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dustbury.com: Stretching the truth
Ironically, in a post titled "Stretching the Truth" our friendly neighborhood okie blogger Dustbury presents us with two paragraphs:
Every reputable sexuality education organization in the U.S., as well as prominent health organizations including the American Medical Association, have denounced abstinence-only sexuality education. And a 1997 consensus statement from the National Institutes of Health concluded that legislation discouraging condom use on the grounds that condoms are ineffective "places policy in direct conflict with science because it ignores overwhelming evidence ... Abstinence-only programs cannot be justified in the face of effective programs and given the fact that we face an international emergency in the AIDS epidemic" (NIH, 1997).
and this paragraph:
The African nation of Uganda, until recently suffering one of the worst cases of post-colonial political corruption and social misery, has surpassed all expectations in its AIDS program based on abstinence and social cohesion. Uganda has decreased its rate of AIDS by as much as 75% in some demographics, an unprecedented success in the story of African AIDS combat.
The first is from the Planned Parenthood website, which is quoting the NIH. The second is from LifeSiteNews.com:
LifeSite's writers and founders have come to understand that respect for life and family are endangered by an international conflict. That conflict is between radically opposed views of the worth and dignity of every human life and of family life and community. It has been caused by secularists attempting to eliminate Christian morality and natural law principles which are seen as the primary obstacles to implementing their new world order.
That's fine and all, but is their information correct? Was abstinence promotion an intergral part of the success story in Uganda? Yes. But even if the title of article from which the Lifesite post was based "Uganda's success against HIV due to abstinence, behaviour change and community, not condoms" seems to sugegct that Uganda took an abstinence-only appraoch, this is simply not the case, as presented in the article.
An analysis of population-based surveys of HIV risk conducted in 1989 and 1995 showed that there had been an important reduction in some key HIV risk behaviours between these two dates, in particular an increased age of sexual debut, a reduction in numbers of sexual partners, and increased use of condoms with both regular and non-regular partners.
So the real story is that Uganda was successful in their approach because they focused on behavioral modification as well as condoms.
From the Uganda AIDS commision website:
To reduce the risk of HIV
Which sounds like your typical sex education to me: information about how the virus is transmitted as well as information on ways to reduce the risk of contracting the disease.
So simply flooding a country with condoms won't be effective in stopping the spread of AIDS. But neither will denying people an effective tool to prevent the spread of the disease. So in the end everything still stands as the NIH has stated: "abstinence-only programs cannot be justified in the face of effective programs". The only difference is that some defenders of abstinence-only programs have seized upon a poorly worded headline to promote the AIDS program in Uganda as an abstinence-only success story.
The facts don't support that claim. Uganda is being effective NOT because it is limiting or banning the use of condoms, but because the government of that country has taken the issue of AIDS awareness seriously and has made it a high priority to educate its people about the disease. How this can be used to bolster the social conservative agenda of discouraging condom use and limiting sex education is beyond me.
The problem apparently lies in our rigidity in staking out our political partisanship (PDF) and refusing to listen to facts even when they are presented to you.
Part of the whole problem is precisely the "ever increasing polarization between left and right". Some in the religious right have in fact attacked broader contraception and progressive social programs in the same breath as they have attacked the condom distribution (or "condom airlift") solution to AIDS. This has put liberals so much on the defensive that they will simply not listen to logical public health arguments on the need to address risky sexual behavior in the pandemic driven by risky sexual behavior. Partisans on the left and the right are currently fighting over how the newly promised billions for AIDS prevention is to be spent. The fight seems to have once again been reduced to condoms versus "abstinence" forgetting that the lesson from Uganda is that balanced, integrated approach that provides a range of behavioral options is what works best.
"Heh. And for those who email saying 'what about Falwell on the right,' well, it's worth remembering that the term 'idiotarian' was coined with Falwell in mind. It's just that the right has done a better job of muzzling and marginalizing its idiots, while the Left has embraced them. And if the 'backlash' theory set out above is true, it will only get worse, which is bad for the Left, and bad for America."
Sigh, I guess we all believe what we want to believe. I look out at the media landscape and all I seem to see are frothing right wingers, Glenn Reynolds sees a sea of left wing idiots.
But to say that the right has done a better job of muzzling its idiots?
I always just assume that everyone has a right to express their opinions and that there is no organized left or right which represents me. I'd like to think that people are smart enough to know that other people don't speak for me. I have no obligation to muzzle people that I either agree or disagree with.
But I suppose if you get enough hits you start to think that you speak for a movement and that the world consists of people that represents large blocks of opinion. Maybe Reynolds fancies himself one of those people, and I suppose there are others that think he's a an idiot and deserves to be "muzzled".
Like I said before... interesting.
Today we'll be hearing lots of crowing about how the anti-war people were wrong and how the elections in Iraq will justify the lying, the torture, and the general lack of planning involved in this invasion.
Maybe that's true. Maybe its ok to sacrifice process -- the means, in order to reach a desired goal -- the ends?
So we can overlook the rhetoric tying the invasion of Iraq with the tragedy of 9-11, the implications that terrorists were plotting with Saddam to inflict nuclear terror on American people, the utterly false presentation to the United Nations, and the smearing of the inspectors who were telling the truth about the weapons, if in the end we get a result that most people find desirable?
Democracy - which is a process.
My head hurts.
I'm not an optimist when it comes to the situation in Iraq. But I hope that the people there can turn lemons to lemonade. Despite the circumstances that lead us to where they are, the lies and the death, there is an opportunity here. The election may be a sham; a way to legitimize the U.S. policy goals: creating a pro-Israeli Arab state that can act as a base of power for U.S. miltry operation in that oil-rich region, or it might be a new beginning for the Iraqi people.
Never underestimate the power of the human spirit.
Can we hope, that a secular government, believing that individual liberty is of the highest value, that government gains it legitimacy by the consent of the governed and not by those with the loudest voice, can prevail?
We can hope.
DNC: Health News - Warning: Smoking Cigarettes May Be Hazardous to Your Job:
"Weyco began its campaign against employee smoking in fall of 2003 and established January 1, 2005, as the deadline for employees to either quit smoking or leave the company. It provided classes, medication and acupuncture for employees who wanted to give up the habit. Most of the company's smokers reportedly complied and were successful."
No, No, No.... wrong.
But an understandable next step once you establish that its ok to let business dictate the behavior of their employees even when they are not on company property or on company time.
Drug testing anyone?
