Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Speak Out for Birth Control - for free, for everyone, no matter where they work!

Good job with the Komen thing last week, world!

It's time to make our voices heard, once again.

The Obama administration is under pressure from the Catholic Bishops — again! -- to reverse its decision to uphold the HHS recommendation that birth control be (rightly) considered preventive health care, and covered with zero co-pay under health care reform. Let's "do a Komen thing" about this and put this issue to bed!

The Bishops want the administration to exempt religiously affiliated organizations, such as hospitals, universities, and charities from the requirement to cover contraceptives for their employees. They want to put the "right of conscience" of the employer over the "right of conscience" of millions of individual women they employ. They claim it is a matter of faith — but what kind of faith requires economic coercion? Make contraception free to all women and let women decide for themselves whether to use it or not — based on their faith, their health, and their own personal circumstances.

In 28 states, religiously affiliated organizations are already required to cover contraceptives and do so without controversy. The right of conscience belongs first with the individual woman, and then with the institution, and it is the responsibility of government to protect that right for all women, regardless of their ability to pay for contraceptives.

There are many other reasons to support contraceptive coverage with zero co-pay — equality, economic and educational opportunity, basic fairness, and self determination, public health benefits, and the health of a woman you might know.

Here is some information to help you figure out what points you want to make as you speak out. Seven Things You (and the Media) Need to Know about Birth Control

Can you please do at least one thing to make our voices heard on this important issue?

Write a letter to the editor:
Contact the White House:
Social Media:
  • And of course, there's Facebook, Twitter, blogging, friends and family.
Thanks for making your voice heard on this important issue.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Trying not to judge, but it's tough...

Regarding Obama directing Secretary Sebelius to overrule the FDA's recommendation to make Emergency Contraception (EC) available over the counter to all women:

I'm steaming mad, disheartened, and dismayed all at the same time. It's a betrayal of women and scientific integrity.

NPR reports that Obama said,
"I will say this, as the father of two daughters. I think it is important for us to make sure that we apply some common sense to various rules when it comes to over-the-counter medicine. And as I understand it, the reason Kathleen made this decision was she could not be confident that a 10-year-old or an 11-year-old go into a drugstore, should be able — alongside bubble gum or batteries — be able to buy a medication that potentially, if not used properly, could end up having an adverse effect. And I think most parents would probably feel the same way."
All the blather about 10-11 year olds having access to EC next to the candy is something I would expect to hear from Bill O'Reilly — not Obama!! For God's sake, Plan B costs $50!! Where is the uproar over the fact that for much less money, 10 and 11 year olds can walk into a drugstore today and buy a bottle of Tylenol or Nyquil, and down the whole thing in one sitting and potentially kill themselves? Where is the concern over 10 and 11 year olds giving birth, which IS a health risk?

"Teen pregnancy" occurs among older teens — with 2/3 of all teen pregnancies are among 18-19 year-olds, approximately 1/3 among 15-17 year olds, and very few among teens 14 and younger. So getting back to points that actually are worth discussing, because they occur in reality -- not just in scary visions of sexually active 10 and 11 year old girls -- preventing EC from being available over the counter for all, means that women 17 and older have to show ID to get it, which means they have to approach the pharmacist and face stigma and/or opposition. This happens, even in the California Bay Area. Also, many young adult women do not have any form of ID they can use to prove their age, so how do they get EC?

Some have said that setting the science aside, the ruling should be debated because of parents' discomfort. Government sometimes has to represent the interests of the underserved, and in this case that is young women under 17 — not parents. The government cannot successfully mandate good communication between teens and their parents. It won't work, and it puts the most vulnerable teens (those who cannot talk to their parents for good reasons) at risk.
Women get thrown under the bus again.

And there is no way this was Kathleen Sebelius's decision. I wish she had pushed back on Obama, but I'm not in her shoes, so I will try not to judge her. It's hard, though.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Fall Color

Some day I'll visit the East Coast to see the fall colors there, but in the meantime, I'll enjoy what California's coastal forests have to offer.
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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

And one last Palin joke...

