Friday, September 23, 2005


GREAT STUFF FOR YOUR WEEKEND (plus same old bad news)

NPR has a really great website ! Not only can you hear current and past shows on line, but they have some great web only features. I really love their concert series! Coming up on Sept 27, THE WHITE STRIPES (pictured left) in concert w/ M. Ward and the Shins. You can also hear past performances including Lucinda Williams, Bloc Party, Interpol, Secret Machines, Kings of Leon, and many others.

Last week, NPR and WBGO Jazz 88, sponsored a concert to benefit Katrina victims at New York's Rose Theatre. Those performing included Norah Jones (pictured, right), James Taylor, Paul Simon, Wynton Marsalis, Aaron Neville, Elvis Costello, Bette Midler, Dianne Krall, Robin Williams, Buckwheat Zydico and many, many others. You can here all five hours, in one hour segments here: HIGHER GROUND CONCERT.

There are some really great performances here. I really loved Paul Simon's performance! Norah Jones was terrific, as were all of the performances!

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Securities and Exchange Commission and federal prosecutors are investigating Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's sale of stock in HCA Inc., the hospital operating company founded by his family.

In a statement released Friday, the Nashville-based company said federal prosecutors for the Southern District of New York issued a subpoena for documents HCA believes are related to the sale of its stock by the senator.

Frist's office confirmed the SEC is looking into the sale. Read the entire story HERE


The arrest of Bush administration budget official David Safavian is the latest in a widening web of arrests and indictments related to controversial lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Under investigation for fraud, Abramoff has had close ties to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and other high-profile conservatives. Read the entire story: HERE

Even hard core Republicans are increasingly disgusted with their parties performance!

in Sept. 23, 2005 CAPITAL HILL BLUE

In "Crash," Hollywood's finest movie so far this year, a prosperous black filmmaker tells a black gangbanger: "You embarrass me. You embarrass yourself."

As a Republican, I say to the even more rapacious GOP Congressional leadership: "You embarrass me. You embarrass yourselves."

Not long ago, the Republican Congress at least pretended to be serious about keeping federal spending plausibly sane. While they hurled massive expenditures in every direction, at least their rhetoric honored the grassroots-Republican expectation that they would respect taxpayers' money.

But, save for a band of fiscally responsible backbenchers (about whom more soon), profligate Congressional Republicans have surrendered on this front.

Their leaders no longer try to restrain spending, nor do they even say the right things about stewarding tax dollars.

As the House of Representatives approved $62.3 billion in universally applauded assistance to Hurricane Katrina's survivors, fiscal conservatives attempted to reduce other spending. House leaders rebuffed their amendment.

"My answer to those who want to offset the spending is sure, bring the offsets," House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, told reporters Sept. 13. "But nobody has been able to come up with any yet." Asked if Washington operated at top efficiency, DeLay made free-market jaws drop when he said: "Yes, after 11 years of Republican majority, we've pared it down pretty good."

That's right. And Elvis died of anorexia.

Since the "Republican Revolution" of 1994, domestic discretionary spending has grown from $259 billion to $466 billion, an annual average of 5.5 percent, Cato Institute scholar Stephen Slivinski calculates. Under President Bush, this figure has accelerated 8 percent per annum, on average, far ahead of inflation.

On President Clinton's watch, the 1998 highway bill groaned under some 1,850 pork-barrel items. The 2005 highway bill, written and signed by Republicans, virtually suffocated beneath 6,371 fishy projects (including $2.5 million for the Blue Ridge Music Center), a 244 percent increase in fiduciary recklessness.

Consider the disgraceful $223 million bridge between Ketchikan, Alaska, and Gravina Island _ population 50. This equals $4.46 million per-capita.

Obscene? This is fiscal pornography. The bridge's $223 million price tag could have very generously awarded 892 storm-swept families $250,000 to rebuild or relocate. Asked if he would reallocate this notorious bridge's budget to Katrina's victims, GOP Rep. Don Young, chairman of the 75-member House Transportation Committee, said: "Kiss my ear."

For its part, the GOP-supervised bureaucracy resembles Luciano Pavarotti inhaling a chocolate sundae.

According to columnist Robert Novak, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., a fiscal hawk, discovered that shoddy accounting generated $41.5 billion in federal overpayments.

At NASA, the sky's the limit. It just unveiled a $104 billion plan to return to the Moon in the six-astronaut Crew Exploratory Vehicle. "Think of it as Apollo on steroids," NASA Administrator Michael Griffin said Monday...(view rest of article HERE)

Bears note: bold and italic emphasis mine

Now cooking at the Church Potluck: Caramel Dip For Apples

Love the White Stripes!
"I'm thinkin' about my doorbell, when ya gonna ring it, when ya gonna ring it?"
Have a great weekend Big Papa Bear!
I like NPR, and when I do road-trips through America, I often tune it in and keep it on for days. It seems to be decidedly better in some states than in others though....
Fiscal pornography - I like that term. It is totally beyond obscene the types of crap they spend on. I mean, I support social spending and am a firm believer in taking care of people in need. But can't the 50 people in Alaska take a goddam ferry?
Bush does have a serious spending problem. As someone who's very fiscally conservative, I don't see how Republicans chose Bush of all people to represent the party. The guy's never run a business successfully and it shows.

