Thursday, January 30, 2003

COMMENTS, ANYONE?
I've added a comments feature; we'll see how it works.
GRAY DAVIS TO VATICAN: DROP DEAD
(Link form Amy Welborn)

UPDATE: Does it seem strange to anyone else that a governor would lead a state in celebrating what was one of the great transfers of power from the state to the federal governenment? It's not as if Roe vs Wade made abortion legal in California, it just prevented California (or any other state) from enacting any restrictions on abortion.

As I commented, this seems like little more than an extended middle finger to the Vatican and the Church.

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

QUESTION ABOUT THE CONFEDERATE FLAG
If the Confederacy had won the war, do you think the Confederacy would have set up monuments to Union soldiers in the Confederate States with Old Glory waving proudly?

Didn't think so.

Monday, January 27, 2003

Sunday, January 26, 2003

Friday, January 24, 2003

THE PIRATE BOWL
John Gruden has an excellent game plan last week; I suspect he'll have another Sunday. The Bucs defensive is the real deal, and I'm not sure about the Raiders defense. So I'm predicting the Bucs win by about 10.
READ THIS
and tell me again how abortion is wonderful excercise of a woman's freedom.

Tell me again how those who defend the unborn are really just out to keep women down, and how Planned Parenthood and the pro-choice movement are the real defenders of women.

Tell me again.

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

ABORTION AND RIGHTS
One more thought ocurred to me today -- a lot of the abortion debate revolves around which right is fundamental. Is a woman's control over her body fundamental, or is the unborn child's right to life fundamental. As you would know, my position is that the right to life is fundamental, and absent this right, all other "rights" are meaningless. If you have the right to kill me for no reason, then you giving me the right to free speech is meaningless, since you could always change the rules and kill me for what I said.

Anyway, the laws making protests around abortion clinics illegal broought this home to me. The "right" to abortion is naturally fragile, and cannot stand up to protest and pressure. Those who support it recognize this, so they've pushed for all sorts of regulations on protests around abortion clinics. Thus, abortion clinics, which pro-choicers would say are a bastion of freedom, are actually among the least free places in the country, an irony that is actually lost on both sides.

I think this proves the pro-life point -- so long as there is not a right to life, there are no other rights
OK, CONSERVATIVES
Let's suppose I proposed a several million dollar state and federal program that would result in the loss of a hundred lives a year nationwide. This program would involve lots of lawyers and court proceedings, and give the state the right to take a life. The main purpose of this program is to make people who have had bad things happen to them feel better.

Guess what? That's the death penalty, or at least the case George Will made for it in Sunday's column.

I'm sure most conservatives would say that the government shouldn't be in the business of making people feel better. But not Mr. Will. No, Will writes that because Ryan commuted the death sentences, "his cavalier laceration of the unhealable wounds of those who mourn the victims of the killers the state of Illinois condemned."

So, Mr. Will is admitting that the wounds are unhealable, yet the government should keep the program in place in a vain attempt to heal them.

Mr. Will is right about one thing, the death penalty is a government program. A failed one, as its goal is to do the undoable, heal victims' families of their grief over a loved one. Its fate should be the same as any other costly government program with impossible goals -- elimination.
REGARDING A.N.S.W.E.R
I wonder what the press reaction would be if today's Right To Life march were organized by Operation Rescue or some other group that believes in murdering abortionists.

Oh, wait, the Today show linked them together anyway. What a pathetic double standard...

REASONS FOR HOPE
As we mark this terrible anniversary, and mourn the 40 million lives lost to abortion there are some signs that a culture that has often been afraid acknowledge that abortion is the lease bit troublesom may be loosening up.

Slate has chosen this week to publish a dialogue between two women who have experienced miscarriage about a book concerning the pain of miscarriage. It's interesting timing to say the least. While we mark the anniversary of the unborn being declared to have no legal status, these women are describing the emotional heartbreak that comes with one of these tiny ones dying. Yes, it's hardly a valentine to the pro-life movement, but it's a sign of a lack of hostility to the notion that a fetus is more than "a cluster of cells."

