Saturday, September 20, 2008

Here's One For You, Norm!

Today in History...
  • In 1881, Chester A. Arthur was sworn in as the 21st president of the United States, succeeding James A. Garfield, who had been assassinated.
  • In 1961, shortly after his election as president, John F. Kennedy announced that he was determined to win the "space race" with the Soviets.
  • In 1973, Singer-songwriter Jim Croce, 30, died in a plane crash in Louisiana.
  • In 1975, David Bowie scores his first No. 1 hit with "Fame," from his album Young Americans.
  • In 1998, After playing in a record 2,632 consecutive games over 16 seasons, Cal Ripken Jr. of the Baltimore Orioles sat out a game against the New York Yankees.
And born on this day...
  • In 1878, Upton Sinclair, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and reformer.
  • In 1934, Actress Sophia Loren.
  • And long, long ago, somewhere far, far away. Virginia blogger Norman Leahy was born.
Go tell Norman happy birthday!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

At Least I Have The Quilt

I'm quite a bit late with this news. So late that it hardly qualifies as news anymore.

Jim Bacon is gone. No, he's not dead, (well, I haven't actually checked today, but I don't think so anyway), he's just leaving the e-zine that he began over six years ago. He leaves us with the idea that Bacon's Rebellion will continue. I for one certainly hope so. [LINK]

You see, Bacon's Rebellion had a rather large role to play in my life over the past few years. Not a starring role, mind you. Rather more like a very good character actor. The one whose name you can never quite remember, but whose on screen presence you can never forget.

I'm Not Emeril is now three years old. Quite ancient for a blog. Most tend to whither away within a year or so. This is not Virginia's oldest blog, but with Jim's departure, I may well be Virginia's oldest blogger. At 52 I'm not a geezer, but I'm not as young as most bloggers either.

I began this adventure in September of 2005, after being an avid reader of both Commonwealth Conservative, (Chad Dotson's site, since closed), and Bacon's Rebellion. The common thread between the two was Will Vehrs. I came to "know" Will through his writing on both blogs.

Like most people in Virginia I thought Will was treated way too harshly for his comments on Commonwealth Conservative's weekly caption contest. (If you are unaware of this episode in Virginia's blogging history, I'm sorry. Most of the archival accounts of the story are now gone. A very one-sided account can be found in the Martinsville Bulletin's archive files. Just search for his name.) Suffice it to say Will's excellent sense of humor and irony ruffled some self-important hackles and, being a state employee, he was severely punished for exercising his 1st Amendment rights*. It didn't help that some of the hackles ruffled belonged to two of Martinsville's most self-absorbed roosters, Ward Armstrong and Roscoe Reynolds. Each of whom had the Governor's ear.

At that time I was still very much a baby blogger. I'm Not Emeril was about 8 months old, and I had only been reading Virginia blogs for about a year. I knew no Virginia bloggers personally, certainly not Will, but like most others in the Virginia blog community I thought he was treated shabbily by the Commonwealth.

It was truly a blog community at that time. Sure, Virginia bloggers were partisan, very much so, but they were civil. I had discovered friends, on both sides of the political spectrum, via the gateway that was Bacon's Rebellion and Commonwealth Conservative. Some of those friends suggested that an upcoming blog conference at UVA be re-directed to address the issues raised by Will's experience. Many suggested that the conference even be moved from Charlottesville to Martinsville as a means of underscoring the issue. I agreed. I offered to do whatever I could to help facilitate that move.

When the organizer(s) of the UVA conference decided it was not worth the effort, someone, (Ben Tribbett, I think), suggested that Virginia's blogs should unite in Martinsville anyway, at a separate conference if need be. I think he even suggested that I chair it.

I did. Blogs United was held here in Martinsville during a beautiful August weekend in 2006.

