A conservatory of Ldotter blogs.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

The Dowd crowd must get loud. . .

. . .around the dinner table. Was it a dirty little secret (requires registration) that she comes from the hoi polloi, or is this common knowledge among the hoity-toity?

Whatever the case, if I were Maureen, I'd be mighty steamed at Ted Rall for what he said about my family. And, as soon as Ted Rall turned 18, I'd kick his ass.

A CabanaBoy/blondie production.

Friday, November 26, 2004

One of my favorite. . .

. . .posters at Ldot -- Aussiegirl -- has updated her blog, Ultima Thule. I've been making a point of reading Aussie's posts at Ldot for some time now, and they are unfailingly well thought-out, and clearly written.

This entry is one that is near to her heart, and she is extremely well-versed on the situation -- the democratic struggle in the Ukraine. Any reader who wants to know what isn't being reported, or even considered, in the MSM would do very well to read this piece. . .and check back regularly.

"Another extremely welcome sign is the latest news that major television media have broken with the government and have stated that they are joining the protests and are refusing to put out the government lies any more. It is a little known fact that there has been a completely clampdown on the media inside Ukraine for quite some time, and that Kuchma and his gang have been involved in numerous murders, beatings and intimidations of uncooperative journalists and opposition candidates. Yushchenko himself, has been the victim of two attempted assassinations, one involving a car-accident (a time-honored KGB method), and another, more recent one, which involved poisoning, for which he was treated in a foreign hospital. Yulia Tymoshenko, one of the leaders of the pro-democracy movement, who has also stood for office, was also nearly killed in a near-fatal staged car accident last year. She bravely carries on today."

Keep an eye on Ultima Thule as this unwraps to keep up with the latest, most important developments.

Taking a peek. . .

. . .through my hit count statistics I noticed several hits from The Daou Report. It looks to be a pretty good blog for gleaning views from across the political spectrum.

Thanks much for the link, and welcome to the blogroll!

A CabanaBoy/blondie production.
 Posted by Hello

It just dawned on me. . .

. . .while reading this article by Mike Rosen of Rocky Mountain News (hat tip Lucianne.com) what happened to Michael Moore's much-heralded youth vote turnout. When I reached this paragraph, it became clear:

"Thank you, Michael Moore. Your hysterical, childish antics attacking the president at the Academy Awards; your dishonest, paranoid, delusional, conspiracy-obsessed movie, Fahrenheit 9/11; your smug intrusion, mugging for the cameras at the Republican National Convention; your phony antidraft rallies on college campuses; and your general demeanor resonated only with already-committed lefties. As a caricature of yourself, you did more damage to your cause by rallying the opposition."

You see, it's a lot easier to prove to college kids that they're being lied to, nowadays. They've all got internet connections in their dorm rooms, and they blog, and they pass along information to one another. And, when it turns out that the person who's been courting them to show up at the polls has been lying to them, there's just not a hell of a lot of motivation to leave the dorm room on Election Day.

Wanna know what happened Mikey? They caught on.

You may be asking yourself. . .

. . ."What's the deal with the picture of Dari Alexander? I thought he was Ms. Falconer's Cabana Boy." Or, I suppose you could be asking yourself, "Who the hell is that? And who the hell is Ms. Falconer?" Well, I'll try to explain to the uninitiated.

"Ms. Falconer" is the former Molly Falconer, a strawberry blonde pot of blood-boiling, seething. . .financial reporter for Fox News Channel's Your World with Neil Cavuto

She is now Molly de Ramel, having married a Frenchman. This has forced me accept the tragic fact that there will be no interludes down at the cabana between Molly Falconer and myself.

So, I have moved on to Dari Alexander. Not that Ms. Alexander is by any means a "second choice". She did arrive some time later than Molly did. And, I distinctly remember thinking at the time (and perhaps even commenting about it on Lucianne.com), "It's a good thing Dari didn't come along any sooner. Molly would have some real competition on her hands."

So, how come I don't change my name? Well, after all this time it's become an institution for me. And, changing my name to MsAlexandersCabanaBoy or DarisCabanaBoy is a really big commitment -- one I'm not sure I'm quite up to just yet.

And, besides. . .I'd have to get my driver's license, checks, credit and Social Security cards changed. It just seems like too much of a hassle at the moment.

So, now the object of my obsession is Dari Alexander. And, it feels so right this time.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

A CabanaBoy/blondie production.
 Posted by Hello

While you're out shopping. . .

