According to the New York Daily News:
The FBI’s definition of “rape” is about to get a long-awaited update, for the first time since 1929. The revamped description will be broader, pleasing activists who say the current definition leads to the low-balling of sexual assault cases, and also discourages victims to come forward. An agency panel voted on Tuesday to change the narrow definition that’s currently in use.
While this change is all fine and good (I think), it is interesting that some federal agency panel votes and what was rape yesterday isn’t rape today and vice versa. I didn’t know you could do that!
But I do have a suggestion for the panel: why not create safe, clean places where rapes can take place instead of those nasty back alleys. After all, regardless of the definition, rapes are going to occur. And rapes are a difficult decision for a rapist to make. Branding someone a “rapist” for the rest of his life is not only repressive to his reproductive freedom, it is just not very compassionate.
So here’s a “giving” idea for you.
Every year people ask me, “what do you get for that special blogger who seems to have everything?” It’s a common lament. Well I’m nothing if not helpful. Oh, and self-serving too.
So if you’re thinking about how you can show your appreciation for . . . say . . . me, here’s an idea.
Let me know if you need shipping instructions.
“I simply do not know where the money is.”
I’m sure that the IRS will totally understand. If they look at you a little funny (you know, funnier than usual) then you simply tell them that your taxes were prepared by a former member of Congress, New Jersey Governor, and head of an international commodity brokerage firm.
I know, I know. On the face of it, this kind of response seems like it might not be plausible. But – no kidding – this is exactly what Jon Corzine (who was on a short list to be Obama’s Secretary of Treasury) is doing. I’m thinkin’ Bernie Madoff wishes he thought of this defense.
If you or I ever have to give an accounting to the IRS, it is likely that it will be for our own money. Not so with Corzine. He cannot explain what happened to “many hundreds of millions of dollars” that the firm was holding for customers.
And if the Internal Revenue Service (I can only use that term when I consider how a bull services a cow) wants more credentials than that, remind them that their current boss, Secretary of Treasury Timothy F. Geithner, said that if you didn’t feel like it, you didn’t have to pay.
And here (thanks to Ann Barnhardt) is a preview to Corzine’s congressional testimony:
If none of that works for you, do not – I repeat, do not – tell the IRS about this post.
At least he and I agree on something.
No doubt in response to the internationally acclaimed and world renowned blogger, Michael Hirsh, GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich reversed field (I know . . . again) and said he would support legislation that defines “personhood as beginning at conception,” a reversal from his comments last week that life begins at “implantation.”
“As I have stated many times throughout the course of my public life, I believe that human life begins at conception,” a statement posted Saturday on Gingrich’s website read in part. “I believe that every unborn life is precious, no matter how conceived.”
Gingrich has been under fire from anti-abortion groups for telling Jake Tapper at ABC News last week that life begins at “implantation.” You’re welcome!
Even if Newt names me as his Veep, he’s not gonna get my endorsement. I should say ESPECIALLY if he names me as his Veep!
Jake Tapper of ABC News interviewed Newt Gingrich on his position on abortion. Newt’s responses are perfect illustrations of my reluctance to vote for him.
TAPPER: Abortion is a big issue here in Iowa among conservative Republican voters and Rick Santorum has said you are inconsistent. The big argument here is that you have supported in the past embryonic stem cell research and you made a comment about how these fertilized eggs, these embryos are not yet “pre-human” because they have not been implanted. This has upset conservatives in this state who worry you don’t see these fertilized eggs as human life. When do you think human life begins?
GINGRICH: Well, I think the question of being implanted is a very big question. My friends who have ideological positions that sound good don’t then follow through the logic of: ‘So how many additional potential lives are they talking about? What are they going to do as a practical matter to make this real?’
I think that if you take a position when a woman has fertilized egg and that’s been successfully implanted that now you’re dealing with life. because otherwise you’re going to open up an extraordinary range of very difficult questions
TAPPER: So implantation is the moment for you.
GINGRICH: Implantation and successful implantation. In addition I would say that I’ve never been for embryonic stem cell research per se. . . .
