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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Great line of the day 

One of the best things about the internet is being able to find great writing whenever I want to. I searched for writing about Canada Day and found Peter T. Smith in the Fredericton Telegraph-Journal about Canada Day and being Canadian:
I think our sense of being Canadian comes as much from a shared set of values as it does from contact with our cultural institutions. I think we're also in the process of developing a new incarnation of our national myth.
John Ralston Saul made a compelling argument late last year in A Fair Country that we're not English or French or modeled on any European tradition at all, but rather we're essentially an aboriginal culture. Aboriginal culture, Saul contends, is marked by peaceful but unresolved tensions between groups and an ever-expanding circle than embraces everyone. 'We are a Metis civilization,' he asserts, because that was what we were for most of our history, before we embarked on a century and a half of constitutional debates and trying to settle issues that should remain dynamic.

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Conspiracy theory 

So the Minnesota Supreme Court has now managed to delay the Al Franken Senate seat decision until the very end of June.
And now the US Supreme Court is on vacation until September.
So if the Minnesota Supreme Court rules that Franken was elected, and if Minnesota Governor Pawlenty signs the certificate of election, and if Norm Coleman then appeals to the SCOTUS ...
well, well -- apparently the summer Justice on duty could issue a stay to prevent Al Franken from being sworn in. So Al Franken would remain in limbo for the rest of the summer and into the fall.
And apparently the summer Justice on duty is Samuel Alito.
Oh, I'm sure its just another crazy conspiracy theory....

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Cheering 



Finally Iraq is cheering the American military.

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Simple answers to simple questions 

Independent review of the Royal Canadian Mint's records shows accounting glitch is unlikely – so how did $19-million of the precious metal disappear?
Somebody stole it.
This has been another edition of simple answers to simple questions.

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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Death becomes him 

Here's a trite observation but I'll make it anyway.
Last week, Michael Jackson was the scum of the earth, a pedophile and a self-absorbed, self-destructive spendthrift who had wasted his talent. Comeback? You've got to be kidding!
Today he is a tragic figure, a winsome boy genius cut down in his prime by the cruelty of celebrity. Comeback? Woulda been the greatest concerts EVAH!
Sad, isn't it, when someone basically lucks out by dying -- Elvis, Dianna, and Marilyn also come to mind in this respect.

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Dyke March 

My daughter wasn't able to be there this year, so here's some Toronto Sun photos of the Dyke March today.









The Pride Parade is tomorrow.

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Saturday Morning Cartoon 

There was supposed to be an earth-shattering kaboom


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Friday, June 26, 2009

Slow news day? 

Canadian Press is reporting that July 1 is on Wednesday this year.
This just in -- next year it will be on Thursday.

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Pretty soon you're talking about real money! 

A billion here, a billion there -- pretty soon you're talking about real money!*
The Defense Department ended up releasing the Afghanistan war costs today -- and golly gosh darn it, they just couldn't quite get those figures out before Question Period went on vacation, oh well, better luck next year.
But here's the question anyway --if the Afghanistan mission is really ending in 2011, as Harper quickly announced during last fall's election campaign, why are we going to be spending $150 million $943 million $1.47 BILLION in Afghanistan for 2010-11, and $178 million $779 million in 2011-12?
As Dave says, the new figures
shine a nasty bright light on something they really don't want you to know - same mission; different description.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Don't cry for me Argentina 

And thus, "hiking the Appalachian Trail" joins "wide stance" in the new folklore of America.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Let him rot 

The Canadian government wants Canadian courts to let Canadian citizen Omar Khadr rot in Guantanamo because it's not the job of the Canadian government to protect Canadian citizens:
Ms. Mueller said the Crown rejects the view that it is legally required to protect Canadians under the Charter of Rights when they face charges outside of the country.
“There is clearly no duty to protect citizens under international law,” Ms. Mueller told the court.
God keep our land glorious and free.

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Iran 

The War Nerd thinks the protests in Iran are going to fizzle -- the young people are sick of the regime but aren't strong enough to overthrow it. He makes this comparison:
magine Iranian Islamic tv covering, say, a classic culture-war US election like Nixon in 1972. You’d see Persians in expensive turbans blanket-covering every demonstration, every love-in (well, maybe not those so much), every draft-card burning…and then the US government announces that Nixon just stomped McGovern in the biggest landslide ever. Who’d believe it? That is, unless you knew that for every loud camera-hog hippie you saw on tv there were about a hundred fat nobodies wishing Kent State was a daily event.
Until those Ahmedinajad silent-majority hicks start tweeting, we’ll never have a clue what they think. And like Nixon’s people, or Forrest’s dragoons, they’re not really the Twitter type.