But those were drug users.....???
yeah, but the issue of privacy is at stake here, not drug use. Now a company has decided that smoking is bad (and it is) and has told its employees that they cannot smoke in their own free time. How long until a company decides that unwed mothers are bad and requires all its employees to be in a heterosexual marriage? Its a logical next step to say that alcohol abuse is bad (it is...) and thus employees should stop all drinking. Can Muslim business owners require their employees to abide by their religious standards? Can Christian business owners require that their employees attend church?
No. That is your answer to all those questions.
There's a simple way to solve this mess. Let legislators write the laws, let the law enforcement people enforce the laws and tell business to mind their own fucking business about what you do on your own time.
If you are doing something illegal outside of the company, that is a law enforcement issue. If you are engaging in harmful behavior outside of the company, that is your own choice. As an adult, you have the right to make choices that might be bad for you. That includes smoking, drinking and doing illegal drugs. If a compnay wants to offer free help for people to stay in better shape and quit smoking.. that's fine, just don't fire people. And for gawd's sake quit poking around in people's urine!
Let's keep company owners out of the law enforcement and morality business shall we?
W I L C O - N E W S
Wilco and Nonesuch will be re-releasing A Ghost in Born in Europe with a 5-track bonus disc in conjunction with the band's March tour. For those of you who already own a copy of the CD, It will also be available as an "enhanced content" free download. Meaning you'll be able to access the download only with the CD in your computer drive.
Just So You Know....
You can also get free tracks from the bonus EP for YHF here. Download the whole EP or at least grab copies of A Magazine Called Sunset and More Like the Moon.
Ok, some math for you on this cold snowy Friday night. Take a few minutes before getting dressed to head out and do the equation, it shouldn't take but a second.
Say I gave you $500,000 and asked you to divide that up so that each year you would get the same amount of money until you die. How much money would you get each year?
$500,000/ x = y
x = number of years you will live
y = yearly salary
Put your answers in the comments. Thank you and have a great time tonight.
1) The year that Bush initially said that Social Security would "go broke". Answer in the comments.
"Too many in the media today regard the reporting of the Vietnam War as one of their greatest triumphs. It certainly showed the power of the media - but also its irresponsibility. Some in the media today seem determined to recapture those glory days by the way they report on events in the Iraq war."
The quote is Thomas Sowell as seen on Powerline, who responds:
Sowell is right, but he leaves one important issue unaddressed. Why is it that the mainstream media can justify their relentless negativity and their single-minded focus on American casualties? After all, journalists are well aware that terrorists are being killed too, and that much progress is being made on various fronts.
I'm not sure if people complaining about the media fail to understand that its an institution or if they deliberately wish to push the mainstream reporters to spin the story in their favor. I suspect the latter.
The question posed: "Why is it that the mainstream media can justify their relentless negativity and their single-minded focus on American casualties?" --but not dead terrorists? Which leads to another related question; Why does the media focus the deaths of American soldiers but not on the deaths of Iraqi civilians? The media underreports the deaths of terrorists and Iraqi civilians for the exact same reason.
They are not Americans.
Simple, easy answer to your question. We care about Americans. Why aren't we reporting the innocent deaths? Why aren't we reporting the deaths of insurgents?
Same reason folks.
I guess I'm uncomfortable with the idea being floated about, that the media was responsible for America's loss in Vietnam and that we would have lost WWII as well, allowing Hitler to overrun Europe had we had the same media reporting then as now. Leading us to the natural conclusion that we should view any media that reports on negative aspects of the government's war as treasonous and supportive of evil. Propagators of this meme like to suggest that we'd be more supportive of a war if we were just blissfully unaware of its costs.
I suppose that's true, but I doubt we want to propose ignorance as a key foreign policy goal. After all, democracy is about choice, choice is contigent on good information.
DefenseLINK News: Bush: 'Freedom on the March' Throughout World
Freedom on the March?
oh my... I can only imagine what was rejected in favor if THAT.
Freedom is Locked and Loaded
Freedom : Rolling into a Middle East Country Near You!
Freedom is Coming for All Your Oil
Freedom or Death!
Freedom will be Raining Down on You
"Freedom" - formerly know as "Imperialism"
.. and my personal favorite:
Freedom is on a Crusade.
Holy shit, I wanna scream I wanna cry. I'm watching a "Town Hall" show on Nightline that's a rehash of a similar show they had before the Iraq invasion.
religious right accuses democrat senators of 'prejudice' - news from ekklesia:
"'President George W. Bush has not only appointed the first black man to be Secretary of State' (Colin Powell) the statement said; 'but has now had confirmed by the United States Senate the first black woman.' "
My head hurts from the levels of stupidity some people exhibit. The right is now using an affirmative action argument to defend someone that has proven her inability to do this job. But we should confirm her anyways because she's a women and she's black?
I'd never get away with that argument, and all the blowhards that have been attacking affirmative action for years will suddenly find something else to talk about.
"President Bush should be highly commended for his appointment of minorities to Cabinet positions and other high- level positions in his Administration. In fact, no president in American history has reached out to minorities as much as has President Bush."
I still think we'll see an openly gay black women in the Oval Office before we'll see an atheist as president.
Ringo Starr to become animated superhero:
"This is going to be one of the most exciting adventures I've had all day"
Why does God hate us?
Dooooo you, You! Feeeeeel like I do??
Yahoo! News - Bush to Seek $80B for Iraq, Afghan Wars:
"It also was expected to include money for building a U.S. embassy in Baghdad, which has been estimated to cost $1.5 billion."
That seems awfully high, unless you factor in the number times we'll have to rebuild it.
(as seen at Eschaton.)
CBS News | Whitewater: Case Closed | September 20, 2000?22:00:14
Am I the only one that remembers what a fucking clown show the entire Whitewater investigation was?
in August 1994 Kenneth Starr was brought on as the special prosecuter when the GOP decided that the former prosecuter Roberts B. Fiske was not being aggresive enough in pursuing the Clintons.
Starr spent the next 4 years and $50 million dollars exploring every pimple and fold of the Clinton's collective anus. The investigation branched off into any and all areas that the Republicans thought they could hang a shingle of impropriety on the Clintons. Never mind that the original investigation was opened to explore the Whitewater land deal that occured in the late seventies, years before the Clintons ever moved into the Whitehouse.
Starr went after any and all allegations that he could even remotely tie to the Clintons. Starr's people were after the president and the first lady and they didn't care who they had to threaten or jail to get to them. Their most common method was to stir up an allegation, drag in the principle players and threaten them with jail time, only to offer a reduced sentence if they would finger the Clintons in the matter. When time after time people refused to do so they finally resorted to subjecting a sitting president to a direct examination under oath wherein they probed him about his affair with Monica Lewinsky.
But it wasn't until 1998 that Starr began to investigate the Lewinsky matter, where President Clinton was found guilty of lying about his sexual escapades with an intern.
