Saturday, April 18, 2009

Around the League

At the League we have been accused from time to time of having far too many posts many of which are far too long - and conversely, others have accused us of having far too few posts, though few have complained that they were much too short. In any case, here’s a little round-up of what you may have missed….

Chris discussed pentecostalization and secularization in light of (post)modernity and globalization; and on Good Friday meditated on the meaning of the cross and freedom:

If the Cross, the most cruel of all the disgusting barbarities humans enact upon beings of light, bodies of dignity, children of the Blessed One, if that utter horror can not finally destroy life, destroy spirit, destroy the human enclosed in the divine, then nothing can and we not need fear any longer. We are free. That teaching is the best of all news.

Will took a few shots at the follies of bipartisanship:

In fact, recent history suggests that our biggest blunders have been thoroughly bipartisan - witness the Iraq War’s near-universal support circa 2003 or the ongoing, argument-proof consensus in favor of the drug war. So is widespread political agreement really that desirable? I won’t complain if consensus is reached through considered deliberation, but that doesn’t seem to happen in the political sphere, where agreement is emotive rather than policy-driven.

…and a couple more at Newt Gingrich.

Freddie tackled capitalist dogma…

To me, the most sensible and pragmatic capitalist is a skeptical capitalist, one who recognizes the enormous power for good in the system but also recognizes that it is ultimately just a patchwork of conventions, laws and mores, cobbled together by disparate people with vastly different aims, and existing always in an uneasy tension.

…and got high with a little help from his friends - or, no, wait - disagreed loudly with one of his friends….

I declared myself a culture war pacifist and also asked if there wasn’t possibly some way to have a “progressive traditionalism” since I’m not particularly satisfied with either one on their own…to which a commenter replied:

Come back in a year or two when you’re ready to expound on important matters that you clearly haven’t begun to understand.

Men of greater faith and intellect than anyone here have been grappling with this “theology stuff” for thousands of years. Is it really wise for us to be dismissing this inheritance with an arrogant wave of the hand, and ignarantly build from scratch.


Scott asked “are we better than this?” and subsequently whipped out the word “whateverism” proving that no, we couldn’t go more than three months even without using it in a sentence:

Far from a condemnation of the political class alone, such underwhelming fortitude has in many ways become the very essence of the American dream. Contemporary culture finds itself largely bereft of the wherewithal to shake off the malaise of modernity, addicted as it is to the primacy of instant gratification and chronic whateverism. In many ways, we’ve become the victims of our own success, the shining examples of a fitter, happier future.

Scott also revealed a secret truth about the League’s membership with his post “We’re All Mad Here” … They say insanity is a sign of genius, though…

Mark stormed the world with a thoughtful expose on the Tea Parties:

[I]f the Tea Parties had remained the sole province of a handful of libertarian activists, they never would have received the national attention they’re now able to receive, and thus would have had even less impact. By accepting the involvement of the movement conservative multitudes, the originators have lost control of their message even as the message has access to an ever-larger platform. The result? An incoherent jumble of protests that is going to wind up resembling the same sort of incoherence that has characterized large-scale protests and demonstrations for decades.

And if you missed the back and forth between Mark and Will over the merits of judicial activism etc. etc. etc. go check it out.

Dave, between some much needed League humor, also wrote a bit about judicial activism:

The meaning of the text did not change. An existing legal principle (Footnote Four) that can be easily reconciled to the meaning of the text was applied to a new case and controversy and found that the government had overstepped its bounds. Libertarians should be pleased by this. Not only was justice served, but it was done in a way that kept the meaning of the Iowa State Constitution intact.

Sound pretty nihilistic to me!

William treated us to some thoughts on the upcoming Observe and Report (it’s out now, I think, so maybe we’re due for a review William….):

From the TV spots for Seth Rogen’s new movie, you might think he’s revisiting the irresponsible-yet-good-hearted cop character he played in Superbad (i.e. the irresponsible-yet-good-hearted character he’s played in all his movies so far). Probably not the case. The trailer suggests that Rogen is playing a delusional semi-racist petty authoritarian with a gun fixation, a fragile ego, and no hope outside his demented fantasies. Those viewers who want Paul Blart crossed with Knocked Up might not expect this.

My only thoughts here is - how the hell did we just happen to have two movies about mall cops get released within a couple months of each other? This is like when Ants and A Bugs Life were released back to back. This happens more often than it should….

