Thursday, December 30, 2004
I suggest you go do likewise- How's about we see the president's 30 million and raise him (at least) another 30 in private donations?
Alright, now for another mad-libs style fun fest picking apart the rantings of Mike Reagan, of the ironically-named "Making Sense" column:
Take That, George Bush
Making Sense By Michael Reagan
If you believe the Washington Post George W. Bush is an insensitive lout devoid of compassion for the victims of the horrendous tragedy in South Asia.
I don't believe that. He is an insensitive lout devoid of compassion for the victims of the horrendous tragedy in South Asia, Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan and pretty much anywhere outside of Florida.
Because he had the temerity to win re-election President Bush has also won the undying enmity of the Washington Post which seems determined to slit his throat every chance they get, no matter how outlandish their complaints.
First of all, grammar alert. And don't ever start a sentence with "Because."
Moreover they have their correspondents cooling their heels in Crawford Tx., deprived of so much as a glimpse of the president. In the egotism of the media elite, Bush should be wining and dining them on his ranch which they can’t get near, as he enjoys the solitude of a needed respite from their constant abrasive presence.
Oh please. Poor widdle Bushie, always in the press's spotlight. Now who's the girlie man? The guy has logged 12 press conferences in four years. With each one running less than an hour, that means that Bush has been in the "constant abrasive presence" of the press for .03 percent of his entire term. And besides, we in the media are too poor to be considered "elite." The "elite" are people who buy ranches and yachts.
And so they dredge up an imaginative indictment charging that the president is seen by many as being insensitive to what they call to "a humanitarian catastrophe of epic proportions."
OK, Mr. Reagan. If you can give me one good reason why the deaths of 100,000 people and a chain reaction leading to disease and famine in one of the world's most populous regions should only be referred as a humanitarian catastrophe of epic proportions in the confines of quotation marks, I'd love to hear it. And no, the indictment is not imaginary when one considers that the richest nation on the planet donated slightly less aid money than the planned budget for the inaugural festivities. Common Right Winger Tactic No. 2134: Take a real issue and start referring to it as "nonsense," "imaginary" and "simply untrue." If you repeat it enough, your base will undoubtedly begin to believe it.
In a slanderous piece entitled "Aid Grows Amid Remarks About President's Absence" they cited just one source for this charge, who of course remains anonymous, and another who doesn’t quite say the President lacked sensitivity and informs its readers that "Bush's decision at first to remain cloistered on his Texas ranch for the Christmas holiday rather than speak in person about the tragedy -- showed scant appreciation for the magnitude of suffering and for the rescue and rebuilding work facing such nations as Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and Indonesia."
Someday they should make a winger doll that says four different phrases: "SLANDER, "TREASON," "FREEDOM" and "JESUS." That pretty much covers it, but it is a formula that seems to resonate with people. Let's put Mr. Bush's supposed "sensitivity to the test. From the Miami Herald:
The numbers are staggering: 117 deaths from the storms and their cleanup, $42 billion in damages estimated by state economists, more than 25,000 homes destroyed and 40,000 seriously damaged as estimated by the American Red Cross, nearly 1.2 million applications for disaster assistance and almost $3 billion in approved state and federal aid so far.
1/1000 the deaths, 100 times the aid money in Florida. Once again, the responsibility lies with the people of Southeast Asia. If they had the good sense NOT to be brown, they could have gotten a lot more help from the US.
And they added this piece of garbage: There was an international outpouring of support after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and even some administration officials familiar with relief efforts said they were surprised that Bush had not appeared personally to comment on the tsunami tragedy. "It's kind of freaky," a (unnamed, of course) senior career official said."
Could it be that the president might have been occupied with putting together what is now the largest aid package headed for the victim countries as well as working out the details of a massive rescue effort on a scale never before seen? That he might have been so occupied with this responsibility that he simply had no time to go parade himself before a sullen media in Bill Clinton style to bite his lips and tell the victims how much he feels their pain?
