Saturday, June 26, 2010

False Belief -- in Oppression

Posted by JHW22

There are good and bad things about Facebook. The good is finding old friends, following amazing sources of information and just plain ol' goofing off. The bad includes wasting time, reading stupid comments from idiotic strangers and the worst: finding out things about your relatives that you wish you never knew. The latter has been an on-going problem for me since my elders joined Facebook and I have learned that aunts and uncles I always respected and considered intelligent, are in fact, tea baggers. Yes, I admit I have tea baggers in the family. What's a girl to do? I can ignore or I can address things head on. For the most part I ignore.

But when my aunt posted Red Skelton's interpretation of the Pledge of Allegiance -- accompanied by a horrible quotation, which I will cite, meant to incite the oppressed Christians of America -- I couldn't keep my mouth shut or my fingers still. What follows may perhaps be the end of a pleasant aunt and niece relationship. But as an atheist-American, I felt my personal values and the principles I hope to raise my son respecting must be defended -- especially in light of the meaning behind the Pledge and its meaning for all Americans to stand together and respect who each one is as a member of a nation who shares many beliefs and shouldn't pretend that one belief isn't held to a higher level of respect than the others.

Red Skelton interpreting the Pledge and what each word means. It’s quite moving actually. In fact, it further motivates me to ensure that more Americans actually have access to the same liberties and unity that the rest of us share. Pretty powerful stuff. Then he goes and ruins it by suggesting that “under God” should stay in the pledge and wouldn’t it be a shame to remove it and all it stands for. You can watch if you want, but I think I made a pretty fair summary.

And this is what I wrote to my aunt in response to her posting of the video:

I wish we applied those liberties and freedoms to all Americans -- like gay and lesbian Americans. It would be nice if we applied our patriotism to them.

I also think it's interesting that "Separation of Charch [sic] and State ,was never ment [sic] to Exclued [sic] ,But has been used in schools to undermind [sic] the teachings of Parents, and clouding what is right and wrong who can say what is right or wrong ,if we are never Tought [sic]" (well, heck that entire quote should be a [sic]) is meant to imply that those who believe in God are somehow jipped yet people who don't believe in God just have to accept that God is in the national pledge. God is spoken in schools every day in this country. How is that exclusion? Prayer IS allowed in schools. Any student or staff member CAN pray in school. All that the courts have ever said is that one prayer can't be said for all students. And really, isn't THAT inclusive? Perhaps you can't understand that as an atheist or a Jew or a Muslim that being required to say or hear a prayer of Christians is NOT a part of that UNITED and LIBERTY part of the pledge and THAT is why schools do not hold a daily prayer. Your God's name is spoken in schools. Please don't act as if YOUR beliefs are infringed upon.

I also find it insulting that the above quote from the Skelton page implies that only those who think "under God" has an impact on the teaching of right and wrong. Or that only those who believe in prayer teach what is right and wrong.

No, to me, it would NOT be a shame to remove "under God" from the pledge. To me it would take us back to the original version that actually included by not designating. It didn't say "under a non-existent entity". Only by putting the words in there did anyone even think that removing them would be excluding. Until then, Americans' views were represented. Now, only those who believe in God’s are. But that's OK: atheists aren't hurt by hearing the words, right? It doesn't hurt to hear words. So then why would it hurt to not hear them? Why is unification and liberty applicable to those who FEEL oppressed who never see that they are in fact getting what they desire and can't imagine how letting go would be more true to the concept of that liberty and unification they claim to hold so dear?

Delete this comment if you want. And delete me if you want. But please, realize that there are two sides to this issue and your side is the one most upheld and yet most manipulated to make you feel outrage over something that isn't real. Christians are not oppressed each day that "under God" is said in our public schools. Christian children are not oppressed when they get public support of their beliefs. Atheist children learn right from wrong.
My favorite reverend, Reverend Welton Gaddy, said this:
"Well, it also seems a little bit religious hypocritical because —religiously hypocritical—because in most traditions, authentic prayer and meditation are acts that are done alone for the spiritual communication and meditation of the one involved. And all of the protests that we‘re seeing today is not in favor of prayer as defined in historic religious traditions, it‘s about public prayer.

