Talking Points for 21 May

Thanks to Steve and ZK overnight. Something that’s being talked about in both China and Burma right now is “What about the children?”

James Reynolds reported about quake orphans in China yesterday, and although I can’t find the video on the site (help anyone?) you can read about it on his blog; and Mark has been told by a member of the Burmese Service at a World Service breakfast that the children are the talking point in Burma too.

Senators Obama and Clinton split yesterday’s primaries in Oregon and Kentucky, each winning one by a big margin. Obama seems confident but Kentucky struck a big blow for Clinton, who is now saying that sexism rather than racism is casting the biggest shadow over the Democratic contest. Is she right?

What about the children? – What about the fathers? As part of the voting in the UK parliament that sparked our abortion debate yesterday, MPs decided that fertility clinics no longer had to consider a child’s need for a father when providing treatment. Does a child need a father?

It’s become an issue in Canada, where same-sex marriage was legalised in 2005, and here a Florida newspaper gets a ticking off for forgetting about fathers. And Michael White in the Guardian worries that a law declaring fathers further speeds the decay in society. Is it setting the wrong example?

And as Steve pointed out overnight, the US Treasury has failed to overturn a court ruling that said dollar bills discriminate against blind people because the denominations are only visually different. Is this discrimination? Should the US change its money?

51 Responses to “Talking Points for 21 May”

  1. May 20, 2008 at 19:35

    Steve and ZK! Good evening! I’ll be around until 6PM EST, I start school again for my second degree tonight (Mechanical Engineering). Look forward to some nice discussions until then!

  2. 2 Dennis/U.S.
    May 20, 2008 at 19:38

    Good Afternoon (Good Evening)!!!!

    Steve and ZK….

    @ Brett, i will be starting my first degree (college) on 2 June 2008…

    Dennis~Madrid, U.S.A.

  3. 3 steve
    May 20, 2008 at 19:39

    Some stories for discussion today:

    Senator Ted Kennedy has brain cancer:


    Oregon and Kentucky are holding their Primaries today, so results should be released tonight, and give a clearer picture of who will win the Democratic nomination:


    And this is something someone pointed out to me. A tshirt at Urban Outfitters, a chain that’s in many major US cities. Basically a shirt of a kid holding an AK-47, wearing a Palestinian style scarf, and the Palestinian flag and a graphic of Gaza and the West Bank. Should stores be selling things like this?

    Urban outfitters

  4. 4 Dennis/U.S.
    May 20, 2008 at 19:44

    I hope he is going to make a full and complete recovery!

    Go out and vote and send us information about this
    outcome, when returns and etc is available….

    Stores should have some restraint on what stuff they are
    selling…(i will further my opinion, when i read the link).

    Dennis~Madrid, United States of America…

  5. May 20, 2008 at 20:08

    Hello Precious Steve and Precious ZK… Sadly yesterday I missed passing by Precious Brett’s blog page because I was preparing myself for my end-course Internal Medicine exam which I had today, and during which I was eaten alive ! :-)… Anyway, you guys please check out this link and tell me what you think : news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7406868.stm . With my love. Yours forever, Lubna.

  6. 6 Will Rhodes
    May 20, 2008 at 20:13

    I wish Ted Kennedy well – he is one true maverick. Even though he has made mistakes in the past – who hasn’t, I hope he pulls through.

    The Oregon and Kentucky vote will be on the news tonight – I for one will be watching it.

    Why shouldn’t stores be selling the T-shirt, Steve?

  7. 7 steve
    May 20, 2008 at 20:16

    Listening to a radio show right now, and basically if Kennedy has a type 4 tumor, he’s gone within a year. A type 1 or 2 and he had maybe a couple years left. Apparently this is a death sentence.

    I guess they shouldn’t sell the shirts because not only is it somewhat promoting terrorism, but child soldiers? It’s a kid, holding an Ak-47.

  8. 8 Will Rhodes
    May 20, 2008 at 20:32

    I don’t see how it is promoting terrorism, I have seen where the US government wanted to ban Che Guevara tee’s – I cannot see the point. There has been many worse than that.

