Wednesday, November 27, 2013

On Free Birth Control and Access

As things normally go on the twitters, terse language is used to get across a point, often leaving part of the message on the floor. This tends to fish out people who aren't following along, are honestly confused, and/or are just plain ignorant. Unfortunately, real life is more complicated than a single word meaning.

Here's a case where NARAL is describing the "employer exception" to the free birth control mandate of the ACA (before the SCOTUS!) as not providing all women access to birth control, with the seemingly obligatory twitter pedantic soul, this time played by @Cromulentness:
Of course, the word access in NARAL's usage doesn't mean that all women, right now, can't get birth control without the ACA's free birth control mandate. All they need is heath insurance, something that is directly being addressed by the ACA, or enough money in their pocket to see a doctor to get a prescription and then money to get it filled by a pharmacist. So, yea, if we consider the opposite of access in NARAL's statement to mean 100% blocked, their statement isn't correct.

But, of course, that's not the only usage of the word access. To illustrate another usage, lets consider this:

Every wheelchair bound person, regardless of their mayor’ beliefs, should have access 2 #wheelchairramps #HandsOffMyWCR

You mean should get ramps for free, right? They have access."

As part of the ADA (American's with Disabilities Act), buildings must meet certain requirements for them to be accessible. One of these is that ramps of a certain width and grade are required to allow people in wheel chairs to access the building instead of using the stair steps.

Now, here's how the NARAL's use of the word access is similar to how the ADA provides access for the disabled: 1. Nobody is actively stopping them from having access

1a. Couldn't someone in a wheel chair just have paid somebody else to carry them, and their wheel chair, up the stairs? We aren't paying a security guard to push them away from the building.

1b. Couldn't women just pay out of their own pocket for the doctor visit and pill prescription? Her boss isn't stopping her from seeing a doctor/pharmacist.

2. Just don't do it

2a. Couldn't the person in the wheel chair just not use that building? There are other buildings that don't have stairs or have ramps.

2b. Couldn't women just abstain from sex? There are other activities that don't require taking a pill in order to not get pregnant.

3. But they're different, even if they can't control the fact that they're different

3a. Why are we giving free ramps to people in wheelchairs? Walkers don't need that!

3b. Why are we giving free birth control to women? Men don't need that!

And arguments over the usage of the word access isn't even the end of it! What's being debated is whether or not your employer gets to decide if birth control is free or not. That's like your mayor deciding whether or not there is a wheelchair ramp fee in their city. Because of their personal beliefs? It's just horse shit all the way down. Just treat women as though they are your equal for a change!
Yes, yes I do.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Stand Strong For God?

My 3 year old daughter goes to a preschool/daycare that is associated with a moderate-liberal church.  Its not insular, they accept anyone and the children reflect the diversity of the area.  It's one of the few good examples I can see of secular community outreach.  They do include Christian lessons in the curriculum, but it is positive (no original sin or hell).  My daughter loves to learn and sing the songs, something I enjoyed about church.  They had vacation bible school (VBS) for the older kids this summer and my daughter picked up on some of the songs that they brought in for the little ones.  One of the lyrics she sang had something about "standing strong for god".  This was interesting to me and we talked about why it is that god would needs kids to stand for him.  Anyhow, I wondered what the biblical basis was for standing strong for god and sure enough the whole VBS is a program that churches can buy/use, surely the material would make it clear.

Here's the link:

The banner says "Kingdom Rock: Where Kids Stand Strong for God".

They have a nice daily breakdown, so lets have a look.

Day 1:
Bible Point: God’s love 
helps us stand strong.
Bible Verse: "I love you, Lord; 
you are my strength." 
(Psalm 18:1)
Bible Story: David writes about 
God's love. (Psalm 23)
Ok, so god's love gives us strength to stand strong.  This seems a bit circular: God's love helps us stand strong for god.  I suppose god could be using believers as "love to standing strength" transmogrifiers.

Day 2:
Bible Point: Family and friends 
help us stand strong.
Bible Verse: "So encourage 
each other and build each 
other up." (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Bible Story: Mordecai 
encourages Esther to do 
the right thing. (Esther 1–9)
Actually, this one sounds fine, if you just drop the "for god" implication.  Helping one another is good and, to me at least, as powerful of a drive as food, sex, sleep, etc.

