Wednesday, February 29, 2012

This is the intellectual leader - and exemplar of the rot - of the conservative movement

Last week House Republicans held a hearing on contraception as it relates to President Obama's health care plan that featured an all-male panel. House Democrats responded with a hearing of their own, featuring a female Georgetown law student who was not allowed to testify in the Republican hearing. NPR described her testimony thus

"Without insurance coverage, contraception, as you know, can cost a woman over $3,000 during law school," she said. "For a lot of students who, like me, are on public interest scholarships, that's practically an entire summer's salary."

And the policy has hurt not just those who want the pill to prevent pregnancy, she said. One friend — a lesbian — needed oral contraception to control ovarian cysts.

But while the Georgetown plan includes a medical exception, her friend never got the medication. "Despite verification of her illness from her doctor, her claim was denied repeatedly on the assumption that she really wanted birth control to prevent pregnancy," she said.

She eventually stopped taking the medication when it became too expensive, grew a cyst "the size of a tennis ball," and "had to have surgery to remove her entire ovary as a result," Fluke testified.

And when others ask what she expected when she chose to attend a Jesuit university, Fluke replied that she and her fellow women law students:

"[R]efused to pick between a quality education and our health, and we resent that in the 21st century anyone thinks it's acceptable to ask us to make this choice simply because we are women."
Here is what Rush Limbaugh, the radio demagogue that Republican officials bow down before, had to say in response.

What does it say about the college coed Susan Fluke [sic], who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex? What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex.

She's having so much sex she can't afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex.
Right. Isn't that exactly what you heard when you saw her testimony? That she's a whore who expects the US taxpayer to pay her for sex? - not that she's suggesting that access to contraception is an important means to providing equal career/educational opportunity for women and also protecting their health.

Rush Limbaugh is a terrible, horrible human being who traffics in incoherent, hate-filled rants like these, that only can sway his audience because they appeal to prejudices that short-circuit rational thought.

And what really disgusts me is people like Brian Williams who think that they can demonstrate what good journalists they are by pretending that Limbaugh is something other than the hate-filled idiot that he is.

As an aside: It's stuff like this that has had me place Corey Robin's The Reactionary Mind towards the top of my list of books to read. (See here for a typically interesting example of Robin's work on the subject.)

Post Script: I almost forgot: The Rush Limbaugh with the nerve to call a female law student who testified about the difficulty of affording both education and contraception a "slut" is this same Rush Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh was traveling with four other men--including the producers of the hit show '24'--when he was detained over a mislabeled bottle of Viagra found in his luggage during a Customs search. A Department of Homeland security passenger manifest shows that Limbaugh and his four buddies flew from the Dominican Republic on a Gulfstream IV jet owned by Premiere Radio Networks, which syndicates his radio program. Limbaugh returned to Palm Beach, Florida on June 26 with Joel Surnow, '24''s co-creator and executive producer and Howard Gordon, another of the Fox hit's executive producers (Hollywood agent Jeffrey Benson was also part of the Limbaugh quintet). With all those guys in tow, it is unclear what Limbaugh needed with those 29 100mg Viagra pills.
Yes, what would he be doing with Viagra pills in a location notorious for sexual tourism.

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