Thursday, April 30, 2009

Roundup and Commentary - 4/29/09

A person is not deceived by others, he deceives himself.

Commentary:

Morality and partisanship; are we different but complimentary, or just different?: Conservatives Live in a Different Moral Universe than Liberals-- And Here's Why It Matters

Donald Douglas' plane blame shame: American Power: Change! Obama Flyovers Show Wall Street Bankers Who's Boss

Spector's switch, term limits, and the entitlement mentality of many who serve: American Power: Speaking of Swine: Specter to Switch Parties (And note Donald's classy post title... Republican good, Democrat bad. Must attack democrat. Ugg.)

"Biological Equality?": Breakfast Scramble | BitsBlog or Immoderate Monk: "Biological Equality" Man of Straw

Definitions, Opinions, Personal Diplomacies, and Marriage: The Joan of Arc, and/or Joe the Plumber of the Anti-Gay Marriage Movement

Planting the Tea Party flag in the ashes of the 9/11 dead: Is it just me...

Chickens roosting, and being "respsectful": American Power: Arlon the Democrat!

Spelling, smelling, & shilling for your side: And Doctor Biobrain's Response Is...: Arlon the Democrat

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

X-Post: Is it just me...

...or is holding a politically partisan and divisive protest in DC on the the weekend of 9/11 a really bad idea?

09.12.09 National Taxpayer Protest | The Tea Party Movement Goes to Capitol Hill

Those involved in planning and promoting this--and everyone who attends--should be ashamed of themselves for exploiting the memories of those who were affected by the 9/11 attacks for partisan gain.
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Wingnuts & Moonbats and THE SWASH ZONE X-Post

Roundup and Commentary - 4/28/09

Commentary:

Recognition: Just a Man with his Thoughts: Conservatives vs Liberals

Partisanship, dictionaries, and definitions: The Joan of Arc, and/or Joe the Plumber of the Anti-Gay Marriage Movement

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Roundup and Commentary - 4/27/09

Commentary:

Dictionaries, and the definition of marriage: The Joan of Arc, and/or Joe the Plumber of the Anti-Gay Marriage Movement

Conversation (to which I cannot link):

He said:
"The hands that help are better far than the lips that pray." - Robert Ingersoll


She said:
"And you shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free." actually trumps this one.....

He:
They express different sentiments, and have the added benefit of not expressing mutually exclusive thoughts. There is no need to make a contest of them or choose one over the other... Both can be true and worthy messages at the same time, don't you think?

By the same token, each can stand alone, and express their sentiments just as forcefully without the other...

It's a crapshoot, in the end... I post ones that hold meaning for me, and hope others will take from them as much or as little as they want and need.


She:
I'm not making a contest over them....I am simply saying that many people would disagree with you and that humanly power pales in comparison to divine power. What we choose to do with our hands as people is insignificant compared to the power of a miracle, for example.

He:
I'm virtually certain many people do disagree (though I wouldn't necessarily say it's me they're disagreeing with, but the quote.) That different people have different beliefs about humanity and spirituality is one of those things that makes the world go 'round, especially here in America, which is in part founded on our right to worship as we each choose, or to not worship, at all, if that's what we choose... (a God-given right for many who believe, and a natural right for many others, including many who don't believe.)

Whether one quote "trumps" another is a matter of one's personal faith, opinion, and a sense (God-given or psychological) that the words "speak" to a "need" within that person. So for that matter, is whether a sacred quote or idea "trumps" a secular one (or v/v), AND as the certainty with which the very faithful and the very faithless believe that the fact of one trumping the other is so obviously the case.

Human power pales in comparison to divine power, and human action is insignificant compared to the power of a miracle... ...but only if you believe that.

To anyone who doesn't believe in God--or doesn't believe that God meddles in human affairs--or believes that God WANTS us to use the human power he gave us, and WANTS us to use our hands to help ourselves and others, even if it means we have less time or energy for prayer and supplication to Him, and that miracles come more easily to those who are willing to work for them--(I suppose you can put me into that last group, should anyone need to pigeonhole me)--the whole human power/action vs God power/miracle thing is less of an issue.

At any rate, I support the right of others to work their way toward their everlasting bliss (or punishment) however they see fit. At times I may invite others onto my path, but I recognize everyone's right to follow their own path instead, without my judgement.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Roundup and Commentary - 4/26/09

Commentary:

Donald Douglas' big gay guilt by association, by association meme: American Power: Full Metal Saturday: Kristen Dalton

Sunday, April 26, 2009

X-Post: Conservatives Live in a Different Moral Universe than Liberals-- And Here's Why It Matters

Wingnuts & Moonbats X-Post
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Liberals and conservatives have highly different moral priorities. And we have to understand them both if we want to accomplish anything. This article is a good first step. A few excerpts:

In a creative attempt to move beyond red-state/blue-state clich├ęs, Haidt has created a framework that codifies mankind's multiplicity of moralities. His outline is simultaneously startling and reassuring -- startling in its stark depiction of our differences, and reassuring in that it brings welcome clarity to an arena where murkiness of motivation often breeds contention.

He views the demonization that has marred American political debate in recent decades as a massive failure in moral imagination. We assume everyone's ethical compass points in the same direction and label those whose views don't align with our sense of right and wrong as either misguided or evil. In fact, he argues, there are multiple due norths.

