Philocrites : Scrapbook : September 2004 Archive

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Secular liberals vs. Christian liberals

Quoted 09.30.04:

Bill Maher"If I hear one more time," [comedian Bill] Maher said, "about people of faith for Kerry, I can't stand it." . . .

Well, Bill, if there are no "people of faith" for Kerry, he won't get 25%. Maher frequently expresses his disdain for the Christian Right as do I, but like many secular progressives, he has a hard time differentiating religious fundamentalists from religious progressives and an even harder time discerning indispensable allies. . . .

I guess Bill thinks that we "people of faith" in South Carolina should drop our plans to run full-page ads in the state's major papers proclaiming that, "It's not a sin to vote for a Democrat." Maybe Maher and some of those like-minded people I've encountered in the blogosphere think Christians — all Christians — really belong in the Republican camp. Well, they're wrong. We're not going to succumb to their slights and their narrow-mindedness. We're progressives and our progressivism, as hard as it is for them to understand, is grounded in our faith.

Allen Brill, The Village Gate 9.28.04

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Growing pessimism on Iraq: Doubts increase within U.S. security agencies

Quoted 09.29.04:

AP Photo/Asaad Mohessin 9.28.04A growing number of career professionals within national security agencies believe that the situation in Iraq is much worse, and the path to success much more tenuous, than is being expressed in public by top Bush administration officials, according to former and current government officials and assessments over the past year by intelligence officials at the CIA and the departments of State and Defense.

Dana Priest and Thomas E. Ricks, Washington Post 9.29.04; reg req'd (via Bump)

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Elsewhere in the 'Axis of Evil'...

Quoted 09.28.04:

North Korea says it has turned the plutonium from 8,000 spent nuclear fuel rods into nuclear weapons to serve as a deterrent against increasing U.S. nuclear threats and to prevent a nuclear war in northeast Asia.

Edith M. Lederer [AP], Netscape News/CNN 9.28.04

Monday, September 27, 2004

Playboy spirituality

Quoted 09.27.04:

[Hugh Hefner] feels "blessed to be a part of it, blessed to be alive to celebrate this existence, and to celebrate in a way that makes existence better for others, and that is the best of what religion is. That's the good part."

Cathleen Falsani, Chicago Sun-Times 9.26.04; via Romanesko

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Aid and comfort

Quoted 09.25.04:

[P]rominent Republicans have said that Democrats are helping the enemy or that al Qaeda, Iraqi insurgents and other enemies of the United States are backing Kerry and the Democrats. Such accusations are not new to American politics, but the GOP's line of attack this year has been pervasive and high-level.

Dana Milbank, Washington Post 9.24.04, reg req'd

Friday, September 24, 2004

Questions for Jon Stewart

Quoted 09.24.04:

Jon StewartSOMETIMES IT FEELS AS IF WHEN THE STAKES GET HIGHER, THE QUALITY OF DEBATE GETS LOWER. Oh, I don't think there's any question about that. Now it's gone Malcolm X. It's gone "by any means necessary." I mean, how many campaigns do you remember where Hitler has come up a lot? If I were the Hitler people, I'd be raising a stink. I think he's gotta protect his legacy. He's gotta come out and go, Look, all right, you guys have your flaws but, hey, I was evil, baby!

CAN I ASK WHO YOU'RE GOING TO VOTE FOR IN NOVEMBER? I'm really concerned about this Administration. Now, does that mean that they've completely lost any chance? Not really. Things could change drastically. But let me put it this way: they've put themselves in a giant hole, as far as I'm concerned. And as far as I'm concerned, their best argument for election is, Yes, I drove us into a brick wall. But I didn't blink!

Lev Grossman with Jon Stewart, Time 9.20.04

How news portals serve up political stories

Quoted 09.24.04:

Google News uses computer algorithms to identify top stories while Yahoo News favors old-fashioned human editors. But do Google's automated search results display a conservative bias?

J.D. Lasica, Online Journalism Review 9.23.04; via Talking Points Memo

The very rich get even richer

Quoted 09.24.04:

There are now 313 US billionaires, the most ever and a huge jump over last year's 262, according to Forbes magazine, which yesterday released its annual ranking of the 400 richest Americans.

AP, Boston Globe 9.24.04

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

A lethal idea still lives

Quoted 09.21.04:

On the dominating issue of Iraq, it is possible for reasonable people to be simultaneously to the right of President Bush and to the left of John Kerry

George F. Will, Newsweek 9.27.04

Saturday, September 18, 2004

GOP mailing warns liberals will ban Bibles

Quoted 09.18.04:

Campaign mail with a return address of the Republican National Committee warns West Virginia voters that the Bible will be prohibited and men will marry men if liberals win in November.

