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A word of advice

Garrett Moritz has a few things to say. First, his primer on the history of England should not be missed. Then there's his theory on cell phones and the behavior of twentysomethings in the New York/Boston area. Dude, you hit the nail on the head with this one.

You know, you have to like a guy who writes this in a post about advice for law students:

That said, I can't resist giving you my advice. There's something fundamentally broken in humanity: we all think we have something worthwhile to say.

I think I need to update my permalinks.

Put them out of our misery

In an interview with Hamas spokesman Abdul Aziz al Rantisi, he makes it clear that Hamas will never stop the killing of innocents. And he lets us in on his batshit reasoning process.

Responding to a question about the intention of Sharon’s government to deport the families of the Palestinian suicide bombers outside the Palestinian lands or to Gaza Strip, Rantisi said, “these people do not believe in law. Their law is the law of jungle, terrorism and killing.

Sharon’s government might take actions against the families of the martyrs like what he did in past including the demolition of their houses.

In other words the families of the martyrs were at risk before as their houses were demolished and they were banned from travel in addition to other forms of actions against them. But when the martyr’s mother smiles when she bids farewell to her son, she does not think of what will happen to her. She thinks of something greater than that.

By sending her son to die as martyr she believes that the homeland is dearer than anything else. People who want freedom must suffer and this formula should be understood by the Palestinian people and act accordingly.”

And his opinion of the Palestinian "intellectuals" who called for the halt of some suicide bombings in Israel:

He added, “those who signed the statement do not in principle believe in armed resistance and have never participated in resistance either by stone throwing or carrying out Martyrdom operations. They do not at all believe in resistance.”

The Hamas top official added “the number of these people does not exceed 500 at the maximum and so they are next to nil compared to the vast majority of the Palestinian people who support the operations.”

Rantisi described those who signed the statement calling for the halt of suicide bombing operations against Israel as unknown and sideline people driven by Europe. “Their call is driven by the Euro while the Palestinian people’s call is driven by blood,” added Rantisi.

Put them down like the animals they are. And this is the organization that the Danes are too effing stupid to determine whether or not they are terrorists.



It's good to be back

Wow, you folks are fast. I'm playing catch-up with the email, and half of it is about today's first post. Dean's making passes at me in email again. I think he really likes me; he even mentioned a museum in New York. Something about sex... of course the dangerous thing is, I gave him my cell phone number during the Blogathon, and I haven't changed it yet. I do believe I'll be getting to that right quickly.

A hearty shout-out to Melinda in Tennessee, for putting a smile on my face that lasted for hours. What a sweet letter, and thank you for the lovely things you said.

Joshua Claybourne wrote a response to that annoying letter from that annoying Canadian. I have a response in the works as well, which will be up either tonight or tomorrow. I'm doing a bit of research first. But his is the first I've seen that's rather evenhanded, and far less passionate than my line-by-line response would be. But I'm not writing a line-by-line response. I think the blogosphere missed the issue on this one. I'll have mine for you soon, I promise.

It's 100 degrees outside. It's effing hot. Speaking of effing stuff, Diane E. is effing mad . With good reason:

Zahira's story was profiled on US television last night. On television, they showed photographs of what she looked like after her husband attacked her. They were so horrifying that they are still haunting me. (I guess that is the reason why ABC's webmasters didn't put them on their site; too bad.)

So I'll describe her. Imagine what a human face looks like with the teeth knocked out, the nose cut off, the eyes gouged out and the ears cut off.

I am certain that the good leftist Muzzie-fundie apologists who regularly send me hate mail will say the same thing happens in non-Muslim countries, and we don't hold it against Christianity, blah blah blah.

My answer: bad things happen everywhere, but in dar-al-Islam, it is sanctioned by custom and by law.

She also points us toward this article, which has more about the honor violence rampant in Islamic cultures today. You know—the culture that's got an egalitarian attitude toward women, according to the Arab News. The same one that's going to stone a woman to death for adultery once she's weaned her child. (Well, at least the government is backing her appeal. Except—why should there be a law like that in the first place? Oh, I should just shut up and accept the cultural differences. I forgot.)

