Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Some More Thoughts on the March for Women's Lives

On assorted boards in us.imdb.com, some of the anti-choice folks have decided to decry any actor or actress who dares to be publicly pro-choice. I got a little tired of this, so I posted the following:

I think both Mel Gibson and Jim Caveziel have gone way overboard on The Passion. It's not a movie I will ever see (well, at least it's a movie I will ever pay to see). But will I broadly condemn every action the two do? Of course not.

Vanessa Redgrave walked way over the line with her unwavering support of the Palestinians (there's plenty of blame for the ongoing mess in the Middle East, and all sides are parts of the problem). But I know she's a talented actress. While I don't agree with her politics, I respect her enormously as an actress.

I respect Julianne and Whoopi and Ashley and the 800,000 other people who were with me in DC last weekend. The 200-300 anti-abortion folks who counter-demonstrated our march are entitled to their opinion. I'm entitled to ignore them. This is still a "free" country.

There was a great political cartoon in today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about this very issue (unfortunately, it's not online yet). In one panel, George Bush is pointing at a member of Al Queda and says "The Problem with You Is You Hate Freedom." In the second panel, he's pointing at a Pro-Choice Marcher, and he says "The Problem With You Is You Love Freedom."

I avoid telling people what to believe. In fact, my daughter identifies herself as a pro-life person. However, we both very strongly believe in sex education and birth control. The current administration is taking the hard line against sharing birth control and abortion information. Due to its refusal, hundreds of thousands of women, mostly in Africa, are dying. But, the pro-life people don't seem to give a damn about the people dying from AIDS, childbirth complications and botched abortions.

The March for Women's Lives wasn't just about abortion. If you listened to the speakers, it was about promoting sex education. Of all kinds.

In an ideal world, we wouldn't need abortion clinics. We'd have birth control that worked all the time. No woman would ever be raped. Women who became dangerously ill during their pregnancies could have abortions to save their lives without being made to feel a criminal. But this isn't an ideal world.

Monday, April 26, 2004

A Death in the Family and a Weekend With Almost a Million

I was out of town over the weekend, and came home to find out that my Uncle Winslow had died. It was not completely unexpected - he'd had cancer for a number of years, and had been having good months and bad months. We shared an interest in genealogy. I'll miss him.

Winslow, Bill and George Trask, Spring 1992

Winslow, Bill and George Trask, Spring 1992 -- At my father's (Bill's) retirement party

Winslow, Bill and George Trask, October 2003

Winslow, Bill and George Trask, October 2003 -- At my brother Terry's wedding

I spent the weekend in DC, partially to visit my brother Jeff and his fiance Rachel, and partially to attend the March for Women's Lives. This was the fifth time since 1978 that I'd been to a protest on the Mall in Washington, and it was substantially larger than any previous protest I'd been to. We probably had somewhere near 800,000 people there, meaning it was the biggest national rally ever in DC (yup, even bigger than "The Million Man March").

April 26 March:  Posters Including - If You Aren't Outraged, You Aren't Paying Attention

April 26 March: Posters Including - If You Aren't Outraged, You Aren't Paying Attention

I have been paying attention. And while I was one of the liberals who counseled "patience" at the beginning of the Bush administration, I am more outraged about the tactics of the administration every day. Just today, representatives from NASA were forbidden from making any comment to the media on an upcoming science fiction movie (The Day After Tomorrow) on global warning. Is there anything they aren't going to gag?

At the March, I was working with Jeanne Clark, who was the lead PR person for the March and one of its organizers. I ran errands and moved people around, and was also put in charge of getting the lead banners assembled:

April 26 March:  Laurie Mann, Bannerer

April 26 March: Laurie Mann, Bannerer

The mall was unbelievably crowded, particularly before and after the March:

April 26 March:  Post March Rally

April 26 March: Post March Rally

Friday, April 23, 2004

An Athlete Who Was an Actual Role Model - Pat Tillman

While I have mixed feelings about our government's promotion and conduct of the war in Iraq, I think most of us who'd rather not see our military over there don't believe in condemning the people who've chosen to serve. And so, I find the death of Pat Tillman in Afghanistan this week particularly sad. [[And it was that much sadder to learn later that his death was due to "friendly fire."]]

Until the Viet Nam War, it wasn't that uncommon for public figures to join the military. Look at the hundreds of athletes, actors and musicians who fought for their country in World War II. You can't say the same about recent wars. The rich and the famous avoid military service because it's a volunteer military and they don't "have" to go.

Despite this, both Tillman and his brother chose to go into the Army to become Rangers. Pat Tillman gave up a multi-million dollar football contract to go fight for his country. Even more extraordinary - he graduated from college summa cum laude in three and a half years. How many professional athletes can you name who not only graduated from college but graduated with honors?

I hope we remember Pat Tillman. I don't think we're going to see other young and famous and rich men go to war.

Friday, April 16, 2004

Politics, Politics and the Unrelated Joys of Rebuilding Your Domain...

This week, I read two contemporary books that were curiously related:

Reading Lolita in Tehran is a literary look at surviving in Iran as your options grow increasingly limited. It's looking at Iran from the inside out over the last 25 years and how horrible it is, particularly for women. As much as I hate to think of any government as "evil," the Iranian government (no matter who's in charge) continues to be evil.

Against All Enemies is a very interesting book. Clarke's retelling of his time in the White House is quite engrossing, particularly his story of what it was like to be in the White House on 9/11. I don't normally buy the "scandal of the minute" book, but unless you're a worshipper of Dubya and his friends (unlikely if you're reading this site) you'll see all the bits that went into that mess of a sausage in September 2001 and the years since.

Now to get off of politics for a minute...

On April 10, 2004, my Web and mail server failed at Interland. When the folks at Interland couldn't figure out how to bring the server back by April 13, I moved all of my sites from dpsinfo.com Pair Networks. Eventually, the dpsinfo.com domain will work, but it won't be until I can straighten out a problem I'm having with Internet Solutions. Thank goodness for Pair Networks here in Pittsburgh, my new Web host.