Tuesday, September 30, 2008
I feel like I need to give updates in a lot of areas of my life so I might try tackling that this week.
I'm still blown away after finding out that Mike from one of those Real Worlds (I can't remember which season) is really a wrestler in the WWE. He goes by the name The Miz. This is all news to me because I don't follow the WWE, but I was channel changing last night and stopped on a commercial, left the room and heard "The Miz" coming from the TV.
And Jon Stewart just did a great commentary on the politicians blaming the Jewish holidays for not getting the votes necessary to pass the bailout plan. If I can get the video, I'll post it tomorrow.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
TPM reports McCain is slithering his way out of the first presidential debate and wants to reschedule it for October 2nd, which just so happens to be the date for the one and only vice presidential debate.
This financial meltdown is freaking scary. It is a national crisis, but the economy is not going to be saved by putting to a hault this presidential debate. And the media is not going to show the McCain/Palin ticket any more "deference" if the one VP debate is canceled.
In my view, there isn't a more pertinent time for a presidential debate. Voters need to hear as much from these candidates as possible. We need to hear how they are going to fix this mess because it will be one of theirs in less than four months.
Honestly, I think the McCain camp will do all they can to keep Palin from facing Biden.
America needs to see these debates. All of them.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
"We gather here today to highlight the Iranian dictator's intentions and to call for action to thwart him. He must be stopped. The world must awake to the threat this man poses to all of us."Another call for action. Is this what America really needs? Is this what the world needs?
The hockey mom, the moose-shooter Sarah Palin, could possibly have the nuke codes.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
When I got home from church, I drank a bunch of water to metabolize the Dove bar and called my Jesuit friend, who I know hates these people, too. I asked, "Don't you think God finds these smug egomaniacs morally repellent? Recoils from their smugness as from hot flame?"Amen, Anne.
And he said, "Absolutely. They are everything He or She hates in a Christian."
I have been in a better mood ever since, and have decided not to even say this woman's name anymore, because she fills me with such existential doubt, such a sense of impending doom and disbelief, that only the Germans could possibly have words for it. Nor am I going to say the word "lipstick" again until after the election, as it would only be used against me. Or "polar bear," because that one image makes me sadder than even horrible old I can stand.
I hate to criticize. And I love to kill wolves as much as the next person does. But this woman takes such pride in her ignorance, doesn't have a doubt in the world about her messianic calling, that it makes anyone of decency feel nauseated -- spiritually, emotionally and physically ill.
I also highly recommend Anna Quindlen at Newsweek.
But expediency is an astonishing thing, and conservative Republicans have suddenly embraced the assertion that women can do it all, even those conservative Republicans who have made careers out of trashing that notion. James Dobson of Focus on the Family once had staffers on his hot line saying, "Dr. Dobson recommends that mothers of young children stay at home as much as possible." He now applauds a woman who was back at work three days after her son, who has Down syndrome, was born.
Even to state that simple fact resulted in outrage among those at the convention, who screamed double standard. But the double standard was mainly theirs. The governor was aggressively marketed in terms of her maternity, yet questions about how she managed to mother five and lead the state were dismissed as sexist. The governor's two years leading Alaska, which in terms of citizens served is the equivalent of being mayor of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., was said to be the linchpin of her appointment, but questions about her breadth of experience were dismissed as sexist. Her surrogates wanted the press to write about mooseburgers and ignore how the governor had once pursued the kind of earmarked federal funds she now insists are anathema to her. Conservatives have probably used the word "sexist" more in the past week than they have in the past 50 years.
John McCain has been no advocate for women; when asked during the primaries, on the subject of Senator Clinton, "How do we beat the bitch?" he responded, "Excellent question." (Note to the GOP: that IS sexist.) He has been either hostile or clueless on issues like contraceptive funding, workplace protections and aid to poor mothers. And his running mate will likely walk in lock step with him on all those things. But she could certainly help move the inevitable tide of women's rights, the tide that has floated her own boat, by demanding that she be honored with the same tough scrutiny the guys in this race get. Which was, in case these improbable born-again friends of feminism missed it, the entire point of the exercise in the first place.
Friday, September 19, 2008
I think this NY Times piece misrepresents the Laramie I know. Although I know nothing about being gay in Laramie, I do know that while I was there for four and a half years I didn't hear or see any discrimination against gays that I have not seen elsewhere in more "progressive" parts of the country.
And while a part of me thinks it is strange that there is no formal memorial to Matthew Shepard in Laramie, another part completely understands why there isn't one. Laramie was inundated by the media for weeks after the killing and later the story was immortalized by the play "The Laramie Project." And, even later, by a movie of the same name. While the rest of the world has become "familiar" with Laramie and Wyoming, the town itself has fought back and has tried for years to eradicate the stigma that can come with such a story.
