- Some say that America is summed up in this one picture. I disagree. If you consider Georgia, Kansas, and a handful of other states below the Mason Dixon line America, then ok?
- A list of the top 50 Bob Dylan covers.
- Another article on America’s military budget continuing to burgeon (119% since 2001, thanks George W. and Barack).
- Choose America or your spouse.
- Below is a neat map. It is re-arranged so to match the nation with its number of inhabitants to its suitable sized country. Follow up reax here and here. Look for the nations that stayed in the same spot.
A funny cartoon but an even better article here; it includes an interview with the TSA director, which should carry more weight than your favorite pundit.
Given the position of the President (aka the Commander-in-Chief), the Secretary of Defense, the Joints Chiefs along with the now-released Pentagon report (not to mention the survey results from the troops themselves), is there is really any reason to retain the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy save for basic anti-homosexual prejudice?
In other words: is there really anyone who can credibly argue at this point that the policy regarding homosexuals openly serving in the armed services is anything other than basic discrimination?
Email me at vgiordano at gmail dot com.
Hat tip for the question: Outside the Beltway
James Fallows brings up a good point:
That is, conservatives and Republicans who had no problem with strong-arm security measures back in the Bush 43 days but are upset now. Charles Krauthammer is the classic example: forthrightly defending torture as, in limited circumstances, a necessary tool against terrorism, yet now outraged about “touching my junk” as a symbol of the intrusive state.
I knew that if Obama didn’t put forth these security changes with the TSA he would instantly be lambasted by Rush Limbaugh et al. and labeled the most unAmerican president ever for not taking our national security seriously subsequently feeding the flames of birtherism. He is forever doomed to be damned if he does and damned if he does not.
This guy’s intro shouting out to Tupac and other American’s rappers is funny, too.
Santigold – Lights out
Big ups to a Philly artist (Drexel grad).
John Stewart doesn’t recommend watchers of his show to get all of their news reporting from him. The above video by the good people at New Left Media shows the extremes on the left and the stupidity of some (“Tell me about your sign”, “They made the sign, I am just a bystander”, “So you don’t know the meaning of your sign?” “No.”)
Mavis Staples – Wrote a song for everyone
This cover of the CCR joint has a great feel to it.
The American Thinker has an essay that I mulled over and have some questions.
- How does George W. Bush rank when it comes to executive appointments for laws to be made outside the legislatures hands?
- Is it bad that the EPA, for example, makes laws that everyone has to adhere to? The constitution claims to only allow the legislature that ability.
- Is the case with the DOJ and the Black Panther voting intimidations that big of a worry? Did id actually happen? Is it a case of siding with minorities? Is it a conspiracy?
- What is “the light/sword of truth”?
- Why does the last sentence leave us with a paranoid sense that the nation will be taken over by raging liberals? SCOTUS has a conservative majority, mind you.
I could get use to asking more of these tough questions.
Here is a long essay mulling over North America’s shifts within the same-sex marriage fight. Although I don’t fully agree with it all, it is a good read and makes me think / form questions.
Should the Catholic church be forced to evolve or rethink its stances via laws against its stances on adoption and same-sex parents?
I appreciate the honesty of the author and his lamentations over fanatics with signs hijacking the evangelical/Christian movement. Here’s a big statement worth quoting:
Worst of all, we have failed to deal honestly with the major threat to marriage and the family: heterosexual adultery and divorce. Evangelicals divorce at the same rate as the rest of the population. Many evangelical leaders have failed to speak against cheap divorce because they and their people were getting divorced just like everyone else. And yet we have had the gall to use the tiny (5 percent or less) gay community as a whipping boy that we labeled as the great threat to marriage.
Here are some other worthy quotes:
The former vice president of Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, Ed Dobson, got it right. After he left Liberty to become pastor of Calvary Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, he regularly visited a former parishioner’s hospitalized son who turned out to have AIDS. Slowly, he sensed a call to serve other people with AIDS.
He decided to visit the local AIDS resource center run by the gay community. The director was shocked that the pastor of the largest evangelical church in town would visit. Dobson’s church was soon deeply engaged with the gay community. Calvary placed a church member on the board of the AIDS resource center, bought Christmas gifts for families affected by AIDS, paid for funeral expenses for impoverished people who died of AIDS, and welcomed the gay community to attend the church.
Of course, it was controversial. One church member warned that the church would be “overrun by homosexuals.” Dobson responded in his next Sunday sermon: “If the church gets overrun with homosexuals, that will be terrific. They can take their place in the pews right next to the liars, gossips, and materialists.”
At one point in this essay, I reflected on the topic of “witnessing”. I first knew the phrase as an approach to sharing one’s faith with non-believers (or who we thought were non-believers). I have heard quite a bit before from evangelical circles or individuals that being a good “witness” is important. They were referring to one’s lifestyle and how it may be interpreted by others and especially those outside the church. Christianity is seen by non-church goers as anti-gay (held by 91%) as well within its own pews (held by 80%). That is a witness that is buttressed by the Westboro Baptist Church, wing nut evangelicals, and various other pundits. In the end, the church at large has been branded, as Dobson has noted, as “better at hating than loving”, better at focusing on the differences between other children of God than the similarities, and most notably better at not communicating, listening, or learning others stories (the grey areas – everything is not black and white).
Finally to the procreation point:
But everything depends on the definition. If marriage is not about bringing up children, but about how adults solemnize their emotional commitment to each other, gay marriage becomes plausible.