    You know it’s a tee, and almost everyone else knows it’s a tee. Now banning the AK-47…

  9. 9 Shirley
    May 20, 2008 at 20:55

    My heart goes out to the Kennedy family. Such a struggle shouldn’t be faced by anyone.

    Obama’s ex-KKK Supporter:
    Isn’t it strange that one of Obama’s new supporters, Sen Robert Byrd WV, used to be a KKK member? I wonder if he still supports that group? Has he truly had a change of heart over the years? Or if he only acquiescing to the changes of the times? Does he feel that Obama’s merits outweigh his skin colour? Steve, you posted this on the 19 May Talking Points but without a link. Can you get us a link and summation? The nicest of folk can attract the oddest of folk.

    The Shirt:
    1. It promotes a view of the Palestinian people that certainly does not apply to the majority of them to a Western audience. 2. It could acclimate young people to more images of violence and numb our instinctive human reaction against violence, thus promoting more violence in the society. 3. It portrays a child soldier ina neutral way.

    Lubna’s Linked Article:
    Bush’s ‘Israel bias’ angers Abbas
    Sunday, 18 May 2008
    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has accused US President George W Bush of bias towards Israel, following a speech to the Israeli parliament last week. “What the president said at the Knesset made us angry, and to be honest, we don’t accept it,” Mr Abbas said. “We had many things to say about it, and we told him this when we met him yesterday… We have asked him to maintain a balanced position,” Mr Abbas said.

    And good on Abbas, too, say I. Bush’s remarks seem to have put his true sentiments on the Middle East to light. Here’s a comment that I find very disturbing.

    Mr Bush had told Israeli politicians…that their country was a “homeland for the chosen people”.

    The phrase, “chosen people,” comes directly from religious texts found mainly in the Bible. At last check, the U.S. was a democracy, not a theocracy. If we are to base our foreign policy in the Middle East on Biblical principles, then we should call ourselves for what we would be in that case: a theocracy governed according to the will of the religious right pressure groups who lobby our politicians and judiciary, and executives.

  10. 10 steve
    May 20, 2008 at 21:06

    A U.S. Court has held that money discriminates against blind people. Coming soon, money that doesn’t fit in your wallet, kind of like the Euro!


  11. May 20, 2008 at 21:52

    @ Blind and Bills:
    Different size bills would surely be interesting…
    Raised markings would be neat but wouldn’t they wear off? Think of all of the bills in circulation for 20 years or more! Besides, I wash my bills sometimes if I leave them in my pockets without putting them in my wallet lol.

  12. 12 Will Rhodes
    May 20, 2008 at 22:09

    Coming soon, money that doesn’t fit in your wallet, kind of like the Euro!

    You’ve lost me on that one, Steve.

  13. May 20, 2008 at 22:20

    I have a few of those in my garage 🙂 A friend brought them back with her and gave them to me.

  14. 15 Will Rhodes
    May 20, 2008 at 22:35

    The pound is designed with the visually impaired in mind, too. The wife just can’t get over UK money – she calls it monopoly money – I keep asking her if she has looked at Canadian dollars lately LOL

  15. 16 Janet T
    May 20, 2008 at 22:55

    @ will- great names for the Canadian money too- loonies and twonie- right for the coins- it’s been a couple of years since we’ve been to Victoria BC

  16. 17 Amy
    May 20, 2008 at 23:28

    I’m in Oregon and we vote by mail. We don’t have traditional polling places, just drop boxes. In addition to the presidential primaries, we have a very competitive race for the democratic nominee to run against Sen. Gordon Smith (R). He is not very popular with a lot of people and it is going to be nasty come this fall. For political junkies like me, I can’t wait!

    Wish Sen. Kennedy all the best and will include him in my prayers.

    @Lubna, I am sure you did great on your exam!