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Great line of the day 

On a radio program yesterday, a former Republican congressman was advising a 62 year old retail clerk with diabetes that her health insurance problems would be solved if she could go out and find herseif a job with a big employer. Oh, yeah, lots of big companies are hiring 62-year old clerks now.
And on Limbaugh's program today, Mark Steyn was apparently nattering on about whiney seniors who don't want to pay for their own prescription drugs.
So here's what Digby says about these two:
Conservative politicians and their wingnut welfare queens are just a bunch of heartless, rich jackasses, basically, always have been. But people are no longer quite so sanguine that they're going to get the chance to be rich, spoiled jackasses too so these lines don't read quite as hilarious or as "common sense" as they used to. A public servant telling some 62 year old retail clerk that she needs to stop bellyaching and find a job with a big employer so she can get health care is so "let them eat cake" that I can hardly believe he said it. And some overpaid creep calling senior citizens who are living on a thousand dollars a month "spoiled" is just asking for the guillotine, which in America is a metaphor for a tax rate of 90% on any fatuous wingnut gasbag who has the nerve to say something like this after what they've done to this country.
You know, what amazes me is this: the Republicans are searching high and low for an issue that will make them popular again with the American people. Its staring them in the face -- in the 2010 midterms, one party is going to be able to call themselves "the party that fixed American health care" and its not going to be the Republicans.

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

WATBs 

The wingnuts will turn the world inside out just so they can keep on feeling sorry for themselves.
Case in point -- the Supreme Court dismissed a challenge to B.C.'s 'bubble zone' law yesterday, marking the end of an eleven-year legal battle to keep in place a law that let women enter abortion clinics without having to face down an anti-abortion picket line.
And in their story about the dismissal, the Western Standard wrote:
It continues to be difficult to be a pro-lifer in BC this week, thanks to Canada's Supreme Court . . .
-- because not being allowed to harass women somehow makes life more difficult for the harassers!

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We've had it 

Canadians have had it with the RCMP. We're fed up to the teeth with the lies and evasions and ducking and weaving and sense of entitlement.
The Star Phoenix Editorial says::
The lawyers for the four officers involved in the Tasering were quick to say their clients deny the claim in the e-mail, saying it damages the reputation of the officers.
These would be the same officers who laughably and unsuccessfully tried to get the B.C. Supreme Court to prevent Mr. Braidwood from issuing a finding of misconduct against them because they felt, as federal employees, they were beyond the reach of a provincial government to hold them accountable.
To drag Supt. Rideout, Chief Supt. Bent and his deputy McIntyre before the commission in September to explain the e-mail, and presumably the four officers again to contradict their boss's words, only adds to the circus this saga has become.
If only Canadians had an opportunity to drag the whole sorry lot of them before a tribunal to hold them accountable for the irreparable damage being caused to an iconic national institution.
Ian Mulgrew at the Vancouver Sun says:
If Roberts had cried over Dziekanski mother's pain, I would be moved -- but a veteran lawyer wet-eyed over another screw-up in this case? I think they were crocodile tears.
Commissioner William Elliott's carefully parsed press release was equally unbelievable: "This was simply an oversight. Unfortunately in an exercise of this magnitude, such an oversight can occur."Bollocks. No one but a moron overlooks the import of an e-mail like this.
The officers deny the explosive content is true and Roberts says Bent was wrong in what he said. But their protestations ring hollow after almost 18 months of bluster and denial. So does Elliott's threadbare these-things-happen excuse.
The situation is as bad as the most virulent critics of the Mounties feared. This is no longer about four officers who made mistakes in judgment: It's about an organization that thinks it is above the law.
Gary Mason at the Globe and Mail says:
Lawyers representing the four officers said Friday that Chief Supt. Bent got it wrong. The officers insist no such conversation occurred.
And we're supposed to believe them . . .
Supt. Rideout is also saying Chief Supt. Bent got it wrong.
And we're supposed to believe him. . . .
Chief Supt. Bent is now saying he doesn't remember the conversation with Supt. Rideout. I guess not. And I guess we're supposed to just accept that. Pretend it never happened. Something that Chief Supt. Bent made up, I guess. What a disgrace.. . .
And a commenter to the CBC story compares what the RCMP are experiencing now to what the Canadian military experienced during the Somalia inquiry:
I can only hope that Dziekanski represents the nadir of the fortunes of the RCMP. There seems to be little room to slide lower.

