Contributors

Showing posts with label abortion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label abortion. Show all posts

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Has The Donald Finally Met His Moby Dick?

Donald Trump may have finally met his great white whale and his name was Chris Matthews. Take a look...


The Donald has since walked back these comments but given the condemnation from both sides of the abortion issue, it's clear that he is finally being called on making shit up as he goes along. A recent poll in Wisconsin shows Ted Cruz up 10 points and that was taken before the arrest of Trump's campaign manager for battery and this issue.

Is this where Trump finally hits a wall?

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Lies Upon Lies

At the GOP debate on Wednesday night, Carly Fiorina made the following assertion.

One of the Planned Parenthood videos shows "a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says, 'We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.' "

The video does not show this at all.

The Center for Medical Progress video does not show actually show footage of O’Donnell’s experience, and there’s nothing else in the video to corroborate O’Donnell’s story. Additionally, the supervisor in O’Donnell’s story does not say anything about keeping the fetus alive specifically for the purpose of harvesting the brain.

In addition, the videos themselves are heavily edited (see also: lies) so we're talking about lies on top of lies.

Roe V Wade is the law of the land and always will be. If opponents of abortion are serious about reducing or elimination abortions, they should look to the reasons why single women in their 20s (the largest group to demand abortions) get so many abortions.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Not Your Decision


Monday, July 07, 2014

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Free Speech and Clinic Safety

Noah Feldman from Bloomberg breaks down the recent SCOTUS decision which allows anti-abortion activists inside the buffer zones that clinics have created in front of their buildings for safety. He notes that a first glance might reveal a big victory for abortion foes. Yet, a closer examination reveals much more.

The crucial element in the opinion — the element that got the liberals on board and enraged the conservatives — is that Roberts said the law was neutral with respect to the content of speech as well as the viewpoint of the speakers. That conclusion protected the possibility of other laws protecting women seeking abortions that pay more attention to what Roberts said was missing here, namely proof that the law was narrowly tailored.

What would be a real world example?

Consider a law banning sound trucks blaring on your street at night. It would probably be constitutional, because the government has a significant interest in citizens’ sleep, and there would be plenty of other times for sound trucks to operate, leaving ample alternatives for communication. It is this standard that Roberts applied to the buffer zone — and that will therefore be applied to other, similar buffer laws in the future.

Essentially, the details of the ruling give fair warning to abortion foes who may be emboldened to shout or threaten clinic patrons. The constitutionality of a ban or a buffer zone is still there because (surprise!) the freedom of speech is not unlimited.

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Solution to the Abortion Issue

With the passing of another anniversary of the Supreme Court decision on Roe V Wade, it occurred to me that solution to the abortion issue is really not all that difficult. Unfortunately, the two deeply entrenched sides make it seemingly impossible move on the issue. As I have gotten older, this issue has crept up my priority list and I think our nation needs to change the law as it stands today. There are still far too many abortions that happen every year (mostly by single women in their 20s) and this sad fact illustrates that people are being horribly irresponsible with sex. So how do we shift the paradigm?

The first thing that needs to happen is we need to tackle the demand side of the equation. Why do so many women in their 20s get abortions? Do they not know about birth control? Are they stupid? Part of this may be that sex education programs two decades ago were not what they are today. Teenagers today are taught that sex should only happen in loving, committed relationships with serious attention paid to birth control and family planning. The falling teen pregnancy rate shows that kids are abstaining until they are older or using birth control effectively and that is a good thing. A young person's mind isn't fully developed until they are 25 anyway. Honestly, I don't think people are ready to be parents on just about every level until they are 30. Younger parents are part of the reason why we have the problems we do today (see: The Michael Jordan Generation). So, single women in their 20s need to be targeted with marketing, community support, and social pressure to practice healthy sexual habits. That would eliminate some of the demand.

We can also look at the supply side of abortion and curtail it more than we are doing right now. We shouldn't outlaw it completely as that would give rise to a criminal element that would raise more problems, cost more money, and essentially create a whole new series of headaches. A woman's womb should not be a ward of the state. An embryo does not have 14th amendment rights. Here is where the question of "what is life?" needs to be answered. Prenatal development shows us that the heart isn't even beating until week 6. There is no brain function until week 7. It really isn't even a fetus until week 10. Given these facts, I'd say all abortions should be completely illegal after week 10 at least. I'd go as far back as week 6 if it means gaining concessions from the pro life crowd (more on that in a bit). In sum, it's not a human being without a functioning heart and brain.