    Amy in Beaverton, Oregon

  17. 18 Will Rhodes
    May 20, 2008 at 23:35

    @ Everyone

    How does this sound to you, are you for it or against?

    Consider what this actually means for a ‘Free’ country.

    Ministers are to consider plans for a database of electronic information holding details of every phone call and e-mail sent in the UK, it has emerged.

    The plans, reported in the Times, are at an early stage and may be included in the draft Communications Bill later this year, the Home Office confirmed.

    A Home Office spokesman said the data was a “crucial tool” for protecting national security and preventing crime.


    Plans for a super-database containing the details of all phone calls and e-mails sent in the UK have been heavily criticised by experts.

    The government is considering the changes as part of its ongoing fight against serious crime and terrorism.

    Assistant Information Commissioner Jonathan Bamford has warned that the UK could be “sleepwalking into a surveillance society”.

    Others have questioned how such a database could be made secure.


    What would you do if your government considered something like this? Would you consider them to be a threat to your liberties or are they doing what they are doing to protect you?

    Over to you.

  18. 19 steve
    May 20, 2008 at 23:45

    @ Will

    Euros don’t fit into my wallet. They are too large, so they stick out. My wallet has no problem holding US or CDN dollars.

  19. 21 Janet T
    May 21, 2008 at 00:18

    I think this is just another way to spy on people under the guise of making us feel safer- the US can’t even kep the names of our CIA agents from the press why would we trust them with this?

  20. 22 Dennis/U.S.
    May 21, 2008 at 00:19

    T-SHIRT:::I would not promote and or not purchased, because it not, what i believe

    MONEY:::What next talking coins?

    Madrid, U.S.A.

  21. 23 steve
    May 21, 2008 at 00:22

    Actually Dennis, with Coins, given the size, people can know the denomination, especially with the different edges. The problem is with foreigners who don’t know what “dime”, “nickel”, “one” or “quarter” means. I think US coins should put a number on them at least.

  22. 24 ZK
    May 21, 2008 at 00:45

    I wish Ted Kennedy the best. I do hope he manages to recover, or at least live to his fullest.

    Shirts: Interesting one. I don’t see how it’s ‘promoting terrorism’ unless something drastic is happening, like say the money from sales of the shirt is going to armed groups, Palestinian or otherwise.

    Lubna: The U.S. and Israel has a very strong bond. Mahmoud Abbas is not wrong, President Bush does have an “Israel bias”. As will all American Presidents until such a time the relations between the U.S. and Israel break down.

  23. 26 Venessa
    May 21, 2008 at 01:08

    While I would never purchases such a t-shirt it is a freedom of expression. If a store you frequent is carrying something offensive choose to spend your money elsewhere. Choose to be offended or not but free speech should not be regulated.

    I believe I heard something about some guy that had a sign reading “Bong hits 4 Jesus.” I’m sure plenty of people find that offensive but perhaps in his religion he believes Jesus smoked marijuana….(of course I’m being facetious)


  24. 27 Dennis/USA
    May 21, 2008 at 01:25

    @ the Hitler “restuarant”

    this is a place i would not go to…becuase it is not “my cup of tea”….

    Dennis~Madrid, United States of America

  25. 28 Virginia Davis
    May 21, 2008 at 01:57

    Note from Portland, OR: Have decided to go on down to the Benson in a couple of hours for Steve Novick’s election eve party. Am hoping he will win the Democratic nomination to go against (R) Senator Gordon Smith this fall. Just listened to HRC on NPR accept her win in Kentucky – she started out kind of “iffy” but concluded she is in the last 3 primaries. Heard of bit of McCain’s patter on SNL – lol.

    @ Will: interesting response to should Obama wait it out?


  26. May 21, 2008 at 02:10

    Hello all,

    I heard that George Bush had, “Kennedy in his prayers.” I don’t know it that bodes well for Senator Kennedy. I would wonder how that prayer would go anyway.

    How is it that Senator Larry Craig is still even on the radar? He co sponsored a bill to allow for Amnesty for illegal to address the nation wide agricultural worker crisis? A) Did anybody here about this “crisis” with the highest unemployment rate in 5 years? B) Should this kind of thing be attached to a war-spending bill?