. . .tomorrow, on the biggest shopping day of the year, here are a few things to keep in mind for your shopping list, just in case you should feel the need to lavish your CabanaBoy with outrageously expensive gifts:

First, the Nakamichi AV-10 Dolby Digital DTS Receiver. If you care anything at all about your CabanaBoy, you want him to have a beautiful sounding home audio system. This one here is about as good as it gets, as far as mass-market consumer electronics go.

Of course, you have to have speakers built to withstand and reproduce the kind of sound you get from a Nakamichi receiver. And, while I could go with a more esoteric brand with the outrageous pricetag that comes with esoteric brands, I would just as soon have a top-notch, mass-market home theater setup, and Polk Audio fits that bill. This particular home theater setup will more than fill the cabana with glorious, rich sound. Between speaker placement, and fine-tuning the seven channels with the Nakamichi AV-10 receiver, these gifts will keep me occupied until next Christmas, and entertained well beyond.

And, what home theater system would be complete without a DVD recorder with a built-in 400 GB hard drive? Actually, the more appropriate question is, how did I live this long without one? And, still more appropriately, how can I be expected to go on living without one?

I'm not necessarily a big TV watcher, but if I'm going to have all this home theater equipment, I'm going to need a nice television to go along with it. I figure a 32" Plasma Flat-Panel HDTV from Sony will suffice. It just so happens that this one has had its price slashed at Amazon, all the way down to less than $3,000. You'll save $2,000. That alone almost pays for the speaker system!

With all this wonderful audio equipment, I'd be hard-pressed to come up with a reason to leave the house, but if I should have to for some reason, I'd want to be gone as briefly as possible. So, I'll need something quick. I could go for the new Corvette C6, but those things are upwards of $70,000. And that just seems outrageous when I can get comparable speed from a Subaru Impreza WRX-STi for less than half the price.

So, you see? I'm a reasonable person. You'll notice that none of the items above crosses the 5-digit price barrier. I don't ask for much -- merely the closest approximations of the finer things in life at steep discounts. I'm a conscientious receiver of gifts.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Tomorrow is going to be a big day of shopping, and you'll need your strength and energy when loading my gifts, so when the tryptophan kicks in after your bountiful gathering tonight, give in and go to bed. You'll be thankful as you labor to fit all that stuff into the back of my Subaru tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Help. . .

. . .a staunch ally this Thanksgiving season by donating to Support-A-Squaddie and Books for Soldiers, a couple of fine organizations which serve Brit troops. They deserve our thanks not only for their contribution, but for being there at all, when so many other "allies"¹ chose the way of obstruction and appeasement.

1. Ahem.

While Googling. . .

. . .I decided to see what results popped up under the "Similar pages" link for the Pajama Pack result. One of the pages was titled "The World According to Bill Fisher," and it contained this gem from November 2. Here's a pinch:

"In the past almost four years, I have come to fear almost everything the Bush administration does. In one way or the other, it has harmed, perhaps irreparably, virtually every aspect of American life. From raising the acceptable arsenic levels in water (a little arsenic is good for us all) to logging and snowmobiling in America’s formerly treasured parks, to ripping apart the bill of rights and trampling it underfoot, to using the threat of 'terrorist' attacks for political gain, to going to war on a lie and not just spending our money outrageously but being responsible for—and proud of—the deaths of hundreds of American soldiers, the maiming of thousands more (a deep and dirty secret) and the slaying of thousands (but who’s counting?) Iraqi civilians. All of this and much, much more literally keeps me awake at night, sick with fear and worry."

Notice Taranto's proverbial scare quotes for the word "terrorist".

Wolfgang von Skeptik. . .

. . .has delivered a long essay on the murder of classical liberalism at the hands of the New Left, and I tend to agree. I believe that the government can, and should, help people where other institutions are unprepared to do so.

"The liberalism for which this essay has become a eulogy thus bears no resemblance whatsoever to the pathology today’s mass media labels 'liberalism': the feces-hurling, GOP-office-trashing, war-monument-vandalizing hatefulness of the self-proclaimed 'progressive' Left – a Left that in its pre-election frenzies reflected its cold indifference to America’s lower-income working families by proposing an expansion of health insurance that would have been available only if you as head-of-household were willing to submit self, mate and offspring to the ultimate humiliation of enslavement by the welfare bureaucracy. Not that I was especially surprised: the Left has dismissed the poor and near-poor as 'hopelessly reactionary' ever since welfare mothers rejected women’s-liberation organizing efforts in the early 1970s. The Left’s ideological hostility to the American underclass was in fact one of the earliest symptoms of the New Miserliness.

