Thursday, December 22, 2005


The mouth has reopened for business

Sorry to the half-dozen or so habituees of this blog who have missed me these past couple of weeks. You know how it is around Christmas (Yes, we liberals celebrate Christmas, too.)

Speaking of Christmas, in the true spirit of giving, isn't it amazing how right-wingers love to give and receive apocryphal e-mails from unknown sources. You know what I'm talking about. I'm sure you get them all the time: some wingnut's screed that supposedly further justifies every conservative's viewpoint. I got one of those again today, allegedly from Andy Rooney. According to this e-mail, Andy went on a real tear a few weeks ago, spewing the kind of xenophobic, racist, anti-intellectual trash that would make every angry, insecure white male loser proud. It seemed pretty suspicious to me, considering that Andy Rooney is a certifiable left-winger and conservatives often rail against him.

So I checked it out on, the best place to check out these things. Of course this e-mail turns out to be one more lie from some pathetic right-winger who can't be bothered to at least be truthful and honest. According to the ever-reliable Snopes, Rooney disclaimed this screed on 60 Minutes a couple of months ago with this statement:

"There's a collection of racist and sexist remarks on the Internet under a picture of me with the caption ‘ANDY ROONEY SAID ON 60 MINUTES.’ If I could find the person who did write it using my name I would sue him."

To read this piece of character defamation against Andy Rooney, click here.

To read a similary screed falsely attributed to George Carlin (but different from the George Carlin e-mail I wrote about a few weeks ago), click here.

Apparently, this fake commentary from Andy Rooney has been so widely spread around that yesterday, Snopes named it one of the Top 25 Urban Legends of 2005, as listed here.

Thursday, December 08, 2005


What I think of conservatives

So most of you know, I'm not a big fan of today's conservative movement. It's a sad alliance between big business, which pays the movement's bills, and the religious right, which gets voters to the polls. As long as the business types show indifference toward Jerry Falwell's rantings and the religious types turn a blind eye on big business' assaults on American families, both sides are happy. Leading this spectacle is George W. Bush, who believes only in George W. Bush, and has merely cast his lot with the plutocrats and theocrats as they work together to keep him in the White House. That leaves the vast majority of Americans out in the cold. I think the whole arrangement stinks, and that's why I write this blog.

So that's what I think of conservatism these days. Now, what do I think of conservatives, themselves? I think that's worth exploring. To read my writings, one could easily believe that I hate folks on the right and and that I think they make a bunch of rude, nasty people. Clarification, I believe, is in order. So let me tell you how I feel about folks who adhere to conservatism:

*I think most conservatives are good, decent people. They love their families, they love America, and they love God. I probably know and associate with more conservatives than I do liberals, and that should tell you something.

*Most conservatives are not ideologues. They believe government has been too intrusive. They believe they pay too much in taxes. They fear what will happen if we weaken our national defense. They wish they could raise their children in a more civil, decent society, and they seek moral leadership that will display the same values they celebrate in church each Sunday.

*Most conservatives are not interested in this liberal-conservative, red state-blue state garbage. They don't listen to talk radio or read the American Spectator. They don't put ridiculous bumper stickers on their cars. They quietly believe what they believe and understand it's best to keep one's political beliefs to oneself.

*Most conservatives are not in it for the money, and their votes are not primarily for their own pocketbooks. Their interest in corporate welfare and tax breaks for the wealthy is marginal and mostly nonexistent. If they do believe in said breaks for the wealthy, it's because they sincerely believe those breaks will benefit us all in the long run.

*Most conservatives would do anything to help a stranger who they saw in need. At the same time, many of these same people show a certain indifference to the idea of helping those in need when they go to the polls or exercise their political voice.

*Too many conservatives believe that peace can only be attained at gunpoint.

*Too many conservative men seem to be conservatives only out of machismo, a vicarious hope that if they take a hardline stance on issues like foreign diplomacy, criminal justice and multiculturalism, onlookers will view them as sufficiently manly.

*Many conservatives believe their political philosophy best reflects the teachings of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, too many of them believe that ONLY their philosophy reflects the teachings of Jesus Christ. However, I know most conservatives believe in every American's right to decide upon their own religious values.

*Too many conservatives seem to fall every election year for the mudslinging, push-polling and hot-button rhetoric that the GOP knows will work so well. The Republican leadership also knows they can easily get most middle-class and even poor conservatives to vote against their own interests every time with a good wedge issue like gays or gun control.

*Many conservatives are catching on, and seeing the disaster in the White House, are increasingly becoming less conservative.

To summarize, I think most conservatives are good people. They're also are motivated by values and issues that are rational and truly important. I just happen to disagree with the conclusions that many of them draw.

Next time we'll talk about how I feel about liberals.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


Secular humanist retailers: "Bah humbug!"

It appears the American Family Association has joined in the militant campaign to save Christmas from the pagan God-haters, whose ranks now appear to include most major retailers. AFA, which is best known for its efforts to keep dirty language off network TV, now believes God will vanish into a poof of smoke and disappear because JCPenney won't put the word Christmas in its circulars. AFA cites a survey of Sunday newspapers that yielded only one circular from Belk's that mentioned the word Christmas. Admittedly they only looked at two papers, but they claim this as proof that we've turned our backs on God.

Indeed they may be onto something here. I jumped onto the Sunday Saver website, which links to store circulars, and found that only Family Dollar and Circuit City actually used the word Christmas in their ads. For the record, Target insists that it acknowledges Christmas in a letter here that AFA cites as some sort of proof that its campaign works, even though Target says it never stopped using the word Christmas. With so few stores invoking the name of Christmas, I'm not sure these boycotters will have a lot choice in where to shop. Does this mean that they'll be hypocrites if they shop at one of these merchants the same way I've been told Barbra Streisand is a hypocrite for living in a wooden house?

So finally we have the one and only issue that has sent right-wingers into a fit of rage against corporate America. Apparently, conservatives are fine with Wal-Mart mistreating employees and encouraging the deindustrailization of our great nation. But when Wal-Mart omits the word Chritsmas from its ads, that's a true outrage!

Let me say again that I do see these folks' point. AFA points out that these stores really depend on Christmas shoppers, yet treat the holiday as the "C-word." Have we really gotten so PC and fearful of offending folks that stores refuse to say "Merry Christmas" or even simply "Christmas Sale?" With Christmas as such a secular celebration anymore, why should anyone be offended by this alleged Christian holiday. I know many Christians would be upset with me for this, but Christmas has become so commercialized and frenzied that I see it as completely divorced from the birth of Christ. It's wildly popular in Japan, for crying out loud. Therefore, nobody should feel threatened by this very secular holidays.

On the other hand, this denial of the word Christmas really isn't anything new. Stores have been saying "Happy Holidays" for years, and I always took it as a reference to the holdiay season - Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year together - not as a denial of Jesus Christ as savior and lord. A Kmart ad proclaiming "Happy Holidays" is no threat to God or his people and should in no way diminish your enjoyment of Christmas. If it does, you should probably examine your rage and get on with celebrating the holiday however you best see fit.

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