Maybe I’m not so paranoid after all

Last year, when I wrote about my decision to keep my newfound conservatism under wraps in my bluest of blue communities, I got three types of responses.  The first came from people who could completely relate to my concern about verbal attacks and social isolation.  The second came from people, braver than I, who urged me to suffer those slings and arrows.  I admire these people, but that’s not my temperament.  The third response came from people who assured me (always politely) that I was just being silly, and that my political reorientation shouldn’t affect my relationships within my community.  I wasn’t so sure about this last viewpoint, and I’m even less sure now after reading today’s Best of the Web.

There, I learn that the New York Times ran an article today about social divides due to politics:

FOR years, Sheri Langham looked at the Republican politics of her parents as a tolerable quirk, one she could roll her eyes at and turn away from when the disagreements grew a bit deep.

But earlier this year, Ms. Langham, 37, an ardent Democrat, found herself suddenly unable even to speak to her 65-year-old mother, a retiree in Arizona who, as an enthusiastic supporter of President Bush, “became the face of the enemy,” she said.

“Things were getting to me, and it became such a moral litmus test that all I could think about was, ‘How can she support these people?’ ” said Ms. Langham, a stay-at-home mother in suburban Virginia.

The mother and daughter had been close, but suddenly they stopped talking and exchanging e-mail messages. The freeze lasted almost a month.

As part of the same piece, Best of the Web points to Josh Trevino’s observation that, although the NYTimes article is anxious to show this divide as being bipartisan, the fact is that “every person in the piece who actively rejects a friend or family member over politics is a Democrat.”  That is, while the piece riffs on both Republicans and Democrats who drift away from tedious, polarized social situations, it also speaks of some Democrats who are so very angry they actively sever relationships:

The red-blue/50-50 nation thing has been done to death, not least by peddlers of reductionist theses like David Brooks, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t something to it. This Anne Kornblut NYT piece on the fraying of friendships and relationships between Democrats and Republicans has both the ring of truth and a rather troubling subtext: every person in the piece who actively rejects a friend or family member over politics is a Democrat. This coincides rather well with my own experience, but that means nothing, as no Republican friend is going to eschew me for being Republican. And I have more than a few longsuffering Democratic friends, not the least of whom is my own wife, who continue to tolerate my active espousal of things wrongly abhorrent to them. Bless them all.

Still, if the subject at hand is not truly quantifiable, we can nonetheless discuss it and try to draw some conclusions. Chief among them here is the observation that the American left — which we’ll posit as synonymous with Democrats here — is sincerely angry, and the anger goes beyond reason in a surprising number of cases. The conservative view of politics holds that it does not encompass all spheres of human activity. (As an aside, the apolitical realm is not the “private” sphere advanced by the modern left.) There is no sound reason, for example, to reject association with like-minded parents, or friendships with co-workers, or the company of one’s own mother, on the grounds of political disagreements. Yet we see emphatic Democrats doing all these things in Kornblut’s piece. Why? We can only hypothesize, with the caveat that perhaps, if the tables were turned, Republicans and conservatives might behave the same way toward their family and neighbors — even if, in the last comparable period, from January 1993 through January 1995, it doesn’t seem they did.

A core leftist tenet may be expressed in the old feminist cliché, “the personal is political.” This gets muddied a bit by the left’s predilection for espousing “privacy,” as found in some metaphysical emanation or penumbra of the Constitution; but the net — and discrete — effect of this espousal is not a depoliticizing of the “private” sphere. Precisely the opposite: where “privacy” is invoked, it is toward a definite politicized end, be it the legitimization of arbitrary couplings under the rubric of marriage, or the breaking-down of the social structures necessary for the maintenance of a conservative order. In this context, it becomes extraordinarily difficult to maintain relationships with people with whom one disagrees on political or ideological grounds.

There is an internal consistency here, but it’s pitiable nonetheless. The spectacle of a grown woman rejecting her own aged mother over their conflicting opinions on the Bush Administration, to take just one anecdote from Kornblut’s piece, is at best an affront to piety borne of a monumental lack of perspective.

As I wrote a long time ago, I vote my conscience, but I live in my community — and I’m not going to make my day to day life a potentially unpleasant experience when I don’t have to.

Open mouth, insert foot

I was also thinking of titling this post “when you’re in a hole, stop digging.” Either expression would apply to Kerry’s recent press conference. Given the chance to explain his musings about education and the military, he stated that he was, in fact, attacking Bush.

