Great deal, Tomasky. I've been wanting to sell blue states to Canada for a long time. Your plan isn't as profitable as mine, but ridding us of the blue states' debts will still have us coming out ahead.
We get the best economies among the states. You get the decaying union states.
We get the Kennedy and Johnson space centers. You get the Apollo 13 movie sets.
It's actually pretty simple, Alan. If you are paid according to your performance then you don't need the union to get you a raise. Conversely, if others receive higher pay because of their performance and you don't, then you don't need the union because it didn't get you a raise. The union must be the source of all benefit and protection otherwise it loses the basis of its exclusivity privileges.
It's not about the workers. It's about empowering the elites.
Quote of the Week. "You can look back at the president as a candidate speaking before the unions making it clear about his support for charter schools, his support for things like performance pay. It was not a closeted agenda. And for people to act right now like they feel betrayed by this president only suggests that they were not paying attention when he was speaking." - Joe Williams, executive director of Democrats for Education Reform. (July 7 National Public Radio's All Things Considered)
Gee, you'd think political lobbies (like teachers' unions) would actually pay attention to candidates who speak on their pet issues.
The performance pay issue catches my eye. Unions here and abroad abhor the concept. I don't see why the sorts who like collective bargaining don't support salary plans that factor in base levels based on seniority plus variable amounts based on performance. But I don't think like a unionist.
Many anti-unionists perceive that the unions are simply protecting the underperformers. That may be the case, but I think there's more to the story. Perhaps the unionists perceive that a performance-based factor would be so great as to render the very concept of collective bargaining meaningless. (Especially if you start docking the underperformers' pay.) Perhaps unionists tend to share a perverse sort of egalitarian ethic that sees performance-based salary stratification as "elitist."
A fight breaks out on a Bay Area Rapid Transit train, BART police officer Johannes Mehserle subdues a perp, reaches for a weapon, shoots subdued perp, weapon turns out to be a gun, perp is dead. Cop goes to trial, is convicted of involuntary manslaughter and not murder; the jury believes Mehserle's claim that he thought he was reaching for his Taser. Thugs riot, because the transit cop didn't get a murder sentence.
Radley Balko says the jury gave the right verdict. Key is the defendant's immediate reaction to the shooting, caught on surveillance tape and confirmed by witnesses. Read the whole thing.
Actually, I never liked that term "hate group." Hate can be difficult to prove. The common denominator shared by all "hate groups" - bigotry - is another matter.
That the NAACP falls in that category is old news, dating at least as far back as the 2000 election cycle. Like much of the left, the organization blamed racist sentiments for fueling opposition to "hate crime" laws. The NAACP went so far as to politicize the James Byrd murder in the most vicious political campaign ad in recent history. Brent Bozell reported in October that year:
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is now airing an ad that seeks to exploit black fears of white crime. Actually, that’s too kind. Over black and white video of a pickup truck dragging a chain, the daughter of Texas dragging death victim James Byrd declares, "So when Gov. George W. Bush refused to sign hate crimes legislation, it was like my father was killed all over again."
(The most horrifying aspect of the murder was not the racial angle but that those three killed a guy for fun.)
That's the title of Rich Lowry's latest NRO article, in which he counters the exaggerations of Islam's and the Enlightenment's roles in furthering scientific progress. It's not terribly long - read the whole thing.
Perhaps I misunderstand, but this seems to tangle up everyone's storylines: Gay activists usually argue that civil unions, even if they give the same benefits as marriage, aren't the equivalent of marriage. Anti-gay marriage activists are often okay with civil unions, so long as they aren’t called marriage. Or am I missing something?
If SSM proponents wanted nothing more than getting two sets of institutions the same government privileges, that could be accomplished by establishing civil unions. So there must be something additional at stake.
I wish I could remember the source, but I once ran across a gay-marriage-friendly source that explained this something else: a definition of marriage that is exclusively heterosexual implies that homosexuality is somehow "less valuable" (exact phrase used) than heterosexuality. This is the only explanation for the SSM fanatics who reject the "civil union" compromise: the goal is not merely to grab a number of legal privileges, but also to re-engineer the English language to conform to their ideology.
There's nothing new about gay activists seeking to employ the government to affect people's opinions about homosexuality. They do have an active education lobby, after all - sex ed, "tolerance" curricula that equates "tolerance" with allegiance to leftist dogma.
There's nothing new about gay Newspeak, either. "Homophobia" stands front and center, which bastardizes the word "phobia" to serve nominally as a synonym for "bigotry" - but in practice "homophobia" means supporting whatever the gay lobby opposes. But "homophobia" was introduced into the language by influence, not by force.
SSM joins both memes: it reinvents language by government fiat.
SSM opponents seem to fall into three groups. One claims that homosexuality is a disorder to some degree, and that by placing homosexuality and heterosexuality on the same psychological and ethical plane, the SSM concept essentially represents a scientific fraud.
Another, populated by those who do and do not approve of homosexuality, consciously or subconsciously perceives SSM's totalitarian angle as described earlier.
