Monday, July 31, 2006

Partial Credit

In discussing polls that says that a majority of South Dakotans disapprove of their no-exceptions abortion ban, but that a majority of South Dakotans would approve of a ban that only included exceptions for rape, incest, and the health or life of the mother, zuzu of Feministe has demonstrated one of my pet peeves.
Oddly enough, I have a lot more respect for people like this guy who support a total ban (with an exception for the mother’s life) than for those who would ban all abortions except in the case of rape and incest:

Gordon Geick of Sioux Falls, who is voting for the ban, said he’s had his mind made up on the issue for some time.

“Primarily, I think it’s murder,” said Geick, 75. “To start with, I don’t think there’s anything in the U.S. Constitution that gives anybody the right to kill another human being.”

Now, I happen not to agree with Mr. Geick, but at least he’s got some convictions. If you believe that abortion is murder, then you support a ban for any reason other than the mother’s life (because then it would be murder to let her — and most like the fetus as well — die). Why? Because you believe it’s murder, and murder’s wrong no matter how the fetus got there.

However, if you think that abortion allows women to escape the punishment of their loose ways, you support a ban for any reason other than rape and incest. Because if a woman was raped or a victim of incest, you can tell yourself that she didn’t have teh sex for her own sake. That she’s not someone who has to bear the consequences of her actions.
Adhering to a coherent ethical framework isn’t necessarily impressive on its own. I find it a little more compelling and ethical that a person would at least somewhere have some compassion and absorb some data from the world around them - e.g. “look at how unhappy that pregnant rape victim is” - than when they make up a set of rules and stick by them no matter what the real world is telling them. I’m willing to give partial credit to someone whose skull is thin enough to absorb the reality of human misery in that situation, even if they haven't quite worked out the inconsistencies in their philisophy. As my husband has put it, it becomes more like a game of moral chicken (see also Lou Dobbs' insistence that the Irish flag should not be flown at St. Patrick's Day parades) than a discussion about the ethics of interacting with the people we live with on this planet.

I am most definitely the kind of liberal who wears her bleeding heart on her sleeve. I go for all sorts of "mushy liberal values" but this does not mean that I am about to let anyone get off the hook for slicing off their daughter's clitoris or forcing her to bear the child of her rapist. Or any number of other revolting things people do with a greater respect to their dogma or their ethical framework than for their fellow man. If you can't explain to me why an action that causes human suffering is ethical without referring to your self-contained ethical apparatus, I'm not going to listen.

Not everyone in the world shares the same religion or belief system or culture, and that makes it hard to communicate our values to each other. All I'm asking is that people use the one thing we do share - the experience of being a human being on planet Earth - to identify with each other in the public sphere.

Or is that too simple?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Weak

The Washington State Supreme Court has upheld Washington's Defense of Marriage legislation, and I am not very impressed. There seems to be a lot of talk about tangential issues - about the well-being of children in same-sex headed households, mostly - but what I find to be very underexplained in the media coverage so far is this:
She wrote that the same-sex couples failed to prove that they had a fundamental right to marry, or that the state's 1998 Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional.
Oh, okay. So why is that, exactly? Why isn't it gender discrimination? Why isn't it discriminatory on the basis of sexuality? The article doesn't explain any further, which leaves a lot of questions about the actual legal reasoning surrounding the decision completely unanswered for us non-lawyer folk.

The coverage is long on bloviating about the sanctity of marriage and the child-centered notion of marriage, which would be too preposterous to address were it not so pervasive. I like what 365gay.com reports:
In a dissent, Justice Bobbe J Bridge said that " if the DOMA is really about the 'sanctity' of marriage, as its title implies, then it is clearly an unconstitutional foray into state-sanctioned religious belief. If the DOMA purports to further some State purpose of preserving the family unit, as the plurality would interpret it, then I cannot imagine better candidates to fulfill that purpose than the same-sex couples who are the plaintiffs in these consolidated actions."
Pre-freaking-cisely. Even if I were to accept that children need to live in a home with a mother and a father (and I decidedly do not) there are already plenty of kids living in situations other than that. Even further, gay couples have children quite often, and straight couples or single people of any sexual orientation can adopt.

