October 31, 2010

The Tea Party and history

Picked up Jill Lepore's The Whites of their Eyes: The Tea Party's Revolution and the battle over American History yesterday.  Lepore is a great historian, but unfortunately, the very people who need to read this will never know it exists.  This book, after all, lacks a Glenn Beck blurb on the back.  But this book is right in my wheel-house--because Lepore understands that historical narratives like this occur in a cultural context.

I will post more on the book as I work my way through, but found this great line from her introduction on the perils of fundamentalism.
Historical fundamentalism is marked by the belief that a particular and quite narrowly defined past--"the founding"--is ageless and sacred and to be worshipped; that certain historical texts--"the founding documents"--are to be read in the same spirit which religious fundamentalists read, for instance, the Ten Commandments; that the Founding Fathers were divinely inspired; that the academic study of history (whose standards of evidence and methods of analysis are based on skepticism) is a conspiracy and, furthermore, blasphemy; and that political arguments grounded in appeals to the founding documents, as sacred texts, and to the Founding Fathers, as prophets, are therefore incontrovertible.  

That very accurately describes what we see around us, I think, and explains how conservatives can assert that this is "their country," rather than "ours."   None of that makes me feel better, mind you, but it is good to see a historian stepping into the public sphere to discuss how history is written and understood.  And, if I understand her argument, she also is critical of the profession for not helping craft the narrative around the Bicentennial when the nation needed one.

Speaking of that, btw, though I didn't watch the rally, I took great pleasure in reading about Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert's "Rally for Sanity" yesterday.  Especially welcome were the wonderful signs.  A few of my favorites:

  • "I spell check my political rage."
  • "I'm generally okay with this administration!1! I just have points of disagreement I'd be happy to talk calmly about."
  • "Please STOP Trying to Take Back 'Your' Country. It's MINE Too! How 'Bout We SHARE?"
  • "Hitler was a total Nazi."

October 30, 2010

Extending grace to a Tea Party thug

Is there anything more representative of the Christian faith? I will say that I have a lot of trouble with this very idea--of extending grace and compassion to people with whom I disagree vehemently. I try. In person, I am usually pretty good at it. Email and blog allows a certain distance and impersonalization, perhaps.

Anyway. One of the reasons I have found myself so very frustrated with Republicans and the idiots from the Tea Party is the open endorsement or licensing of anger and boorish behavior. People who brandish their Bibles are screaming epithets or spreading lies. And it was only a skip and step to people being actually violent. Of course, that right wing violence has surfaced in several attacks on police over the last two years, the assassination of Dr. Tiller in Kansas, and the crazed right winger who opened fire at the Holocaust museum.

Now it is occurring on the campaign trails. Everyone has heard about the Rand Paul supporter who stomped the head of a liberal woman. That's right. She was down on the ground and he stomped on her head. He then blamed her for it (along with the police) and then demanded that she apologize to him. This is an abusive man, and a criminal. Somehow, the Tea Party has told people like him that they are right to be angry and should be angry. Then they wonder when he stomps on a head.

Luckily, she is ok, but not quite willing to apologize. But she does respond with a level of grace and compassion that I could not muster.
"You and I, as fellow citizens, and we, as a country, have a choice. Either we choose to continue the cycle of inflicting violence upon each other, screaming at each other, insulting each other and putting one another down or we and find a way to sit down and start listening to each other. We'll see how far we get. We are all viciously and vociferously feeding a fire that will only burn us down together. We must reach inside ourselves and make space for each other. We must forgive each other. We must believe in our capacity for transformation. The moment we choose compassion and reconciliation is the moment that we will begin to move toward freedom. There is no other way.

I believe that you should be held accountable for your actions but I also recognize the incredibly negative impact that the consequences must be having on your life, and I wish you all the best as you yourself heal from this. Violence hurts everyone."

Some of my friends are not terribly convinced this approach will work. I just find myself so impressed with this young woman and wanting to believe that we can rise above this kind of bickering and violence. I know her response was the Christian response (though I have no clue about her religious preference, btw), but I am not sure I believe that will work.

