How Many Fetuses Fit On The Head Of A Pin?

While I think my parents thought I might grow up to be an academic, I turned off that track bright and early. One of the things that sparked that swerve was the notion that you could – and many would-be professors do – slave away for years and years, and are still not really considered professors until they get “tenure”. Until they got tenure, life was an endless parade of crummy jobs, moving constantly, being treated like (by academic standards) crap.

I preferred the much more stable world of radio.

The point, of course, was that life on the academic track was nasty, brutish, and tenuous – until one achieved that magical state of tenure.

Which was, if nothing else (in theory) a fairly objective state. Either one had it, or one did not, and one usually knew what was required to get it. It was pretty black or white.

Some of life’s issues break out like that – with a black or white answer. Others, not so much.

And with still others, it really depends on how you come to the issue.


Abortion’s never been my biggest topic. The way I figure, if we lose the war on terror, the Planned Parenthood staff and the Pro-Life Minnesota staff are both pretty well screwed. If this nation isn’t secure, none of us will be protesting at abortion clinics; if the nation is prosperous (ergo Republican), people will be either financially secure enough to want the babies, or working too hard to have sex enough to make it an issue.

Make no mistake about it, I’m pro-life. I think abortion is wrong. A pro-“choice” dogmatist will try to read some big pathology about “wanting to control women” into that. It’s garbage, of course; with two teenagers, I realize that my odds of “controlling” anyone are slim to nil.

No, it’s because I value human life and because being pro-“choice” involves a leap of faith that I can’t justify.

That’s right. The “anti-religious” stance on abortion requires the leap.

Bear with me here.

Last week, I was reading Jeff Fecke,writing over at “Shakespeare’s Sister”, your one-stop shop for shrill, skin-deep “feminism”. Now, I’ll admit – I’ve given Fecke a hard time this last year or so; partly due to things like this, sometimes for things like this, and largely for his nonpareil skills as a single-A-league Atrios impersonator.  Sometimes I read, sometimes I ignore.

But since he refers to me (later on), I figured it was worth a read.

My memory was tripped by this Monday quote from Mark Steyn. Ordinarily you’d expect he’d be saying something about how the Muslims have taken Oberammergau,

Given the influence of John Stewart on the left’s sense of humor, in a generation no liberal will be able to dismiss an opposing idea without some sort of labored exaggeration. I may hold a telethon.

But I digress:

but on Monday, he decided to take a break, and instead defend the stalking of a 12-year-old boy and his family:

Michelle Malkin reports that the blogospheric lefties are all steamed about the wingnuts’ Swiftboating of sick kids, etc.

Sorry, no sale. The Democrats chose to outsource their airtime to a Seventh Grader. If a political party is desperate enough to send a boy to do a man’s job, then the boy is fair game. [Emphasis mine]

“Fair game.” Now where had I heard that before?

I’m tempted to answer “the same place the writer learned – or didn’t learn – about context”.

But never mind; we’re about to find out!

Back in May, my friend and then-editor at Minnesota Monitor, Robin Marty, announced she was expecting a child. It was great news for Robin and her husband Steve, and obviously those of us who know them were happy for them.Now, Robin was and is a longtime supporter of abortion rights. Something about women having the right to determine what happens in their own bodies.

Well, let’s cut the euphemism; abortion rights is the ability for women to (depending on your point of view) destroy an inconvenient (or, rarely, dangerous) tissue mass, or destroy a human that can’t quite exist outside the womb yet.

Everyone can “control what happens to their own bodies”; it’s called “wearing a rubber”, “taking precautions”, “being aware that sex has consequences”, or – heaven/goddess/physiology forfend – keeping your clothes on.

The usual response is “sex shouldn’t be tied to having kids”. And it’s there that pro-life and pro-“choice” people split.

We’ll get back to that very shortly.

Anyhow, like many pro-choice women, Robin was still able to enjoy her pregnancy, knowing that even though it was early in her term, the fetus that she carried was going, eventually, to grow into her child.This is, of course, something those of us who are pro-choice get.

