May 31, 2006
The goal of surgery is to cut people
Come on now, you know it's true. Surgeons deliberately cut people. Sometimes people even die. You can't have surgery without the cutting so it must be the goal of surgery.
What? You find something wrong with that? You want to argue that while cutting indeed happens it isn't "the" goal of surgery?
Relativist. Cutmongerer. Hater of health. Fascist.
Yet, Andy Rooney, he of the beetle eyebrows, basset-hound face and grating folksy patter, says "The goal of war is to cause death to other people."*
Here is a man who was a reporter in WWII, that saw up close and personal the utter ugliness of war and today declares that ugliness is war's goal. How easy to dismiss the ovens and the ditches and the Bataan Death march. We who would war have only one priority.Kill people.
Frankly, I'm astounded at a so-called Memorial Day commentary that is so dismissive of the difficult and hard choices we face when we decide to war. Rooney has willed himself into a front porch rocking chair of gauzy pronouncements, untethered to reality.
I wish we could dedicate Memorial Day, not to the memory of those who have died at war, but to the idea of saving the lives of the young people who are going to die in the future if we don’t find some new way - some new religion maybe - that takes war out of our lives.Stunningly, Rooney has so little grasp on current events he doesn't know his question has already been answered. That's the crux of our current dilemma, Andy. From Osama to Hamas to most recently, Ahmadinejad, they have given us a clear path to Worldwide Peace(tm).
It's called surrender and conversion.
Try to remember, Andy. That's what Hitler offered Chamberlain. It's what all fascists/communists/authoritarians/collectivists/totalitarians offer from time to time. There you find the goal of others who find there is no other way to respond to these demands but war.
May 29, 2006
Google's choice on Memorial Day
Interesting, since 1999 Google (started in 1996) has tweaked their logo to celebrate all manner of holidays and anniversaries, but not once has there been even an acknowledgment of Memorial Day. Or Veteran's day, for that matter.
Conspicuous by its absence.
Pity the studied ignorance of those that benefit by others' sacrifice. Pity the ungrateful child.
IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields. *
More Memorial Day posts:
Technorati: Memorial Day
May 28, 2006
Memorial Day 2006
"Liberty is never unalienable; it must be redeemed regularly with the blood of patriots or it always vanishes. Of all the so-called natural human rights that have ever been invented, liberty is the least to be cheap and is never free of cost."
-Robert A. Heinlein
Go now and view an awesome video at Tammy's.
If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.
Technorati: Memorial Day
May 26, 2006
Can we call it treason now?
In an interview with GQ magazine, the reporter asked him: "Would the assassination of, say, Tony Blair by a suicide bomber - if there were no other casualties - be justified as revenge for the war on Iraq?"h/t Hot Air
Mr Galloway replied: "Yes, it would be morally justified. I am not calling for it - but if it happened it would be of a wholly different moral order to the events of 7/7. It would be entirely logical and explicable. And morally equivalent to ordering the deaths of thousands of innocent people in Iraq - as Blair did."
May 25, 2006
Not good news
Cheap electronics challenges good parenting. WaPo
One in three children between the age of 6 months and 6 years have a TV set in their bedrooms. And children who have TVs in their bedrooms spend an average 30 minutes more per day watching TV than those who don't.Get those TVs, computers or electronic games OUT OF YOUR CHILD'S ROOM. Their bedroom should be a quiet retreat. Music and books are excellent. TV viewing and computer usage should be in an area where parents can monitor their children's activities ... and limit them.
Great US econ news?
Be sure not to tell the Left cultists
Emerging from a year-end rut, the economy dashed ahead in the opening quarter of this year at a 5.3 percent pace, the fastest in 2 1/2 years.*They have a faith-based interest in keeping American the Great Satan.
May 23, 2006
When Eric and I were in France on our honeymoon in 2001, we were surprised by this tiny little car, Smart, zipping around and parking in impossible places. Later we found out it came out of a collaboration of Swatch and Mercedes. Cute, fasionable, inexpensive watch maker weds automobile manufacterer.
Now, another collaboration looms, Nike and Apple -- what does a shoe manufacterer have to offer along with a computer company?
Nike Inc. said on Tuesday it is making running shoes that will tell the wearer how far and how fast he or she has run and how many calories they have burned.I don't know. Do I really need nagging running shoes? Do I want my friends to know when I decide to spend more time at my desk instead of at the gym or on the track?
