Monday, June 30, 2003
Justice Stephen Breyer, joined by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, however, disagreed with the others on this procedural point, and expressed a view on the substance as well: Because the commercial message (buy our shoes) was mixed with a political message (our political opponents are wrong), and was presented outside a traditional advertising medium, it should have been treated as fully protected.If the California court rules against Nike, it may still be overturned by the Supreme. that would be good news.
Moreover, Justice Breyer suggested, the particular structure of the California false advertising law was unconstitutional as well. The law lets any citizen sue over allegedly false or misleading statements by a business. In this respect, the law differs from traditional false advertising laws used by government agencies, or by people who actually bought a company's products in reliance on the ads. This, Justice Breyer said, lets "a large and hostile crowd freely . . . bring prosecutions designed to vindicate their beliefs," without facing the practical constraints that keep prosecutors focused on genuinely economically harmful conduct -- and, he reasoned, the risk of such lawsuits may deter businesses from participating in public debates.
Crouch would disagree with me, too, but jazz ended a few years after World War Two. Bebop was the death knell, as jazz became less about dancing and more about theory, chops, breaking boundaries. (This is not to say that it's all worthless after that, but it's not jazz, just as rock and roll is not blues -- related, common roots, an offspring of blues even, but not blues.) Some of it is related to jazz. The cool stuff that came from Gil Evans and Miles obviously owes a great deal to Ellington, but it is essentially chamber music for jazz instruments. For too much of the jazz press, jazz is an anything-you-want-it-to-be category. Any thing that's not explicitly not-jazz is jazz. Crouch is an antidote to that.
As for the racial aspects, jazz is, in Crouch's words, "Negro music." Whites have made great contributions, but it's not their music -- any more than Bossanova is North American music because Stan Getz played it so well.
10. Take a jacuzzi with Michael Moore
9. Watch an Elimidate marathon
8. Cut off Snoop Dogg in traffic
7. Wipe my ass with a rose bush
6. Play golf with Bill Clinton
5. Double date with Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger
4. Lick every manhole cover in NYC
3. Towel boy at a Meatloaf concert
2. Convert the New York Stock Exchange from a decimal based system back to a fraction system with a pencil and paper
1. Pay somene whatever the fuck it costs to move my shit for me
So grass-court tennis has become more like tennis on hard courts. Hit a big serve. Stay back. And wait to hit a short forehand for a winner.Now, an alarming number of points still come from unreturnable serves, or from rallies in which the returner is never really in the point. The matches may be a bit longer, but not particularly more interesting. This is partly because, while power has increased in importance, strategy has not. (The exception her is the brief dominance of Martina Hingis on the ladies' side. That the petite Swiss could handle the Williamses and Davenport made things very interesting. Justine Henin has some of the same ability.) So two baseliners playing it out at Wimbledon can be nearly as much of a yawn as two big-hitting server-and-volley players going five sets with only a comparative handful of contested points. In any number of big men's matches, service breaks are quite rare.
The Journal points to Andy Roddick as the new Wimbledon player:
But Mr. Roddick's serve is not only blazingly fast, it's also remarkably effective, winning more than 70% of his service points. Even more importantly, that serve holds up under pressure. He plays the big points supremely well, fighting off 66.7% of break points. All this adds up to making Mr. Roddick the world's toughest player to break, with an incredible 89.1 hold percentage.It's true that players like Lleyton Hewitt and Andy Roddick look to the style of, say, Ivan Lendl. (Amazingly, Lendl, the ice-master of the baseline, served and volleyed at SW19.) But it hasn't been that long since Sampras dominated SW19, with Pat Rafter and Richard Krajicek not far behind. It might be worth waiting to see if the trend holds up. Either way, a smaller racquet would put some life back into the game. But that won't happen soon. For better or worse, the ATP markets itself as a power sport now.
I'm going to talk about some other things for a while.
Friday, June 27, 2003
A thought apropos Justice Scalia's dissent in Lawrence v. Texas: When constructing a parade of horribles, the possibility that "state laws against . . . masturbation" (pp. 5-6 of Scalia's dissent) would be "called into question" isn't a terribly persuasive float.I bet a lot of us had thoughts along those lines yesterday, but none said it so well.
Thursday, June 26, 2003
Animated videos such as Pinnochio and Hercules were also among the items thrown in the fire, which also included Pearl Jam and Black Sabbath CDs, and pamphlets from Jehovah's Witnesses.The congregation's spokesman expressed concern that Harry Potter promotes "sorcery, witchcraft-type things, the paranormal, things that are against God."
