In expressing opposition to the proposed casino in Prince George’s County, Margi Willis [“ ‘Vegas on the Potomac’? No thanks, ” letters, Dec. 24] wrote that she and her husband would never go near or support any of Maryland’s casinos. That is exactly the point. Ms. Willis is free not to patronize them, while others who have different tastes are free to visit them. That is what freedom is.
Sunday, December 29, 2013
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
I thought that opponents of marriage equality were simply trying to protect bakers' and photographers' free exercise of religion. It's almost as though their stated and actual reasons differed somewhat.
My first thought was that LGBT advocates should take every opportunity to point out the chicanery of groups like the NOM and the FRC. Then, however, I remembered how often our advocates have said that free exercise of religion should yield to anti-discrimination laws. We thus have two sides in the debate, both of which think that their preferred outcome should trump the First Amendment's free-exercise clause.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Residents of the neighborhood, famous across the state for its vibrant after-hours scene, complained of having to listen to music and crowd noise from the clubs and walk past tipsy suburbanites on their way home. Said one person who had recently moved to the 18th Avenue corridor, “Does anyone on the city council seriously believe that I would move from the suburbs to a condo directly above Club Splondeed to subject myself to that? Why isn’t anything being done?”
Another recent purchaser in the same building concurred, adding, “Condos on or near 18th Avenue are among the most expensive in the city. For what we pay to live here, we’re entitled to a little peace and quiet. Why does the city keep approving commercial land use that is clearly out of place in this neighborhood?”
Others who were fed up with the noise and crowds have found a different solution. Said one resident, “I used to have a roommate who got tired of the whole situation, so he bought a house in the county agricultural preserve. He no longer has to deal with the nightlife, but now he has to smell fertilizer. Why won’t the county board of supervisors step in and do something?”
See also: MILMOT: Make it like my old town
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
In short, the only way to keep government from redefining marriage is to keep government from defining marriage at all. I believe that that course of action would be ideal, but, as I have said before, I do not want the perfect that is a long way off to be the enemy of the good that is coming to pass.
Note also this line:
But it's OK, folks, because they're gay dudes and are therefore untouchable by the LGB-centric media.That's a fine thing to tell us in the context of showing us the exact opposite.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Today’s GOP is not racist, as Harry Belafonte alleged about the tea party, but it is deeply troubled — about the expansion of government, about immigration, about secularism, about the mainstreaming of what used to be the avant-garde. People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York — a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children. (Should I mention that Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, used to be a lesbian?) This family represents the cultural changes that have enveloped parts — but not all — of America. To cultural conservatives, this doesn’t look like their country at all.(Emphasis added.) While I have done my fair share of criticizing social conservatives, I try not to say anything about them that is either so breathtakingly clueless or so breathtakingly mendacious.
Cohen has backpedaled:
The column is about Tea Party extremism and I was not expressing my views, I was expressing the views of what I think some people in the Tea Party held.While the backpedaled version clearly differs from what he originally wrote, it is not much better. By expressing the views that he thinks that some people in the Tea Party hold, he serves his readers idle speculation with a side order of nutpicking.
Also, some progressives have misinterpreted the above-quoted passage of Cohen's column as expressing his own views, which it plainly does not, and have thereby changed the meaning by 180°. Some people appear to spend every waking moment looking for things by which to be offended, no matter what the facts are.
Friday, November 8, 2013
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Friday, October 11, 2013
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
The SPLC filed a federal lawsuit today against the town of Shannon, Miss., its mayor and its aldermen for unjustly denying a business license to a bar catering to the LGBT community.If the burden is on a person who just wants to engage in voluntary commerce "to justify why she should be permitted" to do so, we can expect precisely that result.
* * *
The mayor asked [Pat Newton, the applicant for the business license] to justify why she should be permitted to open the bar. After stating her reasons, the mayor asked the aldermen and citizens to raise their concerns. Newton was confronted with questions laced with insults from citizens and aldermen. One resident asked how Newton could call herself a Christian. Another asked whether she would let her daughter go into “a bar like that.”
At the end of the hearing, an adviser to the town informed the board that Newton had met all the requirements for her application but that the application could be denied on public health and safety concerns. The board denied the application by a 4-to-1 vote – even though no legitimate evidence regarding public health and safety was presented.
