Monday, 31 August 2009

The Onion has nothing to fear.

If this is the competition, The Onion still reigns supreme for the best in parody and satirical writing.

The object depicted is a Nipple Tassel t-shirt that, according to its creator,
"... was designed as a response to my own distaste at seeing mini versions of sexy clothes on young children. Five-year-olds wearing slashed mini skirts and boob tubes, little thumb-sucking Britneys.”
It's a modest design, though I'd imagine those tassels would go all gnarly in the dryer.

Gateway Pundit aims for ... sarcasm? Disapproval, yes that's the dominant note and underneath there's a dissonant and off-key attempt to besmirch all non-conservatives parents as godless, perverted and mmm, godless for even thinking that the above is an wry response to fashion that sexualizes toddlers.

And the comments! Don't look for any humour there. Typical tone-deaf shrieeeking.

Palin Goes To Hong Kong.

Really? Mudflats is boggled, aghast and bemused too.

Her discussion on geo-politics is sure to be fascinating considering her vast foreign policy experience and her extensive world travel. This will be her third trip out of the country, and her first to Asia. Twice she has visited American servicemen and women on bases overseas. And she’s had a passport for 2 whole years. And then there’s that Russia thing…

This engagement will be hosted by brokerage and investment group CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets. Now, I’m no financial whiz, but I’ll share with you the first and only piece of advice about your investments that I may ever have. If your money is with these people, who decided to invest their money in paying Sarah Palin to fly to Hong Kong and speak about geo-politics? Get your money back NOW. All of it.

On a positive note, the Atlantic says:
Yep, you heard that right: former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will travel to Hong Kong for her first commercial speaking engagement ... Given that foreign policy was a soft spot for Palin during the 2008 campaign, this will give her a chance to boost her foreign policy cred (and she'll be able to see Taiwan from her hotel room).
I wonder if she will bring the traveling family circus with her. Oh, and any bets who her speech writer will plagiarize about the
source material for her speech this time?

The photo is from Wonkette, who also has some choice words about this event.

Women for Women: Afghanistan.

As the results of the Afghan election await official confirmation, it seems appropriate to write about some small, hard-earned successes in this country.

First, Flora MacDonald has been involved with CARE projects in Afghanistan before the attacks on the WTC.

When she first traveled to Afghanistan, in 2001, the country was still under Taliban rule. Ms. MacDonald was working to establish underground schools for girls who were being denied an education. One day, when Ms. MacDonald was walking back from a visit to one of the secret schools two “big Taliban gentlemen” fell in step on either side of her. One could speak English and told her they knew what she was doing, but wouldn’t tell anyone if their daughters could attend the school too.

“Not all Taliban are militant, many want peace,” said Ms. MacDonald. This year in January, Azra Jafari became the country’s first female mayor of the town Nili, in Daikundi province. “I tell you I could have done a Highland dance,” said Ms. MacDonald.

The 82-year-old is passionate about the lives of women and girls in Afghanistan. Ms. MacDonald has been working to improve the plight of widows, the lack of education for girls, the thousands of street children orphaned by years of conflict, the lack of access to water and many other problems created by years of war and Taliban rule.

“Progress is being made in Afghanistan, although certainly not uniformly throughout the country,” said Ms. MacDonald. “It gives us all hope, though the work is long and hard and will not be carried out overnight.”

here. MacDonald's agenda is not political in the partisan sense of the word - it is progressive, respectful and compassionate.

Then from The Star, this:

"The women are growing carrots, cucumbers, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, grapes," says Catherine Sobrevega, country manager for MEDA Afghanistan. "But these are not the products you find being sold from the back of trucks on the side of the highway. These are higher-quality fruits and vegetables that are sold in supermarkets and to hotels."

MEDA is the Mennonite Economic Development Association, headquartered in Waterloo, which provides microfinancing for the Garden Gate Project in conjunction with CIDA. ...

"I'm not a Mennonite," notes Sobrevega, who hails from the Philippines and spent 14 years working for CARE International in Afghanistan before taking the MEDA job. "We don't try to bring faith. The only important thing is the sincerity you bring to the project."

The undertaking started with three villages in 2007, since expanded to nine, and 14 more are knocking on the door to join. That, too, is a victory of alien practice over rural culture, where women are severely circumscribed by Afghan patriarchy, rarely venturing outside their homes, discouraged from any activities not directly related to their families.

Through direct $2,000 MEDA grants and funds secured via various agencies, microfinancing is extended to these rural ladies for instruction in modern horticultural techniques and marketing acumen, linking them to a network of development organizations such as Women for Women and the Afghan Women's Business Council.

"What we do is provide the horticultural experts and link them to financial institutions that can provide them with loans because 50 per cent of the funding needs to come from the women themselves," says Sobrevega. ... A woman needs only show she has 250 square metres of land at her disposal, to start, with capacity to double that in the second or third year of gardening. Zero profit is expected in the first season of planting but $150 in the next and – with a greenhouse constructed, for example, an average of $380 in the third. That may seem piddling but it makes an immense difference to a rural household – allowing for the purchase of school supplies, appliances and other conveniences, even the odd luxury. And it's no small benefit that children get a better diet out of it to boot.

What an idea: a religious organization with a progressive, respectful and compassionate agenda. Those fundamentalist catholics attempting to destroy their very own Development and Peace might want to take a time-out from their shrieeeking temper tantrums to observe how small miracles actually work. With goodwill, an open mind and and a kind heart.

Check out this post at A Creative Revolution about RAWA - Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan - too.

Internet Shopping for Burglars

When Facebook was first hitting the general consciousness, I had an oldish computer. I was curious and tried to have a look. Facebook snottily informed me that my system was too old and that I had to upgrade. I was a tad pissed, so I started a thread at the discussion board I used to belong to titled 'Fuck Facebook'.

Well, looky here.
Users of social networking websites could face higher insurance premiums because burglars are using them to 'shop' for victims' personal details.

Experts from leading insurer Legal & General warn that parents could eventually see their premiums rise even if only their children are members of popular sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Many of the millions of users of these sites post details about their home, whereabouts and holiday plans on them - effectively an invitation to a burglar.

The warning comes in the wake of a report called The Digital Criminal, commissioned by Legal & General and prepared by reformed thief Michael Fraser, star of the BBC's Beat The Burglar series.

Mr Fraser said: 'There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that burglars are using social networks to identify likely targets.

'They gain confidence by learning more about them, what they are likely to own and when they are likely to be out of the house.

'I call it "internet shopping for burglars". It is incredibly easy to use social networking sites to target people, and then scope out more information on their actual home using other internet sites like Google Street View, all from the comfort of the sofa.'

But Facebookers and Twits were 'unconcerned' about security.
In an experiment, 100 friend requests were issued to strangers selected at random.

