July 31st, 2004

Isn’t Kerry a Catholic?

Catholicism has always been hugely confusing for me. Apparently you’re not supposed to worship false idols, but it’s okay to embrace edicts from an organization that claims they’ve got the red phone to (G)od. There’s all that incredible iconography and breathtaking contributions to art. There’s the ceremony, all that baroque splendor. And the heirarchy. And the costumes. I guess it would be easy to be attracted to the opulence of Cathlolicism, but the politics of it are totally beyond me.

Plenty of perfectly fine people are Catholics, but I can not help wonder how they can continue to particpate in a church that speaks out against birth control, divorce, homosexuality, and now, of all things, feminism.

This doesn’t appear to be the work of the usual radical crazy clergy and it has the endorsement of the Pope. I’m not a religious person and I would never try to coax anyone away from their faith – no more than I would try to convince anyone to adopt mine, but honestly, I don’t get it. Is there a Catholic rebellion going on some where that I don’t know about? I would like to hear about it. Can anyone explain this?


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July 31st, 2004

Also in Seattle

Keep your eyes open for the Pants-on-Fire mobile! That’s my friend Emily behind the wheel, or maybe my friend Margot. Be sure to flag them down and ask them for a sticker that features the Leader of the Free World with – you guessed it – his pants on fire. Ask them to take your picture with the 12 foot likeness of W. complete with – yes, that’s right – flaming pants. And congratulate them for bringing George all the way from Spokane.


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July 31st, 2004

Hey You Seattlites—Magnuson Park Today

In 1874 in the far southwestern corner of New York State, an event was founded that provided a place where families could gather together for several days of education, inspiration, enlightenment, and enjoyment. From miles around people came in the summertime to an encampment along the shore of Lake Chautauqua where they heard from speakers of national renown, listened to bands and glee clubs, enjoyed plays, dined together, and generally engaged in an open forum for the discussion of public issues, literature, music, and science.

It was the Chautauqua movement that inspires Rolling Thunder, which is holding an event today out at Magnuson Park. The web site leaves something to be desired with regard to organization, but the event sounded great this morning on Mind Over Matters’s Community Forum. AH! Here’s the schedule for the main stage, and here’s the schedule of workshops.

I have a small family reunion going at lunch time today, but I’m going to try to swing by Rolling Thunder later in the afternoon (it runs to 8 PM).


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July 30th, 2004

eDemocracy


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July 30th, 2004

Zogby poll shows Rove strategy in tatters

I’ve been reading a lot about Karl Rove–you know, “Bush’s Brain”–and pace Mencken I think he’s going to make Bush lose by overestimating the stupidity of the American people. It is Rove we have to thank for the “divider not uniter” reality W has unleashed–Rove believed that Bush I lost because he didn’t protect the Republican base (read: “wingnuts”). Thus, everything Bush II has done has been about pumping them up, secure that the rest of the nation was too disorganized to do anything about it. Not only was he wrong about that, he seems to have completely discounted the possibility that people who hadn’t voted for a while (or ever) might be motivated to fight back. The Zogby numbers reveal that among non-voters in 2000, Kerry is leading Bush 2-1 and that he’s picking up Nader 2000 voters 3-1 over W.

While the evidence that non-voters are more likely to vote this year is mainly anecdotal so far, the latest polling must be giving Rove and his stuffing-headed boss a lot of heartburn. By way of Eschaton:

The most recent Zogby poll shows deeper trouble for President George W. Bush beyond just the horserace. Mr. Bush has fallen in key areas while Senator John Kerry has shored up numerous constituencies in his base. The Bush team’s attempted outreach to base Democratic and swing constituency has shown to be a failure thus far, limiting his potential growth in the electorate.

Um, is this attempted outreach? If so, anyone surprised it’s failing? Seriously, read the Zogby numbers below… it will make you smile. They certainly confirm my suspicion that single women are the smartest people in the country!
Read the rest of this entry »


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July 30th, 2004

Turning a corner, or gone round the bend?

Dear Leader unveiled his new campaign theme today, “we’ve turned a corner, and we’re not turning back.” Like so many other things borne of this administration, something about it seems creepy.

