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Saturday, March 31, 2007

We Are All British, Now

Too much already about 'humiliating' Britain and "weakness is a provocation" and listening to Ollie North and Newt Gingrich.

No one likes to feel impotent in a situation; but, face it, that is the agony of a hostage situation. I give credit to Jimmy Carter for his long patience in this regard (even though he left those helicopters in the desert).

What have people learned about fighting the war of ideas, the propaganda that Iran is spinning right now, using the hostages as their megaphone? Apparently little, if the first reach is for other things.

When people get together to formulate a message tailored to the regional struggle that Iran is trying to be a player in, when they figure out how to turn this into a propaganda disaster for Iran and Iranian legitimacy, then they will be on the right path, IMO.

... oh, and it cannot just be Tony Blair. It has to be done in concert.

Longitudinal Morality

My own candidates for what we find morally ok today that we won't in the future are: abortion-on-demand, factory farming, and discrimination against gays. -AS

The only sure bet on this would be moral ... awkwardness. For instance, how it came to pass, for so many, for so long, and as a central tenant of political organization, that life was held to be sacred and everyone's problem until birth, after which it is economic and not-my-problem.

Is AS's pitch against the HRC malicious?


As I look over the list of AS's comments about the HRC in the past two months, I think one can start to make a strong case that his motives are malicious. One can easily make the case that he has set out

  1. maliciously to tarnish their image, by deliberate abuse of their logo and largely unsupported accusations about many things, including their building funding, their invites for Presidential hopefuls, their 'absence' on key gay-rights issues, their non-support for non-Democrats,

  2. malicious to strike at their fundraising, by recommending, with an unresearched and unsubstantiatied basis, that readers give to other groups, including a list that he admits it off the top of his head, but which turns out not to measure up to some of his own stated criterion or those he gives for the HRC;

  3. maliciously to assualt their reputation as a gay-rights group and diminish their lobby capability, by openly impugning their motives, personally disparaging the Executive Director ("operative", "hack") and any others there ("Hillary bots" following "dictats"), and putting as his first question how many members they have. Much of this he does with thin argument that he doesn't put up to scrutiny on his own blog via back-and-forth, as many - even most - other bloggers do, and biased links to this or that person who has a negative view (in one case, he didn't even provide a hyperlink to the quotation or the person's name).


This weekend, he moves on to the next set, without learning the lessons of the last weekend. His last was that the HRC didn't seem to him to spend enough on Washington lobby groups (gulp). Another week goes by, but he hasn't rounded out that criticism to include anything but his worry about that. In other words, he hasn't taken the time to communicate or to develop a sense for how much they ought to spend, even when prompted to do so, so it is fair to assume that his criticism is designed to malign them, no matter how much they spend.

AS writes in passing that HRC can consider his fiance a member, because he went to an HRC concert. Why did he do that, one wonders? In any case, I've got news for you: I'm not a Yankee's fan, but I love a day at the ballpark. Three years ago I was the designated ticket buyer to a game in the Bronx. This week, I got a giant glossy from the Yankees, inviting me to continue supporting them. In other words, AS ought to get over himself and his fixation on policing who is a member and who isn't. It's done and it's widespread. He hasn't still, and it's more indication of harboring ill intentions toward them.


This weekend, he spins off on why the HRC may not disclose how much money they have made on an event in Atlanta. He finds this to be an outrage. However, of all of the LGBT organizations that I've scanned for "special events" income, what most show is aggregate amount earned and aggregate earnings. Even where single events are broken out, the accounting is funny. Most groups show that the event broke-even (or very nearly) and all the rest is accounted for in the line-item "contributions", not "event income". In general, there is always a push-pull on how much to disclose for particular things, something that AS's knee-jerk outrage ignores. If you got a good deal on a venue or something, then it is not beneficial to share that cost data with competitors.

Were AS interested in getting to the bottom of "special events" accounting, he might have tried for some balance, looking at other events too (GLAAD just had a massive, multi-milltion dollar event in the week - did he look at that?). Since he doesn't even try, it's more evidence of a malicious animus toward the HRC.

So, in my estimation, it's time for serious blowback.

I honestly believe that I have less to fear from the organizational "problems" that I've heard about regarding the HRC than I do from Andrew Sullivan, who now openly pretends that he can run the entire gay-rights movement better than they can, whatever their problems, from his blog, by suggesting who people should give money to and who not, dressed up in his b.s. "questions" and an "accountability" act so obviously faux when one looks at the record of deep bias and malicious animus. F-that!

Athlete of the Week

This week goes to Ryan Lochte:

Ryan pulled down a world record in the 200m backstroke down in Australian waters. The Daytona Beach dude also celebrated a four by 200m freestyle world record (and 2nd gold) with his teammates.

Assistant team coach Eddie Reese praised Lochte's commitment to closing the gap on the big names in the U.S. team.
"We call it 'hotter than a firecracker', in the last two days he's dropped three seconds off his best time. He's doing everything well, he just outworks people.

Guillermo Canas's run this week (to the semi-finals, so far), including a push over of Federer, puts the roving eye on him.

In any case, runner up is Kyle - no, not that one - Kyle Bush, the junior mint who up put up the car-of-tommorow Nascar win. This photo is one of the best racing photos I've seen in a while for capturing the gritty gestalt of the track.

n.b. the Kuala Lumpur Countdown, Formula One fans ...

Friday, March 30, 2007

Booting or Mooting Marriage

I remember the battle within the gay rights movement over marriage. Believe me, many on the left were against it. -AS

That bears some explaining. I don't remember the gay rights movement having a deep left-right divide, until .... Do "modern" gay-conservatives believe that pre-marital gay-sex is a sin? Do they believe that morning sex is bad for you, like non-procreative sex might be for others? Which is just another way to say that, in my view, the widespread support comes from a belief in relationship non-discrimination - and even relationship celebration - but not necessarily "gay marriage". But, I've never taken a poll or anything - heck, I wouldn't know who to ask. For most (no, all) of the LGBT people I know, I don't think I could classify for sure what their politics is in a left-right way. I rather like it being that way, too.

I can live within a coalition with people who oppose my right to marry the man I love. But I cannot live within a coalition that would amend the federal constitution to forbid it for ever in every state. -AS

Well, eyes open: McCain isn't polling too well, right now, so ... just hold that thought and what it might imply about the coalition.

There is something not quite right in discovering the joys of federalism after having ignored the perils of it. Alas, that's water under the bridge: "love that Federalism, 'cause it's all we got." There is reason to be optimistic about that, because it does provide for a kind of percolation. There is also reason to be pessimistic that it will lead to an eventual, desired consensus, because thirty years after Roe, with enough said and written about it to paper a trip to the moon, yet still some folks want it returned (condemned?) to the States!