Update: The article is gone. Go here instead. And heed Diane's warning if you have a weak stomach.

Susanna Cornett put her years of studying criminal justice into trying to decipher the reasoning behind terrorists' actions. Her conclusion:

[...] All of those terrorists should die, like a rabid dog on the street, because that is what they are. Not humans. Rabid, filthy dogs – worth less collectively than any one of those sad creatures who died yowling to feed Osama bin Laden’s countdown to America’s demise.

Doesn’t that make me one of them? That’s what we continually hear, about Israel’s efforts to stop Palestinian terrorism, or the US’s efforts to end the march of al Qaeda and other Islamic extremist killers – when we wish to kill the killers, we become killers ourselves. Well, that’s wrong too. Let’s go back to our system of criminal justice to understand why. One of the foundational underpinnings of our system is the concept of mens rea, or intent. Simply stated, why you did something matters tremendously in what the fair societal response should be. That’s why we have different levels of charges for killing another person – from causing a death accidentally and non-negligently, which carries no punishment, to planning and doing a killing with malice, which can result in the death penalty. And the same principle carries into understanding the right or wrong of Palestinian terrorism vs. Israeli response, or al Qaeda terrorism vs. US response. When someone, or a group of someones, seeks to hurt you and yours maliciously, viciously, with no similar provocation to justify it, then it is right to stop them, or seek vengeance if efforts at prevention come too late. The point is intent - the terrorists mean to kill innocents. The US – and Israeli - mean to stop the killing of innocents. Sometimes innocents on the other side die in those efforts; that’s tragic, that should be minimized if possible. But when you cut out a cancer that has metastasized, you’re going to get healthy cells too.

Lots of other great pieces on Susanna's blog the last few days; scroll up and down and read it all.

And you'll just have to look around the rest of the blogs on your own. I have my mother visiting, after all, and I also have a fridge full of kosher meat that needs to be put into single-serving packages, plus we need to go food shopping, and it should be down to about 98 instead of the effing hundred degrees it was at noon (it's about 3 p.m. now). Hm. I'd best stop kvetching and get going.

Spam, le spam, la spamma, haspam

Somehow, I have become a subject of international spam. I am no longer receiving spam in plain English. I'm getting it in Spanish and French. "Bienvenue sur le TOP 50 du X gratuit!!" Sigh. I've forgotten most of my French, but I think that means "Welcome to the top 50 of X tippers!"

Mind you, I don't understand why I'm considered in the top 50 of tippers, and I'm not sure what the X category is for, but I admit I do tip fairly well, unless the waitperson is a total jerk, in which case they're lucky to get ten percent.

"Toute les semaines, notre équipe de surfeurs passionnés visite le web et sélectionne les meilleurs sites X gratuits du net!"

Let's see... "all the seminaries, our equipment of passionate surfers visiting le web and selections of millers sites X tippers of the net..." I think I'm missing something in the translation. Why are they talking about millers? Nobody talks about millers any more, unless you're talking about the Millers, who are the next-door neighbors that throw those loud parties every Labor Day. And what's with the seminaries, huh?

I just don't get this French spam. Maybe I should try tackling the Spanish spam instead. It's titled "Soluções."

Soulmates? I don't think so, bub.



Home is where your bed is

So I had to open my mouth about how easy the drive is, and get Mom to come along, so of course we ran into traffic on the NJ Turnpike (everybody went to Six Flags today! Yay? No, booo!). I decided I wasn't up for an hour or so of bumper-to-bumper, so we detoured west and drove through 95 past Philadelphia, running into small back-ups from time to time the rest of the way. Somehow, the six-hour drive took eight hours (and that's not counting getting in the car at 9 a.m. and driving to West Orange to pick up challah and Montclair to pick up my fan and say goodbye to Brenda). I was in the car from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., with a ten-minute break to unload then jump back into the car to drive to Or Atid, where I was late for a staff meeting for the teachers of the religious school, which broke up around 8:30. I am exhausted.

