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When politics becomes a distraction & blogging an effort

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:03 pm - April 27, 2011.
Filed under: Blogging,LA Stories,Movies/Film & TV,Random Thoughts

One thing which makes a movie or story great is that its themes and episodes can help us describe situations in our lives, understand the actions of others or help elucidate the human condition. While many people fault The Godfather: Part III for being inferior to the first two flicks in the franchise, it does have its moments, particularly the scene where Al Pacino‘s Michael Corleone bemoans his inability to leave his mob past behind him:

I sometimes feel the same way about politics. When I moved to LA, I intended to keep out of politics, tired of how friends and acquaintances would steer our conversations to politics upon learning that this literature-loving, Beowulf– and Tolkien-quoting, well-read film buff happened to be a gay Republican.

And this week, I would rather have focused on other things, notably my fascination with the quality and success of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire and developing a curriculum to teach mythology while looking for places to teach it.  Not to mention, debating whether I should write this fantasy epic that has been stirring in my subconscious for about eight years, how to go about naming the characters and researching its background.

Yesterday, while at the gym, I was delighted to find myself on a cardio machine next to someone else reading a volume from Martin’s opus.  He was reading the first book, Game of Thrones, on his iPad while I was beginning the third volume, Storm of Swords, in a mass-market paperback.  When I mentioned that I had blogged about the books, he asked the name of my  blog.  Even though he had heard of this site and had a background in left-of-center politics, he was content to keep the conversation focused on fantasy fiction with occasional considerations of literature (in general) and our own reading habits.

I treasure such conversations.

All that said, in a week when I would rather focus on my literary past-times, there are many items in the news worthy of consideration, particularly for a gay conservative blogger. (more…)

Questions for HRC

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:54 pm - April 27, 2011.
Filed under: Gay Marriage,Gay PC Silliness

Before blogging further (save to address Joe Solmonese’s comment below) about HRC’s bullying of King & Spalding because the law firm dared engage the United States House of Representatives as a client in order to defense a provision of a statute enacted in accordance with the provisions of the United States constitution, I will be contacting HRC’s press office with a series of questions.  (I may also inquire why they criticized Sarah Palin for her silence when her daughter used the term “faggot” while remaining silent when a union protestor used the same term in order to insult a political adversary.)

In his statement on King & Spalding’s decision, Solmonese, president of the HRC, got it exactly backwards.  “King & Spalding,” he held, “has rightly chosen to put principle above politics in dropping its involvement in the defense of this discriminatory and patently unconstitutional law.”  Actually, the law firm, as HRC, put politics ahead of principle on this one.  And to call an issue that the Supreme Court has not yet adjudicated — and about which solid arguments can be raised on both sides of the issue  — is to elevate his view of the case to that of settled law.

While I am busy crafting my questions, Jennifer Rubin has stayed on top of this issue, reporting that if the Coca-Cola Company, at the behest of HRC, “had pressured King & Spalding to dump another client, the House of Representatives“, it would be “a clean-cut violation of professional ethics”.  It’s Rubin, read the whole thing.

And in the meanwhile, please let me know if you have any questions for HRC that I should include in my e-mail inquiry.

UPDATE:  The indispensable Mrs. Rubin has more on the ethics of the matter, summarizing her conversation with law professor Ron Rotunda who points out  . . . (more…)

Trump’s Triumph: Obama Releases Birth Certificate

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:05 pm - April 27, 2011.
Filed under: Annoying Celebrities,Media Bias,Obama Arrogance

Once again, I turn to the indispensable Jennifer Rubin not just for news of this matter, but also for insight into its meaning:

It’s almost inexplicable. The White House bent to the will of the kook-squad and its kook in chief, Donald Trump, in releasing the president’s birth certificate. He’s going to speak on the subject later today.

. . . .

In essence, Obama has given a pass to the loony birthers by suggesting this was a legitimate issue deserving of a White House response. And, of course, he’s made Donald Trump into the uber-opponent. Trump, unsurprisingly, is gloating, declaring he’s “proud of himself for accomplishing something no one else has accomplished.” What’s next: Capitulate to his demand to release Obama’s college grades?

Read the whole thing.  And yes, Jennifer, the Donald is now calling for the president to release his college records.  And, um, Mr. Trump, I’d be kind of wary of that self-pride thing.  You might want to consult a Mr. O. Rex (understanding that unfortunate Theban monarch through the lens of Sophocles not Freud) before telling us how “very proud” you are of yourself.  We’ve all heard what sometimes happens to people who pat themselves on their back overmuch.

Yeah, I’ll grant that if Trump didn’t raise a ruckus, the president wouldn’t have done what he should have done long ago to quiet this furor.  It does seem the real reason the president didn’t release this sooner was a political one — to try to bait his political adversaries into beating the birther drum ever louder and so discredit themselves in the process.

