Tuesday, August 31, 2004
Not to say the Kerry campaign need worry seriously about Connecticut. But interesting.
Monday, August 30, 2004
Thursday, August 26, 2004
Dave Adesnik over at OxBlog says that Dick Cheney was selfish when he said "Freedom means freedom for everyone" in his speech suggesting that the gay marriage question ought to be left to the states.
When Dick Cheney's right, he's right. Gay Americans are not second-class citizens. On the other hand, I'd appreciate it if more Republicans who didn't have gay children came out against the No Gay Marriage Amendment.
But that's politics for you. Senators and Congressmen are always crossing party lines to support proposals that benefit their families personally.
Conventional wisdom says that if you have an obscure disease, the best thing that can happen to you is a major celebrity getting the same disease. Well let me tell you, the next best think is if a Senator's kid gets it and his father or mother decides that an extra $10 million in targeted research funding isn't such a bad idea.
UPDATE: Michelle Cottle agrees. Dick Cheney is selfish, not compassionate.
I disagree with Adensik on this one that somehow it makes it less noble to show compassion when this compassion derives from some kind of personal exposure to the issue, in this case Dick Cheney's daughter being a lesbian.
I think that this is largely how all of us come to have compassion. As an ardent advocate for reason and rational deliberation on issues, I think that there is an aspect of political philosophy that reason does not necessarily have access to. For example, the reason most people at Ivy League schools and in New York City (who are straight) are in favor of gay marriage is because they have gay friends, have met gays, and realized that they are not just a bunch of pervs who have random sex with the first thing that moves, but rather people who are capable of steady and loving relationships in a comparable way to that of straights.
People in other parts of the country, however, may have not come into as close contact with gays as we might have and so it makes it less personal to say that gay people should not be allowed to participate in government-sanctioned marriage. This seems to be a pretty natural reaction. I don't think that rational inquiry can tell us that gay people ought have the right to marry. In fact, I can see plenty of rational arguments for the contrary. Likewise, I think most people who hold the position that gays ought have the same marriage rights/privileges (depending on your definition) as straights tend to come to that conclusion because they know someone who is gay and don't think that that person is out to sodomize little children and turn our society into a bunch of perverts.
So, in short, I think that Cheney has come to that position of compassion through the same process by which we have come to it. And so, yes, there is some aspect of selfishness involved there (if you allow me a slight abuse of the word selfish). But in that sense then, it is very difficult to have compassion without this kind of selfishness.
SIDE NOTE: This isn't to say that such opponents of same sex marriage like Eve Tushnet and Maggie Gallagher think in this simplistic way. And certainly Maggie and Eve have met plenty of gay people. So, just because people who support gay marriage do so because they have likely had close interaction with gays and people who have not had this interaction tend to oppose it, that does not mean that it is impossible or even unreasonable for people who have met and interacted with lots of gays to still be opposed to gay marriage. And certainly, Eve and Maggie believe that gays are people deserving of dignity and not second-class citizens.
Wednesday, August 25, 2004
Tuesday, August 24, 2004
Ever wonder how The YFP got its start? In this 1995 National Review article, Julian Ku, former Editor-in-Chief, offers some reflections.
Every once in a while, I am reminded of just why I chose to spend my four years at Yale as a conservative political activist. One of those moments occurred in the spring of 1993 after I had published my final issue as Editor-in-Chief of The Yale Free Press. I had been invited to participate in a panel on eroticism and taboo during Bisexual, Gay, and Lesbian Awareness Days (BGLAD). Before I could speak, I was denounced by a member of the Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Co-op, who read a list of my "crimes" against the gay community and demanded that I be removed from the panel. Had I been anywhere other than Yale, the situation would have seemed ridiculous. The two men sitting next to me were representatives of the North American Man-Boy Love Association (NAMBLA), which supports the legalization of sexual intercourse between men and boys (some related encounters with 8-year-olds). Both admitted to engaging in pedophilic acts. And the Co-op wanted to throw me out?. . .
