Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Kids are Alright

Despite the many worried letters to the editor this morning, we're pretty sure the front page headline writers are all right. They were probably just being nostalgic:

YouTube video courtesy of deargirl

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Andrew Sullivan answers Ross Douthat

New York Times columnist Ross Douthat argued Monday (in a piece reprinted on our Viewpoint page today) that the ideal of lifelong heterosexual marriage "is still worth honoring, and still worth striving to preserve. And preserving it ultimately requires some public acknowledgment that heterosexual unions and gay relationships are different: similar in emotional commitment, but distinct both in their challenges and their potential fruit."

Douthat doesn't explicitly say that that acknowledgment means denying gays the right to marry, but that conclusion seems implicit when one reads his column.

At least Andrew Sullivan thinks so. Writer, blogger and editor ("Same Sex Marriage: Pro and Con, a Reader"), Sullivan replied to Douthat's column on his blog later Monday afternoon. After describing Douthat's column as "Ross at his most Catholic", Sullivan goes on to say:

"Ross' core argument is that "lifelong heterosexual monogamy at its best can offer something distinctive and remarkable — a microcosm of civilization, and an organic connection between human generations — that makes it worthy of distinctive recognition and support." I'm going to repeat what I have said before: I don't disagree with this at all. I remain in awe of the heterosexual life-long coupling that produces new human life. There is a miraculous, sacred, awe-inspiring aspect to it. I understand why this is a Sacrament, and have no interest in being included in such a Sacrament since it is premised on the very Thomist arguments Ross puts forward. . . .

"This is why the Catholic church upholds this as an ideal. And it does so with great wisdom. But, as Ross concedes, the question is whether this ideal should rest on its own laurels or needs to be elevated by law and doctrine to the highest level of human relationship, and also, in order to achieve this ideal, actively exclude others - both in the religious and the secular sphere? . . .

"To exclude gays and gays alone is therefore not the upholding of an ideal (Britney Spears and Larry King are fine - but a lesbian couple who have lived together for decades are verboten) so much as making a lone exception to inclusion on the grounds of sexual orientation. It is in effect to assert not the ideal of Catholic Matrimony, but the ideal of heterosexual superiority. It creates one class of people, regardless of their actions, and renders them superior to another. "

Sullivan's entire argument can be found here, along with photos from his own gay wedding.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Hey, Lindsey Graham, stop thinking!

Well, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham has certainly been put in his place.
The Greenville (S.C.) County Republican Executive Committee voted 61-2 on Monday to rebuke South Carolina's senior senator.
His transgression? The unpardonable sin of voting for what he thinks is best for the country.
Consider this sedition:

  • He voted for TARP money for banks, much of which has been paid back, with interest, already.
  • He voted to confirm Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan as Supreme Court justices, despite the fact that the Democratic president's picks hold views that are left of center.
  • He supports fixing America's broken immigration policy.
We certainly hope Sen. Graham has learned his lesson and will no longer fall out of line. Oh, good! We see he is already getting the message: He is calling for a constitutional amendment that would make newborn children illegal if their parents are in the country illegally. Now that's more like it, Graham!

-- Posted by The Observer's editorial board

The new 'haves' and 'have-nots' in N.C.?

The Civitas Institute is reporting a different kind of wage gap in North Carolina - a gap between government employees and private sector workers. In their weekly review today, the group said there is a widening gap between the two major classes of income earners in North Carolina.

"In the modern-day version of the 'haves' versus the 'have-nots,' state government workers earn significantly more in wages and benefits than North Carolina's private sector workers.
Indeed, the wage gap between state government employees and private sector workers in North Carolina doubled from 2000-2009.

"Data from 2009 reveal state government workers earn an average wage of $44,158, compared to the private sector's average wage of $39,350, a difference of 12.2 percent. The 2009 wage gap was double the 6 percent pay differential from 2000, when average state employee wages were $32,832 compared to average private sector earnings of $30,977. An increase in state government employee average salaries of 34.5 percent from 2000 to 2009 - compared to just 27 percent for the private sector - accounts for the widening pay gap," the report said.

Read more at www.nccivitas.org.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Mitch Miller

The Observer's obituary today of record producer and TV star Mitch Miller mentioned his collaborations with Tony Bennet, Frank Sinatra and Aretha Franklin, but my favorite was always his performances with the great jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker on the 1950 LP "Bird with Strings" combining Parker's be-bop with lush orchestrations (re-released by Verve Records in 1995 as "Charlie Parker with Strings"). Here's a sample below. Miller on oboe solos at the beginning, at about 1:40 in the middle, and again at the end.

YouTube video by EnriqueRLopez
Posted by Kevin Siers