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Friday, May 21, 2004

On The Ground at the Maine Democratic Convention 

Here, just pretend I'm a real journalist. Day one of my three day Democratic Convention, updates to come.

Running It Up The Flagpole 

John Kerry's campaign has apparently settled on a new slogan/theme: "Let America be America again."

The words are from the poem by Langston Hughes:
Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed--
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There's never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")
Read the rest at Bark Bark Woof Woof.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Operation Compassionate Conservatism or In Search of a Few Good Women/Men  

I won't post the whole thing here, but please visit my blog and comment if you can help me out. Here's the snippets:

Yesterday I entered into a conversation with a staff person in charge of the mailroom here at work...During the conversation I told him I could name great Republicans on one hand, and that the likes of Rove and Norquist has poisoned the GOP. In actuality I can honestly name only one republican that I consider to be a person of integrity and honor; in whom I would unreservedly vote for if I had issues with the nominess on "the other side of the aisle". That man is Sen. John McCain.

Now here's the challenge...Surely there are more people in the government (federal or state) that are "good Republicans, great Americans". Now I'm not saying that they have to have some sort of liberal leanings. They can be dyed and in the wool Republicans, but the way they conduct themselves is free from the pettiness, like the followers of Grover Norquist. Republicans that are willing and eager to work to solve problems facing the American public without political pandering and are able to reach out across the aisle and honestly work with the Democrats or Independents. Folks that are able to listening to great ideas no matter which ideology it springs from. If you are able to name a few, please provide some examples of why they qualify.

You can see the full post at Chris "Lefty" Brown's Corner.


Tuesday, May 18, 2004

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Monday, May 17, 2004

On The Ground in Cambridge, Mass 



Everyone agrees: Best Guide Dog Safety Awareness Week ever. The one thing that surprised me most about Cambridge City Hall today- where the first ever American Gay Marriages were being performed- was that there weren't any protesters. I really, really wanted a picture of my middle finger sticking out in front of a bunch of marriage nazis, but no such luck. The closest I could get was Jay "Kill All The Muslims" (Yes he really said it) Severin who argued that even though he was a Libertarian, the law should intervene in the case of gay marriage because it's a left wing Marxist plot to destroy American Institutions. Count me in on that plot, comrade. The only person on the street who seemed to agree was a homeless woman with a constant stream of curse words that were only half decipherable. Other local stations were celebrating it, with the local Rock Station giving away tickets to their big River Rave concert to everyone who "came out" on the air- with the DJ giving legitimate props to the people who did. Rumor had it that 15 people showed up with anti-marriage signs and were simply ignored, so they left. When I arrived, there was nothing but media, people sitting on the grass applauding when people came out, volunteers from GLAD, and more media.

GLAD really went all out. The atmosphere was described, by the BBC, as "festive", and that was true, so long as you don't associate "festive" with "crowded". GLAD provided Cake, sparkling grape juice and Roses. The most important thing I got out of being there, I think, is how little politics had to do with it. No one that I saw seemed like they were getting married as a political action. They did it because they were with people they wanted to marry, and could, and that was the whole point. No one talked about the politics of it. People sat around and talked about how exciting it all was, cars honked their horns in support, and no one mentioned that all of this was at the heart of a firestorm. In Colorado, conservatives were outraged. In Nebraska, conservatives were outraged. George Bush, in Kansas, spoke at length about the anniversary of Brown v. the Board of Education, where it was determined that Blacks could go to the same schools as Whites, which sparked the desegregation of American Life. Not aware of the irony, Bush, too, was outraged over Gay Marriages.

But none of those people were in Cambridge, and neither were any of those concerns- or at least, no one talked about them. No one was militant, no one chuckled over the destruction of the institution of marriage. No Heterosexual passerby were struck dead, nor did the sky turn black. It was as simple as this: some people kissed, some people got free cake, straight men like me went home alone and gay couples went home to over 1000 health benefits. In the end, I really have to wonder what all the fuss is about.

By the way, GLAD takes online donations.


Sunday, May 16, 2004

Personal Preferences Mean Personal Rejection? 

There has been a mini war going on in the Liberal Coalition email. It revolvers around a simple error in either the template or the CSS file. In either case, what has resulted has been a bit of a pissing contest over Netscape/IE/Windows/Mac.
Why is it that whenever one person makes a strong, sometimes aggressive, statement of personal preference over something like software, hardware, browsers, etc., that others suddenly feel rejected or attacked?

Personally, my favorite browser in the past was Netscape. However, with the advent of Microsoft's market flooding and incompatibility issues, I've settled on IE. But is it necessary for me to become defensive just because someone criticizes Netscape? I also happen to like Microsoft Outlook. Not Outlook Express, Outlook. Does it mean that when someone else bad mouths Outlook, I have to jump to it's defense? No!
Wait, let me restate that: Hell no!

I like the program because I like the program. I certainly don't think trying to defend it against someone else's preference is necessary. It's most certainly a waste of time. People have legitimate complaints about any number of software, hardware, etc., etc., etc. That's their right. They can hate, or love, whatever they want.
In the end, when we get into arguments about "bigger, better, faster" etc, we get away from what's really important: accepting people for who, and what, they are.


Or have we forgotten that we are the "Liberal Coalition?"

Review of New Peter Singer Book on Bush's Ethics 

SoonerThought reviews Peter Singer's The President of Good and Evil: the Ethics of George W. Bush.

Excerpt:
Bush is a grown child of privilege who has the luxury of a childish, myopic take on the world. And it is dangerous for America. Just ask the soldiers in Iraq. Ask a Canadian, a Brit, a Mexican or even a Frenchman if they still view America the same way since Bush’s election coup in 2000.

Bush’s morality and attitude is one I can recall from recently “saved” (the term for people who ‘accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior’) children back in high school…the types who burned their rock and roll records, quit relationships with ‘non-saved kids (read: non-Southern Baptist)’ and stopped saying the words ‘damn’ or ‘hell’ unless in a biblical context:

…the moral fervor of the White House is extraordinarily petty. Ethics rules for staff behavior were enforced [according to conservative David Frum, a former White House employee] …to “every last absurdity.” At a meeting, Frum was asked if he was sure about something, and he replied, ‘Yes, I am damn sure.’ There was a prolonged silence and the atmosphere suddenly turned chilly. Eventually Frum realized what he had done wrong and amended his reply to, “I am quite sure.” This kind of moral fundamentalism—that is, a tendency to take simple moral rules in an absolute and literal fashion—appears to have been set by Bush himself…this is the stage typically reached by early teenage boys.