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Conservative commentary served up in bite-sized bits.
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- Clayton Cramer
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Saturday, July 29, 2006
The last 2 weeks of summer vacation are going to be a vacation from work for me as well. Hence, it's going to get real quiet around the blog. Posts will occur as time and circumstances permit. Enjoy the rest of the summer!
(First day of school on August 14th? Why, when I was a kid, it was the Tuesday after Labor Day.)
Friday, July 28, 2006
The ills that abortion is known to cause, outside of the obvious death of a child, continues to either mount or be reinforced.
A new report from a committee of the National Academies of Science finds that a first-trimester abortion, the most common abortion procedure, is linked to an increasing risk of premature birth. The report comes from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), a NAS organization.
Teenagers are at higher risk due to higher risk of infection and an immature cervix.
This also bolsters the abortion-cancer link.
The Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer, a group that monitors the link between abortion and breast cancer for women, says the "IOM's findings provide further support for an abortion-breast cancer link."
Even though the pro-abortion forces continue to deny that there is any link between the two, the evidence continues to come in. The reason is simple biology.
The biological reasons for this are the same as for the abortion-cancer link, the Coalition explained.
So not only does an abortion kill a child, it can permanently harm the mother, and hurt or kill subsequent children. If someone really is concerned for women, they ought to be concerned for them more than just for the here and now; more than the time it takes for the check to clear.
(Cross-posted at Stones Cry Out. Comments welcome.)
Is global warming creating stronger hurricanes? Some studies have said "yes", but a new study to be published in the journal Science, co-written by the aptly named Chris Landsea of the National Hurricane Center, questions the data those findings are based on.
The paper, co-written by Chris Landsea of the National Hurricane Center in West Miami-Dade, challenges earlier findings that hurricanes have grown more powerful in the last 30 years.
It's being skewed by the fact that we get better, and more often stronger, estimates of hurricane strength than we did 30 years ago.
In 1975, only two geostationary satellites monitored hurricanes. Now, eight more powerful satellites serve in that capacity, often prompting forecasters to produce higher wind estimates than might have been reported for a similar storm in the past.
Scientists generally do not credit/blame global warming for the increased number of hurricanes. The studies that Landsea is questioning were measuring the strength.
No connection has been found between global warming and the number of hurricanes. Many scientists believe that the current period of hyperactivity is caused mostly by long-term natural cycles unrelated to global warming.
Read the whole thing for an example of a hurricane that, while it killed 300,000, wasn't even counted as a hurricane.
But in spite of this clear problem, you will continue to hear environmental doomsayers, and you'll hear the media parrot, this claim over and over, especially as we deal with this year's hurricane season.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Here's an interesting thought from Thomas Sowell.
People are calling for a cease-fire in the interests of peace. But there have been more cease-fires in the Middle East than anywhere else. If cease-fires actually promoted peace, the Middle East would be the most peaceful region on the face of the earth instead of the most violent.
This is not to say that cease-fires are useless. But it depends on the parties involved. Henry Kissinger was on Fox & Friends this morning, and he mentioned that in his day, he didn't have to deal with these types of groups; he just dealt with countries that had land and people they were responsible for. Hezbollah's just a group all willing to die for their cause, and in today's climate they know how to play the game.
There was a time when it would have been suicidal to threaten, much less attack, a nation with much stronger military power because one of the dangers to the attacker would be the prospect of being annihilated.
It's that history repeating itself thing the people ignore at their peril, or the peril of others. Actually, that's why I think that most of the rest of the world is telling Israel to stand down while the US isn't. It's because they don't remember relatively recent history. Don't forget that most of the world was unwilling to confront Hitler head on ("Peace in our time", anyone?), or afraid to appear strong and resolute against the Communist threat. Both those enemies took full advantage of that timidity. For Hitler, it took America to come in and defeat him, not ask for a cease-fire. For Communism, it took so many proxy wars, but the political climate kept us from defeating it, and people in Korea and Vietnam and Cambodia and many other places paid, and are still paying, the price for it.