It was not easy. Sure, parts of the planning and arrangements were simple. Made even more so by the wonderful support team that fell into place. Barnie Day, (another Bacon's Rebellion contributor), graciously agreed to host the affair. His bank even kicked in the lion's share of sponsorship funds. Anne Boothe and Mary Rives Brown were put into contact with me by Will Vehrs. These two beautiful ladies proved to be the rocks upon which I stood to keep my head barely above water. (How's that for a metaphor mix?) They remain dear friends to this day.

Back to the story now. As I was saying, Virginia's bloggers were somehow different back then. Democrats and Republicans alike joined together to make Blogs United a very grand affair. We enjoyed each others company. We held spirited debates, fueled largely by spirits. We kidded and joked with each other. We were friends. Just friends. Politics came second.

Sure, there were a couple of moments. One table refused to stand for the Lt. Governor. One progressive blogger refused to attend, saying, "It's our job to defeat them, not to make conversation with them", or something very much like that. On the whole, however, it was great.

I still have that kind of friendship with a couple of Democrat bloggers. Vivian Paige. Brian Patton. If they had continued to blog I think I would still maintain connection to Paul Anderson and a few others. Reasonable people all. I once even enjoyed a fine cigar and the company of Josh Chernila.

No. Now it's all too personal. It's too easy to call names from behind the false anonymity provided by a keyboard and computer monitor.

It's not only on their side, but my side as well. We have come to place politics above civility. Winning above ethics. It's our job to defeat them, not to make conversation with them. Or something like that.

Sadly, I now believe Vivian was correct when she predicted during the 2007 Blogs United that it would be our last. Our last united as bloggers, regardless of party affiliation, that is.

Now we see cruel and demeaning references to a Down's Syndrome child, (a child I know once described a Down's Syndrome child as being "just too nice to be normal"). We see John McCain being described as senile. We see our president compared to a chimp. We see nasty remarks about Nancy Pelosi's face-lifts. We see Hillary's ankles. Or her temper. And Obama's wife. We see anti-Semitic fliers distributed during a primary campaign. We see normal, everyday Virginians falsely linked to a despicable pedophilia group. By bloggers.

We see these things every day. Things which exceed Will Vehrs' simple, funny caption remarks by unknown bounds. Yet no one says anything.

I guess I just did.

Goodnight Chad. Goodnight Will. Goodnight Jim Bacon.

Jim tells us, via comment below, that he's not gone completely. He's simply giving up the extraordinary grind involved in producing a bi-weekly electronic magazine. He's still very much alive on the blog side of Bacon's Rebellion.

*The good news is, Will was eventually completely exonerated. He is once again a happy, productive state employee. A happy, productive state employee who no longer blogs. Or comments on caption contests.

Miracle Commission Proposed

Another gem from Barnie Day*;
The Answer To Our Prayers


TO: House and Senate Leadership, Governor Tim Kaine

FROM: A humble servant

RE: Miracle Commission / Mustard Seed Task Force

Gentlemen, as we slouch with heavy dread toward another appointment with that destiny that is surely ours—the 2009 session of the Virginia General Assembly—it has been laid on my heart to suggest to you a move that could lighten, even dissipate, the heavy burden of problems that vex us. Virginia’s always been in the lead on most things—no reason we can’t be first with this: appoint a Miracle Commission.

I know you’re thinking; “Now why didn’t I think of that?”

I don't know why you didn’t—you’ve appointed them for everything else under the sun—but fret not, that’s what humble servants are for.

What could it hurt?

Why shouldn’t transportation be a faith-based initiative? Nothing else seems to work.

Jesus said, “Take up thy bed and walk.” At the rate you’re going, that’s going to be our only option if something doesn’t change.

If multitudes can be fed with a few loaves and fishes, surely we might pass out a few chunks of asphalt and see what happens.

Lay down your burdens—appoint a Miracle Commission.

Faltering state economy? No sweat. Can’t agree on judges (or anything else, it seems)? Piece of cake. The uninsured? Easy. Chronic school funding shortages? Not a problem. Our vast mental health needs? Peach pie.

