Thursday, July 31, 2008
Women's Right to Choose Under Attack, Again
Rob Stein in The Washington Post
The Department of Health and Human Services is reviewing a draft regulation that would deny federal funding to any hospital, clinic, health plan or other entity that does not accommodate employees who want to opt out of participating in care that runs counter to their personal convictions, including providing birth-control pills, IUDs and the Plan B emergency contraceptive.
Conservative groups, abortion opponents and some members of Congress are welcoming the initiative as necessary to safeguard doctors, nurses and other health workers who, they say, are increasingly facing discrimination because of their beliefs or are being coerced into delivering services they find repugnant.
But the draft proposal has sparked intense criticism by family planning advocates, women's health activists, and members of Congress who say the regulation would create overwhelming obstacles for women seeking abortions and birth control.
There is also deep concern that the rule could have far-reaching, but less obvious, implications. Because of its wide scope and because it would -- apparently for the first time -- define abortion in a federal regulation as anything that affects a fertilized egg, the regulation could raise questions about a broad spectrum of scientific research and care, critics say.
"The breadth of this is potentially immense," said Robyn S. Shapiro, a bioethicist and lawyer at the Medical College of Wisconsin. "Is this going to result in a kind of blessed censorship of a whole host of areas of medical care and research?"
Senator Ted Stevens - "Bridge to Nowhere"
In other news about the moral values gang, here is an item from my favorite Alaska's Corrupt Bastards Club:
- "Rasmussen Reports, an electronic publishing firm specializing in public opinion polling information, today released new statistics showing U.S. Senate candidate Mark Begich winning the Alaska Senate race by nine points. The poll, a telephone survey of 500 likely voters, shows Begich beating Sen. Ted Stevens 50 percent to 41 percent. According to Rasmussen Reports, when “leaners” are included, Begich leads 52 percent to 44 percent."
Saturday, July 26, 2008
San'a to Mocha (Yemen, 1989)
It was May, blazing hot but not humid. The taxi, a beat up Peugeot diesel, had no air-conditioning and the driver, Khaled, like most Yemenis, was a cigarette smoker (Rothmans was the popular brand).
I no longer have the photographs I took. Following are from a site where subscribers graciously permit downloading of images for non-commercial use. I'm grateful to them.
Qat seller, a common sight in Yemen. The curved daggers are called Jambiyah
Kalashnikovs on sale outside a village restaurant at Shibam,
Main Street, Mocha (al Mukha)
Monday, July 21, 2008
Islamic Republic of Iran - Still In Stone Age
Has Zohreh Sefati, considered a great mutjahed (female equivalent of ayatollah), spoken out about this? Not likely, she is married to an ayatollah.
And they have finessed the execution of death by stoning:
- Under Iran's strict penal code, men convicted of adultery should be buried up to their waists and women up to their chests for stoning. The stones used should not be large enough to kill the person immediately.
From BBC News - July 20, 2008
Nine face stoning death in Iran
At least eight women and one man are reported to have been sentenced to death by stoning in Iran.
The group, convicted of adultery and sex offences, could be executed at any time, lawyers defending them say.
The lawyers have called on the head of Iran's judiciary to prevent the sentences from being carried out.
'What are we waiting for, gathered in the market-place?
The barbarians are to arrive today."
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Waning Days of the Bush Presidency
Reuters - July 18, 2008
The planned rule is aimed at countering recent state laws enacted to ensure that women can get contraception when they want or need it. It also would help protect the rights of medical providers to refuse to offer contraception.
Hillary Clinton Speaks Out
- The former Democratic presidential candidate joined family planning groups to condemn the proposal that defines abortion to include contraception such as birth control pills and intrauterine devices.
- It would cut off federal funds to hospitals and states where medical providers are obligated to offer legal abortion and contraception to women.
- "We will not put up with this radical, ideological agenda to turn the clock back on women's rights," the New York senator told a joint news conference with New York Rep. Nita Lowey, also a Democrat, at Bellevue Hospital.
- "Women would watch their contraceptive coverage disappear overnight," said Clinton.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
So Many Books, So Litle Time
michaelspring Comment No. 1220830 July 15 13:20
The only travel guide that gets better every time you read it is JG Links' Venice for Pleasure. Be there, even without being there...
petrol Comment No. 1220917 July 15 13:49
This year, for anyone going to the Arab world, I'd recommend "Playing Cards in Cairo" by Hugh Miles
PKupfer Comment No. 1220968 July 15 14:06
The Zanzibar Chest by Aidan Hartley is the best narrative on contemporary Africa I have read and highly under-rated...
Sikandarji Comment No. 1221042 July 15 14:24
Flann O'Brien 'The Best of Myles'
BrianCough Comment No. 1221374 July 15 15:58
Motoring with Mohammed, by Eric Hansen, about travels in the Middle East is bloody great.
nationwide Comment No. 1221678 July 15 18:30
Pete McCarthy's two books. McCarthy's Bar if you're going to Ireland, and The Road to McCarthy if you're going any of the (Irish) places therein. He was fantastically funny.