The Republicans were ecstatic and moved to impeach Clinton over the Lewinsky matter. The public gave a huge collective yawn, because everyone but the GOP pitbulls understood that while getting a blowjob from an intern was pretty slimy behavior, in the long run, it really didn't effect us.
Because none of the guiding lights of the GOP have EVER cheated on their wives.
It was at this time as well when people like Rush Limbaugh were becoming popular. His job was to take the scandal of the day and feed that red meat to the partisan dogs, expanding the innuendo and whipping people up into an anti-Clinton/ Democratic frenzy. And hell, it worked. Websites and videos popped up all over the web with "proof " that the Clintons had not only murdered people, they were also planning a communist takeover of America with Russian tanks hiding just across the Mexican border, as well as smuggling drugs out of Mena Arkansas using the hollow nose cones of small planes.
I kid you not. I saw one of the tapes for myself. The Clintons were using unmarked "black helicopters" to firebomb the homes of people onto either their drug smuggling, murder or invasion schemes. There was even a segment that explained how the stickers on the backs of roadsigns were really markers telling the invasion force where to go.
Now, I had problems with the Clinton presidency. In particular I thought he turned a blind eye to the corruption in the financial and energy industries that would eventually implode during Bush's first year in the presidency. I also felt that he was too willing to sell out the working class here in the U.S. for the sake of a short term offshoring burn that would only superheat the economy for a short while before plunging us into the duldrums that we're in now.
But the scandals investigated by Kenneth Starr? A huge waste of money and time. A witchhunt by the GOP that only proved what people already knew, that Clinton was a womanizer that couldn't keep his dick to himself.
Tickets in Hand Were No Assurance of Access (washingtonpost.com)
"It's time to put a stop to all this nonsense, protesting and causing confusion."
- Kenneth E. Boring, 80, member of the Republican Eagles, a GOP fundraising group.
"Yes, there were some waits -- and in our section there were two cruddy-looking people," he said, "You would've just thought they were trash that had blown in is all, but I thought it was great."
- John Jernigan, Inauguration spectator.
One of the most glamorous points of departure for yesterday's exodus was Manassas Regional Airport, where at noon private jets were rolling up to the glass terminal like so many taxicabs. At least three congressmen breezed in, hitching rides with moneyed friends. The Rev. Jerry Falwell came through with an entourage and took off for Lynchburg, Va.
The way I see you have two options in dealing with the "rabble". You can either recognize that this "problem" will only grow worse as people become more frustrated from not having a voice and realize that you can only push people so far, or you can try to ignore us by isolating yourself in your corporate cocoons and glitzy balls and hope that we'll never organize into a revolutionary force.
While I'm not suggesting that we are on the verge of a revolution here in the States, I would say that if people ever feel like their ability to influence their lives at the polls has been taken away from them we will see people resort to other methods of expressing their "opinion". Its for this reason that Republicans and Democrats ignore the legitimate questions being raised about the election process at their own peril.
The elites have historically underestimated the power of the masses and have paid for it.
Stop Stop Stop ... please stop!!!!
Stop showing the clips of people trying out for American Idol who clearly cannot hold a tune!
Please... I beg you!!! ... it hurts.
Its not funny anymore. It was for maybe the first couple of times, but its become a cottage industry... laughing at stupid people trying to sing acapella.
Sponges are asexuals. In some cases they are BOTH male and female. They have sex with themselves!
We can never accept this deviant behavior. We must send God-fearing christians to the bottoms of the ocean to teach these porous abominations how to have good ol' fashioned he-sponge on top, she-sponge on bottom missionary sex; while posting little waterproof versions of the Ten Commandments around the seafloor.
Don't let the liberals take God out of the oceans!
Warning From a Student of Democracy's Collapse:
"'The radical right and the radical left see liberalism's appeal to reason and tolerance as the denial of their uniform ideology. Every democracy needs a liberal fundament, a Bill of Rights enshrined in law and spirit, for this alone gives democracy the chance for self-correction and reform. Without it, the survival of democracy is at risk. Every genuine conservative knows this.'"
Liberals are the enemies of people that wish to impose their will on others.
RedNova News - Lighting Up the Flammable Moon:
"'There's no source of free oxygen available, which is a good thing, or Titan would have exploded a long time ago.' "
Taking science quotes out of context is fun.
But think about it. What if we had sent a probe to Titan and caused it to explode? Oops!
This Modern World by Tom Tomorrow: January 16, 2005 - January 22, 2005 Archives
The link is to a screencap of CNN. The headline there reads: Poll: Nation split on Bush as uniter or divider.
Funny? Yeah. But it also gives me a chance to talk about a subject that been bouncing around in my head for a while.
Why is Bush such a divisive figure? I goes beyond the war in Iraq and the misguided GWOT (Global War on Terrorism as its being called). It even goes beyond Bush himself. I see Bush as a useful stooge more than anything. I hardly see him as a ringleader of any sort of movement. He was selected because of his name recognition and his willingness to play along with powerful people.
Bush is a symptom of something much larger. Many of us that were hoping for a Kerry victory were not so much rooting for Kerry himself (a passable politician in a real historical tradition) but hoping that enough people had caught on to the ploy being perpetrated against us to turn that tide.
Ploy you ask?
Well yeah.. in a smug way that's how I would put it. I suppose I could be more diplomatic and say it is a political "tactic" but I'm not a big believer in using words that mean one thing when I intend to say something else. I'm not "polite" as they might say...
There is a social crisis in America. We are going through another major transition in our way of life. We cannot deny that we now live in a global world that is becoming more and more interconnected. Our biggest corporations here in the States have decided that they no longer feel any local obligations. They see greener grass in other countries where they can get cheaper labor or lower tax rates. As such, the nature of the America Dream has changed yet again.
Sadly, those still coping with our transition from rural/ agrarian to urban/industrialized are falling even further out of step. And I'm not making a judgement there either, I'm not saying one is better than the other but I am saying that many traditional ways of living are going away.
Looking at some trends, you see things like; the consolidation of farming into more large scale corporate (factory) farming; a continuing migration of people into more urban areas and the decline of small rural towns that are based on agricultural lifestyles; the further ascendancy of corporations as the dominant influence on cultural life; increasing contact and immigration from other countries; and a major change to the nature of employment from lifelong jobs with retirement and benefits to more transitory and insecure.
These questions and more are the real debate that we should be having. How are we going to go forward into a new world that is coming no matter what, and how can we make sure that the transition doesn't cause so much pain that it might cause a collapse of civilization?
How can pockets of prosperity survive in a world where geography is becoming less and less important?
Oddly enough, these issues didn't disappear on September 11th.
