Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Let GM (or all three? go bankrupt

Here's a link to the Register's editorial on the pleas from the private-jet-setting Detroit automakers pleading for another gift from Uncle Sam. Let them go bankrupt and reorganize!

Obama's mixed economic message

Here's a link to the Register's editorial on Obama's announcement of his economic team. We noted the Tim Geithner is thought to be smart and will provide continuity, but also that it's troubling that he has so much experience at bailouts. We worry that he might think it's a normal thing to do. We cheer the prospect of no new taxes but suggest another "stimulus" is not the way to go.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Holder not too bad but terrible on drug war

Considering the universe of politically feasible possibilities, Barack Obama didn't do too badly in picking Eric Holder for attorney general. He doesn't seem like a complete Obama lackey, so he might be able to make the Justice Department a little less politicized and a tad more independent. Sure, he's an old Clintonite, but he doesn't seem to have a lust for injustice. Here's the Register's editorial on his pending appointment. However, as I have noted elsewhere, and as Reason has explored, he is terrible on the drug war. He has favored mandatory minimums in the past, and harsh sentences for marijuana dealers. Obama himself has promised not to keep sending the feds after patients in states with medical marijuana laws, and if he has the gumption to carry it through it should prove to be a popular move. But one doubts if drug law reformers will have a friend in Eric Holder.

Bailout in the dark

Not only has Treasury Secretary pulled a bait-and-switch on the public (though the switch may have been to a less-risky, more potentially productive approach), but the $700 billion (plus another $100-billion in sweet pork to buy votes) financial bailout is essentially being conducted in the dark. Paulson and Bernanke resist giving out details about which banks have gotten capital infusions, the administration didn't appoint an Inspector General until last week, and Congress hasn't yet fully formed oversight committees. It should be an open process, with taxpayers being told who's getting their money. Here's the Register's editorial on the topic, calling for a lot more sunshine.

R.C. Hoiles and the prospects for liberty

Here's a link to the piece I wrote for Sunday's Register, to commemorate what we call Founders Day at Freedom Communications -- R.C. Hoiles was born on Nov. 24. I tried to put the remembrance in reasonably current terms, noting that in part because so many choose to blame the financial crisis on the "deregulated" free market, and an administration explicitly determined to have a more activist government is coming into power, the prospects might seem somewhat bleak. But by comparison to what R.C. faced in the 1930s and 1940s, when there were no libertarian think tanks and precious few academics, our resources are much greater.

Hope you enjoy it and find it informative. Leave comments, here or there.

Singers coming together

I'll shamelessly promote this now and at least one more time before the concerts, on December 5 and December 7. I've begun singing, as I've mentioned previously, with the Don Morris Singers out here in Murrieta. We had a rehearsal Sunday instead of Monday this week. (I was late -- apologies -- because I had it in my head that the Sunday rehearsal was next week.) But I didn't miss too much, and the sound we're getting is starting to be quite excellent. I've sung in reasonably good choruses most of my life, but this may just turn out to be the best one. There were a few rough spots yesterday and Don is a stickler. But when he had us fine-tuned, the sound was good enough that even he had to acknowledge it.

I don't know whether live performances in classical (or at least strictly composed) music are becoming a thing of the past or not. The audience is relatively small, and the exigencies of smaller, even very good amateur groups often mean that those who might be interested never hear about something they would enjoy. I think the urge to perform will remain, combined with intelligent efforts to get better at it guided by people with leadership ability and knowledge, however, is unlikely to disappear entirely. Nonetheless, this kind of serious singing is ever endangered.

All this is to say that if you like choral music at all, or Christmas-themed music, you may be in for something of a peak experience if you come to one of our concerts this December. Here are the details:

December 5, at the Fallbrook Performing Arts Center, at 8:00, with brass choir. We thought it was a closed performance, but apparently they're selling tickets, though it's a little pricey at $30. Then on Sunday, December 7, at Promise Lutheran Church in Murrieta (25664 Madison Ave, behind the Wal-Mart) at 7:30 pm. No brass, but more reasonable prices -- $12 in advance, $15 at the door. E-mail me at abock@ocregister.com if you want tickets.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

"Cantus" is firmus

I'm ready to make a first recommendation from among the CDs I got from Register music critic Tim Mangan, though there are others I really should mention between now and Christmas, though my tastes are eclectic enough that it might take a rather odd "classical" music fan to appreciate some of these. For example, as a singer myself who considers life rather empty if I'm not singing with at least a very good amateur group, I have an unusual attraction to choral music.