Meanwhile, the grass is greener elsewhere: Christopher Dodd, Democrat for President, comes out firmly for changing the DADT policy. McCain ... says he will subordinate any view he has on the matter to the opinion of the Generals. Why not skip McCain to get two birds with one stone?

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

As we find out today in testimony, "without passion or prejudice" is not what Rove, Bush, Harriet, and Gonzales had in mind when evaluating whether U.S. Attorneys were in-line with the Administration's "priorities". Apparently, it didn't even rank. Why does Texas-style Justice always make me feel like I'm watching The Gong Show?

AS finds an insider's further expose on the Civil Rights Division (original was by Boston Globe, as best I recall):

This administration is also politicizing the career staff of the Justice Department [hey, commiserate with the CIA guys - how do you think they feel?]. Outright hostility to career employees who disagreed with the political appointees was evident early on. Seven career managers were removed in the civil rights division. I personally was ordered to change performance evaluations of several attorneys under my supervision. I was told to include critical comments about those whose recommendations ran counter to the political will of the administration and to improve evaluations of those who were politically favored.

If you dig up the inquiry into how the SEC handled the investigation into John Mack-and-the-Pequots, you don't get more drama than that - watching lawyers question lawyers is always a verbal and intellectual feasty (wikipedia backgrounder). That inquiry came complete with facts that could be construed as DOJ intimidation, even, depending on your view of the merits (but also expressed by some on both sides of the panel).

Last, one reads these accounts about how people "shift careers" and you just have to laugh when you hear some economists excusing all of this as part of a dynamic labor market. All hail the creative destruction of the Pleasure of the President!

companion reader link to AS

Thursday Roundup

Rudy and the Flat Tax: How does the link support a flat tax? It says that Steve Forbes thinks Rudy is a supply-sider. Barring a tax increase for the lower and middle, the only way to have both is for the GOP, once again, to lower taxes on the top brackets. Surprise! "Flat tax" is code for "Rudy is Bush". The idea that Giuliani would end corporate welfare is ... ha ha funny joke-man.

DOJ and Pedophilia: Tip of the iceberg on this abuse issue. See also Stop Prison Rape, three year study from HRW, and the personal story of one, T.J. Parsell.

Neural Marketing: "In Forbes, [neural marketing] is lightly described what happens in the brains during a purchasing process." It now appears that, not only did Marx underestimate the joys of material ownership, but that capitalists have new ways of stimulating them. Separately, "Ricard explains that happiness is a skill that can be self-taught, as he did by 10,000 hours of meditation." Huxley explains that, in the future, happiness is a pill that can be bought.

Cheney in Defeat: Never too early or too often, eh?

Newsweeklies and America: And Bush wanted a civilian corps? Has "politics" been outsourced by Americans or is this the plain-sight view of the perpetual threat to Republics at their peak: laziness and self-reference?

McCain in Iraq: A senior moment? McCain and condoms was far funnier comic-tragic.

"Pure Evil": This is a fine needle to thread. Whatever the ontology, I think it would be just fine to suggest that some people can be quite nearly consumed by evil. How that applies exactly to al-qaeda types is more difficult. Some atrocities are staged for maximum impact. Within their own personal lives, some jihadis exhibt (like the Mamluks?) a great capacity for both an aesthetic magnanimity and post-verbal brutality. Even bin-Laden's "peace" is corruptible on its own terms, which is the "practical significance" that I find in the abundant stories of jihadi-for-hire, the recent one about them pressing the kids into service, and blackmailing people into 'martyrdom'. I find recent the phenomenon of 'doped-up for jihad', although it may not be completely (I believe it was a CCN report I saw that drugs are being used in Iraq to desensitize would-be jihadi operatives).

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

There is a 'Perfect Storm' Headed for the GOP

I read stories like this one, quoted below, and I cannot help but feel that there is a perfect storm headed the way of the GOP boosters:

  1. current history of 'cut-tax and spend' profligacy,
  2. a tax-free military deployment, and
  3. looming fiscal challenge on which Americans are unlikely to compromise.

All that against the growing awareness of the warm waters dangers of income and wealth inequality.

The DP has better strategists than my armchair version, but I cannot help but think that introducing a demand that "Bush must pay for his policies and leave a clean-slate for the next President" might be something to consider as round-two (post-veto) of the tussle on the "emergency supplemental" appropriations bill heats up. It's not clear where fiscal responsibility versus no-new-taxes stands up in the electorates' mind right now, as a net plus or minus for Democrats; but forcing the GOP to come to terms with revenue shortfalls seems to me to have political merit.

If you want to get mercilessly Pigovian, then you might suggest that those who should pay for the past eight years ought to be Bush's gilded base, as he described them, "the haves and the have mores", in a one-time tax assessment, a true-up for the miscalculations of their undivided tenure in office. (I'm even more comfortable with "eight years", because even Charlie Rose has somewhat abruptly started a series, "Memo to the Next President", while the sitting President still has over 660 days in office!).

Bush's acknowledgment that inequality is widening and the renewed focus on health care and revamping aid to dislocated workers suggest the administration appreciates the issue's political potency.

"Voters' perceptions of economic health are very different than they used to be," said Mark McKinnon, Bush's former media adviser and now an adviser to Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican seeking to succeed Bush. "The old indicators that we reliably counted on — unemployment, the stock market — don't seem to matter much anymore. And other things do — health care and pensions."

Adds former Treasury Secretary John Snow, now chairman of private-equity buyout firm Cerberus Capital Management: "The Democrats sense they have an issue here and are going to try to push it, and the Republicans are going to have to have an answer."

Tulipmania in American Idol

Sanjaya must be stopped. Superbly written by Jon Swift.

On the other hand, am I allowed to enjoy Sanjaya as a "protest vote" against the idol phenomenon, and Simon Cowell in particular and Rupert Murdoch in general?

Cultural Learnings For Make Benefit Great Nation of Iran

As the Iranian-British hostage crisis simmers dangerously, I thought I'd mention a fine analysis that I read a couple of years ago, about how holding hostages, especially those associated with a diplomatic mission, was a particularly heinous act as viewed by Western mores; but less so, when viewed through the lens of the barter culture of parts of Persia, as the author described it.

I saw some echos of this when I did a little research into Islamic rulings on how to take and how to treat prisoners of war (around the time when people took fright at a Qu'ran being defaced). Some of these rules might shock and surprise anyone with liberal notions, although what it takes to shock the conscience of some conservatives is constantly in question, as AS points out just today.

While there is no official demand yet from the Iranian government that I've seen, it stands to reason that, if they do not release the soldiers, they will try to swap them, possibly for Iranian "diplomats" that have been detained/"neutralized" inside Iraq in recent weeks. We'll see. The last time around in 1979 with Ahmedi-Nejad (identified by some as directly involved), they wanted the Shah.