Did I remember to tell you that I will be teaching 3rd or 4th graders about their heritage this year? I'll know which grade in the middle of next week. In the meantime, I'm thrilled. I expect I'll have some stories to tell about Meryl's Experience As A Brand-New Teacher. I expect some of it may be grumbling about getting up early on a Sunday morning, but perhaps it's divine justice for all those Saturdays and Sundays I skipped services and Hebrew School. I used to get a stomach-ache every Tuesday and Thursday after school, for some reason. Mom never bought it, though.

Anyway, while I was driving and swearing at the various horrible other drivers (I, of course, am a superb driver who never does anything wrong), I noticed again the North Carolina license plate and the motto on it: First in flight. Now I know, and you know, and most educated people know that "First in flight" refers to the Wright Brothers and their famed first airplane flight at Kitty Hawk. But considering that something like half the high school students polled couldn't find their own states on an unmarked map of the U.S., I'm thinking that when they see the phrase "First in Flight" they're going to be thinking, "Dude—why do you want to brag about running away on your license plate?"

Hey, don't blame me. I've warned you many times about the dangers of letting my mind wander during a long drive. My mother couldn't talk the entire time. Though she did try. (Don't even get me started about my returning from the staff meeting and hearing her tell me how I need to rearrange my entire living room and while I was at it, the kitchen was all wrong. Don't even.)

Anyway. I'm back home, and will doubtless be regaling you with more Mom stories in the upcoming few days. (I sure hope she doesn't remember to check in here when she gets back home.) But tonight I am exhausted, and having fulfilled my daily requirement of at least one post, I am off to bed. Back tomorrow.




So the trip back to NJ was pretty much uneventful; quite the reverse of the day of the move. It felt almost the same as it used to, with only one difference: I no longer felt like I was driving home. Sure, it was nice to get back to totally familiar territory. I could turn on autopilot the moment I drove through the Turnpike toll plaza. And eeing a Shop-Rite truck instead of a Ukrops truck was rather refreshing. It registered in my conscious mind. I remember thinking, "Cool, a Shop-Rite truck." Another strangely comforting thing was the number of cars with NJ license plates. I seem to have forgotten what lousy drivers my former co-residents are. Must be because Virginia and Maryland drivers are worse. (That oughta get me hate mail. Hey, it's true. Here's one reason why: Slower traffic, keep to the right.)

But New Jersey isn't home any longer. That was especially noticeable when I stayed overnight at my friend Brenda's, who lives next door to my old apartment. I had absolutely no desire to go inside my old apartment. I couldn't stop thinking about how much nicer my new one is, and how much I loathe my former slumlord and his refusal to keep up even the basics, and most of all, how I felt like a visitor in a place that was home a mere six weeks ago.

But it was nice being with old friends. And it was good seeing my family. I'm even bringing one of them back with me. Mom decided to blow off her Saturday night at the local theater to come visit with me for a few days and take the train back home Monday. It should get pretty interesting for the next five days. Stay tuned.



That and this

That's because I think I already used "This and that" as a title. Not that it really matters, but, well, I have this annoying habit of sometimes being an obsessive-compulsive perfectionist (note that I do not use the term "anal retentive," it has been cast aside for years, but the general public has yet to catch up on the fact that it's been deprecated [I always want to say "denigrated" instead of "deprecated;" I suspect because it sounds so much like an insult]. Damn. There goes that parenthetical problem of mine again.) I, of course, being an obsessive-compulsive, am on the cutting edge of terminology for obsessive-compulsives. But my OCD is limited only to, well, attaining perfection in my writing. Er, and in my factual references. Well, and in my search for the perfect fried potato. Or the perfect potato chip. Or maintaining an error-free weblog. Or pointing out typos on other people's weblogs.

But it's under control, I swear.

I have now completely forgotten what I was going to write about in this post.

