So let’s talk about it for a moment. But can we do it in a calm and rational way?
Probably not. Because any frank discussion of the staggering quantity of abortions in the United States, or of its new forms, causes a firestorm of scorn and suspicion from organized pro-choice activists. Touch on the subject in any critical way, and one becomes anti-choice, anti-women and anti-progressive in a heartbeat. The New York Times‘ Maureen Dowd upped the ante this week by calling Republican pro-lifers antediluvian.
With all due respect to Dowd, there is a flood of bottled-up sentiment on abortion out there that has to be addressed. New selective abortion procedures beg for public discussion.
Abortion became law here in New York in 1970 — under a Republican Senate, Assembly and governor — three years before Roe v. Wade. Only four of the state’s 270 legislators were women at the time. One of the state senators promoting the legislation, a Manhattan Republican for whom I later worked, placed hangers on the chairs of every legislator before the vote. It was a symbol, which many in the chamber found abhorrent, of the back-alley abortions that had maimed and killed women who had tried to terminate pregnancies on their own over the years.
A swing vote in favor of the law came from a Republican state senator who said on the floor — I am paraphrasing — “I don’t like the idea of abortion, but if my daughter got pregnant, I’d like to know she could get one.” With that, the law, which few saw coming, was passed.
I don’t think anyone in that chamber could have expected what occurred in the ensuing years. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that since the Roe decision, about 50 million abortions have been performed in the United States.
The rest of this column is available at Newsday.com. Thanks for reading!
A friend of mine and I almost did this in the early 1980′s — we even printed business cards for the endeavor — but thought better of it upon reflection and canned the idea. All I can say from this hilarious video is “Wow! It actually works.” Very funny stuff.
What does every 10-year-old girl want for her birthday? A big party and lots of room to have fun. My own 10-year-old granddaughter had her campout/sleepover birthday party at our house three months ago. Fortunately, we’re not farmers in Fauquier County, Virginia — where we would have had to apply for a “special events” permit to host the party for the Little Admiral or her friends. Martha Boneta isn’t so fortunate, because when she invited her friend to stage a birthday party for her 10-year-old daughter at the farm, a few extra clowns showed up and issued her a citation for it — which could cost thousands of dollars in fines.
I’m a New Yorker and thus
accustomed resigned to living in a Nanny State; NYC reminds us every day what Washington would happily meddle with (everthing) if not for the U.S. Constitution. Still, every story like this is exasperating. It’s not just the mean-spirited and arbitrary enforcement, or the context – a little girl’s 10th birthday party, for the love of God – it’s the fines.
For the Bonetas, non-compliance is likely to cost “just” a few hundred dollars, or maybe a few thousand, to say nothing of the time (the Bonetas won’t just take a ½ PTO Day; they run a farm) and attorneys fees.
For doing what? And for whose benefit are these fines?
Unfortunately, given the dire financial straits of many local governments, it strikes me we’re about to witness an expansion of creative, non-“tax” means of raising revenue. Such as taking “just” a few hundred bucks here from law-abiding citizens, and there, and there and there for “violations” in matters in which government and bureaucrats have no legitimate place – such as a little girl’s 10th birthday party.
It’s tough to describe the new team duds, which will be worn just once this season. But suffice it to say they are un-Notre Dame like — in the extreme. They beg for attention, and Notre Dame football has never done that.
The Fighting Irish do not showboat. They do not compromise academic standards to get the best high school prospects. And they don’t wear uniforms that look like they were designed by Picasso instead of Adidas — or a marketing group rolling out a new clothing line, which is really what this amounts to.
Sure, the team is a marketing behemoth. But it became that by being quintessentially itself — and by winning. Notre Dame, as the saying goes, has always practiced the principles of attraction rather than of promotion. It became America’s college football team precisely because it resisted cheap urges like this one, just as it resisted the wince-evoking player endzone dances that befell so many teams in the ’90s, and the flashy stadium gimmicks that have turned professional sports arenas into grating discotheques of light and noise.
Notre Dame has one of the greatest fan bases in America because people want to feel part of its deep traditions, not because a new shiny object has lured them into a stadium.
Go to a Fighting Irish football game in South Bend — or a home University of Michigan or U.S. Naval Academy game for that matter — and what you will see is genuine team spirit from a bygone era: big, bold marching bands, cheerleaders who cry when their team loses, sportsmanship on the field and student-athletes who play their hearts out every autumn Saturday.
What you will not see — or very little of — is the crassness you find in other college and all professional stadiums.