  27. 30 Will Rhodes
    May 21, 2008 at 02:21

    From what I have just heard, Virginia, he has passed the majority number with the pledged delegates in Kentucky – now it is a wait to see how many and by how much he wins in Oregon.

    PS, my favourite State in the US!!

  28. May 21, 2008 at 02:58

    @ Everyone

    How does this sound to you, are you for it or against?

    Consider what this actually means for a ‘Free’ country.

    Ministers are to consider plans for a database of electronic information holding details of every phone call and e-mail sent in the UK, it has emerged.

    The plans, reported in the Times, are at an early stage and may be included in the draft Communications Bill later this year, the Home Office confirmed.

    A Home Office spokesman said the data was a “crucial tool” for protecting national security and preventing crime.

    I say “Welcome to 1984…”

    This would be a grave misstep for a ‘free society’.

  29. 33 f0rTyLeGz
    May 21, 2008 at 03:38


    I suppose it is cool to keep the fact that the call or email was sent… and received. BUT, I think the contents of the calls or emails should remain private.

    Just watched Obama’s speech in Des Moines, Iowa just now. It was great! Hillary supporters should remember that Obama has run a wonderful campaign, and Hillary has run an awful campaign.

  30. 34 Amy
    May 21, 2008 at 03:41


    Please feel free to drop by any time you are in Oregon! We’d love to have your here. That goes for all WHYS friends.

    Another 20 minutes until polls close here so it will be interesting to see what the break down is between Clinton and Obama.

    Amy in Beaverton

  31. 35 steve
    May 21, 2008 at 03:46

    Night people, I have to wake up at 530Am tomorrow. Wish me luck. I believe ZK is on or should be on soon. Good night.

  32. 36 Jonathan Rasmussen
    May 21, 2008 at 04:02

    Well, the incredible shrinking dollar hasn’t been much fun lately, but it does fit nicely into one’s wallet. Figuratively, it fits better every day.

    No surprises in the US primary elections. Interestingly, and sadly, they’re predictable along racial lines, but not simple ones. Obama wins states with large black populations AND states with SMALL black populations. Clinton wins in states with medium-sized (I think I heard between 6% and 16%) black citizens. I’m scratching my head over that one.

    I’m off to read those intriguing links about the proposed UK phone call database. For now, I can assure you that there almost certainly is (at least) one already. Probably three: one at BT, one each at UK and US intelligence services. I’ll return when I know what I’m talking about.

  33. 37 ZK
    May 21, 2008 at 04:16

    No worries, I’m around – let’s keep the discussions going.

    CNN now projecting a win for Sen Obama in Oregon.

  34. 38 Dennis/U.S.
    May 21, 2008 at 04:30

    Good Night, Steve!
    Good Afternoon, ZK!

    Dennis~Madrid, U.S.A.

  35. 39 Dennis in the U.S.A.
    May 21, 2008 at 05:22

    According to the U.S. media, Barack Obama has gotten the Majority of
    the “PLEDGED” delegates!

    Dennis~Madrid, U.S.A.

  36. 40 Dennis in the U.S.A.
    May 21, 2008 at 05:38

    Good night ZK!!!

    Dennis>Madrid, U.S.A.

  37. May 21, 2008 at 06:39

    Regarding t-shirt. I think it was a bad move. Middle east not the place to try out these creative ideas.

  38. 42 adam in portland
    May 21, 2008 at 06:47

    I do believe Obama has taken Oregon as expected. I can almost breath easier now.

    We’ll keep our collective fingers crossed for you on your exam.

    go away, your not Elvis for crying out loud

    If you should happen to be on this coast I’m with Amy,
    we’ll treat you to some fine coffee and even better ale.

    @everyone else
    I’m going to bed, hope to hear you on the air tomorrow.
    I like hearing the blog voices come to life on the radio makes that next step towards a world community feel more tangible. thanks to the night editors for another set of fine reading as i brush my teeth for bed.