On Twitter, 92 per cent accepted the stranger as a friend, as did 13 per cent of Facebook users, potentially allowing the stranger to learn about that person's interests, location and movements.

And what's the result?
Burglaries rose in 2008-09 for the first time in six years. Police recorded 284,445 house break-ins, up 1 per cent on the previous year.

Well, duh.


This photograph from the Omaha World-Herald coverage of the protest outside the Carhart Clinic made me think of Blob Blogging Wingnut's claim about the power of HER prayers.
The Fetus©™ fetishists pray for clinics to close and for staff members to die.
If I were someone who prayed for bad things to happen to people, the way zygote zealots do, I might pray for those pieces of duct tape to remain permanently stuck to the faces of foetishists shown above.
But then, that would make me a religious zealot and I'm not that.
I prefer to focus my prayers on the continuing good health and well-being of family members and friends, not wield that power like a weapon.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Push-Back Continued

I'm liking Dr LeRoy Carhart more the more I learn about him.

He's not taking Operation Re-Skew's crap lying down. Far from it.

Adding to this weekend's humiliation of the anti-abortion terrorist-enablers, Dr Carhart invited a local tv station to tour his clinic.
The anti-abortion group, Operation Rescue claims four past employees at the clinic say his staff is unqualified and the clinic has unclean conditions. "We've already identified several things that this clinic is violating state statues and we're going to be meeting with the attorney general to close this abortion clinic down once and for all," said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue.

Carhart calls the claims outright lies. He shows us where tools are sterolized, the ultra-sound room, and pharmacy that's under lock and key.

Since the murder of his friend and abortion doctor, Dr. George Tiller; he's even more aware of the danger that comes with his job. "I think about security a lot more than the average person," said Bellevue Abortion Clinic Dr. LeRoy Carhart. But he says that will never stop him from fighting for what he feels is right. Performing late-term abortions for woman he says face gut-wrenching circumstances. "We're not going to allow them to deny us our choice," Carhart said.

(I expect those tools are sterilized, too.)

You go, Dr Carhart.

What's New Poussez-Quette?

When I posted I-See-Dead-People: Palin and her sycophant. my co-blogger, who is most definitely not a cat person, had one of those aaaw moments because of the picture.

So I'm sharing the YouTube above with her, with DAMMIT JANET! readers - some who will be affirmed in their decision to not be owned by a cat and others who will be relieved that they're not owned by Simon's Cat.

Ah - the spelling of Poussez-Quette? I'm slowly reading Julia Child's My Life in France. I hear Meryl Streep's voice. But I don't see dead people.

Merci to Mandos for the Simon's Cat link.

Fetus Fetishists Having a Rough Few Days

Things haven't been going so well for the fetus fetishists lately. *barely suppressed big grin icon*

And now, there's a report of more anti-abortion violence.

Well, attempted anti-abortion violence.
Lincoln [Nebraska] police say someone attempted to throw a Molotov cocktail at the local Planned Parenthood clinic, but missed.

Instead, police say, the makeshift explosive fell just short of the building and burned pavement in the parking lot. It was reported about 11:20 p.m. Thursday.

How does one miss a building?

Maybe the woody in his trews messed up his aim.

*even bigger barely suppressed grin icon*

Woman suing Bell Canada for privacy violation.

This was heard on Radio-Canada; I'm not finding any news about this on Canadian English media yet. I'll add a link when I can find one.

The story: A businesswoman in Sault-Ste-Marie is planning to sue Bell Canada because the electronic information she had stored on a cell phone that she returned to one of their service outlets was not deleted. She says a sales rep told her the crushed phone could not be repaired and was assured it would be destroyed.

She reports that she received an email from a woman in the US who had purchased a phone on eBay. The message told her that her address, as well as volumes of her information were found intact on the cell phone.

The Bell client says that she was relieved that a honest person had purchased the item and contacted her directly. Bell Canada claims that damaged cell phones returned to them are neither recycled nor re-sold.

Romanow to Obama: 'Three words -- Medicare for everyone'

From the Globe: 'Canadian health care advocates fire back'.
There are no death panels, no reference to “Obamacare” and no Shona Holmes. But vocal advocates of Canada's health-care system have shot back at American detractors with a tamer brand of YouTube video, intended to correct what they see as misconceptions about Canada's health resources being batted about in the heated United States health-care debate.

Now, for a laugh, go read Audrey II at Enormous Thriving Plants on A Canadian Healthcare Admission.

Before Mary Jo, there was Joe.

Even before Mary Jo Kopechne died, there was the patriarch Joseph Patrick Kennedy Senior.

In the 1980s, I had the opportunity to attend a Fourth of July neighbourhood party on the bank of the Delaware River. It was a day-long 'happening', replete with platters of delicious food, and bustling with many home-crafted amusements for the numerous children of working class families of mixed Irish, Polish, and German ancestry. Several generations jostled verbally and physically with good cheer and great kindness. I felt quite comfortable and welcome in this environment where Catholic and Democrat culture dominated.

Later that evening the discussion turned to politics; Reagan was in his second term of office. The owner of a local general store, a man in his sixties who had listened to commiserations about the failure of the Democrats to rally 'round and present a strong candidate like say, JFK or RFK to counter the Republicans said quietly: "Joe Kennedy had a lot to answer for. If anyone should have been shot, it was him." Oddly, this remark did not provoke any protest; clearly this man had uttered this opinion before and his neighbours either shared it or couldn't offer any strong arguments in opposition.

Information about the Kennedy clan trickled out after the deaths of Joe Sr in 1969, matriarch Rose Fitzgerald in 1995 and Rosemary in 2005. In particular, shameful details regarding the factors that led Joe to subject his daughter to lobotomization ultimately hold up to scrutiny the values this man held. A revealing quote from president Roosevelt, asked when Joe was rewarded with an appointment to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as the inaugural Chairman, why he had chosen such a crook. "Takes one to catch one," replied Roosevelt.

By all accounts, Joe was a devout and traditional Catholic; his actions demonstrated he was also a charming, smooth, amoral and ethically depraved financial operator and political opportunist. Did his irrational and omnipresent fear of Communism allow him to justify to himself why he encouraged his daughters to date the odious Joe McCarthy?

There have been a few opinion pieces that suggest circumstances surrounding the death of Mary Jo Kopechne transformed Senator Edward Kennedy into a crusader for social justice who was admired and respected by many.

I believe that Joe Kennedy's children and to a certain extent, his grandchildren were damaged by the toxic heritage of testosterone-fuelled, high-risk-taking behaviours passed on and sanctioned by the patriarch. But I also think that in reaction to the inherent hypocrisy and the great harm done, most of his progeny consciously chose to redress and redeem Joe's terrible legacy, armed with a sense of duty and animated by an acute awareness of the sources of the family wealth they've enjoyed.

