Sunday, August 31, 2008

My Complaint and My Solution

"Contraception to be re-classified as a form of abortion by the Bush administration."

I received this link in an email from a friend.

Now, I am the person who receives chain emails from friends with the question, "Is this for real?" This is because I can remember the names of the websites to check, the most popular being www.snopes.com.

So I read the letter included with the above link, and then I read the page that the link opened up, and I poked around on the MoveOn.org website and finally sent them a letter complaining that their campaigns don't have dates on them.

But this didn't satisfy me. In fact, I became quite suspicious when Snopes didn't have anything on the issue. So I went poking around the internet and finally found this. Pretty obviously, this article, dated August 11, 2008, is the one referenced by the website for the petition.

This, however, is a much better tool than the MoveOn petition. It's clearer, enumerates the problem, and even has a date on it. It's still pretty poor.

So here is the link to the actual draft. Yes, it's a PDF. You could find it yourself if you knew enough to use "Ensuring that Department of Health and Human Services Funds Do Not Support Coercive or Discriminatory Policies or Practices In Violation of Federal Law" as a search term in your favorite search engine. The same search would have brought you to this site. (Of course, selecting the appropriate set of words to search for is only possible after you've found what you're looking for.)

And it is in that actual draft that I found all kinds of information about leaving comments - including the extraordinarily important dates. I quote: "Submit written or electronic comment on the regulations proposed by this document by September 25, 2008."

I would really have appreciated it if MoveOn or Planned Parenthood had given me a link to the actual proposal. In fact, I really would have appreciated it if the Houston Chronicle had given me a link to the proposed rule. The BBC always includes links to related sites. In this age of unsubstantiated claims, anything less looks like an attempt to manipulate or deceive.

And it's only going to get worse as election season continues, isn't it?

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