Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Details, Details

Is the guy eligible, or not? But only those obsessed with pedantic nitpicking would care about something so minor as the rule of law.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

Another Congressional Motors Triumph


Support Of The 'Final Solution' Is A Questionable Position That More Than A Few Of Us Would Urge Politicians To Perhaps Reconsider

At least we'd have to sit down and maybe try to figure out whether or not the above headline would apply or not.

Mark Shea modifies a few terms in the latest hard-hitting directive from the USCCB.

Take Note

Obama offered Hope, not the fulfillment of Hope...

Great News!!! CitiBank Would Fail Without Government Help!!!!

And that's worth +400 DOW points!!!

This sort of lunacy is why I'm staying the hell away from stocks.

Sodomites Agitating For De Facto Repeal Of First Amendment

National Review on the Prop 8 aftermath.


Last week in a Denver suburb, someone lit a Book of Mormon on fire and dropped it on the doorstep of a Mormon temple, presumably as a statement about the church’s support of Proposition 8 in California, an initiative that amended the state constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. In a move that may make gay-rights supporters’ heads spin, the incident is being investigated as a hate crime.

The outbreak of attacks on the Mormon church since the passage of Proposition 8 has been chilling: envelopes full of suspicious white powder were sent to church headquarters in Salt Lake City; protesters showed up en masse to intimidate Mormon small-business owners who supported the measure; a website was created to identify and shame members of the church who backed it; activists are targeting the relatives of prominent Mormons who gave money to pass it, as well as other Mormons who are only tangentially associated with the cause; some have even called for a boycott of the entire state of Utah.


Churches oppose same-sex marriage in part because it represents an implicit threat to freedom of conscience and belief. California already had one of the broadest civil-unions laws in the country. There was little in the way of government-sanctioned privileges that a state-issued marriage license would confer. But the drive for same-sex marriage is in practice about legislating moral conformity — demanding that everybody recognize homosexual relationships in the same way, regardless of their own beliefs. Freedom of conscience, or diversity of belief, is the last thing the homosexual lobby will tolerate: In New Mexico, a state civil-rights commission fined an evangelical wedding photographer $6,637 for politely declining to photograph a gay commitment ceremony. In California, the state Supreme Court ruled unanimously against two San Diego fertility doctors who refused to give in-vitro fertilization to a lesbian owing to their religious beliefs, even though they had referred her to another doctor. And just this week, evangelical dating site eHarmony, which hadn’t previously provided same-sex matchmaking services, announced it had been browbeaten into doing so by New Jersey’s Division on Civil Rights and the threat of litigation. The first 10,000 same-sex eHarmony registrants will receive a free six-month subscription. “That’s one of the things I asked for,” crowed Eric McKinley, who brought the charges against eHarmony.

Where do they go from here? Gay activists are already using the legal system to try to revoke the tax-exempt status of the Mormon church. If you believe that churches and synagogues, priests and rabbis won’t eventually be sued for their statements on sexuality, you’re kidding yourself. Chai Feldblum, a Georgetown University law professor and gay activist who helps draft federal legislation related to sexual orientation, says that, when religious liberty conflicts with gay rights, “I’m having a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win.” A National Public Radio report on the conflict noted that if previous cases are any guide, “the outlook is grim for religious groups.”

Given their cavalier disregard for the freedom of conscience, it’s little surprise that the gay lobby is equally disdainful of democracy: They began pursuing legal challenges to Proposition 8 practically before they were done tallying the votes. Lamentably, the state attorney general defending the will of the people will be former Jerry Brown, the liberal former governor who was an open opponent of the measure and tried to sabotage it. The legal challenges will be heard by the same state Supreme Court that overturned California’s previous law forbidding gay marriage back in May. There’s a real possibility the will of the people will be spurned a second time, democracy be damned. They’ve already burned the Book of Mormon. The First Amendment is next.

There Are Two Kinds Of Chumps In American Politics: Conservatives And Progressives

And now it's the progressive's turn.


So many progressives were misled about what Obama is and what he believes. But it wasn't Obama who misled them. It was their own desires, their eagerness to see what they wanted to see rather than what reality offered.

Early on in the primary cycle, Markos Moultisas -- in a post I recall vividly though can't find -- wisely urged that progressives refrain from endorsing or supporting any of the Democratic candidates unless they work for that support, make promises and concessions important to the progressive agenda, etc., lest progressives' support end up being taken for granted. But that advice was largely ignored. For whatever reasons, highly influential progressive factions committed themselves early, loyally and enthusiastically to Obama even though he never even courted that support, let alone made commitments to secure it.

That may have been perfectly justified -- by pragmatic calculations regarding electability, by excitement over his personality and charisma, by the belief that he was comparatively superior to the alternatives. Still, the fact remains that progressives, throughout the year, largely lent Obama their loyal support in exchange for very little. He never pretended that he wanted to implement or advance a progressive agenda. And he certainly never did anything to suggest he would oppose or undermine the Democratic establishment that has exerted power in the party over the last two decades.

It's difficult to understand what basis progressives think they have for demanding greater inclusion in his cabinet and other high-level appointments, and it's even more difficult to understand the basis for the disappointment and surprise being expressed over the fact that center-right Democrats and Republicans are welcomed in his inner circle, but -- as The Nation's Chris Hayes put it -- "not a single, solitary, actual dyed-in-the-wool progressive has, as far as I can tell, even been mentioned for a position in the new administration."

It just goes to show: Hard-to-get generally beats swooning...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

There Are Many Things That Stand Between Us And The American Ideal Of Liberty. Social Conservatism Is Not One Of Them.

Great piece.


I must say, even as an agnostic, something is creepy about a government that outlaws Nativity scenes at City Hall, but subsidizes Piss Christ. That tries to disband the Boy Scouts but promotes gay marriage. That disallows even voluntary, student-led prayer at public school, but teaches children how to put on condoms.

What is so funny about Bill Maher's Religulous? What is so bad about Sarah Palin hoping to do God's will or praying for His guidance?

I am not religious myself, but I kind of like the idea that whoever makes and enforces our laws thinks that some invisible being knows his every move and will judge him accordingly in eternity. I would not be offended if the being he prays to is the one who gave the Sermon on the Mount.

I have yet to see the absence of religious devotion replaced with true scientific rationalism. Instead, I see it replaced with Environmentalism, Marxism, New Age "spiritualism" or any of a host of other pseudo-religions. On the other hand, Isaac Newton, for my money the greatest scientist ever and one of our more rational thinkers, wrote way more about the Bible and God than he ever did about calculus, mechanics and optics combined. There is nothing inconsistent between science and religion or reason.

By the way, I know enough about rationalism to know this: anyone who thinks he practices it rigorously has no idea what he's talking about. Bertrand Russell and Alfred North Whitehead are famous for taking a thousand pages to prove, with rigorous logic, that one and one are two (I'll trust them on that). How can anyone with an ounce of humility, or real sense, think he knows the "rational" method of improving the lot of mankind? Lenin and Mao thought they knew, as they sent tens of millions to their graves in the effort.

Mythical Creatures

I'm still searching for the mythical creature that is the "financially conservative, socially liberal" politician. In virtually every case, the pro-abortion or pro-gay marriage politician is the first to vote against a tax cut, the first to vote for more spending and quick to compromise principles on any issue there is.

Using the National Journal's ratings of Senators in 2007 , the correlation coefficient between "economic" scores and "social" scores is 90%. That means they almost always go together; financial conservatives are social conservatives and vice versa. Every Senator scoring above 60 in economic issues, scored above 50 in social ones. Every Senator scoring below 40 in economic issues, scored below 50 in social ones. If there is such an animal as a "financial conservative, social liberal", it does not exist in the US Senate.

Humility and hubris

Finally, there is the concept of small "c" conservative. While we should make some changes in our institutions so that we can evolve, as F.A. Hayek might describe, toward a better society, we should also be careful. Don't change everything at once, for example. Try a few things incrementally and see how they turn out. Maybe we should consider "evidence based" government.

We should be especially careful in tinkering with the most successful society ever to exist on this planet. I would hope I wouldn't have to defend that claim. By 1969 we put man on the moon and brought him back safely. We were the richest and most free country on earth. Immigrants flocked to our shores. We had defeated some of the most despicable regimes in history. Our schools were the envy of the world and our people produced more patents than any other country.

Shouldn't we have some humility about changing the most fundamental institutions that got us to that point? Things like traditional marriage, the nuclear family, schools, private property, the free market and the Bill of Rights? That is not to say we don't change them at all. But let's be careful, incremental and be prepared to change the change. Do not throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Can We Throw The Leftist Fringe Under The Bus? Yes, We Can!

I cannot possibly be disappointed by the Obama presidency. Raving leftists? Not so much:

Barack Obama doesn't fear the enraged, impotent Netroots


Saturday, November 22nd 2008, 4:00 AM

Barack Obama isn't even President yet, and he's already angering some of his most devoted followers on the party's left wing. This is the mark of what could be a very successful presidency.

