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Time.com reports on a new bi-partisan abortion bill working its way through Washington. Although I would theoretically support finding any common ground on the issue, I can't say I am anything more than lukewarm on the bill at hand. Does this indicate that there really isn't much common ground to occupy?
Anyway, Time's summary on the details of the bill: "Aside from its support for contraception, none of the new or expanded initiatives it contains are terribly controversial: A national campaign to teach parents how to talk to their kids about sex. Efforts to educate the public about adoption. Home nurse visits for low-income mothers. Expanded postpartum Medicaid coverage."
A large portion of contraceptives are also abortifacients which would, in those instances, merely switch the abortion from a reported, surgical abortion to an unreported, non-surgical one. The expanded Medicaid coverage might help to tip the balance in favor of life in a small number of cases, but home visits from nurses? Do elected representatives really think that there are people out there thinking they would gladly have a child if only the nurses would come to their house for a couple of post-natal visits? We have home-visits here in the UK after birth and I can assure you it's the last thing I thought about when I first heard the rabbit was late in wonderland.
And then there is the "national campaign to teach parents how to talk to their kids about sex". It's really a shame that Fed-Ex can't overnight a letter to the eighteenth century. Wouldn't it be enlightening to hear what the Founding Fathers would have to say about that idea? Hmm, should a campaign to teach parents how to talk to their kids about sex be a federal or a state issue?
"The volume in the abortion debate has been stuck at "rancorous screaming" for so long that when it gets turned down, it's disorienting, like walking outside after a rock concert and trying to hear again. … But regardless of whether their bill succeeds or fails, the broad array of supporters behind it represents a dramatic break from nearly four decades of post-Roe politics."
The debate has been stuck at "rancorous screaming" largely because the Supreme Court decided to curtail the normal democratic process back in 1973. Until that is reversed and the laws brought back into line with the desires of the population, the debate will largely proceed as it has done.
To update the post below, I noticed last week that our printed emails at work no longer included the environmental plea.Instead, it only shows at the bottom of our email window, as it should.
Since our IT department is apparently among my readership (okay, they comprise my readership in its totality) here is another thing they could do to convince us to change our printing habits: change the message to “please consider the bottom line…and your paycheck!”The fact is that wasted company resources will diminish company profitability, resulting in either higher fees to our clients, loss of value to our stock owners, or decrease of funding to the payroll department.Now that’s motivation!
You’ll note that in both the US and the UK the populations operate a large number of automobiles.These populations are subjected to the same environmental agenda on a daily basis by the media and the same plea to reduce consumption.Yet only in the one country with financial penalties for owning large vehicles - in the form of outrageous petrol taxes for which US politicians could expect to be, well, shot – do we find frequent ownership of small, fuel-efficient vehicles. Warm and fuzzy slogans will never accomplish anything where brute economics are necessary.
And now it’s time for a slice of humble pie.I took my driving test in Falkirk and managed to fail in the first three minutes, making the remaining 37 minutes largely an exercise in futility save for perhaps some practice in emotional restraint.I managed to mess up on my reverse parking, thanks to my late signal and a car behind that choose to back up instead of pass me.I guess it goes to show that 10 years of mostly good driving is not a good indication of whether or not one can still pass a driving exam.
On the bright side, if our appeal is rejected by the Home Office, I may be able to trade in my US license for an UK one, thus bypassing the test entirely.
One observation about the difference between an US and UK driving test is that the former is executed with the goal of allowing people to pass, while the later is executed in the hopes of identifying reasons to fail.This is of course done to keep unsafe teenagers off the streets, no doubt by some government official trying to meet a road death reduction target.It almost certainly helps to achieve this, but not in the manner intended by the government.Teenagers are unsafe drivers not because they might, Heaven forbid, signal to turn whilst simultaneously checking their mirrors instead of checking and then signaling; they are unsafe because they don’t take safety seriously while doing 80 in a 40 zone at in the morning.They are unsafe because they talk to their friends over 172 db music and cannot see due to the fog formed inside the vehicle by the vibrations (depending on temperature, dew point, and humidity).The road is safer because it keeps some of them off the streets, period.
Having thus criticized the test, it must be said that it should be somewhat harder as driving is much more difficult in the UK than in the states thanks to the necessity of forcing 21st century traffic on an 18th century road system.I suppose that, should the Middle Eastern surgeons now working for the NHS ever figure out how to ignite a bomb without igniting themselves, doing to Britain what the Allies did to Germany, the British public can look forward to a modern transportation network of the first rate – traveling, of course, on the wrong side.
Just in case some hint of uncertainty is troubling you as to how to position your car when parking in a parking lot (or car park as they refer to them here in Britain), here's an example of what not to do:
Morag and I stumbled across this car at Tesco in Linlithgow. We must confess to rubber necking as we passed. Others stared in bewilderment as they walked past, trying to determine if there was someone still sitting in the car, or if this was in fact the worst parking job in the history of the internal combustion engine.
