Thursday, December 10, 2009

Pinko notes

Here's a handful of things that would have been dangerous (at least professionally) for me to have expressed during large portions of the 20th Century.

1. This video has been bouncing around the liberal blogosphere (I watched it at Ta-Nehisi Coates' blog). In it, Rachel Maddow picks apart the arguments of Richard A. Cohen, an author and therapist who treats patients who don't want to be gay. His writings have been repeatedly cited by the Ugandan proponents of laws to criminalize and severely punish (including the death penalty) homosexuality in that country. Maddow clearly disagrees with him, and does not mince words, but is well-prepared, specific and respectful, letting him defend himself and his work to the extent that he can. Imagine the alternatives, an O'Reilly or Olberman type, hectoring their guest without letting them get a word in, or an overly-deferential Meet the Press kind of exchange that takes the guest's qualifications and assertions at face value.

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Update: SIDEBAR! Pastor Rick Warren, who has also drawn flak for his associations with the Ugandans pushing the anti-gay legislation, to his credit, has strongly spoken out against it.

2. The American Civil Liberties Union has lost the financial support for the next year of a major donor who would have been giving on the order of $20 million. The ACLU's annual operating budget is apparently only about four times that, so this is a huge hit for them. The organization is a truly non-partisan one; if you have political opinions of any kind, chances are they've been fierce defenders of and litigants against people with whom you hold common cause. They've taken up causes to the agitation of conservatives and liberals alike. But I am of the opinion that their work, to "defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country," is vital.

If you want to help support the ACLU, you can donate at their web site. As a commenter at Balloon Juice points out, if you give, you get to call yourself a "card-carrying member of the ACLU." And then George H.W. Bush can repeatedly point that out as if it's a bad thing when you run for president against him in 1988. I was a member for a year or two early in the decade. Perhaps it's time to re-join.

3. Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA) fisks the NYTimes op-ed by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) defending his amendment to the House health care bill regarding coverage of abortion.

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