Boing Boing 

Darrell Issa proposes 2-year ban on Internet legislations, will appear in Reddit AMA today to discuss

Rep Darrell Issa (R-CA) has pretty good credentials as a friend of the Internet, being one of the early Congresscritters to stand up to SOPA and PIPA (though there's the little matter of sponsoring a corporatist bill to limit open access for state-funded research). He's introduced a bill called the "The Internet American Moratorium Act (IAMA)" which proposes a two-year moratorium on Internet-related legislation. Presumably, this would give Internet freedom activists a couple years to prepare an offense game, rather than having to always be reacting to pro-surveillance and pro-censorship proposals from Hollywood and the DHS.

Issa's appearing in a Reddit AMA today at 1030h Eastern to discuss the bill.

The Internet American Moratorium Act (IAMA)

Staffers for millionaire/wrestling magnate/failed GOP Senate candidate say they were stiffed, got bad checks and condoms: "you're screwed"


Linda McMahon (a wrestling magnate who built up the WWE with her husband Vince McMahon) is a failed Republican Senate candidate in Connecticut with a reported net worth of $500M, who has spent a reported $100M on a pair of failed Senate bids. She has also reportedly stiffed her staffers, who claim that they were sent bounced checks from the campaign, and, when they complained, were sent more rubber checks, along with a condom and a message saying "you're screwed." From CBS:

Campaign staffer Twaine Don Gomes was reportedly among the first to make the matter of the bad checks public knowledge through local news media – an action which allegedly inspired the campaign to send a second check with something extra.

“Basically he handed me a check with a condom in it, told me I was screwed,” Gomes told WTNH. “That’s the rudest gesture you can ever do to a person, it’s like spitting in a person’s face.”

Checks Issued By McMahon Campaign Reportedly Bounce

Cowardice: Gutless House Republicans retract copyright paper in less than 24 hours


It took less than 24 hours for the entertainment industry's lobbyists to bully the House Republican Study Committee into retracting its eminently sensible copyright position paper. They did it with a mealy-mouthed apology, claiming the paper "was published without adequate review." Here's Mike Masnick on the subject:

The idea that this was published "without adequate review" is silly. Stuff doesn't just randomly appear on the RSC website. Anything being posted there has gone through the same full review process. What happened, instead, was that the entertainment industry's lobbyists went crazy, and some in the GOP folded.

Frankly, if they wanted to win back the youth vote, this was exactly how not to do it. If you just look through the comments on our post on the original, or through the Twitter response to this report, there were tons of people -- many of whom were lifelong Democrats -- claiming that they would switch parties if the GOP stuck with this. Instead, they folded like a cheap card table in less than 24 hours.

Here's a mirror from KEI, and another from the MD Pirate Party.

That Was Fast: Hollywood Already Browbeat The Republicans Into Retracting Report On Copyright Reform

(Image: Chicken., a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from 29278394@N00's photostream)

House Republicans release watershed copyright reform paper

Three Myths about Copyright Law and Where to Start to Fix it (PDF) is a position paper just released by House Republicans, advocating for a raft of eminently sensible reforms to copyright law, including expanding and clarifying fair use; reaffirming that copyright's purpose is to serve the public interest (not to enrich investors); to limit statutory damages for copyright infringement; to punish false copyright claims; and to limit copyright terms.

This is pretty close to the full raft of reforms that progressive types on both sides of the US political spectrum have been pushing for. It'll be interesting to see whether the Dems (who have a much closer relationship to Hollywood and rely on it for funding) are able to muster any support for this.

Mike Masnick's got good analysis of this on TechDirt, and notes that this is a huge shift from the House that, 10 months ago, was ready to pass SOPA.

Update: It took less than 24 hours for the entertainment industry's lobbyists to bully the House Republican Study Committee into retracting its eminently sensible copyright position paper. They did it with a mealy-mouthed apology, claiming the paper "was published without adequate review." Here's a mirror from KEI, and another from the MD Pirate Party.

This document really is a watershed moment. Even if it does not lead to any actual legislation, just the fact that some in Congress are discussing how copyright has gone way too far and even looking at suggestions that focus on what benefits the public the most is a huge step forward from what we've come to expect. In many ways, this is the next logical step after the completion of the SOPA fight. Rather than just fighting bad policy, it's time for Congress to recognize that existing copyright law is bad policy and now is the time to fix it. It comes as a surprise, but kudos to the Republican Study Committee -- and specifically Derek Khanna, the policy staffer who wrote the document -- for stepping up and saying what needed to be said, but which too many in Congress had been afraid to say for fear of how the entertainment industry lobbyists would react.

