Per Curiam
-- A man has to do something for a livin' these days

-- Bloggin' ain't much of a living, boy
Saturday, September 18, 2004
Kerry: President Should Watch TV: OK - I freely admit this is a cheap shot. But Sen. Kerry deserves it, for saying this in his stump speech: "With all due respect to the president, has he turned on the evening news lately?... Is he talking about the same war that the rest of us are talking about?"

Are you kidding? The evening news? Maybe the reason that President Bush and Sen. Kerry have different perspectives (or do they?) on the war in Iraq is because President Bush isn't foolish enough to rely on information from CBS News.

But maybe Sen. Kerry does get his information from the evening news. If I recall correctly (I do!) Sen. Kerry has passed up official intelligence briefings because he doesn't have time.

My fondest wish for 2008 is that we could have two serious candidates for President. And that one of them would be fiscally conservative.

Friday, September 17, 2004
The Civil War lingers: I've often been mocked for the fact that I mix the word "y'all" in with an occasional "you all" in my speech. After all, I come from Indiana, a state that's clearly part of the North. Some even take offense -- liberal northern intellectuals because they'd prefer to paint all who use "y'all" in broad spokes as moral degenerates; Southerners because (to paint/tarnish in ridiculous broad strokes) they can't stomach that someone who won the Civil War can have a claim to "their word."

My usual response talks about Indiana as a transportation hub, of the passage of the National Road through Indianapolis and its role as a dividing line, migration patterns, etc. But another factor is that parts of the Midwest share enough cultural elements with parts of the South that it's a naturally-receptive ground for Southern culture. Fried chicken (Hoosier-style, of course) is the main event at many celebrated restaurants. The Brickyard 400 helped launch NASCAR's nationwide expansion when it came to Indianapolis in 1994. And now, more proof: The Mississippi-based quick-casual chain McAlister's Deli has opened to great success. Mmm. Sweet tea. I think I may need to make a stop there on my next trip home.

Thursday, September 16, 2004
Sen. Kerry - a man of the 80s: First came the comparisons between Sen. Kerry and Gov. Dukakis (FWIW, I think the Kerry campaign has a lot more life left in it than this comparison would suggest). Now, David Adesnik compares Sen. Kerry to Lt. Col. Oliver North: "[I]t just goes to show that you shouldn't put a war hero in charge of our nation's foreign policy."


But "Kerry, 80s Man" makes a ton of sense to me. In the 80s, we still had a national obsession with Vietnam. Popular television shows like "Magnum, PI" and "The A-Team" focused on Vietnam-era war heroes and the continuing effects of Vietnam on their lives. In the 80s, Democrats obsessed over a conservative president who they saw as a more serious threat to America than our true threats abroad (and their domestic agents). As a man who married into money (twice), Sen. Kerry also exemplifies personal values of the era.

No wonder this election is stuck in the past.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004
Religious exclusion: An event scheduled for this Friday at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey is sparking controversy:
The Muslim Youth Division of the Islamic Circle of North America and the Muslim American Society, two of the largest Muslim organizations in America, have arranged exclusive use of Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, N.J., for the entire day Friday.

The ICNA website boasts, "First Time Ever – All Day – Entire Park Exclusively for Muslims!"...

Debbie Nauser, vice president of public relations for the Six Flags theme park, confirmed the park would be open only for "Muslims and their friends."

Six Flags has previously hosted other event days, including an annual Passover theme in which the park is predominantly filled with Orthodox Jews, but the venue is still open to outsiders and seasonal ticket holders, and organizers of previous events have never claimed exclusivity of the park.
Question: If the park is open for "Muslims and their friends," then that's not "exclusively for Muslims," is it?

Daniel Pipes asks: "One wonders how the organizers know who is a Muslim or not. Need one recite the shahada to enter the fairgrounds?"

More: The Islamic Circle of North America's website notes that a number of nearby schools will be closing for the day so that their students can attend.

It will be interesting to see whether this stirs up controversy beyond watchdogs like Dan Pipes and the Middle East Forum. Undoubtedly one reason that it's been watched closely is that the ICNA is associated with jihadists and radical beliefs, and has invited some sinister speakers to past events.

It's not exactly extraordinary to see a self-sponsored segregated event in America. After all, the Baptist boycott of Disney is driven in part by the annual Gay Days at Disney World. Fortune 500 companies, such as one of my summer employers, rent theme parks for private use all of the time. I'm sure church organizations and racial-pride groups must do the same. And if you're renting the park, it makes sense that you get to choose who stays in and stays out.

One legal issue, though... unlike traditional rental events, it appears from the ICNA website that Six Flags will continue to sell tickets that day -- from the Q&A: "Will the ticket price be $20.00 at the gate on the event day? Answer: NO, tickets will be sold at a higher price on the day of the event at the Six Flags ticket booths. We therefore recommend you to buy the tickets well in advance for this event."

If that means that Six Flags is selling tickets, regardless of whether someone has been invited by the sponsoring organization, the theme park would seem to be retaining its character as a public accommodation (See 1964 Civil Rights Act, defining a public accommodation to include "any motion picture house, theater, concert hall, sports arena, stadium or other place of exhibition or entertainment"). If so, the park cannot turn visitors away on the basis of their religion any more than they could hold a "whites-only" day and turn away people of other races.

I'll look into this further when I get the chance...