Public Policy is social agreement written down as a universal guide for social action. We at The Policy ThinkShop share information so others can think and act in the best possible understanding of "The Public Interest."

Texas Senate Approves Strict Abortion Measure –

Are we really going to let the political barrens impoverish our political discourse yet again with another season of the “abortion debate”?

When a young women agonizes about being pregnant or we, as a society, have to deal with the horror of a baby not being born because the women carrying it chooses not to do so, must we take sides and make a spectacle out of that perinatal situation?  

Those weeks prior to a baby’s birth and the first few weeks of their lives are magical.  But we are not talking here about having a baby or planning to have one.  We are talking about, for whatever reason, an unwanted pregnancy.  To be sure, the abortion debate is more about a women’s choice whether to reach the perinatal period in the first place.  Being pregnant in the early stages is greatly defined by why you are pregnant.  It just is.

But abortion, like so many semantically charged issues, has become a political boogyman in our society that is pulled out in the battle of women’s liberation vs. the self proclaimed “moral majority”.  Imagine that–intelligent people on both sides let the boogyman out.  Today’s media circus allows the few to speak for the many.  In this way, an artificial discourse develops and is seen as real and scientific regarding public opinion.  Public media becomes public opinion.  

Abortion is a sad and horrible fact.  The use of the issue as political fodder is wrong.  The less sexy issue is the feminization of poverty, for example–how so many women are uneducated, disempowered and abused.  Abortion further demonizes these women and their circumstances.  Perhaps people of means who have internal demons are more comfortable with boogymen and as such summon them or at least willingly join the party.  That women get pregnant in circumstances that are not optimal for the commitment to the growth and birth of the fetus is a fact of life that is not likely to go away.  What we do about it as families, neighborhoods and communities to support women’s sexual health is the real issue.  Politicians rallying masses of voters will not help solve the central question. Women’s sexual health is often compromised and the outcome of child birth is too often a big problem.

Smart powerful women, or conservative ladies who have their husband’s power behind them, have the time and wherewithal to go on these intellectual and perhaps spiritual pony rides.  On the other hand you have the women who do not have the means.  Most of these anguishing women  and the fetuses which define their predicament are canon fodder in the “good fight”.  There are four kinds of people in this struggle.  There are the good people fighting the evil people.  There are the people who are considered the evil people by the good.  There are the people who are considered crazy by most bystanders who have to endure the charade.  It’s really difficult to tell who is who–it depends where one is standing.

Abortion has never been a problem for those who have the means to deal with it.  That is, to avoid it and have the baby put up for adoption as many did in before the 1970s when the choice became endorsed and supported–liberating young women seemingly everywhere.    Today, it is still being dealt with by those of means.  That is, conservative politicians looking to drum up support from the believing masses and women’s rights groups who have the wherewithal to define the fight, educate the soldiers, and speak in one voice for such a cacophony of human suffering and hope.   This sanguine struggle pales in comparison to any other civil rights issue because it is so private and at its center is not baby killing but a single women’s choice about her body, her psyche and perhaps her soul.  How many issues involve sex, blood, shame, hell and even death?  But poverty has seized to be the issue of the day and sexuality and babies make for better television.  Long gone are the poor welfare mothers who were the demons of yesterday for some and the soldiers in the minds of liberal causes.  Bill Clinton had his way with so many women, not to mention the million he kicked off of welfare with his Welfare Act.  At last, irony forces all of us to open our eyes and think.  Who is really the friend of these women in their darkest hour?

The truth may be that abortion has become an ideological scapegoat, a powerful political tool and a cattle call. Instead of really coming together and fixing the problems that divide us as a nation and impoverish us as communities, abortion as a maternal and child health perspective divides us, brings out the worst in many, and does not solve the ageless problem of child birth as a challenge that overcomes some.  But abortion is good politics because it gets folks riled up, to dig in their pockets and to pound the pavement for a cause.  Right or wrong–right or left…  It all depends where you stand…  It rarely depends on where the most disempowered young and scared women stand.  The choice is personal, spiritual and perhaps mostly economic.  It’s not about women’s liberation… It’s more about having the means–and in politics having the means means getting votes… Abortion moves people.