House Republicans: Copyright Law Destroys Markets; It's Time For Real Reform

Ohio GOP Secretary of State orders secret, last minute, unaudited software updates to voting machines

Republican Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has asked voting machine giant ES&S to install last-minute, unverified, custom firmware updates on the state's voting machines. This is highly irregular, and the details of it are shrouded in secrecy and silence -- the few, terse statements from Husted's office on the matter have been self-contradictory and unhelpful. On Salon, Brad Friedman tries to untangle the mess, and concludes that it's impossible to say what the new software in Ohio's voting machines actually does, nor why unaudited, unapproved software should be added to voting machines in a critical swing-state at the last minute, but that it's highly suspicious and possibly illegal.

I’d like to have been able to learn much more before running anything on this at all, frankly. But the lack of time between now and Tuesday’s election — in which Ohio’s results are universally believed to be key to determining the next president of the United States — preclude that.

So, based on the information I’ve been able to glean so far, allow me to try to explain, in as simple terms as I can, what we currently know and what we don’t, and what the serious concerns are all about.

And, just to pre-respond to those supposed journalists who have shown a proclivity for reading comprehension issues, let me be clear: No, this does not mean I am charging that there is a conspiracy to rig or steal the Ohio election. While there certainly could be, if there is, I don’t know about it, nor am I charging there is any such conspiracy at this time. The secretive, seemingly extra-legal way in which Secretary of State Husted’s office is going about whatever it is they are trying to do, however, at the very last minute before the election, along with the explanations they’ve given for it to date, and concerns about similar cases in the past, in both Ohio and elsewhere, are certainly cause for any reasonable skeptic or journalist to be suspicious and investigate what could be going on. And so I am …

One thing that Friedman doesn't say is that this all wouldn't be such a problem if voting machines produced voter-verified paper audit trails of their actions. That is, after you vote, the machine could print out a paper record of your vote, move it into position in front of a plastic widow so you could verify the vote, and then move it along into a locked audit-box. Virtually every other kind of digital tabulating device does this, from EEGs to ATMs to cash-registers. The technology is trivial. And it would give us the ability to verify, after the fact, whether the votes had been correctly counted and transmitted from each machine.

Update: Friedman updates via Twitter: "The machines in question are the tabulators. The machines already have 'paper trail'."

Is the GOP stealing Ohio?

Pink Gipper


More fine housewares/gift ideas from New York Comic-Con: Frank Kozik's pink bust of Ronald Reagan. Only 50 were made! Sold by Clutter Magazine.

Clutter Exclusive PINK Gipper/Reagan Bust By Frank Kozik

Bring-Your-Own-Puppet Million Muppet March planned


A group of public TV fans have announced a "Million Muppet March" on November 3 on the National Mall in DC. They are upset at Mitt Romney's vow to have Big Bird waterboarded. This will be a Bring Your Own Puppet event. More from Reuters:

Within 30 minutes of the end of the debate they were on the phone with each other, planning the march.

"I figured, why just make it a virtual show of support? Why not take this opportunity because it seemed like there was already a growing interest in it and actually make it an active, participatory event," Bellavia said. "I literally just said, 'It's happening.'"

Both men consider themselves fans of "Sesame Street," perhaps the best-known program on PBS, which received $445 million of $3.8 trillion in federal budget outlays in 2012.

Coming from rural Idaho, Mecham said he was aware how important public broadcasting was in sparsely populated areas that receive no other signals over the air.

"Million Muppet March" planned to defend U.S. backing for PBS (via Reddit)

Anti-choice Tea Party Congressman pressured pregnant mistress to get an abortion

Tennessee Tea Party Rep Dr. Scott DesJarlais -- a serial philanderer who told a court he'd cheated on his wife four times -- calls himself anti-abortion. His website says, "All life should be cherished and protected. We are pro-life." He has consistently voted for legislation that restricted abortion. But when he got his mistress pregnant, he insisted that she get an abortion. Here's a transcript of some of that conversation:

"If we need to go to Atlanta, or whatever, to get this solved and get it over with so we can get on with our lives, then let's do it," Desjarlais says.

“Well, we’ve got to do something soon. And you’ve even got to admit that because the clock is ticking right?” he says at another point.

