Have I Mentioned Lately Just How Much I <3 Birth Pangs?

by matttbastard

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Related: On a less (bitterly) lighthearted note, check out this must-read article from this week’s Observer on how the ongoing rollback of reproductive freedom in the US may be repeated in the UK:

Admitting publicly to having had an abortion is still relatively taboo. In the media we’re much more likely to hear from the 40-something women who can’t get pregnant and regret this fact than the 20-something ones who can and don’t want to go ahead. However, it is estimated that one in three women in Britain will at some point in their lives decide to have a termination.

The new face in the pro-life corner is a 36-year-old former television researcher from Manchester called Julia Millington. She is the spokesperson for Alive & Kicking, an alliance of 10 groups who want to see the number of abortions in Britain halved. The group first came to prominence four years ago when they highlighted the case of a woman who had an abortion at 24 weeks because scans showed the unborn baby had a cleft palate.

Where once the pro-life lobby might have been epitomised by intense-looking men in corduroy jackets waving graphic placards, Julia Millington has a friendly ‘everywoman’ air about her with her long blonde hair and fashionable ballet pumps. Funded by donations, Alive & Kicking is based in a chic office in a Knightsbridge mansion block.

The group’s website asks the question: ‘Nearly six million abortions since 1967. Happy with that? Neither are we.’

‘The overall aim,’ she says, ‘is to make abortion rare. It is trying to eliminate the need for abortion so that no woman finds herself in a situation where she feels she has no choice but to have one. That cannot be the best that we can do for women. When we talk about a woman’s right to choose it’s often in the name of women’s liberation but in fact it’s about as far from being liberated as it is possible to get because you end up having a procedure which at the very least is exceedingly unpleasant and for some has repercussions that last for many years. For many it is not a choice, it is the only option.’

She repeatedly uses the word ‘choice’, a word that has traditionally been part of the pro-abortion vocabulary. It’s a sign of an intriguing shift in the pro-life lobby. Their language used to be aggressive and emotional, the emphasis upon the defenceless unborn foetus. They used to talk about God, and morals, and ethics. Now they’re more likely to concentrate on what they see as the rights of the woman. Ignore the bits about abortion and Millington can sometimes sound uncannily like a feminist… .

‘Women have abortions for all the same reasons they did in 1967,’ says Millington. ‘We have not done anything to improve the status of women. We have just made this procedure more hygienic and more socially acceptable.

One can almost envision REAL Women and the rest of the Canuck theocon elite jotting down crib notes.

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Of ‘Political Stunts’ And Squeezing Lemons

by mattbastard

I’m certainly no fan of Jack Layton, but methinks that Steve V. is being too hasty by assuming that the Canadian Press included a full and accurate quote of the NDP leader’s comments re: Liberal Defence Critic Denis Coderre’s unofficial trip to Afghanistan. [Update 10.07 10pm EDT: Jack Layton was quoted accurately. Layton was even asked if he thought the refusal was out of fear that Coderre would ‘upstage’  Bernier and Oda, but deferred from answering, instead claiming he didn’t wish to speculate – mb] That said, I agree with (*gasp*) Don Martin (phew, the universe didn’t implode*exhales*):

It should…be noted Mr. Coderre is among the greatest of all parliamentary publicity hogs, a man who would walk through Taliban headquarters wrapped in an American flag if there was a media scrum on the other side.

But he does serve as official Opposition defence critic and is a member of the Privy Council. As such, Mr. Coderre has a lot to learn about Canada’s most important military mission in 50 years which, in my view, legitimizes a first-hand look at a mission his party hopes to disband in just 16 months.

[…]

It seems only fair that Mr. Bernier [have found] a seat for his official critic on the government plane. The Afghanistan deployment is clearly the defence decision of the decade, if not the last 50 years, and non-partisan eyewitness input can be useful.

Regardless, I think we can all agree that this has to unequivocally rank as one of the most asinine spin-doctoring jobs by a Conservative this year:

According to the Canadian Press, International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda went before skeptical Afghan journalists and said roadside and suicide bombings indicate that the insurgents have made a shift in tactics. She said that shows the success of the NATO mission.

Oda said that she spoke with senior Afghan officials and they “identified that the difference in the challenge in Kandahar today can be seen as, to a certain extent, success.’

Oda said that such that although suicide bombings and roadside bombings were common in southern parts of the country, their shift to the capital shows that insurgents have become desperate.

Yes, it’s quite evident how a similar “desperate” tactical shift several years back has improved the security situation in Iraq. Takes a lot of chutzpah to try and portray the import of asymmetrical guerrilla tactics as a positive development (mmm, tasty lemonade!)

[mb: edited to add Martin quote, which, for whatever reason, disappeared during the initial proofreading stage. Oops.]

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Take Your Nooses Down And Call The Waambulance

by matttbastard

x-posted @ Comments From Left Field

Via The Thin Black Duke: you go, John Mellencamp.

AP reports that poor ol’ Mayor Murphy McMillin is in a breathless tizzy over the video, claiming the media has “portrayed [Jena] as the epicenter of hatred, racism and a place where justice is denied.” Of the video itself, McMillin said it was “inflammatory, so defamatory, that a line has been crossed.”

Hold on, here it comes. Wait–nope, can’t shed even a solitary glycerin tear.

Hey, at least I tried.

However, amidst all the self-righteous indignation, this little gem caught my (clear-eyed) attention:

[McMillin] said he had previously stayed quiet, hoping that the town’s courtesy to people who have visited over the past year would speak for itself.

Hm, that’s strange. I seem to recall a little on-the-record interview the good mayor gave to a certain unsavory white supremacist just prior to the 09.20 solidarity mobilization:

McMillin has insisted that his town is being unfairly portrayed as racist—an assertion the mayor repeated in an interview with Richard Barrett, the leader of the Nationalist Movement, a white supremacist group based in Learned, Miss., who asked McMillin to “set aside some place for those opposing the colored folks.”

“I am not endorsing any demonstrations, but I do appreciate what you are trying to do,” Barrett quoted McMillin as saying. “Your moral support means a lot.

Talk about speaking volumes.

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