January 24, 2020

Donald Trump and the moral decline of the pro-life movement
Donald Trump's decision to become the first president ever to attend the annual March for Life in Washington on Friday is a very big deal for both the Republican Party and the pro-life movement — though not in the way that either of them fully realizes.Trump's embrace of the anti-abortion movement has been driven from the beginning by political expediency. With various factions of the Republican Party establishment opposing him in the 2016 primaries, the Trump campaign made the decision to champion the religious right, including its pro-life activist base, which then reciprocated by turning out to vote. As president, Trump has rewarded this support with White House access and respect for the movement's leadership, as well as record numbers of staunchly conservative judicial appointments that just might lead to decisions upholding restrictions on abortion that render the key abortion rights decisions, Roe v. Wade (1973) and Casey v. Planned Parenthood (1992), effectively null and void.Still, at the symbolic level nothing has come close to matching Trump's announcement on Wednesday that this year he would be attending (and presumably speaking at) the March for Life, the demonstration in the nation's capital that is held annually on or close to the anniversary of the Roe decision and regularly draws tens of thousands of pro-lifers.The significance for the GOP of Trump's scheduled appearance at the rally is a function of what it demonstrates retrospectively about the place of the pro-life movement in the party. Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush may have been personally committed to the anti-abortion cause, and Trump may be entirely driven by concern over his prospects for re-election and his need to keep Republican office-holders firmly in his camp through the Senate impeachment trial. Yet the former presidents kept the movement at arm's length and the latter has unapologetically embraced it. Donald Trump is now poised to be the greatest presidential champion of the pro-life cause in American history.That's a big change for the GOP, which has long tried to have it both ways — doing just enough to win loyal support from grassroots pro-life activists but not so much that it antagonizes pro-choice voters who have been willing to cast ballots for the party despite its nominal support for the anti-abortion cause. Such balancing will now be much more difficult if not impossible with the head of the party so forthrightly embracing the pro-life position.But Trump's unmodulated support of the pro-life cause is a much bigger and more portentous change for the movement itself.Nationwide opposition to abortion began with outspoken Catholic bishops immediately after Roe was handed down and was at first joined by greater numbers of Democrats than Republicans. These activists originally saw themselves as leading a civil rights crusade in favor of defending the most vulnerable members of society (the unborn) against lethal violence. This construal of the cause has animated and sustained it for nearly 50 years, long past the realignment that saw it become a foundational issue for a religious right dominated by evangelical Protestants.All along, critics of the anti-abortion movement have dismissed its moral appeals and deployment of the language of civil rights, calling it window dressing on a cause that is really motivated by hostility to feminism — and above all, by the drive to limit women's autonomy, stymie their career ambitions, and reaffirm the primacy of their social role as mothers.For decades the pro-life movement has fought this characterization. In doing so, it has drawn on the rhetoric of such anti-abortion crusaders as Richard John Neuhaus, who adapted language from his days marching for civil rights with Martin Luther King, and the rationalist and universalistic moral arguments of legal philosopher Robert P. George, who has appealed to the tradition of natural law theorizing in forging his arguments against abortion.The moral message of these men is simple and powerful: The fetus is a member of the human species from the time of conception; all members of the human species, no matter how small, weak, or dependent, possess innate dignity and hence a right to life; all abortion is therefore the taking of an innocent human life and so must be outlawed along with other forms of murder. This was a line of argument about the rights and legal status of the fetus, not one about the proper place of women in American society.But a pro-life movement whose greatest political champion is Donald Trump has no hope for maintaining such a high-minded construal of its motives and priorities. When Trump speaks at the March for Life, the country will see the pro-life cause forthrightly advocated by a serial adulterer who's repeatedly been accused of rape, who cheated on his wife with a porn star shortly after the birth of their son, and who has been caught on tape bragging about his facility at sexual assault. Trump has spent a lifetime using women for his own gratification and then tossing them away like garbage — and he will now be the most powerful and prominent promoter of a movement that would prevent the victims of such treatment from asserting some modicum of control over its consequences on their bodies and future lives.That's a pro-life movement that actively aims not to protect the vulnerable from lethal violence but to severely constrain and restrict women's freedom.The practical consequences for the movement are likely to be bad. While some recent polling indicates a modest rise in the popularity of the pro-life label — showing perhaps that continuing advances in ultrasound technology are increasing moral unease about opting for abortion — other polls show a more dramatic spike in support for upholding Roe and the constitutional right to choose. This is a powerful sign that, as we've also seen with shifts in public opinion in favor of immigration over the past few years of nativist cruelty and xenophobia from the administration, Trump tends to turn people against the very causes he champions.By locking arms with a polarizing, deeply unpopular, and morally repulsive president, the pro-life movement is likely to end up losing at the very moment it feels closest to winning.More stories from theweek.com Trump debuts official Space Force logo — and it's literally a ripoff of Star Trek Despite apparent preference for 'moderate' candidate, Iowans back Sanders in latest poll Trump is winning the impeachment battle — but losing the war
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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