Thursday, September 28, 2006
Morning Roundup (9/28/06)
• Reading the Times about competitive Senate aces across the country leaves me some hope, though it’s a tainted hope. There are competitive races shaping up all across the country, but I’m still worried that Democrats won’t take control of anything this November. Perhaps the country will wake up a bit more in the next month-ish, but I’m losing faith fast. Still, this article is a good summary about key Congressional races this November.

• Oh.My.Gawd. another .

But Zogby said Republicans could benefit from the climb in Bush's approval, sparked by increased support among his base voters. The poll found 42 percent of voters thought Bush's job performance was excellent or good, up from 39 percent two weeks ago and 34 percent in mid-August.

"The president and the Republicans are still on the ropes, but they certainly seem to have hit bottom and bounced back," Zogby said. "This is still very competitive."


I wonder how many hours this one will last. Probably just long enough for the loonies at Faux and on the right side of the blogosphere to get their headlines out.

Tags:

Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Oh, There's A Blogger Beta
Because I’m like mildly retarded, or something, I’ve been redesigning the site without realizing that Google has released a Blogger Beta with a lot of the features that I’ve been patching together.

Eventually, I assume my blog will be given the option to move over to the Beta, which would make things a lot easier. I have no idea how long it will take for Google to move existing blogs over, but I may be releasing the new site minus some key features while I wait for the move. I really don’t want to release an incomplete site, but I’m lazy and this new Blogger seems to make a lot of things easier.

I’ll make my decision by tomorrow and will post it.
Another Iraq/Bush Blow
More information about has been released. (h/t )

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An intelligence report showing an upsurge in Islamic militancy put the White House on the defensive on Wednesday in an election-year debate over whether President George W. Bush has made America safer.

In a second blow to the president, a new U.N. report said the Iraq war was providing al Qaeda with a training center and fresh recruits, and was inspiring a Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan hundreds of miles away.


I wonder how long it will take for this administration to implode from the weight of the truth.


Tags:

Iraqis Don't Want Us There, Either
Now that a majority of Iraqis , what is our motivation to stay?

The majority of respondents to the University of Maryland poll said that "they would like the Iraqi government to ask for U.S.-led forces to be withdrawn from Iraq within a year or less," according to the survey's summary.

"Given four options, 37 percent take the position that they would like U.S.-led forces withdrawn 'within six months,' while another 34 percent opt for 'gradually withdraw(ing) U.S.-led forces according to a one-year timeline.'


I can understand the concerns of the Iraqi citizens. They see us as doing more harm than good, and there will come a time when we will be seen as the enemy by most - a country that will not leave a foreign land when the people of that land ask them to. If (when) that happens, the situation in Iraq will complete explode, leaving us in a much worse situation that we are now. Hopefully this will be the year that Americans wake up and truly support our troops by voting out some of the idiots that put us in this situation.

Tags:

Morning Roundup (9/27/06)
• Yes, even our intelligence agencies have some .

Putting aside how the outdated portions still refers to Zarqawi in the present tense, the big thing that strikes me about the key judgements is that they reflect a dhimmi, historically ignorant view of jihad more suited for the moonbat Left than our premier intelligence agencies. Check out this paragraph:


And just when you think blogland has been taken over by scary, insane blogwhores, you find a .

In one sense, it matters little: some GOP supporters on talk radio and in some other infoareas will immediately ignore, downplay or try to discredit these sections and point to the other ones and accuse those who quote, site or repeat the sections that don't support the President of being political hacks or tools.

Somenow the question keeps getting lost: are we conducting the best, most effective policy — and if not, how can we fix it?

Simply going after those who raise questions as indulging in electioneering may not work on the Iraq war in 2006. There seems to be feeling now in the land that the Iraq war is NOT just a political football any longer 00 not a luxury that can be afforded to drag on without some kind of quality control.