Considering that Bush graduated from Kerry’s alma mater, doing better than Kerry did, and that the President then went on to get an MBA from Harvard, it’s hard to accept that it was the President to whom he referred when he said “You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.” That Kerry is retrofitting madly is also evident from the fact that he was giving advice to young students — that is, he seemed to be saying to them that their career choice (not the President’s) was to go to college or be in the military.

Kerry would have done much better just to apologize gracefully. As it is, he just can’t help being the gift that keeps on giving.

UPDATE: Allahpundit has video footage of Kerry’s refusal to apologize for anything but failing to get off his punch line correctly. Oh, and by the way, it’s all George Bush’s fault. You know, if Kerry didn’t have George Bush to kick around, he’d have to invent him.

I also know that the amen corner on the Democratic side of the aisle is in a delirious uproar over Kerry’s brave stand against Right Wing nuts (and no, I don’t think it’s nice for a Senator to refer to American voters as nuts) — that goes without saying. What I’m wondering is how this is playing out to the middle.

UPDATE IIFlopping Aces has great coverage of John Kerry’s return to prominence, as well as a reminder about the economic distance between Kerry and just about everyone else in the world.  When you live in that kind of bubble, maybe it’s not surprising that you constantly misspeak, that you waffle, that you’re rude and insulting, etc.  You’re really not a part of the normal human condition, and are pretty much just pretending — kind of like a Martian doing research on planet earth.  Kerry is Lt. Data without the humanity.

On marriage

I think traditional marriage, which often includes children, is the glue that holds a stable society together. Married couples, especially those with or planning to have children, have an enormous incentive to hold jobs, save money, create safe communities, look to the future politically, and to crave non-revolutionary continuity when it comes to social and political issues. They’re the antidote to anarchy. That’s why I’ve been so opposed to gay marriage. It’s not because I think gays should be punished. I’ve long said that I support extending certain legal benefits (and concomitant burdens) to committed gay couples. My opposition comes about because I’ve seen gay marriage as a slippery slope, a wedge issue, aimed at doing away with traditional marriage entirely, with all that this radical change implies.

Stanley Kurtz now writes a lengthy article that essentially says my instincts are right. While many gays just want to “get married,” the intellectuals behind the gay marriage movement have much larger plans that really go to destroying marriage all together. And because I think traditional marriage is one of the single most important aspects of a healthy society, I’m baulking completely at heading down the gay marriage path. I’m not homophobic; I’m traditional marriage-philic!

As an aside, I’ve realized that this issue, too, fits into my handy-dandy Leftist morality matrix. On the feelings side of the morality discussion, Leftists let us know that, even though some in our culture have embraced a non-traditional lifestyle, it hurts their feelings that we exclude them from the marriage tradition. It’s just soooo not fair. I agree that it may be hurtful, but I don’t agree that these feelings justify a radical change to a social, moral and religious institution. There may be other reasons to change the institution, but hurt feelings don’t qualify in the argument.

On the hierarchy side, of course, gays, lesbians, transgenders, etc., are downtrodden — they’re small in number, they’re the victim of more crimes, they have higher levels of partner abuse and substance abuse, and they may have a higher suicide rate. Therefore, Leftist morality ordains them on the side of “right,” and they deserve to prevail. I, however, say that while these statistics are grim, and I’d like to see them change, but (a) I doubt free-for-all-marriage will force the change and (b) this underdog status is still not a valid argument for changing traditional marriage as we know it.

UPDATE:  Perhaps in response to this post, a friend sent me a link to an adulatory LA Times story about two men and their journey to have a baby:

It was their fifth attempt in 15 months to create a pregnancy through a gestational surrogacy arrangement. To get to this point, they had gone through two egg retrievals, 58 eggs, 43 embryos, two embryo freezes, three frozen embryo thaws, four failed embryo transfers, two surrogates and more than $100,000.

My friend was less enchanted than the LA Times writer.  His comment?  “One word for it: SELFISH!  Though other words come to mind…”

I’m all for having babies, and Chad and David sound like fiscally sound people who desperately want a child.  In many ways, they’re ideal.  Nevertheless, this whole brave new world, with scientists drifting in and out of women’s bodies to create a baby for two men is unnerving, to say the least.

