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I awoke this morning to my husband snuggling up to me. Wiping the sleep from my eyes, I pulled off my cpap and stretched. It was 6:42, morning fog thick on our deck just outside the french doors.

"You're awake," he cooed softly.
"Somewhat."

One thing lead to another, as one by one, pillows fell off of the bed and bedsheets became even more rumpled. I finally exited our bed at 7:25, invigorated and fully awake. A nice way to face the day.

An hour later, munching some strawberries and my oatmeal, seated at the hospital computer, I checked first the inpatient patient list for new labs, and then went on to look at the daily news.

I usually start at electoral-vote.com, for what's happening in American politics. The country's predicted shift to the right in the upcoming Senate races discourages the hell outta me. Elections have consequences, none the least of which is the current composition of our US Supreme Court. We have the likes of Alito, Thomas, Roberts, and Scalia due to previous national elections, and given the health of at least 3 of those conservative men, we'll be feeling the results of those elections for years, if not decades to come. Now I'm not just talking about presidential elections. Yes, the person at the top of the ticket is extremely important. However, agendas are either pulled forward or stymied, by the composition of the Congress, and either segment can royally gum up the works for any resident of the White House.

Last night's final commercial, before I shut off the idiot box and went to sleep was one of the worst I have seen and it was on Al Jazeera, no less. An attractive young woman is talking to the camera about what appears at first to be her relationship going sour over the past 6 years. As she goes on, becoming more angry and firm in her words, the abused girlfriend no longer willing to put up with her man's promises and lies, it becomes clear the man is Barak Obama, and she is supposed to represent all disaffected female voters. I found it offensive, and last I looked, I'm not female.

Umm, yeah. Right.

The Republican party/conservatives/right wing is really digging deep here. Let's reduce women even further. Let's suggest woman are in bed with the Democratic administration. Meanwhile, every time Republicans take over power in a jurisdiction, instead of seeing a push for job creation and financial growth, instead we see a rolling back of family planning services and along with that, women's health services in general. Look at what's happening across the South and Midwest. No, women are not a monolithic voting block or at least shouldn't be, but when every time the right goes for an all out assault on your reproductive rights and time after time you are forced to address and re-address what most of us thought was settled law, it becomes much easier to turn people into single issue voters.

This swing to the right is scaring the crap out my my little minority heart. As much as I'm heartened by the change in how gay people are viewed and treated in this country, and as much as I marvel here on this electronic platform over the speed of the change, I'm tired of waiting for equality. I'm tired both of having to be at once guarded about my life and speech around strangers, yet simultaneously the feeling the need to be public. Who's business is it other than mine? Yet the memory of being a teenager at the time of Stonewall and the solace I felt knowing then I was not the only one, even though still the only roll models I saw, fit little more than stereotypes. I suppose stereotypes were better than invisibility, though not as much as 3 dimensional human beings.

I want this all over. I want the Supreme Court to deal with this now. As in today. Yesterday would be even better. I want this ruled on before (G-d forbid) something happens to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, because given the swing I think we're now likely to see in the Senate, I shudder to think the battle royal there will be to find a suitable replacement for her seat on the court. G-d forbid we have Republicans in control in both the Senate and the House. Every last person in this country who wants a better future needs to remember that elections, even mid-terms, have consequences, and we ignore that to our own peril.
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We hear so much today of Republicans preaching the gospel of fiscal responsibility. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been one of them, that is at least when it suits him politically.

Frank Lautenberg was a liberal Democrat in the best tradition of the words and sadly he died early this year. As was expected, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, another who qualifies as a progressive Democrat won in the primary hands-down. Almost without a doubt he will trounce his Republican opponent, a tea partier, small-town ex-Mayor (whose name escapes me at the moment), in a special election later this month.

That's right, I said a special election – three weeks before Election Day.

The Office of Legislative Services has estimated the cost for renting polling places, transporting voting machines, printing and mailing ballots and hiring additional staff will be close to $24 million. That's money that will come directly out of the pocket of New Jersey's taxpayers.

Why is Gov. Christie doing this?

Politically, I don't think he wanted to be on the exact same ballot this November with a very popular Democrat running for Senate against a rather unpopular Republican. Hurts his political brand. And so to save his political brand, the taxpayers of New Jersey will fork out $24 million, perhaps more, that could've been used elsewhere. A magnificent example of fiscal responsibility, don't you think?

