July, 2006 archive
Campaignus Republicanus, an evangelical political consultant.
Time: Two Months from Now
Scene: In the village square of the American Village. Three Villagers are talking stage middle-of-the-road.
Villager One: I’m not sure I’m happy with what’s happening.
Villager Two: About what?
Villager One: Well, the deficit keeps going up, my son’s being redeployed to Iraq for the fourth time, the Taliban is coming back in Afghanistan–it’s like, nothing seems to be changing.
Villager Three: I sort of understand. We keep staying the course and all we seem to end up doing is treading water.
(Enter Villager Four, stage middle-of-the-road)
Villager Two: But isn’t the deficit smaller?
Villager One: No, it’s just smaller than the projection. It’s bigger and bigger. And we know who made the projection . . .
Villager Three: Oh. Yeah, that kind of slipped by, but, you know, you’re right. (pause) And this Medicaid Drug Plan–they finally seem to be getting the bugs out of the enrollment, but, gosh, the Feds are paying top dollar for the drugs.
Villager Two: What a mess it was, though. I spent six hours helping my mother enroll!
Villager One: And the other thing that bothers me is the rich just keep getting richer, while the state just had to raise sales taxes to make ends meet. Gosh, the rich people in this country pay fewer taxes than in any other modern country! Must be nice to reap the benefits without paying anything for them!
Villager Four: I’m sorry, I couldn’t help but overhearing part of your conversation. May I butt in?
Villagers One, Two, Three: Sure, it’s a free country (or words to that effect).
Villager Four (musingly): That’s what I’m wondering about. How free is it when the government can read your mail and watch your phone calls and all that stuff without even getting a court order? I mean . . . .
(Enter Republicanus Campaignus, excited and panicky, stage rightwing.)
Republicanus Campaignus: Fire, flood, famine, fire, flood, famine!
All Villagers: What is it?
Republicanus Campaignus (pointing stage rightwing): There! There! There!
All Villagers: What? Where? What?
Republicanus Campaignus: Two brown-skinned gay illegal Mexican immigrants getting married under a burning American flag!!!! Let’s get them!
All Villagers: Grab the torches! Form the posse! Get the infidels!
Exeunt stage rightwing.
In all, the Livestock Compensation Program cost taxpayers $1.2 billion during its two years of existence, 2002 and 2003. Of that, $635 million went to ranchers and dairy farmers in areas where there was moderate drought or none at all, according to an analysis of government records by The Washington Post. None of the ranchers were required to prove they suffered an actual loss. The government simply sent each of them a check based on the number of cattle they owned.
At first, livestock owners were required to be in a county officially suffering a drought to collect the money. But ranchers who weren’t eligible complained to their representatives in Washington, and in 2003 Congress dropped that requirement. Ranchers could then get payments for any type of federally declared “disaster.” In some cases, USDA administrators prodded employees in the agency’s county offices to find qualifying disasters, even if they were two years old or had nothing to do with ranching or farming.
On this week’s Speaking of Faith, the guest was Elie Wiesel. The description on the website says
A survivor of the Holocaust, in which he lost most of his family, Wiesel is a seminal chronicler of that event and its meaning. Wiesel shares some of his thoughts on modern-day Israel and Germany, his understanding of God, and his practice of prayer after the Holocaust.
In the course of the interview, the definition of “martyr” came up. Wiesel said something very wise. I do not claim that this is an exact quotatation, but it’s pretty damned close. You can follow the link and hear the show:
“We Jews and you Christians too know something about martyrdom. A martyr is someone who is willing to die for his faith, not kill for his faith.”
Food for thought.
It would cause me to run!
In a move reminiscent of U.S. efforts to drive former Panama strongman Manuel Noriega from the Vatican Embassy where he took refuge in 1989, the local council in Rockdale, in Sydney’s southern suburbs, started a six-month trial of high-volume hits by Manilow and Doris Day to chase away car enthusiasts who were gathering on weekend nights at Cook Park Reserve.
“Barry’s our secret weapon,” Rockdale Deputy Mayor Bill Saravinovski told The Daily Telegraph newspaper, four weeks after the start of the effort. “It seems to be working.”
But some people living near the park are less than enthralled. They say the barrage of “Copacabana,” “Could It Be Magic” and “Que Sera Sera,” blasting from 9 p.m. to midnight every Friday, Saturday and Sunday is driving them crazy.
Leonard Pitts on the Supreme Court’s Guantanamo decision:
Indeed, for all the blather we’ve suffered these last years about the sins of so-called “activist judges,” the plain fact is that what really endangers us is an activist president, a man who evidently believes he can do what he wants when he wants.
As much as his sycophants like to portray this bullheadedness as evidence of presidential resolve, what it actually illustrates is disdain, the imperial hubris and messianic mind-set of a fellow who believes himself on a mission from the Almighty and, therefore, not to be troubled by such small niceties as what is customary or legal. So the Supreme Court’s ruling is about more than just the fate of the Gitmo detainees. It is a stop sign for a runaway administration, a reminder that this is still a country of laws, not men.
Somebody pass the word to King George: At the end of the day it turns out that he’s just a president after all.
I expect that’s one stop sign that’s going to get run, in some surreptitious, double-speak fashion. I do not expect this leopard to change the spots on his imperial robes.