This is from the San Francisco Chronicle, Letters to the Editor:

Editor - Just wanted to give credit where credit is due...

Today is truly historic.
I'm feeling euphoric.
Thanks, Katie Couric.

Dan Kaufman

The Amazing Obama Machine

Here is Obama campaign headquarters in Palo Alto. It looked like this all weekend before the election -- packed with busy volunteers inside,

overflowing with busy volunteers outside (this is the front, but there were people in the alley out back too),

and Obama HQ's "satellite offices" were full too. The satellite offices included upstairs at Celia's Mexican Restaurant down the street, a neighbor's house around the corner, and Happy Donuts next door. This is the busy scene at Happy Donuts (how can you not be happy with a donut like that suspended overhead?)
Yes we can, and we did!

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Cute Bird in British Colombia

Reminding myself that I didn't really set out to blog about's something from a Beautiful Day last summer in British Columbia.

Colin Powell Endorses Barack Obama

Colin Powell not only endorses Obama, he also speaks out for religious liberty. I am so grateful for that, I got tears in my eyes. Worth listening to the whole 7 minutes, because the tears came during the last two.

Got hope? Oh yes.

Friday, October 17, 2008

This is how bad it would be if Prop 4 passes

For background on Prop 4, please see my previous post here.

I found this set of diagrams here. Even without reading the text, they show the mind-boggling hurdles Prop 4 would put in place of California minor teens seeking an abortion...and their doctors.

To start with, simply compare what happens today with what would happen if Prop 4 passes, even for a teen who is able to tell her parents:

Today: If Prop 4 passes:
Even the minor teen who can involve her parents would have to be very careful to document and verify that she and her doctor are following the law, or the doctor could be sued decades later. And that's the easy case!

Here's what it looks like if a minor teen seeks a judicial by-pass:

Here's what it looks like if she chooses to notify an alternate adult relative (this one takes THREE pages):

We need to make sure people understand how this law would really work (or not work)! To find out how you can help, go to

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Mystic Forest

This mystic forest is along the hike to The Chief in Squamish, B.C. It's a strenuous hike -- I can't even imagine the climb up the face, which is what Stawamus Chief is famous for! But after either one, dinner and a beer at the Howe Sound Inn can't be beat!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Vote NO on California's Prop 4

No matter how you feel about abortion, if you care about teen safety, you should Vote NO on Prop 4.

This election marks the third time a handful of anti-choice men have paid millions of dollars to signature gatherers to put a Parental Notification Constitutional Amendment on the ballot. Like Propositions 73 (2005) and 85 (2006) before it, Proposition 4 would prohibit young women from obtaining an abortion without government-mandated parental notification -- unless they go to court or document charges of parental abuse.

California voters defeated the previous two attempts because we understand that although parental notification laws may sound good, in the real world they put teenagers in danger. While we hope our teens will tell us if they are facing an unintended pregnancy, more than anything, we want them to be safe.

Most pregnant teens do involve their parents. But sadly, of the teens who don’t, most have very good reasons not to. Some fear being kicked out of the house, beaten, or worse. Others are faced with a difficult family situation, like parental substance abuse or serious health or financial problems, and simply cannot go to their parents.

Laws cannot force family communication! But they can cause desperate teens to do desperate things. We know from experiences in other states with parental notification laws in place that rather than tell a parent, teens:
  • Delay care until their 18th birthday, greatly increasing the risk of complications
  • Travel to other states where parental notification is not required
  • Take matters into their own hands, or seek illegal providers – putting their lives at risk.
Proposition 4 threatens the safety and well being of California’s teens, especially those who need our help the most. I have four children, ages 9 through 16. I certainly hope that my daughter will come to me if she is faced with an unintended pregnancy, but if for whatever reason she chooses not to, more than anything, I want her to be safe. And I realize that some teens cannot safely involve a parent. Those teens need to access to counseling, support, and responsible medical care. That’s why I’m voting NO on Prop 4.

