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August 27, 2008

Interesting Reads

Good morning. The Editorial Staff are attempting to motivate our intrepid staff of itinerant Eskimo typists with a combination of dire threats and liberal doses of caffeine. While you await yet another display of their typing prowess, a few interesting reads from around the 'Net:

FactCheck.org has looked into Obama's claim that pro-life activists are "lying" when they say he supports infanticide:

At issue is Obama's opposition to Illinois legislation in 2001, 2002 and 2003 that would have defined any aborted fetus that showed signs of life as a "born alive infant" entitled to legal protection, even if doctors believe it could not survive.

Obama opposed the 2001 and 2002 "born alive" bills as backdoor attacks on a woman's legal right to abortion, but he says he would have been "fully in support" of a similar federal bill that President Bush had signed in 2002, because it contained protections for Roe v. Wade.

We find that, as the NRLC said in a recent statement, Obama voted in committee against the 2003 state bill that was nearly identical to the federal act he says he would have supported. Both contained identical clauses saying that nothing in the bills could be construed to affect legal rights of an unborn fetus, according to an undisputed summary written immediately after the committee's 2003 mark-up session.

Whether opposing "born alive" legislation is the same as supporting "infanticide," however, is entirely a matter of interpretation. That could be true only for those, such as Obama's 2004 Republican opponent, Alan Keyes, who believe a fetus that doctors give no chance of surviving is an "infant." It is worth noting that Illinois law already provided that physicians must protect the life of a fetus when there is "a reasonable likelihood of sustained survival of the fetus outside the womb, with or without artificial support."

Of particular interest is Sen. Obama's comment on the 2001 Illinois bill (which he also voted against):

... whenever we define a previable fetus as a person that is protected by the equal protection clause or the other elements in the Constitution, what we’re really saying is, in fact, that they are persons that are entitled to the kinds of protections that would be provided to a – a child, a nine-month-old – child that was delivered to term. That determination then, essentially, if it was accepted by a court, would forbid abortions to take place. I mean, it – it would essentially bar abortions, because the equal protection clause does not allow somebody to kill a child, and if this is a child, then this would be an antiabortion statute.

What the FactCheck article elides right past (and what I continue to find deeply troubling) is the fact that it makes it expressly legal to deliver abort a live fetus and then leave it - unattended - to die. The physician has no duty of care unless, in his or her own judgment, the fetus "has a reasonable likelihood of sustained survival outside the womb, with or without life support".

What doctor in his right mind, accused of having letting a baby that *could* have survived with life support die unattended, is going to scratch his head and say, "Gee whiz... now that you mention it, maybe I made the wrong call? Go ahead and throw me in jail."

As a parent, one of the first things you learn is never to make an unenforceable rule. This strikes me as one such.

0_61_082508_league3.jpgPunishing kids for being competent:

A Connecticut youth baseball team with a phenomenal 9-year-old pitcher has been disqualified because its team is too good.

The team, Will Power Fitness, has an 8-0 record thanks in large part to pitcher Jericho Scott, the New Haven Register reports. His pitching is so fast and accurate, the Liga Juvenil De Baseball De New Haven asked the team's coach, Wilfred Vidro, to replace him so he wouldn't frighten other players.

What a lovely message to teach our children: now inequality of ability is "unfair"? Whatever happened to learning to accept both wins and losses with grace? Losing seasons happen and ability is not always evenly distributed between teams. That's not a bad preparation for life, which isn't always fair either. When my sons played rec soccer, often the "town" teams (vs. the base teams) had kids who went to expensive soccer camps and had skills the base teams, who accepted all players, couldn't easily compete with. We played everyone, every game, where the town teams did not. But a good coach teaches kids to compete with pride, to do their best, to work together, and above all, not to let defeats beat them down. These are valuable coping skills, as in real life it is often the most persistent competitor rather than the most talented who eventually walks off with the prize. How much more valuable would it have been, had the league decided to use this boy's ability to challenge the other players to do their best?

This is just one more manifestation of our education's penchant for promoting self-esteem over ability and effort over achievement - the league lost a 'teachable moment', here. Via a certain Colorado Feline.

Heigh ho, heigh ho, it's off to work I go...

Are fathers necessary? Apparently so:

While a rare condition PWS (Prader-Willi Syndrome) is thought to be the leading cause of genetically caused obesity, its effects can be mitigated by the participation of the father.

The research by University of Tennessee, Knoxville, professor Francisco Ubeda finds that the amount of care a father gives to his child may cause a shift in the syndrome in which its symptoms, in essence, reverse themselves.