The instant information will come from a miniature Apple Computer Inc. iPod and a new wireless system called Nike+iPod. [...]
Using a Nike+iPod Sports Kit, expected to sell for about $29, miniature versions of the iPod will be able to give audio data on time, distance, pace and calories burned on-demand through an attachable receiver that gets data from a sensor in the insole of special Nike shoes.
The new Air Zoom Moire line of running shoes -- priced at $100 -- are the first to have space for the sensor, but others will follow, Nike said. The removable sensor, about the size of a piece of bubble gum, can be used with any compatible shoe. [...]
Apple will also include a Nike Sport Music section on its iTunes music store, which will feature playlists of well-known athletes such as Armstrong, the companies said.
The Nike+iPod system will let runners call up a favorite song instantly and then instantly upload their workout information to a Nike Web site, www.nikeplus.com, where they can share the information with their friends.
And will I be able to function if the computer in my shoe crashes and can no longer give me updates?
Though, it does add new meaning to the term "reboot."
May 22, 2006
Sometimes interesting weekend
I was mostly preoccupied with all sorts of non-computer things this weekend ... popping on only long enough to catch up with headlines. The writing muse was lounging elsewheres while the rest of me is/was preparing for a busy week and weekend ahead. Siobhan comes home the end of the week, Eric and I have a wedding to attend, family birthdays loom in the next coming weeks and, of course, my gramma times with the twins that is a nice chunk of my weekends.
Let me draw your attention to some interesting things:
Following the money in the Duke rape case adds another wrinkle to why this case is still being pursued even as no forensic evidence is supporting the charges.
Weirdness alert as two Saudi men board a school bus and give conflicting stories. CAIR issues the usual boilerplate that it is America's fault that the men were arrested. As Jeff G. pithily observes, " ... a week in sensitivity training class and the students will know better than to trust their instincts next time, and the bus driver...well, I’m sure he can get a job delivering milk or appliances."
Allah at Hot Air is covering the case of a son-of-Murtha "America war crimes" video done by one Jessie Macbeth. Seems like this self-described "ex Army Ranger" may be as genuine as Rather's TANG memos. Fast developing story.
Almost as American as apple pie is graft and politicians, so the video tape of William Jefferson D-LA should not be more than a blip on the news radar, save for a few things. One may recall Jefferson's self-serving chutzpah when he snagged National Guardsmen engaged in Katrina rescue operations to take him to his own home and "rescue" his daughter's laptop and a suitcase". We may be forgiven now wondering about what was really in that suitcase since we now know Jefferson like keeping his bribe cash wrapped in foil in the family freezer. Cold Cash Jefferson is a great nic! Kinda puts a spike in the Rethuglican Culture of Corruption™ liturgy.
Looks like the Religion of Peace™ is at it again, firing a missile into an Israeli school. Funny, where's the outrage at the deliberate targeting of children? Oh right. Just Jews. Like Americans, Jews are held to different standards. Just ask Jhimmi Carter. Israel has no right of sovereignty, and neither do we.
Morton Kondracke nails it:
Bush-hatred has reached such intensity that CIA officers and other bureaucrats are leaking major secrets about anti-terrorism policy and communications intelligence that undermine our ability to fight Islamic extremism.
Would newspapers in the midst of World War II have printed the fact that the United States had broken German and Japanese codes, enabling the enemy to secure its communications? Or revealed how and where Nazi spies were being interrogated? Nowadays, newspapers win Pulitzer Prizes for such disclosures. [...]
Yes, Republicans tried to destroy former President Bill Clinton over sex and politics. But now Democrats want to destroy Bush so badly that they are willing to undercut national security. [...]
People also should heed the warning delivered by Princeton University professor Bernard Lewis, one of the nation's foremost scholars of Islam, before the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life here last month.
Lewis, now 90, cast the struggle with Islamic extremism in WWII terms — it is 1938, he said, and "we seem to be more in the mode of Chamberlain at Munich rather than of Churchill."
May 19, 2006
Democrats just can't resist the 'race card'
On the heels of my previous post on the importance of assimilation, I find out that the US Senate passed an amendment to officially recognize English as the "national language." This should be a no-brainer, but outside the glaring and predictable 63-34 vote, Senate Democrat leader Harry Reid just couldn't restrain himself (WaPo):
I really believe this amendment is racist, I believe it is directed at people who speak SpanishMay I kindly remind my Republican brethren who are foaming at the mouth over the illegal immigration issue and are willing to commit political suicide over it, to understand just what they'll get with the triumvirate of Pres. Hillary, Senate leader Reid and House leader Pelosi.