The brilliance, the generosity and the dedication of the Kennedy's individual and familial commitment was - and still is, as the work of Rory Kennedy demonstrates - constant and far-reaching. One has to wonder if Eunice Kennedy Shriver's high-profile involvement with the Special Olympics was a gentle way of reminding Joe that he was directly responsible for the permanent condition that afflicted Rosemary.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

if. . . .

TVO's Saturday NIght at the Movies, or as we call it in this household 'Elwy', ran if. . . . tonight. I hadn't seen it since it came out 40 years ago. After I saw it, I went directly to Sam the Record Man and bought a copy of Missa Luba.

Here's the Sanctus made famous by the film.

But here's the Kyrie, which I love more.

The only good thing about the Catlick church -- the music. OK, the architecture. OK, the art. But the rest? Ptui.

Push-Back UPDATE

About that push-back at Dr Carhart's clinic:
The rally in Bellevue came nearly three months to the day after Tiller's killing. A massive police presence, including heavily armed rapid-response teams, monitored the demonstrators. Streets were blocked off, and police kept both sides separated with buffer zones in between.

Abortion rights supporters outnumbered their opponents nearly 2 to 1.

Operation Rescue drove in two of their so-called Truth Trucks, delivery trucks with giant billboards of dismembered fetuses on the sides. The vehicles parked in a designated area outside the clinic to gasps from the women's rights groups. Police used sniffer dogs to make sure the vehicles did not have any explosives before allowing them to park.

Megan Belleavia called the trucks abortion "pornography" that shouldn't be allowed. "You can't stand out in the street corner and show pictures of a bare-breasted woman without getting in trouble, so why should they be able to show that?" she said.

Two to one. Excellent.

In the comments here, JJ links to Amanda Marcotte's piece, 'They push the hardest on abortion because we give the most on it'.

We've got to stop letting the batshit crazies intimidate us normal, sane people.

'Justifiable Assassination'

Well, you knew this was coming.
The suspect in the killing of abortion provider George Tiller is in talks with a prominent attorney who represents anti-abortion protesters and has long advocated justifiable homicide as a legal defense in such cases.

Scott Roeder, 51, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and aggravated assault charges in the May 31 shooting death of Tiller in the foyer of his Wichita church. The Kansas City, Mo., man has refused to discuss his case, but he has told The Associated Press that Tiller's killing was justified to save "the lives of unborn children."

Roeder has court-appointed defense attorneys, but he apparently has now turned to Michael Hirsh, the lawyer who represented Paul Hill on appeal for killing a Florida abortion provider and his bodyguard in 1994. Hill was executed in 2003 after the Florida Supreme Court rejected Hirsh's argument that the judge should have allowed Hill to present to jurors his claim that the killings were justified to prevent abortions.

I just hope Mr Hirsh is as successful defending Roeder as he was with Hill.

Hirsh has a blog, by the way, for the masochistically inclined.

The whining and the shrieeeking continues unabated.

At Canadian Cynic we learn that it's the
"Lefties" who are manipulating Sarah Palin into acting like a whiny, petulant, irresponsible spambrain. I had no idea we had that kind of power.
Mudflats of course has a crisp and witty response to that rightwingwacko view.

[Ziegler's] primary assertion is this:

"I strongly believe that no public figure in modern America has ever endured more stress, pressure and unfair scrutiny in a more dignified fashion than she has over the past year."

That’s right. Just this week, a gubernatorial candidate in Idaho said we ought to go out and buy “Palin tags”. You know, the $11 hunting tags that you get when you want to go out and kill a wolf with a rifle. He basically said he was all in support of people going out and hunting Sarah Palin like an animal. Then he said it was just “a joke.” Ha ha.

And then there was the pastor who declared in his sermon entitled “Why I Hate Sarah Palin” that he was actually praying for Sarah Palin to die and go to Hell, saying that then she’d get what she deserved. One of his parishioners then went to a Palin speaking engagement with a loaded rifle slung over his shoulder, and walked through the crowd of people. “Good for you,” said the pastor.

And who could forget all the people who called her a Nazi, and the people who showed up outside her speaking engagements with signs saying she was the Anti-Christ?

Oh wait. Those things happened to Barack Obama. Oops.

Go read the whole hilarious blogpost.

Fake Pregnancy Centres Create Fake Orphans

We admit it. Here at DAMMIT JANET! and back at Birth Pangs, we've been a tad obsessed with Crisis Pregnancy Centers/Centres.

We -- OK, who am I trying to kid? it's mostly moi -- blog regularly about the lying and deception and manipulation these Christofascists perpetrate on vulnerable women. (And of course, just to blow our own horn a little, we did have a helluva good time helping persuade the Ottawa Senators to pull financial support from one of the lying-liar outfits.)

But it seems there is a whole other ugly side to these fakers, even though I did blog once about a crisis pregnancy centre in Ireland that was convicted of running an illegal adoption agency.

So, I should not have been surprised to read today that 'Christian Organizations Shame and Coerce Women Into Giving Up Their Children'. It's a longish article by Kathryn Joyce, author of 'Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement'.

Using good old shame and guilt, they pressure single pregnant women into giving up their children to 'good' Christian families. And with their usual disregard for truthiness, they lie to women about the terms of 'open' adoption. Women think they'll be able to see their children only to find out, oopsie, no, you can't honey.

Pregnant women are housed with 'shepherding' families, isolated from friends and family who may offer other advice.

After delivery, women are rushed into surrenders. Taken to states with shorter 'change one's mind' periods. Paperwork is delayed until the 'change one's mind' period is just about up.

And such shenanigans go back a ways:
In 1984 Leslee Unruh, founder of Abstinence Clearinghouse, established a CPC in South Dakota called the Alpha Center. The first center had opened in 1967, but in 1984 Unruh's CPC was still a relatively new idea. In 1987 the state attorney's office investigated complaints that Unruh had offered young women money to carry their pregnancies to term and then relinquish their babies for adoption.

"There were so many allegations about improper adoptions being made and how teenage girls were being pressured to give up their children," then-state attorney Tim Wilka told the Argus Leader, that the governor asked him to take the case. The Alpha Center pleaded no contest to five counts of unlicensed adoption and foster care practices; nineteen other charges were dropped, including four felonies. But where Unruh left off, many CPCs and antiabortion groups have taken up in her place.

(Read more about Leslee Unruh in an article by Amanda Robb, niece of murdered abortion provider Dr Bernard Slepian.)

