By Roxeanne DeLuca:

In McCullen v. Coakley, the Supreme Court ruled that a 2007 Massachusetts statute that restricts speech outside of abortion clinics is unconstitutional.  (Opinion here.) In fact, it so ruled, unanimously. The only difference of opinion was whether the statute was content-neutral and subject to intermediate scrutiny, or if it was a content-based restriction on speech and subject to strict scrutiny.  Regardless of the standard of review, the statute was found to not be narrowly tailored, i.e. it did not use the least restrictive means necessary to accomplish the state’s goal of enabling pregnant women to access abortion clinics.

Undeterred by a nine-nothing smackdown, the progressives on Beacon Hill have filed a new buffer zone bill that they claim will meet constitutional muster. (State House News Service.) According to the bill’s proponents,

“The Supreme Court gave us a road map of what this bill should say and we are following that road map with very narrowly tailored new tools for the police and the attorney general,” said Marty Walz, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Massachusetts.

Megan Amundson, executive director of the NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, said in a statement, “It provides additional tools to ensure that all women can access health care free from harassment and intimidation.”

“This legislation carefully balances public safety and access with free speech rights. We urge the Legislature to quickly take up this bill and ensure that it passes before the end of the legislative session to protect safe access to clinics,” Amundson said.

With respect to Ms. Walz and Ms. Amundson, they could not be more wrong.  Let’s compare what the Supreme Court said and what the bill (SD2106) actually does.

Continue reading “Meet the New Buffer Zone, Same as the Old Buffer Zone”

and they were right!

Via Bloomberg, with a hat tip to Breitbart, women in the Obama economy are doing so well that they are selling their hair, breast milk, eggs, and even kidneys.  Sources indicate that women are applying to donate eggs more frequently in Obama’s second term than at the end of his first term; applications at one Virginia fertility clinic are up 13%.

In all but two quarters since the start of 2011, the top autofill queries in google for “I want to sell my” have been “hair” “eggs” and “kidneys.”  Look, kids, hair will grow back, but kidneys do not.   Also, those who are looking to sell their body parts, as opposed to their possessions, must not have any possessions left that can be sold.  As Nicholas Colas, a chief market strategist, explained, “The fact that people even explore it indicates that there are still a lot of people worried about their financial outlook. This is very much unlike every other recovery that we’ve had. It’s going to be a slow-grinding, very frustrating recovery.”

Conservatives opposed the bailout, stimulus, extended unemployment benefits, and ObamaCare not because we hate people, but because we didn’t want twenty-first century American women turning into Fantine,  selling their front teeth for a Napoleon.

Today, former U.S. Senator Scott Brown endorsed Dr. Michael Stopa, Ph.D., in the fifth congressional district election.  The special election is to fill the seat vacated by Ed Markey.  The Stopa campaign issued a press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 9:00 am, October 8, 2013
Natick, Massachusetts
Former U.S. Senator Scott Brown has endorsed Dr. Michael  Stopa in the Fifth Congressional District.  As Sen. Brown said in a recorded phone call to supporters,
“We need an honest, hardworking, articulate Republican to represent the people of Massachusetts in Washington.
As your Senator, I fought for jobs and prosperity in Massachusetts and I believe Mike will do the same for the Fifth Congressional District.”
The Stopa campaign thanks the former Senator for his endorsement.  Dr. Stopa is a professor of nanophysics at Harvard. He lives in Holliston with his wife and four children.
The primary election is October 15th, and the general election is December 10th.

Mike Stopa has also been endorsed by Niall Ferguson, Rep. Keiko Orrall, and Rep. Betty Poirier.  Today, the Daily Caller published an article about Dr. Stopa’s critiques of global warming hysteria.  (Article here.)

As Da TechGuy posted, the mainstream media’s interpretation of Pope Francis’ remarks are at odds with the intention of his remarks.  (I will note that it took CBS News less than a day to walk back on its story.)

The mainstream media is reinterpreting everything Pope Francis says to fit is own agenda, and that it lives in the belief that it cannot only manipulate public opinion, but change fundamental Truth.  (Stacy McCain has a post about a Catholic university that is the epitome of what liberals would like to do to Catholicism.) Let us examine what Pope Francis said, what he did not say, and the context in which he said it.

I can understand that in different countries, the priorities of the Church may be different: America has some of the most liberal abortion laws in the world and is awash in food.  It is right for us to focus more on saving the unborn from murder than it is to feed our poor, for our preventable deaths are those that are a result of abortion.  That may not be the same in a country where refugees are starving in the streets: saving human lives requires more than damning abortion as evil.  We must remember that Pope Francis is not from the abundant, safe (unless one is in the womb) West; he is a man from a country struggling with poverty and crime.

