In response to Burr Deming's Balanced Approaches and the Right to Vote
The real enemy of freedom comes from the balanced onlookers, the ones who start with the premise that the solution must come from the middle. If there is no actual problem, we must act to prevent the perception of a problem. Each side has a completely noble cause.
Shall we compromise, casting away only a portion of those 5 million voters? If we extend the hours of the additional offices that must be visited, perhaps only 4 million will be discouraged from completing the task? If the expense of the additional documentation is reduced, perhaps only 3,500,000? Would only 2,500,000 people turned away from voting be acceptable? 2,000,000? More?
The alternative of confronting falsehood, not with compromise, but with truth is ... well ... unbalanced.
After all, what is reasonable must always be somewhere between any two sides. Right?
- Burr Deming, March 21, 2012
The Right to Vote is a huge National concern now that we have those on one side of the debate who vigorously defend the right of ALL American citizens to cast one vote per election, while those on the other side of the debate simultaneously agree. The dispute has been brutally aggressive with neither side giving in, with both sides challenging the logic, and secretly the intelligence, of the other.
It would seem that there are as many as 5,000,030 votes at stake, or 5,000,060 depending on how you crunch the numbers.
In an effort to be balanced, I am going to change my stance on this issue for a second time. At first, I thought it was reasonable that proof of identity in the form of a photo ID be required. Even though I did not personally care for the suggested rule, I had to acknowledge that such a requirement has accepted precedent and that it makes some sense.
Later, when I learned that the national debate was not even about photo IDs, I changed my stance. With the help of an esteemed ally, I decided that it was completely unreasonable to require proof of identity in this unduly harsh form, because it disenfranchised those who were unwilling to get the identity. I suddenly realized that this was the topic of the national debate, which has nothing whatsoever to do with photo IDs, as I once presumed. The national debate is about whether or not to deny some citizens the right to vote. (Many thanks to Burr Deming).
I learned that it is all some folks can do to muster the energy to cast a ballot in the first place. Some people, approximately five million, are all but mindless skeletons, hobbling to the melody of their own disjointed and crackling bones, as they trudge their way to the voting booths. There they pray for guidance, lest, in their confusion, they expel the wrong chad, or circle the wrong circle or pull the wrong lever or push the wrong button and vote for the very tyrant who wants them to show their ID, as if they were in Communist China or something, in the first place. Not to mention those who forget where they went or why they are there before they can complete the task. We are now going to add pulling out an ID to their hassles? (or something like that. He explains it more eloquently).
After learning that the national debate was really about requiring an ID that we will deny to over five million people, I could no longer, in good conscious, remain sympathetic to the idea of Voter IDs. Like a rabid pendulum, I swung hard to the other side. I decided we MUST not allow the GOP to enact its two laws: 1. A voter ID is required. 2. Some people cannot have them.
However, after reading today’s current argument, I realize that this extreme swing is not really fair to the GOP.
Therefore, my new stance, my balanced stance, my wise stance, is this: I have to find one, and only one, of the two proposed laws to be reasonable. Let’s see. My balanced approach says that this law would be, hmmm. A state-issued picture ID is required to vote.
Now, if I were going to be reasonable, instead of balanced, I would change my stance to this:
Hmmm. Let’s see: a state-issued picture ID is required to vote.
However, I have no interest in reason. I choose balance. Therefore, I reject the second idea, the reasonable idea, in favor of the first, balance-driven idea.
Additionally, in an effort to be balanced, I declare my motivation to be both the stated liberal goal: every person gets vote per election / issue / candidate and simultaneously to the stated conservative goal: every person get one vote per election / issue / candidate.
I know what you are thinking: “John, you cannot side with both the liberals and the conservatives on this national debate. Despite the symmetry, it is a contradiction!” Yes, I used to think that too, but I have been where you are. In fact, I used to think just like you, back when I took sides. I was not balanced and therefore, not right. To know my wisdom, you must trace my steps, get tutored by those who study this; learn what the national debate is really about, and get the idea that it has anything to do with picture IDs out of your head: abandon your straw man.
Also learn that you are not interested in reason, but balance. You know this, because were it not true, you would have Burr Deming’s opinion, just as he does. Like him, you would be teeming with pride. You would be so proud that you would compose an article backhandedly renouncing balance, even when it is backed up by reasonable explanations, because when two sides disagree on something like this, it’s not about balance or reason. It’s just like slavery, one side is right and the other side is dead wrong, regardless of reason. “Reasons got nothing to do with it,” as Clint Eastwood never said.
