Here is What Planned Parenthood Said That is Completely Unambiguous

  • Sometimes, babies are delivered before Planned Parenthood is able to kill them via drugs. These babies are still harvested: “Sometimes, if someone is able to deliver before a procedure, then we are intact…we try for that not to happen.”
  • Though the pay is technically for transport only, it differs depending on the specimens being transported, meaning that separate organs have different monetary compensations for Planned Parenthood. Put another way: They are trying to make a profit [Same video]:Buyer: “So compensation could be specific to the specimen? Planned Parenthood Associate: “Okay….We would need criteria for what makes something usable or not.”
  • They know they are breaking the law, and admit as much: Planned Parenthood Associate: Gatter: So that’s an interesting concept. Let me explain to you a little bit of a problem, which may not be a big problem, if our usual technique is suction, at 10 to 12 weeks, and we switch to using an IPAS or something with less suction, and increase the odds that it will come out as an intact specimen, then we’re kind of violating the protocol that says to the patient,“We’re not doing anything different in our care of you.” – Febraury 6, 2015 interview

Lydia McGrew reports that they admit in the interview that they may deliver babies alive before killing them. I’ve had trouble finding that, and await her clarification.

Remember: Though technically the cost is compensation for transport only, it is dependent on the value of specific baby parts. Maybe you could kind of stretch that to say they’re not selling baby parts, but I think you probably know that that’s what they mean, and you’re lying. Or dumb. Or both.

I’m not in the mood to play games with pro-choicers.

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Oh, Come on Now

This is just absurd.

Still want to maintain that nobody has anything to hide?

EDIT: Next thing I saw on facebook? A video titled “Planned Parenthood is not Selling Baby Parts, you Fucking Idiots”.

People are STILL buying the (literal) company line. How insane is that?

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How to Kill a Character: The Death of Sirius Black in “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”

My disappointment in Rowling’s utter and complete kowtowing to liberalism is because her books meant so much to my life and writing. The Harry Potter series had flaws, but Rowling was in no way, shape, or form a hack. She knew how to make sympathetic characters, how to plot so that even when there are holes you don’t notice them, and how to skillfully establish theme in her writing.

And, while book five is arguably the weakest book overall in the series, it contains one of her strongest pieces of writing: Her handling of the death of Sirius Black. Get ready, because this is going to be long. It is adapted from a comment down on Tom Simon’s wonderful blog, which you should all read all the time.

Rowling is sometimes criticized (see the comment I responded to for one example, but it’s not the first time I’ve heard it) for not killing Sirius off with immediate finality. Sirius is not avada’d, but stunned, and his body is not destroyed, but is intact when it falls through the portal. In the fantasy genre, this screams “NOT DEAD!!!”. But, contrary to what critics are saying, this is not a flaw. It is quite the opposite: It is a brilliant subversion of a common fantasy trope and a masterful exercise in thematic development, as well as an excellent example of how to use the death of a major character for full emotional effect.

Book five is rightly maligned for its poor editing, but the ending is actually masterfully executed. Rowling is being the perfect amount of cruel in her dealings with Sirius’s death. She leaves us two clear outs, set up by a lack of the true killing curse: The two-way mirror and the “ghost out”.

For the sake of time both “outs” are absent in the movies (which neatly avoided the problem by having Sirius Avada’d, which we’ve emphasized throughout as being infallible to the point that its failure is so significant an event it is the literal catalyst of the plot of the entire series). The first time we realize that there might be a way for us to see Sirius again is when Harry, finally, remembers his two-way mirror. The emotional “oomph” of the scene comes when Harry realizes that Sirius did not bring his mirror with him: He had forgotten it as well.

The failure of the first out is incredibly cruel because it feels like the sort of trick Rowling would pull. The fact that the mirrors existed at all should theoretically be all but forgotten by the readers, and in typical Rowling fashion their sudden re-reveal is totally unexpected yet perfectly natural (a trick used to best effect in her best book, “Prisoners of Azkaban”, when the secret of Hermione’s time-turner is revealed. “Goblet of Fire”‘s twist ending was clever, but its effect was dulled a bit by the long infodump necessary to make sense of it).

So when we suddenly learn that Sirius doesn’t have the mirror, it’s not just Harry who has been tricked: So have we. Harry’s frustration is ours.

