Friday, August 23, 2013

    1. The Canary in the Coal Mine has died
    2. Chesea Manning
    3. Bozo Clown of Circus
    4. John Boehner, Mouthpiece
    5. Offering incense to strange gods


Elane Photography, the New Mexico studio that got keelhauled for refusing to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony, has lost its appeal to the New Mexico Supreme Court.

Dale Carpenter, who along with Eugene Volokh, thought the photographer should have won because the antidiscrimination law tends to compel expression Elane Photography doesn’t agree with, nevertheless says of the decision that “it is not an especially surprising opinion and does not herald a new dawn of repression”:

The New Mexico litigation has been an especially prominent red flag waived by opponents of gay marriage over the past few years, but it doesn’t contribute anything to the debate over that issue.  Opponents of SSM have argued that the case is an example of the kinds of burdens religious traditionalists will face if same-sex marriage is legalized.  I have argued (see, for example, here), as have many others (see especially the excellent work by Doug NeJaime), that cases of this kind have nothing to do with the state of marriage law and everything to do with the state of antidiscrimination law.  The case was filed and has come to its conclusion at a time when New Mexico did not have same-sex marriage (it still doesn’t, though that may change), when the lesbian couple had not even sought a marriage license, and when state antidiscrimination law already addressed the kind of choice the photographer made not to serve people based on sexual orienation.  It continues to be the case that the vast majority of gay couples will have the good sense not to seek the services of wedding professionals who oppose their marriages, and that even wedding professionals who oppose their marriages will be happy to take their money.

I think Carpenter is onto something (point taken), but that he’s naïve about the intensification of attacks like this when same-sex marriage is legalized. I have little doubt that there will be “testers” and calculated harassment of politically incorrect “public accommodations.”

This is all of a single cloth with labeling as “homophobes” anyone who doesn’t go along with the new sexual orthodoxy.


Yes, I’ve heard about Chelsea Manning. No, I have nothing to add to the discussion at this time. Not even so much as scare quotes around the first name.

Check back if the world gets introduced to Edwina Snowden.


A vendor who knows me only by a throw-away e-mail alias requires that I provide name and company in order to stop the e-mails.

“Bozo Clown” of “Circus” just unsubscribed. It seemed to work.


Speaker John Boehner defended his party’s record by saying that Congress “ought to be judged on how many laws we repeal.”In this, the Speaker is absolutely correct; after all, if we want a smaller government, some laws at least will have to be repealed.

However, judged by this standard, Boehner’s Congress is even less successful: they have repealed exactly zero laws. The truth is that repealing laws requires even more legislative skill and cohesion than passing them. In a democracy, by definition, every law on the books has a constituency, and these days that is likely to be a well-funded corporate constituency. Repealing such laws would require both a strong leading ideology and strong leadership; the Republican Party has neither.

This is not to suggest some flaw in John Boehner; rather, the flaw is in the way the House Republicans have defined the Speakership. They have required that their “leader” abide by the “Hastert Rule,” which states that no legislation can be brought up for a vote unless it has the support of the majority of the Republican members. This means that even bills that would easily pass with a majority of Democrats and a minority of Republicans cannot be allowed to reach the floor for a vote; a majority of the majority—that is to say, a minority—controls all legislation. This means that Boehner no longer speaks for the House, but only for a faction within his party; He is no longer the Speaker of the House, but merely the Mouthpiece of a Caucus.

(John Médaille)


We’re approaching the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights era’s March on Washington. Festivities are starting. NPR Thursday reported on a “praise and worship service addressing issues ranging from immigration to racial reconciliation.”

Be it noted that I’m not suggesting that immigration and racial reconciliation are unworthy topics, or even that they’re unfit for discussion in church, when I say that doesn’t sound much like praise and worship to me.

I have no idea whether the solecism on the grammar of god was that of the church or of NPR.

* * * * *

“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.