Thursday, December 21, 2006

Stunning idiocy

The AP's account of a bumbling former National Security Advisor ('97 - '01) reads almost comically.

Berger took a break to go outside without an escort while it was dark. He had taken four documents in his pockets.

"He headed toward a construction area. ... Mr. Berger looked up and down the street, up into the windows of the Archives and the DOJ [Department of Justice], and did not see anyone," the interview notes said.

He then slid the documents under a construction trailer, according to the inspector general. Berger acknowledged that he later retrieved the documents from the construction area and returned with them to his office.

"He was aware of the risk he was taking," the inspector general's notes said. Berger then returned to the Archives building without fearing the documents would slip out of his pockets or that staff would notice that his pockets were bulging.

The notes said Berger had not been aware that Archives staff had been tracking the documents he was provided because of earlier suspicions from previous visits that he was removing materials. Also, the employees had made copies of some documents.

In October 2003, the report said, an Archives official called Berger to discuss missing documents from his visit two days earlier. The investigator's notes said, "Mr. Berger panicked because he realized he was caught."

The notes said that Berger had "destroyed, cut into small pieces, three of the four documents. These were put in the trash."

After the trash had been picked up, Berger "tried to find the trash collector but had no luck."

Lesson: Don't play James Bond.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Regarding the Judeo-Christian argument that homosexuality is a sin, I have another perspective. The basis of this argument by organized Judeo-Christian religion comes from Leviticus 18:22 which states:
"Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination."
Leviticus is in the Old Testament and therefore part of the Torah, the book of faith of Jewish people. To further complicate things, there are different interpretations of Leviticus by Christians and Jews.
There are three major branches of Judaism: Reformed, Conservative and Orthodox. Reformed is the most liberal while Orthodox is the most conservative and Conservative is in the middle. In the news the other day was a piece about the Conservative (big "c" not little "c") governing body which had decided to let individuals congregations make up their own minds on gay Jews. In doing my own research, I discovered that there is a case of mistranslation concerning Leviticus 18:22.
So, I contacted a guy I used to work with to clear things up for me. He is an observant Jew who attended a Jewish school in Los Angeles. He also spent some time living in Israel. He's the closest friend I have who is knowledgeable on things Jewish. I sent him an excerpt which states the following:
"Many would regard 'abomination,; 'enormous sin', etc. as particularly poor translations of the original Hebrew word which really means 'ritually unclean' within an ancient Israelite era. The Greek Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Scriptures (circa 3rd century BCE) translated 'to'ebah' into Greek as 'bdelygma,' which meant ritual impurity. If the writer(s) of Leviticus had wished to refer to a moral violation, a sin, he would have used the Hebrew word 'zimah.'"
He responded asking if I was "simply making the point that the verse is ambiguous and widely misunderstood because of the complexity of the Hebrew word?". He followed with:
That being said, the Hebrew word mentioned on the religious tolerance website, "to'evah," has confused Jewish scholars and translators for centuries. It doesn't really mean "abomination"; I would use it more as an adjective, more like "ritually forbidden." This doesn't change many things for modern Conservative or Orthodox Judaism. Both movements are rooted in "halacha," or Jewish Law, and therefore take biblical or rabbinic verses as literally as possible. Conservative Jews, however, have made every effort to distinguish themselves from the Orthodox by taking changes in society and culture into account and applying traditional Jewish standards to contemporary life. Hence, we get to the Time article, which discussed yesterday's big decision by those Conservative rabbis. If you read that article--and the official press release--very closely, you'll notice that these rabbis essentially said, "There are homosexuals in our community. We can't push them aside anymore and we have to respect them. So, each individual congregation and institution will be allowed to treat the issue in its own way--as long as there remains a place for gays and lesbians to practice as Conservative Jews." They were very careful, though, to maintain the existing translation of that verse from Leviticus which, on a literal level, forbids acts of sodomy. (Something else to note about that technically only forbids "lying with another man," i.e. sex, not homosexuality itself. Interesting, huh?)
Given all that, I still question all religious texts that are taken literally (the Koran, Torah, Bible or Vedas). I think that people who practice this are textualists.

My personal conclusion from the Judeo-Christian religious texts is that homosexuality is the equivalent of not keeping kosher. I won't send someone to hell for eating a pork chop or for being gay (not that I have a say in the matter either way).

Thursday, December 14, 2006


In the Chicagoland area, patronage is a familiar word that describes how the political machine stays in power. It accurately portrays how elected officials from the municipal, state and federal level get and remain in office.

Patronage creates a situation in which people are more concerned with power than service. In Chicago, it's the Democrats who live and die by the phenomenon. It's not surprising because they are the majority party.

On a national level, the majority party has taken their patronage international...all the way to Iraq.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Science and Religion

"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."
- Albert Einstein

Monday, December 04, 2006

Will Rogers' wisdom

"I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat."
- Will Rogers

So true.

Barack Obama

2004 Democratic National Convention speech:

Part 1


Part 2


My general feeling is that God's plan does not involve splitting believers into groups such as a Catholics and Protestants . Furthermore, even the multiple Protestant and Catholic denominations seem to not be in the Bible. Pope Benedict said something smart for once:

"The divisions which exist among Christians are a scandal to the world."
- Pope Benedict XVI


Elrod posts a comment at Moderate Voice saying that:

"Hillary will re-unite the Right like no other candidate."

Friday, December 01, 2006

Do You Want the Terrorists to Win?

According to this quiz, I have a terrorist supporting score of 66 percent, meaning that I am:

"more than half terrorist sympathizer. [My] ill-will toward America can barely be concealed, and has now been uncovered by this quiz. [My] love of America and of her dear leader, President Bush, is clearly approaching treasonously low levels. But it's not too late for [me]. [I should] shut [myself]out from all liberal influence, listen only to Sean Hannity, read only Ann Coulter, and above all stop questioning! Questioning only gets our troops killed in their noble battle against the forces of evil that besiege our great land!"


Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani first marriage to Regina Peruggi was annulled. She was also his second-cousin. They were married for 13 years, from 1969 to 1982.

Giuliani had the marriage annulled because it was discovered they were second-cousins instead of third-cousins.

Because that would have been just fine.

People respect irrationality?

Obama is visiting the megachurch of The Purpose-Driven Life author, Rick Warren. The Chicago Tribune article notes that then-gubernatorial candidate Tim Kaine (now Governor of Virginia) got a boost when he came out against capital punishment, basing his opposition on his Catholic faith. Obama has described "how his Christian faith helps shape his more liberal views."

I wonder if people respect politicians' ability to stake a claim when it is based on pure faith. I think people like a conclusive opinion and if faith gets them there, fine.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

How to be a good liberal.

There are 21 statements. They came from a Republican/conservative source, obviously. My thoughts are after each.

You have to be against capital punishment, but support abortion on demand.
I believe in capital punishment and am pro-choice.

You have to believe that businesses create oppression and governments create prosperity.

I don't believe that businesses create opresssion and believe that governments have a role in creating prosperity.

You have to believe that guns in the hands of law-abiding Americans are more of a threat than U.S. nuclear weapons technology in the hands of Chinese and North Korean Communists.