You could dump all of these aggravations into the Miracle Commission, and have room to spare!

And Governor, bless your heart, don’t think for a minute that I’m forgetting you. Nossir. I know you were bummed out by the way that VP gig panned out—we all were. But there is still time to come up with a legacy.

This is where the Mustard Seed Task Force comes in. It’ll be an executive committee, sort of a parallel tracking thing that will allow you to guide and mentor the Miracle Commission by
“laying on hands”—if you know what I mean.

And there is a corollary benefit to this one: The Mustard Seed Task Force will give your senior advisors something to do. I know they must get in the way on slow days. Hey, look at it from their perspective. Make-work gets tiresome. It’s hard to look busy day in and day out. You can
only read the “Help Wanteds” so many times without gagging.

Lame-ducking ain’t fun—for nobody. But it could be—with the Miracle Commission and the Mustard Seed Task Force. You could go out in a blaze of glory!

I hear the budget is coming up a little short. Miracle and Mustard Seed could help on that.
Once they solve transportation and all that other stuff, they could regulate and license faith healers.

I looked around. They’re making big dough on everything from “distance” healing, using 1-900
phone numbers, to evened-up leg lengths, to folks made to see through glass eyes, to gout, corns, heart attacks, unsightly birthmarks, smelly feet, various and sundry “fevers,” and “demons on the heart.”

(Brings to mind an old-timer in Carroll County who told me once about his brother, who drank so much that “roaches on the liver” finally killed him. But that’s another story.)

Some of these jokers have pretty good businesses on the side selling relics. The Miracle Commission could decide whether we ought to tax stuff like that.

I didn’t know you could buy the actual nails that held Jesus to the cross on eBay. Did you? (I don’t know what they’ll bring. I didn’t bid.)

Gentlemen, I believe in miracles. I think most of us do. It’s high time we unshackled this power and turned it loose on state government.

Appoint a Miracle Commission. And don’t forget the Mustard Seed Task Force.
Thanks Barnie. You always seem to know when my well has run dry.

*Barnie Day was a Democratic delegate from Patrick County from 1997 through the 2001 session. A graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke and now a Virginia banker, he currently lives in the wilds of Meadows of Dan where he enjoys an occasional cigar, The New Yorker, low-stakes cards, Jack Daniels, and Andy Griffith re-runs. You can find a couple of archives of his writing here and here.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Thor, This One's For You

Here in Martinsville there is a bulletin board or forum where folks can politely discuss a wide range of issues. One of the more active, (and least polite), members on there uses the pen name "Thor".

Bob Lawson, (Thor), this one's for you.


Released this weekend throughout Virginia, here is Jim Gilmore's latest TV ad.

The Most Powerful Force In A Community

If I could choose any power available to mortal men these days I know exactly which power I would choose. I'm not speaking of x-ray vision, or the ability to spin spider stuff out my wrists, I mean the normal powers other folks may have.

Think about it for a moment. If you had the power to control anything you desired, what would it be? What would you choose to control if you wanted to exercise maximum influence over your community or your state?

Pause while the theme music from "Jeopardy" plays softly in the background...

Did you choose the power to control how money is spent in your community or state? Hah! Pitifully small thinking on your part, for the power I would choose could trump that easily.

Or perhaps you chose the power to determine who wins which election. Again, you're thinking way too small.

Martinsville is like many small towns, and it's surrounded by Henry County, a not very heavily populated county. Many here think that everything is controlled by some cabal of "local leaders" who conspire to hold growth in check. That thought has been prevalent here from the days of A.L.Philpott, who did work to preserve the low cost of employees for the local businesses. Bassett, Stanley, Hooker, and American Furniture all depended upon that low cost of labor, as did the several textile companies that began as small locally owned concerns. That low labor cost would surely have risen sharply should a larger national manufacturing company locate here.

