:: eyedot ::: images information ideation ::

:: EYE (anatomy), light-sensitive organ of vision in animals.
:: EYE (verb), to look at to look at something or somebody inquisitively.
:: EYE (noun), an ability to recognize and appreciate something; a point of view or way of thinking.

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:: 3.31.2004 ::  

Hey, it's time for a photo. Here's an image of some cool clouds (including a contrail) and a "sundog," a.k.a parhelia, that my mom and I saw on our drive from Carlsbad to El Paso.

:: Deb 11:07 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Devious Honey D. Wicked

That's my pimp name. Yo. This is fun :)

:: Deb 10:06 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 3.30.2004 ::  

Interesting read on Karl Rove...

"What went so wrong so quickly? It was as if these notorious practitioners of hardball, smash-mouth politics had never even considered the prospect that they might have to absorb a punch at some point themselves.

"After all, they never really had. And watching their façade crack in seeming slow motion, you might have been tempted to wonder if the myth of Karl Rove’s genius, and George Bush’s invincibility, owed as much to everyone else’s failings as to their side’s successes.
To speak of Karl Rove’s successes is to speak of the failures and corruptions of American politics and public life." [emphasis added]

From Bush Wars, c/o Tom Tomorrow.

:: Deb 5:45 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Dennis Miller, boob extraordinaire

Seriously, tho. What an asshat. BTW I might laugh along with him, too, if he paid me to do so. Then again, maybe not. Thanks to Tom Tomorrow for this one.

:: Deb 4:36 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 3.29.2004 ::  

Clean water a national priority

Polling guru and GOP spinmeister Frank Luntz has uncovered a fact likely to rattle and bewilder some Republicans in Congress: Americans prefer clean water. An emphatic memo sent out by the Luntz Research Companies in February spotlighted Americans' intense feelings on the subject:
Young and old, Democrat AND Republican, the demand for clean water is universal. More importantly, the public is willing to pay for it. An overwhelming majority of Americans -- 91 percent -- agree that 'if, as a country, we are willing to invest BILLIONS of dollars annually in highways and airways, we certainly should be willing to make the necessary investments in our nation's waterways.'" [emphasis NOT added]
Thanks to Grist Magazine for the info.

:: Deb 6:23 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Quote of the Day
"I will not give up on clearing landmines from the world."

-- Japanese buisinessman Kiyoshi Amemiya
Amemiya was so moved by a 1994 trip to Cambodia (one of the world's most heavily mined countries) that he set up a six-member project team within his own construction machinery manufacturing corporation to develop a mine clearing machine. It can withstand up to 10,000 explosions, can be manned or remotely controlled, and is "100 times faster than removing landmines by hand." They even have different models adapted for Afghanistan (sandy, rocky terrain) and Nicaragua (mud). Man, they thought of everything - " After the mine explodes, the metal fragments are collected with a magnet and the machine can also plow the ground and even sprinkle fertilizer." Plus, he refuses to do business with the military (both India and the US have both made offers). This guy is my hero. Thanks to Andy for the forward.

:: Deb 4:18 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

How has this not been researched more thoroughly?
Cassie's research showed that catnip drives away mosquitoes nearly as well or better than commercial products, with a repellency rate of 89.25 percent.
Chris Peterson, now with the U.S. Forest Service, and Joel Coats found that the essential oil in the herb is about 10 times more effective than DEET. In 2003, about a year after Cassie began her research, the researchers received a patent, Peterson said.
Cassie is 13 years old! That's it, I'm planting some catnip right now. DEET is incredibly toxic, and neem oil is less effective and smells horrible.


:: Deb 1:27 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 3.27.2004 ::  

Author who uncovered John Kerry surveillance files reports some stolen
The man who uncovered evidence the FBI tailed presidential candidate John Kerry for months in 1971 said some of those files were stolen this week.

Author Gerald Nicosia reported to police Friday that three of the 14 boxes of once-secret FBI files he obtained under the Freedom of Information Act were taken from his Corte Madera home Thursday.
In the SF Chronicle.

:: Deb 12:35 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Scary scary scary
Court Opens Door To Searches Without Warrants

NEW ORLEANS -- It's a groundbreaking court decision that legal experts say will affect everyone: Police officers in Louisiana no longer need a search or arrest warrant to conduct a brief search of your home or business.

