Saturday, March 13, 2004

Pretty Soon They'll Ban Abstinence 

A lot of people are putting up Melissa Ann Rowland as some sort of martyr for abortion rights, which she isn't. She's definitely a warning shot to States everywhere about how they care for and identify mentally ill patients in this country.

Rowland denied a Caesarian Section on the grounds of its cosmetic disfigurement even though she was warned that the life of her twin children were at risk. While this is an incredibly tough case to defend- the prosecutors rightfully argue that it is "depraved indifference to human life"- it helps to know that Rowland is absolutely crazy, and it still seems wrong to me that anyone can be arrested based on refusing an invasive medical procedure.

On the religious side of things, I don't really see if anyone can argue that the Caesarian Section is a part of a natural law but abortion isn't. IE, "We can force medical procedures that give life when God might not have, but we can't allow patients to choose medical procedures to take it away when God might not have." Coming from where I am- that the position of a God granting and taking life away at appropriate moments is, really, a matter of superstition- you can see why any discussion of this law rubs me the wrong way. I am fed up with pretty much all of the religious law being made in this country, but start codifying "Be Fruitful and Multiply" into the constitution and we're living in the wet dream of a 15 year old Southern Baptist boy. (If you think I'm joking, it was already used as an argument against Gay Marriage.)

So it seems that forcing people to make medical decisions for the sake of the pro-life argument is a slippery slope. I know slippery slope arguments are usually bullshit- you can, in fact, have legal gay marriage without allowing bestiality to be blessed by the court. The slippery slope argument only applies when you change the definition of something, and the slope only goes so far as the language allows. (IE, allowing gay marriage changes the definition of Marriage to between two grown adults of either gender, this means that it does not allow polygamy, group marriage, incest, bestiality or pedophilia.)

But a law defining the refusal of a medical procedure that results in the death of a fetus is very very close to a law defining the choice of a medical procedure that results in the death of a fetus as murder. IE, if you can willingly refuse a procedure that would save a child's life and be tried for murder, what does that say about the right to have an abortion? What does it say about a woman who refuses to stay at home for the last few weeks of her pregnancy and loses the baby? That's is, effectively, refusing medical care and endangering the life of "the child."

Now, Rowlands case is a right-winger dream: It's a woman they contend chose to kill her fetus because she didn't want a big ugly scar on her stomach. This is essentially the caricature of Abortion that Pat Robertson has been waiting his whole life for. It's the sort of case that people can get on the news shows and defend by showing someone straight from the Jerry Springer show. The problem is, Rowland has been hospitalized for mental illness. She's not some limousine liberal getting abortions on the way to the debutante ball for the sake of lifestyle convenience, but you'll see this case pop up in the religious literature- "In this country we favor the appearance of our young women over the lives of our unborn" blah blah blah. It's bullshit.

Imagine if they tried to pull this shit on an Fundamentalist Christian Scientist who refused a Caesarian Section based on her religious beliefs against medical procedures? Or if they paraded pictures of an Amish woman around and made her a tabloid celebrity based on her "murder" of her child based on her resistance to modern medicine. It's the same principle and the same precedent from this case would apply to both of them. But with Rowland, they have their unsympathetic caricature which they can use to break down the dam. Eventually, they'll wind their way to the Amish.

Should Rowland be allowed to have direct and sole responsibility for her living child? No. She shouldn't. She is crazy. She is a crazy, crazy person. People who are capable of making concentrated decisions, however, should be allowed to care for their bodies the way they want to, should be able to accept or refuse any medical procedure that is offered to them, and should not be tried for murder for either one.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Fair and Balanced 

Why are Democratic-Leaning Blogs using the images of people jumping to their deaths from the World Trade Center as a source of "humor" at Bush's expense? I think it's kind of unfair to cheapen the lives of those people for the sake of scoring political points, don't you? Doesn't everyone? Isn't that what everyone is pissed off about in the first place? I also don't think I want to see the words "hilarious" anywhere near a picture of the World Trade Center any time soon. It's not because of "patriotism" either, it's because of the basic human dignity of individuals, particularly the people who are inadvertently slaughtered by the convergence of insane religious doctrine and international politics they have no control over.

I don't know, I don't think it's a really ripe source for humor, especially humor with an agenda against the "politicization" of the images. Am I a prude?

5:00 Horror 

Like clockwork at 5:00PM on Friday, the Bushies come out with some piece of news that ends up buried in the weekend newspapers, when readership declines and less people watch the news. I've first heard of this over on the West Wing- CJ Refers to Friday as "Take Out The Trash Day"- and then Corrente has started looking. Sure enough, today at 5:30 on the AP Newswire: Rumsfield, FBI Official Kept 9-11 Items. My favorite tidbit:

The Justice Department investigation also collected testimony that Pasquale D'Amuro, FBI Director Robert Mueller's executive assistant director for terrorism until last summer, asked a supervisory agent to "obtain a half dozen items from the WTC debris so the items could be given to dignitaries."

