Fetus Dolls and Candy


Right.Um … how about we just check in with Katie J. M. Baker of Jezebel?

A box of fake fetuses.Want a squishy toy fetus with your corn dog? If you’re visiting the North Dakota State Fair, you’re in luck! Last weekend, local anti-choice advocates slipped soft fetal models into kids’ candy bags without parental permission during the fair’s gigantic parade. “I don’t know exactly where I stand on abortion,” one mother told Jezebel, “but I believe in my rights as a parent.”The North Dakota State Fair boasts a bevy of attractions, including performances by Tim McGraw and Creedence Clearwater Revisited. But Minot Right to Life spent the weekend giving away creepy little fetuses to kids without asking parents’ permission first. “It was really disturbing watching children run around with them,” one recalled. A federal judge recently temporarily blocked enforcement of the state’s highly unconstitutional six-week abortion ban; perhaps appealing to elementary schoolers’ interests is the group’s Plan B?The Precious One” fetal models are manufactured by Heritage House, a “pro-life supply store,” for $1.50 a pop — cheaper if you buy in bulk. “Its beautiful detail, softness and weight can really move hearts and change minds!” the website promises. A customer service representative told Jezebel that the models are most often given to pregnant women at “pregnancy centers” and kids at school presentations. The customer reviews on the site (it’s like Yelp for fetus-lovers instead of foodies) further imply that the doll-like figures are great for kids. “Children especially like to hold them,” one satisfied customer wrote. “No other item that we hand out has the amazing effect that these fetal models have — instant attachment to the unborn!” said another. “So many times, we hear, ‘Awwwww! That’s adorable!’ Or we just see a girl’s tears begin to form and fall.”

Point number one: You know how we hear conservatives complain, from time to time, about how we need to just let children be children, and thus never teach them that gay people or birth control exist? So … er … yeah. This doesn’t fall under that rubric?Point number two:

Devyn Nelson, Executive Director of North Dakota Right to Life, said he hadn’t been contacted by organizers and claimed that the booth ran out of “Precious Ones” because there was such a high demand for the mini fetuses. “Kids like them, but adults like them too,” he said. “They have nothing to do with abortion. You don’t have to bring abortion up at all.”

Uh-huh. Right. Makes perfect sense.Just sayin’. Continue reading

Gemini Spectres


But, yeah, a commenter on Daily Kos called George W. Bush a Nazi in 2004, so … both sides do it, right?

Dan Savage

The Face of Hatred: Scott TerryConventional wisdom often pays homage to the belief that there really isn’t much difference between the two main American political parties; indeed, if one party displays problematic behavior, the response is often to point out that both parties do it.

And it’s true that bigotry is not confined to Republicans, or conservatives in general. But, as Savage notes, it’s kind of hard to find a similar Democratic- or liberal-side episode that rivals reports coming out of Maryland, where the Conservative Political Action Committee endured an encounter that, well, therein arisies the problem. Scott Keyes and Zack Beauchamp explain for Think Progress:

The exchange occurred after an audience member from North Carolina, 30-year-old Scott Terry, asked whether Republicans could endorse races remaining separate but equal. After the presenter, K. Carl Smith of Frederick Douglass Republicans, answered by referencing a letter by Frederick Douglass forgiving his former master, the audience member said “For what? For feeding him and housing him?” Several people in the audience cheered and applauded Terry’s outburst.

After the exchange, Terry muttered under his breath, “why can’t we just have segregation?” noting the Constitution’s protections for freedom of association ….

ThinkProgress spoke with Terry, who sported a Rick Santorum sticker and attended CPAC with a friend who wore a Confederate Flag-emblazoned t-shirt, about his views after the panel. Terry maintained that white people have been “systematically disenfranchised” by federal legislation.

When asked by ThinkProgress if he’d accept a society where African-Americans were permanently subservient to whites, he said “I’d be fine with that.” He also claimed that African-Americans “should be allowed to vote in Africa,” and that “all the Tea Parties” were concerned with the same racial problems that he was.

At one point, a woman challenged him on the Republican Party’s roots, to which Terry responded, “I didn’t know the legacy of the Republican Party included women correcting men in public.”

He claimed to be a direct descendent of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

At some point it seems nearly comical, like the easiest agent provocateur gig in history; just get up and play whatever bigot caricature comes to mind, and find people in the conservative audience rallying to the cause. And it is true; there are times when one would be forgiven for thinking they were not dealing with a genuine conservative, but instead some overzealous, half-witted provocateur trying to discredit a movement.

