Tuesday, December 30, 2008
OK--let me first say there is a DIFFERENCE in allowing someone to have opposite points of view; (I NEVER suggested Warren be silenced or not entitled to his opinions) and giving those opposing view points center stage and top billing.
I still would have preferred, if Obama wanted to do this, to have Warren give the less prestigious benediction and let Rev Lowery (who marched with King and supports gay marriage AND who is giving the benediction) do the "prime time" slot of invocation.
But it is what it is; and ultimately the point made by cousin Lynn, Jack as well as bloggers Nate Silver and Lee Stranahan and here(alhough Bob Cesca agrees with me and again) is THIS is how we do things in Obama's America. and ultimately I'm fine with it. I even sent an email to change.gov stating my support now (only to be fair, since I fired off one after I heard the news). There is an upside in that it seperates the men from the boys as far as working together-disagreeing without being disagreeable. And I strongly disagree with Warren (and his boring little book) as well as Obama for giving him the invocation. But ultimately I trust Obama and it is just a prayer--I'm willing to let this one go. Especially in the hopes of securing sure footing in the attempt to extinguish the rancorous and ignorant partisanship exploited by Republicans and conservatives over the past decades. Huzzah! then, I say Huzzah!
To hear Lee and Bob debate the Warren invitation, you can also listen here.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
But I disagree and am very disappointed in the decision to have Rick Warren give the inaugaral invocation.
Yes Warren is more moderate on poverty and AIDS issues-how wonderful of him to actually emulate what was Christ's central ministry! And Yes, civil rights veteran Joe Lowery will be given the benediction-so its not like there will be an all out evangelical right-wing fest.BUT, Rick Warren is a lead advocate against Prop 8 in California-"big deal" you say. "He's a evangelical preacher, big surprise?" You say. Well as recent as since the election Warren compared gay marriage with incest and pedophilia. Warren is also anti-abortion in any circumstance and said he agrees with James Dobson on all social issues, his tone is just softer.
Again, "so what" you say. Well here is "so what" we must move past the divisiveness of these issues and they should NOT be legitimalized. I am not saying we should have Gene Robinson-the 1st gay Bishop in the Episcopal Church-give the invocation, I am fine with a moderate-but that is just it-a moderate. Evangelicals have had a disproportionate influence on politics and government and society in the name of "bi-partisanship, patriotism and moral values". They gave us George W. Bush and still support him-the only ones who do. I am fine with Obama reaching out to Warren and other leaders to bridge the gap, and find consensus. I am NOT ok with him having someone who declared Obama would unleash a holocost on the unborn.
Maybe this is personal-I was told that I'd be going to Hell because I supported Obama-who would allow homosexuals to take over and kill babies. And even as I write this post I feel the pull to trust Obama knows what he is doing and that the potential back-lash of progressives opposition could really alienate evangelicals-which is detrimental to our country. But I feel their views are too out of the mainstream, too corrosive and too wrong direction for our country. To me this sends the wrong message! These are the people who have no problem with Sarah FREAKIN' Palin, for God's sake.
I love Obama and I trust him. But I strongly disagree with this particular olive branch!
Sunday, December 14, 2008
When I went through my conversion class, a lot of time was spent on Advent-and I think between Christmas and Lent/Easter period; this time gets short shrift. It was explained that Advent was the time of preparation for the feast of Christmas (actually 12 days BEGINNING on 12/25 and ending on Epiphany--ever heard of The 12 Days of Christmas???) In predom protestant and increasingly as "christian" becomes synonymous with evangelical-Advent is heard of less and less, with the exception of the cute calendars and perhaps an occasional advent wreath.
Advent is actually a wonderfully, beautiful time that modern Christians, and Americans could benefit from. Christmas was never meant to be celebrated as the "birthday" of Jesus. Rather it was the official festival where the birth of Christ was celebrated. The difference is not just semantics. When early Christian(Catholic) fathers were growing the faith, it was not uncommon for secular holidays to get hijacked and "rebranded" as Christian feast days. The winter solstice is a virtual "whos's who" of religious holidays-most involving light. Why? It is the darkest, shortest day of the year--what better way to deal with this than celebrating figurative "lights" piercing the darkness. This was the mindset when the day was chosen to celebrate the arrival of Christ into the world.
Advent is the 4 week period prior to December 25th. Each week the believer is supposed to draw closer to God in anticipation of the coming of the Christ symbolically into their life again. Each week there are special readings and lighting of candles that is climaxed by the lighting of the "Christ Candle" on Christmas Eve at midnight.
It would do a lot of Christians good to remember the concept and preparation of Advent instead of touting cliche's like "Jesus is the Reason for the Season" or ranting about the war on Christmas. Perhaps, if evangelicals spent more time in self-reflection and the coming of Christ into their personal lives; then maybe they, their church, and all of us would be better off. Maybe if we all spent time in self-reflection on what it means to be light in the darkness, we'd all be better off as well.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
According to the study there was only a 1% increase in small donors from GWB. This conclusion is reached by combining all the donations that came in from the same person. So of course the everyday person who gave $10/week throughout the primary and fall campaign would have given close to $4000 by the election. The only problem is that there is a BIG difference between an Obama supporter giving $10/week for 40 weeks and a Bush supporter plunking down $4000 as a one time gift.
This is very important to understand and share. This study will be misquoted, misused and taken out of context to make it seem Obama's decision to forego public financing and his claim of broadening the donor base is illegit and similar to GWB-therefore illegitimize his win and his presidency.
Obama is no way near a Bush presidency-he is not the opposite of Bush-he is not just the other extreme or the other side of the coin. He is not the messiah or "the one" of course either-but after 8 years of Red Neck politics and cowboy diplomacy we have been lulled into thinking this ignorance and apathy are normal-Obama is just the Dem version of Bush. Don't buy it-spread the word.Obama is a new leader in the spirit of FDR, JFK, Reagan and yes Bush-41 (at least in foreign policy approach)
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Pres-elect Obama: "One of the things I hope my presidency helps to usher in is a, a return to an ethic of responsibility. That if you're placed in a position of power, then you've got responsibilities to your workers. You've got a responsibility to your community. Your share holders. That if -- there's got to be a point where you say, 'You know what, I have enough, and now I'm in this position of responsibility, let me make sure that I'm doing right by people, and, and acting in a way that is responsible.' And that's true, by the way, for members of congress, that's true for the president, that's true for cabinet members, that's true for parents. I want all of us to start thinking a little bit more, not just about what's good for me, but let's start thinking about what's good for our children, what's good for our country. The more we do that, the better off we're going to be."
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
It's one thing dealing with difficult people with whom you have a professional or casual relationship, such as your boss, a co-worker, or anyone you deal with on a regular basis. But if the problem person is a relative and your relationship is personal and permanent, that’s a whole different beast. You must clearly define the boundaries you’re comfortable with, let the other person know what those boundaries are, and then enforce them.
Steps Define your boundaries. You set the boundaries in your relationships. If those boundaries are crossed and the other person can’t seem to take the hint, you have to assert yourself to restore balance. If you have relatives who fail to respect your boundaries and behave as if the purpose of the relationship is for you to bend over backwards to satisfy all of their needs, you certainly aren’t alone. What you need to do is define boundaries which you consider to be bottom lines that should not be crossed, ones that make you feel violated when they are. For example, if you value your privacy and a relative insists on frequent unannounced drop-in visits, that may be a bottom line for you. The first thing to realize is that it’s perfectly OK to satisfy your own needs. A relationship that makes you feel violated isn’t healthy.