I liked Kerry’s optimistic, if somewhat goofy, theme of “help is on the way.” It reassured me, anyway, because it implied, not so subtlely, that we’re all in some pretty desperate need of rescue from the current administration, and the firefighters know exactly which room we’re all hiding from the flames in.

But this one is not in the least optimistic. In some ways, it’s actually very fatalistic. As in, “yes, we were once a safe, happy nation, but what with all the terrorism and war and such, that’s over.” But more likely as in, “we were once a nation of laws, but now we’re a nation of my rules,” or “we were once a representative democracy, but now we’re a fundamentalist christian theocracy.” The “we’re not turning back” part says to me, “so get used to it you liberal whiners. The US you loved so much is gone.”

Of course, this all goes along with Bush’s unwavering determination to continue along a path once he’s set out on it, despite any new evidence that might come along to show there was a better route to follow. The man is not a flip-flopper, and he’s made that abundantly clear. He’s more of a concrete-filled combat boot. And if there really is no turning back, then I fear we’re all going to be sleeping with Luca Brasi by the time Bush is done with us.


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July 30th, 2004

Cold war: Reloaded

With all the news about the hot war in Iraq and the warm war in Afghanistan (not to mention the political battle at home), few have noticed that a new cold war has begin. Slate’s Fred Kaplan has, and North Korea is the new Soviet Union.

In 1972, Richard Nixon signed the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. The treaty prevents each side from deploying defense systems which could shoot down nuclear missiles as they approach the home country. It may seem surprising that Nixon would agree to leave the US open to nuclear attack, but in actuality this treaty is a logical agreement to prevent each side engaging in an arms race neither can win.

The fundamental problem, without this treaty in place, is that it’s far cheaper to build missiles than it is to build missile defenses. If one side builds, say, four anti-missile silos, then the other just needs to build five missiles and launch them simultaneously. In fact, to guarantee a hit, the offensive side must launch multiple missiles for a strike for a strike to be effective. Anti-missile systems are not 100% effective, so many of these will get through.

Basically, this means that the Hiroshima solution for ending a war is no longer an option. It’s all-out annihilation, or it’s nothing.

Despite this scenario of mutually-assured destruction, the Bush administration has abandoned the sound principles of the ABM treaty and has quietly deployed one anti-missile interceptor in Alaska (which is on the flight path from Korea). To counter this, North Korea needs to simply build two missiles. We can build more interceptors, of course, but it’s easier and much cheaper to build missiles than the network of ground-based and space-based systems necessary to thwart an attack.

And so, it begins. With the third front now open, we now have wars hot, warm, and cold.


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July 30th, 2004

Open Thread

Wracked by a spasm of optimism, I created a new category. Marti, you asked for it, so keep the good news coming. Of course if Kerry loses the very thought of this moment will require an entire bottle of whisky to drown my sorrow… but seriously, I haven’t felt this optimistic since my sophomore year in college, walking across the damp flagstone paths at Yale, hearing Clinton’s acceptance speech echo across the courtyard from every window.

So, here’s an open thread. Everyone please chime in with thoughts about Kerry’s speech (or the convention as a whole).


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July 30th, 2004

Get your (botched) war on

If you don’t know about Get Your War On, you should.

war272.gif

Go to the site… it just gets better.


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July 30th, 2004

Take your meds, whiners

From the Dep’t of Shit you couldn’t make up

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A campaign worker for President Bush said on Thursday American workers unhappy with low-quality jobs should find new ones — or pop a Prozac to make themselves feel better.

“Why don’t they get new jobs if they’re unhappy — or go on Prozac?” said Susan Sheybani, an assistant to Bush campaign spokesman Terry Holt.

The comment was apparently directed to a colleague who was transferring a phone call from a reporter asking about job quality, and who overheard the remark.

When told the Prozac comment had been overheard, Sheybani said: “Oh, I was just kidding.”

While recent employment growth has buoyed Bush’s economic record, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry has argued the new jobs are not as good as those lost due to outsourcing in recent years.

Nearly 1.1 million jobs have been lost since Bush took office in January 2001.

Make that 1,100,001, don’t you think? Oh, wait, Bush never fires anyone for incompetence–too frightening a concept for Chimpy McCokespoon.


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