Last September, in a widely circulated Internet essay titled Why People Vote Republican, Haidt chastised Democrats who believe blue-collar workers have been duped into voting against their economic interests. In fact, he asserted forcefully, traditionalists are driven to the GOP by moral impulses liberals don't share (which is fine) or understand (which is not).

Four years ago, he recalls, "I wanted to help Democrats press the right buttons because the Republicans were out-messaging them.

"I no longer want to be a part of that effort. What I want to do now is help both sides understand the other, so that policies can be made based on something more than misguided fear of what the other side is up to."

Haidt's framework of political morality can be traced back to a dispute between two important thinkers: Shweder, who would go on to become his mentor, and legendary Harvard psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg. In his 1981 volume The Philosophy of Moral Development: Moral Stages and the Idea of Justice (Essays on Moral Development, Volume 1), Kohlberg essentially argued that other moral systems are mere stepping-stones on a path that will eventually lead the entire world to embrace Western humanist values. Reviewing the book for the journal Contemporary Psychology, Shweder politely but effectively tore that notion apart.



Citing his extensive research on traditional Indian culture, Shweder pointed out the inconsistencies and lack of convincing evidence behind Kohlberg's arguments. Agreeing with philosopher Isaiah Berlin, Shweder asserted -- and continues to assert -- that a range of ethical systems have always coexisted and most likely always will. In a 1997 paper co-written with three colleagues, he broke down primal moral impulses into a "big three": autonomy, community and divinity.

"Morality is not just about how we treat each other, as most liberals think," he argues. "It is also about binding groups together and supporting essential institutions."

With all that in mind, Haidt identified five foundational moral impulses. As succinctly defined by Northwestern University's McAdams, they are:

• Harm/care. It is wrong to hurt people; it is good to relieve suffering.

• Fairness/reciprocity. Justice and fairness are good; people have certain rights that need to be upheld in social interactions.

• In-group loyalty. People should be true to their group and be wary of threats from the outside. Allegiance, loyalty and patriotism are virtues; betrayal is bad.

• Authority/respect. People should respect social hierarchy; social order is necessary for human life.

• Purity/sanctity. The body and certain aspects of life are sacred. Cleanliness and health, as well as their derivatives of chastity and piety, are all good. Pollution, contamination and the associated character traits of lust and greed are all bad.

Haidt's research reveals that liberals feel strongly about the first two dimensions -- preventing harm and ensuring fairness -- but often feel little, or even feel negatively, about the other three. Conservatives, on the other hand, are drawn to loyalty, authority and purity, which liberals tend to think of as backward or outdated. People on the right acknowledge the importance of harm prevention and fairness but not with quite the same energy or passion as those on the left.

"I see liberalism and conservatism as opposing principles that work well when in balance," he says, noting that authority needs to be both upheld (as conservatives insist) and challenged (as liberals maintain). "It's a basic design principle: You get better responsiveness if you have two systems pushing against each other. As individuals, we are very bad at finding the flaws in our own arguments. We all have a distorted perception of reality."

In his quest to "help people overcome morally motivated misunderstandings," Haidt has set up a couple of Web sites, www.civilpolitics.org and www.yourmorals.org. At the latter, you can take a quiz that will locate you on his moral map. For fun, you can also answer the questions you think the way your political opposite would respond. Haidt had both liberals and conservatives do just that in the laboratory, and the results are sobering for those on the left: Conservatives understood them a lot better than they understood conservatives.


I suggest reading the whole article, as well as following the links and reading them. It's facinating stuff...

Took that morality quiz, too...
Here are my results:



read more | digg story

Roundup and Commentary - 4/25/09

Blog Posts:

A facinating article that may explain the different moral values of the political wings: Conservatives Live in a Different Moral Universe than Liberals-- And Here's Why It Matters

Perhaps we can all support the curious wisdom of Miss CA, after all: The Joan of Arc--and/or Joe the Plumber--of the Anti-Gay Marriage Movement

Commentary:

Professor Douglas feigns misunderstanding about why generalizations about groups of people are bad: American Power: How to Get a Blogger Content Warning

More about torture, law, and American values: Sparks from the Anvil: This is the "Transparency" President Obama spoke of?! (Stay for Wordsmith's intelligent and respectful reply. It's food for thought, whether or not you agree with what he says...)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Joan of Arc, and/or Joe the Plumber of the Anti-Gay Marriage Movement



Ruthlessly stolen from Donald Douglas' friend Andrew Sullivan. I too, love that cat.

Roundup and Commentary - 4/24/09

Commentary:

Judging many by a few: Strongest Possible Content Warning! Taliban Behead Pakistani Troops and another, same place: Strongest Possible Content Warning! Taliban Behead Pakistani Troops

It isn't the records, it's what the records show...: Sparks from the Anvil: This is the "Transparency" President Obama spoke of?!

That guy, off topic, and engaging in one of the most convoluted cases of guilt by association I've ever seen: American Nihilist: THE MOUTH LIES. BUT THE HAT ALWAYS TELLS THE TRUTH

That guy's Big Gay Malaysian Crush, or Weird and Wacky Guilt by Association, Take 2: How to Get a Blogger Content Warning

That guy: Glutes are bad, but Toe-suckers Rock His World: Dick Morris: Obama in Bed With Our Enemies

That guy and Sweeping Generalizations: Janeane Garofalo's San Francisco Values

Friday, April 24, 2009

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Thursday, April 16, 2009

IRT: Donald Douglas is more of a gnat than a threat.

