The AnalPhilosopher blog has some very interesting observations on the gay marriage debate today and some good links posted Feb. 22. Thanks to Dissecting Leftism for the pointer.
Also, Captain's Quarters has a good essay posted today under the heading "No One to Blame But Themselves." I don't agree with Captain Ed on the gay marriage issue itself, but his essay here is worth reading.
And don't miss the collection of links put together by Townhall.com.
There are a lot more worthy essays out there. I suspect that a lot of people have been quietly thinking over the issue of gay marriage for some time, but have kept their thoughts mostly to themselves. Until they felt forced to speak.
The AnalPhilosopher blog has some very interesting observations on the gay marriage debate today and some good links posted Feb. 22. Thanks to Dissecting Leftism for the pointer.
H a w s p i p e blog dissects a MoveOn.org radio ad about Iraq and George Bush by providing full context examples of Bush statements MoveOn.org cites. He also has a list of quotes from leading liberals (Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy and others) agreeing with Bush on the very matter MoveOn.org takes issue with.
I guess we won't soon be radio any MoveOn.org ads against Clinton, Kerry or Kennedy, though.
CNSNews.com has a useful article on the Judiciary Committee memos controversy today.
One of several parts of the story that caught my eye is this:
A June 5, 2002, memo, again to [Democrat Senator Dick] Durbin, stated: "Under pressure from Senator Hollings - who apparently is backing [Dennis] Shedd because the trial lawyers want him off the district court bench - Chairman Leahy is planning to hold a hearing in late June ."So the liberal Senators have been letting trial lawyers move judges around?
I'm not the only one, it seems, that took exception to Andrew Sullivan calliing Washington conservatives "extremists" for our disappointment with Orrin Hatch over Judiciary Committee controversies. The Spoons Experience blog had the same reaction I did, but with a funny comment: "Orrin Hatch is less likely to bark at a Democrat than to wet himself at the sight of one."
Speaking of Andrew Sullivan, he writes this (2/17): "...under almost any rational understanding of equal protection, civil marriage has to be extended to gay couples."
Ah, no. Silly (though dangerous) statement, really, and one he only gets away with because most people haven't thought about these issues and many of the ones who have thought about it have a conflict of interest.
Sullivan's statement relies on an improvable and unsound assumption, that is, that there is a class of people who are inherently separate and distinct from other people based simply on their announcement of a preference, even a temporary one, for sexual relations with a person of their own gender.
Sullivan believes the Constitution requires the law to accommodate, by requiring the rewriting of long-held laws and the abandonment of fundamental assumptions about society and morality, the notion that these individuals represent a distinct class under the law.
If Sullivan was right, which he is not, any group anywhere could announce themselves to be a distinct class under the law, simply by asserting a preference contrary to the established norm in a matter regulated, subsidized, or affected by government policies. That is, after all, essentially all the homosexual advocacy organizations have done.
Now, many of those in Sullivan's camp will tell you that I'm wrong because sexual preference (a term many abhor, but nonetheless the one that seems most accurate) is, they say, something people are born with. Setting aside the notion that this is not scientifically provable (though it is possible to prove it is not wholly true -- there are persons described as "ideological lesbians," that is, extreme feminists who have made an intellectual decision to engage in intimate relationships only with women), it would be a bad precedent to use birth characteristics as a basis for constitutional interpretation.
This is true in part because even if, perhaps especially if, sexual preference is something we are born with, other personality traits are inborn as well. If one's "sexual personality" elevates them into a protected class, why not shyness? Most people believe some people are born shy. Shy people may well suffer a financial disadvantage in a competitive capitalist economy. Should shy people be accommodated as a protected class under the law? After all, shy people probably aren't faking it. Who would chose to be born shy?
If you think this notion is ridiculous, recall that the idea that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage would have been perceived as preposterous 20 years ago. And remember that there are lawyers out there who make big money litigating on behalf of protected classes. The more protected classes there are, the more money they potentially can make.
"Shyness" might never qualify a person as a member of a protected class, but if we follow the Sullivan School of Jurisprudence, we can be certain some new classes will form, and the basis of some of them may amaze us.
One need not consider the probability of the development of new protected classes, however, to see that Sullivan is wrong that the Constitution's equal protection clause mandates that anyone can marry whomever they wish. (Sullivan would never phrase it that way, but that's what his assertion comes down to.) No one can do that.
Every American of legal age, excluding some deemed mentally incompetent to fulfill a contract, is treated the same by our marriage laws. We can only marry if we are unmarried, and if the person we wish to marry is eligible to marry. We can only marry a person if that person wants to marry us back. And, yes, we must marry someone of the opposite sex.
Equal rules. Equal protection. Anyone who wants to follow the rules of marriage can marry. Anyone who doesn't, doesn't have to.
Andrew Sullivan has the right to want to change our marriage laws. But our marriage laws, as written, are not unconstitutional.
