Morning Links

Monday, March 8th, 2010
  • The 137-year archive of Popular Science is now searchable online. Pretty cool, though it’ll be better when it’s browsable, too.
  • A handy reminder that ad blockers, ahem, harm your favorite websites.
  • As a general rule, legislators should always assume that if a law can be interpreted in an overly broad way that will result in injustice, some eager prosecutor will eventually interpret it that way. Even if you’re pro-life, this Utah bill ought to trouble you.
  • The U.K. Nanny State takes aim at the thickness of french fries.
  • Dahlia Lithwick vs. Liz Cheney.
  • The global chronic pain problem.
  • Off-duty deputy crashes while driving under the influence, is let go by a fellow cop. Same cop then crashes against 30 minutes later.

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  • 78 Responses to “Morning Links”

    1. #1 |  Fay | 

      I am even willing to stipulate that the fetus is a person… but it is a person who lives inside the body of ANOTHER person. And the person whose body houses the fetus, has rights; it is not the State’s place (or anyone else’s) to tell her whom she must house.,Fall02/thomson.htm

    2. #2 |  Lee | 

      Re: AdBlock

      For some reason I do not get ad when visiting the site with Opera (no AdBlock installed).

      But thru the RSS feed (Google Reader) and IE, I get ads.

    3. #3 |  Michaelk42 | 


      But what worries me more than viruses through ads on my computer? Virus ads getting through on my far-less-security-savvy parents’ computer. Sorry, not worth the risk. The flash garbage stays blocked and NoScript stays on.

    4. #4 |  Zack | 

      I have nothing against ‘regular’ ads(non intrusive/no noise, not pop/unders, not nsfw), but I have a lot against websites using javascript. It is incredibly dangerous, and I only enable it for websites that ‘need’ it to function. If a website chooses to deliver ads via JS, then that’s too bad for them. I have noscript installed, but no ad blockers.

    5. #5 |  Frank | 

      Drunk cop – Why are you all so excited? This happened in Albany NY a few years back, the drunk cop managed to burn down an apartment building with his car.

    6. #6 |  Will |

      The Daily Mash gets it it right:

      And Charlie Reeves, a chip eater from Stevenage, said: “What are you doing? Seriously, what do you think you’re doing?”

      “I’ve had a hard day at work and I am just trying to have a bag of chips, you utter fucking prick.”

      He added: “I’m telling you right now – fuck the deficit, the environment, Afghanistan and the NHS. I will vote for whichever politician says this exact sentence – ‘Chip shops can serve chips in whatever size they want’.

      “I’m so tired.”

    7. #7 |  j a higginbotham | 

      Is there any means of sending stories to Radley? Or is he too inundated with email to check? I used to email links, but that didn’t seem to work. The cop story was posted in comments to the last lunch links.

    8. #8 |  David in Balt | 

      @ Mike T

      I did read your post, but nice attempt to dodge your errors anyway. The problem with your post is that you support the principle behind the law at all, as I clearly drew out in my post to you. There is no problems in the abortion issue for actual libertarians. Now religious fascists who want to enslave women, they have a problem with libertarianism. Lets keep this post simple though, since you do not seem capable of actually addressing arguments made to you, should a woman be forced to die instead of receive a medically necessary abortion? That is a simple yes or no question, can you answer that?

      @ Stormdragon

      Who exactly gets to decide at what point a fetus has rights? I have no problem with doctors organizations coming to a general consensus on where a line for non-medically necessary abortions should be drawn, as I believe most of them already have. That being said I have yet to hear any of the simpletons in the anti-woman camp arguing for medically necessary abortions, or even more importantly for sex education, ready availability of condoms and morning after pills, etcetera. But this is not what the anti-woman’s rights groups are agitating for is it? What they are attempting to do is impose their barbaric religion on others.

    9. #9 |  Stormy Dragon | 

      Who exactly gets to decide at what point a fetus has rights?

      Who exactly gets to decide anyone has rights?

      And for the rest, what does your disagreements with what completely different people are saying about completely different issues have to do with what I’m saying about this issue? And to be clear, I’m not arguing in favor of this law. I’m just arguing against the assertion by other commenters that anyone who doesn’t favor abortion on demand at any time under any circumstances wants to enslave all womankind.

    10. #10 |  Timothy | 

      What I want to know is pretty simple: do the whiny bitches at ArsTechnica have TIVO? If so, do they think they’re stealing from ABC?

