Monday, November 23, 2009

A Note to Bishop Tobin: Back Off

This weekend, there unfolded yet another example of interference by the Catholic hierarchy in the political affairs of the United States. This time, the culprit is Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island, who is trying to get Rep. Patrick Kennedy, son of Sen. Ted Kennedy, to endorse abortion restrictions in the health care bill. Apparently, as early as 2007, Bishop Tobin attempted to intimidate Rep. Kennedy by asking him to refrain from Communion.

My Gut Reaction: Apparently, Tobin and his fellow bishops believe that major political issues in this country should be settled through the distribution of pieces of tasteless, unleavened bread to our politicians.

Analysis: This type of interference in our political system by the bishops has to stop. They have gone from merely expressing opinions to actively trying to push around politicians through religious means. If the Church wants to be such a force in civil society, perhaps it could do us the favor of contributing to said society-through the payment of taxes.

Monday, November 09, 2009

The Coathanger Amendment

The 2009 Health Care Reform Bill recently passed by Congress contained a rather interesting rider courtesy of Michigan Congressman Bart Stupak. Rep. Stupak attached and successfully passed an amendment to the bill which bars any form of federal funding for abortion through the health care funds. It would not only bar direct funding for abortion, but also any affordability payment to an insurance company that covers abortion.

My Gut Reaction: The DailyKos was right when they termed this amendment "The Coathanger Amendment."

Analysis: This amendment seeks to limit indirectly the rights of women to obtain abortion, and not simply those who apply to the government for assistance. By denying insurance companies eligibility for affordability funds if they cover abortion, essentially creating an incentive not to cover it.

The potential stakes of this issue become apparent when one reads this account of a woman who had to have an abortion twelve weeks into her pregnancy after the fetus died. Had the fetus not been aborted, she would have faced a serious risk of infection or sepsis. Luckily, her insurance company covered abortion. That might not be the case if the government starts providing incentives for companies to not cover abortion.

What is particularly galling about this legislation is that religious leaders, particularly from the Roman Catholic Church, seem to have played a major role in drafting the amendment. The Suburban Guerilla blog reports that the congressmen who drafted the amendment were in talks with representatives of the Catholic Church. (Yet another reason to revoke the Church's tax exempt status.)

Luckily, there is a movement fighting against this amendment. Forty House Democrats have already pledged to vote against any final bill that contains the amendment. Furthermore, there is an online movement to create a new meaning for the word "Stupak," referring to sepsis generated by back alley abortion. You can vote for this new meaning on the Urban Dictionary by clicking here. You may also wish to do searches on Yahoo! under "sepsis stupak" in an effort to get it on their top ten searches list.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

A Quote that Summarizes the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and the Way Forward

From Bradley Burston of Ha'aretz:

"The fears of Israelis are real. The grievances of the Palestinians are just. If both peoples have one trait in common, it is that they cannot be bludgeoned, bribed, or sweet-talked into supporting a policy which favors only one side."

Monday, November 02, 2009

I've Heard of Imperialism Being Wedded to Commerce, But Imperialism Wedded to Sports?

Apparently, next week's Fox NFL pre-game show will be held in Afghanistan, so that the brutality of combat can be melded with the action of sports.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

A Bit of Advice from One of Our Israeli Brethren

An article by the Ha'aretz writer Gideon Levy, republished by the Common Dreams website, contains some interesting advice for the United States government. Levy argues that the Obama Administration needs to take a tougher diplomatic line with the Israeli government, suggesting the use of sanctions to end the growth of settlements.

My Gut Reaction: It's kind of pathetic that we need an Israeli commentator to tell us this.

Analysis: As Levy writes, the United States does not allow itself to be treated with the same level of contempt and disregard by any nation other than Israel without serious repercussions. In many cases, the result is the threat of sanctions and or warfare. Even in the cases of close allies along the lines of Israel, such as France or Germany, the reaction tends to be one of dismissal.

Perhaps the greatest indicator of the level of deference our nation gives to Israel is Levy's mention of opinion polls in Israel showing President Obama having an approval rating of only 6 to 10 percent. If any other country were publishing approval polls about our leader, the typical American patriot would be frenzied with insulted anger. In the case of Israel, however, this is passed over in silence.

Of course, Gideon Levy should not be taken to represent the mainstream of Israeli opinion. Indeed, he has been called the most radical commentator in Israel. Nevertheless, his opinion is worth considering, particularly as it comes from an outsider looking in.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Good Quote from David Brancaccio on the Rachel Maddow Show

On Americans:

"One thing they're not good at is thinking about the future."

If You Thought the Fundies Were Crazy Before...

Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network has sent parents an urgent warning on their children's Halloween candy. As Americans United for the Separation of Church and State reports, CBN columnist Kimberly Daniels has written an online column claiming that Halloween candy may have been contaminated with demons by witches.

My Gut Reaction: As my father puts it, the Taliban has nothing on Pat Robertson, except for the gnarly beards.

Analysis: Pat Robertson has gone on for a while about Halloween, which he sees as having Satanic associations, and even calls a "festival of the devil." (Hmmm...I wonder what he thinks of the so-called hell houses where evangelicals depict the horrors of ungodliness and hell to try to convert people.)

Daniels's column, however, seems to go to far, even for CBN. When I went to their website in order to link to it, I found the article itself had mysteriously vanished. Perhaps it proved too embarrassing even for these fanatics.

Then again, Daniels may be on to something. As one of my friends who has children pointed out, there are at least two demons in every piece of chocolate Halloween candy: corn syrup and caffeine.

Going Broke

Browsing through yesterday, I happened to notice an advertisement for Sarah Palin's new book, Going Rogue. The price has already been cut by twenty dollars.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Randall Terry: God's Gift to the Pro-Choice Movement

Randall Terry, Operation Rescue founder and patron saint of the anti-abortion movement, has done yet another service for us pro-choicers. He is calling for the burning in effigy of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid because he seems to think health care reform is a conspiracy to kill all the babies in America.