Will Lester, Associated Press 9.17.04; via Chuck Currie

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Judge denies bid to bar archdiocese from selling church

Quoted 09.16.04:

"The closing of a church and parish is a matter of judgment for the Archbishop to make, which this Court may not second-guess," Connolly said in his written decision. "The parish is not a separate corporation, but is a part of the Archdiocese of Boston. . . . Saint Albert the Great's church and parish (including its real estate and its personalty [personal property]) is an unincorporated subdivision of the Archdiocese of Boston." . . .

The judge, a former seminarian, nonetheless noted that St. Albert's parishioners had shown that they would suffer "great irreparable harm" from the church closing.

"Basically, the role of a parish and church in a parishioner's life is far more than a simple piece of property," he wrote. "It becomes a very important part of the life of its parishioners, spiritually, intellectually and emotionally." In fact, he said, the harm caused to parishioners by closing their church is greater than any possible harm to the archdiocese if he had granted the injunction.

Bella English, Boston Globe 9.16.04

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

What Kerry should say

Quoted 09.15.04:

John Kerry"Mr. president, Colin Powell told you about this war that 'if you break it, you own it.' And now you're going around talking about an 'ownership society.' Well, Mr. President, let me tell you what you own. A million jobs lost. You own that. A thousand soldiers lost. You own that. 1.4 million new people living below the poverty line. You own that. 1.2 million less people covered by health insurance. You own that. A seventeen percent medicare increase. You own that. Health care costs skyrocketing. You own that. The tax burden increasing amongst the middle class. You own that. Mr. President, if you want to talk about an ownership society, let's talk about what you own."

Zackpunk, Daily Kos 9.13.04

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Ownership society does not exist

Quoted 09.11.04:

48 percent of households today have no stock market holdings whatsoever, either directly themselves, or indirectly via pensions or 401(k) plans. Only 40 percent of Americans hold stock (in any of these forms) worth more than $5,000. And of those households that do own stock, the least-well-to-do 40 percent have a portfolio worth $1,800 on average. . . .

Bush's proposals mainly involve tax breaks to boost ownership for people who already own everything. For the rest, compassionate conservatism's new subtitle reads, "Let Them Own Cake!"

Matthew Miller, San Diego Herald-Tribune 9.6.04 (via DailyKos)

Thursday, September 9, 2004

The big tent of religion

Quoted 09.09.04:

[T]hese days, when politics seems especially bitter and both major parties narrowly defined, the big tent label might well be applied elsewhere — to religious denominations. . . .

In his recent study of mainline Protestants, the Princeton sociologist Robert Wuthnow found that many church members took pride in the diversity within their ranks, even if they wished for less controversy. "The church was one place where they could talk deeply about their differences and still be part of the same community," he said.

Gustav Niebuhr, Boston Globe 9.6.04

Wednesday, September 8, 2004

Bush fell short on duty at Guard

Quoted 09.08.04:

Lt. George W. Bush - AP FileBush fell well short of meeting his military obligation, a Globe reexamination of the records shows: Twice during his Guard service — first when he joined in May 1968, and again before he transferred out of his unit in mid-1973 to attend Harvard Business School — Bush signed documents pledging to meet training commitments or face a punitive call-up to active duty.

He didn't meet the commitments, or face the punishment, the records show. . . .

Lawrence J. Korb, an assistant secretary of defense for manpower and reserve affairs in the Reagan administration, said after studying many of the documents that it is clear to him that Bush ''gamed the system."

Stephen Kurkjian, Francie Latour, Sacha Pfeiffer, Michael Rezendes, and Walter V. Robinson, Boston Globe 9.8.04

Bush by the numbers

Quoted 09.08.04:

Any family that borrowed $1 of every $5 it spent would soon be hauled into bankruptcy court. Yet President Bush's campaign aides were touting the news yesterday that this year's federal budget deficit is estimated at only $422 billion — a new record by only $47 billion. . . .

[T]he Bush campaign ignored the fact that the $422 billion would be an all-time high and that the record being broken is its own — the $375 billion in red ink that it ran up last year. Even more serious is the CBO's new long-term projection: that the deficits over the next 10 years will total nearly $2.3 trillion . . .