If you look at the right’s response (,) to this entire thing, they seem to be accusing Democrats of using this for political gain, while never mentioning the fact that the report says exactly what the Democrats say it says. It’s a mass spin effort, and as I’m sitting back and watching this whole thing, I can honestly say that I’m amazed by how cohesive and powerful this spin effort has been.

Other Reading:

• Simply, .

• Lookie, lookie, it seems the religious right pandering by republicans isn’t .

The House passed a bill yesterday that would bar judges from awarding legal fees to the American Civil Liberties Union and similar groups that sue municipalities for violating the Constitution's ban on government establishment of religion.

Though the bill would prevent plaintiffs from recovering legal costs in any lawsuit based on the Establishment Clause, House Republicans said during a floor debate that it was particularly aimed at organizations that force the removal of Nativity scenes and Ten Commandments monuments from public property.


It almost sounds like republicans want to give approval to violating the Constitution. There’s a surprise.

Tags:

Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Bush To Release Iraq Intelligence Report
The weirdest thing about Bush’s wasn’t him announcing the release of portions of that Iraq intelligence report - he really doesn’t have any other choice, now - , but was the following statement -

"Somebody has taken it upon themselves to leak classified information for political purposes," Bush said.


Well, no shit. But don’t overlook the fact that you kept this important information about your fuckup from the American people, for political purposes.


Tags:

Quick Morning Roundup
highlights a bad move by Democrats -

Perhaps. But Democrats, while celebrating Batiste's criticism of the administration, exercised some selective listening at the hearing when Batiste and his colleagues offered their solution: more troops, more money and more time in Iraq.

"We must mobilize our country for a protracted challenge," Batiste warned.

"We better be planning for at least a minimum of a decade or longer," contributed retired Marine Col. Thomas Hammes.

"We are, conservatively, 60,000 soldiers short," added retired Army Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, who was in charge of building the Iraqi Security Forces.

That last remark caused Schumer to shake his head, indicating he was not so sure. And, indeed, the retired officers' recommendations were off-message for the Democrats. Six of the seven Democrats at the hearing supported legislation calling for the start of a troop withdrawal from Iraq this year. One, Richard Durbin (Ill.), voted for the pullout to be mostly complete by next summer.


Yeah, Batiste landed some hard blows on the Bush administration, but Democrats ignoring his warnings about troop withdrawal and continuing on with a preplanned assault, makes them look foolish. It should be interesting to watch how this gets handled.

Talk about giving Republicans ammunition.

• Dionne’s commentary about is spot on. Republicans have lost control over the way Iraq and Terrorism are being framed. Once they lose their spin, the true reality sets in… and we all know reality isn’t a Republican friend.

Also See:

Tags:

Monday, September 25, 2006
Allen's Bad Day
We already knew that George Allen was some , but now we are finally getting confirmation that his racist tendencies are more, like, an .

WASHINGTON, Sept. 25 — Two acquaintances of Senator George Allen of Virginia said today that he had used racially inflammatory language in the 1970’s and 1980’s, compounding allegations of racial insensitivity that have dogged his re-election campaign since he referred to a young Indian-American as “macaca” a few weeks ago. Mr. Allen said he had never used the language attributed to him by the acquaintances.

Christopher Taylor, an anthropology professor at Alabama University in Birmingham, Ala., said that in the early 1980’s he heard Mr. Allen use an inflammatory epithet for African Americans. Mr. Taylor, who is white and was then a graduate student at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, said the term came up in a conversation about the turtles in a pond near Mr. Allen’s property. According to Mr. Taylor, Mr. Allen said that “around here” only the African Americans — whom he referred to by the epithet — “eat ‘em.”


It has been obvious to me, since that original article back in May, that George Allen was a racist - and perhaps slightly retarded -, but now that these recent “accidental realities” have been picked up by a lot of the media, there is no hiding it from the American people. We’ll see how long Allen can continue this poor liberal media victim act. My guess is another week.

