For my regular visitors, if you find that this blog hasn't been updating much lately, chances are pretty good I've been spending my writing energy on my companion blog. Feel free to pop over to Home is Where the Central Cardio-pulmonary Organ Is, and see what else has been going on.

Monday, June 28, 2010

On summits and riots and taxpayers dollars

Well, the G8 and G20 summits are over.

Like many, I wasn't too impressed with the amount of money budgeted for the summits.  $930 million is a lot of money (though it should be pointed out that 1) $179 million of that was set aside in a previous budget and 2) budgeted amount and actual amounts don't usually end up the same).

My problem is that every time I come up with a reason against how the summits were done, I can also come of with a reason why it wasn't done differently.

Take the total amount budgeted - the "billion dollars."  First off, while there were certainly summits hosted in other cities that cost less, it's actually not an unusual amount.  I've read it pointed out that some cost more.

What did the money go?  Well, aside from accommodations for world leaders and their entourages (I would be glad to know how many hangers on were along of the ride, and how necessary they were) and $57,000 "fake lakes," most of the money was set aside to pay the RCMP and other police forces providing security, including overtime.  I really can't complain about the police getting paid to do what they were hired to do, nor can I complain that they will be paid overtime.

Holding the summits in downtown Toronto doesn't seem like a good idea, either.  Why not somewhere more isolated?  More easily secured? Some suggestions I've seen bandied about include Inuvik, Baffin Island, a cruise ship, or having the military build a special encampment in an isolated - preferably far north - location.  Such locations would be easier to secure and cost less (even building facilities, though they certainly shouldn't be the most comfortable!).  As an added "bonus," world leaders probably wouldn't be bringing along as many people - they might have difficulty finding many willing to come along at all! - and the isolated locations would mean the only protesters and media that show up as well would be the ones that are truly dedicated.  The anarchy types tend to be lazy and cowardly, and aren't likely to go someplace that would require more effort to get to, nor would it be as easy for them to hide after doing their deeds, then doffing their snot rags bandannas or black clothes.  Sure, the ones that are more organized and better funded might show up, but with the likelihood of getting caught being that much higher, many wouldn't bother.

Another type of protester that is less likely to show up are the ones that are just along for the ride - they're not there for any cause, or just latch on to whatever cause is popular in their social circles.  It was rather disheartening to read interviews quoting "protesters" that talked about how they weren't really doing anything wrong, they were just there to see what was going on, or some weird rambling diatribe about how they were just trying to stick it to The Man, so they shouldn't have been arrested, or should be allowed to do whatever they heck they want.  Listening to some of these "protesters," I find myself wondering; if I shone a light into one ear, would the light come through the other side? 

Another benefit I see is that there would be a lower "media" turn out - particularly those wannabe journalists who think that using their cell phones to record "police brutality" somehow makes them immune to the repercussions of their actions.  Like the anarchists, these types tend to be lazy, too.  With less of them, there would be less of the types of "protesters" trying to get their faces on youtube, in the papers, on tv or on youtube.  The mere presence of a camera seems to bring out the idiot in a lot of people.

I'm also convinced that if these summits were held in the dead of winter in a country that gets a lot of cold and snow, there's be a lot less violent protesting.  Though some might turn to burning cars just to keep warm.

The problem with using an isolated location is that... well... they're isolated.  Transportation of the world leaders themselves would be only a small part of the challenge.  There would need to be accommodations not only for the leaders and their staff, but all the hundreds of other people that work behind the scenes organizing things and ensuring everything runs smoothly.  From the cooks to the housekeepers, electricians and sound techs, to the paper pushers keeping track of it all.  While the need to hire all these people might mean a sudden hiring and economic boom for said isolated location, a lot of people would still need to be brought in from outside.  Keeping everyone with a roof over their heads, a place to sleep, food to eat, and transportation to get where they need to go would all be more difficult in the middle of nowhere.

The one exception to this seems to be the cruise ship idea.  Some of these ships are already floating cities, with plenty of accommodations and infrastructure not only for the summit attendees, but all the support staff needed.  Even security would be easier, as the ship could be surrounded with boats, ships, submersibles, helicopters, or whatever else was needed.  Plus, the entire ship can just move away from potential problems.  No one would be able to get anywhere near the ship without being seen.  Of course, it would pretty much eliminate all protest, legitimate or otherwise.

