Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Reason enough to be relieved he's not doing well

It's weird to think that I could vote for a person based on one or two issues alone, but after having had the likes of Perry and Santorum in the Republican field of candidates.....

25 Jan 2012: Kate Harding: Invoking God's will as a supporting argument to his position on abortion hardly fits with the constitution he claims to uphold

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum (left) signs autographs at a Tea Party campaign rally. Photograph: Joe Skipper/Reuters
As a lapsed Catholic turned atheist, a staunch feminist and someone who has a strong general aversion to sleazy, disingenuous men, I was shocked yesterday to find myself feeling something like respect for Rick Santorum, Pope Benedict XVI and Piers Morgan all in the space of three minutes.
The three minutes in question are a clip from Morgan's interview with Santorum on the former's CNN talk show. In it, Santorum declares that even if his own daughter were raped – a hypothetical scenario both men manage to discuss with remarkable calm – the Roman Catholic presidential candidate would maintain his adamantly pro-life position regarding abortion.
I sincerely feel a tiny, grudging mote of respect for that degree of consistency. As anti-choice zealots go, those who will take the "baby killer" argument to its extreme appeal to me slightly more than those who can say with a straight face that abortion is murder, except when the woman didn't want to have sex.
Of course, that's the beginning and the end of my respect for Santorum, who had the gall to tell Morgan that his opposition to legal abortion is "not a matter of religious values". He insists that it's founded on his interpretation of the US constitution, as opposed to his interpretation of the teachings of Jesus Christ: "[L]ife begins at conception and persons are covered by the constitution, and because human life is the same as a person, to me it was a pretty simple deduction to make that that's what the constitution clearly intended to protect."
Hang on, I need a moment. Reading those words just gave me a bad flashback to tutoring hopeless freshman composition students in a university writing lab.
We're to believe that Santorum's desire to overturn Roe v Wade is "not a matter of religious values", yet, when discussing a hypothetical pregnancy by rape just moments later, he says: "I believe and I think that the right approach is to accept this horribly created, in the sense of rape, but nevertheless, in a very broken way, a gift of human life, and accept what God is giving to you." ("In the sense of rape." Deep breaths, Kate.) "Gift from God," "person under the law" – why quibble about semantic differences? The point is: Life! Glorious life! Santorum will defend it!
And here's where my blip of respect for Morgan comes along. "I know that your position is – correct me if I'm wrong – that you believe in the sanctity and the innocence of life. How do you equate that with supporting the death penalty?" he asks. Boo-yah! I dearly wish more American reporters would put that question to self-styled "pro-life" candidates who evince little interest in the sanctity of human life ex utero.
That brings us to my smidgen of respect for Pope Benedict XVI – and for that matter,John Paul II before him – for making it clear that Catholic doctrine, in a moment of convergence with common sense, holds that a pro-life position contraindicates revenge-killing born people. "It cannot be overemphasised that the right to life must be recognised in all its fullness," Pope Benedict said in 2009, praising the abolition of the death penalty in Mexico. So at least in that one respect, Santorum can truthfully say that his political intentions are not based on his professed religious values.
Still, if you can't even speak for a whole minute on a political issue without invoking "God's will" as a supporting argument, you have no business running for president of a country whose constitution actually – no weasel words or tortured logic necessary to make this case – enshrines freedom of religion. That alone should be enough to make any American who truly loves liberty and the vision of the "founding fathers" lose all respect for Rick Santorum as a politician.
But if you're not persuaded by that, just try remembering that he said becoming pregnant by a rapist is a gift from God. Out loud. With a camera on him. And he wants to be president of a country that has women in it.
What does this man have to do to get drummed out of the race?

It's ugmo and it might be ours

We've been in the market for a new car. We go down to LA often enough for Children's Hospital visits that we need a reliable Schoberlew mover that won't break down on the way down and that won't break the bank in gas. Used cars are really expensive right now and I'm sort of tired dealing with all the baggage that comes with owning two 1994 Toyotas - one with over 100,000 miles and one with over 200,000 miles. 

So after having test driven the Toyota Matrix and the Honda Fit, we are pretty much sold on the Fit. This will be the first non-Toyota I've ever owned. 

The automatic gets 35 miles to the gallon and the manual gets 33. As much as I wanted a manual, it might be more practical to get the AT.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

[Shakes fist in the air]

Had a great quick trip thanks to work and United Airlines to the Bay Area for two days. I made it to my first staff retreat in 12 years of employment! My office really does fight the great public health fight, and I work with so many dedicated people and friends.

It took me nearly the whole two days to get my city on. I brought a compass and discreetly whipped it out when I came out of the holes in the ground that are BART stations. Speaking of which, dude, the upholstered seats on BART have to go. There's a vaguely pooey/peeey element about those damned seats, and it's activated every time somebody gets up or sits down. Having said all this, I was grateful for the chance to catch up with my dearest friend (and boss) Diane at the un-upholstered North Berkeley station while we waited for our trains.

I stayed with Chris and Val next to Mission Dolores in "the City." They lived in Bishop until late 2004, and I've only seen them once since. A lot has happened to us all in the intervening years (we - the parenting route, they- back to the high flying, venture capitaling/consulting route), but it was beautiful to pick up where we left off - feeling loved and telling tales with blankies on our laps on their most perfect couch.

They spoiled me and ruined my life (probably in more ways than one) when they introduced me to these little bastards (which are not shipped by any retailer)

The week started with a most perfect family ski day at Mammoth. We had a date with two lovely families and did laps on mellow Chair 7 and Chair 16. The kids decided that two hours wasn't enough and became masters of their own universe and did endless laps on the poma lift. They were free. They were happy. It was t-shirt weather. It was a good way to put me on a wee plane and send me off to the big city. 

Babbo's blood sugars were out of control the morning after I got back and we either gave him some bad luncheon meat or he had a bad stomach virus. I was glad to be home for him.

Food notes: got to eat Mission Chinese. Had Tripe Florentine (land squid) and calamari (sea tripe) at Delfina. Happy girl.