Sunday, January 25, 2009

Stale and fruitless debate

Barack Obama has fucked with my blog, and I don’t appreciate it. The redesign of the White House website has broken every single link to the site that I (and, less significantly, everyone else) made during the Bush years. That’s thousands and thousands of dead links, with no help from the Obama in finding the archived versions. For the record, the way to find the archived versions is to replace in the URL with

Obama’s “pragmatism” is beginning to worry me a bit, coming as it often does accompanied by a swipe at people who refuse to compromise their principles. For example, the statement he made announcing his very welcome revoking of the Reagan-Bush-Bush global gag rule kept talking about the need to end the “politicization” of family planning and abortion, as if these were not inherently political issues. “For too long, international family planning assistance has been used as a political wedge issue, the subject of a back and forth debate that has served only to divide us. I have no desire to continue this stale and fruitless debate.” We’re sorry if you find the issue of women’s rights to control their own fertility boring and tedious and fruitless, Barack, really we are. And it is perfectly okay to be “divided” on issues on which we do not agree. I’m happy to find common ground where it exists, but I won’t fetishize the search for it.

Silvio Berlusconi, planning to deploy the military on Italian streets to deal with crime, warns that it won’t be sufficient to stop rape (there have been several high-profile rape cases recently) because “We would need so many soldiers because our women are so beautiful.” Then he reacted to the uproar over his appalling remark by saying that he meant it as a compliment and “People should have a sense of good humor.”

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