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Marriage Confusions

Love, children, and affirmative discrimination. Also: Henry Waxman waxes. Birthright illegals. Art vs. porn. Muslim rivalries in America. Plus more.

10.10.07

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MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS
Re: James M. Thunder's Love and Marriage...Discrimination:

I'm not sure why Mr. Thunder is trying to load up the debate on gay marriage with a claimed right of a child to know its parents, but...

There's no fundamental right for a child to know the identity of his or her biological parents. Historically, no such right has existed; only the science of DNA testing makes such a claim possible.

Withholding the identity of biological parents falls under the umbrella of parenting decisions. The law has neither the authority nor the ability to micromanage such decisions. For example, a mother may not tell her daughter that she has an aunt because the mother and her sister are estranged, even though the aunt's bout with early breast cancer might provide her daughter with valuable health information. The number of parenting decisions that can have a potential negative impact is limitless. Cheerleading? BB guns? Visits with grandma even though she smokes like a chimney? Unless they reach the level of abuse, which is the opposite of parenting, parenting decisions no matter how wrong or selfish are beyond the reach of the law.

There may be obvious good reasons to withhold the identity of biological parents, such as conception through rape, or the reason may simply be the desire of the biological parent(s). It is important to remember that in adoption, post-natal or pre-natal (which is what sperm and egg donor situations really are), even if the placing parents never see their child, their decisions about adoption are parenting decisions that must be respected. Outside adoption, one common reason for withholding biological parent information is that the biological father is the married mother's boyfriend. It is also sometimes possible to provide information about the medical history of the biological parent(s) without further identification.

Some adults may feel the loss of a biological history keenly, but others are not bothered by it. Because the degree of indifference or unhappiness is such an individual matter, the extreme unhappiness felt by some does not outweigh the right of parents to make parenting decisions.

And there is a tremendous freedom in not being shackled to a particular biological family history. You don't have to like to sing because Grandma Atonal did. You can be the first one in the family to love singing, all on your own.
-- Mary Wardrip

I've always wondered (somebody tell me if they know) how health insurers deal with domestic partners and dependent benefits. The potential for fraud is staggering. Some gay person who is unemployed (or otherwise has no health insurance) needs say a heart transplant, AIDS cocktails, or other expensive medical treatment. Any other gay person, not necessarily even a lover, who is employed by government or a large corporation, says: Hey, no problem: I'll just go into HR tomorrow and put you down as my domestic partner/dependent. Viola! Instant, unlimited, free health care. Maybe some gays are even selling such benefits. And maybe not even necessarily to other gays. What's to keep two straights from entering into such an arrangement as long as the one who is employed doesn't mind misrepresenting his/her sexual orientation to his/her employer?
-- Ty Knoy
Ann Arbor, Michigan

As Justice Clarence Thomas writes in his new book, My Grandfather's Son:

"Every time the government uses racial criteria to 'bring the races together,' someone gets excluded, and the person excluded suffers an injury solely because of his or her race."

I think this could be adapted to James Thunder's marriage discrimination argument, also.
-- Jack A. Summers
Detroit, Michigan

Marriage used to be a pretty good institution before the lawyers got a hold of it. This brings to mind the line that Tom Hanks said in the movie Philadelphia: "What do you call 10,000 lawyers at the bottom of the sea?"

"A good start."
-- Melvin Leppla
Jacksonville, North Carolina

MISREPRESENTATIVE WAXMAN
Re: The Prowler's Rush Week:

I cannot believe that Rep. Waxman is willing to spend MY tax dollars to investigate a radio talk show host(s). Mr. Waxman all you have to do if you don't like what he (Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin) is saying is TURN OFF YOUR RADIO! None of you left-leaning people ever get it right anyway. Witness the "Phony Soldier" uproar over a statement which was taken completely out of context and a huge deal made of it. I think that pretty well wraps up how you lefties get things half way right and if you don't get it right you twist and lie until it suits the way you want your mind numbed robot followers to think.