Update: "Today or tomorrow, the lady will be released," Mottaki said Wednesday [3/28] on the sidelines of an Arab summit in the Saudi capital, referring to sailor Faye Turney, 26, the only woman among the 15.

The Iranian Embassy in London also issued a statement that said: "We are confident that Iranian and British governments are capable of resolving this security case through their close contacts and cooperation."

Iranian state TV also said it would soon broadcast video showing the captured British sailors and marines. [uh-oh ...]

The Depth of the Democratic Bench

Am I the only one to be impressed with the depth of the Democratic line-up of Presidential nominees this go round?

While taking notice of some things from thoughtful people who have been writing about Governor Richardson, it struck me that the Democrats ought to feel quite good about a field that includes Obama, Clinton, Richardson, Edwards in his way, and even Biden, who, with all his foibles, can give a speech better than Lieberman ever did. If only Wes Clark had joined the field, there would be a thinking-man's solider to add to the list, a profile that is always in demand during times of conflict.

All of these candidates have express, positive views of gays and lesbians in society, too.

On the GOP side, it's thin. Rudy's experience level is far less than Richardson's, I'd wager. McCain isn't always the sharpest tac in the box, although his experience bails him out most often. What's left, after that? Brownback? That's not depth, that's width.

Is the Surge Working?


AS has been against the plus-up, without ever really enumerating or specifying exactly why, that I remember. It was so frustrating that I actually took the time to outline all the ways in which people were suggesting that a plus-up would not work, with an emphasis that there are answers to all of that.

So far, there is tentative evidence that the threat of more troops, more troops, or the different tactical realignment of troops is negatively correlated with violence. (If it holds, this has grave implications for prior force-level assessments.)


The harder, forward-looking truth is that counter-insurgency operations probably need to be measured in long periods of time, of 12 to 18 months, time for an entire cycle of action-reaction-counteraction to have taken place. Unless there is obvious political and economic progress over the course of a cycle, the circumstances for further chunks of time of that size seem small, given the sense of the Congress votes this week on the budget and notwithstanding the Army's own internal ticking-clock centered around just how many consecutive deployments our soldiers can handle (probably more than we think, but still).


Recalling that the stated reason for the surge was to do better with "hold", in clear-hold-build, today, there was a massive car-bomb in Tal Afar, which has been cleared (at least once). This suggests that insurgents and/or al-qaeda can still strike at will, wherever.


As has been the case throughout the conflict, secrecy - the "classified war" - make real assessment impossible. One bombing doesn't necessarily imply "lost". Without systematic statistics on the violence provided by the government, almost all analysis is relegated to ad hoc.

Looking to ad-hoc reports, however, there does appear to be some indication that folks like Omar at Iraq the Model blog have some color back in their cheeks. There is some serious blowback against al-qaeda going on inside the country, from Iraqis. Of course, that is only one element of instability, but it is certainly an encouraging development in this real-time, bullet-by-bullet struggle within Islam that is worth remarking. As Omar blogs it:

The clash between the tribe and the mosque was inevitable. For centuries and since the early days of Islam the two institutions squabbled for power and dominance and while tribe sheiks are diplomats by nature and always seek to resole conflicts and find compromises between the two sides of a conflict, clerics, especially extreme ones, do not recognize the idea of compromise; to them there is halal and haram (or allowed and forbidden) with absolutely no gray area in between whatsoever.

Iraq and the western part in particular is a very tribal community and so the increased influence and interference of clerics became a serious threat to the position of sheiks. Sheiks are more businessmen than ideological leaders, like my tribe's sheik put it once "the hell with them [clerics] we want to live like normal people and all they care about is death".

companion reader link to AS

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

"Apassionata", Sonata Opus 57

A long while ago now, Daniel Barenboim released a DVD, "50 Years on Stage". I've only seen part of it just now.

I love listening to older musicians, who often have breathtaking control. Years ago, I saw Annie Fischer perform and she did the first movement of the "Moonlight" Sonata as an encore. (Think about the confidence it takes to do that). It remains etched in my memory.

So, I was doubly glad to see a lot more about Barenboim than I knew and to find a youtube of him in part of the masterclass. Here he is with international sensation Lang Lang. If you skip forward about 2/3 of the way through, you can hear what I'm talking about, as they work through the transtion.

Barenboim working with Lang-Lang:

If you want to compare the voicing, articulation, and what they were talking about with the syncopation, here is a clip to contrast, showing the difference between really very good and really quite exceptional.

If you didn't hear the difference between Barenboim and Lang-Lang, also listen here:

I have Barenboim's live recording of the Goldberg variations, which I thoroughly treasure, but I never pursued him in his mammoth Beethoven recording effort or his conducting. If you want to feel old, here they all when they were oh so young (Pinkas, Barenboim, Zukerman), in the lively "Trout" Quartet:

The young virtuosos:

Monday, March 26, 2007

It's not a "war"

There are some misguided religionists convinced of the political advent and supremacy of their views. They play on various issues to get popular support, which they lack, except on general issues, like an anti-American sentiment and distaste for their own political alternatives.

There is no "war" (except in their mind) and that is absolutely the wrong word. We ought to take greater care with that, lest we inadvertently frighten ourselves into hastening what we hope to forestall.

And ... there is plenty that "we" can do, including patience, learning, and understanding - all of which prevent the kind of broad brushing of "Islam".

link: Bootstrapping Andrew Sullivan

Evangelicals Welcome

If Democrats nominate more candidates who hold conservative views on cultural issues, the party may be able to make inroads among evangelicals. Still, as long as the party’s fundamental attitude toward issues such as abortion and gay rights is what it is, Democrats would be much better off trying to lock up suburban moderates before they waste a lot of time trying to attract evangelical voters to their party.

I disagree. Why?


It may well be that mainstream evangelicals moderate their political views. The radical notion that Roe must be overturned might eventually be seen as extremist political wants. For a long time, even Republican strategists have been opining that "abortion", as a political issue, is nearing its end. Most of the GOP are not behind an abortion litmus test for judicial nominees (at least publicly). Many are compelled by the balance-of-liberties arguments of Justice O'Connor and also think that the practical restrictions/limits on abortion are pressed nearly as far as can be reasonably expected.


I think that evangelicals will come around on gay rights, eventually, too. Even if they will be the last to celebrate or accept "gay marriage", that doesn't mean that partnership non-discrimination is out of reach entirely, in the meantime.


Given that the largest evangelical group just came out with a human-rights based rejection of torture, the Democrats do seem to have at least prima facie inroads to evangelicals. Strategically, a practical alliance between right-of-center, "mainstream" evangelicals and belief-in-good-government progressives could color many states Blue and form a formidable coalition that could last a generation.

