Today on Memorial Day, we remember those heroes who gave their lives so that we might be free. I know that I owe the freedom I enjoy to host this blog, to speak my mind, to those many brave men and women who, over the centuries, fought against those who would deprive us of our liberties — or whose actions threatened the security of this great nation. As the president said on Saturday in his radio address, we “live in freedom because patriots are willing to serve and sacrifice for our liberty.”
At Winds of Change, Joe links to a number of posts honoring our heroes and providing means to support our troops.
Both Powerline and Opinionjournal quote the credo of Sgt. Michael Carlson who was killed on January 24, 2005, in Iraq.
In the Boston Globe, Jeff Jacoby tells the story of another hero, Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta, who tucked a live grenade “into his gut” and so saved the lives of fellow Marines fighting with him to root terrorists out of the Iraqi city of Fallujah. (Hat tip: Chuck Muth.)
As the president said today at Arlington Cemetery:
The soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines we remember today answered the call of service in their nation’s hour of need. They stood to fight for America’s highest ideals. And when the sun came up this morning the flag flew at half-staff in solemn gratitude and in deep respect.
At our National Cemetery, we receive the fallen in sorrow, and we take them to an honored place to rest. Looking across this field, we see the scale of heroism and sacrifice. All who are buried here understood their duty. All stood to protect America. And all carried with them memories of a family that they hoped to keep safe by their sacrifice.
And we, who cherish our freedom, remember that sacrifice.
Comments Off on Remembering fallen heroes on Memorial Day
I may be a little more sanguine that Roger Simon about the results of yesterday’s elections in Lebanon. Noting the 28 percent turnout in Beirut, Roger concludes that “Lebanon seems somewhat less eager for democracy than Iraq” (where turnout five months ago today was roughly twice that).
I see it as a good sign that in the first elections in this diverse nation “since 1990 to be free of Syrian interference” that the opposition swept all the seats. (To be sure, the candidates on opposition leader Saad Hariri’s list were unopposed in nine of hte city’s 19 seats.)
Many Christians boycotted the elections “because of what they consider to be a lack of representation.” The Times (of London) noted that “These elections are being held under a gerrymandered law, introduced under Syrian tutelage, that favoured Damascuss allies in parliament.” Hopefully, if the opposition wins a majority in Parliament as it expected, the new government can create districts which more accurately reflect the tiny nation’s diverse population.
Since turnout was so low, this can’t be considered a resounding victory for democracy, but we can certainly cheer the success of the opposition. Before the Iraqi elections in January, opposition parties didn’t fare all that well in elections in any Middle Eastern nation (save Israel). If the opposition wins a majority when the rest of the seats are decided (to be held over the next three Sundays) and there is a peaceful transition to a new government, then these elections will represent one part of this Mediterranean nation’s progress toward democracy. I agree with Jayson at Polipundit that this is another effect of the Bush Doctrine.
And acknowledge as well the wisdom of Roger Simon’s question, “Whoever said this was going to be easy?”
Comments Off on Partial victory for the Bush Doctrine
Just minutes after 14 Senators worked out a compromise on judicial nominations, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid attempted to kill the nominations of two of the president’s nominees to federal circuit courts:
In the privacy of his Capitol office last Monday night, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., asked for commitments from six Democrats fresh from the talks. Would they pledge to support filibusters against Brett Kavanaugh and William Haynes, two nominees not specifically covered by the pact with Republicans?
Some of the Democrats agreed. At least one, Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, declined.
If AP has this story right and any of six remaining Democrats who agreed to the compromise have provided such a commitment to the Minority Leader, then it’ would be clear they broke their word–and lost no time in doing so. It would be another piece of evidence confirming that the Democrats are the real extremists on judicial nominations.
If any of the seven Democrats who joined the compromise vote to filibuster the aforementioned judicial nominees, the seven Republicans who joined them in supporting the compromise would the be duty-bound to vote to abolish the filibuster for judicial nominations. This time, they could easily show that while they tried to compromise, the Democrats broke their word.
Hat tip: Polipundit.
Comments Off on Democrats behaving badly, II
In the interestingly-titled column, “10 reasons not to kill Bush,” for the Oregon Daily Emerald, University of Oregon student Jennifer McBride concludes that the vitriol of some Bush-haters makes her feel “ashamed to be a Democrat:”
I don’t hate President Bush. I dislike a lot of his administration’s choices, but I think he’s a good man doing a difficult job. As a leader, you’re always going to be hated. I am too often shocked by the vitriolic repulsion many people feel for our leader and America in general, especially because the loathing is often poorly informed. I’ve met people on this campus who see America as the worst human rights abuser in the world (unlike the angelic paradise of Cambodia) and people who sway liberal not because they actually know anything about issues but because it’s popular.