The blogger and commenters at the blog linked above are all trying to dissociate themselves and the anti-abortion movement from Terry's actions, but I think he is the movement's perfect mascot. Fanatical, misogynistic, a hypocrite (he promotes family values but is not on speaking terms with many of his children)-he basically sums up all the winning qualities of the anti-abortion movement.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Coward's Bludgeon

In a comment on the blog Victim's Voice, run by Stephen Flatlow, a commentor calling herself Shana Maydel has accused me of anti-semitism. My post, which criticized the activities of organizations such as the ADL and AIPAC for being uncritically supportive of Israel. To Maydel, this comment was apparently tantamount to alleging that Jews control the government and the media, something which I do not believe.

My Gut Reaction: Shana Maydel (whomever she may be) is a childish coward.

Analysis: Maydel's rather incoherent rant raises several issues. First, her unsubstantiated use of the term anti-semite cheapens the meaning of the term, effectively reducing it to a code word for anyone who disagrees with her in regard to the state of Israel. This dilutes the actual impact of the term, and makes it less likely that actual incidents of anti-semitism will be taken seriously in the future. (Essentially the boy who cried wolf effect.)

Second, Maydel hurls smears at the organization my comment originally defended CAIR, effectively calling it a front for Hamas. However, these charges have been debunked by Michael Rolince, a former FBI agent and counter terrorism expert who concludes there are no hard facts backing the accusations. (Hmmm...perhaps Ms. Maydel's next act should be to expose the FBI as an anti-semetic front group.)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Dare We Hope...

According to a news posting on the Carnal Nation website, the fanatical anti-abortion organization Operation Rescue may be on its last legs. The organization sent a message to its supporters recently saying that it is severely lacking in funds. The funding shortage may be partially due to the murder of Dr. George Tiller, in which the organization is indirectly implicated.

My Gut Reaction: If it's true, Hallelujah!

Analysis: The Tiller murder has undoubtedly played a major role in the organization's rapid reversal of fortune. The organization had a long history of harrassing Dr. Tiller and clinic workers. Furthermore, Dr. Tiller's probable assassin, Scott Roeder, had been in contact with Operation Rescue policy adviser Cheryl Sullenger, who herself did two years in prison for trying to bomb an abortion clinic.

However, as Chris Hall points out, this was not the only issue facing Operation Rescue. The organization had lost its tax exempt status due to activities during the 2004 presidential campaign.

Here We Go Again...

The usual one man gang of panic-mongers is at it again. Stephen Flatlow of the Victim's Voice Blog is in his usual state of borderline paranoia at the recent set of terror arrests. He is so worked up that he takes issue with anyone raising questions about what is happening, including a few snipes at the Muslim advocacy group CAIR (Council for American Islamic Relations) for pointing at that this was another group of bumbling idiots who had to be entrapped into doing something. He argues that they will defend anyone just because they are Muslim.

My Gut Reaction: Pot. Kettle. Black. (With apologies to Richard Dawkins.)

Analysis: Although Flatlow attempts to contrast the Muslim advocacy groups with Jewish advocacy groups, it would seem that many of these Jewish advocacy groups are guilty of the very things he accuses CAIR of. Anyone who follows Middle Eastern news regularly cannot help but be aware of the uncritical support given to Israel given by American Jewish advocacy groups such as AIPAC and the Anti-Defamation League. Leaders of these groups such as Abraham Foxman justify virtually any Israeli action, without reflection on its brutality, largely on the basis of shared religion.

Friday, September 11, 2009

9 / 11 Reconsidered

Eight years after September 11, 2001, I feel the time has come to reconsider that date's place in history. In our memory, it has gained a significance far beyond what it actually has, out of proportion to the number of people that died and the overall effects on the world.

To many Americans, 9 / 11 has become an epochal moment, a day of terror and atrocity that is beyond anything they have experienced. It is, in effect, the blackest day the world has ever seen. The only problem is, it was not.

Yes, the terrorist attacks that took place that morning were horrific and beyond the pale of experience of most Americans. Yes, the suffering of the victims' families must be awful. But 9 / 11 is not the only tragedy in human history, or in American history.

If we limit our glance merely to the twentieth century, we are faced with the Armenian genocide, the First World War, the Second World War, the Holocaust, the Palestinian Nakba, the Vietnam War, Pol Pot's Kampuchea, and numerous other historical events have killed far more people. What makes 9 / 11 so special is that it happened to us. It was a matter of location, not magnitude.

People said it would change everything. However, for most Americans, life has gone back to normal. Even in New York, the site of the attacks, things have gone back to pretty much the way they were. As an article in today's New York Times illustrates, even though many New Yorkers thought that the city would never recover, the city has suffered only minimal changes. Businesses have remained where they were, the city itself has not degenerated into a security state, and the population has not fled.

One might argue that 9 / 11 has changed everything. He or she might point to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, or the sweeping anti-terror laws that were passed afterwards. However, these changes were not merely results of the attacks themselves. They were outgrowths of our panic, and unwillingness to think before we acted.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

President Obama's Speech Last Night

The behavior of congressional and Senate Republicans during last night's prime time speech by President Obama was genuinely embarrassing. From the idiot from South Carolina to Republican senators leaving early to "avoid the rush," the Republicans fully humiliated themselves, acting like small children.

My Gut Reaction: President Obama should have laid down the law.

Analysis: President Obama should not have taken that crap lying down. Upon Rep. Wilson's outburst, President Obama should have told the Republicans point blank to "Shut up!" or get out of the hall. He might also have considered personally mocking a few of them on national television. Spare the rod, spoil the ideologues.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Quit Hating on Jimmy

As Ben Smith reports on his Politico blog, some Jewish Democrats, although certainly not all, are taking offense at Jimmy Carter's willingness to make even a mild critique of Israeli policy. Elliot Abrams, an Iran-Contra indictee, and Ira Forman, executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Council whine about the former President's willingness to point out how big a contribution Israeli settlements have made to continuing the conflict in that region.

My Gut Reaction: Oh, boo-hoo...

Analysis: If one takes even a brief look at their website, it becomes clear what the NJDC is trying to do. As part of their "Stop the Smears" campaign, they are doing their best to present President Obama as Israel's best friend possible. Any comments, however legitimate, that might lead some to doubt the Democratic Party's support for Israel will be condemned, no matter how well-thought out they are.

However, these criticisms ignore the genuine moral claims of Palestinians in the face of Israeli settlers. Furthermore, they ignore the fact that, as a major source of funding for the Israeli government, we have the most control over what they do, and hold responsibility for their actions in the face of the Arab world. If we seek to be taken seriously as peacemakers, we must rein in the Israelis' actions.