"Cantus" is a group of nine men out of Minneapolis, each exceptionally skilled, and together they make, on their new CD, "While You Are Alive," some of the richest, deepest, most sonorous choral sounds I have heard. All-male groups are not to everybody's taste, and this is a pretty modern group of songs (three world premiere recordings here), but while there are some strange harmonies, most of it is quite tonal. I am especially entranced by "Lux Aurumque," by Whitacre, and "Lullaby" by Nelson. The major new piece, "A Sound Like This," by Hill, a series of original songs, has some really nice places and a few I haven't quite warmedup to yet, though I like even the odd places sound better each time I listen. "Things I Didn't Know I Loved," by Takach, is also sonorous and adventurous, but the whole thing is worth listening to and repays repeated listening.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Friedmans honored at Chapman

I did a couple of posts about this over at the Register's Orange Punch commentary blog, here, and here, but it was such a peak experience for me that I wanted to say a little more. Yesterday Chapman University dedicated the Milton and Rose Friedman Reading Room in its Leatherby Library, and I was honored to be asked to speak both at the dedication and at the lunch that followed. The first talk was about the Friedmans' involvement in education issues, especially school choice and vouchers, to which they dedicated the Friedman Foundation in 1996. It seemed to me that I did rather well, having steeped myself in information and spoken without notes. The university's head librarian told me later that Rose Friedman was nodding and smiling through most of the talk, so that pleases me.

Rose Friedman, now 97, is a phenomenon. She did better with an arm to lean on, but she can still get around, if slowly. She is incredibly tiny. Her mind is still quite sharp. Her mother lived to 103, so I hope the world can enjoy the pleasure of her company for a long time to come. I remember having a fairly lengthy discussion with her, probably in the late 1980s at a Pacific Research Institute function in San Francisco (about what she thought were diminishing prospects for liberty) and thinking that Milton Friedman was a lucky man to have found such an exceptional person as a life partner. The title of their joint autobiography, "Two Lucky People," bore out my intuition.

I first met David Friedman, Milton's son, in 1967, the summer I was a journalism intern at Human Events. One night I went to Dupont Circle, the closest Washington came to having a countercultural gathering place back then, and there was this comnpact, curly-headed young man earnestly explaining to somewhat befuddled but fascinated hippies and longhairs that if they really wanted freedom and self-actualization, they should be fans of free markets. It was David Friedman. I still don't know what he was doing in Washington that summer, but we formed an immediate bond, even though he is one of the few people I have met about whom I think that his brain operates on a rather different and decidedly higher plane than mine. (Among the others are Durk Pearson and Richard Epstein). We haven't been close since then, but run into one another every few years. He at least expressed something like relief in the lobby yesterday at seeing a familar face (though I wouldn't be surprised if he was checking out my name tag to be sure).

The dedication was folowed by a panel discussion, featuring David, Nobel Prize economist Vernon Smith (now at Chapman) , and veteran UCLA profs Harold Demsetz and Arnold Harberger (who told me later that Bill Niskanen was a student of his) on the general topic of "What Would Milton Do?" about the current financial crisis. I'll report further on it in future posts.

Back blogging

I hadn't planned much blogging last night, but then couldn't do any since I got some sort of error message every time I a tried for a Web site, even my home page. So I gave up. It seems to have turned out that my usual remedy for complications in any electronic-type apparatus -- turn it off, then turn it on again and see if it works, which usually does the job for our copier at work too -- was efficacious this time too. So even though we anticipate having a houseful at Thanksgiving and still have some cleaning up/rearranging to do, I'm back at the posting post.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Reason's 40th anniversary

I am very much lo0oking forward to the Reason Foundation's 40th anniversary dinner tomorrow night (actually, it's Reason magazine's 40th -- the Foundation wasn't formed until later, 1978 if I'm not mistaken). I broke out my tux tonight to make sure it's in good shape. Bob Poole, Manny Klausner and Tibor Machan, the three who took over the magazine from Lanny Friedlander early on, are all friends of long standing. I've spoken at a couple of Reason events, attended many more, and was the Washington correspondent for a while in the late 1970s. I've never met Jeff Flake, the congressman from Arizona who is the featured speaker, so I'm looking forward to that as well. Of course I'll see a lot of old friends, and look forward to meeting some new ones.

