September 30, 2010

Heading in

Surgery is scheduled for 9:30 this morning. We took the dogs for a nice walk this morning and I am about to take a shower and we will head over. I am nervous, but not terribly so. Just ready to get this done. The shoulder has ached more the last day or so, and reminds me that it is aching while I am not doing anything with it. In other words, I need to get this done so I can reach for cereal and mow the lawn and stuff like that.

Anyway. I will update when I get the chance.

September 29, 2010

Christianity and the GOP

Before I forget, I wanted to call attention to a wonderfully thoughtful comment by Monk in our thread on
how Reagan might do in the modern GOP. I think this better explains my own angst at how the church of my youth has changed:
"How can anyone use hate to climb the rungs of power and might and call it Gospel living? No matter what, that is NOT the Gospel.

I feel like it isn't just a political party that has been damaged, it is the Church. We have been seduced by wealth and power, and put our faith in guns, bombs, and torture rather than God. It appears to me that we have forgotten the gentle Shepherd from Nazareth, and happily marched to war and torture with hardly a thought to peace or loving our enemies.

While being totally consumed with gays and Islam, we have forgotten those prisoners in our own gulags, and the thirsty world looking for Grace. Politics has stripped compassion from the Church, and we have given up our soul, our birthright for a meal next to the President."
His entire comment is worth reading. And I would be more than glad to see this conversation continue, and will even jump in there when I regain the ability to type.

An update on the Streak house

Streak (the dog) is still doing quite well, and we are hopeful for more time before we have to do another treatment. In fact, he has felt good enough to go on two walks per day as the weather has cooled rather nicely.

I, on the other hand, go in tomorrow (gulp) for my shoulder surgery. I am a bit overwhelmed, but also ready to get this over. My surgeon is impressive and has a great reputation around here, and he has done a few hundred (at least) of these exact surgeries. My nurse yesterday, in fact, had a very similar surgery a month ago by the same surgeon. I am nervous for the anesthesia and nervous about the first several days of being useless and angry. There will be machines for ice and for movement, and some kind of pump that keeps a local anesthetic on the wound for a few days. And I am nervous about how long it will take before I can teach and do my job.

But I am amazed at how many friends around us have offered to help in ways they can. My friend Anglican has already covered a class for me when I met with the surgeon, and is willing to do more. Other friends are covering classes, a colleague is picking up exams, and still more have assured us that they are around should we need rides, or errands, or chicken soup. And those who are far away have sent their good wishes and prayers.

Thanks to everyone, and hopefully, I will be posting soon.

Obama and Israel

An interesting column on what Obama should tell his team: What Obama should tell his Middle East team | Stephen M. Walt.

Listening to the news on the settlements in Israel and their leadership makes me sad. Makes me sadder knowing that the settlements are cheered by evangelicals in this country who have appropriated a foreign country's policy issues for their narrow reading of an ancient text. That makes me really sad.

But here was something that caught my ear the other day--that, unfortunately, makes this worse. NPR reported that the construction was already continuing on projects already planned. But, and this was almost a throw-away line, they said that new projects would probably not soar in the next few months, primarily because the Palestinian construction workers would not have access during a Jewish holiday.

Seriously? Israelis are completely unwilling to negotiate with Palestinians, are looking the other way while their government interns them in Gaza, and refuses to consider halting settlements, but they will use them as cheap labor?

For some reason, when I thought of Israeli settlements, I pictured hard working Kibbutz-dwelling Jewish Fundamentalists building their small houses by hand, or in groups. I resented them for their fundamentalism and their rigidity. But now I hear that they are using the Palestinians they hate for labor? Kind of like the running joke about building a wall on the border with illegal Mexican labor. But more to the point, it reminds me of Apartheid South Africa, or how that could have been had the white minority had the backing of evangelicals everywhere who were convinced that their settlement among the heathen was God's will, and a key to the end times.

September 27, 2010

New candidate for dumbest Republican running for office

There are just so many amazingly stupid things in this interview. Like when Cooper asks her if she realizes that we are supporting a Muslim government in Afghanistan, and she says that is why we have to "do these things," and that means supporting peaceful people. But those building the Mosque? Dumb.

My favorite is her saying that we are not fighting radical Christians, but radical Muslims, and "i am not running for a popularity contest in New York, or DC or on TV. I am running for the people of district 2, North Carolina, who are good, hard working Christian people." Cooper: "What about Muslims, do you want their vote?" Idiot: "Absolutely, I want everyone's vote. As a nurse," I have taken care of every race, creed or something. God, she is so bigoted and so fucking dumb.

Thanks, Tea Party. Thanks, Sarah Palin. Thanks for the dumbest fucking candidates in American history.

September 26, 2010

Supply side economics supposed to increase revenue, right?--Updated

That is what we have been told. I will have to pull out my notes on my Reagan lectures, but as I recall, I talk about the role that David Stockman played in pushing the Laffer curve idea that justified the massive tax cuts in Reagan's first term. But I also seem to remember that Stockman later admitted that the "trickle-down" or even the "supply-side" ideas were largely fiction. They just wanted to cut taxes on the rich.