John Myste also writes for his own site. Please visit John Myste Responds
Introduction, Traditional Service, March 12, 2012
St. Mark's United Methodist Church in Florissant, MO
Our faith provides the sure knowledge
that our father sees in us
what we cannot see in ourselves,
a hard core value
we share with every human soul.
We know we are all precious in the sight of God.
The love of a parent for a child
is as close a bond as we can imagine.
A family, united by love, cares for each other,
casting no-one aside, leaving no-one behind.
We see Jesus, our brother, suffering for us,
and we keep his words in our hearts.
We look to all God’s children,
to so many who suffer.
No matter what inflames or separates us,
we know that we are family
with every human soul.
And we take care of our own.
Found on Line:
"Kum Ba Yah"
African Gospel Choir, Dublin
Oba Nla Concert - Gospel Republic
November 12, 2011
Ryan (I presume) at Secular Ethics begins dry and ends up interesting. He guides us through the No True Scotsman fallacy, then applies it to political argument. Turns out Ryan is not really what you think he is.
Seasons come and go but, in this particular season, Republican woes continue. Tommy Christopher of Mediaite fame tells us of Pennsylvania's Republican Governor Tom Corbett efforts to do his part on a law forcing intrusive transvaginal ultrasound. "Just close your eyes?"
The Heathen Republican offers a thoughtful analysis leading up to a conservative alternative to Obamacare. A bit hard on patients, but an alternative. Not mentioned is that Obamacare itself was once the Republican healthcare alternative.
Words cannot describe what it is like having a loved one in Afghanistan. Ned at WisdomIsVindicated provides another reason to be thankful with two suggestions regarding our armed forces. We are thankful that his suggestions will likely never, ever, be followed. We would kind of like to have our young Marine back home safely.
Chuck Thinks Right is disturbed at rumors that the UN might investigate Republican voter suppression efforts. I can suggest one clever counter measure. Stop suppressing the right of legitimate voters to cast their ballots. UPDATE: John Myste notes an irony in Chuck's indignation. See his comment here.
Papamoka at Papamoka Straight Talk takes a look at the mechanics of Rush advertising, explaining why Rush doesn't care about lost ads, and why he kind of does.
Sometimes racism is so obvious you pretty much have to point it out, regardless of the peace-at-any-price racism deniers. Michael John Scott at Mad Mike's America provides the latest example. It's real. It's out there. It should be pointed out.
Jack Jodell, friend of the working blogger, has a well informed piece at THE SATURDAY AFTERNOON POST pretty much exploding one of the sillier name calling charges against President Obama.
Betty Cracker at Rumproast reviews news reports of papers discovered at Osama bin Laden's death quarters in Pakistan. Seems the terrorist leader was terrified about the damage done by President Obama to al Qaeda. Strange how the terrorist anger was almost identical to that of American conservatives.
David Barton often quotes John Adams as having written a letter vigorously opposing any separation of church and state. What Barton knows, having examined the document himself, is that Adams was outlining a view so that he could disagree with it. Barton just leaves the people-who-believe-this-are-pathetic part off. Barton does this sort of thing often, without conscience. He is as dishonest a polemicist as you will ever find purporting to be an historian. Not to put too fine a point on it, he lies in service to the Lord. T. Paine, at Saving Common Sense, describes Barton as "a brilliant historian with nearly encyclopedic knowledge of America’s history". He then uses Barton as his source to prove President Obama is hostile to Judeo-Christian religion. T. Paine is a long time friend and contributor, often willing to educate me on the virtues of conservatism. I'll try and come up with some conservative historian with more integrity. It's the least I can do to help out a real friend.
Al Stefanelli, Georgia State Director for American Atheists, inhabits Mad Mike's America. He takes note of the Republican war on the separation of Church and State. He responds with a warning about the founders' original intent being undermined by majoritarianism, as the Christian horde overrules the freedom of atheists. Neglected is the possibility that some of us in the Christian majority would stand with those who do not share our faith.
Rumproast's Gil Mann is shocked at video proving that a young Obama once embraced a liberal black professor with a full body fist bump, thereby proving that the President hates America and wants to jail white people. Or something. Maybe that he was for gay rights? Jon Stewart questions whether their nipples touched. I suspect Gil Mann of sarcasm. Read for yourself.
