Friday, October 28, 2005

Target's Response

Here's the response I received from Target regarding the pharmacist refusal issue:

Target is extremely disappointed that Planned Parenthood is spreading misleading information about an alleged incident at a Target pharmacy in Missouri and our policies on emergency contraception. The accounts being reported are inaccurate and exaggerated. Our policy is comparable to that of many other national retailers and the recommendations of the American Pharmacists Association.

Target consistently ensures that prescriptions for emergency contraception are filled. As an Equal Opportunity Employer, we also are legally required to accommodate our team members sincerely held religious beliefs as required by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In the unusual event that a Target pharmacist's sincerely held religious beliefs conflict with filling a guest's prescription for emergency contraception, Target policy requires our pharmacists to take responsibility for ensuring that the guest's prescription is filled in a timely and respectful manner. If it is not done in this manner, disciplinary action will be taken.

Target abides by all state and local laws and, in the event that other laws conflict with our policy, we will follow the law. We appreciate the opportunity to clarify our position and correct misinformation.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Unfortunate News about Target

So I limit my shopping at Wal-mart for many reasons, but I do shop at Target -- a lot. Today, I learned that Target has a corporate policy allowing pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions that violate the pharmacist's personal belief system (i.e. birth control). Outrageous! I wrote an email to the corporate office today and vowed to limit my shopping at Target over this ridiculous policy. My suggestion was that rather than hurt the customer, they should have a policy of not hiring nutcases. I also pointed out that such opinions were those of a radical minority and not in line with the majority of Americans. I'll post their response if I ever get one.

Rosa Parks

All I could think of today was Cedric's rant as Eddie in Barbershop: "Rosa Parks didn't do nuthin' but sit her black ass down on the bus." That along with "we got affirmative action and welfare -- now if that ain't resperations I don't know what is" are the funniest lines in that movie.

I also posted on several blogs that what Rosa Parks did was not a spontaneous act, but was well planned by the local civil rights leadership in which she was very active. She trained at the Highlander School and her action was deliberate, as was the organized boycott following it. This in no way diminishes her courage but it does point out that organized strategic action is more effective.

Perpetuating the myth that the spontaneous action of one individual sparked a movement actually damages efforts toward social change. Read this for more. (Thanks Ruby.)

When media reduces a story of committed, long-term leadership to a 30-second celebrity moment, more harm than good is done, says Loeb. This reportorial reductionism suggests to the public that social activists "come out of nowhere to suddenly take dramatic stands." Indeed, the overly-condensed, freeze-dried version discounts those people who spend years toiling for a cause without fame.

My Kind of Town

I'm very proud of my town leaders for passing this resolution.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

These People Must Be Stopped

Read this in the business section this morning:

American Girl, manufacturer of a highly popular line of dolls and children's books, has become the target of conservative activists threatening a boycott unless the toy maker cuts off contributions to Girls Inc., a youth organization that supports abortion rights and acceptance of lesbians.

Now, I am no fan of American Girl -- but I sure hope they do not give in to this. The people who believe this crap are a very small minority in this country, albeit loudmouths. The majority of Americans favor abortion rights and acceptance of gays. Its fine if this tiny but vocal minority stages a boycott, but letters should be written to American Girl reinforcing the opinion of the majority of Americans. You can email them from this page.

Great Final Words

This was in the Chicago Tribune:

Theodore Roosevelt Heller, 88, loving father of Charles (Joann) Heller; dear brother of the late Sonya (the late Jack) Steinberg. Ted was discharged from the U.S. Army during WWII due to service-related injuries, and then forced his way back into the Illinois National Guard insisting no one tells him when to serve his country. In lieu of flowers, please send acerbic letters to Republicans.

I want that last sentence as my epitath.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Great Movie Scenes

TBOGG posted this about movie scenes that stir your emotions. This one made me laugh so hard, I cried:

I bawled my eyes out at the end of "Independence Day" when I realized that my fantasy of personally punching out each and every person involved with the film would never be realized.

Since I absolutely hate "Independence Day" this snark was priceless.

My favorite movie moments (top of my head):

The singing of the Marseilles in "Casablanca."

Many, many scenes in "To Kill a Mockingbird."

In Lord of the Rings, when the elves arrive at Helm's Deep and when everyone bows to the hobbits at the coronation.

And OK this is totally sappy, but when Kris Kringle sings the Dutch Christmas carol to the Dutch war orphan in "Miracle on 34th Street, " I always, always cry.

There are many other movie scenes that have moved me -- what are yours?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Another Investigation?

There may be another investigation into the most corrupt administration since Reagan -- the false news stories planted by the White House Iraq Group (WHIG) may be part of the Fitzgerald investigation into the Plame outing. More from Digby -- a must read.

