Male Control of Women’s Bodies and the Anti-Abortion Movement

North Texas Planned Parenthood Hit With Pro-Life Movement Molotov Cocktail

From Death and Taxes:

An unidentified person threw a Molotov cocktail at a North Texas Planned Parenthood last night, apparently unaware that the clinic only provides preventative care.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Planned Parenthood of North Texas has some cleanup to do this morning after an unidentified assailant threw a Molotov cocktail at a McKinney clinic’s front door last night, shattering a window and scorching the clinic and its neighbors’ facades, the local Courier-Gazette reports.

Though Planned Parenthood clinics elsewhere in the nation clinics have been targeted with vandalism in the past, Planned Parenthood of North Texas spokeswoman, Holly Morgan, says this incident represents something new for them.

“We have not had this kind of violence at any of the other locations in the past,” she said. “I believe we’ve had some vandalism in the past but that was a decade or so ago. We have never had any kind of attack to this degree.” And that degree is of utter stupidity.

Sure, anti-abortion activists are well within their rights to fight the procedure, but using violence to make your point not only endangers people and properties, it also makes your movement look unhinged.

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FOX News’ Dr. Ablow Wants Male Veto Over Reproductive Rights

From PoliticusUSA:

July 27, 2011

Writing in an opinion piece on, Dr. Keith Ablow, a psychiatrist and member of the Fox News Medical A-Team, offers a new challenge to women’s reproductive rights: he argues that men should be allowed to veto abortions.

He writes,

I believe that in those cases in which a man can make a credible claim that he is the father of a developing child in utero, in which he could be a proper custodian of that child, and in which he is willing to            take full custody of that child upon its delivery, that the pregnant woman involved should not have the option to abort and should be civilly liable, and possibly criminally liable, for psychological suffering and wrongful death should she proceed to do so.

He does not bother to exclude cases of incest or rape, so apparently all that matters is that the man can claim he fertilized the egg. What Dr. Ablow is arguing for is a form of sexual slavery. I made that baby: I own your uterus and I own that embryo. In all ways that matter, until that baby is born, I own you!

I’d never seen such an ingenious case made for sexual slavery. Dr. Ablow, to put it bluntly, is a misogynist and he certainly fits in nicely at FOX News. Nobody in history has been better placed.

He claims that if the man is “fully willing to parent his child (independently, if necessary)” he should have full veto power over the woman’s reproductive rights. The man’s rights – unsurprisingly coming from a conservative on FOX News – trumps the woman’s.

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Stop! In the Name of Health, Don’t Cut My Medicare

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After the Debt Deal, Four Trends That Spell the End of Jobs

From Forbes:

Haydn Shaughnessy
Jul. 31 2011

2012 will be a pivotal year in how we think about employment, not just for how we create jobs. The debt debate hides a shift in the way jobs, and indeed wealth creation, are organized and that shift is accelerating even as politicians struggle to find an agreement on economic management.

Recessions so big that they cost trillions of dollars signal the need for deep structural change so we should expect, anticipate, even enjoy a re-imagining of the economy, and we should articulate new economic trends as part of the big debate on economic management.

Continued high debt and austerity will give 2012 a superficial air of sameness but 2012 is an election year so the debate will get more shrill. Supporters of public super-spending will say job losses are  a slow unravelling of what otherwise have been a cataclysmic collapse in 2008/9. Opponents will blame spending.  So be it but there are signs that employment has changed for good anyway.

I raised the issue of crowdsourcing yesterday. One example: companies like Trada have cunningly opened up search engine optimisation to crowdsourced labor but there is much more going on. Talking to’s Carl Esposti this week he told me they now have 3,000 case studies of crowdsourcing in action, from crowdsourcing routine processes like bank check exception monitoring to crowdsourcing creative tasks, like the Fiat Mio. Microsoft, Yahoo, Google all have their eyes on it.

The consumerization of software meanwhile illustrates how people are  just plain fed up with big company decision making, and they are opting instead to freelance their IT purchases. Many companies are plagued by people who come to work to do the minimum, as defined by them. In fact the innovation boom, particularly the ideation side of innovation, is in part a giant motivational game, offering employees a little extra kudos for showing more commitment. Consumerization shows where the power is headed but this is an uneasy environment, and a conflict that can’t go on.