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Anti-neocon is not anti-semitic 

It is sad to see the Washington Post as neoconservative shills but that is what they have become. Glenn Greenwald writes about the Froomkin firing, the descent of the Post into political hackery, and the increasingly stupid tactic of trying to shut up neocon critics by flinging around the "anti-semitic" label:
Along those lines, Andrew Sullivan -- who has been criticizing neoconservative dogma and the Post's allegiance to it for the role it played in Froomkin's firing -- is predictably being smeared as an "anti-semite" by the usual manipulators of that term. Andrew rightly notes that "these vile smears are designed to police the discourse some more," but it's so striking how nobody cares anymore about these smears because they've been so overused and are so transparently dumb (Andrew himself dismisses them as "tedious," and that's all they are).
Everyone knows what neocons are. Everyone knows that "neocons" are not tantamount to "Jews." Most Jews reject neoconservative ideology. Some of the leading and most scathing critics of neoconservatism are Jews. Many leading neocons -- Dick Cheney -- are not Jewish. Depicting criticisms of "neocons" as "anti-Semitism" is every bit as manipulative as applying that term to those who criticize Israel. Neoconservatism is a radical, deceitful and destructive ideology and nobody is going to be deterred from aggressively pointing that out because Weekly Standard, National Review, Commentary and The Washington Post Editorial Page casually toss around the word "anti-Semite" in order to intimidate people out of that criticism. Those people and that tactic are far too discredited for that to work with anyone. It doesn't inspire fear -- only pity and contempt. That The Post is a leading house organ for neoconservative opinion is an important fact and screeching "anti-Semitism" at anyone who points it out will achieve nothing.
However, I think Greenwald has misinterpeted the basis of the "anti-Semitic" charge -- regardless of their personal religion, it is the core belief of neocons that Israel's continued existence can be ensured only by the belligerent warmongering and anti-Muslim bluster that typifies neoconservativism. Therefore, ipso facto, they believe that anyone who opposes this approach is endangering Israel.
Ridiculous. I certainly don't have a formula or answer or solution to the issues of the Middle East, but starting more wars over there cannot possibly be an improvement.

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Saturday Morning Cartoon 

Oh, Belvedere! Come heah, boy!


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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Justice part deux 

Finally
You know, this whole thing makes me afraid to leave the country because I cannot trust my own government to help me come back. It's scary.
And maybe Jack Layton really said it best:
What the hell is wrong with these people, Mr. Speaker?

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Justice with mercy 

I am glad that Guy Lafleur is not going to jail.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Great line of the day 

This is a line, not for just a day, but for the ages.
This was said by Japan's central bank and has been quoted solemnly on dozens of financial news sites without any sign that anyone thought it was a funny way to describe good news, or sorta good news, or not bad news really, or not as bad news as it could have been, or .... oh, whatever:
economic conditions, after deteriorating significantly, have begun to stop worsening.
Well, that's a relief isn't it?
(H/T to a commenter on Calculated Risk.)

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A committee? 

Was that the best you could do for unemployed Canadians, Iggy?
Call it a "blue ribbon panel" if you like, but its just a fucking committee.

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Here's a suggestion 

A Montreal woman has the same name and birthdate as a criminal and apparently its up to her, rather than to the Canadian government or the border guard agency, to do something about it:
Ménard says a police officer suggested she change her name to avoid future confusion.
So what would they think if she changed it to Josee Vermer?
Or how about Lisa Raitt?
Rona Ambrose?
Would anybody with those names be handcuffed at the border?

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Sunday, June 14, 2009

I love the internets 

Yesterday was World Naked Bike Ride day


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Intelligent design 



From Effect Measure

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Great line of the day 

BCer on whether Iggy should go ahead and force an election now:
It looks like the Blue Jays have come back down to Earth, and like most average Canadians I don't have a cottage, so I say let's go.

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Shorter 

Shorter Pat Buchanan:
If a Puerto Rican girl from the Bronx actually got to Princeton and Yale on merit then she would have to be smarter than just about every white man in America including me, and how could that be?
Buchanan is finished -- nobody cares anymore what racist drivel he is spouting.

