Abortion doctor George Tiller murdered in Kansas

George Tiller, a doctor in Kansas, was shot to death today while attending church. The investigation is still in its initial stages, but odds are it has something to do with the fact that the doctor was an abortion provider. And folks on the right, based on their Twitter feeds, are ecstatic.

The following, by way of background, comes from John Aravosis at Americablog:

Thank God that the Obama administration caved last month to religious right and GOP demands that it withdraw a new domestic terrorism report that indicated, among other things, that radicals might use abortion as a justification for committing acts of domestic terrorism. Now a man is dead, and an American church has been shot up during services. Which leads to the question as to whether the Obama administration plans to do anything about the terrorist threat posed by religious right extremists, or whether typical Democratic spinelessness will lead us to now ignore this brutal murder, since that is the message that was sent last month, just weeks before this act of terror.

Note that had Obama held firm in the face of the criticism last month, he’d be riding high right now and the GOP would be cowering in shame for having basically enabled this terrorist act. But Democrats rarely look to the future, nor do they see benefit in having a spine or doing what’s right. And now a man is dead…

According to this site advocating for the murder of abortion doctors, Tiller had be shot before. A woman by the name of Rachelle Shannon is currently in prison for shooting him in both arms in 1993.

And, according to the doctor’s Wikipedia entry, he’d also received quite a bit of attention on The O’Reilly Factor over the years. Here’s a clip from Wikipedia:

On Friday, November 3, 2006, Bill O’Reilly featured an exclusive segment on his show, The O’Reilly Factor, saying that he has an “inside source” with official clinic documentation indicating that George Tiller performed late-term abortions to alleviate “temporary depression” in the pregnant woman. According to reporting data provided to the Kansas Board of Healing Arts for the year 1998, all of the post-viable “partial-birth” (dilation and extraction) abortion procedures performed in Kansas during that year were performed because “the attending physician believe[d] that continuing the pregnancy [would] constitute a substantial and irreversible impairment of the patient’s mental function.” Tiller responded to O’Reilly’s statements by demanding an investigation into the “inside source” through which the information was leaked, suggesting that Phill Kline, then the Kansas Attorney General, was responsible. Kline denied the charge…

I’m not defending Tiller, or the practices of his clinic, but one has to wonder to what degree responsibility for today’s murder lies with Bill O’Reilly and politicians on the right who, in order to garner support for themselves and ratings for their programs, continued to accuse Tiller of conducting monstrous late term abortions in violation of the law, and agitate members of the religious right to take action. Those who did not take action, O’Reilly once said, when referring to Tiller and his support of then Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, would have “blood on their hands.”

Here’s a clip from O’Reilly’s show:

Posted in Civil Liberties, Media, Other, Religious Extremism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 76 Comments

Harvard prof speculates that cooking made us human

I don’t have a lot of time at the moment, buty I wanted to pass along a link to an interesting article in the New York Times about Harvard professor Richard Wrangham and his theory concerning the link between cooking and evolution. Here’s a clip:

….Apes began to morph into humans, and the species Homo erectus emerged some two million years ago, Mr. Wrangham argues, for one fundamental reason: We learned to tame fire and heat our food.

“Cooked food does many familiar things,” he observes. “It makes our food safer, creates rich and delicious tastes and reduces spoilage. Heating can allow us to open, cut or mash tough foods. But none of these advantages is as important as a little-appreciated aspect: cooking increases the amount of energy our bodies obtain from food.”

He continues: “The extra energy gave the first cooks biological advantages. They survived and reproduced better than before. Their genes spread. Their bodies responded by biologically adapting to cooked food, shaped by natural selection to take maximum advantage of the new diet. There were changes in anatomy, physiology, ecology, life history, psychology and society.” Put simply, Mr. Wrangham writes that eating cooked food — whether meat or plants or both —made digestion easier, and thus our guts could grow smaller. The energy that we formerly spent on digestion (and digestion requires far more energy than you might imagine) was freed up, enabling our brains, which also consume enormous amounts of energy, to grow larger. The warmth provided by fire enabled us to shed our body hair, so we could run farther and hunt more without overheating. Because we stopped eating on the spot as we foraged and instead gathered around a fire, we had to learn to socialize, and our temperaments grew calmer.