While I'm on this rant about Gov. Christie, let me not overlook his appeal of Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson's ruling that the state of New Jersey has to start offering marriage licenses to same-sex couples requesting them as of October 21. That appeal will be going to the New Jersey Supreme Court, a court that in 2006 ruled that same-sex and opposite sex couples had to be treated equally under New Jersey state law. Now that married same-sex couples in other states will get federal recognition along with all of its benefits, and New Jersey's domestically partnered same-sex couples will not, clearly New Jersey's domestically partnered couples are no longer being treated as equal to opposite sex couples who have the benefit of marriage. It is pretty damn clear that the Christie administration will lose their appeal. I can't imagine that New Jersey's Supreme Court is going to reverse their 2006 decision on equality.

I was talking to my mother last week (a New Jersey residents and taxpayer) and I was quite vocal with my distaste for the waste of money an appeal is going to cost, how it's only going to delay the inevitable push for equality for New Jersey same-sex couples, and in the process communicate to the children in those households that to some, their parents will always be less than equal. Mom's take was he's doing this to appeal to the Republican base. "My point exactly," I replied, "and you my darling mother as a New Jersey taxpayer will be helping to foot the bill. That doesn't tick you off?"

So the last part of my soapbox, is my utter disgust with the Republican-led House of Representatives. With their current push to guarantee that all federal workers furloughed during this unnecessary government shutdown will not suffer financially and will receive all their backpay for the time they have been off to work, they are in essence opting to give all of those federal workers a paid vacation. This is the fiscal responsibility they're so busy professing to have as their primary responsibility? Bullpucky!

Ohio...

Jul. 2nd, 2013 12:15 pm
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So if I appear to be ranting, forgive me but apropos of my concerns voiced yesterday, the stunts pulled this week by the Republican controlled legislature in Ohio takes the cake. They tagged on a slew of new statutes limiting access to abortion and family planning to the state budget at the last minute, which the Gov. also a republican went ahead and signed into law.

Apparently because they're actually part of the budget, they cannot simply be reversed by the electorate by referendum, which happened last year with their state's attempt to get rid of collective bargaining. This was done at the last moment, and in a manner to obfuscate exactly what they were doing.

I'm angrier than I can remember being in a very long time.

We must work to make them irrelevant, before they drag us back to another time of oppression, when a woman's place was in the house, instead of in the House, the Senate, or the workplace.
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This morning Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) joined fellow Republican Senators Kirk of Illinois and Portman of Ohio in endorsing marriage equality. Senator Murkowski, welcome on board!

If my count is correct, that brings the total in the Senate in support back to 55. It went down one with the recent death of Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ). Given the gridlock that is Congress, while 55 is good, in the absence of a super majority, nothing is likely to happen in the Senate, and as long as the House sits in Republican hands, even if something passes through the Senate, it's got nowhere to go. The House is too busy trying to pass abortion bans, and repeal Obamacare to deal with anything else.

Cynical? Me? Nope. Just pissed off.
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Forgive me the politics friends, BUT so much will ride on this election. If you've been disappointed with President Obama, remember what he was given to deal with and work with - an economy in shambles, two unpaid for wars, and an opposition ready to oppose him on what ever he proposed.

Despite that, Don't Ask, Don't tell is history, the administration is no longer defending DOMA, Obama and Biden are openly now supporting our right to marry, we are out of Iraq, Osama Bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive.

We expect so much of the president, but the executive branch is just one of three and each affects the others. The Congress can support or stymie what an executive wants to do, and the Supreme Court can declare unconstitutional and undo what has been done. Just look at the effects of their Citizens United decision of 2010.

No, Obama isn't perfect, but from where I sit, my choice is clear. I hope for each of you reading this, yours is clear as well.

Out next president will almost certainly have at least one, if not two Supreme Court nominations to make. Remember that, if you're even remotely thinking of staying home from the polls and not voting this year. We need Mr. Obama back in the White House and with a Congress that will work with, rather than against him. The Republican party is steadfast against our LGBT community. They are steadfast in wanting to reverse decisions such as Roe v. Wade.

And they are one Supreme Court Justice away from being able to do so.

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