Verbalize your boundaries. Use nonviolent communication (observation, feeling, need, request) the next time a relative oversteps boundaries. If you’ve been going years without clearly verbalizing and enforcing your boundaries like a mature adult (i.e. you’ve been letting the other person treat you like a child for too long), most likely the other person won’t take you seriously at first. There may be a "shock" reaction (usually feigned) at the mere suggestion that you dare attempt to put restrictions on this behavior. Just let that person have his or her reaction, but stand your ground anyway.
Enforce your boundaries. Try to enforce with kindness and compassion at first - after all, there's a good chance you've allowed this behavior to go on for years, and that makes you partly to blame for the fact that your relative has not learned the behavior you want from him or her. But if that fails, and your relative doesn't respond to gentle reminders, here's a no-nonsense approach to enforcing your boundaries: Let the other person know that for the next 30 days, you intend to strictly enforce the boundaries you’ve described. Make it clear that if that person violates your boundaries even once during those 30 days, you will then begin a 30-day communications blackout. For 30 days you simply have no contact with the other person. No drop-in visits (if s/he shows up, you firmly say, "Sorry, we just aren't ready for visitors right now. Also, we are not having contact with you at this time - remember? That is to help you with our new rules."), no phone calls, no emails, nothing — unless it’s absolutely mandatory. After the 30-day fasting period, you can restart the original 30-day boundary-enforcement trial and repeat the process. Of course you should let the other person know you’re doing this — be totally transparent about what you’re doing. Also, let the other person know that you’re resorting to this process because s/he's left you no choice - remind him or her that you've made many attempts to let him or her know how serious you were, and those attempts were ignored. Say that you want a fresh start, so that a new relationship that you can both enjoy can grow, and that by taking a 30-day break, you hope to make a clean start, both understanding how to respect one another's boundaries.
The first attempt at a 30-day blackout will surely be filled with attempts to contact you. You will rebuff the attempts by not responding to them. Hopefully, the attempts peter out, and you finish the 30 days in peace. However, if your relative is relentless and will not respect your request for 30 days, then you need to inform him or her that you're going to have to take stronger measures. Reset your calendar to Day 1. From this time forward, if the other person attempts to make contact with you at all during the 30-day blackout, the 30 days resets to Day 1. Be sure your relative understands the rules of this game, don't just do it without letting him or her know what you expect, and what the consequences of violating your request will be. If the rules are breached more than a couple times and you reach the point where you’re pretty clear the other person has no intention of respecting your boundaries whatsoever, regardless of your attempts to enforce them, then you’re done. The relationship cannot continue in its current form. If the other person can’t even respect your boundaries for 30 days, then what kind of future do you have together? It means that your boundaries will be trampled for as long as you allow the relationship to continue to exist in its current form.
This might sound a bit harsh, but keep in mind that before you reach this point, you’ve already expressed your needs clearly to the other person, and you were trampled. You owe it to yourself to take a step back and see if you really wish to continue this relationship at all. The 30-day blackout period is a time for both of you to re-evaluate the relationship from a distance. It’s also a massive pattern interrupt that lets the other person know with certainty that s/he crossed an uncrossable line, and enough is enough.
Disarm the primary weapon: Guilt. If the other person attempts to use guilt as a tool of manipulation (which is extremely common), it’s fairly easy to overcome. Whenever you perceive the other person attempting to manipulate your emotions by making you feel guilty, bring the whole matter to conscious awareness by asking, “You’re not trying to make me feel guilty, are you?” The other person will probably deny it, but soon the pattern will re-emerge. Keep interrupting the pattern of falling into a state of guilt by bringing attention to the other person’s emotionally manipulative tactics. Simply keep asking questions like, “Why do you feel it necessary to use guilt as a tool of manipulation?” or “You must really find this upsetting if you feel it necessary to try to make me feel guilty to get what you want. Can we try a more mature way of discussing this?” You don’t need to beat the person up about it, but put a stop to the use of guilt as a weapon, once and for all. If you refuse to enter the emotional state of guilt, it will allow you to be more objective and compassionate in seeing that the other person is probably using guilt because s/he feels powerless. If you can address that powerlessness, you have the opportunity to transform the relationship for good.
Re-evaluate the relationship. If the person refuses to change, think deeply about your relationship with him or her. You might find that you harbor one or more beliefs that perpetuate the problem. If you operate under the belief that all family is forever and that you must remain loyal to all your relatives and spend lots of time with them, those beliefs are your choice, and you’re free to embrace them - or release them. If you find yourself with family relationships that are incompatible with your becoming your highest and best self, then excessive loyalty to your family is likely to be extremely disempowering to you. Think deeply about your own beliefs about family and loyalty, and consider the following:
You would probably never tolerate the same behaviors in a stranger as you will in a family member. To push a family member out of your life might cause you to feel guilty, or could lead to a backlash from other family members. But genuinely ask yourself, “Why do I tolerate this behavior from a family member when, if it were a stranger, I would refuse to tolerate at all?”
Identify the nature of the external conflicts you experience, and then translate them into their internal equivalents. For example, if a family member is too controlling of you, translate that problem into your own internal version: You feel your relationship with this family member is too much out of your control. When you identify the problem as external, your attempted solutions may take the form of trying to control other people, and you’ll meet with strong resistance. But when you identify the problem as internal, it’s much easier to solve. If another person exhibits controlling behavior towards you, you may be unable to change that person. However, if you feel you need more control in your life, then you can actually do something about your responses without needing to control others.
You can love your relatives without having a particularly close-knit relationship. Maybe your personal values and lifestyle have moved so far from theirs that there isn’t enough basic compatibility to form a strong common bond anymore. Even though this might be the family you grew up with and shared many memories with, your core values are so different now that it just doesn’t feel like a meaningful family relationship anymore. Despite all these differences, you can be on good terms with each other and get along fairly well, but your differences create such a big gap that you have to settle for being relatives without being close friends.
Familial relationships can be complex, and cutting one person out can lead to your losing someone you really do want to have a closer relationship with. Decide which hills are really worth dying on, in other words, if you only have to see this difficult person two or three times a year, consider just letting it roll off your shoulder. Although you want to be the captain of your own destiny, it won't hurt you to just endure this person for a few hours, and the trade-off is worth it if you are keeping your other relatives happy by doing so.
Tips When you see this pattern occurring where you don’t have the leverage to enforce boundaries, such as with your spouse’s relative, and your partner seems spineless about having a confrontation, then you have to enforce these boundaries with your partner. You must clearly tell your partner to speak to his or her relatives, to defend you and your marriage/partnership, and to make it clear to his or her relatives that you must be respected, or else the two of you will not be visiting much. This has the benefit of pushing your partner to grow up (albeit sometimes kicking and screaming), learning to put your needs first and the “Mommy” figure's needs second. Some people just need a good kick to get themselves out of childhood and into adulthood, especially during their 20s. In the long run, your partner will likely be grateful to you for his/her new spine.