Sometimes death is a blessing

Read this story about child abuse only if you have a very, very strong tolerance for the worst kind of sadism visited on the most innocent of victims. I point it out only because the child’s abuser (his mother) was in her mid teens when she had him, has another child, and there is no father in the picture. Aside from the fact that the mother appears to be either completely insane or irredeemably evil, she must also have been under tremendous pressure — pressure that might have been avoided if she hadn’t been a child, alone, having children.

R.I.P., Raijon Daniels, 8

Vote, vote, vote, vote (Republican, of course)

If you’re planning on sitting this one out, please read Selwyn Duke’s article before you do:

So many wrong things feel so right. “You know, I really told my brother-in-law off the other day and, boy, did it feel good.” Of course, what has changed? Your brother-in-law is still the pain he always was. One change, though, is that now your family politics has descended into the abyss.

This occurs to me when I hear my political soulmates talk of sitting on their hands this election cycle. I hear pundits and plebeians both make pronouncements about how we have to “clean house” and teach the straying Republican Party a lesson. “Why, we’ll show ‘em! Take us for granted, will you!”

Now, perhaps my grasp of the principles of hygiene is flawed, but my understanding is that you can’t clean a house by replacing the dust with toxic waste. So, let’s see if we can learn a lesson here today.

I’m as disappointed in the liberal tendencies of the neo-con lot as you are. Personally, I’d like to be crowned as king and have the Weimar Republicans perform menial labor around the palace. And maybe Lindsey Graham could be my court jester. But you know what is even more amusing about this fantasy than the scenario itself? It’s just slightly more fanciful than the notion that replacing neo-cons with neo-communists will, in a political galaxy not so far, far away, yield better government.

The rest is here.

More on the myth about our army

Maybe there’s a reason our troops voted overwhelmingly for Bush. Could it be because they knew that Kerry thinks of them as stupid, uneducated yokels?

In any event, this is just more proof of my theory about the hierarchical morality that colors the Democratic/Leftist view of the conflict right now: that is, the Left believes that stupid American kids are being used as pawns in the vast military complex that is imposing American imperialism against innocent Islamic soldiers/countries that are even more poor, stupid and uneducated than the American soldier. (So, using my algorithm, you can tell which side deserves to lose. Hint: it isn’t the Islamists.)

Hat tip: Drudge

UPDATE: One of Michelle Malkin’s readers found statistics about the American military, which support my earlier argument that, contrary to the stereotypes on the Left, our troops are quality human beings who join the military, not because they’re too dumb to know better, but for a complex mix of economic, patriotic, family and social reasons.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that….

There’s nothing wrong with a newspaper being partisan.  There is something wrong, though, with a partisan newspaper pretending that it has no ideological bias.  Now that the New York Times has refused to endorse any Republicans in the upcoming election — a first in more than 30 years — do you think it might be willing to admit that it writes with and for a certain point of view?

Hat tip:  Drudge

Everything old is new again — a dreadful thought

As part of my random, brief blogging for the evening, let me commend to your attention VictorDavis Hanson’s article reminding us (a) that Extremist Islam is making modern the worst barbarisms of the past and (b) that the Enlightenment is a fragile concept that can easily be overwhelmed through apathy and fear.

Also, a friend urged me to link to a 12 minute video previewing Obsession : Radical Islam’s War Against the West. My friend was right. It’s chilling and well worth watching, and I’ve finally got a link. This video and Hanson’s article together create a scary reminder of the precipice on which the West now stands, and the energy with which the forces of darkness are pushing against us.

Must-read about Iran

Fortunately for those who don’t subscribe to Commentary Magazine, you can still read Amir Taheri’s article urging regime change in Iran. Taheri exposes decades of failed policies vis a vis Iran — not just American, UN and European policies, but also Russian and Turkish policies — and suggests that regime change is not only the answer, but is possible.

Seeing red

I know I shouldn’t be this angry, but I am. My little dog last week developed a very nasty habit: if we leave the kitchen for a minute, she jumps on the table to get the food. I discovered today that a ten year old neighbor taught her to do this. Instead, of apologizing when I confronted him, he gave me a convoluted rationale about dogs that are new learning new things. I was too angry to say anything. When I’m that mad, silence is always the best option.