How tough a job is Sorcery Promoter?
Investigators say Helen Connor, 40, doused her husband with gasoline and set him on fire at their home on 2nd Avenue Thursday morning.What's astonishing is that the man would sleep in the house after the first icident.
As [Andy Roddick] floated a backhand down the court, a fan called "Out" from the crowd and Rusedski stopped playing the point. The umpire subsequently gave the point to Roddick and refused to allow a let for the interjection from the crowd.I think I would have loudly demanded a f*cking let, too. Worse yet is the embarrassing opinion piece by Christine Brennan, who has the dubious distinction of being wrong every time she sets pen to paper, in USA Today. She begins by introducing Rusedski as "A Brit (actually a Canadian who became a Brit to try to become more rich and famous at Wimbledon, but that's another story)" who had "[o]ne of the silliest and most unwarranted temper tantrums in Centre Court history . . . that almost had [John] McEnroe blushing in the BBC booth." And she quotes McEnroe:
When a tennis player's behavior shocks McEnroe, you know it's pretty bad. "From someone who quite honestly has lost it - I'm speaking of myself - it doesn't make any sense," McEnroe said on the air. "It's an embarrassing way for him to walk off the court. "Crap. McEnroe has done worse -- far worse -- and he knows it. McEnroe is, in my opinion, the most talented guy to ever pick up a racquet, but for him to play the voice of reason here is insulting beyond words. As for Brennan, who knows why she should choose to be so spiteful toward Rusedski, except, perhaps, that she knows she's full of shit and needs to play the scold to feel better.
Notwithstanding this, I recognize that as a member of this Court I am not empowered to help petitioners and others similarly situated. My duty, rather, is to "decide cases 'agreeably to the Constitution and laws of the United States.' " Id., at 530. And, just like Justice Stewart, I "can find [neither in the Bill of Rights nor any other part of the Constitution a] general right of privacy," ibid., or as the Court terms it today, the "liberty of the person both in its spatial and more transcendent dimensions," ante, at 1.
Men and women, heterosexuals and homosexuals, are all subject to its prohibition of deviate sexual intercourse with someone of the same sex. To be sure, §21.06 does distinguish between the sexes insofar as concerns the partner with whom the sexual acts are performed: men can violate the law only with other men, and women only with other women. But this cannot itself be a denial of equal protection, since it is precisely the same distinction regarding partner that is drawn in state laws prohibiting marriage with someone of the same sex while permitting marriage with someone of the opposite sex.It's a great piece of reasoning, up to the end when Scalia uses the marriage restriction to, as Razor likes to say, put the rabbit in the hat. Likewise, when O'Connor makes the argument that the law affects homosexuals as a distinct group, Scalia is again on the ball:
Of course the same could be said of any law. A law against public nudity targets "the conduct that is closely correlated with being a nudist," and hence "is targeted at more than conduct"; it is "directed toward nudists as a class." But be that as it may. Even if the Texas law does deny equal protection to "homosexuals as a class," that denial still does not need to be justified by anything more than a rational basis, which our cases show is satisfied by the enforcement of traditional notions of sexual morality.Again, it's pretty reasonable, up to the end. I know that the court, particularly Scalia's side, is typically averse to the recognition of unenumerated rights (though I'm pretty certain that the 9th Amendment demands attention in that matter), but Reynolds has a good short summary of why the onus is, in this case, not on the individual to prove a new right. It's on the government to do more to prove the necessity of an incursion into the realm of liberty. The Constitutionalist argument cuts both ways in this case. Surely it's possible to argue that the Constitution mentions no specific right to privacy; just as surely can it be argued that the Constitution nowhere enumerates any powers that would be odious to the concept of privacy and, in fact, is in spirit quite contrary to such powers (as in the 4th and 5th Amendments). In combination with the 9th Amendment, the plain text would indicate that it is up to the government to make a compelling case that a law threatening privacy or liberty is warranted. I see no such argument.
This decision went 6-3, even worse than I predicted. But I have nailed the outcome on all the cases so far.
P.S. O'Connor seems to hang her hat on the "moral disapproval" issue - that being it's not rational to create a law just because you disapprove of a class of people in general (as opposed just to their conduct). I'm not sure that's true exactly, but I get where she's going. She's objecting to a sort of thought police - where the government looks into your mind and heart before you do anything, and criminalizes your desires. It's important because it smacks the Santorum/Scalia logic back to the pool of stupid ideas where it belongs, i.e. "I have nothing against homosexuals, just everything they do and stand for."