I believe that guns in the hands of non-law-abiding Americans are more of a threat than nuclear weapons in the hands of China and North Korean communists.

You have to believe that there was no art before federal funding.

I don't believe there was no art before federal funding.

You have to believe that global temperatures are less affected by cyclical ocumented changes in the earth's climate and more affected by soccer moms driving SUV's.

I believe that global temperatures are affected by overall emissions, of which SUVs are a part.

You have to believe that gender roles are artificial but being homosexual is natural.

I believe that gender roles and homosexuality are natural.

You have to believe that the AIDS virus is spread by a lack of federal funding.

I believe the AIDS virus is spreading, regardless of federal funding.

You have to believe that the same teacher who can't teach 4th graders how to read is somehow qualified to teach those same kids about sex.

I believe that 4th graders already know more about sex than about reading.

You have to believe that hunters don't care about nature, but loony activists who have never been outside of San Francisco do.

I believe hunters care as much about nature as San Franciscans.

You have to believe that self-esteem is more important than actually doing something to earn it.

I believe that self-esteem is as important as doing soemthing to earn it.

You have to believe the NRA is bad because it supports certain parts of the Constitution, while the ACLU is good because it supports certain parts of the Constitution.

I believe the NRA is as overly influential as the ACLU.

You have to believe that taxes are too low, but ATM fees are too high.

I believe that taxes and ATM fees are both too high.

You have to believe that Margaret Sanger and Gloria Steinem are more important to American history than Thomas Jefferson, Gen. Robert E. Lee, Thomas Edison, and Alexander Graham Bell.

I believe that Margaret Sanger and Gloria Steinem are just little bit less important than Jefferson, Lee, Edison and Bell.

You have to believe that standardized tests are racist, but racial quotas and set-asides are not.

I don't believe that standardized tests are racist, but racial quotas and set-asides are not racist.

You have to believe that Hillary Clinton is normal and is a very nice person.

I believe Hillary Clinton is normal, but since I don't know her I don't know if she's a very nice person.

You have to believe that the only reason socialism hasn't worked anywhere it's been tried is because the right people haven't been in charge.

I believe socialism (or communism) hasn't worked is because people like to own things.

You have to believe that conservatives telling the truth belong in jail, but a liar and a sex offender belonged in the White House.

I don't believe that anyone who tells the truth belongs in jail, but I don't think that Clinton was a sex offender.

You have to believe that homosexual parades displaying drag, transvestites, and beastiality should be constitutionally protected and manger scenes at Christmas should be illegal.

I believe that a homosexual parade has a right to assemble and that manger scenes should not be illegal.

You have to believe that illegal Democratic Party funding by the Chinese government is somehow in the best interest to the United States.

I do not believe that illegal funding of the Democratic Party by the Chinese government is in the best interest of the United States.

You have to believe that it's okay to give federal workers Christmas Day off but it's not okay to say "Merry Christmas."

I believe it's okay to give federal workers Christmas Day off and it's okay to say "Merry Christmas."

You have to believe that this message is a part of a vast right wing conspiracy.

I do not believe this message is part of a vast right wing conspiracy.

Greed is good?

In a letter to the editor in the Chicago Sun-Times on August 28, 2006, a reader wrote:

"Once and for all, let us stop putting the blame on the people who come here looking for a better life. American greed breeds illegal immigration. They are not as much criminals as they are pawns in our game of wealth and greed."
- Anthony C. Wilson, La Grange, IL

Movie Review: Bobby

Saw this movie last night. Sometimes awkward pacing, but overall very good. The voiceover of the speeches by RFK were powerful.

One thing I did not realize is that Dr. King was killed on April 4, 1968 and and Bobby Kennedy was killed on June 6, 1968. Kennedy had just won the California presidential primary. Two extremely prominent assassinations within two months of each other. The effect on the psyche of the country must have been incalculable.

I don't even know if there's a comparison to be made today in terms of loss of national figures. I don't even want to make comparisons because the FBI and Secret Service will be knocking on my door.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Election conspiracy theorists

Florida's 13th Congressional District is garnering attention because of the results of the November 7 mid-term election. There was a vast undervote (like 18,000) in which the Republican candidate won by less than 1,000 votes. Some people are thinking it's a huge conspiracy which produces the below:

Though the clocks on the machines are set back to the date of the election during this test, generally, malicious software is capable of watching the clock, and knowing when the clock is reset. Since it knows the date and time, it is programmed not to misbehave if it's not during a live election. Therefore, it's possible for a malicious bug that was wide awake during the election to sleep right through this "audit."
With no proof whatsoever, uh huh.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Jesus is NOT peace

Christmas is a holiday to mark the birth of Jesus Christ. He spread a message of peace. These statements are pretty much universally accepted by Christians and Americans in particular. However, to incorporate the two is looked down upon.

A woman in southwest Colorado put up a Christmas wreath in the shape of a traditional peace sign. See, Christmas, the message of peace conflict with people who think that "peace" means "anti-war". Imagine that!

The president of the woman's homeowner association tried to take to make her down. The president

"...ordered the committee to require [the woman] to remove the wreath, but members refused after concluding that it was merely a seasonal symbol that didn't say anything. [The association presiden then] fired all five committee members."

Bringing "freedom" to Islamic societies

Freedom means people do what they want to do, which isn't always what you wanted them to do. The law of unintended consequences:

"Democracy and liberalism are not the same thing, and, in parts of the Muslim world, the former certainly does not guarantee the latter."

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Democratic goals

Every news article about the incoming Democratic Congress details their goals. Here are thoughts:

Increasing the minimum wage.
Because it hasn't been adjusted for inflation, making the actual existing minimum wage anachronistic, any increase is a band-aid and meant to make people feel better without any actual results. No poor people will be less poor because of an increase.

Enacting the September 11 Commission's security recommendations.
No brainer. This is just plain obvious. To NOT do so is treasonous.

Allowing the government to negotiate drug prices for Medicare patients.
Use the buying power of government to save money for taxpayers.

Cutting energy industry tax breaks.
Energy companies say they can only survive with the breaks, but with several billion dollar profits, that is increasingly hard to believe. If their P/E ratio goes down, then reinstituting tax breaks can be an option.

Lowering financial hurdles for access to higher education.
Higher education in the United States isn't hard enough. This is obvious by the need for immigrant workers in hard sciences ande engineering. But if a smart person in the United States wants to go to college and work hard simply can't pay tuition, they should be afforded the chance to contribute to society through their knowledge and determination instead of financial status.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Dictionary question

What is "Kosification"?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Southern electoral and political analysis

Chris Kromm of Facing South reports:

* The race divide. 62% of Southern whites voted Republican, while 87% of African-Americans, 57% of Latinos, and 52% of “others” voted Democrat. This is ominous for Republicans, given that the four states nationally with the fastest-growing Latino population are in the South, and Georgia and Mississippi are on the brink of joining Texas as so-called “majority minority” states.

* Young Southerners. In 2006, they preferred Democrats 51% to 48%.

* Class war. 55% of Southerners making under $50,000 a year – 40% of those polled – voted Democrat. The 13% of those polled in a union household favored Democrats 56% to 44%.

