Sunday, May 31, 2009

it's sunbeam, not terrorist.

like anyone else with a heart, i was disgusted to read about the murder of dr. george tiller, who was gunned down this morning in his church. he was serving as an usher. he leaves behind his wife, four children, and ten grandchildren.

violence against abortion providers, seekers, and supporters, is terrorism and should be identified as such. the fact that anti-abortion terrorists are frequently white and christian should not stop them from being treated like their non-white and non-christian counterparts. it is a striking, though not altogether surprising, example of incredible double standards to do otherwise.

mark juergensmeyer, a ucsb professor in global and international studies, sociology, and religious studies, and director of ucsb's orfalea center for global and international studies, has studied religious violence extensively. i'd recommend his book, terror in the mind of god: the global rise of religious violence (berkeley: university of california press, 2001), in which he explains that every religion has within it the potential for violence. juergensmeyer calls religion "crucial," noting that "it gives moral justifications for killing and provides images of cosmic war that allow activists to believe that they are waging spiritual scenarios" (xi).

and this is precisely what anti-abortion terrorists are doing. and what they have been doing for years. and what they are likely to continue to do.

the ap complied a timeline of selected acts of anti-abortion terrorism in the last 16 years:
Recent cases of abortion-related violence

A look at recent cases of abortion-related violence:

May 31, 2009: Prominent late-term abortion provider George Tiller is shot and killed in a Wichita church where he was serving as an usher. The gunman fled but a city official said a suspect is in custody.

April 2007: Authorities say Paul Ross Evans placed a homemade bomb in the parking lot of the Austin Women's Health Center in Texas. A bomb squad disposes of the device, which contained two pounds of nails. There are no injuries.

Oct. 23, 1998: Dr. Barnett Slepian is fatally shot in his home in a suburb of Buffalo, N.Y. Militant abortion opponent James Kopp is convicted of the murder in 2003 and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

Jan. 29, 1998: A bomb explodes just outside a Birmingham, Ala., abortion clinic, killing a police officer and wounding several others. Eric Rudolph later pleads guilty to that incident and the deadly bombing at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. He justifies the Alabama bombing in an essay from prison, writing that Jesus would condone "militant action in defense of the innocent."

Jan. 16, 1997: Two bomb blasts an hour apart rock an Atlanta building containing an abortion clinic. Seven people are injured. Rudolph is charged by federal authorities in October 1998.

Dec. 30, 1994: John Salvi opens fire with a rifle inside two Boston-area abortion clinics, killing two receptionists and wounding five others. Sentenced to life without parole, he kills himself in prison in 1996.

Nov. 8, 1994: Dr. Garson Romalis, who performs abortions in Vancouver, Canada, is shot in the leg while eating breakfast at home.

July 29, 1994: Dr. John Bayard Britton and his volunteer escort, James H. Barrett, are slain outside a Pensacola, Fla., abortion clinic. Barrett's wife, June, is wounded in the attack. Paul J. Hill, 40, a former minister and anti-abortion activist, is later convicted of murder and sentenced to death.

Aug. 19, 1993: Dr. George Tiller is shot in the arms as he drives out of parking lot at his Wichita, Kan., clinic. Rachelle "Shelley" Shannon is later convicted and sentenced to 11 years in prison.

March 10, 1993: Dr. David Gunn is shot to death outside Pensacola, Fla., clinic, becoming the first U.S. doctor killed during an anti-abortion demonstration. Michael Griffin is convicted and serving a life sentence.

these people and their accomplices are obviously able to justify their actions to themselves, most of them blaming it on jesus, but here's the thing: killing people is wrong. no exceptions. if you can find me the part in the gospels where jesus kills someone because he doesn't approve of their choices, then i'll consider re-thinking this. but i've read those books quite a few times, and i still don't see the part where killing (or even injuring) someone is acceptable. ever.

the less openly-militant wing of the anti-abortion movement is also alive and well. randall terry, the former leader of "operation rescue" has been back in the news again, telling reporters at notre dame that "Obama is the premier promoter of child killing in the western hemisphere. When you have that kind of epic thing going on, it demands a response from the whole Catholic world." obama promotes child killing? more than anyone else in the western hemisphere? really? expect to see more of this rhetoric, as the militant right struggles to come to terms with the fact that bush never made good on his promises to them, and obama isn't even going to pretend like he'll give them what they want.

i don't have a lot of patience for people who want to restrict abortion rights, even through peaceful means. it is an issue of basic bodily autonomy for a woman or a girl to decide whether or not she is going to carry a fetus to term. and making abortion illegal will not magically end abortion; it will just drive it underground. anyone who is genuinely concerned for the health and well-being of women wants to avoid this at all costs.