Leaders in law enforcement say it will provide safety to officers, but others argue it's a privilege that could be abused.

The decision was made by the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Two dissenting judges called it the "road to Hell."

The ruiling stems from a lawsuit filed in Denham Springs in 2000.

New Orleans Police Department spokesman Capt. Marlon Defillo said the new power will go into effect immediately and won't be abused.

"We have to have a legitimate problem to be there in the first place, and if we don't, we can't conduct the search," Defillo said.

But former U.S. Attorney Julian Murray has big problems with the ruling.

"I think it goes way too far," Murray said, noting that the searches can be performed if an officer fears for his safety -- a subjective condition.

Defillo said he doesn't envision any problems in New Orleans, but if there are, they will be handled.

"There are checks and balances to make sure the criminal justce system works in an effective manor [sic]," Defillo said.

[emphasis added]
Yeah. No history of abuse of power by our various divisions of law enforcement at all. Nope. You can trust them unequivocally. Link found on Fark.

:: Deb 12:29 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Quote of the Day
"There were so many awesome people there putting in a lot of their time and energy and effort to make it happen, who didn't have anything to gain. It blew my mind. I owe it to society to return the favor."

- Lee Coggins, who took a red-eye flight to San Francisco with her girlfriend Suzanne Robinson to get married in San Francisco on Feb. 16th.
According to the SF Chronicle, reactions across the country to gay marriages have varied widely: "Not all the attention has been positive -- some report they've been ignored or even mistreated since coming home with a ring and license. But others say they've been greeted by support and warmth, often where they least expected it." Most importantly, there has been an increase in dialogue around the subject of gay marriage.

:: Deb 11:10 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 3.24.2004 ::  

Medicare projected to go broke by 2019
Republicans pressed for the overhaul of Medicare last year to give private insurers a much larger role in the program as a way, Bush and others said, to control long-term costs.

But the government's own projections are that private managed care plans will cost taxpayers more than traditional Medicare for the foreseeable future.
From YahooNews.

:: Deb 10:44 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 3.23.2004 ::  

Army backs off espionage charges; Yee found guilty of adultery
Yee was arrested last September in Florida as he returned from Guantanamo. Military authorities accused him in a court document of spying, mutiny, sedition, aiding the enemy and espionage, and told Yee's lawyers he could face the death penalty. Yee spent 76 days in a Navy brig but the Army failed to follow through with formal espionage-related charges.

Late on Friday, the Army dropped all criminal charges against the 36-year-old West Point graduate. The Army dropped six counts, including mishandling of classified information and lesser adultery and pornography charges.

Miami-based Southern Command said the decision to drop the charges stemmed from "national security concerns that would arise from the release of the evidence" against Yee.
I'm SO SURE the Army would drop legitimate charges of "aiding the enemy" during wartime. Whatever. I think they do owe him a huge apology, since they basically trashed his military career for having consensual sex with an adult. Not that I'm condoning adultery, of course (duh). From YahooNews.

:: Deb 10:47 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Clear Channel execs donate more to Bush
Clear Channel, rejecting Howard Stern's claims that he was canned for slamming President Bush, says its radio network does not have a political agenda.

But new political contribution data tell a different story about Clear Channel (CCU) executives. They have given $42,200 to Bush, vs. $1,750 to likely Democratic nominee John Kerry in the 2004 race.

What's more, the executives and Clear Channel's political action committee gave 77% of their $334,501 in federal contributions to Republicans. That's a bigger share than any other entertainment company, says the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics.
Yeah, I know, big surprise, right? From USAToday, c/o Fark.

:: Deb 10:34 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 3.22.2004 ::  

The wave of the future - fungus-based meat substitute

Quorn, a high-protein British food product that Europeans have eaten for years, recently entered the US market. The same guy "who helped get warning labels on foods containing the fat substitute Olestra with a relentless campaign and battled to require food companies to display the trans-fat content of their products on nutrition labels" (woo hoo!) is now vociferously denouncing the mold-based product, claiming it makes people ill. Decide for yourself - it sounds to me like he might be overreacting a bit.


:: Deb 10:51 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Hamas leader killed in Israeli airstrike
Sharon said Israel will press ahead with its war on terror, signaling more targeted attacks and raids. "The war against terror has not ended and will continue day after day, everywhere," he said.
Oh, goody. He's taken a page from W's strategy book, I see. More on YahooNews.