Day 3:
Bible Point: Prayer helps us 
stand strong.
Bible Verse: "Don’t worry about 
anything; instead, pray about 
everything." (Philippians 4:6)
Bible Story: Nehemiah 
perseveres to rebuild the 
wall around Jerusalem. 
(Nehemiah 1–6)
And who are these prayers directed to?  Who answers prayers?  I think that's god again and it just seems silly to pray to god, to ask for strength to stand, when you're supposed to be helping god by providing your own standing strength.

Day 4:
Bible Point: Trusting God 
helps us stand strong.
Bible Verse: "Trust in the Lord 
always, for the Lord God is the 
eternal Rock." (Isaiah 26:4)
Bible Story: Jesus dies 
and comes back to life. 
(Luke 22:39–24:12)
Ok, now I'm just confused.  If god is an eternal rock of strength, why the hell are kids being asked to stand strong for god?  Does god want us to be strong rocks?

Day 5:
Bible Point: The Bible 
helps us stand strong.
Bible Verse: "Your word is a 
lamp to guide my feet and a 
light for my path." (Psalm 119:105)
Bible Story: King Josiah follows 
God’s way. (2 Kings 22:1–23:23)

It just wouldn't be VBS without an affirmation of biblical authority.  Because what would the bible be if it didn't say in there that it's the word of god.

Of course it's ridiculous to take what Christians say at face value without understanding the subtext.  One subtext of this is that they know these kids are growing up in the Information Age, where they are going to be exposed to criticism of their beliefs.  They aren't standing strong for god, they're being asked to stand strong for their parent's and pastor's beliefs.  How about we teach these kids to stand strong for themselves, stand strong for their fellow humans, stand strong for their own morals?  God doesn't need their strength, they do.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Rape Culture, Believing the Victim

UpdateGreta has a great post making the case that it's denialism, not skepticism, that those who don't believe victims are practicing.  If I had read Greta's post beforehand, I wouldn't even had bothered writing the below. :o)

One of the issues surrounding rape culture is that the default position is to not believe the claims of the victim of rape (or sexual assault or sexual harassment).  It's clear that those who have bought into this immoral meme don't hold the same default position when presented with claims of other violations (theft, non-sexual assault, etc).  Why do these people think that rape victims aren't to be believed?  The below are a few thoughts on why this is the case.  Obligatory trigger warning here, this is from my male perspective, and while I've tried to avoid specific situational language, I don't have the perspective to know that I've avoided it completely.

The first thing that comes to my mind is the nature of rape and other sexual crimes.  Sexual consent is usually a very personal transaction.  There can often be a lack of documentation or other hard evidence of consent, or the lack there of, save the testimony of the victim.  Outside of undocumented contract law (verbal "hand shake" contract, of which sexual consent is one), most other crime victims can more easily produce non-testimonial evidence of the crime.  This said, most people are fine taking the word of victims of other crimes without demanding that they provide all of the evidence presented to a judge/jury to simply believe the victim based on their testimony.

The second thing is ignorance of the prevalence of sexual crime.  Let's start with the facts; in the US one in six women will be a victim of rape or attempted rape in their lifetime (  That's pretty staggering.  But why is rape culture seemingly ignorant of this?  The first thing is that the one in six number doesn't reflect most people anecdotal evidence from the women in their lives (friends, family, coworkers, etc).  This isn't surprising as most crime victims don't like to talk about it, for both personal and social reasons.  On top of the negative emotion that all (sexual or not) crime victims experience, there is added pressure from the rape culture itself for rape victims to keep silent; it's circular, self reinforcing.  A side factor here is the misconception that false rape claims are significant enough to warrant not believing the victims, of which there isn't great data to assume it's any larger than the rates of false non-sexual crime claims (read here

The third factor is the gender issue.  91% of rape victims are female and 99% of rapists are male (  The fact that nearly all rapists are men and almost all victims are female does highlight a rather huge divide in gender.  Regardless of the fact that an overwhelming majority of men aren't rapists (4-6%, which while small is still significant, the simple fact that the rapists are men can cause men to become emotional and defensive when the issue of rape is discussed.  If you're in denial that men are responsible for nearly all rape, not believing the victim fits the world view of that delusion.

The bottom line is that claims of rape, or other sexual crimes, aren't extraordinary and there is simply no rational reason to not believe a victim by default.  Rape culture is simply wrong about this and it's protecting rapists and further victimizing rape victims.

