Friday, March 12 2004
My heart aches for Spain today. Not only because she has been such a staunch and courageous ally of ours in recent times but because I have a soft spot for her personally; her language, her culture, but most of all her people. I'm at a loss to write something new or interesting about the horror that took place in Madrid yesterday, so instead I'll tell a story.

I've been to Spain a few times, but the most memorable trip occurred during the first Gulf War. I was senior in college at the time, and my roommate was filling out his application to business school when he encountered a question asking him to describe the places he had traveled and the cultures that had influenced him the most.

Since he had never been outside the U.S. before, this was a bit of a stumper. With the crystal-clear logic of a twenty one year-old college student, my roommate decided that instead of making something up or telling what he felt was the embarrassing truth, he would just take a quick trip abroad. And I, being the twenty-one year old version of me, decided to go along.

I can't remember why we picked Spain and not some place closer and safer like Canada or Mexico. Circumstance and chance, I guess. I also can't recall exactly where our trip fell on the Gulf War timeline, except that it was early 1991 and the war was in full bloom.

People warned us not to go. My parents were....let's just say they were less than enthusiastic. Even though Spain was a coalition member and a long way from Iraq, the Spanish public was deeply divided over the war. A classmate who was born and raised in Madrid phoned home and returned with the rather ominous advice that we not wear any clothing with English lettering.

Just days before we were set to leave, I remember having a very serious conversation with James trying to answer two questions. First, was the trip a smart thing to do? The answer was "probably not", but that particular answer hadn't deterred us in the past and it wasn't going to stop us this time. The second question was whether the trip was worth whatever risk might be involved. We decided it was.

I won't bore you with the details, but to this day I recall with true fondness the way we were treated by the Spaniards. As discreet as we tried to be, everywhere we went it was obvious we were Americans and every conversation we had invariably ended up on the topic of war.

It was true that many Spaniards disagreed with Desert Storm. To our surprise, however, a good number of people we met not only supported the war but expressed to us something more.

Sitting here now trying to recall what I felt then is impossible, but I can only describe what I remember as a sincere admiration and respect for America.

Now it's my turn to express a deep admiration and respect for the Spanish, in addition to my condolences, for what they have sacrificed and suffered, irrespective of who was responsible for yesterday's act of gross inhumanity. - T. Bevan 1:35 pm | Link | Email

Thursday, March 11 2004
Have you ever read an article by a news organization more dismissive of its own polling results than this one?

Results at odds with other recent polls
The NBC/Journal poll found Bush and Kerry in a dead heat eight months before the general election. Bush was favored by 47 percent of respondents, while 45 percent backed Kerry, a difference that was within the poll’s reported margin of sampling error of 3.1 percentage points.

It was difficult to gauge the importance of the result, which was notably at odds with those of other polls in the past week, which have found Kerry with a statistically significant lead in a head-to-head matchup. Kerry led Bush by 9 points in the latest Washington Post/ABC News survey and by 8 points in the latest USA Today/CNN poll.

Astonishing. Reader Gary M. emailed us with a very astute point:

Of course, MSNBC could just have easily cited the recent NPR poll which had the exact same result as the NBC/WSJ poll

Yes, they could have. MSNBC also chose to title the piece "Public’s faith in economy plummets" rather than a more straightforward take on the horse race number.

Gary M. finishes with a personal observation worth repeating:

I have been involved in politics since the Reagan/Ford campaign in 1976, and I have never seen the media as biased as it has been over the last few months. It will be truly amazing if Bush wins this election.

Amazing, indeed .

A "RATIONAL" PLACE: Air America Radio, the new liberal talk radio network launching at the end of this month, is billing itself as....well, as a new NPR:

"We'll bring a new series of fresh voices to America's ear . . . in plenty of time to be a rational place for those looking for information about the election," said CEO Mark Walsh.

Really? Then how come the star host of the budding network, Al Franken, proudly promises that:

"We're going to put it to Bush.We're not ceding this territory anymore. The right wing has captured radio, and we're going to go after them hard."

Does that sound like a "rational place" to go for information? We shouldn't kid ourselves: AAR is going to be a self-congratulatory, Bush-hating orgy 24/7.

