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We like to tell ourselves that, as long as Roe stands, abortion is legal. We like to think that "reasonable" restrictions on abortion are ... reasonable. We like to think that this is an issue best left ignored, shoved aside, open to compromise.

I beg to differ. Two days after the GAO exposed underhanded political stonewalling on Plan B, I take the occasion to offer a different tale of what's currently legal in the United States....

Five months ago, this post appeared relating one woman's ordeal of find herself pregnant in this world where abortion is supposedly a Constitutionally-protected right:

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Can we calk about real politics for a moment?

Once upon a time I was a moderate. I believed in Keynesian economics. I believed in using market forces to help institute desired policy. I believed in empowering people so that they could take charge of their own lives. I believed in incentives in business and personal tax deductions and rebates. I believed that people had a right to privacy. I believed that the government should stay out of people's private lives, but that the government is needed to protect people from not just crime but from abuse through pollution and fraud. I believed in free speech.

That was then. I was a moderate.

This is now ... and I still believe all those things. But now I find myself labeled as "left."


Who's your daddy?

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I am talking about the post-earthquake horror in Pakistan.


I can't say which is worse: embarrassment and shame that I haven't blogged this yet? Or embarrassment and shame that virtually nobody in the blogosphere has written a single thing about this.

But worse than embarrassment or shame is the horrible situation in Pakistan, where tens of thousands have died, and tens of thousands more, including children, still have not received any aid.

Let's look at the facts:

50,000 dead, maybe more, many of whom were children, who were in school at the moment the quake hit.


10,000 more children are facing imminent death due to injury, infection, disease, starvation, dehydration, exposure to the sub-zero temperatures at night. 120,000 children are at risk.

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Imagine we're in the decade of the 1960s. Imagine that the civil rights movement is heating up. Imagine African Americans agitating for their rights as Americans, demanding equal protection, equal access to the commons, equal rights under the law.

Imagine the heat they direct at the white racist establishment. Imagine the harsh words they have for the Jim Crow enforcers. Imagine white bigots in both parties getting outraged and indignant over these "Negroes with their pet issues."

Imagine Democrats fighting these developments. Imagine white bigots representing the Democratic Party, taking money from the Democratic Party, speaking for the Democratic Party, saying miscegenation is an abomination, that blacks should know their place, that our American traditions demand this, that our children our being corrupted by these disruptions. Imagine bigotry being framed as "moral values." Imagine bigotry being accepted as "divergent views."

Cross-posted on MediaGirl. Read on....

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Of course, if you don't want a cola -- or any kind of sugared, carbonated beverage -- this kind of question doesn't help.

It seems that the same kind of thing is happening in politics, where people increasingly are seeing the two main brands, Democrat and Republican, offering two slightly different variations on the same basic treacly, gassy content.

You'd think that the disruptive nature of the internet would mean that bloggers, who ostensibly are not constrained by the mainstreaming pressures of mainstream political cultures, would be pushing for real progressive policies, or, for that matter, real conservative policies.

Strangely, when it comes to the mainstream bloggers, that does not seem to be the case. (Or maybe it's not so strange, considering how some bloggers are now in bed with political PACs.)

Cross-posted on and Booman ... More after the jump....


What should the Democrats do?

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[cross-posted from media girl]

There's been a lot of calling for real accountability when it comes to Bush and his administration's neglect of essential government programs related to our national security and civil infrastructure, leading to the failures so bloody apparent in the aftermath of Katrina.

And I agree, Bush should be held accountable.

The Republicans are now trying to mount a big coverup campaign, by maintaining control over any investigation of what really happened. Why are they doing this? What do they have to hide? What are they afraid of?

The truth?

But I think it's important for progressives to understand that this disaster is not just about Bush, and it's not just about the Republicans who collaborated with Bush to dismantle our government -- all the while increasing spending and feeding at the taxpayer trough.

The more important thing that happened in the past few weeks is the exposure of the utter bankruptcy of conservative ideology, which since Ronald Reagan (at least) has tried to claim that government is the enemy, that government must be destroyed.

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Tue Sep 13, 2005 at 09:49 AM PDT

When is privacy just privacy?

by media girl

If you read some of the überblogs on the John Roberts hearings, you'll see a lot of talk about the right to privacy -- which Roberts himself called "the so-called right to privacy" in an internal memo when he was a young, bright-eyed legal turk in the Reagan administration.

So what is the average American to think? To most Americans -- who, contrary to popular belief, are not lawyers -- a "right to privacy" means a right to be able to close the door on governmental snooping, the right to private lives. And in that much, they are right.

But what the average American may not realize is that when legal eagles talk about "privacy," they're also talking about liberty -- the right to do what one will without governmental interference or control.

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The perception in most circles is that the Supreme Court's Roe precedent is the front line to reproductive rights. The perception is that, until Roe  is overturned -- which many expect will eventually happen, thanks to the dogmatic misogyny of Supreme Court ideologues and sympathetic characters -- women's reproductive rights are safe. The perception is that if and when Roe  is overturned, that is when the battle begins.

But the war is already well underway. And battles are already being lost. The perceptions that the war has yet to start are wrong.

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Thomas Friedman posits an interesting theory:

Islam has a long tradition of tolerating other religions, but only on the basis of the supremacy of Islam, not equality with Islam. Islam's self-identity is that it is the authentic and ideal expression of monotheism. Muslims are raised with the view that Islam is God 3.0, Christianity is God 2.0, Judaism is God 1.0, and Hinduism is God 0.0.

First we get "Web 2.0" -- now God comes in releases.

His article is on Islamic fundamentalism. What about all fundamentalism? More below:

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Let's look at some political facts:

  • The Democrats can't seem to win elections

  • The Democrats don't know how to counter the conservative agenda

  • The Democrats have offered no vision to the American people

  • The Democrats splinter and defect when corporate pressure gets heavy

  • Playing wonky tactics has had only marginal success

  • Appealing to core values seems to be the best winning strategy

  • Equality is a core value

  • Many, if not most, women see a definite lack of equality

  • Mocking or dismissing women's concerns as not being related to core issues would seem to derail this core value approach

  • The women's vote is already split between Dems and Repubs

  • How is it that rejecting women as special interests is a winning strategy for Dems?

Let's look at some media/communications facts:

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I think that just about everyone has known -- or at least strongly suspected -- that corruption can run pretty deep in Washington, DC. But who could've thought up the idea to corrupt the corruption?

For over ten years, but particularly since George W. Bush took office, powerful Republicans, among them Tom DeLay and Senator Rick Santorum, of Pennsylvania, have been carrying out what they call the "K Street Project," an effort to place more Republicans and get rid of Democrats in the trade associations and major national lobbying organizations that have offices on K Street in downtown Washington (although, of course, some have offices elsewhere).

The Republican purge of K Street is a more thorough, ruthless, vindictive, and effective attack on Democratic lobbyists and other Democrats who represent businesses and other organizations than anything Washington has seen before.


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Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 10:03 AM PDT

The Pope and the King

by media girl

Pope John Paul II is dead. He lived a full life, and died in peace. We all should be so fortunate.

On this day in April, 37 years ago, another man left this world. Martin Luther King, Jr. was not an Establishment figure. He did not stand upon a legacy of empire. He did not have a rich treasury or hundreds of henchmen to carry out his will.

Pope John Paul II rightly has quite a high reputation as a man who helped the Church find its heart. He was a rebel, an independent thinker. He challenged authority. Once Pope, he spoke out against the appalling poverty in this world, the violence, the war.

And yet, and yet ... where to women fall in all of this?

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