Technorati: Illegal Aliens
Beyond the borders - another point in the illegal alien debate
Leave aside a moment the two top points of controlling illegal immigration - Secure the border and keep illegals from getting jobs (Biometric id cards, punish employers) and look at a point made by the President and almost over looked in the rhetoric that has ensued.
Linda Chavez says:
Hispanics are not only assimilating as each group before them has, but at a more rapid pace than many previous groups — but for the moment, I want to put those arguments aside and talk about the value of assimilation. Part of the reason so many people worry that Hispanics aren't assimilating is that we've quit emphasizing the importance of assimilation in our national dialogue.As Ms. Chavez points out, we had as much skeptisism and, yes, nativism in greeting waves of immigrants in times past as we do today. But we demanded of the immigrants that they meet a certain standard of "Americanism".
Teachers taught children not only civics lessons, but how to dress like other Americans, and to adopt American standards of hygiene — something almost unthinkable in today's environment, where many teachers are more worried about damaging students' self-esteem than actually teaching them how to be successful.It is unrealistic to think we can just "roundup" and bus 12 million people, no matter how emotionally satisfying such a thought borne of sheer frustration has become. However, if we stem the flow of illegals with a secure border, dry up the incentive by stopping illegals from working, many will leave on their own. Others, those with long ties need to be brought into American culture and we then concentrate on assimilation.
And of course, learning English was a prerequisite, especially since the typical classroom of the era had 50 or more children speaking at least half a dozen different languages.
All public school education in English.
Return to civics lessions in schools.
All voting material in English.
All official government business and documents in English.
As the President said
English is also the key to unlocking the opportunity of America. English allows newcomers to go from picking crops to opening a grocery, from cleaning offices to running offices, from a life of low-paying jobs to a diploma, a career, and a home of their own. When immigrants assimilate and advance in our society, they realize their dreams, they renew our spirit, and they add to the unity of America.We need to stop enabling primary Spanish speakers to remain separate from the mainstream. We need to sweep aside the soft-bigotry borne of collectivist, "group" identity. While some have pushed multiculturalism as "respect of The Other", many support it because it allows "The Other" to remain outside, easily identifiable and easily exploitable by those invested in the debate on what makes an "authentic" Hispanic, black, woman, etc.
Technorati: Illegal Aliens
"I think we need new bikes, gramma."
"Gramma! The sun is right in my eyes!"
May 16, 2006
A Hollywood Summer Bummer
Hollywood revenues tanked last year on a cropper of crappy movies. Outside of the taut and moving United 93 nothing outside of the kiddie genre (Ice Age 2 was a hit for the twins and I'm looking forward to having my 11 y/o stepson visit so I have an excuse to see X-men) has me looking forward to ponying up the money and time to be subjected to the indulgences of movie by committee. Mission Incomprehensible is off my list, not just because Cruise has gotten creepy. Now it looks like even Ron Howard couldn't make a so-so novel, The Da Vinci Code, worth seeing.
The most hotly-awaited movie of the year "The Da Vinci Code" failed to crack an audience of movie critics here at a sneak preview ahead of Wednesday's opening of the Cannes Film Festival.Ouch.
Several whistles instead of applause were all that greeted the end of Ron Howard's 125-million-dollar film, and worse than that, the 2,000-strong audience even burst out laughing at the movie's key moment.
"I didn't like it very much. I thought it was almost as bad as the book. Tom Hanks was a zombie, thank goodness for Ian McKellen. It was overplayed, there was too much music and it was much too grandiose," said Peter Brunette, critic for the US daily The Boston Globe.
May 15, 2006
President on Immigration
There was little to disagree with in such concise, point by point speech.
I only wish there was more details on the fence and I would, personally, like to see the border permanently monitored by the military, not a temporary stint by the National Guard.
We cannot "round-up" 12 million illegals and deport them en masse. What we can do is dry up jobs by punishing employers who employ illegals. I will watch and see if the punishment has the teeth needed to make illegals move back over the border on their own.
And I'm not all that thrilled with a modern bracero program.
Be sure to check out Truth Laid Bear's tracking of other blogs discussing this.
