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Friday, October 18, 2013

President Closes Normandy, GOP Shames its Memory

The minesweepers at Normandy Beach knew that they were all going to die. As they approached the shore, tearful and terrified, they knew that they would likely never see the men in those boats again, much less their families and friends back home. They didn't even have the luxury of sending a message home through a buddy that lived, because every last one of them expected to die on that beach. And what's more, they didn't have any guarantee that their deaths wouldn't be in vain and that Hitler wouldn't win despite their efforts.

So why did they do it? What inspired men to walk, even run into certain death? They did it because the mission mattered. They did it because country mattered. And they did it because they believed that the message they were sending was more important than their lives.

What message was that, you ask? That message was simple: the world will not sit idly by while a tyrant lives.

I thought about this notion quite a bit during the recent government shutdown. Why? Well, most of us who align with the Right agree that government is too big, too bloated, and needs to be drastically reduced. We agree that further extensions of the debt ceiling, if they are to be allowed at all, should be tempered with reductions in spending and reform of entitlement programs. We agree that the ACA is anything but affordable and should be repealed, dismantled, defunded, or taken out back and shot.

You would think, then, when people within the party stood up against these things they would have been cheered, yes? You would think that men of principle would be lauded for their backbone and courage, right?

No. People ON THEIR OWN SIDE lined up to throw them under the bus. Members of the GOP basically pulled up to Normandy in the rafts and either refused to get out or got halfway up the beach and turned back because "well, we knew it wasn't going to work anyway."

Well, guess what, guys? We'll never know if it would have worked. We'll never know because of you. And there's a pretty good chance that it could have worked, if you had had the stones to put country first. There's a pretty good chance that the President would have made himself look like more of an ass with each day the shutdown dragged on, because that's what narcissists do under pressure. The narrative got better for the proponents of small government every day the shutdown continued, and you guys sold it out for a $2 billion Kentucky kickback and the right to be called "cooperative" by the most dishonest and divisive President in American history.

And you know what's *awesome*? Some of you are the same ones who argued that the President should have sent help to Benghazi even if he didn't know for sure that it would arrive in time to make a difference.

Well, congratulations, guys. You made a difference. You sat down on your butts halfway up Normandy Beach and surrendered when the going got tough. I hope you give up as easily in the coming primaries. Pansies.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

An Open Letter to Barack Obama

Dear Mr. President,

It appears that you don’t like to be challenged. And I understand that. Really. I am a parent, and I have spent time serving in the military. Having your authority challenged sucks. But good parents, good military leaders, and yes, even good Presidents, all have one thing in common: the ability to recognize failure and then to discontinue the actions that perpetuate it. Since you have surrounded yourself with an echo-chamber of yes-men and a complicit media, I can see how it would be difficult for you to see the failures with which your administration is wrought. And since you seem to have forgotten, I would like to take this opportunity to remind you that I am still your boss. And as such, I do not like having my authority challenged.

I do not need you to tell me what kind of healthcare is best for my children. I am an autonomous, thinking human being who is capable of bearing the responsibilities that come with making my own choices. Whether I pay for insurance or pay up front for medical care is neither your choice nor is it your business. It is my responsibility, and I do not give it to you.

I do not need you to tell me how to best defend my home and my family. I assert my God-given and Second Amendment protected right to bear arms and to defend my home as I see fit. I assume the responsibility to train myself and my family to properly use any weapon I choose to keep in my home. I assume the responsibility to never do anything as stupid as firing a shotgun through my front door. That is my right, and I will not give it to you.

I do not need your wife to tell me what foods are best for my family. I do not need her to lecture me about salt content and how allowing restaurants to serve it is increasing obesity nationwide. I don’t need her to count calories for my children, should they ever be unfortunate enough to step foot in a public school in order to use anything other than the playground. You will not usurp my authority in regards to the bodies of my children.

On that note: I do not need you to educate my children. I prefer to teach history as it happened so that we can learn from our mistakes rather than attempting to legislate our mistakes out of existence. I prefer to teach “science” as what it is – a process by which pieces of the ultimate Truth can be discovered – rather than the truth by which one can measure all things. You will not usurp my authority in regards to the minds of my children.

I do not need you to teach my children tolerance. From family and the Bible, they will learn that loving people does not mean accepting all behaviors they exhibit. They will learn that disapproving of an action is not the same as hating a person or group of people. And they will stand for what is right when challenged instead of shouting obscenities at those who disagree. You will not usurp my authority in regards to the souls of my children.

The President of the United States has long been looked at as the most powerful man in the world. And before American Presidents started bowing to foreign dictators, erasing “red lines,” and apologizing us out of our position, perhaps that was true. But even back then, the President had to answer to the power from whence his was derived: the people. I am the people, Mr. President. I will not be silenced. I will not be subdued. And I will not stand for further usurpations of my power.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Who Needs Vocabulary When There are Choom-Gangs?

Dear Mr. President,
After today's press conference, I think I have finally figured out what our problem is. It all goes back to your college years - or possibly earlier. Your incorrect use of several key terms makes it clear that while you were experimenting with drugs and discussing Marxist theory, you missed a few essential vocabulary lessons. But don't worry, I can help you with that.

Today you said that you were "willing to negotiate," but only after Republicans give you everything you want.

You seem to be under the impression that "negotiate" means that you get to dictate and everyone else must capitulate, but that is not the case. "Negotiate" means you all sit together and each side makes concessions until an agreement is met. You don't have to like it. But you do have to do it.

You told the House of Representatives that they couldn't "pick and choose what to fund."

This is a little bit more complicated, so pay attention: the Constitution (I can get you a free copy if you need to brush up) gives the House of Representatives alone the power to appropriate funds. Colloquially, they have "the power of the purse." Which means that they get to decide how much money goes where, and they don't have to consult you or the Senate prior to doing so. Y'all are perfectly within your rights to throw a tantrum if you don't like their choices, but those choices are theirs all the same.

You also seem to have trouble with the word "fair," but I think that one may actually require its own dedicated lesson.

Don't thank me - I'm just glad I could help.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Government Mandated Broccoli

Broccoli is good for you. It provides nutrients, vitamins and fiber. It tastes great with sour cream dip. Without it, beef with broccoli is just beef. (which is also excellent, but not the same.)

People who eat broccoli (along with other vegetables) as part of a healthy diet are less likely to be obese or have weight related illnesses.

In order to promote a healthy society, the federal government should be allowed to mandate the purchase of broccoli (and other vegetables).