But Rowling then gets even MORE cruel afterward, when she brings up the possibility of Sirius being a ghost. This one is less exciting, because most readers probably wouldn’t expect Rowling to use such a cheap trick, but Harry is so excited, so sure of himself, that we simultaneously pity him because of the immense disappointment he is about to feel and, perhaps a little but still, feel that just maybe

So when Nick shoots down the idea, it’s less cruel, but it still stings, and more importantly our pity for Harry becomes even more acute. It also allows Rowling to get in a nifty bit of exposition about ghosts that becomes relevant later in the series.

So, Rowling has taken advantage of the lack of closure surrounding Sirius’s depth to deepen her theme of the inevitability of death and to increase our empathy for Harry. It also gets us even more firmly immersed in the novel as we find that our hope for an “out” for Sirius is just as high as Harry’s.

In fact, Rowling is masterful in her handling of the dead throughout the series, continually striking the perfect balance: The (confirmed) dead always stay dead, and any glimpses we get of them in the afterlife are always used extremely sparingly in carefully selected environments.

Continually she uses the conventions of the genre to tease the idea that she might have a trick up her sleeve (most obviously with Harry seeing his father in “Prisoner of Azkaban” and Harry seeing Dumbledore’s eye in “Deathly Hallows”), but inevitably the trick is that there IS no trick. Her playing with this common fantasy trope was one of the most brilliant things about the Harry Potter series.

The series had flaws, but Rowling was no hack, and this was not one of those flaws. In fact, it was one of the series’ greatest strengths.

The death of Sirius Black, and the aftermath of his death, was one of the most moving sequences for me in the entire series. It was masterfully executed and incredibly powerful, and far from being maligned for it Rowling should be praised for the precision and care that she shows to her craft in her handling of Sirius’s death.

Rowling’s popularity sometimes leads to her series getting disparaged perhaps more than it deserves. This is unfair. It is flawed, yes, but what series isn’t? The Harry Potter series is despite it all very well written, and if all fantasy series were executed as well as Rowling’s the genre would be stronger for it.

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The Value of Theatre

I just finished a run for a show today (mentioned previously – 42nd Street), which is always sad, and now I’m feeling nostalgic. So, get ready for one of my more personal posts.

Though I call myself Malcolm the Cynic, I portray a pretty happy front here. I’ve been published recently, I’ve been networking with various authors, I got into a show, and I was asked to write with the crew at Superversive SF. But, of course, that’s not the whole story.

Let me back up first.

Going into my junior year of high school I was doing much better than I was in middle school, because unlike in middle school (where I’d gotten into multiple fights) the guys in my Catholic high school tended to leave me alone as long as I didn’t bother them. Over time, thanks to cross-country, track, and sheer inertia (always being around the same people for certain sections of the day), I made friends. Though I visited their homes a few times, we weren’t that close, and I lived a good half hour away from everybody else. Visits were possible but had to be pre-planned.

When I was a junior loneliness and stress at my schoolwork got the better of me, and I had what I’ll call for lack of a better term a minor panic attack. I was finally convinced that I needed to do something I enjoyed more than sports (which I did more because they were there than because I really enjoyed them). Originally I was just going to do stage crew, but I was talked into trying out for the school plays by a loved one.

I’ll never forget my first drama club meeting Everybody in the play knew everybody else, and the typical freshman to senior distinctions were virtually non-existent. One of the directors knew me because she had recently called my spanish class a group of, and I quote, “cretinous reprobates”. The other director ended the rehearsal with a monologue from the musical “Nunsense”.

Well, I auditioned, and to my great shock I ended up with, all told, seven callbacks, and later ended up with the largest role I got called back for. That role was for Bellomy in “The Fantasticks”, and I can still remember the words to every song in that show. The cast was tight-knit, and I discovered that I really loved acting.

The first long conversation I ever had with a female was because of that show (I am not even slightly exaggerating, by the way – Yes, I was that bad). I made friends, and my other friends ended up getting involved in various capacities, and we became a lot closer.

Everything changed for me. Suddenly I was talking to people, and we were working on something bigger than ourselves. As anybody involved in a true “team” sport will tell you (track has teams, but its not the same) this will inevitably create a bond. My social skills improved a billion fold (meaning I went from “incapable of talking to anybody but my friends” to “awkward but friendly and able to carry a conversation”), and I was able to RELAX and enjoy myself.