I remember that moment back when my daughter was in about her 25th week, when I was almost certain she was going to be a Crock Pot. The funny part was, I felt the same thing about my son!

I’m not quite sure what Fecke means by this; as a pro-life father of two, I most definitely knew my kids were – God or physiology or blind capricious fate willing – going to grow into the vexing, voracious teenagers they are today. Does he really think that there’s something about being OK with abortion that grants some special perspective on rearing children?

I’m willing to chalk it all up to sloppy writing – Fecke is nothing if not reliably imprecise. If, on the other hand, that is what he (or any other pro-“choice” person) believes – well, I’d love to hear more.

Let’s chalk it up to “sloppy writing” and ignore the digression and move on:

I knew that at one month, two months, even four months, my daughter really didn’t exist yet.

Let’s stop right here – since it does, in fact, illuminate the entire difference between the sides in this “debate”.  The overarching question is “when does life begin”; the empirical answer is “we don’t know yet”.  To the pro-life person, the response is “err on the side of life, since life is absolutely sacred”.  To the pro-choice person, it is…

…whatever it takes to support the fundamentally political thesis that undergirds the pro-“choice” movement.  In other words, a leap of faith.

Let’s start at the beginning.

A fertilized egg – without the aid of any medical intervention, either either caring for it or “terminating” it – will spontaneously abort itself, or “miscarry”, about 1/4 of the time.

And in places with no medical care whatsoever – including Minnesota, not much over 100 years ago, during our great-great-grandparents’ lifetimes – a child was 1/3 likely to die in childbirth, or within the first year thereafter.

Thus – without any aid (or assault) from medicine – a conceived egg left to its’ own devices has a 50-50 chance of becoming a living, breathing, independent human being, through a process that exists for no other reason than to create human beings, using physiology that – pleasurable and species-reinforcing side-effects aside – exists purely to create more human beings. Human beings that need some help getting started – a place to quickly evolve, we hope, from zygote to fetus to baby.

To the pro-“life” person, the implication is that one of sex’s consequences is that, if the right sperm meets the right egg, the couple – fella and dame – are entering into something that transcends either of their own lives, much less their own bodies; the creating of another human being, who will – physiology or God or remorseless chance willing – will one day be just like us, only maybe a little better. Because sex has such far-reaching, legitimately life-altering consequences, we alter our behavior accordingly – we abstain (even to the point of abjuring sex outside of marriage), or we are extra-cautious, believing as we do that a “fetus” is something that might not be “viable”, per se, but that is intended to be viable (knowing also that no “fetus” is “viable” until it can hold a job and pay its rent), and which is imbued with a moral significance by the very fact that it is intended to be human one day. Something we have no more right to extinguish for being inconvenient than a hospital has to euthanize intensive care patients (who, indeed, are often no more capable of living outside the ICU than a 18 week old fetus is of living outside the womb.
To a pro-“choice” person, the zygote is a mass of tissue until – at some hard-to-determine point that nonetheless seems to usually swerve to the side of convenience, including up to the moments before birth in all-too-many cases – it isn’t.

In summation: cohesive view about the role of reproduction in life and the ethical and place of the “fetus” in that process, versus belief in a mystical change in state from “tissue mass” to “human” that takes place…when? When the head comes out? When the “fetus” gets past the earliest point medical science has been able to sheperd a preemie to life? When government, in the infinite wisdom of a body of people who eschew studying either science of philosophy for the here-and-now noodling of the law, says it turns into a human?

Given that, wouldn’t it be much more fair to say that “given my attachment to the notion of this mystical unknown threshold, I believed she didn’t really exist yet”. Because you have no objective, empirical measurement – nothing analogous to, say, “it exists”. Such a belief is, objectively, no more grounded in fact than belief in a flat earth or Ron Paul.

And – since this post moves on to talk about thresholds for taking offense at satire – Fecke should be aware that the notion that a fetus “doesn’t exist” is no less objectionable than saying a profoundly handicapped child or a comatose person “doesn’t exist”.