I believe in America as the land of the second chance, and that there is a role for the government in providing that second chance. That may be a bit self-serving, inasmuch as I've been on the needing end of that second chance, and have turned to the government for assistance. But, it's not a belief I arrived at "just in time" when I found myself in need.

Wolfgang's assertion concerning the hostility of the Left toward the underclass is a very good point -- one that ought to be examined by those who make up the modern Left and its ideological kin. There simply is no true compassion for the have-nots within modern liberalism. They are merely a means to an end, contemptuously viewed as wards of movement.

And woe be unto the working stiff who has the temerity to vote Republican. For, to the Left, you possess a particularly virulent form of ignorance that must be either stamped out, or purged.

OK. . .so, maybe I do have a few things to blog about.

UPDATE: Today is the 45th Anniversary of Wolfgang's enlistment in the US Army. Thanks for your contribution, Wolfie -- then and now!

As a matter of fact. . .

. . .I think I'll take a brief Thanksgiving break from blogging. I have a lot of things to do for the next couple of days, and won't be able to devote much attention to the goings-on of the news or blogosphere. If I blog at all, it will be light, and will not cover anything particularly substantive.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, and remembers to include the troops in their prayers.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Taking the night off. . .

. . .again, just to unwind. May blog later in the night.

Monday, November 22, 2004

On the off chance. . .

. . .that there's a Pajama Pack reader who doesn't check in at The Corner regularly, I thought it would be a good idea to point to this post, which discusses ways in which Americans can help our troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Another heresy. . .

. . .from CabanaBoy: I like Green Day's, American Idiot CD. I listen to it quite a bit, actually. I think it's ambitious and bold for a mainstream punk band to make an album like that, and they pulled it off very well.

As for the politics behind the music -- well, what can I say? It's punk rock. . .it would be worthless if I agreed with it. I'm a 35 year-old white male in middle America, after all. Of course, they probably don't like the idea that a 35-year-old, white, male, conservative Republican blogger thinks their newest album is great.

Maybe I shouldn't have said anything. . .

In any case, I defy any rock music fan to listen to the CD without finding at least one song that impresses them.

While ironing my pajamas. . .

. . .I came across the wonderful news that Jonathan Klein will be the new president of US news operations at CNN.

"'Six years steeped in the digital information industry have helped me understand today's news consumers in ways never before available to media executives,' Klein said in a statement."

To fully understand Klein's unique grasp on the digital information industry, you must check out Instapundit.

NOTE: For some reason, I'm struggling with word redundancy today, for some reason.

Seems like just yesterday. . .

. . .the entire nation would be up in arms over something as horrifying and depraved as this. Today, however, it's reported as an aside, more than anything else. Had this taken place on a college campus from a clock tower, we would be having a national debate regarding the implications for our culture, as a whole.

But, since this took place in the woods, among hunters with guns, the media seem to have a "well, waddya expect" attitude about it all.

In a way, I suppose I should count the lack of furor over this among my blessings, knowing full-well what tack the MSM would take on this story -- their first impulse being to blame the gun, and hunting culture at large.

But, still. . .five people are dead because one lunatic with a deer rifle decided to get the good spot this year. It's a horrible tragedy, and a lot of people are going to have many sad holiday seasons for years to come.

Hat tip: Lucianne.com

I got taken. . .

. . .in by the "buzz" over the rules change, I have to admit. That's the tricky thing about trying to be a reasonably objective, mainstream conservative blogger. I sometimes suspend the healthy cynicism and skepticism I have toward politicians when those politicians are on my side of the isle.

And, given the press that Tom DeLay has endured over his career in the House, it wasn't hard for me to come to the conclusion that something was amiss in the rules change -- without ever really questioning the possible motives of the people on both sides of the aisle. It never occurred to me to ask if perhaps there were some forces within the House Republican caucus who might be willing to stir the pot in order to weaken DeLay's hold on the Majority Leader spot.

And, let's face it. . .you don't get a nickname like "The Hammer" among your peers without frosting a few buttocks along the way.

So, I hereby eat my initial words on the matter, and plead ignorance. Next time, I'll do better. Promise.

Pssst. . .

. . .this is my darkhorse candidate for 2008.

On second thought. . .

. . .I might have been a little hasty in coming to my conclusions regarding the Tom DeLay situation. I think this has turned out to be a case where the bias in the media has determined the initial packaging of the matter, making no effort to highlight the fact that the change itself was a reasonable one to make.