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Thanks 



There's a great scene in The Great Escape where Steve McQueen is lying tangled in the barbed wire fence with his dying motorcycle, and he pats the cycle in gratitude for its attempt -- its at the 2:30 point of the video.
I was reminded of this when last night Fleury patted the crossbar:
'It [the crossbar] made a big save for me and I just said 'Thank you,'' said Fleury, who rubbed the iron after dodging a key bullet.
What a great game that was.

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Saturday Morning Cartoon 

It's been a tough week at work so I haven't been able to blog much -- here's two cartoons to make up for it -- featuring The Shropshire Slasher



and the fair Melissa


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Friday, June 12, 2009

Its sorta like that movie 

Final Destination.

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Oh, so its our fault then? 

You know the phrase, when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging?
I guess Lisa Raitt hasn't heard it.
Or maybe she misunderstood it!
Because now she's saying its the fault of reporters that her remarks were "so inflamed":
Raitt told Toronto radio station CFRB that when she spoke of the isotope shortage and radioactive leaks as being “sexy,” she meant only that they would be “attractive for people to report on.”
“I knew what I had said, I certainly knew the spirit in which I had said it, which was by no means to be disrespectful to cancer victims or parents,” Raitt said . . . “I didn’t think that it would have been so taken out of context and so widely reported and so inflamed,” she said.
The Ottawa Press Gallery will be so impressed.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Jealous 

An idiotic Globe and Mail column by a nitwit called Sarah Hampson trashes the Obamas' trip to New York to see a Broadway show. She asks:
Was I the only one on the planet who thought I was watching a new reality dating show for politicians, in which husbands and wives vie for a prize for being the best possible spouse of all time?
Yes.
This has been another edition of short answers to stupid questions.

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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Wow 



Dexter just strikes me as a very likable man -- and, good campaigning aside, never underestimate the power of simple likability in politics

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Sunday, June 07, 2009

Great line of the day 

Impolitical writes about how the Harper Conservative government ignores judicial rulings they don't like:
A supposed 'law and order' government that hypocritically puts on elaborate presentations replete with backdrops full of nifty slogans to make a show of being strong criminal justice types. That 'law and order' posturing is a farce in the face of these repeated rulings. On the one hand they seek to ratchet up penalties and sentences, yet on the other, when they're the ones being handed a sentence in the form of these lost Federal Court cases, they ignore those judgments. They're the lawless ones with no moral authority to support their latest electoral gambits. They cynically count on the Canadian people not to understand their hypocrisy.
Emphasis mine. Thanks to Boris for the link.

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Saturday, June 06, 2009

Saturday Morning Cartoon 

"Stop shaking your eyes!


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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Software error? 

We know software errors can cause a computer to "crash"? Well, I just found out that software errors can cause airplanes to crash too.
Makes those Mac-PC commercials a lot less funny, doesn't it?

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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

I'll second that! 

John Cole writes about people like Andrew Sullivan dithering over whether they would support a woman having an abortion or not:
What this country really needs right now is a serious case of mind your own damned business. We’ve turned into a nation of busybodies and scolds, and people just need to back off. And that goes for the people opposed to and trying to make illegal Andrew’s marriage, for people like Andrew who sound like they want the weight of the law to come down on people making tragic medical decisions that lead to late-term abortions, for the nutjobs who thought they knew better than Michael Schiavo how to handle his horrible situation with his wife, to the lunatics screaming “murder” when we do stem cell research, and so on.
I’m really sick of the crap, and I don’t mean to harsh completely on Andrew, because I sense he does struggle with these matters. But if Andrew’s conscience can’t support a late-term abortion, then right now he is sitting pretty, because under our current system, anyone who doesn’t want an abortion doesn’t have to have one.
And that really should be the end of that.
And somewhere else today I was reading a rant asking why the TV pundits think the only opinions worth discussing on the abortion issue are those of anti-choice men. I'll second that one, too.

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Monday, June 01, 2009

Great line of the day 

Dave writes about how the Arkansas soldiers and Dr. Tiller were both shot by religious nutballs:
Anyone using their religion, regardless of what it is, as an excuse to shield their behaviour, instead of being able to steer that excuse to mitigate guilt or sentence, should have their sentence extended and the use of religion as an excuse treated as an aggravating factor . . . If an individual drags their religion into souless murder they should be made to pay a greater price.
Emphasis mine.