I could go on more about how much my life changed because of theatre, but suffice to say that I could confidently call myself happy. Though I had other issues during my senior year, at least I had friends.

It would be a gross exaggeration to say theatre saved my life. I was not, and never have been, depressed, which is a mental illness that I thankfully have never had to experience the horrors of, and suicide wasn’t even close to on the radar. However, it would NOT be an exaggeration to say that before theatre my life was dull and pathetic, and I was miserable and lonely. Without theatre saving me, I honestly don’t know what would have happened to me.

Well, I left high school, and left behind most (though not all) of my friends, and got involved in schoolwork. Now I was working evenings, and was at school during the day, and commuting forty minutes to school and back. My social life disappeared, and with it, my social skills. I became unable to talk to people outside of a classroom context. Extracurricular activities vanished, and I only communicated with people online (this, by the way, is one reason I actually dislike the folks who yell about living our social lives online. You really think I didn’t want to talk to my friends in person? It was online or we were never speaking again). I started the blog around when I started to get really lonely and miserable again.

During the summer I considered auditioning for a local show, but didn’t like the choices offered. Finally, this year, a loved one half-bullied me into it.

It was the best thing to happen to me since I started college.

Each rehearsal I would walk in, sit in the back, and wait until I had to go on stage (remember, I had no idea how to talk to people outside of general introductions). But when you’re around a like-minded group of people all working towards a common goal, you’re bound to get to know them. It’s only a matter of time. And though it took awhile, I did manage to make friends with a few people. We plan to meet up next week, in fact.

This past week, the last week of the show, when I realized the people I was friend-ly with were actually considering themselves my friends, I was able to finally relax, and enjoy being there and being surrounded by everybody. So it’s sad that the last show has finally ended. But I can’t say it wasn’t worth the experience.

Did it save my life? No. I was never suicidal.

Did it turn my life around from the life of a lonely, pathetic loser to somebody who was, at least, starting to take steps to improve himself, relearn social skills, and start actually attempting, not just to survive college, but to be happy again?

Yes. Yes it did.

Is this the world of theater, generally, corrupt and immoral? Undoubtedly, but I’m not a part of that world. I’m a visitor who associates himself with only the parts he wants to see. It’s a shame that the theater world is so insanely immoral, but that’s the truth I need to face. So as much as I love theater and would love to pursue it as a career, I simply can’t justify it either economically or morally. But I’m always going to be involved with it somehow.

So, here’s to theatre. Say what you will about show business, but without theatre who knows where I’d be today? I love acting, I love performing, I love watching the shows, but most importantly, I love the people.

Also, remember that what you see on here doesn’t always reflect what’s actually happening in my life. The truth is that, before the show started, the answer was “shockingly little”, which was exactly the problem. The key now is to keep up my momentum and find a way to continue re-learning my social skills to the point that I don’t need to sit silently in the back of the room because I don’t know what to say. This was a very, very good start.

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Ranking the Marvel Cinematic Universe

I’ll do like I did with my Pixar list: Three tiers, one for the MCU greats, one for the goods, and one for the bads.

Worth noting: None of Marvel’s tier 1 movies reach the stratospheric heights of Pixar’s tier 1. Pixar at the top of their game is simply on another level from just about everyone.

From best to worst (though each movie in each rank, as with the Pixar list, can reasonably be argued to be in any spot in that tier without too much trouble)

Tier 1 – These movies are all excellent, and if not all-time classics they represent what the superhero genre can do at its (almost) best (“The Incredibles” and “The Dark Knight” are both clearly on a whole other level of excellence).

Iron Man – The one that really started it all. Cemented the career resuscitation of Robert Downey Jr. and re-established Iron Man in the Marvel canon of superheroes from B list to A list. The screenplay is quite good, but it’s all held together by an outstanding performance by Robert Downey Jr.

The Avengers- This nearly took “Iron Man”‘s spot. Ask me again and it might. While the acting of the movie was generally excellent, the real star was Joss Whedon’s superb direction and screenplay. Whedon, as we knew from “Firefly”, is excellent at handling ensemble casts, and in “The Avengers” he’s in fine form. Any scene where all the avengers are in the same room at the same time is brilliant.

