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This is a bit difficult for me to write. I've just had a conversation with a good friend of mine. We regularly compete as to which of us is a bigger liberal, but he ceded yesterday that I would probably win because he is anti-abortion (that is to say, anti-choice). We were just texting, and I didn't want to get into it with him, so I just asked him to clarify: "Are you against abortion in all cases, or do you think it should be legally permissible for women who are raped, victims of incest, or whose lives are threatened?"

His answer below the fold.

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I went to the first General Assembly meeting today of Occupy Gainesville. We're a bit behind the times, admittedly, but I was extremely happy to see things finally get kicked off here. Yesterday I also was one of five people to attend a meeting with GPD's Chief of Police to inform him that we would be meeting publicly in a peaceful manner and that we had no serious idea of how many people would attend (by my rough estimate, there were probably around 150 people at the GA meeting today; not bad before it even becomes a protest, imho).

While I was there -- and before that on the Occupy Gainesville facebook page -- one of the main tenets that was discussed was the abolition of the Federal Reserve. Something doesn't feel right to me when I hear this, especially since those who seemed most passionate were also the most outspoken Ron Paul supporters -- an automatic "dubious claim qualifier" if there ever was one. More post-squiggly.


The Federal Reserve...

1%1 votes
7%7 votes
8%8 votes
19%18 votes
61%56 votes
1%1 votes

| 91 votes | Vote | Results

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Before people start wondering if I've somehow found my way to the wrong online community, I feel obligated to assure you all that I am a staunch liberal hippie commie atheist socialist bisexual Kenyan Nazi tree-fucking Bolshevik bastard. Or some of those, at least--I only pretend to be the rest when I'm around people who still think Bush 2.0 was a good President.

But credit must be given where credit is due.

As you no doubt will agree, it's hard to find anything admirable about almost anything the Repubs do these days. So when I read this NYT article, entitled "Trend to Lighten Harsh Sentences Catches on in Conservative States," I admit my interest was piqued.

Obviously, though, it's only because of budget cutting, right? Of course! From the article:

More than a dozen states in recent years have taken steps to reduce the costs to taxpayers of keeping so many criminals locked up. As crime rates have steadily declined to 40-year lows, draining the political potency from crime fears, the fiscal crunch has started to prompt a broad rethinking about alternatives to incarceration.

And some more:

[I]n the past two years, many more states [besides New York and Texas] have enacted — or are considering adopting in their 2012 legislative sessions — similar policies, including reducing prison time for low-level drug offenders or diverting them into treatment; granting early release to well-behaved or elderly inmates; expanding job training and re-entry programs; and instituting penalties other than a return to prison for technical violations of parole or probation, like missing a meeting.

Now before people get all up in arms about it, yes, Republicans are doing this out of a misplaced sense of economic and fiscal righteousness. But the fact of the matter is Republican-controlled states are finally enacting criminal justice practices which liberals have backed for years, (i.e. those that are based on factual evidence). And the best part is, no one (including the a-holes all of us have been putting up with who have simply chosen to ignore factual evidence up until now) can deny these strategies are working, significantly more effectively too than the harsh retributionist policies Republicans are so hard for.

Dems and other liberals should be screaming this shit from the rooftops. Want to save money? Lower crime rates? Then vote Democrat (or at least for Republicans who enact our policies)!

So maybe I'm giving the ol' Elephants too much credit in saying their logic is leading them to what our logic has shown us to be true all along. Perhaps stumbling blindly into the solution as an unintended consequence of irrational economic policy was all they really needed after all. Although, that being the case, we'd best strike that thing about voting Republican at all. Back to the old slogan: Vote Democrat!

At the very least, though, it does show that not all Republicans are incapable of confronting reality, that some still are yet to be extinct who can admit to good policy when they see it, even if it did take way too many years, way too many lives, and way too much of the people's money. And that's something to be hopeful about, especially after what we saw in the latest Republican Presidential Debate and the fiasco that was the Debt Ceiling Hostage Crisis. Maybe there's reason to believe reason still matter in public policy.

Maybe. But I doubt it.

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