If the world considers Hezbollah and Hamas terrorist organizations, then leaving them alone when they kill Israelis is not an option. Well, it shouldn't be. As it is, Hezbollah can launch hundreds of rockets without much of a peep at all from the international community, but Israel is considered too aggressive when it tries to stop those shooting the rockets. Make no mistake; Hezbollah's charter does not allow it to negotiate a permanent peace until either Israel is gone, or they are gone. Which would you rather have win?
(Cross-posted at Stones Cry Out. Comments welcome.)
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Codes within the code of life - "Researchers believe they have found a second code in DNA in addition to the genetic code."
The genetic code specifies all the proteins that a cell makes. The second code, superimposed on the first, sets the placement of the nucleosomes, miniature protein spools around which the DNA is looped. The spools both protect and control access to the DNA itself.
Here's a very interesting paragraph at the end (emphasis mine).
In the genetic code, sets of three DNA units specify various kinds of amino acid, the units of proteins. A curious feature of the code is that it is redundant, meaning that a given amino acid can be defined by any of several different triplets. Biologists have long speculated that the redundancy may have been designed so as to coexist with some other kind of code, and this, Dr. Segal said, could be the nucleosome code.
Yes, I'm sure that they're intending to refer to blind chance over millennia being some sort of designer. But the more they find codes within codes, one wonders how long they'll stretch believability in that regard.
(Cross-posted at Stones Cry Out. Comments welcome.)
Monday, July 24, 2006
"The Da Vinci Code" was just fiction, right? No harm done. No one would actually act on it, right?
A California woman publishing a novel similar to "The Da Vinci Code" claims she is a direct descendant of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
This would never have been published if not for Dan Brown's success.
McGowan submitted her proposal to publishers in 1997, and says, "I was laughed out of New York City. ... I was told nobody would ever publish a book claiming Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene."
The book is based on a prophesy that Ms. McGowan considers true, and in a Rev. Moon-like move, sets up the prophesy in such a way that she possibly is one to fulfill it.
She says the book's title refers to an ancient prophecy about a woman chosen by divine providence to bring the real story of Mary Magdalene's life to the world. But she won't say whether or not she considers herself "The Expected One."
(As I understand it, Rev. Moon prophesied about a coming prophet of God that was rather specific, and that he himself fulfilled.)
So now, in addition to the many fooled by Mr. Brown's book (a book that, while fiction, he claimed was mostly the truth), we have another book and possible movie that may bring in more, and confirm the "faith" of those already in that camp. The church needs to speak with a louder voice on this, lest we give up the saving of the gullible and the ignorant. I understand the reluctance of some churches to deal with transitory pop culture fads and deal more with the eternal. I hear the best way to learn to spot counterfeit money is to educate yourself primarily on what a good bill looks like, but this phoniness is being passed around at an alarming rate.
(Cross-posted at Stones Cry Out. Comments welcome.)
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Today's Odd "Considerettes" Search Phrase - Redskin Floor Tile [#1! on Google]
Friday, July 21, 2006
England in a heat wave! Record 92 degree temperatures. Wildfires springing up spontaneously. Deaths from the heat. Weeks without rain. Farmers having to harvest their crops at the earliest time in 46 years. News reports describe a paucity of songbirds; quiet in the countryside.
Click here to read how bad things were in England...in 1911! Indeed, the record temps have been broken this week, but if today's records are due to man-made reasons, how to explain records from 100 years ago? If you can explain those records, could not those explanations apply to today as well? If you can't explain those records, can you really explain today's?
And the globe has indeed been hotter. Wheat farming in Greenland, anyone?
Thursday, July 20, 2006
If either Canada or Mexico came across the border to the US and killed 470 Americans and kidnapped 10, what would be the proportionate response? Hugh Hewitt notes that, proportionately, this is what Hezbollah did to Israel. All those who are chiding Israel for overreacting need to consider this.
And this is not to mention all the rockets and suicide bombings Israel has had to deal with over the years. And this is not to mention the killing of 241 American servicemen in Beirut by Hezbollah in 1983. Hugh wants to know when, exactly, does the statue of limitations run out on that?
Jordan Ballor of the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty brings together the Evangelical Climate Initiative, a disconnect in environmentalism's disdain of nuclear energy, his answer to "Why did God create oil", and Mr. Fusion. If we want cleaner sources of energy, we need to be willing to accept them. It's not enough to be against a particular means of energy; you need to be for something to replace it.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Veto Pen: found.