Tommy Christopher of Mediaite fame watches as Soledad O'Brien doesn't let a Breitbart successor, the new Editor-in-chief at Breitbart.com, get by with smearing President Obama with the body-bump-video. Tommy notes that the site tries to slam O'Brien in return, but makes an embarrassing error during the attack. Worthy of a snicker or two.
Slant Right's John Houk has discovered that President Obama is actually a Kenyon. I wonder about Arizona Governor Jan Brewer simply pointing her finger when she rushed up the tarmac to confront America's Commander in Chief. Maybe she was trying to arrest and deport this most notable of illegal aliens.
Chuck Thinks Right uses a so's-your-old-man defense on behalf of Rush. Think of all the others who have done said so much worse. Those on the left. Those ignored by media. Those who pretty much run one of the political parties. Okay, so Rush is the only one who does that. Still, misogyny is wrong no matter the source.
Nancy Hanks at The Hankster reports that young voters are becoming independent of party identification.
Infidel 753 finds a video of the single individual Rick Santorum accuses of masterminding all these years of progressive change.
PZ Myers, writing for Pharyngula, takes a militant approach to his birthday. I'm getting to the age where I hum through Happy Birthday so I can remember my name. Happy Birthday dear Bur-urr.. That's it. Burr.
Ryan (I think) at Secular Ethics responds to John's observation creatively. Don't worry, he seems to say, evolution will conquer all.
(Update: Ryan points out that I got it all wrong. He's right. Click to see why)
Tim McGaha at Tim's Thoughtful Spot considers the role of technology in deciding the outcome of the Civil War. Remember the Monitor!
The Heathen Republican reprises a political version of the Drake equation. Generations of physicists used variations of Professor Frank Drake's formula to calculate the odds of life on other planets. Heathen considers odds of a Republican President reducing the federal budget. It is a creative approach, but Heathen comes away a bit daunted.
Conservative satire can be a dangerous thing. Medical philosophers Dr Alberto Giubilini and Dr Francesca Minerva present a Jonathan Swift type of case against after-birth abortion. You may recall Swift from your high school history. He wrote A Modest Proposal in protest against English starvation policies which were aimed at the troublesome Irish. Swift suggested the solution would be for the Irish to engage in cannibalism, dining on their infants. Giubilini and Minerva take a similar approach in the British Journal of Medical Ethics. They propose that "it should be permissible to kill newborn babies because they don’t have the “same moral standing as actual persons."
Fox News misses the point, so do bloggers from pretty much everywhere. Since Chuck Thinks Right is a devoted follower of Fox, he asks what his readers think. He links to the Fox News article about those liberal monsters. Some of these folks will be found under stairwells giggling as they listen to Rush describe women as sluts. Liberals don't get that sort of humor. As for Giubilini and Minerva, they might consider reaching their conservative audience on its own level. If they want to write satire for the Journal of Medical Ethics, get it placed in the comic book version.
Rumproast's Betty Cracker takes the easy road, catching Mitt Romney in a drama filled position reversal. Romney takes pretty much any request, playing whatever songs his audience wants to hear. The press pretty much does bare due-diligence and moves along. Keep going, nothing here to see, folks.
James Wigderson, still investigating public investment in giant guitars, is told someone ate the Mayor's email messages. I keep thinking we're being punked. Maybe he should write for the Journal of Medical Ethics.
Tommy Christopher of Mediaite fame is shocked and saddened by the death of his good friend Andrew Breitbart. One would think the victims of Breitbart's video smear editing might feel less fond, but one, Shirley Sherrod, holds all reaction except sympathy for the family.
PZ Myers, writing for Pharyngula, reposts words from E. Knight of canada on Why I Am An Atheist. It is a sort of recurring series for Myers, and it is instructive. He concludes with "Why do people have a problem with Atheists again?" Good question, to which I have no answer. I posted the opposite view a couple of weeks ago, inspired in part by one of PZ Myers' pieces. I truly do not understand the hostility of some toward those who do not believe.
Ned Williams at Wisdom Is Vindicated worries that folks like ...well... me "will attempt to say that GM's profit somehow vindicates the government bail out of GM". It is predictable enough. Wisdom, in this case, is indeed vindicated. But Ned does go on to argue that the books were cooked, which makes the post interesting. Worth the read, and the link Ned provides.
