Patterico's Pontifications


Yes on Proposition 4: Parents Should Be Told If Their Daughter Wants an Abortion

Filed under: 2008 Election,Abortion,General — Patterico @ 8:52 pm

I support Proposition 4, the proposition requiring parental notification for minors seeking abortions.

In a September article, the Los Angeles Times quoted backer Don Sebastiani, who sums up my position well:

“It’s insane,” Sebastiani said. “I’m completely mystified that you need to get a mom’s permission to get an aspirin at school, you need to get a mom’s permission to go to a tanning salon, but you can go in and have your baby aborted [without notification]. Something is wrong.”


Previous measures have failed because of concerns that abusive parents could put young women at risk — especially if the dad is the father of the baby to be aborted. The Los Angeles Times article reports that this measure has been refined to address that concern:

[T]he latest proposal was revised to allow the required notification to be made to other adult family members, such as a grandparent or sibling, if the attending physician reports known or suspected child abuse by the parent to law enforcement or a child protective services agency.

It also would allow judges to waive the notice requirement based on evidence of the minor’s maturity or best interest in having an abortion.

A parent also could give a minor a written note ahead of time waiving notification, and waivers would be allowed in medical emergencies.

I don’t think you have to be a religious, fervent pro-lifer to vote for this proposition. I’m not religious, and I’m conflicted about abortion as a policy matter. But I don’t see why abortion should be uniquely free of parental involvement, and it seems to me that only pro-choice zealots can seriously oppose a common-sense measure like this.

Parents generally are able to offer wisdom to their children on important life issues. Abortion is no different. Parents have a perspective on life that immature teenagers simply don’t have. The state should not be in the business of driving a wedge between children and their parents, and indeed has a responsibility to ensure that doctors do not interfere in the parent-child relationship either.

Yes on Proposition 4.

No on Proposition 8: Allow Gay Marriage in California

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:36 pm

I will be voting against Proposition 8, which seeks to change the state’s constitution to eliminate the judicially invented right to same sex marriage. The constitution would be amended to add the language: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”

I am angry about the California Supreme Court’s attempt to take this matter out of voters’ hands, and part of me wants to support the measure just to flip the bird to the justices. Ultimately, however, I support the right of homosexuals to marry one another, and so I will be voting no.

I have already made the arguments in the past. In this post I assessed the pros and cons of banning gay marriage. Here’s my view of the downside:

The downside of banning gay marriage is that homosexuals are made to feel that they are second-class citizens. I don’t know whether being gay is genetic, a learned behavior, or some combination of the two — but I am confident that it is something that people do not consciously choose. I certainly did not consciously choose to be sexually attracted to women; that is hard-wired into me somehow. I can’t imagine it’s different for gay men.

Since gays do not consciously choose their sexual orientation, refusing to give them access to an institution available to heterosexuals is discrimination. The policy question is whether this discrimination is justified on a societal level.

My conclusion is that it is not.

Those who want to ban gay marriage advance many alleged benefits of such a ban. One of their main arguments is that marriage is the cornerstone of our civilization — and if it is defined as anything other than its traditional meaning of a union between a man and a woman, it risks losing all meaning. In that same post, I disagreed with that argument, saying:

People get married for all sorts of reasons: love, companionship, stability, raising a family, and financial reasons, just to name a few. People stay married for a similarly wide variety of reasons. I don’t think that, for heterosexuals, the availability of marriage to homosexuals plays any part in the calculus of whether they get married, or whether they stay married.

Indeed, I have never heard a single heterosexual person blame the failure of his or her marriage on the availability of homosexual marriage. And if someone tried, I suspect they would be seen as scapegoating.

I know most readers will disagree with me on this, and I certainly don’t intend to demonize the view of those who support a traditional view of marriage. But I happen to disagree with them. I support gay marriage, and that’s the way I’m going to vote.

Yes on Proposition 2: Free the Chickens!

Filed under: Crime,General — Patterico @ 5:38 pm

For some reason, conservatives tend not to be champions of animal rights. Or, at least, we’re not seen that way.

Let’s show the world that conservatives can care about animals.

To me, California’s Proposition 2 is a no-brainer. It does not mandate that chickens (and pigs and calves) be “cage free.” But it does mandate that they be housed in conditions that allow them to lie down, stand up, fully extend their limbs and turn around freely.

That’s just basic decency.

If you’re considering voting against this proposition, you might consider watching this video:

The awful conditions of the hens depicted in the video will not all be solved by Proposition 2. But if you skip ahead to around 4:04, you’ll get some sense of the overcrowded conditions that this proposition is designed to outlaw.

We’re told that there are health risks from Proposition 2. It appears clear to me that there are potential health risks from eating eggs that have been covered in blood due to untreated prolapsed egg vents; or eggs crawling with mites due to the filthy conditions of these cages; or eggs laid in cages filled with the rotting corpses of hens, or filled with sick hens with untreated open infections.

All this is shown in the video.

Overcrowded cages can even lead to cannibalism:

“Laying hens confined to battery cages are not able to lay their eggs in the privacy of an enclosed nest box. Without a secluded, protected space in which to lay her egg, a hen is exposed to potential vent pecking and cannibalism by cage-mates, and this may be a cause of the cloacal hemorrhage depicted in the video.” [The quote is from researcher Sara Shields — P]

In fact that is exactly what [an egg farm worker known only as] Aaron encountered on Sunday, August 24.

“I found a hen in a top cage with a large prolapse dripping blood. There was one other hen in her cage who had a bloody beak, indicating that this bird had been cannibalizing the prolapse,” he wrote in his diary.

We’re told that compliance will be too costly, and that is clearly the most persuasive argument. One study shows the cost at a penny per egg — and producers have until 2015 to comply — but others argue that upgrades will cost millions.