Embryonic stem cell bill: vetoed.
Lives to be saved: priceless.
It's sad that it took Bush this long to veto anything, but it's a fine one to start on. Morally and financially, this was the right call.
(More at Redstate.)
Charles Krauthammer once again nails it. The Lebanese, regardless of religion, don't want Hezbollah to continue to own south Lebanon. But Lebanon itself is too weak to evict them.
The road to a solution is therefore clear: Israel liberates south Lebanon and gives it back to the Lebanese.
And a cease-fire at this point in time may embolden Hezbollah in the same way that Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon did. Land for peace simply does not work with these guys. It never has.
Cats and dogs living together: Brent Bozell, President of the conservative Media Research Center, is calling Oliver Stone's World Trade Center move "a masterpiece".
After thinking she could coast to a win in the primaries, Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) instead faces a runoff.
Incumbent Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney was forced into a three-week runoff campaign after drawing less than 50 percent of the vote in her first re-election bid since her scuffle with a Capitol Hill police officer.
In Georgia, if you don't win your primary with >50% of the vote, there's a runoff between the top 2 contenders. Given McKinney's antics in and out of Washington, I'm dismayed that so many in her district still support her. There was the whacking of a Capitol Hill police officer back in March, of course, but she even failed to show up, with no advance notice, for 2 scheduled televised debates for this election. And even with all that she still picked up 47% of the vote.
Talk about taking your constituents for granted. (And talk about constituents who don't really care about the issues.) Hopefully, the supporters of John Coyne, the 3rd place finisher, can rally with Johnson supporters and rid Georgia of this embarrassment.
"Israel considers a cease-fire"
"If America wants to ignite World War Three ... we welcome it." (Hizbollah)
Who's more serious about peace?
Monday, July 17, 2006
Sounds like the news media is becoming more activist. Well, more openly activist, at least.
Viewers told [Katie Couric] they want more perspective and "a better understanding of the ramifications of the news," she says. "I got the distinct sense they want us to go a little bit deeper" with historical background and "how is this relevant to their lives. (And) we heard from many people the news is just too depressing. Obviously, we can't sugar-coat what's going on, but there are cases where we can be more solution-oriented."
Does this mean that, since this is regarding a national news report rather a local one, that CBS News will start advocating foreign policy changes, for example? I mean, openly, of course. Ever since Vietnam, the media has certainly advocated certain public policy positions while hiding behind the fig leaf of objectivity. At least now it'll be (hopefully) open about it.
Yeah. We'll see.
Friday, July 14, 2006
The Israeli-Palestinian situation is not--or I guess I should say "should not"--be a matter of left/right, liberal/conservative, Democrat/Republican, Muslim/Judeo-Christian or whatever divide you want to put forth. It's a matter of history, and sadly the reaction to it does seem to generally break into all of those two camps. Typically it's that the former generally leaning towards the Palestinians (with some added generalities about stopping "all" violence, though they find their voice more often against Israel) and the latter leaning towards the Israelis. But if you look at history, it really shouldn't be an ideological issue.
Charles Krauthammer has an article today that seeks to answer the question "Who is at fault?" Some folks think that trying to assign blame and figure out who started it is an exercise in futility. Often that's true. However, there is a generation of history to look back on and see that the causes of this conflict can far more often be laid at the feet of those who break their promises, target indiscriminately, and twist history to try to gain an advantage.
Next June will mark the 40th anniversary of the Six Day War. For four decades we have been told that the cause of the anger, violence and terror against Israel is its occupation of the territories seized in that war. End the occupation and the ``cycle of violence'' ceases.
That's just for starters. From day 1, Arabs have been the ones who did not want to live in peace. Israel has been in a defensive war since its birth. Any ground taken was to create a buffer zone between its enemies and the thin sliver of land they were given. If you attack from point A, don't complain when you're pushed back to point B by the nation you attacked. This isn't a liberal/conservative issue; it's a matter of history.
But you don't have to be a historian to understand the intention of Israel's enemies. You only have to read today's newspapers.