If all else fails, run! If the above solution fails, just up and move to another city. Many people swear their marriages have been saved by this solution!
Warnings If your boundaries are reasonable, and the person is either unwilling or incapable of complying with them, you’re done — in most situations it would be foolish to continue such a relationship. It will only erode your self-respect.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
I couldn't believe it-was he really being this cynical?? Was he really that cavalier with the facts? Was he really that perverse? And explain to me how that is patriotic?
But I see it is all part of some sort of meme that is being promulgated. It is NOT some conspiracy theory-but it is a combination of desperation, cynicism, willful ignorance and arrogance. A horrible cocktail to say the least! It can be seen in the daily propoganda that America is a "center-right" nation-which if you combine moderates with conservatives it is--but watch this fancy math; if you combine moderates with self-styled liberals you can just as easily say it is a center-left nation. That is how math works. But the media seems to have bought into this and are trumpeting it as fact. In truth we are a moderate nation as 48% of Americans identify as moderate indpendents. The Republicans (now the political arm of the Religious Right) is TOO FAR right, nowhere near center, and moving (or splitting over moving) further right. 75% of Americans think gays should be able to serve openly in the military, 67% of Americans think Roe v. Wade is a good/correct ruling, almost 80% believe limitations on stem-cell research should be removed and the majority of Americans think we should get out of Iraq and that our foreign policy should involve more detente. All ideas that are left of where the Republican party claims the center is.
Karl Rove has also begun saying Obama won because he ran as a centrist conservative. (The "most liberal" senator, a socialist, elite, Muslim, wealth distributing, "friend of terrorists" anti-American, militant Black-national--as the right declared Obama) was "the conservative centrist candidate" and THAT was why he won!
These people are ridiculous? How can Bush extol praise on unregulated free-markets after our crash and forced taxpayer takeover? Why would anybody listen to Rove after he almost single handedly gave us Iraq and Katrina? We as Americans (liberal, moderate and conservative) should be PISSED! We should demand Bush DO HIS JOB! We should relegate Rove, Bill Kristol, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and the rest blathering blowhards of the "wrong" to the rubbish heap.
We should demand intelligence, truth and facts of our country, our leaders . . .and ourselves.
If Obama's election has taught us anything it is that this country is OURS, and WE THE PEOPLE have a responsibility as citizens. This is our country, but we must be educated, thoughtful and intelligent in our stewardship.
You will probably see reporters talking about how Obama received "vastly more positive press coverage" (like Bill Ayers, Rev. Wright and flag pins????) And that the people who voted for him were uneducated and ill-informed (yes, it was Obama supporters who declared McCain was an Arab.) And that he was born in Kenya (he was born in Hawaii, released his birth certificate and even if he was born in Kenya-he WASN'T- his mother was still a US citizen and being her offspring would still have been a "natural born citizen"--and may I point out it was McCain who was not born in the United States, but in the Canal Zone-but did he have to declare his birth certificate? No-his color is the only creed he needs-it vouches and verifies HIS authenticity!) OH and the best-that he is the anti-Christ--this is so wrong and bigoted, I don't even know where to begin.
But all these are attempts to illegitimize Obama's presidency before it begins, they are more of the scare-tactics, jingoistic xenophbia, active ignorance and bigotted racism masquerading as religion. But then remember. . .We already won despite all of those attempts. Americans are smarter and more progressive than we gave ourselves credit for-and Obama is one of our smartest!
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Michael Glitz has an excellent article (in which he quotes Robert Borosage's debunk of the "center-right" country myth--I'll post the link for Borosage's piece in the context of the piece so you can link on it and review it at your convenience)
Here is Michael Glitz's piece:
Obama's Win and the Ten Lies The Right Is Spreading About It
During the final weeks of the election, when it became clear Barack Obama was going to win, the far right started a drumbeat of lies to minimize Obama's victory, dowplay the viciously ugly campaign that McCain and Palin ran and trick the weak-kneed left into bungling this opportunity. You know something is up when Karl Rove, David Brooks, Sean Hannity and everyone else starts repeating a phrase like the United States is "a center-right country." (A lie knocked down by Robert Borosage.) Now that Obama's historic win is in the books, those lies have become even more pronounced. Here are the top lies of the right and why you shouldn't fall for them.
The Top Ten Right Wing Lies About Obama's Win
1. Obama's win wasn't that big
2. Obama only won because of the black vote and the fringe far left
3. Obama only won because he ran a center-right campaign
4. John McCain couldn't have won
5. Political parties almost never win three terms in a row
6. The US is a center-right country
7. Bush prevented a terrorist attack for seven years and if Obama doesn't prevent an attack for the next seven years then he has failed to protect us
8. John McCain's concession speech was notably gracious
9. Punishing Joe Lieberman would be petty
10. Sarah Palin is the future of the Republican Party
OBAMA'S WIN WASN'T THAT BIG -- Obama only won by six points in the popular vote, they say. Shouldn't it have been much bigger? Sure he won, but it's not like Obama got a rousing endorsement. (This from the party where Bush squeaked out a win in 2004 by one state and 50.7% of the vote but immediately insisted it was a mandate.) Where to begin? The win by Obama and the Democrats was nationwide and significant on many levels. Obama won the biggest percentage of the popular vote for any Democrat since Lyndon Johnson in 1964. He's the first to win more than 50% since Carter in 1976. Virtually, the entire country went more Democratic than Republican -- except for the Old Confederacy, where the Republican Party still holds on to a narrow, poor strip. Obama was the first Democrat to win North Carolina since 1976 and the first to win Virginia and Indiana since 1964. The party win was even bigger, especially given this era of redistricting where kicking out an incumbent is tougher than ever. The Republicans lost big two elections in a row. Like Ronald Reagan in 1980, Obama won huge margins of victory from young people. Add in Hispanics and independents and Obama's win may presage a wave of loyal Democratic voters for years to come.
OBAMA ONLY WON BECAUSE OF THE BLACK VOTE AND THE FRINGE FAR LEFT -- This is an attempt to treat Obama's win as simply identity politics (black people voting for a black nominee because it was the first time they could) rather than a broad mandate from the country as a whole that saw Obama as the best candidate. The truth is that Obama did better than John Kerry in virtually every demographic you can name, including white voters. The only two areas where Obama drew fewer votes than Kerry were the over 65 crowd and gays and lesbians. This was not an eked-out victory; it was a broad national success.
OBAMA WON BECAUSE HE RAN A CENTER-RIGHT CAMPAIGN -- That's the jaw-dropper from Karl Rove and others. The guy they were screaming was a socialist ran a "center-right" campaign. That's right, the guy who said he'd raise taxes on the rich and end the war in Iraq was pretending to be Reagan.