The family unit is not defined by the at least sometime presence of a father and a mother. The family unit is not even defined by whether or not a couple is married! If the state wants to nudge kids into straight-headed families, marriage is not the right tool with which to do it. Marriage addresses the legal relationship between two adults, and custody laws are what define the relationship between children and guardians. If you're going to try and rend apart a parent and child, at least use the correct laws, people. As it is, children are being used as pawns in a battle for the supremacy of heteronormativity, and it's senseless.

Overall, however, remember:.
"We see no reason, however, why the legislature or the people acting through the initiative process would be foreclosed from extending the right to marry to gay and lesbian couples in Washington," the ruling, signed by Chief Justice Gerry Alexander, said.

"It is important to note that the court's role is limited to determining the constitutionality of DOMA and that our decision is not based on an independent determination of what we believe the law should be."
In other words, please ignore the bloviating and write a real law.

I'll give you a cookie if you jump through this hoop!

Stories like this (video link), about a homeless man who found a large amount of money and returned it to its owner and was subsequently rewarded with a job and some cash, give me conflicted feelings. On the one hand, it's fantastic that the guy could follow through with his conscience to return the money that anyone - homeless or not - would have a hard time turning down, and he deserves some recognition for doing a truly kind thing. On the other hand, there's no reason something extraordinary should be required of someone who's poor for "suburban businessmen" to believe he deserves the means of survival. I can think of a few people whose circumstances of birth have required nothing of them for their survival, let alone extreme comfort.

I don't think that charity in itself is insulting to the recipient. In fact, I think the attitude that accepting financial help is humiliating is a poisonous part of American culture. What I do have a problem with is attaching strings to help, or making poor people jump through hoops so that they can have what many others take for granted.

An acquaintence of mine who'd worked in a homeless shelter was recently telling me about his experience spending the night in a local one, something he'd promised himself he'd do after seeing what he had at his job. He described a sort of militarily-disciplined barracks where the men (homelessness is disproportionately a male problem, btw) were stripped of their possessions and ordered around all day. Apparently it was a very orderly place that was clean and organized. The acquaintence was very impressed by all this, but I was less excited. How could demanding a well-made bed every morning help someone adapt to anything but life in a homeless shelter? Shouldn't the energy spent on clients in a homeless shelter have a larger view than that?

Any individual's situation in poverty - especially homelessness - is extraordinarily complex. If you're homeless, there has to be more than one problem that's contributing to your situation. There is a common problem amongst all the homeless, and all the poor, and that is a lack of money. This can be addressed rather simply. The rest is not so simple, though it is a lot simpler to address problems with substance abuse or get your GED if survival isn't where you spend all of your energy. Adding requirements to money provided - sobriety, religious participation, sterilization - only serves to keep people from addressing the other factors in their own personal situation. And for what? The approval of comfortable people who can't imagine a way to live that is not their own.

Poor people are not pets, they are not dolls, and (surprise surprise) they're human enough to pursue religion or whatever they're interested in. The most effective charities and social programs (housing first, for example) give people the means to pursue something other than surviving while poor, but don't try to re-teach simple lessons about morality that everyone is exposed to.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Lame

Does a host of a children's television show really lose credibility with her audience if she has at one point in her career history mentioned anal sex on camera? If so, how did Bob Saget ever get a job?

GAAAH!

This is the scariest thing ever.

"I'm committed to my own happiness"

Hugo Schwyzer has written a bit about his very obvious obsession with self-improvement, and it struck a chord with me because I've been thinking about the same tendencies within myself lately. Take a look at me and my habits, and it's pretty clear that I'm not an obsessive housecleaner, exerciser, portion controller, or teetotaler. The difference between Hugo and I is that I tend to go negative, and just stick with self-criticism and rarely have the emotional energy to seriously pursue any kind of "self-improvement."

I've recently returned to exercising reguarly after a period of disinterest in the gym. My husband bristles whenever I mention the g-word because he knows that it is usually a symptom of a self-criticsm binge, and not coming from a pure desire to burn off some extra energy. To alleviate his fears, I mentioned that I had promised myself that I would not step on a scale. Why? It took me a bit of struggling to get out that "I'm committed to my own happiness."

