Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Yikes! Anti-Choice Bikers!

This isn't funny but the title made me laugh.

Pro-choice activists are calling for a rally at an Akron abortion clinic this weekend. Earlier this month, weekly protests turned violent when a volatile and colorful crowd clashed just outside downtown, at the Akron Women’s Medical Group.

July was a busy month. Regular attendees say the anti-abortion side has been unusually rambunctious and aggressive since the May assassination of Kansas late-term abortion provider Dr. George Tiller. And the usual screaming suburbanites were joined by Jericho Riders Motorcycle Ministry, a Missouri-based Christian motorcycle group. The Jericho Riders had the clinic on their schedule of missions for the month (in addition to gay pride events from Missouri to Las Vegas).

The pro-choice counter-demonstartors were outnumbered. Charles Wright, 50, a former vice-president of Akron’s National Organization for Women, was one of them on Saturday, July 18. He didn’t want to be there. But his longtime partner, Thomas Reke, is friends with people who work the pro-choice side. Reke knew numbers were down. He was afraid somebody could get hurt. He was right.

Witnesses say that when screaming lead to face-to-face confrontation, a biker hit Wright with a crushing blow that sent him crashing to the sidewalk, breaking six ribs. As the crowd backed away from the fallen protester, the biker rode off on his motorcycle, barely stopping to let his companion climb aboard.

Jericho Riders president Jim Carroll (pictured) says the man that hit Wright wasn’t a member of his group, and claims the blow wasn’t an assault.

And he further claims that the other guy started it and the dog ate his homework. Police are considering it an assault, but not a felonious assault, so it 'doesn’t warrant active investigation'. Huh?

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Yeah, Right

First para of LifeShite's report of today's preliminary hearing for Dr Tiller's alleged assassin:
Scott Roeder, the former militia member who has no ties to the pro-life movement, will face a September trial on charges of killing late-term abortion practitioner George Tiller. Roeder plead not guilty after a day-long hearing where witnesses talked about how he shot and killed Tiller at his church.

Yeah, no ties except for this:
In a phone interview Friday, Roeder said he was upset at the president of Operation Rescue, Troy Newman, who had condemned the killing and said his organization had nothing to do with Roeder.

“He said that I never was a member and I never contributed any money,” Roeder said. “Well, my gosh, I’ve got probably a thousand dollars worth of receipts, at least, from the money I’ve donated to him.”

Roeder said he wrote Newman a letter from jail.

“I told him, ‘You better get your story straight because my lawyer said it’d be good for me to show that I was supporting a pro-life organization.’ ”

Sarah Palin Funny

Sarah Palin's gradual descent into incoherency in videos, with this comment on Sunday's speech:
It's like Peggy Noonan, Jack London, and William Faulkner wandered into the woods with three buttons of peyote and one typewriter, and only this speech emerged

h/t Andrew Sullivan.

Then, a vid that had me weeping, Shatner does Palin.

h/t Dave at The Galloping Beaver.

'Birther' Belly-Laughs

In one of the many threads discussing the 'Birther' idiocy at FreakDominion, somebody posted this link to somebody named Swindle, who I'm assuming is a rightwingnut.

Swindle starts off:
I’d vowed that I wasn’t going to do another post on the Obama birth certificate conspiracy. And then I saw conservative superstar Ann Coulter on Geraldo at Large making pretty much the same arguments I have. (Namely: this is kook stuff and the media are using it against the Right.)

Well there you have it. Not even Ann Coulter is buying -- or selling -- it.

But that's not enough for the Freaks. Many -- not all -- are still SHRIEEEEKING for the birth certificate to be produced. And that this whole affair was engineered by the Librul Media to make the rightards look, well, retarded.

One of the sane(r) ones offered this:
So the vast liberal conspiracy to have a Kenyan guy become President has now sucked in Ann Coulter?

Is that the conclusion we've come to?

That's the second laugh I've had outta the wingnuts today.

Now go over to JJ's to watch the congresscritters run from the question.

Sheer Horror

From Nicaragua:
A total ban on abortion in Nicaragua is endangering the lives of girls and women according to an Amnesty International report out today.

A new law which came into force a year ago has criminalised abortion regardless of the circumstances, leaving incest and rape victims compelled to have babies, and pregnant women with serious illnesses denied treatment.

The organisation says their report, "The total abortion ban in Nicaragua: Women's lives and health endangered, medical professionals criminalised", found a minimum of 33 girls and women have died in pregnancy this year, compared to 20 for the same period last year.

Amnesty said the new penal code, which came into force in July last year, criminalises all forms of abortion regardless of the circumstances in which it is sought, obtained or performed. The revised code stipulates prison sentences for girls and women who seek an abortion and for health professionals who provide health services associated with abortion.

It also stipulates criminal sanctions for medical workers who treat pregnant women for illnesses such as cancer and HIV/Aids, where the treatment may cause injury to the unborn baby.

The law also goes as far as to punish those who have suffered a miscarriage, as in many cases it is impossible to distinguish whether it was induced or not.

Only three per cent of the world's countries have such absolute bans on abortion in place.

Speaking at a press conference in Mexico City following her visit to Nicaragua, Amnesty International's executive deputy secretary general, Kate Gilmore, said: "Nicaragua's penal code is a callous and cynical artefact of the political wheeling and dealing that took place in the country's 2006 elections*. Today, however, it punishes women and girl children for seeking life saving medical treatment and doctors for providing it.

"There's only one way to describe what we have seen in Nicaragua: sheer horror.

"Children are being compelled to bear children. Pregnant women are being denied essential including life saving medical care.

"What alternatives is this government offering a ten-year-old pregnant as a result of rape? And to a cancer sufferer who is denied life saving treatment just because she is pregnant, while she has other children waiting at home?"

From AI's site:
"Nicaragua’s ban of therapeutic abortion is a disgrace. It is a human rights scandal that ridicules medical science and distorts the law into a weapon against the provision of essential medical care to pregnant girls and women," said Kate Gilmore.

Sheer horror is what the fetus fetishists would inflict on us.

But you knew that.

I wondered what SUZY ALL-CAPS would make of it. (Link removed because of fetal pr0n redirect.)

And amidst the horror, I laughed. This is the craziest pretzel-brained leap-spin-twist of Lame Logic I've seen this week.

Here's her title: 'Amnesty International Calls on Nicaragua to Discriminate Against its Unborn Citizens'. Then the requisite quote from LifeShite, then the intended knock-out to the nads:
Amnesty cannot be a true human rights organization and call for Nicaragua to permit the killing of its citizens.

Shame on Amnesty International.

I'm pretty sure SHE's dead serious.

* For more information on the dastardly wheeling and dealing, including Daniel Ortega's embrace of Catholicism, at least in part to evade charges of 'systematic sexual abuse' of his step-daughter, check out this old blogpost I wrote at Birth Pangs.

Monday, 27 July 2009

If it can happen in the Netherlands. . .

. . .it could happen anywhere.

Women on Waves is based in what is, arguably, the most liberal nation on the planet. But even there the Christianofascists are gaining power.

The organization has suspended operation of its abortion ship, because it fears that its staff may face prosecution under new anti-choice legislation.
[WOW Director] Gompert says that anti-abortion sentiment is growing in the Netherlands. ‘Under the influence of the Christian Democrats and the ChristenUnie [two of the three coalition parties] there are increasing limitations.’

The ship moors off the coasts of countries where abortion is difficult or impossible to access and offers medical abortion to women.

Women on Waves is planning on going to court to fight the new regulations.

