Archive for the 'Misc' category

Dr. Tiller's murder, terrorism, and Christianists: a few (more) thoughts.

Jun 03 2009 Published by under Misc

James Kirchick has an op-ed up in today's Wall Street Journal that addresses the reaction to the murder of Dr. George Tiller. Or so he might want to believe. In actuality, Kirchick is responding to the portion of the reaction that he wants to see, and not to the range of opinion that is out there.

There is no appreciable number of people in this country, religious Christians or otherwise, who support the murder of abortion doctors. The same cannot be said of Muslims who support suicide bombings in the name of their religion.

Not only has Kirchick clearly missed the moral munchkins capering through internet comment threads as they sing the "ding, dong" song, he's also managed to miss some of the semi-official reactions. Take, for example, this press release from the president of Vision Forum Ministries:

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Silence is the Enemy.

Jun 01 2009 Published by under Medicine, Misc

It's easy, as Nicholas Kristof points out, to think and talk about international affairs in abstract terms. Most of us are living comfortable lives in comfortable countries. We have the luxury of being able to afford to think about things that are happening beyond our own borders, even when they're unlikely to affect us directly. We can talk and think about what's happened or what is happening in Bosnia, in Darfur, in Cambodia, in the Sudan. We can think and talk about things we can do to make things better in those places, and sometimes we can carry through with our plans.

It's not as easy to talk about some of what's happening in concrete terms. It's easy to talk about what is happening in various places without overly disturbing our bourgeois happy feelings. It's not as easy to talk - or write - about what's happening to people who live in those places. That's particularly true when what's happening lies far, far outside our comfort zones. In some cases, it's harder than others. Talking about children being killed makes me uncomfortable. Talking about little girls being violently raped is harder. Even thinking about a 7-year-old named Jackie jumping rope in a center for rape victims alongside other girls in the same age group is - yuck. It's easier to talk about people being "killed, or worse".

But playing ostrich isn't going to help. When it comes to atrocities - even atrocities in places we've barely heard of and will never visit - silence is complicity.

Sheril Kirshenbaum and Isis are spearheading a blogosphere drive to try and increase awareness of rape in war-torn areas. They will be donating all the income from their blogs this month to Médecins Sans Frontièress, as will several other bloggers (including me). We'll also be discussing the issue in more detail throughout the month.

If you want to help, there are a few things you can do to help. Get in touch with your elected officials, wherever you are. (A Congressional directory for US readers is here.) A sample letter will be available shortly, and I'll link to it when it's up. I'm honestly not sure if this is a case where international pressure will slow or stop the problem in the short term, but it can't hurt.

If you want to do something that can have an impact, you can donate to Médecins Sans Frontières. They're providing help to rape victims in a number of different countries. If you can't donate yourself - or if you want to increase your impact - check with the blogs that will be donating their income often. The more you click over to Sheril or Isis' blogs, the more money they'll raise.

And if you can think of anything else that will help, let us all know about it.

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Suspect in Dr. Tiller's Assassination Appears to Have Operation Rescue Ties.

May 31 2009 Published by under Medicine, Misc

Wichita NBC affiliate KSHB-TV is reporting that the suspect being held in the assassination of Dr. George Tiller is a man named Scott Roeder. Posters in the forums at the DemocraticUnderground have identified at least one posting at Operation Rescue's website (currently down, link to Google cache here) that's written by a Scott Roeder and refers to Dr. Tiller.

There is also information that indicates that a suspected Freeman named Scott Roeder was arrested in Topeka in 1996 for parole violations related to his having bomb making materials in his car trunk. At that time, he was identified as being 38, which would make him 51 today. Another recent news report gives the current age of the suspect in Tiller's assassination as 51.

The information currently available strongly suggests that this Scott Roeder is exactly the kind of radical right-wing extremist that was discussed in a recent Homeland Security report - you remember that report, right? It's the one that various semi-mainstream conservatives got all self-righteously irate over a couple of months ago.

