Under the Magnolia
by Carolyn Miller
I give thanks because I do not have
a great sorrow. My village has not
burned, my child has not died, my body
is not ravaged. I sit here on the ground
lucky, lucky. Somewhere, villages are burning,
somewhere, not too far away, children
are dying; in this great urban park
painstakingly constructed over sand dunes,
people live in the flowering bushes. But
just here, in front of me, is a bride and groom;
here is a child running with
a red ball; another child is rolling on
the grass. All I have to do is to decide
how much fear to let inside my heart
in this fragile, created place, this bowl of grass
surrounded by palms and cypresses and
shaggy-barked cedars and trees
whose names I do not know, long fronds
falling, clusters of lilac fruits depending like
bouquets. All we can do is trust
that we belong here with the flowers: white
iris and Iceland poppies, a blur
of primroses, beds where flowers are
a crowd of color, where they close in the dark,
where the first light finds them starred
with dew. The trees seem to know
what I do not know; even the cultivated grass
understands some chain of being I can only
guess at, whether it is God's mind, or
the erotic body of the Goddess, or some
abstract kind of love, or
some longing for existence that includes
the fern trees, the new buds of cones on the
conifers, the white butterflies, the skating boys,
the hooked new buds of the magnolia
that look like claws holding on
to life, the curved thick petals of magnolia
in the grass, some gone to rust, some creased,
some streaked, others freckled, others magenta
at the curved stem end, others cracked,
all lined with long veins branching out
to the petal's edge.
And Now, Citizens of Maryland, including all my liberal friends who were too busy or too unconcerned to go to the polls on election day...
WE ARE GETTING THE GOVERNMENT YOU DESERVE, BUT UNFORTUNATELY ALL THE REST OF US HAVE TO LIVE WITH!
Ehrlich May Back Abortion Restraints
Tougher Consent Bill For Minors Possible
By Lori Montgomery
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 10, 2002; Page B01
Gov.-elect Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. said yesterday that he would consider supporting legislative efforts to restrict abortions in Maryland, including requirements for parental consent for underage girls.
In an interview yesterday, Ehrlich said he intends to make good on a campaign promise to keep money in the budget to pay for abortions for poor women under most circumstances. But he said his hands would be tied if antiabortion lawmakers stripped that provision from the state budget.
Ehrlich also said he would support a ban on the late-term procedure that opponents call "partial birth" abortion, a position he has consistently held in Congress but played down during the campaign.
"If a constitutional partial-birth bill makes it through [the legislature], I'll sign it," he said.
As for other restrictions, he said, "It's something we'll have to take a look at." Ehrlich urged voters to trust his judgment on the issue, saying, "My views are by any measure mainstream. We'll just take it one step at a time."
Maryland has some of the nation's most liberal laws on abortion, and opponents have failed repeatedly over the past two decades to rally support for new restrictions. But with the election of Ehrlich, the state's first Republican governor in more than three decades, abortion opponents have fresh hopes of limiting access to the procedure when the General Assembly meets next month.
Past votes have been close. In 1999, a bill that would have banned the late-term abortions passed the Senate and failed in the House by three votes. This year, a move to strip state funding for some abortions from the budget failed by a single vote in the Senate.
The state's leading antiabortion organizations, the Maryland Catholic Conference and Right to Life of Maryland, say they have yet to identify their legislative priorities. But in interviews yesterday and during the state Republican Party convention this weekend, Republican lawmakers said they would press ahead with legislation to limit access to abortion.
"The governor is clearly a moderate on right-to-life issues. But we're hoping he'll support some common-sense changes," said Sen. Andrew P. Harris (R-Baltimore County), a leader in the antiabortion movement. "I don't expect there will be silence on this issue for four years."
Abortion rights advocates said they are alarmed by Ehrlich's willingness to consider new restrictions. Though his record in Congress is mixed on the issue, Ehrlich stated repeatedly in television ads and political mailings during the governor's race that he would protect abortion rights if elected.
"He campaigned as a fully pro-choice candidate, and we expect him to be a fully pro-choice governor," said Nancy C. Lineman, executive director of the Maryland chapter of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League. "If he's not, he will hear from the pro-choice majority in Maryland -- and often."
Lineman said it was not clear whether antiabortion legislation could win approval in the General Assembly, which remains under Democratic control. The House and Senate are dominated by lawmakers who support abortion rights, including the new House speaker, Del. Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel). The former speaker, Casper R. Taylor Jr. (D-Allegany), opposed abortion. But rank-and-file lawmakers are split.
Republican lawmakers say they are likely to introduce bills in the coming session that would require minors to secure a parent's consent before receiving an abortion. Maryland law requires that doctors attempt to notify parents before performing an abortion on an unmarried woman younger than 18.
Lawmakers said they also are likely to seek a ban on partial-birth abortions, which Ehrlich has voted for in Congress as recently as July. The U.S. Supreme Court struck down Nebraska's ban on the procedure two years ago, however, and such a law would be immediately challenged if it passed in Maryland, abortion rights advocates said.
There also is strong support among Republican lawmakers to try again to ban taxpayer funding of abortion, particularly when the state is facing a projected shortfall of nearly $1.8 billion.
While the federal government bans the use of federal tax dollars for abortion, Maryland is among 16 states that allow poor women to receive the procedures at state expense in most circumstances. Six other states, including Virginia, pay for abortions in cases of rape, incest and if the woman's life or health is endangered. Last year, more than 3,300 Maryland women received abortions at state expense.
© 2002 The Washington Post Company
Hmm...this will probably be illegal in Ehrlich's Maryland too...
I suppose you could be really gay with this one, but it really describes
Willow's happy Tara-time. You snuggle, and make cute little sexual jokes
all the time. You and your current honey have great chemistry, which is
cool, because they are your life. Normally people would hate you for being
so happy, but they just can't.
Wanna see which Willow you are? Take the test!
I stay away from most Harry Potter fic -- I just can't handle under-age wizards doing it with over-age wizards, even when the under-age wizards have ostensibly been aged a couple of years to make them technically legal. But this morning I read a thing of true beauty: a Remus/Sirius story. With actual, umm, lupinism. (There must be a Latin term for sex with werewolves.) Anyway, this is the author's web site and she writes Smallville too. Woo hoo!