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Ohio Pba Law Upheld


From the National Right to Life Committee: [I'm very slow today]

Sixth Circuit Upholds Ohio Law Restricting Partial-Birth Abortion

In a ruling with possible national significance, Ohio’s law restricting the brutal practice of partial-birth abortion was upheld today by the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

Most partial-birth abortions are performed in the fifth and sixth months of pregnancy. The Ohio statute generally bans killing a live child who has been delivered outside the body of the mother at least past the baby’s navel (if he or she is being delivered feet first), or whose entire head has been delivered outside the body of the mother (if he or she is delivered head first). However, there is an exception to the ban “to preserve the life or health of the mother as a result of the mother’s life or health being endangered by a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.”

The law was challenged by Ohio abortionist Martin Haskell, whose 1992 instructional paper on how to perform this method of abortion touched off the national debate over partial-birth abortion.

Today, in Women’s Medical Professional Corporation v. Taft, a three-judge federal panel upheld the law. By a vote of 2-to-1, the panel rejected the arguments of abortion advocates that the Constitution requires that partial-birth abortions must be allowed when the health risk to the mother is only negligible or transient.

James Bopp, Jr., General Counsel for the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), commented, “The court rejected — as most Americans reject — the outrageous claim by pro-abortion advocates that the Constitution guarantees a right to kill a child who is hanging halfway outside the mother’s body for negligible and transient health reasons.”

Nr Books: Read This


If you were having trouble book buying earlier, the link is now fixed and here it is, too, correctly. Save yourself the waiting-in-line-hassle while you still can.


My Mexican Spider Hole


I’ve had a wonderful time down here in Cabo San Lucas, except for the unbelievable telecommunications problems. I’ve travelled to some really out of the way places and had a much easier time getting a line out for email etc. We’re in a very nice hotel and we were in a very nice rented house and neither place makes it easy or even possible. You have to go through operators from what I can tell. Very, very annoying. Also, it’s amazing how so many restaurants dedicated to gringos won’t make the food spicy enough. Jonah likes his carnitas muy caliente! Anyway. I fly back tomorrow, no doubt to find pink slips from Rich and Kathryn waiting for me. This trip took longer than we planned for reasons largely in our control but no less annoying for it. Will explain when we get back.

Web Briefing: October 30, 2014

Excellent Post


by Jacob Levy regarding the French decisions on appropriate fashion statements in schools.


Return of The King Clarification


In my Return of the King Review, I wrote that Aliens was superior to Alien. Somehow in the editing process that got changed to “Alien Resurrection” is better than its predecessors — or something like that. I’ve gotten piles of email rightly chastising me for such heresy. I agree: Alien IV was drek standing on the shoulders of drek. I don’t how the error was made, but I guarantee you it happened after the ones and zeros left Cabo San Lucas. Fortunately, someone alerted Kathryn to what must have been sabotage and now all reference to the Aliens series has been purged. I normally don’t call attention to such things considering what heroic work the staff at NRO do just keeping the profanities and odd doodles out of my prose, let alone the constant spelling and grammatical mistakes. But I want to be clear for everyone out there. Thanks.

Saddam’s Capture - a Triumph of Barbed Wire


Another catching-up item (just got off our magazine deadline here): What was most striking to me about Saddam’s capture is that liberals were decrying the very tactics that were about to lead to his capture. Our Ramadan pause in the Sunni triangle proved disastrous, leading to an increase in attacks on our troops. It was only when we cracked down — hard — that we saw a lessening of the attacks and progress toward getting Saddam. The tough tactics included barbed wire and arrests, as Newsweek explained: “The Americans received numerous tips from Iraqis interested in the $25 million reward, but none of them panned out. So the military began to squeeze. About six weeks ago, soldiers of the Fourth Infantry Division strung barbed wire around the small farm village of Awja, where Saddam had lived as a boy, about 5 to 10 kilometers south of Tikrit–and, as it turned out, some 5 kilometers from the farm where he was finally captured. The town was a Saddamite fishbowl. About 60 percent of the village’s thousand or so men were arrested and questioned. ‘We had number 6’s father, Saddam’s first cousin, quite a cast of characters that are town elders,’ Lt. Col. Steve Russell of the Fourth I.D. told NEWSWEEK. By the time Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld arrived in Baghdad in early December, top CENTCOM officials were beginning to feel that they were finally closing in. A top aide to Rumsfeld told NEWSWEEK that intelligence was working up the food chain toward Saddam, arresting and interrogating sources who were getting close to the fugitive himself.” As it happens, on Saturday the New York Times news pages had a piece with a general explaining how the crackdown was making real progress against the insurgency and he was increasingly optimistic about bagging Saddam. This turned out, of course, to be a very prescient piece. But as all this progress was happening on the ground, liberals here in the U.S. were bewailing our new toughness. On Saturday, the New York Times editorialized sourly: “Frustrated by suicide bombings and guerrilla violence, American military officers resort to the kind of harsh tactics that have caused endless ill will in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” On Sunday, Jim Sollisch of NPR wrote in the Washington Post: “I read that our occupying army is now using the techniques of the Israeli army — burning down houses, encasing whole villages in razor wire, detaining the families of suspected insurgents. And, I am too ashamed to keep quiet.” It is hard to imagine a more stark demonstration of why, at a time like this, liberals can’t be trusted in power — they aren’t up to it either intellectually or temperamentally. Barbed wire just scares them too much.

