Eye On Modesto

Thoughts and observations about Modesto and Stanislaus County

Archive for the month “July, 2012”

Here We Go Again – What Men Don’t Understand About Birth Control

By Gaetana Drake

Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wi) was recently discussing how low-income women can get birth control.  He was asked “what if I can’t afford birth control?”  His response was to “Google it”.  He explained that his wife recently Googled it and “bam, it was there!”  So, I tried it.  I went to Google and typed in “what if I can’t afford birth control”?  He was right in one respect.  BAM!  There were my solutions, right there on Google.  Four solutions from which to choose:

Option #1 – go to Planned Parenthood.  Wonderful idea, as Planned Parenthood’s mission is self-explanatory.  Planned Parenthood is so much better than unplanned parenthood.  And Planned Parenthood provides so many necessary services, along with affordable or free birth control.  But then I remembered!  The GOP is trying desperately to defund Planned Parenthood.  So, the first option just flew right out the window.

Option #2 – go to a doctor.  The initial visit may cost from $45 – $125 (in my opinion this is a very low estimate for costs).  Follow-up visits may run up to $60.  Then there’s the cost of the actual birth control.  Pills can run from $9 – $40, depending on what pill works best for the woman.  As a woman who has had experience with the pill, I know that pills have different effects on different women and there are many women who simply can’t tolerate the pill.  How about an IUD?  $1500 – $2000.  What part of “what if I can’t afford birth control” didn’t the good Senator Johnson understand?  But then, Senator Johnson and his family have the best health care in the world – at our expense. 

Option #3 – If your employer offers a choice of insurance plans, simply choose one that covers contraception.  Hmmmm….30 – 35 million Americans without health insurance and thousands of employers that don’t offer insurance coverage,  but just pick the plan that covers contraception.   Again, the good senator doesn’t seem to understand the problem.

Option #4 – ask your partner to contribute to the cost of contraception.  I agree with this completely!  Especially since options 1, 2 and 3 aren’t really valid in so many cases.  Unfortunately, even in 2012, there is a mindset among many men that birth control is just a “woman’s issue” and they don’t need to be involved in it.  And let’s not forget that most men don’t like condoms, and don’t want to use them.

So here we have a U.S. Senator (male) who has absolutely no realistic understanding of the costs of birth control and how that effects low-income women.   And we have Rush Limbaugh (male) who famously believed that you took a pill every time you wanted to have sex (I believe he was confusing birth control pills with his Viagra!)  I truly believe it’s time that men stop making comments about this issue unless they actually have something valid to contribute to the discussion.  When they make outrageous statements, like both of these men did, they just look silly.

Since 1960 when the pill was approved by the FDA, the graduation rates (from high school and college) for females have skyrocketed.  And the number of women in the workforce has tripled since then.  All of this is directly tied to being able to control when and how often we give birth.

Senator Johnson claims there is no one trying to deny women access to contraception.  He claims this is an issue of religious freedom.  As I’ve said before, no one is forcing any woman to use contraception, so I really don’t understand the “religious freedom” issue.

In the past I have thought that this GOP/male obsession about birth control was just something to distract us from the real issues – war, jobs, the economy.  But I’m beginning to believe there is a more sinister reason behind their plan.  The political and financial power of women has steadily increased since 1960.  They don’t like that.  They would like to change that.

We have the strength and determination of our great-grandmothers and grandmothers who fought for the right to vote.  We have the strength and determination of our mothers who fought for their rightful place in the workforce.

I think they’re afraid of us.  And they should be.  Because we won’t stop fighting.


Here is the Email that Forced Supervisor Withrow to Recuse Himself from WestPark Discussions

By Emerson Drake

We’ve attempted to discover the actual sender but to this point were stymied. If anyone can pinpoint the exact sender for this information we’ll all be grateful.

