112 Comments

This was a great Triad. Wish my Dad was alive, Id sign him up for the watch newsletter in a heartbeat. So glad you found a way to carve out time to write yet another newsletter!

But really Im here to thank you for the story about an aborted gun attack. I taught HS for years and “know” that kid. What a great and goose-bumpy tale. ❤️

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Thanks for the inspiring article by Canzano on Lowe. What a cool head he had our former star football player had! And that photo of the hug is priceless.

I wonder how many of our activite shooters that are now terrorizing this country could be have been stopped if they'd just received more hugs and love.

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One of my professors, Aliou Njang from Senegal, told us about his grandmother who was the healer for the villages in their area. He said that she used some of the same methods that Jesus used to heal people's illnesses.

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May 15, 2022Liked by Jonathan V. Last

Have been debating whether to weigh in here on the abortion issue. After reading all the comments posted to this point, have decided to go ahead. What follows is copied from the comment I posted on Slack Tide for the piece JVL links to today, which I was reluctant to do, but went ahead with for the stated reason. To my surprise, got more than a couple of positive responses, so thought it might be of some small use in the debate here. I acknowledge some will probably see it as a stile straddling a very tall fence topped with mounds of razor wire, and that's fine. I don't seek absolute agreement with this point of view or assert that it is the only correct one. I offer it as a different perspective and perhaps a small tool useful in some way for 're-examining our priors'.

Please note my reference to 'respect' in the opening, since I was quite sincere about that. Also, the 'style' in which I wrote this is not exactly the same as what it would be if I'd written this from scratch for this particular space rather than the comments section in Slack Tide. For a couple of reasons, I tend to write a bit differently in different places that I post comments, depending on the subject and the particular venue. But the idea remains the same...

Not a subject I usually discuss with anyone other than my wife. But...you threw down the gauntlet, and I'm in a rather testy mood about a lot of things tonight after a full day of SUCK at work. So, I'm gonna' pick it up and throw down myself. With due respect and affection for all, and animus toward none. Except, perhaps, for those whose concern for lives other than their own ends at their front doorstep and in the delivery room with babies born into desperate circumstances pulling themselves up by the straps of their own baby booties. If they're lucky enough to have any. Not too fond of the simply pro-birth crowd, whatever their political tribe, religious leanings or lack thereof.

Like so many people, I have mixed feelings about this issue. I acknowledge the argument of " If it's not life, what is it?" cannot be dismissed out of hand, or at this time really be answered by anything other than one's own conscience. Sorry, Science, I fear your distinctions between zygotes, feti and human beings are a bit inadequate to resolve this issue, and likely will be for...ever? Or at least until the scientists laboring up one side of the Mountain of Truth run headlong into the theologians and philosophers clambering up the other side as they all scramble over the final crest, only to find themselves standing face to face in the same place. Then, perhaps, we'll have an answer satisfying to all. But until then...

I have only this to add to the discussion, since all I have to say about what I believe has been said by others over and over all over the place ad infinitum. But I don't hear this position too often, and the more I think about it, the more merit I see in it. Will probably catch flak for it. Don't care. Testiness has been duly noted.

I think it might be a good idea if all the men - and I mean ALL THE MEN - who feel compelled to be the arbiters of right and wrong on this issue shut up and let the women who have the biggest stake in it and the more valid claim to the right to sort it out...sort it out.

Sorry, boys, but our share in the procreation process from 0 to 9 months doesn't amount to much, regardless of circumstance or intent, at least not enough that I don't see male dominated decision-making institutions as stacked decks on this one. I don't think there's anything more uniquely 'female' than gestation and birth. And while I know nothing of what this is like in any meaningful way beyond trying to be a supportive husband as each of my daughters were created and brought into this world by their mother, I'm pretty sure I'd resent the bloody hell out of any man not just telling me, but deciding for me what I should or shouldn't do in this regard if I were a woman, rich or poor or of whatever circumstance, contemplating an unintended pregnancy.

Of course, there is another answer. We could actually make an effort to be a life affirming society and country with values deeper than having the largest thin screen TV on the wall or the latest go-faster laptop in our laps. Or the smartest phone or latest whatever-it-is. We could put some serious money and serious effort into creating a society in which life - all life - is a slightly higher priority than anyone's bottom line, one in which fewer and fewer women would see abortion as their only or best alternative. It would cost us all something. Nothing such as this is free. But if we were to pick up that gauntlet and run with it, the benefit to all would be incalculable, one such benefit being that perhaps abortion would become so rare that when one day someone asks Do we really have to talk about abortion?, the answer will be no. No, we don't.

But don't dash off any emails or messages to politicians demanding that they pursue this agenda. Because the only way this ever happens is if we demand it of ourselves first.

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Really well done, give yourself the credit you deserve for describing a position that most of us would agree with if we thought seriously about it.

