Josh Harkinson

Josh Harkinson

Reporter

Born in Texas and based in San Francisco, Josh covers tech, labor, drug policy, and the environment.

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Abortion Clinics Resurrected as Fundamentalist Chapels

| Mon Nov. 13, 2006 5:18 PM EST

In a practice at least as old as the Crusades, Christian fundamentalists are converting conquered territory—in this case, abortion clinics—into chapels. According to the right-wing Family News in Focus, pro-lifers have purchased mothballed abortion clinics in five states for memorials to the "pre-born." FNIF happily notes that the number of abortion clinics in America has dwindled from a high of around 2,000 in the early '90s to only 750 today—presumably creating a buyer's market for the faithful.

The practice seems reminiscent of the Dark-Age sacking of mosques or the Spanish razing of Cuzco, right down to the hasty plans for remodeling. Notes FNIF:

[R]edeeming an abortion clinic means tearing down a few walls. When Central Women's Services in downtown Wichita closed, Troy Newman of Operation Rescue purchased it, then gutted the building.

"We're thrilled by the prospect of being in this building – having a chapel here where women can come and even mourn the loss of their baby."

He wants to build a prayer garden behind the building so women can leave flowers for the babies they lost to an abortion.

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The Post-Election Price of Oil: Up, Up, and Away?

| Fri Nov. 10, 2006 5:57 PM EST

The analysts at New York Global Securities, a major investment strategy firm, didn't see a plot by oil companies to lower prices during the election. But they do believe speculators will now push up the price of oil to the extent they believe the government will let them get away with it. From their October 18 report, Speculation in the Oil Market and the U.S. Midterm Elections:

We believe that following the U.S. midterm elections on November 7, 2006, the price of oil is likely to test the tolerance of the market and the new members of Congress; that is, we believe that after the elections oil will appreciate until there is fear in the market that Congress will take action. It is too early to speculate on the exact level of the increase, but our recommendation at this time is to become progressively long oil at these prices as the election approaches, with the expectation that a topping test pattern will become clear shortly after the election. We believe that the last three major declines in the price of oil coincided with various U.S. Senatorial hearings and expectations surrounding the upcoming U.S. midterm elections. We further believe that these events may have caused speculators within the oil markets to become cautious, resulting in a drop of more than 20% in the price of oil. With regard to the two prior declines, once the Senate hearings were over and the Senate did not take any significant action, the price of oil began to increase. We expect that following the current U.S. elections the price of oil will again rise testing the tolerance of the new Congress.

So far, it's too early to tell if NYGS will be right.

The Last Words

| Thu Nov. 9, 2006 9:20 PM EST

It's all too easy right now to make fun of Republicans, but I can't help but point out a blog post (the only blog post) from the National Republican Congressional Committee website Tuesday. Written in uncharacteristic bold face at 3:37 PM, as the routing was just getting underway, it says in its totality: "Happy Election Day!" Happy election day to you too! Anyway, as of today, that's still the last post. Couldn't they have taken a cue from the DCCC and instead written "Get Your Vote On"? Who knows, could have helped. The Republican National Committee and Senate Committee blogs have been equally silent since the election. The last post on the NRSC reads: "The NRSC is feeling very positive about recent election night developments." It goes on to trumpet returns in Virginia, Missouri and Tennessee before concluding: "I am sure we will have more good news to share as the evening progresses, so stay tuned!"

In the Heartland, a Vote for Separation of Church and State

| Thu Nov. 9, 2006 7:26 PM EST

From the Associated Press:

BOISE, Idaho — City voters have rejected a proposal to return a Ten Commandments monument to a public park in a referendum on religious displays on public property.

With 99% of precincts counted, the vote was 37,568 to 33,747, about 53% to 47% against moving the monument back to city property.

Boise's debate began in March 2004 after Mayor Dave Bieter and the City Council agreed to move a 40-year-old granite monument inscribed with the Ten Commandments from Julia Davis Park to an Episcopal church across the street from the Statehouse.

Was the vote a bellwether for Midwestern social values? Maybe, maybe not. For what's it's worth, the AP notes that Boise had removed the statue to avoid a lawsuit brought by Rev. Fred Phelps of Kansas, who sought to erect an anti-gay monument in the same park. So maybe people were expressing sympathy for gays. Either way, Boise is busting out.

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