In Memoriam

I’m a wannabe journalist, but I was an aviation journalist. The toughest assignment I had was doing interviews and shooting photos in the July heat of Oshkosh, WI. I admired from afar the journalists who went into war zones or areas of conflict, when the war wasn’t “official,” and worked hard to show the rest of us what was really happening. I knew, intellectually, journalists sometimes got killed in areas of the world where governments don’t respect Freedom of the Press. Having someone you admire killed on behalf of truth brings it close to home.

In the 1990’s I had two, particular journalist heros–Veronica Guerin, who exposed crime at high levels of Irish society, and Anna Politkovskaya, who wrote first about the Russian debacle in Chechnya then corruption under Vladimir Putin. Both were murdered, Guerin by the mobsters in the Gilligan gang she exposed. No one was ever convicted of her murder, though one Gilligan gang member provided information about the murder in exchange for entering Ireland’s Witness Protection Program. The three men arrested–one with a vague Russian State Security link–in connection with Politkovskaya’s murder were acquitted.

Washington, DC’s Newseum maintains a Journalists Memorial, which contains the name of every reporter killed while pursuing the story anywhere in the world, as well as biographical information on each journalist. The list begins in 1837 with the death of Elijah Parish Lovejoy, who was killed by a pro-slavery mob as he protected the presses for his abolitionist newspaper, The Emancipator Extra.

In the past two weeks, unfortunately, three more journalists will join Lovejoy and 2,083 others on the Journalists Memorial: Anthony Shadid, Marie Colvin, and Remi Ochlik. All three died in Syria, working to show the rest of the world the truth of Bashir Assad’s brutal regime.

Shadid, originally from Lebanon, was known and respected for his balanced reporting about the Middle East. He was respected by all religious factions in the area because of his fairness, and the fact he knew what he wrote about. He died from an asthma attack, a death far from ignoble. He knowingly went into an area where he knew medical supplies were limited. Sometimes, the story is important enough.

Colvin was said to be fearless, and she knew first hand the dangers of telling a story a repressive government didn’t want the world to know: David Blundy, who hired her for The Sunday Times, was killed reporting in El Salvador. Colvin’s reports from Homs, Syria, were raw and uncompromising. She died, along with Ochlik, at a makeshift press center, which might have been targeted on purpose by Syrian government forces. (Shrapnel cost Colvin her left eye while she reported on conflict in Sri Lanka.)

Ochlik, only 28, wanted to be an archeologist as a child in France, but when his grandfather gave him a camera, he took to it at once. He had a talent for capturing in his photos the emotions of a demonstration, and he was best known for covering the 2004 Presidential elections in Haiti. He returned to Haiti in 2010 to cover the cholera epidemic. Haiti, he said, was his war–“It was where I always dreamt to be, in the action.”

When you read or see journalists, pause for a moment and acknowledge that many of them go to places and into situations the rest of us would never have the guts to go. They show us truth.

Politics Wednesday – No Religious Test

The right wing nut jobs always fall back on the Constitution to bolster their specious arguments. Some, in fact, consider it handed down from God, though the word “god” appears nowhere in it. You’d think God would have cleared up any future debate about the alleged sanctity of the Constitution by dropping his name a time or two.

Unless you’re a constitutional lawyer (like President Obama) or a nerdy political scientist (like Rachel Maddow), you’ve probably never delved past the Constitution’s Preamble (“We the People…”) or the Bill of Rights. There is an obscure clause–obscure only the the RWNJ’s chose to ignore it–about something called “a religious test.” The Founding Fathers, believe it or not, were fed up with Anglicans’ having a chokehold on political jobs. Anglicanism was the State religion of England, after all. Virginia’s statute on religious freedom, written by Founding Father Thomas Jefferson, was to support Baptist congregations the state’s Anglican-laden government had thrown into jail for not being Anglican.