"The court has largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda," Scalia wrote for the three, according to the AP. He took the unusual step of reading his dissent from the bench. "The court has taken sides in the culture war," Scalia said, adding that he has "nothing against homosexuals."
That last bit is just a tad gratuitous. I don't understand how you can have "nothing against homosexuals," and yet still try to criminalize their behavior. Don't those two positions seem at odds with eachother. I understand that Scalia would say he's just upholding a state's right to govern its people, but his quote about the "homosexual agenda" reveals his true stripes. Comments like that do a disservice to his intelligence.
Texas attempts to justify its law, and the effects of the law, by arguing that the statute satisfies rational basis review because it furthers the legitimate governmentalMeanwhile, Kennedy, writing for the majority, points to due process via Griswold:
interest of the promotion of morality. In Bowers, we held that a state law criminalizing sodomy as applied to homosexual couples did not violate substantive due process. We rejected the argument that no rational basis existed to justify the law, pointing to the government's interest in promoting morality . . . This case raises a different issue than Bowers: whether, under the Equal Protection Clause, moral disapproval is a legitimate state interest to justify by itself a statute that bans homosexual sodomy, but not heterosexual sodomy.
In Griswold the Court invalidated a state law prohibiting the use of drugs or devices of contraception and counseling or aiding and abetting the use of contraceptives. The Court described the protected interest as a right to privacy and placed emphasis on the marriage relation and the protected space of the marital bedroom.Which reasoning goes a long way toward explaining the GOP line that they'd like to see sodomy laws repealed, but not by the courts. They were loath to see someone like Kennedy affirm Griswold so clearly.
The year-by-year fluctations between surpluses and deficits are smoothed in the table for clarity.This is a statisticians way of comparing apples and oranges. Smoothed averages of 8 years (or 4, on two occasions) of spending in previous administrations compared with one year of actual spending and one year of projected spending for W. Bush.
Now look at the larger table again. If you were to compare year for year, instead of some trumped-up comparision that looks good for your party, you see an entirely different story.
You come see me when you have numbers that don't have to be fudged.
John Hawkins: Do you think the left has largely gotten a pass for being so completely, utterly, and entirely wrong about the effects of Reagan's decision to abandon detente and challenge the Soviet Union?Another good bag-of-softballs interview at RWN.
Ann Coulter: The fact that there still is a Democratic Party proves that.
. . .
John Hawkins: Was the timing of the release of "Treason" related to when Hillary's book was coming out?
Ann Coulter: HILLARY'S GOT A BOOK COMING OUT? You're kidding - I didn't hear a thing about it. Actually I waited 2 extra weeks just to give Hillary a chance to read her own book.
The free speech (Nike) case will go against Nike, also 5-4, which will be the most stunning blow to the 1st Amendment in many, many years.
As for the death penalty case, I'm sympathetic, and I think the court will be too. There are a lot of kinks to be worked out of the legal system before I can support capital punishment (if I ever do) again. One of those is court-appointed lawyers who don't offer a vigorous defense. How pervasive is the problem? Who cares? Everyone deserves a competent defense, no less so in a capital case.
The other two cases I know little about. The statute of limitations case is tricky. I don't think there should be a limit for child abuse or molestation; but if there is one, and it is repealed to re-open a case, I start to smell ex post facto trouble. And with the redistricting case, god only knows these days. You'll know things are really bad when the 9th district in Ohio starts picking up voters in Indiana. Until then, it's the Supreme Court's Rorshach blot test, nothing more.
Okay, my bets are in.
Wednesday, June 25, 2003
Note the game proposed in the first comment under Tim's post: "Go to google and do a search on the words: 'EU', 'regulation', and a noun of your choice. It's right scary!"
Oh, and the headline. Check it out: "Expert Said to Tell Legislators He Was Pressed to Distort Some Evidence." Remember, on the web this shows up directly under a bad-news Iraq story. And remember, the story isn't really about what the headline says. Now, why would the Times do all this? I can see two possibilities:
1) The Times knows less about the media and the effects of story placement and headline content than this dipshit non-professional.
2) The Times knows plenty about content and layout and did this on purpose.
I'll give you two guesses which is more likely.
Tuesday, June 24, 2003
Thank you, ladies and germs. I'll be here all week.