The more people learn about Proposition 4 (and Propositions 73 and 85 before it), the more they oppose these dangerous laws. But in this presidential election, we need to reach millions of new voters. Find out how you can help at

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Unbelievably Horrifyingly Funny (or scary, if they win)

Please forgive the poor presentation (I never did figure out how to insert video clips reliably). This pair of video clips is worth the awkward step of clicking on each link.

First, watch this
Saturday Night Live skit of the Palin-Couric interview.

Now watch this segment of the
real interview.

I had read that SNL used Palin's words verbatim...but I n
ever imagined how many!!

Friday, August 29, 2008

"Windex" Lakes

These are the Joffrey Lakes, just north of Whistler, British Columbia, where we were recently hiking. Their color is so beautiful, but can it be natural? We kept hesitating to totally enjoy the "windex blue" color of Joffrey Lakes, just in case we came home and discovered that the blue color is caused by acid rain or something equally awful. But phew, the lovely color is caused by glacial silt, which is high in quartz.
Lower Joffrey Lake

Middle Joffrey Lake

Upper Joffrey Lake

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Results 1 - 10 of about 6,240 for sarah palin tina fey

Ha ha ha ... and I thought I had an original thought!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Tulip Magnolias

I've been wanting to do this for years, and today was the day. I went for a bike ride to photograph these trees in bloom. As nice as they look here, they are even better in person.

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Mystery burrow

OK. Here's a challenge. Does anyone know who might have made this hole?
I found a bunch of them on a recent hike in Rancho San Antonio park, in Cupertino, California in early February. They were all over the hiking path. They must have been made earlier that morning, because the dirt was still moist. The hole is about half inch in diameter. Tarantulas, maybe?
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Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas

I took this photo the same day as my previous post. Piedras Blancas is a popular breeding zone for elephant seals, as you can see. I wish I remembered half of what the docent told us about them.

One thing I remember well, is the docent's grim prediction of how these new mammas and babies would fare if the big storm came in as expected. Not well. The next day, while the storm raged even stronger than expected, I thought of the elephant seals often. Tough life!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Road Trip

Just when even I thought I might have given up the blog,... I've been working on a community project to fight climate change, and I've been so busy with it, I haven't spent enough time enjoying the very planet I'm helping to save. Except for this recent road trip down Highway 1, through Big Sur. So big; so powerful; what a planet!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Just another nice tree

Found this photo while pruning the photo file. Just a nice view of an oak tree from a recent hike.
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Friday, December 21, 2007

The Story of Stuff

Watch this video! It's in seven installments, which come up automatically when chapter one finishes. All together it takes 20 minutes, but I think it's worth it. Watch the first two chapters and then decide for yourself.

Warning: you might never go to a big box discount store again after watching it. But that would be OK, I think. ...unless it's to purchase LED Christmas lights, that is.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Green Holiday tip #2

I'm trying to have a green holiday season this year, and ... I just wish I knew someone who needs a new trash can! This one is made 99% of recycled tires.

But as 8yo pointed out, "What are you going to to WASTE one of the trash cans we already have so you can buy a sustainable one???" Good point.

Anyone need a sustainable trash can?

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Green Holiday tip for procrastinators who put up Christmas Lights

This post was half-baked about a week ago, so now it is for serious procrastinators!
Hopefully, you've already heard about how efficient and long lasting LED Christmas lights are. I mean, it was on CNN! The only downside is the price, according to the CNN Report. The good news is, these LED bulbs are:

  • 10x more efficient than incandescent mini bulbs

  • 50x more efficient than incandescent traditional bulbs

  • long lasting: they don't burn out for, like, 100 years (ok, maybe a little less than that) and they don't break as easily...they're strong plastic, not thin glass.

And...aren't they lovely?

They have an earthier, richer color tone that I like.

So, right. The price. Look for them on sale early next season (or maybe you'll still find some deals this year). I found a great price at...well, I don't want to name names or anything, but...two syllables: first one sounds like "lost", second one sounds like "low"

Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving weekend!