Funny but True

Friday, September 04, 2009

How to Offend A Catholic

1. Tell them you used to be a Catholic, but are no longer.

2. Explain to them why you are no longer a Catholic.

3. Explain to them why a full grown woman might have more rights than a zygote.\

4. Discuss why you might be reluctant to send children to schools with track records of protecting pedophiles.

5. Suggest that the Church's limits on debate in Catholic colleges are actually a stifling of intellectual freedom.

6. Point out how idiotic the idea of papal infallibility is.

7. Point out the Church's adaptation of pagan saints and rituals.

8. Discuss the Church's history of violent intolerance.

9. Discuss the Church's collaboration with Fascist leaders such as Mussolini and Francisco Franco.

10. Point out the Church's indirect responsibility for violence and intolerance against homosexuals.

11. Point out various revisions the Church has made to its own doctrine.

12. Note that Catholic charities are not the only way to help the poor.

13. Point out how Catholic schools are in many respects indoctrination centers meant to brainwash children.

14. Discuss how the American Catholic Church is increasingly dependent on immigrants to keep its numbers up.

15. Mention all the former Catholics you keep meeting at Unitarian Churches.

16. Counter their arguments about how the longevity of the Church proves it's right by noting that Buddhism is older.

17. Note how all the best Catholic politicians are not particularly devout Catholics.

18. Discuss how the majority Catholic countries in Europe are largely secular.

19. Mention the Church's genocidal policies on AIDS in Africa.

20. Laugh at them when they post absurdist YouTube videos comparing President Obama to Hitler.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Blessed Are the Intolerant Nitwits

The usual gang of idiots at The Lair of the Catholic Cavement apparently have a beef with surfers or people who like going to the beach. In a screed against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, they complain about the diocese's effort to reach out to non-traditional religious communities among the surfer crowd, whom the blogger denounces as pagans and heretics.

This hostility from ultra-orthodox Catholics is apparently somewhat common. Another Catholic blog denounces the diocese for permitting Democratic Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, apparently taking issue with her positions on abortion and Obama's health care plan.

My Gut Reaction: This stupidity is what made me leave the Roman Catholic Church.

Analysis: I am no fan of the Catholic Church, but I feel that if members of the Church are willing to reach out to people with other religious and political viewpoints, that should be encouraged. More ecumenism, even from a church I stongly disagree with, is always to be encouraged.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Iraq: Land of the Death Penalty

According to Amnesty International, there are roughly one thousand people on death row in the country of Iraq. They are currently being held by the Iraqi Ministry of Justice, with some alleging that they were tortured to give false confessions. Iraq's current government has admitted to carrying out executions in secret.

My Gut Reaction: Ah, Iraq, that beacon of freedom in the Middle East.

Analysis: There are a number of human rights issues confronting the Iraqi government which should give observers extreme pause in trusting their use of capital punishment. For example, the Iraqi justice system has been documented to have difficulty dealing efficiently with lesser criminal cases. This is hardly an encouraging prospect for someone facing the death penalty.

I believe the death penalty is barbaric in all cases, no matter how serious the crime. Admittedly, many, although not all, of those facing death in Iraq are terrorists. However, that does not mean we should trust a government to kill them, particularly in a country that was so recently under a dictatorship.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Sick, but Funny

OK, folks, the video below is definitely for mature audiences and the not easily offended, but it is hilarious.

Thanks to Pharyngula for posting this.

Arrest this Bastard!

Steven L. Anderson (I refuse to call him Reverend) of the Faithful Word Baptist Church seems to be one of the more dangerous rising fanatics in the Republican fold. Not only has he prayed for the death of President Obama, with one of his congregation, Chris Broughton, turning up at an Obama rally with a gun, but he also considers homosexuals to be predators who should be stoned to death, as is documented by the RightWingWatch blog of People for the American Way.

My Gut Reaction: Something tells me the Founding Fathers did not have this nitwit in mind when they wrote the First Amendment.

Analysis: I'm all for free speech, as anyone who reads this blog can attest, but that doesn't mean I think people should be allowed to advocate for the death of the President. There are many public figures whom I dislike, but if I were to go out and advocate for their deaths in the way that Anderson has, I would be imprisoned, and rightly so. I do not see how Anderson's claims to spiritual authority make him immune.

Friday, August 28, 2009

To Hell with the Pope, Long Live Ted Kennedy

An article on Yahoo News documents the conspicuous lack of reaction from Pope Benedict XVI to the death of Senator Ted Kennedy, in spite of receiving a letter from the Senator via President Obama. The article implies this silence is a result of Kennedy's liberal stance on abortion, which one Vatican official commented was in defiance of the Church's Magisterium (teaching authority.)

My Gut Reaction: Senator Ted Kennedy, with all he's done for America and the working class, had more moral authority than the Church's vaunted Magisterium. Even considering Chappaquidick.

Analysis: Senator Ted Kennedy, in spite of scandal and assassinations of two of his brothers, devoted his life to public service. This does not mean he was a perfect man or a saint. However, when one considers the recent history of the Catholic Church (cough-child molestation-ahem)one could argue that Senator Kennedy held the moral high ground.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Flu Panic

The University I am currently attending has announced an aggressive policy aimed at combatting the spread of swine flu. This policy has included altering aspects of freshman orientation to limit the spread of the disease, and placing students who live in dormatories in isolation if they are suspected of having the disease. Essentially, they are treating this as the second coming of the Black Death.

My Gut Reaction: If anyone from Student Health Services attempts to place me in isolation, I will respond with the magic word: lawsuit.

Analysis: Frankly, I believe this to be a complete overreaction generated by media scare tactics. As the CDC admits, most of the infections in the United States have been relatively mild, with only four hundred some dying in a nation of three hundred million people, in which a million had already been infected as of this June. Worldwide, the death toll is estimated to be a little less than 3,000.

Not only is the University's, and the media at large's, response alarmist, but it makes it less likely in the future that people will take real disease threat seriously. They will be perceived as another case of media hysteria.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Barney Frank Lays on the Smack Down

My Gut Reaction: Right on, Barney

Analysis: The above video is an example of how liberal Democrats and the Administration should deal with the extremist opposition that has arisen to health care reform. There is no point in attempting to debate someone who believes that President Obama is like Hitler, or who argues in spite of all evidence that there will be death panels included in health care reform. The only legitimate response is to point them out for the morons they are.

