Iraq Death Hits Home

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
Aug. 4 2005 7:04 PM

Iraq Death Hits Home

Bloggers are mourning the death of freelance journalist Steven Vincent. They also discuss John Roberts' pro bono work on a gay rights case and question President Bush's assertion that Intelligent Design should be taught in science classes.

Iraq death hits home: Freelancer writer and National Review contributor Steven Vincent was kidnapped and killed on Tuesday in Basra; he's the first American journalist to be murdered during the war.

Vincent kept his own blog from Iraq, In The Red Zone, and some bloggers claimed Vincent as one of their own. "[T]oday I realized that 'journalist' was exactly the right description for Steven Vincent," eulogizes Greyhawk at military blog Mudville Gazette. "It's just that it's the wrong description for many who would actually claim it for themselves. …[O]utside the 'Green Zone', away from the protection of US forces, there was one American journalist in Iraq. He was killed, and then there were none."

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Others, including conservative Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters, link Vincent's murder to his Op-Ed piece in Sunday's New York Times criticizing the British military for allowing Shiite radicals to infiltrate local police forces. "His kidnappers may come from that group, rather than a Zarqawi faction," Morrissey notes. "[O]ne would suppose that the latter would have taken advantage of Vincent's notoriety in the West for a ransom demand or at least a videotaped execution and statement."

LadyBird, an Iraqi at Baghdad Dweller, reminds readers that 63 journalists died in Iraq before Vincent: "Is being an American journalist makes people more superior than the others or I missed something?"

Read more about Steven Vincent here. Kathryn Jean Lopez of the National Review eulogizes Vincent and provides links to his articles here.

Judging Roberts: An L.A. Times article discloses that Supreme Court nominee John Roberts did pro bono work for the plaintiffs in Romer v. Evans, a landmark ruling protecting people from discrimination based on sexual orientation.

"The fact that Roberts agreed to participate in Romer at least suggests that he was not viscerally, fundamentally opposed to the pro-gay rights result that the plaintiffs sought in that case," reasons David at Massachusetts policy blog Blue Mass. Group. "And that, to me, suggests that he is not the ideologue that the Dobsonites want."

Others tried to fit this new information into the upcoming Senate confirmation hearings. "I think the effects are dual," writes Justin, a commenter at Washington Monthly's Political Animal. "[T]o soften roberts in the eyes of liberals: a true crazy right winger would stand up for their bigoted beliefs rather than represent gay activists. It will upset some on the right for the same reason. Though fewer than the number of liberals that are swayed toward yes on roberts."

Law professor Ann Althouse offers a different perspective. "Romer presented very important issues about democratic processes and the relative power of state and local government," she writes. "These issues transcended gay rights and might well have strongly engaged a person who did not care one way or the other about the gay rights movement." Commenting on the post, Finn Kristiansen adds: "Who a lawyer represents, however nobly, is important. You can really be good and brilliant at what you do, head down to the task at hand, in effect tying your intellect and skills, in oppenheimeresque fashion, to the equivalent of an atomic bomb that explodes over society."

Read more about John Roberts' pro bono history here.

How intelligent? Bloggers are unimpressed by President Bush's remarks that he believes Intelligent Design should be taught alongside evolution in schools.

"Bush's shocking new statements on wanting to teach Intelligent Design/Creationism are nothing new," shrugs Atrios at famed liberal blog Eschaton. "… Kudos to our wonderful media for treating this as a he said/she said issue, where one side is the entire legitimate scientific community and the other side consists of a bunch of good Christian liars trying to dress their religion up as science. They tried once before with 'Creation Science' and now they're trying again with 'Intelligent Design.'"

Kevin Boyd at Louisiana Libertarian wants no part of it. "The only way to stop moonbats like George W. Bush from promoting this nonsense in government schools is to get government out of education," fumes the self-desribed neolibertarian Republican. "If you want your child to be taught creationism … send them to a school that teaches it. Don't force the government to teach my children that nonsense in a science class."

But conservative blogger and author Hugh Hewitt thinks Bush's remarks were in line with those of most Americans. "The non-believing slice of America --way, way overrepresented in the nation's newsrooms-- seems to think that any mention of ID equates to snake handling," he bristles. "Fine. The 'values voters' hear 'intelligent design' and think –'of course God is behind creation.'"

Read more about Bush's comments on Intelligent Design here.

Questions? Comments? E-mail todaysblogs@slate.com.

Laurel Wamsley, a former Slate intern, is a writer living in Washington, D.C.

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