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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another

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Colby on Report

Colby Cosh gets it...well almost.

If I had $100 a year for all the former urban subscribers who loved the magazine's anti-Liberalism and got sick of its religious axe-grinding... well, I suppose I'd have the makings of a magazine, wouldn't I?
link colby cosh

Well yes. And that is exactly where the Report's descent into fundy land put it. Cosh points out that the median age of the Report reader was sixty ten years ago. Those folks tend to die off. Then you had the visionary leadership of Link Byfield whom Colby maintains,
always insisted that it was impossible to sell the magazine in the cities, where the bulk of the 1992-2003 circulation decline took place.

With its resolute lack of graphic style and generally fundamentalist editorial positions Report had no grab at all in the urban marketplace. Or at least the downtown bits. Clever management could well have sold it very successfully in the 'burbs.

The problem is that a magazine read by rural geriatrics is not at all a winning proposition. As Ted Byfiled noted, and I paraphase, the magazine didn't change in thirty years, but the country did. The rural population declined and became more sophisticated. Urban conservatives grew bored hearing the fundy drum banged with the same whitebread beat.

Magazines, even committed magazines, change or die.

Gales of Laughter

Winds of Change has taken on a new blog spokesperson to explain 404's...Hit it.

Four Score

via textism

If only Abe had Powerpoint he could have made a great presentation at Gettysburg.

Our Lady Peace on America

After a bunch of opinion polling and focus groups Canada has a bright, new foreign policy:

"Clearly our interests dictate that our relations with the United States be kept at the best possible level all the time, if we are going to ensure freedom of access of our goods and people and capital and our prosperity.
"The important thing it seems to me is that we have to make it clear to our American interlocutors the degree to which we are good friends and loyal allies — in most cases — and where we differ, it's because we have a sovereign view of our country and what it's about."
link globe and mail

I trust that's if someone would just clue the PM in.


Pirates I tell you, Pirates

Now these are the people threatening me and mine with 60 million dollar lawsuits for "stealing music".

The lawsuit, signed by the attorneys general of 43 states and territories and consolidated in Portland in October 2000, accused major record labels and large music retailers facing competition from discounters like Target and Wal-Mart of conspiring to set minimum music prices.
The defendants -- Sony Music Entertainment, EMI Music Distribution, Warner-Elektra-Atlantic Corp., Universal Music Group and Bertelsmann Music Group, and retailers Tower Records, Musicland Stores and Transworld Entertainment -- deny any wrongdoing. Attorneys representing the companies declined to testify in court.
link cnn

This makes telling your child to stop stealing just a little bit difficult. Maybe he can refuse to testify.


If the internet does nothing else it allows people of good will to speak to each other as they have not been able to since the death of letter writing seventy years ago.

From Paul Cella

I think we have achieved the rare accomplishment of a disagreement; and I must admit some merit to your position, having just deleted several porn-spam emails before composing this one.
As to Chesterton vs. Mencken, I'll put my money on Chesterton, who I think pretty much demolished Mencken in a literary essay reprinted in The Thing (or maybe The Well and the Shallows). Ah, here it is: I think it is the second or third essay down on the page.
While I abominate the vulgarity of large swaths of our popular culture, I guess I also must admit some merit to your statement "The common man, if he exists at all, is awfully difficult to know. Likely because of the very complexity of human nature" -- if on no other basis than the fact that three minutes of searching produced a near-complete online compendium of Chesterton writings.

I trust Paul will forgive me for quoting his correspondence. This level of civility makes me want to go back and reread Chesterton and check in regularly at Paul's Blog.

Byfield, pere weighs in

via Rick Hiebert

Ted Byfield, notes Licia Corbella in today's Edmonton Sun (sorry, not online), is philosophical about the death of his old magazine. Here's the gist of what he said:
"It's always been a borderline operation at best," he says with a chuckle, "and it was sinking too far below the borderline, so when it actually happened it didn't surprise me much.
"As society has changed radically, the magazine didn't change, it just kept asserting the same things it had 30 years ago. The effect was to make it look more stridently right, but the magazine never changed, what changed was society. That was eventually going to do it in, and it did," he adds, almost brightly......

I rest my case.

Common Man, Social conservative?