Had my ex-wife suffered a miscarriage, we would have been sad, of course, but I know in my bones that we would not grieve the way we would…well, let me put it this way. I can type “if my ex-wife suffered a miscarriage.” I can’t even bring myself to type out the hypothetical that would apply to my daughter now. The mere thought makes me sick to my stomach. If anything happened to my daughter, a part of me would die, forever. I would never be the same, and I would never want to be. Had my ex suffered a miscarriage? It would have been sad, and we would have grieved for the idea of the child we’d expected.

Which is true, as far as it goes; every day of my then-wife’s pregnancy, I hoped and prayed for her health, and theirs – just as I hope God or blind cruel fate keeps the drunk drivers and diseases and random tragedies at bay for them. I hoped for this before they were born, and as they’ve grown and turned into people with personalities with whom I have three combined decades of history, it’s only grown.

But – this is rather important – that’s a matter of human nature, a sign that you are a fairly normal parent.  One has developed attachments and history with a seven year old; with a “fetus”, there are only hopes.
It’s not an objective metric about the beginning of life.

This is a roundabout way of saying that one can believe a fetus is not yet a person, and still be excited about pregnancy.

Abortion is, obviously, one of the most contentious issues there is. Like many such issues, there is a hard core of 10% on the right that wants it banned and criminalized, and 10% on the far left that wants to make it a civil sacrament. In between, there are an awful lot of shades of belief, including many – myself included – who are fundamentally libertarian, but believe personally that life begins at conception and that a “fetus” – given the fate that God or physiology or remorseless fate has in mind for at least half of them if you leave them alone – is attended with a little more moral gravity than a toenail or a plantar’s wart, and that just because God or evolution or what-have-you has set things up so that that incipient life form needs a female uterus for a few months isn’t a sign of its lack of ethical and moral weight, but a sign of how much weight the whole idea of physiology, sex, pregnancy, reproduction and men and women themselves have in the great scheme of things.

Is it a belief? Yes. Not much different than “a fetus is a blob of tissue until we really want it not to be.

Which ties us, at long last, into the real subject of this post – something that was even more contentious than the abortion issue itself, at least among regional bloggers, few months back:

And Robin was. So like any good blogger, she posted an image of the first ultrasound.

At this point, enter Tom Swift, crazy Minnesota blogger and erstwhile GOP candidate for school board in St. Paul. (I won’t link to him, and if he finds his way back here, Melissa, terminate him with extreme prejudice.) [As good a symbol of gutlessness as I’ve seen, really – Ed] He blogs under the name Swiftee, and he created an image to welcome Robin and Steve’s child into the world:

You get it? Because Robin was pro-choice, she might decide to abort the child she wrote about, so let’s get it some protection.

Not to speak for Tom Swift – a person who truly needs nobody to speak for him – but that is the most overdramatic possible reading of his point.

What was his point? Maybe that any “fetus” – not Robin’s, in particular, or not just hers – might have reason to be nervous, since the same consciousness that decides he or she is important enough to carry to birth can change his or her mind. Or maybe – given the number of people who don’t credit a fetus with “existence” until the umbilical is cut – that given the existence of partial birth abortion the “fetus” is never really safe. Maybe that a mythical, cognitive “fetus”, lacking an objective, hard-wired standard like “Tenure” that’d cause his/her parents (in general, not Rew and Smartie) to consider him/her a real person, isn’t any safer than that non-tenured professor – except the fetus isn’t going to wind up teaching freshman literature at Normandale if he/she doesn’t make the convenience cut.

Caustic, tactless and very, very pointed? Sure. Not that that’s ever really stopped anyone from ripping on commentators before.
But we’ll come back to that.