Like many liberals, I am deeply angry with the reports that the public option may be shelved due to fanatic opposition. This could be a lost opportunity which America may regret for decades in the future. However, I do not blame President Obama for this failure, as the fault lies largely with the American people. If they refuse to engage in critical thinking and stand up to the lies put up by people like Sarah Palin, they have only themselves to blame when they get led down a disastrous path.

We should not let this failure divide our party. Rather, we should see it as a call to strengthen our efforts against a fanatical opposition that will stoop to any depth to thwart us.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Christians Don't Get Much Stupider than This

One Indian, One Normal - Watch more Funny Videos

This has to be one of the most humorously disturbing videos I have ever looked at. I am not totally certain whether it is real or a put on. Long story made short: Two girls invite a new Indian friend to their house, insult her race, then try to convert her to born again Christianity when they find out she's a Hindu.

Thanks to Christian Pwnage for posting this video.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Orly Taitz: Not Just a Nutty Birther

Orly Taitz, the Russian immigrant who believes that President Obama was born in Kenya, turns out to have a very diverse selection of conspiracy theories that she is promoting. Esquire writer Jonathan Richardson, excerpted on Ben Smith's Politico blog, reveals that she believes in conspiracies including a killer bird flu vaccine, a plan to set up labor camps in the United States, and a conspiracy involving voting machines that includes Hugo Chavez and Saudi Arabia.

My Gut Reaction: I told you she was nuts.

Analysis: See above.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Again and Again and Again...

Well, we've had another mass shooting in the Pittsburgh area, this time by a disgruntled computer programmer who hated women.

Again. Just a few months after three police officers were killed by another wack job in Pittsburgh proper.

Am I the only one who finds this a grotesque reflection on the state of our society, and above all on our government's irrational unwillingness to engage in gun control? No doubt within a few days, if not already, we will hear the gun nuts and the NRA trying to smooth this latest bloodbath over, saying it's not typical of gun owners, and the Second Amendment is more important than a few deaths. (Sure, they don't come out and say that, but that's what their general attitude is.)

What really ticks me off is that the shooter, George Sodini, was able to purchase his gun legally. If you read the online diary he kept, posted at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette website, it becomes quite obvious that Sodini was mentally ill. Even if you didn't see his website, his neighbors observed that he was behaving oddly, particularly in the months leading up to the shooting. Shouldn't the gun dealer, noticing a rather odd man trying to purchase a gun, have refused to sell, or at least investigated him a bit?

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Spoke Too Soon

This afternoon, while I was in my local drug store, I noticed that in the P.M. edition of the local conservative paper, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review had a headline on its front page claiming that former President Bill Clinton was "begging" in North Korea for the release of Laura Ling and Euna Lee, two journalists jailed in North Korea on in all likelihood trumped up charges of violating their borders. The implication of the headline was that he was engaging in ineffective appeasement.

Unfortunately for the Tribune-Review, less than an hour after I saw their headline, I saw another headline that made them look slightly stupid.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Hitchens on Henry Louis Gates

Christopher Hitchens provides a highly intelligent analysis of the Henry Louis Gates fiasco, in his usual grand style. He convincingly argues that the issue is not race, but abuse of power. A must read for anyone who wants to understand what happened.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Time to Fight Back

An article from and linked on Yahoo News notes that President Obama is beginning to strike back at Republican intransigence against the stimulus and health care reform. He has begun issuing statements through the Democratic National Committee condemning the behavior of Republican leader Congressman Eric Cantor, and Cabinet Secretaries have called the governors of states such as Arizona with Republican representatives who oppose the stimulus, asking if they would like stimulus monies to be withheld.

My Gut Reaction: It's about frakking time.

Analysis: For too long, we have allowed the Republicans to indulge in rough politics without any real retaliation from the Democratic leadership. If what we are seeing is any indication, that's about to change.

If the Republicans want to bitch about stimulus spending, they should have the guts to forgo any benefits it may bring. It is hypocritical to take the public money if they think it is useful or harmful to the nation's long term interests. Let the Republican shirkers go without, while the rest reap the rewards.

Democrats used to be willing to play hard ball. As Molly Ivins once described, President Lyndon Johnson once had an issue getting the schools in a particular southern town to integrate. Furious, he called the governor of the state the town was in, and asked if his state wanted to keep its military bases. When the governor anxiously said it did, President Johnson said coldly: "Schools. Integration. Tomorrow."

And lo and behold, the schools were integrated the next day.

The moral of the story is the Democrats need to start polishing up their political guns. It's elephant hunting time.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Organic Panic

On the Alternet website, food writer Ari LeVaux complains that the Silk soymilk company has switched its supplies from American organic farmers to Chinese farmers. LeVaux argues that this move harms American organic farmers, while risking imports of reduced quality.

My Gut Reaction: Oh, boo-hoo.

Analysis: LeVaux seems to believe that the Silk company is a charity rather than a business. He whines that the decision to switch to Chinese supplies was taken by Dean Foods-a "megacorporation." He forgets that the objective of any business, no matter of what size, is to make a profit, not to fund its friends and neighbors.

His misunderstanding of basic economics extends to consumers. He expresses consternation that they buy supermarket garlic from China rather than domestically produced garlic from farmers' markets. Maybe that is because the supermarket garlic is generally cheaper. In case you haven't noticed, we are in a recession. People don't have huge amounts of money to spend on organic food.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Houston, We Just Destroyed a Piece of History

According to NPR, NASA has admitted that it in all likelihood accidentally deleted the original magnetic tapes of the Apollo 11 landing and moonwalk. Apparently, they unwittingly used the tapes to record feeds from one of their numerous satellites.

My Gut Reaction: Somebody f###ed up.

Analysis: This, sadly, is part of the process of historical remembering. All too often, prime historical documents are lost through carelessness, stupidity, or simply bad luck.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Sotomayor Follies

Well, the Sotomayor hearings are pushing into their third day, with a rather circus-like atmosphere granted by the presence of anti-abortion fanatic Randall Terry, who has commissioned protestors to disrupt the hearings. He is ordering these actions despite the fact that Sotomayor has remained mum about her abortion views.