  39. 43 f0rTyLeGz in Portland
    May 21, 2008 at 07:48

    @ Adam in Portland,

    How about that new mayor Sam Adams in Portland? Too cool!!

  40. 44 John in Germany
    May 21, 2008 at 08:51

    Hi all.

    Best wishes to those that are being examined, and hope you all come through with flying banners.

    Re Euros, just fold them, and they fit, or what’s wrong with the old clip. Do i detect a bit of Jealousy because the Euros a strong currency at the moment.

  41. 45 John in Germany
    May 21, 2008 at 08:53

    Whoops pressed the wrong key.

    Re Hilary, reminds me of the Titanic, going down but in magnificent Holywood style.

  42. 46 Jonathan Rasmussen
    May 21, 2008 at 11:19

    Re Hillary as the Titanic, yes, she’s going down in spectacular scale and style, and with a huge vortex, sucking everyone and everything in the vicinity down with her.

  43. May 21, 2008 at 12:49

    Re Hillary as the Titanic, yes, she’s going down in spectacular scale and style, and with a huge vortex, sucking everyone and everything in the vicinity down with her.

    …And the acting is just as bad as it is in ‘the movie’…

  44. 48 steve
    May 21, 2008 at 12:54

    Which primaries are left? I hope there is one in New England so I can hear Hillary fake a new england accent.

  45. 49 Virginia Davis
    May 21, 2008 at 13:44

    Sad – “the Democratic machine” prevails in Oregon, Novick defeated by 5 or so points. Virginia in Portland

  46. 50 Jonathan Rasmussen
    May 21, 2008 at 14:50

    Ha ha, steve, yes, it’s so very funny to hear her speech mutate, chameleon-like, during her sweep through the South, determined to win the (hardworking) hearts and (non-college-educated) minds of her (blue-collar, white) core constituents by sounding like them.

    I wonder if the trailer-park drawl is a turn-on for Bill. Now there’s a mental image! Intriguing. Repellent. Intriguing! Repellent! Argh!

  47. 51 Jonathan Rasmussen
    May 21, 2008 at 17:08

    Yo Ros, belated congrats on that award!

    I’m still learning the ropes here, but it looks like the government phone-call database proposal hasn’t caught your interest. Too bad. Then I saw that your phone records are already available to “hundreds of government agencies” by mere “request.” Amazing. I’d say the game is over already. Given your hundreds of thousands of TV cameras, and this laughable “request” standard, the UK need not worry about “sleepwalking into a surveillance society,” because it walked that walk long ago.

    I chuckled at the people who fear the data might not be “secure.” Folks, it’s going straight to the only entity empowered to arrest and imprison you, Who exactly is scarier than that, against whom it needs to be “secure?” Telemarketers?

    On a more cheerful note, Ros, the answer about “sexism” is no, Hillary is not right. Hillary is cynical, corrupt, deluded, and grasping at the thinnest of straws. The only mention I’ve heard of gender in the whole campaign was from her: Back when she was “inevitable,” she actually said “Don’t vote for me just because I’m a woman.” She departed that high road long ago, of course. By contrast, I long ago lost count of her sly, sneaky references to race. Now she complains of sexism that exists only in her own fevered fantasies.

    Finally, about The Children conceived in vitro at fertility centers, and their “fathers.” Common sense suggests, and empirical experience confirms, that children are best served by two loving, responsible parents who are mentally and socially fit for the task. Given that unassisted pregnancies are so often completely accidental, I’d guess that the proportion of straight parents who so qualify is somewhere south of 100%., and likely lower than that of the single mothers and lesbian couples who have planned this undertaking and gone to the effort and expense it requires. But why should I or anyone have to defend anything to the government? By what twisted nanny-state madness can this most intimate and private of matters be thought to be the proper place for so much as a single whispered suggestion by the government?

    It’s good to know that we Americans are not the troglodites on absolutely EVERYTHING these days.

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