In a sadly ironic twist, the crap works best on religious, anti-choice women.
Religious women may be particularly susceptible to CPC coercion, argues Mari Gallion, a 39-year-old Alaska mother who founded the support group after a CPC unsuccessfully pressured her to relinquish her child ten years ago. Gallion, who has worked with nearly 3,000 women with unplanned pregnancies, calls CPCs "adoption rings" with a multistep agenda: evangelizing; discovering and exploiting women's insecurities about age, finances or parenting; then hard-selling adoption, portraying parenting as a selfish, immature choice. "The women who are easier to coerce in these situations are those who subscribe to conservative Christian views," says Gallion. "They'll come in and be told that, You've done wrong, but God will forgive you if you do the right thing."

Mirah Riben, vice president of communications for the birth mother group Origins-USA [which calls itself 'The voice of mothers who lost children to adoption'], as well as author of The Stork Market: America's Multi-Billion Dollar Unregulated Adoption Industry, says that many mothers struggle for decades with the fallout of "a brainwashing process" that persuades them to choose adoption and often deny for years--or until their adoptions become closed--that they were pressured into it. "I see a lot of justification among the young mothers. If their adoption is remaining open, they need to be compliant, good birth mothers and toe the line. They can't afford to be angry or bitter, because if they are, the door will close and they won't see the kid."

. . . .

There were nineteen lawsuits against CPCs between 1983 and 1996, but coercive practices persist. Joe Soll, a psychotherapist and adoption reform activist, says that CPCs "funnel people to adoption agencies who put them in maternity homes," where ambivalent mothers are subjected to moralistic and financial pressure: warned that if they don't give up their babies, they'll have to pay for their spot at the home, and given conflicted legal counsel from agency-retained lawyers. Watchdog group Crisis Pregnancy Center Watch described an Indiana woman misled into delaying an abortion past her state's legal window and subsequently pressured into adoption.

As they say, go read the whole thing, though if you want to check out the other links, you'll have to do it from here since I put them in.

BONUS: The first commenter, Amy Adoptee, has a blog. Go read, especially this one.

Missing the point.

Good grief. Are 'murricans as jaw-droppingly stupid as one would conclude after reading the comments posted here. Perhaps they're not missing the point, it's just too close for comfort?

Eric Zorn wrote a reflection on Chappaquiddick that analyses the monster in the room - current media practices that produce the intense feeding frenzy that follow any such event.

If we'd had insatiable 24/7 cable news networks in July 1969, the accident on Chappaquiddick Island in which a passenger in a car driven by Sen. Edward Kennedy drowned would likely have dominated the national consciousness for months.

Special programs every night devoted to nothing but pundits bickering over the depths of the 37-year-old Kennedy's responsibility for the death of Mary Jo Kopechne, 28. Town-hall-style chat shows every afternoon in which ordinary Americans issued their verdicts and sentences before the evidence was in.

Probing interviews every morning with experts offering their views on whether Kopechne would have survived had Kennedy quickly gone for help. Live remotes all day and night from the bridge, the Kennedy compound, the Kopechne home and the streets of Edgartown, Mass., near the accident where random pedestrians would be asked for their views of Kennedy's failure to report the accident to police until the next morning.

I've had the opportunity of meeting many US citizens. None shared the mean-spirited and willfully ignorant attitudes on display in the comment section after Zorn's piece. I can only hope that a minority of extremely rabid and stupid are motivated to comment in the delusion that their repeated and constant shrieeeking will drown out sensible and rational voices. In that, they show they can dutifully follow FOXNews and its imitators.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Push-Back Time

Operation Scumbag is now targetting Dr LeRoy Carhart. They've planned a demonstration for this weekend at Dr Carhart's clinic.

But pro-choice people are pushing back. Blogger Kevin Gosztola is there, reporting and Twittering. His blogpost includes a link to this Maddow interview with Dr Carhart.

I'm nowhere near Nebraska, but if I were I'd turn this middle-aged feminist body out again in defense of women's rights.

ADDED: I found this link to ProChoice America's rally for Dr Carhart at JJ's.

Always Look On The (b)Right Side of Life!

Inside the Queensway's Kady O'Malley liveblogs the H1N1 hearing: (Flu) shots all round!

ToeDancer who frequently comments at DAMMIT JANET! and who is a veritable source of wisdom and knowledge spotted this observation from Conservative MP Cathy McLeod cited by O'Malley:
Hey, did you know we were “really lucky to have SARS”? Because we were, according to the Conservative MP up now ... — it allowed us to prepare for *this*. Why, going on that logic, aren’t we lucky to be facing a possible H1N1 outbreak, since you never know when the bubonic plague might make a return appearance?
Oh my. I guess that McLeod felt prodded to speak up, given that MP Carolyn Bennett expressed strong concern about the fact that much of the preparation work was being done via conference call, and asked how well the government is measuring and testing capacity to revise “the plan”, while MP Judy Wasylycia-Leis suggested that the government was putting a “rosy face” on its readiness, but witnesses delegated by native communities were presenting a completely different version of reality, including the startling revelation that some Manitoba communities are being forced to hold fundraising drives for flu kits.

The hearing was concluded by a rousing chorus of "Always Look On The Bright Side of Life" by the members of Stephen Harper's Conservative Government.


Vicious, Vindictive Vultures

You remember the Vulture Culture, don't you?

Here is deBeauxOs's definition of it:
It's a loose alliance of fetus fetishists, religious fundamentalists, neocon rightwing authoritarians and women-haters that have come together in one MASSIVE shriek-fest for the purpose of re-criminalizing abortion. Some of them engineered last year's fiasco, The Pill Kills! campaign.

They're at it again. LifeShite sights a kill:
The director of the pro-life group Citizens for a Pro-Life Society (CPLS) is calling on pro-lifers across America to respectfully urge Cardinal Sean O'Malley of the Boston Archdiocese not to allow the passing of notorious pro-abortion advocate Sen. Ted Kennedy to be honored with a public Catholic funeral.

And other vultures begin to circle.

Vicious, vindictive, and absolutely despicable. And sooooo christian.

ADDED: If you'd like to counter the fetus fetishists' cruel campaign, I'll save you from a visit to those odious sites. Here is the contact info for Cardinal O'Malley.

phone: 617 782-2544

Organ-ized Socialism!

What is that, depicted above?

1) A spotted dick.

2) A microscopic view of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) in situ.

3) A greatly magnified view of those bits of Rush Limbaugh that he imagines threatened by the Satanic Scissors of Socialism.

But seriously folks. This latest insanity from a man who couldn't catch a view of his genitalia without a mirror, a flashlight and a block-and-tackle hoist is the convergence of 1) inflammatory lies about health care reform, 2) Birthers' loathsome hallucinations about Obama and 3) the Republicans' deepest fears regarding the loss of their political potency.