Only later did I realize that conservatives at Yale must do more than simply stake out the Republican position on every campus political issue. With a substantial campus majority -- Dukakis received a whopping 88 per cent here in 1988 but only 46 per cent nationwide -- Yale leftists and liberals could afford to graciously tolerate our existence as the "other side." Even better, a "nice" conservative movement would allow them to congratulate themselves on being so open-minded and tolerant without requiring them to take us seriously. Hence, The Yale Free Press developed a unique in-your-face persona it has never quite shed. [And never will. --Ed.]
As I near graduation, I wonder, Was it worth it? Four years took their toll. Promising friendships fell apart, nasty epithets were coined behind my back (my personal favorite: Julian "Ku Klux Klan"), and I received more than my share of angry letters, phone calls, and face-to-face confrontations. But the battle continues. Yale has institutionalized its major sources of campus leftism: the Women's Center, the cultural centers, and the Co-op. Even now, a new campus publication seeks to "reclaim the margin" and revitalize leftism at Yale. [Funny; there's one just like that today! Erm, make that ten. --Ed.]
Future generations of Yalies will likely embrace leftism as happily as this one. The YFP will always be just a gadfly in comparison to the continual sources of left-liberalism for Ivy League elites.
For if you kill me, you will not easily find another such person at all, even if to say in a ludicrous way, attached on the city ... like on a large and well-bred horse, by its size and laziness both needing arousing by some gadfly; in this way the god seems to have fastened me on the city, some such one who arousing and persuading and reproaching each one of you I do not stop the whole day settling down all over.
Thus such another will not easily come to you, men, but if you believe me, you will spare me. ... [But if] like the sleeping who are awakened, striking me ... you might easily kill, then the rest of your lives you might continue sleeping, unless the god caring for you should send you another.
Socrates, 399 B.C.
Monday, August 23, 2004
According to this op-ed by Bob Herbert in the NYT, state troopers are entering the homes of black old ladies to intimidate them from voting, all part of a secret Republican conspiracy in Florida to disenfranchise blacks.
Why go forward anyway? Well, consider that the prolonged investigation dovetails exquisitely with that crucial but unspoken mission of the G.O.P. in Florida: to keep black voter turnout as low as possible. The interrogation of elderly black men and women in their homes has already frightened many voters and intimidated elderly get-out-the-vote volunteers.Is this man serious? In the entire op-ed he offers not a shred of evidence to show that these charges are false. I mean, obviously, it is just tautological that 73 year-old African-American men can't commit voter fraud. All he can offer us is:
The use of state troopers to zero in on voter turnout efforts is highly unusual, if not unprecedented, in Florida. But the head of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Guy Tunnell, who was also handpicked by Governor Bush, has been unfazed by the mounting criticism of this use of the state police. His spokesmen have said a "person of interest" in the investigation is Ezzie Thomas, a 73-year-old black man who just happens to have done very well in turning out the African-American vote.
But the investigation went forward despite findings in the spring that appeared to show that the allegations were unfounded.Really? What were those findings? I mean, I understand this is an op-ed and not an investigative piece, but please, throw us a bone here, Bob!
This is quite possibly the worst hit-piece I've seen in a while. I mean, it's pretty bad even for Herbert, who can be counted on day in and day out to spew whatever bile he can pump from the dark recesses of his gall bladder at the Republicans.
By the same reasoning, how can we ever accuse black preachers of committing voter fraud? Well, because they have! In the 1998 election for governor in Maryland and the 2000 presidential election there, massive voter fraud was committed by black preachers in Baltimore. In cahoots with the Democrats, they would bus people to local parks, give them fried chicken, watermellon, and beer and then take them to the voter booths. I couldn't make this up even if I tried.
