Friday, November 21, 2003

The good stuff in Daniel Drezner's blog denouncing Lileks' denunciation of Salam Pax is in the comments section. Too bad this isn't the nightly news. It's so much more interesting. Brit Hume's "all-stars" can't touch this stuff.

Roger Simon's post about his conversation with Hugh Hewitt, on yesterday's show dealing with the media's focus on Michael Jackson ahead of more Al Qaeda attacks in Israel and Turkey, has turned into a debate over gay marriage in the comments section, which veered off into a debate about this article by Hewitt on the Weekly Standard's website.

My contributions:
I agree with Hewitt, whose opposition to the Massachusetts decision is based on a general opposition to courts substituting their judgment for that of the elected representatives of the people.

Courts are the least democratic of the branchs of government, and should therefore exercise circumspect restraint when raising issues to the level of constitutional import. There is a trend today to make every claim into a constitutional right, instead of allowing these issues to be debated long and loud in the political arena. This is an important point, because as Jefferson wrote, "Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed," and that includes courts.

Hewitt is only restating that, by pointing out that if courts get out too far ahead of popular opinions they risk blowback. I believe that the sorry spectacle of Senate confirmation hearings we've seen over conservative appointees to high courts in recent years is due to the fact that these courts have made themselves political with decisions of policy which are better left to the political process. They need to be aware that the power of judicial review is not explicit in the constitution, but is inferred by themselves and deferred to by the other branches. But would they really want to provoke an incident between their marshalls and the powers under the command of the Congress and President?

We have a government of laws and not of men, but the courts need to remember that they too are men and women, and recognize that it is not good for their institution to become the third political branch.

One more thing about gay marriage. I would argue, and I believe, that rights come with responsibilities. We have become so focused on our freedoms, rights and privileges that we forget that there are things that our society has a right to expect from us in return for protecting those rights.

I believe also that our society needs well-functioning families which produce and rear good citizens. I think that unwed mothers and single parent families are destructive of the needs of society, and until someone can show me that children raised by homosexuals are psychologically as well off as those raised in a functioning traditional family, I will be opposed to legal recognition of such unions as the equivalent of marriage between a man and wife. I also think that divorce is harmful and a failure of citizenship. Fortunately, we still have a core of healthy families, but we shouldn't be doing so much to make them obsolete. We don't have any proven alternatives, and I don't think we ever will.

Lileks quotes an open and snotty letter to George W. Bush published in The Guardian:

I hate to wake you up from that dream you are having, the one in which you are a superhero bringing democracy and freedom to underdeveloped, oppressed countries. But you really need to check things out in one of the countries you have recently bombed to freedom. Georgie, I am kind of worried that things are going a bit bad in Iraq and you don't seem to care that much. You might want it to appear as if things are going well and sign Iraq off as a job well done, but I am afraid this is not the case.

Listen, habibi, it is not over yet. Let me explain this in simple terms. You have spilled a glass full of tomato juice on an already dirty carpet and now you have to clean up the whole room. Not all of the mess is your fault but you volunteered to clean it up. I bet if someone had explained it to you like that you would have been less hasty going on our Rambo-in-Baghdad trip.

To tell you the truth, I am glad that someone is doing the cleaning up, and thank you for getting rid of that scary guy with the hideous moustache that we had for president. But I have to say that the advertisements you were dropping from your B52s before the bombs fell promised a much more efficient and speedy service.

Why do they hate us? Maybe the question should be, Why should we give two hoots about them? I spent two years on an LDS mission to southern Germany, having doors slammed in my face. I suppose I should have learned from that not to expect gratitude from those I was trying to help, but then I didn't put my life on the line for them or rescue them from a fascist regime. My dad's generation did that. Most Germans I met just loved Americans. But Salam Pax seems to have gone Hollywood, or at least London. What a jerk.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Ugh! I just saw the mugshot of Michael Jackson. He looks like a real boy trying to become a wooden puppet.

Steven Den Beste has a terrific post on the difference between those who take the courageous approach and those who think there is safety in ignoring 9/11. Go read it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

I keep the History Channel on a lot. Sometimes I haven't seen it before. This week is Kennedy week, with a "documentary" called The Men Who Killed Kennedy. If I were on the Chamber of Commerce for Texas or Louisiana, I'd go to court to prevent further showings of this series, just because of the odd assortment of weird characters it presents. They all seem like stereotypical redneck Americans. The cameras of the producers seem to draw oddballs like a backdoor light on a summer evening draws bugs. The witnesses claiming to remember the whole thing, having heard all the shots, knowing all the inside dope, etc. resemble the characters of a bad melodrama. Then there are the conspiracy theorists, like Jim Garrison, who make UFO abductees look totally believable. I haven't really been watching this all that closely, but it has to be the strangest aspect of how modern communications have affected people.

I can't figure out why anybody even cares anymore whether Oswald acted alone, but assuming he didn't I don't think that this documentary will add anything to solving the mystery. It seems as though everybody interviewed has reconstructed the facts in a way that makes their insight absolutely key to solving the mystery. The one I find the most interesting is the mortician who prepared Lee Oswald's body for burial. He has a theory that the body he buried wasn't Oswald's but when it was exumed to settle the doubts of his widow, the head of Oswald had been substituted for that of the first body so that the dental work would match.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

I just found The Conservative Crust, and I agree with him. He featured this link via The Corner

Further thoughts:

I don't much care whether two men or two women want to live together and play house, but I have to wonder whether the gay marriage decision will give them what they are looking for. It isn't just the legal status for purposes of employment benefits, inheritance, etc. Those can be dealt with short of redefining marriage.

What they are after is acceptance of their sexual orientation as "normal." They've already achieved that as far as most of the media and academia and at least the Democrat Party is concerned, but they will not be satisfied, I think, until every last heterosexual swears "not that there's anything wrong with that."

I wonder how the courts will deal with that.

Just one question. Which is the husband and which is the wife?

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Lisa Simpson, "This girl is extremely popular (?) and thinks for herself. She's like a female Eleanor Roosevelt," except that she's such stereotype of the Future Feminists of America.

Then there's the irony of a professional journalist describing the blogosphere as "a little too cozy." Yeah, not like the diversity of opinions at the New York Times.