I'm upset because instead of addressing these issues and trying to find ways of dealing with what is coming in the future, some people see this as an opportunity to exploit the real concerns and pain that people are feeling for their own short term political gain.
Its cynical, its deliberate and its very effective. Instead of talking about real economic concerns we'll get people all fired up about religion, gays, abortion, guns and immigrants. While I respect people's strong opinions on these subjects and I love to debate them as much as the next guy, at the end of the day these are not the real agenda items that will get play.
Don't you ever stop to wonder where these talking heads get their money to operate? Who is funding all these think tanks? Who is pouring tons of money into political campaigns? Who is spending all this lobbying money?
I can assure you that they are not doing it to stop gays or to put God back into the schools. They do it for one reason, economic self interest. They want their policies enacted that will further enrich themselves. But to do so they need popular support to back their candidates, so its worth investing in a little cultural warfare for the sake of long term financial rewards.
I suppose I get tired of being scapegoated for all the world's problems when I'm struggling too.
Some of you miss the irony of my blog's title. I am not waging some class war, I am pointing out that we are already losing the class war, it is being waged against us every day. When I turn on right wing talk like Rush or Hannity or O'Reilly all I hear is smoke that tries to gloss over the obvious fact that we are getting fucked as the working class. Bush is the ultimate class warrior. He pays lip service to the social wedge issues but when you look at the policies that get first priority they ARE ALL geared towards promoting the interests of the moneyed class in America.
When you went to the polls to vote your disgust at gay people and tree hugging liberals were you thinking "Yeah, but first we need to secure our oil interests, loosen regulations for polluting industries and siphon off huge sums of money from Social Security into the stock market."
Umm... I'm going to guess "no".
I'm constantly amazed at how successful the right has been in weaving the language of class warfare into the language of religion, but in a totally unexpected way.
I've lived with the Bible most of my life, I've read through the New Testament more times that I care to admit and I NEVER remember Jesus talking about helping the rich consolidate their power over the poor. Quite the contrary really.
My Bible must have been old, they must have updated it since then.
I don't hate Bush the person. Sure he's a smirking little man that's clueless when it comes to the working class and what it means to work for a living, but he's just a tool. The agenda is being set by those who paid his way to the top of the political mountain.
I can accept that most people feel like there is something greater than them at work in the universe. Because you'd be an idiot to deny creation. We exist. Trees exist, frogs exist, little microbes that eat through your flesh if you are unlucky enough to come into contact with them... exist.
God. Its such a loaded word. I tried to explain to a friend one day how one can believe in a concept of a greater power without actually believing in a specific God.
Most people seem content to jump the gap from accepting a spiritual presence in the universe to buying into some pre-fabricated description of God offered up by one of the major world religions.
I used to call my self an atheist because, in my position, you have one of three choices:
I tried saying that I was agnostic. But people have an even less clear idea of agnosticism than they do of atheism. It seems that most people will assume that you're not sure about whether to believe in God or not. Then they take it upon themselves to educate you. But I didn't go through twelve years of Catholic schooling for nothing. I've given the subject lots of thought and I've come to some conclusions.
I consider most religious concepts of God to be hopelessly mired in our own human-ness to be true. Many portray God as some sort of busybody parental figure that wants us all to play a game wherein he'll send us cryptic messages in books for us to decipher so that we can figure out how to win and claim the prize : heaven. To lose means spending an eternity in torment. Very sadistic, and I find that way too depressing.
Religions are man-made institutions. The correlation between where you are born and what you believe are too strong to ignore. Most people never consciously choose their religion. They accept the one that they are raised to believe. If you are raised a Catholic, as I was, then you are taught to be a Catholic and most likely you will choose to be a Catholic when you are an adult, as opposed to say, being a Hindu, Muslim or Raelian.
Most religions seem to be successful because they pander to our basic human tendencies; tribalism and an innate sense of our own "specialness". I suppose a cynic might just say "What's the harm?" and go to church as a way to meet people, be a part of a community and make business contacts. But you do endorse a religion when you participate in it.
I do consider religion to be potentially dangerous. I find it humorous when people point out the millions that died under the tyranny of the Soviet Union as evidence that communism, as an ideal is bankrupt, but ignore the massive swaths of human dead and misery that religion has caused over the course of human history.
(For the record, I do think that communism is a flawed ideology.)
Religious fundamentalism can and has been a major obstacle to human progress. It violently rejects anything that calls into question their version of "The Truth." Hence any new observation that seems to challenge their belief must be denounced, sometimes with violence. Anyone that questions how ugly a world can be under religious fundamentalism need only look at how life was under the Taliban. I make no distinction between religions, fundamentalism in any form is dangerous.
Religion, as an element of human culture can be a beautiful thing. It inspires people to build beautiful buildings and create wonderful traditional ceremonies. It also inspires great works of art as well.
I was saddened when the Taliban destroyed the giant Buddhas in Afghanistan, not because I believe in Buddhism but because they were magnificent works of art and a part of human history. (you can see before and after pictures here
I don't want to rid the world of religion. That, in itself is a form of fanaticism. I would like to see the moderate voices of the religious communities gain dominance and I wouldn't mind if all forms of fundamentalism just quietly went away. I'm encouraged when people of different faiths can work together, find common ground and maybe, just maybe... accept that they can co-exist peacefully on this world together.
Religions are institutions designed to control people. This may be for good or ill but that is their purpose, and when viewed in such a way, make lots more sense. Thus it will always be that someone who wishes to control a population of people will try to use religion as their tool. I see no way around this, as long as religions continue to exist people will try to use them as political weapons. You need only take a broad view of current world events to see this in action. I find it ironic that in Iraq we hope that secularism wins out over fundamentalism while at the same time we see the ascendancy of religious fundamentalism in American politics.
There are lots of people out there that I see as being culturally religious. They get married in churches, they'll attend services on holidays and they'll "pray for you" when you're sick. But they're not true believers. They don't condemn people that choose not to follow the same faith and they may secretly find some of the required beliefs to be silly but they go along because its "what people do."
I'm not religious. I don't subscribe to any concept of God outside of a basic acceptance in my own existence and the existence of the world around me. If we are put on this Earth for a purpose, it must be to live our lives and not spend so much time trying to second guess it.
Today is inauguration day. This blog is decorated accordingly.
Against my better judgement I tuned into the coverage of today's event. A few notes on the event:
We get nearly a full day's coverage in high-def of the president driving down the street in an armored limo, and I can't help but contrast this with the coverage of Powell's presentation to the United Nations and how quickly the networks cut back to regular programming with little analysis or coverage of the questions posed to Powell by the members of the Security Council. (For that I had to switch on my radio.. and for ther record, I'd rather watch the inauguration than daytime crap.)