Now I remember. The noises of the dryer and the dishwasher were affecting my concentration, but only until I remembered that I was going to be concentrating on them.

Those of you who own your own homes or have lived in more modern apartments for a long time have no idea how content I am to be listening to the obnoxious noises emanating from my kitchen. For a long time, I had a washer and dryer in the cellar of the house where I rented the attic apartment. Then for about two and a half years I had to use a laundry room, and learned how much I used to hate taking my laundry out to be done. I've never lived in a house with a dishwasher. I was the dishwasher. I hate washing dishes more than almost any household chore, except for all the rest of them. And so tonight, I needed to get some laundry done because I'm heading north on a quick trip to NJ, and I like to leave a (more or less) tidy apartment, so the dishwasher needed to be filled and run. And the beauty of it all was that I could procrastinate all day on doing either task—which I did—and blithely start doing my clothes and dishes at 10:30 p.m. Which I did.

And so the noises coming from the kitchen, which is only a few feet away from where I am writing this, are not the obnoxious noises of an ancient dishwasher and a cheap clothes dryer. They are music to my ears, and a contented smile accompanies them.

I am going to add the smell of cat to the blog once more, and I'm not putting it in Cattales. Deal with it, Bigwig.

My living room has an enormous picture window that reaches nearly from floor to ceiling. It starts a few inches above the floor, however, and has a wide ledge running the lenght of it. A ledge that is wide enough and long enough for both cats to sit or lie comfortably. (Actually, it's long enough for half a dozen cats to lie comfortably. It's about six feet long.) So of course, the cats sit and lie on the window ledge. And now my home fits the description of one of my favorite Mark Twain sayings, which goes something like (I don't remember it verbatim) "You can tell the comfort level of a house by the number of cats sunning themselves in its windows."

Two. Especially in the morning, as the window faces east.

Jim Miller's got permalinks. And an elephant joke contest. I don't do so well in these things, Jim. I prefer to just listen to elephant jokes. (I can hear them over and over and over again and never get tired of them. It's just one of those quirks. I think it helps that I can only remember three jokes at any given time.)

My ex-fiancé almost got run over by a whale. Really. But he got some cool pictures. Except he took them off his weblog. So I'll have to link to this instead. It's a picture of an Islamofascist's worst nightmare. Well, except she's clothed.

I can't find a permalink. So I'll quote the post and you go over to the Spinsters and find more pearls like this:

Abu Nidal, terrorist, murderer, and all around vermin, was found dead in Baghdad. They say you can always say something good about the dead. He’s dead. Good.

That Lee Ann's a regular riot. (Psst—I'm short, too.) (Damn, I need a permalink for that one. Well, go scroll. What, is your hand broken?)

Norah Vincent has a blog. She may not be as well known as Camille Paglia, but for my money, she is by far the better writer. And thinker. Paglia's nuts, if you ask me. Actually, she's such a type-A that I think if you ever got her and Ann Coulter on the same stage, they'd explode. Oooh....

By the way, I'm off to NJ for a short trip. Back in a few, and I'll be blogging from there.



That ridiculous rant

Have you read that ridiculous rant purportedly by a Canadian disgusted with the state of America and calling all U.S. citizens monsters?

Well, there's a response to it that is well worth the read: And here's the kicker: It's on MetaFilter:

There are a lot of things that are unclear. For one, I'm constantly amazed by the special Metafilter logic that makes being overweight more morally reprehensible than, say, blowing up Israelis or being your average post-Persian dictator. That takes some special post-structuralist relativism.

Second, I love the ability of everyone to find "good points" in even the most reprehensible and incoherent piece of self-righteous twaddle, such as the little tract in question here. There are some good points in "Mein Kampf". There were some good points made by Senator McCarthy. The Unabomber made some good points as well. But there is a point where the so-called "good points" are outweighed by the evil or selfish intentions, and there is a point where a source is so fatally flawed that extracting good points from it is a dangerous activity, since it's impossible to tell which good points have been tainted by the bad, ugly and evil ones. If you have a tray full of Jack-In-The-Box hamburgers and one of them is tainted with e.coli, do you still feed them to the kids? Why are you trying to feed your kids stuff from Jack-In-The-Box in the first place? Shouldn't you perhaps cook something yourself, or take them to a restaurant with better food and better ambience? It's the same thing with this little missive. Why are we looking for bits of filet mignon in this pre-processed, mechanically-separated chicken?