Here we go again.  The bread and butter issues were not good enough to rabble up the masses.  It is insane.  It is hardly believable and definitely more difficult to fully comprehend.  We are all getting riled up again about the “A” word.  Never mind that it mostly happens as a consequence of a very private act, without much public notice and with our most private parts.   No… that does not matter to the ideological gladiators right and left who have a ticket to ride because they perceive that their bodies are being controlled or that they must intervene in the most personal and spiritual moment of a women’s life–to help or to judge–to help her make a choice or to make communion with a political church that is pushing popular and political orthodoxy.

“The Texas Senate gave final passage on Friday to one of the strictest anti-abortion measures in the country, legislation championed by Gov. Rick Perry, who rallied the Republican-controlled Legislature late last month after a Democratic filibuster blocked the bill and intensified already passionate resistance by …”

via Texas Senate Approves Strict Abortion Measure –

Filed under: Abortion, Blogosphere, ethics, faith-based, Feminization of Poverty, Gender, Gender Policy, ideology, Maternal and Child Health, News, Parenting

Most Muslims in Region Reject Violence Against Civilians – Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life

The Pew Forum on Religion continues to bring us facts and figures to enlighten our view of the religious world which is often clouded by a sensationalist media and the rose colored lenses of young ambitious journalists trying to move up the career ladder or older ones stuck in yesterday’s phobias and mired in a short and myopic view of a changing modern world where the acts of the few motivate and move the masses through the loud megaphone that is our entertainment driven media establishment…. Read the Pew article and tell us what you think…

“A new Pew Research Center survey report finds high levels of concern about religious extremism among Muslims in the North Caucasus area of Russia and the neighboring Central Asian countries of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. The survey also finds that few Muslims across the region support the use of violence against civilians in the name of Islam, though there is somewhat more support for suicide bombing and similar violence among Muslims in Kyrgyzstan than in Russia or Kazakhstan.”

via Most Muslims in Region Reject Violence Against Civilians – Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

Filed under: access to education, Blogosphere, Changing Media Paradigm, Culture Think, Discrimination, ethnicity in politics, faith-based, ideology, International Relations, Intolerance, Mass Media and Public Opinion, News, Policy ThinkShop Comments on other media platforms, propaganda and spin, Pundits, Racism, Religion, symbolic uses of politics, WeSeeReason, , , , , , ,

Equating Islam with terrorism –

When the media feeds xenophobia, sensationalism, ethnocentrism and religious bigotry, the crazies and the extremists win.  The crazies and the extremists are such a minute minority but their acts are so big and their intentions are to cloud our judgement and make us crazy.  The media’s handling of these acts magnifies them and makes these pitiful bigots super heroes, if evil ones.  They become larger than life and feed our need to catch and conquer the proverbial boogyman.  Read the following article by a Chicago journalist for some clarity and what is happening to us every time we over state the role of religion in violent acts that are perpetrated by people who in the end are not very religious at all…

“Before we knew anything about the dead Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, we knew that he “recently became a devout Muslim who prayed five times a day.” This piece of information was placed in the lead of an Associated Press article published as the police were still on the hunt for Tsarnaev’s younger brother and alleged accomplice, Dzhokhar.

As the day went on with increasing panic and an intensifying sense of terror emanating from television and computer screens across America, and news outlets scrambled to release sound bites and tweetable articles with any information they could scrounge up on …”

More via Equating Islam with terrorism –

Filed under: Blogosphere, Changing Media Paradigm, Community Tragedy, consumers, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Culture Think, Death and Dying, Demographic Change, Discrimination, ethnicity in politics, faith-based, ideology, Mass Media and Public Opinion, News, Policy ThinkShop Comments on other media platforms, Political Violence, propaganda and spin, Pundits, Religion, symbolic uses of politics, symbols as swords, WeSeeReason, , , , , , ,

Suddenly, They’re All Gone –

As the baby boom generation we have had all the benefits that come from the exercise craze and the health food awareness diet bonanza.  We have learned to drink skim milk, munch wholewheat bread, and eat our veggies…  Others have taken it further and have gone stock, lock and barrel into the Whole Foods, or “whole paycheck” abyss.

But it is not so much healthy living that is our biggest challenge… Perhaps it is facing mortality while seeing the previous generation die right before us… Since they were so much more likely to abuse salt, sugar and tobacco, their gerontological downfall is not pretty…  But the idea that life ends so absolutely, and that their life, perhaps, ends with relatively little meaning or impact, that kills us…  We are the baby-boomers and we learned to question everything, and we are perhaps the most spoiled generation….  If you think about black and white TV, how many toys kids got for the holidays prior to the 1960s and beyond,  you see a picture of how colorful our lives have been…. The end, however, may not have changed much for us … and when we see our loved ones leaving we have to face their mortality in a post modern world that is perhaps more complex, less spiritual and simply busy.

