Sunday, July 31, 2011

Michelle Bachman and the Shot Heard Round the World

Michelle Bachman and the Shot Heard Round the World: "I remember hearing a few weeks back that Michelle Bachman spoke in New Hampshire, and made a fool of herself because she didn't know that the Battles of Lexington and Concord were in Massachusetts--not New Hampshire.  I was disappointed to hear this, but not spectacularly surprised.

I am putting together presentation for this coming semester, including examples of politicians who misuse history, out of either malice or ignorance, and of course I have the video of Joe Biden talking about how Roosevelt went on television right after the stock market crash.  So I went out, in the interests of fairness, to find the video of Bachman's ignorance.  And guess what?  The lamestream media are lying.  Here's the video: she clearly knows that Lexington and Concord are not in New Hampshire:


The news media are lying whores for the Democrats.  It is beyond repair.

"

Friday, July 29, 2011

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Debunking the Left-Wing Myths About 'Right-Wing, Extremist Christians'

 
 

Sent to you by Karl via Google Reader:

 
 

via The Weekly Standard Blog by Mark Hemingway on 7/25/11

Peter Beinart has a doozy of a column up over at the Daily Beast, rather breathlessly titled, "Why Norway Could Happen Here." Since I suspect that Beinart managed to repeat every left-wing myth about the violent tendencies of Christians and conservatives, let's take a look at the key paragraph:

There's actually been a lot of right-wing, extremist Christian terrorism in the U.S. in recent years. The biggest terrorist attack in U.S. history prior to 9/11—the 1996 Oklahoma City bombing—was carried out by Timothy McVeigh, a white ex-Army officer with ties to the militia movement. That same year, Eric Rudolph bombed the Atlanta Olympics to protest abortion and international socialism. The only major WMD attack of the "war on terror" era—the 2001 anthrax mailings—apparently was the handiwork of a microbiologist angry that prominent Catholic politicians were pro-choice. In 2009, anti-abortion militants murdered Wichita doctor George Tiller. (He already had been shot once, and his clinic had been bombed). That same year octogenarian neo-Nazi, James Wenneker von Brunn, shot a security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Last February, Andrew Joseph Stack, angry at the federal government, flew a small plane into an IRS building in Austin, Texas.

Beinart is either largely ignorant, or has a pretty curious definition of "right-wing, extremist Christian." For one thing, I'm not sure that label applies in its entirety to Anders Breivik. As for his other examples, well, McVeigh was no Christian. He famously declared that "Science is my religion," and his final words were quoting from Invictus: "I thank whatever gods may be/ for my unconquerable soul ... I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul."

Here's abortion clinic bomber Eric Rudolph in an interview with USA Today:

"Many good people continue to send me money and books," Rudolph writes in an undated letter. "Most of them have, of course, an agenda; mostly born-again Christians looking to save my soul. I suppose the assumption is made that because I'm in here I must be a 'sinner' in need of salvation, and they would be glad to sell me a ticket to heaven, hawking this salvation like peanuts at a ballgame. I do appreciate their charity, but I could really do without the condescension. They have been so nice I would hate to break it to them that I really prefer Nietzsche to the Bible."

As for alleged Anthrax mailer Bruce Ivins being supposedly motivated by his pro-life, Catholic views -- well, that's a pretty unfounded assertion based on a lot of tenuous and anonymous sources. Further, from what we know about his religious views -- to say nothing of considerable evidence that he was mentally ill -- he wanted the Catholic church to liberalize on the issue of female and married clergy. Not exactly what one thinks of when we discuss extremist religious views.

Then there's holocaust museum shooter James von Brunn. Who in his own words, was emphatically not a Christian: "The Big Lie technique, employed by Paul to create the CHRISTIAN RELIGION, also was used to create the HOLOCAUST RELIGION ... CHRISTIANITY AND THE HOLOCAUST are HOAXES." As for Brunn's politics, this is a little close to home, but Ben Smith handled it nicely:

The [WEEKLY STANDARD] is about a mile north of the Holocaust Museum, and there's no other indication that von Brunn had targeted it. Von Brunn's published rants included attacks on "neocons," and the Standard has been at the heart of the neoconservative movement.

The suggestion that the Standard may have been a target complicates any view of the racist shooter in contemporary left-right terms. Von Brunn's white supremacist roots put him under the rubric of a "right-wing extremist," but the substance of his views -- which included everything from believing that President Bush may have been in on the September 11 attacks to denying that President Obama is an American citizen -- are too far on the fringe to fit into conventional political classification.

And then there's Andrew Joseph Stack who flew his plane into an IRS building in Texas. Allow me to pull out some quotes from the manifesto he left-behind:

"...institutions like the vulgar, corrupt Catholic Church..."

"The intent of this exercise and our efforts was to bring about a much-needed re-evaluation of the laws that allow the monsters of organized religion to make such a mockery of people who earn an honest living."

"The recent presidential puppet GW Bush and his cronies in their eight years certainly reinforced for all of us that this criticism rings equally true for all of the government."

"The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed."

Yup. Sounds like a Stack was a "right-wing, extremist Christian."

So I guess that leaves us with abortion doctor George Tiller's murderer. It's fair to say he was motivated by his warped vision of religion. But one killing does not make a case for rampant right-wing, Christian terrorism. (I also presume that Beinart is ignorant of the fact that a pro-life activist was gunned down outside a high school in Michigan just a few months after Tiller was killed.)

Beinart really ought to retract much of the column, but I suspect any suggestion to do so would be declined.


 
 

Things you can do from here:

 
 

Fast, Delicious Coconut Curry Chicken

 
 

Sent to you by Karl via Google Reader:

 
 

via The Anchoress on 7/27/11

Found this recipe in a magazine that I never subscribed to but somehow landed in my mailbox, and made it last night to family raves.It was really, really fast, really easy and really good! I'm only sorry I didn't take a pic to show you, but shredded coconut is pretty enough! 3 Tbsp. butter, melted 1 c [...]

 
 

Things you can do from here:

 
 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

UN Moves Forward to Implement Goldstone Report

UN Moves Forward to Implement Goldstone Report | The Weekly Standard

The gist of the report: Everything is Israel's fault.

Hey Datanauts - By Jonah Goldberg - The Corner - National Review Online

Hey Datanauts - By Jonah Goldberg - The Corner - National Review Online

Since a lot of the computer analysis code was leaked with the CRU files, I wonder if it would be possible to stuff pseudo-random data into the required data structures and reproduce AGW with their analysis routines? If an AGW signal is present in random soup or in data with a long-term artificially-enforced decline bias, then the whole AGW-thing really does collapse.
Jonah, pass Dr Bob the following URLS

http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=2086
http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=800
http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=63

the short answer is that he’s right; there have been many reconstructions of the Mann, Wahl and Ammann results using noise with various spectral characteristics. (If you’re not careful I’ll explain that.)
Regarding your post in The Corner about whether AGW may survive the crisis: I doubt it, as the temperature data themselves have been manipulated.