Point the third: I've complained before about the "Oh my God it's an Orwellian Nightmare!" meme that has been circulating unchecked since 9/11, and it seems to be alive and well in this thread. I will ask again: Where is this hideous repression, this dark and sinister violation of rights that many people seem to be alluding to? From the accounts here, America is now a barren land of Mad Max-type rubble, full of fat people in Tina Turner wigs with sunken eyes, prowling around, looking to savage (and eat) any Muslims, WTO protesters, and Greenpeace pamphletteers they might encounter. Um... It's not really happening. My rights are not being steamrolled over. I'm not being harassed by secret police. I haven't heard of anyone getting the rat treatment at the Ministry of Truth. In fact, I'm sitting here in my apartment, surrounded by some very seditious books, and a whole cupboard full of homosexual pornography, writing an opinionated missive on an internationally read website under my own, real name.


Nope, no knocks at my door.

There's more. Evanizer, nicely done.

Round trips

Bill Quick posted a help-wanted ad on his weblog. He wants a job, preferably in New York City, and he wants to see if the Blogosphere can do it for him. What the hey, if you're a New Yorker with contacts, check out Bill's bonafides.

Bigwig is being funny again. Plus, there's a new chapter in the continuing saga of The New Perfect Manhood, the book Bigwig's grandmother gave him. This one covers (I kid you not) "Proof of Virginity after the Consummation of Marriage."

Speaking of funny, Laurence Simon takes on a woman with a gun. And lives to tell the tale.

Mac Thomason, if you write another Captain Euro, I'll write another Hulk.

Ginger had a much more level-headed and succinct response to The Argument I Won't Get Into Again on her site.

Fred First put up a picture of a gnat on his site. Yes, a gnat. An actual close-up of those friggin' annoying things that buzz and buzz and buzz around your head in the summertime, and that are so tiny that you would never, ever know what they look like. Until Fred First goes and puts a picture of one of them up on his website. Thank you so much Fred, now I can die happy.

I think Lynn B. is going to be bugging me for an allowance. It turns out I have a blogchild. Talk about parental rights... does this mean I have to link to her at least once a week? Will I have to pay blogchild support? Stay tuned.

Me and my blogging

So a couple of weeks ago, I seem to have veered off-course from what this blog is all about. I started writing about the three things you're not supposed to discuss in mixed company: Religion, politics, and abortion. Well, okay, I've written about the first two from time to time, but not in the way that's been happening lately. I mean—continuous cross-blogging—me? I rarely do that; this is my outlet for my writing and opinions, with occasional ventures over to another blog to discuss a topic with someone else. But to go back and forth and back and forth and back and forth again? Who was that masked woman? Because she doesn't resemble the one that started this weblog sixteen months ago. My weblogs are supposed to be about things like Heidi and me cutting down a dead tree without killing ourselves. Letters from readers are supposed to be about things like how to properly cut down a tree; not additions to the debate on parental rights. The Hulk is supposed to solve the Middle East crisis, not write a guest blog telling people to leave me be. So what the heck has been going on around here these last few weeks?

I don't know. I can't say, exactly. Perhaps the stress of uprooting my life and moving it 350 miles south made me overly sensitive, or extra-cranky. I know that when I'm stressed, I get angry. And it's usually a bad idea to write a post while I'm angry. (I have dozens of angry posts in the spike file; they'll probably never see the light of day.) One thing I do know, though: I don't like the direction this weblog has taken in the past few weeks. So I'm changing directions.