How You Will Pay for Paris Hilton's Tax Cut

The next thing on the horizon as Republicans continue to screw the middle class is how to pay for the Paris Hilton Tax Cut (the estate tax). President Dumbass's tax reform panel is to send him its recommendations by November 1 and is likely to propose to scaling back two popular and mostly middle class tax breaks: home mortgage interest and employer-paid health insurance. I agree with Atrios -- we have to start pinning down legislators on this one.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Sumo Las Vegas

Just back from Las Vegas where I attended the Grand Sumo exhibition -- the first time since 1985 that the top rikishi came to America. It was fantastic -- terrific event. Sumo is a great, great sport -- if more Americans saw it in person, it would be huge here. What a thrill to see in person the rikishi that I read about on the Japan Times English language sumo coverage. I didn't see any wrestlers outside the ring, but there were many sightings reported in the news coverage. I took my daughter, who figured she would be bored to tears, but has now become a huge sumo fan. We had a great time.

Vegas, on the other hand, is a pretty awful place. The smoke alone is disgusting, not to mention the general sleeze. But we had a good time anyway. My daughter loved the Hard Rock Cafe and the shopping -- oh, and M&M World, where we got some cute T-shirts from the M&M/Star Wars promotion (mine has storm troopers saying to an M&M character dressed as a storm trooper "Aren't you a little short for a storm trooper?"). It was packed in Vegas, since it was a holiday weekend, and celebrity sightings (Paris, Paris, Paris) abounded, at least according to the local newspaper gossip column.

Anyway, well worth it. Now back to the grind.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Rich Get Richer

Welcome to Bush's America. This must-read article (highlights below) is from the Oct 5 NY Times and its by David Cay Johnston who wrote the ust-read book Perfectly Legal.

...the share of income going to the richest slice of Americans - the top tenth of 1 percent - grew significantly in 2003 while the share going to 99 percent of Americans fell...

At the same time, the effective income tax rates paid by the top tenth of 1 percent fell sharply, declining at more than 10 times the rate reduction for middle-class taxpayers...

Only for those Americans in the top 1 percent, the nearly 1.3 million taxpayers who made at least $327,000, did incomes increase significantly more in 2003 than the rate of inflation. And this increase was concentrated within the top tenth of 1 percent. The income of that group grew by 9.5 percent in 2003 over the previous year while the rest of the top 1 percent had a gain of 3.7 percent.

For the bottom 99 percent of taxpayers, income rose by slightly less than 2 percent, which was below the inflation rate of 2.3 percent.

The top tenth of 1 percent had more income in 2003 than the poorest third of taxpayers, a group with 330 times the number of people, analysis of the data showed. This is a sharp change from 1979, the earliest year in the I.R.S. report, when the total income of the poorest third of Americans exceeded that garnered by the top tenth of 1 percent by 2.5 to 1.

The I.R.S. data tend to understate incomes for those at the very top because of different rules for reporting wages and capital gains, meaning the actual disparity was larger than the official data show.

Other data show that among major world economies, the United States in recent years has had the third-greatest disparity in incomes between the very top and everyone else. Only Mexico and Russia, among major economies, have greater disparity.

Monday, October 03, 2005

The Real Bill Bennett

Read this to know who the real Bill Bennett is.

[Bennett told the writer that he] did not want public schools to obtain new funding, new capability, new tools for success. He wanted them, he said, to fail so that they could be replaced with vouchers,charter schools, religious schools, and other forms of private education.

And this is exactly what No Child Left Behind is all about.

Conservatives spend a lot of time prettying up what they are really all about because if the public knew what they really think and who they really are, they would never, ever get elected, not even as dog catcher.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Bill Bennett

By now, you've probably heard that self appointed right wing cultura czar Bill Bennett said if you aborted all black babies, the crime rate would drop. Its astonishing to me that people don't seem to realize that what's so wrong with what Bennett said is the assumption that black people are inherently more criminal than any other race. There is no way to frame that other than as an offensively racist remark. But its part and parcel for today's conservatives.

Women Leaders

I watched a little bit of the new Geena Davis TV show "Commander in Chief" about the first woman US president. It was OK, not great. But it did prompt a discussion with my daughter who was surprised to hear that we'd never had a woman president, or even vice president. I started ticking off the list of nations that have had a woman president -- India, Israel, England -- when I got to Indonesia, I think she lost it. And I forgot about Pakistan. What a nightmare American politics are sometimes.

Slowly Into the Modern Media Age

No, I don't own an I-Pod or a PDA. But I finally bought a digital camera (for an upcoming visit to Vegas for a sumo tournament -- more on that later). And I signed up for both Netflix and I-Tunes.

Netflix is great -- first film we got was Crash, which was very, very good. I like it because I don't have a lot of time to watch movies, so keeping it as long as I like is a good thing.

I-Tunes is also great, but I could find myself spending a lot of money if I'm not careful. At least it solves the problem I often have of liking one or two songs on a CD and therefore not wanting to buy the whole thing.

Two Good Reads

Pierce on the future of New Orleans in the hands of Bush, Rove et al

Daily Kos diarist Hunter on the hypocrisy of Bush supporters crying over what's happening to their corrupt leadership.