June 13, 2006


The devaluing of human life (Nat Hentoff, June 12, 2006, Washington Times)

A friend of mine told me of a recent conversation at his family's dinner table that keeps reverberating in my mind. His wife, a physician, also performs abortions. And their 9-year-old son -- hearing the words and curious about its meaning -- looked up from his plate and asked, "What is an abortion?" His mother tried carefully to describe it in simple terms.

"But," said her son, "that means killing the baby." The mother then explained that there are certain months during which an abortion cannot be performed, with very few exceptions. The 9-year-old shook his head. "But," he said, "it doesn't matter what month. It still means killing the babies." Hearing the story, I wished it could be repeated to the justices of the Supreme Court, in the hope that at least five of them might act on this 9-year-old's clarity of thought and vision.

The boy's spontaneous insistence on the primacy of life also reminded me of a powerful pro-life speaker and writer who, many years ago, helped me become a pro-lifer. He was a preacher, a black preacher. He said: "There are those who argue that the right to privacy is of a higher order than the right to life.

"That," he continued, "was the premise of slavery. You could not protest the existence or treatment of slaves on the plantation because that was private and therefore out of your right to be concerned." This passionate reverend used to warn: "Don't let the pro-choicers convince you that a fetus isn't a human being. That's how the whites dehumanized us... The first step was to distort the image of us as human beings in order to justify what they wanted to do and not even feel they'd done anything wrong."

That preacher was the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

It's all in the dehumanization.

The bad week for America continues… (Protein Wisdom, 6/13/06)

From the Daily Kos, commenter CheChe puts into words what I think many of us are feeling today, what with Bush in Baghdad and Rove cleared (though to be fair, some, God bless their fortitude, continue to hold out hope that Rudolph’s magical red nose will bring that Fitzmas sled in under heavy fog, no matter what Mr Luskin says):

I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a look of misery and dejection on the face of my daughter as I just did a moment ago. She just couldn’t understand why the President would be going to Iraq when so many things are wrong in this country. “Doesn’t Mr. Bush care about us anymore?” she asked pitifully.

I sat down with her on the sofa and (as calmly as I could) tried to explain to her why the President seems to be abandoning his country. “Honey, I think his boss, Mr. Rove, sent Mr. Bush out of the country in order to keep himself out of the newspapers. You see, he wasn’t sure if he was going to be arrested today or not, and so he planned Mr. Bush’s trip ahead of time just in case...”

I tried to keep my voice steady, but it became increasingly difficult - the rage and feelings of helplessness were just too much. I think my daughter could tell something was wrong. I found myself at such a loss for words - nothing made any sense; nothing makes sense anymore. I finally had to admit, “Honey, I just don’t know - I don’t know what’s going on in this country anymore...”

When I finished her lower lip started to tremble and her eyes began to fill with tears, “Daddy” she said, “why are the Republicans doing this to the country?” Well, that was it for me: I finally fell apart. She just fell into my arms and we both began sobbing for several minutes.

Maybe I'm missing something, but is there any way to read this other than that the bad week began with our getting Zarqawi?

Is it just me, or does Mr. Dionne sound like the delusional little girl in that story, A new and improved New Deal (E.J. Dionne, 6/14/06, Washingston Post)

There is no sturdier liberal or Democratic slogan than "Jobs, jobs, jobs." But liberals have a problem: The old capitalist job-production machine is not working the way it used to. The venerable promise that new (progressive) leadership will create masses of well-paying jobs is harder to make, and even harder to keep.

In principle, this is a larger problem for conservatives, whose main economic program involves reinforcing the status quo by giving tax cuts to rich people so they have more money to invest. Conservatives simply ignore the fact that fewer jobs are being created, particularly at home, for each dollar invested.

But conservatives are expected to stand up for the rich. Liberals are supposed to expand the standard of living for everybody else. That is harder than it used to be.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 13, 2006 10:35 PM

It's satire, and remarkably good satire for the web. Apparently there are a series of the CheChe posts at DailyKos. My favorite is where the Dad has to sit down with his daughter on the couch to explain why the NSA has to spy on everyone, even grandma.

Posted by: David Cohen at June 13, 2006 11:19 PM

Here it is:

I don't think I've ever seen such a look of misery and dejection on the face of my daughter as I just did a moment ago. She just couldn't understand why the President would be spying on everyone. "Even my Grandma?" she asked pitifully.

Posted by: David Cohen at June 13, 2006 11:24 PM

So is this Protein Wisdom person kidding too? One would hope.

Posted by: oj at June 13, 2006 11:36 PM

Yes, I believe so.

Posted by: David Cohen at June 13, 2006 11:53 PM

So is this Protein Wisdom person kidding too?

Jeff Goldstein? Kidding? Don't think so, he seems to have no sense of humor at all.

Posted by: joe shropshire at June 14, 2006 12:05 AM

About Nat's article and the boy:
I went through that when I was 7 years old and found out that my mom had had an abortion. The pain of finding out what it was and that my mom had one was so searing and so obviously wrong to me.. I was branded pro-life right then and there and nothing on this earth can make me go the other way. I am convinced, too, that the actor Billy Bob Thorton is a fellow traveler as well. In the movie, "Slingblade", based on a book he'd written, I believe, he shows the raw hurt and angst children experience when they find out about abortion, particularly when it is a sibling. People have wondered what it must like and they usually are off in their guesses, but Thorton captured it so perfectly and with perfect emphasis. I saw myself on that screen, especially the look of hurt and sadness when the subplot about abortion ends with him quietly visiting his brother's grave.

Posted by: Emma at June 14, 2006 12:06 AM


Well, that is excrutiatingly unfunny.

Posted by: oj at June 14, 2006 12:14 AM

Goldstein is simply brilliant. A tad warped, but brilliant. The keenest sense of irony on the web, and he churns out stuff like that nearly every day. He also is a stay-at-home dad.

Posted by: ghostcat at June 14, 2006 12:32 AM

Mildly amusing. Perhaps the Martha Stewart prison diaries would be more to your taste.

Posted by: joe shropshire at June 14, 2006 12:42 AM

joe -

We finally agree on something, then.

Posted by: ghostcat at June 14, 2006 1:04 AM

Jeff Goldstein is pretty much sui generis. The Left hates him because he knows them so well, and he points out their nakedness better than most. Or, as Radar said, their nudiditity.

Of course, the comments on his blog are often weirder than he is.

Posted by: jim hamlen at June 14, 2006 1:42 AM

I'm confused about Orrin's confusion. Was he just joking about not knowing Protein Wisdom? I don't read the site, but it's constantly linked to.

Posted by: RC at June 14, 2006 9:12 AM

I've never heard of it. I don't read blogs though.

Posted by: oj at June 14, 2006 9:21 AM

Dangerous to admit it here, but after the JuddBlog of course, PW is a daily read. The comment standards are not nearly as high (non existant?), but it's coffee/beer out the nose funny. And, when he's serious, Jeff's work on Intentionalism, linguistics and interpretation is fascinating.

Posted by: John Resnick at June 14, 2006 10:09 AM

"I'm tutored by a box my pop made. It gets so hot... in the box my pop made... "
Dean Venture
The Venture Bros

Posted by: Bryan at June 14, 2006 1:11 PM

Coffee beer? I'm glad to see that the site is having real life benefits.

Posted by: David Cohen at June 14, 2006 5:30 PM


Posted by: joe shropshire at June 14, 2006 5:43 PM