Uh, it could be. But it's probably not. I love how wingers are always the ones to try and say that Bush is too busy to appear on television or before large crowds. It's not a busy issue. It's the fact that the man is practically the most agoraphobic president in history. Besides, he's on vacation. Who has time to fly to the world's larges Muslim population and do some outreach?
That’s exactly what the Posties wanted, it being their preference for style over substance. They believe that emotion trumps substance - tears, biting lips and barely suppressed sobs are what such tragedies demand.
Um, yeah. 100,000 people dead and more on the way due to insufficient sanitation is something to cry over. It's not an aesthetic thing, it's what comes with having a heart.
The Post also tells us "Clinton urges coordinated aid effort," giving a boost to Mr. Clinton’s reported ambitions to replace Kofi Annan as Secretary General of the United Nations. Or perhaps it just a case of nobody having told Bill Clinton that he is no longer the President of the United States, a delusion he shares with Jimmy Carter.
Well, when the President is off clearing brush in the midst of a calamity, SOMEone needs to start acting presidential. I do hope that becomes part of the vernacular. Fiddling while Rome Burns = Clearing Brush while Indonesia drowns.
Well it now appears that while the media were cooling their heels in their isolation from the seat of power, putting together a coordinated aid effort was precisely what George Bush was doing. But to the Post, that doesn’t matter. What does matter is that the president failed to recognize his solemn obligation to hobnob with the media at moments such as this.
Grammar violation No. 2. The media seems to be cooling their heels a lot. Time for a new cliche, my friend. And a press conference is not "hobnobbing." And the press are not complaining that Bush hasn't been spending enough quality time with them. The Post is complaining that the man seems to have such a case of ADD that he can't even tear himself away from one of his many, many vacations to pay attention to a humanitarian crisis. Perhaps it's not that nobody told Clinton that he was no longer the president. Perhaps nobody told Bush that he WAS.
It doesn’t appear to have occurred to the Post that there are times when a president has to do things behind closed doors. Not all presidents like to be out in front of the press saying in effect, "Look at me, I’m important, I’m biting my lip, I know how to cry" before going back inside and laughing at a media stupid enough to fall for his act.
Oh come on. If any President is laughing about how the media (and by extension, the viewing public) is happily eating every shovelfull of horseshit he can pitch their way, it is the smirking little twit that offered Charlie Gibson wood on national television. Bush knows exactly how to play the media, he just doesn't do it on his own. He has help from people like Reagan.
Reagan's whole point is a classic bait and switch- the Post complains that Bush barely gives an ailing continent enough money to make a crappy movie (Troy cost six times as much) and Reagan makes it about the "Liberal Media's" need for attention and emotional drama.
This whole thing is typical liberal mishmash – it’s all about feelings. The Post would be happy if the president didn’t give a dime as long as we saw him cry.
Um, no, they wouldn't be happy. It's not about crying, or feelings. It's about a president's duty, something that you will not hear too many people like Reagan talk about at length. The ironic thing is that Bush's public representation, what the voting public supposedly loves about him, is that he "feels" for them, he acts on his "feelings," that he has "moral values." There is no substance there to discuss. The Post and the Times are not slandering the president by saying that 30 million is a paltry sum and undoubtedly a missed opportunity to reach out to the greater Muslim world (hence presenting a more sympathetic face of the US, hence maybe causing one young Indonesian Muslim to think, hey, maybe I shouldn't tape dynamite to myself and blow up a subway car in defiance of the Great Satan?). They are presenting a valid point. But like most valid points, this one will be decried at every moment by the Savages, Coulters and Medveds of the world in favor of the much more colorful "the Liberal Press Slanders our Good Leader" angle.
What we are seeing here is what we’ll be seeing for the next four years. The Post didn’t want George Bush in the White House for another term and they won’t let up, even if they have to create stories about such nonsense as alleged presidential insensitivity.