It was at that moment that I realized that I have a hard time differentiating the goal of goodness with happiness or contentment. Often, when it comes to my own behavior or characteristics I might not be satisfied with, I assume that if I can do things the correct way, I'll be happy. If I can eat all my fruits and vegetables, if I can exercise every day, if I can keep my house spotless, then the happiness thing will fall into place. With regard to weighing myself, I realized that it takes significantly more willpower for me to avoid the scale than it does for me to actually go to the gym! That's a good indication that I feel more loyalty to an objective scale of personal goodness than I do to my health and comfort.

The problem here is that the "objective scale" is easily adjusted to keep me just out of reach of finally being "good." Sure, I lost 5 pounds, but I was already pretty fat anyway, so how much does it count? Yeah, I've ridden 30 miles on my bike this week, but not very fast, and I'm still seeing double digits on my pant size. Etc. If I don't have an internal sense for when I am comfortable and when I can be proud of myself, I'll always keep moving the goalposts.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

A hero's pink collar blues

Huckleberries Online is highlighting the story of Amber Deahn, an area woman who helped direct authorities to Joseph Duncan, who had kidnapped and assaulted young Shasta Groene and murdered her younger brother Dylan. From HBO:
Denny's was proud of Amber Deahn (pictured above) and other employees after they helped rescue Shasta Groene from the clutches of sadistic Joseph Edward Duncan last July – so proud that it bought a USA Today ad to salute them. That was then. After the hoopla died down, Denny's canned Amber while she was on maternity leave. Seems Amber was hired the day she became pregnant, stopped working in August, and went into labor on Labor Day. She delivered the bouncing baby boy 32 hours later. She was ready to go back to work during the Christmas holiday but figured something was up on Dec. 30 when she and hubby Nathan were treated badly when they dropped by the Coeur d'Alene Denny's. She discovered only after she applied for her current job at Coeur d'Alene's AutoZone that Denny's had fired her. While the baby fussed in the background, Amber told Huckleberries during a phone interview that she's worked for AutoZone for three weeks and that she's now counting down the 545 days until Nathan returns from Iraq. He was among the 60 Army reservists from the region deployed Monday. The reward money's gone. Amber joked that she wasted it on medical bills. But she remains in the spotlight. On July 27, she will appear on "The Montel Williams Show" along with other women involved in the rescue of others. And she's often recognized by well-wishers who ask about the reward offer made by Steve Groene of his $17,000 motorcycle and $10,000 in cash. She's tired of the question. She hasn't received a dime from him.
Here we have a classic example of the thankless attitude toward women's work. Deahn was fired from her job (Did you know that in Idaho it is not required that waitstaff be paid a full minimum wage? Just a reminder to always tip generously, unless you're comfortable with supporting slave labor.) for having the temerity to become pregnant, and she hasn't even received the reward promised her for the act that saved a young girl's life. A woman who has worked so hard for her family, not to mention the safety of others, deserves better.

Bush's Veto and Stupidity

Of all the things Pres. Bush could have vetoed and didn’t, he shot down a bill that could resulted in the cures for the most dangerous and debilitating of diseases. And he did not because the science of stem cells is bad or because it has a negative effect on the U.S. economy. No, this man vetoed a bill passed overwhelmingly by the U.S. House and Senate because, as Press Secretary Tony Snow said, “The president is not going to get on the slippery slope of taking something living and making it dead for the purposes of scientific research.”

There are so many problems with this statement I really am confused on where to begin. I guess I’ll start with the obvious: WE ALREADY DO THAT! In the U.S. alone, we kill 115 million animals a year in medical testing. We literally “take something living and [make] it dead for the purpose of scientific research.”

You might say, well, animals aren’t human. Well, neither are the embryos that were grown in tubes for in vitro fertilization treatments. Sure, that’s debatable but here are the facts:

During in vitro fertilization treatments, doctors create numerous embryos from a combination of eggs from a mother and sperm from a father. The doctor then takes the embryo in a day-3 or day-5 stage (called a blastocyst) and implants it in the carrying mother’s womb. If it takes (about 20-30 percent chance), a baby born. If it doesn’t, they try again.

Here’s the thing, fertility doctors create several embryos and then freeze them, store them and thaw them if they are needed for further treatments. Many times, the extra embryos just stay on ice.

