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Springfield Meets Yonkers in The Educational Quagmire



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From a reader:


“In order to reduce the school budget, Principal Skinner decides to put forth ‘Operation S.L.A.A.M.: So Long Athletics Art And Music.’ “
— “The Simpsons,” episode EABF20 (“The President Wore Pearls”), aired a mere two days ago.

“In a move the schools superintendent said ‘cut the heart and soul’ out of Westchester County’s largest district, the Yonkers Board of Education last night slashed 502 jobs and eliminated most music and art instruction, interscholastic sports and all extracurricular activities.”
The Journal News, 18 Nov 2003

Wow, the Yonkers School Board must really be on the cutting edge…they’re able to enact policy based on the very latest “Simpsons” episode, less than 48 hours after the episode has premiered! Yonkers tax dollars in action!


Gay Marriage Ruling



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Stanley: You observed that: “It’s also possible that only full gay marriage
will do, according to the Court, and that the legislature will be ordered to
bring it about.”

Could you, or some friendly reader, please instruct me as to where, in the
Massachusetts State Constitution, there is a clause authorizing the
judiciary of that state to “order” the legislature to legislate in a certain
way?

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Goodridge



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As you know, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has handed down its decision in the long awaited case of Goodridge vs. Massachusetts. It’s a bit too early to tell just what the ruling means. The Court appears to have declared the state’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional. On the other hand, rather than simply issue marriage licenses to the plaintiffs, the Court has remanded the issue to the legislature for resolution. That may leave room for Vermont style civil unions rather than full gay marriage. But I’m speculating. It’s also possible that only full gay marriage will do, according to the Court, and that the legislature will be ordered to bring it about. It will take some time to figure out just what the ruling means. But here is the first story on the decision I could find.

Web Briefing: January 29, 2015

Where Opinion Is



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A Pew poll, just out, near simultaneous to the Goodridge decision:

New Poll: Religious Beliefs Underpin Opposition to Homosexuality
Republicans Unified, Democrats Split on Gay Marriage

Despite the overall rise in tolerance toward gays since the mid-1980s, many Americans remain highly critical of homosexuals — and religious belief is a major factor in these attitudes.

Since the summer, opposition to gay marriage has risen modestly — from 53% in July to 59% in the current survey. But most of the increased opposition has come from highly religious Americans who now reject gay marriage by more than six-to-one (80%-12%).

A new national survey of 1,515 Americans, conducted Oct. 15-19 by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life and the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, finds that homosexuality in general — not just gay marriage — has become a major topic in churches and other houses of worship. In fact, priests and ministers are nearly as likely to address homosexuality from the pulpit as they are to speak out about abortion or prayer in schools.

The poll finds that exposure to messages about homosexuals in churches is associated with highly unfavorable views of gays and lesbians. This is especially the case in evangelical churches, whose members have far more negative attitudes toward gays than members of other churches. Fully 55% of evangelicals who attend services where the issue of homosexuality is addressed have very unfavorable views of homosexuals. This compares with 28% of those who regularly attend services in non-evangelical Protestant and Catholic churches whose clergy discuss homosexuality.

The political importance of gay marriage has yet to become clear. But there is evidence that this issue could become problematic for the Democratic presidential nominee. Republican voters are largely of one mind on this issue: more than three-quarters (78%) of voters who favor reelecting President Bush in 2004 oppose gay marriage. But voters who prefer to see a Democrat elected in 2004 are divided – 46% favor gay marriage, 48% oppose.

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And a quote:


Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support; it brings stability to our society. For those who choose to marry, and for their children, marriage provides an abundance of legal, financial, and social benefits. In return it imposes weighty legal, financial, and social obligations. The question before us is whether, consistent with the Massachusetts Constitution, the Commonwealth may deny the protections, benefits, and obligations conferred by civil marriage to two individuals of the same sex who wish to marry. We conclude that it may not. The Massachusetts Constitution affirms the dignity and equality of all individuals. It forbids the creation of second-class citizens. In reaching our conclusion we have given full deference to the arguments made by the Commonwealth. But it has failed to identify any constitutionally adequate reason for denying civil marriage to same-sex couples.
More than a few references to Lawrence, by the way.

A Crime



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The Steve Hayes piece on the Saddam-al Qaeda link has seemingly met the fate of near-everything that is released or announced or happens after noon on Friday. It really shouldn’t. Read it here and read our first mention of it here.

Mass “Gay Marriage” Case



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Equal Time, Kathryn!



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Please don’t exclude the women who hated that movie. But I say, burn the video. It’s not the town’s fault.