As I stated on a thread over at Ldot, people are able to understand that there's a difference between caucus rules and "capping the bat handle" in deciding who bats first in a baseball game. It seems a justifiable rule change that doesn't guarantee any particular outcome.

A thirty day review doesn't seem too much to ask. Perhaps it wouldn't hurt for DeLay to take leave of his leadership duties for the thirty-day period, though. Then again, that might send the wrong signal.

This really doesn't appear to be as big a matter as I thought it would be, though. I'm actually kind of surprised that it's gotten as little attention as it has.

Whatever the case, I'm fully prepared to admit I was wrong in my initial take.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Where to begin. . .

. . .with this paean to progressive thought from a very lonely, depressed South Carolina Kerry supporter? As odes go, this one seems pretty reflective of the sentiments of the few Kerry backers I've had any contact with, and some (like one of my uncles) with whom I've not had any contact since the election, but have heard about through the family grapevine.

There's a tendency among the libertine to view conservative beliefs as nothing more than a means by which to keep them down -- to exclude them from life in America. I'm right smack-dab in the Bible Belt, myself. Kentucky concedes no ground to South Carolina when it comes to the presence of Southern Baptists, Pentecosts, Jehova's Witnesses, Sevent Day Adventists, nor any other evangelical or charismatic Christian sects. We have our snakehandlers, just like South Carolina does. And, assuming the demographics are roughly the same, we have our share of gays, minorities, and impoverished, as well. And, like South Carolina, Kentucky went heavily for the President.

And, also as in South Carolina, our Democrats are walking around in a haze of stunned disbelief. As I've said before, I wish conservatives and Republicans were so easily convinced of imminent victory. How Democrats were able to become so assured of victory in the face of polling figures across the board that indicated a race that could go either way, I think, says a great deal about the problem they face today. What it says to this particular blogger is that the need of the progressive mind to believe something outweighs any and all evidence, imperical and anecdotal, that is contrary to that belief. In short, it's that they just don't listen.

There's some evidence to back that up in this piece by Kerry Cook, the afforementioned progressive South Carolinian from Myrtle Beach. In listing a synopsis of his/her beliefs, one assumes the intent is to clarify some misconceptions among the larger voting public, and perhaps instill a sense of shame among those who voted differently for being so quick to come to conclusions as to the motives of those who voted for John Kerry.

It's as if Kerry Cook is telling us all, "I'm not a monster! I'm a human being. I'm. . .a. . .human. . .being!" So, let's take a look at Kerry's political principles as given in The Sun:

"I had heard Jim DeMint, during his senatorial campaign, actually state that he was in favor of banning gays and single pregnant women from teaching in public schools. Instead of hurting DeMint, his statements appealed to the majority of voters."

Would that be the vaunted "popular vote" who liberals spent the last four years trumpeting as the rightful final arbiter of all elections, from dog catcher to the President? What happened to the outcry that the electoral college should be done away with? What happened to the assertion that America is really liberal, and that direct representation was the only just way to decide the leader of the free world? Did the American people suddenly develop this case of stupidity over the past four years, or was that stupidity simply lying dormant during the 2000 election?

"I realized how much power the "evangelicals" and "born-again Christians" have in this Bible Belt."

The use of Taranto's patented "scare quotes" is notable here, but aside from that, another question remains: Do you think that these scare-quote-Christians have too much power? If so, how do you propose to remedy the disparity? Are you prepared to disenfranchise them in some way? Are you prepared to abridge their free speech rights in order to ensure that the issues that drive them are excluded from the national debate?

"I remembered the message placed recently on a Socastee Baptist church billboard condemning 'homosexuals,' 'liberals' and 'heathens.'"

And what, precisely, should be done about that? Should these words be banned, or should it be codified into law that these words only be used in a positive, affirmative sense in public places? Are there more words that need to be added to this list? Should this list be a "living document," to be revised and extended as new words crop up in the language? And who gets to make the list? Are "Biblethumper" and "Jesus freak" elligible for the list? How about "fascist" and "nazi"?

"It was apparent that the "moral values" of DeMint and our president were those accepted by the majority. At least I could understand why voters voted the way they did."

Again, the "popular vote" rears its ugly head. So, it appears that Kerry Cook has no beef with the notion that the "moral values" issue is one in which liberals find themselves in the minority, despite the proclamations of Michael Moore and others that Americans are more liberal than our government institutions indicate. But, then, we all knew that. Even the Democrats I personally know admit it, albeit in a very round-about fashion.

