Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Miscellaneous Thoughts on the Foley Furor

A few further thoughts on the Mark Foley Follies:

1) Despite the MSM's asseverations to the contrary, Mark Foley is not a pedophile. Pedophilia is a sexual attraction to prepubescent children. Foley was attracted to sixteen and seventeen year old boys.* The correct label for his type of sexual perversion is pederasty - sexual relations between an adult male and a boy.

2) The mention of perversion reminds us that Foley has been called a pervert by observers on both the Left and the Right, but this is a dangerous tactic for those on the Left who are otherwise engaged in the project to morally legitimize homosexual conduct. An adult heterosexual would not necessarily be considered a pervert if the adult found a seventeen year old of the opposite sex physically attractive. To call Foley a pervert is to strongly suggest that his perversion is not his attraction to the much younger individual but rather his attraction to, and sexual explicit conversations with, another male. This is tantamount to calling homosexuality a perversion, and that's a judgment that the liberal-Left, at least, has been fighting against for four decades.

3) The exchanges between Foley and the pages were not merely sexually "suggestive" as one news reader on the radio put it this morning. They were as explicit and revolting as they could be without involving violence.

4) Foley, in an attempt to achieve the victimhood trifecta, has announced that he's gay, alcoholic, and was abused by a priest when he was a boy. I suppose this is intended to make us feel sorry for him, but it's an odd threesome given today's PC orthodoxies. Alcoholism is a disease and sexual abuse is a crime so how does being gay fit in with these? Is it a disease? Is it a crime? Why does Foley think his sexual orientation is relevant to this situation? Does being gay explain why he has had internet sex with an adolescent? Does Mr. Foley believe that being gay makes his being a sexual predator more understandable and forgiveable?

5) The Democrats are anxious to use this episode to impugn the Republican Congressional leadership which, they happily allege, was much too slow to take action against Foley. Yet William Jefferson, the Louisianna congressman who had $90,000 of bribe money stashed in his office refrigerator, is still in congress. The Democrats have done nothing to purge him. Gerry Studds, a Democratic congressman from Massachusetts, was sexually involved with a 17 year old male page in 1973. He was censured by the House in 1983 but was unrepentant, refused to resign, and was re-elected by his strongly liberal district five more times. His Democratic colleagues in the House gave him a standing ovation when he gave a speech saying that what he does in a mutually consensual relationship is nobody else's business even if his paramour was only seventeen.

Bill Clinton, despite his forceful denials, had sexual congress with Monica Lewinsky, who was a subordinate, of course, and the Democrats vigorously defended him. Clinton had "phone sex" with Monica Lewinsky at least fifteen times, and the pervert, the man whom Democrats called upon to resign, was special prosector Ken Starr for publishing the details. Clinton was also accused of rape (Juanita Broderick) and sexual harrassment (Paula Jones), but the Democrats rallied to his defense to beat back the allegations and tarnish the reputations of the women who made them.

At the end of his presidency, Clinton pardoned a number of ne'er do wells from prison, among whom was Mel Reynolds, a former Democratic congressman. In August of 1994, Reynolds was indicted for having sex with a sixteen year old campaign volunteer, yet his party allowed him to continue running for re-election. In November of 1994 he was reelected by Democratic voters. Reynolds initially denied what he claimed were racially motivated charges of sexual misconduct. On August 22, 1995 he was convicted on 12 counts of sexual assault, obstruction of justice and solicitation of child pornography. He resigned his seat on October 1, 1995.

Reynolds was sentenced to five years in prison, but in April of 1997 he was convicted on fifteen counts of bank fraud and lying to SEC investigators. As a result, he was sentenced to an additional six and a half years. After serving 42 months of his 78 month sentence President Clinton commuted his sentence, yet there were no loud protestations from Democrats upset about the message this commutation of a sexual predator sent about the seriousness of Reynold's offenses.

So, when liberals wax indignant over Mr. Foley's contemptible behavior, their fury seems totally inconsistent with their past record in similar situations. It sounds contrived and insincere.

Mr. Foley's only real transgression, in the eyes of a lot of people on the Left, is not the age of the boy, nor his gender, nor his subordinate status, nor that the boy and Mr. Foley were conducting a salacious and disgusting dialogue over the internet. They've been just fine with each of those sorts of things in the past. For many on the Left Foley's real crime, the offense for which he and the House leadership must be made to pay, is that he was a Republican.

* UPDATE: Drudge tells us that the page with whom Mark Foley carried out his infamous IM exchange was 18 or barely shy of it at the time.

Biological Measures and CounterMeasures

In an article titled Biological Design Research: The Bat's Intercept and the Moth's ECM, Cornelius Hunter tells us this:

Military aircraft under enemy missile attack may use a variety of strategies to escape. There is, of course, the strategy of executing an evasive maneuver to avoid or disrupt the incoming missile. The aircraft may also use a variety of electronic signals to jam or fool the missile's sensor and tracking computer. These electronic strategies fall under the general category known as electronic counter measures (ECMs). As usual biology has its own incredible, organic, version of such technology. In the case of the bat and moth encounter, it is being elucidated by some excellent research.

Many bat species have a phenomenal biosonar, or echolocation, capability used to track insects. As they fly they may emit hundreds of ultrasonic squeaks per second. The squeaks are frequency-modulated and at frequencies in the hundreds of kilo Hertz. During the pursuit the bat shortens its squeaks and increases the transmission rate as it closes on the prey. In the terminal stage the bat rapidly adjusts its trajectory and posture to capture the insect. The return echoes are passed through a range-compensated automatic gain control to reduce signal strength variations during closure. The result is a tracking capability that is several times more accurate than our best military equipment.

While executing these tracking and intercept functions the bat is performing a complex signal processing task. For instance, the bat can discriminate the prey from background clutter. It also has a sort of synthetic aperture technology with which to construct image information. And it also uses complicated geometrical calculations to solve an advanced guidance scheme, as it closes on the target.

And what about the prey? Often on the receiving end of this carbon-based interceptor is the lowly moth. Some moths, however, sport their own battery of impressive capabilities to counter the bat's onslaught. They are not only able to hear the bat's ultrasonic squeaks, they also can perform complex, aerobatic escape maneuvers, and some moths even counter the bat's squeaks with their own ultrasonic reply. These designs are not simple, and while years of excellent research have elucidated much of the details, many of the complexities have yet to be fully understood.

Sometimes it just makes me giddy to contemplate the miracles that blind, random processes like natural selection and genetic mutation can accomplish. I also stand in awe of the enormous credulity displayed by those who believe that such systems as Hunter describes could have evolved solely from such processes without any intelligent input. It's just astonishing what one can make oneself believe if only one tries hard enough. Would that we all had such faith.