The "educational benefit" that the University of Michigan seeks to achieve by racial discrimination consists, according to the Court, of " 'cross-racial understanding,' " ante, at 18, and " 'better prepar[ation of] students for an increasingly diverse workforce and society,' " ibid., all of which is necessary not only for work, but also for good "citizenship," ante, at 19. This is not, of course, an "educational benefit" on which students will be graded on their Law School transcript (Works and Plays Well with Others: B+) or tested by the bar examiners (Q: Describe in 500 words or less your cross-racial understanding). For it is a lesson of life rather than law--essentially the same lesson taught to (or rather learned by, for it cannot be "taught" in the usual sense) people three feet shorter and twenty years younger than the full-grown adults at the University of Michigan Law School, in institutions ranging from Boy Scout troops to public-school kindergartens.
Now that is some motherf*cking jurisprudence. Here's the whole opinion (the law school one).
For the president, the missing weapons are not a political problem. Frank Luntz, a Republican pollster, says Americans are happily focused on Iraqis liberated rather than WMD not found, so we "feel good about ourselves."This is an important distinction that the Democrats aren't making, but should. The Bush Doctrine was explicitly non-humanitarian, and not about nation-building. To be fair, the administration did cite the tyranny of Saddam, the suffering of the Iraqi people, and the plight of the Kurds, all reasons that quite a few liberals were prepared to get behind. But Bush, in the end, did choose to hang his hat on the WMD peg. If nothing else, we once again have a host of questions to answer about the quality of our intel.
But unless America's foreign policy is New Age therapy to make the public feel mellow, feeling good about the consequences of an action does not obviate the need to assess the original rationale for the action.
They're trying to make it clear that if they feel themselves to have been pushed too far, then they'll attack south. It's not that they think they'll win; they know they'll lose, and their regime will be obliterated (either with nuclear weapons or by conventional force of arms). It's that in doing so they will be able to inflict intolerable damage on South Korea directly, and on us indirectly through economic effect of having the SK economy collapse, as well as in other ways (e.g. direct military casualties).It's worth reading the whole thing, though it is quite long. For my part, I think Den Beste is spot on. The absolute hollowness of the Northern economy, the starvation, and the utter backwardness of the populace (recall that this is a country that still views Kim Il Sung as divine and Kim Jong Il as his semi-divine essence) conspire to give North Korea no choice but brinkmanship. They're surely not going to lean toward reform. Kim's only choice is to push the west and hope that our reluctance to fight buys another 1994, another treaty (for him to ignore), another influx of aid, another few years for his bizarre and delusional regime.
At any rate, actual proof of a historical Jesus would, I suspect, carry a bushel of disappointment and confusion for every grain of consolation.
When I'm president, we'll do executive orders to overcome any wrong thing the Supreme Court does tomorrow or any other day.What was that Kinsley definition of a gaffe again? I think it's when you accidentally say what you really think ...
Peck is brilliant in the role of Atticus, particularly the way in which he underplays the conflict he obviously feels in taking an unpopular case in a very small town. See the scene in which the judge arrives to ask him to take up the defense. There are no obvious christ-like, rolling-eyes, let-this-cup-pass theatrics. But it is still very clear that Atticus is a reluctant counsel. Great understatement -- a lost craft.
I was all set for a clear violation of the long-accepted "community standards" norm, but now I'll just shut up:
Four justices said the law was constitutional, and two others said it was allowable as long as libraries disable the filters for adult patrons who ask. The law does not specifically require the disabling.The decision itself sounds fair to me. Since I'm not a big fan of federal funding for community resources anyway, I don't much care about libraries losing funding. (Although I think the federal-funds bullying that comes out of Washington is an example of the totalitarianism-with-a-smile mindset so common in congress.) In the end, you can still get your T&A fix at the public library, but you may have to ask the grandmotherly lady behind the counter to "switch on the dirty pictures, please." (Don't kid yourself. She knows all of the best sites, too.)
Monday, June 23, 2003
It's like when you get engaged," says Simmons of the Graham campaign. "You don't actually have the engagement party the day you get engaged."Post writer Mark Leibovich helps extend the analogy:
In the case of his candidate, Simmons says, Graham proposed to the country in February, but he didn't hold his engagement party until May. Howard Dean's engagement party starts at noon. In lieu of presents, send satellite trucks.
