How it happened.

“Game Change,” the Sarah Palin horror flick produced by HBO, was both better and worse than I expected. Better: Julianne Moore’s performance, which was great. Worse: Her accent, which was terrible. Better: It really did humanize the woman we’ve been calling She-Who for so long, something I didn’t think possible. It illustrated — vividly — just how overwhelmed Palin was by the tsunami that hit her, how blithely she walked into it, trusting in “God’s will.”

Worse: It brought it all back. God, what a visceral dislike I had for that woman. It was the equal and opposite effect she had on all those folks on the rope line, that jus’-folks stuff she worked so well. (Amply portrayed in the film, by the way.) It started with her nomination speech, that triumph of self-flattery and sarcasm. I’m all for self-esteem, but that was ridiculous. Even considering the undercard in a national campaign isn’t required to do much during a run but play dirty if asked to and tour the B circuit without complaint, she was appallingly without substance. And so happy and proud to be so! That’s what was so galling: Hi, I’m real America! And I’m ignorant! But I’m doing the work of God!

But “Game Change,” though nominally Palin/Moore’s movie, is really Woody Harrelson’s story, playing Steve Schmidt, who opened the bottle and watched the genie quickly grant his wishes — changed the game, overshadowed Obama, rallied the base — and then flew free, with no intention of ever going back in. The game was changed so profoundly, in fact, that the maverick’s main man was left to do the final smackdown, during preparations for John McCain’s concession speech, when he had to all but wrestle Palin to the ground to get her to give up her idea of giving her own speech.

But here’s the thing: This isn’t the great She-Who movie. That won’t be made for quite a few more years. This was basically just a rehash, with the added titillation of watching what we all suspected was going on backstage at the time — mainly Palin prepping for debates by learning the difference between the British prime minister’s and Queen Elizabeth’s roles, or that Korea really is two countries, or why we’re in Iraq. Is it possible she really was that ignorant? Really? I’m worried about Real America.

The great Palin movie will come after enough time has passed that we can see not just Palin, but ourselves, with a little more perspective. It isn’t just that Palin happened. It’s that a lot of other things happened at the same time. We all went crazy, and we haven’t recovered.

In other movie news, I also watched “Hanna,” on my iPad, while cleaning closets and drawers. It was far better than I expected, in large part due to a great score by the Chemical Brothers. I’m not a score-noticer, and this is the second straight year I’ve done so. Is all the music in our house finally rubbing off on me, or is it the unexpected revelation of this decade?

Other than that, I took a semi-internet sabbath, so no links to share at the moment. Anyone have any to suggest?

Meanwhile, happy Monday. Enjoy the week, all.

Posted at 12:30 am in Movies |

126 responses to “How it happened.”

  1. Jakash said on March 12, 2012 at 1:09 am

    I just don’t understand the thinking behind Real Americans wanting somebody who is “just like me or my neighbor” to be President, or Vice-President in She-Who’s case. I consider it the American Idolization of the country’s future. (BTW, we don’t have enough music idols that are created the old-fashioned way, we have to create new ones every year whose main qualification is that they showed up to an audition?)

    Anyway, I remember hearing a lot of that about Bush. “A guy you’d like to have a beer with.” Unlike those wonky twits, Gore and Kerry. I don’t recall the charming Texas buddy working out so well, though, when faced with all sorts of issues that you don’t encounter while clearing brush. And here Obama has to go and combine being smart with being black, as if that’s going to appeal to the type of people who are enchanted by Joe the Plumber.

    When the 2008 campaign was over, I was fearful that, if Ms. P. had any sense, she’d take the opportunity to spend the next 3 years attempting to educate herself about some of the things that she was so clueless about, and that it was conceivable that she could emerge as a more threatening candidate if she did so. Quitting the governorship, going on Fox News, and becoming a Twitter sensation was not exactly the preparation I feared. Evidently, she took the old Stuart Smalley affirmations to heart, instead.

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  2. Dexter said on March 12, 2012 at 1:22 am

    The bad remembrance was when the assholes in the crowd picked up on her cue and shouted “KILL HIM!!” and “HE’S A TERRORIST” when Palin egged them on . I remember that night well and it was ugly.
    A four day vet for a veep candidate? McCain was so damn clueless he apparently never gave a thought to such an important campaign strategy component as the veep. Even though Palin was certainly never in McCain’s thoughts, and Schmidt made the call, it rests with McCain , it was his call. He had final say, and he knew nothing about Palin.
    The Republicans of 2008 showed their true colors by calling on this dingbat from Moose country. What a nightmare.
    Bloggage: Some people spend way too much time on Facebook.

    Kiss me I’m Irish!

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  3. Sherri said on March 12, 2012 at 2:34 am

    One of the more interesting books I ever read concerning McCain is The Nightingale’s Song, by Robert Timberg. It’s actually about McCain, John Poindexter, Bud McFarlane, Oliver North, and James Webb, all Annapolis grads, all Vietnam Vets, all prominent during the Reagan administration. The book was published back in 1995, years before the Maverick ran for President, but having read it, I wasn’t shocked that he pick such an unqualified running mate just to make a splash. What shocked me was the Couric interview, when it became obvious that She Who was a disaster of proportions previously not believed possible.

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  4. mark said on March 12, 2012 at 2:51 am

    “We all went crazy, and we haven’t recovered.”

    Boy, I couldn’t disagree more. Not with the “went crazy” part, but with the notion that we haven’t recovered. We started recovering right away, and have made steady progress.

    First. we didn’t elect McCain/Palin and the other guy won. By a lot. The Bush fatigue was real and well deserved. Palin was found out, McCain was rejected, history was made and the country got something of a fresh start.

    Obama discovered the country accepts change slowly, there are limits to the power of his personality and Keynes had no lock on truth. Romney is a far more “sane” candidate than McCain or Bush 2, whatever Romney’s limitations.

    There are plenty of extreme people/positions out there. Finding the craziest and then declaring the crazy to be typical is fun, I guess. But it is logically flawed. Hard to believe J Edwards was up for veep. And Lieberman was voted out of the party not long after being nominated for Commander-in-chief-in-waiting. Politics is a crazy business. Doesn’t mean the country doesn’t sort things out, and maintain a sense of wavering balance, most of the time.

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  5. Deborah said on March 12, 2012 at 3:16 am

    Sorry Mark, but I agree with Nancy about the crazy. You left a whole lot of crazy out of your comment like Gingrich, Paul and Santorum as if that never happened. And is still happening. The Republicans did not settle down and come to their senses, not by a long shot.

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  6. mark said on March 12, 2012 at 4:03 am

    Sorry, Deborah, but none of those guys fit any realistic definition of crazy. That’s hyperbole. Why does every disagreement haver to be the result of mental illness, racism or some other failing? Struggles over the proper size, role, function and power of government have gone on for centuries. What labels would you attach to John Locke, J Stuart Mill or Adam Smith to dismiss them without bothering to consider their ideas? Why can’t ideas be debated without always and first attacking the person who proffers them?

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  7. ROGirl said on March 12, 2012 at 5:01 am

    I remember the steady drumbeat of support for Palin by Bill Kristol in 2008, taken up by a lot of Republicans. He had a column in the New York Times then and by the time of the Republican convention Palin’s nomination was being talked up very seriously by the gasbag commentariat. It was a bit like those PR campaigns for the Oscars. I haven’t seen the HBO movie, so I don’t know if this even comes up in it.

    It seems like the level of delusional thinking about politics just keeps ramping up higher and higher. A whole lot of people bought into it with respect to the Palin nom. They saw what they wanted to see from a distance and thought they could turn that into their version of reality. The awful truth didn’t match up to their fantasy about a young, attractive, right-wing female Republican who they thought was ready for her close-up.

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  8. Deggjr said on March 12, 2012 at 6:47 am

    Hyperbole? I can see where Newt Gingrich Ron Paul are all hyperbole. Santorum appears to believe every word that comes out of his mouth. I would love to have a secret decoder ring that would identify Santorum’s hyperbole.

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  9. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 12, 2012 at 6:54 am

    I’ll add to Mark’s note that there’s plenty of inability for folks, including many of my thoughtful and decent friends here, to believe that anti-abortion sentiments are as strong as they are across the country in the first place, and that in the second place understanding that they are not merely manipulated ignorant anti-science boobs.

    I do think the GOP has a non-trivial base problem in that the various religiously oriented pieces of that base are not quite in sync in some hard-to-reconcile ways, and pure anti-abortion fervor is amped up in part to avoid dealing with that dissonance; Axelrod, bless his efficient heart, is working that angle like nobody’s business — there’s a big anti-contraception/life begins at contraception chunk that co-exists uneasily with an anti-abortion-but-c’mon-who-doesn’t-use-contraception faction that tends out of discretion to not want to raise their dissent in public. The HHS mandate is a brilliant piece of political judo that flips over the pro-life base of the GOP and reveals that soft underside.