It seems right now, we’ve been watching a media battle between two egomaniacs, Donald Trump and Barack Obama.  The latter would have been smarter to just release the certificate without making a “peevish” statement, indeed, without making any statement at all.

And with that statement, the president today gave Donald Trump a public relations victory. (more…)

HRC’s Thuggish Tactics

Well, last night after returning from a wonderful dinner with my Dad and his wife (including the best dirty martini I’ve had in a long while (thank you, Maureen!)), I went through my e-mail and read articles I had previously just skimmed on the decision of the law firm King & Spalding to end its representation of the “Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the House of Representatives on the constitutional issues regarding Section III of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.”  While I was aware of HRC’s involvement in the efforts to intimidate influence the law firm, dubbing them a “hissy fit” in a previous post, it seems the left-wing organization threw more than just a “hissy fit,” but instead mounted a concerted effort to get the law firm to drop this bipartisan group of federal elected officials as a client.

Via the diligent and determined Jennifer Rubin, we learn of phone conversations her Washington Post colleague Greg Sargent had with the liberal outfit:

The latest round got started this morning, when the Weekly Standardpublished an internal email from the Human Rights Campaign detailing that HRC had “contacted many of the firm’s clients” as part of its campaign to get King and Spalding to drop the case. Right wing bloggers, such as Jennifer Rubin, are pouncing on this as proof that the left engaged in an “unprincipled campaign” of intimidation to deprive the House of Representatives of legal representation.

Far from being abashed about this campaign, Fred Sainz, a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, shared new details about it. He confirmed to me that his group did indeed contact King and Spalding clients to let them know that the group viewed the firm’s defense of DOMA as unacceptable.

You’d think they have better things to do with their time.  Instead of developing strategies to reach out to social conservatives and offer arguments about treating gay individuals with dignity or work with gay Republicans to develop better arguments about the merits of state recognition of same-sex unions, HRC has been busying itself trying to deprive an elected branch of the federal government of legal counsel in its defense of legislation enacted in accordance with the provisions of the United States Constitution.

Even Attorney General Eric Holder is defending “former Solicitor General Paul Clement, after gay rights advocates criticized his decision to take on the defense of the Defense of Marriage Act in court.”  Clement quit his job at King & Spalding when the firm dropped the case.

That HRC would go to such great lengths to get a law firm to drop its defense of DOMA come as no surprise to us nor to other gay people familiar with the work of this left-wing outfit.  They have long since stopped being, as Sargent styles them, a “gay advocacy group”.  They’re not advocating for gay people, but instead seeking to deprive their adversaries of the opportunity to defend their positions.  Indeed, they’re behaving as if their adversaries don’t even have a right to their defense.

And they’re celebrating a law firms decision that has earned it rebuke from jurists “on both sides of the ideological divide“. (more…)

Must be George W. Bush’s Fault

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:15 am - April 27, 2011.
Filed under: Blame Republicans first

H/t Heritage Foundation via Bruce.

What Jerry Brown could learn from his former TN counterpart

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:04 am - April 27, 2011.
Filed under: State Politics & Government

Today, the senior U.S. senator from Tennessee has something in common with the governor of California.  Back in 1979, both men served as chief executive of their respective states.  That year, then-President James Earl “Jimmy” Carter exhorted them (as well as their colleagues in the remaining forty-eight states) to “go to Japan. Persuade them to make here what they sell here.

The younger of the two, the Republican from the Volunteer State, did just that, meeting in Tokyo with “with Nissan executives who were deciding where to put their first U.S. manufacturing plant.”  They chose his state, then a jurisdiction “with almost no auto jobs.”  One reason they opted for Mr. Alexander’s home territory was “Tennessee has a right-to-work law” while neighboring Kentucky does not.   Kentucky workers, like those in California, “would have to join the United Auto Workers union. Workers in Tennessee had a choice.”

Now, the Tennessean writes in the Wall Street Journal,

Nissan’s success is one reason why Volkswagen recently located in Chattanooga, and why Honda, Toyota, BMW, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai and thousands of suppliers have chosen southeastern right-to-work states for their plants. Under right-to-work laws, employees may join unions, but mostly they have declined. Three times workers at the Nissan plant in Smyrna, Tenn., rejected organizing themselves like Saturn employees a few miles away.

Our goal should be to make it easier and cheaper to create private-sector jobs in this country. Giving workers the right to join or not to join a union helps to create a competitive environment in which more manufacturers like Nissan can make here 85% of what they sell here.

The latest figures show that unemployment in Tennessee is at 9.5%.  In California, it’s at 12.3%.  Maybe it’s time for the (once-)Golden State to take a lesson from its south-eastern counterpart and enact a right-to-work law.  Such legislation might not only help create jobs in Jerry Brown’s neck of the woods, but might also help him hold down the cost of government.  And California would start to regain its luster.