Support the 2010 California Protection of Marriage Act

2009/09/10 at 13:01

Support John Marcotte, a Sacramento man who has filed a petition with the California Secretary of State to get a voter’s initiative onto the 2010 ballot in California that would make it ban divorce.

We are a Christian nation. Jesus said, “What God has put together, let no man separate.” Divorce is a sin….
People who supported Prop 8 weren’t trying to take rights away from gays, they just wanted to protect traditional marriage. That’s why I’m confident that they will support this initiative, even though this time it will be their rights that are diminished. To not support it would be hypocritical.
We can return this country back to it’s [sic] proud, traditional Judeo-Christian roots.

(Quotes are taken from Rob Cockerham’s interview with John)

“Death panels” = Political DDOS attack

2009/09/01 at 15:25

Unfortunately, I’m afraid that this MeFi comment is right on target. The heart of the matter:

You may scoff at the stupidity of “death panels”. You may laugh and criticize in a thousand ways the stupid idiotic memes propagated by the right wing forces. But it is you who is missing the point. You are not getting it. Of course the memes are stupid – but that is the point. You get no brownie points for spotting the obvious absurdities. You are missing the point.
The point is to so flood the political discourse with stupidity, that it lowers the IQ of the debate across the board. THAT IS INTENTIONAL. Why?
It bogs down the thinkers – by depriving the thinker – of the very tools which give him/her an edge. When even simple facts are in dispute, when the absurdity of the claims is so huge, it reaches a critical mass – and intelligent discourse is impossible. All the intelligence in the world won’t help, because the discourse is not amenable to the tools of intelligence. Notable example: the Barney Frank controversy re: “dining room table”. People here were crowing on behalf of BF. I took a different view – you are missing the point. Barney Frank lost. How? He was sidetracked. His intelligence was beside the point, because the discourse did not lend itself to intelligent debate – and he was reduced to snark, reduced to the level of insult – exactly what was wanted. He lost. Time was wasted, energy was drained, progress was stopped. Instead of discussing details of implementation, he had to address a dining table. A sick and dying patient was waiting – do you think he’d be more gratified to hear about the dining table, or details about how to pay for his treatment?

God, that’s depressing.

Strong opinions, weakly held

2009/07/31 at 11:03

The unsurprising conclusion of a recent study: People prefer advice from an expert who projects confidence over an expert who shows caution.
One defining difference between American political conservatives and liberals these days is confidence in their opinion: right-wingers tend to believe that they are right, everyone else is wrong, whereas we wishy-washy liberals believe that everyone is entitled to their opinion and that we should find the truth together. Conservatives tend to make more emotional arguments, liberals more intellectual ones.
Case in point in regard to liberals is the tag line of Rafe Colburn’s blog: “Strong opinions, weakly held.” (That’s a saying that I really like, by the way)
Therefore, we liberals are always going to be behind the conservatives in regard to the passion of our followers. It sucks, but it’s true.

Missing the point

2009/07/10 at 09:30

This morning, NPR’s Morning Edition featured a report from Mara Liasson about the use of language in Washington. She started off by talking about how ‘toxic assets’ are now being called ‘legacy assets’ and the difference between ‘shared responsibility’ vs ‘individual mandate’ in the discussions over health insurance. Good so far.
But then she went on to discuss Obama’s ban on the use of ‘war on terror’ and his administration’s alternate, “overseas contingent operations.’
This is where her report went off the rails. She interviewed writer Joe Queenan about this usage. First she paraphrased him: “Queenan thinks leeching political language of its most powerful terms–axis of evil, war on terror–fits right in with President Obama’s non-polarizing, inclusive leadership style.” Great. But Ms. Liasson and Mr. Queenan missed the opportunity to point out that terms such as ‘war on terror’ and ‘enhanced interrogation’ were a calculated invention by the political right specifically to frame the debate in their terms. Of course Obama is not going to use them!
Mr. Queenan, in fact, went on to draw an inappropriate (and, I would argue, partisan) conclusion: “He does use those fancy vaporous expressions, and I think that does go well with his personality, and it’s kind of hard to pin this guy down on anything.”
Obama’s choice of vocabulary does indeed reflect his ‘inclusive’ leadership style. But equally important are the terms that he’s not using: unlike the previous administration, his administration is not inventing partisan vocabulary to frame the debate in liberal terms. He’s accurate and neutral, not partisan or vague.
(George Lakoff was the obvious interviewee for this report.)

Media sell-outs

2009/05/22 at 07:35

In the last couple of days, I’ve heard several commercial television news reports about torture, but they’ve consistently referred to waterboarding as an ‘enhanced interrogation technique.’ Way to buy into the conservatives’ framing of the issue.

Personal vs political

2009/01/21 at 11:09

In this NYT article, David D. Kirkpatrick, expresses surprise that President Obama has been talking to John McCain about a variety of issues.
This type of article really bugs me. It seems to me that a lot of people assume that since politicians said nasty things about each other in the campaign, they somehow take it personally.
Come on, folks; the campaign rhetoric is all part of the job. They’re professionals; they don’t take it personally. Obama is consulting with McCain because Obama recognizes him as a powerful potential ally in the Senate.

First impressions of Obama’s inaugural address

2009/01/20 at 12:47

We had the inauguration projected here in the office, and I caught the swearing-in and Obama’s inaugural address (transcript here).
The first half of the inaugural address is a pretty damning indictment of Bush. When I got to the end of the passage below, I was just shaking my head:

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.
These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land — a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.
Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America — they will be met.
On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.
On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

This line really got my attention: “For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers.” I was very happy to hear him include non-believers in there.

Not your stereotypical Obama supporter

2008/11/14 at 11:35

Two posts in a row about testicles! I took this photo on the way to work this morning. Jacked-up 4WD pickup, Truck Nuts and an Obama sticker.
Not your stereotypical Obama supporter
As I drove past the truck, the mystery was solved: the driver appeared to be Latin American. I don’t think there’s such a strong connection between machismo and the Republican party among Latin Americans as among Anglo Americans.

Joe Lieberman’s testicles

2008/11/13 at 16:13

bush-kisses-lieberman.jpgSince the election, I’ve been wondering what the fate is of Sen. Joe Lieberman after January 20, 2009. John Scalzi offers one possible scenario.

Off to a good start

2008/11/09 at 09:49

When Barack Obama created the change.gov web site three days after the election, I was impressed that his team must have been working on it even before the election. But now the Washington Post reports that “[a] team of four dozen advisers, working for months in virtual solitude, set out to identify regulatory and policy changes Obama could implement soon after his inauguration.” In my mind, this bodes well for the Obama presidency.