JOHN MCCAIN COULDN'T HAVE WON -- In this argument, the forces working to hand Democrats a victory were so overwhelming there was nothing John McCain or any Republican nominee could have done to change that. And when the economy went south, McCain's fate was sealed. It's the economy, stupid (plus the most despised President in 80 years if not ever, two wars, etc.) Well, by this logic it was a given that Gore would win in 2000 and there was nothing Bush could do to change THAT, either. It certainly shouldn't have been so close that one state (and a Supreme Court) could change the inevitable. In fact, nothing is inevitable. The simple truth is that McCain was ahead in the polls for much of the general election season and especially after his convention. It was McCain's floundering that sent his poll numbers tumbling, not some inescapable tide of history. He didn't lose because the economy went south: McCain lost because the economy went south and his reaction was a boondoggle of epic proportions. McCain made three rash, hasty decisions when faced with a major crisis and all of them made voters rethink their attitude towards him. First, he faced a floor fight at the convention if he chose the running mate he wanted, Joe Lieberman. McCain caved and hastly settled on Governor Sarah Palin. She thrilled the base but in a general election you're supposed to reach out to moderates and independents. The more voters saw of Palin, the less they liked. And it was abundantly clear he'd only met her once and chatted with her on the phone briefly before offering her the VP slot. Second, when Russia and Georgia came to blows, McCain bombastically declared "We are all Georgians!" and seemed almost eager for another war. With America bogged down in two wars already, the prospect of a President who looked delighted at the possibility of committing US troops to a third war that didn't involve vital national interests frightened voters. Finally, when the economic meltdown occurred, McCain rashly pretended to "suspend" his campaign and suggested the next Presidential debate might have to wait. Obama simply stated the obvious: that a President needs to be able to do more than one thing at a time. McCain caved and un-suspended his campaign even though no deal had yet been struck and looked even more foolish when he had literally nothing to offer in DC. And all of this ignores Obama, who ran a flawless campaign and had to. McCain didn't need to do anything if Obama made a gaffe, any gaffe, really.
POLITICAL PARTIES RARELY WIN THREE TERMS IN A ROW -- This is a strange one I've heard repeated a lot lately. Its message is simple: if you've held the White House two terms in a row, holding it for a third term almost never happens. It's one more piece of the "McCain couldn't possibly win" argument. Except that it's not even remotely true. For seven elections from 1800 through 1824, the Democratic-Republicans held the White House. Thomas Jefferson won twice, James Madison won twice, James Monroe won twice and John Quincy Adams won once. That was followed by three elections in a row for the Democratic party -- twice with Andrew Jackson and once for Martin Van Buren from 1828 through 1836. Then the Republicans won four Presidential elections in a row from 1868-1880 thanks to Ulysses Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes and James Garfield. The Republicans won four in a row again from 1896 through 1908 with William McKinley, Teddy Roosevelt and William Howard Taft. Well, maybe the 20th century is different? Not really. The Republicans won three in a row from 1920-1928 with Harding, Coolidge and Hoover. Then the Democrats won five in a row from 1932-1948 with FDR and Truman. And of course Republicans won three in a row with Reagan and Bush in the 80s. It would probably have happened even more except for term limits.
THE UNITED STATES IS A CENTER-RIGHT COUNTRY -- Robert Borosage does a great breakdown of demogaphics to show how people who call themselves moderates (which is a bigger chunk than liberals or conservatives) lean left on major issues of the day. But don't get bogged down in exit polls and stats. Here's one fact: 39% of registered voters are Democrats, 32% are Republicans and 27% are independents. It's more likely that independents will pass Republicans in the next decade than Republicans catch up with the Democrats. Here's another simple reality check: the Democrats control a majority of state Houses, a majority of the Governor mansions, a majority of the House, a majority of the Senate and the Presidency. And they increased their dominance in every category. In what fantasy world are a significant majority of the voters registered Democrats and the Democrats control every level of government from the local to the national level and yet someone can argue with a straight face that the US is a "center-right country?"
BUSH PREVENTED A TERRORIST ATTACK FOR SEVEN YEARS AND IF THERE'S A TERRORIST ATTACK IN THE NEXT SEVEN YEARS OBAMA WILL HAVE FAILED TO PROTECT US -- That's a new doozy that does some pretty clever juggling of history. Bush prevented a terrorist attack for seven years on our soil? Um, but that ignores the fact that the worst terrorist attack on US soil in history occured on Bush's watch. The Democrats took 9-11 as a sign to rally around a President whose election victory was suspect at best and give him their full support. The Republicans are already signaling that the moment any disaster might strike they're going to attack Obama as "weak" on defense and the good of the country be damned. By the standards of Bush, Obama should get nothing but support if a terrorist attack occurs and THEN have a pass if it doesn't happen again for years. But this moronic "calendar" approach ignores the real test we should make. No leader can prevent bad things from happening. It's like hiring a fire chief and then blaming him because fires still occur. The test of a leader is not the impossible one of magically preventing bad things from ever happening again. It's how they respond to a crisis. Bush froze on 9-11 and then launched an unnecessary war that left tens of thousands of US soldiers dead or wounded, drained our national treasury to more than $1 trillion and counting, failed to catch or kill the people responsible and has left Al Quaeda stronger than ever by every measurement. That's the failure of Bush, not the fact that 9-11 occured in the first place.
JOHN MCCAIN'S CONCESSION SPEECH WAS NOTABLY GRACIOUS -- Every loser in a Presidential election is expected to say they fought a tough campaign, but the other guy won and now everyone should rally around the President-elect. That's not gracious; that's the LEAST anyone should do. John McCain did that and he did it fine. But it wasn't noble or remarkable or exceptional. Not even remotely. Nonetheless everyone from Elizabeth Hasselback of The View to historian Doris Kearns-Goodwin raved about McCain and how gracious he was. Barbara Walters cooed that his concession speech was "elegant." As others have pointed out, this is in some ways an attempt to pretend that McCain's campaign was just "tough" and "hard fought," just like every other campaign. Jon Meacham of Newsweek insisted "McCain ran a noble campaign; it could have been far worse." Short of having people at his rallies lynch Obama in effigy, it's hard to see how McCain and Palin's campaign could have been any less noble or more nasty. Historians love to quote the nasty slurs traded around back in the 1800s That's certainly true, but McCain and Palin ran the nastiest, most divisive general election campaign since George Bush (who I supported) and Lee Atwater in 1988. Palin regularly impugned Obama's patriotism, McCain rallies featured people calling Obama a terrorist and demanding his death and McCain's ads were so laughably and transparently lies that the traditional media felt almost obliged to denounce them in every possible way as absurd. And McCain didn't just sell his soul during the general election. He sold it four years ago when he hitched his wagon to Bush because McCain cynically decided to support a guy he despised as the only way he'd ever win his party's nomination.
STRIPPING JOE LIEBERMAN OF HIS CHAIRMANSHIP WOULD BE PETTY -- This, too, is a rather strange debate and John Aravosis of Americablog weighs in on on why it's so disastrous for the Democrats to go soft on Joe. Lieberman was ready to run as VP for the Republican Party. When he didn't get it, he endorsed his old friend John McCain but promised Democrats he would support McCain without attacking the Democratic nominee. Then he broke his promise and went on the campaign trail and spoke at the Republican convention, impugning Obama's patriotism at every turn. And this wasn't the first time Lieberman aligned with Republicans at the expense of Dems. It's one thing to support Bush's disastrous policy in Iraq. It's quite another to give Bush political cover by attacking any Democrat who questions Bush's policy as underming the troops, as he did repeatedly. Why would anyone believe they could malign and smear members of their own party and the Democratic presidential nominee and then turn around and expect lots of treats? Joe Lieberman could have easily and nobly supported McCain without attacking the Democrats. But he didn't. Only Democrats would debate whether a rogue Senator consistently undermining their party deserves every perk they can give him. Stripping Lieberman of his chairmanship isn't petty; it's common sense. I would never suggest using Karl Rove as a model for ethics or decency or just about anything. But it is instructive to imagine if the roles were reversed and Lieberman were a Republican and to imagine what Rove and Hannity and Limbaugh would be saying about what should be done to him. I think their only debate would be over tar and feathering versus a good thrashing.
