Saturday, May 28, 2005

People love war, it's the ultimate football game!

Have a happy, safe and thoughtful Memorial Day Weekend.

For free desktop backgrounds, visit Carpe Cranium Virtualtees.
Tees that grab you by the head.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Let's get real about the family

After reading today that the American Family Association is ending its nine-year boycott of Disney, I started browsing around their site and then wandered over to the Christian Family Coalition site and then to the Family Research Council site. Impregnable citadels of conservatism. Wouldn't it be comical if I tried to take them on? It would be like a housefly dive-bombing a medieval castle.

But one thought has continued to nag at me for quite a few years: a family begins with a private decision, but the ramifications of that private decision greatly affect the public. Do you actually know any married couples who, before they conceived, went around asking members of the community if it was okay if they had kids? you need a minute to digest that question? It's not something you run into frequently. Re-read the question if you need to. Your answer, I know, is going to be "Of course not." No one consults the community before having children.

No one.

Starting a family is such a private, personal matter that it never even occurs to a potential parent to wonder if they should consult the community about it. Consult the community? They would think you were crazy if you suggested it. They'd say "If I want to start a family, it's my business and no one is going to stop me!"

(You can tell there's a big "however" coming, can't you?) However, once those children are born, their protection becomes a very public matter. Parents will not hesitate to do what they must to protect their children. They will have laws changed, they will change the entire character of a community if they have to. Protecting their children becomes the very public outcome of a decision that was made completely in private.

I can just imagine Gary Bauer indignantly sputtering about everyone equally possessing the natural right to have a family. Sure. The right to keep and bear children is such a natural right that I don't know if there are even any laws on any books protecting a parent's right to procreate. But, regardless, the fact remains that once children are conceived and born, they collectively have a tremendous impact on a community which was not in any way consulted regarding the conception of those children.

You've never thought about this before, have you, Soccer Mom and NASCAR Dad?

Now, I'm not suggesting that we begin legislating who can and can't have kids, although it does occur to me that requiring parent's licenses, in the same way we require driver's licenses, would not be a bad idea. Issue them only after the parents have had adequate training and testing. Why not? After spending some time at the mall, you don't come away thinking the same thing?

But what I am suggesting is that parents not assume that the community is obligated to accommodate parents protecting their children. For the community to be obligated to do that, they would have had to be involved in the decision to create the children. Since parents make that decision completely without input from the community, any accommodation the community offers them in their quest to protect their children is a gift.

Therefore, you don't have the right to expect people to move out of the way of your oversized sport-utility strollers. If people move out of the way politely, it's a gift. They are under no obligation to accommodate your private decisions.
You don't have the right to limit the many forms of free speech in the community to protect your children. You made your decision privately, so deal with it privately. You do not move the entire community to where you think it ought to be to protect your children.

The slogan of the Christian Family Coalition is "Winning the culture war one battle at a time." A private decision to have children grants parents the right to wage culture war on the community to protect those children? It doesn't. If cable services and Web browsers offer parental controls so parents can block certain content, it's a gift. Boycotting advertisers in order to get certain TV programs cancelled to protect your children is overstepping.

You made the decision in private, so deal with it in private.

Monday, May 16, 2005

If the President lies, and he is not under oath, is that lie unimportant?

A recent email from
. . . More than 100,000 Iraqis have now died. Nearly 1,000 have been killed in just the last three weeks. The real casualty numbers for U.S. personnel are not really known. Thirty thousand have been evacuated from Iraq due to severe wounds, psychiatric and other illness, while nearly 1,600 have been killed so far.

Wolfowitz’s Admission Should Cause Impeachment

A number of recent revelations confirm that the Administration knowingly lied about the war and its causes. From their own mouths we know with certainty that they cooked up an explanation for the war that would most scare people—the facts be damned. Paul Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld’s key aide, was quoted in Vanity Fair magazine as saying, "For bureaucratic reasons we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction, because it was the one reason everyone could agree on." Since the Administration was flooded with angry letters, undoubtedly many from families of U.S. soldiers, following the publication of the Wolfowitz interview, the Pentagon attempted to do damage control, asserting that he was misquoted. But that didn't help much either. The Pentagon’s own version of the interview has Wolfowitz saying: "The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy, we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on which was weapons of mass destruction as the core reason."
The public now knows, as does every member of Congress, that in April 2002 Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair secretly agreed to wage unprovoked war against Iraq at a meeting at Bush’s Crawford ranch in Texas. This fact and other incriminating information about the secret maneuvers to wage unprovoked war are contained in British government documents, obtained by Michael Smith, a defense specialist writing for the Sunday Times of London. They include a memo of the minutes of a meeting July 23, 2002, between Blair and his intelligence and military chiefs; a briefing paper for that meeting, and a Foreign Office legal opinion prepared before an April 2002 summit between Blair and Bush in Texas.

