Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Up, Up, and Away!

Tommorow night starts a 5-day vacation to the West Coast. I'm visiting a friend, and swinging by a law school, in one fell swoop.

More pertinent to your lives, I'm not bringing my computer. My host, knowing my blogging obsession, has graciously agreed to lend me hers for the duration of my stay. But who knows? Perhaps she'll show me such a good time, I won't even feel the compunction!

So, if you don't hear from me for a few days, that means I'm distracted by the oodles of fun I'm having. And if you do hear from me, it likely means that I started to pine for the internet. Or some big news broke. Or I hate the West Coast. One of those.

Regardless, wish me luck through airport security!

4th Circuit Remains Evil

The appalling retaliation case I summarized here--where an employee was fired for complaining when a co-worker said of two arrested black felons (the D.C. snipers) that those "two black monkeys [should be put] in a cage with a bunch of black apes and let the apes fuck them"--was vacated earlier this year--but the original panel just reinstated the ruling on roughly the same grounds as the original decision. Simply shocking.

Maybe we can hope for en banc review?

Big Tent Movement

Joshua Sharf (via David Kopel) notes the new "diversity" in the anti-war/Israel movement out in Denver. As was reported in the Denver Post:
Religious leaders helped organize the march. Mixed messages ranging from steadfast nonviolence to support for Hezbollah "show the diversity" of a new organization called the Front Range Coalition for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, said Imam Ibrahim Kazerooni, a leader of interfaith efforts at St. John's Cathedral.

Well, I guess I have to give some props to anyone who can unite both pacifists and terror-supporters under a banner of "Justice and Peace." It's impressive, if more than a little bit sick. As Sharf notes:
A well-organized rally would have had marshals controlling the message a little bit. The quote to the paper would have been about how his "movement" had no place for the sort of hatred that Nasrallah represents, blah blah blah. But Kazerooni couldn't even bring himself to say that.

Kazerooni knows what Hezbollah and Nasrallah are. He knows perfectly well that Nasrallah, too, has said he's looking forward to the ingathering of the Jewish exiles, all the easier to kill them. He's also a professional at PR, so he knows how to stay on message when he wants to. And in this case, the message was, "we'll take all comers, even if they're experimenting with Zyklon B in their backyard.

I know some anti-war protesters who could not fairly be characterized as anti-Semitic. But anti-semitism has infected their movement far more than they care to admit. It's long overdue that the far left purge its ranks of Nazi-wannabes that have come under its wing.


Kevin Drum and Josh Marshall remark on the growing radicalization of people who, in years past, would likely characterize themselves as moderate liberals. Drum diagnosed this phenomena almost a year and a half ago, and I immediately identified myself as part of the "radical center." It's every bit as true today as it was in December of 2004. I think that it would make a story if one was to examine this.

A few days ago, I tried to explain this concept to one of my Republican friends. She's not as conservative as her parents, but definitely on the GOP side of things. She asks me what I think about Bush now (she knows me as a moderate, originally pro-war Democrat). So I go into my stock rant about how Bush sees everything as a political opportunity and doesn't take the war on terror or American security seriously. And her eyes widen.

You sound just like a radical

And I try and explain: No, no. I mean, yes the radicals are upset. But it's the moderate liberals like myself who are downright furious. We feel like we were stabbed in the back, like he took our trust and completely betrayed us. That's what you're seeing here.

She shook her head: I'm sorry David, but you do, you sound just like a radical.

And to an extent, she's right. Saying that "Bush only acts for political gain" is pretty radical. Not as radical as, say "Bush only acts for his oil company buddies" or "Bush only acts to appease the Zionist scum," but still, it's pretty radical. And yet I feel perfectly justified saying it. I loathe President Bush, for a variety of reasons, one of which is radicalizing me at the precise point when I was quite happily tacking toward the center. I like to think of myself as pretty well-spoken and rational. But I can go into a sputtering rage as well as anyone else when confronted with the utter incompetence, disrespect, and apathy toward anything but electing Republicans that this administration displays as a matter of course.

Has anyone seen Dogma?:
Loki: I've heard a rant like this before.
Bartleby: Don't you fu**ing do that to me.
Loki: You sound like the morning star.
Bartleby: You shut your fu**ing mouth!
Loki: You sound like Lucifer! Man, you've fu**ing lost it! You're not talking about going home, Bartleby. You're talking about fu**ing war on God. Well fu** that. I have seen what happens to the proud when they take on The Throne.

I've heard a rant like this before...

