Thursday, November 30, 2006

President Carter's Take on Iraq

From Young Turks on Air America radio:

Well, you know, it (Iraq) has been a disaster. I think the administration and the present administration and even the neo-cons who orchestrated the invasion of Iraq, all look back on it and know it was a very great tragedy.

Its alienated most of the nations of the world away from us, dropped the esteem for America - the popularity of America, the trust of America to unprecedented lows, and now of course what we are trying to do is not to succeed in our original plans but to get out of Iraq with a minimal loss of life and prestige.

I think in many ways anyone that would argue that is was a success or a good decision, would be totally wrong. I'm not going to criticize President Bush because I agree with him on many things, but I believe that this was one of the biggest mistakes in foreign affairs that I've ever known. - Jimmy Carter; 39th President of the United States

President Carter added tonight on Anderson Cooper 360 that perhaps the greatest tragedy of all that gets left out of most discussions is what Iraq did to our efforts in Afghanistan. He said that we had the opportunity to defeat the terrorists there in that country, to rebuild it, and maybe even make it a model of self government, with the support of the world rather than snubbing the world as we did in Iraq.

There's a custom that ex-Presidents don't "criticize" sitting ones, so I'm sure that many people are furious with both Clinton and Carter for their words lately. But let's face it, folks. Its quite obvious how history is going to remember George W. Bush (and Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Clarke), and it ain't going to be too sporty. Carter isn't remembered all that grandly himself, and he'll look like Honest Abe Lincoln alongside Dubya someday.

So to expect these men to play dead and not speak up is foolish. At some point it becomes their duty to do so. And honestly, if Bush goes much further into denial and continues to plow us further into destruction, I expect his own father to become a bit more assertive. To call Clinton and Carter's words partisan at this point is off base. It is akin to calling people partisan for wanting to find an end to Vietnam in the 70's.

Shameless personal plus that can't be verified, but I'm telling it anyway: In late 2002 and early 2003, I wasn't blogging, but I was very active on political message boards. I had been a Republican since college up until then. I began to see how people with a hard right view took the position of "kill em all". I also recognized that Hans Blix, the ultimate authority on WMD, said we were wrong, and our government suddenly decided he had no credibility.

I therefore took a very early stance against what I saw coming. I remember distinctly posting once that all of a sudden Iraq was being talked about by all the radio hacks at once, and they were using the same talking points. I said that it sounded like a PR campaign for an attack and I didn't like it. Soon afterward as the covert spin became overt, I asked how you would ever know you "won" something like that if the Iraqi's didn't "throw flowers" as Bush claimed.

I said that if dark skinned people attacked and occupied our country, I would be a freedom fighter, and I doubted that the dark skinned people felt any different about us occupying them. (I also pointed out that one of the tenets of Southern Republicans was NRA membership and their right to bear arms "in case they had to revolt or defend themselves". These are the very people who call the insurgents
"terrorists" today and seem to not have any clue that they would be the first ones to take to the streets if this happened here.)

Of course, the right wing of the political board I was on hated me. They believed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and that they were responsible for 9/11. Although both of these have been proven false....they probablystill do.

Its classic "don't bother me with the facts" arguing. And I can't stand it. I just wrote about two Democrats below who are accused of taking bribes. If the facts convict them, I want them out of office as badly as I want Cheney out. Ok, not true...but only because Cheney can do MUCH more damage due to his position.

The question is: What will it take to make them listen? And what will it take to get Republicans in Congress to speak up alongside America? The truly amazing thing is that John McCain was named today as the "front runner" for '08, and he appears to be willing to favor the war as long as Bush wants to stay there.

What is winning? Four years later, its the same question.

Why Memphis Will Never Be Nashville or Atlanta

There has always been lots of discussion around the economic surge in Nashville and why Memphis has been mired in stagnation. Many people blame "white flight"...the movement of the upper middle class east of the city, to Germantown and Collierville and south to Desoto County.
But in reality Memphis voters, whoever they are, have held the future of Memphis in their hands for years....and they have chosen to fail.
Today two city councilmen were charged with yet another bribery scandal.
The players?

1)Edmund Ford: Yes, one of those Fords. Brother of Harold, Sr. and defrocked state senator John...and uncle of Harold, Jr. (Sidebar: I believe if you look at the tiny margin of vote difference between Ford and Corker, the "Ford Family" reason for choosing Corker single-handedly beat Harold, Jr. Both of my parents were aghast at my support for Ford, purely on THAT basis. "You would vote for one of the FORDS?" Not fair to Harold, Jr., but dang...gotta admit it continues to look bad.)