Does that sound right to you? If not, you are against the Affordable Care Act - because it is effectively the same thing. In fact, Justice Ginsburg used a similar argument to state her case for upholding the ACA when it was under review.

If that sounds ok, then I have another scenario for you:

Congress passes a law. They use a few parliamentary tricks to force it through, but at the end of the day it does pass.

The Supreme Court upholds the law, but only after they change a fundamental part of it - making it no longer the same law that Congress passed.

After the law leaves the Supreme Court, the President takes his red pen to it. He arbitrarily changes a few provisions, adjusts whom the law will affect, and exempts some of his friends from following the law at all.

Do you have a problem with that? 

If so, you just sided with the House Republicans.* Yeah, I said it. It is both their prerogative and their responsibility to prevent the President from unilaterally changing and unequally applying the law - even if you agree that it is the settled law of the land. Not that this should be a party issue at all at this point - Stopping further implementation of what amounts to a redistributive tax thinly veiled as "health insurance" should simply be about equal treatment and fairness. And this law, as it is currently being perverted and applied is (if possible) more unequal and more unfair than it was when it was written.

*Also, I'd like to clear up a little misconception: the Republicans did not decide to shut down the government. No one decided to shut down the government. There was no vote to shut down the government. What Republicans did was fund the entire government except for the ACA. The Senate voted down said funding - at least four times - and the President promised to veto those funding measures if they made it through the Senate.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

President "Save Only One Child" Kills the Amber Alert...For the Children

There were people who expected Barack Obama to be the Presidential equivalent of the Second Coming. (And probably a few who thought he might be the actual Second Coming.) They called him things like "the post-racial President," which presumably meant more than "a President with a different racial identity than all those who came before him." They thought he would bring the end to partisan bickering and sniping, and usher in an era of peace, prosperity, international cooperation, and an unemployment rate under 5%.

There were people who believed that Barack Obama really was in it "for the children." Even though he voted against the "Born Alive Act." More than once. Even though he referred to an unplanned pregnancy as a "punishment." There were even people who, after all of that, believed Barack Obama when he said, "If we can even save one child, we have a responsibility to act."

In a surprising twist of irony, it has taken a shutdown of the government to bring some transparency to the Administration that has claimed transparency since it's beginning.

Over the last few days, the shutdown has forced the closing of several departments of the federal government, the shuttering of National Parks and monuments, and the indefinite furlough of thousands of federal workers. What has been illuminating is which departments have borne the bulk of the weight of the shutdown.

Take the national monuments, for example: many of them are open air structures that require little (if any) maintenance or staff. The money being spent to barricade them and prevent citizens from visiting is more than would ever be spent in keeping them up. Some of the campgrounds and other services on federal land even exist solely as revenue sources for the federal government. Paying to have them closed off not only costs taxpayer money for guards and barricades, but stops the influx of rent monies from these entities.

Civilian chaplains who contract their service to the military have been furloughed, and been threatened with arrest should they perform mass on a volunteer basis. ESPN service to deployed troops has also been suspended.

And now President "save only one child" has allowed the Justice Department to shut down the Amber Alert. Apparently responsibility can be suspended when you're fighting with Republicans.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Don't Look at that National Monument!

All over the country and around the world, land owned by the United States is being shut down. Barricades are being erected, signs placed, and in some cases, guards stationed. Places like the World War II Memorial made news the first day of the shutdown, but also included were the Omaha Beach Memorial graveyard in France, as well as all National Parks and monuments in the continental United States.

Now, parks and monuments have been closed during previous shutdowns, but this shutdown is decidedly different. This is the first time that open air memorials have been closed. I'll say that again: Open air memorials are closed. Rafting companies are cancelling tours because the rivers they raft (although not their start or end points) run through federal land.

Now, I understand closing a monument like the Statue of Liberty because the government doesn't have enough money to pay guards, maintenance crews, and tour guides. I understand closing the Liberty Island Ferry because the government doesn't have enough money to pay the ferry ticket takers, engineer, and crew.

But that's not what President Obama has done. What he has done is effectively said, "Screw all of you, you can't even stand on the mainland and LOOK at the Statue of Liberty. And if you try, I'm going to hire people to keep you from doing so! Because...ah...we have no money..ah...Republicans..."

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

To the Cowards in Congress...

First, I would like to thank those of you who served in the Armed Forces for your service to this country. America owes you a debt of gratitude for your willingness to leave family, friends, and the comforts of home in order to ensure that those comforts are attainable to those who remain behind. As a veteran myself, I know that honor does not only belong to those who see battle – but also to those who miss birthday parties, ballet recitals, or the birth of a child in order to safeguard the lives and natural rights of others – many of whom they will never meet.

But there is a dignity earned by those who look war in the face and return home to everyday life. There is a respect that they deserve above and beyond just the simple recognition of their existence. And there is a code that is honored among veterans that when you meet a brother-in-arms, you thank him for sharing your burden with a nod, a handshake, a simple “thank you,” or a tear. That code was violated today by the National Park Service at the direction of the White House, and no one challenged that office.

Veterans of World War II stepped off their Honor Flight with the expectation of visiting the World War II Memorial, many for the first time in their lives, and nearly all of them for the last time. Knowing about the shutdown, the group called ahead to request an exception and be allowed to see the memorial anyway – a request that was denied, again, by the White House. Imagine their surprise when, upon arrival, they learned that the open air memorial – which has remained open through previous government shutdowns – was barricaded. After denying special permission for their visit, furloughed NPS workers were called back to work to prevent a few men in their 80’s from paying tribute to their friends and brothers-in-arms. I’m sure that you are aware that several members of Congress helped the group get around the NPS workers and ensured that their visit was allowed. But that’s not my point.

My point is that no one – in either party - stood on the House or Senate Floor and said, “No, Sir!” No one demanded that pettiness be set aside in order to pay respects to men who deserve not only our respect, but our admiration and thanks as well. No one pointed out just how childish and disrespectful it was to use those men as pawns in a political game, and no one had the guts to call on the rest of Congress to override the President for doing it.

Your political party does not matter. Your position on the current government shutdown does not matter. You, whether or not you are a veteran of the Armed Services, should know how reprehensible an act it is to trivialize the service of others. And you should be willing to stand up and call out anyone who does that, regardless of party or position. Refusal to do so amounts to little more than cowardice.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Final Musings on 9/11

In the twelve years since 9/11, nearly everything about my life has changed. It was just after that fateful day that I learned I was going to become a mother for the first time. Since then I have been blessed with five of my own children and one stepson. I've been married, divorced, and married again. I left the exciting world of retail for the even more exciting world the Army had to offer. I left the Army and went back to school. And I got deeply involved in local politics. 

