Well, I should hope so

Uhm, so the Pentagon suddenly came to the conclusion that their most bizarre scheme in the war on terror, basically betting on future terrorist activities, was a bad idea. Uhm, duh. I’m still puzzling over who the hell thought this could possibly have been a good idea in the first place. Imagine, for example, if the White House chief of staff, suggested that Wednesday afternoons should be reserved for dwarf tossing in the west wing. You’d think he would just be met with blank stares and muttering about what the guy’d been smoking, right? Well, maybe not in this particular administration.

If I seem a little, uh, speechless, THAT’S BECAUSE I AM. What else am I supposed to be upon reading “The Pentagon, in initially defending the program, said such futures trading had proven effective in predicting other events like oil prices, elections and movie ticket sales.”

Yeah. Hey, it works for predicting movie ticket sales. That means it should scale well to terrorist activities, right?

Wait. Backup a second. People lay wagers on movie ticket sales?

I have ALWAYS loved Safire

Yes, he worked for Nixon. Yes, he’s a big conservative. But he has written some of my favorite books about English usage and truly, deeply cares about words and their use in politics (rather a latter-day Orwell, or at least a latter-day Orwell Lite). William Safire is also a good libertarian, as today’s column points out. “Libertarian conservatives like me who place a high value on personal freedom,” he writes, “consider Lawrence v. Texas a victory in the war to defend everyone’s privacy.” I can’t believe how little I’ve heard on that point in the past few days!

The ending really had me cheering, for this is what I’ve been saying for ages:

Rather than wring our hands and cry “abomination!”, believers in family values should take up the challenge and repair our own house.

Why do too many Americans derogate as losers those parents who put family ahead of career, or smack their lips reading about celebrities who switch spouses for fun? Why do we turn to the government for succor, to movie porn and violence for sex and thrills, to the Internet for companionship, to the restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner–when those functions are the ties that bind families?

I used to fret about same-sex marriage. Maybe competition from responsible gays would revive opposite-sex marriage.

First the good news

What I do know is that the friends and families who love us have to speak up when they hear us hated, and not be afraid to shout down the people who believe we are less than citizens, less than humans.

This is clearly the big story of the day, not to mention one of the largest milestones in the long journey of gays and lesbians on the road to full rights and protection as American citizens. Combined with the recent Canadian legalization of same-sex marriage, 2003 is turning out to be a banner year for progress among Western democracies to get over themselves and get out of the bedrooms of their citizens. Which is good, given the fact that our entire civilization is under attack from fundamentalists here and abroad; basically, the democracies seem to realize they have bigger fish to fry.

But it is not democracies that must get over themselves if we are to enjoy rights and protections in practice that comport with judicial theories of the way the world should work. The past fifty years have shown that social justice and equal rights granted through legislative or judicial process can be held hostage by relatively small minorities who focus obsessively on the issues at hand, minorities who in their fervor blunt the actual practice of freedom and chain true liberty with fear and shame. The state of the debate over Roe v. Wade is the best example of this, but surely the affirmative action debate offers another. So my question is: is today’s victory one we can trust and build on, or will it become the battle whose symbolic ramifications do more to enliven the opponents of equality than the decision does to guarantee our freedom?

I do not mean to downplay or question the courage and rightness of the majority decision (or Justice O’Connor’s concurring opinion that recognizes the real flaw in Lawrence v. Texas is the Texas law’s violates the fundamental equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment). How could I not rejoice at Justice Kennedy’s statement that gay people “are entitled to respect for their private lives”? How could it not be a major victory to have the majority of the Court agree that “the state cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime”?
Continue reading “First the good news”

Warm this, Mr. President!

Of course this first caused an increase in my blood pressure yesterday morning when I heard it on NPR but the Times’ editorial on Bush’s Censorship on Global Warming really got me riled up.