And lastly, friend of the League Jack Gillis contributed a guest post (something all commenters and bloggers are urged to submit!) and gave us his own analysis of the Tea Party Phenomenon:

Silent Minorities don’t influence society if they remain silent. A Silent Majority can operate simply by living their lives and then consistently winning elections. That is, they can engage themselves only once every two or four years but nevertheless feel as if they control their own destinies. But a minority has to be noisy to have any hope at all of influencing the course of social development. So to claim, as some have and will, that the Tea Parties are “just noise” is to gloss over one of the most significant aspects of the movement. The fact that it’s “just noise” is the strongest indication yet that they now know that they have to make noise.

I’ll likely do more round-ups like this in the future to catch people up, but I’m not sure they’ll always be quite so in-depth. Let me know if this was helpful….

Friday, January 30, 2009


This is funny.

And this is a video of my 19-month old:

Smart AND cute. Oh boy. What a kid.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Of Maus and Men

Alan Moore, Art Spiegelman, and Dan Cloves are the League of Extraordinary Freelancers

Last night, which happened to be International Holocaust Remembrance Day, I attended a lecture by Pulitzer prize winning comic book artist (or graphic novelist) Art Spiegelman. It was supposed to be a talk on tolerance and art, but he self-deprecatingly waved away these weighty subjects. “Everything I know I learned from comic books,” he said. “So I’m going to talk about comic books.”

And for the next two hours, that’s exactly what he did, talking and joking his way through a brief history of comic books, from the first old French comic strips to the now critically acclaimed “graphic novels” like The Watchmen, or his own masterpiece, Maus, which grapples in alternating humor and horror with his father’s memories of surviving Auschwitz, and his own turmoil in understanding that history.

Fortunately for the audience, the talk, like Spiegelman’s work, was not limited to words. On a giant screen Spiegelman guided us from one comic to the next–some his, many from others who he took inspiration from. And bit by bit, as he traversed the world of comics from the early days of racial caricatures to the modern world, where entire populations were subdued by the fear of Islamist reprisal over the Danish cartoons, (a subject he did a cover-story for Harper’s magazine on and which was subsequently banned in Canada) to the propaganda posters the Nazi’s used in the lead-up to the mass-execution of the Jews in Europe, Spiegelman drove home his overarching point:

These are not just lines on paper.


I never understood the old rhyme “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” It always struck me that this was quite the opposite of the truth. A more truthful cliche might be “a picture’s worth a thousand words.” Spiegelman’s talk led us to the concept of physiognomy, or the “assessment of a person’s character or personality from their outer appearance” which was once considered almost a science, but has, regardless of its lack of scientific merit, certainly been a tool used by illustrators and dictators alike to propagate stereotypes, either for humorous purposes, or for the seeding of hate within cultures.


In much the same way that Nazis exploited the tenets of Darwinism to promote their vision of the superior German race, Nazi propagandists used comics, and physiognomy, to create an impression that Jews were somehow sub-human. The image of the Jew as a rat has been ingrained into the international psyche. The Nazis used this to great effect, and as Spiegelman pointed out, we still refer to the Holocaust as the “extermination” of the Jews rather than as a mass-murder.


It could be argued that as we enter further and further into an era of mass-media and visual information, images will become even more important in how we view the world–what’s shown, as much as what isn’t. The Danish cartoons are an example of how in the name and guise of tolerance, fear can lead us to censorship. Of course, the Arab as a terrorist is almost as universal an image as the Jew as a rat. And so we come to that cross-roads: on the one hand, images were instrumental in so many horrible efforts, from segregation to the Holocaust; and on the other, that most prized freedom of speech. I suppose in the end we must take the bad with the good. There will always be hate, after all, but freedom of speech is a fragile and precarious right.

In any case, all of this leads to the question of Pope Benedict’s rehabilitation of Bishop Williamson into the fold of the Catholic Church. Williamson, as we all know by now, is an adamant Holocaust denier, who is on record stating that “the historical evidence is hugely against 6 million Jews having been deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy by Adolf Hitler.” Pope Benedict has been quick to decry such Holocaust denial in an attempt to quell the uproar over Williamson’s reinstatement.


Of course, there are words and then there are symbols. The symbol of Benedict welcoming Williamson back into the Church is a great deal more powerful than the words he’s used to whitewash the scandal. A picture’s worth a thousand words, remember. We refer to acts like this as symbolic gestures, and regardless of what the Pontiff says to the contrary, this new embrace of Williamson is a symbol of the very sort of thing the Catholic Church has been attempting to distance itself from–old hatreds, old divisions. The history of the Church and the Jews is not a pleasant one. John Paul II worked for years to change that, and it seems Pope Benedict is as determined to sabotage what his predecessor begun.

