the minor premise

the minor premise

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

When the hummers fly back to Central Georgia

A hummingbird showed up at the kitchen windows yesterday morning, apparently looking for the nectar feeder that normally hangs there over the summer. Call me Aethelred, for I was unready--there was nothing there but the extra seed feeder I had hung up for winter. I got the hummingbird feeders out of the mudroom, washed off the dust, and made up a batch of sugar water pronto. I'll be watching for her return.

It's heartening when the old customers come back.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

I Said it Once

..and I'm reposting it now. Because those legislators in judicial robes are busy ratcheting down the age limit at which "emergency contraception" is readily available. How long will it be before this witch's brew-in-a-pill is being snapped up by 13- and 14-year-olds with their allowances? And what will be the long-term effect of a generation of young women self-doctoring their reproductive capacities away?

When Plan B Becomes Plan A

Opposing abortion as I do on the premise that a human being is a human being regardless of whether it resides in or ex utero and that if one class of human is disposable then none of us is safe, I follow the "Morning After Pill" saga with not a little concern. This is primarily because, despite what we are all led to believe, one action of this pill is to prompt an abortion--a microabortion perhaps, but an abortion nonetheless--in cases in which fertilization but not implantation has already occurred. I'm not talking about a random failure to implant here--I'm talking about one directly attributable to the chemical action of the drug itself.

In addition to the issue of the life of the unborn, however, I am concerned about the implications for women's health of the intended dispensation of the drug. I've now been around long enough to have very clear memories of a number of biochemical and biotechnical "miracles" that went wrong with tragic results (i. e. thalidomide, Bendectin, DES, CVS) and I'm very conscious of the fact that even medications useful in some limited cases can wreak havoc when used indiscriminately.

The "Plan B" pill's promoters are currently waging a campaign to make it universally available to the end that many pharmacies and pharmacists face legal action if they choose not to carry it. (Most make this decision either for personal moral reasons or to avoid alienating clientele with moral objections to the drug, but it's a safe bet that the potential for future lawsuits should something go wrong is also on their minds.) The eventual outcome of this campaign--if Plan B's apologists have their way-- will probably be over-the-counter availability of the drug in any pharmacy. You, I, your daughter, and mine, anytime, no prescription needed, no doctor needed, no questions asked. As often as we feel we need it. Oh, the presumption is that the "average" woman will use Plan B fewer than a half dozen times during her reproductive life, and on that premise is based the current medical viewpoint. But medications are widely misapplied in the real world, a fact that every doctor knows very well. With Plan B on the shelf among the OTCs, available for cash and with complete anonymity, what is to stop any teenage girl (or even some older ones) from making Plan B their Plan A contraceptive? Cost? If it's too expensive, what is to stop them from theft?

Because of their usefulness in concoting meth, several medications useful in treating cold and allergies have in the past year been pulled from open shelves either temporarily or permanently and had limits placed on the one-time purchase amount. Moreover, I have to pull out my driver's license to prove I'm an adult every time I buy a package. If I'm miserably sick at home and the only help available is seventeen, I'm outta luck. All this for a drug that (unless deliberately chemically altered) is generally pretty innocuous, and has few serious side effects. Yet the "Reproductive Rights" lobby wills a powerful hormone with no purpose other than to destroy a human embryo to go out on drugstore shelves to be available to all.

This is by no means the first time in medical history that women's health has been put at the service of social engineering concerns. The history of the contraceptive/abortion movement is rife with cases of women--or, more specifically, poor women, uneducated women, and minority women, exploited as guinea pigs in the latest attempt to limit their fertility (this, please note, is often a separate concern from improving their health.) In this case, however, social engineering is combining forces with marketing in an effort both to create a clientele and to blur the line between real contraception (that which fits the dictionary definition of the word) and "contraception" that is actually a chemical abortifacient. While we all know what the result will be for the unexpectedly concieved human, what we do not know is what the long-term effects will be on a generation of women who have been popping three, or six, or twelve or more Plan B pills a year for five or ten years of their lives.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

An Unfortunate Metaphor

From Breitbart:
By way of explanation, senior adviser David Axelrod describes the president's tactics this way:

"You plant, you cultivate, you harvest. Over time, the seeds that were planted here are going to be very, very valuable.

