Friday, December 02, 2005

A Libertarian View on Homosexuality from an Unexpected Source: Jamaica

Former Jamaican Attorney-General and Justice Minister, JLP's Ossie Harding has taken a progressive and aggressive position against anti-sodomy laws. Although the issue of homosexuality and gay rights is debated by the Jamaican public and in Jamaican culture, this is the first time I’ve seen a Jamaican politician take a serious stance on this issue. And it’s a progressive one, and it’s from the traditionally conservative JLP (Jamaica Labour Party). Essentially Harding argues for separation of religious morality and secular government. Proving you can be socially liberal and economically conservative/pro-capital (I was beginning to think this was a myth and that no politician is capable of speaking his own mind when contrary to popular opinion). To my mind this is an important and courageous stance.

Highlights from a Jamaica Observer
report on Harding's October 2004 Institute of Law and Economics speech on the subject:


“THE law has no business in the private bedrooms of consenting adults, such as homosexuals and prostitutes, former attorney-general and justice minister, Dr.
Oswald Harding is insisting.
...some things are just not the law's business. Harding remains unconvinced by the argument that the law should be used to enforce moral codes, and argued that the private activities of consenting homosexuals and prostitutes should not be criminalised.”

Also:

[Harding] further posited that the Wolfden Committee's report reflected those of noted philosopher John Stuart Mill in his Essay on Liberty to the effect that the function of the law "is to preserve public order and decency, to protect the citizen from what is offensive or injurious, and to provide sufficient safeguards against exploitation or corruption of others, particularly those who are vulnerable because they are young, weak in body or mind or inexperienced".

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Reframing the Culture Wars: Rove Backs Away from the Christian Right

Reframing the culture wars, an issue that feels newly relevant as pundits and real people debate the potential batting order for the presidential race in 2008...

(original post 7 Nov 2004)
Karl Rove is so smart it’s scary. He’s already downplaying the importance of abortion and gay marriage in W’s victory. (see the Meet the Press
transcript) And trying to blame the media for the morals debate instead. It’s not about gays and abortion. It’s about what’s on TV. To a certain extent, I actually agree that’s true. The role of the east coast and west coast big media in stoking the flames of cultural war and rebellion must not be underestimated. The prominence of Will and Grace and Queer Eye aren’t helping democrats any, believe me. Despite that, Reverend Dobson and the Christian right are NOT going to be happy with this looser interpretation of values and their role in the election.

On Meet the Press, Russert asked Rove, “when you read or see or hear moral values what does that mean?”

Rove: “Well I think it’s people who are concerned about the coarseness of our culture. About what they see on the television sets. What they see in the movies. What they read in the newspapers. How they see the values of the country.”

Russert: But, how about the exit polls indicating morals were a definitive factor in the elections?

Rove: “I do have a little bit of a different view of those numbers. First of all if you take Iraq and terrorism and aggregate em, which I think are different sides of the same coin, 34% of the electorate are concerned with, if you will, the security issue. If you taxes and the economy and aggregate them, they’re 25% of the electorate. And then moral values is 3rd. That’s not to denigrate the importance of moral values, which have been traditionally about 16% of the electorate - had been concerned with that as their number one issue - in past races.

“What essentially happened in this race was, people became concerned about 3 issues: 1st the war; then the economy, jobs, and taxes; then moral values. And then everything else dropped off the plate. And security grew the most in comparison with past races but values grew 2nd, the 2nd most amount.”

Right, right, and right. So, Russert asks, how does Rove think the president can/should implement laws to address this type of moral value - coarseness of culture?

Rove suggests a variety of moderate measures: laws that "protect the weak", the partial birth abortion ban, the Lacey Peterson law, letting community based organizations play a bigger role in helping the poor, and the global aids initiative.
It's a long list. What's not mentioned? No same sex marriage ban, no outlawing abortion. Asked if Bush has a debt owed to the Christian right, Rove will only say: “The president has an obligation to serve all the people of America.”

If they’re smart, unlike Rev. Dobson, the Christian right will take Rove’s cues, tread lightly right now and fly under the radar later to get things done on their agenda. But are they as smart as Karl? Under his tutelage, they just might be.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Waging War on the Press?

In The Nation, two media critics compile a case against "Bush's War on the Press" and for a national shield law for journalists. On a related note, also check out Eric Alterman on the ongoing remodeling over at PBS.