And yet, here we come again to that confluence of freedom and consequence. Freedom of religion, of speech, of practice, can often come into conflict with sensibility, cultural sensitivity, and so forth. After all, Holocaust denial is not forbidden by the Church even if one would hope that the basic precepts of Christianity would render it unthinkable, it should still be allowed as protected speech, however despicable. In Germany it is illegal to deny the Holocaust. In Canada, hate-speech is defined by the State, and can be banned outright. So do we give the State this power to define what is hate, what is free, which symbols and words are merely scribbles, and which are swords? Once upon a time the State in question was Nazi Germany, or Stalinist Russia. The State, after all, is changeable as are human hearts, and human words. Our best course is to keep them separate–a separation of Thought and State, no matter the drivel that can, and does, produce.

After all, none of these words, images, cartoons or symbols are mere “lines on paper.” They hold consequence; the power to destroy or heal; the power to stir a nation to war, or lull it to sleep.

Comments open at The League of Ordinary Gentlemen

Friday, January 23, 2009

Streets & Towns

So you live on Slutshole Lane, so what?

Ah, the Brits....

More from the League of Ordinary Gentlemen

Above are the ongoing conversations over at The League of Ordinary Gentlemen. Add to that nearly 100 comments, almost a thousand pageviews, and we're only on day two. Not half bad, eh?

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Blaise's article is superb, a dark garden of thorny prose and deep, flowery cynicism:

Lord, there is no such city anywhere, but all is a vision. America’s spires and turrets are built on mountains of debt and a fairyland of trust in the faithless apostles of the unregulated Free Market. We have indulged ourselves in fantasies of national superiority and continue to do so, all the while condemning the Islamists who make no bones of their urge to subdue the world to their own vision of harsh justice and superiority. Think Obama won’t perpetuate these fantasies? He’s going to send even more troops into Afghanistan, recapitulating the failures of Bush in Iraq, in the one place in the world where every textbook of military history tells us empires go to die. Less Lincoln and more Plutarch for President Obama: let our Fearless Leader see how Alexander fared east of Persia, both in the nature of Alexander’s successes and failures.

Anon, the whole fair city had disappeared, the reckoning has come due. Yet the illusion has not been dispelled.

Obama is a fine man, as good a man as the times have produced and the country is well-pleased with him, both Republicans and Democrats alike are charmed by his glamour. But of old, the word Glamour meant a spell of illusion...
Read the whole thing.

More on Obama and Gay Marriage

Video via Friar Zero in the comments:

It remains true that Obama is very much like Russia--a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Theme Song

Chris thinks The League should have a theme song. And so here it is:

Bloggy News

I have some pretty exciting news. Freddie deBoer, Scott Payne, Chris Dierkes, Mark Thompson, Dave Ruggerio, Kyle Moore, and myself have started a new cooperative blog, The League of Ordinary Gentlemen.

The purpose is to get not merely a multi-author blog with disjointed posts by various authors, but to start a series of dialogues within the blog. It's going live today. Right of this moment, actually...

Check it out. Thanks!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A tad curmudgeonly?

Is it just me, or is Joe Carter just a tiny bit curmudgeonly today?

It's official

We have a new President.

I'd say it's about bloody time. Congratulations America!

Monday, January 19, 2009

This about sums it up...

Skipping Libby?

Is it possible that Bush will let Scooter Libby take the fall? I didn't think there was a chance in hell he wouldn't issue a pardon on this one.

Then again, looks like Scooter might be in for some jail time, if this is true and not just a poor choice of words:
In his final acts of clemency, President George W. Bush on Monday commuted the prison sentences of two former U.S. Border Patrol agents whose convictions for shooting a Mexican drug dealer ignited fierce debate about illegal immigration. [emphasis mine]
Final acts? Meaning, no love for Libby? Wow.

Scrapping the democracy project

Daniel Larison writes:

Democratization in recent years has not generally contributed to U.S. interests, and it certainly has not contributed to greater peace and security. From empowering Hamas to building up an aggressive nationalist demagogue in Georgia to boosting socialist “people power” in Bolivia and Venezuela to provoking ethnic conflict in Kenya, genuine democratic elections have produced a number of undesirable outcomes for the nations involved and for U.S. interests in their respective regions. The idea of “democratic peace” is a myth, and the politicization of ethnicity and religion that democratization has involved in many parts of Africa, Latin America and the Near East has led to terrible results. Why we should want more of this is a mystery, but like much related to the management of the empire this is something we are not supposed to challenge.

