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On Dan Savage & Civil Discourse

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 7:36 am - December 31, 2010.
Filed under: Civil Discourse,Gay Politics

Dan Savage may well be a nice guy and a loyal and steadfast friend.  Having never met the man, I have no clue about his personal qualities.  A while ago, I read his column on occasion, but found it so full of venom against Christians and Republicans and replete with misrepresentations of conservative ideas that I didn’t see much purpose in devoting any time to his thoughts.

I say this because I know that nice guys do from time to time engage in less than civil discourse. I have met some of the readers who defend us in the comments section of this blog.  And despite their occasional off-color commentary (okay, more than occasional), they are swell guys, warm and giving in person with pleasant countenances and full-bodied laughs.  

I would not use the language they do in taking issue with our critics.  As I’ve said before, on this blog and in personal e-mails to and conversations with these readers, they often compromise their own valid points and sensible arguments when they seek to sharpen them with insults.

Many of our critics are right to fault these defenders when they resort to insult and innuendo as a means to respond to liberal criticism.  At the same time, those critics regularly ignore the pertinent facts they (i.e., the defenders) present and the solid arguments they make, choosing instead to focus on their manner of address.

I have not followed the extended threads to some of my recent posts, in large measure, because I prefer not to get involved in such shouting matches (but from my e-mail and the comments caught in the spam filter, I know the discussion has become particularly nasty and intense).  And I’m on vacation where I find my various niblings’ antics and accomplishments far more engaging.

All that said, I do hope those who fault our defenders for their language will hold Mr. Savage to a similar standard and condemn him for what one of his defenders called a “potty mouth.”  At the same time, I wonder why so few leaders in the gay community refuse to take this prominent figure to task for his regular rudeness and his manifest prejudice.

Guess they believe that only right-wingers are capable of narrow-mindedness and hate speech. (more…)

Last Day to vote for Grande Conservative Blogress Diva 2011

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:04 am - December 31, 2010.
Filed under: Blogress Divas,Strong Women

Balloting closes at midnight tonight.

Who should be the Grande Conservative Blogress Diva for 2011
Fausta
Pam Meister
Jill of Pundit and Pundette (also at Potluck)
No Sheeples Here
Neo-neocon
Robin of Berkeley
Clarice Feldman (of American Thinker)
Elizabeth Scalia (AKA The Anchoress)
Ann Althouse
Sister Toldjah
Dr. Helen
Michelle Malkin
Tammy Bruce
Cassy Fiano
Melissa Clouthier
Mary Katharine Ham (Weekly Standard)
pollcode.com free polls

Waxman Upset Republicans Intend to Fulfill Campaign Promises

To many on the left, including a number of leading members of the Democratic Party, whenever Republicans try to block big-government initiatives, they’re engaging in obstruction, as if progress requires ever more state interference in our lives.

They never seem to grasp that we believe the best way forward is with the least amount of government necessary to establish justice and insure domestic tranquility.  Progress comes not from the machinations of legislators and bureaucrats but through the actions of individuals and the private institutions we form in order to improve our lot and enjoy the benefits of mutual association

When conservatives try to legislate according to such progressive ideas, even if they know they are unlikely to see such legislation enacted given the conditions of the 112th Congress, Democrats are quick to describe their motivations as duplicitous or otherwise underhanded.  Just listen to what my Congressman (who himself has not worked in the private sector since the president was in grade school) has to say about the incoming House majority:

“I think what [Republicans are] going to do is try to keep on dramatizing the issues that they think are helpful to them,” [Henry] Waxman said. “The next two years I expect all their actions to be campaign oriented…. They’re all about messaging, they’re all about power, they’re all about politics. What they don’t seem to be concerned about is governing.”

So, you mean, trying to push the issues that matter to conservatives does not manifest a concern about governing?  Wonder why ol’ Henry just can’t accept that maybe, just maybe, they seek convey the message that they have heard those voters’ concerns as they use their power to act in accordance with the popular will and to advance the national interest.  I think that’s what called trying to govern. (more…)

“Most Productive” Congress is Actually the Most Spendthrift

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:47 pm - December 30, 2010.
Filed under: 111th Congress,Big Government Follies

Remember that “net spending cut” the president kept talking about a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away when he was a mere presidential candidate (i.e., the 2008 presidential campaign)?  Take note of how Tea Party critics fault us for not more aggressively challenging the spending excessed of the Bush Era?