    But again, I think to make this all about a desire on the right to keep the womenfolk home and portray them as an “easily led” base is a dangerous self-indulgence on the left, as is the closely related enjoyment of thinking them all crazy-plus-stupid.

    And why is it so DARK and awful this morning? Curse this DST.

    Update: this is the kind of pro-life thoughtfulness that I’m talking about:

    …but Suzanne, your last statement makes my point perfectly about what is not stable or solid about the pro-life bloc of the GOP base. Plenty of fissures to exploit and widen.

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  10. Suzanne said on March 12, 2012 at 7:12 am

    We don’t have cable or dish tv, so I won’t see the Palin movie. I do know that at least two people in my family of 4 probably would have voted for McCain had he not paired himself with that empty dress. I disliked her from the get-go, partly because when she burst on the scene, I worked with a Limbaugh devotee who was positively giddy with excitement that McCain picked a pro-life woman with a handicapped kid!! I couldn’t get past the fact that she named her kids things like Trigg and Willow. Told me a lot right there.

    Have we gotten over the insanity? I don’t know. The whole contraceptive debate has been interesting. I know a heck of a lot of pro-life people who have been shocked to learn that the pill is considered by so many to cause abortions.

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  11. Deborah said on March 12, 2012 at 7:49 am

    They sure seem like manipulated anti science boobs. Geez now we have to talk about how the pill causes abortions? What next? This is ridiculous. Aren’t we well into the 21st century?

    Edit: I forgot ignorant: manipulated, ignorant, anti-science boobs

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  12. Linda said on March 12, 2012 at 7:56 am

    JTMMO, I believe there is a gap between the pro-life but ok with contraception crowd, and the every sexual encounter is sacred faction, but the latter has pretty much taken over the prolife movement. The former is quiet and doesn’t make waves, while the latter makes laws–lots of them harassing laws that submit women to in-your-face government intrusion into their lives, because they can. And it wasn’t Axelrod that showed the pro-life crowd’s butt, but themselves. A lot of comments were about women who have non-procreative sex lives as “sluts,” as opposed to women who wanted their health care scrips filled like any other scrips, without their employer deciding if the scrips were moral, and nobody was egged on to make those comments.

    People in politics love talking about “unintended consequences,” but here’s one that may emerge: stronger support for some sort of wider public option in health insurance. It is downright medieval for your employer to decide whether your health insurance meets the employer’s moral standards.

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  13. beb said on March 12, 2012 at 8:03 am

    Here’s some bloggage:

    The shocking detail is that before 1998 (ie, Clinton’s administration) workers did not have a legal right to potty-breaks. They got them because unions required them or because managers realized that it would be a good idea but before 1998 managers could just as readily tell workers that they should have thought about that before beginning their shift. But the overall theme of the essay (and it’s not that long) is that labor relations has long been defined by the common law of feudalism.

    I didn’t see the HBO movie about Sarah Palin, Even if we had HBO I doubt I would have wasted time watching about such a hideous zit in the nose of American history. But the pain that was Palin goes back to George W.’s nomination. It was somewhat obvious even during his campaign that he wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer. By 2008 McCain was a dottering old man who was usually wrong about everything. Then his pick of Palin opened the floodgates for people who weren’t even close to being Presidential material.

    The problem with the Republican base is that they don’t see the murder of an abortion doctor as the inevitable outcome of their hateful speech, or even as a bad outcome. They hate Blacks, Muslims and homosexuals indiscriminately. They complain about government interference in their lives while cashing their social security check. That and their bullshit attitude that because they do not live in New York City they are somehow more “real” more “authentic” Americans than the American who do live in new York.

    Sorry for the rant. It’s too damn early in the morning, even though the lying clock says it’s 8.

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  14. Prospero said on March 12, 2012 at 8:28 am

    Mark, the racism on the right is very real, palpable even, and very ugly. And if doing the same damn thing over and over and expecting a better result is a valid definition of crazy, all three of those guys fit the bill.

    An enthusiastic review of John Carter. I was unaware until now that Willem Dafoe is a vaillain in this. (That is encouraging all by itself.) Michael Chabon has a writing credit. (A wizard, a true star, in my estimation: Kavalier and Klay, Yiddish Policemans’ Union,Summerland.) So I really want to like this movie, and it has Tim Riggins in it. This guy Ty Burr has been on the Globe for years, and is a died-in-the-wool curmudgeon, so I’m taking this favorable review hopefully. And it’s nice to use that adverb correctly. But what was wrong calling the movie Princess of Mars? If they had cast Angelina Jolie, it sure as hell would have been E. R. Burroughs’ title.

    I always pictured Jean “Cowards Cut and Run” Schmidt with green skin and Margaret Hamilton’s cackle, the Crazy-Flying-Monkey-Lady with Little Orphan Annie eyes (i.e. huge and empty of affect). In other words, the Michele Bachman prototype, that knew John Murtha wasn’t a “real” marine. Best part of election Central last week was seeing her losing her shot at keeping her place in Congress being teabanged by an opponent more hard-core loony than she is.

    We loved Hanna, and my girl S. is no action movie fan. I think she identified with the Saorise Riordan character. We watched Red State yesterday, Kevin Smith’s self-proclaimed “horror movie” take on full goose loony right wing America. Horrifying, indeed.

    And American papers are doing that cowardly lion move-Doonesbury -to-the-editorial-page. It’s always claimed they aim to “protect children”, like kids read the comics and skip the rest of the paper. I don’t know any kids that actually read the comics anymore, but the male children I know sure as hell read about Kobe’s rape case.

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  15. ac jones said on March 12, 2012 at 8:41 am

    And there it is–the racism card. I know it makes it easier for you to claim the moral high ground, prospero, but I believe that charge is unfounded and simple-minded.

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  16. Julie Robinson said on March 12, 2012 at 9:12 am

    Prospero, we saw an extended clip of John Carter and it looked like a comic strip. And we like Riggins too. Based on the preview it dropped to the Netflix list instead of seeing it in the theatre, and we went to Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy instead. Which was very well done, but without knowing the storyline in advance, a tad confusing.

    I didn’t hear any news yesterday because it was too beautiful to be burdened by news. We had a party with three birthday cakes and played croquet. So this morning I am uninformed. Just call me Sarah.

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  17. Peter said on March 12, 2012 at 9:13 am

    Dexter, a four day vet for a VP candidate doesn’t sound too bad – in 1952 Eisenhower didn’t know that he had the responsibility of choosing the vice presidential candidate. After Dewey said the New York delegation wanted Nixon, well, that was it.

    On an I’m getting old note – I didn’t check all of Friday’s posts to see if someone had already mentioned this, but Peter Bergman passed away. Speaking of Firesign Theater and Nixon, this election is starting to have tones of 1968 – but who’s playing the part of George Wallace? Santorum? Gingrich? Paul?

    Oh well. Papoon for President – you know he’s not insane!

    And remember, the bigger the burger the bigger the bun, everything you know is wrong, and in the next world you’re on your own.

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  18. coozledad said on March 12, 2012 at 9:17 am

    Axelrod’s ultimate piece of political jiu jitsu wasn’t having Republicans fall into the trap of appearing to be racist by providing their elected officials serial opportunities to send racist emails, or using psychokinesis to get James O’Keefe dressed up in a pimp outfit, or even helping him rent a rape boat. It wasn’t even the masterpiece of having Rush Limbaugh go on the air to prove conclusively that whatever it is he fucks, it ain’t sentient. As a low level party imp, I’m only permitted to refer to the new initiative in code as the “Dochstosselgende of the self-abusers”, or “The Jergens Resolution”.
    Lets just say that at this very moment, microwave behavior modification techniques are being used to coerce Rick Santorum, and yes, Willard Mitt, to accept that life begins in the seminal vesicles, and soon Republicans will get all shouty about those billions and billions of unborn Republicans sticking up the floor of the I-95 rest stop at Petersburg,VA.
    When Axelrod gets through with Sideshow Bob McDonnell and the VA Legislature, every inbred from Ringgold to Norfolk will be wearing a jock cup. And they won’t even know why.

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  19. Prospero said on March 12, 2012 at 9:22 am

    Right ac. All those rightwing watermelon videos, calling Obama the food stamp president (when W was, in fact), those aren’t manifestations of racism at all. Or Judge Barking Dog. Or the whackjob claims about Kenya. Nope it’s just simple minded to think that might be a racist display of spleen and enmity. And Obviously, I didn’t bring up racism. I disputed mark’s (@6) ridiculous claim that none of the anti-Obama spew has anything to do with racial animus. It most clearly does. How about this vile bit of shit from Roy Blount (an allegedly rational GOPer) about the President:

    … Something they didn’t anticipate was monkeys came running out of the jungle, and they grabbed the golf balls … and they might throw the golf ball back at you. … So for this golf course, and this golf course and this golf course only, they passed a rule, and the rule was, you have to play the ball where the monkey throws it.

