November 03, 2004

mourning in america

I’ve been in a great mood thus far today. The election is over and maybe there will again be something substantively interesting for this Curmudgeon to blog over. It has been a hard couple of weeks for the de facto disenfranchised because all anybody has wanted to talk about is the election.

For the record, I was way off on my election prediction: I expected a Shrub victory at quite a bit larger of a margin than what he achieved. I based my prediction on the exploitation of fear by the GOP and apparently that was broadly the case, though it would appear that the fear of homosexuality was at least as great as that of the terrorists.

Nope. I didn’t see that coming.

But as the hours go by and my the energy fades from my personal jubilation at the nation finally choosing its preppy potentate of choice, I do sense that mourning is probably in order. As I survey the message boards, I detect unmasked triumphal ecstasy on the part of the 43 apologists and extreme bellicosity on the part of the Kerry crowd. These feelings are unlikely to be buried by today’s calls for healing.

I did see one news story that directly stated the obvious truth: this election was fantastic for incumbents. Very few of the incumbents were turned out though of course there was the notable firing of Daschle. I would like to think that the re-election of incumbents was notably high for good and honorable reasons. It would be comforting to believe that these politicians are doing a great job and that the voters were confident in casting their votes, but of course that is not at all what happened.

The problem is there are no real choices in elections for most Americans. We have for the most part neatly divided into two camps, and Cowboys do not vote for Indians. The actual number of swing voters is small and shrinking. So we repeat this cycle over and over, casting our vote for our party man and ensuring that the same old politicians get returned to office year after year.

Instead of calling it Election Day, they should call it Ground Hog Day.

Third party voting appears to have been virtually non-existent this election and that saddens me far more than returning the Shrub who would be King to office. While I firmly believe that the damage that will be done over the next four years may well be permanent and unrepairable, it would nice to have a little hope that people might actually wake up to voting for change rather than the lesser evil.

If you want to really get down about things, realize that a lot of the voters subjectively were voting for change.

But a gadfly such as myself needs much to complain about and I have been assured by this election of a cornucopia of good material-or at least that might be my attitude if I didn’t actually care about America. Rather, what begins today for me is a renewed quest to make a difference in our society and my vehicle for this endeavor is this blog for now.

And in regards to the Disenfranchised Curmudgeon, I would ask for your prayers. For those of you who castigate me as a Liberal, I would ask that you pray for my greater wisdom in expressing my steadfast confidence in our traditional values of personal freedom. For those of you who condemn my imputed Conservatism, I would ask that you pray for a strengthening of my compassion so that I might more effectively advocate for those in our society that are the most needy. And lastly, for those of you who understand that I do not fit into these political moulds and find some form of common cause with me, please pray that my readership can grow and that together, we can have some small part in changing America for the better.
Please hurry. Tempus fugit.


Blogger Common Good said...

Praying doesn't work. Bush is still there.

5:10 PM  
Blogger Brackenator said...

Fear is a motivating factor that has its roots in our primal background. If you challenge to change one's world too drastically then that can evoke fear from the electorate. Mr. Kerry for all of his rhetoric could not do two things, prove that he would take care of terrorism and its threat to the country, and could not provide a guarantee for Middle America that the institution of marriage would be protected.

The Democrats have been characterized by the administration as educated elitists that hold onto the ideals of the sixties and seventies. Though this may be far from the truth, Middle America in the less urbanized areas bought into that stereotype. Though Democrats feel that they are the champions of the less fortunate, they have been determined to bring forward the ideals that the average person should not have to worry about responsibility. You cannot be responsible, give us your guns. You should not be responsible for population control here are contraceptives. You should not be responsible for any mistakes, here have an abortion. You should not have the responsibility to grow old and suffer, here end your life. Though these views have made the Democratic Party popular with some, it is at odds with the very people they should be willing to embrace, Middle America. There are also many fundamental problems with maintaining the position that the Democrats support the down trodden when they have many problems on basic life issues.

With the defeat of the most powerful Democrat in Congress, Tom Daschle, it leaves the Democrats “soul searching”, I am borrowing that term from an article I read earlier. If the Democrats are not the friend of Middle America, who are they. They have become a coalition of minorities and special interest groups, some of which are anything but what Middle America wants.