2)Rickey Peete: This one is a classic Memphis story. It might remind you of Marion Barry. See Peete's a councilman because he got his voting rights back....see, because he lost them.....see, because he was in jail...for bribery, see? What is this idiot thinking? You'd think he would kinda check out a dude who tried to pay him off. Like maybe have him followed for a MONTH. But no...he allegedly took the twelve grand...and now he's probably screwed.

I can't really make any great contribution to this story, because I am not close enough to the people who consciously choose to elect people like this, as well as our mayor, Willie Herenton. I'm sure they have their reasons, and I'm sure they feel those reasons are sound.

But until I know and understand, I am disappointed and disgusted by these voting decisions. How could it possibly hurt Memphians, black or white, to elect progressive candidates who vote on the basis of moving Memphis forward AND NOT CASH??

Perhaps someone who voted for Peete after he got out of jail the first time will post here and help me understand.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A Christian Nation?

Garrison Keillor writes a surprising article about non-Christians, who he says need to "get a life" or "work with it" if they are going to live in America, and if Christmas bothers them.

This is an issue I've considered many times, and I actually brought it up recently to a friend of mine. I was at some function, which escapes me at the moment, and pretty much every prominent Memphian was there. The occasion called for an invocation, and the Christian minister, an evangelical, not only concluded with "In Jesus' name we pray, Amen", he also inserted the gospel into the prayer with something like "and thank you for sending your Son to die on the cross for our sins".

Afterward I asked my friend if he noticed this. He said, "what do you mean noticed it? Its no different from what we hear in every other prayer." I said, "True, but do you know how many Jewish business owners were in the room? How do you think they felt as they heard this?" To which he said something like, "aw, they're used to it."

Well, perhaps. But this issue goes well beyond Christmas and Bill O'Reilly's claim that the holiday is being "hijacked" and that companies are forcing employees to say "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas". (Which, true to BillOh, has been shown to be another of his lies.)

Anyway...Newsweek says over 80% of evangelicals favor prayer in public schools. That's an easy one, right? I mean, they will state plainly that, "we are a Christian nation, and taking prayer out of schools has led to increased violence and disengagement be students. But how would you feel if you were a Jewish taxpayer?

In the comments that follow the majority is definitely lashing out at Garrison for his "get over it approach". Here's just one excerpt of one letter (one letter of dozens so far):

Here's what Christmas meant for me as a kid: Being forced to sing religious carols at school while harboring a secret fear that God would punish me later for doing so; utter confusion at home about why we had a tree and presents and opened them Dec. 25 but couldn't call it "Christmas" (my family's well intentioned but very flawed way of trying to fit in); a profound sense of alienation and outsider status that followed me well into adulthood (not entirely due to Christmas, but never more obvious than around the holidays).

Public schools are publicly funded. Jewish and Muslim people are American citizens and they pay taxes. Both of these faiths hold as a base belief that there is only one God/Allah, and that belief or worship of any other is the most serious of all sins.

If Christians would stop and take an honest look at this fact, we might understand how a young Jewish girl could FEAR singing "Silent Night". Should her parents (or the ACLU on their behalf) keep quiet about their tax dollars being spent for this?

Now...I don't advocate a sweeping beaurocratic clamp down on Jesus at Christmas....of course not. The key here is common sense and respect for all Americans. If two of my direct reports are Jewish, and they have been listening to songs on the Muzak about the Christ child for days in a row....I should be respectful enough to change that in their environment if it causes discomfort.

You think you disagree with me? How would you like to go to work for a company that played audio tapes of Islamic morning and evening prayer? You would storm and stomp and say, "Thats fine in Saudi Arabia, but this is America!" And you would be right....and America is a country of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, no matter who you are.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

How Republicans Trick Us With Language

A great blogger named Kelly Gorski introduced me to an absolutely incredible piece of writing called "Don't Think of an Elephant" by George Lakoff.

Give yourself some time to read it...its 36 pages in pdf. It concerns Republican strategies, social theory and framing language (much like this book recommendation I posted previously.

Here is the link: Don't Think Like An Elephant.