The big dilemma for AAR is this: what happens after November 2? The network is founded in large part on the hatred that exists on the hard left for George W. Bush and members of his administration. If AAR does manage to help achieve liberals' singular goal of defeating Bush in November, it's doomed. Ironically, the best chance AAR has at succeeding as a legitimate business venture is a Bush reelection.

Even then, however, the prospects of success for AAR are slim. I just don't think there is a whole lot of staying power to the idea of listening to a couple of comedians run through the same list of condescending Republican stereotypes day after day after day.

I think we'll look back on this whole thing in a year or two and remember AAR not as a legitimate effort to start a profitable radio business but as one of the biggest, most elaborate liberal soft-money expenditures of the 2004 Presidential campaign.

GET YOUR TALKING POINTS HERE: I'm not usually in the habit of trying to write lines for the president, but I thought of something I'd love to hear him say on the stump:

"Over the last 20 years, John Kerry has changed his mind about every issue except one: slashing the U.S. defense budget."

Obviously, it's a variation on the one the President has been using but it makes an even more effective sound byte by combining and contrasting Kerry's two biggest flaws. - T. Bevan 11:48 am | Link | Email

Wednesday, March 10 2004
THE 9/11 CHANGE: Despite Matt Yglesias' best efforts to spin away John Kerry's numerous flip-flops - which I think fails miserably, by the way - it was a sentence from his blog post touting the TAP article that struck me most:

"For the sake of clarity, I should note that I wouldn't want to claim that Kerry has never changed his mind about anything. He clearly went from opposing the death penalty to favoring it after 9-11. If you already accept the hegemonic media narrative that Kerry is an expediency-at-all-costs kind of guy, this will appear to be yet another politically motivated flip. If you don't accept it, it looks like a perfectly understandable decision to get tougher on terror in the wake of a massive attack. It seems to me that most people changed their mind about a few terrorism-related things between 9-10-01 and 9-12-01 and the really distressing thing would be if it didn't impact you at all." (emphasis added)

I think it's great that September 11 made John Kerry change his mind about wanting to string up Osama bin Laden & crew. The problem is that Kerry hasn't changed his mind about what we need to do to catch the bastards.

And as of one of the 82% of Americans who see terrorism as our country's greatest and most immediate threat, the single biggest reason I would never pull the lever for Kerry is that 9/11 didn't change him enough. - T. Bevan 1:15 pm | Link | Email

IS KERRY JACQUE CHIRAC'S MAN?: Does Senator Kerry just make things up because he thinks they'll sound good to a particular audience? I wonder after his comment this weekend in Florida:

"I've met foreign leaders who can't go out and say this publicly, but boy, they look at you and say, 'You've got to win this, you've got to beat this guy, we need a new policy, things like that.'"

Huh? Who's he talking about and what foreign leaders has he met with? Tony Blankley tackles Kerry's extraordinary claim in his column today:

Sen. Kerry has been on public view almost every day since he started running for president last year. I don't recall seeing him on European, Middle East or other foreign travel during that period. Nor do I recall seeing or reading about foreign heads of state meeting with Mr. Kerry when they visited Washington during the last many months. In the absence of any public evidence that he has met with several foreign leaders recently, the burden of proof should be on Mr. Kerry to prove that he didn't just make up this little story.

While the issue of whether Kerry just made this story up because he thought it sounded cool is relevant, the more important storyline is why Kerry even thinks this is a positive and what it says about his view of the world. Blankley is right when he says:

But Sen. Kerry obviously believes the times are changing. He believes that there may be millions of Americans who will be impressed by the fact that hand kissing, back-stabbing, atheistic, sophisticated Euro-leaders prefer John Kerry to George Bush.

Whether or not he actually met with any of these leaders, I would suspect that he is right that they would much prefer to do business with a notional President Kerry. Doubtlessly, Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev enjoyed dealing with President Carter more than with President Reagan.

Weak American presidents who feel the need to apologize for America protecting its interests in the world are invariably favored by both our enemies and our competitive friends. The French couldn't stand our last cowboy president, Ronald Reagan.

I am sure that M. Chirac will be glad to continue to kiss Mr. Kerry's hand, as long as Mr. Kerry will kiss a lower, dorsal part of M. Chirac's anatomy. But I rather doubt John Kerry will get elected president by American voters while in that posture.