UPDATE: Carpetbagger Report also tracks his shift. He says Marshall's post "struck a chord." Well, this passage struck a chord with me:
I can definitely relate. When I started the site, I made a conscious decision to strike a "moderate" tone. The writers I enjoy most - people like Josh and Kevin Drum - can deliver devastating political critiques, but do so in even-tempered, always-fair, always-intellectually-honest ways. It's a style I've tried to emulate, and will continue to do so.

But like Josh, given the political environment, I find it impossible to take a detached, impartial look at the landscape and maintain a stoic temperament.

I, too, founded this blog in that spirit, and have tried to adhere to it. After all, the blog that inspired this one is (was?) written by a Republican. Even though I didn't agree with everything he said, I always had to take it seriously. I wanted to evoke that same respect from all parts of the political spectrum. I was one of those who believed the best in his opponents, because that was my only hope of persuading them. Sometimes, I still have that hope. But my government, I fear, is beyond all reason. And that is at once very depressing and very, very scary.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Marriage Killers Behind Every Rock

Feddie at Southern Appeal has gone paranoid. In a way, I'm tempted not to blame him: the way the Washington Times phrases it ("Gays Expand Battlefield") is guaranteed to cause him a heart attack. But that would entail me forgiving him for trusting the Washington Times, and he should know better.

In any event, the subject of the post is the Beyond Marriage document I previously blogged about. Feddie says:
We (traditionalists) knew this was the game plan of the anti-marriage crowd all along; and now they've finally admitted it.

Err...admitted what, precisely? I'm guessing that this somehow undermines traditional marriage or families or something, but I don't really see how. Again, the Washington Times is partially to blame for just mischaracterizing the issue. The document, if you read it, actually has very little to do with gay rights at all--and where it does, its only tangential. The thrust of the proposal is that there are many forms of relationships which wouldn't fall under the rubric of "marriage" that still deserve some societal support. For example, an adult child caring for his ailing parents. Or a grandmother looking after her grandkids. Or an elderly widow and widower living together to look after each other, but not married. Or any non-traditional family type raising children (for whatever reason). Admittedly, some of the relationship types they choose are less socially-accepted than others (I pointed out that the document may be running ahead of itself in this respect), and obviously in some cases one of the persons in these relationships will be gay, but not always or even most of the time. So why is this even being framed as a gay rights issue is somewhat of a mystery to me, when the authors take pains to emphasize the separateness of this struggle from that one. This is a struggle to make sure that any type of family has access to the resources they need to care for one another, regardless of what title we attach to it.

Indeed, in many ways this proposal strikes me as significantly less radical than the call for gay marriage. Folks like Feddie often say that they don't oppose giving gay couples rights, they object to them appropriating to themselves the title of "marriage." Presumably, the reason for this is that even folks like Feddie agree that people who want to care for each other should be given whatever tools society has available to do so--but it's still important to preserve some socially noted status for a traditional family. It's tough to mediate between these two poles, since children should have protections regardless of whether we approve of the parents, as I'm sure Feddie would agree. If an adult tries to assist his ailing parents, that's quite noble, and society should do more to help that noble choice, as I'm sure Feddie would agree. Etc., etc.. People forming relationships to care for each other is the essence of that maxim (I recall reading it somewhere), Love thy neighbor as oneself. And that is roughly what this proposal advocates. Indeed, in many ways its Feddie's dream: It gives gay people rights, in the context of greatly increasing the resources and tools available to folks of all family types (predominantly heterosexual ones), while not letting any new people get married. Perfecto. So why the conspiracy-rhetoric about how beastiality is next?

It's everything he wants, it's everything he needs, it's everything inside of him that he wishes it could be, it's says all the right things, at exactly the right time, and it means nothing to him and I don't know why...

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Oh Hell No...

Let's give an...appropriate reception to the newest member of the international blogosphere, Mahmood Ahmadinejad--aka, the genocidal maniacal anti-Semitic President of Iran!

The site comes in Farsi, English, Arabic, and French, and features a poll right now asking: "Do you think that the US and Israeli intention and goal by attacking Lebanon is pulling the trigger for another world war?"

Amazingly enough, the "no" side is winning--55/45. Ten whole percentage points! I voted, but now it's YOUR turn.

Such a hallowed crew, we bloggers are.

And The Winner Is...

For those of you who had bets down on which book I'd finish first, the moment you've all been waiting for has arrived.

Between The Price of Whiteness, Ishmael, and The Good Fight, the first one I completed (just moments ago) is...

The Good Fight, by Peter Beinart!

Let's give him a big hand. And the book itself? Solid, not spectacular, but thought-provoking and worth a read.