Mother Jones recently did a story about the frozen embryos. It reported that approximately 500,000 embryos are frozen and stored right now. Another report estimates that 6 million embryos have been discarded already. Clinical trials have only shown the embryos to be implantable if the procedure is completed in the first nine years. After that (and sometimes well before), the embryo is discarded – as in “thrown away in the trash.”

That brings us to the current events stuff: Congress authorized stem-cell research on those frozen and to-be-discarded embryos Tuesday. And that is exactly what Pres. Bush vetoed.

How can I say the embryos in question are not human? Well, because of the development cycle of a fetus. In the stage the in vitro doctors use, the embryo looks like this:

It is a fertilized egg that has divided a few times. It hasn’t even implanted into the uterine lining yet.

The Morning After Pill, RU486, stops the growth and implantation of exactly what we are talking about here. It’s hardly an issue. It isn’t even close to the same thing as abortion.

For the sake of argument, I’ll grant that the embryo is human for the time being. Even if they are human, they are not alive. They are frozen and non-implanted. They have zero chance of survival if thawed and not implanted. We aren’t dealing with late-term abortion here. We are talking about a cluster of cells that are on ice, created artificially, and incapable of survival absent implantation.

Part of what shocks me is the hypocrisy of the whole thing. (The Roman Catholic Church is consistent so, for the time being, when I say Christian, I am not including it.) But many of the evangelicals who opposed to researching stem cells that come from these frozen embryos support the use of in vitro fertilization. It is this very process, which they support, that creates the surplus of embryos. This surplus cannot be frozen indefinitely and so they will either be trashed or used in research to cure diseases.

Apparently, Pres. Bush would rather them be thrown away. If he really was opposed to the destruction of frozen embryos he would be against IVF. But you don’t here him come out against that.

I am totally OK with using the excess embryos to enhance individual’s quality of life as is most of the country, Senate, and House of Representatives. Too bad one man gets to make a decision like this.

-JS

Cross-posted from Josh Studor's States of the Union Blog

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Bon voyage

I'm out of town starting tomorrow until Monday, and have invited a few guest bloggers/liberal drinkers to fill in while I'm away. Meet Josh, of States of the Union, and Vander, of Thoughts From Idaho.

Be good while I'm away, boys.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A feminist versus the wedding-industrial complex

The Happy Feminist and I must be on the same wavelength, because I was just waiting until Monday, my second wedding anniversary, to write about what making a wedding happen was like for this feminist. There are any number of things that make a feminist want to tear her hair out when she thinks of a typical American wedding ceremony, and I was no exception. There were some battles I picked, some battles I lost, and some things I decided to ignore. And, Happy Feminist style, I'm going to break this down, bit by bit.

Engagement

Andy and I got engaged at the beginning of my senior year of college, after having dated for three years. The engagement ring has always been a bothersome concept to me. That he makes a huge investment in something that will mark his bride-to-be is a clear way of saying that he is showing off the investment he's making in the transfer of woman-chattel from father to husband. Further, I just am not comfortable with supporting the diamond trade. We ended up buying a $12 ring from a vendor at the Lentil Festival, and I now wear it on my right hand since it doesn't really go with my titanium wedding band.

Telling our parents was pretty anticlimactic - almost everyone we told responded with a "Duh." Andy's parents didn't even let us tell them - they noticed the ring on my finger and asked about it immediately. I never did make it a habit of calling him my fiance - it brought too many questions and made me feel oddly territorial, like I had to emphasise that this was my man.

Wedding planning

Having been to a few weddings since having my own, and looking back at how it all went down, I realize now that I made my wedding planning experience a lot more unpleasant than it needed to be. Please consider the fact that in the space of two months I graduated college, got my first real job, and got married, all while trying to navigate what I would later find out was a serious bout with clinical depression. In other words, I had a lot to think about, and not very much energy to think very clearly. I remember a huge amount of anxiety about mundane details - the photographers, mostly - but at that time in my life I had a huge amount of anxiety about just about everything, so I can't be sure how stressful the wedding was in itself.

What I wanted out of the wedding was a good time, a big party, and not a gigantic bill for my parents to pay. We wanted to make a public show of our love and have a ceremony that our family and friends could participate in that cemented us as joining each others' family. I consider a wedding to be a community event rather than a private affair, so we ended up inviting around 75 people including friends and family.