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When They Play Women, It’s Not Just an Act

From The New York Times:

Published: July 28, 2011

FOR someone whose only acting experience was playing a Boy George lookalike in a high school production of the musical “The Wedding Singer,” Harmony Santana is having an incredible year. Ms. Santana is making her big-screen debut in Rashaad Ernesto Green’s coming-out drama “Gun Hill Road,” which had its premiere in January at the Sundance Film Festival. Last month the movie made a splash on the gay film-festival circuit, opening Outfest in Los Angeles and closing Newfest in New York. It opens commercially in New York on Aug. 5.

But when Ms. Santana goes to sleep at night she does so not as a buzzed-about young starlet but as a resident of Green Chimneys, a group home in Harlem mainly for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth. Ms. Santana, who says she is in her early 20s, has been living full time as a woman only since last year.

She is the latest performer to join the tiny pool of openly transgender actors who are finding a place on screen. Her small cohort includes Candis Cayne, who appeared in the film “Stonewall” and the television series “Dirty Sexy Money,” and Laverne Cox, a reality-television star with a role in the coming Susan Seidelman film “Musical Chairs.” The most recognizable female-to-male personality today is probably Chaz Bono, the child of Cher and Sonny Bono who, while not an actor, is the subject of the documentary “Becoming Chaz.”

Cross-dressing on film certainly has a long tradition, dating to the silent era when Fatty Arbuckle and others put on dresses and wigs for laughs. And Oscar nominations have been given to actors who played transgender characters, including John Lithgow (“The World According to Garp” from 1982), Jaye Davidson (“The Crying Game,” 1992) and Felicity Huffman (“Transamerica,” 2005). Hilary Swank won an Academy Award for her role in “Boys Don’t Cry” (1999).

But transgender actors are for the most part left to watch from the sidelines. It doesn’t help that in some people’s minds being a drag queen and having a transgender identity are the same thing.

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Propaganda Whore, Steve Milloy, Anti-Science Tobacco Apologist, Now Denies Coal Plant Pollution Kills People

Sex workers sell their bodies “propaganda whores” sell their ethics and souls.

From Think Progress:

By Sam Parry, Director, Online Membership and Activism, EDF
July 31, 2011

In a falsehood-filled Washington Times op-ed, Steve Milloy attacks the EPA and EDF for supporting tough new clean air standards for coal-fired power plants.

Asking EPA to “show us the bodies,” Milloy questions public health estimates that these standards will prevent up to 17,000 premature deaths every year.

Some might find it odd to question decades of research by innumerable scientists and public health professionals. But, for Steve Milloy, notorious climate denier and tobacco apologist, it’s something of a personal trademark.

Had he done any actual research for his hit piece, he may have come across a May 10, 2011, letter written by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Lung Association, the American Public Health Association, the American Thoracic Society, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, and the Physicians for Social Responsibility to Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX).

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Time to Reset Our Moral Compass

From Common Dreams:

by Norman Mathews
Published on Saturday, July 30, 2011 by

Progressives are suffering from debilitating cognitive dissonance. Incapable of reconciling President Obama’s rhetoric with his actions, they have created an elaborate, but flimsy, structure of rationales to harmonize this dissonance. These rationales began shortly after Obama took office, with progressives blaming all those nasty triangulating, progress-by-tiny-increment advisers from the Clinton Administration, who were leading him astray from his principles. From the outset, the Administration supplied it’s own excuses for its failure to achieve audacious goals: “Change comes slowly” and “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” Then, despite control of the House and a sizable Democratic majority in the Senate, the party was deemed the problem, because it couldn’t keep its troops in line to get the 60 votes required to pass his agenda. This morphed into a much larger obstacle—the Republicans, following the 2010 landslide. In the recent debt-ceiling debate (and particularly with progressives’ denial that he would actually cut Social Security and Medicare) we’ve seen a rebirth of the meme: “He’s playing chess while everyone else is playing checkers.” Numerous current articles indicate that we now face an epidemic of “he’s just not a competent negotiator” rationale.

Glenn Greenwald adroitly addressed this in his April 14, article, “Why Do We Assume Obama’s Actually Trying to Enact a Progressive Agenda.” The crisis is now so threatening that a rational mind can no longer make such excuses credible. His supporters correctly maintain that he’s a man of extraordinary intelligence. They seem blissfully unaware that it is impossible to hold this belief concurrently with the notion that he is just not capable of learning the most basic negotiation skills, or that his advisers, who have been both hardened politicians and businessmen and who, after all, include a vice president who was a senator since 1972, are incapable of instructing him in these arts.

