Houston’s HERO Ordinance: Wishing To Make Things So

Gender Identity means an individual’s innate identification, appearance, expression or behavior as either male or female, although the same may not correspond to the individual’s body or gender as assigned at birth.”Houston Equal Rights Ordinance

Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance (“HERO”) will be on the local ballot this November. As I have noted elsewhere, the ordinance is a real mess of a measure. Of particular concern is the way the ordinance defines gender identity, one of the categories protected from “discrimination.” The origin of the ordinance’s definition of gender identity remains obscure. An internet search yields no clues. I emailed my city council member, Ellen Cohen, but she has not replied. We can only examine the definition on its face to expose its apparent meaning. Continue reading

Intoxicated by Easy Money

Intoxicated by Easy Money

A while ago, I wrote about the influx of Chinese money into Nicaragua to build a transcontinental canal.

However, beyond infrastructure and construction concerns, people are beginning to have other worries:

“The townspeople (in Nicaragua) haven’t seen any signs of canal workers in months. And the work that was done was marginal. A handful of Chinese engineers were spotted late last year making field notations on the east side of the lake; early this year, a dirt road was expanded and light posts were upgraded at a spot on the west side where a port is to be built.

Juharling Mendoza, a 32-year-old local entrepreneur, is so convinced that the project won’t proceed that he’s constructing a two-story house with three guest rooms and an attached convenience store just outside of El Tule. He says bluntly: ‘There isn’t going to be a canal.’” (Bloomberg.com)

People have taken to referring to the canal as a “phantom”, as there has been little to no progress in its construction. Given the current economic crisis in China, this should hardly be surprising. Continue reading

Planned Parenthood and the Banality of Evil

An ordinary woman

Nucatola: An ordinary woman

Her words can’t be bent. Her words can’t be turned and made to point in some direction other than the direction in which they do point. Dr. Deborah Nucatola, the Senior Director of Medical Services for Planned Parenthood, and the doctor featured in the first video of the Center For Medical Progress, spoke with stunning casualness of the harvesting of organs from Planned Parenthood’s many aborted fetuses. Even if (which I doubt) Planned Parenthood did not violate the law by “selling” those organs  at a “profit,” no amount of legal justification can alter the impression–the fact–that this is a person who has acted with the utmost cruelty toward her fellow human beings. And she has done it from within the protective shell of an organization that has made her actions appear routine and acceptable.

This is truly the “banality of evil,” a phrase coined–and a truth proclaimed–by Jewish intellectual Hannah Arendt. Continue reading

Five Reasons Why Hillary is in Trouble

With the media swirl around Donald Trump and the other Republicans seeking their party’s nomination, it’s easy to overlook the contest for the Democratic nomination.  Sure, Hillary will win it, but it may be a closer and nastier contest than the coronation that many people (including her) expect.  Here are five reasons why Hillary’s nomination isn’t going to be the cakewalk it was supposed to be.

1.  She’s old.  I don’t mean old in human years, but old in terms of political shelf-life, and it will cost her with young voters.   The young are notoriously fickle when it comes to love and merchandising.  Music, clothing trends, social media sites, and boyfriends have a short run before they become “so five minutes ago.”  There is nothing novel about Hillary.  For most young voters (the 18-21 year old crowd), Hillary is an artifact of a decade that that barely remember, if at all.   Like the internet and cellphones, she’s always been around. She lacks the freshness and coolness of a Barack Obama in 2008.  Young voters tend to be attracted to what’s new, different, and fresh.  Call it the “Hipster Paradigm” of voting.   Hillary is an old brand; America on Line trying to rebrand itself as SnapChat.   If Hillary thinks she can count on the youth vote like Obama did in 2008, she better think again. Continue reading