Hurricane Hugo

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
Aug. 23 2005 6:14 PM

Hurricane Hugo

Bloggers find numerous reasons to condemn Pat Robertson's call for Hugo Chavez's assassination. They also discuss a series of court decisions that require gay parents to pay child support and wonder whether Lance Armstrong used performance enhancers.

Hurricane Hugo: Who says that Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson is divisive? Bloggers—left, right, and otherwise—are united in deriding Robertson for announcing, during a broadcast of the 700 Club, that the United States should assassinate  Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. Robertson called Chavez a "terrific danger" likely to fuel "communist infiltration and Muslim extremism" before noting his country controls "a huge pool of oil."

Rachael Larimore Rachael Larimore

Rachael Larimore is a Slate senior editor.

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"To an objective non-American looking at the situation … is there really much of a difference between a terrorist leader going on television and issuing a fatwa against American political leaders, and Pat Robertson going on television and essentially issuing a fatwa against democratically-elected leaders in other countries?" asks progressive David Sirota at Sirotablog.

Conservative Jonah Goldberg, at the National Review's The Corner, says he's not bothered by assassination necessarily, but still expresses displeasure with Robertson. "Morality aside, offing Chavez would almost certainly be a bad idea given the political consequences," he writes. " …The problem with this statement … [is] that Robertson claims to be a religious leader and, call me crazy, religious leaders have better things to do than talking about wet work in Venezuela."

Democrat at liberal group blog MyDD highlights Robertson's claim that killing Chavez probably wouldn't turn off the oil spigot and, linking to an old Guardian story where Chavez claimed the United States wanted to assassinate him, notes: "Chavez has only threatened to stop oil shipments if there is an attempt on his life. … By threatening Chavez, you are making this event more likely. You are also proving him absolutely right in his fear that the US is trying to kill him."

Better Living's Mark Daniels, a pastor, emphatically rejects Robertson's line of thought. "There can be no possible Biblical justification for a Christian to call for the execution of a leader of a nation with which our country is not at war," he writes.

Using a popular headline, liberal James Poling, a writer and actor in NYC, speaks for many: "Hey Pat, put the cuckoo back in the clock please. Will somebody get this guy some fucking oil. … The sixth commandment: Thou shall not kill; unless that motherfucker won't give you some of his sweet, sweet oil."

Read more about Pat Robertson. CNN.com offers a link to video of his statement. 

The parent trap: Gay rights advocates are celebrating a series of decisions by the California Supreme Court that require estranged partners to pay child support, effectively "grant[ing] full parental status to both members of same-sex couples." Bloggers are piling on Mathew Staver of Liberty Counsel, who said, "You've essentially begun to undermine and unravel the family. Today's ruling defies logic and common sense by saying that children can have two moms."

"Lesbians will have babies, whether you like it or not," writes law professor Ann Althouse. "Why is it worse to preserve that child's relationships and preserve private sources of funds for raising it?"

That's what left-leaning Andy at World Wide Rant wants to know. Criticizing the anti-gay-marriage movement, he writes, "That's right, in order to keep up their bigoted campaign against gay marriage, they will sacrifice the well-being of children and refuse to hold people accountable for their actions and choice."

"Honestly, I am offended that the gay parents who resist paying support try arguing that since they weren't legally married, they weren't legally parents and thus aren't legally liable for supporting children they agreed to!" says conservative Jonathan Leffingwell at Crush Liberalism. "I mean, you can't say 'We just want to be the same as everyone else' and then say 'Uh...except here!' "

Read more about the court decisions.

France goes after Lance: A French newspaper reports that tests performed in 2004 showed that seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong had traces of erythropoietin, or EPO, in urine samples collected in 1999. The sport did not test for EPO until 2001. Armstrong has called the story a "witch hunt."

"He could be as pure as the driven snow. He could be the Tiger Woods of cycling. I hope he is. It's nice when someone revives your faith in humanity by doing the right thing," says Steve H., a Floridian blogging at Hog on Ice. "But if you put a gun to my head and ask me to guess, I'll say I think he uses drugs."

So what, others say. "Thing is, this could be true," writes Austin, Texas, blogger La Vida Es Sueño. "The samples could be legit. But at this point it just doesn't matter because I don't believe a thing the French say about Lance Armstrong."

"After passing 178 drug tests despite the best efforts of various folks to prove he cheated, I think the guy is entitled to at least the benefit of the doubt," saysRun to Win, which blogs on sports "from a New England perspective."

Read more about the allegations.

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