Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Sky is Falling...

"Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies; rivers and seas boiling; forty years of darkness; earthquakes, volcanoes... the dead rising from the grave; human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together - mass hysteria..."
Get ready, here it comes...
Equal application of the law for gay people in New Jersey -- gasp. Below is the pertinent excerpt from the NJ Supreme Court's opinion (seems right to me):

Although we cannot find that a fundamental right to same-sex marriage exists in this State, the unequal dispensation of rights and benefits to committed same-sex partners can no longer be tolerated under our State Constitution. With this StateÂ’s legislative and judicial commitment to eradicating sexual orientation discrimination as our backdrop, we now hold that denying rights and benefits to committed same-sex couples that are statutorily given to their heterosexual counterparts violates the equal protection guarantee of Article I, Paragraph 1. To comply with this constitutional mandate, the Legislature must either amend the marriage statutes to include same-sex couples or create a parallel statutory structure, which will provide for, on equal terms, the rights and benefits enjoyed and burdens and obligations borne by married couples. We will not presume that a separate statutory scheme, which uses a title other than marriage, contravenes equal protection principles, so long as the rights and benefits of civil marriage are made equally available to same-sex couples. The name to be given to the statutory scheme that provides full rights and benefits to same-sex couples, whether marriage or some other term, is a matter left to the democratic process.

An extremely moderate (i.e., middle of the road) opinion. The court found that there is no "fundamental right to same sex marriage," but that all partners, regardless of the line-up at hand, are entitled to equal application of the state's statutory benefits. How novel. And unlike Mass, the court is even allowing the legislature to determine the name for such arrangements ("marriage," "civil union," "herd," "coven" - whatever works). I like it. Fifty little autonomous laboratories for social experiment. Alright, so what's the over-under on how long it takes the in-state homophobic coalition (whom I am willing to bet call themselves, "limited-government, states' rights-endorsing, conservatives") to petition the Feds to preempt this decision with a federal constitutional amendment?
UPDATE: October 27, 2006: Dale Carpenter summarizes and analyzes the NJ Opinion nicely here.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Scare Politics

To be clear, I have absolutely no problem with stem cell research - indeed, I will the relish the day that I can grow myself a new liver in the kitchen window; but such is not a legitimate state pursuit. I know, I know -- the state engages in a plethora of pursuits everyday of which I am less than fond. All that I am saying is let's not add to the heap.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Choking down the Sunday Shows

After running through my TiVo backlog of Sunday shows, I am left partially disgusted, somewhat conflicted and slightly amused. A typical span of emotions considering the source. Starting with the disgust - let's talk about Nancy Pelosi on 60 Minutes. Cheers to Leslie Stahl for actually conducting a real interview - she did not throw any softballs. And despite Mrs. Pelosi self-desribed acumen for dignified civility, her deeply-sewn tendencies for vitriol and animous could not be contained. Anyone else see it? Here's a tip: just watch her lips when a hot-button topic comes up - she can barely keep from melting down like the slimy-Nazi dude in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Scary. I admit - as much as I am cheering for a Democratic takeover of the House - simply to return us to the happy era of non-happenings commonly known as mixed-government-grid-lock, the thought of a "Speaker Pelosi" gives me heart burn of the refried bean variety. Talk about a Hobson's choice: a continuation of Bush-Big-Government or the House run by Wicked Witch of Bay. Eewwww.
And moving on to Barak Obama on Meet the Press. Look out. This cat is for real and he's running for President. Can you say, "Hillary's biggest nightmare?" A smart, articulate, seemingly-honest, pragmatic, boot-strapping, energetic, fresh-face - he almost makes me want to puke. To be sure, I'd take him over Hillary 8 days a week and maybe even over a social-conservative of the Bill Frist variety. Of course, I can't say that I agree with him on much - he's a true believer in the utility of government and the modern state. And he is, without a doubt, a real-life liberal, notwithstanding his stance against "ideologues." For those who missed it - Obama lectured 'Big Russ' on the virtues of "common sense," "pragmatic," "fact-based" approaches to policy over "ideological" stances -- in other words, he apparently holds disdain for theory, philosophy, consistency and belief. Yea, who wouldn't... Still, despite his muddiness and love of the mother-state, we need a change and GOP needs a spanking. So, I am holding my nose, pulling for the D's and praying to the big buddha that the GOP engages in some indepth self-analysis over the off-season. As such, if I am going to advocate a regime change in the party-sense, I would certainly prefer an Obama to a Clinton, Kerry or Edwards. In any event, it should be an interesting couple of years.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Puritans at Home

I am never certain as to whether I should laugh at these idiots or be mortally frightened? Take away the AP copyright disclosure and I would assume that this is piece from the Onion; but alas, I have spent a quarter of a century down here in the land evolution-denying, sticker-placing, prayer-zealots who have never once seen a child that they did not want to indoctrinate. Hence, my acute cynicism is well-founded. Hey, Mrs. Mallory, look in the mirror -- the wiccans are not with whom we're worried.

Silencing the Opposition

In Newsweek last week, George Will discussed the evolution of McCain-Feingold and the use of said statute to silence the political opposition:
Campaign-finance "reformers," who advocate ever-increasing government regulation of the quantity, timing and content of political speech, always argue that they want to regulate "only" money, which, they say, leaves speech unaffected. But here they argue that political speech is money, and hence must be regulated.
Yet another highlight to the legacy of our dear, "small-government-conservative," "individual-liberty-advocating," President.

Did I Say That Outloud?

Hillary's taking it back. Incredible.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Are you cool, man?

Like, whadaya mean:

Five Romanian farmers are being investigated after police discovered they were feeding their cows cannabis. The farmers from Romanesti in Botosani county, told officers the drug helped the cows produce more milk. The farmers aged between 57 and 82, claim they didn't know they were doing something illegal by growing the drug in their field. Farmer Ion Astarastoaie said: "We grew it because the cows seemed to like it, and happy cows give more milk."

No comment necessary. Hat tip to Hit and Run.

Tackling the Important Issues

You go, GW. When I think of the pressing issues of the day, the first that jumps to mind is certainly internet gambling, or as various Republican congressman have referred to the scourge:

the Internet version of crack cocaine.

Pardon me while I puke. Can we please get these guys out of power as soon as possible?