Let’s look at the argument that his advisers are preventing him from delivering on campaign promises. Name a manager any field who is not held ultimately responsible for hiring choices. Again, if we assume that the fault is with the advisers, we must concede that Obama was so politically ill informed or did such a poor job interviewing these people that he had no idea what they stood for—not to mention that he refused to fire them upon learning they were reading from a different play script. Further, we would have to entertain the absurd idea that he is powerless to override his appointees’ suggestions. Beyond that, we would have to acknowledge that not only did he make poor choices with his first appointments, but also that he chose badly the second time around, i.e. William Daley and Jeffrey Immelt.

We are long past the expiration date for denying that the Obama we now know— through his actions rather than his words —is anything other than the real Obama. We must come to grips with the fact that much of the rhetoric we heard during the campaign was fraudulent—or more charitably, that we heard only what we wanted to hear. How many ominous signals did we ignore during the campaign?

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Debunking the Big Lie Right-Wingers Use to Justify Black Poverty and Unemployment

From Alternet:

Economic factors and changes in public policies, not manifestations of “black culture,” explain African Americans’ relatively poorer economic outcomes.

By Joshua Holland
July 29, 2011

In April, the Oklahoma legislature passed a constitutional amendment that would do away with affirmative action policies in the Sooner State. Sally Kern, a state rep vying for the coveted title of Most Extreme Lawmaker in America, explained her rationale for supporting the amendment, saying (among a slew of nutty things) that “it’s character that ought to count, not whether you’re white or black… it should be your willingness to say, ‘I’m going to become everything I can become.'”

Kern suggested that blacks simply don’t work as hard as whites. “I’ve taught school,” she said, “and I saw a lot of people of color who didn’t study hard because they said the government would take care of them.”

Kern was simply advancing one of the most enduring and pernicious untruths in America’s political economy. It holds that poverty – in general, but especially within communities of color – doesn’t result from purely economic factors. Rather, the poor are where they find themselves as a consequence of some deep-seated cultural flaws that keep them from achieving success. They’re held back, the story goes, by what is known alternatively as a “culture of poverty,” or a “culture of dependence.” It’s a popular fable for the right, as it absolves the political establishment for public policies that harm the working class and the poor.

t’s a myth that should be put to rest by the economic experience of the African American community over the past 20 years. Because what Kern and other adherents of the “culture of poverty” thesis can’t explain is why blacks’ economic fortunes advanced so dramatically during the 1990s, retreated again during the Bush years and then were completely devastated in the financial crash of 2008.

In order to buy the cultural story, one would have to believe that African Americans adopted a “culture of success” during the Clinton years, mysteriously abandoned it for a “culture of failure” under Bush and finally settled on a “culture of poverty” shortly after Lehman Brothers crashed.

That’s obviously nonsense. It was exogenous economic factors and changes in public policies, not manifestations of “black culture,” that resulted in those widely varied outcomes.

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Israel: The middle-class anarchists of the tent city revolution


By Bradley Burston
July 25, 2011

Just last week, when a tent city suddenly snowballed the length of Israel’s most prestigious boulevard in protest of the lack of affordable housing, Likud lawmaker Ofir Akunis, a former spokesman and adviser for Benjamin Netanyahu, took to state radio to elucidate a government response.

“Part of the protest going on at the moment on Rothschild Boulevard is being driven by a gang of anarchists,” the Likud member said, claiming the protesters came from “the adjacent Ahad Ha’am Street, where, as you know, the main branch of the Communist Party is located.”

It took tens of thousands of people filling Tel Aviv’s streets Saturday night, people from all over Israel, from all walks of life, from across the political spectrum, for the government to see their anarchists for what they really are – the middle class – and to realize just how revolutionary all of this is. It took all of them for the government to realize that they had a revolution where they least expected it, when and where they were least prepared for it, led by middle-class young adults that seemed the least likely to ever raise a cry.

You’d expect an Israeli government to know how to deal with a revolution. After all, the story of Israel is a clash of revolutionary movements, the sum total of which is the cabinet table. Every political party was once a revolutionary movement, from the Revisionists that gave birth to the Likud, to the Soviet Jewry movement which spawned Yisrael Beiteinu, to the Sephardi revolution called Shas.

