The conservative course is not to banish gay people from making such commitments. It is to expect that they make such commitments. We shouldn't just allow gay marriage. We should insist on gay marriage. We should regard it as scandalous that two people could claim to love each other and not want to sanctify their love with marriage and fidelity.
It's great to see conservative writers coming out (no pun intended) in favor of gay marriage. I truly don't understand why the people that continually push for smaller, less intrusive government seem to think it's desirable for the government to dictate peoples' personal lives based on their own particular beliefs. In my book, anything two adults do consensually and in private is none of my business.
I watched (briefly) the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade this morning on TV. The parade was cool -- but what a festival of inanity the commentary was. Hannah Storm was okay at best, but the Ken doll next to her, whoever he was, should go back to doing the weather in Moline or wherever. All of the below were heard in about a ten-minute period:
(Regarding some marching band's color guard) "They're colorful, they're guarding, and they're color-guarding up a storm today on this perfect Thanksgiving morning."
"Look, it's Clifford the Big Red Dog -- he's really red at this point."
"And he's really big, too."
"What's your favorite Thanksgiving Day food tradition?"
I dunno, Hannah -- maybe my mom's extra-special, old-fashioned-style Kung Pao chicken?
Getting to work was interesting today. (yes, Virginia, some people work on Thanksgiving. The news may stop, but our coverage doesn't.) I get off the subway at Herald Square, where the parade turns (and a block before it ends.) Cops had all the west-facing subway exits blocked, so I had to go east on 34th -- fighting parade crowds all the way -- down to Fifth Avenue, turn right, go down to 32nd, and fight my way back upstream for three blocks. I felt like a lovestruck salmon by the time I got to work.
Allow me to take this moment to promulgate the Official Rules for City Walking:
1. The person behind you is extremely likely to both:
a.) know where they are going; and
b.) be in much more of a hurry than you.
(Gosh, I've become such a New Yorker.)
More Turkey Day linky goodness:
Balloon-inflation night produces unintentional porn;
two turkeys in Washington;
and it's not quite turkey and gravy soda, but to accompany Thanksgiving dinner you might consider a pork martini. (via twinkle twinkle blah blah blah etc.)
I don't fly as much as I used to (moving to New York tends to cut into your disposable income), but when I do, I always pause for a moment and reflect thoughtfully on how much I hate the TSA's (and airlines') insistence that you not lock your luggage. I use luggage locks religiously ever since having some electronic gear stolen out of a bag at LGA in 1995 (though on occasion nowadays I use those plastic cable ties.) What really steams me is that the TSA and airlines don't want me to lock my bags, but won't guarantee the security of my possessions while they're in the TSA's and airlines' control. (And from what I've heard, each side will blame the other if something does get stolen out of your checked luggage.)
Well, fear not: there's a new kind of luggage lock on the market that can be popped by the TSA and (hopefully) not by anyone else. (Well, no luggage lock is super-secure, but if I can just get a thief to avoid selecting my bag to pilfer, it's worth it.) Travel Sentry locks supposedly can only be opened by the owner or by the TSA, using special tools whose sale and use are tightly controlled. It remains to be seen how well this solution will work (how quickly will those tools show up on eBay or the black market?) but at least it's a start.
More on the US-appointed Iraqi Governing Council's action to shut down al-Arabiya TV:
Donald Rumsfeld is claiming that al-Arabiya is linked to the insurgents in Iraq. In the above Reuters story, he says that some insurgents have informed al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya of their attacks ahead of time. (A news organization getting a tip?!? Heavens to Betsy!)
As a matter of fact, in Rumsfeld's Pentagon briefing today, he said this on the topic (the emphasis is mine):
Q: Have you seen anything, though, that amounts to more than just circumstantial evidence that either one -- haven't U.S. troops, in fact, gathered up some pretty compelling evidence that either both or one of these organizations may be cooperating with these terrorists?
SEC. RUMSFELD: (Pauses.) The answer is yes, I have seen scraps of information over a sustained period of time that need to be looked at in a responsible, orderly way. And I'm not. . .in a position to make a final judgment on it, as I've indicated earlier.
Wouldn't that mean that he isn't in a position to claim that al-Arabiya is linked to the insurgents? Yet, he does anyway. Show us the evidence, Rummy...Is this like that rock-solid evidence you had of Saddam's [still-not-found] weapons of mass destruction? Or it just another faith-based program?
Still, what Rumsfeld said doesn't jibe with the explanation that al-Arabiya was "inciting murder" by broadcasting a Saddam Hussein tape.