Good stats by the way.
If democrats could find a pro-life democrat who is fiscally conservative, has a sound approach to the War on the Jihadists, protect our borders, and keep his putz in his pants, I'll gladly consider him over a "sort-of" conservative who might wimp out on holding the spending line, use a pro-life stance to get power with no intention of doing anything, and play tiddly-winks with Islamo-fascists. Show me a candidate (not Kerry, Clinton, or Gore) who could do a good job, and I will consider him, or her.

Good luck finding one. And if a viable one is found, I'll gladly admit that I was cynical. Oh, by the way, I'm cynical towards repubs too.
UL- just out of curiosity, what does keeping your "putz" in your pants have to do with running the country? it isn't the priesthood (okay, maybe bad analogy.)

The one Democrat who fits all your criteria is 911 Commission member and former Congressman Tim Roemer. Dems are desperately trying to talk him into running against the suddenly very vulnerable Sen. Richard Lugar.

Former Nebraska Gov./Sen. Bob Carey, Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh, Illinois Sen. Barak Obama, and Gore all fit your description except for the anti abortion one. Which shouldn't be a consideration, since it should be clear to all but the most blindly zealous wingnut that Bush really has no interest in nominating a judge who will overturn Roe v. Wade.

Face it, Bush has used the religious right like a cheap whore. Which incidentally, is what the religious right has acted like. He's tossed them a couple of bucks and lots of promises, and they abandoned all their principles, allowed him to abuse them, and spread their legs and begged for more.

So, virtually any of the afore mentioned should be agreeable to you. But, just to show you I am not a hidebound anarchist pinko leftist...

I could gladly vote for a number of moderate, common sense, fiscally responsible Republicans. Topping my list would be either of the Senators from Maine (Ms. Snowe or Ms. Collins). Gov. Bob Riley of Alabama would also be an excellent choice.
I love NPR, I hope the weather wars and the Iraq war don't cut into the funds for it. Seems like Bushies were trying to flush it a few weeks ago too.
The rest of the world laughs at us how we are sex obsessed country yet freaks out about a politicians personal life - just a side point here.
I won't get political here - too much to say. (I'm a women's studies kinda chick btw)
Anyway - Great post about NPR -I love NPR too- especially the 'All Music Considered' series - you can go back and listen to all the archives of it as well.
I also listen to the UT chatt npr station all day at work they have the coolest eclectic music from lucinda to willie to john coltrane to the white stripes even - here's the link or
"I'm a womans studies kinda chick, btw".

That's a good thing!
"what does keeping your "putz" in your pants have to do with running the country?"

For that matter, what does being pro-life have to do with running a country. I thought we were talking about spending. You want outrageous social spending just wait until the medical costs of dealing with botched back-alley abortions, and more unwanted and neglected children start rolling in...

Or do we not care about spending money on those "dirty whores"?
Laura, being pro-life has ENORMOUS consequences for the unborn. And, if the pols act on their promises, great for the children, and great for the country. They are our future tax payers, local, state and federal, including Social Security! Abortion has consequences morally AND fiscally!

Now, not all of us on the religious right put our trust in politicians. We go to church each Sunday, mostly to connect with God. Some churches bring in politicians, which in my opinion is despicable! Also, you may think we are a naive lot, but we're not. The trouble with liberalism is that in their arrogance they think they have us pegged, but they don't. They treat us like dunderheads, insult us with their caracatures, depicts us as zealous idiots in their movies. Then, liberal pundits wring their hands after every election when they "see red" all over the country. Then they act totally baffled!

As to your whore analogy Bear, very good rhetorical device, I must say. And when pols don't follow through, we do feel "screwed". However, I'm not sure what you mean by the principles the religious right abandoned? You slipped that in there to juice up your rhetoric, but you need to validate that statement, buddy. Maybe you see something I don't, so, let me know.

Just because we voted for Bush doesn't mean we believe every promise George tells us. Without a doubt he was a much better candidate than Kerry. This next election, I'm looking for someone strong enough to make the promises based on principles we love and have the balls to follow through, no matter how pissed liberals and the media get. I'm not sure who that is...McCain is French kissing the left. He gives them way too much tongue and then his breath smells like theirs (how's THAT for an analogy?). Bush has been too weak and I'm disappointed.

I did email the RNC to tell them that if they continue to make pro-life promises with no action to follow through, they will lose their greasy grip on power. I'm sure they're ready to make policy changes because of it! *LOL
"The trouble with liberalism is that in their arrogance..."--Underground Logician

Oy. Oy. Oy.


Surely, my friend, you jest.

Tom DeLay is NOT a liberal; but he is the Terrell Owens of politicians.

Dick "They're in their last throes" Cheney is not a liberal; but he's the Bernard Cardinal Law of elected officials.

George "No one could have known the levees would breach" Bush is not a liberal; but he is the Donald Trump of US presidents.

How on earth can you label liberals "arrogant" when they have absolutely no power?

I'm afraid you've got the "Me Victim" syndrome.

No matter how much power your team has, you still manage to see the powerless opponents as a threat. And want to pretend that your powerless liberal opponents are arrogant in the exercise of their Constitutional duties, as an opposing party.

It's called CHECKS AND BALANCES. Which does not exist at this moment in American history.

