General Politics


Ok, then, I’ll say it.

Larry Craig is a disgusting little pervert who has forfeited his right to hold high office.

There.

Anyone who trolls filthy public restrooms for anonymous sexual encounters with strangers deserves a bed in a mental institution – not a seat in the United States Senate.

I know it’s unfashionable to speak of homosexual behavior as a psychological issue but if sex in a filth ridden public mens’ room – with all of the attendant sights and smells — gets you off then you need professional help now. (My advice would be to seek out spiritual counseling with an exorcist but, hey, I’d even be happy if you saw a shrink.)

Here’s bathroom sex apologist , Andrew Sullivan, on Larry C:

Yes, he deserves criticism for poor judgment, for trying to use his position to get out of a sticky situation, for opposing gay equality and dignity, while being gay himself. But this was a victimless incident, in which no one tried to harm anyone else; and he also needs support and help and compassion.

To Mr Sullivan this is, disturbingly, a victimless incident. It’s an indication of how far this country has fallen when a gay activist describes the public betrayal of a wife of four decades as a victimless incident.

And what of Craig’s children and family who have been thoroughly humiliated by a 63 year old man with the maturity of a grapefruit and the sexual proclivities of an alley cat? Are they victims?

Larry Craig’s family deserves — in Sullivan’s words — our support and help and compassion. Larry Craig deserves intensive inpatient care at his friendly neighborhood psych ward…

You get eMail from Richard Viguerie

When you’re the dean of conservative fund raisers you know how to get it done…

Richard Viguerie, frequently portrayed as the Lord Voldemort of the right by hysterical libs, has had all he can stands and he can’t stands no more of the GOP under Bush.

While his name is certainly familiar to most movement conservatives, I don’t think 1 in 4 could pick him out of a lineup.  Which is truly amazing because Viguerie raises millions and millions of dollars for conservative causes and his resume is packed with references to his intimate associations with  all of the “base” organizations.

Viguerie hasn’t been too happy with Bush for a few years now but I have to admit that I was suprised when I caught him on C-SPAN’s Book TV yesterday passionately urging conservatives to bolt the Republican Party.

Here’s the blurb on Viguerie’s speech:

From FreedomFest in Las Vegas, Richard Viguerie argues that President Bush and other “big government Republicans” have betrayed conservative policies and describes how conservatives can take their party back.

That’s not entirely accurate.  He wasn’t advising the attendees on how to get their party back – he was urging them to  walk out the door.

Viguerie is not a man who is willing to continue funding the GOP because “they’re better than the alternative” or “the Supreme Court’s at stake” – he’ll take his money and run.

It’s fashionable to predict the demise of political parties when they’re kicked to the curb in any given electoral cycle (the Liberal crack-up, the Conservative crack-up, etc) but I wonder if the disintegration of the GOP isn’t already underway.  Can the Republican Party  continue to be a significant force in American politics a generation hence if its appeal is limited to discredited neocons and a brain addled mass of religious fundamentalists?

I don’t think so…

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You can catch Viguerie’s speech on Book TV/ C-Span2 on Sunday, August 26, at 1:00 PM EDT

As political Neanderthals go, I’m pretty enlightened on the subject of immigration. When America attracts smart, hard-working people who are committed to bettering themselves and raising their families’ standard of living, we all benefit. Open wide the gate and let them pass! But on the way in, please remind them to learn English.

Yesterday the mayor of Newark, New Jersey (Cory Booker, pictured at right) held a press conference to announce the arrest of a particularly vicious murderer. Good on the Newark police, kudos to the mayor, etc. but halfway through the appearance — in response to a question posed in English – His Honor responded in Spanish and it was all downhill from there.

I’m sure we were all very much impressed with the mayor’s language skills but I don’t understand Spanish – I had no idea what the man was saying and, to be frank, it pissed me off. The three victims of this horrible crime were black and their families (who are very much entitled to an explanation from city officials) speak ENGLISH. As should the mayor; as should everyone else who makes America his home either by birth or by choice.

Even though I worship at the altar of a Mexican-American, I’m sure I’ll be accused of racism but I’ll take that risk. For the moment, I’ll skip the language as unifier spiel and cut to the results of a new diversity study:

IT HAS BECOME increasingly popular to speak of racial and ethnic diversity as a civic strength. From multicultural festivals to pronouncements from political leaders, the message is the same: our differences make us stronger.

But a massive new study, based on detailed interviews of nearly 30,000 people across America, has concluded just the opposite. Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam — famous for “Bowling Alone,” his 2000 book on declining civic engagement — has found that the greater the diversity in a community, the fewer people vote and the less they volunteer, the less they give to charity and work on community projects. In the most diverse communities, neighbors trust one another about half as much as they do in the most homogenous settings. The study, the largest ever on civic engagement in America, found that virtually all measures of civic health are lower in more diverse settings.

[snip]

Putnam claims the US has experienced a pronounced decline in “social capital,” a term he helped popularize. Social capital refers to the social networks — whether friendships or religious congregations or neighborhood associations — that he says are key indicators of civic well-being. When social capital is high, says Putnam, communities are better places to live. Neighborhoods are safer; people are healthier; and more citizens vote.

The results of his new study come from a survey Putnam directed among residents in 41 US communities, including Boston. Residents were sorted into the four principal categories used by the US Census: black, white, Hispanic, and Asian. They were asked how much they trusted their neighbors and those of each racial category, and questioned about a long list of civic attitudes and practices, including their views on local government, their involvement in community projects, and their friendships. What emerged in more diverse communities was a bleak picture of civic desolation, affecting everything from political engagement to the state of social ties.