In discussing politics with the yellowdogs in my area -- mostly labor union members -- when moral issues (gay marriage in particular) come up, they automatically proclaim it as "bullshit," insisting that Democrats "don't really believe all that," and that it's something the GOP has made up out of whole cloth in an attempt to scare people.

My question is: Which is it? Do Democrats believe in all this inclusiveness and diversity, or do they not? Is it just something northeastern liberals mouthe in order to placate a small but vocal minority with a lot of sympathizers in big cities, or is it a real priority for Democrats to welcome everyone to the table? That's an issue that the DNC needs to work out if it is to ever stand a chance of succeeding in Middle America again, and I don't think the process will be a pretty one.

"I could understand how voters could be swayed by campaigns based solely on fears of terrorism and future attacks in our country. I could understand how voters could vote for privatization of the Social Security system; could disregard the enormous budget deficit; could disregard the huge sums being spent to wage a war in Iraq and pay private contractors to rebuild that nation."

Therein, Kerry Cook, lies a huge chunk of the reason that Democrats found themselves losing across the board on November 2. Americans rejected your portrayal of the the President's motives, because it depicts the machinations of an evil man. . .something we all know is simply not the case. The documentary evidence that has piled up in the days following 9/11 and in the prosecution of the War on Terrorism dispels that notion in any reasonable mind. We have all seen that the President is a caring man. We've seen him shed tears at the loss of innocent life. We've seen him break up at the mere thought of talking to a mother or wife who has lost a son in war.

You might have made the case that he is somehow dangerous, or even incompetent -- and you tried -- but that just wasn't enough. You had to promulgate the notion that George W. Bush was an evil pawn of larger, more sinister forces at work in our political system. After all, there is no other way to describe a person who would, as you have us believe, ruin Social Security, bankrupt our nation, and frighten the masses with terrorist bogeymen, all so he could line the pockets of his already super-rich friends with lucrative government contracts.

"All it takes is a selfish plan to live for today without worrying about future generations."

You might want to lay out your vision of the "selfish plan without regard to future generations" before the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, whose future suddenly includes personal sovereignty -- a not so small thing to people who have never tasted it. Explain George W. Bush's disregard for future generations to the women who bravely stood in line to vote for the first time in Afghanistan's history, while under the threat of widespread attacks on polling places. Tell them how their morning prayers in preparation for death that day were nothing more than meaningless motions undertaken in a big plan to enrich the President's big money men.

"I could even understand how voters can vote for a 'man' on the basis of his looks and 'down-to-earth' mannerisms."

Well, I should hope so. You had eight years of lip-biting, colloquialisms, and southern charm to help you arrive at that understanding. Anyone who doesn't understand that is likely driving around with a Forbes '08 sticker on his bumper right now.

"What depressed me, however, was the feeling I got that, by voting Democratic, my moral values were judged to be somehow less than those of the majority of voting Americans."

You see, Kerry. . .this is a problem for all "progressives". Your moral values aren't by necessity "less" than those of the majority. And, believe it or not, the majority doesn't spend a whole lot of time calculating the value of your morals.

No, the fact of the matter is that your moral values were "at odds" with those of the majority of voting Americans. (I find the qualifier "voting Americans" revealing, by the way. It's clearly a distinction being drawn by Kerry Cook to convince "progressives" that while they may be in the minority where politics is concerned, the "real" majority counts people who do not vote, and that they are much more likely to agree with "progressives". A little self-serving, I think.)

"Before accepting the idea that I am a person of low moral values, I thought about some of the things I believe in:."

OK, but before dealing with the arguments, you have to first deal with the premise, which is constructed in such a way that any judgement arrived it is automatically rejected as invalid by true progressives. In the progressive, post-modernist school of thought, there are no values to be placed on morals, good or bad -- as long as you're happy and your conscience is clear. That is what allows "progressives" like Michael Moore to depict antebellum Iraq as a happy, peaceful place simply by showing children playing outside. "How bad can it be? The kid's got a damned kite, for pete's sake! And, just look at him smile!"

The moral legitimacy of the Hussein regime is disregarded as a factor in justifying the war. And, if you're a "progressive" and are offended by the assertion that you are incapable of making moral value judgements because your philosophy doesn't allow for it, let me finish. I also believe that the vast majority of the "progressive" vote never gives one bit of thought to its underlying philosophy of post-modernism. And, furthermore, if most "progressives" actually knew the basic tenets and guiding principles of left, they would reject them out of hand.

