Saturday, July 02, 2005

Happy Fourth

"War? What war? And now over to Greta van Sustern, on the beach in Aruba." This is good stuff:

Fox News is rapidly becoming an essential if faintly horrific guide to the American soul, a kind of cross between an organ and a tumor. Fox is certainly not the only offender -- its cable competitors CNN and MSNBC are chasing the same ratings, and are guilty of similar sins -- but it's the most egregious. Those who have watched Fox News recently must feel as if they had fallen into a bizarre time and logic warp out of Philip K. Dick, where 9/11 never happened (except when necessary to drum up support for the war on Iraq, which also doesn't exist except when it has to be defended) and we've returned to those happy summer days when lurid, sexually charged murder cases and shark attacks were not just the most important stories, they were the only stories.

But Fox's all-consuming interest is in the Holloway case, upon whose resolution the fate of the republic apparently rests. Tuesday, a short news segment opened with a live report from that epicenter of world news, Aruba, with a grim-looking reporter standing on the beach, intoning something ominous about Holloway. On Monday, its news programming was even more dominated by Holloway (a highlight was when Geraldo Rivera suggested putting military pressure on the Dutch marines to help find her body) and lovingly detailed accounts of the gory Florida shark attacks. John Gibson opened his "The Big Story" show by intoning "This is a Fox News alert" -- then proceeded to inform his viewers of the urgent news that a boy who was attacked by a shark had his leg amputated, before going on to interview a shark expert. The contrast between Fox's resolute avoidance of showing bloody images from the war in Iraq and its nearly pornographic immersion in shark bites and unsolved murders, was glaring. Only death or bloodshed with high entertainment value gets on Fox.

Gay marriage goes global, with Spain and Canada endorsing sodomite unions.

British elites wanted a multicultural society, and now they have one. More than 300 African boys are missing and have apparently been used as human sacrifices in bizarre religious rituals.

Zbig Brezinski on the Bushian penchant for fiction.

Uzbekistan, an offshore torture center in the war on terror, has taken to persecuting Christians. I wonder if the administration will lean on them.

If Karl Rove goes to jail, will he make a friend? Does it really seem likely that Rove was this foolish?

The O'Connor Court. It is absolutely maddening to me that for most of my life, I've lived in a country where the most important matters of civil and public life have been determined by which side of the bed Justice O'Connor rolled out of that morning. Below are a few snippets from the NY Times.

On affirmative action:

Just two years ago, she wrote the opinion for the 5-to-4 majority that upheld affirmative action in university admissions. Earlier, in a series of decisions interpreting the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection, she led or joined 5-to-4 majorities that viewed with great suspicion government policies that took account of race in federal contracting, employment and electoral redistricting. Her view was that the government should not be in the business of counting by race.

On religion and public life:

Beginning with her earliest years on the court, Justice O'Connor adopted her own test for evaluating whether government policy amounted to an unconstitutional establishment of religion. Instead of a three-part test that the court used, she asked whether the government policy under review conveyed to nonadherents the message that they were "outsiders, not full members of the political community."

This led her to vote to prohibit public prayer at high school graduations and football games, but to insist on equal access for student religious publications and clubs. In 2002, she voted with the 5-to-4 majority that upheld the use of publicly financed tuition vouchers at religious schools. In her opinion this week concurring with the 5-to-4 majority that declared framed copies of the Ten Commandments hanging in Kentucky courthouses to be unconstitutional, she said the Constitution's religion clauses "protect adherents of all religions, as well as those who believe in no religion at all."

And finally, on abortion, O'Connor provided the deciding vote in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The Casey decision in 1992 upheld the central holding of Roe while using a different legal justification. The right to privacy was discarded while substantive due process and the “liberty” clause of the 14th Amendment were invoked to overturn Pennsylvania's limited abortion restrictions. Two quotes from Justice O’Connor’s majority opinion will sufficiently demonstrate the inanity of this woman:

The Roe rule’s limitation of state power could not be repudiated without serious inequity to people who, for two decades of economic and social developments, have organized intimate relationships and made choices that define their views of themselves and their places in society, in reliance on the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail. The ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives.

At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe and the mystery of human life. Beliefs about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood were they formed under compulsion of the State.

O'Connor's appeal to substantive due process, undergirded by extreme individualist and egalitarian ideologies, was completely at odds with the rule of law and stripped a sovereign state of its rightful privileges, all in the name of preserving the “fundamental right to choose.” The precedent establishment by the Rehnquist Court in Casey was also employed when the Supreme Court overturned Texas’ sodomy law in the Lawrence decision.

Also, recall that just a few years ago, O'Connor provided the crucial fifth vote to strike down Nebraska's ban on what were called "partial birth" abortions.

Good riddance, judge.

Enjoy the remaining liberties you posses in our land by blowing a giant hole in it with Chinese pyrotechnics.


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