* Conflicting faiths. Southern Protestants -- 70% of those polled – voted Republican by a 58% to 41% margin, but all other faith groups favored Democrats. More than one out of four Southern white evangelicals (27%) – perceived as the hardened core of the Republican Party – voted for Democrats in 2006.

* Gender and marriage. Surprisingly, Southern married women were the staunchest GOP supporters in 2006, with only 40% voting for Democrats (41% of married men did). By contrast, 60% of Southern unmarried men, and 63% of unmarried women, favored Democrats in 2006.

Two pictures emerge from this and other data. One is that the Republican Party is increasingly the party not of "the South" in general, as some pundits claim, but older, wealthy and white Southern voters – a base that puts the GOP on the wrong side of all the key demographic trends unfolding in the South.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Jaw dropping

Anti-choice advocates are usually conservatives. Not always, but usually. It's not abnormal to try to link your beliefs in order to build a cohesive system of beliefs. That's exactly what state Representative Ed Emery of Missouri tried to do.

Emery, a Republican, led the Missouri House Special Committee on Immigration Reform with 10 Republicans and 6 Democrats. The committee released a report that claimed abortion is partly to blame for illegal immigration. It's obvious, as Emery noted, "If you kill 44 million of your potential workers, it's not too surprising we would be desperate for workers."

Talk about trying to kill two birds with one stone.

Friday, November 10, 2006

"Buzz saw" reference

Jeff Stein at Congressional Quarterly referenced the 1987 "buzz saw of testimony" regarding Defense Secretary nominee Robert Gates.


Stein appreciatively responded to an email saying the term was a "casualty of deadline writing." In that case, forgiven.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Just now figuring that out.

"Actually, I thought we were going to do fine yesterday, shows what I know."

- President George W. Bush, addressing the midterm elections.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Tennessee senators

Congratulations, Tennesseans. Now you have two absolutely boring senators.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Realistic Dems

CNN quotes an anonymous senior Democratic aide in Congress:

"Don't underestimate our ability to blow it."

Monday, November 06, 2006

Tennessee Senate Election Prediction

Timestamp: November 6, 2006, 12:25pm.

Corker defeats Ford, 52% to 48%.

**UPDATED 11/8/06**

Tenn. U.S. Senate (KEY RACE)
Bob Corker (R) 925,750 51
Harold Ford (D) 876,445 48
Other 23,568 1
Precincts: 99% | Updated: 11:55 AM ET | Source: AP

Does supposed liberal media bias help us?

Wall Street Journal columnist James Q. Wilson notes that the New York Times published reports of:

President Bush's allowing, without court warrants, electronic monitoring of phone calls between overseas terrorists and people inside the U.S...[then] that the FBI had been conducting a top-secret program to monitor radiation levels around U.S. Muslim sites, including mosques...[and then] stories about America's effort to monitor foreign banking transactions in order to frustrate terrorist plans.
Conservatives say that episodes such as this prove liberal media bias and that the media is aiding and abetting terrorists. If you were a terrorist, wouldn't each of these issue make your goal and issue that much harder?

Wouldn't you have to figure out a different (harder for the terrorists) way to communicate? Wouldn't you avoid bringing nuclear material near your mosque to hide it? Instead near your house or family, which would be worse for you? Wouldn't you have a harder time moving money around without the government noticing it?

With this information divulged to terrorists on the front page of the New York Times, which I'm not even sure that Osama bin Laden reads, doesn't it make their job that much harder? If our goal is more preventing terrorism, rather than catching them since we create more every day, doesn't the supposed "liberal media" help America, not hurt it?

Just wondering.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Politics and religion

From Newsweek's write-up of the evangelical identity crisis comes a great quote. Carl Thomas, a spokesman for the Moral Majority in the early 1980's, and now a conservative columnist said:

"Politics is a game of isn't."
David Kuo, who worked for more than two years in the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, said:
"Jesus needs to be about more than being precinct captain. Jesus' message of love is really the transcendent message..."

Scapegoats for gay pastors

Their wives!

Most not have satisfying, free, sexual conversations and liberties with their wives....It is not uncommon to meet pastors’ wives who really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them cause for laziness. A wife who lets herself go and is not sexually available to her husband in the ways that the Song of Songs is so frank about is not responsible for her husband’s sin, but she may not be helping him either.
Anything to get around the fact that someone is gay, and they couldn't change it no matter how hard they tried. It's nature, not nurture.

Is torture effective

Needed to learn for myself. As much as I'd like to hold Osama bin Laden's feet to the fire, would I get anything out of him?

Would it work?

Some answers, here and here.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Taking orders from us

"The government is merely a servant -- merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn't. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them."

- Mark Twain


"Anybody who is in a position to serve this country ought to understand the consequences of words."
- President George W. Bush speaking on Rush Limbaugh's show about Sen. John Kerry's "botched joke."

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Anti-Anti-Gay Marriage

The following is a speech by black Houston Democrat, State Representative Senfronia Thompson in May 2005. The speech was regarding an anti-gay marriage amendment to the Texas constitution:

"I have been a member of this august body for three decades, and today is one of the all-time low points. We are going in the wrong direction, in the direction of hate and fear and discrimination. Members, we all know what this is about, this is the politics of divisiveness at its worst, a wedge issue that is meant to divide.

Members, this issue is a distraction from the real things we need to be working on. At the end of this session, this Legislature, this Leadership will not be able to deliver the people of Texas, fundamental and fair answers to the pressing issues of our day.

Let's look at what this amendment does not do: It does not give one Texas citizen meaningful tax relief. It does not reform or fully fund our education system. It does not restore one child to CHIP, who was cut from health insurance last session. It does not put one dime into raising Texas' Third World access to health care. It does not do one thing to care for or protect one elderly person or one child in this state. In fact, it does not even do anything to protect one marriage.

Members, this bill is about hate and fear and discrimination. I know something about hate and fear and discrimination. When I was a small girl, white folks used to talk about "protecting the institution of marriage" as well. What they meant was if people of my color tried to marry people of Mr. Chisum's color, you'd often find the people of my color hanging from a tree. That's what the white folks did back then to "protect marriage." Fifty years ago, white folks thought inter-racial marriages were a "threat to the institution of marriage."

Members, I'm a Christian and a proud Christian. I read the good book, and do my best to live by it. I have never read the verse where it says, "gay people can't marry." I have never read the verse where it says, "though shalt discriminate against those not like me." I have never read the verse where it says, "let's base our public policy on hate and fear and discrimination." Christianity to me is love and hope and faith and forgiveness -- not hate and discrimination.

I have served in this body a lot of years -- and I have seen a lot of promises broken. I should be up here demanding my 40 acres and a mule because that's another promise you broke. You used a wealthy white minister cloaked in the cloth to ease the stench of that form of discrimination.

So, now that blacks and women can vote, and now that blacks and women have equal rights -- you turn your hatred to homosexuals -- and you still use your misguided reading of the Bible to justify your hatred. You want to pass this ridiculous amendment so you can go home and brag. . . brag about what? Declare that you saved the people of Texas from what? Persons of the same sex cannot get married in this State now. Texas does not now recognize same-sex marriages, civil unions, religious unions, domestic partnerships, contractual arrangements or Christian blessings entered into in this State -- or anywhere else on this planet Earth.