I would add that all of this is not to say that democracies aren't a good thing, or that nations around the world shouldn't move toward democracy, or some form of democracy, since I truly believe that despite all of its flaws, democracy is still the best of all possible political systems. However, what is lacking in all of the nations where the US has tried to impose it is both the rule of law, and a historical foundation of order and representative government. The United States was born out of the British history of a functional parliament, and traditions dating back to the signing of the magna carta. America was also a healthy group of colonies, with relatively high stability and rule of law.

Compare this to Iraq, a country with no history of liberty or representation of the people, founded in a region of the world that has been plagued with war, religious fueding, and totalitarianism in one form or another--or to Afghanistan which has only the tradition of tribal politics, and warlord feudalism. It's simply not good soil for democracy, and certainly not for imposed democracy.

I think a better means by which to export our ideals would be through example, through healthy trade, and through tireless diplomatic efforts. There is a time for force, for war, but it cannot be in order to instill something as fragile, and whose outcome is as unforeseeable, as democracy.

New digs...

Check out Alex Massie's new digs at The Spectator!

Way to go Alex!

The Superbowl, Baby!

The Cardinals? Hells yes...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

It's not good, but it's not the same

Pat Buchanan links to this photo series equating Israel with the Nazis at Norman Finkelstein's site.

Okay, here's the problem with this sort of equating of wrongs. First of all, the Nazis took populations in their own country and in countries they had conquered, that were peaceful, law-abiding components of those States and societies, and for no reason beyond blind, racist hatred carted them off to death camps after first subjugating them to ghettos, theft of property, etc.

In Israel the situation is bad. Very bad. The treatment of the Palestinians is often inhumane. The checkpoints make life hard on many people. The rocket strikes and incursions are devastating.

The difference, though, is that Israel was warred against numerous times by her neighbors; they suffered through terrorist intifadas that drove them to these security measures; they do their best to minimize civilian casualties and are responsible for providing the Palestinians with a great deal of humanitarian aid. They also do many things that make peace harder to come by, like the ridiculous settlements in the West Bank, the blockade in Gaza, and so forth.

But they are not Nazis, and they are not in the same category or ballpark even, and it is a cruel, awful thing to use propaganda like Finkelstein is using at his site to suggest that they are. There is a moral divide between Israel and Nazi Germany that it will take much, much more to bridge. Their hands aren't clean, to be sure, but they are nowhere near as bloody as Hitler's Germany.

This sort of fear-mongering does nothing to further the debate. It is emotive only, and dismissive of historical circumstance. I am so tired of the fringes of this debate running its course and direction. I am tired of Finkelstein and his bunch of loudmouths, and I am tired of the extremists on the Zionist side as well, who seem so blind to any fault they may actually have in this.

Israel isn't Nazi Germany, and not all Palestinians support terror. Most of the people in this mess are just normal people caught up in decades-old conflict with no end in sight...

Obama Supports Gay Marriage

Well, he did in 1996. I don't think he's changed his tune since then, though we'll see if he actually does anything about it.

End Pot Prohibition, but Keep Hard Drugs Illegal

Recently Culture11 held a mini-symposium on the drug legalization debate. (Read this, this, and this). I've got a stance that lies somewhere between the libertarian and the law & order types. I am strongly in favor of legalizing marijuana but I take a more cautious stance on the harder drugs.

For one, I've seen the effect first-hand of the terribly destructive power those drugs have on people, especially crystal meth. Heroin and cocaine, too, though. These aren't necessarily things that should be condoned as legal in our civil society. That there is a stigma attached to these drugs, that they do have some sort of legal penalty--this may be a good thing. And if we are reasonable about our other substances, perhaps there won't be much of a market for these harder drugs in the first place.

One huge benefit of legalizing pot (which is almost universally accepted as a pretty harmless substance these days) is its negative effect on revenue for the drug lords and cartels. One of the primary sources of income for these groups is marijuana, and conversely one of our primary costs in the "War on Drugs" is fighting marijuana imports, jailing pot users and petty pot dealers, and diverting law enforcement to deal with stoners when it could be fighting the real bad guys.