Well said.

DEFINING THE ELITE MEDIA: Bill O'Reilly had a very good "talking points memo" to begin his show Monday night dealing with the charge of just who is the "elite" media. Here are some excerpts:

The New York Times is ground zero for the elite media and you would think executives at that paper would understand how detached from American reality it has become. But they do not.

Generally speaking, the elite media believe that the majority in this country -- white Christian Americans -- are prone to oppressing the minority. The elites rightfully point to the civil rights struggle as an example of how the majority can hurt a minority until the forces of reason stepped in.

It goes without saying that the elite media will almost always favor political candidates that espouse high taxes for the evil rich; higher spending on the poor -- even if the programs are wasteful and ineffective -- and more restrictions on corporations, which the elites believe are oppressors as well.

If you go up against the elite media it will not be pretty. You will be branded a bigot, racist, anti-Semite, [a] homophobe. You will be called a fundamentalist, or an ultra-conservative. Elites don't debate. They attack and marginalize.

Now the landscape has changed. And while our competitors at NBC and CNN still can't figure out how Fox News has become so powerful, itís very simple: We are not the elite media. For example, we don't feel the 66 percent of Americans who are against gay marriage are fools and bigots. And we don't think that our opinion has more validity than your opinion, no matter what it is -- we give voice to all points of view, including the elite one.

O'Reilly hits the nail directly on the head. The unprecedented success of FOX News has dramatically altered the landscape in regards to how the news is delivered in America. The elite networks no longer operate in a vacuum, free to spin and cover stories in any way they wish. Those days are over.

America has finally been given a choice when it comes to where it gets its information on the TV and the wild success of FOX shows just how much the country wasn't liking the dog food being served up everywhere else.

I have no studies to prove this, but I firmly believe that had FOX News not existed in 2000, George Bush would never have won that election. Contrary to what many liberals think it is not because FOX was an extended arm of the Bush campaign or part of the vast right wing conspiracy, but rather the fact that the other networks and papers no longer had a monopoly on the flow of information to the American people. That made - and continues to make - a HUGE difference, and it is one of the reasons liberals are scurrying around trying to start a radio network and a cable news channel.

But most are in denial about the entire FOX phenomena, which is why a "liberal" news channel has little chance of success without government funding. The problem is the "elite" don't realize just how out of touch they are with the average American. In their world 10 years ago, CNN, NBC, ABC and CBS covered the news fairly and objectively, with no spin or bias. There are still intelligent people today who would stand by that statement. They are in denial.

Have the executives at CNN or NBC really asked themselves the hard question of why FOX News Channel throttles them in ALL of primetime? There is no question that the other networks have moved closer to the center these last couple of years because of the success of FOX, but for the most part they're still out in left field.

The problem is the culture that pervades these organizations on all levels trickles down and oozes out the final product no matter how hard they try to be objective. Having a 74 yr. old Bob Novak and a bow-tied Tucker Carlson as your "tokens" isn't going to get it done.

O'Reilly tells them point blank the secret of FOX's success; "We are not the elite media. For example, we don't feel the 66 percent of Americans who are against gay marriage are fools and bigots."

Until the culture of these news organizations changes, FOX will continue to dominate. -J. McIntyre 7:09am | Link | Email

UPDATE: John Ellis has a related post, and he does a good job of explaining why the press simply can't bring itself to be objective, especially when it comes to covering the Presidential campaign:

First of all, understand that Democratic campaign operatives and members of the press see themselves as flip sides of a coin. They share the same values, they're ideologically in tune, they socialize together, they both advance the greater good, each in his or her own way. Occasionally, reporters act badly and go off on unproductive tangents. Democrats are always amazed by this and teach seminars at places like the Kennedy School to remind the media of their higher obligations.

In the main however, the two work hand in glove. Your average New York Times reporter sees a Democratic operative as his or her ally in the world. That same reporter knows a handful of "good Republicans," but assumes confidently that all others are hopeless reactionaries.