I cannot think of any obvious leaders on the Democratic side who could forge such an alliance, however. What's more, Nixon formed his transformative coalition around race and there isn't an obvious analog in today's politics, an issue to bind a coalition at the start.

link: Bootstrapping Andrew Sullivan

Rothenberg article

Recruiting Hatred

What a disgusting exchange.

It's precisely this kind of hotheadedness that has accompanied such views, largely in the past, that cooler heads in the military didn't want to get involved policing.

Today, however, it is time to step up to the challenge and end the ban, just as the Army finished up with racial segregation under President Truman.

link: Bootstrapping Andrew Sullivan

Iran Takes Hostages, Again

The first strategic crisis created by the Bush-Cheney torture regime is now occurring. It won't be the last.

Possibly, but these guys were in uniform and part of an organized military. While we might want to extend protections to those at Gitmo, I've never found utility in throwing out that distinction. What's more, Iran, I'm guessing, would be considered a "High Contracting Party" to Geneva, so the case is even stronger than if these soldiers were captured by the jayesh-al-group-du-jour, say.

link: Bootstrapping Andrew Sullivan

Bush To Do the Diplomatic Circle

In "Bunker Time" AS quotes Novak's widely reported assessment that the WH is now looking isolated, like what happened to Jimmy Carter (not Nixon), except that Jimmy did with great pain, discipline (patience), and political sacrifice (his own) what was strategically relevant, while Bush still seems to many to have not fully grappled with the quagmire he and his have created.

The 'long denouement' is another constitutional failing of term limits that perhaps Sandy Levinson will take up (if he hasn't already).

In any case, it's around this time in their term that Presidents historically have found ... International Relations. I had thought that the tour of South America was the first sign, but I'm less sure of it now. We'll see.

link: Bootstrapping Andrew Sullivan

More Evidence: Giuliani is Bush

On Larry Kudlow's show tonight, Giuliani remarked that

It's not a day that goes by that I do not think about the events of 9/11.

Do we really want four more years of "We must not forget the lessons of 9/11"? I'm hazarding that both Giuliani and Bush share the same tidbit of remorse or guilt about 9/11 and whether they could have done more to prevent, mitigate or deal with it. This inheritance, along with the rest of the trauma of that day, probably leads them to think in terms of maximalist policy positions. As AS is pointing out today, the government has spread is wings on political violence, with the NYPD, not the FBI, fanning coverts out to keep watch on potential politicos-gone-wild.

Showing his weakness on National Security issues, Giuliani went on to remark in relation to the House vote to end a combat role by Fall, 2008:

(paraphrase) ... in the long history of warfare, I don't think that providing your enemies with your time table for withdrawal will have proved a winning move.

Which is fine, in itself, but it is Bush-Cheney all over again, a one-dimensional analysis. With that in hand, don't you think that Giuliani would have been just about the same as Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld in quite robustly failing to keep domestic support for Op Iraqi Freedom (or any conflict)?

In fact, coupled with most analysts' observations about the closeness of Giuliani's inner circle, one could imagine a simple replay of the past four years, under his style of leadership and view of events.

These early interviews are important, because they are naked and not market tested quite so much.

More Than Words

World Press Photo puts up a gallery of 2007 winners. The beautiful shot above is just a third place winner in the sports-action category. If you love photography, be sure to come back to these!

(photo Jeffrey Phelps, USA, The Associated Press. Milwaukee Brewers against San Francisco Giants, 4 May)

The Daily HRC

what a leading gay paper in LA has to say about the group:

No linky, no shirty.

It's rare to have AS forget a link. What's up with that, I wonder?

If we add "desperate" and "bragging" to the list of dished-up adjectives, on this subject' scorecard so far, though, would it change who is in the lead? Qien sabe?

link: Bootstrapping Andrew Sullivan

To: The Revenue Purists

At auction. Tell me, how is this better or worse than "black tie dinners"?

It isn't. As organizations grow/mature, they try to raise money and find new and creative ways to do so. Period. If they are smart, they get better at it.

Meanwhile, handwaving, whatever its merits, shifts focus from very important, cooperative efforts like this one:

Documenting Courage, LGBT in service.

I just posted a link to the online Iraqi Veterans Memorial. There is not one LGBT story included there (have there been no LGBT casualties?). How is that less important than legislative efforts?

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Athlete of the Week

It is always hard to pick just one, and this week was tough, given Kobe's prodigious scoring streak, but here's to the agony-and-ecstasy of Lindsey Harding (left, above):

GREENSBORO, N.C. — After a season of spectacular plays and awards, Lindsey Harding ended her Duke career on her back on the floor of the Greensboro Coliseum, tears of sadness flowing, hands covering her face and supportive teammates surrounding her Saturday afternoon.

The player that opposing Rutgers coach Vivian Stringer called "the best point guard in America, period" committed a turnover with 5.6 seconds left, made a spectacular steal to get the ball back and then missed two free throws with .1 seconds left in a 53-52 loss in the third round of the NCAA women's tournament

(photo: Ellen Ozier)

link: The Point Guard, recent backgrounder by NYT

Quick Gay Marriage Update

Select items:

  • N.H. legislature creates a panel and moves a step closer to civil unions.
  • S.C. legislature ratifies amendment to ban gay marriage, and Lindsey Graham-R, the Senator with arguably the gayest name in the Congress (yuk, yuk .. I know, I shouldn't stereotype), has yet another arrow in his dubious quiver about why his nativist views are better than "Northern liberals". [Graham voted FOR the federal marriage amendment in the last session].
  • Sweeden proposes expanding rights of its gay civil unions (hat tip S. Miller).
  • Westchester County exec order holds up in court this week. [this is the link to follow for interesting story/review].

Of these, I might judge the proposal in Sweeden to be quite significant (and the Westchester one as evidence that there is more than federalism at work, now). It's a note to marriage maximalists irreductionists, who either lack the discipline to walk a line or lack the foresight to anticipate a political strategy's evolution. There is more than one way to skin a cat, especially when "manifest justice" is on your side (and, no, I wouldn't consider a torrent of amendments a way to skin the cat).

It is also a note to those who came close to threatening heterosexuals, by suggesting that anything less than gay marriage was a threat to all marriage. The paucity of such views is not in their "correctness" or "validity", but in their failure to anticipate the level of animosity and pushback. When you have people like the Rev. Albert Mohler's of the world, who are prepared for eugenics to prevent homosexual existence, such threats are not ... er, instructive (at least in the way intended).

A letter from AS's reader on the NH issue.

State of the States on Partnership Nondiscrimination

Java in the Morning


I've put the java counters for the budget tables on a switch, to tame their hoggish way of slowing down the browser (it was driving me nutso).

