Saturday, October 16, 2004

Two more stories that show the shallowness of John Kerry and the Democratic National Committee: Kerry continues to suggest that President Bush will reinstate the draft:

Kerry raised the draft issue in an interview with the Des Moines Register, Iowa's largest newspaper. "With George Bush, the plan for Iraq is more of the same and the great potential of a draft. Because if we go it alone, I don't know how you do it with the current overextension" of the military, Kerry said.

Now, I have a two draft age boys and I would be pleased as punch if they would decide to sign up and serve their country, but it is clear that the volunteer army of the United States is doing fine. The last thing the military wants is a bunch of unwilling soldiers mucking up the works. Charlie Rangle, Democrat, is the congressman who started all these draft rumors by starting the legislation... he wouldn't even vote for his own draft legislation. Got that? The Democrats submit legislation to start up a draft and vote against their own legislation... just to scare the young men in America. Well, I know young Americans and they don't scare that easily.

And the other story? Even after seeing what happened to America in the 2000 election, the Democrats have put out a playbook saying, "If no signs of intimidation techniques have emerged yet, launch a 'pre-emptive strike." So, if the Republicans are winning, trump up some charges against them and get it in the press... oh, and if you can get a minority to make a statement, all the better.

"If no signs of intimidation techniques have emerged yet, launch a pre-emptive strike," rule No. 2 says.

Then, the manual says the operatives should issue a press release "reviewing Republican tactics used in your area or state." They should also quote "party/minority/civil rights leadership as denouncing tactics that discourage people from voting."

Indeed, a press release from the Colorado Democrats on Wednesday looked straight out of the playbook.

After Secretary of State Donetta Davidson and Gov. Bill Owens, both Republicans, said anyone caught defrauding the voter registration process would be prosecuted, the Democrats shot out a statement decrying Davidson's and Owens' remarks as "voter intimidation."

The release also quoted two minority elected officials: Rick Garcia and Michael Hancock, both city councilmen. But Casey said she first saw the playbook on Thursday morning, the day after they had issued the press release.

"The first time I saw it was today after reporters called. We sort of looked at each other and said 'Gee, we did all the right things,' " she said.

Integrity, Integrity, Integrity, John.

Friday, October 15, 2004

The Use of Mary Cheney and the National Conscience

It's becoming difficult not to get angry about the coming election. I'll write about several items below: an ad by Operation Truth, a Democrat flyer about the Special Olympics, the use of Mary Cheney and a Rolling Stone article. The thing is, there isn't any way to judge the anger of the country over these things... all of the people we used to rely on as the arbiters of a just community will not cover these horrid issues because they hurt John Kerry and the Democrats. Does anyone think 60 Minutes will confront the misuse of Down's Syndrome to make fun of Republicans? Does anyone think Nightline will confront the Jayson Blair type lies in the Rolling Stone story? And who believes that we'll wake up to a Today show being critical of using a disabled vet to attack the President in a time of war? No, we have no fair outlet to judge these issues. There is no national conscience anymore...

I saw a political ad for Kerry yesterday that had a disabled vet who had lost part of his right arm in combat. The vet was reciting outright falsehoods as he removed his prosthetic limb and walked away. He says that Bush (They) proclaimed the war would be won and the soldiers would be home soon. Lie. He says the Pentagon only refers to him, "as a number" and don't want to know who he is. Lie. He says Bush (They) told him Iraq was responsible for 9/11. Lie. President Bush all along said the war on Terror would be long and difficult. President Bush has all along said that Iraq, though not responsible for 9/11, had the tools to fuel another 9/11. And the Pentagon and the Administration, by most accounts, are full of honor and respect for the vets of the War on Terror. The ad was despicable.

Update: The ad was by "Operation Truth" and can be seen here.

I read this article today, about John Kerry's use of Mary Cheney in the 3rd debate. If Edwards and Kerry, who both raised Mary Cheney's sexual orientation in the debates, believe there is no downside to throwing her into their mix, they are wrong. Even though, as I said, there is no national conscience, there are countless individual consciences and those individual consciences have friends and family who actually do have to deal with gayness in their lives. Those individual consciences are telling countless people, "I would never do that." Who among us would? Who among us would gossip on national TV about someone else's family? No matter what the local and national news decides to say, a thousand points of conscience just flipped the switch or punched the chad or lit the light for Bush.