That’s not the interesting part of the story, though. Swiftee’s image got those of us on the left seething, but we let it go, primarily because we don’t want to give him the traffic. But that seething got back to local blogger Mitch Berg, who styles himself as a “reasonable conservative,” someone who believes in hitting his opponents hard, but fairly. And Mitch’s response to Swiftee was what I remembered:

Is Robin and Smarty’s baby “fair game” for satirists, given that

1. she put the ultrasound out on her public website, and
2. she and her colleagues from the “Minnesota Monitor” rentablog she “edits” have stumped for abortion on demand and partial birth abortion, and fumed and phumphered when the SCOTUS shot the procedure down?

Well, I’d say “I hope not” – but of course, in the world of internet “cartoonists”[…]pretty much everything is fair game. If there’s an unflattering or embarassing pic of yourself out there somewhere online, it’s going to pop up sooner or later, intended to dink at some belief of yours or another.

So – did Swiftee “cross a line” with his cartoon? What line? Where? In the coarse thrum of the political blogging interchange, I’m not sure there’s a line left anymore; any line one person draws is someone else’s sport to cross, and ones’ best bet is to strictly separate the personal and the public (as, indeed, I do). The one that civil people try to observe when dealing with one another…

Very Pilate-like, Mitch was. But it was that line — “fair game” — that caught my memory. Mitch styles himself as reasonable, but if you cross out the official hemming and hawing, [I’m official? Who knew? Did anyone catch my title? – Ed] Mitch’s meaning is clear: heck yes, the child of Robin and Steve is fair game. If you can make a political point by attacking the Martys, then by all means, go for it.

Well, that’s one way of looking at it.

Here’s something else I wrote about the whole flap last spring – something that reveals a lot more about my side of this flap than the bit Fecke chose to quote:

A fetus baby with a helmet. It’s kinda funny, if you don’t know the people involved. Still funny when you do, but it makes me a little uneasy. I generally prefer to keep politics impersonal. And yet it’s hard to look at, say, this (not safe for work or queasy stomachs; it’s the end-result of a “partial birth abortion”, and it’s horrific) and not want to make it very personal and not-abstract-at-all for those who support it.

One thing that most of us who favor free speech accept as a given is that nobody has a right not to be offended. Many of us – myself included, and the orthodox Catholic Tom Swift even more so – are offended by the existence of abortion, especially the partial-birth variety, via which parents not a whole lot different than Rew or Smartie could decide that the baby, as Fecke noted at the beginning of this post, “didn’t exist yet”.

Did it bother me that Swift took a photo from someone I actually know, like and respect? Of course it did. I like the Martys. I wish ’em the best; I’d be pleased as punch to bring a basket of garf rags (cloth diapers), A’nD and Desenex to the baby shower. I also think that, as people who’ve assumed the role of public figures (when Rew took on the job of editing the local sorosblog “Minnesota Monitor”) they were nuts to put any part of themselves or family life out in public. I’ve been a “public figure” of one sort or another since I started in radio when I was 16; I’ve had anti-semitic death threats (I’m not Jewish), I’ve had stalkers (and still do, although they’re really not very smart ones) – and so I keep my kids, my job, my girlfriends (when I have one) and their kids religiously out of this blog and everything else I write. Partly because anything you do put out there is “fair game”; partly because the concept of “fair game” is unfair.

Tom Swift is also a friend, someone I know and respect – but to call him a “bull in a china shop” is to underestimate a bull’s tact, as least on the blog. He’s the kind of person every pro-“choice” activist wishes would just shut up and go away.

And while I wish that the world – and its agent, in this case, Tom Swift – had left Rew and Smartie’s ultrasound pictures alone, and that this flap wouldn’t have involved two sets of friends of mine (and that puppies didn’t die, for that matter), the fact is that Swiftee was right. It was perfectly-aimed satire – and for left-leaning public figures (as Fecke is) to barber that it’s “tasteless” opens us all up to an endless dissertation about “tasteless” satire that the left defends even more blythely on principle, and with even less consideration, with counterexamples and counter-counterexamples, ad infinitum.