Judge Sotomayor herself is trying to keep her hand of cards as close as possible. As an article on Yahoo News notes, she is revealing as little of her views as possible to ensure the easiest possible route towards confirmation.

My Gut Reaction: This is all much ado about nothing for several reasons, not the least of which being the fact that the idea of an impartial Supreme Court Justice is fiction.

Analysis: We all know it. Virtually all the Supreme Court justices appointed over at least the past twenty years have been partisans of one political position or another. Hell, it goes beyond contemporary times. Throughout American history, Supreme Court justices have held partisan positions of one form or another, for good or for bad.

I support Judge Sotomayor because her views correlate with my partisan positions. (And don't get huffy, conservatives, we all know you support Justices Scalia and Thomas because of their partisan positions.) The trick isn't getting a so-called impartial justice; it's getting someone whose views roughly correspond with yours.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Viewing the World Through a Tinted Lens

Over the past week, I have been commenting on a blog called The Victim's Voice. The blog, maintained by Mr. Stephen M. Flatlow, who lost his daughter in a terrorist attack, is largely an apologia for Israel. The majority of the posts, at least that I've seen, focus on defending Israel against accusations of imperialism and racism.

Unfortunately, this defense at times translates into opposition to any sympathy for the Palestinian cause, no matter how measured. For example, the post which provoked my ire attacked a speech by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who praised the courage of Palestinian refugees who've endured in spite of conflict.

Flatlow contends that rather than praising the refugees, Ki-Moon should be attacking Muslim countries for not integrating the refugees into their own populations. Never mind the fact that the Palestinians as a whole seem to want to return to their original homes.

Flatlow's response to this point is that the Palestinians voluntarily left in order to allow Arab armies to attack Israel. Even if one ignores the general dictates of prudence, which suggest that one should flee an area if a military force is approaching, this ignores the evidence presented by Ilan Pappe, a Jewish Israeli historian, has uncovered evidence that Zionist leaders planned to expel Palestinians before the war started. One commenter on the blog, Shana Maydel (apparently a pseudonym, as shana maydel is a Yiddish phrase for "pretty girl") attempted to discredit Pappe as a bad historian, incidentally throwing in that he is a "Communist" and "anti-Zionist." Though if he was such a bad historian, one wonders why they felt the need to drive him out of the country.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Once Again, The Revolving Door

An article in today's Washington Post examines the phenomenon of former government and congressional employees going to work as lobbyists for health care companies in the upcoming health care debate. These new lobbyists include former employees of prominent senators such as Democrat Max Baucus and Republican Charles E. Grassley, as well as former lawmakers such as Dick Armey and Dick Gephardt, and are working for pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer, as well as industry lobbying groups such as the American Medical Association and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). The lobbyists claim that their contacts with lawmakers do not give them or those they represent any extra advantages, but public interest groups are not so sure.

My Gut Reaction: The lobbyists and congressmen may be sincere in their protestations of innocence, but this situation still makes me rather quesy.

Analysis: With all these lobbyists weighing in on health care reform, it seems the only ones not getting Congress's ear are the American people. Although the public is supposed to be represented by our elected officials, I have the suspicion we get far less attention than these corporate lobbyists. Although some may argue that hiring lobbyists is simply a form of free speech, to me, hiring a former government official to speak for you seems a lot like influence peddling.

The Schenley Park Tea Party

Yesterday, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on a July 4th "tea party" (herefore to be known as Hickapalooza) held in Schenley Park, near Carnegie Mellon University. The party was meant to protest all forms of government intervention, ranging from taxes on cigarettes to health care reform. Above all, the "party" sought to condemn the policies of President Obama, with at least one sign calling his election the "suicide" of America.

My Gut Reaction: If they think the country is on such a wrong course, why don't they f---ing leave? It's not like they'd be particularly missed.

Analysis: The article about Hickapalooza is a case study in right wing hysteria. Especially galling is the statement from one woman, a Czech immigrant who lived under Communism, that universal health care would turn the United States into a Communist country. Having experienced a Communist regime, the woman should have realized that if America had actually become a communist country, she and her comrades would never have been allowed to mount a protest. They would all have been rounded up by the secret police.

These people do not seem to recognize any viable role for the state, other than fighting wars and making certain they get to keep their guns. One actually wonders whether they would feel more comfortable in a country where government has effectively ceased to exist, such as Somalia.

If this is the best the conservatives have to offer, I think we can look forward to a full eight years of liberal rule.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

A Palin Scandal?

Tana Ganeva, writing on the Alternet website, provides a great deal of evidence to suggest that Sarah Palin, soon to be ex-governor of Alaska, may have resigned her post in order to escape one of several public scandals, ranging from things that cropped up during her vice-presidential campaign, to one or two new ones. Particularly of note are Gov. Palin's dealings with an Alaskan contractor, Spenard Building Supplies, which built one of Palin's houses and later the Wasilla Sports Complex.

My Gut Reaction: I told you so.

Analysis: Although some Palin supporters such as Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard, think her resignation may be a brilliant, if bizarre, political move, the amount of scandal murmurings in the background suggest that she's trying to get out of Dodge before all hell breaks loose.

The Spenard Building Supplies issue, which may become the subject of a federal investigation, is particularly intriguing. Unlike the other scandals that Ganeva writes about, which are frankly old news, this is a new issue, one that may evolve into a media frenzy, particularly with the number of Republican governors who have had problems recently.

Of course, it is too early in the game to be certain of anything. Given Gov. Palin's tendency toward political gaffes, it might just be another sign of incompetency on her part.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Breaking News: Palin Is Gone!!! has reported that Sarah Palin is planning to resign at the end of this month, apparently to prepare for a Presidential bid. The move comes as a surprise to members of her own party.

Analysis: Something seems fishy here. Why would she resign three years before the election? It could mean something bad is brewing in Alaska, and Gov. Palin wants to keep clear of it. Not necessarily something illegal, but perhaps a major budget crunch or some other major political development that she wants to steer clear of.

The coincidence of this development with a controversial Vanity Fair article denouncing Gov. Palin and drawing from interior GOP sources also seems rather interesting. I don't know what it is, but some sort of machination is going on here.

So Much for Free Expression

An article in The Progressive magazine, as well as a blog post on the Mondoweiss blog document the suppression of a Palestinian literary festival by the Israeli army. The Palestinian Festival of Literature, a celebration of Palestinian writing and arts, was deemed subversive by government officials.