Liberalism has to be more than a college fad or a collection of loudmouths whose idiotic comments stir headlines. The rabid dislike some people feel for a man they’ve never even met makes me ashamed to be a Democrat.
While I can’t say that I share Ms. McBride’s politics, I do appreciate her commitment to a liberalism of ideas rather than one of following the crowd or hating the adversary. Let us hope that there are more college students like her–on both sides of the political aisle.
Hat tip: Drudge.
Comments Off on Some Bush-hatred makes one student “ashamed to be a Democrat”
French voters today overwhelmingly rejected the European Union’s constitution. Instapundit offers his thoughts here while Roger Simon offers his commentary here.
UPDATE (05-29-05; 10:15 PST): I pretty much agree with Charging Rhino‘s analysis of the French vote. He is right to contrast the size of the proposed EU constitution and our own founding charter:
The proposed EU constitution runs 575-pages…The US Constitution is about 12 in the same type-face. The British survive without any written constitution forcing tradition and necessity to ride-tandem adjusting to the needs of the people and the nation.
Now, that I’ve whet your appetite, read the whole thing!
Two recent HRC press releases show why it is better to trust the private sector than to rely on government to promote policies which benefit gay people. In releases on Wednesday, HRC noted (yet again) the growing number of companies adopting non-discrimination policies and celebrated the end of American Family Association’s boycott of Disney while noting that over 8,000 American employers offer benefits to same-sex partners of their employees.
ExxonMobil shareholders gave what HRC called “record support” to “a shareholder resolution to amend the company’s written equal employment opportunity policy to include the category of sexual orientation.” While HRC indicates that 29.4 percent of shares “were voted in favor of the policy,” HRC doesn’t indicate how many voted against.
It appears however, that this resolution is not binding on the corporation. ExxonMobil is the only Fortune 50 company not to include sexual orientation in its primary non-discrimination policy.” And therein lies the real good news about the private sector. 49 of the 50 largest companies in America have adopted policies protecting gay and lesbian employees from discrimination. HRC notes further that “414 companies in the Fortune 500 â€” or 83 percent â€” include sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policies.”
Comments Off on Private sector leads the way in offering benefits to gays
I just learned via Roger Simon that Ismail Merchant, whom Roger describes as “one of the great producers of our time,” has died. Once again, Roger’s right. Merchant was truly a gifted filmmaker, having produced numerous excellent films including A Room with a View, Howard’s End, The Remains of the Day and, of particular interest to readers of this blog, Maurice.
While Merchant has justly earned many accolades for his work, including four Academy Award nominations, I want to highlight that last-mentioned film, one of the few movies which is actually better than the book upon which it is based. Together with his directing partner, James Ivory, Merchant took E.M. Forster‘s second-rate gay novel and turned it into a first-rate film. The movie touchingly tells the story of a young man (James Whilby‘s Maurice Hall) coming to terms with his sexuality through his feelings for his college friend (the ever-fetching Hugh Grant as Clive Durham).
Maurice ranks as one of (if not the) most sensitive gay films and was produced at a time before gay cinema was in vogue. It took courage to produce such a film at that time, one of the first gay-themed filmed produced by a major production company. A pioneering achievement.
You can read more about Merchant’s many accomplishments on the Merchant Ivory web-page as well as here, here and here. I think a better tribute would be to watch his movies, to appreciate their quality, particularly as they highlight the tension between love and social convention, how they show, through the stories Merchant and Ivory so brilliantly adapted to the screen, why it is better to choose love.
Thank you, Ismail Merchant, for your many high-quality films. And this blogger offers a special word of thanks for the tenderness with which you portrayed gay love in Maurice and how you gave this film, of particular interest to men like me, a universal theme — and one consistent with that of your great body of work. That love is a greater good than social convention. Thank you, Ismail Merchant. May many filmmakers be inspired by your achievements. And may many audiences continue to delight in your work.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com
Comments Off on In Memoriam Ismail Merchant
Barely three days after the Senate seemed to have resolved the impasse over confirmation of the president’s judicial nominees, the Democratic majority has returned to its obstructionist tactics in forcing a delay of the vote to confirm John Bolton as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations. Leaders of the minority party claimed that the “White House has stonewalled on information that might prove damaging to Bolton, whose brusque style Democrats said would be ill-suited to U.N. diplomacy. I actually think his brusque style would help the U.N. confront its own corruption and its hesitancy to act against gross human rights violations around the world.