The Palestinians vowed land for peace. Israel exited Gaza completely. And what has Gaza turned into? A new and closer launching pad for rockets and new and closer bases from which guerillas can operate. This is a matter of history, not ideology. The "cycle of violence" is heavily weighted on one side. Yes, sometimes Israel responds with force, but many, many times it gives land-for-peace a chance. It allows its adversaries the opportunity to do the right thing. It is always disappointed.
Exhibit B: South Lebanon. Two weeks later, on July 12, the Lebanese terror organization, Hezbollah, which has representation in the Lebanese parliament and in the Cabinet, launched an attack into Israel that killed eight soldiers and wounded two, who were brought back to Lebanon as hostages.
Instead of land-for-peace, Arabs occupy the land and do not change the game plan. Each step closer to Israel is one step further in their mortars and rockets can penetrate. And when they attack, they target civilians. These are terrorists. This is a matter of history, of fact. This is still not, or should not be, an ideological debate.
The issue has never been occupation, all their talk to the contrary. If it was, the Gaza that had been asked for would be a place where Palestinians can live in peace with their neighbors. It never has been. It still isn't.
It was Yasser Arafat's PLO that persuaded the world that the issue was occupation. Yet through all those years of pretense, Arafat's own group celebrated its annual Fatah Day on the anniversary of its first attack on Israel, the bombing of Israel's National Water Carrier -- on Jan. 1, 1965.
A matter of history. Not a matter of your political affiliation. And as Krauthammer notes, if you listen to the rhetoric, it's still about what it has always been about.
But again, who needs history? As the Palestinian excuses for continuing their war disappear one by one, the rhetoric is becoming more bold and honest. Just last Tuesday, Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, writing in The Washington Post, referred to Israel as ``a supposedly 'legitimate' state.''
And yet somehow, as many as the historic examples are, it still seems that the farther left you go on the political spectrum, the less you're willing to listen to history, or the more likely you are to lump all violence together in one big morally equivalent mush. The United Nations, a body that has slid more and more to the Left over the years, has been chief among those who only see Israeli violence. This page of history of the Arab-Israeli conflict notes:
Of the 175 United Nations Security Council resolutions passed before 1990, 97 were directed against Israel. Of the 690 General Assembly resolutions voted on before 1990, 429 were directed against Israel. The U.N. was silent while 58 Jerusalem synagogues were destroyed by the Jordanians. The U.N. was silent while the Jordanians destroyed 58 Jerusalem Synagogues and systematically desecrated the ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives. The U.N. was silent while the Jordanians prevented Jews from visiting the Temple Mount and the Western Wall.
While the web site notes that it's the general imbalance of Islamic countries to Jewish countries that is the major problem (52 to 1), the UN has increasingly bowed to liberal causes in the area of economics, global warming, gun control, and abortion, among many others. This same body has an inauspicious history with regards to Jews, as noted by a 2001 National Post article pointed to by the history page.
The horrific suicide bombings by Palestinian terrorists that killed and maimed dozens of innocent Israeli civilians last week is the latest, and most lethal, series of actions in their murderous war of terrorism against Israel. What may be less well known is that the Palestinian Authority, with support from numerous Arab and Muslim regimes, is waging a parallel campaign to isolate Israel and delegitimize its right to exist and to attack the Jewish people and their history. Incubated at the recent World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa, this phenomenon has been maturing in the wake of the terrible terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.
You can find many more incidents of anti-Israel bias by the UN on this page.
Israel has been on the short end of so many sticks since it's birth. It has had more disadvantages unremedied, more attacks against it uncondemned, and more restraint unnoticed by the world than any country since 1948.
And yet there are those who condemn "the violence" and don't see the relevant distinctions between offensive and defensive, or between civilian and military targets, or between a democracy that gives Arab citizens equal rights and monarchies that oppress their own people, or indeed between David and Goliath. And when you look at the political ideology of those who don't see these distinctions, or won't take history into account, they are overwhelmingly on the Left.
Why is that? Why can they cut the Palestinians and their allies break after break but refuse to give an inch to Israel (even when Israel gives a mile)? Why doesn't history matter much to them? It ought to be a simple matter of looking at the incredible imbalance and making a judgement call. Is that so difficult?