Abc Hounds Rush



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ABC’s Good Morning America brought on Bill Bennett for their Rush Limbaugh segment, but Charlie Gibson insisted that Rush is going to have to shut up now about politicians’ “human weaknesses” (emphasis on the Clintons).

PS: ABC’s World News Tonight on Monday carried a rather ominous promo about what will be featured on Tuesday night’s program. The ABC announcer intoned: “Tomorrow, Rush Limbaugh may be back on the airwaves, but his troubles are far from over. An ABC News investigation. Tomorrow on World News Tonight with Peter Jennings.”

This Is Actually in The Guardian



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“62% of voters [believing] that the US is ‘generally speaking a force for good, not evil, in the world’.” You never would’ve guessed!

Burning Bridges



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Someone set fire to one of the bridges of Madison County. You know, the guy could have just put his foot down and turned off the VCR. Now every man in America forced to watch that movie by a woman is a suspect.

The Economist On American Exceptionalism



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I am told that the ECONOMIST article I referred to in my Monday column,
about American exceptionalism, is actually readable online
(clicking on “next article” along the bottom will get you through the whole
thing).

Npr’s Point For Patience



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Monday night’s “All Things Considered” interviewed Gideon Rose of Foreign Affairs magazine writing about how Germany was very much in flux in the first few months of occupation, a welcome moment to reflect on historical parallels. (My Friday night commute was soured by gloomy NPR speculation about Iraq’s future.) Rose said history does not repeat itself, but it “does rhyme.”

Vicar/Rabbit Joke Found



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Read this link ONLY if you like off-color jokes.

Cbs On Campaign Finance



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The latest MRC spit take: Friday’s CBS Evening News didn’t utter a syllable about Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry opting out of the federal campaign finance matching fund system for the primaries, but devoted a full story to how Republicans Tom DeLay and Bill Frist, as Dan Rather put it, were “looking for loopholes to rake in donations” by subverting “the new campaign finance law designed to limit the power of special interests.” (It didn’t matter much to Rather if these lobbyists ended up helping DeLay’s work with abused and neglected kids or Frist’s fight on global AIDS.) Reporter Bob Orr concluded by lecturing the conservatives even as the network ignored Kerry: “Even if the charity fund-raising activities don’t violate the letter of the law, there’s no doubt about what’s being offered. For big contributions, high rollers can still buy access to the powerful. It’s the same old political game with a slightly new wrinkle.”

Protecting Women, Protecting America



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From this week’s U.S. News and World Report, “Washington Whispers” column:


Would Bush want his girls on Iraq’s front line?

It’s a question every parent with a daughter in military service, or considering it, has mulled since Pfc. Jessica Lynch, bloodied and possibly raped, was rescued: What the heck were she and other female soldiers doing in the line of fire? The answer is simple, though little publicized: Rules changed in the Clinton years to get women closer to the front. “This is exactly what we warned would happen years ago,” says Elaine Donnelly, head of the Center for Military Readiness, a group devoted to limiting female combat exposure. “We need brave women in the military,” she says, “but no one’s daughter should have to suffer an ordeal” like 19-year-old Lynch’s. Even some Pentagon officials agree and would like to see new limits on female combat roles. But it’s all up to President Bush, the father of twin 21-year-old daughters, who has yet to weigh in on the issue. Donnelly’s attempts at an Oval Office visit have been ignored, so she has started a petition to get Bush to dump the rules. “He needs to give direction,” says Donnelly. “We’re tugging on his sleeve.”


The petition can be signed here.

Culture Wars: Report From Derb Bunker



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Following the “Derbophobe” link at the end of today’s column, a number of readers have e-mailed in to ask what on earth I have done to tick off this Lynn Conway person so very comprehensively.

It’s a long story but here is the gist of it.

There is a professor of psychology at Northwestern University, Michael Bailey. Michael’s research specialty is the psychology of “gender identity.” He studies–in a formal, peer-reviewed academic sense–things like homosexuality, transsexualism, and so on. Earlier this year he published a book about his research, titled The Man Who Would Be Queen. I am slightly acquainted with Michael and his work–we are both members of a certain invitation-only e-list dealing with matters of human variation from biological, psychological and sociological perspectives. I therefore volunteered to review his book for National Review. My review duly appeared in the June 30 issue of NRODT this year. Here it is.