A police officer who was fired for violating an obscure state law banning smoking among public safety workers plans to fight his dismissal, which was based on an anonymous letter.That's right, state officials, even off duty cops, are not allowed to smoke cigarettes (or presumably cigars or pipes). Not even on private property. I'm absolutely at a loss to understand this. My brain is overwhelmed with stupidity. My only question is how bad is this cop gonna kick the ass of the person who sold him out. (linkprops to David Kaufman)
Nevertheless, the ACLU is oh-so-right on the vital and timely constitutional issues of free speech and protection of people from unreasonable and intrusive government action.I am sympathetic to this argument, but I'm still not sure of the ACLU. Their concern over government intrusion on civil liberties seems to rise and fall with the change of party in the White House. If they saw the transfer of power to a large, central government as an intrusion, even when it's done by a democrat, I'd be more supportive. Bailey does list many concerns regarding the Bush administration and its treatment of capturees in its post-9/11 war on terrorism. But he doesn't convince me that this is leading to a scenario where liberty is any more scarce than it was when he was still throwing away ACLU correspondance.
Incidentally, though some defenders of race preferences dislike the use of the term "discrimination" in this context, that's exactly what it is. As the Supreme Court has held, City of Los Angeles Dep't of Water & Power v. Manhart, 435 U.S. 702, 711 (1978) (opinion of Justice Stevens, joined by, among others, Justice Marshall), the "simple test" for what "constitutes discrimination" is whether a program "treats a person in a manner which but for that person's sex would be different" (in the context of sex discrimination), and the same, it seems to me, is equally true for race, religion, national origin, and so on. And "considering race as" even "one modest factor" in decisionmaking necessarily treats some people "in a manner which but for that person's [race] would be different."There's so much more to read from him, especially now, as he's about to dig in to the ruling on the Child Internet Protection Act.
At the end of his piece, though, Beinart wanders off with this musing:
Second, if the Bush administration isn't prepared to save countries like Liberia, perhaps its supporters could at least stop lecturing Europe about our morally superior foreign policy.I seem to recall the moral lecturing as proceeding in exactly the opposite direction. If it has become more obvious that Bush sold the war to America on exaggerated claims of a threat, it has also become more obvious that "old" Europe passed an opportunity to depose a tyrant for reasons that were deeply self-serving, all the while congratulating themselves for their sophistication and moral superiority.
"If this president tries to send us a nominee to the court who is determined to turn back the clock on the rights of women to choose or the constitutional rights of Americans, I will filibuster that nominee."So it's ok if a nominee has decided, before ever hearing a case, how they would rule on an issue. Maybe not:
"If I feel that President Bush nominates to the Supreme Court a justice that I don't feel is independent or I feel is on an ideological mission or who has basically prejudged cases before they are heard," Lieberman said, "I will either join, or if necessary lead, a filibuster against that nomination."These guys are just tripping over themselves to pick a fight. But how can a nominee be both independent (not on an ideological mission) and satisfy the candidates' pro-Roe determination?
The girls' side should be plenty interesting, too, with Justine Henin-Heartbreaker coming off a great Roland Garros, beating Serena Williams, the most dominant woman since ... well, her sister. Henin could add some real solidity to the cred she picked up in France. And how about J.Cap? Is she allowed to have a comeback without a misdemeanor arrest intervening?
The best two weeks of the summer begin ...
I recall that Morris's apologia for the structure was that he found Reagan enigmatic, inscrutable, and felt that the false-memoir approach was the only way he could see to get at the character of Reagan. Hogwash. Reagan was a thoroughly documented man who lived in the public eye for a surprisingly large part of his life. Many of his closest associates and his bitterest rivals are still alive. A large book of Reagan's own writings has been published recently. Morris's helplessness in the face of all this, his admission that Reagan is essentially unknowable, is tantamount to surrender. But biographies have been written about presidents, some long dead, who were equally inscrutable. (Anyone familiar with the standard scholarly interpretation of the honorable, gentlemanly polymath Jefferson should have a look at the clumsily scheming dilettante who shows up in David McCullough's John Adams.) Further, Morris's surrender endorses the enduring belief that Reagan was an empty suit who smiled behind a desk that never gathered much paper. That he was an actor for whom the presidency was just another role -- one in which he spoke the lines and hit the marks and then went home to watch the rushes.