Past Posts:

Other Bloggers:


Tags:

Specter Thinks He's Hot. Again.
It’s interesting that I take a few weeks off… and then come back to Specter still pretending he’s .

eading the charge was Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., who is planning an effort to delete that provision from the bill, expected to be considered in both the Senate and the House this week.

Specter refused to commit to voting for the bill should his amendment fail.

"I want to see how it shapes up," he said during an appearance at the National Press Club. "I don't make commitments to the president on how I'm going to vote."


Hmmm, I wonder if he’s going to do more than talk… loudly… this time.

Yeah….

Tags:

Update
I know it looks like I died... or something, but that isn't the case. I got slammed with 100004 things at once and, unfortunately this blog fell to the bottom of the list of important things.

It's weird, but usually I have no obligations. I guess things work out in cycles, or some shit.

Currently I'm working on ways to improve the blog. My, like, advanced computing skills are nonexistant, and the only way I've found to do what I want to do, is to link a bunch of blogger blogs together in like a network thingy.

So, that's what I'm going to have to do... link a bunch of blogger blogs together and then put them all under one domain. That will be happening either by the end of this week, or the next. I dunno, it depends how motivated I am.

Hopefully I will be relaunching with several new writers that can cover several different categories. We'll see if that works out, seeing as it is fully dependant on my motivation, as well.