One might be tempted to suspect an obstacle prevented the driver from pulling the whole distance into the parking space; however, this is not the case as there was a good four feet of space in front of the car and plenty of room on either side.As I had my camera at the time, I thought I would give this particular piece of motorist excellence the infamy it deserves.
Someone in the IT department at work had a bright idea the other day. Wanting to show that just because we have the entire value of South America under management doesn’t mean we are not environmentally friendly, he added an image to the bottom of all emails on our server. The message simply asks the employee to consider the environment before printing an email.
This would perhaps be a good plan if anyone read the footer of emails. Unfortunately, this is hidden below about 200 words of corporate disclaimer – none of which is ever read, I assure you – so its chances of getting noticed are slim. Its efficacy is also contingent upon a few whimsical employees who print out emails for very little reason whatsoever. Considering that most desks are not so close to the printer as mine is, I suspect the walk does more to dissuade these fops than any footer. However, it is still theoretically possible that some youngster out there is printing his email four or five times over in the hopes of encountering the girl he fancies at that timeless rendezvous scene of yore: the Fujitsu.
There is yet a more serious objection to the footer: not only is it shown in Lotus on all emails, but it is included when these are printed out. On a standard British A4 sheet of paper, emails print out utilizing 9 ¾” of paper. The new environmental plea adds an additional ½” of text to the bottom of a printed email, which is fine if the email ended at 6 ½” or 8 ¾”, but there is a roughly one in twenty chance that the footer will be printed out on the following page. This happens so routinely that I have decided to start a collection of the wasted pages.
I find this quite representative of the entire environmentalist movement. A strong tendency exists to elevate motives and ‘raising awareness’ over pragmatic concerns. It doesn’t matter how many excess pages are wasted by the 400 workers in my office over the course of a year compared with the potentially saved pages; the footer is implemented because it symbolizes a commitment to green principals and responsible business practices. The same tendency was at work this weekend at the Live Earth events. It doesn’t matter how much energy was used to fly aging rock stars around the planet, or for that matter how much CO2 was released by the thousands of fans traveling millions of miles – collectively, of course - to see them. What mattered was that consciousness was raised – or would have been, had anyone actually bothered to watch the thing. From Al Gore’s $20,000 utility bill to hybrids loaded with toxic batteries, consciousness over practice rules the day. The local Green party here in Falkirk stated it best on their signs during the last Scottish elections: “First Vote Green.” They might have get respect if they lived green first.
With the price of complying with new Home Office regulations increasing on a daily basis, I have decided to sell myself for scientific experimentation. According to online calculations, here is how much I expect to receive:
The BBC ran a show last Thursday on a new hypothesis concerning early migrations to the Americas.It was more or less universally believed that humans first reached the Americans over the land bridge from Asia during the last ice age.
“This version was so accepted that few archaeologists even bothered to look for artefacts from periods before 10,000BC. But when Jim Adavasio continued to dig below the Clovis layer at his dig near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he found blades and blade cores dating back to 16,000BC. His findings were dismissed as erroneous; too astonishing to be credible. The Clovis consensus had too many reputations behind it to evaporate easily. Some archaeologists who backed Adavasio's conclusions with other similar data were accused of making radiocarbon dating errors or even of planting finds.”
What’s even more surprising is from where these immigrants may have come.
"[Douglas Wallace] spotted the similarity in production method between the Clovis point and tools made by the Solutrean neolithic (Stone Age) culture in southwest France. At this stage his idea was pure hypothesis, but could the first Americans have been European?
The Solutreans were a remarkably society, the most innovative and adaptive of the time. They were among the first to discover the value of heat treating flints to increase strength. Bradley was keen to discover if Solutrean flintknapping styles matched Clovis techniques. A trawl through the unattractive flint offcuts in the storerooms of a Frenchmuseum convinced him of the similarities, even though five thousand kilometres lay between their territories."
Although the evidence from stone-working techniques is not so impressive, modern genetic techniques provide strong support for this theory.
“In the DNA profile of the Ichigua Native American tribe he identified a lineage that was clearly European in origin, too old to be due to genetic mixing since Columbus' discovery of the New World. Instead it dated to Solutrean times. Wallace's genetic timelines show the Ice Age prompted a number of migrations from Europe to America. It looks highly likely that the Solutreans were one.”
The implications of this new theory are obvious:
“The impact of this new prehistory on Native Americans could be grave. They usually consider themselves to be Asian in origin; and to have been subjugated by Europeans after 1492. If they too were partly Europeans, the dividing lines would be instantly blurred. Dr Joallyn Archambault of the American Indian Programme of the Smithsonian Institute offers a positive interpretation, however. Venturing across huge bodies of water, she says, is a clear demonstration of the courage and creativity of the Native Americans' ancestors. Bruce Bradley agrees. He feels his Solutrean Ice Age theory takes into consideration the abilities of people to embrace new places, adding, ‘To ignore this possibility ignores the humanity of people 20,000 years ago.’”