I spent the first half of today doing lessons with my kids. Homeschooling has its advantages, though. Instead of our normal math/spelling/science lessons, we spent the morning immersed in history. I walked them through the timeline of the events of September 11, 2001. My eleven-year-old son was in tears as I explained to him that the hijackers wanted so desperately to kill Americans that they had no regard for their own lives. My nine-year-old daughter covered her eyes as we watched video of the towers collapsing in clouds of smoke and debris. The younger kids just watched, in wide-eyed shock at the airplane flying into the second tower.

For my part, I had not watched these videos since 2001. I couldn't. Even today I felt my heart leap into my throat when I saw the impact. I teared up when I heard the voices of terrified New Yorkers frozen forever in that moment on the videos we watched. And the tears rolled when we watched the response at Ground Zero from then President George W. Bush.

I was reminded of that goofy meme that has been circulating pretty much since Obama's first inauguration: the picture of President Bush, thoroughly amused, with the phrase, "Miss me yet?" And I do. Not because I loved his policies - because I didn't, not all of them anyway. His "compassionate conservatism" was nothing more than Karl Rove's repackaging of "democrat-lite." And don't get me started on "No Child Left Behind" or those ridiculous curly light bulbs. But I can't help thinking that if George W. Bush had been President in 2012, we would be telling a different story about Benghazi. If there was any story to tell at all.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Moment We Remember

Every generation has that one event, that singular happening. That seminal moment during which time stops, the world stops spinning, and people everywhere take stock of their lives. After they call home to make sure everyone is all right. For my mother's generation, that moment was the Kennedy assassination. To this day, she can tell you exactly where she was, what she was doing, at the moment she heard the news. For previous generations it was events such as D-Day, Pearl Harbor, the sinking of the Titanic, or the assassination of Lincoln.

At the age of 22, I really thought my "seminal" event was the Challenger explosion. I remember watching the screen go white on the little tv on the wobbly-wheeled av cart in my first grade classroom. I remember my teacher crying at the back of the classroom. I remember the next week watching Ronald Reagan speak brave, kind words about the astronauts who lost their lives and the America that would celebrate their lives and give their deaths meaning by continuing their mission.

On September 11, 2001, I woke up a few minutes before 8am CST. I turned on the tv, knowing I didn't have to be at work that day until 11:30am. I recognized the New York skyline immediately. Smoke was billowing up from one of the Twin Towers. The sound was a confusion of sirens and screams and car horns. 

"Wow. This movie SUCKS," I said to myself, noticing the TNT logo near the bottom of the tv screen. I changed the channel to TBS, and was immediately dismayed. What were the odds that two independent cable stations would simultaneously play the same bad movie? My stomach leapt into my throat as I changed the channel to CNN. The second plane crashed. And I reached for my phone to call my mother.

Today, as we think about those who died that day twelve years ago, with heavy hearts we must add the four who died last year in Benghazi. We must also realize that there is no Reagan to tell us that the mission will continue. There is no George W. Bush to remind us that the voices of Americans will be heard.

There is only an Administration of puppets and puppeteers pointing fingers in between spades games and rounds of golf.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Politics/Morals of Abortion

A friend posted today that abortion is a moral/ethical issue and not a political issue. She is both right and wrong.

On the one hand, it is absolutely a moral issue. The ethics in play when innocent life hangs in the balance are neither complicated nor the least bit unclear. To take a life is wrong, and no one but a sociopath would tell you differently. The gray area in which most of America seems to reside in regards to abortion, however, is completely manufactured.

The first argument is that an unborn child is not "alive." But as scientific advances begin to shed light on the mysteries of life in utero, it becomes more and more difficult to argue that a fetus is anything other than a slightly more helpless newborn. The ever-shortening age of viability proves that any argument based solely on viability is both arbitrary and disingenuous. The fact that an unborn child has fingernails, a fully functioning heart and the ability to respond to external stimulus all within the first trimester only further dismantles any argument claiming that a fetus is simply a "parasitic ball of cells" and is therefore expendable.

The second argument is that it is better for an unwanted child to be aborted than to go through life unwanted. This argument applies specifically to women who don't have the means to care for a baby or to pregnancies that result from rape. To accept this argument, you must first concede that the person making said argument is the arbiter of what is and is not moral. Then you must believe that taking a life that only "might" be sad or difficult can be accepted as a viable solution. You must believe that the proper response to a rape pregnancy is to give one victim the choice to create another. And you must believe that, when all is said and done, that a woman's bank account balance is of greater value than the life she carries.

The last ditch argument of every pro-abort is this: "what if it endangers the life of the mother?" Well? What if it does? That particular situation is exceptionally rare - and in most cases there is an option available like pre-term induced labor or cesarean section. Either way, the physician treating the woman has two patients - mother and child - and does everything in his power to save both. The only case where termination is always warranted is an ectopic or tubal pregnancy - if allowed to progress, an ectopic pregnancy WILL kill both mother and child. For that reason, it is not considered a viable pregnancy in the first place and termination is a surgical procedure to be done at a hospital rather than a clinic.

Whether or not they believe, as I do, that life is sacred because it is a gift from God, most Americans do believe that the fundamental rights outlined in the Declaration of Independence (life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness) are sacrosanct. What they forget when making arguments to excuse abortion, is that liberty and the pursuit of happiness are irrelevant if we don't first protect absolutely the most fundamental of the three: life.

But as is wont to happen in America, that which should have remained solely a moral issue has become a political issue. Roe v. Wade allowed a woman who lied about being raped to change our culture to the point that women can now walk into a clinic and end a life simply because, as it turns out, she'd really rather have a boy...

There are those who adamantly oppose abortion and those who claim that abortion is the only thing that gives women the freedom to sleep around. But today, the people I'm talking to are the ones in the middle. You know, the ones who say that they personally oppose abortion but don't feel that they have the right to tell anyone else what to do.


Then you have no right to tell anyone that rape is wrong.
You have no right to tell anyone that stealing is wrong.
You have no right to tell anyone that anything is wrong.

If you believe it is wrong and fail to stand, you are not advocating "choice" for women. If you believe it is wrong and you fail to stand, you are sitting in silent support of what they choose. If you believe it is wrong and you fail to stand, you are a coward.

