May 2005 Archives

Lindsay Beyerstein (writer of Majikthese, subtitled "Analytical philosophy and liberal politics") has an excellent rejoinder to the "Snowflake" crowd from Bush's anti-stem-cell-research photo op last week. Here's the money quote from her suggestion:

"A reproductive draft is the only fair way to settle this. I don't care how many kids a lady fundamentalist has, or whether it's healthy for her to be pregnant, or what she might rather be doing with her uterus. If her number's up, it's up. No excuses. Jesus hates whiners."

Her sarcasm dovetails nicely with Paul Waldman's "Stop the Sperm Massacre!" from The Gadflyer.

Dubya stated today that "We should not use public money to support the further destruction of human life." Given his penchant for war-mongering, this would be an astonishing about-face – if such a comment from him could be even remotely honest. (The US military has suffered at least 1,644 casualties to date; the number of Iraqi dead is estimated in the six figures, including many civilian deaths.)

I am reminded of Eisenhower's wise statement that:

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children."

This sentiment – from a man who served honorably in the military, as opposed to strutting about in full Top Gun regalia on the deck of an aircraft carrier – should be as well-known as his "military-industrial complex" remarks. It is remarkable to see how far the GOP's standards have fallen in the past half-century, and how beholden they have become to the forces of oligarchy against which they once warned us.

After the depressing election-day backlash against marriage equality in several states, as seen in the Quote of the Day below, there are many encouraging signs from the first year of legally recognized same-sex marriages. Newsweek ran some encouraging statistics: in Massachusetts, support for same-sex marriage has increased from 35% to 56% in the past year; a resounding 84% of Massachusetts voters believe same-sex marriage "has had a positive or no impact on the quality of life in Massachusetts." (More polling data is available at MassEquality.)

Andrew Sullivan, in "Time to Celebrate: A Full Year of Civil Marriage," explodes the fear-mongering so typical of anti-marriage agitators:

"Since gay couples have been able to marry in Massachusetts, we have yet to see a collapse in heterosexual marriage, an upsurge in bestiality, a headlong rush toward polygamy or any of the other horrors that opponents predicted."

If anything, it is the proposed Federal [Anti-] Marriage Amendment that has real potential for negative repercussions. Jonathan Rauch examines these in depth the in "Family's Value: Gay Marriage Is Good for Kids:"

If, say, the Constitution were amended to forbid same-sex marriage, three things would happen--none of them good for marriage. First: Both law and custom would busy themselves setting up new nonmarital structures to accommodate same-sex couples. […] Many existing domestic partner programs, corporate and governmental, are already open to heterosexual couples. Insofar as that pattern continues, we will have set up a whole new structure of non-marriage for heterosexuals. […]

Second: By definition, banning same-sex marriage would ensure that all same-sex couples with children raise their kids out of wedlock. Obviously, that is no way to reconnect marriage with child-rearing. Just the opposite: Every parenting gay couple will be an advertisement for the expendability of marriage. After all, how important can marriage be for children if some children's parents are forbidden to marry?

Third, and not least: To most Americans over age 65 or so, same-sex marriage is a contradiction or an abomination; but among Americans under 30, many or most (depending on which poll you consult) see the ban on same-sex marriage as discrimination. For members of this younger generation, nondiscrimination is the polestar in the firmament of values. They do not want to be associated with what they perceive as anti-gay discrimination any more than their parents do with sexism or racism. To brand marriage as the discriminatory lifestyle choice risks condemning it to cultural obsolescence.

Except for those anti-marriage dead-enders who are completely impervious to learning, their ranks will continue to dwindle as their fears are proven baseless. (As Gandhi once said, "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.")

We're winning.

Quote of the Day:

Members, this bill is about hate and fear and discrimination. I know something about hate and fear and discrimination. When I was a small girl, white folks used to talk about "protecting the institution of marriage" as well. What they meant was if people of my color tried to marry people of Mr. Chisum's color, you'd often find the people of my color hanging from a tree. That's what the white folks did back then to "protect marriage." Fifty years ago, white folks thought inter-racial marriages were a "threat to the institution of marriage."

Senfronia Thompson's speech on HJR6 (This so-called "Texas Marriage Amendment" is actually about denying family healthcare, inheritance and survivor rights, and the ability to make medical decisions. Details are at SaveOurConstitution.)

Check out "Day in the Life of Joe Middle-Class Republican" and "Fuck the South" (along with rejoinders from the Red State people) from the "Lighter Side: Bow Shots" at Retro vs. Metro.

Who says liberals aren't funny?

Hunter's "Understanding the Republican 'Nuclear Option'" from DailyKos and "The Top Ten Filibuster Falsehoods" from Media Matters should be required reading for anyone who has ever approvingly mouthed the phrase "up-or-down vote."

It boggles my mind that the GOP leadership continues to view anything less than complete capitulation as a defeat. Are they truly participating in compromise negotiations, or are they biding time until their spinmeisters can create newer, less threatening, phrases?

The "nuclear option" (which was originally the Republican choice of words for eliminating the filibuster) is now a disfavored term because it reveals too much of their mindset. (Unless, of course, the GOP's real motive for the name change was Dubya's continuing inability to pronounce nuclear.)

As David Horowitz wrote in The Art of Political War, "Politics is war conducted by other means;" this was perhaps never truer than in today's Washington. Despite Dubya's promises of "civility" in his first inaugural address, his administration (in collusion with the GOP Congress) continues to plumb new depths in partisan rancor.

Real ID

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Have you heard about the Real ID Act yet? If you think it's an inoccuous measure tighten driver's license standards - and, allegedly, to hinder terrorists - keep reading. Declan McCullagh of c|net writes in "FAQ: How Real ID Will Affect You" that, when the law takes effect in three years:

"If you live or work in the United States, you'll need a federally approved ID card to travel on an airplane, open a bank account, collect Social Security payments, or take advantage of nearly any government service. Practically speaking, your driver's license likely will have to be reissued to meet federal standards."

Bruce Schneier demolishes the rationale behind the "Real ID" Act in Schneier on Security, noting that "It's a huge power-grab by the federal government over the states' systems for issuing driver's licenses."

"Real ID" is about much more than federal mandates about state driver's licenses, however. As with the "Papers, Please" case from last year, our government is gradually turning this nation into the type of country we once ridiculed. "Real ID" is being pushed through Congress like other questionable legislation has been, using stealth when possible and fear when necessary. Schneier talks about the silence surrounding "Real ID," which the House has already passed, and which the Senate is scheduled to vote on tomorrow:

"If you haven't heard much about REAL ID in the newspapers, that's not an accident. The politics of REAL ID is almost surreal. It was voted down last fall, but has been reintroduced and attached to legislation that funds military actions in Iraq. This is a 'must-pass' piece of legislation, which means that there has been no debate on REAL ID. No hearings, no debates in committees, no debates on the floor. Nothing."

Visit UnRealID for more of the depressing details.

UPDATE: Wired News provides a summary of the Act's provisions:

"The legislation would require all drivers, including current license holders, to provide multiple documents to verify their identity before they could obtain a license or renew one. Drivers would have to provide four types of documentation, such as a photo ID, a birth certificate, proof that their Social Security number is legitimate and something that verifies the applicant's full home address, such as a utility bill. The law would then compel Department of Motor Vehicle employees to verify the documents against federal databases and store the documents and a digital photo of the card holder in a database."

Do you trust your state's DMV with all that information?

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This page is an archive of entries from May 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

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