The Founders embraced that Jeffersonian principle of freedom of religion in the First Amendment, but they also wanted to make certain that no single religion would dominate the government they were creating. Tucked away in Article VI, paragraph 3, is this gem:

“The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required [emphasis added] as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

I’ve blogged about this before, when a poll showed one in five Republicans believed President Obama was a Muslim. Somehow, in their minds, that deemed him ineligible to be President because he wasn’t Christian. Certain evangelicals make the same argument today about Willard Romney’s Mormonism, but Article VI applies in his case as well. We had the argument fifty years ago when John F. Kennedy, a Catholic, ran for President. The argument then was his top allegiance was to the Pope, not to the Constitution.

The fact that the Founders put the religious test prohibition in the main body of the Constitution testifies to the importance in which they held. They truly envisioned an egalitarian society (for landed, white men, of course; unfortunately, they were men of their time) and wanted to make certain there was no Anglican takeover of the newly minted U.S. Government.

Because the economy is clawing its way from the abyss the Republicans put it in, and on President Obama’s watch, the RWNJ’s have to disinter the rotting corpse of The Question of the President’s Religion. Franklin Graham, an apple that fell miles from the tree, did a rant this week about being born Muslim. If your father is Muslim (the President’s father was), when you’re born, you’re a Muslim. Franklin, who, as a missionary evangelical, preaches the only way you can be saved is by converting to Christianity, apparently feels that’s not the case when the son of a Muslim accepts Christ as his personal savior, gets married in a Christian ceremony, and talks about his Christian faith far more often than I like. Franklin must think “Muslim blood” is really powerful, if his God’s omnipotence can’t overcome it.

And I say, if that’s true, if a parent’s religion makes you that religion at birth, so what? Much like Romney’s Mormonism, a person’s religion–or lack thereof–cannot disqualify them from office.

Oh my Holy Lord, you say, that means a Devil Worshiper could become President!

Technically, yes, but Devil Worshipers don’t have much interest in politics, I would think. Selling their souls and pleasing their Dark Lord are probably more important to them.

Oh my Holy Lord, you again say, that means a, gasp, atheist could become President!

Indeed. You’ve already had a couple of those. They’re called Deists, the “religion” of many of the Founding Fathers, several of whom became President. Trust me, if you’d called Jefferson a Christian, he would have brought out his copy of “Jefferson’s Bible” and showed you where he’d removed all reference to myth. It was a very slim volume.

We have to stop judging people by their religion or their lack of religion. I’ve known some theists who were the vilest human beings you’d ever not want to meet, and I’ve known atheists who were the kindest, most “christian” people I’ve ever known. And vice versa, of course. We need to assess our Presidents and Presidential candidates on their merits, their position on issues, and not how or whom they worship.

Franklin Graham needs to come to grips with the fact he’ll never be his father, who is a humble and forgiving man who acknowledged the times he was wrong, like about segregation. Re-bury that question of the President’s religion and focus on jobs, the economy, the environment, equal rights–you know, things “We the People” are concerned about.


For a good understanding of just what four, key Founding Fathers believed or didn’t, read Founding Faith: How Our Founding Fathers Forged a Radical New Approach to Religious Liberty by Steven Waldman. It will change your mind, if it’s open, about several Founders and clear the RWNJ mythology away from history.

Having a Life vs. Writing

Yesterday, here in the Shenandoah Valley, we had one of those picturesque snowfalls. The view of the snow-covered mountains is incredible. I pause every time I walk past the door to the porch just to take it in. Snow also means work–cleaning the driveway, for example. I almost didn’t do that. I have a 4WD vehicle, after all. I could just back through the snow and go. One glance at the cleared, pristine driveways of my neighbors changed that. So, at the time I’d normally be sitting down to blog, I was outside shoveling.