And yes, I got sucked into reading theknot.com, and swooned over consumeristic wedding-industrial complex staples like cocktail hours and china patterns and wedding party gifts. Considering how far gone I was on some evenings, looking at pages and pages of white dresses, I'm proud of how affordable and simple the wedding was. I got my dress used on eBay for $100. (If you need a dress I'd be happy to pass it on. It's sitting in my closet, but a drycleaning should be all it needs.) In fact, I don't think the thing would have ever gotten off of the ground without eBay. Our minister was an official in the Universal Life "Church" - also a resident pathologist where I work - and read a ceremony we wrote and signed some papers. My aunt made the cake and since it was an afternoon wedding, only snacks and champagne made up the reception costs. The ceremony site was a gorgeous garden so flowers were limited to bouquets for the bridal party. Our honeymoon was a graciously-donated week in a friends' lakeside condo.



The ceremony

There is so much about a wedding ceremony that, in a few words, creeps me the fuck out. We aren't religious, so lots of weird stuff like unity candles (it just breaks my heart to see people blow out the candles symbolizing their individual selves) were right out. The thing that bothers me most is probably the veil. That a woman's face is not shown in this public ceremony until after she's been pledged by her father and pledged herself to a man is just creepy as hell - I did not wear one. I am also not a big fan of the father "giving away" the bride, but my father really wanted to walk me down the aisle, so I went with it. There was no "Do you give..." however - that I couldn't do. We wrote a secular ceremony that talked about what we wanted our marriage to be and had both of our parents talk a little bit about whatever they wanted. We exchanged rings, read vows we'd written, and got out of the sun (it was a good 96 degrees on July 24, 2004 in Pullman, Washington). Andy had elected to wear a tuxedo, and my dress was probably designed for wear in winter, but I basically don't have a maximum temperature at which I'm comfortable. And, in case you're wondering, the dress was an off-white satiny thing with a gigantic train (when am I ever going to get to have that again?). The dress color symbolism issue has always rankled me, but buying a used dress means that you don't have to fuss too much over the details - it's all there to begin with. I adored it, though, and the cheapskate in me was very excited to have gotten it used.


The reception

Having a reception at 2:00 was a good move financially, because no one was expecting lunch or dinner, and alcohol isn't really an issue at that hour. We did the mingling/mixing thing, and had both the maid of honor and the man of honor give little speeches. And the one truly silly ceremonial thing I insisted on was the guests throwing rice at us as we left. Andy did carry me over the threshhold of our apartment, which was amusing. I will never forget the moment when we peeled our sweaty clothes off (tons of rice in my cleavage) and hopped in the shower, and I realized that our sex life was now state- and conservative community-sanctioned. It was a weird 30 seconds spent contemplating this fact before I realized that there were more important things at hand.



Later that night, we had a little drink-a-whole-lot-and-relax house party with our friends while my parents had their own such party at their house. We retired to a hotel room when we were out of energy, and left the next morning for a week at a mountain lake.



Why this feminist had a traditional wedding

I know, I know, the institution of marriage has an ugly past. Fortunately, I think that what we wanted our wedding to be was exactly what it was. I've never understood the idea of eloping - why get married if only the two of you know about it? We were already committed to each other after being together for four years, but now it was time to make that committment a part of our public lives. We chose to have the people most important to us there because our marriage was a communal occasion. It joined two families and was a way of making public that we are from now on a permanent part of each other's life. I live in a patriarchally-molded culture, and that's where the wedding ceremony comes from, but with a few changes it was pretty easily applicable to the relationship that I have with my husband, while it still held the kind of cultural significance that everyone at the wedding could appreciate. Sure, some of the people around us don't think of marriage like we do - people were totally confused by the fact that I kept my last name, for example - but I can accept their misreading of my intentions as long as the larger communal importance of our relationship gets across.

After two years, I'm still glad to wear a wedding band and refer to Andy as my husband. I'm glad that we get to spend holidays together and that I get to be someone's daughter-in-law. It's in those ways that our relationship is different now that we're married, and that's exactly what we aimed for when we got engaged.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Female experiences in science

The Green Gabbro has an acquaintence putting together a book about the experiences of women in science, technology, engineering, math and medicine (aka STEMM). She's looking for people to interview, so if you're interested check out GG's post on what the author is looking for (hint: just about any woman who's ever been interested in science).