(I probably haven't made it sound all that exciting...but if you are a person who continually wonders why people vote for Republicans NO MATTER what they do, you need to read this article!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Abortion & Queers: Surely Its All That Matters

Seems that the Rev. Joel Hunter has proven to be a man of principle. Doesn't mean he isn't heavily in favor of outlawing abortion and queers...but...but...wait for it....

For this Christian evangelical pastor, there are actually MORE things on a Christ-centered agenda than JUST abortion and queers!

Well, of course, the bad news is that Pat Robertson and the rest of the Christian Coalition couldn't jive with that, so Hunter resigned.

Does Pat MAYBE think this looks a bit bad? Might a FEW of the CC members see that Hunter quit because he "hoped to include issues such as easing poverty and saving the environment". (Hell, no wonder the Coalition didn't want him. Think how many blow jobs might be perpetrated while we're out there FEEDING SOME KID. The nerve of these liberals.

Now listen to what the CC told Hunter when he had the nerve to mention those snot-nose poverty people. ""They pretty much said, "These issues are fine, but they're not our issues; that's not our base,' "

Our base.

Its not our base, see?

You know...from the Greek word alkjoivuw,mn,mdlkuu, right? Where Jesus said, "feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the prisoner, yadayadayada.... but jab them fags in the eyes too, and get out the vote to make women drive to a different state for them abortions. And most of all, understand your base."

(Why is Jesus so misunderstood? Those instructions are pretty clear, right? The only way they would be more simple would be if he LEFT OUT EVERYTHING AFTER THE "PRISONER"!)

Our base simply looks toward the queers and the baby-killers. Full time job though it is. And don't get us wrong. There are tons of organizations who do that poverty stuff. We're all for em. But look...we didn't build this place on the boring issues. Look, just that Sodomy Series on CD alone built that steeple over there.

Enough for now. I have a lot more to add to this story, but I may go have gay sex and an abortion, just to get the taste out of my mouth from this putrid story. Ok, so I can't stomach sex with a guy, plus I can't get I'll do neither. But by golly I threatened to.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving and AAF

My third book recommendation of this blog:

Thanks to the spirit of the holidays, or luck, or fate, or good old-fashioned assertiveness on my part, I got to spend some time with a dear friend. For that, I am thankful.

I told my friend about a book that guided me toward a path of liberal Christianity (and afterward,liberal politics). I thought I should post that book here.

Click here for the Amazon link to "If Grace Is True: Why God Will Save Every Person"

Now, my friend grew up in the same evangelical mold that I she hasn't had the luxury of ever hearing a viewpoint any different from the modernism of literal textual interpretation. Anyway....that's beside the point. Just understand that topics like this can be tough on others. JUST LIKE the topic of fundamentalist Christian certainty can be tough on millions as well.

I am not recommending this book because I 100% agree with it. Actually one of the biggest premises in the book is one that I can not support. However, I believe these two Quaker ministers, Gulley and Mulholland, have truly captured the spirit of grace in which I believe.

Do yourself a favor and get this book.

And Happy Thanksgiving, enjoy the blog......and AAF.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Salon's O.J. Simpson Revolt

Ok...its not SALON's revolt.

Its the letter writers' revolt in response to this article.

You might want to allow yourself an hour or so, because there are over 150 comments, and the number is growing. I know you think you won't read them all, but it draws you in. (And of course, I'm in there with my two you have to look for me.)

Salon is by far my favorite "magazine" on the net. I've come close to subscribing several times lately, and then a story (or three) would concern me to the point that the mission and direction of the publisher is unclear.

Lately there have been more and more stories about Madonna and Britney and Angelina and "Tomkat". I don't know what they were about, because I haven't read them, anymore than I've ever purchased a National Enquirer from my grocery store.

Then there's the story above.

Now, I'm a liberal, see. And I don't know that I've ever defined that in this blog. I mean MY definition...not Bill O'Reilly's or Al Franken's. I'll do that sometime, but for now, let me just say that it involves social justice and forgiveness, and more than anything else, respect for each and every individual.

Stories like these (and many, many of the comments from readers across the internet) are void of any individual respect at all. So here's where my own politics get tricky. Why? Because there are obviously a whole lot of liberals out there who generalize about other groups, and who fail to see each individual and to understand that we can't generalize, because we simply don't know the whole story.