With abortion legal only up until week 6 period, most people would pay more attention to their sexual habits and be more careful. I realize that Democrats would be loathe to embrace this but if they are truly the party of making laws that prevent people from hurting themselves or others, they should fall in line with this. Of course, they won't be the only ones that should concede on the issue. If the Right truly wants to be pro life, they should put their money where their mouths are and raise Medicare taxes to include free coverage for every child under a certain age. If changes to the abortion law were implemented as I describe above, there would inevitably be more unwanted children. We already have too many now so steps would have to be taken that these kids were taken care of outside of the womb as well. Aid could be given out based on salaries via Medicaid if need be but women who would have had an abortion because they couldn't afford to care for their kid will need some kind of assistance...certainly more than we have now.

I think that if all these steps are taken, our country would see abortion rates fall dramitally. Perhaps we would eventually see demand drop to such a point that few places would even offer them anymore. Take away the demand, you take away the supply. People would be forced to think more seriously about their sexual choices. But if mistakes are made, if a woman is raped, has sex with a family member, or is in a life threatening situation, they should have some sort of an option that won't detrimentally alter their life (and the life their child) forever. There is a way we can ALL be pro life and I sincerely believe the path I have outlined here is the best option.

It's not completely foolproof and perfect but it's better than what we have now which is, quite simply, a tragedy being perpetuated by hubris filled ideologues.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Tough One

The Supreme Court has a tough one in front of it with this case. Does free speech trump possible physical danger?

A couple of mornings a week, Eleanor McCullen stakes out a spot outside the Planned Parenthood clinic here and tries to persuade women on their way in to think twice before having an abortion. But she has to watch her step. If she crosses a painted yellow semicircle outside the clinic’s entrance, she commits a crime under a 2007 Massachusetts law. Early last Wednesday, bundled up against the 7-degree cold, Ms. McCullen said she found the line to be intimidating, frustrating and a violation of her First Amendment rights. The Supreme Court will hear arguments on Wednesday in her challenge to the law.

Yet...

The state’s attorney general, Martha Coakley, who is the lead defendant in the suit, said the 35-foot buffer zone created by the 2007 law was a necessary response to an ugly history of harassment and violence at abortion clinics in Massachusetts, including a shooting rampage at two facilities in 1994.

It's going to be interesting what SCOTUS has to say about this. My first reaction is what difference does a few feet make? Is there some sort of Pavlovian response to having a line drawn the prevents people from committing violence? Before reading their opinions, I say that Ms. McCullen's right to free speech is being violated. It's a public street. People can say whatever they want. If you are tough enough to go get an abortion, you can withstand an extra few seconds of conversation.

Or maybe you shouldn't have been a moron in the first place and used birth control more effectively.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Common Ground On The Role Of Government

The liberal and conservative positions on abortion have never made sense to me. Liberals should want more government in people's personal lives so why not be able to tell women what to do with their bodies? And conservatives complaint's about the long nose of government goes out the window when it comes to the womb of a private citizen.

Yet the issue of how much control the government has in terms of someone's right to life was illustrated in a very sad way in this recent piece in the New York Times. The womb of Marlise Muñoz is essentially a ward of the state of the Texas. Children’s Hospital Oakland, not the family of Jahi McMath, has decided that their patient is legally brain dead so they are well within their right (by law) to remove the ventilator. Part of their decision is financial but they are acting as a result of government law.

Even though these stories are gut wrenching, maybe they can be the start of some common ground between liberals and conservatives in defining the role of government in every day life. I would imagine that most people, regardless of where they stand on the political spectrum, are sickened by this. In each case, the government is clearly in the wrong. The families of each of these women should have ALL legal authority over their child and the government should stand out of the way. These stories also stress the vital importance of having living wills that are spelled out in the greatest possible detail.

Sunday, December 08, 2013


Saturday, December 07, 2013

'Tis The Season

It's the holidays and that means it's time to give back to those less fortunate than ourselves. With this spirit in mind, I thought I would answer all of the questions that a commenter (Not My Name) has been asking this year and give not only him a Christmas present but the four people that read his comments a gift as well. I've already answered many of them in posts or comments previously but he seems like he needs the attention and is lacking something pretty significant in his social life to spend as much time as he has writing in my comments section. So I thought one post with all my answers would be a great way to lift him out of his depression.