Four of the seven Democrats who hammered out the compromise on judicial filibusters joined all but three of their minority-party colleagues in voted to filibuster Bolton.
The Democrats’ real goal here is to prevent the confirmation of Bolton who enjoys majority support in the Senate–and continues to do after the Senate has considered his nomination for nearly three months.
It has been nearly seven months since the president was decisively reelected to a second term, winning a majority of the popular vote, something only one incumbent Democratic president has done since the Second World War. And he did so as his party increased its majority in the Senate. When Bill Clinton was reelected in 1996 and Reagan in 1984, each man’s party respectively lost two seats in the Senate.
It’s time for the Democrats to accept the president’s reelection and stop trying to obstruct his nominees. They’ve had their chance to raise their objections in the Senate — to try to sway the majority Republicans. Even after they have failed to get majority support for their causes, the minority party is engaging in juvenile gamesmanship to limit the president from exercising his constitutional mandate to appoint federal judges — and certain executive branch officials.
Comments Off on Democrats behaving badly
While I am delighted that the Senate is finally beginning to move on at least a few of the president’s nominees to federal appellate courts, I wish that Senate Democrats had agreed to up-or-down votes on all such nominees. Most are extremely competent jurists who would serve the nation well if confirmed to the federal bench.
There is, however, one nominee whose attitudes towards gays trouble me and whose confirmation I have opposed since I first wrote about the need to break the filibuster on judicial nominees. As Attorney General of Alabama, William Pryor, filed an amicus brief in Lawrence v. Texas, then before the U.S. Supreme Court, supporting the Lone Star State’s sodomy law. In his brief, Pryor linked “the choice of one’s partner” to adultery, bestiality, incest and child pornography among other things.
To be sure, Pryor has shown an ability to separate his personal opinions from his judicial responsibilities. As Alabama Attorney General, he did take then-Alabama’s Chief Justice to the state’s Court of Judiciary for defying a federal judge’s order to remove a display of the Ten Commandments from the state Judiciary Building even though he disagreed with the order. That is, he followed the law even if it was at odds with his personal beliefs.
But, the language of his amicus brief in Lawrence makes me concerned on how he will rule on cases affecting gay people once on the federal bench. I’m not convinced that he will be able to separate his personal views on gays from his judicial responsibilities. Therefore, I join Log Cabin in urging you to contact your Senators and ask them to vote against confirming Pryor to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.
According to a news release from Log Cabin, Scott J. Bloch, Special Counsel at the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, testified before the Senate yesterday that “he did not believe current law protects federal employees from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.”
To be sure, his belief represents one interpretation of the law, but an interpretation at odds with the policy of the Bush Administration. And at odds with President Clinton’s Executive Order prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in the federal workforce. Despite pressure from social conservatives, President Bush kept his campaign promise not to repeal this order.
Not only that. Last year, the White House reiterated its understanding that “federal policy prohibits discrimination against federal employees based on sexual orientation.” (An attempt to overturn this Executive Order by statute was defeated by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives in 1998.)
That order merely codified long-standing federal policy. More than twenty years ago, Bush Administration Solicitor General Ted Olsen said, “it is improper to deny employment to or to terminate anyone on the basis of sexual preference or conduct that does not adversely affect job performance.?
If Mr. Bloch is unwilling to enforce this long-standing federal policy, supported by the president and conservative jurists, then Log Cabin is right to call on him to resign his office.
UPDATE: Blog reader Mr. Moderate linked me to this “WASHINGTON POST” article on Mr. Bloch’s testimony. After reading that article, it is clear that Bloch has based his belief on the fact that since no federal law bars discrimination based on sexual orientation, his office lacks a mechanism to enforce the Executive Order and longstanding policy.
Yet, if I recall my Administative Law class correctly, while Mr. Bloch’s office may not be able to prosecute federal officials who discriminate based on sexual orientation, it should be able to reprimand them for such discrimination and protect the employee claiming discrimination.
Comments Off on Bloch’s beliefs at odds with long-standing policy on nondiscrimination in federal workforce
There are times when the tactics of gay activists serve to push back the causes they espouse. Such has been the results of their attempts to push marriage through the courts. And there are times when the tactics of social conservatives push back the causes they espouse. With the proposed “Voters’ Right to Protect Marriage Initiative,” a group of social conservatives in California, led by “marriage protection expert” Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and Families, is doing just that.
