President Rallies to Defend Woman's Reproductive Rights
President Barack Obama waded into the controversy sparked by Sandra Fluke's testimony before a congressional committee hearing on the mandate requiring all insurers to provide reproductive services—including birth control pills, condoms, and abortafacients—free of charge. At issue is Fluke's contention that she shouldn't be forced to pay for these services out of her own pocket.
Radio commentator Rush Limbaugh lampooned Fluke's claim that she couldn't afford to pay. “Ms. Fluke makes no case that her participation in sexual activity is involuntary,” Limbaugh said. “Her need for birth control or an abortion is within her sphere of discretion. She seems to be saying that taxpayers, employers, or insurers—anyone besides herself—must be compelled to finance her recreational sex.”
President Obama responded, saying, “I am appalled by Limbaugh's harsh treatment of this young woman. Limbaugh and his right-wing cabal are attacking Ms. Fluke's human rights, insisting that she must bear the consequences of her own actions at her own expense. This is pure selfishness on display.”
“I believe our nation is at a crossroad where we need to decide whether personal freedom or individual greed will prevail,” Obama continued. “Should a person's freedom be curtailed by fear of the possible financial cost of choices he or she might make? Or should society pitch in and liberate us all from such fears? I think everyone knows where I stand on this issue and I'm confident that voters will recognize me as the kind of champion of human rights they want wielding all the powers the Presidency offers in this cause.”
In related news, the National Organization for Women (NOW) demanded that Limbaugh be banned from the airwaves for this latest assault on women's rights. “For years Limbaugh has belittled those of us standing up for women as 'feminazis,'” asserted NOW President Terry O'Neill. “This latest escapade is part of a pattern of abuse that must be silenced once and for all. We call upon his sponsors—Clear Channel Communications—to pull the plug on Limbaugh before the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) is forced to take action.”
Congresswoman Looking into Broader Health Mandate
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) says the furor over the President's declaration that all insurers must offer birth control coverage free-of-charge is “helping highlight a broader divide between those who really care about the welfare of people and those who don't.”
“Look, 90% of Catholic women use birth control,” Pelosi maintained. “This is a huge majority. In our form of government the majority rules. The President's executive order requiring insurers to cover the cost of birth control meets the needs of this majority. Those who oppose this are placing the rights of the 10% minority ahead of the rights of the majority. That isn't right.”
“You know, there is even a bigger majority of the population that eats,” Pelosi pointed out. “Everyone—100%--needs food. Yet, a person's access to food is contingent upon their ability to pay for it. Even worse, segments of our society exploit this need for profit. Now that we have established the legitimacy of mandating free birth control I think it may be time to look into a similar mandate requiring the producers of food to make it available to all at no out-of-pocket charge. A good diet is every bit as important a health benefit as birth control.”
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius called Pelosi's suggestion “intriguing.” “In fact, the two mandates could be mutually interactive. The birth control mandate will lead to a reduction in the number of human beings we have to contend with. More contraception, more abortions means fewer mouths to feed. With a smaller pool of recipients, mandating free access to food would be a more manageable proposition.”
President Admits Wife Controls His TV Watching
Though he may be the “most powerful leader in the world,” President Barack Obama's access to television is strictly controlled by his wife.
“Sports is all I'm allowed to watch on TV,” Obama told reporters. “Even then, I'm limited to an hour or two here and there. Watching a whole game is a rare treat. Michelle doesn't want me to be distracted from my mission.”
The President admitted that he chafes under the restriction and occasionally “sneaks an extra peek when Michelle is not around,” but asked that it be kept secret lest “I lose what privileges she allows me now.”
Investigation of Obama's Credentials Called Racist
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's six-month long investigation into the authenticity of President Obama's birth certificate recently concluded with a finding of “probable cause” to believe this document is a forgery.
Arpaio said that “forensics experts were able to determine that the birth certificate released by the White House was a computer-generated collage, not a genuine copy of an actual document. The President may or may not have been born in Hawaii. The documents he has provided to-date do not serve as proof that he is eligible for the office he now holds.”
While declining to address any of Arpaio's substantive claims, Press Secretary Jay Carney characterized the Sheriff's efforts as “racism, pure and simple. Arpaio's been sheriff for what, 20 years now? Did he ever investigate the eligibility of either of the George Bushes or Bill Clinton? But now that a Black man holds the office he's out beating the bushes to try to dig up dirt. I think we see a pattern here and an ugly one at that.”
Carney insisted that “these racist attacks won't work. The media won't cooperate in spreading them. Voters won't be swayed by them. In the end, they will backfire when the President is reelected and has the opportunity to impose consequences on those who tried to depose him.”
Rising Gas Prices Won't Hurt Prez, Campaign Says
The prospect of gasoline prices rising to $5 per gallon or more before election day in November isn't fazing the Obama campaign.
“Voters understand that higher gas prices are necessary if we're to wean ourselves off of fossil fuels,” said Stephanie Cutter, the president’s deputy campaign manager. “The average person wants to do the right thing, but that's hard when gasoline is cheap. I mean who's going to buy a Chevy Volt when its cheaper to own and operate a conventional car? Who's going to suffer the inconveniences of public transit when driving his own car is affordable?”
“The President's push to level the playing field so that making the right choice isn't any more expensive than making the wrong choice is an assist that I think most people will appreciate,” Cutter argued. “It's like your Mom letting you have desert if you eat your peas first. Or Dad boosting your allowance if you keep your grades up. It's a pain, but it's for your own good. We're confident that voters will appreciate the President's interest in and efforts to improve their behavior.”
Congresswoman Says Constitution Shouldn't Block Necessary Legislation
At a “town hall” style meeting in her district, Representative Kathy Hochul (D-NY) told constituents that First Amendment guarantees in the US Constitution “mustn't be allowed to override Congress' scope of action.”
Asked what part of the Constitution allows government to dictate what citizens must buy in the way of health insurance, Hochul explained that “We're not looking to the Constitution on that aspect. Remember, the Constitution is a 200-year-old document. Those who wrote it could not have anticipated all of the changes that would transpire in the future. So, those of us who are governing in the present must sometimes deviate from what the Constitution says.”
“Basically, the decision has been made by this Congress that all Americans must have health care insurance whether they want it or not,” Hochul added. “No one can be excused from paying for it. We cannot allow professions of conscientious objections under the guise of religious freedom or personal beliefs to deter us from imposing this requirement.”
Perhaps more shocking than the Representative's breezy dismissal of Constitutional issues was the round of applause and cheers from most of the members of her audience.
Republican Efforts to Hold the Line on Bureaucrats' Pay Assailed
Key Democrats objected to GOP efforts to trim the budget deficit by requiring federal employees to make bigger contributions to their own pensions. This comes despite statistics indicating that government employees' pensions are far more generous than those of their peers in the private sector.
“What my GOP colleagues consistently overlook is the complexity and importance of government work compared to the private sector,” complained Minority Whip, Representative Steny Hoyer (D-Md). “Producing food, clothing, and shelter are the relatively simple tasks we entrust to the private sector. Regulating these tasks is more complicated, difficult, and important. Those charged with these responsibilities deserve more respect.”
The GOP proposal raising Hoyer's ire would boost employee contributions to 3.1%, up from the current 2.3%.