aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Saturday, January 21, 2006
An abortion-rights war on abortion
Earlier this year, for a post on Hillary Clinton and abortion that I never wrote, I went back to an April 1989 Washington Monthly cover story by Jason DeParle, Beyond the Legal Right: Why liberals and feminists don’t like to talk about the morality of abortion. That article had an impact on me, for I read it as a liberal willing to question the morality of abortion.
I was then and I am still pro-abortion. But I see the moral question and I like the formulation of legal and rare.
Today, on the 33rd anniversary of Roe, William Saletan’s call on the abortion-rights movement to declare a war on abortion articulates the argument I’ve been looking for:
The problem with using restrictions to reduce the number of abortions isn’t that the restrictions are judgmental. It’s that they’re crude. They leap too easily from judgment to legislation and criminalization. They drag police officers, prosecutors and politicians into personal tragedies. Most people don’t want such intrusion. But you lose them up front by refusing to concede that there’s anything wrong with abortion. You have to offer them anti-abortion results (fewer abortions) without anti-abortion laws.
The pro-choice path to those results is simple. Help every woman when she doesn’t want an abortion: before she’s pregnant. That means abstinence for those who can practice it, and contraception for everybody else. Nearly half of the unintended pregnancies in this country result in abortions, and at least half of our unintended pregnancies are attributable to women who didn’t use contraception. The pregnancy rate among these women astronomically exceeds the pregnancy rate among women who use contraception. The No. 1 threat to the unborn isn’t the unchurched. It’s the unprotected.
Solutions are already on the table. Give more money to Title X, the federal program that finances family-planning. Expand health insurance and access to morning-after pills. Educate teenagers about sex, birth control and abstinence. Many of these ideas are in the Prevention First Act, which Democrats ritually file and Republicans ritually ignore. Some pro-choice activists would go further, by pushing for more contraceptive diligence in the abortion counseling process, especially on the part of those women who come back for a second abortion. What’s missing is a clear anti-abortion message to unite these proposals.
A year ago, Senator Hillary Clinton marked Roe’s anniversary by reminding family planning advocates that abortion “represents a sad, even tragic choice to many, many women.” Some people in the audience are reported to have gasped or shaken their heads during her speech. Perhaps they thought she had said too much.
The truth is, she didn’t say enough. What we need is an explicit pro-choice war on the abortion rate, coupled with a political message that anyone who stands in the way, yammering about chastity or a “culture of life,” is not just anti-choice, but pro-abortion. If the pro-choice movement won’t lead the way, politicians just might.
ALSO IN THE TIMES: William Baude, a second-year student at Yale Law School, says that if Roe is overturned the ensuing chaos would require the federal government to step in again, “American democracy has rarely resolved moral battles of this scope at the state level.”
The future of media
Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures:
We are witnessing a seismic shift in the distribution of rich media content right now. In the past five years, we have gone from no legitimate marketplace for rich media content to a world where almost all music is available online and where video is moving online very quickly. For the most part, it’s a paid download market. But that isn’t going to last in my opinion. Ad supported business models will take off in the not too distant future and will co-exist with paid downloads. Consumers are going to get the choice, not only of what media they want to consume, when they want to consume it, and where, but also how they are going to pay for it and what they can do with it.
Free content without rules (DRM) is The Future of Media. The business model will be advertising and its coming, quickly. Where we are now is an interim step because nobody is yet willing to make the leap. But someone will soon and they will be rewarded for it with a advertising market that will compare with and possibly beat the size of the paid search market.”
The Broadcast Flag. Again.
Cory Doctorow, ”this time it covers iPods and PSPs, too:”
The Senate has introduced the “Digital Content Protection Act of 2006,” a bill that will create “Broadcast Flags” for all digital radio and television, leading to FCC oversight of all new digital media technologies from iPods and PSPs to TVs and DVD recorders.
Under the DCPA proposal, digital media technologies would be restricted to using technologies that had been certified by the FCC as being not unduly disruptive to entertainment industry business-models. [...]
Hollywood’s crybaby capitalists accuse us of being “communists” with one breath, and in the next, they go begging to Congress to turn the FCC into device czars who keep the market from being disrupted by innovation.
Andy Setos, the Fox executive who invented the Broadcast Flag, once told me that his objective was “a well-mannered marketplace.” The entertainment industry’s version of a planned economy is bad policy.
Send a strong signal to your lawmaker: if you break my TV, radio, and computer, I will campaign tirelessly for anyone who will promise to throw you out of office and undo your deeds.
My kind of political action:
NEW YORK, Jan. 20—Three months before the annual Easter egg roll at the White House, the usually festive event is already taking on a divisive edge because of plans by gay- and lesbian-led families to turn out en masse in hopes of raising their public profile.
The Family Pride Coalition and other organizers envision the April 17 action as a celebration that will earn goodwill and showcase their families engaging in the annual tradition.
“It’s important for our families to be seen participating in all aspects of American life,” said Jennifer Chrisler, executive director of Family Pride. [...]
On conservative chat rooms, some critics of Family Pride suggested the White House could make the egg roll an invitation-only event, as it did in 2003, when attendance was limited to military families. Other critics said conservatives should mobilize to outnumber gay families at the egg roll.