"With its congressional majority, the Democratic Party has refused to seriously try to end the war, to stop the bailout and to stop the trampling of civil liberties, just to name a few off the top of my head," wrote David Sirota on the popular liberal blog OpenLeft, decrying the serial betrayals of Obama and the congressional Democratic majority. The Democratic Party, he wrote, has "faced no real retribution" for its manifold heresies, something that Sirota believes he and his band of angry bloggers must change. "We better understand why this happened," he fumed.

Allow me to provide an answer. You don't matter...

The poor leftists will be in even more of a tizzy than they have been the last few years. After all, it's one thing to lose to the other guys, but quite something else to be "betrayed" by your own side, and to be robbed of the victory you "earned"!

The Nick Berg Video Was Not Newsworthy, And Was Nothing Compared To The Alaska Turkey Genocide

The three best posts on the scandal.

Powerline quotes an NRO e-mailer:

[Palin] should tell the media that she apologizes and she'll do her next interview inside an abortion clinic.

Big Three Bailout = "Weekend At Bernie's"

Succinct post. Ends with:

Now, should we bail out the big 3 in order to "save jobs"? No.

Here's the first thing to understand: those jobs are already gone. GM and others have made it clear that they can't continue to pay their workers. The American public has spoken by not buying GM's cars. That's their right, no?


Such a bailout is forcing you to buy a GM car that you already said you don't want. Except that you won't actually get a car, of course.

"Why The Drudge Report Is One Of The Best Designed Sites On The Web"

This guy makes an excellent and well-written case for that contention.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Great Paper

I mentioned a paper by atheist law and philosophy professor Thomas Nagel a few months ago in this post. The paper is now available in its entirety on-line and is linked to and discussed in this post at Telic Thoughts.

Good stuff.

Interestingly, as far as I can tell, P.Z. Myers never even trashed the thing on his blog. Nor did many other Darwinist blowhards respond to it. I guess if they don't have an effective bunch of inane smokescreens to shout it down with, they simply pretend it doesn't exist.

A VDH Lament

Good read.

It's Worse Than Abu Ghraib


The LA Times Clarifies Its Role


“As American citizens, we all believe we are innocent until proven guilty. I think we should extend that same rule to our [Democrat] leaders in our country. And therefore we have some obligation in a new [Democrat] presidency not to attempt to destabilize it. It does not mean we wouldn’t cover something that came and it was new information.”

Irony: Rejecting All Authority Leads To Having No Personal Authority Leads To Not Noticing Your Authority Being Usurped Leads To Being Under The Boot

American Thinker article dovetails with a conversation I had a couple of days ago. The gist of the conversation was this: We live in a culture which currently rejects the idea of legitimate authority, both politically and in interpersonal relationships (i.e. the idea that the man is the head of the family--express this and be ready to be met with outrage from most). Given that this results in men in society internalizing the erroneous idea that they do not have legitimate authority (for example, most "reasonable, caring, enlightened, metrosexual" men would reject the idea that they have any special level of authority or leadership in their marriage/family), this leads to a passivity that simply does not take notice when the state usurps this authority. The ironic result? Those who reject the idea of legitimate authority find themselves the subjects of tyrannical illegitimate authority, because they did not legitimately fight for their own turf.

From the article:

While an excess of yang energy was considered explosive and dangerous, what happens in a country like contemporary America when there seems to be a dangerous oversupply of feminine yin?

In his book The Suicide of Reason Lee Harris argues that our present state of liberal democracy has led to "eliminating the alpha males from our midst, and at a dizzyingly accelerating rate." Instead of supporting and valuing testosterone's virtues we're "drugging our alpha boys with Ritalin." In addition, one could view Barack Obama's election as the triumph of yin over yang. Obama's policies promise to cast the father out of America's parks and replace him with the more "caring" and yin oriented federal government. For Lee Harris however the feminization of American men comes at an extremely high price:

"The end of testosterone in the West alone will not culminate in the end of history, but it may well culminate in the end of the West."

It was in ancient Greece for example when the West began to associate the masculine yang voice with freedom and self-reliance. Why? Because when Athenian citizens perused the known world they noticed something rather curious: in no country other than Greece did citizens enjoy freedom or the virtues of democratic government. Famous Greeks like the fifth century B.C. physician Hippocrates attempted to explain this fascinating anomaly. What Hippocrates and other Greek observers all tended to conclude was that the rest of the world's subjects must be "effeminate" or else, like the Greeks, they would have demanded -- like real men -- to be left alone by their leaders.

In his essay On Airs, Waters, and Places for example Hippocrates notes that those who endure life under a despot are "cowardly, as I have stated before, for their souls are enslaved." Greeks however are "independent, and enjoy the fruits of their own labors," and in addition they "encounter dangers on their own account, bear the prizes of their own valor, and in like manner endure the punishment of their own cowardice." The good doctor concludes with a rather chilling observation: "A man's disposition will be changed by his institutions." In short, what Hippocrates argues is that the more "maternalistic" the government, the less the citizenry will value freedom.

We can now start to understand part of Obama's appeal...

In A Just Universe, This Kind Of Hubris Would Be Amply Repaid

I guess these folks are not afraid of "jinxing" things. It would be poetic justice if The One turns out to be one of the most despised and ridiculed (by all sides) Presidents in US history.

Jumping the gun: Barack Obama Elementary School.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Putting Aside The Question Of Whether Or Not It Is True...

The latest absurdity from the philosophical materialists.

Mark Shea:

"We're setting aside the question of whether religions are true in a metaphysical sense."

Which is another way of saying, "We are fools." And being fools, they then proceed to suggest that "Christianity itself may be a function of evolution", which is another way of saying it is false.

The one thing Christianity is most emphatically *not* a function of is evolution. That is because the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity is, you know, the Creator and not a creature.

Yes, there are relatively trivial things that can be said about how Christianity adapted to culture, about the way its adherents outbred their competitors in ancient pagan culture (and are still doing so). But the metaphysic that lies behind this bit of rubbish is more far-reaching than that. It aims to reduce The Revelation to a mere fact of nature, which it can never be, any more than Christ is merely a man.

It also, by the way, is founded on a good solid lie that makes me wonder if adherents of the Darwin mythos even bother to watch the news:

The theory of evolution holds that all creatures are driven by a biological urge to pass on as many of their own genes as possible to the next generation.

Religious believers are often accused of having compartmentalized brains that keep secular and religious ideas from contacting one another and cause cognitive dissonance. How anybody, in the age of Planned Parenthood, rage at Catholic anti-contraceptive teaching, population planning movements, child-free movements, demographic collapse all over Europe and so forth can seriously declare that humans are the helpless puppets of an innate urge to pass on as many of their own genes as possible to the next generation...

Well, let's just say that the Darwin mythos seems to require an initial outlay of faith capital that dwarfs the mustard seed Christ asks for.

New Lileks Feature

He looks at old ads in comic books, including the ones in the form of comics. Funny stuff. Here's a sample:




A Tribute From The French

A charmingly translated and moving accolade to our soldiers in Afghanistan from a French soldier who fought beside them. H/T Anchoress.

Adding New Meaning To The Term 'Petty Tyranny'

But it looks like she's learned something. Maybe.


Council Member Says She'll Vote Against Church Rezoning Request Because of the Church's Ideology:

The Beaufort (S.C.) Gazette reports:

A county board voted to rezone a greater Bluffton church over the objection of one County Council member who said she'll vote against it because of the Catholic church's stance on reproductive rights and other issues....

During the discussion, Laura Von Harten, who represents Beaufort and Port Royal, but is not a member of the land committee, said she won't support the rezoning when it comes before the council because official Catholic policies are an "affront to my dignity and all of womankind."

Von Harten cited the Catholic church's position against female clergy and "uterus rights" as her reason for opposing the rezoning request.

"I don't want to support anything that will perpetuate that," she said. "I just have to vote in favor of love and not hate." ...

The Catholic News Agency reports the councilwoman's quote further:

If land must be rezoned, she said, “I want it to be to create a loving inclusive mixed-use community and that's the only way I will give up rural land... I just have to vote in favor of love and against hate when I see hate.”

How about voting in favor of First Amendment rights and not against them, or in favor of being "inclusive" of views you disagree with? Fortunately, the member has apparently acknowledged that denying a rezoning request on such a basis is improper:

Saying she intended no infringement of anyone’s religious freedom and did not intend to disparage any individual member of the Church, she added:

“I respect the rights of all people to worship in the church of their choosing. Given the history of persecution endured by members of the Catholic Church, I regret my insensitivity on this matter.”

Saying she was “truly sorry” for having “interjected” her concerns about the Catholic Church into a zoning discussion, she claimed she had “meant only an extension of my overall opposition to development that restricts access on the basis of factors such as race, age or gender but it was an inappropriate forum.”