The third group is populated by folks - the ones I've run across are gays themselves - who don't believe in the concept of marriage and thus don't desire to see SSM established. I remember when the cultural Left in general condemned marriage as a legalistic obstacle to sexual fulfillment. It still does - but much of it wants SSM all the same, not because of any liking for marriage, but for the purpose of social engineering geared toward shrinking the numbers of people who disapprove of homosexuality.
Not sure if SSM opponent Elton John belongs to the second group or the third, or both - and/or some other constituency I haven't anticipated.
Original posted July 4, 2002. Every year a change is made:
2003 Original image of WTC replaced with mini-collage of WTC, Liberty Bell, and the flag raising on Mount Suribachi. 2004 Image of young girl celebrating the liberation Iraq; LOTR quote. 2005 Iraqi girl image replaced by Iraqi voter; Cathy Seipp quote via Samizdata. 2006 Viktor Frankl quote 2007 Oriana Fallaci quote 2008 William F. Buckley quote 2009 YouTube video, scene from "John Adams" miniseries 2010 Tea Party protest sign
The scene from "John Adams" shows the meeting of the Second Continental Congress, at which the vote for independence from Great Britain is conducted, and (at 3:07) the public reading of the Declaration of Independence.
Through these fields of destruction Baptisms of fire I've watched all your suffering As the battle raged higher And though they did hurt me so bad In the fear and alarm You did not desert me My brothers in arms
Dire Straits, "Brothers in Arms"
"Then I will live in Montana, and I will marry a round American woman and raise rabbits and she will cook them for me. And I will have a pickup truck, or possibly even a recreational vehicle, and drive from state to state. Do they let you do that?"
Vasili Borodin (played by Sam Neill), The Hunt for Red October
"'We hold these truths to be self-evident... That all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights... That among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness... That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men ...'. And this paper that from the French Revolution on the whole West has copied, from which each of us has drawn inspiration, still constitutes the backbone of America. Her vital lymph. Know why? Because it transforms the subjects into citizens. Because it turns the plebes into people. Because it invites, no, it orders the plebes turned into citizens to rebel against tyranny and to govern themselves. To express their individualities, to search for their own happiness. (Something that for the poor, for the plebes, means to get rich). The exact contrary, in short, of what the communists used to do with their practice of forbidding people to govern themselves, to express themselves, to get rich. With their practice of installing His Majesty the State on the throne."
Oriana Fallaci, The Rage and the Pride
"With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood."
Martin Luther King
"There is an inverse relationship between reliance on the state and self-reliance."
"The State exists simply to promote and to protect the ordinary happiness of human beings in this life. A husband and wife chatting over a fire, a couple of friends having a game of darts in a pub, a man reading a book in his own room or digging in his own garden - that is what the State is there for. And unless they are helping to increase and prolong and protect such moments, all the laws, parliaments, armies, courts, police, economics, etc., are simply a waste of time."
C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
"Funny that the same people to whom diversity is a holy word so often bemoan diversity of opinion as divisive. But in a democracy, politics are naturally divisive: you vote for this candidate and someone else votes for that one; you vote yes (or no) on a proposition and other citizens disagree. What's not divisive? Saddam and his 99.96% of the vote. That's how it went during the previous Iraqi election -- an illustration of the Latin roots of the word fascism, which actually means a bunch of sticks all tied together in one big unhappy unified bunch, and not (despite what many assume) any variation from p.c. received-wisdom regarding gay rights, affirmative action, bilingual education, etc. This election was different because it was divisive, which means it was better."
"It's all wrong. By rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are. It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened. But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something. Even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back only they didn't. Because they were holding on to something...That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it's worth fighting for."
Sam Gamgee (played by Sean Astin), Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers
"[W]e recognize that we are living in the middle of the most overwhelmingly successful experiment in human history. Not perfect. Just the best place in the world to live in, that's all."
"I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered! My life is my own."
Number Six (played by Patrick McGoohan, "The Prisoner" TV series)
"Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the President or any other public official save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country."
This Tea Party protest sign illustrates Roosevelt's musings on patriotism - and the powers of the citizen as exercised via the ballot box:
"So this Jefferson dude was like, 'Look, the reason we left this England place is 'cause it was so bogus. So if we don't get some primo rules ourselves - pronto - then we're just gonna be bogus, too."
Jeff Spiccoli (played by Sean Penn), Fast Times at Ridgemont High
"Democracy extends the sphere of individual freedom, socialism restricts it. Democracy attaches all possible value to each man; socialism makes each man a mere agent, a mere number. Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude."
Alexis deTocqueville, Democracy in America Vol. 2
"We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms -- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way"
Reason has the story. The excuse for this is that the drink discounts discriminate against men.
I have to wonder if Minnesota Department of Human Rights James Kirkpatrick ever set foot in a bar. Women look forward to Ladies' Night because they get cheaper drinks. Men look forward to Ladies' Night because that's when ladies show up at the bar in large numbers. It's a win-win for everyone, except for nanny statists.