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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Double Standards

I don't normally re-post items, but this one rather angers me.
I've been arrested and carted to jail for simply sitting in front of a clinic door.

Pro-Life Activist Assaulted, Police Allow Assailant to Walk.


By Michael Whitcraft

CONTACT: Michael Whitcraft (717) 451–5685

At 6:30 am on Saturday, December 22, while most were snug in bed, resting up for Christmas activities, veteran pro-lifer Ed Snell was arriving at Hillcrest Abortion Center, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He had come with two other activists to persuade women entering the clinic not to abort their pre-born children.

The group customarily meets at the clinic and has saved many lives. In fact, they have been so effective, that the clinic erected a 7-foot privacy fence to cut off all communication between the women and the pro-lifers. However, their efforts were scuttled, when the activists began bringing ladders so they could speak over the fence.

Mr. Snell, age 69, preferred to stand on a more solid foundation, so he constructed a plywood platform on the roof of his car to elevate him above the fence.

“This platform gives him a real steady base and a commanding view,” said fellow activist and eyewitness John McTernan. As Ed stood on his platform that morning, a man and woman exited a car in the parking lot and proceeded towards that door of the abortion mill.

When Mr. Snell tried to counsel the woman, his words were cut short when the man became furious, jumped the fence and, in the words of Mr. McTernan, “leaped on the vehicle with Ed and catapulted him off of the vehicle and onto the ground.” Mr. Snell hit his back and head on the pavement and was knocked unconscious.

His medical report outlines the extent of his injuries: “multiple trauma, right subarachnoid hemorrhage (bleeding in the area between the brain and the tissues that cover the brain), compression fractures of four vertebrae (T3, T4, T5 and T10), right scapula fracture and fracture of the fourth and fifth ribs.” Before doctors were able to stop the bleeding in his head, they even feared Mr. Snell would die.

When asked on the phone about the vicious attack, the receptionist at Hillcrest Abortion Clinic refused to give a recorded statement and angrily shouted: “He got what he deserved! He earned what he got!” She then hung up the phone.

Immediately after the attack, Mr. McTernan ran over to Ed and was frightened to see that he was unconscious and breathing irregularly. He reported the attack to “911” and then shouted to the assailant: “You assaulted him and he is unconscious.” Agitated, the man replied: “I did not assault him, I just pushed him,” with an aggressiveness that made Mr. McTernan fearful for his own safety.

Ed was taken away in an ambulance and three police officers arrived to investigate. They went into the clinic, where the assailant was waiting. After a few moments, the assailant and his companion left the clinic freely, got into their car and drove away.

Shocked, Mr. McTernan shouted to the police: “What are you doing? That’s him! That’s the assailant!”
One cop replied: “It is none of your business!”

Mr. McTernan: “I am making it my business, Ed Snell is my good friend!”

The officer then threatened to arrest Mr. McTernan for interfering with a criminal investigation. Mr. Mcternan replied: “Go ahead and arrest me, I am not afraid. I want to know why the assailant walked away from this scene where an elderly man was left unconscious. We have excellent attorneys and we will sue you if you do not do your job.”

She angrily responded: “Don’t threaten me or I will arrest you!” She then returned to the police car and drove away. At the time this article was written, the Harrisburg Police Department had not returned a phone call requesting a statement on the incident.

Once the extent of Mr. Snell’s injuries were discovered, the assailant was arrested. Nevertheless, as Mr. McTernan put it: “I cannot imagine me [as a pro-lifer], striking someone connected with Hillcrest [Abortion Center], knocking them unconscious, the police coming, the injured person being taken away in an ambulance and the police letting me go. There is something wrong with that.”

There is also something wrong with the lack of media coverage of the incident. At the time this article was written, a google search about the attack returned no results.

Ed returned home just in time to celebrate Christmas with his family. He was released from the hospital on Christmas Eve, just a couple of hours before Bishop Kevin Rhodes of Harrisburg arrived to pay him a visit.

Doctors expect him to make a full recovery, although it will take a long time. “Ed is very sore,” said Mrs. Snell in a telephone interview, “he is black and blue and the doctor said that it will be a full eight weeks before his bones heal completely.”

Mrs. Snell is thankful for the prayers that Ed has received and hopes these will continue. She feels confident that, supported by these prayers, he will recover well.

As for Mr. Snell, he is not yet accepting telephone calls, but feels humbled by all the prayers and attention he has received. A man of faith, he feels called to his work and remains undaunted. As Mrs. Snell aptly put it: “I know that the Devil is busy and that he does not like the work that Ed does, but if that is the case, then Ed is doing the right job.”

Please keep Mr. and Mrs. Snell in your prayers and, due to the lack of press coverage, please email this article to all your friends.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Celine Dion't Get It

Celine Dion wrapped up her last act in Las Vegas.

While the show was still in development in 2000, Dion, 39, became pregnant and told husband-manager Rene Angelil she did not want to continue.

(AP) Celine Dion accepts roses following her final performance of A New Day at Caesar's Palace Hotel &...
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"I had a life for the first time," the French-Canadian chanteuse said in a video before her 717th show. "I knew then that I wanted to have more success as a mother than a singer."...

After her last number, Dion invited husband Angelil and her son, Rene-Charles, now 7, on stage with her.

"Most of us have left our families behind to give ourselves every night," she said. "I can assure you it was worth it."

I'm trying, but I can't figure out how those two sentiments go together.

Earning millions of dollars and the adulation of crowds was worth giving up her family?

What a wonderful sentiment for Christmas.

Tastes Great, Less Filling

Native Americans ate dogs. Lewis and Clark ate dogs. Asians still eat dogs. For instance, the South Korean dog meat industry alone reportedly involves about 1 million dogs, 6,000 restaurants, and 10 percent of the population, according to writer William Saletan.

