I was asked to write a statement [for a San Francisco “reproductive rights” rally – CF] that very specifically engaged with the issue of abortion rights. Of course, I was in favor of women’s abortion rights, but I did not want to take women’s abortion rights out of the context of the broader conglomeration of issues that constitute women’s reproductive rights.
At that time, we had learned that vast numbers of Native American women had been sterilized. We’d also learned about the extent to which Puerto Rican women were used as guinea pigs by pharmaceutical companies in the production of what was then the new birth control pill. So, I wrote a statement in which I tried to make connections between women’s reproductive rights and women’s right to be free from forced sterilization. The statement wasn’t read.
My position was, I cannot talk about abortion rights in isolation from these other issues. I’ve come to understand that when we talk about feminist epistemologies, we speak precisely about the ability to think, together, about things that often do not cohabit the same analytical space.
My latest Live Action post:
Francis Grady, the 50-year-old Wisconsin man who set fire to a Planned Parenthood clinic in Grand Chute, Wisconsin, is pleading guilty to his crime, bringing the mystery that began Sunday night to a relatively quick close:
The criminal complaint indicates police say Grady used a hammer to break a window, and poured gasoline from a plastic bottle to start the fire.
After being arrested, the complaint states Grady admitted to officers, “I lit up the clinic.”
His motive for what he did? He said “because they’re killing babies there.”
Talking Points Memo reports that authorities are now investigating whether Grady had any prior involvement with the Wisconsin pro-life movement:
Grand Chute Police Chief Greg Peterson said investigators in the case learned that Grady may have been involved in past protests at the office. The information was so far unconfirmed, Peterson said, but it is being looked at closely by the team of local and federal investigators handling the case.
“There was some indication that surfaced at some point that he has been involved in some of the demonstrations,” Peterson told TPM. But the chief described the information as coming from “someone who didn’t have direct knowledge,” so there was still more work to be done.
If Grady was passionate enough about abortion to attempt arson at an abortion clinic, then I’d be more surprised if he didn’t attend a pro-life demonstration or two. But the significance of that would be what, exactly? Whenever you attend any decent-sized rally or protest, odds are you’ll have in-depth interaction with only a few people.
Read the rest at Live Action.
Teachers reprimanded two seven-year-old boys for playing army games – because it amounted to ‘threatening behaviour’.The youngsters were disciplined after they were spotted making gun-shapes with their hands.Staff at Nathaniel Newton Infant School in Nuneaton, Warks., even told the boys’ parents to ‘reprimand’ them.A father of one of the boys said: ‘This is ridiculous. How can you tell a seven-year-old boy he cannot play guns and armies with his friends.‘Another parent was called over for the same reason.
‘We were told to reprimand our son for this and to tell him he cannot play “guns” anymore.
What prevents kids from misusing either is instilling in them a much broader ability to distinguish between reality and fantasy, as well as a basic respect for human life. The likelihood of misusing a gun isn’t an isolated issue that pops up in a vacuum. It’s either symptomatic of, or enabled by, broader problems that telling kids what they can’t play at recess just isn’t gonna solve, such as bad parents who don’t safely lock up their weapons or don’t teach their kids morality and responsibility.
Indeed, in their zeal to end “threatening behaviour” wherever it arises, the practical effect of such rules is more likely to be the message that military and police service aren’t something children should emulate or look up to, because they’re inherently “threatening” professions.
My latest NewsRealBlog post:
Last I checked, we were supposed to be heading towards a new Golden Age of Civility in which everyone will respect each other’s views, police their own side’s misbehavior, and, above all, make sure to never, ever, ever say anything that could possibly be misconstrued as a call to violence. Well, apparently some lefties in Madison, Wisconsin didn’t get the memo; the Mercury Players Theater is putting on a play about a group of young leftists who decide to start murdering conservatives—and not metaphorically:
Five lefty graduate students in Iowa City gather for weekly dinners to revel in their shared (and sometimes smug) world view. The first dinner we witness ignites a surprising shared mission when one of the students invites the truck driver who offered him roadside assistance to join them. This young man, a patriotic Desert Storm vet, first startles the group when he insists on saying grace before the vegan meal and then goes on to praise Hitler, alarming and repulsing the other dinners. Threats and violence ensue, and one of the hosts stabs him.
As he lies bleeding on an area rug, the quintet, after some debate and initial hand-wringing, decide that they have done society a favor by eliminating him and silencing his dangerous words. They also decide that since participating in protests and sit-ins has been a futile way to fight the power, this new dinner party/murder method may be a more effective technique in coping with right-wing adversaries.
Soon a parade of special guests is invited to dine, and when their dinner conversation proves repellent, they are given poisoned wine and buried in the backyard. Our smarty-pants grad students toast themselves for making a difference each time and feel vindicated when they learn that their first victim, the trucker, was implicated in a heinous crime.
Things come to a head when their final guest, an infamous right-wing talk show host, turns out to not fit the stereotype they expected, leading four of the five to regret their killing spree. The apparent moral of the story, that killing people over differing views is wrong, is also the defense for its shocking subject matter:
“By the end of the play, everyone turns such a corner and you realize how devastating it really is to go down that path,” said [director Doug] Holtz.
The audience seems to concur, with some saying the play jabs at extremists on both sides of the aisle.
“I think it plays on both sides,” said audience member Heather Stotts. “I think it’s obvious this is a show that pokes fun at liberals as well as conservatives.”
Okay, fine. The play isn’t telling people to go kill conservatives. But Sarah Palin wasn’t telling Republicans to kill Democrats, either, and according to our liberal betters, that didn’t matter—the very use of violent imagery in the context of political opposition was allegedly enough to put the idea into people’s heads.
My latest NewsRealBlog post:
Even by the Left’s usual standards, the shamelessness and dishonesty of their reaction to psychopath Jared Loughner’s shooting spree in Tucson, Arizona—blaming his actions on the allegedly violent and inflammatory rhetoric of conservatives—is almost without peer. It became clear fairly early on that Loughner had serious mental issues and bizarre, apolitical reasons for hating Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. That did not prevent leftist politicians, journalists, commentators, and celebrities from smearing their political foes as accomplices to murder, however. To date, only one notable left-of-center figure—Kirsten Powers—has had the integrity to condemn this smear campaign.
This isn’t new—leftists have a history of blaming conservatives for apolitical crimes (sometimes they even blame conservatives for leftist crimes). In reality, the Left doesn’t care in the slightest about elevating our political discourse. The clearest indicator of their insincerity is that they never hold their own to these standards. The Left’s record of hate and vitriol is the stuff of legend, and while the media likes to forget about it, leftists commit acts of violence, too. Let’s remind them.
In September 2008, Crowder was busted outside of the Republican National Convention for possession of a Molotov cocktail. It turns out his planned good old-fashioned rioting was a group outing—he came to the convention from Austin, Texas, along with a radical organization called the Austin Affinity Group:
The group brought a rental trailer with them that contained 35 riot shields, made from stolen traffic barrels. The intended use of the shields was to help demonstrators block streets near the Xcel Energy Center in order to prevent convention delegates from safely reaching the convention. St. Paul Police seized these shields on Aug. 31.
According to trial testimony, McKay and Crowder, angered by the loss of the shields, purchased supplies for constructing Molotov cocktails at a St. Paul Wal-Mart on Aug. 31, including a gas can, motor oil and tampons. They also purchased gasoline at a gas station. They then manufactured the eight Molotov cocktails at an apartment on Dayton Avenue where they were staying.
During a FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force investigation, authorities learned through an informant that McKay and Crowder had manufactured the Molotov cocktails. Crowder was arrested on Sept. 1 for disorderly conduct during an RNC demonstration.
During a conversation overheard by law enforcement through electronic surveillance on Sept. 2, McKay told an informant that he intended to throw the Molotov cocktails at police vehicles parked in a lot near the Dayton Avenue apartment. The parking lot was used as a checkpoint area for vehicles entering the security perimeter around the convention site. It was visibly patrolled by the U.S. Secret Service, various police agencies and the military.
I have great respect for the man’s passion and intellect, but how he can read Joe Scarborough’s column jumping on the defamation bandwagon and conclude that the man is “well-meaning” – especially since Hewitt himself says that Scarborough, acting in his capacity as a major, professional publication’s “chief conservative columnist,” made the argument “a week after it had been discredited” – is beyond me.
So, “well-meaning” people can make defamatory arguments they know not to be true? Really?
Like far too many people, Hewitt talks as though politics is just a game or a sport, not a matter of basic right and wrong with the American people’s liberties and well-being in the balance. Rather than condemning Scarborough’s actions as dishonest, unethical, immoral, and dishonorable, Hewitt gently chides him as if he’s merely been caught traveling in basketball.
If we finally want to get serious about defeating the Left and their unconscionable tactics, this simply won’t do. It’s high time our elected officials and commentators alike get the message.
My latest NewsRealBlog post:
In the wake of this weekend’s shooting in Arizona, the opportunists of the Left barely waited for the bodies to cool or for confirmation of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ fate before pouncing on what simply had to be the atrocity’s root cause: Sarah Palin. Even though indications of culprit Jared Loughner’s true mindset started appearing on the very day of the shooting, agenda-driven vultures proceeded to lecture Palin on everything from what she needed to say to the proper level of remorse she needed to display.
On Wednesday, the former governor responded, in a stirring statement that mourns for the victims, defies her persecutors, and affirms the strength of American democracy:
If you don’t like a person’s vision for the country, you’re free to debate that vision. If you don’t like their ideas, you’re free to propose better ideas. But, especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.
There are those who claim political rhetoric is to blame for the despicable act of this deranged, apparently apolitical criminal. And they claim political debate has somehow gotten more heated just recently. But when was it less heated? Back in those “calm days” when political figures literally settled their differences with dueling pistols? In an ideal world all discourse would be civil and all disagreements cordial. But our Founding Fathers knew they weren’t designing a system for perfect men and women. If men and women were angels, there would be no need for government. Our Founders’ genius was to design a system that helped settle the inevitable conflicts caused by our imperfect passions in civil ways. So, we must condemn violence if our Republic is to endure.
As I said while campaigning for others last March in Arizona during a very heated primary race, “We know violence isn’t the answer. When we ‘take up our arms’, we’re talking about our vote.” Yes, our debates are full of passion, but we settle our political differences respectfully at the ballot box – as we did just two months ago, and as our Republic enables us to do again in the next election, and the next. That’s who we are as Americans and how we were meant to be. Public discourse and debate isn’t a sign of crisis, but of our enduring strength. It is part of why America is exceptional.
Of course, being Sarah Palin, she’s damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t, and so the Daily Beast’s Howard Kurtz (who admits the initial attacks against her were “unfair”) has panned the speech as not presidential enough:
Blood libel, for those who are not familiar, describes a false accusation that minorities—usually Jews—murder children to use their blood in religious rituals, and has been a historical theme in the persecution of the Jewish people.
Had Palin scoured a thesaurus, she could not have come up with a more inflammatory phrase.
Yes, because when you’ve been defamed as an instigator of multiple homicide by people who know better, the important thing to do is ensure you don’t rub anyone the wrong way.