This story shook me. How safe are women's rights, when even in the Netherlands the panty-sniffers have such influence?

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Ultimate Fruit Fly Killing Machine

We are being plagued by fruit flies. I dunno if it's the city workers' strike or the cool, wet summer we're having but we are inundated.

So, using the power of the Intertoobz, I researched the topic. Here is a source with lots of things to try, but there is an Ultimate Fruit Fly Killing Machine not included there.

Somewhere else (can't remember and too lazy to look) I found a variant of No. 8, The Wine Trap. Then I improved it.

Get a jar with a lid. (I'm using Patak's chutney jars, kinda squat.) Add two splashes of red wine (white might work, I dunno) and a squirt of dish detergent. Put lid on and shake the shit out of it. Take lid off, wipe rim of jar with cloth, put near fruit-fly attracting food.

When the bubbles settle down, repeat. It works best when the bubbles are even with the top of the jar.


(I've said that I don't do personal stuff. But this is Important. And besides, my co-blogger, deBeauxO, doesn't seem to be around to spank me.)

Roeder + Operation Rescue = Assassination

In a longish piece in the Kansas City Star, accused domestic terrorist Scott Roeder addresses several topics, including his enablers:
In a phone interview Friday, Roeder said he was upset at the president of Operation Rescue, Troy Newman, who had condemned the killing and said his organization had nothing to do with Roeder.

“He said that I never was a member and I never contributed any money,” Roeder said. “Well, my gosh, I’ve got probably a thousand dollars worth of receipts, at least, from the money I’ve donated to him.”

Roeder said he wrote Newman a letter from jail.

“I told him, ‘You better get your story straight because my lawyer said it’d be good for me to show that I was supporting a pro-life organization.’ ”

Newman said Friday he didn’t believe Roeder gave money to his group.

“We have a database, but I haven’t been able to find him in the database,” he said. “If he did (donate), we have probably over the past 10 years over 50,000 people who have contributed to us.”

Well, no, Newman, because your database like your website has been scrubbed.

But I understand that the FBI has some pretty smart tech-dudes and dudettes who could unscrub the database to prove conspiracy charges against you and your organization in Dr Tiller's assassination.

Bonus: The New York Times has a comprehensive piece on Dr Tiller's persecution.

Added: His preliminary hearing is scheduled for this Tuesday.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Fetus Pr0n Cakes!

I have a gift for SUZY ALL-CAPS: the fetus pr0n cake!

Jen at cakewrecks describes this one with the shadowy silhouette of a belly as 'a headless nudist with a skin condition'. Much more such silliness/creepiness at the link.

Thanks to Hemmingford Dog Blog in the comments at Unrepentant Old Hippie.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Aborting Healthcare Reform

I had never heard the term 'medical bankruptcy' -- as in 'the leading cause of personal bankruptcy in the US is medical bankruptcy' -- until last week.

Appallingly, it's true, according to a study by Harvard researchers. And dig this -- the data comes from 2007 BEFORE the current economic meltdown.
Medical problems caused 62% of all personal bankruptcies filed in the U.S. in 2007, according to a study by Harvard researchers. And in a finding that surprised even the researchers, 78% of those filers had medical insurance at the start of their illness, including 60.3% who had private coverage, not Medicare or Medicaid.

Medically related bankruptcies have been rising steadily for decades. In 1981, only 8% of families filing for bankruptcy cited a serious medical problem as the reason, while a 2001 study of bankruptcies in five states by the same researchers found that illness or medical bills contributed to 50% of all filings. This newest, nationwide study, conducted before the start of the current recession by Drs. David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler of Harvard Medical School, Elizabeth Warren of Harvard Law School, and Deborah Thorne, a sociology professor at Ohio University, found that the filers were for the most part solidly middle class before medical disaster hit. Two-thirds owned their home and three-fifths had gone to college.

You get an education, a job, buy a house, pay your taxes, then whoopsie! you or a family member gets sick or injured and the American Dream goes swirling toiletwards.

President Obama pledged to reform the US healthcare system, but he's taking on a helluva industry as well as its fetus-fetishist allies.

I predict (and I really hope I'm wrong) that the so badly needed reforms will come a cropper on the issue of abortion.

Oh. Looky here (emphasis mine):
A bipartisan group of House members is pushing for language to prevent any federal funds in a healthcare reform bill from being used for abortions.

The shriiieeeking nutbars held a MASSIVE online rally yesterday and already have a Stop the Abortion Mandate website set up. Because, you know that if the government is funding abortions, it's a mandate and everyone will be forced to get one, even the guys.

Any significant reform will be beaten by the intense lobbying and deep pockets of the insurance industry, but the loss will be spun as part of the Culture Wars.

Here's my reason for believing this. In all the polling the fetus fetishists do, even here in abortion-crazy Canada, the question that consistently comes up 'best' for their interests is 'Should abortions be publicly funded?'

We recently reported on a Canadian poll, that while demonstrating yet again that overwhelmingly Canadians are cool with the status quo on abortion, the public funding question came closest to a tie between pro-liars and pro-choicers. In that poll, 49% of Canadians agreed that abortion should be publicly funded, with 47% opposed. Still a majority, but way closer than on any other abortion-related question.

So, they'll shriieeeek and stamp their tiny feet and squeal about 'our tax dollars funding the murder of baybeez' and all you medically bankrupt Americans and all you future ones can thank your local zygote zealot for crapping all over any chance for a sane healthcare system in your country.

Or, maybe in the time-honoured manner of all pols, the women and children will get thrown under the bus when the going gets politically tough and reproductive health services will be left out of any expanded coverage.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

The four women found in the Rideau Canal were murdered.


Remember this disturbing news story in late June?
Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the deaths of three sisters and another relative who were found inside a submerged car in locks northeast of Kingston.
Ontario Provincial Police divers removed the bodies of three teens, aged 13, 17 and 19, and a 50-year-old woman described as a relative, from a vehicle found in the Kingston Mills locks around 4 p.m. Tuesday. The identities of the victims, who were all from Quebec, have not yet been released. They had been on vacation in southern Ontario and were on their way back to Quebec, police said Wednesday. They were reported missing by relatives.
"It breaks my heart just saying it," Const. Michael Menor, spokesman for Kingston Police, said in an interview with The Canadian Press. "You have a family, they've all drowned. It's just horrifyingly tragic."

The circumstances were particularly troubling when it became evident that the presence of the car in that particular section of the Rideau Canal could not have have been caused by accident or driver error.

The Kingston police have charged 3 suspects, two men and one woman, with the murders of Zainab, Geeti and Sahar Shafia as well as Rona Amir Mohammed.

The presumed motive for the alleged quadruple homicide? The disposal of an older, inconvenient relative who happened to be Mohammed Shafi's first wife and three rebellious teenage girls who were perceived to be on a path that would bring dishonor to him? Were there life insurance benefits to be claimed? Thus it may be simply greed, the grease that helps to crank the wheel of fundamentalist religious and rightwing zealots the world over.

Update: This is the information released by the Kingston police at the press conference that just concluded, minutes ago. The news item is closed to comments
"because an overwhelming number of readers were making offensive statements about other commenters and/or the individual or individuals mentioned in the story".
No surprise there; judging from the types of comments that have appeared at the CBC website, I'd guess most were islamophobic. And yet, the patriarch in this case probably shares the same "family values" and gynophobic views as Randall Terry. Go figure.

Update: All three members of the Shafia family charged with first-degree murder were convicted of these crimes. They are currently serving 25 years sentences.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

James Carter: the last decent US president?