We have a one-party system where the Republicans do what they want, without the threat of accountability. The Democrats can't even get a Congressional commission together to look at what went wrong with the response to Katrina, and the hapless, ineffective head of FEMA, Michael "You're doing a heck of a good job" Browne.


Can you say P.R.O.J.E.C.T.I.O.N.?

Please don't continue in this silliness.

Have you no objectivity whatsoever?

What happened to your sense of being an American citizen first and not a panderer to a political party that cynically calls itself compassionate?


Please, UL, I admire your intelligence. Don't let me down.
What principles have the Christian right abandoned?

let's see. these are people who supposedly worship the man who taught us to love our enemies as ourselves. to treat others as we wish to be treated. who told us there is a special blessing awaiting the poor and the peacemakers. Who told us that it is easier for a camel to crawl on it's knees in full pack for 50 yards than for a rich man to reach heaven!

Yet they continue to support a party that has, as Warren Buffet put it, been waging and winning a class war for 25 years. So successfully that the percentage of people living in poverty over that period has risen from 11% to 18%. And the percentage of children under age 14 living in poverty is now over 20%.

a party that chooses the gun as it's first option, rather than it's last. El Salvador, Nicaragua, Grenada, Panama, Afghanistan, Iraq. The neocon motto is shoot first, sort it out later!

Rather than do unto others as you would have them do unto you, the neocons who dominate the party have raised vitriol and hate speach to an art form. Not to mention graft and corruption on a scale not seen since the administration of Ulysses S Grant.

I guess those are the priciples I was talking about!

An awful lot to sacrifice to overturn Roe v. Wade and keep queers from marrying, don't you think?
wow, isabella snuck in their while i was typing. Welcome back, I've missed you!
Incidentally, Don Trump called and is highly insulted by the comparison to the dubya!
"The trouble with liberalism is that in their arrogance they think they have us pegged, but they don't. "

We could say the same thing about you, you hypocrite. To lump all liberals as the same, while accusing us of lumping all conservatives as the same defeats your point for me.

As for the question of botched abortions - you never answered my question. What do you propose we do for the women who still make that choice even after it has become illegal? Let them die? Oh, I know... personal responsibility. She should have been more forceful with her rapist and maybe he would have put on a condom...

An issue like abortion isn't as black and white as its opponents like to make it out to be. There's always an if...
I was going to jump in but Isabella, GWB and Laura (as usual) have it pegged. You're my heroes.
aw... shucks (he says blushing)
I've never been anyone's hero before. Do I need a cape?
Nah, Italian dressing. I meant you guys are my hero sandwiches. :-)
Laura: Are you saying that you are not among those who have us pegged? That you're not arrogant? Gee, your response says different. Sounds like you got me all figured out, which proves my point.

As to your shrill response with rapists using condoms...surely you don't think that killing an unborn infant solves the problem, or is even cathartic to the mother, do you? Killing an innocent would be paying forward an infinitely worse monstrosity on the innocent unborn child than what she received from the rapist.

Isabella: Always a pleasure, dear!

You, again, with your razor rhetoric, are making those truly articulate and ungrounded assertions that the left has been bleeting over in camp Casey. You say it loud and say it proud, but it's still the language of liberal sheep. At least quote me a tome from the NYTimes. Oh wait, that would be bleeting too. Never mind.

One more thing about your rapist scenario. A vast majority of abortions are done because sperm donor says to sperm receiver that he'll love her forever, he just needs to know for sure that she loves him. Sperm receiver says to sperm donor, of course, spermy, I love you and (giggle) I'll prove it to you, I'll receive your sperm! Honored, he says, Okay! Then sperm receiver says in three months, "Oh, spermy, I've got a fetus inside of me." To that, spermy replies, "Sorry, babe, this is too complicated for me. I'm not so sure this is the right thing. Let's just be friends."

This is why there's abortions...irresponsible sperm donors giving sperm to naive sperm receivers.
OK UL, but that didn't answer my question. If said sperm recipient, chose to get an abortion and it was illegal at the time and the black-market abortion scene was the same as it was before 1973 - would you condone her being corerced to perform sexual favors for an underground doctor before he'd perform an abortion. What if she got an infection, or started hemorraging? Would you want your tax dollars to pay for her medical care?

What I'm getting at is that abortions will happen, whether or not it's legal. Whether you like it or not, they won't go away, they'll just become more and more dangerous.

And your scenario is partially true, but I wouldn't say "most" abortions occur because of that. Many occur because of failed birth control and lack of proper sexual education. Many happen to women who are abused by their partners. What about them?

Like I said, there's always an "if" and you're ignoring many of the "if"s in favor of your one narrow perception so you can make abortion out to be totally wrong all the time.
Actually, UL, in response to your first comment: No, I don't have you figured out - I take you point by point. Nor am I saying that "all conservatives" are like you or are all the same - which is what you seem to be saying about us.

As for the rape scenario - that depends on what you define as an "innocent" life. But at that point, when it's just an embryo, a few days after the incident - that is very different than what you think of as a 'baby'. Having Plan B on hand for rape victims would be the alternative to a full-fledged abortion, and pro-lifers are against that too. I mean, if you think flushing a fertilized egg out of the body is murder then pretty much every woman who has had at least one menstrual cycle is a serial killer.