“Please be assured that I have been reminded of the importance of separation of church and state in matters of land use, and have learned a great deal from this incident,” Von Harten continued, asking for forgiveness and pledging “to approach my duties as councilwoman from a more restrained and objective viewpoint.”

Glad to hear it, though I hope she also recognizes the importance of not discriminating against land users based on their speech, whether they are "church[es]" or not: Such discrimination is a Free Speech Clause violation, not just a matter of the "separation of church and state."

Thursday, November 20, 2008

"I'll Lose My Vintage Camaro SS!"

Housing bubbles affect everybody. H/T Ace of Spades.

A Sure Bet

If you'd bought and held the DOW at any point in the last 11.5 years, you'd have no gain to show for it, and most probably a loss (not counting the dividend).

A Couple Of Good Ones From Brutally Honest



Europe Reacts To Islam

Or something. This photo has to be deeply symbolic of something or other in some way.

Perhaps it could be Yes-on-8 voters learning (confirming) something about the other side.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Let The UAW Die

And also the companies they are associated with. True to form, the commie Democrats expect the taxpayers to subsidize inefficient workers to the tune of $30/hour. Forever, I guess.

Ace of Spades has a great post on this.

And Volokh highlights a piece of a WSJ column:

I see that David Yermack said it better.

In 1993, the legendary economist Michael Jensen gave his presidential address to the American Finance Association. Mr. Jensen's presentation included a ranking of which U.S. companies had made the most money-losing investments during the decade of the 1980s. The top two companies on his list were General Motors and Ford, which between them had destroyed $110 billion in capital between 1980 and 1990, according to Mr. Jensen's calculations.

I was a student in Mr. Jensen's business-school class around that time, and one day he put those rankings on the board and shouted "J'accuse!" He wanted his students to understand that when a company makes money-losing investments, the cost falls upon all of society. Investment capital represents our limited stock of national savings, and when companies spend it badly, our future well-being is compromised. Mr. Jensen made his presentation more than 15 years ago, and even then it seemed obvious that the right strategy for GM would be to exit the car business, because many other companies made better vehicles at lower cost. . . .

Over the past decade, the capital destruction by GM has been breathtaking, on a greater scale than documented by Mr. Jensen for the 1980s. GM has invested $310 billion in its business between 1998 and 2007. The total depreciation of GM's physical plant during this period was $128 billion, meaning that a net $182 billion of society's capital has been pumped into GM over the past decade -- a waste of about $1.5 billion per month of national savings. The story at Ford has not been as adverse but is still disheartening, as Ford has invested $155 billion and consumed $8 billion net of depreciation since 1998.

As a society, we have very little to show for this $465 billion. . . . Yet one can only imagine how the $465 billion could have been used better -- for instance, GM and Ford could have closed their own facilities and acquired all of the shares of Honda, Toyota, Nissan and Volkswagen.

The implications of this story for Washington policy makers are obvious. Investing in the major auto companies today would be throwing good money after bad. Many are suggesting that $25 billion of public money be immediately injected into the auto business in order to buy time for an even larger bailout to be organized. We would do better to set this money on fire rather than using it to keep these dying firms on life support, setting them up for even more money-losing investments in the future.

The Failure Of Detroit


So what the hell happened here? We have eliminated the fact that we can't build great cars; we've eliminated the fact that we don't have capable auto workers and we've eliminated the fact that we can't compete and win against the very best in the game. I ask you, what happened here?

The common thread of failure seems to be traced back to two root causes; management and labor. You should know that I am not a union guy. I always figured that unions have long since outlived their usefulness and, in these days, any company who gets a union deserves it. Forget the advocacy stuff, they are money makers. Despite this fact, I am not going to lay all this at the feet of the unions. Last time I checked, every labor contract had spaces for two signatures; labor and management.

Now on to management: you folks flat missed it. If you took the time to slip away from the perches in your garish, ivory towers, you would have seen that the huge grab of market share by companies like Honda and Toyota did not happen accidentally. No, they came here and their initial offerings were pretty cheesy. I bet you had a lot of laughs about these attempts way back in the day. But, here's where the Japanese left you in the dust. They studied their consumers and listened to what they said they wanted. They streamlined production and took cost of the process. They understood the need to produce more fuel efficient cars and package them in such a way that people began to see them as well defined alternatives to the larger vehicles you folks were pumping out. They made the phrase "Made in Japan" a sought after logo. And each year, their products made percentage improvements over the preceding models. How their cars were evaluated in consumer oriented publications such as "Consumer Reports" meant something. Do any of you care that there have been a disproportionate number of American cars who seem to make the "10 worst cars" list time after time? Do you think we don't pay attention to this stuff?

And what about the unions; did you think that the day of reckoning would never come? Did you honestly believe that having a $75.00 all-in an hour auto worker slapping air dams on a Pontiac wasn't going to bite everyone in the behind some day? Didn't you understand that holding management hostage by requiring obsolete, inefficient plants to remain open to protect your folks' jobs was the beginning of the end?

And finally...did anyone believe that embedding several thousand dollars of fully paid health benefits in each and every car you build and assuming that, we as consumers, would gladly pay it while ignoring cheaper, faster, better foreign made alternatives would fly?

You guys deserve each other. The problem is that your avarice, short sightedness and arrogance have now put at risk the jobs of hundreds of thousands of your own employees and those of others whose jobs rely on your industry for their existence.

"Gay Marriage" Is Just A Means

eHarmony forced by Leviathan to hook up homosexuals.

Mark Shea:

Tolerance is Not Enough. You. *MUST*. Approve.

Gay marriage is about using the law to extirpate from the public square and punish those who disapprove of homosexual practice. Period. That's the goal. That's what it is all about. It is a movement profoundly hostile to freedom of conscience and cannot rest until any person who says that homosexual practice is a sin faces draconian penalties, the churches are silenced or crushed by the state, and every trace of unacceptable thought is eradicated from public discourse.

Prop 8 News


Recall specter hangs over high court as it considers Prop. 8 challenges

Backers of the measure banning gay marriage have said they will target justices who vote to overturn it. Legal scholars say the court has no clear path to tossing out Prop. 8.

By Maura Dolan
November 19, 2008

Reporting from San Francisco -- Six months ago, California's highest court discarded its reputation for caution and ended the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

Now the moderately conservative state Supreme Court is being asked to take an even riskier step -- to overturn the November voter initiative that reinstated the gay-marriage ban and possibly provoke a voter revolt that could eject one or more of the justices from the bench.

The court is under intense pressure from all sides. Its first response to the challenges may come today, when the justices meet privately in a weekly conference to decide which cases to accept for review.

Legal scholars say case law does not give the court a clear path for overturning the voter-approved measure. The state high court -- six Republicans and one moderate Democrat -- generally defers to the will of the people. Only twice has the court rejected initiatives on the legal grounds cited by opponents of Proposition 8.

Despite the uncertainties, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has said publicly that he expects and hopes that the state high court will reject Proposition 8.

Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown, whose office must defend it, opposed the measure, and 44 legislators have called on the court to overturn it.

Civil rights groups, churches and local governments have filed six lawsuits asking the court to declare the measure an illegal constitutional revision. Letters also have poured into the court pleading for urgent action, and anti-Proposition 8 rallies have attracted large crowds statewide.

At the same time, opponents of gay marriage have warned that they will work to oust any justice who votes against Proposition 8, a threat particularly palpable in a year when voters in other states have booted six state high court justices after campaigns by special interest groups.

"It is a time of lots of crocodiles in the bathtub," said Santa Clara University law professor Gerald Uelmen, who has followed the court for decades. "Their oath requires them to ignore these kinds of political threats. But the threat of having to face a contested election is a significant one."

Uelmen was using a metaphor coined by the late California Supreme Court Justice Otto Kaus, a Democrat who served on the court with Chief Justice Rose Bird before voters removed her and two justices over their opposition to the death penalty.

Kaus later said that as hard as he tried to decide cases impartially, he was never sure whether the threat of a recall election was influencing his votes.

"It was like finding a crocodile in your bathtub when you go to shave in the morning," Kaus said. "You know it's there, and you try not to think about it, but it's hard to think about much else while you're shaving."

The current court has resisted outside pressure. Despite threats of a recall, four justices in 1997 voted to overturn a state law that required parental consent for teenagers to obtain abortions. The ruling prompted a campaign to unseat Chief Justice Ronald M. George and Associate Justice Ming W. Chin. Both were forced to raise money and mount campaigns but survived handily.

The official Proposition 8 campaign has discouraged supporters from threatening a recall while the court is considering lawsuits to overturn the measure.

"We think the discussion of a recall at this point is premature and not helpful to the current situation," said Andrew Pugno, a lawyer for the campaign. "The court should have a chance to do the right thing."

But if the court voted to overturn Proposition 8, "no one would be able to stop" a recall, he said.