From Jim C. Hines:

Monday, July 22, 2013

Why Libertarians and Tea Partiers are Wrong

1. We live in a society with other people.
2. We are neighbors.
3. We share a planet.
4. The Golden Rule.
5. You have a brain and its not a decorative organ.

Please stop shoving your "small government" into women's private parts and stop ruining my country.

That is all.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Why I'm Pro-Choice

Let me start out by saying that I'm completely pro-choice.  The reason for this post isn't to pontificate about my personal "oughts" on the subject, but rather to lay out why I'm pro-choice.  This is hopefully lightly written, but the subject itself requires a warning that you might not want to read further if you're sensitive (I don't like reading about this stuff myself sometimes).

1. Bodily Autonomy

A body is a body, and is owned by a person who is an emergent property of that body.  Other bodies can't use your body without your consent, full stop.  The rest of the below reasons aren't really needed, since this one is all you need.  If you disagree, the authorities will be by shortly to remove one of your eyes and one of your kidneys (c'mon, you'll still have one good one and somebody who needs one will get it).

2. Biology is Messy

Not messy in the "yuck" way, but in the way that every physical body is different and that no two situations are ever completely the same.  Any attempt at legislating specific bounds to abortion is just going to complicate, confuse and ultimately restrict the patient-doctor options.  Medical decisions should be made only between the doctor and the patient.

3. Sex != Babies

Sure, sex can result in babies (insert naturalistic fallacy here), but babies are not a necessary result of sex.  If you think it is, then you need start legislating baby quotas based on copulation rates.  Until then, sex is for more than just for making babies.  If you're not having sex to make a baby, you aren't required to have that baby should you get pregnant.

4. Reproductive Control

People who want to have babies, now or later, also need to have the choice.  I'm talking about people who responsibly use birth control prophylactics for the purposes of #3 above.  I'm talking about people who are actively trying to get pregnant and run into the reality of #2 above.  Even if you're doing everything right, you might find yourself in the situation where you will need to choose.

5. Nasty Crap

Until the world is a perfect place for women, a world where there is absolutely no sexual violation, there should be no restriction on abortion.  The anti-choice mob like to mock and minimize these situations, but as much as they try, these situations are real and do happen.  The last thing that women in these situations need is a bureaucratic and legal jungle between themselves, their doctor and their choice.

Monday, July 15, 2013

What if women ran everything?

In a previous post, I said that one of my goals is to see women have 50% of positions of power.  Thinking about that recently, I stumbled on a thought that my male privilege would have never allowed before: What if the roles were reversed, where women had the overwhelming majority or absolute control on positions of power?  What would the world look like?  Given that the results with men at the helm over the last millennia have had "issues", to put it lightly, I don't think I'd be opposed to experimenting the next thousand years with women in the lead.  And this isn't because I think men shouldn't have a roll in the circles of power, or that we need to do this as a sort of reparations, or any sort of "fine, you deal with it" anger, but I think it would just be interesting to find out from an objective curiosity standpoint.  I haven't thought about this much, but here are a few random thoughts about such a scenario if the way things are now were flipped:

> The Catholic Church - The Mama, head of the order of Mothers, oversees all doctrine.  Of particular concern to teh menz is that the church is pushing legislation around the world, trying to ensure all penises are properly circumcised, even in clearly pluralistic societies.

> Controversial talk show host Ruth Limbaugh is calling for zero tolerance castration for all males that don't do the dishes and take out the garbage.

> Bills are constantly being brought up in more extreme states to force fathers to give up their vital organs (heart, lungs, liver) to their children, at the digression of the mother, should a medical need arise. Panels, consisting entirely of women, debate the issue nationally on cable news and in congress.

> In the Muslim world, Ayatollah Jasmine has ordered only male eunuchs can leave their homes alone.  Those with male genitalia found outside the home unattended will be buried to the neck and stoned.

In reality, I'd like to think it wouldn't nearly as bad as it is right now, just reversed.  It would be hard to implement; look at the GOPs obstructionist agenda with a centrist black man in the White House, what would they do if their leader were a woman?

Anyway, that was my fun thought of the day.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Why I'm An Atheist

My path to atheism seems to be a product of three main events in my life, the last one pushing me over the edge.  I'd list them (as any good engineer would), but they fit better in a story.  Here goes...