Heroes are in short supply these days, as Lindsay at Canadian Cynic points out, in A Hero For All The People.
Jimmy Carter was vilified for being weak because he chose not to speak in threats, because he asked questions first instead of shooting. For some reason mysterious to me, the insane traitor Ronald Reagan is still held in high regard, venerated as a wise and brave warrior leader while Carter is sneered at by the mugwumps and ambulatory excrement of the right. What is it called when one sells weapons to a sworn national enemy? Oh, that's right... treason. And yet the legacy of Reagan somehow persists despite Iran/Contra and his ugly war crimes in Central America. Reagan was an addled and unprincipled mass murderer while Carter is a thoroughly decent man of peace.
Go read it. Now.

RCMP: pre-emptive ass-covering for VanOC

When last we wrote about the RCMP, it was a mere spit in the ocean that has been blogged about the Horsemen and the Braidwood Inquiry.

It appears that in anticipation of the roughshod, no holds barred, security authority to 'Taser with impunity' that the Vancouver Olympic Committee is about to bestow upon the Mounties, the RCMP is attempting to cover its ample posterior by holding one public consultation.

Olympic security officials have approached a local multicultural organization for help in providing culturally sensitive security during the 2010 Games.

On behalf of Sukhvinder Vinning, vice president of the Multifaith Action Society, former Vancouver city councillor Nancy Chiavario has sent an e-mail announcing an opportunity for people to discuss issues pertinent to their faiths with an RCMP officer.

The objective is to enhance the understanding of security screeners at Olympic venues. Anyone who wishes to convey information on this topic will have an opportunity to speak to an (sic) RCMP officer on Wednesday (July 22) at 2:30 p.m. at the Guildford library branch at 15105 105th Avenue in Surrey.

The RCMP meeting with people of different faiths comes shortly after two legal experts claimed that the 2010 Integrated Security Unit's plans would be illegal in the absence of new legislation.

One meeting will enhance the understanding of (RCMP) security screeners at Olympic venues? Really? One. Meeting.

And what impact will that valuable public input have upon the legality of its security plans?

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Medical Students for Choice.

The United States and Canada face a dangerous shortage of trained abortion providers. In 2000, 87% of the counties in the United States had no provider*. The “graying” of current providers (57% of whom are over the age of 50, violence that targets physicians, and restrictive legislation threaten to drive these numbers even lower. In addition, medical schools are simply not addressing the topic; most physicians are graduating with little more than circumstantial knowledge of abortion.
From Medical Students for Choice.

Not all schools or faculties of medicine provide a curriculum that allows their students to acquire, along with the anatomical, physiological and pathological dimensions of reproductive health, knowledge regarding all aspects of contraception in order to address the needs of their male and female patients.

The reasons why schools don't provide comprehensive family planning education go beyond simple time-management issues. For one thing, the same relentless pressure from the anti-choice movement that plagues practicing abortion providers is also directed at medical schools. Susan Wicklund, a Montana OB-GYN and author of "This Common Secret: My Journey as an Abortion Doctor," says, "I've witnessed pressure by antiabortion groups on administrators and professors in medical schools not to discuss abortion. There's the threat of being picketed or boycotted at the school itself if they do any teaching of abortion." Says Creinin, "For anything that creates controversy, it's easy for a med school to say, 'Look, it's not worth it.'"

Furthermore, Backus points out, "Part of it also is that largely in medicine, being equally focused on the full range of women's healthcare needs is still a struggle. What I still hear from medical students is, they get two to three hours on Viagra and half an hour on every contraceptive method combined. That's the reality in American medical education."

That's even more troubling in light of research that shows exposure to comprehensive family planning education, including abortion, is a strong predictor of whether a medical student will go on to become a provider. Says Creinin, "Some residents that come in conflicted, most of them get an idea of what it really is. They realize it's an important part of learning how to be a complete physician." Carolyn's experience bears this out. "I wasn't sure how I'd feel when I saw [an abortion], or if I really wanted to polarize my life that way," she says. But after "meeting the women who came to that clinic, hearing about their lives, counseling them through the procedures -- I can't imagine not doing abortions." That decisive experience, it's important to note, did not come from her school's medical program. "All of my abortion training prior to residency was through elective extracurricular work."

From here.

Sigh. I checked their messaging page and discovered that the information about Canadian abortion services and support was wrong. *The medical termination of pregnancy is available in nine provinces and one territory.* I wrote to them, offered the correction, as well as a source for precise pro-choice information in Canada.

Monday, 20 July 2009

For all Fundamentalist Religious Zealots, Fear + Fury = Hate

Many blog posts written here deal with the hate generated by fundamentalist religious zealots. Much of it is directed towards women, but hate fuelled by religious bigotry has many other targets.

Sabini Amidi has been providing news items to the Jerusalem Post on the political situation in Iran, reporting from Tehran. Her latest piece has generated a lot of emotional responses, most directed towards the current regime, some at Moslems and, some attacking her for reporting what she does.

In a shocking and unprecedented interview [...] a serving member of the paramilitary Basiji militia has told this reporter of his role in suppressing opposition street protests in recent weeks.

He has also detailed aspects of his earlier service in the force, including his enforced participation in the rape of young Iranian girls prior to their execution. ...

In the Islamic Republic it is illegal to execute a young woman, regardless of her crime, if she is a virgin, he explained. Therefore a "wedding" ceremony is conducted the night before the execution: The young girl is forced to have sexual intercourse with a prison guard - essentially raped by her "husband."

"I regret that, even though the marriages were legal," he said. Why the regret, if the marriages were "legal?"

"Because," he went on, "I could tell that the girls were more afraid of their 'wedding' night than of the execution that awaited them in the morning. And they would always fight back, so we would have to put sleeping pills in their food. By morning the girls would have an empty expression; it seemed like they were ready or wanted to die. "I remember hearing them cry and scream after [the rape] was over," he said. "I will never forget how this one girl clawed at her own face and neck with her finger nails afterwards. She had deep scratches all over her."

Such depraved physical and psychological violence against women in prison, is not limited to those who have been jailed for their political or religious beliefs. In the state of Arizona in the US, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is facing charges that his treatment of female prisoners is cruel and illegal.

The ACLU filed a motion in Maricopa Superior Court last week to stop the sheriff from requiring inmates who ask for abortions to pay up front for transportation costs to the procedure. “He can't ask people to pre-pay to receive these medical services,” ACLU Executive Director Alessandra Solar Meetze said. ... According to court documents, an inmate known as “Sarah Poe” requested an abortion.

A “Lieutenant informed her she would have to prepay for transportation costs," the documents said. Poe was charged $500 before obtaining a ride to a doctor’s office where an abortion was performed.

Meetze said the prepayment requirement violates a woman’s constitutional right to have timely access to an abortion. “The sheriff has an obligation to follow the law. He cannot pick and choose which laws to follow based on his political agenda,” she said.

The sheriff, who is pro-life, said his prepayment requirement has nothing to do with his personal feelings. ... The sheriff said women who cannot pay the transportation charge up front will still be driven to the procedure. ... However, the sheriff does not charge any other inmates for transportation. Sheriff’s deputies drive inmates to other medical appointments, hospital visits with ailing family members and to funerals for free. ...

The motion to stop the sheriff from requiring payment for transportation for inmates seeking abortions is the latest chapter in a five year long court battle. The ACLU first filed suit against the sheriff in 2004 for requiring women to get a court order for an abortion. The courts found the sheriff’s policy was unconstitutional.

