After All That Hippity-Hoopla About Tim Tebow. . .

. . . The 30-second Super Bowl spot featuring the Heisman Trophy winner and his mother had about as much as controversy as an episode of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.

In the days leading up to Super Bowl XLIV, women's rights groups got all up in arms over a commercial sponsored by the conservative organization Focus on the Family. Feminist groups, including the National Organization of Women, urged CBS not to run the ad. These women's groups said the Tim Tebow ad was divisive, offensive and demeaning [Crary, David (2010-1-25). CBS urged to scrap Super Bowl ad with Tebow, mom. Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved on 2010-1-26.].

Here's the "controversial" TV spot that angered women across the nation:

Now I ask you, what is divisive, offensive and demeaning about that ad. The commercial is actually very moderate, and it is a good piece of marketing for an organization that has been criticized in the past for holding positions out of the mainstream.

Ironically, while the Tim Tebow spot has softened the image of Focus on the Family, the controversy surrounding the ad has left feminist groups looking like extremists who want to suppress the speech of those who don't agree with them.

A round of applause must go out to abortion-rights groups because, in the time it takes me to heat up some Tostitos cheese dip in the microwave, they managed to be out-marketed, out-thought and marginalized by Focus on the Family.

The Case for Abolishing the Death Penalty

The Conservative Contradiction

Tomorrow night(during the Super Bowl), Tim Tebow, the greatest college football player ever(by far), will appear in a "pro-life" ad that will be the first "issue advocacy" ad allowed at a Super Bowl.  So what does "Pro-life" mean?  For starters, the politics of "pro" and "anti" should be regarded very critically.  But someone who is "pro-life" presumably would be a committed pacifist and would favor a "Right to Life".  When the Declaration of Independence says, "with certain inalienable rights, that among these rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness", the phrase inalienable rights is redundant.  Rights are inalienable.  They can't be taken away under any circumstance fairly.  If they can be fairly taken away, they are not rights, they are privileges.  So even if capital punishment where applied fairly, it would violate the right to life.  So would life imprisonment, but let's not go too far.  Conservatives who support the Death Penalty are in favor of a "privilege to life" that can be taken away when they want.  Or as George Carlin said, "Conservatives want live babies so they can have dead soldiers."

The right to life is a supposed tenant of conservatism in America, but so is opposition to big government.  But they favor giving the government the right to kill, the right to torture and the right to use the judiciary to suppress dissent.  It would seem only a radical statist would be in favor of those things.  

John Brown will make the gallows glorious like the cross.  

Many Christians(try punching these people in the face, see if they turn the cheek so you can punch them again) have crosses in their house.  These crosses are held in glory because they represent true martyrdom that resulted from a prominent political execution. In 1859, there was another such case, by which time the gallows was the preferred method of execution.  Ralph Waldo Emerson, in open support of the condemned martyr, abolitionist John Brown, declared that the gallows will have to be retired as an execution method because they will be a symbol of martyrdom.  He didn't say that, but it is an obvious next conclusion from what he did say.  In fact, that is one of the primary reasons governments keep changing the method of execution.  If you are going to kill someone, you don't care if you cause them pain.  But every method of execution can be "glorious like the cross".  The electric chair has Sacco and Vanzetti, for another example.  The reason for this is, the government rarely loses a political trial, and only does when a powerful force does not want them to win.  Daniel Elsberg would have been executed for Treason as sure as night follows day had he done what he did before the Tet Offensive.  

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

If words have any meaning than death is cruel and unusual punishment.  If death is not cruel and unusual punishment, than what is cruel and unusual punishment?  To know the date, time and method of your death is extreme cruelty.  There is no known way to kill someone without causing some physical pain, which is usually extreme in terms of executions.  Capital punishment is highly unusual.  It is class and racially biased.  It does not deter crime, as European countries have less violent crime and no death penalty.  There are no countries that allow the death penalty in any circumstance that you would want to have yours in a category with.  So it is highly unusual, as more serious crimes often go without prosecution, much less the pain of death.  This is most definitely the most cruel punishment, and the most unusual.  This makes it blatantly unconstitutional, if that matters.  