Dan Rather actually wondered aloud why there were protestors at the parade.
An academic commentator said, in effect, that the media will choose which scandal to focus on this term. The media types in attendence remained silent and then went about with another story. (Hilarious!)
Looking through the donor list you might be curious who Rooney Holdings Inc. from Tulsa, OK. represents. They gave the maximum $250,000 to the president's Inauguration bonanza. Rooney Brothers are the controlling interests in Manhattan Construction Co. the 448th largest defense contractor.
448th was worth $101 million dollars in Pentagon contracts in 2003. They are also the construction company that built the Ballpark at Arlington, The Bush Presidential Library and the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center being used for the 2005 Inauguration. Apparently that project was worth $144 million.
Its good to be friends with the Bushes.
I'm a big believer in non-violence as the best and most effective tool for solving conflict. It has the possibility of creating a peace that doesn't depend on hoping your enemy forgives what you did to their little kids; chopping of their heads, dragging them through the streets and all kinds of other fun stuff that happens in wars.
However I never discount the need for self-defense. You can't just hope that other people will play nice if you do. There are crazy people in this world that actually like killing people and being assholes.
But, the need for self defense is minimal. If you want to keep a gun for your own personal protection that's fine with me, but for gawd's sake, learn how to use it and get over the fantasy that it will make up for other "shortcomings". You have your truck for that.
And please realize that with the ability to kill comes a great responsibility. You should only need to shoot that gun when and if it becomes a matter of life and death. We don't need trigger happy suburban commandos plugging vacuum cleaner salesmen cause they thought he "looked like a terraish!"
Peace propagates peace and war propagates war.
People hold grudges, and its hard to look at your neighbor that tried to kill you or your family and say "Hey, its ok, water under the bridge, and all that right?" It usually takes a few generations of peaceful co-existence after a conflict to really get back to normal living. There are people here in Oklahoma that still can't get past the Civil War. Can you believe that?
Time heals all wounds but the wounds of war, death and violence take extra long to heal.
ConsumerReports.org - Condoms and contraception 2/05: Best condoms, condom reviews, condom effectiveness
Consumer Reports talks about sex, science. Pisses off wingnuts.
Life is full of surprises. Here's a little chart for you to carry around.
(as seen at Seeing the Forest)
USATODAY.com - Questions for Rice have been waiting awhile:
"For only the second time in four years, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice will go before a panel on Capitol Hill Tuesday as she faces public scrutiny over her nomination to succeed Colin Powell as secretary of State."
I Don't Recall.
Heather is cool. Can you spot the reason why?
freakishly prompt - shutter bugger:
"a detour through safeway and i was on my way home with goodies and stew fixin's. the rest of the afternoon was very casual. i watched some tv i'd downloaded, did some dishes, listened to some wilco, yadda-yadda. when i saw the forecast included snow and freezing rain, i took a quick trip out to buy things i didn't really need: another bottom sheet for my bed (300 thread-count, sexy burgundy), ben & jerry's and edamame. by this time it wasn't even seven o'clock and since i was fairly sure i was in for the night i took the opportunity to get my laundry done before the sunday morning rush."
ok, so I helped you.
Because any and all crackpot theories deserve to be discussed. Hell, why not teach this in schools as well? Its as credible as Intelligent Design... they even have the same basic premise.
Old bearded white man in flowing robes... alien beings from outer space....?
Its all science!!! Throw it in the pot!
The messages dictated to Rael explain how life on Earth is not the result of random evolution, nor the work of a supernatural 'God'. It is a deliberate creation, using DNA,by a scientifically advanced people who made human beings literally "in their image" what one can call "scientific creationism". References to these scientists and their work, as well as to their symbol of infinity can be found in the ancient texts of many cultures. For example, in Genesis, the biblical account of creation, the word "Elohim" has been mistranslated as "God" in the singular, but it is a plural, which means "those who came from the sky".
umm... scratch that, apparently I was misinformed. We need only take CHRISTIAN crackpot theories at face value. The rest of the cult of loonies we can still laugh at with impunity.
Go about your jaded day.
Rael Bless America
I've just recently discovered denny's very thoughtful blog, "Where We're Bound". Its a good read and there are even podcasts to download. I would also like to thank denny for visiting and leaving some comments here as well.
I left this comment over at his site. I was pleased with what I wrote, so I'm going to reproduce it here as well.
You don't have to fool the people. What you can do is put them in a situation where they fool themselves.
This is a better explanation than just simply saying "people are stupid". I live in a state that overwhelmingly supports Bush and his agenda. I look around and I don't see that people here are any more stupid or ignorant than people anywhere else. But there is a strong social impetus to follow the consensus. I've come to feel that the highly religious atmosphere here drives the political climate.
But we can't ignore the influence that money and identity play in people's political decisions as well. People make decisions in political matters much in the same way that they make decisions in consumer matters. In fact, much of the same marketing techniques developed and refined to get you to favor one product over another has been applied to your choice of candidate as well. But the stakes are higher than whether or not people prefer Macintosh or Windows, Apple or Dell, and iPod or a Rio.
It matters little to me if someone buys a Dodge Ram with HEMI power because they feel it reinforces their own manly image or if someone feels like buying a Saturn SUV makes them feel like their father -- because that doesn't affect me like politics affects me.
Shouldn't we apply a higher standard of objectivity to our political choices?
Bush Says Election Ratified Iraq Policy (washingtonpost.com):
"For the first time, Bush said he will not press senators to pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, the top priority for many social conservative groups."
The boogaymen served their purpose; getting the fundies to the polls to re-elect the fraud president. Bush now claims that the election gives him a pass on his deception about the war in Iraq.
"We had an accountability moment, and that's called the 2004 elections," Bush said in an interview with The Washington Post. "The American people listened to different assessments made about what was taking place in Iraq, and they looked at the two candidates, and chose me."
In other words: I can lie, I can decieve, I can do whatever the hell I want because I convinced a bunch of religious fundies that gay people, terrorists and abortionists would take over America if they voted for the other guy.
I like his use of the phrase "listened to different assessments" as a substitute for "listened to me lying my ass off". There has NEVER been an honest assessment of the situation in Iraq either before, during or after the campaign.
Follow this logic:
We went to war on misleading information -- but that's ok, because we re-elected Bush based on misleading information.
Wow, I think I've found a okie blog that frustrates me even more than Chaz at Dustbury.com; who, in the interest of full disclosure, does have his moments of brilliance.
I don't know the author of Red Dirt Blog. He might be a nice enough fellow. Or maybe not, maybe he's an asshole in real life. Funny thing about these blogs. They tell you so very little about a person other than his views on various topics.