With the state and backers of Proposition 8 joining opponents in asking for immediate review, the court will find it difficult to dismiss the suits without a hearing or without referring them to lower courts. A decision to review the cases, however, would not necessarily mean that the court was in favor of the challenges.

The issue before the court is technical: whether Proposition 8 amounted to a sweeping revision of the state Constitution, which can be put on the ballot only by a two-thirds vote of the Legislature or a constitutional convention, or whether it was a more limited amendment, as its backers contended. Proposition 8 reached the ballot after a petition drive.

The court has defined a revision as a change in the fundamental structure or foundational power of state government or one that makes "far-reaching changes in the nature of our basic governmental plan."

Courts in Oregon and Alaska have rejected revision arguments in upholding anti-gay-marriage amendments, and the California Supreme Court has dismissed them in at least six challenges of initiatives, including measures that reinstated the death penalty, changed tax law (Proposition 13) and imposed term limits.

In 1948, the court overturned an initiative as an illegal revision because it made a wide array of changes in the state Constitution. And in 1990, the court struck down another initiative that would have required the courts to apply federal law when determining the rights of criminal defendants.

Opponents of Proposition 8 contend that the measure is a constitutional revision because it prohibits California courts from exercising their core duties to protect the rights of a minority and eviscerates equal protection for a constitutionally protected class of people.

If Proposition 8 is upheld, "California courts would be rendered powerless to enforce the guarantee of equal protection for a historically stigmatized and disadvantaged minority," said one of the lawsuits, brought by the National Center for Lesbian Rights and other groups.

Some of the petitioners have urged the court to consider a hypothetical constitutional amendment that reinstated a ban on interracial marriage. The state high court struck down such a ban on federal grounds in 1948 and today's court cited it in overturning the first gay-marriage ban in May.

But Proposition 8's Pugno said voters could indeed resurrect a ban on mixed-race marriages if the issue had been decided purely on state constitutional grounds.

The revision challenge "is a very creative argument, but it really demonstrates they don't have anything left to challenge this," Pugno said. "It's really a long shot. Case after case has challenged what voters have done and the court time after time has upheld the people's power."

He contended that gay rights lawyers resorted to the revision argument because they wanted to keep the cases out of federal court. If the lawsuits had cited federal constitutional grounds for overturning Proposition 8, they could eventually have reached the U.S. Supreme Court.

Gay rights lawyers, fearful that a high court defeat on same-sex marriage would set the movement back decades, have urged supporters to stay out of federal court.

Some legal scholars also have expressed doubt that the California Supreme Court would rule in favor of the challengers, but 19 law professors, including Harvard's Laurence Tribe, a constitutional scholar, have urged the court to strike down the measure as an illegal revision.

In deciding whether to review the lawsuits, the California Supreme Court also could take up the question of the validity of same-sex marriages entered into before the election.

Whatever the court decides, its historic May marriage decision will continue to be influential. It elevated sexual orientation to the constitutional status of race and gender, a ruling that voters did not overturn.

"I don't believe this is a court that is going to give in to political pressure either way," said Hastings law professor Donna Ryu, who wrote the law professors' letter to the court. "I believe they will exercise their duty as the highest judicial officers of the state."

It's pretty damned clear. Prop 8 is not a revision.

Stocks For The Long Run

The DJIA first hit today's closing level (7997) 11 years ago.

Do you remember the buzz about stocks in mid-1997? Stocks were the thing, with assured gains of 20% per year! If that had panned out, the DOW would now be at 59,000. Thankfully, we were smart enough to not regard anything else as a "sure thing" after the stock bubble burst!

Someone Too Big For His Britches Is Interfering With Our Politics

Kathleen Parker is at it again, and The Anchoress is having none of it.

I'm glad Parker was magnanimous enough to point out that "Belief in something greater than oneself has much to recommend it..." Yup. Belief in God can be a tasty little cherry on top of the sundae. And isn't the sundae really what it's all about?

After all, what does it profit a man to gain his whole soul but to lose the world?

Can't We All Just Get Along?


A press release from Reporters Without Borders shows just how mindless journalism can be:

Reporters Without Borders is "shocked and angry" about a violent assault on opposition journalist Mikhail Beketov, the editor of a newspaper based in Khimki, a town on the northwestern outskirts of Moscow. He has been in a critical condition ever since the attack on 13 November.

"Beketov has lost a leg and is still in a coma, but that is not all--threatening calls were also made to the hospital where he was taken," Reporters Without Borders said. "Violence against journalists continues to be very much in the news in Russia, what with the start today of the trial of four people accused of the 2006 murder of Novaya Gazeta reporter Anna Politkovskaya."

The press freedom organisation added: "It is impossible not to get angry when you think about these murders that too often remain unpunished. Only last August, the owner of an Ingush news website, Magomed Yevloyev, was shot dead just after being arrested. This cycle of violence must stop."

An actual cycle of violence consists in one side committing violent acts against the other, the other side committing violent acts in retaliation, the first side retaliating violently for those acts, and so on. It has become a journalistic cliché, used to blur the distinction between illegitimate and legitimate violence--for example, to suggest a moral equivalency between terrorists and states that use force to defend civilians from terrorist attack.

In Russia, the "cycle" goes something like this: Official acts corruptly. Reporter reports it. Official has reporter killed. The violence goes only one way. Even the most tendentious journalist could not possibly see a moral equivalence between the two sides--if he bothered to think about it for a moment.

Good Question

Is it too late to become a French socialist?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Fun In Chemistry Class

Rachel Lucas

A lot of problems would be solved in this world if people would learn how to INCREASE THE CONCENTRATION.

Behind The Kool-Aid

Neo-neocon has a reflection on the 30th anniversary of the Jonestown tragedy.

They Learned Everything They Were Taught

Good job by the MSM!

See also the Fox News appearance here.



Equal Protection doesn't require the creation of SSM. Equal Protection requires the government to be colorblind. In the present context, it requires government to be blind to a person's sexual preference. Thus, it would be unconstitutional to pass a law prohibiting a gay man from marrying a woman (call it the "Cole Porter Act"). However, if you're asking the state to create SSM, you're not simply asking the government to be sexual-preference-blind. Instead, you're saying that the government is constitutionally obligated to change the definition of marriage so that it's simply an agreement of any two people, regardless of sex or sexual preference, to form a binding social union. And if such an institution is constitutionally required for any two people, what would be the constitutional argument for not allowing more than two people to enter into such unions? "That's not what a 'marriage' has traditionally been"?

Perhaps society will choose to re-order itself so that groups of all sizes, sexes, and sexual preferences can form "marriages." To argue that such re-ordering is required in order to comport with Equal Protection is insane.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Those On The 'Anti-Morality' Side Can Do Whatever They Want

Turn the tables to see the double standard. Everyone should be judged by the harsher standard by which the hypothetical Christian crazies would be judged:

Can you imagine what would happen if a gang of angry male Christian activists started shouting down and shoving around some nice old lesbian during a religious rally right after ripping her rainbow pride flag from her hands and waffle stomping it?

How much television coverage do you think that spat of stupidity would spawn? What kind of outrage do you think the gays would gin up over such an inexcusable and pathetic act?

I’ll tell you what would happen: We would see an irate Elton John hold a special Candle in the Wind concert on the old lesbian’s behalf, Lance Bass would host a telethon, Ellen would weep, Brad and Angelina would adopt another baby and Rosie would shave the right side of her head again and again until justice was served and those chunks of corn were convicted and sent to prison.

You and I both know we’d never hear the end of it, and you know what? We shouldn’t because that kind stupid, out-of-whack bullying is bull.

What about this scenario?

Say some dyed-in-the-wool, belligerent backwoods snake handlers sporting crosses, vicious anti-gay fliers and blarin’ Dueling Banjos on a boom box infiltrated a gay soiree, disrupted the event, disbursed their literature into the crowd, performed some hetero sex acts and then threatened those in attendance? Do you think the gay bloggers would blog it and the MSM report on it and both sectors call for the rednecks’ necks?

Fo’ shizzle my nizzle they would.

Indulge me one more scenario: Would it be cool if a conservative Christian talk show host called for the death of some gay dude named Joe who simply campaigned for a month for president elect Barack Obama? Would that be cool? You and I both know the answer to that question would be “H” to the no—it would not be cool. That guy would be Imus’ed so fast his head would spin. His days of talk radio would be over.

The above three supposed scenes would be publically condemned, the perps would be captured, convicted and imprisoned, their names would become proverbs for our populace, and the nation would be put on notice that if Christians take their disagreements with homosexuality to belligerent, disruptive and life-threatening levels that their butts will be imprisoned.

It seems as of late, however, that gays can do the above junk to Christians and get a pass...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

He Hasn't Been In Office A Single Minute, But Now, Every Day, In Every Way, Things Are Getting Better And Better

Good news! Bombs have just killed 31 in Iraq!

Really, it's good news!

