My convention coverage:Last weekend and then the beginning of the week, I kept wanting to stab people for their stupidity. I decided to blame the DNC being in the air or something since the ridiculous convention serves no other purpose. The ickiness seemed to die away by the middle of the week, though. I spent Wednesday and today catching up on lots of stuff my dad has sent me over the past couple weeks.
I didn't watch the convention last night. I went to sleep.
Aren't you jealous?
-Jeff Jarvis, July 28, 2004
Linking to this, my father titled it "It's your fault I make ridiculous arguments."
He also links to this saying: Don't these people know they feed each other?" After giving an example of the vicious cycle he writes:
My advice: "Lighten up. Diversity. Free expression." Leave the crosss. Let validictorians say whatever THEY what to say. And no, we're not any one officially religious nation.
And linking to this he quotes a particular passage:
Anti-Americanism makes strange bedfellows. The Arab Islamists despise America because it’s all lap-dancing and gay-phone sex; Europe’s radical secularists despise America because it’s all born-again Christians hung up on abortion. They’re both right. The free market enables Hustler to thrive. And the free market in churches enables religion to thrive.Ann Althouse takes Barbara Ehrenreich to task for her editorial on abortion and makes a lot of good points, saying things (in ways) i hadn’t thought of before.
The ambivalence that women maintain about abortion ought to be seen as a reason to support abortion rights. If women had no qualms and misgivings and serious moral struggles about abortion, it would make more sense for government to deny them the right to choose. It is precisely because women experience torment over choosing abortion that people who feel abortion is wrong can reject the paternalism of an abortion ban. Supporters of abortion rights should not try to sanitize the difficulty and the guilt out of abortion. It is the very difficulty of the decision that makes it the domain of the individual.Damn, Ehrenreich verges on the Dowd-ian here.
Even William Safire was off this week.
"I doubt Michael Moore asked for anti-semitic whackos to endorse his film. But they seem to do it anyway," says David M.
Scott Simon rips apart Michael Moore, saying things like: "A documentary film doesn't have to be fair and balanced, to coin a phrase. But it ought to make an attempt to be accurate. It can certainly be pointed and opinionated. But it should not knowingly misrepresent the truth." and makes fact-checking points i hadn’t already read other places.
Glenn Reynolds on "Michael Moore's Truth Problem."
Wow, Michael Moore, just when i thought you couldn’t get any worse.
Jacob Levy responds to the NYT piece which purports that Catwoman’s success or failure will prove whether a black woman lead in an action flick is marketable.
Another example of child porn laws and their ilk gone crazy.
Glenn Reynolds asks "Why are the kids alright?" and later writes "Porn and Violence: Good for America's Children?" (My father says: "Correlation is not causation and sometimes we just don't know.") There’s also this. Discussions of whether violent video games cause violent behavior and the corollary discussion of whether (bad) porn causes bad sexuality deserves its own entry at some point. (Which reminds me,
Joanne Jacobs talks about School of Rock and how "Many of the visions of child-centered education assume that children will do naturally what adults want them to do." She quotes Brian Micklethwait on: "the central self-contradiction of current adult views about education in particular and the life of children in general. Children should be completely free to do … exactly what we want them to do. They should be allowed to respond at an emotional level … with our emotions. They should be free to dream and to live out … our dreams. And then they should get great jobs as financial analysts and have two point four kids of their own."
Joanne Jacobs says good things about No Child Left Behind.
Aw, the NYTimes ombudsperson admits that it’s a liberal paper.
Is The New York Times a Liberal Newspaper?Wow, there exist Ivy League faculty/staff who have money to GWB’s 2004 campaign.
Of course it is.
These are the social issues: gay rights, gun control, abortion and environmental regulation, among others. And if you think The Times plays it down the middle on any of them, you've been reading the paper with your eyes closed.
This is an interesting article contrasting Europe and America. My father writes:
One thing that jumped out at me: At one point there's a little parenthetical: ("note the sly conflation here of “liberal” and “leftist,” which in Europe, of course, are opposites)." That probably makes no sense to most readers but he has a profound point, which requires a little journey into linguistic history. In the 1800s "liberal" meant someone who was anti-government. "Liberals" were most concerned with "liberty" and saw the greatest danger to liberty in privileges granted to the nobliity, old feudal rights, established churches, monopoly rights to favored groups--in short, in corrupt and oppressive government run by the wrong people. "Liberalism" was the hot, sexy ideology of thee 1800s."The crux of the political left's complaint about Americans is that they are insufficiently materialistic."
But as the century wore on, this kind of "liberalism" came under attack. The new danger to liberty, said the critics, came from the businesses that had grown up. And the way to fight this danger was to make government bigger and stronger, the exact opposite of the old "liberal" prescription. Of course, this new strengthened government was to be run by the right people. In the United States, this kind of thinking was often called progressivism in the 1890-1920 period but after that it pretty much took over the old word "liberal." (In America today, anti-government people are often called "conservatives," almost a 180 degree change from the established meaning two centuries ago.)
In Europe, this pro-government, anti-free market thinking was stronger and more extreme. It called itself by new words like "socialist" or "social democratic" or simply "left." In Europe, people who believed in limited government continued to be called "liberals." Thus, Europeans today who oppose free trade or who want a comprehensive welfare state will call often those who disagree with them "neo-liberals."
Most people would agree that a strong government is a good thing, as long as it is run by competent, tolerant, and open-minded people--and as long as the government doesn't try to interfere in things it shouldn't (what we today generally call "civil libertiess" and "privacy."). Alas, the history of Europe in the 20th Century is largely a history of governments being oppressive, imcompetent, or both. The dream of thorough-going socialism, either in the Marxist ("communism") or nationalist (National Socialism or "Naziism") version, produced nightmares. These forms of leftism were totally contradictory to just about all forms of "liberalism."
It could be said that the great question in modern democracies is how you balance "left" (in the sense of a large and powerful "public sector") and "liberal" (in the sense of people being able to do a lot without getting the government's permission). There is an inevitable tension. A government committed to doing "what's best" for its citizens is constantly going to be tempted to make them do things they don't want to "for their own good." Paying taxes, of course, but also not buying the wrong things, not doing the wrong things, not saying the wrong things, not seeing or hearing the wrong things, not thinking the wrong thoughts.
Humans are imperfect creatures, ignorant, prone to mistake. It is natural to want to keep them from doing what is bad for them, to make them do what is good for them. "We are all sinners," says the Bible, "who fall short of the glory of God." The political/religious ideal of the Middle Ages was that they should be guided through life by their betters: the nobles and the church. Today the people who consider themselves better are more often the well-educated and the cultivated. They have a similar impulse. How much power should they have, how much should things they disapporve of be crowded out, in the hope it will work out better this time?
Rich get poorer, middle class gets richer?
My father said this article on the 2004 World AIDS Summit reminded him of Tom Lehrer's song about "The Old Dope Peddler" "doing well by doing good." To sum up: "if the lunch must be free, the baker and the butcher stop offering it."
Ronald Bailey asks "Why shouldn't more money buy you better health care?"
An interview with Martha Nussbaum on disgust, shame, anger, mitigation, aggravation, and more.
Sudan genocide update (July 26, 2004): some talk, some humanitarian action, but the killing and dying goes on. Rajan Rishyakaran is not pleased.</a> (ICRC stands for International Committee of the Red Cross, btw.)
A recurrent theme: not respectable multiculturalism (to which my father adds: "But then I think a lot of respectable multiculturalism is also cr*p")
Heart medication specially for black people?
This made me giggle.
Who writes these headlines? Moving on to the story itself, though, my father writes:
I think the story reflects a deeper truth. Five giant media companies (Viacom is one) "control" the media," says Susan Linn. No, says, Roger, the vast majority of people buy their books and watch their tv shows, but they don't "control" anything. People buy their stuff because the companies offer what the people want. If the companies don't, they die. The companies are constantly looking for new stuff because they know that there are lots of others out there looking to take their audience.Richard Epstein talks about majoritarian and libertarian values and how they relate to the same-sex marriage debate.
And to think it was pretty recently that major media organizations didn't want to touch anything gay themed: "In addition, the channel plans to collaborate on programing with sister Viacom entities including CBS News, MTV, TV Land and VH1, with which it is co-producing "The Big Gay 100," a special ranking gay cultural icons."
Josh Claybourn writes about the FMA and Christian libertarianism. My father said it "made me think of, among other things, the dream of the Grand Inquisitor in Dostoevsky's Brothers Karamazov. The Grand Inquisitor deilberately takes away people's choices so they won't have the difficulty of choice, and will do things he approves of. He finds himself condemning a returned Jesus who offers people choice and all the problems that involves."
Referring to this Boston Globe article, Andrew Sullivan said that since the Massachusetts Supreme Court legalized gay marriage, even the swans have gone gay -- which isn't borne out by the article, but that's okay.
Daniel Drezner on gay teammates in baseball.
Republicans in Hollywood
Hmm, well if sunlight makes people feel better i guess the logical conclusion is that tanning could be addictive.
Mother Nature has a sick sense of humor?