Reason will give a special award to the Dave Threshie and Dick Wallace families, in recognition of the fact that they have kept Freedom Communications in the family and determined to continue propagating libertarian ideas during a really tough time for the newspaper business. Doing so has literally cost them millions of dollars (although they're hardly hurting for money).

It strikes me as a particularly critical time for the freedom movement. Although the financial crisis was sparked almost exclusively by the government, there's a widespread notion out there that it was the result of excessive deregulation; that comes from the Republicans talking incessantly about deregulation but never doing it when they have power; they get the reputation without the reality. We have our work cut out for us reminding peoiple of reality, and the outcome is far from certain.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bailed-out companies still failing

Here is a Register editorial on the phenomenon that two of the companies presumably "bailed out" by the taxpayers -- AIG Insurance and Fannie Mae -- are doing worse (bigger losses) since the government supposedly "saved" them. The reason is obvious. In a free market companies that waste money and do stupid things face the prospect of losses and going out of business. But if they get an injection of money from the government, the temptation is to postpone necessary restructuring or rethinking. This outcome was almost entirely predictable, as is the certainty that another dose of "stimulus" won't save the economy. There has been malinvestment (mostly but not entirely driven by government mandates and loose money from the Fed). The bad investments need to be worked out of the system, which is what a recession forces -- unless government decides that some firms are "too big to fail."

Obama worse than Bush -- on foreign affairs?

Here's an arresting piece by the Cato Institute's Ted Carpenter suggesting that when it comes to foreign policy, Obama might just well turn out to be worse than Bush. Of course he is far from having fleshed out his foreign policy views and the mainstream media have hardly pressed him on the subject. But Ted notes that he shows no signs of challenging the establishment consensus that the U.S. should intervene widely in conflicts around the world, whether any core (or even peripheral) interest of the U.S. is at stake or not. In fact, during the Clinton administration a number of liberal scholars came close to developing the position that it was somehow more noble or desirable for the U.S. to put blood and treasure at risk precisely in places where no U.S. interest was at stake or even implicated. More humanitarian that way, doncha know.

As Ted puts it, "It will not be an improvement if an Obama administration withdraws troops from Iraq only to launch new interventions in such strategically and economically irrelevant snakepits as Darfur or Burma."

Quote of the Day

"An ideal is a vision of the Ought-To-Be --some good to be attained. An ideal is a challenge to a better life. First we must see it in imagination; then we must long to make it a part of ourselves; then we shall guide our conduct by it, we shall live it. An ideal is is both light and power. It is light for conscience and motive-power for will. It is a standard by which we judge between right and wrong." -- G. Walter Fiske, author of "Jesus' Ideals of Living"

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Obama's foreign entanglements

Most of the commentary on the challenges Barack Obama will face as president (I'm getting used to the idea but still as puzzled as most people about how he might operate) have focused on domestic challenges. Toward the end of the campaign foreign policy virtually disappeared from the discourse as the financial crisis dominated attention. There is little question that those challenges will be formidable, and the evidence so far is that most of the initiatives Obama has mentioned as likely are unlikely to alleviate it and might well make it worse. Bailing out the Detroit automakers even more. A "stimulus" package that is unlikely to solve a crisis created in large part by loose funy money. And so on.

However, whetheror not there is a challenge from al-Qaida, some other terrorist organization, or a country bent on undermining the U.S., he will also face a difficult set of foreign challenges, and that was the subject of my column this week for Antiwar.com. From his determination to ramp up the war in Afghanistan to possible related troubles with Pakistan, to the emergence of Russia as a locally aggressive potential Great Power, to likely complications in winding down the war with Iraq, to Iran, his plate will be full. I suggest his honeymoon will be short.

Voting increased only slightly

The word is that after all the talk about how Obama had gotten so many people excited and this was the most fascinating election in recent history, the percentage of eligible voters who actually got to the polls was only about 61 percent, and the increase was only 1.1% over 2004. I consider that a healthy sign that after saturation coverage and innumerable get-out-the-vote drives almost 40 percent of Americans decided they could live without casting a meanigless ballot to support the status quo.

I don't vote because "democracy" to me is simply this era's version of the Divine Right of Kings, a mechanism whereby the appaling people who rule us can claim a shred of legitimacy. I'm hardly alone. Here's an argument against voting and another and another and another.