It sucks that it involved people I know.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Fecke post without the jump from out-of-context to unsupportable:

What is happening to the Frosts is not unusual, and not unique. It happened to Melissa and Amanda when they had the temerity to be women with opinions who wanted to work in politics

Who had made a blogging career out of saying some things that were every bit as objectionable as Fecke finds Swiftee, and which a bunch of unpaid conservative bloggers had the “temerity” to point out to people. That’s what we do. To paint Melissa Macewan and Amanda Marcotte as hapless victims is both a crime against context and, oddly, intensely anti-feminist.

It happened to John Murtha, who had the unmitigated gall to be an anti-war ex-Marine. It’s happened over and over, and will happen over and over again.

Just ask Gennifer Flowers!

Mitch was right: there is no line anymore, at least for the right. Everyone is “fair game.”… If they can attack a woman using her own ultrasound records for the sin of being both pro-choice and an excited expectant mother, they will do it.

Leave aside Fecke’s sloppy use of the omnipresent “they”, as if right wing bloggers are part of some monolithic medusa controlled by some central brain, and the irritating victim-mongering. Let’s shoot for honesty, here (on the off-chance that any of Fecke’s audience read this) – nobody “attacked” Robin.

And if the “fetus” “doesn’t exist” as a person yet – that was Fecke’s line, remember – then where’s the attack?

I’ll ignore all criticism, by the way – I think I’ll adopt Jeff’s “I know you’re not really a person” as a defense…

I’ll leave it to someone else to fisk the last few paragraphs, which descend not only into full-blown paranoia, but use of the phrase “full stop” in written communication, which has been banned by the Geneva Convention.

49 thoughts on “How Many Fetuses Fit On The Head Of A Pin?

  1. ‘mitch’ When did you turn into such an asshole, or is that a natural progression of the right wing fringe ideology


  2. A well reasoned, on-topic, intellectually devastating comment from flash. That one’s gotta hurt, Mitch!

  3. Of course Feckless Jeff wouldn’t dare acknowledge that what tripped my ironic tragidy meter was the fact that rew posted that ultrasound of her “collection of cells” a day after she was, in the same space, bemoaning the fact that women no longer had the “choice” of having their children’s heads crushed and their brains suctioned out during delivery.

    These people are animals; period. And Feckless is about as ball-less as lefties come:

    “I won’t link to him, and if he finds his way back here, Melissa, terminate him with extreme prejudice.”

    Translation: “Excuse me while I step behind these skirts”

    Flash, when did lefties become such absolute, fucking, barbarians; or is that a natural progression of an ideology that espouses the idea that morality floats upon the winds of pop culture…shifting at will to improve Bill Mahr’s ratings during sweeps week?

    Ya’ll make be ill….no, seriously.

  4. Maybe Democrats are correct. We can try to create a master race by killing those children who are inconvient or imperfect.

  5. This is exactly why Giuliani is the perfect candidate!

    His flexibility on mandating taxpayer-funded abortions, not to mention gun control and registration, illegal immigrant amnesty, and the homosexual agenda will convince enough San Francisco liberals to come to our side!

    Bring ’em in, and then promise to appoint judges who oppose the very rights he supports. He giveth AND taketh away!

    This is a guy who shows he’ll do what it takes.

  6. Slash, Rudy’s thing is that he says, and I believe him, that he will appoint judges who will rule according to the constitution, existing laws and precedence. Hillary (who it looks like is running away with the nomination) has said (more or less) that she will appoint/nominate judges who will rule according to their personal opinions on the subject. For example, Bill Clinton sending Ruth “buzzy” Ginsberg to the Supreme Court.

    Two of the old liberal justices are on life support right now. Imagine 2 or 3 more Ginsbergs on the bench? We would truely be f*cked.

  7. ‘mitch’ When did you turn into such an asshole, or is that a natural progression of the right wing fringe ideology

    Oh, baloney.

    My reasoning is right there. If anyone were to make a REAL threat against Robin and Steve, I’d be happy to sit in front of their house with a shotgun all night long. But for reasons I spelled out above, I believe what I believe.

