When cousins marry are they better than gays who marry?

George W. Bush’s home state, Texas, is one of the states that allow first cousins to marry. Those unions are recognized by other states, despite the known genetic consequences and long-standing kin taboos against marriage of close relatives. So, if Mr. Bush could govern his state without attacking its liberal policies toward first cousins marrying, why can’t he leave well enough alone with the gays? If more than half of U.S. states have laws against cousins marrying, should that be the law of the land? Not in the opinion of Mr. Bush, apparently.

Maybe there are some married cousins in the Walker-Bush dynasty? That would certainly explain Neil Bush.

Total Information Awareness: Alive and living in another budget

The Bush Administration will not let Total Information Awareness, it’s panopticon domestic spying system, die. It will say it is dead, but, in fact, the Bushies have helped it escape to a budgetary Brazil like a Nazi scientist they want to keep as an asset. TIA now lives in the Advanced Research and Development Activity budget.

Ralph Nader would be really bad president

Maybe we need to have the opportunity to vote for someone other than one of the two nominees of the two parties, as Ralph Nader says, but that requires us to ask if Nader would be worth a vote. Here is an accomplished activist, certainly, but has Nader ever demonstrated the ability to build coalitions and to compromise with foes to forge a middle ground on which everyone can live? Pardon me, but Ralph is not good at compromise, as his position on why he should run demonstrates: Simply having another choice doesn’t increase the quality or quantity of democracy in a society. It can lead, through fragmentation of potential coalitions along arbitrary differences, to extremism by a minority government… exactly as it did in 2000 whence last Ralph ran.

It wouldn’t do any good to beg Nader to not to run, as that would only engage his ego even more. But there is no way on Earth or any other inhabitable planet that I would vote for Ralph Nader to be my president, because he’s not prepared to be president. He would be an excellent Secretary of HUD, Interior or HHS, because of his mastery of consumer and environmental policy, but not a good president.

Where I been all these years….

At the beginning of a large conference call today everyone had to introduce themselves. This gets rather tedious, because by the time we get to the end, the voices of and information about those at the beginning are lost. So, why not have a resource to point to, that could be called by a conferencing application to assemble a profile of the group?

I went to World66.com to use my eye-time while listening and talking on the call.

Here’s the map of the states I’ve visited:

and here are the states I’ve lived in:

and the countries I’ve visited:

Make your own map

The season of renewal

I don’t play computer games, but I do waste a tremendous amount of time thinking about baseball, and a few years ago I started playing fantasy baseball. Now that Spring Training is starting, my thoughts turn to baseball and fantasy drafts.

This year, I’m running a fantasy league for readers who want to join in the fun. Send me mail if you’d like to play. I’ll do up to two leagues and the drafts will be held the week of March 22nd, so that there is plenty of information about how players are doing.

Why “marriage” makes a difference

I got email the other day from a friend who got married to their partner in San Francisco this weekend; the message included a scan of the marriage license with both men’s signatures. While this person wasn’t closeted, he wasn’t very out front about being gay. But getting married made such a difference that he sent a copy of the marriage license to a bunch of folks. This confidence and pride in being able to make a public commitment is why gay marriage is an important issue for anyone who believes in equality.

For a while, I was on the fence about the distinction between “marriage” and “civil union.” Having seen the unfettered joy on the faces of people getting married in San Francisco and seeing the kind of pride of relationship that my friend, I think it is important that the term marriage be opened up. The fears expressed by President Bush and others about the sanctity of marriage ring hollow in the face of the human need to declare love and commitment in public, striking me like the assertion that blacks should be kept in the back of the bus. The president said today he was troubled by “activist judges defining marriage” but the fact is that it is the people getting married who define the meaning of marriage; judges merely pass on the validity of the statement by gays that they want to marry. I don’t care if the percentage of people who might exercise their right to marry is one-tenth of a percent of the population or 10 percent—we should acknowledge their humanity by recognizing their commitment to another person through marriage.

If “marriage” can get a boost in respectability by extending the opportunity to make a serious lifetime commitment to another person, we should embrace this as progress, not the end of civilization as George W. Bush knows it.

Dean Murder-Suicide?

A week ago, commenter fubar, who was a Dean volunteer in Iowa, described the “murder-suicide” committed by Richard Gephardt in Iowa. Today, Howard Dean launched the same strategy against John Kerry, saying Kerry is the product of a corrupt inside-the-beltway culture.

As I said last week, Gephardt’s strategy was politics as usual and would, if it had been successful, put Gephardt into the front-runner’s position (beating Dean and the field in Iowa would have catapulted any campaign into the lead, as demonstrated by Kerry’s resurgence). The fact is, Dean is now showing how much he is a politician-as-usual, which I’ve been saying for a while.