What's funny about the whole thing is this:

The author, Debra Dickerson, writes to defend Judith Regan by explaining her particular story of abuse. Yet in the same article, she makes the generalization of ALL TIME, and the now infamous quote:

But you're alive, because you're a wuss -- a "remnant," as a girlfriend of mine scornfully calls the limping, deficient crop of men available to us as single mothers of a certain age.

Ah yes....let's classify every single man born in the 60's while we sanctimoniously defend a rich publisher and her particular claims of spousal abuse.

Was Regan abused? We don't know, and that is far from the point. The point is, EVERYONE has life experiences...context, as Malcolm Gladwell calls it. This context molds our actions and our relationships.

How is it that Dickerson can recognize that in Regan, and yet, when it comes to men, they are simply deficient? Or when it comes to one particular black man, she feels comfortable enough about her place in this world to ask him to end his own life?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Free Republic Blogger Arrested for Terrorism

Who is surprised by this?

A 39 year-old self-described conservative, who claims to "worship" Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, and Michelle Malkin, mailed "white powder" to several celebrities and broadcast journalists.

His victims included Keith Olberman, Jon Stewart, David Letterman, and even NANCY PELOSI, about to be third in line for the Presidency.

What is "terrorism"? Many people believe it is simply killing or injuring people. It is more than that. It is, per Wordnet:

the systematic use of violence as a means to intimidate or
coerce societies or governments

Sending white powder to the most powerful woman in America is an attempt to coerce and intimidate our government. Sending white powder to television personalities who have the ear of the country is an attempt to intimidate and coerce the SOCIETY.

THIS GUY, if he is guilty, is a terrorist. Is the point of this post to pile on a poor conservative? NO. The reason this story is important is because right-wing Americans are posting all over the internet about how "America is finished" and "the terrorists have won" and "We will be speaking Arabic very soon".

This doomsaying nonsense is SO prevalent on the internet that I really don't think its disengenuous partisan bullshit. I think they honestly believe this. Rush and O'Reilly have succeeded in making these people actually believe that people in the middle east could successfully stage a Normany-style invasion of Virginia Beach. And after they pull that off, they somehow have the ability to occupy every corner of America and install a Muslim state.

How ridiculous is this belief? These people are scaring their children, and my children, and they are just plain WRONG. Yes, we have to carefully and expertly manage the nuclear abilities and activities in the world....JUST like we have had to do since the late 40's. This HAS NOT CHANGED AND WILL NOT CHANGE. (Except for the NEW terrorists we have created by invading Iraq, which was no help at all to this task.)

But to believe that somehow radical Islam will "take over America" is stupid...and to further that bullshit IS TERRORISM IN ITSELF.

Where did this worshipper of Coulter and Malkin get his ideas of who "deserved" his white powder? I think we all know the answer. And how often do these folks hawk the war (and the defense industry and the military machine) by painting the picture of Arabs feeding lions with Christians in Texas Stadium?

Well, if you read the message boards of both left and right websites, you know they must paint these pictures VERY OFTEN.

Here's the deal, America. Iraq is a fraction of the size and a fraction of the population of the USA. WE have the strongest military in the world by twenty or thirty times the second place runner up. And yet....the BEST we've been able to do is hold onto a few blocks, called the Green Zone, in the capital city.

We have the BEST MILITARY IN HISTORY, and that is the best we can do. And these wingnuts really, REALLY believe that someone is going to occupy US one day? Folks, the only enemy who should be feared that seriously is the enemy of division here at home. The way things are going, one of these days, a sitting President is going to say, "well, things are too unstable in the world for me to step down. I'm calling off the election". And when that happens, we are changed forever.

And EVEN THEN, our own military could not control us, even if they supported this rouge President. There is no way to control guerrila tactics in a country our size.

In summary...this dude wanted SO BADLY to continue the hysteria of terrorism, that he became a terrorist himself. Chances are, whoever committed the Washington white powder crimes a few years ago was from a very similar vein.

Let's please stop the hysteria. It is good to be prudent. But for 50 years prudence meant relying on our military, CIA and FBI to manage the threat of nuclear holocaust and violent crime from outside our borders. We must continue to fund these sources of our protection. And THEN WE MUST ALLOW THEM TO DO THAT JOB. Hysterical message boarding is no help to is simply a form of terrorism.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

"Purity Balls"; Dobson, Daddy, and Disgust

How I missed this, I'll never know. Paragon shares this video of Purity Balls, and Feministing adds that this gets federal funding.