Editorial, Boston Globe 9.8.04

Tuesday, September 7, 2004

Divide, divide

Quoted 09.07.04:

John KerryJohn Kerry at his convention did something politically shrewd but also historically significant. He took a reluctant Democratic base and emphatically backed the war on terror. Yes, he did not relinquish criticism of the war in Iraq, nor of the way in which the Bush administration had made the case for war. But it was not a left-wing convention, and it signaled a welcome shift among Democrats to a more war-oriented approach. The Republicans essentially responded by throwing back this concession in John Kerry's face. They refused to take "yes, but" for an answer, and dredged up the divisions of the Vietnam War as a means to further polarize the electorate. Again, this might be good politics, but it is surely bad for the country. I believe in this war, which is also why I believe it is important to get as many Democrats to support it. But the Republicans have all but declared that this is a Republican war — and can only be conducted by a Republican president. I think they will live to regret this almost as much as the country will.

Andrew Sullivan 9.7.04

Sunday, September 5, 2004

The next shock: Not oil, but debt

Quoted 09.05.04:

Structural changes in the economy have let the nation absorb the recent shock of rising crude.

That's the good news. The bad news is that other recent structural changes in the economy — the federal government's shift from surpluses to huge deficits, the national predilection for consumption over saving and housing prices that climb faster than incomes — have increased the country's reliance on another kind of fuel: credit.

Daniel Gross, New York Times 9.5.04, reg req'd

Justice after war

Quoted 09.05.04:

Just and Unjust Wars, Michael WalzerEfforts to think clearly and systematically about the morality of warfare have traditionally fallen under two headings. "Jus ad bellum" referred to moral questions about going to war. "Jus in bello" covered moral questions about the conduct of war.

Now Michael Walzer, a political philosopher who has played a leading role in contemporary thinking about what is just or unjust in warfare, has proposed a third division: "jus post bellum," or justice after war.

Peter Steinfels, New York Times 9.4.04, reg req'd

Friday, September 3, 2004

I love 9/11

Quoted 09.03.04:

Temporary TattoosDuring the Democratic convention, too many speakers looked back to 9/11 with fondness. They didn't recall the months after the worst foreign attack in American history as a sad and tragic time. Instead, they appeared to remember those days as a warm-and-fuzzy time of national unity, now lost because of Republican partisanship. But the GOP's wistful look back at the tragedy as a marvelous occasion that somehow justifies the re-election of President Bush was even more stomach-turning. The convention's final night had the air of a VH-1 special: I Love Sept. 11.

Chris Suellentrop, Slate 9.2.04

Thursday, September 2, 2004

Imperial president

Quoted 09.02.04:

Sen. Zell Miller[T]he GOP is trying to quash criticism of the president simply because it's criticism of the president. The election is becoming a referendum on democracy.

In a democracy, the commander in chief works for you. You hire him when you elect him. You watch him do the job. If he makes good decisions and serves your interests, you rehire him. If he doesn't, you fire him by voting for his opponent in the next election.

Not every country works this way. In some countries, the commander in chief builds a propaganda apparatus that equates him with the military and the nation. If you object that he's making bad decisions and disserving the national interest, you're accused of weakening the nation, undermining its security, sabotaging the commander in chief, and serving a foreign power—the very charges Miller leveled tonight against Bush's critics.

Are you prepared to become one of those countries?

William Saletan, Slate 9.2.04

Wednesday, September 1, 2004

Sure strikes us as news

Quoted 09.01.04:

Rep. Edward L. SchrockYesterday, just 65 days before the election, U.S. Rep. Edward L. Schrock, a Virginia Republican, abruptly announced he wouldn't seek a third term in Congress, "citing unspecified allegations that have 'called into question' his ability to serve." Though Schrock wouldn't discuss the allegations, they almost certainly stem from charges made on a weblog that he "has made a habit of rendezvousing with gay men." Schrock is one of the most conservative members of Congress. More to the point in this case, he was one of the co-sponsors of the proposed constitutional amendment that would have banned gay marriage.

Brian Montpoli, Campaign Desk (Columbia Journalism Review) 8.31.04

Yes on Schwarzenegger. No on Bush

Quoted 09.01.04:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger / API'm no huge fan of John Kerry. He sees two sides of every one-sided issue, and four sides of every two-sided issue. But the alternative is a president who sees one side of every issue, no matter how many sides it has. Given how many sides there usually are, and given how little effort Bush makes to learn about each issue, the odds are that, on average, he'll pick the wrong side. The record of the last four years shows that he has done precisely that. But because Bush refuses to "waver," as Schwarzenegger charitably puts it, we keep going in the wrong direction. The only way to stop such a president is to vote him out of office. Fortunately, an election is coming.

William Saletan, Slate 9.1.04