    How about a link to that famous Breitbart video of the First Lady saying “Whitey”? Nope? Was that just fabricated? I suppose the bogus James O’Keefe ACORN video was not racially motivated. Now, believing that is truly simple-minded, if it’s not just plain delusional.

    How about the astounding claims by “mainstream” GOPers that the ACA includes slavery reparations?

    No, can’t see any reason why anybody would think there’s is racism involved. It’s got nothing to do with moral high ground, a simple -minded insult, I was raised by parents that understood that racial tolerance and anti-bigotry were causes worth battling for.

    For simple-minded, it’s difficult to match the conflicting drumbeats from the rightwing re Pbama. Is he an incompetent fool or an anti-colonial socialist Kenyan stealth candidate mastermind? Wouldn’t those be mutually excluive?

    Nope. No racism there.

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  20. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 12, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Linda, I agree with your last point.

    As for mind control, I’ve heard people make a compelling case that Tommy Lee Jones is actually a hostage of Ameriprise Financial, and he’s being forced to do those ads against his will.

    Romney just reminds me too much of Gore, right down to the running to fulfill a dominant father’s legacy. But I think it’s quite unfortunate that if he were a Methodist, the primaries would be more than moot a month ago. The evangelical anxiety over Mormonism is intense; a guy in Mississippi on NPR’s Weekend Edition yesterday evening told quite a story of how the whole primary/general election process will work out as Southern psychodrama, all in a rich Southern accent all his own. Worth finding on their website and playing through.

    I dig item #4 here:

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  21. Julie Robinson said on March 12, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Okay, I just remembered that I did learn something yesterday; I learned once again what a privileged life I lead. A family visited our church and told of their experiences building a school in Zambia. The public school fees are too high for many families, so they started a free, private school. Then they noticed that kids weren’t learning well because they hadn’t eaten, so they started a feeding program. Cost for the school: $20,000. Cost to feed one child for a year: $36.

    Then they showed a grass hut with this title: village restroom. I thought about my house with its three bathrooms and realized I have no cause to complain about anything.

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  22. alex said on March 12, 2012 at 9:37 am

    Why can’t ideas be debated without always and first attacking the person who proffers them?

    Why should we even be debating such “ideas” as birth control pills being “abortifacients,” evolution and global warming being hoaxes, our president being a Muslim with a fake birth certificate, etc., ad nauseam? Anyone who proffers such ideas is a cynical schmuck and anyone who buys into them is a moron. ’nuff said.

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  23. nancy said on March 12, 2012 at 9:43 am

    The abortifacient thing comes in via the following logic chain:

    1) The moment sperm meets egg and cell division begins, a new human soul is created, with full constitutional rights.

    2) Some birth-control pills (Plan B, perhaps others) prevent pregnancy by keeping the fertilized egg from implanting in the uterine lining. (This is the medical definition of when pregnancy begins — implantation.)

    3) Ergo, abortion.

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  24. Prospero said on March 12, 2012 at 9:44 am

    Somebody explain to me how small government proponent Santorum proposing a law to ban teleprompters isn’t outright nuts. And how this isn’t dog whistle code for “The President is a darkie too dumb to speak without a teleprompter, and never would have graduated from Harvard Law without affirmative action. Then explain how that isn’t a three-year old racist meme from GOP. Wish they’d get it straight. Simian or evil pinko genius?

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  25. coozledad said on March 12, 2012 at 9:46 am

    Why can’t ideas be debated without always and first attacking the person who proffers them?
    Why are Republican arguments always framed in a.) tobacco spittle, or b.) sophomore English?

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  26. James said on March 12, 2012 at 9:56 am

    Regarding “Game Change.”

    John McCain got off easy.

    I kept waiting for that news conference when the economy was tanking and McCain stood there and expressed his belief in the fundamentals of the American economy; how it was strong, no problems here, folks. Totally clueless.

    Thank whatever deity you believe in that that man didn’t become president.

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  27. coozledad said on March 12, 2012 at 9:57 am

    Peter: I gotcher “Not Insane!” moment right here: Clown car vaginas for Santorum.

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  28. Deborah said on March 12, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Nancy, I googled it and these crazy (yes crazy mark) folks think plain old birth control pills are abortifacients now. They claim there is a thing called breakthrough ovulation that can happen to women taking the pill, and if that ovum would happen to be fertilized the pill contains some chemicals that keep it from “swimming” up to the uterus where it would implant onto the wall of the uterus continuing the “pregnancy”, thus in their minds “killing” a precious person. They believe that women taking the pill are having abortions they don’t know about, and they say there are up to 4 million of these “abortions” happening every year.

    edit: they also think the same thing about Depo Provera etc. Since they believe life starts at the very second of fertilization they are in the looney bin about this now. I’m just sick of all of this bullshit.

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  29. Prospero said on March 12, 2012 at 10:21 am

    When the pro-life party insists on ensuring more unintended pregnancies, that is non compos mentis, and anybody claiming otherwise should check to see if somebody substituted sugar pills for their Ativan.

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  30. Bitter Scribe said on March 12, 2012 at 10:21 am

    I don’t get HBO but happened to be in a hotel Saturday night and so could watch the movie. It was very much done from the point of view of the Woody Harrelson character, meaning he and McCain come off like semi-saints (I typed “stains” there originally—Freudian slip). As does, to a slightly lesser extent, the Sarah Paulson character.

    Fuck ’em. All of them. I have no sympathy for any of them, especially the Paulson character, who was, IIRC, a former Bush White House press secretary. These people lie for a living, they lie to each other and themselves about Sarah Palin, and then are shocked and appalled when it ends up badly?

    As for Palin, never mind that she didn’t know why we were in Iraq or what the Fed is–she didn’t know who was on which side in World War II? I have a hard time believing any adult with a college education, even the crappiest, most cobbled-together one, could be that ignorant.

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  31. Prospero said on March 12, 2012 at 10:24 am


    What’s worse is they convince themselves the lies they tell each other are true and repeat them as conventional wisdom.

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  32. Dorothy said on March 12, 2012 at 10:28 am

    Some Santorum bloggage for yins:

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  33. coozledad said on March 12, 2012 at 10:31 am

    It took the “Left Behind” novels to convince the Republicans we weren’t on the wrong side in WWII. But the wrong side will be the right side once Jesus comes back to kick him some unconverted Jew ass. Just ask Kirk Cameron, when he’s not blowing someone in a car by the kiddie pool.

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  34. Prospero said on March 12, 2012 at 10:32 am

    According to the Dept. of Labor last Friday:

    -647,000…the number of jobs lost in state and local governments since August 2008.

    -22,000…the average number of public sector jobs lost each month in 2011, thanks to ongoing spending cuts at all levels of government which in turn continue to drive layoffs at the state and local level.

    -14,000…the number of construction industry jobs lost last month, something which could have been avoided and turned into a net positive for the economy if Republicans had not blocked the infrastructure investments in the American Jobs Act.

    -6,000…the number of public sector jobs lost last month, thanks to ongoing spending cuts at all levels of government which in turn continue to drive layoffs at the state and local level.

    3…the number of consecutive months with more than 200,000 jobs gained.

    24…the number of consecutive months of private sector job growth.

    31,000…the number of manufacturing jobs created last month.

    61,000…the additional jobs created during the months of December and January, according to revised figures released today.

    61,000…the number of new health care jobs created last month.

    227,000…the number of net new jobs created in February.

    233,000…the number of private sector jobs created in February.

    245,000…the average number of new jobs created over the past three months.

    444,000…the number of jobs in durable goods manufacturing added since January 2010.

    Those jobs lost, that is 100% a result of idiotic GOPer austerity in local and state government and refusing to support infrastructure in the Jobs Bill. What up, Boehner? Jobs, jobs, jobs. Now I might admit that behavior’s not crazy if rightwingers will admit it borders on treasonous, is extremely irresponsible, and has no purpose but the one McConnell expressed after the last Presidential election.

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  35. Dexter said on March 12, 2012 at 11:38 am

    JmmO: Tommy Lee Jones is a great actor, and his acne condition has never seemed to hurt his desirability on the casting crews’ lists. In these commercials, he appears to have a rosy, completely clear-skin face. I realize the technology for this has been around a long time, but this time the commercial’s producers have over-killed. Jones’s rugged face is part of his Bogart-like appeal … right?

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  36. Sherri said on March 12, 2012 at 11:44 am

    The anti-abortion folks can define life as beginning whenever they want to as far as I’m concerned. It doesn’t change anything as far as I’m concerned. I’m still a human being with autonomy and agency and the right to choose whether or not to be pregnant.

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  37. alice said on March 12, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Really enjoyed “Game Change.” Do I think the process is prettier behind the closed doors of the Democrats? Nope. The bit where $P insists on firing the press secretary (?) because the line about her being “proud of her pregnant daughter” was left in after she specifically asked it be taken out. Now if a male candidate had done that would it even had made it in the book? Republicans clearly have a “woman problem”, even with women they like.