The local politicians did their duty, they protected the home-grown industry and we were all happy. More or less.

A.L. and Dan Daniel are gone now, yet there is still a force here in Martinsville that wields all (or most) of the power.

Have you guessed what power I'm speaking of yet? It's pretty simple, really. It's a power that most of us complain about on a fairly regular basis, whether we be conservative or liberal.

The power to control information is the most powerful control anyone can have over a community. Here in Martinsville and Henry County that power is held in the hands of two or three people. The private owners of the only area newspaper. If those few people decide that a subject will not be given coverage in the Martinsville Bulletin, then it does not appear there. If they decide that coverage of an event or story should go one way or the other, that is the way it will slant. Period.

Sure, we have the Roanoke Times, but it is not widely read by the average local resident, the Richmond Times Dispatch even less so. We also have a handful of local radio stations, but I dare say they receive even less attention than the Roanoke Times. Then there are the TV stations. (Full disclosure, I have been known to host or co-host a show on occasion at one of these stations.) Two of the local TV stations have extremely small audiences, the third has a much wider audience, but is only now beginning to overcome a reputation earned years ago in the days of some really bad journalism.

In the final analysis, it's the Martinsville Bulletin that most people here turn to for their daily information. Information that is meted out in a manner decided upon by only a few.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

No Comment

Welcome Back

While watching Sarah Palin the other night I got a distinct feeling of deja vu. A sense that I'd been here before, heard and felt something very similar to this experience.

Immediately after the speech I called badrose, and her opening statement was somewhat similar to what she wrote on the badrose blog. I too noticed a real similarity to Margret Thatcher, but there was more. Something else I could not quite put my finger on. Ronald Reagan's son finally led me to the realization. I now know what I was feeling after Mrs. Palin's groundbreaking speech. (I don't often quote complete articles here, but this one by Michael Reagan cannot be broken into a simple blockquote.)
I've been trying to convince my fellow conservatives that they have been wasting their time in a fruitless quest for a new Ronald Reagan to emerge and lead our party and our nation. I insisted that we'd never see his like again because he was one of a kind.

I was wrong!

Wednesday night I watched the Republican National Convention on television and there, before my very eyes, I saw my Dad reborn; only this time he's a she.

And what a she!

In one blockbuster of a speech, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin resurrected my Dad's indomitable spirit and sent it soaring above the convention center, shooting shock waves through the cynical media's assigned spaces and electrifying the huge audience with the kind of inspiring rhetoric we haven't heard since my Dad left the scene.

This was Ronald Reagan at his best -- the same Ronald Reagan who made the address known now solely as "The Speech," which during the Goldwater campaign set the tone and the agenda for the rebirth of the traditional conservative movement that later sent him to the White House for eight years and revived the moribund GOP.

Last night was an extraordinary event. Widely seen beforehand as a make-or-break effort -- either an opportunity for Sarah Palin to show that she was the happy warrior that John McCain assured us she was, or a disaster that would dash McCain's presidential hopes and send her back to Alaska, sadder but wiser.

Obviously un-intimidated by either the savage onslaught to which the left-leaning media had subjected her, or the incredible challenge she faced -- and oozing with confidence -- she strode defiantly to the podium and proved she was everything and even more than John McCain told us.

Much has been made of the fact that she is a woman. What we saw last night, however, was something much more than a just a woman accomplishing something no Republican woman has ever achieved. What we saw was a red-blooded American with that rare, God-given ability to rally her dispirited fellow Republicans and take up the daunting task of leading them -- and all her fellow Americans -- on a pilgrimage to that shining city on the hill my father envisioned as our nation's real destination.

In a few words she managed to rip the mask from the faces of her Democratic rivals and reveal them for what they are -- a pair of old-fashioned liberals making promises that cannot be kept without bankrupting the nation and reducing most Americans to the status of mendicants begging for their daily bread at the feet of an all-powerful government.