That's one classy gift. I remember when Tom Brokaw was chastising Americans who had collected paperwork from the 9-11 debris with total disgust, but if Rumsfield and D'Amuro want to keep it as a lagniappe for visiting dignitaries, I guess that's okay?

Bad News Everywhere 

Women's Rights Activist Killed In Iraq. She quit her job as a lawyer in Washington to go there and investigate human rights violations. While there, she was killed by Iraqi Rebels dressed as official policemen at a fake roadblock.

Thank you, Mr. President.

God Must Be Thrilled 

Tears of sorrow flowed at San Francisco City Hall Thursday as word spread that the state's top court had ended, at least for now, the city's month-old policy of allowing same-sex couples to marry. - CNN

Meanwhile, Massachusetts has approved a bill that would ban Gay Marriage but allow for Civil Unions with full legal protections of Marriage. It doesn't reach public memorandum until 2007, so Gay Hating Bigots will be able to see tears of sorrow in full, high definition picture quality on their TV sets.

But at least God is happy. Right, God?

192 Killed, 1400 Injured In Madrid 

This is when it stops going from "Bush went after the wrong guy with Saddam, haha" to "Bush went after the wrong guy with Saddam, and 1600 people are the victims of his mistake."

Granted, no one knows for sure who is responsible- either Basque Seperatists or Al Qaida- but Basque Socialist "Revolutionaries" don't usually quote the Koran, as far as I know.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Patriotic Art 

This painting is a classic. As hard as Bush prays and prays for Peace, all he seems to get are giant glowing crosses on his back and the shadowy specters of Lincoln and Washington. God even sends a miniature, floating Statue of Liberty down, but no peace! Damn it to hell God, why can't you send him the peace he is praying so hard for?!

Restoring Honor and Integrity to the White House: Lessons From Karl Rove, Pt 1 

Rule #1: In a Political Argument, It Is Legitimate to Attack Family Members of Your Opponent.

President Bush's chief political adviser, Karl Rove, told the FBI in an interview last October that he circulated and discussed damaging information regarding CIA operative Valerie Plame with others in the White House, outside political consultants, and journalists, according to a government official and an attorney familiar with the ongoing special counsel's investigation of the matter.

But Rove also adamantly insisted to the FBI that he was not the administration official who leaked the information that Plame was a covert CIA operative to conservative columnist Robert Novak last July. Rather, Rove insisted, he had only circulated information about Plame after it had appeared in Novak's column. He also told the FBI, the same sources said, that circulating the information was a legitimate means to counter what he claimed was politically motivated criticism of the Bush administration by Plame's husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson.
-The American Prospect

The "Voting Is For Old People" Tee Shirt 

A usually beloved blog, Bitch, has a kind of annoying write up about a shirt sold at Urban Outfitters that I almost bought a few months ago. It just says, "Voting Is For Old People." Now, don't ask me why- maybe because the UO I was at was in Harvard Square in Cambridge, which is, politically, the San Francisco of the East Coast- but I immediately sensed that it was a shirt that was saying "what a stupid thing to say this is." Which is what the designer claims it was: "The shirt's real intention is to sum up the current state of political affairs, pointing a finger at all of us who've been so apathetic in the past."

Bitch questions it anyway: "Maybe so, but how are UO's young, conformity-obsessed shoppers to know that?" As a young, conformity-obsessed shopper at UO, my answer is that maybe it really doesn't matter- if someone seriously molds their political beliefs around a tee shirt they saw at Urban Outfitters, why do we want them voting in the first place? And, if people keep saying things like "the young kids'll do whatever the tee shirt says to do," don't the kids sort of have a right to be pissed off at the (very noble but, I think, slightly misguided) people handing out "Voting is for ALL People" shirts?

Oh, and how ironic is it that Al Jourgensen from Ministry is complaining about someone "profiting from cynicism"? What the fuck do you call a "Ministry" album? Here's what the tee shirt should have said, I guess, to really inspire idealism in America's Youth, the way Al Jourgensen has: "I'm gonna rip her flesh/ I'm gonna piss in her face / I'm gonna rip her open/ and then hit her with mace/ I'm gonna make her suffer/ I'm gonna make her suffer / I'm gonna make her cry/ I'm gonna watch her die/ coz I hate her." That's from the beloved Ministry spiritual, "Flashback". Thanks Al, for all the goodness you inspire in the young people!

PS: Y'all know the coolest Tee Shirt this election year is right here.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

That Electronic Voting Sure Is Going Great 

Approximately 7,000 Orange County voters were given the wrong ballots in last week's election by poll workers unfamiliar with a new electronic voting system, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday. As a result, many people voted for candidates outside their legislative districts, the newspaper said. However, "from what we have seen so far, we do not believe any of these instances where people voted in precincts they shouldn't have voted in would have affected any of the races," said Steve Rodermund, Orange County's registrar of voters. -AP

The same article goes on to mention, however, that: "An exact number of incorrect votes is impossible to determine because of steps taken to ensure voter confidentiality, said David Hart, chairman of Texas-based Hart InterCivic, which manufactured Orange County's voting system."