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  38. adrianne said on March 12, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Mark, et al, here’s why race continues to be a factor with Obama running for re-election:

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  39. adrianne said on March 12, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    Also, this just in: Call him Perfesser Hank. Nance’s pal Hank Steuver, a very talented writer for the Washington Post, will be teaching at University of Montana this fall:

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  40. Jakash said on March 12, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    “they convince themselves the lies they tell each other are true and repeat them as conventional wisdom.”

    Applying this to the comments about abortion, here’s an interesting link that Andrew Sullivan posted yesterday. It might not be that intriguing to many, but I’d be curious to know what you think of it, Jeff TMMO, if you have the time.

    Essentially, it refers to the apparent fact that there is no actual Biblical passage that specifically prohibits abortion. And that, while Catholics have a long tradition regarding abortion and contraception, evangelicals only got on the “life begins at conception” train relatively recently. (I know from looking into it myself that the section of the Catholic Catechism referring to abortion cites teachings from the “Tradition” but not Bible verses.)

    A quote from the link, which Sullivan highlighted:
    “In 1979, McDonald’s introduced the Happy Meal. Sometime after that, it was decided that the Bible teaches that human life begins at conception. Ask any American evangelical, today, what the Bible says about abortion and they will insist that this is what it says. (Many don’t actually believe this, but they know it is the only answer that won’t get them in trouble.) They’ll be a little fuzzy on where, exactly, the Bible says this, but they’ll insist that it does. That’s new. If you had asked American evangelicals that same question the year I was born you would not have gotten the same answer.”

    There are a number of interesting comments following the post, for anyone so inclined.

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  41. Joe K said on March 12, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    I agree its your body and you should have the right to due what you want with it. If you want to take contraception that’s fine by me. If you want to have a abortion, its your right, no argument from me. I just don’t think any tax money should go towards it.
    Pilot Joe

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  42. coozledad said on March 12, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    Joe K: I don’t want my insurance premiums covering your dick pills.

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  43. Prospero said on March 12, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    Fans of Al Gore’s jocko college roomie, Tommy Lee should make sure to see The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada. His pperformance in this movie (he also directed) is as good as he was No Country for Old Men. Great movie with a subtle but strong political viewpoint. I thought Valley of Elah was excellent too, and understated.

    I suppose it isn’t crazy along the lines of narcissistic sociopathy for American politicians todeliberately interfere with and hinder the country’s economic recovery, solely for partisan political gain.

    Jakash: The Catholic Church bases it’s anti-abortion doctrine on “natural law”, which is interesting because prior to the 60s, there were two great voices of the philosophy of natural law among Catholic theologians: Augustine of Hippo and Thomas Aquinas. The two made somewhat better pro-choice spokesmen than pro-life:

    Aquinas’ stated view on “ensoulment” runs directly counter to current religious anti-abortion stances.

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  44. Joe K said on March 12, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Your wife told me I didn’t need them.
    Video of Rushes apology to miss fluke
    Pilot Joe

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  45. beb said on March 12, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    coolzedad, let’s not get too testes.

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  46. coozledad said on March 12, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    Aww. They’re so cute when their little amygdalas start squirting jets of hate juice.

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  47. Prospero said on March 12, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    If I hear another person bring up tax money paying for contraception, I’m going to blow something up. What I said about telling each other lies and repeating them until they are convinced they are true. First Limbo spouted this nonsense and all of his defenders have repeated it ad nauseam. It has no more connection with reality than it did a week ago, no matter how many echoed iterations have cemented it in conservative hindbrains. It’s pure bullshit, and so is the corollary about expecting Catholic GU to pay for contraceptives.

    Sandra Fluke is required to pay for health coverage by her school, GULaw. GU reserves the right to impose its moral objections to contraception on the students it requires to purchase coverage. No government funds. No GU funds. Is that clear? Godawmighty, the ignorance, willful or otherwise, involved in this extreme denial is catclysmic. How do these people remember how to breathe. Hellfire heat seeker for the next idiot that parrots this horseshit. To paraphrase Ian Anderson: That kind of ignorance doesn’t grow on trees. (He was originally talking about racism.) Actually, it would be alright with me if people that continue with this idiocy have their voter registration shredded. There should be such a thing as “too fracking stupid to vote”.

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  48. DellaDash said on March 12, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    I actually agree with Mark @5, with one caveat…we have recovered from the campaign of terror that was SheWho, but not entirely.

    That even NN’s attitude can soften after watching ‘Game Change’ (haven’t seen it yet) is a sure sign of recovery…and understandable…it’s been four years since Sarah Palin posed an immediate threat. What she managed to do with her spectacular flame-out, though, was to legitimize the fanatic fringe to the degree that a GOP-hopeful can proclaim in public, with pride and ferver, that seeking a college education is for snobs.

    I heard the NPR piece that you’ve linked Jeff(tmmo), and knew I was hearing the implacable good-ole-boy voice of the south.

    Racism is a moot point. No need to get into a pissing match about it. I’ve still got my fingers crossed for Obama to serve out both terms with no more injury than a head of gray hair.

    Religious faith vs Science? It’s an unending, unreslovable and interesting non-debate. My first glimpse of my parents as fallible human beings was when I came home from a junior high biology class spouting Darwin’s theory of evolution, and they both were insistent that we don’t descend from monkeys. End of subject. Later I found out that my grandfather (who was mayor, sheriff, justice-of-the-peace, editor-owner of the newpaper, and deacon of the 1rst Baptist Church in the small Arkansas town where my mother was raised) had a Darwinist teacher fired. Further along in life, I tried discussing Haile Selassie with my Rasta husband. How could Selassi-I, King of Kings, Conquering Lion of Judah, be deified when by all reports, he was a horrible (and incidentally, Christian) ruler? That was stupid of me, knowing as I did how far from being an intellectual my husband was. The answer was simple…Selassie was a direct descendant of Soloman and Sheba, and the fulfillment of a prophecy. (Rastafarians are strictly old-testament.) Anyway, there was nothing to do but shut up about his beliefs and the other highly-questionable Obeah superstitions he lived by…and listen. Curiosity will always trump outrage when it comes to harmony in vital relationships (as long as the issue-at-hand isn’t oppresive to me…but then harmony’s out the window).

    I do realize that the arguments here are more about who’s gonna pay for what…

    Prospero, I’m also a big fan of Chabon. Have you read ‘Gentlemen of the Road’?

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  49. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 12, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    Jakash – I posted that back when it ran; along with a link to the Southern Baptist 1971 resolution on abortion, which you’ll have to websearch on your own – no link capacity onthis device. Most Biblical anti-abortion assertions start with Psalm 139, and add Torah penalties for causing miscarriage, before going to Pauline strictures.

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  50. 4dbirds said on March 12, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    Joe K. Women don’t come with detachable ‘parts’. Healthcare involves the entire body and yes sexual health is included. Babies are the result of sex and I never hear anyone complain about the cost of maternity care. When we get to pick and choose what we’ll pay (for other people of course), I want to stop paying for all the assholes who get in car accidents (they don’t pay attention), heart problems of any kind since if you would just fucking walk a few miles a day there would no issue, and I also don’t want to pay for diabetes (put the snickers down), lung cancer (self inflicted), bowel cancer (also self inflicted) breast cancer, prostate cancer or any other kind of adult cancer because they’re all self inflicted. Anyway I’m sure you get the drift. We pay for healthcare because that’s what a decent society does. We pay for when women want to have children and for those years when they don’t.

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  51. Prospero said on March 12, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    Della, Gentlemen of the Road would make a fine movie. Apparently there are no limits to Michael Chabon’s imagination. Who was it that his wife was in an internet imbroglio a while back. Was not personally that keen on Wonderboys, but Kavalier and Klay and Yiddish Policeman’s Union are insanely great.

    Jeff, I used to work proofreading for a publisher. Did a text on mosaic law once that cracked my ass up. If my ox gores your ox, I owe you one ox. If my ox gores the Rabbi’s ox, I owe him ten oxen. Holy crap.

    4dbirds, How about the idiots that ride murdercycles without helmets? Know what they call ’em in the ER? Organ donors. Do all the wannabe libertarians begrudge Ayn Rand the public assistance she took while smoking herself into a grave? And everybody knows that the sole permissible reason for ever having sex is procreation. Just ask Newt about front seat lip service. Have to say, I don’t know any priests that actually work in parish communities and believe that for a moment.

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  52. Jakash said on March 12, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Thanks for that link. What’s interesting to me is that, even among some of the greatest theologians of the Church, this was not a settled question, and in the many hundreds of pages in the Bible it is not specifically addressed, but now it is presented as if the teaching against abortion has always been set in stone. “This book is a model of reasoned discourse about an inflammatory issue.” Well, I don’t think there’s any room for that…

    Talk about reasoned discourse. How can there be any with folks as blinded to the facts as the ones in that poll? “Asked whether Obama is Christian or Muslim, some 45 percent of Alabama Republican respondents picked Muslim; 14 percent correctly identified him as Christian. Another 41 percent said they were unsure. In Mississippi, a majority of Republicans, 52 percent, identified Obama as Muslim; 12 percent said he was Christian and 36 percent were undecided.”
    Just stunning.

