Saturday, June 15, 2002

Civil Unions for All

While doing a little surfing today, this article in the Manchester Union-Leader caught my attention. Now, for those of you who are not familiar with this paper, it makes the Washington Times look like the New York Times; they supported Steve Forbes in the 2000 GOP primary, and it wasn't because of his position on the flat tax. I found it absolutely incredible (but gratifying) to see an article supporting gay rights in a publication of their reputation.

Although this article was written in October, I did not see the article before today. Nonetheless, it very closely tracks with one of the very first items I blogged here, after following a debate between Shouting 'cross the Potomac's Tony Adragna and Zonitics's Edward Boyd. What I wrote was:

What I propose is a radical redefinition of marriage--only marriages performed by a religious leader shall be defined as a marriage. Any other type of joining, including heterosexual unions performed by a justice of the peace, shall be considered a civil union, with the same legal priveleges.

What Mr. Swayne wrote:

Enact a federal civil union law. Change the laws with property, representation and dependent protections from “marriage” to “civil union.” Eliminate penalties that keep blended families and elderly couples from getting hitched. Make civil unions available to gays and straights alike. And give marriage back to houses of worship. You want legal protections? Get a civil union. You want marriage? Go to your faith community.

While we are arguing from fundamentally different viewpoints, we arrived at the same conclusion.

Friday, June 14, 2002

Light Posting

Sorry for the low post count over the past few days, but an attack of Real Life™ intervened. Couple that with some changes for this blog, and you end up with a disincentive to post.

Posting will be light until Sunday evening, unless the middle east blows up, or the EU dissolves, or somebody says something monumentally stupid (Robert Scheer and Cynthia McKinney are excluded, because they always say monumentally stupid things).

Tapped vs. the Green Party

Tapped has been on the warpath lately regarding the Green Party (this post has links to a Salon piece--which requires a subscription-- and an American Prospect article, which does not). Seems they are bent out of shape at the fact that the Green Party is now running candidates against "good" liberals such as Paul Wellstone, and it may be hurting the Democrats in their efforts to retain control of the Senate, and to take control of the House of Representatives. Tapped feels that the Greens should support the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, in order to keep the evil Republicans from running the show, even if the Democratic Party isn't an exact ideological fit with Green Party issues.

I wonder if they felt that the Reform Party should have supported the reform-minded wing of the GOP in 1992 (when Perot's candidacy doomed Bush's chances for a second term). How about the Libertarians? They scored enough votes in the 2000 election to topple Slade Gorton and make Maria Cantwell the junior senator from Washington. Neither of these groups have views entirely congruent with the GOP, but they could have worked inside the GOP to achieve their goals, but instead ran candidates which sucked away votes from the Republican candidates.

The Green Party is currently the largest third party in the United States (in terms of votes received in the 2000 election), due for the most part of the self-destruction of the Reform Party. However, like all minor parties, they don't have a snowball's chance in hell of electing a major candidate (Jesse Ventura was a fluke, and Angus King of Maine doesn't belong to any party). The last person initially elected to congress as something other than a Democrat or Republican was Socialist Bernie Sanders of Vermont; there has never been a Libertarian, Green, Reform, or Natural Law candidate elected to a statewide or federal post (except for Ventura, who has left the moribund Reform Party). The only reason the minor parties exist is for the electorate to express their dissatisfaction with the current platforms of the major parties. This is not Europe, where multiparty coalitions form the government; our system is not set up as a parliamentary democracy, which is why third parties are less relevant in the US then they are elsewhere.

Full Disclosure: I am registered as a Libertarian, although my voting record is mixed. I cannot see registering as a Democat, but as long as the Republican Party retains its current cast on social issues, they will not enjoy my support.

The Enneagram test

It seems to be taking the blog world by storm. I took it, and this is my result:

take free enneagram test

I'm not sure that that is all that accurate a reflection of myself, since this, totally dissimilar, result was tied with the above:

take free enneagram test

I'm not that empathic, but I'm also not overwhelmingly self-critical.

Thursday, June 13, 2002

Experts say study definitively shows kids' vaccines are safe

Not that yet another exhaustively documented, thorough study will have any effect on the anti-vaccination agitators.

I am a strong proponent of vaccination programs, because they work. Measles outbreaks are very rare in this country, because most kids are vaccinated.

One of the groups behind the anti-vaccination movement here in the US appears to be chiropractors. While I do not know if they are formally organized, many chiropractors are firmly in the anti-vaccination camp. While I believe that the chiropractic method has its applications (I've had several fix me up when I've been sore), I don't agree with their "all medication is bad" philosophy. For the same reason, I oppose any type of medical practice that eschews proper use of medication, such as holistic medicine or naturopathy.

I don't think that chiropractic can effectively deal with my condition, which is controlled fairly well by medication. A routine blood test 18 months ago revealed that I had an astronomically high triglyceride level of 977. After three months on Lopid, it had dropped to a high, but much more reasonable 229, where it has remained (with continued use of the drug). Such an abnormally high count cannot be accounted for solely by diet; there are strong indications that genetics are at work here, a view that is strengthened by my parents' medical histories. Consequently, I will most likely be taking this medicine for the rest of my life. Those who would advocate against medication argue that I am poisoning myself, whereas I believe that I am correcting a genetic defect.

Wednesday, June 12, 2002

Gotta love Ebay

Where else but Ebay could you find something like this?