Andrew Sullivan has a piece in his blog on Friday referring to conservative frustration with Senator Hatch over the judicial confirmation issues as "more signs of conservative extremism in Washington."
He doesn't say any more, but he links to a very superficial New Republic piece that portrays Senator Hatch as a conservative attack dog. (Pardon me, the actual quote is "crude partisan attack dog.") The evidence for this is that sometimes Hatch doesn't back down as much as the Democrats wish.
The New Republic is liberal, so it is not surprising that it would write an opinion piece reflecting only one side of the judicial nominations debate. But why would a man who calls himself a conservative think it is extremist for Washington conservatives to expect the Senate to investigate allegations of wrongdoing among Democrat Senators as assiduously as it investigates allegations of wrongdoing among Republican staff members?
The New York Times has a ridiculous editorial on Bill Pryor today.
It is not even high school level material.
For example, anyone want to bet that the Times' complaint in the piece that Pryor "argued in favor of a Texas law that made gay sex illegal" isn't correct? Pryor probably argued that the Texas law was constitutional, which is a great deal different than arguing in favor of the law. (It also would be consistent with what the U.S. Supreme Court itself said in 1986, aka, that such state laws are constitutional.)
I haven't checked the record to confirm my suspicions, but few people in Alabama (Pryor's state) do much arguing on behalf of, or against, state laws within Texas, or any other state in which they do not reside. But the constitutionality of that particular Texas law has been debated nationally, and it is likely Pryor would have been asked about the constitutional issue involved as part of the broken judicial confirmation process.
Pity the poor Times editorialists, apparently so ignorant of basic civics.
The Times also described federalism as "a states' rights philosophy that seeks to undercut federal rights." "Federal rights," indeed. (Probably another of those emanations arising from penumbras that have been in the Constitution since 1789 but lurking invisibly until the valiant Times editorial writers ferreted it out.)
If the feds have "rights," from whence do they come? Divine right?
(As an aside, I suppose the Times thinks the Bill of Rights was adopted to protect federal power. All but the First Amendment, of course, which the Times probably thinks was adopted to give journalists carte blanche while protecting Americans from the evils of organized religion.)
The Times then complains that Pryor once said Roe v. Wade, "the landmark ruling upholding abortion rights," had "ripped the Constitution and ripped out the life of millions of unborn children." The Times does not say what is inaccurate about Pryor's comment. Roe v. Wade dramatically altered the Constitution, at least, the way it is interpreted (as yet, the words "privacy right" do not appear in any versions of the Constitution I've seen, but narrow-minded as I am, I've been sticking to the printed version -- perhaps the Times has scribbed the term onto its own copy). Presumably, the term "ripped" was meant to be figurative.
As to the rest of it, does the New York Times actually contest the assertion that millions of children have lost their lives because of Roe v. Wade?
Are the children alive somewhere?
Project 21 is applauding the recess appointment of Bill Pryor. Part of the group's press release:
After a vote on his nomination was blocked by obstructionists in the U.S. Senate for over ten months, President George W. Bush today installed Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor as a judge on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals through a recess appointment. While members of the African-American leadership network Project 21 regret the President was forced to resort to extraordinary measures to seat Pryor, it is hoped that the move will invigorate the debate over the constitutionality and collegiality of the liberal obstruction of Bush's appeals court nominees.
"I applaud the President's recess appointment of William Pryor and his commitment to appoint constructionist jurists to the courts," said Project 21 member Mychal Massie. "However, I believe a more unambiguous indication of his resolve would be for him to show the same tenacity for those still-languishing judicial nominees that was shown in his relentless determination in passing of the Medicare/prescription drug bill last year."
A president has the power to install nominees when the Senate is not in session, bypassing the need for Senate confirmation and the anti-religious bias shown toward him by some senators. The appointment is only temporary. A recess appointee only serves through the remainder of the congressional term. In the case of Pryor, he will need to be reappointed next January.
Last November, Project 21 released a New Visions Commentary by Matthew Craig about the obstruction of the Pryor nomination. Craig noted: "As Alabama's chief law enforcement official, Pryor has vehemently fought discrimination... Ironically, Pryor himself is now a victim of discrimination. Instead of bias against his skin color or ethnicity, liberal U.S. senators are trying to deny Pryor a federal appeals court appointment largely due to his strong Catholic beliefs."
National Center executive director David W. Almasi has some advice for Texas Republicans:
There is political turmoil in Texas over charges made by a left-wing organization that the speaker of the Texas House of Representatives and a political group linked to federal House Majority Leader Tom DeLay may have illegally disbursed campaign donations (for the record, the charges have been denied). Some of the discussion thus far is based on internal memos obtained by the Dallas Morning News.
