Abortions happen most frequently (and most unsafely) in countries where it’s illegal

Via USA Today (via the Associated Press), The Lancet just published a study finding very high correlation between abortions and laws restricting same. Seems the more Draconian your anti-woman laws are, the higher the abortion rates, and the more likely that the abortions will be unsafe.

About 47,000 women died from unsafe abortions in 2008, and another 8.5 million women had serious medical complications. Almost all unsafe abortions were in developing countries, where family planning and contraceptive programs have mostly levelled off.

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Canada about to lose any vestige of internet privacy

Despite how pro-privacy the Harper government has claimed to be, with the destruction of the long gun registry out of privacy concerns, it is absolutely no surprise to me that they’re total hypocrites when it comes to actual privacy concerns, like warrantless information-gathering from ISPs.

Suppose you read an online article – not this one, hopefully – that makes you so angry you post a comment under your online pseudonym, “Irate Canuck,” saying that someone ought to shoot the author. The police notice.

Under legislation that the Conservatives will soon be introducing, the police could order your Internet service provider to hand over your personal information so that they could have a talk with you.

If they are sufficiently concerned, they could get a warrant and begin tracking your every move. You really should have turned off the GPS on your smart phone.
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America’s Softest-on-Rape Sheriff

Joe Arpaio, self-styled as “America’s Toughest Sheriff”, who runs his jail like a concentration camp (and even uses the words himself!), who mistreats inmates grotesquely in torturous living conditions and abuses his power like a twisted and self-righteous god, is under fire for failing to investigate alleged sex crimes.

The Associated Press reported that between 2005 and 2007, Arpaio’s office not only failed to adequately investigate sex crimes, but in some cases never opened investigations at all — even when the suspects were known to police.

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AFA: gay marriage leads to polyamory, car, building, dog marriage

Apparently, according to the yahoos at the American Family Association, if gays are allowed to marry, that literally opens the door for polyamory right then and there. Those of you in polyamorous relationships need only fight for gay marriage, I guess! It’s awesome that the bar for polyamory was that low, that we could fix two sets of injustices by fixing one of them! Should be seriously heartening news to everyone presently unable to celebrate their love officially, and obtain legal protections for their loved ones.
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On the Role of the Middle Class in Occupy Wall Street

I’ve been involved in a conversation with Juniper Shoemaker these past few days about the Occupy Wall Street movement, the worry that the middle class will eventually co-opt it, and that the concerns of the less-privileged will be subsumed into returning the middle class to the status quo. It’s also been a conversation largely about language, and it’s covered a good deal of territory that we’ve already been over. At the same time, I think the conversation exposes a lot of nuance that we haven’t discussed, so it’s worth continuing in a new post. I’m answering this comment primarily, but there are other bits of the conversation in the “Clue this dude in” post and it touches on something martha said as well.
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It might not get better after all.

I love the “It Gets Better” campaign, started by newspaper personality Dan Savage. The message he has to deliver though, that bullying and oppression that you might experience by coming out as gay or transsexual or any other non-hetero orientation will eventually wane as others mature and learn to embrace plurality, might be… shall we say, inaccurate? Via sinned34’s blog:

President Obama to gay victims of bullying: “It gets better.”

Family Research Council to those same kids: “No, it doesn’t, you goddamned queers!”

Yeah. Really. Hardly any exaggeration there.

I honestly wish I was joking about this, but here’s the mailing the Family Research Council sent out recently.

EGADS! A homosexual extremist! I fully expect Dan Savage to strap on his pink Hello Kitty AK47 and bomb churches with fragmentation grenades shaped like dildos now! And I’m sure his terrorist attire would match his pumps, too! Seriously, people on the right throw around the word “extremist” to mean “people who advocate things that we don’t believe in”. It’s a pejorative that’s lost all meaning today, such that when you point to religious fundamentalists who stockpile guns and bomb buildings and call them extremists, the word just doesn’t capture their extremism any more.

The Family Research Council is not an extremist organization by any stretch of the imagination, but they are a religiously motivated single-issue political organization built around the idea that the only Biblically-acceptable family unit is one of man and wife, and any other family unit is evil and immoral. The people making up any non-heteronormative family unit are equally evil and immoral according to these chuckleheads.

Homosexuality, despite all the bloviating by these fools, is probably genetic.

The Family Research Council is therefore casting as a “moral failing” something that these children can no sooner control than they can control their handedness or hair color. Sure, you could train yourself to write with your right hand despite your natural inclinations; sure, you could dye your hair; but neither action will change your genetics. The fact that some really old book can be interpreted as saying that homosexuals are evil, doesn’t mean that anyone with that particular confluence of genes is actually evil. There’s nothing immoral (in the sense of “objectively harmful to society as a whole”) for people to be attracted to whomever they’re genetically predisposed to be attracted to. The only argument I’ve ever seen that might make it objectively harmful to society is one where you extrapolate out homosexual behaviour to the populace as a whole — if everyone were to switch to homosexuality, the human race would stop breeding and would die after a generation.

But that’s not what anyone’s suggesting here; what we’re suggesting is that we accept that proportion of the population whose genes direct them to be attracted to the same sex. We’re suggesting that you just live and let live. Love who you want to love. Tolerate who doesn’t love what you love. Be intolerant of people who are intolerant of others for stupid reasons like what genes they happen to have. Treat homophobes the same way as we’d treat someone who called being left-handed immoral and sinful. It is incumbent upon us to achieve a more perfect morality than the morality handed down by some goat-herders in the Middle-East who knew less about genetics than they did about the shape of the Earth or the orbits of the planets. We’re better than those morals. We deserve better than those morals.

Unless we can stomp out this bigotry, this intolerance, this hateful adherence to really old prejudices, then it might not get better. It’s up to us. Do we want it to Get Better? Because if we let bullshit like this slide, then it might not get better after all.

Why am I anti-conservative, when many conservative financial ideals make sense?

untitled83 asked on my recent post about electoral projections:

I just have a quick question I’ve wanted to ask a strong liberal, or should i say a strong anti-conservative. I stumbled on your blog so here you go. Why is it so wrong to vote conservative. I work. I appreciate the effort of workers, of small businesses and of even large corporations. Even large corporations where small once. They worked hard and made there way to huge corporations which employ thousands of people. I don’t see anything wrong with them, or myself for that matter, wanting to keep the money we make as opposed to paying it in taxes.

If one believes its wrong to keep all that money and that it should be shared, then we should appeal to their morals and have them donate it. I prefer that than employing something like forced charity.

What are your thoughts on this? It doesn’t seem irrational to me. Why the strong anti-conservativeness?

As I said, these are excellent questions, and I find surprisingly little to disagree with in the assertions that untitled makes.

I do not see anything wrong with wanting to keep money earned. I do not see anything wrong with appealing to people’s better nature and asking that they donate what they have to spare to charity. I do not like the idea of forced charity. I do not like the idea of high taxes. I appreciate people who work hard, and in fact, I have such a work ethic that my blog (and home life) often suffers because of my inability to “switch off” and stop working for the company that pays my salary.

I understand a few things about the nature of a government “by the people”, and about the nature of corporations and big businesses, though, that colors what I’ve said. I’m not sure that everyone that votes big-C Conservative understands these things, in fact. I suspect many of these observations about both the government and corporations in general need to be pointed out, so I’ll try my best.
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