Is emotional commitment between two adults what the state should care about in marriage? What should a state that does not establish any religion understand marriage to be? I think the answer is clear. The state must promote the best setting in which to nurture the next generation of wholesome citizens.
Evangelical wing nuts, such as Bryan Fischer, see marriage as meant for birthing a minimum of 3 kids and should be ready for our youth by the time they are 16. I don’t know why marriage has been hijacked and held up with a “procreate or your marriage is not a true marriage’ mantle. Many couples, I bet, have contemplated not having kids after being married and spending time with friends and their children. It is extremely ignorant and hurtful to imply that couples who get married and don’t have kids are not fulfilling an unwritten duty.
In the end, this comes down to what we each define as Truth, what black and white stereotypes we hold up as molds everyone truly fits into, discerning how our houses of worship and communities have turned from communal (seen as evil socialism!!!!) into a narcissistic individualism (free capitalism! America!), and asking the questions or taking down the guards to see these situations/battles/ideological wars in a softer, more pragmatic frame of being.
Fast forward to the 3:40 mark. Sullivan brings up the Briggs Initiative and essentially how it is viewed today (73% of conservatives oppose gays/lesbians/those who support gay rights teaching in public schools) compared to yore (Ronald Regan was against it and helped defeat it). A historical note, too, was that Harvey Milk was a strong supporter against it (duh!).
Sullivan rightly wonders: has the conservative movement today gone in a strongly rightward direction?
I wonder: how can you claim to worship at the church of Ronald Regan and mis-attribute his views?
Andrew Sullivan is a major critic of Sarah Palin. He draws conclusions on Palin that I disagree with and documents her life and her families (in my opinion) way too much. He digs up and into issues she has with her family and delves into what is seemingly every aspect of her singular life. I draw the line when it comes to judging how she raises her children.
What Palin has done is use her children, having failed to actually rear them. She is still doing it on her reality show. That she has gone so far as to use and thereby abuse a child with Down Syndrome whose interests are clearly in seclusion, careful nurturing and care, and constant parental attention, tells you a huge amount.
I believe that the media cannot report everything to us, especially what goes on behind closed doors. With that being said, what Palin does do out in the public is rather questionable. Then again, that is how she chooses to ‘campaign’ and live her life (when writing her recent book, she was down in California living in an apartment writing until 5 in the morning).
Her first decision was agreeing to run for vice-president with a months’ old child with Down Syndrome and a pregnant teenage daughter. You do that, your kids will be at least somewhat in the public eye. But she blindsides the campaign with the teen pregnancy, puts out her own press release about it the Saturday before the convention, and in the same chaotic weekend, the campaign also has to deal with the bizarre details of her one-month public pregnancy and bi-continental, airplane labor with Trig. Anyone one who genuinely cared about the privacy of her kids would have either said no or been extremely careful to release the information as soberly as possible.
And what happens thereafter? She pushes her daughter into a public spotlight, subsequently making her an abstinence advocate, and supporting her appearance on a reality show. She engages in a public family spat with the father of her grandson, Tripp. And she parades a special needs infant in front of the press, dangles him half-naked in front of book tour crowds, uses him constantly as a rhetorical campaign prop, and cites him at almost every speech to appeal to pro-life voters. She also uses her son, Track, to appeal to veterans and the military. She brings her children with her throughout her now two-year campaign for national office, disturbing their schooling and rendering them vulnerable to further inquiry from the tabloids, even as they strike deal with tabloids for their own stories.
To be disgusted by this spectacle is emphatically not a double standard.
What Palin has done with her young children is unprecedented. Think of how Obama strictly protects his daughters, and how George W. Bush did the same. Yes, Romney and McCain involve their offspring in politics – but Meghan McCain is a critic of the GOP, and Romney’s kids stuck to Mormon gee-whiz isn’t Daddy great stuff. None of them actively enlisted their kids in reality show television.
On a final note, check out Sullivan’s note/caveat on Palin’s defense of her “North Korean allies” gaffe.
Mark Mitchell has an excellently written (and accessible) essay on work. Give it a read.
Seeing religion again with Marcus Borg. Take an hour and enjoy.
It gets deep in Tehran. Two nuclear/defense scientists, one of whom was known to of been aligned with the Revolutionary Guard, were targeted with bombs underneath their cars. One was killed and the other was injured. Nuclear chief Salehi rushed to see the injured scientist at the hospital and subsequently released this caveat:
“Don’t play with fire. The patience of the Iranian nation has limits. If it runs out of patience, bad consequences will await enemies.”
Salehi went on to comment more:
“The enemy took our dearest flower, but must know that this nation, through resistance and all its might, will make efforts to remove problems and achieve its desires.”
There is speculation that Israel/the West is behind sabotaging Iran’s nuclear program. The full article is worth reading.
“What an amazing young woman! You really think she will get in?”
“Of course she will. She has courage, sincerity, good looks, and big publicity…Everything our voters love.”
“But she hasn’t a political idea in her head..[S]he is a complete ignoramus. She will give herself away everytime she opens her mouth.”
“Not at all. She will say pluckily and sincerely just what she feels and thinks. You heard her say that there are lots of people in Camberwell who feel and think as she does. Well, the House of Commons is exactly like Camberwell in that respect.”
Does this ‘she’ sound like someone we all know?
“The most famous Christians of the early church were martyred. The most famous Christians of the church today get book deals,” –Steve McCoy
All in 2 minutes.
“The Strongest argument for Christianity is Christians, when they are drawing life from God. the strongest argument against Christianity? Also Christians, when they become exclusive, self-righteous, and complacent.” ~Sheldon Vanauken