Jeremy Lott runs in full a marvelous letter from Paul Cella the pith of which is that “social conservatism is the only really popular conservatism there is.” With a nod to G.K Chesterton and a bow in the direction of the common man about whom Chesterton wrote so well in pre-World War II England, Cella suggests the common man, the regular guy, “the blue collar miners and plumbers and electricians” likely hold “views on such things as gay marriage and school prayer (which) are probably to the right of most elected Republicans.

Cella might be right but my sense is that he is merely out of date. He freely confesses to knowing very little about Canadian politics and takes his examples from his understanding of human nature and American politics. While American politics change in the blink of a chad, human nature would seem less mutable and less nativist.

The booming Internet porn business, the success of the adult entertainment industry, the explosive growth of drug culture in spite of the loony war on drugs, the popularity of truly dumb television (television so awful that it makes Leave it to Beaver look like Othello) and the rise of feel good quacks such as Oprah all suggest that the mass of Americans long since abandoned any but the ritual observation of traditional values.

To suggest that “our vulgar entertainment culture is rather the invention of elites” is to ignore the cultural contributions of Larry Flynt and Rosanne Barr to name two of many.

The common man, if he exists at all, is awfully difficult to know. Likely because of the very complexity of human nature. I have no doubt that if you walked into a bar in Flyspot Texas and interviewed the denizens on the question of sodomy or gay marriage you would hear a great deal of angry, bewildered talk about Judges and State’s Rights and those “god damned faggots”. And, on Sunday if you attended any church you would hear the same sentiments on behalf of God. But are these real, or are they social constructions? The test comes when “Billy-Bob” or “Cindy-Sue” comes out. My sense is that the good, fag hating people of Flyspot have evolved enough to be able to deal with homosexuality in an accepting, loving way in real life while remaining capable of the traditional homophobia for social and religious purposes. All the while checking in hourly to psychic hotlines and online astrologers.

Human nature is complex enough to accommodate the fact people may profess zero tolerance for drugs while taking a few hits from a fattie once in a while, revulsion at porn while checking out and disgust at the vulgarity of television and the entertainment culture secretly enjoying Sex in the City and The Sopranos.

Chesterton’s wisdom embraced the fact that public professions of good are not always reflected in private conduct. He was far too worldly a man not to know this and to write about it.

Will the common man stand up for traditional values, for social conservatism “if ever he he has a say in the matter"? I doubt it. Because now, more than ever, the science of public opinion polling and market research is dedicated to given consumers, movie goers and television watchers exactly what they want. Whatever else turns up in the market research, a deep desire for improving subjects and calm majestic films filled with wit and substance is utterly absent.

I might join with Mr. Cella in lamenting that absence. But I am more inclined to cite Mencken on his fellow Americans than Chesterton on an England that never was:

All professional philosophers tend to assume that common sense means the mental habit of the common man. Nothing could be further from the mark. The common man is chiefly to be distinguished by his plentiful lack of common sense: he believes things on evidence that is too scanty, or that distorts the plain facts, or that is full of non sequiturs. Common sense really involves making full use of all the demonstrable evidence--and of nothing but the demonstrable evidence.

And, for good measure, Mencken again:

The worst government is the most moral. One composed of cynics is often very tolerant and humane. But when fanatics are on top there is no limit to oppression.


Chickens and Eggs

"Jay Currie is Wrong" Jeremy Lott ringingly declares in his reponse to my suggestion that you don't lose 20,000 subscribers in four years because of mere editorial lapses. He has a brilliant and perfectly accurate comeback.

Start out with a weekly magazine that has three distinct regional formats (Alberta Report, Western Report, B.C. Report) and news bureaus all over the place, which has something of a sense of humor and is quite responsive to readers. Now fold the three into one "national" magazine, reduce the frequency to every other week, charge almost as much, close the bureaus, fire the reporters, keep a skeleton staff of editor-reporters, constrict the range of what they can write about (by, for instance, killing the culture review section), and make them turn in an absurd amount of copy every issue, often about subjects which bore them. Presto! You lose 20,000 readers in four years. No social conservatism necessary.

Lord knows that would certainly set a magazine back on its heels.

Especially if, at the same time, the moment of so-con triumph in the form of Stockwell Day's accent to the leadership of the Alliance is dropped into the mix. Suddenly there was a real live, Bible punching social conservative ready to smite the sinners and smash the Libs.