Despite, or rather Beyond, the use of Mary Cheney, what really put me over the edge into anger is near the bottom of that article:

In Tennessee, Representative Craig Fitzhugh (who shares his office with the Kerry-Edwards campaign) is distributing anti-Bush flyers featuring Bush's head on the body of someone winning a Special Olympics race. The caption reads, "Voting for Bush Is Like Running In The Special Olympics: Even If You Win, You're Still Retarded."

Click... how many votes for Bush just flipped at that? I don't think I've ever seen a more disgusting idea.

I also read "Bush Like Me," an article in the Rolling Stone magazine. The reporter at the Rolling Stone wants us to believe he went undercover to work on the Bush campaign in Orlando, Florida. Here's a little piece of it when this "undercover" reporter was invited to dinner at another volunteer's home:

I concentrated on my food. Grace was easy: Just hang your head. But once they moved into politics and religion, I began to worry that my silence was becoming conspicuous. Susie was shooting me searching looks. I noticed her husband, the wiry gray-haired dad with the slow voice and the henpecked posture, was watching me whenever I chewed. Like he was checking to see if I would swallow. Finally the discussion switched to the high school one of her sons attended; he had a couple of crazy teachers there, a mean lady and a guy with man-boobs....

"We have a transvestite at our school," I whispered, suddenly inspired.

Susie's husband and older son were still talking about the man-boobs teacher. "Whaddya mean, which one?" the younger said to his dad.

"We have a transvestite at our school," I repeated.

Only Susie heard me. "No!" she screamed. "Did you hear what he said? A transvestite works at his school!" She turned to me in horror. "Is he allowed to dress like a woman?"

Now I had everyone's attention.

"Oh, yeah," I said. "Totally normal guy, except that at some point, he started reading all kinds of . . . "

"Books!" Susie guessed.

"It's called possession," her husband said.

"Yeah, books," I said. "It started . . . he was reading Agatha Christie books at first, then he got really into detectives. Next thing you know, he's reading Nietzsche. You know, the German philosopher."

"The weirdo German!" Susie exclaimed.

Everyone was staring at me in shock.

"And he comes up to me one day and says, you know, 'Well, since there's no God, I might as well be gay!' "

"Oh, my God," her husband whispered.

"And he starts talking like this, and his appearance got more and more strange. . . . He started coming into work in drag. . . . "

"Oh, my God," the husband repeated.

"And his boyfriend would come and pick him up at school. . . ." I went on.

"Oh!" Susie shrieked, scrunching her nose, as though smelling rotting cheese.

"The thing is, I'm the one who gets in trouble," I said. "Like, there was this one little girl. I caught her listening to 50 Cent -- you know, the rapper -- and I started telling her about the torments of hell, and how she'd pay in eternity and all of that. And the principal comes up to me, and he's like, 'Stop, you're scaring the children!' "
"Oh, yeah," Susie snorted.

"And I'm like, 'I'm scaring her? Are you crazy? This girl is seven years old. She needs to know about these things!

You get the drift... the whole article was like that and worse. I believe the whole thing is fiction, made up, invented to make fun of anyone who is Republican, religious, or conservative. I don't believe any of the conversations ring anywhere near true to life. Just look at the leftish cliches in that one small piece above: hatred of gays, too dumb to read books, brainwashing little kids...

And so, I feel as though I have a choice: stop listening and reading or else continue to get angry at all the lies.

In the end, my recourse is my one vote for President Bush.

OK, I'm a sucker for disaster movies and books so I watched "The Day After Tomorrow" last night on DVD. It fit in rather well with the disaster book I'm reading now, "Dies the Fire" by S.M. Stirling.

In the movie, global warming, caused by humans, has resulted in ongoing melting of the polar ice caps. The resulting fresh water influx into the oceans then causes the ocean currents to stop flowing. When the ocean currents stop flowing, gigantic storms pull the upper atmosphere down to Earth and instantly freezes the northern hemisphere. Americans above Kentucky all freeze to death and Americans below Kentucky all evacuate to Mexico. All you really need to know is that the whole concept was inspired by an Art Bell (late night radio) book. Interestingly, this whole scenario supposedly played out 10,000 years ago, too, without the help of human global warming. Go figure.

In the book, as I think I said the other day, something has caused all electronic equipment to stop working and all gunpowder as well. I guess we must assume more than just gunpowder since very little seems to work. Humans immediately start wearing armor again and banging car parts into swords. The cities die out in short order and cannibalism is the only way many people can survive (except for our heroes who are able to hunt and gather their way to a stable environment).