To see the McIntyre experiment alluded to by the reader, talk a look at this page from Climate Audit. The problems with the Mann data handling are pretty well summed up in the abstract to the M&M paper here.

For an accessible discussion of why modern temperature measurements are likely biased, see the Chiefio blog, here. Basically those who decree where temperatures should be measured have decided that high mountains are too expensive to measure and that all temperatures will be measured at the beach. In the US, and in South America. For Russia, they just copied September data 2009 data into October 2009 and called it warming.

Waterboarding helped us track down bin Laden?

Big Peace says, George W. Bush Vindicated.

...Therefore, the point that needs to be made is that George W. Bush deserves our gratitude for refusing to back down when the war was unpopular. He merits all the honor we can bestow upon him for not giving in when he was called every name in the book and openly slandered by MSM personalities. He is to be commended for standing with our troops when Democrats (like Obama) threatened to cut their funding, and for staying out of the limelight when our troops achieved great things (like capturing Saddam Hussein), because he wanted the troops to have the honor. (Obama, on the other hand, can’t wait to tell us what he authorized, decided, etc.)...

And: Bush Made Mistakes, Squeezing Terrorists Hard Wasn’t One of Them

At the Weekly Standard, THOMAS JOSCELYN asks Did Enhanced Interrogation of the 20th Hijacker Help Identify Bin Laden’s Courier?

Press reports say that KSM and Abu Faraj al Libbi gave up information on the courier, including his nom de guerre. In addition, other reports say that “detainees” at Gitmo gave up information on the courier. And now there are at least two accounts fingering Qahtani as the Gitmo detainee who told authorities about the courier. It is possible that all versions of the story are true, with multiple detainees giving up information on the courier. We’ll have to wait and see.

Either way, this is sure to “rekindle” (as the title of Isikoff’s piece says) the debate over interrogations. KSM and al Libbi were initially held in CIA black sites and subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques before being transferred to Gitmo. Qahtani was subjected to a specially-approved interrogation regime at Gitmo – one of the few ever implemented there – after the FBI repeatedly failed to get any information out of him.

B. Daniel Blatt collects together links indicating that "enhanced techniques" appear to have helped us track down bin Laden. GayPatriot » So, it seems waterboarding helped us track down bin Laden

(Links at original post)

Leon Panetta has always conducted himself with dignity on the public stage.

In this video, he indicates that our intelligence officials gained some information that would later help us track down the hide-out of the Al-Qaeda leader through, um, well, “enhanced interrogation techniques“.
When asked, Doug Powers reports, “whether or not advanced interrogation techniques helped get Bin Laden,” Attorney General Eric Holder “said he didn’t know.” You’d think an official of an administration which has been most critical* of such polices would have given an unequivocal response (in the negative) if they hadn’t helped.

....

RELATED: Ed Driscoll alerts us to this observation in Investor’s Business Daily, “If President Bush had not invaded Iraq, President Obama likely would not have found Osama bin Laden. The al-Qaida operative who fingered bin Laden’s courier was caught in Iraq helping terrorists in 2004″. Ed’s initial roundup on the death of Mr. Bin Laden also has a plethora of pithy points and interesting links.

ALSO RELATED AND WELL WORTH YOUR TIME: Michael Barone contends that to get bin Laden, Obama relied on policies he decried.

*UPDATE: Peter Wehner reports: “After all, Barack Obama was a fierce critic of EITs [Enhanced Interrogation Techniques] during and after the 2008 campaign.“

Michelle Malkin notes that Obama also campaigned against secret prisons, and was perfectly happy to continue using them. Then and now: The Left, Obama and secret prisons

Last night, I noted that “much of the intelligence gathered that led to discovering bin Laden was developed by the detainees detained under the Bush administration at facilities like the one Obama wanted to shut down.”

Those facilities, US officials are now reporting, included the CIA secret prisons reviled by the Left, outed by the Washington Post, and condemned by…wait for it…President Obama.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Pajamas Media » Conservatives and Gay Marriage: A Guide for the Perplexed

A conservative argues in favor of same-sex marriage: Pajamas Media » Conservatives and Gay Marriage: A Guide for the Perplexed

PJAdvice columnist Belladonna Rogers discusses how to persuade an opponent of gay marriage to attend his son's gay wedding.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The compulsion to label & belittle gay marriage opponents

Gay Patriot's B. Daniel Blatt looks at...The compulsion to label & belittle gay marriage opponents:
Perhaps the most depressing thing about the debate on gay marriage is the dedication of gay marriage advocates to demonizing those who oppose state-recognition of same-sex marriages.  With their childish “No H8″ campaign, they contend that people oppose their view because they hate gay people.
No, there are, I grant, some folks who oppose state recognition of same-sex marriages because of their animus against homosexuals, but they do not represent all such opponents.  Many oppose such recognition because they believe marriage should be reserved for different-sex couples.  Indeed, a good number of these folks (but, alas not all) support state recognition of civil unions, similar benefits, different name.
Should we call the legislators in Rhode Island and Illinois “haters” because they moved forward to recognize civil unions for same-sex couples without calling them marriage?
In fact, some who oppose same-sex marriage treat gay people with dignity.  Such individuals have, for example hosted me in their homes, listened to my arguments, stood with me in hours of difficulty and even let me play (unsupervised) with their kids.  They know gay people aren’t demons; they don’t disapprove of us, it’s just that their understanding of marriage differs from that of gay activists.
Which brings me to the Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing earlier this week on the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill (that I support) which repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
While I believe Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) is wrong to oppose the Act pending before the current Congress, he’s spot on when he takes issue with another supporter of the measure:
One of the witnesses before us today says that DOMA was passed for only one reason: “to express disapproval of gay and lesbian people.”  I know this to be false. Senators at the time such as Biden, Harkin, Kohl, and you, Mr. Chairman, and Representatives at the time, such as Schumer and Durbin, did not support DOMA to express disapproval of gay and lesbian people.  And neither did I.
Instead of demonizing DOMA supporters and questioning their motives, we should be challenging their arguments.
All this leads me to wonder — and not for the first time — why certain gay marriage advocates insist on seeing all those who disagree with them as harboring some kind of animus against gay people.
Because it's easier than making the case for redefining marriage?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Closing the book on open marriage

From the Washington Post "Faith" section: Closing the book on open marriage - Guest Voices - The Washington Post. Elided text and links in original.

