Daily Archives: March 27, 2012

A thoughtful, informative elaboration on a kick-in-the-gut campaign

In a previous thread, in response to Bud suggesting that there’s not as much hyperbolic pandering on the left as on the right, I cited the ridiculous rhetoric about a supposed “war on women,” and such other things as the billboard I’d seen near 5 Points that said, “contraceptives could become contraband.”

Over the weekend, I saw the above, which is evidently part of the same campaign as the other one, and doubled back and got a picture. This one was on 378 between West Columbia and Lexington.

Rather than just fulminate, I thought I’d pose some questions, which the above website helped me do. Under the headline, “OK, I’ve just got to ask,” I sent the following email to the organization:

Who on Earth are these lawmakers who supposedly want to “outlaw birth control?” And could you please cite a bill that would do that?

Even though it was Saturday, I got this quick response:

Hi Brad~

Thank you for emailing me with your question (and for the photograph).

Every year for the past 15 years, legislation has been introduced in South Carolina that would outlaw birth control. Currently, there are 4 bills that would do that through establishing personhood (aka defining life at conception). The sponsors listed on these bills are Senators Bright, Verdin, Fair, Cromer, S. Martin, Reese, Bryant and Grooms. Currently, the bills in the South Carolina legislature are S. 165: Life Beginning at Conception Act, S. 245: Life Beginning at Conception Act, S. 616: Personhood Act of South Carolina, and H. 3945: Personhood Act of South Carolina (I know it looks like I’m repeating myself, but they are all named similarly).

“Pregnancy” is established when a fertilized egg has been implanted in the wall of a woman’s uterus. Hormonal contraceptives (“The pill” is the most common form of hormonal contraception, but newer options of hormonal contraception include “the patch” and “the ring” – both of which provide a combination of hormones to control ovulation) act before implantation and prevent pregnancy. Nonetheless, a movement emerged in the U.S. during the decade of the 1990s that seeks to outlaw all hormonal contraceptives on the grounds that these forms of birth control may interfere with a woman’s ovulation, may prevent fertilization of a woman’s egg by a sperm, or may prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg in a woman’s uterus. Members of this movement consider any form of hormonal birth control to be the equivalent of an abortion in spite of medical evidence to the contrary. They lobby aggressively in state legislatures, including South Carolina’s General Assembly, and they are behind “personhood” ballot initiatives, most recently in Mississippi.

Any legislator, at any level of government, that supports personhood or defining life beginning at conception rather than implantation supports outlawing hormonal birth control. Similar bills have been introduced and failed to pass in numerous states, including Mississippi (ballot initiative), Virginia, and Oklahoma. All of the current Republican nominees for President have pledged their support for establishing life beginning at conception (Mitt Romney did so during an interview with Mike Huckabee; Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul have all signed the Personhood Pledge).

I have attached our Personhood legislative fact sheet to give you more information about Personhood bills and how they would affect South Carolina. I hope that this answers you questions, but I would be more than happy to speak with you about this further. Please feel free to email me back with any further questions or comments.


Emma Davidson

Tell Them Program Manager

Imposing further on Ms. Davidson’s patience, I responded thusly:

… you don’t think calling that “outlawing birth control” a bit of a stretch? Because they would outlaw one small subset of what some people would call “birth control?”

Do you not think that when most folks say “birth control,” they’re talking about the Pill (and not the “morning after” pill, but the one that’s been around for 50 years), condoms, foam, diaphragms and the like?
In any case, for the statement, “Some lawmakers want to outlaw birth control” to be remotely true, they would have to be outlawing all forms of it — not just one relatively small subset of the category. I don’t see how a reasonable person could possibly read it any other way.

Ms. Davidson hasn’t gotten back to me yet. And that’s cool; I very much appreciate the time she took to answer me so thoroughly the first time, especially on a weekend. (When she does respond, I’ll share it here.)

But really — when you’re driving down the road and see the statement “Some lawmakers want to outlaw birth control,” do you read it as meaning “some very specific and limited forms of birth control”? Because I don’t. And that’s what bugged me about the billboard to start with.

Too bad Ms. Davidson’s very specific and informative email won’t fit on a billboard (actually, it would fit, but you couldn’t read it safely). I wouldn’t have a beef with that, because that would be very clear about what it was the organization opposes, and I could make an informed response to it. But as things are, I hope I can be forgiven for believing the group is looking for a kick-in-the-gut, emotional response from the average motorist.