Find me ONE woman who has been raped and impregnated that would find it beneficial for her "closure" to carry to term. Find me one. Then what happens to the baby? Who is going to want to adopt the child of a rapist?

What's worse? Forcing a woman to carry the child of the man who violated her very soul to term, or giving her a strong dose of estrogen a few days after the rape to force her menstrual cycle to start? Which is worse to you?

Most certainly killing the baby is worse. The fetus is a baby. The fact that I state this doesn't mean that I WANT to see the mother suffer. I just don't want her to suffer infinitely more.

Look, there are thousands of couples looking for babies to adopt. A baby is a baby, no matter how it is conceived. It's not the baby's fault the "father" is a monster. Why put the mother in a position to kill the child?

To answer my question, there is nothing cathartic about abortion. It's a false hope to think that eliminating the child cures the mom. Not only does the woman have to deal with damage done to her by the rapist, now she'll have the nagging guilt of killing the fetus.

Don't be naive here, there is a multitude of women getting therapy to help deal with the enormous guilt of their past abortion(s). Flushing the fetus down the toilet is a multiplication of her sorrows. It's wrong to communicate a false hope to these women, and it's a tragedy beyond our capacity to understand what happens to the infant.

On another topic, you make a moral equivalence between abortion and miscarriage. Mom's who miscarry don't try to miscarry, at vast majority of them. Abortion is deliberate, intentional,...and final.

Lastly, you do think you have me pegged. You called me a hypocrite. So, you must know enough about me to claim that I am acting.
I'd jump into this argument, except:
a) I think the point is moot. I don't see anyway that Roe gets overturned anytime soon.

b) We can argue all we want about when an egg or a zygote or a fetus reach humanhood. That's relevent only if you believe life is sacred. If I believed that, I'd be a vegetarian. Life is to be respected, but it's not sacred.

So, UL... you believe life to be sacred? Then you must be against the death penalty, huh?

It always bemuses me when my Christian friends rail against abortion because "life is sacred", then want to fry, hang, or disembowel every killer and crook that comes through the justice system.
Not every killer and crook, just killers, and that would be rare. And I wouldn't approve of the human deep-fat fryer, or the Ronco Portable Colon extractor. I have wondered about the guillotine, but so have you. So you can breath a sigh of relief and count me as among those Christians you don't consider wacked. You may want to have a lot of paper on hand, for there is a huge amount of very reasonable Christians.

Really, you consistently do this, Bear. You make a moral equivalence between a killer's life and the life of a pre-born infant. You don't have an argument; you expose a fallacy in your thinking. Then you think you're covered when you employ your great powers of rhetoric. You're not. You have style without substance. And that's too bad. You could be a debating demigod.

Second, your statement that the the discussion of the humanity of the fetus is moot is hogwash. You are being pragmatic, no doubt, but this is the greatest moral issue of our age. Political pragmatism has no place here. This issue is greater than the evil George KKKBush playing guitar during KKKKatrina.

You may want to dampen the discussion, and you are free to cut it off since you are this blog's potentate. However, the Left's unanswered question keeps resounding: what is the fetus? This metaphysical question is ALWAYS skirted by those who seek to maintain abortion as a form of birth control.

One may safely state that one doesn't know if the fetus is human or not. If that be the case, then they must approach this issue in the same logical fashion that is used in hunter safety coarses: If you can't identify your quarry, don't shoot. If we are not sure if the fetus is human, don't chop it up and suck it into a sink! Life is precious; and that includes the lives that your hypothetical killers snuff out for fun.
Those of us who are pro-choice (and be careful of the term"the left", I know political conservatives who are pro choice) have no trouble answering the question "what is a fetus?" A fetus is a POTENTIAL human life. And there's the rub. At what point does a potential life become more important than an existing life?

In my mind, the health/well being of a woman, or a family, will always trump the well being of a potential human.

And, incidentally, pragmatism has no more important a place than in politics! It's pragmatists who get things done, ideologues just gum up the works, which is why this country is such a mess.

Abortion the greatest moral issue of the age? I think not! I would think that poverty, church/state relations, human rights all rank well above abortion.

Which brings us full circle back to my original premise. That the religious right has sacrificed their principles on the alter of abortion.
"To answer my question, there is nothing cathartic about abortion."

Do you know this from personal experience? Just curious. I mean, you sound like a man, but you could be a woman who's experienced this first hand. You never know with the internet and all.

note I didn't say fetus. Is it a fetus two days after it's concieved? If so, then every woman who has ever had her period has killed at least one.

"Abortion the greatest moral issue of the age? I think not! I would think that poverty, church/state relations, human rights all rank well above abortion."

Well said. Given the sheer number of people on this earth who live in poverty and have their human rights trampled on a daily basis, the occasional instances of abortion pales in comparison. Of course, one of the best ways to fight poverty is by helping women take control of their own fertility - since the overwhelming majority of people living in poverty are women and children.
Repubs who are pro-abortion are with the Left on this issue. That was easy! No care needed for saying that. And, I'm still feeling secure in myself.

How is the fetus a potential human life? Potential...great term. It means something that could be but does not exist yet. Uh, the fetus exists, Bear. Which brings me to the question, "What is the fetus?"
We know it isn't a puppy, cat, fish, or scorpion. It is a human.
That was quick and easy!

