Fair Is Fair – Prop 8 Trial Was Rigged.

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From NRO’s Ed Whelan. You may or not be a fan of National Reviews politics, regardless, Mr. Whelan offers a more than compelling argument that the deck had indeed been stacked against the Prop 8 defendants by Judge Walker from the very beginning.

A Little Mo Foster For The Morning.

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Not very well known outside musician circles, but he’s a favorite here at Sonicfrog. He’s played with Phil Collins, Jeff Beck, Sting, Van Morrison, to name a few. Guitarist Garry Moore lays down a ripping line on this. I used to have the album this song is featured on, but it was in the CD changer that, along with my two basses and other stuff, was stolen when my house was burgled in 2000. I do still have the CD cover. That’s something. Anyway, enjoy.

Here is Mo’s web site.

e-climate

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The person that wrote this must be about 20. Gee, I wonder how environmentally friendly it would be if we did things the old fashioned way: which included driving to the nearest Kodak kiosk (yes youngsters, there used to be stores that would develop your film) , developed the film using polluting chemicals, and then send the pictures via snail mail, which is exactly what we used to do?

Fellin’ Old As Rock? You Have No Idea.

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Geologists think they have found remnants of the young Earth’s surface, the original mantle possibly dating back to 4.5 billion years ago. The oldest rock was dated back to about 3.8 billion years ago. The story is here

Next Time I Play Magic….

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I’m putting this card in my deck!

cn

PS. I, the novice, have won the last two games I’ve played, so maybe I don’t really need it….. Screw That! I’m playing it!

Gay Bars As A Weapon!

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gaybar

This idea, originally sent to me from one of my most idealistic Conservative friends, has been circulating on the web, and it’s been featured on various conservative sites:

So, the Muslim investors championing the construction of the new mosque near Ground Zero claim it’s all about strengthening the relationship between the Muslim and non-Muslim world.

As an American, I believe they have every right to build the mosque – after all, if they buy the land and they follow the law – who can stop them?

Which is, why, in the spirit of outreach, I’ve decided to do the same thing.

I’m announcing tonight, that I am planning to build and open the first gay bar that caters not only to the west, but also Islamic gay men. To best express my sincere desire for dialogue, the bar will be situated next to the mosque Park51, in an available commercial space.

Even Andrew Sullivan is playing along:

The clear winner in our blue ribbon panel (that would be me) is Bar Van Gogh-Gogh.

Named in honor of Theo, a martyr for Western freedom, it should have plenty of go-go boys, belly dancers, and a door policy of mandatory beards. Maybe Anderson’s boyfriend could start it up. He’s from Corsica, you know, a great guy, and he sure knows how to run a happening joint.

Personally, I think Theo’s would be the better name.

Now, I do think this is a humorous exercise to bring home a point, and it works quite well. AllahPundit makes this point:

Not an idea that would play well with Christians or Jews vis-a-vis property adjacent to a church or temple, but oh well: If we’re going to celebrate tolerance regardless of the sensitivities of the surrounding area, let’s celebrate! And the best part? Because, as we’ve been assured many times, the “Park51? cultural center will be a model of moderation, gay Muslim men don’t have to worry about being seen entering Gut’s establishment. Flaunt it all you want, fellas; you’re in Moderate Town, U.S.A., on that block. I look forward to the congratulatory Mike Bloomberg press conference.

Nice. It is an audacious way to show the hypocrisy of the hyper-tolerance crowd, and I’m for it. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander and all that…

On a personal level, I am also disturbed. After having to defend last weeks court decision invalidating Prop 8, in which I am constantly reminded that I’m just not quite as equal as heterosexual (though I am reminded over and over again that me and the Sonicmate can get married…. just not to each other), I find this idea degrading. We’re not quite normal enough, not quite human enough, to enjoy the ultimate expression of love and unity, and to prove the point, the very same group that tells me this has no problem using us fags as a weapon to denigrate an entire religion. Hey, we may be sinners, and may not benefit society, but we sure can be useful if it’s in the name of hurting others..

So, in the spirit of being fair, I’m thinking maybe we ought to start building bars next to churches, temples and synagogues.

I’m not really advocating this, but it does seem like all is fair in love and war.

Meanwhile….

What. Did anyone really think I would just pass up the obvious opportunity to post it??????

More Prop 8 Analysis.

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My good friend and blog-pal B. Daniel Blatt recently posted commentary at Pajamas Media concerning the Proposition 8 ruling by Judge Vaughn Walker. Though Dan and I both agree with Dale Carpenters recent review of the ruling a The Volokh Conspiracy, I disagree with Dan’s analysis. In his PJ Media piece, he  writes:

Whereas he often makes a strong argument for gay marriage, his constitutional reasoning is particularly sloppy. He reminds us that the Due Process Clause “protects individuals against arbitrary governmental intrusion into life, liberty or property,” but fails to show how Proposition 8 deprives any individual of his life, liberty, or property. Instead, he makes an incredible leap from that reading of the Constitution to a list of court decisions finding a “fundamental right to marry under” that clause.