He has helped organized VoteYesMarriage.com to raise money and gather signatures to put this proposed state constitutional amendment on the 2006 ballot in the Golden State.
I fear that if he and his allies had proposed a state constitutional amendment which merely enshrined the definition of marriage in the state constitution, it would win as did the initiative adopting a statute defining marriage did five years ago. But, this time, they have tacked on an additional provision onto their proposed amendment which would prevent the state from “bestowing statutory rights or incidents of marriage to unmarried persons.” In other words, in addition to defining marriage as the union of one man and one man, they want to prevent the Golden State from recognizing domestic partnerships as well.
California voters may not support gay marriage, but I believe they do support some sort of recognition of same-sex unions. The Advocate reports that coalition has formed to fight the amendment. If this coalition focuses on the sweeping nature of this amendment, that it not merely adds the traditional definition of marriage to the state constitution but also prevents any state recognition of same-sex unions, then they are sure to defeat it. And score a major victory for state recognition of same-sex unions.
Comments Off on How to defeat proposed CA Marriage Amendment
When I updated my post on Log Cabin member Mike Gin’s election as Mayor of Redondo Beach, I noted that I would have more to say on this as soon as my guests left town. Indeed, it seems that in my post on their visit, I expressed thoughts similar some of my thoughts on Mike’s election. Just like most people at Disneyland took my friends’ public display of their sexuality in stride, my sense is that most people in Redondo Beach took his sexuality in stride.
In a post on Mike’s election, BoifromTroy links to a column in the LATimes where Steve Lopez notes that when Mike campaigned for mayor, he listened to his would-be constituents and focused his campaign on items of concern to them such as “creative partnerships between the city and schools, public safety and well-managed growth.” The mayor-elect concluded that his election showed that his fellow citizens “judged me on my work and my service to the community and not on the basis of my sexual orientation.” He pointed out that his sexuality is “not the type of thing that I wear on my sleeve.”
This seems another sign of the basic tolerance of the American people. In urban and most suburban areas, most voters could care less about a candidate’s sexual orientation. They’re paying more attention to how the candidate addresses issues of concern to them. Since Mike focused his campaign on such issues, he won a big victory.
Comments Off on The meaning of Mike Gin’s election
While my French friend (whom I shall heretofore call “Pierre” though that is not his real name) came to visit me this past weekend, his boyfriend (also French whom I shall call “Jean-Paul” though that is not his real name) joined him. I had not previously met Jean-Paul. While it was tough accommodating guests in my small apartment, it was great having them here, not only for their company, but, well, when you have guests in LA, you do things that you keep promising yourself to do, but keep putting off because since you live in LA, it’s a hassle to get to Disneyland and it’ll still be there next week and the beach isn’t going away.
This weekend, I finally made it to Disneyland. While at this fun theme park, Jean-Paul and Pierre often walked (and conducted themselves) as lovers do, holding hands, walking with their arms around each other and even kissing in line.
It didn’t occur to me until we were in line at the Alice-in-Wonderland ride where most of the other people waiting were families with young children that, well, some people might not “approve” of such public displays of affection. But, no one said anything. One woman did roll her eyes and look away.
Comments Off on Holding Hands in Disneyland
Dreams into Lightning, a great blog I have just discovered, links a thoughtful piece by Keith Thompson, a man who began his “activist career championing the 1968 presidential candidacies of Robert Kennedy and Eugene McCarthy,” who backed George McGovern in 1972 and worked on the staff of then-U.S. Sen. Howard Metzenbaum (D-0H) on his estrangement from the left. Read the whole thing, then check out Dreams into Lightning.
Was just about to go to bed when I followed Glenn Reynolds‘ link to this excellent piece on politically correct attitudes toward gay-bashing by Cathy Young. Read the whole thing and, now that my guests have departed, I may have more to say on it later.
Comments Off on Politically-correct gay-bashing
Today, when I logged to check my e-mail on AOL, I was met with a welcome screen bearing the “Top News” headline: British Lawmaker Blasts ‘Republican Lynch Mob.'” (Here’s a link to a similar article on Yahoo as not all readers can access AOL’s news page.) Yes, the headline was accurate. But, it accented the charges the “lawmaker” made against Republicans without addressing why he had been called to testify. Kind of like headlining a trial of a little-known murderer by identifying the criminal by his profession coupled with his worst insult of the prosecutor.