Here's what the clip shows: Girls apparently between 2 and 17 go to this Prom-of-sorts with their fathers. It says they get dressed up and some arrive in limos. There's a voice-over by James Dobson (Ted Haggard's "scared straight" coach.) He tells the story of a 17 year old girl who says that she doesn't desire boys the way all her friends do. According to Dobson, this is because she is sitting on her father's lap, and therefore HE is fulfilling "every girls desire for the affection of boys" or something like that.

Then the video shows the dads and daughters reciting and signing these covenants, in which the dads vaguely promise integrity, while the daughters promise to abstain from sex until marriage, so as to give yourself as a wedding gift to her spouse.

I sit here wanting to give commentary to this troubling culture, but I simply can't get my head around it.

I've lived in the South all my life, and I grew up in a church where Dobson's writings were always readily distributed. But I've never in my life heard of anything like this.

I can vaguely recall a couple of "youth revivals" when I was in high school or college when the evangelists asked us to promise God we would abstain until marriage. I don't recall whether I ever made that promise or not, but I don't think I did. Not to give myself too much credit, but I think I was bright enough to realize that I didn't know what the future held, nor what my ability might be to fight off the power of the small brain. (See toward the end of this story to get an idea of how that turned out.

In all seriousness I do know what a noose guilt can be to a young person. It was implied to me, if not outright stated, that guilt was a good and healthy thing. Well, I can maybe see how it got the desired behavior out of me from time to time...but then again, I really believe that when I did the "right thing", it was mainly for very practical reasons.

I don't want my kids to be saddled with guilt. At 41 I generally behave within the bounds of socially accepted norms, and that behavior is no longer driven by guilt, but by understanding the reasons behind these behaviors being wise. What parents are generally saying, then, is that kids aren't capable of wisdom, so let's strap em down with guilt.

Kids ARE capable. But like me and all adults, they are also capable of screwing up. And when they do, I don't want THEM to be screwed up because of it.

I hope to do a better job of blogging this particular story, but tonight I'm just too blown away by the ramifications of this video.

I'm also greatly troubled as to how sex has somehow become the end-all, be-all sin for all time, while most of us have many other planks in our eyes. These other planks may not cause nearly the guilt, but they cause people to go hungry, they cause the earth to exhaust her resources, and they cause division among the peoples of the earth.

Personally, I think sex is the most talked about subject, to be so rarely experienced in the lives of most people. Hey, not that I wouldn't like it to be more of a factor in my life (ok, a factor at all), but at least I won't raise my kids to believe its dirty and filthy. Having a spouse who has been the victim of that upbringing, I know what it does to rob two people of intimacy.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Ed Bradley, American Hero, Dies at 65

One of the greatest broadcast journalists in the brief history of television has died today.

As time passes, more and more of the people I grew up with are passing away. That is, of course, an obvious statement. But it does cause me to be very sentimental.

And it also causes me to question....Who can replace Ed Bradley and Mike Wallace and Andy Rooney? I mean really?

Anderson Cooper? Shepard Smith? I doubt it. Nancy Grace or Greta Van Sustern? LMAO! Not.

But isn't what was "journalism" is progressing to today? Opinionated and biased, without the gift of questioning that Bradley, Wallace, Larry King, and other veterans possessed.

Lastly, where are the African American replacements for Mr. Bradley? Since the disappearance of Bernard Shaw, there are too few.

I do fear the loss of the Greatest Generation. I don't think my generation wants the pressure, or possesses the work ethic, to take their place.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Haggard's "Choice" for a Blow Job

Here's the latest on Pastor Ted Haggard from Salon.

I've avoided this issue, for no other reason than its on every blog on the internet. Also, I knew the real story would be how the fundamentalists spun things.

Would they realize that homosexuality is a genetic reality? That the reason homosexual clergy in homo-unfriendly denominations are a reality is that they were once young men who felt they could hide from their true self if only they became ministers?

No. Instead they are putting Ted Haggard in what the communists would call a re-education program, under the leadership of James Dobson.

James Dobson is a demigod where I come from. People swear by him and finance him. That's fine....people do need to "focus on their family". But the belief that gayness rubs off on people is simply wrong.

Look, if it were contagious, I woulda caught it. I've worked closely with some great guys who were gay, and I've gone out drinking with them, and talked politics with them. Here's the scoop, folks: I could be at the bar after five beers and four months without sex (which is usually), and I'm STILL LOOKING AROUND APPRECIATING THE FEMALES IN THE ROOM. That is who I am.