In reply to: Various comments @ American Nihilist: NON SAPIEN NIHILIST OF THE WEEK
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Oh Grace... We don't hate or fear Donald. We just find him kinda funny.

Every blogger in our roll has been attacked on Donald's blog, generally without provocation. (In fact, that's the only way to get on the blogroll... ...an attack by the Professor.

More power to those who think he's anything special... You're welcome to believe as you will. But those of us he's deemed "nihilists," with neither proof or reasonable explanation, think him a sad joke.

I don't share Octo's thinking on this legal thing; Donald does occasionally buzz over to other people's blogs, tossing out sad little one-line versions of his AmPow schtick, but he's virtually always swatted down like the gnat that he's become whenever he leaves the safety & security of his home turf and admiring, sycophantic, echo-headed friends like you.

And yes, I have received visits from one or two other folks from AmPow, as well. Aside one ass that even Donald has come out against, I've never received any threats, but if Octo has, Octo should do whatever he needs to to see that he is physically & legally protected.

Donald believes in & perpetuates an "us vs them," "good vs evil" world where those who do not share his views are enemies to be wiped out. While I'm relatively certain that he's not stupid enough to suggest or employ violent means to achieve his ends, I cannot say the same of all of his readership with any certainty. (And he obviously is stupid enough to willfully misunderstand a common expression for angry boss firing folks responsible -- "heads will roll" -- as a death threat, which I only know because Donald keeps insisting on selling that meaning to his readership, no matter how stupid it makes him sound).

((& yes, I also realize the futility of saying any of this--or indeed even talking rationally--to a woman who believes Obama is the anti-Christ, and who wants to break up the U.S.A. and form her own Christian nation with a portion of it, but there you are... Such is the readership of Donald's blog.

You & Phillipe are among the most pleasant folks there, but there's no denying there's issues with you both. Whatever he happens to believe, Phillipe's beliefs about Muslims are not so far away as he'd like us to believe from his early nazi/commie inklings about jews & capitalists... For all his pleasantries, Phillipe, too, seems a man in constant need of some "other;" some "enemy" to hate. I'm sorry, Grace, but you folks deserve each other...))
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Posted 04/16/09, 7:49 AM

Sunday, April 12, 2009

X-Post: Polling, Gay Marriage, and Civil Unions

American Nihilist X-Post
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n this post, Professor Donald Douglas once again brings up the "NEWSWEEK Poll" from December of last year, and trots out the fact that according to that poll, "only 31 percent favor full same-sex marriage rights."

Here is the question they asked:

Thinking again about legal rights for gay and lesbian couples, which of the following comes CLOSEST to your position on this issue? Do you support FULL marriage rights for same-sex couples, OR support civil unions or partnerships for same-sex couples, BUT NOT full marriage rights, OR do you oppose ANY legal recognition for same-sex couples?


Since Donald first posted this poll last December, I have repeatedly asked him (or anyone else who claims to "support civil unions or partnerships for same sex couples, BUT NOT full marriage rights") to explain the legal difference between civil unions and full marriage rights for same sex couples. (here, and here, and here, as well) No one--not even Donald--has done so.

As I've said repeatedly, I believe "marriage" is a religious rite that should be wholly governed by one's church and one's faith. The only reason I support "gay marriage" is because our government repeatedly uses this religious term to bestow civil, secular rights and privileges to couples via local, state, and federal law. As long as civil laws use the term "marriage," I will continue to argue that these civil marriage laws ought to apply equally to straight and to gay couples. If on the other hand, we the people decide that marriage should be recognized as a religious rite, and decide to use some other term in our laws governing the legal union of two souls, I'm all for that. In my opinion, the real threat to traditional marriage was allowing it to be defined by man's law, rather than by God.

If anyone--particularly anyone who supports civil unions but not marriage rights--wishes to explain where they see the difference between the two, I'm most curious...

X-Post: Gay Marriage vs Infertile Heterosexual Marriage

American Nihilist X-Post
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In reply to: American Power: Gays and Infertile Heterosexual Couples

Douglas sez: Citing political scientist Susan Shell, here's this from my post, "The Secular Case Against Gay Marriage":

American citizens should not have the sectarian beliefs of gay-marriage advocates imposed on them unwillingly. If proponents of gay marriage seek certain privileges of marriage, such as legal support for mutual aid and childbearing, there may well be no liberal reason to deny it to them. But if they also seek positive public celebration of homosexuality as such, then that desire must be disappointed. The requirement that homosexual attachments be publicly recognized as no different from, and equally necessary to society as, heterosexual attachments is a fundamentally illiberal demand. Gays cannot be guaranteed all of the experiences open to heterosexuals any more than tall people can be guaranteed all of the experiences open to short people. Least of all can gays be guaranteed all of the experiences that stem from the facts of human sexual reproduction and its accompanying penumbra of pleasures and cares. To insist otherwise is not only psychologically and culturally implausible; it imposes a sectarian moral view on fellow citizens who disagree and who may hold moral beliefs that are diametrically opposed to it.


