In Remembrance

Published in: on November 11, 2008 at 2:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

Douthat v. Kmiec on Abortion (Or: Why Europe Has It Right)

A self-described intemperate broadside by Ross Douthat against Douglas Kmiec re: abortion.

I have some sympathy with what Kmiec is doing.  I was especially appalled by his public rejection of the reception of the Eucharist at Mass, which I find pastorally reprehensible.  You can read Kmiec defend his position (quite lucidly) in this interview.

That being said, I tend to side with Douthat on this one.

Douthat here is spot on:

The trouble with seeking common ground on abortion is that the legal regime enacted by Roe and reaffirmed in Casey permits only the most minimal regulation of the practice, which means that any plausible “compromise” that leaves Roe in place will offer almost nothing to pro-lifers. Even the modest restrictions that prevail in many European countries (and that, not coincidentally, coincide with lower abortion rates) are out of the question under the current legal dispensation. This, in turn, explains why the national debate inevitably revolves around the composition of the Supreme Court and the either/or question of whether a president will appoint justices likely to chip away the RoeCasey regime or justices likely to uphold it.

If you follow the link Douthat provides to the BBC site on abortion in Europe, a majority of the countries have abortion per request in the first 12 weeks and after that only with doctor approval for  legitimate–and there are legitimate cases not scare quotes like John McCain used in the final debate–cases of health of mother.  As well as in some places with genetic screening of abnormalities.

While such a policy wouldn’t go far enough for the more right-wing pro-life movement (particularly on the abortion after birth defect screening issue) I think this is basically the right position.  It’s far from perfect, but I think it’s better than the US (non)debate with either party held by the extremes.

But the European parallel points to government working more in the role of passing legislation for morality/responsibility.  The policy on abortion in European countries is tied much more to the history of paternalism in European governance, which I always hear as the great enemy of true American exceptionalism from some on the right.  iow, Something like FOCA which I (like Kmiec) hope doesn’t pass, it could be argued is more deeply connected to the libertarian right model (no government regulation/influence) then the Euro model.

On the other hand, a point worth considering for Douthat, would be that if Roe were overturned, the legislative backlash that would ensue in many parts would enact pro-choice legislation much more liberal than is currently in place, even with the slanted playing field created by Roe & Casey.  A consistent federalist position on abortion would live with that reality I suppose and fair enough.

In short, it’s a mess and I don’t see anyway it’s going to get better any time soon.

Published in: on November 7, 2008 at 12:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Election Night Live Skypecasting

Check us here.

As Scott mentioned we had a bunch of technical problems, but we’re discussing the question of whether this election will be interpreted as still a center-right nation that repudiated the Republicans or whether the center has shifted left.

Update I: 7:47 PST.  Round 2 is now up  (Part 3 on Scott’s site).

Update II:  9:23.  Check out The Eight is Enough Crowd do some cross-Canadian skypecasting.  Part IV on Scott’s site.

Published in: on November 4, 2008 at 7:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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My Prediction 353

Or 364.  I think Obama wins one of Indiana and Missouri.  Maybe both.  I have a good feeling about Indiana.  I think the same for North Carolina.  Florida could be very close.  Obama gets Nevada.

If it turns into total landslide then Georgia, North Dakota, and Montana go Barack.

Update I: [9:51 PST]  It’s going to be 364 (NC and Indiana slimly to Obama it appears, Missouri down, I get that right on 1 of Indiana or Missouri).  Montana could go Obama which would put it at 367.

Published in: on November 4, 2008 at 5:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

Tomorrow Night–Conversations on The Election

Scott and I are going to be doing some skypecasting live during the evening.  I’m going to do some open-threads, so I hope readers will interact with one another, and drop me some questions, lines, you can send us some stuff you’d like us to talk about.

We’ll experiment a bit tomorrow night and see how it goes.  You can leave comments or my email is on the right hand side of the page or catch me on Twitter.

I’m so jacked.