LouiseMycroft Comment No. 1221801 July 15 20:38
I won't be leaving home without Patrick Leigh Fermor's 'Words of Mercury', to remind me that every single person I meet is a fascinating human being. I love 'Mani' and his other travel books; 'Words of Mercury' is a distillation of his experiences and - like other great 'dipping in' books - always opens at the page most appropriate to that moment.
I'll also be taking last summer's wonderful read, 'Findings' by Kathleen Jamie. She makes every single word really count.
LibertyKnox Comment No. 1222325 July 16 10:01
To me, Jonathan Raban is genre-busting in his brilliance - 'travel writer' doesn't do him justice. Old Glory and Passage to Juneau are ferociously good.
rosangela Comment No. 1222407 July 16 10:36
I have just ordered a book called "The Wrong Way Home (Paperback) by Peter Moore".
As I live in Austria and the book is coming from England I will have to wait a bit till I receive it. In any case it promises to be a good read.
Has anyone read it? Regards from lovely Vienna!
"Mary Maloney's beautiful arse
Is a sweet apple of sin
Give me Mary's beautiful arse
And a full bottle of gin."
--The Ginger Man, J.P. Donleavy
My own submission to the Guardian:
fiatlux Comment No. 1223371 July 16 16:25
Chasing the Monsoon by Alexander Frater
Arabian Sands by Wilfred Thesiger
Slow Boats to China by Gavin Young
"shemarch" (Comment No. 1220949 July 15 14:00) submitted Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Yes, that too beckons at odd times and occasions.
So many books, so little time. But we keep going back to old favourites.
The greatest gift is a passion for reading. It is cheap, it consoles, it distracts, it excites, it gives you the knowledge of the world and experience of a wide kind. It is a moral illumination.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Milton Friedman is Gone, Where Are His Disciples ?
"Regulation", the Taboo Word for Supply-siders Raised Its Head
Don't write them off though. They are waiting in the wings, praying for John McCain to win the presidential election. McCain has promised to balance the budget by 2013, but did not say how he was going to do it. It is a 'pie in the sky' kind of thing. McCain's empty rhetoric notwithstanding, the free-marketers will again have their place in the sun if he becomes president. Not much is expected to happen between now and November. In the unlikely event that Bernanke and Paulson follow through in introducing some measures with teeth to curb the unethical Wall Streeters, McCain and the Republicans will do all they can to scrap them.
And what will his administration do if Barack Obama wins the White House? Hard to predict. Judging by his recent actions, we are going to be disappointed if we hope to see major changes. But even minor changes to stop the country from going down the road that Bush built would be good for us.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Barack Obama and A Sellout on FISA
As to Senator Obama's vote in support of FISA, the handwriting was on the wall. He began laying the ground work (hinting) for the change in his position a few weeks back. The primaries are over, and with them a lot of his promises. It is a new Obama. He is catering to the conservatives much more than some of us expected him to.
“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
--- Maya Angelou
Monday, July 07, 2008
The Flag - Honor and Disrespect Revisited
But what exactly does this overabundance of flag-embossed merchandise mean -- for our campaigns and our culture? There is something off-kilter about revering the ideals that our flag embodies, attempting to ban its destruction, then using it as a political club or sitting down in a flag-patterned lawn chair, tucking into red-white-and-blue-frosted cupcakes and dabbing our mouths with a Stars and Stripes napkin. Does the flag embody American idealism, American cynicism or American comfort? Which values, precisely, have captured our flag?
Section 8c. reads:"The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free."
See: Another Photo Opportunity for the Buffoons in Congress
June 22, 2005
Sunday, July 06, 2008
July 4th Fireworks - Story of Two Ocean Containers
This is about two 40' ocean containers with Class 1.3G Fireworks from Liuyang, China (a major fireworks manufacturing center), to Inman, Kansas, in heartland America -- a distance of more than 7,000 miles by sea and land.
The containers were due to arrive at Dallas on Sunday, June 29th. Southern Freight (the trucking company chosen for carrying the containers to Inman) informed us that it would not be possible for them to move them before Tuesday, July 1st. at the earliest. Dallas to Inman is 428 miles, about 8 hours' drive under optimal conditions. The importers, Sky Color Display, felt that receipt of the containers late on Tuesday would not allow them enough time to unload them and set up the fireworks. They offered to drive to Dallas and receive the shipments. That, too, presented problems. The importers would have required an interchange agreement with the steamship line to move the containers, and they would have had to return the empty containers to the rail ramp at Dallas which would have been quite expensive. Michael Huntsinger at Southern Freight offered a solution. Huntsinger said he could move the containers on Monday morning (June 30th) from the rail yard to Southern Freight's terminal and transload the cargo from the two ocean containers to Sky Color's trucks. Steve Bell of Sky Color accepted the plan; felt that it would work.....give them sufficient time to make the necessary arrangements before July 4th.
For the operation to proceed as planned there was need to obtain "rail pick up numbers" from Danske Line to enable Southern Freight to remove the containers from rail yard. That was accomplished early on Monday morning. Huntsinger confirmed that Sky Color Display's equipment and crew were in position and everything was "go". The transloading operation was completed without hitch and Sky Color's trucks departed for Inman before noon. It was gratifying to get an e-mail from Betty Bell of Sky Color that said: "received our products".