Many people pointed out that Ohio’s gay-bashing constitutional amendment would raise potentially serious constitutional problems because it was so overbroad. In breaking news the Ohio courts have struck down the odious second sentence of the initiative as violating the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. The sentence in question reads:
This state and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance or effect of marriage.
As the court pointed out, this sentence was in clear conflict with Ohio’s Domestic Violence Act, which created a separate court that were able to issue protection orders against abusive partners even if the partner was not a spouse. The court found–quite correctly–that this discrimination against unmarried couples failed even the “rational basis” equal protection test, and hence violated the Constitution. So get ready for calls of “judicial activism” against the court, and remember that people making these calls apparently believe that a state can fail to provide unmarried people with fundamental legal protections against private violence it provides to married people as part of a campaign of irrational discrimination against an unpopular minority. And then ask yourself what, exactly, the equal protection clause does prohibit if it allows states to do that. It should be noted, as well, that the opinion is narrowly drawn, saying at the outset that “the court finds that this Judgment Entry should not be construed to express any opinion whatsoever regarding the issue of whether same-sex marriages should be legally recognized in the State of Ohio.”
More when I get more info.
It’s nice that my gym’s renovations are finally done, but the downside of the snazzy new TV sets is no CD players, so I was stuck watching MSNBC in the noonhour. Five minutes of Michael Medved going on about how John Lennon encouraged someone to smoke pot and he was therefore much worse than McCartney, though, and it was over to the Weather Channel. Roy, however, points us to this, which takes what one might call the “Althouse approach“: continuing to evaluate artists politically, but projecting your politics on artists that you like so you can still like them. I dunno, I think I prefer my philistinism in the straight-up Medved variety, which is at least honest.
But, hey, maybe the latter school is onto something. Let’s imagine the Althouse-approved “Right-Wing Bob” model applied to the left. Anybody want to start “Feminist Phillip Roth?” “Philo-Semitic T.S. Eliot?” “Agnostic Van Morrison?” “Progressive Humanist Dostoyevsky”? “Liberal Democratic Eisenstein?” “Labourite Evelyn Waugh?” God forbid that art be evaluated in aesthetic terms, or present ideas that challenge your worldview in any way…Sweet Fancy Moses, this kind of argument drives me crazy.
Lest you get the idea that people who were born in Calgary, subsequently moved to Montreal, moved to the States, and blog about hockey are aesthetically dubious male academics, Yglesias notes the new blog from Elisa Cuthbert. (And she’s not alone among up-and-coming starlets; apparently Kristen “Veronica Mars” Bell is a diehard Red Wings fan…)
Admittedly, I’m partial toward Tom Baker, who led a great seminar I attended at the Law & Society Association grad student workshop, but for reasons Kevin Drum cites I’m very excited to read his new book. Note, too, the solution–the point if these studies is not generally that the tort system is a perfect of even a very good way to deal with the underlying problems, but that the perpetuation of myths by people who have a financial interest in demonizing trial lawyers prevent us from considering alternatives.
So, since I hadn’t seen a live game in a year and a half, I had a friend in from Philly who said she was up for it and my boys were in town, I decided to head out to bucolic New Joisey and take in the game. As per reputation, it was a very different experience than seeing a game in Calgary or Montreal, starting with the fact that we were able to but tickets in the 14th row on the blueline at the door, and the crowd was thin (maybe 11,000) and pretty quiet. One of the hooks to the game was seeing the top two most recent finalists for the Vezina Trophy (for best goaltender)–Marty Brodeur, the Devil’s first-ballot Hall of Famer, and Mikka Kiprusoff, the Flames’ young star. Alas, this didn’t really come off, as Kipper was rested after an overtime game in Philly the previous night and Brodeur–who had looked to my eye to be slipping a bit despite the award–was terrible. In fairness to the crowd, it was a bit of a strange game; the Devils controlled the first period territorially but got only one goal and not a lot of chances, and the best player in the game, Jarome Iginla, tied it up late, allowing the Flames to escape with an ill-deserved tie. Then, early in the second the Flames quickly scored two more, and then midway through the period after a great pinch by Warriner Iginla got a real clinker past Brodeur, and that was that. The Flames used their first-rate, physcial defense and speedy forwards to put on a defense-through-forechecking clinic, beautiful to watch if you’re a student-of-the-game Flames partisan, but I guess it would be rather less so if you’re a casual Devils fan. The pockets of Flaming-C jerseys were making more noise by the end of the game. So, anyway, I certainly enjoyed it.
Logistically, 1)New Jersey is, fact, much colder than the city, and 2)despite claims that it’s nearly impossible to get there through transit, it was actually easy as pie; 15-minute bus ride to the Port Authority subway.
I am not going to let oppressive, totalitarian, anti-Christian forces in this country diminish and denigrate the holiday and the celebration. I am not going to let it happen. I’m gonna use all the power that I have on radio and television to bring horror into the world of people who are trying to do that.
Remember, there are no demagogues on the right.