But that idea has become gospel. As I have said here, I think that many of those tax rates needed to come down, and that targeted tax cuts can be stimulative. But the idea that you cut taxes, period, is simply irrational, and that is the description of the GOP economic policy.

This morning, I caught this interview with David Stockman and saw this, among other great lines:
RAZ: David Stockman, let me ask you about the idea of making the Bush tax cuts permanent. Some economic analysts have said that if you do that, that by the year 2020, the government wouldn't have enough money to spend on anything except for Medicare, Social Security and defense if it's lucky. Do you think that sounds about right?

Mr. STOCKMAN: Yes, I do. We couldn't afford the Bush tax cuts when they were put in in 2001, 2003. Now, we're - eight years later, we're trillions in additional debt later, we're two unfinanced wars later, we're a trillion dollars of stimulus spending later, 800 billion of TARP, so it's pretty obvious if we couldn't afford them back then, in no way, shape or form can we even dream about affording them now.

Stockman is not nice about Obama wanting to cut middle class taxes either, and I rather agree on that. But it is nice to see one of the architects of this madness admit what we have said around here for years--that we couldn't afford those tax cuts then, and certainly not after two unfinanced wars and Medicare Part D--we sure as hell can't.

One note, btw. Stockman includes TARP, which I know is not very popular, but everything I have read suggests that we will get all of that money back. It worked. It wasn't pretty, and it included helping a lot of bad people, but it worked.


Bootlegger sent me this on comparing our tax rates now to Reagan and Eisenhower as well as this convenient historical chart on tax rates. Those Tea Party members who claim to be "taxed enough already" are delusional. They are angry because they have been told to be angry.

But for those who claim to be super-patriots from this group, they should note the tax rates during our wars--until Bush and company took over. That was when we actually agreed to band together. Don't preach to me about your patriotism when you refuse to pay for the wars you supported.

September 25, 2010

Conservative principles

What have conservatives stood for over the last 100 years? Put another way, where would we be if they had their way? I am asking this in all honesty, by the way, and am not trying to be shrill. This includes many conservative Democrats, by the way, and liberal Republicans (those used to exist) have done a lot of good. But would we have:

Clean Air?
Clean Water?
The American Bald Eagle?
Women's sports?
domestic violence legislation?
a ban on child labor?
anti-lynching laws? (Students of history will know that civil rights activists spent the better part of 60 years trying to get federal redress for lynching. It was usually left up to local officials, and in places were lynching was a problem, the local officials were usually involved in the lynching).
Women Republican candidates?

I ask these, because I see conservatives willing to stand on principle to protect the oddest damn things. Not always, of course. I have also seen conservatives stand on actual principle to protect religious freedom and free speech. But I am looking at the Republican vow to repeal healthcare and it just struck me that conservative are willing to go to battle to make sure that people have less healthcare. Less. They think that the mandate is unconstitutional and so are standing on principle to say that people should have the right to not buy insurance, and later stick us with their bills.

That last part is partly tongue in cheek. Of course, if it is actually unconstitutional, then we need to fix the constitution. I don't mean to suggest that all of them are unprincipled. But it just strikes me as a long list of questionable defenses. Conservatives defending the corporations' right to hire children or underpay immigrants--or avoid responsibility for worker safety. Conservatives going to bat for property owner's right to discriminate against people of color, or gay couples. Conservatives defending keeping women out of college athletics or certain professions. Conservatives defending property rights for polluters. And now, defending insurance companies who kick people off who need care.

I don't get it.

September 24, 2010

Obama socialism--oh the horror

Santa Barbara, Calif. - Cap Lifts, and So Do Spirits -

Yeah, the Hitleresque healthcare bill took more effect today. Removed pre-existing conditions for kids and removed the lifetime caps. The bastards! They might as well line people up for the ovens.

Except not. Perhaps we have another window on the Tea Party. They don't have pre-existing conditions, and have not had illnesses that pressed against their lifetime cap. So why should they care about those who do? WWJD? Evidently, that doesn't include caring for others.

But then again, I am a socialist muslim. Or something.

September 22, 2010

Republican lawmaker: Reagan would face 'tough time' in today's GOP

Interesting. And clear that today's GOP seems to have forgotten that Reagan raised taxes, banned torture, and suggested reasonable foreign policy.

When Reagan now looks like a liberal Republican, what in the hell does that tell you about today's GOP?

September 20, 2010

Oh, the poor rich people

Like Krugman, I feel so sorry for them. Raising taxes on them is, as one suggested, exactly like Hitler invading Poland. And we should just note that thanks to Republicans, we can just forget phrases like "public good" or "public interest." No, the only thing that matters is what the rich people like. If they don't want to contribute to our society's laws and institutions--even though those institutions and infrastructure allow them to be rich in the first place--then we can't make them. Because as rich people, they are worth more in every way. Better that we just push taxes toward the middle and lower classes than possibly alienate the rich.

Until they need bailed out, that is.

September 19, 2010

Republicans banking on Islamophobia?

Gingrich Calls For Federal Ban On Shariah Law In US | TPMDC.

We have a guy here in Oklahoma who has pushed for the same thing. Is this really an issue? Or is this just a dog whistle? After all, who here is for sharia law? Not me, and certainly no Americans I know. I think this is Gingrich betting that his ticket to the President is to be the toughest on Muslims and to raise as much fear as he can about them. Tell me that isn't fascist.