American citizens should not have the sectarian beliefs of gay marriage opponents imposed on them unwillingly, either. Whether their beliefs on the subject are religious, secular, or both, those who disagree with those beliefs should be under no obligation to accept them as fact and live as though they express ultimate truth. This country is based on freedom to worship (or not worship) as one chooses. The state should not be imposing moral beliefs on the people with the force of law. The proponents of gay marriage seek equal treatment under the law, including all privileges offered by the state. Positive public celebration is not a legal right for anyone, but the ability to publicly join together before ones peers, with the hope that they will celebrate your union, is. While the state cannot require that individual members of the public recognize homosexual unions as being no different from heterosexual attachments, they (or "we," because we are the government)) can require that the law treat them no differently, and leave it to individuals to see them as they will. (Whether any marriage is necessary to society is a whole other question.) It is true that gay folks and straight folks have different experiences, but no one is asking the state or anyone else to guarantee anything as regards anyone's marriage experience; only the same opportunity to experience what they will. The ability to reproduce is currently not the only reason for marriage, assuming it ever was in the first place. Those who would impose a strictly procreative definition of marriage on their fellow citizens are being no less morally sectarian than the folks about which the author is speaking. Perhaps she might consider living her own life as she sees fit, and leaving others to live theirs according to their own morals, rather than hers.


This really gets to the heart of the gay marriage debate. Radical gay rights secularists are trying to ram down their views on everyone else. William Murchison, for example, decisively argued yesterday against "The Gay Marriage Fantasy." That is, there's really no such thing, logically, as same-sex marriage.

And as I replied to William Muchison earlier, he's welcome to his views. But like Susan Shell above, he's not welcome to impose them (or "ram them down") on anyone other than himself.

And what about infertile heterosexual couples. Well, in response to National Review's editorial, "The Future of Marriage," check out Andrew Sullivan's latest hissy-fit:

National Review's new editorial comes out firmly against even civil unions for gay couples, and continues to insist that society's exclusive support for straight couples is designed "to foster connections between heterosexual sex and the rearing of children within stable households."

This is an honest and revealing point, and, in a strange way, it confirms my own analysis of the theocon position. It reaffirms, for example, that infertile couples who want to marry in order to adopt children have no place within existing marriage laws, as NR sees them. Such infertile and adoptive "marriages" rest on a decoupling of actual sex and the rearing of children. The same, of course, applies much more extensively to any straight married couple that uses contraception: they too are undermining what National Review believes to be the core reason for civil marriage.


And note that point: "much more extensively." Or, fundamentally radically.

No matter how you spin it, and especially no matter how hard gay radicals attempt to repudiate traditionals as "theocons," the shift to gay marriage is a radical departure from the situation of infertile heterosexuals couples who are married. People like this, when they adopt children, and when they live their lives in the context of society's historically accepted normative institutions, are not revolutionary. To say that gay marriages are indentically co-equal to marriages between infertile heterosexual couples raises the question once again of how we are to define society's social regimes


Once again, professor Douglas feigns misunderstanding of analogy. Yes, gay marriage is a big change to what has always been ("radical" and "revolutionary" change, according to Douglas). But on the more narrow point that Andrew Sullivan was making--that to base marriage on the ability to procreate is to deem those who do not or cannot, gay or straight, as unworthy of the legal recognition of marriage--Sullivan is right on point, and Douglas fails to address it by spouting his scare words, and hoping you won't notice that he never replies to the point Sullivan actually makes.

"It must be, because it's always been" is about the extent of his argument.

Look, as Shell notes:

A society could abolish "funerals" as heretofore understood and simply call them "parties," or allow individuals to define them as they wish. Were the "liberationist" exaltation of individual choice pushed to its logical conclusion, would not a public definition of "funeral" as a rite in honor of the dead appear just as invidious as a public definition of "marriage" as an enduring sexual partnership between a man and woman?


No scheme of demonization concocted by Andrew Sullivan can change the fundamental fact that marriage AS AN INSTITUTION is established for the regeneration of society. Infertile heterosexual couple who marry are not trying to overturn that norm. Same-sex couple who demand marriage are.


I replied to Susan Shell's crazy funeral analogy here the first time Donald Douglas offered it, but since he brings it up again:

Correct the Analogy

When people make incorrect analogies, I think it's best to correct the analogy.

The funeral analogy is this:

* funerals have always been Catholic or Jewish
* Protestants have memorial services

To protect traditional funerals:
* only Catholics or Jews may use the term.
* Protestants may only have their own traditional memorial services.
* atheists & agnostics can't have funerals or memorial services
* atheists & agnostics can have "civil burials" — but anyone buried civilly cannot:
* pass on property
* cannot be listed in the obituaries in newspapers
* cannot have a service presided over by clergy


Further, anyone who reads the history of marriage knows that the rearing of children is but one factor that helped bring the institution of marriage about, and that other factors--the transfer of property, political alliances, romantic love, a duty to one's faith, -- have always been a part of the institution of marriage, quite apart from procreation and child-rearing. And, in considering these other factors, we can see that the institution and definition of marriage HAS changed over time, and will continue to do so. Here in America, we have pretty much done away with dowerys, arranged marriages, and poligamy. Romantic love, faith, and procreation/child-rearing remain, for many. But none of these are required. Gold-diggers do marry for money rather than love. People marry for green cards, and pretend the rest. Atheists pledge their love and fidelity to each other without faith. And yes, couples who cannot or choose not to have children wed. The regeneration of society isn't the sole purpose of the sacred or the civil marriage contract. It never was, and hopefully, it never will be.

The idea that we should continue to limit civil marriage to opposite sex couples because we always have before, just doesn't withstand scrutiny.