I would say an unfertilized human egg in a woman's filopian tube is a potential human. Once the egg is fertilized, there is zero chance of it not being human. And if it comes to term and is born, we have a cute little baby!

If women quit choosing to have sex with sperm donors who tell them that "they'll love 'em forever," and get a high school diploma, they'll have a huge chance of avoiding poverty. I call these particular male species "sperm donors" for they are not men!

These women are victimized by a dark moral climate that treats them as things to have orgasms with. It is dehumanizing and gross devaluation of womankind. If women would absolutely demand respect from these subhumans, well, the human race would be much better off; at least the women. If da man got it so bad, then, farmers better lock up the barns! I pity any of the female gender of sheep, horses, lamas, chipmunks, etc. If these "oversexed idiots" can't find a woman, they'll have to resort to beastiality. Then they can propagate more of their own kind.

I'm serious. I'm using hyperbole to make a point. The sexual revolution has destroyed the honor of woman, and then feminism tries to repair it. The religious right have a point if you're willing to listen to the vast majority of intelligent Christians. Trouble is, when you find some wacked Fundie, the temptation is to make a rash generalization towards all Christians. Be open, Laura, to the good stuff! We're not all wierdos...well, at least I'm not! I'm a tremendous person. Just ask Isabella DiPesto!
How does being pro-life jibe with being pro-war? I can almost grant you that you can be pro-life and for capital punishment (I don't agree with it but I can see your logic).

Thousands of non-combatants have died in Iraq and Afghanistan merely by virture of being in the wrong country at the wrong time ... and that's OK with you? War mongering by pro-lifers is disgusting and disingenuous.

You have figured us out. Damn it. So I might as well confess. I can't play this UL game anymore... I really work for Haliburton, I'm 33 degree Satanist in Anton LeVey's Church of Satan and I've been trying to deceive you all. But, you have been too smart for me. So, I will spill the beans and tell Anton that I failed. He'll be back, so be on your guard.

I hope you find it disgusting that we support the death of innocent human beings, but say we are against abortion. Deep down, we don't care for either. We just want POWER. I don't care if you call us hypocrites. This whole War on Terror is a front. We don't care about 9/11. It was an inside job and we have used the deaths of 3000 Americans for emotional fuel for our fiendish plot. It's all about Power, like I said, and they way to power is having all the oil in the world. Iraq is just one of the main oil exporters we're after. We'll get this oil from Iraq if we have to car-bomb all the Iraqis to kingdom come. I have two vehicles to run and I'm not going to pay this $2/gal. gasoline, no..$2.49/gal gasoline, no...$2.89/gal. gasoline, no...$3.09/gal. gasoline, whatever. President Bush's carbombs are doing just what we want.

I say, let's move this operation to Saudi Arabia. We'll set up a provisional government there to look like we're helping and then undermine and destroy the very process just like we are doing in Iraq. We'll send car-bombs into market places to kill innocent women and children and then blame the poor freedom fighters who are just trying to get their country back! Mooohooohahahahahahah. They'll never get it back! Never! We are the supreme 21st century imperialists, we have the most bombs, and we WILL rule the world. We are vile, despicable, mean, utterly disgusting, and we LOVE IT! We love being evil!!! And we just luv to deceive people with our pro-life facade. It's the sticky web that entraps them into our hellish dining room. Delicious!

We even take the very best land, the very choicest nuggets, like Afghanistan, and plunder of all its wealth. Took about 45 minutes, but we are rolling in wealth untold!!!! (maybe it's untold because there is none)

dbackdad, you have figured us out. Now you must join Bear and the rest of America's freedom fighters and guillotine us out of existence for the sake of America,, the future of the entire planet!!!!
I'm not trying to put you into a little box. I'm honestly trying to understand the contradiction. Enlighten me instead of trying to entertain me with your hyperbole. I know that you believe what you do for a reason.

I did feel good to blow off some steam. It wasn't to insult you. Mainly, I'm showing off my manic side.

The issue revolves around three principles.

1. Intention: do we intend to kill the innocent. This involves knowledge of the person as being innocent. If we fully intend with with full knowledge, it's a greater evil. Incidental or accidental killing, though tragic, has much less morally evil than intentional killing with full knowledge.
2. Matter: The act itself must be intrinsically evil. Always killing an innocent is evil, killing a man who is trying to kill you or your wife is not intrinsically evil; bad for the dude, not for you or your wife.
3. Freedom: If we kill freely without being coerced is a far greater evil than being force against our will.

All these three work in concert with each other. So, in the case of abortion where an innocent human in the form of an unborn infant is always materially wrong. There are no mitigating circumstances involving the baby threatening human life. The abortionist or the mother may or may not know if the fetus is human, and the woman may or may not always do it with compulsion, so it's not a cut and dried "mom is guilty." The intentional killing of the pre-born is always to be prevented. To call all moms who have had abortions murderers is inflammatory, for usually moms who abort are hoodwinked to thinking the fetus isn't human. For those who do know and don't give a damn, murder would fit well.

In the case of war, when bombs and missles go off, and innocent human life is caught in the cross-hairs, it is not intentional though extremely tragic,and is to be avoided as much as can be done. So, here, death as an accident or unintentionally as a result of war is a lesser evil.