I’m generally fed up with this kid. The rule is no shoes in the house, but he can’t seem to grasp it (and I have the sand on the carpet to prove it). He also has no sense of privacy and, even as I’m hollering at him to stay out of a room, he’ll just walk into it. I suspect he has mild Asperger’s. I’ve said that from the day I met him — although social, there’s something wrong with his affect — but I’m becoming increasingly certain that I’m right.

So, I know I shouldn’t be mad, because he’s just a kid and I think he has a mild neurological deficit, but I’m still mad, because I now have a dog who jumps on my kitchen table and steals food. Calm me down someone. I’ll take a nice “there, there,” or some practical information about how to deal with a boy who is an important part of the neighborhood social set and who, although a little “off,” is basically a nice little guy who just happens to ignor any boundaries (and who has now taught my dog to ignore an important boundary).

Sometimes you just need to rip the bandaid off

We all know that the only thing more painful than ripping a bandaid off is taking it off ever so slowly.

We all know that you treat cancers by swiftly removing the whole tumor (if possible), and not by gently nudging out one cancerous cell at a time.

We all know (don’t we?) that you fight wars to win.  To that, I’d add that there’s probably more humanity in getting a war over swiftly, even if that means bringing in a lot of upfront firepower against enemy troops, than dragging a war out forever in order to spare as many enemy troop lives as possible.  That is, I’d be willing to bet that, if you could play the two war scenarios out in alternative universes, the swift, but more brutal war, would end up with fewer casualties than the attentuated, but kinder war.

In any event, because I believe that principle, I was gratified to see this story:

NATO troops fought a six-hour battle with insurgents in southern Afghanistan Monday in a firefight that left 55 militants and one NATO soldier dead, the Western alliance said.

Twenty militants also were wounded in the fight in the Daychopan district of Zabul province, NATO said. The nationality of the dead NATO soldier was not released, though many of the Western troops in Zabul are American.

The battle came on the heels of another major fight between militants and NATO and Afghan troops Saturday in neighboring Uruzgan province in which 70 insurgents were killed after they attacked a military base north of Tarin Kowt.

Maj. Luke Knittig, a spokesman for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force, said troops in southern Afghanistan are moving into areas where insurgents are active in order to set security conditions to allow reconstruction and development.

“We’re not going to get fixated on a scoreboard tally of insurgents killed,” he said. “What’s more important is getting an accountable government in place.”

NATO and Afghan troops are pressing ahead with a new joint offensive called Operation Eagle, aimed at keeping pressure on the Taliban through the fall and winter and to pave the way for long-promised development after the harshest fighting since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion that ousted the Taliban.

The 32,000-strong NATO-led force took command of security operations in all of Afghanistan last month and has been battling resurgent Taliban militants in the south and east.

There’s more, but the point seems to be that NATO has figured out that you don’t win a war against a determined enemy by dropping a desultory bomb or two on a mule.

And no, I do not feel sorry for the Talibanis who died.  This is war, for God sakes!  Their goal is to kill us; our goal is to kill them first.  They’ve put themselves in the line of fire.  If they’d go away, and leave the beleaguered Afghani people to enjoy the fruits of democracy (and, of course, stop trying to kill NATO troops), we’d leave them alone.  And just to keep the dead Talibani’s voluntary appearance on the battlefield in perspective, remember that the Taliban worked closely with Al Qaeda in 2001, not to kill soldiers in a declared war, but to massacre as many American civilians as possible.

The same situation applies in Afghanistan as it does in Israel.  As you know, the saying there is that, if the Palestinians stopped fighting, peace would come to that land; if the Israelis stopped fighting, they’d all be massacred.  War is never just about killing.  It’s always about the reasons behind the killing and the impetus or lack thereof to continue with the killing.

I’m still mentally fussing about Leftist “morality”

As you know, I wrote a post, that morphed into an article, both of which were about the Leftist concept of morality. I think this moral universe yields results based on analyzing (a) an actor’s personal feelings vis a vis a given situation and (b) the relative economic position of the parties to the interaction. I’m still fussing about this whole idea, because I can’t help but think that I’ve found the answer to just about everything that irritates me with political and social stands on the Lefter side of the spectrum.

For example, I heard today just a teeny bit of an NPR story about Puerto Ricans’ contribution to the war, something for which I honor that community greatly. I freely admit that I caught about one minute, in which I learned that one Puerto Rican village had seen three casualties in the war. I arrived at my destination then and turned the radio off, but it did get me thinking. (So, please, don’t attack me for misrepresenting the NPR report, because I’m ultimately not going to say anything about its content.)