Regardless of where one lives, those concerns are all secondary to the overarching goal of the Church: to reunite man and God.  In his interview, the Holy Father explains that the first order is salvation, and other moral teachings will flow from that.  Pope Francis also explained that confessors must guide their sheep to salvation by neither being too permissive nor too removed from the sins plaguing their flock.  In doing so, the Holy Father implicitly reiterates that these are sins, not merely equally acceptable lifestyle choices.

My only issue is that Pope Francis’ remarks are so easily misconstrued by the media.  I don’t expect the Vatican to run itself around the neuroses of American media, but that is hardly an excuse for conducting itself in a way that plays into its hands.

Abortion is one of the greatest human rights issues of our time.  It is not the product of a “throwaway” culture, nor a “rule” that would chase believers from the Church: it is an outright denial of the humanity of one group of tiny, powerless, and inconvenient people.  This should not need explanation in a subsequent press release; it is a Truth that should be shouted from the rooftops.

By affirming the humanity of the unborn, the Church gains followers, believers, converts, and evangelists.  As Da TechGuy always says, the Left will tell you who it fears; I will add that it will tell you what it fears.  Progressives would like nothing more than a Church that does not proclaim, at the top of its voice, the sanctity of human life, the sacredness of marriage, and the beauty of human sexuality.  It does not attack the Church for those things because it scares people away; it attacks Catholicism for its power.

I’m not into Dr. Who the way that Da Tech Guy is (although my boyfriend is trying to convert me), but this came across my radar.  A group of young Midwestern women went to their local cosplay convention dressed up as characters from the Doctor, thought that they would be part of a cosplay documentary, and wound up as villains on reality TV.   SyFy’s “Heroes of Cosplay” – allegedly a documentary about cosplay conventions – was filmed in Kansas City. Amy Schley describes the experience of being a local cosplay convention-goer, caught up in the “Heroes of Cosplay” agenda:

 The four of us decided to be one of the entries into the group cosplay competition that day, and we joked that next year we would do all Eleven Doctors.

After a thousand hours or so of sewing, crocheting, and fabricating (and what felt like just as many hours of networking to find other women the right size), we were able to form our group.  My sister created velvet frock coats, satin vests, cravats, a question-mark umbrella handle, and my magnificent Eighteenth Century ballgown done in the colors of the Sixth Doctor’s outlandish costume.  We arrived at the convention and went to sign up for the masquerade, only to discover that not only were we required to agree to be on the show, but also that we had to do a skit.  In speaking to other entrants, we realized that no one had been aware of this requirement, and that in fact the skit requirement had been added only a day before the competition.  We, like our fellow competitors, frantically threw a skit together.

The actual masquerade was an exercise in humiliation and frustration.  We went first, which allowed us to see how miserably outclassed all the locals were by the “heroes.”  They had gigantic props, soundtracks with prerecorded dialog, light cues, grips, and smoke effects.  One group had cosplayers who owned their own production company and had done a gig for Guillermo del Toro; the other had Yaya Han herself, who boldly came out of “retirement” from competing at cons to compete at a con with no professional/ amateur split.  The only local group that was able to put together a decent performance was a group of fairies who also dance at the local Renaissance Festival.  We sat there in stunned anger.  We’d been told there was a race, and so we had trained to run, only to discover that our competition was driving Ferraris.

Read the whole thing at The Lawbringer.  Amy, her sister, and her Doctor Who friends were yelled at, baited into getting into fights with the professionals, and filmed when they cheered on those who called out the deceptive tactics of SyFy.  Ultimately, her group took the high road, refusing to dish dirt in a “confessional” room or engage with the professional acts who took over their local convention.

As Amy wrote, “It is one thing to know that reality shows are manipulatively edited, and quite another to be turned into a reality show villain. [….]  I’m sorry I gave them any footage for this show.  I’m even sorry that we competed at all, even if it meant waiting another year to see our dream come true — when it comes to reality shows, the only winning move truly is not to play.”

The other heartbreaking part is that “Heroes of Cosplay” could have been used to showcase local as well as professional cosplayers.  These talented young women created their magnificent Dr. Who costumes with their own money, with their limited free time (not as a job or a profession) and competed against professional acts who tour the  nation.  That should be material enough for a great show, but Heroes of Cosplay rejected that and put forth a trite reality TV series, to the detriment of everyone involved.