Sheriff Arpaio's supporters and followers of his nativist ideology, in particular those who call themselves the Minutemen advocate taking violent, murderous action against Mexicans who attempt to establish illicit residence in the US. Some have been arrested and are awaiting trial for their criminal actions.

But since these are US citizens breaking laws, under the guise of an ideology based on christian fundamentalist rightwing bigotry, their actions are presumably acceptable to New Republic National Review online pundit Mark Steyn, who commented on the recent report from Iran in the Jerusalem Post: "Must be convenient to have a legal code that obliges all your pathologies."

That comment goes a long way in explaining why rabid rightwing, fundamentalist religious Republicans are writhing in the throes of fury and hatred, seemingly unable to establish the legislation that would enable them to carry out their gynophobic and xenophobic campaigns with impunity.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

How Wilde.

"There is a luxury in self-reproach. When we blame ourselves, we feel that no one else has a right to blame us. It is the confession, not the priest, that gives us absolution." These bons mots from Oscar Wilde, taken from The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891) are les mots justes in response to what appears to be the Vatican's recent attempt to re-habilitate him.

More precisely, L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s official newspaper, offered up a review of a new book about him. This has produced a frisson in the British press.

The Telegraph:

In a surprise act of reconciliation with the playwright, the Holy See's official newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, praised the poet as a "lucid analyst of the modern world". Wilde, who was sent to prison for acts of gross indecency with Lord Alfred Douglas and later converted to Catholicism, has been regarded by the Roman Catholic Church in the century since his death as a dangerous degenerate and dissolute nonconformist. ...

While acknowledging that Wilde, who died in 1900, was a rebel who delighted in shocking Victorian England, L'Osservatore said he was a profound thinker who spent his professional life asking "what was true and what was false". The
move towards rehabilitation builds on a softening of the previously hardline Vatican stance two years ago, when some of Wilde's best known aphorisms were included in a book of witticisms for Christians collated by the Vatican's head of protocol, Leonardo Sapienza.

The Guardian:

Despite the Catholic Church's condemnation of practising homosexuality, the newspaper has now run a glowing review of a new book about the famously doomed lover of Lord Alfred Douglas. Wilde was "one of the personalities of the 19th century who most lucidly analysed the modern world in its disturbing as well as its positive aspects", wrote author Andrea Monda in a piece about Italian author Paolo Gulisano's The Portrait of Oscar Wilde.

In an article headlined "When Oscar Wilde met Pius IX", Monda wrote that Wilde was not "just a non-conformist who loved to shock the conservative society of Victorian England"; rather he was "a man who behind a mask of amorality asked himself what was just and what was mistaken, what was true and what was false".
"Wilde was a man of great, intense feelings, who behind the lightness of his writing, behind a mask of frivolity or cynicism, hid a deep knowledge of the mysterious value of life," he said.

The Independent:

With his outrageous wit, clear disdain for figures of authority and openly homosexual lifestyle, Oscar Wilde is an unlikely pin-up for the Catholic Church. Persecuted and imprisoned for his sexuality, gay rights campaigners have long idolised the 19th century writer as one of their own. But the Vatican, it
seems, is equally enamoured of Ireland's greatest wit. ...

Pope Benedict XVI has continued to uphold the Catholic Church's strict teachings on homosexuality, which is still very much viewed as a sin that should not be practised. But part of the Vatican's willingness to gloss over Wilde's more "sinful" proclivities may stem from his little known conversion to Catholicism as he lay dying in a Paris hotel room. Irish-born and fascinated by the ritualism of the Catholic Church, as a young man travelling through Rome in 1877 Wilde had managed to secure an audience with Pope Pius IX. During his time in prison he was also known to have devoured the writing of St Augustine, Dante, and Cardinal Newman.

When he left prison in 1897 in frail health, Wilde exiled himself to Paris and continued to engage in the sort of behaviour that the Vatican would certainly have frowned upon. But just before he died three years later a Catholic priest – Father Cuthbert Dunne – baptised him into the Catholic Church. It was, perhaps, a likely end for a writer who once remarked: "I'm not a Catholic – I am simply a violent Papist".

It would seem that the Vatican is trying to 'soften' the harshness of its ideological position on homosexuality by strategically awarding a small measure of approval to Oscar Wilde, a century after his death. "...When we blame ourselves, we feel that no one else has a right to blame us. ... " Indeed. How can anyone blame the Catholic Church for its intransigeance towards homosexuality when it has deigned to embrace Wilde to its damask bosom.

That rumble you hear is not the warning of new earthquakes in L'Aquila, but Oscar Wilde, roaring with laughter from his tomb in the Père Lachaise Cemetery.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Palin and red hot mama .... grizzlies.

Reading and writing about "R.E.A.L womenists" reminds me of Palin. How is she spending the days left in her governorship. Oh ... tweeting?

Canadian Cynic: Isn't that 15 minutes over yet? As 'Crazy Harry' tweets: "Twitter the perfect forum for someone who can't string together a coherent thought."

Politico, we learn that Palin is using Twitter in her own incomparable way. “Great day w/bear management wildlife biologists; much to see in wild territory incl amazing creatures w/mama bears' gutteral raw instinct to protect & provide for her young”


In the meanwhile, this photo borrowed from the August Vanity Fair reveals how Palin feels about non-grizzly mamas.

Caught between the Devil and the deep blue v.

Shall we shed a tear for Helena Guergis? Should we have empathy for her extremely awkward position, vis-à-vis a female electorate that has not warmed up to Stephen Harper and his nouveau-Cons?

First: this strident, shrieeeking, incensed tirade in R.E.A.L. women of Canada's May / June newsletter.

One would think that elected conservatives would be able to resist the feminist ideology, which is a very leftist, Marxist, anti-family movement (see “Feminism in Canada” on our web site.) With the emotional appeal of portraying women as perpetual victims, the sisterhood seems able to convert even Conservative MP's who were elected to combat the nanny state as embodied by Liberal and Socialist NDP enthusiasts. For example, on the occasion of International Women's Day, March 8, 2009, the Minister for Status of Women Helena Guergis (CPC) confirmed that “Our Government increased funding to Status of Women programs by 42%, bringing it to its highest ever level....”. In response to a question from radical feminist MP Irene Matthyssen (London-Fanshaw, NDP) Guergis stated “I think the member will be pleased to know that the number of organizations now receiving funding through Status of Women has increased 69% (Hansard, February 2, 2009, page 223). In her address to the 53rd Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, Minister Guergis stated, “I would like to commend the Secretary-General for his report and appreciate that he has recognized the multiple dimensions of the equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, both in the home and outside of it.” What's the United Nations doing in the home?
It blathers venomously on and on and on in that vein.

Next: now there has to be a horse-and-pony show, arranged to placate "R.E.A.L womenists". How can the Con spinners and prevaricators hope to pull this off? Easy - by making pronouncements that somehow misrepresent the goals and the methods of the Regroupement des femmes de la région de Matane. This tactic should not be a surprise to anyone, especially to the usually savvy media. And then there were the Progressive Bloggers - some seemed unable to distinguish between the Cons' incoherent glurge and a well-designed feminist project.

Ah-ha. The other shoe dropped. It makes me wonder if the choice of projects are connected to the ridings they're in and how that plays into the Con strategy to capture women's votes.

Who will Harper try to please? The Devil (R.E.A.L. women of Canada) or the deep blue v. - a considerable demographic group of moderate (sometimes supportive of Liberals, sometimes supportive of the party previously known as the Progressive Conservatives) female electorate.

