One woman’s opinion on Planned Parenthood

I have to share this link, from Real Fit Mama, for two reasons:

  1. It’s so well done.
  2. It’s written by a woman and, as a man, I feel I lack a certain authority on the services offered by Planned Parenthood.

The House of Representatives voted recently to cut funding for Planned Parenthood, an organization that has long drawn the ire of conservatives because it provides abortion services. It would be really easy to dislike Planned Parenthood if that was all they did – which it’s not. The cut eliminates, according to ABC News, “about $330 million through the end of September for preventative-health services, including federal funding for contraception and cancer screenings, at Planned Parenthood clinics across the country.”

ABC points out that they’re already prevented by federal law from using federal dollars for abortion services. The cuts, then, take away money for, among other things, family planning and birth control. It’s a curious attack being launched by the Republicans. “We want to stop a clinic from doing something that is legal, so we’ll cut off funding to programs that would help them lessen the need for that legal thing we want to stop.”

As Maria Sparks points out in her post, this will – among other things – lead to more unplanned pregnancies and more families eligible for and in need of government assistance, and we know how those on that side of the aisle feel about government aid. It reminds me of a Ben Kweller lyric: “The fetal girl seems to be much more important / Than the baby girl that’s born…”

But again, I’m a dude. I’ve never used the services offered by Planned Parenthood. Here’s a female who has used the…you know…female health services offered by Planned Parenthood and that’s given her an educated take on what Planned Parenthood means beyond abortion. Please read what she has to say.


Friday-adjacent Soundtrack, or my Twitter-brush with celebrity

Posting a Friday Soundtrack on a Monday? Yep. It’s been like that the past few days around here. Let’s focus on the positive, though. Let’s just say Wow, two soundtracks in a week! This’ll be a great week!

Mike Doughty is the subject this time around. The former front man of unclassifiable late ’90s band Soul Coughing has been doing the solo thing since the band broke up in 2000 – day that will live in infamy for me – and it turns out I actually like the solo stuff better. My ears have been on a Mike Doughty kick lately, specifically his 2005 release “Haughty Melodic” and 2009’s “Sad Man, Happy Man.”

But it was a track off of 2008’s “Golden Delicious” that brought me as close to Doughty as I’ll probably ever be (he doesn’t hit Springfield much on tour). At work Saturday, just as I was going to break, his song “27 Jennifers” came on over the speakers and I Tweeted something about Doughty’s music making cupcakes taste better – which is true. My jaw dropped hours later when I checked my Twitter feed and saw that Doughty – an active and entertaining Twitter user – had retweeted MY Tweet. I usually play it cool, but I had a few geek-out moments after that.

Doughty’s music, just like Soul Coughing’s, is an acquired taste, and I seem to be the only person in my general proximity who has acquired it. Which, by the way, I take as an indictment of their tastes and not mine. His syncopated guitar playing is a signature of his music, and he is a solid lyricist – no doubt benefiting from the fact that he also writes poetry.

It wasn’t easy to pick a song for this week’s Soundtrack, so I picked two. This video features “I Just Want the Girl in the Blue Dress to Keep On Dancing” off of “Golden Delicious” and  “Year of the Dog,” from “Sad Man, Happy Man” – a two-in-one of Doughty awesomeness. Enjoy, and check out his Tumblr blog here.


Mental Break

Think warm thoughts.

Maybe they should change the baseball in the logo to a snowball?

There’s a lot of gray in this photo, from the steel gray sky to the dirty gray snow that has been plowed into a pile next to the concrete gray sidewalk. There’s some white, too. The unblemished snow piled up in the background, the white glass atop the streetlight. Then there’s the baseball in the banner hanging from the pole. And just down the road, a white “C” wraps around the Slugger Bird on that banner.

Let’s focus on that shall we? Soon we’ll be watching some gray-uniformed nine squaring off with white-clad Cardinals just half a mile from where I took this photo the other day, at Hammons Field. The Springfield Cardinals will play the St. Louis Cardinals in an exhibition game March 29. Springfield opens Texas League play at Frisco April 7 before the home opener one week later against those same Rough Riders.

That’s, right, Springfield…we’re a mere 63 days away from regular season baseball. Warm nights, cold beer, green grass, Redbirds. Hang in there.