I. Thank you, Mr. Gomez

Gabe Gomez has a family, a life, and a career.  He didn’t have to step up and try to do an utterly thankless job: attempt to defeat the Massachusetts Democrat machine for the chance to represent the state for a mere 17 months. Gomez ran every road race, met any voter who would shake his hand, criss-crossed the state, and talked to business owners in their diners.  His team was a joy to work with on Election Day – some of the nicest, hardest-working people out there.  So pardon me if I fail to join in the fashionable bashing of Gabe Gomez and instead say “Thank you.”

 

Ed Markey won 54.8% of the vote and Gomez won 44.8% of the vote.  Before we tear the guy to shreds over a loss that is barely in the double digits, let’s remember a crucial fact: in the last thirty years, about 90% of Republicans who have run for statewide office have lost.  In the last ten years, the only person to win was Scott Brown.
Let’s also take a hard look at that much-maligned 44.8% of the vote: it’s a higher percentage than those won by Sean Bielat (both 2010 and 2012), Karyn Polito (2010), Charlie Baker/Richard Tisei (2010 Gov/Lt. Gov), Bill Hudak, Marty Lamb, Jeff Perry, Christopher Sheldon, and Jim McKenna.

 

It’s not like these people were running against super-stars of the Democratic party, either: Martha Coakley defeated McKenna by a 2-1 margin.  Sean Bielat is a Marine, Harvard-educated, young, and a businessman – this sounds like Gomez, here – who couldn’t come within ten points of Barney Frank and lost to Joe Kennedy III by twenty-eight points.   Mary Z. Connaughton couldn’t manage to defeat Suzanne Bump for auditor (although her 49% of the vote was the best showing since Brown-Coakley 2010).

If the issue is that Gomez didn’t rally the base,I must ask: are you alleging that Bielat, Connaughton, Hudak, Perry, McKenna, and Sheldon weren’t conservative enough?

 

II. Control of the Senate and the future of America

 

Besides, if you’re going to whine like a small child that your preferred candidate didn’t win the primaries, so you’re going to take your ball and go home, allow me to remind you of a few things.

 

Things like Christine O’Donnell, attacked almost as much by her own side as by the Democrats; Sharron Angle; Joe Miller, whose own party refused to support him; Richard Mourdock, left for political dead after defeating Lugar and then thrown under the bus when he made the mistake of saying that all children have a purpose in life.  Let me remind you of a few other things, like Olympia Snowe and Scott Brown – “RINOs” in deep blue states who were replaced by Democrats.  Allegedly, this purity contest should have us winning elections, taking back the country, and creating a Reagan-esque paradise.  Except that when O’Donnell, Angle, Mourdock, Brown, Snowe, and Gomez lost (or retired, in Snowe’s case), they were replaced by Democrats.

If those six seats were in the hands of an (R) and not a (D), the Senate President would not be Harry Reid.  We  would have passed a repeal of ObamaCare and put it on Obama’s desk.  The Senate would have a budget.  Judicial activists would have  a tougher time surviving nomination, and travesties like today wouldn’t happen as often.  The IRS, DOJ, NSA, and other alphabet soup federal agencies would have some hard, uncomfortable questions to answer.  This is when I get a big cheesy smile on my face, make the thumbs-up sign, and say, “You go, little buckeroos!  Rock those ideological purity or electability contests!” Because this s—t handed control of the Senate to the Democrats at a crucial time in our nation’s history.  Go, little buckeroos! Make it about you and not America!

Update DTG: I agree with Roxeanne that anyone willing to run deserves in this state deserves credit and her figures are pretty good but I would note one thing. Every other races that she cited were regular general elections with plenty of other democrats on the ballot, Mr. Gomez race was mano a mano special low turnout election just like Brown Coakley. Given that circumstance a candidate who his the base is the wrong for the party.

That being said one can’t fault Gomez. He ran in the primary as the candidate he was and won 50% of the primary vote. What was he supposed to do try to lose?

A few weeks ago, when the trifecta of scandals broke – IRS harassment of conservatives, Benghazi, and the AP wiretapping – we all wondered why the Obama Administration was going down so fast.  You sit there and think that they’re in so much trouble that it’s almost like they coordinated it.  Now it comes to light (via a UK newspaper) that the Obama Administration has subpoenaed and received cell phone records from hundreds of millions of Americans.  Now we learn that they are also monitoring social media and email networks.

