Daily Archives: January 17, 2012

Small Government…

Texas demonstrates the conservative goal of shrinking government to the point it’s small enough to enter a woman’s womb.

A three-judge federal appeals panel ruled Friday that the state of Texas can move ahead with enforcement of a law requiring doctors to provide a sonogram to pregnant women before they get an abortion.

As written, the law would require women seeking an abortion in Texas to view a picture of the embryo or fetus and hear a description of its development before having the procedure.

This is horrific. The most benign interpretation of the law is that it infantilizes women, who it deems too stupid to realize what a fetus has the potential to become. “Oh, wait, it’s like a future version of me conceived through the fertilization of an egg by sperm — to be exact, a developing mammal after the embryonic stage but before birth? See, I thought it was one of those chestburster things from Alien. My friend Mabel has seen all the movies. She’s real excited about the prequel that’s coming out. Anyway, she told me that I’d want to get that taken care of but now that I see this picture and everything. Well, thanks for straightening me out. Do you validate parking, by the way?”

However, the comments from judges who have ruled on the case only reinforce that the law is intended as federally mandated coercion intended to prevent women from having an abortion.

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a Pennsylvania case “held that the fact that such truthful, accurate information may cause a woman to choose not to abort her pregnancy only reinforces its relevance to an informed decision,” U.S. Circuit Judge Patrick Higginbotham wrote in a concurring opinion. “Insisting that a doctor give this information in his traditional role of securing informed consent is permissible.”

I admit I’m impressed that a man with the name “Higginbotham” was able to overcome childhood bullying and ostracization and rise to the rank of U.S. Circuit judge, but I disagree wholly with his thinking here. “Informed consent” should relate to the woman’s health and include relevant information about any short or long-term effects (e.g. if the procedure could possibly result in sterilization and so on).

Pro-life advocates often claim that since a doctor will advise you of other alternatives to surgery, it’s appropriate for them to do the same regarding abortion. However, adoption is not a medical procedure, and once a woman is pregnant, that’s the only other option aside from keeping the child herself. Once she’s actually gone to the doctor, it should be accepted that she’s made the very difficult decision to terminate the pregnancy. If she wanted help with such a personal decision, she would reach out to friends and family. Her doctor isn’t her rabbi. He’s a physician.

Higginbotham demonstrates a lack of basic compassion that justifies his being born with the name “Higginbotham.” Yes, forcing a pregnant woman to “view a picture of the embryo or fetus and hear a description of its development before having the procedure” is not merely annoying and might cause her to be late for her hair appointment. It is actually incredibly painful and difficult for her. That fact does not justify doing it. Quite the opposite. And even if it’s occasionally effective and some women choose not to go through with the abortion, the law makes no provision for the associated costs of carrying the pregnancy to term or caring for the child once its born. You see, the people close to a woman who provide counsel and input would also be there to help her once she decides to go through with the pregnancy. This a serious decision that the government is sticking its nose into with the apparently clueless belief that it’s all just a minor inconvenience for a pregnant woman:

“Oh, la di dah, I guess I won’t buy that Coach bag and instead devote the next nine months to successfully bringing this pregnancy to term. No biggie. If I’m not able to raise the child myself, I will give it up for adoption at one of those Imaginary Republican Orphanages (as seen on TV) that will find a home for the child regardless of its health or race. Of course, that won’t be traumatic for me at all because I am just a child-growing machine and wouldn’t possibly become connected to my unborn child over the next nine months. And, really, can I please get an answer about the parking validation?”

If the government believes this type of psychological torture is appropriate in order to prevent people from doing things that are otherwise legal, I would propose a similar law requiring potential gun owners to watch news reports of children who died because of guns in the home.

Texas governor Rick Perry praised the new law, saying, “We will continue to fight any attempt to limit our state’s laws that value and protect the unborn.”

Too bad the effort to “value and protect” them ends once they’re born — especially if they’re women.


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Rumble, young man, rumble…

Anyone who grew up when rap was the popular music of the day might find it hard to believe there was a time when blacks were expected to be humble, to graciously accept whatever scraps were tossed to them.

Muhammad Ali, born Cassius Clay 70 years ago, was not humble. In a time when calling a black man “uppity” could have lethal implications for him, Ali declared himself “the greatest of all time.” He seized “American exceptionalism” as his own and refused to accept that it was only the province of whites. He wasn’t just handsome. He was “pretty.”

People like to point out the apparent contradiction of a man who made his living beating other men senseless refusing to serve in Vietnam. However, Ali never claimed to be a pacifist. He would fight for his own interests and for the interests of those close to him. But fight for the interests of a nation that barely tolerated his existence, that refused to grant him the rights that should have been his as an American? No, Ali was pretty but he was no fool.

Vietnam, we’re told, was about more than a powerful nation killing poor people. The spread of communism had to be stopped, they said. These are the sorts of big picture, strategic issues that the wealthy and powerful understand far better than the poor and simple. That’s why, even today in Iraq and Afghanistan, I encourage the wealthy and powerful, who understand the reasons for war so well, to go and fight in them.

Of course, even in after World War II, which was as just a war as a war could ever be, black soldiers returned to a country where they were still denied service in restaurants and even beaten and lynched. That was their prize.

Ali was criticized — as was Malcolm X — for his harsh words about whites. Were all whites their enemies? No, but it was hard to dispute that the collective group at the time was either enemy or enabler. It amuses me because American leaders had harsher words to say about the Japanese during World War II, the Soviets during the Cold War, and Muslims today. Martin Luther King preached love, which is admirable, but sometimes true love requires confrontation. Sometimes, the American empire must be told it has no clothes.

Parkinson’s has ravaged Ali, but I won’t dwell on that. Everyone falls hard at the end, even if they never get off the ground. Only a few people ever soar.

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Posted by on January 17, 2012 in Pop Life, Social Commentary



Paula Deen Comes Clean…

Paula Deen revealed on The Today Show that she has Type 2 diabetes. I’m impressed that it’s not more severe, like Type 20/20.

Deen made her shocking — in the Claude Rains sense — disclosure to Al Roker, who had gastric bypass surgery years ago to deal with his own weight problems.

There is some controversy that Deen has pushed fat-laden dishes on her show while being diabetic. Anthony Bourdain believes this is in “bad taste,” though Deen contends she is “your cook, not your doctor.”

Only she’s not much of a cook. Her concoctions remind me of what would happen when my parents would leave me alone in the house when I was in middle school. I once made Ice Cream a la Robinson, which was butter pecan ice cream drenched in half and half. Yes, it was disgustingly delicious. I didn’t get away with it, though. Somehow my mother knew that the ice cream had been moved one inch to the right, and she could tell at a glance that there was less half and half in the carton. Probably because I’d used up all the half and half and put an empty carton back in the refrigerator. Rookie mistake.

My other childhood invention was the spaghetti sandwich — spaghetti with melted cheddar cheese on whole-wheat toast. I am still sore that Deen repurposed this as a lasagna sandwich without crediting me.

Here she is making a less-healthful version, if possible, of the Luther Burger.

And here she is frying a cheesecake:

Deen has been treating her condition with Novo Nordisk drug Victoza, according to USA Today. She’s been less successfully treating her exaggerated Southern accent with Novo Nordisk drug VivienLeighoza.

This is the American way: Tank your health with lasagna sandwiches and fried cheesecakes then make the drug companies rich. Many of her viewers probably don’t even have health insurance. Oh well, I’ll give them my Ice Cream a la Robinson recipe for free.

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Posted by on January 17, 2012 in Pop Life


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