Archive for October 25th, 2006
Nicaragua is set to ban all abortions—all abortions. The Roman Catholic church naturally supports the ban, and the country is intensely Roman Catholic, so all political parties are supporting the ban:
Nicaragua’s legislature Thursday is expected to approve a law that outlaws all forms of abortion, including those procedures intended to save the life of a pregnant mother.
The measure has been supported by most major political parties, heading into the Nov. 5 presidential election, as they seek to win over voters in this overwhelmingly Catholic country. Leaders of the Roman Catholic Church helped draft the bill and have mobilized followers to support it.
Medical associations in Nicaragua and international human-rights groups have strongly criticized the proposal.
Since the late 1980s,Latin America’s El Salvador and Chile have adopted similar measures. At least 34 countries, mostly in Africa and the Middle East, prohibit all abortions, without exception, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights, a nonprofit advocacy group based in New York.
The law would establish prison sentences of 6 to 30 years for women who abort their pregnancies and the doctors who perform the procedure.
Leaders of the leftist Sandinista National Liberation Front and the ruling right-wing Liberal Alliance have said their representatives would vote for the proposal. The two groups control all but one of the seats in the 92-member legislature.
“The current law allows a small door in which abortions can be performed, and we are trying to close that door,” said Dr. Rafael Cabrera, an obstetrician and leader of the Yes to Life Movement. “We don’t believe a child should be destroyed under the pretext that a woman might die.” Read the rest of this entry »
Via Lifehacker, this excellent guide to spiffing up your photography. One suggestion: use a cheap camera.
Via Atrios, I see that ABC News is running a story today about right-wing attack ads. The story acknowledges that “the nastiest rhetoric right now is coming from the political right,” and Jake Tapper and Greg McCown document this with several examples. Then they end with this:
Democrats aren’t necessarily running clean campaigns, though. As the races tighten in the next couple of weeks, the left will likely unleash its garbage as well.
Needless to say, they present exactly zero evidence for this.
I’m not breaking any new ground here when I say that this is, as usual, inexplicable. Sure, neither party is simon pure, but Tapper and McCown know perfectly well that the nauseating and polarized nature of modern American politics is almost entirely a Republican invention. From Lee Atwater to Rush Limbaugh to Newt Gingrich to Ken Starr to Tom DeLay to the Rove/Bush/Cheney machine, the Republican Party has pioneered a scorched-earth approach to politics that Democrats have never come close to matching. Their destruction of congressional traditions in the service of power has gone immensely farther than anything Democrats did when they were in power. Their deliberate and single-minded fealty to K Street lobbyists makes Democrats look like pikers.
Tapper and McCown know this. But they still insist on acting as if somehow both parties are equally responsible for this state of affairs.
I know I’m a partisan observer. But no one who’s followed politics for the past decade or two can pretend not to know how we got where we are today. For some reason, though, they sure do try.
It makes my head hurt. Here’s an example of one of Croker’s ads—one that was so rancid that some TV stations refused to run it without some documentation of the truth of the claims. For comparison, here’s a Ford attack ad against Croker. And here’s another one of Croker’s ads attacking Ford. Notice in this one that each of the “average person” spokespeople seems to have a policy issue: estate taxes, gun control, foreign policy for North Korea—but the bimbo: what’s the policy issue there? Interracial dating/sex? Josh Marshall says that the entire ad is structured just to get the racist message across—the policy issues included are just filler. Great ad, huh?
Via Boing Boing, an interesting citizen initiative:
Join us at VideoTheVote.org — Our goal is to protect the vote by being the eyes and ears where ballots are cast and counted on Election Day. We will document and report any irregularities that occur at polling places and boards of elections while they are happening, enabling the media and public to watch-dog the electoral process across our country.
And here is a video showing why the effort is being made.
Normally, you’d think that this is an effort that would be bipartisan, since all citizens, whether liberal or conservative, are interested in citizens being able to vote. You’d be wrong, though: the GOP has a long, sordid history of trying to suppress voting—among the poor, minorities, and the working class. The GOP feels that such people would likely vote Democratic, so (in the eyes of the GOP) it’s better to keep them from voting at all. So the people who will be videoing the vote to see that everyone gets a chance to vote will be Democrats, almost certainly.
This is another reason why I lack respect for the GOP.
UPDATE: Via Boing Boing, a legal guide for those who will monitor the voting.
This slide show of self-portraits done by an artist with Alzheimer’s shows how the progress of the disease affects the portraits.
It happens too often: great report from endocrinologist leads to a sloppier set of habits, which results in a not so good report. Weight up 3 lbs from 3 months ago, and my HbA1c then of 5.4%—excellent—is now up to 6.6%—tolerable but getting too high. The problem, clearly enough, is fat: too much of it, and not enough of exercise. So: renewed determination and resolution. Other indicators—blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL, LDL, kidney function, etc.—all fine. But: need to pay attention, and one never gets enough ahead to coast. Alas.