Texas Republicans should express their extreme shock and dismay about the leak of the group's internal memos. The Texas Rangers should be called in to conduct the most thorough investigation possible to find out who leaked to memos. All state legislative affairs should stop until the leaker is identified and pilloried. They should demand that the employees of the Dallas Morning News who obtained the memos resign and face possible criminal charges. As for the money-laundering issue, they might address that down the line.
Sound silly? Yes, but that's exactly what's happening in the U.S. Senate regarding the leak of memos within the Senate Judiciary Committee. The head of the NAACP's legal arm resigned under a cloud of ethics charges that she colluded with liberal Senate staff to manipulate the nominations process to benefit one of her cases. Another allegation has surfaced that liberal actions on the Senate Judiciary Committee may have been dictated by the promise of campaign contributions. Yet liberal senators have spun the issue into an investigation of the leaks and not the substance of the memos, and Republican Senators seem to think that is just dandy.
What's good for the goose is good for the gander.
This is what happens when legislation is sought for political rather than policy reasons.
Yes, I know it is easy for me to say that, since I work for a think-tank and no one here ever has to face the voters. But if the White House and the Congressional GOP leadership had tried to sell the genuine conservative Medicare reform package -- the one that offers senior citizens health care coverage similar to that enjoyed by Members of Congress -- I bet it would have been very popular. But they didn't try.
Fortunately, the White House is not trying to fight the war on terrorism this way.
Thanks to a pointer from the "Everything I Know Is Wrong" blog, I visited the Captain's Quarters. I don't usually comment on such things, or even notice them particularly (as readers may have concluded from my own rather minimalist blog design), but that's the most gorgeous blog I have ever seen.
The articles are thought-provoking, too.
The Hill newspaper's take on a meeting last Thursday between conservatives and a handful of Republican Senators on the judicial nominations/leaked memos issue.
David Almasi, who is quoted in the article, attended for us (the American Criminal Justice Center referenced as his employer is the name of one of our projects), as did Mychal Massie of Project 21.
Our Bonner Cohen has a thoughtful piece on Tech Central Station on a proposal Greenpeace is pushing that Bonner believes is dangerous.
Greenpeace wants trucks and freight trains carrying chemicals banned from Washington, D.C., and is pushing the D.C. city council to enact a ban. Bonner says:
...rerouting freight trains with tank cars away from Washington is a bad idea. It would force them to travel a greater distance and actually increase the statistical possibility of an accidental chemical release. The risk of a chemical release, whether by accident or as a result of a terrorist attack, would simply shift from one community to another.Bonner also notes that some harzardous chemicals, such as those that purify drinking water or the chlorine-based antibiotic Cipro, are "critical assets in the war on terrorism." As Bonner put it:
No one knows when or if there will be another anthrax incident in Washington or elsewhere. What we do know, however, is that adequate supplies of Cipro need to be on hand just in case. And you can't send Cipro over the Internet.
Ted Kennedy, one of the Democrats involved, has tried to paint the Judiciary Committee memo situation as another Watergate break-in.
In Watergate, it wasn't the break-in that did in Nixon. It was the cover-up. And Kennedy's attack on those who read the memos is an effort to divert attention from their contents.
I's watching the local Washington D.C .news on the ABC affiliate. They are pointing out -- literally, with a guy standing in a spot where he could do a certain thing we hope no one will do -- ways terrorists could cause a chemical attack in Washington D.C.
How could it possibly be necessary to put this information on television? It's possible to report the opinion that a system has vulnerablities without describing the weakness in such detail a high school student could follow the instructions.
Fortunately, the station didn't post this information on its website. (I doubt I would have written this blog entry if they had.)
And, by the way, ABC says they got this information from Greenpeace. Thanks for nothing, guys.
I have the re-run of the Brit Hume report on Fox News running now. Senator Patrick Leahy is on, referring to us as "far right" and calling us liars.
Well, Senator, all I can say is if someone were to read our computer files, they wouldn't find any evidence of wrongdoing. Too bad we all can't say that.
I'd write more but I'm busy rebutting some other liberal silliness this evening. Specifically, the allegation made by the Center for American Progress, Ted Kennedy, Nancy Pelosi (as well as others who apparently miss the horse-and buggy days) that George Bush is personally responsible (and gleeful about) the fact that economic progress means some jobs move, and some become obsolete.
Nice article in the Salt Lake Tribune today on the Judiciary Committee controversy.
Note the end, where Senator Leahy's press secretary says: "Senator Leahy made several attempts over the past five years to create a more secure computer system by separating the networks of the majority and minority staffs, but his efforts were repeatedly rebuffed or ignored by the Republican side of the aisle."
The Democrats ran the Committee during much of that period. What the press secretary claims is only possible if they were too incompetent to run an office.
In any case, as Manny Miranda put it, "there is no privacy expectation to documents on a government server." No one on the government payroll should be writing memos at work that they would be embarassed to have made public.
Let this be an object lesson to government employees everywhere.