May 14, 2006
Happy Mother's Day 2006
Note: This is a reprint of my post of 2005. I'd like to revist the questions I ask at the conclusion. I do believe many women today are conflicted about being mothers and what that entails and what it should entail. Are we still stuck in "The Mommy Wars"? It might just be a factor behind such alarming news of falling birthrates in places like Germany.
It's a job that is celebrated and denigrated. It's a life choice venerated for its importance while its practioners are the butt of jokes.
It's the strange cultural schizophrenia of our time that demands mothers uphold strict ideals to raise healthy children and tells women if they are stay-at-home moms they are "cheating" themselves of being full human beings by not having a career outside of the home.
And all of this plays on the psyche of the woman who stands in the bathroom holding up a little tube with a window with a plus sign.
Mothers, moms, mommies. Planned, adopted or oopsey, when that first child comes into our lives, the world changes.
What do I wish this Mother's Day? After all the cards, flowers, brunches, long distance phone calls and visits the children of all ages make to their moms, grandmas and nanas? I want it to last more than a day. I want women to try and come to grips with how they want motherhood to be viewed the other 364 days of the year.
It is the most important life choice a woman can make. Another human being's fate is in our hands. I remember when I got pregnant for the first time, I was scared and thrilled. I went diligently to the doctor, watched what I ate and couldn't wait to get into maternity clothes. However, it was when we took that tiny little being, Jennifer, home after three days and laid her in her crib and hovered over her, making sure she was breathing, that it hit me. I almost couldn't breathe with the realization that Jennifer was a little person completely separate from me and completely dependent on me. Food? She needed me. She couldn't anymore than lay in her crib and wave her arms and legs without me. And the fearsome, intense love I felt for this tiny being was overwhelming.
And as the years have rolled by, even after she has grown and moved from home, it doesn't end.
Indeed, it has expanded with the arrival of my grandsons. Though, I confess I'm enjoying a more relaxed relationship with them because I can play with them, spoil them a little, then send them home!
So sisters, where do you see the Career of Mom going over the next generation? There are a lot of women, women who spent years of education and career building that have decided to stay home full-time with their young children. Are such women doing the right thing? What should we teach our daughters and sons about motherhood and fatherhood? What values do we want see acknowleged and supported in the public square?
More than just a celebration of mothers, let today be one of open discussion about where we are and where we want to go in our American culture.
Duke rape case
Where does the evidence point today?
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - A second round of DNA testing in the Duke University lacrosse rape case came back with the same result as the first - no conclusive match to any member of the team, defense attorneys said Friday.DA Nifong has engaged in very questionable acts since the beginning of this case, seemingly more interested in his election campaign than in careful investigation and evaluation of the case. Now that he HAS won his May 2 election, will he be as quick to press a case where he has yet to secure even the most basic of circumstantial evidence and where his procedures, such as a highly questionable photo lineup consisting of only Duke lacrosse pictures, are beyond the legal pale?
Attorney Joseph Cheshire, who represents a team captain who has not been charged, said the tests showed genetic material from a "single male source" was found on a vaginal swab taken from the accuser, but that material did not match any of the players.
"In other words, it appears this woman had sex with a male," said Cheshire, who spoke at a news conference with other defense attorneys in the case. "It also appears with certainty it wasn't a Duke lacrosse player."
Cheshire said the testing did find some genetic material from several people on a plastic fingernail found in a bathroom trash can of the house where the team held the March 13 party. He said some of that material had the "same characteristics" - a link short of a conclusive match - to some of the players, but not the two who have charged with rape, kidnapping and sexual assault.
May 12, 2006
Democrats announce shakeup in Intelligence Community
(Rooters) WASHINGTON DC - Charles Schumer (D-NY) called yet another press conference today to announce Democratic plans to overhaul the Federal intelligence community after the latest leak about the NSA.
Flanked by Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Mr. Schumer stated, "We cannot stand by and allow the Bush administration again to rip to shreds the Constitution of this great nation. The idea that the government has a database is abhorent to the ideals and values we have held dear for more than two hundred years."
While both Ms. Boxer and Ms. Pelosi attempted to speak, Mr. Schumer held forth and even brushed aside questions about the NSA not knowing any personal information about the phone numbers or listening to any conversation.
"It is irrelevant," he declared, "that this program was no more intrusive than road traffic studies or Google Earth. We are talking about the Bush Administration. That's what you must keep in mind. The Bush Administration. That's the most important. We cannot allow this administration to look at any American citizen under any circumstance without first presenting their case to a judge in open court and in the New York Times. We cannot allow the intelligence community any tools that the Bush Administration has employed."