    Jeff (tmmo),
    Thanks for the response. Sorry to repost something that you’ve already reported here, though I’m certainly not surprised that you were familiar with it and have already posted it. Those citations were not too specific, and the ones suggested in the comments of that blog post were all shot down by people that are more versed in this than I am, so I have to say that I remain unconvinced that the teaching on abortion is mandated by the Bible.

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  53. Sue said on March 12, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    4dbirds, I think you probably need to clarify your statement to indicate that you do not actually believe all these conditions are self-inflicted. I’m guessing the drift is that the other side is using an all-encompassing argument that women should not receive reproductive care from their insurance companies because all they have is sexytime.
    And as for never hearing anyone complain about maternity care, I remind you of this exchange between Senators Kyle and Stabenow a couple of years back:
    “I don’t need maternity care,” Kyl said. “So requiring that on my [general coverage] insurance policy is something that I don’t need and will make the policy more expensive.”
    Stabenow interrupted: “I think your mom probably did.”

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  54. MarkH said on March 12, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    yes, Dr. 4dbirds, what Sue said @53. There are two types of diabetes. Type I (juvenile) results from autoimmune pancreatic shut down of the insulin producing beta cells. Type II (insulin intolerance) results from, though not exclusively, from lifestyle choices, diet and (lack of) exercise. My now otherwise healthy 23 year old son did not develop diabetes at age 1 because he didn’t “put down his Snickers”.

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  55. Prospero said on March 12, 2012 at 2:55 pm


    J2P2 and previous Popes went straight to Augustine and Aquinas because they were aware there was no biblical leg to stand on.

    Jeff where and what did Paul say that was relevant. He’s widely considered the Church’s first great misogynist, but of course, I prefer to think of him as the author of his first mash note to the Corinthians regarding the preeminence of the love of God for His creation and the similar love of humans for one another.

    Oneof the Bible’s: most perfect statements of how humans should behave:

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  56. 4dbirds said on March 12, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    Sue and MarkH, my position is I don’t care if they’re self inflicted. If someone needs care, they need care. I don’t view Type I or Type II as an deserving or undeserving diabetes. They’re the same and the result of not taking care of it is that people go blind, their kidneys fail and their legs get chopped off. I get angry at the concept that healthcare doesn’t include the entire body and that contraception is not healthcare.

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  57. Bitter Scribe said on March 12, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    “I don’t need maternity care,” Kyl said. “So requiring that on my [general coverage] insurance policy is something that I don’t need and will make the policy more expensive.”

    Sometime in the 1980s (maybe it was earlier), a woman sued on the grounds of sex discrimination because her health insurance didn’t cover pregnancy and childbirth. The Supreme Court, in a decision written by the late and unlamented by me William Rehnquist, wrote that this did not constitute sex discrimination because if men could get pregnant, they wouldn’t be covered either.

    No, I did not make that up. Fortunately, this was too ridiculous even for Congress, which promptly changed the law.

    I guess I should say, “even for that Congress.” It’s lucky that Jon “It Was Not Intended to Be a Factual Statement” Kyl wasn’t around then.

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  58. Prospero said on March 12, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    Just shows you how much Rehnquist new about anything except for racist and anti-semitic covenants in his mortgages. Never got laid. Must have been afraid of getting preggers.

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  59. Little Bird said on March 12, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    I do believe 4dbirds was exaggerating. For emphasis.
    When did this whole thing turn from being a discussion about religion to one about sluts and taxes? What do taxes have to do with insurance premiums? Why are women who don’t want to get pregnant, sluts?

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  60. Sue said on March 12, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    4dbirds, that was my point.

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  61. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 12, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    Psalm 139, key verses 13-16, cited in abortion debate by pro-life/anti-abortion perspective:

    For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
    I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
    My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
    Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

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  62. nancy said on March 12, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    I believe Catholics rely on “natural law” for a lot of their teachings, the Bible being contradictory and unreliably narrated and so forth. They see: A man and a woman, who together can create life. Ergo: Homosexuality is unnatural. Life is God’s greatest gift. Ergo: To prevent it from happening is unnatural. And so on.

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  63. Prospero said on March 12, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    Willard bowdlerizes newspaper editorial board endorsements of Willard:

    Gutdom, that would embarrass the shit out of a normal human being. Not R-money, though. He’s incapable of shame or embarrassment, even when he criminally maltreats a dog.

    Until the 17th Century when Antoni van Leeuwenhoek invented the light microscope, people believed that human bodies were formed in the womb from menstrual blood under the influence of the formative agent, semen. How? Magic, I guess. Anyway, that was the belief that led to Augustine and Aquinas deciding that foetuses were not ensouled until there were actual organs that could generate conscious thought, meaning way late in the process of gestation. Aquinas specifically said that early abortions were not murder because foetuses had not yet been imbued with souls:

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  64. Judybusy said on March 12, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    4dbirds, I got what you were saying, knowing of course not every case of those diseases were self-inflicted. I appreciated the hyperbole you used to make your point.

    Bitterscribe, that’s just appalling.

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  65. Prospero said on March 12, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Hey, it’s James Taylor’s birthday. Fire and Rain, with Sheryl Crowe:

    Parbly James’ other best song (and the Yankees suck, indeed):

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  66. coozledad said on March 12, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    Poor Dr. Tiller, a few million Iraqis and God knows how many Afghan civilians. Not “wonderfully made” enough would be my guess.

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  67. LAMary said on March 12, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    I could have done without Sheryl Crow joining in. I was telling someone just the other day, she’s too good to be bad, but she’s not good enough to give a shit about. There are so many more talented singers out there.

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  68. MarkH said on March 12, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    4dbirds, your point was taken, but your reasoning on the causes, exaggerated, facetious or not, muddied the waters, hence my response.

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  69. MarkH said on March 12, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    LAMary, my sentiments exactly on Ms. Crow.

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  70. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 12, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    Noting, Prospero, that’s where the LDS Church still is, marking yet a third major fissure in the pro-life bloc. And yet another hurdle for Romney to get over. Historically and until very, very recently, Mormons were indifferent to abortion or anti-implantation devices/drugs because the soul did not arrive until “quickening,” according to Joseph Smith, so you had a three-four month or so window where it was not obligatory to consider the pregnancy a person. Once you start, as the mother, to feel movement, there’s a soul and personhood at stake, and the LDS position both theologically and politically was that the child should be treated as wholly human from that point forward. So Orrin Hatch was fine with fetal stem cell, etc. But Mormons are opposed to contraception not on a moral basis, exactly, but because it’s a married couple’s holy task to bring children from the Spirit World into the created order where they can have their fair chance at pursing their own divinity.

    Then there’s another layer to the pro-life movement, which cuts across the non-contracepting and the “hey, use it until you know you’re ready for a kid” pro-lifers, and that’s the concern that casual use of abortion as birth control leads to a devaluation of children’s lives when they are born, and a general coarsening of attitutdes towards life and the most vulnerable on all fronts.

    I keep raising these points not to define my own personal non-negotiables (which I don’t think I’ve even tried to spell out here), but to show that there’s much less ignorant, knee-jerking, um, tobacco-spittle flecked anti-womanist rhetoric than there is a principled difference of opinion about what increased access to abortion might mean for society.

    And arguably, some of the shifts among social conservatives like the SBC who used to not care about abortion (see 1971) may be less political opportunism than a reaction to seeing the community level impact of the post-1973 status.

    Personally, I’m not in favor of any of the so-called Personhood amendments or the Constitutional brainstorms I’ve heard from the pro-life core, nor am I (personally) in favor of a repeal of Roe v. Wade and a return to general state-by-state wide variation. But with the flawed science Roe is based on much more than a legal foundation, it’s a dead precedent walking, and when it collapses as it inevitably will (the whole trimester thing can’t fix legal standards to 70s era medical science), I’m not sure what a new national consensus looks like. But whatever it becomes, it will make neither Planned Parenthood nor the Southern Baptist Convention happy, of that I’m certain. Nor will either major party get any of their weasly planks from every four years crafted into law — some timber is too crooked to be of any kind of use.

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  71. Joe K said on March 12, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    I lift weights and run to stay healthy. Why doesn’t the government pay for my membership at the Y and buy my running shoes??? Its health related just like the pill.
    Pilot Joe

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  72. Maggie Jochild said on March 12, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    I am a pacifist and deeply opposed to war. If I were a christian, I could make a perfect scriptural case for declaring the killing of another human being is an abomination, and therefore I wish no part of my taxes to fund the healthcare of anyone in the military. I can make that case as a non-christian on pure ethical grounds. However, the cost for living in freedom includes paying for the well-being of my sister and brother citizens, whatever choices they make in the matter of faith and behavior. I cannot start making distinctions without codifying hate and oppression, OR enforcing religion through law. It’s against the Constitution, which guarantees all of us the pursuit of happiness (within legal bounds). For some, that means having a dozen children who will certainly be educated and otherwise cared for at state expense at various points along the way. For some, it means not having children. Their choice, not mine.