I'll close with an anonymous quote that sums up the dichotomy: "If the Arabs (Moslems) put down their weapons today there would be no more violence. If the Israelis put down their weapons today there would be no more Israel." Is this a racist statement? Not if history bears it out. And it does.
(Cross-posted at Stones Cry Out, Blogger News Network and Redstate. Comments welcome.)
Craig R. Smith says that if you live by the Geneva Convention, you may die by the Geneva Convention. Literally. Should we only selectively enforce it, or does it all apply, including the allowance for the death penalty? The Convention says that death is a penalty allowed for those guilty of "espionage, of serious acts of sabotage against the military installations of the Occupying Power or of intentional offenses which have caused the death of one or more persons, provided that such offenses were punishable by death under the law of the occupied territory in force before the occupation began."
So instead of the tribunals Bush was going to give them, he could just as legally sign their death certificates. Is that what the folks who wanted to give these guys protection had in mind?
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Today's Odd "Considerettes" Search Phrase - alternative fuel would hurt doritos [#9 on Yahoo! Search]
The only alternative fuel that I can think would hurt Doritos is...well...Tostitos?
This would really make things diplomatically worse in the Middle East.
Israel says it has learned that the Lebanese-based Hizballah intends to transfer the two Israeli soldiers it abducted on Wednesday to Iran. That word came today from a senior official in Israel's Foreign Ministry.
Israel is now sounding downright Bush-esque.
Israel is now linking Iran, Syria, Hizballah and Hamas all together in what it calls an "axis of terror and hate" that threatens the entire world.
This collusion seems to be working smoothly, as though it was already arranged. This should surprise no one.
Initially, Israel said it was holding Lebanon responsible for the Hizballah attack that opened a new front in the war on Wednesday. Hizballah fired rockets at Israel, killed eight Israeli soldiers in cross-border attacks, and abducted two other soldiers.
Is this part of a widening Mideast war? There are a number of wars against Israel that are sometimes just referred to by the year they happened. Will "2006" be added to this list?
Brain implants are getting better and better, giving hope to those with paralysis.
A man paralysed from the neck down by knife injuries sustained five years ago can now check his email, control a robot arm and even play computer games using the power of thought alone.
Truly amazing. Read the article for how it's done.
Rick Warren has accepted an invitation from North Korea to speak there. According to writer Ronald Boyd-MacMillan, in an interview printed yesterday in Christianity Today, this is most likely just a propaganda play and a possible diplomatic connection. He'll preach to a pretend church to help the North Koreans "prove" they have religious freedom. But supposedly this is one of the only real channels the North Koreans use with the West. Boyd-MacMillan says that Billy Graham did this for years, so let's hope this is some way to ratchet down the tensions.
Boyd-MacMillan talks mostly about what it's like for Christians in North Korea in this interview and some of the challenges in doing evangelism there. Very informative
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
The Wall Street Journal has further details about how the tax cuts have not only cause the rich to pay more in taxes, but how this has helped the economy. They start with a realistic assessment of claims by both sides (and what claims hold little to no merit), and then launch into a list of good things that have happened because of the cuts.
The real news, and where the policy credit belongs, is with the 2003 tax cuts. They've succeeded even beyond Art Laffer's dreams, if that's possible. In the nine quarters preceding that cut on dividend and capital gains rates and in marginal income-tax rates, economic growth averaged an annual 1.1%. In the 12 quarters--three full years--since the tax cut passed, growth has averaged a remarkable 4%. Monetary policy has also fueled this expansion, but the tax cuts were perfectly targeted to improve the incentives to take risks among businesses shell-shocked by the dot-com collapse, 9/11 and Sarbanes-Oxley.
Indeed they should. Or a least learn from history, especially from the Reagan tax cuts. Predictably, liberals are looking for the cloud in the silver lining.
This would all seem to be good news, but some folks are never happy. The same crowd that said the tax cuts wouldn't work, and predicted fiscal doom, are now harrumphing that the revenues reflect a windfall for "the rich." We suppose that's right if by rich they mean the millions of Americans moving into higher tax brackets because their paychecks are increasing.
When a Republican is sitting in the Oval Office, of course!
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
With an expensive war, a Republican Congress spending like a drunken sailor (and a presidential veto pen still unused), and gas prices way up, why aren't we in the middle of a recession?