That kind of repetitive work frees up my brain to think, so while I shoveled, I pondered a story that got rejected with a vague request for a rewrite and thought over comments from the most recent meeting of my critique group. Before I realized it, half the driveway was clear, and most of the sidewalk. (My house is on a corner lot, so I have twice the sidewalk of everyone else.) The bonus was I also had a clear idea about the rewrite and the critique group comments.

Time to sit down and write.

Well, the rest of the week, however, is full of outside obligations–two meetings about a web site I may become responsible for (not writing related), babysitting, a special reading sponsored by my writing group, SWAG, and my book club, the book for which I haven’t finished. I’m looking at the schedule, and I’m not seeing the time to write, edit, or revise, unless, of course, I want to burn the midnight oil, and that’s looking more likely. Good thing I don’t have a real job anymore.

All this is to say, no matter how much you plan to set aside the time to write–and I established a pretty strict schedule for the new year–real life is always there, commitments you’ve made and must honor. Well, the grandkids aren’t a commitment; they’re just plain fun and always adjust my perspective on life. Time spent with them is well-spent and something I look forward to with excitement.

It’s important to my writing, though, to have a life. On the Myers-Briggs scale, I’m a very high E, meaning I get energized by external stimuli. If I spend too much time at the computer in the world I’ve created, I become too insular and nothing works–writing, editing, or revising. It’s a balance, almost as precarious as what I had to do when I worked full-time and struggled to be the best at my job at the same time as I struggled to be a good friend and spouse. You’re always feeling guilty about one or the other.

Establishing that writing work schedule helped me strike the balance between real life and writing life, but it’s done nothing for feeling guilty when I’m writing or when I’m having a life.

How about you? How do you strike the balance between real life obligations and your writing life?

Politics Wednesday – Reactionaries

Reactionary – adjective; of, pertaining to, marked by, or favoring reaction, especially extreme conservatism or rightism in politics; opposing political or social change.

Reactionary – noun; a reactionary person.

That’s the modern definition of a reactionary. One of my political science profs was more succinct: progressive = forward thinking; reactionary = backwards thinking.

That “backwards thinking” seems to be part and parcel of being a Republican lately. The Repugs seem to have a disturbing nostalgia for the way things used to be–women not working outside the home, women not being able to use birth control, women not being paid the same as men, women not needing legislation to assure police take their claims of domestic violence seriously, etc.

I hope you’ve picked up the common theme here. In case you haven’t, it’s women. Republican men–and some Republican women–in state legislatures across the country have proposed or enacted some of the most backwards laws regarding women’s health and a woman’s right to decide what she does with her body.

In response to a story about the high number of rapes and sexual assaults of women in the military, Liz Trotta, an “analyst” on Fox News, said that women who go into the military should just expect to be raped. I don’t know which is worse–the “lie back and take it” attitude or the assumption that men are just born rapists. My mother said the same thing when I went to work at the FAA, a then male-dominated workplace, but my mother was certifiable.

Rick Santorum, in addition to opposing any form of birth control (So, why is your wife not pregnant again, Rick?), recently said that women working outside the home is harmful to families. He also said that having women in front line positions in the military would mean male soldiers would be distracted by their desire to protect them. If a woman is raped and becomes pregnant, he says, she should just accept God’s gift of life. The more outrageous things he says about women and their place in society, the higher he surges in Republican polls.

In my home state of Virginia, the state legislature just passed a law requiring a woman who wants an abortion in the first trimester to get an ultrasound, even if her doctor says she doesn’t need it. The theory seems to be if the woman sees a fully formed baby she’ll change her mind. The reality is the fetus isn’t fully formed in the first trimester–it’s so small the ultrasound has to be done trans-vaginally. That means the ultrasound device is inserted in a woman’s vagina to obtain the scan of a fetus that is 2.5 inches long and weighs less than an ounce. In case you didn’t get it, I’ll repeat: Inserted. In. A. Woman’s. Vagina. What is it we call penetration of a woman’s vagina against her will?

