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Friday, April 07, 2006

MINE FOR THE TAKING: When Caille Millner gets out of bed, she turns on her computer and begins trolling for access to one of her neighbor's wireless connection. She does so because she thinks "it's too expensive to pay for it myself." When she makes it to the Internet, she experiences "slight feelings of shame, sheepishness and doubt." Still, she's not sure that it's stealing because, hey, lots of nearby coffee shops offer free access. Now the amazing thing is not that she takes what doesn't belong to her. Nor, these days, is it strange to hear someone admit bad behavior in public. The remarkable thing is that this writer declares her theft in the op-ed section of a leading daily newspaper. She writes with an obvious intention to brag about her unwillingness to pay for her own Internet account. But the really, truly, genuinely astonishing thing is that Caille Millner works as an editorial writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, in whose pages she crows about her shamelessness. The point of her essay is not that she used to do this bad thing of stealing but stopped. No, she writes to say she believes she has a right to take it because she doesn't want to bother to pay. Does she also steal her neighbors' cable TV? Maybe she'll tell us in a future essay. It's a pretty safe guess she writes about the bad things other people do — including George W. Bush, who is positively hated by the newspaper's editorial writers. To the best of my knowledge, the Chronicle has never run an editorial stating they don't like Bush's domestic surveillance program but they're going to cut him some slack because he must have his own very good reasons. (Oh, and not to put to fine a point on it, Caille: Yes, what you're doing is, in fact, larceny. Be sure to let us know what you decide to do if and when your neighbors get smart enough to protect their Internet accounts with passwords. Will you hire a hacker to break the codes? Will you stiff the hacker because why should you have to pay a mere burglar for stealing what you think should be free? Do keep us posted...)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

PITY THE KID: Who says San Francisco is unfriendly to family values? Who would think such a thing? Who would dare be so judgmental, so unfriendly toward the marvelous diversity of a community where family planning and flower arranging occur on pretty much the same basis? What you're about to read has nothing to do with flowers, and arguably it has nothing to do with families of the healthy variety. But of course that's what makes this story arguable. From San Francisco Chronicle columnists Matier & Ross:
Stork sighting: Think of it as sort of a "Will & Grace" meets "Ellen DeGeneres" -- in a whole new version of "Leave it to Beaver" set in the Castro. Gay Supervisor Bevan Dufty and his longtime lesbian friend Rebecca Goldfader are pregnant. Mother-to-be Goldfader -- a nurse practitioner -- said she and Dufty have been friends for about seven years. Both wanted to start a family and both decided it was now or never. "Neither one of us are spring chickens," Goldfader said. "I'm pushing 40, and so there wasn't a lot of time." The couple -- or "co-parents," as they like to be called -- plan to move in together after the birth, but will continue leading separate romantic lives. "I realize that this may seem a non-traditional family to a lot of people," the 51-year-old Dufty said. "But we see it more as part of a wave of new types of families that has been coming for some time." As for how paternity might affect Dufty's love life? "I've been dating the same man I met on Valentine's Day," Dufty said. "Lucky for me, he's one of eight children -- so he's very 'child positive.' "
Now let us together identify (and celebrate, in the name of diversity!) the basic tenets of this story. 1. The couple decided it was "time" to bring forth a child into the world, because, well, their clocks were ticking. Replace "bring forth a child" with "train for a marathon" or "take that cruise to Alaska" or "buy into that timeshare in Reno" or "undergo liposuction" and you'll get the point. In the Brave New World of San Francisco's radical Left, creating a child is a "lifestyle choice" of the 3M kind: all about Me, Myself, Mine. ("But is it good for the kid?" is a hopelessly old-fashioned and very misguided question. Please keep such thoughts to yourself, or you will be charged with a hate crime.) 2. The two adult biological specimens (pleased to call themselves "co-parents") will share a house while sleeping with others. Oh, joy. What surprises lay in store for the little one who leaves the crib to crawl into bed with male or female parent and ... whomever. 3. This is all about the future, the veritable "leading edge" of societal evolution. If you disagree, you are provincial, reactionary, unenlightened, mean-spirited, bigoted, prejudiced. Hateful, did we mention that?) 4. The sperm donor wants us to appreciate that he's not some fly-by-night type, oh no. He's been in a committed relationship for, oh, 6 weeks. With a man who likes kids, no less. (At least that's what I think "child-positive" means. Where's Orwell when we need his skills at translating doublespeak?) Imagine the world into which this kid will be born — and I mean "world" in the most specific sense, the family life this child will be asked to adapt to and embrace as normal. I take that back. You don't have to imagine that. It's a cruel request. I wouldn't want to be offensive or anything.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

IMMIGRATION IDIOCY: If I hear one more grandson of Irish (or Italian, French, German, Belgian) immigrants defend amnesty for illegal immigrants in the name of "fairness" I will begin to pound my head on my desk until I have lost enough brain cells to make their false reasoning tolerable. Mr. Ed Gillespie, former GOP chairman, weighs in with "We must not allow our party to become the anti-immigration policy." As if that's the issue. Look: People who are in this country illegally are in this country illegally, no matter where they came from. I'm just delighted to hear Ed Gillespie's ancestors came here legally. Mine did too. So when did following the law become a bragging point? (Oh, right. After Clinton, I guess not breaking the law becomes a resumé item.) It goes without saying we can't deport 11 million illegals. But we can certainly do our best to make their path to legal status more than a formality. Any "guest worker" program needs to require immigrants to pay taxes, learn English and American civics, get driver's licenses, buy auto insurance and abide by the law. There need to be clear benchmarks and timetables. Those who are now here illegally and commit themselves to playing by the rules: Welcome to the greatest country in the world. Those who who don't need to go. A nation that cannot control its borders is not a nation. We must do everything possible to seal the border to prevent further illegal entrance — if that includes a wall, let it rise.