Now, the last part of Michael’s book deals with male transsexuals–men who wish to become women. In it, he subscribes to the theory (which did not originate with him) that there are two quite distinct types of male transsexual. The first type is pretty straightforward, just a particularly effeminate kind of homosexual, who wants to be a woman in order to attract male sex partners–heterosexual ones for preference. The second type, however, is much stranger. This is the “autogynephile”–a masculine, basically heterosexual man, whose erotic attention is fixated on the image of himself as a woman. In the studies Michael (and others) have done, this type appears quite distinct from the other. Autogynephiles, for example, are likely to have been married to normal women and to have fathered children by them. They differ from the other type–the “homosexual transsexual”–in all sorts of other ways, too, that show up clearly in life histories and psychological tests.

Now, this is all psychological theory. It may be wrong–though on the evidence Michael presents, in his book and elsewhere, it seems to this non-specialist that he has a pretty good case. This theory, however, is pure poison to those autogynephiles who, like Lynn Conway, have hadsex-reassignment surgery. They take very strong exception to the implication that they are fundamentally males–and heterosexual males at that! WE ARE WOMEN! They scream. FULLY FEMININE WOMEN! To say that they take strong exception to Michael’s work is, in fact, to understate the situation. They are spitting furious with Bailey, and have launched a huge campaign against him and anyone associated with him.

The scale of their campaign is tremendous. Anyone who ever shook hands with Michael Bailey is being tracked down and “exposed” via materials like those I linked to. This campaign is very well financed and has pulled in some big guns–the Southern Poverty Law Center, for example, is carrying out a “hate crimes” investigation. Our publisher has been lobbied ferociously to withdraw Michael’s book (Michael’s publicist, who is also mine, has been a target of their campaign) and Northwestern has also been threatened with various kinds of action if they do not shut Michael’s mouth.

What’s this got to do with me? Well, I gave Michael’s book a friendly review, see, so I must be part of the Axis of Evil. In fact, these lunatics have erected a huge conspiracy theory about myself and Michael, based on the fact that, wait for it, we have the same publisher!!! It follows, you see, that Michael and I meet secretly in a basement somewhere every Friday to plot further insults and outrages against these autogynephiles. I’m not kidding. This stuff is bizarre.

In fact, other than belonging to the same e-list, Michael and I are not acquainted. I have met him just once: his book came out at the same time as mine, and our publisher sent us both to BookExpo in Los Angeles this summer, along with all their other authors whose books had just appeared. Michael does not, in fact, altogether approve of me. He is–as his book clearly shows–sympathetic to people with “gender identity” problems, and regards me as a primitive homophobe. (Imagine! Me!!)

A great many other facts on Lynn Conway’s website are wrong, too. I have never, for example, written a book about yachting, and I have never heard of half the people she names as being part of the great Bailey-Derbyshire conspiracy to present autogynephiles as essentially male.

Not to put too fine a point on it, Lynn Conway is nuts. She and her pals have money, though, and energy, and a big cheering section in the “gay rights” crowd, so I shall probably end up in jail for some kind of “hate crime” before they are through with me.

OK, it’s all a bit of a storm in a teacup. It does illustrate, though, the savagery of the “gender issues” and “gay rights” campaigners. These people are pure totalitarians, intent on shutting up and destroying anyone who goes against their party line–even someone as generally sympathetic as Bailey. They are absolutely unscrupulous, very well funded, and have powerful friends in Congress and the judiciary–it is they who are driving this new “hate crimes” legislation.

As an opinion journalist, I am fair game, and I can take care of myself. Michael, though, is a scientist, a “retired and uncourtly scholar,” quite unused to this kind of vituperation and misrepresentation. His work ought to be validated, or disproved, via the usual processes of discussion and peer review.

Lynn Conway and her gang couldn’t care less about any of that. Like the rest of the “gay rights” and “gender issues” crowd, they want to shut down all discussion and debate. Fundamentally they are extreme narcissists, who react with blind unreasoning fury when their precious self-esteem is pricked. They don’t want peer review; they don’t want science; they don’t want discussion; they want blood. This is real culture war here, and if we lose it, we shall lose our freedoms.

It’s Official



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Ahnuld is now governor of California.

Just Before Rush



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I caught the last five minutes of the Diane Rehm talk show on NPR. A liberal caller insisted that if Team Bush is so patriotic, why haven’t they insisted that all the profits from the “defense industry” be plowed back into reimbursing the families of lost soldiers? Rehm responded with perfect liberal pitch. That would be “beautifully logical,” she said.

Lucky For Her



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Good thing NY1 reporter Rebecca Spitz’s family didn’t give up on her. Two months in a coma and she woke up!

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