I guess that this is consistent with an anti-choice position (he doesn't want women to choose, he wants their married boyfriends to choose), but "pro-life"? Not so much.

Anti-choice GOP Congressman pushed mistress to get abortion (Thanks, Winkel!)

Mitt Romney agrees with you

Use the RoboRomney service to fill in your positions on issues from abortion to the economy to gun-control, and the system will mine a database of real Romney quotes to produce a position paper in which the candidate agrees with everything you say.

Maine GOP attack-flier condemns Democratic candidate for playing an orc rogue in online game


A flier distributed by the Maine GOP attacks Democratic state senate candidate Colleen Lachowicz for playing an orc assassin rogue in World of Warcraft, using quotes she's made about the virtual violence her imaginary fairy-tale creature gets up to in order to imply that she is unfit for office. Timothy Lee has more on Ars Technica:

"I love poisoning and stabbing! It is fun," the flyer quotes Lachowicz as saying. The candidate is apparently a regular commenter at DailyKos, a liberal blog. And the Maine GOP has mined the site looking for what it regards as damning comments. Most of Lachowicz's remarks were posted in 2009 or 2010, most likely before she began her current campaign for office.

"I can kill stuff without going to jail," she wrote in December 2009. "There are some days when this is more necessary than others." The flyer points voters to a website, called "Colleen's World," that highlights more cases where she describes virtual violence she committed in the online world.

Candidate for Maine State Senate attacked for Warcraft character

Mitt Romney: "I don't know" why airplane windows don't open

Update: Apparently, Mitt was joking

At a $50,000/ticket fundraiser at the Beverly Hills Hilton (home to one of the great Trader Vic's of America, I might add), Mitt Romney expressed his controversial views on aerospace engineering, as recounted by the LA Times's Seema Mehta:

Romney’s wife, Ann, was in attendance, and the candidate spoke of the concern he had for her when her plane had to make an emergency landing Friday en route to Santa Monica because of an electrical malfunction.

“I appreciate the fact that she is on the ground, safe and sound. And I don’t think she knows just how worried some of us were,” Romney said. “When you have a fire in an aircraft, there’s no place to go, exactly, there’s no — and you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem. So it’s very dangerous. And she was choking and rubbing her eyes. Fortunately, there was enough oxygen for the pilot and copilot to make a safe landing in Denver. But she’s safe and sound.”

I expect that's the sort of insight into technology that Romney acquired while creating jobs by remaking American industry to be more efficient.

Mitt Romney pulls in $6 million at Beverly Hills fundraiser

(Image: Virgin Atlantic Window, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from aplumb's photostream)

Tuesday linkdump

* Clockwork fairy. Steampunk! Steampunk! Set aside the impulse to tedious kvetching about nonfunctional gears and sit agog with me. (via)

* Stop Pretending Art Is Hard. From botched art restoration to manifesto in one t-shirt.

* The Science News Cycle [PhD Comics]. Don't believe the hype. DING DING! (via)

* Talk on Beat SF, Turing and Burroughs. Rudy Rucker being as Ruckerian as is humanly possible, and we're all better for it.

* The Real Romney. Biography of the man before he became a quadrillionaire sovereign nation in a vat. (via)

* Spanish microcurrency boom. When the going gets tough, the tough issue fiat scrip. (via)

* Anarchist scaremongering at RNC. Black bloc bogeymen for everyone! They've got acid-filled eggs, you know. Because that would totally work. (via)

* Deporting parents of children born in America. No human is illegal*. If your family values demand that the mothers of American children should be sent abroad forever, you're doing it wrong. (via)

Ayn Rand as Paul Ryan's biographer

Paul Ryan's first day on the job, as written by Ayn Rand (as written by Bloomberg's Michael Kinsley): "Paul Ryan laughed. He stood naked on top of the vice president’s desk in the Senate chamber, scanning the crowd of sniveling politicians below him." (via Memex 1.1)

Todd Akin apologizes for "legitimate rape" remark

From The Onion:

You see, what I said was, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” But what I meant to say was, “I am a worthless, moronic sack of shit and an utterly irredeemable human being who needs to shut up and go away forever.”

It is clear to me now that I did not choose my words with care and did not get across the point I was trying to convey. In hindsight, I guess instead of using the words “legitimate rape,” I should have used the words “I am an unforgivable, unrepentant, and unconscionable subhuman dickhead.” Or better yet, “I am an evil, fucked-up man who should never have been elected to the United States Congress, and anyone who would vote for me is probably a pretty big fucking dumbshit, too.” See how much more sense that makes? It’s amazing how a few key word changes can totally alter the meaning of a statement.

