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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Issue of the Week: Family Planning Gag Order Coming?

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Will President Bush sign an executive order banning the use of federal funds for some family planning services? Almost 80 conservative groups are urging Bush to ban Title X federal fund for family planning groups that provide information about abortion.

Planned Parenthood, that means you. Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin has sent out an alert about the potential ban. According to the group, roughly 55,000 low-income Wisconsin residents access health care services through Title X each year—services such breast exams, cervical cancer screenings, STI testing, HIV tests and birth control. Planned Parenthood says that the ban would place these services in jeopardy. No Title X funds are used for abortion services, and supporters stress its cost-saving and health-promoting benefits.

The program was created during the Nixon administration, but President Reagan created a gag order that prevented Title X providers from counseling women about all of their pregnancy options. President Clinton lifted the ban. Will Bush, in his final months in office, use his waning power to appease ultraconservative groups that need to be mobilized in November?


Photo of the Week:
"Shady Ladies Man" by Karoline Hanson Collins

"This photo was taken at the Comet Cafe X-Mess Party in 2007. The subject is Patrick Fuller; the title stems from his awesomely bad shades and the well worn "Ladies" sign on the bathroom door at Comet, combined with my propensity to find a pun in everything."

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Event of the Week:
River Rhythms at Pere Marquette Park

Here’s a sign of summer: Downtown’s fastest-growing music festival returns each Wednesday from 6:30 to 9 p.m. The series will launch on June 4 with a performance by Daryl Stuermer. For more information, go to www.westown.org.


Heroes of the Week:
Milwaukee’s Veterans Community

Instead of allowing the grounds at the Zablocki VA Medical Center to be used for commercial purposes, the diverse veterans community and the head of the local VA are backing a plan to develop a Women’s Mental Health Care program there and increase funds for a peer community center. The women’s facility will be the first of its kind in the Midwest, and will surely help our returned service members.


Jerk of the Week:
State Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen

What’s worse than Van Hollen’s request for taxpayer-funded state agents (otherwise known as security guards) to protect him at this summer’s Republican convention, a purely political gathering? Reassigning the Department of Justice employee who questioned the plan.

Apparently Van Hollen is not only afraid of protesters who disagree with Republican Party’s deeply unpopular platform, but he’s also afraid of employees who dare to speak the truth.


Blog of the Week
Pundit Nation (punditnation.blogspot.com)
Voucher schools bury their data—again

“Let’s pause for a moment to imagine the outrage the leadership of the Milwaukee Public Schools would face if they released a report indicating that significant measures of academic achievement were rising in the district—but then claimed the public no right to see how they arrived at their conclusions. “It would be unacceptable, of course, and the city’s leading anti-public-school forces would be up in arms.

“But don’t count on any outrage from those quarters accompanying the latest ‘report’ from the leading voucher school advocacy organization.

“Graduation rates at ‘our’ schools are better, they claim. Oh, you want to see our data? “Sorry.”

For more local blogs, go to blognetwork.expressmilwaukee.com.


QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
“If gas keeps going up, it’s going to be catastrophic in every possible way.” — Ross Fraser, America’s Second Harvest spokesman