If you want to make your hateful political statements then that is one thing -- the Chisum amendment does real harm. It repeals the contracts that many single people have paid thousands of dollars to purchase to obtain medical powers of attorney, powers of attorney, hospital visitation, joint ownership and support agreements. You have lost your way -- this is obscene.

Today, you are playing to the lowest common denominator -- you are putting aside the real issues of substance that we need to address so that you can instead play on the public's fears and prejudices to deceive and manipulate voters into thinking that we have done something important.

I realize that gay rights are not the same as civil rights -- but I can guarantee you we are going in the wrong direction. I can not hide my skin color. In fact, in most of the South, people as pink as Rep. Wayne Smith were still Black by law if they had a great grandparent who was African. I was unable to attend an integrated and equally funded school until I got my Master of Laws degree. There were separate and unequal facilities for nearly everything.

I got second-hand textbooks even worse than the kind you're trying to pass off on every public school student next year. I had to ride to school on the back of the bus. I had to quench my thirst from filthy coloreds-only drinking fountains. I had to enter restaurants from the kitchen door. I was banned from entering most public accommodations, even from serving on a jury.

I had to live with the fear that getting too uppity could get you killed --- or worse. I know what third-class citizenship feels like. In my first term, one of my colleagues walked up and down this aisle muttering about how Nigras should be back in the field picking cotton instead of picking out committees.

So, I have to wonder about Rep. Chisum's 3/5 of a person amendment. Some of you folks hid behind your Bible then, too, to justify your cultural prejudices, your denial of liberty, and your gunpoint robbery of human dignity.

We have worked hard at putting our prejudices against homosexuals in law. We have denied them basic job protections. We have denied them and their children freedom from bullying and harassment at school. We have tried to criminalize their very existence.

But, we have also absolved them of all family duties and responsibilities: to care for and support their spouses and children, to count their family's assets in determining public assistance, to obtain health insurance for dependents, to make end-of-life or necessary medical decisions for their life partners --- sometimes even to visit in the hospital, even to defend our own country. And then, we can stand on our two hind legs and proclaim, "See, I told you homosexual families are unstable." And nearly every one of you on this Floor has a homosexual in their extended families.

Some of you have shunned and isolated these family members. Some of you, even some of the joint coauthors, have embraced them within your own family for the essence of Christianity is love. Yet, you are now poised to constitutionalize discrimination against a particular class of people.

I thought we would be debating real issues: education, health care for kids, teacher's health insurance, health care for the elderly, protecting survivors of sexual assault, protecting the pensions of seniors in nursing homes. I thought we would be debating economic development, property tax relief, protecting seniors pensions and stem cell research, to save lives of Texans who are waiting for a more abundant life. Instead we are wasting this body's time with this political stunt that is nothing more than constitutionalizing discrimination. The prejudices exhibited by members of this body disgust me.

Last week, Republicans used a political wedge issue to pull kids --sweet little vulnerable kids -- out of the homes of loving parents and put them back in a state orphanage just because those parents are gay. That's disgusting. Today, we are telling homosexuals that just like people of my ilk, when I was a small child, they too are second class citizens. I have listened to all the arguments. I have listened to all of the crap.

Mr. Chisum, is a person who I consider my good friend and revere. But, I want you to know that this amendment are blowing smoke to fuel the hell-fire flames of bigotry. You are trying to protect your constituents from danger. This amendment is a CYB amendment for you to go home and talk about."

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Kerry comments on troops

I was never huge John Kerry fan. Today Kerry said:

"You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."
Reading it the first time, it does seem to be an insult to troops, making them out to be unintelligent. After hearing his passionate defense, that the remark was a botched joke about President Bush, it became a little clearer. I think I even know how he botched it. He forgot to add three words to the end, "like George Bush." His corrected statement should read:
"You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq, like George Bush."
It looks like not all Republicans/conservatives got the memo about the bashing Kerry for his comments. The pollster for Bush-Cheney '04, Matthew Dowd and Republican ex-Majority Leader Dick Armey disagreed with the assertion that Kerry meant to insult troops. Dowd said that Kerry "just misspoke" and Armey said, "The President wants the people to perceive [Kerry] of having maligned our troops… I think John Kerry’s right. He’s making a defense of himself. He’s saying, ‘Look, I was not maligning the troops, I was maligning the President of the United States.'”

Sunday, October 29, 2006

700-mile "virtual fence"

The Border Patrol agents don't even think the new $2 billion fence will help:

"We're disappointed that the 700-mile fence has become the centerpiece of reform, because fences don't stop people," says T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, the union that represents border-patrol agents. "As long as the employment magnet is turned on full force, people will continue to come across our borders in 125 degree heat.

People who make liberals look bad.

Rosie O'Donnell: I caught this clip of Bill O'Reilly on The View, and I was very annoyed by Rosie O' Donnell. And I strongly dislike O'Reilly.

Deadly natural disasters

Of the 10 deadliest natural disasters in recorded history, a full 9 have occured in or around Asia (i.e. from Pakistan to China). In case you were wondering.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Nuclear North Korea

The Doonesbury Straw Poll excellently worded the escalating controversy:

"You can't unsplit atoms. I'm sure it was a rush to be the only people with bows and arrows when everybody else had spears. But as a North Korean vice minister put it: "We are not boys. We are a nuclear power." Sigh. Okay. Welcome to the club."

Friday, October 27, 2006

Politics of economics

President George W. Bush has been trying to "convince voters Republicans are the best stewards of matters affecting the wallet."

He is trying, but failing, apparently. The United States Commerce Department, a cabinet-level department of the executive branch of which the President is the head, says the opposite. The department released a report stating that "economic growth slowed to the weakest pace in more than three years."

Friday, October 20, 2006

Question asked, question answered.

Bill O'Reilly interviewed the Commander-in-Chief:

O'Reilly: Sixty percent of Americans are now against the Iraq War. Why?

Bush: Because they want us to win.

There has GOT to be a better metaphor

A Lexis search for "buzz saw of opposition" shows 361 results! A Google search shows 10 results. A Google blog search show 55 results (no doubt, some are referencing the original 361).

Reporters who continue to use the metaphor are going to run into the proverbial saw from me.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Disproportional contribution

According to Technology Review 35, the prominent tech journal of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology:

"while the Indian-American population is less than one per cent in the US, the contribution of the community is to the extent of almost 17 per cent."
When are the other hyphenated Americans gonna pick up the slack?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Knoxville paper endorses Corker

The Knoxville News-Sentinel editorial board wrote:

"I have been shaped by Tennessee," and Knoxville and East Tennessee have played a role, Corker told the News Sentinel editorial board.

That provides a good backdrop for his hope to serve Tennesseans in the Senate.

I say the same about me, but I still voted for Ford.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Walk the talk...

"It's time that we start reading the Bible instead of knocking people over the head with it."
- Claire McCaskill, Missouri U.S. Senate candidate

A lifelong GOP voter who is now an active Democratic campaign volunteer stated:
"Republicans don't know anything about working-class survival."