The Heathen Republican poses a series of hypothetical laws that are foolish and asks if they are unconstitutional. It is a pleasant enough exercise if done informatively. Not every good idea is constitutional. Not every bad idea is unconstitutional. Unless I missed something, Heathen lets that opportunity sail past in order to swim after another: if Democrats don't declare what he doesn't like to be against the Constitution, they are not willing to draw the line anywhere.
James Wigderson asks skeptical questions about government sponsorship of giant guitars and encounters obstructionism. Weird. I hope he finds answers and shares them with the rest of us. Ought to be unconstitutional.
Michael J. Scott of Mad Mike's America joins Jon Stewart in wonder at how women are being treated as Popsicles in Virginia. Our nation turns its lonely eyes to heathen and considerations of constitutionality.
Tommy Christopher of Mediaite fame nails a very good interview with former Republican chair Michael Steele. Several incisive articles result. One centers on Steele's objection to the comparison of gay marriage and interracial marriage. My own reaction to similar arguments is here.
Papamoca at Papamoka Straight Talk continues a dialogue/debate with our own John Myste, and wonders about the value of voting for the lesser of who cares. I dunno. "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss" makes better music than politics, I think. Does anyone today think President Bush has no effect on our individual lives? A good discussion, worth a visit.
PZ Myers, writing for Pharyngula, offers a definition of atheism and agnosticism that overlap. He goes on to explain why religion has no place in science. Has to do with testable evidence. As a practicing Christian, I find myself in agreement. Here is why. Science, wisely, is self-limiting in that respect.
Why do we have to do this, Sir? goes contrapuntally between teen conversation and scripture, using absurdity to illuminate profound truth, as he considers the meaning of Jesus in the wilderness as a precursor for loneliness and violence.
I suppose if the poor lost Governor of Texas is going to be kicked one more time, it might as well be by a fellow Texan,. Manifesto Joe of Texas Blues issues a rollicking rant about Governor Rick Perry and offers a thought or two about the poor befuddled souls who elected him. Do you suppose they now say Oops?
Ned Williams at WisdomIsVindicated is back (Yaaayyy!!!!) with thoughts on whether Rick Santorum is likeable. I dunno. He's personable and is honest, to the extent of blurting out whatever is on his mind. That makes him different from Pat Buchanan, who also blurts, and Mitt Romney, who also is personable. I've been friends with folks who hold views more objectionable than are his.
The Heathen Republican articulates, step-by-step, why he supports his candidate in the Republican primary season. Heathen is frequently the most thoughtful conservative around. This is one example.
Max's Dad bids a fond farewell to Pat Buchanan. And he truly does seem fond of the former MSNBC sponsored bigot. I dunno. I agree with Max's dad that issues of whether America should have left Hitler alone, or whether Black people are the natural enemies of civilization are pretty much settled questions, and I don't see any moral obligation on the part of MSNBC to give him a platform and a paycheck. Max might like to have a beer with poor Pat, but I'd be satisfied to defend Buchanan's freedom of ugly speech from another table.
Michael John Scott at Mad Mike's America speculates (or at least reports speculation) about where Pat will next land. I have wondered the same thing before returning to apathy about a public figure who once said the evils of slavery were overstated. Still, Michael Medved continues to thrive.
Tommy Christopher of Mediaite fame examines the attacks by video smear artist Andrew Breitbart against Keith Olbermann's apparent denials that rapes occurred during Occupy camp outs. He finds that any validity is lost amid a series of overreaches and lies by Breitbart. This is just one of a series of recent observations by Tommy in which he abandons what had seemed to me a once fawning approach toward Mr. Breitbart. Tommy has a talent for accuracy. He shares that with many journalists. Problem is, they stop at that water's edge. Tommy often puts forth an extra effort that includes fact checking and truth telling.
Our favorite John Myste at John Myste Responds joins us for a day on these pages (screens?) to judge those legislators who would empower employers to restrain and protect women from their lust for contraceptives.
Chuck Thinks Right dissects the policy authored by the Obama administration and leftists (presumably like me) to impose contraceptives on an unwilling population. Within the evil attack on Christianity Chuck discerns another evil plot against Christianity. I hope our pastor doesn't find out about the scheming I've been joining in on weekdays.
Ryan (I think) at Secular Ethics explains what is ethical and what is not when it comes to covering contraception. I admit he kind of loses me when he insists that a moral objection must be based on the physical world.