A couple days ago, I read that, saw “Big Data”, and was reminded of the wizardry of the Obama turnout machine.  It clicked.  My brain went “Please, no.”  But at least I’m not alone in my conspiracy theories: Glenn Reynold’s readers are thinking the same thing.  Here are a couple of data points: the Tea Party creamed the Obama Administration in 2010.  In the next two years, the Obama Administration began surveillance of citizens via cell phone and email records.  In 2012, the Obama campaign ran ads in Portland, Oregon; Chicago, Illinois; Detroit, Michigan; and other places that are not exactly “swing states”.  They had good reason to: Romney won independents by double digits, won white women of every age bracket (including the 18-29 age bracket – he got 49%, and Obama got 48%), and won conservatives by bigger number than McCain did in 2008.  Yet Romney somehow lost.

For those of us who were perplexed beyond belief that first Tuesday in November, here is one possible, but horrific, explanation: Obama used the power of the government and the strength of the administrative state to get data that no one else could possibly get – cell phone records, emails, Facebook posts, google calendars (anyone going to a Democrat meeting?), Facebook events, blog posts, YouTube video-watching, you name it.  The “incumbency advantage” goes beyond giving away free phones in swing states: you would have the advantage of the entire government to get gobs of information and take micro-targeting to a new level.  A woman g-chats with her friends about her concerns about her kid’s school and schedules a PTA meeting on her online calendar? Hit her with “Romney will cut school funding!” ads.  Game over.

Now, correlation does not equal causation, and the possibility of abuse of power does not mean that it was so abused in every instance (although it will inevitably be abused at some point or another).  But we know that the Obama Administration has subjected U.S. citizens to an unprecedented level of personal surveillance; our only question is how the information was used, not if it was gathered.

Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Tim Murray is resigning today to join the Worcester Chamber of CommerceTim Murray is infamous for having crashed a state-owned vehicle while travelling 108 mph. He is also under investigation by the state Attorney General’s office for alleged violations of campaign finance laws.

Perhaps Murray is getting out while the getting out is good (i.e. before Martha Coakley’s office moves further in its investigation).  But conspiracy theories are newly fashionable, so let’s have at it. As the Massachusetts Constitution does not have a mechanism for replacing a Lieutenant Governor, the office will remain vacant until January of 2015. While it is understandable that Tim Murray would like to make more money, he is leaving the office vacant – it’s not like Deval Patrick can nominate or appoint a successor, and no election will take place for such a replacement. Curious.

However, if the offices of both the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor are vacant, then the Secretary (William Galvin) and Attorney General (Martha Coakley) will act in the stead of the Governor and Lt. Governor, respectively.  (In Massachusetts, the succession only means that someone acts as Governor; they do not take on the role.)   So Deval can’t hand-pick his successor, but, if he were to leave (say, to become the U.S. Attorney General), then the Democrats wouldn’t be bogged down by watching their Acting Governor (i.e. Murray) be investigated for all sorts of fun things.  I think that your party can survive watching the AG rough up the Lt. Gov (because most voters probably have no idea who he is or what he does), but will be seriously hurt if the AG investigates the Governor – and both of them are of the same party.

I received a Republican Strategy Ballot in the mail today.  It is allegedly a way to ensure that the “RNC is staying focused on issues you believe are most important, using the strategies you think will help us reach the most voters.”

The day after Obama won the Presidency, his campaign team sent out a detailed, nuanced questionnaire via email. Email and electronic processing tends to be less expensive than mailings.

Beyond the waste of money involved in a mailing, let’s focus on how absolutely asinine this mailing is.  The ballot contains five questions and a request for a donation.  Two of those questions are lame push-polling queries:

Question 3: “Democrats think taxes should go up so Barack Obama can ‘spread the wealth around.’ Republicans support tax relief for families, businesses, and seniors.  Whom do you support?”

Question 4: “Republicans support responsible judges who will follow the U.S. Constitution, and NOT legislate from the bench.  President Obama and the Democrats want to confirm ‘activist judges’ who will use America’s judicial system to promote liberal policies and strike down policies they view as ‘too conservative.” Whom do you support?”

Both questions had three answers: Republicans, Democrats, Not Sure/Undecided.  Did I mention that the RNC is paying money to send these questions to registered Republicans?

Questions 1 and 2 ask about the issues that Republicans should highlight in the 2013 policy debates, and which of the Democrats liberal policies that [I] oppose the most.  Neither question included ObamaCare as an answer; Question 2 said nothing of immigration or amnesty.  Question 1 had “Immigration reform” as an answer.  It did not specify if “immigration reform” meant amnesty, or conservative reforms like securing the borders, requiring e-Verify and cracking down on businesses that hire illegals, taking a hard look at birthright citizenship, increasing immigration for highly skilled professionals, and increasing deportation.  “Immigration reform” means damn near anything you want it to mean, which does not seem particularly helpful if the RNC is attempting to understand the viewpoints of the average Republican.