The 14th Amendment, § 4, first sentence, actually reads,
The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.Note those pesky words "authorized by law," which keep getting left out. If I didn't know any better, I'd almost think that people avoid quoting those words because those words get in the way of the desired result. Who makes laws again? The next section of the amendment gives a clue:
The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Friday, September 27, 2013
Bertolli Makes the Most of Barilla Chairman's Anti-Gay CommentsThis is the way to do it, not to invite government to step in and thereby turn bigots into martyrs for free speech.
Barilla is struggling enough this week without its competitors piling on. But Bertolli doesn't care. Seizing on comments made by Barilla's chairman about how the company would never put gay couples in its advertising, Bertolli Germany quickly posted pro-gay imagery in its social feeds, happily taking advantage of its rival's misstep.
People who complain about economic coercion against Barilla must know on some level that they're mistaken, since activists on both the right and the left have long used boycotts. Then again, perhaps economic coercion, like judicial activism, means whatever the person using the term doesn't like.
Thursday, September 12, 2013
Some popular impulse purchases — tattoos and body piercings — could soon become less impulsive if District [of Columbia] health regulators have their way.So the city government wants to take a more active role in adults' choices over their own bodies? What could possibly go wrong? Besides, it's not as though either tattoo parlors or potential customers could go to Virginia or Maryland or to a hack in the underground economy.
A mandatory 24-hour waiting period is among the provisions included in a 66-page package of draft regulations governing the “body art” industry released by the city Health Department on Friday.
Friday, August 23, 2013
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Monday, August 12, 2013
Never underestimate the power of doublethink.
The meta-rule: The rules are written, interpreted, and enforced in such a way that whatever you do or say is wrong.
The rule of political and economic terms: Any political or economic term has one of only two possible meanings, which are “whatever I like” and “whatever I don’t like.”
The first rule of religion: The Word of God, when correctly interpreted, always agrees with whatever the person interpreting it wanted to believe anyway.
Corollary to the first rule of religion: All of those thou-shalt-nots are for other people.
The second rule of religion: Believers are saved by the blood of Jesus, or their deity of choice, from ever having the burden of proof.
The third rule of religion: When someone asks rhetorically, “Doesn’t the Bible say…?”, the answer is almost always no.
Queen Carlotta’s Law: In certain belief systems, Queen Carlotta has proclaimed every day as backwards day.
Corollary to Poe’s Law: Some belief systems are so far removed from reality that no matter how carefully you represent what they actually teach, someone will accuse you of setting up a straw man.
Corollary to Godwin’s Law: As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving slavery approaches 1.
There will never be Peak Derp. Nor will there ever be Peak Lie
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
When I read or watch news reporting, I want the confidence that I have learned enough about the subject to form an informed opinion. I often do not get that confidence from The Washington Post because too often, either bias or sloppiness becomes evident. When an article is an opinion column thinly disguised as news reporting, when it gives undue weight to one side or just shills for one side, when it presents questionable assumptions as unquestionable truths, or when it simply contains obvious errors of fact, I look elsewhere for information. I am less concerned with bias on the opinion pages, which are, after all, opinion pages.
I believe that our housing system should operate where there’s a limited government role, and private lending should be the backbone of the housing market.Only a Randroid teathuglican would use "limited government" and "private" as anything other than swear words, right? Actually, some forms of nanny-statism are losing even Obama's support. The fundamentalists of big government are screaming that he has betrayed them.
Friday, July 19, 2013
People are already pointing to antidiscrimination lawsuits against bakers and the like as evidence that we are not seeking only the right to live our own lives, but also the power to dictate others' lives. We thus feed the myth of individual liberty as a zero-sum game, i.e., one in which our gains are automatically someone else's losses. We also run the risk of looking like hypocrites for demanding freedom of association for ourselves but no one else.
Thursday, July 11, 2013
Mr Obama has become a more amiable and efficient manager of the American empire. And, in the name of national security, he is laying the foundation for a frighteningly dystopian future by combining full-spectrum surveillance with full-spectrum military dominance.Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick wrote that in Financial Times.
* * *
Mr Obama, under whom hunger strikers are force fed and whistleblowers prosecuted with unparalleled ferocity, needs to recalibrate before he drives the final nails into the coffin of a once-proud American republic.
Monday, June 24, 2013
If I didn't know better, I'd almost start to think that progressives refused to blame government for anything except not doing enough. More generally, I'd almost start to think that they deployed invincible ignorance (a/k/a the "La la la, I can't hear you" fallacy) against any logic or evidence that countered their world view. As I've said before, reality is negotiable; dogma isn't.