I grew up in a very rural part of the Midwest.  Like, you have to drive an hour to get to the nearest McDonalds.  I have German heritage, and went to Lutheran Church my entire childhood.  I was baptized and confirmed in the church.  It was an evangelical church, but aside from siphoning off money for missions (from people who were mainly lower-middle class), we just left other folks in the community alone.  I learned how the Catholics were wrong, but not much else from the pastors that were in semi-retirement.  I do recall getting the "look at the trees" lesson as the proof of gods creation in catechism, and I recall it being fairly satisfying an answer at the time.  Not so much in the specific sense of "kinds" of life, but more on the grandeur of it all.

At some point in my teens, I contemplated staying there, living a rural existence, but my mother was a teacher at the local elementary school and I was decent at math and science (I remember reading the physics text book and correcting the football coach, who somehow was the high school science teacher, on atomic theory), so off to engineering school I went.

At school in the big Midwest city, I found a church that was of the same synod as my home church and attended a few times.  I was invited to bible study, and while I don't recall the specifics (which is why I don't consider it a very important event), it just didn't make sense to me.  I just stopped going to church all together.  I still went when back in my home town with the parents, but it just didn't fit.

After a couple of quarters, I found my home amongst the nerds at school.  We had the fun that you have at college, but we were focused on learning and doing well academically.  One weekend evening of LAN gaming and various amounts and types of alcohol, the subject of religion came up, and up until that time, the religion of my friends didn't matter.  But, one or two of them were Catholic.  I'm embarrassed now, but at the time I thought I had finally found a place to use all of that Lutheran anti-Catholic training.  Well, after some relatively respectful arguing, where spent my anti-Catholic ammo, I ended up feeling horrible.  Here I was, caring about something I really didn't care that much about deep down, and my friends had the pat answers that they were taught, that they also didn't care much about.  Why the hell were we arguing about this?  There were computer games to be played, beers to be drank, girls, and real knowledge to be soaked up!  This was the first event that led me to become a "generic Christian".  I felt that Christianity was good, but rejected all the sectarian BS.

After college, I was sucked into Silicon Valley at the height of the dot com bubble.  I managed, or rather got lucky, or both, to remain employed as the tech industry exhaled.  Being new to the Bay Area, the diversity of the people was exhilarating.  In Midwestville, the people are white, just plain old European white.  Being the nerdy type, I did hang with the occasional exchange student.  One guy in high school was from southeast Europe, and as my Dixiecrat-esque history teacher put it after asking about his religion: he is Christian, which meant he is OK, unlike one of those Muslims (this was pre-9/11, even).  Anyway, it wasn't like I was a complete back-woods country boy (my mother made sure of that) and made friends whom have a variety of cultural and religious backgrounds in the professional nerd culture.

It was then that I met my now wife of 12 years.  She is from a Muslim country, but one of the of the more moderate ones.  She was (and still is) a believer, just not very specific.  Her dad was more progressive than some of people in Midwestville, but devoutly Muslim.  When we were to be married, her family didn't give me any religious trouble.  I've traveled with her back to her home and the people there are as salt of the earth as in Midwestville (if not more so).  Back then, none of the religious stuff consciously mattered, since we were madly in love.  Our families were just going to have to deal with it and they did.  We did get married in my home town church, but had to consult with a local pastor of the same synod.  They counseled us separately and the local pastor said I've been given the task to lead my fiancĂ© down the right path.  I'm not sure if my facial expression said it, but my thought was "WTF?!?!".  I lied and said I would just so we could get married where it would be best for my extended family.  The experience of love and the exposure to utterly non-Christian culture was the second event that drove me to become a sort of Pan-Deist.  God just couldn't be damning all of those other folks to hell, there had to be multiple paths to god.  Jesus was a good guy and all of the specifics didn't really matter.

Quick side note, while engineering lets you hide god in your worldview more easily than biology or physics, my skepticism was growing toward those that asserted religious knowledge.  I credit the engineering corporate culture to some extent.  The BS is piled so high at times that the clear facts get ignored. I learned that being a general skeptic helped differentiate my work in a positive way and helped cut through the BS for the ultimate benefit of the company.

Not too long after, my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, in an advanced stage.  The only thing mildly good about cancer is that it at least gives you a bit of time before you're gone.  It was rough, but even though I hadn't consciously shed my god belief at the time, I knew that it had nothing to do with god.  It was just happenstance that this was how it was going to end for my mother.  I didn't pray, like I used to from time to time for other less predictable things, for her to get better because the science on her condition was clear.  Anyway, while this didn't ratchet me any further along the path to atheism, as I didn't really blame god, I think it may have loosened some resistance.

