"Right now, Russia and America are outdoing each other trying to penetrate outer space. Did you know, my friends, that the only thing that can penetrate outer space is prayer?"
—The late Dr. J. Vernon McGee (speaking in that accent that makes my mom call him Fibber McGee) in a Cold War-era sermon broadcast this morning on WMCA.
Sunday, October 31, 2004
"Right now, Russia and America are outdoing each other trying to penetrate outer space. Did you know, my friends, that the only thing that can penetrate outer space is prayer?"
A tall man young enough to be my son approached me last night at the PATH station, looking exasperated: "Excuse me, how do I get to New York City?"
Although I have been riding those trains regularly since, well, before this gent was born, I was so dazzled by his costume that I momentarily forgot the way. He wasn't really my type—and, at any rate, I realized a few years ago that I was too old to date anyone born after Carter's presidency—but his outfit was just too adorable.
He was dressed as a package, with a huge red metallic bow in front, and a large piece of paper on his chest that read, "TO: WOMEN / FROM: GOD."
In other Halloween news, I came to work today dressed as Ann Coulter on the cover of her book How to Talk to a Liberal (if You Must), complete with blonde wig. Of course, nobody could figure out who I was supposed to be, not even the guard at the building where I work. The most interesting guess was Pat Benatar (!). But people do like me as a blonde. I would take a photo of myself for you when I get home, but the way these wigs work, by that point my Dynel or whatever will probably look like a rat's nest.
The following is an excerpt from a missive that my e-mail pal Steven, who is in the U.S. Air Force, sent last night after arriving in Iraq for his second deployment there since the start of the Iraq war. Please pray for him and all our armed forces:
I work about 15 hours a day. My predecessor worked 90 days straight before his first day off. I expect about the same. In this respect my schedule is very similar to that of my wife. At some point though, I'll get to go home and rest. For [her], the work never stops. If for no other reason, these deployments are a good thing because they make me resolve to be more helpful when I get home.
I met a Japanese officer last night—a member of the coalition of allies some people say doesn't exist. Despite my speaking Korean to him at first, he was very friendly. Amazingly, the one Japanese Air Self Defense Force officer I know happens to be a friend of his. What are the odds? We were having a good time and joking around, but when I told him how thankful we were for the help of our allies he grew very serious. "We are honored to be able to help with this cause," he said. Lots of people think Iraqis will never appreciate freedom, will never make the change from victims of tyranny to responsible citizens of a free state. They tell us they are culturally incapable, and that their religion precludes the possibility. Just half a century ago, those peoples' parents were probably saying the same thing about the Japanese.
A cheerleader riding a giant oral-contraceptive dispenser
A cheerleader bouncing off a giant diaphragm
Two condoms, each filled with an invisible penis, one of which is overlaid upon a cheerleader's behind
We have become desensitized, as a culture, to such sexualization of teenagers. We accept as a given that teenagers are going to have sex, so information to "protect" them should be delivered to them in a manner that they will accept.
But no one can watch Teenwire's cartoon "games" with both eyes open and not see that they are geared to teenyboppers, not teenagers. They are for children who aspire to be fashionable and popular like their older siblings and schoolmates—and who believe that being fashionable and popular means being sexually active. They are blatant, cynical attempts to prescribe, not describe, early sexual behavior.
Planned Parenthood has made the Bush administration's commitment to abstinence education programs an election issue. And it should be. The fact that Planned Parenthood—which treats abstinence as an unwelcome wallflower at the orgy—has thrown millions of dollars of support to John Kerry shows the fundamental difference between the candidates' values. The president's world is a world where children and adults are treated as human beings. John Kerry's world is one where people, particularly women, are objects; he has no compunction about using another man's daughter or his own progressively wealthier wives to score verbal points.
I'm voting my values this Tuesday. Because it's not just about voting against abortion. It's about voting for a world where teenagers are taught that they amount to more than just their sexuality.
Saturday, October 30, 2004
Welcome Touchstone "Mere Comments" readers! My response to Christianity Today Online's piece is "'Compassion' My A**ion"—click there or scroll down just a tad. Keep scrolling or go to the archives at left and you'll also find several recent posts about Planned Parenthood and its sex-ed site Teenwire, including information on Teenwire's cartoon depictions of bestiality; a bizarre video-game approach to contraceptive instruction, and the revelation that the porn-friendly Teenwire opens its doors to 6-year-olds.
I have to say, the current front page of The Drudge Report cracks me up. It's a picture of Osama from his latest video, with the caption, "REMEMBER ME?" And it makes me laugh because all I can think of is that annoying kid played by Donavan Freberg in the Encyclopedia Brittanica commercials...
Friday, October 29, 2004
Today's Christianity Today Online features "Why I Apologized to Planned Parenthood," an article by a woman named Jemila Monroe who describes herself as Christian and pro-life. She describes how she and her husband entered a Planned Parenthood clinic one day and spoke to the receptionist, wishing to make amends for others' anger. They didn't do it because the clinic had experienced protests; they just picked the clinic at random to satisfy their desire to ask forgiveness, as Monroe writes:
Stuttering only a little, and shuddering inside as I glimpsed the woman in scrubs disappear down a narrow, fluorescently lit hallway, I explained, "Actually, we're Christian and very pro-life. We're here to say we're sorry for all the people who are mean to you guys. This is not how Christians should behave, and we feel deeply sad about it."I am sincerely ashamed when fringe anti-abortion protesters (I won't dignify the violent ones with the adjective "pro-life") use verbally or physically abusive tactics. As with any protest movement, the segment that uses illegal or unethical means makes it all the more difficult for the law-abiding, ethical majority to be taken seriously. If I saw anti-abortion protesters using those means, I would want to apologize as well.
Ron chimed in, "It's not right for believers in Jesus to judge or despise you. It's just awful, and we wanted you to know that we don't hate you or believe you are terrible people."
But Monroe was not giving a particular apology. She was giving a general apology, which is something different. And it reminds me of nothing so much as Tim Blair's brilliant photoblogs, "The Terrifying Face of Forgiveness" and the follow-up, "Faces of Forgiveness II: The Staring."
Tim Blair's entries show the photos that Americans had sent to Iraqis apologizing for the invasion that took down Saddam. Looking at them, over and over, you see the faces of misplaced compassion. It's right to feel compassion for people who suffer—but it's wrong to see the cure as being worse than the disease. That kind of "compassion" only winds up blinding one to the real darkness at hand. The response that the Planned Parenthood receptionist gave to Monroe and her husband—and the fact that Monroe failed to see its grisly irony—is proof of that:
The receptionist took a moment to collect herself, then responded with a quivering sigh, "I can't tell you how much that means. My uncle won't talk to me because I work here. You have no idea how many hateful, awful things Christians say and do to me. I don't hope people get an abortion; I hope we can help them to use birth control. We're just trying to avoid having babies thrown in trash heaps."If you're like me, you probably wanted to feel some sort of compassion for this woman—perhaps even to feel that her "forgiveness" of the Monroes extends to yourself. She sounds like a kind woman who experiences persecution for what she believes. But then you reread her words, and a couple of things jump out at you:
"I don't hope people get an abortion; I hope we can help them to use birth control." This is the Planned Parenthood party line. It's meant to sound soothing—that is, if your religion doesn't prohibit the use of contraceptives. At the least, it implies care and concern for human life. But then, her very next line—
"We're just trying to avoid having babies thrown in trash heaps." Whaaaaat?
Planned Parenthood has thrown over 3 million babies on the trash heap since 1970.
Yes, I know the receptionist was just trying to say that she didn't want unwanted babies to be killed after birth. But the mere fact that she could say that shows that she was completely desensitized to the fact that every day, the flesh and bones and blood of children were carted out of her very own office to be incinerated along with other "medical waste."