The book, I think, makes a compelling argument that good biography cannot be done quickly. Morris is too close to the prejudices and politics of Reagan's own time, lacking the benefit of more than 15 years of hindsight. Will history judge Reagan more favorably? Who knows? I think it's likely that he will be seen as a figure of complexity, rather than simplicity. (This change is already happening.) His administration will be remembered for its ideals, but also its many flaws. But, honestly, in the second half of the 20th century, who were the giants in the White House? Whatever your politics, whatever your opinion of either man, there were only two: Lyndon Johnson and Reagan. Of the two, I'd argue that, 50 years hence, Reagan will be seen as the more important of the two. Morris, I think, would never concede that possibility.
Friday, June 20, 2003
I don't know what to make of it all. I'm glad it's them and not us in this mess. But it affects us anyway. Just looking at some of the draft "rights" that they enumerate, it seems a ridiculous enterprise, a lemming-like March of the Bureaucrats to the Sea. Imagine if every seat in our congress were suddenly filled by trial lawyers, Ralph Nader, rain-forest activists, "womyn's studies" professors, and nut-fudges who think that the UN is a trustworthy body of well-meaning Gandhis and Schweitzers. Imagine, then, that these clowns drew up a draft "Expanded Bill of Rights," including the right not to be called sh*theads; the right to double park in front of the India Palace when your samosas are piping hot; the right to do tai chi in Riverside Park without people snickering; the right to tell fat people and smokers things that make them angry and make you feel superior.
I assure you, gunplay would follow.
[On Iraq's drinking water, supposedly polluted] ...by the third day I was a dab hand, ostentatiously tasting the water and then sniffing to the sommelier: ‘Hmm. I was hoping for a soupçon more coliform bacteria and a rather more playful parasitic worm. Oh, and stick a cocktail umbrella in the human faecal material....’ But everywhere I went I drank the water and, aside from mild side-effects like feeling even more right-wing than before, I’m fine and dandy.Go now and read.
Finally, Mooney seems to catch Kerry blurring his position on the U.S. invasion of Grenada. Speaking to a Cape Cod newspaper at the time, Kerry sounded appalled by the action. "The invasion of Grenada represents the Reagan policy of substituting public relations for diplomatic relations ... no substantial threat to U.S. interests existed and American lives were not endangered ... The invasion represented a bully's show of force against a weak Third World nation." These days, as Mooney writes, "Kerry often lists Grenada among the U.S. military incursions he says he has supported." Kerry told Mooney that his beef was with "the majesty of the invasion," and not the act itself. But that response doesn't really square with his earlier quote.Sound familiar? His Iraq waffling, it would seem, has antecedents.
Oddly, in the very next piece on the page, Spencer Ackerman calls Kerry's stand on the missing WMD "brave" and says, "... Kerry is proving that he will not take the easy road when it comes to a matter of war and peace, which is downright presidential." This sounds just a little too puffy to be true, particularly given Kerry's obvious straddling on the war. Check back to that TNR analysis on WMD propaganda, noted below. See who co-authored it? Spence Ackerman. Give it about two weeks; this is about to become the DNC's wall-to-wall push issue.
I'm not going to play the "everyone does it" game, since that's an excuse and not a defense, but I do think you have to admit that this kind of policy marketing happens all the time. It was done with the "genocide" in Kosovo, which, after the inflated figures and comparisons to Nazi Germany passed, was toned down to "ethnic cleansing" and turned out in fact to be rather brutal, if incompetent, forced deportation with awful human rights violations -- but not genocide. (Coincidentally, Daniel Pearl was the point-man, with Robert Block, for the WSJ on Kosovo and investigating the genocide claims. Their work is constantly cited by those, left and right, who opposed Clinton's Balkan policy.) More recently, the international community and the major media colluded to sell us the story of 170,000 missing artifacts in Iraq (actual count came in around 30-ish). This isn't the big deal Bush's critics want it to be, but it could be a real distraction, particularly if the Dems can spin out the hearings into 2004.
More: Stephen Hayes's reply at the Weekly Standard is equally worth reading. With two biased sources, I would guess the truth falls somewhere between.
If on the evening of September 11th, an outside observer had predicted that the following would transpire in two years, he would have been considered unhinged: Saddam Hussein gone with the wind; democratic birth pangs in Iraq; the Taliban finished and Mr. Karzai attempting to create constitutional government; Yasser Arafat ostracized by the American government and lord of a dilapidated compound; bin Laden either dead or leading a troglodyte existence; all troops slated to leave Saudi Arabia — and by our own volition, not theirs; Iran and Syria apprehensive rather than boastful about their own promotion of terror; and the Middle East worried that the United States is both unpredictable in its righteous anger and masterful in its use of arms, rather than customarily irresolute and reactive.Very true. It has been a whirlwind two years, and I expect a fairly convincing mandate for Bush in 2004 based on this.