P.S. – Tickets go on sale March 22.

Keep your hands off Nick Reed’s lightbulbs!

Glamour Shots!!!!!

See that guy on the far right? Don't mess with his LIGHT BULBS!

Today was one of those rare days I decided to listen to talk radio in the morning, and – boy – am I glad I did! I just happened to luck into a Nick Reed diatribe on KSGF and ended up reconsidering my opinions of the President of the United States of America.

Reed was all worked up over this story, where people are stocking up on incandescent light bulbs before compact fluorescent lamps, or CFLs, take over the shelves. Incandescent bulbs, as you may remember, are being phased out because of an energy law. Now, consumers must buy what Reed calls crappy light bulbs.

“I say crappy ones because I don’t like ’em,” said Reed. “God forbid we live in the kind of country where you can choose the kind of LIGHT BULBS we want.”

Some people concur with Reed’s disapproval of the bulbs, but only because the light isn’t is good, or they take too long to turn on, or there’s some concern with the bulbs’ small mercury content and the clean up involved if one should break. Not Reed.

“Quite frankly that doesn’t worry me nearly as much as the fact that we live in a country where we aren’t even gonna be able to buy the kind of LIGHT BULB that we want,” he said, later adding:

“Do you not understand what this says about our country? I’ve explained this before, but I feel like I need to explain it again. The reason I get upset about it is because it is something that should be so…such a small portion of our lives, yet the government feels to even dictate THAT. And, to me, when the government’s dictating things as insignificant in life as what sort of light bulb we want, that’s when you get real trouble.”

Incandescent bulbs will still be available, just with a different capsule, and that’s not good enough for Reed. Nor is it good enough for a whopping 13% of Americans who, according to an Osram Sylvania survey, will stock up on the incandescents – like it’s Russia in the 1980s. And we know who was in charge in Russia in the 80s, don’t we?

“What fantasy world are we living in? Light bulbs.”

That got me thinking: Maybe I should re-think this president. Maybe Reed is right, this incandescent prohibition is the start of a slippery slope to “real trouble.” What kind of man would do that? What kind of communist, nay, socialist would want to tell us what kind of light bulbs we can or can’t use?

Ol' Mr. Light Bulb himself!

President George W. Bush signs into law H.R. 6, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, the act that had Nick Reed all fired up!

Oh, right.

“Today we make a major step with the Energy Independence and Security Act,” President George W. Bush said at the time. “We make a major step toward reducing our dependence on oil, confronting global climate change, expanding the production of renewable fuels and giving future generations of our country a nation that is stronger, cleaner and more secure.”

The bill passed 264-163 in the House, with 36 Republicans for and 159 against. It passed 65-27 in the Senate. It’s worth noting that Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill both voted against it, while Kit Bond was one of only seven senators that did not vote.

Let’s not let our political memories get too short. This light bulb edict came on Bush’s watch, as did the first Troubled Asset Relief Program – and he said this past November that he’d do it again. You ever wonder why some independent voters like me say there just isn’t enough difference between Republicans and Democrats sometimes? Here’s Exhibit A. Admit it. You totally thought I was talking about Obama.


P.S. – I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out the bump music for this segment – which aired shortly after 8 a.m. – was a song called “Pony” by Ginuwine. It’s notable for two things: 1) Spawning the “Dancing Alone to ‘Pony'” meme and 2) Featuring this suave line, “If you’re horny, let’s do it / Ride it, my pony…” It was a classic moment. Ginuwine sings “My saddle’s waiting / Come on, jump on it…” just as Reed gave us the winter weather advisory.

Lecturing…or as some call it, pleading

I make no secrets that, in my political soul searching during the George W. Bush administration, I have found myself to be a bit left-of-center. But I also strive to be an independent, non-partisan thinker, weighing each issue, each candidate, each vote I cast, on its individual merits. Think it’s easy?

No. It’s not. In an attempt to stay well-informed on both sides of the issues, I make it a point to consume both liberal and conservative media. The problem with that? Sometimes I get whiplash from having my head jerked from left to right so fast. Last night was a prime example.