Say, wasn't there a "R.E.A.L womenist" who ran as a candidate for Harper's Cons in the last federal election? How did that work out for you, Stevie? Oops.

Those who might want to know more about the Con's attempt to co-opt and spin the Matane women's project could read the discussion at the Bread'n'Roses thread here.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Want an abortion in Ohio. . . ?

Get the sperminator's written consent.

No shit. A panty-sniffing state representative in Ohio has re-introduced legislation he cooked up two years ago. Not only must a woman get permission, there are criminal penalties for failing to.
"Providing a false biological father would be a first-degree misdemeanor the first time, which means not more than six months and jail, and a maximum $1,000 fine," Adams said. "And on the second occasion, providing false information would be considered a fifth-degree felony."

But no, it's not about controlling slutty women, notatallatall.

Dig this:
Adams told the newspaper that, in cases when the mother does not know the identity of the father, the abortion would be prohibited.

Here are some bits from a story on the original bill from July 2007:
As written, the bill would ban women from seeking an abortion without written consent from the father of the fetus. In cases where the identity of the father is unknown, women would be required to submit a list of possible fathers. The physician would be forced to conduct a paternity test from the provided list and then seek paternal permission to abort. . . .

With the proposal, men would be guaranteed that voice under penalty of law. First time violators would by tried for abortion fraud, a first degree misdemeanor. The same would be the case for men who falsely claim to be fathers and for medical workers who knowingly perform an abortion without paternal consent.

In addition, women would be required to present a police report in order to prove a pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.

Words fail.

O'Brien missed the train because of his ego trip.

According to a Radio-Canada news item, somebody in O'Brien's office at the city of Ottawa deemed that this project was unworthy of interest, so much so that the invitation to join with the cities of Québec, Laval, Montréal, Toronto, London and Windsor was not even brought to city council for consideration.

Never mind that the citizens of Ottawa will be forced to pay for the cancellation of the Siemens' contract for the construction of the LRT. O'Brien made that the overweening goal of his campaign, and he effectively killed it when he became mayor.

The process to establish Light Rail Transit in the greater capital region was flawed, but to date the incompetence on display by O'Brien in managing public transportation issues makes, in retrospect, the LRT project seem like a pretty darn good possibility that was sacrificed on the altar of the mayor's MASSIVE ego.

Don't give up.

On June 12 2007, the day Sonwabo Mangcongoza grabbed Nomthandazo Radebe - a girl at his school - held a knife to her throat, took her to his house, tied a scarf around her mouth and, for the next eight hours, sexually assaulted her over and over again, there were things he assumed to be true.

1) Nomthandazo would remain silent, as though the scarf were still stuck in her mouth.

2) It wasn't a crime.

3) The police wouldn't investigate.

4) Nobody cared what happened to this 18 year old girl in the Eastern Cape town of Lusikisiki, located in an impoverished rural area.

5) All the men he knew behaved this way.
Sonwabo was wrong. Things didn't turn out the way he thought. On March 25 2009, the judge gave him a 13-year prison sentence after a lengthy trial, the toughest ever imposed by a court in that region.
“Such an offence can never be tolerated by any community,” the judge said.
What happened to change what could have been another "private" tragedy among the thousands and thousands of such occurences in a country where rape is not considerered to be a public safety issue? The women of the Treatment Action Campaign vowed to make an example of Sonwabo, to set a legal precedent and an admirable benchmark of community activism. Women would no longer accept sexual assault as a banal evil rampant in South Africa, but hold the men engaged in this form of gender terrorism responsible for their crimes.
1) Nomthandazo and her family worked with the community activists to ensure that knowledge of the circumstances of her sexual assault and her legal pursuit of her assailant became visible and heard as typical of the violence to which all women in South Africa can be subjected, young or old.
2) & 3) There are laws against rape though they are not vigorously enforced by the police.

When the terrifying ordeal was over, Ms. Radebe called a friend who happened to be a TAC leader in the town. Together they went to the police station and to the hospital so that Ms. Radebe could be examined. ...

The women soon discovered the police did not have any rape kits. The kits, which provide the forensic instruments and legal documents necessary for a proper rape investigation, are supposed to be stocked at every police station in the country.

“The doctor at the hospital said he couldn't do anything without the rape kit,” Ms. Gqamane said. “So it was our duty to put pressure on the police.” At the urging of TAC, the police agreed to get a supply of the kits from another town, and the kits arrived the next day. The problems, however, were just beginning.

“After six days, the TAC people came to me at home and asked if the police had visited me yet,” Ms. Radebe said. “But they hadn't come yet.” The TAC volunteers went back to the police and insisted they investigate. But after two months, the first investigator in the case was transferred to another town. The second investigator went on vacation, and then on a training course, and nobody replaced him.

The police claimed they didn't have enough resources to investigate all rape cases. Court appearances in the Radebe case were repeatedly postponed because of the investigator's absence. The TAC activists went to the police station repeatedly to look for the investigator, but he was never there. They spoke to his supervisor and warned him that they would publicize the inaction. ...

Meanwhile, the TAC activists were holding rallies – known as “mobilization days” – in the neighbourhood where Ms. Radebe and her rapist both lived. With loudspeakers, they urged the residents to break their silence and report any evidence of rape. They handed out leaflets and talked to anyone who came out to the street.

4) TAC and many other people across South Africa cared, because they had personally suffered some form of sexual assault or a sister, mother, daughter, neighbour or friend had.
5) Not all South African men are rapists or potential rapists. The ones who do sexually assault and terrorize women are repeat offenders and they have harmed thousands upon thousands of women.

South Africa's epidemic of rape, which has raged for decades with near impunity for the attackers, has finally triggered a revolt. Sexual assaults, often dismissed as a ritual of manhood, are no longer ignored so routinely.

Women's groups and other activists are breaking the code of silence and insisting on police investigations and convictions. With more than 50,000 rapes reported annually – nearly 150 every day – and many more cases that are never reported, South Africa has one of the highest rates of sexual assault in the world. The incidence of rape in South Africa is the highest of any of Interpol's member states, yet only half of the rapes lead to arrests, and only 7 per cent result in convictions.

In a recent survey, 28 per cent of South African men admitted they had raped someone at least once in their lives. Almost three-quarters of them had committed their first rape before the age of 20. The study, which surveyed a representative sample of men from 1,700 households in two South African provinces, concluded that sexual assault is linked to South Africa's strongly patriarchal society and is “deeply embedded in ideas about manhood.”

The study shocked many people in this country and around the world, but it was no surprise to those who lived in Lusikisiki and similar towns across South Africa.

Years ago, Audre Lorde said:

"I have come to believe over and over again, that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood....

My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you.... and while we wait in silence for that final luxury of fearlessness, the weight of that silence will choke us. The fact that we are here and that I speak these words is an attempt to break that silence and bridge some of those differences between us, for it is not difference which immobilizes us, but silence. And there are so many silences to be broken."

From The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action, Sister Outsider.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Silence will not protect us.

Sitara Achakzai. Safia Amajan. And now, Natalia Estemirova.

The desolate field was on the edge of town next to a disused factory. I heard crows and distant traffic as we walked along in the dusk, marshland on either side.

"One of the women was wearing red boots," said Natalia. "There was very little grass in winter so you could spot her a mile off." My companion was a tall, determined-looking woman, who took big strides and talked at a rate of knots. Unlike most women in Grozny these days she wore no headscarf. Natalia was head of the Grozny branch of Memorial, the organisation that campaigns for human rights across Russia.

