Category Archives: 10_jeff_fecke

Nobody Innocent Has Ever Been Executed, Because We Only Execute the Guilty

I’m squishy on the death penalty.  I absolutely think there are people who have revoked their membership card in the human race, and who deserve death as a punishment.  Morally, I have no problem with a hypothetical death penalty where only the guilty are so punished, where it’s used only on the worst of the worst, and where it’s administered evenhandedly and humanely.

Of course, that has little to do with the American system of capital punishment, one which gives you several demerits for being poor or non-white, or especially for being a poor non-white who killed someone white.  It penalizes you for living in Florida and not Minnesota, penalizes you for living in Texas and not Florida.  People still are electrocuted to death.  Oh, and the criminal justice system can be at times a Kafkaesque hell that denies the innocent the right of appeal.

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How Odd: The Irresistible Gravitational Pull of Cleavage

I’m a heterosexual male, and as such, I like cleavage.  I don’t know why, it may be hard-wired or something I picked up from the culture, but there’s no question that it’s one of the more pleasant sights in daily life.

That said, it’s not like I haven’t seen cleavage before, nor that I won’t see it again.  It’s nice and all, but it’s not as if it creates some sort of vortex from which my eyes cannot be pulled.  Indeed, I’m quite capable of ignoring cleavage and actually addressing the woman attached to it as if she is more important than it is.  And certainly I’m able to operate, say, motorized vehicles and heavy machinery within 100 yards of cleavage.

Which is more than I can say for a German bus driver in Lindau:

A German bus driver threatened to throw a 20-year-old sales clerk off his bus in the southern town of Lindau because he said she was too sexy, a newspaper reported Monday.

“Suddenly he stopped the bus,” the woman named Debora C. told Bild newspaper. “He opened the door and shouted at me ‘Your cleavage is distracting me every time I look into my mirror and I can’t concentrate on the traffic. If you don’t sit somewhere else, I’m going to have to throw you off the bus.'”

Now, let’s look at this rationally.

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Men and Reproductive Health

Writing over at RH Reality Check, Rupert Walder asks an interesting question: is there room for men in reproductive health

A message is a message, but support for male involvement programmes seem quite an ask when there is insufficient funding for women’s reproductive health around the globe. Tim Shand, who is in charge of male involvement programmes at the International Planned Parenthood Federation, says it is not about money, but a change of focus. “We need to re-orientate, not necessarily increase funding,” he argues. “Are abortion services for women? Or for men and families too? While we maintain that reproductive health is a women’s issue, it will remain a low priority and not part of the real politique.”

Shand welcomes UNFPA’s focus on male involvement, and says that there is evidence to prove that male involvement programmes do genuinely work. But he takes a hard line about differentiating programmes for men and programmes for women. “It is not either women, or men. At IPPF, we are supporting projects that want men and women to work together to improve their reproductive and sexual health.”

It’s an interesting take, but I’m not sure that I agree with Shand.

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Increasing Access to Birth Control Increases Use of Birth Control

I know this probably won’t shock many here, but still, it’s good news:

The popularity of the morning-after pill Plan B has surged in the year since the federal government approved the sale of the controversial emergency contraceptive without a prescription.

Plan B sales have doubled since the Food and Drug Administration authorized the switch for women 18 and older last August, rising from about $40 million a year to what will probably be close to $80 million for 2007, according to Barr Pharmaceuticals, which makes Plan B.

The sharp rise was hailed by women’s health and family-planning advocates, who say it illustrates the value of easing access to birth control to help prevent unwanted pregnancies.

“This is exactly what we hoped would happen,” said Susan F. Wood of the George Washington University School of Public Health. As assistant commissioner for women’s health and director of the Office of Women’s Health at the FDA, Wood pushed for the switch. “What we’re seeing is women who needed this product now finally having access to it. For a woman in that position, it can make a real difference in her life.”

So more women are using Plan B, which means fewer unwanted pregnancies and fewer abortions.  Who could be upset with that?