Another suggestion I've seen is the use of video conferencing.  I kinda like that idea, too.  It would surely be cheaper than flying everyone to one place. 

The problem with using technology for something like that is that it's notoriously unreliable.  Computer glitches, power surges, hardware failure, etc. are notorious problems for any technological event.  There's also the time zone issue - when would such a conference be held?  Who gets to tell one leader they have to be on at 2 am, or another at 8pm?

One other thing a technical conference fails at is the personal, human touch.  There's something to be said for talking face to face, and being able to take someone aside and say, "hey, I didn't quite understand what you said earlier.  Can you clarify it for me?"  Or even just to develop a friendly relationship in an informal setting, outside the summit meetings themselves.

So while I may not like the idea of hosting the summits in the heart of a large city, I can't think of any viable alternative that will also allow the general public to have legitimate protest.

Which brings me to my next point.  The protesters themselves.

In reading the news and seeing various clips (no, I didn't watch any of it on tv.  That would require actually watching the thing), I am singularly unimpressed with the quality of these so-called protesters.  I don't recall another time I've seen a more whiny, self-absorbed, air headed bunch of people.  A lot of these people seemed to have no idea what they were there for, spouting off vague sound bites and talking points.  It's one thing to say you're there to protest globalization, but it would help if you could actually come up with a reason you're against it, other than 'corporations and governments are evil'.  Please, people - if you're passionate enough about something to show up at a demonstration or protest, be passionate enough to do some actual research so you don't come across as a fool while being interviewed by international journalists!

A lot of people were ranting about how the police overreacted, and how these were just "peaceful protesters," with some going so far as to claim that the presence of security actually promoted violence, as if not having the police there would result in a bunch of calm, peace loving groups sitting around singing kumbaya and passing out flowers.

There's a slight problem with that.

Violent protests follow these summits.  Violent protesters follow these summits.  As much as I would have liked to see nothing but a bunch of people shouting and waving placards while the police stand around sweating in their riot gear, anyone who believed there would be no violence has to be naive.  (There were non-violent protests, of course - they weren't the ones you would hear about, though.  Peaceful protest doesn't sell papers.)  As it is, the violence in Toronto was really quite mild compared to other summits.  No serious injuries.  No deaths.

There were a lot of arrests, however, and a whole lot of whining from those arrested.  They were all, of course, completely innocent of wrong doing, minding their own business, until the police swooped down and arrested them without cause.

Yeah, right.

There are those that acknowledge that some people are there just to incite violence (like the Black Bloc).  There's a problem with that, too.  For starters, there were people scouting the area and leaving caches of rocks, bottles and other potential weapons well before the actual summit dates.  Many of these self-professed "peaceful protesters" encouraged the violent behaviour (and when one man tried to stop a vandal, the other protesters turned on him, instead!).  One of the reasons the Black Bloc gets away with their actions is because they dive into the crowds of protesters, shed their black clothing, then walk away with the others, looking like any other protester.  This can only work with the support of the other protesters, which means that they are actively aiding and abetting a criminal in their midst.  They can say they didn't do anything violent themselves all they want, but by doing this, they are every bit as criminal as the vandal they are protecting.

It's a shame that this sort of thing is happening. I may not agree with the causes of various protesters - I don't even know what most of them are - but I fully support their right to protest.  I don't support people who get up in the face of some police officer in riot gear, trying to goad him or her into responding with force, just so they can turn around and scream "police brutality."  I don't support the idiots who turn to violence. 

Thanks to those few who do, and the complicity of other protesters around them, organizers of these summits know that there will be violence, and need to be prepared for it.

Just imagine what the reaction would have been if there weren't so many police officers, and the rioters that revel in these events were allowed to run amok?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

So... who's the idiot?

Eldest and I were driving home with the radio on a local alternative music station we listen to most of the time.  At a break between songs, the DJ started talking about the Gulf oil spill.  We had been talking and missed the segue, but he started making fun of Sarah Palin's thoughts on how the spill should be dealt with.  He was rather derisive, but didn't actually quote her.  Instead, he played a sound clip with a sort of "you have to hear it to believe what an idiot she is" introduction.

The clip was only a second or two long, and it was of Palin saying that the US should turn to the Dutch for help with the oil spill.  The DJ then continued mocking her, making comments along the lines of "The Dutch!?!  What are they doing to do?  Build a dike?"