Also, I've put up the weekly figures for the 2008 race.

Today, there are 666 days left in the Bush administration.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

First Take on HRC's Lobbying

I'm not an expert on these things and I don't want to misrepresent them. If readers more familiar than I with lobby groups can analyse and inspect the report here, I'd be grateful. All I'm trying to do is figure out if HRC as a whole is giving people value for money. Maybe readers can help.

My first response is, you lazy s.o.b. Sorry, can't help it. "All I'm trying to do ..." - too late for that protestation.

How does one manage simultaneously to derride as "hacks" those people who do know this business while suggesting that he has been following these things for years and knows well enough to tell people to "do themselves a favor" or that Tim Gill's group is an alternative?

I hope AS gets two contradictory sets of figures from his readers, and then he'll be back to having to do the work of being an "activist" himself along with his blog staff.

link: Bootstrapping Andrew Sullivan

Manassas "Falls" to Gays

I always feel like one part sociologist when browsing the web. Sometimes it's like having a magic pool which reflects worlds you cannot imagine.

Here is one where O'Reilly steel meets VA leather.

One titched blogger, bemoaning that the "Korean Mafia" might be "rushing for the bottom" in Manassas, VA, with their pitch for a gay-night at the local:

They started with Latino night, which didn’t work. Now it’s gay night. Are animal acts far behind?

But the secret is in the sauce, and the saucy stuff is all in the thread's comments. I think people read his blog for the humor of his "conservative" views, but it's hard to know where the humor leaves off.

One responder:

I could care less about gay people when we have better things worry about. Gay people are not overcrowding our neighborhoods or schools. There are too many illegals in the area and the INS or police are not doing anything about it.

It's grounding not to have to worry about Hegelianism, Proust, and whether federalism is good for gay rights or not - in the end, you just have to worry about who is overcrowding your neighborhood. Ah, the simple life! Lebensraum for everyone in Manassas.

Crain's NY Deflates Rudy's Puffing-Up

IzzyBrand picks up on the follows:

"In "Rudy the candidate gets religion," Erik Engquist & Anne Michaud of Crain's New York Business remind readers of this, and also the fact that Rudy's engaging in some revisionist self-congratulation regarding the state of the City's finances when he arrived:

The former mayor....says that he turned "a deficit"--it was actually a projected shortfall--"into a multibillion-dollar surplus." Economists say a late '90s Wall Street boom powered the financial turnaround, but a recession began early in Mr. Giuliani's final year, before Sept. 11.
After he left, the city raised property, income and sales taxes to plug a massive budget hole.

Laugh of the Week

PK at PolySigh awards a Fields-Fail as follows:

This comes from a story in the Politico about former Maryland governor Bob Erlich endorsing Rudy Giuliani:

"The two [Erlich and Giuliani] also share a top financier in Dick Hug. A Ranger for Bush-Cheney '04, Hug was Ehrlich's top fundraiser in his successful 2002 gubernatorial run. Hug is now backing Giuliani's White House bid."

Dueling Gay DC Activists Earn Right to Shoot At Each Other, If Necessary


ITEM: "Gay libertarian activitst" instrumental in overturning DC ban on guns. (hat tip, IndyGay Stephen Miller).

ITEM: Gay activists turn/re-turn to personal attacks, in wake of HRC "Dishing" by AS.

Update: NOON at the O.K. Corral. (or 30 minutes past, because you know ...)

Policing/Enforcing Gay Culture?


AS links a cute cartoon on what happens if you didn't like, "The 300".

It brings to mind a recent quip here that someone needed a "music intervention".

That might be different than a musical litmus test, expressed famously by that line (paraphrase), "If you don't know at least one Cole Porter song all the way through, I don't want to know you."

link: Bootstrapping Andrew Sullivan

Cost of War: Update III, Wealth Transfer and the Stable Outcome

Burning money: NOAA's satellite imagery captures oil well fire plumes during Gulf-I.

I haven't been remiss about refining the cost of war calculations (table, LHS), but did get caught up in a fascinating paper on Pareto optimal income distributions (fun, eh?).


The rise in the world oil price creates a wealth transfer from oil net importers (including the US) and oil net exporters. Below are some estimates of what that impact might look like, although feedback (e.g. trade) effects and knock-on (multipliers) effects I have not estimated yet. I hope to.


For reference, the estimates assume a "normal" refiners' acquisition price of $25. I think that is high enough to provide insulation against the argument that marginal lifting costs might be higher today than in the past. The calculation then uses 33% of the premium to that price as attributable to increased world tensions (political risk) and the loss of marginal oil supply from Iraq. The rest is assumed to be other factors, like perceptions of short-term capacity constraints and rising demand from China. The five-year price of oil is agnosticly assumed to be $55.


Of special importance, in this case, is the 5-year projection. Few expect a stable outcome in Iraq in this timeframe (certainly the futures markets for oil do not). Only in the case of a stable outcome (Iraq secured by Iraqis AND governing itself) would one expect the oil price to normalize and perhaps even fall, on the expectation of Iraqi supply. In the case that the US abandons Iraq to a civil war or a regional conflict, a 7-10 year projection with an even greater price impact might be apt.

Top World Oil Net Importers, 2005*

RankCountryNet Oil Imports (bbl/d B)Current war impact ($B)5-yr Proj ($B)
1)United States12.4$171$287
4)Germany 2.4$33$56
5)South Korea2.2$30$51
Non-US Total:$285$480
*Table includes all countries that imported at least 1 million bbl/d in 2005.

Top World Oil Net Exporters, 2005*

CountryNet Oil ExportsCurrent ($B)5-yr Proj ($B)
1)Saudi Arabia9.1$125$211
5)United Arab Emirates2.4$33$56
Non-US Total:$550$925
*Table includes all countries with net exports exceeding 1 million barrels per day in 2005.

link: Bootstrapping Andrew Sullivan

What the Native Tongue is Saying

Like AS, I also read through the extensive, "longitudinal" Pew report and can shorthand my random observations, as follows.

  • Yesterday's liberalism is today's conservatism, based on changes in old-people's views (O'Reilly, watch your q-rating!). That trend may have more way to go, but gen-Y will be such a new species of 'conservatism' that it seems unlikely it will continue that far without backtrack or hiccup (perhaps precipitated by an economic bust-up of the system based on no-tax and spend policies of the past eight years - may as well say "eight", everyone is there already, except the dear Harriet Miers - and the upcoming, fiscally-challenged future for most OECD countries).

  • The "war" hasn't damaged people's perceptions of war, thankfully, just made them cautious, so we are not in for a dangerous period of Chamberlain like denial, hopefully.

  • Despite her campaign against "feminism" (of yesterday?), no one is listening to Kate O'Beirn, today, on the issue.