Now, on to the list:

"I believe in God's two great Commandments, the second of which states: "Love your neighbor as yourself."

I won't even get into the numbers thing, except to ask why it is perfectly permissible for "progressives" to use the government to promulgate two out of the ten Commandments. And, if two is OK, why not five or eight? Why not just the odd-numbered ones on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday...the even numbered on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, and then all of them on Sunday?

And what makes those two particular Commandments better than the others? Are they of higher moral value?

" I try to live my life in accordance with the Ten Commandments, which are embodied in the two great Commandments."

Do you need Democrats in office in order to do that for some reason? Is the President doing something to somehow thwart your efforts to live by the "Cool" Commandments?

"I believe that, by definition, the term marriage means a union of a man and a woman, and that this definition need not be changed; and I believe that fidelity is the most important quality of the partners in a marriage."

The "definition need not be changed"? That's a whole different thing from saying the definition "should" or "must" not be changed. But, when your moral compass has no poles, you can't really say that anything "should" or "must" be done, as it would imply a moral heirarchy -- something not recognized by post-modern thought. This is why liberals so often seem to speak in vague, evasive terms.

"I believe in the family structure. We have raised three children trying to instill in them feelings of respect and tolerance for all people."

Well, that's nice. I believe in the family structure, too. I don't think the "family structure" is really affected by whether or not I believe in it, though. The family structure will be the family structure, no matter what, as long as it's allowed to remain intact. It's what we do to preserve that structure that counts. Conservatives are willing to codify the basic, accepted family structure into law. "Progressives" are willing to say they believe in it, but go no further, as that would again imply the unacceptable moral heirarchy.

"I believe that, as Abraham Lincoln said, "The role of government should be to do for people what they cannot do by themselves."

In response to that I'll turn to fellow Ldotter, M2 (Reply #9):

This is incorrect. Lincoln's actual remarks were the following: "Property is the fruit of labor...property is desirable...is a positive good in the world. That some should be rich shows that others may become rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprise. Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another; but let him labor diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built.....Government should not do for people what they could and should do for themselves."

"I believe that the gap between the wealth of those 'having a lot' and those 'having a little' should not be a wide one."

Well, I'm not so sure there's any disagreement have with that. Where we differ is in how to go about fixing that. "Progressives" tend to think that the government should seek to create equality of outcome, whereas conservatives believe that equality in opportunity is where the line should be drawn. "Progressives" believe that coercive means are necessary to achieve equality, and that penalizing the wealthy is a morally acceptable coercion. Conservatives believe that, given an equal shot at fulfilling their needs, people are generally capable of doing so, and that it is best left to the individual conscience to see to it that those without are taken care of, and that the use of government coercion to achieve these ends undermines the goodness that is inherent in giving.

And, besides that, why is it that "Progressives" can justify placing a moral value judgement on the issue of poverty in the United States, but not on the brutal repression in Iraq and Afghanistan? Why is it more noble for the government to provide services for people in need at home than it is to deliver basic human rights to people abroad?

"I could not see how these beliefs could possibly mark me as a person of "low moral values." I thought maybe there is something else that I am missing. So I decided to reflect on some of the things I do not believe in:

We've just spent the past two and a half years hearing what "progressives" don't believe in, but for the sake of argument. . .

"I don't believe that our 'public servants' or any of their political backers should pander, mislead the public or in any way profit by public service."

Then, why on earth are you not in Chappaqua, New York with a picket sign right now? Can you point to any explanation for the Clintons' obvious wealth other than windfalls stemming from their public service? Did they ever make a single dime that wasn't a direct result of their public service? And I won't even touch on the "mislead" or "pander" points, other than to say, "President Clinton has kept all the promises he intended to keep" and "Ricky Ray Rector". Beyond that, the record is so utterly clear as to not even warrant a mention.

"I don't believe that gays should be treated any differently under our laws than straight people because to do so would be in violation of God's second great Commandment."

Well, congratulations, Kerry! You have shown the wild brilliance that often manifests itself in people who agree with me. The thing is, it's the "Cool" Commandment thing again. And secondly, I dont really believe that's why you believe that way. I think maybe you were sitting around the dorm one day, talking to a friend about the way some people hate gays, and how some jerks you went to high school with were always picking on this one kid because he was gay. And, you talked about how idiotic it was, and how the place you grew up in was full of people like that, and how it's always the jocks and the Biblethumpers. And, especially the Biblethumpers because they're the ones who are always talking about how you go to hell for being gay. And, how hypocritical that is because it says in the Ten Commandments that you should "Love Thy Neighbor".

