Saturday, January 22, 2005

Good Blog

A lot of blogs (I don't think I'll ever get comfortable with that word) specialize on a single theme while some seek a more eclectic audience. A good example of the latter is Loren Kohl's Almanac of the Mundane which has a lot of good reading on a lot of different topics. It takes a very bright guy to do the work he does on his site, and we recommend that our readers check him out.

A Speech For the Ages

A friend passes along this selection of opinions, culled from newspapers and commentators across the country, of George Bush's Second Inaugural Address:

Editorials and Op-Eds:

The Wall Street Journal: "Not Since JFK In 1960 Has An American President Provided Such An Ambitious And Unabashed Case For The Promotion Of Liberty At Home And Abroad." (Editorial, "Liberty Bell Ringer," The Wall Street Journal, 1/21/05)

David Broder, The Washington Post: Called The Speech, "Brief But Eloquent..." (David S. Broder, Op-Ed, "Big Goals, Unshakable Faith," The Washington Post, 1/21/05)

Broder: "[O]ne Essential Truth We Have Learned About Bush: His Faith That The Quest For Freedom Is A Universal Truth, Rooted In Human Nature And Intended By God." (David S. Broder, Op-Ed, "Big Goals, Unshakable Faith," The Washington Post, 1/21/05)

William Safire, The New York Times: "I Rate It Among The Top 5 Of The 20 Second-Inaugurals In Our History. Lincoln's Profound Sermon 'With Malice Toward None' Is Incomparable, But Bush's Second Was Better Than Jefferson's Mean-Spirited Pouting At 'The Artillery Of The Press.'" (William Safire, Op-Ed, "Bush's 'Freedom Speech,'" The New York Times, 1/21/05)

USA Today: "When George W. Bush Was Inaugurated For The First Time Four Years Ago, He Devoted Only Seven Sentences To Foreign Policy. Thursday, A More Seasoned And Confident Bush Delivered A Stirring Inaugural Call To The Longstanding American Ideal Of Spreading Freedom And Democracy Around The Globe." (Editorial, "Bush Shares A Stirring Vision. Now, How To Apply It?" USA Today, 1/21/05)

Los Angeles Times: "His Second Inaugural Address Was That Of A Large Man Indeed, Eloquently Weaving The Big Themes Of His Presidency And His Life Into A Coherent Philosophy And A Bold Vision Of How He Wants This Country To Spend The Next Four Years." (Editorial, "No Country Left Behind," Los Angeles Times, 1/21/05)

New York Post: "President Bush Stood Tall Before America And The World Yesterday And Marked The Beginning Of His Second Term With An Affirmation Of Liberty That Will Resonate For Years To Come." (Editorial, "Bush's 2nd Inaugural," New York Post, 1/21/05)

John Harris, The Washington Post: "[T]he 21-Minute Address He Delivered At The Capitol Yesterday Was Startling In Its Reach." (John F. Harris, Op-Ed, "An Ambitious President Advances His Idealism," The Washington Post, 1/21/05)

Harris: "His Pledges To Promote Liberty And Aid The Oppressed, Along With Predictions Of The United States Leading The World To The Ultimate Triumph Of Democracy Over Tyranny In Every Land, Were Issued With Some Of The Most Expansive And Lyrical Language Bush Has Summoned." (John F. Harris, Op-Ed, "An Ambitious President Advances His Idealism," The Washington Post, 1/21/05)

Dallas Morning News: "The President, Exuding Both Gravity And Confidence, Was Indisputably Presidential. His Speech Embodied Everything That Makes Him The Leader He Is: Unembarrassed Religious Faith, Moral Certitude, Persistence, Determination And Self-Assuredness." (Editorial, "Values-Laden Vision: Bush Shines As He Delivers Second-Term Ideals," The Dallas Morning News, 1/21/05)

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "President George W. Bush Delivered An Eloquent, Idealistic Second Inaugural On Thursday That Was An Ode To America's Special Role In Promoting Freedom Around The World." (Editorial, "Bush's Second Inaugural: Ode To Freedom," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 1/21/05)

The [Cleveland] Plain Dealer: "In A Scant 21 Minutes, Bush Delivered What May Have Been The Speech Of His Presidency, A Thematic Symphony Keyed To The Unalienable Rights Of People - The Same Truths This Nation's Founders Held To Be Self-Evident." (Editorial, "Bush's Call To Freedom," The [Cleveland] Plain Dealer, 1/21/05)

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "George W. Bush's Second Inaugural Address, Given In A Time Of War And Doubt, Was An Inspiring Call For Selflessness And Sacrifice. It Was A Call For Americans To Advance The Cause Of Freedom From Tyranny Worldwide." (Editorial, "A New Bush Doctrine?" Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 1/21/05)


NBC's Tim Russert: "Well-Crafted, Well-Delivered. The Themes Of Freedom And Liberty ... I Thought The Call To National Service Will Resonate With All Americans - Democrats, Republicans, Independents." (NBC's, "Special Coverage Of The 55th Inaugural," 1/20/05)

CBS News' Bob Schieffer Said Speech Was "Eloquent And The Rhetoric Lofty." (CBS' "Evening News With Dan Rather," 1/20/05)

ABC News' George Will: "It's Not Just The Survival Of Liberty He's About. He Is About The Expansion Of Liberty Into Every Nook And Crevasse Of The Planet." (ABC's "Inaugural Coverage," 1/20/05)

Howard Fineman, Newsweek: Called The Address "Powerful. I Think It Is The Biggest Statement Of American Purpose In The World Of Any President I Can Think Of. It Is Woodrow Wilson On Steroids. It's Big." (MSNBC's "Hardball," 1/20/05)

Dick Morris, Former Aide To President Clinton: "Was The Greatest [Inaugural Address] ... Since John F. Kennedy's And One Of The Five Or Sixth Greatest Of All Time. It Was Beautiful, It Was Poetic. ... And It Articulated A Bold New Doctrine For American Policy. It Was A Very Substantive Speech." (Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor," 1/20/05)

Viewpoint: What happened to the MSM dogma that Bush was all hat and no cattle?

