Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Obama on the Rev

Breaking News Latest News Current News - FOXNews.com: "Obama 'Outraged'"

As I said recently, it seemed to me that he would need to speak more forcefully. He did, and he did it well. Denounced. He brought up specifics, like Farakkhan and government infliction of AIDS on the black community. He said that he finds these statements appalling. While I feel he didn't have any choice, I suppose he could have stayed quiet. For the good of the Presidential race and for race relations, we should all be glad that Obama stood up, called it idiocy, and is on his way back to his unifying message. Again, I am not voting for the guy, but I think he has such an important role to play in this election cycle. I enjoy watching him and root for him to do the right thing. Now he has.

Monday, April 28, 2008


Proud of Shep's Show Today

Shepard Smith Studio B Shepard Smith FOX News - FOXNews.com: "Studio B w/ Shepard Smith"

Okay, so first of all, Shep talked about the biggest news story of today. That was sadly, of course, Rev. Wright at the National Press Club. Shep played many, many clips and had on Greta Van Sustern who was at the Press Club luncheon. She talked about the scuttlebutt among the journalists after the speech. She said that many of the listeners were made uncomfortable by his pronouncements and his buttressing of his formerly "misunderstood" statements. Shep was wise to constantly remind his viewers that Obama has distanced himself from the Reverend. He also had Marc Lamont Hill on the show.
Marc is a smart guy, well-read and all, but he worries me. Today was no different as he wanted very much to both parse the Reverend's remarks as well as to add meaning that I am still as yet unclear he had the authority to add. Most importantly, he left open the door to the possibility that the US government might well have ("since it clearly has the ability") introduced the AIDS virus to the African American community. Shep stopped him angrily, which made Marc change his stance, although I am not clear that he believes the latter statement.
Also, there is this desire by the Reverend to make the attack on his stupid sermons as an attack on all black churches. This means we would all have to believe that all black churches have ignorant and inflammatory pastors, and we would have to believe that all black church parishioners are stupid enough to get up early every Sunday to listen to that garbage. I don't. In fact, it feels like he is trying to forcefeed a race debate that is wholly unnecessary. He no more represents the black church community than the man on the moon. Or at least that is what makes sense to me. If he does, I just don't want to know it. I just don't want to believe it.
Also, on the Reverend...In his appearance with Bill Moyers, he said that Obama says what he needs to as a politician while the Reverend says what he needs to as a pastor. Why no one has translated this to 'Obama lies to get what he wants while I lie to get what I want' is a big miss to me. In no way, to me, does this really reflect on Obama, but Obama is unfortunately going to have to address this again. Someone should also ask the Reverend what it is he has to lie about to his parishioners. He is simply a disaster, and unfortunately for a candidate that could not be more interesting to watch. I wasn't going to vote for him or Hillary, but I love watching the two of them in this race. I hate that the Reverend is collecting on his 15 minutes right now as Obama and his supporters represent a better part of America than does this foolish pastor.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


Freedom and Godliness

Soldier Sues Army, Saying His Atheism Led to Threats - New York Times: "But minutes into the talk, the officer, Maj. Freddy J. Welborn, began to berate Specialist Hall and another soldier about atheism, Specialist Hall wrote in a sworn statement. “People like you are not holding up the Constitution and are going against what the founding fathers, who were Christians, wanted for America!” Major Welborn said, according to the statement.
Major Welborn told the soldiers he might bar them from re-enlistment and bring charges against them, according to the statement.
Though with a different unit now at Fort Riley, Specialist Hall said the backlash had continued. He has a no-contact order with a sergeant who, without provocation, threatened to “bust him in the mouth.” Another sergeant allegedly told Specialist Hall that as an atheist, he was not entitled to religious freedom because he had no religion."

First, what about freedom do people not understand? I am certain that the soldiers that have behaved so sadly discriminatorily would, indeed, fuss and shout if someone openly called their religion into question. In fact, there are constantly stories about Christians fussing and shouting about how they are being "forced into their basements" with their religion because they can't have the ten commandments in the City Hall or the State Capitol. They much want their freedom and even special treatment against the very Constitution they want us to believe they love.
What is far more disconcerting is this "bust him in the mouth" thing. What? The godly are threatening to beat someone up because they don't believe in their god? I guess I should not be surprised as this is really not new, but I still would like to believe that we are considerably more evolved. Apparently, I am still learning. Seriously though, the soldier had to be sent home over this. This was a soldier who wanted to fight for his country in Iraq, but the Army, of all institutions, could not ensure his safety. I guess atheism will be the new homosexuality for the Service. Don't ask, don't tell.
What we should be doing while we train them to behave in combat is taking a bit of time to teach them how to behave with one another. We should be telling them that being a redneck in the worst of ways is not tolerated and that the man or woman next to them is to be respected and just as revered for "being there" as they would want for themselves. What a freakin' mess.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


On Popey Dict's Visit Through the Eyes of an American Catholic

Confessions of an American Catholic - The Pope vs. Parish Priests - New York Times: "As Peter Steinfels, the Beliefs columnist for The New York Times, recently noted, there is nothing particularly new in this tension. He wrote that many American Catholics “honor the pope yet disagree with papal positions, whether about using contraception, restricting legal access to abortion, ordaining married men or women to the priesthood or recognizing same-sex relationships.” I would add to that list disgust, more than mere disagreement, with the way the church has handled the priest scandals of the last decade."

