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Archive for April, 2007

Parental Involvement Laws: A Popular Bad Policy

[ 0 ] April 26, 2007 |

Phoebe Maltz makes a good point about laws requiring that women under 18 obtain parental consent before obtaining an abortion. Why is it a good idea for state policy to increase teen pregnancies? This is particularly true of Brooks, who thinks that pre-viability abortions should be legal. Why on earth would we want to make it harder for the group for whom unplanned children extract the greatest cost to terminate an unwanted pregnancy?

We can argue about whether parental involvement laws should be constitutional (I will concede that they have the strongest constitutional case of the common abortion regulations.) But between the arbitrary application of bypass provisions, the fact that they’re usually superfluous for young women in stable loving families and dangerous to young women with bad family relationships, and the fact that their primary concrete effect is increasing the number of teenage mothers they’re certainly appallingly bad public policy.


Happy Confederate Memorial Day

[ 0 ] April 26, 2007 |

It’s Memorial Day for Morons.

April 26 was originally proposed as a day of remembrance by a Mrs. Charles Williams of Columbus, Georgia, who wrote a letter in 1866 that appeared in newspapers across the South asking women to pay tribute to the men who died on behalf of the Lost Cause. “We beg the assistance of the press and the ladies throughout the South,” Williams wrote, “to aid us in the effort to set apart a certain day to be observed from the Potomac to the Rio Grande, and to be handed down through time as a religious custom of the South, to wreathe the graves of our martyred dead with flowers, and we propose the 26th day of April as the day.”

Now it’s all about the dolla dolla bills, y’all:

[Col. Rusty Henderson of the Georgia Civil War Commission] said the state has so much to offer to bring in tourists interested in the Civil War History that it can’t ignore the opportunity to help further economic development in the state.

“We’re working with the economic and tourism authority to come up with an overall marketing plan for the state,” said Henderson.

This year has so far been a year of celebration for those interested in the state’s history and participation in the Civil War as January 19 was also celebrated the 200th birthday of General Robert E. Lee.

“For Georgia it’s a very good opportunity to promote tourism and history in the state,” said Henderson at the time of the Robert E. Lee Birthday celebration.

But, the state tourism authority is not only interested in drawing tourists to the state to see the Civil War historical sites, Henderson said hopes are to draw tourists to all the heritage-related sites of the state. He said the planned Civil War Trail map and travel book that will start at the Chickamaugua Trail will branch out across the state to include all the Civil War sites. There will also be opportunities once in an area to have all the other local tourism sites of the area advertised such as the Tubman Museum, the island that is still mainly habited by those of the Gullah Culture, the Native American “Indian” mounds and village sites and any other tourist attractions of the state. Henderson said there will be a web site that also gives information of the tourist attractions of the state.

“They’ll not only see the Civil War history, but all the other history,” he said. “This is just a selling idea to get them in.”

He said across the world Georgia is most famous for its “Gone With The Wind”-type history and even people who come to the states from other counties want to come to Georgia to see “Tara.” The Civil War Trail will also include a map to visit some of the old plantation homes of the state that are still in existence.

Here’s a tip to my fellow Southerners. To paraphrase James Baldwin — who observed that “if you think you’re white, there’s no hope for you” — if you’re using Gone With the Wind and the word “history” in the same sentence, there’s no hope for you.

My Strategy Justified

[ 0 ] April 26, 2007 |

Drive, in spite of outstanding reviews, has been canceled after four episodes. I feel that this utterly vindicates my policy to avoid watching any new series in its first season. If I like it, I’ll feel bad when it dies an early death. If the series survives, I can watch the early episodes on DVD or I Tunes.

It’s a foolproof strategy, as long as it’s not adopted by the viewing public at large.

Slimy Republican Operative of the Day

[ 0 ] April 26, 2007 |

Smilin’ Joe Lieberman.