You can forget about cross-blogging for now. You won't be reading any more posts on parental rights or abortion. Religion? Well, I do talk about Israel a lot, and I'm really enjoying the new synagogue here, so you may be hearing stories about the it or the new rabbi. And the High Holy Days are coming up. I'll probably mention them.

And the Hulk will absolutely return in another humor piece, along with several other superheroes. I haven't gotten it to the boiling point yet, but it's been in my cauldron for a week or so now, ever since I got the idea. All of my story ideas go into a giant cauldron in my head and stay there, simmering, until they float to the top when they're done. Some stay there for years and years, alas. Others only take a day or two. And now you know how I envision my writing process. (If I could only envision myself standing next to the cauldron with a giant ladle, perhaps I could finish that fershlugginer novel that refuses to come to the top.)

Phew. I feel so much better now. That was a post that I recognize. Now I can go back to writing about things like having supper and spending the evening with Larry G. and his family, and explaining that "Don't you want to sit on a little boy?" doesn't at all mean what it sounds like. (Pretending to sit on Jake and Nate, the 6- and 3-year-olds, instead of the sofa, brought on a lengthy period of "Try to sit on me!" "No, me!" and much giggling as they wriggled about the couch. And requests for repeat performances later.) Or sitting on the screen porch with Heidi Saturday night, enjoying the last of the evening, until we discovered that Sorena had locked us out of the house. (The screen porch is not only screened in, but it's twenty feet above ground and there's no other way off it. Heidi's husband was on the other side of the house, watching television, out of earshot.) So we knocked on a door that's not supposed to be locked and convinced a giggling eight-year-old to let us back in the house. "Of course you realize," I told her after we were inside, "this means tickles!"

That's how a summer weekend is supposed to be spent—talking with friends and making children giggle. Not getting into virtual arguments with strangers. We're done with that.



The last word

Just a few more things to say about the paternal rights subject. After this post, we are done. (See above.)

I was going to let the topic slide. But then Tony left me with this inflammatory last paragraph:

Meryl, it's time to put down the megaphone and take an intellectually honest position. Either you're for equality under the Constitution regardless of the consequences, or you're for letting fathers off the hook altogether.

Let's see. First I'm intellectually dishonest, then I have to choose between the two positions that Tony states are the only positions in this discussion. Let's play a game: How many of Stephen's Logical Fallacies can we find in Tony's post?

You want to talk intellectual dishonesty? Let's talk.

I say "compelled delivery" because I think it's a touch inflammatory to say "forced pregnancy". Remember, we’re not talking about forcing a woman to become pregnant, we're talking about preventing a woman from destroying a fetus over the father's objections.

No, you're saying "compelled delivery" because it sounds nicer than "forced pregnancy." Semantics. You can't have a delivery without a pregnancy. However, if you close your eyes and wish very hard, maybe you can make it so. We were not talking about a woman aborting a fetus over a father's objections, though now I see why you've been such a bulldog on this topic. I am talking about parental rights, specifically, the father's lack of choice in whether or not a woman carries to term the child that they both made, and his fiscal responsibilites thereafter. Apparently, you've been talking about abortion this entire time and not filling me in on the topic.

Back to more intellectual honesty:

First off, I'd like to point out that, with 3 kids of my own, I've got "street cred" on this topic. We (my wife and I) went through natural births all three times, and over the course of 6 years have probably put enough study hours into childbirth to get an Associate's Degree in it.

You know, I let that alone the first time I saw it, because I thought it was, well, rather embarrassing. But since we're talking about intellectual honesty, let's talk. You have "street cred" because you helped your wife get through natural childbirth? Hey, I watched two of my cats give birth to kittens, does that mean I now have "street cred" in birthing kittens? I sat with them during the entire process, really! (I did not, however, offer to join in the post-partum eating of the afterbirth. Ew.)

Howsabout we take Bill Cosby's suggestion for a man to understand the pains of childbirth? "Take hold of your lower lip. Now pull it all the way over your head." Michael has more to say on this at Left of Center. He also has his own Modest Proposal, as well as his last words on the topic.

