Baby, baby, please let me hold him

8 02 2016

Y’all know I’m pro-choice, right?

Like, I haven’t mentioned that I could fairly be called a pro-choice militant approximately 738.4135 times before, have I?

So, you know, when it comes to what may be a new variant of the Zika virus and its effects on the developing embryo and fetus, I have no issue whatsoever with an affected woman deciding to end a pregnancy.

I also—militant that I am—have no issue with a woman deciding to continue a pregnancy and to raise a child with microcephaly.

Microcephaly can have devastating effects on the person, but not always: Ana Carolina Caceres was born with microcephaly, was pronounced profoundly damaged by her doctor, and now works as a journalist. Not everyone will be as healthy as Caceras, of course, but she notes that with family support, medication, and five surgeries, she now leads a good life.

Caceras is insulted by the notion that a diagnosis of microcephaly should automatically lead abortion, but allows that, in the end, that choice should be left to the parents.

The most important thing is access to treatment: counselling for parents and older sufferers, and physiotherapy and neurological treatment for those born with microcephaly.

And for all of the talk of the necessity of women avoiding pregnancy (which, shees), what of those who for whatever reason (choice or lack thereof) do give birth to children with microcephaly?

So in addition to discussing better access to contraception and abortion for women in affected regions (which, frankly, should have been available long before the effects of the virus hit), let’s also talk about the support that these women, these children, these families will need in order to maximize those children’s chances for their own good lives.

I get and ought to get no say in what happens to the embryo or fetus in another woman’s body, but once that fetus is born, in whatever shape she’s born, we owe it to her to treat her as a human being.

What happened to her may or may not be a tragedy, but she, herself, is not.

She’s one of us.

~~~

h/t for Caceres piece: JonH at Lawyers, Guns & Money





Wake up little Susie

3 02 2016

Jesus fuck:

subway sleeping

Subways are not for sleeping, says the man who has a driver.

[Y]ou make yourself a very easy victim and much more susceptible to a crime, says the man with bodyguards.

Why would you put yourself at that risk? says the man who thinks that telling tired people not to sleep is a way to reduce crime.

Hey, you want to protect me? How about paying attention to the jerk-off who’s trying to rob me?*

*Note: I have never been robbed on the train.

All right, all right, I get it: people who are sleeping are sometimes crime victims. And, as the story details, nudging people who are sound asleep in an empty car to wake up and tuck their iPhones back into their pockets is. . . not a bad idea, actually.

But jeez, Bratton, do you have to be such a dick about it?





Circus Maximus MMXVI: Hit me with your best shot

25 01 2016

This is terrific:

presidential-candidates-ranked-usefulness-bar-fight

I loves me some bar-fight imagery; when I had my last eye surgery I said (and if’n I ever get around to my next eye surgery, will say again) the bruises were from a bar fight.

Anyway, not every description is brilliant, but there are enough great lines to make it worth reading, and I think the author, Ali Davis, makes a good case for each of the rankings, and I like that s/he gives props to Lindsay Graham.

No, I’m not particularly a fan of Sen. Graham, but he gets entirely too much shit for not being He-Man, so yay, Davis, for turning that into a strength.

Anyway, there was never really a question as to who’d be number one, was there?

Plus, Clinton takes care of her own. If you’re on her team and you’re in a fight, she’s going to be breaking chairs over people’s backs. And I don’t know where she got that bike chain that she’s whirling over her head, but there’s no time to think about that now; just be glad you’re not the guy she side-kicked into the juke box.

There are all kinds of policy reasons to be disgusted with Clinton, but yeah, I can picture her swinging a bike chain above the fray before slamming it down hard on some jamoke’s noggin.

And I. . . kinda like that.

h/t Rebecca Schoenkopf





Don’t let those Sunday afternoons get away

24 01 2016

It’s a snowy Sunday, so of course, the Jane Siberry song:

Last year we were told the city was going to get hit, so the governor—giving the mayor 15 minutes notice—shut the entire MTA system.

We got bupkes.

So I was a bit see-it-believe-it, but this is what it looked like at noon on Saturday.

009A proper storm.

This was the fire escape around noon:

007

And then around 5:00:

021

So, some decent accumulation.

It kept up well into the evening, at which point I headed outside; this was the entrance to my building:

030

With the driving ban there were no cars on the streets, so I copied the other shadow figures I saw and trudged down the middle of the avenue:

033

One bodega, at least, remained open:

038

By morning the warm and the wind turned the fire escape sculptural:

041

052

Beneath the blue, I headed to the park; I was not the only one with that idea, as every slope was smoothed by saucers, skinny cross-country skiers slowly glided along side trails, and snowmen appeared in fields and on fence posts:

056

059

I’m a sucker for the melancholy view:

060

But as I was walking out of the park, behind a guy smoking some skunky weed, and listening to David Bowie’s Ashes to Ashes wobble out of the speakers by the ice rink, I did come across some incongruous green:

066

It snows all across the north and the prairies; there’s nothing new about snow, there’s nothing special about snow in New York City.

Except it’s my city, and I like the snow, and I like the city.

And its incongruous green.





Everybody got this broken feeling, 21

22 01 2016

This is a piece about the not-so-curiously skewed understanding of security which marks our political discourse:

When you cannot be bothered to ensure that the sick can access health care, people die. When you cannot be bothered to stop corporations from polluting the earth, people die. When you cannot be bothered to monitor workplaces for the hazardous practices under which their employees operate, people die. When you cannot be bothered to protect citizens from a law enforcement apparatus charged with protecting them, people die.

But we rarely hear about these aspects of keeping Americans safe until a crisis like Flint emerges. The ongoing notion of safety in politics, absent something headline-grabbing like poisoning an entire city, is relegated to the foreign-policy sphere. And playing up threats from abroad, often of dubious relevance, numbs the nation to the numerous other ways in which Americans are put in peril every day. And of course, there are fewer special interests clamoring to protect water supplies and workplaces than there are defense contractors wanting to go to war against a foreign threat.

To which I can only say: hear! hear!

But it also points to the necessity of functional government, and of the taxes needed to sustain that government.

As such, whatever good Bill Gates, et. al., may or may not be accomplishing, that NGOs are stepping in to provide services like vaccination or education only points to the failure of government, be it due to corruption, war, or lack of resources.

I’m not necessarily opposed to such philanthropy in a misguided heighten-the-contradictions! way—the need for clean water or mosquito netting is an immediate one, and without them, as David Dayen noted above, people die—but the private provisioning of public services certainly does take pressure off of incompetent government.

It’s also worth pointing out that foundations such as Gates’s are possible because people are able amass incredible fortunes and, in the US, pay relatively low taxes.

To the chase: is Bill Gates responsible for poisoned water in Flint? No.

And yes, insofar as he has profited from a system which tells people that acclaim in one’s field and small fortunes are not enough, but that freedom if only possible if millionaires are allowed to become billionaires and that massive corporations require the protections of government which are disdained when offered to the poor.

We in the United States live in an incredibly wealthy society, more than able to pay for competent government; that our government is, as in Flint or Ferguson, so often is not reflects the dysfunctions within the polity itself—and one of the chief sources of that dysfunction is our unwillingness/inability to say Enough! to those who have way, way more than enough.





Free, free, set them free

19 01 2016

Consider:

Village Voice hed

Why, it’s almost as if they would have preferred Ronald Reagan’s method. . . .

Via.





Circus Maximus MMXVI: Big time

18 01 2016

Former Virginia Attorney General and current Ted Cruz supporter Ken Cuccinelli, on New York values:

There’s lots of other things that go with that like cheesecake and big sandwiches.

Mm-hmmm.








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