This is one of the most blatant, ridiculous, and completely wrong use of tax money I have ever heard of. That you have the power to get this investigation under way certainly shows that your part of the government machine is not running up to its full potential. Maybe this should be investigated instead. I, for one, would feel a lot better about my tax dollars being spent this way than on some trumped up charge aimed at taking away America's right to choose which radio station to listen to.
-- Steve Coulter

First of all you're the best. Waxman's office is beginning to deny the Limbaugh investigation, say they are being misrepresented, and by implication smear you guys.

Give us quotes so we can nail them right to the wall...
-- Scott D. Wallace

BIRTHRIGHT AMERICA
Re: Jennifer Rubin's Birthright Pains:

Denying birthright citizenship will soon be a moot point. Since the Republicans chose not to address illegal immigration (among many other issues) when they had the majority, the states are doing their job for them. Arizona just passed an anti-illegal employment law. Illegals are leaving the state in droves. Georgia has done the same thing.

I say "hooray!" for the various legislatures standing up for their own states. It a guaranteed certainty the House of Representatives and Senate won't do anything constructive to protect them.
-- Judy Beumler
Louisville, Kentucky

And you expect me to believe that the GOP is for babies, fetuses and against abortion. Perhaps for white babies and white fetuses. I think push comes to shove, Nathan Deal, Tom Tancredo and others would be more than happy to abort non-white babies. In fact, Tancredo already receives funding from a group that advocates aborting non-white babies. That organization is the Federation of American Immigration Reform.
-- Chell

WHO'S NEXT?
Re: James Bowman's Lust, Caution:

Love your reviews. Can't wait to see you shred 3:10 to Yuma. Spending money on a lousy movie is irritating.
-- Mark

The recent Movie Takes column referenced below by James Bowman: is disgusting in its recommendation to view porn.

Porn in any form is still porn and has no place in your publication.

Refrain from pandering to perversion in the future in your publication.

Regards
-- Peter Montgomery

SLAPPED WITH LAWSUIT
Re: Philip Klein's Hillary Slaps Iowa Voter:

Your title is misleading and you should be ashamed for having printed it.

To slap means to strike someone with the open hand, most likely in the face. It means physical contact. There was no physical contact between Senator Clinton and Mr. Rolph (who, by the way, is notorious for going to a number of such events and trying to rile candidates, as documented on CNN and other sources).

If Mr. Rolph wants to say that she "bitch-slapped" him, that is his right to exaggerate, but not yours to print patently untrue article titles.

Shame on you.
-- Mark Rosenthal
Bonn, Germany

IT'S WORSE
Re: Jennifer Rubin's It's That Bad:

The sad truth is, Mrs. Bill Clinton is poised to win the 2008 Presidential election, despite her well-earned negatives, thanks to the self-inflicted 2 year conservative meltdown. On a host of issues (Harriet Miers, DPW, Katrina, comprehensive immigration reform, the GWOT and the 2006 Congressional elections) too many conservatives prefer "cutting off their noses to spite their faces" over beating liberals. Thus, victory for the Chicago "Carpetbagger" is a real possibility in the Electoral College, as she locks up the liberal dominated blue states and potentially adds Ohio, Virginia, Arkansas, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona to her slate of victims.

In 2000, 2002, and 2004, thanks to the political mastery of President Bush and Karl Rove Republicans seemed ready to accomplish the political realignment dreamed of since the election of Ronald Reagan (despite the abysmal Congressional elections in his second term). That dream turned into a nightmare as too many on the right repeated the errors of the late 80's and jumped on the Democrat's media inspired bandwagon to demonize Republicans. Led by faux "conservative" blue dogs like the terrorist loving misogynist Jim Webb and the media's token conservatives (Buchanan, Scarborough and Tucker) the Democrats marched back into DC and began doing everything they could to appease terrorists, promote immorality and punish hard work.