Limbaugh: You'll pry my foreskin from my cold, dead hands

If you had to whip up a too-good-to-be-true story for the right-wing pundit class to freak out over, what elements would you include? There would have to be, of course, an element of command-and-control socialist-fascist invasion and regulation of the most private parts of our lives, in the name of some spurious "common good." But that alone is a little pedestrian nowadays, so you'd want to add a nice dollop of male sexual neurosis to really kick it up a notch. Then add just a hint of racial fear and beat to a froth.


Bonus: It appears that the more rightwing Republicans unintentionally parody themselves, the more material they provide for The Onion to exploit - brilliantly, as always.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

FANS. Sarah has fans. Lots of fans.

eh. Someone on Twitter with the screen name 2012Palin has linked to one of our posts at DJ!

So I checked out what other .... erm, useful links to all things Sa-wah led to on the Web.

Oh dear. It seems that some opportunist got the scoop on a Palin mini-biography. Sarah: How a Hockey Mom Turned Alaska's Political Establishment Upside Down. Oh - a gushing, fawning review. (Have you noticed that diehard fans still think Palin is hotshit?)

I read this book while my 2 year napped in about 3 1/2 hours. I was blown away at Sarah Palins politcal sucess. For the first time in my life I am proud to really support this woman's candidancy. This book is simple and easy to read through. It is NOT all fluff, it is factual and to the point. I wanted to have an open mind about Sarah Palin's experience and was not afraid to be somewhat critical of her. She DID SHAKE THINGS UP IN ALASKA. Living in the Left Coast (CA). The way things are in Alaska makes me want to pack my bags right now and raise a family in Wasilla. Sarah Palin is an amazing true Feminist, she is what TRUE WOMAN IS ALL ABOUT AND I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE WHAT SHE DOES IN WASHINGTON. GO SARAH!
Lots of capitalized words there. Must be an affliction associated with rightwing religious disorder zealotry.

And. Also. What the hell is that woman giving her toddler in his juice? A three and a half-hour nap?

Where's Sarah?

The Queen of Iquitarod has missed another speaking engagement.
Organizers of an Anchorage event that has been billing Sarah Palin for weeks as a star speaker were left scrambling Wednesday after learning that the former governor won't be there for tonight's event and claims to have never been asked.

It would be at least the fourth time in recent months that an anticipated Palin speech has fallen through after Palin and her camp disputed they had ever confirmed it. That includes the brouhaha over whether she'd speak at the annual congressional Republican fundraising dinner in Washington, D.C., this summer.

You'd think she would have shown up. After all, it was to promote a measure close to her, um, heart -- forcing pregnant teens to tell their parents if they planned on getting an abortion.
Alaska Family Council President Jim Minnery said it was news to him when a reporter told him that Stapleton was saying Palin had no knowledge of the speech, which his group has been promoting. He said organizers have been talking to Palin "contacts" for weeks about it.

The only commenter so far at the link speculates that perhaps the fee wasn't high enough for her. Also.

Did Republican President Ronald Reagan have to mind The Fetus©™ when he died?

This post at Canadian Cynic made us think about that juxtaposition thing.

"Raphael Alexander" commented
here at Unrepentant Old Hippie, in a thread about Senator Edward Kennedy's death:
There’s going to be a kind of awkward conversation when Teddy runs into Mary Jo Kopechne up there… would make a good Family Guy skit.*
So, we have a question for The Fetus©™ fetishists and other rightwing fundamentalist christian zealots, like this
dim bulb who commented at Sarah Palin's Facebook page:
"good riddens If he makes it into Heaven (& I doubt he will with his stance on abortion) I hope that God makes him babysit all the aborted children for eternity. God have mercy on his soul."
In response to this vapidity, someone responded: "...What kind of person thinks that babysitting is a form of punishment? Do they dole out punishment in heaven?"

So, did Republican President Ronald Reagan have to mind The Fetus©™ when he died? After all, when he was governor of California, he signed in 1967 the Therapeutic Abortion Act, which was enacted to counter the thousands of illicit and often fatal 'back-room abortions' performed in the state every year.

SoCons and RepubliCons: fuelled by hate, smart as a bag of hammers and afflicted by religious zealotry disorder.

*R.A. was thoroughly spanked for his inane comment by the way. Again.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

FACE this!

Department of Justice is on the job.

An anti-abortion terrorist has been indicted.
Donald Hertz, 70, of Spokane, Wash., was indicted on charges of making telephone threats to Hern's office and violations of the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE).

The indictment was unsealed in U.S. District Court this afternoon.

Hertz is the first person prosecuted by the Justice Department under the FACE Act since Dr. George Tiller, an abortion provider, was killed in Wichita, Kan., said Justice Department spokesman Alejandro Miyar.

The threat to Hern's family came June 23, three weeks after Tiller was shot to death on May 31 while at church, Hern said.

Dr Warren Hern is a a late-term abortion provider who is also very outspoken about calling terrorists terrorists.
"This kind of terrorism has to stop," Hern, 71, said Wednesday. "I'm very grateful for the hard work the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service did to find this man who made a threat to my family."
. . .
Hern was "grateful" that the law was used in his case and said he hopes it continues to be applied in other cases where abortion providers are harassed.

If convicted, Hertz faces a prison sentence of up to six years and a fine of up to $350,000.

I wonder if Dr LeRoy Carhart's Federal Marshall protection has been restored in the light of this development. I pray so.

Will they or won't they?

Media opportunists that they are, will rightwingnutter Republicans and fundamentalist religious zealots exploit the death of Senator Edward Kennedy to advance their anti-health care reform and socially regressive agenda?

Here's the answer. The mean-spirited, the viciously vapid and from a surprising source, a moderate post. There will be more of course - has Rush Limbaugh yet spewed his loathsome doctrine?

For the record, the Kennedy clan and their dramatic mix of high-stakes philanthropy and public service, corrosive misogyny and outrageous risk-taking behaviour has often made me cringe.

Some whisper it was the patriarch Joe Kennedy's hubris that attracted the kharmic maledictions that has beset his dynasty for decades; a dramatic overstatement perhaps but still ... I sincerely hope Robert F. Kennedy's children and perhaps some of their cousins can redress whatever that cosmic affliction might be; Rory Kennedy in particular shines a bright light in that respect.

The Maine Way

At Unrepentant Old Hippie, JJ posted a video of screeching nutbar wannabe pol Glenn Moon from the great state of Michigan. In the comments, people were talking about USian border states being (generally) more Canucky than nutty.

Here's another example of 'honorary Canadians'. Maine has legalized equal marriage, so of course the the fundies are organizing against it. Good people are organizing right back.

The Maine Way.

Prayer assaults: Attack of the self-righteous!

Why do fundamentalist christians pray for bad things to happen to those who don't share their religious beliefs? And when events such as tornados or plane crashes occur, these zealots will proclaim that it's a sign from God.
In Canada, claims were made that the potential closing of abortion clinics in Montréal was an answer to prayer assaults but it turned to be a false alarm - or perhaps a false prophet, it's challenging to keep track of all the christian rightwingnuttery at times.