But also, I would love some assurance that the religious right--the same people who did nothing when Bush authorized torture against Muslims--will not cheer Gingrich on this.


Different topic, but one thing that we have noted before is that now that Christine O'Donnell won her primary, there are no moderates in the Republican Senate race, and none that even believe in climate change. Of course, their knowledge of the subject is next to nothing, but they are convinced that any attempt at "greening" America is some Socialist Kenyan plot. (The stupidity really does burn). Well, not only are they anti-intellecutal and anti-science, but as Thomas Friedman points out, they are cutting the throat of our economic future as well. Turns out, China is embracing the issue of climate change and fundamentally attacking it at a technological and economic level. They are investing in green communities and houses, and even factories. And those American companies that want to participate, are doing so without American jobs because our politicians are a joke. Check that. Our conservative politicians are a joke--from both parties.

Got to love American conservatives right now. They will call you a fascist or Hitler for wanting to expand healthcare, and would prefer that sick people talk to someone else (can't someone else do it?); they will cheer and demand more torture because they truly believe that Fox's 24 was a documentary; and they will mandate that kids only be told to avoid sex, but absolutely ban any discussion of safe-sex or contraceptives--even though as a policy, it clearly puts a lot of kids at risk for STDs and unwanted pregnancies.

The GOP--their new slogan should be something like: We hate Science and Muslims.

September 18, 2010

More from the Values Voters

Wackjob Christine O'Donnell took to the stage yesterday, and evidently was quite popular. The Tea Party is everywhere.

Couple of things about her speech. I didn't watch the entire thing, but heard a little on the radio when I ran my errands yesterday. As TPM notes here, she follows the Palin line and lambastes the "elites" even as she doesn't seem to quite get how many "elites" in the conservative movement are running things. The Koch family is hardly mom and pop, and Dick Armey isn't some shmo off the street. And let's not forget that Sarah Palin is now part of the same media elite she loves to both avoid and attack.

But she had a line that is not listed here (and you can't make me watch any of these people speak). She said something about not wanting to "reclaim" her country, because (to great applause) she said, "we are the country." Or something along those lines.

That sentiment is repeated so often. I have heard the same from distant relatives who patted me on the head for my frustrations with Bush, but who have decided to not even talk to me because I support Obama. One jumped me on a FB wall about a year ago, when I dared defend Obama speaking to the school kids (remember that insanity?). His mother told me that he was just "very worried about the direction of the country." Yeah, and I wasn't when Bush and Cheney were torturing? Or wiretapping?

No, their patriotism is superior--their concern is more valid, and ultimately, they believe that as conservative Christians, this country is theirs. Not mine. One from that same family told me that I was overly sensitive to the charge that Democrats were disloyal, because they actually were, and I didn't want to admit it. Republicans and conservatives can never be disloyal or unpatriotic, because they define those terms.

The arrogance is amazing. I believe there is a strong progressive thread in this country, but I would never say that conservatives don't belong here. But they truly believe that it is their country. I think that explains the conservative angry about disrespect of the flag who has the tattered and ragged mini-versions hooked to his truck windows. It is only disrespect when a liberal does it.

September 17, 2010

Well Howdy, Value Voters Summit--I wonder what "values" you vote on?

At least one Republican (Mike Huckabee) believes that values means actually opposing insurance for those with pre-existing conditions. Yeah.

And it gets better. He compares a pre-existing condition to a property insurance company being asked to provide coverage for a house that already burned down.

I am beginning to think that Huckabee is a moron. Truly. And a heartless moron to boot. Is this really what Republicans believe?

That is monstrous, and monstrously stupid. I feel like finding the Billy Madison clip again, but I can't keep running that every time a national Republican speaks out. LB, I really feel for you. You are clearly a smart and capable and compassionate individual. It must hurt very much to be in the same party with these idiots.

September 15, 2010

Your Tea Party in action

Paladino: No Mosque Wherever The 9/11 Human Remain Dust Cloud Landed (VIDEO) | TPMDC

And these people won more primaries the other day, I guess. I read elsewhere that we will have no Republican senate candidates (new ones, I guess) who actually believe that we should do anything about climate change. The one who won in Delaware believes that we should urge people to stop masturbating. Yeah, that's right.

And then we have the good old stand-bys like Sharron Angle and Rand Paul--and we can't forget that their leaders are SARAH "OUR FOUNDERS WANTED US TO GOVERN BY THE BIBLE" PALIN AND GLENN "PROGRESSIVES ARE LIKE HITLER" BECK!

Now this moron who wants to stop any mosque (it isn't a fucking mosque, you moron) from being built where human remains from 9-11 landed. Yeah, except that there were actual innocent Muslims who were killed by those murderers that day, you idiot.

In all seriousness, this is the problem we have--that Palin and Gingrich have succeeded in getting most Republicans to define this issue as us (non-Muslims) v. them (all Muslims) instead of us (rational people) v. them (fucking wingnut extremists).

Man, imagine how angry my posts will be when I am in post-op pain.