The reaction was swift and definitive: the libertarian and economic conservatives sat the election out, the policy wheels fell off the Alliance, the folks back East had a delirious time with Stock's equivocal stands on such certain to entertain topics as Creationism and gay rights and his willingness to practice a particularly nasty form of guilt by association on the tax payers' dime. The clay feet of the social conservative movement were exposed like toe cleavage in Jimmy Choos. Stock's little sign at the leadership debate pretty much provided the last bit of evidence that if this was the acceptable face of social conservatism mainstream Canadians wanted none of it.

Which meant that the people of influence who had been reading Reports in the glory days of three regional formats, news bureaus and a sense of humour dropped it. Bang. Over. Time to move on. The fact the internal destruction of the magazine began at roughly the same time was an internal tragedy and one which the faithful would have noticed. But the cultural shift occasioned by Stockwell Day's shamble across the national stage put paid to the influence of social conservatism in Canada for a generation.

Mega Lawsuits

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) said Wednesday it hopes to curb the practice of illegal downloading by tracking down the heaviest users of popular online file-sharing services like Kazaa -- and suing them for statutory damages of $150,000 per count.
"We're going to begin taking names and preparing lawsuits against peer-to-peer network users who are illegally making available a substantial number of music files to millions of other computer users," RIAA President Cary Sherman said in a conference call.

Right. Lets say for sake of argument that I have 400 songs on my computer and I decide to share them using Kazaa, does Ms, sherman really think she can sue me for $60,000,000.00 dollars.

Normally the RIAA only lets artists get into the good stuff but Ms.Sherman must have some pull.

Then, imagine the fun of filing say 20,000 law suits (filing fees, retaining counsel) in fifty jurisdictions. And imagine the fun suing in Canada where the copyright law is different...And then, if the sharers are bright or well advised whey will put the RIAA guys through legal hoops and require specific proof on each song. One thing which might be fun would be to allege there song shared is not copy right and make the RIAA prove it is.

This is the goofiest strategy yet from an industry whose day is over.

Not even in Texas

So-cons will be as dismayed as libertarians are delighted by the SCOTUS decision in the Texas sodomy case. See Glen Reynolds for the round up and to go deeper.

Sandra Day O'Conner's concurrence , quoted briefly by Reynolds, ""Texas' invocation of moral disapproval as a legitimate state interest proves nothing more than Texas' desire to criminalize homosexual sodomy." and is fails even the relatively low standard set by a rational basis review.

This is not a major victory for homosexuals, after all prosecutions under andy of the 13 state anti sodomy laws were very rare; but it is a huge defeat for so-cons who want to use the law to impose their moral standards on others.

Kevin Michael Grace

Kevin Michael Grace, whose financial position as the result of the collapse of Reports is awful, writes

“So what killed the Report? Editorial lassitude, managerial incompetence, the disastrous intervention of Kevin Avram, among other things. But it certainly wasn't dat ol' debbil "social conservatism." It was the singers, not the song. More on this soon.”

He also suggests that,

“MFAFC Jeremy Lott has made several incursions into the Report's cadaver but knows much more than he's been willing to say. MFsAFCs Kevin Steel and Colby Cosh know much, much more than they've been willing to say.”

From the outside the money line is actually,

“The best analysis was by my friend and former colleague Lorne Gunter, again in the Journal, today. (Sorry, no link.) Lorne chose to ignore the business side, but he is absolutely correct in his assertions that people of influence stopped reading the Report years ago and that they did so because of an utter collapse of editorial standards.”

Does that all hang together? The collapse of editorial standards can be laid at the feet of Link Byfield to a degree; but the lurch towards the farther reaches of the social conservative spectrum which seems to have been Link Byfield’s main contribution almost certainly drove those people of influence away.

Most purely editorial lapses are missed entirely by readers. Not all readers, but a majority. You do not lose 20,000 subscribers in four years only because the editor is either not doing or is not permitted to do his job. You lose them because you are out of touch with their priorities.

“Dat ol’ debbil social conservatism”, taken to an extreme and driven by a fundamentalist Christian agenda will drive people of influence off the subscriber rolls faster than you can say homophobia. Not because they may not agree with the positions; rather because they know the positions are not going to be accepted in the worlds in which they exercise their influence. And the way you stay influential is to avoid fight unwinable wars.