Day 3: Better than a root canal
I asked if the root canal was also going to hurt. The endodontist did not rush to useless reassurances. Instead he said, `I do this all day long, day after day. This is all I do.’ The answer had a profound effect. It was the comfort of quantity. Here was a man who did root canals all day, hundreds, maybe thousands. He was not going to hold my hand. He was going to fix my tooth. Still, I dreaded him. I remembered that I am not brave and that I fear dental work so much I usually prefer the problem to its treatment. There was smoke and noise near my ear. It smelled and sounded bad.
I don’t know how many hernia operations my doctor has done, but it seems that half the people I know have had one. The promised “discomfort” has arrived, but it is nothing more than that. Discomfort. Leavened by Xodol ("Powerful pain relief with dosing flexibility"), a drug I’d never heard of before. I lied and entered the doctor’s domain; I can only hope it was not a non-leaky clickthrough.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients have not been established.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ As with all hydrocodone products, patients known to be hypersensitive to opioids may exhibit cross sensitivity to hydrocodone. At high doses or in sensitive patients, hydrocodone may produce dose-related respiratory depression.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ The administration of narcotics may obscure the diagnosis or clinical course of patients with acute abdominal conditions. Patients should be cautioned that hydrocodone, like all narcotics, may impair the mental and/or physical abilities required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks such as driving a car or operating machinery. [Or posting to a blog.]
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Alcohol and other CNS depressants may produce an additive CNS depression when taken with this combination product and should be avoided. Hydrocodone may be habit-forming. Patients should take this drug only for as long as and in the amounts it is prescribed. [I got 5 days!]
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ The most frequently reported adverse reactions are light-headedness, dizziness, sedation, nausea and vomiting. [Yea to the first 3, nea to the latter 2. Thankfully.]
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Acetaminophen overdose can cause renal tubular necrosis, hypoglycemic coma, and thrombocytopenia may also occur.
Hm. Can’t say I know what that last means but I can tell you it is a very effective drug. Except for blogging. My mind is going, going, going but getting what I’m thinking out and into a blog post is a more difficult challenge. You might think I should just give it a break, but I have to tell you that this is what I consider relaxation; it’s how I unwind. So please bear with me.
Welcome to the neighborhood
Remember the ABC reality series starring six couples - African-American, Hispanic, Korean, tattooed, Wiccan, gay - who competed to win a house in a white Christian Republican neighborhood? Maybe not; it was cancelled before it aired last year:
ABC acted amid protests by the National Fair Housing Alliance, which had expressed concern about a competition in which race, religion and sexual orientation were discussed as factors in the awarding of a house. But two producers of the show, speaking publicly about the cancellation for the first time, say the network was confident it had the legal standing to give away a house as a game-show prize. One, Bill Kennedy, a co-executive producer who helped develop the series with his son, Eric, suggested an alternative explanation. He said that the protests might have been most significant as a diversion that allowed the Walt Disney Company, ABC’s owner, to pre-empt a show that could have interfered with a much bigger enterprise: the courting of evangelical Christian audiences for “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” Disney hoped that the film, widely viewed as a parable of the Resurrection, would be the first in a profitable movie franchise.
In the months and weeks before “Welcome to the Neighborhood” was to have its premiere, as Disney sought to build church support for “Narnia,” four religious groups lifted longtime boycotts of the company that had been largely prompted by Disney’s tolerance of periodic gatherings by gay tourists at its theme parks. Representatives for two of those groups now say that broadcasting “Neighborhood” could have complicated their support for “Narnia.” One, the Southern Baptist Convention, with more than 16 million members, lifted the last of the boycotts against Disney on June 22, a week before ABC announced it was pulling the series.
The problem was the gay couple won the house and intolerant attitudes expressed in the early episodes largely faded away.
[T]he neighbor who was the Wrights’ earliest on-camera antagonist - Jim Stewart, 53, who is heard in an early episode saying, “I would not tolerate a homosexual couple moving into this neighborhood” - has confided to the producers that the series changed him far more than even they were aware.
No one involved in the show, Mr. Stewart said, knew he had a 25-year-old gay son. Only after participating in the series, Mr. Stewart said, was he able to broach his son’s sexuality with him for the first time.
“I’d say to ABC, ‘Start showing this right now,’ “ Mr. Stewart said in an interview at his oak kitchen table. “It has a message that needs to be heard by everyone.”
Gay acceptance at black churches
An uphill battle but a noble one all the same:
ATLANTA, Jan. 20 - About 150 African-American ministers and gay activists from around the country gathered here Friday to begin a two-day conference to combat what they assert is widespread prejudice against gay men and lesbians within black churches.
Though most black Christians are liberal on pocketbook issues, they are social conservatives, speakers at the conference said. Yet getting black churches to accept gay men and lesbians has gained particular urgency over the last two years, participants noted.
The high rate of H.I.V. infection among blacks stems in part, they said, from the unwillingness of black ministers to discuss sexuality… Ministers at the conference and some of their critics at other black churches agreed that getting black churches to embrace openly gay individuals would be a tough fight.