Wednesday, June 28, 2006

"Family Activist" Defends Ozzie Guillen "Fag" Slur

Bob Cook via MSNBC suggests "Guillen must learn any slur unacceptable : MLB sends a message, hopefully it will get through" yet "family activist" Pete LaBarbera weighs in via Jim Brown's Agape Press reporting another view with "Baseball Strikes Out in Reacting to Guillen's Comment, Says Family Activist". To have this wing nut defending Guillen, described by Mr. Cook as " ... Guillen launching enough f-bombs to require United Nations consideration of authorizing an anti-profanity peacekeeping force." seems like rather a stretch, as does The Illinois Family Institute. I understand Ozzie has a history in this type of slur and yet his actions are hardly worth a statement by Mr. LaBarbera. Peace ... or War!

The Modern GOP - Masters of Distraction

Tip of the Tam to Mike Keefe of The Denver Post for the above with the image supplied by Daryl Cagle's Professional Carton Index on MSNBC. Be sure to check out my Captain Plaid post on Mark Fiore for the alternative distraction of boys marrying boys. Shame on any Senator, and that includes you Senator Clinton, that supported this legislation. To join Cuba, China, Iran, and Iraq under Saddam Hussein in this type of restriction shows your enlightenment. Peace ... or War!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Captain Plaid - Why I'll Continue Blogging!

I’ve been busy lately but I’m getting a fair amount done around the property. Time is scarce even with the summer vacation from “teaching” the “scholars” I was working with this past year. I’ve also had some flack from my conservative/evangelical family on my blogging and the rare “Letter to the Editor” to my local rag, even those that were mistakenly viewed as such. My ex-wife has gone on the warpath to boot! I have several projects that are going to take some serious effort and time, plus I’ve got to figure out how to start making a living this Fall. I’ll admit I’ve pondered dropping the whole blogging enterprise. I’d continue to read as much as I could but might stop posting. But I’m not, at least not just yet. Here’s why:

    1. Blogging gives me a chance to vent. “If you aren’t outraged then you aren’t paying attention!” seems to work for me. I am often amazed at the lack of understanding in our “leadership” from the national to local level. Journalist and pundits disappoint me as well at times yet the pseudo-commentators and Astroturf organizations and those playing The Mighty Wurlitzer deserve my/our scorn.
    2. Blogging lets me communicate and connect. I do read several major and also a few minor blogs yet rarely comment. However, I can feel connections with others that are concerned enough to share. I’m stuck here in the boonies of East Alabama with less human contact than might be ideal. I like being alone at times yet admittedly enjoy intellectual discourse and basic banter about the things of life. Sharing ideas and thoughts seems so human. Blogging, both reading and writing posts, seems very suitable for that process.
    3. Writing, and thinking for that matter, can be a creative release. I like to build and do. I am sure my mind is improved from the process. Seems harmless at least. I’d love to be able to profit financially from the work yet doubt that will happen. But I do profit in other ways.
    4. I truly learn from reading and thinking. Blogs, plus the links and resources they’ve sent me to as well, have taught me so much. I am learning how to be a better writer, with a long ways to go admittedly, yet even this relatively well-educated man learns plenty every day from reading the posts of some super smart folks. I believe we should learn until we die. When we stop learning then we might as well check out. I’m just forty. I think often that a well seasoned man could contribute to this sort of effort even it he can’t work like a young man.
    5. This blogging seems so democratic. Regular folks are able to challenge the authorities and powerful and those with an audience. The marketplace of ideas on steroids it seems.
    6. Blogging is a bargain. A high speed line tied to an admittedly old computer and I’m there. Lots of bang for the buck it seems.
    7. Blogging expands my world. I get to read ideas from people around the planet that I’d otherwise never know. I get views certainly from locations that I’m not likely to visit. I hear from the Left Coast to DC to Philly to NYC to The ATL to Colorado to …
    8. I feel more patriotic by blogging. I’m connected to a group that cares about our nation. We often are critical of our governments yet I think that is the ultimate sign of patriotism. We seek the ideal that this country can be. I believe in the work of the ACLU and other groups that seek the protections of those freedoms and traditions that makes this nation still worth saving. I believe in social justice and these efforts allow me to work in those fields.
    9. I like politics and public policy. Armchair wonk? My four main blogs had been thought out as “thinking globally and acting locally”, with Marque Stuart being an aside that I hope to return to as able. Captain Plaid (nation/world) to Captain Bama (region) to Tin Shop Tartan (local) work in that continuum. Captain Jimi lets me fight the culture war in one location yet I continue to believe there’s often overlap in all areas. I still think Progressivism may best be "sold” through local applications. Fighting back against conservatism’s powerful message machine almost requires insurgency on the local level given how the mainstream media and some Democrats continue to let them get away with distortions and talking points. Also, some centrist Democrats are nearly as bad at the GOP with their allegiances to The Big Mules very certain. Progressives have few leaders on the national stage, with Russ Feingold being one exception it seems. In Alabama and locally, Lefty Progressives are even more rare.
    10. Finally, I blogged on Howard Zinn via Captain Plaid just yesterday. One segment he wrote was “…we still might accept as our civic duty the responsibility to buttress our fellow citizens against the mendacity of our high officials.” So I’m carrying out my “civic duty” perhaps? “Responsibility” is a good word. We do the painful at times due to duty. Nothing could be more important for citizens of our world than to engage and care. I do.