There's a lot more.

I Misspoke—What I Meant To Say Is 'I Am Dumb As Dog Shit And I Am A Terrible Human Being'

Whence springs Todd Akin's belief in magic, rape-proof vaginas?

Justine Larbalestier provides some context for Republican MO senate nominee Todd Akin statement that, "from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

It turns out that this belief in magic sperm-rejecting vaginas was the kind of thing that was believed in 1785, when Samuel Farr argued in his groundbreaking treatise on law and medicine that:

Samuel Farr, in the first legal-medicine text to be written in English (1785), argued that “without an excitation of lust, or enjoyment in the venereal act, no conception can probably take place.” Whatever a woman might claim to have felt or whatever resistance she might have put up, conception in itself betrayed desire or at least a sufficient measure of acquiescence for her to enjoy the venereal act. This is a very old argument. Soranus had said in second-century Rome that “if some women who were forced to have intercourse conceived . . . the emotion of sexual appetite existed in them too, but was obscured by mental resolve,” and no one before the second half of the eighteenth century or early nineteenth century question the physiological basis of this judgement. The 1756 edition of Burn’s Justice of the Peace, the standard guide for English magistrates, cites authorities back to the Institutes of Justinian to the effect that “a woman can not conceive unless she doth consent.” It does, however, go on to point out that as matter of law, if not of biology, this doctrine is dubious. Another writer argued that pregnancy ought to be taken as proof of acquiescence since the fear, terror, and aversion that accompany a true rape would prevent an orgasm from occurring and thus make conception unlikely.

(Quote from Thomas Laqueur’s Making Sex).

Justine notes that Farr's work was written in the same century in which Mary Toft was widely believed to have given birth to rabbits.

So yeah, that the kind of "science" that Todd Akin will bring to the Senate.

“Legitimate Rape” and Other Craptastic Beliefs From the Olden Days

Mitt Romney's tax bill under Paul Ryan's budget? 0.82% (Your taxes will probably go up, though)

Paul Ryan wants to kill all tax on capital gains, interest, and dividends -- income you get from owning things, rather than doing a job. Under this plan, Mitt Romney's $21,000,000 in 2010 income would be largely tax-exempt. Only his speaking and author fees -- $593,996 -- would be taxed, and only at 25%, for a net tax of $177,650 on $21,661,344 -- that is, 0.82%.

But don't worry, the government won't go broke if the super-rich are virtually tax exempt. Under Ryan's budget, tax on the bottom 30% of earners will increase. Matthew O'Brien explains in The Atlantic:

It might seem impossible to fund the government when the super-rich pay no taxes. That is accurate. Ryan would actually raise taxes on the bottom 30 percent of earners, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, but that hardly fills the revenue hole he would create. The solution? All but eliminate all government outside of Social Security and defense -- a point my colleague Derek Thompson has made in incredible chart form.

Mitt Romney Would Pay 0.82 Percent in Taxes Under Paul Ryan's Plan (via Reddit)

Romney's tax-free decade

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has told the press that the reason Mitt Romney won't release his tax returns is that he paid no tax at all for a decade. (via Reddit)

Mitt Romney promises a chicken in every pot and a porn filter on every PC (except for the chicken)

Here's Mr Romney on the campaign trail in 2007, in Radar O'Reilly's hometown of Ottumwa, Iowa, demonstrating his mastery of First Amendment jurisprudence and the nature of the technology industry -- as well as the technical feasibility of pornography filters -- promising mandatory game-rating systems (with a prohibition on their sales to kids) and a technology mandate requiring all PC vendors to place a pornography filter on new computers, on the grounds that this will "make sure their kids don't see [pornography]." I think Mr Romney uses "make sure" in a different, more nuanced way than the rest of us do, meaning, "not be sure at all."