“Guardians of the Galaxy” – Very, very funny, and fun.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier – A fun political thriller with excellently choreographed fight scenes. While it doesn’t exactly break the mold it does stretch it a bit.

Tier 2 – These are the majority of Marvel’s movies. Tier 2 movies are what I would classify as good to very good, but not deserving of being grouped with the very best examples of the genre.

Ant Man – First, I want to emphasize that the first three tier 2 movies are basically interchangeable. That said: A brilliant second act managed to overcome a fairly solid but relatively weak first act, resulting in a movie where the lasting impression is overall very impressive.

Avengers: Age of Ultron – Some of Marvel’s most optimistic stuff (I absolutely loved when Captain America refused to accept that there had to be civilian casualties), it suffered from a fun but overly long climax and not enough of Joss Whedon’s excellent dialogue. That said, when there was dialogue it was terrific, and the fight scenes may have come a little too often but were still very well done.

Captain America: The First Avenger – I loved the 40’s vibe of the movie. If anything I actually wish there was more of it. It suffered a bit from origin story-itis though, and the villain was bland. Even so, Captain America himself was cool.

Thor: Love Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston of course is great, but the story does drag a bit in the middle. A lot of fun, though.

Iron Man 3: Yes, the plot was very dumb. I don’t care. I just liked it, so there.

Tier 3 – Look, these were bad. I don’t know how else to say it. They were just crap.

The Incredible Hulk – I never managed to finish this one. Because it sucked.

Iron Man 2 – I somehow managed to finish it without sleeping. Progress!

This movie was so dull.

I haven’t yet watched “Thor: The Dark World”.

Anyway, there you go. As far as superhero movies go, I firmly believe that the first two Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies (especially the second, though the former is the perfect example of how to nail an origin story) belong in tier 1, and “The Dark Knight” and “The Incredibles” transcend the superhero genre entirely and belong to the overall list of classic movies. As far as the MCU goes, I stand by this list.

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A Simple Distinction

A girly romance is a romance where the man, or woman, is willing to give up everything in order to be with the one they love.

A manly romance is a romance where the man, or woman, is forced to give up, or risk, their happiness with the one they love in order to achieve a greater good.

Girly romances don’t necessarily have to be bad (See: “Wall-E”), and manly romances don’t necessarily have to be good (I can’t think of any bad examples off the top of my head, but I’m not a fan of the romance genre generally). But I think the distinction is a pretty good one.

To see the quintessential examples of both, “Titanic” is THE girly romance, and “Casablanca” is THE manly romance.

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Saw Ant Man

That was Way Cool.

More detail: The first half of the movie, the origin story aspect, was decent. It kept my interest, but it was nothing special (as far as origin stories go, the original Sam Raimi “Spider-Man” is still the best ever, but that’s a whole other story).

But the second half of the film is a heist movie, and WOW. It was absolutely amazing. I had some misgivings at first about how much could be made out of the shrinking and growing powers, but as it turned out it all looked REALLY COOL.

Of course, there is a huge plot hole (so SPOILERS, but if you know anything about story-telling they should be fairly obvious spoilers): A big deal is made in the movie that going “sub-atomic” in the Ant Man suit is extraordinarily dangerous, potentially leading to the wearer shrinking forever. The problem is, it’s stated very early on that the way the Ant Man suit works is by decreasing the amount of space between your atoms. The atoms don’t shrink, so how could it go sub-atomic?

And let’s say that what was meant is that the particles IN the atoms move closer together. Even THEN there would have to be a limit; shrinking forever just isn’t possible the way they explained the technology.

The best option for them was to avoid explaining how the suit worked at all. Who cares?

But whatever. The movie was really, really good, and the whole sub-atomic thing worked well in the predictable but satisfying climax.

Was it better than “Age of Ultron”? Hard to say. The two are very different movies – “Age of Ultron” tried to be a lot more serious. It’s an apples and oranges comparison. That said…eh, why not, sure. Nothing in “Age of Ultron” measured up to the great shrink/grow fight scene with Yellow Jacket.

Was it better than the tontally similar “Guardians of the Galaxy”? Nooooooooo, no, no, a thousand times no. “Ant Man” is funny. “Guardians” is hilarious.

BUT – Is it worth seeing?

Absolutely. It’s awesome. Watch it.

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