If all you ever knew about me was from reading this blog, you would have a very distorted picture of who I really am. All we have to work with are the words people give to us. And I openly admit that I base my judgments on the words I have read.
Dustbury and Red Dirt Blog frustrate me because both claim to represent a form of aww-shucks common sense that's really just a thin film of apologetics for their own cultural biases; an equal opportunity "They're all rats" form of thinking that allows them to take pot shots at the imaginary demons that are tearing down a idealized vision of society "as it should be."
What has become abundantly clear to me over the years of thinking about people and the choices they make, is that you can not simply ascribe a person's decisions in life to their intellect. We do not look at the world with a clear lens. We carry with us the emotional attachments that influence how we see the world. Its a basic part of human nature. We need to realize that our opinions are not born in a vacuum. Most often they are the product of our own emotional, cultural or social bias.
Witness an example:
Whatever else you can say about this year's bitter and divisive presidential election, one aspect of George W. Bush's win has been extremely gratifying to me personally -- and that's the defeat of what I call the Geriatric Ponytails.
But, there is a difference between sober political analysis and publicly fighting battles with your old demons. Learn the difference. I'm not a psychoanalyst but sheesh, I don't have to be. Read through this entire post on the "Geriatric Ponytails" and its obvious that Red Dirt has built a careful rationalization to justify his current lifestyle; one that rejects the "childish" ways of "The Left"
He doesn't need to apologize for this. We all do it. I try to be very careful about letting my own "bone to pick" seep into my writings here. I too, have my own defense arguments carefully crafted to fend off any and all takers that wish to question "who I am and what I do with my life". I delete many posts because they wander too far away from analysis into apology.
"I think there are a lot of aging hippies out there with good hearts and good minds. They've had a positive impact on many elements of our society, but they also chose to grow up after the sixties."
Growing up, and being a "grown up" means rejecting the ideologies of the left and embracing the real world? A Real World that forces us to make decisions based on society's own preferences.
(But that can be the subject of lots of other postings)
What we, people that write about politics, human nature and opinion need to wary of, is letting our own defensive excuses for our own lifestyles get in the way of being honest. For it is then that we become excessively lazy in compartmentalizing the world into small ridiculous groups of people that we take turns mocking. Most times the people that we are mocking are just a small fraction of idiots that we have conflated into some larger conspiracy.
I might be unfairly using Red Dirt Blog as an example. Its just the one that started me thinking about this topic.
I feel vindicated that on November 3rd, Americans turned out to vote, and they turned out to reject the leftist nonsense and hatespeak the Democrat party peddled this year. I also felt that this year's election represented the last gasp of the Vietnam-era New Left, as represented by a cohort of angry, illogical Baby Boomers who had decided to never grow up
Here we see that theme again. Growing up.
The Faith Factor
The Faith Factor - Part Two
The Radical Left Meltdown
Otherwise you find yourself writing absurd defenses of bad science as a means of protecting your own decision to be a person of religious faith. Separate the two for gosh sakes!!
ID theorists purport to show the hand of an intelligent creator in the elegant structure of our biology, our existence and our cosmos. Their theories are complex and layered. Whatever the merits of this new body of theory, and whether it has connections to conservative politics, at least it deserves a full airing in an article that seeks to question its legitimacy.
.. and the reason why it doesn't?
Nevertheless, we can't expect or anticipate that sort of honest debate from the atheistic gliberatti. Typically, they will not provide anything of the sort. Despite the facade of "intellectual honesty" they so assiduously maintain, it's not in their nature, nor is it an article of their radical and increasingly hostile faith.
NOOOOOOO!!!!! Its rejected because its BAD SCIENCE! Get over yourself. Get past the little fairy tale that some "atheistic glibberatti" is conspiring to keep a legitimate scientific theory from seeing the light of day. ID is bad science and it has always been bad science. Good scientists have even taken the time to tell us WHY it is bad science. Intelligent Design is a media darling. This "battle" is being waged in the court of public opinion because in the realm of science it was an unfair fight. The only reason ID is still alive despite its deserved "crackpot" designation is because of the symbolical usefulness it represents to those that are "fighting the good fight for God".
I like this quote from Gould:
"Objectivity cannot be equated with mental blankness; rather, objectivity resides in recognizing your preferences and then subjecting them to especially harsh scrutiny — and also in a willingness to revise or abandon your theories when the tests fail (as they usually do)."
A good thing for bloggers to keep in mind as well.
That's where I'll end for now... though this topic deserves greater discussion.
Q) Why aren't people so fired up to declare other old-Earth sciences like plate tectonics as "just a theory"?
No Weapons of Mass Destruction -- never was any.
President Bush told us that they had these weapons:
Knowing these realities, America must not ignore the threat gathering against us. Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof - the smoking gun - that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud."-- and --
"If we know Saddam Hussein has dangerous weapons today — and we do — does it make any sense for the world to wait?"
Vice President Cheney told us they had these weapons:
“We believe Saddam has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons.”-- and --
“Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt that he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us.”
Now they say it was the intelligence people's fault:
And now what is important is that we need to go back and look at what was wrong with much of the intelligence that we accumulated over a 12-year period and that our allies had accumulated over that same period of time, and correct any flaws.
George Tenet (former head of the CIA for seven years), who told the president that the case in Iraq was "a slam dunk", was just awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
It is awarded by the President of the United States to persons who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.
Thousands of U.S. Soldiers have died and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died because of this "deception".
So, answer me this; why are we not impeaching this president?
Ask Engadget: What gadgets are you looking forward to?
What I want: The ULTIMATE PDA!!!
All in a device the size of an iPod.
Price : $299
Too much to ask? Never!
Guantanamo Gets Greener With Wind Power Project:
"Four new windmill towers and turbines rising from the crown of John Paul Jones Hill will begin powering the U.S. Navy base here next month, saving $1.5 million in annual oil imports, reducing pollution and showing energy-starved communist neighbors what they are missing."
What they are missing? Would that be:
(via Bob Harris)
My car has a serpentine belt. Its a long belt that runs snake-like through the front of the motor connecting various devices (alternator, fan, A/C) to the engine. As the engine runs the belt supplies power to whatever its connected to.
That's my description at least. I'm not a big car / motor person so I'm sure someone more capable would describe it better.
But the point is that every time I go to a shop for any work that needs to be done the mechanic (if you can even call them that) starts warning me that I need to replace this belt because its getting cracked and is about ready to break. If this belt ever breaks I am told, the entire car will pretty much cease to function properly and serious damage could be done to the car.