October 29, 2010

Jesus the socialist

The best status update circulating around Facebook:

"Obama is not a brown-skinned anti-war socialist who gives away free healthcare. You're thinking of Jesus."

So nice to read how conservatives respect democracy

Or hear, in this case, about how the Arizona anti-immigration law was written by private prison companies. And then, of course, written and handed to congressmen to promote in the state house--with no transparency or acknowledgement that that private prison company had paid to wine and dine these people. And no recognition in the public debate that a prison company stood to make a lot of money out of this.

I am seriously giving up on Republicans looking for good public policy. Their definition of that appears to be that it makes someone a lot of money. That is all. If it leads to great profits, it doesn't matter if it harms the environment, or civil liberties, or anything.

October 28, 2010

Tea Party/Republichristian rant.

I have been thinking about the Tea Party/Republican lie machine, and there is so much wrong there. Someone posted the list of 8 or so things that most Americans simply are misinformed about. TARP was approved by Bush, not Obama--and it is mostly being repaid. The Stimulus worked--just not as well as we would have liked because it wasn't big enough. Healthcare has the real possibility of cutting into the deficit--until the Republicans fuck it up, that is. And Obama has been more fiscally responsible than Bush was.

But facts don't matter. And the Tea Party doesn't even care about facts. And the Republican party only cares about having more votes. Facts are largely irrelevant to them as well.

Coming home this afternoon I heard a story about how Republicans (thanks to that evil little slug, Frank Lutz) have turned completely against any kind of climate change legislation. They refer to it as "myth," even though the scientific community--you know, the people who actually study climate and know the difference between it and "weather"--know it to be absolutely true. Every year, over the last few, have been warmer than the one before. That was true last year even though so many people experienced a hard winter.

But I have come to realize that conservatives--and this sadly includes those who profess loudly that God created the earth in 6 literal days--simply reject scientific evidence they don't like. Not because they have a working knowledge of the issues, mind you. But because they don't like the conclusion. Period. I am honestly trying to think of anything I do like that. I hate the idea of climate change. It fills me with a sense of foreboding. But I don't just deny it simply because I don't like the conclusion.

And how about those Christian conservatives? I hear from some that they too care about the environment, but they vote repeatedly for people who gut environmental regulations and protections. Every fucking time, actually. So I really don't want to hear about how creation is "proof of God" and all that bullshit. If it is so spiritual, why do you do nothing to protect it?

I honestly don't understand this brand of Christianity. I seriously don't. Evolution is a myth (because they are afraid of evolving from a less complex creature) but protecting the environment is liberal hippie bullshit. Evidently, their version of God doesn't really give a shit if creatures he supposedly created out of whole cloth go extinct. Especially, and absolutely, if saving that species were to inconvenience anyone.

Christianity, in this context, is about show. Those churches are glorified clubs, where people play ball and socialize. And yes, they donate some to the poor--even, of course, as they vote against the poor and vote for people who demonize the poor as lazy and immoral. And here on this blog, they flex their chests and say, "who are we liberals to make them give to the poor. God doesn't want them to be forced to give to the poor. They will do it on their own, thank you very much."

More bullshit. Well, it might not be if food kitchens were all it took to address poverty. But it isn't. And private charities have never been able to carry the load of all the need. And these people know it.

More show. Creationism as irony, I guess, when what it really means is that nature is to be exploited and used up. And once again, an itinerant preacher who avoided personal wealth and trappings of power is the poster child for the well-heeled and gated community set. Or the Preachers in the 1000 dollar suits who sit with Presidents and CEOs. A faith built on sacrifice and self-denial that is now all about self and all about feeding that self. Who are we to challenge how much money they make? Who are we to suggest that their consumption (and my own, to be sure) threatens species (including our own). Who are we to suggest that even illegal immigrants should be fed and taken care of?