On the other side, the Republicans have portrayed themselves as guarding the safety and family values of the country.

One young voter said, “Now that there are more of us and we are voting, we can no longer be ignored…as we get older, we can make a change…”

Though true, I wonder what that young voter will think when he has is married with a family.

Either way, the public has spoken and 43 has another term as President of the United States. May God have mercy on the world and grant wisdom to all our leaders.


5:18 PM  
Blogger Andrew Dunlap said...

Why do I feel the blahs? 3 million people prayed for Bush daily. Every preacher man I know supported him, even my pastor. Sunday started off like it would be a great day of worship and then what'd ya know, we had a guest speaker. The pastor was inexplicably absent. The next thing I know he was "prophecying " a Bush win. Most of the church erupted in applause. Wow, 2 days before an election in a race too close to call and we needed to be assured by the Almighty that Bush was going to win? I want to attend tonight's service but I'm afraid it will be a post election celebration. Whats' wrong with me? Am I such a rebel that I can't see God moving? Do I despise shrub so that I am missing out on hearing the Lord speak? Of course this is the same prophet who predicted that OBL would be captured in Jan '03.
I talked with some of my friends afterwards and they felt much like me. There were a few that seemed to be excited about the whole deal. The bible tells us to test the spirits. Why am I not joyous or festive? After all I acknowledge God's hand in this. I know that some how, someway, His will will be done. I'm just not sure it will be done as scripted. Bush is a decent man although there is no question that he is the village idiot. But the coalition of neocons and religious zealots makes me uneasy. I keep going back to the war thing. It offends my sense of justice that we could support a man who waged a war against a sovereign nation under false pretenses. My pastor, who I respect a great deal brought out the fact that the gospel was being spread in the middle east and for that reason alone we could overlook the situation. Well after 9-11, I'm sure that many people took a spiritual journey and found Christ. I don't think anyone thinks that should happen on a regular basis. I felt that the church was a sanctuary where politics and the cares of the world could be left behind. Before joining my current congregation, I attended the same church that John wiley price and ron kirk went to. I know all those cats personally. For 10 yrs I heard every scripture in the bible twisted into a political and social action message. I had to leave. Now there is nowhere safe.
I can only find solace in the fact that many times through history we have been at his juncture. It seems that whenever the church advances to a point where it can dominate the culture, it reverts to legalism and oppression. That's why we have the country we have today. Yet all these well trained ministers don't see the pattern. Using the bible as a basis for moral laws is the merger of Church and state. Just wait until the minority religions begin to rise in our culture. Those same guys will be howling to high heaven. Well, back to the grind.
peace out

6:08 PM  
Blogger Common Good said...

Wow Brack. I have a much shorter explanation of the election. The Plutocrats stroked the moral police and got themselves another 4 years on the throne. Turns out the red states were much more afraid of Jim on Johnny then Bin Laden.btw... the conversation with red state america starts and ends with abortion. As long as one party (GOP) says they are against it, end of discussion. A more sophisticated election explanation (i.e. personal responsibility) is just background noise compared to the abortion issue. I'm sick of the abortion issue. I wonder why the red states never ask why no president ever pushes for a abortion ammendment to the constitution? They just did it for marriage, why didn't Bush go for the abortion ammendment? I'm ready for them to do it, and am looking forward to them hashing out the law. For example, consider the day after pill. Do police roam the hospitals and MEDx and try and make sure the the women havn't had 5 minutes of conception before she pops the pill? I'm being serious here, it's time for us to have this discussion as a nation, all the way through to implementing law. I want everyone who says our wives and sisters pregnancies to be accountable to detail what thier idea is for punishment. Put to death no matter the details, or life sentence for some of the women, or ????. Some of us just flat don't agree post conception equals murder, but hey, this is a republic. If we are going to give every election to one party based on one issue, it's time to have the discussion. Wives and sisters to the electric chair... so be it.