I’ll soldier on, as always. Peace … or War!

Friday, June 23, 2006

No glove? Then No Love! HPV risks reduced by half simply by doing the jimi thing!

Sarah Goldstein via Broadsheet on Salon reports "News flash! Condoms protect against HPV" citing a new and apparently solid study done at the U of Washington and funded by the feds National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Not a perfect solution but a good start and I'd rather cut risks by half than not.

With the new HPV vaccine coming on to the market the combination sounds promising yet the next battle is whether it will be mandatory and paid for by insurance and/or the government. I'd love to see this of course yet if parents decide to opt their kids out of the vaccine I can live with that, as long as they are given the full information before they make their decision. If this "education" is required of women in some locations before they can make their own reproductive decisions then I'd think the logic could be extended in the other direcction. As a bonus, the information conveyed might convince the kids to keep their clothes on a little longer! Or at least strap on jimi before they they get busy.

Of course the Dobsonites and other Reich Wingers preaching "abstinence only" approaches, including the Bu$hCo cabal, will continue to live in fantasy land I fear. While part of their "thinking" resonates with me, the manner in which they wall off the need for comprehensive sex education quickly gets my Scots up. Peace ... or War!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Father, Son, & the Holy Ghost 2.0, 2.1, 2.2 ...

Wheeler at Alablawg has made me chuckle! His In Nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti is priceless. Wheeler's link to the B'ham News coverage of The Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly assembling, in High Jefferson style I'd bet, up in his neck of the woods is also worth a visit. Peace ... or War!

So How Does the Big Mule GOP Stay in Power?

I'm borrowing this from MSNBC's Daryl Cagle's Professional Cartoonist Index, one of my favorite sources for some time.

The actual artist is Richard Crowson of The Wichita Eagle, Kansas. Kansas as in "Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore."? The heart of the Heartland? Indeed so it appears. Actually, Kansas immediately came to mind when I saw the image. This is because I've read Thomas Frank's "What's the Matter with Kansas : How Conservatives Won the Heartland of America"

I'm not sure what Mr. Crowson has in mind with the critter he has harnessed up and pulling the GOP but he's labeled the equine as "Conservatives". If we accept the animal doing the pulling as at least Donkeyesque then I'm certainly able to work with that, mostly from Mr. Frank's work plus that of Steve Jarding and Dave "Mudcat" Saunders in their South-oriented "Foxes in the Henhouse" as well.