Congrats to you, Newt. You did what your opponents could not. My reluctance is gone. Been replaced by downright opposition. Ain’t no way I’m trading one child killer for another. I am sick and damn tired of being told I should keep picking the lesser of two evils. In the final analysis, they’re both evil. I don’t give a rat’s rear end how good your foreign policy is.
As a guy whose been forgiven a ton, I’d extend that to Newt or someone – anyone – else in a second. Newt, by your own confession, you have taken a position that is contrary to science, contrary to what it means to be a conservative (let alone a prolife conservative), and in the eternal analysis you are opposing the Church.
So I could keep from blowing my grits when you cozied on the couch with Nancy Pelosi, but when you’ve joined her brand of cafeteria catholicism on issues of life and death, I’m done with you.
While most will agree in principle, some tend to get a little jiggy around the edges when it comes down to particulars. As I mentioned in Part I, one of my clients was executed for acting on a belief that some people, well, just needed to be killed. In the height of irony, the State of Florida, showed him how much they agreed with him. In principle. More recently, the Part II chronicled the City of Atlanta police who emptied a couple of extended magazines into a woman who was performing an abortion on her own post-partum child. Everyone was sad, but everyone agreed. She needed to be killed. At least in principle.
Not too long ago, the Obama Administration decided that someone needed to be killed. An American citizen. Who didn’t get a trial. Who hadn’t been convicted of anything. But he needed to be killed. So killed he was.
As noted by the New York Times:
The search for Mr. Awlaki, the American-born cleric whose fiery sermons made him a larger-than-life figure in the shadowy world of jihad, finally ended on [September 20, 2011]. After several days of surveillance of Mr. Awlaki, armed drones operated by the Central Intelligence Agency took off from a new, secret American base in the Arabian Peninsula, crossed into northern Yemen and unleashed a barrage of Hellfire missiles at a car carrying him and other top operatives from Al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen, including another American militant who had run the group’s English-language Internet magazine.
The strike was the culmination of a desperate manhunt marked not only by near misses and dead ends, but also by a wrenching legal debate in Washington about the legality — and morality — of putting an American citizen on a list of top militants marked for death. It also represented the latest killing of a senior terrorist figure in an escalated campaign by the Obama administration.
Awlaki’s death – more particularly, that he was killed – raises a wide variety of ethical issues. One, for instance, seems to be the well-established rule of “imminence” that requires the wrongdoer be close in time and space to committing the wrong one is seeking to prevent. Awlaki was driving along a Yemeni road, somewhat vaguely on his way to the next planning session of his next misdeed. That the Obama Administration is taking the legal position that imminence is out the window is not only interesting, but it seems to me that certain members of certain professions would – how do you Americans say – be very concerned.
Apparently another well-established principle is now gone. Finite! Kaput! That is the use of the United States military against United States citizens. Now dispatching Awlaki might have been a good call. I mean, after all, we all agree that some people just need to be killed.
But hard cases usually make bad law. They just do usually make it so quickly. Today the Obama Administration declared:
The government lawyers, CIA counsel Stephen Preston and Pentagon counsel Jeh Johnson, did not directly address the al-Awlaki case. But they said U.S. citizens don’t have immunity when they’re at war with the United States. Johnson said only the executive branch, not the courts, is equipped to make military battlefield targeting decisions about who qualifies as an enemy.
Get that? The executive branch gets to make unfettered executive decisions about “who qualifies as an enemy.” Hello! Anybody home?
Now there’s no need to get one of those bothersome warrants. Constitution, schmonstitution. Get your self declared to be an enemy of the state and presto, blammo you’ve been terminated with extreme prejudice.
While I admit my own intrigue with the technology involved, zapping someone with an extraordinary payload, delivered by an unmanned drone, remote controlled by who-knows-who, operating from who-knows-where is pretty nifty.
But it kinda makes me a little jiggy around the edges when the commander-in-chief seems like he’s more at home playing video games than anything else.