IMO, the Dems should just go home and see how it turns out. I say bring on the theocracy and the incense burners, and let's see how it works. Obviously arguing about it for decades have served no purpose. Now is a perfect time for the Dems to take their blankets and go home, because the GOP has control of the House, the Senate, the President, the Supreme Court. When the weak links in Darwin utopia start whining, they can be referred to the GOP and the church networks... the Dems have taken their wussy liberal safety net ideas off the table. Turn DeLay and Frist loose... the world according to knuckle dragdom. Sorry, guess that isn't a healing or coming together phrase is it? Cheney took about 20 seconds in his victor speech today to claim their 51% popular vote was a mandate. At some point, you just have to concede that arrogance is a personality trait. Hey, survival of the fittest Christendom might just work. It certainly uncomplicates the "healthcare for everyone bs" doesn't it. Oh, another upside. If the unfit die earlier, we have less social security needs, plus we improve the human bloodline (only the stronger left around to breed... that's a Plato idea I think). Just think, we would never have to argue about anything again.

The Darwinism reminds me of the book Jon Stewart and company (The Daily Show) just published. At one point in the book, they try and explain the history of democracy. They said Darwinism was working fine until many of the weaker and unfit decided they would like to NOT DIE. That caused complications, and therefore, democracy. :)

I'm taking my blue blanket and going home. Work it out amongst your red state selves. Do I get to beer and golf and tennis in theocracy-lite land?


7:00 PM  
Blogger cleolove said...

Unlike the pundits, I will simply say I hear you, and I too will pray that we will find a way to heal the wounds we have created, and make effective change in our country based in rationality rather than fear.

8:11 PM  
Blogger Texas Conservative said...

I too thought the margin of victory would be greater - electorally. I suppose the NY Times breaking of the 18-month old story last week didn't help matters much though I think Kerry eroded at his lead just by campaigning so much. He's a work horse, no doubt about that.

I was very pleased at the outcome though very cautious about being too happy since I didn't want to offend "the other party."

A cynic would attribute this election to fear though I think it was more than that. There was certainly an element of that, no doubt, but the biggest motivator may have indeed been Conservative America making a statement about the things they DON'T want to change. They like the idea of marriage being exclusively between a man and a woman. All eleven states with ballot initiatives to define this as such passed with overwhelming support. Even Oregon! Not sure anyone saw that coming.

Surprise, surprise that you would be in mourning. I'll light a candle for you. You'd find reason to mourn on vacation. I was quite happy with the ease at which we conducted our elections. If for no other reason than to squelch the Reverend Sharksons from telling us all about how many blacks were arrested for premeditated voting.

I recall that the Progressive Party was the last 3rd party to really have any influence during an election, my present employer notwithstanding. Though that candidate had switched parties and brought quite a bit of recognition along with him. There really is a part of me that resigns myself to the idea that 2 parties are best. I'll be surprised if this comment makes it passed this paragraph before a quick scroll and single-left-click on the trash can icon but it's true. Our system of government is not built on the idea of factions within our democracy that each vie for power much like parliamentary style in the UK. Two parties is what we have and that's how things work. Howard Dean and Michael Moore have realized this. Why can't you? Oh, I know, Nth-parties are good for slaps and tickles in blogs but I don't think this is realistic. Perhaps the current downward spiral of the Democratic party will lend itself to a just-as-strong Green-type party that splits the current base right down the middle and all but ensures 60 Republicans in the Senate by 2010. That would be amusing and given the way in which Democrats appear to be losing elections, not altogether impossible.

Seems like voters not aligning themselves with the incumbent always want change. Scratching my head I'm not sure I got that comment but I am a Bush supporter so I'm slower than the rest, slower than the rest.

As to your readership, you have my prayers, although mine are a little more specific to you than your down-and-out curmudgeonistic writings. I pray that you take a big whiff of all those things in our American system that DO smell really good. Sure, the smell of the urinals and rain-soaked dung makes things a little tougher but often times the breeze blows just enough of the Easterly wind to remind you there is no place like here, no place like here.

9:48 PM  
Blogger Common Good said...

TexasConRightValues (and therefore morally superior), I see your rose colored glasses messes with your sense of smell also.

It's obvious to me that liberals [whatever that is], particularly the elite variety [again, whatever that is] has been off base for wanting safety nets and believing in the seperation of church and state. I mean, after all as Cheney says, they have a mandate, and that is a red state bible thumping mandate. IMO, it's time for Dems to step aside and turn the country over to those who know God. I mean how silly was it for anyone to try and compete against religious intolerance... apparently intolerance backed by the bible. Apparently Harry Reid (Nevada) will take over for Dashle. I think the very first thing he should do is hold a national press conference and tell the nation that the Dems will vote for anything the party with the morally superior values (Republicans) want.. ANYTHING.