She had brought me to this dreary suburb to see the place where three women's bodies were found one day last November. The morning after that gruesome discovery, four more dead women were discovered around the Chechen capital. All seven had been shot in the head with an automatic weapon.

As we stood shivering in the dying light, I never dreamt that three weeks later Natalia, herself, would suffer a similar fate.

On Wednesday she was bundled into a van as she left her home. Her body was found later the same day in the neighbouring republic of Ingushetia, with multiple bullet wounds. There is little doubt in Chechnya that her killing was connected to her investigative and campaigning work - including the case of the seven murdered women.

These three women knew that speaking out, denouncing violence against women, put them in the bull's eye of murderous religious fundamentalists who kill with impunity. Such violence is also seen in other countries dominated by religious rightwing ideology. Mexico, for example. From here:

Mexican activist & journalist Lydia Cacho Ribeiro has been arrested and jailed by police. Women's rights advocates are calling Cacho's arrest a 'counter-attack' in revenge against Cacho for having authored a book, 'Demons in Eden' that exposed the connections between a group of wealthy business-men and pedophile rings and child pornographers.

Cacho was detained for the supposed crime of defamation (a criminal offense in Mexico) resulting from a complaint filed by Nacif Borge, a Lebanese born textile
businessman who Cacho has linked with the leader of the pedophile gang, millionaire hotelier Jean Succar Kuri ...

Since the publication of Demons in Eden, Cacho has been harassed and has received death threats for her investigative journalism. Cacho is the director of the Center for Integral Attention for Women (CIAM) in Cancun, whose 40 member staff have also been threatened by forces apparently linked to the wealthy businessmen.

Brutal, systemic violence perpetrated in christian countries against women and children - with the collusion of state officials - has been well documented by Amnesty International.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

The Kids Are All Right

I've had to move recently. In my old nabe, I lived right beside an elementary school and pretty close to the University of Toronto. So, the young people I saw and heard and watched were children or young adults.

In my new incarnation, I'm right beside a big high school in east end Toronto. Now I'm exposed to teenagers.

First, the diversity is really striking. According to Statistics Canada, by 2017 visible minorities will become the majority in Toronto and Vancouver. I think that might already be the case at this school. Riding the streetcar, I'll be listening to a conversation behind me in like, totally, Canajan voices, like, totally teenager uptalk. Then I turn around and see representatives from all the families on earth.


And it's going to get better. Here's a report from the US about the growing influence of the young, which will lead to the end of the so-called culture wars.
Is this just a temporary breathing spell in the culture wars due to the sudden spike in concern about other issues—first Iraq, then the economy—or is a fundamental shift in our politics taking place? I believe the latter is the case since, as this report establishes, ongoing demographic shifts have seriously eroded the mass base for culture wars politics and will continue to erode this base in the future. That means that the advantage conservatives can gain from culture wars politics will steadily diminish and, consequently, so will conservatives’ incentive to engage in such politics.

There are numerous examples of how demographic change is undermining the culture wars. First, Millennials—the generation with birth years 1978 to 2000—support gay marriage, take race and gender equality as givens, are tolerant of religious and family diversity, have an open and positive attitude toward immigration, and generally display little interest in fighting over the divisive social issues of the past. The number of voting age Millennials will increase by about 4.5 million a year between now and 2018, and the number of Millennials who are eligible voters will increase by about 4 million a year. The 2020 presidential election will be the first where all Millennials will have reached voting age, and at that point the generation will be 103 million strong and have about 90 million eligible voters. Those 90 million Millennial eligible voters will represent just under 40 percent of America’s eligible voters in that year.

Second, the culturally conservative white working class has been declining rapidly as a proportion of the electorate for years. Exit polls show that the proportion of white working-class voters—scoring just 46.3 out of a 100 on the Progressive Studies Program comprehensive 10-item progressive cultural index covering topics ranging from religion, abortion, and homosexuality to race, immigration, and the family—is down 15 points since 1988, while the proportion of far more culturally progressive white college graduate voters (53.3 on the index) is up 4 points, and the proportion of minority voters (54.7 on the index) is up 11 points. State after state since 1988 has replicated this general pattern—a sharp decline in the share of white working-class voters accompanied by increases in the shares of minority voters and, in most cases, of increasingly progressive white college graduate voters.

Other demographic trends that will undermine the culture warriors include the growth of culturally progressive groups such as single women, and college-educated women and professionals, as well as increasing religious diversity. Unaffiliated or secular voters are hugely progressive on cultural issues and it is they—not white evangelical Protestants—who are the fastest-growing “religious” group in the United States.

Upshot: the good guys are winning. The dinosaurs are dying out.

In other words. . .

Beware the dreaded scourge of Info-Blogs.

Infotainment. Infomercials. And now, info-blogs.

one reads as though it was composed by software, cobbled together by a blog-bot or translated by Babelfish from an extinct language.

A smart, attractive, clever and ingenious beautiful woman Anita Friday, 35 years old was spotted doubling her footsteps to enable her vanish from the large view of gentlemen who were seated outside a popular bar and grill in Toronto. She was not shy looking but smart, cute and beautiful lady who had always wanted to free herself from the trouble of nice looking gentlemen who upon seeing her make advancement towards her and propose love to her. Because of the social, honest, faithfulness, trustworthy and principle instinct in her, it was very difficult for Anita to snub any man who falls in love with her. So she chose an option which was not to snub men but always double her footsteps to vanish from the catch of her would-be lovers.

Huh ... what? It continues in that vein until it suddenly shifts into a bizarre exposition on yeast infections.

I've seen purported blogs that were hosting sites for adverts with content on display that had been taken without permission from legitimate bloggers. But this website ... I'm afraid to click on the sidebar to read further horrors.

So, share your links with the worst of this emerging blight upon the blogosphere.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Every Sperm Was Sacred.

Last year scientists at University of Newcastle created primitive sperm cells with female embryonic stem cells.

As you can imagine, that provoked some shrieeeking from fundamentalist religious right wing zygote zealots. "Oh no!!! Bay-beez without holy sperm from the Menz!!!"

This year, the same team, led by Karim Nayernia, Professor of Stem Cell Biology, has re-purposed the research so its focus does not send Pat Robertson and his acolytes into a full-metal testerical rightwingnutter melt-down. A news item from ABC news reassures its viewers:
... the technique would allow researchers to study how sperm develops and possibly help develop treatments for infertile men. ... More than a third of infertility cases, which affect 7.3 million people in the United States, can be attributed to the male partner, according to a 2002 National Survey of Family Growth from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ... new research may provide a glimmer of hope that infertile men may one day be able to contribute to the gene pool.
Speaking of rightwingnutters called Pat*, Pat Buchanan had advice for the Palins regarding an outcast contributor to their family gene pool:
"Well, first, with regard to Levi, I think First Dude up there in Alaska, Todd Palin, ought to take Levi down to the creek and hold his head underwater until the thrashing stops." The whole 'Morning Joe' gang laughed pretty hard at Buchanan's joke ...
More on that stem cell research here.

* Thanks for catching that, J.A.Baker.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Dammit! DAMMIT JANET! Supports Antonia Z.

Both principal bloggers here at DJ! are busy with money-grubbing work, but we want to state our unequivocal support for Antonia Zerbisias.

There's a lot of good blogging out there on this. Here are few not to miss:

mattt at bastardlogic

JJ at unrepentant old hippie

Dave at The Galloping Beaver.

More, perhaps, later as events develop.