Here's how I deconstruct the cartoon. Big fat traditional GOP business and monied class has no prayer of getting elected if people were aware of how Washington (or Montgomery or Atlanta or ...) truly worked. Numbers of working class Americans are increasingly not being served by the GOP, and some "centrist" Democrats as well.

Furthermore, some folks from the heartland are often feeling threatened by economics and change and ... Richard 's Hofstader's "The Paranoid Style in American Politics", published the year before I was born, has helped me in getting a handle on this theory that extremist could and would exploit fear here. This has often worked in our society, scared and anti-intellectual being our default settings perhaps, according to this top-drawer historian. (Hofstader was thinking about radicals like Goldwater Republicans and The John Birch Society ... Tim LaHaye of the Left Behind duo was a Bircher by the way... using the fear of Communism and the like to gain power. I think his ideas certainly apply to the modern blend of social and paleo conservatives making up the base of the GOP these days. Throw in race and darned if the last forty years haven't been a wild ride on the Paranoid Pony!)

Using often emotional tactics and "wedge issues", bolstered by an impressive infrastructure started way back in the early 1970s, Big Mule Republicans have gained and retained power with this bait and switch approach. I'll let Professor Alterman and Paul McLeary explain the structures in more detail. Thomas Frank wrote something like "Vote for The Culture of Life and get what benefits the Country Club Capitalist Class."

When the going gets tough, the tough get divisive? Karl Rove and many of the Atwater sytle GOP operatives learned to use division of the electorate to get 50% plus 1. "Just win baby!" Like deploying the National Guard to the southern border to soothe the paleo-conservatives, there can be no doubt that this Marriage Protection Amendment foolishness is for rallying the evangelical base this November. Social Conservatives helped old Dubyah out in 2004 so why not go to the well one more time?

A bonus is that this legislation facade is distracting some of the American public from Iraq, the economy, twenty five years of a growing gap between the haves and have nots, scandals from Abramoff to Libby to DeLay to ..., climate change, Katrina chaos, energy woes, cronyism, budget deficits, torture, domestic spying, pulling most troops from Afghanistan to go a neo-con crusade, allowing North Korea and Iraq to go bolder as we are bogged down in Iraq, corporate scandals, environmental troubles, dreadful results of No Child Left Behind, etc. Before I leave this line of reasoning, please notice the blinders on the bridle. "Blinded by the Right" can be our theme music. Regrets to Manfred Mann, whom I once did a real estate closing with by the way.

I used to talk to my students about "Two ways to get what you want. One's a carrot and the other is the stick." What is the stick? Right now it seems the stick approach is to flair the fear. Bu$hCo needs to remain in control of both houses. See if one just one falls into control of the Democrats then real investigatation might result. Legislation might then flow from the Democrats instead of being bottled up by the Majority Party. The Rove approach is present in ... "If you think we suck then think what might happen if those lefty Democrats get power!" They'll hold hearings or even try to impeach "Our Leader". Boys will be marrying boys! Taxes will go through the roof! They'll take your property to build abortion clinics! They'll make us all learn Spanish even though they really want us to learn French! They'll not bring bin Laden to justice ... er ... Well they'll take ten years when we've only been at this for five. They'll have us fighting the terrorist here while Our Leader has been fighting them there. And my favorite, stright from Bu$h's Brain Karl Rove is of course "They'll 'cut and run' in the Global War on Terror!" Expect more "Orange Alerts" this fall folks!

Simple approach for simple people? Noise and emotion? Divide and conquer? Peace ... or War!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Women Deserve Better from Alabama Legislature