This is true. (see story below)
What they fail to mention is that the belt always has little cracks in it. Even a relatively new one will have some small cracks in it from use. I know this because one time I had the dangerous cracks pointed out to me on what I knew was a very new belt. I'm talking less than a year on this belt. Considering that I've changed the serpentine belt on this car maybe three times max in the 12+ years that I have owned it, I don't think one year is all that much.
But nonetheless I was warned. Change this belt or else you'll be stranded on the side of the road somewhere with a ruined car!!
I politely thank the mechanic and say "no thanks".
The danger from this scenario is very real (see story) and there would be little harm done by replacing this belt except buying something that I don't really need. But unless I knew the real risk of danger I might be misled into thinking that I am in some sort of imminent danger.
Now, I ask you, doesn't this sound like a mechanic trying to get you to buy something out of fear?
``The longer we wait to address the coming crisis, the more excuses that are made for inaction, the more difficult and expensive the job will be down the line,''
I have to wonder, when was Dick Cheney a mechanic?
(I'll add the story later...)
The story: (Click ++ to read)
Years ago I actually had a serpentine belt break on me. BUT.. it was only because the alternator came apart.
It started a few months earlier when I awoke one morning to go to work. I was living out near Brookside and I was working at a photo lab. I'm running a bit late and I go to start the car -- and nothing. Its dead. I know there is an O'Reilly Auto Parts just up the road so I stuff my car battery into a bowling bag and schlep the heavy-ass thing down there to get a new one. I get the new one back, stick it in the car and go to work.
While I'm sitting there working a thought occurs to me: "What if it wasn't the battery but a bad alternator? I'm about to head out of town, down to Dallas for the weekend and I don't want to end up on the side of the road somewhere."
I call my dad and relate the story and ask him if he could possibly pick up a new alternator so we could stick it in before I leave -- that night.
At the time my girlfriend was living in Dallas and I was living in Tulsa. (I know, in hindsight that might have been a warning sign...) and I would drive down every other weekend or so to visit her. She moved down there to take a job and it was pretty rough. I thought I was being a good boyfriend by visiting...
I would usually head out on a Friday night after work and come back early on Monday morning. So my plans that day were to leave after work, drop by my gf's parent's house to pick up a few things and hit the road.
Sure enough, when I get in the car I notice that the "charge" gauge is flat on the bottom and I'm just running my new battery dead. Its after dark and I'm driving with my headlights on. The whole way to HER parent's house and out to MY parent's house I am just waiting for the whole thing to shut down. It never does. I make it there and we put the new alternator in -- except, the alternator we get has to have a piece from the old alternator transferred to it, which we do, but not very well. We just didn't have the tools to tighten the cog piece tight enough.
I made it to Dallas that night but several months later as I was heading back down there my car started making scraping noises. It started about Plano and when I finally made it to town I popped the hood to find that the alternator cog had come loose and most of the teeth on the fan had been bent or knocked off. I was lucky that the entire thing didn't fall apart.
THAT -- the entire thing falling apart happened a few months later.
After that night coming into town I took the car down to this Nigerian mechanic and put another new alternator in the car.
It lasted a few months as well.
Till one day I'm driving down Harry Hines and I loose my power steering and the car starts to overheat. I pull over into a parking lot and wonder what the hell I'm going to do. I eventually cross the street to this car repair place. The owner was this Lebanese guy that could switch between English, Arabic and Spanish in mid sentence -- or so it seemed to me as I listened to him work the phones. I eventually told him I needed to have my car looked at, I drove it across the road and we had a look at it. The little cog had come loose AGAIN. This time it shredded my serpentine belt and came completely off.
That night I took the bus home because it was too late to get a new alternator, which I did the next day, thanks to a cool manager at my job, and I haven't had a problem since.
Cuz this time I thought "Screw O'Reilly and their shitty alternators!!" and I went to Autozone where the cog is already installed.
The End. Now go to bed kids!
The Poor Man: Compare and Contrast
Rathergate vs. Budget Busting, soldier killing, credibility wasting occupation of a soverign nation based on lies lies and more lies.
Apple - Mac mini
There are mixed feelings about the new Mac mini. I personally feel that it was a good idea for Apple to head into the budget PC market with something that can be easily used as a substitute for a Windows box. Think about it just a little and you might realize that the majority of what you use you PC for these days is internet related. I know I spend the majority of my time using a browser, an email client and basic picture and music software. So the old argument about software is becoming less and less relevant, especially since the rise in popularity of the gaming platforms like the PS2, XBox and Gamecube.
But, good ideas don't necessarily equate to market success. That, has more to do with trends. Apple is hoping that the current trends lead people to embrace their new mac.
What are the trends:
Much of the success of the Mac mini will depend on how it is marketed. Apple is trying to make the Mac mini seem like a simple replacement for an outdated or virus infected Windows machine. I feel that's a good way of presenting it as well. They will have to overcome the perception that having a Mac will isolate you from the rest of the PC world, but that's a mostly outdated perception anyways. And they hope to build on their success with the iPod which has brought apple to the attention of many young, potential new computer buyers.
Funny... a computer as an iPod accessory?
Search for Banned Arms In Iraq Ended Last Month (washingtonpost.com):
"The hunt for biological, chemical and nuclear weapons in Iraq has come to an end nearly two years after President Bush ordered U.S. troops to disarm Saddam Hussein. The top CIA weapons hunter is home, and analysts are back at Langley."
It would be nice if all those people that said that we (the anti-war people) were traitors and terrorist sympathizers would all come over and make nice; maybe bring over some chip and dip, salsa and a movie.
And apologize, saying "Hey, you know you guys really WERE putting the best interests of the American people first and saying what needed to be said in the face of extreme political pressure. We need more people like you that will stand up for truth!"
But I'm a grownup and I know better. People won't stop identifying with those political leaders that were wrong just because the truth has come out. I understand that its about power. Its still hard to be against the Iraq invasion and occupation, even now, after its become obvious that this little adventure has become a huge noose around our necks. Its not as scary as it used to be. Bush, the Military and Wall Street are still the face of power for the upper class of American society, and sadly most working and middle class Americans still think that they can ride the coat-tails of the powerful to a better life.
How much abuse will we take before we wake up?
Places where cute girls have recently been spotted:
In addition to the usual places.
I guess I just don't get the relevancy of streaming media. I understand that content providers want to control distribution and copyright, but I've always thought that the point of having content was to get it seen and heard by as many people as possible; building an audience?
An obvious trend in technology has been the growing popularity of portable media devices, gadgets like iPods and flash drives as well as media players capable of showing video content. Aside from people ripping their own cd collections or buying songs from services like iTunes, Rhapsody or Napster there seems to be a lack of other content that people can load onto their players and take with them.
