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Is Howard Dean Fibbing



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about Bush’s “Clear Skies” Initiative? Spinsanity thinks so. The environmentalist critique of Clear Skies is that it slows down planned reductions in pollution levels. Spinsanity scores Dean for implying that Clear Skies would actually increase pollution (“The Clear Skies Initiative … basically allows you to put more pollution into the air”). I’m inclined to give Dean a pass. If the initiative results in there being more pollution in 2012 than current law would allow, that means that it is allowing more pollution–right? For the same reason, a person who supports the cancellation of a scheduled tax cut can reasonably be accused of wanting a tax hike, because he wants taxes to be higher than they otherwise would be. What do you think, Prof. Adler?

Taxing Outrage



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At the recent hearing on Title VI funding for Middle East and other area studies centers, the higher education lobby tried to dismiss stories of egregious bias against U.S. foreign policy as isolated and atypical anecdotes. Well, Martin Kramer has turned up yet another story of outrageous bias paid for by your tax dollars. It seems that a Title VI center at Georgetown University held a workshop on the war in Iraq for Washington area teachers. On the very day that Saddam’s statue was pulled down in Baghdad, 140 K-12 teachers were addressed by five speakers, each of which was bitterly opposed to the war in Iraq. One even proposed a Marshall plan of aid for Iraq. Trouble is, the plan included keeping Saddam in place. As for the higher education lobby’s denial that Edward Said is still influential in area studies, Kramer shows how the Georgetown Title VI center has been pushing Said on its students. This is a real “smoking gun” of an entry by Kramer.

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Korea



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With the Title VI battle unexpectedly heating up in the midst of the emerging gay marriage controversy, I’ve barely had time to keep up with some of my other issues–especially Korea and our too small armed forces. I blogged on Korea yesterday. Now Frederick Kagan has done us all the good turn of frankly stating that our armed forces are too small for the challenges we face. I hope the many hawks who populate the web will take up Kagan’s challenge and confront this issue. I’ve been harping on the point for almost two years. Finally, our occupation of Iraq forces us to face it. Unfortunately, Kagan doesn’t say how we’re supposed to expand our forces. I had a piece out in the April 21 NRODT that detailed a scheme that might allow us to expand our military without a draft and without too much expense. One way or another, as Kagan shows, if we don’t expand our armed forces, we’re in big trouble.

Web Briefing: July 26, 2014

A Date With Newsweek



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Remember that today at noon Newsweek is holding an online discussion of its (ludicrously biased) cover story on gay marriage. Meanwhile, blogger Tom Sylvester comments on the cover story.

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Get Saudi Kidnappings to Justice



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A Wall Street Journal editorial proposes taking juridiction from State to Justice:

The only real way to end this “never-ending conversation” is by shifting this portfolio from State to the Justice Department, which presumably would take a more aggressive approach to affronts to U.S. law and sovereignty.

Emily’s List’s Worst Nightmare



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Hong Kong



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On the subject of good photographs, check out the picture chosen by the Telegraph to illustrate this report on massive demonstrations in Hong Kong yesterday. Communists have never seen a freedom they did not want to crush, and the people of Hong Kong are trying to fight back. They deserve to prevail.

July 1, 1916



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July 1st was the 87th anniversary of the start of the battle of the Somme, one of the most tragic – and heroic – days in the history of the British army. It was marked with a ceremony in London yesterday – and some welcome news. The government is making a substantial contribution to a fund to help buy Thiepval wood, one of the starting points for the big push, and a place where many Tommies were to meet their death. There’s a good report on this in the Daily Telegraph. It includes a wonderful photograph – of William Stone, 102, a sailor of the Great War.

In The Name of Science



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Purely in the name of science, famously ascetic journalist and blogger Stephen Pollard (scroll down to find the story) agreed to test Nootropil, a supposedly ‘miracle’ hangover remedy. After fourteen glasses of wine, three ports and three whiskies the results, unlike the drinks, were mixed, but not for Stephen for whom matters ended badly. His mistake, I reckon, was the port. For the rest of us, there may be hope.

Fallout From June Diary (Cont.)



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Marriage Amendment



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I’m curious what the rest of you think, but I suspect, although the press and others looking for the White House to take sides now, that the administration will wind up coming out for the federal marriage amendment post-Massachusetts. They would have never greenlighted Frist to embrace it if that was not the likely plan. Just a guess.

Oy--Iraq, The War, Wes Clark, Another Quagmire!



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I didn’t dream up the whole Iraq liberation thing, right? Wes Clark is on Hannity and Colmes talking about how there was no urgency re: Iraq, that it was unwise for us to be “distracted” during the war on terror to concern ourselves with Iraq. Don Rumsfeld has been fielding q-word questions again. If this war on terror goes on for a few decades, which would not be a surprise to lots of us–who are not q-word whining–this will all get really old, this same old cycle. And could we maybe put in a bid for Victor Davis Hanson as the official Bush White House historian, so we might have a shot at getting the an accurate story in the history books? I know I’m rambling, but I’m exasperated. I suspect you are too, so you understand.

Joe Klein



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Is he in decline, or this just one of his bad patches? The anti-conservative ire, the weary and wearying pose, the conclusory judgments–there’s been a lot of all that lately. This week’s column is, actually, the second-worst commentary I’ve seen from any major pundit on the Supreme Court’s affirmative action and sodomy cases. (Maureen Dowd, liberal racist and slanderer, wins first prize.) The decisions are “a reassertion of sanity” that outraged only the Republican “party’s florid assortment of wing nuts.” Everyone in the “vast sensible center of American politics” knows that racial preferences are obligatory. It’s a “cultural consensus.” A majority of California voters appear to be outside this consensus. Perhaps they’re wing nuts?