Ms. Boxer attempted to approach the microphone but Mr. Schumer continued while indicating to her to pass out the papers she held.
"To that end we Democrats, bold in our resolve and dedicated to the rights of Americans are presenting to you this day our plan for our intelligence community. To sweep aside the problems and tools of the past, to stride confidently into the future and to employ someone with vision. Absolute vision."
Seriously discussing this issue:
Capt. Ed (who points out the fact, embarrassing to hysterics, that this non-information is more than four months old.)
Michelle Malkin (who points out that the scare-mongering by Democrats, inside both the government and MSM, isn't having the effect they hoped for)
May 10, 2006
Someone help me out here?
Are there any lefty blogs out there that actually liked United 93 and recommended it? The film is not political, so ...
And I've been looking. Really.
May 09, 2006
James Lileks got the REAL letter to President Bush
sent from nutter Ahmadinejad. It starts
Dear Infidel Crusader Zionist sock-puppet Saudi-lackey depoiler of Mesopotamia woman-touching pigdog fiendish (293 words excised) Shah-licking son of a toad’s offal: I trust this finds you well. I have much on my mind, and have taken the pen to unburden my breast. I have enclosed a self-addressed stamped envelope should you wish to reply.As they say... read the whole thing.
(429 words concerning Jewish penetration of the Postal System excised)
. . . Do you not realize you are beaten, as a donkey is beaten, but knoweth not his donkeyhood is cursed? Your comics have turned against you in your own lair, and mock you without mercy. We have seen the videos of the Meal of the Correspondents, and we know how your left regards the men of the laugh as prophets and seers. It is only a matter of time before Johnny Carson (applause be upon him) returns from occlusion to request that you, Mr. President, take the Slauson cutoff, get out of your car, and cut off your Slauson, Hi-yo, salaam. And a third part of the Slauson shall be stained with the tears of the womenfolk, and (9323 words excised)
. . . Our people glow with pride over our nuclear efforts, sometimes literally. I repeat that the enrichment is for peaceful purposes only, and we seek only peace, and peace is our goal, and there is nothing more we love than peace. Except death. Sorry; forgot. Death is definitely number one. In third place of things we love, well, there were those nice ice-cream desserts they had at this little place in Tehran. When I was Mayor I had them brought in on Fridays. Good times, good times. But once I found a hair.
And someone might forward it to Steve Colbert so he can see what is really teh funny.
The nutter who wants a nuke
Dennis at Classical Values tracks down and posts a transcript of Iranian 'President' Ahmadinejad's letter to President Bush.
Questions about the legitimacy of Israel? check
Hint that the Holocaust didn't really happen?check
Criticize the cutting off of funds to Hamas? check
Discuss the "lies" about WMD in Iraq? check
Hint that 9/11 was really an "inside job"? check
Lay all the ills of the world at America's feet, from the poverty and starving in Africa to the discontent in Iran, and that the "hate" it receives is earned? check
Assert it is America's values and policies that have "failed"? check
DAMN! Leaving aside Ahmadinejad's assertion that the only solution is a worldwide Caliphate and everyone turning moslem, this letter could have easily been mistaken for a post on DailyKos or Atrios! A bit too coherent for DU or Pandagon.
The danger of nice weather
Yesterday was bright and inviting. A day off, a cancelled lunchdate, and a surge of inspiration to work in the garden overcame me. Prune, weed, repot, stoop, bend, lift.
It was invigorating, cleansing. Clean air filled my lungs, sweat poured down my face. The world was mine and it was wonderful!
Until this morning.
My back is letting me know, quite adamently, that we aren't 25 anymore and I cannot just jump into hours of this stuff without paying a price.
ow ow ... nice meds ... ow ... mounds of pillows arranged just so, laptop, tv remote ... ow
May 08, 2006
United 93 - forget the popcorn
Husband Eric and I enjoy seeing movies on a Sunday morning because there are rarely lines or crowds (and considering the quality of most of Hollywood's offerings over the past year, even finding good parking hasn't been a problem). As is our habit, a quick stop to get a soda and a popcorn to share then settle into comfy chairs and watch the trailers. The lights then come fully down, the blurb from the management to turn off cellphones and the main feature starts ...
... and about ten minutes in we push the popcorn aside, unwanted, to be forgotten for the rest of the movie.