Admit it, Kerry. Your theology is more a matter of convenient coincidence on the matter than a defining principle.

"I don't believe that stem cell research should be [limited]."

In what sense? The money? The age of the fetus? The number of fetuses? The means by which the fetuses are harvested? Should a mother be allowed to sell her fetus for stem cell research? Should women be able to sell as many fetuses as they want for stem cell research?

"I don't believe that all abortions are bad; and I don't believe that licensed doctors who perform legal abortions should be charged with murder, or that the Catholic Church should deny the Holy Eucharist to anyone who is pro-abortion."

The problem, Kerry, isn't that the majority of people think all abortions are bad. The fact is, most people think some abortions are justifiable -- particularly where the life or physical wellbeing of the mother is in undue jeopardy. The problem is that "progressives" are either unwilling, or unable as I assert above, to say that any abortion is wrong.

As for the Catholic Church, I don't think your vote in the Presidential election counts at the Vatican. I'm not Catholic, though, so I won't deign to say it conclusively. All I know is that I never heard one person say, "I'm voting for Bush -- he'll hold the line on the Holy Eucharist."

"I don't believe that the nonprofit National Association for the Advancement of Colored People should be investigated by the IRS for speaking out on behalf of a candidate unless all nonprofit church groups are also investigated for their political pronouncements."

I don't believe the NAACP is a non-profit church group, to begin with. Secondly, I don't believe any group ought to be investigated without first giving probable cause. If you can provide evidence that there is a systematic attempt at collusion between political parties and tax-exempt organizations, I say investigate. Absent evidence and probable cause, hands-off. I'd say there is ample reason for suspicion with regard to the NAACP, though, considering its roll in the 2000 elections.

"I don't believe that our citizens have any constitutional right to bear arms. It is a privilege and has been held to be so by our federal appellate courts that have examined the issue."

Being in South Carolina, you should have an accute apprecation for these two paragraphs:

"With the bombings came marauding groups of armed white vigilantes called 'nightriders' who drove through black neighbourhoods shooting and starting fires. John Rice and his neighbours guarded the streets at night with shotguns.

The memory of her father out on patrol lies behind Rice’s opposition to gun control today. Had those guns been registered, she argues, Bull Connor would have had a legal right to take them away, thereby removing one of the black community’s only means of defence. 'I have a sort of pure second amendment view of the right to bear arms,' she said in 2001."

"I don't believe that any religious entity should preach prejudice or intolerance. It's against God's second great Commandment."

Again, I say you should probably take that up with the individual religious entities. It is notable, however, that the Reverend Al Sharpton, intolerant religious entity extraordinaire, did better in South Carolina any other state. So, if you're looking for a respite among your fellow Palmetto "progressives", I'm afraid you'll be sorely disappointed. Turns out, it's not just the conservatives down there with the tolerance problem.

"I don't believe that 'liberal' views mean bad views."

I think that would have gone without saying, if only for the fact that if you did, you wouldn't be a liberal. Aside from that, I've already addressed the incompatibility of value judgements with "progressivism," so the statement is moot.

"When all is said and done, I won't be judged to be someone with fewer moral values than the voters who elected DeMint, President Bush and other Republican candidates. If I am, so be it. I may be a 'blue' voter, but at least I am no longer depressed."

In that case, I am happy for you. I hope you won't be offended when I say, God bless you.

Original Draft of Dowd Column

I was fortunate enough to have passed along to me the original draft of Maureen Dowd's most recent column, "Absolute Power Erupts".

They're so ready to leave the country.

They totally remind me of how I felt when me and Michael stopped dating. Democrats are being so pathetic. It's like, "Hel-lo? Are you just going to throw yourself at every semi-hot guy you run into at a party?"

It's just so lame, the way Republicans are always all, "You have no business being out that late," and "as long as you're under this roof, you're going to abide by my totally lame rules." They think they're all authoritative, walking around with their butts all clenched. (Is it just me, or do Republicans always seem to have completely flabby butts?) And, they never listen to anything. It's always like, "You need to learn some responsibility and stop having any fun." Democrats are way cooler about that kind of stuff. I mean, yeah. . .they can be lame sometimes, too. . .but, at least they listen, ya know?

What gets me is that the Republicans are all acting like they're so macho, or something. Like, you remember when they were saying John Kerry was this totally faggy guy? And how they said he was so lame because, supposedly, all he cared about was gays and how he was all afraid of the terrorists? That was lame, too. They tried to make him look totally gay, even though he was brave enough to drive his boat over the border into that one place with the floods and the kids with flies all over?