This approach, by Laramie residents, is perceived to be disrespectful. I don't see it that way. There is a lot more to Laramie than a story about a gay college student being beaten to death. Wisely enough, Laramie has moved on, highlighting Wyoming's real selling points, because it knew the media never would.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
I've seen seven pastors
And my fair share of weddings
Packed houses on Christmas Eve
The hardened, creaky pews overflowing
On Easter too
There were strangers
Among the lions of the congregation
New members too
Laughter echoed through the halls
Mingled with sobs
And whispers too
Somewhere the Message has been lost
Muddled with humanity
And lies too
The pews are glad to have a rest this morning
But the halls mourn the thinning of the crowd
Monday, September 15, 2008
Sunday, September 14, 2008
This is my graduating class, at least for a lot of my class. I see this pattern in people both older and younger than me. I see some of these traits in myself and I'm doing my best to eradicate them. Being married and completely independent certainly helps, but those shouldn't be necessary in order for some guys to just grow up.
My wife prevented me from venting anymore about this in public. I am glad she is here.
Friday, September 12, 2008
A while back I read a collection of Leo Tolstoy's short stories. It was the first Tolstoy book/collection that I have ever read. I felt like I was reading the Bible. The man really likes parables. I enjoyed it for the most part. The stories aren't page turners, but they make you think, like this passage from "The Raid". This is shortly after the death of a young soldier who valiantly charged into a forest and came out severely wounded. The narrator, a young, once-eager soldier himself, starts the conversation:
"Oh, what a pity," I could not help saying as I turned away from that sad sight.
"Of course it's a pity," said an old soldier who was standing near me, mournfully leaning on his rifle. "He's not afraid of anything--how can anyone go on like that?" He added, staring at the wounded officer. "He's stupid too--and now he's paid for it."
"Aren't you afraid?"
"What do you think?"
There will always be something that is comforting about a Starbucks iced coffee. Its taste doesn't make me miss the job, but it reminds me of a good year, with a good friend in Longmont. It is security in a cup. That's a lot to say about a drink, but that's the best way to describe it. It is the beginning of a friendship. It is comfort, a little money and insurance. It is a home away from home. The smooth, caramel-like, satin finish is is nice, but it is much more than that. Starbucks, as much as I didn't want it to be my job, was good for me and to me. I won't romanticize it anymore than that.
"I have had a strong and a long relationship on national security, I've been involved in every national crisis that this nation has faced since Beirut, I understand the issues, I understand and appreciate the enormity of the challenge we face from radical Islamic extremism. I am prepared. I am prepared. I need no on-the-job training. I wasn't a mayor for a short period of time. I wasn't a governor for a short period of time," - Senator John McCain, October, 2007.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
You want to know what I think? His punchlines were delivered too quickly. His humor was probably too smart for the crowd. He is not American, therefore automatically suspect for being a horrible host. Yeah, I think it was a combination of these things because I thought he was quite funny from beginning to end.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Anyway, I've read a lot of articles here and there, trying to grasp what it is this collider does and what sort of information scientests hope to glean from such an outlandish experiment. I've retained little. No surprise there, but I did find this video fascinating. If you can get beyond the narrator's accent, you'll learn quite a bit about the experiment.
Here are the numbers that are most fascinating to me:
The collider has a circumference of 27 kilometers or 17 miles-ish.
When the protons reach the maximum speed in the collider they will be traveling at 99.9999997% of the speed of light (or something like that). That means they will be making over 11,000 revolutions in that collider in one second. That is truly mind boggling.
I am glad I can read this:
...when it's a completely legitimate thing to say, but you won't hear it anywhere else. Brackets are mine.
Yes, McCain made a decision [to choose Sarah Palin as his VP] that revealed many appalling things about him. In the end, his final concern is not national security. No one who cares about national security would pick as vice-president someone who knows nothing about it as his replacement. No one who cares about this country's safety would gamble the security of the world on a total unknown because she polled well with the Christianist base. No person who truly believed that the surge was integral to this country's national security would pick as his veep candidate a woman who, so far as we can tell anything, opposed it at the time.
McCain has demonstrated in the last two months that he does not have the character to be president of the United States. And that is why it is more important than ever to ensure that Barack Obama is the next president. The alternative is now unthinkable. And McCain - no one else - has proved it.
I love. I love that some journalist has the balls to say this:
Let's face it. Lipstick on a pig is a classic American phrase. And there's just no better way to describe the McCain-Palin ticket. The 'Reformer' whose whole campaign and senate office is run by a crew of high-rolling DC lobbyists? The earmark slayer whose state this year got ten times more earmarks than any other state in the country? Whose city when she was mayor got twenty times as many? The whole operation is just one big bamboozling lie. And lipstick on a pig is just using good American English to explain it. If McCain and Palin don't like it they should have thought of that before they decided to run as frauds.Click the link to see TPM's great illustration. In the weeks to come, the linking to either one of these sites and some more is going to get heavy, if you haven't noticed already. So, expect a lot of linking and copying and pasting by me.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Oh, TPM. I love you.