Does this receptionist deserve "compassion"? Certainly. But does she deserve the real compassion of someone who will gently show her the effect that abortion and the abortion industry has on human life and society? Or the false, self-serving "compassion" of someone snivelling, "We're sorry people who pretend to speak for us judge you, even though we personally wouldn't think of judging you"?
Monroe writes that she left the clinic with a cathartic sense of relief:
My heart was filled with pain over the children whose lives end in that place and their mothers who'll grieve silently forever, yet a prayer of thanks stirred in me because a bridge of humanity was built across the great divide of pro-life and pro-choice.A bridge of humanity? If you believe that, I've got a bridge to sell you. If anything, Monroe's "I'm OK/You're OK" liberal theology is only a bridge of sighs.
Thursday, October 28, 2004
Remember the early-Eighties video game Asteroids? I do—but 20 years later, it's about as relevant to today's teens as Rick Springfield. So picture the cynical Generation X wag at Planned Parenthood Mar Monte (Calif.) who came up with a new way to "teach" teens about contraception: Birthcontroids.
It sounds like a combination of birth control and hemorrhoids, which is appropriate, as the butt-ugly graphics seem to come from Uranus, and Planned Parenthood is, as usual, talking out of its Asteroids.
Notice that meaningless statistic: "Eighty-five percent of women who do not use birth control become pregnant every year." It clearly doesn't include women who don't have sex, and it doesn't distinguish between hoped-for and unwanted pregnancies. Also notice the way the game immediately writes off abstinence without even using the word "abstinence." In Planned Parenthood's world, teens have lots of "choice," but when it comes to abstinence, they don't have an option.
The whole structure of the Birthcontroids "game" is bizarre. The object is to use your virtual penis to "shoot" sperm and fertilize the egg. The game screen looks like this:
But it's weirder. The egg sometimes fires back. Also, the only way to "win" the game is to fertilize the egg—which rather defeats the purporse of birth control.
At the end of each "level" of the game, an image of a baby appears—with appropriate crying sound effects:
Each level represents a successively more "effective" form of contraception—with greatly exaggerated effectiveness rates. The condom effectiveness rate, for example, is given as 98%. In fact, government figures show only an 86% effectivenss rate for "typical use." Planned Parenthood always gives out the optimistic "perfect use" figures—assuming that people rolling in the hay always take time out to don and doff their latex with a clinician's exactitude.
I played all the way through to Level 5, which is the morning-after pill:
Note that the screen misleadingly says, "Egg has been fertilized." What it really should say is, "Egg was already fertilized before you took the pill. Now it's too far developed for the pill to kill it." Of course, if the teen wants to know how to destroy the unborn child at that point, she need only go to Planned Parenthood's Teenwire site for information on abortion.
As I played the game, in my naivete, I kept thinking that the next level would be abstinence—hey, it's 100 percent effective. But alas, after the morning-after-pill level, that's it:
When confronted with Planned Parenthood's brand of sex education, the only way to win is to not play the game.
After I noted James P. Wood's writing last week that "each [of the presidential candidates] could achieve greater religious harmony by switching to the other's church," reader Dave Warner sent me a link that validated the assertion. The site is called TheyMustRepent.com, and it features a letter purportedly from members of the United Methodist Church, of which both President Bush and Dick Cheney are members, demanding the leaders either repent or be booted from the church:
Our hope is that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney (respondents) will recognize the sinfulness of their actions, sincerely repent for what they have done, and move on to change their ways. Although we recognize the improbability of that outcome, we believe that with God all things are possible.And what is "the error of their ways"? The front page of the site lists "crime, immorality, disobedience to the order and discipline of The United Methodist Church (UMC), and dissemination of doctrine contrary to the established standards of doctrine of The UMC." But the letter of complaint boils down to just one thing: taking down Saddam Hussein.
If, however, they do not repent sincerely, immediately, and publicly for their chargeable offenses, we believe that the respondents should have their membership revoked from The United Methodist Church until such time that they see the error of their ways and wish to return.
The site includes a blog, so Warner, who left the UMC over just this sort of liberal theology, took the opportunity to post a couple of pointed comments, including some well-chosen words about the complaint's lack of scriptural basis:
I see plenty of references to man-made documents, those from the United Nations and from the United Methodist church, but nothing from the Bible? Where are the Scripture references? Failing that, where is the witness of the saints? As a church of Christ, can you tell me what other believers in the U.S. have to say about this? And what believers who still are under oppression in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and South America have to say about the freedoms that have been given to those in Afghanistan and Iraq?
There is a darkness in a heart that sees only the negative and which assigns only evil intentions to those who act. As a professing Christian, I see social justice and peace as a temporary comfort, not a destination - your letter of complaint seems to indicate you think otherwise and that peace should be kept at all costs. But even at the cost of not reaching individuals with the Gospel? Of bringing them out from the bonds of extremism and dictatorship?
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
WMCA talk-show host Kevin McCullough, a great supporter of the blog world, had me and Aaron Margolis of Pardon My English on his show today. Aaron had to leave early (we can't all have a Wednesday weekend), but Kevin kept me on for 40 minutes. The show will be replayed online until 1 p.m. tomorrow afternoon—to hear it, go to Kevin's blog and click the red button on the right. My segment should repeat every three hours from around 5:20 p.m. Eastern time onwards.
When The Dawn Patrol first began its regular Dumpster dives into Planned Parenthood's sex-ed site Teenwire, I thought people would be shocked to discover what the site was teaching children as young as 13. Having anal sex (to "preserve virginity," the site says), purchasing pornography and sex toys, finding homosexual sex partners online—all these topics struck me as things that were, to say the least, inappropriate for the younger end of Teenwire's target audience.
I am very sorry to say that I was wrong. The lower end of Teenwire's target audience is not 13, as Planned Parenthood's literature—which says the site is for teens—would have you believe.
It is six.
Teenwire invites its users to register so they may "Ask the Experts" questions on sex, and so they may communicate with other teens in the site's unfortunately named "Hothouse." On the site's information page for parents and educators, grown-ups are told that the site is for teens:
But on the site's registration page, those registering are required to give their birth year—and it has to be between 1960 and 1998.
That's right. To communicate with "other teens" on Teenwire, you can be as young as six—or as old as 44. For heaven's sake, the site might as well admit Dick Clark.
The idea of 44-year-old libertines posing as teenagers to give advice on Hothouse questions like, "Should I have a relationship or play the field," does not inspire confidence. But why would Planned Parenthood officially sanction six-year-olds to register to "Ask the Experts"?
I just registered on Teenwire as a six-year-old—my username is nowweare6 and my password is milne—and the software didn't stop me. It remains to be seen whether the "experts" would catch me if I asked them, "What is a dildo? (Feel free to try it using my account and get back to me.)
Planned Parenthood, which received a quarter-billion dollars in taxpayer money during fiscal 2003, is using its political-action wing to spend millions of dollars in hopes of defeating President Bush. John Kerry has said numerous times that he would overturn the Bush administration's sex-education priorities, taking money away from programs that stress abstinence until marriage, and putting it instead into the kind of programs of which Planned Parenthood approves. That organization's model, as I detailed in this space, states that four-year-olds should be aware that they can "touch their sex organs for pleasure"—in private, of course.
Is that the kind of world that you want to wake up to on November 3? A world where six-year-olds are encouraged to sign up to learn about rubber penises, and where nine-year-olds are encouraged to sexually experiment? It's insane; all the values are topsy turvy, and if I didn't know better and heard someone else describe these things, I'd think they were making it up. These sound like the kind of accusations a zealot would make. Which is why, perhaps, it is so hard for people to believe that they are true. But you have a computer, and you can click on my entry, or go directly to Planned Parenthood's own Web site, and see how this organization propounds a value system that is designed to sexualize children.
There is much more riding on this election than the present generation's needs. President Bush—who loves his wife and has much better things to say about her than that he "married up"—understands the need to strengthen families and teach children how to use their sexuality within the context of a loving, committed relationship.