Compare the innocent who die unintentionally versus the innocent who die intentionally and the intentional killing of the innocent is always a greater evil. If the United States wished to annex Saudi Arabia, take its oil and kill all the citizens, then it would be on the same level of evil as abortion.

Boy that was wordy. Yech.
Thank you UL. You state your case very well. I don't agree with it but I understand where you are coming from.

One thing I wonder, though, is how we would react if the tables were turned. Would we be so willing to accept collaterral damage if another country attacked? Would we take statements from foreign leaders like:

"We are going to extraordinary lengths to avoid the loss of innocent civilian life."

"Never before have weapons been used in war that were so precise, allowing us to target military and government installations without harming residential areas."

"We take very seriously the need to protect the innocent from harm."

--- All statements we have used when justifying civilian deaths in other countries.

Here's a decent article going further into just that scenario:

The Moral Calculus of Killing
I haven't the time to read your link since I'm supposed to be composing for some papers due next week. However, I do agree that to actually calculate a percentage of collateral deaths is what makes war so vile. And unless there is no means to avoid it due to a threat to our security, it should be avoided at all costs.

Iraq is troubling to me, for the issue of the War on Terror is really a religious and ideological one at its core. It's one thing to put up with an obnoxious street preacher who is insulting to the core. We can tolerate that, though we may want to deck him. It's different when a religious group has a belief that you are supposed to be dead, or Muslim; presumably dead.

Now, we can keep trying to kill terrorists, but it will create more. On the other hand, we can be passive, but may open ourselves to major acts of violence and destruction by people who don't share our views of tolerance.

You may be surprised to hear that from me. What makes this such a mess is when the media, who hold a position of trust to get the truth to people, oversimplify or misrepresent the actions and events that are taking place in Iraq. For instance, international terrorist organizations are actively engaged to prevent any new government in Iraq. They're killing and maiming of innocent citizens with a brutality that amazes us, and I think scares us Americans very deeply.

The power agendas that are active in media attribute these civilian deaths ultimately to Bush and his policies. If Bush had never gone into Iraq, the now named as freedom-fighters would not be killing these people. As long as America is present in Iraq, innocent people die. Hence, you have a quantum leap of logic to say Bush is the cause. Works great to move people politically. It is a fallacy of false causes.

It may be that our presence is a remote cause, for we are, by initially using force, trying to instill political change that will free the people. And we knew that our enemies will not let this happen without a fight. Does this mean we are irresponsible? No...depends on the moral nature of the objective and whether there would be harm from our inaction. Besides, it's not the Iraqi people in toto who are mad; it's the non-Iraqi terrorists from the outside and a small minority on the inside that are mad.

This is what angers me, for I can see the power of misinformation and what it is negatively doing to people's view of reality, and the media and the political structures that is connected to it are benefiting. It also hurts the morale of the military, and demoralizes a nation that really needs to be patient with a very patient enemy. Good willed people become morally outraged at Bush and those who orchestrate this scenario gain power. The little man who doesn't know better and doesn't have the ability to know what's happening outside his little world is being taken advantage of by those who have won his trust. It's a point of justice and I don't want to see the little man hurt anymore.

Does this mean I think President Bush is next to the Immaculate Conception and does no wrong? No! That's a ruse used by some to confuse the discussion but don't have an intelligent response to the argument. I hear it all the time and it's a worn out tool.

So I think we have an EXTREMELY DANGEROUS situation with the Islamic Jihadists and any intentional misinformation to slant our view of reality poses a major threat to our nation.
Man, I might not have time to read a link, but I have time to drone on and on and on and on...?

He-he. No apology necessary. I enjoyed your post very much.

And we all drone on and on. That's why we have blogs. We weren't content with just subjecting our own families to our particular brand of wisdom. We had to subvert a new audience. :-)
oh yeah.

"Really, you consistently do this, Bear. You make a moral equivalence between a killer's life and the life of a pre-born infant. You don't have an argument; you expose a fallacy in your thinking."

Either life is sacred or it isn't. God didn't say "thou shalt not kill, except as explained under subsection 10 of the commandment adendium" He said thou shalt not kill. If that applies to potential humans, it certainly applies to the living, breathing variety. You can't claim that an unborn fetus is so sacred that it must be protected at all costs, but the same doesn't apply to the living. That my friend, is moral relativism.

mark's note: If this seems place, it's because it didn't get sent this morning for some reason
UL - why is it always women who have sex with men who say "they'll love them forever"? Aren't people, as human beings, allowed to enjoy sex without a lifelong committment? I'm not a believer in the sex for procreation, within the bounds of marriage camp. I do think, however, that abortion is a LAST resort. Why doesn't "your" camp push for better, more effective, and safer birth control? Push for insurance companies to be required to cover such things the way they cover Viagra? Promote better, honest, sex education?

You seem to want the whole world to conform to your shameful view of sex. Why not work with the rest of the world to help bring about an "end" to needless abortions by promoting the things above?