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Well, thank you, Dave. So kind of you to say that. That's what I really wish would happen here, not so much that anyone would necessarily agree or disagree with me, but that they would at least just take a little time and think seriously about it.

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If that happened, we might see a little real progress toward a resolution.

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Yeah. Like so much in our hyper-polarized politics, everyone - or nearly everyone - seems to be totally dug in and unwilling to seek a workable solution that considers the views of all concerned. Way too much heat and not nearly enough light.

I may be wrong about this, but if it really were left up to the biggest stakeholders (women), I think there would be a better chance for some agreement. As noted in my comment, as a man I have no empirical knowledge to draw on as to what it must be like to be a woman facing a decision like this and all its ramifications. At least women could have a somewhat common baseline perception as a basis from which to start. Not saying it would be easy or even successful, but we sure as hell aren't getting anywhere on the path we're on and have been following for so long now. And I really can't think of a more fair and just way to deal with this issue. So, I guess part of my position is simply 'Why the hell not?'

Of course, this would require men to give up their long-held political power associated with all things 'abortion', and how you convince a bunch of macho hardheads to do that, I have no real idea. Unless, of course, enough women got totally fed up and put their collective foot down and told them enough of this is enough. Butt the F out.

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Sounds like a workable solution to me.

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Matt responded to my comment and OHH MAH GAWD that dude is hilarious! 😂

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I’m pro-choice, but after reading the article about Randall Terry, I have to admit that I admire him for putting his money where his mouth is by adopting those two children. And I especially liked the hard questions he posed to his fellow ant-abortionists. I’ve made similar comments on my Republican congressman’s Facebook page and have been criticized by anti-abortionists or have seen people react with “😆” emojis. The abortion issue, like the gun issue, will not be solved until the radicals on both sides are willing to sit down and have a civil discussion.

I know a 21 year old woman who’s mentally about 12 - 14 years old, if that much. What would her life be like if she were raped, becomes pregnant and is forced to bear that child? Would Randall Terry or any anti-abortionist willingly step up and adopt that child? I’m sure there is someone who would, but if not then what’s in store for that woman and her baby?

For the time being I will remain pro-choice.

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I know a widower whose only child is a daughter with the mental age of a seven-year old. She is high functioning, but dad needed a babysitter from time to time, usually Saturday mornings for golf with his buddies. He had his daughter sterilized at puberty to prevent any possible pregnancies, possibly as a consequence of one of the young male caregivers sent to his home by the agency that also provided the adult day care.

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I had to wonder, as I read the Terry piece, “what kind of father would he actually be?” Not any kind of dad Id wish to have. Glad he adopted, I guess, but Ive had Students damaged beyond belief by religiously zealous fathers: Beaten, demeaned, threatened, etc. scary stuff.

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Your are implying very unfair generalization. Based on the italicized quote, he sounds like a guy who has the integrity to be consistent.

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I don't understand what you're asking. And I've scrolled up to try to find the italicized quote and it's just too long a thread and couldn't find it. I'm not making any generalization, I just was wondering what kind of father he'd make... And why can't I say I wouldn't want a religious zealot as a father? And I did share my experiences as a school teacher, is that what you think is a generalization? Look, I don't want to fight here. or anywhere... but I don't like to be accused of unfairness when I'm just sharing my personal observations and preferences. But okay... you got to lash out... hope you feel better now.

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The italicized quote is in the article, not the comments. Sorry, I assumed we all read the article we are commenting on.

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We need more pro-lifers like Randall Terry. He raises the tough questions we usually only hear from the pro-choice community. Maybe there are others, but those of us on the left seem to be the ones who seem to care about the lives of the mothers and the children they bear if they decide to have their babies. In other words, the people who espouse "pro-life" don't seem to care for life after birth. The GOP certainly shows this with constant opposition to measures that would help mothers, babies, and children.

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More than that, the good church-goers often reject that "slut."

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Kevin, I hear what you are saying. That said, the government routinely regulates what people do with their bodies. Before certain pharmaceuticals can be used, they must be FDA approved, even restricting access by the terminally ill. In many states, physician assisted suicide is illegal for the terminally ill. Possession of many recreational drugs is illegal. FYI, these are all restrictions I oppose for philosophical and prudential reasons, but my point is that rights aren’t absolute because they are in tension with other rights and duties.

If I could choose abortion being legal until birth or abortion being banned, I’d take the former, placing the interests of an actualized person over an unborn entity (person). To me, the right to bodily integrity and self-determination is integral to liberty. But do you think there is a point during a pregnancy that an unborn entity has rights (personhood) that have to be considered along with the mother’s rights? I ask because I am myself unsure, but think the answer is yes, although my cut/off is later in the pregnancy than first trimester. I’m not thinking about life of the mother scenarios, where the right to decide to abort should remain until birth. I appreciate your post.

