Last week, America's preeminent talk-show blowhard made on-air remarks which not that long ago would have ended any broadcaster's career in a hurry. And he made them over the strains of Peter Gabriel's 1986 hit single, Sledgehammer. (I wonder what Rush would say if he realized that Mr. Gabriel was a major donor to England's Labor Party, currently supports the Green Party in that country and is vehemently opposed to the Iraq war?)
Now, it's one thing to rail against contraception, something which people in civilized nations now take for granted and which the governments of every advanced nation (and many developing ones as well) have permitted if not actively promoted for decades. It's quite another to wantonly slander an innocent woman who was merely trying, in a very civilized manner, to explain to a congressional committee (which had shut her out for no particular reason) that health insurance should be required to cover medical contraceptives because, as in the case of a classmate of hers, they are often used “off-label” to treat serious medical conditions.
Thus far, Rush's oral flatulence has cost him two key sponsors.
Meanwhile (with the emphasis on “mean”), the Virginia legislature recently passed a bill requiring every woman seeking an abortion in that state to submit to a vaginal ultrasound rather than the external kind which has been used in maternity clinics for years. In other words, the Commonwealth of Virginia believes it's not enough to simply shame and humiliate a woman who is making one of her life's most difficult choices. She must also be bodily violated, i.e. legally and medically raped. The fact that the Virginia state senate at the last minute deleted the odious vaginal-probe provision from the pre-abortion ultrasound bill headed for governor Bob McDonnell's desk changes nothing. The message is still plain as day: Virginia is no place to be female.
And in other news, the New York State legislature is considering a bill which if passed would allow people who were victims of sexual assault to take civil action against their attackers, even if the assault happened decades ago when they were children. Everyone seems to think this bill is a good idea. Everyone except, according to the Albany Times-Union, the Conference of Catholic Bishops. You'd think the Conference would welcome a tough new law meant to make it easier to bring civil action against sex criminals. Instead, the Times-Union article continues, it fears that lawsuits arising from clergy sexual abuse in the past could cost the Church millions.
Now, whose fault would that really be?
By way of wishing to end this posting on a more positive note, I offer this emotional display from a Republican member of the Washington state legislature. She is seen here pouring out her heart about the legalization of same-sex marriage.