June 12, 2011
Tom Rees mulls over a study and continues this discussion:
What they found was consistent with a set up where religion makes people conservative, and that in turn makes them support torture. In other words, religion has a direct and an indirect effect. Basic religion (in their model) opposes torture, but it also religion increases support for conservative politics. As a result, it indirectly increases support for torture.
What’s more, this indirect effect was much stronger in in educated people. In educated people, religion is more likely to be linked to conservative views, and conservative views are more likely to be linked to support for torture.
In my view, the real interest in these results is that they underscore once again just how complex religion is. I think that the motives for educated people to embrace religion differ from the motives of the less educated.As a result, the kind of religion they have, and the purposes they put it too, are different.
They make religion in their own image.
June 10, 2011
Pictured clockwise from top left, Representative Anthony Weiner of New York, former Gov. James McGreevey of New Jersey, former Gov. Eliot Spitzer of New York, former Representative Eric J. Massa of New York, President Bill Clinton and former Senator John Ensign of Nevada.
Politician after politician, in scandal after scandal, faces the cameras with his lips pursed and pulled tight, narrowing them. The chin boss — the fleshy bump above the chin bone — is pushed upward, pulling the lips into an upside-down smile. Add a downward-cast gaze, perhaps a shake of the head, and: Instant Disgraced Pol.
May 24, 2011
From the Dish, some political humor:
The KGB, the FBI and the CIA are all trying to prove that they are the best at catching criminals. The Secretary General of the UN decides to give them a test. He releases a rabbit into a forest and each of them has to catch it. The CIA goes in. They place animal informants throughout the forest. They question all plant and mineral witnesses. After three months of extensive investigations they conclude that the rabbit does not exist. The FBI goes in. After two weeks with no leads they burn the forest, killing everything in it, including the rabbit, and make no apologies: the rabbit had it coming. The KGB goes in. They come out two hours later with a badly beaten bear. The bear is yelling: “Okay! Okay! I’m a rabbit! I’m a rabbit!”
May 21, 2011
That we as humans are when it comes to politics (fiscal and social issues, that is):
For example, when it comes to a social issue like gay rights, my opinion is that gays and lesbians should be afforded extra rights under the law, as I believe they are descended from an immortal race of beings whom we must revere as the ancient Sumerians would have revered their god An. All Americans should spend four hours of every workday erecting elaborate temples in which to worship our omnipotent homosexual overlords, and we all must sacrifice ourselves willingly upon the altar of the gay and lesbian community, everyone of us, including children, who, by the way, I think should be eligible to drink, drive, and vote from age four on up.
However, if those same children get sick, then I believe it is their sole responsibility to pay for their own health care. Children should not be coddled with the support of their parents’ hard-earned money, and it’s up to them to finance multimillion-dollar procedures with their own pluck and determination. And children who can’t handle that should be thrown immediately into debtor’s prison, performing menial tasks until they have paid back their debt to society and are once again ready to participate in our robust free-market economy. But at the same time, we mustmake sure that whatever prison they are sent to has plasma-screen TVs and Wi-Fi in every cell, and that the inmates are encouraged, by highly paid professional psychologists, to express their feelings in improv role-playing classes and short-fiction workshops. Because if I even suspect that prisoners are receiving anything less than top-shelf treatment, I’ll be the first to show up with a picket sign marching for their rights. Rapists and murderers are people, too—just as cats and dogs are.
March 11, 2011
If you have a working brain, the ability to think, and don’t make over $250,000 a year, why would you ever vote again for the Republican Party? What has unfolded in Wisconsin has shown the true colors of the party of the rich. I always believe that people may claim to be anti-racist, caring, and loving but until they are faced with tough situations (building a mosque near Ground Zero, negotiating with state unions, reconfiguring unemployment benefits/tax cuts for the rich) their true colors do not show. Those hot plate issues show where our racist, plutocratic thoughts are (or show how they are lacking / put in thoughtful check).
The GOP, as propagated on Fox News and through various syndicated writers, gives lip service care to the middle class, promising that they look out for the little guys. What their decisions say, over and over and over again, is that they defend the rich, run over the middle class, and prop up wide brush theories that all takers of unemployment benefits are lazy sloths, all teachers are greedy and picket for better compensation, and have no problem holding bad apple cases up as the final, tell all example.
February 26, 2011
Over the past few days I have been working my way through Mark Twain’s brick of an autobiography. His thoughts on political morality (January 23, 1906) seemed worth reprinting here:
Without a blush he will vote for an unclean boss if that boss is his party’s Moses, without compunction he will vote against the best man in the whole land if he is on the other ticket. Every year, in a number of cities and States, he helps to put corrupt men in office, every year he helps to extend the corruption wider and wider; year after year he goes on gradually rotting the country’s political life, whereas if he would but throw away his Christian public morals and carry his Christian private morals to the polls he could promptly purify the public service and make the possession of office a high and honorable distinction and one to be coveted by the very best men the country could furnish. But now–well, now he contemplates his unpatriotic work and sighs and grieves and blames every man but the right one–which is himself.