President Obama literally walked across the street to extend an olive branch to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Feb. 7. The president and the chamber don’t see eye to eye, you see. In fact, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent more than $30 million in the last election, 93% of it – according to the New York Times – supported Republicans or criticized their opponents. This was a lion’s den of sorts for Obama.

Rachel Maddow blog screenshot

So how’d it go? Depends on who you ask. First, I watched The Rachel Maddow Show, where she told me that Obama, “true to his style, did not say that anybody was wrong. …The president is on the other side of the Chamber in this, but he is not calling them his opponent, let alone, his enemy.  Can the president win a fight that he‘s refusing to pick?”

Screenshot from The Blaze. Same story, different take. Like, really different.

Wow. So the big guy took it easy on the Chamber, huh? That’s what I thought, until I got online to look at Glenn Beck’s news Web site The Blaze. That’s where I found this headline waiting for me: “‘Get in the game’: Obama lectures Chamber of Commerce on ‘mutual responsibility.'” The article tells me that

“…the president’s remarks seemed to demonstrate a continuing divide between the president and the business community. Throughout the course of his speech, the President stressed that businesses owe certain responsibilities to the nation.”

The Blaze’s commenters were more direct. Calling Obama’s speech a veiled threat, without the veil.

There you have it. President Obama lectured and threatened the U.S. Chamber of Commerce while, at the same time, pleading with them and refusing to pick a fight.

Whiplash, y’all. Who got it right? Neither of them, I’m sure. The truth is usually somewhere in the middle…and I’d find it if my neck wasn’t so sore.


This’ll be the best Mother’s day EVAR!

I try and leave important things to the professionals…or at least those who know better than I do. Brewing beer and interviewing people who brew beer are better handled by someone other than me, and luckily they’re both happening here in the Queen City of the Ozarks.

The news that the old Butternut Bread factory on South Grant was being turned into a production brewery was the best beer-related Springfield news in…gosh…since Springfield Brewing Company opened in 1997? That’s a heckuva dry spell, pun intended, and it’s about to be snapped by Mother’s Brewing Company some time this spring. The company has been all over social media, with an informative Facebook page and an active Twitter account. Mother’s Brewing also has a Web site, but it’s bare bones for the time being, save for links to their social media presence and a place to sign up for their e-mail list.

But what about the actual beer? What about the men behind the Mother? The Midwest Beer Collective has posted an informative Interbrew with brew master Brian Allen, owner Jeff Schrag and sales and marketing man Jeremy Wicks.

For an even more local spin on local beer, gives us Beer Buzz, with local blogger and home brewer Ben Stange. Dude knows his stuff, so it’s with great interest that I’ve read his three updates on Mother’s, including a mouth-watering account of his personal encounter with three flagship beers: “Towhead,” and American blonde ale; “Three Blind Mice,” a darker, malty beer; and “Li’l Helper,” and IPA. Well, Stange didn’t actually try Li’l Helper, because the sons of Mother’s had drank it all themselves – a great testimonial to the quality of the drink, as Stange points out.

Stange has also posted a series of Q&As with the team at Mother’s, starting with Wicks, and followed – today as a matter of fact – by Schrag. I can’t wait to read the Q&A with Allen.

Even more than that, I can’t wait to put Mother’s beer in my mouth. So until you can wet your whistle with an actual Mother’s, make sure you’re whetting your appetite by Liking them on Facebook, following them on Twitter, and signing up for their e-mail blasts.

Spring can’t get here fast enough.


Friday Soundtrack, or Relax…it’s the weekend

Emiliana Torrini

Emiliana Torrini

How messed up has this week – with all its snow days and kids at home – got me? I almost didn’t post a Friday Soundtrack because I forgot it was Friday. Unacceptable.

This week’s soundtrack fell into my lap at work tonight, when I heard the soothing voice of Emiliana Torrini. I fell in love with her music about four years ago, mostly because of her angelic voice. The Iceland native blends elements of folk, electronica and pop together, and does so beautifully. Her 2005 album “The Fisherman’s Wife” comes highly recommended by me.

That’s what album this song, “Nothing Brings Me Down,” comes from. It’s a perfect Friday night song, as Emiliana coos “…Home alone and happy / Nothing brings me down / My love for you is ready / Nothing brings me down…”

Here’s hoping nothing brings you down this weekend. It’s Friday. Let’s relax, y’all.