Category ►►► The Rumsfeld Awards
July 26, 2006
Demonstration of Sanity
The Republican caucus of the United States Senate, and about a third of the Democratic caucus, having demonstrated unusual clarity and sanity by enacting the Child Custody Protection Act -- making it a crime for non-parental, non-guardian adults to transport a minor girl across state lines to procure her an abortion in violation of state parental-notification laws -- collectively deserve a Rumsfeld Award for actually making sane people feel good about government, for a change. (See last post.)
Here are the exceptions, both the bad (the four Republicans who voted against it) and the good (the fourteen Democrats who voted for it):
Republican weirdos who voted against S. 403:
- Lincoln Chafee, RI, 12%;
- Olympia Snowe, ME, 32%;
- Susan Collins, ME, 32%;
- Arlen Specter, PA, 63%.
Democrats who had at least one moment of sanity in their careers by voting for this act:
- Evan Bayh, IN, 95%;
- Robert Byrd, WV, 95%;
- Thomas Carper, DE, 90%;
- Kent Conrad, ND, 85%;
- Byron Dorgan, ND, 100%;
- Daniel Inouye, HI, 90%;
- Tim Johnson, SD, 95%;
- Herb Kohl, WI, 100%;
- Mary Landrieu, LA, 95%;
- Bill Nelson, FL, 80%;
- E. Benjamin "Ben" Nelson, NE, 55%;
- Mark Pryor, AR, 90%;
- Harry Reid, NV, 100%;
- Ken Salazar, CO, 100%.
Just so readers can see how astonishingly rational, non-hysterical, and yes, sensitive the Senate was to the principals involved in such cases, both parents and the girl herself, I think we need to read the law itself (click the second link, the one that reads "[S.403.ES].") Trust me, it's surprisingly short for a product of the United States Congress!
Here is the operative part:
Sec. 2431. Transportation of minors in circumvention of certain laws relating to abortion
`(1) GENERALLY- Except as provided in subsection (b), whoever knowingly transports a minor across a State line, with the intent that such minor obtain an abortion, and thereby in fact abridges the right of a parent under a law requiring parental involvement in a minor's abortion decision, in force in the State where the minor resides, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.
`(2) DEFINITION- For the purposes of this subsection, an abridgement of the right of a parent occurs if an abortion is performed on the minor, in a State other than the State where the minor resides, without the parental consent or notification, or the judicial authorization, that would have been required by that law had the abortion been performed in the State where the minor resides.
`(1) The prohibition of subsection (a) does not apply if the abortion was necessary to save the life of the minor because her life was endangered by a physical disorder, physical injury, or physical illness, including a life endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself.
`(2) A minor transported in violation of this section, and any parent of that minor, may not be prosecuted or sued for a violation of this section, a conspiracy to violate this section, or an offense under section 2 or 3 based on a violation of this section.
`(c) Affirmative Defense- It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution for an offense, or to a civil action, based on a violation of this section that the defendant reasonably believed, based on information the defendant obtained directly from a parent of the minor or other compelling facts, that before the minor obtained the abortion, the parental consent or notification, or judicial authorization took place that would have been required by the law requiring parental involvement in a minor's abortion decision, had the abortion been performed in the State where the minor resides.
`(d) Civil Action- Any parent who suffers harm from a violation of subsection (a) may obtain appropriate relief in a civil action, unless the parent has committed an act of incest with the minor subject to subsection (a).
I hope this lays to rest the lion's share of absurdist attacks on this law by the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), by foaming-at-the-mouth Democrats, and by abortion absolutists on various blogs (including the comments section of this blog). It does nothing more than make it a federal crime to deliberately bypass state laws by procuring an abortion for a minor without parental knowledge. This prevents perpetrators from quashing prosecution by challenging state jurisdiction.
If that's "an irresponsible action that will do nothing to protect young women's safety or improve family communication," as Nancy Keenan, president of the National Abortion Rights Action League, characterized it, then words no longer have any meaning at all.
July 24, 2006
News Flash: Secretary Rice Refuses to Grow In Office
This post inaugurates a new category on Big Lizards: the Rumsfeld Awards, bestowed upon government officials who, by clear thinking and speaking and by bright, useful policies, actually give government a good name for a change.
Today's winner is Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Dr. Rice has been given ample opportunity to "grow in office;" and indeed, she has even been accused of drifting leftward (unfairly accused) by sundry conservatives. But today's pronouncement on the Israeli war on Hezbollah should lay those fears to rest: Condi Rice has not gone soft on terrorism.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice put forward proposals to Lebanon on Monday to end Israel's war on Hizbollah but insisted a ceasefire could only come as part of a wider deal, Lebanese politicians said....
Rice told Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, an ally of Hizbollah who is also close to Syria, a ceasefire must be part of a deal that included Hizbollah's withdrawal beyond the Litani River, 20 km (13 miles) north of Israel, and deployment of an international force in the border region, a Lebanese political source said.
She told Berri: "the situation on the border cannot return to what it was before July 12," referring to the day Hizbollah seized two Israeli soldiers during a raid into Israel, sparking a war in which 378 people in Lebanon and 41 Israelis have died.
The world and American left have been exerting intense pressures upon her (and upon her boss) to go along with the plan by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Lebanese Speaker of the Parliament Nabih Berri, an open ally of Hezbollah, for a "truce" or "ceasefire" first, while discussion of doing anything about Hezbollah is pushed off until some nebulous future time. It would have been very easy to join that chorus -- as indeed Bill Clinton always did, and as John Kerry would surely have done had he been elected president in 2004.
But she has bravely resisted that pressure: she sticks by her guns (the president's guns) that we'll accept no "ceasefire" without a plan to prevent Lebanon slipping back into the status-quo ante, where Hezbollah slouched in South Lebanon, armed to the teeth, firing missiles into Israel and kidnapping and killing Israeli soldiers with impunity... while the Lebanese Army shugged its shoulders and said "what can we do about it?"
I don't believe Israel has fought this war very well; but the urgent task is to ask where do they go from here?, and what's the best position for America to take now? -- not to criticize what Israel did yesterday or two weeks ago. And the first step is to recognize that we cannot allow Israel to lose this war... it is Israel's "Iraq".
Condoleeza Rice understands that first imperative. Is she perfect? No; she runs an agency that is compromised by its very nature. But within those constraints, she has done so much better a job than her predecessor that Big Lizards stands and salutes her. Here is Dr. Rice's laurel and hearty handshake.
Thank you, Condoleezza Rice, for not being Colin Powell.
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