One can only hope a Reaganesque pragmatism and determination to defeat the resurgent left will reanimate conservatives before it is too late (post World War II conservative politics is not encouraging). One would think a look at the God awful Democrat Congress and its horrendous leadership would unite us, but once irrationalism has replaced reason it is often hard to reverse course. The time has come to quit practicing political fratricide and focus on the real enemy (i.e., Democrats) or accept the inevitable Clinton/Democrat domination of politics for at least 4 miserable years. For modern day "party poopers" (ala Ross Perot & Pat Buchanan godfathers to Bill Clinton's Presidency) either work with Republicans or have the maturity to accept that you're major contributors to the Democrat's undermining of the principles you supposedly believe in.
-- Michael Tomlinson
Jacksonville, North Carolina

STEIN AND THE WAR
Re: Ben Stein's Shut Up:

I am glad someone here at Am Spec has finally written about this gem on TV. I watched the whole thing. Sadly, it seems like "it's deja-vu all over again." The parallels are all there: we were attacked, we fought a war against an enemy who didn't attack us, [Germany] who some people think we should have left alone. War is a terrible thing. Several of the men who did some of the fighting didn't really want to do all this but they did what was asked of them. They were sent into the Pacific with inadequate weapons, and less than stellar training. I couldn't help thinking, "We go to war with the army we have, not the army we want" -- One of the men in this film was Jewish. He seemed like something of a pacifist but realized that he was of a race specifically targeted by the Nazis. He even had a conversation with a German soldier who spoke perfect English and had studied the geography of the U.S. so that when the Germans took over, he would be in a prime place to exert control.

Sadly, we have a much different press than we did then. Where, oh where, is the Ernie Pyle of Iraq? Instead we get sniveling weepers who seem to want us to lose, as if in our terrible loss, would be the vindication that George W. really was a ninny and led us in to the terrible war, etc., etc. etc....

With every attack on the Patriot Act, complaining at every step of the way, foot dragging, hand wringing apologists for Saddam and Osama bring us to the absolute brink of a disaster of biblical proportions. One of the points the series made was that toward the end of the war, with so many dead, people even with a supportive press began to question if the war would ever end. I do not believe however that there was any thought of giving up.

I really wonder sometimes about the gutless wonders of liberalism who give grace to thugs like the odious Mr. Chavez, and "I'm a nutjob." Do they really agree with the policies or is it just hatred of Bush that links them-the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

And it seems to be true that we never learn from our mistakes. As Hitler didn't learn from Napoleon the folly of attacking Russia, he doomed the best of his men to a certain and terrible death in a costly and needless war.

A good many readers of AmSpec are familiar with the Exodus from the Bible. I was raised unchurched but, of course, had heard the children's version as a child. When as an adult, I read the entire book of the Exodus, I was slack jawed with amazement. These people saw with their own eyes what God did to save them with the 7 plagues, and the Passover, and the crossing of the Red Sea on dry land. They were led by a pillar of fire. When they were hungry, they were fed manna which they could gather daily, but it would not keep over night. They grumbled about leaving behind leeks and garlic. God still had patience with them.

However, how are we different? We have it all written down and we live as if these are all just fables. I pray we will elect a strong man this time, hopefully a Christian, but one who has the strength of courage not seen yet today in any of the candidates.
-- Janis Johnson
Independence, Missouri

IT IS HAPPENING HERE
Re: Christopher Orlet's The War at Home:

There seem to be new divisions of a sect or tribal nature showing up among Muslims in the U.S. Honest dialogue with U.S. Muslims should include this topic. Ironically, in some places like Detroit, attempts at dialogue among the Muslims seem to have failed, particularly at colleges. It has been my observation that at many colleges, the faculty and the guest lecturers lean towards an anti-Israeli attitude. In England, they even passed a policy among profs that no scholar should go to speak or teach at an Israeli university. One form of that policy was withdrawn. When another was proposed, some criticized an Ivy League school for not being more public in its rejection of that approach. And, of course, there were questions about Columbia inviting the President of Iran, who agreed that the Holocaust took place while he was at Columbia, but then questioned it again when he appeared with the Venezuelan dictator, not to mention that he proposed an inquiry at both Columbia and in Venezuela that there be an investigation into whether 9/11 was a U.S. conspiracy. (A French book proposing this was a best- seller; and Castro gave support to this idea recently.)

