Tuesday, March 10, 2009


It's been an interesting week so far -- "interesting" meaning "not very much fun" in this case. We've been replacing the carpeting in our house, a room or two at a time, since you have to completely empty a room for the layers of carpet to do that thing, and we seem to have a fairly full sort of house. Monday, we scheduled the last room, and it was our bedroom ... hmmmm, I wonder why? So, Sunday afternoon I was sweating a whole week's worth, dismantling and moving and shoehorning stuff into another room. (A king-size mattress, by the way, is an accursedly heavy, big, floppy, and uncooperative object when you're dealing with it by yourself.) Meanwhile, we've been having some sincere and monumental rain where I live, with the result that the only road leading to my house flooded over, so the carpet-laying guys couldn't get here Monday, so my wife and I were sleeping on the floor an extra night, and you know what they say about how many people are happy when Momma ain't happy. So, Monday night, I was writing a post about this story, which tells about Pres. Rainbow Brite's Soylent Green initiative, when the electricity went out in my vicinity. And, of course, without 115 volts RMS at 60 Hz, I neither compute nor internet. So, I had to go to bed ("go to floor," to be more accurate) without posting, and went to the YMCA and on to the day job this morning in that same sad condition. At lunchtime, I had a few minutes, and so I visited the excellent blog of my upstate New York friend akaGaGa and read this post. Now, this lady thinks pretty much exactly the same way I do (or would, if I were a better thinker), which is very nice in an uncanny sort of way ... but the only problem with a situation like that is, you'd better be quick to your keyboard or you end up looking like a big ol' copycat. Well, she's already said pretty much all I had to say, so by all means, go and give it a look. I do still, however, have a thought or so to add.

I really don't understand why it is that politicians on both nominal sides of the "life issues" make a half-hearted and lame attempt to straddle a miles-wide chasm, or to somehow split the unsplittable difference. I'll start with the GOP types, who are allegedly on my side. Anyone who's even slightly awake realizes that their "pro-life" positioning is purely a campaign tactic, to be used as political pornography to excite the "base" until the day after the election -- when it is instantly relegated to a back burner that's so far back, it isn't even within a country mile of the stove. But, in addition, they can't even lie consistently. "I'm opposed to abortion, except in case of rape-or-incest," they say, somehow never being asked to explain why your father being a rapist, or your parents being inappropriately related, should amount to a death sentence for you. O Elephant, do you imagine that a real pro-abort is going to vote for you, based on your weasel words, when he or she can vote for a real pro-abort? O Elephant, you of the futile and reprobate mind!

And then there's the Donk. Consider the Chosen One himself. I was eating my lunch on Monday (at Dawson's Dogs, for those of you who live around here) when Mr. Obama gave his speech on the teevee, and while I kept my gaze firmly on my book, I couldn't help hearing the wild enthusiasm of the cheer that went up when he first mentioned that it's about to be Federal Embryonic Stem Cell Time. It sounded like a rock concert, in the moment after the lights come up on the headlining band. Why didn't Rainbow Brite go ahead and raise his fists: Blood! Blood! We're going to have blood! No, he tried to do his own straddle dance:
He noted that "many thoughtful and decent people are conflicted about, or strongly oppose, this research," and he said he understands their concerns and respects their views.

But a majority of Americans "from across the political spectrum" believe the research should be pursued, Obama said, "and with proper guidelines and strict oversight, the perils can be avoided."

He said his administration will also support "promising research of all kinds, including groundbreaking work to convert ordinary human cells into ones that resemble embryonic stem cells." This research on adult stem cells was favored by the Bush administration, which argued that it could produce scientific advances without destroying human embryos.

Obama also pledged to develop strict, rigorously enforced guidelines for embryonic stem cell research "because we cannot ever tolerate misuse or abuse." He vowed, "We will ensure that our government never opens the door to the use of cloning for human reproduction. It is dangerous, profoundly wrong, and has no place in our society, or any society."
Do you imagine, O Donk, that you'll sway any actual opponents with your poor simulation of being conflicted and making hard choices? If it's a fine thing to combine actual human ova and sperm at the IVF clinic, and thus start large numbers of babies in vitro, almost all of whom are destined to become spare parts, why shouldn't it be acceptable to clone a bunch of babies who'll be destined to become spare parts? Incoherence is what usually happens, O Donk, when you set out to defend the indefensible. O Donk, you of the futile and reprobate mind!

And this is what passes for a sharp contrast between the two essentially-identical crime families that run the Empire: one taxes me for limited federally-funded crimes against decency, while the other taxes me for somewhat-less-limited federally-funded crimes against decency. Don't tell me we don't have choices in Our Democracy!


Anonymous said...

I offer my sympathies on the carpet-laying project. We went through a similar thing to refinish the wood floors in our 1860's house - except we had massive quantities of dust from the sander. Nice, fine dust that settled - everywhere.

I'm not faster than you. I just didn't lose power. And I will establish right here and now: JIM IS NOT A COPYCAT! It just couldn't be. You're more sarcastic than I am, remember?

And, yes, you had me laughing again. :)

lemming said...

IVF, though a lovely idea, created a great many more problems than it solved, IMHO.

Yes, to be unable to conceive a child "naturally" is a heartbreak and a loss. I do not mean to devalue that pain.

At the same time, I have a hard time excusing the numbers. Each IVF procedure costs roughly $10, 000, and insurance typically covers between 3 - 10 attempts. If all life is sacred, why prioritize $100, 000 of our own DNA instead of adopting children without parents? $10, 000 would go a long way toward adoption, be it foreign or domestic.

As you say, what do you do with the "leftover" embryos? Do they have a better "quality of life" frozen than serving a research purpose?

Then we get to what happens to humans once we are born - how many people are cast off? I am thoroughly tired of this notion that anyone out of work right now brought it upon themselves and deserves whatever misery they get after foreclosure. $10, 000 could do a lot there, too.

I am pro-choice in part because I do not believe that 9 year olds who become pregnant with twins because they're raped by their stepfathers (big news in Brazil recently) should have to die carrying fetuses that their bodies simply cannot handle. Nor do I see an ectopic pregnancy as a punishment from God and believe that women should be forced to go through with that pregnancy until the fallopian tube bursts and the mother dies.