LATER: deBeauxOs wants me to add:
A Creative Revolution

Dr Dawg

we move to canada

Violation of women justified by fundamentalist religious clergy.

Today we turn our gaze from the Vatican Taliban to consider this stultifyingly wrong sharia law enforcement.

Several Sudanese women have been flogged as a punishment for dressing "indecently", according to a local journalist who was arrested with them. Lubna Ahmed al-Hussein, who says she is facing 40 lashes, said she and 12 other women wearing trousers were arrested in a restaurant in the capital, Khartoum.

She told the BBC several of the women had pleaded guilty to the charges and had 10 lashes immediately. Khartoum, unlike South Sudan, is governed by Sharia law.
Several of those punished were from the mainly Christian and animist south, Ms Hussein said. Non-Muslims are not supposed to be subject to Islamic law, even in Khartoum and other parts of the mainly Muslim north.

She said that a group of about 20 or 30 police officers entered the popular Khartoum restaurant and arrested all the women wearing trousers. ... Ms Hussein said some women pleaded guilty to "get it over with" but others, including herself, chose to speak to their lawyers and are awaiting their fates. Under Sharia law in Khartoum, the normal punishment for "indecent" dressing is 40 lashes.

As with the Catholic Church clergy, the interpreters of religious text validate their own needs as men. Wearing pants is sensible and practical for women attempting to do physical labour, as many must to meet their family's requirements in many countries ruled by sharia law. Obliging women to wear heavy robes, dresses and skirts rather than comfortable and modest clothing is a typical patriarchal religious restriction.

And in other parts of the woman-hating world Afghanistan legislators, freed from the inconvenience of colleagues who would denounce their gynophobia, can now proceed with a new version of the laws that violate women's rights.

...women's rights activist Wazhma Frough, who was involved in the review, said that conservative religious leaders had pressured the Justice Ministry to keep many of the most controversial clauses. "There have been a few little changes, but they are not enough," she said. "For example, if the wife doesn't accept her husband's sexual requirements then he can deny her food. "According to civil society groups, the law, which regulates the personal affairs of Afghanistan's minority Shia community, still includes clauses which allow rapists to marry their victims as a way of absolving their crime and it tacitly approves child marriage.
Trousers are "indecent" yet men starving women to control them is legal - and decent? "God the father" gives them the power to claim this and enact it into law. Quite a self-serving system, is it not?

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Pro-Choice Panda

Thanks to Dr Pale at A Creative Revolution for turning me on to Onion News Network.

Fake Pregnancy Centres Closing

The pro-liars celebrate when an abortion clinic closes for whatever reason because, by their lights, the closure is due to their prayer assaults, candlelight vigils, acts of gord, yadayada. (Not never nohow due to violence, arson, vandalism, sheer weariness with the daily stress. Nope.)

Well, perhaps we normal people should also celebrate the closure of fake pregnancy centres, aka 'crisis pregnancy centres', like these in Montana.
The Mexico Open Arms facility was officially closed on March 31, pending possible sale, and sites in Fulton, Jefferson City and Moberly were closed on July 2. The Columbia site is the only agency that remains open.

An aside: The closures really really annoyed a Ms Buffington who wanted her own ministry to take them over. So annoyed was she that she launched the 'A-bomb' at the culprits:
"What they are doing feels like a plundering; even worse, an abortion," Buffington told The Ledger Tuesday. "Do I believe that this was an honorable thing for Life Network to do. No, I do not believe that it was an honorable thing to do to our community, and to God most of all. They had someone who was willing to try and carry it on, and that was already making a huge difference."

Zow. That's gotta hurt.

Why did the Montana outfits have to fold tents?

Lack of money. *snerk*

And there's going to be a lot more of this, because the grown-ups are in charge of a whack of that dough -- the millions flushed down the toilet in the decade-long scam known as 'abstinence-only' programs.

But don't expect the lying scam-artists to go away quietly. No sirree. They want that dough.

What they are doing is rebranding.
Sex educators -- and parents -- have been breathing a sigh of relief. Obama's administration has axed a hefty sum of the abstinence-only sex education funding from the 2010 budget. But if you think it's time to kick back and relax on sex ed, think again. Abstinence-only advocates have been long organizing a comeback, rebranding themselves as science-based and holistic. So serious is this undertaking that organizations like the National Abstinence Education Association (NAEA) have publicly made this new abstinence message a strategic objective.

It's laughable until you realize that attempting to be more mainstream -- giving the illusion that you're like the successful, evidence-based comprehensive sex education programs -- may just work. Take NAEA's attempts to rework their image and messaging by calling their renamed curricula "abstinence centered" -- one that supposedly utilizes 'holistic approaches' to 'healthy lifestyle choices.' Like comprehensive sex education, they insist that they will be equipping youth with all of the information they need to make healthy decisions.

Sounds great, until you remember that this group of powerful virginity zealots, religious leaders, and legislators are driven by regressive social values. These are the antifeminist, anti-gay people who actively and vehemently seek to reinforce gender stereotypes, sexual "purity," and negative sex messaging. In light of the government finally accepting the fact that the $1.5 billion we've poured into abstinence-only-until-marriage programs has been a waste, these purity pushers are having to do an about face. They must promise to preach more than sexual morality with their "just say no" messaging if they expect to survive. Unfortunately, given their track record, we can't expect their take on "holistic" and "healthy" to be anything like that of comprehensive sex education.

But your average citizen will have trouble deciphering what makes the comprehensive versus abstinence-centered efforts so different.

At the HuffPo link, you'll find some suggestions for fighting back against the lying scam-artists, including a campaign by Advocates for Youth.

In the meantime, let's celebrate!

Noonan on Palin's "working-class" creds.

From the WSJ:

... Palin has now stepped down, but she continues to poll high among some members of the Republican base, some of whom have taken to telling themselves Palin myths.

To wit, "I love her because she's so working-class." This is a favorite of some party intellectuals. She is not working class, never was, and even she, avid claimer of advantage that she is, never claimed to be and just lets others say it. Her father was a teacher and school track coach, her mother the school secretary. They were middle-class figures of respect, stability and local status. I think intellectuals call her working-class because they see the makeup, the hair, the heels and the sleds and think they're working class "tropes." ...

What she is, is a seemingly very nice middle-class girl with ambition, appetite and no sense of personal limits. ...

America doesn't need Sarah Palin to prove it was, and is, a nation of unprecedented fluidity. Her rise and seeming fall do nothing to prove or refute this."The elites hate her." The elites made her. It was the elites of the party, the McCain campaign and the conservative media that picked her and pushed her. The base barely knew who she was. It was the elites, from party operatives to public intellectuals, who advanced her and attacked those who said she lacked heft. She is a complete elite confection. She might as well have been a bonbon."She makes the Republican Party look inclusive." She makes the party look stupid, a party of the easily manipulated.

One of the volatile issues for Palin has been whether boundaries have been transgressed by the MSM and internet media in using her family to attack and mock her. It would seem that sport is also gleefully played by rightwing neocons commenting at the Free Republic.

Merci to LuLu at Canadian Cynic, The important thing to remember, darlings ...

Saturday, 11 July 2009

The weird turn pro, Part Deux.

C'mon. Everybody was waiting for the other shoe to drop. If there's one thing that one can safely predict about the ongoing PR train wreck that is Sarah Palin, it's that someone somewhere in the biggest small-town in the world that's the state of Alaska has sumtin' more to add.