Well, seems like such folks have some explaining to do.  Via Instapundit, we learn that the “111th Congress Created More National Debt Than First 100 Combined“:

I keep hearing over and over again this claim from the left and their apologists in the media that the 111th Congress was the “most productive” Congress since the Depression era. Maybe that’s true and maybe it isn’t, but since when is doing stuff on its own a positive? Shouldn’t what they’re doing matter more?

Because what Congress did was add $10,492 in debt for every man, woman and child living in the United States.

Funny how they equate productivity with spending money.  By their standards, I guess a teenager who runs up her parents’ credit card at the mall, can just say she was being productive.

Using profanity to slur conservatives:
De Rigueur for the Politically Correct Gay Activist

What is de rigueur among straight celebrities seems to be especially so among gays striving to increase their time in the limelight and the favor they enjoy in the mainstream media.  They feel they just have to establish their anti-Republican bona fides to show just how broad-minded they are.

Interviewed in Newsweek, sex columnist Dan Savage does just that by using profanity to talk about a conservative he reviles, using a crude term to describe gays and making assumptions about a Supreme Court justice with whose opinions he disagrees:

Scalia isn’t gay?!? I always think the biggest homophobe in the room is clearly a c–ksucker!

Amazing the juvenile level of this guy’s discourse.  And the media has styled him as a kind of role model for gay adolescents struggling with their sexuality!

Fascinating that the folks who label opponents of their agenda as haters often do so in the most hateful terms.

(Via Newsbusters via Viking the Kitten.)

Gays embracing the “bourgeois” value of marriage?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:00 pm - December 29, 2010.
Filed under: Gay America,Gay Marriage

I’ve long observed that there is a disconnect between how gay marriage advocates talk about the institution they promote and how my gay friends (particularly lesbians) live said relationships.  

The advocates talk about marriage as a “right” to which we are entitled.  It’s all about love and equality, they say.  They tend to eschew terms like monogamy and responsibility and seem clueless about the history of the institution.  

Meanwhile, many gay couples who have sought state recognition of their marriages (in states which grant them that privilege) talk about their relationships in terms nearly identical to their straight peers who elect such state recognition.  They’re aware of about the challenges of relationships, the importance of monogamy as well as the balancing necessary for two individuals (even loving individuals) to live together in harmony.

In short, there seems to be a disconnect between gay marriage as practiced and as promoted, between those in relationships and those who deem themselves spokesman for our “community.”  In his latest column which I found via Instapundit, Jonah Goldberg sort of gets at that disconnect, finding that “the gay left” who once “wanted to smash the bourgeois prisons of monogamy” has now come to embrace marriage.

Perhaps their problem difficulty in talking about the meaning of marriage comes from their roots in a cultural movement at odds with the values undergirding that institution.

But imagine you hate the institution of marriage and then watch “Modern Family’s” hardworking bourgeois gay couple through those eyes. What’s being subverted? Traditional marriage, or some bohemian identity politics fantasy of homosexuality?

By the way, according to a recent study, “Modern Family” is the No. 1 sitcom among Republicans (and the third show overall behind Glenn Beck and “The Amazing Race”) but not even in the top 15 among Democrats, who prefer darker shows like Showtime‘s “Dexter,” about a serial killer trying to balance work and family between murders.

So, Republicans enjoy a sitcom which includes a gay couple raising a child?!?!  Hmm. . . .  But, I thought they hated gay people. (more…)

Truce in the Culture Wars?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:24 am - December 29, 2010.
Filed under: Gay America,Gay Marriage

Michael Barone has a great piece in the Washington Examiner where he takes note of a phenomenon most welcome to Reagan Republicans like myself, the emergence of a “truce in [the] culture wars” as voters become increasingly concerned about the sour economy and the bloated federal government:

The fact is that there is an ongoing truce on the social issues, because for most Americans they have been overshadowed by concerns raised by the weak economy and the Obama Democrats’ vast increase in the size and scope of government.

And with this truce, comes increasing acceptance of gay people.