In their Bible, God hates feminists and liberals and Muslims and gays. So many will not admit it, but is exactly how they vote. They long for a time when minorities knew their place and women had to stay married whether they liked it or their husband abused them. They won't admit it, but that is exactly how they vote. They cheer the torture of brown people in dark prisons, yet ironically watch Mel Gibson's Passion film with tears in their eyes. (Note: the Romans were as justified torturing Christ as we are torturing Muslims. Surely the Romans had a right to be afraid of insurgents in their midst?) They won't admit this, but, yeah, that is exactly how they vote. And they talk of God's creation and the beauty of his mountains and valleys and sunsets and sunrises, but really would prefer to live in luxury rather than talk about what that nature really means to our survival. And they really, really, really, don't mind if a few innocent people are executed in the name of justice. After all, those people have to be criminals. Why else would they be there? If capital punishment and torture were applied to white conservative Christians, they might just care. That is exactly how they vote.

Round 2

Took Streak in this morning for another round of chemo. I just did a review of the last time, and it was over Labor Day weekend that he finally pulled out from the last round. We are so grateful for this last 2 months. They have been magical and at times, he has seemed like his old self.

But it was time to do another round. This time, given Streak's age, we decided to do a half dose of the IV and some of the other drugs. And we are really going to watch his fluid intake and his stomach, because that seemed to be the problem last time.

I was doing fine this morning until I arrived at the clinic. While they gave him the IV, I went across the street to get some coffee and burst into tears in the parking lot. I keep thinking this will get easier--that the bonus time will some how make it not so hard.

Anyway. He is here today, and doing well. We will take that.

October 23, 2010

Baseball season and life

And yes, I am fully aware that my Yankees lost to the Texas Rangers last night. Eh, it happens. I can not and will not cheer for the Rangers, but they certainly deserved to win.

Last night, we watched Bull Durham, which is one of our favorite movies. Tightly written and without wasted scenes, it is one of the better sports movies out there. And I think I related to it because of the element of failure. I am Crash Davis in a different context--that of tenure track jobs. In fact, the film depresses me every time--at least just a little, because I feel his pain when a young person walks out of grad school into a tenure track job.

I wish this had the rest of the scene, but it is a great one.

After this, Crash introduces his friend Sandy who hit .376 one season in the minors. Crash himself has nearly set the record for home runs as a minor leaguer, but was only able to spend 20 some days in the majors, or "show."

Even better, and more apt, is the sense that Nuke actually deserves to go to the show. He has all the talents to succeed at the major league level, but the film suggests that despite his weaker physical skills, Crash would also make a great contribution if given the chance. His baseball intellect is far superior to those with greater talent.

I don't want to take this too far. I know full well that many of the people who landed tenure track jobs deserved them, and they will be much better "scholars" than I ever would. I don't have the drive to spend all of my time working on publications. But I also know a lot of people who, if I dare say so myself, are certainly no smarter than me, and some not even as smart, but were in the right place at the right time. Life has its unfairness, and that is not new.

When I step back from the ledge, I know that I rather enjoy my career in the minor leagues. I am a better teacher than many of my tenured colleagues, and my lifestyle gives me flexibility that few my age enjoy. Stability would be nice, but for now, it has worked for us.

I am also reminded, btw, of how little importance these things have when I watch friends around me struggle with loss or illness or tragedy. Job title is pretty meaningless in that context.


October 21, 2010

NPR was wrong to fire Williams for this

But not wrong to fire him. And Mara Liason should be next.

I didn't think that Williams' statement was that bad. He confessed a fear--which can be irrational--to seeing a Muslim on a plane. But he should have been fired, along with Liason, for their tendency to, in lieu of analysis, parrot Republican talking points. I have heard both do exactly that. Along, I might add, with Cokie Roberts.

TPM has a nice rundown, btw, on the right has demanded similar firings for slurs of Israeli Jews, but defend the right to slur Muslims.

The GOP--or the party of new ideas

Just read that one of Cantor's "Young Guns" (no, not the one who likes to dress up like a Nazi) wants to completely abolish public schools.  I am willing to admit that is a "new" idea, and I am sure we will be fine under a Republican majority.  After all, that is not unreasonable at all.  

