Predictably, the massacre at Virginia Tech has unleashed an enormous volume of pseudo-psychiatric babble about developing pre-emptive steps to avoid such tragedies in the future. The harsh truth is that the science of the human mind – to the extent it can be called a science at all – is insufficiently developed to have much predictive value.
At the risk of being considered impolite, I can’t help but add that every one of the five Justices who upheld the ban on a second trimester abortion procedure (in defiance of expert medical opinion) are Catholic. Four are conservative Catholics. I expect that some consider the mere mention of this obvious but salient fact an example of religious bigotry, but advocates of more religion in government who praise the influence of sectarian religious ideals on public policy should be prepared to hear it questioned.
Wendy Kaminer is quite right that one of the most prominent features of the Supreme Court decision in Gonzales v. Carhart, upholding, for the first time, a ban on an abortion procedure that does not make an exception for the health of the woman, is the Court’s arrogant assumption that it need not credit the medical judgments of experts in the field.
The justices on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) recently wrote one of their best, and bravest, decisions in years, but the Herald and Globe both missed it. I almost did too, if it weren’t for a piece in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. So allow me to, belatedly, extol the SJC’s opinion in Commonwealth v.
The would-be censors of “hate speech” are at it again. This time the target is irrepressible radio talkmeister Don Imus, who mouthed off (nothing new in that) on his nationally syndicated radio talk show, carried in Boston by WTKK 96.9 FM. Imus had the bad judgment to refer to the members of the Rutgers University women’s basketball team as “rough girls” and “nappy-headed hos.?xml:namespace>
I seem always to be at a disadvantage in arguing for toleration of ugly speech even if it creeps right up to the edge of being a direct threat, as some of the sexist rants noted by Wendy Kaminer and in Joan Walsh’s Salon post to which Wendy linked. My disadvantage comes from the fact that I do not appear to be a member of what today has come to be called a “historically disadvantaged group.