In the 2002 gubernatorial race, it was found that some campaign workers on behalf of Kathleen Kennedy-Townsend (most of them students) were paid by the campaign in get-out-the-vote efforts in black neighborhoods (where people were instructed to call the NAACP and AFL-CIO for rides... oh yeah, I'm sure that these non-partisan organizations didn't tell blacks how to vote).
In Milwaukee, prominent New York Democratic operative Connie Millstein was found to have distributed cigarettes to homeless people to induce them to vote for Al Gore.
So, sure, voter fraud never happens, especially not in black neighborhoods, Bob. Give me a break.
Then, he ends the piece with this great "observation":
From the G.O.P. perspective, it doesn't really matter whether anyone is arrested in the Orlando investigation, or even if a crime was committed. The idea, in Orange County and elsewhere, is to send a chill through the democratic process, suppressing opposing votes by whatever means are available.Yes, I'm sure that's it. It actually appears that it is Herbert who doesn't give a fat rat's ass whether a crime was committed or not. He'd rather just make the allegation that none was committed and that people are being wantonly intimidated. Either give me evidence that the Republicans are conspiring to suppress the black vote via illegal means and show me that the people accused of voter fraud are actually upstanding citizens, or shut up. But, see, Herbert doesn't have to provide a shred of evidence. He just has to make an allegation and then everyone will think, "Oh, yeah... didn't Bush's people deny blacks the right to vote in Florida?" No one ever remembers any details, but people get smeared.
The Yale Free Press:
The person to the right of this photo could be you.
It is quite interesting how Kerry is complaining about the Right-Wing attack machine for smearing his good name and associating him with the fringe elements of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, an anti-war activist group in which Kerry was a heavy player, whose members have seriously considered assassinating pro-war Senators. It turns out that in Kerry's campaign for the US Senate in 1984 against Republican Raymond Shamie, Kerry brought up Shamie's brief stint in the 1970's in the anti-Communist John Birch Society. From the October 30, 1984 issue of the Baltimore Sun (by Fred Barnes... I wonder if it's the Weekly Standard's Fred Barnes):
BUT TWO WEEKS AGO, Shamie's past association with the right-wing John Birch Society intruded, thanks to a series of memos from Shamie campaign aides that were printed in the Boston Globe. The memos, written 18 months ago, spoke ominously of potential harm to Shamie's candidacy if his opponents resurrected "Fred," the code name used for the Birch Society.Will Kerry ever repudiate all members of the VVAW? Doubtful. But it's interesting how the tables have turned.
Shamie, 63, was a political novice until 1982, when he ran a spirited campaign against Democratic Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. Shamie was a Birch member briefly in the mid-1970s and, according to him, attended only one meeting. But full-blown coverage in the Boston Globe of his tie to the Birch group caused a flap.
To make matters worse, both a John Birch official and retired Maj. Gen. George S. Patton Jr. attacked Kerry after Kerry had denounced Shamie for failing to repudiate all Birchers.
Sunday, August 22, 2004
An interesting article I recently pulled out of a little Lexis-Nexis search on John Kerry from February 21, 1985, when Kerry was first elected to the Senate. While otherwise glaring about Kerry the rising star, it does note what many people have recently thought about Kerry as well: someone who is ambitious, seemingly having prepared for the role of president since birth.
But just as Pell had him marked for success, so his own impatience marked him for some failures. For years after his dramatic congressional debut, he would be accused by members of his own party of trying to leverage his wartime notoriety into political gain. It was a career of false starts at the polls for Kerry, though -- '70, '72, '80 -- and one that he wanted so much to pattern after that of his lifelong idol, John Fitzgerald Kennedy.More interesting bits:
Before running for Congress in 1972, he did some highly publicized "district shopping." He purchased a house in Worcester, 40 miles west of his home, in order to run for Congress there. But he never moved there. When another seat became available in Lowell, he ran there instead, claiming his parents' residence as his own. "It was insurance," he says. "That's part of the brash series of things I refer to, it was that period of time. I was totally consumed with the notion of going to Congress ..."And finally, Kerry was milking Vietnam for all it was worth even back then:
In the primary, a group of Massachusetts Vietnam veterans endorsed former congressman James Shannon, the Democratic establishment's favorite, after Kerry appeared in an ad standing before the Vietnam Memorial in Washington. "The ad made it seem as though 57,000 names on the wall were endorsing him," said Richard Ducey of the Vietnam Veteran Leadership, who supported Kerry in the general election but not the primary.Unfortunately, I can't link to it since it's on Lexis and I can't give you the search number since it's the academic version. But you can recreate the search yourself, I am sure.