There’s a sharp difference between old and young voters on same-sex marriage, and my guess is that young voters will continue to favor it by wide margins as they grow older; but maybe not. In the meantime, discrimination against or disparagement of gays and lesbians is increasingly frowned on by larger and larger majorities.

Indeed, many conservatives frown against such disparagement, with some opponents of state-recognized same-sex marriage treating gay individuals with dignity and favoring civil unions.

It’s Barone.  Read the whole thing.

Obamacare to limit our health care choices

Talk to a British émigré friend of mine whose octogenarian parents still live in the UK and have to deal with their National Health Service (NHS) and he loses his temper.  Talk to my septuagenarian parents who have each had health difficulties over the past year and you hear of the challenges of aging and the choices available to them.

When each has had to consult a physician for care, they have often asked friends and family members (in the medical profession) if the course of action that health care profession recommended was the best option — and to learn what else (if anything) they could do.  In some cases, they, like many Americans, have sought a second opinion.  

As government extends the reach of its tentacles into our health care system, many fear that it will limit the number of choices available to patients.  Taking issue with the use of the term “death panel” to describe the new Medicare regulations I blogged about here, calling such criticism “misplaced“, the editors of the Washington Examiner find the term

. . . entirely justified when used in reference to another provision of Obamacare — the Independent Payment Advisory Board — whose members will attempt to save money by making one-size-fits-all recommendations for skimping on care protocols and treatment regimes, particularly for older patients.

Unelected bureaucrats will soon be set the standards for the treatment doctors can offer, unelected bureaucrats who won’t be able to judge on a case-by-case basis, thus unable to define treatments which address the particular circumstances of individual patients. (more…)

ACLU seeks to violate civil liberties of Catholics?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:10 pm - December 28, 2010.
Filed under: Liberal Hypocrisy,Liberalism Run Amok

The ACLU once defended the rights of Nazis to march in the largely Jewish suburb of Skokie, Illinois.  

While that organization believes those harboring that repugnant ideology have the right to express their hateful opinions, they’re acting to prevent Catholics from practicing medicine in accordance with their conscience:

On Wednesday, the ACLU sent a letter to federal health officials urging the government to force Catholic hospitals in the U.S. to perform abortions in violation of their core moral commitment to protecting the lives of the unborn.

Why is the ACLU going out of its way to deprive a religious group of the freedom of religion while defending the freedom of a hate-group to express its offensive opinions?

Do celebrities “need” to vent against Republicans to remain au courant of the popular culture?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:57 pm - December 28, 2010.
Filed under: Movies/Film & TV,Pop Culture,Republican-hatred

Howard Towt seems to think so. In a thoughtful post on the “What I’ve Learned” interviews in the January, 2011 issue of Esquire magazine, entitled “Establishing Credentials,” he notes that one theme that seems to unite the reflections of the various celebrities interviewed:

Each of these individuals establishes his anti-Republican credentials as a way of validating his remarks with the reader and letting us know that he is a part of our popular culture. It is a reflexive action and is endorsed by Esquire.

Sarah Palin Was Right. . .

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:18 am - December 27, 2010.
Filed under: Obama Health Care Tax/Regulation

 . . . . about Obamacare’s “death panels”?!?!?

From the Administration’s paper of record:

When a proposal to encourage end-of-life planning touched off a political storm over “death panels,” Democrats dropped it from legislation to overhaul the health care system. But the Obama administration will achieve the same goal by regulation, starting Jan. 1.

Under the new policy, outlined in a Medicare regulation, the government will pay doctors who advise patients on options for end-of-life care, which may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment.

So, we’re going to have unelected bureaucrats instituting a policy that even an overwhelmingly Democratic Congress rejected (under much duress from the president and its leaders to pass) before being rejected themselves, in part, for passing Obamacare.  

Ed Morrissey unpacks it for us:

There is, however, something at least vaguely disturbing about a government incentivizing doctors to do so as part of an expansive regulatory program that has, as one of its primary goals, cost reduction.  The process used by Obama and Kathleen Sebelius to get this into ObamaCare is more disturbing, and in a very specific way.  Congress made it clear that it didn’t want this incentive as part of the new law.  However, thanks to the miles and miles of ambiguity in the final version of ObamaCare, with its repetitive the Secretary shall determine language, Congress has more or less passed a blank check for regulatory growth to Obama and Sebelius.

