We Win, They LoseThe Wit and Wisdom of Three Guys Named Brent, Mark and Mike
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Pick Your Gender and We’ll Enforce Your Choice
is the title of this interesting post by George Reisman. It quotes the following from a NY Times piece:
Separating anatomy from what it means to be a man or a woman, New York City is moving forward with a plan to let people alter the sex on their birth certificate even if they have not had sex-change surgery.
Under the rule being considered by the city’s Board of Health, which is likely to be adopted soon, people born in the city would be able to change the documented sex on their birth certificates by providing affidavits from a doctor and a mental health professional laying out why their patients should be considered members of the opposite sex, and asserting that their proposed change would be permanent.
Reisman has some very interesting thoughts on the subject. I'll have to keep an eye on his blog. In the meantime, enjoy this taste:
Please observe. This is not a matter of individuals being free to indulge in their sexual fantasies in their own bedrooms or in private clubs, or in any other private facility whose owner is willing to allow it to be used for such a purpose, whether it be a bar, a hotel, or an athletic stadium for that matter. No one who upholds private property rights can make objection to such a thing, irrespective of his personal evaluation of such behavior.
What is present in the rule being considered by New York City’s Board of Health is an attempt to forcibly impose the fantasy of some people on everyone else. It is an attempt to elevate fantasy to the level of actual reality and to compel everyone else to accept it as though it were reality.(emphasis in original)
If the New York City Board of Health does in fact enact its proposed rule on gender identity, its members who vote for the rule will have demonstrated a major loss of their own capacity to distinguish between fantasy and reality. They will deserve not only to be thrown out of office but also, it could reasonably be argued, to be committed to a psychiatric hospital.
Of course, it is next to impossible that they would be committed, because the source of the rule they are considering is none other than New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. In New York City, the inmates, or those who arguably should be inmates, are literally running the asylum.
Monday, January 29, 2007
Many visit, few see inside of temple
is the title of this piece in the Columbus Dispatch. Kind of a boring article, really, it doesn't really stay on topic. But, there you go. It ends with this:
Temples are sacred; only about 30 percent of Mormons qualify to enter them, based on standards that include tithing, maintaining moral character and adhering to prohibitions on alcohol, tobacco and caffeine. Tourists can get a glimpse inside through videos at a visitors center.
Wrong - the Word of Wisdom says nothing about caffeine.
Thursday, January 25, 2007
We're not leaning to the left, you're leaning to the right...
In an AP story titled "Kerry Will Not Seek White House in 2008," the AP slips in yet another jab at the President:
Kerry, 64, who lost the White House when Ohio voted for President Bush by 118,601 votes on election night in November 2004, made the announcement at the end of a lengthy speech on Iraq.
Gosh! So close, I can't believe he conceded! He should have sued! That Bush guy, and stinking Ohio! Why, if not for Ohio....
Can you even conceive of the AP ever writing the following statement, also true:
Kerry, 64, who managed only 44% of the male vote and lost the White House when America voted for President Bush by 3,012,497 votes on election night in November 2004, made the announcement at the end of a lengthy speech on Iraq.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Child Abuse on Film, pt. 2
As a follow-up to Brent's post a few days ago, I found this interesting:
The filmmakers as well as theatres that show the film, Hounddog, are subject to federal prosecution under child pornography laws. Federal child pornography laws state that a film or image depicting a minor, defined, as “under the age of eighteen years,” engaged in “sexually explicit conduct,” may be the subject of a prosecution. “Sexually explicit conduct” is defined to include actual or simulated sexual acts.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Diversity? Diversity? Anyone? Bueller?
Liberals sure do talk a good game when it comes to diversity. But that's all it is, talk. Imagine a white group that turned away an African-American applicant, stating that it was "critical" that the group remained "exclusively [white]." Imagine the group justifying it's policy with the following: "It's an unwritten rule. It's understood. It's clear." Now imagine the group was a group made up of only white members of Congress.