SARAH PALIN IS THE FUTURE OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY -- Actually, she represents the past. But if you're a Democrat, you should certainly hope the Republicans think so.
So what lies about the campaign and Obama's victory have you spotted?
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
Obviously I was off--AK, ND and MT went Red, as did GA and MO. But I had NC, FL and OMAHA!! AND I don't think ANYONE correctly predicted IN.
The actual results are below my projections.
>Electoral College Prediction Map - Predict the winner of the general election. Use the map to experiment with winning combinations of states. Save your prediction and send it to friends.
>Electoral College Prediction Map - Predict the winner of the general election. Use the map to experiment with winning combinations of states. Save your prediction and send it to friends.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Scroll down to the next post to see the full video.
YES WE CAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.
It’s the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.
It’s the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled – Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.
It’s the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.
It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.
I just received a very gracious call from Senator McCain. He fought long and hard in this campaign, and he’s fought even longer and harder for the country he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine, and we are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader. I congratulate him and Governor Palin for all they have achieved, and I look forward to working with them to renew this nation’s promise in the months ahead.
I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart and spoke....
...for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on that train home to Delaware, the Vice President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.
I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last sixteen years, the rock of our family and the love of my life, our nation’s next First Lady, Michelle Obama. Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that’s coming with us to the White House. And while she’s no longer with us, I know my grandmother is watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight, and know that my debt to them is beyond measure.
To my campaign manager David Plouffe, my chief strategist David Axelrod, and the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics – you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you’ve sacrificed to get it done.
But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to – it belongs to you.
I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn’t start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington – it began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.
It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation’s apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory.
I know you didn’t do this just to win an election and I know you didn’t do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime – two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century. Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us. There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how they’ll make the mortgage, or pay their doctor’s bills, or save enough for college. There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and alliances to repair.
The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America – I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you – we as a people will get there.
There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won’t agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government can’t solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it’s been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years – block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.
What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek – it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.
So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it’s that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers – in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.
Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House – a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, “We are not enemies, but friends…though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection.” And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn – I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.
And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world – our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down – we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security – we support you. And to all those who have wondered if America’s beacon still burns as bright – tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.
For that is the true genius of America – that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.
This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that’s on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She’s a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing – Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.
She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn’t vote for two reasons – because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.
And tonight, I think about all that she’s seen throughout her century in America – the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can’t, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.
At a time when women’s voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.
When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.
When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.
She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that “We Shall Overcome.” Yes we can.
A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.
America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves – if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?
This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time – to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth – that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:
Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.
We can overcome division and fear and ignorance!
My grandfather told me I was going to hell for voting for Barack. My feet and hips are sore from walking for 6 hours today while I knocked on 200+ doors to remind people to vote. But it is all blessings compared to knowing THAT ONE will be the one to guide us into this new century as we put the past behind us and enter the dawn of a new leadership, the dawn of a new America!
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Friday, September 5, 2008
Thursday, September 4, 2008
This is from the Associated Press:
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and her Republican supporters held back little Wednesday as they issued dismissive attacks on Barack Obama and flattering praise on her credentials to be vice president. In some cases, the reproach and the praise stretched the truth.
PALIN: "I have protected the taxpayers by vetoing wasteful spending ... and championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. I told the Congress 'thanks but no thanks' for that Bridge to Nowhere."
THE FACTS: As mayor of Wasilla, Palin hired a lobbyist and traveled to Washington annually to support earmarks for the town totaling $27 million. In her two years as governor, Alaska has requested nearly $750 million in special federal spending, by far the largest per-capita request in the nation. While Palin notes she rejected plans to build a $398 million bridge from Ketchikan to an island with 50 residents and an airport, that opposition came only after the plan was ridiculed nationally as a "bridge to nowhere."
PALIN: "There is much to like and admire about our opponent. But listening to him speak, it's easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform _ not even in the state senate."
THE FACTS: Compared to McCain and his two decades in the Senate, Obama does have a more meager record. But he has worked with Republicans to pass legislation that expanded efforts to intercept illegal shipments of weapons of mass destruction and to help destroy conventional weapons stockpiles. The legislation became law last year. To demean that accomplishment would be to also demean the work of Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, a respected foreign policy voice in the Senate. In Illinois, he was the leader on two big, contentious measures in Illinois: studying racial profiling by police and requiring recordings of interrogations in potential death penalty cases. He also successfully co-sponsored major ethics reform legislation.
PALIN: "The Democratic nominee for president supports plans to raise income taxes, raise payroll taxes, raise investment income taxes, raise the death tax, raise business taxes, and increase the tax burden on the American people by hundreds of billions of dollars."
THE FACTS: The Tax Policy Center, a think tank run jointly by the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, concluded that Obama's plan would increase after-tax income for middle-income taxpayers by about 5 percent by 2012, or nearly $2,200 annually. McCain's plan, which cuts taxes across all income levels, would raise after tax-income for middle-income taxpayers by 3 percent, the center concluded.
Obama would provide $80 billion in tax breaks, mainly for poor workers and the elderly, including tripling the Earned Income Tax Credit for minimum-wage workers and higher credits for larger families.
He also would raise income taxes, capital gains and dividend taxes on the wealthiest. He would raise payroll taxes on taxpayers with incomes above $250,000, and he would raise corporate taxes. Small businesses that make more than $250,000 a year would see taxes rise.
MCCAIN: "She's been governor of our largest state, in charge of 20 percent of America's energy supply ... She's responsible for 20 percent of the nation's energy supply. I'm entertained by the comparison and I hope we can keep making that comparison that running a political campaign is somehow comparable to being the executive of the largest state in America," he said in an interview with ABC News' Charles Gibson.
THE FACTS: McCain's phrasing exaggerates both claims. Palin is governor of a state that ranks second nationally in crude oil production, but she's no more "responsible" for that resource than President Bush was when he was governor of Texas, another oil-producing state. In fact, her primary power is the ability to tax oil, which she did in concert with the Alaska Legislature. And where Alaska is the largest state in America, McCain could as easily have called it the 47th largest state _ by population.
MCCAIN: "She's the commander of the Alaska National Guard. ... She has been in charge, and she has had national security as one of her primary responsibilities," he said on ABC.
THE FACTS: While governors are in charge of their state guard units, that authority ends whenever those units are called to actual military service. When guard units are deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, for example, they assume those duties under "federal status," which means they report to the Defense Department, not their governors. Alaska's national guard units have a total of about 4,200 personnel, among the smallest of state guard organizations.
FORMER ARKANSAS GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE: Palin "got more votes running for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska than Joe Biden got running for president of the United States."