Objectivity in the press is and has always been an illusion. It's just that now the public is finally getting a peek behind the curtain, and many don't like what they see. - T. Bevan 7:44 am

Tuesday, March 9 2004
THE CRISIS OF BLACK LEADERSHIP: I'm going to make a prediction: less than a year from today an African-American male will stand up in the well of the U.S. Senate and give a speech for the first time since Edward Brooke. That man's name is Barack Obama and he's currently the odds on favorite to win the Democratic primary in Illinois one week from today.

Of course, Illinois also sent Carol Moseley-Braun to the U.S Senate in1992, making her the only other African-American (and first African-American woman) to serve in that body since Brooke left in 1979. But she was, to put it nicely, a terrible Senator.

Obama, however, is the real deal. Lest anyone think this is a personal endorsement of Obama, it's not. I'll most likely support the eventual GOP nominee, Jack Ryan, who I think is right on most of the issues.

But Obama will be the Democrat in what is now an overwhelmingly Democratic state, and it's looking less and less like the GOP nominee is going to get any help from President Bush here in November - unless something drastic happens like OBL is caught three weeks before election day. Even then there won't be any guarantees.

So I won't be too surprised if Obama wins. But I won't be too disappointed, either. Here's why: I'm extremely concerned that there is a crisis of black leadership in this country.

Obama is a serious guy; exceedingly smart, very articulate, and well versed on the issues. And from what I've seen so far Obama speaks in thoughtful, measured tones about race.

Contrast this with the behavior we've seen from the Congressional Black Caucus of late. Contrast it with the vile racial rhetoric that we constantly get from Julian Bond at the NAACP.

Or contrast it with Jesse Jackson. Even though Jackson has fought admirably against discrimination on behalf of the African-American community over the years, he's done it not by trying to heal racial wounds in America but by trying to keep them pried wide open, by inciting fear and hatred, by invoking ghastly and ghostly images of a time that nearly every American today denounces and abhors. The result of his efforts: an America still intensely divided by race and millions upon millions of dollars for Jackson, his family, and his friends.

America needs more serious African-American leaders. Every time I hear Maxine Waters holding forth on C-SPAN I cringe and think "there have to be hundreds, if not thousands of African-Americans in CA-35 that would be better, more responsible leaders than this woman."

To be fair, though, that's the nature of the House of Representatives. The narrow, often homogeneous districts produce a mix of good and bad elected officials on both sides of the aisle, many of whom couldn't or wouldn't make the cut in a statewide election.

It's the reason wackos like Jim Traficant can get elected (and reelected) to OH-17 but could never, ever be elected to the Senate. Maxine Waters can be as outrageous and unserious as she wants precisely because she appeals to such a narrow constituency.

The problem, however, is that given the national media attention Waters and the other members of the CBC get, they are the face and the force of the African-American community nationwide.

Which is why I think Obama's election would be a very good thing. The crisis of African-American leadership at the national level is even more dire.

Al Sharpton is an engaging, entertaining guy (especially in comparison to the rest of the Dem candidates for President this year), but he's a hustler with a rap sheet, not a legitimate leader.

Can you name another African-American Democrat who would qualify as a serious national leader? I can't. That bothers and perplexes me.

Harold Ford, Jr. comes to mind as a bright, able member of the Democratic party, but he's probably a few years away (at least) from developing the sort of influence now held by Conyers, Rangel, et. al. Former Mayor of Dallas Ron Kirk came close to grabbing the leadership mantle in 2002 but failed. Time will tell if he will get another chance.

There are tons of exceedingly qualified, very talented African-Americans who could be assuming leadership roles within the party (both elected and unelected), but where the heck are they?

Part of the problem, I think, and one of the things that concerns me most about the current state of African-American leadership in America is the way black Democrats ruthlessly enforce liberal orthodoxy and demonize fellow African-Americans when they dare take an opposing view to almost any issue.

Against affirmative action? Uncle Tom. In favor of welfare reform? House slave. In favor of educational choice? Not really black. Don't favor repealing the middle class tax cut? Token.

The stuff is repugnant, but it never stops. Clarence Thomas pulled himself up from dirt to become a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States of America. Disagree with the man about policy if you like, but that's an act of individual achievement that should be held with the highest esteem within the African-American community. At least you'd think so.