With the November resignation of Moyers's nemesis, Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) board chair Ken Tomlinson, amid charges of personal and political wrongdoing and a host of other recent developments, it becomes increasingly clear that this White House is doing battle with the journalistic underpinnings of democracy. To be sure, every administration has tried to manipulate the nation's media system. Bill Clinton's wrongheaded support for the Telecommunications Act of 1996 cleared the way for George W. Bush's attempts to give media companies the power to create ever larger and more irresponsible monopolies. But with its unprecedented campaign to undermine and, where possible, eliminate independent journalism, the Bush Administration had demonstrated astonishing contempt for the Constitution and considerable fear of an informed public. Consider the bill of particulars...

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Greek Tragedy: life observation

Personal, more than political reflection--one of my favorite bloggers offers insight about how women love, what we think we want. It's not a partner's imperfection that frightens us; it's ours. From Stephanie Klein's Greek Tragedy blog:

"Insecurity is our worst abuse. Women prefer imperfection because it makes us feel safe. It's false security, but it does its job at soothing us here and now. We don't want more women to notice him, and we don't want him to want beyond what we do. But when we turn it inward, we know our desire to become more tone has less to do with him and more to do with our ability to be outgoing, personable, happier when things button without sucking it in.

When my MID broke up with me, at sixteen years old, I phoned him months later to tell him I was thin. I thought he'd love me again if he knew. We can't control who loves us or who will cheat on us if they get extra attention. Love handles more than love handles; it handles washboards, ripped triceps, and plunging necklines. "

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

t r u t h o u t - Maureen Dowd | Woman of Mass Destruction

Maureen Dowd has got Judith Miller's number. From The New York Times, Saturday 22 October 2005:
"I've always liked Judy Miller. I have often wondered what Waugh or Thackeray would have made of the Fourth Estate's Becky Sharp. "

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Buying the News is Bad- Who knew?

The problem with about this story is that the public is so scandal fatigued right now, I don't think it's possible for us to grasp the extent of the outrage. This one may have to take a number...

Buying of News by Bush's Aides Is Ruled Illegal - New York Times:
"WASHINGTON, Sept. 30 - Federal auditors said
on Friday that the Bush administration violated the law by buying favorable news
coverage of President Bush's education policies, by making payments to the
conservative commentator Armstrong Williams and by hiring a public relations
company to analyze media perceptions of the Republican Party."

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Network TV Gets Real?!

EW.com and Salon. com are shining a light on the one thing that has partially restored my faith and interest in television news. They focus mainly on Anderson Cooper (deservedly). Personally, I was blown also away by Carl Quintanilla's sincerity and bravery on the Today Show this morning of all places:
"Understandably, many reporters have abandoned their pose of objectivity. (You'd be on edge too if you needed armed guards to protect you on the streets of an American city.) CNN's Anderson Cooper
(left) got so angry that he berated a U.S. senator during an interview. (Read the transcript here.) Yet this subjectivity could be just what TV news needs to restore its reputation. If nothing else, Katrina could be the event that gets viewers to stop seeing TV journalists as out-of-touch elitists, if only because the reporters have been forced to stop acting like out-of-touch elitists."

Friday, September 02, 2005

A Can't-Do Government - New York Times

As usual, Paul Krugman asks all the right questions below. You can read the editorial in full at Truthout.org.

"Before 9/11 the Federal Emergency Management Agency listed the three most likely catastrophic disasters facing America: a terrorist attack on New York, a major earthquake in San Francisco and a hurricane strike on New Orleans. 'The New Orleans hurricane scenario,' The Houston Chronicle wrote in December 2001, 'may be the deadliest of all.' It described a potential catastrophe very much like the one now happening. So why were New Orleans and the nation so unprepared? After 9/11, hard questions were deferred in the name of national unity, then buried under a thick coat of whitewash. This time, we need accountability.

First question: Why have aid and security taken so long to arrive? Katrina hit five days ago - and it was already clear by last Friday that Katrina could do immense damage along the Gulf Coast. Yet the response you'd expect from an advanced country never happened. Thousands of Americans are dead or dying, not because they refused to evacuate, but because they were too poor or too sick to get out without help - and help wasn't provided. Many have yet to receive any help at all. There will and should be many questions about the response of state and local governments; in particular, couldn't they have done more to help the poor and sick escape? But the evidence points, above all, to a stunning lack of both preparation and urgency in the federal government's response."