"Our lives begin to end when we remain silent about things that matter." Martin Luther King Jr.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Last Weekend on Twitter...

I spent far more hours than I care to admit on Twitter this past weekend. It all started with a woman who took a position claiming that abortion should be a viable option as long as the foster system was overwhelmed, since making abortion illegal would funnel more children into an already broken system. She also said that legal abortion was the only thing guaranteeing that women could achieve economic independence.

What followed was exactly what you might expect. The abortion culture in the United States was compared – accurately – to the slaughter of the Jews in Nazi Germany. Fetuses were compared – by her - to parasites that shouldn’t be considered “human” until birth.

But then the debate went sideways. When asked when killing a baby should become “wrong,” this girl said “no less than one year after birth.”
“Is that a serious response?” I asked.
“Why wouldn’t it be?”
“Just to clarify,” I said, “Infanticide should be legal up to one year if it provides economic stability to the mother?”
“Yep.” Three letters that brought the Twitterverse (or at least the corner of it in which I reside) to a screeching halt.

 “Yep.” The life of a baby is less important than the mother’s bank account.

“Yep.” Life isn’t *life* so much as it is political capital.

“Yep.” Oh, by the way, a “fetus” isn’t an *actual* baby.

Within minutes, the full weight of the pro life lobby on Twitter descended on her head. Not surprisingly, she quickly tried to play it off as a joke.

“Wow. You guys are too dense and stupid to understand sarcasm?”

Sarcasm is amusing. When it isn’t advocating INFANTICIDE.

“I was just trying to prove how crazy pro-lifers are.”

By telling jokes about KILLING LIVE BABIES.

“OMG you guys are a riot.”

Because people who think KILLING ALL TEH BABIEZ is wrong are about as funny as jokes about rape. Only less so.

The problem with her “sarcasm” in a nutshell: there are people who SERIOUSLY hold that position. Why would anyone assume that she was employing sarcasm when a)the position, though reprehensible, lined up with every other argument she had made up to that point, and b)she not only took the position, but doubled down on it. Twice.

On an unrelated note, her Twitter account was banned later that day…

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I Get By... With a Little Help From My Friends

If the economy wasn't already bad enough, it now looks as if at least the individual mandate of Obamacare is going to be rammed down our throats in a matter of months. Despite heroic efforts from the likes of Senators Mike Lee and Ted Cruz (along with several others), the vast majority of Congress is either in favor of the atrocity or terrified of the repercussions of standing against it. Which means that households in America are having conversations that sound surprisingly similar to this exchange from the USA series Psych:
Burton Guster: What's your dental plan?
Shawn Spencer: Don't get cavities.
Burton Guster: Health plan?
Shawn Spencer: The same, but with hepatitis and shingles. 
Getting sick in this economy and this political climate is quite possibly the worst thing you could do. And it's even worse if you happen to have a family that relies on you for support. 

But unfortunately, sickness does not come when we are prepared for it. Sickness does not come when we can afford it. Sickness does not come only to those with the ability to recover on their own without outside help.

I am writing today because in the last week I have seen three crowdfunding efforts - one I started myself for a close friend of my own family - set up to help care for the families of people whose illnesses have rendered them unable to care for their own families either physically, financially, or both.

Here they are:

David Singleton, father of two, suffering from chronic pain due to Rheumatoid arthritis, degenerative disc disease, and fibromyalgia. Read more and donate.

Heidi Surface, mother of three, about to undergo surgery and treatment for breast cancer. Read more and donate.

Caleb Howe, father of two, currently hospitalized with a failing liver. Read more and donate.

If you have the means and feel compelled to do so, please donate what you can. $1, $10, $100 - it all adds up quickly, and the families will surely appreciate the help. If you can't donate (and trust me, in this economy we all understand that), please take the time to share this post and help us reach more people who can.

Thanks, guys.   


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Lesson in Women's Health

If you live in the United States, you have probably learned more about women's health in the last year than you ever wanted to know - and even with the supersaturation of information, the take home lesson still leaves me perplexed.

If you listen to Sandra Fluke, the truly empowered woman should not be responsible for the cost of her own birth control lest it interfere with her freedom to engage in casual sex without consequence. 

If you listen to Nancy Pelosi (and let me add that if you can do this at all without your ears bleeding, you are a stronger woman than I), the truly empowered woman must have access to abortion through all nine months of pregnancy because if you only give her three or six months, your end goal is to watch her bleed to death on the floor of an unsanitary clinic (which she also tries to pretend does not exist).

If you listen to the women fighting HB 2 in Texas which passed last week and limited abortions to the first twenty weeks of pregnancy, the truly empowered woman needs access to abortion for a full nine months of pregnancy because five months is not long enough for a woman of average intelligence to determine that she probably should have either paid $30 a month for birth control or insisted that her partner wear a condom.

The final assessment, according to these sources, is that women are generally too stupid or helpless to prevent pregnancy. With that as a given, they must therefore be granted unlimited access to a procedure that absolves them of responsibility for their chosen actions. If you deny them that access, #WarOnWomen!!!

So what happens when we put the shoe on the other foot? What about men who engage in sex without protection and get their partners pregnant? Barring the woman's subsequent choice, what procedure can a man opt for that absolves him of responsibility? What choice does he have other than either pay up or risk being labeled a "deadbeat" and facing legal action? 

Why do we accept - in fact encourage - a lack of responsibility from women when we demand responsibility from men for the exact same actions? What happened to equality for women? At what point do we admit that the call here is not for equality, but for the ability to impose our own sexist demands on men in order to shirk responsibility for our own choices?

The point they are all missing is very simple: freedom of action does not guarantee freedom from responsibility. If you do the crime, you must do the time. If you go to bed unprotected, why should a man automatically be held responsible for his choice while a woman gets another retroactive choice as to whether or not she will accept responsibility for the consequences of the *SAME CHOICE.*

Monday, April 1, 2013

Heroism, According to Bill McClellan

St. Louis columnist Bill McClellan has been a hot topic this week - mostly because he suggested that in order to save money we (and by "we" he means the government) should stop footing the bill for military honors at the funerals of all veterans. Why? Because "they aren't ALL heroes." Of course, he did concede that those who were killed in action were heroic enough to still receive such honors... Big of him, don't you think?

I was annoyed by the article to begin with. But then today I heard him do a live radio interview with Dana Loesch during which he clarified his position. He mentioned that he himself was drafted into the Marine Corps during Vietnam. He explained that after he came home, he went to college on the GI Bill. He said that he "didn't need military funeral honors" because he doesn't consider himself a hero.