You didn't go through childbirth at all, Tony. Your wife did. Let's use a bit of intellectual honesty here and admit that you have zero credits in the childbirth field, no matter how much you've read or saw. Hell, you don't even have a clue to what menstrual cramps are all about. Any average menstruating 13-year-old girl knows more about what's coming in childbirth than you do having watched it three times . Puh-leeze.

I used that law as an example of the judiciary forcing a person to do something to their body. There are others... judges sometimes force gang members to have their tattoos removed as a condition of parole.

This was an addition to the previous:

This is where it gets wierd... but that fetus had its genesis in the union of two people, and the fact is that while it's INSIDE the woman's body, it doesn't equal her body. In fact, the woman's body has to constantly produce hormones which suppress the body's natural reaction to a foreign organism... kill it, reject it, get it out. Decrease in this hormone is what triggers labor. It's a woman's body, but the fetus is a seperate thing... it's not like a toe or an ear.

Tony uses this argument throughout to suggest that laws regarding pregnancy are no different than, say, a judge forcing a convict to remove a tattoo. Or child molesters being forced to take medication that castrates them chemically. Shall we stop being intellectually dishonest, Tony, and admit that a fetus cannot survive without a womb (I am talking the initial stages, not premature births), and that said womb happens to be the thing that a female has and a male does not? When you're forcing a woman to carry a pregnancy to term, you're not just having her take a pill or undergo a little laser surgery. You are forcing her to undergo the most enormous changes in her body since puberty, as well as taking the risks that pregnancy and childbirth carry. Here are just a few sources, since you refuse to believe that childbirth is the single most traumatic experience a woman can undergo.

I couldn't find one on the RH factor. My sister-in-law suffered from that. It can kill you during pregnancy, and causes extremely risky childbirths. Mother and child have to be carefully monitored the entire nine months.

In fact, a woman's body is pretty well designed for childbirth, and usually (barring epidurals, pitosin, episiotomy, and cesarian) doesn't experience much "trauma" at all.

Thank you so much for finally acknowledging that a woman's body is made to have children. But that trauma statement. You're saying this because of...? What, your background in medicine? The facts you're backing up this statement with? Putting quotes around "trauma" and saying it doesn't happen doesn't make it so. Anecdotal evidence on your wife's childbirths don't, either. (Ladies, if you want to write in about how "non-traumatic" your childbirth experiences were, go to his site and complain, not mine.)

If you're going to toss around "medical practitioners" then we need to start using medical definitions.

After you.

Besides that, "single most traumatic physical event to happen to a woman" doesn't make any sense. If it's the most traumatic, what else is on the list? Cancer? Diabetes? How about ectopic pregnancy? Maybe disease doesn't fit the definition of 'natural'. What else does, then? I guess you could narrow the scope a lot, but then you're left with menstruation and pregnancy as pretty much the ONLY natural 'traumatic' physical events that happens to either sex. Basically, saying that is hyperbole, not science.

Hm. I've never dated a man who had the capability of giving me cancer or diabetes. Your point being? (Look, another of Stephen's Fallacies. Is anyone keeping score?) Tony, name one natural occurrence (that is not a disease) outside of puberty that can kill him or change a man's entire body chemistry permanently. Just one. Perhaps you didn't realize this: The changes a woman's body undergoes during pregnancy can be permanent. And it isn't hyperbole if it's true.

Also, you're wrong that it's irrelevant. Disproving the 'danger angle' reduces the objection to a compelled delivery, which is exactly my intention.

Yes, your intentions are now clear. You're going to ignore or denigrate the risks of childbirth because you say it isn't risky. However, even one death per million childbirths is too high a risk for me. (The mortality rate is significantly higher than that, of course.) The fact that the risk of a father dying during childbirth is exactly zero tells me that he has no say in whether or not I go through the process.

And we're right back to those phrases I said that you took such a dislike to: My body. My decision. In fact, one of my readers sent me a letter that states things quite succinctly:

My simple take on it is: governmental enforcement of continuation of pregnancy by denial of access to abortion is slavery. I think the 14th amendment about covers it.