This immediately made me think, unsettlingly, of Peter Sellers's Chance the Gardener character in his last film, Being There:

As long as the roots are not severed, all is well. And all will be well in the garden.
Yes. In the garden, growth has it seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again.
Yes! There will be growth in the spring!

Maybe it's me.


Friday, April 03, 2009

Fair Play

The minor premise runs a double feature today:

First,'s classic take on budget deficits, updated by RedState's Neil Stevens. . . .

Next is a stimulating musical, courtesy of the Mike Church Show Band sampling a Simon and Garfunkel classic and asking the fundamental question, "Where did you go, Ronald Wilson Reagan?"

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Thursday, April 02, 2009

Miss Manners I'm not

Nonetheless, the rapidly growing list of protocol goofs being perpetrated by the administration is starting to get to me, if for no other reason than that my taxes are going to support a cadre of protocol advisers who are either not worth their salaries or not being used. Thus far we have:

*Tacky gift-giving and a political snub to PM Gordon Brown of the UK.
*Ticking off the Poles and Czechs over missile defense.
*Presenting the Russian foreign minister an Easy Button marked "overcharge" in Russian.
*Secretary of State Clinton's ignorance of the story behind the shrine of Guadalupe while in Mexico.
*And now, the President's insistence on referring to the UK as "England" during his meeting with Queen Elizabeth coupled with Mrs. Obama's apparent failure to observe the "hands off the Queen" rule.

And that's not counting insulting Special Olympians the world over.

One has to wonder: weren't they briefed? Don't they have a staffer to handle the gift issue? Did they bother to check the records to see what previous gifts looked like? Starving student Hon. Daughter #1 is more fastidious with shower gifts than the White House seems to be, and all she has to worry about is ticking off her personal acquaintance.

Moreover: don't they have anybody over there fluent in Russian? And why didn't Hillary Clinton read the page or two of brief on local culture she was handed en route to Mexico? She was given briefing materials, wasn't she? WAS SHE??

Before the election, our prez went to great lengths to cast himself in the Citizen of the World mode. Well, as a citizen of the world, shouldn't he be aware that the country is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, not England? Add the Scots, Welsh, and Northern Irish to the list of justifiably miffed. I hear the Obamas were briefed on the flight over--were they paying attention, or were they having too much fun trying to spot Newfoundland from the windows?

I remember being made aware of some of the protocol respecting Queen Elizabeth when she visited the US in 1991. As part of her tour, Her Majesty was shown around a DC housing project and introduced to one of the residents.

The resident, a friendly lady who I assume had been informed of the visit only shortly before, greeted the Queen with something to the effect of "How you doin'!" and an enthusiastic hug. Her Majesty was a bit taken aback, but recovered herself and dealt with the whole situation with the aplomb of one well versed in managing sticky matters. The hostess meant no harm and really couldn't have been expected to be up on how to act at a royal audience. The media, nonetheless, went to great lengths to explain that this just wasn't done, and why.

Perhaps the Chicago area media didn't give the incident much coverage (I followed the story on DC stations,) or perhaps young Michelle Robertson was watching sitcoms that night. At any rate, it was a bit surprising to me to hear of her placing an arm around Queen Elizabeth's shoulders: I can't imagine that that little bit of protocol didn't get covered--probably repeatedly--on the flight. Perhaps it's just that I haven't been Oprah-ized and am such a fossil that personal space still matters to me, at least with people I've just met. But protocol aside, there is something of patronization to giving the uninvited arm-around-the-shoulders treatment to an elderly lady who is neither your mom nor your Aunt Zeitouni. Particularly when the elderly lady in question rode out the Blitzkrieg and is still putting in a day's work (as she's done since before you were born.) Even if royalty doesn't impress you, that should. I suspect quite a few nonroyal elderly ladies would be annoyed by that sort of liberty, particularly since (as a short person I'm rather tuned in to this) being put in a shoulder clinch makes one feel about ten years old.

Perhaps it's expecting too much that these people should know better. Obama was, after all, a Chicago community organizer with limited international travel and Mrs. Obama was a hospital administrator with less. (Mrs. Clinton, as a former first lady with eight years' experience, has no excuse.) But they have access to personnel whose job it is to keep them up to speed on the proper thing. The Brits will get over our gaucheries, (the Brit press seems to have had loads of fun with the recent ones) and will probably even forgive us, eventually. But there are countries in which this obtuseness regarding protocol could be very dangerous. At what point will this "Chicago Hillbillies" episode stop being funny?

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