Predictably, media reaction has been swift and negative. An interesting passage from this story:
The closure of Al Arabiya's office follows earlier sanctions against the channel and Al Jazeera -- both of which have broadcast messages attributed to Saddam -- under a Governing Council decree banning incitement to violence.
Those messages, like tapes purported to be the voice or image of Osama bin Laden, have also been broadcast by Western media outlets. But no action has been taken against Western media, sparking accusations of discrimination against Arab channels that Washington accuses of siding with Saddam.
"We have run this stuff, as we did with bin Laden tapes, on its merits as a tape purportedly from Saddam Hussein," BBC foreign editor Jonathan Baker told Reuters.
"It appears that the Governing Council has identified certain broadcasters to punish for something everyone has done."
President George W. Bush: "The United States has made an unbreakable commitment to the success of freedom in Afghanistan and Iraq."
American soldiers handcuffed and firmly wrapped masking tape around an Iraqi man's mouth as they arrested him for speaking out against occupation troops.
Asked why the man had been arrested on Tuesday and put into the back of a Humvee vehicle on Tahrir Square, the commanding officer told Reuters at the scene: "This man has been detained for making anti-coalition statements."
So the other night I was in a taxicab and the radio was tuned to a call-in talk show discussing Michael Jackson and his problems. One caller opined "I don't really see what the big fuss is. Michael was just spreading love. That's what he does best. It's his job."
The driver and I simultaneously cracked up, and agreed that "spreading your love" to a 12-year-old isn't generally a good idea.
More MJ linky goodness:
Michael Jackson Song Titles That Will Conveniently Double as His Prison Bitch Name (via Gawker);
A Proposed Itinerary for Michael Jackson's First Day in Federal Prison;
Separated at Middle Age;
[remaindered from MeFi] the Strange History of Michael Jackson's Face (also be sure to check out the animated version);
and Cheney Named Interim King of Pop.
The US-appointed government of Iraq has shut down the Iraq operations of an Arabic TV network for "inciting murder" (by broadcasting a taped message from Saddam Hussein.)
Does that mean that the government is going to shut down just about every US news organization for broadcasting tapes recorded by Osama bin Laden?
Actually, I hope I just didn't give the government the idea they needed for an excuse.
I realize it's just politics as usual, but the new Republican campaign ad, accusing Democrats of "attacking the president for attacking terrorists" is just too much.
I thought the Democrats were attacking the president for: lying about the justifications for an expensive boondoggle of a war, undermining civil liberties, abrogating the Constitution, enriching campaign contributors such as Diebold and Halliburton, screwing up the economy, ignoring the UN, and alienating just about every other country in the world through arrogance and disdain at a time when they were most favorably disposed to helping us out.
My mistake, evidently. Oops.
ADDENDUM: Come to think of it, the president didn't really attack terrorists at all. He took out a dictator whose regime didn't have any links to 9/11 or al-Qaeda. And while he did take out a terrorist-friendly "government" in Afghanistan, al-Qaeda seems to be still around, as the string of bombings since 9/11 indicates.
ANOTHER ADDENDUM: Nice analysis of the ad in Slate, making many of the same points.
Nice relaxing weekend over with, time to head back to the salt mines...
Spent the weekend with B., not doing much of anything in particular other than recharging sleep deficits. My brand-new copy of the documentary about They Might Be Giants arrived in the mail, and it's really good (and jam-packed with all sorts of kewl extras.) As the other link up to your right says, recommended even if you're not a fan.
Friday night found us in an alliterative mood, stopping for burgers at Paul's Palace and then beers at the Peculier Pub. Hadn't been to the Peculier before; good jukebox and great beer selection...including Delirium Tremens (on tap!), Fuller's London Pride, He'Brew Messiah Bold ("The Beer Worth Waiting For"), 33 beer from Vietnam, and many others. (Avoid the Port Royal Export from Honduras, however; it's unspeakably foul...kinda like Schlitz, but less watery. Plus it smells like creamed corn. Really.)
On Saturday, B. and I went on a City Hunt, which is a pub-crawl-slash-scavenger hunt, in the West Village. It was fun, but having more than two people on our team would have made it better. (Curse you, Liza and David, for bailing on our double-date!) We unscrambled clues, raced from bar to bar, and took wacky pictures with strangers. (Or, make that "took pictures with wacky strangers"...this was the Village, after all.) Afterwards, we joined Jonmc, Pips, and Chico for great noodles at Republic, great rice pudding at Rice to Riches, and in a moment of insanity, great espresso at Ferrara. (The espresso was good, but drinking double espresso at 2AM when you have to get up for work the next day is extremely dumb. At least I didn't have a bout of Caffeine Psychosis.)
