Thursday, March 20, 2003

How low for the French

Last night, I had an interesting phone conversation with my younger sister. For the record, my sister is strongly anti-war, vociferously anti-Bush, and in general, embodies the antithesis of my beliefs in the political process. However, we both share a recent disdain of the French. Despite the fact that they share her anti-war sentiments (she considers them hypocritcal, as they aren't anti-war when it suits their interests), she considers their attitude towards the United States (and all countries which agree with us) to be incredibly arrogant. I believe her exact choice of words was "Who the f*** do they think they are?" The French are going to be in for a rude awakening if they don't pull it together and realize that the Earth doesn't revolve around Paris. When even a die-hard lefty pacifist like my sister has had too much French arrogance, there is a startling change of perception that the French are an impediment to peace.

posted at 07:53 AM | permalink | Comments (0)


Due to the war, and the fact that I don't have a working computer, posting will likely be nonexistent until mid-April, when my new laptop arrives. I doubt that I will be able to post anything from work while we are at war; computer security is likely to be very tight. I am one of the lucky ones; I will be posting safely from the United States. Some of my friends and colleagues are "over there", and don't have that peace of mind.

I will also be unable to communicate via e-mail. I cannot access my e-mail accounts (except for my official use one) through work, and consequently I will be out of touch until the new computer arrives. I am not ignoring anyone; it is simply a matter of logistics.

If I can post, I will, but don't expect anything before April 11th. Take care, everyone.

posted at 07:12 AM | permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

More on Gay Unions

Yesterday's Tampa Tribune Op/Ed page had three columns that all dealt with gay unions, although one never mentioned them at all. It was an interesting juxtaposition, and I wonder if the editors even noticed the connection between the two gay union pieces (one in support, and one in opposition) and the third, that dealt with the problems faced by children of cohabitating parents.

Jeff Jacoby, with whom I usually agree, is off-base in his criticism of the merits of Goodridge vs. Department of Public Health, a law challenging Massachusetts law's definition of marriage as heterosexual-only unions. He takes Andrew Sullivan to task by attempting to link gay unions with polygamy or incestuous relationships, and stating that they are the logical next step in redefining marriage. Sullivan has rightly dismissed such arguments as half-baked poppycock. I don't buy the slippery slope arguments either. Although there are groups advocating such views, they have as much relevance as the KKK and NAMBLA; they are groups which have far more power as icons than as serious agents for change.

Jacoby's opposition to gay unions could be significantly undercut by simply limiting "marriage" to services performed by the clergy in a house of worship. Any service performed by a judge or a justice of the peace would be defined as a civil union, with the same legal guarantees in place. This is a subject I have discussed before, and I still think it is a workable agreement. It preserves the sanctity of marriage for those who dislike the idea of a civil union, and it does not abridge the civil rights of gays or any who do not wish to go to a church for a wedding.

Ellen Goodman, on the other hand, is a great litmus test for me—almost anything she supports is something I will oppose. However, in the case of Lawrence vs. Texas, I wholeheartedly support her arguments. She points out the fact that a consensual relationship between these two men resulted in arrest, jail time, a fine, and a permanent criminal record. As she points out:

The Texas misdemeanor not only disqualified John Lawrence and Tyron Garner from being employed in more than a dozen professions, but would have required them to register as sex offenders in at least four states. It's been used against public employment of gays and in custody disputes.

The Supreme Court's decision in Bowers vs. Hardwick in 1986 was shameful, and I am hopeful that they will reverse themselves in Lawrence vs. Texas.

The third column, by Mona Charen, fits nicely into the debate because, although she is arguing from a conservative point of view (the case for marriage), all of her arguments can be used to justify the case for gay marriage, as well as straight marriage. I doubt she would come to the same conclusion, but reading each of her points shows that a household with two gay (married) parents would enjoy more stability than a household with two unmarried parents. By legalizing gay unions, we will improve the lives of children being raised by gay parents everywhere. (I wonder if such an argument could be used to persuade Jeff Jacoby...)

posted at 01:03 PM | permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 17, 2003

Post-mortem on the speech

The first thing that struck me was President Bush's appearance—he appeared to be very tired, not surprising considering the circumstances. The speech was relatively short, and quite direct. He avoided directly referring to France, but his rebuke of "certain permanent members of the security council" was an entirely justified slap in France's face. His comment that the security council had failed to enforce the will of the world led to his comment that the US would do so instead, another swipe at the UN in general, and of the members of the security council that refused to support the US/British resolution (only Spain and Bulgaria had publically supported it, although it is likely that a few more nations would have supported the resolution, short of the nine needed to pass the measure).

