Fare-thee-well, Phill

Kansas held state primaries yesterday and voters marched to the polls to end the career of Phill Kline. Why should you give a damn? In 2002, he was elected state attorney general in a squeaker election and promptly started suing abortion clinics, demanding the medical records of patients. In 2006, the Republican district attorney of Johnson County switched parties to run against Kline, and crushed him. (Kline appealed to local churches to give him info on their members to help him get out the vote.) After the election, the Johnson GOP appointed Kline as the new Johnson County DA. Kline promptly started suing abortion clinics again, bringing 107 charges against Planned Parenthood, travelling the country (I met him in D.C. this year) to drum up support for a new war on abortion.

Yesterday, Kline lost again.

“I’ve been so honored in many ways,” Kline said. “…There are some causes that are worth losing for, and in that there is no defeat.”

Kline said that people “in this community see me in a single dimension, so there was a hurdle to overcome, and we just couldn’t get over it.”

Some insult to injury: Conservative former Rep. Jim Ryun lost the Republican primary for his old House seat in the state's second district to pro-choicer Lynn Jenkins.

Less impactful, but still fun in the whole embarrassment-to-public-service-getting-flushed-down-the-john way: Georgia Democrats rejected DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones as their Senate candidate in the (quixotic) race against legendary war hero Sen. Saxby Chambliss. It's bittersweet. Jones is one of the funnier political animals out there. Unintentionally.

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  • ||

    i have some sympathy for him. if one truly believes that embryos are human beings, then indeed their basic rights to life are being violated. it's a libertarian issue only if one believes that human embryos are not human beings.

  • Fluffy||

    I think it's obvious that this guy is a creep, but I was always a little disturbed by the arguments raised against him in the particular case of the medical records of minors.

    Medical professionals are obligated to report child abuse. Underage minors obtaining abortions are by definition the victims of sexual abuse. Why shouldn't abortion providers have to report this abuse, just like every other type of doctor? If they've conspired to evade the reporting law, why shouldn't prosecutors demand their records to find evidence of this? "Abortion medical records" are the "executive privilege" of the left - an instance where a desire to achieve a specific policy aim leads people to advocate allowing people to break the law and then hide the evidence that they've broken the law.

    If someone can make a solid case for me that doctors should be allowed to hide evidence of crimes, I'm all ears and if convinced would switch sides on this pretty easily. But I'd have to be convinced for all doctors, in all cases.

  • Episiarch||

    still fun in the whole embarrassment-to-public-service-getting-flushed-down-the-join

    Down-the-john. Sorry I'm being a bit of a pedant today, but I assume you guys appreciate the corrections anyway.

  • Elemenope||

    it's a libertarian issue only if one believes that human embryos are not human beings.

    I'd say it's a Libertarian issue either way, just whose (or what's) liberty is preeminent is the question.

  • Episiarch||

    Underage minors obtaining abortions are by definition the victims of sexual abuse

    They are? So if a 14-year-old girl gets knocked up by her 15-year-old boyfriend, that's sexual abuse and requires handing over records to a prosecutor?

    I get your point about "executive privilege of the left" but you must be able to see how ripe this would be for abuse by politically motivated anti-abortionists, right?

  • Elemenope||

    If someone can make a solid case for me that doctors should be allowed to hide evidence of crimes, I'm all ears and if convinced would switch sides on this pretty easily. But I'd have to be convinced for all doctors, in all cases.

    If you have to be convinced for all doctor in all cases, then you have set up an impossibly steep argumentative trajectory.

    I'd rather argue that abortion is, esp. vis a vis the patient, a medical procedure of a kind unlike any other, and as such different rules apply.

    First off, I reject the notion that an underage pregnancy is ipso facto an indication that abuse occurred. Plenty of sixteen year olds are sexually active (legally!) and many of them are consensual sexual partners before that.

    Beyond that, especially *because* of the fraught socio-political domain that abortion occupies, sometimes it is downright dangerous for a minor girl to inform her parents of the procedure, rightly fearing for castigation, violence, or removal from the home.

    Finally, I am of the mind that a youth far younger than the age of majority has the capacity and should have the right to assert some basic bodily autonomy. They are not simply extensions of their parents, nor property of them. Their decision to do what they will with their body in this especially traumatizing situation should not be additionally complicated by worrying about what other people think, parents or otherwise.

  • ||

    I'd rather argue that abortion is, esp. vis a vis the patient, a medical procedure of a kind unlike any other, and as such different rules apply.

    I'd have to be convinced of that, but regardless, once exceptions are made, they are hard to confine to their original scope. Yes, Virginia, there are slippery slopes.

  • ||

    I'd say it's a Libertarian issue either way, just whose (or what's) liberty is preeminent is the question.

    yes. exactly. you see this a bit more clearly than mr. weigel.

  • Elemenope||

    I'd have to be convinced of that, but regardless, once exceptions are made, they are hard to confine to their original scope. Yes, Virginia, there are slippery slopes.

