Leave Us Alone!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Quick Links

Here are some fun, interesting, infuriating, or important things I've found in the blogosphere over the past couple of weeks:

At A Stitch in Haste, Kip Esquire reads Time's article on the best and worst senators so you don't have to.

Buckeye State Blog has a collection of unintentionally humorous quotes from Sen. Marc Dann (D-Liberty Twp.)

You might have thought the ethnic cleansing of American Indians from the American west was a thing of the past, but not if Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) gets his way. Logan Ferree of Freedom Democrats points to this report from Cultural Survival.

The Agitator's Radley Balko, the blogger who broke the Cory Maye story, has more true tales of paramilitary police raids gone wrong.

This incident has gotten quite a bit of attention from the blogosphere. At Crime and Federalism, Mike makes the case that it goes beyond mere police overreaction and crosses the line into torture.

This story from the satirical Toledo Tales comes a little too close to the truth. So does this one.

Finally, The Lope has a cool photo essay on the new Encounters restaurant at Los Angeles International Airport (link via Gravity Lens).

Sunday, April 16, 2006

"Pro-Life" Hypocrisy

At Reason, Kerry Howley exposed the hypocrisy of anti-choicers who use women's safety as an argument for suspending the FDA's approval of RU-486. As Ms. Howley points out, the mortality rate for RU-486 is comparable to the mortality rate for surgical abortion, and less than one-tenth the fatality rate for birth:
Mifeprostone's manufacturer, Danco, states that 560,000 women have taken the drug regimen since it was approved in 2000. If Mifepristone turns out to be the cause of death in all five possible cases, the pill's mortality rate will be under one in 100,000. Between 1988 and 1997 (before the abortion pill was approved) the mortality rate from legal induced abortion, according to the Centers for Disease Control, was 0.7 per 100,000.


...no one questions the heightened risks inherent in the remaining alternative: pregnancy. In 1997, the pregnancy-related mortality rate was 12.9 deaths per 100,000 live births; more than tenfold that of legal abortion.
(entire article here, link via Hit and Run)

Meanwhile, in last Sunday's New York Times Magazine, Jack Hitt examined the effects of anti-abortion legislation and enforcement in a country where the anti-choicers have gotten their way. El Salvador has criminalized abortion with no exceptions, not even to save a woman's life, and it goes to monstrous lengths to enforce its abortion law:

El Salvador, however, has not only a total ban on abortion but also an active law-enforcement apparatus — the police, investigators, medical spies, forensic vagina inspectors and a special division of the prosecutor's office responsible for Crimes Against Minors and Women, a unit charged with capturing, trying and incarcerating an unusual kind of criminal. Like the woman I was waiting to meet.
(entire article here)

This doesn't stop women from obtaining abortions, or inducing them themselves. Mr. Hitt quotes a list from the Center for Constitutional Rights of tools used in illegal abortions in El Salvador: "clothes hangers, iron bars, high doses of contraceptives, fertilizers, gastritis remedies, soapy water and caustic agents (such as car battery acid)."

So basically, the anti-choice argument is that a chemical abortifacient that kills up to 1 in 100,000 of the women who use it is too dangerous to women, but laws that result in the use of chemical aboritfacients such as fertilizer and car-battery acid are A-OK. What a bunch of hypocrites.

If you are undecided about whether abortion should be legal, or if you lean toward criminalizing it, please read Mr. Hitt's entire article (here), then ask yourself, Do you really want to enact laws which lead to the use of such methods? Do you really want women in the United States to suffer the depredations of forensic vaginal inspectors?

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Smoke-Free or Smoke Freely: It's Still Your Choice in Cleveland

Neither Cleveland nor any of the suburbs in Cuyahoga County has banned smoking in bars and restaurants yet, but that hasn't stopped several establishments from going smoke-free. Last month, George Nemeth of Brewed Fresh Daily reported that Cleveland's prestigious Velvet Tango Room is now smoke-free (even though its website still features a picture of a cigar in an ashtray). At around the same time, the Steak-n-Shake in West Park announced that it would no longer allow smoking. These are just two more examples to show that, if given a chance, the free market will provide both smokers and non-smokers with drinking and dining options that suit their preferences.

The free market might not get that chance, though. A gang of busybodies calling themselves "Smoke Free Ohio" recently submitted petitions to put the issue of a smoking ban before the Ohio General Assembly. In a rare moment of sanity, the General Assembly appears unlikely to enact Smoke Free Ohio's proposal, the Ohio University Post Online reports, so the issue probably will go to the voters in November.

Meanwhile, the Ohio Licensed Beverage Association is gathering signatures for a saner smoking ban proposal, which, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer, would:

...require lawmakers to ban smoking in public places but exempt certain establishments such as bars, bingo halls, racetracks, bowling alleys and closed-off smoking areas in restaurants, hotels and nursing homes. If the language is certified, the group must collect nearly 323,000 signatures to get it on the ballot.

Ideally, the State of Ohio would not concern itself at all with smoking in privately owned buildings, but the OLBA's proposal looks to be the best way to stop the total ban that Smoke Free Ohio is pushing.