They have no shame.
No, it's not that they have no shame. They have no fear. And thank God for that.
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
What did I love about Susan? She was the absolute, although largely unappreciated, Queen of Snark. She held up unpopular but important ideas on the way women should be, the way men should be, the way the world should be. In her honor, I present her post 9/11 piece from the New Yorker, which I consider to be one of her strongest and most powerful statements:
The disconnect between last Tuesday's monstrous dose of reality and the self-righteous drivel and outright deceptions being peddled by public figures and TV commentators is startling, depressing. The voices licensed to follow the event seem to have joined together in a campaign to infantilize the public. Where is the acknowledgment that this was not a "cowardly" attack on "civilization" or "liberty" or "humanity" or "the free world" but an attack on the world's self-proclaimed superpower, undertaken as a consequence of specific American alliances and actions? How many citizens are aware of the ongoing American bombing of Iraq? And if the word "cowardly" is to be used, it might be more aptly applied to those who kill from beyond the range of retaliation, high in the sky, than to those willing to die themselves in order to kill others. In the matter of courage (a morally neutral virtue): whatever may be said of the perpetrators of Tuesday's slaughter, they were not cowards.
Our leaders are bent on convincing us that everything is O.K. America is not afraid. Our spirit is unbroken, although this was a day that will live in infamy and America is now at war. But everything is not O.K. And this was not Pearl Harbor. We have a robotic President who assures us that America still stands tall. A wide spectrum of public figures, in and out of office, who are strongly opposed to the policies being pursued abroad by this Administration apparently feel free to say nothing more than that they stand united behind President Bush. A lot of thinking needs to be done, and perhaps is being done in Washington and elsewhere, about the ineptitude of American intelligence and counter-intelligence, about options available to American foreign policy, particularly in the Middle East, and about what constitutes a smart program of military defense. But the public is not being asked to bear much of the burden of reality. The unanimously applauded, self-congratulatory bromides of a Soviet Party Congress seemed contemptible. The unanimity of the sanctimonious, reality-concealing rhetoric spouted by American officials and media commentators in recent days seems, well, unworthy of a mature democracy.
Those in public office have let us know that they consider their task to be a manipulative one: confidence-building and grief management. Politics, the politics of a democracy—which entails disagreement, which promotes candor—has been replaced by psychotherapy. Let's by all means grieve together. But let's not be stupid together. A few shreds of historical awareness might help us understand what has just happened, and what may continue to happen. "Our country is strong," we are told again and again. I for one don't find this entirely consoling. Who doubts that America is strong? But that's not all America has to be.
I miss her already.
Sunday, December 26, 2004
“Certainty is the narcotic of the right wing,” Gordon said — and they are marvelously adept at pushing it. They have been much more willing to stand up in pulpits and on TV news shows and proclaim what is right and wrong, selling a brand of Christianity that doesn’t allow room for complexity.
“It is far, far easier to be on the right than in the middle or on the left, because everything is already determined for you,” Pulaski Heights Baptist’s Hyde said.
But I wonder why progressive Christians can’t do the same thing. Yes, we almost define ourselves by our inclusiveness, by our emphasis on Jesus as a loving savior, not a judgmental one. But we also have black-and-white beliefs, just like conservatives do: Greed is wrong. Poverty is unjust. Compassion is commanded. If it’s certainty people want, we can give it to them in spades.
This is a long article but well worth reading. It had not truly occured to me that there were probably just as many Christian Liberals who were dismayed at removal of Christ from the holiday season as there were Right Wing Christians who were out-and-out outraged about it. But there is a key difference between Christian liberals and Right Wing Christians: Christian liberals are more Christlike.
As the article says:
And this: With all the millions of children in our country who don’t have enough food, clothing, or love, how can right-wing Christians possibly still cling to the delusion that God thinks gay people are the biggest threat to Christian values? Times Jesus mentions the poor in the gospels: I lost count halfway through Matthew. Times he mentions homosexuality: Zero.
