Saturday, February 14, 2004

Gays demand marriage

Andrew Sullivan applauds. It's a matter of civil rights to civil rites. But I'm reminded of the point made by the Massachussetts court that marriage is a legal benefit that could not be denied by law, and how odd it was. What benefits?

Laws regarding marriage have evolved in order to enforce the duties and obligations involved. Duties of support. Liability for alienation of affections. Annulment for failure to consummate. Legitimacy and illegitimacy. Most of those have been abandoned, as personal whim has been allowed to displace liabilities.

So what is it that gays expect to receive from legal wedlock?

I wonder how long it will be before gay couples start claiming that "We don't need a piece of paper to tell us we love each other!"

Friday, February 13, 2004

More on Jay Rosen's report . . .

from Joe Trippi's appearance at an Emerging Technology Teach-in.

How about the 60s lefty concept of a teach-in, in the first place, as though we could all come and listen to a few harangues and consider ourselves "taught?"

What struck me about the whole report was the assumptions made by the pols and the press. One is that Trippi's application of age old fundraising and grassroots organizing techniques to the internet was some kind of "paradigm shift." In case he didn't notice, the bubble has burst, just like Dean's new-age campaign. If Joe Trippi is such a genius, why is he commentating for MSNBC?

I originally had more comments, but then I read Rosen's link to Jeff Jarvis, who links to Matt Welch, who succinctly nails down what's wrong with this picture: "'. . . [T]here's just something about Cluetrain bloggy techism, insurgent populist campaigns & left-of-center political positions that go together like peas & carrots.' Maybe that's true, but I honestly suspect that it's not."

I think Rosen's piece is worth reading for the way it documents what Welch noted. There's a kind of hermetic seal around liberal thinking, where nobody ever questions his own assumptions. Failures are all examined in terms of technique, not product. I think this is why a lot of liberals are becoming libertarians, they realize that government is not going to deliver on the promises of the New Deal or the repackaged versions of it. They still don't like the restraints that conservatives support, but they're too intelligent to believe that socialism, bureaucracy or the U.N. really will ever work.

Update: I received an email from Professor Rosen who was rightly offended by the first version of this post. I had already realized that I had misread his original piece and changed my post to remove the first impression I had that he was describing his own views, when he was merely reporting the tenor of the Teach-in. I'm very flattered that he had read my blog at all, but greatly embarrassed that I had made such a blatant error in my first reading of his report. I owe him at least this apology and can only be grateful that the first draft isn't in print and widely distributed. I have a number of CYA excuses, but it would be unfair to Mr. Rosen to try to justify my own error.

As Glenn Reynolds has noted, it's a nice thing about blogs that they can be edited immediately and continuously.

I know nothing about Mr. Rosen's politics, and therefore disclaim any intent to criticize him, since he is a reporter, not an apologist. The body of the post is the same as I had left it before I read Mr. Rosen's email.

The first warning is the phrase, "Change for America

At what point did "liberal" become synonymous with "the same old political promises" and "progressive" with "failed ideologies repackaged"? Liberals have had a new idea since 1930 and even then they didn't work. Yet here we are four score years later and they're promising us more change that looks a whole lot like "The New Retread Deal."

Do you want something new? How about a news industry that delivers straight objective facts without the sleazy spin? One that doesn't peep and mutter endlessly over an insubstantial innudendo of Bush being AWOL 3O years ago, but self-righteously defends its ethics when a scandal against his opponent with just about as much evidence behind it gets studiously ignored. Wouldn't it be nice to have a source that cuts through all the spin and just points to facts; where reporters didn't view readers as morons who need spoon feeding; and opinions were kept to the OpEd page? I'd love to see a paper where reporters' biases were known, acknowledged and balanced by others with offsetting slants, without all the phoney pretenses. As citizens and voters we need two things, facts and interpretation. The plain facts are what we need news media for. The interpretation can have all the spin they want, as long as we have a whole spectrum to consider. It's when the plain and the spun are mixed, where facts are presented selectively and one newspaper decides what is news for the whole nation, that the media fails its responsibility. In most of our history, the best we could get was a spectrum. There were lots of papers and their points of view were known and understood. Now the papers have dwindled down to one or two per city and they are all manned (or womanned) by people whose views were preformed in J-school, with the exception that the smart ones, like Michael Kelly, Brit Hume, Bernard Goldberg and others figure it out and start following the facts where they lead. That's why Fox News, for all of its tabloid tawdriness, is so popular--and so hated by the left. I don't know if FNC is really fair and balanced, but I do know that the vast majority of news operations aren't.

Powerline's Big Trunk

posted an excellent analysis of why Kerry was wrong in 1971 and why the anti-war crowd is still horribly, tragically wrong.

I think part of their problem is that they view evil in egocentric terms: Whoever disagrees with my rationalizations is evil. Whoever is an immediate threat to my personal comfort is evil. George Bush has plunged us into a situation with uncertain outcomes, and he disagrees with Noam Chomsky, and therefore must be evil. What's Saddam Hussein ever done to me or my family? He must be benign.

I find this attitude and the protean arguments that support it contemptible and ignorant.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

That's General Powell, Son!

I saw this on TV. But if you need evidence of media bias, read the WaPo version. I loved the fact that Powell stood up to the wise-butt staffer sneering nonverbally at his testimony and that he called a member of the House on his groupthink assertion that Bush was AWOL. The WaPo, however, saw it as cranky, testy, snappish. I don't know how much respect the reporter, Glenn Kessler, has for Congressmen him/herself, but if I were Gary L. Ackerman (D-N.Y.) or Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), "a 12-year veteran of the House", I wouldn't be thinking that I had the prestige or clout to take on the most admired man in the country.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Benedict Arnold was a war hero, too,

until he switched sides. Similarly, John Kerry did some heroic things in Vietnam, but when he came home he slandered the troops there and became a leading anti-war activist. That wouldn't be a big deal, except that now he's claiming that his heroics in Vietnam make him more qualified than anybody else to formulate foreign policy and decide how to deal with the threat of terrorism.

In a fair setting, his claims would be laughable, but with the support of mainstream media, which has adopted all of the Democrat talking points, there is a real danger that Americans will be persuaded to abandon their successes in the war against terrorism.

Monday, February 09, 2004

Mort Kondracke and Mara Liasson on Gore's speech:

In a speech that made Dean's wild yell look calm and collected, Gore charged that Bush "betrayed this country.. . .with betraying the U.S. and taking "America on an ill-conceived foreign adventure, dangerous to our troops,. . . that was preordained and planned before 9-11."

Mort: "I think that we can all thank God, that Al Gore was not elected president of the United States. I question whether this man is stable in a crisis."

"Worse than Dean!"

"There is nothing that you can imagine that Al Gore would not say about George Bush."

Mara: "This is what Fred usually does, but 'Just imagine if a Republican said this about Democrats.'"

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Remember the Boxer Uprising in China about 100 years ago?

I just watched a program on the History International channel about the Boxer rebellion. The boxers had a superficial resemblance to the Falungong, who have been persecuted by the current Chinese regime. Could that be why?