Sunday Links

Sunday, October 10th, 2010


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88 Responses to “Sunday Links”

  1. #1 |  DPirate | 

    I thought it hilarious that the communists arrested a democrat that was honored by a monarchy.

  2. #2 |  Bill | 

    In response to
    “1. Courts have determined that a fetus is not a human being (or person).”

    Except when they have
    http://www.southcarolinacriminalattorneyblog.com/2010/05/pregnant-mother-facing-charges.html

    “2. Since a fetus is not considered a human being (or person) then the allegation of murder via abortion is a moot point.”

    Thankfully judges and legislators do not have the final say on moral issues. People are still allowed to make their own judgments and hold their own opinions.

    “3. Even if the courts determined a fetus was a human being (or person), the states have legalized abortion which makes abortion not murder, but homicide. It would be the same as capital punishment. It’s not murder, but homicide.”

    Sure, let the State decide morality. I suppose you didn’t think it was murder when slaves or Indians were killed either.

  3. #3 |  Stephen | 

    re: abortion

    I just dont want the state to take MY money to pay for YOUR abortion.

  4. #4 |  Juice | 

    I thought the whole point of the thumbs was whether you agreed or disagreed.

  5. #5 |  MPH | 

    Radley’s right, this surrogate story got messy.

    But while we’re on the topic, I am always amazed at those who invoke the old testament in the abortion debate (Thou shalt not kill). They apparently haven’t read those parts of Leviticus that follow the ten commandments. That’s where “god” spells out the punishments for breaking the commandments. So if a man kills another man, the killer is to be put to death. If a man kills another man’s wife, the killer’s wife is to be put to death. But if a man causes another man’s wife to miscarry (aborts her fetus), he is to be fined, and the fine is to be set by “the judges” (which are humans).

    So kill somebody who has already been born, and god says someone must die as restitution. But kill a fetus, and you might need to write a check (since the judges can set the fine at $0).

    Clearly, “god” doesn’t value the unborn as much as the born. Yet those who kill doctors who perform abortions apparently don’t know this, or refuse to believe it.

  6. #6 |  Nancy Lebovitz | 

    Off topic: Police behaving sensibly in an unusual situation.

    Go ahead. Click. You know you want to.

  7. #7 |  Bill | 

    MPH, God, or whoever, help us, if we start using the moral standard set out in the Old Testament again.

  8. #8 |  Ben | 

    “I’ve always found men debating abortion to be irritating. Not disputing y’alls right to say whatever the hell you want. It just irritates me.”

    KristenS – I’ve always found it irritating that women act like their opinion is the only one that matters when it comes to abortion, and yet expect men to be held accountable based on a decision that they have no say in.

  9. #9 |  Marty | 

    I thought we were gonna see an elephant executed.

    I have a difficult time getting too worked up about China, Chavez, etc in light of our country’s behavior. It’d be nice if we’d take the high road with torture, military actions, habeas corpus, state sanctioned assassinations, secret surveillances, swat raids, etc, so that I could feel self-righteous and yell and scream…

  10. #10 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Abortion: Religion and politics trying to have a rational conversation.

    Unpossible.

  11. #11 |  Bill | 

    Abortion shouldn’t be a religious question. It was already established that in the OT the only punishment for it was a fine. I don’t believe, however, that we are bound by the OT. The question is when does life begin, that is more of a philosophical and scientific question. There is some serious confusion over this in the law. If you are a pregnant woman and throw yourself down a flight of stairs then you can be charged with murder. Scott Peterson is on death row in California because he was convicted of killing TWO people. Yet, Planned Parenthood down the street can kill babies with Constitutional protection. Something ain’t right here.

  12. #12 |  Jon Gray | 

    @KristenS

    I’d like to think we’re somewhat beyond the idea that only women’s opinions matter about abortion.

    @Bob #44

    I think one can have a completely rational objection to abortion that isn’t based on religion at all. As far as a rational objection based in religion, well, there surely can be a reason steeped in religion that follows logic, the question just becomes whether or not you want to base public policy on religious reasoning. Regardless, there are a lot of shades of gray in the debate and anyone on either side who thinks it’s as simple as 1-2-3 is clearly overlooking the nuance of an extremely complicated question.

  13. #13 |  Rob Robertson | 

    @#33;

    I read your entry out loud, and my 15-year-old son said, “Climbing Mount Everest is okay to have on your bucket list, as long as it’s the LAST thing on your list.”

    That’s my boy.

