Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Prevention of Vice and Promotion of Virtue, Part 937

Some tidbits I wish were random and unconnected, but which unfortunately line up neatly...

From the Feds, a clarified abstinence-only policy defining abstinence as eschewing not just fucking but "any type of genital contact or sexual stimulation between two persons" outside of marriage, which , of course, is explicitly defined as involving one man and one woman. No further explanation of "sexual stimulation" is offered, leaving some pretty hazy areas for neophyte pledgees to navigate. Does sexual stimulation include kissing? Phone sex? Smoky hot eye contact that twinges you so deeply you're happy to drop a fifty on the table, leaving the waiter a 200% tip, if it means you can get your date out to the car quickly so you don't have an orgasm right there in the restaurant? Or maybe the people who wrote this claptrap have never experienced anything like that, or--even more sadly--maybe they really think the capacity for sexual stimulation exists only in that narrow zone between the legs.

Left all but unsaid are the implications for gay kids. No sexual stimulation of any kind involving another person until you're married. Marriage is limited to opposite-sex pairs. Well, at least the official prohibition against masturbation hasn't come down yet, so, until then, here's your bottle of baby oil and a wad of kleenex, kid. Go nuts. Draw a smiley face on it and maybe you'll have a shot at a meaningful relationship one of these days.

Next up, a bill introduced by the Ohio legislature that not only would make it a felony for a woman to have an abortion, but also makes it a felony for her to travel to a different state for an abortion, or to transport or otherwise aid a woman in leaving the state to terminate a pregnancy. Never mind, for the moment, that this law (should it be ratified) doesn't have a chance in hell of passing Constitutional muster (niggling little details like the interstate commerce clause should eat it alive).

Just think about it for a second, and try to come up with a response other than what the fuck? What's the real purpose of this grandstanding? Is it some grotesque loyalty oath writ large for Ohio Republicans? What end can possibly justify these means that make the legislators look like ignorant rubes trying to out-idiot the legislatures in South Dakota, Mississippi, and Missouri? Why write a law with such shoddy (shoddiness barely escaping nonexistance) legal underpinnings? No state can hold its citizens accountable for state laws outside the borders of that state. It's pretty simple. It's why you can buy fireworks in Missouri and not be arrested for it when you get home in Illinois; it's why California highway patrolmen don't cruise I-10 east of Yuma nailing cars with CA tags that are abiding by Arizona's 5-mph-higher speed limit. Did these guys enter some secret contest giving a prize to the legislature that can write the most outrageously restrictive abortion legislation with nobody noticing? Sorry, fellas--we're noticing.

Remind me, again, why we're fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan (quick, somebody nudge W awake and remind him of his original war while we still have guys left to fight it). Remind me how the administration framed that one--not just to destroy the infrastructure that supported and fostered Al Qaeda, but to liberate the women of Afghanistan. Remember all that "W is for Women" crap? The Taliban have to be laughing their asses off right now. The adminstration is inspiring cultural change far more insidious and radical than the scruffy bearded guys over there in the caves ever could have dreamed of on their own.

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