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April 28, 2010


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big bad wolf

"freedom from the likes of you" as it was in the beginning, is now, never in the future (one hopes) will be.

the true TRB, even if the new republic used it first. i miss the fist. here it is. http://www.tomrobinson.com/trb/stencil.htm

Sir Charles

I had the fist stenciled on the wall of my room freshmen year. Loved that fucking fist!

Prup (aka Jim Benton)

Thanks for reminding me of the Tom Robinson Band and getting me to look him up. Fascinating character. wrote several gay anthems, then turned out to be bisexual and chose a woman as his 'life-partner.' (And released an album about it called HAVING IT BOTH WAYS.) Very political, and apparently still very active as the host of several shows on various BBC Channels, currently on BBC 6. Hosted a show on 'men and masculinity' for BBC4, etc.

Thanx for yanking him out of the ever-growing memory hole.

kathy a.

you have just got to be freaking kidding me, that oklahoma thinks it is doing any good whatsoever by mandating that women seeking abortions have VAGINAL ultrasound, with descriptions of the fetus. people, this is not normal behavior, aside from making no medical sense.

kathy a.

actually, it is at least two, TWO major crimes in one. the first is extortion: you can't get your legal and constitutionally protected medical care unless we do this thing to you. and the second is rape: sticking a foreign object up someone's vagina without true consent is rape.

i'm not going to call any names here, because frankly, i am sick of that level of discourse. but this is indeed a new low.

Sir Charles


It's really unfortunate that TRB fizzled out so quickly, because I think the "Power in the Darkness" LP with the "Rising Free" EP, the combo in which it was released in the U.S., was as powerful as any record of that great, great era. I forgot about him having a life partner who was a woman -- life is mysterious.


You forgot to mention the law giving the doctor the right to lie to you about the health of the fetus. That's special too.

big bad wolf

wow. i was so excited earlier about TRB that i didn't read the link to the oklahoma law. that's appalling

Prup (aka Jim Benton)

kathy: thanx for bringing up the rape fact, which I hadn't seen mentioned in quite that way before. (Btw, it wouldn't be relevant, since a woman can commit rape too, but I wonder what the male-female ratio for Ob/Gyns is in Oklahoma, and how it compares with the rest of the country. Somehow, if legally it would be the same, I think I'd be more bothered, were I a woman, if it were a male doctor doing this procedure.)

Sir Charles


Yeah quite the amazing piece of shite. I somehow think this one is not going to withstand much judicial scrutiny.

Prup (aka Jim Benton)

And going back to the other current horror, Andrea Niil at WonkRoom reports that as many as ten other states have similar laws being proposed or supported by Republican candiates -- actually two are local communities -- and that the 'legal arm of FAIR is behind them.

kathy a.

prup -- doctors ought to be up in arms about this procedure, male or female. it is a complete invasion of the doctor/patient privilege, and imposes a completely unnecessary -- and hugely invasive -- procedure on patients and their doctors without any medical justification.

i'm not one to inflate things just to call them "rape," but stuffing things up someone's vagina for no good medical reason [and without free consent] qualifies legally. i think this is an assault on the medical profession, too -- the OK legislature is not qualified to direct physicians to do intrusive and unneccesary things to patients.

big bad wolf

i think that is correct, SC. and i see cert. denied if the law is overturned. it's hard to see the court, troublesome as they can be, going looking for that much trouble.

i am in the camp that thinks the white crazies are in their death throes and that they will be exhausted or expired in the next few years. this oklahoma law reminds me that, even if i am correct, the crazies can make life very unpleasant for an awful lot of people before they disappear


Don't forget that the crazies have been warring against teaching evolution for a century now......

kathy a.

much as i like a good cert denied, those are common as dirt and won't be a lot of comfort to the people of oklahoma in the meantime.

Krubozumo Nyankoye

Another irony meter vaporized by cosmic stupid. Presumably these are some of the same people who do not want the government to take over their health care, yet they have no hesitation at all about mandating an invasive procedure that is utterly unwarranted and simultaneously giving perverse medical practioners license to lie to their patients with impunity.

I think I have expressed myself clearly on that issue.

On the question of freedom things are, unfortunately, rather more complicated. Superficially it would be pointless to list matters on which in my opinion freedom should be more or less absolute or constrained by the necessary compromises of living within a society. To do so seems to be just quibbling over details. For myself the central and key issue of freedom is understanding myself, what is being imposed upon me, and what I can choose. Nothing about the ability to comprehend those things is all that difficult unless you are ignorant of how human beings work, just like every other organism on the planet. But what strikes me as odd is that virtually no one and no institutions even attempt to teach the simple and basic principles required for understanding ones own behavior. Instead we are all subjected to a virtual barrage of conartistry coming from many directions all of which is designed and intended to capture the individual within some hypothetical construct of how the world works that cannot survive the most cursory scrutiny.