  14. #14 |  Katherine | 

    Feeling the insane urge to weigh in here. My thing with abortion is this: Women have been aborting unwanted babies since the beginning of time. Drive it underground, and all you do is kill more women. You don’t save babies. Similar to the drug war: you can’t legislate away a human need. In countries that criminalize abortion, the abortion RATE remains relatively unchanged; what goes up is the number of women who are maimed or killed getting unsafe abortions. Countries with the lowest abortion rates are the ones where birth control, sex education, and abortion are most widely available.

    Plus: if abortion is murder, does that mean a woman who has one deserves the same prison sentence as a murderer of a born person?

  15. #15 |  Cynical in CA | 

    “Many ethicists feel strongly that the surrogate-parent relationship is too delicate to have contract law applied to it, saying that in such cases, the child becomes a product rather than a person.”

    It is simply a cruel fact that some people were not meant to reproduce.

    That being said, if it can’t be done under contract law, it shouldn’t be done at all.

  16. #16 |  Jon Gray | 

    @Cynical

    I’m not sure what your “cruel” point does to advance the debate regarding surrogate relations/contracts. Should people who can’t reproduce just ignore the fertility options available? The fact that it is sometimes a result of nature that someone can’t reproduce doesn’t really make any difference as to public policy regarding the issue.

  17. #17 |  SusanK | 

    I agree with KristenS. Abortion is deeply personal, and, as such, should only be a decision made by the pregnant person during pregnancy. Any laws, regulations, contracts should not take away that woman’s right to decide.
    I know men bitch about how they are on the hook for child support after the child is born, and had “no control” over whether the kid was born. Suck it. It’s biological.
    I don’t get where libertarians say the drug war is bad because people have a right to control their own body but then think they should have input on abortion.
    And now I got sucked into commenting on abortion, which I swore to myself I wouldn’t do.

  18. #18 |  Jon Gray | 

    @SusanK

    I won’t claim to speak for everyone, but I think abortion is surely a justifiable part of the public debate–no matter which side you’re on–because until there is a (mostly) universal understanding of when life begins then the abortion issue, at least theoretically, deals with the life/death of a being that is unable to consent. That is certainly within the realm of public debate. Drugs are different because that is an adult’s choice.

    For the record, I think the child support thing is a b.s. argument, too.

  19. #19 |  Doug | 

    “We’re all pretty used to the idea that the ‘grand plan’ in favorable and friendly trade relations with China is the hope that their political axis will shift closer to ours in the long term.”

    I thought the grand plan was that we would both prosper through the free market, and they can run their country however they please.

  20. #20 |  Malcolm Digest | 

    @SusanK

    “I know men bitch about how they are on the hook for child support after the child is born, and had “no control” over whether the kid was born. Suck it. It’s biological.”

    What exactly about child support is biological? The only biological part is that when two people get busy, one of them may end up pregnant. I’m cannot make any connection between child support and biology.

  21. #21 |  Cynical in CA | 

    If there were no choices other than the natural way to reproduce, then there wouldn’t be any of these controversies regarding extraordinary means.

    Nature has a way of f’ing with those who try to circumvent its pronouncements. Those who trifle with nature should be aware of and ready to navigate the consequences, and it may just wind up wrecking their lives, i.e., be careful what you wish for, you might just get it.

    That being written, my second point stands: if it can’t be accomplished under contract law, then force is the only option. You definitely get what you get in that case.

  22. #22 |  Bill | 

    One wonders why these people were doing this in the first place when there are so many kids out there already looking to be adopted. These people shouldn’t be parents in the first place. They sound like selfish douchebags.

  23. #23 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Yours is a good plan, Doug. But it is not the “Grand Plan” of our overlords.

    Bill, first try to adopt an American kid and then you can call them d-bags. Foreign is a bit easier, but not always an option. I know of very few d-bags who go thru extraordindary hardship (adoption, surrogate, etc.) to become parents.

  24. #24 |  Ben | 

    Bill –

    Because they want to procreate. And adoption, for all the wonderful and loving solution that it is, isn’t procreation. Is it selfish for anyone to procreate when there are orphans out there? Just because it takes them IVF and surrogacy to procreate doesn’t make them selfish for wanting to do it. Unless they’re getting everyone in their health insurance pool to pay for it for them. Then, fuck them.

  25. #25 |  Bill | 

    IVF creates human life that is later destroyed. When they had a chance to have a kid they had the kid destroyed when they realized that it would be a burden. They shouldn’t be allowed to adopt a dog, let alone have more kids.
    Procreation is great, but when you need to go through these lengths and destroy life to do it then it becomes more about you and your selfish desire to keep your seed in the world than about accepting the gift of life.