Well, someone did act the fool, but it wasn't Sarah Palin.

The Dutch know how to handle maritime emergencies. In the event of an oil spill, The Netherlands government, which owns its own ships and high-tech skimmers, gives an oil company 12 hours to demonstrate it has the spill in hand. If the company shows signs of unpreparedness, the government dispatches its own ships at the oil company’s expense. “If there’s a country that’s experienced with building dikes and managing water, it’s the Netherlands,” says Geert Visser, the Dutch consul general in Houston.

So not only was Palin right, but in his effort to make fun her, this DJ managed to demonstrate his own ignorance, and mock an entire country at the same time.

Don't  you just love it when people try to make fools of others, but only succeed in making fools of themselves, instead?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The suffering of fools

The girls and I got a good giggle in our morning news today.  This one was a read-aloud.

G20 activists jailed for poster 

The headline's a bit misleading.  The gist of the story is that two guys got caught gluing posters inviting people to protest the upcoming summit onto mailboxes and hydro boxes. 

Let's break it down a bit...

Mirshahi, a founder of the Fanshawe College social justice club and Cadotte, who raises money for the Red Cross, Greenpeace and Amnesty International, are accused of gluing protest posters on government-owned mailboxes and hydro boxes.

First off, they're idiots if they're putting this stuff on mailboxes and hydro boxes.  It is illegal to vandalize these across the country.  This is in London.  Surely there were other places they could legally put up their posters.  Even small towns have boards, walls and pillars were posters are allowed. 

Second, looking at the list of who Cadotte raises money for is enlightening.  Red Cross?  A once amazing organization that has become nothing more than another useless, if not corrupt, corporation.  Their behaviour during the Katrina crisis should have been the wake up call, if not the fact that they are actively helping our enemies in the Middle East.  Greepeace?  Corrupt.  Amnesty International?  A mixed bag, there.

And just what, exactly, is a "social justice club?"

"I would have thought young people taking part in the political process would have
been applauded not arrested," said London lawyer Gordon Cudmore, co-counsel for Cadotte.

Yeah.  Gluing posters illegally is part of the political process.  Silly me.  I thought things like voting, running for office, volunteering, etc. were part of the political process, not vandalism.  That "environmentally friendly wheat paste" still managed to cause $700 worth of damage.

As for the message on these posters?

slogans such as "Disrupt G20", "Let's Crash it" and "Crisis is Business as Usual." 

Well, that third one is meaningless tripe, but the first two seem like calls for illegal action and potential violence to me.

What really had us giggling, however, was this part.

But on the courthouse steps, Cadotte lit a cigarette and said his night in jail was "brutal."
Mirshahi said, "I mean, like, we're in custody for 20 hours. I told them I'm vegan. I don't eat any animal products, All they brought me over the course of 20 hours were two coffees -- which, I don't drink coffee -- and two Nutragrain bars which have milk and eggs in them, which I can't eat."

Brutal?  He calls this brutal?  What a spoiled, whiney little wuss!  He may say he "can't eat" the food because he's a vegan, but it's not the police's job to meet the dietary whims of anyone who might show up in their cells.  It's not like he was allergic to eggs.  It's not "can't eat," it's "won't eat."  He even complains because they offered him coffee!  It's his choice to restrict his diet to such an extreme.  The rest of the world has no obligation to cater to him. 

"I think it perhaps reflects too great a concern on the part of the government to try to keep under control legitimate protest by individuals and not really something one would expect a government in Canada to be trying to do," Ives said. 

 The problem with "legitimate protest" is how quickly and easily they are turned to violence and rioting.  Just look back at past summits for examples.  These summits in particular seem to be especially attractive to violent protestors.  While one can argue about certain points of things like cost, efficiency, etc., the fact remains that in hosting these events, the government's priority is safety and security.  Does Ives really think that Canada isn't as concerned about security than other countries?  Or that it shouldn't be?

Cadotte said he still plans to "peacefully assemble in Toronto."

"If this really is a democracy I shouldn't be criminalized for it," he said. 

Translation: I should be able to do whatever I want and not be punished for it.

What fools!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

A comparison

I just finished two books I was reading at the same time.  I had to finish them off before they were due at the library.

They were both interesting reads and, while I don't want to do a thorough book review of both of them, I do want to do a bit of a comparison review.

