Friday, May 28, 2004


The California Senate has passed this bit of legislative idiocy. Let's hope that there are more operative neurons in the Assembly. Somehow, I wouldn't bet my life savings on it.

You know, I read about how George Bush's approval ratings are plummeting, and that cheers me up because that means we have a chance to get rid of him in November. Then I remember that if we do that, the Democrats will be back in charge, and I sink into a deep pit of utter despair.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Blame it on porn

Rebecca Hagelin has it all figured out: the abuse of prisoners at Abu Graib is the result of too much porn (and not enough attendance at church).

The logic escapes me. It is certainly true that Americans spend a lot more on porn now than they did, say, fifty years ago, but we also spend more on just about everything else. One could just as easily say that Abu Graib was the result of too much money spent on beer, or SUVs, or fast food.

Or guns.

For that matter, let's take a closer look at the premise behind Hagelin's position: Abu Graib is a reflection of a "culture gone stark raving mad" and urges a return to the Halcyon days before the 60's corrupted us.

Of course, even Hagelin acknowledges that the history of the country before the 60's is not unblemished. "The horrors of slavery come to mind." But what Hagelin doesn't mention is society's reaction to slavery as contrasted to society's reaction to Abu Graib. It took us almost 100 years and a civil war to settle the question of whether slavery was moral. (And, I note in passing, we're still arguing about the question of whether state-sponsored discrimination against minorities is moral.) How long did it take us to settle the question of whether women ought to be allowed to vote? Or whether blacks ought to be allowed to marry whites?

The response of today's American society to the atrocities at Abu Graib stands in stark contrast to the lengthy, painful, and often shameful history that has brought us to where we are. Today's response was immediate and unequivocal (with the exception of a few on the far right who maintain that "those terrorists" got what they deserve): what happened at Abu Graib was wrong. I'll take that over anything our past has to offer.

The problem with today's society, if indeed there is one, is that it is starting to focus too much on the Ten Commandments and not enough on the Ten Amendments. Abu Graib happened not because we gave up on church or God, it happened because we gave up on due process of law.

A small island of sanity

A Federal Appeals Court has ruled that John Ashcroft overstepped his authority when he ordered that Oregon ignore a democratically approved initiative.

This is good news. The bad news is that the vote was 2-1. That's a thin margin.

We liberated Iraq from Saddam Hussein. When George Bush has stacked the courts with conservative judges who think the U.S. should be a Christian theocracy, who will liberate us? Who will defend individual freedom and democracy against the overreaching dictatorship of John Ashcroft.

I fear for my country.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

That does it

Despite the fact that I have an Israeli heritage and a certain amount of sympathy for the suffering of Israeli civilians at the hands of Palestinian terrorists (and the fact that my grandmother still lives in Haifa) I can no longer muster any support for the government of Israel after reading this. To destroy a zoo is unalloyed evil.