The New Obama Rules

Given the MSM’s track record as one arm of the Democrat national Committee and the official cheering section of the Obama campaign, it’s little wonder that now that “The One” has been elected bad news is good news.

Exhibit A is the headline that accompanied a recent bombing in Iraq that killed scores of people. Since the US invasion of Iraq, the Obamamedia have used violence as a metric of how badly things were going.

But now that Bush is on the way out and Obama is on the way in:

Iraq bombings show progress, challenges

It's a measure of progress that today's blasts, which killed at least 31 people in Baghdad and more elsewhere, according to the Associated Press, represented the worst day of violence since June.

Yes, believe it or not, bomb blast show how wonderful that world is now that Obama has been elected.

This is lick spittle reporting at it's finest. You can’t make this stuff up folks.

If you thought that the media would try to reclaim the mantle of objectivity, you are fooling yourself. Obama has done no wrong in the past and will do no wrong in the future.

Condensed Schtick


Wednesday, November 12, 2008


From here:

Vanhattan: The California Supreme Court addressed your argument directly. Calling this argument "Sophistic" because such a choice negates the persons sexual orientation.

This seems to me like arguing that equal protection requires the definition of "arms" in the Second Amendment to be understood as including protest signs, because otherwise pacifists would have little use for the "right to keep and bear arms." Equal protection doesn't mean that all rights have to interest all groups equally. The fact that some people have no interest in the relationship described by the traditional definition of marriage doesn't mean that that definition is unconstitutional.

Yes. It would be interesting, wouldn't it, if pacifists and anti-gun folks took to the streets shouting, "But what does the 2nd Amendment do for me? It lets people who like guns have guns, but what do I get? They get something, but I don't! My equal protection rights have been violated. It's not fair!!!"

Almost Every 'Outrage' Of The Last 8 Years Was A Manufactured Delusion

It amazes me that people insist in living in a false, make-believe world, all out of spite. They have missed the true history of almost an entire decade of their lives. And for what?

American Thinker has this to say:

Heartfelt congratulations on a truly historic election to all my Democrat friends and family members. Having endured what you believe were 8 excruciating years of poverty and devastation, I know that those of you who voted for Obama must all be relieved.

I have also endured the last 8 years, but my experience is notably different from yours. And I think in looking ahead to the future, we must look to the past for lessons learned and take responsibility that those lessons won't be repeated.

From the minute George Bush was elected, the Democrats began their next campaign -- and it was a brilliant one -- to tarnish the Republican brand. With the exception of a short blip during 9-11, when politicians and their constituents had no choice but to put politics aside, Bush met with nightly assaults in the media on everything he said and did. First, there were the periodicals and the networks; then, the nightly talk and comedy shows; then books and movies; and finally, supposed parodies like "L'il Bush." It was an endless onslaught defaming the brand and, it's true, you know, if you say it enough, they will believe it.

Most of us have endured your parties with your relentless scathing and often unsubstantiated claims about Bush and his policies, his lies and distortions, his nefarious character and Machiavellian desires; the constant barrage of ridicule of all things Bush and all things conservative; the distortion and manipulation of incidences...all to prop up your own brand, whether wittingly or unwittingly. I say "unwittingly" because many of you fail to recognize the role you played in this daily onslaught against the President, in particular, and the havoc it wreaked on this country, in general.

Many times I tried to engage you in conversation, as many of my like-minded friends have done, only to be met with scorn, ridicule, all too often ignorance and almost always the brush off. People talk a good game about robust debate, but they have shown they don't live up to it.


And, in the course of this, you closed your minds and mouths to discussion, open and robust. You had a complicit media, feeding you only the information it wanted you to have and that you wanted to hear. I'd like to think, as opposed as I am to everything Obama stands for, I will at least expose myself to the other side. Well, I know I will because I always have and frankly, you cannot live in America without being exposed to the main stream media. But it saddens me that the electorate is not exposed to a balanced media unless individuals proactively seek it, something I've notice few of you do. And, when some of you do take a glimpse into the alternative press, you often start asking questions and reading and pondering and you begin to see what we all see so clearly. I am always in awe of those who do; for it takes great courage to break out of one's somnambulism. And now you seek to shut that down with the Fairness Doctrine. What are you afraid of?

"If You Love America, You Throw Money In Its Hole"

It's funny 'cuz it's true.

The Change Is, In Fact, A Change, And Is A Privilege Rather Than A Right


If gay marriage advocates are serious about securing state recognition of same-sex marriage, they need show respect for and take issue with serious arguments against their cause. The angry rants of all too many activists notwithstanding, many opponents of gay marriage ground their opposition not in bigotry but in their understanding of the meaning of the institution.

They see it, as it has been defined for millennia, a union of individuals of different genders. I know I’ve said this before, but it bears repetition: those pushing for change need understand that that’s what they’re doing — pushing for change.

And considering how so many of them warmed to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign with just that slogan, “Change,” they should welcome a campaign for change. They trying to change the type of relationships states privilege by calling them marriages.

Note the verb I use in that last sentence, “privilege” because that’s what states do when they call a particular kind of union, “marriage,” they privilege it. I’ve been saying that for years.


As I’ve said repeatedly on this blog, it’s time gay activists acknowledge reality and change their rhetoric and strategy accordingly.

The passage of Proposition 8 should serve as a wake-up call that these advocates need show respect for their adversaries. Given that marriage has always been defined by sexual difference, they need recognize that they are pushing for social change. Not just that. In asking for states to recognize this expanded definition of marriage, they are asking governments to confer privileged status upon our unions, not protect some long-extant right that Californians just voted to usurp.

There is the continued idea that voters in CA have just stripped a class of people of their rights. The fact is, the legitimate right to SSM has never existed in CA. The CA Supreme Court made a major error in erroneously finding this right in the Constitution, and the spurious opinion has just, as a simple matter of duty, been voided by the voters. Moreover, at the time all of these erroneous "marriages" occurred, the participants knew full well that the question was still in the process of being decided. These folks should not be mad at the voters, but they should be furious at the courts for their judicial incompetence.

Some comments from a previous GayPatriot post:

“Instead of throwing public temper tantrums, those who are serious about gay marriage should be holding private (or semi-public) meetings to figure out why why Proposition 8 passed and what can be done to defeat similar initiatives in the future.”

Isn’t this sort of part of the problem? Why aren’t SSM supporters holding meetings to figure out how to *win* an amendment-in-favor-of-SSM campaign, rather than thinking only about how not to *lose* an amendment-against-SSM campaign? Is it because they fear that their issue *cannot* win via legitimate means, without the use of judicial diktat? In my opinion, they’d be far better served by dropping the judicial route and making the affirmative case, as you’ve argued in your post. A win via legitimate means will gain them respect. A ramming-it-down-our-throats via judicial coup will gain them precisely the opposite.


Bravo! Well said. I remember reading a gay advice columnist tell his readers that “Don’t worry, with gay marriage, we don’t have to give up having multiple partners. We don’t have to be monogamous as it’s defined by heterosexuals.” This is an example of someone who doesn’t “get” marriage, and that example is powerful. It doesn’t surprise me that the straight community is reluctant to embrace same-sex marriage. They fear gays will make a mockery of the institution of marriage. The gay community has a lot of work to do to counter that impression.


I think voters would have been more receptive if the gay rights movement had brought up a gay marriage proposal to the people.

As such, a vote for Prop 8 was a vote to reflect reality, a vote for the Constitution and against activist judges. It makes me very angry that the anti-gay marriage movement had to use all of this energy to pass a iniatitve that is already clearly in the Constitution. Very, very angry. I don’t ever see the gay movement ever getting my vote unless they publicly declare their respect for the people and the Constiuton while at the same time strongly condemning the judges who perverted the Constitution.


I agree that a change of attitude is required.

I’d like to see gay leaders who pressed hard for the litigation that led judges in California to rewrite the California Constitution to step forward and acknowledge that they were wrong. I’d like to see them state that this effort to sidestep the need for a political movement seeking public support was in error. That, in pursuit of new rights, they’re going to launch a new proposition initiative for the next general election, in 2010, and spend the next two years trying to persuade the people to support the establishment of a new right through the democratic process.

I would support such an initiative. However, I admit that I voted for Prop 8. I am sick and tired of judges creating rights out of whole cloth, because of the “need” to get out in front of the democratic process. The supportfor Prop 8 should not be seen exclusively through the prism of “anti-gay”. It was (I believe largely) anti-judicial activism.

Although I’m not convinced the civil rights banner is the right one for gay marriage, I note that judicial fiat is not how we ended slavery, established national due process and equal rights under the law, secured women the right to vote, or ended Jim Crow. It was constitutional amendment and legislation.


Much of the resisitance to SSM comes as the result of the judicial imposition of a new definition of marriage . . . the “discovery” of this “right” within long standing constitutional language when it is clear that no such “right” can be legitimately read into the document.