    Oh so agreed. But that a thing is dangerous should not by itself be an argument condemning it. It must be weighed against the upsides of the undertaking.

  • Grammar Nazi||

    'Impactful' is a stupid, made-up word, and using it makes you sound like a corporate-speak spewing semi-literate. Please stop.

  • Elemenope||

    'Impactful' is a stupid, made-up word, and using it makes you sound like a corporate-speak spewing semi-literate. Please stop.

    'English' is a stupid, made-up language, and using it makes you sound like an inveterate anglophile colonialist crony spewing gutteral proto-German with obscene smatterings of vulgar Latin. Please stop.

  • Episiarch||

    gutteral proto-German with obscene smatterings of vulgar Latin

    Don't forget the mangled French component.

  • Colin||

    Not only did this bum lose, he lost badly. And this was a primary in a conservative county.

    It brought such joy to me this morning to see Lopez on NRO crushed.

  • Elemenope||

    Don't forget the mangled French component.

    That would be the mangled vulgar Latin, who is a cheap whore and gave rise to all manner of bastard spawn, from the Frankish barbarians fruity speech all the way to Linnaeus' ridiculously poetic nomenclature scheme.

  • MooreL||

    Sorry, I'm with the G.N. on this one. It makes the writer appear awfully stupid.

    ***

    'Impactful' is a stupid, made-up word, and using it makes you sound like a corporate-speak spewing semi-literate. Please stop.

    'English' is a stupid, made-up language, and using it makes you sound like an inveterate anglophile colonialist crony spewing gutteral proto-German with obscene smatterings of vulgar Latin. Please stop.

  • Episiarch||

    That would be the mangled vulgar Latin

    No, we have direct Latin, (shitty) church Latin, and the children of Latin (French) in our language, but they are all distinct sources. Calling a cow "beef" comes from French, not mangled vulgar Latin (church). But "dictator" comes directly from (proper) Latin.

  • Fluffy||

    First off, I reject the notion that an underage pregnancy is ipso facto an indication that abuse occurred. Plenty of sixteen year olds are sexually active (legally!) and many of them are consensual sexual partners before that.

    That's fair.

    But if a minor gets an abortion it's definitely probable cause to believe a crime may have taken place. And there is also a set of minors for whom pregnancy is, in fact, ipso facto evidence of a crime. Unmarried 13 year old's, for example.

    Beyond that, especially *because* of the fraught socio-political domain that abortion occupies, sometimes it is downright dangerous for a minor girl to inform her parents of the procedure, rightly fearing for castigation, violence, or removal from the home.

    We're not talking specifically about parental notification laws. I can definitely be persuaded that doctors should be able to protect the confidentiality of patients, even minor patients, from their parents in many situations. But we're talking about law enforcement notification, not parental notification.

    If an unmarried 13 year old comes in and gets an abortion, someone somewhere committed a crime, in just about every jurisdiction in the United States. Is there something offensively anti-liberty about requiring a medical professional who gains knowledge about such a crime to report it?

    Their decision to do what they will with their body in this especially traumatizing situation should not be additionally complicated by worrying about what other people think, parents or otherwise.

    Why wouldn't this then apply to evidence of ANY crime committed against a minor? If a minor comes into the ER with bruises all over her face, and doesn't want to tell anyone how she got them or who did it, should the attending physician respect her autonomy in that case too? If she can make the decision not to report her sexual abuse, why can't she make the decision not to report someone punching her in the face?

    Maybe we shouldn't have laws requiring medical professionals to report anything at all. That certainly seems like a possibility to me. But when you make abortion a special case, where suddenly autonomy springs into being, it seems to me like that's being done to protect abortion, and not to protect the minor.

  • Elemenope||

    No, we have direct Latin, (shitty) church Latin, and the children of Latin (French) in our language, but they are all distinct sources. Calling a cow "beef" comes from French, not mangled vulgar Latin (church). But "dictator" comes directly from (proper) Latin.

    Quite so. All I can say is thank the powers that be we did not inherit their adverbs!

    ---------

    Fluffy -

    I think a huge problem is the notion that reporting laws discourage a person from seeking medical advice/attention. Police, even if they were scrupulous about confidentiality issues are not, like, *the best in the world* at keeping secrets, and especially in small town milieux would be just as good as telling the parents directly.

    Reporting laws are not, across the slate, necessarily a bad thing. However, not every medical matter is of equal sensitivity. Leaking the fact that someone has the flu or even a broken arm does not *necessarily* tell anyone something that leads to inexorable chain of causation the way that revealing an STD infection or a pregnancy might. That is, one can break an arm or get the flu in any number of ways, but there is really only one class of act that can get you pregnant/infected with an STD.

  • ||

    Isn't ignorance of the Constitution a QUALIFICATION for the office?