My Gut Reaction: It's rather unwise to suppress literary festivals when you promote yourself to your allies as the only real democracy in the Middle East.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Some Disturbing Observations on Honduras

Greg Grandin of The Nation, in an article excerpted on the Upside Down World website, warns that the U. S. State Department may be considering exploiting the coup in Honduras to pressure President in Exile Manuel Zelaya to adopt policies that would serve American economic interests. As he notes, the State Department has refused to refer to what has happened in Honduras as a coup.

My Gut Reaction: We must not allow State Department bureaucrats to stand in the way of supporting genuine democracy.

Analysis: If what Grandin says is true, we may face a return to the corrupt dealings in Latin America and the Caribbean that I discussed in my previous post about Honduras. As Grandin notes, under the Clinton Administration, the restoration of Jean-Bertrand Aristide to the presidency of Haiti was predicated upon the acceptance of IMF policies. There is evidence that the State Department under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may be pursuing a similar course with Honduras.

An Insult to the First Amendment

Pittsburgh-area U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan has done it again, trampling on other people's freedoms to advance her own moral agenda. As the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports, Rob Zicari and Janet Romano, the heads of the now defunct Extreme Associates, a pornography production company, have both been sentenced to a year in prison after being prosecuted for five years by Buchanan.

Their company produced highly graphic, sadomasochistic pornography, known as "horror porn" which the U.S. Government under President George W. Bush deemed obscene. As an episode of the PBS television show Frontline documented, their videos could include subject matter such as rape.

My Gut Reaction: U.S. Attorney Buchanan is a Puritan throwback who should not have anywhere near the power she now has.

Analysis: In my opinion, the prosecution of Extreme Associates by Buchanan violates the spirit, if not necessarily the wording, of the First Amendment. Over a period of five years, spending who knows how much taxpayer money, she wore down Zicari and Romano, who are married, driving them out of their careers and ultimately their home for making films with consenting adults. When their resources ran out, they had no real choice other than to plead guilty.

That's right. No snuff films. No actual rape took place. No children were involved. All this for a fictional movie. This is unacceptable.

As an article published by the Pittsburgh City Paper demonstrates, Buchanan has a habit of pursuing cases that revolve around morality rather than the public safety. For instance, she pursued a drug paraphenalia case against Tommy Chong, and another obscenity case against an internet author whose work focused on child molestation.

Is this really the kind of person we want enforcing our laws? Someone whose main interest appears to be forcing her ideas of morality on the rest of the world. Is this what we think American justice should be like?

Some may point out that the majority of people would find the work of Extreme Associates disgusting and offensive. They would probably be right. I would probably find their videos difficult if not impossible to watch, as I personally find it uncomfortable to watch a female get hurt, even if I know it is simulated. But that is not the point.

Others may point out that Extreme Associates and its owners to a certain extent courted government prosecution by going on Frontline. Furthermore, after the charges were filed, Extreme Associates continued to sell the videos being targeted, labeling them as the "Federal Five." But that is also not the point.

The point is that the government should not be regulating the type of films people can produce when they involve consenting adults, and government officials certainly should not be pursuing filmmakers for periods of over half a decade. This is an abuse of government power, and sets a precedent that threatens the liberty of all.

What particularly makes this prosecution galling is that Extreme Associates, Zicari, and Romano were all based in California. Buchanan had a government agent based in Pennsylvania order a copy of one of the company's videos so that she could prosecute them herself. This is a practice known as forum shopping.

We need to stand up to such prosecutions, and label them as what they are-abuses of government power, and infringements on American liberty and the freedom of speech.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Don't Hold Back on Honduras

An article on Yahoo News describes the increasing isolation of the new military regime in Honduras, with the nation under threat of suspension from the Organization of American States (OAS)and the United States recognizing Manuel Zelaya as the legitimate ruler of the country. Zelaya intends to return to the country in three days, in spite of threats by coup leader Roberto Micheletti. (I refuse to refer to him as President.)

My Gut Reaction: President Obama, the United Nations, and the rest of Latin America should open ten cans of diplomatic whupass on Micheletti and his military backers. Sanctions, withdrawal of diplomatic recognition, freezing foreign assets, the works.

Analysis: The reaction to the Honduran coup marks a sea change in how America and the rest of the hemisphere reacts to military uprisings in Latin America. Gone are the days when the US government would endorse or even assist in the overthrow of leaders such as Hugo Chavez and Salvador Allende. By standing against this usurpation of democracy, President Obama shows that he takes the call to liberty seriously.

This is not only a matter of human rights and democracy; it is a prime opportunity to restore America's reputation in the world. It will go a long way to erase the memory of the 1973 coup in Chile, as well as the Bush Administration's endorsement of the attempted coup against Hugo Chavez. We may finally have a chance to restore our reputation in Latin America.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Unrest in Iran

By now, most readers of this blog will be aware that the results of the Iranian election have generated massive unrest in that country. The likelihood is that this unrest is in response to a genuine attempt to steal the Iranian election. As Juan Cole demonstrates in a posting to his blog, Ahmadinejad almost certainly lost the Iranian election when one combines the supporters of his opponents with undecided voters who supported reform and would almost certainly back his opponents.

One can only hope that the opposition's supporters win out. This is not out of some fallacious hope that an opposition victory will cause all Iranians to suddenly love Israel or convert to Christianity. Rather, one should support the Iranian opposition out of a principled support for democracy.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Why George Tiller Matters

A letter to the Philadelphia Inquirer this Sunday suggested that the murder of abortionist George Tiller should receive less attention than the killing of Pvt. William Long outside of a recruitment center a day or so later. This letter is nothing more than an attempt to distract from one of the main problems facing this country-the continued threat of religious fanatics to civic society and individuals.

The letter writer, Robert Pallies, claims that the murder was inspired by the "hateful" rhetoric of the anti-war movement. (Hmmm...I always thought it was pro-war rhetoric that was considered hateful.) However, the anti-war movement has nowhere near the power of the anti-abortion fanatics. As mentioned in a previous post on this blog, Tiller had previously been the target of prominent media conservatives such as Bill O'Reilly. Pvt. Long had received no such targeting; he was in many respects the victim of a random attack by a maniac.