Now, take me for example - I'm married. We don't have children, and don't want them. Am I to remain celibate even within the bounds of "holy" marriage? Sure we use birth control, but the only method that is 100% effective involves surgery and is VERY expensive. So what are we to do? Remain celibate? What happens if I do get pregnant though a failure of the device? Shouldn't I, a married, educated woman who hasn't been sleeping around, have the right to choose whether I want to be pregnant?

Tell me what to do. I need your male guidance. I'm just a woman.


Do you want my guidance? Sorry, I don't have time and I'm not sure I'm a good candidate for that. However, I'll let you in on what I believe and you take it from there.

First you assume I have a shameful view of sex. Don't know how you could ever assert that, and I don't share this with people very much. But I will say that procreation as a purpose for sex is primary, though the pleasure involved is very important too. It's not one over the other. Victorian morality did not come from the Catholic Church, but frigid Anglicans. We hot little Catholics love sex, AND we love kids also. We don't choose one over the other.

But I need to backtrack a little here, and it involves our modern views of marriage. Why do people get married nowadays? They are intending to choose their mates for life. I don't think it's for sex although there are many who have no qualms about sex out of marriage. But the moral underpinnings of our culture still have a grip on us enough to think of sex within context of marriage. What contraception has done has brought in a new and dangerous idea that bringing up children in a marriage has become an option. It allows couples to have sex without the "fear" of getting pregnant. In a nutshell, the value of children and family are devalued greatly in our culture from what it used to be. When people ask a parent how many kids he or she have, it is often that I hear "we have two, and that's enough." Big sigh, rolling of the eyes. Now, if the kids are in ear-shot of this, what does this mean? They are a lot of work and trouble. Granted they can be work, but to see them in terms of dollars and cents, convenience, inconvenience, etc. and say, therefore, we won't have any more misses the greater point: what is the value of a human family?

It is no accident or mere coincidence that Roe v. Wade followed and was built on Griswold vs. Connecticut (see my Griswold vs. Connecticut post). Married couples wanted to have the privacy to choose contraception in Griswold. Roe v. Wade used the same "privacy" condition to allow women to privately abort.

We are so used to this concept of aborting children and contracepting that the Catholic idea of having children sounds archaic and oppressive. It really is not. The Catholic idea of family is an elevated view of family, children and integrity in the sexual act. Feminists see this as the Church's attempt to oppress women and keep them barefoot and pregnant, but it's not.

I thank God for my sisters and brother. I don't know what my life would be without them! There is no value that I could place on them and we have irreplaceable memeories of our growing up together. We laugh and have inside jokes with each other. Anticeptic families with 2.3 children don't have the joy and memories and richness of life that larger families have.

That's all for now. Let me know what you think.
UL - That may be your reality. But my reality is quite different. Procreation isn't my primary purpose. And as for your insinuation that contraception has devalued family, I find that preposterous.

Is it really a bad thing to give people the option of having or not having children? Aren't there enough children without homes to go around? I have given more thought to NOT having kids than most people give to having them. I have my reasons, and they're good ones. Isn't it worse, morally, for me to have a child that I don't really want than for me to make the responsible decision that I know I don't want them (much to my mother's dismay). There are so many abused and neglected children in this world precisely because people have children before they are ready to. Birth control allows someone to make a responsible decision.

I think viewing having children as an obligation is actually devaluing family moreso than someone who puts a lot of thought into whether or not to have them. Having a kid just because it's "expected," to me, isn't a good enough reason. You should WANT the kid - because kids are smart enough to know when they're not wanted.

As for parents saying "two and that's enough" in front of their kids - that's bad form. Just like it's bad form for a divorced parent to badmouth the other in front of the kid.

I understand your points and I'm not insisting on an obligatory mindset of having children and hating the entire process. Couples who do this STILL have not seen the infinite value of family. They are probably caught up in the difficulties, lost dreams, the sky's the limit as to negative reasons. I don't want to be preachy here, so if you sense this, it is not entirely intentional; feel free to tune it out.

The issue is the integrity of the marriage act itself. It has tremendous meaning beyond the joy and the orgasm. It is an act that symbolizes the total self-giving between the husband and wife. Of course, it is extremely pleasureable; giving of ourselves totally and completely to our mate is to be the greatest joy on earth. The act itself is this way, and it ought to symbolize the life between the husband and wife as well. Since we are flawed creatures, we are continually trying to rise up to this ideal. However, as we do rise up to it, we have greater joy, love.

And because love is total self-giving, children are the result of this love. It's being open to the GIFT of life. Now, your point about having the freedom to choose to have children or not isn't excluded; the reasons to not have children are different. Since love is the foundation, there would be no decisions that would be self-centered and foolish. To say, "We don't want children because I already have pets, husband, etc., or prefer a career, or just want my freedom, may be adequate reasons for the average person, but in a relationship that is totally self-giving, these are grossly inadequate.

Couples who see that having children would incur a serious hardship, i.e., physical or emotional damage to the wife, serious financial hardships, etc. are good reasons to not have children. Here's the rub. Couples ought then to abstain from sex during the hot times of the month.

It's not bad to abstain, it's a natural form of birth control (this is not hypocritical). The reasons to abstain are loving (the health of the wife, or stability of the family, and so on), and the integrity of the marriage act remains intact and loving. Remember, the Catholic Church is not against natural birth control, it's against ARTIFICIAL birth control. Natural Family Planning is based on love and temperance. Ah, temperance, an archaic word that is scoffed at by our modern and post-modern culture. Why do that? We got the pill; you can have your sex and not have the kids. Why bother?