Most important, by comparing her own stunning record of achievement with his, she showed Barack Obama for the sham that he is, a man without any solid accomplishments beyond conspicuous self-aggrandizement.

Like Ronald Reagan, Sarah Palin is one of us. She knows how most of us live because that's the way she lives. She shares our homespun values and our beliefs, and she glories in her status as a small-town woman who put her shoulder to the wheel and made life better for her neighbors.

Her astonishing rise up from the grass-roots, her total lack of self-importance, and her ordinary American values and modest lifestyle reveal her to be the kind of hard-working, optimistic, ordinary American who made this country the greatest, most powerful nation on the face of the earth.

As hard as you might try, you won't find that kind of plain-spoken, down-to-earth, self-reliant American in the upper ranks of the liberal-infested, elitist Democratic Party, or in the Obama campaign.

Sarah Palin didn't go to Harvard, or fiddle around in urban neighborhood leftist activism while engaging in opportunism within the ranks of one of the nation's most corrupt political machines, never challenging it and going along to get along, like Barack Obama.

Instead she took on the corrupt establishment in Alaska and beat it, rising to the governorship while bringing reforms to every level of government she served in on her way up the ladder.

Welcome back, Dad, even if you're wearing a dress and bearing children this time around.
Yes, indeed. Welcome back Ronnie!

H/T Kilo

Saturday, September 06, 2008

From Virginia To Oklahoma, We Cover The Earth

I got an email yesterday. I get emails everyday, but this one was different. Fried Green Onions, a blogger in Oklahoma, (currently ranked #2 #1 on BNN in OK), has stumbled across my little piece of philosophy located on the right sidebar. The one that states,
If I write anything here that offends you, please use the comment feature to let me know. I may want to offend you again, so your help in that regard will most certainly be appreciated.
Anyway, FGO asked if he could use that line on his blog. After loooking over the BNN feed for Oklahoma, I decided FGO needed to use that line.

Fried Green Onions, this one's for you. And to those here and elsewhere who want to know a bit more about you, I leave them with your comparable sidebar quote;
mispelings and poorly written ad hominem attacks are a signature technique here on this here blog cause even tho we be real smart we are undergovernmenteducated left handed hicks from back in the Arbuckles
Ain't blogging fun?

Oh, and by the way FGO, look for a new link on my blogroll for Fried Green Onions, coming soon.

Former Cville Plagiarist Now Cites Self As Reliable Source

A few days ago I pointed out a goofy liberal blogger (Lloyd Snooks, AKA cvllelaw) here in Virginia who is so intellectually challenged he is often reduced to plagiarizing Wikipedia. The truly sad part of this is that he is actually a member of the Virginia bar. (No Virginia, that does not necessarily mean he's a drunkard, even though there's nothing in his writing to suggest otherwise. The Virginia bar is the official association of attorneys licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia.)

It seems that, since I exposed him here on these pages, Lloyd has been much more diligent about citing his sources. That is a good thing. I'm proud of you Lloyd, you were on your way to being a legitimate Virginia blogger.

What? I said "were on your way..."? Yes, that was not a typo.

Lloyd, it seems is completely infatuated with Wikipedia. Let's set aside for the moment that Wikipedia is hopelessly biased toward the left. Even Stephen Colbert and The Onion have mocked its obvious leftist bias, and the facts are well known that the site's top administrators have conspired to limit input. No, we'll let those accusations ride for now.

What Lloyd has done now is even sillier than plagiarizing Wikipedia. In his post that purports to prove that the term "anchor babies" is racially derogatory, he cites a Wikipedia entry to support his argument. What he does not tell you is that the Wikipedia entry, even in the extreme liberal world of Wikipedia, carries a header telling its readers that "The neutrality of this article is disputed" and "The factual accuracy of this article is disputed."