And I have always argued, whether you‘re talking about the National Day of Prayer, or whether you‘re talking about enforcing prayer in school, the issue is not prayer, the issue is proselytization, doing something in public that is supposed to be a private act, that is convincing others do it exactly the way you do, or feel guilty about it or move to the periphery of society."

Obama Can't Close The Deal

... Or at least that's what anti-Obama voices would like you to believe. Rachel Maddow gives us a comprehensive list.

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Must Reads

Glenn Thrush: Quick Decision to Sack Stanley McChrystal

Bob Cesca: A New Level of Stupid

The Rude Pundit: Release The Petraeus

President Obama's Weekly Address - June 26, 2010

Finishing the Job on Wall Street Reform

Friday, June 25, 2010

Time For Jindal to Shut His Cakehole

So we've been hearing Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal whine and moan about the federal response to the oil spill crisis in the Gulf. But what has Bobby been doing?

Gov. Bobby Jindal's message has been loud and clear, using language such as "We will only be winning this war when we're actually deploying every resource," "They (the federal government) can provide more resources" and "It's clear the resources needed to protect our coast are still not here."
But nearly two months after the governor requested - and the Department of Defense approved the use of 6,000 Louisiana National Guard troops - only a fraction - 1,053 - have actually been deployed by Jindal to fight the spill.
Governor Skippy really needs to work on governing more and accusing less. Soooo not ready for prime time.

UPDATE (10:10pm): Well now we know why Jindal has only deployed one sixth of National Guard troops available to him for help with the Gulf clean up. He was too busy authoring and declaring a Statewide Day of Prayer.

JINDAL 2012!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Quote of the Day

Who better to represent the Republican Party against the first African-American presidential incumbent in the entire history of civilization? Here we have an overweight, southern-fried, tobacco-funded, lobbyist superfan of the Confederacy with a history of racially questionable ideas and connections who can barely string together a comprehensible sentence. What better way to put a face and voice to the increasingly regional, homogenized, sophophobic GOP than to nominate Haley Barbour for president.
~ Bob Cesca on the numerous idiotic statements made by Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

GOP Laughingstocks

Seriously? This is what passes for a legitimate political party in present day America? And people fall for it!

Three months after health care reform was first rolled out, House Republicans are claiming that the legislation has not lived up to promises.
In a report issued on Wednesday, House Minority Leader John Boehner said Obama's health care reform legislation has already failed on multiple fronts.
Yes, because as we all know, Medicare failed in its first 90 days as well.

McChrystal Relieved of Command

President Obama to call upon General David Petraeus to replace him.

UPDATE: Video.

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Wingnut In Hollywood

Question: When did Jon Voight become some political beacon to whom we should listen? This is one step removed from Victoria Jackson.

You have brought to Arizona a civil war, once again defending the criminals and illegals, creating a meltdown for good, loyal, law-abiding citizens. Your destruction of this country may never be remedied, and we may never recover. I pray to God you stop, and I hope the people in this great country realize your agenda is not for the betterment of mankind, but for the betterment of your politics.
Uh... yeah, because we all know it was President Obama who made up some crazy ass, racial profiling immigration laws in Arizona.

Perhaps Jon Voight is too blinded with rage to realize that the current administration has been much tougher on immigration laws than the previous one.

Michael Steele is An Idiot

Steele thinks George Bush created jobs.


"Bush’s job data 'shows the worst track record for job creation since the government began keeping records.' A paltry 1 million jobs were created under Bush; that’s 'a fraction of the 23 million jobs created under President Bill Clinton’s administration.' Even President Carter — who conservatives love to cite as the paragon of poor economic management, and who only served one term — created 10.5 million jobs. That’s more than three times as many jobs as Bush, in half as much time. More jobs may be created under Obama in this year alone than in Bush's eight."
I just love the "Well, I'll get numbers too and we'll compare" line. Like that'll ever happen. I wonder if Steele goes home at night and factchecks himself and then says, "Shit, I got that one wrong too." 