I'll start actually blogging again tonight, so horray for that.
Saturday, September 02, 2006
Miracles Do Happen
So Jerry Falwell said something nice about a Democrat. While assuring his interviewer that he disagrees with Jim Webb on "social issues", he nonetheless gave Webb a thumbs up. Apparently hedging his bets - Webb has edged ahead of Allen in the latter's bid for re-election to the Senate, Falwell doesn't want to alienate a pol that might have some pull. Or perhaps he just wants to convince people he's not partisan. Or perhaps he wants to convince others he is a mover and shaker in VA politics. Or perhaps he just can't keep his mouth shut when there's a microphone, dictaphone, and reporter around. I'll let you decide.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Putting a New Spin on that special "Oh, God!"
Over here we read about the evolving evangelical position on contraception, at least within marriage (the whole question of pre-marital, or perhaps non-marital, sex, is a post for another time). It seems that evangelicals are remembering that sex is a gift of a good God, and see contraception as part of the stewardship Christians are to practice. The writer, from the Wall Street Journal, notes the prevelance of "marital guides" in Christian bookstores.
It is nice that the mainstream media (can I lump the WSJ in that category, considering its editorial page?) is noticing that Christians are not cheerless, joyless, and sexless creatures, out to ruin our lives, removing from sex the role of pleasure as an aid to strengthening the marriage bond for the pure functional role of making more babies. It is also nice that even those who had previously been adamant in their opposition to contraception, even within marriage, are mellowing with age and experience. It is nice, finally, to have a recognition that there is more complexity in the real world than we would like to believe.
It is important to remember, along with theological objections, there are also good ideological reasons for being, well, uneasy, about the ideology of contraception. The godmother of the contraceptive movement, Margaret Sanger, was a racist, eugenicist, and saw the distribution of contraceptives to the working class and minorities not as a boon to them, but rather to the majority and middle- and upper-classes. By reducing the fertility of "undesirables", there would be no threat from them overwhelming those who, by "nature", were destined to rule (we see echoes of this same argument, sadly, in many arguments today; those who make these arguments are blissfully unaware of the deeply offensive nature of their position, an d react with vehemence when it is pointed out). This is not to argue against contraceptives. It is only to point out that, while a boon in many respects, the movement to control fertility was born within an ideology that should be anathema to us all.
I am glad that more evangelicals are embracing a healthy view of sex as an enjoyable bonus, marital recreation as it were (in all senses of that word). I am also glad that hearts are softening on the place of contraception within the marriage bed, opening up greater possibilities for married couples. Sex is one of the best gifts of God, and using it wisely is part of the calling of God to be stewards of the gifts of God. Let us all, then, go forth, and practice good stewardship, thanking God loudly in the process!
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Sanctuary
If you go to my blog and click on the link, "Poplar Grove United Methodist Church", then click the link there that says "UMC Website", you will read a story about a United Methodist lay person, harassed by our government, seeking sanctuary inside a Chicago church (personal note: my wife is a pastor in the same UM Conference, and is a good friend of the Chicago Northwest District Superintendent). There is little mention in the article - from United Methodist News Service (UMNC) - of the woman's local pastor; I must admit, also, that I found the statement from our resident bishop, Hee-Soo Jung, tepid at best. Nevertheless, the woman is seeking sanctuary, an internationally recognized right; as long as her local pastor and its Board of Trustees (those whose responsibility it is to oversee the maintenance of the physical plant of the church as well as any legal issues involved as it pertains to the question of sanctuary) stand by her, the government cannot take her, and her child, a US citizen, can stay with his mother.
I would ask you to remember this woman, an active church person, a lay leader in fact, who loves her son, and only asks that she be allowed to stay and raise him here. I would ask you to remember the church, its pastor and members, its bishop and other clergy as they wrestle with this. I would ask that you all hope that the Church not surrender its centuries-old tradition of sanctuary, but rather would honor its mission to serve those in need, protect those who have no no protection, and challenge those who would use power to destroy a family. If that happens (a big "if", but wonders are still possible), perhaps the name "Christian" will be a bit less of an albatross.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Giving a Platform to a Lunatic
If you go here, you will find something that frustrates me more than Sen. Inhofe of Oklahoma or Sam Brownback of Kansas, that is, a news report that gives a larger, mainstream platform to Pat Robertson. Why? I think it safe to say that, outside the audience for his television program (in truth, I have no idea what that is, and I am quite sure it is impossible to guage with any accuracy; for the sake of argument, let us call it somewhere in the range of two to four million people) he has no credibility whatsoever. He has called for the assassination of foreign leaders; he has commanded, "in the name of God", hurricanes to steer away from Virginia Beach (to protect his facility, not because of the economic damage and potential loss of life); he wrote a book in which he saw the George H. W. Bush furthering the plans of Cecil Rhodes and the Illuminati; the day after the September 11 attacks, he and Jerry Falwell blamed lesbians, gays, feminists, and abortion for the attacks (in other words, the attacks were the vehicle of divine justice for our sinful ways). Why should anyone listen to him? Even criticizing him is irrelevant, because, as a lunatic, his alternate reality is impervious to criticism.
I know "Ignore him and he'll go away" doesn't work in politics, but we should ignore him anyway. Let him spout his nonsense, but as long as he keeps within the confines of his television program, he hurts no one but himself.
Sunday, August 13, 2006
Finding a Quiet Place
As an antidote to the insanity of the world, may I recommend, for your listening pleasure, Rachmaninoff's "Vespers"? I am currently listening, and find them able to remove me, for a moment or two, from the chaos within which we currently find ourselves. There are many editions; mine is from the Musical Heritage Society, and is highly recommended.
You do not have to be a Christian, or even believe in God, to find respite within this music. It provides a wonderful canopy under which all can find rest - and it asks nothing of us but to listen; in that way it is very Christian in the best sense of the term. On this Sunday, find an hour to close your eyes, or read a book, or do the dishes, or whatever, and find a copy of the "Vespers". You will be transported; I guarantee it.
Saturday, August 12, 2006
Catching a lie, but where is an alternative?
The folks over here repeat a report from the Center for American Progress on the workings of various groups of conservative Christians. They act like Capt. Renault in Casablanca, "shocked, shocked" that politicized Christian groups would lie to further certain political ends. They mourn the lack of integrity, what they call "sloppy research" (in fact, it was "research" only in the sense that the groups involved spent time ripping words out of context to further their own agendas), and other shenanigans. What they do not do is accept the fact that politicizing the Christian faith, whether for conservative or progressive purposes, leads to results such as this. The religious right has a quarter-century head start on the left, but give it time. That is not a cynical view, but simply an acceptance of the way things work in the world.
My main problem with the post is not the myopia or the earnest breast-beating at the sins of Focus on the Family, but rather the lack of any serious alternative to the tactics and policy position of conservative Christian groups. There are serious religious questions to be raised concerning a variety of developing bio-technologies; to echo secular liberal positions does nothing to give the budding progressive Christian movement a separate identity. It is all well and good to be progressive. It is just as important to pay attention to the fact that they are also Christian, and have a duty to be true to that as well. Standing around, pointing, shouting "Liar! Liar! Pants on Fire!" is no substitute for serious thought, for developing a policy alternative to the Christian right.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Listen Carefully
The letter was sent to my blog on a thread concerning an outrageous column by Alan Dershowitz that said, in essence, criticism of Israel is anti-Semitism. I criticized Dershowitz' position, and the very idea that an American cannot criticize Israel's actions, unless such criticism is rooted in hatred of Jews. Such an idea is illogical, let alone not based in anything close to reality.
The letter was a copy of one sent to the UCC by the Wiesenthal Center critical of that denomination's comments, from the content of the letter at any rate, on the current Israeli war against Hezbollah and Lebanon. My comment's were not in any way directed at that conflict, and in fact were written before this particular conflict began. I suppose that, as a Christian critical of Israel, I fit into the catgegory of Jew-hating Christians in their eyes.
The sad part is, that, while the situation is complicated, and I feel that Israel is prosecuting this conflict in the wrong manner, I support Israel's attempt to protect its citizens from the rocket attacks, and while I do not see Hezbollah as simply a terrorist organization, its actions in kidnapping Israeli soldiers and firing rockets at civilian targets inside Israel constitute an act of war, as Hezbollah is part of the Lebanese government. That is missed, of coursed, by those who want to scream "anit-Semite!" everytime someone says Israel isn't the perfect place to live.
If someone out there is saying I am anti-Semitic because I am critical of the state of Israel, let them come find me. My blog isn't secret. Since I can't prove a negative, it is up to those making the charge to prove their case based on evidence. I have offered none that I can even remotely suppose makes the case that I am anti-Semitic, unless like Dershowitz, one believes that criticism of Israel is ipso facto proof of anti-Semitism. If that is the case, then, there is nothing I can say to prove them wrong, is there?

