Jun 25 2009

The King of Pop is dead

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Gosh, what a day, eh? First, Farrah Fawcett, then Michael Jackson. I for one will try to remember the good things about him – at least for today. RIP

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Andrea adds: Not everyone is inclined to be so charitable, and I have to admit, my thoughts are more in line with this commentary.

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Jun 25 2009

Farrah Fawcett dies

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A 1970s icon disappears. Logan’s Run would not have been the same without her. RIP

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Jun 25 2009

He wasn’t alone in thinking this

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New evidence reveals President Richard Nixon believed abortion was necessary for mixed-race babies.

There are times when an abortion is necessary,” he told his aide Chuck Colson. “I know that. When you have a black and a white.” Mr Colson offered that rape might also make an abortion legitimate, prompting Mr Nixon to respond: “Or a rape.”

Not to dwell on uncomfortable and pesky details, since the pro-abortion crowd has definitely and successfully rebranded under sunny words like “choice” and “equality” but the “abortion-rights” movement is founded in assertions like that one. Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, has a host of on-the-record comments like Nixon’s, and worse.

I’m glad that this atrocious comment from Nixon is making the news–let’s just not forget he was definitely not alone. Shady characters made abortion popular.

(On a different note, one of my favourite books is Born Again by Chuck Colson. Ignore the title–I picked it up in spite of that–and it’s an absolutely riveting look inside the Nixon Whitehouse through Colson’s eyes.)

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Brigitte adds: Ha! I was just about to write on the same topic. I was going to say that it sure sounds funny to talk about mixed-race babies like that, eh? (And no, I don’t mean funny-ha-ha.) Of course nowadays we just say that although we know it’s a human being in there, the “choice” of whether that human being lives or dies is a private one involving the pregnant woman and pretty much no one else. I wonder how strange that will sound in 35 years?

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Rebecca adds: Most of the western world is horrified at the idea that a fetus be a candidate for termination based on its race. How is it really that different to declare it disposable because of a medical condition, or its sex, or the finances of its parents? I hope that in a generation, we recoil at that idea as much as we do now at the idea of terminating a mixed race baby simply because it’s mixed race.

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Jun 24 2009

Eating what you grow?

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If I am to eat what I grow that would currently mean a diet made up exclusively of basil leaves (thank you, yes, my small herb garden has really taken off).

Fun piece, and not just because my friend Brian Lilley also mentions People for the Ethical Treatment of People. (Buy a shirt.)

The main claim is that the seals are inhumanely treated, yet some of the main groups behind the push to ban the seal hunt, like PETA – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, are nothing more than radical animal rights activists hoping to get all of us to become vegetarian. Quite frankly I’m more likely to get behind People for the Ethical Treatment of People.

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Jun 24 2009

Annie Farlow in the news

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I missed this yesterday. We’ve written about Barbara Farlow’s struggle for her daughter Annie before. Here’s another item:

Judge Thea Herman is to decide on a request by Sick Kids and two defendant doctors to elevate the case to Ontario Superior Court, with its stricter procedural safeguards and rules of evidence.

If Mrs. Farlow wins, the case will proceed as a “small claim,” and two doctors at Canada’s top pediatric hospital will not only have to defend against allegations they deliberately killed a baby because she had a fatal genetic abnormality, but they will do so in a forum designed for minor disputes over unpaid bills, encroaching fences and overhanging trees.

But if she loses and the case is moved up, it will mark the likely end of an epic legal battle for understanding and closure — in the offices of the Chief Coroner, the Privacy Commissioner, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, even a Catholic archbishop — that has turned Mrs. Farlow, a former automotive engineer and mother of nine, into a powerhouse patients’ rights activist, with supporters across North America.

The article says a decision was expected yesterday, but I have not heard what that decision was. I’ll post it when I find out.

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Jun 24 2009

Bemused

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In today’s National Post:

Men are attracted to smiles, so smile and don’t give me that ‘treated equal’ stuff, if you want Equal it comes in little packages at Starbucks.”

I guess MLA Doug Elniski didn’t get the memo–you know the one–it’s been going around telling men not to say what they are thinking for a couple of decades now. I’m bemused. How is it that a public figure couldn’t know this would be in the papers? That this thing called the Internet is public? Dude clearly lacks gravitas, and I think the comments are dumb. But I’m not offended either, and I won’t go into high gear hand wringing mode on the status of women.

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Jun 24 2009

About Neda

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The protests in Iran have little to do with our regular beat here at PWPL. But I wanted to say something about Neda – the young woman who was allegedly shot to death on the street in Tehran and whose death was recorded and posted to YouTube and countless other video-sharing sites (you can see it here – warning: graphic and not suitable for children).