Mitt Romney in 2007:Porn Filter on Computers (via Reddit)

Realtime Mitt Romney wealth accumulation calculator


The "Mitt Romney just made" page is a running calculator that shows a realtime estimate of Romney's earnings while you watch (He made $940.38 while I wrote a couple of blog posts and got a bowl of cereal for my daughter). It also lets you calculate your own Romney earnings. For example, making a 10-minute egg (including the time it takes for the water to boil, and a minute in ice-water to loosen the shell):

"In the time it takes me to boil an egg, Mitt Romney makes $2,596.08"

Mitt Romney just made: (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

Romney, the NAACP, and tactical booing

Everyone's seen the video of Mitt Romney being booed at an address to the NAACP where he promised to kill "Obamacare" (AKA Romneycare). But did he plan on being booed? "He’s not likely to receive many black votes in any case, and boos would allow him to look principled in the face of opposition and bolster his image with independents and conservatives"

Mitt Romney doesn't know how Venn diagrams work


From Sociological Images's Lisa Wade:

Mitt Romney’s campaign put out a set of graphics illustrating a “gap” between what Obama promised and what he has delivered. The graphic is in the form of a Venn diagram, a visual designed to show the overlap between two conditions...

Unfortunately, Romney’s overlapping circles are not Venn diagrams, making the campaign somewhat ridiculous and giving nerdy liberals all over America a good chuckle.

HOW NOT TO VENN DIAGRAM

Meet the legions of wingnuts who think Andy Griffith was a communist and want him to burn in hell

Remember lovable old Andy Griffith, beloved star of music and TV, who died this week? Turns out that his career involved 46-second appearance in a Ron Howard-directed Barack Obama campaign ad, and a 32-second commercial for universal health care. For this, the online right wing have branded him a communist and figuratively danced upon his grave. Comments for The Blaze's obit for Griffith are seething with vituperative examples of Matlock-hating:

Progressive POS. Have fun burning in Hell for eternity. — Red Meat

Good people don’t promote laws that will directly lead to the death of millions, hope someday I get to spit on his grave. — Swampy

So long Andy [smiley emoticon] You are a total sell out to this great nation. You are a communist piece of garbage and you will not be missed. — Truthbeliever2

Sadly, my first thought when I saw the headline was “if he’d passed away at age 82 I would have missed him so much more” … Now, I only feel angry the old shill didn‘t live another year or two so he’d have to face a “death panel” before kicking it. The old bastrd died too soon to reap what he helped sow. I feel cheated that we’ll never get to hear him lament his decision to be a wh0re for the socialist DNC. — Wool-Free Vision

Another dead Democrat…today’s shaping up to be a better day than expected. — teddrunk

Andy Griffith Dies at 86 (via Wonkette)

Texas Republicans call for an end to critical thinking in schools

A meeting of the Texas Republican party in Fort Worth came out with a list of demands for the education system, including a demand that schools end the practice of teaching "higher order thinking skills" because these challenge "student's fixed beliefs" and undermine "parental authority."

In the section titled "Educating Our Children," the document states that "corporal punishment is effective" and recommends teachers be given "more authority" to deal with disciplinary problems.

Additionally, the document states the party opposes mandatory pre-school and kindergarten, saying parents are "best suited to train their children in their early development."

Texas Republican Party Calls For Abstinence Only Sex Ed, Corporal Punishment In Schools (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

Republican conventions better for strip bars than Democratic ones

As the Democratic National Convention prepares to descend upon Charlotte, the Charlotte NPR affiliate perform the regular ritual of sending their reporter to talk to strip bar owners about how Republicans are much better for strippers and their employers than Democrats:

“Hands down, the Republicans have always been our best customers,” says Angelina Spencer, the Executive Director of the Association of Club Executives. It is the national trade organization for adult nightclubs.

“And they tend to be business-focused,” she says. “That’s really all I can say. We get clients from all walks of life, but for whatever reason… I have heard club owners say, ‘Boy, those Republicans really are great customers.’”

Strip Clubs Pony Up For The DNC (via Naked Capitalism)

Republican revisionism and civil rights history

Jonathan Chait takes to New York Magazine to explain how a revisionist version of American civil rights history paints the Republicans as the party of racial equality:

The civil rights movement, once a controversial left-wing fringe, has grown deeply embedded into the fabric of our national story. This is a salutary development, but a problematic one for conservatives, who are the direct political descendants of (and, in the case of some of the older members of the movement, the exact same people as) the strident opponents of the civil rights movement. It has thus become necessary for conservatives to craft an alternative story, one that absolves their own ideology of any guilt. The right has dutifully set itself to its task, circulating its convoluted version of history, honing it to the point where it can be repeated by any defensive College Republican in his dorm room.

