Ten Second News (Beta)

Gosnell and our inadequate public discourse on abortion

Tim Carney wrote yesterday that when Obama was a state senator, he “repeatedly voted against legislation requiring hospitals to care for babies born during abortions” because “[s]uch laws might somehow be used in the future to infringe on abortion’s legality.”  Carney argues that “Gosnell’s method for aborting babies wasn’t substantially different from a procedure Obama enthusiastically defends.”  Today, the White House has no comment on Gosnell, noting that it concerns on an ongoing legal matter.  A totally valid response—is what […]

Antonin Scalia is either a fool or a liar

Scalia: “I take no position on whether it’s harmful or not, but it’s certainly true there is no answer to that scientific question…” — Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) March 26, 2013 This is why the support of the American Academy of Pediatrics matters. When Justice Scalia spouts balderdash like that Tweeted above with regard to…

Does Opposition to Abortion Demand Certainty That the Fetus Is a Person?

I agree with Ned Resnikoff that the issue of abortion hinges on the question of personhood, but I am not sure the question of personhood as related to nascent human life has to be answered definitively before one may have an ethical basis to avoid (or morally permit) lethal violence against it. We may not,…

Blackmun on Roe, 14 Years Later

Via Digby I see this 1987 interview between Bill Moyers and Harry Blackmun, former Supreme Court Justice and author of Roe v. Wade. One thing to understand about Blackmun is that despite whatever assumptions you might have about his politics, he was actually something much rarer than an activist lefty: a moderate-to-liberal Republican. Appointed by Nixon, no less!…

A Great Case Out Of Sequence: Bad Valentines, Bank Robbers, And Taxes

Note: This post is part of our League Symposium on Guns In America. You can read the introductory post for the Symposium here. To see a list of all posts in the Symposium so far, click here. While I usually post my Great Cases at my sub-blog (example) rather than here on the front page,…

Tales from the Nightstand: When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

“She had wandered, without rule or guidance, into a moral wilderness. Her intellect and heart had their home, as it were, in desert places, where she roamed as freely as the wild Indian in his woods. The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had…

Conflicting Accounts of Obama’s Foreign Policy Achievements

Andrew Sullivan wants Obamaites to more aggressively tout the President’s foreign policy achievements: “I think the Obamaites need to be more aggressive in foreign policy arguments. Obama ended one war in Iraq, dispatched Osama bin Laden and Muammar Qaddafi without a single US casualty, re-set relations with Russia, brought unprecedentedly united international pressure against Iran’s nuclear bomb potential, wiped…

Jurisprudence blogging 2: Hart

In my previous post in this series, I gave a rough outline of Austin’s views and a number of criticism levelled against it. Now, I’ll reveal my hand: All those criticisms were levelled by HLA Hart in his book: The concept of law. Hart’s theory of law is therefore founded on the very same criticisms…

Against Traditional Morality

by James Hanley Guest author: James Hanley. Tom Van Dyke has written a very thoughtful post about the role of traditional morality in law. There are various points at which we could quibble with his argument, but here I offer a direct rebuttal of his support for traditional morality as a basis of law, arguing…

Reproductive Rights and Libertarianism

~by Sam Wilkinson For reasons that I cannot understand, the threat posed by various conservative candidates to women’s reproductive rights rarely seem to warrant mention or concern amongst those who profess themselves to be most concerned with liberty. Perhaps I travel in the wrong circles – with a two kids and a mortgage and a car payment and a…

Hopelessness and Torture

“It’s a mistake to say this was about inflicting pain. These measures were about instilling a sense of hopelessness, and that led them to compliance.” — Jose Rodriguez, former head of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center (2002-5) His statement, for the way he said it, is all the more striking.  It was not about inflicting pain…

Shande

I was going to keep my damn mouth shut today, because, well, my attitude toward the news is May his name be blotted out! and it’s kind of hard to shake a grogger at your computer every few minutes.  Then: There is this: “Current and former U.S. officials say that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of…

Searching for Oskar Schindler

by Christopher Carr I considered titling this post a more academic “Rejoinders to a Utilitarian Framework for Evaluating the Morality of Abortion” but thought better when I realized how many lines that would take up. First, I’d like to say thank you again to Erik for agreeing to guest-post my recent offerings on abortion to this excellent blog and…

A Utilitarian Framework for Evaluating the Morality of Abortion

by Christopher Carr Jeremy Stangroom is a British author, philosopher, co-founder of The Philosopher’s Magazine Online – one of the premiere philosophy publications on the Internet – and the director of Philosophy Experiments – where users can participate in a variety of interactive thought experiments.  One of the more popular experiments is called Whose Body Is It Anyway; it is about the taboo…

Abortion and Slavery again

Ta-Nehisi has pushed once again into the abortion and slavery debate, this time following the invocation of that analogy by Rick Santorum and Joe Klein’s subsequent defense of Santorum’s rhetoric. Now, I’ve admitted in the past two things about the fetus-as-slave analogy: first, that it is not a very good analogy – and indeed I…

If You Can’t Win the Argument, Pretend it Doesn’t Exist

Spencer Ackerman on the Obama administration’s legal justification for drone strikes: In March, the State Department’s legal adviser gave a speech asserting that the strikes are legal, not demonstratingwhy they are. The closest that Harold Koh came to articulating his case was to say: The administration doesn’t intentionally kill civilians (“…attacks [are] limited to military objectives and…

Virtually crime free

I was discussing Kevin Drum’s post on falling crime rates in America and the old Freakonomics argument came up – that the only possible explanation for this phenomenon is the after-effects of Roe v. Wade. The fewer unwanted pregnancies, so the argument goes, the fewer potential criminals. Interestingly, alongside falling crime rates, we also see…

I’m not Harriet Tubman either

I don’t think the pro-choicers and the pro-lifers are going to agree on this one. But I do think that Ta-Nehisi is either missing what I’m trying to say here, or he – and the commenters at his blog – are incapable of seeing how this analogy might look different if they held different assumptions…

No, I am not Frederick Douglass

[updated] Okay. Perhaps I stirred the pot a bit too vigorously. In any case, let me clarify a few things. Ta-Nehisi Coates – whose work I admire greatly, too!* – has quite a lot more to say about the abortion/slavery analogy. I described it as ‘bulky, awkward, creates more heat than light, etc.’ whilst still…