Cheryl Sabel, acting president of the Montgomery chapter of the National Organization for Women, appears in The Montgomery Advertiser with an op-ed entitled "ALABAMA VOICES: Bill pushes women into second-class citizenship" tackling the proposed abortion ban that Fundamentalists tried to get through the Alabama legislature this year. Ms. Sabel builds off figures that suggest that 80% of all rapes go unreported and the certain fact that 100% of rapes undoubtedly makes women victims. Wing nut Hank Erwin, who credited New Orleans' sins for attracting Katrina's wrath, plus John Giles of the radical Alabama Christian Coalition, and finally Rev./Dr. Dan Ireland were quoted. Ms. Sabel closes with
A society that does not respect and value its women and preaches the Dark Ages mentality of women being subservient, powerless and unequal is doomed. Women are one-half of humanity. We must unite and stand shoulder to shoulder, demanding justice for girls and women, and rejecting that Dark Ages mandate that women must "submit" to men, which continues to be used to attempt to make us second-class citizens, rather than equal partners in our society. There can be no compromise.
Dark Ages mentality indeed and submit my ass. I want a partner not property. We can make abortion safe, legal, and very rare. The best way to create a culture of life is with economic policies and good health care and access to contraceptives and education and ... but these fundamentalist seem to always focus on taking away a woman's right to control her own body. I'll show that I value women by hoping we'll provide the newly approved HPV vaccines for girls and young women should the costs, I think around several hundred dollars a person, be too much. I've claimed it before and I'll claim it again by offering "If men could get pregnant then abortion on demand would be the law of the land." Well done! Peace ... or War!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Is Lynn Westmoreland dumb as a bucket of spit?

I'm cutting much of my original post in that I later expanded my "thinking" on Congressman Westmoreland's Four Commandments. I also decided I'd drop the work on Captain Bama as "Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert gets to know yet another Georgia Gooper" Blogger is being contrary, as usual, on letting me post an image so I wound up putting a related photo here. Peace … or War!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

I knew there was something fishy about Ann!

Tip of the tam to Jesus General for the link. Please show Mike Tidmus some click through love for his work on "Crazy as a run over dog!" Ann Coulter. Mary Cheney's cover is likewise priceless but I'm making you hunt for Spawn of Dick. I know Angry Ann's holding a trout yet we have to admit finding cod graphics can be a real chore, even across the pond. From a quick dash about his site this guy seems really talented, in his design work and snark and ... If noted by J.C. Christian I'm sure there's plenty more. Peace ... or War!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Rubber Stamp Congress Again Covers for W

Karl Rove Suggests "Dubyah's Distraction"

Monday, June 12, 2006

Ann Coulter's America as seen across the pond

With a tip of the tam to Professor Eric Alterman, whom I credit for keeping me convinced I wasn't totally insane until I discovered the lefty blogosphere and other Progressive resources that I'd admittedly missed for too long, The Guardian serves up Gaby Wood's "Lethally Blond", which appeared in Sunday's Observer. It is interesting how Ann Coulter is viewed by people from other cultures and nations. Gaby Wood wrote of Ann's "puppy" traits and I nearly fell out my chair! (Personal note to our old collie - It is good to know you are getting to eat beef at least. Old Ralph would have wanted it that way as well!) Her "popularity" says much about our nation I fear. She's combative by default, often dead wrong, lacking in any measure of tact, and seemingly nuts! Our society, and I certainly include the so-called liberal media in the mix, is nearly as nuts to give her even a partially legitimate venue to shill her hate and foolishness. That she has an action figure as pictured above is likely appropriate for a symbol of just how far we've lowered the bar. (Speaking of the bar, I still would not be surprised if Ms. Coulter had not just closed one down when she appeared on The Today Show with Matt Lauer just recently.) At least the 101st Fighting Keyboarders have someone to talk with when they serve "Our Leader". Peace ... or War!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

OUR Daily Bread, Crazy Ann Coulter, and Christian Nationalism

Knocked off my alleged high horse perhaps, as I'm sure my "enlightened" family might prefer to think I'm on, or maybe just tired, I've admittedly been slack this weekend. Reading lots as I take a break from being out in the heat and humidity and dust (damn it is dry in the highlands!) so I've got material. Let's start with Bill Moyers' "Pass the Bread" which is the Baccalaureate Address he delivered at Hamilton College, Clinton, New York back on May 20th. Common Dreams serves this up as one of the most emailed stories. I read some time back yet it loved the part about about "Give US OUR daily bread" in the Lord's Prayer.