Saturday, August 21, 2004
Pate McMichael, with whom I spent a week this summer in an IHS seminar on libertarian thought, gives government budget-makers some excellent advice.
And not to toot my own horn, but you can also find the products of my summer's labors in the same place.
Brought to you by the great folks at Tech Central Station and Charley's mercy on my Fort Lauderdale hotel room.
Let the hate-mail responses begin.
Wednesday, August 18, 2004
Monday, August 16, 2004
Apologies for this week's astonishing lack of posting. The YFP has been busily gearing up for its Freshman Issue, which promises to be well-worth the wait.
In the meantime, the beat goes on:
1) HOT TIMES IN THE CITY: Caracas has decided not to recall President Hugo Chávez after all. The New York Times had this to report:
Mr. Chávez, in his early morning address after it was clear he had won, was relatively conciliatory toward the opposition, which in the past he has called "squalid ones" and a "rancid oligarchy."Glad to hear our Former President knows how to tell that "pugnacious leftist populist" to play nice. Valiant effort. Meanwhile, The Washington Times chimes in on Chávez as a (curiously peace-affirming) miscreant:
"This is a victory for the opposition," he said. "They defeated violence, coup-mongering and fascism. I hope they accept this as a victory and not as a defeat."
Mr. Carter said he had talked to Mr. Chávez about the need to patch together a relationship with the opposition as well as scaling back his verbal outbursts against the Bush administration.
The fiery president, who has irked the United States with his incendiary rhetoric, his authoritarian style and his close friendship with Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, cast his ballot at about midday in a western Caracas hillside slum and Chávez stronghold, where red banners announcing "No" waved from homes.I am planning a lengthy post as to how recall elections hurt democracy and why revolutions are preferable, but that will have to wait until later.
It is in neighborhoods such as these that the president has invested large amounts of money from the state-run oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela, in social projects known as "missions" that provide free health care and teach people to read.
"We are very happy," Mr. Chávez said. "Today is a happy day. This is a people in peace giving an example to the rest of the world."
2) MORE FUN WITH MEDIA BIAS: Find a great round-up of the Kerry-in-Cambodia story (or lack thereof) here. Brings to mind that whole "Hey, What's that Elephant Doing in Here?" thing from a few weeks back. Via (who else?): Instapundit.
3) THIS JUST IN: President Bush announces major troop shift, particularly in Europe. How does John Kerry like them apples?
UPDATE: Full text of the President's speech here. Thoughts?
ANOTHER UPDATE: Turns out Kerry doesn't like those apples one bit.
And now, as I head off to the nation's latest disaster area for a family vacation, it's back to our regular menu of sporadically scheduled programming. Here's looking forward to all the newsworthy tidbits that the YFP's crew of computer-equipped staffers is sure to encounter in my absence.
Monday, August 09, 2004
I'm reasonably sure I was the first editor of The Yale Free Press. That is to say, I was part of the founding troika: Charles Bork '81 (whose idea it was), Victor Lazaron '84, and my grad-student self. Things were pretty confused in those days, but I'm pretty sure the hot-potato of the "Editor" title was in my hands when the first issue rolled off the presses. See you soon.