If social conservatism had a moment it ended somewhere in the mid 1990’s when the internet brought unlimited information, pornography and irony to even the most rural and fundamentalist of towns and homes. The bright lights of the big city were a click away. While the so-cons would argue that makes their message even more vital, no one was listening.

More to the point, not only was no one of any influence listening, they were embarrassed with the carrying on of the people who still didn’t realize their movement was over, their moment past. Their were important conservative issues which were being buried in the majority of the populations haste to inter the so-con agenda.

Stockwell Day and the Alliance could not be taken seriously by the vast majority of the population simply because they seemed unable to grasp that Evolution was true and that homosexuals and immigrants were people too. Because they were so far out of touch with the urban reality of Canada other issues which should have been addressed were lost.

Urban conservatives understand media and they understand the left bias in that media. So they work very hard trying to stick to issues which do not open them up to ridicule. Most, if not all, of the social conservative agenda, particularly if there is the hint that some or all of it is to be found in the Bible, is open to ridicule because the rest of the population has moved on.

In America this is much less the case. The Baptists and the fundies have real clout and, because Presidential elections are so close, they can use that clout to trumpet whichever verse of Leviticus happens to be sin of the month. While people of influence’s toes may curl listening to the Moral Majority and its ilk they dare not defy it. At least not on the right. But America is not Canada.

If there is to be another incarnation of Reports or a new magazine serious thought has to be given to where the social conservative issues fit into the editorial matrix. Tone and style are as important as the actual song sung. There is no reason at all there cannot be passionate debate about social issues; but it should be a debate between people rather than between the Godly and the Godless.

The Divide

Jeremy Lott responds to my notion that there is room for a right of center successor magazine to Reports. While he is generally in agreement he takes me to task for

“but the idea that it should score points by going after conservative Christians is just loopy”.

There is the great divide and it has kept the Alliance and the rest of the right at the margins for donkey’s years.

At some point the right is going to have to embrace, really embrace, the key concept that there is a separation between Church and State. Private morality, whether derived from the Bible, the Koran or a Fruit Loops box is just that: private.

It is next to impossible to criticize the Islamofascist zealots when you are trying to have your own state legislate legal support for whatever your particular interpretation of the Bible’s rules is.

Politically, the agenda of the Christian Right may attract a certain rural audience; but it does so at the expense of alienating huge swaths of urban voters. Stockwell Day’s complete inability to “break through” owes a lot to the rejection of the Christian agenda he tried to keep so carefully hidden.

At the level of creating a magazine – print or online – which is intelligent, hip and readable going after conservative Christians when they seek to use the State to impose their beliefs is critical. I would hope such a magazine would take on any interest group which sought to impose private morality through the law.

Which is not to say that there cannot be a good deal of attention paid to religion in such a magazine…Kathy Shaidle already wants to be religion editor. And there should certainly be a lot of attention paid to attempts by the anti-religious to require the State to promote their position through the law.

Bottom line – I would want to make sure a magazine could consistently oppose fanatics and fundamentalists who believed their God wanted them to impose religious law using the State. From Sunday shopping to shirra, the State should not be involved. As a part of that position, I would want to ensure that the State did not extend any right or obligation to one group of its citizens while excluding others for whatever reason.


Library Internet Filtering

Library Internet Filtering is one of those ideas which makes everyone feel good but which imposes real costs.

The Supreme Court of the United States has just ruled that the Children's Internet Protection Act, which requires filtering on all internet enabled computers in libraries which accepts federal funding - which is damn near all of them - is constitutional.

As it happens, while this is bad new for the three children in America who surf porn in libraries, it is great news for my friend Bob at IF 2003. He makes internet filters and a rather nice living doing it. It is also a chance for me to try out a couple of theories about how Google works in practice and, incidentially, make some money.

I have set up a little blog over at the all new Blogspot Library Filter. I had a credit in my Google adword account and have bunged up an ad which will run on searches for "internet filter" and "library internet filter". And I submitted the site to Google. This will be it's first link.

Bob has generously offered me a third of any traffic I send his way so we'll see. Feel free to link to If anything sells I will happily send a PayPal beer to anyone who does link. (OK, this is the net....the first 50 and then only if at least two copies of the software sell. I can just imagine 1100 bloggers linking.)

I report on page rank and sales as we go.