On page 68, line 36, Walker begins to describe, complimented by various law citations to back him, the benefits of life, liberty, and property that are denied to couples who are not allowed to marry, including benefits of tax policy, immigration and citizenship, inheritance rules, and social benefits.

Line 37 shows that the law recognizes economic benefit of married over non-married couples.

Line 38: psychological.

Line 39: increase in wealth potential.

There is always the argument that gays can get married, just not to each other; therefore, they don’t lose these benefits listed above if Prop 8 stays intact. Big problem with that argument. I haven’t scoured the literature documenting the fight for interracial marriage, but I would be willing to bet that was a point the opponents tried to make there too. How does this sound? “Blacks have the legal opportunity to marry, they can’t marry each other”. Just doesn’t come off well in that context. It doesn’t come off well here either.

He did not cite the debates from the 39th Congress which passed the Amendment and sent it to the states for ratification.

First, just because the judge doesn’t cite any deliberations from that time period doesn’t mean he didn’t look at it. Maybe there wasn’t anything useful one way or the other. Of course, there may very well be something in the debate of the time that could have supported the defendants, but, Dan didn’t reveal what it could be. Plus, the judge lays out a trail of case rulings that supports his conclusion. Now, as we have recently seen in Citizen United and 2nd amendment, the Roberts led Supreme Court is not afraid to step back and erase legislative and even judicial precedent, and go back to a more origionalist interpretation of the Constitution and amendments. BUT, and this is a big but, each time they have done so, it was to restore the rights of a group that had been usurped by the legislature and the courts. If they were to decide against the judge in this case, they would be restricting a right (remember, both defendant and plaintiff agrees that marriage is a right in this ruling) to a group. This would go against the tendency of this court.

If you look at issues concerning law cases, and you find that one of the litigants failed to bring up something that you think would have helped their case, you have to consider two main possibilities:

(1) The evidence you would like to use to help your case could too easily help the opposing side even more. Consider all the witnesses the proponents of Prop 8 had originally line up to testify on their behalf. In this case, the Prop 8 proponents originally had slated to call six witnesses, but only called two. The stated reason for dropping the four was that they feared material harm if they testified, due to the fact that the trial would be broadcast live. But the motion to broadcast was struck down, and yet, they still didn’t testify.

(2) The lawyers for the defense got “sloppy” and missed this opportune piece of evidence; they simply didn’t do their homework. Which brings me to the question –  since Dan brought it up, why didn’t he go into detail and cite the items in the Congressional record that would have helped the defense. Does he know of something that would have helped the Prop 8 proponents?

Finally, he makes a point that Judge Walker did not bring up “sex differences” in his conclusion.

Yes, but throughout that evolution, marriage has indeed remained a gendered institution. While legislatures gradually removed statutes which privileged one sex over another, they, on the whole, failed to remove the stipulation that partners be of different sexes.

In making his equal protection argument, Judge Walker is equally dismissive of sexual difference:

The tradition of restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples does not further any state interest. Rather, the evidence shows that Proposition 8 harms the state’s interest in equality, because it mandates that men and women be treated differently based only on antiquated and discredited notions of gender.

He responds:

Antiquated and discredited notions of gender?

He sounds more like a sociologist writing in 1968 than a jurist writing in 2010. Back then, college faculties (and the popular culture) were full of scholars and others proclaiming that the differences between men and women were merely social constructs.

In the intervening years, however, a whole host of studies from neuroscientists, psychologists, sociologists, and anthropologists have found that sexual differences are real. In his 2002 book, The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature, Harvard Psychology Professor Steven Pinker observed: “Neuroscience, genetics, psychology, and ethnography are documenting sex differences that almost certainly originate in human biology.”

Evolutionary biologists Richard Wrangham and Dale Peterson have even found these differences in our primate “cousins.” In her recent book on the male brain (a companion to her 2006 study of the female brain), Psychiatry Professor Louann Brizendine writes: “Male and female brains are different from the moment of conception.”

Instead of notions of difference between the sexes being antiquated or discredited, they have in fact been confirmed by science.

He’s comparing apples and oranges, and taking the “antiquated and discredited notions of gender” line completely out of context (oh no, not that again). The judge outlines how changes in the historic role of women in society has changed from being subservient, and role specific, to that of a more equal footing of the male in modern society. The judge demonstrates that gender roles of men and women within the bond of marriage can no longer be used as justification for limiting marriage to one of each sex.

On this point though, the science notwithstanding, Judge Walker might have a case had enough states ratified the Equal Rights Amendment to include it in the Constitution. He bases casual dismissal of the sexual difference issue neither in the actual language of the Constitution nor in the latest findings of science.

Tell me, exactly how would biological differences of any kind help the pro-Prop 8 case? How could one make this argument in court? Dan certainly has no’t made a convincing rational for it’s inclusion in the case via this post. Gender, or sexual differences, as he defines them (or does he?),  is a spurious issue. On the ERA, there s a reason why the states did not ratify the Equal Rights Amendment – it was tacitly understood that the term “all men are created equal” in modern included women, therefore the amendment to bring equality to women was, ultimately, not necessary.