Friday, August 06, 2004
Thanks to Clayton Cramer's pointer to this Bloomberg article about John Kerry receiving endorsements from 204 CEO's. What is really interesting about this story, however, is that the Peter Chernin, the CEO of News Corp., which owns Fox News, was on that list and participated in Kerry's economic summit in Davenport, Iowa on Wednesday. Here's what he had to say:
``I think the deficit is just plain bad for the country and bad for business,'' Chernin told an audience of about 250. ``I don't think you can fight two wars, one internationally and one domestically, and at the same time cut taxes.''
Hmmm.... I thought that Fox News was that biased Right-wing media outlet where liberals have no voice. Seems like the CEO of News Corp. is pulling for Kerry. So what say you now, Michael Moore and Al Franken?
UPDATE: More great quotes from supposed Bush-family corporate tools:
``There is a lot of disenchantment with Bush and his handling of the economy,'' said William Kennard, mangaging director at Carlyle Group and former Federal Communications Commission chairman. He said some people, including longtime Republicans, believe Bush ``has squandered an opportunity. He squandered the surplus in 2 1/2 years and he's passing on this debt to our children and grandchildren.''
Interesting... Isn't Carlyle usually cited as one of the evil holding companies both Bush Sr. and Jr. have serious ties to. Michael Moore used Carlyle in his movie to claim the Bushes are tools of the House of Saud. Muy interesante, no?
ANOTHER UPDATE: I meant to say executives not CEO's above. Only about fifty or so are CEO's.
Thursday, August 05, 2004
The argument referenced in Irina's post that "one's own heterosexual marriage would have slightly more trouble working in our society because gay people can get married" is often employed by individuals who want gay marriage outlawed. The claim is that allowing married gay couples to circulate will weaken heterosexual marriages because it will send the message, for example, to the father that his role is not crucial in a family. There is also the reasoning that gay couples tend to be more promiscuous and therefore set a bad example (although even if true its uncertain that their inability to marry hasn't been a factor in their greater promiscuity rates...)
In any case, I think there are reasons to think that disallowing gay marriage may likewise weaken heterosexual marriage bonds, especially within an increasingly gay-conscious and gay-friendly culture. Erik Baard's article, "Standing on Ceremony," tells of heterosexual couples who refuse to marry because they are so offended by an institution that bans gay marriage. Especially in states where gay relationships are increasingly prominent, the ban on gay marriage cannot fail to make other couples disgusted with and distrustful of the government, as well as increasingly rebellious against its moral axioms. Whether this turns into an argument for state-level decision making or legalization of gay marriage altogether is not the issue. But one of the two of them, in my opinion, must happen.
I also believe that, at the point where gay couples are being allowed to adopt children (and justifiably, considering that they have much more to offer than an orphanage), it is important for the government to recognize the gay couple bond as legitimate and long-lasting. I don't think we should allow children to grow up with parents who are not taken seriously in a legal sense, and whose relationship they are encouraged to see as impermanent and, worse, abnormal. At the same time, people who claim that gay couples are naturally promiscuous and impermanent (because they cannot form family units) should recognize that allowing them to adopt children is a solution to that.
Tuesday, August 03, 2004
Here is another interesting article about the "full faith and credit" clause and gay marriage.
Another thing I would like to note is that conservatives who use the argument that a gay marriage ban has to be done federally because it's the only way to actually implement it anywhere are on a dangerous path anyway. They are close to crediting the same old game theory-based framework that has done so much damage to America. One example of this is the Left's claim that certain welfare benefits have to be federal, because any single state implementing those benefits would be hurt too much by it financially. Thus, it has to be the whole country implementing it or nobody. Of course, this is based on more or less suspicious assumptions (i.e. that the "whole country" is necessarily better than the "nobody", etc).
Conservatives have to serve as role models and stop using governmental power to enforce their goals. Even if it were true that one's own heterosexual marriage would have slightly more trouble working in our society because gay people can get married, then one should search for ways to fix one's marriage directly.