Because of tax cuts for the rich, perhaps? Bill O'Reilly makes the case.
Monday, July 10, 2006
You are not allowed to choose what you will and won't watch in a movie. So says Hollywood and the courts.
A federal judge in Colorado has handed the entertainment industry a big win in its protracted legal battle against a handful of small companies that offer sanitized versions of theatrical releases on DVD.
Yes, I know you could spend the time yourself recording the DVD to video tape and try to hit pause/play at just the right times (though the point was not to have to view the objectionable material, even once). Yes, I know you could possibly load up the movie on your computer and, with some expensive DVD editing software cuts out all the parts you want, down to the words. Yes, I know you could spend all that time and/or money doing that yourself.
Or you could pay someone else to. Well, not according to the courts. No, all the gratuitous sex and violence is, not just artistically, but legally required for the story to be told. And no, the studios don't lose a single penny, and yes you can view the original if you really want to.
The mainstreaming of sophisticated digital editing technologies has fueled the cottage industry of movie sanitizers. CleanFlicks and others purchase an official DVD copy of a film on DVD for each edited version of the title they produce through the use of editing systems and software. The official release disc is included alongside the edited copy in every sale or rental transaction conducted. As such, the companies argued that they had the right on First Amendment and fair use grounds to offer consumers the alternative of an edited version for private viewing, so long as they maintained that "one-to-one" ratio to ensure that copyright holders got their due from the transactions. Matsch disagreed.
Careful now, because this statement makes it sound like I can't make my own, edited copy of a movie that I legitimately purchased. If I can't have someone else do it for me, can I legally do it myself? Even if, in both the court case any my hypothetical, an original copy of the movie was legally purchased and is available with the edited version? Don't I have a choice what part of a purchased movie I choose to see? This ruling teeters on the edge of making me a law-breaker for essentially hitting the Fast Forward button on my remote.
This sort of mentality almost occurred with DVD hardware, in the ClearPlay situation. This is a device that allows you to play your DVD and it takes care of filtering it as you watch the movie. What parts to skip are download to the player, and you just hit play.
Early on, the legal sparring involved Salt Lake City-based ClearPlay, which offers video filtering software that allows for home viewing of cleaned-up versions of Hollywood titles.
The result is exactly the same as watching a pre-edited movie; you own the original, and you watch what you want to. It took an act of Congress to protect your right to skip parts of a movie via a hardware device. It looks like it'll take another one to protect your right to allow a 3rd party to edit it for you (or possibly to protect you from doing it yourself), even though the results of the two technologies result in exactly the same output. The fact that you can obtain a permanent copy of that output shouldn't matter and is a transparent fig leaf to hide behind.
(Cross-posted on Stones Cry Out, Blogger News Network and Redstate. Comments welcome.)
This is hanging in my office cubicle today (via American Digest via PowerLine). Really, what's the difference?
Friday, July 07, 2006
Today's Odd "Considerettes" Search Phrase - swimmable backyard pond installation [#18 on Google]
Three people were arrested here in Atlanta, the Coca-Cola capital of the world, for trying to sell Coke secrets to Pepsi. One is out on bond and two have hearings next week.
Arrested for trying to sell cola secrets. Hmm. Perhaps we should charge Mr. Lichtblau or Mr. Keller of the NY Times with selling details of our War on Terror secrets to Pepsi. In today's America, it appears that's the worse offense.
I can imagine a number of our old family photos showing up, like this did, on some Hallmark card. Y'know, might be a lucrative business!
Terror plot thwarted.
Authorities have disrupted planning by foreign terrorists for an attack on New York City tunnels, two law enforcement officials said Friday.
Imagine that; Sen. Schumer coming out in support of pre-emption. Bush is winning the hearts and minds, no? >grin<
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Georgia Same-Sex Marriage Amendment Update: This will be the last one, unless it's appealed for some other reason. The constitutional amendment stands.
The Georgia Supreme Court's decision Thursday upholding a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage capped a two-year battle that mobilized the gay community, brought conservative voters to the polls in 2004 and threatened to become a politically charged issue in this year's election.
