The Spectacle Blog

Re: Steele

By on 2.10.06 | 2:02PM

John, I wasn't looking for consensus on the moral status of an embryo. I'm sure Lt. Gov. Steele wasn't either when he made his remarks, because consensus does not determine the morality of an act. Truth exists independent of the current fad.

Speaking for myself, I'm appealing to morality, science, and common sense. An embryo is a human being, different only in size, not kind. The best guy to state this case, as always, is Robbie George, who wrote in the fall 2004/winter 2005 New Atlantis,

Re: Steele

By on 2.10.06 | 1:43PM

I disagree, Dave. If you're going to make a Nazi comparison, the subject had better be legitimately and unambiguously genocidal. Few would object to comparing Pol Pot's killing fields to Auschwitz. It may annoy you, but there simply is no consensus that an embryo is the moral equivalent of a walking talking human being, and it's rhetorically foolish to pretend that there is.

Steele Shouldn’t Apologize

By on 2.10.06 | 1:24PM

Maryland Lt. Gov Michael Steele, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, has apologized for likening embryonic stem cell research to the Nazis' medical testing on Jews. Consider his remarks:

Look, you, of all folks, know what happens when people decide they want to experiment on human beings, when they want to take your life and use it as a tool.

Okay, fine. He's violated the unwritten rule of polite political discourse (the name of the rule escapes me): don't refer to Hitler or the Nazis. But really, in this case, what's Steele's offense? He supposedly trivialized "the pain and suffering of more than 6 million Jews." That's his language from his apology statement.

If anything, proponents of ESCR trivialize that pain and suffering by refusing to learn from it. Not only did Nazis treat humans as objects for medical experiments, but they targeted the weakest among us. Today, ESCR would be right up their alley.

Cheney and Marriage

By on 2.10.06 | 1:11PM

Rob Bluey seems to fault Vice President Cheney for not mentioning the Federal Marriage Amendment last night. But isn't there an obvious reason for that? Recall what Cheney said in the 2004 VP debate:

People ought to be free to choose any arrangement they want. It's really no one else's business.

That's a separate question from the issue of whether or not government should sanction or approve or give some sort of authorization, if you will, to these relationships.

Traditionally, that's been an issue for the states. States have regulated marriage, if you will. That would be my preference.

In effect, what's happened is that in recent months, especially in Massachusetts, but also in California, but in Massachusetts we had the Massachusetts Supreme Court direct the state of -- the legislature of Massachusetts to modify their constitution to allow gay marriage.

Bullets & Bombs & Kudlow & Co.

By on 2.10.06 | 12:09PM

I'll be on CNBC around 5:30 eastern with Kudlow and Co. If I'm asked to be on, Larry must be in the mood to blow something up. It is, after all, the age of specialization. Hope you can catch it.

Noll to ND

By on 2.10.06 | 11:27AM

Wheaton College's foremost scholar, historian Mark Noll (The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind), is headed to the University of Notre Dame in the fall, Christianity Today reports. As a little background, Wheaton is the evangelical Christian school that just okayed dancing among its students a couple years ago and recently fired a popular professor when he converted to Catholicism. So the irony is a little rich, even if Professor Noll is only swimming the Tiber in profession and not confession.

At Mirror of Justice, Rob Vischer reacts:

Today’s Best Headlines

By on 2.10.06 | 10:34AM

Are all for stories on a jury in Mineola, N.Y., rejecting a widow's claim in a civil suit that her husband's injuries suffered from ducking a piece of shrimp led to his death. (May the man rest in peace, but this is the kind of suit that gives torts a bad name.) Headline writers around the world had a great time with this:

The Wall Street Journal's headline first came to my attention: "Jury Rejects Claim Flying Shrimp Led to New York Man's Death."

L.A. Times: "Flying Shrimp Didn't Kill Man, Jury Decides."

New York Times: "Benihana Wins Flying Sizzling Shrimp Case."

And it goes downhill from there:

Losing It

By on 2.10.06 | 8:06AM

Re: Allen’s Speech

By on 2.10.06 | 7:42AM

Dave, I agree that he could have done better; he seemed to only fall into a good rhythm about halfway in. But my point was that the crowd seemed to like him a lot.

(Unfortunately, my recording of the speech is too low-quality to post -- he spoke during dessert and there was lots of dish-shuffling near my recorder -- so readers will just have to take our word.)

Re: Allen’s Speech

By on 2.10.06 | 7:25AM

John, I'm sure his numbers will go up, but I'm not sure that reflects last night's speech as much as his general political fortunes. I favor him in spite of last night's speech.

Generally, he came across as affable and charming. But the content and delivery of his speech was largely rough and stumbling. He needs a speechwriter and a speech coach who will play to his folksy strengths (for example, the repeated "all y'all" seems like he's trying too hard -- "y'all" would do nicely).

Clearly, Sen. Allen's running for president. But the Senate campaign is a much needed warmup. Because if that's how he looks in two years' time, I seriously doubt he can beat Hillary.