Sunday, May 31, 2009

Congratulations to Pro Life Crowd

For encouraging some of the most twisted logic one can imagine. Abortion is murder. But apparently shooting doctors who perform abortions is righteous? Dr. George Tiller of Wichita, KS was killed at his church Sunday morning. NYTimes Story here.

This crew is nothing less than disgusting. Operation Rescue (which has spent much time demonstrating at Tiller's clinic) issued a comment condemned the shooting as a "cowardly act." Of course, this is the same organization that refers to Tiller as a monster who gets away with murder on their website. Ex O.Rescue founder Terry called Tiller a mass murderer. So what does Terry have to say about Tiller's death?
We grieve for him that he did not have time to properly prepare his soul to face God." I am more concerned that the Obama administration will use Tiller's killing to intimidate pro-lifers into surrendering our most effective rhetoric and actions. Abortion is still murder, and we still must call abortion by its proper name.
I can think of a whole lot of names for Terry and the ORescue crowd. None of them proper.

20 Years Ago

Twenty years ago this week I was living in a wretched little apartment two blocks away from the Chinese embassy building here in DC. I watched with all of us in horror as the Chinese government sent tanks and troops into Tiananmen Square to crush the Chinese students' protest for democratic government. And I was one of many who spent the next few days planted in that tiny, triangular park in front of the embassy in protest. Before long some creative protesters had added a small, defiant "Goddess of Democracy" statue to the park, standing in silent protest and condemnation of the embassy across the street.

News channels have already started the anniversary stories on the Tianamen crackdown and massacre. Images stay with us. A lone man in a stand off with a line of tanks the day after the attack on the square perhaps the most iconic. The stories will note that we still do not know how many people died that day 20 years ago in the square. The Chinese government will decline to comment on the story. But what we will see and hear most of all will be how things have changed. How students who were killed for advocating democracy have become students who listen to music on ipods, surf the web, own property and enjoy the right to determine what they want to do in life.

Some stories may ask us to conclude that the students of 1989 have won the long battle. I would disagree. The Chinese government has used economic freedom to distract the people from political freedom. Shiny new toys do distract for a while. But they do not distract forever. The voices of 1989 will rise again, and this time I believe they will persevere. I believe the people who died that night at Tianamen Square will be heard again. I can't wait to listen.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

When is an Insult Not an Insult?

I would say it's when a Latina judge says she would like to think that "a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life." To me that's a no brainer. I don't see the term "Latina" as much as I see the term "woman" and "richness of expereince" and can only agree with the statement. I've lived my entire life in a world dominated by white men whose life experiences don't much match mine, those of women I know, or those of men of color I know. And honestly, I do think that life experience can be a critical component of making a good judge.

I have to say something I find fascinating has been the ease with which some white men have fallen into the "we're the victim in all of this" mentality that they bitterly attacked during the women's movement and civil rights era. I think it's that interesting turn around more than just about anything else that I have found greatly amusing in the rants of Gingrich or Will or all the other poor white middle age very rich men who are now crying their hearts out about injustice.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Remembering the Women

In WWI, 359 servicewomen are known to have died - influenza, vehicle & aircraft accidents the causes.
WWII - 543 women died, again vehicle accidents. 16 Army nurses died from enemy fire.
Korean War - 17 women died, vehicle accidents.
Vietnam - 8 women died, vehicle accidents, a suicide and one hostile fire.
First Gulf Wars - 16 women died, vehicle accidents and hostile fire.

Iraq and Afghanistan
Almost 170,000 female American soldiers have served in the Iraq/Afghanistan wars since 2003. One in every 7 troop members is a woman. They are 15% of the active duty forces. More than 450 women have been wounded in Iraq to date, 71 have died.

Who are these women? Where are they from? They include Michelle Ring, who was killed on July 5, 2007 by enemy mortar fire in Baghdad. And Tracy Lynn Alger, killed in Shubayshen, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated near her vehicle on November 1, 2007. Megan McClung from Coupeville, Washington, killed on December 6, 2006 in Al Anbar province, Iraq and Lizbeth Robles from Puerto Rico, who died on March 1, 2005 of injuries sustained in a vehicle accident. They are daughters, sisters and mothers. Women who, as The Navy Times poitns out, too often have to fight more than the enemy. The Navy Times looks at the toll of war on some of those troops here. Sadly, as NT points out, serving in a war as a woman can mean a greater risk from fellow troops than from the enemy.
Word among female troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan is they are more likely to be raped by fellow soldiers than killed by the enemy. One statistic — the 9-to-1 ratio of men to women in the military — works against women’s safety, Wells said.
This is the "The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq" Helen Benedict writes about in her new book, "The Lonely Soldier." As we remember the sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform through the centuries, let us not forget that far too many of our troops continue to fight on two fronts.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Obama's Speech at Notre Dame

If you haven't had a chance to read the speech in its entirety, click here, it is worth the read. The President covers many issues, including the abortion debate and the current state of the nation and the world. But there was one paragraph that touched me the most. One that speaks to each of us individually, reminding us that we are not islands, but each responsible for the other.
So many of you at Notre Dame – by the last count, upwards of 80% -- have lived this law of love through the service youʼve performed at schools and hospitals; international relief agencies and local charities. That is incredibly impressive, and a powerful testament to this institution. Now you must carry the tradition forward. Make it a way of life. Because when you serve, it doesnʼt just improve your community, it makes you a part of your community. It breaks down walls. It fosters cooperation. And when that happens – when people set aside their differences to work in common effort toward a common good; when they struggle together, and sacrifice together, and learn from one another – all things are possible.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Ok, This Type of Thing is Usually Below Me, But . . .

Sometimes I just can't resist irony, even if it comes wrapped in one of those stupid brain-dead stories that cable news pays way too much attention to. And so yes, here I am, also paying attention to it. But it's ok, because it's for the irony :).

Carrie Prejean aka Miss California, who let first got national attention after letting folks know that she finds gays to be unnatural, was, at the time of that statement, sporting a pair of . . . well let's just call them "unnatural" breasts. Yup, the woman not only had a boob job, but one paid for by the California pageant.

Cheney, Pelosi, and Notre Dame, Oh My

Things have been lively since my last post. The big Dick has been everywhere on TV (he didn't get this much exposure in the 2004 election!) spouting his warnings that we're all going to die, Die, DIE!!! because the new administration isn't continuing to torture folks. And for all of his bragging that those "enhanced" interrogation techniques have kept us safe since 2001, I am waiting to hear from him how those same techniques were also used to give the administration their justification to invade Iraq and link Hussein with al-Qaida. Maybe in the next interview.

And Pelosi has come out swinging against the CIA with the "I didn't know what I knew when I knew it" excuse. Man up Pelosi and give it to the folks straight. Is there anyone out there who really thinks she didn't know? Just what we don't need right now.

And then, of course, there is the stupid story to end stupid stories. The horror of a U.S. President being asked to speak at a college commencement. For years now students have bucked up and sat through Bush administration blowhards in commencement speeches. (OK, we'll give kudos to the ones who stood up & turned their backs on him, or walked out, but that never really made the news much). Certainly not like this. And we'll put aside the fact that commencement is about the students and their work/achievements. Because that has long ago been lost in the race to find the biggest name to bloviate from the podium to a crowd of hung-over and sleep deprived twenty-somethings. So now South Bend is ground zero for a few hundred lifers and Fox News commentators with their aborted fetus posters.

Yup, interesting times.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

CNN Having Trouble Remembering Who is President

From a CNN online headline a few minutes ago:

Bush, Calderon huddle over flu

President Obama spoke with Mexican President Felipe Calderon on Saturday afternoon to discuss "efforts to limit the spread of the 2009 H1N1 flu strain," the White House said. Their conversation came the same day a CDC official said about a third of Americans sickened had recently visited Mexico or had contact with someone who had. full story

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