Of course, it is perfectly in keeping with the Tea Party, as it their central principle appears to be "I have mine, so you are on your own." If you can afford to send your kids to private school, and have no sense of how education helps reduce crime and poverty--then what do you care about the unwashed?

But the GOP keeps turning them out.  If it isn't Christine O'Donnell puzzled by the contents of first amendment, it is former NFL lineman John Runyon who when asked to name a recent court case which he disagreed, he pulled out Dred Scott.  As I joked elsewhere, at least he is opposed to Dred, but good grief.  And isn't there anything more annoying than someone who has made millions in an artificially controlled environment made possible by the affluence of Americans--to spend their post sporting life trying to cut their taxes?  Perhaps Mr. Runyon should try plying his trade in one of those really low tax countries and see how much money a professional lineman would make there.  Or perhaps we are just seeing the end result of too many head injuries.  

And the list keeps coming.  Sharon Angle thinks that the Latino students look like Asians. She is a self-proclaimed values legislator, btw. That includes, evidently opposing states having to honor restraining orders from other states. But the "asian" comment is just weird.  That seemed important to her, and I am sure she will make a fine Senator.  I love that the GOP is running a guy in Florida who was nearly charged in Iraq for torturing a prisoner on the spot.  Nice.  And Club for Growth favorite, Pat Toomey is a great thinker.  This, from wikipedia caught my eye:
During Toomey's tenure in Congress, he supported legislation that would speed up approval of forest thinning projects in 2003, supported opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling and development, opposed implementing the Kyoto Protocol, and opposed legislation that would mandate increased vehicle fuel efficiency standards and provide incentives for alternative fuels.

These are all people who can win, mind you.  The party of new ideas.  

And let's not forget the actual policies.  The CDC just reported that the states with abstinence only sex ed have, and this is just shocking, the highest teen pregnancy rates.  I am sure there is no correlation, but it is interesting.  The liberal socialist gay loving states have much lower pregnancy rates.  And lower divorce rates.  

Meanwhile, I can't go anywhere without hearing that Obama has taken the country on a dramatic left turn. Man, I would love to see that. I seem to have missed all the leftist stuff. And when I hear that, I also hear that the Tea Partiers aren't concerned with Obama's race, but are just "mad as hell" about spending and the debt. Yeah, right. The right wing militias are back in vogue and incredibly popular again among the white middle class chicken-hawk contingent. For some odd reason, they were mostly no where to be found when Bush pushed through the Patriot Act. Just imagine the response to the PA under Clinton or Obama? But it isn't about race at all. No, the rise in death threats against the President is just because of the economy. The Tea Party had no problem with massive tax cuts during unfunded wars, but their driving philosophy is fiscal responsibility. Right. That is why so many of them are "birthers."

So, well done there conservatives. Well done. You must be proud.

October 19, 2010

From the who in the hell let Sharon Angle get this close to the Senate file

Angle To Latino Students: "Some Of You Look A Little More Asian To Me".

Ben Roethlisberger rediscovers his Jesus talk

Notice, that I didn't say "rediscovered Jesus." Maybe he has. I don't know. Let's just say that I have a healthy cynicism for famous people who like to tell me how much they love Jesus.

Full disclosure. I have always disliked Roethlisberger. I certainly was not surprised that he did well in the NFL, but I have always found him to be one of the examples of the fake Christianity that drives me crazy. I still remember him talking about how God had allowed him to start ahead of the other guy in college. Reminds me of David Carr thanking Jesus for a completion.

Of course, given how bad Carr has been as a pro, perhaps he should thank God for a completion. Except that is still stupid. Inanely stupid. And I am amazed at how Christians have allowed their faith--the one that they claim is central to their very existence--be so trivialized in the public square.

And Big Ben is back, and complete with all the God talk. Listening to his interview on ESPN the other day was sickening. It reeked of PR coaching, and front and center on that list has to be that you have to claim returning to God. I recognize that this might actually be true, but think that the "talk" about it is the trivialization part. And what annoys me is that it is only really available to right wingers. You can be accused of rape, after all, but returning to Jesus and begging forgiveness? Clean slate.