Do you think it would be a big story? Do you think that the mainstream media would ask every member of Congress to condemn the group's actions and policy? Think there would be repercussions?
Check out this story, which describes the failed attempt of a white liberal to join the Congressional Black Caucus. Rejected, apparently based solely on the basis of his skin color. This despite the fact that he was a liberal, and that he represents a 60% black district.
Has the CBC ceded any moral ground here? Does anyone care to hear what any member of this Caucus might say in the future about racism? I sure don't (not that I did before). Think this group would accept such pathetic excuses (i.e., it's always been this way, we've never had a black, etc.) from any group that tried to exclude African-Americans?
Can there be a better example of how far the civil rights movement has strayed from its original intention of an equal playing ground -- those who write our laws have a group within their midst which discriminates directly on the basis of race, and no one will utter a syllable about it. And diversity? That's a one-way street in America, apparently reserved for places except Congress. The Dems will tell you this group is diverse by definition, because those with black skin are diverse, also by definition. Funny how diversity is supposed to be about seeing individuals instead of groups, and now groups are all some can see. Thus one group composed entirely of people who look like each other (black) is diverse, while another group composed entirely of those with another skin color (white) would be called not only not diverse, but probably racist. And they call this progress.
Disgraceful. Some enterprising Republican should press the issue by attempting to join, and make the group explicitly reject him or her. That would be fun to watch. Do they have blacks only lunch counters in the cafes at Congress, too?
Marriage In America
Interesting interview here with an author of a new book about the state of marriage in the US. The author the NY Times story from 2-3 weeks ago about more women being unmarried than married for the first time in American history. She mentions, however, that the story was pushed and manipulated by the NY Times. No surprise there.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Cheerleaders for Cheerleaders?
As a follow-up to my previous post on the cheerleader madness in New York schools, I did some digging around and found this letter written by the woman who started it all, Rosie Pudish. It's the cached version, I couldn't locate it currently online. Responding to the fact that neither the cheerleaders nor the female athletes appear to favor the new situation, she wrote:
Regardless of what this year's players and cheerleaders desire, students don't get to decide if the school will comply with the law. Current year players and cheerleaders don't get to decide the issue for all future players and cheerleaders.
She has no problem deciding the issue for them, though. This apparently includes her own daughter:
Rosie Pudish, the parent who filed the original complaint, said she did so even though her own daughter, Keri, a varsity basketball player at Johnson City High School, did not particularly want cheerleaders at her games.
Ms. Pudish said that as many as 60 cheerleaders, along with their friends and parents, would attend the boys’ games, injecting a level of excitement and spirit that was missing from the girls’ contests.
“It sends the wrong message that girls are second-class athletes and don’t deserve the school spirit, that they’re just little girls playing silly games and the real athletes are the boys,” said Ms. Pudish, an accountant who works for the federal government.
Big surprise, she "works" for the federal government. She then states:
It should be noted that STAC officials were notified of the violation back in November 2005. They had an opportunity to discuss and resolve the issue long ago, for far less hassle and expense, and they did not take it. Schools were also offered an informal resolution with the OCR, also at far less hassle and expense; they opted to hire expensive lawyers.
What this has to do with the issue (i.e., no one wants the Pudish solution, in 2005 or currently) we are left to guess. The article allowed several people close to the situation to respond, and those who disagreed outnumbered those who agreed with Pudish 6-2. One of them was the cheerleader I quoted in my previous post, Katelin Maxson. She wrote:
Katelin Maxson, Lisle: I am a cheerleader at Whitney Point and at our school the other female athletes do not want us at their games and matches. They have said that we will be too distracting and I have to agree. No sport suffers because of a lack of support at Whitney Point, they have their own individual fans. Having two separate squads would be a great idea except for the fact that small schools like mine barely have enough athletes try out for one squad let alone two. We don't have enough funds to run two squads either. Pretty soon we will be cheering on every sport, including golf. If this doesn't stop soon there just won't be any cheerleaders anymore. We are not toys to be thrown around to solve civil rights issues, we are athletes. Where are the teams that cheer cheerleaders on? Don't we deserve the same chances too? This whole rule is only causing a lot of frustration and resentment.