    I am currently facing five months where I will have Medicare but the State of Texas will be taking its time deciding whether or not I deserve to receive assistance paying for premiums and deductibles. I filled out a 19-page detailed application for it two months ago and mailed it in with a waiver giving the state permanent access to all my bank, IRS and medical records (no privacy, no dignity, not for poor people under Republican rule). The feds easily found me below the poverty level and therefore eligible for prescription drug assistance, but Texas managed to “lose” my application and I had to reapply this week. Hence, the delay.

    If I need emergency care during that time, any hospital I am taken to will have to write off the 20% that a Medigap insurance would have covered. I will have to closely ration any other care I need because even a $20 copay may mean I eat bologna instead of salad, for instance. Is this penury in your best interest? Is this how anyone wants a free society to divide up its citizenry?

    I have never needed birth control once in my life. The years when I was raped, for instance, were pre-puberty. But I have used Planned Parenthood often for exams AND for the progestin pills I took monthly to induce periods (I have PCOS) to ward off endoemtrial cancer. I could afford their services and got no attitude from them about my choices. However, my right to such non-baby-killing care is likely negated because I don’t allow penises in me at all, right? I have had over a dozen vaginal ultrasounds; they are uncomfortable, occasionally painful, and how gentle the tech is makes a world of difference. The demand for their use has nothing at all to do with health care. It is symbolic rape, and you better believe the lawmakers who happily voted for it understood they were getting a chance to stick it in any woman who dared to claim agency over her own body.

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  73. Prospero said on March 12, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    James Taylor sings The Boxer, with Alison Krause:

    And my favorite JT song, Mexico:

    And anybody that has never seen Two-lane Blacktop with James, Dennis Wilson and Warren Oates should make sure to see it. It’s strange, and better with pot, but If you liked the real Vanishing Point, or Zabriskie Point, 70s iconic, all good. Not Easy Rider, but what is?

    Cheryl Crow is a talented instrumentalist, she has written lots of excellent songs, and she’s a decent singer. I figure she’s what stands between modern pop music and dogturd drivel like GaGa and Kreayshawn. I mean, she’s not Lady Antebellum, but there are not a lot of more talented singers that end up of the radio than Sheryl Crow. Now let’s her something derogatory about Alison Krause. And, I did type that She was on that video, because I realize some people don’t appreciate her.

    Sheryl Crow also actually plays music that can be described accurately as rock ‘n’ roll, which there seems to be too little of these day.

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  74. Scout said on March 12, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Pilot Joe…”I lift weights and run to stay healthy. Why doesn’t the government pay for my membership at the Y and buy my running shoes??? Its health related just like the pill.”

    Seriously? Come on.

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  75. Prospero said on March 12, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    Every other civilized country in the world does pay gym memberships, through single-payer government (socialist?!?!)health care. And they all manage to provide comprehensive health coverage for every citizen, for less than half what USA costs amount to. Including things like maternity and paternity leave. Oh, and Canada, GB, France, Germany, and all the Scandinavian countries all have longer avg. lifespans for both men and women, and lower infant mortality rates. Let’s hear it for American exceptionalism. But I wouldn’t compare running shoes to contraceptives around here without wearing a jockstrap with stainless steel cup inserted.

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  76. Joe K said on March 12, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    Yea Scout seriously, Miss Fluke stated the pill was for women’s health correct? This is for my health, whats the difference?
    Pilot Joe

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  77. moe99 said on March 12, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Joe K: Do you have ovarian cysts? Do you bleed copiously to the point you need to take iron supplements during your periods.

    Hey, I ran regularly and swam on a swim team, immediately prior to my diagnosis of lung cancer.

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  78. Rana said on March 12, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    This whole debate about “allowing” abortion and “funding” contraception makes me furious.

    Let’s say we grant a fetus personhood. Well, you know what? There’s nothing in the definition of “person” that requires another person to give up body parts, their health, or their life in order to sustain another person. Even if we want to use organs from a dead person for that purpose, we can’t, unless the now-corpse gave permission to do so during their life. So where the hell does a fetus “person” get off demanding that women sacrifice themselves for its well-being? The only way to give the “right to life” to a fetus is to strip away the existing human rights of people with uteruses, strip them away to the point that living, breathing women have fewer rights than a corpse. Do we really want the government to have such power? The flip side of that coin takes the form of things like forced sterilization and eugenics, after all.

    Yeah, it’s an awkward and morally difficult situation, but you know what? Life is complicated and messy and trying to reduce it down to black and white, one-size-fits-all morality doesn’t eliminate that!

    As for the “paying for other people’s contraception” thing — ain’t no taxpayers paying for my insurance. We are self-insured, and it is pretty freakin’ expensive, and it had damn well better cover reproductive care for what it costs us. When/if we ever get universal healthcare, we can have that discussion, but we don’t, so shut up, you selfish twits.

    These are not abstract moral issues to me; they are decisions played out in the very real terrain of my physical body, the one place that I’m stuck inhabiting. So these are effin’ personal attacks, however much some of y’all want to make this about money, or religion, or whatever. No. These are about whether I live in pain, or not, live in discomfort, or not, have my life profoundly changed, or not. Women do not have the luxury of talking about this in abstract terms, and the attempt to strip the real-world effects of these maunderings out of the equation is making me want to use coozledad-levels of profanity.

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  79. Little Bird said on March 12, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    In many cases the birth control pill has a valid medical application OTHER than to prevent pregnancy, so tell me, why should it not be covered? Let’s put aside religion here. Let’s put aside the fact that I have the right to decide what to do with my own body. Why should any woman be denied by her private health insurance, a medication that may very well prevent an unnecessary invasive surgery?
    Edited to add: I don’t care why any woman might choose to take the pill. It shouldn’t be up for debate. My personal view is if you don’t have a uterus, you don’t get a say in mine.

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  80. Sue said on March 12, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    Rana, that is five kinds of awesome. I’m copying and printing it.

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  81. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 12, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    I’m just unnerved by the idea of using running shoes as contraceptive devices. Perhaps I need to scroll more slowly during my intervals.

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  82. DellaDash said on March 12, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    Woah! Lively discussion today.

    You go, Rana! Ditto Sue five times. And Maggie JoChild…Bitter Scribe…Sherri…4dbirds…

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  83. Bitter Scribe said on March 12, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    I eat food. Food is necessary for good health. Why isn’t the government paying for my food?

    I also sleep. Rest is necessary for health. Why isn’t the government paying for my bed?

    Take that. Unless and until I get free food and bedding from the government, no one can have birth control or any other form of medicine unless they pay every single last cent of the cost. So there. QED.

    Wingnut logic, gotta love it.

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  84. Sherri said on March 12, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    Pilot Joe, when I get to rewrite the budget, where our tax money is spent will look dramatically different than it does now. I won’t be spending money on drones to drop bombs on people in other countries, for example. Nor will I be spending billions of dollars on worthless scanning devices in airports. But yes, I will have universal health care, and yes, that will cover reproductive health, because all of my lady parts matter to me, and how I care for them is a decision I make in consultation with my doctor and my conscience, not a bunch of old men who’ve never been pregnant. I get to decide the risk/benefit ratio, because nobody else has a claim on my body without my consent.

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  85. Prospero said on March 12, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Then there’s another layer to the pro-life movement, which cuts across the non-contracepting and the “hey, use it until you know you’re ready for a kid” pro-lifers, and that’s the concern that casual use of abortion as birth control leads to a devaluation of children’s lives when they are born, and a general coarsening of attitutdes towards life and the most vulnerable on all fronts. \

    I’m in agreement on abortion as birth control, but I’d like somebody to prove to me it happens as often as Voter Fraud, and that one is sure as hell spittle-flecked. Also if you consider GOPer positions on insurance, WIC, SCHIP, food stamps and things like prenatal care, devaluing children beyond GOP levels is an Elvis Costello song: Less Than Zero. And when religion enters the picture, we’re talking more about obedience to God’s direction to go forth and multiply than anything else. Was God pissed at Onan for spilling his seed or for not producing his brother’s heir in defiance of God’s wil?. That sort of religious argument has absolutely no place within squirting distance of the Constitution or American law. And when Catholics cite Augustine to me, I say he just felt guilty for wasting his seed in all his years of debauchery. His wastrel past motivated Augustine as much as Luther was driven by his chronic intractable constipation. Sometimes being a smartass precludes unpleasant and unproductive argument.

    Eventually, Roe v. Wade will be obviated by morning after contraception and chemical alternatives like RU-486.

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  86. Sue said on March 12, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    Jeff, that’s along the lines of the ‘aspirin between your knees’ contraception logic. Run away! Run away!

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  87. MichaelG said on March 12, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    Fantastic, Rana. Just freaking fantastic. I hadn’t thought of it that way. Wow.

