Tag Archive: choice

The Brave New World of Choice

We are entering a whole new Republican wet dream world about “a measure of choice” and the “balancing” our government should follow regarding choices. Naturally whether women should be able to have a choice over reproductive rights and whether a healthcare worker returning from Africa must be quarantined are choices off the table.

Our governor has already spoken out about the necessity of choice regarding vaccines. Many other choices are well worth pursuing. Whether one must stop at a red light must be re-examined. It slows traffic down and makes one arrive late at important events. Industrial dumping regulations for pollutants only serve to increase the price of products and reduce profits. Why can’t we save money and choose not to pay the costs of seat air-bags? U. S. airlines have a good safety record so let’s do away with FAA rules. Who cares about prohibiting lead paint or other potentially unsafe aspects of toys when a parent should have the right to choose what is safe?

It is clear that our governor should rethink these issues and provide the balance needed. Some of you may question the above suggestions. Don’t even try it. As the master said so politely to a reporter in London, “Is there something you don’t understand about, ‘No questions’?”

What women of CD4 want you to know about Rep. Chris Smith

We don’t do a lot of talking about Rep. Chris Smith around here. He’s the typical white bread Republican who manages to slide through every two years due more to the sheer power of incumbency than his own merit. He hasn’t faced a re-election campaign where he did less than 61% since 1982.

Even a group that formed against him, District 4 Coalition for Change, has seemed hardened to the idea that he’ll never go away, focusing on getting the apparently risk-averse Smith to be more transparent and accountable to his district – debate more, meet with more constituents, respond more to press.

But today, we have this video from them, focusing on his dismal record representing the rights of women in his district. He really has an appalling record, which should outrage women particularly (but certainly not only). This year Smith led the 41st annual “March for Life” rally in DC, wrote HR7, HR 7 would take the which aimed to use the tax code to penalize individuals and small businesses purchasing coverage for abortion services through the ACA. As Chair of the Congressional Pro Life Caucus, Smith was influential in both the Hobby Lobby and Buffer cases ruled by the U.S. Supreme Court. And he voted Against Equal Pay for Women and VAWA which, the group points out, he didn’t mention in his newsletter. Here’s what they put together:

“World” – CD3 Aimee Belgard’s 2nd ad. Thoughts?

In CD3, Burlington County Freeholder Aimee Belgard is running against Tom MacArthur, who until recently was a North Jersey resident, and the mayor of the Morris County town of Randolph. He moved south when he heard Rep. Runyan wouldn’t seek re-election. His people go into defensive mode when the carpetbagger issue is raised, claiming he has some long running relationship with Ocean and Burlington counties through charities he’s involved with. I don’t know whether that’s going to be enough of a touchstone in CD3 voters’ real lives; they’ll tell us in November.

Here’s an ad from Aimee Belgard – her 2nd – that draws attention to the differences she sees between the voters she knows best in her own county and Ocean, and MacArthur’s positions. It’s not only that MacArthur is a carpetbagger (that word’s not spoken here). The “otherness” highlighted is far greater, suggesting a “CEO” who can afford to be insulated – and vote wrong on – some of the issues of critical importance to voters, especially to women. Equal pay for equal work. Reproductive choice.

This is Belgard’s second ad. Called “World.” What do you think, Blue Jersey?

Bonnie Watson Coleman goes up on the air

Hitting the notes of progressive and women’s rights, Bonnie Watson Coleman’s first TV spot hits the airwaves tomorrow.

CD12 Dem primary competitors Linda Greenstein and Upendra Chivukula got television ads up earlier. A lot rides on this primary Tuesday, including some firsts or firsts-in-a-long while. Chivukula would be the first Indian American ever to join the NJ congressional delegation. If Greenstein or Watson Coleman win, the story will be a woman in the delegation for the first time in years. And the pressure is on the Democrats. The Republicans had Marge Roukema in Congress from 1981 to 2002. The Democrats haven’t had a a woman in Congress since 1979. And New Jersey has never sent an African-American woman to Congress. By contrast New York sent groundbreaker Shirley Chisholm to the House in 1968. Forty-six years ago. And New Jersey still hasn’t had its Shirley Chisholm.

What do you think of this ad, Blue Jersey?

Entire NJ Legislative Democratic Caucus Calls on Christie to Withdraw Support for Mourdock

“I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is that gift from God, and I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”

                         Indiana Senate Candidate Richard Mourdock

“This is a guy who is a principled leader.  Now, let me explain from my perspective what it means to be a principled leader. What it means is to have a core set of beliefs that guide your conduct in public office.”