But wait! There's an even better angle here. The portion of that disputed article that Lloyd links to is authored by.... cvillelaw.

Now tell me, how can anyone, anywhere, ever again trust anything Lloyd writes?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Sarah Palin's Coming Out Party

I'll have more later, but now I'm heading up to Salem for a meeting. For now, just relive the moment....

John Fund, in the WSJ;
Twenty years after Ronald Reagan left office, Republicans who have long missed him may have found a future Margaret Thatcher. If John McCain wins, conservatives may find one of the most enduring accomplishments of his term will have been what he did before it started: helping to fill the Republican Party's future talent bench with such a fresh and compelling figure. [LINK]

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Angry Left Ain't Gonna Like Rudy In The Morning

If George W. Bush upset them last night, Rudy has royally ticked them off tonight.

Can't Imagine Why

But President Bush's mention of "the Angry Left" during last evening's speech via sattelite to the Republican National Convention, has somehow made the Angry Left angry. [LINK]

360° Coverage

We believe that all fair-minded journalists were as shocked by some of the coverage as we were, and in that vein, we encourage you to republish and redistribute the cartoon. There are no royalties or restrictions involved.

Clearly, the attacks against Mrs. Palin and her family have gone far beyond the pale, and have no place in a mature discussion about the direction America is going in this year.


Robert Romano
ALG News Bureau

More On Why Obama Ain't Selling

We recently had the pleasure(?) of an Obama "Town Hall" meeting here in Martinsville. It was widely billed as an event whereby those "most affected by the failed Bush policies" could express their needs to the one presidential candidate willing to listen to their plight. Never mind that most of those attending were the local Democratic party elite, let's stick with the subject for now. (Besides, I'll soon publish video of the local NAACP president's take on the event. He's angry that it was reserved for the Democratic elite.)

Let's start with the way the event was billed. A quote from the Martinsville Bulletin sums it up nicely.
Obama will meet with local workers and families “who have been impacted by the failed trade policies of the Bush administration,” a release from his campaign Saturday stated.

“Look at communities across Virginia and it is hard to see another one that has been as dramatically impacted” by economic problems, said Kevin Griffis, a spokesperson for Obama’s campaign in the state.

Obama will hold a town hall-type meeting with displaced workers and their families. The meeting’s location will not be released publicly because attendance will be by invitation only, Griffis said.

He said community leaders and local Obama campaign officials will identify people who will be invited to the meeting.
Most, if not all, of the job losses in Martinsville and Henry County stem from NAFTA, a Bill Clinton legacy, not a Bush policy. As I said in my previous piece, Obama's tax policies will only exacerbate the problem, not help alleviate it.

Probably the single most salient point to consider is that NAFTA made it more economical for business to flee the high corporate tax rates currently imposed on America's job engine, business.

What will a President Obama do to stop the flow of jobs offshore? He has told us. He will increase corporate tax rates. He'll punish those greedy suckers for making money here in America and redistribute that money to those less fortunate. He fails to remind you though that America's corporate tax rate of 35% is already second highest of all industrialized countries. Increase it another notch and just watch the jobs flee offshore.

Who pays corporate taxes? We all do. Corporate taxes are a cost of doing business, just like the light and phone bill and the cost of labor. Those costs are incorporated into the cost of every product. So unless you buy groceries, or clothes, or cars, or furniture, or are an employee, you do not contribute to the payment of those corporate taxes.

John McCain has a plan though that will increase employment. A plan that may bring some of those jobs back to our shores. A plan that makes sense, rather than makes "feel good".

First, let's look at McCain's plan to create jobs, or bring old ones back. He'll reduce that onerous corporate tax rate -- the one we all pay, remember? -- to a rate that is more competitive in the world marketplace. A rate that will encourage businesses to stay here, or others to come back. He will also work against higher tax rates on small business income. Income that is currently taxed at an individual rate. The result will be an expansion of small businesses, America's real jobs engine.