Monday, August 02, 2004
Katerina has heard the call to wisdom in my own post on the minimum wage and has responded in turn. She first mentions that I neglected to note that businesses are more likely to grow if not constrained by a minimum wage. This is true, and I regret the omission. What I don’t regret, however, is failing to make the argument she cites next. While later distancing herself from this argument somewhat, Katerina offers up the theory that the minimum wage spurs economic progress by raising the costs of operating a business and thus transferring labor and capital to the most productive businesses (i.e. those businesses that are productive enough to afford to pay the minimum wage and remain profitable). The profits of highly productive endeavors go up relative to the profits of less productive endeavors, as compared to their relation before the minimum wage was introduced.
The problem with this defense of the minimum wage is that it undermines one of the most wonderful (and egalitarian!) aspects of the free market: you do not need to be the best at what you do in order to survive, or even to prosper. The invisible hand naturally distributes capital to firms commensurate with their productivity, but the most efficient outcome is not the one that gives capital to the top dogs alone. Doctors command higher wages than do receptionists, but the presence of doctors doesn’t mean that there isn’t demand for receptionists as well, despite the fact that doctors produce “more” for the economy. This is an application of competitive advantage. Firms and workers alike receive capital in proportion to how productive they are. Unless we can produce a super-doctor who can receive patients in his waiting room without detracting at all from the performance of his medical duties, it’s going to be worthwhile to hire a receptionist, even though the value of her contribution to the firm and the economy is less than the doctor’s (i.e. she’s less “productive”).
As for the “Nordic Miracle,” well, the real miracle is that more people don’t know about the economic crapulence that pervades Scandinavia. From Marginal Revolution, here are some facts about Sweden. No new net private sector jobs have been created in Sweden in 54 years. That’s obscene. To over-simplify what I draw from this Instapundit discussion, Sweden is about as well-off as Mississippi or Alabama. That’s pretty good if you’re living in, say, Mozambique, but pretty awful for a supposed First World socialist miracle. Plus, a lot of the buying power of the typical Swede’s money comes from innovation in more capitalist, inegalitarian countries like Ours Truly. The socialists of Europe have an easier time doing what they do because American R&D acts as an indirect subsidy on their welfare checks. Oh, and no one works in Norway.
There is no “Nordic Miracle.” Wait a couple of decades and you’ll find it sitting in the, um, dust fjord of history.
One of the most poignant posts that really distills what is wrong with John Kerry. Everyone should go to Ken's site and read it. And, Mr. Koffler, this election is not about marginal tax rate increases, or Faith-Based Initiatives. This election is about deciding whether we want to see another guy jump out of the 100th floor of an office building because he'd rather die that way or be burned to a crisp by a flaming airplane that just struck his office or not. Way to go, Ken.
I don't know how I feel about this. On the one hand, CPD editor Doug Clifton is correct in saying that other licenses in the state are a matter of public record and so concealed-carry permits should be as well (read his "Why we printed the list" column). On the other hand, it is highly unlikely to face job discrimination or ostracism from liberal neighbors like Doug Clifton for having, say, a driver's license. I bet Mrs. Clifton would clutch the children a little closer every time they walk by a neighbor who had a concealed-carry permit.
His examples of prison records and sex offender status being public, I think, actually undermine his argument. These are public because we would want the community warned against these individuals. Why would we want the community warned against concealed-carry permit holders? Well, only if we think that these individuals are homicidal maniacs with a loose finger. Not surprising coming from a CPD editor.
From a gun-rights standpoint, I am not sure, other than discrimination, on what grounds one ought disagree with Clifton's arguments. From a safety standpoint, I doubt that criminals scour County records to figure out who has a gun and who hasn't. And even if they did, people with a concealed-carry permit would probably be the last on their list of targets. But, I think it would be creepy for my employer or a neighbor to know I have such a permit.
Another legitimate point is that the Ohio legislature made a distinction in who can have access to these records and who can not. The law allows the media, but not the general public, access. Well, on that point, Clifton is right. But the solution isn't necessarily that all should have access. Maybe it's that none should, which would be my first instinct.