As the Weekly Reader poll showed, even a six-year-old can see that.
I'll be at the Fabiani Society gathering in Manhattan tonight. If you're going too, please come up and say hi.
Singaporean writer Lee Chung Horn has a remarkable appreciation of the Dream Syndicate's first album in the Beta Music Webzine. The piece won't tell you much about what the album's actually like, but for one who was floored by it at 14 (when I still had an ear for feedback-laden guitars), Horn captures the impact it had on an impressionable young mind.
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
I'm scheduled to be interviewed on the Kevin McCullough show tomorrow (Wednesday) at 2:20 p.m. Eastern time. Kevin is a great supporter of political bloggers and regularly features them on his show. In the New York City area, he's on WMCA 570 AM during that time, but you can also hear him by going to his blog and clicking the red button on the right—the three-hour show repeats throughout the day.
As the election nears, I am hearing from more and more friends who are striving to uphold conservative values in the face of increasing opposition and, often, persecution from friends, family, co-workers, and strangers. Today my friend Karen Hanley, an e-mail pal who reads my blog, sent me a missive that I would like to share with you. I found it ultimately inspiring, and I hope you will too:
I thought you might be interested in something that happened today that, well, wasn't very pleasant. I felt so awful—and alone, oh, goodness did I feel so alone!—but then I thought, Dawn! I can tell her; she'll understand!*I did not check Karen's figures—memory tells me they're not much of an exaggeration—but Planned Parenthood's own statistics are available in the organization's 2003 annual report. Her information on Teenwire is correct, as I've detailed in the past.
It involves Planned Parenthood and Bloomingdale's, so what pro-life New Yorker couldn't relate? Too bad I was the only one in there today.
So I go in to Bloomie's (the one in White Plains, which is about a mile from me) and there, just inside the entrance, is a table with one young woman sitting in between two older ladies. "Do you have your charity card?" one asks me. "No—did they mail one to me?" I ask, as a longtime Bloomie's Premier card holder. "No, they mail you an invitation to buy one; they're $10 and then you get 15% off what you buy, with a portion going to charity. Would you like one?" "No, thanks", I say, as this isn't like the usual free 20% off coupon.
But then something jostled my memory. I stopped and picked up a brochure. I ask, "Is there a list of charities printed anywhere?" I remembered reading it when they sent it to me...and sure enough, there it was. Planned Parenthood. In between Catholic schools, nursing homes, Jewish organizations, etc.
I remembered that unless you specifically state where you wanted the money to go, the whole pot got divvied up, with an equal share to each charity on the list. There were loads of ladies taking advantage of the sale, so they made tons of money, I'm sure.
I was on automatic pilot; I have no idea why I didn't just shut my mouth and keep going. I'm stupid like that. "Not a penny," I say, "not a penny will I ever give to Planned Parenthood."
Utter, deadly silence. They stare.
I say: "I am pro-life; 100% pro-life." And now that I look back, I realized how telling my body language was...as I said it, I touched my heart and pointed to the sky.
The young one had to pick up her jaw from the floor; she was literally sitting there with her mouth open. And the two older broads were staring at me with slitted eyes and hard-line mouths. I smiled politely. "Thank you." I walked away. And then I'm pretty sure my face turned beet red. I felt as if they would start yelling "Pro-life troublemaker!" after me, pinning me out in front of all those people...who you just know are feminists and liberals.
And Every. Single. Time. I bought something, the cashier would pressure me into buying a charity card. "Why not? You'd save so much...15% off!" "No thanks," I'd smile meekly. I had no more guts to speak out. They must've thought I was either a moron or crazy...how could I pass up such a deal? And I also noticed that none of the cashiers were taking requests for specific charities...which means that everybody on the list got a piece of that action.
I felt like—to be exact—a dick. A big, giant dick—Look at me; I'm a Weenie!! It's the worst feeling when you feel all alone like that. For some reason, "when two or three are gathered in my name" made me wish there were.
It's not that I needed to be in the majority; just with someone who would understand. And thanks to you, all the fact that I would need did come to mind: Why is Planned Parenthood considered a charity, with an annual take of over half a billion a year? Charities are supposed to be needy! With governmentt money comprising a third of that? And the majority of their profit coming from abortion? And their Teenwire site, that gives 12-year-old girls info on anal and lesbian sex and then links them to porny sites like Toys in Babeland so they can buy dental dams and butt plugs...? So they can viciously sexualize children to keep the abortion gravy-train going?
I knew all of this and I owe you thanks for doing all the info-gathering, so thanks....You get it; thank God. Thanks for listening! Keep up the abortion truth-telling.
Yesterday was a better-than average day for me as far as writing newspaper headlines and photo kickers goes. The vast majority of the ones I wrote were used, which is not always the case—often they're either changed for editorial reasons (e.g. my boss thinks of something wittier), or because the layout changes.
I know there are some people who read this who are headline fans, or who just want an idea of how many headlines I write in a day (in addition to copyediting the stories that go with them). So, here are all of my headlines and photo kickers that made it into the second edition of today's paper (not counting the few that were changed)—both the witty and the not-so-witty:
- Last phase of Union Sq. fix-up set for next fall
- GAY 'DOGFIGHT': Celeb groomer 'stabs' his lover [Photo kicker: ANIMAL ATTRACTION]
- Jets, MSG spend $11.5M in stadium war
- Bronx graffiti guy sentenced
- [For a sidebar on Sheik Omar lawyer Lynne Stewart, on trial for aiding terrorists:] Hippie holdover Lynne proud of getting killers off
- Ashlee's half-acid lip-sync excuse: Blames reflux for SNL flub [Photo kicker: MIME'S THE WORD]
- Gotti cohort's surprise guilty plea
- [For a story on Rip Torn's DWI trial:] RIP GOT HIS 'KICKS': Actor 'went for my ankles: cop [Photo kicker, for an image of Torn entering court with a big smile and a hand extended as though he were shaking with the cameraman:] WHAT'S MY MOTIVATION?
My question to PP would be, "What are the nine 'safe' states for abortion?" (I love lists of states).
We can guess the basic list, but I come up with at least 11 just to start:
But surely Illinois, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin would make the list. Then there're Colorado, Delaware, Maine, and Michigan. I'm not sure about these but there are clearly probables on the list. That gives us perhaps 18 states plus the District of Columbia.
Using one of the handy Electoral Vote Calculators available these days (and making an appropriate color selection), I get a post-Roe map that looks like this.
Congratulations to my friend Matthew Berke for his op-ed in today's National Review Online on how John Kerry offers up hindsight as wisdom. The piece is especially relevant in light of new revelations from NBC News and others that Jill Abramson's New York Times piece blaming U.S. troops for not guarding munitions was blatantly inaccurate. Not surprisingly, the Times piece was coordinated with producers from that bastion of trustworthy, objective journalism, "60 Minutes." For more information on this developing story, see NRO's Kerry Spot and Kevin McCullough's blog.
The words "underground railroad" bring to mind images of Harriet Tubman and friends—a network working together to free people and save lives. Somehow the words sound strange when they're applied to an organization whose agenda is to break the law by acting as an accessory to murder.
Yet that's what Planned Parenthood calls the emergency plan it's set up in case Roe vs. Wade is overturned, to shuttle women out of state for abortions—an underground railroad.
The San Jose Mercury News reported the story last month, with typical mainstream-media objectivity (ahem), in an article that was overlooked by other media outlets:
Linda Williams and 13 of her colleagues have spent months plotting a strategy to deal with a looming crisis that far too many women in this country believe is unthinkable.Those Planned Parenthood leaders—they always have pills on the brain.
Williams, CEO of Planned Parenthood's Mar Monte chapter in San Jose, is researching a plan to provide women with safe, unrestricted abortions if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe vs. Wade.