At no point does Jesus say "Thou shalt affix a fish to thy SUV and thou shalt send thy children to Bible Camp, and that will be enough to save your soul."
No, Jesus says to help the less fortunate, to prioritize social changes that help others, he says to love your enemies, maintain peace and work toward a better world for everyone.
The article ends on a much more hopeful note than anything I've read in some time:
From an op-ed piece called “Recovering a hijacked faith,” published in the Boston Globe last July:
“When we take back our faith, we will discover that faith challenges the powers that be to do justice for the poor instead of preaching a ‘prosperity gospel’ and supporting politicians who further enrich the wealthy. We will remember that faith hates violence and tries to reduce it, and exerts a fundamental presumption against war instead of justifying it in God’s name.
“We will see that faith creates community from racial, class and gender divisions, prefers international community over nationalist religion, and that ‘God bless America’ is found nowhere in the Bible. And we will be reminded that faith regards matters such as the sacredness of life and family bonds as so important that they should never be used as ideological symbols or mere political pawns in partisan warfare.
“…When the poor are defended on moral or religious grounds, it is not ‘class warfare,’ as the rich will always charge, but rather a direct response to the overwhelming focus in the Scriptures, which claims they are regularly neglected, exploited, and oppressed by wealthy elites, political rulers, and indifferent affluent populations. Those Scriptures don’t simply endorse the social programs of liberals or conservatives, but make clear that poverty is indeed a religious issue, and the failure of political leaders to help uplift those in poverty will be judged a moral failing.”
This is where we need to work. We need to continue within the framework of what Christ did and said, not within the framework of what Jerry Falwell says. We need to stop blocking Christians out of the party because we think they are bigoted and brainwashed. They are not all that way- and progressive Christians are out there, just waiting for the Democrats to speak to them rather than against them.
So, Merry Christmas to those Christians who continue to bring Christ's words to life.
Happy Kwanzaa to whoever chooses to celebrate it.
And Happy Boxing Day to all Canadians. We appreciate your help.
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
Okay. If I've learned nothing else these past four years, I've learned that Republicans NEVER do anything that is not in their best interests. So why, then, are these prominent Republicans denouncing Rumsfeld? What do they have to gain by a.) disagreeing with the President and b.) by extension, admitting that the war has been mismanaged?
One possibility is that they are running out of scapegoats. In my opinion, the GOP has nobody to blame but itself (and I mean every elected member, every legislator) for the issues in Iraq. Everyone had such a hard-on for a war and everyone had such blind confidence in Rumsfeld's mini-army concept that they all fell victim to the marketing machine. They can't blame Saddam, they can't blame the troops (they tried that, kinda backfired) and they can't blame the President (although they should). So they will blame Rumsfeld. As much as I dislike Rumsfeld, I also dislike a dogpile, no matter how deserved it may be. Rumsfeld mismanaged this war, but nobody challenged him before. And the Repugs like to call us Monday-morning quarterbacks.
And it is easy for Hagel, Lott and McCain to begin distancing themselves from this mess of an administration by distancing themselves from Rumsfeld. Again, I'm no Rummy fan but as someone in a managerial position I know that it is easy to blame a lot of things on mismanagement. Especially when you are clueless to your own incompetence and ineffectiveness. Memo to Hagel and Co.: Next time you want to denounce poor leadership, try to do it before 1,320 Americans die as a result of it. It might help you sleep at night.
Monday, December 20, 2004
‘We are now a nation that has forgotten God’
I am glad to see the City Council taking responsibility to change ordinances or to help restore integrity for the good of our community. Two places have been in the news lately. I would not call these places “businesses.” A decayed state of morals and a corrupted public conscience are incompatible with true freedom. The very thing that brought about the birth of this great nation was political corruption and Christian oppression in Europe. For more than 200 years, God’s hand has been in America.