We humans have excelled beyond anything any other species in the vast and elaborate evolution of life has before created, yet we resist the simple realization that for the first time in the huge tapestry, we can take control of our own destiny. We deny our own uniqueness by claiming it is due to some supernatural influence.

We might well fail to preserve the species against the real world constraints we face even if we invoked all the potential of our huge population's native cognition. You might think six billion people thinking on grave problems could come up with some creative answers. Unless we are to become truly free and recognize that in society we are alone, individuals who can only choose to cooperate or cheat, and in the biosphere we are alone because no other organism will willingly allow us to exterminate it, and some have proven vastly more resilient than ourselves, as a species we will not endure.

I am awed by two things about humanity. The first is of course the obvious and incredible effect on our position as organisms in the web of life, we are indeed something very special and unique. The second is the degree to which we wantonly discard that incredible privilege and instead of taking responsibility for ourselves, childishly and perhaps selfishly, ignore our own greatest asset and instead cling to magical fantasy.

When I was young I had the erroneous impression that humanity was mature. Now I know that I will never mature enough, but am satisfied to keep trying until something vital breaks. In the interim, humanity has diminished considerably in my estimation.

Freedom? There is no such thing as freedom, there are only lesser degrees of imposed conformity. If anything at all approaches freedom it is the knowledge of that, and why and how everything is constrained, and being able to still remain an individual.

research paper

Many institutions limit access to their online information. Making this information available will be an asset to all.

minstrel hussain boy

once, i moved about like the wind.

now, i surrender to you.

that is all.

geronimo speaking the major general nelson miles upon his final surrender.

that, being able to move about like the wind, that is freedom.

big bad wolf

kathy a., what i hope we will see first is an injunction against the law's enforcement by the district court. that way no woman has to suffer under this law. but i do think it important this law is so reprehensible and so obviously so, that our supreme court, which is rather biased on the abortion issue, will stay away.

oddjob, very true. i don't think they will entirely disappear, but i do think they will shrink to an unimportant size. (the arc of justice, time heals, your cliche here). in this i am optimistic in a way completely at odds with my normal quotidianly dark view of things.

freedom, like all things, is constantly negotiated and renegotiated and fought over, societlally and interpersonally. and it redefines in both directions: the male freedom to move about like the wind is looked at a bit differently now in some quarters. Of course, taking it away by military force is always wrong.


I wouldn't be so sure about the Supreme Court invalidating the OK anti-abortion laws. This seems like the perfect opportunity for the conservative wing to overturn Roe in principle while refusing to simply overrule the precedent. Kennedy seems very comfortable overturning precedent without saying he's overturning precedent. Abortion rights (and affirmative action) are where the Alito for O'Connor swap really will make a difference.

Prup (aka Jim Benton)

This whole piece explains one reason why we should not forget state legislative races in the upcoming election. (The most important reason is the coming redistricting after the census. Winning majorities in a few states might result in a half-dozen seats that are sure Democratic that might have been toss-ups,)

But it is the state legislatures that are really causing the mischief these days. And while it is hard to change local representatives -- my own State Senator. while a Democrat, was one of the reasons why the New York State Senate got an offer from Ringling Brothers last year and I'll be stuck with him for another term -- it is really worth taking the time and seeing if there are any close races locally where support, help, and financial contributions can make a difference. Maybe your own State Senator is okay or locked in - so look for another race where you can make a difference.

Don't neglect the National House races. of course, but more than ever you need to keep your eye on the local ones as well.

kathy a.

joe, what i think BBW is saying is that some lower court will not be able to stomach this law and overturn it [hopefully, with an injunction against enforcement of the law while this is being hashed out], and that the USSC will not grant cert on the issue.

and that seems like a very reasonable forecast. i'm a bit more worried about getting the injunction at this point, but this law is so reprehensible that even in a state polluted with a lot of bad legislative thinking, most judges are going to want to hear the thing out before making their daughters and neighbors submit.

the USSC gets thousands and thousands of cert petitions every year, and it can only accept a few dozen. if it is moved to say something about abortion, i agree with BBW that they will not wade into something so frankly awful as the OK law.