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Well, I Guess My Daughter’s Going to Grow Up to Be a Total Slut, Then

Jill at Feministe points to a Dear Prudence letter at Slate that might be the most disturbing thing I’ve read today:

Dear Prudie,
My daughter is 5 years old and has, like most girls her age, a hamper’s worth of stuffed animals. While she has her favorites, she constantly wants more and usually connives to get someone (read: her grandparents) into procuring a new one every couple of weeks. The new one immediately becomes her favorite and she must sleep with it every night and haul it around half the day. My question is: Does this behavior indicate she’ll be overly promiscuous as an adult, or at least unable to commit to a single partner?

—Perhaps Overly Worried Father

Now, Prudie mocks POWF by joking that his daughter will totally be getting it on with both Tinky Winky and Elmo.  But Prudie’s a girl, so I’m sure he won’t listen to her.  So I thought I’d share my own advice with POWF, man-to-man, as it were.

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Mistrial in Rape Trial

The Nebraska trial of a man accused of rape — but whose accuser was not allowed to utter the word rape in court — will end in a mistrial yet again, as Judge Jeffre Cheuvront ruled yesterday, because pretrial publicity has tainted the jury pool.  Of course, that’s not his fault — it’s the fault of Tory Bowen for daring to protest his insane and bizarre ruling:

In a written explanation of his ruling, the judge said Tory Bowen, the alleged rape victim, and her friends drummed up pretrial publicity that tainted potential jurors and led to a mistrial.

Bowen and her friends signed a petition decrying the judge’s decision not to allow the words to be spoken in court. The petition was posted on a Web site that encouraged people to gather in front of the courthouse Monday to protest, Cheuvront wrote.

Monday was the first day of jury selection; another rally occurred Wednesday.

“The inescapable conclusion from the petition promoting the rally is that Ms. Bowen and her friends hoped to intimidate this court and interfere with the selection of a fair and impartial jury,” Cheuvront wrote in his order released Thursday afternoon. “The gatherings and the speeches … were widely reported in the media. Unfortunately, this resulted in publicity that would make it virtually impossible to summon additional jurors who would be untainted by the media reports on these activities.”

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News You Can Use

The Onion has an important scientific study you really should read:

In a breakthrough study that contradicts decades of understanding about the nature of alligator–drunkard relations, Louisiana State University researchers have concluded that people’s drunkenness does not impair the ancient reptiles’ ability to inflict enormous physical harm.

“Our data strongly indicates that human intoxication does not transform an alligator into a docile creature that enjoys wrestling,” said professor Ryder McCrory, chair of the Wildlife Taunting Department of LSU’s prestigious Center For Bullying And Hazing Studies. “Despite its slow-witted demeanor and tendency to bask motionlessly in the hot sun, it’s a mistake to believe that an alligator will passively tolerate a half nelson, no matter how much Southern Comfort is fueling it.”

That’s a message the kids today need to hear.

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Shameless Hussy!

Amanda points out a story that is just so shocking I can hardly stand it.  Amy Polumbo, who is Miss New Jersey, has some racy pictures in her past.  Now, I’ve put these beneath the fold, because they’re just so over-the-top awful I can hardly believe it.  Please, if you have small children nearby, or are at work, or have ever had heart problems don’t click through, lest your brain be scarred forever by the horrible, horrible things Polumbo is doing.

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Your Daily Dose of Christian Tolerance

Rajan Zed, a Hindu from the Indian Association of Northern Nevada, gave the opening prayer in the United States Senate today.  Reasonably noncontroversial, right?  Of course not!  As Zed attempted to begin, hecklers from the gallery began shouting prayers in an attempt to drown him out. 

The Corner, of all places, has the video.  Of course, this is further proof of what most of us already know: the idea that everyone’s faith is respected in this country is a bunch of hokum.

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Hard-Hearted Harbinger of Haggis

Harriet Miers fails to show up for today’s Congressional hearing, even to assert privilege.