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
The Straw Man fallacy is committed when a person simply ignores a person's actual position and substitutes a distorted, exaggerated or misrepresented version of that position.For instance, the other evening, I was informed that libertarians agree with Republican flip-flopping on health care, the "get your government hands off of my Social Security and Medicare" viewpoint, crony capitalism, the religious right's social positions, and even drug prohibition (which, in case you didn't know, is entirely the fault of the private sector and of limited-government types). Setting up straw men does not make the other side look wrong; instead, it makes the side setting them up look either ignorant or dishonest.
See also The straw atheist and the straw Christian.
Monday, June 17, 2013
The reality is that humans are born male or female. At birth we don’t “assign” sex to a child arbitrarily, as the analysis of this bill implies. We recognize the child’s sex – it is a physical reality. But in the world of this bill, that reality doesn’t matter. Like Cinderella in a fantasy world, a person may choose or change his sex, saying, “I can be whatever I want to be.”
What struck me in reading your document is that those who are biologically female is a simple category (persons with XX genes and genitals) but the other category is not clearly defined, it is so foggy that it could be expanded to include the class of all males on the planet (theoretically). No matter how you define the gender-trans category you run into difficulties. That’s why you have ways of defining that are highly subjective. If it’s “my gender is what I say it is” then persons with dissociative personality disorder or with multiple personalities, would be understood as changing genders more or less frequently.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Cross-sectional and first-difference regression analysis of up to 69 countries reveals that economic freedom is positively related to tolerance towards homosexuals, especially in the longer run....Of course, correlation is not causation; also, the data are derived from polls and therefore could suffer from the Bradley effect. Still, the study provides counter-evidence to an anti-freedom talking point.
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Sunday, May 5, 2013
To a gay person, groups of people in complete agreement are scary. It’s what happens in a totalitarian state, a Catholic school, church, or worst of all, the suburbs. Since those places are all horrible, a gay person is committed to constantly come up with ways his opinions and political views are different from everybody else’s.And the earth is flat. Go to a meeting of almost any mainstream LGBT organization, and you'll see just how afraid of groups of people in complete agreement gay people are. Soon after coming out, I learned the hard way that people would flip out over an expression of any idea outside of the group-certified orthodoxy, even something as apparently anodyne as "There are gay men in long-term relationships." As for any distinction between the LGBT community and those other locales, didn't someone once say something about fighting monsters and gazing into the abyss?
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
On the other hand, I am still waiting to hear a cogent reason why freedom of association applies only to those who oppose same-sex marriage and not, say, to those who have an equally sincere opposition to remarriage after divorce in the absence of an annulment, or in other words why opponents of same-sex marriage deserve a special privilege. Cherry-picking fidelity to principle is not fidelity to principle at all.
I like to raise that issue with those Catholics who oppose marriage equality on the ground of freedom of association, especially those who believe in their church's teachings against some forms of marriage that secular law allows. They either throw out a red herring or play the persecution card.
Friday, April 26, 2013
The point of sequestration is supposedly to create just enough chaos that regular people — people with political clout, such as, say, business travelers — demand that Congress fix it. Or as the Democrats conceived it, to create the public pressure they need to knock Republicans off their absolutist position on taxes.The mask slips, but Beutler hurriedly pushes it back into position in the next paragraph:
They allowed Republicans to inaccurately characterize the FAA furloughs as a political stunt. [emphasis added]
Saturday, April 20, 2013
French MPs come to blows as gay marriage debate ends
Punches were reportedly thrown in the French parliament on Thursday night as MPs wrapped up the long debate on the government’s gay marriage bill.
* * *
Enraged by what they believed was an insulting sneer by one of Justice Minister Christiane Taubira’s advisers while one of their number was speaking, about 20 right-wing MPs rushed onto the floor of parliament shouting “Out! Out!”.
“Punches were thrown,” according to Socialist MP Bernard Roman, while other sources said that one hit a parliamentary official called in to keep order.