I am all for second and even third chances. And I am all for redemption. But I am tired of the right wing bastardization of the faith where only conservatives are forgiven. And in this case, we may have an abuser. I have to tell you, abusers don't stop abusing just because they discover God language. It doesn't happen.

And the amazing thing for me, is that conservative Christians seem to never follow up to hold accountability those pronouncing their God language. Accountability is part of the language too, but politicians and right wingers can claim that Jesus is their best friend, and no one shows up to check. I remember a guy who said that Jesus was his favorite political philosopher, and he went on to authorize torture. I expected (because I am naive) that Christian evangelicals would hold him accountable. Of course, they did not. They had stopped with the coded Jesus language and never bothered to inquire about how he actually lived.

If Ben is innocent, then I am sorry for his trials. I doubt he is, just because I am cynical about people who are used to being stars. I think they think they deserve what ever they want. But I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he might have actually seen the light. But spare me the God talk. Spare me the little aphorisms. Go out and treat others with respect, and then don't tell me about it.

October 17, 2010

The rage of the right--and their boorish behavior

Op-Ed Columnist - The Rage Won’t End on Election Day - NYTimes.com

Yeah, I know he is a liberal elitist from New York, but the litany of right wing hatred and boorish behavior is disturbing. It strikes me close to home, as I have seen people in my own circle (those on the right) either defend or tolerate the absolute boorishness. As someone said last year when they mused about the response if the Tea Party was black, the anger here, and the approval of that anger is perhaps the most disturbing thing. Any sign of anger from Obama was seen as a sign of some kind of radicalism on his part, while the Tea Party and Town Hallers shouted and even screamed their supposed anger. That meant screaming epithets at congresspeople, or even at the sick daring to defend healthcare.

And that has given us Carl Paladino and Sharon Angle. And Palin and the rest of the Republican party has either endorse, or looked the other way as they saw a political advantage.

I can say this with confidence. If I acted as they have, my conservative friends would be horrified--as would my liberal friends. This licensing of bad behavior is still disconcerting coming from the party that most readily claims a higher moral calling. I am not sure I have ever made complete sense of that--that the party of moral values could tolerate and even encourage Karl Rove and Ann Coulter. Yeah, yeah, the left has some bad actors. But when Representative Grayson compared his opponent to the Taliban, he was strongly rebuked by Jon Stewart for doing so. But when the right wingers go off the edge, we are told that "we need to understand their anger."

We are seeing the return of the idea that it is fine to be extreme and even hateful, as long as it is a right wing version of defending liberty. They truly believe it is their country and not ours.

October 16, 2010

This gay bashing has to stop

We have seen a rash of suicides around the country--or perhaps are just more aware of them. Here in Norman, the city council decided to declare October "GLBT History Month." A non-binding declaration like so many. Yet it brought out the anger on the other side. Anger is actually and understatement. Our local police chief was ‘disgusted’ by meeting comments:
"Cotten, who attended the Sept. 28 council meeting, said that even as the son of a “conservative Southern Baptist” minister, he knew many of the comments, including one that described the GLBT community as disease-ridden, weren’t right.

“It was totally uncalled for and mean-spirited,” he said of comments made by some members of the audience. “I was totally disgusted.”

Cotten said some of the audience members’ behaviors were so over-the-line that he “probably should’ve removed a few people.” He said he didn’t because Mayor Cindy Rosenthal never directed him to do so.

“I mean, I’m as straight a guy as there is and it was awful,” he said."

Cotten responded to the meeting because a local gay man went home and killed himself. Seems like every day we read of another gay youth who decides that they must be too damaged (since that is what they hear) that they might as well end it. Teenage years are so freaking tough anyway, and the sexual part of this is so damn complicated and hard to manage in the best of situations. Throw in some good old-fashioned homophobia, and it is even worse.

Which is why it was nice to see Cotten speak up, and nice to see (as Smitty noted at ATK the following video of a Fort Worth council member speaking out to young gay people who might be thinking of ending their lives. I know that my blogger template often cuts off videos, so if you can't see it on my page, watch it on Smitty's or here at Youtube. Moving speech.