  26. #26 |  Bill | 

    Adopting infants is hard, but there are older kids who could use a better home. If you can’t have kids naturally it is a good alternative.

  27. #27 |  ShelbyC | 

    “I know men bitch about how they are on the hook for child support after the child is born, and had “no control” over whether the kid was born. Suck it. It’s biological.”

    In this case, had the kid been born, I wonder if both the father and mother would be on the hook? They’re both biological parents, right?

  28. #28 |  frank n | 

    Meh…I wish your parents never met…oh wait I see dead people…hey are any of those nominated for a “Darwin”…

  29. #29 |  OBTC | 

    #58 | Ben |

    “… and yet expect men to be held accountable based on a decision that they have no say in.”

    Ben-

    Solutions:

    1. Abstain from sex.
    2. Get a vasectomy.
    3. Use condoms.

    Otherwise the man will be held accountable if pregnancy occurs. The fact that many men think they can run around and fuck with impunity is ludicrous.

    For example:
    http://www.aolnews.com/story/man-fathers-20-kids/501977

    Another example:
    http://newsone.com/nation/associatedpress3/man-sued-by-14-women-for-23-kids-worth-of-child-support-sent-to-prison/

    And then there’s this guy:
    http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_most_children_ever_fathered_by_1_man

  30. #30 |  Bob | 

    All righty then! So no one can produce a rational argument against abortion, or to counter my assertion that sentience doesn’t start until some point after birth.

    Oh well.

    One guy has a point that deserves comment. though:

    #75 | Bill | October 11th, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    IVF creates human life that is later destroyed. When they had a chance to have a kid they had the kid destroyed when they realized that it would be a burden.

    That simply isn’t true. That ‘life’ wasn’t created, it was already there. That ‘life’ as you put it was in the form of Human Eggs that were already there. Every Human Female is born with about 500 eggs already at the stage just prior to ovulation and fertilization.

    You need to understand the difference between “Human Life” and “A Human life'”.

    “Human Life” was started about 200,000 years ago, and has been continued along through the process of reproduction in Humans. There are currently about 3 billion humans currently carrying about 750 billion eggs that could continue the species. The Human Species is in no risk of going extinct.

    “A Human Life”, on the other hand, is what we consider special and sacred. It is WE, it is I and it is YOU. In Human terms, “A Human Life” starts at the point of sentience, which is probably when the concept of ME is formed in the developing mind. This is between 18 and 24 months of age.

    To make it easier, the LEGAL definition of life is “At Birth”. Well before the point where the infant becomes self aware.

    I hope that clears this up. But I expect that it won’t.

  31. #31 |  albatross | 

    Cynical in CA:

    I’m guessing you don’t go to the doctor when you’re sick or injured. Otherwise, you’re kinda circumventing nature’s pronouncements, no? I mean, nature has decreed that someone with a severe asthma attack, allergic reaction, heart attack, appendicitis, compound fracture, infected cut, etc., is scheduled to die soon (and often pretty horribly). I can’t seem to think of why interfering with that is less circumventing nature’s pronouncements than IVF.

    Similarly, my kids were born via C-section, in a hospital, with the mom receiving painkillers and doctors and nurses doing all kinds of very un-natural stuff like testing for PKU and weighing the babies every day for the first couple days to make sure they were gaining enough weight. And they’ve been unnaturally receiving first-world medical care (vaccinations, periodic check-ups, medicine when needed for illnesses) since then. Man, do we ever thumb our noses at nature.

  32. #32 |  albatross | 

    Bob:

    There is no objective argument available on either side of that question. That’s why it occasions so much yelling–it’s basically a question of definitions, and your definitions and mine are equally consistent with reality. We can argue over when someone becomes human enough to matter w.r.t. killing them being murder, but (just as with all other moral issues) this can’t every be resolved if we start with different premises. Conception? Detectable heartbeat? Birth? First birthday? Fifth birthday?

    There’s simply no way to argue one of these over the other in a way that someone starting from a different set of assumptions will be swayed by. Which means debating it is mostly a waste of time.

  33. #33 |  albatross | 

    RWW:

    Do you hold all the people who opposed slavery, back in the day, to the same standard? Only John Brown and such really believed that slavery was really kidnapping and forced labor of human beings with the same rights as everyone else?

    How about the people who claim (as I do) that a huge amount of our foreign policy amounts to murdering people far away for domestic political gain? Is everyone who thinks that, but doesn’t start throwing bombs at passing politicians, lying about their beliefs?