Perhaps the conservatives want to distract people from the fact that their movement is increasingly spawning violent extremists. They want us to ignore the fact that these extremists wish to impinge on everyone else's rights. We shouldn't let them.

Friday, June 05, 2009

The Real Murderers

This week's murder of abortionist George Tiller reveals the true face of the anti-abortion movement. As Dr. Marty Klein points out on the Carnal Nation website, pro-lifers such as Bill O'Reilly had repeatedly referred to Dr. Tiller as a baby killer on his daily news program with millions of viewers. Similarly, fanatic Randall Terry referred to Tiller as a "mass murderer" in an act of faux mourning for his death.

It's time we set up a new category of hate crime to cover those who use religion to advocate violence against pro-choicers. These Christian jihadists are a threat to civil society and modernity. It is time to fight back.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Why I Support the Palestinian Cause

A comment by another blogger, Stephen M. Flatow, has led me to examine why I support the Palestinian cause in the first place. Contrary to what Flatow seems to assume, opposition to Israeli policy does not necessarily imply anti-Semitism or opposition to Israel's existence. A deeper examination of my motivations will make this evident.

Perhaps the deepest roots of my support for the Palestinian cause lie in my ethnic heritage. My roots include the Irish, the Polish, and Native Americans. All three groups share one common trait: they have faced violent struggles to free their homelands from foreign domination. To a certain extent, I recognize the Palestinian struggle as analogous to those earlier struggles, a valid effort to assert dominance over one's homeland.

Some will no doubt comment that the Israelis are essentially doing the same thing: struggling for an ancestral homeland. However, I feel it is worth noting that while the Jewish people were largely absent from Palestine for centuries, whereas the Palestinians have been displaced more recently. They have a far greater claim to the land.

Another factor is my concern for human rights in all countries. Flatow comments that he wonders why Caryl Churchill, the author of Seven Jewish Children profiled in an earlier blog post, does not give attention to Sri Lanka, Darfur, or other human rights hot spots. As anyone familiar with my blog can attest, I have a strong concern for human rights, with a particular focus on China. Israeli actions that impact civilian populations naturally draw my attention, as part of my broader concerns.

Notice that none of this translates into anti-Semitism. Flatow claims that anti-Israeli activism derives largely from hatred of Jewish people, citing one instance where an anti-Israel protest in Fort Lauderdale in which there was a pro-Nazi chant. The use of an isolated incident to claim an entire movement is anti-Semitic is simply comical. Indeed, Flatow's treatment of Seven Jewish Children suggests that he looks for anti-Semitism in any expression of opposition to Israeli policy, a trait common to many, if not all, backers of the Israeli occupation.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Yet Another Terror Plot That's Not All It's Cracked Up to Be

The Nation's Robert Dreyfuss reveals the alleged plot against synagogues in New York may not have been as great a threat as politicians and law enforcement officials are alleging. As his article demonstrates, the informant at the center of the plot was apparently an identity theft suspect recruited by the FBI to infiltrate potential terrorist groups.

However, the informant went beyond infiltrating to create his own terrorist cell, recruiting people to a plot conducted by himself. The actual threat posed by the suspects, one of whom is a schizophrenic, may well have been nill.

That has not stopped the panic-mongers from sounding the alarm bell. Stephen M. Flatow warns about the "cancer" of terrorism within our cities, never mind the fact that virtually all the terror plots discovered after 9 / 11, have been shown to be law enforcement fabrications.

First Things First, Let's Kill All the Journalists

In a disturbing report by writer Jeremy Scahill, we learn that a former Army Colonel, Ralph Peters, has published an article endorsing the killing of journalists who do not subscribe to official American explanations of events. He claims in the Journal of International Security Affairs that the media have played a prime role in defeating America in Vietnam, and creating difficulties in Iraq. (Hmmm...guess the Viet Minh and the insurgents had nothing to do with it.)

Such a position is not only a threat to free speech; it threatens the ability of the world in general to learn what is going on in war zones, and to judge the justice of a particular war. Yes, journalists take risks when they visit a conflict zone, but that doesn't give the military, whether ours or someone else's, to target unarmed non-combatants. (And even Col. Peters admits they are unarmed.)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Seven Jewish Children

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to witness a performance of the controversial new play Seven Jewish Children by Caryl Churchill, produced at a local Unitarian Universalist Church on Morewood Ave. I found it to be a genuinely moving performance, with excellent acting by students from the University of Pittsburgh. The play focuses on the experience of Jewish children ranging from the time of the Holocaust to current day Israel.

Some people have tried to interpret this play as anti-Semitic, claiming that a line referring to blood on children is a throw-back to the old blood libel. Having seen this play myself, I can definitively say this allegation is not true. Those who interpret the play this way have either never seen it, or have deliberately misconstrued it.

The latter interpretation is suggested by the reaction of one woman in a discussion group after the performance. She ranted that the play was biased, "anti-Israeli propaganda." She saw anti-Semitism largely because she was looking for it from the beginning. Her attitude brought to mind the woman in a pre-play discussion who argued that Israel could solve the issue of Palestinian population growth by means of mandatory birth control. Such people are not to be taken seriously.

In all, I highly recommend that anyone who has the chance should see this play.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Edmund Andrews Follow Up

A follow up to the previous blog entry:

Megan McArdle has posted Edmund Andrews response, issued to PBS, but refuses to acknowledge its significance, carping that it wasn't issued to her. As Andrews explains, the first bankruptcy stemmed from the activities of her first husband, and was filed jointly with him because of legal reasons. The second stemmed from a loan from her sister, whose idea of resolving family conflict apparently involves lawsuits.

I feel that Andrews's response vindicates my position. His wife wasn't responsible for what happened. McArdle whines that she still qualifies as a "serial bankrupt," but I think Mrs. Andrews should be granted the benefit of the doubt.

Did the Andrews family make mistakes in their financial arrangements? Lords yes. Do they warrant the vilification they've received? Even Ms. McArdle admits they don't. Unfortunately, she seems unwilling to apologize for her role, however unintentional, in generating it.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Megan McArdle, Econo-Fascist of the Week!!!

The Atlantic Magazine blogger Megan McArdle has just received a new, one time only award from this blog:


What has Ms. McArdle done to deserve this prestigious award? Her capping achievement is a blatant attempt to smear the wife of Edmund L. Andrews, a New York Times writer who has written a book, as well as an NYT Sunday Magazine article, regarding his financial troubles. McArdle basically uses his wife's financial history, which includes two bankruptcies, one apparently connected to a divorce,. to imply that Andrews, and her, are getting what they deserve, and that we should ignore calls for financial reform.