It’s remarkable that the newspapers don’t demand a bit more in the way of originality. Back in 2005, Lieberman took to The Wall Street Journal to write, “More work needs to be done, of course, but the Iraqi people are in reach of a watershed transformation from the primitive, killing tyranny of Saddam to modern, self-governing, self-securing nationhood — unless the great American military that has given them and us this unexpected opportunity is prematurely withdrawn.” In fact, it sounds a lot like what he wrote back in July of 2004, when he said, “The successful handover of sovereignty to the Iraqi people last month offers fresh hope for stability and democracy in their country, but it could also mark a turning of the tide in the world war against terrorism.”

And on and on it goes. Every few months, Lieberman pops up to identify this — this day, this hour, this moment — as the turning point in Iraq and warn that withdrawal will impede the improvements. Then the country descends even deeper into civil war, and he picks a new instant when everything is on the upswing and only American will stands in democracy’s way. And, every time, the nation’s newspaper editors let him publish, no new arguments or information needed.

"That’s because all my expereiences with Colonel Angus end in embarrassment"

[ 0 ] April 26, 2007 |

Further evidence that conservative male bloggers are lazy ignoramuses in the sack:

Via Sadly, No!, we read about the latest installment of what Roy Edroso has called Ace O. Spades, Heterosexual. In a post about “how to tell if your husband is gay,” Ace declares himself no friend of Colonel Angus:

Eh, a lot of guys don’t dig [cunnilingus]. Who the hell knows what’s going on down there. It’s like H.R. Geiger giving up ink and canvas to work in the avant-garde medium of Play-Doh and bacon.

All this reminds me of Dan Savage’s notorious observation — which he later admitted was quite stupid and sexist — about vaginas looking like “canned ham dropped from the 23rd story of the Empire State Building.” Savage, of course, conceded later on that he wrote that line because — well, he’s gay and doesn’t quite know what the fuck he’s talking about when it comes to female genitalia. Not that that reveals anything latent about Ace, but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen him somewhere before:

To play the counterfactual scenario here, imagine for a moment what Mr. Spades and the wingnuttosphere would do with a woman — let’s say a young feminist blogger — who wrote the following:

Eh, a lot of women don’t like fellatio. Who the hell knows what’s going on down there. It’s like I.M. Pei giving up stone and steel to work in the avant-garde medium of summer sausage and fungus.

It’s fair to say that the reaction would inspire grotesque arias of misogyny, with Spades’ commenters — who really are making spectacles of themselves in this post — leading the way, arms churning like Masturbating Bear in a room full of underwear models. Then, of course, Althouse would chime in with something dippy and offensive to draw the attention toward herself and away from Mr. Frightened-By-Vaginas, and pretty soon we’d be arguing about “Vagina Blogging” and whether anyone should bring a vagina within 30 feet of Bill Clinton.

Sheeyit. Now isn’t the time to get into specifics with The Todd Ace, but really — if you genuinely don’t know what you’re doing when it comes to these sorts of things, you’d do well not to admit it.

Projection In Constitutional Interpretation

[ 0 ] April 25, 2007 |

Ruth Marcus on Carhart II:

Second, the Father Court Knows Best tone of Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion. “Respect for human life finds an ultimate expression in the bond of love the mother has for her child,” Kennedy intoned. This is one of those sentences about women’s essential natures that are invariably followed by an explanation of why the right at stake needs to be limited. For the woman’s own good, of course.

Kennedy continues: “While we find no reliable data to measure the phenomenon, it seems unexceptionable to conclude some women come to regret their choice to abort the infant life they once created and sustained.” No reliable data? No problem!

And I thought women were the ones who were supposed to be bad at science.

Kennedy’s opinion doesn’t merely rely on anachronistic gender stereotypes to defend an otherwise arbitrary law; his opinion consistently reflects the assumptions about defective reasoning and decision-making ability that he erroneously attributes to women. I would suggest he get his own house in order before making demeaning generalizations about an entire gender.

