Quote approval

It’s not complicated: If they say it, you write it. And if you let them take it back, you’re kind of a whore. Maybe a nice person, but not a good journalist:

Journalism in its purest form is a transaction. But inch by inch, story by story, deal by deal, we are giving away our right to ask a simple question and expect a simple answer, one that can’t be taken back. It may seem obvious, but it is still worth stating: The first draft of history should not be rewritten by the people who make it.

Trying to close VA abortion clinics

Remember the old days, when the Republicans used to moan about “the rule of law”? Now they’re perfectly happy to make up their own laws on the spot, as we’re seeing in Virginia right now, where abortion clinics are now held to the same requirements as hospitals. They’re trying to prevent women from having abortions — even though they have a legal right to do so:

RICHMOND, Va. — In a reversal, the Virginia Board of Health on Friday approved abortion clinic regulations that include strict building standards that abortion-rights supporters say are aimed at closing down the centers.

Three months after the board backed clinic rules that exempted existing facilities from such strict standards, the board reinstated the provision imposing the new-hospital construction specifications.

“Shame! Shame! Shame!” some critics shouted as board chairman Bruce Edwards of Virginia Beach tried to gavel them into silence and a police officer ushered them out of the packed meeting room. After they were gone and the board recessed, abortion opponents applauded.

The board voted 13-2 to enact the regulations, including the provision requiring all abortion clinics — including the 20 already operating in Virginia — to meet the same architectural standards as new hospitals on issues ranging from doorway widths to room sizes. The board had previously voted 7-4 to exempt existing clinics from the building requirements, but some members changed their minds after Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli, an anti-abortion Republican, said they had overstepped their authority and refused to certify the regulations.

Abortion opponents said the regulations will improve health and safety at medical facilities that have long operated without oversight.

“Virginia’s women are better off after today’s vote,” Victoria Cobb, president of the Family Foundation of Virginia, said in a statement. “The hysterical claims of the abortion industry that today’s vote denies access to health care are simply untrue.

Religious fanatics throwing bombs over film

While listening to all the outraged right wing rantings about free speech and how Muslims were a separate, primitive class of religion for their outraged and violent response in Libya to the deliberately provocative work of a California porn director, I kept thinking to myself, “Why does this all seem so familiar?”

And then, last night I watched Martin Scorcese’s 1988 film, “The Last Temptation of Christ”, and it all came flooding back. From Wikipedia:

On October 22, 1988, a French Christian fundamentalist group launched Molotov cocktails inside the Parisian Saint Michel movie theater while it was showing the film. This attack injured thirteen people, four of whom were severely burned.[8][9] The Saint Michel theater was heavily damaged,[9] and reopened 3 years later after restoration. Following the attack, a representative of the film’s distributor, United International Pictures, said, “The opponents of the film have largely won. They have massacred the film’s success, and they have scared the public.” Jack Lang, France’s Minister of Culture, went to the St.-Michel theater after the fire, and said, “Freedom of speech is threatened, and we must not be intimidated by such acts.”[9] The Archbishop of Paris, Jean-Marie Cardinal Lustiger, said “One doesn’t have the right to shock the sensibilities of millions of people for whom Jesus is more important than their father or mother.”[9] After the fire he condemned the attack, saying, “You don’t behave as Christians but as enemies of Christ. From the Christian point of view, one doesn’t defend Christ with arms. Christ himself forbade it.”[9] The leader of Christian Solidarity, a Roman Catholic group that had promised to stop the film from being shown, said, “We will not hesitate to go to prison if it is necessary.”[9]

The attack was subsequently blamed on a Christian fundamentalist group linked to Bernard Antony, a representative of the far-right National Front to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, and the excommunicated followers of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.[8] Lefebvre had been excommunicated from the Catholic Church on July 2, 1988. Similar attacks against theatres included graffiti, setting off tear-gas canisters and stink bombs, and assaulting filmgoers.[8] At least nine people believed to be members of the Catholic fundamentalist group were arrested.[8] Rene Remond, a historian, said of the Catholic far-right, “It is the toughest component of the National Front and it is motivated more by religion than by politics. It has a coherent political philosophy that has not changed for 200 years: it is the rejection of the revolution, of the republic and of modernism.”[8]

[…] Although Last Temptation was released on VHS and Laserdisc, many video rental stores, including the then-dominant Blockbuster Video, declined to carry it for rental as a result of the film’s controversial reception.[14] In 1997, the Criterion Collection issued a special edition of Last Temptation on Laserdisc, which Criterion re-issued on DVD in 2000 and on Blu-ray disc in Region A in March 2012.

Lesson of the day: No religion has a monopoly on irrational violence.

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