U.S. mosques have indeed received a lot of money from the Saudi Wahabbists in the recent past. I once thought that U.S. Muslims were taking the money but not the (divisive) ideology; it now appears that some are adopting the ideology -- at mosques, in colleges, in prisons. It does seem to me that somewhat contrary to Orlet's analysis of the past and future that at one point the U.S. Muslims were assimilating; so that now rather than going from divisive sects to perhaps eventually assimilation (though Orlet has his doubts assimilation will occur) what has actually happened is that assimilation was progressing rather well, and now there is a regression to division by sect and tribalism. It does seem that in Minnesota, Michigan and some other places (Kansas) the Somali Muslims in particular seem to have gone out of their way to stir up controversy with the U.S. government and school officials -- e.g., by insisting on foot baths. Some have noted that places like New York never had the issue raised by Muslim taxi drivers about not being willing to carry dogs or alcohol; this goes along with my observation of preceding assimilation now moving towards separation in some places. I will admit that the Muslims in Chicago had a point when a public high school was half Muslim and they wanted some acknowledgement of their Ramadan fast (though some Muslims say there never was a Muslim tradition of acknowledging the fast while it is taking place, as distinct from when it is over). The Chicago school first decided to ban any acknowledgement of Halloween or Christmas; and then backed down and acknowledged Ramadan, Halloween, and Christmas. Some have pointed out that the laws of the U.S. do not allow a public school to celebrate a religious feast. Christmas is an official national holiday, but an actual celebration of the Christ-event itself would not be legal; there is a tendency to be extra cautious about the religious aspects of Christian feasts; an Iowa atheist once protested in the Des Moines Register that it was wrong to keep public school students from performing Christian or other religious music; on the other hand, the introduction of footbaths for Muslims at some public colleges possibly goes too far and might violate the Constitution with regard to the non-establishment clause of the Constitution. So in some cases, there is over-caution against Christianity and over-caution for Islam.

A point that underlines the dangers in some forms of emphasis on sects and tribes is the fact that the word "blood" has turned up with regard to two recent stories on Muslims. 1) When the Iraqi Shiites announced a peace pact the other day, one feature of and one of their arguments for the pact was that people of the same "blood" should not be killing each other. What they meant was "Shiites." 2) When an Iranian-born German soccer player refused to travel to Israel to play soccer (Iran banned travel to Israel in 1978 or so), he said that he had more Iranian blood than German blood. It is offensive for this awful "blood" word to be used as of some ethical significance; and it's compounded when it's used in connection with Germany.

In summary, I protest the following particular related evils that are showing up: 1) continued genocidal impulses against Jews and Israel (e.g., the President of Iran and the soccer player); 2) homicidal impulses against the U.S. (e.g., Iranian weapons and training against the U.S.); 3) homicidal impulses between Muslim sects and tribes.

Orlet's essay calls to mind how the melting pot image was inappropriately mocked and even rejected in recent decades as the idea of multi-culturalism was overemphasized, including in academia. Europe once mocked the U.S. melting pot idea; now they realize that the U.S. chose a better path and they are trying to learn from and adapt our approach. At precisely this moment, a new challenge to the possibility of enacting the U.S. policy has arisen. It might even be observed that Orlet is a bit too sanguine that there is not or will not be an undermining of the American cultural experiment by the large number of Hispanic legal and illegal immigrants. Some laughed at or got angry at liberal Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., when he said about 20 years ago that the U.S. was overdoing the "pluribus" and underemphasizing the "unum." (Recall how Al Gore, Jr., said that "e pluribus unum" meant "out of one, many.") But Schlesinger's warning seems to have turned out to be prophetic in more senses than one.
-- Richard L.A. Schaefer
Dubuque, Iowa

HOLLYWOOD'S CONTRIBUTION
Re: Reid Collins's Bastard and Vincent Chiarello's letter (under "Bastardy and Immigration") in Reader Mail's Slap Happy :

"California, with the greatest number of illegal aliens, led the U.S. in illegitimate births in 2003: 42.6%."

I wonder if all the Hollywood crowd that keeps having bastards was figured in that percentage?
-- Elaine Kyle

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