April 4, 2006

The Power of Thunder

Ever since South Dakota passed its repressive, totalitarian, and nearly Stalinistic abortion ban, abortion-rights and pro-choice advocates, as well as citizens who prefer personal rights and freedoms over government control of their bodies, have stood up against the measure calling it overly repressive and a blatant attack on the right of Americans to decide for themselves when and how they would opt to have a child. Even many abortion opponents have marked the measure as too draconian, since it doesn’t leave rooom for an abortion even in cases of rape, incest, other sexual assault, or even if the life of the pregnant woman is in danger.

But one woman in South Dakota stood proudly and said that she’d had enough of this nonsense and she wasn’t going to take it anymore.

Chief Cecilia Fire Thunder, president of the South Dakota Ogala Sioux, saw the ban as a direct attack not just at women’s rights, not just at American women, but at the rights and freedoms that all Americans enjoy-the right to direct their own lives without oppressive interference from the government. This law wasn’t passed in the spirit of the compassionate society, it was passed in the mold of oppressive far-right conservatism, and Fire Thunder saw straight through it. Word came out shortly after the ban was passed that Chief Fire Thunder was planning on building a women’s health clinic on her reservation, which is completely soverign and not subject to the whim of the South Dakota legislature, that would provide a host of women’s health services, including abortions.

Currently there is only one such clinic in the entire state of South Dakota, and since the ban no one knows whether it’ll survive, but Chief Fire Thunder is a ray of hope for everyone in America, showing us that the rest of our society won’t take this kind of injustice and robbing of individual freedoms lying down. The trick is, Chief Fire Thunder’s remarkable accomplishments don’t end there; even in the midst of her recent announcements, she has continued her focus on rape as a teachable, correctable national issue, she has advocated victims rights for Native American women, for whom the rate of sexual assault is much higher, and she is the co-chair of a South Dakota initiative that seeks to address the real needs of South Dakota families; [ South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families ] as well as get the abortion ban repealed in the November election.

Alternet has an extraordinary interview with Chief Fire Thunder, one definitely worth reading.

[ The Power of Thunder ]
Source: Alternet

As for donations to the cause, many people have been referring to this livejournal post for more information:
[ Ms. Fire Thunder and the Ogala Sioux Planned Parenthood ]
but as the thread goes on, there are many many developments that seem quite conflicting. A donation to the tribe’s efforts I’m sure would be more than appreciated, but if you are concerned that your funds only go to this particular cause, you may want to hold off until more information develops. Some reports say that Planned Parenthood isn’t planning to move it’s clinic to the reservation, others state that they are, and others state that an additional clinic will be built. Regardless, in the meantime we can definitely keep the pressure up on the South Dakota legislature and let them know they’re the mockery of Americans who stand for freedom and civil rights, and keep up the support on the Ogala Sioux and let them know that their efforts are more than appreciated by everyone around them.

Obama Strikes Out at Bush’s Energy Policy

In the kind of political talk I can definitely get along with, Senator Barack Obama, the democrat from Illinois with broad bipartisan support (who’s also considered a future presidental contender) has blasted the President’s cowtowing to energy companies and interests and rebuffed his energy policy with a real set of ideas that could both deliver America from the stranglehold of foriegn oil, increase conservation, give us more fuel efficient vehicles, clean up the air we and our children breathe, and at the same time address the global climate change that we know is being caused by greenhouse gas emissions, at least in part from American motorists.

Sound too good to be true? Well, for a change, it’s not. It is possible to blend our economic and corporate stability and growth with our environmental responsibilities, and Obama has a few ideas about how to get it done. Seriously, this man thinks the way I wish more politicians thought; he’s brought some seriously fresh and innovative ideas to congress; the kinds of ideas that someone only gets from being closer to the people than they are to the lobbyists and thinktanks on K street.

Saying that America is addicted to oil without following a real plan for energy independence is like admitting alcoholism and then skipping out on the 12-step program,” the Illinois Democrat said. He referred to one of the principal themes of President Bush’s State of the Union address Jan. 31.

“It’s not enough to identify the challenge. We have to meet it,” Obama said in remarks prepared for the annual luncheon of The Associated Press, held on the opening day of the Newspaper Association of America’s convention.

Obama suggested tax breaks and loan guarantees to environmentally friendly companies and to encourage the development and use of technologies and products that leave smaller environmental footprints. He also pointed to legislation he’s introduced to congress to get some of those things done. At the same time, he wasted no breath on excusing the Bush administration for its own environmental failures, and that’s what I liked to hear. Tell us what they’ve done wrong, but also tell us how you’re planning on fixing it, and Obama’s done just that.

[ Obama Strikes Out at Bush’s Energy Policy ]
Source: CBS News

Broken Hammer

I woke up this morning with a sense of hope and optimism for the future. I thought that maybe the world just might be a good place, with the possibility of getting better. And then I checked my email and learned the news that Tom Delay, in a video statement under the cover of night, (of all kinds of statements, he didn’t dare face the press) resigned his seat in congress and has opted not to seek re-election in the fall. The mighty house majority leader, the “hammer.” Been brought low, eh?

See Tom, forgive me for saying “I told you so,” but when you’ve got a really close relationship with the House Ethics Committee, and not in that good way, when you’ve been censured by them several times and been brought up on charges in front of them more times than you can count on one hand, when the House has to try to change the rules just to protect you, when you’ve been tied again and again to lobbying fraud and corruption, the purchasing of access to government, when your aides have been paid by right-wing interests to sign legislation in their favor, when you have a long track record of corruption and being the typical congressional fatcat who sleeps on the bed made by the American people, then maybe, just maybe, it might catch up with you in the long run. I mean, I hate to say I told you so, but I’m just saying.

Ah Tom. We’ll miss you. I have to admit we had lots of laughs together (at your expense) and quite a few heated discussions (mostly about what you’ve done…like calling the EPA a gestapo, for example) but trust me on this one: you won’t be missed.

[ Exclusive: Tom DeLay Says He Will Give Up His Seat ]
Source: Time.com

[ DeLay Calling it Quits ]
Source: CNN

[ DeLay to Resign From Congress ]
Source: The Washington Post