SC mentioned a related provision up-thread, and i had not paid much attention to that -- but it relieves doctors of responsibility for lying to patients about the condition of the fetus. this raises a whole 'nother set of issues. i hope the many ethical members of the medical professions, and their professional organizations, get involved with fighting these insanely misguided laws in a serious way.


Kathy, could be, but I don't see Alito-Roberts-Scalia-Thomas being overly squeamish or concerned about public opinion (especially after Citizens United).

Also, the federal bench is really conservative in OK. There have been 30 years of conservative appointments (even Clinton appointed Republicans in Republican states for most of his tenure). You may be right that the SC would go with a better test case to gut Roe v. Wade. But it seems as though a lower court could use Gonzalez v. Carhart to uphold the OK laws. Prior to 2007, O'Connor would have been instrumental in then reversing the lower court's decision. You don't have that safety net in place anymore with Alito on the Court.

kathy a.

joe -- no argument there about the o'connor for alito swap; i miss sandra. and you are also correct that the federal judiciary is not a flaming hotbed of liberalism [that's not even true out here in the infamous 9th circuit].

my own work is one of those endeavors where we lose all the freaking time, but to paraphrase a colleague, we just keep getting up in the morning and riding off to seek justice. the example of the civil rights movement keeps us going forward: eyes on the prize. both the horrible AZ law requiring cops to demand proof of legal citizenship, and the OK law imposing disgusting and unnecessary procedures to obtain an abortion, are in my mind civil rights issues. human rights issues. fairness issues.

Sir Charles


I think this is a case where bad facts will make good law. I think your average judge, even of a conservative bent, is going to find these laws repellent and clearly violative of the law of the land.

I don't think the Supreme Court is going to touch it. They've surprised me before, but I can't believe that they will view this as the vehicle for taking on the Roe decision. (I still think an overt overruling of Roe is unlikely -- I think they are more likely to chip away at it some more. But this isn't a very good case in which to pursue that kind of strategy.)

Prup (aka Jim Benton)

The trouble is that this isn't the only assault from the forced pregnancy crowd, all focused on the state level. TPM had a list of the recent bills introduced or passed in just April:

Oklahoma now allows doctors to withhold ultrasound information about birth defects from women to discourage them from seeking abortions...The Florida Senate passed a law requiring women who are seeking abortions to pay for their own ultrasounds, except if they are victims of rape or incest -- though the women would have to provide evidence of that first...The Louisiana House approved a law preventing insurance companies from covering most abortions...Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman (R) signed a law prohibiting abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy...and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) proposed a state budget amendment that would withhold "state money for abortions, including cases in which the health of the mother is at risk or the child might be born with a deformity."

This is part of a list, gathered from readers of just some of the crazy legislation out there. It's worth reading in its entirety, but two samples:

April 21, 2010: Republicans in the state Senate introduce an amendment requiring a two-thirds majority vote by the state legislature to approve any federal laws before they are enacted. The bill contends that "Minnesotans enjoy inherent, natural, God-given rights," and "citizens of Minnesota are sovereign individuals, subject to Minnesota law and immune from any federal laws that exceed the federal government's enumerated constitutional powers."

and South Dakota:

February 2010: The state House passes a resolution that "urges" public schools to teach global warming as "a scientific theory rather than a proven fact," and to be sure to include the "astrological" (among other) factors that could be effecting global weather patterns. The state Senate later amends this bill slightly, but still contends that the "global warming debate" has "prejudiced" scientific study of climate change.

And it's 10:00, do you know what your State Representative or Senator is up to?


What!? No mention of organists?!?! ;)

(If they purged the church musician rolls of all the members who were gay there'd be one hell of a lot of quiet Sunday services.)


OT, but the reviewed book has a premise that seems self-evident to me, and yet if the book is well written might still make a really good read. Given his occupation as a labor attorney I'd be particularly interested in Sir C.'s take on this post.


(OOPS! Hat tip, Toast, @ Two Glasses.)

kathy a.

oddjob, that's an interesting review. i've got some problems with yet another blue state vs. red state analysis -- that's a very over-simplified way at considering the various cultural factors at work, and ignores the fact that no state has such a monolithic culture -- but i really have to agree with the bottom line that everyone is better off [more stable] when "adults make families" rather than the scenario of "families making adults."

the term "family values" was hijacked some time back -- even by people who have not actually practiced the stuff they loudly preach. MY family values include helping my children become independent, thinking, informed, caring, responsible adults, and ones who can respect and understand diversity.

we all probably have examples of how early or reckless marriages fail; how even if they do not end in divorce, they can simmer in misery and cause lasting harm.

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