There were other benefits for humanity’s ancestors. He writes: “The protection fire provided at night enabled them to sleep on the ground and lose their climbing ability, and females likely began cooking for males, whose time was increasingly free to search for more meat and honey. While other habilines” — tool-using prehumans — “elsewhere in Africa continued for several hundred thousand years to eat their food raw, one lucky group became Homo erectus — and humanity began”…

I find this stuff absolutely fascinating.

I wonder if people who are really adept at using microwaves in the world today have an evolutionary advantage.

If you’re interested, you an order the book here.

Posted in Art and Culture, Food, Ideas | Tagged , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Totally quotable Clementine


Clementine said this to me yesterday, as I was giving her a bath. She had the timing just right between “I’m going to eat you,” and “with my butt.” It was hilarious, and she knew it too. She laughed her ravenous ass off… Not wanting to use a photo of my daughter going after my arm with her butt, for obvious reasons, I’ve decided to use this random shot from the yard. I think they work nicely together.

Posted in Mark's Life, Other | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Michigan gets screwed with federal stimulus spending

According to USA Today, Michigan, arguably the worst off of the 50 states, is getting just a fraction of what some other, more well-off states are getting when it comes to federal stimulus spending. Here’s a clip:

States hit hardest by the recession received only a few of the government’s first stimulus contracts, even though the glut of new federal spending was meant to target places where the economic pain has been particularly severe.

Nationwide, federal agencies have awarded nearly $4 billion in contracts to help jump-start the economy since President Obama signed the massive stimulus package in February. But, with few exceptions, that money has not reached states where the unemployment rate is highest, according to a USA TODAY review of contracts disclosed through the Federal Procurement Data System.

In Michigan, for example — where years of economic tumult and a collapsing domestic auto industry have produced the nation’s worst unemployment rate — federal agencies have spent about $2 million on stimulus contracts, or 21 cents per person. In Oregon, where unemployment is almost as high, they have spent $2.12 per capita, far less than the nationwide average of nearly $13…

This analysis, it should be noted, is based only on the first $4 billion in alloted federal stimulus funds, out of the some $700 billion to be expended, but it’s something to keep an eye on. Hopefully, now that USA Today is taking notice, the White House will too.

[This post was brought to you by the Detroit band The Hard Lessons, who would no doubt appreciate a little stimulus spending on their new record, Arms Forest.]

Posted in Economics, Michigan, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Local street party

localfirstpartyTaste of Ann Arbor is this weekend. I’ve never been before, but I hear that it’s a good time. I’d like to do something similar in Ypsi, but I don’t find the idea of a “Taste of Ypsi” all that appetizing. As much as I love Ypsi, I don’t want to taste it. Still, I think we should do something food-related in the summer, the way we do the chili cook-off in the winter. We could do it bigger, though, and in the park. Every restaurant could make one or two special items. We could have the Corner Brewery and Frog Island Brewing provide the beer. And, we could get a bunch of local bands to play. (Maybe we could even get Iggy Pop to come back for it.) They’re doing something along those lines in Grand Rapids this June. They’re calling it the Local First Street Party.

As a community we’ve made significant efforts over these past few years to help rally support for our local businesses. We’ve had Shop Local for the Holidays campaigns, and things along those lines, but we’ve never really taken the next step in terms of building a real movement. If they can do it in Grand Rapids, I know we can do it here… better. Maybe it’s time we started planning a real, coordinated campaign, ending in a huge local blowout showcasing the best of what we have to offer.

Posted in Food, Ideas, Locally Owned Business, Ypsilanti | Tagged , , , , , | 18 Comments


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