Hogging: Second Round Edition

[ 0 ] April 25, 2007 |

Time for a preview of the Western Conference’s second round (and since I was 8-0 in the first round, you can take these straight to the bank.) One’s enthusiasm is always slightly diminished when one’s primary rooting interest, which looked like a serious contender at the beginning of the year, is hopelessly outclassed in the first round. (They really did leave everything on the ice in Game 6, and it was still only because of Kiprusoff that it was even close.) Bard and Michael, who may be linked or appended later, have no (or only half–sorry about Michael’s angry Penguins. Bring back the scarf!) But if one can’t get over heartbreak, one really shouldn’t be a Flames or Expos fan. Onward:

Detroit (1) v. San Jose (5)
This one should be great. In evaluating the Wings , one faces the difficult dilemma: were they really great, or the Flames just really abysmal? A little of both, I guess, but there really is a huge difference between this Wings team and ’04. They’re tough, relentless, gutty, and still have a deep offense, plus Hasek looks healthy. I liked the Sharks more before the season, and you obviously have to love their top-line scoring. They could certainly win. And yet–at times this season they reminded me of the Flames at a higher level of accomplishment, a very good team that should be better. I think the difference will be at the blueline. The Sharks are thin–I still think Hannan is enromously overrated–and not only do the Wings have Lidstrom but Schneider and (amazingly) Chelios played wonderfully in the first round. I wouldn’t bet on the old guys surviving a war with Anaheim, but they’ll win this round. WINGS IN 7.

Anaheim (2) v. Vancouver (3).
A similar thing here: do I admit that I was wrong about Turco, or is the Canucks’ offense is really shitty? Again, a little from column A…anyway, if one wanted to be optimistic about the ‘nucks they could be compared to the ’04 Flames or ’03 Ducks–well coached, underrated defense, ace goaltender. But as of now they don’t have a Kariya or Ignila–the Sedins are good but not that good, and Naslund had that ability but hasn’t actually done it for two years. And the Ducks present the kind of challenge that the Ducks and Flames underdogs avoided–a similar but clearly better team. I don’t think there’s any precedent for a team having arguably the league’s two best defensemen, one a burner one a rock, in peak form at the same time. (The Devils were close, but I think by the time Niedermayer fully matured Stevens had slipped quite a bit.) I hate to say this, because I hate Burke, but as long as the two are healthy I think they’re by far the best team in the NHL, and they’ll win this one easily–Luongo isn’t a huge edge over Giguere, and the Ducks are also better offensively and tougher. DUCKS IN 5.

As for the East, because perfection is boring I’ll pick the Rangers in a 7 game upset–for some reason I think the Sabres are a year away, although they’re very good (and in retrospect trading Lydman instead of Warrener was a huge blow for the Flames.) I’ll also take the Senators in 6 in what will be a definitive series for them; I think the Devils, which no longer have an A defense, will have similar problems to the ones they had against Carolina last year.

…Berube’s hogging is here, complete with some valuable historical information about the guy who played pervo stay-at-home defenseman Moe Wanchuk. (“What did ya shay to him, Reg?”) Hopefully in the next round we’ll get more data on Billy Charles-boys, from Moose Jaw, Sakatchewan…

Memo To Camille Paglia

[ 0 ] April 25, 2007 |

Please shut up. Nobody cares. No rational person could believe the fact that creepy losers don’t have an unlimited supply of sexual partners is some sort of indictment of feminism. And even Maureen Dowd seems to have stopped short of applying this line of reasoning to the VT shootings.

At this point, it seems worth returning to the Editors’ analysis of Paglia’s inexplicable return to Salon:

Points at which she demonstrates her ignorance of the difference between being interesting and being on a job interview: 3 (plugging her unreadable piece-of-shit book; then naming both publishers; finally, celebrating her ghastly old Salon column – which was, oh by the way, THE WORST THING EVER – with the air of Napoleon returning to Paris.)