But really, in the near future, the best we can hope for out of Afghanistan is an African-style quasi-democracy, tempered by a large dose of local kleptocracy. In Iraq, I suppose we can hope for Turkish parliamentarianism, but will probably get the Egyptian variety instead: aid-addicted dictatorship with some occasional elections -- the kind that take place all over the world with Jimmy Carter "observing" from the nice suite in the capital city Hyatt Regency. In Jerusalem, can we do better than Belfast? The debate over the future of Hamas right now (political party vs. terrorist organization) is a fairly obvious replay of what Sinn Fein went through -- i.e., if you want to play in the political sandbox we're building, you'll tell your friends with the bombs to dangle.
My concern, then, is that we're not on the brink of a new paradigm in the mideast; rather, that we're remaking the mideast in a cold war mold. In the cold war, a crummy anti-communist dictator was better than a check mark in the Soviets' Latin American column. I fail to see how our bargain with, say, Pervez Musharraf -- or whatever regime appears in Iraq -- is different in kind, only with Wahabbism replacing the Marxism as the ideological soup du generation for guerillas.
On the other hand, in some respects the constitution is creating the form of state institutions without providing the substance. Thus the so-called foreign minister has no power to make policy over the heads of national governments, who retain vetoes over the making of EU foreign policy and control of their own armed forces. The EU will not be able to raise taxes nor, probably, harmonise them either. Thus two of the central features of a state—the power to raise taxes and to go to war—remain outside the grip of “Brussels”.
So, from the get-go one wonders if this document is worth its ink, but reading on, one can appreciate the complexity of the issue at stake. It's not just taxes and defense. It's economic union, legal precedence, and even whether a president will govern the whole mess. Of singular importance is the EU version of the Bill of Rights, called, in typical bureaucratese "The Charter of Fundamental Rights." Hmmm, what kind of rights might a European be interested in?
The charter mentions wide-sounding social rights—the right to strike, the right to a job, the right of workers to be informed and consulted, even “the right to a free [job] placement service”.
Aha! Now the dirt is being pulled away from the root. As much as the Euros want to show their progress with this modified Bill of Rights, they can't help themselves with all this economic tinkering in what ought to be about basic human rights. But there's the rub. To a European, the right to strike is as essential to them as the right to free speech is to us. Vive la Revolution!
To this day it continues, with few exceptions. One of the exceptions, Horowitz, is dismissed as a right-wing demagogue, which he essentially is. But he learned his trade and tactics on the left, and now only practices the same craft on the right. That is one of the most subtle bits of media bias. Horowitz, who is taken very seriously on the right, is dismissed as mainly a crank by the mainstream media because his rhetoric is, objectively, over the top. But no more so than the rhetoric of Jesse Jackson, who until a few years ago was thought of as a serious American statesman.
Another exception, as her success shows, is Coulter -- who learned, mainly from the likes of Horowitz, that telling the truth will get you zero attention. Exaggeration, dramatics, bold accusations, and hot-button words are a publicity hound's best friends. So why is she suddenly getting the mainstream attention Horowitz never got? She's got nicer legs.
Anyhoo, my point is that Drudge has the scoop on her book, Treason, which has already pushed Hillary down the charts on Amazon. Here's an example of what I'm saying -- Coulter on Tailgunner Joe:
Despite the left’s creation of a myth to defeat legitimate charges of treason, McCarthy had so badly stigmatized Communism, his victory survived him. In his brief fiery ride across the landscape, Joe McCarthy bought America another thirty years. For this, he sacrificed his life, his reputation, his name. The left cut down a brave man, but not before the American people heard the truth.Honestly, who really believes this? The honest right repudiated McCarthy; Buckley, who saw the actual Pinko threat from his CIA time, still thought McCarthy was doing more harm than good; even his protege, Nixon, moved well to the left and went to the ChiComs with hat in hand. So why does Coulter make him the hero? Because it gets headlines, makes a splash, and offers a chance to use the leftist tactic against the left: be loud, outrageous, and totally confident -- and the public will follow.