I have some ideas that he should suggest for the Rep agenda.

1) The obvious first agenda item should be abortion, and passing a constitutional ammendment to outlaw it. I would suggest no exceptions... life of the mother, rape, incest, whatever... no exceptions. I would further suggest that punishment for both doctors and women who violate this ammendment be death. The man who participated, of course, is not guilty of a crime. That's the beauty of men passing laws for women. I think another constructive idea would be to put the enforcement of the abortion laws under the Homeland Defense. I would suggest a special police task force... let's say the God Squad. Also, although many in the Republican party believe in Libertarian ideas, in this case, the God Squad will be allowed to do wire taps on doctors and women, have access to personal medical information, particularly prescriptions... basically whatever it takes to stamp out abortion. Of course, rich folks will still be able to fly to other countries for abortions... they are still Republicans after all.

2) Time to go for the marriage constitution ammendment again. Since the Reps have such a huge mandate, civil unions are also out. In fact, gays should be rounded up and shipped off to an undisclosed location... maybe Guantanamo. Yes, it's correct that the bible does not rank sins, but the red states are particuarly troubled by the homosexuals, so special laws are needed. After all, government should be the will of the people.

3) It's finally time to reward the wealthy strivers in our economy with what they have always deserved... no taxes. We have been such an immoral nation to survive off of these fine wealthy american achievers, and then turn around and demand taxes. Obviously the only moral course it for the masses that contribute so little to cover the tax bill. Also, all preachers and churches should be 100% tax free.

4) Well, that is a bit of bad news for the average working guy, but here is some good news. We are finally going for that small, more moral government. Every federal program other than the military and homeland defense is gone. First to go will be the public school system. You all had your panties in a wad over God in school.. fine... knock yourself out. The government is now out of the school business. You can mold your little whippers anyway you want... but it's up to you, your states, and your churches. Good luck. FEMA... gone. EPA... gone. FERC... gone.

5) Justice appears to come in the form of social (taking care of the poor) and personal (abortion, homosexual behavior, etc). It's obvious that the red states have very little interest in the social variety, but intense interest on the personal front... so government is now out of the social justice business. It will enforce church personal justice doctrine with our laws, however. Since it is church-driven laws, some flexibility of enforcement is in order. Any church can now act as the jury for crimes like abortion and being gay... in fact, maybe they would like to be the sole judge... government would just get in the way on this type of stuff. At the churches discretion, they may go back to mob choice for punishment... public hanging, stoning, etc. But, this is not theocracy... just the morally superior setting down law as it should be.

6) Finally arriving at theocracy-morally-right, we need to guard against any relapse back into communist ways. Blue states must be punished, similar to dirty skies initiatives. A blue state can redeem itself in following elections by voting red.

7) Any presidential candidates will be screened by a Church network review board/committee. This will be required before you even get on the ballot.

8) Corporation taxes ... are you kidding. Labor laws... are you kidding. Corporations will finally be set free from their burdens. Working folks will learn to shut up and keep their heads down in their mindless cubicle jobs, and not complain when the CEO earns yearly the GDP of small countries. And of course, the CEO's will pay no taxes. We should get on our knees and worship these fine americans paving the way for the rest of us.

9) more to come ....

Theocracy lite or bust.... whoppeeeeee!. We are so lucky to have the morally superior among us to guide us. The red states are fed up, and they are not going to take it anymore.

11:12 AM  
Blogger Common Good said...

oh, forgot a big one.

9) Government is now out of the social safety net business. First on the chopping block... social security, medicare, medicaid. Finally you hand out americans will learn the meaning of personal responsibility. Old people are not the government's problem anymore. Old folks are personally responsible for thier retirement... prepare or not... your choice. Also family personal responsibility... kids responsible for their aging parents. You say you are old, but don't have any kids. First, if you were married, it was only for procreating... so your bad. Oh, you intended to procreate, but your plumbing was bad... your bad. Oh, you had a kid to look after you in your old age, but he died in Iraq. May we suggest a church membership. You are a filthy non-believer... hey, you deserve what you get. Also, since government is out of the safety net business, and also out of corporation oversight, 50% of the public can pretty much forget about health insurance. However, very very good news for the other 50%... less lines at the doctors office and still have the best medical care in the world. Man it's nice to be a "have" in the richest nation in the world.