We are now a nation that has forgotten God. More than 4,000 babies a day are murdered in abortions across this land with protection of the government. Violence fills our land, troubled by adultery, fornication, murder, assault, rape, gangs, drugs and homosexuality. Talk shows feature homosexuality to millions of viewers as an acceptable way of life. God, the creator of all, made man in His image and instituted marriage between one man and one woman. This act of God should not be cheapened by forcing citizens to pay taxes for homosexual domestic-partner benefits.
The war on Christianity in America and many parts of the world is being waged by the left and communism through movies, media, government policy, public television, etc.
Our culture has had a devastating impact on the moral values of Americans of all ages, but especially the young and easily influenced.
Gambling is another example of promoting and enticing all to spend their money. It ruins lives and families and causes people to take their lives. All you need to do is read your papers to know this, plus some other news venues.
I would like to add support for the Wal-Mart. We hope it gets approval soon to build a new, larger store on Hover Street, where it would have more room. It sure will be a plus for Longmont and all taxpaying citizens. No disgrace from Wal-Mart.
I would rather a crazy old lady pump her drug money into a slot machine for eight hours straight than have her blow it all on shit-knacks at Wal Mart.
But aside from that . . .
This lady writes about a letter every three months to our paper and she's quite off her nut as far as I'm concerned. But the thing is, apparently we can't just dismiss this kind of blinders-on, please-tell-me-what-to-believe, gay-baiting attitude as "crazy" anymore. This is the moral values voter. Wal Mart=good value. Gay marriage=bad value. But there are also things in this letter, and by extension, in that belief structure, that are simply wrong, simply not true. Our nation was not founded on Christian values. There is not a war against Christianity. Wal Mart is not free from disgrace.
People believe strange things when they believe they are under attack.
Thursday, December 16, 2004
"To those Christians who have a problem with non-Christians or Christians who believe in the separation of church and state: Nobody is telling you that you cannot celebrate Christmas and decorate your homes to how you see fit. Nobody is telling you that you cannot pray and sing to Jesus as much as you want in the confines of your homes or churches or any other privately owned building or organization that shares your beliefs. Why then when we object to having your holiday intermingled with public property or plastered to government buildings do you accuse us of attacking Christmas and not believing in God? Why can you not accept that Jesus is not God for everyone? Are you so blinded by your supreme arrogance and religious fervor that you would deny the right of your fellow citizens to live without governmental or municipal endorsement of someone else's religion? If your so strong in your beliefs why do you feel such fear from those who disagree? You would think that one so certain of knwowing who God is would walk the earth unencumbered by what others think or don't think. Maybe you're not so secure in your beliefs after all, which is why you feel the need to shove it down our throats."
Couldn't have said it better m'self.
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
I can just see Red Foreman saying it: "The American Government makes it so that you can run off your fool mouth about how screwed up the American Government is and you don't land your ass in jail."
Yeah . . . I guess. I'm thankful that my little blog isn't keeping me at a constant risk of unjustified government arrest. I'm thankful that due process still exists (for some). I'm grateful that certain aspects of the system do, indeed, work. Things could, indeed, be worse. But, they could be a hell of a lot better, too. And not just in a theoretical, utopian, rhetorical way- I've seen it when it was a hell of a lot better and I miss that . . .
Anyway. Didja hear about how Kerik, our pillar of moral value, the man who was supposed to SECURE our HOMELAND? Mere hours after taking himself off the ticket, it turns out he is kind of a bigamist. You know, between Rudy's adultery, Bush's DUI, Limbaugh's Vicodin, O'Reilly's interoffice phone sex, this guy's wobbly definition of a "divorce" and Cheney's use of the f-bomb, I am a little confused by the entire concept of "moral values."