What I was thinking about was the anti-War Left’s obsession with war deaths. It goes beyond the media’s craving for human interest stories. That is, these stories are not meant to make us appreciate the fact that there are those among us who, for whatever reasons, are willing to put themselves at risk in the front lines of our nation’s war. Instead, as I hear these stories, coupled with articles about American dead and the media’s morbid delight in higher numbers, I’m reasonably sure that these stories are meant to make as feel bad about the war, from which we should conclude that this a bad war. Now, this may indeed be a bad war, but I’m very sure that our feelings should not be the determining factor.

Of course, this feelings based attitude requires some pretty peculiar contortions when it comes into conflict with the hierarchical approach to morality. Thus, on the Left, we’re allowed to feel sorry for individual soldiers who die because the Left instructs us that our troops are ill-educated, poverty-stricken yahoos who are victims of the gigantic United States War machine. This website, for example, perfectly exemplifies this viewpoint (scroll down to the caste bit to see with what disdain the author views our troops.) This is a position that functions despite statistical evidence demonstrating that our troops are in fact more often than not middle class and educated. (By the way, I haven’t seen anything refuting this study.)

The problem with claiming that we have pathetic soldiers is that you then have to deal with the pathetic soldiers on the other side of the battlefield. You also have to deal with inconvenient things such as the fact that the 9/11 murderers were for the most part well-educated, middle-class young men (as were the 7/7 bombers in London). Obviously, at stressful moments such as this, you fall back on accusations about the United States’ overweening imperial goals and the fact that American victims are “Little Eichmans” who are witting or unwitting parts of this same American war machine.

This hierarchical viewpoint, of course, is a useless one when determining whether the Iraq War is an appropriate war or a one that we can win. There is no room in this “pathetic versus pathetic” or “imperialist versus oppressed” worldview for an analysis about long-term goals on either side (Democracy versus Caliphate), or for flexible military tactics and strategy.

For the Left, having neatly assigned everyone a place in their “moral” universe, the end is a foregone conclusion: the evil US Army deserves to lose, especially because it’s taking advantage of pathetically ignorant Americans who have been trained to kill even more pathetically ignorant jihadists. (And let’s just ignore the middle-class jihadists, shall we?) And to make that foregone conclusion a reality, of course, let’s just Tet the whole thing: we’re going to lose because we say we’re going to lose, and saying we’re going to lose is going to help us lose. And when (God forbid) we finally do lose, then those on the Left can bring their morality play to a conclusion by celebrating their role in ensuring the defeat of an imperialist tyrant.

UPDATE: After writing the above, I opened My Way News to find headlined a story touting the 101st death in Iraq in October, using the ubiquitous “grim milestone” phrase. Who the heck decides which of these are “mere” deaths, which are “sad milestones,” which are “grim milestones,” etc.”? It’s silly and obscene, all at the same time.

Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap

Brad Pitt, who hangs with the usual Hollywood crowd, and shares his life with anti-War expert Jolie, expressed surprise at the fruits of his peers’ efforts:

BRAD PITT discovered how unpopular America is across the globe when a group of drunk Dutchmen threatened to kill him because of his nationality. Pitt ran into the partygoers while he was in Amsterdam shooting OCEAN’S TWELVE, and the incident shocked him. He says, “I get a bike wherever I go and I went for a midnight ride around Amsterdam. There were some guys coming out of a bar having a good time. I said, ‘Excuse me,’ and swerved out of the way and they started screaming, ‘You f**king American. We’ll f**king kill you.’ “I’d never come face to face with that before – that turn in the way we are perceived in other countries.”

I’m sure, though, that we’ll soon hear Pitt, or some of his friends, opine about this being Bush’s fault.  He may well be right, of course.  Bush’s determined efforts to challenge jihadism, while Europe has for so long been determined to deny the problem, makes him as disliked as the little boy who first declared that the Emperor had no clothes.  While he spoke the truth, the courtiers bitterly resented having their self-deception pointed out.

By the way, apropos Brad Pitt, check out this funny blog entry.