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I have literally and genuinely never met one single person who wants abortion until birth.

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There is confusion here between elective abortion and abortion as a medical intervention. There are virtually no elective late term abortions. What people mean when they say abortion should be legal until birth is that they do not want abortion as a medical intervention to be be banned.

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I don’t know if I’ve met anyone who wants it, but I know people who wouldn’t legally ban it.

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JVL is, as always, right...about that slacker Matt Labash and his little Slack Tide enterprise. That I speak of him thusly actually emphasizes my appreciation of what he does and how he goes about it, and the fact that I've been hanging out there from the jump, and along with some of his other frequent comments section folks who've been there a while as well, have developed a bit of an online familiarity and friendship of sorts with the guy that allows me to speak of him in terms he'll appreciate, just in case he checks in here to see how his 'buddy's' shameless promotion of his venture is going.

In all seriousness, though, one good thing about Slack Tide, other than the varied subjects it covers and the way it covers them, is the type of folks that its comment section attracts, much as with this newsletter. (I see a number of the same handles in both places.) The 'barn burner subject' JVL gave as an example would have likely turned into a California wildfire in pretty short order in some venues, but the commentary on this particular subject there was anything but, and well worth the time...thoughtful and serious on both sides of the issue. A little heat here and there, but no flaming disrespect or ugliness, which Mr. Labash is quite intolerant of anyway. Like the head honcho here, he has a delete button, and he knows how to use it. The fact that this happens so infrequently says something about what you can expect if you go there. Which I shamelessly recommend myself, since, as with my bourbon, I like top shelf stuff. And IMHO, although Triad and Slack Tide are bottled from different barrels, they're on the same shelf in the quality department.

BTW..."Look for common ground first..." Hundred Proof advice, if ever I heard it.

i

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Regarding the Labash article, I find the “Abortion is never mentioned in the Constitution” defense absurd (yes, I realize this is Alito’s defense but Labash parrots it). Women aren’t mentioned in the Constitution, therefore women are unenumerated, so, do we not exist?

The underlying question asked by Terry is (his words)- If we compel pregnant women to carry their babies to term, what are we willing to do to see that the mom and child are not trapped in ignorance or poverty?

I find this question and his stance in general to be reductive. He speaks of “compelling” women to give birth. So in his world view, a pregnant woman is a human incubator whose job is to grow a baby. Compelling (his word) women to give birth is a dystopian nightmare. His view is also simplistic. He asks whether anti abortion forces are willing to do more to aid pregnant women like- take in a pregnant teen, or help a pregnant woman get on her feet. On the surface, this sounds noble, however, it completely ignores the realities of pregnancy, childbirth and parenting. It’s not as simple as giving the pregnant woman some diapers or cash. He sounds like someone who has absolutely no idea what it takes, both physically and emotionally, to raise a child and what a life long commitment parenting is.

Regarding the Terry anecdote about someone finding viable fetal remains. First, I don’t believe it but, more importantly this is the classic red herring thrown around by the anti abortion crowd. Women late in their pregnancies don’t just wake up one morning and say- This pregnancy is a real nuisance, so I think I’ll get an abortion today. Late term abortions are very rare and occur because something has gone terribly wrong and either the fetus has died or the mother has become gravely ill. This week several governors in red states have said they will remove the exemption that permits an abortion if the mother’s health is in danger. Why? Because they believe the standard is too lenient.

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"Abortion is never mentioned in the Constitution" is an argument far beneath the presumed analytic ability of a Supreme Court judge. Trinity is never mentioned in the Bible either, but no Catholic would deny the Bible certainly teaches the concept. It is impossible to mention every possible topic that could ever arise, so we have to look at the principles of the Constitution.

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Ah yes! Josephus - a very interesting source. He said more about the teacher-healer Jesus than Tacitus did.

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Canzano is a hometown guy, and I don't normally read him because I don't read about sports much these days. Thanks for that, JVL.

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If organs of government, federal or state, are permitted to limit the freedom of individuals to make reproductive — or marital — choices, where does that invasion of personal freedom stop?

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For anyone wanting to check their priors against some hard data, "The Turnaway Study: Ten Years, A Thousand Women, And The Consequences Of Having - Or Being Denied - An Abortion" is a must read. It follows women who sought abortions - both those who recieved them and those who were turned away- over 10 years. You can buy the book, but I'll link to an interview with the author at the bottom of this post.

There is data that does not neatly fit with either side. For one, most women who have abortions do not regret them. They are overwhelmingly safe. Women who have abortions score much better on just about every metric than those who are denied them. Most women who seek abortions are already mothers struggling to take care of the children they already have.

On the other hand, of the women who wanted abortions but were denied, only 4% of them still wish they would have gotten the abortion after the baby is born. Once you are actually face to face with a child, you love them. In other words, the vast majority of women who were denied abortions are actually glad that they were.