Return-path: <billlyons82@hotmail.com>
Received: from snt0-omc2-s20.snt0.hotmail.com ([])
 by mail.stancounty.com with ESMTP; Tue, 19 Jun 2012 08:49:57 -0700
X-CheckPoint: {4FE09FA4-2F-5264C83F-FFFF}
Received: from SNT136-W54 ([]) by snt0-omc2-s20.snt0.hotmail.com with Microsoft SMTPSVC(6.0.3790.4675);
  Tue, 19 Jun 2012 08:49:56 -0700
Message-ID: <SNT136-W549F334BE6452C7901A66BA9FF0@phx.gbl>
Return-Path: billlyons82@hotmail.com
Content-Type: multipart/alternative;
X-Originating-IP: []
From: bill lyons billlyons82@hotmail.com>
To: <gstapley@modbee.com>, <boggsk@stancounty.com>, <obrienw@stancounty.com>
Subject: West Park
Date: Tue, 19 Jun 2012 08:49:56 -0700
Importance: Normal
MIME-Version: 1.0
X-OriginalArrivalTime: 19 Jun 2012 15:49:56.0849 (UTC) FILETIME=[2CF9F610:01CD4E33]
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=”iso-8859-1″
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable
I think an interesting story would be why supervisor Terry is able to vote =
on a project where his family and their partners own surrounding land. Del =
Mar and Maring and their affiliates own land around and near the naval base=
. In Terry’s own words “his is an accountant and can work figures”=2C I thi=
nk anyone that can do basic math can figure when surrounding properties are=
 developed=2C the undeveloped values increase significantly.
Content-Type: text/html; charset=”iso-8859-1″
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable
.hmmessage P
font-size: 10pt=3B
<body’hmmessage’><div dir=3D’ltr’><br>I think an interesting story=
 would be why supervisor Terry is able to vote on a project where his famil=
y and their partners own surrounding land. Del Mar and Maring and their aff=
iliates own land around and near the naval base. In Terry’=3Bs own words=
 “=3Bhis is an accountant and can work figures”=3B=2C I think anyon=
e that can do basic math can figure when surrounding properties are develop=
ed=2C the undeveloped values increase significantly.<br>            </div><=

Muratore Stabs Constituents in the Back

 By Emerson Drake

When MID’s General Manager Allen Short and attorney Tim O’Laughlin made their water presentation to the Modesto City Council, they deliberately misled them regarding the reliability of Modesto’s water supply from MID.  This was acknowledged by the Council when they finally had the opportunity to read the proposed contract with the San Francisco Public Utility Commission , also know as the SFPUC.  O’laughlin had the audacity to stand  in front of the Council and claim the contract would protect Modesto and keep Modesto first when it came time to divvy up available water.

Obviously that was just a lie.

When the council first voted in closed session it was 5-2 for exploring a lawsuit against MID for violating a  2005 contract. But before it became public the Council took another vote which made it a unanimous 7-0 vote.  Councilman Lopez spoke about this in open session. The two votes against were Mayor Marsh and Councilman Lopez.

 Councilman Muratore Betrays Modesto and Changes His Mind

Unfortunately MID Director Tom Van Groningen has since somehow  “persuaded” Muratore to change his mind and suddenly Muratore loves the proposed water sale.  What arguments did Van Groningen use?  Did he magically make more water appear in Don Pedro? No. Was he able to convince the SFPUC to take a back seat to Modesto and the farmers?  No.  So what did he dangle in front of Muratore to change his mind?

Well we do know from past experience with Councilman Muratore that money talks.  Maybe VanGroningen apologized for not passing a special exemption when Muratore, Swehla, Endsley and Hawn brought a solar project to the MID board.  Unfortunately that time Swehla screwed the pooch and failed to meet a paperwork cut-off and the project wasn’t eligible for the increased financial inducement which would have made the project viable, costing their fledgling company any chance of remaining in business.  And of course we remember Van Groningen supported Endsley’s biomass/garbage burner plant which cost ratepayers $1.292Million dollars. The $92,000 went to MID attorney O’Laughlin’s firm, but hey, who’s  counting?

Maybe a Forensic Auditor should be brought in to examine MID’s books given the revelation MID’s General Manager made when he admitted he had funneled money to political consultant Mike Lynch through Martino Graphic Design,INC. Has he done this before?  Have they paid a political consultant through a graphic design company or another company unrelated to political consulting to disguise their intent?  Couldn’t this sleight of hand be considered illegal, especially if there is evidence of this not being the first time?  Lynch has been making the rounds whispering in the ear of political wannabes like Councilman Lopez’s stepson Josh Vanderveen, who has been speaking out for the sale regularly since this issue came to light. Up to this point there hasn’t been enough known inducement for Lynch to be making promises to so many political candidates.  And of course it can’t hurt that Councilman Lopez has been making discrete inquiries about running for Supervisor Dick Monteith’s job when the supervisors term expires.

Whatever VanGroningen whispered into Muratore’s ear worked and as a result the potential vote is now 4-3 regardless of anything you’ve heard.  Now all eyes are on Councilman Cogdill to see if he’s as honorable as we hope.

Above all we need Council members to watch out for the Citizens of Modesto’s best interests and not their political careers or their wallets.

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