Electing the ostriches to office

Mark Steyn pithily reminds us why the anyone-but-Bush and the anyone-but-the-Republicans and the I-want-to-punish-the-Republicans crowds are all wrong:

But if it really is, as Democrats say, ”all about the future of our children,” then our children will want to know why our generation saw what was happening and didn’t do anything about it. They will despise us as we despise the political class of the 1930s. And the fact that we passed a great prescription drug plan will be poor consolation when the entire planet is one almighty headache. My caller at C-SPAN thought this Bush farsightedness shtick was ridiculous. And, though I did my best to lower her blood pressure, I can’t honestly say I succeeded. But suppose the ”Anyone But Bush” bumper-sticker set got their way; suppose he and Cheney and Rummy and all the minor supporting warmongers down to yours truly were suddenly vaporized in 20 seconds’ time. What then?

Nothing, that’s what. The jihad’s still there. Kim Jong Il’s still there. The Iranian nukes are still there. The slyer Islamist subversion from south-east Asia to the Balkans to northern England goes on, day after day after day. And one morning we’ll switch on the TV and the smoke and flames will be on this side of the Atlantic, much to President Rodham’s surprise. Bush hatred is silly and parochial and reductive: History is on the march and the anti-Bush crowd is holding the telescope the wrong way round.

Economics and morality

A week or so ago, I did a post about the movie Maria Full of Grace, and what I thought were that movie’s larger implications. I couldn’t get the subject out of my head, and expanded it into a longer article, which you can read here.

On growing up

I happily slept in this morning — until 8 a.m.  It was only after I woke up that it occurred to me that, in the old days, pre-kids, sleeping in used to mean noon.

You’ve just got to love the AP

In a lengthy article about increasingly aggressive rioting in the Paris suburbs, the AP manages only reference to “Muslim” and that with an oblique reference to France’s failure to give Muslim’s economic opportunities. The article carefully refrains from identifying by religion the current crop of gun-wielding, bus-burning “youths.”  If you can read code, though, you’ll learn that some participants in a memorial march for the two “youths” whose deaths sparked last years riots read prayers in Arabic (probably not the Lord’s prayer, if you get the AP’s oh-so-subtle drift). The following is just a bit of the “news” report (’cause it’s not really news if you leave out the main point) :

Police deployed 4,000 reinforcements as marauding youths torched at least two public buses Friday, the anniversary of the deaths of two teenagers that ignited weeks of riots in largely immigrant housing projects across France.

After the buses were burned, Paris’ transport authority curtailed bus service in the Seine-Saint-Denis region north of the capital, which is home to thousands of immigrants and their French-born children.

Thierre Ange, a 19-year-old witness, said four men attacked the bus, “made everyone get off, then they hit a woman and dragged out the bus driver by his tie” and torched the bus with a gasoline bomb in a bottle. The blackened carcass of another bus that was burned earlier stood across town in Le Blanc Mesnil.

Flaming cars became a symbol of the rioting last year, which jolted France into recognizing a failure to give equal opportunities to many minorities – especially those of Arab and black African origin – and the country’s 5 million-strong Muslim population.

***

Last year’s outburst of anger at the accidental deaths of the two teens – who were electrocuted in a power substation in Clichy-sous-Bois, northeast of Paris, while hiding from police on Oct. 27, 2005 – grew into a broader challenge of the French state.

Several hundred people marched silently Friday through Clichy-sous-Bois in honor of Zyed Benna and Bouna Traore. Benna, 17, was buried in his father’s native Tunisia. Traore, 15, was of Mauritanian descent.Adolescent boys in hooded sweat shirts made up a large part of the mixed-race crowd, their heads bent as prayers were read in Arabic and French.  (Emphasis mine.)

I also like the way the article conveniently ignores the fact that the two boys electrocuted last year were electrocuted, if I remember correctly, as they ran from the police in an attempt to avoid arrest.

I detect a Rove-ian plot

When it comes to Hollywood, you have to assume someone is making the following stuff up. It’s so extreme that it must be a Rove-ian plot to discredit Hollywood in the eyes of average, decent Americans. I don’t see any other explanation for a post that purports to come from a major Hollywood producer, who is defending the Michael J. Fox video by attacking, not only the counter video, but Patricia Heaton as well.  And, to add lunacy to craziness, a post that attacks Heaton by saying she’s a whore because she objected to a film role on the ground that the film’s quality was so degraded it was harmful to any children who might see it. You have to read this post to believe it, and you can read it at Michelle Malkin.