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Saturday Food Blogging: the vicious reuben cycle

Rye bread
Thousand island dressing
Swiss cheese
Corned beef
Sauerkraut

I like to toast the bread, melt the cheese over the beef under the broiler, and have a hard time limiting myself to just one. But then, you find that you've run out of Swiss. You still have half a pound of corned beef, most of a loaf of bread, and an almost-full jar of sauerkraut. Buy some more Swiss, so it doesn't all go to waste.

Then you run out of bread. Replace it.

Then you run out of beef. Replace it.

What's a reuben without sauerkraut? Replace it.

And on and on and on...

Friday, July 14, 2006

Orexia (2005-2006), R. I. P.

After much consideration, I've decided to put my food blog Orexia out of its misery, and stop posting there. The second f-word is food, so I think I can bring my foodblogging over here pretty seamlessly, and if readers don't care about what I'm eating, they can ignore it. There's plenty of stuff on orexia, so I plan to keep the page up. Any new foodblogging, however, will be put up on F-words.

In other food-related news, my organized kitchen marches on. Tonight's dinner was baked chicken kiev, orzo with toasted almonds and parsley, and tomato slices with olive oil, red wine vinegar and salt and pepper. All of this was served with cold chardonnay, and made with ingredients I had lying around the house. Not too shabby.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A functional kitchen is more fun

I would have liked to post a Saturday foodblog last week, but I realized to my dismay that I hadn’t cooked a thing all week. I have been in a bit of a funk lately, but that’s really rather sad. This realization, coupled with finally facing exactly how much my two-person household spends on food, made me realize something: I had a completely nonfunctional kitchen. It’s a fun kitchen, but only when I have the energy to devote to actually putting a meal together. We have no dishwasher and little counter space. Generally, our refrigerator is packed with soon-moldering leftovers that we are fooling ourselves into believing will be eaten. If we set out to cook a meal, we have to muster the energy to a) do the dishes that have been accumulating since we last bothered b) head to the grocery store to get 90-100% of the ingredients needed for the meal and c) actually prepare a meal. Looking at it that way, you might understand how often we’ll step out for dinner or lunch or breakfast.

I like to look at self-improvement on a curved scale, however, and realized that maybe it’s not that I’m too lazy to cook, but that the system I’ve set up just doesn’t work and needs to be fixed. Working this over in my mind stimulated the expression of my latent engineer genes (that I inherited from my Dad), so I sat down at excel and made a spreadsheet of pantry and staple items I should keep in my kitchen at all times (to be periodically compared with the contents of my kitchen and replaced). I stocked my pantry and organized it by function. I went home and cleared out my fridge, cleaned out my cupboards, and reorganized my dish storage. I got neat little containers for my bulk food items and cleaning supplies and all the other things I usually put off buying. I did every dish I could find, and vowed to at least keep clean essentials around like silverware, knives and cutting boards, so that at any time I could walk into the kitchen and make something.

This was last Wednesday, and I’ve pretty much been cooking nonstop ever since. We’ll see how long I can keep it up, but so far the cleanup trick has worked like a charm. This all might seem pretty obvious, but it took me a good four and a half years of apartment living for this idea to come together for me. If I can keep this up, I expect to eat much better and much cheaper. My question for anyone reading this is what are the things that you do to keep your kitchen easier to use? What essentials did I miss on my pantry list? Am I crazy to think that I can keep this up?

And just to inspire myself to keep with the program, I’m going to share that last night’s dessert was strawberries macerated with champagne, over homemade shortcake, and of course with whipped cream. Pretty good for a Tuesday night.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

If you want to argue on my terms, you still have to make sense

The latest Carnival of the Feminists points to a post at the RealChoice blog that is a complete mess of disingenuousness, misrepresentations and even plain silliness. We'll begin with the most convoluted bit, just because I'm feeling mean.
Prochoice groups are fond of accusing prolifers of putting the needs of the unborn -- specifically, existing fetuses -- ahead of the needs of living, breathing, born women. But here they are, these prochoice groups, sacrificing the real safety of the 4,000 living, breathing, born women walking into abortion clinics today, to protect the possible preferences of women who haven't even been conceived yet.