Even W’s father seemed to realize something was up a decade ago. The Bush dynasty’s slide into ignorance is an amazing thing to watch. I can imagine it now– 20 years hence, our 46th President, Jenna Bush, will declare (margarita in hand, on board the presidential gondola moored on the Pennsylvania Ave. Canal) that we still need more research on global warming. Of course by then, “Lower Manhattan” will have a whole new meaning, Los Angeles will be a desert again, and Seattle will have replicated its long palm-lined boulevards. But some idiot congressman from East Jesus with a cheap suit and a bad toupee will still be prattling on about a “lack of scientific consensus.”

Gay prom dates raise no fuss

Well, we can’t get married, but if gay couples can go to the prom togethed and hardly raise an eyebrow, that’s real progress. I definitely believe that social change must come first or legislative action will produce a backlash (e.g., Roe v. Wade).

The best quotes from the MSNBC story:

Allen and Misko are joining peers from Wisconsin to West Virginia in revolutionizing the traditional high school prom. More gay teens than ever are turning out for this year’s big night in gowns and tuxes– or gowns and gowns, or tuxes and tuxes. But instead of sparking controversy, schools across the country are welcoming them. “It’s exploding,” says Alice Leeds, a spokesperson for Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, a nationwide advocacy group known as PFLAG. Brenda Melton, president of the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), says that it has become almost commonplace in urban and suburban areas for a student to bring a date of the same sex to the prom–and that in most schools, it’s really no big deal.

Today’s school administrators say they want an event that’s welcoming for everyone. In fact, officials are vastly more concerned about “bellybuttons and low-cut outfits” than whether a student is holding hands with a member of the same sex.

Clearly, as we have all known, the Britney Spears look is more of a threat to family values than us gays.

More on Canadian marriage

So, more on the Canada marriage front.

Oddly enough, this is an article written by a guy I dated who after a couple of weeks decided I was “too gay” (upon further discussion, he was really looking for a straight guy)– quoting a guy I dated who, though cute and smart, seemed to be looking more for a Boy Scout sleepover buddy than a boyfriend. (I became convinced me might get to second base by 2005, but only if I became an Eagle Scout.) Come to think of it. they would be a great couple. Maybe they can go to Canada together. Both of those guys made me scratch my head a bit– but of course I didn’t know what I had to look forward to.

In all serious, Jamie’s quote below is intriguing–international law might provide some benefits to same-sex couples who marry in Canada.

The Seattle Times: Rulings bring marriage closer to reality for gay Canadians

Taking Back The Streets

I think it is important that in these heightened times of security and defense we, as a people realize that each and every one of us has a duty and a responsibility to this great nation in which we live. It is with this in mind that I feel I must compel my fellow compatriots to take bold action and help the join cause of rising up against tyranny. Am I asking for blatant vigilantism? No, nothing so drastic but, I would like to remind those that think such defeating thoughts as “what difference can I make?” that everyone CAN make a difference. To champion the cause of justice we must remember that if one of us stands up, we must all stand up. I have come across a great site showing just how easy it is to make a difference and to prove that even the meekest of us can indeed protect ourselves, our loved ones, and this great land as it so deserves. If you get a moment, I urge you my friends to stop by and check it out. Thank you. God Bless.

North Korea’s “Dear Leader” peeing his pants

I hate to sound like the characteristic triumphal American, but this article in The Economist nicely sums up the way that victory in Iraq has changed Kim Jong Il’s tune. This guy is pretty much Dr. Evil on crack, and a far worse dictator than Saddam Hussein ever thought of being, but he’s not stupid. He had been saying that Iraq’s example proved the North Korea needed military might to resist the US; now he seems to realize that his many statues might not be safe if the US decided to turn up the heat under his starving population.

Having previously insisted on one-on-one talks with the U.S., he’s now happy to talk with anyone and everyone– including his neighbors, whom Washington wisely insists must be part of any deal. Bush came really close to setting off a serious conflict with his bellicose talk that left Kim with little room to save face. But now that it’s apparent to him and everyone else that it’s saving his ass that he should worry about, the outlook for a halt on NK’s dangerous nuclear program looks much better.