This longing for a world where women were less than equal partners, where constant childbirth brought early death, where domestic violence was considered a “family matter,” puzzles me. Why would anyone want to go back to a social, political, and economic era that was thinly disguised patriarchy? Do we have to fight that battle all over again?

If it’s because the male ego can’t handle women as equals, get over it. This is life now–women get to choose whether to work or stay at home; whether to have a child or use birth control; whether to serve their country or not; whether to have a rapist’s baby or not. Get over yourselves and your obsession about controlling women’s bodies.

We won’t go back to that. We won’t be like Callista Gingrich who knows the only reason she’s at Newt’s side is to stand there and look pretty as she smiles at him and nods. That’s her choice; it won’t be the choice of women capable of standing on their own two feet.

Sorry, Repug guys, we’re not taking off our shoes, bunking in the kitchen, cleaning the house in pearls, or staying pregnant our entire married lives. We will move forward. You can be the reactionaries.

Second Childhood

When I was a sophomore in high school I joined the school newspaper. My English teacher, who was the faculty advisor, thought it would be a good fit for me. The newspaper was a popular extracurricular activity, and I waited a good part of the school year for my first feature assignment. Writing captions for the sports photos wasn’t exactly thrilling, though it taught me about being succinct. (Coincidentally, when I first joined FAA Aviation News magazine as a reporter, my first assignment was writing captions for the photos and illustrations for each article.)

Then, six weeks or so before school ended, we had a new student transfer in. Her father was a State Department employee, and she and her family had been living in Greece in April 1967 when a Greek military junta staged a coup. Apparently, she and her family had had a bit of an adventure escaping. So, the editor said, “You’ve been bugging me to give you a story. Go interview her.”

Yes, the stuff movies are made of–lowly caption writer makes good with her first feature article. Well, it kinda happened that way.

Truth was, I had no clue what I was doing. I was the only person on the paper who hadn’t taken the Journalism elective because you had to be a junior or senior to take it. I did, however, read two newspapers at home every day–The Washington Post and the now defunct Evening Star. The high school library had issues of the New York Times and the Boston Globe, usually only a few days old, and I’d spend my free time reading them. I just decided to imitate how reporters wrote stories in those papers.

I sat down with my classmate, as nervous as I was, I think, and somehow we managed to do an interview. I spent hours and hours writing and rewriting, tweaking and revising–and remember this was in the day of the manual typewriter. My family got tired of hearing the clack, clack, click of the keys.

Yet, I didn’t think I’d done enough to be worthy of a front-page story. I figured the editor–a senior who tried to emulate editors he’d seen in movies, except he couldn’t smoke or drink in school–would cut it to a few inches and hide it on an inside page somewhere. With a feigned nonchalance, I’d decided I wasn’t even going to look at the paper when it came out, but that didn’t last very long.

There it was, on the front page, above the fold–newspaper folks will get that–with my byline and everything. To illustrate it, the editor had taken the student’s picture and somehow gotten a wire photo of a menacing Greek Army tank. Well, I thought, I’ll get some shred of respect in this place at last. I should have remembered this was high school. The subject of my interview had people clustering around her and her locker between classes, and I was still the girl who belonged to the science club and had her nose in a book.

I continued to write features for the high school and, later, college newspapers. I tried to get summer jobs at our local newspaper, The Fauquier Democrat, to no avail–I wasn’t majoring in journalism. Though the Democrat editor deemed my clippings “good,” he didn’t even have time or money for a caption writer. So much for that dream.

After an abortive attempt at teaching and a stint as a copy editor for the safety publications of a consortium of aviation insurance companies, I became a reporter on a government aviation safety magazine. I worked on and off for the magazine for almost half my time as a government employee. Once I “passed” the caption writing test, I interviewed some of the most interesting people in aviation at the time, as well as individuals of general historical interest, like Chuck Yeager and Jackie Cochran. I went on to become the magazine’s editor, only doing the occasional feature and a regular opinion piece.