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Time.com - Why You Can't Ignore Kanye

Time takes on hip-hop with a package that includes an in-depth cover story on Kanye West and a history of the roots of rap. Springboarding from Damon Dash's assertion that Kanye blends the sensibility of politically conscious rap with a more modern bling bling bravado, Time points out:

"That the 'urban demographic' needs 'superficialness' could be read as two euphemisms away from racism. But Dash, an African American who thinks exclusively in shades of green, is merely letting the world in on what's accepted as social fact by much of the record industry.

Hip-hop was born in the '70s as party music and evolved in the '80s into that rarest of pleasures--socially relevant party music. But in the mid-'90s, the genre came to be dominated by people like Snoop Dogg (sample track: Murder Was the Case), the Notorious B.I.G. (Ten Crack Commandments) and Jay-Z (Rap Game/Crack Game)--excellent rappers with a shrewd eye for journalistic detail but, to put it bluntly, ex--drug dealers.

'Rap changed a lot in the last few years,' notes comedian and hip-hop fan Chris Rock, who says he listens to The College Dropout while he writes jokes. 'In the early days, the best rappers weren't necessarily from the hood. Run-D.M.C. was from Hollis [Queens, N.Y.]. Eric B and Rakim were from Long Island. They lived next to the hood.'When the hard stuff sold well (hard stuff, in any medium, always does), the record labels, never bastions of original thought, asked for more. Soon rappers who had never got a speeding ticket were referring to themselves as pimps and hustlas, and what had started as ghetto reporting with a touch of caricature metastasized into caricature with no tether to reality. The result was a torrent of albums about the joys of acquisitiveness (bling, if you must), consequence-free violence and compliant women."

Friday, August 19, 2005


Half Moon Posted by Picasa

One of my favorite views - Sunset, Falmouth. Posted by Picasa
Favorite Beaches Posted by Picasa

A loss for true conservatism

This is from shortly after the election, but worth revisiting...
Without sarcasm or malice, David Schuster (Hardball) provides a strong critique of anti-gay marriage initiatives. Essentially he points out that almost no one in this modern world can live by the literal word of the Bible. The question is, where should a civil but still strongly Judeo-Christian society stray from this word, how generous or inclusive do we want to be in our interpretation, and who decides?
In his words:

"when it comes to morality, consider this: While the Bible does suggest homosexuality is an abomination (Leviticus 18:22), The Bible also says in Leviticus 25:44 that we may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations; Exodus 35:2 says that my neighbor who works on the Sabbath should be put to death; Lev. 19:27 expressly forbids men from getting their hair trimmed; Lev. 11:6-9 states that touching a dead pig makes us unclean (Are you ready for some football?) and Lev. 19:19 forbids us from planting two different crops in the same field or wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread. The penalty? Lev. 24:10-16 suggests we stone people to death.

Maybe some Americans want to return to the days of slavery, devout observance to the Sabbath, long hair, all cotton clothes, and stoning people... I would prefer that our society move forward. And the best way to move any society forward is to strengthen the family. I adore my family and consider them to be the greatest best part of my entire life. And I'm absolutely convinced that 'marriage' fosters social cohesion, emotional security, and economic prudence. That's why I'm baffled as to why we would keep such an institution away from anybody. (I'm not talking about 'religion-sanctioned marriage,' I'm referring to the civil institution of marriage the kind that involves a 'state-sponsored' license.) "

Worth reading in its entirety.

Trite but true


I like to watch
I recently met a wise American warrior who provided me with the following quote from the Shawshank Redemption:
"Get busy living, or get busy dying"
It got me thinking about other words of wisdom and inspiration from movies, good and bad. What are yours?

Salon.com - War Room

Salon points out a hilarious, but maybe blasphemous bit from the Daily Show:

Salon.com - War Room: "the Gaza withdrawal has been a wrenching event, and hard to watch. Some comic relief is in order. On Jon Stewart's 'Daily Show' on Wednesday, faux correspondent Rob Corddry reported 'live' from the Gaza Strip on the disputed land, which like much of the Middle East consists of inhospitable desert. Corddry intoned that 'both sides still feel this land was given to them by their respective God,' then added:
'But I've been here for a couple of days now, and if God gave me this particular piece of land, I'd be wondering what I'd done to offend God. I mean, frankly, Jon, I'm standing by the nice rubble, um, the stuff they take out when company's coming over. My guess is someone gave the land to God, God saw it and in his infinite wisdom he regifted it.' "

Greek Tragedy: grass

An Uberblogger's everywoman insights on wanting, waiting, and romantic frustration. Well worth reading in full on her blog Greek Tragedy:

"When I explore the relationships that begin with ignition and spark, I'm left sobbing into my pillow wondering how I ended up so sad again. Sparks, I've learned can lead to fires' and then fire escapes."