In a world where fathers are now considered akin to the appendix, its interesting to find more information that the presence of a father changes the outcomes for the children in drastic ways. Yes I said more, as females raised without a blood father present have lower ages of onset of first menses. That if a human female is raised without a father, or with a stepfather, she matures earlier, and so her time to learn is clipped by biological urges appearing earlier than later.

Personally, this type of research seems like a threat to a woman's total control over her reproductive destiny. It should probably be suppressed immediately.

The Democratic National Convention as musical comedy:

Meanwhile, the allegedly nonpartisan press, fresh off a cover version of "Hopelessly Devoted to You," is doing its best to convey every jot and tiddle of the Obama narrative as given to them by his campaign. They want voters to look at Obama and think "We Go Together." The risk in this, of course, is that the gap between the Democrat call for "change" and "chang chang changity chang shoo bop" is a small one, and either mantra can give your legs a tingly feeling.

So prefabricated Americana hangs in the Denver air like dust motes spiraling through a shaft of sunlight, and paid operatives are desperately trying to bottle patriotism for anyone who harbors doubts about the candidate who edited the Harvard Law Review but never wrote an article for it...

Ouch!

And the Freudian Slip of the Week goes to:

... that's not even to mention good old Charlie Wilson:

"We should be led by Osama bin Laden," he said, then quickly corrected himself. "I mean Obama and Biden."

Honestly, this is the best convention anyone has ever had. The Republicans don't have a chance of topping this.

Via Grim, who is having way too much fun.

And finally, via Glenn, a few thoughts on love. My favorites:

'When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.' Billy - age 4

'Love is what makes you smile when you're tired.' Terri - age 4

Yep.

Posted by Cassandra at August 27, 2008 05:01 AM

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Comments

...one of the first things you learn is never to make an unenforceable rule.

There you go again -- dragging common sense into it...

Posted by: BillT at August 27, 2008 06:13 AM

We played everyone, every game, where the town teams did not. But a good coach teaches kids to compete with pride, to do their best, to work together, and above all, not to let defeats beat them down. These are valuable coping skills, as in real life it is often the most persistent competitor rather than the most talented who eventually walks off with the prize. How much more valuable would it have been, had the league decided to use this boy's ability to challenge the other players to do their best?

The benefits of this kind of approach should be obvious to people. When you make people afraid of those with more ability or success than they have, you end up creating people with morals and ethics on the par of arsonists and Timothy McVeighs: where to win, you have to weaken the competition, where for you to gain, others must lose.

This indoctrination of children in the zero sum philosophy provides great benefits later on in life when it is time to save foreigners from oppression, bullies, dictators, and injustice. Somebody has to lose in order for us to win, so we might as well use our power to make more people lose. Palestine can only gain if Israel loses. Iraq can only become a better place if America loses. Ossetia will only become a better place if Georgia loses.

The tricky thing is getting people to choose the right side to back. And the right side to back will always be the people that need to handicap their enemies, for they themselves cannot competely on the same standards as the reality that applies to us all. The people that can stand on their own two feet and create a lasting and good civilization, those people must be destroyed for the good of us all.

So long as you teach children that the winning team will be the team that only wins by killing their competition, you produce a generation of people with the idea that to win means to destroy anyone better than they rather than becoming better than they.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 27, 2008 10:58 AM

Huh?

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at August 27, 2008 01:01 PM

Looks like you found where I publish my articles.
Hope you like the piece on fathers. :)

Posted by: Artfldgr at August 27, 2008 07:14 PM

Charlie Wilson: "We should be led by Osama bin Laden," he said, then quickly corrected himself. "I mean Obama and Biden."

OMG!!! He actually said THAT?!

Too funny...

Posted by: camojack at August 28, 2008 01:20 AM

Obama bin Biden in 'O8!!

Posted by: BillT at August 28, 2008 03:44 AM

Totally anti-social of you, Bill.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 28, 2008 03:48 AM

Well, I'll make an exception for a couple of places near San Diego.

Oh. Thought you said "anti-SoCal."

Never mind...

Posted by: BillT at August 28, 2008 05:25 AM

If I had been dealing in anti-matter, you would have heard it by now in your physical location.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 28, 2008 11:05 PM

Sorry Art - I've been kind of busy lately so I'm just catching up on comments.

Yes, I did - very much. I'm a huge believer that fathers are just as necessary as mothers to a child's development. I also think that children can overcome a lot if they don't have both parents. Often they are able to find a surrogate (an uncle, or a family friend). But I think they need role models of both sexes in order to develop healthy relationships.

Posted by: Cass at September 2, 2008 02:33 PM

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