This is Levi Johnston's post-script to Sarah's big news bomb she dropped last week. Johnston apparently lived with the Palin family after baby Tripp was born.
Johnston, the 19-year-old father of Palin's grandson and ex-fiance of the governor's daughter Bristol, said at a news conference Thursday that he personally had heard Palin discuss the possibility of leaving her state behind to go capitalize off her quick rise to fame. "She had talked about how nice it would be to take some of this money people had been offering us and you know just run with it, say 'forget everything else,'" Johnston said ...

Ah well, at least Levi's still got that cool tattoo to remind him of 2008, right?

More here.

Friday, 10 July 2009

The "twinkie defense" - to be recycled?

Those who say there's nothing new under the sun are correct. Can anything and everything can be repurposed, recycled and re-used? Good news for the environment, bad news in other quarters.

DAMMIT JANET! suspects that Deputy Marshall "Pepper" Abbott may have to find a novel way to defend his over-reaction two weeks ago when he arrived at a house in an upscale suburb in response to a noise complaint, and ended up calling for back-up, with the result that a contigent of his colleagues, including a canine unit, a helicopter and a firetruck had to rescue him from a "Code Lavender".

The incident is under investigation by the local district attorney's office since it appears that Deputy "Pepper" may have over-reacted to a perceived threat from a group of middle-aged Encinitas lesbians gathered at a backyard fundraiser for Democrat candidate hopeful Francine Busby.

According to a police document leaked to the media,

Busby has said that the event was not loud, but was a standard fundraising house party, at which she briefly spoke through a microphone and had finished up her remarks at some time around 8:30 p.m.

The Sheriff's deputy arrived about 45 minutes after that, and things got ugly. By the time it was over, multiple people had been pepper-sprayed, one of the hostesses and a guest were arrested, and a full Sheriff's Department backup had come in, including even dogs and a helicopter -- to deal with a crowd of middle-aged Democratic donors.

The police report says that Deputy Marshall G. Abbott used his pepper spray because he felt threatened by guests who were surrounding him. It also says that he ended up with "several scratches and minor swelling on both of his arms."

Busby and others who attended the event believe that the caller is probably the same person as an unidentified heckler who shouted obscenities and anti-gay slurs at the assembled crowd.

"Several scratches and minor swelling on both his arms" ... Abbott must be suffering from an ailment known only to imaginative lawyers, likely a combination of homosexual panic and a physical allergy to lesbians. Throw in a twinkie defense, and he's all set.

Everything old can be new again.

For Karine, Nichola, Michelle, and ...

The Galloping Beaver: Want your combat team to have an edge? Add women.

Back in April, Dave
wrote a powerful, angry post about Karine Blais and her right to be where she chose to be. So did we as a response to the malignant and patronizing glurge that Michael Coren crapped all over her memory. He and his acolytes of sexist porn-loving, chicken-shit types, have nothing of value to say about military issues because they prefer to bask in the illusion that they're fighting as religious crusaders.

If one is a feminist of a pacifist orientation, one would hope that women would shine as peace-keepers - and they do, as also do their male colleagues suited to these tours of duty.

Nonetheless, female combatants who have the temperament, the finely honed skills and the competence to participate in high-risk missions should have the right to step forward - in Canada, they can and they do.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Where are The Fetus©™ fetishists?

Where's the shrieeekkking? Where are the zygote zealots? Where are the blogging screeds, demanding justice for The Fetus©™ of Marwa el-Sherbini?

Oh, Wait. That doesn't sound like a fundamentalist christian name, does it? That would explain the MASSIVE silence from the usual abortion criminalizers.

What happened to Marwa is Exhibit A: Murdered because the forces of sexism, racism and xenophobia collided and erupted in the actions of the accused, "Alex W".

Sherbini, a pharmacist who was four months' pregnant and wore the Islamic head scarf, was involved in a court case against her neighbour after he called her a terrorist. She was due to testify when he stabbed her 18 times inside the courtroom in front of her three-year-old son.

The neighbour, who has only been identified as 28-year-old Alex W, remains in detention and prosecutors have opened an investigation on suspicion of murder. ...

The woman's husband was critically wounded in the attack, after he tried to intervene and was stabbed by the attacker and accidentally shot by court security.

More here.

Meanwhile, over at Blob Blogging Wingnut's place, SHE indulges in HER second-most favourite hobby, after plastering HER website with photos plucked from Ob/Gyn textbooks - psychobabble moralizing.

Compare and Contrast

Amy Goodman absolutely nails it in Two Standards of Detention.

On the one hand, a white Christian charged with murdering a doctor in a church:
Scott Roeder, the anti-abortion zealot charged with killing Dr. George Tiller, has been busy. He called the Associated Press from the Sedgwick County Jail in Kansas, saying, “I know there are many other similar events planned around the country as long as abortion remains legal.” Charged with first-degree murder and aggravated assault, he is expected to be arraigned July 28. AP recently reported that Roeder has been proclaiming from his jail cell that the killing of abortion providers is justified. According to the report, the Rev. Donald Spitz of the Virginia-based Army of God sent Roeder seven pamphlets defending “defensive action,” or killing of abortion clinic workers.

Spitz’s militant Army of God Web site calls Roeder an “American hero,” proclaiming, “George Tiller would normally murder between 10 and 30 children ... each day ... when he was stopped by Scott Roeder.”

The site, with biblical quotes suggesting killing is justified, hosts writings by Paul Hill, who killed Dr. John Britton and his security escort in Pensacola, Fla., and by Eric Rudolph, who bombed a Birmingham, Ala., women’s health clinic, killing its part-time security guard.

On Spitz’s Web site, Rudolph continues to write about abortion: “I believe that deadly force is indeed justified in an attempt to stop it.”

Then there's a brown Muslim charged with, well, um, being a host.
[Fahad] Hashmi is a U.S. citizen who grew up in Queens, N.Y., and went to Brooklyn College. He went to graduate school in Britain and was arrested there in 2006 for allegedly allowing an acquaintance to stay with him for two weeks. That acquaintance, Junaid Babar, allegedly kept at Hashmi’s apartment a bag containing ponchos and socks, which Babar later delivered to an al-Qaida operative. Babar was arrested and agreed to cooperate with the authorities in exchange for leniency.
. . .
Fahad Hashmi was extradited to New York, where he has been held in pretrial detention for more than two years. His brother Faisal described the conditions: “He is kept in solitary confinement for two straight years, 23- to 24-hours lockdown. ... Within his own cell, he’s restricted in the movements he’s allowed to do. He’s not allowed to talk out loud within his own cell. ... He is being videotaped and monitored at all times. He can be punished ... denied family visits, if they say his certain movements are martial arts ... that they deem as incorrect. He has Special Administrative Measures (SAMs) ... against him.”

Hashmi cannot contact the media, and even his lawyers have to be extremely cautious when discussing his case, for fear of imprisonment themselves. His attorney Sean Maher told me: “This issue of the SAMs ... of keeping people in solitary confinement when they’re presumed innocent, is before the European Court of Human Rights. They are deciding whether they will prevent any European country from extraditing anyone to the United States if there is a possibility that they will be placed under SAMs ... because they see it as a violation ... to hold someone in solitary confinement with sensory deprivation, months before trial.”

Well, lest we get all Canucky smug, don't forget white (religious affiliation unknown) Canadian Brenda Martin convicted of fraud in Mexico, whose case attracted the attention of the highest Canadian government officials who went so far as to spend $82,000 on a chartered airplane to fly her home.

On the other hand, for brown Muslim Canadian Abousfian Abdelrazik, cleared of all charges, not so much.