Unfortunately, sex-advice columnist Dan Savage and academic apologists for open marriage would like to turn back the clock to this dark chapter in American marital history. Savage, who got a big plug in a recent The New York Times Sunday Magazine cover story, argues for a more “realistic” marital ethic that makes a place for nonmonogamy for some couples (so long as both parties consent), and is more forgiving of the occasional affair. In his view, “we’re not wired for monogamy,” some spouses can actually enrich their marriage by spicing up their sex or emotional lives with an extramarital relationship, and a one-size-fits-all sexual ethic cannot begin to cover the variability of human sexual desire.

....

So, what is the problem with a little “nonmonogamy” in marriage, so long as everyone is open and honest about it? There are at least five problems with open marriage.

1. Even today, sex often results in pregnancy. .... So, open marriages pose a real risk that children will be born without the benefit of two, married parents.

2. Monogamous, married sex is more likely to deliver long-lasting satisfaction than the quick thrill offered by infidelity. ....

3.People often do not realize what they are really consenting to when it comes to open marriage. Sexual relationships require some combination of time, money, and emotional effort. Efforts devoted to an outside partner can detract from efforts to invest in your spouse. Women who have sex with multiple partners are significantly more likely to end up depressed than women who do not. And, because sex is an emotionally bonding experience for many, extramarital sex can easily lead to the breakup of an existing marriage, even when all parties go into the situation with their eyes open.

4. Swinging increases your risk of acquiring a sexually-transmitted disease (STD). One of the best predictors of acquiring an STD is having sex with multiple partners, which is precisely what swinging is all about. ....

5. Open marriages put children at risk. Children are markedly more likely to be physically, emotionally, and especially sexually abused when they are exposed to a revolving carousel of romantic partners in the home, according to a recent federal report on child abuse. And we know nothing of the emotional impact on children of being exposed to open infidelity on the part of their parents.

The piece references the book, When Marriage Disappears. PDF and HTML download links are in the sidebar.

Sue to Protect Your Marriage

If marriage is important enough, this is another tool people might well use. Sue to Protect Your Marriage: "

And who knows? It might get some people to value the importance of tort reform.

Roland C. Warren, president of the National Fatherhood Initiative, published an essay in the Washington Post online, July 8, and in print, July 10, decrying the fact that women who have had affairs with male public figures, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, John Edwards, Tiger Woods and Eliot Spitzer, have become celebrities. He says these women knew that these men were married. They should not be 'media darlings,' but should be shunned as homewreckers. He says wives should fight back, just like Candy Lightner did 30 years ago when she started Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) after her teen-aged daughter was killed by a drunk driver.

One way women could fight back is by suing the women who have interfered with their marriage. Our states used to provide a legal remedy in such a situation. Spouses aggrieved by an intruder into their marriage had the right to sue the intruder for 'criminal conversation' (requiring adultery) or 'alienation of affections' (not requiring adultery). Over the past few decades the legislatures or supreme courts of about 40 of our states have abolished these rights. Why did they do so?

Many legislators, judges, and members of the public think that married people are free -- free to roam, free to play the field. No promise, no vow, no commitment they voluntarily made should be so strong that they cannot unilaterally withdraw. As for the third parties to a marriage, they are free to hit on a married person. Our laws won't let them stalk married folks or harass them, but they can hit on them. They do not need to respect any marital bond.

Have our legislators and judges actually said these things? They didn't need to. Their actions said it.

....

There are additional situations in which married persons could use lawsuits. A married person should be able to sue individuals who interfered with a marriage to gain commercial advantage. They should be allowed to sue prostitutes and their pimps, mistresses and gigolos, pornography websites, and dating websites that do not screen out married persons. The wife of former Governor Eliot Spitzer should be entitled to sue his prostitutes and their pimps to recover the more than $80,000 he reportedly paid them.

A husband should be able to sue a man, infected with a sexually transmitted disease, who has engaged, or has attempted to engage, in intercourse with his wife. Moreover, a wife should be able to hold persons liable for interfering with marital relations for selling drugs to her husband, or for feeding his gambling addiction if the drugs and gambling deprived her of his care, comfort, society, or consortium. (Precedents for such legislation include the Hugh O'Connor Memorial Laws, named after the son of actor Carroll O'Connor, and adopted by several states since the late 1990s. The laws allow family members to sue those who provided drugs to their loved ones.)

If we want a tool to protect individual marriages, and all marriages, weak and strong, then we can develop modern legislation on the interference of marital relations based on the historical causes of action known as 'criminal conversation' and 'alienation of affections' and on the ideas presented here.

Acknowledge Same-Sex Marriage — Or Else

From The American Spectator: Acknowledge Same-Sex Marriage — Or Else: "

Are libertarian-leaning Republicans responsible for legalized same-sex marriage in New York State? Gary Bauer addresses that question in Human Events today. It’s a case study in the tension between libertarianism and traditional conservatism.

It’s a tension that needn't exist. Capital “L” libertarians — as in, the Libertarian Party — typically take an active stand in support of same-sex marriage on the basis of individual freedom and expression. I’ve found that small “L” libertarians — those who identify with the philosophy, not necessarily the party — tend to ignore the issue in favor of fiscal matters.

Taking an honest assessment of the political playing field, which side in the equation is more freedom loving, the liberal or the conservative?

Bauer provides a few examples of same-sex marriage advocates’ anti-freedom inclinations:

Same-sex marriage is already having a chilling effect on religious freedom. In states that have legalized civil unions or gay marriage, Catholic adoption agencies have been shuttered or lost their tax-exempt status for refusing to let gay couples adopt children.

Last week in Illinois, Gov. Pat Quinn affirmed a decision by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services not to renew adoption contracts with Catholic Charities for the same reason because of the state’s law recognizing same-sex civil unions.

The radical homosexual rights movement is also trumping parental rights. In California last week, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a first-of-its-kind bill that requires public schools to add lessons about gay history to their social studies classes. Other states have incorporated the homosexual agenda into their curricula. In 2007, a federal judge ruled that Massachusetts public school students would not be able to opt out of lesson plans that normalize the homosexual lifestyle and promote same-sex marriage.

Even more, recall the outright harassment, threats, and intimidation that supporters of California’s marriage amendment have faced in recent years. The idea is to erase any public disapproval of homosexual behavior (or any exaltation of traditional marriage), through any means necessary.

Already, First Amendment freedom of speech and freedom of religion protections are falling under the homosexual-marriage juggernaut. Which freedoms do Libertarians value more? Soon, will any public disapproval of same-sex marriage be rendered “hate speech,” and sanctions enforced through the hand of state and federal government?

It’s intellectually inconsistent, and self-defeated to their cause, for Libertarians to support that shift. Same-sex marriage never has been about a desire among homosexual couples to enter into long-term, committed relationships. They can do that now in all 50 states without punishment or sanction. Rather, it’s been about forcing society, through government mandate, to put homosexual relationships on par with heterosexual marriage — through a marriage license.