So riddle me this, Bill: what benefits each individual soldier deserves should be dependent on a) your definition of the term "hero" and b) your assessment of which benefits are important?

Let's take a simple example: my father. He accepted a direct commission into the Army Reserve in 1999. He served for eight years, including one 9 month tour in Afghanistan. His camp faced a few minor rocket attacks, but nothing of consequence. He would be the first to tell you that he is no hero. For him, serving in the military was something he had always wanted to do. His oldest brother was a veteran of the Delaware National Guard. His nephew was a Marine. His other brother had served in Vietnam. And his father, who passed away four years before Dad got his commission, had served in Belgium in 1944-45. Military service in his family goes much farther back than that - there are at least two distant relatives that we know of who served in the Union Army during the Civil War.

By Mr. McClellan's standards, my dad should have had access to the GI Bill (an "important" military benefit) but not full military honors at his funeral. But here's the problem: my dad had a Masters Degree before he took his commission at age 45. Education was not something he needed. But a military funeral? He may not want one, I haven't asked him. But if he does, perhaps to him it would be more about connecting with his family history.

The point is this: Mr. McClellan is a veteran, and I respect him for that. But his assessment here is both wrong and reprehensible. Patriotism and heroics are not measured by the lives given in service to the country, but by lives offered freely. Perhaps the draft ruined that perspective for him, and if that's the case he has no business outlining what is "deserved" by those who volunteered.

A hero is one who writes that check, filling in the amount "up to and including my life." For that heroism to be rewarded, it should not also be required that the government cash it first.

Friday, March 15, 2013

More Sequester Pain to Compound Suffering of Soldiers, Veterans

On Wednesday, Dr. Jonathan Woodson addressed the House Armed Services Committee. Woodson is the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs.

He begged Congress to do something to avert the sequester cuts, saying, “We understand that the Department of Defense must do its part in regards to budget concerns, but we have a responsibility to do this smartly and judiciously. The path forward with sequestration is neither.”

What Woodson fails to grasp is that the sequester is no longerCongress’s fault. First, the House has posed several solutions to the sequester – all of which have been quashed by Harry Reid before they ever reach the Senate floor and are under threat of veto by President Obama should Reid dare to defy the Great and Powerful.

Congress also has the power to allow cabinet members to rearrange funding, pull it from one program and give it to another. In fact, Congress has been pretty much begging cabinet members to present them with just such a solution for the past several weeks if not longer. But Presidential memos warning cabinet members not to make cuts that would ease the pain of sequester for even one person have thus far been keeping the cowards-that-be in check.

So what does that all mean? It means that military healthcare facilities will face sequester cuts. Most facilities have around 40% civilian staff, most of whom are affected by 20% pay cuts and mandatory furloughs. Many facilities are older and most have equipment that is nearing the need for replacement, but because of funding cuts they will be told simply to “make do.”

Veterans benefits (to include healthcare) are exempt from sequester cuts, but not from sequester impact. If the hospitals they attend are facing reductions in staff and are unable to upgrade or even maintain necessary equipment, how can they expect to receive the same standard of care?

Add in the little tidbit that isn’t being publicized: while healthcare for veterans is technically exempt from sequester cuts, healthcare for active duty soldiers and their families is not. Which means that active duty soldiers being treated, some for injuries sustained in combat, will see a reduction in the quality of their service, could see a reduction in the services provided, and may be forced to take on some of the cost for their own treatment. They will see the same effects as veterans – hospitals with reduced staff and obsolete equipment – along with a bonus: since the veterans are “exempt” from sequester cuts, in order to maintain their standard of care they will be pushed to the front of the line. Active Duty soldiers and their families will be shuffled to the rear to wait for the leftovers.

Let me be clear: at this point, President Obama owns this sequester. He bought it and paid for it on credit, and now that the bill is coming due he’s stomping his feet and demanding that it be paid by the very people who have already sacrificed their time, their families, and in some cases their lives for him.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sequester to Ensure Truth of Sec Kerry's "Troops are Dumb" Comment

I joined the Army back in 1999 for several reasons. At 19, even after three semesters of college, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. Staying in school at that point would have been a waste of my time and a waste of my parents' money. So when the recruiter talked to me about job training, adventure, and benefits (that included education) it sounded too good to be true. And to soldiers who are currently serving, it apparently is too good to be true.

Education is one of the main reasons young soldiers give for joining the military. An incredible number of soldiers receive degrees from the Associates level up through the graduate level using the highly successful Tuition Assistance program to access thousands of online courses through schools all over the United States. And I think we would all agree that educating our soldiers could prove to be beneficial in regards to national defense.

Enter sequester, stage left. Yeah. From the White House. And if that's not enough, in order to ensure that the evil Republicans (who in this case did nothing more than cave and let the petulant child-in-chief have his way)get what's coming to them, an e-mail from the White House directed at least one department to do whatever was necessary to ensure that the fears "mongered" by the administration concerning sequester cuts were realized by the American people.

It stands to reason that a true leader would look for the spending cuts that would do the least damage to the American people. It stands to reason that a true leader would cut wasteful spending first. Like grant money for shrimp on treadmills, cocaine for monkeys, or - oh, I don't know - excessive golf outings. But not our President. He figures that the best people to absorb the sequester cuts are our soldiers. The guys who put their lives on the line everyday to keep his golf courses safe. The guys who, unless they finish their educations and become officers, will probably spend most of their lives earning a salary that barely qualifies as "above the poverty line." The guys who, whether they like the President or not, would step in front of a bullet for him because they understand the meaning of words like "honor," "duty," and "leadership."

A memo from DoD Comptroller Robert Hale dated March 5, 2013, went out to each service branch, strongly suggesting that all new enrollments to the Tuition Assistance program be placed on hold. The Marine Corps has since announced that they will also be pulling all Tuition Assistance funding for current students at the end of this semester.

You'd think this administration couldn't sink any lower. And you'd be wrong. One possibility for further cuts is TRICARE, the healthcare program for active duty soldiers and their families.

But that's not even the best part! What is the best part, you ask? This President can still be the hero! How is this possible you ask? Well...

If these and other cuts are implemented, as directed, in such a way as to make them as acutely felt as possible, Americans will cry out for relief. The President, with the help of a complicit media, has already been mildly successful in convincing the public that the sequester can be blamed on the Republicans. The minute he signs into law any eventual compromise that brings relief, it will be a fairly simple matter to convince the public that he is the author of their salvation. 