Let the games begin. By the way, while we debate this whole thing, real people are dying, and an already instable area of the world is teetering on the edge of collapse. Let us try and keep our priorities straight, shall we?
Saturday, August 05, 2006
I get attention from the Simon Wiesenthal Center
If you go to my blog and scroll down to the thread entitled "I hate writing about Israel", and open the comment box, you will see the copy of a letter sent to the head of the UCC was posted there. Apparently, either ignorant or apathetic to what I wrote at the head of the thread concerning the equation of anti-Semitism and criticism of Israel, this letter writer wanted to call me names.
I find it interesting that an organization originally designed to hunt down Nazi war criminal would attack a semi-inactive blog. No criticism of Israel is allowed, apparently. Oh, well, I won't be silent, I shall continue to criticize Israel for what it is doing in southern Lebanon, and let these harridans carry on as they will.
Friday, August 04, 2006
Stupid Christian File
Dateline, Ogle County, Illinois. This rural northern Illinois county recently paid for and received a statue for county property. It decided to name the statue "Demeter". Immediately, local residents wre up in arms because . . . the county was promoting pagan Greek religion by naming the statue after Demeter!
After an uproar in the local papers, and several furious county board meetings, the name was dropped, as the threat of a constitutional lawsuit was raised. Apparently there are enough worshipers of Greek gods that the county board was afraid they might surface at trial.
The Christians crowed that they had scored another victory in the "War on Christianity" (that exists only in the minds of idiots like Bill O'Reilly). If I weren't so committed to the Christian faith, I would abandon it because of ridiculously stupid people like these and the ridiculously stupid things they do.