Welcome to the sixty-third installment of Carnival of the Liberals! I didn't receive many submissions on the theme of "human rights," but far be it for me to stifle anyone's creativity, and several posts did touch on a more general "respect for human beings" theme. Apologies for not including every submission I received.
In "Truth Wins Out Trumps Love Won Out," Buffy at the Gaytheist Agenda provides a thorough account of a panel on LGBT issues and the “Ex-Gay” industry (the folks who claim to "cure" homosexuality). A sample:
Wayne commented that Robert’s story was typical of Ex-Gay Survivors. He then summarized the experience of being an Ex-Gay stating, “How can we be anything when we spend all of our time trying not to be something?”
Greta Christina ponders the roles of nature and nurture in sexuality in "Born or Learned? Sexuality, Science, and Party Lines," but points out that it doesn't matter when it comes to respect for LGBT persons: "We deserve rights and recognition because we are human beings and citizens: as much as racial minorities, whose skin color is inborn, and as much as religious minorities, whose religion or lack thereof is learned."
In "So right it's wrong," Zeno of Halfway There battles with right-wing spam-mail forwarded to him by conservative family members, with the "racism & sexism included for free!"
Understand Media Blog wonders whether there's a glass ceiling for women in presidential politics.
Meanwhile, in "America Haters for America," Doctor Biobrain tackles the curious conservative mindset toward love for one's country and one's fellow Americans.
Further afield, Divided We Stand United We Fall explains how "George W. Bush Made Moqtada al-Sadr." (For more on this subject, I'll pass on "The Mess," by Peter W. Galbraith in 2006, and the more recent "Five Things You Need to Know to Understand the Latest Violence in Iraq" by Joshua Holland and Raed Jarrar.)
In "Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You… God’s Propaganda Film," Jeffrey Stingerstein at Disillusioned Words provides a comprehensive roundup of videos on Ben Stein and his movie on "Intelligent Design," Expelled. (For further reading on this, I'll pass on the site Expelled Exposed, the Google-bomb campaign for it, and the scathing New York Times review: "One of the sleaziest documentaries to arrive in a very long time… a conspiracy-theory rant masquerading as investigative inquiry.")
Moving on to international human rights, Shan-ul-Hai of Globally Rational asks, if you were an employer, "Would you hire Beijing?" China's human rights record remains far worse than that of other Olympic host contenders.
In "No air time for torture admission," the Ridger at The Greenbelt wonders why, astonishingly enough, the press hasn't covered Bush's "boasts about approving the use of torture."
Perhaps the press simply agrees with Huck Finn at Putin for President's satiric take: Bush thought he was authorizing wakeboarding, an extreme water sport, instead of waterboarding, an extremely notorious torture technique made infamous by the Spanish Inquisition. (Or there's Tom Tomorrow's take.)
Barry Leiba of Staring at Empty Pages gives us the latest evidence that torture advocate "Antonin Scalia is very scary," based on Scalia's apparent zeal for 18th Century standards of punishment.
Finally, riffing on Hannah Arendt, Montag at Stump Lane argues in "The Banality of Having to Draw Lines Between the Thinkable and the Unthinkable" that torture as an official policy is just insane. As Montag observes:
What vexes me most about this is how this post 9-11 dystopian surveillance and security apparatus jibes with the political ideal of self sufficiency. The right puts a lot of stock in personal responsibility, and objections to the Nanny State; but seem to place an astonishing amount of faith in the increasingly brazen, unfettered exercise of power by the Daddy State to keep them safe from evil.
This touches on the notion that an Orwellian "Daddy State" (or fraternal "Big Brother" state) is evil by its very nature, or can easily become so. I'll add that torture can be opposed on the grounds that 1) it's immoral 2) it's illegal 3) it makes us less safe, and 4) it doesn't work, not reliably — assuming one want the truth versus a confession, that is.
For those wanting more on human rights, torture, due process and related issues, Dan Froomkin keeps a keen eye out at White House Watch, with a prime example being his Monday column, "Duped About Torture." No Comment by Scott Horton and Balkinization also cover these issues extensively and add legal expertise. On the international front, there's Amnesty International, Human Rights First, Human Rights Watch, and the United Nations Human Rights Council. Finally, at Blue Herald and here at VS, we've tried to do our small part. Feel free to pass on any other sites or posts in the comments.
Carnival of the Liberals #64 is being hosted by Brave Sir Robin at Sir Robin Runs Away. He describes the broad theme of COTL #64 thusly:
Thinking Liberally, Thinking Positively!
I don’t want anything about the primary race, I don’t want any “things are so screwed up rants” As a proud, unabashedly liberal citizen, I get enough of what we’re against, I say – What are we for? I will take submissions on any topic other than the Primary election, but I’m looking for positive submissions. What can Liberalism provide? What can we do better than the failed system of Corporate Harlotry that we have been living under since 1980? Why should anyone be a Liberal? Let’s tell the world on May 7th. Get those submissions in!!
(Shakespeare's birthday is also celebrated today, as Brave Sir Robin reminds us. There's an interesting essay on Shakespeare and the tradition of holiday festivals, including "Carnival," here. Ha! Try that for a tie-in!)
The blogcarnival.com form is the best way to submit for COTL #64. Brave Sir Robin's requested a Monday, May 5, submission deadline. Let's make his job tough — not in the "too few submissions" sense of tough, but in a "By Thor's Hammer, how can I possibly choose from all these great posts?!?" sense of tough. Thanks!