Which brings up the fact that maybe, with such powerfully loaded issues, it would be better to conduct the debate in a manner somewhat more extensive and specific than the billboard/bumper sticker level.

City Council election takes to the airwaves

It’s last-minute blitz time.

I had just finished posting about Cameron Runyan being endorsed by The State when I opened my IN box again and found that he now has a TV ad, which you can see above.

This has been a low-spending city election up to now. Correct me if y’all have seen something I have not, but I’m pretty sure this is the first instance in this cycle of anyone resorting to TV.

He can’t spell the name, but we’ll claim him

First, I was impressed when I saw this video of a third-grader making a half-court shot at the buzzer.

Then I heard his name. Austin Worthen may not spell it right, but he’s obviously one of us

As first reported by the KOBI and KOTI NBC affiliates in Medford and Klamath Falls, Okla., Austin Worthen nailed a trey from just beyond midcourt during his team’s victory in an elementary school basketball tournament on Saturday.

While Worthen’s shot came from a fairly typical buzzer-beater distance, it wasn’t delivered in a traditional way at all, thanks to Worthen’s diminutive size. Rather, the third-grader put his entire body into his baseball-style heave, which then banked in through the net to close out the third quarter of his team’s 25-4 victory.

As is the case with many buzzer-beaters, the hysteria set off by Worthen’s bucket was at least as entertaining as the shot itself. The shooter himself went racing around the court in near delirium while his coach exploded on the sideline as if he had just won the lottery himself.

The State endorses Runyan

I had a breakfast meeting this morning and didn’t get around to reading The State, but Cameron Runyan has sent out a release making sure that I didn’t miss the paper’s endorsement of him for the open at-large seat on Columbia City Council.

Cameron quoted this part in the release:

Mr. Runyan has a firm grasp of how city government works. He talks with specificity and clarity about how to make a good capital city great. He displays energy and passion as he speaks of needing to plan for Columbia’s future not just two or 20 years down the road but 100. He asks questions such as: What is the city going to be like three generations from now?

He speaks in like manner about city-county cooperation, noting that the governments should consolidate every service possible: “For the next 50 years, collaboration will be one of the most important words stated in this city,” he said.,,

There was a caveat in the endorsement, however, which was not quoted in the release:

But while Mr. Runyan’s penchant for staking out strident, uncompromising positions can at times be an asset, it also could prove problematic if that prevents him from listening to sound reasoning and legitimate concerns. Compromise is key to governing, and he must be open to changing his mind when it’s in the best interest of the city. We are particularly concerned about his dogged support of using tax increment financing districts, which siphon new tax dollars away from basic services, to help fund the Bull Street project and other developments, and his assertion that adding yet another penny to the already-too-high sales tax is the only way to fund the bus system.

Mr. Bolchoz likely would bring a conservative perspective that would provide some balance on the council. He understands that finite finances require governments to prioritize and says there may be times when projects must be delayed and that the city might have to stop doing some things. His would be a practical approach, he said, adding the city “can’t give everybody everything.” He rightly questions whether the city should now — or ever — use tax increment financing.

Nevertheless, it’s not surprising that the paper went with Cameron. As I recall, we supported him last time around, when he went up against incumbent Daniel Rickenmann. And he’s learned a lot since then.

And endorsement or no,  he got out so early and so strong that he’s been the guy to beat from the start of this election. Even his detractors (one of whom I was speaking to just a little while ago) acknowledge that, however reluctantly. Having started late, Robert Bolchoz needs to do more than we’ve seen so far to catch up. And Joe Azar will probably end up where he usually does.

Ah, Madeleine, you’re better than that

I really liked Madeleine Albright when she was secretary of state, and not just because she coined the phrase about the U.S. being the “indispensable nation” in world affairs, which encapsulated the responsibility our nation has at this juncture in its history as well as I’ve seen anyone else do it.

So I hate to see her stooping to allow her name to be affixed to another of those hyperbolic rants that I get, several times a day, from the DCCC:

Brad —

It seems every time women take one step forward, extremists try to push us back.

Here in America, Republicans have launched an all out attack on women’s rights…

Oh, really, Madame Secretary? All-out attack? So I suppose women are just being rounded up and thrown into concentration camps en masse, without regard to habeas corpus. Because that’s what an “all-out” attack on rights would look like.

And this from someone who had to deal, on behalf of this nation, with places of which such things might actually be true?

She should leave this stuff to James Carville and Nancy Pelosi and the other usual suspects whose names appear on these things. She should value more highly her reputation for having a sense of proportion.