Don't bail out the auto companies

The word is that when Barack Obama visited the White House for orientation today (well, yesterday by now I guess, and did they have to wear identical suits and dorky-looking blue ties?) he urged the Bushlet to do something to help the Detroit U.S. automakers. This was hardly a new request in that they've already gotten $25 billion in low-cost loans, ostensibly to develop more fuel-efficient and alt-fuel cars, and visited Congress last Thursday to ask for $25 billion more. They shouldn't get a penny of the taxpayers' money, as this Register editorial argues. They have similar problems to as other manufacturers due to the current financial crisis (should every company in the country get a bailout?) but their most serious problems they brought on themselves by assuming the SUV craze would last forever and being almost immune to innovation. There's been more than enough of rewarding failure and punishing success in this country.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Come hear us sing!

As I mentioned a few weeks again, I have joined a new chorus, the Don Morris Singers, directed by the former director of the Temecula Master Chorale. The master chorale was a large choir that was not hyperselective, and Don, who sang with the Roger Wagner Chorale, taught, and has directed numerous ensembles, wanted a smaller, more selective chorus, in this case of 24 members. We've been holding rehearsals for about six weeks now, and I'm getting excited.

Our major concert this year will be December 7 at 7:30 pm at Promise Lutheran Church in Murrieta, featuring Christmas music from Palestrina to Britten to Frosty the Snowman, including several antiphonal works, and I'll be unashamedly soliciting ticket sales (they're $12 in advance and $15 at the door) several times between now and then. E-mail me at abock@ocregister.com if you're even a bit interested. Tonight's rehearsal was esepcially revealing. We've gotten quite good by now, but a few people haven't quite mastered knowing the music cold and Don was unsparing. He says he's not content with good enough or even very good. He wants people to hear this group and think it's the best choral group they've ever heard. I think we'll be close.

We're also doing a concert in Fallbrook on December 5 that we at first thought was a private one for members of the Fallbrook Music Society (this one with a brass ensemble), but apparently they're selling tickets to the general public at $30 ($10 for students). Check out the Website and listen to some of the past performances. This is an excellent group with which I'm proud to be associated.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Some drug law reform progress

I've mentioned this before, but I had to dig a little more to do this editorial for the Register. The brightest spots in the election results had to do with the passage of a medical marijuana initiative in Michigan and a marijuana decriminalization initiative in Massachusetts. Neither is as liberal as I might prefer (but then if I had my way marijuana would have the same legal status as parsley). Dispensaries aren't authorized in Michigan and a caregiver to grow and provide marijuana can be responsible for only one patient. In Massachusetts someone caught with an ounce or less will have it confiscated, but will only have to pay a $100 fine that doesn't become a criminal record. Still, a huge improvement from sheer mindless prohibitionism.

Angry gays: Where were they when it counted?

I just cross-posted this at the Register's Orange Punch blog and thought it might be of interest here also:

We’ll have a piece in either Sunday’s or Monday’s opinion section (I read so many proofs today I’m a bit bleary-eyed), but it echoes some of my thoughts. We’ve seen all these angry demonstrations organized (and/or arising spontaneously) by gays in Los Angeles (and in San Francisco and Long Beach), including one centered on the Mormon Temple in West L.A. It’s not that it isn’t legitimate to criticize the Mormon church, whose members (not all of them, of course) reportedly kicked in about $20 million of the $30-million-plus the Yes on 8 side raised, some in huge quantities from out of state (yes, I recognize contributions for the No campaign came from out of state, and it’s not illegal or fundamentally illegitimate, just interesting). All this was well known before Tuesday. Where were these protesters before Tuesday? I’ll wager they weren’t out walking precincts or making phone calls or donating money or stuffing envelopes. This was a close race. If there had been this kind of enthusiasm — a little more controlled and a little less angry, to be sure — shown before the election I suspect Prop. 8 would not have passed. As it is these after-the-fact demonstrations look a bit like childish rants and I suspect are more likely to discredit the cause than to advance it.

I have a few more criticisms of the No on 8 campaign — from somebody who wanted that side to win. I think it was too timid, hardly ever (at least in the TV ads) uttering the words “gay marriage” or “same-sex marriage,” which to my mind conceded the moral high ground to the other side and made it seem as if the proponents of gay marriage were ashamed of it and maybe even figured others would find it shameful. I think the “teach gay marriage in school” issue could have been confronted more straightforwardly too, conceding that if Prop. 8 were defeated those schools that had marriage in the curriculum would probably have to mention the fact that gay marriage is legal in California, but this wouldn’t be “indoctrination” or “recruitment” or propaganda about how kids had to approve it and love it. Not doig so left the campaign open to charges of being dishonest.