As Josh Marshall pointed out yesterday, not only can Miers be held in contempt of Congress, but by telling her to not show, George W. Bush may have committed a felony.

Mustang Bobby (directly below this post) has plenty more to say.

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Are There No Emergency Rooms? Are There No Free Clinics?

Every so often, our pathetic failure of a president says something that even still has the ability to shock me.  Here’s today’s latest outrage:

Bush spent a fair amount of time talking about health care yesterday, as well.

“The immediate goal is to make sure there are more people on private insurance plans. I mean, people have access to health care in America,” he said. “After all, you just go to an emergency room.”

Sure.  Because emergency rooms love it when you bring your kid in with an earache.  They’re happy to help.  And they just waive the bill!

Oh, wait, that’s right, they don’t.

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You’re Living in a World of Make-believe. With Flowers and Bells and Leprechauns. And Magic Frogs With Funny Little Hats…

You know, if Sen. Joe Lieberman, Joe-Conn., wasn’t such a sanctimonious jerk I’d almost feel sorry for him for getting smacked down this hard:

COOPER: Michael, I want to play something that Senator Lieberman said about the war in Iraq. Let’s — let’s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D), CONNECTICUT: The war is not lost in Iraq. In fact, now American Iraqi security forces are winning. The enemy is on the run in Iraq. But, here in — in Congress, in Washington, we seem to be, or some — some members seem to be on the run, chased, I fear, by public opinion polls.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Is the enemy on the run in Iraq, Michael?

WARE: No, certainly not. And I think we need to be aware that it’s enemies. I mean, America doesn’t face just one opponent in this country, but a whole multitude, many of whom are becoming stronger, the longer the U.S. occupation here, or presence here, in Iraq continues. So, unfortunately, I’m afraid that Senator Lieberman has taken an excursion into fantasy. (emphasis added)

Asked for comment, Lieberman said, “Frodo says all is well in Iraq, and I believe him!”

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Attack of the Phallic Thingies: Respect the Cock

I’m surprised nobody’s posted this yet:

monument

Message to the world: the Father of Our Country had an enormous wang.

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The National Abstinence Clearinghouse Comes to St. Paul

I can now say that I’ve shaken Leslee Unruh’s hand.  I know, you’re not jealous, and frankly, I wish I hadn’t had to, but you do what you have to do.

What I had to do on Monday was attend a press conference for the National Abstinence Clearinghouse’s annual convention, which is being held in St. Paul.  As some of you know, I write for Minnesota Monitor, which is an online news magazine that covers politics in Minnesota, and I’ve got the reproductive health beat, so what choice did I have?

At any rate, I’m putting the story up in three parts; if you’re interested in what the NAC is up to, you can read part one starting today; parts two and three will be up tomorrow.

And if you’re interested in what the story looks like, I’ve got an excerpt below the fold.

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That’s Jonah Goldberg: 100% Class All The Way

Verbatim DoughBob LoadPants comments on the Democrats daring to hold an LGBT debate:

Not that I’m endorsing it, but how long  until some blogger photoshops the Dem candidates into the guys from the Village People? I say it happens by lunchtime, if it hasn’t already. 

Ha!  It’s funny because the Village People were gay!

Next, Jonah wonders if anyone’s gonna photoshop the Democrats in blackface because of the Congressional Black Caucus debate.  Not that he endorses that, of course.

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No!

As we all know, Sen. David Vitter, R-La., cheated on his wife with a prostitute in Washington, D.C.  Of course, he’s apologized, and “asked for and received forgiveness from God and my wife in confession and marriage counseling,” so it’s all fine and dandy, and he’ll probably be just fine as long as nothing else from his past comes

U.S. Senator David Vitter visited a Canal Street brothel several times beginning in the mid-1990s, paying $300 per hour for services at the bordello after he met the madam at a fishing rodeo that included prostitutes and other politicians, according to Jeanette Maier, the “Canal Street Madam” whose operation was shut down by a federal investigators in 2001.

