Sunday, April 29, 2007

Home on the Range

It figures the southern Oregon Republican (whose insults against gays have created storms in the blogosphere) represents in the Oregon House the very district where i grew up.

Rep. Dennis Richardson, R-Central Point stated in a "newsletter" to his constituents.

"This past week has been like no other. On Monday the world witnessed the tragedy at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. On Tuesday Oregon witnessed the passage of Domestic Benefits for same-sex couples (HB 2007) and Civil Rights based on sexual orientation."
These are safe sentiments to hold in a land where the majority of your constituency believes it's their right to impose their religious beliefs on their neighbors.

More at [...]

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Rhetoric of Life
by Caelan MacTavish

Take note, lefties. Reinhard and his ilk have won this battle because he does not acknowledge his opponents arguments; indeed, he does not need to. All he needs to do is make us squeamish, and then repeat what he says, again and again.

To which i [Thom] responded...

Too true. Whether the underlying message is "yuck" (anti-gay rhetoric) or "fear" (pro-war propaganda), the right wing spin machine has continually beat the Left to the punch in the war of words, defining the debate in terms which invariably causes the mushy middle to cave in and vote against their own self interests.

Why has the "Party of Hollywood" been so ineffectual using the same tactics? I know we have the talent to fight on this level. The amount of snark and cynicism demonstrated on liberal leaning blogs is incredible. Unfortunately, it seems to be most often aimed at the established leaders or up-and-comers in the progressive movement, as well as at each other. I am guilty of this myself.

My appeal: fight fire with fire, but take it easy on each other. Apologies in advance where i fail to follow my own plea.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Someone New for President

There's an innovative presidential poll over at Blue Oregon. Here's my early assessment...

If we could dispense with the elections and just let me personally pick the next President, it would be Kucinich. My take on some of the rest....

Gore: Didn't vote for him in 2000. His stock rose with me after i finally saw the film.

Obama: Not in love with him yet. When i was getting my first impression of him he was commenting on gay marriage. ROUGHLY paraphrased, his religious convictions just don't allow him to support it yet. WTF! You're running for President, not Pope! What really bothers me, is that i think he's lying. I would much prefer a candidate say candidly that he/she believes marriage shouldn't be a special right, but that pragmatically, it won't be high on the agenda.

Clinton: I still love Bill, damn his eyes. Hillary gives me the "typical politician" vibe, but that may just be the result of the constant media bashing. My mom, a Republican, hated her. And for no good reason, i might add. But the rabid right was so successful in demonizing her. After Dennis, she might be my next pick, just because of the "in your face, republicans!" effect.

Edwards: Didn't impress me in the last campaign. Benefits recently from warm/fuzzy news coverage.

Bottom line: I think it a fabulous field. I WILL vote for the eventual D nominee, which i haven't always in the past. Compare this to the R field, and i feel soooooo good.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Limbo in limbo

It's official. Unbaptized babies can now "hope" for heaven. The Vatican announced a report yesterday which changes Church teaching regarding limbo. For centuries, children (being born with original sin but dying before committing any personal sins ) could not go to heaven if they died before being sprinkled with holy water. Such infants wound up in a place between heaven and hell, limbo. Priests were known to use this conundrum to persuade Catholic women (who aren't supposed to use "artificial" birth control) not to have an abortion.

Now that fetuses have a reasonable chance to pass through the pearly gates, amounting to a free pass, isn't abortion the theologically more benevolent option as opposed to bringing an unwanted child into the world who will most likely be found wanting on the day of Judgment, for small is the gate and narrow is the way which leads to eternal life together with our Lord. Life is a crap shoot. With the Church pulling the plug on limbo, abortion seems to be a sure bet for salvation. Or is there something i'm not getting about Christianity?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Radio follow-up

Fridays' "Brunch with Bernie" segments are always popular on Thom Hartmann's show, and so by the time i had made it through the queue, the senator had left and the topic had shifted to the media. The point had been made how news has been supplanted with infotainment.

It was on this point that i joined the conversation.
[click for listening goodness.]

Saturday, April 21, 2007

On the Radio

I was listening to Air America Radio on 620Am KPOJ yesterday. Senator Bernard Sanders (Social Democrat from Vermont) was a guest on the Thom Hartmann Show. A couple things that were said got to me, so i got in the queue to chime in.

The breaking news was that the Vermont senate had just distinguished itself as the first legislative body to call for the concurrent impeachments of Messers Bush and Cheney. To my utter astonishment, Sen. Sanders is afraid to support this. He rightfully recognizes that the rightwing scream machine would make political hay over impeachment and it might indeed cost the Democrats politically in 2008. Sanders referred to the effort as "futile," but i would remind the Senator that for impeachment all you need is a majority of the House. Whether or not the Senate convicts is another issue. If you think it's likely Bush and Cheney have committed high crimes and misdemeanors then the last thing you should be doing is discouraging impeachment, which in my mind in important for Americas standing in the world.

I understand and respect Bernie's political pragmatism. But in this case i have to insist that Congress stands on principle, despite the possible consequences. Besides, if Bush and Cheney were successfully removed, there would be no obstacle standing the the way of extracting most of the American forces from the civil war in Iraq.