Note:  Dan’s main blog is Gay Patriot. Please visit the site for more dialogue on this subject.

Best thing I’ve seen today.

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I know it’s early, 7 AM, but i doubt it can be topped.

Hermanos Inglesos feat. MeMe – Wanderland from Kristof Luyckx on Vimeo.

Thoughts On The Prop 8 Ruling.

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I never thought that the Pro Prop 8 arguments had much legal weight. It is just hard to demonstrate what the harmful effects would be on society if gay marriage were legal. If you think gay marriage damages the institution of marriage, you have to be able to demonstrate how. There are already a few states that recognize it, yet, there is nothing to point to to say “SEE! This is what happens when you change this historical institution called marriage to recognize gay couples”.

Marc Ambinder summarized Judges Walker’s decision:

1. Marriage is and has been a civil matter, subject to religious intervention only when requested by the intervenors.

2. California, like every other state, doesn’t require that couples wanting to marry be able to procreate.

3. Marriage as an institution has changed overtime; women were given equal status; interracial marriage was formally legalized; no-fault divorce made it easier to dissolve marriages.

4. California has eliminated marital obligations based on gender.

5. Same-sex love and intimacy “are well-documented in human history.”

6. Sexual orientation is a fundamental characteristic of a human being.

7. Prop 8 proponents’ “assertion that sexual orientation cannot be defined is contrary to the weight of the evidence.”

8. There is no evidence that sexual orientation is chosen, nor than it can be changed.

9. California has no interest in reducing the number of gays and lesbians in its population.

10. “Same-sex couples are identical to opposite-sex couples in the characteristics relevant to the ability to form successful marital union.”

11. “Marrying a person of the opposite sex is an unrealistic option for gay and lesbian individuals.”

12. “Domestic partnerships lack the social meaning associated with marriage, and marriage is widely regarded as the definitive expression of love and commitment in the United States. The availability of domestic partnership does not provide gays and lesbians with a status equivalent to marriage because the cultural meaning of marriage and its associated benefits are intentionally withheld from same-sex couples in domestic partnerships.”

13. “Permitting same-sex couples to marry will not affect the number of opposite-sex couples who marry, divorce, cohabit, have children outside of marriage or otherwise affect the
stability of opposite-sex marriages.”

Granted, Marc Ambinder, the guy who I stole this summary from, is not a legal scholar, but the list seem in line with other things I’ve read so far, including this from Orin Kerr, whose opinion on legal and constitutional matters carries a bit more weight than my fellow armchair law schlubs. 🙂

NDT, a fellow commenter at Gay Patriot, relies heavily on gay couples inability to biologically procreate to make his case for Prop 8. This ruling exposes the flaws in that argument. Also, keep in mind that the proponents also failed to present compelling evidence to the judge to sway him in that direction.

2. California, like every other state, doesn’t require that couples wanting to marry be able to procreate.

In order for the procreation argument to carry legal weight, the defendants would have to show where there is legal precedent for the idea. They didn’t.

8. There is no evidence that sexual orientation is chosen, nor than it can be changed.

Yep. You could site groups like Exodus, but their success rate is very limited at less than 25%, and they have never been able to show that they have “cured” homosexuality, but only curb the behavior resulting from the orientation, not the orientation itself.

10. “Same-sex couples are identical to opposite-sex couples in the characteristics relevant to the ability to form successful marital union.”

You would then argue that they can’t procreate…. See bullet point # 2.

12. “Domestic partnerships lack the social meaning associated with marriage, and marriage is widely regarded as the definitive expression of love and commitment in the United States. The availability of domestic partnership does not provide gays and lesbians with a status equivalent to marriage because the cultural meaning of marriage and its associated benefits are intentionally withheld from same-sex couples in domestic partnerships.”

On page 19 of the opinion, the plaintiffs not only didn’t challenge this assertion, they agreed. It is one of the ways that marriage stays superior to domestic partnerships.

13. “Permitting same-sex couples to marry will not affect the number of opposite-sex couples who marry, divorce, cohabit, have children outside of marriage or otherwise affect the stability of opposite-sex marriages.”

The defendant didn’t show how permitting gay marriage would affect married couples in a any way…. because they can’t.

One last thing about the procreation argument. How many of our straight brothers, sisters and friends who decided to marry said right off the bat “I want to have children, therefore, that is the reason we should marry”. In modern western society, it’s because they love each other, and want a stable family. Very rarely, if ever, do couples get married to have children without love being the first order of business.. Marriage is neither required for procreation, nor procreation required for marriage.

EPA To Regulate Dust…. Really.

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But, it’s only farm dust, so us non farmers don’t have to worry… Yet.

Yes, this move did start and was implemented in the wonderful dysfunctional state of California. To the rest of the nation, I, as a Californian, do apologize. Oh, BTW, watch out for your fireplaces. We can’t use those anymore either.

PS. I was going to post a picture of dust on this post, but had second thoughts. I’m in California, and there is probably a law against that.

PPS. My great friend Cliff informs me that the state also regulates construction dust too. So I wonder if that will be in the EPA regulations too?