Thursday, June 19, 2003
Indeed, a substantial number of gay couples openly reject such expectations and declare that their interest in marriage is confined to its economic and legal benefits.Oh right, and gays don't want marriages, they want weddings. Isn't that what we used to hear. In fact, they may be openly hostile to the values a "good" marriage is based on. Kurtz continues:
More than this, many homosexuals look to same-sex marriage as an opportunity to intentionally subvert the ethic of sexual fidelity and ethos of sexual complementarity that they consider keys to the "oppressiveness" of marriage itself.As you already pointed out, heterosexual couples can be just as cavalier in their faithfullness, yet the presumption at every new couples' nuptials is that their marriage will last. It's this confidence (or optimism) that makes marriage still meaningful to members of a generation that has seen this and other institutions shredded by those before us. Bad marriages will always do some harm to the institution and good marriages will continue to lift it up, no matter the sexual orientation. I'm in favor of giving the same optimistic support to gays as I would to any straight couple. Kurtz is not.
Most importantly, fidelity, like any aspect of a marriage relationship, is a choice. Thus, Kurtz can still have a monogamous marriage (and be proud of it) while the couple down the street (let's call them Hillary and Bill) have a different arrangement. It takes nothing from Kurtz's marriage (in fact, one could argue it makes his marriage all the more exemplary, by his criteria), just as nothing in his marriage would be lost if the married couple down the street, whatever their views on monogamy, were gay. But the conservative position turns suddenly very deterministic at this turn of argument, as is plain in the argument of David Frum today:
People’s behavior is affected by the legal regime that governs their behavior. Change the rules, and they change their behavior. Gay marriage advocates are able to grasp the point that new rules mean new behaviors when they are explaining why marriage would be good for gays. It’s disingenuous then to turn around and look baffled when opponents of gay marriage point out that new rules will mean new behaviors for straights as well - and that these new behaviors are very likely to be undesireable.Undesireable to whom? And why? Again, how is it Frum's business what sort of arrangement Dick and Jane (or Dick and Harry) have? This is nonsense, really, like the argument that liberalizing drug laws will cause otherwise stable members of society to bolt for the seamy side of town to smoke some rock. And that, if one white-shoe lawyer, succesful CPA, or renowned surgeon does decide to do so, it sullies us all somehow.
What concerns me more is that fellows like Kurtz (who is otherwise rather moderate, socially) take such a strong, invasive position on this subject. They seem overly concerned that what amounts to a private arrangement between two people conform rather strictly to what amounts to an arbitrary standard. They may argue (from a biological standpoint) that a man-woman union is anything but arbitrary, but that would be missing the point entirely. Marriage is a socially created institution, not a biological one. It therefore adapts to society, and anyone who claims otherwise must account for the way that marriage adapted to egalitarian society out of a stricter, more feudally stratified institution -- such as is still to be found in caste societies. Thus, the overreaction of the marriage-protection crowd, on this issue, comes out smelling a whole lot more like homophobia than they might care to admit. I'm not a fan of the word homophobia; I think it is usually fairly inaccurate in its use against people who view homosexuality as immoral (as is their right). But on the issue of gay marriage, there does seem to be some fear at work -- fear that sharing the institution of marriage with homosexuals will degrade or denigrate straight marriage. (This is why, I think, the most common strategy of the marriage-defense movement is to define homosexuals as "other," particularly in the area of promiscuity.) It will change marriage, but it will not denigrate the institution, any more than Dick and Jane's swinging weekend in the Poconos will.
The Washington Times gets a bit more specific: "The Cuban leader hurled profanities at Mr. Santos and his mother and questioned her marital status at the time of Mr. Santos' birth. Mr. Castro also questioned the disc jockey's sexual orientation."Maybe the Hollywood left will decide it's okay to cozy up to a murderous dictator, but not a homphobe.
In a history class down the hall, students were talking as a teacher sat behind his desk listening to rap music blaring from a boombox.The sad thing is that the worst examples of charter schools seem to be an improvement over the D.C. public school system.
Rap was playing in the neighboring classroom, too. The teacher said she was filling in for another instructor and was letting the students spend the period just listening to music because it was Friday and "they have to have one day where they can mellow out."
Phonshanta Franklin said friends told her to avoid the regular schools after she moved from Maryland to Southeast Washington. She picked her four children's charter schools based largely on which ones had space and were closest to her home. "It was just charter schools, period," she said. "It was not which one."However bad any individual school is, though, the fact that competition has entered the market is a positive. Studies have shown that both charters and voucher programs increase parental involvement which will hold schools accountable in the long run. The market will weed out the idiots.