(Link courtesy of Radley Balko, at The Agitator.)

Tuesday, June 11, 2002

Private Data Vs. Public War

The Christian Science Monitor takes note of Bob Barr's relentless work on protecting privacy issues with this editorial. Barr has proposed a bill that requires a "Privacy Impact Statement" that will assess the impact of any bill. It notes a few new bills currently making their way through congress, and points out how privacy may be trumped by a bureaucracy that wants unrestricted access to information, whether or not it is needed. The problem with centralized databases is that they can be hacked, and such a large target would be irresistable for those who want information for any purpose, nefarious or benign.

It's a shame that Bob Barr is such a wing-nut. He is the biggest advocate of privacy issues of the 535 senators and congressmen, but his bombastic, overbearing style (and his views on social issues) make him an easy target. He makes Newt Gingrich look like the Tooth Fairy. If he were to dial down the rhetoric just a tad, he'd be a far more effective legislator, but the damage is done, and his image is set in stone. If we're lucky, someone else will take up his drive for privacy, someone who is a little less over-the-top.

Victims need constitutional rights, too

The trial of David Westerfield, accused kidnapper and murderer of 7-year-old Danielle van Dam, began this week in a San Diego courtroom.

Two especially interested parties will be excluded from most of the otherwise public proceedings – the dead little girl's parents.

This is the beginning of an excellent Joseph Perkins column in the San Diego Union-Tribune, which details how a concern for the civil rights of perpetrators has trumped (or trampled) the civil rights of the victims, the ones who were wronged. Any time the concept of victim's rights is broached, the ACLU reacts, claiming that the laws already on the books adequately protect the interests of victims and their families.

Someone let the Van Dams know that the laws are looking out for them; they probably think differently right about now.

Monday, June 10, 2002

Islam: The next American religion?

This article, from the Arab Times, is one of the most unintentially amusing articles I have seen in a while. Susanna Cornett of Cut on the Bias takes down the writer with a few well-placed comments. You can almost hear her laughing as she kicks the legs of his arguments out from underneath him.

Mob boss John Gotti dead at 61

God puts a hit on the Teflon Don.

Read about it in the Seattle Times, here.

Don't Freeze Us Out on Drilling

is the title of a guest editorial in today's Los Angeles Times. The author is an Alaskan resident who worked for an environmental study group concerned with the impact of constructing 6000 miles of pipeline through Canada to the US. Much of his research was conducted on Alaska's North Slope, where the Bush administration wishes to begin drilling. His views are ones that are seldom considered by the environmental agitators on K Street (the vast majority of whom have never been to Alaska), and are worth reading.

Another blogger takes a flying leap

...Off of Blogspot. Cut on the Bias has a new home, and a slightly crisper look.

Sunday, June 09, 2002

In Israeli Hospital, Bomber Tells of Trying to Kill Israelis

This is an account of the life of a failed suicide bomber, currently undergoing treatment in an Israeli hospital. You may remember him as the chap who was dragged along the road by the Israeli bomb-squad robot after his explosive charge failed to detonate correctly. It is rather interesting how he works to justify what appears to be a rather nihilistic decision to kill himself, while taking out as many Israelis as possible.

He said he was "pushed" to make his attack not by Israeli action or a terrorist group, but by "the love of martyrdom." He added: "I didn't want revenge for anything. I just wanted to be a martyr."

This is the problem the Israelis are facing. How does one deal with people who are so disdainful of human life, including their own?

"I know Israel," he said, recalling his six years as a peddler here. "I know that the individual Israeli citizen is innocent like us. Unfortunately, we are victims of our leaders, sitting on their chairs."

No, you're not. Your decision to try and blow yourself up has nothing to do with Israel's leaders, and little to do with the Palestinian Authority.

Mr. Zaydan, who has been interrogated by the Israelis and is expecting to be prosecuted, said bitterly that he knew he would be jailed for life and remembered only as a terrorist.

Gee, he's bitter that history will correctly note his role. Reap what you sow, bud.

"I feel sorry, because it was a mistake," he said. "But as a human being, I should live like others. The way there is an Israeli state, there are people living in this state, enjoying life, having someone protect them. I don't live in this situation. I don't feel I'm secure."

<heavy sarcasm>

It was a MISTAKE? You mean, you DIDN'T intend to strap on that bomb and kill Israelis? Oh, our mistake. Sorry about that.

</heavy sarcasm>

Soldiers could enter Jenin at any time, he said, and he constantly feared being arrested. "As long as life continues like this," he said, "you will have people who think like me." He insisted that he wanted peace, but said he saw little chance for it.

You mean, when te suicide bombers finally killed enough Jews for the Israelis to react, they actually ARRESTED people who were involved in terrorist activities? For shame! Perhaps peace would become a reality if poeple like you stopped strapping 30 pounds of fertilizer on, and then finding Israelis amongst which you detonate yourself.

N.Y. Jews to Start Armed Patrols

Citizens armed with shotguns will patrol the streets of the heavily Jewish Brooklyn neighborhoods because of comments a suspected terrorist made about targeting them, a rabbi said.

Expect to see the Brady Center and some of the more extreme left gun-grabbers complain that this "sends the wrong message", that "we must stop the cycle of gun violence" and so forth. I don't think it will do much to stop terrorism such as what we witnessed on September 11th, but I am willing to bet that crime will drop even further in neighborhoods with patrols. Just a guess on my part.

The whole story can be found here.