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A week ago or so I posted on the ruling by the New York Transit Authority that "transgendered" men had a right to use the Women's Restrooms. At that time, I commented on this ruling in terms of our evolving definition of the individual, including our relation to our bodies.

Today I want to revisit this ruling in terms of Rights.

The NTA ruling makes sense if one considers the "rights" of the autonomous individual to be absolute, surpassing all other considerations, and ordered toward "freedom;" "freedom" being understood as the complete liberation of the individual from any and all sorts of constraint; the individual defined almost exclusively in terms of will.

One could be tempted to reply to this ruling in terms of the same understanding of rights, arguing that the women in the restroom have a right to perform private bodily functions away from biological men, if they choose. But, I want to move to a deeper level, to consider the notion of rights. (continued below)

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Frank Warner observes the eighth anniversary of the Iraq Liberation Act. Here. Hat tip Instapundit.

This is one piece of Clinton adminstration legislation that Democrat candidates will not be talking much about today. Here is a portion from Warner's post.

At the heart of the Iraq Liberation Act, it said:


This Act may be cited as the ‘Iraq Liberation Act of 1998.’


The Congress makes the following findings:

(1) On September 22, 1980, Iraq invaded Iran, starting an 8 year war in which Iraq employed chemical weapons against Iranian troops and ballistic missiles against Iranian cities.

(2) In February 1988, Iraq forcibly relocated Kurdish civilians from their home villages in the Anfal campaign, killing an estimated 50,000 to 180,000 Kurds.

(3) On March 16, 1988, Iraq used chemical weapons against Iraqi Kurdish civilian opponents in the town of Halabja, killing an estimated 5,000 Kurds and causing numerous birth defects that affect the town today.

(4) On August 2, 1990, Iraq invaded and began a 7 month occupation of Kuwait, killing and committing numerous abuses against Kuwaiti civilians, and setting Kuwait’s oil wells ablaze upon retreat.

Here is a link to the full-text of the law (pdf).

Boy would I love to see the MSM asking Dems about this Act today, but, it also would be interesting to see pigs flying.
Last week at our home football game here in Apache, Oklahoma, we had a different sort of halftime performance. A Comanche elder, with some help to steady him, made his way to the announcer's booth at the top of the bleachers. In the middle of the field on the 50 yard-line, an Indian dancer in full feather regalia and face-paint stood. "We now will honor our brave soldiers," was announced. The dancer pushed a stake into the ground to which he was tethered by a 10-12 foot rawhide strip. A CD was played with Native music (in the Northern drum style), a song for the warrior. He then began to dance, round and round the stake, acknowledging "heaven" at the beginning and the end of the dance by his motions. At the conclusion of the dance the announcer asked us to remember and to honor all of our "brave warriors" serving in Iraq and elsewhere.

I asked an older Kiowa man I know about the dance. He said that the stake and tether were the tradition of what whites called the "dog soldier," a tradition originating among the Cheyenne. Those warriors would stake themselves to the ground, tethered by rawhide, and fight from that spot. (I did not ask him, but I assume this tradition must go back to the time before horses reached the Indians, when fighting was done on foot.) They were not allowed to surrender. Nor could they retreat unless another warrior of their tribe pulled up their stake. My informant told me that after a battle between the Kiowa and the Cheyenne, the Cheyenne told the Kiowa that because of the bravery they had shown, the Cheyenne "gave" the Dog Soldier custom to the Kiowa. From then on the Kiowa had a warrior society of "Dog Soldiers", though in Kiowa the name was more like 'staked down' , if I recall correctly. (thoughts below)

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USA Today has a brief (but I am redundant) overview of the upcoming state ballots on same-sex marriage and partnerships. Here.
I have been hearing anecdotal reports and second-hand information from the Sacramento, Ca., area on the large number of "Russian" (as in former Soviet Union, many are from the Ukraine) immigrants. These have established large and thriving Pentecostal and Baptist churches. I have been told that these folks are like "old-fashioned" American pentecostals and baptists in their "anti-worldliness."