                   Chris Christie, in Indiana campaigning for Mourdock

Our Democrats don’t always agree, but today they’re all on the same page. Literally, the same page.

Today, all 72 members of the NJ Legislature’s Democratic caucus sent a letter calling on the Governor to withdraw his support for U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock, he of the latest (but not the first) troubling indication that far too many Republicans are letting their personal religious opinions dictate the policy directions they’re willing to take the rest of us. Just days ago, Christie hailed Mourdock as a hero who stays true to his moral “compass”. Said compass is hostile to the law of the land. But the farthest Christie would go after Mourdock’s statement blew up (coming 2nd-hand via Michael Drewniak) is that rejects Mourdock’s beliefs and views on this subject. No withdrawal of Christie’s support.

The Democrats are right to call Christie out on the alliances he spends so much of NJ’s time cultivating. Some of these people are highly questionable.

Of course, right as this letter is, it’s a lot easier to score points against the other party, than to address the battles inside your own. The Democrat running against Mourdock is Rep. Joe Donnelly. Donnelly also believes life begins at conception. In fact Donnelly was a co-sponsor of NJ Rep. Chris Smith’s regressive H.R.3 – No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, and its attempt to redefine rape as “forcible rape.” This is the She Asked For It Bill. Donnelly was one of only 11 Dems that signed on as co-sponsors. Disappointing as that is, remember that women in Indiana won’t have to worry about the Senate passing anti-abortion laws under Harry Reid, but they would under Mitch McConnell. Yes, Democrats aren’t always where we want them on issues, but the idea there’s no difference between the two parties is ridiculous.

So, today’s letter – organized by Sweeney, Weinberg, Oliver and Greenwald – is good.  Let this burn Gov. Christie. Let this dim GOP hopes to take the Senate.

Full letter to Gov. Christie, and signers, below.

Joe Kyrillos is All Over the Map on Choice

Most of the time, I find Republicans intransigent in their positions. Whatever the issue, their solution is either tax cuts, reduction in spending, or a fundamentalist religious interpretation of a social issue. There is no nuance to their positions, and they are uncompromising.

But a new breed of Republican is emerging. They are what the late great Ted Kennedy called “multiple choice” in his 1994 Senate election debate with Mitt Romney. Romney has flip-flopped so many times on significant issues, it has become a staple of material for comedians.

Now, fellow Republican Joe Kyrillos is learning from the top of his ticket. Listen to his response to Jim Gardner’s question in the latest debate. He declares he’s both “pro-life” and “pro-choice” in the same answer. He claims that he’s personally “pro-life”, but “pro-choice for society at large.” This is not nuance, it’s obfuscation. While he states that he is opposed to third trimester abortions, he does not say that abortion is legal and should be kept legal and safe.

Kyrillos’ voting record belies his faux centrism. I have no doubt that if elected, Kyrillos will continue his record of voting against women’s issues. So while his opponent, Senator Bob Menendez, has a commanding lead, we need to ensure that the GOTV campaigns are successful and that people are aware of the differences in this campaign.

 Kyrillos on Choice by deciminyan  

Planned Parenthood Leader in Princeton

promoted by Rosi

“Partisan politics rather than public health interest is driving reproductive policy in America,” Richards said. “We are now fighting about whether women should have basic access to birth control.”

Cecile Richards – the head of Planned Parenthood Federation of America – did not mince words as she spoke to students and Planned Parenthood supporters, staff, and board members at Princeton University yesterday.  She outlined a variety of egregious pieces of legislation which are currently wending their way through state legislatures, none of which are medically necessary, most of which are simply designed to humiliate women and deter them from accessing the full range of reproductive health care options, including contraception, STI testing and treatment, and abortion care.

Although some of the news was grim, Richards – who called herself “an optimist” – was also hopeful, discussing the power of technology to connect people and create social change.  It was also hard not to notice the energy of the students in the room, who asked Richards a broad array of questions, from the role of sex positivity in advocating for women’s health to advice on how to talk about reproductive health to peers.  

Richards also encouraged the women’s health advocates in the lecture hall to stay strong and active in the face of repeated attacks.  As our Planned Parenthood health centers in New Jersey face a third year without state family planning dollars, this encouragement was appreciated.  Because, at the end of the day, after the political noise had died down, our work is all about serving patients and their basic health care needs.