Vincent of A wayfarer's notes finds a third-prize winning essay he wrote more than thirty five years ago about technology. It passes the test of time pretty well. The first line alone is worth a click.
Tim McGaha at Tim's Thoughtful Spot recounts the brilliant planning of Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant, at Cairo, Illinois almost exactly 150 years ago.
Slant Right's John Houk is in an internet fight with the owner of the server that hosted his blog. The fellow took down John's website, so John moved it. Lots of discussion of censorship, a stepson (I'm unclear about whether this is literal), and whether Muslims, atheists, or Christians are inherently evil. Maybe this is a family spat? Might be entertaining in a Housewives of DC sort of way.
PZ Myers, writing for Pharyngula, explains, sincerely and emotionally, why he is unalterably opposed to religion. Among his observations: "Religious people don’t have a satisfying answer about why God allows so much pain and suffering." He's right. We don't. Being a gentleman, he skips over an even more devastating argument. We don't have an adequate explanation for evil with ourselves.
- Why do we have to do this, Sir? notices signs of child abuse, does the right thing, and is relieved to find he is obviously mistaken. His day continues into normalcy evidenced by a spontaneous classroom fart contest. No methane is left behind.
Jack Jodell, friend of the working blogger, at THE SATURDAY AFTERNOON POST focuses on one public figure and explains what Rick Santorum really wants. It begins with a strong candidate for funniest headline of the week.
Max's Dad examines the latest Obama maneuver and finds it wanting. The administration is in a bind over mandating Catholic run non-church hospitals and other institutions to allow for contraceptives as part of health care. Lots of push-back because freedom of religion does not mean freedom from religion. Or something. Freedom of religion means freedom to financially restrict practices that are against the religion of employers. Republicans are on the attack over it. Women are defensive over it.
So Obama tells Catholic authorities they don't have to provide contraceptives. Just their insurance companies have to provide contraceptives. Catholic authorities are happy. Insurance companies are happy. Women's groups are happy. Democrats are happy. All God's children are happy except the Republicans who now find themselves thrown under the bus. Max's Dad is not happy either. Says Obama sold out. I don't know. I suspect religious folk, finding themselves on the wrong side of public opinion, sold in.
James Wigderson is a long time supporter of embattled Governor Scott Walker (R-WI). But James is impatient with the Governor's lack of a coherent explanation for corruption by his closest aides. On a personal note, I find this irritating because James Wigderson once more forces reexamination of the popular image of public conservatives as unprincipled apologists for outrageous conduct. Honesty seems to be a habit in the Wigderson realm. Will someone please tell him to stop?
Tommy Christopher of Mediaite fame hits another home run. This time another conservative video purports to prove that millions of legitimate voters should be kept from voting by requiring photo IDs many don't have because voter fraud is so easy. Tommy takes a closer look and demonstrates that the opposite is the case. Turns out the photo ID movement is a thinly veiled attempt to keep completely valid voters from casting ballots because conservatives suspect them of favoring the wrong candidates.
Our favorite John Myste at John Myste Responds disagrees. He doesn't necessarily think Papamoca is wrong. He just thinks Papamoca isn't right. Anyway, he covers faith, solipsism, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, justice, God, and evil. Lots of interesting territory on his way to an answer. Or a non-answer. Or something. John is sometimes a sort of philosophical Seinfeld. Always worth reading.
Ever the analyst, The Heathen Republican is excellent at finding creative ways to explain the conservative position. He walks through several perspectives on the proposed payroll tax cut and makes a remarkable recommendation.
Turns out the Georgia State Director for American Atheists resides in Mad Mike's America. Al Stefanelli quotes the Bible in questioning why Christian women embrace subjugation. I think his thoughtful observations are a better argument against literalism. It is an argument, I think, in which literalists also face off against Jesus.
Giving deserved credit, Slant Right's John Houk is taking an honest approach in an unusually limited defense of America as a Christian nation, unlike some of our less truthful brethren. He reviews the Senate ratification in 1797 of the Treaty of Tripoli ("the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion") and concludes that President John Adams "is not repudiating Christianity!" He is correct in that. President Adams, and the US Senate of 1797 are simply following the founders. They are repudiating Christian government.
Vincent of A wayfarer's notes explores what he, in retrospect, regards as a spiritual mistake, a dead end. And, he concludes, dead ends are essential to the human experience. Vincent is a fascinating individual.