:: Deb 10:01 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 3.18.2004 ::  

Support Al Qaeda: re-elect Bush!
In a statement sent to the Arabic language daily al-Hayat, the Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades, which claimed responsibility for the Madrid bombings that killed 201 people, also urged its European units to stop all operations.
The statement said it supported U.S. President George W. Bush in his reelection campaign, and would prefer him to win in November rather than the Democratic candidate John Kerry, as it was not possible to find a leader "more foolish than you (Bush), who deals with matters by force rather than with wisdom." [emphasis added]
Priceless. From yesterday's YahooNews - thanks to Serena for the heads-up.


Hey, go visit the official site for the campaign to re-un-elect the President. Funny stuff. Thanks, Toshi.

:: Deb 11:57 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 3.17.2004 ::  

Go look at this now: Donald Rumsfeld caught in his own lie, and he knows it. Watch him fumble, see him stumble...

:: Deb 11:12 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 3.16.2004 ::  

Oh my god the latest "Get Your War On" strip in Rolling Stone kicks ass. I'll try to find it online for you.

Unfortunately, I can't do that after all.
Hi Deb,

Unfortunately my deal with Rolling Stone doesn't allow me to post their strips on the internet. They can appear only in the magazine.

However, they will be collected in the Get Your War On II book, out this fall.

Thanks for your interest,

David Rees
So there ya have it. Damn it was good, too. Well if you got some extra $$ lying around I recommend picking up a copy of the latest issue of Rolling Stone, just to see this strip if nothing else.

:: Deb 6:06 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Quote of the Day
"The core of our American democracy is the right to vote. Implicit in that right is the notion that that vote be private, that vote be secure, and that vote be counted as it was intended when it was cast by the voter. And I think what we're encountering is a pivotal moment in our democracy where all of that is being called into question."

- Kevin Shelley, California Sec. of State.
Act now to pass "The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2003." The House version (H.R.2239) was introduced in May by Rep. Rush Holt. The Senate version (S.1980) was introduced in December by Senator Bob Graham.

The latest argument against ensuring a paper trail is that it would be prohibitively expensive to modify the existing machines. However, the Diebold e-voting machines already have printers installed, so it would only cost $30 per machine to allow the voter to retrieve their receipt after casting their ballot. So what's the hold-up?

Thanks to Tom Tomorrow for this story, and the letter below.

:: Deb 5:59 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Spain in perspective

An interesting letter from a Spaniard to Tom Tomorrow about the recent bombings and the election.

:: Deb 5:40 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

No, really?
Mercury Emissions Rule Geared to Benefit Industry, Staffers Say
Buffeted by complaints, EPA Administrator Michael Leavitt calls for additional analysis.
By Tom Hamburger and Alan C. Miller, Times Staff Writers

WASHINGTON — Political appointees in the Environmental Protection Agency bypassed agency professional staff and a federal advisory panel last year to craft a rule on mercury emissions preferred by the industry and the White House, several longtime EPA officials say.

The EPA staffers say they were told not to undertake the normal scientific and economic studies called for under a standing executive order. At the same time, the proposal to regulate mercury emissions from coal-burning power plants was written using key language provided by utility lobbyists.
In announcing the mercury plan, the EPA said it would reduce mercury emissions from power plants by 70% by 2018.

However, the EPA's own database shows that emissions would, at best, be reduced by only about half by then. And EPA models suggest that the 70% goal may not be reached until 2025, if ever
From the LA Times, c/o the Daily Grist.

:: Deb 5:18 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Story found in The Scotsman:
Bush Administration Accused of Manufacturing the News
By Mark Sage, PA News, in New York

The Bush Administration is being investigated for producing “ready made” television news packages in which actors were paid to pose as journalists, it emerged today.
The packages were produced by the Department of Health and Human Services, but news viewers would have no way of knowing they were watching a Government-produced story, rather than an independent news report.
The made-for-TV-news packages are now being investigated by the General Accounting Office – an arm of Congress.

Under law federal money cannot be used for “publicity or propaganda purposes”, unless authorised by Congress.
Also in the Seatte Times. Fark!