Amy Welborn points to a guest on The View who described how she thinks having an abortion had a devastating impact on her life. Again, it's quite surprising that such a story would be given this forum during this week.

I don't know if these things will save any unborn lives, but they are signs that the culture is beginning to accept that unborn children are indeed worth of rights, and this notion that they aren't is doing real damage. That's a reason for me to continue to have hope that, as the Holy Father envisioned when he was in St. Louis, "the United States will be 100% pro-life."

UPDATE: To be clear, I am not trying to imply that the anguish and suffering these women have experienced is a good thing because it might help the pro-life movement -- their suffering is real and terrible. What is good is that they are being given a forum in which to share their stories, and this makes a Paschal Resurrection possible -- creating new life out of death and suffering.

Sunday, January 19, 2003

POST-DISPATCH TAKEDOWN
I’m in a bit of a foul mood after the Eagles loss today, so I figured I’d channel my anger toward a deserving target – the St. Louis Post Dispatch editorial page, which devoted today’s lead editorial to a call to arms for the pro-choice movement.

I’ll post it here, along with all the myths, distortions, and leaps in logic, since the editorial reads like a greatest hits album of fallacious pro-choice arguments.

Thirty years later
HAVE WE forgotten so soon?

I haven’t forgotten. The thirty million unborn children who have has their lives terminated haven’t forgotten. And I bet the women who have procured those abortions haven’t forgotten either.

Have we forgotten Estelle Griswold, who was prosecuted for the
"crime" of running a birth control clinic in New Haven, Conn., 40
years ago? It was her fight to provide birth control to married women that
persuaded men in black robes to recognize that a person's most intimate
decisions should be protected from legislative busybodies.

A couple things here. This is the first attempt at implying that men have no right to say anything about abortion. Yes, the editorial doesn’t come out and say it, but the implication is pretty clear with the contrast between “men in black robes” and “a person’s most intimate decisions. Frankly I’m surprised that line didn’t read “woman’s most intimate decisions” – that’s a surprising bit of restraint.

Second is the phrase “legislative busybodies.” The implication being that those wishing to institute legislative protections for the unborn are acting out of a desire to mess in everybody else’s business rather than a deep concern about the destruction of unborn life, and how that effects the dignity of all human life.

Have we forgotten the thousands of women - friends, mothers, wives, sisters,
daughters - who lost their lives before Roe v. Wade(, when back alleys
and coat hangers were the reality, not just rhetorical flourishes?

This is an interesting sentence. The author is admitting that talk about back alleys and coat hangers is nothing more than rhetorical noise from the pro-choice movement, yet employs it anyway.

Have we forgotten that half a million women around the world die each year from
causes associated with pregnancy and childbirth, including the absence of
family planning?

Here the author is apparently attempting to lay all these deaths at the feet of the pro-life movement. How many of these women would have gotten abortions, had they been available? For how many of these women would abortion have saved her life? How many of these women’s lives could have been saved with improved medical care other than abortions? The writer doesn’t provide answers to these questions, likely because the answers wouldn’t help in blaming the pro-life movement for these deaths.

It’s especially puzzling that the writer seems convinced that the answer to these deaths is more abortions – more death. Shouldn’t we be responding by struggling to provide prenatal care for these women, rather than destroying the child, the source of the problem?

Again, it’s puzzling that the Post-Dispatch seems so quick to suggest violence as a solution to deaths from childbirth. Saddam Hussein’s regime causes lots of death and suffering in Iraq. Would the Post-Dispatch say that that alone makes the case for war? I don’t think so.

Thirty years after Roe, too many of our leaders have forgotten. Or maybe
they never knew. On a national level, President George W. Bush is leading a
broad offensive to restrict abortion rights and family planning. In Missouri,
House Speaker Catherine Hanaway and Senate President Pro Tem Peter Kinder, both
Republicans, are leading that cause.

Those who would take away a woman's constitutionally protected right to
abortion act out of deep moral and religious conviction. Backers of women's
reproductive rights must reply with the same moral clarity. A woman has an
inalienable right to control her own body. The word "liberty" in our
Constitution would be emptied of its meaning if it did not encompass this most
intimate of rights. That is essentially what the Supreme Court said in Roe. It
was right, and the majority of Americans agree.