Same with Colin Powell and Condi Rice. These are people of the highest personal and professional caliber serving our country, and they're being harangued and slandered day in and day out by the likes of Corrine Brown and Alcee Hastings.

Anyway, I guess it makes sense that if I'm someone like this and I'm not willing to toe the CBC line on every issue I'd say, "why bother."

Barack Obama is quite a liberal. And there is no saying that he won't fall under the spell and pressure of members of the CBC and resort to the tactics used by some of their members. That would be a shame.

From what I've seen, I don't get the sense he's that type of guy, and I have hope that he can raise the level of political discourse in the country to the benefit of all Americans if and when he enters the U.S. Senate.

Then again, I'm a little biased. I'd rather have one Condi Rice on my side than a thousand Maxine Waterses'.

STATE-BY-STATE: We continue to add new polls to our Bush v. Kerry State-by-State page. Take these polls with a grain of salt, given that it's still 8 months out and some use small sample sizes of registered, as opposed to likely, voters.

Here's another item of note. In the NPR survey released yesterday there is the following mention of how Bush and Kerry are faring around the country:

"More pointedly, President Bush's margin comes from states he carried by more than five percent in 2000 (58% Bush, 35% Kerry), while being only roughly within the margin of error in states he carried narrowly in 2000 (50% Bush, 46% Kerry). President Bush is behind in states Gore carried narrowly (42% Bush, 49% Kerry) and losing by double-digits in states Gore carried by more than five percent (39% Bush, 51% Kerry)."

In other words, the country is no longer red and blue like it was in 2000. Now it's maroon and navy. - T. Bevan 10:37 am | Link | Email
UPDATE: More from Gallup:

"A comparison of support for the two candidates by the results of the 2000 election show that among likely voters, Bush is barely ahead in the states he won four years ago by more than five percentage points (which Gallup calls "red" states). He leads Kerry by just 50% to 47%. In the "blue" states, which former Vice President Al Gore won by margins of more than five percentage points, Kerry leads Bush by a substantial margin, 55% to 42%. In "purple" states -- where the margin of victory for either candidate in 2000 was five percentage points or less -- Kerry also leads by a substantial margin, 55% to 39%."

THE RISE OF HITLER: We received several emails questioning the accuracy of my comment this morning in response to Zbigniew Brzezinski's article in the NY Times. I wrote that "people forget that Adolf Hitler was democratically elected Chancellor of Germany in 1933."

In a technical sense, the criticism is valid. Hitler was never elected Chancellor of Germany. However, the Nazis were the largest party in the German Reichstag in every election after 1930 and Hitler did assume the Chancellorship in an entirely legal manner, as this quote from a "A History of the Modern World" demonstrates:

In the election of 1930 the Nazis won 107 seats in the Reichstag; in 1928 they had won only 12; their popular vote went up from 800,000 to 6.5 million. By July 1932 the Nazis more than doubled their popular vote, won 230 seats, and were now by far the largest single party....On January 30, 1933, by entirely legal means, Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of the German Republic.

Technically, Tony Blair was not elected Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, though I don't think anyone would argue that Tony Blair didn't assume the office of Prime Minister in an entirely legal and democratic manner. My point is that Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in 1933 following the legal and democratic process of the Weimar Republic.

Arguing the semantics of the word elected (which I'll concede is technically wrong) misses the point that Hitler came to power as a result of free elections where his party won more votes than anybody else.

After his appointment as Chancellor, however, the Nazis did move very quickly to eliminate any democratic opposition. Again from "A History of the Modern World":

In the spring of 1933 Hitler called for another election. A week before election day the Reichstag building caught fire. The Nazis, without any real evidence, blamed it on the Communists. They raised up a terrific Red scare, suspended freedom of speech and press, and set loose the Brownshirts to bully the voters, Even so, in the election, the Nazis won only 44% of the vote; with their Nationalists allies, they had 52%. Hitler, trumpeted a national emergency, was voted dictatorial powers by a pliant Reichstag from which the Communist deputies had been excluded. The Nazi Revolution now began.