Bad News From Iraq

Bill Roggio cites an Arthur Chrenkoff tally that shows that on a single day, January 19th, the world's media ran 10,938 negative stories on Iraq, 123 which were neutral, and 407 which were positive. This despite the fact that as Chrenkoff's Good News From Iraq series has chronicled, the amount of positive news being generated in Iraq is enormous.

The reprehensible element of this is that, to the extent the American media have contributed to the lop-sidedness of this reporting, they are deliberately trying to sabotage the reconstruction effort in Iraq. And to this end they are willing to sacrifice Iraqi lives, to render American casualties vain, to thwart an historic opportunity to liberate millions of suffering people, and to alter the political dynamic of the Middle East for perhaps decades, even centuries to come, all because they don't want to see a Republican get the credit for whatever success Iraq enjoys. It is the basest of motives producing the most contemptible journalism.

Iraqi Election Ad

MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute) has a video clip of an ad carried on Al Arabiya tv out of Iraq that is as poignant and powerful as it is brief. Go here and click on "view clip".

To see links to other such ads go here.

Three's Company, Four's a Marriage

Viewpoint has argued since our inception last May that legalizing same sex marriage will ultimately destroy marriage as an institution because it will remove any rationale for proscribing unions of any or all conceivable permutations. Once marriage is no longer limited to one man and one woman there is no logical basis for placing any limits on the number or gender composition of any union. When marriage can be anything at all it will cease to exist in any meaningful sense.

Now comes this story. from the Ottawa Citizen essentially placing an exclamation point at the end of the previous paragraph:

Just weeks before it introduces divisive same-sex marriage legislation, the federal government has launched an urgent study into the legal and social ramifications of polygamy. Critics say the study underscores a deep concern in the Martin government that legalized homosexual marriage may lead to constitutional challenges from minority groups who claim polygamy as a religious right.

It also suggests that the government is suspicious that multi-marriage is more commonplace in Canada than widely realized. Polygamy, outlawed in Canada but accepted and practised in many countries, typically means a man having several wives at the same time.

"In order to best prepare for possible debate surrounding Canada's polygamy policy, critical research is needed," says a Status of Women Canada document. "It is vital that researchers explore the impacts of polygamy on women and children and gender equality as well as the challenges that polygamy presents to society."

Conservative party justice critic Vic Toews says there is a direct link between the Status of Women concern and the same-sex marriage legislation due to be introduced by the government in February.

"This government understands it has a problem on its hands," said Mr. Toews, a former Manitoba constitutional lawyer. "What they are looking for is evidence to demonstrate that polygamy is inconsistent with Charter and Canadian values. If I was a lawyer prosecuting a polygamist that's the type of evidence I would be looking for."

But when same-sex marriage becomes legal, the door will open to more Charter challenges, said Conservative critic Mr. Toews. "Once you change the definition of marriage from one man and one woman and you move to two persons," he said, "what then is the distinction between two persons, or three or more persons? If I was a lawyer defending polygamists, I'd say 'hey this is a constitutional right, a freedom of religion.' Why can't freedom of religion trump this new definition of marriage?"

The article includes comments from lawyer Peter Hogg, who argued the federal government's case for same-sex marriage at the Supreme Court of Canada. Mr. Hogg said that he doubts legalizing homosexual marriage will lead to legal challenges from polygamists, but his reasoning sounds to us to be either naive or disingenuous.

"We have to recognize that over time society changes and marriage changes to mirror the attitude, mores and needs of a particular society," said Mr Hogg. "If some kind of cataclysm occurred to make women far more numerous than men for a long period of time then a significant movement might develop to change the institution of marriage to reflect that. But that is unlikely."

The fact that bigamy is a crime in Canada is also a huge obstacle for a polygamist launching a Charter of Rights challenge, he said.

"I don't think you can say there are any inexorable steps here," added Mr Hogg. "What has sparked the concern over same-sex marriage is a series of Charter decisions holding that opposite-sex marriage discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation and you can't make arguments of that sort with respect to polygamy."

Mr. Hogg elides the real point. The issue is not whether bigamy is currently a crime or how the majority of people feel about marriage, it is rather whether there is or can be any legal or philosophical basis more solid than simply arbitrary preference for preventing groups of people of whatever gender combinations from marrying. The fact is that once marriage is separated from its Biblical definition and two thousand years of tradition there is nothing left to rest it upon. Any law against it will be overturned just as laws against sodomy have been overturned. The whole society may believe marriage should be limited to two people, but they have no grounds for imposing what is a mere personal preference upon others who decide that they are sexually oriented toward polyamory and want the right to marry for themselves.