We all know that many lawmakers who are against Planned Parenthood mistakenly believe it’s just a government funded abortion clinic, but a congressman in South Dakota has taken being misinformed to a new level. Plus, if you’ve been dying to know how Allison Williams feels about the suspension of her father, I have an answer for you. I also have details about a nice consolation prize for deeply disappointed fans of The Daily Show.
Do you trust Allison Williams? Do you wish she played Pinocchio instead of Peter Pan for snark’s sake? Should the girls charged in Wisconsin for the Slender Man stabbings be tried as juveniles or adults? Discuss these questions or any news items in the comments or tweet me directly @AmandaLauren.
Planned Parenthood = ISIS?
South Dakota congressman Isaac Latterell has taken his disdain for Planned Parenthood to a new low. While campaigning for his recently passed House Bill 1230, he posted a statement on his website comparing the organization to ISIS in a post called “Planned Parenthood worse than ISIS and lying about it” (no, you can’t make this up),
Planned Parenthood abortionists in Sioux Falls are similarly beheading unborn children during dismemberment abortions.
House Bill 1230, which is also called “The Preborn Infant Beheading Ban of 2015,” could potentially put doctors who perform “dilation and evacuation” procedures in prison:
No licensed physician may knowingly behead a living unborn child with the intent of endangering the life or health of the child. A violation of this section is a Class 1 felony.
One major flaw of the bill is that it doesn’t actually make sense. Here’s why: D&E procedures are only performed after the 16th week of pregnancy. The lone abortion provider in South Dakota, which is a Planned Parenthood in Sioux Falls, doesn’t perform abortions after 14 weeks.
So, what’s the point of this bill? Lattrell thinks Planned Parenthood is essentially the biggest bully on the playground:
I am beyond angry at what Planned Parenthood is doing to us and to our children. In the words of David Brooks, their actions and their lies “show contempt for us and our morality,” “deny the slightest acknowledgment of our common humanity,” and “take the bully’s maximum relish in their power over the weak and innocent.”
Planned Parenthood’s Jennifer Aulwes addressed Lattrell’s statements rationally:
I think the majority of South Dakotans would agree that comparing Planned Parenthood to a terrorist organization is just going too far. No matter what you feel about abortion or about Planned Parenthood, it's an inflammatory and really inappropriate comparison.
Lattrell probably wouldn’t get along with his fellow New Hampshire lawmakers, not just Democrats, but also Republicans who recently shut down a bill (the proposal was defeated 216–142) that would have defunded Planned Parenthood in that state.
It seemed the lawmakers who introduced the bill in New Hampshire, like Lattrell, were angry about problems that don’t exist. New Hampshire gives Planned Parenthood $1.25 million a year, but the law forbids those funds to be used for abortions, so the money is allocated to the many other services the organization provides. However, not all lawmakers are convinced this is accurate, such as Representative Kathy Souza, R-Manchester,
How is this used? Not directly funding abortion. Enabling.
But, according to Planned Parenthood, most people aren’t going into the clinics to have an abortion; only about 6 percent do. Luckily, most lawmakers in the state have a grasp of this.
A similar bill was actually passed by the house in 2011, but failed to pass in the senate.
Should The Kids Accused In The Slender Man Attack Be Tried As Adults?
In May 2014, Morgan Geyser, 12, and Anissa Weier, 13, stabbed their friend Payton Leutner 19 times and left her for dead near the woods of Waukesha, Wisconsin. Luckily, a passing cyclist found Payton and she has since recovered, physically and emotionally.
Geyser and Weier confessed they committed this horrific act because Slender Man, a fictitious character, told them to do it. Slender Man started out as a meme on Something Awful and has since developed into a mythological creature of sorts, featured in various scary stories on websites such as Creepy Pasta. Unfortunately, the two girls believed he was real. Weier even believed that Slender Man would kill her own family if she did not kill Payton.
Disturbing evidence in the case was presented in court this week including notebooks that were found in Geyser’s bedroom. The pages contained various drawings of Slender Man with disturbing captions of his catchphrases, such as “no eyes, always watches.” One drawing actually resembled the crime, featuring a girl lying on the ground with the caption, “I love killing people.” Another one featured a girl next to a knife in a pool of blood with the caption “help me escape my mind.”
Prosecutors also presented photographic evidence of mutilated Barbie dolls with missing limbs as well as slash marks and Slender Man symbols drawn on the bodies.
Psychologist Deborah Collins testified Geyser has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and that the girl also believes she has “Vulcan mind control” and can talk to Harry Potter characters.
Preliminary hearings are currently determining if Weier and Geyser should be tried as adults. If the judge allows the prosecutor’s charge of first degree attempted homicide to stand, they will be tried as adults. If the charges are downgraded to second degree attempted homicide, the girls will be tried as juveniles. If they are tried as adults, Weier and Geyser could face up to 65 years behind bars.
Payton Leutner’s parents, who considered Geyser their daughter’s best friend up until the time of the incident, have not made a public statement regarding how they would like their daughter’s attackers to be tried.
Allison Williams Speaks Out About Her Father
During a Q&A this week with Seth Meyers at the 92 Street Y in New York, Allison Williams finally made a statement about her father, Brian Williams, who has been recently suspended for six months from his job at NBC Nightly News for lying about events that took place in Iraq during 2003. Not surprisingly, the actress defended her father:
It’s been incredible to experience the outreach from people you love, family, friends, and then people we don’t even know, strangers, just reaching out saying we want him back on TV . . . . It’s been tough, though. Obviously, toughest on my dad, who bears the full burden of responsibility for it, but one thing the experience has not done is shake my trust and belief in him as a man. He’s a really good man. He’s an honest man. He’s a truthful man. He has so much integrity. He cares so much about journalism.
Williams also said the public can trust her father because she says he is a good parent,
And yes, he’s a really good dad. I know you can trust him because, as any good daughter does, I’ve tested him on that.
Hopefully, her tests weren’t on the subjects of Iraq or Hurricane Katrina.
· Last xoNews, I talked about how the University of Massachusetts at Amherst was banning Iranian students from two graduate programs due to visa issues and compliance with the 2012 sanctions against Iran. The school has since reversed its decision, stating they would create “individualized study plans to meet the requirements of federal sanctions law and address the impact on students.”
· For those who are still mourning The Daily Show’s loss of Jon Stewart (if you missed it, he’s leaving at the end of this year), I have some news that might cheer you up. Last Week Tonight with Daily Show alum John Oliver was renewed for two more seasons of 35 episodes each, meaning your Sunday nights will be owned by HBO through 2017.
· On Wednesday, China bid nay to the Year of the Horse and said hello to the Year of the Sheep, or possibly the Year of the Goat and maybe the Year of the Ram. Actually, it’s the Year of the Yang. It turns out the Mandarin language doesn’t make the distinction between members of the Caprinae subfamily. A yang is basically any creature that eats grass, has hoofs, and makes a bleating sound. So, what year should we call it in Western countries? Zhao Shu, a folklore expert from the Beijing Institute of Culture and History, told The New York Times, “Goat and sheep are different in French and English, but what’s that got to do with Chinese traditional culture? In French, it’s translated as the Year of the Goat; and in English, it’s the Year of the Sheep.” No matter what you call it, happy Chinese New Year.