The group, which was launched in Planned Parenthood's Western Region and now includes leaders from chapters all over the country, is officially called the "Post-Roe Service Delivery Task Force." But when its members surveyed a bleak landscape of the future that limits or prohibits a woman's right to choose, they began referring to themselves as "The Prozac Task Force."
According to the article, Planned Parenthood began mapping out its "doomsday scenario" two years ago:
If jurisdiction over abortion rights is thrown back to the states, the task force concluded there would be only nine "safe states," including California, that still would allow unrestricted access to abortion.Safe for the pregnant women, maybe. Not quite as safe for the babies.
After speaking with lawyers, constitutional scholars, cops and doctors who were part of the "abortion underground" in the days before Roe, the task force acknowledged there is little chance of working around other states' anti-abortion laws. Now, the task force is devising a communication network and looking for resources to finance patients' travel to the nine states clustered on the East and West coasts.By "abortion underground," they mean that they're digging up every old hippie and Yippie they can find to help them break the law. I wouldn't let one of those pasty-faced, ponytailed, marijuana-addled reptiles touch my hand, let alone my private parts.
Georgia Herzog, a 21-year-old intern at Planned Parenthood's San Jose office, is one of the few women her age who understand that the clock may soon be turned back to the days her mother has told her about, a time when women died giving themselves coat-hanger abortions. She went to New York last week to protest outside the Republican convention, and she has been spreading the word to other young women that they must vote in November to save their reproductive rights.Score another one for the PP propaganda machine. The myth that tens of thousands of women died each year from back-alley abortions is one of the organization's greatest weapons—and it's a lie.
NARAL Pro-Choice America co-founder Bernard Nathanson (who later turned pro-life) wrote in his autobiography Aborting America that he and fellow abortion activist Larry Lader made up that "tens of thousands" figure in the mid-1960s, when they were rallying feminist author Betty Friedan to their cause. Writer Candace C. Crandall in the recently published book The Cost of "Choice" has the real story:
In 1940, the National Center for Health Statistics confirmed just 1,313 deaths as a result of illegal abortions, most of them due to infection. As antibiotics became available and surgical techniques improved generally, abortion-related deaths fell sharply: from 159 deaths in 1966, to 41 in 1972, the year before Roe.But I shouldn't rain on Planned Parenthood's parade. After all, judging from the Mercury News article, they're pretty depressed already—and they've got good reason. According to its 2003 annual report,
Confronted with these figures, abortion activists contend that most deaths were covered up. But if so, one would still have expected to see a dramatic decline in the overall death rate among women after 1973, when abortion became legal nationwide. According to Centers for Disease Control statistics, the death rate among women age 15 to 34, the group that today accounts for 94 percent of all abortions in the United States, saw no significant change in the years immediately after Roe.
Meanwhile, the Planned Parenthood task force continues to plan for the worst, even a constitutional ban.Let me get this right: This organization claims, with no sense of irony, that the era when it was illegal for pregnant women to have their own spawn slaughtered was the Dark Ages. And people think pro-lifers are zealots?
"We've moved beyond being depressed and now we're into finding solutions," Williams said. "But this has taken on a surreal quality. How could we be talking about reverting to the Dark Ages when we're in the 21st century?"
There's no question that the regional spokeswoman quoted in the article represents the views of Planned Parenthood's national organization. PP President Gloria Felt wrote in her October 21 blog, after seeing the movie "Vera Drake, which glorifies a back-alley abortionist,
Vera...provides abortions for women — or, in her own words, "helps young girls who can't manage."Makes sense, I guess. The president of Planned Parenthood goes to Kenya and there's really not much to see. Might as well look up those back-alley abortionists.
When she spoke that line, I thought of the doctors I met in Kenya — where abortion is illegal — who use the same language to describe what they do. Throughout the world, abortion providers describe their work in this way: "helping women." Like Vera, they cannot and will not stand by while women suffer.
Clearly, Planned Parenthood is dedicated to "helping women" by any means necessary, with no respect for local, national, or international law. Under the current administration, the organization received over a quarter-billion in taxpayer money in fiscal 2003, much of that from the federal government. Judging by all the money they've put into defeating President Bush, you can be sure that a Kerry win would mean payback time for them—out of your and my pockets.
Monday, October 25, 2004
[FIXED LINK:] Beyond Choice, the title of the new book by Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger's grandson Alexander Sanger, has an Orwellian ring to it—as though it implied a world where women could no longer choose not to have abortions. An editorial by Albert Mohler reveals that the book's point is even more insidious: an argument that abortion is necessary for the "survival of the fittest." The argument is nothing less than Margaret Sanger's own beloved eugenics in modern guise, and Mohler explains why abortion opponents must be prepared to confront it.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with a research scientist who has published hundreds of articles in medical journals, works closely with the National Institute of Health, and works in the very field which proponents of embryonic stem-cell research claim would most benefit from that research. While he is personally opposed to abortion, he does not have qualms about doing research on embryos that would otherwise be killed. Yet, he told me, he supports President Bush, who has restricted federal funding for stem-cell research. (The Bush administration appropriated $25 million for embryonic stem-cell research, with the restriction that it only be on certain lines of cells from embryos that had already been destroyed. In other words, the president has decreed that federal funds cannot go towards destroying new embryos.)
I asked the scientist why he would support Bush when John Kerry has made support of embryonic stem-cell research a cornerstone of his campaign. Was he putting his political views above his professional views?
His answer surprised me, because, even though I'd read it over and over in pro-life literature and conservative magazines, I didn't expect to hear a scientist admit it.
He said that embryonic stem-cell research held promise—but it was far more likely that adult stem cells would lead to cures. Moreover, he said, President Bush's restrictions on federal funding did not greatly hinder embryonic stem-cell research, because there were no restrictions on privately financed trials.
I bring this up because a woman who says she reads this page in hope of "understanding the other side's point of view" recently wrote to me asking why I disparaged Christopher Reeve's TV commercials advocating embryonic stem-cell research. She thought that the never-used headline I'd composed for a newspaper story about the commercials—"Reeve 'spins' in his grave"—was offensive to the star's widow.
One thing that advocates of embryonic stem-cell research seem to have difficulty understanding about this issue is that either an embryo is a human life, or it's not. Certainly, if you advocate such research, you believe it falls into the "not" category. Because if it is human life, then destroying it is murder.
Those who advocate destroying unborn life often seem to believe that there is a gray area between killing and not killing. They know that destroying an embryo or aborting a baby involves something being alive, and then not being alive. Yet they can't believe that something is actually killed in the process.
I submit that killing is killing. Moreover, I submit that such killing is not made any more acceptable when its proponents attempt to sugarcoat it by saying it will save future lives.
Pro-abortion groups such as Planned Parenthood vocally support embryonic stem-cell research, and it's no wonder. It enables them to spin abortion as a "humanitarian" act. This hijacking of the language, making murder appear to lead to life, gives frightening credence to the many warnings from Pope John Paul II that the world is embracing a "culture of death".
Some advocates of embryonic stem-cell research argue, "If you knew that this research would save millions of lives, would you still oppose it?" Again, such a question is ludicrous for those who believe that destroying an embryo is itself murder. It's one thing for a soldier to willingly give his life for his country. It's another thing entirely to deliberately kill an innocent person for another's benefit.
If you asked me if I would kill the stranger standing next to me so that my mother could have a longer and healthier life, I couldn't do it. There is no fundamental moral difference between such a murder and destroying an embryo.
With that in mind, the idea of Christopher Reeve shilling from beyond the grave on behalf of embryonic stem-cell research is outrageous. He might as well have made commercials advocating machine-gunning nursery-school students to provide raw meat for hungry poor adults. Did I mention that I have no respect for the man? But thanks to the abortion lobby, the pharmaceutical companies, and everyone else who has an interest in devaluing human life, he's this Man of Stool who's held up as a modern-day saint. Meanwhile, the voices of living paralytics like Detective Stephen McDonald and Joni Eareckson Tada who vocally oppose the research are marginalized.
