Category Archives: Discourse

Defining Terrorism: Anti-Choicers to Al Qaeda?

Vigil for Dr. Tiller in Lawrence Kansas (image from the Lawrence Journal-World)

Vigil for Dr. Tiller in Lawrence Kansas (image from the Lawrence Journal-World)

Many members of the pro-choice community have urged the Justice Department to treat Sunday’s events as an act of domestic terrorism.  At first, I thought “of course!”  As I’ve done more reading and heard the perspectives of some constitutional law scholars interviewed in the media I’ve become considerably more ambivalent about this.  Make no mistake, I feel that Dr. Tiller’s death is deeply tragic, but I remain unsure about labeling this event as “terrorism.”  I have two concerns about the expanding definition of terrorism, one is tied to civil liberties and ‘thought policing’ and the second is more political.

First my concerns about calling Dr. Tiller’s death terrorism:  On Monday, Rachel Maddow interviewed George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley.  He suggested that under the Bush administration the definition of “terrorism” expanded to include many, many crimes.  Turley also feels that murder or assination are not exactly the same thing as terrorism especially given that the Supreme Court has protected violent speech.  Perhaps a better category would be to call Roeder’s crime a “hate crime” defined as:

Hate crimes… occur when a perpetrator targets a victim because of his or her perceived membership in a certain social group, usually defined by racial group, religion, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, nationality, age, gender, gender identity, or political affiliation.

A “hate crime” can take two forms: “hate crime” generally refers to criminal acts which are seen to have been motivated by hatred of one or more of the listed conditions. The second kind is hate speech, which is speech defined as crime. While hate crimes are rarely debated, the hate speech concept is controversial, as criminalizing speech can be seen as impugning freedom of speech. Incidents may involve physical assault, damage to property, bullying, harassment, verbal abuse or insults, or offensive graffiti or letters.

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Filed under Discourse, Pro-Choice, Thought Provoking

Boob Job Piggy Bank.

Oh good lord…  via BoingBoing, a Boob Job piggy bank?!  Sold at an online store specializing in girls’ room decor!  I can’t even tell you how worked up this got me.  Plus, after that long post a few days ago I’ll keep this one oh so short.

On one hand, I try to remember that sometimes things are funny and even if they’re a little bit sexist or mean… well, sometimes that is part of humor.  So, while I might laugh at this if it was in an adult friend’s bathroom or on her desk I might also ask wonder just how tongue-in-cheek it really is.  I’m not sure its actually funny to imply that dissatisfaction with your body is normal.  Well, I mean… disatisfaction with your body is a normal part of growing up life but “fixing” it with plastic surgery is a fairly drastic step.

Could you even imagine a piggy bank for girls that said something like “ice cream,” “books,” or– God forbid– “birth control.” (Frankly, with the way things are looking in DC girls might need to save for the pill– unless a friend gets them a certificate to Planned Parenthood for Xmas).

Frankly, when I was a teen girl the last thing I needed was for my parents or friends to give me something that implied I needed a different body.

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Filed under Discourse, Feminism

Does the White House Have Wi-Fi?

So, in case anyone was wondering if the comparisons between Obama and FDR were a little, oh… too soon, I bring you– the YouTube chat.  Perhaps these are not yet as effective as the Fireside Chat FDR made famous, but I think that long term these could be a really good way for Obama to appera accessible, circumvent the pundits, and possibly remain as sympathetic a character as he was on the campaign trail.  In fact, it looks like ChangeDotGov is going to keep its own YouTube channel operating.  I hope they can continue to do this throughout the administration.  However, given the importance of archiving and documentation I worry that these ephemeral forms of media will be too risky for the antiquated archiving system used by the Govt. Continue reading

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Filed under Discourse, Thought Provoking

Waiting on W.

Just got back from seeing Oliver Stone’s “W.” this weekend.  I knew going in that this was just kind of a “blah” movie– 10 minutes after we left the theatre I found myself already forgetting it.  Although I tend to complain about movies that are 4 hours long, “W.” really needed the extra two hours.  I wonder if someone at Lion’s Gate was like, “Olly… listen… about the time, nobody really does epics any more.  Get it under 2 hours 20 min.”

Instead of a damning indictment of America’s failures over the past 8 years, “W.” was a pretty strait-forward bio pic.  Sadly, because it tried to cover 50-something years in under 2 hours, I felt like I was just watching a highlight reel from Bush’s life.  The actually interesting story is his, but it is in contact with all the other people aorund him– Karl Rove was a caricature, Laura is reduced to a fawning and ever-supportive wife, and Collin Powell is clearly Stone’s pick for conscience of the administration. Continue reading

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Filed under Discourse, Thought Provoking

Daily Kos Supports the SD Campaign for Healthy Families!

Hey, check it out!  The DailyKos put the SD Campaign For Healthy Families in its “Orange to Blue” section!

Today, we’re adding one of the most important, yet least discussed, campaigns in the country to Orange to Blue. And this is a campaign where every dollar you invest will pay a huge return for every American. Read more…

I think this is a perfect example of what Feld and Wilcox were talking about in Netroots Rising— a powerful, liberal blog is amplifying the efforts of a small(ish) campaign that might not get a national audience if it wasn’t for the Internet (and occasional AP story).

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Filed under Discourse, Pro-Choice

Air Quotes Around Women’s Health? Seriously?!

I’d like to give major props to Obama for his incredible answer to “the abortion question” in last night’s debate.  Nobody is pro-abortion and it is time that someone with Obama’s stature stood up to say it.  In case it wasn’t hugely clear to everyone, it is answers like this that get you a 100% rating from Planned Parenthood, NARAL, NOW, etc.

So, now that I’ve been so full of enthusiasm, lets turn to McCain’s response.  Listen, I understand that reasonable people will never agree on this issue.  But I take issue with how he says “quote, women’s health” as if we’re now putting women’s health in the same category as… oh… I don’t know, “irony” or “God”?  Are we as a country actually ready to admit that we don’t think “women’s health” is a viable concern?  This is another clear example of the anti-choice movement trying to coopt the language of responsibility and choice. Continue reading

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Filed under 2008 Election, Discourse, Pro-Choice

Occasionaly I Wish I’d Supported Hillary Clinton

Poster by Tony Puryear

Poster by Tony Puryear

When I read things like this New York Times‘ Op-Ed piece, I sort of think that maybe I shouldn’t have been quite so hard on Hillary Clinton during the primary.

Many circumstances unrelated to reproductive health could also fall under the umbrella of “other medical procedures.” Could physicians object to helping patients whose sexual orientation they find objectionable? Could a receptionist refuse to book an appointment for an H.I.V. test? What about an emergency room doctor who wishes to deny emergency contraception to a rape victim? Or a pharmacist who prefers not to refill a birth control prescription?

H*yas for Chocie just collected over 85 signatures on our letter opposing the proposed HHS rule.  Although this may not sound like a lot, all we did was keep them at our table in the campus free-speech zone (don’t get me started on this) for 6 days!  Rumor is, even a Jesuit signed one… Continue reading


Filed under Discourse, Pro-Choice