It’s by far the most widely used illegal substance, and once legalized would be an enormous source of tax revenue for the US Government. Taking it out of the black market would take the power away from dealers, and create jobs. It would take people out of the prisons, and free up space and money in that over-worked, over-crowded system. Anita Bartholemew writes:

Of the 872,000 arrests in 2007 for marijuana-related offenses, almost 90 percent were for simple possession of the dried vegetation in question. The typical arrestee is younger than 30. Think college-age kid caught lighting up a joint. Now, multiply that by 775,000 — that’s where a significant chunk of your drug war dollars are going.

The price of deploying an army of local, state and federal cops, prosecutors and guards to arrest, try and imprison the perpetrators of this non-scourge? Using data from 2000, Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron estimated it as $7.7 billion4 per year while a 2007 study, by public policy expert Jon Gettman, figured it closer to $10.7 billion 5 per year.

Most of that money is eaten up by law enforcement according to Miron, with $2.94 billion going to prosecution costs in 2000, and less than half a billion toward incarceration.

Add in the revenue we’d eventually gain if marijuana were regulated and taxed like alcohol and tobacco (from $6.2 billion to as much as $31.1 billion per year), and you’re talking real money.
You're damn right you're talking real money.

So, add to that the tax benefits of legalization, much of which could go to paying for better border security–you find yourself with a weakened network of drug cartels, as the market for smugglers will basically dry up except for imported hard drugs, which have a much smaller market share; you have more money to combat harder drugs from all these new cost-savings and increased tax revenues--basically you get a three-in-one: economic stimulus, increased national security, and increased liberty for non-violent, normal, and suddenly law-abiding Americans.

The economic stimulus would be extremely beneficial for this country at this point in history, with the recession looming. Legalized marijuana would be good for a wide variety of businesses, from medicinal to fast food chains. It is becoming more essential than ever for national security, as Mexico is looking more and more as though it is on the verge of total collapse--right up there with our nuclear pal Pakistan.

So in sum, I think the libertarian ideal of "your body, do what you want with it" is noble in purpose, but simply not pragmatic. And I'm not sure it's morally right either, no matter how theoretically good it sounds. Some of these drugs are literally horrible, addictive poisons that should simply not be given a pass by society at large. Others, like pot, are misunderstood, have few if any side-effects save the munchies, and could act as a bridge to a better, more civilized nation.

When Radley Balko warns of the "militirization of our police" I concur, but I think legalizing pot and keeping the other drugs illegal wll so temper this whole "war" that this will become far less of an issue. Police will get to be cops, looking for real bad guys or people who are legitimitaly ruining their lives with actual drugs.

Fredoosso warns that:

"Despite the wishful thinking of its proponents, drug legalization would result in broader drug use, and for exactly the same reasons a legal narcotics market tends to reduce the size of an illegal one—lower prices, greater convenience, more reliable supply, and far more security in one’s transactions."
I agree with this, too. This is one reason I think only marijuana should be legalized and not the other drugs. While I think we should lose the misnomer "War on Drugs" I think we should maintain a robust police effort to combat drug smuggling, and a larger societal effort to help addicts. Legalizing pot would also take the dealer out of the picture. The number one reason that pot is a gateway drug is because it's purchased from a dealer. So take out that middle man, and replace him with a clerk at a supermarket. Then you're much more likely to purchase Doritos with your weed as opposed to an eight-ball of Columbia's finest.

Also, the hit that drug cartels would take from the money lost over pot-sales, and the increased expense of smuggling the harder drugs, would actually drive up the cost of these drugs, making them more difficult to sell and to purchase. Supply and demand would drop significantly, and a healthier, legal alternative would be right there at your local Conoco.

So keep heroin illegal, but stop locking up our potheads. Send our police out to bring down meth labs, but let our stoners have their midnight snacks in peace. Use our border patrol agents to stop human smuggling, or to sniff out shipments of cocaine, but let the joint-smoking-hippies cross freely. This is a national security issue as well as a moral issue. And it would be good for our economy to boot.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Love, love, love...

~via Andrew

The War on Birds

Drezner has this to say:

While most birds probably wish to peacefully coexist with humans, it is becoming increasingly clear that a small group of radicalized avians are hell-bent on destroying our way of life. These radical birdists hate us for our freedom. This can not stand.

I, for one, look forward to President Bush's declaration of a War on Birds. Unfortunately, this will last only four days, after which President Obama will no doubt appoint this guy as special envoy to the avian community.