Don't grieve for Reeve. Grieve for the human lives that are even now being destroyed in privately funded research thanks to all the cheerleading he did for butchery in the name of science.
SELECTED COMMENTS: Mom (whose bio is linked at left) writes:
I like brave and courageous writing, and I liked your piece about embryonic stem cell research. But why did you say you had no respect for a dead man who tried to figure things out without the benefit of the knowledge of the Lord? I respected him, what I knew of him. I definitely did not agree with him about embryonic stem cell research, and I think that adults who have led a charmed life of advantage need to accept what they're dealt in life and do the best they can with it. He did the best he could, but his fault was that he did not realize that he was denying a babe with a clean slate in life a chance to better the world by being allowed to be born. He did have that chance, and no one gets to live long at the expense of one who doesn't get to live at all. I do believe in respect for elders, and I don't believe in killing sick old people in order to save money or put them out of their misery. But that's another topic.Dennis Schenkel writes in an e-mail headed "Pope and Michael J. Fox," "I think this is a beautiful irony. They both suffer from Parkinson's, yet the Pope is not advocating the killing of people for the purpose of one day curing disease." He also notes that drug companies do not want to put their own money into embryonic stem-cell research because studies so far have resulted in "wildly growing tumors. Stem-cell research using cells from umbilical cord blood hold much more promise and has actually been proven in the lab." (The Weekly Standard article that I linked earlier has more on this.)
Some say the Bible says nothing about the unborn. I love the entire Psalm 139, which certainly implies a warning against those who oppose God's plan for the unborn.
Peter Young writes from Australia:
I have been researching this topic for a few years now since returning to study and adult stem cells are not just the best option but the only one with results on the board. If you want to know more check out the Do No Harm Web site. The results already received are fantastic.Tom Merkle writes:
Also, the problem that I have found in Australia and seems to be a problem in the American media is if a study shows some results, it is called stem-cell research when it is usually adult stem cells they are referring to. Whereas when groups call for funding, they talk about the potential of embryonic stem cells and ignore adult stem cells. But the problem is that the general public are not informed about the differences. I did a presentation for my university class earlier this year on the subject and the tutor did not realise that the result gained in this field were from adult stem cells. The media and interest groups quite often attribute adult stem cell success to embryonic stem cells.
Your last blog entry on the twisted reasoning of embryonic stem-cell enthusiasts brought me back ten years to my undergrad (if you want to call it that). At the time the Naval Academy was recovering from a massive EE cheating scandal that had seriously damaged its reputation. As a "corrective action" all officers-in-training had to sit through four hours a month of "Integrity Development Seminar." Mostly it consisted of a short story or reading we all had to do, followed by several hours of discussion that was completely unproductive. (I remember playing "buzzword bingo" with other mids during the most of the discussions.) Nevertheless, there was one story that stuck with me, written by the SF author Ursula K. Leguin, called "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas." It's short, not terribly imaginative, yet it sticks with you. Check it out.I did read the story, and found it disturbing and highly relevant to the embryonic stem-cell issue. In the context of the story, it's interesting that Omelas, the name of the town that is a metaphor for the culture of death, is an anagram of Salome&8212;the young woman who chose the death of John the Baptist for her reward.
UPDATE: Roy Jacobsen shares an essay pointing out the many points where embryonic stem-cell technology and legislation coincides with the principles espoused in Brave New World.
TRACKBACK: Julie Neidlinger writes about Joni Eareckson Tada's integrity.
Sunday, October 24, 2004
The New York Times continues its crusade for same-sex marriage with the cover story of today's issue of its magazine: "Growing Up With Mom and Mom." The story features a heterosexual girl named Ry, a pouty, 22-year-old filmmaker who calls a pair of lesbians her "moms."
Writer Susan Dominus throws in questionable research at various intervals to back up her argument that kids of homosexual "parents" are just as healthy—nay, healthier—than those of normal parents. But she lets Ry do most of the talking—and from what the girl says, those children raised homosexual couples truly deserve our prayers:
"It took me a lot of struggle to realize that I really was attracted to men, yet now it is really hard for me to deal with men as human beings, let alone sexually." There was more along those lines -- Ry was intrigued but "repulsed" by heterosexual relations, afraid of the "sexist soul-losing domain of oppression....I cannot understand or relate to men because I am so immersed in gay culture and unfamiliar with what it is to have a healthy straight relationship."Can you imagine how screwed up a child has to be to think that male and female biology, simply by being what it is, is "sexist and gross"?
Ry suddenly sat up straight. "I think it's cool how critical I am of the heterosexual world," she said. "It is sexist and gross."
It gets worse.
Ry's mothers may not have been heterosexual role models for her [You can say THAT again—Ed.], but they've always encouraged her in her relationships with men, provided they approved of her choice. When she was 16, she fell in love with her first boyfriend but was unsure of where to take things. Several months into the relationship, there were a couple of weeks, her mothers recall, when she mooned around the house, talking around and about the relationship, seeming stressed out, uncertain, in need of counsel. "Finally, my mom said, 'You should just go have sex with him,'" Ry recalled.Well, isn't that sweet. A little girl is 16 years old and obsessed with a boy, so her "parents" tell her, "Stop bothering us already. Go right ahead and have sex."
The story has become a favorite family chestnut, partly because of the way it embraces heterosexuality while upholding values ["parents"] Russo and Young pride themselves on, values they see as part of queer culture -- an openness about sexuality, a fearlessness communicated not just from friend to friend, but also, now, from mother to daughter. To Ry, the story signifies something slightly different. "It was like I needed to ask their permission to have sex with this man," she explained to me. The issue for Ry wasn't sex -- it was sex with a man, which meant "growing up and away from my mothers," as she put it. They gave their consent, with love and encouragement, but it seems to pain Ry that she felt, of her own accord, that she had to ask at all: "I felt a little bit like I was betraying them. Like I was leaving them emotionally. I wasn't sure if it was O.K. with them. But then I got that O.K. and that made me feel relieved, like I could go ahead."Yessiree, that is one well-balanced kid. We should all pair up with same-sex partners so we can have children who consider themselves worthless breeders. Now please excuse me while I wallow in guilt over being a heterosexual descended from heterosexuals.
The New York Times endorsed John Kerry last week.
Saturday, October 23, 2004
Friday, October 22, 2004
James P. Wood's piece on the presidential candidates' religious beliefs has a thought-provoking conclusion: "The two candidates possess views in diametrical opposition to those of their churches, while also claiming a central role for religion in their lives.It is strange but true that each could achieve greater religious harmony by switching to the other's church."
Wood also links to a page of pictures from Iraq you won't see in the news. It is beautiful, and yet brings the disturbing realization of the extent to which the Iraqis' gratitude to the United States is effectively censored by the mainstream media.
It's not unusual, when I'm all dressed up at a party—even if I've forsaken my racy Mod duds for a tasteful cocktail dress, as I did the other night—for some thoughtful person to give me a compliment. But it's pretty rare that the compliment is that I have "the gift of continency." So rare, in fact, that I later had to check the Catholic Encyclopedia to find out what he meant.
Fortunately, the speaker of those worlds, Duncan Frissell, is himself a blogger (The Technoptimist) and he has put up an enlightening entry showing how language praising "the gift of continency" is enshrined in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer marriage ceremony—and is censored by those favoring homosexual "marriage." (Note: The "Mods" Duncan references are moderns—don't picture them wearing parkas and riding scooters.)
UPDATE: Duncan writes:
I was joking of course. You probably "have not the gift of continency" which is why you seek marriage (as most do).
Chastity is the proper word for "restraint" outside of marriage (and I don't mean S&M).
