Tuesday, November 23, 2004

The X-Mas Spirit

We hung Claudia and Carsten’s lights on our porch this afternoon. It looks really nice at night, although we do stand out on our block a bit. Our nextdoor neighbors have lights hung, but they aren’t on yet.

Finishing Up

We’re starting in one the painting and hope to be done by the end of Thanksgiving break. That means that Mike can come in to do the trim sometime next week, and we should be able to move back in shortly thereafter!

These are pics of the priming process. I’ll post pics of the painting as it happens.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Further proof that the universe is out of wack...

The eagles are loosing 27 to 3 in the 4th quarter to the freakin’ Pittsburgh Steelers!

And, the Daily Mirror - one of the worst of the British Tabloids - is actually calling (quite correctly) the American people dumb. It’s akin to being called an idiot by a member of Jerry Springer’s audience! [I actually saw a comment on the Daily Mirror web site saying ‘those ‘dumb’ Americans are the same who would have supported the US intervention in WWII.’ Notice the unbelievable ignorance on display here: the social conservative wing of the Republican party (i.e. Buchanan) has argued against that intervention, Lindbergh - whose isolationist policies would have had us making non-aggression pacts with Hitler - was proposed as a candidate in 1940, and Henry Ford is likely the originator (there is no question that he is responsible for the wide distribution – the only question is whether he wrote them or not) of the anti-Semitic tract “The protocols of the Elders of Zion”. The British wonder how we can be so dumb? This guy just illustrated the point.]

What’s next? Flying pigs? Idiots in power? Oh wait, we’ve already got the latter. And considering that Bush was a pilot when he decided to show up at the National guard, we’ve had the former for that past 30 years!

Friday, November 05, 2004

Here's the thing:

As a ‘life’-long liberal / progressive (I mean, as long as I have had a political conscience), I have always believed that the Republicans couldn’t win in a fair fight. I’m not alone in this: most liberals believe that the Republicans rely on trickery, low voter turnout, apathy, disenfranchisement of minorities and the Supreme Court to win elections and maintain their grip on power. If only, we’d all say, if only we could get the youth to turn out, or get the African-American community to the polls, then we’d dominate American politics.

Well, it’s false. We know that now.

The mainstream liberal wisdom seems to be that Democrats need to embrace ‘moral values’, and return to rhetoric highlighting social and economic justice as moral imperatives. Robert Reich (on ATC last night) and E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post (today’s column) have made just that claim. I say bullshit. The phrase ‘moral values’ is clearly a euphemism of anti-gay hate and anti-abortion single-issue voting.

In case you doubt my characterization, consider the ‘moral values’ that are not included in the republican calculus: lying, cheating, loyalty (outing a CIA agent), rushing to war, failing to plan for peace, protecting the citizens caught in the chaos after invasion, the death penalty, the lack of adequate healthcare, tax cuts for the wealthy, reduction in social services, the paternalistic approach to women’s ability to make their own moral decisions, proportionate punishment for drug offenders… The list goes on and on. Make no mistake about it: the term ‘Moral values’ refers to what we do in our bedrooms and nothing else.

Moreover, we must face the fact that a majority of American people - in what must be considered the fairest of fights - want the government involved in what we do in our bedrooms. The left will get nowhere pointing out that ‘moral values’ includes the progressive agenda, nor will they get anywhere pointing out the immorality of making moral decisions for others.

To try to convert the evangelicals into leftist thinking (as Reich and Dionne advocate) simply won’t work. Evangelical culture, while it is diverse, shares one common thread: a commitment to the literal interpretation of the Bible. And that commitment entails two things: (1) all evidence can be denied if it contradicts the Bible and (2) all morality flows from the bible. The second of these, in turn, entails that (3) individuals have no right to make moral decisions on their own.

People, according to evangelicals, are not autonomous moral agents. The only autonomous moral agent is Jesus. When faced with a moral dilemma, the rest of us need only ask ‘what would Jesus do?’ to decide the whether a particular action is permissible, obligatory or impermissible. This is, as you might expect, why they believe women incapable of making their own moral choices - they believe all humans incapable of choosing morally. Thus, to argue with an evangelical about whether an action is permissible or impermissible is to argue with a squirrel about whether a nut is a seed or a vegetable - not only is there no possible evidence you can present that will change their minds, but they are, themselves, incapable of classifying actions according to that schema. They believe themselves morally impotent.

Again, if you doubt my characterization, consider what happens when Evangelicals get caught acting immorally. When Jim Baker cheated on Tammy Fay, it was the Devil’s fault. Blaming one’s sins on either the tempter (more often, the temptress) or the Devil absolves oneself from the responsibility entailed by one’s actions. And if one is not responsible for actions, neither praise nor blame can be attributed. Pat Robertson recently said that it doesn’t matter what Bush does - God will bless him either way. And notice that all those athletes who ‘give God the glory’ after a victory do so precisely because they believe that they deserve no credit for their performance - they have no responsibility for the victory. If they want to take credit for a victory, they would have to take the blame for sinning. The don’t want the latter, so they can’t have the former. Evangelicals just don’t believe that they have moral agency.

We liberals and progressives must not get sucked into debates about the permissibility or impermissibility of actions. It is a fruitless enterprise. We should be fighting against the idea of moral impotence itself. We should be fighting to ensure all people’s - especially women’s - status as autonomous moral persons. And we must insist that people take responsibility for their actions throughout society - whether it be Kenneth Lay or President Bush, if you want credit for building a company or winning a war, you must take responsibility for destroying pension plans or killing 100K Iraqis. Not your company, or God, or your advisors. You. Personally.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

This is the shit:

A colleague of mine at McDaniel sent me this link to an article in the Guardian. I think this guy pretty much has it figured out. Now, just think: if one (or more) of the justices die, we’ll have to live with under these people for the next half century or so. That is, if they don’t destroy the world before that.


It's just sooooooo bad

If one thing is clear from the elections last night it is this: the US electorate does not want a democracy. They want a theocracy. You can be an insane, incompetent lunatic and get elected if you have an endorsement from the right preacher. Evidence, rationality, thinking - none of it matters anymore. The only thing that matters is the that you’re an evangelical.

The Democrats put forward the best candidate, and he made the best case he could. And you know what? None of it mattered. We lost - we got trounced - by those who claim to believe in ‘moral values’. What the f***? They voted en masse for a proven liar and cheat, so what the hell does ‘moral values’ mean? We all know: abortion and homosexuality.

Bob Kerrey said last night that the American people have to decide if they *really* want a society in which Doctors are arrested. I will add the others that Kerrey didn’t say: an America in which women who have been raped are chained up so that they carry pregnancies to term, and gays and lesbians forcibly restrained from conjugating. We now have the answer. Yes. The American people really do want the government to be in the business of regulating sex. And they really do want the government to be a protestant, evangelical theocracy. Evidence is irrelevant! Throw out the constitution! Throw out liberty! Bring in the jackbooted thugs! Anyone who thinks differently must be ‘converted’!