El Chanclaso: The Politics of Denial and the Demented

12/10/2011 10:46 am ET | Updated Feb 08, 2012

In case of emergency, make an appointment

I'm giving a big chanclaso to President Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for ruling that Plan B, also known as the morning-after pill, will not be available over the counter to everyone, as recommended by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA recommendation was also supported by the American Medical Association, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. ¿Que más quieren?

Sebelius' reasoning goes against what President Obama said in 2009 that his administration's policies would be based on science and not on politics. In overruling the FDA, a rare move by the way, Sebelius argued that young girls are not mature enough to take the pill without adult supervision. ¡Hijole!

This makes a lot of adults uncomfortable, but teenagers are having sex, as evidenced by our high teenage pregnancy rate. The solution is sex education and contraception. Plan B only works if it's taken quickly. Making young girls jump through hoops just doesn't make sense. Let's let our teenagers have control of their bodies.

Plan B is available without a prescription to women 17 and older. President Obama and Secretary Sebelius have dropped the ball on this issue and for that, I'm handing both of them a chanclaso.


Give her a vote already

Mari Carmen Aponte received a recess appointment by President Obama to be the ambassador to El Salvador in 2010. Her confirmation was voted out of the Senate Foreign Committee 10-9, but she is being denied a full floor vote, and time is running out. A recess appointment expires at the end of next Senate session, in this case at the end of 2011.

Why is this prominent Latina being denied the ambassadorship? Rumor has it that an ex-boyfriend from her youth was a Cuban spy and that she was recruited. The FBI cleared her. Conservatives are also worked up over an op-ed she recently wrote for a newspaper in El Salvador supporting gay rights. ¡Que horror!

Sen. Jim Demint is relying on this rumor to deny Aponte a full Senate vote, and for that, I'm giving him a chanclaso.



I'm giving aplausos to the organization Color of Change for stepping up and putting pressure on corporations to stop funding the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the leading entity in voter suppression tactics and a major force behind the hideous immigration laws that are hurting our country. ALEC has long been a thorn on the side of working families, voters, union organizers, immigrants... basically all things that are good. ¡Suerte!


El Chanclaso

For many Latinos, a chancla is more than summer footwear. The flip flops on our mothers' feet were also impromptu and easily accessed weapons. Back talk, ignoring orders or fighting with your siblings could, without warning, result in a chancla on the rear end or, if distance was a factor, flying at you.

Now we're all grown up. But some people still deserve chanclasos. And we're going to let them have it here in our weekly column, El Chanclaso. Every Friday, Sergio, our resident chancludo, will turn a critical eye on political shenanigans, and current issues and events with his chancla firmly in hand. Depending on the severity of the misbehavior, being on the wrong end of the chancla could get you one or two chanclasos. Sergio will also give aplausos to those who make us proud.You've been warned. Now, behave!

Read more Chanclasos here.


Sergio Lopez hails from the great city of San Antonio and is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. He thanks his mother for judiciously using her chancla to set him straight.

Know of someone who deserves a chanclaso or an aplauso? Send in your suggestions to