Legal Lynching

The trials almost never meet international standards.  In fact, it is international standard that the death penalty is off the table.  Europe has abolished it.  The countries that still have it you would be embarrassed to have your country on a list of.  But aside from that, capital trials rarely reflect international standards.  Coerced confessions, irrelevent evidence, lack of any serious burden of proof, Jury temperament, and other judicial malfeasance is common.  They often have incomeptent attorneys.  This information, as well as evidence that contradicts the verdict, have little to no effect on the appellate courts.  Corporate crime kills many more times "violent" crime, but even when they are involved in the same rackets, corporate executives/directors are seldom prosecuted, much less executed, violating another tenant of law.  Since the victims are (almost) always poor and (almost) always minority, this clearly constitutes legal lynching, because there is no serious legal standard.    This is part of the greater trend of the criminal justice system, which is mainly a social control system designed to oppress the black population.  As Malcom X said, "They have traded in their bed sheets for police uniforms, or most of them have(laughs)".  To be sure, not all police officers are there to "slam a nigger's head through a window"(Mark Whalberg), like the ones who sign up because they want to work in the more secure, better compensated public sector.  But the ones that actually enjoy what they do, or believe it is in any way just, or that they are "protecting people" or anything like that, would be in the Klan if it where 1910 and not 2010, offering the same excuses.   

What Tim Tebow Won't Say

Over at the National Review, Ramesh Ponnuru is defending anti-choice folks against criticism for highlighting Tim Tebow's mom's choice not to have an abortion while pushing to take that choice away from her. I'll grant that it's not contradictory for someone to both want abortion to be made illegal and to like it when women who legally could have abortion choose not to. But it's intentionally misleading for a movement seeking a ban on abortion to appeal to the electorate's good feelings about choice by invoking individuals' choices as an argument for prohibition. It's especially cynical given that it's the pro-choice movement that stands up for women threatened coercive abortion or sterilization by the government or their employer. I wrote more about this here and here.

As for Tim and Pam Tebow, apparently they share Focus on the Family's belief that it should be illegal for women like Pam whose doctors advise them to terminate their pregnancy to choose to follow their doctors' advice. So why won't their ad say that? Why not say: "I'm Tim Tebow, football great. I've been blessed with so much in life. I know my life itself is a blessing. Doctors in the Phillipines recommended my Mom abort me because of serious complications in pregnancy. Good thing abortion was illegal in the Phillipines. It should be illegal here in America too." I think Focus on the Family isn't running an ad like that because they know the median American has discomfort about abortion but doesn't want to see it banned. But what does Ramesh Ponnuru think is the explanation?

How will SCOTUS decision affect corporate media?

In 2004, the United Church of Christ produced a television commercial promoting its inclusive approach to organized faith. The ad showed two nightclub-style bouncers guarding the rope line of a church as they denied entry to a gay male couple, several people of color, and a man in a wheelchair. By contrast, a white family of four had no problems getting through.

"Jesus didn't turn people away" was the ad's tagline, but CBS did, turning down the commercial which was intended for broadcast during that year's Super Bowl. The 30-second spot apparently violated the network's policy of "prohibiting advocacy ads, even ones that carry an 'implicit' endorsement for a side in a public debate."

There's more...

Being Pro-Choice Also Means Accepting A Woman's Right To Choose Life

Twenty-six years ago, a 13-year-old girl in Atlanta got pregnant. She knew that at her age, she was not ready for a child. So she had a choice to make -- abortion or adoption. The choice made by this 13-year-old girl was a very mature one for someone of her years. She chose life. She chose to put me up for adoption, and I was fortunate enough to be adopted by a very impressive lady; a lady that was recognized by the Georgia House of Representatives in 2005 for making history as the first black female to graduate from Mercer University [House Resolution 1008].

That's my story. And if by sharing that story, I could prevent just one abortion, then I'd tell it again and again and again on national television.

There is a new controversy looming on the horizon. It involves 2007 Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow, the conservative organization Focus on the Family, and a coalition of women's rights groups.

At the center of this new controversy is an ad.

There's more...

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