In the real world, when one party intentionally injures another party for the sole purpose of then swooping to the rescue, it's a mental condition (Munchausen by proxy). When the President does it to the entire population of the United States, it's apparently grounds for reelection.

Update: And one more thing that is totally awesome - or as I like to call it, the even better best part - is that the organization Citizens Against Government Waste has already outlined several cuts (yes, even a few within the Department of Defense) that would more than cover the necessary sequester cuts and would only cut programs that are already draining the system for little or no payoff. 
Translation? If we cut the stuff they suggested, there would be far fewer drastic/harmful effects related to the sequester. But then that wouldn't suit the narrative at all, would it?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

GOP: You're Doing it Wrong

On Tuesday the New York Times posted a list of prominent Republicans who had signed a legal brief supporting gay marriage.

Just a quick heads up, GOP: you’re doing it wrong. How you personally feel about gay marriage is irrelevant. Whether you whole-heartedly support it, wish to participate in it yourself, or think it could be the downfall of American society is – believe it or not – completely irrelevant.

Why? Because you claim to be conservative. You say you support smaller government. You claim that the inalienable rights enumerated in the Constitution were given by God, not government, and that the Bill of Rights exists pretty much for the sole purpose of keeping the federal government off your lawn.

How exactly does this apply? Simple.

It’s not in the federal government’s job description to define marriage. The minute we allow them to define it, we give them the power to regulate it. And giving them any increase in power or size flies in the face of conservative principles.

But here’s the real controversy:

There is no such thing as gay rights vs. heterosexual rights. In a constitutional republic there are only citizens’ rights. And the reality is that your rights in the United States as they stand today, whether you are gay or straight, are the same.

As a heterosexual woman, I did not have the unfettered right to marry anyone I wanted. I had to find someone who was not a close blood relative, who was over a certain age, who was not married to someone else, and who was male. Yes, just like every lesbian in America, I was barred from marrying another woman. The fact that I did not WANT to marry another woman is completely irrelevant, as it has NO BEARING WHATSOEVER on what my rights are.

So here’s your problem in a nutshell, GOP: if some of you push for legislating gay marriage into being, you’ll lose half of your base. If some of you push for legislating gay marriage out of being, you’ll lose half your base. So maybe you should do the conservative thing and push to get legislation out of marriage entirely. It’s the only position actually supported by the Constitution you claim to be representing.  

Monday, February 25, 2013

SIUE Thwarts Armed Robbers...With Text Warning System

This morning I was awakened by a text message at 2:30am. That isn't necessarily odd, as my husband is a baker and is occasionally (ok, more than occasionally) at work at that hour. But it wasn't my husband. It was the emergency text alert system from my school - Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
SIUE, like much of the state of Illinois, is a gun-free zone. It's not even legal to store a weapon on campus, which essentially means that aside from campus police, no one is armed. Which is awesome, because that means we're all totally safe.
Except the text message I received this morning suggested otherwise in a big way.

A little after 1am today, according to Fox News, two suspects robbed a 20 year old male student in Cougar Village (an SIUE apartment complex) at gunpoint. Only one of the suspects was armed, but surprisingly enough, when none of the victims are armed, one is generally enough to do the trick.
The questions running through my mind were simple enough:
How exactly does an armed robber get into a "gun-free zone"? Doesn't he set off an alarm of some sort? Aren't there automatic sensors for that kind of thing? And if there aren't, how can any politician claim that a "gun-free zone" is anything other than a euphemism for a "conveniently disarmed victim zone"?
Whatever the case, the words "gun free" don't make me feel any safer as I head to class less than 12 hours after receiving that message. A .38 Special tucked discreetly into my bag, however... 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Demonization of Common Sense, the Criminalization of a Constitutional Right

So Republican Mike Leara had the stones to write a bill that makes it a Class D felony for Missouri State Legislators to propose legislation that outlaws the exercise of a Constitutional right.

So let me get this straight: the Constitution enumerates the natural right for man to defend himself against the ever-expanding oppressive control of government. The Constitution even says, very clearly, that said right “shall not be infringed.”

Now let’s take a look at the dictionary definition of the word “infringe”: to commit a breach or infraction of, to violate, to encroach upon. From the Latin infringere: to break or weaken.

All of that suggests that any alteration to the 2nd Amendment, any encroachment, any attempt to break or weaken the enumerated right therein, constitutes infringement. Which means that any law written with the express purpose of limiting 2nd Amendment rights is on its face unconstitutional.

What Missouri Democrats would like you to believe, however, is that their treasonous attempt to undermine your rights as outlined in the 2nd Amendment is somehow less newsworthy than the efforts of the guy who suggests that it might be criminal for an elected official to pervert and infringe the constitution to further a political narrative.

A quick review:
Republican Mike Leara says it should be a crime for legislators to violate the Constitution.
Missouri Democrats say it should be a crime for citizens to exercise a Constitutional right.

And we're supposed to believe that the Democrats are on the right side of this one?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The GOP That Rove Built

Everyone is talking about Karl Rove today. Which, incidentally, is exactly how Karl Rove likes it. The source of all the current angst is Rove’s new initiative, the Conservative Victory Project. The goal of the project is to weed out candidates from GOP primaries that are seen - by Rove and his group of high stakes donors – as too flawed to be electable in a general election.

It seems like a reasonable goal, right? To help the GOP find candidates who have a hope of winning? The problem is that what Rove advocates flies in the face of Conservative ideals. He’s essentially placing himself and his cohorts in a position to pick winners and losers without the help (or even the input) of the actual voters whose lives will be affected by the outcomes of the elections with which he meddles. But wait, didn’t conservatives HATE it when Obama picked Solyndra and the other green energy companies that went belly up? Didn’t we HATE it when our money was used to bail out GM and others? Why on earth would we allow someone within our own party to engineer elections when we don’t tolerate the engineering of corporate America?

There are those who defend Rove, saying that he is a brilliant analyst. I’m not going to argue with that. They say that over the last decade or so he has built the GOP. I’m not going to argue with that either. He is definitely one of the major architects of the GOP as we know it today. But the GOP that he built is hardly something worth defending. He built the GOP that gave us a Republican congress that outspent prior Democrat congresses. He built the GOP that gave us TARP, No Child Left Behind, and those idiotic light bulbs that we now know might cause cancer if you, you know, turn them on and stuff. He built the GOP that gave us McCain and Romney because they were “electable.” In other words, he built the GOP that laid out the red carpet for the Democrat landslide in 2008. When he was given the chance to make up for it, instead of helping the conservative resurgence in 2010 he fought against it – a move that probably helped Democrats keep the Senate and the White House in 2012.