    11. #11 |  David in Balt | 

      @ Stormydragon

      Why is it that people who are opposed to woman’s rights on this blog are incapable of answering even the most basic questions? You have made the silly assertion that abortions=lynchings, and when asked why you state that it is because fetuses are rights-bearing things. So I ask you to explain your silly assertion, and rather callous and ignorant actually, and instead of answering you dodge. Why is that? Why won’t you simply answer when you think a fetus gains rights.

    12. #12 |  Kimberly | 

      I am fairly agnostic on the issue of abortion. Ihate HATE the idea, I think that my 17 month old son really was looking like a baby at his 9 week ultrasound, and I judge those women who use abortion as birth control. I also think that in a question of saving my life or his, while I was pregnant, I would have chosen mine (now I’d choose his:). And I think there’s more harm from illegal abortions than legal.

      That said, this law concerns me for another reason: labor choices. Do y’all realize how many hospitals ban VBACs (vaginal births after cesareans)? How many doctors consider it reckless to have a home birth? How many women are court ordered to undergo cesareans or to be placed on bedrest? All for the safety of the child. The woman’s choice is meaningless at that point.

      Some women go to other states to attempt VBACs, others choose to have home births. Very, very rarely are there problems. But they happen (low risk homebirth is generally safer than hospital birth, but not according to the AMA). I can easily see these women being charged under this law. After all, a doctor found their behavior “reckless” and a baby died. Murder?

    13. #13 |  David in Balt | 

      @ Kimberly

      Do you have any links to articles or statistics about court ordered cesareans and/or bedrest? I can’t say that I would be surprised to find this true. As I said before laws like this treat women as a means to an end, effectively relegating them to the status of property to be used as an incubation chamber. I would not be surprised if an overly honest proponent of such things ever admitted that the baby was simply incidental and the real objective was to re-relegate women to subhuman levels.

    14. #14 |  Stormy Dragon | 

      Why won’t you simply answer when you think a fetus gains rights.

      Because I don’t know. At some point between conception and birth we go from a situation where we have one rights bearing being to having two rights bearing being who’s rights are in conflict. It’s a complicated issue. But neither side seems to want to recognize that and act like there’s an obvious solution at one of the two extrema.

      When do you think people become rights bearing being. To answer specific point, the reason the point of birth can’t be the point is because I believe rights are inherent in the individual, and the birth process doesn’t cause a change in the fetus’s state.

    15. #15 |  David in Balt | 

      @ Stormy Dragon

      It does cause a change in the fetus state though, doesn’t it. If it is birthed then it is no longer a fetus is it? Your making assertions without any evidence to back them up and which are by definition wrong. Furthermore, you have no point at which you can state that a fetus is no longer a fetus (even though if you did it would still be by definition not a person), and even if you did I have the feeling you wouldn’t have a cogent argument as to why we should accept that point instead of another.

      Despite your not being able to meet even the most basic requirements to move this conversation productively forward I will still go ahead and ask my next question. At this undefined stage that you have vaguely in mid where a fetus gains rights, what is the process that a woman must go through to terminate the pregnancy? If you could provide a differentiation for necessary vs. unnecessary abortions and what legal and practical measures you would recommend to stop a woman from attaining an abortion.

    16. #16 |  Athena | 

      #63: David, about a year ago, a Florida court ordered a woman to bed rest.

      “But when the 26-year-old resisted — learning that she might have to stay months until her delivery, away from two toddlers at home — hospital officials obtained a court order to force Burton to submit to anything to “preserve the life and health of [her] unborn child.”

      Court-ordered cesarean sections are much more common. Nine cases are reviewed here:

      #64: “…and the birth process doesn’t cause a change in the fetus’s state.”

      I think this statement goes a long way to illustrate just how fundamentally different two people’s conclusions can be when they’re looking at the exact same thing. If going from being inside a person, relying solely on their oxygen and nutrients, to being an independent individual, capable of processing your own oxygen and ingesting 3rd-party nutrients, isn’t a change of state, I’m not sure what is.

    17. #17 |  BMB | 

      I harmed you for one page of ads just to mention that I love your ad-free RSS feed where you mutilate the hell out of yourself every day. :)

    18. #18 |  David in Balt | 

      Thank you for the links Athena.

    19. #19 |  Leah | 

      Athena and Kimberly – you may already know this but you might want to follow the info coming out of this week’s NIH conference concerning VBAC. So far it seems really positive (focused on increasing informed consent and decreasing forced/coerced sectioning) but we won’t know until they come out with their write-up what they are actually going to recommend.