From the Annenberg Center; follow the link for the full story, a detailed analysis, and links to the ads in question:
Ralph Reed, former national executive director of the Christian Coalition, is making several false and misleading claims about Casey Cagle, his opponent in the race for the Republican nomination to be lieutenant governor of Georgia. Cagle is attacking Reed as well, with tough accusations about Reed’s ties to convicted Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Those we find accurate, save for one made-up newspaper quote.
Reed falsely accuses Cagle of “failure to pay his taxes,” which isn’t so. Reed also accuses him of “unethical banking conflicts” for being both a banker and a state senator working on banking legislation, but that’s common in many state legislatures. Reed also falsely attributes to Cagle a quote â€“ “everybody does it” â€“ which actually came from a newspaper editorial and not Cagle. And Reed’s ads refer snidely to “millionaire Cagle,” even though Reed himself is a multi-millionaire worth more than twice as much as his opponent.
Cagle’s ad accuses Reed of taking millions from Abramoff to help casinos and working with Abramoff to deny legal protections to women and children in garment factories in the Mariana Islands where forced abortions and forced prostitution have been reported, all charges that are well documented. We found only one misstatement in Cagle’s ad, which uses a phony newspaper quote to imply that Reed confirmed acceptance of money from Indian casinos. In fact, Reed still denies that he knew the money he got from Abramoff came from gambling, despite ample evidence to the contrary contained in a recent Senate report.
We had a substitute preacher this week. (He is quite a neat guy, by the way.) In the course of his sermon, he discussed those who wrap themselves in the name of God and, in particular, differentiated between followers of Christ (who try to live a life of Christian virtue) and admirers of Christ (who honor Christ from 11:00 a.m till noon on Sundays, but forget about Him the rest of the week, except maybe occasionally).
I would add yet a third category, and visualize a continuum with followers of Christ on one end, admirers of Christ in the middle, and users of Christ (’nuff said) at the other end.
Where along the continuum would our buddy Ralph fall?
I listened to this story on my way home Thursday:
Just seven days after they set off, they were savagely attacked: While they camped in Oregon, a man ran over their tent with his truck, then set upon them with an ax.
In 1992 — 15 years after the attack — Jentz went back to Central Oregon. No one had ever been charged with the crime. She wanted to find out why — and to repair her fractured sense of self.
Jentz was in for yet another shock when she returned to the community where the attack took place: When she started talking to local residents, they said the same thing: “We know who did this.”
And now I see this story on the AP wire:
Two women (a mother and her daughter–ed.) killed on a hiking trail near Mount Pilchuck died of gunshot wounds, and investigators have ruled out murder-suicide, the Snohomish County sheriff’s office said Friday.
Deputy Rich Niebusch has said the women possibly died in a random attack and urged anyone hiking on nearby trails to be extra cautious.
Everett, Washington, where the latter attack took place, is in central Washington, not that far north of central Oregon.
It leads me to think of this case, which happened while I was living in this part of the world, not far from the scene, so it got a lot of publicity here.
Now, I don’t think that there is any similarity among these cases, except that some fruitcake decided to kill some unsuspecting persons for no reason that any rational person will ever understand.
The only lesson I see is that unpredictable evil is always near us.
That’s right. Come Saturday the skies will be filled with something they’re just not usually filled with as the Corn Festival once again hosts the Illinois Championship Cow Chip Throw.
If this sounds like an odd sport, chances are you haven’t been paying attention to what’s been going on down country roads all over the place. For more than 30 years, for example, the folks in Wisconsin’s Sauk County have been holding the Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw. The winners, of course, are eligible to compete in even older World Cow Chip Throw in Beaver, Okla.
A bit too much:
But his joy was short-lived when Circuit Judge Patrick Border held him in contempt of court for the “outburst” and threw him in jail.
Stowers, 47, sat in the courtroom and a cellblock for about six hours until the judge granted him a hearing on the contempt charge and released him.
Court minutes said Border later dropped the charge because he realized Stowers’ trial lawyer, Deputy Public Defender Carmel Kwock, did not have time to tell Stowers the judge had ordered both sides not to show emotion when the verdict was announced.
At least the judge realized he’d made a mistake.
Next time, try match dot com:
The same sheriff’s deputy arrested her on charges of misuse of the emergency dispatch system.
Going forward, we could ignore loopholes pertaining to the definition of “humane” treatment. I imagine that is in the minds of the custodians of national security who believe that they must bend the rules to fight evil. They are convinced that their secret programs must continue to protect ourselves. They have convinced themselves that only they understand the enemy well enough to formulate a response. Further in the current loud, partisan debate, the national security custodians have convinced themselves that American society is too splintered, too inattentive, too squeamish and even too decadent to defend itself.
The true 9/11 nightmare is that we have given over our future to those who cannot see that compassion does not indicate weakness. We must not compromise or equivocate in the treatment of our enemies because we are moral beings and because we love the law and will not let the terrorists force us to throw it out. What is more, every “protection” we offer an unlawful combatant today will be one fewer enemy we face tomorrow. To voice that that notion is naÃ¯ve is to fail to find a way of war that is compatible with American society.
From my sidebar, over there, to the right——>
the epitaph of the current Federal Administration:
Stewart L. Udall – “We have, I fear, confused power with greatness.”