Aarrgghh...that so pisses me off!

And now, since Kerry lost, all the other Democrats are totally trying to be like the Republicans. They're so stupid. And they're ruining it for Hillary, 'cuz she's supposedly this total liberal, or something. That's so gay.

And, you know that Ken Mehlman guy? You know. . .the one that was always telling Bush how to do stuff, and what to say, and all that? Well, he was someplace down south the other day -- I think it was that Mardi Gras place -- anyway, he was all talking about how the Democrats were all stuck up, and how they all think they're so cool. I heard about that, and I was all, "OMG! They're so lame! They're the ones who think they're too good for everybody. All they care about is, "Oooh! Check out my giant truck! Oooh! Watch me shoot this gun!" It's like, come on. . .that's so high school, ya know?

I don't know how Laura and Karen and Condi can stand them. It's so sad, 'cuz they can do so much better. I think it's because they feel sorry for Bush, 'cuz they know he's so stupid and immature. And, I bet you if ask them how come they all worship him, they'll be all, "OMG! He's so cute, and he's really sweet, if you get to know him. He just acts like a jerk 'cuz everyone's always a jerk to him." Like, I'm so sure.

It's so stupid, the way people just believe Bush. And they're the same way with Cheney, too, just 'cuz he hangs out with Bush all the time. It's like, "Yeah, Dick Cheney's so hot. . ." But, I bet you if they knew how he really is, and if he wasn't Bush's best friend, they'd be all "Eew!"

And, can you believe how Bush and Cheney were always talking about how John Kerry was all rich, and he's supposedly this big loser 'cuz he knows how to dress and 'cuz does stuff for Teresa all the time. They're so much worse it's pathetic. At least Kerry didn't wear some gay blue silk jacket some foreign exchange people gave him, like Bush did. And, you should see the way Bush sucks up to Laura on TV all the time. It's disgusting.

And, now, since Kerry lost, all the other Democrats are blaming him for stuff. Like, when he was running, he took some of the money he raised and saved it, just in case he had to have some at the end of the election to help pay the recount lawyers. But they're all like, "If you were really trying, you wouldn't have needed any extra money at the end, 'cuz there's just no way Bush could have won if you were really trying to win." Give me a break! Bush had all this money, and all his friends were all over the place talking about Kerry, and how he's supposedly this big sociologist. They totally turned people against Kerry, and it was all lies.

You know Karl Rove was telling them what to do. He's the only guy I know of who they all listen to, and it was like they were all going around saying the same thing, and people were just believing them, 'cuz Karl said so. That's so lame.

And, now, it's like all the other Democrats are afraid of them, or something. They just let them go around saying that stuff, and they don't do anything about it. They're supposed to be Kerry's friends, you know? But now they're all kissing Bush's butt, 'cuz they're afraid he's going to start stuff about them, too. Even Clinton was all fake -- saying how Bush is still a good guy, even though he said all that crap about Kerry. He can be such a loser, sometimes. (But, at least he's a cute loser. Heeehee!)

Now, the Republicans are all going around like they own everything. It's like, if you disagree with them, they'll totally mess with you -- and I'm not talking about just keying your car. They'll just start making up stuff about you and spread it all over the place, 'cuz they know people will start talking, and the next thing you know, everybody thinks you're this psycho moron. Even the few cool Repulicans are all changing now. They act just like Bush and Rove. You just know it's because they're scared. Even Arlen Specter, who was always kind of cool before, is wimping out.

And, OMG! Can you believe how they're all sticking up for Tom DeLay? Is that lame, or what? I mean, duh. . .guilty!

Did you see what he said about the Democrats the other day? How they're just pissed 'cuz they lost, and how it's 'cuz everybody knows they're just lying about Republicans all the time? Earth to DeLay! You fo' shizzle ain't fo' rizzle!

Anyway, the Republicans were so lame, the way they said all that stuff about Kerry. I mean, how was he supposed to stand a chance with everybody talking about how he's a liar, and how he's two-faced? Please. . .

But, if you try to say something about the Republicans, they all get this attitude -- like, "Don't even talk to her. She's such a skank. They even make people sign pledges promising not to say anything bad about them. I mean, how lame is that?

And that Porter Goss (would you go out with a guy named Porter Goss? Eew!) guy is all running around the CIA telling people to support Bush, and not to say anything bad about him. Too bad, so sad.

Whatever. . .

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