The So-Called Bizarre-ness of the Pro-Life Movement

A letter to the Herald:

Crist panders to right

I couldn’t agree more with Michael Putney’s assessment (Crist-Rubio battle cheating voters, Feb. 24, Other Views). As a self-described political “hybrid,” I have a lot of respect for Gov. Charlie Crist. He would make an excellent senator. But he’s making the same mistake that John McCain made in his presidential campaign: catering to the right-wing fringe of the Republican Party when his appeal is so much broader.

I felt Crist’s desperation, and was greatly disappointed, when I went to his campaign website and observed the front-and-center position that’s been given to his pro-life, pro-gun, anti-tax positions. I thought he was much savvier than that.

It is beyond me why the Republican Party continues to align itself with its right-wing fringe. If it simply gave up one part of its platform — anti-choice — there is no doubt in my mind that Republicans could win every election from now to eternity.

Its behavior is self-destructive. And for what? To keep a small minority of people in the fold who want to control a woman’s right to end an unwanted pregnancy? It’s bizarre.

AIMEE STEIN, Miami Beach

I can find many reasons and spend time arguing the first half of Ms. Stein’s letter, but that’s just a matter of ideology. I could also counter her assertion that if the GOP were to abandon its “anti-choice” (love the “choice” of terminology, BTW) stance, it would win every election.

The last two paragraphs, however, go beyond partisan ideology, IMO. It’s a sad testament to the thought process some Americans hold that a human fetus is something that can be unwanted and discarded as a matter of choice. That it’s somehow “bizarre” to think that all human life should be protected at all stages, including in the womb.

Fortunately, as the poll linked to above suggests, most Americans don’t agree with Ms. Stein.

Throwing Stones at Glass Houses

As if Governor Charlie Crist is having enough trouble competing with Marco Rubio these days, his latest “desperation pass to the goal line” (a.k.a. Hail Mary Pass) attempt to smear Rubio has some serious flaws.

Never mind that Rubio payed off personal expenses to the GOP-issued AmEx card (no one has been able to state that Rubio was expressly forbidden to use the card for personal expenses, although whether he should have used the card for those expenses in the first place is open for debate).

Problem with the Guv is, he’s not exactly clean himself. Something about throwing stones at glass houses.The difference is that Crist has used real taxpayer dollars for highly questionable purposes and excesses.

Case in point, the governor and his entourage’s trip to Europe in 2008.

Taxpayers paid for more than two dozen people to accompany Crist, including a photographer, a spokeswoman, four aides, two agency heads and nine bodyguards. The bodyguards alone spent more than $148,000 on meals, hotels, transportation and incidentals, including nearly $630 in dry cleaning.

Perhaps Charlie Crist and his Florida Republican Party apparatus can help explain that for us. As we get closer to the elections this summer, expect this type of stuff to increase.

Rubio’s Color

As Marco Rubio continues to gain in notoriety nationwide, comments about his ethnicity and “color” will no doubt step up. We already saw an extreme, silly form of this in Donny Deustch’s “coconut” comments. A much more benign form of this is represented by Kathleen Parker’s recent WashPo column:

Mar-co, Mar-co, Mar-co.

The nom du jour, if you somehow missed it, is Marco. As in Rubio, rising conservative star, not Polo.

All those other rising stars? So yesterday. Sarah? Scott who?

You’d think from all the print, chatter and buzz that Marco — the name fans seem to prefer — had charted the Silk Road. On a slightly smaller scale, he launched the annual CPAC parade of conservative stars Thursday with a rousing speech that brought giddy conservatives to their feet.

Rubio brought plenty of raw meat to the table, but that was the least of his charms. As speeches go, there wasn’t much new to chew on. Think “Groundhog Day” to a country music soundtrack.

But amid the expected was something fresh that will serve Republicans well in the coming months — and years. The traditional GOP is getting younger and less pale. Rubio, a tea party favorite who is challenging Florida Gov. Charlie Crist for the U.S. Senate, may be the Republican Party’s Barack Obama.