Question: Is the Constitution law? 

The context of this question was the 2nd amendment and I have already answered it pretty thoroughly. Yet there is a more concise way to answer...

Answer: Yes, the perfectly legal to amend and continually open to interpretation, as evidenced by 200+ years of tort, United States Constitution is law.

Question: Why would an uninsured person going to the ER cause insurance rates to go up?

Answer: Because they often can't pay and due to the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), a law signed by Ronald Reagan and a bipartisan Congress, every person must be cared for regardless of their financial situation. The story of Sharon Ford was a primary driver behind this law. Note the pro life tone to what transpired and consider this recent post of mine. As the link notes, taxpayers pick up the cost via public dollars or raised rates that stem from cash strapped hospitals picking up the tab.

Here NMN assumes that he has led me down a path that will show me that the government is the problem. Yet this same government stepped in to pass this law so we could save lives. Would NMN get rid of this law and let unborn babies like Sharon Ford's child die? I suppose only he can answer that but a reversal of this law would save taxpayers money so I guess he has a real puzzler on his hands. Maybe he should consult the Bible. On second thought, maybe not, as we can see from the next two questions.

Question: Faith in what? 

Answer: Your faith in Jesus and God. It's very, very weak. That's why you need others to believe exactly as you do lest you be tempted to stray from Republican Jesus. You claim to be a "rugged individualist" yet positively can't stand the fact that someone might think differently than you not just with your religious faith but your political faith as well. Like the communists and socialists you decry, you want everyone to believe exactly as you do otherwise you condemn them. You also make the mistake of having faith in conservative political leaders and ideologies. Faith is reserved for spiritual matters not for issues like the economy or health care. Even here your faith is weak as well. I'm not responsible for your insecurities. You are. And Jesus is very clear about people that judge and cast the first stone.

One other note on this question. NMN has refused, despite repeated queries, to outright reject the various sects of Christianity that don't conform exactly to his warped version of it. He's certainly rejected my Christian beliefs. I wonder why he hasn't rejected the Unitarian Church, for example. Or the peace churches.

Primary Question: Authors of words have a meaning they intend to communicate, and that meaning is the only valid "interpretation" of any writing. Do you agree or disagree? 

Related Questions: What makes you think God is UNABLE to do what mere humans can do—get someone to write what they want written? So you're claiming that the Jeremiah 31:33-34 prophecy has already come to pass? That every single person in the world sees and accepts Yahweh as his/her God, even Juris Imprudent? That there is no disagreement about God because we all know Him directly?   

Answer: As a writer myself, I say no to the primary question because maybe someone else can dream up something even more wonderful than I intended. Being a reflective person, I welcome it, of course:) Perhaps I could inspire someone to a higher meaning, right?  The other day in class I was offering a critique of John Maynard Keynes and a student raised his hand and said, "It seems that you are saying that Keynes' theories are too psychologically based." I hadn't actually said that but he took what I was saying and brought it to a higher level. It was magnificent. But really, it depends on the author. Bob Dylan would say yes. John Lennon would say no. NMN also seems to be lacking here in his understanding of the use of metaphor. Perhaps he doesn't understand symbolism either.

Anyway, the context of this question and the related ones is the Bible and the author's intent. As with all of his Bible, legal, constitutional, and morality related questions, NMN assumes he is the authority on the author's intent and proceeds (as always) with great hubris. He recently intimated that he is a more valid interpreter of the Bible than the pope. Wow, he's smart!

So, the question he lacks the courage to ask is "Am I the authority on Biblical interpretation, constitutional interpretation, and morality in terms of spiritual and civic law?" Or, more briefly, "Do I know what God is thinking?" The answer is no (and it's no for me as well) because he continually makes false assumptions based on emotions and a completely instransigent ideology. The failure is not with the authors but with NMN himself because he misinterprets, either purposefully, through ignorance or both, the author's intent. And, as I have mentioned far too many times, he also purposefully misinterprets what I say and turns my writings into gotcha questions (so, how long have you been beating your wife?) in order to go for the win and show off for the TSM people that read his comments. Does he know any other way? Thus far, the answer is no.

Primary Question: Do you think it's okay to punish a child for the parent's crime?

Answer: No, but I wish it were OK to punish parents for children's crimes. There would be a lot less gun deaths and spree shootings if that were the case. Perhaps parents would think twice about having guns in the house with their mentally ill child if their asses were on the line.