Roundup and Commentary - 4/11/09

Sorry... I was unwell for the last few days...

Blog:
The Gay Marriage Fantasies of the Right

Gay Marriage vs Infertile Heterosexual Marriage

Polling, Gay Marriage, and Civil Unions

Saturday, April 11, 2009

X-Post: The Gay Marriage Fantasies of the Right

American Nihilist X-Post
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American Power: The Gay Marriage Fantasy

It turns out there's some backlash on the secular left in response to the National Organization for Marriage's new ad compaign, "The Gathering Storm."

Turns out there's some backlash on the wingnut right to the many replies to their dishonest campaign, too...

The Human Rights Campaign, a radical gay rights pressure group,

"Radical gay rights pressure group?" Really? What makes Donald Douglas call it radical, other than the fact that HRC disagrees with Professor Douglas' position? (But then, what ever does? His "radical," "nihilist," "Stalinist" namecalling is so pervasive as to render his use of such labels meaningless.)

...has launched a counter-offensive, attacking "The Gathering Storm" as "lies about marriage for lesbian and gay couples." The Human Rights Campaign has released a video allegedly countering the claims of the National Organization for Marriage, which is available here. (My blog post from yesterday - Wingnuts & Moonbats: The Gathering Storm: Get out the waders, because it's getting deep, or just watch below.)



I think it counters NOM's dishonest claims quite well, myself.

The National Organization for Marriage can defend their own advertisement, but when the actors in the video suggest that advocates for same-sex marriage "want to change the way I live," there's no question as to that statement's accuracy.

Well, it does mean that more folks will read some of Donald's rants against gay marriage as bigoted nonsense, but that's happening already... Change is hard. And yes, Donald and those who believe as he does may be uncomfortable having a gay couple living next door, or having the child of a gay couple playing soccer with their children. But professor Douglas' comfort isn't a reason to keep homosexuals from being legally wed.

Indeed, as William Murchison demonstrates at RealClearPolitics, the gathering storm of gay marriage radicalism seeks indeed to hijack the very identity of traditional American culture, abducting it for themselves in a campaign of vile licentiousness and excoriation of those of moral faith and values:

Before we get to the words of Mr. Murchison, note all the scare words in the previous paragraph, and note how many of them you're just supposed to accept without proof. This is professor Douglas at his best, asserting "facts" with nothing more than his own ideology to back them. Classic.

The very identity of traditional American values is still open to those who wish to live under them. Indeed, we have many groups of people who choose to eschew the mainstream to practice their own social, religious, or political beliefs. In fact, a whole lot of people will still marry just as they always have, and will not be the least bit troubled by the fact that Adam and Steve down the block did, too.

I'm not sure what Donald is calling vile licentiousness, but I am pretty certain that any given person can be vilely licentious--even straight people--and that licentiousness, vile or otherwise, is often in the eye of the beholder... There are those who might feel Donald commits vilely licentious acts, but that doesn't make him, or the folks Donald is judging here, guilty of actually doing so.

As far as moral faith and values, professor Douglas neglects to realize that many gay people too, have moral faith and values, and I'm sure at least a few of them--and the rest of us--wonder whether his accusing them of vile licentiousness might be considered excoriating them of their common humanity, even just a little.

Back to a taste of William M. (Donald Douglas cut and pasted the whole essay, but I feel no similar need. The links are above, should anyone wish to read it in full.):

You really can't have "gay marriage," you know, irrespective of what a court or a legislature may say.

You can have something some people call gay marriage because to them the idea sounds worthy and necessary, but to say a thing is other than it is, is to stand reality on its head, hoping to shake out its pockets.

Such is the supposed effect of the Iowa Supreme Court's declaration last week that gays and heterosexuals enjoy equal rights to marital bliss. Nope. They don't and won't, even if liberal Vermont follows Iowa's lead.

The human race -- sorry ladies, sorry gents -- understands marriage as a compact reinforcing social survival and projection. It has always been so. It will always be so, even if every state Supreme Court pretended to declare that what isn't suddenly is. Life does not work in this manner.


This is the same old semantic problem about which I so often rant. Marriage never should've been a term of law, because using it as one leads to silly claims like the ones Donald and this man William are making.

First off, the meanings of words are not cast in concrete. They do change, based on common usage and understanding. Some change slowly: If you were to ask Brigham Young or Joseph Smith about marriage, they wouldn't define it as William and Donald do today, because the meaning has changed. Were you to go back further and ask a member of royalty in the middle ages, it would be different again. I have a co-worker from India who is in an arranged marriage.

Gay doesn't have the same meaning it once did. Neither does fag.

Some change pretty quickly, too: If you were to ask a person in NYC on April 9th, 2001 where Ground Zero was, they'd probably think you were talking about some hot new dance club. 911 was nothing more than the number you dialed in an emergency.

The meaning of words change all the time, and William Murchison would be naive to think otherwise. (In fact, I'm willing to bet he isn't, and knows full well that words can and do adjust their definitions based on usage, and that's why he wrote his piece in the first place.)

That said, I do believe marriage should be defined by one's religious faith, rather than by the state. Homosexuals don't necessarily deserve the spiritual benefits of marriage; that is for their place of worship to decide. But they do deserve the benefits and rights afforded to "married" people by the state.

