Brian O'Connell

on war, politics, and stuff - go to the new blog

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06/09/2002 - 06/16/2002
06/16/2002 - 06/23/2002
06/23/2002 - 06/30/2002
06/30/2002 - 07/07/2002
07/07/2002 - 07/14/2002
07/14/2002 - 07/21/2002
09/15/2002 - 09/22/2002
09/22/2002 - 09/29/2002
10/06/2002 - 10/13/2002
10/13/2002 - 10/20/2002
10/20/2002 - 10/27/2002
12/29/2002 - 01/05/2003
01/05/2003 - 01/12/2003
01/12/2003 - 01/19/2003
01/19/2003 - 01/26/2003
01/26/2003 - 02/02/2003
02/23/2003 - 03/02/2003
06/22/2003 - 06/29/2003
06/29/2003 - 07/06/2003
07/06/2003 - 07/13/2003
07/13/2003 - 07/20/2003
07/20/2003 - 07/27/2003
08/10/2003 - 08/17/2003
08/17/2003 - 08/24/2003
08/24/2003 - 08/31/2003
08/31/2003 - 09/07/2003
09/07/2003 - 09/14/2003
11/09/2003 - 11/16/2003
11/16/2003 - 11/23/2003
11/23/2003 - 11/30/2003
11/30/2003 - 12/07/2003
12/07/2003 - 12/14/2003
12/14/2003 - 12/21/2003
12/28/2003 - 01/04/2004
01/11/2004 - 01/18/2004
02/01/2004 - 02/08/2004
03/28/2004 - 04/04/2004

Response to Prominent Americans (Not in Our Name)

Complexity and Universal Truth

From Multiculturalism to Anti-Americanism in Six Easy Steps

Andrew Sullivan

A Nickel's Worth of Free Advice

Armed and Dangerous

Asymmetrical Information

Beauty of Gray

Belmont Club

Bjørn Stærk blog


Cinderella Bloggerfeller

Cold Fury




Dr. Weevil

Eject! Eject! Eject!



it comes in pints?


Little Green Footballs

LILEKS (James)

Man Without Qualities

Matt Welch

Michael J. Totten

My Two Cents

Natalie Solent

Oliver Willis


Public Nuisance

Sgt. Stryker's Daily Briefing

Shadow of the Hegemon

Steven Chapman

The CounterRevolutionary

The Machinery of Night


The Truth Laid Bear

Tim Blair

Twisted Spinster

USS Clueless


Winds of Change.NET


Kerry's Lennon Gambit

NY Post: "Sen. John Kerry is distributing fliers in New York with a 30-year-old photo of him and Beatle John Lennon to woo anti-war presidential voters as he competes with rival Howard Dean in blasting President Bush on Iraq." Here's the photo:

Kerry & Lennon

This is cynically meant to convince the anti-war crowd that despite the fact that Kerry voted in favor of the Iraq war, he really is anti-war at heart, and has the pictorial evidence to back that up. He was standing next to John "Give Peace a Chance" Lennon, for god's sake!

But some anonymous person, who many suspect is a Dean insider, released the following photo, which does muddy the water a bit concerning Kerry's actual stance on the issue of war.

Kerry & Hitler

So is Kerry pro-war or anti-war? Democratic voters were demanding the circumstancial photographic proof. Responding to the leaked Hitler photo within hours, as is required these days what with the 24-hour news cycle, Kerry's campaign manager posted this photo to the offical John Kerry GeoCities website, thus proving Kerry's commitment to both peace and non-violent forms of protest:

Kerry & Ghandi

It seemed for a while that the Kerry campaign had won this battle of images, until another undisclosed source, this time suspected of working for Carol Moseley Braun, emailed this photo to everyone in their Yahoo address book:

Kerry & Herman

In the end, this battle appears to be a complete wash for Kerry. But in what may portend the future strategy of the Kerry campaign, high level talks were reportedly taking place between Kerry's team and Adobe, the makers of PhotoShop.