For those jobs that stay here, or new jobs created, he also has a plan that will increase real wages. McCain's plan calls for incentives designed to increase productivity. Higher productivity equals higher wages. He will make it easier and more advantageous to develop and apply new technology by expanding the existing tax credit for research and development, and make it permanent.

Finally, in direct opposition to Obama, McCain will stimulate saving by keeping tax rates low on earnings from saving in the form of dividends and capital gains. More savings also equals more investment in business and an increase in productivity. McCain has also promised to enhance the incentive to save by reducing the maximum estate tax rate.

Obama has "feel good", "tax them and give the money to us" plans. John McCain has a plan that makes sense. A plan that will keep America strong. A plan that will raise all boats, as long as those in the boat are willing to bail the stagnant water that is now in the bilge.

Why Obama Isn't Resonating

We've all seen the flat polls. The apparent lack of any "bounce" from the Democratic National Convention. The fact is, and it's apparent to many, that Barack Obama has pretty much flat-lined at the point in his campaign where he should be riding a cresting wave. Why is that?

Well, as uninformed as many voter are, (and I'm constantly decrying that fact), the voters who are paying attention are not quite so naive as Senator Obama would wish them to be. The voters who are responding to polls may be less informed than most of you blog readers, but they are not clueless. Obama's problem is not that too few voters know him, not at this point in the campaign anyway. The problem is that his message has been heard. It's been heard, and it's not selling.

Consider. We all know that if you restrict supply and tax production, what happens to prices? Right! Prices must go up under those conditions. Conditions that the entire Democratic Party has just spent a week in Denver promising us.

We all know that if you send checks to people who do not pay taxes, those who do pay taxes must pay more. Or we increase the deficit. Neither one is good for an economy that is not growing as fast as we would like it to.

Likewise, if we add punitive taxes onto business, the only people who are affected are the employees, stockholders, and customers of that business. In other words, us.

Barack has promised all these things. All the while promising "change". These policies do indeed represent change. A change back to the Lyndon Johnson/Jimmy Carter failed policies that we've learned the hard way simply do not work.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Temp Blogger Continues To Check In

Lt. Governor Bill Bolling's stalker has checked in at the site of the Republican National Convention.

Randy Marcus continues to file updates; [LINK]

I think it's great that we have the Lt. Governor's Chief of Staff live blogging the convention. Keep us updated, Randy!

The End Of The Discussion

Much has been made of the rather ordinary occurrence of a pregnant 17 year-old daughter. Unfortunately, this young woman has been used mostly as an example to illustrate some supposed hypocrisy on the part of Christian conservatives. I'm sorry, it won't wash.

In the past 48 hours I've spoken with a couple or three Christian pastors and several lay Christians about this matter. Every single one has separately expressed the same sentiment. While it's unfortunate that this young woman was unmarried at the time of conception, it changes nothing really. The child is still wanted. The child is still loved. The young mother and father are still to be respected and cherished.

This is true, whether the young woman is the daughter of Governor Sarah Palin, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, or Ms. Nancy Harrington (a fictitious, made-up name). Her parents' politics and religion do not matter. (Unless she happened to be Muslim, then she could be stoned to death, I suppose.)

The point I'm trying to make here is that the Palins, besides suddenly becoming a high profile political family, are, in the final analysis, just another American family. They deserve to be left alone in this matter.

On that note, I leave you with a couple of links. Sentiments expressed by women who are thoughtful, loving mothers in their own right. Women who can express this sort of stuff much better than I.

badrose [LINK]
One Wise Girl [LINK]

Monday, September 01, 2008

A Hard Look At The Issue Of Abortion

Despite the hopes, dream, and I suppose you could call them prayers, of Don Fowler and Michael Moore Gustav did little damage and so far no reported loss of life in N'awlins. Thank God.

The Republican National Convention got underway today, on schedule, but with a slightly altered opening day. Again, thank God.