The nice thing about the 1662 marriage ceremony is that it presents the traditional view of the purposes of marriage. Not only children but the avoidance of sin and mutual help which counters the pro same-sex marriage argument that "childless opposite-sex marriages are allowed so you should allow same-sex marriage." There's a lot more to marriage than children.
I just wrote a headline for a story about the TV commercial Christopher Reeve taped a week before his death, promoting the $3 billion California embryonic stem-cell initiative. I don't know if my words will make the cut, but I couldn't resist writing, "Reeve 'spins' in his grave."
I am very sorry to hear about the death of Greg Shaw. I met him a couple of times in the Nineties when he visited New York City, and for years we were long-distance friends. He had a good heart and a sincere love of music. He was also generous, including with rock historians who wanted information from his legendary archive. (I'm embarrassed to say that, while I have a strong feeling I actually first met him in 1988 when he allowed me to peruse said archive, I can't say for certain that he was there, because all I can remember is sitting at a table devouring an unpublished interview with Curt Boettcher.)
Along with Lenny Kaye (who compiled the seminal Nuggets double-LP), Greg was someone without whom the best musical memories of my teens and twenties might not have happened. It was his labels' Sixties pop, garage, and psych releases that sparked interest in that decade's wealth of great, obscure pre-hippie rock, and inspired other labels to delve into their own catalogues.
On a personal level, Greg's loss is for me an unwanted lesson in the importance of not leaving things unsaid. I hadn't had contact with him since 1995, when we had a falling-out over an issue where I insisted he was in the wrong. A few years later, I woke up one day and realized it was I who owed him an apology. I resolved to write him a letter saying I was sorry—but I never did.
I don't like writing about my falling out with Greg, but I wanted to say it in case there's anyone reading who has a similar difference with someone who was once a friend. It's never easy to apologize, but it's better to do it now, because you never know how long you or your friend are going to be around. Greg was only 55.
Thursday, October 21, 2004
Apologies for the "Team America"-style punnery (actually I got the idea from the tabloid front page after the Yankees lost Game 6: "THAT SOX!"), but I needed a way to introduce my entry to Kevin McCullough's contest (scroll down to "John Kerry—a wager").
Kevin writes: "Now—since Kerry's favorite Red Sox player doesn't even exist...and since he couldn't clear home plate when he asked if he could throw out the first pitch at Fenway...what kind of corny, canned, hammy line do you think he will use on the campaign stump today?"
There are already two fine entries up—here's my addition:
"And on November 2, we're going to lift the Curse of the Babe from the White House!"
By now, I think we all know that when Andrew Sullivan sees a news item that is unfavorable to President Bush, he prints it without bothering to find out if it's actually true. In that spirit, he writes today,
BUSH AND LIFE: Here's something I didn't know: after steady declines under Clinton, abortion rates have been increasing under Bush.Um, perhaps he didn't know it because it's a load of hooey?
The story to which Sullivan refers is a study by Dr. Glen Harold Stassen that analyzes data from 16 states and extrapolates that abortions have increased in the whole country. That alone should tip you off that something's wrong. According to another study, which is summarized in an article in LifeNews, Stassen's whole report is full of holes.
I know what Sullivan would say: Why should he trust LifeNews any more than a researcher he's never heard of? Certainly, LifeNews, being pro-life, would be expected to refute the study's findings, while Stassen appears comparatively less biased since he describes himself as "consistently pro-life."
While I can't verify its conclusions about Stassen's study, one section of the LifeNews report by Dr. Randy O'Bannon and Laura Hussey is easily verifiable and confirmed by several outside sources:
Stassen identifies himself as "consistently pro-life," and talks touchingly of his love for his blind and disabled son, who he and his wife chose to bear after his wife contacted rubella in her eighth week of pregnancy. But Stassen fails to mention that he was one of the original signatories of "A Call to Concern," a 1977 document that expressed support for the Roe v. Wade decision and affirmed that "abortion in some instances may be the most loving act possible." If his view has changed, or if he sees this original stance as somehow compatible with his current "consistent pro-life position," he does not say.Stassen did indeed sign "A Call to Concern," which affirmed "that abortion in some instances may be the most loving act possible." It called upon religious leaders to respond to what they termed "the absolutist position" and "its total preoccupation with the status of the unborn" which "renders it blind to the well-being and freedom of choice of persons in community."
So Stassen's boast of his "consistent pro-life position," which supposedly makes him credible, is in fact a bald-faced lie. Needless to say, with that in mind, it's impossible to blindly accept the truth of his findings. The only function of his study is to give Andrew Sullivan an opportunity for a gratuitous shot at the president.
Sullivan's "Daily Dish" used to be meaty. Now it's just frosted flakes.
CORRECTION: Craig Henry of Lead and Gold has a better metaphor: "Frosted flakes are tasty and actually have some vitamins. Sullivan is more like that wax fruit grandparents used to use in their centerpieces—looks good at first glance, but fake and worthless when you look closer."
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
I am honored to be the subject of a blog entry (on Michael Bates' BatesLine) titled "Blogosphere Intrudes on Real Life." Still, with all due respect, I'm sure that, in 1978 in Galveston, Texas, my mother hoped it would be the last time my name would be mentioned in a school-secretary's office 2,000 miles from New York City.
One frustrating thing about being pro-life is seeing how the underfunded anti-abortion lobby often makes embarrassing gaffes in its press materials. Usually these are limited to cheesy Web-site design and bad spelling, but a line in a press release issued today from the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer is particularly cringe-inducing.
The press release criticizes the U.S. Supreme Court's decision not to hear a case by three California women who had tried to sue Planned Parenthood for false advertising. They had not been told before getting abortions at Planned Parenthood clinics that the procedure would increase their chances of getting breast cancer.
The link between abortion and breast cancer is real, and it is an outrage that the Supreme Court justices would not consider the evidence. But I wish coalition president Karen Malec hadn't said in the press release, "The court's decision is a miscarriage of justice."
UPDATE: A reader who is pro-life wrote to me that scientific evidence does not back the abortion/breast-cancer link. I recommended that she read the NewsMax article "Politics and the Abortion-Breast Cancer Link,", which describes how medical organizations frame the data to minimize a link that studies show does in fact exist.
ALSO: A well-articulated and annotated piece about "recall bias" from the Web site of a group that publicizes the abortion/breast-cancer link.
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Filmmaker Matt Stone ("South Park," "Team America") may believe that undecided and uninformed eligible voters should stay home on Election Day, but his homosexual Hollywood compatriots disagree.
The news site 365gay.com reports that the stars of Showtime's "Queer as Folk" are launching an all-out effort to get out the vote for their favorite presidential candidate. You know—the one who makes gratuitous references to others' homosexual preference.
One of the show's stars, Robert Gant, explains that it's all about putting the "out" in "turnout": "This isn't about getting people to vote for Kerry, that's preaching to the choir. This is about getting people to the polls. Saying you were hung over from being at the bars the night before just doesn't cut it."
So that's Kerry's base—drunks who have anonymous anal sex with one another and have to be kicked out of bed in order to make it into the voting booth. Here's a slogan for them: "That JOHN...smells awful—KERRY yourself off the bathroom floor and into a voting booth."
And don't write to tell me that there are intelligent people who are informed about candidates, do not frequent bars, and live the homosexual lifestyle. I know that. One of whom I loved as a dear friend died of AIDS. The tragedy is that the homosexual culture, by its nature, holds up promiscuity and "gayness"—which translates as an ultra-feminized dizziness and flakiness (lacking the virtues of true femininity)—as an ideal.
The Associated Press reports that an Ohio man who was paid by an NAACP National Voter Fund officer—in crack—to submit voter-registration forms made one out for "Mary Poppins."
