Today's Blogs

Straight Dope

Bloggers wonder whether the Tour de France champion cheated, if marriage-minded gays will ever catch a break, and whether there’s any gung-ho left in America’s armed forces.

Straight dope: American cyclist Floyd Landis, whose dramatic comeback clinched victory at the Tour de France, tested positive for high levels of testosterone during the competition. Landis has been suspended from his racing team, Phonak, and faces expulsion from the team and sanctions if testing of a backup sample confirms the findings. Landis denies the charges.

“For cycling this is the worst and biggest news ever, it’s the nightmare scenario, the darkest day,” writes Live Journal user Meekay. “What’s more depressing?” asks Chris Otto at Yorkblog, the blog of the York (Pa.) Daily Record. “1. The fact that a guy raised in the conservative Mennonite village of Farmersville is now at the center of a drug scandal that wil, for a time, outshine even Barry Bonds’ woes 2. Or that fact that, in this era of drug scandals everywhere you look, there’s nothing terribly surprising about this.”

“Cycling has always been shrowded in controversy when it comes to performance enhancing drugs - especially at the Tour de France. If what is being reported about Floyd Landis is confirmed after they test his B sample … what little credibility the Tour has left will all but vanish,” writes the Aussie behind Sports BBQ. “It seems that a huge part of the competition in this event is seeing if you can get away with taking illegal performance enhancing drugs. what the hell is wrong with these guys? this sport is just as messed up as boxing,” writes CBT3 at Mawopi, or Moguls Armed With Our Parents Income.

Here’s more on Landis.

De-unionized: The Washington State Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld 5-4 the state’s Defense of Marriage Act, limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples.

Dale Carpenter at the law blog Volokh Conspiracy offers a lengthy analysis of the decision, calling it “the most careful, closely reasoned, and comprehensive judicial opinion to date rejecting constitutional claims to gay marriage.” Carpenter concedes that gay marriage advocates have been dealt a series of blows lately but suggests that the Washington ruling has a silver lining. “There is a bright spot in Andersen for gay couples. The court practically invites future litigation and legislation resulting in a Vermont-style civil unions resolution, granting the benefits and protections of marriage to gay couples without the status of ‘marriage.’ This seems the likely direction for future litigation and legislative action in Washington and elsewhere.”

Bull Dog Pundit at the right-wing Ankle Biting Pundit applauds the ruling. “[T]he important thing here is that the Court didn’t inject its own personal views. Also of import is the Court’s refusal to make homosexuality a ‘suspect class’, which would put sexual orientation on the same plane as race and sex when it comes to deciding the constitutionality of laws in which a violation of equal protection is raised.” Bull Dog thinks gay marriage is a question for the legislature, not the judiciary: “[I]f gay marriage comes about through the people rather than the courts it will, like it or not, have a legitimacy about it that no court-imposed mandate can possibly have.”

Mass Marrier at Marry in Massachusetts regrets the court’s argument that gay marriage may be harmful for children and population growth. “The majority ruling in Washington State performed its sideshow trick. It took a key legal principle, stood it on its head and spun it until it was dizzy,” Marrier harrumphs. “In both the New York and Washington decisions, the judges perverted a legal touchstone, that of compelling interest. The wrote very clearly that their states had a compelling interest in legislation that promoted the continuation of humanity, in their cases by promoting heterosexual marriage, which often produced offspring. Yet as the dissents in the Washington case iterated and mirrored the New York dissents, that has squat to do with the question before them. … Forbidding SSM simply punishes gays and their children and in no way leads to the production of a single additional future citizen.”

Read more on the Washington decision. In Slate, Dahlia Lithwick chides the court for blaming the legislature.

Troop gloom: Bloggers are sympathetic with American soldiers who admit to flagging morale and frustration at the Iraq war in a Washington Post article headlined “Waiting to Get Blown Up.” (Disclosure: Slate is owned by the Washington Post Co.)

Brian Varitek at lefty site Burn the Liberals cracks: “[P]erhaps Conservative pundits and the Bush administration will stop painting a picture that troops are happy with this Iraq war, know what they’re fighting for, are fully behind the cause, and are, like, dancing through the fields singing motherfucking show tunes.” Liberal Steve Benen at the Carpetbagger Report also brings it back to Bush. “The White House rhetoric talks about troops who appreciate their mission and understand exactly why their work in Iraq is important and their sacrifices worthwhile. But actually hearing from the troops themselves, who haven’t been reading the latest Republican talking points, offers a very different picture. They not only don’t want to be there, they’re not even sure why they’re there,” he writes.

Righty former soldier Macsmind has this to say: “We all know how the media likes to portray soldiers, and ask any five in a group of a hundred and you’ll get bitching. Who said it was a party. Still those on the left will use this for more of their ‘cut and run’ calls.” Meanwhile, Bill Crawford of All Things Conservative points to some positive numbers on casualties among U.S. troops.

Read more on troop morale.