasters, does it?
I can’t even get worked up enough to outrage tonight. Just despair. Kids are our future, and we entrust them to teachers that we treat like shit. This is our society. This shows what our priorities are.

runfromtheherd:

Staying with this image for the evening.

I just caught the local school superintendents on NPR. Our public school district now has a per-pupil expenditure of $4,000/student. This is the lowest in the nation for districts over 25,000 students. Last place. We’ve lost $43 million in the last 3 years just from this district. Teacher salaries have been cut a few times, & they’re slated to be cut further in the next several years. 

Let me repeat: teacher salaries will be cut every year for the next 6 years. Oh, but good news! That money will be funneled into pay-for-performance. And that never ends up in political and fraudulent disasters, does it?

I can’t even get worked up enough to outrage tonight. Just despair. Kids are our future, and we entrust them to teachers that we treat like shit. This is our society. This shows what our priorities are.

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter (R) issued an executive order which effectively forbids his state from participating in Medicaid as soon as the ACA goes into full effect.

Medicaid is an entirely voluntary program in which the federal government provides generous grants to the states to administer a health program for their low-income residents. Yet Otter’s executive order forbids state agencies from implementing “any provisions” of the ACA, and it provides that “[n]o executive branch department, agency, institution or employee of the State shall accept or expend federal funds to implement the provisions of the []ACA.”

The reason why this is problematic is because, starting in 2014, the ACA requires states participating in the Medicaid program to offer health coverage to all persons under the age of 65 who earn up to 133 percent of the poverty rate. In return for expanding Medicaid, the federal government will provide each state with the lion’s share of the funds required to do so.

Otter’s order forbids his state from complying with these new requirements to remain in the Medicaid program, and it also forbids Idaho from taking the federal funds that will allow it to pay for expanding Medicaid.

To be fair, Otter’s order also provides an onerous process allowing Idaho’s Medicaid program to seek a waiver from the prohibition on implementing the ACA. If such a waiver is not granted, it will completely blow up Idaho’s state budget. Presently, Idaho receives over $1 billion in federal grants to administer its Medicaid program — an amount that equals approximately two-fifths of the state’s overall budget. If the state gave up this money, it would have to chose between eliminating health coverage for the 223,198 Idahoans who currently depend on Medicaid or implementing similarly draconian cuts such as slashing its public schools budget by 85 percent.

In other words, in his zeal to strike a political blow again President Obama’s most important accomplishment, Otter has endangered the health of over more than 200,000 Idahoans and forced financial ruin upon his state.