Change: Pixel consensus

Whether we accept it or not, weblogs and related online essays and news sources have already taken over the shaping of opinion in our society, even bypassing television to a great extent. Nearly every journalist and writer confirms, checks and researches his or her work on the Internet constantly. Opinions move at warp speed. There is simply no time for ideology anymore (except in classrooms). It’s so Second Millennium.
What has replaced it is a kind of moving consensus, which may, in its own way, be more democratic and is also highly pragmatic. For example, at the moment, the accepted view in the Blogosphere appears to be in favor of (to pick two disparate issues) intervention in Iraq and gay marriage. Is this liberal or conservative? More importantly, does anybody care?
And if they do care, they’d better not wait long to write it down or act, because within hours, sometimes minutes, all those pixels will rearrange and the situation (and the consensus) will be altered. We are living in a broadband universe and the implications are staggering. We are only just beginning to understand them. I wouldn’t be surprised if political parties as we know them are already finished. What will replace them? Interest groups, possibly, that form and reform around various issues. Alliances we never dreamt of will be made. The nature of running for office will change.
link roger simon

At an edge the poor lame old cultural creatives with their Boomer left knees jerking are never going to get, the way opinion and facts are transmitted is changing fast. Simon knows it and so does anyone who read the Iraq War live on the net.


Jeremy Lott responds to my comments on the demise of Reports,

To take the last bit first, I suppose I should make the obvious point that the pro-gun thing is actually a libertarian position. But never mind that: He's right, to a certain extent.
However, not all of Canada is ready to link arms and sing kumbayah just yet. Alberta, for instance is very different than the rest of Canada. But it doesn't follow that just because many Canadians are drifting left that there wouldn't be a niche market for The Report. Maybe two percent of the population (or less) have a foot fetish. And yet, that's enough to support a few magazines

I would actually dispute the pro-gun thing; but not here.

I completely agree that not all of Canada has drifted iredeemably leftwards. But what most of Canada, including Alberta, seems to have concluded is that the private behavior of Canadians should not be regulated by the State. And where you have fundamentalist ninnies like Byfield denoucing gays and feminists at every opportunity a magazine's subscriber base will shrink and shrink fast.

There is definitely room for an economically conservative - in the broadest sense of that term - magazine to operate in Canada. But I suspect it would make a great deal more sense to launch on the internet before, if ever, going to paper. The trick is to leave the social conservatives, at least the ones who want to enforce selected passages of the Bible with the Criminal Code, to sink in the tar pit of their own irrelevance.

To a degree the gap between the dying social conservative movement and the increasingly mainstream world of more libertarian social views cleaves along age lines. Over 50 and people are rather more likely to think homosexuals are the spawn of Satan and drugs really will make you crazy (everyone of you.) Under fifty and the balance shifts towards a fairly radical level of tolerance for personal choice and an increasing annoyance at the corruption and incompetence of government.

But there is also a cleavage on what might be described as cultural and stylistic borders. It is awfully difficult to enjoy Sex in the City if you really believe that sex outside marriage leads directly to hell. If you surf the net you realize that pornography is boring rather than the incarnation of evil. If you have been to university you are pretty clear on the idea that smoking pot does not automatically lead to "a bad end".

Andrew Sullivan has been groping for a word to describe this new economically conservative, socially libertarian (and in his terms) hawkish psychographic. He has not succeeded but the closest he's come is "urban conservative". Fun loving, gay friendly, feminist tolerant, hardworking, far from kumbayah singing, possibly Christian but in an inclusive rather than condemning fashion, without a political home but engaged in political discourse: this is an audience large enough and attractive enough that it could support a magazine or newspaper.

To create a vehicle Canada's urban conservatives could embrace would mean dumping a lot of the social conservative, fundamentalist Christian baggage Byfield saddled Reports with. In fact, one of the main targets of such a vehicle would be the hatred and intolerance practiced by Byfield and his ilk in the name of their vengeful God. The other target would be the loony left in Canada. Lots of material there generated by Judy and Svend and Avi and Naomi and the entire CBC.

We are not ready to link arms and sing kumbayah, but many of us are also unwilling to even hum along to "Onwards Christian Soldiers". Somewhere to the right of middle there is a sweet spot where you can listen to The Clash and write seriously, and in actual English, about politics, books, ideas, science and issues. That sweet spot is likely on the internet and being invented as we speak.

