Monday, January 10, 2005

He got letters.... lots of letters!

Ah, the power of blogs, the internet & used tampons. Faced with an overwhelming wave of disgust & outrage by women from both sides of the political spectrum over his incredibly insensitive proposed legislation, Virginia state delegate Cosgrove has promised to rewrite the bill to make it clear that miscarriage will not be criminalized. He claims the intent of the bill was to give police something more to charge those evil ignorant pregnant women who abandon their stillborn babies in trash dumpsters with than illegal disposal of a corpse. Apparently, the medical examiner can’t tell if a baby is delivered alive or dead after 12 hours, hence the stipulation of having to report the birth within that timeframe in the bill.

I get the urge to try to stop the abandonment of babies, both live and dead. Nobody advocates that kind of behavior. The problem with this kind of legislation, however (like most Republican legislation) – is that they focus on punishing the bad action instead of trying to prevent it in the first place. They naively think making something illegal will make it stop.

****Update to the Update: Due to the overwhelming response he received, Cosgrove has withdrawn the bill entirely citing "confusing language". According to the original article Cosgrove is complaining that he's "never been blogged before!" and was personally responding to all 500 of the nasty emails he got. Everyone alltogether now... let's take a nanosecond of silence then cooperatively play the worldwideweb's smallest violin in sympathy.
There. The article goes on to quote a journalism pundit who voices the usual criticism that 'blogs aren't really journalism' and spread disinformation (OK - that's just too funny - is his head so far up his ass he really thinks supposedly "legitimate" sources like Faux News don't spread disinformation ?) and he is concerned that the blogospher's ability to mobilize political action instantly can lead to bullying and intimidation. Another journalism prof claims “The bloggers pointed out, to me, some legitimate concerns,” South said. “They created a healthy discussion. If there’s a down side, it was that Del. Cosgrove didn’t have a chance to get involved in the debate until it was too late.”

I beg to difer. He didn't get a chance to get involved in the debate? Excuse me??? Del. Cosgrove FRAMED the debate in the first place when he introduced such a pathetically written piece of legislation to begin with. Any consequences of his ineptitude are entirely of his own design. The difference is - usually asshat state legislators get away with drafting shitty bills every day and the public never becomes aware of it until it's too late. The mainstream media sure as hell doesn't cover it. It's just not sexy enough. The reason blogs have become such a powerful political force is that they're out there providing *some* information - even if it hasn't been completely vetted - to a news-starved public. And what's more critical, they have the ability to filter exactly the kind of news to those individuals who actually care about a particular subject - and are likely to take action as a result.

Maude forbid there's finally a force out there that is holding our legislative representatives responsible for their action/ inaction in real time. I can see where they may feel betrayed... usually they only have to atone for their previous sins around re-election time, and any criticisms of specific bills, etc. that they sponsored/ supported is drowned out by the PR machine.

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