When you think about it, it actually makes sense that P.L. Travers's creation, as envisioned by Disney, would support John Kerry, as does the NAACP. Here are a few reasons I could come up with—suggestions welcome:
- She claims her "feed the birds" program will only cost taxpayers tuppence a day;
- If you say big words like "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," liberal intellectuals will think you sound much smarter than President Bush;
- Her social-welfare umbrella that lifts her above the clouds is propelled entirely by hot air;
- Because she tries to convince taxpayers that all it takes is a spoonful of sugar plus medicine, and—poof!—universal health care!
- "A broom for the shaft and a broom for the flume"—well, of course, the Kerry administration will reduce flume emissions, and will guarantee that the owners of those flumes will get the shaft.
- Because a nanny would support a nanny state.
Communists for Kerry presents a copiously illustrated outline of its candidate's "Nuisance Project." This is a must-see. The prime directive: "All subordinate news media (aka 'mainstream') are hereby directed to eliminate the words "terror" and "terrorism" from their language. Use the words 'nuisance, bother, annoyance, irritation, pest,' and those standing next to them in thesaurus."
Oh, how I wish Tiny Tim had lived to see this.
A German man has developed a method to straighten bananas.
Tiny Tim (right) used to perform a lovely song from the days of vaudeville and music hall called "I've Never Seen a Straight Banana." (The then-future Bongos leader Richard Barone even produced an unreleased recording of Mr. Tim doing the song, but that's another story.)
Here, to start your day with a smile, are the lyrics of this newly topical tune. You have to picture dear Mr. Tim smiling sweetly as he strokes his ukelele:
You may have seen some funny things in your time
But there's one thing you've not seen, I'd like to bet.
Would you like to know just what you have been missing?
I'll tell you in the chorus but not yet.
Now I've got you puzzled, so I'll tell you what I mean.
The thing that's in my mind, I must confess, I haven't seen.
I have never, never, never, never, I've never seen a straight banana.
I guess I must admit
That I have searched quite a bit.
They're even curved when they are served in my banana split.
I have seen them by the carload on the Delaware & Lackawanna
But have you ever?
No, I've never
I've never seen a straight banana.
I recall when I was in Alaska
I saw the sun at twelve-o'clock at night.
I've seen the waterfalls at old Niagara
I can vouch it is a most impressive sight.
But I'd like to see one certain thing
But if it's not to be,
I'd like to meet somebody else
Who saw what I can't see.
I've never, never, never, never seen a straight banana.
Although the things I hate,
Hundreds I have ate.
But I've never yet seen one banana that was straight.
I have traveled far to find one.
I've been to Chili and Havana.
But I've never, never, never, never seen a straight banana.
I've never, never, never, I have never seen a straight banana.
Once I chanced to see
A real life murder mystery
The jury found the prisoner guilty in the first degree.
All at once we heard the prisoner
Holler out, "This is the truth, your honor,
I've never, never never, never
Never, never, never, never
I've never seen a straight banana."
Thanks to [warning: copious obscenities] Ace of Spades for the news item.
Newly added to The Dawn Patrol's left-hand column: a link to obscenitycrimes.org. Operated by Morality in Media, the site enables easy reporting of hard-core pornography Web sites and the spam e-mails that advertise those sites, and it forwards the information to the feds.
If you are a blogger and would like to put an obscenitycrimes.org banner on your site, there are additional types of banners available for use.
Monday, October 18, 2004
"I have a record in office, as well. And all Americans have seen that record. September the 4th, 2001, I stood in the ruins of the Twin Towers. It's a day I will never forget." — From the text of the speech that the president gave today in New Jersey, as it currently stands on the White House Web site. I have reported the error to the Webmaster.
"Personally, I'm relieved the convention's attendees aren't talking about sex onstage. If I knew just how often Republican wives were enjoying conjugal relations and how good those relations were, I would feel deprived."—The Dawn Patrol, September 1, 2004
"'Primetime Live' Poll: More Republicans Satisfied With Sex Lives Than Democrats"—ABCNews.com, October 18, 2004
Sunday, October 17, 2004
Varifrank has an excellent reply to Cliff May, a contributor to National Review Online's The Corner who saw "The Third Man" and thought its plot was full of holes. (Note that his piece is written for those who have seen the film—there are spoilers aplenty.) I can understand where May's coming from—I didn't fully understand the film until I saw it for the second or third time. But Frank's right in that every time the film resists conventional storytelling, there's a reason—and that reason is always rewarding.
Saturday, October 16, 2004
I probably should get out into the wider blogosphere more often, but as it is I only occasionally happen upon left-wing blogs, and then it's usually the one by my friend Caren Lissner, who is an author and editor of a local weekly newspaper chain.
Knowing Caren personally, I have respect for her when she writes about her concern for the underprivileged. I have seen her volunteer for a charity that helps those in poverty, and I know she would give her own meal to someone who's hungry. But apparently, for reasons that I do not understand, judging by the things she writes on her blog, she not only believes that concern for the underprivileged and impoverished is the exclusive or near-exclusive provenance of the Democratic Party, but she also believes that Democrats do not speak ill of those less fortunate. She contrasts this with "a lot of regular folks who are conservatives (not all) tend to base their rationale on selfishness or hate."
We are living in a polarized time, and regardless of who wins the election, the country's divisions may be, if anything, deeper after November 2. It's justified to take a strong stand for what one believes. But to bring the rhetoric to the point of assuming "selfishness or hate"—and Caren's words are only an example of beliefs held by many Democrats, including ones in my own family—marks a demonization of the opponent that in turn makes one unable to see one's own moral vulnerabilities.
I'm disturbed when I see conservatives who appear to not care about the poor and underprivileged, just as I am when I see anyone uncaring. But, putting aside the fact that this is a much deeper issue—for those same Democrats who claim to care about the poor support organizations like Planned Parenthood that were founded with the express purpose of minimizing the minority population (see this speech where its founder calls poor babies "human weed")—selfishness and hate is to be fought wherever it appears.
Democrats tend not to voice hatred of blacks and gays, because they realize that it is not politically correct to do so. But it is not only politically correct among them to voice hatred of Christians—it is encouraged.
Search the Web for references to the "right-wing religious" and you'll find almost exclusively pejorative references from mainstream liberal organizations like People for the American Way and NOW. The adjective "right-wing" isn't scary enough for liberals—add "religious," always intended in this context as a euphemism for Christian, and it's like throwing oil on a fire.
It's impossible for me to take people seriously when they speak of people who share my faith as though we were evil, subhuman, inconsiderate, or ignorant. People who hold that attitude—or who align themselves closely with people who hold that attitude and fail to rebuke them—cannot have integrity when they speak of "injustice."
I also can't abide people who think I'm acceptable because I'm not like those "other" Christians. What "other" Christians? The ones who believe that Jesus Christ died for their sins and rose after three days? Certainly, Christians are far from thinking as a single-minded unit, but any criticism that targets one individual's "right-wing religious" beliefs is an insult on all Christians—right-wing or not.
It is essential that we resist the temptation to address liberals on their own ground, to argue over who is more compassionate. Sometimes to repair something, you have to break something. You have to cut the aloe leaf to get the healing salve. Likewise, the work of repairing the world—tikkun olam, as it's called in Hebrew—necessarily entails breaking away from those who would place ideology over the basic moral values of life. They will know we are Christians by our love—and some of them will hate us for it.
TRACKBACK: Caren has a thoughtful response.
Last month, I made fun of Planned Parenthood's recommendation that its supporters send one another pro-choice greeting cards. But the organization really does offer cards—from "Choice on Earth" Christmas cards to e-cards.
Below is Planned Parenthood's "emergency contraception" online postcard. What looks like a piercing is actually a pill on the woman's tongue. The text across the girl's tongue says, "the morning-after, the morning-after-that, and the morning-after-that pill"—playing up the fact that the pill will kill an embryo up to 72 hours after intercourse. Below the "EC" logo, it says, "Women have a right to know."