I actually said something similar to this to a co-worker today, at least the part about a War on Birds. And you know, I thought at the time "Somebody else has already said this, I'm sure, by now. Somebody much more famous than myself..." That's the tricky thing about saying something funny or clever. It's almost never original, even if you did come up with it on your own. One more reason to embrace humility, I suppose...

C'est la vie. One thing is certain: Bush won't have time to declare a War on Birds. The Bush days are over.

Quote of the day

"What the people of Gaza need, rather than this sort of hollow gestural pseudo-solidarity, is precisely a ceasefire and humanitarian assistance. Cheering on their war-mongers will not bring them justice or peace."

~Bob from Brockley

Questions of Inquest

Paul Krugman is displeased with Obama's apparent unwillingness to investigate the Bush Administration:

I’m sorry, but if we don’t have an inquest into what happened during the Bush years — and nearly everyone has taken Mr. Obama’s remarks to mean that we won’t — this means that those who hold power are indeed above the law because they don’t face any consequences if they abuse their power.

Let’s be clear what we’re talking about here. It’s not just torture and illegal wiretapping, whose perpetrators claim, however implausibly, that they were patriots acting to defend the nation’s security. The fact is that the Bush administration’s abuses extended from environmental policy to voting rights. And most of the abuses involved using the power of government to reward political friends and punish political enemies.
I'm torn on this subject--truly torn. I can't see any fault with transparency, with holding those who occupy our highest offices accountable, perhaps even more accountable than any others. But if we are to go into it with Krugman's presuppositions--basically asserting that there was abuse even before it's been proven--than aren't we waging a political vendetta more than seeking justice?

Krugman declares that "the fact is" the Bush administration committed various abuses, though really, sans the inquest, how can he possibly know what any of the facts are? This isn't necessarily meant as a case against an inquest, but it certainly reveals Krugman's argument to be more emotionally based than anything. The fact is, we don't know anything. I think this is a pretty good argument in and of itself to do an inquest. But until that time we should be asking questions, not stating opinions as though they were facts.

Krugman's a smart guy. He should know better. A far better case could be made from a more nuetral standpoint. Hell, I think the case should be made that all outgoing administrations will be wihout fail investigated thoroughly by an independent inquest upon their departure from office. We should set precedent that regardless of a President's popularity or perceived honesty or dishonesty he or she, and the men and women in their cabinet, will be investigated for wrong-doing while in office.

We should keep all our elected officials honest. But honesty doesn't necessarily equate with popularity, and Bush's unpopularity should not be reason enough to investigate him, no matter how politically opposed we may be to his decisions. This should simply be status quo. Take the politics out of it, and demand the rule of law above all else.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Democracy and Irony

One of the ironies of the Israel/Palestine question is that it is Israel's dual-nature that leads to this being an ongoing question. That Israel at once aids the population that sends rockets and suicide bombers into its midst, and yet won't take the real, serious steps necessary to create a true and lasting peace is a testament both to its humanity and its indecision--in a sense, to its democracy. Democracy is a fickle thing. Strong actions that are non-military are extremely hard to push through the halls of Parliament, or Congress, or the Knesset or what have you.

As Bush said, and I paraphrase: "This would be a lot easier if this were a dictatorship. As long as I was the dictator."

It's the ugly beauty of any democratic society. The masses are more easily pushed toward guns and glory. Freedom and the ability to choose our leaders gives us such a great deal of power to avoid getting anything done. Thus things are only completed to the halfway mark. Israel exits unilaterally from Gaza, yet leaves the West Bank occupied.

Half-measures are one of the curses of democracies. Then again, you run such a high risk of getting stuck with a bad leader when in any other system of governance. Watching the transition of power between Bush and Obama is testament to this. Democracy, coupled with the rule of law, is a fantastic thing. The one without the other, though.

You get Gaza.

For some reason...

This post below has reminded me of this:

...which I find really, really disturbing. Free market, meet the seven deadly sins...

But in all seriousness...really??? "Life is short, have an affair." Really?

I suppose, taking the two posts together, the image of the Google Ad that asks "Is your husband gay? Give him this quiz to find out..." and this billboard...I don't know what to make of it--only that maybe gay marriage really isn't the thing threatening our "sacred institution" - perhaps the free market has a hand in it, or freedom in general. Perhaps gay men marrying women creates higher levels of divorce...

Just shooting these off the top of my head, though. Maybe I'm reading too much into this.