From what I can tell, she wasn’t a protester. She wasn’t doing anything especially brave; just going about her business. But she was killed anyway, perhaps just because she happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. She probably didn’t mean to become a symbol of bravery and defiance, but she has anyway. RIP

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Jun 23 2009

McElroy’s Madness, part 1

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Last week Andrea sent me this link to some ramblings on abortion and libertarianism. For density of question-begging and bad-faith arguing per paragraph, it’s quite a feat; not since I read the op-eds at the university newspaper have I seen quite so many packed into such a small space. Let’s dig in:

Implication #1: If the fetus is accorded individual rights, then the aborting woman and anyone who assists her are murderers and must be subject to whatever penalty society metes out for that crime, up to and including capital punishment. The punishment should be applied to past abortions as there is no statute of limitation on murder. If anti-abortionists shy away from this conclusion, then they do not really consider abortion to be murder. Note: it does not matter that the woman didn’t view the fetus as a child; if her state of mind exonerates her, then it follows that a racist should be exonerated for killing blacks. “

Wendy misses the point of “no statute of limitations.” What this means is that, for some crimes, no amount of time having passed since its commission will prevent the culprit from being charged and tried. This is not the same as making a law retroactive, which is the notion with which McElroy conflates “statute of limitations.” If, say, Global Warming Wingnuts someday succeed in making it a criminal offense not to recycle newspapers, there is no way in a constitutional democracy, as it is currently understood, to charge people with that crime if they did it before the act was made criminal. I am unaware of any example of anyone trying to do this – if one exists, I hope someone posts info about it in the comments.
The attempt to say that if we charge racially motivated lynchers with murder, we ought to advocate charging women who have abortions with murder, is an amusing attempt to make pro-lifers scamper around the issue of race. I decline to do so. For those determined to find a parallel, though, I suggest that, whenever in the past we have collectively designated one group of humans as having less worth than others, the results have been a blot on our species. Better to err on the side of caution, one would think, if we’ve learned anything from history at all.
I have yet to meet a pro-lifer who wants abortionists or aborting women treated as if they have committed first degree murder. In fact, the most common thing I have heard expressed about them is the sentiment that they are harming themselves, often accompanied by prayers that they rehabilitate themselves, not only to prevent aborting more babies but also for their own sake. As to the women who have abortions, pro-lifers, who know far more about the consequences of abortion for all involved than the average non-committed person, tend to express deep sympathy and grief for these women, and run many programs to help them heal from their abortions.
The reality, too, is that ending a life carries with it a number of different penalties depending on a number of factors. Murder for hire, as a cold-blooded and inhumane act, usually carries the most harsh penalties; deliberate murder in the heat of passion less so; questionable killing in self-defense less still; and causing a death through thoughtlessness or carelessness, while still sometimes incurring a criminal conviction, tends to carry a light sentence. Almost all abortions fit in to one of the latter three categories. If we were, as a society, to criminalize abortion, there is no reason at all to assume that we would or should hand out the same sentences as we did to Paul Bernardo. If a drunk driver kills someone, we emphasize community service, education so the event is less likely to be repeated, and often therapy to address the underlying immaturity and poor judgement that led to the episode. If, and I stress if, we were to criminalize abortion, it strikes me that education and therapy would be the most appropriate response.
And we still have 8 more points to refute! Don’t worry, though; they’re all variations on the same two tired ideas. More to come.

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Jun 22 2009

The morning after

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The title sounds so ominous, as if I have a terrible hangover, but no. It simply is the morning after (ok, afternoon after) Father’s Day and I stumbled across this little item highlighting the five myths on fathers and family we are bound to hear. And do we ever. I had started to think every second dad was a Mr. Mom, for one. On myth no. 2 “women want everything 50-50,” well, that one is so entrenched, it’s possibly not even worth going there. (Some things are too reasonable to discuss.) Interesting piece, though.

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Jun 22 2009

Meanwhile in South Africa

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I’m having trouble finding the right words to comment on this:

One in four men in South Africa have admitted to rape and many confess to attacking more than one victim, according to a study that exposes the country’s endemic culture of sexual violence.

Three out of four rapists first attacked while still in their teens, the study found. One in 20 men said they had raped a woman or girl in the last year.

South Africa is notorious for having one of the highest levels of rape in the world. Only a fraction are reported, and only a fraction of those lead to a conviction.

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Rebecca adds: I’m not normally a huge fan of looking to celebs for wisdom or
political advice, but Charlize Theron’s pull-no-punches PSAs about rape in South Africa got the point across nicely.  When rape is considered a disgusting crime, and sex offenders are considered scum, your society may still have many faults, but at least it condemns rape.  When one man in four is a rapist, and this seems to be ok with the rest of them, you have a society-wide problem.

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