THE FACTS: A whopper. Palin got 616 votes in the 1996 mayor's election, and got 909 in her 1999 re-election race, for a total of 1,525. Biden dropped out of the race after the Iowa caucuses, but he still got 76,165 votes in 23 states and the District of Columbia where he was on the ballot during the 2008 presidential primaries.
FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOV. MITT ROMNEY: "We need change, all right _ change from a liberal Washington to a conservative Washington! We have a prescription for every American who wants change in Washington _ throw out the big-government liberals, and elect John McCain and Sarah Palin."
THE FACTS: A Back-to-the-Future moment. George W. Bush, a conservative Republican, has been president for nearly eight years. And until last year, Republicans controlled Congress. Only since January 2007 have Democrats have been in charge of the House and Senate.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Oliver Willis --author
The Bubble Convention
Ricardo Montalban and Hervé Villechaize are not the only residents of Fantasy Island. That far-off land of make believe is also the shipping address for many Republicans and the vast majority of the modern conservative movement. The ongoing Republican convention is the sort of evidence that would get Fred Thompson's D.A. on Law & Order to nod knowingly and drawl "go to trial".
Conservatives have spent a lot of time and money constructing their Fantasy Island. Some of it was planned, but much of it grew organically. From the think tanks propped up by rich lunatics and big business, the demagogic talk shows that blast out twenty-four hours of nonsense, to the television news shows and channels that regurgitate the propaganda and even the right wing blogs that were too pathetic to grow their own communities and instead had to be the product of GOP consultants, the conservative movement has a well oil machine that has sold the nation on ill-conceived wars, tax policy, and the like.
The problem the movement ran into is when it selected then re-elected a leader into the Fantasy that actually believed it. For all their faults, Ronald Reagan knew the religious right was simply his ticket to fortune, and George H.W. Bush recognized the economics as voodoo. On the other hand, George W. Bush actually believes this crap. And so do their followers and hangers-on. Why do you think they remain so loyal to the least popular president of the last two decades? Why, when every other American saw the Iraq War as a mess and the response to Katrina as a disaster and the idea that we should privatize social security in the same class as madness, do these people persist in holding on? Why do they wrap themselves in the death cult of Bush and conservatism? Because they surround themselves with media that tells them that's the way to think.
Objective reality never comes into play. Rush tells them it's a liberal plot of the drive-by media. Fox assures them that they are in the mainstream of public opinion no matter how fringe their beliefs. The Heritage Foundation and AEI show them cooked up numbers with "research" backing their assertions. It couldn't be phony, it says so right here in the editorial section of the Wall Street Journal!
The convention unfolding is the product of that bubble. A convention where the keynote speakers on night one were a failed president, a b-list actor who couldn't muster a single primary win because he thought he could campaign from a golf cart, and a senator who got drummed out of his own party and formed his own dishonest party to retain his seat. These speakers spoke in a poorly lit and laid out arena they could not fill. And when they spoke, they threw out red meat to the crowd that gained much applause - but out in the actual world it just looks like the fringe pandering to the fringe. They don't care, because Hannity will praise it, and Newsmax will legitimize it. They can't ever be wrong as far as the bubble is concerned.
The bubble leads to picks like Harriet Miers and Sarah Palin, both insults to American women by a movement that thinks shared genitalia is all that is needed to get women on board. They couldn't possibly think folks like Sarah Palin are grossly unqualified and out of the mainstream. Why? Because even though he railed against just such a profile a few weeks ago, the Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol thinks she is magnificent too. The man was Dan Quayle's chief of staff, how could he possibly not be a good judge of vice presidential character!?
The enemy of the bubble is always reality. It is not a spin machine on the left that can counterbalance the bubble, just cold hard facts. In 2006 bubble pundits like Hugh Hewitt assured their followers that Republicans were on the verge of painting the entire map red. As late as election day the flock was assured that there was no way Nancy Pelosi could ascend to Speaker of the House. It was insisted that polls were skewed and not to be trusted. Reality, in other words, had a liberal bias. And even after the Democrats took the House and Senate, conservatives used the bubble to convince themselves that their losses were not due to their unpopular president and his policies that had led to the deaths of thousands and global instability. Nope. It was earmarks. As if.
Last week the bubble worked with its regular ally, the mainstream media (who is easily distracted by the shiniest thing and the loudest noise), tried to keep banging the drum for numerous falsehoods about the Democrats. They each dropped like flies as Michelle Obama spoke and was not a militant, the Clintons spoke and called for unity with Obama, and Obama went on the attack and gave specifics while still giving the sort of speech John McCain could not give half of on his best day.
No militant Obamas. No Democratic disunity. No aloof Obama. No weakling Obama. Now, like any rational being did they accommodate this information into their understanding of the world? No, like zombies they shut it out and proceeded to put on this freakshow in Minnesota which will go on for two more days and then on the road with McCain and whoever his running mate might be.
I'm under no illusions that the bubble might pop with a McCain loss in November. The bubble is resilient! It wraps the right up like a cocoon of ignorance (many of the bubble residents resemble the cast of Cocoon) and allows no enlightenment inside. At this point, they couldn't live without it.
I would say I pity them, but I'm not sure what positive purpose any of it serves. Good riddance.
It is very good and I think we could listen to it--especially the part about taking a breath and believing we chose a GREAT candidate!
Beth Broderick -- author
Trust Me... Him... Us... Yourself
Why have the democrats turned into a bunch of nervous nellies? We have EVERY reason to believe that we will be victorious in November and yet the hand wringing, second guessing, fear of failure set is still dominating the dialogue.
Time and again the press pushes a button and we are spun out by the spin .The latest of these ridiculous suggestions is that McCain might have the last laugh with his ludicrous choice of running mate. Could Sara Palin possibly be a good idea? Maybe Democrats should worry about her appeal? Will this move demonstrate some mystifying tactical genius?
No. She is exactly as she appears to be, she is a terrible choice. There is not a Hillary voter alive who would cast her lot with this creature. They were pissed off and they said so but I know a lot of these folks and they are smart, scary smart and they are not to be trifled with. Mr. Obama was wise to give them credit and to give Mrs. Clinton her due at the convention in Denver. Another thing the press attempted to create drama around. Will Hillary do the right thing? Will the Democrats remain divided? Should Obama give the Clintons so much time? Will the heavens open up and rain toga wearing frogs upon our heads?
No. Hillary not only did the right thing, she was spectacular and she proved that Obama was right to give her a starring role. The Hillary voters have great hearts as well as keen minds and as they demonstrate in Denver they are dedicated Democrats who understand what is at stake in this election. . They are not about to sit down for a bowl of moose stew with some creationist anti-choice, anti-environment Republican nutter, just because she is a woman. The mere thought of it is laughable.Why are we are unable to trust our own instincts? We chose a great candidate and he has made great choices. It is time to breathe deep and believe in this campaign and the folks who are leading it. They are doing a terrific job. They are playing to win and so far it appears they are doing just that. At the very least they have managed to unnerve the Republicans and positively derail John McCain. The man appears to have booked full passage on the snowmobile to Cukooville.
Since the beginning of this process the media have been convinced and have tried to convince us that America is a land of bigots who could not possibly elect a person of color to the highest office in the land. They have waxed on about "fear of the other". They have peered at every statistic trying to find evidence that. White males will never vote for a oh hold on ... it's Latino women who will never vote for a ...oops no wait Asian twins will never vote for a ahem ... well surely some group is out there who will never vote for a .... BLACK man and by God the press is going to find them out. Should we fear that America will turn out to be an unthinking secretly racist land of limitation?