The books had a few similarities.  They are both written by American women.  They are both generally autobiographical, but deal more specifically with a single, tumultuous year in their lives and thrust them into the spotlight, relative fame and maybe a bit of fortune.  The authors talk a bit about their families, friends and marriages, their thoughts and opinions, and the aftermath of their year of fame.

That's about it for what they have in common.

The first book I'll talk about is Julie and Julia.  I'd first heard about the Julie/Julia project when the movie came out.  Seeing the trailers, I had no real interest in seeing it.  I did, however, read a positive review about the moving on the Foodie at Fifteen (now 17) blog.  I've been following his blog for a while and figured if he liked it, I might like it, too.  So when I saw it on the list of digital 24 hour rentals our cable tv service offers, I gave it a chance.

I'm glad I did.  I enjoyed the movie far more than I expected to, and ended up watching it twice before our rental was done.  I liked it enough that we even bought the DVD recently.

The scene that did it for me was near the beginning of the movie.  Julia Child and her husband, Paul, are walking down the street.  Julia is talking about something completely unrelated to what happens next.   A couple walks by in the other direction, pushing a baby in a pram.  Julia twists around to smile and ogle the baby, as so many people do.  When she turns back, however, her face shows a mix of joy and pain.  No words are spoken, but Paul sees this and gently comforts her.  In a few moments, the actors portrayed volumes.  You knew that Julia could not have, but loved and wanted, children - why or how is never addressed - and that Paul understood her pain, sharing it in his own way, while quietly doing what he could to comfort her.

How much this reflected reality, I have no idea, but those few moments in the movie won it over for me.  In fact, I liked all the Julia parts of the movie, and really liked how the movie switched back and forth between following Julia in the past and Julie in the present.  I didn't like the Julie character quite as much (Eldest, on seeing the movie later on asked me, "are we *supposed* to hate the Julie character?" *L*).  I did find the whole project interesting, and enjoyed seeing how it played out.

So when I was at the library and saw the book, Julie and Julia, in the cookbook section, I grabbed it (along with My Life in France, which was next to it - I haven't even started that one yet).

On reading the book, I found that I actually liked the movie better, which is a big switch for me.  I liked the Julie Powell of the book even less than the Julie Powell of the movie.  There was also really very little about Julia Child in the book - no where near the even split in the movie.  I truly can't understand how any adult could have so many meltdowns.  I'm far from the best housekeeper in the world, but even I was aghast as some of her descriptions of her kitchen (maggots under the drainage tray??  Seriously!?), but I did laugh out loud when she described her calves brains soaking in the sink incident.  After buying the movie, we saw some of the extras that included interviews with Julie Powell, and she seems rather sweet, so I'm hoping the book isn't too accurate a description of what she's like.  The end of the book  was the strangest of all, though.  It actually ended several times.  The first pseudo-ending I could understand - the end of the project was not the end of her life, so a bit of follow up after that was understandable.  Then there was the weird "Reading Group Guide" section in the back.  I haven't seen such low intellect, leading questions since Junior High.  After that is a list of recommended reading titles from Powell.  Some are food and cooking related, some aren't.  Anyone who recommends The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead is all right in my books! *L*  That wasn't the end, either.  A final chapter, dated in 2008 (the Julie/Julia project took place in 2002/2003) follows Julie while she is now working as a butcher.  I was happy to read that she seems to have found her place in life - certainly a better place than working as a secretary was!  She certainly seems to enjoy her life a lot more, and that's always a good thing.

While reading the book, however, there were a few things that really jumped out at me.  Some of it was a rather eye opening look at how really quite shallow people's lives are in the book.  I'll be the first to admit that my own life isn't anything earth shatteringly interesting, but I was still taken aback by how... vacuous people seemed to be.  In fact, what seemed to pass as the highest intellectualism was making snipes at Republicans.

Which was another thing that jumped out as me as being really weird.  This was not a book about politics at all, yet there were a number of political digs made that had me wondering.  Republicans, according to this book, are evil and have no emotions.  At one point, she describes the choices on ballots as being between "Democrat, Libertarian and Pure Evil."  In the book, she describes taking a dish into the office to share, but it falls and breaks.  She brings in the dregs anyhow, puts the remains in the staff room with a sign saying "help yourself," then goes to warn the 6 fellow Democrats in her office that they might want to pass on it, as it might have shards of ceramic in it.

Wow.  Just... wow.