And then Common Dreams provides ink and space (or maybe just bytes and bandwidth?) for Tony Norman's "If Ann Coulter's a Christian, I'll Be Damned". I'm with you Tony! She's hardly disowned by today's ReThuglicans as she's feeding their often radical and ignorant base. Her ideas about "liberalism" as ignorant indeed yet I'd rather be in that church than the one that hasn't tossed her out on her narrow ass.

Finally, I think at least somewhat related to the above, I finished Michelle Goldberg's "Kingdom Coming : The Rise of Christian Nationalism" this weekend. Very fine work and yet much of what she writes on I fear will continue to hardly get any coverage from the mainstream media. That we are in this place as a nation today where radicalism seems the norm says much.

I'll try to get back in gear this next week. Comments, encouragement, corrections, links ... are always appreciated. Peace ... or War!

Friday, June 09, 2006

More On "Left Behind: Eternal Forces Video Game

While I'd posted just yesterday on the Left Behind : Eternal Forces video game, Mark Morford of SFGate (The San Francisco Chronicle) gives us "Jesus Loves A Machine Gun : It's the new "Left Behind" video game, where you maim and murder and hate, all in God's name. Praise!" that has me rolling in the floor nearly. Wicked good! The LA Times Dawn C. Chmielewski's take on this isn't too shabby as well. On behalf of "fly over" land "I'm sorry" is all I can offer to the Left Coast. Peace ... or War!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Purpose Driven Jihad? They Can Kiss My Behind!

American Taliban? I'm still reeling over this discovery. Since I've been slack lately with the Alabama primary (my girls won!) and some family issues I've been out of the loop. With a tip of the tam to Crooks and Liars, here's the first link from Jonathan Hutson at Talk to Action entitled The Purpose Driven Life Takers (Part 1). Here's the "trailer" from"Eternal Forces" as provided by Bruce Wilson at Talk to Action. Violent Video Game Marketed Through Mega-Churches (Part 2) comes in via Jonathan and finally Revelation and Resignation (Part 3) reporting the resignation of Mark Carver as Executive Director for Purpose Driven Church, apparently one of the "brains" behind this outrage. LaHaye's Left Behind Games will likely scoop up this "talent". Peace ... or War!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Should Our Soldiers Holster Their Little Soldiers So They Can Focus on The Weapons of War?

Tip of the tam to General Jesus for sending us to Station Charon where I swiped the graphic. Bu$hCo is openly pandering to his radical base of Bible Thumpers. Michelle Golberg at HuffPo (I'm reading her book right now!) is a good view of that base. Here's Kos suggesting this pandering might come back to bite Bu$hCo in the butt thought. And here is Kos telling the politicians what would really protect marriage. Peace ... or War!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

"Crazy as a Run Over Dog" Alert! Is Campus Crusade for Christ an Instrument of Ann Coulter?

RJ Eskow via HuffPo gives us "The Evangelighouls - How The Christian Right Exploits War's Youngest Victims" and darned if I didn't think of Ann Coulter's writing at National Review Online just after 9-11. Angry Ann wrote, with my emphasis supplied, the following:

... We don't need long investigations of the forensic evidence to determine with scientific accuracy the person or persons who ordered this specific attack. We don't need an "international coalition." We don't need a study on "terrorism." We certainly didn't need a congressional resolution condemning the attack this week.

The nation has been invaded by a fanatical, murderous cult. And we welcome them. We are so good and so pure we would never engage in discriminatory racial or "religious" profiling. ...

We know who the homicidal maniacs are. They are the ones cheering and dancing right now.

We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren't punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That's war. And this is war.

"Crazy as a Run Over Dog" Ann Coulter has apparently found these young Crusaders to carry out her own form of jihad. In the above "writing" of course one would have enjoyed hearing how bombing of Germany's massive industrial war machinery making capacity compares to Ann's suggestions. Plus now that we know most of these non-state actors were from Saudi Arabia I'd be interested in how Ann's "thinking" has evolved. Peace ... or War!