Patriotism and sports

For those outside the Oklahoma City area, you may not realize that we are embroiled in a controversy over patriotism. Not only patriotism, but football--and in these parts, football ranks higher than most things. Of course, those things have been combined for years, but we always have to sing the National Anthem to start these contests. Why? I have no clue. I remember playing that song on my trumpet in front of my home-town crowd (small town). I was scared to death.

But patriotic, evidently.

But if you attend an OU football game, you will hear an odd ending to the song. Where it usually says, "home of the brave," Oklahoma's faithful shout "home of the Sooners."


I noticed this first a few years ago. This is one reason I really prefer to watch the game at home. I love football, I really do. But I hate all the bs that goes with it--the constant pushing of merchandise and need to entertain and then the need to act as if this football game is somehow connected to a sense of patriotism or national identity.

But I have to admit, I was surprised the first time I heard that ending. Turns out, it has been an issue for a while, and with the Air Force Academy coming to town this weekend, locals have been debating this. The Daily Oklahoman's Berry Tramel called it a shame and said that the fans deserved an "F" for patriotism. My neighbor and I discussed it last night and he said that while he himself liked to defer to those around him who were offended, he was rather surprised that Tramel made such a big deal of this. "Offensive," said my neighbor, "was sending our service men and women to die in that war." Norman Transcript's Clay Horning agreed, noting that:
You say screaming “Sooners” dishonors the brave?

Housing them at that rat-infested dump of a wing at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, a disgrace it took the Washington Post to bring to light, dishonors them.

Screaming “Sooners,” not so much.

I can really see both sides, but what has really annoyed me is the selective outrage that so many conservatives have had on patriotic symbols. When waved by a war protester, they scream epithets and accuse them of disloyalty. If a Democrat dares not demonstrate suitable respect at the flag or anthem, they are called unamerican. But if that same flag or anthem is used to sell mattresses, or to sell merchandise of any kind, not a peep. If in the name of that flag and that country, people are tortured and killed? Not a sound.

I am with the last two people. This is football. It is meaningless and fun--and we already pay way much attention to it. But it has absolutely nothing to do with our national identity. Neither, I would add, does the tattered flag on your antennae, or your "these colors don't run" t-shirt, or "God Bless America" hat. Those are consumer goods--and you paid for them--just as you might buy a gag gift or orange soda. What matters is our constitution, and our democracy. Those should matter, and they should matter even when we are in an economic crisis or scared to death of terrorists.

"Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel." It doesn't have to be. But you will pardon me if I am suspicious when anyone trots out the "you aren't patriotic enough" line.

Going under the knife

Or scope, or whatever. My MRI showed "hypertrophic changes at the AC joint" and a "slight downward hook of the distal acromium." In addition, there is a "rim rent tear which may be full thickness" of the supraspinatus tendon.

But my labrum "appears grossly intact." So I have that going for me. Which is good.

In English, I have a bone spur that is poking a hole in my rotator cuff and causing my discomfort and swearing. So the surgeon is going to go in with a scope and grind that bone spur down and check the tear to see if it needs any stitches. I am a little nervous just in that I am not used to being completely under and am a bit concerned that the recovery is going to be painful. The shoulder, as I have discovered, tends to move when the rest of your body moves, and so soreness there tends to be hard to avoid. But, the doctor was also quite positive that at the end of this, I would feel better. I would like that. While my shoulder hardly stops me from living my life right now, it is a constant discomfort and sometimes sharp discomfort when I move wrong.

Speaking of that, during the endless paperwork (exaggeration) at the Orthopedic Surgeon's office, the form asked what caused my shoulder to hurt. I listed those motions, including mowing the lawn, pushups, raising my hand above my head. The second question was what made the pain better. I added, "not doing the above motions."

Kind of thought that was implied.

So anyway, I am looking at surgery in a couple of weeks, assuming I can get my courses all scheduled correctly. I will need some help from some colleagues, but think that I will be able to do so with minimal downtime. Hopefully.

September 13, 2010

Lovely Republican discourse

Yeah, the Tea Partiers went back to Washington on 9-12. Why? Of course, to demonstrate their superior patriotism, as the above banner shows. Because, Tea Partiers are the only true Americans and are willing to shoot people--or at least threaten it. Why? Well, because their President is not even American. Just ask them. They are all convinced that our elected President is not legitimate. And they are threatening a revolution by force if he remains in office.

Because they are fucking morons.

But it isn't just them, of course. The former Speaker of the House and Man who Would Be President spoke out today (of course, while he is releasing a movie that will encourage more Americans to distrust any Muslims they know or meet--Why? Because Racism is good politics for the Republican base. LB, I know you disagree with me, but I would like some evidence to the contrary. Palin does it, and Gingrich does it. Throwing red meat like "fear brown people, they want to blow you up or take your job or whatever" has become the go-to play for the far right). And so Gingrich speaks, and says Obama is a ‘Kenyan, anti-colonial’ thinker:
"What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]?” Gingrich asked, according to the report. “That is the most accurate, predictive model for his behavior.”
Of course that isn't some kind of race baiting dog whistle, is it? And why is Obama so completely out of our comprehension? What makes him this otherly world figure in Gingrich's mind?