Here's one of my all-time favorite eco-tips, perfect for the day after Thanksgiving:

"...Kelsa says that instead of wasting plastic wrap or tinfoil, and in order to conserve the water and energy you would use to wash Tupperware, leftovers should just be placed on the floor for the dogs."


Monday, November 12, 2007

Early Soccer Game on a Cloudy Day

Sometimes it's not so bad to have the first soccer game of the day...

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Carbon Offsets Skeptics

I just got back from a trip to New York City from San Francisco and purchased carbon offset for my flight.

Here's how it works:

My round-trip flight contributed 3170 lbs. of CO2 to the atmosphere. The $34.55 carbon offsets I just purchased buy wind-generated electricity, which replaces electricity that would have emitted 3,170 lbs. of CO2 to produce. The wind-generated electricity company is only allowed to sell carbon offsets for that clean electricity once, and they are the only ones allowed to sell it. Otherwise it doesn't work.

Pretty confusing, huh? No wonder people tend to be skeptical about Carbon Offsets. My skeptical friends used to just frustrate and annoy me. But then I thought, maybe I can learn something from their reaction. Maybe there is a better way to describe Carbon Offsets that make them more intuitive and less "scary."

Here is my suggestion:

One day, I was thinking about the efficiency measures I’ve taken in my own home, and wondering what I could do next. I realized that I’ve addressed all the low-hanging fruit, and at this point, the investment of resources is big compared to the CO2 savings to be gained.

Then I thought of my friend, who lives in a poorly insulated, drafty house. I could save more CO2 by paying to insulate and seal her house than I could by spending the same amount of money on the next project in my house (never mind how socially awkward that would be!).

That is the concept behind carbon offsets.

After you’ve reduced your CO2 emissions as much as you can or are willing to do, you buy carbon offsets so that other people can reduce CO2 emissions. The bigger the pool of CO2-reducing projects to choose from, the more CO2 you can reduce with the same amount of money.

Of course, you have to trust the organization that distributes the funds to make good choices and not cheat (sell the same offsets more than once). Many of the large environmental groups certify offset providers, which gives you confidence that your money will be wisely spent on real offsets.

Try this on the next skeptic you run across and tell me if it works!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Monday, October 22, 2007

40 days in the life of Emily

I'm late discovering this, but I'm glad I did.

Spend 40 days in the life of a Planned Parenthood clinic worker here. OK, it's actually written by a handful of clinic workers...why? To protect them. Read about what they face every single day work day (and some days at home, too).

Hello, world.

We're in the middle of something here at Planned Parenthood (where I work). The anti-choice people call it "40 days for life." I call it another day at the office.

Basically, the anti-choice groups have decided to picket more than 80 Planned Parenthood clinics across the country for 40 days. September 26-November 4.

I'm used to picketers. Planned Parenthood is used to picketers. It bothers me very much that the picketers aren't just picketing our clinics -- that they're really about making it impossible for women to get health care. But...we don't let them faze us. As for me, the more picketers there are, the harder I want to work.

So, I've decided to do something a little different. I'm inviting you come to work with me. Seriously. Every day, I'm posting to this blog -- some notes about my day, some photos, some video. I want you to know what it's like to work for Planned Parenthood.
... read more

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Happy Autumn!

Went for a long hike on this crystal clear, 75 degree, fall day.

Hip Hop Violin

I don't usually (never, actually) link to music on this blog, but I found this and thought it was pretty cool.

I found this new (to me) blog, called Ancora Imparo ("I'm still learning" Italian), in a funny small-world way. A friend forwarded my previous post about water bottles to someone she knows in the U.K. That friend sent her a link to this post about water bottles. So here's introducing Ancora Imparo.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Evil evil bottled water

This not-so-subtly titled post is to encourage you to click on the Carbon Conscious Consumer badge to the right (or, right here), and pledge to stop drinking bottled water (if you make the pledge, you get a 25% discount on a very nice reusable water bottle…here’s the one that travels with me).
I’ve been aware that plastic water bottles have a high energy cost, both to create the bottles and to transport them, but I never thought of it in moral terms until I read this very long article.
Here are some excerpts:

“We’re moving 1 billion bottles of water around a week in ships, trains, and trucks in the United States alone. That’s a weekly convoy equivalent to 37,800 18-wheelers delivering water. (Water weighs 81/3 pounds a gallon. It’s so heavy you can’t fill an 18-wheeler with bottled water–you have to leave empty space.)