Paul Greengrass' deceptively simple presentation of the events of 9/11/01 as they unfolded, with focus on the crew and passengers of United 93, packs the punch that a slick, stylized ... heck, Hollywoodized ... movie would lack. Greengrass' background in documentary films gives him the amazing skill of creating a film that draws you immediately into the events without giving you the escape valve of being able to sit back at uncomfortable moments and think "eh, this is just a movie after all."
There are no big name stars, no background exposition on anyone you meet in this film. It's as if you are a damned specter, condemned to wander and witness events you know about but cannot change. Boarding 93 was an ordinary as any other boarding on any other of tens of thousands of flights that day. Snippets of conversation among passengers as you float up the aisle -- a couple making dinner plans, old friends pouring over a map of Yosemite, the flight attendants checking their stores and asking after each others families -- nothing that hasn't happened, that doesn't happen, any other day on any other flight.
And when the door is sealed a sense of forboding settles over your heart with the heat and heaviness of molten lead.
The film is relentless in its unblinking look at the day. From the impatience of air traffic controllers, who at first think they are just dealing with technical difficulties, to the initial incredulity expressed by the FAA staff and military officers that a hijacking, something that hadn't happened in the US for thirty-odd years, was really taking place.
There have been some grumbles that the Islamist hijackers weren't "villainized" enough, or their "reasons" weren't explained. Some even found some equivalency with the intercut scenes of the Islamists praying and the recitations of the Lord's prayer by passengers who knew they were going to die. However, I again find such a straight-forward portrayal of these predators as unflinchingly non-politically correct. There is no downplaying of their religious fanaticism and the cold-blooded evil that comes with Islamism. The meaning of the Commandment Thou shall not take the name of God in vain is about doing evil acts in the name of God and bringing the name of God into disrepute. There is no greater evil than religious evil and the contrast between the hijackers and the passengers could not be more stark. Greengrass doesn't have to preach or explain, just show.
I've never been to a movie where the audience was so silent at the conclusion. We all moved to the exits, wiping away tears, walking softly and slowly as at a funeral, in respect for the lives of the people who found themselves moved to act in the face of the unbelievable.
Everyone should see this movie. It should be shown in high schools across the nation. It is the most important film of the last several years.
Please see it.
May 07, 2006
The clash between sexual liberty and religious liberty
A well-written and important article, Banned in Boston, tackles the thorny issue of just how far the government can and will go in punishing religious institutions who resist change according to "public policy." It starts with the disturbing development of the Catholic Charities of Boston, one of the nation's oldest adoption agencies, being forced to quit.
To operate in Massachusetts, an adoption agency must be licensed by the state. And to get a license, an agency must pledge to obey state laws barring discrimination--including the decade-old ban on orientation discrimination. With the legalization of gay marriage in the state, discrimination against same-sex couples would be outlawed, too.Of course, the C.C.B. case is a bit complicated. They had placed some children (they specialized in adoptions of hard-to-place children) with same-sex couples which put them at odds with the Vatican and they had to assure the Vatican they would abide by its edicts. But the bigger issue is with Massachusetts and that it doesn't even hinge upon CCB receiving government money or subsidy at all but is only about the state license to operate (as all adoption agencies in MA had to have). And a request for a narrow religious exemption appeared dead on arrival. It appears that no matter how much good CCB has done in the past, or how many children will be hurt by the absense of their services, MA has declared CCB persona non grata.
This March, then, unexpectedly, a mere two years after the introduction of gay marriage in America, a number of latent concerns about the impact of this innovation on religious freedom ceased to be theoretical. How could Adam and Steve's marriage possibly hurt anyone else? When religious-right leaders prophesy negative consequences from gay marriage, they are often seen as overwrought. The First Amendment, we are told, will protect religious groups from persecution for their views about marriage.
So who is right? Is the fate of Catholic Charities of Boston an aberration or a sign of things to come?
"The impact will be severe and pervasive," Picarello [Anthony Picarello, president and general counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty] says flatly. "This is going to affect every aspect of church-state relations." Recent years, he predicts, will be looked back on as a time of relative peace between church and state, one where people had the luxury of litigating cases about things like the Ten Commandments in courthouses. In times of relative peace, says Picarello, people don't even notice that "the church is surrounded on all sides by the state; that church and state butt up against each other. The boundaries are usually peaceful, so it's easy sometimes to forget they are there. But because marriage affects just about every area of the law, gay marriage is going to create a point of conflict at every point around the perimeter."I no longer am a member of any church and I support the concept that eventually the institution of state-sanctioned marriage be extended to gays (it is NOT a right, and by insisting it is a right gets us into these kinds of situations), but Picarello's dire predictions worry me no end. We've already seen that the concept of a "living" Constitution can make actual Constitutional amendments (2nd) fall out of favor and become almost irrelevant while other amendments can become the favorite talisman of judges who project their own meaning irrespective of the original intent of the amendment's authors.