John Hinkley Is Granted Permission


to make unsupervised visits to his parents.

Must Reading


Catching up: This was a great story from last week from USA Today describing the tactics used by Iraqi insurgents. The best treatment I’ve seen on this question. Check it out if you want to know what our troops are dealing with over there…

Journey to Middle Earth


Lots of e-mails along these lines–beats the kids watching MTV during homework:

…I attended a midnight showing of The Return of The King last night/this morning, taking my 15 year old daughter dressed in her Arwen attire. Observations: Full house, the show sold out with advance sale tickets. I bought ours over a week ago. Good, clean crowd. Lot of bookish kids and young adults. A few early teens with parental supervision, the majority were between 16 and 22, I think. Very few old, mid-40s geezers such as myself. I may have been the oldest person in the crowd. Lots of the kids doing homework and studying while on line as it’s finals week in the schools here. A significant number wearing LOTR costume including a group of about 15, each dressed as a different principle character…quite impressive! Basically it was a theater lobby full of apparently studious and intelligent students out to have a good time with a thought provoking movie. And violating all kinds of curfews (with their parents permission in most cases).

The movie itself is outstanding. Decent adjectives fail me this morning on only 3 and a half hours of sleep. I agree with Pearce that it is not true to the book in a number of places, but that, in the end, that matters little. “The Return of the King” is a master work, and its timeliness (re: Beard and Rhys-Davies) is nothing short of miraculous. We’ll probably see it a couple of times more during the holidays. Maybe my daughter and I will take the rest of the family, maybe not. We had a magical time together early this morning….

Kerry V. Kerry


John Kerry lit into Howard Dean yesterday in his latest foreign policy speech. Some of his criticisms are quite telling, but also very odd since Kerry is attacking exactly the sort of foreign policy posture he has seemed to be advocating over the last few months – to wit, giving France a de facto veto over whether the U.S. would invade Iraq or not. Last week, Kerry asked, by way of pointing out Dean’s various flip-flops on the war, “Which Howard Dean?” Now, we can ask, “Which John Kerry?” Check out these passages from his speech. It’s exactly the sort of thing conservatives have been saying about Kerry:

“And at other times, Governor Dean said that we should not go into Iraq unless the UN Security council gave us authorization. That is a fundamental misunderstanding of how a President protects the United States. I have said many times I believe that America should have worked to get international backing before going to war. Our diplomacy should have been as good as our soldiers. A true international coalition would have been better for our troops, better for our security, better for Iraq’s future. Perhaps it reflects inexperience, but for Howard Dean to permit a veto over when America can or cannot act not only becomes little more than a pretext for doing nothing – it cedes our security and presidential responsibility to defend America to someone else — a profound danger for both our national security and global stability… To follow the path that Howard Dean seems to prefer is to embrace a ‘Simon Says’ foreign policy where America only moves if others move first.”

For good measure, Kerry is now also saying: “Iraq may not be the war on terror itself, but it is critical to the outcome of the war on terror, and therefore any advance in Iraq is an advance forward in that.” Before this is all over, Kerry may be a certified neo-con.

Saudis Get Tough


Mark Steyn, Genius


Mark Steyn is at the top of his polemical game in the current Spectator.
This guy just makes me want to give up commentary, he is so
damn good. **AND** I had just got through reading his theater-criticism
column in the December New Criterion , where
Mark reveals, perfectly unostentaiously, that not only has he read
everything Frank L. Baum ever wrote, he is also familiar with all the stage
adaptations of the Oz books, including at least eight musical versions. I
give up. I’m going back to computer programming.