The Policy ThinkShop recommends the following read in the NYTs for those of us who are being forced to see and feel the inevitable end though our eyes and our nostrils…

“Caring for the old is just like parenting an infant, only on really bad acid. It’s all there: the head-spinning exhaustion, the fractured brain, the demands and smells. Only this time with the knowledge that it won’t …”

via Suddenly, They’re All Gone –

Filed under: Aging, Blogosphere, Culture Think, Death and Dying, faith-based, Health and Exercise, Health Literacy, Parenting, Religion, WeSeeReason, , , , , , ,

Israel and Gaza: Edging closer to war | The Economist

The Obama victory and the Arab spring have ushered in a new era for the Middle East as the extremes write the next chapter …  What’s next?

“IF THE latest round of violence between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian Islamists who run Gaza, were to end this weekend, everyone involved—except for the families of the …”

More via Israel and Gaza: Edging closer to war | The Economist.

Filed under: Arab Spring, Blogosphere, Death and Dying, drone attacks, Election 2012, ethnicity in politics, faith-based, geopolitical, human offal, International Relations, Intolerance, Masacre, Mass Media and Public Opinion, Middle East Freedom, News, political plots, Political Violence, propaganda and spin, symbolic uses of politics, symbols as swords, waging war, WeSeeReason, ,

2012 Exit Polls: How the Faithful Voted – Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life

The Pew Foundation website gives us a nice overview of Religion and the 2012 election … Read the story or navigate the entire report at:


Navigate this report:

Vote Choice by Religion and Race

Vote Choice by Religious Attendance

Religious Composition of the 2012 Electorate

In his re-election victory, Democrat Barack Obama narrowly defeated Republican Mitt Romney in the national popular vote (50% to 48%)1. Obama’s margin of victory was much smaller than in 2008 when he defeated John McCain by a 53% to 46% margin, and he lost ground among white evangelical Protestants and white Catholics. But the basic religious contours of the 2012 electorate resemble recent elections – traditionally Republican groups such as white evangelicals and weekly churchgoers strongly backed Romney, while traditionally Democratic groups such as black Protestants, Hispanic Catholics, Jews and the religiously unaffiliated backed Obama by large margins.

via 2012 Exit Polls: How the Faithful Voted – Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

Filed under: Blogosphere, Election 2012, faith-based, Religious freedom,

A Third of Young Adults Not Affiliated with a Religion – Pew Research Center

32% – A Third of Young Adults Not Affiliated with a Religion

The number of Americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a rapid pace. One-fifth of the U.S. public — and a third of adults under 30 — are religiously unaffiliated today.

A Third of Young Adults Not Affiliated with a Religion

The growth in the number of religiously unaffiliated Americans — sometimes called the rise of the “nones” — is largely driven by generational replacement, the gradual supplanting of older generations by newer ones. A third (32%) of adults under 30 have no religious affiliation, compared with just one-in-ten who are 65 and older (9%).

Young adults today are much more likely to be unaffiliated than previous generations were at a similar stage in their lives. These generational differences are consistent with other signs of a gradual softening of religious commitment among some (though by no means all) Americans in recent decades.

Pew Research Center surveys conducted over the last 10 years, for example, find modest growth in the number of people who say they seldom or never attend religious services, as well as a declining number who say they never doubt the existence of God. Read more …

More via Daily Number: A Third of Young Adults Not Affiliated with a Religion – Pew Research Center.

Filed under: access to education, Blogosphere, Culture Think, ethics, faith-based, News, ,

Syria’s civil war: The killing fields | The Economist

IS IT because America and Europe have tired of their own wars that they have started to turn their back on other people’s? The number of dead in Syria has passed 30,000. Some days over 250 bodies are added to the pile, which brings to mind Iraq at the insurgency’s peak in …

More via Syria’s civil war: The killing fields | The Economist.

Filed under: Blogosphere, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Death and Dying, Election 2012, faith-based, International Relations, Masacre, Mass Media and Public Opinion, Middle East Freedom, News, political plots, Political Violence, propaganda and spin, symbolic uses of politics, symbols as swords, waging war, , ,

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