- Tim McGaha at Tim's Thoughtful Spot conducts a fascinating tour of large functional models of flying machines. Yeah, they really do work. Tim has a rare combination of abilities. He is an entertaining writer. And he knows pretty much everything.
Why do we have to do this, Sir? begins with our erstwhile spiritual leader explaining why he imagines himself within biblical stories, trying to fill in the blanks. He treats us to the traditional story of Jesus and the demon possessed man and adds an unusual set of turns. This is a profoundly talented writer.
The Heathen Republican expands on his objection. Since dog whistle politics is a matter of opinion, being deniable by design, it doesn't happen. My take is that racism itself is largely unconscious. Few think of themselves as racists. Dog whistle politics is calculated, established by deliberate pattern. So the dog whistle is an appeal to, not always a reflection of, racism. And, yes, the dog whistle is meant to be deniable, not falsifiable. Debate about it tends to make it detectable, not provable. Still, the discussion that results is sometimes useful.
Chuck Thinks Right objects at news that a woman not proficient in English is suing for the right to run for elective office in Arizona. I dunno, Chuck. Seems to me it isn't her rights that are at issue as much as the rights of voters to elect anyone they want. The same issue Gingrich is arguing in Virginia.
Conservative James Wigderson reacts on behalf of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer in her finger pointing confrontation with President Obama. As might be expected, my perspective is ... older.
Slant Right's John Houk greets with a mixture of sadness and glee the retirement from Presidential politics and intention to seek re-election to Congress of Michele Bachmann (R-Weird).
Gwendolyn Barry with New Global Myth teams with friend and favorite Jack Jodell to list and describe every news and search source that exists on the web. Well, maybe not all, but enough to last until next week.
Manifesto Joe of Texas Blues is skeptical about a study linking intelligence to liberal ideology. He uses it as a point of departure, narrating his own political development. An interesting self-analysis.
Gwendolyn Barry with New Global Myth does a core dump of anger from the left toward Obama. Mostly about bank exploitation, middle class deterioration, military adventurism, brutality against occupiers. Lots of et cetera.
Tommy Christopher of Mediaite fame covers Alan Colmes on the latest falsehood about President Obama and Israel. Tommy explains why the lie is significant, and how it is carried without objection by mainstream media. Tommy becomes more insightful every week.
James Wigderson is appalled at leftists who drowned out the State of the State speech by embattled Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. If memory serves, the traditional GOP approved disruption is a single shout of "You lie!" Walker's audience clearly surpassed that standard.
- Chuck Thinks Right reacts to the death and legacy of Joe Paterno.
Just before Texas Governor Rick Perry fled the Presidential race, Manifesto Joe of Texas Blues watched as he vowed to stay to the bitter end, and put the eye rolling and sad, sad head shaking into creative print.
Jerry Critter at Critter's Crap finds a perfect answer in a cartoon. He reveals God's reason for sending this year's Republican choices.
Slant Right's John Houk, in a rare lapse into good sense, finds himself joining us unpatriotic liberal hippies in opposing SOPA and PIPA, the misguided overreach in idea piracy prevention that went to censorship. He celebrates the victory. Our own "For Your Consideration" posts her own entertaining research here.
PZ Myers, writing for Pharyngula, listens to religious folks, is guided to a scriptural passage, and feels a little tricked. Bummer. Could be he just fell in with the wrong crowd. Maybe a change of spiritual setting?
Speaking of which: At a school gathering, at Why do we have to do this, Sir? our erstwhile spiritual leader finds his badge of semi-honor is not believed by his young classroom.
- Vincent of A wayfarer's notes is back. Yaayyyy. He offers a literary mashup of song and story. A treat, as always.
Slant Right's John Houk is extremely upset at a legal ruling that a Christian church refusing to conduct a marriage ceremony for a gay couple is in violation of the law. He quotes the judge: "The respondent violated the [Law Against Discrimination] when it refused to conduct a civil-union ceremony for Ms. Bernstein and Ms. Paster." Oh my.
Actually, the judge is ... well ... misquoted. John usually tries to get these things right, but he must have been busy this week. He relies, instead, on World New Daily. In reality, the entire town of Ocean Grove, at least all that is public within it, is owned by a local Methodist group. That a town is owned by a church makes for an unusual situation. The Methodists agreed to make facilities open to all people in exchange for the right to tax exemptions. But they then told a gay couple they would not be allowed to use an open pavilion on a public beach. They broke their promises.