But, as Saletan wisely pointed out in 2002,
You can abstain from meat because you believe that the mental capacity of animals is too close to that of humans. You can eat meat because you believe that it isn't. Either way, you're using a fixed standard. But if you refuse to eat only the meat of "companion" animals—chewing bacon, for example, while telling Koreans that they can't stew Dalmatians—you're saying that the morality of killing depends on habit or even whim.

If we are not careful, science and technology - the pre-eminent way by which we change the world to match our preconceptions of how it ought to be - lead us ineluctably to conclude that all of creation should match our desires. Because we have bent so much of the world to our will, we come to the erroneous conclusion that we can even change the fabric of reality itself.

Thus, we decide whether a member of the species homo sapien can live or die depending on whether or not s/he is "wanted", either in extreme youth, illness or extreme old age. The utility of companion animals undergoes a similar transformation: if we want the cute doggie, we transform it into a quasi-person. If we don't, we eat it.

The hallmark of the culture of death is precisely the attempt to define the world according to our desires instead of recognizing the world exists apart from our desires. The culture of death is a culture of illusion, and we are deeply immersed in it.
Americans spend an astonishing $41 billion a year on their furry friends. That's double the amount shelled out on pets a decade ago, with annual spending expected to hit $52 billion in the next two years, according to a Business Week Article published in August, 2007.
Now, one of the common complaints made against pro-lifers is, "Pro-lifers only care about unborn babies - they ignore the ones already born. They should spend their time helping children already in the world!" Notice how rarely this objection is raised against pet owners.

I recently made this point to Bruce Tomaso, the editor of the religion blog at The Dallas Morning News. From all reports an essentially fallen-away Catholic, Bruce - like most lax Catholics - frequently shows a blatant disrespect for religion in general and Catholic Faith in particular on the DMN blog.

And, as one would expect from a basically anti-Catholic personality, he has a remarkably poor grasp on reality.

For instance, when a drunken Rodney King was recently shot in the face, Bruce felt it an excellent occasion for political jokes. Although I pointed out in the comments section of another article that this was not particularly humorous, he actually defended his post, saying,
And, to answer your question, Yes: Rodney King getting sprayed with buckshot (but not seriously injured) while riding his bicycle, drunk, through the streets of San Bernadino IS funny.
So, in addition to being both remarkably liberal and an anti-Catholic bigot, the Dallas Morning News religion blog editor apparently finds it hilarious when a drunken black man gets shot in the face - he seems to be a racial bigot as well.

Now, compare his reaction to a man being shot to his reaction over the recent death of his dog. A man who cares nothing for black men subjected to random street violence apparently spent thousands of dollars to fix his dog's spinal cord before finally having it killed.

As one might have foreseen, his followers gave him moral support. I, on the other hand, detected a certain lack of consistency, which I pointed out in a comment to his dog's eulogy:
Get over it.
It was a dog.

Why didn't you spend the money on helping poor children instead of having the vet perform surgery?

Oh, that's right - we never chastise pet lovers for the money they spend on pets, do we? I forgot.

Well, you could at least have followed Native American Indian practice and eaten it for supper.
Bruce found this comment, which apparently struck too close to home, to be "hateful." So, I am now banned from commenting on any articles posted by him on the Dallas Morning News religion blog.

The situation is rather surreal: The Dallas Morning News defends jokes about a drunken black man being shot in the face, but will not permit discussion concerning the consumption of certain kinds of animal meat.

After all, that's hateful.

Update: CNN reports on a related event.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Fantasy is News, Reality is Not

Over four years ago, I joined quite a lot of others in opposing the sale of RU-486 and the morning-after pill. We predicted that nefarious men would obtain the drugs and slip it into the food or drink of the women they knocked up. After all, getting and using such a drug would be a lot cheaper than paying child support.

All of the secular newsies and commentators made fun of the idea. "RU-486 is tightly regulated!" they would reply, "No one will find this on the black market! The scenario is outrageous, bordering upon lies!"

Fast forward to February, 2007, and we see "Veronica Mars" contemplating an episode in which exactly this happens. As said, "This week's award for major disappointment during prime-time network programming goes to the generally talented crew over at "Veronica Mars," who egregiously and stupidly conflated emergency contraception and RU-486 in Tuesday's episode..."

The article itself makes fun of the very idea that anyone would write a sitcom based on such an impossible set of events. That article is joined by articles from feministing, ThinkProgress, and StrollerDerby, among others. TVSquad even reports that the third season DVD of Veronica Mars features commentary on how much flack the writers got for producing such a stupid episode.

It is important that women not be misled by silly sitcom plots. After all, as Salon's Broadsheet points out in reference to this episode of Veronica Mars, "Television shows like "Mars" are, of course, entertainment, and no show should be anyone's sole source of medical (or other) information. But that doesn't mean viewers don't absorb messages from their programming, and as Think Progress pointed out this week, "'Veronica Mars' is extremely popular among young women, the very women who need accurate health information."

Alright, now fast forward again to Dec 3, 2007. We see a man do the impossible - apparently, he regularly slips RU-486 into his girlfriend's food in order to cause miscarriage. He succeeds not once, but twice. Now he is up on charges of manslaughter.

Now, pay close attention.

The sitcom was news because it was television fantasy. Such a thing couldn't happen. Thus, all the secular blogs commented on how stupid it was, how impossible it was, how important it was to write in a responsible manner and not pass on stupid myths.

The actual event - that's not news. It doesn't appear on Salon, on ThinkProgress or any of the other blogs. It is not even a blip on the national news scene.

Remember, fantasy is news, reality is not.
Real feminists know how to tell the difference.