  • The GOP is very vulnerable on immigration, with nearly 2/3 of the country opposed to "conservative" views. On the other hand, the GOP Presidential hopefuls may get political cover from the current Congress and Bush in the form of legislation, and may be able to avoid having to have campaign positions on the issue.

  • Something remarkable is going on (in corporate America?) that more people favor affirmative action now (70%) than in 1995 (58%), even while some measures of racial tolerance increase.

  • Contrary to what AS says, tolerance for homosexuals is up quite significantly but acceptance is not up except marginally. Understanding why that is points the clear direction of how to fight for gay rights.

  • People know enough about the internet to associate it with porn and have a strong opinion about it (70% think it is not 'harmless entertainment').

link: Bootstrapping Andrew Sullivan

Friday, March 23, 2007

Correction re: Immigration Equality

In the context of press reports of backroom dealing the 'comprehensive' part of immigration reform that eluded the law passed by the last session (109th), I incorrectly indicted that Immigration Equality had an action alert out. That alert, their latest, is from a year ago this month.

The Uniting American Families Act or UAFA, HR 3006 by number if you want to look it up (also known as Permanent Partners Immigration Act), is a national partnership act, not marriage. It amends the US Code at various places "by inserting `or permanent partnership' after `marriage'" or "by inserting `permanent partners,' after `spouses'".

By remarking it, I don't mean to put it either here nor there. It is simply interesting in the general context in which AS invokes it.

I have not been able to confirm whether Immigration Equality is a lobby group for rights at all, but two of their founders wrote the legislation above. Whatever the case on that, like SLDN, their genesis appears to have been providing services to the LGBT community, legal services, information, contact, and general support.

With so many states banning gay-marriage (and some even partnership), it appears that any Federal remedy would establish a 'federal partnership' that might be recognized apart from a State. I haven't seen any proposal on how that would be administered or enforced.

Given such a knot, it would appear that immigration equality is a long way off, although immigration law can be quite complex and there might be something I'm missing.

De-face of the day: What you get, across the isle

ATLANTA, May 18, 2006 — Former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani glided over his support for gay civil unions and declared heterosexual marriage to be "inviolate" on Thursday as he helped raise money for a former leader of the Christian Coalition, Ralph Reed, who is in a tough fight to become lieutenant governor of Georgia.

link: Bootstrapping Andrew Sullivan

HRC Flap - Timeline

AS's most recent begins what looks to me like a revisionist history 3/23). With some pain, I've compiled the wild ride agianst the HRC, as follows. [List updated periodically]

HRC Backs Down 14 Jul 2007 10:55 am
The largest gay money group, the Human Rights Campaign, has now backed down ...
Money. The main focus of the Human Rights Campaign.

The HRC Politburo 30 Mar 2007 03:27 pm
They still refuse to be accountable in any serious way.
The usual [emphasis added] secrecy and lack of accountability.
Until they start answering questions posed by the media, stop giving them your money.

HRC and Their Friends 25 Mar 2007 08:08 pm
This is what a leading gay paper in LA has to say about the group:
[no link provided, however]

HRC Latest 23 Mar 2007 07:03 pm
The real question about the speech is: why was it not announced beforehand?

The HRC Wars 22 Mar 2007 02:34 pm
State GLBT lobby groups have shown signs of success, quite possibly because many of them are actually working for GLBT equality.

Quote for the Day 20 Mar 2007 01:31 pm
Larry has always deep down believed that gay people are as good as straight people. So many gay people still don't. That's the problem. ...
My deepest issue with HRC is not their lack of transparency, their lack of accountability and their miserable record.

HRC in Pennsylvania 19 Mar 2007 11:39 am
Punishing pro-gay Republicans: sounds like HRC.

HRC, Again 19 Mar 2007 12:34 am
Agreed. The question is simply how effective the support is, how focused it is, and whether the group is as ethical, transparent and accountable as it should be. In the last election cycle, Tim Gill's group did exactly the same thing - to greater effect and with far less overhead [tbd].

HRC Update 17 Mar 2007 07:47 pm
A civil rights organization that has very, very few legislative or organizational achievements at a critical time in the battle for gay equality should not, in my view, be splurging $26 million on a plush new building. It's waste like that that puts smiles on the faces of the religious right

Ending The Ban 16 Mar 2007 05:12 pm
I'm tired of being told by groups like HRC that they cannot risk outcry from the anti-gay right.
I'd usually leave these tactical questions to groups like HRC. But I fear their tactical objective in the next two years is to elect Senator Clinton, not to advance gay rights.

My Alliance With The Christianists 16 Mar 2007 03:56 pm
When I endorsed Bush in 2000, I did so while fully conceding that Gore was better on gay issues. But I'm not just a one-issue person. I do, however, care passionately about gay equality and was working hard for it while Joe Solmonese was an Emily's List operative.

HRC's Dodge 16 Mar 2007 02:28 pm
Unfortunately, despite Sullivan’s promises to run our responses in their entirety, he instead edited what we wrote.

HRC and the Military Ban 16 Mar 2007 02:02 pm
Their current member campaign is to force Peter Pace to apologize for his remarks. I'm fine with that, but isn't it pointless symbolism?
But also:
The question to ask Pace now is: why does he think a homosexual act is immoral? Is it because such a sexual act cannot procreate, as the Catholic hierarchy argues? In which case, one expects contraception banned on all military bases. Is it because the Bible says so? In which case, we do not have a secular military, and all sorts of other Biblical injunctions need to be applied. So why is it immoral?
I think, given the thousands of gay men and women now putting their lives on the line for their country, Pace must give an answer.
At the next press conference, or Congressional hearing, he needs to be asked directly what the rational basis is for his "moral" test. He started this conversation. He now needs to continue it. -pace vs alva

End The Ban Now 16 Mar 2007 12:45 pm
Here's a simple challenge to the Democrats [not Republicans?]. …
attach an indefinite suspension to the ban to an upcoming defense spending bill. If HRC were more than a financial wing for the Democrats, they'd be pushing this proposal on the Dems right now

HRC vs the Blogs 15 Mar 2007 01:35 pm
Blog power!

Email of the Day II 13 Mar 2007 08:41 pm
Readers have asked which gay organizations do good work. I'm reluctant to come up with a list because I haven't done enough research on all the groups. But over the years, I've come to respect SLDN, Freedom To Marry, and Immigration Equality. HRC does next to nothing on marriage, the military and immigration.

Beyond HRC 13 Mar 2007 03:31 pm
But the b.s. from special interest groups is a real scandal in DC, and can distort national politics.