There was no way to get rid of the footage of Moron Mayor Gavin “whether you like it or not” Newsome of San Francisco, which I think was the single most effective thing the Yes on 8 people had going for them. But all those “taking away a right” commercials without mentioning what the right was confused people, I suspect. It might not have been a bad idea to have a few couples interviewed on just what marriage meant to them. I think the No campaign underestimated the tolerance of the people of California and that’s part of the reason it lost — besides the fact that a lot of gays who could have been involved sat on the sidelines until it was over.

Bruins: Time to get serious

Oregon State beat USC, a team it really had no business beating, so it would be poetic justice for the Bruins to beat the Beavers tomorrow. Actually, if you just look at the history, it shoudl be almost a foregone conclusion; UCLA has beaten Oregon State the last 10 times the two teams have met in the Rose Bowl. Looking at this season, however, it's got to be something of a longshot, and the Beavers are favored by 8 points. Add in the fact that 3 of UCLA's already-shaky offensive line have been suspended for this game -- breaking team rules, the unconfirmed rumor having to do with drugs -- and it could be a long afternoon.

However, I have my guacamole and my UCLA T-shirt and cap ready. I'm hoping the Bruins -- perhaps jolted by the suspensions? -- have made good use of the bye week and settled down to some serious work on avoiding careless mistakes. And it might just be that this is the week Kahlil Bell, who has shown signs of being a really good back but has been sadly hampered by injuries (as well as bad offensive line play) this year, is ready to break out and show that he's more than just potential. It is his senior year and he still does, despite all the tough luck he's experienced, have NFL dreams.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Bushes Doles and Clintons out

My old colleague John Seiler makes the point that at least the election result means that after 28 years there's no Clinton or Dole as either president or vice president -- though Hillary, of course, is still in the Senate and probably planning for 2016 as we speak. Another interesting point several others have made is that with the defeat of Liddy Dole in the North Carolina senate race, this is the first time since 1948 -- 1948! -- that there hasn't been either a Bush or a Dole (or both much of the time) serving in an important position in the U.S. government.

And we thought we were getting away from dynasties and monarchical tendencies when we broke with Old Blighty!

So much for the Bradley Effect

Before the election there was a great deal of talk about the so-called Bradley Effect, referring to the fact that former L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley, a moderate black Democrat, ran for governor in 1982 (against George Deukmejian) and the polls showed him ahead up until the day before the election, but he lost. The Bradley Effect is supposed to bne white voters telling pollsters they support a black candidate so they won't sound bigoted, then going out and voting against him.

I was in California, writing editorials for the Register in 1982, and I remember a few things some have forgotten. Also on the ballot that year was Prop. 15, a gun-control measure whose details I have forgotten, but I'm about 98% sure Bradley supported it. Anyway, it brought out the pro-gun people in more force than usual to defeat it (I think it was leading in the polls too) and while they were at it they voted against Bradley. I'm reasonably sure race had little or nothing to do with it. Jerry Brown was running for the Senate that year and leading in the polls, and he lost also.

Political Class Dismissed

I can't know everything going on out there in the blogosphere, but I should have surmised that James Ostrowski, veteran libertarian attorney in Buffalo, would have a blog with lots of interesting stuff on it. Found out because he linked to one of our items on the Register's Orange Punch blog. And what a wonderful title: "Political Class Dismissed" If only! Check it out.

Obama's plate

When Joe Biden said that Barack Obama would likely be confronted with some sort of international crisis within months of assuming office it was widely treated as a gaffe, but it more closely resembled the usual statement the political class regards as a gaffe: an inadvertent piece of truth most people in the ruling class would rather didn't get out. Of course Obama would be challeneged. McCain would have been too.

Few expected, however, that reminders of the messiness of the world outside our borders would come so quickly, long before he even took office, with Russia announcing it would plant some missiles near Poland if the U.S. went ahead with putting anti-missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic, Afghan puppet Hamid Karzai trying to break his strings by protesting about the U.S. bombing weddings (the nerve!) and North Korea releasing photos purporting to show that Kim Jong-Il is really alive and well. Heaven knows what will be in the cards when he actually takes office.

