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Saturday, October 28, 2006

He Lights Up Our Lives

Sexual? What would make anyone think that?
The campaign of Republican Sen. George Allen on Thursday released excerpts from some of the war novels (Democrat Senate candidate Jim) Webb wrote between 1978 and 2002. Among the excerpts is a scene from the 2002 novel "Lost Soldiers," in which a man embraces his four-year-old son and places the boy's penis in his mouth. "It's not a sexual act," Webb [said] regarding the "Lost Soldiers" excerpt. "I actually saw this happen in a slum in Bangkok when I was there as a journalist." He defended his fiction as "illuminative."
Right. Now that I've encountered Jim Webb's novels, my life is brighter. Yours too?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Separation of Powers? Not in New Jersey

"Three separate and coequal branches." Even if you slept through most of your high school civics classes, your subconscious probably remembers that phrase. It captures one of the defining characteristics of America's experiment in self-government, where three distinct branches of government — executive, legislative, judicial — check and balance each other. Works in theory, but not always in practice. Witness yesterday's peremptory ruling that New Jersey's highest court issued to the state's legislature, in effect: "We have decided homosexual partnerships deserve the same substantive rights as heterosexual partnerships. We command the New Jersey legislature to implement our ruling." This is frightening stuff. And I'm not even referring to the content of the court's ruling. It's the process that bothers me. By what authority does an independent judiciary tell an independent legislature how to conduct its business? I would think that even the most fervent supporter of same-sex marriage would find the court's overbearing manner disturbing, because there is no reason to suppose the court will not try to tell the legislature how to resolve other legislative matters in the future. Here's the irony. Remember when the United States Congress passed a bill that merely urged the federal courts to take a second look at the Terri Schiavo case? The courts declined to do so, which was their prerogative. But the outcry from editorial writers and liberal activists was deafening: How dare Congress presume to give operating instructions to an independent judiciary! Let's note the key difference. The legislation signed by President Bush in the Schiavo case simply asked the federal courts to review the actions of the lower courts. By contrast, New Jersey's court of last resort has taken a very different tack: "You will do what we tell you to do, and you've got six months to act." Regardless of their feelings about same-sex marriage, I'd love to see the legislators of Tony Soprano's state legislature respond: "You want to try to make us act? You and who else?"

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Liberal Racism: Alive and Well

The guy's obviously smart. Hip. Cool. Gracious and graceful. His moderate tone conveys passion. He appears pragmatic yet comes across as a man of ideals. Being new to the national scene makes him an ideal screen upon which the country can project its pen-up hopes for a leader on horseback to ride in, rescue the distressed damsel, chase off the villains and crooks, restore decency and honor to the shining city on the hill. Yes, Barack Obama's got a lot going on for him at the moment. So much that he admits he's thinking about running for president. Plus, he's black. This gives him precisely what Colin Powell possessed a decade ago: the status of a black person with the stature and credibility to make a serious run for the White House. Which means, of course, that the rest of us must brace for a new round of extravagant posturing from liberals, who predictably end up sounding like racist imbeciles whenever they proceed to tell us how good they are on "race issues." Consider, for instance, columnist Richard Cohen's analysis of the Obama phenomenon:
After eight years of George W. Bush and his narcissistic foreign policy -- me, me, us, us -- it would be great to have a president who presents a different message just by his complexion and who compensates, if anything can, for how Iraq has tarnished America's reputation, particularly in the Third World.
What's amazing is not that Cohen should offer up such a fatuous stereotype (previously he declared the very existence of Israel to be a "mistake") but that civil rights leaders didn't immediately take him to task for declaring that Obama's message and skin color are synonymous. How different, really, is Cohen's thinking from old-time white racist notions of the way that "darkies" and "coloreds" are, based solely on skin pigment? It's hard to distinguish the left's allegedly progressive embrace of racial identity politics from Jim Crow's confidence that skin color is destiny. If Obama decides to run the presidential gauntlet, liberals will expect him to "think like a black man" and fully embrace the culture of victimhood that encourages black dependence on the good intentions of self-annointed civil rights leaders and the self-congratulatory virtue of scribes like Cohen. Should Obama step out of line and dare to emphasize achievement based on individual merit, you can bet he'll be declared "inauthentically black" or a "traitor to his race." Lest you think I'm lost in hyperbole, recall some of the brickbats thrown at Clarence Thomas during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings. For the high crime of thinking conservative thoughts while being black, Judge Leon Higginbotham declared Thomas to be "afflicted with racial self-hatred." For not supporting affirmative action, Thomas had "ethnically ceased being an African-American, said Columbia professor Manning Marable. Clarence's problem is simply he "doesn't think like a black," offered Derrick Bell of Harvard Law School). And then there's ranking Democrat member of Congress who chided black Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele's "slavish" devotion to the Republican Party. Charming. How distant such race-mongering seems from the simple message of the placard held aloft by a black male during the early civil rights movement: "I am a man." The holder of the sign was not making a gender statement. Nor was he fishing for a compliment about his complexion. The man was asking — demanding, actually — precisely not to be judged by the color of his skin. "See me as a human being." Staying put on a bus seat, Rosa Parks had said the same thing. None of this is intended to take anything away from your magnificent moment, Sen. Obama. Congratulations on a successful first ten days as a national icon. You do cut a dashing figure! Now, watch your back. There are people out to get you. This time not the Klan, nor Jim Crow, but still a group that wants you to behave the way a black man is "supposed" to. Liberals who claim to admire you, like Richard Cohen.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Parental Notification: Common Sense, Not Rocket Science