(And by the way...they are smart enough to know that, so Dobson should know that these folks aren't "recruiting" anybody, EVEN IF that were possible.)

A couple of issues here, and I'm not going to try to document any of this, so you'll have to search for the supporting research.

First, I'm beginning to believe a premise I first heard from an Episcopal priest, a heterosexual I respect greatly. He believes that every person has within their genetic makeup SOME formation of BOTH homo- and hetero- attraction genes. This wouldn't be on a bell curve distribution, because it appears obvious that hetero behavior, not in small part due to procreation, is the predominate preference.

But when you look at people like Ted Haggard, who have five kids, it would support the notion that he would sit somewhere in the middle of that distribution. A "flaming queer" on the other hand, would safely fall on the homosexual end of the scale. And me? Well, I'm in the George Castanza category.

Remember that episode of Seinfeld, when George got the massage from a man? It moved. The fact that it moved convinced George, to his holy terror, that he was gay. Like George, my homo genes are rather non-existent. It would take my back being turned on the massage table for "it to move", and the movement would stop suddenly once I turned around.

Men don't do it for me, therefore I can't be recruited. Therefore I have no stake in voting for anti-gay laws rather than electing officials who will care for my safety and economic well-being.

Second Issue: If you think the above might be true, it would stand to reason that SOME homosexual experiences do amount to a choice by people, no different than any sexual one-night stand is a choice. So yes, probably there are teenage boys (and probably more girls) who are doing same-sex stuff because it is counter-culture and cool. Perhaps the battlefield that James Dobson has made this issue is the REASON it is counter-culture and cool. However, I can tell you that when I was in college, the only thing that would have made me try it would have been a large handgun aimed at me....therefore I still say its about the genetic makeup that would even make it possible. Just as a "flaming queer" would have never been able to stomach experimenting with the opposite sex.

Which brings me to this: If you read the Salon story, or just the quote issued by Haggard's overseer, what do you notice. Let me post it:

"I am a sinner. I have fallen," Haggard wrote. "The fact is, I'm guilty of sexual immorality." Mike Jones' allegations, the pastor insisted, are not all true, but "enough of them are true."

"Part of my life is so repugnant and dark," Haggard said in the letter Stockstill read. "I've been warring against it all my life." He told of how he had sought counseling to address his sexuality, which he said cured him for spells. But then, he wrote, "the dirt I thought was gone would resurface ... the darkness increased and dominated." Haggard asked his congregation for forgiveness for him, and also for his accuser, who he suggested was inspired by God to reveal his "deception and sensuality."

What do you see about illegal drug use, adultery, or paying someone for sex? Nothing. Why would that be?

Its simple. Gay sex is the end-all, be-all sin these days. I'll never forget in about 1984 a girl asked me out to homecoming at another university after she saw me in a play. I gladly accepted.

I drove down there and went to the game, and then came the time for "what do you want to do now?". This question was posed to me, since I was the guest. I suppose I answered nervously with the usual choices, which led her to ask, "you aren't gay are you?".

Being only 19 years old, I didn't have the self-understanding and presence to say, "no, not at all. I just come from a very conservative upbringing, which can be very tough in the guilt arena, and on top of that, I'm a little afraid of a girl this aggressive, cause I've never met one."

A few hours later, after things obviously went her way, I rationalized the guilt with the argument, "I damn shore proved I wasn't gay!".

What does this have to do with the topic? That was over TWENTY years ago. Admittedly that was a time that "are you gay" would have been the ultimate insult. But even then I had justification for meaningless hetero sex, DUE TO the gay issue.

What about kids today? Don't you think their young horny minds can build those rationales even stronger? Look again at the Haggard quote and ask yourself.

What about committed married men today? How long will it take someone to go on a business trip and meet someone and think, "well, pastor Ted's sin was queerness...what's the harm in hiring one of these poor whores as long as its a she?"

What about that married woman who gets so little real conversation at home? How easy today is it for her to say, "My husband is probably gay anyway. I need attention, and there's nothing wrong with this."

Now I'm one who believes that the mind will come up with rationale for sex if the body wants it bad enough, but still....does the evangelical church REALLY want to continue this process of RANKING sins like this?

We must get past this issue in America, just as we had to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1969. Homosexuality is no more a choice than race. If it were, Pastor Ted would have NEVER chosen a man for a massage and a blow job.