  34. #34 |  Bob | 

    Albatross:

    There’s simply no way to argue one of these over the other in a way that someone starting from a different set of assumptions will be swayed by. Which means debating it is mostly a waste of time.

    Largely unproductive, yes. Waste of time? No. An interesting thing about the human mind and it’s firmly held positions is that you can’t see them change in real time. Change occurs slowly… over time.

    But, in response to “There is no objective argument available on either side of that question.” That’s not true. It’s documented fact that children come from newborns that come from fetuses that come from fertilized eggs that come from unfertilized eggs. It’s also documented fact that every human female is born with about 500 of these eggs. The ONLY way to argue that fertilized > unfertilized is to invoke either magic or ‘superior moral position’.

    Here’s the money shot: The basis of my argument is not the sanctity of Human life. It’s the sanctity of sentient life. The problem with the focus on “Human life” is that it immediately becomes linked to objective moral positions. The argument becomes “Well, I and my group believe in superior moral argument X, therefore, we’re MORE HUMAN than that other group, and thusly, we are more deserving of life than they are.”

    If the argument of life can be focused on sentience, instead of a moral imperative unequally endowed by a creator, (With the unequality being decided unilaterally by those that consider their group to be more equal) it can start to move forward.

    Sentience, after all, is a binary state. You can’t be ‘more sentient’ than that other guy. People here are not “more sentient” than goat herders in Afghanistan, or clones of people. Or thinking robots.

    So, unpopular as my opinions and beliefs on this subject are, I will continue to champion them, and at the same time. questioning and refining them.

  35. #35 |  Rob Robertson | 

    @84 Bob;

    “The ONLY way to argue that fertilized > unfertilized is to invoke either magic or ’superior moral position’.”

    Firstly, Abracadabra.

    Secondly, I would argue that human life begins at conception when the genetic material of the sperm unites with the genetic material of the egg to produce a human being. Sperm + Egg = Human. Before that moment the egg in the woman will always remain that and nothing more. Provided a safe environment, proper nutrients, etc,… that egg will remain an egg, just as the sperm will remain a sperm, and neither of them taken alone are ‘a human’.

    I’ve talked to my children when they were in the womb and felt them move (or be still) in response to my voice, and no one can convince me that they were not ‘human’ before birth. As to when the exact moment occurs when a collection of cells becomes ‘sentient’, I don’t know; the old-fashioned notion of ‘quickening’, when the soul enters the developing fetus, is intriguing to me, but of little real consequence. I’ve been blessed with three wonderful children, and never have I considered the option of aborting a child because it might inconvenience me.

  36. #36 |  Bob | 

    Rob Robertson:

    Holy crap! Someone steps up! All righty!

    Before that moment the egg in the woman will always remain that and nothing more.

    Sorry, but it’s scientific fact that you’re in error there.

    Here is scientific fact: The egg is prepped for fertilization and released from the Ovary prior to actual fertilization by the interaction of hormones. If that egg is NOT fertilized? It dies. A POTENTIAL HUMAN is lost.

    See the error? You’re rationalizing that IF the egg is UNCHANGING, then it will wait… years if it must… for it’s legitimate chance for fertilization, and thus… a proper human can be born.

    There is nothing magic about the actual process of fertilization. Nor does this process somehow magic a ‘soul’ into the growing clump of cells that it develops into.

    I’m not trying to alter your beliefs at all. I’m just pointing out the errors in your statements.

    Also, I would be so bold as to point out a lie in your post. You say “As to when the exact moment occurs when a collection of cells becomes ’sentient’, I don’t know;” But You DO know. You’re sure of it. That point is at conception. The fact that you feel the need to lie to me tells me that in some portion of your mind? you know that might not be true.

    Food for thought, buddy!

  37. #37 |  Tammy | 

    “Riddle me this: If abortion is murder, why isn’t birth control murder.
    Why isn’t abstaining from sex murder.”

    If we all live a healthy lifestyle to avoid illness, does that mean we are all in remission?

    “Scott Peterson is on death row in California because he was convicted of killing TWO people. Yet, Planned Parenthood down the street can kill babies with Constitutional protection. Something ain’t right here.”

    People are going to Planned Parenthood by choice. (one assumes).
    Scott Peterson did not allow free will. No comparison.

  38. #38 |  Nulono | 

    “Riddle me this: If abortion is murder, why isn’t birth control murder.
    Why isn’t abstaining from sex murder.”

    Um, because they’re totally different things? Abortion ends a life and abstinence prevents one.