    20. #20 |  Windy | 

      Stormy Dragon, a fetus becomes a “rights bearing being” as soon as it takes its first breath of air. Prior to that point, it receives it’s oxygen and all necessary nutrients from the woman’s blood, it also sends all its waste products out via its mother’s blood. So, as long as the pregnant woman is breathing, eating and defecating for the fetus, all the rights accrue to her; and her health and life are more important than the health or life of the fetus. As soon as the umbilical cord is cut and the infant takes its first breath, it then has its own rights (that’s also the point at which the soul enters the infant’s body — “the breath of life”). Simple and logical.

      Oh and I don’t condone an abortion of convenience after the halfway point (4.5 months), but I also do not vilify a woman for making that choice, usually at that point such a choice is made due to a drastic and serious change in the pregnant woman’s life or for medical reasons. At that point in pregnancy, a bond with the fetus has been forged (hormones see to that), and most women, unless seriously twisted, would not choose to end their pregnancy, after that bonding.

    21. #21 |  Stormy Dragon | 

      Well, my general assumption is that rights is somehow tied to mental development: when a human being’s brain reaches a sufficeint level of complexity, they become a person, a status they retain until such time as injury, illness, or death causes them to fall back below that point. In that light, birth seems an odd line because a newborn is no more mentally developed than an about-to-be-born fetus.

      Your method, linking rights to the ability to independently breath and digest food seems rather odd. By your criteria, for example, when my then 12 year old brother was on a respirator and IV for three days following lung surgery, he was no longer a person since he was not capable of “processing [his]own oxygen and ingesting 3rd-party nutrients” for the duration. Should my parents have legally been permitted to kill him in the recovery room, if they had so desired?

    22. #22 |  supercat | 

      //And the person whose body houses the fetus, has rights; it is not the State’s place (or anyone else’s) to tell her whom she must house.//

      Someone who gets tired of being a landlord isn’t allowed to simply shoot his tenants. I think even the most libertarian-minded people would acknowledge that a landlord must allow his tenants a reasonable opportunity to leave with his possessions intact.

    23. #23 |  David in Balt | 

      @ Stormy Dragon

      Are you going to answer my questions or have you conceded?

    24. #24 |  David in Balt | 

      @ Supercat

      Sure, Supercat, I’ll bite. If the tenant was going to kill himself and the landlord unless the landlord shot him, then yes, I would be of the position that the landlord had every right to do it. So now that I answered your question, let me ask you the questions that Stormy Dragon is either incapable or refuses to answer. At what point does a fetus gain rights? Once the fetus has those rights what is the procedure by which a woman can obtain a medically necessary abortion? What about an unnecessary abortion? What legal and practical measures do you suggest to keep a woman from having an abortion?

    25. #25 |  Stormy Dragon | 

      Are you going to answer my questions or have you conceded?

      You refuse to answer any of my questions and have repeatedly attacked me personally, so no and no.

    26. #26 |  Athena | 

      #71: “…he was no longer a person since he was not capable of “processing [his]own oxygen and ingesting 3rd-party nutrients” for the duration…”

      I suppose I should have phrased it in an attack-proof manner, but I try to avoid being unnecessarily verbose. The key, here, is that your parents weren’t breathing FOR him (yes, a machine was, but that is 3rd party, and if he was incapable of processing what was delivered to him, I would imagine he would have not survived). Their blood was not his sole source of vitality. While he needed assistance, that assistance didn’t have to come at the price of another individual’s rights.

      Now, if, in order for your brother to survive, your mother or father had to get physically linked to him so that their bodies could provide him the things he needed, I would support their right to refuse. Sometimes, there can be no compromise. Sometimes, life is unfair, and one party’s rights are in direct conflict with another’s. In these situations, one party must lose.

    27. #27 |  David in Balt | 

      What question? Where do I believe a fetus gains rights? I already clarified in my original post that I defer to the judgment of the doctors in the field, who generally set the mark around the beginning of the third trimester for non-necessary abortions. You would know this if you read my posts.

      As far as “attacking you personally,” yes I have been snappy. I do not take lightly to people who advocate stripping women of their rights for no other reason then they feel its wrong to terminate an unwanted and potentially lethal fetus. I do not take kindly to people who believe they should and do control 50% of the populations body and what they can and can not do with it.

      I think you do not want to answer because you are aware of what a monster you will appear to be when you have to elucidate your position.

    28. #28 |  Stormy Dragon | 


      Even after birth, it is legally required for parents to do many things for a baby. They have to feed it, clean it, etc. They are generally required to do these things unless they can find a specific person to affirmatively take over those responsibilities. For instance, they can put the baby up for adoption, but they are required to care for the baby until that process completes, no matter how long it takes. They can’t just toss the baby in the trash because they’re no longer interested in being required to care for it.

      Do you feel those laws violate the rights of the parents?