...once a child does exist in your womb, I'm not going to assume a right to kill it just because the child's host (some refer to them as mothers) doesn't want it to remain alive.
- State Senator Steve Martin (R-VA), via Facebook, February 17, 2014
Actually, the facebook message posted by Senator Martin has since been revised. The word "host" has been removed. ... "the child's host" has been replaced with "the bearer of the child" ...
The State Senator still begins his post with a Valentine message he received from a group of pro-choice advocates.
"All women deserve access to their full range of reproductive health options," says the Valentine message, "including preventing unintentional pregnancies, raising healthy children, and choosing safe, legal abortion - and your votes only make it more difficult for Virginians to plan and provide for their families."
Senator Martin does offer a correction to his critics. He does not suggest restrictions on contraception. "You can count on me to never get in the way of you 'preventing' an unintentional pregnancy.'"
All things considered this would be a good thing, except for the way the lawmaker defines contraception. It has been a matter beyond dispute for many anti-abortion activists that most measures commonly thought to be contraceptives are better called "abortifacients." That is because they prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg on the wall of a uterus. If a human life, with all the legal rights of personhood, begins at conception, then an "abortifacient" is an instrument of murder.
Legalities are usually unambiguous, at least in intent. At the margins, the rough edges blur. A purely libertarian view will not obligate me to run into the path of a locomotive to save another from death or injury. But few of us would hesitate to hold liable some miscreant who points and laughs at a small child playing on a track while death approaches from a distance.
As a moral question, I've been all over the map on abortion. Sometimes I think abortion is wrong, sometimes I don't. Mostly I think that, even if it is my concern, it is not my business. It should be a matter of conscience rather than law. And the conscience that the question concerns is not, and should not be, mine.
At some point, my view, like that of most people, changes. It is at that point that a potential human life becomes a human life that can and should be protected by law. For me that point is when life becomes independently viable.
When basic rights are to be curtailed, when an individual is to be compelled, it must be for a reason that is ... well ... compelling. When that happens, the right being abridged and the compelling reason for the abridgment must both be a very big deal.
This is not true for Senator Steve Martin.
As he assured his adversaries that he does not oppose unwanted pregnancies, he offers a profession of ignorance. "I'm not actually sure what that means, because if it's 'unintentional' you must have been trying to prevent it."
Incest, rape, or even spontaneous lovemaking for any purpose other than childbearing is foreign to some folks. Senator Martin does allow for recreational sex if it is not unprotected sex, although the occasional failure of contraception is not covered in his short post.
You can't cover everything at once.
He ends the debate fairly quickly. He says of these "supposed adults" - - "These folks are really sick people!"
For many anti-abortion activists, at least those who are comfortable talking with and writing to me, abortion and its prevention is a very big deal. It is identical to the prevention of murder.
But they are uniformly complacent at the other very big deal.
Taking basic rights from a pregnant, soon to be pregnant, or suspected-of-being-pregnant woman is of no consequence.
After all, she is not so much a woman as she is a host.
From the San Antonio Express-News
SAN ANTONIO — A Republican hopeful for the U.S. Senate who used a racial slur to describe undocumented immigrants has defended the language as “normal” in South Texas.
Chris Mapp, a Port O'Connor businessman, stood by his comments that “wetbacks” should be shot by ranchers and that President Barack Obama is a “socialist son of a bitch” — remarks that have created a national stir among both parties.
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From the Daily Journal, Park Hills, MO:
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri House panel has once again rejected Gov. Jay Nixon's call to expand Medicaid for about 300,000 people.
The House health and social services funding panel voted 11-4 Monday to defeat two attempts to insert the money into the next state budget that begins in July.
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What's the most boring thing imaginable?
Watching paint dry? Watching grass grow? Waiting for the History Channel to show history?
How about a news account of a series of meetings by a group of economists?
Except this group of economists is staggering like an inebriated passenger stumbling toward an airplane propeller. The propeller is what we now know as the economic crisis of 2008. Their combination of innate cluelessness and lack of information combines with our ability to see things retrospectively to form a horror show of policy.
It's like watching a television drama with little kids playing with dynamite and matches. You hold your breath, knowing this won't be good.
Every year the Federal Reserve releases transcripts from the year completed 5 years before. That puts us to 2008. Hundreds of pages of talk are now in the public domain.
People like me have trouble remembering what we had for breakfast. I still have to stop myself from putting a date from the wrong millennium on checks. But there are time periods I remember with some clarity: The first Kennedy assassination in 1963, the killings of King and Kennedy in 1968, the Nixon resignation of 1974.
And, of course, the financial collapse of 2008. The details were hazy at the time. Confusing data points were combined with the crash and near-crash of major financial houses.
The Fed meets 8 times a year. That year, they met 14 times: the 8 regularly scheduled meetings and 6 additional emergency meetings. Some were face-to-face, others were conference calls.
News summaries of the transcripts reflect a bewilderment that measures to combat economic collapse weren't working.
Part of the problem was that generations of Fed concerns had gone from preventing depression to damping down inflation. Remarkably, inflation was the major concern that kept coming up during all but the latest months of the crisis.
Someone did a word search. Until Financial Institutions actually began collapsing, the word "inflation" was mentioned as a concern 30 times as much as the word "crisis."
In fact, the shrinking of the economy was not recognized as all that serious at first. One Fed member didn't bother with an early meeting. Too busy skiing.
Good information couldn't be gotten. Economic data still takes time to compile into anything accurate and comprehensible, even to experts. The Fed was always a few months behind.
Still, the Fed reluctantly applied remedies they had never tried before. They finally reduced interest rates so low the difference between the new rate and zero is hardly worth noting.
The crisis centered around an unprecedented slowdown in the economy.
The economic crash had to impact on politics, of course. As we might expect, the uncertainty overlapped as well.
As President Obama took office, he got stunning news. The economic slowdown had been revised. It was not a slowdown at all. The economy was shrinking.
The damage was startling. The economy was actually shrinking at a rate of 3.8 percent per year. It was hard to think of the American economy shrinking at all, much less at a rate that was more than 3%.
As the new President took office, a stimulus program was proposed, then reduced, then reduced again, as "centrist" Democrats and "moderate" Republicans wavered, and pushed for a compromise in size.
I think everybody understands that the 50 billion dollars at least probably is the number of the kinds of things that needs to be cut out of this bill to get broad bipartisan support.
- Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE), February 4, 2009
Even now, Republicans ignore the economic data and the reductions in the recovery efforts. They still speak of a "failed stimulus" program.
Five years later, underemployment is still too high, the number of people that have dropped out of the workforce is astounding, unemployment remains stubbornly high and our economy isn’t growing fast enough.
- Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), February 17, 2014
What will not be seen in the 2008 transcripts are the final revised figures. They didn't come in until the following year. After the stimulus was put into effect, after the economy began reviving at a slower rate than had been estimated, the last revisions were presented.
As it turned out, the economy had not been shrinking at what would have been an astonishing rate of 3.8 percent when President Obama took office. It was actually 8.9 percent.
It is not easy to imagine how the country would have looked like today if there had been no Federal Reserve, if there had been no stimulus, if there had been no effort to keep the nearly 9 percent reduction from continuing.
As Republicans push to return to pre-crisis policies, I am reminded of a campaign summary by Chris Rock, as he described the conservative approach.
Democrats didn't cure cancer, so let's vote for cancer.
Michael J. Scott at Mad Mike's America has a sort of reverse empathy, encouraged as President Obama finally gets fed up at Republican politicians.
Tommy Christopher of Mediaite finds that Republican favorite Ted Nugent not only thinks President Obama is subhuman, but that Jews are similarly less human than normal folk. Nice, all American, fellow.
- Max's Dad considers the recent Canada upset of the US team at Olympic hockey and recalls, not the USSR, but the Tonya Harding assault by proxy on Nancy Kerrigan.
The man who killed a teenager over an argument about loud music will likely spend the rest of his life in prison. Still, it was not a verdict consistent with common sense.
The interview with the one juror who has stepped forward provided confirmation of what many of us have suspected. A majority of the jury wanted to convict the defendant for outright murder. Three holdouts refused.
At issue was whether the shooter was acting in self-defense. The definition in Florida seems to be looser than in most of the country in two respects.
He did not actually have to be in any danger from the teenager he shot and killed. He only had to reasonably imagine the danger.
- Justifiable homicide in Florida is not an affirmative defense in the same way it is in most parts of the world.
An affirmative defense shifts the burden of proof. If I kill someone and claim insanity, for example, a prosecutor does not have to prove I was in my right mind at the time. That level of proof would be a practical impossibility. In fact, it would be up to me to demonstrate some likelihood that I was out of my mind.
If that were not the case, murder would, in most cases, be legal as a matter of practicality. Oh, the legal prohibition would still be on the books. It would just be meaningless. You cannot prove that a person was sane when that person claims otherwise.
So you could kill anyone at anytime and be legally invulnerable. You only would need to claim that you were crazy. Most jurisdictions do not allow legalized murder as a matter of routine. So an affirmative defense puts more burden on the accused. Show evidence you were not sane.
Self defense stands on similar legal ground in most parts of the country. As with insanity, the degree of proof varies. But some burden of evidence is on the defendant.
When juries, out of ignorance, ignore that basic fact, obvious killers go free. After the trial of President Reagan's would-be assassin, I watched a member of the jury fumble for an explanation. Prosecution and defense experts had both testified. If experts can't agree, said the juror, how can we?
In Florida, a reasonable belief takes the definition of "reasonable" out of the hands of the law, and puts it into the imagination of the jury.
Stand-Your-Ground stands the subjective evaluation of fear on even shakier ground.
"My life was in danger" becomes "I was afraid." It only takes one juror in a trial for a capital offense to empathize with someone afraid of a teenager who would not keep his music quiet. Rudeness becomes threatening in the minds of just enough people.
The idea of a middle aged man with a weapon, faced with insolent black teens mouthing off at him over his demand to turn down the music, a man becoming furious enough to kill, fits the occasional experience of most of us. We have met individuals who seem to carry a sort of road rage with them everywhere they go. The angry old man yelling at kids to get off his lawn will sometimes have a gun.
The idea of kids taking such offense at a request to turn their music down that one of them would go into a murderous fury requires of us an imagination that lives too much on the other side of fantasy.
Sometimes the absence of evidence really is evidence of absence. The vanishing weapon, more elusive than yellow cake uranium in Iraq, the weapon police searched for in vain, was, by it's nonexistence, solid evidence not substantial enough to overcome that fantasy.
State of mind is usually allowed a role in criminal cases. Fleeing from apprehension is taken as consciousness of guilt. There was that in this case. Taking aim and firing into an automobile backing away should have provided definitive insight into what had happened moments before.
As it was, most of the jury was helpless to prevent the establishment of a legal standard. Firing into that fleeing vehicle was too much even for those who could conger up an image of a dangerous youth with deadly intent. Clearly, the defendant had crossed the line into attempted murder.
The already dead teenager in that fleeing car was not a part of that verdict.
The convicted attempted killer will likely serve the rest of his life in prison. What will be the good of demanding more? I am reminded of that old story of a convicted defendant protesting a long, long prison term. "At my age, I'll never live long enough to serve out that sentence," he cries to the judge. The magistrate responds reassuringly, "Just serve as much of it as you can."
The reason the prosecution must try the loud music case again is the legal line set by that jury, the line most of the jury resisted but could not overcome. The sentence is not as important as the standard that was set.
The killer yelled at a disrespectful youth, then got a weapon from the glove compartment of his vehicle, and fired shot after shot into the car in which the mouthy teenager sat.
But it was not until he exited his vehicle, knelt, and fired more shots into the car that was then fleeing from him, the other prospective victims racing for their lives, that he finally crossed the line into legal culpability. Right up to that point, he was within his rights.
And that cannot be allowed to stand.
From the Columbia Tribune, Columbia, MO
JEFFERSON CITY – The House Appropriations – Education Committee cut deeply today into Gov. Jay Nixon’s proposals for public schools and higher education, slashing his planned increases by more than $200 million.