On the Post's attempts to get advertising:
"The national advertising industry in this country is run basically by gays and feminists. That's who runs it. And if you take them head on, as our little magazine has, well, you're going to lose any national advertising you had."
"Ken and the Post stayed away from those things to a great degree; they didn't go into them the way we did, hoping, I think, to get the advertisers in…."
link link byfield, cbc, sunday

Not too surprising Report went down...


Report Missing, Movement Lost

Money was part of it, management too - as it always is; but the fact is that the Report's social conservative agenda was boring even the stubble jumpers.

Link Byfield in his press release pretty much summed it up:

"Today we are announcing the next step in our transition from magazine to movement."
"Over the past several months, we have sought advice from our donors and supporters about which is more urgently needed, a general newsmagazine or an aggressive agenda for constructive change for Canada and the West."
"The answer we consistently received is that people enjoyed the magazine, but even more want to bring about change. On a survey of thousands, they told us they are troubled about one thing: The undemocractic centralization of power in the hands of the prime minister and the courts."
link rick hiebert

What Byfield is doing is trading a once popular magazine for a certain to be marginal pressure group with a social conservative agenda. His members, who he claims to have surveyed in their thousands, seem to want to axe an intelligent magazine which was read outside their movement in favour of the creation of yet another looney, anti-libertarian, pressure group.

Jeremy Lott has it right when he suggests "butter for brains"; but he misses the more essential point. Strict, religious right, anti-gay, anti-drug, anti-porn, anti-immigration, pro-gun and anti-French social conservatism has been overwhelmed by small "l" liberal and even libertarian postions on social issues in Canada.

Byfield wants to start a movement to jump on the Canadian Supreme Court for doing such awful things as saying that the law of marriage must apply equally to all citizens. While he might be able to round up a posse in High River for this sort of agenda the rest of the country has moved on.

The real tragedy is that even with the official asshat social conservative agenda, Report was able to do interesting, intelligent and important stories which were not reported in the mainstream Canadian press. Losing that is a shame.

Frum: Rhymes with....

David Frum does not think much of the Canadian Supreme Court's ruling that gay marriage is a right under the Canadian constitution. Or, to be more accurate, that if there is a legal institution offered by the state then it must be made available to any citizen seeking to use it. (Denying gay marriage rights is as logical as denying women the right to vote or to drive or Chinese citizens the right to own dogs: the basic rule is non-discrimination unless, and here there is the wonderful Canadian waffle,

Equality Rights
15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.
(2) Subsection (1) does not preclude any law, program or activity that has as its object the amelioration of conditions of disadvantaged individuals or groups including those that are disadvantaged because of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.

The Court was perfectly able to read the Charter and decide a straightforward case in favour of the idea of equality as between citizens.

Says Frum,

People’s behavior is affected by the legal regime that governs their behavior. Change the rules, and they change their behavior. Gay marriage advocates are able to grasp the point that new rules mean new behaviors when they are explaining why marriage would be good for gays. It’s disingenuous then to turn around and look baffled when opponents of gay marriage point out that new rules will mean new behaviors for straights as well - and that these new behaviors are very likely to be undesireable.(sic)
link nro

Remarkable - the first part of the paragraph is startlingly obvious, the second, normative, part is the wildest speculation. There is not one word of evidence or logic propping up Frum's contention that "these new behaviors are very likely to be undesireable.(sic)" Other than the fact that to a fuddy duddy of Frummian proportions - a sort of embyronic Waugh (Evelyn not Auberon) without the consolation of either wit or alcohol - that any new behaviour is undesirable until proven otherwise by the simple fact of its newness, Frum is simply taking an ill-informed guess.


Frum fancies himself Bushier than "W" himself...which is a neat trick coming from my home and native land and all.

Gay marriage is the litmus test for social conservatives. To really make it in the social conservative world it doesn't matter a damn what you think of Iraq or deficit spending; but it is key that you be anti-drug, anti-abortion and "pro-family". And family must mean one mummy and one daddy - kid count optional.

Frum is not bright enough to go toe to toe with the neo-con policy wonks so he needs to keep his social conservative street cred. Meaning he had to scramble for a reason why treating citizens equally under the law was a bad idea.

Only a lamer and someone who has not had the pleasure of a custody fight would, for a second, take the idea that fathers might get custody occasionally (his own speculation of about the dire consequences of gay marriage) as any sort of argument against gay marriage. But David did what he had to do to keep the wackos on the Christian Right jollied up.