Even though I consider myself pro-choice, that final data point does not nearly confirm to my priors.

https://www.npr.org/2020/06/16/877846258/study-examines-the-lasting-effects-of-having-or-being-denied-an-abortion

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Hang on, now... just a para later they say 'And women who were denied the abortion are less likely to say, I feel happy when my child laughs and more likely to say, I feel trapped as a mother compared to women who were able to get their abortion and had another child later. And when you use this kind of objective measure of maternal bonding, you see that women who are denied an abortion are more likely to have poor bonding with that child than women who get an abortion and have another child later. It doesn't say that these children are all unwanted at all. People are very resilient. And people do the absolute best they can with their children.' So I'm not sure it can be simplified quite as much as you're saying.

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Of course. Nothing is simple about the issue. But the prompt was to see the issue from the other side's perspective and this data point is something that I, as a person who is pro-choice, didn't expect to be true. I'm still pro-choice, but if 19/20 women who wanted an abortion are glad they didn't get one, that's worth noting. Maybe abortions could be reduced by having pregnant women who want them hang out with babies? I'm more just spitballing than proposing a serious policy, but I do think finding creative ways to reduce abortion without banning it would be in the interests of both sides.

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I guess what I was trying to say (poorly) is that I disagree with your interpretation of the survey, based on the follow up information. After the baby is there, with time ( between oxytocin etc), I'm sure there is bonding rather than persistent animosity. But the women clearly feel that their life would have been better had they gotten the abortion. And there's certainly a strong possibility that would affect the child's raising.

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Fewer abortions is highly desirable. As are fewer rapes. As are fewer unwanted children. All children deserve to be wanted and well prepared for. Im curious why you believe no one has been working toward fewer abortions without it being a legal matter? Many of us have been working toward that for decades.

But the SCOTUS is no ones doctor and they do not belong in a womans private decision. And it used to be that no one in this country had the right to impose their religious beliefs on everyone of different religions. This SCOTUS is going to make everything worse for everyone. They have already sullied the courts reputation by lying to congress to be seated and by behaving abhorrently toward the citizens of our nation.

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Did I read your summary correctly? BOTH sets of women were happy with their situations? Women who had an abortion were happy they did; and women forced to give birth were also happy? Well, thats interesting and worthy of a closer look imho.

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Props for this.

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Yup. People and issues are complicated. This is why polarization and the Culture War breaks people's brains. It over-simplifies complex issues and the complicated people who live in real, not ideological, spaces.

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Well said, by both you and MK.

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Terry does sound like a nut but he asks some very valid questions… on the secret pod I have to say, JVL was right again! The hypocrisy of the “pro-life” movement that only wants to force women to carry babies to turn while actively working against any form of free healthcare, childcare, or any other social safety net that would free up resources for these women is just glaring! These folks don’t care about life… not when the life is born… they wave a hand at you and say good luck… I also have to say, Capitalism is an underlying factor here. Corporations have much, much, much more power over the government and the elected officials than the people do that they’ve influenced all the laws and practices and also the policies that force Americans in to low paying jobs… they love the person who has to work 2 jobs to survive or the gig worker busting their ass, hell the rich do too, how else can they get their food and groceries and everything else delivered. I have much more respect for the pro-life friends I have who also are proponents of generous social safety nets. I mean if children are so precious, why do we, as a country, spend so little on them? 500 bucks a child per year on early childhood education while other countries with much smaller GDPs spend tens of thousands? That’s absurd. I’m fully convinced that most of the people who really matter in this country, the rich, the powerful in Washington DC actually want Americans dumb and poor so that they can continue their grift on this massive economy…

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To see if your Pro-Life family member or friend or coworker is serious about their convictions, just say, "Oh, cool! So you're probably pretty keen on Sodom, then!" Statistically, very few unwanted pregnancies as a result. (note: please don't actually do this)

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May 14, 2022Liked by Jonathan V. Last

I’ll also add that Sarah was spot on with the lack of convo about the Men and their responsibilities… do they go to jail if they refuse to start providing child support from conception? Does the unborn child and woman automatically go on health insurance and all that if it is better… how are we gonna protect these women physically from abuse and threats if they get pregnant with a married man’s child or some other awkward and scary situation? Men seem to skate free as a bird on these things but we have oh so much to say on the subject.., interesting, it’s almost as if we have the vast majority of people in positions of power including the SC.

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Yeah, it's almost as if the system was designed to protect men.

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May 14, 2022Liked by Jonathan V. Last

Campus security guard and head football coach. That makes a lot of sense.

"The day I can't whoop a man's ass is the day I don't get out of bed." -- Ed Orgeron.

Tudor is campaigning hard to be my next watch. I love the Black Bay 58 Bronze, too.

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