On Subjects Rachel Maddow Won’t Touch with a Ten-Foot Pole

sad-obama-300x300 I remember when Rachel Maddow of MSNBC wrote this opinion piece, informing us that the administration of George W. Bush did nothing to cultivate a deep bench of Republican leadership prospects. As far as Maddow was concerned . . . well . . . let’s let her words speak for themselves: [Read more…]

Éirinn go Brách, and All That

As one who believes that same-sex couples deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and that marriage equality only serves to strengthen the institution of marriage, I am pleased and delighted to see that Ireland has decided to enshrine marriage equality as a constitutional right. This is a remarkable and extraordinary achievement, given the power that the Catholic Church continues to wield in the country. The church, of course, wanted the rest of the country to vote “no” on the issue of marriage equality, but the Irish people wisely concluded that when we talk about God “abounding in steadfast love,” we ought to acknowledge that God’s love is–and ought to be–for all people.

I imagine that eventually, the Catholic Church will find a way to reconcile itself to this message. It had better, lest it be left behind by a world whose people increasingly realize that when two individuals commit to loving one another for the rest of their lives, forsaking all others in the process, that phenomenon ought to be celebrated and not condemned. In any event, congratulations to the Irish people, and to all others who work to end the destructive and intelligence-insulting stereotypes that for too long have made life miserable for too many gays, lesbians and bisexuals.

(Photo Credit.)

The Boy Scouts Are Introduced to Reality

Robert Gates

I always knew that Robert Gates was and is one of the most honorable people around in public life, and he has just proven it again by bluntly telling the Boy Scouts of America that they are going to have to change with the times: [Read more…]

Quote of the Day

Civil marriage was instituted, let us concede, to safeguard the interests of children by endorsing and protecting the kind of stable, committed relationships that produce them and are suited to their upbringing. But there is no way to know in advance which couples can or will have children; we would hardly want county clerks to administer fertility tests or ask intrusive questions about people’s ability or intention to reproduce. So we made civil marriage generally available to sexually complementary couples. We did this without apparently taking notice of same-sex couples, let alone aiming to discriminate against them. Since traditional marriage laws had a legitimate purpose and were tailored to that purpose, there is no obvious reason for courts to invalidate them.

But equal treatment is both a legislative and a judicial concern. We can realize that a law that once seemed well designed could, in fact, be fairer. Reexamining marriage laws with this possibility in mind, we should register the following facts. First, civil marriage already includes a group of people — married, childless men and women — who are irrelevant to its child-centric purpose. Second, there is another group of people — committed same-sex couples who wish to marry — who have just as much reason to want the law’s recognition and protection of their relationships as married, childless men and women do. (Some same-sex couples are also raising children, much to traditionalists’ horror, but we leave this aside.) Third, couples belonging to either of these two groups have the same reasons and motivations, rooted in their love for each other, to abide by the standards of conduct that we traditionally associate with marriage, namely exclusivity and fidelity subsequent to a vow of permanent commitment. In light of all this, it is a matter of simple fairness to treat the two groups the same way, and legislators and voters should favor doing so.

Jason Lee Steorts. When National Review publishes a piece endorsing marriage equality, you know that one of the most contentious battles in the culture war is as good as over. And a good thing too; monogamous same-sex couples should have the same right to marry that monogamous opposite-sex couples have, and we have better things to do with our time and energy than to litigate the marriage equality wars.

The Latest Pie-in-the-Sky Idea in Los Angeles

Los Angeles Minimum Wage

So, Los Angeles has decided to increase its minimum wage to $15 per hour. I’m sure that there are a host of people rejoicing over this alleged act of economic justice, but remember that actions have consequences: [Read more…]

Quote of the Day

Mr Krugman thus implied that the British government—deliberately or mistakenly—had engineered measly growth at the beginning of its term, thus making it easier for the economy to roar back as the election approached. That would seem to ascribe to the coalition an unrealistic level of strategic wizardry and general deviousness, beyond even that possessed by the chancellor of the exchequer, George Osborne. Though interesting, it may say more about Mr Krugman than the British government.

C.W.. Of course, as many of us already know, Paul Krugman is fond of crazy conspiracy theories.

In Praise of a Carbon Tax

climate_change

I have invited myself to do some writing over at Aeon Ideas. My first piece addresses the question of what I would be willing to sacrifice in order to combat climate change. An excerpt:

I am perfectly willing to sacrifice something to combat climate change. I am willing to sacrifice tax money. I invite policymakers to enact a carbon tax that will be designed to reduce carbon emissions in order to slow–and hopefully, reverse–the process of global warming. I invite pundits to advocate the enactment of such a tax, and to give our governing class the political cover necessary to implement a carbon tax. And I invite the electorate to reward politicians who call for a carbon tax by electing and re-electing them to positions of public trust, and to punish those who do not by denying them election to those positions. Back in 2007, I argued for the enactment of a carbon tax that would “be pegged to the three-year average change in global tropical temperatures.” My concern back then was to measure the degree to which human activity might be contributing to global warming, and I signed on to the economist Ross McKitrick’s plan to tie any carbon tax to the three year moving average temperature in the tropical troposphere. If it were found that human activity is contributing to global warming, then we could increase such a tax until any increase in carbon emissions could be halted and reduced.

[. . .]

But here is the thing: I don’t think that the implementation of a carbon tax should constitute a “sacrifice” of any real kind. Indeed, short of geo-engineering, a carbon tax is as close as we are ever likely to get to using a silver bullet to reverse climate change. Not all solutions to climate change need to involve pain, and just because a solution involves pain, that does not mean that the solution will be powerful or consequential.

Longtime blog readers of mine are, of course, quite familiar with my stance on the desirability of carbon taxes. But whether or not you are a longtime reader, check out the rest of the piece.

(Photo Credit.)

As Glenn Reynolds Would Put It, “Oh, THAT Liberal Media!”

Stephanopoulos I didn’t like it when I heard that George Stephanopoulos had left politics for journalism. I figured that he was only being rewarded for his political stardom, that he wouldn’t do the necessary work to transform himself into a serious journalist, and that–yes–he would use his media perch to act as a shill for the Democratic party.

Over time, I earned a grudging respect for Stephanopoulos. He seemed to actually be a substantive journalist, and while I didn’t follow his media career closely, I did see instances of him holding Democrats’ feet to the fire. I figured that maybe I was wrong about Stephanopoulos; maybe he did have the ability to shed his political past and become the type of journalist that both Democrats and Republicans could count on to be fair and impartial.

I figured wrong: [Read more…]

Why We Can’t Have Nice Things (Hillary Clinton Edition)

121128_hillary_clinton_ap_328

For those who seek to dismiss our concerns about the security of Hillary Clinton’s e-mails by telling us not to worry our pretty little heads about the issue, some sobering words from someone who has forgotten more about information gathering than they will ever learn: [Read more…]

Quote of the Day

On Tuesday, President Obama participated in the Catholic-Evangelical Leadership Summit on Overcoming Poverty at Georgetown University in Washington. While many topics were discussed, including the media, the president addressed the impact children attending private schools have on the “opportunity” for other children.

Obama also said a private school education leads to “an anti-government ideology.”

“What’s happened in our economy is that those who are doing better and better… are withdrawing from sort of the commons,” Obama said. “Kids start going to private schools; kids start working out at private clubs instead of the public parks. An anti-government ideology then disinvests from those common goods and those things that draw us together. And that, in part, contributes to the fact that there’s less opportunity for our kids, all of our kids.”

President Obama attended private schools in Hawaii and his children currently attend the prestigious Sidwell Friends School in Washington.

Ian Schwartz. We are through the looking glass, people.

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