Friday, February 02, 2007

Wow! I Can't Believe This Is Texas.

I was just surprised and a little bit pleased that Governor Rick Perry (Gov. Good Hair, as Molly Ivins called him) "signed an order today making Texas the first state to require that schoolgirls get vaccinated against the sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer." Read the full article. The vaccine is Gardasil, a product by Merck that prevents human papillomavirus, HPV, as it is commonly referred to.

There has been much discussion over the vaccine on various blogs; in fact, there was just one on feministing yesterday with many people extremely upset over the government's intervention. This is a complex issue because I agree with some of the arguments, i.e. the government is putting the burden of protection on women, forceable vaccination, unknown long-term effects.

The article I've linked to also discusses Perry's ties to Merck, which makes me a bit suspicious as well in that the article says that one of the company's lobbyists in Texas is Mike Toomey, former chief of staff. I don't like such dealings when it comes to government. I like a government that has my best interests at heart.

However, I am also pleased that Perry went against the conservative right who argue that the vaccine will encourage and condone premarital sex and "interfere with the way parents raise their children." My response to that is twofold: It's just a vaccine. You're not handing the girl a dildo and condoms and shoving them at boys. Second, what about other vaccines that children are required to receive? Does that "interfere with the way parents raise their children"? Even if an individual is a virgin at marriage, (although according to recent reports, that is rare) - the disease can still be contracted from the other partner. Wise up. If you care so much about your child, care about their health.

So yea! Texas. I can't believe we were the first.

[Update: Additionally, those parents that would like to opt out of the vaccination may do so by filing an affidavit objecting to the vaccine (AP) so really there should be no reason for such complaints.]

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Satire Is Traditionally the Weapon of the Powerless Against the Powerful

I'd argue, however, that Molly Ivins was hardly powerless. The woman was a force to be reckoned with, and she has died. I am not the wordsmith she was so I will mostly let her own words speak for herself. I must say, though, what I most admire about Molly Ivins and her Molly-isms was her superior ability to state things just as she saw fit.
A friend says I need to rename my blog, Cooky Liberal Ink, and maybe I shall, but at the moment it will remain Feminist Ink because I am a feminist just as much as I am a cooky liberal. I say this, not to draw focus away from this disjointed memorial, but to attempt to emulate what I think Molly Ivins was: a woman who said what she believed and believed what she said.
As she once said, "You can't ignore politics, no matter how much you'd like to." For a long time, I stayed silent because I felt ignorant in matters political, but again Ivins says, "I believe that ignorance is the root of all evil. And that no one knows the truth." So this blog is my attempt to educate myself, my attempt to break away at the lies that cloud the truth.
One of the last columns Ivins wrote was about this war that I desperately believe we should abandon, and the words which she uses are words of revolution, calling people to action: This is our government. We have spoken; we don't believe in this war. Read the rest of the article here. She is correct in that we have a need in this country, a need for a true leader, a need for a true focus on our future. Again, in her words, "It's about political courage and heroes, and when a country is desperate for leadership. There are times when regular politics will not do, and this is one of those times. There are times a country is so tired of bull that only the truth can provide relief."
Molly Ivins was such a leader. She may not have been an elected official, but she was a leader in politics who still retained her southern roots and "was known for hosting unforgettable parties at her Austin home .... [where] her dining table was littered with various awards and distinguished speaker plaques, put to use as trivets for steaming plates of tamales, chili and fajita meat .... 'Well, what else am I going to do with 'em?'" she would say. She was an intelligent, well spoken, humble, funny woman who will be missed by many.