Statement on Marriage and the Family from the American Anthropological Association

“‘The results of more than a century of anthropological research on households, kinship relationships, and families, across cultures and through time, provide no support whatsoever for the view that either civilization or viable social orders depend upon marriage as an exclusively heterosexual institution. Rather, anthropological research supports the conclusion that a vast array of family types, including families built upon same-sex partnerships, can contribute to stable and humane societies.

The Executive Board of the American Anthropological Association strongly opposes a constitutional amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual couples.'”[via Arthur Hlavaty]

Search and Destroy

Ted Rall’s work has been dropped from the New York Times’ online editorial cartoon page. The Times said that, while respecting free speech rights, they had an obligation not to offend the sensibilities of their readers and that Rall’s work did not fit the “tone” they try to set. Rall attributes the decision to Republican pressure and an orchestrated campaign against him since the controversial March, 2002 “Terror Widows” cartoon that placed him on rightwing hit lists.

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It is pretty outrageous, indeed, but I thought that defense of free speech means defending content that you don’t like, content that, ummm, offends sensibilities. By that same token, the New York Times has no obligation to run his work, but the assertion that they are responding to the discomfort of their readers cannot be made without acknowledging the rightwing attack dog tactics at work these days. Since 9-11, defense of certain unpleasant free speech has become markedly less popular in the face of risks that it will get one labelled a terrorist sympathizer.

Noting that he derives no income from the Times‘ carrying his cartoons, he asks for the assistance of those concerned with this partisan censorship. You can write to the CEO of New York Times Digital, a letter to the editor of the Times, and New York Times ombudsperson Daniel Okrent.

Greenspan Testimony Highlights Bush Plan for Deliberate Federal Bankruptcy

If you think Bush is a tool of corporate interests already, consider the evidence fora deliberate Republican strategy to bankrupt the government and prompt privatization of most of its functions, says Michael Meurer.

“Visit the websites of any of the major right wing think tanks from which this administration has drawn its highest officials, and you will find entire sections of archived documents and books arguing the case for privatization of nearly the entire public sector.

From the American Enterprise Institute to the Heritage Foundation, from the Hoover Institution to the Cato Institute to the Reason Foundation, privatization has been a prime objective of the right for the past 25 years. The National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) even provides a handy list of potential targets for privatization.” —truthout

Can We Endure Nine Months of This?

Maureen Dowd: “You’ve got to admire the Bush re-election ads being rolled out today. With up to $60 million to spend by convention time, the campaign is plotting the most expensive political advertising seduction in history, and you can see the money on the screen.

In scary/gauzy images, the president does his best to shift the blame, take the credit and transmit concern about regular folks — waitresses, welders, firefighters, black children, black seniors, middle-class families — when he really spends more time helping his fat-cat corporate friends.

Mr. Bush continues to imply that we should be scared because we’re not safe, so we need to keep him to protect our national security. Which seems like a weird contradiction. If he’s so good at protecting us, why aren’t we safe?

The president doesn’t hesitate to exploit 9/11 in his ads, even as he tries to keep 9/11 orphans and widows in the dark about what really happened.

Mr. Bush’s ad flashes a shot of firefighters removing some flag-draped remains of a victim from the wreckage at ground zero even as he prohibits the filming of flag-draped remains of soldiers coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan. You might call the Bush ads, an homage to Ronald Reagan’s famous ads, ‘Mourning in America.’

Nothing like hypocrisy with high production values.” —New York Times op-ed

Our Man in Tashkent

The Bush administration has often vowed not to repeat the Cold War mistake of embracing useful dictators while ignoring their domestic policies, especially in Muslim states such as Uzbekistan. “With …tiny gestures the leader of Central Asia’s most populous country seeks to sway one of the most important decisions the Bush administration will make this year about its alliances in the war on terrorism. Though his tokenism could not be more transparent, the dictator’s chances of succeeding look better than they should.

Since 2001, Uzbekistan, a former Soviet republic bordering Afghanistan, has hosted U.S. planes and troops and received substantial U.S. military and economic aid. Mr. Karimov, a former Soviet Politburo member who proposed and signed a ‘strategic partnership’ agreement with the Bush administration two years ago, hopes for a long-term basing arrangement. The Pentagon is considering just such a deal; Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld visited Tashkent last week and lauded ‘the wonderful cooperation we’ve received from the government of Uzbekistan.’

There’s one hitch: The partnership deal Mr. Karimov signed promised a far-reaching democratic transformation, including multiparty elections, a free press and an independent judiciary. Not only has Uzbekistan implemented none of those reforms, it hasn’t even stopped torturing prisoners. Ms. Mukadirova’s son died after prison guards pulled out his fingernails and plunged his body into boiling water…” —Washington Post editorial

E-mail users caught in virus feud

“A war of words is breaking out between the creators of the Netsky, Bagle and MyDoom Windows worms.

The malicious programs’ creators are putting taunts and insults in successive variants of their viruses.

The spat began because Bagle’s creators are jealous of all the media attention that the Netsky virus is getting…

The war of words has being conducted via fresh variants of the viruses which have different messages hidden inside them.

There are now nine versions of Bagle, six versions of Netsky and seven versions of Mydoom circulating online.” —BBC

The really wild show

“There are good reasons why Africans don’t view their fauna with the same sentimentality that Europeans do”. After reviewing the “respect tinged with fear” that characterizes the attitude of Africans toward the wildlife whose destructive incursions they have to live, the essayist draws a parallel with the the way Europeans once regarded the wolf and the bear. The difference is that Africa’s big beasts have not been exterminated by their human co-inhabitants.

“In whatever form it takes – the slaughter of the ‘big five’ by white hunters in the colonial era, or the demand for ivory and rhino horn which continues to drive poaching today – the biggest danger to Africa’s animals has always come from outside the continent. And while in Hollywood’s imagination, it is usually westerners like Joy Adamson or Dian Fossey who are thought to be at the forefront of the conservation struggle, there are many Africans who take a leading role in preserving their wildlife.” —Guardian.UK

Whacking the Hornet’s Nest

Molly Ivins: “Anyone see any reason to think Haiti will be better off without Jean-Bertrand Aristide? Just another little gift from the Bush foreign policy team, straight out of the whacko-right playbook.

Jesse Helms always did think Aristide was another Fidel, not being able to distinguish between a Catholic and a communist. We know the main armed opposition group is a bunch of thugs and that they have been joined by old Duvalierists, including members of the Tonton Macoutes, the infamous torturers.

The Bush administration wanted this to happen – it held up $500 million worth of humanitarian aid from the United States, World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank and International Monetary Fund. Without U.S. or multilateral help, the country spiraled downward.

So here we are, reduced to hoping for the best again.” —AlterNet

One Small Sniff

How a finely tuned pair of nostrils keeps the US space corps from stinking to high heaven.: “Even a little bit of air pollution can turn into a major problem in the cramped quarters of a space vehicle – silent but deadly. At the White Sands Test Facility in New Mexico, NASA odor-testing panels mount ‘smelling missions’ to determine whether something on board a spacecraft will convey that not-so-fresh feeling. Their method: Stick some guy’s nose in it.” —Wired