Now, these folks are starting to make news on the conservative side in the culture wars in California. See this article from the LA Times. California politics is usually interesting; we'll now see what these new folks add to the mix. Perhaps Farmer, a transplanted Californian, has a comment.
Ex-President James Carter continues his descent by congratulating himself on "solving" the North Korean problem, only to see it messed up by GWB. For a brief rebuttal see Steven Hayward here.

For the sake of whatever dignity you have left, sir, and the dignity of your former office, pick up your hammer and go back to building Habitat houses.
Joseph Aaron has a touching essay on being Jewish and being American at Jewish World Review.

Here are is an excerpt:

This country continues to amaze me.

The Jewish people continue to amaze me.

Let's start with the United States of America, land that I love.

The constitution of the United States of America says the new term of the Supreme Court is to begin on the first Monday of October each year.

Only problem with that is that, this year, the first Monday of October was Yom Kippur.

And so, a conflict between the holiest day of the year for about five million or so Americans out of a population of about 300 million, and convening the opening session of the highest court in the land on the day the constitution calls for.

How was that conflict resolved? By postponing the beginning of the Supreme Court's new term.

What a country.

Now, admittedly the decision wasn't just made for philosophical reasons. There was something very practical going on. Namely that two members of the Supreme Court are Jews and so wouldn't have been there.

Two out of nine members of this country's highest court are Jews.

What a country.

It's good every now and then to stop a minute to recognize how wonderful this country is for Jews and to both appreciate and take pleasure in that.

Especially in light of how we have been treated in other places during our long history.

One of the most radical breaks with the past made by the new United States was religious liberty. Not merely toleration of select other faiths by an official faith, but actual religious liberty. Our nation has been blessed by people from a wide variety of faith-traditions as a result. Saturday I was looking through the church listings for the area around Lawton, Oklahoma. Weekend services at Ft. Sill, a large Army base, were listed also. In addition to the various Protestant services and Roman Catholic masses, there were Buddhist, Jewish, Islamic, and LDS meetings.

As a Christian, I pray for the conversion of these folks, and my political and social thought are based on my Christian understanding. That understanding includes seeking conversion peacefully, not coercively; and, loving my neighbor, of whatever religion or none, as myself. (more below)

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Newsmax has the big nail to drive into the coffin of Clinton's legacy on terrorism. Michael Scheuer, former CIA head of the bin Laden unit during the Clinton administration, and no friend of the Bush administration, points out the lies of Clinton.

In his role as CBS News terrorism analyst, Scheuer appeared on the "Early Show” and said this about Clinton’s claim that the CIA could not verify bin Laden’s responsibility for the attack on the USS Cole: "The former president seems able to deny facts with impunity."

Read the whole article.

Iraq is taking longer and is more complicated than many Americans thought it would. The "War on Terror" has had its victories (removing the Taliban) and its setbacks (public revelation of the financial investigations). We perhaps are beginning to see the enemy clearly: changing our language from "War on Terror" to "War against Islamic Fascism." But this change in language and perception has been halting and contested. On any given day, things seem like a mess.

Here's a bit of historical perspective: things are always in a mess. Joseph Ellis, in his Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation, is describing John Adams' retirement struggle to come to terms with his legacy and the public perception thereof. Popular imagination has fastened on an inspired Jefferson and the Declaration, and the providentially ordained march to American Freedom. Adams, the day-in-day-out fighter for Independency is being forgotten, he fears.

As Adams remembered it, on the other hand, "all the great critical questions about men and measures from 1774 to 1778" were desperately contested and highly problematic occasions, usually "decided by the vote of a single state, and that vote was often decided by a single individual." Nothing was clear, inevitable, or even comprehensible to the soldiers in the field at Saratoga or the statesmen in the corridors at Philadelphia: "It was patched and piebald policy then, as it is now, ever was, and ever will be, world without end." The real drama of the American Revolution, which was perfectly in accord with Adams's memory as well as with the turbulent conditions of his own soul, was its inherent messiness. This meant recovering the exciting but terrifying sense that all the major players had at the time--namely, that they were making it up as they went along, improvising on the edge of catastrophe.

In the midst of every great endeavor, things usually look like they are a mess and that disaster is near. Only in retrospect, once the goal is accomplished, and historical reflection shapes a narrative, can the road to victory (or defeat) be seen clearly.