The comments, as blithely made as they were, reminded me of comments made by people who are completely racist, but have no idea that they are.  Like a former neighbour of ours who had no idea that there was anything wrong with calling Brazil Nuts, N****r Toes.  That's what her family called them, so that's what she called them, because that's what they were, right?  It just seemed so very weird to read a book where such obviously prejudicial comments were being made, not only as if they were the most normal thing to say, but that saying them somehow made one appear more intelligent or astute.  Maybe it's because I'm Canadian and have no day to day encounters with how people in the US behave when it comes to politics, but it just blew me away. 

Julie and Julia, from what I can tell, is meant to be entertainment.  It might be about the real life happenings of a real life person, but for someone who is supposed to be rather intellectual (there's some background explaining that in the book), is clearly well read, can write rather well and has a decent vocabulary, it's really just a puff piece.  I would hope it doesn't reflect on the real Julie Powell too accurately, because it makes her seem not much deeper than a puddle - which makes her quite a bit deeper than pretty much everyone else in her social circle, as described in the book.  Except her husband.  In both the book and the movie, her husband sounds like a really neat guy.  She says herself that he's quite the catch, and clearly she appreciates him.  It's nice to read.

In general, I liked the movie better than the book.  In the book, I would have liked more Julia, but it's not really about Julia, it's about Julie, so that's as it should be. I don't know that I'd recommend it all that strongly, but it wouldn't be a waste of time to read it, either.  Borrow the book from the library, but you might want to buy the DVD.

So what's the other book I was reading?

Why, a book written by one of those "evil Republicans."  Sarah Palin's Going Rogue.

What a difference!

Now, I've mentioned before on my blog that I first encountered Sarah Palin before she was selected as McCain's running mate.  I'd read some of her editorials and found her to be thoughtful and intelligent, well researched, and thoroughly practical.  When it was announced that the McCain team had selected Palin, my first thought was that it was a good choice.

The fall out of that choice was mind boggling.  I couldn't believe how vociferously she was attacked and slandered.  Everything about her was twisted and portrayed in the worst possible way.  The hatred people developed for her completely escapes my understanding.  She could do nothing right.

What also seemed clear to me was that, when the Republicans chose her, they had expected her to be little more than a prop.  She was to be their token female, who was supposed to stand there, look pretty, and mouth platitudes.  What they instead got was someone who was articulate, intelligent, and had a backbone of her own.

So of course, she was portrayed as being an ignorant, backwoods, redneck.

For the people who already hate Sarah Palin, this book is unlikely to sway them, but then they're unlikely to read the book, anyhow.  Palin talks openly about her faith; she talks about God as part of her life in the same way she talks about her husband or kids.  Yet the closest she comes to proselytizing is in the very last paragraph of the book, and it's pretty darn mild at that.  She talks about her thoughts on abortion and abstinence - her positions on both having been completely misconstrued in the media.  She even talks about her position on evolution and Creationism, which was also misconstrued.  In all of these areas, folks who already hold her in contempt will still do so.  For those who still manage to still keep even a hint of an open mind about her, it does a fair job of demonstrating just how badly she was misrepresented in the media.

Palin covers her life from when her family moved to Alaska, through her childhood, meeting and marrying Todd Palin (I found her description of their wedding rather funny, reminding me somewhat of my own elopement).  She describes her entrance into official politics as mayor and the road that lead to her becoming Governor.

Though Palin is a registered Republican, she makes no bones about the fact that she doesn't hold to labels.  She doesn't demonize Democrats, either.  She talks about the Republican corruption she encountered while in Alaskan politics, and in many areas, Democrats were her allies.

Then she was selected by the McCain team, and all hell broke loose.

Reading about her time on the campaign trail was very interesting, and confirmed a lot of my own suspicions.  Things got even worse after the election.  That there was an orchestrated attack on her and her family was obvious to anyone with half a brain, but she gives more details on just how bad it was.  No one connected to her was exempt.  Herself, her family, her friends, her team as Governor, all were included.  Perhaps most disturbing were the attacks on her kids - some of which she didn't even mention in her book, but I remember reading about in the news (like the sicko that offered Bristol Palin $25,000 to get an abortion and move away from her family).

It didn't really end when she left the Governor's office.  Of course, even after doing everything possible to achieve just that, her opponents immediately condemned her for leaving. 