The amendment was appealed on the grounds that it violated Georgia's rule that constitutional amendments must deal with one topic only; the "single subject rule". Opponents said it dealt with both marriage and civil unions, thus more than one subject. The Georgia Supreme Court ruled, rightly in my opinion, that there truly was one subject.
But Justice Robert Benham, who was appointed to the court in 1989 by then-Gov. Joe Frank Harris and wrote the short, six-page opinion, refuted that claim. He wrote that the objective of the amendment is "reserving marriage and its attendant benefits to unions of man and woman."
The single subject rule was to keep unrelated items from appearing in the same amendment, but this was a single subject--marriage--dealt with on two fronts, not two subjects.
As has been the case all over the country, same-sex couples have been using the courts to get their way rather than using the legislative process. (See here for another example of some courts rightly pushing this to the legislature, and Democrats reliably upset that their hopes of ruling by judicial fiat have been dashed. Legislation has become the fall-back position rather than the front line.) This is why an amendment was necessary; to meet them on the playing field of their own choosing.
Both gay marriage and civil unions were already illegal in Georgia. Supporters of the amendment said that defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman in the state Constitution would make it harder for judges to overturn the law.
Not impossible, for a judge enamoured with the whole "it's a living document which means what I want it to mean...today" mentality, but certainly harder. Opponents of the amendment have no one to blame for requiring this step but themselves. Some people, however, either still don't get it, or are playing things up for their own base.
Chuck Bowen, executive director of Georgia Equality, a political advocacy group dedicated to gay rights, said while he is disappointed with the decision, he is pleased that gay marriage most likely will not be a big election issue this year.
This had absolutely nothing to do with pandering. Sure, it revved up the conservative base, but again that was a response to legal moves being made by same-sex marriage proponents. They forced the issue, not conservatives or Republicans or the Religious Right.
Here's an interesting line in the story:
The constitutional amendment banning gay marriage first came before the General Assembly in 2004 and immediately became the most controversial and emotional issue debated by lawmakers that year.
"Controversial" only in the sense that it brought rather loud opponents out of the woodwork. Those were the folks stirring controversy. Something that passes with 76% of the vote is hardly controversial.
This sums it up well:
"Today's decision by the Supreme Court was the correct one," state Attorney General Thurbert Baker said in a statement. "The people of Georgia overwhelmingly ratified the constitutional amendment stating that marriage should be reserved for a union between a man and a woman. I am pleased with the court's ruling respecting the voters' choice."
That difficult fact is why same-sex marriage proponents have decided to do an end-run around the people's representatives and shop for a small group of favorable judges. And that is why this amendment became necessary. Alleged "pandering" had nothing to do with it. If you want to debate in the legislature, that's where the debate will take place. If you try to sneak it in via some sympathetic judges, don't be surprised or upset in the slightest when you're met on that field as well. That is where the Left is taking the cultural and social issues, and that's where we have to deal with them, even if, as I believe, this isn't the place for them. They chose this venue, so they better learn to live with the outcome.
(Cross-posted at Stones Cry Out and Blogger News Network. Comments welcome.)
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
North Korea has indeed launched, not 1, but 7 or more missile tests into the Sea of Japan. According to the news article, more could be on the way. Fortunately, the longest-range one, the Taepodong-2, failed shortly after take-off, which is no doubt a setback for their missile program. It happened quite a bit later than previously thought, but it did happen.
Some folks thought we were being played for fools (link to the cross-post at Stones Cry Out). Truth is, we were played almost 30 years ago when Jimmy Carter trusted a tyrant to keep his word. Some folks think that if we just speak more nicely to them, they'd calm down (see the comments to the cross-post of that same post at Blogger News Network). Carter, too, put the lie to that by being non-confrontational to a sworn enemy and allowing missile tech development to continue unabated.
North Korea has come (further) out of the closet, so to speak. Since they have to go back to drawing board on the long-range missile, we do have more time to deal with this, though it's only because we got lucky. Do we need direct talks with North Korea? Possibly, but only if there's some sense that it could be constructive and that it wasn't just a delaying tactic on their part. Carter-esque appeasement, with non-verified agreements on their side, have obviously not worked. If we aren't allowed to verify compliance, there really is no point in talking; we know what the result will be.