Friday, June 27, 2003

Finally. Strom's career arc reads like so many Southern politicians of the 20th Century: Supporter of FDR in the 30s. New Deal Democrat. Progressive governor in the 40s. Kills the poll tax in his state. Smells a change in direction as the white south reacts to Truman civil rights legislation. Race baiting senator in the 60s. Considers civil rights marchers to be "Reds." Votes against national anti-poll tax legislation. Anti-integration/busing in the 70s. Smells a change in direction as segregation fades as a major issue in the south and begins trying to build appeal with urban, suburban and black voters.

Thurmond, like Wallace, used race to get votes. It was not about states-rights, or the moral issues of whites and blacks "co-mingling." For a man who called the KKK an abomination and was present when the concentration camps opened at the end of WWII, it was not about his hate. It was about harnessing the hatred of his constituency to keep his job and get more votes the next time. It was about grandstanding for the cameras and the microphones.

And, of course, for Strom, it was mainly about good 'ol pork.

Slate republishes the site's past nominations that Strom deserves a special place in hell.

It's all about sex, apparently, at the Supreme Court. First, the brave decision to end the use of our public libraries as dens for reeking, porn-surfing drug addicts to try to introduce our children to the underside of the net [ed. You don't have any children. It doesn't matter, it's still all about "the children!"]

Then they turn around and advance the gay agenda! Dahlia Lithwick has a brilliant riff [you have to scroll down past -- or go ahead and read -- Walter Dellinger's equally interesting thoughts on Sandra Day O'Connor] on Scalia's hidden agenda for "traditional values" even as most of the rest of the country has moved on. He didn't say, "I have nothing against homosexuals," as many pubs reported.

Writes Dahlia:

"What Scalia actually wrote in his dissent is more ambivalent: 'I have nothing against homosexuals, or any other group, promoting their agenda through normal democratic means.' Scalia wasn't saying that he has nothing against homosexuals (he wouldn't think such a personal comment was appropriate anyway). He was saying that in his view, homosexuals (and by extension the KKK and abortion rights advocates) are entitled to use all the democratic tools at their disposal to pursue their cause. Scalia has nothing against democracy. That is what he was saying.

"Does that mean Scalia has nothing against homosexuals or the KKK or abortion rights advocates? I don't think that's clear from his dissent. Scalia gives voice to the same sentiment he expressed at oral argument in this case: 'Many Americans do not want persons who openly engage in homosexual conduct as partners in their business, as scoutmasters for their children, as teachers in their children's schools, or as boarders in their home.' Justice Kennedy's compassion to gay rights irks him beyond imagining. In fact, Scalia believes that absent the minority influence of a 'law-profession culture that has largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda,' yesterday's result would not have come about. I do not read this dissent as coming from a man who is agnostic on the subject of homosexuality."

Her point being:

"What does seem disingenuous to me is that Scalia asserts that the role of the court in these 'culture wars' is to 'assur[e], as neutral observer, that the democratic rules of engagement are observed.' While I'm not even sure what that means, it does seem to me that Scalia has more than once 'taken sides in the culture war'—every time he votes to support school prayer, or vouchers, or keeping gay scoutmasters out of the Boy Scouts. Sure, he calls it 'Originalism' and claims to be neutrally supporting neutral principles espoused by the framers of the Constitution. But the neutral principles espoused by the framers were rooted in the same Judeo-Christian values he shares. You can't say you aren't taking sides in the culture wars simply because you're taking the side of tradition."

Hmmm. Is there a gay agenda after all?

If the Gay Mafia in Hollywood keeps cranking out bubble gum like "Charlies Angels: Full Throttle," then god love 'em. Even if you don't plan to see the flic, read Elvis Mitchell's typically hilarious review. And these lines, from Joe Morgenstern's review in the Wall Street Journal, are worth the price of admission: "Cameron Diaz's Natalie, incompletely clad in white fur, rides a mechanical bull in a raunchy bar in northern Mongolia. Lucy Liu's Alex, supine on a wheeled luge, chases a sports car on mountain roads at lunatic speeds." Oh, the humanity!

No chance to see it this weekend, though. Not with four games in three days, including -- once again -- a two-borough double-header.


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