good news, and just news

1) south dakota ok's ban on most abortions
which proves, although not conclusively, that south dakotans are much smarter than people give them credit for. opponents, of course, are worried that there are no exceptions for rape and incest. as i've said before, however, rape sucks, but killing the baby isn't going to make things better.

If a rape victim becomes pregnant and bears a child, the rapist could have the same parental rights as the mother, said Krista Heeren-Graber, executive director of the South Dakota Network Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault.
“The idea the rapist could be in the child’s life ... makes the woman very, very fearful. Sometimes they need to have choice,” Heeren-Graber said.

so instead, the obvious choice is to kill the child. that way, it will have no life for the rapist to be part of. although to me that seems like curing a tooth ache by lopping off someone's head... not really a bright idea.

planned parenthood has said they will sue to block the legislature (although as rob brought up, wouldn't it be nice if, instead of worrying about abortions, they provided money for vasectomies and tube tying, preventing the whole unwanted pregnancy thing in the first place? but nah, that would make too much sense), but many people are also springing to its defense:

Money for the anticipated legal fight is already pouring in. Lawmakers were told during the debate that an anonymous donor has pledged $1 million to defend the ban, and the Legislature is setting up a special account to accept donations. “We’ve had people stopping in our office trying to drop off checks to promote the defense of this legislation already,” [Governor] Rounds said.

which, in my opinion, is just great.

2) 21 more states considering "stand your ground" laws
again, good news. the "stand your ground" laws will make it so that you no longer have to try running away from an assailant before trying to defend yourself. critics are, of course, worried that caps will busted left and right, both in people's asses and elsewhere.

"You don't just broadly paint a new statewide law saying, if you're in doubt, go ahead and shoot and kill the other person," says Peter Hamm, spokesman for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence in Washington. "It's anathema to peace and calm in our communities."

which, in my opinion, is the exact opposite of what would happen. imagine you're a mugger armed with a knife. in a state without an SYG law, you're set... when the person tries to run, you run them down, stab them, and take whatever you were after. now imagine you're in a state with SYG laws and concealed weapons permits. anyone you try to mug could conceivably pull a gun on you and shoot you in the face. or, at the very least, scare you out of trying to use your knife. i would think that mugging would suddenly become much less popular. as myself and many others have said before, criminals aren't going to obey the gun laws anyways. the SYG laws are a good way to start leveling the playing field:

Indeed, those lobbying for the "Stand Your Ground" legislation say the proposed laws are ... sending a powerful message to would-be criminals. These laws "make it very clear that the good guy has the advantage, not the bad guy," says Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the National Rifle Association in Fairfax, Va.

and best of all, my home state of washington is one of the states considering it. who knows what the folks on the west side of the mountains will think of it... but then again, who really cares what they think anyways?

h/t say anything

3) holy shi'ite, iraq is devolving into civil war!
or so the NYT would have us believe. they bring out some random guy named abu abbas (a nick-name) to make their point:

The violence on Wednesday was the closest Iraq had come to civil war, and Iraqis were stunned. In Al Amin, a neighborhood in southeast Baghdad, a Shiite man said he had watched gunmen set a house on fire. It was identified as the residence of Sunni Arab militants, said the man, Abu Abbas, though no one seemed to know for sure who they were.

"We all were shocked," said Abu Abbas, a vegetable seller, standing near crates of oranges and tomatoes. "We saw it burning. We called the fire department. We didn't know how to behave. Chaos was everywhere."

Of the seven men inside, at least three were brought out dead, said Abu Abbas, 32, who said it would be dangerous to give more than his Iraqi nickname.

and this:

A Shiite newspaper, Al Bayyna al Jadidah, used unusually angry language in a front-page editorial: "It's time to declare war against anyone who tries to conspire against us, who slaughters us every day. It is time to go to the streets and fight those outlaws."

and then we have NRO; who, to be sure, have a definite bias of their own, but i consider them to be much more reliable than the NYT (about half the article is posted here; go read the rest):

The attack was most probably perpetrated by al Qaeda, which has been trying to foment civil strife in Iraq for some time, and declared open war on the Shiites last year. They have mounted numerous provocative attacks on Shia and Kurdish targets, to no noticeable effect. This strike was much more audacious; the (previously) golden-domed shrine is an ancient and revered structure, and the tombs within are holy both to Shiites and Sunnis, though more so to the former. The initial retaliatory attacks on Sunni mosques must have pleased Zarqawi; if taking down this site did not start the civil war, nothing would.

So the foreign fighters must have been stunned when Shiite and Sunni leaders rushed out statements saying they knew that the takfiri (i.e., those who accuse other Muslims of being infidels, a code word in this context for the foreign extremists) were behind the attack, and they would not let this act of brutality divide Iraq. In an announcement on his website Shiite leader Ayatollah Ali Sistani blamed “takfiris [who] meant to foment sedition among the Iraqi people, thus fulfilling their malicious goals.” He has called for seven days of mourning and peaceful demonstrations in response to the bombing. He added, “we urge everyone not to be dragged into committing acts that would only please the enemies, namely, the sectarian sedition which they have long attempted to push Iraq into its furnace.” Shiite radical Muqtada al-Sadr — remember him? — blamed the attack on the takfiri, Saddam loyalists, and “the occupation.” “We should not attack Sunni mosques,” he said on al Jazeera. “I ordered [his militia the] Al-Mahdi Army to protect the Shiite and Sunni shrines and to show a high sense of responsibility, something they actually did.” (Nice that they followed orders, did this surprise him?)

Sunni groups followed suit. The Association of Muslim Scholars posted a statement condemning this “suspicious criminal act that seeks to stir sedition and unrest” and the “perpetrators and masterminds of this act, who wish to harm Iraq and divide its people for the sake of their personal agendas and the interests and schemes of foreign powers in this ravaged country.” Likewise the National Dialogue Council denounced the attempt to “divide Iraq and light the flame of civil war between its sons,” and the Iraqi Islamic Party called for self restraint, even as its offices were attacked, saying that in a civil war there would be no winner.

sounds to me like they're doing pretty good to me. yeah, violence is still a problem. but with different religious sects coming together to protest it--much like republicans and democrats did in the wake of 9/11--things are definitely looking up. now if only they--and we, for that matter--can get to the point where it doesn't take a national/religious tragedy to bring them together, they'll truly have it made.

h/t again to say anything, for pointing out the NRO article