A woman's right to control her body and her reproduction is fundamental to
equality. Women cannot be free to choose their own roles in society unless they
can control their reproductive destiny.

These last two paragraphs contain so many myths and distortions; I scarcely know where to start.

First is the statement that the Roe decision is Constitutionally sound. Constitutional experts on both sides of the issue agree that this was one of the flimsiest decisions in the Court’s history.

Second, the right to life, or more specifically the right not to be killed, is much more fundamental than the right to destroy a fetus growing inside one’s body. If I have the right to kill you, then you don’t have any rights at all. The right to life is the most fundamental – there’s a reason why it’s always listed first, before “liberty.”

Third is the popular myth that those wishing to protect the unborn are really just trying to keep women down hiding behind a respect for life facade.

We all know that there is only one way for a woman to get pregnant. So unless someone is promoting legalizing rape or forced arranged marriages, they are not seeking to remove a women’s right to ”control their reproductive destiny.

Finally, absent from all these platitudes about women controlling their reproductive destiny is any consideration for the many women forced to have abortions in countries like China. Seems like that’s a much more fundamental affront to a woman’s right to control her family size than any limit on her ability to destroy unborn children she has already acted to conceive. Yet the Post-Dispatch seems much more concerned about bans on late term abortions in the US than forced abortions in other parts of the world.

Mr. Bush has not said, in so many words, that he wants to overturn Roe.
But nearly every action he has taken in this area has been hostile to abortion
rights. He picked as his attorney general one of the nation's leading abortion
foes, John D. Ashcroft. He has nominated anti-abortion judges to the federal
bench and plans to put more conservative justices like Antonin Scalia on the
U.S. Supreme Court. And, even though Mr. Ashcroft said that abortion law was
settled, he has backed Ohio's partial-birth abortion law and similar
legislation in Congress.

Antonin Scalia is already on the Supreme Court, so I doubt he’d be nominated for another seat.

Notice that the only domestic evidence the Post-Dispatch can bring as evidence of Bush’s hostility is the tired invocation of Ashcroft as a bogeyman, and his support for a ban on the heinous practice of partial-birth abortion, which most American support.

Overseas, Mr. Bush reimposed Ronald Reagan's gag rule prohibiting any U.S. family
planning funds from going to groups in other countries that provide abortions
or abortion counseling, even if they use their own money. . Then he froze $3
million in funding for the World Health Organization because it was spending
money on mifepristone - the abortion drug. Mr. Bush even withdrew support of
the international women's rights treaty that said women should "decide
freely and responsibly on the number and spacing of their children."

At home, the Food and Drug Administration is reviewing the safety of
mifepristone, per Mr. Bush's campaign promise. Administration officials ordered
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to remove Web pages on the
effectiveness of condoms and factual information debunking any causal link
between abortion and breast cancer.

Meanwhile, Ms. Hanaway and Mr. Kinder have an aggressive agenda. Mr. Kinder is
sponsoring an odious bill that would require a physician to give women seeking
abortions false information, telling them there is a link between abortion and
breast cancer. Ms. Hanaway is pushing a bill that would require those under 18
to obtain parental consent for contraceptives. In a perfect world, parents
should be involved in this decision; in the real world consent would mean more
unwanted pregnancies and more abortions.

Hey, I thought the Post-Dispatch thought that that “a person's most intimate decisions should be protected from legislative busybodies. “ Apparently, the values a parent chooses in raising her children isn’t a “most intimate decision” and is thus fair game for legislative busybodies, school officials, and anyone else who thinks they know better.

Also, the Post-Dispatch provides no source or back-up for its contention that the abortion-breast cancer link is false. This link is far from debunked. The most serious debunking of this I could find was from Planned Parenthood, in an article with a very high rhetoric-to-science ratio. And Planned Parenthood is a hardly disinterested party, considering they make a lot of money from abortions. I suspect the Post-Dispatch would have little sympathy for tobacco or food companies if they were aware of a similar link between their products and cancer and they failed to inform the public, and were working hard to suppress evidence of such a link.

