Friday, April 27, 2007

It Depends On Whose Life It Is

I don't have much to add to the (admittedly) anemic debate wheezing the last 2 weeks in the wake of the Virgina Tech killings. The logical questions that arise---why the database meant to screen out the mentally unstable failed to work with Cho, why the smallest and mostly symbolic attempts to regulate the flood of deadly weapons continue to go down in defeat, why the most liberal of our candidates can't even muster the guts to ask these questions in the first place---are beaten down under a barrage of faux outrage lamely connected to some kind of "sympathy" for the feelings of the survivors.

But I will say this: the obvious comparisons to the endless abbatoir in Iraq are valid, whether they hurt Bill O'Reilly's tender sensibilities or not. And they only heighten the filthy hypocrisies of the ludicrous conservative Supreme Court shedding copious tears for one kind of fetus over another in the service of their political agendas, while the so-called "pro-life" flank averts its self-righteous eyes, not just from the suffering of other nations' children while we ply this God-damned war, but also from the children at our own feet, suffering after birth with no Operation Rescue to parade disgusting billboards on their behalf. As Eric Alterman writes:
Did you see that report earlier this week about increasing infant mortality in the southeast United States, particularly among blacks? It's here, and it led me to muse for a book-to-be-named-later as follows:

And remember the Finns? Not surprisingly, perhaps, they devote less than half of what we do to medical care, as a percentage of GDP, and yet their infant mortality rate is half of that of the United States -- and one-sixth that of African-American babies -- and their life expectancy rate is greater. Perhaps all that education has made them smart enough to invest in preventative care and universal coverage. Then again, improving on U.S. infant mortality rates is a bit like besting a vegan in a burger-eating contest. Even China's infant mortality rate is less than half of that of the Southeast United States, as well as that of our national capital.

And the Supreme Court decision on abortion, coupled with the Harvard Medical School study again dismissing any link between abortion and breast cancer led me to muse further on the reality of "choice" in much of America.

The state of Mississippi, for instance, home to nearly three million people, is also home to a single abortion clinic. It also boasts the highest infant-mortality rate in the nation and ranks 43rd among the 50 states in the number of women who have health insurance. In 2004, Mississippi failed to meet national standards on the length of time it took to restore foster children to their birth families and to place a child for adoption. Meanwhile, the counseling provisions also require that patients in Mississippi be told that abortion may increase the risk of breast cancer, despite the fact that the National Cancer Institute reported no scientific evidence exists to support this contention, a view supported when the British medical journal The Lancet examined dozens of studies of the same issue. (Yet another study, released in 2007 by members of Harvard Medical School examining data from data from 105,716 women participating in the Nurses' Health Study, which was established in 1976 to study a wide range of health issues affecting women, also found no such link.) Mississippi is also one of only two states that require a minor to get the consent of both parents to have an abortion, (though if the minor has been impregnated by her father, she needs only the consent of her mother). Not surprisingly, Mississippi can boast the highest teen birthrate in America. While this unhappy trend has declined nationally in recent years, in Mississippi it continues to increase, including particularly girls under the age of 15. Mississippi may appear to be an extreme example, but, in fact, it is not all that unusual. In fact, at the end of 2005, it earned a measly eighth place on the honor roll of states that "defend life" according to the rankings of the pro-life organization, Americans United for Life.
Clean up your own houses, you fools and jesters of the right-wing, before you start telling the rest of us how to live. Your priorities are showing.

UPDATE: I don't remember this story getting play on anyone's front page this week:
AUSTIN, Texas Apr 27, 2007 (AP)— A 27-year-old man has been arrested in connection with a makeshift bomb that was found outside a clinic where abortions are performed, authorities said Friday.
Paul Ross Evans has been charged with use of weapons of mass destruction, manufacture of explosive material and violating freedom of access to clinic entrances, according to a statement issued by the Austin Police Department.
Authorities were not saying how they identified him, said police spokeswoman Laura Albrecht. He is in federal custody.
The bomb was discovered Wednesday, and authorities had asked area abortion providers to be vigilant after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last week that banned a type of late-term abortion.
The bomb was found in a bag in the parking lot of the Austin Women's Health Center. After an employee found the package, a bomb squad detonated the device.
It contained an explosive powder and two pounds of nails, said David Carter, assistant police chief.
Had the bomb detonated, it could have injured people 100 feet away, police said.
Two pounds of nails. Welcome to the self-cannibalizing world of Iraq.

The question now is, how will the Right handle Terrorism when it has a white face and a home-grown accent and grows straight out of its own hate-filled belly? Don't expect to see this story shoved down your throat on Fox, or anywhere else for that matter. Mr. Evans' case will be quietly handled with the hushed shame of an idiot child being relegated to the attic of a proper 19th-century family's home. And some asshole in some extremist group will be waiting for him with open arms when the law-and-order types let him out on parole.

UPDATE TWO: Via Crooks and Liars, a link to a story of the ATF giving the hook to a nest of Alabaman survivalist paranoids with delusions of cavemanhood:
Simultaneous raids carried out in four Alabama counties Thursday turned up truckloads of explosives and weapons, including 130 grenades, an improvised rocket launcher and 2,500 rounds of ammunition belonging to the small, but mightily armed, Alabama Free Militia...

Agents encountered booby traps at one site. They found trip wires and two hand grenades rigged as booby traps at the Collinsville camper home of 46-year-old Raymond Dillard, who holds titles of both militia major and fugitive from justice on an unrelated federal case in Mobile.
"We were prepared," Cavanaugh said. "We suspect booby traps with these types of groups."
My guess is that none of the gentlemen nabbed in this little action will be spending any time in Guantanamo tied up in stress positions, because people like this are too "American" to ever be considered truly dangerous. Even after Oklahoma, we continue to tolerate their presence until they create the kind of un-ignorable critical mass worthy of a rogue state. Instead, we haul people away for wearing liberal phrases on T-shirts, and strip 800-year old protections against unlawful imprisonment out of our law. I suppose as long as we hang on to our 2nd Amendment right to bear arms, we can just blow the motherfuckers away when they come to illegally jail us.

Except...wait. That didn't really seem to help these guys, did it?