Saturday, September 08, 2007

Should Gay Flirting be a Crime?

Senator Larry Craig’s arrest has been widely reported and commended upon. Here are my thoughts:

I am bothered by the hypocrisy of a “family value” politicians soliciting sex in a public bathroom. But, I am more bothered by police-state tactics that led to Senator Craig’s arrest. I do not see that what he did rises to the level of "solicitation"; it was more like ‘flirting”.

He apparently gave secrete gay signals to the undercover cop. This looks like a case of entrapment. If a man in the next stall lets his foot go over into my stall I would move my foot away and that would be the end of it. If he put his hand under the divider partition, I would say in a strong voice, "May I help you?" and that would be the end of it.

I have a problem with efforts to catch gays flirting in the bathroom. Now, if Senator Craig had actually offered sex for cash or if he had been caught having bathroom sex, then I would think the police would be correct to arrest him. If he had said the words that were an offer to engage in oral sex, then perhaps that would justify an arrest. None of that happened.

The real story ought to be an overzealous policeman entraps a man for gay flirting.

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

I can't Leap on the Fred Thompson Bandwagon

I have been unimpressed by the crowded field of candidates from both parties seeking their party’s respective presidential nomination. As a Republican, I have been hoping for a Republican candidate that could generate some enthusiasm on my part while awaiting the second coming of Ronald Reagan. Not seeing a Republican that could excite me, I have not ruled out considering a Democrat. My disgust with the Bush administration’s deceit in leading us into the disastrous war in Iraq and the abuse of our civil liberties has made me consider jumping ship. Among the Democrats however, I have not seen anyone that I would like to see become President either.

The best I can say about most of the candidates of either party is they are better than Bush. Wanting someone to be for rather than just settling for the least offensive, I have wanted another choice. I hoped Fred Thompson was it. Finally, Fred Thompson has jumped in the race making it official last night on Jay Leno. (See clip) I had been feeling a small tinge of excitement about Fred Thompson, thinking maybe he is the person I could get excited about.

I was predisposed to support Fred Thompson. He is a good spokesman for the cause of conservatism. He can articulate his position without coming across as mean-spirited or divisive. He appears to be a social conservative without being too tied to the religious right. He sounds reasonable, level-headed, thoughtful and intelligent. He seems to be a man of integrity. He has the communication skills of Ronald Reagan and has that elusive something called “charisma”.

Having served eight years in the Senate, he cannot be dismissed as “just an actor”. He has an impressive political career and like the character he plays on Law and Order, he really is a crusader against crime and corruption.

In 1973 he served as Minority counsel in the Watergate hearings and is responsible for Senator Howard Baker asking the one question that many say led to the downfall of the President: “What did the President know and when did he know it?” While Mr. Thompson played a major role in the Watergate hearings, he was behind the scene and not in the spotlight.

He entered the public spotlight in 1977 by taking on the corrupt Democratic Governor of Tennessee, Ray Blanton. Mr. Thompson represented Marie Ragghianti a former chair of the Tennessee Parole Board who had refused to release felons who had bribed aides to Governor Blanton in order to obtain clemency. For her refusal to go along with the cash-for-clemency scheme, she was terminated on trumped up charges. Mr. Thompson represented her in a wrongful termination case. Ms Ragghianiti won her case and in the process the cash-for- clemency scandal was revealed and as a result a slew of other scandals involving the Blanton administration became public and the Governor was removed from office in disgrace.

The sordid story of corruption led to a book by Peter Mass and a movie staring Sissy Spacek, both titled “Marie, a True Story”. Fred Thompson played himself in the movie and that was the beginning of his acting career. The movie is still a great, riveting movie and if you can find it, I highly recommend it. (movie review)

While I wanted to jump on the Thompson bandwagon, I just can't do it. On Leno, he had the opportunity to distance himself from the disastrous Bush Iraq policy and he did not; instead he repeated the justifications for the war. I'm disappointed. I'm back to trying to decide who is the least objectionable candidate.

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Phase III of Bush's War

By Patrick J. Buchanan
Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Those who hoped that -- with the victory of the antiwar party in 2006, the departure of Rumsfeld and the neocons from the Pentagon, the rise of Condi and the eclipse of Cheney -- America was headed out of Iraq got a rude awakening. They are about to get another.

Comes now evidence congressional Democrats have not only lost the pro-victory vote, but forfeited the peace vote, as well.

Incredibly, only 3 percent of the nation gives Congress a positive rating on its handling of the war. Congress has lost the hawks, and the owls, and the doves. No one trusts its leadership on the war.

What is to prevent Bush from attacking Iran and widening the war, at a time and place of his choosing, and sooner than we think?

Nothing and no one.
(To continue reading: Phase III of Bush's War)

My Comment:
If President Bush represents the idealistic, Nation-building, Neocon wing of the Republican Party, Mr Buchanan represents the protectionist, isolationist, paleoconservative wing of the party. I am not so sure I would be any less disgruntled with a Buchanan version of the Republican Party than I am with the Bush version. Nevertheless, I am glad that we have a Buchanan to provide some balance to the Bush version. Above are excerpts from an article by Mr. Buchanan that I find informative and insightful.

It is amazing that as unpopular and as weakened as Bush has become, that the Congress is even less popular and weaker still. Was not divided government supposed to bring a return to Congressional scrutiny? Was not the Congressional election claimed by Democrats and mainstream pundits to be a referendum on the war? I did not expect the Democratic Congress to be so irresponsible as to cut off funding for troops in the field or immediately reverse policy. But, I expected more vigorous oversight and questioning of the administration and a little backbone.

Bush may be preparing to expand the war into Iran and Congress seems to be prepared to roll over and play dead.

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