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Showing posts from July, 2012

I Support the Right of the Boy Scouts to Discriminate Against Gays

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“What?” you might ask, adding, “Douglas, aren’t you supposed to be gay?”
Yes, of course I am, as the many posts on this topic in my blog indicate.But I’m also a lawyer and an American citizen, and the United States Supreme Court made it clear in its 2000 Boy Scouts of America v. Dale decision that the Constitution’s first amendment protection of the right of association and freedom of speech allows private organizations to discriminate whenever they want.That’s clearly right.If I form an organization that bars homophobes I certainly don’t want the courts to say that I can’t discriminate on that basis.If someone doesn’t agree with my restriction, they can say I’m a bigot all they like, but they can’t join.Whether it’s moral or right for the Boy Scouts to ban gay scout members or leaders is a very different question than whether it’s legal to do so.
Many organizations discriminate against gays (or blacks, Jews, women, atheists, etc.) including major religions like the Catholic Church …

Speed-Dating Agents As I Pitch My Novel at ThrillerFest 2012

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ThrillerFest is an annual event in early July in which the leading authors of thrillers (Lee Child, John Sanford, Richard North Patterson, Steve Berry, etc.) give seminars on how to write thrillers, along with many other meet-and-greet events.A highlight of this one week meeting at the Grand Hyatt in New York City is an afternoon session called "AgentFest" in which aspiring authors (400 of them!), such as yours truly, get to pitch their thriller to the leading agents in the United States who represent thriller authors, with a goal of getting one of them to take you on as a client.
I was set last year to go to ThrillerFest, but a sudden illness and near death (see Related Posts below: "Mama Cat Saves My Life") prevented me from doing so.Happily, the recovery of good health and the willingness of the nice people who run ThrillerFest to spot me this year's attendance fee, allowed me to participate this year for no extra outlay of cash (I'd had to forfeit las…

"The God Particle" and the Vanishing Role of God

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Physicists all over the world are celebrating this week's confirmation of the existence of the Higgs boson, nicknamed the “God particle,” which is the smallest subatomic particle of them all.It gives mass to other particles, and without it the universe could not exist.The particle was discovered at the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, Switzerland, and its presence was deduced by the collision of other particles in the 27 mile spin of the collider.The existence of the Higgs boson was theorized in 1964 by University of Edinburgh physicist Peter Higgs, and—incredibly—he was present in Geneva yesterday at the announcement.He's now 83, and was moved to tears as the crowd of scientists applauded him at the culminating moment of a long career.The particle is of course named after Professor Higgs.


Scientists had struggled for decades to find the Higgs boson, and, interestingly, it got its nickname from a book by physicist Leon Lederman that was originally entitled "The Goddamn…

Obamacare, John Roberts and the Supreme Court

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As I’ve discussed before [see "Jumping the Broom—How Married are Gay Married Couples?" July 17, 2011] the United States Supreme Court is divided into four liberals, four conservatives, and then there’s Justice Anthony Kennedy, who’s always the swing vote in cases where those labels are important. At the Ohio State Law School, where I teach, we recently had a faculty skit at the law school’s comedy night in which professors gave mock lectures about their subjects. When it came time for the Constitutional Law prof to speak he explained that "Constitutional Law is easy: it’s whatever Justice Kennedy is thinking at the moment." 


When the Court heard arguments on the constitutionality of the Obamacare statute everyone was studying the questions and comments of Justice Kennedy very carefully, and there was much casting of tea leaves over what his musings during the oral arguments suggested. Those arguments themselves were astonishing: six hours of attorneys being gri…