Now back to Brzezinski's point from today's NY Times:

Democracy, impatiently imposed, can lead to unintended consequences. If the Palestinians were able to choose a leader in truly free elections, might they not opt for the head of Hamas? If free elections were soon held in Saudi Arabia, would Crown Prince Abdullah, a reformer, prevail over Osama bin Laden or another militant Islamic leader? If not genuinely accepted and reinforced by traditions of constitutionalism, democracy can degenerate into plebiscites that only add legitimacy to extremism and authoritarianism.

Brzezinski's argument is one that should be taken very seriously.

Haiti is a perfect recent example of this problem. And while we are setting out to do the right thing in Iraq, we should not be foolish enough to think that democratically elected governments may not end up being a threat to the United States or the rest of the world.

This is not meant to be a prediction of failure in Iraq or a criticism of the Bush Administration's strategy, but rather a reminder that "democracy" shouldn't be viewed as a cure all for all the world's problem areas. While it may not be politically correct to say out loud, democracy isn't always the best short-term solution for many countries.   J. McIntyre 12:01am | Link | Email

Monday, March 8 2004
I meant to post on this earlier but forgot. On Meet the Press yesterday Tim Russert went for the partisan brush-back on Rudy Giuliani, confronting him with Congressman Tom Cole's ridiculous comments from earlier in the week. Rudy hit it out of the park:

TIM RUSSERT: I mean, a vote for John Kerry is not a vote for Osama bin Laden?

RUDY GIULIANI: A vote for John Kerry is not a vote for Osama bin Laden. It's a vote for the most liberal member of the United States Senate. That would be a better way for them to put it. If you want to vote for the most liberal member of the United States Senate, the most liberal voting record, somebody who's going to raise your taxes, vote for John Kerry. An appeal like that actually has the opposite effect. It probably turns more votes against us than it does for us. (emphasis added).

Somehow I don't think that was the response Russert had in mind. - T. Bevan 3:30 pm

MARRIED TO GAY MARRIAGE: These three paragraphs from today's Houston Chronicle provide the best summation of the issue of gay marriage I've seen:

"I'm not married to the word `marriage,' " said Mitchell Katine, a Houston lawyer who represented the two men who successfully challenged Texas' sodomy law. "I think it would be appropriate for government to be involved in civil unions for everybody -- as long as everybody gets the same thing. Call it whatever you want, but give everyone the same 1,049 legal rights and benefits (of marriage), regardless of whom they love."

"We're going for the whole enchilada," said Michael Adams, a lawyer with New York-based Lambda Legal, the gay rights group that took the Houston case to the Supreme Court. "Until we have full marriage and equal rights, we will not be satisfied."

But he and other gay rights advocates said civil unions, like those currently granted in Vermont, are a major step forward for gay and lesbian couples. Marriage is better, they say, because it is portable and recognized in other states. But within a state, a civil union brings with it all the public benefits afforded married heterosexual couples. (emphasis added)

This is a good illustration of the tolerance vs. tradition balance I wrote about a few weeks back. A majority of Americans - indeed perhaps even a plurality of Republicans - are willing to support the idea of civil unions (or whatever else you'd like to call it) as long as the definition and institution of marriage is protected as a union between a man and a woman. Is this more or less a wink-and-a-nod compromise based largely on semantics? Of course.

Gay activists, however, aren't much in the mood for compromise. Thus we've seen an equal and opposite reaction from social conservatives on the issue, moving ahead with the FMA which they feel is the only way to defend the institution of marriage.

But as John mentioned in this space last week, there is a contradiction in the position of gay marriage advocates I've yet to hear an explanation for. If marriage is indeed a "fundamental civil right" on par with the civil rights struggles of the 1960's, how can one possibly suggest that it be left to the states?

Andrew Sullivan, for example, says on one hand that denying same-sex couples the right to wed is unequivocal bigotry and discrimination, yet on the other hand he wants to allow the states the right to make their own laws.

From a logical standpoint as well as a moral one, how can Sullivan argue that it's perfectly acceptable for a number of states (at this point I think about 38 have laws banning gay marriage) to have legally sanctioned and in some cases "enshrined" in their state constitutions such blatant bigotry and discrimination? Isn't this the same flawed logic that allowed racial bigotry to flourish in state laws passed in the South in the first half of the 20th century, a practice that finally resulted in the federal government stepping in and putting a halt to it with the Civil Rights Act of 1964?