As JJ blogged here, in the USA, "all manner of nutjobs can and do run for office on whacky platforms". And once voted into office by the gawd-fearing, they do what they threatened to do; become a festering sore in the side of a public or governmental institution impeded in its work by the sordid scandals or Rovian tactics of aforementioned elected officials.

Such an event, replete with the MASSIVE theatrics demanded by the rightwingnutters was held last week in Minnesota.

On Wednesday Rep. Michele Bachmann was part of a star-studded “teletownhall” meeting to discuss health-care reform. The event, billed “Keeping Faith with the Unborn,” was sponsored by the Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion advocacy group. The organization’s president, Marjorie Dannenfelser, claimed that there were some 350,000 listeners on the line. Bachmann was joined by North Carolina Rep. Virginia Foxx, most famous for calling Matthew Shepard’s murder a “hoax” and former Colorado Rep. Marilyn Musgrave

... Bachmann repeated the myth, adopted early by Sarah Palin, that the health-care plans being debated in Congress would set up “death panels” to determine which old folks are entitled to health care. “Thank God that Sarah Palin said that,” she told the callers. “These are true.” In response to a caller from Minnesota who wanted to know if there was a plan afoot in Washington to require all medical doctors to perform abortions, Bachmann didn’t exactly shoot the suggestion down.

“Unless we explicitly restrict these items, I think we can fully expect that these radical pro-abortion individuals could very likely make those decisions,” she told the caller. “All of us who have labored tirelessly in the pro-life cause for years and years and years, we know what these people are capable of.”

But it was Bachmann’s fervent call to utilize prayer and fasting to beat back health-care reform efforts that was the true highlight of the call. “That’s really where this battle will be won — on our knees in prayer and fasting,” she told the

Meanwhile, over in Minneapolis, some nutjob claimed that God sent a tornado to disrupt the Evangelical Lutheran Church convention because ungawdly things were happening. Some non-fundamentalist, non-zealot religious folks held a different view. least one pastor disagrees with the idea that God sent the tornado. Marty Duren, a Southern Baptist pastor in Georgia, took issue with Piper’s conclusion.

"I have no trouble at all ascribing responsibility for the storm to God (even insurance companies did so for decades, though some now opt to term them "natural disasters"). I’m simply demonstrating the danger and seriousness with which those who claim in some capacity to speak for God, better be sure when assigning motives to Him. These types of attributions (including the wild claims of Pat Robertson over the years) open the doors for skeptics to point out the rightful contradictions in the way that we interpret events (”If a tornado bloweth upon the Lutherans, it is God; but, if a tree falleth on our house, it is an attack of Satan”). This inconsistency is a greater tool of the Evil One than any believer would care to admit.

Despite the weather, the social statement relaxing church teaching on homosexuality passed by exactly one vote. Two days later, under a sunny sky, the ELCA approved a measure to allow gay and lesbian clergy in committed relationships to serve the church.

As JJ warns: Incoming!!! We know what these people are capable of - indeed.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

More fun with headlines

Further to deBeauxOs's post on headlines and spin, I found a case of spin-doctoring in religious reporting on the partial failure of a new law throwing up more barriers to abortion in Oklahoma.

First, the Baptists. Under the headline 'Judge nixes Okla. ultrasound law', the piece laments:
An Oklahoma judge has invalidated on procedural grounds a state ultrasound law described by a national pro-life organization as the best in the country.
. . .
Sonogram machines have been important tools in pro-life pregnancy care centers' attempts to educate pregnant women about their unborn children. Such centers have reported dramatic upswings in clients choosing to give birth after viewing ultrasound images of their babies.

Yabbut, the Catlicks are celebrating, with this headline: 'Judge upholds law requiring doctors to tell women abortion ends life'.
A federal judge in South Dakota ruled Aug. 20 that a 2005 South Dakota law requiring doctors to inform patients that abortion kills a human being is constitutional.

(Note small ooopsie in the state. 'Twas Oklahoma, ye ijits.)

Depending on one's agenda -- on the one hand, forcing those dirty sluts to give birth; on the other, SHRIEEEEKING about the sanctity of life -- the judge's ruling was either a FAIL! or a WIN!

Go figure.

Me, I just love it when the anti-choicers eat their own. And each other.

When Headlines Become the Story.

Observe how different information gathering media set the spin on a story with words selected to communicate the essence of that news item - from their own particular perspective.

Here's a scrum of headlines about the findings of a scientific research project.

'Traders' testosterone' fuels female financial flutters

Testosterone May Guide Women's Careers

Testosterone-Charged Women Take More Financial and Career Risks

Ruthless women have extra testosterone, scientists show

Risky women are 'hungry for sex'

Male hormone draws women to finance

When women are bad, it's a male thing

Men less risk averse, pick riskier careers

Interestingly enough, a short opinion piece for The Wall Street Journal blogs did not focus on gender implications but rather on the effect high levels testosterone bring.

Was the Financial Crisis Caused by Hormones?

Forget whether fat bonuses or the lack of regulation encouraged undue risk taking during the credit-fueled boom. It seems risk may run in Wall Street’s blood.

The evidence? A recent study from researchers at business schools at Northwestern and the University of Chicago concludes that testosterone levels play a big role in a person’s proclivity to take financial risks.

The study, being published today in the academic journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, concludes that biology– not just society or culture drives individuals to pursue financially riskier careers and make riskier decisions. In the study, researchers analyzed the saliva of 500 MBA students at U-Chicago’s Booth School of Business and put the students through certain games. They determinted that men, who typically have higher levels of testoterone, were willing to take greater risks than women. ...

Interestingly, the researchers found that female students with higher testosterone levels also were willing to take more risks.

“We are saying that testosterone, which is a biological marker, rather then gender, makes them take more risks,’’ one of the study’s co-authors Paola Sapienza, Associate Professor at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management tells Deal Journal.

Slightly tweaking the words of The Byrds' song "There Is A Season":

For everything - spin, spin, spin
There is a reason - spin, spin, spin
And a time for every purpose under heaven.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Remember Street Theatre?

Anti-abortion terrorist Randall Terry tries his hand at it.
Other than the actors, no supporters attended Terry's protest.

. . .

Government "socialist" programs, Terry said, will lead to people refusing to pay taxes and to "random acts of violence against people in power."

US Department of Justice? You're watching this murderous asshole too, right?

Three rumours about Sarah Palin.

Take yer pick. All or none are true.

1) More rumblings about D-I-V-O-R-C-E.