February 14, 2011
Dan at FIPL exposes the truly draconian measures in our proposed budget:
- Chopping $1.3 billion from community health centers, which provide primary care for 20 million low- and middle-income Americans. This cut would take away health centers’ ability to serve 11 million people. By way of comparison, the tax cuts passed in December give individuals with annual incomes of over $1 million an average tax cut of $100,000.
- Completely eliminating funding for Title X ($327 million), which ensures access to contraception for women who would otherwise not be able to afford it. Not only will this very likely result in massive increases in unintended pregnancies, that increase is very likely to lead to an increase in abortions, which the Republican party ostensibly opposes. By way of comparison, the estate tax cuts for multimillion-dollar inheritances passed in December will cost $23 billion.
This truly shows where too many of our leaders hearts are at. It unfortunately reflects many of the stereotypes our nation unreflectively digests. Think about these:
We take away the dirty Planned Parenthood and we will not only save money but be a more pro-life, Christian nation! We cut out community health and nutritional assistance to use that money in “better” places/ways. We give the breaks to our rich because they create our jobs (shown to be a sham here, here, and here). Anything else i’m missing?
February 7, 2011
“Absolutism, in both religious and political idealism, is a splendid incentive to heroic action, but a dangerous guide to immediate and concrete situations. In religion, it permits absurdities and in politics cruelties, which fail to achieve justifying consequences because the inertia of human nature remains a nemesis to the absolute ideal…The fanaticism which in the individual may appear in the guise of a harmless or pathetic vagary, when expressed in political policy, shuts the gates of mercy on mankind”, Reinhold Niebuhr, quoted in his great grand nephew Gustav’s book Beyond Tolerance.
January 31, 2011
So says Frank Rich:
New polls show that Americans don’t even buy the principles behind these specifics. To hear the G.O.P. wail about it, you’d think the entire country was obsessed with the federal debt — cited 12 times in Ryan’s under-11-minute speech. But only 18 percent of Americans chose the deficit as a top priority for Washington in the most recent NBC/Journal survey and only 14 percent did in the New York Times/CBS News poll. Job creation was by far the top choice — at 43 percent (Times/CBS) and 34 percent (NBC/Journal).
Health care was a low-ranked priority too in those polls. And for all the right’s apocalyptic rants about the national horror of “Obamacare,” most polls continue to show that Americans are evenly divided about the law and that only a small minority favors its complete repeal (only one in four Americans in the latest Associated Press/GfK survey). The surest indicator that voters are not as inflamed about either the deficit or “Obamacare” as the right keeps claiming can be found in Karl Rove’s Wall Street Journal musings. To argue that Americans share his two obsessions, Rove now is reduced to citing polls from either Fox or a Brand X called Resurgent Republic, which he helpfully identifies as “a group I helped form.”
Those findings are a relief and makes me thankful that everyone isn’t a little Bachmann or a Ryan.
Rich finishes with a fine point:
Obama must be laughing about how the party that spent a year hammering him for focusing on health care over jobs is now committing the same supposed sin. And one can only imagine his astonishment on Tuesday night, when the G.O.P. respondents to his speech each played Jimmy Carter to his Reagan by offering a grim double-feature of malaise and American decline. Hardly had the president extolled record corporate profits and a soaring stock market in his selectively rosy spin on the economy, than Ryan, who has the television manner of a solicitous funeral home director, was darkly warning that America could be the next Greece. Bachmann channeled Glenn Beck to argue that we are living in a nascent police state where government “tells us which light bulbs to buy” (G.E.’s, presumably).
January 31, 2011
This expose shows how both connect to Sen. Mitch McConnell.
January 26, 2011
Will things revert back to this as the honeymoon aura wears off from the kumbaya lame duck session and we enter the 2012 election cycle?
H/T: Tony Auth
January 24, 2011
“Previous political experience got us into this mess. People are looking for a leader, not a politician,” says the possible Dark (no pun intended) Horse candidate.
January 13, 2011
His point on Sarah Palin is right on. The rest? Enjoy!
January 10, 2011
So much has been posted lately on the insane shooting in Tuscan. Much light has been shed on the shooter (mugshot left) as well on the interesting crosshair map made by Sarah Palin.
MJ and I discussed what we knew about the incident yesterday as we walked to get the Sunday paper. Does anyone know if U.S. Congressmen and Women get much security to protect them? Reports have stated that after Jared Lee Loughner ran out of bullets, Rep. Gabrielle Gifford’s staff and a few bystanders tackled him. I just wonder how much security can be given to all 460+ serving us in Congress (the last time a Congressman was killed was in 1978).
