Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Friday, February 3rd, 2012.

What Can One Say But … Santorum

Health Care, Obama Administration, Republican Party

Meanwhile, Little Rickie thinks that children whose parents can’t afford their medications should just die already. Because “We either believe in markets or we don’t.” From Rawstory:

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum told the mother of a child with a rare genetic disorder on Tuesday that she shouldn’t have a problem paying $1 million a year for drugs because Apple’s iPad can cost around $900.

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You might have heard that one of Santorum’s children also has a genetic disorder and recently had to be hospitalized. One assumes he has insurance.

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Or, Maybe Not

abortion, Women's Issues

Greg Sargent points out that Komen’s reversal statement gives itself lots of wiggle room to cut Planned Parenthood in the future. Komen also has no intention of firing anyone for the debacle.

The anti-reproductive rights site LifeNews is telling its Fetus People readership that

Austin Ruse, the president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, who has been very closely following the Komen decision-making process, told LifeNews that the statement is not really a change in position but he says the sentence “We will continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants, while maintaining the ability of our affiliates to make funding decisions that meet the needs of their communities” is “troubling” for pro-life advocates.

“This represents nothing new. We have known and have reported that they are continuing five grants through 2012. This is a reference to that. The second clause about eligibility is certainly true. Any group can apply for anything. It does not mean they are going to get anything,” Ruse told LifeNews.

“What this is is an effort to get the mafia off of their backs. As James Taranto said in the Wall Street Journal yesterday, this is a classic shakedown operation. Give us money or we will destroy you. This is Komen’s attempt to save their organization, which we should know is in peril. Our side should know that nothing has changed.”

The above is via Google cache; LifeNews is offline at the moment.

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Komen Reversal! Planned Parenthood Re-funded!

abortion, Women's Issues

Seconds ago — the Komen Foundation just announced it is reinstating funding to Planned Parenthood. Here is the statement Komen just released:

“We want to apologize to the American public for recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women’s lives.

The events of this week have been deeply unsettling for our supporters, partners and friends and all of us at Susan G. Komen. We have been distressed at the presumption that the changes made to our funding criteria were done for political reasons or to specifically penalize Planned Parenthood. They were not.

Our original desire was to fulfill our fiduciary duty to our donors by not funding grant applications made by organizations under investigation. We will amend the criteria to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political. That is what is right and fair.

Our only goal for our granting process is to support women and families in the fight against breast cancer. Amending our criteria will ensure that politics has no place in our grant process. We will continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants, while maintaining the ability of our affiliates to make funding decisions that meet the needs of their communities.”

You know what happened — the CEOs of the corporations sponsoring Komen merchandising deals have been having words with Komen execs.

Personally, I doubt Konen will ever get all the toothpaste back in the tube. This episode is likely to leave a sour taste in a lot of mouths.

Notice that a lot of the backlash came from Komen affiliates. Seriously, women who are activists on women’s health care issues are likely to be pro-choice. Duh, Komen Foundation.

Update: When I heard the news I had just finished reading this interview by Sarah Kliff of Americans United for Life President Charmaine Yoest, whom Kliff argues was a behind-the-scenes influence in the de-funding decision.

Behold the Fail:

Americans United for Life has, for the past year, aggressively pushed Congress to end Planned Parenthood’s federal funding. It has also drafted model legislation that states can use to bar abortion providers from receiving federal funds. Nine states have passed such laws, although the Obama administration has blocked their implementation.

Yoest hopes that the Komen decision is the beginning of a similar push, on the private side, to curtail Planned Parenthood’s funding, although she does not expect other funders to get on board overnight.

“We’ll be looking at their other supporters,” she said. “Let’s be honest, they’ve been very fashionable amongst a certain philanthropic set. I hope that this is a beginning of people re-looking at associations with the nation’s largest abortion provider.”

Probably not, but it might cause people to keep Yoest at arm’s length.

Update: One of the comments coming from right-wingers is that Planned Parenthood doesn’t do mammograms, just referrals. According to a news story by the CBS Pittsburgh affiliate, the referrals also included vouchers to pay for the mammorgrams, and Komen was providing the money that Planned Parenthood was using for the vouchers. So cutting off Planned Parenthood really does amount of cutting off access to mammograms, even if the mammograms are not being done at Planned Parenthood.

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The Komen Backlash Escalates

Women's Issues

This is turning into a first-rate watershed from which Komen cannot possibly survive in its current form.

It isn’t just the ties to right-wing whackjobs that’s a problem. In the past few hours the spotlight turned upon the Susan G. Komen Foundation has revealed it to be mostly a merchandising racket that has been spending much more money on executive salaries and self-promoting “awareness” events than on cancer research.

And Komen is going to lose its corporate sponsors, which means its done for. The big bucks haven’t been coming from individuals doing walk-a-thons, but through corporate merchandising deals. The walk-a-thons and other “awareness” events are less about raising money than about building the Komen brand to get the corporate sponsors on board. And I strongly suspect most of the women who have been supporting the walk-a-thons are middle- and upper-middle class ladies who may not be politically active, but they lean more liberal than conservative. DougJarvis Green-Ellis writes,

Right now, they get a lot of money from corporate sponsors—many of whom will drop them—and (I’m guessing here but I’m almost sure this is true) from affluent women in Westchester County, etc. That money is gone and it’s not coming back.

I was thinking of Westchester County women, too. The wealthier ones may be upper-class twits, but they are mostly progressive upper-class twits. Westchester has been voting Democratic since the 1990s, and Barack Obama got 63 percent of the Westchester vote in 2008. I’ll be very surprised if there is another Komen event here ever again. And without the support of that particular consumer demographic, the Komen brand won’t be worth much.

Yes, it can probably still do well with the Fox News and redneck crowd — older, less affluent — but the merchandising possibilities narrow considerably. A lot more women buy yogurt than attend gun shows.

The Yoplait Facebook page is running over with anti-Komen comments. But the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer page wants you to know it is completely unaffiliated with Komen. Komen is now officially radioactive.

Sarah Seltzer:

When the decision was announced over the Planned Parenthood email list (it had initially been broken a short while earlier), it felt like a crippling blow to women’s healthcare–and in some ways it still is. But the big story is actually how furious many Komen supporters are, how many have taken to the Internet, to petitions, and more to declare the end of their support and donations to Komen.

This is a big change, considering the fact that Komen was a beloved, celebrity-endorsed brand — and Planned Parenthood was increasingly under attack. But something shifted after this announcement: immediate analyses from social media in fact show that the number of angry comments against Komen and in favor Planned Parenthood vastly outnumbered the comments that applauded the decision — even as Komen began to frantically erase them on its Facebook page.

Marketing expert Kivi Leroux Miller calls Komen’s actions a “communications debacle unfolding before us,” writing, “At one point last night, I did a quick count and found the ratio of anti-Komen decisions to pro-Komen decisions to be about 80 to 1 on Twitter.” Miller has a blow-by-blow post on how the news broke and essentially how the Komen foundation utterly failed at every step to anticipate and properly deal with the outrage.

For all the noise they make, the Fetus People are a minority, and I strongly suspect most Americans would like them to crawl back under their rock.

Also — Komen’s excuse for defunding Planned Parenthood is that PP is under congressional investigation. Well, so is Penn State University, and Komen hasn’t cut off Penn State.

The big loser here may be breast cancer research. But a lot of articles written over the past few days have pointed out that throwing huge amounts of money at breast cancer hasn’t really done all that much to stop it.

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