Monday, April 15, 2013
Sunday, March 24, 2013
“I suppose you’re right,” I muttered, and then hoped that he hadn’t heard me saying so.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
People have responded to Shocked in ways like this:
Freedom of speech and artistic expression are critically important, but this isn't free speech. This is hate speech.In fairness, the petition calls for voluntary measures rather than government censorship. Yet in making the distinction between free speech and hate speech as though they were mutually exclusive categories, which, at least in the US, they are not, the author of the petition plays a dangerous game. For one thing, our opponents have become adept at playing the hate-speech card whenever anyone dares to examine their beliefs critically.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
From the PRI report (which names Microsoft as a major supporter of the increase in the H-1B quota):So, why does the US need to import labor for this lower-skilled work? Matloff says it has to do with wages and immobility. He argues that since employers sponsor H-1Bs visas, foreigners have a limited ability to negotiate higher salaries or switch jobs. If they do manage to change employers, it means they must restart any green card applications. Matloff says these realities "handcuff" H-1B visa holders to their employers.Ahh, the grim realities of our beloved free market system!
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
A judge struck down New York’s limits on large sugary drinks on Monday, one day before they were to take effect, in a significant blow to one of the most ambitious and divisive initiatives of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s tenure.While the opinion relied heavily on administrative law, such laws present the larger issue that they restrict people's right to make choices over their own bodies. One justification for such laws that tends to show up often in the comments sections is the effect of obesity on public health — the same argument that I heard when I was involved in the struggle against sodomy laws.
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Re “Prison and the Poverty Trap” (Feb. 19): The article shows that the war on drugs has harmed people like Carl Harris on two levels. First, it has distorted incentives and created an underground market that is both more lucrative and more violent than the aboveground economy. Second, the long prison terms associated with the underground market cause a breakdown of families and communities.
If those in power are serious about the poverty trap, they should be serious about not setting it up in the first place.
Sunday, February 24, 2013
VATICAN CITY—Calling forgiveness "one of the highest virtues taught to us by Jesus," Pope John Paul II issued a papal decree Monday absolving priest-molested children of all sin.From Cardinal Mahoney's blog:
In the past several days, I have experienced many examples of being humiliated. In recent days, I have been confronted in various places by very unhappy people. I could understand the depth of their anger and outrage--at me, at the Church, at about injustices that swirl around us.
Thanks to God's special grace, I simply stood there, asking God to bless and forgive them.
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Sunday, February 10, 2013
STUDY: Most Gay Men Prefer Their Guys Naturally HairyI have read other studies that "show" the exact opposite. You can "prove" whatever you want if you don't worry about silly little things like non-representative data samples and self-selection bias, which many people in the LGBT media evidently do not.
According to a survey conducted by Manhunt, gay men prefer their partners to leave their body hair alone.
More than 27,000 Manhunt members were asked which body parts they like their partners to manscape and, surprisingly, most wanted everything left the way God made it.
Yes, I do know better than to expect quality journalism from sites like Manhunt. It does not follow that supposedly more serious sites have to go along.
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Was sent this and instantly thought of [other commenter].
* * *
Classic. I love it. Maybe we should have a drinking game: every time [other commenter] hits 50 in a thread, everyone drinks.
Sunday, January 20, 2013
- Rich consumers want to spend money on the newest and "sexiest" fashions to show off their wealth and popularity.
- Fashion designers design exotic and scandalous clothing that shows off the female body, which treats the woman as another luxury good.
- Fashion agents treat models as merchandise, placing heavy demands on the models to meet the specifications of the designer.
- The models never feel good enough unless they are the thinnest, youngest, prettiest, etc.
- Many models suffer irreparable damage from feelings of inadequacy, leading to depression and sometimes suicide.
- Thinner, younger models take the place of the unstable, unreliable older models (who themselves are no older than 25).
- Rich consumers buy the latest fashion, become convinced that the newer fashion standard is even thinner than before, and pump more money into the system in the process.
Saying once [gay men] started getting heavily into fashion the model shape changed towards a male form (essentially what a [gay man] would enjoy looking at). Like what Em said.
Now I wouldn’t give a shit except for the fact that they hold up these women ... as an ideal form, knowing damn well 96% of the female population isn’t going to look like that. So women get breast implants, liposuction, nose jobs, spray tans (or skin lightener), lip filler and spend millions on diet and exercise crazes. In the end, women hate themselves and each other.
Monday, January 14, 2013
Friday, January 4, 2013
If we ignore in law the natural complementary of man and woman in creation, then the natural family is undermined. Our individual lives become artificial constructs protected by civil “rights” that destroy natural rights. Human dignity and human rights are then reduced to the whims of political majorities.Yes, because we all know that reducing human rights to the whims of political majorities would be very bad. We must follow the eternal verities, whatever they are this week.
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
The problem is that justifying your political and economic views by appealing to a science-fiction show set in a post-scarcity society isn't exactly the most credible argument.