But revolutions get old. Their fire goes out, and with it, their memory. This is what their leaders forget:

When a revolution is born, it is born messy. It erupts hoarse and rough-edged and faltering. Its hunger may not have direction. When a revolution begins to move under its own power, it doesn’t play by the rules. It’s one of the ways you can know that it’s for real. And it’s one of the reasons why this one may be so difficult to contain.

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Anger Tsunami: Mass protest wave reaches Israel

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Nobel chairman warns Europe’s leaders over ‘inflaming far-right sentiment’

From The Guardian UK:

Thorbjørn Jagland says Europe’s leaders are ‘playing with fire’ if they use right-wing rhetoric when discussing multiculturalism

, home affairs editor, Saturday 30 July 2011

Europe’s leaders, including David Cameron, have been warned to adopt a more “cautious” approach when discussing multiculturalism. The Norwegian chairman of the Nobel peace prize committee has told them they risk inflaming far-right and anti-Muslim sentiment.

Thorbjørn Jagland, a former prime minister of his country, said leaders such as the British premier would be “playing with fire” if they continued to use rhetoric that could be exploited by extremists.

Four months ago in Munich, Cameron declared that state multiculturalism had failed in Britain, a view immediately praised by Nick Griffin, leader of the BNP, as “a further huge leap for our ideas into the political mainstream”. Marine Le Pen, vice-president of the far-right National Front party in France, also endorsed Cameron’s view of multiculturalism, claiming that it corroborated her own party’s line.

Jagland’s comments come in the wake of the Oslo bomb and the massacre on Utøya Island that left 77 people dead. The killer, Anders Behring Breivik, said he was inspired by the right-wing English Defence League. Breivik sent his manifesto, published online hours before the attacks, to about 250 British members of the BNP, the EDL and the Stop Islamisation of Europe group.

Jagland, who is also secretary general of the Council of Europe, told the Observer: “We have to be very careful how we are discussing these issues, what words are used.

“Political leaders have got to defend the fact that society has become more diverse. We have to defend the reality, otherwise we are going to get into a mess. I think political leaders have to send a clear message to embrace it and benefit from it.

“We should be very cautious now, we should not play with fire. Therefore I think the words we are using are very important because it can lead to much more.”

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Your Chicken Nuggets Are Killing Your Crab Cakes

From Mother Jones:

By Tom Philpott
Thu Jul. 28, 2011

Every year in the Chesapeake Bay, an algae bloom spreads out, sucking oxygen out of the water and destroying fish habitat. This year’s “dead zone” stretches from Baltimore Harbor to south of the Potomac River, the Washington Post reports. It’s on track to become the bay’s largest ever. Already, fully a third of the bay—once one of the globe’s most productive fisheries—is incapable of supporting sea life.

Meanwhile, down the Gulf of Mexico, the same thing is happening on an even grander scale. According to Texas A&M University researchers, this year’s Gulf dead zone blots out 3,300 square miles of our nation’s most important fishery—”roughly the size of Delaware and Rhode Island combined,” they calculate. Before the year’s out, it could as much as triple in size, the researchers fear, which would make it the Gulf’s largest hypoxic (oxygen-depleted) area ever.

Why such huge dead zones this year? The immediate cause is heavy rains in both the Midwest and the Northeast, which wash vast amounts of nutrients down streams and rivers and into the sea at key river delta areas like the Chesapeake and the Gulf. There, the nutrients provide a feast for algae, and voilà, dead zones.

But the ultimate source of the nitrogen and phosphorus that feed the algae blooms is industrial agriculture: millions of acres of fertilizer-guzzling corn farms in the Mississippi River watershed and massive concentrations of chicken farms right on the banks of the Chesapeake.


But this is pure industry hucksterism. In the Gulf, according to the US Geological Survey, “agricultural sources contribute more than 70 percent of the nitrogen and phosphorus…versus only 9 to 12 percent from urban sources.” As for the Chesapeake, Pew Environment Group has just released a major report called Big Chicken (PDF) that demonstrates the poultry industry’s devastating impact on the bay. The poultry industry has chosen to concentrate enormous production on the bay’s eastern shore, known as the Delmarva Peninsula. The factory-scale poultry farms there generate more than 40 million cubic feet of nitrogen- and phosphorus-rich manure—much more than can be effectively absorbed by the area’s limited farmland as fertilizer. As a result, all too much of it runs off into the bay, Pew shows.

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