We have a few brain teasers for you in today's articles. How can you (or those people who are always using the word) tell when "moralising" is wrong? Which population is worth more -- the few billion people alive today, or the possible umpteen billions to come (if they come)? What is the TPP, and why are they talking about copyright? Finally, what is the purpose of marriage counselling/therapy, and is it worth you time and money? We await your feedback.
In the United States it has been a bad day for the Democrats and President Obama as the Republicans took control of the Senate, but Sheila Liaugminas in today's post sees it differently: "It’s a new day in American politics, it’s going to be very interesting, and the next presidential campaign season will probably begin just after this new Congress is sworn in, if not sooner."
Politics has always been brutal. Tonight Kiwis are letting off fireworks because 400-odd years ago a Catholic loyalist called Guy Fawkes was caught guarding a stash of gunpowder under the English House of Lords and was consigned to a ghastly death. As far as I know, the UK is the only other place where this ridiculous custom continues. My guess is that 99 percent of the folks letting off bangers in their backyard tonight have no idea why they should do it on this particular night, but some guys don't need a reason to do something noisy and dangerous. If only they would confine it to one night, but this is going to go on, sporadically, and on past experience, for the whole month. I do think that the ones who let off screaming whatsits at midnight should be arrested and -- not tortured -- but shown the instruments, that is, given a good scare.
NEWS UPDATE: What did I tell you? Not one of my horses even placed in the Melbourne Cup. It was won by four lengths by a German horse, Protectionist. Nobody's luck can be this bad; a lifetime without a single win; there must be a conspiracy.
However, I do regret passing on the tip about the Japanese horse which was the darling of the punters, Admire Rakti. After a very strong start, he finished last, collapsed in his stall and died. It was a sombre finish to the event.
I realise that there is an election tomorrow in the United States but a more important event takes place in Melbourne. Do not, under any circumstances, ring me, or anyone in Australia for that matter, between 2.50pm and 3.15pm. It is a sacred moment, the moment of the Melbourne Cup, Australia’s leading thoroughbred horse race, the race that stops the nation.
The favourite is Admire Rakti, a Japanese horse paying $4.80. I have drawn in the office sweep Lidari, at $51, Willing Foe, at $31, and Signoff, at $7.50.
Signoff, an Irish gelding with a Brazilian jockey, may seem like a good bet, but I am afraid that he is doomed if I am holding his name. I have never, ever won a cent in the Cup. The whole thing has obviously been rigged. That's another reason not to ring. I shall be feeling majorly depressed.
The marriage debate continues to produce great commentary and capture our readers' attention. The commonsense ruling of a US judge on Puerto Rico's marriage law is our most read article at the end of the week. Michael Cook's digest of a address by Professor Robert P. George -- Who's the bigot now? -- shows how promises that same-sex marriage "won't hurt you" have come to nothing. Then today's public announcement by Apple CEO Tim Cook (no relation, we think) that he is gay has upped the stakes for small business, coporate and political leaders who do not support the only "right" that currently matters for the gay rights movement -- as I point out in my piece.
I think there may be a lesson about all this in a video we have had on our front page for a couple of days. It introduces us to one of the world's most untimely and unwanted monuments: the headquarters of Bulgaria's former communist regime. Built at huge expense in the 1980s, when Soviet communism looked unassailable, this "elegant monstrosity" as The Economist too kindly calls it, now lies in ruins in the middle of nowhere, a curiosity for tourists and an embarrassment for locals who threw off the communist yoke less than a decade after Buzluzleha was completed. Sic transit gloria mundi -- which I roughly translate as, all big lies will come to an end.
I hope you manage to enjoy the weekend, in spite of Halloween.
The most read article on the site today is "Not the voice of my generation" by Kate Bryan, a young American writer who is new to MercatorNet. Kate took a look at a book by New Yorker Lena Dunham of Girls (TV show) fame and was, well, disappointed.
On October 15, the Supreme Court of Canada began hearing an appeal by the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association on assisted suicide. Contributing to the debate in the media, Margaret Somerville rebuts the idea that respect for the mystery of life, which sets limits to our control of it, is simply a religious idea that can be discarded.
The reinvention of parenthood continues its advance with bioethicists laying down the red carpet for technicians. And politicians look set to swallow the brave new world scenarios. Read Michael Cook's account of the latest proposals.
And Marcus Roberts wonders why we can't think up a really good catastrophe to solve the population problem. There's a challenge for readers...
Here is some welcome news. A Federal Court judge in the US jurisdiction of Puerto Rico has broken ranks and defended traditional marriage. (See below.) It's a stirring reaffirmation of common sense:
"Recent affirmances of same-gender marriage seem to suffer from a peculiar inability to recall the principles embodied in existing marriage law. Traditional marriage is 'exclusively [an] opposite-sex institution... inextricably linked to procreation and biological kinship.' Traditional marriage is the fundamental unit of the political order. And ultimately the very survival of the political order depends upon the procreative potential embodied in traditional marriage."
Long-time MercatorNet contributor Michael Coren writes from Canada. He had just released his book on the persecution of Christians by Muslim extremists when a Muslim convert with a gun killed a soldier and stormed Parliament House in Ottawa. His essay below reminds us that the age of martyrs is far from over.