Gay Marriage

Why are people against gay marriage?  This nice little analysis from a political science professor finds (no surprise) that it is because they dislike gays.  The effect from disliking gays is much greater than the alternative proposed, regarding traditional gender role attitudes:

“the effect of feelings towards gays/lesbians is almost three
times as large as that of support for traditional gender roles.

analysis suggests that attitudes towards gay marriage depend far more
on attitudes towards gays themselves than on beliefs about gender
roles. Ford?s thesis is less persuasive than it might otherwise be.”


Good journalism

I was listening to the BBC World Service today on WUNC, the local NPR station.  The Brits just do such a better job of covering foreign affairs.  The host was interviewing an Israeli government official about the military action in Lebanon and asked him if there was any sort of timeline for withdrawing from Lebanon.  The government official responded, “that would be irresponsible.”  How many times do you hear non-responses like this from politicians and our timid media just lets it go by.  As the official tried to continue on, the reporter stopped him, “why would that be irresponsible?”  He came up with a plausible enough answer, but it was refreshing to hear a reporter actually do his job rather than mindlessly swallowing political spin, as American journalists seem to specialize in doing. 

The bad news you are not hearing

Conservatives like to talk about all the good news out of Iraq that we are not hearing– all the schools being built, electricity being restored (though it is still below pre-war levels), etc.  The truth is, there's all sorts of bad news we are not hearing because it just the quotidian, miserable struggle for average Iraqis.  While major media outlets focus on blood, gore, and death, life just becomes worse for average Iraqis.  Of course, a car bomb blowing up 60 people is a big deal, but part of the media's bias is to focus disproportionately on these violent, non-typical events. 

In contrast, the less commercially-dependent media takes the time to give us a fuller picture.  A recent NPR story focused on the problems of barbers.  Apparently, giving someone a “western style” haircut puts your life at risk in present day Iraq.  Likewise, selling alcohol or even western music is now a life-threatening activity.  I also heard a story yesterday on the BBC Worldservice where they just interviewed Iraqis in the streets who all feared for their lives in just carrying out their daily activities.  Simply being a Shiite or Sunni in the wrong place cannot only get you killed, but even tortured in the process.  So, when all we hear about is death and destruction we miss the full picture of how Iraqi life is deteriorated.  A new school doesn't do you much good if you are afraid to leave your house to go there. 

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