Mercede Johnston, whose brother Levi is ... the father of [Bristol Palin's] seven-month-old son, said: "Sarah and Todd are fighting all the time. Todd often ends up sleeping on the couch. Bristol used to tell Levi that they would bicker over the slightest things, like who would take out the trash or wash the dishes. Sometimes Todd would just take off for days to his cabin."

According to Mercede, the couple's problems started ever since the controversy over 17-year-old Bristol's pregnancy, which sparked uproar during last year's presidential election. "Sarah let Bristol sleep with Levi when they were dating. Todd was furious about it and after Bristol got pregnant they were screaming at each other constantly," the Daily Express quoted her as saying. Mercede said the Palins' relationship turned even more bitter after their son Track, 19, was caught illegally buying alcohol using a false ID card. "Sarah pushed Track to join the military to keep him out of trouble but Todd didn't want him to go. He blamed her for making the mess worse," Mercede said.

2) She is moving to Rhode Island.

3) The jackets in her new designer wardrobe have sleeves that tie up at the back. If I were Palin, I would be very annoyed that a 20 year-old rumour about Oprah relegated the one about me, me and only me to a measly top left-hand corner of the tabloid Globe's cover.

Uterus or Brain?: Choice for Zygote Zealots.

Over in the comments after unrepentant old hippie's blogpost regarding a zygote zealot who advocates violence against abortion providers, The Fetus©™ fetishist in question, bayouchild/Jill, offers herself up as "proof" that as Gawd gave women wombs so must they breed.

It's strange, isn't it? Neither my father nor my mother made me feel that I had to choose between using my brain or my uterus. But then, I didn't grow up in a familial environment that supported fundamentalist religious gynophobia.

Thus it was possible for me to choose to give life without having to abandon the ability to reason and the capacity for rational compassion.

It appears that choice was not available for bayouchild since she utters predictable, programmed pro-natalist glurge and fundamentalist Catholic dogma. No need to engage the brain, the default propaganda simply spews out.

It's no wonder that fundamentalist Catholic men, like John "Mr Kicking Abortion's Ass" Pacheco, Italy's Silvio Berlusconi and Pope Benedict prefer women who are certifiably brain-dead but still able to breed.


Look who just dropped by DAMMIT JANET!

The US Department of Justice, using the search string 'army of god kill dr carhart'.

It couldn't be any plainer. . .

. . . than this.
Abortion trauma syndrome is a fabricated mental disorder conceived by anti-abortion activists to advance their cause and is not a scientifically based psychiatric disorder.

Me, I'm bookmarking this report so it's handy when the fetus fetishists prattle about 'post-abortion syndrome'. It's convincing and fairly short.

UPDATE: We are all well aware of the zygote zealots' disregard for logic, facts, consistency, you know, the stuff associated with cogent arguments. But they have a major problem with consistency in their view of the medical profession.

Here's LifeShite's reaction to the reiteration of APA's call of bullshit on 'abortion trauma syndrome: American Psychiatric Association Continues Denying Abortion's Mental Health Risks.

Now, why, we ask, would the totally (in their view) venal medical profession deny what according to them is a MASSIVE source of money? The fetus fetishists claim that zillions and zillions of women suffer mental disorders caused by abortion. That's a lot of 50-minute hours.

They are always SHRIEEEEKING about the 'abortion industry', 'killing babies for cash', saying basically that doctors provide abortions solely for the huge payoff. Because, you know, there is NEVER a medical need for abortion, it must be for the money only.

Yet, psychiatrists -- trained MDs -- refuse to acknowledge 'abortion trauma syndrome' just because, well, that's where logic fails. To support their murdering abortion-providing colleagues? Why?

MORE: Go read Antonia Z on this, but mostly to see the amazing Van Gogh drawing and story behind it.

Sometimes you find allies in the darndest places.

Allies are individuals or organizations that may not share the same vision or raison d'être yet choose to join forces to further a cause or to advocate for specific rights.

The humorous graphic above is from a clickable link I found on a Blogging Tory's site. I suspect that I wouldn't agree with many of Ranting Owl's opinions, but I was delighted to see the above.

From a March 18 2009 media release at Catholics4life:

Pope Not Infallible on Condoms

The Vatican has yet again been forced to revise statements made by Pope Benedict XVI as he embarked on a foreign trip. En route to Cameroon on March 17, the pope claimed that condom use would "aggravate the problem" of HIV. A transcript of the pope's comments on the Vatican's Web site altered the comment to suggest that condoms "risked" aggravating the problem.

Jon O'Brien, president of Catholics for Choice, welcomed the change as a sign that the pope is not infallible on this issue and is willing to acknowledge his mistakes. "The pope has admitted that he is unsure whether condoms can help alleviate the spread of HIV. Where there is doubt there is freedom and Catholics can make up their own minds whether they use condoms or not. Indeed, the vast majority of Catholics has already made this call and use condoms to protect themselves and their partners against STIs, including HIV.

"We call on the pope to revisit the teaching on condoms with a view to lifting the ban at the earliest possible moment. In his review, he should include experts who are unequivocal that condoms can help prevent the spread of HIV, like UNAIDS, the World Health Organization and HIV/AIDS advocacy organizations around the world."

"It took the church hierarchy 359 years to stop continuing the line taken by their predecessors on Galileo. We hope that this error does not take so long to change."

Yes. Still relevant today as it was last March.

Oh, and .... SHRIEEEK!!!

Sunday, 23 August 2009

The War for Afghanistan's Women

A terrific piece in the LA Times by Malcolm Potts about demographics and women in Afghanistan. Some tastes:
There are two wars going on in Afghanistan. One is to defeat the Taliban, and that war is not going well. The other is to liberate women, and that war has hardly begun. If the first war is won but the second is lost, Afghanistan will turn into a failed state -- a caldron of violence and misery, home to extremism and totally outside the Western orbit of influence.

One result of rapid population growth is that two-thirds of the Afghan population is below the age of 25. The primary role models for the volatile, testosterone-filled young men in this group are local warlords. The reason Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden (who, incidentally, is the 17th child of a man who had 54 children) have found a haven in Afghanistan is largely because of the mixture of loyalty and anger generated among males in such a society, in which there are no genuine economic opportunities for advancement. The word "taliban" means "student."

(I didn't know that about 'taliban'.)
A stable, modern and functioning Afghanistan is the West's goal. But it is not worth risking the death of one more American or British soldier fighting there unless there is a bold, achievable plan to educate women, enhance their autonomy and meet their need for family planning.

Or Canadian soldier.

As they say, go read the whole thing.

So where are all the rightwing law and order types?

I was just about to ask that about Fernando Manuel Alves's non-prison sentence for rape, when I noticed that Canadian Cynic beat me to it.

So, do all those interfering, condescending anti-abortion measures work?

In the comments section of a blogpost by SUZY ALL-CAPS thanking gord for the new regulations that threatened abortions in private clinics in Quebec (regulations swiftly backed away from by non-politically suicidal pols), I was arguing with HER about the impact one such closure.

I said that the closure of one clinic wouldn't make any difference.

To which SHE replied:
Sure it will. It will make waiting times longer. I said so in my blog.

Longer waits mean more time to decide to carry to term. They already said in the Devoir article that the wait times are getting longer.

I argued that longer wait times just mean more later-term abortion, more stress, more cost, yadayada. SHE replied that fetus fetishists support mandatory wait times because more women decide not to abort. I asked for proof.

SHE replied that it's just common sense.

I asked again for studies or research or, you know, anything remotely fact-like, and got a totally typical fundy answer: 'You don't need studies to prove everything.'

No, maybe not. But it sure sucks when actual facty sciencey studies prove you're mostly wrong.
An analysis by Rachel Benston Gold for the Guttmacher Institute, published earlier this year, concluded that measures aimed at dissuading women from having abortions "do not appear to be effective in ... materially reducing the number of procedures performed."

She cited a review of studies by Guttmacher, Ibis Reproductive Health and Baruch College which found that such measures "by and large ... do not prevent abortions." This review called the strategy "largely unsuccessful."

One "clear exception," they concluded, was disadvantaged women, who "often don't have the resources to navigate the hurdles" imposed by such restrictions.

Parental involvement laws "do little to affect the abortion rate," this trio concluded, with one possible exception: Such laws may have contributed to an increase in the teen birth rate in Texas where teens were not able to travel the distances required to access out-of-state services.

Waiting periods, similarly, have kept some disadvantaged women from accessing abortion because the two-visit requirement has proven insurmountable to some, but have not been much of a problem for higher-income women.

Pointing to data showing that "almost all women obtaining abortions are sure of their decision ... before they have even picked up the phone to make an appointment," Gold argues it's not likely women will be swayed by "inaccurate and emotionally laden attempts to persuade them otherwise."

Cognitive Dissonance Much?

In a round-up of short comments from readers here, this one made me snigger:
I find it ironic that some of the people who support laws requiring women to receive extensive pre-abortion counseling are the same ones resisting the health reform provisions allowing us elderly to have the information to make informed decisions concerning our end-of-life treatment. Don't I deserve the same courtesy as a fetus?

Nope. In the immortal words of George Carlin: 'If you're pre-born -- you're fine. If you're pre-school, you're fucked.'


Lakritz Wears Her Envy Proudfully.

What is it about anti-feminists? Not only are they MASSIVELY envious of other women's accomplishments, not only do they lie baldly and badly, but anti-feminists also appear incapable of doing adequate internet searches.

this CanWest opinion piece, Lakritz - yet again - gets her knockers in a knit .... errr, her knickers in a knot over patriarchy. But not over your judeo/christian patriarchy. Oh no no no. She gives religious clerics a free pass when it comes to gynophobia justified by a male-centered and thus self-interested, reading of the Old and New Testaments.

... when members of another culture engage in evildoing, we're supposed to pretend it all just falls under the rubric of domestic violence. Since domestic violence occurs in all cultures, honour killings can be conveniently lumped into that category and we can keep pretending it's not particular to certain cultures.

Nobody's even mentioned the fact that Mohammad Shafia was living in this country with two wives, one of whom died with the girls. Let's just pass completely over that form of oppression visited on these two women, for fear of offending someone.

Wrong, Naomi. I mentioned it here, when the story broke.

Basically what Lakritz says is this: Violence against women is worse, much much worse, and more evil when muslim men do it - oh, and "Where are the feminists?"

Oh really? Regardless of which gynophobic religious zealot ideology informs the child abusers, pedophiles, rapists, wife-beaters and serial murderers the end result looks and feels the same, doesn't it? Such as "honour killings" by William Pickton, Colin Thatcher and other upstanding christians.

Naomi, you are either 1) deliberately lying or 2) deliberately uninformed. In that you join other CanWest opinionists slagging feminism this summer.

Delicious update: From Dr Dawg, we read that an earlier Lakritz shrieeek has been thoroughly smacked down by Gisele Harrison, here.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Rideout: 'You are sentenced to shame'

Here Dr. Dawg reveals that the judge in the Fernando Manuel Alves rape case, the guy who called it a 'crime of opportunity' not warranting any jail time is Gregory Rideout.

Ain't Google a marvel?

At that link the Vancouver Sun reports on the sentencing in August last year of a man named Jeves who pled guilty to cocaine trafficking charges.
In a B.C. Provincial Court judgment, Judge Gregory Rideout wrote that the wrongdoings were "out of character" for Jeves, a former volunteer firefighter and self-defence instructor.

His crime is painted in the judgment as a familial fall from grace, as Rideout noted that his grandfather was an ambulance driver during the Second World War and his father is a retired chief with the Salmon Arm Fire Department.

"He has brought shame upon himself and his family. This perhaps is best exemplified in a letter filed by his father and mother who indicate that they were 'very upset, disappointed and ashamed,' " Rideout wrote.

Jeves's sentence? 18 months months conditional, no jail. Shame is enough, I guess. And having public-spirited relatives helps too.

We're not done with Judge Rideout.

BC More Lenient on Sexual Assault?

The case of rapist Fernando Manuel Alves's conditional -- no jail -- sentence got me wondering about sentencing for sexual assault in Canada in general, and BC in particular.

At the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton, I found this:
According to Statistics Canada, the median sentences for sexual assault and for other sexual offenses are both 360 days. To compare, the median sentence for robbery is 540 days. This seems deeply flawed—to violently steal property is given more weight in sentencing than to violate the sexual integrity of another human being.

I went to the StatsCan link and found sentencing data by province for 2006/2007. Here, for example, is the table for BC.

Now, if I haven't goofed up the math, it appears that BC has a significantly higher rate of conditional sentencing for sexual assault than either Canada overall or Ontario.

In BC, there were 187 convictions for sexual assault: 68 of those resulted in prison time, 48 in conditional sentences, and 102 in probation.

For Canada overall, the numbers are: 1519 convictions, 753 prison sentences, 244 conditional sentences, and 999 probation.

For Ontario, 535 convictions, 236 prison sentences, 85 conditional, and 427 probation.

(The sentences don't add up to the total convictions, I'm guessing, because probation might go with a lot of other sentences. I am not a lawyer and sit to be corrected.)

In Canada overall, 49% of convictions for sexual assault result in jail time; in Ontario, 44%; and in BC, 36%.

For conditional sentencing, Canada has 16%, Ontario has 15.8%, BC has 25.6%.

OK, this is just one time period. There may be anomalies in the types and numbers of crimes.

But, it's odd, doncha think, that Ontario and Canada line up pretty well, while BC seems quite a bit more lenient?

Just asking. . .