Then, after maturing as a couple for some years, the instinctual drive for children came knocking.  I know that parenthood isn't for everyone, but it is for me and I couldn't give two shits if its a rational desire or not.  We got pregnant, err, well, my wife did all the hard work of turning that single cell into a baby.  There are only a few moments in life that are profound and the moment I heard her cry for the first time in the delivery room was possibly the most impactful moment.  Strangely, this moment wasn't directly the third event, but it directly led to it.

While being ignorantly in love with a person who depends on you entirely is special and pure, I was bound and determined to get fatherhood as right as I could.  After a week or two, the god question dawn on me.  Holy buckets Batman, what the hell is it that I believe about this religious stuff?  What am I going to teach my daughter?  I may have rejected my core Christian beliefs, but what if I'm doing the wrong thing for my daughter?  Little did I know at the time where this would lead.  I read up on Baptism, knowing that was what saved babies from hell.  But that church I was raised in wasn't right about a lot of things, could they be wrong about that too?  I wasn't going to take her there (I may have Baptized my daughter myself during this period, I don't recall anymore).  There was only one thing to do: Question everything!  I started out in religious arenas, looking for something that fit my beliefs.  Then I found Atheism.  I was hesitant at first with the idea, but convinced myself that it was OK since I could always go back.  Everything started making sense and fell together so well, that I almost couldn't believe it was real.

Now, I'm a happy atheist.  And, I'm a better husband, father, son and overall person for it.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Using Social Pressure To Stop Sexist Behavior

From an article by Tracy Clark-Flory at Salon (via Pharyngula)

Overall, this article brought me great joy.  A dude sends an unsolicited nude shot to a woman he met via a dating service (not that sexting with pics is something that is wrong, if consensual).  She let's him know that wasn't cool and sends the pic to his mom.  I want to give her a high five.  After all, making him pay socially for his actions and the publicity this got might actually spare some women from this unwanted exhibition.  But, that not the only angle.  There's also the trope that moms are supposed to raise respectful young men and sending her the pic isn't a fair thing to do to the mom.  So, in the act of using social pressure (the dude said that wasn't cool, so he cared that his mom would find out), another sexist act happened.  While I think parents do bear some responsibility for setting a good example for their kids to follow, I personally don't blame his mother for what he did.  I don't recall ever sending somebody a naked pic of myself in my less thinking years, but there were lots of other things I did that would make my mom (and dad) cringe.  Parents, and specifically moms, are a special category of people in the list of folks where social pressure can be applied to stop rude behavior. But, asking victims of inappropriate sexual behavior, who are willing to do something about it, to avoid all possible side effects (even if a bit sexist in and of themselves) of their actions is something that I won't be doing.

Feminist Priorities

When talking with other secular folks about the priorities of reaching real gender equality, there seem to be a number of people, generally men, who think that nearly all of the "minor" issues with equality in the US should take a second seat to stopping some of the more extreme injustices still happening around the world.  My reaction is that it isn't a zero sum game and everyone can choose what they're passionate about (where to send their dollars, how to spend their time, etc.).  As long as we're working toward the same goal, then why the need to mansplain to women in the US that ending FGM worldwide is far more important than demanding full reproductive choice?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Obviously, Levin's friends in the military are more important than women

From Dan Friedman at the NY Daily News:

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) plans to replace a measure from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and others that would take prosecution of sexual assault out of the military chain of command with an alternative provision, a step that represents a death knell for the New York Democrat's bill.
Gillibrand declined to comment Tuesday on Levin's plan. But Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) who joined the New York Democrat to consponsor the bill creating a separate convening authority for sexual assault, blasted Levin's move.
"I am stunned that when it comes to prosecuting these crimes the committee is largely embracing the status quo by allowing commanders to not only decide whether a case goes forward, but even to handpick the jury that will render the verdict," Boxer said in a statement.
Boxer said the U.S. should "emulate our allies in Israel, Great Britain, Australia and Canada" who review sexual assault outside the chain of command.
Yes, Mr. Levin, the kangaroo, victim silencing, anti-woman prosecution system the military has right now is doing a good job.  Did you give your good ol' boy, brass wearing buddies a pat on the butt after replacing this measure like Chad Johnson did in court the other day?  Shame on you Mr. Levin!  Shame on you for not joining Gillibrand and Boxer in actually doing something to make the military a better place for women.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Secular Musings