Sex Is Still All They Got, President Clinton

If you want to know what thrills an old man of 41, I'm about to share it with you:

Click here for video

Unfortunately I don't know how to post a click thru image to YouTube. If anyone knows, please tell me.

Now....go watch that clip.

Here's part of the transcript...but reading it absolutely can't describe the genius of Bill Clinton:

The campaign that has been run against Jim Webb is just the sort of most grotesque example of this formula they're running all around the country. It goes something like this. This is their message, pretend I'm their guy: 'OK, we really messed up. I mean, this Iraq deal didn't work out too good and now we put Afghanistan at risk. And we probably shouldn't have put that horse show association guy in charge of FEMA... And you know, it was embarrassing when our senior White House aide that dealt with Mr. Abramoff had to go to prison. But Karl Rove didn't know him very well, he only had 485 contacts with the White House. And he's shy, Karl Rove, you've got to know him 486 times before he knows you. Yeah, we've got a lot of problems but you've still got to vote for us. 'Cuz my opponent is a slug. And they're going to tax you into the poorhouse. On the way to the poorhouse you'll meet a terrorist on every street corner. And when you try to run away from that terrorist you're going to trip over an illegal immigrant. You can't vote for 'em. I mean, is that it?'

(Credit to lowkell at Daily Kos for the transcript.)

I overstated, right? This doesn't REALLY thrill a man of 41.

Actually it did thrill me. I realize I'm a person watching life from the sidelines if life involves anything outside my children...which is rather sad. But Clinton's words, and more so, his abilities, produce joy and sickness at the same time.

Its a joy to watch a true extemporaneous speaker (a key requirement in my own job) craft his art.

Its sick to realize what we lost in Clinton and what we gained in Bush. And I love comments to my blog, but PLEASE don't leave the tired message, "At least Bush didn't shoot off on a blue dress."

At this point, I would be in favor of allowing Clinton to have "Fireside Jerks" on CSPAN if we could get our war dead back...if we could un-create all the terrorists we have created....if we could help the people of the Gulf Coast...if we could regain our stature as the world's MORAL AND FAIR leader.

Yes, I know Clinton's speech is partisan. That was his job last night. But is he wrong? "My opponent is a slug". That's a campaign?? "The terrorists will get you". HOW? HOW will they get me ANY different if a Democrat is making cash deals to give away control of ports instead of Republicans???

Let's all just wait about five or ten years. At that time, we'll see if Bush will be able to stand on his own two feet and make even an AVERAGE speech without five teleprompters. We'll see in another ten or twenty years how Bush is remembered (Nixonesque?) and how Clinton is remembered (the last person to deal with deficit?).

For now....we must each do all we can, and vote is all we can do. Today I will vote against two Republicans who have no chance of losing. But I go out in the rain for two reasons (other than my own conscience):

1) Because I've never missed a chance since my oldest was four of taking my kids to the polls. And by the way...she is 13 now, and a STAUNCH Republican, although she is beginning to doubt due to Iraq. I don't try to change her mind on that...on the contrary, I am proud I have helped her to be interested and informed. (Alas though, for all my Episcopalian leanings, she is all Baptist.)

2) Because today all across the land, people whose vote MATTERS need desperately to get out in the rain and stand in line and VOTE. I stand with them in my own line, even though my vote is a hoax in Mississippi.

And I must say: If I have a hero alive today, it is William Jefferson Clinton. (And yes...I do happen to like big girls with dark hair. I'd actually take Monica out in public.)

Monday, November 06, 2006

Get Your Very Own Presidential Pardon

Look, we all make mistakes.

And for those of you who have accumulated enough wealth, there's no longer any reason to fret about the consequences.

Visit Bush's Prez Pardon Site to get all the details.

But see the FAQ's for information on prepayment options, wire transfers, and accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. And if you order today, you can get an 8X10 of Barney, the First Dog.

The Legal Drug Debate

Salon had a humorous article today, about an African-American professional helping her aged mother with her ballot. On the ballot was an initiative concerning marijuana.

In short, her mom said, "Jesus didn't smoke no weeds"....which was all she needed to know. Thus, her vote was no.

Well, I happen to believe that legalizing AT LEAST marijuana is one of the most important steps we could take in 1) reducing the deficit, 2) getting people out of jails who don't belong there, and 3) stopping crooks, black marketers and terrorists from profiting in this trade.