And it will have that exact effect. The question is, will homosexual relationships be elevated to the level of heterosexual marriage, or will heterosexual marriage be brought to the level of all other relationships?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Can Marriage Be Saved?

Can Marriage Be Saved? - NRO Symposium - National Review Online

Judge Walker and Supposed Lack of “Evidence” of Marriage’s Procreative Purpose

Did the supporters of Prop 8 really tell Judge Walker they didn't need to prove their contention of a State interest in marriage being male-female only? It seems if you remove enough context, you can cast a witness as saying anything. Ed Whelan in Bench Memos at NRO offers this: Judge Walker and Supposed Lack of “Evidence” of Marriage’s Procreative Purpose - By Ed Whelan - Bench Memos - National Review Online

Among the many distortions and falsehoods that Judge Vaughn Walker has tried to propagate through his anti-Prop 8 ruling is his claim that the Prop 8 proponents—who intervened as defendants in the case and valiantly carried out the role of defending Prop 8 when the state defendants abandoned their duties to do so—“failed to build a credible factual record to support their claim that Proposition 8 served a legitimate government interest.” .... But in fact the Prop 8 proponents offered a thorough case that Walker almost entirely ignored—a case resting on a broad array of judicial authority, recognized scholarship in various academic fields, extensive documentary evidence, and elementary common sense.

One stark illustration of Walker’s massive distortion on this broader matter is his assertion (slip op. at 9-10) that “When asked [during closing arguments] to identify the evidence at trial that supported [the] contention [that ‘responsible procreation is really at the heart of society’s interest in regulating marriage’], proponents’ counsel [Charles Cooper] replied, ‘you don’t have to have evidence of this point.’” The clear—and utterly misleading—implication that Walker tries to leave through his grossly out-of-context quotation is that the Prop 8 proponents did not offer meaningful (indeed, overwhelming) evidence and other authority on this point. And plaintiffs’ counsel Ted Olson has compounded the falsehood with irresponsible public statements like this (from his interview on “Fox News Sunday With Chris Wallace”):
In fact, they [Prop 8 proponents] said during the course of the trial they didn’t need to prove anything, they didn’t have any evidence, they didn’t need any evidence.
1. Let’s begin by putting Cooper’s statement in its proper context:

At the closing argument in June, Cooper began by stating that “the historical record leaves no doubt … that the central purpose of marriage in virtually all societies and at all times has been to channel potentially procreative sexual relationships into enduring stable unions to increase the likelihood that any offspring will be raised by the man and woman who brought them into the world.” (3028: 13-19.) Cooper cited numerous Supreme Court (and other) cases that reflect this understanding. (3027-3028.)

When Cooper stated that “the evidence shows overwhelmingly that … responsible procreation is really at the heart of society’s interest in regulating marriage” (3038:5-8), Walker asked, “What was the witness who offered the testimony? What was it and so forth?” (3038:14-15.) Cooper began his response:
The evidence before you shows that sociologist Kingsley Davis, in his words, has described the universal societal interest in marriage and definition as social recognition and approval of a couple engaging in sexual intercourse and marrying and rearing offspring.
Cooper then cited Blackstone’s statements—which were also in evidence submitted at the trial—that the relation of husband and wife and the “natural impulse” of man to “continue and multiply his species” are “confined and regulated” by “society’s interests”; that the “principal end and design” of marriage is the relationship of “parent and child”; and that it is “by virtue of this relation that infants are protected, maintained, and educated.” (3038-3039*.)

As Cooper proceeded to work his way through “eminent authority after eminent authority”—all in evidence submitted at the trial—Walker interrupted him to ask the bizarre question, “I don’t mean to be flip, but Blackstone didn’t testify. Kingsley Davis didn’t testify. What testimony in this case supports the proposition?” (3039:16-18.)

Cooper responded to Walker’s question:
Your Honor, these materials are before you. They are evidence before you.… But, your Honor, you don’t have to have evidence for this from these authorities. This is in the cases themselves. The cases recognize this one after another. [3039:19-3040:1]
Walker: “I don’t have to have evidence?” [3040:2]

Cooper: “You don’t have to have evidence of this point if one court after another has recognized—let me turn to the California cases on this.” [3040:3-5]

Note that only the underlined portion of the passage is what Walker quotes in his opinion.

And there's more, including:

2. Walker’s question—“What testimony in this case supports the proposition?”—wasn’t just flip. It was downright stupid—amazingly so, from a judge who has been on the bench for more than two decades. Even if one indulges the mistaken assumption that there was any need for a trial in the case (rather than its being disposed of, one way or the other, on summary judgment, with competing expert and documentary submissions), live witness testimony is merely one form of trial evidence. Exhibits submitted in evidence at trial are another form. And a judge is of course free to, and expected to, take judicial notice of certain facts.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Economists Divide Over Reducing Debt - NYTimes.com

Economists Divide Over Reducing Debt - NYTimes.com

But buried in the middle, we find:

The key point of contention is whether the government should pay any part of its debts by raising revenue, or solely by spending less.

Industrialized nations have almost always adopted a combination of the two to cut debt, according to an International Monetary Fund survey last year. The fund, which examined 30 instances dating to the 1980s, found that nations on average closed half the gap with tax increases and half with spending cuts.

Both approaches cause immediate economic pain, but the dominant school of economic theory predicts that tax increases should be somewhat less painful to the nation’s economy. A $100 spending cut reduces economic activity by $100, while an equivalent tax hike will be paid partly from savings, so that spending is reduced by a smaller amount.

Recent studies, however, have found the opposite: Countries that rely primarily on spending cuts tend to experience less economic pain in the short term. Moreover, in some cases, the cuts seem to spur faster growth.

The monetary fund study reported that a 1 percent fiscal consolidation achieved primarily through tax increases reduced economic activity by 1.3 percent over two years, while an identical consolidation driven primarily by spending cuts reduced activity by 0.3 percent.

“It’s coming to be accepted wisdom that it’s better to have spending cuts than tax increases,” said Alan Auerbach, an economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

Critics say we don't know that the US economy will respond the same way as other economies do. But is that any reason not to try what's worked elsewhere?

A same-sex marriage thought

Six states now define "marriage" as including same-sex bonds.

The American Red Cross permanently defers from donating any man who has had sex with another man even once since 1977.
I suspect a man in a same-sex marriage would be automatically deferred, not the case for a woman in a same-sex marriage, or anyone in an opposite-sex marriage.
Which of the six states will feature the first anti discrimination lawsuit?



Just asking.......

New York-Style Marriage

From the American Spectator.

The argument made in favor of redefining marriage is that society has changed, society's view of marriage has changed, and so the institution itself needs to change.