ADDENDUM: I also bought bootleg DVDs for the first and only time...I'd been curious to see just how bad the quality was. As it turns out, pretty damn bad: my copy of "School of Rock" was shot off a video monitor showing a tape of the movie (maybe a screener copy?) The picture was mis-framed and tilted. My bootleg of "Kill Bill" seemed to have been shot in a theater or maybe off another preview copy....the colors were bad, the sound was absolutely execrable, and the picture was tilted as well.
Funnily enough, shortly after I completed the transaction ("one DVD five dollar, two for ten!"), I asked the vendor if these were "MPAA approved." She replied "What's that?"
Terrorism is of course an awful thing wherever it happens, but it hits you with a little greater impact when something happens in a place that you know.
I've been to Turkey twice, and I absolutely love Istanbul. It's a crowded, dirty, polluted city...but one that is utterly alive. The history is fascinating (if your city is the capital of three successive empires, you tend to acquire a lot of interesting booty), and just about everyone I met in Turkey was incredibly warm, friendly, and would go out of their way to help you out.
Turkey's 98% Muslim, but it's an aggressively secular country by law. They used to have sporadic problems with terror bombings in the more touristed and well-off western half of the country, due to the low-level civil war with the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) in the east. The PKK was a Kurdish Marxist terror group (I sympathize with the Kurds, who did indeed get a raw deal, but there were other, peaceful Kurdish groups that didn't resort to terrorist tactics), but once the PKK's leader Abdullah Ocalan was captured a few years ago, that insurgency has died down. It's the only Muslim country I've been to, and I've wanted to go to other places in the Middle East ever since.
These latest bombings happened in the middle of Beyoglu, a densely packed section of town that's been one of the commercial centers since the 19th century. That section of town feels very European (and actually is; it's on the European side of the Bosphorus), and is across the Golden Horn from the Sultanahmet district (where Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, the Hippodrome, the Blue Mosque, and all the other really old stuff are.) It's so strange to contemplate buildings that I've walked past being ripped open by a bomb. Turkey, which has looked toward the West ever since the modern country was proclaimed in 1923, has always seemed like a safer place. It's not a Mideast hellhole where they struggle with this thing all the time...and though I don't have any trips there planned at the moment, it's disappointing to know that it's now a place where you have to be aware of this sort of thing.
"One" by U2 is a truly great song (and the original music video, featuring out-of-focus pictures of slowly lumbering buffalo, was breathtaking)...but is it the best song ever?
The rest of the top 10 are here. Some of these are very, very good -- but I'm not sure I'd put Eminem in the top 10. And "In the Ghetto" was Elvis's most loathsome "hit." I realize the purpose of these lists is to spark debate, but sheesh! No Cole Porter? No Gershwin? No "The Lady is a Tramp"? (I certainly wish the whole list were online instead of just the top 10, but Q's site is lame.)
(This post is intended for MetaFilter addicts only)
MeFite majcher put together "GeneFilter" -- a script which boils down your comments in the blue and gives a frighteningly (and dissapointingly) accurate picture of your head. Ever wonder what you'd sound like if you did speed?
Some excerpts from mine:
Too many to list here, from Frank Sinatra to Lou Reed. But let me just remind you that everyone's your friend in New York magazine . . .[offtopic] If permanent world peace could be copyrighted the way melodies can, Bo Diddley would be a bad time to go. Chico Bangs also blogged it live. The fashion industry is one to be fairly obscure at the supermarket. So just because you haven't been polled, the entire interior of the Squirrel Nut Zippers, the Connells, and lots of times, one's salad arrives positively drowning in the locals' faces expecting to get inspired when it's cask-conditioned. (Firkin? Fuller's London Pride? Mmmmm...) Don't think it travels too well, though. *recoils at the thought of Miguel in Monaco* For Miguel's sake, that is. I spent forty minutes in Manhattan-on-Sea a couple of weeks ago, I screwed up my hands here, and go back to being a boyzone now? As I said -- most don't require Mozart-level creativity, intelligence, and risk-taking. (And a Turkish bath.) I'm not a zero-sum game. No offense, but I do wish he'd quit stealing from himself. (Longtime Trillinistas like me keep noticing recurrent jokes.) And, of course, there are 5 or 6 edits in it. (my favorite pet peeve--salad dressing on the way. The best egg creams I've found are at a McDonald's in southern France last month at this stage, but I'd be interested in hearing (via private e-mail or in this thread, by several folks, that antidepressants don't work.
*hates self, hits "refresh"*