Political Animal

Gay Rights

GAY RIGHTS….Josh Chafetz of OxBlog makes a point that I’ve seen repeatedly recently: sure, Republicans might be anti-gay, but so are Democrats:

It distresses me even more that, some Democrats’ claims to the contrary notwithstanding, this is an attitude which plagues both parties. The 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, shameful both in its treatment of gay couples and in its disregard for principles of federalism, passed the House on a 342 to 67 vote, passed the Senate on a 84 to 15 vote, and was signed into law by President Clinton.

A pox on both their houses.

I sympathize with Josh’s feelings, since I also think it was disgraceful for Democrats to support this bill (although, yes, I do understand electoral realities). However, it’s also disingenuous: the 15 senators who opposed the bill were all Democrats, and the 67 congressmen who opposed the bill broke down 65 Democratic, one independent, and one Republican.

So let’s keep some perspective here. Sure, Democrats have a ways to go on this issue, but that’s a far cry from the position of the Republican party, which is monolithically anti-gay, is a happy home to any number of proudly and virulently anti-gay congressmen, and shows absolutely no signs of changing. Anyone who takes the issue of gay rights seriously ought to acknowledge this, and should also acknowledge that the only hope of making progress on this issue comes from the Democratic party.

UPDATE: Jesse Berney of Wage Slave Journal points us to the DNC site itself, which highlights some print ads that make the same point.

White House Homeroom

WHITE HOUSE HOMEROOM….Does Ari Fleischer remind you of your junior high school homeroom teacher? As Greg Saunders of the lively and entertaining blog The Talent Show points out, apparently some reporters are beginning to feel that way.

You know, if the White House press corps actually had (a) some spine and (b) enough combined IQ to figure out that they need to work together on this, they might actually be able to scare Fleischer into treating them like something more important than his dog’s fleas. Fat chance of that, though.

Sound Mind?….Sound Body?

SOUND MIND?….SOUND BODY?….Via Belly-Flop.net we learn a few details about the last will and testament of Ingrid Newkirk, president of PETA:

The leader of a prominent U.S.-based animal rights group said she had drawn up a will directing that her flesh be barbecued and her skin used to make leather products in protest at man’s ill-treatment of animals.

….Newkirk also suggested her feet be removed and made into umbrella stands similar to those made from elephant feet that she had seen as a child.

….In the document she also suggests her liver be vacuum-packed and sent to France to be used in a campaign to persuade shoppers not to buy foie gras, made from the livers of force-fed ducks and geese.

Jeez, a friend of mine got all huffy once just because I mailed him a smashed toenail that had fallen off. I guess Newkirk has more openminded friends than I do.

Shorter John Lott

SHORTER JOHN LOTT….Tim Lambert has another update on John Lott’s dubious grasp of arithmetic.

Tim’s latest post is another discussion of the weighting controversy, which, of course, is impossibly abstract for most of us. However, it’s also a crucial piece of evidence in the question of whether Lott actually performed the 1997 survey that has since vanished.

So, courtesy of the Calpundit Technical Research Department, here’s the Reader’s Digest version:

  • Method A (lots of little weights) is obviously bogus, but it does produce the number Lott claims.

  • Method B (a few big weights) is OK, but there is no way it could possibly produce the number Lott claims.

So did he actually perform the 1997 survey? You decide:

  • Yes, but he inexplicably decided to use a weighting method that no one in the field would have taken seriously once his data was released.

  • Yes, but he used a weighting method that can’t produce the number he says he got.

  • No, he never did the survey.

Only one of these choices strikes me as consistent with the real world. Can you guess which one?