Today's Blogs

Opting for Plan B

Bloggers applaud the FDA’s go-ahead on allowing Plan B to be sold without a prescription. They also seethe over a Forbes column advising men to stay away from smart, employed women, and can’t quite figure out the motives of Russian math whiz Grigory Perelman.

Stomaching Plan B: After months of deferral, the FDA finally approved Plan B, the “morning-after” contraceptive pill, for over-the-counter sales in the United States for women 18 and over. The decision, supported by President Bush, was mired in “abortion politics” and actually led to the resignation of one female FDA employee. Cyberspace divides almost evenly along typical Roe v. Wade lines.

Californian Bruce Armstrong at OrdinaryEveryday Christian wonders what kind of born-again president would get behind such a drug and even uses the carnage of 9/11 to draw moral equivalence with all forms of planned parenthood: “So now we have a new, federally approved way to kill more babies - as if the million to million-and-a-half we’ve been killing each year weren’t enough.”

Catholic Eric Williams at RedBlueChristian argues that his pro-life comrades have get their ethical categories confused: “Plan B is not abortifacient. Repeating ‘abortion’ and ‘Plan B’ in the same sentence over and over won’t make it so. As a devout Catholic, I’m no more a fan of Plan B than I am of condoms (or any other form of contraception), but since neither kill unborn children, there’s no just reason for banning them. … This is a political albatross.”

“Pastordan” at Street Prophets, a left-leaning faith and politics blog, addresses the problem of pharmacists refusing to dispense controversial meds: “Letting consumers make the choice is a simple option, but hardly an ethically satisfying one, especially in a Wal-Mart world. … For that matter, I shouldn’t have to deal with a Scientologist behind the counter refusing to sell me anti-depressants and mood stabilizers. Freedom of conscience is freedom of conscience, after all, and pro-life Christians may very well find that it cuts both ways.”

You’ll never guess who comes out looking good to some female Republicans. “Though there is not much that we can give Hillary Clinton credit for,” writes Jen Saunders at New York Young Republican Record, “it appears that the hold she placed on the nomination of the acting FDA director may have finally spurred a decision from the agency. It hurts to say this, but Clinton has actually done something I approve of.”

Read more about Plan B.

Difficulties with girls:  Michael Noer at Forbes posted an opinion piece Tuesday claiming that men should not marry “career women”—university-educated, earning more than $30,000 a year—because it leads to such domestic nastiness as affairs (for her), bad housekeeping, and divorce. Noer cited a bunch of academic studies, which he then said didn’t really prove anything. Hostile reader response provoked Forbes to yank the piece, only to throw it back up Wednesday, alongside a with-all-due-respect-and-rage “counterpoint” by Elizabeth Corcoran.

A momentarily de-snarkified Gawker doesn’t like how Noer depicts career women as “shrieking harbingers of misery.” Also, what’s with the accompanying slide show of pictorial metaphors? “Did we need a close-up of a woman’s gelatinous fake tear to know what an unhappy wife looks like? That stock-photo man at right sure looks sad. If only he’d had the balls to send off for that Ukrainian mail-order bride.”

One point the Noer piece makes is that women who stay at home play at home—no two-martini lunches with the stud from Accounting. What’s the problem there? asksThe Hipster Pit, a female Chicagoan with nine reasons men should take wives with 9-to-5s: “She’s less likely to question your ‘business trips,’ if you know what I mean.  All you have to do is say, ‘Baby, you’re a career woman, you know what this is all about.’ (Number nine is: “She won’t notice you’re a douchebag.”)

Guest blogger Izzy Grinspan at the dizzies, a “diary with vertigo,” sees canceled Forbes subscriptions up ahead: “Clearly the Forbes editors understand that there are women in business, because they just ran an article about how nobody should ever marry them. But if Forbes is a magazine about business, and some people in business are women, then why would they run an article guaranteed to insult all women in business? It’s kind of like Pitchfork running an article about how nobody should ever marry a girl who likes indie rock.”

And don’t jilt  Donna at life, the universe, and donna because of her 401(k): “I’m a bad choice for a girlfriend because I’m a heinous bitch, not because I’ve got a good job.”

Read more about the Forbes piece. Also, Jack Shafer wrote yesterday in Slate that Noer’s “backlash” journalism didn’t warrant all the cyber-scorn.

Petrogratitude: Reclusive Russian mathematician Grigory Perelman, 40, has won the Fields Medal, math’s equivalent to the Nobel Prize, for cracking the century-old Poincaré conjecture. Only, he won’t accept. Ditto for the handsome $1 million check being offered for the “first published proof of the conjecture” and which he could evidently use. Bloggers try to surmise if Perelman’s a number-crunching Sartre, or even weirder.

Notes conservative John Derbyshire atThe Iconoclast, blog of the New English Review: “Well, he’s an odd bird.  Forty years old, lives with his Mum in St. Petersburg, doesn’t answer the phone.  Apparently he has given up math, though whether for philosophical reasons (which might be interesting) or personal ones (which probably wouldn’t be), I don’t know.”

Belgian JM at in this space equates Perelman’s eccentric no-thanks with the state of the Russian federation: “Although the mathematician doesn’t look likely to run for office anytime soon, he and [chess champ Garry] Kasparov make interesting points of reference for current Russian politics. The inscrutable, bullheaded authoritarianism of Putin’s government is reflected in these moody geniuses. … Putin, Perelman and Kasparov are not the types to explain their motives. They are far too concerned with carrying them out.”

Read more about the eccentric Perelman. In Slate, Jordan Ellenberg explained why the Poincaré conjecture matters.

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