A marriage -- a real one -- brings together man and woman for mutual society and comfort, but also, more deeply, for the long generational journey to the future. Marriage, as historically defined, across all religious and non-religious demarcations, is about children -- which is why a marriage in which the couple deliberately repudiates childbearing is so odd a thing, to put the matter as generously as possible.

A gay "marriage" (never mind whether or not the couple tries to adopt) is definitionally sterile -- barren for the purpose of extending the generations for purposes vaster than any two people, (including people of opposite sexes), can envision.


While Mr. Murchison may find my intentionally childless marriage odd--and he's welcome to believe whatever the hell he likes--it is legal. And that is where much of his rant falls flat. No one is asking him to change his beliefs or to accept anything he finds unacceptable. But legally, people who cannot or choose not to procreate can/will be able to civilly unite, no matter how "odd" he believes such a thing to be. His permission or approval are not required.

Current legal prohibitions pertaining to something called "gay marriage" don't address the condition called homosexuality or lesbianism. A lesbian or homosexual couple is free to do pretty much as they like, so long as it doesn't "like" too much the notion of remaking other, older ideas about institutions made, conspicuously, for others. Marriage, for instance.


Again, religiously, I agree... Legally, not so much. William cannot continue to straddle that fence, intentionally confounding one with the other.

True, marriage isn't the only way to get at childbirth and propagation. There's also the ancient practice called illegitimacy -- in which trap, by recent count, 40 percent of American babies are caught. It's a lousy, defective means of propagation, with its widely recognized potential for enhancing child abuse and psychological disorientation.

Far, far better is marriage, with all those imperfections that flow from the participation of imperfect humans. Hence the necessity of shooing away traditional marriage's derogators and outright enemies -- who include, accidentally or otherwise, the seven justices of Iowa's Supreme Court. These learned folk tell us earnestly that the right to "equal protection of the law" necessitates a makeover of marriage. And so, by golly, get with it, you cretins! Be it ordered that.



I always wonder when I read such things why the people who spout it don't try to prohibit single parenthood, instead. I would think that divorce and single parenthood are both bigger threats to traditional marriage and to children than the gay folks... Funny, that they never do...

And tell me... Are children better off with a single parent, or with a gay couple? What are the statistics regarding child abuse and psychological disorientation there? (And what does illegitimacy have to do with gay marriage, anyway?)

I snipped the rest, as it said even less than the parts I posted...

For the radical left's campaign of demonizing those of faith, see Pam Spaulding, "National Organization for Marriage's new tactic: fear-mongering without using the word 'religion'."

Oh that radical left... Do read Pam's piece, if you're looking for some more truth...

Thursday, April 09, 2009

X-Post: The Gathering Storm: Get out the waders, because it's getting deep

Wingnuts & Moonbats X-Post
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Posted in reply to the recent "National Organization for Marriage" ad (available for view here), this video exposes some of the lies and distortions contained in the original ad.



More info: HRC | Human Rights Campaign Exposes National Organization for Marriage’s Fake Ad for Fake Problems

Roundup and Commentary - 4/8/09

Blog Post:
The Gathering Storm: Get out the waders, because it's getting deep

Commentary:
Gay marriage, courts, and the legislative process: DISSENTING JUSTICE: Vermont Legislature Overrides Veto, Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage

Partisan divide as a way to judge a president: Deranged Leftwing Baker: Obama the Divider?

Donald's Enemies Of the Day - Tuesday, 4/7/09:
Leftists, the Left’s nutroots, the Obamessiah, anti-Tea Party demonstrations, Liberal guru Joe Trippi and government-subsidized Bill Moyers, leftists ridiculing conservatives for "Going Galt, Markos Moulitsas, faux conservatives, Citizen journalists, counter-demonstrators, Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) / Obama's Polarization of America, leftist big government activism with dishonest claims to bipartisanship, this administration's sheer magnitude of deceit and hubris, hardline Democratic progressives, leftist nhilists and libertarians, Michael Cohen, left-liberaltarians and the progressive totalitarians / Gay Marriage, the same-sex movement, secular elites, one-parent families, homosexuals, Pam Spaulding and other representatives of the nihilist hordes, this country / a growing number of black academics, commentators and authors (aka: the hegemonic "blood of martyrs" old-boys' club of corrupt left-wingers in the Democratic Party's race-hustling shakedown machine), Ta-Nehisi Coates (an aspirant-in-good standing of the Democratic blood of martyrs patronage regime), Obamessianism among the far-left civil rights activist contingent - and Ta-Nahisi - obviously down with them "boyz n the hood.", far-left grievance masters / a world where right and wrong seems to evaporated from the culture, the followers of Norman Finkelstein, the contemporary left / Joel Berg and Barack Obama and Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, the Left , the half of the country that pays no income tax, community organizers, the President of the United States, supported by an army of little acorns like Joel Berg

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Roundup and Commentary - 4/6/09

Interesting read:

Two posts on the recent "End of Christian America" article from Newsweek. Read the comments, too: The End of Christian America - Sola Dei Gloria and The End of Christian America: A Commentary - Sola Dei Gloria

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Roundup and Commentary - 4/4/09

Commentary:
Are jokes about transgendered people something Christians often engage in?: Riehl World View: Liberal Fail

"I'm sorry... so sorry..." : GOP Rep Blasts Rush As Not “Serious” And An “Entertainer” | The Plum Line

Saturday, April 04, 2009

X-Post: Runnin' Scared: Rightbloggers Angry Iowa is Making Them Get Gay-Married

Wingnuts & Moonbats X-Post
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Roy Edroso @ Runnin' Scared, New York, Daily News, Village Voice provides roundup and commentary of the early reactions from the wingnut blogs to the Iowa Supreme Court decision on gay marriage. Some of my "favorite bloggers" are included.