:: Deb 12:33 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Thanks to Jason for this awesome picture of Curt+me at Searanch, north of here just off the 1.

We joined about 20 friends of ours for a weekend-long birthday party for our man Chris. We had a great time with everyone!!!! Beautiful place, great peeps. You can see more pics here.

:: Deb 10:08 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 3.12.2004 ::  

A single pill that tackles obesity and smoking could become the next pharmaceutical industry blockbuster after scientists revealed its first results yesterday.

Rimonabant, made by the French company Sanofi-Synthelabo, has been shown in two separate American trials to speed weight loss in overweight patients and to double the number of people stopping smoking while preventing subsequent weight gain.
From the UK Independent, c/o Fark. I could have used this...

:: Deb 10:20 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Thanks for the memories

And thanks to Jason for this link.

:: Deb 9:53 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 3.11.2004 ::  

Reality Check
"To call people liars and crooks when you're off mike just shows who the real person is," said House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas. "I think America got a glimpse of the real John Kerry."
Um, maybe you don't remember this Tom, but yer beloved Prezident called New York Times reporter Adam Clymer a "major league asshole" when he thought his mike was no longer live. What does that say about him?

:: Deb 6:19 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 3.10.2004 ::  

Quote of the Day
"The message is really simple: 'Just say no' may work in the short term but doesn't work in the long term."

- Peter Bearman, the chair of Columbia University's Department of Sociology, who co-authored a study that examined the sex lives of 12,000 adolescents with Hannah Bruckner of Yale.
The study found that teens who had pledged abstinence until marriage had the same rate of STDs as those who didn't. The problem being that the "pledges" were much less likely to use condoms when they did have sex. The study also found that:

- In communities where at least 20 percent of adolescents pledged the STD rates for everyone combined was 8.9 percent. In communities with less than 7 percent pledgers, the STD rate was 5.5 percent.
- 59 percent of males who did not pledge abstinence used a condom during sex; only 40 percent of male pledgers used a condom.
- 99 percent of non-pledgers and 88 percent of pledgers have sex before marriage.

Not that W will pay any more attention to this research than he has to research on climate change.

:: Deb 11:45 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 3.09.2004 ::  

Latest state-to-state polls of Bush-v-Kerry, courtesy of Kos.

:: Deb 2:00 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Cool image for today

Nearly 10,000 galaxies are seen in this composite image made with the Hubble Space Telescope and released by NASA on Tuesday, March 9, 2004. This is the deepest look, named the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, into the visible universe ever; revealing a wide range of galaxies in various shapes, sizes and ages. More on YahooNews.

:: Deb 1:41 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 3.08.2004 ::  

More questionable conduct by Scalia
Scalia's activities outside the court in two other instances — both involving hunting trips — have also drawn criticism for suggesting partiality on cases before his court. But the Philadelphia dinner May 20, unlike the other cases, shows him appearing to support partisan advocates on a hotly disputed issue.

The code of conduct for the federal courts broadly warns judges against conduct that "would create in reasonable minds … a perception that the judge's ability to carry out judicial responsibilities with integrity, impartiality and competence is impaired."

It says a judge may participate in civic and charitable activities that "do not reflect adversely upon the judge's impartiality."

Supreme Court justices are not bound by the judicial code, which applies to all other federal judges. The high court makes its own rules on outside judicial behavior, but cites the code as its main guideline.

The Urban Family Council, which hosted the dinner, was not a party to the Texas case. But it is backing a separate lawsuit that seeks to overturn a Philadelphia city ordinance allowing gay couples who work for the city to register as "life partners" to qualify for pension and health benefits, which is an increasingly common practice.

William Devlin, who founded the council, is lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, which is pending before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Both sides say the case of Devlin vs. City of Philadelphia has a good chance of reaching Scalia's court.
Found on YahooNews.

:: Deb 3:17 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Sad news
Spalding Gray's Body Found in East River
By LARRY McSHANE, Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK - The body of actor-writer Spalding Gray was pulled from the East River over the weekend, two months after he walked out of his Manhattan apartment and disappeared. He was 62.

Gray, who laid bare his life and mingled performance art with comedy in acclaimed monologues like "Swimming to Cambodia" and "It's a Slippery Slope," was identified Monday through dental records and X-rays.

The cause of his death was still under investigation, said Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner. But Gray was known to have been deeply troubled and had attempted suicide before.