In a letter to Bush earlier this month 89 House Democrats expressed shock over the documents. They asked if the papers were authentic and, if so, whether they proved that the White House had agreed to invade Iraq months before seeking Congress' OK. (Los Angeles Times, May 12, 2005)

"If the disclosure is accurate, it raises troubling new questions regarding the legal justifications for the war as well as the integrity of our own administration," the letter says.

"While the President of the United States was telling the citizens and the Congress that they had no intention to start a war with Iraq, they were working very close with Tony Blair and the British leadership at making this a foregone conclusion," the letter's chief author, Rep. John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, said Wednesday.

The evidence is clear. As Ramsey Clark recently stated: "Impeachment now is the only way we, the American people, can promise ourselves and the world that we will not tolerate crimes against peace and humanity by our government. Knowing what we know, to wait longer is to condone what has been done and risk more". . . .
Okay, let me see if I've got this right. Correct me if I'm wrong. When Bush lied about the weapons of mass destruction and about not going to war, he wasn't under oath, and so it was okay for him to lie? Lying is a problem only when a President is under oath?

This may be lefty nuttiness or liberal spewing or another of the Democrats' red herrings, but you do need to address this. If the President lies to the American people, and he is not under oath, is that lie unimportant?

Okay, click "Comments" below and have at it.

Better yet, if it's not okay, write your Congressman.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Spanking the BoiFromTroy

On May 10, BoiFromTroy posted the above pic (albeit much larger) with the headline "Here Lounge Bartender Gets Slapped." (You'll have to go to bentblog for the story behind the slap.) Following is the whack I added to the comments for BoiFromTroy's post.

God, *enough* with the celebration of the superficial. Could you, like, um, judge a person by the strength of his character? Is that too much of a stretch?

I wouldn't ordinarily say anything, but sites like BoiFromTroy and Towleroad are so high-profile that it's significant when they take column inches to emphasize young caucasian beauty. We've been trying to bang the concept of diversity into the heads of the gay male population for a couple of decades now, and whenever a hottie is showcased like this it sets diversity's progress back a bit. Everybody gay belongs. Like, *okay*??

It's your blog and you'll post what you want to, post what you want to? Sure, but if you were to talk to Liz or Joan or Barbra, they'd tell you that when you reach a certain level of fame, you give up some of your independence. Of course you have the first-amendment right to post hottie pictures on your blog. Of course. But when a blog reaches the number of hits per day that your site has reached, it becomes an informational resource for a large number of people and it acts as an envoy for the gay population to a large number of people. You are affecting how lots of people think about gay issues and gay people. Post with care.

Why do people post hottie pix on their blogs anyway? I don't get it. We already *have* sites for that.

Posted by Don at May 10, 2005 02:35 PM

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Ridley Scott's "Kingdom of Whatever"

As you watch Kingdom of Heaven, keep in mind that the fuel for all the extreme mayhem on the battlefield is nothing more substantial than faith. Three major religious systems converge on a city in what amounts to a behemoth food processor, and not one soldier or officer or civilian has any more motivation or foundation for his fervent faith than "that's what we've always believed."

"YHWH/God/Allah said it, I believe it, that settles it."

Consider this: If the battle took place over whether Baal or Zeus were the true deity, how would you feel as you watched all the bloodshed? If you knew that the epic violence up on the screen represented a battle which actually took place in history, wouldn't you be emotionally affected that this tremendous loss of life resulted from a conflict that can be resolved with a mere shrug? "Baal or Zeus? Neither." Now, flash-dissolve forward to the present and imagine that the same conflict is still fueling warfare, only now with fighter jets, rocket launchers and suicide bombers. How would you feel as you watched the death toll climb for both Baalites and Zeusians? What would you do? Wouldn't you feel like painting "Baal or Zeus? Neither!" onto a placard and joining a protest march somewhere, just to do something? Wouldn't it make you crazy to know that your nephew or cousin, a Baalite, was over there dodging Zeusian bullets and rockets? Wouldn't you feel helpless as a Baalite majority in Congress kept pushing for victory over the Zeusians and voters all around you gave them a mandate to continue? Wouldn't it make you crazy? Wouldn't you be like "What part of 'neither' don't you understand?!?"?

"Oh, but," a hypothetical reader named Jennifer might say, "this is different. Baal and Zeus weren't real gods. God is the true God, and the conflict between Christians and Muslim extremists is so important that it's worth all the bloodshed." However, if Jennifer were to suggest to a Baalite or a Zeusian that the foundation of his faith was just imaginary, she would find the indomitability and intractability of her own faith mirrored in his. But the irony would elude her.