It seems to me that if you truly believe gay marriage is an inalienable right and any attempt to prevent two gays from marrying is bigotry then you must be in favor, to use the words of Michael Adams, of "the whole enchilada:" a federal law in favor of gay marriage. Anything less is intellectually inconsistent.

If you don't think gay marriage is a fundamental right that must be guaranteed by the federal government (a la the Civil Rights Act) then there is not only room for a valid use of the states' rights argument but also room for compromise in the form of civil unions.

One more thing. I don't think it's been discussed nearly enough that to accept that gay marriage is a fundamental right you must also accept the underlying premise that homosexuality is genetic and beyond a person's control - like the color of one's skin.

But the search for a "gay gene" hasn't produced any definitive results, and even if you concede that some people are genetically predisposed to being gay, "predisposition" doesn't reach the threshold to merit an "inalienable" right in our society.

People are genetically predisposed to being all sorts of things: fat, thin, athletic, musically inclined, etc, but predisposition doesn't mean that 1) a person is destined to become any of these things or 2) that they should be afforded special rights or treatment even if that predisposition blooms into a central personality trait.

The problem is that a good number of Americans still don't believe homosexuality is genetic, not because they are bigots but because it is impossible for heterosexuals to wrap their heads around the idea being sexually attracted to someone of the same sex. And absent any scientific proof, large numbers of people continue to see homosexuality as a "lifestyle" choice, and our government places restrictions and makes compromises every single day on the "lifestyle" choices of people in America - and it isn't labeled bigotry.

PB&J VS. FRENCH CHOCOLATE: Steven Thomma says the coming election is a choice between two candidates with stark policy differences - as well as a few personal ones:

Bush, 57, is a plainspoken, backslapping, peanut-butter-and-jelly loving Texan who enjoys watching baseball but prefers the solitude of running for his exercise...

Kerry, 60, is sometimes aloof and long-winded, patrician, a French chocolate-eating New Englander who unwinds with the team sport of ice hockey. A Yale University graduate like Bush, Kerry served in combat in Vietnam while Bush served at home in the Texas Air National Guard.

New election 2004 slogan: You are what you eat! Strange, though, I always thought Kerry was a cheesesteak man. - T. Bevan 10:19 am | Link | Email

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Archives - 2004
3/1-7 | 2/23-27 | 2/16-22 | 2/9-15 | 2/2-2/8 | 1/26-2/1 | 1/19-25 | 1/12-18 | 1/5-11 | 12/29/03-1/4/04

Archives - 2003
12/22-28 | 12/15-21 | 12/8-14 | 12/1-7 | 11/24-11/30 | 11/17-11/23 | 11/10-11/16 | 11/3-11/9 | 10/27-11/2 | 10/20-26 | 10/13-19 | 10/6-10/12 | 9/29-10/5 | 9/22-28 | 9/15-9/21 | 9/8-9/14 | 9/1-9/7 | 8/25-8/31 | 8/17-8/24 | 8/11-8/16 | 8/4-8/10 | 7/28-8/3 | 7/21-7/27 | 7/14-7/20 | 7/7-7/13 | 6/30-7/6 | 6/23-6/29 | 6/16-6/22 | 6/9-6/15 | 6/2-6/8 | 5/26-6/1 | 5/19-5/25 | 5/12-5/18 | 5/5-5/11 | 4/28-5/4 | 4/21-4/27 | 4/14-4/20 | 4/7-4/13 | 3/31-4/6 | 3/24 - 3/30 | 3/10 - 3/17 | 3/3-3/9 | 2/24-3/2 | 2/17-2/23 |
2/10-2/16 | 2/3- 2/9 | 1/27 - 2/2 | 1/20 -1/26 | 1/13-1/19 | 1/6-1/12 | 12/31/02-1/5/03

Archives - 2002
12/23-12/29 | 12/16-12/22 | 12/9-12/15 | 12/2-12/8 | 11/25-12/1 | 11/18-11/24 | 11/11-11/17 | 11/4-11/10 | 10/28-11/3 | 10/21-10/27 | 10/14 -10/20 | 10/7-10/13 | 9/30-10/6 | 9/23 -9/29 | 9/16-9/22