The dream of working on a local newspaper I had long since put behind me. I retired as soon as I was able to concentrate on writing fiction. For two years that’s been my focus–classes to hone my craft, attending writer conferences, submitting stories to magazines while I worked on my novel. Then, out of the blue came an opportunity to write occasional features for the Staunton News Leader, my new hometown’s paper.

When my first article came out yesterday in the Living@Home section of the paper, I was as nervous as I had been decades before, and there it was. First page of the section. Above the fold. With a byline. I was a kid again, remembering the first time I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up.

TGIFriday Fictioneers!

When I was a working slob, as opposed to a retired, writing slob, my colleagues and I awaited each Friday with the anticipation of a lifer being being pardoned and put back into society. Friday meant two days of not working. Well, there was always house cleaning and laundry doing, but we were slaves to the desk no more. For two whole days!

Friday now holds a different anticipation for me. On Wednesday, Madison Woods posts the inspiration photo for the Friday Fictioneers’ 100-word flash fiction challenge. That means we have a whole day to ponder the photo and come up with something brilliant to say in 100 words. Friday means publishing the snippet, then checking back throughout the day to not only read others’ stories but to bask in the glowing comments other Friday Fictioneers have left about yours.

Friday is still a day to look forward to, but for entirely different and much more fun reasons.

Here’s today’s inspiration photo:

And here’s a little story I call “Luchrupán.”

“All right, me boy-o Declan, what’re we going to do now?”

“Seamus, sure, and I don’t know.”

“Well, you did this, so you’d best be figuring something out.”

“Why is this my fault?”

“You’re the one who lived up to the stereotype and sat on the mushroom. Poor thing. Look at it, there, all broken.”

“‘Twasn’t I, Seamus. Some other wee folk it was.”

“Declan, you need to face facts. Your shroom-sitting days are done, lad.”

“What is it you’re trying to say, Seamus?”

“Well, Declan, you see, I’ve been meaning to tell ya, you’re not exactly wee folk anymore.”


For more 100-word flash fiction, go to Madison Woods’ blog and spend a fun few minutes reading short, short, short stories.

Politics Wednesday

I find it amusing that when it comes to prayer in school, right-wingers have no problem in taking down the wall between church and state. Almost to a man the current candidates for the Republican nomination have decried the fact that children can’t pray in school. Trust me, kids pray in school, especially on exam day; rather, an authority figure isn’t leading them in a specific prayer from a specific religion.

Yet, when it comes to an Affordable Care Act requirement that employers pay for birth control, suddenly the same right-wing talking heads flaunt the First Amendment and Separation of Church and State when it comes to Catholic employers. They want the separation there, but not when it comes to school prayer or teaching creationism in science class.

Trust me, this sudden righteous indignation about the Catholic Church’s having to go against it’s principles, is pandering. It isn’t sincere. That, and the Repugs needed an issue when the current economic news was so positive for President Obama. They have to make it look like the President is forcing the Catholic Church to his will.


Here’s the deal, the Church is whining loudly about this because it turns the light of truth away from the big problem with the Catholic Church hierarchy–that it either turned its collective head away or, by inaction, condoned the systematic buggering of children by priests who, lured by the false promise that god will take all afflictions away, had free rein to traumatize children then stand on the altar and decry homosexuality, pre-marital sex, and birth control in hypocritical homilies.

I’m a former Catholic–not lapsed, not non-practicing, not fallen. I left the Church because I realized it never really welcomed me. I was a woman who advocated a woman’s right to control her own body. No matter what I had accomplished in my career or personal life, no priest could acknowledge that I lived and worked by my own rules, not his, not god’s, and that no job I had was more important than being a wife and a mother. And what would he, alleged unmarried celibate, know about it?