    If you think that makes me an “asshole”, then you either didn’t read very carefully, or you have no objectivity at all. Both of which are fine, but the insult is really uncalled-for.

  8. Oh, and if the fact that what I believe about this entire glob of interrelated issues doesn’t fit into either a seven-second sound bite, or answer the “are you with Rew or against Rew” (a thoroughly artificial and rhetorically abusive question, even though they have my sympathies) to your complete satisfaction, then I guess I’m an “asshole” on damn near every issue there is, and proud of it.

    In fact, if those are the criteria, then you can call me “asshole” all the damn time, because that’s the way it is with more issues than not.

    As to “right wing fringe ideology” – if it makes you feel better to blow off a reasoned, considered stance (whether you agree with it or not) with that kind of name-calling, then you have a future writing for Shakespeare’s Sister.  🙂

    I mean, jeebus, Flash – why is it that only your lefty friends get to have actual fully-formed beliefs and conflicts and contradictions?

    At least I’m honest about ’em. 

  9. > Slash, Rudy’s thing is that he says, and I believe him, that he will appoint judges who will rule according to the constitution, existing laws and precedence

    I KNOW! That’s what makes it brilliant.

    First, Rudy says that he believes in a woman’s *Constitutional right* to an abortion, not just that he thinks abortions are swell and everyone should get one. In fact, he thinks it’s such a legal RIGHT, that taxpayers should have to pay for them for poor women.

    Then, Rudy turns around and says that he’s gonna appoint judges who will rule that what Rudy says is a Constitutional right isn’t one at all!

    Talk about bold and decisive leadership you can trust.

  10. Dredging up a personal attack on someone’s unborn child is why you are an ASSHOLE. If you can’t understand that, I simply don’t know you any more. This is even more wrong then the original post, a post you told me on the phone you would never have written nor posted. Instead, a few months later, you throw it back up there.



  11. Flash,

    If you didn’t know that I’m a pro-lifer who finds the contradiction between “it’s just a glob of tissue” and “it’s MY glob of tissue” ethically troubling – and found Robin’s complaining about the rulings against partial-birth abortion deeply morally repellent, to boot – and yet did my damnest to walk the line between civility and my various acquaintences AND my beliefs – then you probably don’t know me, Flash.

    But you ARE trying to back me into a rhetorical corner. It’s a corner I’m not going to sit still in, so you can stop any ol’ time.

    Hey, if I’m an asshole for responding to Fecke’s (deeply morally repellent, to me) post, what is Fecke for “dredging it up?”

    Or is it OK for him?

  12. Excuse me, Flush the Magic Ignora-Whore…but Mitch is posting to respond to JEFFIE WONDERBOOB’S piece over at some other blog. Mitch didn’t dredge this up…Jeff did.

    Two things are true here: Flush can’t read and Mitch was supposed to just lay there by his dish and take it.

  13. Make no mistake about it, I’m pro-life. I think abortion is wrong. A pro-”choice” dogmatist will try to read some big pathology about “wanting to control women” into that. It’s garbage, of course; with two teenagers, I realize that my odds of “controlling” anyone are slim to nil.

    If you want to “control” the reproductive rights of a woman, you need to imprison her, restrict all visitors to females only and search all visitors for “contraband reproductive substances”. Either that or throw a chastity belt on her, but an enterprising lass could drop by Home Depot and educate herself on hand and power tools. Pro-choice is all about having the choice to kill your baby. How about the choice to not have (or at least responsibly have) sex, so you don’t HAVE to make the choice to kill your baby?

  14. Flash, I’m a lurker. I’ve been reading mitch for a few years, and I’ve followed his links to you for almost as long. So I believe you to be a reasonable enough guy. And while I would not use the term you use, I think you are being incredibly unreasonable here. Mitch has bent over backwards in this post and the ones in the past to show both his beliefs and his conflicts on this subject and all the subjects related to it. You seem to be demanding a level of acquiescence to your beliefs that seems pretty unreasonable, given the issue involved, and unwilling to accept the fact that Mitch is navigating a very slippery subject (and doing it pretty fairly, I think). For your part, Flash, I’ve never really noticed you attacking people on the left that are equally tasteless as “Swiftee” (whom I dn’t much like), or calling their defenders “assh*les” when they, in my opinion, deserved it vastly more than Mitch does. Mitch’s points about public figures and his revulsion for abortion, while I don’t really share them, are well put and well taken, and I think he balances that against his desire to be civil and his loyalty to friends or acquaintances pretty well. I know it’s not easy.