You may say, well of course, the atheist picks this passage with an accusatory "aha!". To be honest, I wouldn't even have read the article if I weren't so hopeful that a passage like this might be included. It must be there. Dan Barry is probably a good man who is trying to do the right thing by his community and his children. Any excitement over Dict's visit is lost on me as it was made clear when his brethren chose him that he was chosen because of his having handled Pope John Paul's affairs as he sank into illness. To make it even clearer, it was Popey Dict who "handled" the child sex scandals. Obviously John Paul did his fair share of deceitful shell-gaming of these convicts too, but when the shit hit the fan, Popey Dict was there to make the shell game continued to the best of his ability while never really offering to start protecting the children in the flock. I certainly never heard an apology for all of the pedophiles they failed to turn into authorities or for the money they still paid the pedophiles as they were in their waning years.
The biggest problem is that without better oversight and new policies, common sense tells us that we will have to face this monster again. There are victims today in that church, because this so "beloved" pope is failing to stop this psychological massacre. There aren't enough offended Catholics!
I did hear someone say the world's dumbest thing the other day. As people sit chins-to-floor listening to the story of the cult in Texas, they are remarking how this cult, marketed as a religion, is a way to systematically rape children. The reason why this can be seen differently is because there are fewer members and because people widely disagree with polygamy. The problem is that the issue with the children is not different than what we have seen in the Catholic Church. And sadly, few of the people wide-eyed on the FLDS want to ever mention the Catholic problem because it simply doesn't suit them. So, I guess the polygamists can take the beating while we stay silent on the Catholics...for exactly the same thing.
People who line up over the next week to exalt this man should remember that he is a leading reason why there are so many victims of priests. Remember that he did nothing to help them, resisted settlements, and still has not enacted policies that will stop the next generation of victims from this so beloved church. Look into his eyes and see if he gives a damn about those kids or whether it is about coffers and power.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


Thank Goodness!!!

SI.com - NFL - Gumbel gives up NFL Network announcer role - Friday April 11, 2008 5:48PM: "Bryant Gumbel has given up his role as an NFL Network play-by-play announcer after two seasons."

What a wonderful development! He was simply horrendous. Not only that, Cris is so good that it seemed, as time went on, he was actually annoyed with Gumbel. The had little or no rapport on air. Frankly, almost anyone would be better than Gumbel. Thursdays and Saturdays will be better!

Thursday, April 10, 2008


The great John McCain story you've probably forgotten. - By Michael Lewis - Slate Magazine

The great John McCain story you've probably forgotten. - By Michael Lewis - Slate Magazine

I intentionally decided not to clip words from the piece for this post as the article must be read in its entirety. Here's the thing: party affiliation makes not difference here. The promise that Obama brings to people is the very essence of this story, that we see each other as people and not walking political idiocy. I admit that this is often difficult to master, which is what makes this story so remarkable. Yeah, I am a McCain supporter, even with reasonable reservations about his ties to the powerful religious groups, etc. My hope is that he "mavericks" them. Their hope, of course, is that he is a maverick on their behalf. No one really knows how it will or would play out, but McCain is the closest to my political beliefs, certainly a great deal more than was Bush (whom I also supported). No matter.
What we all really want in a leader is a good person (not good man, but good person) who is as honest as one can be, loyal, smart, patriotic, kind, able, and charismatic enough to rally the majority to yield results. Often the last is more circumstantial than anything, as we saw so clearly after 9/11. He does, however, have the qualities that we seek in a leader.
Humility is another, but the ways in which that humility shows itself is all the more interesting. That is partially because it is incumbent upon them to show their strengths with confidence which cannot, by its very nature, be a humble moment. Several articles in major papers as of late have reminded the electorate of McCain's son who is currently serving in Iraq. The important word here is reminding, because McCain does not speak of it. Similarly, the way he speaks around the edges about what was without-a-doubt torture in his own life is a show of humility. If I think of a Clinton who endured torture, it feels sometimes like we would all have to relive it with them on each campaign stop in living color. Maybe I am much too cynical about the Clintons, but what is clear is that it is hard to be cynical about McCain. This story was just one of many that highlight the qualities about McCain that deserve respect.

Thursday, April 03, 2008


Death Sentences for Gay Children...why no cry for a stop to THIS violence

For Slain Youth, World Wide Web Of Mourners - washingtonpost.com: "Here's what we know: At E.O. Green Junior High School in Oxnard, Calif., Larry wore purple eye shadow, pink lipstick and high-heeled boots. And Larry reportedly told Brandon McInerney, 14, a member of the Young Marines program, that he liked him. Then, on the morning of Feb. 12, during English class, Brandon allegedly walked into the computer lab with a handgun and shot Larry in the back of the head."

What we also know is that this wasn't covered. I heard that a kid was murdered because he was gay, but not the story. How can this not be "news"? I know how. There are an awful lot of people out there who would rather gay folks jump out of 11th floor windows than be gay. This line of thought is perpetuated by folks who fight against gay marriage. I saw a black family outside a store running a table to get petition signatures against gay marriage in California. I thought, of all people to inhibit the civil rights of others, a black family. Go figure. While inside the store, I saw a girl who was rather obviously a lesbian and thought how awful it must have been to walk in front of those tables of hate to go shopping, the signature-gatherers looking at her with those demonic eyes that said with no words that she was going to hell. This lesbian had no way of getting into that store without having those hate-mongers as they were set up at each of the two entrances. I was so sad for her. Frankly, I was too angry to be sad for the family who set up the table, although I did think how awful it must be to be raised in that environment. They had a kid or two there. Those kids know that if their lives at all veer off the norm, their parents will cut them off, neglect them. That is a very real fear. Their parents would likely confirm that, setting the ultimatum to instill fear and force those children on a course toward "normal". This, remember, is all in the name of God.

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