She prefers to remain anonymous. But she is a mother. So I guess that gives her "street cred."

That court case was actually a rejection of physical castration on the grounds that you can't permanently remove a man's right to procreate. Since it's still not legal in OK, I assume the decision is still stands.

Now we're getting somewhere. You quote an Oklahoma Supreme Court case that rejects physically castrating a man to support your case for forcing a woman to bear a child to term if she doesn't want to?

I think your bias has just become crystal clear.

If we do things my way, the basic human right to procreate is protected as a fundamental principle. So far, the legal system and the Amendments have moved toward equality for all citizens, and away from a multi-tiered system where your rights are restricted based on your gender or your race. The ideas Meryl is using to support the status quo are dishonest because they're not about choice, fairness, or rights: they're about power at the expense of others. Whether or not you like the repercussions, things as they are represent as bad a double standard as segregation.

But we're not doing things your way. There is no "basic human right to procreate," save in Oklahoma, apparently. We're doing things the way the courts have already decided is the right way: The woman gets to decide whether or not to carry to term, and the father has to live with that decision. I take great exception to your continued use of the word "dishonest" to describe the things that I say. Honesty does not imply choice, fairness, or rights. Honesty means truthfulness.

Just because you don't like them does not mean that my opinions are dishonest, and fuck you very much for continually insisting they are.

My contentions are not about power at the expense of others, either. You're talking about a man being able to force a woman to carry a child to term; that's definitely an exercise of his power over her. There is no double standard in what I support. To pretend that men and women are identical except for that little gender thing is spurious. To pretend it is even remotely like segregation is laughable; segregation was a false cause grown out of ignorance and bigotry and rightfully laid on the dustbin of history. Who gets to control a woman's birth process is a real cause, grown out of the physical differences between men and women, and it is sheer sophistry to keep pretending that men and women are on a physical par in this matter. They most assuredly are not.

When one gender can bear children and the other cannot, then there is no parity of rights in that area. There can be none. I can't pee standing up. You can't have a baby. Shit happens.

Win Fitzpatrick had a few things to say on the matter as well, and here's something he's dead-on about:

The question at hand here is why is it reasonable to force a man to pay for the rest of his life for a child which he did not want to have. If you argue that by choosing to have sex he has agreed to live with the consequences, then you are on slippery ground because you could make the same argument that a woman agrees to part with certain rights to control her own body when she chooses to have sex. Perhaps the argument for men is weeker, but that doesn't make it incorrect.

Wanting or not wanting to have a child is irrelevant to the analysis. If the child is yours, absent some prior agreement with the other parent to the contrary, you pay. It's a bright line rule. And it applies equally to the mother and the father.

You could argue that a woman loses autonomy over her own body as a consequence of having sex, but there's no slippery slope between that position and the position that parents must pay for their offspring. And that's my point. The positions are entirely separate.

[...] a woman's right to autonomy over her body trumps the rights of the child-to-be. As soon as the child is born, that right to autonomy is taken out of the equation, and men and women are on equal ground. Since there is no autonomy issue for men, they just get to that point sooner.

And that's the thing both Win and I are in agreement on: Parents must pay for their offspring. That's what started the whole thing; that's what enrages many of the people who disagree with me; that's what I insist is the root of the issue. Parents must pay for their offspring, even a father who would rather the woman aborted the pregnancy. No side-issues, no what-ifs, no "That's not fair!". Parents must pay for their offspring. Men and women both. The alternative is not to make a baby in the first place. But once the fetus exists, the woman's rights trump all, as Win said. It's not a power thing, Tony. It's the way it is.


Last week's blogs are archived. Here's the Blogathon. The Superhero Dating Ratings are here. If you're looking for something funny, try the Hulk's solution to the Middle East conflict, or Yasser Arafat Secret Phone Transcripts. Iseema bin Laden's diary and The Fudd Doctrine are also good bets if you've never been here before.