No longer can those who believe in the abortion right sit complacently on the
sidelines and rely on a one- or two- vote majority on the Supreme Court. They
must mix it up in the political arena with the better-organized, more vocal
foes. They must explain the moral basis of the abortion right and make sure
that Americans never forget what life was like for women before Roe.

And those who believe in the unborn’s right to life can go pound sand.

This paragraph summarizes the preaching to the choir style of the editorial. It isn’t meant to convince anyone; it’s just meant to scare those with some sympathy to the pro-choice movement into greater involvement, similar to the NYT editorial Andrew Sullivan took down last week.

I didn’t realize that “cheerleader for the abortion movement” was part of the Post-Dispatch editorial page’s mission.If it is, it kind of hurts its ability to do anything else.

Saturday, January 18, 2003

GO EAGLES!
We've turned green here in support of the Philadelphia Eagles. We'll stay this way until their season ends.

Wednesday, January 08, 2003

SIMPLE OR COMPLEX?
Fred Kaplan has a good analysis of why the adminstration's policy towards North Korea is different from it's policy towards Iraq.

I seem to remember about the time of the "axis of evil" speech, Bush's critics were lamabasting him for seeing things in black and white and failing to respect the complexities and nuances of the real world. Now his critics are criticizing him for "inconsistency" for not pursuing war against North Korea while pursuing war against Iraq. Seems like people are desperate to criticize.

Tuesday, January 07, 2003

NFL THOUGHTS
I'm glad the Falcons beat the Packers. All this Lambeau mystique talk had grown tiresome. Call me whatever, but there's something a little too cutesy about this whole "frozen tundra, cheeseheads, Lambeau leap, brats & beer, owned by the people of Green Bay" stuff that goes along with the Packers. Yes, I suppose it's good that a town like Green Bay, Wisc. can be home to a successful NFL franchise, but none of that changes the fact that this year's Packers were an average team that feasted on a terrible division. They were occasionally raised above average by their great quarterback. Anyway, good riddance!

I like Tony Dungy, but this is the third straight year that his team has gotten clobbered in the first round of the playoffs and basically quit. He's got to find a way to ratchet up the intensity. The Niners and Steelers reponded to their big deficits with inspired play; the Colts looked like they couldn't wait to get off the field.

Boy, the Giants did a great job of not letting the 49ers blow that game on Sunday, huh? Between matching Terrel Owen's dumb penalties and not executing the fild goal, they gave a lesson in grasping defeat from the jaws of victory.

Monday, January 06, 2003

ST. BLOG'S -- ALL GROWN UP?
I should note here that I never much cared for the term "St. Blog's." It seemed strange to me that lots of us Catholics, all memebers of parishes that doubtless need ministering, would need to create a new virtual parish to minister to. But, anyway.

Lots of the "Catholic blogs" were formed in reaction to the sexual abuse sacandals (or "the Situation" -- another phrase I could do without, but that's another topic). Often, they seemed dedicated to pin blame for the scandals on one group of Catholics or another, or for the groups accused to defend themselves and launch invective back. The result was not exactly a wondrous display of Christian charity, and I despaired of it on a couple occasions.

But when I look around now, I see what I was hoping to see months ago. Mark Shea has a great discussion going on with his readers about the Holy Father's teaching on the death penalty. Gregory Popcak has an interseting discussion on how to judge whether a song is appropriate for Mass (that is thankfully free of words like "dreck" and comparisons of Marty Haugen to Satan). Kairos Guy has an interesting reflecion on what heaven is like. There's also been a number of great rejoinders to the cloning news.

This what I hoped the blogs would be. Boldy confronting the Culture of Death, and amicably discussing different takes we have on Chruch teachings, without saying that the fact that others see things differently is the reason why boys were raped. I don't mean to sound like, "We must stop fighting amongst ourselves and unite against our Common Enemy!", since many of the differences we Catholics have with each other are important, and the answers to these struggles matter. But I, for one, am happy to see the new tone that's emerged as the Catholic weblog has matured, and I hope it continues, and will work to ensure that I'm not the reason it doesn't.