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Greek Tragedy: sample sale

My new favorite writer Stephanie Klein explains how love is like a sample sale (trust me, it is...) You just can't force it. Greek Tragedy: sample sale:

"I've been known to do it from time to time: the chick out. It's 'chicking out' because it's usually freaking out about something only a girl would freak over, like a sample sale for the ultimate date outfit so you can snag a great boy, or a boy not calling, or like a boy getting back with his ex. Notice how chicking out involves a boy...

I'm a goal-oriented high-achieving hyphenated type of woman. I was raised on a diet of you can do whatever you set your mind tos, and it has served me well. The suit fits; the diet worked, but the suit is tailored and professional. It has covered buttons and long conservative hemlines. The 'I will make it happen' tude doesn't flow with the ruffles of a social party dress. "

Greek Tragedy: hard knock life

Enough politics. This is about life....Greek Tragedy is New York writer Stephanie Klein's enormously successful blog-- like electronic chick lit, but usually better written. Some of the stuff recalls Candace Bushnell (Sex and the City) but with more originality and less pretension. This is Fat passing for thin:
"You see it in the stitching or the way the logo is clipped near the zipper, and you know it's a knock-off of a pricey must-have. It was a good impersonation, but you're onto them now. Some people are knock-offs, too, and sometimes I worry I'm one of them. I diet all day long to find a guy who'll love me even if I ever get fat. That's called fat, passing for thin, and I worry it's just as bad as Canal Street."

Sunday, August 07, 2005

I Like to Watch: Wannabe TV

From Salon.com Arts & Entertainment I Like to Watch, Heather Havrilesky's brilliant take on drunken, whoring sea donkeys and other denizens of reality tv:
"Suicide blondes
Of course, the most pathetic denizens of the wannabe genre populate 'The Real World.' These are dreamers who don't dream of becoming chefs or models or even male strippers, they dream of becoming ... stars of 'The Real World.' Since the producers have long since abandoned the original goal of enlightening rednecks about gays and blacks about whites and so on (all the kids in the house know about that stuff already anyway, from watching every season of 'The Real World' ever), the show is free to focus full-time on following the kids around as they get drunk, get naked, and get
into fist-fights with the locals, not necessarily in that order. "

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Bush Approval Rating at Lowest Point

Salon.com - War Room: "A new AP-Ipsos poll puts George W. Bush's approval rating at its lowest point yet.
Only 42 percent of the public approve of the president's job performance; 55 percent don't. The same poll shows that, by a 50-48 percent margin, Americans now believe that their president is dishonest. Only 38 percent of them approve of the way in which he's handling the war in Iraq.
As bad as those numbers are, it's important to keep them in perspective. Things could be worse. Iraq could be, say, Plamegate. According to the latest CBS News poll, 77 percent of the American public believe that the Bush administration is either lying or hiding something about the outing of Valerie Plame. Only 12 percent say the White House is telling 'the entire truth.' "

Thursday, July 28, 2005

FOXNews.com - Politics - Report: Plame Gave Money to Anti-Bush Group

This is their smoking gun?
FOXNews.com - Politics - Report: Plame Gave Money to Anti-Bush Group: "WASHINGTON � Outed CIA spy Valerie Plame last fall gave a campaign contribution to go toward an anti-Bush fund-raising concert starring Bruce Springsteen, it was revealed Tuesday night.
It's the first revelation that Plame participated in anti-Bush political activity while working for the CIA."

Those Evil Springsteen Fans: Salon.com - Daou Report

Salon.com - Daou Report: "Intelligence Agency - Dear Director X, NY Post columnist Deborah Orin has discovered a serious threat to the CIA's security. It seems that some of your covert agents attend Bruce Springsteen concerts. Naturally, fans of the Boss are not to be trusted. That, says Orin, justifies their betrayal--at least it did in Valerie Plame's case. It's imperative that you act quickly to purge your ranks of other Springsteen fans before Karl Rove is forced to betray them as well.'"

Friday, February 18, 2005

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Contributor: The Gay Child Left Behind

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Contributor: The Gay Child Left Behind: "But there was one bright spot this week. On Monday, Maya Keyes, the daughter of Alan Keyes, officially declared herself a lesbian at a gay rights rally in Annapolis, Md. It was a bit of good news for gays and lesbians, particularly those who are connoisseurs of schadenfreude. "