The Catholic Church needs to drop preaching against birth control. Given the small size of Catholic families today, Catholics are using birth control, and it’s not the rhythm method, which had conditional approval from the Church. More than half the Catholics polled about the Affordable Care Act’s provision for employers’ providing coverage for birth control concurred with it. The sanctimonious talking heads, however, see an opportunity to attack the President couched in the cloak of religion.

The Catholic Church took too long to “sorta” allow the use of condoms to prevent AIDS, confining their use to sex workers but not their clients when they go home to have sex with a spouse. It’s nuts, and if the Church wants to be a viable force in the world, it needs to accept current reality, not a medieval one.

And there are other religions–notably many evangelical or fundamentalist protestant ones–who don’t believe in birth control. Why aren’t the Repugs displaying indignation on their behalf? Well, Catholics are a large group in the U.S., and some Repug strategist somewhere has cynically pointed out that maybe, if they can turn that Catholic bloc against the President, they might get the flip-flopper elected.

If anything, Catholics are realists, which is why they use birth control and why they ignore the Church’s dictum that sex is only for the purpose of reproduction–otherwise why haven’t Newt and Callista had a bunch of kids? By her own testimony in Newt’s divorce proceedings, they began an affair in 1993, when Callista was 27, and she had no children. They married when she was 34, and they’ve had no children. The Gingrich’s have obviously used birth control–or they’re following Church dicta and not having sex. Yeah, right. I’ll concede that perhaps either she or Newt has a physical problem that prevents conception, but, again, sex without the intent of reproduction is a “sin.”

Are you beginning to see why I left the Catholic Church?

So, whenever Newt–or any other Catholic–decries President Obama for interfering with the Church’s teachings, can he or they do so without being a hypocrite?

I doubt it.

Reading and Writing

No, this isn’t a rant about the importance of the three R’s–reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic–but a chat about the connection between writing and reading. They go hand in hand, and some of the most helpful advice any writer can hear is, “If you want to write, read.” I’ll add, “Read. A lot.”

Of course, you say, my shelves are lined with writing self-help books, and I’ve read them all.

I’m not knocking any of these books. In fact, one of my bookshelves groans with the weight of them. What I mean is, if you write fiction, read fiction. Let’s go a little deeper. If you want to write romance, read romance; if you want to write science fiction, read science fiction, etc.

In an on-line forum I belong to, someone recently posted, “I’ve decided I want to write science fiction!!! How do I go about that?” I responded that the aspiring writer should read Asimov, Pohl, Dick, Bester, LeGuin, Butler, Atwood, and so on. “No, no. I don’t want to read science fiction! I want to write it.”

I washed my hands of it.

You get your best writing instruction on technique, mechanics, and what people want to read by reading what you want to write. And I have to caveat that–read good, established writers of the fiction you want to write. I’ll suggest, for now, in the fledgling state of your writing in a genre, read traditionally published writers. There are exceptions to this, of course, but if all you read is unedited indie fiction, it will only reinforce negative writing habits. I’ve posted about this before, so I won’t repeat my indie-writers-must-proofread-and-get-an-editor riff.

Reading what you want to write can be instructive in another way. You can learn the valuable lesson that a particular genre is not for you. For example, I love mysteries of all kinds–from Agatha Christie to Janet Evanovich–but I’m not sure I could write one that wouldn’t be a re-hash of something a better mystery writer than I has already done. The same with sci-fi. That was what I wanted to write when I first set pen to notebook to write stories about Mr. Spock and Captain Kirk when I was a freshman in high school.

The sad truth was, and is, sci-fi is not my forte. Granted, my short story published in eFiction Magazine last year had a sci-fi background. “Without Form or Substance” is about a young professor who finds her dream job, only to discover it involves time travel. I found, because this was a character piece, I didn’t need to go into the scientific details of time travel, which I doubt I could pull off. I learned that from reading Octavia Butler and Ursula LeGuin, among others.