One of my favorites was a conservative associate who reckoned that Obamanoia had nothing to do with racism, but rather that a fantasy president Obama was victimizing good, decent people by forcing them to resort to racist slings and arrows. “Race is absolutely not the motivation for opposition to Obama,” he explained, “but it is used by some as a tool in the fight against him.”

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Something about nothing, or, the question of advice columns


It is not that I disdain all advice columns, but sometimes I really do wonder about the purposes they serve. For instance, Carolyn Hax, whose column appears in The Washington Post:

Dear Carolyn:

I am 1½ years into a relationship and I have lost my libido. I have gone from wanting sex about three times a week to about once every two weeks. I’m young, I still like my boyfriend and I still find him attractive, but I find myself more interested in falling asleep than any other bedroom activity. Of course, he is still interested in having sex and has started to notice my indifference. I’ve been giving in to keep him happy, but I rarely really enjoy it. I think that’s been making the problem worse. I’m afraid this will ruin my relationship, but I have no idea how to fix it.

Adapted from an online discussion—and perhaps this should be our first clue—the resulting exchange is revealing, including the two cents we hear from other participants. Continue reading

Here is her spout ….


If there is one thing Americans should remember after this debt ceiling debate is over—accepting, of course, that we won’t remember anything important—it ought to be this bizarre yet apt cartoon from Rainer Hachfeld, via Cagle Post:

Rainer Hachfeld, "Republican Descent to Hell"

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Park 51, 9/11, and other notes


Dan Wasserman, Boston Globe (Boston.com), August 25, 2010Let us start with this:

Not all opponents of the Ground Zero mosque are motivated by anti-Islamic prejudice, to be sure. But relatives of 9/11 victims who object still are confusing Islam with terrorism.

They’d like the mosque to move somewhere else — but how far away from Ground Zero is acceptable? If two blocks is too close, would four be better?
Logically, if the mosque is meant as an exercise in “triumphalism,” it ought not be allowed in New York City at all.

The fact is that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg had it exactly right when he said, “Let us not forget that Muslims were among those murdered on 9/11 and that our Muslim neighbors grieved with us as New Yorkers and Americans.

“We would betray our values — and play into our enemies’ hands — if we were to treat Muslims differently than anyone else. In fact, to cave in to popular sentiment would be to hand a victory to the terrorists — and we should not stand for that.”

And President Barack Obama had it right (the first time) when he said that America’s bedrock dedication to religious freedom “includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in Lower Manhattan.”
It’s a shame that Republican howls caused him to backtrack on the statement. And it’s a shame so many Republicans have forgotten the distinction between Islam and extremism so clearly delineated by Bush.

Would you believe that’s Mort Kondracke?

Well … okay, why not?

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Not quite the Christmas spirit


Because Christmas isn’t complete without its depressing tragedies:

A pastor fatally shot one of his eight children on Christmas Day during a dispute at the family home, where more than a dozen relatives had gathered to celebrate the holiday, police said.

Kirk Caldwell killed 21-year-old Jordan Caldwell after intervening in a violent confrontation between the son and a woman at around 2 p.m. at their home in suburban Philadelphia, Darby Borough police said Friday.

Kirk Caldwell fired a single shot, striking his son in the chest, police Chief Robert Smythe said. Jordan Caldwell died at a hospital shortly afterward, police said ….

…. As a pastor at End Times Harvest Mission for Christ in Philadelphia, Kirk Caldwell had spoken against violence at a vigil for a slain teen in Darby last summer.

“Retaliation is never the answer. Retaliation is only going to make it worse,” Caldwell said, according to the Daily Times of Delaware County.

According to the Associated Press, no charges had been filed against the forty-four year-old preacher as of Friday.

Still, it will probably make for some awkward family gatherings in the future.

(Thanks, of course, to Dan Savage for brightening my holiday.)

Marriage, prom, and victory ….


Andrea Grimes brings us the latest from the gay fray:

​Not only do the gays and lesbians these days think they have the right to do things like get married and raise a family, they are now demanding to dance in the same rooms as their peers! Fucking ridiculous.

Naturally, when a lesbian high school couple decided to attend their school prom, the only logical thing the school could do was threaten to cancel prom. After all, what straight person in her right mind would shake her ass within miles–let alone feet–of a lesbian? Heck, she might even be tempted not to go back to a hotel room with her sexually inexperienced boyfriend and feel pressured to lose her virginity through vaginal intercourse, which is the only right and proper kind of sex to have. (Except you shouldn’t ever ever have it, ladies!)

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