Again, watch the video and make up your own mind whether the cost is worth it.

Polls appear to show that the measure is likely to pass. Good. It should.

Prank Calls and Political Comedy

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 5:12 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

A Palin spokesperson confirmed GOP VP-candidate Sarah Palin received a prank call from a Canadian comic pretending to be French President Sarkozy:

“The Masked Avengers, a radio pairing notorious for prank calls to celebrities and heads of state, notched its latest victory Saturday when it released a recording of a six-minute call with Palin, who thought she was talking with Nicolas Sarkozy.

Throughout the call, which was making the rounds in U.S. political circles by day’s end Saturday, Palin and the pranksters discuss politics, pundits, and the perils of going hunting with Vice-President Dick Cheney.

“We have such great respect for you, John McCain and I, we love you,” Palin gushes, evidently unaware she’s speaking to an infamous Quebec comedian named Marc-Antoine Audette.

At one point, Palin even comes close to confirming her intention to one day run for president, when Audette slyly remarks he can see her taking over the big desk in the Oval office.

“Maybe in eight years,” she replies with a nervous chuckle.”

Palin responded with good humor after learning of the prank:

“Over the course of the interview, Palin doesn’t seem to realize she’s being tricked until Audette comes clean near the end of the call.

“Ohhhh . . . have we been pranked?” she says, in her inimitable style. Seconds later, Palin’s aide can be heard taking the phone before the line goes dead.”

The Canadians were delighted with their coup, bragging that they had to get past the Palin handlers and the Secret Service. They’ve also successfully pranked Sarkozy himself (by impersonating Prime Minister Stephen Harper), former French president Jacques Chirac, Britney Spears, Mick Jagger and Bill Gates.

British and Canadian humorists enjoy prank calls to politicians but I prefer melding politics and comedy on shows like Saturday Night Live. So enjoy this recent Sarah Palin SNL appearance and stay tuned for tonight’s show when John McCain is rumored to be a guest.


I Can’t Defend the L.A. Times’s Utter Failure to Release Any More Information About the Khalidi Tape

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:57 pm

I have defended the L.A. Times on the Khalidi tape controversy, saying that if they made a promise to a source not to release the tape, they need to honor that promise.

The paper brought suspicion down on itself by failing initially to cite the promise to the source as the justification for refusing to release the tape. But I don’t believe they’re lying about it.

However, I’m at a loss as to why editors can’t take simple steps that (as far as we know) are not precluded by the promise to the source. They could:

  • Prepare and release a transcript.
  • Go back to the source and ask permission to release the tape now.
  • View the tape again to see if Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn were present (as has been rumored) — and if they were, publish a story setting forth the details of their interaction, if any, with Senator Obama.
  • View the tape again to see whether Senator Obama is shown on tape during any of the more controversial statements — and if he was, describe his reaction.

Promises to withhold source material, while they may be necessary for a story, should be disfavored. If they’re given, editors should give them the narrowest possible reasonable interpretation.

Instead, editors seem determined to construe their promises more broadly than even their source contemplated. They haven’t said they promised not to release a transcript, for example. So why haven’t they?

They may be concerned about taking actions that could be construed as a waiver of privilege. But it shouldn’t violate privilege to release information they didn’t promise not to release. And phantom future arguments about possible waiver of privilege shouldn’t trump the need to disseminate information relevant to a presidential race just before an election.

More on Obama’s Selflessness

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:40 am

Yesterday I pointed out that Obama accused John McCain and Sarah Palin of making a virtue out of selfishness — despite the fact that Obama and his running mate donated very little to charity, while McCain and his running mate were far more generous.

Another point about Obama’s Amazing Selflessness. Obama’s brother lives in Kenya on less than a dollar a month. Obama’s aunt lives in public housing.

Meanwhile, our selfless presidential candidate reported over $4 million in income in 2007.

Thanks to a Hot Air commenter.

L.A. Times Erroneously Claims that the Supreme Court “Determined” That Bush Won the Presidency in 2000

Filed under: 2008 Election,Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 8:23 am

The L.A. Times reports:

Obama dispatched Al Gore to Florida — a merging of man and state that served as painful symbolism to Democrats of the need to cast every ballot.

“Vote early. Take people with you to the polls,” the former vice president said at a rally in Coconut Creek. Gore’s 2000 campaign foundered in Florida after ballot problems led to a long legal standoff. The Supreme Court ultimately determined that Bush had won the presidency with a 537-vote margin in Florida.

No, it didn’t.

This statement is on the front page of today’s paper:

But the statement is false. It apparently comes from some reporter who heard too many people say at the water cooler that the Supreme Court awarded the Presidency to George W. Bush.

But that’s not what happened. Katherine Harris, Florida’s Secretary of State, is the person who certified George W. Bush as the winner, and the margin of victory at 537 votes.

The Supreme Court did no such thing. In its per curiam opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed an order of the Florida Supreme Court ordering a recount to proceed. The Court held that the standardless manual recounts in Florida violated the Equal Protection Clause.

It is true that the Court’s actions in halting the recount were a critical factor in the process. But the Supreme Court made no determination as to who had won the presidency. That was Katherine Harris.

You can read the opinion as many times as you like, but you’ll see no statement to the effect: “The Court hereby determines that George W. Bush has won the presidency of the United States by a margin of 537 votes.” Instead, the Court simply stated: “The judgment of the Supreme Court of Florida is reversed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.”

Could the L.A. Times have been talking about the Florida Supreme Court? No. On remand, the Florida Supreme Court determined (.pdf) that the appellants were not legally entitled to relief, in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion.

So we have a blatant misrepresentation of a basic fact of the 2000 election, smack dab on the paper’s front page.

Business as usual.

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