Flash forward to the American Taliban

From a article on fundamentalism of Pakistani college students come this excerpt:

"Pakistan is an Islamic country, and our institutions must reflect that," says Umair Idrees, a master's degree student and secretary-general of Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba (I.J.T.), the biggest student group on campus. "The formation of these departments (i.e. musicology and performing arts) is an attack on Islam and a betrayal of Pakistan. They should not be part of the university curriculum."
If the following came out in a press release from Focus on the Family, would it be a surprise?
"America is an Christian country, and our institutions must reflect that," says Jason Lowell, a master's degree student and secretary-general of College Republicans, the biggest student group on campus. "The formation of these departments (i.e. musicology and performing arts) is an attack on Christianity and a betrayal of the United States. They should not be part of the university curriculum."

Friday, October 06, 2006

Tax and Spend Liberals

Maybe "tax and spend" is just a euphemism for better government.

It's been established that "...the federal government budget improved every year...and went from a record deficit in 1992 to a record surplus in 2000. An Internet-powered tech bubble and a booming stock market resulted in some of the lowest national unemployment rates in decades."
Who was the evil, reviled president during those years. Oh, yeah. That guy.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Ex-Rep. Mark Foley's view of being gay.

After a family friend complained to former Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) about his vote for the Defense of Marriage Act, Foley responded that he:

"...could never compare any relationship I have ever had to the nature of my mother and father's relationship."
I presume that means that, as a gay man, he viewed his relationship with his longtime partner as being purely about sex. It had no other meaning for him (i.e. love or caring).

A sad, messed up man.

On what to be done with Foley's seat.

Jay Leno, on what should be done with Foley's seat:

"I say, spray it with Lysol!"

Why I don't watch Fox News:

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Listen to the people on the ground...

The National Intelligence Estimate "said the war in Iraq has increased the threat from terrorism."

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Electoral prediction.

The Republicans will retain control of the House and Senate in November 2006. President Bush may appoint another neoconservative to the Supreme Court in 2006-2008, causing it too to be run by Republican-appointees. The reason?

The Democrats "...still have to... explain what they are for, not just what [they] all are against."

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Spinning suicide...

Terrell Owens' publicist told the Dallas Morning News:

"Here's a person whose body is so clean, it really had a negative reaction to the medication and supplements he was taking."
A person's system being clean caused a negative reaction?

I can't wait to hear the doctors on SportsCenter refute that one.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Liberal Platform II

"Always fight for progress and reform, never tolerate injustice or corruption, always fight demagogues of all parties, never belong to any party, always oppose privileged classes and public plunderers, never lack sympathy for the poor, always remain devoted to the public welfare...never be afraid to attack wrong, whether by predatory plutocracy or predatory poverty."
- Joseph Pulitzer, Hungarian-American and founder of Pulitzer Prizes

NOW there's a brouhaha...

Mike Wallace asked in 2002, from the (subscription only) Hotline:

"What I don't understand is if [Bush] was briefed back in August before September, why didn't we know about it?

It seems to me that it was sufficiently interesting, Osama bin Laden is named.

Nobody expected that planes were suddenly going to be turned into missiles, but isn't that the job of the intelligence community to try to play out that sort of scenario?"

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Ignorance is not bliss.

Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand.
- Mark Twain

Friday, September 22, 2006

Rope for our own noose.

"...reckless oil consumption is a form of suicide."
- Hugo Chavez

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Figure it out and stuff.

Do something about it.

"...let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action."

- 1 John 3:18

It's easy to be pro-life...

...except when the father is black, I guess.

"A Maine couple accused of tying up their 19-year-old daughter, throwing her in their car and driving her out of state to get an abortion were upset because the baby's father is black."

They were "taking their daughter to New York to try to force her to get an abortion there."
Those finicky state rules can be a pain when you really need an abortion, like right now. And it's the poor, black women who use abortion as birth control? We keep forgetting about the rich, white people who use it as birth control.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Ann Richards eulogy.

"This is your life. It is the only one you get. So no excuses, and no do-overs. If you make a mistake or fail at something you learn from it, you get over it and you move on. Your job is to be the very best person you can be and to never settle for anything less."
- Lily Adams eulogizing with a message from her grandmother, former Texas governor Ann Richards

Dooon't stop, belieeeeving...

"I am often asked why we are in Iraq when Saddam Hussein was not responsible for the 9/11 attacks. The answer is that the regime of Saddam Hussein was a clear threat."
- President George W. Bush, 9/11/06

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Condom analogies.

Along the lines of (paraphrased):

"Saying that condoms in schools promote sex is like saying that umbrellas promote rain."

- Nicholas D. Kristof, New York Times, 11/26/03
A reader of National Journals' Hotline (subscription only) asks:
"Isn't a 700-mile fence on a 2,000-mile border a little like only wearing the bottom half of a condom?"

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Pretty sure this is treason nowadays...

"...whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it..."
- The Declaration of Independence

Oh, wait. It WAS treason back in 1776.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Our Deepest Fear

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

By Marianne Williamson

I concur...

The man makes the point that it would be a mistake:

" think that if we pulled out [of Iraq], the terrorists would leave us alone."
To think that would be naïve. Seriously.


The below is an excerpt from a comment on The Moderate Voice regarding the effects of a complete withdrawal from Iraq.
"...[the Iraq War "planners"] underestimated the level of civil strife that would break out, though, which really is criminal given the known history of the Iraqi provinces and competing factions.

So, leaving now means Iraq decends into temporary chaos and anarchy, and almost assuradely ends up as another Iran controlled or influenced state..."

Monday, September 11, 2006

Know the difference.

Ruben Navarrette Jr. is a member of the editorial board of the San Diego Union-Tribune and a nationally syndicated columnist:

Anti-illegal immigration activists object to that, claiming that you can't preserve national security without border security and that the two policy areas are intrinsically linked.

[That] suggests that, five years after the September 11 attacks, we still have trouble with basic concepts, like distinguishing between terrorists and immigrants.

[...]One group takes innocent lives and wants to come here to do us harm. The other risks their lives to get here to do the cooking, laundry and gardening. The first step to being more secure is knowing the difference.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Q&A with 9/11 Widow

Kristin Breitweiser is interviewed by TIME:

TIME: In her own book Godless released in June, conservative commentator Ann Coulter calls you and your fellow Jersey Girls various names — "harpies," "witches" — saying some "9/11 victims turned themselves into the arbiters of what anyone could say about 9/11."

KB: I don't believe in name-calling and hysterics. This country is in a place right now where we need respectful educated debate versus screaming, ranting and raving. That's not fruitful. Tell me why the airline system shouldn't be secure. Tell me why port security shouldn't be better. Tell me why border security shouldn't be our first priority. Tell me why I shouldn't care that the FBI still has an inoperable computer system. If Ms. Coulter can give me an argument to dissuade me those things aren't of paramount importance, I'll listen.

TIME: Coulter went on to lambaste you for attracting media attention and "reveling in [your] status as celebrities."

KB: Regardless of who you are — whether you're a 9/11 family member, an Iraqi war veteran, whether you lost a child in a hot tub drain, whether your child was abducted — if you're an American citizen, you have every right to open your mouth and partake in democracy. I have every right to voice my opinion.

TIME: There are those whose opinion is we're already putting too many resources toward fighting terrorism.