Such coldheartedness is characteristic of McArdle, who has opposed bailouts of California, the auto industry, and just about everyone except Wall Street. Charity does not seem to play much of a part in her vision of life and the world.

(Note: Yesterday, I printed a rather inflammatory comment about some of McArdle's friends, who died in 9 / 11. I apologize for this, both to Ms. McArdle and my readers. Although I stand by the feelings that provoked it, I should not have stooped to McArdle's level.)

Letter in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

I had a letter published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette today attacking a recent article by the paper's religious columnist, Ann Rodgers. The article was a poorly thought out critique of the new movie Angels and Demons, accusing it of bigotary against Catholics. Rodgers haplessly attempts to portray the Catholic Church as benevolent and undeserving of suspicion.

Really, Ms. Rodgers, were you asleep during history class and, for that matter, the past ten years? Did you just happen to ignore the revelations of cover ups by the Church hierarchy of wide spread sexual abuse within Catholic-run schools? For that matter, did you know about the collaboration between the Catholic Church and Fascists such as Francisco Franco and Benito Mussolini during the early twentieth century? Hell, when I was attending Northeast Catholic High School in the year 2001, the teachers were still trying to whitewash Franco.

With all that in mind, it's not really difficult to see why the Catholic hierarchy might be viewed as an object of suspicion.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Irony of Ironies

Rather eerily, given my post of this morning, a shoot out broke out in the East End of Pittsburgh, in the neighborhood called Stanton Heights, killing three police officers. We express our condolences.

This only goes to show just how deep a problem this is. We have two mass shootings, in two different parts of the country, within twenty-four hours of each other. This is not just a local issue; it is a national issue. The need for a stand against the right wing gun lobby has never been clearer.

America: Land of the Gunshot Wound

Yesterday, we had yet another bloodbath courtesy of some maniac with a gun. This time it was a Vietnamese immigrant who was pissed off over the fact that he couldn't learn English. His nuanced response: to kill a group of his fellow immigrants.

When the hell are we going to wake up, America? I'm all for liberty, but allowing every maniac in the country to amass their own personal armory is just insane. Rather than considering the "rights" of gun owners and enthusiasts, maybe it's time to start considering the public's right to safety. The interests of the many outweigh the needs-or in this case desires-of the few.

We will no doubt here the usual course of protests from the libertarians citing the Second Amendment and the occasional mass shooting outside of the United States, as in a recent post on Reason's Hit and Run blog noting the coincidence of shootings in Alabama and Germany last month. However, posts like this one always ignore the obvious issue. Germany has this type of thing every few years, while we seem to have them every few weeks, not to mention all the individual shootings.

It's time to stand up for sanity.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Movie Network Has Come True

Have any of you seen the classic 1970s movie Network? Paddy Chafesky's satirical prophecy has finally come true, albeit in Great Britain.

Disgraced British reality tv star Jade Goody has found a way to restore her good graces with the British media, after a scandal over her racially harassing actress Shilpa Shetty on Celebrity Big Brother. She is literally going to die for good ratings. (Shades of Howard Beale!)

Goody, who has terminal cervical cancer, has agreed to become a "public curiosity" during the last few weeks of her life, in order to make more money for her children. She has become the subject of fawning press scrutiny in Great Britain, evidently having decided that if she lived on TV, she can die on TV. (Hmm...shades of The Truman Show as well.)

It should not really be a surprise that Network has come true in Great Britain, as the British have a tabloid culture that puts ours to shame. Reality TV is much more prominent in Britain, with Big Brother contestants becoming long lasting celebrities.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Burris's Troubles

I found a funny post on Sen. Roland Burris's ethics issues. It's on a local Pittsburgh blog, the Angry Drunk Bureaucrat, and can be seen here.

Another Example of Catholic Idiocy

If you want to see the embodiment of Catholic fanaticism and dogma, look no further than the YouTube channel RosaryFilms. This channel's videos, nearly 700 so far, are ranting endorsements of various Roman Catholic dogmas. Most prominent, and glaringly stupid, are the denunciations of abortion. For example, one video notes the percentage of prostitutes who are pro-choice:

That's right, folks. No actual argument, no attempt at reason, just a bald statistic. Wow, I'm won over.

What makes the efforts of RosaryFilms especially comic is that, in an effort to use items from the public domain, many of the films it releases are fifty year old public service announcements. This may in part stem from the dated viewpoints expounded by the channel. For instance, take a look at this video, which purports to show an accurate psychological view of homosexuality:

Am I the only one who noticed that this video is roughly forty to fifty years old? It might be me, but I prefer to get my data from a more up to date source. In response to a comment on this issue, RosaryFilms argues that it is compliant with not only up to date psychology, but also theology. Are we to go to priests for mental health analysis now?

Similarly dated is an old video about the effects of mothers going to work, posted below. What makes this video particularly ironic is that if you look on the sidelines, you see several videos about child abuse promoted. Perhaps, given the Church's recent history, Rosary Films should devote more attention to child abuse in the context of the clergy, rather than criticizing working mothers.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Burma Backstep

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently dropped hints that the Obama Administration is considering weakening or dropping sanctions against the state of Myanmar. Her argument is that sanctions have not worked, and have only harmed the people of Burma.

Can we all say appeasement?

This is what I was afraid of when Secretary Clinton was first named to this post. Her record on human rights has been abysmal, as witnessed by her well-documented opposition to American intervention in Bosnia. She is transferring her weak position on fighting for human rights during her husband's term in office to her tenure as Secretary of State. We can only hope that President Obama has the wisdom and the strength to oppose this cowardly action and take a strong stance on human rights in Myanmar.

Monday, January 19, 2009


Below is a skit Saturday Night Live did in 2000 about the future of the Bush Presidency. The one thing that is so interesting about it is how accurate it is.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


According to NPR Planet Money podcast, the United States is or will be looking at a deficit of $1.2 trillion dollars due to the bail out and other expenses. Yes, that's trillion. With a T. Not good...

(Note: the above post is actually funny is you imagine it being delivered by Stewie from Family Guy.)