Posted this rendition of Martin Niemöller's classic poem in the Pharyngula comments:

First they came to stop me from burning witches,
and I didn’t stop believing in god.
Then they came to take away my slaves,
and I didn’t stop believing in god.
Then they came to marry Adam and Steve,
and I didn’t stop believing in god.
Then they came to give me a hug,
and there was no god to harden my heart.
Feel free to share anonymously.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Positions Of Power

One of the most obvious areas of gender inequality are positions of leadership and power.  It literally boggles my mind that women are so unrepresented and it the apathy seems to be just a part of our culture.  In the day to day whining that is produced by those that are consciously or unconsciously trying to prop up male privilege, and are either ignoring or just not understanding a particular feminist argument, taking a different tact can help.  Here's a stock response:
I'm not interested in what you're saying about <insert topic/subject>.  When women start holding more than 50% of positions of leadership and power, your arguments about <insert topic/subject> may become more interesting to humanity.  Here is a list of those positions:
  • US President's Administrative Cabinet
  • US Senate
  • US House Of Representatives
  • US Military Generals
  • Corporate Boards
  • Corporate Executives
  • Leaders of the Secular, Skeptic and Atheist Movements

Sure, the above is most likely going to be a non sequitur to the actual discussion at hand, but I think returning frustration in kind is OK.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Random Feminist Father Thoughts

Of the various thoughts that occupy my mind are those concerning how to raise my daughter to be free from the standard gender roles of American society.  As with most of these sort of things (I'm an engineer, OK, life is a puzzle :o), there doesn't seem to be an absolutely right or wrong way to do it.  My daughter is still pretty young (3), but you can already see that she's aware of the meme of male and female roles. Mainly I focus choosing words that are as gender neutral as possible, even to the point of saying that both girls and boys can do/have/play with something if she says something is for boys or girls.  I also spend time with her doing things that have more of a stereotypical "boy" bent.  One of things that I think any rational parent should do, which will lead to the detriment of their own authority, is to teach them to question and understand the "why", even if it's something daddy says.

Who is changerofbits?

I care about humanism, secularism, feminism and just fairness in general for folks riding around on this rock called earth.

I'm also paid to change bits.

Military chiefs oppose "removing power to silence" sexual assault probes

So, the military rejects any new approach to dealing with the rampant and increasing sexual assault from within it's own ranks...

From Eliott C. McLaughlin's article at CNN:

Military chiefs oppose removing commanders from sexual assault probes

Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force chiefs expressed opposition Tuesday to removing the chain of command from sexual assault investigations, as Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin said there may be public confusion about the military's reporting process.

Mr. Levin, there is "public confusion" about why the military is a safe haven for sexual assault criminals.

Legislation has been introduced to give responsibility to military prosecutors, instead of commanders, in these probes.

You mean that a 3rd party, instead of the boss of both the perpetrator and the victim would have the power to prosecute?  But that would remove at least some of the conflict of interest, the horror!

Referring to media reports that there is only one way to report sexual assault, Levin, D-Michigan, asked each of the military heads at a hearing if there currently are multiple options in addition to notifying a unit commander.

The three generals and admiral all replied yes. They also told the committee that instances of commanders ignoring their judge advocate generals' advice in sexual assault cases are extremely rare.

Sen. James Inhofe, the top Republican member of the Armed Service panel, earlier called sexual assault in the military "an enemy to morale and readiness," and urged his colleagues to tread carefully in tackling the issue.

Inhofe said he is opposed to any legislation "removing commanders from their indispensable roles" in the military justice system, and noted that military and civilian courts are different animals because members of the military do not enjoy the same rights as civilians.

"There's a risk of unintended consequences if we act with haste without thorough and thoughtful review," the Oklahoma lawmaker said.


The military has been hit hard over the issue of sexual assault among its ranks, with the Defense Department reporting an estimated 26,000 cases of unwanted sexual contact, ranging from rape to groping, in 2012. That was a 35% jump from 2010, the Defense Department said.

Inhofe, we've got 26,000 cases of sexual assault and a 35% increase in two years.  What unintended consequence could be worse than this?

Shame on the military and shame on you Inhofe.