Sanders likened his stance on impeachment to a Nader supporter who wound up voting for Al Gore instead, making the "tactical" decision to pursue the lesser evil path. Thom then volunteered:

"I voted for Nader in 2000 and later realized it was a mistake."
Unless Hartmann cast his ballot in Florida, he should have no reason to regret voting his conscience. Let's get rid of the need to vote for mediocre over evil and bring in Instant Runoff voting!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

General Pet Peeve

For the record, regarding positions like the Surgeon General, the latter part of the title is not a rank. The Attorney General for example isn't somebody who has been promoted from Attorney Colonel. Thus the correcter plural form is "attorneys general," although thanks to good old fashioned American democracy, the alternate form "attorney generals" is now acceptable according to some standard dictionaries.

Nevertheless, a big red raspberry goes out this morning to Senator Kennedy. He usually sounds so erudite with his New English accent (some even claim the Kennedys have evolved their own dialect) , but he tarnished his lingua familia when he began his opening remarks in the Alberto Gonzales hearings with the greeting, "Good morning, General." A poor bit of usage from one of this country's senators major.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

You got the wrong guy!

I would like to amplify my criticism of the press and their propensity to turn every tragedy into a sideshow feeding frenzy...

The bodies of the victims shot in cold blood were hardly cold themselves before the accusations began to fly. The fickle fingers of FOX et al. weren't being pointed at the the culprit (identified already in earliest reports as "a Asian male") but instead at the police and university officials who failed to shut down the entire 40,000 member college community after the initial incident. "Parents Demand Firing" screamed the headline. (Faux News found a grieving mother and father willing to call for heads to roll, so the headline is infact truthy.) All the rest of the networks joined in the criticism.

When the identity of the killer became known on Day 2, the media couldn't even take the time to agree on just how to mispronounce his name before cranking up the in depth speculation machine. Cho Seung-Hui. Or is it Jo Song-We? Chow Sung-He? Nevermind the fact that Koreans tend to reverse first and last names, showing that the news models really had no idea who they were theorizing about. The bell tolls now for Pop-Psy 101.

It's ironic that the 24 hour news cycle brings us now little more than a voyeuristic recycling of other people's feelings and the senseless specualtion ad nauseum of "experts" on the payrolls of corporate media. I recall a recent gym visit where FOX and CNN were both staked out with video cameras rolling in the Bahamas, waiting for the Danielynn Smith Gabor Birkhead Stern paternity results. Time stretched on and the talking head just gabbed and gabbed. Finally, CNN had to break for a commercial. Seconds late the baby daddy emerged and declared live on TV (except for CNN), "I told you so!" It wasn't Zha Zha's husband. This i had to learn Live? Meh...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Virginia Massacaust

I don't know how to feel? So it's a good thing i have no indirect connection to the events at Virginia Tech. Otherwise i might have been broadcasting LIVE on GMA, Gooooooood Morning, Viet Naa. ... er, Americaaaaaa.

Eventually, it gets down to that most probative of questions: "So tell, me. How did you feel?"
"We were like, 'What's going on?'" comes the inevitable reply.

I'm just part of the unwashed masses, soaking up the bystander trauma in HD TV. I don't know how to feel.

Just the week before last, we got to witness the public flogging of Don Imus. "Nappy-headed hos" he called members of a team in a sport i don't follow. I follow no sports. But i know the women of Rutgers now, the almost champs. One told me on the TV, HD TV, that she was scarred for life. Her name was Matee, a witness to the need for this wall to wall news coverage.

I go to the gym, not 'cause i like sports. I lost a bet. On the plus side there are wall to wall TVs (though none yet in HD). Simultaneously, you've got CNN, C-SPAN, FOX, MSNBC and MTV. Just choose your audio or read all the subtitles. Faux News followed a story live for an hour or more last week: "Mare Stuck in the Mud in Texas." Her name was Champ. How would i have felt if this nappy headed horse hadn't made it out alive?

Live at the gym, the old networks are representin', ABC, CBS, NBC... Only PBS seems to be dissing the national nightmare by televising some show on painting. It's not even live. Where's their probative specualtion on the matter? With 30+ victims, it's the worst civilian shooting in US HISTORY. How can you help but to feel... i don't know.

30+ civilians die violent deaths on any given day in Baghdad. How do you feel?

30+ students die on American campuses each week due to binge drinking or suicide. How do you feel?

60, 70, 80+ Americans die in Iraq every month. How do you feel? I don't know.


Life as a temp
at empty
is the life atemporal

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Dear Congressman

Please do not compromise on your efforts to end the US involvement in Iraq's civil war.

The Bush administration certainly must now admit that its "surge" strategy will not bring even a short term end to the violence. You have heard the reports that our American military has already drawn up plans to potentially extend the tours of every man and woman from 12 to 15 months:

This is an escalation.

Whether or not the Iraq war supplemental passes, the Commander-in-Chief is already planning to extend the tours of thousands currently serving. So don't let Bush bully the Democrats into removing the timetables for US troop redeployment:

The costs of retaining troops (especially when not being drafted through dubious extensions of service) is sky rocketing, not to mention the inflated costs of paying for KBR and Blackwater mercenaries.

For four YEARS the Iraq war has cost between 1 and 3 American lives EVERY DAY. Nothing has changed this. Every month that we keep the troops there another 30-90 troops will be lost.