And it goes on from there…

I’m actually a big fan of ethnic diversity. I grew up with Lebanese-Americans and by the time I was ten I was familiar with a few common Arabic expressions. The Christmas celebrations of my childhood were enriched by exposure to Swedish customs and during young adulthood I supped with the Poles on December 24th. Ethnic diversity, properly understood, is a wonderful thing. The problem arises with the imposition of an exclusive (read: excluding) alien sub-culture that fails to engage the dominant culture by means of that great unifying force: a common language.

If the first generation of immigrants has a problem with the lingua franca, I can sympathize. The fact that Grandma speaks Russian, or French, or Spanish at home won’t toll the death knell of the Republic. But when the second — and even third and fourth — generations still need an interpreter to buy a loaf of bread then we run the risk of a devastating social fragmentation that could eventually destroy this country.

I left a portion of the title field blank because the number of uninsured Americans that gets bandied about seems to rise and fall according to election cycle and party affiliation but I’ll stipulate that millions of Americans are, indeed, uninsured.

Which reminds me of a story. A long story, but if you’ll stick with me, I’ll eventually get to my Libertarian point. I usually try to blog about religious themes on Sunday and, while this would certainly qualify, I have to admit that furthering a political message is my primary motivation in this case.

In the 19th century, death benefits and sick pay were practically unheard of and public assistance meant shipping the new widow’s underage children off to a state funded institution. To provide for their families in the event of their deaths, men joined fraternal organizations and burial societies. More often than not, these organizations were Masonic, pseudo-Masonic, or just plain old secret societies – which meant, of course, that they were off limits to the wave of Catholic immigrants then flooding America’s shores.

frmcgivney.jpgEnter Father McGivney (†1890). Michael J. McGivney was born in Waterbury, Connecticut in 1852. After Seminary he was assigned to a debt-ridden parish in New Haven where, through his pastoral work, he regularly encountered poor and immigrant families who were left penniless when their breadwinner died at an obscenely early age. The widows of these common laborers were usually left with a houseful of children and absolutely no means of financial support.

Lacking a 21st century mentality, Father didn’t jump in his carriage and ride to Hartford or petition his local congressman for federal poor relief – he rolled up the sleeves of his cassock and went to work. Knowing that recourse to membership in the existing fraternal organizations was not an option for his parishioners, Father McGivney called a meeting of twelve men in his church basement and proposed the establishment of a mutual aid society for Catholics in the State of Connecticut.

That small group could not have known that they were about to form the largest fraternal organization in history. On that winter afternoon in New Haven, Connecticut the Knights of Columbus was born.

(more…)

…well you know the rest but here’s Congressman Ron Paul on the subject:

To calm fears, Americans accepted the patriot act and the doctrine of pre-emptive war. We tolerated new laws that allow the government to snoop on us, listen to our phone calls, track our financial dealings, make us strip down at airports and even limited the rights of habeas corpus and trial by jury. Like some dysfunctional episode of the twilight zone, we allowed the summit of our imagination to be linked up with the pit of our fears.

Paranoia can be treated, but the loss of liberty resulting from the social psychology to which we continue to subject ourselves is not easily reversed. People who would have previously battled against encroachments on civil liberties now explain the “necessity” of those “temporary security measures” Franklin is said to have railed against.

Back in the days when I was screaming, stomping, and pulling my hair out over so-called conservatives who were pissing on the Constitution and embracing an expansive (and ever expanding) government in the name of “security”, Dr. Paul was the only Republican in Congress to stand against the excesses and encroachments.

What I wouldn’t give to have a few hundred more like him in that big, ugly building on Capitol Hill.

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Be sure to check out:

Mideast Peace is anti-God: Spoken tongue-in-cheek, of course. The author, a minister, takes on the razor-clawed, bloody fanged Evangelicals.

Books we haven’t read: Are you embarrassed by the rather obvious holes in your reading list? Here’s how to discuss Proust without having read him.

…so goes the Nation.

It seems that the quintessential American bellwether state of Missouri has seen a decidedly pro-life shift during the past fifteen years.

In 1992, 34 percent of Missouri voters described themselves as “strongly pro-choice”. In 2006, this figure dropped to 23 percent. The percentage of citizens polled who described themselves as “strongly pro-life” rose from 26 percent to 36 percent in the same period.

Blunt and Steeper note that the most dramatic shift is among the young people they polled. In 1992, those under age 30 were the most strongly pro-abortion (39%), and the least strongly pro-life (23%). In 2006, 36 percent of this same age group described themselves as pro-life.

I’ve noticed that even the hell bound Democrats have stopped wearing their pro-choice (and, for that matter, pro-gun control) credentials on their sleeves. Instead of their usual militant (and shrill) endorsements of a “woman’s right to choose” they now have to preface their stump speeches with an obligatory, “Look, nobody likes abortion but…”

So here’s hoping that Federalism wins out. Overturn Roe (in which, nine old men held forth on when life begins…) and let the states decide.

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These got my attention:

Pope to appoint more women in top Vatican jobs: Uncle Joe’s gone soft on us…

How flood turned Britain into an island: Brits can thank Global Warming for sparing them the indignity of being French.

US Leadership in Science Publishing slips: The Asians are beating us and the fast march toward American 3rd World membership continues apace.

Larry King is a repulsive little man:  For exploiting a dying Tammy Faye Bakker. He interviewed the 65 pound, terminally ill former evangelist last night. Even he seemed uncomfortable as he dove deep into the ratings sewer, repeatedly saying, “She approached us for this interview. It was something she wanted to do.” Televising an autopsy would have been more tasteful…


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