Update (semi-): I've got some additional thoughts on the matter, including the question of how much (if any) responsibility the broader anti-abortion movement shares with the gunman, here.

Update 2: Daily Kos has some commentary up on a McClatchy article that goes into more detail on Roeder, his history, and his associates.

I also added a link to Tarc's original thread at DU that had the link to the Google Cache for the Op Rescue post. I should have had that link up before now - sorry I missed it.

156 responses so far

A Morning Roundup and a Programming Note

May 26 2009 Published by under Misc

Just to give those of you who might care a heads-up, my blogging is likely to become somewhat sporadic over the next two-to-three months, mostly due to family commitments. We're moving again in early July. This time, it's a relatively short move - Pensacola to the Dothan, AL area, but there's still that whole pack, load, unpack thing to deal with. We're also going to a wedding (my brother's) in mid-June, and may be following that up with a trip to the Kennedy Space Center (my wife's got some business there in late June). I'll blog as opportunities arise, but there's no way to know how often that will be.

In other news, there are a few good reads elsewhere this morning:

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Comfortable Environments and Shoe Selection: A Study in Self-Awareness

May 21 2009 Published by under Misc

As many of you know, my family circumstances do not put me neatly within the American norm. I've got a functioning Y-chromosome, but even though I'm happily married, I've done single parent duty for months at a time. Even when my wife is home, she has very little control over her schedule, and very little flexibility when it comes to things like taking time off when one of the kids is sick. There are few women working in her specific field, and not many of the ones who are there have families.

A while ago, I'd have told you that this gives me about as close to a first-hand understanding of the issues women face in the workplace as a man can have. I'd also have told you that I'm very confident that it is a good understanding of those issues. And I would have been right. Mostly. Well, partly right, anyway. Or at least a little bit.

In reality, what I have is a very good understanding of those issues, as they relate to that one set of experiences. And it's a set of experiences where the issues are very easy to spot. Particularly if you look down.

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13 responses so far

An Open Letter For the Parents of Swimmers.

May 16 2009 Published by under Misc

Dear Moms and Dads,

When I work at a swim meet as a deck official, I'm always happy to see parents there who are happy and excited to see their children compete. It's almost as cool to see parents taking an interest in their children as it is to watch kids working hard and trying their best. Your children deserve your support, and it's wonderful that you're there to give it to them.

That said, there can sometimes be too much of a good thing.

I know I've only been working as a stroke and turn judge for a year or so, but I think I've seen enough meets to be able to offer a little constructive criticism. I'm not doing this to be unpleasant, I'm doing it because I think it will help make meets more enjoyable for all of us.

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26 responses so far

Would someone explain this to me, please...

Apr 24 2009 Published by under Misc

...because there's something about the culture here in the South that I just don't understand.

I was driving earlier, when a funeral procession started to pass from the opposite direction. While I was waiting for them to pass, I was looking at some of the drivers in the procession. A significant fraction of the people in the funeral procession cars were dressed in uniform.

Confederate uniform.

Based on where I was and the direction they were heading, the funeral was clearly going to be in the nearby national cemetery. I just don't get it. How on earth is it appropriate for people to render Confederate military honors in an American Veterans Cemetery?

I'm not going for snark here. I really just want to figure this out.

28 responses so far

Oops.

Apr 20 2009 Published by under Misc

This is what I get for not reading my own blog - for some reason, the Quote and Picture of the Day posts for the last few days went missing on me. (Apparently, my software thought that it's entitled to the same time off that I am.) Picture of the Day will resume later today; Quote of the Day will pick up again tomorrow.

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Quote of the Day - 15 April 2009

Apr 15 2009 Published by under Misc

I am all for honoring the common man at income tax time.

Aaron Copland

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Quote of the Day - 12 April 2009

Apr 12 2009 Published by under Misc

That's what life is like. You have to keep running on the treadmill of evolution or you fall off.

Bill Nye, The Science Guy

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