I now turn to a more weighty issue. Weighty not because of the story that brings the subject up, instead it's a weighty subject simply because it has sat around for years and gotten fat. No one bothers to pick it up and exercise it. Either that or it's too scary to pick up.

I've had three different Mothers-in-law, nothing scares me anymore.

The story that starts this story has been repeated untold thousands of times in the History of the world. I would hazard a guess that your family has a similar story, if not numerous versions of it. It's the story of a young woman, in love or in lust, who finds herself pregnant and unmarried. A woman less than the legal age of majority. In this case the young woman's child will find itself to be only 9 months or so younger than her youngest uncle. One of the things unusual about this story would be if your family does not happen to share a version of it. Oh, and this unborn child's grandmother has only days ago been announced as a candidate for the Vice Presidency.

Other than that last little fact, the story itself is completely unremarkable. But that last little fact IS a fact. And that's why I'm beginning this story with that story.

AnonymousIsAWoman (somebody sell her a space bar, please), Karen Duncan, has written about this story today as well. And like me, the only remarkable thing about the story that moved her to write about it is that last little fact.

Karen presumes to tell us that the young Ms. Palin would be better off not having that baby. Perhaps. I'll agree, as I'm sure her parents do, that it would have been better not to get pregnant at 17. But Karen also sees and accepts the possibility of altering that fact even now, rather than before the conception. Karen also preaches to us that her parents should have taught her more than abstinence. Now Karen, we don't know just what her parents taught her, do we?

Worse than that, Karen then uses this rather common occurrence to somehow accuse the future Vice President of forcing repeats of this story on the rest of us. Or the rest of you women, actually. She never mentions the fathers.

I'm finally getting to the weighty part of this story. The part no one else will share with you, but like I said, I ain't scared.

Karen, pray tell me what, exactly will happen next Tuesday if Roe v Wade is overturned tomorrow? If not next Tuesday, next month? Or next year?

The unfortunate answer to that question is, for the most part, and for most of us, absolutely nothing will happen. Abortions will continue to be performed. Abortions will continue to be legal. And abortions will continue to be performed as an Ex Post Facto method of birth control. The regulation of the procedure will fall back to where it has belonged all along, the state.

Sure, some states will move to a much more restrictive abortion law than currently exists. Some states (California? Massachusetts?) may move to make abortion legal until some time after birth. But on the whole, should you find yourself pregnant Karen, rest assured you will still be able to kill that little bundle of inconvenience.

Rather than blame your president, or vice president, or congressman, or U.S. senator, you need to look to your state's legislators, for that is where this battle, if you wish to call it that, will occur when Roe v Wade is inevitably overturned. Yes, like in the Dred Scott, Plessy, and several other decisions, the Supreme Court does eventually get it right. Roe v Wade is widely believed by legal scholars to be a badly flawed decision. It will eventually be overturned.

More accurately, the battle will not be fought in your state legislature, but among your neighbors. Currently, and this has been true for some time, the majority opinion in America is that abortion in the first trimester should be legal, at least in most cases. Even in Louisiana, considered the most abortion unfriendly state in the Union, 52% of respondents in an October, 2004 poll stated that abortion should be 'sometimes legal', 31% 'never legal', and 13% 'always legal'. So no one state can be considered a "slam dunk" for anti-abortion law proponents.

While I'm sure there will be loud raucous arguments in statehouses all over the land, politics will prevail. At least until the hearts and minds of the American people change.

In case you're wondering by now, I am avidly pro-life. I do realize that an abortion is sometimes considered to be a necessary medical procedure, but even then it is still the taking of an innocent life. At that time it a choice between the life of the mother and that of the child, a tough decision certainly, but one that sometimes must be made. I also believe the father, whenever possible, should be a partner in making that decision.

Whatever other factors figure into the decision, it should never just be an after-the-fact form of birth control. Regardless of how inconvenient that birth may be.