Monday, December 13, 2004
"Critics of the proposals say such deceptive missions could shatter the Pentagon's credibility, leaving the American public and a world audience skeptical of anything the Defense Department and military say - a repeat of the credibility gap that roiled America during the Vietnam War."
Yeah, we can't have THAT. Oh wait. We have that.
Friday, December 10, 2004
In his syndicated column, he says that liberals not only hate America, but Christmas. And happiness and babies and puppies. Yeah. Them too.
The column, titled "Take your Christmas and Shove it" follows:
"Christmas with the Kranks" is not only the name of a holiday movie this year, it is also a national trend. Once again, Christmas is under siege by the growing forces of secularism in America. Put these facts in your stocking:
-- Federated Department Stores, which includes Macy's, has suggested that managers avoid displaying "Merry Christmas" banners and have ordered employees not to talk about it.
-- In Denver, a church was banned from the "Festival of Lights" parade because it wanted a religious theme to its float.
-- The Maplewood, N.J., school board has banned all religious music from "holiday" concerts. (Would somebody please tell me exactly what holiday this is?)
-- And New York City Mayor Bloomberg insists that the lighted tree outside City Hall is not a Christmas tree, it's a holiday tree. (What holiday, Mr. Mayor?)
Surveys show that more than 90 percent of Americans celebrate the federal holiday of Christmas, signed into law by President Grant in 1870. Despite that overwhelming number, the tradition of Christmas in America continues to get hammered.
90% huh. What surveys? According to Wikipedia:As of 2001, the distribution for major religions in the United States was as follows: Protestant (52 percent), Roman Catholic (24.5 percent), "none" (13.2 percent), Jewish (1.3 percent) and between 0.3 and 0.5 percent each for Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu and Unitarian Universalist. An additional 0.3 to 0.5 percent, each, are professed agnostics and atheists. The largest single religious denomination in the United States is the Roman Catholic Church, followed by the Southern Baptist Convention and the Mormons.
The United States, as a developed nation, is noteworthy for its high level of Christian religious devotion. However, the percentage of Americans calling themselves Christian has declined somewhat in recent years from 86.2 percent in 1990 to 76.5 percent in 2001.
Besides, as people like Bill O'Reilly seem to be incapable of understanding, just because the majority group is of a certain faith does not mean that the government is justified in proselytizing individuals to that faith. Hello freedom of religion. Hello separation of church and state.
The anti-Christmas forces say it's all about diversity, protecting the sensitivities of those Americans who get offended by the mere mention of the birth of Jesus. Somehow I haven't been able to locate any of these people; folks who find a baby in a manger so off-putting it ruins their day.
I love it. The anti-Christmas forces. Yes! Don we now our ungay apparel, undecking the halls of happy Christians everywhere! Setting aflame their log-and-twig reindeer! repelling from wires down city hall Christmas trees and tazing department store Santas!
So the diversity excuse is a bunch of bull. What's really going on here is a well-organized movement to wipe out any display of organized religion from the public arena.
Of course he hasn't been able to locate any of these people. Jews and Buddhists (and certainly Muslims) don't have very long tenures at Fox News and they aren't likely to hang out with the likes of Bill O'Reilly. Besides that, aren't lefties supposed to be the ones crying "conspiracy" all the time?
The secular-progressive movement understands very well that it is organized religion, most specifically Christianity and Judaism, that stands in the way of gay marriage, partial birth abortion, legalized narcotics, euthanasia, and many other secular causes. If religion can be de-emphasized in the USA, a brave new progressive society can be achieved.
Shorter Bill O'Reilly: Plastic baby Jesuses are all that stand between order and Weimar Germany.
It has happened in Canada. Once a traditional religious country, Canada has become like Holland in its embrace of the secular movement. Some facts: In 1980, 79 percent of Canadians said that religion was important to the country. That number has now fallen to 61 percent, according to an Environics Focus Canada poll.