Asad Raza‘s post about the NYU grad student strike notes that Sexton is using two of the very silliest arguments that come up when “progressive” university administrators and professors make unions-for-thee-but-not-for-me arguments:
But the sticks are many. By email, Sexton threatened students who choose not to scab tomorrow with the removal of both their ‘stipends’ (pay) and their spring ‘teaching eligibility’ (jobs)–the disaggregation of the two things being a rhetorical strategy meant to preserve the fiction that the stipends do not represent payment for teaching labor, despite the fact that they are disbursed to graduate teachers in the form of paychecks with taxes and social security withheld. Of course, despite the fictive bureaucratese, firing workers for striking is illegal and generally considered a vile form of strike-breaking. In practice it puts NYU’s graduate students in the position of almost all strikers – i.e. without pay.
This one always gets me. Evidently, the idea that the grad students who universities rely on for large percentages of their teaching aren’t workers is so transparently idiotic that there’s not much you can do to defend it, but you have to like the aribtrary division between “stipends” and “teaching eligibility,” as if NYU is really doing students a favor by permitting them to teach. As I’ve said before, if that’s the case, there’s an easy solution: keep the “stipends” and end the “teaching eligibility.” Since grad students aren’t really performing “labor,” I’m sure you won’t notice the difference!
And then there’s this, which some NYU faculty members are latching onto:
But let me offer a counterexample to the view that graduate students are not workers: the fact is, they already are classed as workers at many universities, including all the SUNY schools as well as Rutgers. The only difference is that these universities are public. Is there, then, any significance to the distinction between public and private-university graduate students? I don’t believe that a distinction germane to this issue can be made. Certainly the argument that unions erode collegiality and interfere with internal academic affairs can be dispelled by a glance at Rutgers, where graduate students have been unionized since 1972 without incident. It is also very difficult to deny that working conditions at NYU have improved since unionization. In 2000, students in the English department were paid 12,000 dollars for teaching four classes or discussion sections, with no health benefits. Today, compensation for the same workload is 19,000 dollars plus health coverage. Better working conditions make for better teaching; thus the undergraduates are better served by the union as well. Either we should have a union, or Rutgers shouldn’t. You make the call.
This is right, of course; the idea that there should be less right to organize at private universities makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Grad students instructors don’t suddenly have different jobs because they work at private schools. And when it’s made by professors at private schools, it’s even worse for being so self-serving as well as being illogical. It’s a companion of the argument noted by Dave, where allegedly pro-labor professors say that they’re all in favor of unions…as long as they don’t restrict the discretion of employers in any way whatsoever. Needless to say, the distinction between this position and just being anti-labor is one without a difference, unless one is prepared to defend the claim that negotiated restrictions on management discretion are acceptable only when the management isn’t you.
My own nominees for this prestigious competition:
- Glenn Reynolds for “Ward Churchill is the ‘face of the left!’”
- “Ivan Tribble” for “people with lives, different aesthetic preferences, or tattoos need not apply, and I’ll just move the goalposts so that we can forget I said that stuff and make some spurious arguments about free speech instead.”
- K-Lo, Nat Hentoff, and everyone else who made long-distance diagnoses of Terri Schiavo for truly sick exploitation
- Michael Totten for having an imperialist crush on Christopher Hitchens
- Christopher Hitchens for lamenting the lack of civil discourse surrounding the Iraq War, after claiming that there are “people close to the leadership of today’s Democratic Party who do not at all hope that the battle goes well in Afghanistan and Iraq.”
- Eugene Volokh for “if you use conversion in a sense nobody else uses it, then Teh Gays really are trying to “convert” your kids, which is a major public health concern. But there’s no political significance to these posts; I just find my novel insight that people will sometimes try to have sex with people who are attracted to them endlessly fascinating.”
- Roger L. Simon for 1)XFL Media (TM) and 2)claiming that as long as you don’t actually violate a written contract there’s nothing at all problematic about lying and betrayal.
- Josh “Tacitus” Trevino for hoping that mentioning where I teach several times embedded in his trademark vacuous pomposity might cause people not to notice that he didn’t have a substantive argument. (Bonus: Trevino claiming that Tacitus is a “liberal blog.”)
- Jonah Goldberg for “desperately poor people losing their homes is funny!”
Ah, and I fear this only scratches the surface…
…indeed, Rox reminds us about Volokh’s celebration of torture, while in the linked comments Digby reminds us of Assorcket’s classic “Ghandi and his rabble” post.
It’s as bad as you could imagine. See Axis.
Drive By Truckers, Never Gonna Change
AC/DC, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
Derek and the Dominoes, I Looked Away
Matt is, of course, right: the fact that college sports have become a commercial machine from which athletes, and athletes alone, are not permitted to profit, is a scandal. In many ways, I think it’s a similar bait-and-switch that’s going on with grad student unionization; the university administration is willing to commercialize many aspects of college life, but when it comes to grad students working for the university all of a sudden no trace of economic discourse may penetrate the hallowed groves of academe. (As someone who was part of a grad student union, I can say without equivocation that the difference it makes in terms of advisor-student relationships is absolutely nothing, and arguments to the contrary are embarrassingly specious nonsense.)