Wednesday, August 18, 2004
Reporting for Duty
Well, I don't qualify as a "major blogger" by any stretch of the imagination, but I'll play anyway.
"Timekeeper", United States Navy, 1987-2004+, Aviation Anti-Submarine Warfare Technician/Avionics Technician.
(See this post at Back Country Conservative for details on this meme, which is an attempt to identify bloggers with military service.)
posted at 05:47 PM | permalink | Comments (0)
Why not Same-sex marriage?
As most of my regular readers know, I am a strong supporter of allowing civil unions between same-sex couples. I suggest that the word "marriage" be retained only for unions performed in a church, while all secular unions (heterosexual or homosexual) be designated as civil unions, with the same legal rights and responsibilities. (I've blogged about the issue here, here, here, and here.)
Some time ago, I discovered an extremely well-written (not to mention calm and rational) argument against gun control, written by someone who had supported gun control prior to composing her paper (an assignment for a college class). Her research for the paper led her to change her mind on the issue. When her site disappeared, I assumed that it was gone forever, but I rediscovered it, in a new location. I was also pleased to find a pair of articles ("firestarters") she had authored on the SSM debate, and that many of her views were congruent with mine. The first one can be found here, while the second, which more-or-less summarizes her responses to feedback she received, can be found here. Of the two, I prefer the second, because it is a touch less dismissive of those who oppose same-sex marriage on religious grounds. She also posts the feedback she receives, with her responses, in a fashion that is almost blog-like. (Collie, start a blog!) While I don't agree with all of her arguments (particularly #6, which ratchets up the ick-meter to an uncomfortable level for me), it is well-written and internally consistent (something to which I will admit my opposition to #6 fails to achieve). Even if you disagree with her, she solicits responses; in fact, she notes that she prefers sharing with people who differing views, since it stimulates a discussion. Check out all three pieces; they're well worth your time and attention.
posted at 01:58 PM | permalink | Comments (5)
Tuesday, August 17, 2004
Apparently, it takes Yahoo about three days to do a sweep of the 'sphere. Either that, or today was the day that Yahoo finally got around to checking out my blog, because my posts on Saturday are definitely in the cache now. A quick check of the search words that brought visitors here indicates that Hurricane Charley has been getting some serious Yahoo action, particularly people looking for information about Sanibel and Captiva Islands, and Sebring and the Highlands County region. Because of a conscious effort on my part to avoid focusing on the same stories as everyone else, I usually have a relatively low search engine profile. However, I have seen an enormous spike in traffic today. (I wonder what I will see when Google caches the page.)
For those who are looking for information, go the the Fort Myers News-Press site. They have a comprehensive set of links to the situation on the Islands, including updates and photo galleries of Sanibel and Captiva Islands. Also, expect more information to be available tomorrow, as the bridge will open up tomorrow, first to residents, and then to businesses.
One of the photos in the Captiva photo gallery shows the devastation on Upper Captiva Island. Upper Captiva, itself a product of a hurricane (It was part of Captiva Island until the 1926 Miami hurricane carved a new channel) has been split in two by Charley. Since it was already accessible only by boat (or by plane on the tiny airstrip) it's not a big deal, but the people living on the southern end are even more isolated than before. There were no cars on the island (only golf carts), but the new channel will preclude their use now.
posted at 01:18 PM | permalink | Comments (0)
This time, from the right, hitting on a favorite issue of the far-left.
In what must be an effort to jump-start his doesn't-have-a-chance campaign against Barack Obama, conservative commentator and Republican senate candidate Alan Keyes suggested a form of reparations be paid to the descendants of African slaves. Following the favored approach of Republicans, it would be in the form of tax breaks rather than direct payments. Unlike most Republican approaches, however, it would be an outright exemption rather than a reduction.
The scope of his proposal is ludicrous; he is advocating a total exemption for all descendants of slaves, for "a generation or two" (quoting the article, not a direct Keyes quote). It doesn't appear to exclude high-income achievers (entertainers, athletes, politicians, and entrepreneurs), and "a generation or two" covers a period up to forty years. It also flies in the face of Keyes' previously stated view that welfare was far more destructive to blacks than was the lingering effects of slavery.
posted at 11:56 AM | permalink | Comments (0)
This article has more on the story. I look forward to an editorial from USA Today (or one of the other Gannett papers), endorsing the Keyes plan, considering their enthusiastic support for the concept in the past.
Monday, August 16, 2004
Yahoo! News reports that the Germans are concerned about the planned redeployment of 70,000 troops (and their 100,000 family members) out of Germany. The story is interesting because it only relies on one quote from someone opposed to the US presence in GermanyGreen Party MP Alexander Bonde. The remaining quotes were all from leaders of the communities that will be adversely affected by the closures. While I didn't experience any outright hostility while I was in Germany (I left before the war started, and returned well after major combat had ended), only the locals and the people in Bavaria were friendly towards Americans; there was a certain standoffishness in the areas where the US had a small presence (Berlin comes to mind).
Contrast this with the report at David's Medienkritik, where the comments clearly reflect the disconnect between the Americans and the Germans, particularly the younger Germans who don't wish to remember the history behind our presence in their country. There are a number of sane commenters there, but there are a lot of disaffected Americans, and several Germans attempting to brush off the effects of our withdrawal. None of those who discount the beneficial effects of US military presence lives in a town that will be seriously hurt by the drawdown; if they were, they would probably not be so dismissive of the money that will not be spent and the jobs that will be lost if our bases close. I know that the tiny town in which my bae was located will not be able to recover from the closure; they have been attempting to turn the portion of the base previously returned into a business and light industry park, but they've had no takers.
posted at 05:35 PM | permalink | Comments (0)