Archive for June 17th, 2005

Friday Quote & Cat Blogging

This week’s quote:

Mankind is just a component of the device which creates the devil.

Naked, which features a tour-de-force performance by David Thewlis as an over-intelligent and cold-blooded drifter. He gave me the impression of someone impatiently channel-surfing through life.

Oh, look! A cat!


Mom’s friend’s cat, Sweet Pea. And a box. Posted by Hello

7 comments June 17th, 2005 at 06:53pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Friday Quote & Cat Blogging

Ew.

Well, I guess it’s not all that surprising – Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are engaged. Tra-la-la. But check out the last sentence of the AP article and see if it doesn’t make your skin crawl:

The former star of television’s ‘Dawson’s Creek’ has said she grew up wanting to marry Cruise.

7 comments June 17th, 2005 at 10:40am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Movies,Quotes,Weirdness

More Like This, Please.

John Danforth strikes again!

People of faith have the right, and perhaps the obligation, to bring their values to bear in politics. Many conservative Christians approach politics with a certainty that they know God’s truth, and that they can advance the kingdom of God through governmental action. So they have developed a political agenda that they believe advances God’s kingdom, one that includes efforts to “put God back” into the public square and to pass a constitutional amendment intended to protect marriage from the perceived threat of homosexuality.

Moderate Christians are less certain about when and how our beliefs can be translated into statutory form, not because of a lack of faith in God but because of a healthy acknowledgement of the limitations of human beings. Like conservative Christians, we attend church, read the Bible and say our prayers.

But for us, the only absolute standard of behavior is the commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves. Repeatedly in the Gospels, we find that the Love Commandment takes precedence when it conflicts with laws. We struggle to follow that commandment as we face the realities of everyday living, and we do not agree that our responsibility to live as Christians can be codified by legislators.

(snip)

In the decade since I left the Senate, American politics has been characterized by two phenomena: the increased activism of the Christian right, especially in the Republican Party, and the collapse of bipartisan collegiality. I do not think it is a stretch to suggest a relationship between the two. To assert that I am on God’s side and you are not, that I know God’s will and you do not, and that I will use the power of government to advance my understanding of God’s kingdom is certain to produce hostility.

By contrast, moderate Christians see ourselves, literally, as moderators. Far from claiming to possess God’s truth, we claim only to be imperfect seekers of the truth. We reject the notion that religion should present a series of wedge issues useful at election time for energizing a political base. We believe it is God’s work to practice humility, to wear tolerance on our sleeves, to reach out to those with whom we disagree, and to overcome the meanness we see in today’s politics.

I think the unspoken distinction here is between Old Testament Christians and New Testament Christians. It’s the difference between defining mindsets of “Thou Shalt Not” vs. “Be Excellent To Each Other.”

2 comments June 17th, 2005 at 09:36am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Politics,Religion,Republicans

Krugmania!

I’m sure today’s Krugman column has been done to death already; I just want to nibble around the edges a little bit.

Now, politicians and businessmen are always in a position to do each other lucrative favors. Government is relatively clean when politicians are sufficiently afraid of scandal to resist temptation. But when a political machine controls all branches of government, and those officials charged with oversight are also reliably partisan, politicians feel safe from investigation. Their inhibitions dissolve, and they take full advantage of their position, until the scandals become too big to hide.

In other words, Ohio’s state government today is a lot like Boss Tweed’s New York. Unfortunately, a lot of other state governments look similar – and so does Washington.

Since their 1994 takeover of Congress, and even more so since the 2000 election, Republican leaders have sought to make their political dominance permanent. They redistricted Texas to lock in their control of the House. Through the “K Street Project” they have put lobbying firms under partisan control, starving the Democrats of campaign funds. And they are, of course, trying to pack the courts with partisan loyalists.

In effect, they’re trying to turn America into a giant version of the elder Richard Daley’s Chicago.

These efforts have already created an environment in which politicians from the right party and businessmen with the right connections believe, with good reason, that they have immunity.

(snip)

The message from Ohio is that long-term dominance by a political machine leads to corruption, regardless of the policies that machine follows or the ideology it claims to represent.

First off, I feel obliged to smugly point out that this reinforces my earlier post about how the Republicans have replaced accountability with impunity (will provide link when I get home), which also gets into root causes and potential solutions.

Second off, I believe Krugman’s last paragraph is incomplete. It does not address the chilling fact that Washington has proven that the dominance doesn’t even have to be long-term to lead to corruption. In the Republicans’ case, it seems to have been almost instantaneous (Enron, Energy Task Force), although it continues to worsen by the day.

June 17th, 2005 at 09:11am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Corruption/Cronyism,Politics,Republicans


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