By the way, in the same Rove-ian vein, let me just add that Malkin is an unbelievably horrible woman because she works hard to make us stronger against those who vocally state (and show by their acts) that they intend to destroy us. How can one respect someone like that?

Australian meat

Laer does a wonderful take down of the execrable views from Sheikh Taj El-Din Hamid Hilaly (left), the Mufti of Australia’s biggest mosque in Sydney, including the latter’s BDS defense. Hilaly is the one who opined that women who are not fully veiled deserve to be raped (and, judging by the rise in Muslim on non-Muslim rapes in Australia, he’s preaching to the converted). Here’s just part of what Laer has to say:

Christianity teaches women should dress modestly — a teaching that is shamefully ignored at most contemporary Christian churches — but it understands the difference between “modesty” and “using clothes as a weapon of abuse.” Islam does not. Moderate Muslim women who dress in even modest Western clothes are beaten, yelled at, shamed.

News or editorial?

News reports facts (in theory).  Editorials expound upon opinions.  Tell me if this opening paragraph if from a news story or an editorial:

The divisive debate over gay marriage, which played a prominent role in 2004 campaigns but this year largely faded from view, erupted anew on Thursday as President Bush and Republicans across the country tried to use a court ruling in New Jersey to rally dispirited conservatives to the polls.

Protecting California girls

The same Mary Davenport who took on the scientific falsehoods in Michael J. Fox’s ad has co-authored an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle regarding the parental notification proposition (Prop. 85) on California’s ballot. The Proposition requires that, before a teenage girl can have an abortion, the clinic must notify her parents. As the mother of a young girl , I think Prop. 85 is a definite yes. So does Davenport, and her co-author, Jane Anderson:

In recent years, teens have died in California from complications of secret abortions that might have been prevented with parental help in securing adequate medical care. It is outrageous that young girl can undergo such a serious procedure as an abortion with mental-health risks such as depression and even suicide, without the involvement of her parents. Some 30 states already have parental involvement laws such as Proposition 85 protecting young girls. These states have seen significant reductions in teen abortion and teen pregnancy rates.

A recent study from Florida State University found that in states with parental-involvement laws, the gonorrhea rate among teens dropped significantly. The researchers’ conclusion: incentives matter. When a girl — and her boyfriend — know that her parents would have to be notified if she wanted an abortion, they are motivated to avoid risky sexual behavior.

Opponents have claimed at various times that 60, 70, 80 or 90 percent of minors already tell a parent. In fact, a study of 1,500 minors conducted by Planned Parenthood’s research arm found that only 45 percent reported telling a parent. This study of minors voluntarily reporting is itself skewed against showing the true percentages who don’t tell a parent. Why is it that the majority of minors don’t tell? By far the most common reason given for not telling a parent is that they didn’t want to hurt or disappoint them. Only a very small percentage cite fear of abuse, and it is for just those cases that Proposition 85 provides the judicial-waiver process. With the judicial bypass, a minor can explain to a juvenile court judge why it is not in her best interests for a parent to be notified. If there is evidence of abuse, in addition to granting the waiver, the judge will report that to child-protective services. A minor living in an abusive home needs help and intervention. A secret abortion does nothing but leave her in the same environment, vulnerable to further abuse. In other states with parental notification laws, 5 to 10 percent of teens make use of a judicial bypass process. The experience of other states with similar laws demonstrates that minors in abusive situations are adequately protected.

Unsurprisingly, given its readership and editorial Board, the article indicates that the SF Chron, in advising its readers how to vote, has told them to Vote No on Prop. 85.

Shaming the mullahs

As I was writing the preceding post about Iran, it occurred to me that, as far as I know, Iran’s Mullahs actually live the personally austere life their extreme religion demands.  (We don’t hear about Uday-like pleasure palaces, for example.)  I wonder, though, if that’s really true.  It’s such a sealed society that we don’t know what’s going on, and I’m sure the Iranian people don’t.

Wouldn’t it be useful, though, if the West could expose the leader in some sort of scandal? The ordinary Western scandals, of course, won’t work, considering the fact that those acts we consider to be vices (torturing people, engaging in polygamy, having sex with children, practicing bestiality with animals other than dogs, etc.) are concepts the Iranian leaders embrace and even boast about.  What we need are images (real?  photoshopped?  I don’t care) of the Mullahs swilling Jack Daniels while petting dogs.  That should knock ‘em out of office.