The Iowa Supreme Court has unanimously said a ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. New York and California have not done so much for the cause of marriage equality.

Let's see how rightbloggers are celebrating -- ooh, they're all gathered in a corner, somberly nursing their drinks.

"One might think Iowa's leadership would let voters decide the issue at the polls," sniffs American Power; adds, "Gird your loins, conservatives!" -- whether for battle or because he's afraid they're get erections, we can't say.

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Robert Stacy McCain grouses about "an elite that is about to impose its will on the reluctant masses... Notice how the rainbow armband accentuates their brown shirts. Splendid!" The reason they're Nazis, says McCain, is that people used to think being gay is sick -- and if Robert Stacy McCain has anything to say about it, they will again! -- and surely Iowa's founding fathers never "intended to make sodomy... a 'right' of a citizen." He's especially mad at libertarians who, for reasons he can't fathom, support gay marriage: "This entire way of thinking is contrary to the Anglo-American tradition that Hayek praised... The captives in the gulag did not spend their time arguing about gay rights, eh?" Finally, having exhausted his intellectual armament, he quotes Revelations and raves about "infamous anti-Christ, whose name is the mystery number '666.'" The man makes a powerful argument -- for involuntary commitment.


read more | digg story

Lots more reaction from memeorandum

X-Post: Nihilist Denial of Untruth

American Nihilist X-Post
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Is it wrong to reply to a foolish accusation by denying there's any truth to the charge?

Donald Douglas at American Power posts a short quote from an Anonymous Liberal post, and then tries to prove the quote untrue with examples that are at best tangentially related to the subject at hand. Here's what The Anonymous Liberal said: :
"The notion that there is anyone of significance on the American left who still believes in anything approaching genuine socialism is pure fantasy. That debate, to the extent it ever really happened in this country, was settled a long time ago. What we're dealing with right now are differences of opinion regarding how best to manage the failure of a number of major companies. It's not a debate about socialism vs. capitalism; it's a debate about methods of damage control. But many conservatives have so deluded themselves with their own propaganda that they're not even capable of following the conversation any more. So instead they spend all day indulging in paranoid delusions and debates that have no relevance to current events. It's a sad spectacle."
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Let's look at Professor Douglas' single line reply.
The Anonymous Liberal needs to get out more often, perhaps to a newsstand or a protest rally or two, for example.

The "newsstand" link goes to a Christopher Hitchens article in The Atlantic titled "The Revenge of Karl Marx." While Hitchens speaks a whole lotta words, none that I can find refute what A.L. said about real socialism and the American Left. Read the article for yourself, and try to find and quote the link Donald was trying to make. Please post it in the comments if you succeed in finding it.

"a protest rally" links to an earlier AmPow post about the G-20 protests in England. This time he's found some socialists, but they are European socialists, not members of the American Left. (And even among the European Left, one wonders how significant these socialists in the photo are...)

"or two" is a link to a post against Ward Churchill. The closest thing to any allusion to a "protest rally" is a photo of a table with "anti-imperialist" literature and t-shirts on it. There are 4-5 people in the background of the picture any of whom may or may not have anything to do with the table or anything on it.

Aside that, there are references to Churchill being "the darling of the American left," but even less to support the allegation than Donald offers here for his claim about socialism and the American Left. In fact, both the Ward Churchill post and the one to which I'm replying suggest that that A.L. is right about conservatives deluding themselves with their own propaganda. They don't need to show evidence; They just know, and think you ignorant because you don't see it, too.

Ward Churchill is a nutjob, and to call he and/or his followers significant individuals on the American Left is laughable. So too, is suggesting that anyone of significance on the American Left--or a significant number of the American Left-- is driven by or interested in Marxism or socialism.

As so often happens, Donald Douglas offers nothing in support of his spurious charges and name-calling. But as so often happens, that doesn't stop him.

Roundup and Commentary - 4/3/09

Blog Posts:
Nihilist Denial of Untruth

Runnin' Scared: Rightbloggers Angry Iowa is Making Them Get Gay-Married

Commentary:
A moran's a moran, no matter how (mentally) small (or which party one is from): insert clever s.logan here: Mind Effing the Left

Donald Douglas takes the time to commentat my "Nihilist Denial of Untruth" post. I reply.

Worth Reading:
While meandering around looking for something completely different, I discovered this story: Out of the Attic, Family Memoirs With a Nazi Past - WSJ.com

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Roundup and Commentary - 4/1/09

Comments:

Immoderate Monk: Socialism, Totalitarianism, and Rhetorical Excess

Added to my previous post on Michele Bachmann, in response to a link from American Power: American Nihilist: Bachmann: Remember the Amero!

In reply to: Brainster's Blog: Bachmann's Money Fears Explained, where the author suggests Ms. Bachmann is getting all worked up over fears of the Amero: Bachmann and the Amero

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

X-Post: The latest on the Biden hoax: It's the "Whitey Tape" all over again

Wingnuts & Moonbats X-Post
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The truth is coming out, and just like some previous political hoaxes, it's biting folks in the ass.