As Smitty said, we need more of these kinds of speeches, and less of the kind of stuff that Tony Perkins is saying about how this is the fault of the gay kids themselves. Well, not quite, but pretty damn close. After all, since he likes to quote that gay people are more prone to mental illness, and mental illness contributes to suicide, what these gay kids need to do is not be gay.

Of course, as Joel Burns noted in his speech in Fort Worth, it isn't just gay kids, but those more effeminate or butch kids who are thought to be, or accused of being gay. I will pass on Tony Perkins' version of "Christian compassion." It looks a lot like hatred.

This gay bashing needs to stop.

October 14, 2010

Thursday night

And I am wiped. Second day of PT today and things are going well. I am tired and sore, but doing well. Took Streak to the vet today and think that we are looking at another round of chemo in a few weeks. That is what it is. It has been such a nice time with him that even considering a treatment is tough. But we have to look at it.

This week has been tough. I found going back to work much harder than I thought. My arm is doing great, but I was far more tired than I thought.

And the news is tough to deal with. Everywhere I turn, I see polling that shows the right winning big, and that is hard to fathom. I could deal with losing, but the right is putting up idiots like Christine O'Donnell and Sharon Angel--people who have no background or understanding to actually lead us with policy. Thanks, Republican part. Your coddling of the far right has produced these idiots--people who are more dangerous than even Palin.

And this, just watching the local news, something I rarely do. Just saw coverage of a shooting in OKC where one party thought that another party cut them off and was threatening them. The party of the first part had a legal right to carry a concealed weapon, and decided to open fire. I understand the arguments for gun rights, but see very unintelligent people being told that they have the right to decide a serious threat and that they have the right to open fire after an 8 hour training course.

I have to say that does not make me feel safer on the roads. I have to say that nothing conservatives have done over the last few years makes me feel safer in anyway. After watching Republicans and listening to them, I feel like joining them and deciding that as long as something doesn't adversely effect me, I shouldn't care. So we torture people or execute the innocent? Say that our tax policies widen the gap between the rich and poor?

We are ok, personally (at least for now). Why should I care?

October 8, 2010

Robert Reich on the big money buying our democracy

Robert Reich (The Secret Big-Money Takeover of America):
"Not only is income and wealth in America more concentrated in fewer hands than it’s been in 80 years, but those hands are buying our democracy as never before – and they’re doing it behind closed doors.

Hundreds of millions of secret dollars are pouring into congressional and state races in this election cycle. The Koch brothers (whose personal fortunes grew by $5 billion last year) appear to be behind some of it, Karl Rove has rounded up other multi-millionaires to fund right-wing candidates, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is funneling corporate dollars from around the world into congressional races, and Rupert Murdoch is evidently spending heavily.

No one knows for sure where this flood of money is coming from because it’s all secret."

Make sure you thank the nearest Republican for this--as this is the America they seem to love. Wealth concentrated in a few hands and the wealthy getting more and more power.

Top Nevada GOP lawmaker endorses Reid

Top Nevada GOP lawmaker endorses Reid

Occasionally I see glimpses of reason in the GOP. That is usually followed by that reasonable person going out of their way to prove that they didn't mean the reason. Perhaps the adults are starting to see the bus going off the cliff.

On perceptions and reality

I went to my surgeon this morning and he approved me losing the sling and driving. I assume that means I can now start cursing again. Because, of course, I stopped all that after the surgery.


SOF alerted me to this interesting story about how Americans perceive wealth and poverty distribution in this country. Turns out, just as with our perception of how much of our national budget we devote to international aid (perception between 10 and 20 percent, while the real number is less than 1%) we are way off on wealth inequality. While the real number is that somewhere around the top 20 percent controlling 85% of the wealth in this country, people perceive that top 20 percent as controlling only 35% of the wealth, and when further asked what they would like to see, they want that wealth to be even more fairly distributed than that. The good news of this, as it appears, is that this belief crosses party lines. The bad news, is, however, that ignorance drives our political discourse and actual votes more than reality. Hence Sharon Angle--who is demonstrably an idiot.