I absolutely love the point she makes -- if it's all about fairness, and every athletic team deserves cheerleaders whether they want them or not, then where are the cheerleaders' cheerleaders? And where are the cheerleaders' cheerleaders' cheerleaders? And so on. This sounds like a Saturday Night Live sketch, so you know the government must be involved. What a joke.
Saturday, January 20, 2007
Can voters picture good Mormons as good leaders?
is the title of this piece in The Dallas Morning News. I suppose that depends on how one defines a "good Mormon." The article discusses both Senator Reid and Governor Romney, reminding me of something I've been meaning to point out -- why is there such a huge uproar about Romney's religion, but not Reid's? I suppose Occam's Razor provides the answer -- those concerned with Romney's faith are merely using it as a mask for their concern with his policy stances; they have no such qualm with Senator Reid, whom they assume will place his political faith above his religious faith.
Friday, January 19, 2007
Allright, That's Enough
This story may be the craziest one I've seen in quite a while, and that's saying something:
WHITNEY POINT, N.Y. — Thirty girls signed up for the cheerleading squad this winter at Whitney Point High School in upstate New York. But upon learning they would be waving their pompoms for the girls’ basketball team as well as the boys’, more than half of the aspiring cheerleaders dropped out.
The eight remaining cheerleaders now awkwardly adjust their routines for whichever team is playing here on the home court — “Hands Up You Guys” becomes “Hands Up You Girls”— to comply with a new ruling from federal education officials interpreting Title IX, the law intended to guarantee gender equality in student sports.
“It feels funny when we do it,” said Amanda Cummings, 15, the cheerleading co-captain, who forgot the name of a female basketball player mid-cheer last month.
Whitney Point is one of 14 high schools in the Binghamton area that began sending cheerleaders to girls’ games in late November, after the mother of a female basketball player in Johnson City, N.Y., filed a discrimination complaint with the United States Department of Education. She said the lack of official sideline support made the girls seem like second-string, and violated Title IX’s promise of equal playing fields for both sexes.
In Johnson City, students and parents say they have accepted the change even as they question the need for it.
Several cheerleaders there recalled a game two years ago, long before the complaint, when the squad decided at the last minute to cheer for the girls’ team because a boys’ game was canceled.
The cheers drowned out directions from the girls’ coach, frustrated the players, and created so much tension that the cheerleaders left before halftime.
“They asked, ‘Why are you here?’ ” recalled Joquina Spence, 18, a senior cheerleader. “We told them, ‘We’re here to support you,’ and it was a problem because they kept yelling at us.”
But, as the New York State Public High School Athletic Association warned in a letter to its 768 members in November, the education department determined that cheerleaders should be provided “regardless of whether the girls’ basketball teams wanted and/or asked for” them.
Note how the people follow the commands of the government, rather than the other way around. Let's all accept the change, even as we question the need for it. After all, the government has spoken. We sheep need to get in line.
Ah, there's government of the people, by the people and for the people. Twenty-two of thirty cheerleaders drop out, no one on the basketball team or the audience appears to want the cheerleaders, but the all-knowing government has made up its mind, and nothing shall stay its hand. Is this really what Title IX was intended to accomplish:
“We joined sports to have fun, but they’re basically taking the fun away and giving us more work,” [said Katelin Maxson, 17, a senior who is the cheerleading captain.] “The interest is down so much, and it’s going to keep dropping, until there’s no cheerleading anymore.”
Michigan schools won't see delay in new law
is the headline here.
The University of Michigan, Wayne State University and Michigan State University say they are complying or attempting to comply with Proposal 2, which bans the use of race and gender preferences in university admissions and government hiring. The measure was approved by voters in November.