(H/T Think Progress)

Music Break! Count Basie

Haven't done one of these in a long time.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Olbermann Advice to Obama: Don't Accept McChrystal's Resignation

While I understand Olbermann's logic, unfortunately logic is most likely the last thing that will be used in the political and media spin of this situation.

My take:

Either A) President Obama will accept the resignation and the "Obama doesn't listen to his commanders" meme will ring for days, or B) the President will shelve McChrystal's resignation and the "weak leadership" meme will echo throughout Wingnuttia. "Obama can't even control his generals!" A no-win situation. Thanks, Stanley.

A Firing Offense

"I say this as someone who admired and respects Stan McChrystal enormously. The country doesn't know how much good he's done. But this is a firing offense," said Eliot A. Cohen, who served as a counselor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in the latter days of the Bush administration.
Cohen was referring to McChrystal's criticism of President Obama and the administration in the latest Rolling Stone Magazine.

The Bush administration never worried about such things as getting another commander up to speed when it would regularly fire generals in disagreement with their "vision" of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nor were they ever criticized as being against the troops when said commanders were relieved of their duties and forced into early retirement. I have a funny feeling, however, that this time it's going to be viewed differently. Call me crazy.

ADDING... McChrystal has offered his resignation in the wake of his comments.

ALSO ADDING... I was stunned when I read this from the previously linked article quoting Cohen:
The first victim in the controversy was the Pentagon's PR official who set up the interview with McChrystal. NBC reported that Duncan Boothby, a civilian member of the general's public relations team, was "asked to resign."
Why in the hell does the McChrystal have a public relations team? There is absolutely no reason for anyone in military of the United States, nor the military itself to need public relations for anything. (Recruitment is a separate issue.)

And as far as Rush Limbaugh leading the righties on how "honorable" McChrystal is, let's not forget that he was a key figure in the Pat Tillman coverup.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Is Rahm Done?

If true, I can only view this as good news.

Washington insiders are saying that the White House chief of staff will quit his post within six to eight months because he is frustrated by Obama's closest advisers' idealism and their unwillingness to push through legislation. "Friends say he is also worried about burnout and losing touch with his young family due to the pressure of one of the most high profile jobs in U.S. politics," the London Telegraph reported.

Wildfires in Arizona

Uh... damned illegal aliens! This is Obama's fault!  I just know it!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day... all you father's out there from a first time dad. Now I know what it feels like.

And All The Kings Men... (Part 2)

posted by Armadillo Joe

While we're talking about Hollywood-style worst-case scenarios, I thought the cartoon to the right was pretty funny.

I don't think this worst-case scenario is quite as funny:

Nor this one:

Nor this one:

Nor this one:

Ever see the movie "Deep Impact"? Remember the scene on the fishing pier when Tea Leoni (playing a TV news reporter) challenges James Cromwell (playing a seemingly disgraced White House official) because she thinks she's uncovered a presidential affair and he's the unwitting fall guy who resigned claiming to want to spend more time with his family? Only later does the audience find out that there was no affair and that he resigned because the entire White House knew the comet was going to destroy the earth and he really did want to spend time with his family before armageddon, the "affair" was just a ruse to cover his departure and throw the press and public off the scent of the impending global disaster.

Well, it seems Hollywood can't make shit up that won't eventually happen in real life. No, a comet isn't barreling toward the earth and no White House officials are pretending to resign to hide a larger crisis. But I'm not convinced that Tony Hayward's relaxing trip to a fancy yacht race was as much a tone-deaf PR blunder by a narcissistic gazillionaire as a rich man's indulgence in a private pleasure for possibly the last time. Because jailtime is in his future? Maybe.

But maybe something worse. But then I'd just be speculating.