Monthly Archives: August 2012

Reproductive choice under siege

So Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin is in trouble for having claimed that women have a way of stopping  “legitimate rape” from impregnating them. Mm-hmm. This is the kind of thing that makes political satire the easiest of all jobs. How can you even make fun of this? It’s just so damn stupid that you can just quote the man and it serves as an appropriate joke on Jon Stewart or Jay Leno’s shows. It doesn’t help that Akin’s “legitimate” qualifier seems to imply that lots of women — he provided no evidence, naturally — are lying their way into abortion. I’ve heard of false rape accusations, but this isn’t like that. A clinic’s got scientific methods to identify these kinds of conditions. 

That said, the death threats Akin has received are more than misguided. Threatening murder is not the way to fight this guy. It makes the controversy seem like it’s not warranted. And it is.

Within days of this, an even worse but somehow less-known abortion-related gaffe (if it was a gaffe and not too much candor) occured. Frank Szabo, candidate for Sheriff in New Hampshire, has vowed to do “everything in (his) power,” evidently including lethal force, to prevent abortions from occurring if elected. I guess it doesn’t matter that abortion is legal.

Needless to say, these  men have apologized for their horrible remarks. But it’s not like they didn’t have to. They might not even be sincere.

Republican platform to include constitutional amendment against abortion.

As of this writing, it is the night before the Republican National Convention begins. And the party platform includes a call for a constitutional amendment to ban abortion even in cases of rape and incest. So the very same party leaders who wisely want Akin to leave the Missouri Senate race are proposing what is essentially his position on abortion. And claiming that they’d resort to changing the Constitution means that, like Szabo, they’re willing to take extreme measures to limit your reproductive rights if you’re a woman. If that’s fine with you, you know how to vote. If not, get out in November and send a message.

I know, they always call for an abortion ban in their platform. In the 1980s there was much talk about such an amendment because overturning Roe Vs. Wade wasn’t realistic. But nothing actually came of that. The small-scale abortion restrictions that republican governors of states like Texas and Virginia have passed, along with last year’s attempt by House Republicans to defund Planned Parenthood indicate that the Republicans may actually go for it this time, especially with primary challenges always looming these days. Plus, “liberal Republican” was actually far from a contradiction in terms in the Reagan era.

What I’ve outlined is Republican thinking.

Admittedly, opening with two horrible statements about abortion and then proceeding to name an extreme position in the Republican platform that is really only a guideline for the party’s candidates is kind of like kicking people when they’re down. Still, it goes to show that this party no longer compromises when it comes to abortion. Mitt Romney is sometimes said to be a moderate on the issue, supporting it in the cases of rape, incest, and health. Actually, he’s had three positions: pro-choice despite personal reservations, pro-life in all cases, and the position I just described. So he really has no position as such. Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan, is, if anything, even more highly rated by the Right to Life than Akin. And who’d have thought that possible?

Is abortion Murder?

As for me, I don’t see a mass of cells as human life. Killing a fetus is, at worst, like putting down a domesticated animal. Women absolutely should have the right to choose. Partial-birth might go too far — and “might” means “might” and not “does” — but first trimester? That should definitely be legal.

 I should note that we are nearing the forty-year anniversary of Roe Vs. Wade. The issue is settled; the statute of limitation has been reached.

The way I see it, pro-lifers should look to methods other than taking away women’s rights to stop abortion. The birth control coverage included in the Affordable Care Act will likely prevent many abortions. anti-poverty initiatives (whatever you think is the best kind) are also likely to reduce the number of abortions if they succeed.

In the end, abortion isn’t merely a life issue. It’s also a rights issue. And taking away rights is the slipperiest slope that can ever exist in the democratic system of government.

Mega Man 3

This was the first Mega Man game I ever played when I was only (I think) nine years old, so I’m not sure I can be entirely unbiased here. Still, it has a strong place among the other games. It’s not as good as MMII or MMX2, the best of the NES and SNES games (there’s some games later on that I haven’t played), but it is pretty good in its own right.

Plot: 7 out of 10

Here is where they start throwing us curves on the storyline. We’re told — although only in the manual — that Dr. Wily has changed his tune and is again working with Mega Man and Dr. Light to find energy crystals that are necessary to create what is called the Peace-Keeping robot. But the crystals have already been found by robots that resemble the ones
that Wily used in his evil days in every way.

You just KNOW there’s some context-hating, sex-obsessed fanfic writers who couldn’t resist…

It’s pretty obvious where they’re going with this. There actually are a number of later games that used villains other than Wily. But if a Mega Man game was made in the series’ first several years, Wily will be the bad guy.

There is a genuine surprise, though. An enemy in this game does turn good. It’s a great twist, one that when I first played the game, I never saw coming.

Graphics: 9 out of 10

Like MM2, this looks very nice. Yet there’s not much to say that I didn’t say about that game, I’m afraid. Still, it’s more than acceptable to not get any worse.

Sound: 9 out of 10

Another touchdown. The music is something I remember well from childhood. From the electrical beat  of Spark Man’s stage to the panicky tune of the boss songs, these songs are forever locked in my head. Not that I’m complaining.

Gameplay: 9 out of 10

Mega Man now gets the ability to slide. Also, you get a maximum of nine (which refill your life) energy tanks instead of four.

The biggest addition by far is Rush, Mega Man’s new robo-dog. Replacing the item-_ tools from MM2, The Rush Coil, Rush Marine, and Rush Jet allow you to boost your jumps, jet through the water, and fly.

The level designs are fantastic. There’s lots of unconventional stuff like platforms resembling spinning tops that spin you around and around in Top Man’s stage and three clones of Mega Man as one of the final bosses.

Seeing triple.

The length of the game has been increased, for after you play though the first eight stages, you’ll have to do altered versions of four of them before moving on. All four of these ravamps have harder versions of two of the first eight bosses from MM2 locked in a bigger robot (Nintendo Power magazine called him “Doc Robot,” presumably because he gave these smashed robots new existence). So it’s twelve stages to Dr. Wily’s Skull Castle instead of eight. For this reason, I wouldn’t recommend that you try to play this game in one setting unless you’re doing a gaming marathon. Passwords are your friend.

Challenge: 4 out of 10

A moderately challenging game. The first eight stages range from easy to average in difficulty, while the next four get a lot harder before the game moves in between the former and latter in difficulty. In other words, the difficulty is inconsistent. In fact, if you know what weapons to use, both battles with Wily are actually rather easy, whereas some Doc Robot battles might actually require energy tanks. A very unbalanced difficulty makes it difficult to feel challenged.

Overall: 8 out of 10

Inconsistent difficulty aside, This game is rock-solid. It’s got very fluid gameplay and there’s a lot of extra features. It just doesn’t know whether it wants to be easy or hard.