The judge ruled they had violated their agreement with the state. That's it. That's all of it. No mention of a requirement that the church conduct any ceremony was involved. The church is not even required to continue making the pavilion public to all, as they originally agreed. The ruling just said they can't keep the tax exemption if they refuse to keep their word.
In the interest of full disclosure. I am an active member of the Methodist Church. I am a vocal supporter of gay rights. My view. If my church wants to claim tax benefits beyond the normal church-state separation, it ought to keep the solemn vows it makes in exchange for those tax benefits.
In Providence, RI, a judge has ordered a banner in a public school, one with the "official" school prayer, removed. PZ Myers, writing for Pharyngula, chronicles the extreme reaction from my Christian brethren. Oh my. My own view, and the view of many other Christians, is that using public funds to promote a religion is immoral.
"El Pendejo" is a mild bit of Spanish profanity that, politely translated, means jackass. Manifesto Joe of Texas Blues applies the term to Governor Rick Perry, then documents it. Actually, Joe has already proven an extreme moral case against Perry, with the help of ... well ... me. The Governor ordered an innocent man executed because he didn't want to take the time to read a report by a forensic expert. Then he tried to cover it up. Joe begs Rick Perry to please come home. It must hurt to put it into words.
Tommy Christopher of Mediaite fame analyzes that latest accusation by Newt Gingrich: that Mitt Romney can speak in French. He also mentions the doggie attack, but the French thing might have more teeth. In the interest of full disclosure: I know how to say "Chevrolet."
Dave Dubya smells a rat in efforts to stop voter fraud that doesn't seem to be actually happening. Seems the prevention just happens to make it a lot harder for lots of legitimate voters in lots of places to vote. Since a lot of those voters are Democrats and the problem doesn't actually exist, Dave suspects another motive.
Conservative James Wigderson surprises all by taking down Christmas decorations in January, and still has time to protest modest salary increases for school employees.
Erin Nanasi at Mad Mike's America finds remarkable the amount of vitriol aimed at the first lady. Remember long, long ago, when the President's wife was off limits to attack? Way back during the Bush White House years?
The Heathen Republican likes what unions have done in the distant past, but dislikes what he imagines they have become: money laundering operations for liberal politics. I have an idea. Ban all union money and corporate money from politics. Unions should bargain and corporations should make profits. Period. How about it?
Conservative James Wigderson still likes Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, even though he regards as loathsome those members of the administration not worthy of Walker's trust. He points out that Walker requested the investigation.
Dave Dubya finds encouraging the E.J. Dionne postulate that President Obama is closer to the sane conservatives we used to know than any Republican currently on stage.
In the wake of Iowa returns that did not become a landslide but most certainly were a mudslide for Mitt Romney, Jack Jodell, friend of the working blogger, has an angry piece at THE SATURDAY AFTERNOON POST about political lies and Citizens United vs Anything Resembing Fair. He provides a list of fact checking sites. I'm with Jack with the possible exception of PolitiFact. My own reaction to the Citizens United decision focuses on its effect in sinking Newt.
Tommy Christopher of Mediaite fame covers Newt Gingrich trying to articulate how he is a victim alright, but not a victim of the Citizens United decision he himself helped advance.
So what was wrong is not that the rules now permit a secret group of millionaires to anonymously run dishonest attack ads. With us so far?
Newt is just outraged that Mitt Romney's staff organized a secret group of millionaires to anonymously run dishonest attack ads against Newt. See the difference? No? Maybe the short video will help.
Tommy's has it about right. Newt's mental pretzel like gymnastics are comical.
Slant Right's John Houk is distraught that Michele Bachmann is leaving the Presidential stage.
Anyone who reads Max's Dad will know his opinion of Michele Bachmann. So it's no surprise that he ran a tirade about her just before she dropped out of the race for the Republican nomination. The surprise is that he is ticked off on Bachmann's behalf.
And he's not kidding around.
And he makes a persuasive case.
And, as it turns out, he is completely correct in his outrage.
At Why do we have to do this, Sir? student papers on the day of the feast of the Epiphany end up in a discussion on who is responsible for bad grades. Our growing-in-faith spiritual leader goes a little nuts.
Infidel 753 finds a video that demonstrates the sinister side of Santa. Actually, the origins of the video seem to indicate it did not start out as a satire, and some Christian conservatives are taking it to heart. Someone better tell O'Reilly, quick.