The reality is that Rove is an elitist. He wants a class of political elites, and he wants desperately to be their puppetmaster. And he has done a very good job of convincing Americans – even some conservatives – that his class of political elites is somehow better than their Democrat alter egos. He has convinced them that the letter “R” next to the name matters more than principles of the candidate and that he is more qualified than any common voter to pass judgment on the electability of any given candidate.

In simpler terms, Rove fancies himself a kingmaker. The problem is that he posits to claim the title of kingmaker in a nation that set itself apart 237 years ago by throwing off the notion of monarchy. That in itself would be bad enough, but when you consider that the only king thus far that has been “made” by a man who claims his goal is to advance conservatism is President Barack Obama, it is clear that we have a problem. And that problem is Karl Rove.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Panetta Hamstrings Armed Forces On His Way Out

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced today that the ban on women in combat jobs was going to be lifted. As a ten year Army veteran, I was left dismayed and a little bit puzzled. What practical purpose does it serve? Do we really think that having women on the front lines will give us an edge that we did not have before? It seems to me that allowing women into combat jobs does not offer any benefit outside of the realm of politics, and the risks and unknowns with which it may hamper mission success far outweigh any political gains.

It is my personal opinion that if Secretary Panetta truly felt that having women in combat would benefit our Armed Forces in any way, he would have lifted he ban near the start of his tenure. Instead, he does it on his way out the door - which suggests rather that it is a political parting gift to a President whose ultimate goal seems to be a weaker military. (A goal that is directly reinforced by the nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel as Secretary Panetta's replacement.)

And let's take just a second to be realistic: men who are captured will be tortured and/or killed. What do you think is likely to happen to women? What about the rescue teams who know they're going in after a woman? What stupid actions might otherwise professional soldiers take if they see a female being captured and know what will likely happen to her? What if that woman is "involved" with one of the men who sees her get taken?

I could go on citing statistics and studies that discuss gender differences - both physical and psychological - in high stress situations, but I don't think they really address the heart of the issue. The fact is that there are women who CAN handle the stress and rigors of combat. And just as true is the opposite: there are men who CANNOT. But the real issue is this: do we want a military that is first and foremost a formidable fighting force or one that is first and foremost dedicated to enforced equality? We can't have both.

The military is strong in part because it is the most discriminatory workplace in the nation. You can be kept out, fired, or barred from promotion simply for being too tall, too short, too thin, too fat, too sick, too injured,too stupid, and the list goes on. Every move it has made in the direction of political correctness has been a move away from strength.

From the very first day that women were allowed to serve in the military, they have been held to a lower standard than the men who held the same positions. Even as far back as WWII, by regulation the bench seats in standard transport trucks were designated to hold eight men. The same regulation stated that only seven women would fit on the same bench seat, in an effort to ensure that female Marines were given enough space to remain comfortable during transport. Today's Army physical training tests require much higher standards of men than of women - men are required to run faster and do more push ups than women who have the same MOS (military operational specialty).

Every time a job is opened to women in the military, instead of demanding that the women meet the same standards set by the men, they create a new (nearly always lower) standard for the women. As more and more women qualify for jobs based on these lowered standards, the efficiency and overall performance of the unit as a whole is decreased. To add close combat jobs to that list is asking for an Army that cannot help but be weakened as the standards for such jobs are lowered in the name of "equality."

That's not to say there is no place for women in the military. I am a woman and I spent ten years in the Army, most of that as an x-ray/CT tech. And most of the best medics and nurses I met and worked with were women.

To most, my position on this issue may seem sexist. And maybe it is. But the necessarily lowered standards that would allow women into combat jobs remind me a bit of General Shinseki's uniform changes back in 2001. He ordered that starting on June 14, 2001, all soldiers would wear the black beret with their duty uniforms instead of the standard PC (patrol cap). Sure the black beret looked a little bit dressier, but served absolutely no practical purpose. Those of us who had to wear it constantly complained that it didn't block sun, rain, or wind from the face. It didn't stay on very well, especially if it was windy. And it was harder to keep in presentable condition once it had been exposed to the elements. But the people who truly deserved to complain were the ones who had been through hell in Army Ranger training to earn that same black beret.

Just as the accomplishments of the Rangers who had sacrificed blood, sweat and tears to earn those black berets were marginalized by an Army of unqualified soldiers being handed them simply for existing, the accomplishments of the men who meet the more strenuous "male" requirements for any job in the military are minimized and mocked by the women who can do in some cases half the work and then demand not only the same job, but equal pay and an equal chance at promotion and recognition.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Roe? Privacy? Not so much.

Today marks the 40th anniversary of one of the greatest travesties of law yet seen by the United States Supreme Court: Roe v. Wade.

I don't call it a travesty because I disagree with the concept of an unwritten but implied right to privacy - in fact, the context and the text of the entire Bill of Rights suggests exactly that. When you combine the 4th Amendment (a right to keep your home and property private in regards to unwarranted search and seizure) and the 5th Amendment (a right to keep information private, especially in regards to confidences that may incriminate you), it's clear that the founders believed that some things were to remain private. Add in the 9th and 10th Amendments that allude to "other rights" that belong to both the sovereign states and the individual citizens that are not specifically enumerated, and the concept of an absolute "right to privacy," especially within one's home or marriage relationship, is hardly a stretch.

But Roe has very little to do with privacy.

First, the entire case was predicated on lies. Both of the women whose cases were conjoined when they were heard by the Supreme Court, claimed falsely that they had been raped. Both of those women now regret that they were ever a part of the court case that made them famous. Both of those women routinely speak at pro-life events to this day.

Second, the case hides behind the "right to privacy" while creating a singular lack of privacy. A woman's "right" to keep her reproductive choices (which is not at all what Roe guarantees, but I'll get to that) is theoretically at issue - but in order for her to enact her choices, she must include at least one doctor, counselor, receptionist, and presumably her partner as well.

But now, let's talk about what Roe really decided. The way the law was written makes it abundantly clear that "a woman's right to choose" was not at all what the Justices had in mind. The law clearly states that, since the mother's health is the only justifiable reason for terminating an otherwise healthy pregnancy, the decision to terminate is one that should be made by a physician - and the law further stipulates that the opinion of two physicians rather than one is preferable.