Read the whole thing because CPAC’s blogger of the year puts this issue in context and understands why discussions of contingency planning may be necessary.

A question for Governor-elect Brown

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:01 am - December 27, 2010.
Filed under: Big Government Follies,California politics

Citing several studies showing that people “vote with their feet” by leaving states where “big government and big labor are imposing restrictions on efficient employment markets“, Dan Mitchell asks:

If we know that pro-market policies work for states, why does the crowd in Washington push for more statism?

And why isn’t the incoming crowd in Sacramento not seeking to undo the statist policies already in place in the (once-)Golden State?  I mean, California does have the third highest unemployment rate.  

Maybe those statist/pro-union policies have something to do with that? 

(H/t: Instapundit)

This is the guy liberals think is too conservative for NPR

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:48 am - December 27, 2010.
Filed under: Media Bias,Sarah Palin

With comments like this, seems he’s trying to get his old job back:

JUAN WILLIAMS says that Sarah Palin can’t stand on the same intellectual stage as Barack Obama.

Yeah, but to keep your liberal credentials in good standing, you have to both attack Sarah Palin and FoxNews (while equating George W. Bush with Emperor Palpatine and Dick Cheney with Darth Vader).

As long as Williams maintains his berth on FoxNews, he won’t enjoy the status he once did in left-of-center circles.

W’s book sells almost as many copies in month as Clinton’s sold in six years

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:08 pm - December 26, 2010.
Filed under: American History,Bibliophilia / Good Books

Maybe it’s all those Bush-haters looking for dirt:

For someone who mangled words on a regular basis, it’s an impressive feat.

Former U.S. President George W Bush’s memoir has sold an astonishing two million copies since it was released in early November – and it’s not even in paperback yet.

‘Decision Points’, published both in hardcover and e-book form, is flying off the shelves, the Crown Publishing Group says.

By contrast, former president Bill Clinton’s memoir, ‘My Life’, has logged sales of 2.2million copies since it was first published in 2004.

Or maybe it’s something else.

Commenting on this tidbit, Mark Hemingway quipped, “history is already proving to be more favorable to Bush than his final approval ratings would suggest.

Feminism Explained

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:09 pm - December 26, 2010.
Filed under: Liberalism Run Amok

Law professor William A. Jacobson alerted me to this most instructive video:

Grande Conservative Blogress Diva 2011

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:46 am - December 24, 2010.
Filed under: Blogging,Blogress Divas

After extensive consultations with our committee, we have determined that the following blogresses, divas all, are the nominees for the coveted honor of Grande Conservative Blogress Diva 2011, the tiara commonly known as the “Ethel” in honor of one of perhaps the greatest Republican diva of all time.

Runners up will be honored as Conservative Blogress Diva Regent, also known as the Agnes or Endora in honor of another staunchly Republican diva.

Remember, to qualify as a conservative blogress diva, a nominee need only be a strong woman who commands the respect of gay male conservatives. She need not be conservative herself.

Who should be the Grande Conservative Blogress Diva for 2011
Fausta
Pam Meister
Jill of Pundit and Pundette (also at Potluck)
No Sheeples Here
Neo-neocon
Robin of Berkeley
Clarice Feldman (of American Thinker)
Elizabeth Scalia (AKA The Anchoress)
Ann Althouse
Sister Toldjah
Dr. Helen
Michelle Malkin
Tammy Bruce
Cassy Fiano
Melissa Clouthier
Mary Katharine Ham (Weekly Standard)
pollcode.com free polls

Let the cat fight competition begin.

You can vote once a day until midnight on December 31, 2010.

True Grit: a truly great remake

John Wayne made few great movies, but his mere presence in a picture often prevented lesser scripts from becoming bad movies. His style and his swagger caused us to forget that the film lacked a story — or that we had seen this tale before, only set on a different cattle range or down a different river.

A number do stand out, notably Stagecoach, The Searchers, Fort Apache, Red River and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon. And though he won his only Oscar for the original True Grit, few would count that among his best films. Eminently watchable it was (and remains), but a great movie it is not.

The Coen Brothers remake is something else altogether, a lot funnier than the original — and much better shot. If Roger Deakins doesn’t secure another Oscar nomination for this picture, something is wrong with the Academy.