Will speech against gay marriage be allowed to continue unfettered? "Under the American regime of freedom of speech, the answer ought to be easy," according to Stern. But it is not entirely certain, he writes, "because sexual-harassment-in-the-workplace principles will likely migrate to suppress any expression of anti-same-sex-marriage views." Stern suggests how that might work.We witness already that the rights of the easily offended take precedence; from the imminent dismantling of the Mt. Soledad cross to the Bowdlerization of the county and city seals of any historical Christian reference such as the cases of Los Angeles and Redlands, California.
In the corporate world, the expression of opposition to gay marriage will be suppressed not by gay ideologues but by corporate lawyers, who will draw the lines least likely to entangle the company in litigation. Stern likens this to "a paroxysm of prophylaxis--banning 'Jesus saves' because someone might take offense."
Fundamentally, Stern sees this as a "religious war" between people for whom an egalitarian secular ethic is the only rational option and people who can make room for an ethic based on faith in a God who commands. There are very few signs of a willingness to compromise on either side, he notes.Is speech really safe in the US? Certainly political speech has been stomped on by the McCain-Feingold abomination (was ANYONE surprised when McCain said he didn't think the concept of 'free speech' all that big a deal?). What makes people believe religious speech, even from the pulpit or in print any more safe under these circumstances?
"You look around the world and even the right to preach is in doubt," he tells me. "In the United States we are not foreseeably in that position. Fundamentally speech is still safe in the United States. Beyond speech, nothing is safe."
Robin Wilson is an expert in both family law and health care law. So when Anthony Picarello approached her about thinking through the impact gay marriage may have on religious institutions, she had a ready model at hand: the struggles over conscience exemptions in the health care field after Roe v. Wade elevated abortion to a constitutional right.I'm always amazed when I get into discussions with people about the right of a doctor or nurse to opt out of participating in abortions. Some people are adament that such doctors or nurses are denying the person who seeks an abortion their right to an abortion. There is no right TO an abortion. Only a right not to have undue government interference under certain circumstances. A basic American value is the voluntary relationships between citizens. No one has a "right" to a thing or service that will legally compel someone else to provide it. Such a concept smacks of involuntary servitude.
Wilson predicts "a concerted effort to take same-sex marriage from a negative right to be free of state interference to a positive entitlement to assistance by others. Although Roe and Griswold established only the right to noninterference by the state in a woman's abortion and contraceptive decisions, family planning advocates have worked strenuously to force individual institutions to provide controversial services, and to force individual health care providers to participate in them."
Jonathan Turley, the George Washington professor who is a First Amendment specialist, also sees a serious risk ahead. Turley has no problem with gay marriage. But the gay marriage debate, he notes, exposes "long ignored weaknesses in doctrines relating to free speech, free exercise, and the right to association."Why indeed? The idea of a tax exemption as subsidy is the same thing as McCain-Feingold's idea of political speech as "in kind" monetary contributions.
Before 1970 the law was "viewpoint neutral" with regard to the tax exempt status of all charitable, religious, and public interest organizations under section 501(c)(3), he says. The tax exemption was viewed not as a public subsidy, but as a means of encouraging private donations and charitable conduct in general. In 1971, the IRS issued a decision redefining the tax exemption as a public endorsement or subsidy. This meant that the IRS would strip an organization of its exempt status if its purposes, although legal, were "contrary to public policy." The goal at the time was to use legal pressure to end private racial discrimination. But why stop there?
We've left the whole concept of "live and let live" behind. We live in such a rarified state of selective sensitivity that a speaker or author's intent is irrelevant to what the listener or reader perceives... thus a person can be fired over the use of the word "niggardly" or schools can ban patriotic bracelets or t-shirts because they might "offend" others. Words are malleable, indistinct and can mean anything anyone wants them to mean.
Such is the state of "rights" in the US today.
If one can find a judge to declare religion a cat, then the government can force someone to neuter it.
May 06, 2006
Those wiley Jews!