Episodes of egregious self-aggrandizement: 1 (1940-present)

Moments of unintentional comedy: 1 (complaining that the blogosphere is “numbingly predictable and its prose too often slapdash, fragmentary or drearily prolix,” and then yammering on for another 50,000 words about how geocaching is the Promethean spectacle of Dionysian abandon on a field of mythic American post-feminist manhood and how Madonna has succeeded where Spinoza failed, or whatever.)


Happy Administrative Professionals Day

[ 0 ] April 25, 2007 |

A toast to all the people who keep the nation’s businesses, private agencies and public institutions from collapsing into a sinkhole of incompetence. If it weren’t for the administrative employees in the American Studies Department at the University of Minnesota and the good people laboring away in the Arts and Sciences at the University of Alaska-Southeast, I’d be standing in line right now for soup.

It goes without saying that you all deserve higher salaries than you actually draw, but since most of you aren’t unionized, your bargaining power is severely diluted. When the revolution commences, your bosses’ homes and vehicles will be confiscated for your enjoyment. But until the sun rises on that crisp, glorious day, please help yourself to all the office supplies you can carry. Pens, post-it notes, reams of paper, computer terminals, and laser printers — go nuts, people. Sociologists call this “equity action,” but it’s actually the universe shifting subtly and temporarily toward its proper equilibrium.

Seriously. If it isn’t nailed down, take it. It’s yours.

The Truth About Celebrity Politics

[ 0 ] April 25, 2007 |

Steve nails it. For some reason, the Politics of Resentment wing of the Bush-dead-enders club seems to think that poking holes in the arguments of celebrities is some sort of major coup. (Glenn Reynolds has written at least 6 posts about Sheryl Crow this week.) What they don’t seem to realize is that the only people who give a rat’s ass what Rosie O’Donnell or Sheryl Crow or Sean Penn have to say about anything are conservatives. You’re really not sticking it to anybody; you’re just demonstrating that you’re incapable of engaging with serious arguments. (Which, if you’re still an uncritical defender of the Iraq War at this late date, pretty much goes without saying.)

Kudos to the University of Kentucky

[ 0 ] April 25, 2007 |

The Board of Trustees of my fine employer has voted 14-2 to extend domestic partner benefits. UK joins the University of Louisville as the only state institutions in Kentucky to extend such benefits. The decision has already spurred some pushback, although it seems that the leaders of the Republican Party of Kentucky have a sad misunderstanding of what the words “unconstitutional”, “patently”, and “no doubt about it” mean.

On the other side, House Minority Whip Stan Lee, R-Lexington, a UK graduate who has sought legislation banning domestic partner benefits on the state’s public campuses, spoke as if the fight has only begun.

“It’s patently unconstitutional, no doubt about it,” said Lee, referring to an amendment to Kentucky’s Constitution that limits marriage to that between a man and a woman.

“Someone’s going to file a legal challenge” against UK and U of L, he said, though he added that he might not be the one to do it. Lee is seeking the GOP’s nomination for attorney general in the May 22 primary election.

Gov. Ernie Fletcher, who is seeking re-election, said yesterday he is considering including a proposed ban on domestic partner benefits if he calls a special session of the General Assembly.

UK occupies a space much closer to the heart of Kentuckians than UL, which is why we’ll see reaction now that we didn’t when Louisville flipped. Nevertheless, a fine day.

Cheney: Americans Love Defeat

[ 0 ] April 25, 2007 |

Vice President Cheney:

“What’s most troubling about Senator Reid’s comments yesterday is his defeatism,” said Mr. Cheney. “And the timetable legislation that he is now pursuing would guarantee defeat. Maybe it is a political calculation.”

Huh. Is it my imagination, or did the Vice President just helpfully point out that the war is remarkably unpopular and that the American people want a timetable? If defeatism is the result of political calculation, then defeatism must be politically popular, right? Moreover, the Vice President seems to be asserting that the American people are wrong to want this, and that, by extension, they must suck. And democracy, too.

Am I missing something?

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