So according to Roe, a "woman's choice" is always secondary to the official recommendation of a physician.

Next, if you read the language of Roe, it is also clear that the Justices never intended that decision to justify abortions outside of the first trimester. Prior to the twelfth week of pregnancy, the woman is referred to as simply "the woman." In every reference made after the twelfth week, she is instead referred to as "the mother."

A final thought, quoted from my own post in February of last year:
Now consider this: if a baby is born at twenty-eight weeks gestation and the mother asks to have him killed, she will likely be placed in the psych ward. If that same baby is carried to term and the mother opts to abort two weeks prior to the due date, in some states she can even get financial assistance to do so. What is the difference between the two babies? Physical location at the time of the act.

If you read up on current literature and arguments being put forth, very few people actually argue whether or not the unborn is a child. *They don't care.* Many of them argue that whether or not the baby is alive is irrelevant because the Supreme Court gives them the "right" to abort *in spite of* the personhood of their child. In much the same way slave owners felt they could beat or kill their “property,” abortion advocates feel their “privacy" allows them to use the unborn's physical location as a justification for free reign to murder.

Consider the images you see above. An unborn child at 20 weeks has fully formed facial features, genitalia, fingers and toes. She has fully functioning stomach, kidneys and bladder, and has had a beating heart for months. She can suck her thumb, somersault, kick, and grab. The movement of her fingers through her liquid environment is forming the unique ridges on each of her fingertips that will become fingerprints, in the same way that a long bath forms wrinkles in human skin after birth.

And for 40 years now, in the United States of America, it has been legal for the woman carrying her to kill her - sometimes for reasons as trivial as "convenience."

Friday, January 18, 2013

Why We Have to STOP Eating Liberals for Breakfast

Every day when I log in to Facebook or Twitter, I see that someone has posted another hundred or so memes (and there are probably more that I don't see) that make fun of liberal thinking. And why not? It's easy. It's entertaining. Best of all, it's usually fairly accurate. But the main thing is, it's a part of the culture war in which we all absolutely need to be engaged.

But we can't spend our days just making fun of liberals and laughing about it. We can't allow ourselves to believe that in creating yet another condescending Wonka we have done our part. Why not? Because ridicule alone does not work. If it did, America would not have elected a mom-jeans wearing, dope smoking, petulant narcissist who campaigned in 57 states, pitches like a girl, and ate a dog. Seriously.

We need to be paying attention. We need to rip off the band-aids. We need to demand that the curtain be pulled back. We need to be relentless in our quest to expose the man who passes himself off as the wizard at the controls.

And sometimes that means that instead of creating one more comparison that shows the laughably arbitrary differences between the "military style assault rifle" that is now illegal in New York with the perfectly legal rifle that differs only in aesthetics, we should be calling our Senators en masse to demand proper vetting of the most recent Presidential appointments.

Sometimes it means that instead of tweeting "I eat liberals for breakfast," we should be tweeting local newspapers and television personalities to expose the agendas splashed all over their pages and airwaves.

Sometimes it means that instead of allowing yourself to be drawn into yet another pointless battle of wits on the social media site of your choice, you should be teaching your children what liberty means and why it is important enough to inspire men to die to keep it alive.

But mostly it means that you must remember that although humor can be an effective tool, it cannot be effective alone. So keep reminding the public that hiding behind children is a tool used most often by dictators and Al Qaeda operatives. Keep pointing out the fact that Joe Biden can't open his mouth without providing conservatives with a week's worth of jokes. Talk some more about the President's disregard for our economic struggles while he putts through yet another $1 million plus vacation. But make sure you're not doing that at the expense of phone calls, emails, letters, and even personal visits to your state and federal representatives. Make sure that you're not giving the local news a pass while you rush to defend conservatism against some jerk on Facebook. And above all: make sure you educate yourself on every topic you plan to attack - because even humor fails if the underlying facts are weak.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Firearm Registration: It's No Megan's Law

I'm going to make a couple of uncomfortable - but apparently necessary - comparisons.

In today's announcement in regards to gun control, President Obama made it clear that one of his main goals is to tighten regulations concerning firearm registration and the requirements individuals must meet in order to obtain said registrations. As part of tightening those regulations, the President has issued executive orders allowing doctors to circumvent HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996). This means that your personal health information - information that doctors *used to be* legally bound to keep private - can now be divulged to the clerk at your local sporting goods store simply because you have chosen to exercise your 2nd Amendment rights.

Something doesn't seem quite right about that, am I right?

What about the idea of law-abiding citizens being forced to obtain permits and register legal weapons in the first place? 

(Here's where the uncomfortable comparisons come in.)

In 2003, a case called Smith v. Doe came before the Supreme Court. Two defendants (referred to in this case as John Doe I and John Doe II) claimed that, after being convicted of sexual offenses, being forced to comply with Megan's Law (forcing them to register as sex offenders on state databases) was a violation of the Constitution's ex post facto clause, since Megan's Law was not passed until after their respective convictions.

The court held that because the intent of Megan's Law was not punishment (which would have been precluded by ex post facto) but rather to disseminate information that would increase public safety, it was perfectly legal for the states to force prior offenders to comply.

Why is this relevant? Justices Ginsburg and Breyer dissented, claiming that the registration and reporting provisions of Megan's Law imposed "onerous and intrusive obligations on convicted sex offenders, and exposed them to humiliation and ostracism."

How is forcing a citizen to place his name on a list, expose himself to possibly being outed by a public media outlet, and allowing any sporting goods salesman to access his private medical records any less of an "onerous and intrusive obligation"? Not to mention the fact that in this case, the "onerous and intrusive burden" is laid upon someone who is attempting to follow the law rather than one who has proven he has no regard for doing so.

To take it one step further: how is enforced individual firearm registration any different than Nazi Germany forcing all Jews to wear the Star of David? In both cases, the government is setting a particular group of law-abiding citizens apart - labeling them - so that at the opportune time they can be more easily singled out.

Also, I'm thoroughly enjoying the irony that both Ginsburg and Breyer in particular find it onerous and burdensome for convicted sex offenders to be forced to register their names and locations but not for every citizen to be forced to buy health insurance. But that's another matter entirely.

Another kick in the pants, in regards to irony: the state of Kansas has repeatedly refused to release the medical records of underage children who have had abortions (and remember, a pregnancy in a child under the age of consent is a fair indicator that a crime has taken place) for purposes of prosecuting the perpetrators of incest and statutory rape - but the guy at the hobby store can have your medical history if you decide you want to own a gun...