"Attempting to comply"? Come on, since when can anyone skate by with "attempting to comply"? Try that one next time you get pulled over: Sorry, officer, I am attempting to comply with the speed limit...
Surprisingly, even our Supreme Court isn't buying it:
In a one-sentence order Friday, the high court declined to reverse the appellate court's decision.
You know you've got a pretty crappy argument when you can't even get Justice Stevens to buy it:
Justice John Paul Stevens had been asked to lift the Circuit Court stay; the request was made by a coalition of civil rights groups and minority admissions applicants.. Stevens referred the application to the full Court, which denied it without further comment.
My prior post on this can be found here.
AP Treats Obama With Fetus Gloves
Jill Stanek notes how the AP uses kid -- oops, I mean fetus -- gloves when dealing with Senator Obama's votes:
You would have a difficult time figuring out Barack Obama supports infanticide by the Associated Press story yesterday entitled, "Obama Record May Be Gold Mine For Critics."
Each of five times the AP referred to Obama's votes as state Senator to allow infanticide to continue in Illinois, it softened the blow to make it unintelligible to the fetus on the street.
Stanek's Pro-life Pulse earns a place on the honor roll!
A Middle Ground for Stem Cells
Yuval Levin has a nice piece by that name in, of all places, The New York Times. A taste:
But that does not mean the stem cell debate is about when human life begins. It is a simple and uncontroversial biological fact that a human life begins when an embryo is created. That embryo is human, and it is alive; its human life will last until its death, whether that comes days after conception or many decades later surrounded by children and grandchildren.
But the biological fact that a human life begins at conception does not by itself settle the ethical debate. The human embryo is a human organism, but is this being — microscopically small, with no self-awareness and little resemblance to us — a person, with a right to life?
At its heart, then, when the biology and politics have been stipulated away, the stem cell debate is not about when human life begins but about whether every human life is equal. The circumstances of the embryo outside the body of a mother put that question in perhaps the most exaggerated form imaginable, but they do not change the question.
America’s birth charter, the Declaration of Independence, asserts a positive answer to the question, and in lieu of an argument offers another assertion: that our equality is self-evident. But it is not. Indeed, the evidence of nature sometimes makes it very hard to believe that all human beings are equal. It takes a profound moral case to defend the proposition that the youngest and the oldest, the weakest and the strongest, all of us, simply by virtue of our common humanity, are in some basic and inalienable way equals.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Child Abuse on Film
Last night, on Hannity and Colmes, they had on Paul Petersen, a former child star and the founder of an organization call "A Minor Consideration" to discuss Dakota Fanning's involvement in film now showing at the Sundance Film festival called Hounddog. According to reports, see here and here, Dakota, a 12 year old little girl, acts out a rape scene. Do we need any further proof (a) that Hollywood is the most twisted and perverted place on earth and (b) the biggest problem children in this world face is bad parents. We need not even comment about Hollywood, but what about Dakota's mother? (I don't know whether she has a father. I am assuming not, because no father would let his daughter be involved in such a scene.)
I have heard it said before that we have to get licenses to drive, hunt, fish, own a dog, and to do many other things, but anyone can have a child. Is it any wonder that many child stars are so messed up when they get older. Not only do they get hit with Hollywoods immoral messages, but they may even be subject to child abuse. It truly is disturbing. Society is supposed to look out for those who cannot protect themselves--i.e. children. When we don't, we have truly lost our way.
Well, it has been awhile. I won't link to any articles in this first post after such a long hiatus. I will just say that I look forward to reading Mark's posts and will diligently attempt to keep up.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
What are they afraid the woman might see?
Click here for an article which begins:
Pregnant women seeking an abortion in South Carolina would first have to look at ultrasound images of their fetus under legislation introduced this week.
Of course, there are those who object:
Pro-choice activists criticize the measure as restricting women's reproductive rights.