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  88. DellaDash said on March 12, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    I’m behind-the-times on how the Roe vs Wade sits on outdated science. Jeff(tmmo)…Prospero…anyone care to summarize?

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  89. LAMary said on March 12, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    Rana got it exactly right.

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  90. Joe K said on March 12, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    Family genetics, Dad had first heart attack at 37 died at 54. Buying my running shoes and y membership will keep you from having to pay for my bi-pass surgery.
    Pilot Joe
    Hope your feeling better
    Sherri, Hope your leaving a little in the budget for self defense and also Mens health, and if your doing away with scanners at airports will you please by me a gun so I can protect you while I’m flying you to your destination?
    Pilot Joe

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  91. Deborah said on March 12, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    Excellent Rana.

    And Joe, you are not required to have a prescription to get a membership at a gym or buy running shoes but you do need prescriptions to get many forms of birth control. It’s totally a health issue.

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  92. Kim said on March 12, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Ya’ll are so chatty today – is it a holiday nobody told me about? Mondays are usually a fecal avalanche at the job for me. Glad that is clearly not true for you folks.

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  93. brian stouder said on March 12, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    I think Rana had the post of the year up there.

    And Joe – my insurance (PHP) actually does subsidize membership at the Y, amongst other things.

    Just sayin’…

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  94. Little Bird said on March 12, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    Funding women’s health issues does not in any way take anything away from men’s health issues.
    And again, this is private insurance we’re talking about, not taxpayers money.

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  95. coozledad said on March 12, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    Rana: My wife says I should offer to loan you a couple of profanities. How about “muscled-up encopretic heh-heh heteronormative buddy fuckers” or the simpler, more affectionate “Turdell”.

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  96. Linda said on March 12, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    What Rana said, but why are we having this argument about which prescriptions are too immoral to fill? Or frivolous? Or whether our lives are moral enough to deserve full health care coverage? Your health insurance should cover your scrips. Full stop, end of story.

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  97. Bruce Fields said on March 12, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    Actually, I thought the question wasn’t whether you should have to pay more for other’s birth control, but quite the opposite, whether you should have to pay more to give your employer the right to deny others’ birth control coverage:

    (Admittedly, I know squat about the issue, and that was just the first link google found for me on the question.)

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  98. Linda said on March 12, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    Just one thought–Joe, you may have thought you were kidding, but you are on to something when you say that health insurance should cover gym membership, etc. I’ve often thought that one of the problems with our health care system is that it supports surgery and pill-taking, but not health maintenance–enough exercise, sleep, and good food. It is mirrored in our general culture, in which employers nag their employees to lose weight and quit smoking, but create such long hours and stressful work that employees live on junk food and cigarettes. Or that we, the general public, would be horrified if someone skipped their prescribed pills, but think of regular exercise as a frivolous indulgence.

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  99. Jean S said on March 12, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Rana rocks!!

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  100. adrianne said on March 12, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    And maybe the final word should come from Garry Trudeau, whose “Doonesbury” cartoons are dealing – brilliantly – with the “shaming” laws in Texas and elsewhere for women seeking LEGAL abortions:

    “For some reason, the GOP has chosen 2012 to re-litigate reproductive freedom, an issue that was resolved decades ago. Why [Rick] Santorum, [Rush] Limbaugh et al. thought this would be a good time to declare war on half the electorate, I cannot say. But to ignore it would have been comedy malpractice.”

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  101. Sherri said on March 12, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    Absolutely Joe, men’s health would be covered, and I won’t pry into what you and your doctor want to do with your men parts. As for the gun, no, I won’t buy a you a gun, because I don’t believe that would make us safer, but I’ll leave the metal detectors in, just not the stupid backscatter machines. (The cost/benefit ratio is really bad there.)

    Self defense is one thing; a military industrial complex bigger than everybody elses combined is another.

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  102. Prospero said on March 12, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    Nice one, Bruce. If no insurance plans paid for contraceptive prescriptions, everybody fortunate enough to be covered would pay a fracking bigger insurance premium to cover deliveries. Of course, too, there’s the entire rest of the world, like developing Africa, where you run into the Eddy Grant consideration:

    Who is to blame in one country? Never can get to the one
    Dealin’ in multiplication And they still can’t feed everyone

    And the total insanity (sorry for implying any modern American political speech is less than sane and balanced) of opposing contraceptiod AND public education about human reproduction, while claiming to be so concerned with the fate of the unborn, and then being willing to wash their welfare down the drain post-partum because you aim to keep them disadvantaged and you know they will grow up to vote Democratic slate. Try to keep them from voting in their own interest if they grow up. GOP policies display abject disregard for human welfare aside from the preborn, and then claim to be purveyors of Christian values. My personal Jesus is not conversant with your Lord and Personal Savior.

    As far as what the bible says about any of this, it’s always astonished me that people believe the King James is the unfiltered Word of God. Well, it was filtered through many interpreters of Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, many of whom had little education in those languages. God says thee and thou? Judging by the beauty of the diction and the symbolism, I always thought it likely Shakespeare was involved, and I think it’s humorous to believe his backstabbing buddy, the infamous catamite Kit Marlowe also had a hand in. Oh. and Edmund Spenser who wrote the post-Elizabethan version of Harry Potter, The Faerie Queen. And inspired Robert Urich and Avery Brooks (Hawk, baddest ass TV character of all time). What the bible says about preventing procreation while having sex is this: God told you to procreate. Resistance is futile. So God made sure that, for disobeying, Onan’s name was permanently attached to the act of wanking.

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  103. Deborah said on March 12, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    So Jeff (tmmo) you can say all you want about “anti-abortion sentiments being strong” but if you’ve been reading most of the women who’ve commented today, especially Rana, I’d say that pro-choice sentiments are getting stronger every single day. By election day there will be some roaring going on and it won’t be in favor of Republicans if this keeps up. Most of the rightwing talk about these issues just makes my blood boil, and I’m not alone. I’m not of childbearing age anymore but my daughter is and watch out if anyone tries to take her rights away.

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  104. Joe K said on March 12, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    Linda @98
    When I worked at Dana and they were raising our insurance premiums I brought up that very thing in a plant wide meeting, They would pay for some fat slobs bi-pass thousands of dollars in meds, but couldn’t find it in their thinking to spend a couple hundred bucks in preventative care.
    I would like to go on record as not hating woman, wanting to poison the air, cut down all the trees and foul the beaches with oil, and also I’m not a racist or homophobic, but this congress and president are spending us into oblivion, Somethings are gonna have to get cut. I wish I had the answers.
    Pilot Joe

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  105. Prospero said on March 12, 2012 at 7:15 pm


    Have you heard Laura Marling?

    Gorgeous voice, fingerpicking like Ian Anderson on Thick as a Brick, and brilliant lyrics. I bought her album, but who’s ever going to hear this spectacular song. And she can cut loose, too.

    Joe, the cash was spent before Obama was inaugurated, and the Vet Ad spending on the idiotic invasion of choice is going to cost a fortune. The only rational way out of the economic hole is to put people to work, make badly needed infrastructure repairs and improvements, restore the tax base,and collect a fair share from rich folks that benefit from public education, infrastructure and a decent standard of living. The only current rich people other than Gates, not even Buffet, were born on third like the Koch Konspiracy that have committed capital crimes dealing with Iran. Luke 12:48. Pay your way you bastards.

    Living in the USA is buying into a social contract. People like the Kochs are welshers, contributing little (and no bullshit about the arts and museums, please, they offshore their income to avoid paying fair share taxes, and give money to museums for write-offs). People like this are vampires on American society. Shit, there’s a robot running for President that parks his cash offshore to hide from the IRS. But, hell, let’s pass a legal ban on using teleprompters instead of dealing with semi-legal tax avoidance. It’s the GOPer way.

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  106. DellaDash said on March 12, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    Kinda thought the war in Iraq was spending us into oblivion…

    …and that the unregulated masters-of-the-universe on Wall Street had already conned us into oblivion…

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  107. DellaDash said on March 12, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    Laura Marling is quite nice. Almost old-school folk singer. I’m a sucker for the hint of Spanish guitar I hear.

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  108. Jakash said on March 12, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    That was indeed a brilliant post, Rana, which I agree with entirely. I realize that I’m one of those guilty of discussing this as an “abstract moral issue” and cringe that it makes anybody furious. My point above was to demonstrate that even those who rely on the Bible as the basis for their entire worldview can find nothing in it to specifically endorse their opinions about abortion. This is remarkable to me, and, I think, significant. Which is not to say that the Bible should necessarily play any part in the discussion, except for the fact that it DOES for many of those who would do away with your rights.

    Regarding Nancy’s comment at 3:10 p.m. about the Catholic Church and “natural law”. The Church has it in the Catechism that “Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception.” But nature dictates that many fertilized eggs never implant correctly. Many desired pregnancies result in tragic miscarriages, through no instance of human intervention at all. If every “moment of conception” resulted naturally in a baby being born, one might possibly find the argument that life begins at conception more compelling. But this is not the case. In evaluating the issue rationally, it seems clear that the natural law is NOT that life begins at conception, so it seems evident to me that the natural law argument really is no more persuasive with regard to this teaching than the Bible.