The background to this question is abortion and NMN falsely assumes (more on false assumptions aka lying below) that the moment of inception equals a child. It does not. Science (remember facts, evidence and logic?) shows us that there is not a fetus until the 10th week of development. The link above has detailed images of development and people can judge for themselves as to what constitutes a "child." For me that's towards the end of the first trimester which is why I have no problem with a federal ban on abortion extended to include the 2nd trimester. I'd even consider going back earlier with a ban when brain, heart and lung functions are more fully developed. A question that NMN or other pro life folks need to answer...is something human if it has no heart?

Of course, there is no such thing as compromise in NMN's world. Even I have to consider that my views may be wrong. Can the child survive outside of the womb? When? What of the mother's rights? Is her body now a ward of the state? This is a gray area because it's not as cut and dried as human-not human. And the Right doesn't do well at all with gray areas. It's not a person at every stage of neonatal development and even when it is in my view, should the fetus really be granted 14th amendment rights? Consider as well that the same argument against banning guns (only criminals will have guns) applies here. Only criminals will provide abortions and there will have to be funds for enforcement and personnel assigned to police it. Who is going to pay for it? Imagine what happened during Prohibition with liquor happening with abortion in terms of crime. Witness what is happening now with drugs. It would be a nightmare. NMN, like many on the Right, don't really think before they bloviate about nearly all of the issues facing our country today. Recall this as well. 

If we left behind the rock solid stubbornness of both sides in the abortion debate, we might actually be able to solve this problem. Abortion is not birth control and it should be harder to obtain. Single woman in their 20s are the group that need to be targeted as they have the most abortions. At a certain stage (earlier than what is legal now), they should not be allowed to have an abortion unless their life is threatened. If they are raped or a victim of incest, they should use the day after pill or terminate in the first couple of weeks. Family planning and sex education need to be improved. People have to behave more responsibly when it comes to sex. Overall, there needs to be societal shift so demand for abortion is reduced it not all together eliminated. As with most issues, the Right can't help but focus on supply when they should be focusing on demand. Get rid of the demand and you get rid of abortion.

Primary Question: Is "false" equal to "truth"?

Related Questions: Even Joe Biden admits that the administration's gun control actions won't stop the shootings. So why do those things? Since the leaders of the Democrat's effort to implement universal background checks say that "any bill without a records provision would be as toothless as an honor system", do you still assert that "[n]o one is talking about universal registration" and/or that it can be implemented without registration?

Answer: No, false does not equal truth and NMN does an excellent job of illustrating this given the content of the primary question and the related questions. Honestly, all of his questions are, in one way or another, based on false assumptions about the issues of the day or, in this case, me and what I am asserting. With me, that's part and parcel to his childish games.

The context of this specific line of query (along with all of the other gun questions he asks) is based on the false assumption and an inconsolable paranoia that the federal government is out to get our guns. For NMN, any changes to gun laws will result in tyranny. Our system of checks and balances make this highly unlikely. Consider how difficult it is to pass something as simple as a budget let alone a new law on the regulation of guns. A tyranny assumes swift and decisive action not government by sedimentation which is what we have now. He pulls half truths, spins, or simply lies with this category of questions.

Joe Biden's comment is quite different than what NMN has described and essentially (and hilariously) asks, "Why even have laws?" In fact, this very question is at the root of conservative whining. Like the adolescent that simply can't take the rules of the house, conservatives grouse about having to follow rules they don't like. New rules are the worst, man! They suck, and like, the Right doesn't want to do them and stuff. Of course, the rest of the adults in our country recognize that as our society evolves, problems arise and sometimes need to be addressed with (gasp!) new laws. Pretending that a problem doesn't exist or will magically go away (the conservative go to thinking these days) doesn't work.

The background check question is a half truth at best and based on opinions and heresay, not the actual law or an evidence based argument. The Manchin-Toomey bill is available here for review and a Google search (unaided by someone as biased as me:)) will show the full story on his related questions. And why can't we figure out a way to improve gun safety while honoring the 2nd amendment? We are the greatest nation on the planet, aren't we? I find it amusing that someone such as NMN decries those who "hate America" yet appears to be doing just that. Clearly the thinks very little of the leaders of this country and the people in it but that's the adolescent problem with authority again. Equally as amusing is the fact that NMN spends a lot of time and energy debunking things that Democrats say, accusing them of being incompetent liars, but on the issue of universal background checks, they are now suddenly "telling the truth." Wow...it's a Christmas miracle!!