Some people understand the upcoming trend and have started to make content that is specifically targeted to people with mp3 players. But as with most other venues, the bigger content providers, news sources and talk radio seem wedded to awful technology like Real Media.
(note: I hate real player with a burning passion. Any program that installs startup software on my computer automatically without asking me first gets banned. Every time that I am forced to use RA to access something I wish to listen to, I have to go and clean out my registry to get rid of a pesky little file, TkBell.exe.
I recommend, for users of Windows, downloading two apps: Startup Control Panel, and Startup Manager which should help you manage all that software that decides that it needs to load up everytime you turn on your computer.)
The question at this point still remains, what content will people want to have on their players? Will it be the same as they listen to on the radio or will it be different?
I can only hope that in the future more content will become portable.
The whole bogus concepts of “Social Security Reform,” “Tax Simplification,” the attacks on the UN’s tainted oil for food program, and so on down the line, use tactical failures of liberal institutions as a proxy for systemic failures. It allows conservatives, who are hostile to the entire liberal enterprise, to pose as “reformers,” while forcing progressives to defend the most egregious examples of their program as if they were typical of the entire ideology. You can hardly blame the Right for this. It’s an extremely effective tactic, largely because it is built around a kernel of truth at the center.
This is a very important point to understanding the "conservative movement". Its as if you could rationally argue for killing off the entire dog population because some dogs bite people.
"Oh yeah... I remember when Martha's Chihuahua nipped at little Timmy! Dog's just can't be trusted."
It helps if you tie the "problem" to a previously existing racial, religious or ethnic bias.
Isolated failures become representative for systemic failures. But of course this tactic is reserved for institutions that are out of favor amongst the right; Social Security, Welfare, Public Education, etc... leaving corporate institutions completely free from criticism even though many of those institutions have very deep institutional flaws.
For your education:
Tulsa Topics » Are you a redneck too?
OGL... another Tulsa blogger.
Life(?) of Trillian:
You want the truth? No? I didn't think so. But I’ll tell you the truth anyway. Very few men are handsome. A slight few more than that are good looking. The rest of you are average, typical, normal, run of the mill examples of the male of the species. And some of you are ugly. And yet all of you seem to be under the impression that you are in a position to judge a woman on her looks.
Trillian has a message for the male half of the human race.
The question is... short hair, short girl, short girl with short hair or hairy short girl?
The Liquid List:
"I say, lets get out there and grab a prominent progressive religious leader and put him in charge of the party. We need someone who can look the likes of James Dobson in the eye and call him a bigot in a way that'll appeal to those 'Red Staters' who care so much about faith and values."
You would think... except that this is the same logic that compelled people to nominate Kerry as the Democractic candidate thinking "Hell, if people are so concerned about the war and terrorism we'll give them a decorated war hero!"
... and they smeared him.
Its not about the candidate, its about the infrastructure. In the current climate, expecially here in a deep red state there are few, if any candidates, that the Democrats could run that would stand a chance against a Republican. At least not for any higher political office.
Take the Carson / Coburn race for example. Brad Carson was about everything that Oklahomans said they wanted in a candidate. He was a hell of a nice guy, well spoken. He was religious, he was economically conservative but willing to make sure that Oklahoma got its share of federal money, he was for the war in Iraq and supportive of the President's "War on Terror". He was pro-life and against gay marriage. He was even pro-gun!
Smeared as a liberal.
I joke sometimes that the Democrats could run Jesus himself and still lose. Because its not really about the issues so much as it is about perception. If you repeat something enough then it becomes, if not true, then enough to cause doubt in people's minds.
Democrats are fighting a very established network of misinformation. The Republicans have worked very hard to coordinate their bases of power. From the minute that the Democrats pick a nominee the message goes out from pulpits to A.M. radio to trade magazines to cable news shows that Candidate X is a threat to everything we hold dear.
From the outside its a remarkable (and dismaying) sight to behold.
The Republicans don't even have to have a good candidate, though he still has to have a smidgeon of charisma (hence the Bob Dole defeat!). The network of pundits, preachers and powerful people will do the rest to create the conventional wisdom.
I think its a mistake to think that a Democrat could simply piggyback on the message created by the GOP network and use their own message against them, because in the end the system was created, in large part to get Republicans elected and the people involved have no qualms about turning on their own message to defeat a threat to their party.
Case in point... Brad Carson, a pro-gun, anti-abortion, religious, social conservative = EVIL.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, a pro-gun control, pro-choice, social liberal = not EVIL.
Can you spot the difference?
As Rush Limbaugh himself has said: "The only people I've ruled out (endorsing) are the Democrats."
That's principle for ya... or Ben Shapiro, writer at TownHall.com
So why would I vote for someone who is the epitome of the liberal Republican? Specifically because he is a liberal Republican. In California, nothing else will cut it. It's very easy for pundits to espouse the candidacies of hard-core conservatives like Bill Simon and Tom McClintock. But they have no chance of winning. None. In California, politics trump principle every time.
Politics trumps principle every time.
I wanna spend the waning days of my professional sports career climbing back to the top of the heap one last time. I'll finally acheive the ultimate goal that has been alluding me for years and I'll win the love of a smart sexy women who sees how wonderful I am despite being ten years older than her and just inches away from being the ultimate washed up has-been with nothing to show for my years of trying.
Just like that...
... all the while I'll be having great sex, winning over her over-protective father and getting my estranged parents back together without actually being there.
I wanna go back home to New Jersey where a sexy smart impulsive girl will recognize my inner genius despite me being a close-mouthed introvert. My inner angst and complete inability to cope with the greater world will cause her to fall madly in love with me.
Just like that...
... with cool music playing in the background.
MercuryNews.com | 12/31/2004 | Militants issue threat on voting:
"The radical Ansar al-Sunna Army and two other insurgent groups issued a statement Thursday warning that democracy was un-Islamic. Democracy could lead to passing un-Islamic laws, such as permitting gay marriage, if the majority or people agreed to it, the statement said.
(first seen on Seeing The Forest)
Here's a definition for you too.
secular humanism -- (the doctrine emphasizing a person's capacity for self-realization through reason; rejects religion and the supernatural)
The conundrum of religion and democracy is that liberty and freedom, even if granted by a creator, means having the choice to reject religion. Most religious people in America have realized that the benefits of freedom outweigh the consequences of trying to force everyone to subscribe to one religon. Letting people choice their own path is an act of faith.
Drives the fundies (here and in the Middle East) nutso crazy.
I wonder if Robertson and Osama can start a new network... the 700 Virgins Club?
Dissolve into Evergreens