Um, yeah, that horrible Dutch rabbit hole of moral bankruptcy from which there is no return. Canada's divorce rate is 45% to our 49%, the Netherlands only see 41% of marriages end in divorce. Canada's HIV infection rate is .3%, the Dutch rate is .2%. The American rate is .6%. The Netherlands have the world's lowest rate of teen pregnancy, at 1.2%, and Canada's is 1.5%. The rate of pregnancy for women aged 15 to 19 in the United States is 5.4%. And unlike Bill, I didn't pull these numbers from my ass.
In 1971, less than one percent of the Canadian population reported having no religion whatsoever; now that number has risen to 16 percent.
The fall of religion in Canada has corresponded to a change in public policy. Unlike Americans, Canadians have legalized gay marriage and any kind of abortion. Also, the age of consent for sex up north is just 14 years old. Can you imagine American adults being allowed to fool around with children that age? I can't.
I bet you can! Over the phone, it's hard to tell how old your sex partner is. And anyway, it's not like 14-year-olds down here are NOT having sex with adults, just because it's not legal. Besides, how did we make the leap here from prohibiting religious displays by the American Government and having sex with 14-year olds?
Even drug legalization is close to being a reality as the city of Vancouver is developing a heroin giveaway policy and pot has been largely decriminalized across the country.
Wait, they are having a heroin giveaway? No wonder I haven't been able to find Robert Downey Jr. these past few weeks.
The Canadian model is what progressive Americans are shooting for, and, so, religion must be dealt with. Since Christmas is the most demonstrative display of organized religion, the strategy of minimizing the birth of Jesus makes perfect sense.
I know this sounds kind of conspiratorial, but it really isn't. Most of those marginalizing Christmas have no idea about the big picture I've just presented. They simply think they're looking out for the minority of Americans who don't celebrate the birth of Christ.
Uh, yeah . . . those of us sticking up for the little guy are merely pawns to Larry Flynt, who is using the progressive doctrine of tolerance to inch closer toward a reality where you can have legal pot and screw 14-year-olds.
But committed secularists in the media, in the courts and in the education system, know exactly what's going on. And now so do you. Merry Christmas!
Wow, thanks Bill, for opening our eyes. Now I know I have to put a baby Jesus in my yard or else I'm aiding the LEFT in skipping toward a gomorrah of godless orgiastic secularism.
You know, this would be funnier if people didn't buy into the whole "religion keeps us from hurting ourselves" doctrine. What Bill is doing here is exactly what Rove and Cheney and Rumsfeld do all the time- they are presenting an issue that doesn't really exist (well, at any rate, a meme that the evangelists trot out every year with their fake holly and icicle lights) to further portray liberals or secular persons as EVILDOERS.
We don't hate Christmas, we just think it's unfair for the government to offer Christmas up as the ONLY holiday. A secular Christmas is celebrated my many "Christians by default," that is, people like me who come from a Christian family, people for whom Christmas means family and reflection and pagan goodies like a feast and a Christmas tree. But as a student of history, I know that Jesus wasn't a part of Christmas until 500 years after Christ's death, and was used as a marketing tool . . . hey Pagan dude, guess what. I'm going to cut you a deal. You don't have to give up Saturnalia . . . just call it Christ-mass, okay? You can still have your tree, and your feast, and you can give your friends and family presents for the coming year (on the Roman Calendar) but say it's Jesus' birthday.
Further, I am peeved when people say that the U.S. was founded as a Christian country by Christians. A good example of our SECULAR roots:
Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting "Jesus Christ," so that it would read "A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;" the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.
-Thomas Jefferson, Autobiography, in reference to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom
How 'bout that. And there's more:
History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.
-Thomas Jefferson to Alexander von Humboldt, Dec. 6, 1813.
"What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not."
- James Madison, "A Memorial and Remonstrance", 1785
"I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved--the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!"