KB: I'll respond the same way I do to the Department of Defense when they say we can't reform our intelligence system because we have to focus resources on the troops on the field in Iraq. The reality is that the terrorists are doing a hundred things at once. It's not too much to ask our elected officials to be intelligent about how we make our country safe. Whether that has to do with inner-city crime or that has to do with keeping terrorists from getting inside this country, the reality is that you need to multitask and be smart. It's not an unfair assumption to make that my elected officials should be able to do that. That's why they are there.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Fill in the blank:

_______ is typified by totalitarian attempts to impose state control over all aspects of life: political, social, cultural, and economic.1
Let's all be Republican, vote for Republicans, hold Republican ideals and support Republican principles.

This includes, voting straight Republican tickets, support the Christian Coalition and the Council of Conservative Citizens. We should also donate money and support the Club for Growth.

Straying from this path is not permitted and could be construed disloyal at best and treasonous at worst.

What what is the name for this ideal vision for our country?

Sunday, September 03, 2006

An all-too-common story...

From a globalization story:

It's an all-to-common story, on Labor Day and every day: A big corporation closes a factory to save money. Americans lose their jobs to workers in cheap-labor countries, where workers are thought to be exploited. An American town, usually rural, often somewhere in the Midwest, falls into decay. Fathers and mothers struggle to provide, and children suffer.

Tennessee over Cal.

How about this statistic?

Only 35% of Yahoo! College Pick'em users chose Tennessee to win the game.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Pigs DO fly.

From Fox News:

While calling her too liberal for the district, McSweeney also suggested she is disingenuous, having lost credibility with labor unions who supported her two years ago.

"She ran in '04 and had heavy union support" before voting for CAFTA, he said. "Effectively, she lied to the people who put her in office and sold out to big business."

A multi-millionaire , energy investor, Republican candidate who's claiming that a centrist Democrat has sold out to big business. Look out above!

Friday, August 25, 2006

...listen for a minute.

Bruche Schneier says it perfectly:

"I'd like everyone to take a deep breath and listen for a minute.

The point of terrorism is to cause terror, sometimes to further a political goal and sometimes out of sheer hatred. The people terrorists kill are not the targets; they are collateral damage. And blowing up planes, trains, markets or buses is not the goal; those are just tactics. The real targets of terrorism are the rest of us: the billions of us who are not killed but are terrorized because of the killing. The real point of terrorism is not the act itself, but our reaction to the act.

And we're doing exactly what the terrorists want. [...]

Imagine for a moment that the British government arrested the 23 suspects without fanfare. Imagine that the TSA and its European counterparts didn't engage in pointless airline-security measures like banning liquids. And imagine that the press didn't write about it endlessly, and that the politicians didn't use the event to remind us all how scared we should be. If we'd reacted that way, then the terrorists would have truly failed.

It's time we calm down and fight terror with antiterror. This does not mean that we simply roll over and accept terrorism. There are things our government can and should do to fight terrorism, most of them involving intelligence and investigation---and not focusing on specific plots. [...]

The surest defense against terrorism is to refuse to be terrorized. Our job is to recognize that terrorism is just one of the risks we face, and not a particularly common one at that. And our job is to fight those politicians who use fear as an excuse to take away our liberties and promote "security theater" that wastes money and doesn't make us any safer."

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Racial Epithets

White people may sometimes use the word in joking but this is article on racism in Russia points out the obvious.

What many Russians do not understand is that once they use the hate vocabulary of "churki" and "blacks," they feed the specter of fascism even if they do not fully support it.
Even not being racist and using racist words is a tacit support of racists.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Reporters' stupid questions.

After the alleged killer of JonBenet Ramsey was arrested in Thailand:

Asked about the worst part of the whole ordeal, John Ramsey said, "The hardest part was losing a child, by far."
That's a question that needs to be asked?!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Liberal mission statement?

By Michael Schwalbe, a professor of sociology at North Carolina State University.

"...there are...honest and genuine ways to uphold human freedom.

To work for social justice is to expand people's freedom to develop their potentials.

To expose the lies of the powerful is to expand people's freedom to make informed choices. To promote democracy is to expand people's freedom to participate in shaping society.

To work for a clean environment or universal health care is to promote the freedom to live without being the victim of corporate profit-seeking.

To oppose gratuitous war is to help create the peace upon which these other freedoms depend, at home and around the world."

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Misplaced semantics

The "war on terror" is akin to a "war on murder." Doesn't solve the freakin' problem.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Myopic sports world analogy.

Michael Wilbon writes for the Washington Post regarding Maurice Clarett's recent run-in with the law. He was wearing a bullet-proof vest and had a "small cache" of firearms next to him while near the home of a witness that will testify against him in his robbery arrest last year. Wilbon goes on about how he didn't have a chance, blah, blah, blah.

The most telling quote:

"[Clarett] was left with nothing, really. No money, no education, no real NFL skills."
I think this is reflective of most inner-city kids. A more accurate phrase:
"he was left with nothing, really. No money, no education, no real...skills."

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Oh, back in the day...

From the the Illinois State Senate Journal Resolution No. 102:

WHEREAS, the price of gasoline has reached an average $1.70 per gallon nationwide; and

WHEREAS, the price of gasoline continues to climb, to the extent that some experts have predicted
prices of $2.50 per gallon in the near future; therefore be it

STATE OF ILLINOIS, that we call upon the United States Congress to investigate and determine why
the cost of motor fuel is so high and climbing.
The resolution was dated on March 27, 2003.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Wide open BCS race.

Tennessee is ranked 23rd in the Coaches poll.


"Based on recent history, it's entirely possible that this year's national champion will not be one of the teams ranked in the preseason Top 10. Maybe it's not even in the Top 20."

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Split Ticket Voters points out that Tennessee is:

"considered a Republican red state on the modern political map despite the fact five of the 11 congressional delegation are Democrats as is the governor.

Lamont vs. Lieberman

Single issue candidates tend to be weak. However, Ned Lamont has a fighting chance in his bid to unseat Sen. Joe Lieberman in the Connecticut Democratic primary. I had read with mixed opinions the whole affair until today. While campaigning in a Spanish-speaking church, Lieberman said:

"You and I know each other. We are like familia," said Lieberman, drawing chuckles from the crowd for using the Spanish word.
Very endearing. However, the phrase "we know each other", or nos conocemos, is very familiar. Indeed, it was used by President Bush in Spanish-language advertisements during the 2004 election. In consideration of accusations that Lieberman is too close to the Republicans, this use of message stands out. His media consultants must have thought "well it worked for them" and stuck it in his remarks for the church. Nonetheless, the phrase solidifies arguments by Democrats of Lieberman's acquiescence with Republicans.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Lakota Wisdom.

In a Chicago Tribune article regarding abortion on an Indian reservation, the first female president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation said:

"Women are so colonized and oppressed, even if you drive a Mercedes and have a charge account at Neiman Marcus you're a second-class citizen in the eyes of the government and the church."
The tribe is located in South Dakota which recently passed a law making an abortion a felony, except in cases of life of the mother.
"Rape and incest are common [on Indian reservations]." The incidents are "often linked to the high rates of alcoholism and drug abuse. According to U.S. Justice Department statistics, Indian women are sexually assaulted at a rate more than three times higher than white women. The alcoholism rate on the reservation is at least double the national average. "Who gave those men in Pierre [the state capital] the right to decide about a pregnancy caused by an act of violence?" she said.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Wisdom with bushy eyebrows.