No. Americans will elect Barack Obama to the presidency. They will do this because he is the best candidate for the job. They will do this because they want America to be the best country it can be. They will do it because this is America and in spite of or maybe because of the last eight years we will rise to the occasion. We have made our share of mistakes, but, we have always struggled to right our wrongs. I trust us ..you ...him .. me.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Is this really what Christians want to use G-d for?
PS--notice how he gets abortion and same-sex marriage in there as well.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
A MUST read!
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Atheist, Agnostic, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jew or whatever--Not thinking, dogma, lack of self-reflection, ignorance and the absence of spirituality will lead us further from our mission, further from our better selves, further from who we could be.
Wayne Besen on HuffingtonPost.com
It is campaign season, once again, which means conservatives, will try to paint Democrats as "liberals," as if it were a dirty word. I, for one, am proud to be a liberal and believe we should stand up against these conservative smears.
One of the great fallacies in modern lore is that liberalism stands for nothing and liberals have no core beliefs. The right wing, from the Pope to the President, has impugned the left by unfairly portraying it as a valueless movement mired in moral relativism.
This could not be further from the truth. Indeed, the left is the backbone of freedom, the defender of personal liberty, the guarantor of free speech and religious worship and the nurturer of democratic movements across the globe. Far from believing in nothing, wherever liberal democratic values prevail, civilizations flourish and free people thrive.
The cornerstone of liberalism is the idea that each person is endowed with the precious gift of liberty and can freely choose his or her own path - for better or worse. We believe this is crucial to greater enlightenment, personal growth and ultimate fulfillment. It also offers the best opportunity for people to realize their dreams and achieve their spiritual promise.
Liberalism encourages exploration and education. It reveres science and celebrates the inquisitive mind. Indeed, liberal values are often superior to those held on the right, because they are tenaciously subjected to rigorous examination. Beliefs that are questioned and still prevail are the ones that stand the test of time.
Like conservatism, liberalism has very strong core principles. But unlike conservatism, liberalism is not afraid to question "the way it is." The fulcrum of this philosophy is that all ideas will be constantly examined, scrutinized, studied and debated. If new information emerges to counter the culture's prevailing values or understanding, it will be rightfully taken into account. Far from moral relativism, liberalism searches for the ultimate value in which to build a moral foundation: Truth.
Right wing movements across the globe often seem uninterested in truth if it contradicts their obdurate belief systems. Reality averse, they are woefully unable to adjust to new understandings, burgeoning ideas and cultural awakenings. For example, despite overwhelming evidence that women are the equals of men, they still can't drive or vote in some Muslim countries. In America, gay people are still treated as second-class citizens, even though mountains of science and empirical evidence suggest that homosexuality is as biologically ingrained as eye color or handedness.
Liberals believe in the power of "reason," while conservatives are often just plain reactionary. This is why the GOP is the party of the "southern strategy" and anti-gay subterfuge. Republican power is directly related to fertilizing fear and fomenting fanaticism.
Indeed, the great appeal of modern conservatism, or other forms of authoritarianism, is that people don't have to think for themselves. They can mentally "check out" of this world and place their worries in the hands of a commanding politician or a higher deity.
Modern conservatives are often discomfited by the complexities of life and demand answers to the world's many unanswerable questions. They arrogantly and disingenuously claim to have absolute truth, while liberalism boldly proclaims that it does not have such ubiquitous powers of understanding. Liberalism is for those who are unafraid to fully embrace the magnificent journey of life and tackle the great mysteries of our time.
If one looks at modern conservatism in the United States, it is easy to see that it is a movement of intellectual and spiritual atrophy. In the political realm, conservatives essentially call for judges who are "strict constructionists," which is shorthand for saying "the Constitution is a dead document."
What a monumentally ridiculous notion to put forth, that American jurisprudence has not evolved in more than two centuries! Do strict constructionists believe that women and African Americans should have their rights restricted because the nation's founders treated women as second-class citizens and owned slaves?
Likewise, modern conservatives have also rendered the Bible (or Koran) "dead documents." In conservative houses of worship, traditionalists put forth the untenable belief that holy books are literal. They call these books "God's Plan," as if the Creator hasn't had a new thought in a couple of thousand years.
Modern conservatives will claim that liberals are sacrilegious for holding such beliefs. To the contrary, liberals are often extraordinarily religious or spiritual people. However, they diverge with conservatives in that they believe the strongest faith is one that is subject to healthy skepticism and painstaking examination. In encouraging people to explore all faiths -- free of guilt, shame, coercion or fear -- liberalism also offers people the greatest number spiritual options.
Many of my columns deal with gay themes because equality for gay men and women is the civil rights issue of the new Millennium. However, gay rights mean nearly as much to heterosexuals as they do for homosexuals. The very peace and prosperity of nations can be easily predicted by looking at how they relate to their gay citizens.
If a country treats gay people with dignity and respect and offers them equality, it signals that the country bases its decisions on sound education, rationalism and science. This inevitably leads towards success in all spheres of life.
Countries that ostracize and penalize homosexuals tend to be superstitious, authoritarian and anti-intellectual. This almost uniformly leads to poverty, war, oppression and ultimately tyranny.
A cynic might argue that the United States is not as gay friendly as other countries, yet, it is the richest country in the world. True, but nearly all of America's cities and states that are centers of profit and creativity offer acceptance for homosexuals. States most hostile to gay people are relatively backwards, with lower levels of education and income. Places that offer acceptance signal that they are open-minded and looking towards the future. Locales that reject homosexuals indicate that they are stuck in the past -- at their own peril.
In essence, gay rights are the canary in the coal mine for freedom and prosperity. Unfortunately, the bird is hacking, signaling a period of increased oppression and a dangerous erosion of freedom. It is up to us to rescue this nation from the perilous path it is now on. It is time we proudly stand up for what we believe in. If we don't defend our values, our opponents will define them.
Progressive does not mean passive. Our compassion does not mean that we lack passion. Our respect for other beliefs does not signify that we don't hold strong beliefs of our own that we are willing to fight for. Indeed, our power comes from out ability to adjust to reality. We are secure in our values, yet humble enough to adapt if our viewpoints are proven obsolete. Wherever liberal democracy takes root, a strong and proud record of economic, moral, social and political achievement follows.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
All that being said, the difference doesn't come down to what you think you are. Many religious people espouse anti-religious sentiments while exhibiting Phariseeical traits and beliefs.
Spirituality comes down to self-reflection. It comes down to looking not just at what other people do, but what you do. Spirituality is living the beliefs others espouse, not necessarily because you "believe" them, but because they are just who you are, the way you live your life.
Perhaps the biggest difference is spirituality is totally NOT contingent on anyone else; not their beliefs, not their thoughts or feelings, not their approval or acknowledgement, not even neccessarily their knowledge. I am not one of these people who believes if you dod a good deed you should never mention it. I think there is a difference in talking about who you are and bragging. I don't think you should seek out opportunities to tell your good deeds, but if someone asks you or if it comes up, it is not a bad thing to acknowledge-but recognizing you are not doing it for that acknowledgement.