Published in: on November 3, 2008 at 6:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

RIP Toot

A man acquainted with sorrow:

Barack Obama’s grandmother, whose personality and bearing shaped much of the life of the Democratic presidential contender, has died, Obama announced Monday, 1 day before the election. Madelyn Payne Dunham was 86. Obama announced the news from the campaign trail in Charlotte, N.C. The joint statement with his sister Maya Soetoro-Ng said Dunham died peacefully late Sunday night after a battle with cancer.

She dies less than 24 hours before he will be the first African American ever elected president.

A little Toots and The Maytals in honor of her life–she raised a good man:

Published in: on November 3, 2008 at 6:34 pm  Comments (1)  
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RIP Studs Terkel

I read Working when in high school and it remains to this day one of my all time favorite works.  He was in a class by himself.  The trust people had in him and the depth they would share, that he could help invoke was unmatched.  Through the ordinariness of life, the more than ordinary emerged in his presence.  He was the Shaman of 20th century America.

Below is a video from his beloved Chicago’s own Elmore James, evoking the great history that marvelous city gave us in the form of the electrified blues.  Sad to see him go just days before he had the chance to possibly see a Chicagoan elected president of the US.  How he would have loved to see that day.

Published in: on November 1, 2008 at 8:58 am  Leave a Comment  
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CJ As Nineteenth Century Anglican Parson

Click the link to see the photo of my costume from last night.

I’ve since shaved off the Ambrose Burnsides part of the muttonchops and am left with a wicked handlebar ‘stache. You heard rumors of this in one of my Skypecasts with Scott awhile back.  Now the photo evidence:

Also, fellow Anglican Kate Maltby points me to the Martin Luther rap (appropriate on Reformation Day Today).  Click the link to Kate and watch the video.

Published in: on October 31, 2008 at 10:11 am  Leave a Comment  
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Hip Hop, Have you Lost Yo’ Damn Mind?

Warning:  Explicit Language

Money quote:  When did ‘Fight the Power’ become ‘Wait Til You See My #@!%?

Published in: on October 18, 2008 at 8:29 am  Leave a Comment  
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VP Debate Final Thoughts

Mr. (T.) Coates writes:

9:49 I’m finding this really hard to gauge. She’s basically bullshitting her way through much of this. I think it all depends how effective the deception is.

Asking basically the same question I had.  I won’t pretend to judge how “regular Americans” will find this.  But she clearly had no substantial inner grasp of the policy workings (outside of Alaska).  Which I wasn’t expecting.  It just doesn’t come that fast unless you have been thinking about these issues in conjunction with say a Gubernatioral position.  [i.e. You know a Supreme Court case other than Roe, remember what newspapers you read, think torture when you think Dick Cheney’s mistakes and not hunting accidents, etc.]

But like I said, VP Debates really matter naught in the scheme of things.

Palin didn’t look as bad as the Katie Couric interviews.  She could as Coates said, bullshit her way through it.  With references to change is coming to Washington, get on the Reform Express (Choo choo!!!), cutting taxes, getting government off our backs.  She got demolished, unsurprisingly, on foreign policy.  No questions about Russia interestingly.  But whoever was on her side, will find what they want to be reassured.  Those who are unsure/undecided, I don’t know.  We’ll see.

Like others, I think Gwen Ifill did a pretty poor job.  The format didn’t help her.  And she asked some interesting questions you wouldn’t otherwise hear (like about the sub-prime).

Biden did fine imo.  He got better towards the end.  What maybe looked like boring-ness at the beginning compared to the Sugar Picky Routine of Palin by the end look like seriousness, thoughtfulness, critical engagement.

Nothing happens is that is going to fundamentally change the nature of the race.

The real issue is that the final McCain Negative Onslaught will commence soon.  This beast that is the Republican Attack Machine is not going to give up its ghost without vomiting forth (I fear) filthy dregs in its last gasps.

Published in: on October 2, 2008 at 8:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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