Sunday Linkfest & Earworm

Although the Sunday earworm typically includes one song by one artist that has been stuck in my head at some point during the past week, this is a little different. Over the past week, I’ve not been concentrated on one song, but on the journey of one artist.

So, here’s Kathy Mattea, giving a taste of the Appalachia music on her upcoming album, “Calling Me Home,” and discussing how it came to be.

Mattea is also one of the artists being featured next month at SXSW 2012.

My favorite headline of the week comes from Catholic Online — yes, you read that correctly:

Pelosi demands that leaders let women have voice in women’s health issues
Well, duh.

The background on this piece has to do with a House Oversight hearing called by Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., that began with an all-male panel of religious leaders. The hearing was called to discuss a rule by U.S. Health and Human Services, which requires health insurance plans to include birth control as preventative medicine and offer the prescriptions with no co-pay. Although a waiver has been offered to churches and other houses of faith, religious conservatives are up in arms because the government has made no distinction between a religious-based and non-religious-based universities and hospitals.

Republicans, of course, mostly hope to frame this issue as one of religious freedom. And, generally, Democrats view it as basic health care.

As I noted on facebook during the hearing, the religious panel constructed straw men based on ham sandwiches (I kid you not) and “abortion-producing drugs.” The fact that health insurance companies are going to be compelled to offer contraceptives without co-pay was said to be a “rape of the soul.”

Here’s my screen shot of that panel:

The war against women’s access to health care isn’t, however, limited to happenings at the federal level.

Jon has a list of some of the abortion-related bills that are circulating in Des Moines. The list once again includes an Iowa House bill that seeks to ban all abortion. That’s right, according to this bill, doctors with the knowledge to save a woman’s life will be prohibited from doing so. If a woman is raped and there is a subsequent pregnancy, the woman would, under this bill, be required to carry that pregnancy to term. Sexual assault, whether at the hands of a family member or by a stranger, won’t matter.

Pearson and Iowa lawmakers of her ilk have no respect for women. They honestly believe that the government needs to step in and take control of women’s medical decisions, and that by doing so they will rid the world of some sort of evil. Women, however, make difficult decisions each and every day. We do so by speaking with our doctors, our partners, our children and, yes, our religious leaders. This bill negates the fact that women are capable, thinking individuals.

On RH Realty Check, a closer look is given to another Iowa bill that hopes to force women seeking abortions to have a trans-vaginal ultrasound. Andy Kopsa rightly notes that most states view forcible penetration of the vagina as sexual assault. Here in Iowa, some lawmakers appear ready to overlook that crime so long as it results in keeping women from making their own medical decisions.

Speaking of religious conservatives in Des Moines, John Deeth notes that Matt Reisetter of anti-gay and anti-woman fame has announced a run in Senate District 30, which will be a challenge to fire fighter Jeff Danielson.

On Saturday, the U.S. Department of State released a fact sheet detailing its work to stop female genital mutilation and cutting. Projects are underway in Egypt, Iraq, Kenya, Ethiopia, Mali, Senegal and West Africa.

Isn’t it rather ironic that even as our government fights in other nations to allow women to control their own bodies, we have some right here at home who are working in the opposite direction for American women?

The Hawkeye has several photographs of Iowa courtrooms that were taken by Chris Beckman as well as the story behind the pictures.

PBS’s Need to Know focused on America’s hungry and needy this past week with an episode on food stamps/SNAP:

Over the past several years I’ve been involved in both private and public discussions regarding the future of journalism. While the broad industry continues to adapt and revamp, I continue to hold the belief that community newspapers — your smaller daily (if you’re extremely lucky) or weekly paper — are going to survive and thrive.

It appears that I’m not alone in that belief.

On March 6, voters in Linn County (of which I am one) will once again head to the polls to decide on an extension of a 1 percent local-option sales tax. The same question was tossed aside by voters last year, with most attributing the negative vote to a full-throttle and high-dollar push by advocates. For the upcoming election, advocates have taken a more measured approach, but there is still a great deal of uncertainty by Cedar Rapids voters (the largest bloc in the county).

Rick Smith of The Gazette took a look inside a local barbershop for more details of the ongoing debate.

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A Republican turned Democrat who is now registered with no party, Lynda is the founder of Essential Estrogen. She and her husband live in eastern Iowa with their two (mostly good) children and two (mostly good) dogs. Their oldest child was turned loose on the world in 2011 and is making her home in another state. A journalist, essayist and hobby fiction writer, Lynda's work has been seen in Salon, RH Reality Check, the Atlantic, The Iowa Independent, UK Guardian as well as other online and traditional publications. She has also appeared as a guest on various television and radio news shows.

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