But committee Chairman Mike Lair, R-Chillicothe, found $8 to address a pressing problem. The money is to be used “for two rolls of high density aluminum to create headgear designed to deflect drone and/or black helicopter mind reading and control technology.”
On the summary sheet handed out to lawmakers, the money is slated for “tin foil hats” and was tied to an amendment removing language barring the state from accepting federal grants to implement Common Core standards for public schools.
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From the Las Vegas Sun:
Hardy also would oppose the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, a federal measure that would make it a crime for an employer to discriminate against an employee based on the employee’s sexual orientation or gender identity, adding that language to a list of federally protected classes. In 2011, Hardy voted against a similar law in Nevada; Horsford supported it.
“When we create classes, we create that same separation that we’re trying to unfold somehow,” he said. “By continuing to create these laws that are what I call segregation laws, it puts one class of a person over another. We are creating classes of people through these laws.”
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The Lord is a warrior and in Revelation 19 is says when he comes back, he's coming back as what? A warrior. A might warrior leading a mighty army, riding a white horse with a blood-stained white robe ... I believe that blood on that robe is the blood of his enemies 'cause he's coming back as a warrior carrying a sword.
And I believe now - I've checked this out - I believe that sword he'll be carrying when he comes back is an AR-15.
- Jerry Boykin, Family Research Council, November, 2013
For the most part, mainstream media outlets have ignored the obvious coverage. They are, for once, just too responsible to get the job done.
I suppose that, in my heart, I have always known of that ageless quality within. I am too old to be young, but I'll never be too old to be immature. So it's time to take up the slack.
As January faded into February, the nation was fixated on record breaking cold. Some of us in St. Louis needed a laugh. We looked toward our neighbor to the East. Our willpower had been drained by a Missouri state legislature that votes to put up a statue of Rush Limbaugh (no, I'm not kidding). We turned our weary gaze to Illinois, the Land of Blagojevich. On February 1, I began to feel vindicated, my patience rewarded.
This was the headline in the Chicago Tribune:
|GOP governor candidate denies|
What kind of news organization could turn away from this sort of headline? It's true the Chicago Tribune provided the headline. But no followup of the central theme? No other publications going for a denial of allegations that no one knows about? Not even an article in the Onion?
The story itself was straightforward. It even made the headline make sense.
Dan Rutherford is a Republican running for Illinois Governor. He is not without executive experience. He currently serves as Illinois State Treasurer. And that is where the headline begins. An employee of the State Treasurer's office made some sort of complaint. Dan Rutherford knows what the complaint is and who it comes from. The attorney for the Illinois State Treasurer's office knows as well. The unknown employee knows what the complaint is. The unknown employee has an attorney. The attorney knows everything.
But outside of this group, nobody knows. Or at least they didn't know as February came to us.
So Dan Rutherford holds a press conference. He announces that a complaint has been made. He is angry about it. The allegations are false, completely false. In fact, he has ordered an investigation of the allegations which will prove that the allegations are false.
Reporters ask him what the false allegations are.
Uh . . . He won't say.
And there you have it. GOP governor candidate denies unknown allegations
Is that the best political headline, or what? Well, I thought so.
The complaint itself eventually became public. It involved sexual harassment.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, the investigation, the investigation Rutherford ordered, the investigation that would clear him, that investigation came in.
What was the result? Rutherford won't say. He says pending litigation is the reason. The employee has filed a federal suit and Rutherford says his high regard for courtroom ethics means he can't discuss the case except in court.
It makes for an even better headline.
Investigation about Previously
Unknown Allegations by Unknown
But no. The Chicago Sun Times decided to keep the story straight:
Are you kidding me?
If it had been a Democrat, you can bet Fox News would have known how to have some fun.
Florida's Alex Sink may be leading the way to a more aggressive Democratic approach:
From USA Today:
WASHINGTON -- Rep. Tom Petri says he is "distressed by the innuendo" that there is a conflict between his personal financial interests and his official actions in Washington so he took the unusual step on Sunday of asking the House Ethics Committee to investigate him.
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