No more protections for faith healers in Oregon

It seems like all I’ve been seeing is terrible legislative news the past few weeks. It’s so nice to see an elected body, somewhere, actually doing something good for a change:

The Oregon House approved a bill Thursday that would remove legal protection for parents who choose faith healing over medical intervention when treating their children.

The bill passed unanimously, though two Republican representatives raised concerns that the legislation was taking the issue away from juries and sending the state down a slippery slope.

The legislation comes in response to an Oregon City church, the Followers of Christ, that has a long history of child deaths even though the conditions from which the children died were medically treatable.

Currently, spiritual treatment can be used as a defense against some* homicide charges. The bill would eliminate that defense and subject parents who chose faith healing over medical treatment at the expense of their child’s life to mandatory sentencing under Measure 11.

Faith healing has been one of the shining examples of how we give undue respect to religion. These abhorrent laws have taken the protections already granted by the constitution and twisted them into legal defenses for neglectful parents. I am absolutely ecstatic to see them get thrown away in Oregon.

Twenty-nine states to go.

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TeenNick to bring back the 90’s

I’m not sure if TeenNick is different from Nickelodeon insofar as it’s a different channel or insofar as it’s a different sort of programming on the same station a la Nick@Nite, but whatever it is, it has some damned smart executives:

TeenNick will dust off old faves like Rugrats, Kenan & Kel, Pete & Pete, The Amanda Show, All That and Clarissa and air them in a new midnight-to-2 a.m. programming block dubbed (appropriately enough) The ’90s Are All That. The tween cabler came up with the idea after seeing the huge interest in early Nickelodeon programming on social media sites. There are several Facebook pages — followed by millions of fans — that are devoted to Nickelodeon shows from the ’90s.

Naturally, no one gives two shits about anything Keenan Thompson has ever done, but I like the idea of bringing back good shows like Pete & Pete. I’m unlikely to watch very much, if any, of this programming, but it embiggens my heart to know that another generation gets to experience some of the same programming I had growing up. It’s a lot like how Nick@Nite made me an expert in I Love Lucy and The Dick Van Dyke Show by bringing them back so many years after the fact. (Do you know there are people who don’t remember That Girl, much less Marlo Thomas?) I’m glad today’s tween generation has a quality opportunity to get familiar with some quality television of the past.

Of course, there are several shows missing from the lineup already. Salute Your Shorts, Hey, Dude!, Are You Afraid of the Dark? These are key 90’s Nickelodeon pieces of art. When you go retro you pick the best of the best of a generation (which makes the presence of All That confusing here).

Ironic quote of the day

I don’t think that God is going to allow some crazy guy like Ahmadinejad to blow up the world with an atomic weapon. I just don’t think he’s going to allow it. Now, God may bring a meteor on us, and we’ll know who did it. But he’s not going to turn this world loose to the crazies.

~Pat Robertson

Detecting rhetoric

I’ve talked about my appreciation of rhetoric on here a few times. Ed Brayton of Scienceblogs picks out some of Newt Gingrich’s quite nicely:

Here’s an incredible statement from an interview Newt Gingrich did with the 700 Club that shows exactly how not to show remorse for having done something wrong. When asked about his multiple infidelities and hypocrisies, this is the very first thing he said:

There’s no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate.

See, he wasn’t driven by passions of the flesh, he was driven by passion for his country. And that’s why “things happened” — not the passive voice. He didn’t do something wrong, something wrong merely happened as a result of having too much patriotism. How utterly pathetic.

This is a tactic that gets used all the time. It removes responsibility from actual people and shifts it to some nebulous floating whatever. Slimey, sure. But good rhetoric? You betcha.