The Dean Problem

Howard Dean, smilingYou know what Dean's main problem is? It's not his leftist take on the war. It's not the fact that his political experience was gained in a state smaller than Arkansas. It's that smile. It reminds me, unpleasantly, of that fake Kevin Nealon smile when he did that male Barbara Walters character on SNL. You know, after he made the interviewee cry. It's creepy.


More BBC Crap

Safety measures. That's the header over the following two paragraphs in a BBC article about the July 9 protests in Iran.
The authorities had jammed the transmissions of American-based TV and radio stations run by Iranian anti-regime exiles, who had in the past directed people to protest sites.

The authorities also apparently disabled the mobile phone system in the immediate area of the demonstration, and closed down the university's campus earlier.

That sounds about right. Safety first!

Later there was this unintelligible graf, which I repeat just for a laugh.
Neither the student groups nor the reformist movement are supported theses protests, despite their own great unhappiness with the current situation in which a hardline minority has been blocking the changes for which many millions of Iranians voted, our correspondent says.


Navigator Compliance is Here

Well, not totally. There remains a bunch features available on this page in Internet Explorer that you still don't have with Netscape Navigator. Like the swooshy animation and the keyboard-enabled interface. But this blog is now at least readable with Navigator 7, and presumbaly 6 as well. 4 is right out.

More later when I feel like wasting more hours that I'll never get back.


Privacy vs. Equal Protection

The Lawrence decision. This is one of the best decisions to come out of SCOTUS since the Boy Scouts decision, ironically enough. Both rulings affirm human rights, in the first instance affirming (not granting) the right of people to sexually do as they please in private, and in the second, affirming the right of people to associate only with those they choose to.

I'm glad that the court chose to overturn the Texas statute based on privacy rather than equal protection for the simple and obvious reason that if a state had an anti-sodomy law which applied equally to gays and straights, an equal protection argument would be meaningless. Overturning the law on equal protection grounds would have implied that an all-sodomy ban, as opposed to the Texas-style gay sodomy ban, would be perfectly acceptable. This is offensive even without considering the unequal enforcement such a law would likely have received.

The complaints of social conservatives (with whom I agree on many other issues and some of whom are, and will continue to be included in my blogroll) that the institution of marriage and the family is undermined by this decision doesn't hold any water as far as I can see. In America, people should be free, consensually, to undermine whatever Western or other institution they want to. Consensually is the important qualifier there. A person shouldn't be free to undermine the institution of private property, for instance, if it's my property and I don't consent. But in Lawrence, consent is not at issue.

I understand the social conservatives' argument. Life would be morally simpler if their ideas could remain law. But the US is not a theocracy. The culture war can only be won by persuasion and voluntary compliance. Morality laws will not win converts; they will only coerce those who don't believe. And using persuasion alone, they will lose some battles. But United States law should not favor what we think is morally right; US law should keep its hands off the inalienable rights of men (that's what the Declaration of Independence says).

It's not just right-wing morality that shouldn't be encoded into law by the Court, left-wing morality shouldn't be either. I think that the government shouldn't discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, but that doesn't mean that individuals shouldn't be allowed to if that is their will. Freedom of association is just as much a part of the First Amendement as the more widely respected freedom of speech, and First Amendment absolutists should support the Boy Scout decision with as much enthusiasm as they did the Skokie, IL decision.

With this Supreme Court, we have for the first time in a long time, appreciation of the freedom of association. We have in them an appreciation for the Ninth Amendment and an understanding that the Constitution does not grant us rights, that we have more rights than are enumerated therein, and that the government's duty is to stay out of our way in areas where it is not granted authority.

It's a victory for the libertarian right and the libertarian left (if the latter exists that is). Freedom has won here. Social conservatives and/or authoritarians will need to look elsewhere for enforcement of their morality, whether it's popular or not.

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© 2002-2004
Brian O'Connell,
for what it's worth.