Be assured though, as Israeli intelligence uncovered
A HAMAS plot to assassinate Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, has been thwarted after he was tipped off by Israeli intelligence.Don't expect Israel to get any credit. You know, being eeevvviiilll Zionist oppressors and all. Probably just a Mossad plot.
Hamas’s military wing, the Izza Din Al-Qassem, had planned to kill Abbas at his office in Gaza, intelligence sources said.
That's the ticket.
Ok, maybe you haven't hit my tipjar
but I'd urge you to go to Jeff Goldstein's and put a few $$$ into his.
Nikolas doing his Joe Cool pose
Sean was in the mood to be cute
May 05, 2006
Advice to CA parents
If SB1437 passes
A California Senate committee has approved a bill requiring "gay history" to be included in public school textbooks. The bill now moves to the full Senate, where a vote may come next week.CA public schools won't be teaching history anymore.
Not requiring textbooks to include homosexuals' and transgenders' contributions to California history amounts to "enforced invisibility," said Sen. Sheila Kuehl, the Democrat lesbian who introduced the bill.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the bill has attracted national attention because California accounts for about 12 percent of the nation's textbook market.
SB 1437 reads in part, "No textbook or other instructional materials shall be adopted by the state board or by any governing board for use in the public schools that contains any matter reflecting adversely upon persons because of their race or ethnicity, gender, disability, nationality, sexual orientation, or religion."
Time for private or home schooling.
Anyone seriously want to hold that the public schools are NOT about political indoctrination with a few side dishes of math and science?
May 03, 2006
Adventures in Parenting -- Ewww! Gross!
Sean and Nik wake up from a short nap about a half hour ago. Sean stumbles to the bathroom first with me in his wake to supervise and reinforce proper bathroom protocol. I shepherd him out while Nik goes in behind us. I turn as Nik leaves the bathroom and observe a small wet patch on the left side of his denim shorts. Uh oh, someone didn't aim right and I go over to see how much damage has been done.
But the spot isn't really wet. I realize it's more of a damp stain coming from Nik's pocket and I can feel a small lump, about the size of a peach pit.
Wha....? Nik? What have you got in your pocket, boy?
I raised daughters. I've found all manner of pebbles and barretts, buttons and pennies and rubber bands.
But I've NEVER found a snail.
May 02, 2006
Belief in US sovereignty is 'hatred'?
That seems to be the theme of anyone arguing for "Amnesty NOW" for illegal aliens. Regardless of those confused individuals who joined the Communist/Socialist/Reconquista organized demonstrations yesterday who just want to work and become American, the true nature of the agenda was clearly, and proudly, stated by Gloria Ramirez Vargas, a local politician from Baja, California, MEXICO
Many Mexicans are nourishing the ground in the U.S., but those lands were once ours. Those same lands, which now with intelligence, with love and with a lot of work, we are re-conquering again for our Mexico.Build the wall. Now.
hattip Michelle Malkin
BTW an aside to the cowardly co-worker at my office
yesterday, that went whining to the supervisor that you were "uncomfortable" with all the red/white/blue decorations, and that some of us were discussing the "boycott", but you didn't have the balls to say it to my face.
Bite me, asswipe.
Pimping your baby (and I mean baby)
You know you've arrived in an alternative universe (or really hope it is, because that means you can leave) when a kids-clothing line is introduced by a start-up company with the incredulous name of "Pimpfants" and read this on the about us page:
Inspired by a decade of living on the streets of San Francisco, our designer's creations embrace the urban street culture and reflect the vibrant underground that has now become mainstream.
Pimpfants was founded in 2005 by three friends (two dads and one guy trying daily), searching for kids clothing that better expressed their cultural interests.
Pimpfants fresh designs fill the clothing void that has long been overlooked for the new generation of parents who want their children to be both hip and comfortable.
So quasi-gangbanger clothing goes infant through toddler. With old English gangbanger writing, logo's like "baby bling" and a milk bottle labeled "40 oz", it can join all the sexy ho looks of the grade school set.
May 01, 2006
Question for the pro-immediate-amnesty for illegal aliens advocates
Why is it that Mexico believes they have a right to secure their southern border, to have a law that no non-Mexican citizen can own land in Mexico, that being caught illegally in Mexico is a criminal offense punishable by jail time, but that America does not have the same right?
Oh, btw, are illegals also boycotting the free medical care they get in the US today, too?
Yeah yeah yeah.... they want the American Dream...
just without the "American" part (credit to Chris Muir)