Both stories are ridiculous. The movie can safely ignore religion because the planet is engulfed in an immediate freeze and everything happens too fast for people's religion to be an issue. But the book is dead set against Christianity. The only Christians in the book are mean and bigoted. The main male hero is either an atheist or agnostic... he says he was raised by believers, but apparently does not believe himself. The main female hero is a Wiccan. Now I'm not one who wants to go out and burn all Wiccan witches... the true Wiccan religion, or paganism, or whatever it is, has something of the golden rule to it: your actions, whether for good or ill, will return to you three -fold. That' s not that bad a philosophy to live by, and it's pretty darn close to "do unto others as you would have others do unto you." But the wiccan chanting and celtic mindset of the book really turned me off after awhile.

I believe that in a major disaster, the Christian faith would serve the planet well. Look at the Christians now who help all over the world. But books and movies never play out that way. The "Left Behind" books are really not disaster books, after all, but rather "Army of God" books.

Anyway... so much for Dennis Quaid trekking through the troposphere.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Dismissal, Tax Exemptions and Lepers 

Our Sunday dismissal was about 2nd Kings 5:14-17 and Luke 17:11-19. Both readings concern lepers being cleansed. Our priest pointed out that the lepers sought out their cleansing, they asked for help. Today, too few people take responsibility, we don't acknowledge the need for cleansing. He is always careful to never specify that we should vote for a particular candidate for president, but he said again, this week, that the election is a fine metaphor for our society: neither candidate takes responsibility for anything. The debates are full of empty rhetoric... he said our world today is full of words, too many words and not enough action. Our priest believes the Catholic leadership in America is too frightened of losing their tax-exempt status to stand up for anything. They fear a strong national stance against abortion or stem-cell research will cause the political party that is for those things to bring suite against the Catholic Church. Our priest says this does not show faith in God. We should be fearless and trust God and stand up for what is right. It was another good sermon. I like strong, steadfast belief.

Dismissal is when, after the homily/sermon, the priest calls all RCIA Catachumans to the alter. The priest says something like, "All Candidates for full communion with the church, please approach the alter. These people are studying to become full members, to be able to partake in the Eucharist with the rest of the universal church. They will go now and further study the readings from today's gospel." The priest hands over the Gospel book to a teacher who then leads the Catachumans off to a room to "Break open the Word" while the rest of the church takes communion. We then discuss the Gospel lesson by reading it three different times and talking about it each time.

Although I'm not a fan of going to the front of the church every week, it is rather nice that we avoid the problem of being stumbled over in the pew while everyone else goes up for communion... and I do enjoy Bible study. We do not leave church for any other reason beyond Bible Study.

Christopher Reeve 

I was sorry to hear that Christopher Reeve passed away. I am, and have always been, a big Superman fan. I spent most of my lawn mowing money, as a kid, on Superman comics and enjoyed nearly every version of the Superman story that was ever on the air. The current version, on the WB, called "Smallville" has done an excellent job of reinventing the story for a new audience. It is a show that I enjoy all the more because one of my sons is a big Superman fan and I watch it with him. Christopher Reeve has been on Smallville a few times in the last couple of years as an eccentric professor who figured out that Clark Kent is really Superman.

Christopher Reeve, of course, had been quite outspoken about using stem cells from human embryos. I am in agreement with the Catholic Church on this issue and believe it to be a rather sickening form of cannibalism. Even though I have close friends who have used in-vitro fertilization to become pregnant, even though I understand their desire to have a child, I was still disgusted by John Kerry's suggestion that left over frozen embryos from in-vitro fertilizations be harvested for research.

I am currently reading a book called "Dies the Fire" by S.M. Stirling. In the book, all modern machinery is rendered useless by, perhaps, an electro magnetic pulse (EMP). For some reason (that is yet unclear in the book), all gunpowder is also rendered inert. In the winking of an eye, mankind is returned to the age of the knights: no bullets, no guns, no missiles, no cars, no communications, no running water, no working sewage, etc. However unlikely the premise, millions of city people with no food leads to (you bet) cannibalism. How can we be so horrified by people eating people but so complacent about people injecting dead babies into their own brains? Some who are for embryonic stell cell research tell me I would sing a different tune if I was the one with Parkinsons or diabetes or had a child with the same.

Perhaps these same people would have counseled the apostles to just shut up about Jesus before it gets you killed.

Anyway, farewell, Kal El, Christopher Reeve... you now know far more than any of us about the ethics of embryonic stell cell research.

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