His family told police he was last seen Saturday Jan. 10.
Gray was a favorite of my husband's... very sad.

:: Deb 2:17 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

US Army starting own news service
The U.S. military will launch its own news service in Iraq and Afghanistan to send military video, text and photos directly to the Internet or news outlets.

The $6.3 million project, expected to begin operating in April, is one of the largest military public affairs projects in recent memory, and is intended to allow small media outlets in the United States and elsewhere to bypass what the Pentagon views as an increasingly combative press corps.
Yeah, I love this. We have so much extra money floating around right now, why not spend it on generating militay-friendly propoganda?

:: Deb 10:35 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

If you needed another reason to quit... Smokers are up to four times more likely to go blind in old age, according to research.

:: Deb 10:31 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 3.05.2004 ::  

NY mayor barred from performing any more same-sex weddings.

:: Deb 6:21 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

You can watch the Bush campaign ads here. Some have been upset by the use of 9/11 images in these ads. Funny, he said he wasn't going to use the war on terrorism as a political wedge:
Bush greeted congressional leaders at the White House and was quoted as making a pledge to Democrats not to use the war on terrorism for election-year gain. "I have no ambition whatsoever to use this as a political issue," he said, according to sources who declined to be identified by name. They quoted the president as saying, "There will be no daylight between us."
This was in January of last year.

ps: Note the negative ad re: Kerry. Talk about ironic - they're accusing him of being in the pocket of big business.

Video story (AP) found on YahooNews.

:: Deb 12:02 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 3.04.2004 ::  

Heard on NPR this morning:

Jason West, the mayor of New Paltz, NY said that he asked his attorney go over the state constitution before performing any same-sex marriages, and that there was no language forbidding same-sex marriages; in fact "under New York State domestic law, a marriage is valid once it is solemnized by an official or judge." And did you know that the State Health Department called on Attorney General Eliot Spitzer to seek an injunction to "prevent further illegal conduct", and issued a statement that "a clerk issuing such a license or anyone solemnizing such a marriage would be violating state law"? What the fuck do they think they're doing? Stories in the NYtimes, KRON4, etc.

:: Deb 10:02 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 3.03.2004 ::  

Yay again for Get Fuzzy.

Good question, Rob. Might be related to the fact that this is a society where the rape victim gets blamed rather than the assailant.... Justin has seen no fallout from the Superbowl debacle, whereas Janet has been censured by the press and the public, was kicked off the Grammys and lost an acting job. Doesn't quite seem fair to me...

I was thinking about this as I was walking to work this morning, and just wanted to add this thought:
The American viewing public in general has always been less comfortable with nudity/sex than it has been with violence. Just look at what is allowed on TV, and how R and NC-17 ratings are assigned. God forbid you should see a nipple, but hey it's ok to show someone getting shot.

:: Deb 2:08 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Hey, more good news: "The U.S. Senate in a surprise move on Tuesday killed legislation to shield the firearms industry from lawsuits after gun control advocates added measures that drew the ire of the powerful gun lobby."

:: Deb 10:31 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Oh look, problems with the new electronic voting machines

Anyone surprised? In some cases it seemed to be a training problem; in others...?
Anaheim resident Shirley Green, a Republican in the 68th Assembly District, said she was given the ballot for the 67th District — a mistake she said workers acknowledged having made from the time the polls opened at 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. when she voted.
After several phone calls to the registrar, [Republican Assemblyman and state Senate candidate Ken Maddox] said, precinct workers realized they had entered the wrong district into the voting machines. As a result, the 35th Senate District race did not appear on the ballot.
An hour after the polls were supposed to open, the new voting machines at 10% of [San Diego] county's 1,611 precincts still were not operating... [Joe Tash, a spokesman for the county registrar-recorder's office] said poll workers saw an unfamiliar screen when the Diebold system, purchased in December, was turned on at precincts across the county. Until poll workers were given further instructions, they were unable to sign on to the system. As a result, they could not program the plastic "smart" cards that tell the touch-screen voting machines what kind of ballot a voter can cast.
From what I've heard, the least trouble-prone ballot, which still leaves a paper trail in case you need a recount, is the kind I've been voting on for years - a piece of paper you mark with ink. Plus it's gotta be cheaper than those machines. Why can't we just agree to use those?