So the Registrar knows that there weren't enough "wrong votes" cast to change the outcome of an election, but the people who make the machine say there's no way to tell how many "wrong votes" there were.

Perfectly Reasonable, Perfectly Democratic.

It's Like TRL With, Like, The Governor 

MTV News says that California (where else?) might allow teenagers as young as 14 to vote. The rule would be: 14 to 15 year olds count as a quarter of a full vote, and age 16 to 17 counts as a half vote.

I say, why not? Most Americans vote with a middle-school mentality anyway. (How do the cool kids get to be cool? It's the momentum, stupid!) The good news is, California has already put polling machines in the shopping malls, so kids don't have to make any special effort whatsoever to determine the future of our Democracy.

Monday, March 08, 2004

Hillary Clinton 

To Dick Cheney:

"In the Clinton administration, we used to say in eight years, we've added more than 22 million new jobs... You guys could say: 'Since 1993, our country has created 19 million new jobs."

Spalding Gray 

Dead at 62.

Bush Classic 

From a debate in Boston with Al Gore in 2000:

BUSH: I believe the role of the military is to fight and win war and, therefore, prevent war from happening in the first place.

Kerry Media Defense Squad, Round One 

Well, it wasn't going to be long before the talking heads started talking crap about John Kerry. So it's time to analyze an anti-Kerry meme coming out of the Frothing Right Wingers:

When Ralph Reed, the Bush-Cheney campaign strategist tells you that Kerry, as a Senator, was "voting to dismantle 27 weapons systems, including the MX missile, the Pershing missile, the B-1, the B-2 stealth bomber, the F-16 fighter jet, the F-15 fighter jet, cutting another 18 programs, slashing intelligence spend by $2.85 billion, and voting to freeze defense spending for seven years", you would think, "wow, that's a pretty consistent record of being against defense." Right?

Nope. All of the above, the long list of systems Kerry allegedly wanted to destroy in his attempt to deliberately weaken America on behalf of Osama Bin Laden, were "voted against" with one vote, against one bill (S 3189, if you're looking) written in 1990. A bill that, in what is clearly a gift from the Hypocrisy Muses, was also rejected by Dick Cheney while he was serving as a Senator.

"You've squabbled and sometimes bickered and horse-traded and ended up forcing me to spend money on weapons that don't fill a vital need in these times of tight budgets and new requirements" said Cheney of the Bill when voting against it back in 1991.

But here comes that "steady leadership in a time of change" again. Last week he told Fox news, "What we're concerned about, what I'm concerned about, is his record in the United States Senate, where he clearly has over the years adopted a series of positions that indicate a desire to cut the defense budget, to cut the intelligence budget, to eliminate many major weapons programs."

There are three bills toted by Republicans as proof that John Kerry is against 14 types of defense systems. 10 of these defense systems are part of the one bill that Cheney also voted against. The other defense cuts should be seen in the context of the Reagan Era, where Military Spending was at one of its highest points in human history in a race against the USSR. Even Bob Dole, a senate Majority leader under Reagan, urged Reagan to cut defense spending. Kerry explains, in one of his campaign fliers from 1984:

"The Reagan Administration has no rational plan for our military. Instead, It acts on misinformed assumptions about the strength of the Soviet military and a presumed "window of vulnerability", which we now know not to exist."

Amazing how right he turned out to be- almost prescient. The Reagan Military build up- for a war that never happened- helped send this country into soaring deficits. Yet, that doesn't stop the dash-R's from running the "John Kerry didn't know what was coming" card.

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Hans Blixmas  

Is that the worst possible blog caption in the history of blog captions, or what?

So, Hans Blix- the UN inspector who was precisely right about Iraqi WMD's, and was withdrawn because Bush said he was completely wrong about Iraqi WMD's? He has a book coming out, and he makes a fair case against Bush and Blair:

"I am not suggesting that Blair and Bush spoke in bad faith, but I am suggesting that it would not have taken much critical thinking on their own part or the part of their close advisers to prevent statements that misled the public," he writes. "It is understood and accepted that governments must simplify complex international matters in explaining them to the public in democratic states. However they are not vendors of merchandise but leaders of whom some sincerity should be asked when they exercise their responsibility for war and peace in the world."

Sunday, March 07, 2004

Take Back Massachusetts 

The Human Rights Campaign will match any donations made at this website. All the funds go toward raising public awareness in Mass against a Constitutional Gay Marriage ban. Minimum down is $10.00, which automagically turns into $20.00. Nice!

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?