It's going to be interesting to see if one of the changes involves making it such a generic "one more item in the menu" that it goes away completely.

New York-Style Marriage

.> ...As recently as the 1990s, the belief that marriage was anything but a union between a man and a woman was a fringe position. A huge bipartisan congressional majority passed and Democratic President Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act when it looked like judges might rule differently in just one state. Same-sex marriage was considered an oxymoron, not a blow for equality. When given the chance, blue states were as likely as red states to vote it down.

New York is now the biggest state where marriage is legally considered a unisex institution. This is the result of democratically enacted legislation, not judicial fiat. Though supporters have yet to prevail in a single state referendum, more than half of the six states that have full gay marriage (not just civil unions) have now arrived at that destination by the legislative process rather than judicial imposition.

While vast pockets of resistance remain in the black and Hispanic communities, the Democratic Party is trending inexorably toward an embrace of this new definition of marriage. Barack Obama is sure to be the last Democrat nominated for president who even nominally opposes the idea. The Republican Party has been divided on the issue between opponents who are sincere but strategically inept and party elites who need social conservative votes but care nothing about social conservative concerns.

For now marriage is likely to become another red-blue debate, a basic social institution that means something completely different depending on state residence or where one sits along the political spectrum. In the long term, however, the momentum is decidedly in favor of New York-style matrimony. The Obama administration has withdrawn its support from the Defense of Marriage Act; courts are buffeting California's Proposition 8 on the grounds that some constitutional amendments are less constitutional than others.

....

How did we get here? The plain fact is traditional marriage was under assault long before same-sex couples began demanding state sanction for their relationships. For millions, marriage long ago ceased to be a promise made before God and community for man to take care of woman until death do us part, for man and woman to take care of their children until they are old enough to take care of themselves.

In its place is a half-meant promise to live together until man and woman are sick of each other or no longer have sufficiently enjoyable sex, with children fitting somewhere alongside who gets the Prius as a priority.

For all the rhetoric about the "freedom" to marry, marriage is in fact a constriction of liberty, the imposition of obligations that last a lifetime. While the ideal of marriage remains attractive, for many its obligations do not. And over time, various social circumstances undergirding traditional marriage changed. Women ceased to need men for their economic support. Illegitimate children no longer had to be differentiated from legitimate ones. Religion, morality, and tradition became a matter of personal taste. To many, marriage is simply state recognition of their affections, a Good Housekeeping seal of approval on their relationships.

Once marriage was separated from its reasons for being, denying gays -- whose relationships were increasingly destigmatized -- state recognition of their affections seemed to many well-meaning people to be arbitrary and more than a little cruel.

But even in today's society, severing marriage from its last links to biology will have its consequences. After the initial euphoric rush down the aisles subsides and the backlog of license applications clears, most New York gays and lesbians will likely enjoy the social status their new right confers without ever exercising it. For as the gay libertarian writer Justin Raimondo has argued, "That's because [gay marriage supporters] have never explained -- and never could explain -- why it would make sense for gays to entangle themselves in a regulatory web and risk getting into legal disputes over divorce, alimony, and the division of property."

It will be mostly heterosexuals marrying under a new set of rules where biological parents waiving all rights to their children is as much a part of marriage's basic design as connecting parents and children. Perhaps that's appropriate, since heterosexuals have made the new definition of marriage thinkable.

Nevertheless, supporters of New York-style matrimony remain confident that this innovation is relevant only to about 3 percent of the population. For everyone else, all the benefits of traditional marriage will remain intact. We can have our wedding cakes and eat them too.

Give Directly

Interesting notion...

Give Directly: "

Here is Tyler summarizing the principles of charitable giving:

1. Cash is often the best form of aid.

2. Give to those who are not expecting it, and,

3. Don’t require the recipients to do anything costly to get the money.

Loyal readers will recall that Tyler followed through on his advice by sending money to random people in India, as suggested by MR readers (see also here).

A new charity is formalizing Tyler’s system and reducing the transaction cost of efficient donation. GiveDirectly takes donations over the web, locates poor households in Kenya using people on the ground, and then transfers money directly to the recipient’s cell phone (even very poor households typically have cell phones but GiveDirectly provides SIM cards for those who do not.) Transactions costs are low, just 10%.

You will not be surprised to learn that the CEO and founders and are all economists (one MBA/MPA). All the founders also have extensive experience in development. A randomized control trial is under way to evaluate the program.

Transfers, following point #3, are unconditional. The founders write:

GiveDirectly intentionally provides unconditional, rather than conditional, cash transfers. We do this for three reasons. First, empowering the poor to make their own decisions advances our core value of respect. Second, it lets recipients purchase the things they need most, enhancing impact. Third, imposing conditions on the use of funds requires that costly monitoring and enforcement structures be put in place. One detailed estimate put the administrative costs of a conditional cash transfer scheme at 63% of the transfers made over the first three years of the program (Caldes & Maluccio 2005).

Points one and three are excellent. The second point is a bit disengenous, yes it lets recipients purchase they things they need but it also lets recipients purchase alcohol, cigarettes and prostitutes. Even in poor countries, a substantial amount of poverty is caused by poor choices. Still, there is no special reason to think that cash grants will increase the proportion of money spent on “bad goods.” Cash grants could even reduce bad-goods spending. Some people drink to escape depressing circumstances, for example, so if you make things less depressing, drinking can fall. Moreover, even if you give people housing, health care, or food (stamps!) it’s not so easy to get around bad-goods spending because money is fungible.  Thus, I have no problem with donating cash.

Indeed, Tyler and I wish to encourage experimentation in charity and we have therefore made a donation to GiveDirectly.

AddendumGivewell, our favorite charity evaluator, says GiveDirectly is too new to evaluate but they like the idea and they note that GiveDirectly has been unusually forthright in providing them with advance plans on evaluation.

"

Monday, July 18, 2011

Marriage and history

I was reviewing blog posts and followed a link to this piece at the SF Chronicle: Prop. 8 judge makes strange charge".

What is the charge?

A federal judge in San Francisco ruled Wednesday that President Obama is a bigot. And not just the president. Joe Biden as well, and Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sandra Day O'Connor. And maybe you, too.

The judge didn't put it that way, of course. Technically, he ruled that an amendment to California's Constitution violated the U.S. Constitution by defining marriage as a union of one man and one woman.

He goes on to talk about the history of marriage...

This was a strange ruling. The U.S. Supreme Court decided in 1971 that an identical challenge to the traditional definition of marriage was meritless. Nor has the Supreme Court ever suggested that its 1971 decision was wrong. Wednesday's ruling relied primarily on a constitutional doctrine that forbids laws having no conceivable rational purpose or no purpose except to oppress a politically unpopular minority group. After a lengthy trial, the judge found that the people of California must have adopted the traditional definition of marriage because of moral or religious contempt for homosexuals and their relationships.