Will NMN accept this gift in the spirit of the season and be gracious? Will his obsession with me continue? Or something else? Or will he reject my gift, take it back, psychotically keep asking the questions over and over again, circle jerk for juris, GD, 6Kings and Larry, and pretend that I never answered the questions? Honestly, it doesn't really matter.

Because in the final analysis we will never, ever see the kind of our nation he claims he wants. The trajectory of our country is evolving to fit the age of globalization and leaving behind backwards, hateful, and ignorant thinking. NMN's comments and questions are great examples of the fear that only comes with the realization that old ideologies are quickly becoming irrelevant.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Yep


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Only One Verse

The Bible only has one verse that directly comments on the value of a fetus. Here it is.

And if men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she has a miscarriage, yet there is no [further] injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman's husband may demand of him; and he shall pay as the judges decide. But if there is any [further] injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise. (Exodus 21:22-25)

So, a fetus is essentially worth a fine determined by a judge. Note that if the woman dies, then it is "life for a life" so there is a definite distinction the life of an adult and the life of child, or in this case, a fetus. The historical context of this makes perfect sense as children were generally thought of as "less than" during this time period. It really wasn't until the Industrial Revolution that cultural attitudes shifted to the concept of the "Precious Child."

This would be an excellent example of how a teaching in the Bible no longer applies to today. Many believe that a fetus is life and I would agree once the child reaches a certain stage of development (the heart is formed and the brain divides into five vesicles). I have no issue with abortion up until this point but after that, I do. The federal ban on third term abortions should extended to the second term. This is where the pro choice crowd should compromise.

Where the pro life crowd should compromise is on freeing up money for sex education and pummeling women in their 20s (the ones most likely to get an abortion) with information and incentives to not have an unwanted pregnancy. The goal should be to reduce the demand for abortion, not attack the supply except in the case of 2nd term abortions. An outright ban on all abortions would create numerous problems such as a criminal enterprise, higher costs for social programs and hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of unwanted children...which we have far too many of already.

Getting around the conundrum of people behaving irresponsibly is tough. This is the bane of the gun community as every day they look like assholes because far too many Americans can't be trusted with guns. Clearly, they can't be trusted with sex either. So, how do we change that?

Obviously, I don't have all the answers.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Alternate Dimension?

Being a comic book and scifi fan, I often wonder how many other dimensions and realities exists that are parallel to our own. Are there alternate versions of myself or my family and friends? Today, I feel like I have slipped into an alternate dimension with these two headlines.

Pope Says Church Is ‘Obsessed’ With Gays, Abortion and Birth Control

Iranian New Year greetings leave Israelis perplexed, pleased

Seriously, WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON? Don't get me wrong...I'm happy but it's jarring after so much bull crap every day to see something as positive as both of these stories.

I supposed I could be a cynic and say the latter headline is just Iran trying to smooth over diplomatic relations with the United States and is representative of recent back channel communications over their nuclear weapons program. Still, though, even with that caveat it's quite shocking to hear something like that from an Iranian leader.

The Pope's comments certainly jibe with his overall philosophy of placing more importance on helping the poor and sick of the world rather than being inordinately preoccupied with sex. Certainly caring for the needy of the world is mentioned far more often in the Bible than homosexuality, abortion, and birth control so it's clear which is more important.

Sadly, I'm sure it won't be long now before the Pope is accused of not being a Christian.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Amen.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Friday, March 08, 2013

Mississippi

As we celebrate Women on this "International Women's Day" we still need to acknowledge the injustice that's being done in the State of Mississippi to Women's rights. The state is fighting very hard to implement TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) laws to close its only remaining abortion clinic. This type of behavior is a systematic destruction to a federal law that is been in place for over 40 years to protect women and their choice. Mississippi, your behavior is a racket. 

Monday, February 25, 2013


Saturday, January 26, 2013


Friday, January 25, 2013

At Least It Was A Woman This Time

I think as the rest of the country moves on without them we are going to see increasingly erratic behavior from conservatives. With this, they have taken "Do it again, only harder" to a whole new level.

New Mexico GOP Repesentative Cathrynn Brown has introduced a bill in the State’s House of Representatives that would prohibit women who have been raped from obtaining an abortion—or face a sentence of up to three years in prison as punishment for committing the offending act. The legal theory behind the proposed legislation? Tampering with evidence of a crime…seriously.