Duh. He thinks that everyone should have health insurance. Hell, he is so crazy that he thinks that even Muslims get religious freedom in this country. He wants--can you imagine the insanity--our government to maybe watch the giant banks who oversee our economy. Hell, he wants to give money to the states so they can pay their bills and keep people employed. The man is clearly just like Hitler. Of course, if Hitler were Kenyan and hated colonialism at a secret dream level that only idiots at the National Review can see.

Just remember. That is what we are dealing with. All this anger and rage and hatred over fucking healthcare.

September 12, 2010

What is Christianity?

I have really avoided the Anne Rice story. If you don't know, she came back to her faith after years and then just recently suggested that she was leaving institutional Christianity even as she remains a Christian by belief. She found the anti-gay sentiment among so many Christians finally too much to bear, including a "Christian" punk band that evidently believes that gays should be executed--a band that Michelle Bachmann supports.

Rice's resignation from institutional Christianity has elicited a lot of responses--including, I believe, some like my friend Greg who found her response naive. Did she really not know that the conservative church was this bad?

But others, including me, see her as a fellow traveler who is just simply repulsed by the co-opting of a faith that has some real meaning. How in the hell did an itinerant preacher who reached across racial and class and very importantly, gender, boundaries become the patron saint for the gated community of anti-feminist, anti-Muslim, Republicans connected to power and wealth? How the hell does that happen?

Michael Rowe suggests that Rice is actually exhibiting Christian values and notes that what the right is doing is deadly to the faith of Christ:
"Still, it is possible to murder faith.

You murder faith same way you murder love: one bruise at a time, with small, daily cuts, with grinding contempt, with neglect. You murder faith by exposing it to bullets inscribed with Bible verses that kill Afghan and Iraqi children. You murder it by separating an elderly lesbian couple in a hospital because their union is considered 'unnatural.' You murder it by linking it to greed, to the 'God wants you to be rich' movement which marinates in loathing for the poor and needy, in defiance of Christ's commission to care for them, then call it 'good for America.' You murder it by exposing it to any number of atrocities wrapped up in an inviolate nationalism that claims divine authority as its basis, with no room for dissent, and no mercy for dissenters. You murder it with self-righteous, violent militarism, with intolerance, with lack of compassion, with lack of humility and, most importantly, with lack of humanity.

It dies a little bit more every time a gay or lesbian teenager commits suicide because they've been taught to hate themselves because God 'loves' them but hates what they are."
Our friend, Natalie (where we found this story, btw) agrees and notes sadly:
"Pretty soon there will be so many people who are this disappointed with institutional Christianity that we will outnumber those who consider themselves still in the fold, if not already. I say "we" because I haven't found a church community yet and am still feeling pretty disillusioned with Christianity-with-a- capital-C."

Yeah. That is me too.

Sunday reflections

This has been a tough time, it seems of late. Streak is doing better, mind you, and we are grateful for that and for the fact that we are largely doing ok ourselves. I am going in for an MRI here in a few hours to see what is wrong with my right shoulder, but that is in the minor annoyance category. Yeah, I can't play golf or tennis right now, but that pales in comparison to what so many around us face.

Friends around us have struggled mightily of late. Another friend is in the hospital after a routine endoscopy nicked her intestine. She is stable, but quite sick, and we are miles away and unable to help in any way. It is at this time that I understand the way many people talk about prayer. It gives some people a way to do something in a situation where they can do little else. I don't quite see prayer that way, but I have been thinking about our friend and her family all weekend. If God does stuff in these situations, I trust that he (or she) is aware of the situation and how much we care about our friend and her family. They have had more than their share of health issues of late.

This morning started out rough. Some very weird dreams, a little anxiety about the MRI, and then I read this morning a reminder that Republicans want to repeal healthcare and further cut taxes. I have two fears about our healthcare situation. The first is that Republicans will end up repealing or gutting the meager advancements we have made, because of their ignorance (largely). I understand some are legitimately concerned about the process and even the role of government, but I am rather stunned that extending healthcare to others or removing lifetime bans or pre-existing conditions makes me a fascist. Or a socialist. Or a Kenyan--fuck, I can't even keep it straight.

Meanwhile, I am reminded of the issue from the last post, that Republicans would rather cut programs for the needy and working poor than raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans. That is so messed up I can't even wrap my head around such insanity. That so many of them identify as Christians baffles me even more. It is as if they truly believe--despite the mounting evidence--that private charities can take care of all the needs of the poor. Or that they believe that the poor, as I have been told by a few, must be really lazy or stupid if "they can't make it given all the breaks we give them." Seriously.

My second fear is that our healthcare reforms have been so watered down that it will not change the mounting healthcare bills that so many of my friends face. We have so demonized government that we are incapable of coming together as a people for anything other than bombing another nation. That is sad beyond belief.

Anyway. I will hope that things get better for my friends. And I wish I could do something.

September 11, 2010

For my racist fundy trolls

From The New Yorker this poignant image reminds us that when we talk about Islam and Muslims, it is not we (non-Muslims) v. them (Muslims), but rather us (hopefully peaceful and compassionate people of all faiths) v. them (extremist terrorist and hate-filled racists).