In order to appreciate that card, you have to completely detach yourself from one's own humanity. This is true regardless of whether you believe that a day-old embryo is a person.
The image demands you believe that there is something racy, edgy, sexy, about stopping a body from being pregnant. That there is something so punk, so rebellious, so au courant, about ending a process that, if continued, would result in a new human life—in a baby's cry, in a three-year-old who would run to you laughing, arms outstretched, saying, "Mommy!
And if you do believe, like me, that a human life begins when sperm fertilizes egg, then this image is as disgusting as a jackbooted Nazi with his proud foot on a dead woman's throat. In fact, it's chillingly similar, considering Planned Parenthood founder's intimate ties with the German eugenics movement and its Nazi supporters.
So "women have a right to know"? They certainly do—just as they have a right to know what partial-birth abortion looks like.
This image is what is meant by the "culture of death." It is culture, as in popular culture, and it is death. It doesn't matter if it's all around us—it's our duty as human beings to confront it wherever it rears its disgusting pointed tongue. This is why we have to take a stand for what we believe in, and why we have to support a president who knows that the only true choice is life.
Think there aren't any spiritual New Yorkers Down Under? Think again! One Stewart Cummingham of Australia, who probably discovered this blog via the wonderful Tim Blair, sounds like a veritable Manhattanite as he writes me regarding my post "Tragically Hip." Congratulations, Stewart, you've just won...another term living under a conservative prime minister! Bwahahaha...
In the interest of equal time, here is Stewart's e-mail, unedited:
Hi DawnUPDATE: Shortly after Stewart's e-mail arrived, and before I put it online, another Australian, Peter Young, wrote to me with a different—and heartening—view, for which I'm grateful:
Unfortunately I found your article about 'hip' people not liking George Bush, it is desperately skewed and egotistical,not to mention insanely simplistic and even scary. I appreciate that you are a legend in your own lunchtime and all but you need to take a step back and have a look at yourself and your opinions, as for your comment that Iraq and the US are better off than they were four years ago - what a pathetic statement...tell that to all the people who have had loved ones die unnecessarily because of that stupid war, better still why don't you go to iraq and live there if you think it is so good. If you cannot see that GWB is a moronic puppet then you need a brain transplant as well as a 'hip' transplant.
Don't mean to upset you, I just found your article really stupid.
have a good weekend anyway
I have to say that would have to be one of the best pieces I have read for a long time. I may not be an American citizen, I'm an Aussie from a rural area, but I too believe that George Bush is doing the right thing. The war in Iraq will make life better for Iraqis and the rest of the world but we just have to give it time. I am a 33-year-old returning to study at uni and the amount of rubbish that is spouted by left wing, green students who have not experienced the real world is incredible. They ask for everything to be paid for by the government but believe that industry and agriculture must be hauled back into environmental line. Cut back cows, stop cutting down trees, reduce industry and stop building roads. Ignorance must be a lovely thing. Keep up the great work and hopefully your president will be re-elected like our like-minded prime minister was.
Friday, October 15, 2004
Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the political-action committee operated by Margaret Sanger's posse, is running commercials in swing states to rally voters for John Kerry. Try watching it with the sound off. You'll notice that while it's filled with images of women and children, there's not a single baby. The youngest child in it looks about 4.
Planned Parenthood just hates them babies.
Kevin McCullough in his World Net Daily column uses sarcasm to make an important point with regard to the Kerry campaign's using Mary Cheney to show how "sensitive" the candidate is to the gay community: "It's nice to see that the ticket which claims to be for the advancement of the feminist ideals has such low opinions of women that they victimize one—who cannot reply—as a talking point."
Had a surreal experience today. First I stopped by the doctor's office for a routine test, where I read the latest Newsweek and learned that the BBC comedy "The Office" just completed its 10th and last episode. Back when I was a kid I would have cared about those things—I was a huge fan of British comedy. Now that I've lived without a TV for 19 years, the news of the show's demise just struck me as another piece of news—although the show's star, Ricky Gervais, clearly has the face of a great comic.
An hour and a half ago, I sat down at my desk in my office, and was annoyed by constant flash bulbs in my face, coming through the glass walls of the editor's office about 30 feet in front of me. When I asked my boss what was up, he said that the BBC show "The Office" was in the editor's office.
I'm so well-informed, I knew that couldn't be true—after all, hadn't they just finished shooting their 10th and last episode? But I looked through the glass walls, and sure enough, there was a clean-shaven Gervais, smiling and sitting at the editor's desk, behind a new nameplate that read, "The Editor."
I was reminded of when I was a kid and used to fantasize about what would I do if Michael Palin came to visit me at my school. If I still had a TV, I'm sure I would be in utter ecstasy at this unexpected visit. It just goes to show that if you live long enough, sooner or later, everything happens.
Incidentally, the closest I ever really came to the "Michael Palin in my school" experience was when I was an NYU freshman and a great fan of Kurt Vonnegut's fiction. One night, for some reason, a memorial service for the writer Heinrich Boll was scheduled in my dorm's basement—right next to the laundry room, where the Beastie Boys had done their rehearsals. It was a bizarre feeling to get showered and dressed and then, without even leaving my "house," go downstairs three flights to see Vonnegut speak. I remember thinking that I could go in my bathrobe and fuzzy slippers if I wanted—but I didn't.
NARAL Pro-Choice America is currently sponsoring a "Sex Ed for Grownups" tour hosted by sex columnists Em & Lo, with the slogan, "Keep the Government Out of Your Pants."
Actually, I could use more of the Bush admistration's policies in my pants. I'm already doing pretty well with the abstinence-until-marriage program, but I'd be happier if it were reinvigorated by a major faith-based initiative.
At any rate, I would much rather the government be in my pants than in my pocketbook. Especially when the president's tax rebate gives me such a nice booty.
I do agree that it's important to keep the government out of my genes—but I'll save that discussion for when I do my blue material...
Light blogging and even lighter e-mail returning this morning (sorry)—feeling under the weather (isn't there some rule that bad colds should be spaced at least a month apart?) and am going to try to combat it with sleep before beginning my workweek.
Thursday, October 14, 2004
Kevin Walsh pointed me to a blog by a friend of his who wittily asks the question of whether Dr. Seuss was pro-life. I'm agnostic on this one, but check out the comments—it's nice to see some articulate pro-lifers countering the pro-abortion readers.
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Patrick McGrath of Morality in Media (which operates obscenitycrimes.org, the best means for reporting pornography Web sites), reports with regard to Planned Parenthood's "preconception visits" for girls 14 and under, that the age of consent in Canada is 14. Thankfully, Canadians Addressing Sexual Exploitation is on the CASE.
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
I just discovered Arwen/Elizabeth, a blog by a lovely and articulate 22-year-old married woman who is trying to conceive using Natural Family Planning techniques. She longs to be a mother, so I thought I'd mention her as a possible addition to your prayer list.
Image courtesy of The Curt Jester, who created it to illustrate his entry "Dr. Kerry's Medicine Show."
The Drudge Report quotes John Edwards as telling a crowd today, "We will stop juvenile diabetes, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and other debilitating diseases...When John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve are going to get up out of that wheelchair and walk again."
Somehow the image his creepy words evoke for me is not Christopher Reeve, but Peter Sellers as Dr. Strangelove: "Mein Fuhrer! I can walk!"
Two very good posts this week on artistic talent, sinfulness, and how God can use our pain and incompleteness to bring forth beautiful creations that glorify Him. I wrote about this earlier in "Road to Joy"—the new observations come from Maclin Horton, writing about Judee Sill's Heart Food, and Barbara Nicolosi, writing about Graham Green and others.
I'll leave it to other to critique Planned Parenthood's new "Brief History of Marriage", which argues that homosexual marriage is perfectly normal and acceptable—but I would like to be the first person to point out the apparent misprint at the top border of the page, where the title should be. It says "The Female Condom."