A few weeks ago my ringing telephone showed a number I don't like to see flashing on my caller I.D. It was my second-grade son's school calling during school hours. My kid had taken a fall from the playground monkey bars; he'd banged his head. "Nothing too serious," the school nurse assured me, "but he says he's got a headache from the fall and would like to come home." Because I work at home, picking up my son early wouldn't be a problem. I had only one request of the nurse. "Could you give him a children's aspirin before I get there?" "Oh, we're not authorized to administer medicine to children, without written permission from parents," she told me. I found this news fascinating. "So you're saying if I give you written authorization today, you'll be covered to give him an aspirin in the future?" Her response: "Not exactly. It's not a general authorization. What you need to do is authorize the school in writing each time you want to allow the school to give your son aspirin." I thought about that en route to pick up my son. If I'm required to hand over written permission each time he might have a physical pain suited to aspirin, I could just deliver the aspirin to the school myself. That's a strict policy. Guess what? I don't mind one bit. If my son needs medicine — yes, even low-dose "children's aspirin" is medicine — I not only want to know, I want to supervise. Hell, I want to give him the medicine myself. But if my underage son were a pregnant daughter seeking an abortion without my knowledge, I wouldn't have to worry about those pesky phone calls from persons in positions of authority, persons I might naively expect to behave like, oh, responsible people sometimes called adults. That's because in my state of California, Planned Parenthood is allowed by law to perform abortions without notifying parents of minor girls. A 16-year-old California girl cannot use a tanning bed or get her ears pierced without written parental consent. But she can undergo a surgical abortion without parents even being notified. Who benefits from keeping parents in the dark? Planned Parenthood runs the largest chain of abortion centers in America. They make money doing abortions. And let's not forget to mention the guys who impregnate young girls and then pressure them to get an abortion. A study of 46,000 pregnant minors in California found that 71 percent were impregnated by men with an average age of 22.6 years old. Guess who's on the side of these child predators? Planned Parenthood, that's who. If you're a parent or a grandparent of an underage girl, Planned Parenthood hasn't the slightest interest in what you think. Morever, they benefit precisely to the extent that you're kept out of the information loop. But, wait. Isn't Planned Parenthood generally staffed by women who consider themselves feminists? Yes. Don't most feminists claim to want to end the expoitation of women by men — especially self-serving men who would prey on highly vulnerable women? Right again. So you may be surprised to hear Planned Parenthood staff in many California cities on tape telling a 13-year-old girl that they will conceal her sexual exploitation by a 22-year-old predator. I am required to drive to my son's school if he needs an aspirin. But a 14-year-old girl can receive an abortion, a potentially life-threatening procedure, without her parents ever knowing. This doesn't make sense. That's because it's crazy. California Proposition 85 restores parents' right to know what is happening to their own child. I'm voting yes on 85.