What Palin doesn't do is speak ill of people she certainly could have gone all out on - like Bristol Palin's ex-boyfriend, who doesn't even get named.  (It was interesting to find out that the official statement released in the name of the family when word got out about the pregnancy was not only not endorsed by them, but she had changed it significantly, only to have the original released, anyhow.)  He's mentioned only briefly.  While she was critical about the treatment of her by the media, including giving the other side of the story about her infamous Katie Couric "interview", as well as how the campaign people handled things and so much more, she could easily have gone all out and torn them apart.  She didn't.

Palin's book has an open ending.  At this point, she didn't really know what was going to happen next, but her attitude was very positive and hopeful.

I would definitely recommend reading Going Rogue.  She doesn't seem to be trying to convince anyone or change anyone's mind about her.  As I said before, it's not going to change the mind of those who already hate her beyond reason, but for those who haven't gone quite that far over the deep end, I think it would be very enlightening to get her side of the story.  After that, it's up to the reader to decide how much they accept.

While the two books have their similarities, in the end they are completely different.  What I find interesting is that the book written by the person who, if one were to take the media's representations of things, is the more human, intelligent person (namely, a Democrat) is the one that's the puff piece.  Attempts at being deep or intellectual - if that's what they even are - fail to do so.  Meanwhile, the person who is portrayed by the media as completely inept, that many people outright call stupid, and is hated by so many, is the one that wrote the more intelligent, thought provoking book, and the one that was the least judgemental about those of differing opinions.

Both books were worth reading, if for completely different reasons.  If I had to recommend only one of them, it would definitely be Sarah Palin's Going Rogue.

Additional thoughts:  After reading over my post, something else came to mind that I wanted to add.

Autobiographies, by their very nature, are self-centered.  They're all "I, I, I, me, me, me..." which is the whole point.  It wouldn't be an autobiography, otherwise.  How it's done can be very different, however, and that's something else I find interesting in comparing these two books.  Julie and Julia was a book about Julie Powell and her project.  It was about her and her thoughts and feelings, warts and all.  Going Rogue, however, seemed quite different.  Though the book was about Sarah Palin and her life in politics, it somehow managed to not be only about Palin.  Instead, it was more about Alaska, America, and life in general.  There is no real naval gazing in Palin's book.  Somehow, her autobiography seems to be about so much more than just her and what happened to her, but more about her country, her state, and the great confidence she has in humanity.  Perhaps it's the difference between fame with and without responsibility.

Walking the talk

I hadn't expected to be writing about abortion and prenatal development again quite so soon, but in the last while, I've found myself encountering a few interesting comments, articles and stories recently that bring me back to the subject. 

I've mentioned before that I've been having difficulty understanding the pro-abortion position.  Since writing last on the subject, I've encountered some increasingly silly defenses for abortion.  Perhaps the most bizarre of all was one commenter claiming, "the fetus isn't alive.  You can't kill something that isn't alive."  It's hard to wrap my mind around that sort of ignorance.  Heck, we even acknowledge that a cancerous tumour is alive, and that our goal in fighting it is to kill it.  Individual cells are alive and can be killed, but a fetus isn't?

I think what a lot of it comes down to is, just how aware is the fetus?  While there are those on the pro-abortion side that do acknowledge an abortion really is the killing of a human baby, even if it's not fully developed and viable, there are plenty who insist that, like the commenter I mentioned above, the fetus isn't a living thing, never mind a living being.  There's the attempt to dehumanize the developing fetus and regard it as the equivalent of unwanted tissue - a tumour, or even a parasite.  Getting rid of it is, to this mindset, is no different than getting rid of a wart.

One of the articles I came across recently is Birth and The Origins of Violence.  While I don't completely agree with all off it (some parts fail the correlation/causation smell test, for example), I found it quite fascinating.  Such things have been discussed for many years, but our improved medical technology has allowed us to prove what had, in the past, only been suspected.

As someone who's had two pregnancies, I know from personal experience that my children had definite personalities well before they were born.  They even actively interacted with us (not the most comfortable of things, when that interaction involved my husband pressing down on different areas of my belly, then waiting for our daughter to push back in the same spot).  Like many other pregnant mothers, I talked to my growing baby, as did my family.  I listened to music I thought might be soothing, read out loud, and so on.