September 10, 2010

Argh! Why are we negotiating with terrorists like Terry Jones?

And why are prominent Muslims even acknowledging this asshat's existence, much less trying to negotiate with him?

I think the media has completely dropped the ball on this and has treated an ass and an idiot as if he is worthy of news coverage--and then prominent people like Robert Gates and a Muslim leader from Florida have further elevated his status. What is to stop the next fundy idiot from desecrating something Islamic?


And in further sign that I might have to stop listening to even NPR, I heard this story last night about how programs that help the working poor will be sacrificed in this current budget crisis. Heard last week on our local station that the University of Oklahoma will close clinics that service the poor in Tulsa because they can no longer raise the private funds necessary to pay for them. Now the Feds will pull back because conservatives of both parties claim to be concerned about the budget deficit. Not enough to ask the richest people to pay more in taxes. No, of course not. We only ask the poor and the minority to sacrifice. Don't be silly.

There is a joke in one of the West Wing seasons where Donna dates a Republican and asks him why he is one. He responds, "because I hate the poor." That guy is joking, but I am no longer convinced that it isn't true of most Republicans. If raising the taxes on Warren Buffett is off the table, but cutting programs that help poor people get jobs (after all, Republicans are all about "get a job, you lazy git," right?) or cutting funding to provide healthcare and assistance to the poor--then you tell me what this means.

Come on. Tell me.

September 8, 2010

Koran burning people are idiots. But where are the conservatives who like to "protect the troops?"

Fred Kaplan has an interesting piece noting that the usual suspects who like to claim to be better for the troops have been silent--even after General Petraeus said that the burning endangered US troops.

On one hand, I agree with some critics who have suggested that the General should have stayed out of this, and that this is something covered by the first amendment. Doesn't mean, of course, that we can't tell these idiots what we think, but they have a right to express themselves and that is part of being an American. Perhaps we could do better to stand up with one voice and tell the Afghan protestors that we understand their frustration, and even agree that this is a hate-filled expression--but it is part of freedom where sometimes you don't get what you want and freedom includes the right to be a raving idiot. It even allows you to quite your job as Governor and then "write" books to make millions as you trumpet your fake family values.

Oops, off the topic there. But in that vein, where are the conservatives who told me that protesting the Iraq war "emboldened the enemy?" Or who told me that accusing the President of participating in war crimes (water boarding) undermined our war effort and made our soldiers vulnerable?

You don't get to have it both ways. You can't wrap yourself in the flag and say that your political opponent is helping the enemy kill American soldiers and be silent now.

September 7, 2010

Well, isn't this just lovely? It isn't just the Koran burning bigots, but a Baptist pastor who is encouraging anti-Muslim sentiment

I am seriously losing my ability to even look at some of these pastors and not vomit in my own mouth. As horrified as I am when Afghans protest and threaten to kill Americans because of the Florida idiot passing himself off as a Christian while planning to burn the Koran on 9-11, I am equally appalled to see the fucking pastor of First Baptist in Dallas first call Islam evil, and accuse them of promoting pedophilia and then defend that statement and claim he is "loving" Islam. Jesus Christ. Seriously. Where is Jesus Christ? Because I can't find him in the christian Right at all. I see people who, at best, look the other way on torture. At best! At worst, some 60% of white evangelicals defend torture.

Now they stand by while their leadership encourages Americans to distrust and dislike their Muslim neighbors. As Fred at slacktivist, notes:
If any of these people attend a Christian church, then that church has failed them. Utterly. That church has failed to teach them the one thing that matters more than anything else.

Yes, I know, I'm a lefty liberal hippie and so my views are viewed as beyond the bounds of acceptable thought in our evangelical community. But this isn't my opinion. The Bible is abundantly, explicitly clear on this point:

Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him. ...

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. ... No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. ...

If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
What would Jesus do? I will be damned if I know. Not looking at these people-people who can talk endlessly about their personal relationship with Christ and how important he is in their lives.

Maybe their Bible has a lot of footnotes that mine didn't. Maybe when the Bible said to love their enemies, their version said in small print, "unless you really don't want to."

As a side note, btw, Dallas Morning News columnist Steve Blow (who I used to read religiously and may need to add back to my reader) actually spoke up against Jeffries.

Because that is what adult moral people do.

September 6, 2010

Labor day update

Nothing spurs fundamentalist outrage like defending the Christian faith of Barack Obama. After all, just look at his name. He can't be Christian. Plus, he is a liberal, and every fundy knows that Jesus hearts Sarah Palin. After all, everyone knows she is a Christian. Just look at her.


But today is Labor Day and today, I am thankful for much. Streak's roller coaster ride took a turn up over the weekend. Friday night was bad and so was Saturday morning. Yesterday morning, he ate quite a bit of peanut butter and seemed to enjoy it. And last night, after a non-emergency trip to the emergency vet to empty his bladder, for the first time in over a week, Streak ate some boiled hamburger and actually peed outside on his own. They had to muzzle him at the vet (and we heard a few of his trademark yelps) and maybe that was the last straw for him. No more sticking that up his, well, you know.

Anyway. This morning he ate again and did his morning duties. And we did a little short walk. Have no clue how much more time we have with him, but this morning and last night were just great. We will take them. Any day.