The piece makes the obvious point that this goes back to that belief in the American dream--upward mobility, or the bootstrap myth. But the reality (if facts matter, btw) is that our social mobility is much less than it has been. Countries like Sweden (damn blonde socialists) actually have more opportunity for the poor to rise to the top. But don't tell the Republicans that. They are trying to cut the taxes of the wealthy as we speak.

Oh Good God! Have Republicans looked for the dumbest candidates they can find?

Angle: Muslim law taking hold in parts of US - Yahoo! News

I read at the end of this story that Angle is a Southern Baptist who calls herself a "faith-based politician." I was unaware that phrase was short-hand for incurably stupid.

October 7, 2010

Hmm, Christians can't do yoga?

Not surprisingly, Southern Baptist Al Mohler doesn't think Christians should do yoga. wow. Shocking from the denomination that was historically more concerned with stopping dancing than stopping segregation.

I am tired, and tired even more from blogging with my one useful hand, but I have just had it with the Christian right. They support torture, prefer the polluters over concerns about climate change, and cheer on the worst racists in the republican party. And ten bucks says they have no real objection to the demagoguery of people like Beck, and will have nothing to say about a scumbag like him mocking a family who lost everything in a fire because they didn't pay a 75 dollar fee.

But they will take a stand on yoga?


I have questions

Perhaps because I am a bit stir crazy from this surgery and tired of the damn sling, cpm machine, and the stack of bluebooks that I don't want to grade.

But I still have questions, and no answers.

1) Why do the same people who swear that God created the universe in 6 literal days care so little about things like climate change, or species going extinct, or toxic waste? I see the right opposing any efforts, even at the state level, to combat climate change, and see absolutely nothing from conservative Christians except derision toward anyone concerned with the environment.

2) Where is the "Jesus" in the Republican platform? They talk a lot about Jesus, but all I see is protection of the rich, a defense of torture and mistreatment of others, a call for more war, and a strong desire to not have everyone covered by health insurance. Just wondering which of those is as Jesus Would Do?

3) Speaking of the Republican party, when did they really lose any site of the original idea of Republicanism? At its heart, Republicanism is a political philosophy that believes in a learned and virtuous citizenry dedicated to the "public good." We can disagree about virtue all we want, but the "public good" is now referred to as socialism by this party. They have gone from wanting that to essentially saying, "you are on your own."

4) And I am still waiting for someone to explain to me what our country might look like had conservatives gotten their wish over the last 100 years. And yes, we can ask the same question about the left. I would welcome that comparison. The left has made many mistakes along the way, but the list of accomplishments is also impressive. From integration to environmental protection and worker safety, those are just a few of the things that were vocally and strongly opposed by conservatives.

Anyway. I am bitchy today and tired, so I hope this is not too snarky.

October 6, 2010

American Exceptionalism

As I continue to convalesce, I wander back and forth between tv, reading blogs, and reading Sarah Vowell's book on the Puritans. Oh, and typing with one arm in the Continuous Passive Motion machine.

But while reading her book, I was struck by her discussion about the early sense of divine exceptionalism, and the basis for that exceptionalism. Puritans found God's blessing in the disease outbreaks that devastated native populations. "God has blessed America" is rooted in seeing epidemics as God blessing the Europeans by killing the heathen.

When Sarah Palin invokes returning to some "traditional past" she isn't cheering the smallpox epidemics directly, of course, but the entire idea is premised in returning to a time when Euro-Americans were at the center of the universe.

October 4, 2010

This is sickening

The right hammered Obama for his "apology tour" and Palin made millions off her chest-thumping patriotism, but we actually should apologize for infecting Guatemalans with STDs.

Republicans living in an episode of Little House on the Prairie

Or something.

My shoulder hurts today, but I am off my pain meds for now. Feeling better, just tired of eating left-handed. And grateful that is my main complaint.

October 2, 2010

Surgery update

Surgery went well, and I am doing ok. Working with a cpm machine for passive motion. The pain is not too bad, though the meds knock me out. More later, and thanks for the good wishes.