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Kathleen Sebelius
  • DNC Day One: A Marathon of Trolling

    It's unfathomable why Paul Ryan would say he ran a sub-3 hour marathon when there's clearly only one Kenyan in this presidential campaign, but at least he provided plenty of fodder for Democratic trolling. Some was anything but subtle, with Kathleen Sebelius telling an Ohio delegation, "Anyone who starts with the notion that you have to make up your marathon time tells you all you need to know about Paul Ryan."

    But the primetime addresses were more indirect. First came Julian Castro…

    "In the end, the American dream — the American dream is not a sprint, or even a marathon, but a relay. Our families don't always cross the finish line in the span of one generation, but each generation passes on to the next the fruits of their labor."

    You know, it might not be the best strategy to compare the American dream to Olympic events that most people have no chance of qualifying for. Just a thought.

    Michelle Obama was subtler still…

    And I've seen it in our men and women in uniform and our proud military families — in wounded warriors who tell me they're not just going to walk again, they're going to run, and they're going to run marathons.

    As James Fallows noted, "the only thing more impressive than working 'marathon' into a number of speeches was the absolutely straight face all speakers kept when using that word."

    Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Democratic National Convention, Julian Castro, Kathleen Sebelius, Michelle Obama, Paul Ryan, Sports
  • Obama Administration Secretly Endorses Abstinence-Only Education

    CondomAs a public service, the Department of Health and Human Services keeps an updated list of "evidence-based" teen pregnancy prevention programs that it endorses. It's a refreshing change of pace from the Bush administration, which relied more on scripture than science for their sex education policies.

    Unfortunately, according to the hawk-eyed bloggers over at RH Reality Check, the list received an unexpected addition some time last month. If you scroll down a bit, you'll find a little program called Heritage Keepers Abstinence Education.

    So, what is this scientifically proven, fact-based program the Obama administration now endorses?

    Heritage Keepers contains little or no information about puberty, anatomy, sexually transmitted diseases, or sexual behavior. Instead, most of its lessons are devoted to promoting the importance of heterosexual marriage and the value of abstinence before marriage. Students are asked to take virginity pledges and class time is devoted to having students envision and plan their wedding days…

    [A]t best Heritage Keepers Abstinence Education ignores LGBT youth – and at worst it promotes homophobia. The stigmatization of LGBT youth throughout the program reinforces the cultural invisibility and bias these students already face in many schools and communities.

    Oh. That sounds, um, scientific.

    It's unclear how President Obama can urge anyone to take a virginity pledge when he's clearly in bed with social conservatives on this one.

    In any case, I don't think Heritage Keepers is really as anti-gay as its critics claim. The curriculum includes wedding planning. And who doesn't love envisioning their own wedding day? Newt Gingrich loves it so much, he did it three times!

    Tags: Abstinence, Barack Obama, Children, Conservatives, Education, Health, Health Care, Homophobia, Kathleen Sebelius, LGBT, Sex
  • President Obama Alienates Blue Dogs, Raw Dogs

    Barack Obama has made health care reform one of the signature issues of his presidency. Although he mentions the Affordable Care Act less frequently now due to its perceived unpopularity, Obama is still working behind the scenes to expand access to preventative and reproductive care.

    But not everyone shares his enthusiasm for women's health. After losing the support of moderate Democrats in late 2009 over abortion funding, the President now appears to be alienating the crucial condom-hater vote

    Catholic clergy on Sunday called on the faithful to write Congress to protest new birth control rules from President Barack Obama's administration, stepping up a campaign that began a week ago with denunciations from the pulpit at Masses across the country.

    The fight is over a provision of the health reform law announced on Jan 20 that would require health insurance plans — including those offered by institutions such as Catholic-affiliated hospitals and universities — to offer free birth control…

    The White House defended the policy, saying that only institutions such as hospitals that service a large non-Catholic community would have to offer free birth control. The administration also said the availability of birth control would reduce the number of abortions.

    Although the rule will require insurers to provide women with the pill at no cost, it will not impact the most effective form of birth control, New Gingrich's face.

    Eager to bash Obama and raise his poll numbers, devout Catholic and Duggar-impersonator Rick Santorum has joined his fellow bareback enthusiasts in speaking out against the new policy. Unfortunately, Santorum and Gingrich's enthusiasm for the pull-out method does not extend to Republican primaries.

    Photo by Kristoffer Tripplaar-Pool/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Abortion, Barack Obama, Catholic Church, Health Care, Kathleen Sebelius, Religion, Sex, Women's Rights
  • Obama Administration Takes Bold Stand for Teen Pregnancy

    Given the relative decline of American manufacturing, many experts believe that the service and entertainment sectors will provide the jobs of the future.

    We already see this in the rise of the reality television industry, where shows like 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom have become important cultural and economic powerhouses. But with the teen pregnancy rate at its lowest level in the 70 years since CDC began recording such data, the Obama administration has been forced to take urgent action to protect this vital industry

    The Obama administration stunned women’s health advocates and abortion opponents alike Wednesday by rejecting a request to let anyone of any age buy the controversial morning-after pill Plan B directly off drugstore and supermarket shelves.

    For what the Food and Drug Administration thinks is the first time, the Department of Health and Human Services overruled the agency, vetoing the FDA’s decision to make the contraceptive available without any restrictions. Revealing a rare public split, FDA Administrator Margaret A. Hamburg said her conclusion that the drug could be used safely by women of all ages was nullified by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

    Sure, the medical "experts" at the FDA say there's "adequate and reasonable, well-supported, and science-based evidence that Plan B One-Step is safe and effective and should be approved for nonprescription use for all females of child-bearing potential," and yes, this ruling also affects adult women who may be unable to access emergency contraceptives when the pharmacy window is closed. But let's not forget about Plan A, which is to do everything possible to ensure the success of Teen Mom 2. And Plan C, shameless pandering to religious groups…

    Wednesday's decision came as the administration is trying to defuse rising tensions with the Catholic Church over several issues, including a proposed mandate that private insurers provide women with contraceptives for free and a federal denial of an anti-human-trafficking grant to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

    I suppose this is all part of Obama's Inauguration Day promise to "restore science to its rightful place." Just so happens that said place is somewhere in the back, behind a counter, guarded by religious conservatives and political operatives.

    Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Barack Obama, Catholic Church, FDA, Health, Kathleen Sebelius, Obama Administration
  • U.S. Government Scientist Gave Syphilis to Guatemalans on Purpose

    In today's Totally Fucked-Up Shit Your Country Did news, the U.S. government says it is sowwies for giving syphilis to nearly 700 Guatemalan women, prison inmates and mentally ill patients in the 1940s…

    On Friday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius offered extensive apologies for actions taken by the U.S. Public Health Service.

    "The sexually transmitted disease inoculation study conducted from 1946-1948 in Guatemala was clearly unethical," according to the joint statement from Clinton and Sebelius. "Although these events occurred more than 64 years ago, we are outraged that such reprehensible research could have occurred under the guise of public health. We deeply regret that it happened, and we apologize to all the individuals who were affected by such abhorrent research practices."

    Professor Susan Reverby of Wellesley College discovered the Guatemalan project while researching the notorious Tuskegee experiment, which deliberately left black American men untreated for syphilis.

    The sadistic fuckstick at the center of both of these projects? Dr. John C. Cutler, the asshole who continued to defend the Tuskegee experiment even into the 1990s. Unfortunately, he died in 2003, so there is nowhere to send your hate-mail. We do, however, have a comments suggestion. It's good for working your nerves.

    Tags: Guatemala, Health, Hillary Clinton, Kathleen Sebelius, Sex