Conservative Teens


Dippiest Comment to Date On The Capture of Saddam


Michael Moore: “Thank God Saddam is finally back in American hands! He must
have really missed us. Man, he sure looked bad! But, at least he got a free
dental exam today. That’s something most Americans can’t get.”

Gays in The Military


Oh, one other thing: Sullivan mentioned Clinton’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. This may put me in the minority here, but back in 1993 I never found the argument against open gays’ serving in the military very convincing, especially given the British experience. (I thought it was telling that Colin Powell objected to the idea while doing nothing to fight policies regarding women that do far more damage to military effectiveness.) I haven’t found it more convincing since. Isn’t it time we switched to a “don’t ask, don’t care” policy? And if there were a political push for it comparable to the 1993 campaign, wouldn’t it be likely to succeed this time?

Constitutional “Abuse”


Sullivan criticizes Frum for suggesting that the attempt to pass a constitutional amendment may have beneficial effects even if the amendment does not, in fact, get enacted. That’s “abuse of a sacred document.” (I thought Sullivan was for separating church and state.) Let’s leave aside the debate over whether this amendment is a good idea–whether it is right to want it to succeed, in other words–and assume we were talking about another amendment that is stipulated to be a good idea. Does the likelihood that it will fail become a reason not to want it to succeed? Does it damage the Constitution to try and fail (assuming it’s a good idea)? If you’re committed to the idea that people should have a strong bias against amending the Constitution–a bias that would seem to be superfluous given the procedural difficulties inherent in the formal amendment process–I would think that occasional failed attempts to amend the Constitution would be a good thing. They would demonstrate that the Constitution is not easily amended.

Interpreting The President


David Frum, the Family Research Council, the Alliance for Marriage, and Andrew Sullivan have all tried their hand at interpreting the president’s remarks on gay marriage. Here’s another possible interpretation: The president has not made up his mind about what to do or, if he has made up his mind, is not yet ready to say so. That does not necessarily mean, as Frum suggests, that the president is waiting on a further legal development to clarify the situation. He may be trying to figure out whether a failed attempt to pass an amendment would make the legal landscape worse, a scenario that Frum raises.

What to make of the president’s language suggesting that states should be allowed to create legal arrangements into which people could enter if they chose? Some social conservatives have interpreted that as a presidential statement that states should be able to create civil unions for gay couples. The president’s statement, however, leaves it unclear whether he would want a constitutional amendment (if he ends up going for one) to require civil unions to be a legislative act rather than a judicial one.

My impression is that the president leans toward a position that is a bit more qualified than what he said. If my impression is correct, the president’s view is that states should be able to create various legal arrangements so long as they are not discriminatory. Then the question is what is meant by “discriminatory.” It seems highly unlikely that the president would support an amendment that required states to have civil unions for gays so as not to discriminate against them. I think what he thinks–and I admit that this is piling inference on impression, and we will have to wait for a more formal announcement of the administration’s position to be sure–is that states should be free to let gay couples into civil unions or domestic partnerships so long as non-gay couples, and indeed couples who are not in a sexual or romantic relationship, are also eligible to enter these arrangements. That’s a position to the left of what social-conservative activists wanted earlier this year, but to the right of what conservatives in Congress are seeking.

Ill. News


CHICAGO (AP) _ Federal grand jury indicts former Illinois Gov.
George Ryan on corruption charges.

Third Parties


Mickey Kaus has also suggested that the Internet makes third parties more viable. Some of his readers have pointed out that the requirement for a plurality of the vote to win a statewide race militates against third parties. I’d add another point. Kaus says that conservative Christians could form a third party, and could decide in the end to endorse the Republican nominee. But the law would make it hard for such a party to maintain a long- or even medium-term presence. Most states don’t let candidates run on more than one party’s ballot line. So either the third party has to endorse another party’s candidate and stay off the ballot, or get on the ballot and run the risk of helping to elect the candidate they like least. . . . And even if state laws were amended to make life easier for third parties, it is not necessarily the case that they will be able to act as an effective ideological discipline on the larger party they seek to influence. The New York Conservative Party is the longest-running refutation of that hope.

Third-Party Dean


Stanley: Don’t a lot of states have “sore loser” laws preventing losing candidates for a party’s nomination from running for the same office with a different party in the general election? That makes the third-party-campaign-by-Dean a lot less likely (as do Dean’s repeated repudiations of the idea). It may be, on the other hand, that Dean’s losing the nomination would a) make the convention ugly, b) depress liberal turnout for the Democratic nominee, and c) make it more likely that Nader will run and win liberal votes. If Lieberman’s the nominee, all those things are much more likely.


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