Welcome to Ohio, the Buckeye Police State

Senate Bill 9, the so-called Ohio "Patriot" Act, went into effect yesterday. The act, sponsored by self-proclaimed "jerk" Jeff Jacobson (R-Butler Twp.), passed by overwhelming majorities in both houses of the General Assembly, and signed into law by criminal Governor Bob Taft (R-Cincinnati), greatly expands the power of police officers to demand identification from citizens. So, the next time a police officer stops you and demands your identification for little or no reason, remember that you have the following legislators to thank:

Allen Aslanides Barrett Blessing Boccieri Book Bubp Buehrer Calvert Carano Carmichael Cassell Coley Collier Core Daniels DeGeeter DeWine Dolan Domenick Driehaus Evans C. Evans D. Faber Fende Flowers Garrison Gibbs Gilb Hagan Hartnett Harwood Hoops Hughes Latta Law Martin Mason McGregor R. Oelslager Patton T. Perry Peterson Raga Raussen Redfern Reinhard Sayre Schaffer Schlichter Schneider Seitz Setzer Smith G. Strahorn Taylor Trakas Uecker Wagner Wagoner Webster White Widener Widowfield Willamowski Williams Wolpert Woodard Husted

Amstutz Armbruster Austria Carey Clancy Coughlin Dann Fedor Fingerhut Gardner Goodman Grendell Hottinger Jacobson Jordan Kearney Miller Mumper Niehaus Padgett Roberts Schuler Schuring Spada Stivers Wachtmann Wilson Zurz Harris

Saturday, April 01, 2006

A Death Sentence for Self-Defense

Here's an appalling case out of Iran, where a woman faces execution for defending herself and her niece from a gang of attempted rapists. Amnesty International reports:
On 3 January, 18-year-old Nazanin was sentenced to death for murder by a criminal court, after she reportedly admitted stabbing to death one of three men who attempted to rape her and her 16-year-old niece in a park in Karaj in March 2005. She was seventeen at the time. Her sentence is subject to review by the Court of Appeal, and if upheld, to confirmation by the Supreme Court.

According to reports in the Iranian newspaper, E’temaad, Nazanin told the court that three men had approached her and her niece, forced them to the ground and tried to rape them. Seeking to defend her niece and herself, Nazanin stabbed one man in the hand with a knife that she possessed and then, when the men continued to pursue them, stabbed another of the men in the chest. She reportedly told the court “I wanted to defend myself and my niece. I did not want to kill that boy. At the heat of the moment I did not know what to do because no one came to our help”, but was nevertheless sentenced to death.

(entire statement here, link via The Volokh Conspiracy)

Go here to sign an on-line petition to save Nazanin.

Unlike Iran, we in the United States would never sentence a person to death for an act of self-defense. Oh, wait...

Featured Sites (Toledo Edition)

A number of Toledo bloggers have linked to me under the heading of "Toledo Blogs," which I found quite surprising, as I live and work in Cleveland. I did, however, live in the Toledo metropolitan area for four years while attending the university that fired Jim Larranaga, so I guess that qualifies me as a Toledo blogger.

Michael Brooks' blog, HistoryMike's Musings, features "essays, news, and commentary from a Midwestern freelance writer, editor, and historian." Mr. Brooks also writes for the Toledo Free Press.

KrazyKat has two new blogs: Toledo Speaks Out, "a place where you can be heard, in your own words, in your own way," and Toledo Speaks Out - Profiles, in which KrazyKat showcases "people, places and business in Toledo and surrounding communities."

Victim of Justice is a site dedicated to "Danny Brown's struggle to reclaim his name." In 1982, Mr. Brown was convicted of a rape and murder he didn't commit. He was freed by DNA evidence after 19 years, but the Lucas County Prosecutor's Office refuses to retry or exonerate him. Anyone who wants to help Mr. Brown can find Lucas County Prosecutor Julia Bates' contact information here.

Thanks to the above Toledo bloggers for linking to me, and for considering me one of their own.

Featured Sites

Thanks to the following sites for linking to me.

George Nemeth and the team at Brewed Fresh Daily recently added me to their NEO Blogroll. I seem to remember one of our alternative weeklies here in Cleveland selecting Brewed Fresh Daily as Cleveland's best local blog, but I can't find a link to the article.

Samantha Burns recently added me to her list of reader blogs at The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns, which features "frequently updated witty rants, opinions, news, and humour," along with the Moron of the Week.

James Leroy Wilson of Independent Country recently added me to his list of pro-liberty and/or anti-war blogs. Mr. Wilson is also a columnist at LewRockwell.com and The Partial Observer.

Michael Meckler of Red-State.com recently added me to his list of Ohio weblogs on current events. At Red-State, Mr. Meckler covers "Ohio politics, religion, and culture."

Schweitzer for President, "your online center for news, views, and action alerts on Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, the next President of the United States," links to Leave Us Alone under the heading of "Press for this site." While I'm not a fan of the smoking ban Gov. Schweitzer signed into law, he generally seems like my kind of Democrat.

There still are four spots open on the featured sites list. To add your site, just add a link from your site to http://leave-us-alone.blogspot.com/, then let me know about it by posting a comment here or sending me an e-mail to jasonsonenshein (at) yahoo (dot) com.