Part of me has to wonder if these people are secret Democratic plants that will the left win election after election. The alternative is that they really are this disgusting and, if that's the case, they can never be allowed to be in charge of anything significant. People that are this mentally unbalanced should simply retire quietly to Shady Meadows, be given their soup, and left alone to spout their insanity.

No wonder Bobby Jindal is calling Republicans the stupid party.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Musings and Perceptions

I went to the club to work out on Monday and ran in to my ol' buddies Reverend Ed and Doctor Sean. They couldn't wait to start screaming at me about liberals and how they are going to destroy our country. They repeated, verbatim, many of the same arguments I see in comments on here. In fact, Reverend Ed used the same style as well as theme that my regulars here deploy  (e.g. a weasel question framed in such a way that the only response is a "win" for them).

For example, Ed asked me, "Where in the Constitution does it say anything about abortion?" When I informed him that I don't answer weasel questions, he huffed and puffed and said that I couldn't answer because that would mean I would be proved wrong and Roe v Wade should be overturned. I then explained to him that if he really wanted to reduced abortions in this country, he'd stop talking about the evils of fornication and and start educating people on family planning and making more emotionally intelligent decisions with their lives. In essence, work together to reduce unwanted pregnancies and take away the demand.

Sadly, he did not agree and I realized, like everything else with the Right, they don't want to actually solve problems. They just want to argue about them, "win" said argument, and implement policy in EXACTLY the way they dictate, never wavering or compromising in any way. Of course, this is never going to happen with the abortion issue. That topic, like gay marriage and climate change, has evolved to the point where it is no longer an issue. Guns aren't far behind.

This was evident when I asked each of them about the election and why conservatives lost. "People are stupid" they both replied. "Any reflection on your own party or perhaps some things that you might want to change? Immigration policy, perhaps?"

"Nope. Nothing."
"So, do it again, only harder?" I asked, chuckling to myself of course.
"Yep."

I then asked them if they cared if they lost election after election as it's pretty clear that the country is moving on without them.

"Nope."

As long as they are ideologically pure, continue to see compromise as a weakness, are unmoved by facts, intolerant of dissent, and are undeterred by new information, all is well in wingnut land, I guess. I told them they should find some more old white guys with 2 dollar haircuts to talk about rape some more. That seemed to work out well for them last year:)

Pastor Ed informed me that he would be home schooling his child. I applauded him for taking such a proactive effort in his child's life. He then went on to say that the reasons why he was doing it were: he wants to teach his child Hebrew and Greek  so he can know what the Bible really says (out of the bubble translation: so he can win the argument by claiming superiority over those who don't know Greek and Hebrew and thus say that HIS interpretation of the Bible is the RIGHT one); he wants to teach him logic (out of the bubble translation: so he can sound intelligent while lying in order to win the argument and claim superiority); he wants to teach him science (out of the bubble translation: so he can learn how evolution and climate change are myths perpetrated by liberals who are striving to achieve world domination); and, of course, civics, meaning an "accurate" interpretation of the Constitution. I almost laughed out loud at the science remark but politeness go the better of me.

Before Ed left to go home, I noticed how every time I countered what he said, he would go and try to find someone else to back him up. The other patrons at the gym would usually laugh or shrug and say they didn't want to get involved. Like my regulars here, he couldn't stand alone and discuss a particular issue. Bullies always need a gang, I suppose.

After Ed left, the best part of my time there occurred. Doctor Sean's son was hanging out with us off and on as he had the day off as well. After a long mouth foam and stomp off that included many topics, among them how bullshit it was that Martin Luther King day is a national holiday (and people think he's prejudiced...go figure!), how we are going to become like Greece (an oldie but a goodie:)), how China was going to overtake the world, and how Barack Obama is a communist, Doctor Sean's son, a freshmen in high school, turned to me and said,

"I'm sorry."

I smiled and saw in him what I see in my students: the future. More specifically, progress. Sean's son recognized how his old man was not really well in the head, politically speaking, and felt rather embarrassed. Obviously, somewhere along the line, he had some good teachers. Of course, Sean sends all four of his kids to a prestigious private school in the area which, according to him, is really, really liberal. When I asked him why, if he and his wife were so conservative, they send their children there, he shrugged and said, "It's the best school in the Twin Cities."

Hmm...perhaps the only way to cut through that ideological blockage is the perceptual framework of "status." Cool...