- John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson
And finally, one I wish that Mr. Franklin were alive to offer to O'Reilly in real life:
"If we look back into history for the character of the present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution. The primitive Christians thought persecution extremely wrong in the Pagans, but practiced it on one another. The first Protestants of the Church of England blamed persecution in the Romish Church, but practiced it upon the Puritans. They found it wrong in Bishops, but fell into the practice themselves both here (England) and in New England." - Benjamin Franklin
Thursday, December 09, 2004
See, this church's ad shows people of all kinds (even gays!) being allowed into the UCofC, while a scary bouncer guards the doors at a conventional church. Networks have turned down the ad, saying that it doesn't properly represent the needs and ideals of their viewing audience . . . pretty sad statement on their audience, I have to say . . .
So let the FCC know that you are rooting for true tolerance this holiday season! Good grief!
I can't believe this guy. "You go to war with the army you have, not the one you wish for??" Dude, you DID wish for this army. Against the better, more informed opinions of people who have actually seen combat, you decided to send a Wal-Mart military to do a Bergdorf's mission. This is the army you wished for Mr. Rumsfeld. But isn't it funny how sometimes, when you get what you want, you don't want it anymore?
Bastard. There is a special little suite in Hell for people like Mr. Rumsfeld. I hope it involves him wearing He-Man plastic Mattel armor while he is pelted for all eternity with RPG fire.
Monday, December 06, 2004
My new kicks
My greatest shoe acheivement yet: The ladies in the business office said they are going to start calling me Carrie Bradshaw.
Another reason why today was a great Monday: I've been assigned to do a review on Napoleon Dynamite for the DVD release.
Friday, December 03, 2004
Thursday, December 02, 2004
"This leaves three possible objections. One is that homosexuality is simply immoral, and that even if it shouldn't be criminalized, it shouldn't be endorsed by the government. For people who really do believe that homosexuality is immoral, then that position might make sense -- though even there one would have to ask, I think, whether the moral benefits of gay marriage (e.g., the greater pressure towards sexual fidelity, which may be seen as a moral, social, and public-health virtue independently of the gender of the partners) may exceed the moral costs of the government endorsing homosexuality that way. But for those who believe, as I do, that homosexual conduct is no less morally worthy (and, at times, no less morally unworthy) than heterosexual conduct, the 'don't endorse immoral conduct' objection obviously carries little weight."
This guy, Eugene Volokh, wrote a piece for the NY times today on the legal protections that journalists enjoy but that bloggers have yet to fully come to own. This sparked my interest. I decided to track down Professor Volokh's blog and see what he had to say. Misgivings began when I saw that he has a link to previously published material at the National Review. However, giving him th benefit of the doubt, I googled the name of the blog to see if he'd been dressed down by any liberal bloggers I know . . . and something interesting happened.
Over at Alas, a Blog, nothing but unhindered praise. Links on lefty blogs to Volokh Conspiracy.
Why? Because Volokh expresses the old-school of Republican thought. A live-and-let live, fiscal responsibility credo that has all but disappeared from the Elephant party as of late. I was glad to see that he has not been banished from the more respected conservative publications because in times like these, we need someone like Volokh who shows that the GOP is not composed entirely of God-Hates-Fags bigots and gun-toting nutjobs carrying around well-thumped Bibles. While there is a lot I disagree with in Volokh's work, I appreciate his approach and his wry contempt of folks like Pat Buchanan.
He is a lawyer who knows his stuff- instead of making the law fit his opinions he shows that the law should be separate from opinion.
So check it out- you might learn something.
Wednesday, December 01, 2004
You were born on the bayou, and have never seen a good reason to leave.
Of course, you might also just be stuck in the mud of the marshy swamp, grasping for
nearby vines. You like the night life, baby, and can definitely let it all hang out.
You also have some traditional influences, most of them French, but you tend to discard
these for the sake of fun. No one enjoys Tuesdays more than you. Walk softly, and carry
a red stick.
Take the State Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.