commented on High School Teacher Convicted of Raping 14 Year Old Who Later Killed Herself
@ 45 & 47
Your exchange is exactly why I'm not entirely comfortable with the outrage directed toward the judge (I am completely comfortable with the outrage directed toward the rapist). A deferral agreement means that the rapist had admitted the charge, but, as long as he complied with the agreement's conditions, the charges would be dismissed. No conviction, no imprisonment, no probation.
The judge was given a chance to sentence the rapist because he missed meetings, had an apparently consensual sexual relationship with an apparently adult woman, and spent time with minors (who were evidently relatives, for whatever that's worth. It's more important to me that he hasn't been accused of doing anything abusive).
So it all depends on whether the judge believes that he is sentencing the guy for the rape of a young girl, or sentencing him for missing some meetings, having a relationship and being around kids. I'm guessing (hoping?) he thought of it as the latter, his bizarre and troubling "older-than-her-chronological-age" comment notwithstanding. Which is not to say that that was the right frame of mind here. But, as wrongheaded as it might be (and it would certainly seem to have been an opportunity to correct the injustice potentially caused by the poor girl's death), I can't help but sympathize with the judge to some degree.
"Here judge, this guy missed some meetings, and he has a girlfriend, and he spent time with some kids. If he hadn't done that stuff, we were fine with him never being convicted or serving any time. But you throw him in prison for ten years." I can see that being a tough pill to swallow.
commented on Tea Party
Leader Asshole to President Obama: Put Down the Quran and Come Out With Your Hands Up
@14 I'm curious, do you really think that abortion at any stage of pregnancy is the moral equivalent of murder (I expect you're going to scream that it isn't the equivalent, it is actual murder. That will be incorrect, in this society, since murder is a legal concept, and there are no laws in any U.S. state that define murder in a way that includes the voluntary termination of a fetus prior to viability).
In the event that you do believe this, to what extent do you believe that the state's imperative to protect a fetus allows for other infringements upon the liberty of a pregnant woman? Should the government be able to prohibit strenuous exertion by pregnant women or mandate prenatal vitamins? Would the government then pay for said vitamins?
And this whole business about a woman's right to choose coming at the time she chooses to have unprotected sex, does that mean that women that have protected sex and still get pregnant (as sometimes happens) get to opt out of your prohibition on abortion, since they were trying to make the choice to not get pregnant? What about emergency contraception that prevents fertilization?
And the problem here is that these questions are just the tip of the iceberg, concerning the moral ambiguities that attend abortion. I have on several occasions in these forums objected to the idea that a person cannot have moral qualms about abortion without being bigoted and anti-choice. I think there is a legitimate moral question about when a developing fetus reaches a point at which termination is a serious evil. I also acknowledge that some people, at least prior to the fetus' viability outside of the mother, perceive no such moral dilemma.
Supposing for a minute that the termination of a fetus is the moral equivalent of murder (and this is a big and probably untenable supposition, but let's just say it is), as long as that fetus is entirely dependent on the mother, unable to live outside the mother, regardless of what she does or where she travels to, isn't it enough for you to treat abortion like the murder of a citizen of another country, since that fetus has never actually breathed or functioned as an agent with its own will in your country? The murder of a citizen of another country may be sad and shocking and something to be morally repudiated, but not something that you would be seeking to enact laws in your country to prohibit. Which is to say, isn't it really none of your business, unless you happen to be pregnant?
commented on Outrage Queens
Oh my god, I have read the first four paragraphs and I am now so excited to tell the world that there are no orangutans in Vietnam that I have boldly leapt over the article and all of the comments and landed here, where I will drop some knowledge on you, reader, about the fauna of Vietnam, which is clearly the point of this article anyway! Boom. Nailed it.
commented on SLLOTD: The Anti-Choice Boyfriend
I do not understand calling this guy anti-choice just because he wants to be involved in making that choice and is trying to be responsible by having that conversation before a pregnancy occurs. I don't share this guy's point of view at all. But I mistrust the implication here that a person should be vilified for making the personal decision that they do not want their sex life to result in abortion.
There is nothing in the letter that says that the boyfriend believes that women should not have a legal right to have an abortion. He may think that, and if he does then he's dangerously wrong and should be treated as such. But I think it's a mistake to equate not wishing to participate in a pregnancy that is terminated by abortion to being anti-choice.
And absolutely yes, they both need to go find someone that they agree with on this issue, and bang that person instead.
commented on The Muslims Are Coming!: And They've Got Jokes!
@2 Yeah, I mean it's not like Western culture was in an absolute state of decay for most of the first 1300 years of Christianity, or like that same time period in Europe could be described as politically, technically, or economically stunted. We are so much better than them.
commented on Should the U.S. Take Military Action In Syria?
I don't understand why every media outlet seems to be treating this as though it's an isolated question of either taking military action or not, without talking about the bigger picture. What about putting pressure on Russia to suspend its financial aid and sale of weapons to Syria, just as a for instance? Some congressmen were talking trade sanctions over Snowden. Surely this is a bigger deal, regardless of what you think about that guy.
commented on Onward and Upward
It's kind weird when a band's sophomore stumble results in a couple of huge hits. I hope they find a way to unite the stuff that made "aim and ignite" really invigorating with the stuff that made "some nights" immensely popular