Of all the reading I’ve done in my life, it was the characters who stood out most for me or, rather, the way the particular writer developed and wrote a character. Most of what I read is character-driven, and as a result, my strength is in the characters I’ve developed. I wouldn’t have learned how to make them “real” people if I hadn’t read great, character-driven works by authors across many genres.

Balancing reading and writing can be a chore, though. If I want to devote the time I need to writing, I can’t read all day long, which I can do at the drop of a hat. I’ve shifted the brunt of my reading to the weekends, though I still read a little in the evenings or when I need a break from staring at the blank computer screen. When I’m reading something I enjoy, which engrosses me, it’s the hardest thing to set it aside. I’m currently reading And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut: A Life by Charles J. Shields. Not only is this a book about a writer, it’s a page-turner, and I regret every time I have to close the book and move on to something else I’m supposed to do.

Shields’ biography of Vonnegut is instructive on many levels. Not only do you see the mechanics of how to construct and research a biography, but you also get a glimpse into the life of a writer and how he wrote, what inspired him, and his struggle both to be published and to be accepted by other writers. I’ll give no more details than that because I want to review this book later.

I’ve found, for me, that when I hit a brick wall with something I’m writing, the best thing I can do is put it away. Then, I pick up a book and read.

What about you? What writers and what books have taught you how to write?

Politics Wednesday 5

n 1984 my mother got the news no woman wants to learn. She had breast cancer, the first woman in generations of my family to have the disease. Being the person I am, I set out to research the subject as much as I could since her diagnosis had a distinct effect on my future.

What I discovered was that medical research funds from the public sector for breast cancer research were minimal at best–lung cancer and heart disease got the brunt of those meagre dollars. Soon, however, there was an organization, which raised money privately for breast cancer research–the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Its “Race for the Cure” events across the country raised millions.

When Linda Daschle became the FAA’s first female assistant administrator, she created a team of FAA women to run/walk in the annual Washington, DC, Race for the Cure. I was an eager participant. Well aware of my ambivalent relationship with my mother–who died six weeks after being diagnosed–I donned my race number and a placard with her name on it–I was racing in her memory. It was something I could do for her and not face her criticism.

Over the years, then, I donated, generously, to the Susan G. Komen Foundation and participated in several, additional Races for the Cure.

No more. Susan G. Komen Foundation announced this week its grants to Planned Parenthood to enable that organization to screen poor women for breast cancer for free were cut off. Their excuse? Right-wing nut-job pressure because Planned Parenthood does abortions. Of course, they didn’t say that–the announcement was couched in PR-speak.

Susan G. Komen Foundation has a policy not to partner with organizations “under investigation.” That’s a recent change, by the way. Republican Congressman Jeff Stearns from Florida has initiated a Congressional investigation to determine if Planned Parenthood used public funds for abortions, which is prohibited by law. Planned Parenthood’s accounting shows that’s not the case, but the investigation proceeds–slowly.

But the truth is obvious–right-wing nut-jobs are so concerned about controlling women’s bodies and so dispassionate they will force an organization that did so much good to take an action that puts women in jeopardy. RWNJ’s don’t care about women; they especially don’t care about poor women. If you didn’t know that before, know it now.

Planned Parenthood’s focus has always been pregnancy prevention, family planning, and health screening for women who can’t afford to go to a doctor. Performing abortions has always been a small, a very small, portion of their services. No matter to the RWNJ’s–one abortion is one too many for them, so they work to shut down an organization poor women depend on for health services beyond birth control and family planning.

I’ve written to Susan G. Komen Foundation directly and explained exactly why they’ll no longer be getting any money or any support from me. I’ve signed an on-line petition denouncing the Foundation’s ill-considered decision. They’ve put money from rightwing organizations before the health of women. That’s unconscionable.

Credo Action has the on-line petition I signed. I’m sure there’ll be others. Make sure the Susan G. Komen Foundation gets the message they made a bad choice. Contact Rep. Jeff Stearns and explain the concept of “unintended consequences” to him.