I think your spot on. If the no on 8 people ran positive ads about why they wanted it rather than ads saying people who disagreed were denying them ‘rights’ (re: they’re bad)… it might have gone differently.


f I may make a suggestion (from deep within the heart of Utah)…

It would be extremely valuable to the gay movement to band together around a “don’t teach sexuality in schools” mantra. Most LDS members (aka Mormons) that I know send their kids to public schools and are scared out of their minds that the morality they teach their children at home will be underminded by the public schools if gay marriage becomes the law of the land. I’ve never seen that fear addressed with any level of sympathy for what it is like to raise a child within a religious context.

If the gay community could make a good-faith effort to assuage this fear and communicate to religious conservatives that they don’t want to force their views on their children, I think progress on the issue would be made much quicker. I don’t know how to do that… perhaps a state constitutional amendment that allows gay marriage but forbids the teaching of sexual morality in schools?


Matthias said:

“If the gay community could make a good-faith effort to assuage this fear and communicate to religious conservatives that they don’t want to force their views on their children, I think progress on the issue would be made much quicker.”

True. If it could be guaranteed that SSM would not be used as a weapon for indoctrinating children and harassing churches, then more poeple would be for it. However, I have never heard SSM advocates call for such restrictions. Which can only make me suspect that they *do*, in fact want to use SSM as such a weapon. Based on recent observed behaviors (and as Scott mentioned, the past legal harassment of the Boy Scouts), I suspect that there is a radical and vocal minority driving SSM *precisely* in order to use it as such a weapon.

If that is not their intention, then they need to try one *hell* of a lot harder to make it crystal clear. Their ongoing silence about these concerns is speaking rather loudly at this point.

Do Not Taunt Happy Fun Ball

I'd hate to witness these things in action. H/T Ace Of Spades.

Camille Paglia

Riveting as always. The column talks about Ayers and Dohrn and also has this to say about Palin:

Given that Obama had served on a Chicago board with Ayers and approved funding of a leftist educational project sponsored by Ayers, one might think that the unrepentant Ayers-Dohrn couple might be of some interest to the national media. But no, reporters have been too busy playing mini-badminton with every random spitball about Sarah Palin, who has been subjected to an atrocious and at times delusional level of defamation merely because she has the temerity to hold pro-life views.

How dare Palin not embrace abortion as the ultimate civilized ideal of modern culture? How tacky that she speaks in a vivacious regional accent indistinguishable from that of Western Canada! How risible that she graduated from the State University of Idaho and not one of those plush, pampered commodes of received opinion whose graduates, in their rush to believe the worst about her, have demonstrated that, when it comes to sifting evidence, they don't know their asses from their elbows.

Liberal Democrats are going to wake up from their sadomasochistic, anti-Palin orgy with a very big hangover. The evil genie released during this sorry episode will not so easily go back into its bottle. A shocking level of irrational emotionalism and at times infantile rage was exposed at the heart of current Democratic ideology -- contradicting Democratic core principles of compassion, tolerance and independent thought. One would have to look back to the Eisenhower 1950s for parallels to this grotesque lock-step parade of bourgeois provincialism, shallow groupthink and blind prejudice.

I like Sarah Palin, and I've heartily enjoyed her arrival on the national stage. As a career classroom teacher, I can see how smart she is -- and quite frankly, I think the people who don't see it are the stupid ones, wrapped in the fuzzy mummy-gauze of their own worn-out partisan dogma. So she doesn't speak the King's English -- big whoop! There is a powerful clarity of consciousness in her eyes. She uses language with the jumps, breaks and rippling momentum of a be-bop saxophonist. I stand on what I said (as a staunch pro-choice advocate) in my last two columns -- that Palin as a pro-life wife, mother and ambitious professional represents the next big shift in feminism. Pro-life women will save feminism by expanding it, particularly into the more traditional Third World.

As for the Democrats who sneered and howled that Palin was unprepared to be a vice-presidential nominee -- what navel-gazing hypocrisy! What protests were raised in the party or mainstream media when John Edwards, with vastly less political experience than Palin, got John Kerry's nod for veep four years ago? And Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, for whom I lobbied to be Obama's pick and who was on everyone's short list for months, has a record indistinguishable from Palin's. Whatever knowledge deficit Palin has about the federal bureaucracy or international affairs (outside the normal purview of governors) will hopefully be remedied during the next eight years of the Obama presidencies.

The U.S. Senate as a career option? What a claustrophobic, nitpicking comedown for an energetic Alaskan -- nothing but droning committees and incestuous back-scratching. No, Sarah Palin should stick to her governorship and just hit the rubber-chicken circuit, as Richard Nixon did in his long haul back from political limbo following his California gubernatorial defeat in 1962. Step by step, the mainstream media will come around, wipe its own mud out of its eyes, and see Palin for the populist phenomenon that she is.

They Told Me That If Someone Comes Out And Expresses Transgressive Sexuality, They'll Be Hounded Out Of Their Job, And They Were Right!

Thrown out of his job all because he has a wicked psychosexual disorder.

Tax Slavery Kind Of Is A Disincentive

At least for those enslaved.


CALIFORNIA'S BALLOONING DEFICIT: "California's budget deficit will grow to $28 billion through June 2010 unless lawmakers take bold action, possibly including a hike in the state income tax, the Legislature's nonpartisan analyst said Tuesday." Wow. Bold.

UPDATE: Reader Kartik Gada writes:

In the article on CA's deficit, there are several ideas that the lawmakers propose, except one : cutting spending to the extent of reducing staff.

CA's top state tax rate is already 9.3%. If the Federal Rate rises to 39.6% under Obama, and the CA State Tax rises to, say, 12%, with Medicare Tax an additional 2.9%, the marginal tax rate on small-businesses is a total of almost 55%.

How many people will still bother to start new ventures in Silicon Valley, at that point? How many will take the risk of joining the few that start up? People usually join a start-up in the hopes of a one-time pop of, say $2 million after a few years of work. If 55% of that is taxed, is it worth it?

Furthermore, why toil in pursuit of X-Prizes if the X-Prize winnings will themselves be taxed at 55%?

Yes, I think there'll be more migration to Arizona, Nevada, and Idaho, among other places. Which, of course, will spur further tax increases, since public-employee benefits, welfare programs, etc., must never be reduced.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Michael Grant writes: "This 'one-time pop' is typically a long-term capital gain, and not wage income. Thus it will not be taxed at the 55% level." That makes sense, though I don't know anything about California state taxes. Still, that'll probably go up too.

MORE: Multiple readers write that Grant is wrong. Reader Ken Nelson explains: "Most of the 'pops' are stock options. You convert the option, sell the stock, own it about 1 second, to be treated as cap gain. Stock options profits are taxed as ordinary income. 55%. Thanks for taking the risk."

I'm glad Michael Grant was corrected. Ken Nelson is absolutely right.

The really cool thing is that in the midst of all this the voters of California just voted for a $10B starter payment for an SF-to-LA bullet train! Wisdom!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

One Granny With A Cross Against A Howling Mob Equals "A Lot Of Hate On Both Sides"

If this is how they act when they don't have the law on their side, how will they act when they do?

Coming To A Church Near You

Funny how they look like Muslim terrorists.

Probably not much of a coincidence in the grand scheme. If politicized GLBT identity is a rebellion against The Man in this country, then Sharia would be the ultimate rebellion. And rebellion is the whole point with some people.

Well-Earned Irony


Hence, the irony. The Republican candidate most friendly with the media faces, when nominated, the most biased media in a generation.

Perhaps, the problem John McCain had getting his message out was that in the past, the media had always done it for him.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Religious Idiots. They Don't Notice All The Cruelty In A World A Good God Would Never Have Created.

Mark Shea:

Wesley Smith writes about I-1000 and the euthanasia movement.

One of the stupider things the New Atheists and secularists behind stuff like euthanasia movement often do is talk as though they just discovered suffering and pain. They babble that the creation account in Genesis is the work of children who fancy that the world is a pink and white nursery in which a good God sees to it that nothing painful occurs, but now we older and wiser moderns have discovered things like the Holocaust and other horrors and so God is thereby proven not to exist. We are on our own and the best we can do is pull the plug to prevent pain from happening.

It occurred to me over the weekend how daringly revolutionary and rebellious the ancient Jews were against such bullshit. They lived in a world not one whit less difficult than our own. It was, recall, a world without anesthetics. It was a world in which cruelty, accident, natural disaster, war, famine, plague and poverty were even more up close and personal than anything we plump Washington suburbanites experience. They temptation to them, as to us, was to give in to despair and regard the world as a torture chamber with a few pleasures to be snatched at before checking out. Most of their neighbors did exactly this and it is expressed in the monstrous religious traditions they developed to express this fundamentally despairing view of the cosmos. It was a cosmos ruled by monstrous gods who might be placated if you did something utterly disgusting like throw you baby in the fire. It was a cosmos in which the most you could hope for was the chance to throw yourself on your sword rather than be made sport of by your enemies.