HRC Responds 13 Mar 2007 09:22 am
They have responded with their own definitions of a "member" and a "supporter", definitions which were amended last June in the by-laws (after that Blade article came out). …
So now for five simple questions

Two HRC Emails 12 Mar 2007 03:09 pm
Update: a reader clarifies:
I don't think your reader is 100 percent correct. 501c3 givers can indeed be called members,….

Alive At Last? 12 Mar 2007 12:04 pm
HRC pledges to actually pass legislation in this session of Congress. If they do, I'll be chocolates and roses. [see below, however, at 2/25/07 5:48 pm]
Meantime, I'm still waiting for them to give me an accurate number of the members

HRC's Membership Claims 11 Mar 2007 08:14 pm
The Human Rights campaign is going to get back to me on Monday on the real numbers for their membership

A First Question for HRC 10 Mar 2007 10:16 am
The big-money gays at the Human Rights Campaign don't apparently understand that I have editorial control over my own blog

Blog Power 09 Mar 2007 07:26 pm
So a gay-rights organization with nearly 600,000 members now has to answer to a gay-rights blogger who has an estimated 60,000 daily readers.
Is this the future of nonprofit transparency?

HRC Responds 08 Mar 2007 10:10 pm
Here's the relevant section from an email sent to me by the Human Rights Campaign, …

HRC and HRC: The Love-In 03 Mar 2007 02:57 pm
But the speech is significant in one respect, it seems to me. HRC, the organization, is now fully integrated into HRC, the campaign. It is the Clinton campaign. Clinton calls HRC's executive director, Joe Solmonese a "colleague." She talks of a future "relationship" with HRC in a Clinton administration: "You will have an open door to the White House".

Capitalism and Gay Progress 25 Feb 2007 05:48 pm
If current trends continue, gays and lesbians may well be the test case that proves that employment nondiscrimination laws aren't really necessary at all — take any sufficiently developed capitalist economy, free it from public or private coercion, and the profit motive may just be enough to end discrimination all by itself.

The Gay Insurgency 22 Feb 2007 09:00 pm
The Emily's List hack who now runs the place according to the dictates of the Clintonistas, Joe Solmonese, is getting more and more defensive

The Antidote to HRC 22 Feb 2007 08:52 am
But Gill is too smart to believe that gay equality will be achieved through the Democratic party alone. He comes from a Republican family, has made some key Republican hires, and hopes one day to give equally to both parties. It's an obvious strategy - focused, bipartisan, local. Funny how the Human Rights Campaign has sucked millions out of gay wallets and never achieved anything like this success.

The Human Rights Campaign (Blech) 19 Feb 2007 08:43 am
If you're for gay rights, do yourself a favor. Give your money to groups that actually care about gay rights. Off the top of my head: Freedom To Marry, the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, Immigration Equality. If you want to give to HRC, just give it directly to Hillary. It's more efficient.
July 16, 2006 On Gay Marriage: The trouble was: gay spouses found themselves barred from each others' hospital rooms in the 1980s and 1990s during the AIDS crisis, lesbian mothers had their children taken away from them, long-standing de facto marriages had family members rescind their inheritance rights, and gay consciousness evolved to the point where such scond class status rankled deeper and deeper. It was ordinary people, ordinary couples who pioneered this movement. This push emerged organically as society changed. Such pushes are always "before their time" - all social change is premature at some point. The key is to stay rational, engage the debate, see what the courts, legislatures and governors do, and let federalism do its work. I'm grateful - and so are many gay people and their families - to sane straight guys like Reynolds for standing up for this.

link: Bootstrapping Andrew Sullivan

Thursday, March 22, 2007

More HRC


The Rev. Gene Robinson writes in a note to the W Blade (is that a subscription magazine?):

THE HRC RELIGION Council has been organized strategically to reach out through the media to tell the stories of LGBT people in a way that has never been done before.  From Larry King to the Associated Press, we have spoken to more than 90 million people in a little over a year — on TV, in print and on the radio. Literally, we have spread the good word in this country and are making sure that we are no longer ceding religion and faith issues to the radical right.

Apparently, AS is willing to subordinate all the good work that the HRC may do ... without him.

Meanwhile, while egos clash over who is older, enemies are not so quietly making plans to take advantage of the carping:

It looks like Don and Tim Wildmon are going to the gutter again, scouring the internet to find some video of a Pride parade to use as an excuse to oppose hate crimes legislation. It's the latest action alert, urging the AFA sheeple to write their representatives in Congress.

The recast of the valuable HRC logo does not belong to Bay Windows, according to this blogger. I wonder if The Atlantic knew what they were getting into when they bought a blogger so brazenly willing to taunt people in unseemly ways?


Listen, if Joe Solmonese and HRC can’t handle Michael Petrelis, how the hell are they going to handle the real enemies facing our community?

LOL. They did handle the situation.

We need Larry Kramer and the 250 activists who demonstrated in Time Square this week.

I would never mention it if AS hadn't brought it up, but one of those demonstrators is a highly paid member of a National LGBT group. I know lots of people who would stand in Time Square for that kind of money.

Here is another, praising the HRC for "getting it right", even though they are wrong on his calculations:

Four years ago, Elizabeth Birch got it right

link: Bootstrapping Andrew Sullivan


AS is still struggling with his "feelings" about Hillary.

In the latest, there is "a message", unarticulated, with which to feel solidarity.

I'm starting to develop a theory that it is just radical crusaders who seem to tickle AS's fancy. He likes lions, and not foxes - and he thinks that America needs lions, right now, while I sure as heck most definately do NOT. (I know, he called Thatcher a "fox". We are also told that he is not against female Hillary, because Thatcher was a woman, and he loved her. But, to so many others, Thatcher was a man - er, hardly motherly. Well, at least she lost some of her edge after her Saatchi-Saatchi makeover toned down most of the squealing.)

link: Bootstrapping Andrew Sullivan

A Haiku for Health Care

I loathe socialized medicine, I'm a fan of the drug companies, ..-AS

AS's view of healthcare is mostly incoherent, so far as I can tell. (I'm reminded also that quite a few people don't understand the Clinton initiative to reform the health care system in their first term.)

Meanwhile, in search of better facts and opinions, I found this stupendous exchange over at the King-Crain blog. I liked it because it echos Balkin's recent championship of the haiku as the amuse bouche of memeticists.

"Here is single-payer health care in a nutshell:

1. People are forced to buy something that they don't seem to want
2. Provided by a monopoly
3. Paid for by higher taxes"

A reader replies

"Here is current health care in a nutshell:
1. People are forced to buy something that they don't need.
2. A monopoly of providers.
3. Paid for by higher insurance premiums"

Can you chime in with your own?

link: Bootstrapping Andrew Sullivan

Wazzzeristan a BAD?