'It's another intimidation tactic aimed at restricting access,' said Lindsay Siler, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Health Systems in Raleigh, N.C.
An "intimidation tactic"? Geez...
Compare that with this story, which discusses an apparent push to "make late abortions easier":
Pro-choice lobbyists are pushing to scrap restrictions on late-term abortions as new figures show WA women are increasingly terminating their pregnancies after the benchmark 20-week period.
Family Planning WA wants women to be allowed an abortion for purely social reasons, even if a foetus is more than 23 weeks old — the point at which a baby can survive outside the womb.
Give the people what they want, eh? And check out this blunt honesty:
FPWA sexual health services medical educator Alison Creagh said the panellists should also include social and psychiatric problems as valid grounds for late-term abortion.
When asked what could justify a late-term abortion, Dr Creagh said: “Such things as thinking I really don’t want to have a child. It’s not the right time for my schooling/work/finances/relationship.”
Wow. At least she is admitting what the pro-choice crowd here in America rarely does -- that basically any inconvenience should justify an abortion.
Also, note the statistics in the article which indicate that many of the late abortions performed are for "foetal abnormalities." Dr. Creagh attributed this to "access to better screening methods for Down syndrome, so more women are having screening and identifying severe conditions prior to birth."
It is quite sad that some people have no qualms with killing an unborn child simply because of indications of Down syndrome. Sad but true. I wonder if the Australian doctors make the mother look at the test confirming the baby's Down syndrome before they kill it...
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
The New New Bigotry
is the title of this interesting piece by Hugh Hewitt. He makes a nice point about those who seem all too ready to stand aside and watch as Mormons (that is, Mitt Romney) are cast as unfit for office on the basis fo their (his) faith. He concludes:
In mid-November I addressed a session of the Evangelical Theological Society, an organization of more than 4,000 evangelical scholars. I used the time to warn the theologians that the secular press would soon be approaching them to harvest anti-Mormon quotes for use in profiles of Mitt Romney, and to recognize that to the extent they cooperated in the project to chase Mormons from the public square, and to legitimize the sort of private religious test the public counterpart to which is specifically forbidden by the Constitution, they would be building their own pyre.
Weisberg’s attack on Romney is exactly the sort of attack on other Christians and believers in the miraculous that the secular left would love to make routine. To mainstream Protestants and Mass-attending Catholics, the virtual mob against Romney because of his LDS faith may seem like someone else’s problem, but it is really another step down the road toward the naked public square. Legitimizing bigotry by refusing to condemn it invites not only its repetition, but its spread to new targets.
He's right, you know.
Monday, January 15, 2007
Bilbo Berger (or, what's he got in his pocketses?)
I have followed little of the Sandy Berger theft of classified documents saga, and am certainly no expert. Powerline has an installment linking to what looks like a good article on the subject. Currently I am thinking something I haven't seen anyone else mention -- I wonder if Berger hasn't put himself in the proverbial catbird seat with his pantics (get it?). Let me explain.
Imagine if say, during Hilary's presidential campaign a certain person were to threaten to come forward with information that may be damaging to either Hilary or more likely her husband, the former President, information that was (so far as we know) contained exclusively in original documents which Berger admitted hiding under a construction trailer, then cutting into tiny bits. By accident, of course. Such documents having no duplicates in the national archives.
Anyway, since it is now common knowledge that Berger is the only individual who can state with any authority what was in the documents he accidentally destroyed, doesn't this make him dangerous? That is, who can contradict whatever claim he wishes later to make? Those who do not speak out now will have no credibility to contradict whatever he may choose to reveal in the future. Certain individuals might wish to keep Berger from any such revelations. Thus, Sandy and his pants can write their own ticket in any future Clinton (or maybe even Democrat) administration, security clearance or no. I don't know if anything he might reveal would already be covered by his guilty plea to a misdemeanor, but if so, he could even skate from any criminal repercussions for future revelations.
