Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Gingrich abuses history on Cordoba House issue

As carefully explained at Got Medieval:

Professor Newt's Distorted History Lesson

Newt Gingrich’s claims about how the proposed Cordoba House (or “Ground Zero Mosque” as it is often erroneously called) is named after a massive symbol of Muslim imperialism is so very, very wrong.

(Not mentioned in the post, although raised in the comments, is that the Cordoba mosque is currently a symbol of Christian imperialism, having been catherdralized after the Reconquista.)

Monday, August 09, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen, Stephen Fry

A brilliant, brilliant commentary on gender identity and the Will/Jack debate by the always engaging Mr. Fry:

There was a time when polari and Julian and Sandy and limp-wristed mincing and winking innuendo were all that came between a certain kind of gay man and his pride, his self-respect and his ability to hold his head high in a hostile world. Read Quentin Crisp’s The Naked Civil Servant or watch John Hurt’s glorious portrayal. It is not the only way for a gay man to be, no one is saying it should be, but it is a wholly proper and acceptable manner (not to mention an often loveable and witty one) and to see it traduced with superiority by the very people who should be supporting and endorsing it sickens me.

Read the whole thing here.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Good news, if true: Israel to cooperate with UN probe

From the Beeb: Israel to co-operate with UN probe into Gaza flotilla

Three cheers for a strong judiciary

I was all prepared to get huffy when this came up on my RSS feeder:

Judging the judges

Is the Supreme Court becoming a threat to parliament?

The article is not anti-judge, as I’d feared, but rather about a strong (activist?) judiciary being a necessary bulwark against a strong executive and a weak legislature. I, of course, always prefer a strong judiciary (assuming they are also competent and just) because I have a deep-seated antipathy for tyranny of the majority and in the face of the decline of the upper houses, the judiciary remains our only chamber of sober second thought. Granted the nobility of the House of Lords has always struck me as quaintly outdated, but I am a firm supporter of the Double-E senate: equal and effective, yes, but certainly not elected. Because an elected Senate, like an elected judiciary, would simply be another tool of the majority and could not be depended upon to protect the minority, responsible as they would be to their constituents.

As for our senate, I’ve always felt it unfairly maligned. Sure it gets stacked be every sitting government, and granted it doesn’t do much in the way of making, as opposed to breaking laws, but it does important work in vetting legislation and studying it, so I don’t think it’s outlived its usefulness yet. On top of which, their decor is awesome: