Friday, February 28, 2014


               The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has released its annual list of new admissions to that philistine institution.  For reasons SR has previously lamented and explained,, the internationally beloved and acclaimed Carpenters have predictably been excluded once again.

              The reason I have revisited a topic that is understandably esoteric to many is straigtforward:  It is emblematic of the dominance of the dark side in contemporary culture.

               Apart from the more detailed reasons set out in that post last year, and further amplified below, the blatant injustice of this perverse exclusion is nicely illustrated by the graphic below.  As documented in Joel Whitburn's The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits (c) 2000, the Carpenters were the leading American hit-makers of the 1970's, surpassing such legendary peers as The Jackson 5, Chicago, and Stevie Wonder. Numerous other artists ranking well below the Carpenters on that list -- and far below them as well in terms of both musical artistry and enduring international popularity -- have been admitted to what amounts to Rolling Stone Magazine's pet museum of political and behavioral favorites.

                                                     TOP ARTISTS BY DECADE
Source:  Joel Whitburn, The Bill Board Book of Top 40 Hits © 2000
                                                                Artist                           Points
1.        Elton John                    2,021
2.        Paul McCartney            2,020
3.       Bee Gees                     1,834
4.       Carpenters                  1,644
5.       The Jackson 5              1,551
6.       Chicago                       1,480
                                                7.       Stevie Wonder              1,467

         Still, it must be conceded that this year's selections are otherwise unobjectionable and include several performers whose music appeals even to SR's admittedly uncontemporary tastes.  Hall & Oates (H&O), Linda Ronstadt, and Cat Stevens have all produced many impressive and moving recordings of lasting appeal, including H&O's She's Gone, Ronstadt's Blue Bayou, and Stevens' Morning Has Broken. Neither Nirvana nor Kiss comes anywhere near SR's horizons of musical enjoyment, but both groups undoubtedly have created the kind of lasting impact and popularity in the Hard Rock genre to warrant admission to any representative R&R Hall of Fame.  Only the last new selectee, former Genesis member Peter Gabriel, seems inexplicable on any basis other than the favoritism of the admission's group.  His individual hit-making credentials are not remotely comparable to his chart-making contemporaries -- e.g., he had only one Top 5 single while the Carpenters, for example, had 11 -- while his contributions as a member of Genesis have already been honored by that group's admission to the Hall in 2010.

         Notwithstanding all this, the unyielding exclusion of the Carpenters' from consideration for this honor warrants a very brief recapitulation of why this systemic bias flies in the face of objective criteria.  This can be illustrated by comparing their recording credentials to those of the three new admittees to the Hall with whom such a comparison is most relevant -- Hall & Oates, Cat Stevens, and Linda Ronstadt.  Kiss and Nirvana, of course, are so remote from the Carpenters in oeuvre, era, and audience as to make any comparison inapposite.  Comparisons with the former threesome are also more relevant because each of them, like the Carpenters, could be characterized as falling into the pop/middle-of-the-road category that some cite as a sufficient reason for excluding the Carpenters, John Denver, and similar "non-rock"artists.

                                                                               Annie Leibovitz/Rolling Stone
                      Still "Too polite and too white" for the Cliques that run the RRHOF

        Probably the simplest, most objective, and readily available basis for comparison is the popularity of each artist based on singles and album sales.  As shown in the table above, the Carpenters far surpassed any of the three RRHOF artists under comparison (and all other American recording artists, for that matter) in singles sales during the 1970's, the only decade in which all four artists were active throughout.  Indeed, none of those three artists appeared in the Top 25 for that period as compiled in the Billboard Book, although Hall & Oates ranked No. 3 among artists rated for the 1980's (the Carpenters' run ended conclusively with Karen's death in 1983, but actually much earlier due to her impairment of anorexia).  Still, artistic longevity is a virtue, not a vice, so it is fair to compare the full career sales of these four artists.

        The Carpenters had eleven Top 5 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 (the source of all the ratings here) and 10 or 11 Gold Singles (the status of their last Top 5 single, Only Yesterday, is unclear) during their 13-year recording career.  Cat Stevens had no Top 5 (T5) singles, while Linda Ronstadt had six.  Hall &Oates had eight T5 singles and six certified Gold Singles.  By this criterion, the Carpenters were clearly superior, although H&O did outdo them in total Hot 100 No. 1's, six to three. But the Carpenters also had five hits that reached No. 2, and an astonishing and incomparable 15 singles that reached No. 1 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart.  Based on the straightforward criterion of major hit songs, the Carpenters clearly surpassed the three RRHOF selectees compared here, although Hall & Oates admittedly comes close to them in that regard.

        As to albums, one objective and identifiable measure for recording superstars of this caliber is the number and multiples of platinum albums, as certified by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).  A platinum album reflects U.S. sales (international success is discussed further below) of at least one million; a multiple of 2X platinum means at least two million, and so forth. The source for the data presented are the Discographies for each artist published on-line by

        The comparison of U.S. album sales for these four artists is closer and more mixed Whereas both H&O and Cat Stevens totaled seven platinum albums, the Carpenters surpassed both of them with eight in their far shorter recording career.  Taking into account the multiples factor (i.e., total platinum units), however, the Carpenters' edge over these two RRHOF admittees was considerably greater.  For example, the Carpenters' mega-hit compilation album, The Singles: 1969-1973, was certified as 7X platinum, and their 1971 album, Carpenters, was 4X platinum.  In sum, the Carpenters significantly surpassed H&O and Cat Stevens in platinum album units as well as in hit singles.

        Linda Ronstadt, however, produced the most U.S. platinum albums among this comparison group, with a total of eleven, three more than the Carpenters.  Ms. Rondstadt's advantage in this criterion is offset, however, by the Carpenters far greater album success in the international market, where they far surpassed all others in the comparison group.

        During the period of these artists' careers, Japan was the world's No. 2 record market and the United Kingdom was No. 3. Using the Discography of each artist as reported on, the Carpenters' success in those leading international markets easily surpassed those of all three of the Hall of Fame selectees under comparison.

        In the No. 2 Japanese market, there is simply no comparison.  Of the three admitted artists under consideration here, only Linda Ronstadt's discography showed any significant album hits in Japan, and her highest-ranked reported album there was a mere No. 12.  In comparison, the Carpenters had enormous and enduring success in the Japanese market, where they are the third-leading all-time international group, surpassed only by Mariah Carey and the Beatles (in single sales, they were the No. 1 international group in Japan for many years until finally surpassed by a South Korean "K-Pop" group in 2012).  They had three No. 1 albums and eleven Top 10 albums in Japan.

       In the No. 3 UK market, both Cat Stevens and the Carpenters had great album success, with each scoring seven albums that reached the Top 5.  The Carpenters, however, had three No. 1 UK albums, whereas Stevens had but one. Neither H&O nor Ms. Ronstadt came close in the UK, with H&O scoring two Top 5 albums and Ms.Ronstadt none.

       But the Carpenters' great popularity in the UK and Japan was only a small part of their extraordinary and enduring international appeal and influence.  As amply documented here and elsewhere, e.g.,, that appeal has extended even to the People's Republic of China, where one Chinese journalist went so far as to declare that the introduction of the Carpenters' music there "was the beginning of the [cultural] opening of China."  Incredible though it may seem to many, the Carpenters' music had historical significance in China as an important part of the cultural opening initiated by the reforms of Deng Hsiao Ping following the Cultural Revolution.

       One could go on and on, but SR will spare the reader further statistical onslaught.  The case is too clear for dispute:  by any objective criteria, the Carpenters should long since have been enthusiastically welcomed into any legitimate RRHOF; the argument that they are excluded from consideration because their music is not "rock-and-roll" has been repeatedly exposed as bogus by the admission of numerous other artists of similar oeuvre.

       The Carpenters have been excluded because their music and character exude an aura of romantic innocence that is alien to the closed minds of the jaded hipsters that jealously guard the gate of that calcified institution.  Depressing, but true.


Saturday, February 22, 2014


              In the appalling wasteland of contemporary television, any oasis of sense and sanity is hard to find, especially for persons of a more conservative persuasion.  Many of that persuasion find their sole refuge from the relentless onslaught of left-wing media rot in the Fox News Channel (FNC).  For this observer, alas, even that isolated oasis has compromised its credibility with its recent distortions and outright ignorance in its coverage of the Sochi Winter Olympics.

                Although the Democrat-dominated cable news alternatives enjoy mocking FNC as a tool of the Republican Party and political conservatives, in reality it is far from it.  It's prominent news anchor, Shepard Smith, is a smirking liberal.  Unlike the mainstream media's liberal-dominated discussion panels, FNC never presents a topical debate or discussion without equal representation of the leftist or Democratic viewpoint, no matter how insupportable that position might be.  And Bill O'Reilly, FNC's most highly-rated and prominent star in the news and information field, is politically conservative only from the skewed perspective of the left.  He is an unrepentant liberal on many issues, such as capital punishment, and takes particular delight in scornfully mocking what he perceives to be the unwarranted stubbornness of conservatives in advancing and defending their positions.  In fact, a quick perusal of genuinely conservative political websites will confirm that O'Reilly and the FNC are held in considerable contempt in those quarters.

                Still, any port in a storm, as the saying goes.  Although I rarely resort to television for news or anything else, I frequently find relief from the boredom of lengthy workouts on the elliptical machine at my gym by tuning in FNC on the individual TV monitor.  But after the maddening ignorance and distortions to which I was exposed by two FNC programs on February 21, I think I will seek my rare television relief at the nature or history channels in future.

                In both cases, the subject was the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. 

                                                                                        Photo:  Issei Kato
         Adelina Sotnikova, deserving Ice Queen at the center of bogus controversy

                The first program was Neil Cavuto's afternoon news and information talk-fest, entitled "Your World."  Cavuto previously worked with CNBC, NBC, and PBS, and had an intership in the Jimmy Carter White House in his youth.  His expertise and experience lie in the fields of economics and business.  He is basically a mealy-mouthed, Pillsbury Dough-boy moderate who would likely consider a battle between Satan and Michael the Archangel as a story requiring a "fair and balanced" presentation.  But Cavuto's segment on Russia's conduct of the Sochi Olympics did not even pretend to a balanced presentation.

                Cavuto's guest was a former CIA operative whose qualifications for presenting informed comment on a winter sports festival were nil. Both Cavuto and his guest spent the entire segment parroting and reinforcing the prescribed U.S. media narrative (of both right and left) that the Sochi Olympics have been a disaster for Vladimir Putin and Russia.  They focused gleefully on photos of Putin frowning balefully while watching the Russian Ice Hockey team's upset defeat at the hands of Finland -- as though he should have been smiling and laughing at his nation's loss. 

                Revealing their abysmal ignorance of the broader Winter Olympics picture, they focused entirely on Russia's defeat in ice hockey, while studiously ignoring its momentous upset triumphs in ladies and team figure skating and its far exceeding expectations in the overall medal count (at this writing, on Feb. 22, Russia leads the overall medal count with 29, vs. the U.S.'s 27, and 11 golds, vs. the U.S.'s 9).  Not content with presenting an entirely distorted picture of the strong performance by Russia's athletes, Cavuto and his guest joined in seriously suggesting, without a shred of evidence, that Putin might punish, or maybe even execute, those Russian athletes who had fallen short.  They then went on to contend that the Sochi Olympics presented the greatest disaster for a host country since Hitler's travails at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, again without any basis in supporting facts.

                Significantly, moreover, the original and primary basis for predictions of disaster for Sochi was the threat of terrorist attacks or subversion.  Even the slightest indicators of approaching problems in this regard were seized upon with glee by the America media, with Cassandra-like projections of Olympic tragedy.  Yet the Sochi Games have been entirely free of even slight disruption in that respect; Putin's iron-handed security has proven more than a match for any terrorist pipedreams.  Consequently, the anti-Russian media chorus has been reduced to whining lugubriously about insufficiently plush accommodations, sometimes slushy snow, and almost comical suppression of the obnoxious and sacrilegious exhibitionists, Pussy Riot, by so-called Russian cossacks.

                But the Cavuto show's Russo-phobic distortions were only a preview of what was to follow on the sophomoric, dormitory lounge-style political panel show known as "The Five." 

                Purporting to be a conservative alternative to the left-wing circle jerks that pass for political exchange on outlets like MSNBC and CNN, the Five does not include a single principled social conservative or a single well-informed or thoughtful conservative commentator.  Instead, it is composed of Bob Beckel, a porcine, mentally indolent representative of old-school Democratic liberalism (he is also the political genius who managed Walter Mondale's pathetic 1984 presidential campaign that carried only a single State, Mondale's own Minnesota, and that by a squeaker); the smugly annoying, spike-haired, Berkeley-educated libertarian, Greg Gutfeld; former Bush 43 spokeswoman Dana Perino, the very embodiment of the inoffensive, unprincipled National Press Club-style moderate Republican; and Eric Bolling, a former commodities trader and financial reporter, who passes for the group's most assertive conservative.  The show's fifth slot is filled alternatively by one of two attractive and articulate brunettes, Andrea Tantaros and Kimberly Guilfoyle, or by the liberal African-American commentator, Juan Williams.

                The show's February 21 segment on the ladies figure skating competition at Sochi was one of the more offensive, mean-spirited, ill-informed presentations I have witnessed on television.

                I am a great admirer of the beauty and spirit of ladies figure skaters, and along with many millions world-wide, I greatly enjoyed the especially dramatic, beautifully skated performances of the contenders at the Sochi Ice Palace.  The gold medal came down to the final free skates of the three appealing young ladies who led the scoring after the short program:  highly-favored defending gold medalist Yuna Kim of South Korea, regarded by many as the greatest ladies skater ever; the graceful and elegant Italian skating veteran, Carolina Kostner; and the vivacious, brown-eyed 17-year-old Russian champion, Adelina Sotnikova.  Earlier, Kim's long-time arch-rival, two-time World Champion and 2010 silver medalist Mao Asada of Japan, had been effectively eliminated by falling in her attempt to land the rare and difficult triple axel (which no other lady skater currently attempts) in the short program.

                The final free-skate competition was a moving demonstration of athleticism, heart, and artistry for anyone with the slightest appreciation of the sport.  First, Mao Asada, heart-broken after her disastrous fall in the short program, pulled herself together for a gorgeous free skate, including perfect execution of her trademark triple axel.  Her gutsy performance, which pulled her from sixteenth to sixth place and was out-pointed only by the top two skaters in the free skate component, was especially admirable because she took the ice emotionally distraught and eliminated from contention for the gold medal she had sought since finishing second to Yuna Kim at Torino in 2010.  Commentator Johnny Weir justly observed that, medal or no medal, Asada's brave performance under the shadow of her short program confirmed that the lady had the heart of a true champion.

                When the final group took the ice, the Ice Palace was filled with extraordinary tension and suspense because the top three ladies were virtually tied after the short program.  Carolina Kostner was the first to skate.  Her dazzling, long-legged spirals, jumps, and spins to Revel's Bolero were both moving and athletically impressive, and she was rewarded with a justifiably high total score of 216.73 to take the lead.  It seemed at the moment that only the supreme Ms. Kim could surpass her.  But then Miss Sotnikova, the Russian ingenue, took center stage.  Her technical performance, with seven dazzling triple jumps, was off the charts, and was embellished by the energy, grace, and theatricality of her presentation.  Mainly on the strength of her incredibly demanding technical elements, she moved ahead of Ms. Kostner with a total score of 224.59.

              Finally, the arena hushed dramatically when Queen Yuna regally glided onto the ice.  She skated with the flawless grace and execution expected of the world's highest-ranked skater, but her jumps were on the tight side, and less demanding than those of Sotnikova.  She nailed six triple jumps, but Adelina had nailed seven, with higher technical values.  In the end, the judges determined that Miss Kim's graceful performance had not overcome Sotnikova's superior technical element scores and dazzling charisma, and awarded the gold medal to the Russian gamine.

                Especially because of Yuna Kim's great stature and status as a heavy favorite, the upset victory was naturally subject to scrutiny and the second-guessing that is typical of a sport based upon judging.  Unsurprisingly, South Korean officials complained that the judges had unfairly deprived their Queen Yuna of her expected victory.  More disturbingly, seventh-place U.S. skater Ashley Wagner expressed bitter criticism of the overall judging, even though her competent performance was nowhere near the excellence of the ladies who were awarded the podium.  Undoubtedly because the gold medal was awarded to a Russian girl, the Putin-hating U.S. media used these and other routine grumblings to cultivate a contrived controversy that Ms. Sotnikova's well-deserved victory was the result of prejudiced or dishonest judging.  Smugly ill-informed U.S. journalists, like USA Today's Christine Brennan, could not even wait to "review the video" before tweeting their unsolicited opinion that Ms. Sotnikova's score was unjustified.

                Fortunately for the cause of fairness and well-informed judgment, however, members of the elite skating community who actually understand figure skating came to the rescue.

               Former Olympic champion Tara Lipinski and her colorful NBC sidekick, former Olympian Johnny Weir, both concurred in the judges' decision that Ms. Sotnikova deserved first place.  In a subsequent television interview with Bob Costas which is well worth viewing (available on video at, Lipinski and Weir politely but firmly explained why Sotnikova's victory was warranted in terms even the likes of Christine Brennan might understand.  Her technical performance was demonstrably superior to Miss Kim's and Miss Kostner's, particularly her more difficult series of seven triple jumps.  As Johnny Weir put it with his typical verve, "Adelina won the night, plain and simple."

             Other elite Olympic skating veterans concurred.  Former gold medalist and long-time skating maven Scott Hamilton cited Sotnikova's superior athleticism in supporting the judges' decision.  "It was totally fair," concurred two-time Canadian silver medalist Elvis Stojko. Interestingly, if any two persons could represent the opposite poles of figure skating style, it would be the muscular and macho Stojko and the androgynous Johnny Weir.  Yet they flatly agreed on the justice and integrity of Adelina's victory.  And to its credit, NBC went to the trouble of preparing a synchronized, side-by-side video on its website showing each technical element and jump performed by Sotnikova and Kim, along with the points allowable for each element.  Anyone viewing that video can more readily understand why Sotnikova was given the narrow edge in the final scoring.

                Had the ill-prepared blockheads of The Five taken even five minutes to apprise themselves of these expert judgments they might have refrained from launching the disgraceful and ill-informed attack on the integrity of Ms. Sotnikova's spectacular triumph that was broadcast on February 21.  The obese and clueless Bob Beckel, who would not know a triple axel from a triple crown, not only declared that Ms. Kim had been cheated of the gold medal, but went so far as to imply that the result was fixed.  The other members of the panel generally lent their uninformed support to the insidious premise of the program – i.e., that Miss Sotnikova's victory was tainted and probably the result of corrupt Russian influence – by failing to challenge or question Beckel's and the program's introductory suggestion of a "fix."  In the program's nasty and mean-spirited denigration of this lovely Russian athlete's triumph, not one of the panel evinced the slightest indication that they had done any research or preparation for discussing a topic on which they lacked even rudimentary knowledge or insight.
                Indeed, this episode was the second time in a period of only a few weeks in which The Five's panelists had pontificated ignorantly and ignominiously on Olympic ice skating.  The U.S. Olympic authorities had ignited considerable controversy when they selected Ashley Wagner as one of the three lady skaters on the U.S. team, even though Mirai Nagasu had finished ahead of Wagner in the competitive tryouts and thus had earned the spot under the normal practice.  In their clueless discussion criticizing Wagner's selection, panel member Beckel implied that Wagner (a rather striking All-American beauty) was selected over Nagasu (a Japanese-American) because Wagner's looks were more representative of what was expected of a U.S. lady skater.  No other panel member questioned or challenged Beckel's boorish and groundless insinuation. This was an insult to both ladies, in demeaning both Wagner's selection and Nagasu's looks, even though Miss Nagasu is also a lovely girl.  Panelist Greg Gutfeld then removed any doubts about the group's ignorance when he smugly asserted that figure skating – long recognized as the most popular and widely-viewed Winter Olympic sport in television ratings – was one of those sports that only the participants and their families cared about.  Although his snide comment was beyond clueless, the other panel members acquiesced in silence.

                The most disturbing aspect of this kind of ill-informed television commentary – apart from the harm it inflicts upon those who are defamed by its fallacies – is the failure of these self-satisfied philistenes to undertake even minimal preparation and research on the topics they are privileged to expound upon before millions of viewers.  For commentators like those on The Five to impugn the integrity of Miss Sotnikova's Olympic triumph without even bothering to inform themselves of the most basic and pertinent facts is the height, or depth, of arrogant sloth.

                But there is another disturbing aspect of the critical portrayal of not only innocent Russian athletes but of Russia's Sochi Olympic effort in general that has more serious long-term implications beyond the passing phenomenon of a sports event.  It is apparent that this Olympic negativism is a proxy for an obsessive hostility towards Vladimir Putin and the Russian Federation itself, which seems to prevail on both sides of America's ideological divide.  Particularly on the right, an irrepressible impulse to resurrect the glory days of President Reagan's victory over the Communist empire of the Soviet Union drives a certain element of conservatives to seek confrontation with Putin's non-communist Russian Federation wherever they can find it, whether in the games of Sochi or in the current Ukrainian upheaval.  Given the internal division, diminishing military power, and compromised leadership of our own country, the heedless pursuit of such a confrontation is not likely to end well.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


          In the second month of the sixth year of misrule by the cadre of miscreants that is politely referred to as the Obama Administration, an inventory of some of the more egregious infamies and distortions that recently plague us is in order -- if only to underscore the urgent need for relentless resistance by those who still cling to the principles and precepts of our Founders.  The first item discussed is the recent judicial atrocity assaulting the institution of traditional marriage in Virginia.  Other installments will soon follow.

            What laughably passes for a federal court in this dismal era recently ruled that Virginia's constitutional and statutory limitation of marriage to unions between one man and one woman violates the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  This decision is an outrage against both law and reason.

            To any sane and sober observer, the notion that the Due Process or Equal Protection Clauses – drafted mainly to address the plight of freed black slaves in the wake of the Civil War -- were somehow intended to invalidate the nationally recognized institution of heterosexual marriage is beyond absurd.  It is a flat-out insult to the intelligence and integrity of generations of our ancestors, both remote and recent, who would have uniformly responded to the notion that two men could "marry" each other with incredulous scorn, if not snorting hilarity. 

            Yet the reasoning underlying  the Virginia court's decision requires a belief that the constitutional framers intended to codify a "right" to invoke the state's blessing and benefits for a form of sexual union that was overwhelmingly condemned as criminal and infamous when the Fourteenth Amendment was enacted – and, indeed, until at least the 1960's. 

            Had someone asked President Jack Kennedy, for instance, for his position on "gay" marriages in 1962, he would have likely responded that he hoped all marriages should be gay (as opposed to somber) celebrations – unless he understood the word "gay" in its contemporary distorted sense.  In that case, he would no doubt have scornfully dismissed his questioner to be escorted to a loony van by the Secret Service. 

            Our divided society today agrees on few things, but one thing they do agree on is honoring the admirable and patriotic men and women who successfully fought World War II as the Greatest Generation.  There can be no doubt – no doubt – that members of the Greatest Generation (including its more liberal members, like President Kennedy) would have overwhelmingly condemned the bizarre notion of "marriage" between two men as utterly offensive and unnatural.  Yet that sound societal consensus, based upon principles and mores honored by civilized society for millennia, is today condemned as irrational and invidious by deranged federal judges whose decisions are based upon leftist ideology rather than the Constitution bequeathed to us by the Framers.

            It is depressing enough, therefore, when arrogant federal courts invalidate duly enacted state laws through grotesque distortions of the Constitution and blatant usurpation of the legislative function.  But insult is added to injury when the outrage is perpetrated by third-rate legal minds who exercise the excessive power of a federal judge simply because they have attracted the political favor of Obama and his Democratic minions due to their race and/or sex. 

            Judge Arenda Wright Allen, a black female Obamacrat, wrote the legally incoherent decision purporting to invalidate the historically and naturally ordained truism that marriage is, and always has been, confined to a union between a man and a woman.  The latter proposition is no less self- evident than the unassailable fact that a hydrogen atom is confined to a union between one positively-charged proton and one negatively-charged electron.  Denial of either of these immutable truisms is irrational and oxymoronic.  Couching the lunacy in the guise of what purports to be a judicial decision does not make it any less lunatic.

                The Sources the Judge Forgot to Cite-check Before Invalidating Marriage
            Judge Allen's opinion was based upon the theory that the Virginia Constitution and marriage laws violated the federal Due Process Clause because they infringed upon the fundamental right to marry without compelling justification.  This reasoning is patently spurious .  First, the only right to marry that the Supreme Court has recognized as fundamental was the "deeply-rooted" right to marry as understood and invariably defined by the laws in effect when the Due Process Clause was adopted – i.e., marriage between a man and a woman.  Secondly, there are many compelling justifications for limiting legal marriage to unions between a man and a woman, the most obvious of which is to encourage and facilitate the propagation of a vigorous population and the maintenance of healthy family units for the procreation and raising of healthy children.

            Wholly apart from her flawed constitutional reasoning, however, the fourth sentence of Judge Allen's opinion graphically demonstrated that she has not even mastered the fundamental elements of constitutional interpretation or legal writing.  Setting forth what she probably considered the grand foundation for her opinion, she stated:  "Our Constitution declares that 'all men' are created equal."  Had she included a citation for this assertion, as the standards of elementary legal writing require when one quotes a constitutional or statutory provision, she (or one of her law clerks) would have discovered what any well-trained lawyer would have known in the first place:  that the Constitution does not declare what she claimed. The proposition that "all men are created equal" is found instead in the second clause of the Declaration of Independence, which is not part of the Constitution, and not law at all.  Judge Allen later lamely corrected this blatant error in the opening predicate for her opinion, but only after, and only because, outside commentators had spotted and publicized her egregious fallacy, with appropriate derision.

            Yet the ineptitude of Judge Allen's opinion is not entirely surprising.  Having gained  extensive experience in reviewing the qualifications of candidates for federal judgeships both as a Senate Judiciary Committee Counsel and as a Special Consultant on judicial nominations at the Justice Department, I am familiar with the exacting standards that should be required of a federal judge.  Although she was unanimously confirmed for her post by the automatons that pass for U.S. senators today, Ms. Allen did not remotely satisfy those standards.   Initially, she received her law degree from a third- or fourth-tier law school, North Carolina Central University.  Although attendance at a substandard law school is certainly not a disqualifier for judicial appointment, an otherwise highly distinguished legal career would surely be necessary to dispel any doubts in that regard.  But Ms. Allen's career plainly lacks the blue-chip distinction expected for appointment to the powerful lifetime post of a U.S. District Judge.  Her service as a Naval JAG officer was honorable, but hardly the kind of credential qualifying one for the federal judiciary.  Her unremarkable stint as an Assistant U.S. Attorney was followed by equally unremarkable service as an Assistant Public Defender – a flat, or arguably downward, career trajectory.  A search for any published scholarly legal writings by Judge Allen was unavailing. 

            These are simply not the kind of credentials that would otherwise qualify a lawyer for appointment as a life-tenured federal judge.  It is apparent that Judge Allen was nominated by Obama because she was a liberal, Democratic black female with credentials that were just respectable enough for an affirmative action appointment.  The ill-reasoned and error-riddled opinion she wrote to support her presumptuous imposition of same-sex marriage upon the Commonwealth of Virginia is what one would expect from such a political appointee.

            Of course, ill-reasoned ideological decisions supporting the oxymoron of same-sex marriage and similar leftist policy goals are by no means the exclusive province of under-qualified judges.  Equally outrageous decisions enshrining such destructive policies as abortion-on-demand, pervasive and perpetual racial preferences, and unfettered federal regulatory  power such as that reflected in the Affordable Care Act have been written by judges and justices with the very highest credentials.  The left-leaning, ideological approach to judicial interpretation that produces such legal atrocities is primarily attributable to an endemic disregard of the constitutional text drafted by the Framers in favor of the policy prerogatives and preferences of the ruling leftist political class and its allied liberal cultural and educational elites.  That distorted approach to the law is predominant today in both the most elite and most pedestrian circles of the legal profession.  Until that ideological stranglehold on our legal system is removed, little sense, and lest justice, can be expected to emanate from the courts of the United States.