After they met, Maier said Vitter became a customer at the Mid-City brothel. He made several visits, she said, but had stopped coming before federal agents raided the brothel.

Well, it’ll all be okay as long as no blogger notices the really icky part

At the New Orleans brothel, Maier said Vitter spent time with several women, but preferred one in particular named Wendy. She said all the girls that were with Vitter described him as a kind, respectful man, who did not talk down to them or use drugs.

“I’m not out to ruin a marriage, I’m out to save a man,” Maier said. “I want his wife to know he’s a good man, I want his children to know he’s a good father. If he had sex out of wedlock, so what? At least he stayed with his children.”

Vitter and his wife, Wendy, have four children ages 13 and under.

Ouch.  That’s gonna leave a mark.

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Arrr for One and One for Arrr!

Via Sam Boyd, it turns out that pirates lived in a reasonably egalitarian society:

Captains had total authority during battle, when debate and disagreement were likely to be both inefficient and dangerous. Outside of battle, the quartermaster, not the captain, was in charge—responsible for food rations, discipline, and the allocation of plunder. On most ships, the distribution of booty was set down in writing, and it was relatively equal; pirate captains often received only twice as many shares as crewmen. (Woodward writes that Privateer captains typically received fourteen times as much loot as crewmen.) The most powerful check on captains and quartermasters was that they did not hold their positions by natural right or blood or success in combat; the crew elected them and could depose them. And when questions arose about the rules that governed behavior on board, interpretation was left not to the captain but to a jury of crewmen.

What’s striking, of course, is how much more ethical the pirates were than modern American business.

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Oddly Enough, Women Attracted to Attractive Men

Melissa’s made a point of noting how Reuters has this weird policy that any news about women falls into the “oddly enough” category.  Well, today features an oddly enough that…well, just read:

Muscular young men are likely to have more sex partners than their less-chiseled peers, researchers at the University of California Los Angeles said on Monday.

Their study, published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, suggests muscles in men are akin to elaborate tail feathers in male peacocks: They attract females looking for a virile mate.

“Women are predisposed to prefer muscularity in men,” said study author David Frederick of UCLA.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: that’s not only not odd, that isn’t even news!  Golly gee, you mean that women are capable of being shallow and hooking up with some guy just because he’s good looking and well-built?  Have these people been to high school and/or college?

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Good News. No, Really.

Some of you may be familiar with the case of former Fresno State women’s volleyball coach Lindy Vivas, who sued the school for $4.1 million dollars for wrongful dismissal.  Vivas, who was fired and replaced with a male coach, asserted that she was fired because she was a woman, perceived as gay (Vivas has not confirmed or denied whether she is or not), and a supporter of Title IX.  Her assertion was bolstered by former basketball coach Stacey Johnson-Klein:

Johnson-Klein claimed on the stand that there was discrimination against Vivas. She claimed that when she was hired by former Athletic Director Scott Johnson, she was told there was a “home team” and an “away team”, and only heterosexual females were allowed on the “home team.”  Johnson-Klein also went on to say that Scott Johnson created a hostile work environment for women in the athletic department.

Of course, that wasn’t the only incident.

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You Sleep Well Tonight, Y’Hear?

Well, I for one can’t think of any particular reason why this should scare the bejebus out of you:

The Bush administration has failed to fill roughly a quarter of the top leadership posts at the Department of Homeland Security, creating a “gaping hole” in the nation’s preparedness for a terrorist attack or other threat, according to a congressional report to be released today.

As of May 1, Homeland Security had 138 vacancies among its top 575 positions, with the greatest voids reported in its policy, legal and intelligence sections, as well as in immigration agencies, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Coast Guard. The vacant slots include presidential, senior executive and other high-level appointments, according to the report by the majority staff of the House Homeland Security Committee.

Well!  I mean, it’s not like FEMA does anything.

No, seriously, it’s not like FEMA does anything.  Remember the FEMA response to Hurricane Katrina?  Neither does New Orleans.

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