    So how do you figure this should be handled, Flash?

  15. Oh, yeah:

    a post you told me on the phone you would never have written nor posted.

    Because I detest pointless conflict, not because I believe that:

    a) Swiftee’s point wasn’t valid
    b) that Robin, a public figure, was smart to put anything personal out there
    c) that Swiftee wasn’t also tactless to make his point using Robin’s sonogram photos
    d) that support for partial birth abortion isn’t morally repellent.

    I really resent being stuck in the middle on this one. It’s not my issue. All I have done is try to note everyone’s contradictions – Fecke’s, Swiftee’s, Robin’s AND Flash’s – AND try to uphold my principles (civility, fairness, whatever relationships I have with people involved).

    So at the end of the day, I can look at myself in the mirror and say I did right. Call me whatever you want; that’s the part that matters.

  16. A) What Dave said.

    B) re: “personal attack on someone’s unborn child”

    Fuck you Flash.

    The attack was put on Robin Marty…I put a “virtual” helmet on her helpless offspring to protect him or her from a mother that publicly and proudly espouses a admiration for bloody, barbaric infanticide.

    I should have given him an AR-15!

    You know, there are times when I have had high hopes for you but when you willingly dive into the lefty moron-o-sphere you really dive in all the way.

    I know that you have morals and scruples Flash, so why do you act like you don’t? Why do YOU act like a mindless ASSHOLE?

  17. Flash and Swiftee,

    Let’s cool the name-calling. I don’t care what people call me – “asshole” in particular brings back warm and fuzzy childhood memories – but I’d just as soon my comments not turn into the Taiwanese Parliament, if that’s OK with everyone.


  18. Here’s the judgment of the court:

    Mitch: not an asshole. Fecke dredged this up again and Mitch returned his serve.

    Flash: a very reasonable guy who’s wrong to call Mitch an asshole.

    Marty: foolish to put her ultrasound on the Internet, cause there are a lot of psychopaths out there.

    Swiftee: psychopath.

  19. “Flash: a very reasonable guy who’s wrong to call Mitch an asshole.”

    Only if your definition of “reasonable” includes: knee-jerk douche bag, who thinks Mitch should unilaterally disarm and take every sling-and-arrow, never responding with the common-sense/logical point of view to counter Flush’s vitriolic spew of hatred and flith brought on by drinking far too much koolaid.


    No, the names’ not ASSHOLE.

     It’s Mitch.  Mr. Berg if you’re nasty.


    Flash is no knee-jerk douchebag (a la the late Doug). I won’t speak for him; I guess he’s pretty closely linked to the people involved.

    A tall glass of gin is in order for pretty much everyone.

    And a blotter of whatever it is that made Angryclown the voice of sobriety in this thread…

  21. ” . . . a personal attack on someone’s unborn child. . . .”

    Flash, Flash, Flash; man, you’re not thinking straight.

    Mitch could not have made a personal attack on an unborn child because AN UNBORN CHILD IS NOT A PERSON. That’s the fundamental basis of the entire “right to choose” movement.

    If a fetus were a person, it would be entitled to government protection from people who want to kill it without due process of law. Abortions would be illegal like other murders. They’re not, for a reason.

    This is merely a blob of cells we’re talking about, remember? That’s why she can kill it with impunity if she feels like it, right up to the moment of birth, and even get taxpayer funding to help. Okay, so it’s her blob of cells that Swiftee insulted with the helmet; but really, what’s to get all riled up about? It’s not like he’s insulting a real live person.