Artificial birth control ultimately alters the marriage act by REDUCING it to an act of orgasm and physical pleasure without the total self-giving love. It's saying to the mate, I love you and want to be intimate, but I don't want your sperm (woman's view), your child; or, I love you, but, I don't want your egg, or your child (man's view). It's an "I love you, but..." arrangement.

I'm done. Man I can get wordy!
dude, no offense, but that's really conveluted. Birth control is birth control. Besides, I know quite a few Cathokic couples who praciticed "natural" birth control back in the days before virtually all Catholics in the northern hemisqhere got fed up and ignored the edict. We referred to those practitioners as PARENTS, although we now refer to many of them as grandparents.

Let me tell you a little story. Out of high school, I attended a very small Evangelical college (which is how I ended up in bf Indiana). It was a very mediocre college except for one thing. It's Elementary Education program was the best in the northern half of the state. We had a local girl, who was Catholic, attending because of the E.E. program. Unlike me, virtualy none of the other students had grownup in a Catholic neighborhood, or even had much contact, so she was sort of a curiousity. And we were to her also. So the conversation often turned to the cultural differences between Catholics and Evangelicals. She was impressed by how much less pressure the girls at our school felt to marry than she and her friends did.

She said that she and her friends had been taught since early childhood that it was a Catholic girls duty to get married and have lots of children so as to outnumber the Protestants. She suddenly found that whole idea preposterous.

The whole birth control ban is born of a time when there was political and economic rivalry between protestants and catholics. When we maintained socially segregated communities. That time deservedly breathed it's last gasp about thirty years ago. As, for all practical purposes, did the birth control ban. Good riddance to both. they were archaeic and deserved their fate.
So then, Bear, your version of history is, that before 1517, before Luther nailed the ninety-five theses on the Wittenberg Church door, the Church was in favor of artificial birth control. Is that right?

So it was sort of conspiracy. Catholics needed to reproduce like mad. But in order for the scheme to work, it had to be okayed by Protestants, for they were against it for about 422 years. The Anglicans in 1939 at Lambeth finally okayed the use of artificial birth control. How could that have happened? Was the Catholic Church involved in their decision? It would seem that they'd have to, if they are going to outnumber the Protestants.

So, in the 66 years that Protestants have been contracepting, we now boast of having about a billion Catholics in the world, versus about 375 million Protestants. I'd say we did pretty good, being we had only 20% of Catholics in the US who don't contracept. So you think Pope Benedict will say we can stop now?
Sam, I am just relaing the story as it happened. And in my lifetime, I know of no Protestant church which has banned birth control (except the House of David, who banned sex all together, which explains why they non longer exist). Not that that matters either.

The ban on birth control is archaeic, out of touch with the reality of an already overpopulated world, and makes the church seem antiquated, irrelevant, and out of touch. Which is why Catholic church attendance keeps going down and evangelical attendance keeps going up. Even using your optimistic standards, 80% of American Catholics ignore he ban.

To use a baseball analogy, if 80% of YOUR league thinks it's a bad rule, why yell at our league for changing it?
You think I'm just yelling at your league? No, my friend, I'm not. I am aware of the 80% of Catholics who don't follow the ban. The Church won't budge, and I'm glad of it. Christ's kingdom is not a democracy where we can vote on what we like or don't like.

I'm sure the story you are relating is true. It tells you of the sad state of how ignorant the majority of Catholics are as to what their faith teaches and why.

As to it being's not a matter of keeping up with the changes, it's staying faithful to moral principles. It's like this, people in general know about Jesus' command to love our neighbor, but many ignore it. Why? Because it's antiquated? It is an old command, but it is tried and true.

If we stuck our finger to test the political breeze about our faith, it would go the way of the episcopals and Canon Eugene Robinson.
I realize i am about to use the very much over used and over valued slippery slope argument, but I believe it applies here to a point.

When a denomination dogmatically hangs on to traditions, articles of faith, etc., that virtually it's entire membership believes to be irrelevant to their faith, then the church weakens it's over all influence with it's members. It becomes much easier to question other doctrines, perhaps more well founded ones, when you continue to promote ones that are found to be virtually irrelevent by the congregates.

If you wish to see the Catholic Church become completely irrelevent in North Amerca and Europe, that is the way to do it!
Yes, you are using a slippery slope fallacy. I understand why people think it is irrelevant...they don't want to knuckle under. They want to do what they want to do. Whether it is irrelevant is another matter. The Church, as a people, are to represent the life of Jesus Christ. If you leave the definition of who Jesus Christ is and the interpretation of what he teaches to the people at large, you have...protestantism. Then you have more and more disagreeing and disagreeable denominations dotting the landscape, filling our wonderful land with confusion.

Then people, like yourself, who become confused by this, and see even some nuttiness and wacko forms of Christianity, shit-can the whole works and try to do the best they can without the mess.

So, the commands of Christ are irrelevant to a people who don't want to follow, and become indistinguishable from human opinion when humans are allowed to "make Christ relevant." This is why the Catholic Church doesn't change, Christ hasn't changed, not in nature, character or principle.
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