In all this, the Jew rebelliously say, "It is very good!" They assert a sort of counter-rebellion against the prince of this world and declare that as bad as it seems, the world--indeed even the creatures worshiped as gods by their enemies--is good. It's an expression of a sort of ontological courage that requires the help of grace to pull off, since it's so far beyond anything presented to us by our senses.

Euthanasia is a kind of cowardice and treason to the flag of the world. "It is good" is the truth of things--confirmed to us at long last by the Resurrection.

Just Sayin'

If you call me a "homophobe", then aren't you, in effect, diagnosing me as having some sort of psychosexual abnormality? But I thought that the whole idea of saying that someone has a psychosexual abnormality was off limits!

Therefore, doesn't using the term "homophobe" saw off the very branch you are sitting on?

Update--I'll leave the original wording above, since I've already received some comments. However, I've come up with an alternate way of expressing the idea:

If you accuse me of being a "homophobe", then you are judging me (and calling upon others to judge me) for having a wicked psychosexual abnormality. I had been given to understand that you were against that sort of thing.

Corollary: If judicial tyrants void Prop 8 (ruling, in essence, that some voters do not have the right to amend the constitution), then a whole group of voters has had its civil rights denied, because of its "homophobia". Thereby setting the judicial precedent that it is, in fact, okay, to deny civil rights to a group due to its having a wicked psychosexual abnormality. This is not a precedent that I'd want to set if I were on the other side. As it currently stands, no one has yet had their "equal protection" civil rights denied (since homosexuals have an equal right to marry the opposite sex as anyone else, and the right to marry the same sex is denied to all equally). But if Prop 8 is overturned due to judicial overreach then the precedent will have been set.

More Good Comments


In order for the court to overturn Prop 8, they would have to hold that the citizens of CA have no right to amend their state constitution. The argument that the constitution can't be amended to contradict itself holds no water, because if that were TRUE, the US constitution could not have been amended to repeal prohibition or allow blacks and women to vote. It cuts both ways.


First off, I'm not a CA resident and have no dog in the hunt. However, if I were in CA I would have voted "yes on 8."

Second, people did vote their conscience. To assume they did otherwise is unfair. To assume they voted in fear is also unfair. There are a lot of people opposed to gay marriage for whom it is a deeply moral and spiritual issue. Their consciences will not allow them to see gay marriage as OK. That is not bigotry, imho. It is not phobic, imho. It is just a simple difference of opinion on what is and is not the true definition of marriage.


1) In order for the court to overturn Prop 8, they would have to hold that the citizens of CA have no right to amend their state constitution.

Not quite. The argument is that citizens can unilaterally "amend" the Constitution but not "revise" it, and that gay marriage is such a fundamental part of the California Constitution that anything getting rid of an institution that has only existed for half a year constitutes a "revision." I don't put it past Bi-Curious George to buy that argument, but I doubt any of the other Justices will.

The argument that the constitution can't be amended to contradict itself holds no water, because if that were TRUE, the US constitution could not have been amended to repeal prohibition or allow blacks and women to vote. It cuts both ways.

True, and I'd go one better: show me a constitutional amendment that doesn't contradict the Consitution as it existed prior to the amendment, and I'll show you an illusory "amendment" that didn't amend anything at all.

Legally married gay couples who wed between May and 11/5 are still considered married, according to state Atty. General Brown.

That would be Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown. Take his opinion for what it's worth, which is not much.

Prop 8 carries neither a begin date nor an ex post facto clause, so it went into effect as soon as it was declared passed, and changes the system only going forward. So these people have no standing to sue under equal protection, since they are still legally married.

Nah. Prop 8 contains no grandfather clause. It doesn't say "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California, unless it was solemnized before November 4, 2008." It says "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California," full stop. It doesn't matter if a marriage was solemnized in a state where gay marriage was legal then or is legal now. Gay marriages are not valid or recognized in California. No exceptions.


Dropping the term 'homophobia' in most discussion would be a start. There are a *lot* of people a) feel its not the govt's business what other people do in their bedrooms, b)don't wish gay people any ill,c)are willing to support civil unions of some sort but d) think it is 'wrong' or at least 'abnormal'-- for which latter position non-religious arguments can be made, e)don't buy the blanket form of the 'just made that way' argument (and think legal gay marriage would fully enable indoctrination by the public school on the issue), f) don't want a foundation of all societies, far back into prehistory, redefined so gay people can, by court order/fiat, be granted a sign of approval for their way of life by people who don't feel that way, and whom they failed to persuade.

Sorry, but gay is not the same thing as 'black', even in objective terms of evolution.

One particular gene gives immunity from malaria -- two copies of the same gene causes sickle cell anemia. The latter is collateral damage of the former -- and for the affected *individual* it is certainly not fine and dandy even if it is 'natural'. We can recognize the dysfunction of it w/o making any moral claim about the person. Another example -- some people are born blind -- do we feel the need to give them driver's licenses in the name of fairness? Or to redefine what a drivers license is so we could adopt the pretense that sighted and blind 'drivers' are the same?
Surely what might be termed 'behavioral sterility', precisely if it is involuntary, might be arguably considered a dysfunction and not within healthy variation?

People can have sincere, thoughtful arguments and disagreements without slurring the one side as 'homophobic' -- that paints their views and irrational hysteria and therefore not worth considering or engaging.

Big counter-productive mistake.


To keep referring to those who voted for Prop. 8 as homophobic is neither constructive nor accurate and makes about as much sense as saying those who voted against Obama are racists.

Gay marriage is not viewed as a threat to traditional marriage. It is viewed as validating a lifestyle and a choice( see Anne Heche, Julie Cypher, et al) that a majority of people view as sinful.

Some More Prop 8 Comments


Taking it to the courts is what resulted in Proposition 8, and likely its passing as well. Americans don’t like having what they feel should be legislative issues decided in courts.

So you’ve lost any further court cases before you’ve begun. You can’t amend a state constitution with a state court. The best you can hope for is the Supreme Court ruling that demands all states conform, and I doubt the Supreme Court will be willing to touch it.

So barring that, you need to return to the legislative process, and thus, Andrew Sullivan is exactly correct. You have to persuade the people, not a judge, because a judge can’t do anything more for you.


Re: Brown v. Board of Education–there was this funny little thing called the 14th Amendment that happened well before Brown v. Board. The South, arguing that not only had the Amendment been shoved down their throat (that whole Reconstruction thing) but that their society required blacks and whites to be separate, took matters to court and won (Plessy v. Ferguson).

It was only after decades of quietly trying to persuade people as well as that little matter of fighting ably in a World War, desegregation of the military, the Cold War, and the Southerners absolutely crapping the bed on separate but equal that SCOTUS decided to “restore the rights of the minority.” Even then, Brown does not say what you think it says–but I’m not going to give a history class in the comment section.

So, to wrap this around to the Prop 8 situation–there is no Amendment in the California state constitution that the California SC can point to and say, “Nope, unconstitutional.” Indeed, if you start having the courts say, “The voters can’t amend the Constitution…” or that actually CA is ran by whichever 5 justices decide to vote on an issue, you’re probably going to end up doing a whole lot more harm than good. Notice that all the shamrocks and shenanigans of amending state constitutions didn’t start until the Mass. Supreme Court decided to make its ruling? Do you happen to remember what effect all those ballot initiatives had on the 2004 election as far as getting out the conservative vote? Now you’re wanting to, after the second more definitive rejection of gay marriage, have the California Supreme Court once again tell voters to go screw themselves? That, “Oh, we don’t like how the vote turned out, so now we’re going to basically say you shouldn’t have voted anyway”? Not a good plan, methinks, especially with regards to what it’s going to do for future voter turnout, secondary effects, rule of law.



Frankly I’m a fiscal conservative and I personally couldn’t give a rat’s a– about gay marriage...At least that is how I used to feel until gay marriage proponents went to the courts.

Here’s the deal. Any change in -laws- is irrelevant without a corresponding change in the -people and culture-. Why? Because a change in law forced by a court decision will only anger the people even more.

IMO you face the very real probability that doing this will end up having the state constitution, and possibly even the US Constitution, forcibly amended in an irreversible process.

*shrug* up to you folks. After all your tactics certainly have been so successful up to now.




Your battered wife comment, in addition to being hyperbolic, misses the point the rest of us are arguing. By going to the courts, you are doing the equivalent of pulling out a gun, shooting the bastard, and then expecting society to just accept your side of the story without question. While apparently this works in TN, in some places that would lead to the battered wife going to jail.

Quite frankly, if you can’t see the fact that giving the courts more power (i.e., allowing a handful of judges to overturn the will of millions) isn’t a shortcut to having the entire libertarian wing of this country turn against you, you’re lost. Yeah, it sucks. Trust me, as someone whose marriage greatly resembles the term miscegenation and whose grandparents can tell some wonderful stories of segregation, I understand why you may think that the courts are a panacea to the social ills. However, once again, how did that turn out for you in 2004? Do you think Arizona’s amendment didn’t suddenly grow a whole bunch of support in part because of what happened in CA (as well as the pro-side reframing the issue)?