If you cast someone to play a role which Wayne pioneered on the silver screen, Jeff Bridges is the man for the job. He takes the job and runs with it, though given the nature of his character, rides and stumbles with it might better describe his performance.

That is all I’ll say about the movie for now, save that you should watch it — and on the big screen, indeed, the biggest you can find.

Obama the Apostate

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 7:24 pm - December 23, 2010.
Filed under: Big Government Follies,World History

One wonders how “pagan” (i.e., those who still worshipped the Olympians and associated deities) Roman aristocrats felt when just eighteen years after the death of Constantine, the first Christian Emperor, Julian (AKA the Apostate) was named Cæsar.  That nephew of Constantine was determined to restore that ancient Roman religion.  Perhaps, those aristocrats felt that the Constantinian dynasty’s embrace of Christianity was just a passing fad. And the old days were returning.

So, I assume, must liberals have in 2008 when Barack Obama won election as president with his fellows Democrats capturing huge majorities in both houses of Congress.  They felt that the rise of small-government conservatism where, in time of crisis, people, as per the Gipper, believed “government is not the solution to the problem, government is the problem,” was just a passing fad.  And the old days when people turned to the government in times of crisis were returning.

But, as Michael Barone has noted repeatedly throughout the year, most recently this past Saturday, December 18, this has not been not the case:

Pelosi and Obama predicted that Obamacare would become more popular as voters learned more about it. Those predictions were based on the theory that in times of economic distress Americans would be more supportive of or amenable to big government policies.

That theory has been disproved about as conclusively as any theory can be in the real world, and most of the Democrats who provided the key votes for Obamacare were defeated on Election Day.

Seems that in trying to recall the old order of Emperor Roosevelt the Great, Obama is much like Julian, hearkening back to an era that, to borrow an expression, is gone with the wind.

Barney Says He Can’t Determine Constitutionality of Legislation

How else to interpret this comment?

In the next Congress, Republicans will require every bill to cite its specific constitutional authority, a reminder to color inside the lines drawn long ago by the Founding Fathers.

The rule is a mostly symbolic overture to the Tea Party, for which an animating cause was that much of the congressional agenda over the last two years, including the president’s health care law and the bailouts for Wall Street, has been unconstitutional.

But some House Democrats are steamed at the charge their agenda has gone beyond Congress’s constitutional authorities.

“It’s an air kiss they’re blowing to the Tea Party,” said Massachusetts Democrat Rep. Barney Frank about the rule. “Anything we’re doing that’s unconstitutional will be thrown out in court. Some of them interpret the constitution very differently, but no, that will not be a problem.

Emphasis added.  Jennifer Rubin (who alerted me to Barney’s petty petulance) quips, Congressmen “all do take an oath to uphold the Constitution, but I guess the Democrats consider this piffle.

Poor Barney, that unhappy Congressman from Massachusetts, can’t be troubled to consider the constitutional authority allowing legislation before he votes on it, leaving it to courts to sort it out later.  Guess that’s above the mean-spirited Democrat’s pay grade.

And I thought he was so smart!  Guess he’s just not smart enough to determine the constitutionality of legislation he votes on.

Do same-sex associations benefit different-sex marriages?

I had an interesting conversation last night with a straight friend who reported how his girlfriend constantly complains when hangs with his male buddies.  It’s not the first time I’ve heard about(or heard) a woman upset when her significant other spends times with his same-sex peers.  And yes, I’ve heard the reverse, men who get upset with their wives/girlfriends for their girls’ night out — or similar celebrations.

Our conversation reminded me that the straight folks (at least the ones I know) in the strongest marriages all engage in activities with their same-sex peers.  One of our readers enjoys a knitting circle with her female friends while her husband goes biking with his male buddies.  It seems that same-sex social contact is essential to the strength of their marriages.

I wonder how this plays out in same-sex relationships.  I have one lesbian friend who (sometimes jokingly) laments that her wife has a second spouse — the theater.  Perhaps, that second “marriage” contributes to the strength of her first.

Let me just throw this out for discussion.  It seems pretty clear that individuals in traditional marriages benefit by balancing their monogamous connection to a member of the “other” sex with associations in groups oftentimes composed only of members of their own sex.  How then do gay couples effect a similar balance?