Lydia McGrew at What’s Wrong with the World finds evidence in plain sight for the resurrection of Jesus. Since crucifixion was considered a shameful death it is unlikely early followers would make the story up. Lydia presents a compelling argument, beyond that of most debates, that Jesus lived, preached, and was executed by crucifixion. As I see it, the resurrection itself remains a matter of faith.
The Heathen Republican comes up with five pieces of advice for his fellow atheists as they contemplate the complete destruction of religious faith. He seems cautious. Unless atheists are careful, the results of a society without a deity will not all be good. Depending, I suppose, on how we are then to define "good."
Collin Hinds has been a citizen in Mad Mike's America for, I guess, about a year. I first came across his name as the author of advice for Christian believers like me. I was struck by the fact that he wrote sympathetically and that, unwittingly or not, his thoughts were quite biblically compatible. Now he poses an interesting observation on why some public officials believe that the voters they represent have a moral obligation to sacrifice health for insurance profits. They actually come pretty close to saying so explicitly.
- Chuck Thinks Right goes reductio ad absurdum over someone's proposal that some requirements for high school graduation violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. Oh my.
Once more, I misrepresented the position of The Heathen Republican last week and had to backtrack. Heathen counters accusations that he flip flopped on gay marriage. He says he flipped but didn't flop. Clever. But if he was less of a gentleman, his defense could have been more pointed. When, in response to the widespread pain of the Great Depression, economist John Maynard Keynes was accused of inconsistency on monetary policy, he answered, "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?" Heathen offers a kinder, gentler variation. "...we should feel free to reverse ourselves when we’ve been shown the error of our ways. That shouldn’t be called flip-flopping; it should be called learning from experience and gaining wisdom." Sounds about right.
Conservative Chuck Thinks Right speculates that Republicans may prevail next year because young voters have given up on Obama. Strikes me as thin. If Republicans generally believed this, they would stop including students in their voter suppression schemes.
Infidel 753 notes research documenting a growing skepticism of young evangelicals against the Christian right. I'm with Infidel's observations right up to the last sentence, where the speculation turns to an evangelical embrace of mushy, meaningless, spirituality or perhaps "outright atheism." Seems more likely younger Christians are turning away from Christian conservatism, preferring a healthier movement toward Jesus. Makes me kind of hopeful about the faith. Still, Infidel presents a thoughtful analysis.
Vincent of A wayfarer's notes looks to environmentalism as less about science than about a system of values and a way of looking at life itself. He applies a similar holistic approach to health and happiness as he contemplates his own mortality.
Jerry Critter at Critter's Crap examines the Rick Perry postulate that buying oil from Canada will reduce our oil purchases from foreign countries. Jerry points out the odd thing about Canada that Perry seems to have overlooked. The Governor of Texas again demonstrates with scientific precision that his mind is a continuously moving Möbius strip. If you wear special glasses, imported from the foreign city of Toronto, you can see him blink in and out of existence as he travels between dimensions.
Rumproast's Betty Cracker wallows in irony at Mitt Romney's moneyed lectures to the lower classes against entitlements. Working people should just grow up, like their wealthy betters.
Tommy Christopher of Mediaite fame covers Chris Hayes as he pounces on the hypocritical rage of Newt Gingrich at Virginia's restriction of voter ability to cast ballots for candidates. My own reaction here.
Manifesto Joe of Texas Blues was never sold on the Iraq invasion and presents informed, well reasoned, sadness that we ever got into it. I can only relate the single reason I was wrongly for the invasion, and why, in retrospect, I think the Bush administration lied to get us in.
James Wigderson releases his 2012 predictions. Much of it reads as a conservative wishlist but there are tongue in cheek exceptions. I like the gory bat one, but I'll spend the rest of the year not thinking about Number 5.
Jeffrey Anderson at Jeff's Fancy Blog has profound personal reasons for kicking 2011 out the back door. Interestingly, the parts about relationships are hopeful, even inspiring. Keep on keeping on, Jeff.
Slant Right's John Houk laments the coming demise of a virulently anti-Islamic site. Seems it must be the work of the ... you know ... world-wide jihad. Or CAIR. Or mushy headed liberals. Or something. In any case, Word Press wants nothing more to do with the message. However, there are other hosts, and we can be confident the site will not disappear. Hatred is made of sterner stuff than that.