OK, those aren't really major crises, and they're not Obama's to deal with yet. But one dubts that the timing was strictly coincidental. Here's the Register's editorial today on some of the things we already knew the new president would have to face: two wars, a financial crisis, a Democratic Congress eager to tax and regulate, and other aftermaths of the years of a dysfunctional administration. He may have little choice but to have a modest agenda and govern "from the center," whatever that means.

Quote of the Day

"I think we must fully face the fact that when Christianity does not make a man very much better, it makes him very much worse. It is, paradoxically, dangerous to draw nearer to God. Doesn't one find in one's own experience that every advance (if one ever has advances) in the spiritual life opens to one the possibility of blacker sins as well as brighter virtues? Conversion may make of one who was, if no better, no worse than an animal, something like a devil. Satan was an angel."
C.S. Lewis

Drug reform: two steps forward . . .

One of the more disappointing aspects of election night in California was the defeat of Proposition 5, the incarceration reform measure put together by the Drug Policy Alliance, which would have offered treatment instead of incarceration to most non-violent drug offenders and according to the nonpartisan legislative analyst saved the state $2.5 billion in prison construction costs. The prison guards union donated $1 million to defeating it.

It was especially disappointing since, on the same night, Michigan passed a medical marijuana initiative and Massachusetts passed what was essentially decriminalization of marijuana -- a $100 fine and no criminal record for simple possession of an ounce or less. (Here's a link to the Register's editorial on various state initiatives across the country.) The sentiment for drug law reform is out there, but we couldn't get it done in California (the Register was the only major newspaper to endorse Prop. 5).

Tuesday night's results make me wonder if working for simple decriminalization might be a more productive path. Prop. 5 was carefully, almost exquisitely crafted, with carefully balanced criteria for which offenders would be eligible for treatment. But it would have earmarked money fro treatment programs and it was long and fairly complex. It's not unusual for voters simply to vote No on propositions they don't quite understand, especially if some valid-sounding doubts have been raised (Dianne Feinstein did commercial against it). But the Massachusetts result suggests that voters might be ready for simple decriminalization, at least of marijuana. That would ease a host of law-induced social problems.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Which Obama will we see?

I don't think Barack Obama is a closet radical, I think he's a shrewd politician who knew how to use people on his way up -- perhaps the most intelligent and calculating politician to occupy the Oval Office since Richard Nixon, for whatever that might be worth. But his resume is thin and he has downplayed his associations with Rev. Wright, Bill Ayers and their ilk, so it's legitimate to wonder how he will operate in office. Here's the Register's editorial from today asking the question. Obviously, given his background and his party it would be unrealistic to expect him to govern as a laissez-faire free marketeer, but he did campaign as a pragmatic centrist and we hoped that's the way he will govern. In some sense his vagueness about what "change we can believe in meant during the campaign, which drove some of us inclined to be wonkish crazy, gives him great flexibility once he assumes office. It will be fascinating to see how he operates. He's disciplined and his campaign indicated some organizational skills, but the federal government is a more unruly beast.

No new foreign policy

Here's a link to my most recent column for Antiwar.com, written before the election, in which I doubted whether the next president, whoever he might be, would have a more modest foreign policy than we have now. I hold to the idea. If anything, Barack was more militant than McCain on doing raids inside Pakistan with or without the Pakistani government's permission or foreknowledge, and on ramping up the war in Afghanistan, the graveyard of several empires. It's time for a new foreign policy of strategic disengagement, but it doesn't look as if we'll get it anytime spoon. You're invited to nag me about progress on the book I'm writing on the subject. I haven't been as diligent as I might be.

Obama torpedoed gay marriage in California?

If you have any fondness for irony, this should appeal to you. It looks as if Barack Obama's campaign was a big key to the (apparent) success of Proposition 8 in California, which eliminated the right of same-sex marriage to be recognized by the state, even though Barack Obama himself late in the day said he was against it.. It seems blacks supported Prop. 8 by a 69-31 margin according to exit polls (whites opposed it 55-45 and Hispanics were evenly divided) and an unusually high number of blacks voted on Tuesday because Obama was running for president. If that hadn't been the case Prop. 8 would probably have lost.

I'm sad that this is a political issue at all. If I had my way the State would not be involved in marriage at all, but it is, at many levels. I do wish Prop. 8 had been defeated.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Live-blogging the election results

Along with my colleagues Mark Landsbaum and Steve Greenhut, I will be live-blogging election results tonight over that the Register's Orange Punch blog. Tun in if you want to see how premature our judgments are.