Sure, I don’t always understand why SO much emphasis is placed on the GOP’s perceived lack of “color” diversity, but Parker is mostly complimentary of Rubio, so this is far from a slam-piece. I just think it’s humorous that a person who’s likely of 100% Caucasian, southern European stock (just like any Spaniard or Italian) is considered something other than “white”. That’s what being Hispanic does to you, no matter your actual race or complexion. But again, no big deal, and we might get a few more laughs out of it by way of comedians such as Donny Deustch. Also, I think Parker’s comparison to Barack Obama isn’t off the mark since both men are skilled orators and, at least in the case of Rubio, could equal Obama’s trailblazing by being  the first Hispanic to perhaps one day make a serious and end-to-end run at the White House.

Parallel Universe

You have to wonder what world some people live in. Case in point, Ms. Bobbi Headder of Miami:

Americans want reform

Sen. Mitch McConnell is wrong. It is not the American people who are angry. I have talked with many people. None are opposed to the healthcare overhaul. It is Republicans who are jamming their personal wishes down our throats and hiding behind the veil of “the American people.”

Their actions prove that they do not want President Obama to succeed in anything he does. Some of McConnell’s brethren have been honest enough to admit that they want to make healthcare Obama’s Waterloo. I won’t go into why I think they want him to fail.

BOBBI HEADDER, Miami

Democrats have a super-majority in the House, and until recently the same in the Senate, along with a initially-popular president. All this, and Ms. Headder thinks it’s the Republicans who are “jamming their personal wishes” on the American people? I see it differently. The American people aren’t letting the party in power jam its personal wishes down their throats. Perhaps in Ms. Headder’s world, everyone thinks just like her. But outside that small circle, it’s a totally different world.

More Cold = Global Warming?

Those who use the cold and snowy winter in much of the United States as exhibit A that global warming is a farce are misguided. Those who think that the same cold and snowy winter is emblematic of the “extremes” of global warming are also misguided.

Putting them both on the scales of “misguided-ness”, folks like the Miami Herald editorial board help tip the scales in their “favor”.

The weather is unsettling this winter. Florida has had a record number of cold days this year after going through one of the hottest Decembers on record. Meanwhile, massive winter storms have blanketed the Eastern Seaboard and Southeastern United States with record snow falls.

The weird weather has brought out the global warming skeptics. How can the Earth be heating up, they say, if we’re having such cold weather?

What they forget is that one of the outcomes of global warming predicted by scientists is more extremes in our weather. Bigger storms, longer and more widespread droughts, excessive precipitation in some places unaccustomed to much rain and so forth. Global warming isn’t just affecting our annual weather cycles but, albeit much more gradually, our overall climatic conditions.

Don’t look for subtropical South Florida to turn into either equatorial Africa or chilly Northern Canada in the coming decades. But do look for more of what we’ve seen recently: Weather-wise, the 2000s were warmer than the previous decade — and the 1990s were warmer than the 1980s.

Locally, that means our summer temperatures are climbing into the 90s more often than they did 20 years ago. Right now, sea level is rising about a foot a century thanks to global warming. But some scientists, including Dr. Hal Wanless, chair of the University of Miami’s Department of Geological Sciences and a renowned expert on climate change, warn that South Florida could see a higher rise in sea level. The cause is the more recent phenomenon of the accelerated melting of Greenland and warming in the Arctic Ocean.

So don’t let the skeptics lull you into believing we have nothing to worry about. The primary source of global warming is carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels. We must — individually and collectively — become more energy efficient while simultaneously supporting development of renewable energy sources that will sustain, not destroy, Earth.

Fact is, the record El Niño of 1998 warmed the earth to levels we haven’t reached since. Maybe the 2000s were warmer than the 1990s, but if you remove the constraints of following pre-defined decades of years, the earth hasn’t warmed in over 10 years. What that means…no one knows for sure, but the global warming supporters sure seem to hang on anything, even something as contradictory as a cold winter, to prove their point. That’s why I believe they are “more wrong” in this example.

Extremes in weather have always occurred. Some winters will be colder and snowier than others. Simple as that.

Lily White MSNBC

Although it was posted at Babalu earlier today, this “ad” by the Dallas Tea Party is, as I wrote in the comment thread over there, genius. Therefore it deserves to be posted and re-posted.

Will Olbermann and those who think like him respond? Doubtful. Nevertheless, this is just another example that when people generalize, they often end up looking like fools.

Happy St. Valentine’s Day

It’s easy to forget the St. in St. Valentine, but click here for the story behind the commemoration celebrated on February 14th.

Winter-like Scene

This Royal Poinciana at the neighborhood park is a victim of the unusually long cold snap we had back in January. The bare tree with a rather gloomy winter sky on another chilly south Florida day really gives the impression of a scene up north, without the snow of course.

Royal Poincianas usually lose their leaves for a short time in the dry season, but south Florida being at the northernmost fringe of its range, they are susceptible to significant leaf drop during colder than normal winters. This one has been bare for a month now, with about 3 months left until the summer rains hit. By June, it will be awash in glorious red flowers, like this one below:

Be Careful What You Wish For

The title of this post is my simple message to the Herald’s Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, Leonard Pitts. Keep in mind that I don’t particularly think Sarah Palin is cut out for the presidency, but the smugness clearly on display in Pitts’ column and so unfortunately emblematic of many Obama-supporting lefties who can’t bring themselves to be objectively critical of the president, but jump at the first opportunity to harshly condemn those who criticize Obama (they had no problem being overly critical of Bush 43, but that’s another story), never fails to amaze and amuse yours truly.

Then again, I value principle over intelligence, so what do I know.

Here’s the first part of the column, with the remainder below the fold:

Dear Sarah Palin:

I hear you’re pondering a run for the White House in 2012. Last week, you told Fox news it would be “absurd” to rule it out.

I’m writing to ask that you rule it in. I very badly want you to run for — and win — the Republican nomination for the presidency.

I know you’re waiting for the punch line. Maybe you figure I think you’d be a weak candidate who would pave the way for President Obama’s easy re-election.

That’s not it. No, I want you to run because I believe a Palin candidacy would force upon this country a desperately needed moment of truth. It would require us to finally decide what kind of America we want to be.

Mrs. Palin, you are an avatar of the shameless hypocrisy and cognitive disconnection that have driven our politics for the last decade, a process of stupidification creeping like kudzu over our national life.

Continue reading

Ouch!!

Snopes has debunked the veracity of this interview between Australian General Peter Cosgrove and an Australian TV reporter. Nevertheless, the joke is classic in my book:

Regardless of how you feel about gun laws you gotta love this!

This is one of the best comeback lines of all time.

It is a portion of a radio interview between a female broadcaster and General Cosgrove who was about to sponsor a Boy Scout Troop visiting his military Headquarters. 

FEMALE INTERVIEWER:
So, General Cosgrove, what things are you going to teach these young boys when they visit your base?

GENERAL COSGROVE:
We’re going to teach them climbing, canoeing, archery and shooting.

FEMALE INTERVIEWER:
Shooting! That’s a bit irresponsible, isn’t it?

GENERAL COSGROVE:
I don’t see why, they’ll be properly supervised on the rifle range.

FEMALE INTERVIEWER:
Don’t you admit that this is a terribly dangerous activity to be teaching children?

GENERAL COSGROVE:
I don’t see how. We will be teaching them proper rifle discipline before they even touch a firearm. 

FEMALE INTERVIEWER:
But you’re equipping them to become violent killers.

GENERAL COSGROVE:
Well, Ma’am, you’re equipped to be a prostitute, but you’re not one, are you?

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