But I am also grateful for those labor activists who worked over the years to push for things like an 8 hour work day and a 40 hour week. And those who pushed to end child labor, and those who pushed to have basic safety protections in dangerous jobs. And those who fought against locking workers inside dangerous buildings. And those who pushed for minimum wage laws. Even if now people who benefit from everyone of those things now work politically to undermine those advancements.

And finally, I am grateful to spend today with SOF and Streak and our other dog Abbie and our two cats (the diabetic Calvin, and the crazy and sweet Molly). I am grateful that my parents are back from their trip and that my dad is feeling better. I am grateful for my friends (those I have blog-met and those who have listened to my bullshit in person), and my nieces and nephews and other relatives who still seem to like me.

Happy Labor Day.

September 5, 2010

God has no grandchildren

Randall Balmer reminds Franklin Graham of what he claims to believe. That whole "Obama was born Muslim and has the seed of Islam" was racist bullshit from someone who claims to be a "man of God." He should be ashamed, but fundamentalists know no shame.

September 4, 2010


I am afraid that Streak is struggling this weekend. We are starting to lose hope that he can get his strength back. It is hard to tell what the problem is, but his insides just appear to be in revolt. We are trying to make him comfortable and see how he does over the next 24 hours. He is still trying, and that is something.

Anyway. Wish I had better news about the little guy.

September 3, 2010

Just one more reason I find modern conservatives to be unhinged

Gingrich: Make Ground Zero A National Battlefield To Stop The Supposed Mosque. And Newtie says that if the federal government won't do it, then either the state or local governments should. As some of us joked on Facebook, we are unsure if the strip clubs and porn shops would also be kicked out, or the giant fucking mall where people can go spend money on useless crap. Or if, under Newt's plan, only the Mooslims have to move.

We are also a bit bemused that government is evil and horrible for conservatives until they want it to step in and make people do what conservatives want. Here in OK, the big bad evil government is now forcing women to undergo an inserted ultrasound and then get a lecture on the results--whether they want it or not. Conservatives want government to stop gay people from having sex and in some parts of the country, would like government to endorse their brand of public prayer.

I suspect that Newt has absolutely no core, and he is doing this because the Tea Party idiots will only support another bigot. But who knows.

I will say this about Kathleen Parker--when she is right, she is really right

Usually, I think she is wrong, but she is one of the few conservatives who sees the idiocy and absolute bankruptcy of Sarah Palin. And here she also suggests that Glenn Beck may not be completely past his addiction problems and is taking them out on all of us. And, in the process, bringing Saint Sarah along for the ride. As he did last week at his MLK mocking festival.
Palin is the mother of a soldier, after all, and God bless her, and him, and all those who have served. Unassailable. As Palin said, whatever else you might say about her, she did raise a combat soldier. "You can't take that away from me."

Who you? Oh, that's right, The Media. Never mind that Beck is one of the richest members of the media. Or that Palin has banked millions primarily because The Media can't get enough of her. But what's an exorcism without a demon? And who better to cast into the nether regions than the guys lugging camera lights?
So nice to see someone call out the idiocy and pure bullshit of Sarah Palin. Few people have made as much money from the very elites she claims to disdain, and actually seems to disdain the very people she claims to champion.

And our Mr. Beck?
Covering all his bases, Beck invoked the ghost of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who stood in the same spot 47 years ago to deliver his most famous speech. Where King had a dream, Beck has a nightmare: "It seems as darkness begins to grow again, faith is in short supply."

Really? When did that happen? Because it seems that people talk about God all the time these days. Even during the heyday of Billy Graham, most Americans could get through 16 or so waking hours without feeling compelled to declare where they stood on the deity.
Boy does that seem right on point. In a day when everyone is being asked if they know what the President believes about God--and demanding that he demonstrate to their satisfaction that he believes like them (even as nothing he could do would convince them), it is hard to hear about how poor Christians are under attack.

Like I said, Kathleen Parker has driven me crazy. But for some reason, she has not been fooled by these idiots. Good for her. Now if only a few more adults will joing in.

September 2, 2010


Feeling the blues today. I am not completely sure why, but there is a lot going on. To be absolutely fair, much of that is actually happening to people other than me, but it hurts when people around you are in pain or struggling. So, today I am thinking of them and hoping they are doing well. We continue to struggle with Streak. While he is moving around much better than he was last week, he is still refusing to eat and pee on his own. Had a nice conversation with the Bootlegger last night and he was of great assistance. Maybe Streak will eat tonight. We will hope.


Anglican sent me this blog post from Ebert, which speaks to the same kind of stuff I wrote about in my post on the GOP and Islamaphobia. I like Ebert and have really respected him over the years, both as a reviewer and as a thinker and as someone who has faced unbelievable adversity and personal pain and done so with dignity.

But after I read the column and some of the comments, I felt depressed. I have been thinking about it all day. Some of the critics were just simply ridiculous--especially those who continue to repeat (as if they have cut and pasted them from a right wing source) that Obama acts like a Muslim and does not act like a Christian. I have no idea what any of that means, and fully suspect those who wrote it don't either. They just hate Obama and don't know how to say it. It comes easiest to simply say that he must not be a Christian, or to call him a Muslim, or a Socialist, or a Marxist or compare him to Hitler.