I pray for all those injured, killed, and for Loughner.
January 4, 2011
If you frequent my blog, you know that I post a political cartoon almost every day. I really like Tony Auth and grew up seeing his cartoons in the Philadelphia Inquirer. His cartoons made me think. More importantly, they required questions and background information.
One of my main memories in 5th grade was South Park. I remember my good friend Mike wore the “You killed Kenny” shirt many. I sometimes stop and wonder how South Park is still such a big hit to this day. I, however, don’t really watch the show. It’s flagrant usage of lewd language and imagery turns me off but I appreciate its foundation. It’s foundation is almost a form of hathos, meaning a compulsion of revulsion. We want to turn away but for some reason can’t. Know the feeling?
South Park, just as the Daily Show with John Stewart or Thank You For Smoking, serve to a varying degree as satire. Satire takes a tough, stern, or serious topic and wraps it with a blanket of humor. When the teachable moment arises, I mention to the students that for you to understand these shows, movies, or forms of media, you have to have an understanding of the times. Satirists on cable news stations often pore over historical facts, contemporary happenings, or cultic fascinations. That truly is a lot to keep up with but somehow is all weaved together into a picture or a 2 minute sketch.
To a degree, political cartoons or such satirical musings can reach a level of esoteric understanding, one that only a layer of wonks or nerds may comprehend. In the end, I see one more reason for social studies classes to be valued in our school systems: for the sake of our upcoming generations ability to wade through propaganda, separate satire from fact, and truly truly enjoy a few healthy laughs and chuckles.
January 3, 2011
I received my usual phone call last night from the sub call lady at a certain school district. It was the first time we talked, obviously, in a week. I asked how she was doing and she responded that she was ready to get back into her routine. My mother would say the same thing. Unfortunately for for those friends of mine who teach, I saw from their Facebook statuses that getting back into the 6 am rising routine was tough today.
I am easing my way back in today with a half day of teaching, some errands, and a cup of morning joe. As I was flicking through TV last night, I came across Sarah Palin’s reality show in TLC. I knew that it would bring me back into the world of polemic politics (or the thinking related to that) and I shot on over to the Rams/Seahawks game.
Happy Monday and enjoy the political cartoons and other musings!
December 4, 2010
I remember back when I wasn’t as politically interested some liberals were extremely crass towards Republicans and George W. Bush. This could be the out-of-power move; Republicans seem to be highlighted more these days as cry babies, bitter, and whiners whereas I don’t hear much of the same from the left. In the midst of that discussion, there comes the issue of civility. Will one side stand firmly in their ideological towers and not meet their opposite in the middle (or somewhere slightly on one side or the other)?
Peter Wehner puts together a good piece on the topic of civility. I can’t help but see from time to time a certain GOP faithful say that any type of moderation is a treasonous act towards “the founders” and conservative principles. Maybe, but if no progress is made on such momentus issues as the economy and the governments role, health care for the masses, and a holistic immigration policy, we will still all be in square one. However, I can see that the GOP, which is more and more seen today as the party of “no”, may be choosing to say “no” so to reach for power to implement their plans. To them, being in control may be the better option for governing than piecemeal bipartisanship.
Some may still stand by their mantra of preferring ideologically purist decisions than “watered down” or blended approaches (non-biblical even). A political party is not elected to fully reign from top to bottom. If that were so, it wouldn’t be communism but one step closer towards totalitarianism and subsequently walking away from a checks and balances nation.
Certain political figures from both sides as well the religious figures from plethora of religions too easily defer to marking certain individuals or groups as “enemies”. The common claims are that this is the right way and that (or anything else) is wrong, that it isn’t that complicated if you just read (literally, of course) a few certain holy or made-holy (Constitution) documents or that you are a ‘liberal’ or ‘conservative’ or a communist, secular humanist, illegal, et al (name calling that packs more of a toxic stigma than an intention to actually conversate humanly).
What this all does it tramples on the grey; politics and religion are not black and white. Some may want them to be so that all decisions can easily be made in an ideological bubble but that is not reality. Moreover, discourse is trampled on. Stories are not heard or sought, questions are not asked, stereotypes are reinforced, and tempers are raised. Much of the vitriol, both flagrant and glaring as well as the well guised (‘We need to take America back’) are able to be avoided if we (myself included) take the time (and give the time to others) to explain ourselves. Unfortunately, this complicates itself when realities and values are on separate planets and are quite confusing.
November 7, 2010
Here is a load of Sarah Palin reportings for those who care or want to learn about her.
Tina Fey dusted off her old impersonation of SP, some wonder if she will ever talk to rest of the media world (labeled lamestream media) outside of Fox News, and Sarah tipped her hat to Ann Coulters new “church“.
What else is there to say to this sign but wow?