  • Grammar Nazi||

    So...Languages are all mish-mashes of other languages and constantly in flux. Granted. At the same time, in order for language to be an effective means of communication words must mean things, and rules of grammar must be in place. The trend towards using non-words like impactful is a sign of mental sloth and only impairs communication. Not only that, but the writer who uses those words makes himself look stupid. (Weigel is not stupid, which makes his use of the non-word even more galling.) Unless, of course, you want people to think you are a bestigio.

  • Elemenope||

    Bestigio, LOL. But still, languages evolve at a steady rate, and neologisms crop up predictably and survive *when they are useful*. The best use root words of the already existing language so that their meaning can be easily inferred from structure and context.

    I can bet you with a reasonable confidence that about one-quarter of the words in the above paragraph did not exist in the English language at the time of Shakespeare. Some monkeys have clearly been very naughty.

    In case you couldn't already tell, I find the hard-liner grammar prescriptionists a little unsettling, if not outright silly.

  • Grammar Nazi||

    Elemenope- I'm not a hard line prescriptionist. If anything, I'm a fan of useful or interesting neologisms. The problem with impactful, besides that it sound dumb and comes from the world of corporate-speak, is that it is a bastardization of a word that has already been bastardized. "Impact" has taken the place of "affect" not because it's more useful or precise, but because folks who use it tend to think it makes them sound smart. Since the meaning of impact is becoming even more diffuse and imprecise, the new use of the word does a disservice to the language. "Impactful" is even sillier.

  • Elemenope||

    GN --

    Oddly enough, normally I would be with you insofar as 'definition creep' of already precise words. But I think that the first step here was not out of line. Often a word can be re-purposed not because another word was lacking *definitionally* (my personal sin is creating adverbs and adjectives on the fly), but because a different emotive content is meant to be conveyed.

    "Impact" has a clearly different emotional impact than "affect", implying force or violence rather than gentler forms of alteration. It also has a stronger implication of the passivity of the object described than "affect" does.

    I agree that 'Impactful' is clumsy, but it is not beyond the pale. Especially, I would say, since blog postings are far less formal than most written forms, it's acceptability is mitigated positively by the setting.

  • Grammar Nazi||

    I see where you're coming from, Elemenope, and tend to agree. In the case of impact, though, the word is so frequently used to mean so many things that any emotional connotation is lost. Gas prices impact the bottom line. A commercial has an impact on polls. My choice of movie impacts the ability of my wife to enjoy the evening. Enough of that sort of word creep, and the word becomes a pale thing, dead from overuse.

    As for impactful, I still think it's primary connotation is "I don't know the language well enough to express myself without using nearly meaningless made-up words." This is especially true in the case of a professional writer.

  • Fluffy||

    "Impact" has taken the place of "affect" not because it's more useful or precise, but because folks who use it tend to think it makes them sound smart.

    Actually, I think many people aren't really confident using the word "affect" because of the whole affect/effect thing, so they use "impact" twisted into various parts of speech because it's actually simpler to the modern ear to do so.

  • Elemenope||

    Enough of that sort of word creep, and the word becomes a pale thing, dead from overuse.

    Excellent turn of phrase, and I agree. My thing is merely that when a lacuna opens up due to a word being beaten to death, another will assuredly be created (either from the bottom-up or via interglottal cannibalism) to fill it. I personally mourn the loss of a word that has been ingrained into my vocabulary patterns only because I am accustomed to it having a consistent and precise meaning, and am temporarily dismayed when shifts in meaning render my communications more ambiguous than they are intended to be.

    I think the language itself will merrily chug along, regardless of words whittled down to fungible nubs, as there are always others waiting to step into the linguistic breach.

    Actually, I think many people aren't really confident using the word "affect" because of the whole affect/effect thing, so they use "impact" twisted into various parts of speech because it's actually simpler to the modern ear to do so.

    Yeah, I think the affect/effect thing has a great deal to do with the modern hesitancy to use either one. Many people's memories of the distinction probably boil down to remembering that they were once yelled at by an irate English teacher many years ago for using the wrong one, and so they stay away from both out of fear of making the same error long after they have forgotten the actual distinction.

    And "impact" is certainly punchier, more "modern". I'm not altogether sure that's a good thing.

  • Episiarch||

    I think the language itself will merrily chug along

    One of English's greatest strengths is its ability to absorb new words from other languages and create new words out of nowhere. Unlike the French, who have a governmental body that determines what can added to French, English speakers have no restrictions and so create stuff willy-nilly.

    I'm sort of a Darwinist with language and I'd say that because of its internal structure, combined with no restrictions, English is a language that will survive very well.

    Being the language of the most powerful country in the world doesn't hurt, either.

  • MooreL||

    "In case you couldn't already tell, I find the hard-liner grammar prescriptionists a little unsettling, if not outright silly."

    I agree in some ways. On the other hand, I have a line drawn in my head defining what's acceptable and what isn't. "Impactful" falls on the stupid side. But I like phrases such as "drinking the Kool-Aid" and "thrown under the bus" because I think they add something to the language that wasn't there before. Impactful doesn't.

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