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  109. Joe K said on March 12, 2012 at 7:42 pm
    Pilot Joe

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  110. coozledad said on March 12, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    There isn’t a Republican who wouldn’t drink a gallon bucket of fluid out of George Bush’s ass. It’s still all about their precious drinkycheeks idiot king. That’s why there’s scarcely an interval between the sexist, racist bombthrowing and the whiny ass titty baby whimpering.

    Yet there are people who claim there’s still hope for the sadass bastards:

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  111. Prospero said on March 12, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    Well Della, She also shreds on some loudly amplified rockers. I bought the album called A Creature I Don’t Know, and it’s great. She is very good playing with a band too: The committed cost of the Iraq invasion is well over $3trill, Joe. And those numbers are based on entirely unrealistic, fabricated alleged costs of ACA, which no reputable auditing agency believes aren’t trumped up. That “study” is attributing Iraq invasion costs to Obama’s administration because W put it on Dad’s Platinum Card, and is charging Obama for Billy Tauzin’s outrageous Medicare drug company giveaway, which is all_W, all the time.

    Jakash: That entry in the Catechism is as recent as J2P2 weighing in on the subject. Had John XXIII lived ten years longer, it would be different, judging by his opinions from the Ecumenical Council and the message delivered to parishes through Christian Family Movement. But I don’t see why anybody but actual Catholics give a shit about that. To fundies, I’m a member of a demonic cult they suddenly decided to defend and side with, because the President, well, the President is a:

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  112. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 12, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    Deborah, with all love and respect, you should Google up “Pauline Kael” & “Richard Nixon.” I take your point, and actually would concede it for the most part, but the fact that most people on this board are strongly pro-choice & pro-contraception doesn’t necessarily indicate national trend lines.

    I will simply keep saying: there’s a huge political market for someone who can find a way to articulate both concern for abortion stats being so high (over 3 in 5 pregnancies in NYC ending in abortion, for instance) and a desire to let medical decisions between a woman and her primary care physician be unfettered by any government regulation. You can game tendentious survey questions towards either end, but the reality is that a huge majority of Americans are not in favor of unrestricted abortion services, nor are they in favor of “life begins at conception” as a legal standard. They (we) are baffled as to whom to support to affirm that pair of issues. Bill Clinton came very close to threading that needle, but he walked back towards a stronger pro-choice position after his second term, and lost credibility at the same time given his own fecklessness.

    Prospero, I suspect for our own separate but similar reasons, we both wonder why God didn’t give John XXIII another five years, if not that decade. It would have been . . . interesting.

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  113. Prospero said on March 12, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    Actually, nobody would ever know this from listening to GOP megaphones, but the W misAdministration put every dime spent on Iraq and Afghanistan on credit and never acknowledged any expenses officially. When Obama acted like an adult instead of a cocaine-addled fratboy, and include those monstrous expenses on the national balance sheet, the deficit exploded. Blaming costs of those invasions and occupations of choice on the current President is intellectual and budgetary dishonesty of Book of Revelation proportions.

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  114. Prospero said on March 12, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    Jeff, being pro-life and anti-contraception (combined with abstinence only and banning sex education) is a cognitive disconnect that is little short of monumental, and it’s typically anti-science. Same people do not believe God was smart enough to create Creation by the big bang and evolution. Kind of shocking, for an all-powerful, all-knowing Creator. Almost no Americans favor unlimited access to abortion. None of you actually have a real understanding of what I think about this issue (if anybody cares). I care a great deal about this and have tried to educate myself about both the theology and the science involved. I think it’s fairly undeniable that GOP/fundies have displayed a remarkable dedication to the unborn and obscene disregard for the actually born. If I look at this from the vantage point of my faith, I’ve got to come to the conclusion that the anti-contraception, anti-WIC, anti-SCHIP, anti-sex-education people are a bunch of whited sepulchres. The hypocrisy is as odious as it is astoundingly ignorant.

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  115. 4dbirds said on March 12, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    I think I have a girl crush on Rana. Joe, I think your running shoes and gym membership should be subsidized. You are saving a lot of money and should benefit from it.

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  116. coozledad said on March 12, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    Mitt Romney: Why, some of my wealthy friends have vaginas, and I’ll wear these jeans in solidarity until every one of them gets a gluteal rework.

    EDIT: Damn. It’s photoshopped. Still good, though.

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  117. Catherine said on March 12, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    Abortion stats are not high. The rate of abortion is trending downward/flat. It is near the lowest rate it’s been since abortion was legalized:

    And, rock on, Rana.

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  118. Joe K said on March 12, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    Thanks but I would hate to run up the debt anymore than it is, being on the conservative side I will figure out a way to pay for them myself.Its Been a good discussion day and for the most part, except for the regular ones, civil.
    Pilot Joe

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  119. Deborah said on March 12, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    OK Jeff (tmmo) maybe I’m in a bubble but I contend that you are too. I don’t think the Republicans have any idea how many feathers they have ruffled on these womens health issues. Maybe the matrons in the midwest aren’t riled up but A LOT of sexually active young women (married and otherwise) are. And I don’t think the media has a clue.

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  120. Little Bird said on March 12, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    I am Deborah’s daughter, and you had better believe that many women still of childbearing age are riled up about this. Myself, and a goodly portion of my friends. And we all vote. You can bet that we won’t be voting against our best interest. Also, some of those friends, for varying medical reasons can no longer have children, but are more than reluctant to take away the rights of the women that still can. This is a HUGE issue.

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  121. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 12, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    We’re all in bubbles. That’s why we have elections! And right now, I wouldn’t bet a York Peppermint Patty on the outcome. It’s a toss up, because both major parties are so base-o-matic they are actually considering drinking what comes out of their own blenders. The November election may be decided as much by who/how many choose to stay home and not vote for either as it will be a referendum on anything.

    It’s been said for years (OK, decades; re: Free Soil Party, maybe centuries) that this is a good time for a third party with a clue and a plan. Depending on the triangulation, a solid third party (that rules out both the Transcendental Mediation party, whatever their current name, or the Naderite faction of the Green-ites) could trigger the sudden devolution & collapse of either the D’s or the R’s. Both are brittle, and fragile. IMHO.

    “Where have you gone, Martin VanBuren, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you, woo hoo hoo . . .”

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  122. Rana said on March 12, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    I’m glad y’all liked my rant, folks, as I’ve been feeling like my words are little more than piss in the wind these days, and that nerve has been stepped on a few too many times over the last few weeks!

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  123. Minnie said on March 12, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    I’m far passed child-bearing age, but contraception and abortion are high on my list of crucial political issues, just as they were in the middle of the last century. I vote every time the polls open. I will not miss a chance to vote to maintain the gains for women’s health that were won several decades ago, and I will support organizations that promote women’s issues. These matters make a difference in the lives of men and the entire country, as well. Go, Rana, Deborah, Little Bird, and the other women and men on this chat that speak out in favor of women’s control of their health.

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  124. Deborah said on March 12, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    Rana, I must repeat, I’m going to cast your last paragraph in bronze: “These are not abstract moral issues to me; they are decisions played out in the very real terrain of my physical body, the one place that I’m stuck inhabiting. So these are effin’ personal attacks, however much some of y’all want to make this about money, or religion, or whatever. No. These are about whether I live in pain, or not, live in discomfort, or not, have my life profoundly changed, or not. Women do not have the luxury of talking about this in abstract terms, and the attempt to strip the real-world effects of these maunderings out of the equation is making me want to use coozledad-levels of profanity.”

    This is the meat of the issue, right there. You men can say whatever you want but the people who have to live this on a daily basis are women. Every single day.

    Ok, I’m done for the day, been up since 2:30am.

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  125. moe99 said on March 13, 2012 at 1:12 am

    Joe K: From one of your google sites:

    The final tally–$5.07 trillion of spending under Bush, $1.44 trillion under Obama. By the way, those figures for Obama are projections from 2009 to 2017. In other words, both presidents are being judged in eight-year time frames. And Bush “wins” the spending contest in a runaway.

    and Jefftmmo, nationally there is huge support for contraception. I don’t know how you can simply ignore that fact.

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  126. John (not McCain) said on March 13, 2012 at 9:11 am

    “And anybody that has never seen Two-lane Blacktop with James, Dennis Wilson and Warren Oates should make sure to see it.”

    By far that’s my all-time favorite movie. One of the only movies I can honestly describe as both completely plotless and fascinating, especially upon repeated viewings. Other than John Waters, Monte Hellman is the only director I know of who managed to get perfect performances out of actors of no discernable talent (by which I mean James Taylor, Dennis Wilson and Laurie Bird, Warren Oates having been possessed by talent like Linda Blair was of the devil).

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