Anyway....what I wanted to share was this response to the article. The following paragraph states my fundamental opinion on this better than any I've ever seen:

I am sure most of the posters could care less about those folks. A not too wise man once said "George Bush doesn't care about black people." The truth is most of us really don't. If we did then we would not turn so many of their neighborhoods into war zones so that fewer of "us" run the risk of addiction.

The reason this is SO powerful is because this response is written to LIBERALS who read Salon. Many of the responses were from liberals who simply wrote off and discounted legalizers as "dope addicts" and "justifiers of their own addiction".

I must say now that I have never inhaled. (As a matter of fact, I've never even held a joint or pipe or whatever. I'm not a saint...I've been known to partake of hydrocodone recreationally, but I've never even seen marijuana outside of "drug education".

Forget the scientific evidence of how much safer weed is than alcohol (and tobacco). Forget the tax dollars and ridding us of crime. Just think about this man's point:

We care so little for black people that we are willing to turn their neighborhoods into war zones, JUST cause our own white folks MIGHT be less likely to try it.

How powerful.

And yet....we've already HAD an experiment in prohibition. Far as I know, there's NO proof whatsoever that fewer people TRIED alcohol, LIKED alcohol, or GOT HOOKED ON alcohol back in the days it was illegal.

The only difference was the supply and demand realities: Crooks, politicians, bureaucrats, policemen...many of them were the ones who profited. And even sadder....the ones who were HONEST were in more danger in their jobs. Its the same today.

I believe that if drugs were available in the same way that alcohol is available, that crime in this country would decrease by 70% at a minimum.

And believe, my family, my friends....we are ALL more likely to be a victim of CRIME than we are a victim of drug abuse in today's world. You know why?? Because IF WE'RE GOING TO BECOME A DRUG ABUSER, WE CAN DO THAT JUST AS EASILY NOW AS IN A LEGAL DRUG ENVIRONMENT. The only difference is the crime and who profits.

I'm for the crime to go away.

Diebold & Repubs; Arms Length?

The War Room reports on a troubling communication from Ken Mehlman to his flock. I've already reported satirically on my opinion of voting machines, and this seems to reinforce my fears.

Here's the story: Taegan Goddard reports the following:

The RNC just sent out detailed talking points about how unreliable exit polls have been over the past several elections. The key arguments are that exits polls typically have a Democratic bias and have wrongly predicted Democratic victories in recent years.

According to a source, the RNC expects leaked exit polls to show Democratic victories and do not want the news to discourage Republican voters from going to the polls late in the day.

Ok, so let's examine. Some believe that once the winner is obvious, people will just stay home from the polls. I think this is over-stated.

The two Democrats I look most forward to voting for are running against Trent Lott (MS Senate) and Roger Wicker (MS House). I don't even know those Democrats' names, and I DO know they are going to lose. But I can't wait to vote for them.

People who care vote. (Some of them even know the candidate names, unlike me.)

So is there another reason for the "talking points memo"?

Well, remember 2004? Exit polls showed significant victories in Ohio for John Kerry. When the voting machines tallying the "actual" vote count, he lost.

Do exit polls "favor Democrats"? Or do those voting machines favor REPUBLICANS?

How do exit polls favor Democrats, by the way? Is this yet another racist and elitist argument? Sounds like they're implying that "the smarter, whiter Republican voter is smart enough to lie to those librul exit pollers. The poor, dumb, minority libruls are honest."

Yes, honesty is such a Right-Wing Christian trait until libruls ask questions (or until a male prostitute outs you.

Maybe there's another reason that asking people questions "favor" one side or another....but take out pure lying, and I can't figure out what it is.

I'm concerned about this....I really am. Have we seen ANY sign that people are NOT willing to rig an election to hold office? Have we seen ANY sign that other people wouldn't take 20 or 30 million bucks to reprogram a computer program? No to both. And 20 to 30 million is chump change for what's at stake here. (Disclaimer: Yes, Democrats have people willing to cheat, just as much as Republicans. I'm just not sure Dems know any computer literate people. Just kidding.)

Look, Diebold is a company that 1) has an interest in Bush's tax cuts, and they ain't worried about the deficit, just their own stock price, and 2) Most of their bucks come from the banking business historically. Now what party do you think the banks are all for? (Hint: They ain't worried about the deficit either. They need the artificial prop-up in housing prices to stay put for as long as possible.)