But some of the others made me think. Many pointed to the left wing anger at Bush and suggested that Ebert was far too selective about his outrage. They pointed to those who called Bush Hitler, or to the MoveOn ad for David Petraeus. Some noted that the left wing loved to mock Bush's intelligence, and still others pointed to the 9-11 Truthers as the analogous grouping to compare with the Republicans today who think that Obama is a Muslim who sides with our enemies.

I have always been iffy about the ad on Petraeus. I didn't see it, to be honest, as vicious as many did. It might have been poorly phrased, and that seems clear, but it was a heartfelt appeal to the General to consider the best interests of the country and our troops. Perhaps that was unseemly to assume that he wouldn't. I can see that. But to a certain extent, it does not compare to where we are because every major Democrat denounced the ad, including our current President.

And, true, there were people on the left who compared Bush to Hitler. One posted a video to MoveOn--and the organization (of which I am a member) yanked that video. There were people at rallies with posters of Bush with a Hitler mustache. I think those were clearly wrong. Any serious person should not have compared the two. But I would suggest that the real problem with the "fascism" charge is not that it was levied at Bush or Obama, but the reasons for that charge. Why did people fear that Bush was leaning that far to the right? Certainly not because they thought (at least any serious person) that Bush would do something approaching the holocaust. But there were things that Bush did that tended toward fascism. The town halls filled with loyal and sycophantic Bushies were creepy, especially when people were arrested for wearing anti-Bush t-shirts. His casual approach to wiretapping and warrants, while not fascism, was troublesome. The way he goaded the country into war was very worrisome--with the "with us or against us" theme--that was troubling. And let's not forget that he embraced the very tactics of fascism when he allowed Cheney to create an infrastructure of torture.

None of that excuses calling Bush Hitler. But it seems to me that his policies were troubling to people attuned to history and freedom. And, to be very fair, many of us who feared that have been disturbed by Obama's hesitation to pull back on all of those excesses. True, he banned torture, but we have some very troubling detainment policies, and there has been absolutely no move to rethink the wiretapping or excesses of the Patriot Act.

But back to my point, those are not the reasons that the right calls Obama a Hitler, or a Muslim, or a Socialist. They compared him to Hitler for wanting to extend healthcare to people who didn't have it. That is fucked up. What is more, I don't think that calling a person a moron or mocking their speech patterns is in any way analogous to believing that the sitting president is actually more interested in supporting radical Islam than defending the country and constitution he pledged to defend. If that isn't racism, then perhaps someone can tell me why not.

The one point of comparison that is apt, I think, is the Truthers. That basic argument is one that suggests that Bush would allow or actually cause 9-11 to happen, and so was actively acting to harm America. That is indefensible. But I am pleased to see that while there are far too many Democrats who believe that, none of them are being encouraged to believe that by their elected officials, and I don't see any of our talk personalities suggesting that. Certainly Jon Stewart and Keith Olbermann don't encourage that idea, and I believe the actively mock that belief. The right, on the other hand, has gone out of their way to suggest that Obama might be a Muslim, and the most vocal of the right wing talk show hosts openly accuse him of treason and wanting to destroy America. Hell, the guy who lost the last election said that Obama was trying to force America into bankruptcy on purpose.

I will concede there are idiots and bigots on the left. But I look at the leadership and the major organizations and believe that they have been far more responsible than any on the right.

Anyway. Sorry for the rambling. It has been good for me to write, even if it doesn't read as well as I would like.

September 1, 2010

Grand Old Islamophobes? --and an update

Streak continues to do incrementally better, but is still not eating or peeing on his own. He is moving better and more engaged with us, but still a ways to go. He is at the vet again today so we can get some nutrients, fluids, and meds in him, and to attend to the peeing issue. Moments, moments, moments.


Now for the news story that caught my eye.

LB thinks I make too much of race when dealing with conservatives. I don't agree, but understand that point of view. But reading this today makes me again wonder about the power of racism and bigotry among the Republican base. Several polls, not just one, show Republican majorities are either wrong or confused over Obama's faith and believe that it is possible that he sympathizes with Islamic extremists who want to impose Sharia law on the world.

I sent that last poll to some conservative friends and noted that I sincerely hope the polling was problematic. This suggests that a majority of Republicans are that deluded? That out of touch? That willing to believe that the President of the United States sides with our enemies?

As troubling as the bigotry is, I think the bigger issue is the complete disconnect from reality. That one of our major parties can have majorities who believe demonstrable falsehoods is not good. Not even close. I always thought that the percentage of Democrats who believed that Bush caused 9-11 was way too high, and we were never close to a majority of the party--and never did I ever hear a leader from the party vacillate on the issue or encourage Democrats to believe it.

The Republican party appears to have dropped through the looking glass into a Rush/Beck/Palin world where fasehoods are simply manufactured and asserted as reality.

One note. I have hammered Orrin Hatch many times over the years, but have to give him credit for standing up for the Muslim center in NY (even though he misstates it as a "mosque.") Still, considering the silence from supposedly moral and adult Republicans, this is welcome.