The 48 hour ultimatum for Saddam and his sons finally puts an absolute deadline in place, although it remains to be seen when the attack will come. There is no doubt in my mind that an attack will occur, as Saddam will not back down at this point. He has nothing to lose by defying Bush, and nothing to gain by acceding to his demands.

Bush also had words for the Iraqi people, and for members of the Iraqi military. He made it plain to any who heard him that our quarrel is not with the people of Iraq, or with its military, but with its leaders, and that we will do all that is possible to remove the leaders without harming the people. His warning about war crimes trials will hopefully minimize the risk of commanders "just following orders" and using WMD against civilian targets, against US or US-allied troops, or against Israel.

The original Gulf War lasted 44 days, with only 99 hours of actual ground combat. This war will probably last longer, despite the superior munitions and communications facilities we now possess. Iraq is fighting on their own turf, and they have the additional incentive of having their backs against the wall; unlike in 1991, they have no place in which to retreat. However, while I have no doubt we will prevail, it is my fervent hope that it is accomplished with a minimum number of casualties, both to American and allied troops, and to Iraqi citizens and military.

(A transcript of Bush's speech can be found on MSNBC here.)

posted at 08:22 PM | permalink | Comments (0)

Who REALLY armed Iraq

Jim Miller has an astonishing chart up which shows who sold arms to Iraq between 1973 and 1991. The US is on the list ($5 million) and so is Britain ($330 million), but they are small fry compared to the big four (Germany—$995 million, China—$5.5 Billion, France—$9.4 Billion, and the former Soviet Union—a breathtaking $31 Billion). Gee, Germany, China, France, and Russia—who'da thunk it?

posted at 04:49 PM | permalink | Comments (0)

Bush speech

I will have my thoughts on tonight's presidential address before I go to bed. It's about 50 minutes away, so I'll be eating dinner while Bush is speaking. I will also listen to the talking heads (I'm thinking I'll grab NBC, since Brokaw is less dogmatically liberal than Rather or Jennings).

Things have been quiet today; it seems that the blogosphere is holding its collective breath waiting for the other shoe to drop.

posted at 04:10 PM | permalink | Comments (0)

Computer woes

As I mentioned in my post of last weekend, my computer died (totally); a replacement has been ordered. However, said computer will not arrive until mid-April (11 or 12 April, if all goes well). I have access to a computer here at my mother's house until Friday morning, when I leave. After that, I will be reduced to infrequent posts from work until I get my new computer.

Just so you know. Hopefully, I will be back to posting up a storm.

posted at 03:22 PM | permalink | Comments (0)

The Home Front

Susanna Cornett and Mike Hendrix (of Cut on the Bias and Cold Fury) have started up a database of companies that are supporting our troops during the upcoming action in Iraq. These companies are continuing to pay reservists while they are recalled to active duty, either full pay or the difference between their regular pay and the pay they receive from the military when they are recalled. Since the difference can be quite significant, this is of great significance to reservists with families. There is no law in place that requires companies to do so, but these companies go the extra step. Show your support of their efforts by patronizing them in support of their efforts, and don't be afraid to let them know WHY you chose them. The complete list can be found here, or by clicking on the "Home Front" button on the sidebar.

posted at 10:49 AM | permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 16, 2003


Yesterday was "Eat an Animal for PETA Day", and, as promised, I went out of my way to consume animal products. For lunch, my mother and I ate at McDonald's (mmmm, corporate beef), and dinner was a 20 oz. Porterhouse Steak (for me) and a 16 oz. cut of Prime Rib (for her) at the Outback Steakhouse (more corporate beef). Of course, we had lots of butter on our baked potatoes. I was too full for dessert, but there were a number of ice cream dishes that looked pretty tasty had I been able to continue.

As a side note, we both discovered last night that it is hard to get a table at a restaurant in Sebring on a Saturday night during race week. (For those who are not familiar with the sport, Sebring hosts the Twelve Hours of Sebring, a Formula One/American Le Mans seies race. This is not NASCAR; this is what A J Foyt and Mario Andretti drove.) We had a 70 minute wait for a table, in a town that has (nominally) less than 10000 people. It was a zoo last night, however, and most of the patrons were from out of town.

posted at 05:35 AM | permalink | Comments (0)

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