I grew up a Notre Dame fanatic. My great-grandfather taught there; my father is Class of ’47. My grandmother was raised in a house on the campus called The Lilacs, which stands as a National Historic Landmark today. My brother Peter, class of ’94, was a manager on the team. He walked Notre Dame Stadium’s sidelines during some heady seasons. I didn’t apply to Notre Dame because I knew I couldn’t get in, or live up to the school’s standards as a wildish 18-year-old.
Those standards are firm.
I remember as a child feeling stinging injustice in learning that a star player would be ineligible to play in a big game because he broke curfew, snuck a girl into his dorm room or didn’t make good enough grades. That punishment wouldn’t have happened to a player on the opposing team. But those were Notre Dame’s standards. It may have looked inflexible at times to an outside world falling in love with moral relativism, but as the behavior among players at other schools unraveled, Notre Dame’s standards made its fans feel special.
It made its players special, too. In 2011, 100 percent of the team’s African-American players, and 99 percent of players overall, received a four-year degree. No other college in America had a 100 percent graduation rate among black players. Florida State — a fine football program no doubt — graduated 44 percent of its African-American players in 2011 by comparison, and just 64 percent of its players overall.
Notre Dame’s jarring new uniform, which will be unveiled in October at Soldier Field in Chicago when the Irish play the University of Miami in the newly invented “Shamrock Series”, probably won’t lower that graduation rate. Nor will it keep players from attending mass as a team before every game, or raising their helmets to the student section while singing the school’s alma mater at the close of each game.
But it will make its fans feel just a little bit less special. Because rather than saying “We are ND,” this jumbled mess of fabric will be saying “We capitulate.”
That’s not acceptable. Not for Notre Dame, or other institutions of its calibre.
This piece is available at Newsday. Thanks for reading.
Boston Market announced today that is pulling salt shakers from the tables of its 476 locations. Instead, it will have a solitary shaker near where napkins and cutlery are kept.
I’ve been super critical of New York City’s nanny-state policies, but in this case, good for Boston Market — if that’s what it wants to do.
I’ll be the first one fighting for that shaker at the condiment table, but it’s my choice whether to go to the restaurant chain or not. If I found their desalinization project overly odious, I’d skip dining there. But I don’t. So I’ll have to live by Boston Market’s rules. It is, after all, a private business that should be able to create its own rules and menu items.
Boston Market clearly decided to make a big deal about salt because it believes, by associating with modern health trends, it will attract more customers. No one had to force Boston Market to take action. The bottom line takes care of that in a free market.
But still, in city after city, over-reaching governments are trying to force the hands of private businesses to change what food they offer customers. How about giving customers what they want?
And in this case, Boston Market, has determined they want less sodium.
Jammin’ Jimmy Vielkind of the Albany Times Union has a very good piece out today on the possibility of struggling New York cities going bankrupt, as is happening in other parts of the country.
As an alternative, financial control boards are being proposed. Why? Because it gets local electeds off the hook in making tough decisions.
The Vielkind story reads:
“Instead, the state’s localities have turned to local fiscal control boards since the 1970s, when the Municipal Assistance Corp. nursed New York City from the brink of default to financial steadiness.
Similar boards have been imposed in Yonkers and Troy, and remain active in Erie and Nassau counties. Former Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch, an architect of the Municipal Assistance Corp., said control boards are a useful ‘political tool’ for local officials facing pressure over unpopular decisions like raising taxes or cutting services.”
If local elected officials can’t make the decisions necessary to save their municipalities, what’s the use of them being in office? If we know they’re panickers when the ship takes on water, it’s time to throw them overboard.
This chicken-liver stuff…how out of key in the days of Paul Ryan.
Portly Augustus Gloop becomes lodged in the main chocolate artery of Wonka’s plant. A seemingly irresistible force of liquid chocolate builds in the pipe behind him. Something has to give, either the pipeline or the hapless Gloop himself.
Wonka, entranced by the scene, rapturously whispers to no one in particular: “The suspense is killing me; I hope it lasts.” (Gloop is then shot through the pipe like a cannonball, at last clearing the thing.)
Fiscally conservative political observers — those willing to accept such a light analogy — must empathize with Wonka. The political suspense of the day is killing us, but there is something so excruciatingly delicious about what we are seeing right now that we almost want it to linger.
We find ourselves at the most ideologically heightened moment in memory. On one side we have steadfast budget reformer Paul Ryan– and his running mate Mitt Romney – calling for fundamental national spending reform. On the other we have ardently liberalDemocrats calling for greater federal entitlements (Obamacare) and employing their tried-and-true “Mediscare” attacks.
This is the time when the Republicans normally run.
But not Ryan. And not Romney. Not this time.
The Republican ticket is holding firm on principle, and all America is watching. No one knows for sure what will happen.
The suspense is killing us in the most exciting way.