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Late term abortion 

This is a late term abortion:
In 1994 my wife and I found out that she was pregnant. The pregnancy was difficult and unusually uncomfortable but her doctor repeatedly told her things were fine. Sometime early in the 8th month my wife, an RN who at the time was working in an infertility clinic asked the Dr. she was working for what he thought of her discomfort. He examined her and said that he couldn’t be certain but thought that she might be having twins. We were thrilled and couldn’t wait to get a new sonogram that hopefully would confirm his thoughts. Two days later our joy was turned to unspeakable sadness when the new sonogram showed conjoined twins. Conjoined twins alone is not what was so difficult but the way they were joined meant that at best only one child would survive the surgery to separate them and the survivor would more than likely live a brief and painful life filled with surgery and organ transplants. We were advised that our options were to deliver into the world a child who’s life would be filled with horrible pain and suffering or fly out to Wichita Kansas and to terminate the pregnancy under the direction of Dr. George Tiller.
We made an informed decision to go to Kansas. One can only imagine the pain borne by a woman who happily carries a child for 8 months only to find out near the end of term that the children were not to be and that she had to make the decision to terminate the pregnancy and go against everything she had been taught to believe was right. This was what my wife had to do. Dr. Tiller is a true American hero. The nightmare of our decision and the aftermath was only made bearable by the warmth and compassion of Dr. Tiller and his remarkable staff. Dr. Tiller understood that this decision was the most difficult thing that a woman could ever decide and he took the time to educate us and guide us along with the other two couples who at the time were being forced to make the same decision after discovering that they too were carrying children impacted by horrible fetal anomalies. I could describe in great detail the procedures and the pain and suffering that everyone is subjected to in these situations. However, that is not the point of the post. We can all imagine that this is not something that we would wish on anyone. The point is that the pain and suffering were only mitigated by the compassion and competence of Dr. George Tiller and his staff. We are all diminished today for a host of reasons but most of all because a man of great compassion and courage has been lost to the world.
And this:
I didn't know Dr. Tiller personally but I know of someone who he cared for from the Kansas City area. She was a young woman who was pregnant with an anacephalic baby, one without a complete brain and had no chance of surviving at birth. After a sonogram identified this situation she was so distraught that her ob-gyn here send her to Wichita to terminate the pregnancy. There was a great physical and psychological risk for her to continue carrying a baby that had no chance of life. Upon arrival with her mother, she had to make her way through the protesters who tried to pull her aside. It was a devastating experience to be attacked in that manner and it was a choice made to save her life and sanity. God bless Dr. Tiller and his family.
And this:
. . . My husband and I are devout Christians, and during that time we prayed and prayed, believing that God was going to heal our girls. Instead, the new prognosis was even grimmer than we had anticipated: The twins' conditions were actually growing worse. Savanna's fluid had spread around her abdomen, signaling a condition called ascites, which has a wide range of consequences, including putting additional pressure on the organs, thereby causing respiratory distress and heart failure. Sierra had a leaky heart valve. The doctor also suspected that they were developing Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome, which meant that Savanna was taking blood from Sierra through their shared placenta. Sierra's chance of survival outside the womb hovered at around 5 percent—and she was the healthier of the two girls.
When the doctor who performed this second ultrasound suggested I consider terminating the pregnancy, I grew furious. As a Christian and a married woman who desperately wanted a child, I'd never given much thought to abortion. Like many others, I assumed that only women with unwanted pregnancies had the procedure. I wanted my twins to live. We're not doing that, I thought. There's just no way. But as John pointed out, Savanna was going to die, and when she did, she would take her sister with her. My doctor also confirmed that Savanna's illness could trigger a rare syndrome in me: I was mirroring some of her symptoms and retaining fluids. My body was extremely swollen and I could hardly walk. If I continued the pregnancy, I could put my own health at risk too . . . I have never before been a political activist. But if I have a chance to change even one person's heart by telling my story, that's what I want to do for my girls. I want Savanna's and Sierra's lives to have meant something.
And this:
. . . Instead of cinnamon and spice, our child came with technical terms like hydrocephalus and spina bifida. The spine, she said, had not closed properly, and because of the location of the opening, it was as bad as it got. What they knew -- that the baby would certainly be paralyzed and incontinent, that the baby's brain was being tugged against the opening in the base of the skull and the cranium was full of fluid -- was awful. What they didn't know -- whether the baby would live at all, and if so, with what sort of mental and developmental defects -- was devastating. Countless surgeries would be required if the baby did live. None of them would repair the damage that was already done . . . Though the baby might live, it was not a life that we would choose for our child, a child that we already loved. We decided to terminate the pregnancy. It was our last parental decision.
And I do not understand why anyone would think it was moral to deny parents the right to make their own decision about abortion.

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