It was a strange charge to make against the people of California. California has the most progressive domestic partnership law in the nation, which gives same-sex couples all the same substantive rights and privileges available to married couples. Why would the judge think that the only possible reason for favoring the traditional definition of marriage was bigotry? He reasoned that every other possible explanation for the voters' decision was so ridiculous that only anti-gay feelings were left.

Until very recently, same-sex marriage was unknown in human history, and it is opposed today by many progressive leaders, like Obama and Clinton. Can this be explained only by irrational prejudice or religious zeal? No. Only unions between men and women are capable of producing offspring, and every civilization has recognized that responsible procreation is critical to its survival. After the desire for self-preservation, sexual passion is probably the most powerful drive in human nature. Heterosexual intercourse naturally produces children, sometimes unintentionally and only after nine months.

Without marriage, men often would be uncertain about paternity or indifferent to it. If left unchecked, many men would have little incentive to invest in the rearing of their offspring, and the ensuing irresponsibility would have made the development of civilization impossible.

The fundamental purpose of marriage is to encourage biological parents, especially fathers, to take responsibility for their children. Because this institution responds to a phenomenon uniquely created by heterosexual intercourse, the meaning of marriage has always been inseparable from the problem it addresses.

Homosexual relationships (and lots of others as well), have nothing to do with the purpose of marriage, which is why marriage does not extend to them. Constitutional doctrine requires only one conceivable rational reason for a law, and the traditional definition of marriage easily meets that test.

It's not just about whether homosexual love is inferior to heterosexual love, or whether homosexuals are to be denied their rights. Or even just about benefits. The benefits are a bribe to get people to settle down and raise families.

Of course, some will attack the messenger:

Nelson Lund is a professor at George Mason University School of Law in Arlington, Va. He has assisted in the representation of proponents of Proposition 8 in the case Perry vs. Schwarzenegger.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

MercatorNet: Anything else on the menu?

MercatorNet: Anything else on the menu?
Supporters of same-sex marriage say that the New York law is good for marriage. In a way they’re right. Just as World War II was good for Germany because out of the ashes, corpses and rubble arose a heightened sense of human dignity and a democratic and peaceful government, same-sex marriage will heighten our esteem for real marriage.

Turnabout is fair play

Turnabout is fair play: "

Phil Senter has published the most deviously underhanded, sneaky, subtle undermining of the creationist position I've ever seen, and I applaud him for it. What he did was to take them seriously, something I could never do, and treat their various publications that ape the form of the scientific literature as if they actually were real science papers, and apply their methods consistently to an analysis of taxonomy. So on the one hand, it's bizarre and disturbing to see the like of Ken Ham, Jerry Bergman, and Henry Morris get actual scientific citations, but on the other hand, seeing their claims refuted using their own touted methods is peculiarly satisfying.

Senter has published a paper in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology that takes their claims at face value and analyzes dinosaur morphology using their own methods. 'Baraminologists' have published a set of taxonomic tools that use as input a matrix of morphological characters for an array of animals, and then spits out numbers that tell whether they were similar enough to be related. You can guess what the motivation for that is: they want to claim that Noah didn't have to carry representatives of every dinosaur species on the Ark, but only representatives of each 'kind', which then diversified rapidly after the big boat landed to generate all the different species found in the fossil record.

The problem for them is that Senter found that it works far too well. Using creationist techniques, all of the Dinosauria reduce to…eight kinds. That makes the boat haulage problem relatively even easier.

Here is the summary diagram, illustrating the derived creationist tree of common descent. Oops.

creationisttree.jpeg
Summary of results of taxon correlation analyses across Dinosauria. Each boxed group of silhouettes indicates a group for which taxon correlation found within-group morphological continuity; for silhouette groups in different boxes, taxon correlation found morphological discontinuity between the groups. Dotted lines represent uncertainty as to whether morphological discontinuity is truly present. On the cladogram, triangles indicate paraphyletic groups.

At first, the results of the taxon correlation analyses appear to imply good news for the creationist world view, on several fronts. First, seven major dinosaurian groups (birdlike coelurosaurs, Tazoudasaurus + Eusauropoda, Stegosauria, Ankylosauridae, Neoceratopsia, Hadrosauridae and basal Hadrosauriformes) are separated from the rest of Dinosauria by morphological gaps (Fig. 15). Creationist inferences that variety within Eusauropoda (Morris, 1999) and Ceratopsidae (Ham, 2009) represent diversification within separately created kinds are congruent with these results. Second, each morphologically continuous group found by taxon correlation includes at least some herbivores. This is congruent with the creationist assertion that all carnivorous animals are descendants of originally herbivorous ancestors (Unfred, 1990; Gish, 1992; Ham, 1998, 2006, 2009; Larsen, 2001; McIntosh & Hodge, 2006). Third, although creationists have answered the problem of room on Noah's ark for multiple pairs of gigantic dinosaurs by asserting that only about 50 'created kinds' of dinosaurs existed (Ham, 1998, 2001, 2006, 2009; Morris, 1999), the problem is solved even better by the results of this study, in which only eight dinosaur 'kinds' are found.

Awww. I guess I'm going to have to become a creationist, now that the evidence shows that dinosaurs are related by common descent…oh, hey, wait. Isn't that what evolution says? And isn't that easier to accommodate within the idea that they did this over millions of years, rather than the freakishly unrealistic hyper-speciation within a few thousand years that the creationists insist on?

However, a second look reveals that these results are at odds with the creationist view. Whether there were eight dinosaur 'kinds' or 50, the diversity within each 'kind' is enormous. Acceptance that such diversity arose by natural means in only a few thousand years therefore stretches the imagination. The largest dinosaurian baramin recovered by this study includes Euparkeria, basal ornithodirans (Silesaurus and Marasuchus), basal saurischians, basal ornithischians, basal sauropodomorphs, basal thyreophorans, nodosaurid ankylosaurs, pachycephalosaurs, basal ceratopsians, basal ornithopods and all but the most birdlike theropods in an unbroken spectrum of morphological continuity. The creationist viewpoint allows for diversification within baramins, but the diversity within this morphologically continuous group is extreme. Also, the inclusion of the Middle Triassic non-dinosaurs Euparkeria and Marasuchus within the group is at odds with the creationist claim that fossil representatives of the predinosaurian, ancestral stock from which dinosaurs arose have never been found (DeYoung, 2000; Ham, 2006; Bergman, 2009).

So, effectively, these results, made using the creationists own tools, demonstrate a genetic relationship between a diverse group of animals that evolution predicted, and confronts young earth creationists with the problem of a kind of frantically prolific speciation that is unimaginably rapid. If species are that fluid and can change that rapidly, their own claims of fixity of species are patently wrong.