Perhaps it is that recognition that makes the difference. It is self-reflection that makes that recognition possible. It is critically important that you live the EXAMINED life. It is the only life worth living. Examine WHY you believe what you believe and do it HONESTLY. Examine WHY you do what you do and look at it HONESTLY.
If you go to church for the social aspect-just admit that. There should be nothing wrong, social interactions ARE important and a reason we go to church, temple, mosque, etc.
If you are a smart person just admit that, don't buy into the lie our society has created that being smart means being arrogant. If you are arrogant, work on that (I have to) but that doesn't mean you shouldn't ackowledge your intelligence.
WHY do I say all this in this post? Because it is those first steps of honesty that create a habit of honest self-reflection. And it is that honest self-reflection that can lead to real good being done, real love being shown, real spirituality and not religiosity. And with real spirituality built on honest self-reflection, goodness and love-we can truly change the world.
That was what Jesus and Buddha were really aiming for-stripping the religions away from their core message and purpose and changing the world. Think about it and . . . ACT.
Saturday, August 2, 2008
When I first began my quest, it was looking for something more, something different--could it be found in another denomination? then I looked into Catholicism, then I looked and researched other religions besides Christianity. Every religion has its good points, every religion has purposes and even redeeming qualities; and yes, every religion has ignorance, extremes and intolerance.
However, what I found most true is that every religion is really afraid or unwilling to look at itself critically or outside of itself. Religions seem hell-bent--no pun intended--wait yes I did. :) on doing the classic poor logic of using the word to define itself. What makes something logical or even "defined" is the ability to use outside validaters to justify or explain its existence. For example--when I was a child we had this "children's dictionary" which was especially known for definitions like this: "Bananas: Bananas are yellow. Monkeys like to eat bananas." Despite there being two sentences, there is no real definition. All too often, THIS is the approach religions take when justifying or defending their own theology.
The problem with that is the word itself cannot be used in the definition or it is not considered valid. Ask a fundy why they believe in literal creationism and they'll cite Bible verses. Ask a fundy why homosexuality is "wrong" and they'll say things about the depravity of society, and maybe even a "reprobate mind" and then they'll go back to citing Bible verses. In large part it is because the idea itself is not founded in any kind of real proof. It is based on traditions, feelings, ignorance and intolerance.
What I was or have been looking for is a religion that is unafraid to look at itself critically. Unafraid to have adherents sit on the same pews with different opinions. From my research this is much like the early church. Lots of different kinds of believers came and their commonality was a faith and belief in the teachings of Jesus. Different ideas and interpretations were discussed and debated. NOT that this was some philosophical dream; but rather America did not have the numbers, influence or history yet to effectively say "This is EXACTLY who we are." and not like they could afford to turn members away.
I don't see why their can't be one religion that celebrates this kind of approach. But perhaps that is counter to what religion is.
Speaking of--my next blog will be on spirituality vs. religion.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
I LOVE to watch The Soup on E with Joel McHale.
Well they had a clip from Brook Hogan's new show "Brook Knows Best" and they're discussing politics.
Well Brook first responds by saying she is not "all that into voting."--which just pisses me off terribly-I have little patience for people who are uninterested in participating in our political process on the most minimal level.
But it gets worse because then she goes on-looking as stupid as a whore in Utah- and talks about how she thinks it ridiculous Hillary ran for Pres because she doesn't think a woman could really do that job because they are "too emotional and with menopause and PMS and stuff. Theykd be screaming and crying at people every day."
WHY do we as a society reward or even tolerate that kind of ignorance? Sure she'll get made fun of but her show is on and she has her paycheck-and it is more than a teacher's or social worker, or elder care worker or migrant farm worker-all the really important jobs in our lives.
Oh and now a clip from Denise Richards is on- great its a 2 whores for 1 day. :)
Saturday, June 14, 2008
1> www.FighttheSmears.com is the new Obama website. What is different about this website is that he lays out all the rumors, innuendos and smears against him and BAM! debunks them on site! He is obviously not intimidated by the lies and falsehoods; he acknowledges them as existing and then he sheds light on them. This is incredible for a number of reasons.
First, for a supporter of Obama nothing is more satisfying than to know you not only have such a tool at your fingerprints, but it makes you feel like "Hell, Yeah! THAT is MY President." It keeps any lingering doubt from creeping up wondering what the truth is, or how the campaign will handle it. Second, for a generation that is more and more internet savvy and internet dependent, having a "political" SNOPES.com directly tied to the "urban legends" of your preferred candidate is pretty awesome, and yet a natural fit. Now rumors and "hidden emails" can be refuted as easily as a key-stroke--just like those other emails that filter through the office. Third, it is PRO-ACTIVE. He is putting it out there before he gets hit. He's drawing a line in the sand and saying "There will be no swift-boating this time." He is directly addressing the lies and rumors that Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity put forth in their passive-aggressive way. He's making sure they know he has their number.
2>Obama's campaign has started a new program called The Joshua Generation, it is directly aimed at reaching evangelical youth under 30 (probably under 25). It is aimed to reach them on their level, using the language they know, promoting the values they have chosen. It is aimed at that group of evangelical youth that have grown up on "youth group" and yet are in their college years. And its point is to work with them to see that their faith is more complex than gay marriage and abortion. Watch for this plan to be SUPER-successful.
So, again, Obama is a FREAKIN' political genius. I just hope that our country is ready for a smart president.
Sunday, June 1, 2008
I am really convinced that a lot of issues find their root in the combination of these two topics.
I wonder what is the deal, and this is an area where Fundy's and evangelicals are certainly NOT alone, and neither is Christianity.
I do not pretend to be an expert on all religions, and feel free to fact check anything I say, but it does seem that every religion has some measure of hang-up when it comes to sex. Even the "pagan" religions from the NT or ancient middle-eastern religious with their "temple prostitutes" and "ordained sexual practices" obviously had hang-ups about sex, because they had to (pardon the pun) put it all out there.
In fact I think the only thing that is MORE regulated in the world's religions is actual freedom of thought.
Share your thoughts . . . there will be more posts on this, I'm sure.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
But anyway, back to his comments. He was at an NRA meeting and there was a loud noise or bang heard off-stage. Huckabee said: "That was Barack Obama. He just tripped off a chair. He's getting ready to speak and somebody aimed a gun at him and he -- he dove for the floor."
Now he apologized for making a "bone headed" remark, but I think it is telling about the man, his character and the fact that todays fundamental Christian-right were yeterday's "Segregationists" and last century's "State's Right-ers".
I think Mike Huckabee is a good man, but I think there is a problem in ANY philosophy where that kind of joke could even be possibly thought of and delivered.
He was every it as inspiring in person as he is on TV. There was not a group he did not cover and his IDEAS are just as powerful as his WORDS.
I hope that our country is smart enough to elect this man to be President. I am sure he will make mistakes, I am sure more flaws will show themsleves; but for what he is wanting to accomplish, for where we are, and where we want to be--I think he is the man who can take us there.
If he comes anywhere near you, make the effort to go. We got up at 3:30 and drove 3.5-4 hours to Tampa to be there 4 hours before the start of the rally. AND I WOULD DO IT ALL AGAIN!!!