Some must reads.

On the frankly astonishing coverage and outcomes of the Petraeus affair:

Oh, I’ve heard this high-minded stuff about how Petraeus and Allen shouldn’t have allowed themselves to get distracted when they’re commanding wars. Do we really think human beings function better when they are monomaniacally obsessed by one thing to the exclusion of all else? I’d have thought that distractions, and solace of one kind or another, are vital to the performance of any high-stress job. I’m not saying the U.S army should encourage affairs (oh by the way this really has opened up the whole question of straights in the military), but everyone needs time out, and not everyone plays Scrabble.

  •  David Simon (writer of, among other things, the Wire)

I’m neither an admirer nor detractor of General Petraeus.  But I am most definitely a detractor of what journalism has become in this country, of what passes for the qualitative analysis of our society and its problems.  And I’ve paid enough attention to the human condition to no longer take seriously the notion that anyone who lets penis or vagina rub against the wrong person, who is indiscreet in doing so, and who then tells the truth about it when confronted by an FBI agent is unfit for either citizenship or public service.

And a thoughtful prosecutor comments about the absurdities inherent in some anti-abortion positions.

So, personhood for a cluster of cells means that abortion could equal aggravated murder. Really, do Republicans want us prosecuting girls and women for the aggravated homicide of their zygotes? Is that the plan here? Do they actually want to impose the death penalty, or will life in prison be sufficient to satisfy their pathological need to punish women for the crime of being sexually active? Of course, if the woman is guilty, so is the man who facilitates her in procuring an abortion – boys, if you take your girlfriend to Planned Parenthood for an abortion, we’re going to imprison you both for murder. It’s called a “conspiracy.” In case you were wondering.

But if that isn’t their goal, if they would say “of course we don’t want that,” well, then, I have to ask, “what the hell do you want?” Because if you actually believe that a zygote is a person, then how can you demand anything less than justice for the murder victim? Acceptance of less than full accountability means that the zygote has less meaningful protection for its personhood than other persons. And if you can accept this, then it must mean that you don’t actually think it is a person, because we don’t have degrees of personhood in this country. If it is a person, then it absolutely must enjoy the same rights and protections of every other person. So, if you aren’t actually prepared to deal with the consequences that flow from granting it those rights and protections, then you cannot justify calling it a person. Words have power and meaning, and if even you don’t really think it is a person, then what the fuck are we all having this discussion for?

The rest of the article is equally compelling (and HT to Chris Carr for the link).