Tommy Christopher at Political Machine gets to the heart of the matter, saying: There is No "Ashley Biden Cocaine Tape":

"There are glaringly obvious reasons to believe this thing is a fake. There are clear reasons why this story should never have been reported, and once it had been, why the only appropriate response would be to point that out.

But the fact that has been buried in all of these stories is that the tape, or at least an authenticatable original, does not exist. What does exist cannot be described as an "Ashley Biden" tape of any kind. That should have been the end of it, at least for the New York Post, the only one of the 3 bidders pretending to have journalistic standards"


Of course, that isn't what's happening... Those initially pushing it are either sticking by their guns, or pretending their evil twin, Skippy was the one who made that blog post excoriating Ashley, the VP, and/or all Dems with this story over the weekend.

Meanwhile, here are the facts about this story, from Tommy Christopher's blog post linked above:
* The video shooter's (hereafter referred to as "Deuche Bagilow") attorney told the NY Post that he destroyed the original. He didn't just tape over it with a Jerry Springer episode, he drilled a hole in the camera's hard drive and threw it into a lake. This claim defies credibility. Why would you destroy the original of something you had made a copy of? Well, you might claim to have done that if you didn't want anyone to ask to see the original.
That fact alone ends this. There is absolutely no way to authenticate the tape, so there was no point in having these outlets watch it. Still, let's look at the rest of it.

* Deuche Bagilow also claims he tried to sell another Ashley Biden tape in August, during the heat of the Presidential race, but could find no takers. Either that tape was as convincing as "Nailin' Paylin," or this was a lie designed to give the sellers a fallback reason to accept a lower bid.

* Deuche's lawyers claimed to have turned down a $250,000 offer. Given the preceding claim, this seems unlikely.

* Deuche's lawyers lied to the Post, telling them the subject of the video was aware of the camera. Deuche's former lawyer now cites this as one of the reasons he quit.

* All 3 "firsthand" accounts of viewing the tape bizarrely contradict each other. The Radar reporter said the subject used a rolled-up dollar bill to snort the white powder, while the Post claimed it was a "red straw." The Enquirer reported being there, but then only quoted Radar's reporter, giving no account of their own.

Radar reported the tape as being from a hidden camera, while the Post reported that Deuche's lawyers told them that the subject acknowleges the camera on a different part of the tape.

Radar reported the subject as "clearly resembling" Biden, while the Post said she "appeared to resemble" Biden. The Enquirer wouldn't make any characterization.

* None of the outlets that saw the tape were willing to bid on it, yet happily exploited it despite this.

* Deuche's lawyers claimed that Ashley Biden was under Secret Service protection, but had her dad call them off because they were blocking her driveway.

* Finally, here's a fun fact: Deuche's lawyer was once involved in a lawsuit over the rules of kickball. Seriously.


But this is my favorite part. As I hoped for yesterday, the ass who started this could face jail time himself, because he bought the cocaine, placed the hidden camera, and tried to entrap his "friend." It was all a set-up. Fuck him. Fuck his spiritual sister, Ashley Todd, and fuck Larry Johnson, "No Quarter," and those Republicans and "PUMA"s, all of whom lied, lied, lied in the name of political partisanship. May they all get what they deserve.

X-Post: Angie Harmon plays the race card

Wingnuts & Moonbats X-Post

Who the hell called Angie Harmon a racist for disagreeing with President Obama?

While she intimates that this is some kinda trend in her life, several people have searched high and low, and no one has found a single reference to Angie Harmon and racism--except for the ones she created herself by making this baseless public statement, and of course all of the right wing bloggers (google for many more) who've picked it up and run with it.

I'm not saying there are no Con/Republican or liberal racists. Of course there are, and it is legitimate to say the folks who spread the Obama as monkey meme, or theWatermelon White House gag behave like racists. (For the record, I think the NY Post cartoon was racially insensitive, but not intentionally so... That cartoonist just didn't think it through...) I'm certain there are those on the right who can point to libs saying racist things, or being racially insensitive too. And, I'm certain there are some no the opposing team who allege racism where none exists, AND some who allege accusations of racism where few to none are present.

Every criticism of Obama is not racist, and every reply to that criticism isn't an accusation of racism, either... I fear that Angie and her friends on the right are somewhere between being the Cons who cried wolf and the ladies who doth protest too much. Don't allege that it happens; give examples of it happening, and let people judge for themselves where the racism is... ...and isn't.

(And, don't forget about my earlier post suggesting that we not generalize about groups of people based on the acts of a few of 'em. Whether or not Angie Harmon is a racist, it says nothing about all actresses, pretty women, brunettes, or Republicans. And whether or not Al Sharpton calls one/some/any Republicans racists, it says nothing about all reverends, older black guys, black-to-grey-haired folks, or Democrats.)

Also blogging: The Silent Cries Of Racism! Huh? I Can’t Hear Anything., Actress Angie Harmon Claims On Fox News She Is Tired Of Being Called A “Racist” When She Disagrees With President Obama? | THE GUN TOTING LIBERAL™, Shakesville: Quote of The Day, memeorandum

Roundup and Commentary - 3/31/09

Blog Post:
Angie Harmon plays the race card

The latest on the Biden hoax: It's the "Whitey Tape" all over again

Comments:
Barack Obama vs. Angie Harmon: “I’m Not Racist!”

Nerd Score (Do nerds score?)