So, yeah, rather than making crazy analogies to battered women and the civil rights movement as you go to court _again_, why not figure out ways to try and make people see that this has real human impact? Just a thought, but a little patience might ensure that not only you but thousands if not millions of homsexuals after you never have to fight this fight ever again.

Or, hey, keep shoving stuff down people’s throat via the legal system–then enjoy life in CT, MA, NJ, and maybe CA as your opponents shut the door in every other state in the union while they have the odds and examples of state supreme courts reversing the will of the people are fresh in others’ minds. Keep taking people’s kids to gay marriage ceremonies or trying to get things passed into school’s code of ethics–then acting surprised when parents pay you back in the voting booth. Let the mayor of San Francisco tell people things are going to happen whether they like it or not–then watch as they make sure the hill you have to climb to do so grows steeper and steeper.


As a practical matter, I do not believe the California Supreme Court will throw out this election or find ways of overturning the decision. The measure itself is a simple sentence with no wiggle room to reinterpret, and it is clearly a constitutional amendment (the argument that it’s a constitutional revision appears pretty weak to me). At least one of the justices who ruled in favor of gay marriage (in a 4-3 decision) will switch and support the validity of this vote.

If I’m wrong and the state Supreme Court does overturn it, there will be recalls initiated against those four justices. Many voters who were against Prop 8 would nevertheless be outraged that the Court was preventing the citizens from amending the constitution. The Court dares not be too blatant in substituting personal opinions for plausible legal interpretations. And the justices know that all too well; their jobs are on the line. They have the example of Rose Bird and two other justices who were recalled in 1986 over their categorical opposition to the death penalty (based purely on their personal philosophies).

What is much more likely to happen is a counter-initiative, targeted for the 2010 or 2012 general election, which would repeal Prop 8. And it will probably pass, since that’s clearly how public opinion is moving. In 2000, an identical legislative measure, consisting of the exact same sentence about marriage, was approved by 61% of the voters. Prop 8 received only 52% of the vote. Moreover, it laid down a precise blueprint for a future reversal.

The main argument by the Yes-on-8 side was that gay marriage would inevitably be taught in the schools if it remained legal. This was extremely effective, despite the No-on-8 attempts to pooh-pooh it. So now all a counter-measure needs to do is include language which strictly forbids the teaching or advocacy of gay marriage in public schools (at least without the explicit approval of parents). That will be sufficient to shift 2% of the vote.

Passing an initiative measure to allow gay marriage will be far more effective in the long run than relying on court rulings. Once such a measure is approved, much of the opposition will be eviscerated. After all, the majority will have spoken, and many people who oppose the idea will nonetheless acknowledge its legitimacy. Whereas if gay marriage is imposed by the courts, we’ll have another situation like the abortion controversy, which will fester for decades and contain the continuing threat that a realignment of justices could overturn the past decision.



In this case, yes, trying to overturn Prop 8 via the court system _is_ like using extrajudiciary measures. The court derives its authority from the CA constitution. If you say that it is unconstitutional to amend the constitution and, therefore, the will of five justices counts more than those of millions, than said justices are conducting a vigilante action with a thin veneer of authority.

Put a different way, the predominant reason for the courts’ existence is to adjudicate the rule of law. If the courts now say, “Well, you know, the rule of law says that the people get to change things as they see fit, but we don’t agree with that…” then the justices will have undercut the very document that their authority is based upon.

I’m glad that you feel a 14% cut is a victory–but I’d look at it as the SSM side just motivated the people of California to actually enshrine a definition of marriage in the constitution. Moreover, if the Supreme Court and the supporters of SSM had simply shown a little restraint and said, “Fine, let’s see what the people think before we start issuing licenses”, I strongly suspect that the measure would have failed spectacularly. However, since there was a rush to perform marriages followed by actions that basically amounted to taunting of the Prop 8 proponents…well, ye reap what you sow.

What you are apparently failing to understand is I am _not_ saying that you should just be good little victims, lie back, and take whatever happens. If that’s what you keep hearing–well, that imposed disability may be what’s harming your cause also. What I _am_ saying is that looking for another 5-4 decision that will inevitably be followed by a recall and reversal that will be tacitly approved by many who would otherwise be your allies isn’t exactly prudent. Nor is not immediately and ruthlessly suppressing those in your movement who are calling for attacks against blacks, Mormons, or Catholics. (Because nothing will screw you over faster than some idiot attacking some Catholic family with a Yes to Prop 8 sticker on their van and subsequently forcing some car crash that kills the mother or children.)

Instead, once more for the hearing impaired, I am saying that you need to actually look at the whole Civil Rights movement (not just the parts you like) and realize there were many things that set the ground work for Brown v. Board and allowed to make it stick. No one likes being told to wait…wait…wait, but only petulant children get the luxury of stomping their feet, screaming, and making life uncomfortable for everyone around them in order to get their way. In short, you have had a tactical defeat–but don’t let that lead to you deciding to try and seek the same kind of victory King Pyhrrus achieved.


Daniel Wiener, it would be quite surprising to me (refreshingly so) if any counter-proposition did contain a prohibition of teaching about so-called “gay marriage” in schools. An awful lot of us suspect that indoctrinating the normalization of homosexuality in schools and in society at large (via force of law as applied to churches, etc, regarding “illegal discrimination” and “hate speech”) is really the whole point of the agenda, with so-called “gay marriage” being the convenient vehicle. Although most people have ample tolerance for homosexuals and their lifestyle, and even compassion and affection for gay individuals, they absolutely do not look with enthusiasm at the prospect of “coerced approval”. Now, maybe I’m wrong about the real agenda. But these are the kind of concerns that are going to have to be answered.



Same sex marriage is simply not an underlying concept of the CA Constitution. Equal protection is, and the simple fact is that homosexuals are not banned by law from participating in the institution of one-man one-woman marriage. They do in fact, enjoy equal protection with respect to this institution. It really is that clearcut.

Now, since it is *your* side that wants to make fundamental changes to long established meanings and practices, and to create an unprecedented new institution that must be recognized under penalty of law by the citizenry, even going so far as to usurp the name of a different institution, isn’t it *your* side that should be seeking *not an amendment*, but a *revision* to the CA Constitution?


“Human rights are not the kind of thing that are subject to popular opinion, and our system of government is set up to prevent that as much as possible.”

The problem is that there is no consenus as to what consitutes human rights. Hell, I would like to have the “human right” to a million dollars and a fast car.

The HBLT community are essentially arguing that setting up a social institution that doesn’t cater to their sexual preferences is equivalent to taking away the vote from blacks.

The problem is that gays do get equal rights - gays don’t lose the right to vote, or any other right guaranteed all other members of society. Gays do have preferences that are not catered for by some social institutions (they want to marry members of the same sex, not members of the opposite sex). But society catering non-homogenously to a small minority preference group doesn’t mean society is denying that group their human rights.

Let’s for example say that I am a collector of Bolivian stamps. I have a hard time to see it is valid to claim that my “human rights are being violated” because the city decided to build a football stadium and institute a “footballer of the year” award instead of a Bolivian Stamp Center and a BSCoTY award.

And yes, that goes even if you care really deeply about your preferences, or if your preferences have a genetic component (newsflash: Most preferences have a genetic component).

Finally, making end runs around the most important social institutions, such as the ballot box, is a violation of basic social norms and the rights of others far more flagrant than not getting your way with regards to the defintion of marriage.


Good article with some eye-opening charts.

Sunday, November 09, 2008


This is good.

Nicely Stated

Link (from the comments):

Let me help you evaluate "what went wrong."

The voters of CA rejected gay marriage by 62%.

Our courts foisted it on us by a 4-3 margin, ignoring our deliberate, well thought out, and considered votes.

Immediately going for all the gusto, we saw gay marriage being pushed in the public schools, through textbooks, teachable moments, and such things as trips to lesbian teacher's weddings for kindergartners.

We heard in the news from other states about Catholic charities having to stop adoption services due to being unwilling to place kids with gay families, wedding photographers sued (and losing) for being unwilling to photograph gay weddings, and churches getting hassled for not loaning out their sanctuaries for gay weddings.

Then, Jerry Brown goofed around with the constitutional amendment we managed to get on the ballot, deliberately confusing the issue.

Then, we voted again.

We'd appreciate our vote being respected this time. When the courts forced gay marriage upon us, we didn't go marching in the streets.

How About We Also Make A Statue Of Him In Every City, In Order To Make It Easier For Us To Bow Before Him And Offer Him A Pinch Of Incense?

Idolatry. But it would give added meaning to the Holiday if the God still walks among us when it is instituted. We owe Him more than we ever did to Jesus. Jesus had to Do Stuff. Obama only has to Be.