Michael Dukakis co-wrote a New York Times editorial (Raise Wages, Not Walls) that exposes the cognitive dissonance over GOP immigration reform.

Curiously, most members of Congress who take a hard line on immigration also strongly oppose increasing the minimum wage, claiming it will hurt businesses and reduce jobs. For some reason, they don’t seem eager to acknowledge that many of the jobs they claim to hold dear are held by the same illegal immigrants they are trying to deport.

Monday, July 24, 2006

An Inconvenient Truth

See the movie.

Heck, even the sports junkies are gettin' in on the action.

Peter King of Sports Illustrated said:

This is the most apolitical piece of advice I could ever give you, because I realize Al Gore is not popular with all of you. And I really don't care very much about Gore weaving details of his personal life into the global-warming lecture. But you should see this movie and judge the facts for yourself. What's happening out here is no isolated occurrence. It's going to keep happening and it's going to get worse. Facts are facts. And we all need to do something about this phenomenon of the Earth heating up and the polar ice caps melting. This is not exactly the venue to warn the world about global warming, but all you football junkies readying for your fantasy drafts should do one real-world thing in the next couple of weeks: take two hours to see this movie. I'm not saying you'll be glad you did, because it's going to slap you around mentally a bit. But it's something you need to see. You don't want to wake up in 15 years with the Earth permanently damaged and huge portions of the Earth's surface under water, forever.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Strategy vs. Tactics

Thomas Ricks of the Washington Post with a write-up of decision making in Iraq, quotes Robert Killebrew, a veteran of Special Forces in the Vietnam War:

"When you're facing a counterinsurgency war, if you get the strategy right, you can get the tactics wrong, and eventually you'll get the tactics right. If you get the strategy wrong and the tactics right at the start, you can refine the tactics forever, but you still lose the war. That's basically what we did in Vietnam."
That would be "strategery" vs. tactics for the ditto-heads.

*Update: "This is the first of two articles adapted from the book "Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq" by Thomas E. Ricks. Penguin Press, New York, © 2006."

Friday, July 21, 2006

Adjectives and nouns are funny things...

Protesting the Gay Games is . . . gay.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Cognitive Dissonance.

I believe that the ability to toe the Republican Party line and proudly claim their ideals as your own is the ability to view two completely opposite perspectives as one. Cognitive dissonance is defined as the perception of incompatibility between two "cognitions", which can be defined as any element of knowledge, including attitude, emotion, belief or behavior.

Case in point, from The Hotline's Wake Up Call:

"This is probably the best message we can give to the Middle East in regards to the trouble we are having over there right now" -- Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA), on banning gay marriage (Washington Post)

Friday, July 14, 2006

Libertarianism works, uh-huh...

I saw self-professed libertarian and 20/20 reporter John Stossel on The Colbert Report a while ago. In questioning libertarian beliefs, Colbert asked whether Stossel was against the Federal Aviation Administration. Stossel replied along the lines of, yes, he was against the FAA, and that the airlines companies, the market, would take steps to resolve problems. He stated that the airlines have nothing to gain by risking and killing their passengers. It's apparently a bad marketing technique. reports today that plane are still around flying with the problem that blew up TWA 800 ten years ago. The federal regulating agency has charged that

"without its recommended safety changes four more TWA-type disasters are likely to happen over the next 50 years."
This is apparently not enough motivation to fix the planes.
"The FAA estimates that an explosion of a fully-loaded passenger aircraft, such as a 747 or Airbus A380, would 'result in death and destruction causing societal loss of at least $1.2 billion based on prior calamities.'"
Yeah, you'd think the companies would act in their own self-interest because of their desire to not lose like, I dunno, $1.2 billion.

Without changes, the FAA also said that there is
"a nearly 40 percent probability of five or more accidents."
So far, the FAA's actions have been recommendations. The companies are waiting for the rule of law. Libertarianism, huh?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Danica Patrick to NASCAR?

I pay some attention to NASCAR. I have Fantasy NASCAR lineups on my Yahoo! Sports, and I always read the writeups in Sports Illustrated and I usually listen to the radio broadcasts on the country radio station if I'm in my car on a Sunday.

If Patrick raced NASCAR, I'd pay more attention. I'd sit and watch a race. Name another way to kill a 12 pack. sportswriter Mike Celizic wrote an analogy that made me laugh out loud, however. He comparing Danica Patrick's welcome to the "beer-and-tobacco" NASCAR crowd by saying she would be as warmly welcomed "as a homosexual, secular-humanist, pro-choice, Libertarian evolutionist would be at Pat Robertson's birthday party."

Italy Soccer Sucks.

In addition to their dirty game versus the United States in the World Cup, they've proved how "uncultured" they are. Zinedine Zidane of France head-butted Marco Materazzi of Italy after Materazzi held his jersey during play and flung an insult shortly after.

Materazzi admitted insulting the Algerian-born Frenchman. However, the way he framed his statement is reminiscient of a 5th-grader lying to the teacher, and later laughing about it with his classmates. Denying that he'd called Zidane a "terrorist" Materazzi said,

"I'm not cultured and I don't even know what an Islamic terrorist is."
This is like the kid who tells his parents or his teacher he didn't know the baseball would break the window or that cheating was against the rules. It's easy to imagine him going back to the lockeroom and having a good chuckle with Daniele de Rossi (the Italian who elbowed Brian McBride in the face during the U.S. match).

If they can get away with it, they will. If they can get away with it and be smart-ass about it, why not?

Italian soccer players = spoiled grade-schoolers.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Without a care in the world

"Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction."
- Pascal

Thursday, July 06, 2006

You might be a...

If this valid form of deductive reasoning makes sense to you, you might be a GOPer:

Every criminal opposes the government.
Everyone in the opposition party opposes the government.
Therefore everyone in the opposition party is a criminal.

Ways to play the game.

"Let me put it this way: I think Republicans tend to keep the ball in play, Democrats go for broke."
- Arthur Ashe

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Why Republicans are campaigning.

The Hotline blog writes:

"So let's get this straight: The public wants out of Iraq. Lots of Dems want out of Iraq. And now Dems are playing defense to GOPers on the issue? Are they TRYING to lose?"

Thursday, June 08, 2006

George W. Bush better than or worse than Saddam Hussein?

Blake Fleetwood pastes conversation on Huffington Post between CNN's Soledad O'Brien and Michael Berg, father of decapitated Nick Berg:

BERG: Democracy? Come on. You can't really believe that that's a democracy there when the people who are running the elections are holding guns. That's not democracy.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: There is a theory that as they try to form some kind of government that, in fact, it's going to be brutal, it's going to be bloody, there's going to be loss and that's the history of many countries, that that's just a lot of people pay for what they believe will be better than what they had under Saddam Hussein.

BERG: Well, you know, I'm not saying Saddam Hussein was a good man, but he's no worse than George Bush. Saddam Hussein didn't pull the trigger, didn't commit the rapes. Neither did George Bush, but both men are responsible for them under their reigns of terror. I don't buy that.

