Thursday, August 02, 2007

You Say Eugenics, I say Convenient Death

In one of those blogo-dust-ups (is that a good phrase? How about "blogcontroversy"? Or maybe blogscuffle? We need a word!) Ross Douthat over at the Atlantic has been taking some heat for suggesting that calling yourself a progressive implicates you in their past support of the eugenics programs of the early 20th century. Go here and wander around for a good example of how arguments just sail past one another.

For the record, I don't think that Hillary!'s self-labeling as a "progressive" of late means much of anything with respect to support for eugenics. And I do think there is a distinction to be made with the "new eugenics" in that its supporters don't want (yet) the state to enforce the improvement of human beings. And it seems right to say that if we could use some sort of gene therapy to prevent folks from developing, say, cystic fibrosis, that would be a very good thing. And most liberals/progressives really aren't tied to the sort of strong notion of progress that their forbears bought into.

Still, the liberal bleating that they're really *not* eugenicists and that it's all going to be merely individual choice and so everything will be just hunky-dory is just a bit disingenuous. These are folks, after all, who in every area of life other than those things that might ever so tangentially touch on the freedom to procreate as one will (or will not, in far too many cases) insist that free choice really isn't free choice. Hey, some folks decide to take out 35% interest pay-day loans - they made their own choice, right? The truth of the matter (it seems to me) is that in a society where certain sorts of perfection start being the product of choice, especially among the wealthy, well-born, etc., it will necessarily create an obverse pressure on everyone to *choose* in certain ways. One of the ways that Tocqueville gets democratic culture exactly right is his analysis of how public opinion works to ensure a uniformity of views that is much more powerful and much more thoroughgoing than anything government itself could do. So when the successful and wealthy people in a society suddenly start having children that all have TVD's beatific good looks and winsome personality and everyone has a "choice" about what "sort" of children they produce, they will "choose" to all have little TVD's. God help us.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Bye-Bye Obama Nation, Hello Evan Bayh

It sez here that Barack Obama just killed his chance for the presidency with this---

Let me make this clear. There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again. It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an al-Qaida leadership meeting in 2005. If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will.

This fits the lefty mantra that we had bin Laden surrounded and only peeling off troops for Iraq thwarted his capture and everything would be ducky if we had. (Afghanistan is the "good" war.)

The man on the street forgets that when an American public figure speaks, the world listens. Obama has no such excuse:

Pakistan, by virtue of its nukes and population of 170 million, is the most powerful Muslim nation in the world. For Obama to even hint at invading it or even violating its territorial sovereignty is, oh, how did she put it, ah yes, irresponsible and frankly naive.

I trust the American people will not put our lives in the hands of this amateur. And this might be the coffin-nail for even the VP slot. Hillary doesn't need him---contrary to the prevailing wisdom that the black vote will stay home if he's passed over, Hillary polls very well among blacks and is married to the even more popular First Black President. After this latest bit of nonsense, Obama could easily cost more votes than he would gain for the ticket.

No, Hillary's VP choice will be Evan Bayh, a senator and former governor of the great red state of Indiana, and he'll single-handedly plunk it down in the blue column. Mebbe Obama figured that out, and that's why he's been going for broke lately. Bayh is a helluva statesman, a solid centrist, and was my secret hope to become the Democrat nominee in 2008. But he sized up the field, saw Hillary astride it, and decided not to run. He's kept a very low profile since, avoiding the Reid/Shumer partisan wars and the line of fire on Iraq, in order to arrive at the Democrat convention next year as the squeaky-clean VP nominee.

With his thoroughly impressive record and resume, many Democrats will wonder if the ticket isn't upside-down. This Republican will have no doubt.


Tuesday, July 31, 2007

How the News Works

So there I was, 4:30 am, sitting on the sofa with a 2-month old in my arms. She had woken up coughing because of a cold my other daughter had given her. (We try very hard to teach our children not to be selfish - woo-hoo! Parenting success!!). Around 5 am all the local stations switched over to their Traffic! News! Weather! early morning stations. (I'm a morning person, but how do you look so cheerful at frickin' 5 am?)

Anyway, one of the little news stories that caught my attention was the local tv station reporting on the NYT Op-Ed the other day by the Brookings Institution scholars O'Hanlon and Pollack arguing that the surge currently underway in Iraq could work and we ought not start hightailing it out of there. People will disagree, naturally, but tell me, when was the last time you heard on your local tv news a report on something written in an Op-Ed page? Pretty interesting, it seems to me.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Positive Side of Sports

While it has been a rather bleak summer for American sports fan, it is nice to see something positive happening on a soccer field that has good repercussions beyond the mere game. Iraq defeated Saudi Arabia in the Asian Cup leading to men running in the streets of Iraq.

The jubilation over the team known as the "Lions of the Two Rivers" gave Iraqis a rare respite from the daily violence. The victorious run sent men of all ages cheering and dancing in the streest in what politiicans said was a show of unity that proved Iraqi factions could come together.

Sure, it's a small victory, but small victories matter in sports and in culture. Sorry, Myra Fleener, it's not just a game . . .. Let's hope for more victories for the Iraqi national team.