This is the ultimate placing of a higher value on the unborn over the lives of the born. These organizations point fingers at prolifers, who place the lives of existing fetuses before the lifestyle choices of their mothers. Then these same organizations place the hypothetical future choices of non-existent women ahead of the safety and lives of women undergoing abortions in the here and now.
It took me several readings, but my final understanding of this paragraph was that because abortion is not 100% safe (natch), pro-choice activists are fighting for the right to abortion that future generations may or may not want at the expense of the safety of women seeking abortion today. First of all, I don't really know where this disappearance in the demand for abortion is going to come from. If today there are 4000 women seeking abortion in the US (and there aren't - dividing the 1.29 million abortions performed in 2003 in the US by 365 yields about 3500 abortions per day), I don't see why that should be expected to change in a generation - or tomorrow, amongst the women here and now, pro-choice and not, who will seek abortion.

GrannyGrump goes on to mention several instances of abortions gone awry - even fatally - and uses this information and one quote from a pro-choice advocate about the effects of overly-restrictive regulation on abortion rights - to show that pro-choice advocates care more about abortion than they do women.
I am not about to quibble with every instance GrannyGrump cites, because as they say "the plural of anecdote is not 'data.'" Further, pro-choice advocates do not say that abortion is without its own dangers. It is a medical procedure, and therefore there are risks associated with abortion.

If I am going to use a broad brush in my characterization of one side or another in a debate, I am going to use equally broad and comprehensive statistics. In a 9-year survey, Linda A. Bartlett et. al. found that there were 0.7 deaths per 100,000 legal, induced abortions. From Bartlett:
During 1988–1997, the overall death rate for women obtaining legally induced abortions was 0.7 per 100,000 legal induced abortions. The risk of death increased exponentially by 38% for each additional week of gestation. Compared with women whose abortions were performed at or before 8 weeks of gestation, women whose abortions were performed in the second trimester were significantly more likely to die of abortion-related causes. The relative risk (unadjusted) of abortion-related mortality was 14.7 at 13–15 weeks of gestation (95% confidence interval [CI] 6.2, 34.7), 29.5 at 16–20 weeks (95% CI 12.9, 67.4), and 76.6 at or after 21 weeks (95% CI 32.5, 180.8). Up to 87% of deaths in women who chose to terminate their pregnancies after 8 weeks of gestation may have been avoidable if these women had accessed abortion services before 8 weeks of gestation.
To put this into context, consider that there are in the US on average 8.9 deaths per 100,000 pregnancies carried to term'. Or take a look at the huge increase in abortion-related deaths in Romania after it criminalized abortion in the mid-60s. Any kind of reliance on public health indicators will show that legal abortion is safer than illegal abortion and actually safer than carrying a pregnancy to term.

If GrannyGrump's main concern here were the life of the mother, she would either be working to make abortion more available to women or to make pregnancy safer. Instead, she has started with her own conclusion (abortion is bad), gotten to by a moral means I cannot agree with her on (abortion is bad) and is trying to work backwards to find the scientific proof that backs up her moral claim. Unfortunately, she apparently doesn't take reality seriously enough to put two and two together and realize her argument is completely false.

Still, I congratulate her, for being able to extract every bit of energy I am willing to devote to a person who uses the term "abortion mill."

First-hand perspective on polygamy

Check out the unfolding story of Muslim Hedonist, a married Muslim woman from Canada who's discovered her husband trolling matrimonial sites for a second wife. She's put up her own profile te to see if he bites, and is still waiting to see what happens.

Lacking the energy even to blog

I'm not extremely busy, but I am feeling extremely lazy, so expect sporadic posting in the next few days. To demonstrate my laziness, I am not going to write my own post, but post this passage lifted from a McSweeney's piece by Kate Hahn, entitled "More sections of the New York Times that help terrorists."
Modern Love

Reveals Americans' preoccupation with romance. Will help terrorists figure out that the best time to attack is during peak eHarmony log-on hours, when security guards and cops are likely to be updating their profiles during their shifts.
Read the rest, be amused, and I'll go take a nap.