Roe v Wade: We celebrate Liberty and Equality

As we approach the anniversary of Roe v Wade:

We celebrate Liberty and Equality

Roe v. Wade was a cornerstone of real opportunity for women.  If America promises its citizens the freedom of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, this landmark decision was key.  We cannot expect to be mistresses of our own lives if we are subject to unwanted pregnancies. The burden of unwanted pregnancies leads to all manner of ills, including financial dependence, losing the opportunity for higher education followed by fewer job opportunities, spotty working history, and ensuring second class roles and citizenship. Roe v. Wade in conjunction with the birth control pill gave real reproductive control to us for the first time, gave women choice, “liberty”, and opened the doors for much of our subsequent achievement.

For 39 years, that “Liberty”, that the Roe V Wade decision gave American women  has been attacked  and battered into an endangered species by political ideologues. As members of the LGBT community we all have a sense of being denied liberty. For LGBT women we have an additional burden. For that reason we must fight for women’s choice. America to be truly great cannot have second class citizenship, whether based on sex, gender, race, sexual orientation or gender identity.

Barbra Casbar Siperstein

Member – DNC Executive Committee


A couple of “choice” stories from the Garden State. Let’s start with some chartery goodness:

The school spent $10,000 on hotel fees for a staff junket to Atlantic City, $5,600 on a year-end staff party at KatManDu restaurant, and $38,000 on flower boxes and campus landscaping. Visiting DOE staff also found “a weak educational program, lacking in rigor and not meeting the goals set forth in the school’s charter,” a spokesman said.

After a period of probation, the school was finally pressured to give up its charter in May, and the New Jersey State Police opened an investigation into school spending practices.

It wasn’t the first charter school failure in New Jersey, or in Trenton. Forty charter schools have seen their licenses revoked, denied or surrendered since the much vaunted alternative education program began more than a decade ago. This year both Capital Prep and Trenton Community Charter were targeted for closure by the DOE.

In the case of Trenton Community, the DOE found students simply were not making sufficient academic progress and concluded school officials had not come up with an acceptable turnaround plan.

Don’t these kids understand that this is the market in action? That “choice” makes everything so much better? For every one of these failing schools, I’m sure there’s quite possibly maybe another school that could be performing on average – or maybe (perhaps) better!

In the market, there are losers and winners. These kids lost. But their schools before were bad, so it’s not like they did any worse. We just have to keep opening and closing charters over and over and over again until we find the magic formula for the right charters. It’s certainly a better plan than taxing rich people and using the money to build up both their schools and their communities, right?


Meanwhile, in sports:

Choose Life

Universal Health Care License Plate

In his continuous pandering to the right-wing mainstream of the Republican Party, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie knows no bounds. Christie has appeared at anti-abortion rallies, and while he grudgingly accept the scientific fact that global climate change is man-made, his policies benefit big business rather than those citizens who breathe air and drink water.  

Yet, critical examination shows that Christie’s approach promotes death, not life.

Take, for example, his proposal to eliminate Medicaid for New Jersey families earning less than $500 per month. If enacted, his legislation will put 23,000 people at the mercy of the for-profit insurance companies, which in reality means they will not receive medical care. I’m not an actuary, and I’m not comparing the governor to a terrorist, but I would not be surprised if this lack of preventative and remedial medical care results in more deaths than those perpetrated by Osama Bin Laden on 9/11. In Maryland, a 12-year-old boy died for the lack of an $80 procedure when his family lost Medicaid. How many stories like this will we have in New Jersey that won’t even be reported in the media?

But it’s not just Christie’s heartless attitude toward the poor that will cost lives. How many women will die because of their lack of access to pap smears and breast exams because Governor Christie thought an $800 million tax break for millionaires was more important than $7.5 million for women’s health? How many children will develop life-long lung diseases and suffer premature death because of the Governor’s foolish withdrawal from the successful Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative? (As I’ve written before, Christie is not an effective manager, he is a quitter. Rather than negotiate changes to RGGI or the ARC tunnel, he just picks up his marbles and goes home, ignoring the consequences.)

The first “inalienable right” of the people, as codified in the Declaration of Independence’s “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” is life itself. But the actions of the governor and his tea-party comrades are antithetical to the Declaration’s right to life. Instead of pouring money into discriminatory charter schools and giving tax breaks to the wealthy, the governor should re-examine his priorities as well as how he carries out his own personal beliefs and choose life.