The final word:

The results of this study indicate that transitional fossils linking at least four major dinosaurian groups to the rest of Dinosauria are yet to be found. Possibly, some creationist authors will hail this finding as evidence of special creation for those four groups. However, such enthusiasm should be tempered by the finding here that the rest of Dinosauria--including basal members of all major lineages--are joined in a continuous morphological spectrum. This confirms the genetic relatedness of a very broad taxonomic collection of animals, as evolutionary theory predicts, ironically by means of a measure endorsed and used by creation science.

This is so wonderfully, evilly devious. Superficially, it seems to support creationist methods—but what it actually is is a grand reductio ad absurdam. Laugh wickedly at it now, but laugh even harder when you see creationists citing this paper in the future, as you know they will.


Senter P (2011) Using creation science to demonstrate evolution 2: morphological continuity within Dinosauria. J Evol Biol. doi: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2011.02349.x.

"

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Harvard Study: The July Fourth Parades Makes People Into Republicans!

Patterico's Pontifications » Harvard Study: The July Fourth Parades Makes People Into Republicans!

I offered my comments here, and posted a link to the actual study for people to review.

Lessons in Media Bias for Jon Stewart | Verum Serum

Lessons in Media Bias for Jon Stewart | Verum Serum

Is the media biased against conservatives?

In the next article, they address the question, "Do cats shed on the furniture?"

Friday, July 01, 2011

Study: Republicans more patriotic than Democrats « Hot Air

Study: Republicans more patriotic than Democrats

It seems the Democrats have abandoned the field to Republicans. Perhaps they just don't respond to the values?

Atlas Revived

 
 

Sent to you by Karl via Google Reader:

 
 

via Big Lizards by Dafydd on 6/26/11

Perversity's blowback as the savior of marriage

Now that New York State has approved same-sex marriage -- rather, now that the New York State legislature has done so, probably over the objections of a strong majority of its own citizen constituents -- we need a battleplan to hold the line against this becoming the norm.

Why? So what if the federal circus courts begin striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in this and that circuit, forcing states that oppose SSM nevertheless to have it de facto anyway. What's the big deal?

The "big deal" is that once same-sex marriage (SSM) has become nearly universal around the country, then we're going to see the same terrible effects on our society that we already see in Europe: diminished interest in marriage (it's no longer special), more domestic violence, even quicker divorces, a marked drop in the fertility rate, massive importation of fecund immigrants who have no loyalty whatsoever to the United States... and of course ever greater pressure to also allow polygamy and polyandry, group marriage, and so forth.

Pro-SSM people (like Patterico) are fond of making the argument that somebody else's SSM doesn't affect his own marriage; his marriage is still just as strong! Just as strong, perhaps; but not just as special as it used to be, not when any random association between two or more people of any gender can also be called a "marriage."

It's like counterfeiting money: If I print my own twenty-dollar bills, that doesn't physically change the real bills you have in your wallet at this moment; they don't magically change into newspaper, the ink doesn't turn a different color, Andy Jackson doesn't morph into George Soros. In that sense, my counterfeits don't directly affect your sawbucks... but my counterfeits indirectly devalue your real bills, creating uncertainty about which currency is real and which is fake, how much is out there, which is truly legal tender and which an ersatz copy that, if discovered, is worthless.

My counterfeit currency spreads fear, uncertainty, doubt. Private counterfeiting is as bad as rampant money-creation via the Federal Reserve; worse in the sense that at least the Fed must report on its activities from time to time.

By this analogy, traditional marriage is the currency backed by some form of specie, that which gives the institution of marriage itself the very cachet and social benefit that same-sex couples want to claim for their own. Contrariwise, any other form of union that is legally called marriage is the fiat or counterfeit currency; it piggy-backs on the real institution of marriage, hoping some of the moral, emotional, and sacred virtue rubs off.

Marriage is quite a special social institution; that's why it's the one to which we entrust child rearing. But to paraphrase Dash in the Incredibles, when everything is "special," then nothing is special.

So what to do, what to do? With the third largest state in the U.S. falling, I fear that train has left the station. Even if there is a later referendum in New York and the people reverse that decision, already hundreds of thousands of people across the nation will have flown to the Bug Apple and gotten legally married. And as we're finding out in California, you can't put the genie back in the bottle again, even if it was let out in despite of the voters.

You can't fight something with nothing; we need something positive to fight for, not just something negative to fight against; we can't allow ourselves to be put on the defensive by the Left and by libertarians who oppose legal marriage altogether. I believe there is only one answer: The Covenant marriage movement must become a popular front, just as the Tea Party movement already has.

Covenant marriage (CM) as a distinct legal institution arose comparatively recently, in response to the jump in the divorce rate in the 1980s. It differs significantly from normal legal marriage in ways that make it vastly more exclusive an institution:

  • In a CM, couples must first undergo pre-nuptial counseling before they can marry.
  • They agree to limit the grounds for divorce from the standard normal around the country -- if either party wants a divorce, that's grounds for divorce -- to a much narrower set of grounds, usually spousal or child abuse, felony conviction, or adultery. (If a state allows a CM couple to negotiate its own covenant, there can of course be more or fewer grounds for divorce.)
  • Any CM passed by citizen demand would, by its enabling legislation, be restricted to the traditional definition of marriage -- one man, one woman. Creating a new form of marriage to exclude non-traditional groups of people being married is the only reason that CM legislation is likely to be passed in most states.
  • CM is non-denominational and can be performed by civil authorities as well as religious; there's no religiosity requirement.

But how could CM become "the savior of marriage?" It's clear that the law cannot confer any greater legal status upon a couple married under CM than normal marriage confers upon the two, three, n-number of males and/or females who "marry" under that regime.

Yet that very point should make it harder for the courts to subvert CM: Same-sex couples (and later, groups of people larger than two) cannot argue that they're excluded from legal marriage, up to and including the name "marriage." They have the same legal rights and status, insofar as the secular law is concerned. Therefore, they have no legal ground to demand that Covenant marriage be forced to allow same-sex, polyamorous, group, incestuous, or under-aged marriages. The only difference between normal and Covenant marriage is that the latter has a number of restrictions not found in the former.

True, CM confers no more legal rights than normal marriage; but extra legal rights were never really the source of the specialness of marriage -- except perhaps the legal right for spouses not to testity against each other. (That last will certainly have to be revisioned when polyamorous marriages are allowed, unless we want entire Mafia families and street gangs to "marry" each other, so that nobody can squeal.)