The above article talks about what most mothers already know at least somewhat; that our children are intelligent, pro-active beings with definite personalities before birth, and that what we did, or what happened to us while pregnant could have lasting effects on the development of our children.  It's more than eating right, avoiding alcohol and cigarettes, and so on, to protect the physical development of our children, but understanding that their minds are not blank and empty.  They are responsive.  They feel emotions and physical sensations and, according to the research discussed in the article, they feel it far earlier than most mothers are able to feel their movements, show signs of pregnancy, or even know that they are pregnant yet at all.

It's a fascinating read, and well worth the time to go through all of it.

What usually happens when the contradictions and errors of the pro-abortionist position becomes too much to argue against, tactics change.  Among the most common I've seen tend to be voiced something like this.  "Sure, you fanatical, Christian, Conservative, Right-wing, crazy people want to make abortion illegal and doom women to have unwanted babies, but you're not there to take care of all these unwanted babies."

Aside from the tiring assumption that, if someone questions whether or not abortions for any reason and without restrictions really is a good thing, they must therefore be 1) right-wing 2) woman hating and 3) fundamentalist Christian nutbars, those that use this strawman argument assume that pro-lifers and anti-abortionists aren't doing anything to help.

They couldn't be more wrong, and today, I heard plenty of real-life examples of it.

I was with a group of friends on an evening outing when the conversation turned to unexpected pregnancies.  One of the women first became pregnant herself at 16.  She didn't have a lot of support and life was hard, but she did marry the father and they went on to have more children.  They are still happily married and doing quite well now, and her children all grew up to be responsible, contributing members of society.

What made her story even more interesting was that one of her sons got his girlfriend pregnant when they were both still in their teens.  His girlfriend's family was completely unsupportive of her, with one member continually trying to coerce her into having an abortion - even to the point of wanting to fly her into the US for a late term abortion (which I find kind of odd, since those are legal here in Canada - though perhaps there just aren't any doctors willing to do it?).  My friend's son, on the other hand, begged her to have the baby, saying that if she didn't want it, he'd raise it himself.

That brings up a whole other issue I'm not going into here - what rights does the father have in regards to the child he helped create?  Staunch pro-abortionists would say he has no rights at all.  Unless, of course, the mother has the child, at which point he's supposed to take on the responsibility.  A rather strange incongruity there, but never mind that for now.

In the end, my friend and her husband took in their son's pregnant girlfriend.  Why?  Because, in her words, God told her to.  So they moved her into their home (she was no longer welcome at her parents' home) and she chose to have and keep the baby.  Some months after the baby was born, she officially became my friend's daughter-in-law.  As for the family member who tried to force her to get an abortion, he never saw or spoke to her again for the rest of his life, nor did he ever see the baby.  It was interesting to learn that her own sister was in a similar situation, except that she was coerced into having an abortion - and now cannot have children at all.  Yet another interesting thought, considering the reaction against a proposed law that would have protected pregnant women from being coerced into having abortions they don't want.  Where is the protection of the rights of the mother here? 

This is hardly an isolated case.  One of the other ladies in the group helps young women like this for a living, as well as helping abused children.  It turns out that a great many young pregnant women are being coerced into abortions against their will - and if they don't go through with it, they are made to suffer for their choice by the very people who should be the most supportive; their families and the fathers of their children.  Quite a number of these young girls are kicked out of their homes by their parents, and would be living on the streets where it not for services such as the one this woman works for.  Some of them are living on the streets anyhow.  Some of the most difficult cases she's had to deal with involve young, pregnant women (as young as 11 yrs old!!) and children who come from abusive situations, staying with them the whole way as things work through the court system, only to see their abusers walk away free and clear because of some technicality.

There are hundreds of people like these two across the country, some working with organizations, others doing their part individually.  Chances are you won't read about them in the papers, nor will you hear about them in the news.  They just quietly go about their lives, while also are reaching out to these young women who have found themselves pregnant and without support; women whose choice is to keep their babies, but are surrounded by people who would take that choice away from them.  Instead of being supported by the people that should be there for them, they are instead being helped by people like these two; people who have no vested interest them, other than the strength of their own convictions, and their willingness to do what they feel is right, no matter how difficult or painful it might be.

People who are walking the talk.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

A question

I have a question for all the people who were so quick to jump on the anti-Israeli bandwagon.

Now that it's become obvious that the whole "peace flotilla" thing was a set up, how does it feel, knowing you were so easily duped by terrorists and anti-Semites?