It looks like NBC has finally caught on. I just saw a preview for Nightly News and it looks like they are going to report on the facts behind such statements from Palin that lead us to believe (if we take her word for it) that she sold the old governor's plane on eBay. TPM has been reporting for a few days now that this is not the case. She did sell the plane, but not on eBay and for a $700,000 loss. Oops.
By the way, this report is from a station in Alaska.
Monday, September 08, 2008
My second reaction: That's a lot of magazine covers to make for not granting any interviews that matter to the press. I include "that matter" because I think she got an interview with People about the recent birth of Trig. Besides that interview she is off limits because she is undergoing intense training over the next couple of weeks for the position of POTUS.
Laughing. Out. Loud.
I tuned into some of the VMAs last night, hoping I would see enough ridiculousness to write a cynical, hopefully witty, blog about how much the VMAs and MTV suck. I'm not going to write that blog, although I definitely saw a lot of lameness. Perhaps later I'll do some sort of recap, but for me the performance of the night came from American Idol winner, Jordin Sparks.
Shortly following the British comedian, Russell Brand's quip that mocked promise rings, Sparks was scheduled to present an award with John Legend. Speaking off the script, she said, "I just have one more thing to say about promise rings. It's not bad to wear a promise ring, because not everybody, guy or girl, wants to be a slut."
Legend looked slightly uncomfortable for a second and then the two slipped into the scripts. It was a very quick moment, but one of honesty and genuine reaction, feelings the VMAs are completely devoid of.
Saturday, September 06, 2008
Friday, September 05, 2008
I've wanted to be back near swimming for quite some time now and I couldn't think of a better way to usher the sport back into my life.
I should start next week.
Thursday, September 04, 2008
My jaw dropped. Are they really stooping this low? I think their choice to show these clips is a direct exploitation of those who died that day. Also, this is an attempt at evoking emotions from that day that are better left forgotten because they lead to kneejerk reactions. We don't need those emotions in order to move the country forward. And we don't need to see the planes flying into the buildings and the buildings falling in order to honor the fallen.
I saw this clip when I was watching MSNBC. After it ended some talking heads went off for a while, but before they cut to commercial Keith Olbermann went off the record and called that video a disgrace. It was a great commentary on a very low point of the RNC's platform. I'll keep my eye out for the YouTube of the moment and put it up here soon.
Trying to be objective as possible, last night's smorgasbord of speeches was decidedly more negative and less "a new kind of politics" than any night at the DNC. Aside from a portion of Biden's speech and all of Kucinich's speech, the DNC was a relatively friendly gathering.
A couple links for you...
The McCain campaign has recently taken to citing Palin's experience as commander of the Alaska National Guard. This just in...Official: Palin's never issued an order to Alaska Guard.
On that mystical McCain/Palin reform. This isn't research, just a good comment.
Oh yeah, Mitt Romney criticizing east-coast elitism. Laughable.
And Giuliani's only in America.
Sullivan's live-blogging of Palin's speech. Priceless.
11.05 pm. Every time the camera pans to McCain's mother, she seems mortified. I don't really blame her. Can you imagine what she was thinking as a tiny special needs baby is passed from person to person for the cable news.Sullivan says the low point for him was Giuliani's mockery of the first African-American presidential nominee. That was definitely low, but the low for me was Giuliani and Palin mocking Obama's time as a community organizer. I won't deny it, community organizer is a vague term, but people who don't know the duties of a community organizer should not throw the term around so easily. I can now say from firsthand experience, being a community organizer is not easy. It is more than a full-time job. It is dirty work. It is hard work. And several times throughout the day the community organizer gets discouraged and asks himself, "What the hell am I doing here?" Almost every day I was out there this summer I thought I don't think I'd be doing this if I just graduated in the top of my class from Harvard Law. But that's what Obama did. He he has honor on his side too.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
I think we've tried close to ten churches. Most of them were quite scary because of their massive, cult-like feel. A lot were way too conservative for us, with websites that went out of their way to lambast homosexuality and the idea of women in leadership roles to preachers that claimed from the pulpit that global warming is one of the greatest hoaxes of all time. We weren't looking for any of this.
I thought our checklist was pretty simple...
Talented musicians/singers behind the mics and guitars and drums.
Younger, 20-something congregation.
Down to earth message that is first loving and accepting to anyone that comes through the doors. And a message we can relate to.
And a church with some humility. A church that right from the start presents itself as incomplete, lacking, imperfect, and focuses on the radical Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Okay, so the last qualifier isn't that simple. Regardless, I can say with some certainty that we have finally found such a place in Milwaukee. This past Sunday was our third time worshiping there. The church is Epikos. If you are inclined, their website can be found by clicking here.
And another bonus...there is no Personnel and Administration Committee.