The Conservative Fantasy History of Civil Rights (via Making Light)

Visualizing GOP presidential candidate approval ratings as 3D printed buttplugs

Matthew Epler's Grand Old Party project takes the approval-rating curves of GOP presidential hopefuls and turns them into 3D solids, then turns those into buttplugs.

Grand Old Party demonstrates that as a people united, our opinion has real volume. When we approve of a candidate, they swell with power. When we deem them unworthy, they are diminished and left hanging in the wind. We guard the gate! It opens and closes at our will. How wide is up to us.

In an age of information, we rely on hard facts. Each of the shapes you see here come directly from poll data collected by Gallup. This data reflects approval ratings for each GOP candidate among registered Republican voters from December 10, 2011 to April 1, 2012. Each shape’s girth is a reflection of popularity while their height is a reflection of time.

The contours of these delightful shapes conjure up the waves of amber grain and those lapping at the rim of our great nation spanning from sea to shining sea. As the battle for the Presidency rails on, we must remember that Americans may may have achieved freedom through war, but they are also a people of love. After all, in the end all we have is each other.

3D Printing and wonders of the Internet

Update: Derp. It's a dupe.

How Mitt Romney "created jobs"

Gazillionaire financier Mitt Romney is the latest "CEO President" offered up by the GOP, on a platform of "job creation." When Romney oversaw Bain capital, he supervised the takeover of American Pad and Paper. When the deal was complete, the 258 employees were marched out of the Marion, Indiana factory, told they were fired, and told they could re-apply for their jobs at lower salaries and with fewer benefits. They were warned that some of them would not be re-hired. A long piece in the Christian Science Monitor, Ron Scherer and Leigh Montgomery consider the record of his imperial corporateness:

“We were told they bought the assets, not the union or the [labor] contract,” recalls Randy Johnson, who at the time worked as a machine operator and was a union shop steward. The workers – some the third generation in their families to have jobs there – eventually went on strike, and Bain closed the factory 5-1/2 months after acquiring it...

In an analysis of Bain Capital under Romney, the Journal estimated that Bain made $2.5 billion in profits on $1.1 billion invested in 77 separate deals. Of those 77 transactions, 22 percent ended with the firms in bankruptcy after the eighth year of the Bain investment. Bain disputes the Journal’s account as inaccurate.

Is Mitt Romney really a job creator? What his Bain Capital record shows. (via Reddit)

When the infographic craze finally goes too far

"Grand Old Party is data visualization project. It is also a set of butt plugs." (Thanks, Ben Goldacre. I think.)

Shep Smith makes a political funny

Say what you will about Shep Smith's politics and personality, he pretty much nailed the cognitive dissonance of Mitt Romney's reaction to Gingrich dropping out of the GOP race.

Shep Smith reacts to Mitt Romney reacting to Newt Gingrich quitting (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

Doc blasts mandatory transvaginal ultrasound laws

An anonymous MD has a guest-post on John Scalzi's blog describing her/his medical outrage at being asked to perform medically unnecessary transvaginal ultrasounds on women seeking abortion, in accordance with laws proposed and passed by several Republican-dominated state legislatures. As the doctor writes, "If I insert ANY object into ANY orifice without informed consent, it is rape. And coercion of any kind negates consent, informed or otherwise." The article is a strong tonic and much-welcome -- the ethics of medical professionals should not (and must not) become subservient to cheap political stunting, and especially not when political stunt requires doctors' complicity in state-ordered sexual assaults.

1) Just don’t comply. No matter how much our autonomy as physicians has been eroded, we still have control of what our hands do and do not do with a transvaginal ultrasound wand. If this legislation is completely ignored by the people who are supposed to implement it, it will soon be worth less than the paper it is written on.

2) Reinforce patient autonomy. It does not matter what a politician says. A woman is in charge of determining what does and what does not go into her body. If she WANTS a transvaginal ultrasound, fine. If it’s medically indicated, fine… have that discussion with her. We have informed consent for a reason. If she has to be forced to get a transvaginal ultrasound through coercion or overly impassioned argument or implied threats of withdrawal of care, that is NOT FINE.

Our position is to recommend medically-indicated tests and treatments that have a favorable benefit-to-harm ratio… and it is up to the patient to decide what she will and will not allow. Period. Politicians do not have any role in this process. NO ONE has a role in this process but the patient and her physician. If anyone tries to get in the way of that, it is our duty to run interference.

Guest Post: A Doctor on Transvaginal Ultrasounds