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."

Add to Technorati Favorites