To this point, it seems most people on both the left and the right assume (probably correctly, at least for the moment) that Berger took his actions to protect others, probably including the Big He. But I wonder if Berger hasn't seen something in it for himself the entire time.
At the very least, Mr. Berger has set himself up nicely for a future fat book deal, a book in which he will surely recall to the best of his ability what exactly was on those original documents he accidentally destroyed. Things might get interesting then. Perhaps some Democrats may finally wonder, as Gollum once did, what the burgling "Bilbo" Berger had in his pocketses? Or perhaps, up his sleeve...
Explain Further, Please
Found this strange little article headlined "Researchers: big families carry risks." The conclusion is stated right up front:
Researchers at the University of Utah and the Austrian Academy of Sciences say having a large number of children can be hazardous to the health of parents.
However, the scanty discussion of the evidence doesn't necessarily support the claim. The rest of the article reads:
The researchers, utilizing data from 21,684 couples married between 1860 and 1895 collected by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, found mothers with 12 or more children faced a risk of premature death five times greater than that of women with three children or less, The Washington Post reported Monday.
While 1.5 percent of the mothers of three died within a year of birthing their youngest child, 6 percent of the mothers with 12 or more children died within the same time frame.
The researchers said fathers in large families also face an increased risk of premature death. A total 2.5 percent of men with 12 or more children died within a year of the final child's birth, compared to slightly less than half of 1 percent of fathers with three children or less.
Could it be that the average woman who has had "12 or more children" is simply older than the mother of three, and that this could explain the small variation in death rates? Same thing for the fathers. The article doesn't say. Nice work, guys.
As Usual, Steyn Nails It, With Hilarity...
Another Steyn article, another example of the best opinion writing going these days. He comments on research into changing the sexual orientation of gay sheep. A taste:
Martina Navratilova, the nine-time Wimbledon champ, has called for the project to be abandoned and for scientists to respect, as the Sunday Times put it, "the right of sheep to be gay." Many of us can sympathize. The poor old sheep gets it coming and going. If he's going to end up bleeding to death while turned toward Mecca, he ought at least be able to choose his orientation in the runup to it. Might as well be hung for a ram as for a ewe. Surely a sheep should be able to celebrate his own sexuality without a lot of crazed ovine eugenicists strapping him to a gurney and shooting him the hetero-juice.
Just one question for Ms. Navratilova -- is she implying the sheep choose to be gay? (Baa! I'm exercising my right to be gay! Baa!) I thought gayness was an immutable characteristic, not simply a behavior.
Sunday, January 14, 2007
U-M Diversity Quote
Listen to this quote:
'I think it's a step back, I guess, from all that's been done to make universities more diverse so everyone had an equal chance,' said Lauren, who is of African-American and Native-American heritage. 'It's disheartening.'
How does considering everyone on the merits, rather than the color of their skin, give everyone "an equal chance"?
I have been thinking for a while that one terrific way to expose the ridiculousness of the admissions programs that award extra points based on race (or lower the standards, whichever the case) is to list your race on the application as the most preferred. For example, if you believe (correctly, as it turns out) that African-Americans will get the highest preference in your application to the University of Michigan, simply list your race as African-American. How are they going to prove you are not? (Q. Are you African-American? A. I am today, dude.)
Will the University institute racial/genetic tests to prove or disprove these claims? What will they set as the percentage of African blood needed to earn the bonus? Simply forcing the issue in this way would change the dynamics quite a bit, I'll wager. It would be fun to see if (and how) the University would establish that one is not a member of a preferred category. More fun to see them defend an explicitly racial policy. This would give the lie to the whole 'diversity doesn't mean just race' line. In my opinion.
UPDATE: Just saw this in the Trib; it makes my point more eloquently:
Diversity is a worthy goal for a university, but it comes in many forms. If Michigan uses the options still available to advance that mission, students of all races will benefit.