Neither answer had anything of health care reform or ObamaCare in it.  Once those costs kick in in 2014, ObamaCare will be an epic nightmare; we should be laying the groundwork now, telling people what will happen, and offering concrete solutions to fix the problem.  (“Repeal and replace” needs to be our mantra, with as much emphasis on “replace” as “repeal”.)  Why are we giving up this issue?

Guess what else didn’t make the list?  The assault on religion, the fight for conscience protections, abortion, and gun rights. Apparently, if you’re a pro-life, pro-gun, Christian conservative who doesn’t want to be forced to buy health care that pays for abortions, you’re going to have to find a different political party.  And I bet Reince is wondering why almost ten million people who voted in 2008 chose to stay home on Election Day 2012 rather than vote (R).

And now, onto Question 5, the final one, the one that will make my co-blogger Peter laugh or cry, or maybe laugh while crying:

“Question 5: What do you believe are the most effective ways for Republicans to counter the Democrats’ attacks against our policies, and reach voters with facts about our Republican Agenda?”

Of the thirteen responses, none of them included blogs.  (There was a generic “internet websites,” but that’s right up there with “immigration reform” in terms of specificity.)  The RNC has yet to figure out the value of the blogosphere.  The Democrats control almost every major media outlet save FoxNews and the WSJ and have an extensive network of blogs, and they kicked our butts in November.  Apparently, the RNC hasn’t learned a lesson from that.

The RNC should be using the blogosphere to explain conservative policies, expose Democrat scandals (e.g. Benghazi, the Gosnell trial), drum up support and excitement in special elections, hone the skills of normal people in their pj’s, and do some voter outreach.  I’m no tech expert, but I’m pretty sure that the RNC could figure out a way to monitor the top 100 conservative blogs, figure out what resonates with people, track the stories that make it to the mainstream, and see what gets independents/low information voters/moderates on our side.  They can also use those blogs and comment sections to figure out what ordinary conservatives think of everything from Rand Paul’s filibuster to “immigration reform” and act accordingly.

But nooo.  We have to do a lame paper-pencil ballot that asks us if we want to increase taxes on senior citizens.  Congrats, Reince and friends!  You wasted a lot of money on a totally useless survey!

Update (DTG): I think Roxeanne’s post of this morning is certainly worth bumping.

A few months back, I wrote about how the liberal movement ends up being pro-rape.  Apparently, the connection is more clear in the recesses of my cerebral cortex than on the computer screen, but that problem was inadvertently cleared up by one Miss Elizabeth Smart.  Miss Elizabeth has come out and blamed abstinence education for the trauma that she suffered as a result of her nine months of kidnapping and sexual abuse.  No, I’m not kidding; here is what the woman has to say for herself:

Smart said she “felt so dirty and so filthy” after she was raped by her captor, and she understands why someone wouldn’t run “because of that alone.”

Smart spoke at a Johns Hopkins human trafficking forum, saying she was raised in a religious household and recalled a school teacher who spoke once about abstinence and compared sex to chewing gum.

“I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh, I’m that chewed up piece of gum, nobody re-chews a piece of gum, you throw it away.’ And that’s how easy it is to feel like you know longer have worth, you know longer have value,” Smart said. “Why would it even be worth screaming out? Why would it even make a difference if you are rescued? Your life still has no value.” [….]

Smart says children should be educated that “you will always have value and nothing can change that.”

Let me make something clear: I think that rape is a horrifically traumatic event because I think that human sexuality is an incredibly powerful thing – that which can either bind a couple together for life, through childbirth, child-rearing, sickness, old age, death of family, loss of jobs; or that which can utterly destroy a human being.  All analogies, no matter how novel, would be trite, because it is intuitively obvious that things which are powerful-for-good can also be powerful-for-evil in the wrong hands.

I also have read the Bible and am pretty sure that Christianity teaches that all humans have intrinsic, unalienable worth, and that Christ – the son of God – had a crown of thorns beaten into His head, a spear thrown through His side, and was hung on a cross until He died.  The worst that the human race could dish out did not change His worth in God’s eyes, and in fact, underscores His value and the worth of every human being on the planet.  If crucifixion does nothing but glorify Jesus, then being a crime victim cannot diminish anyone in the eyes of God.  This is just Christianity 101.

Continue reading “Sometimes, I really hate being right (Bumped by DTG)”