Bill Roggio is turning himself into a national treasure, alongside a handful other journalists in this war (did you see Engel on CRose last night? What a damning indictment of the Senate, eh?).

Here he debates Afghan-Pakistan border problems in CFR's online-debate forum/format.

link: Bootstrapping Andrew Sullivan

Gardening Equality in State

New Jersey residents have had a good domestic partnership law. For many couples, this could mean there is no "rush" to get a civil union (an alternative explanation to Dale's).

Continuing to press for marriage is fine, but NOT at the expense of other arrangements.

Yglesias has a point?

It seems to me that the question is whether Rudy thinks that he is Hegelian, and I'd be that he doesn't (unless Hegel will get him elected, as he hopes those channelling Milton Friedman will do). Truth is, Rudy is "Jenny from the block", make no mistake about it. He's not going to have a Camelot with a great set of governmental intellectuals - they are to him likely to be either extravagances or people who do what they are told when running his Commissions.

In other words, his leadership is a la George W. Bush, if I can say that once again, in yet another context.

Blog Ads

Let us know when it is "o.k." to sell teddy-bears for gay-rights again, too?

In a funny twist, while AS was making fun of fundraising with fuzzies, I found an ad for "t-shirts, posters, stickers and more" on one of the websites that he linked to as serious.

Cost of War, The GOP's 'Unfunded Liability': Update II

I've added some new figures to the Cost of War tally, for those with a strong stomach.


  • Interest is added, but only applies to appropriated costs (not expected medical and disability, etc.). While the appropriated costs are highly accurate, how they were financed is a gross estimation.
  • The UK costs are taken from the link provided below.
  • VA incremental upgrade costs represent just a guess, based on doubling the current 5-year capital plan.
  • The oil price impact is based on 33% of the premium over a refiner's acquisition cost of $25, a conservative percentage of the premium that might be attributable to global uncertainty and the marginal loss of Iraqi oil output on the world market. [no estimate of the knock-on effects of oil price changes, yet.]

Adding up all the US costs comes to 2.26 Trillion or a whopping $7,740 per capita 2.5 Trillion and $8,800 per capita. I will eventually create a couple subtotals, so that projected items, like interest on debt other than the current portion, are segregated. [update: the table has been restructured]

More Evidence that Dole-Shalala is White House White Wash

Fasten your seat belts.

Turns out that a massive - massive - Commission looked into the VA system extensively under the Bush Administration, and issued a nearly 400 page report.

Call them the CARES Commission, and their stuff is still around on the web.


Everyone knows that the VA system is a problem. In 2004, Bush's own deputy wrote [in a large pdf "Decisions" report/response to the Commission]:
While the practice of VA medicine has evolved, VA's medical infrastructure has not kept up... VA's facilities average age exceeds 50 years while those of sucessful private sector health care providers average less than 10 years.

The Congress has been reluctant to appropriate the construction funding VA will need to bring itself into the 21st century until we have a coherent national plan for moderninzing our facilities. The process now know as "CARES" .. produced that plan. It was initiated in in 1998 ... to povide a 20-year plan ...


Neither those reports nor the two five-year capital plans (FY2004, FY2005) make any mention that the nation is at war. None of them contain detailed, long-term cost estimates for capital needs that I've found. Jaw dropping.

The Secretary of the VA under Bush writes:

"VA will soon complete and validate utilization models for long-term care and for long-term mental health care, and the results of those models will be incorporated into the captial asset planning process. But I will not delay ... waiting for better data."

Shortly after the November election in 2004, he tendered his resignation to Bush. It would seem that no one ... er, updated the model fast enough, maybe because the war was always just six months from completion? Someone ought to see why none of this stuff was accelerated in 2005 and 2006 ...

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Children are to be seen

TR is reporting on a case of teacher who has now been put on leave in Indiana. It may be related to student newpaper editorial/story about how hard it is to come out. TR suggests that students are studying the first amendment.

As best I recall, this issue is more or less settled law. I think it may have even gone up to the the Supreme court. Students newspapers don't always have first amendment protections and the student's advisor can be on the hook for the publication. Except, in this case, it appears that the Principal took that responsibility himself, at one point along the way.

Anyway, I'd like to follow this one to see how it comes out.

update: Here is the skinny from the Student Press Law Center (two Supreme Court Decisions).


"I Like Ike"

Ike had good mentors:

Given how far the U.S. had sunk, it needed radicalism to ... -AS

Sounds like I'm hearing a Margaret Thatcher clone, "So deep had the rot set in, my little possums, that we had to give enema".

The only "radicalism" from the Reagan era that was necessary was the first two years, via Mr. P. Volker. The rest - ERTA [author], TEFRA, TRA - the whole lot, a mixed bag. Unless, by "radicalism" you meant more of George W. Bush. The TRA of 1986 cut taxes while Reagan was getting the largest defense spending increases in history - sound familiar?

Gay marriage advocates switch strategies

The AP's Ray Henry does an update on the disarray brought about by ... {insert culprit - you know who they are}.

Hey, look, lipservice Burkeans, incremental rights:

Advocates in Rhode Island have introduced bills to legalize gay marriage every year since 1997, but they've gone nowhere. So this year, in addition to filing marriage legislation, they hope to have some success with six new bills that focus on incremental rights rather than the label of marriage.

I wonder if AS will say that nice-guy Evan had to say this or he would risk losing his job (I mean, that's what he said about HRC and legislating themselves out of a job, etc. Hey, you can say anything you want in blogospherical land and still disparage Susan Sontag ...):

Evan Wolfson, a gay-rights lawyer who heads the national advocacy group Freedom to Marry, says anything short of marriage relegates gays and lesbians to second-class status. He said a two-pronged approach might be temporarily appropriate in some places, but he questioned whether advocates in Rhode Island and Washington pushed hard enough before switching tactics.

God's Adults

Amen. Now schism?

Or, Amen. Now, conversion?

... food for thought.

link: Bootstrapping Andrew Sullivan

Media Literacy

Welcome to
The Factory!

Self proclaimed "culture" warrior Bill O'Reilly has a segment on the Fox website in which he tries to learn about his own body language from - well, another of those "age appropriate" female Fox guests and reporters (I've made off-the-cuff observations just recently about the apparent age discrepancy between their male and female on-screen folks). The segment reviewed is Colbert's visit to "The Factor-y".

It scares me terribly that O'Reilly is getting schooled in kinesics, a field that used to be a hobby interest of mine (pioneered in part by a ballet dancer). Can their propaganda machine get any more well oiled?

Anyway, he's also talking up a study that their kicking up of dirt has dented people's perceptions of the old-platform media groups. On the face of it, it is hard to know whether that is good or bad, whether it is forcing people to become better consumers of information or whether it pidgeon-holing people to trust only their [FOX?] "clan" for news.