rest in peace, dr. tiller. and may your family find comfort and healing in this time of unacceptable loss.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

you too can get one of these stickers, for free (free shipping, even!) here.

you can also order 5 for $5 or 50 stickers for $25, with proceeds going to the fight for marriage equality.

or, if you already ordered a sticker a few weeks ago like i did, you can just sit and watch the number of stickers ordered going up in real time. that feels pretty good, actually. (today i looked around noon and 27,000something had been ordered. less than three hours later, it's just reached 37,000).

from the "wtf srsly?!?" section of my favorite state:

"California Supreme Court Upholds Ban on Same-Sex Marriage"

ugh. i feel gross. after watching the public arguments about proposition 8, i wasn't feeling very optimistic anyway, but having it confirmed is pretty discouraging.

i don't really have the energy to write much about it right now; sometimes i'm ready to argue about it for hours but right now i'm just sad. another day.

but anti-equality folks: you should be ashamed of yourselves. maybe you think gays are icky, that the bible is against homosexuality, or perhaps you just lack any sort of meaningful capacity for empathy or fail to place any value on fairness—whatever's wrong with you that makes you want to deny basic rights and recognition to other people, people who are just like you, with hopes and dreams and families and crushes, i hope you get that looked at.

from the "wtf srsly?!?" section of the newspaper:

"Tinkling in the pool causes disgust and discomfort"

okay dudes, i know that there are some amazingly dense and inconsiderate people out there, but this article makes me think i should never leave the house again. as the title suggests, it really is an article about how peeing in swimming pools is gross and makes other people upset and, in large quantities, sweat and urine can contribute to health problems. (i don't want to come off as a public pool urination defender or anything, but i still can't think of anything that, in large enough quantities, doesn't contribute to health problems.)

the really totally insane part, though, is the part about poop. yes, offers "pool etiquette" tips. and yes, the first one is, "Don't swim when you have diarrhea." i'd like to add to that one. don't swim when you have diarrhea, and if it took reading this article to get you to realize that, don't swim ever. the fourth suggestion, though ungrammatical, is also something that should be beyond obvious to anyone over the age of five who has access to sinks: "Wash your hands after using toilet or changing diapers."

um. yes. yuck. i'll leave you with some more of this article's reflections on poop:

The most common recreational water illness is spread through diarrhea. One of the most persistent problems is Cryptosporidium, a parasite that causes diarrhea and can be found in infected stools.

"With Crypto, if you have diarrhea, it's very watery," Hlavsa said. "It's not a formed stool sitting in the pool or floating on top. It could be very watery, and no one [in a pool] would know."

During the past two decades, Crypto has become one of the most common causes of waterborne illness.

Unlike E. coli and salmonella, Crypto can resist chlorine. In 2007, the parasite sickened more than 1,200 people who had visited recreational water facilities in Utah.

According to the CDC, if someone swallows water that has been contaminated with feces, he or she may become sick even if very little water is consumed.

The agency also recommends that people shower before a swim, because most people have traces of feces on their bottoms, which can contaminate recreational water. In the Water Quality survey, 35 percent reported skipping a shower before swimming.

Recreational water illnesses have been on the rise for the past two decades, according to the CDC. From 2005 to 2006, the agency reported 78 outbreaks of recreational water illnesses associated with swimming pools, water parks, hot tubs, lakes, rivers and oceans that affected 4,412 people and resulted in 116 hospitalizations and five deaths.

so. happy summertime, wash your hands and your booty, and safe swimming.

basically, all the important stuff.

i just found a "don't forget to pack this" list for myself, left over from one of the school camping trips i went on this semester (by the way, if you're seeking a field of study, you should know that geography classes usually include at least one field trip. just sayin'.) the list:


the nephews' mama knows me pretty well.

me: blah blah blah possibility that probably isn't going to end up working out blah blah blah " would be fun, but it's not keeping me up at night."

nephews' mama: "well, to be perfectly honest, nothing really does."

Friday, May 08, 2009

my life, in a status message:

"Index Terms: preimplantation embryo; recombinant granulocyte macrophage colony stimulating factor" i'm not a scientist but i'm pretty sure this article on andean glaciation has the wrong search terms attached to it.

(in case you didn't know, i'm not going to miss this paper when i'm finally finished writing it.)

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

a quick question for the smokers:

when you throw your cigarette butts on the ground, just who do you think is going to pick them up?

the nephews' mama is made of strategy.

"you have to decide, choose your days when you feel like scraping peanut butter out of the folds of somebody's ear."