Testifying before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs investigation subcommittee, George Galloway, a Member of the British Parliament lashed out at Senators looking into the United Nations’ oil-for-food scandal where former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein paid off various international figures, including himself, “to reward them for their opposition to sanctions.” Galloway denied the accusations.
Both subcommittee chair Norm Coleman (R-MN) and ranking Democrat Carl Levin (D-MI) “questioned Galloway’s credibility.” The very Senator Levin who has often criticized the Bush Administration. No GOP partisan he. The headline only mentioned Galloway lambasting Republicans. It ignores the charges against him to focus on his attack on Republicans.
Bridget Johnson just informed me that Log Cabin member Mike Gin has been elected Mayor of Redondo Beach, California. Congratulations, Mike!!
UPDATE (05-19-05; 6:17 PM PST): I will have more to say on this later (but am now entertaining guests from France and have little time to write), but encourage y’all to check out this article in the “LOS ANGELES TIMES.” Attempts to attack Mike for being gay backfired–indeed, they may well have increased his margin of victory.
My guess is that people looked at Mike’s record saw that in his two consecutive terms on City Council he had done a fine job. And they, like an increasing number of Americans, realize that a candidate’s sexual orientation has nothing to do with his ability to serve a city or indeed with his ability to serve a county, state or any other jurisdiction.
Comments Off on Log Cabin Member elected Mayor of Redondo Beach
I expect blogging to be light for the next few days as I’m off to classes and then will be entertaining some French friends for the balance of the week. As I am now busy polishing a paper on what I previously described as “perhaps the most touching scene in all Greek literature,” I will not be able to comment as much as I had hoped on the bad reporting at yet another outlet of the MSM.
But, other conservative bloggers have done a fine job covering Newsweek‘s woes. Over at Polipundit, Lorie notes that Newsweek is suffering “the consequences of trying too hard to make Bush (and America) look bad.” The magazine has admitted that “it erred in a May 9 report that U.S. interrogators desecrated the Koran at Guantanamo Bay, and apologized to the victims of deadly Muslim protests sparked by the article.”
Glenn Reynolds weighs in here. Powerline has two posts: here and here. There’s good stuff on Roger Simon’s blog and at Captain’s Quarters. Michelle Malkin chimes in here and links to a number of bloggers who have further thoughts on the topic.
I was going to comment on this earlier today, but then, when perusing National Review Online came across Mr. Henricks’ piece on “sexual license” and well, his narrow-minded attitude toward gays got me thinking . . . .
Comments Off on Light blogging with an eye on Newsweek
In a piece posted Friday on National Review Online, the Family Research Council‘s Jayd Henricks finds it significant that “Homosexual groups frequently advertise pro-abortion events on their websites and publications, and abortion groups often support activities promoting homosexual causes.” I find it significant that he uses the word “homosexual” to describe gay men and lesbians. It shows that he sees us only in a sexual light. He can’t bring himself to understand that maybe gay men and lesbians seek some of the same things social conservatives seek, including long-term monogamous relationships. Only we seek such relationships with individuals of the same-sex while he (and most people) seek relationships with individuals of the opposite sex.
Henricks makes much of HRC‘s appointment of former EMILY’s List CEO Joe Solmonese as its new president as EMILY’s list, a PAC whose purpose is to elect (as he puts it) “women abortion advocates to public office.” He asks why this “unlikely coalition” between “a population that by definition does not procreate” and groups which advocate “the ‘right’ to end a pregnancy” came together. Without apparently talking to any “homosexuals,” Mr. Henricks answers his own question: “Homosexuals are often strong advocates of abortion not because they need access to it but because homosexual activists are driven by the same philosophy that drives abortion rights: sex without restrictions or consequences.” No wonder he has to call us homosexuals. He thinks the only thing driving us is the pursuit of sex.
Indeed, he believe it’s “critical to recognize the ideology of absolute sexual license that drives and unites abortion and same-sex-marriage advocates.” Whoah! Now, I have faulted same-sex-marraige advocates for not talking about marriage as most Americans talk about the institution, for failing to use “such words as ‘values,’ ‘commitment’ and ‘responsibility.’” I have said repeatedly that we need to talk about monogamy an essential aspect of marriage (here for example). But, when Mr. Henricks claims same-sex-marriage advocates favor “absolute sexual license,” he becomes like Frank Rich writing about conservatives, defining his ideological adversaries by the opinions and prejudices of his ideological allies.
Comments Off on The social conservative narrative on “homosexuals”