For this Blog For Choice day, Kay has a good post summarizing what legislation would be desirable. Of the legislative changes, I think that the repeal of the Hyde Amendment would easily be the most important. Because it restricts funding based not on neutral criteria like cost or medical importance but for the sole purpose of obstructing the exercise of a fundamental constitutional right, the Amendment is very constitutionally dubious. But even leaving constitutional issues aside, it’s atrocious public policy. While it’s at least possible to coherently defend an anti-choice position (at least in the abstract; defending laws that might actually be enacted as they actually work is another story), the idea that affluent women should have access to abortion but poor women should not is simply indefensible. Issues of abortion always involve class, and the Hyde Amendment is a particularly stark example.
Admittedly, the repeal of the Hyde Amendment is probably not a viable short-term goal. In the meantime, where possible pro-choicers should 1)try to restore funding in as many states as possible, and 2)work against arbitrary abortion regulations that obstruct access for poor women while producing no benefits whatsoever. As Megan says, “I don’t want loop holes for some, access for some. I don’t want anyone to have the power to decide who gets the right to choose and who doesn’t.”
Thank God for those bunker busters:
After shoveling sand from their tunnel Thursday, the smugglers hoisted the prized cargo out of the narrow shaft: bags of potato chips — a minor luxury for Gazans tired of bland U.N. humanitarian rations.
All around them, other smuggling crews were getting merchandise flowing again through dozens of similar tunnels only days after a cease-fire in Israel’s devastating offensive in the Gaza Strip.
The tunnels linking Gaza and Egypt are back in business, despite the hundreds of tons of bombs and missiles that Israeli troops rained down on them.
The air reeked from spills of newly smuggled fuel being poured into plastic barrels as winches powered by noisy generators hauled more goods out of the wood-lined openings in the ground.
At other shafts, workers were still raising only dirt as their colleagues labored underground to dig out cave-ins caused by the Israeli bombardment. Egyptian border guards manned watchtowers barely 100 yards away.
Their fast recovery underlines the difficulty of stopping the smuggling and reinforces Israel’s fears that Gaza’s Hamas rulers will use the tunnel network to bring in weapons to rearm after the offensive.
For the record, the war has been over for three days. If the point was to terrify the Gazans into submission, I’m not sure it worked…
Looks like Jim Bunning may be getting the hook:
Some Republicans are privately urging Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) to step down at the end of his term amid growing concerns that he can’t win reelection in 2010.
According to two GOP sources, leading Republican fundraisers in Kentucky are hesitant to raise money for Bunning and have told him he should not seek a third term.
“They want him to realize he’s had a good run but that it’s time to move on. These people want to win, and they realize he could easily lose this seat,” said one leading Kentucky Republican operative who requested anonymity to speak candidly.
Not terribly shocking, given that I’ve lived in Kentucky for almost four years and have never heard anyone (even Republicans) say anything nice about the august Senator. Indeed, the only thing I find surprising is that Bunning apparently still has fans…
By request, a thread to discuss the nominations. I will have a couple of movie roundup posts in the near future, but I would say that after a couple years of better-than-usual Best Picture nominations, all 5 this year are all again definitively middlebrow Oscar-type pictures, although with varying degrees of doorstopness. I do have to add the caveat that I can’t yet comment on Frost/Nixon or Forrest Gump II, although I would be shocked if the latter wasn’t the least watchable of the 5. Of the nominees, the surprisingly non-didactic and entertaining Milk would be my choice; I’ll say more about the good-but-highly-overrated Slumdog later. The Reader was a little better than it seems on paper, mostly because of the actors, but I wouldn’t say it was a good movie or anything. I was foolishly hoping that The Wrestler would get a token movie-too-good-to-win nomination, but that didn’t happen.
As many have already said, it’s good to see Anne Hathaway and Melissa Leo get nominated (I agree that the former’s movie would have merited Best Picture and Director nominations); I’m also glad to see Tomei (every bit as good as Rourke) get a supporting nod. I would have liked to have seen Kristin Scott Thomas, although the annual Meryl Streep slot does make the odds worse. Among ignored pictures, allow me to also cite Darnell Martin’s Cadillac Records, not a great movie but a very good and entertaining one that would seem to be an Oscar kind of movie in a just universe.
And, of course, the fact that An American Carol didn’t receive 15 nominations is proof that the nominations are a IslamoCommieNazi conspiracy.
…Another list of exclusions. I guess I need to see Happy-Go-Lucky?
As someone who could very much do without Kennedy worship in general and JFK worship in particular, I suppose that I’m happy, on balance, that Caroline Kennedy has removed herself from consideration to be New York’s next senator. Unlike many people, though, I never cared enough to even blog about it roughly for the reasons suggested by Dana. First, what matters most about a senator is their votes and Kennedy’s would presumably would be fine. Second, I’m not really convinced that which particular wealthy, especially well-connected person is appointed is some sort of major issue of merit or justice (and nepotism always seems a bigger deal where women are concerned; somehow, I don’t remember all the outrage over the fact that Andrew Cuomo may not have gotten his current position strictly on merit.) And, finally, however unjustified I think JFK’s reputation is the brutal truth is that it is a real political resource.
None of this is to say that I actually wanted Paterson to pick Kennedy; I would prefer a legislator with more experience and (especially) a clearer record of progressive politics, like Carolyn Maloney or Jerrold Nadler. But Kennedy probably would have been fine.
America’s Shittiest Op-Ed Columnist (Not-Named-Bill-Kristol Division), 16 January 2009:
[Bush] leaves behind the sinews of war, for the creation of which he has been so vilified but which will serve his successor — and his country — well over the coming years. The very continuation by Democrats of Bush’s policies will be grudging, if silent, acknowledgment of how much he got right.
Oh, well. At least now we have a verifiable expiration date for your standard Charles Krauthammer column — I suppose the only question is whether four days is the maximum or median shelf life. In any event, if it wants to avoid an E. Coli outbreak, the Post really ought to consider flash pasteurization.
The Bush administration authorized the waterboarding of prisoners. Waterboarding is torture. Torture is prohibited by the Convention Against Torture, to which the U.S. is a signatory. This treaty requires a state to prosecute officals under its jurisdiction who violated the treaty. The U.S. Constitution makes this treaty binding law on U.S. officials, including Barack Obama, who swore an oath yesterday to uphold the former document.
All of this couldn’t be more straightfoward as a matter of the relevant legal rules.
I asked the students in my criminal punishment seminar yesterday why the treaty won’t be enforced by the new administration against officials of the old one. A student responded, “because it would be awkward.”
That’s about right I think.
Just found a couple weeks worth of research that I believed I had lost. This means, in effect, that I have accomplished two weeks worth of work before 11am. With that under my belt, time for a beer!
I forgot to post on this earlier in the week, but indeed Marty Lederman taking over the job once held by John Yoo is fantastic news. And, of course, these kinds of actions are even better.
Drop a nickel in the can, if you have a chance.
Late for the bus, dashing out the door at 8 this morning, I scrambled to quickly record the inauguration and speech, I absentmindedly recorded CNBC’s coverage. Without getting in to the gruesome specifics, I’ve heard appallingly inane pundits on CNN, Fox News, and I tell you CNBC is a million times worse than all of them combined. I don’t believe my remote control has ever stopped there before, and I hope and pray it never will again. I swear Larry Kudlow actually started talking about what an embarrassment Geitner’s tax problems are while Aretha Franklin was singing.