Iraq did not have al Qaeda in it. Al Qaeda supposedly killed my son. Under Saddam Hussein, no al Qaeda. Under George Bush, al Qaeda. Under Saddam Hussein, relative stability. Under George Bush, instability. Under Saddam Hussein, about 30,000 deaths a year. Under George Bush, about 60,000 deaths a year.

I don't get it. Why is it better to have George Bush be the king of Iraq rather than Saddam Hussein?

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Low down, dirty shame.

Barry Bonds = cheat

Dumb vs. Dumber

What's better, bad ideas or no ideas?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


From on a proposed immigration reform compromise plan, offered by Rep. Mike Spence (R-IN)

“The solution is to set up a system that will encourage illegal aliens to self-deport and come back legally as guest workers,” Pence, the grandson of an Irish immigrant, says in prepared remarks. “The visa will be issued only outside of the United States. Outside of the United States. That is a key point because it is the provision that will require the 12 million illegal aliens to leave. Now, some of you are thinking to yourselves that 12 million people aren’t going to pack up and leave just to get a visa to come back legally. But, I believe most will.”
Why would they?

Friday, May 19, 2006

Is The Da Vinci Code dangerous?

From an article on the Sojourners' newsletter, on their website. This sums it up.

Is The Da Vinci Code dangerous?

by Ryan McCarl SojoMail

Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code has topped bestseller lists, entertained millions of readers, and inspired a major film as well as a host of other books investigating whether the novel's so-called claims about history, art, mathematics, the Catholic Church, and Jesus Christ are true.

In addition to fans, the book has created some major enemies. The Catholic Church has suggested its followers boycott the movie set for release this week. Many evangelical groups are torn between supporting the boycott and using the film's release as a teaching moment to expound their own views of the truth. The New York Times reports that some prominent evangelicals, such as Richard Mouw of Fuller Theological Seminary, are calling for Christians to see and discuss the movie.

But do Christians really have anything to fear from The Da Vinci Code? It is true that the novel's characters make assertions that challenge much conventional wisdom about Christian history and raise difficult issues for believers. But anyone who loses his or her faith by reading The Da Vinci Code, or any single book, needed a stronger foundation for his or her beliefs before reading it. "There is nothing in Christianity which is original," one character sneers - but the same could be said about the religious and historical speculations in the novel. Nearly all of the theories expounded by the book's characters have been around for some time, and the most book's most challenging assertions about history are familiar territory for students of theology and comparative religion.

For example, the novel is filled with assertions about the ubiquitous presence of pagan symbolism in Christian belief and practice. To the best of my knowledge, most of these claims are true - and while they can be uncomfortable for a believer to think about, they are basic facts that have been recognized and dealt with by countless theologians and apologists. One common idea is that such symbols were used as a bridge from paganism to Christianity, to aid the conversion process; another is that the common symbols are attempts to highlight a greater truth larger than any single religious tradition.

A second trouble-spot that the novel raises for believers is the reminder of how the books of the Bible were selected - not by any single individual, but over time by the decrees and votes of a number of scholars, translators, and councilors. The story of how the Bible came to take its various present shapes is fascinating, but it poses problems for the minority of Christians who accept the Bible word-for-word as literally true and complete - as "arrived by fax from heaven," as a character in The Da Vinci Code says. It poses no such problems to most modern Christian thinkers, who understand the crucial role of metaphor in the ancient texts and are willing to focus on the essential continuities of the texts rather than their contradictions.

A third challenging issue commonly referred to in the book is the often brutal and repressive history of the Catholic Church. Until very recently, the Vatican was as much a political power-player as any state or party, contending for influence not only in the spiritual realm of human affairs but also in the material and political realm. This, too, is not crazy blaspheme that originated with The Da Vinci Code - it is right out there, clear as day, in any European history book.

It is worth remembering, though, that our modern idea of church-state separation is relatively very new. Also, those who point accusing fingers at modern Catholics for the past sins of their church should ask themselves whether any similar human institution or ideology would have fared significantly better. Throughout history and today, in every time and place, there have also been countless groups, religious and secular, that have tried to monopolize truth. It is a nasty habit common to all humanity, not just to the Vatican.

It is a bit embarassing to see groups that claim to be the guardians of eternal, timeless truths prominently scrambling to suppress the popularity of a three-year-old thriller novel. If the fundamentals of Christian doctrine are true, then Christians should have no fear of discussing their faith and objections to it in the public and academic arena. Other claimants to truth - philosophers, writers, and scientists - have to do so on a regular basis.

If the tough questions are openly examined and discussed, the truth ought to prevail without the help of boycotts, political intervention, or force. As St. Paul advises us, "test everything; hold fast to what is good" (1 Thessalonians 5:21). The Christian faith has survived a great many tests over the centuries, and it is hard to believe that a popular novel poses any threat to its survival; if anything, it is the shameful response of some Christian groups to anything that looks like a challenge that makes the church lose credibility in the eyes of the public.

Ryan McCarl is a Christian theology student at the University of Chicago, and a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Paranoid Fringe.

A pharmaceutical company has developed a potential vaccine against cervical cancer which is mostly caused by the Human Papilloma Virus. Good news, right?

Social conservatives worry that an HPV vaccine might encourage young girls to have premarital sex.
Even when something is good, it's bad.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


If I was in the National Guard and my choices were Iraq or Tijuana, I pick Tijuana.

Monday, May 15, 2006

The Fourth.

The 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution from the Bill of Rights:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

People who believe The Da Vinci Code is real are crazy...

From an article titled "'Code' a blessing for some churches":

Whether Brown's thriller deserves to be taken so seriously by religious leaders is unclear. A survey released this month by the Barna Group, a religious polling firm, found that 5 percent of U.S. adults who had read the book said it had changed some of their religious beliefs or perspectives.
Five percent does not equal a majority. A majority, by definition, is 50 percent plus one. The book is a rallying point for evangelicals (not that there's anything wrong with that). The Church shouldn't need an excuse to spread the Word. The 'Code' is not taking over the world.

The Da Vinci Code is a fictional book that the media has blown out of proportion to imply that the general public's conception and views of the Church are actively changing as a direct result.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

We need people out on the front lines...

...including the crazies.

Twenty-two U.S. troops committed suicide in Iraq last year. That number accounts for nearly one in five of all noncombat deaths and was the highest suicide rate since the war started, the [Hartford Courant] said.
They're crazy, and they're killing themselves.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Sapere aude.

Latin for "dare to know" or "dare to be wise."

"Democracy is necessarily despotism, as it establishes an executive power contrary to the general will; all being able to decide against one whose opinion may differ, the will of all is therefore not that of all: which is contradictory and opposite to liberty."
(Immanuel Kant, Perpetual Peace, II, 1795)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

A Gambling Man.

Ahmad ibn Rustah was a 10th century Persian explorer who wrote about "a certain king of Caucasus":

"He prayed on Fridays with the Muslims, on Saturdays with the Jews and on Sundays with the Christians. 'Since each religion claims that it is the only true one and that the others are invalid', the king explained, 'I have decided to hedge my bets.'"
Reminds me of Yann Martel's book, Life of Pi.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Know what's going on?

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. gave a speech to the Sierra Club in which he said,

"Eighty percent of Republicans are just Democrats who don't know what's going on."

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