Meanwhile, one out of six people in the world has no dependable, safe drinking water.”

For a specific example, look at Fiji water:


“The label on a bottle of Fiji Water says “from the islands of Fiji.” Journey to the source of that water, and you realize just how extraordinary that promise is. From New York, for instance, it is an 18-hour plane ride west and south (via Los Angeles) almost to Australia, and then a four-hour drive along Fiji’s two-lane King’s Highway."


"The Fiji Water plant is a state-of-the-art facility that runs 24 hours a day. That means it requires an uninterrupted supply of electricity–something the local utility structure cannot support. So the factory supplies its own electricity, with three big generators running on diesel fuel. The water may come from “one of the last pristine ecosystems on earth,” as some of the labels say, but out back of the bottling plant is a less pristine ecosystem veiled with a diesel haze.”


“in Fiji, a state-of-the-art factory spins out more than a million bottles a day of the hippest bottled water on the U.S. market today, while more than half the people in Fiji do not have safe, reliable drinking water. Which means it is easier for the typical American in Beverly Hills or Baltimore to get a drink of safe, pure, refreshing Fiji water than it is for most people in Fiji.”

You decide:

“Once you understand the resources mustered to deliver the bottle of water, it’s reasonable to ask as you reach for the next bottle, not just “Does the value to me equal the 99 cents I’m about to spend?” but “Does the value equal the impact I’m about to leave behind?”

Simply asking the question takes the carelessness out of the transaction. And once you understand where the water comes from, and how it got here, it’s hard to look at that bottle in the same way again.”

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

An ex-overcast day

This started out as a gloomy, cloudy day. But then, this happened.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Sent this today...

Dear Speaker Pelosi,

Congratulations on the progress so far in achieving job discrimination protection for all Americans. Please stick to the original principle of equality for ALL. It would be a net loss -- of equality and credibility -- if this bill were to exclude transgendered people. Imagine how abandoned you would feel if you were a transgendered individual and ENDA passed by leaving you out of its protections. I don't want anyone in our country to feel so neglected, and I'm sure you don't either.


Update: An end-of-day, that is an incredibly polite letter. If she changes her mind, I'm sure it will be due to my good manners.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Friday, September 28, 2007

There are no little things.

Inspired by a comment on my last post that "there are no little things," I found a site dedicated to that principle, and added it to my sidebar. Check it out and pledge to become a "carbon conscious consumer." The site poses a carbon-saving challenge each month, and provides support for meeting the challenge.

This month's challenge is to reduce your junk mail. Here's the short list of why you would want to do that (read more here):

Save trees: More than 100 million trees are destroyed each year to produce junk mail. 42% of timber harvested nationwide becomes pulpwood for paper.
Reduce global warming: The energy used to produce and dispose of junk mail exceeds 2.8 million cars.
Save water: About 28 billion gallons of water are wasted to produce and recycle junk each year.
Save time. You waste about 70 hours a year dealing with junk mail.

Last April, I signed up with a service that makes it easy to get off of mailing lists. I used Green Dimes. Another service is 41pounds. Both services make it easy to get your names off the lists. Green Dimes cancels catalogs too. It was my impression that these services also monitor the mailing lists and keep your name off of them, but ... I'm checking into that...stay tuned.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Who uses styrofoam anymore?

In the midst of the rebirth of environmental consciousness, in the progressive San Francisco Bay Area, MY KIDS' SCHOOLS use styrofoam plates at their family picnics.

That's about 1000 styrofoam plates that will never ever become fertilizer. Actually, make that 996 -- because I convinced 3 out of 4 kids (and myself) to take reusable plates from home. As Blue Gal says, "Be the change, baby."