No, the specialness of marriage has always flowed from its exclusivity and its permanence... which is why the Left has persistently attacked both those qualities by (a) twisting the definition of marriage towards making any association of any number of people a "marriage," and (b) making it easier and easier to walk away from a marriage upon the slightest pretext, provocation, or whim.

By restoring exclusivity and strengthening permanence, CM becomes the "real" marriage, and ordinary legal marriage just a trendy domestic partnership. And if that is how people begin to see it, we'll see more and more traditional couples getting married under Covenant, so they can demonstrate to the world their commitment to, and determination to work at, the union.

Ordinary legal marriage will persist, and will still confer the same legal status and rights; but it will probably fall into greater and greater disrepute among the majority: "Oh, you won't marry me with a Covenenant marriage? What, you want a back door out whenever you get bored with me? Drop dead, you creep!"

Women especially will have good reason to demand a CM or nothing: They know better than most men how vital is an intact family, with a male father and a female mother, when raising children.

A few caveats, none of which changes the basic equation:

  • It's very unlikely that Congress will pass a federal version of CM. Nor should it. We have an enviable system of federalism; let it work! Each state can decide what exact kind of Covenant marriage to allow, if any, in its enabling legislation.
  • Even if your state enacts a strong version of CM, it cannot make it illegal for one of the partners to move to another state, establish residency, and then get divorced under that state's no-fault divorce law that doesn't recognize the covenant. That's the price of liberty.
  • There will never come a time when normal marriage is abolished altogether; because if it did vanish from a state, then the Left could once again raise the spector of "unequal treatment." Specious though it is -- gays and straights alike are constrained in who they can marry; neither can marry a sibling, for example -- the judiciary has signalled that it is ready to cram SSM down our throats, and to hell with voters.

  • But that's a feature, not a bug; when state citizens must actually make a choice which type of marriage to enter into, they necessarily will have to think longer and harder about it that with a normal legal marriage. (As of course we all should, and do, if we believe it to be a solemn vow.)

Just as tea parties have swept the nation in a "popular front" -- and I believe I was the first person to so desribe them, back in February, 2010 -- I see Covenant marriage doing the same (with a vast overlap, most likely). And that means those of us who support traditional marriage no longer need wage a defensive war, trying to protect every state, city, village, and farm from the contagion of the "love bug," the untenable and cockamamie meme that "love is all you need" for marriage.

That bit of wrongthinking leads directly to our present discontent, the conclusion that any two or more people who "love" each other should be allowed to marry... men, women, siblings, fathers with their daughters, forty year olds with fourteen year olds, one man with eight women.

Instead, we can revert to the traditional American strategy of opening our own offensive. Rather than try to defend the status quo ante, we fight to implement a new form of marriage that is more exclusive and more permanent, bucking the leftist trend towards inclusion and impermanence. We slap both kinds of marriage on the table, then let the people choose. I predict that after an astonishingly brief time, "normal" marriage, with its unspecial universality and unserious provisional nature, will sink into desuetude, the last step before moribundity.

Americans may be many things, but not generally a mob: When the Left forces mob-rule upon us -- or more accurately, when they gin-up mobs to force tyranny upon the rest of us, with themselves as smug, self-satisfied tyrants -- we the people have a glorious history of rising up against them. This is true whether it's the tyranny of socialism, the tyranny of "diversity," or the tyranny of perversity.

As SSM spreads and infects more and more states, CM will grow alongside and surpass it in every venue. Soon the Obamunists will be fighting the defensive war, clinging to their "inclusive" definition of marriage. We achieve victory within the culture, despite -- even because of -- the Left's victory in the courts and legislatures. As an institution that is far more societal than legal, a solid victory within the culture is of much greater moment and future value than merely winning legal and legislative battles on the ground.

As the pushback becomes a wave, then a tsunami, and more and more states enact some version of Covenant marriage, then we'll once again have an exclusive and durable form of union to offer in preference to the liberals' and leftists marriage-lite. I sense that people, most especially young adults, have grown tired of weak tea and tolerance of everything, including intolerance itself. They crave something permanent, solid, bigger than themselves.

Give us Americans the choice, and I believe we will once again lead the rest of the world out of its moral morass.

Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...


 
 

Things you can do from here:

 
 

About those bail-outs

 

If the government hadn't stepped in and dictated the terms of the restructuring, the story goes, General Motors and Chrysler would have collapsed, and at least a million jobs would have been lost. The bailouts averted disaster, and they did so at remarkably little cost.

The problem with this happy story is that neither of its parts is accurate. Commandeering the bankruptcy process was not, as apologists for the bailouts claim, the only hope for GM and Chrysler. And the long-term costs of the bailouts will be enormous.

Under the strategy that was chosen, each of the companies was required to file for bankruptcy as a condition of receiving additional funding. Rather than undergo a restructuring under ordinary bankruptcy rules, however, each corporation pretended to "sell" its assets to a new entity that was set up for the purposes of the sale.

With Chrysler, the new entity paid $2 billion, which went to Chrysler's senior lenders, giving them a small portion of the $6.9 billion they were owed. (Fiat was given a large stake in the new entity, although it did not contribute any money). But the "sale" also ensured that Chrysler's unionized retirees would receive a big recovery on their $10 billion claim—a $4.6 billion promissory note and 55% of Chrysler's stock—even though they were lower priority creditors.

If other bidders were given a legitimate opportunity to top the $2 billion of government money on offer, this might have been a legitimate transaction. But they weren't. A bid wouldn't count as "qualified" unless it had the same strings as the government bid—a sizeable payment to union retirees and full payment of trade debt. If a bidder wanted to offer $2.5 billion for Chrysler's Jeep division, he was out of luck. With General Motors, senior creditors didn't get trampled in the same way. But the "sale," which left the government with 61% of GM's stock, was even more of a sham.

If the government wanted to "sell" the companies in bankruptcy, it should have held real auctions and invited anyone to bid. But the government decided that there was no need to let pesky rule-of-law considerations interfere with its plan to help out the unions and other favored creditors. Victims of defective GM and Chrysler cars waiting to be paid damages weren't so fortunate—they'll end up getting nothing or next to nothing.

 

The indirect costs may be the worst problem here. The car bailouts have sent the message that, if a politically important industry is in trouble, the government may step in, rearrange the existing creditors' normal priorities, and dictate the result it wants. Lenders will be very hesitant to extend credit under these conditions.

This will make it much harder, and much more costly, for a company in a politically sensitive industry to borrow money when it is in trouble. As a result, the government will face even more pressure to step in with a bailout in the future. In effect, the government is crowding out the ordinary credit markets.

None of this suggests that we should be unhappy with the recent success of General Motors and Chrysler. Their revival is a very encouraging development. But to claim that the car companies would have collapsed if the government hadn't intervened in the way it did, and to suggest that the intervention came at very little cost, is a dangerous misreading of our recent history.



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