:: Deb 10:24 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

The violence continues
Five Large Explosions Rumble Baghdad
15 minutes ago

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Five large explosions rumbled through the center of Baghdad late Wednesday, and sirens sounded from the green zone where the headquarters of the U.S.-led occupation authority is located.

The blasts, which happened in quick succession just after 8 p.m., came nearly two-and-a-half hours after two explosions were heard. The blasts were followed by a siren and a warning in English to "take cover."

The U.S. military press office said no planned detonations of confiscated weapons had been planned but officials had no information where the blasts occurred.
In related news, the US is increasing its military presence in Africa: " [Air Force Gen. Charles Wald] said there were specific terrorist threats in Africa at the moment, which he declined to characterize. But the United States is also convinced there will be more threats in the future."

Update on Iraq causualties
As of Tuesday, March 2, 549 U.S. service members have died since the beginning of military operations in Iraq, according to the Department of Defense. Of those, 378 died as a result of hostile action and 171 died of non-hostile causes, the department said.
Tthe nine other countries who have invested a military presence in Iraq have reported a total of 94 additional deaths. Also, "...2,727 U.S. service members have been injured as a result of hostile action."

Suprisingly, al-Qaida has denied responsibility for the Tuesday attacks on Shiite pilgrims There is some disagreement about just how many died in the attacks; the Iraqi governing council puts the count at 271, while the US at first said 143 and now claims only 117 were killed.

:: Deb 9:50 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

House Speaker Hastert agreed Friday to support extending the 9/11 panel's deadline to July 26! I'd missed that bit of news. Unfortunately, he's also pushing for a shorter winding-down period than they have currently, which would make it difficult for commission members to lobby for policy changes and information declassification based on their findings. Thanks to Andy for the link.

:: Deb 9:47 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 3.02.2004 ::  

Two pieces of good news...
California Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Contraceptive Equity

On March 1, 2004, in a resounding victory for California women and contraceptive equity, the California Supreme Court ruled 6-1 that Catholic Charities, a Roman Catholic charitable organization, must cover contraception in its prescription coverage program.

In 1999, the State Legislature passed the Women's Contraception Equity Act (WCEA) requiring health plans that include prescription benefits to cover contraception as well. The WCEA also stated that “religious employers,” such as churches, are exempt from this rule, providing that they meet the following criteria:
- The purpose of the organization is to instill religious values
- The organization only hires employees of its religious faith
- The organization only serves people of its religious faith.

To block the Women's Contraception Equity Act from going into effect, Catholic Charities of Sacramento sued in Catholic Charities of Sacramento, Inc., v. Superior Court of Sacramento County, contending that the new law infringed on its religious rights. Catholic Charities lost the case and eventually appealed to the California Supreme Court. In its decision, the Court noted that Catholic Charities was no different than any other business because one does not have to be Catholic to either work at the organization or receive services and therefore is not a religious employer exempt of the provisions of the WCEA.

"Moreover, Catholic Charities serves people of all faith backgrounds, a significant majority of whom do not share its Roman Catholic faith," wrote Justice Kathryn Werdegar in the majority opinion.
You can read the story here, courtesy of Planned Parenthood. Did you know that women spend 68% more on out-of-pocket health costs than men, mostly because of reproductive health costs? Wow. You may already know that the vast majority of employment-related insurance policies in the U.S. do not cover prescription contraceptive drugs or devices, but they all cover Viagra. I wonder if Catholic Charities endorses the use of erectile dysfunction drugs, while simultaneously fighting tooth-and-nail to keep from covering birth control pills? You can read more about it and take action for reproductive equity here. It's interesting that Bush's pet faith-based charities initiative has had this (for him and for them) undesirable - possibly unforseen? - side effect.

and this one's from last week...
Court Allows Medicinal Use of Marijuana
By Dean E. Murphy
New York Times
February 27, 2004

San Francisco -- The federal appeals court here has refused to reconsider its ruling that allows Californians to grow and use marijuana to treat their illnesses.

The Bush administration had asked the court, for the Ninth Circuit, to hold a new hearing on that ruling, issued by a three-judge panel in December on a lawsuit filed by two women with chronic illnesses. But in an order issued Wednesday and made public on Thursday, the court denied the request.
Thanks to Mykey for this link!

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