    I’ve got to go with AC on this one. Flash, you’re over the line.


  22. Flash is no knee-jerk douchebag

    Holy Crap Mitch, Flash must have beer squirting out his nipples for you to keep excusing him like that. WTF?

  23. OK, then YOU explain it……

    I will.

    I know – to one extent or another – everyone involved (except Fecke, whom I’ve never met in person although we’ve been locking horns for about five years now).

    On the one hand, I am pro-life, and especially anti-partial-birth abortion.

    On the other, I know Robin and Steve. They’re OK.

    On the third hand, I know Swiftee. He has a rep as a loose cannon, but he’s a good guy, and a friend of mine.

    Fourth hand? Flash, naturally, is a neighbor and friend of many years.

    On the fifth hand, I thought Swiftee’s original bit WAS pretty damn funny, since it did sorta sum up what many of us prolifers see as a contradiction…

    …except, on the sixth hand, that it involved Robin and Steve, against whom I personally have nothing…

    …except, on the seventh hand, to note that Robin might’ve been more prudent to keep parts of her personal life off-line. I’d have found Swiftee’s bit more unambiguously funny had it not involved someone I know, naturally, which I tried to make very, very clear in my original posts on the subject last may…

    …which, on the eighth hand, was a tall order, even then.

    On the ninth hand, Fecke resurrected the bit, and added:
    *Hand 9a: A take on the situation I found ethically wanting
    * Hand 9b: a thwack at my take on the original situation that
    I found even moreso,

    on the tenth hand, I had to try to respond to Fecke, while noting Robin’s imprudence, but also my discomfort with Swiftee’s exact choice of subject matter, but approval of his overall point, and not pissing off a bunch of people with whom I try to remain at the VERY least civil…

    …while, on the eleventh hand, taking a shot at Shakespeare’s Sister.

    It was a tall order, obviously.

  24. I’m not buying it (free beer has still got to be involved, no matter how it’s dispensed)

  25. Suppose Republicans invite a 12 year old with Down’s syndrome to testify before a congressional comittee examining the possible effect of a law that requires counseling before a woman receives an abortion. The child says that her mother had planned to abort her up to the moment she saw an ultrasound of her in the womb.
    Does anybody doubt that the Left’s equivalents to Malkin and Steyn would instantly dig into her story and into her family’s political connections looking for a way to blunt the force of her testimony?

  26. Flash calls ‘mitch’ an asshole, and I end up in the penalty box?

    This really is a clown courtroom.

  27. This is Klown Komedy Kourt, Master of Bation. Angryclown presiding. Contumacious behavior will be met with an immediate sanction of seltzer down the pants.

  28. Mitch was constrained to say: “On the third hand, I know Swiftee. He has a rep as a loose cannon, but he’s a good guy, and a friend of mine.”

    I get it. Swiftee must know your kids’ identities. Say no more.

  29. “I get it. Swiftee must know your kids’ identities. Say no more.”

    Pot, meet kettle. Kettle, pot.

    Mitch, you’ve got an interesting spectrum of friends. Getting them together at a party would be the social equivalent of making positronium.

  30. “I get it. Swiftee must know your kids’ identities. Say no more.”

    Nothing you would ever have to worry about is it AssClown?

    *You* can’t even vouch for the identity of “your” kids can you?

  31. “Contumacious behavior will be met with an immediate sanction of seltzer down the pants.”
    Huh. Usually you have to pay extra for that. uh, that’s what I hear anyway.

  32. Mitch, you’ve got an interesting spectrum of friends. Getting them together at a party would be the social equivalent of making positronium.

    I’ll have to write a post about that, sometime soon here.

  33. In my garage, was Eva Young, Mitch Berg, Wege, and myself, along with a mix of other local bloggers from both sides of the fence. It was a few years ago (Aug 2005 I believe), but we were all shocked the world did not implode. However, it could have been the beginning of this global warming thing . . . developing . . .


  34. Pingback: Shot in the Dark » Blog Archive » By Any Means Necessary

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