“There is also a consensus on abortion: tolerable during the first few months of pregnancy but with severe limits after that,” Klein writes. This time it’s the Court that appears to be outside the consensus, since this isn’t anywhere close to the accurate description of its jurisprudence that Klein thinks it is.

He has been capable of better in the past. Maybe next week will be better.

What Do You Think of Nro



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Joe Overton, Rip



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Joe Overton of the Mackinac Center has died in a plane crash. With Larry Reed, he helped create what is widely considered the country’s finest state-level think thank (in Michigan). Joe married his wife Helen only a few months ago. Here’s the toast Reed offered them at the wedding. Freedom has lost one of its great friends.

Food For Thought



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I know I have to wait for Stan to settle the issue, but I do think this story is pretty interesting. It turns out that Gay Pride parades are under increasing pressure to become more family-friendly. Personally, I’m far more troubled by gay adoption than I am by same-sex unions and why the gay marriage issue is more controversial than gay adoption is beyond me. According to the census 32% of same-sex couples have children!

Anyway, I don’t trust the celebratory tone of the article nor the statistics from these gay groups. And this article does not a winning argument make. But it does seem to work against the notion that gay marriage is inherently and singularly destructive to notions of normalcy in some important ways. I thought this was pretty interesting:


John Kirkley, 36, an Episcopal priest in San Francisco, says that after he and his partner adopted a son almost five years ago, straight couples, rather than other gay men, became the foundation of their social network.

“We had a lot more in common with straight parents than single gay or lesbian folks in terms of understanding the joys and challenges of parenting, understanding we can’t be as flexible with our schedule,” he said. “Some gay and lesbian folks of a certain age had lived in an all-adult world for so long they weren’t really comfortable relating to children.”

Scalia as Coalition-Builder



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Several people have e-mailed me with some version of the following critique of my piece on Justice Scalia: The problem with Scalia’s sarcastic dissents is not that they’re improper so much as that they keep him from getting Kennedy or O’Connor to vote with him. Kennedy has, however, been willing to vote with Scalia on at least one of the divisive, high-stakes cases (Stenberg). On other issues, I’m not sure that either vote was really Scalia’s to lose. But if it is true that Scalia’s rhetoric has caused Kennedy and O’Connor to vote differently than they would otherwise have voted, surely that says more about their temperamental suitability for the job than it does about his.

Gay Conservatives



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I get quite a bit of email like this. I think it’s pretty interesting:


Jonah,

I just finished reading the “G-File” and I must commend you on a great article.

As a white, conservative, gay male, I must agree with you on the issue of “marriage.” I was brought up in a home with a mother and father and was taught that marriage was between a man and a woman. To this day, I honor and respect that. However, at the same time I do not feel that I should be punished for living with my partner.

According to the 2000 Census there are 11 million people who are unmarried and living together. This includes both heterosexual and homosexual couples. The last time I checked the news, the world did not stop because these people were not married and living together and the institution of marriage has not crumbled like a house of cards.

Marriage like most institutions learns to adapt and change with the times, or else it crumbles.

I, like you, am in favor of a “civil union” of some sort, which will allow me the same rights as a heterosexual couple has. My partner and I had to fill out numerous papers, so that if (God forbid) anything happened to one of us, the other one had a say in what treatment was pursued. However, by the same token, we have to have those papers with us at all times when ever we travel. When you travel in the U.S., with your wife, do you carry your marriage certificate with you? I would assume that you do not, but if something were to happen to you (or vice-versa), they would not look twice when you would request information.

If you were to take a poll of most homosexuals, and ask them if they would want marriage, or the same rights as a heterosexual, most would say that the equal rights would be more important.

It would be the perfect compromise; the conservatives get to keep the institution of “marriage,” while the homosexuals get “equal treatment.” Moreover, the U.S. Constitution is not amended because a SCOTUS ruling upsets a few people.

Sincerely,

[Name Withheld]

P.S. Most gay people look at heterosexual sex as “icky.” Therefore, I guess it is relative. (No implication of incest intended.)

The Next Level



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Okay Stan. I will await your verdict. I didn’t realize that your anti-gay marriage arguments “go to eleven” as they say in “Spinal Tap.”

Gay Marriage & The Next Level



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Jonah, on the likelihood of imposed national gay marriage after Massachusetts, you should have a look at David Frum’s post from yesterday. For some of my own discussions on this issue, you could look at “The Right Balance,” and “The Real Issue.” On Queer Theorists, the problem is not simply a kind of deliberate plot to undermine marriage. There are gays who will marry for the various benefits available within marriage, while nonetheless sincerely believing that marriage and monogamy do not require each other. That will work a cultural change, whether intentional or not (and with many it will be intentional). Then there are the problems of lesbian-sperm donor triads and triple parenting. I wrote about that in “Heather Has 3 Parents” and “Seeing the Slip.” Then there is the problem that legal gay marriage will tear down legal barriers to state sanctioned polygamy/polyamory, whether gay couples approve of those sorts of unions or not. I’ve written about that a lot. But mainly I ask that you withhold judgement until after Massachusetts acts. At that point, I am going to be publishing a lot. And the material I publish will push my arguments on this issue to a whole new level.

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