10) All have nots, and non-believers will be forced to move to blue states.

11) Church membership will mean tax cuts... but that means less because since government is out of the social safety net business, we are just taxed for military and homeland defense... and of course contributions to the new Church Network Safety net (for members only). Nothing like starving a have not to lead him to the church... that's what I call leverage.

12) Since society has already it can choose who fights are wars (currently the poor), the next evolution will to have the morally inferior (blue state) to fight our wars for us. Maybe a few bullets flying over their heads will help them see the RIGHT values.

I could go on... and I will. Just doing my part to help us unite into the right red state value system. Again, how blessed we are to have such moral superiority to lead us.

11:45 AM  
Blogger Brackenator said...

Brackenator here, forsome reason it will nto log me on. I just want to say that these Bush-attitudes are in reaction to Dorf's comments.

The Bush-attitudes

Blessed are the poor, for they shall keep working forever.
Blessed are they who invest well, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the land developers, for they will buy all the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst, for they will need to get a job.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be labeled liberal.
Blessed are the clean of heart, for they need a vice.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will bankrupt the defense industry.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for they are right in their WEP, white evangelical protestant, ways.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you because of oil and gas. Rejoice and be glad, for we will find a way to keep that interest profitable.

12:15 PM  
Blogger Common Good said...

Brack... opposite of persecution. I'm suggesting turning the keys over to the blessed-aware. Ownership of morality will require implementing that morality into law. My guess is implementation of moral choices like abortion law will present many more challenges then just railing against it. It seems fair that I would offer a preview (guess) of how that all may fall out. I'm looking forward to watching the implementation of the RIGHT values. Should be a hoot. It should be a glorious time for the right, they are in charge of everything. If the Dems do as I suggest, they will force the right to prototype the ideology they have been preaching (excuse the pun). Put up or shut up. Let's see how the moral police do? Let's see how the old, and the poor and sick fair. Let's see if we end up in a less divisive nation. Let's see if the economic engine is turned lose by minimal taxation. Let's see if the faith based private sector can replace federal safety nets. Let's see how our old fair without government interference... do more die with dignity, or less. Let's see if we have an uprising from the cutoff welfare recipients... i.e. civil war, race riots, etc. Let's see the quality of schools that spring up after government interference is removed... Plank and Prof are smart guys, they could be correct that we end up in a better place. Let's see what Christians will do with the power... what happens to other religions and non-believers in the society. Will the Falwell's and Robertson's use their new found power justly, or will they be just as corrupt as our current power mongers. I want what I have always wanted... a society that operates as if it will be measured by how the poorest and weakest among us faired, not by max GDP and number of lake homes. I call that previous sentence MY morality, MY values. That morality is driven by my ability to reason and my conscience, not by religious beliefs. Yeah, I know, no such thing as morality without it being religious based. My intent is to persecute ignorance, intolerance, naivety, greed... doesn't matter to me whether those attributes come from religous beliefs or otherwise. My ideology comes from wanting specific results and thinking that is the best way to get there. I am not married to ideology, but rather to the result. If religious folks in charge leads to universal health coverage and no state sponsored religion, I will be the first to congratulate. If religious folks in charge just mean the Christian faction in charge and just as confused and incompetent as any other group in charge, then they will fail on results. Their religious convictions will be of secondary concern to me.

Brack... I was not really politically/society aware until around 5 years ago. Wasn't even on my radar. Now my wife is praying that I "get over it" :). I think she gives good advice and I will try. I have traveled a long ways and spent significant personal energy in formulating my personal views regarding our society... i.e. I don't arrive here by accident. As I told Plank the other day, I feel a certain amount of satisfaction in putting in that personal effort at formulating my opinions (maybe that is my world view :). One thing I observed about you is the same thing and more... you have spent considerable personal effort and energy in arriving at your current opinions. I respect you for that. How we all work this out... who knows. Although my previous posts are dripping with my usual sarcasm, I'm serious about the Dems being the side to just say... ok, try it your way. We can't keep having the same arguments for decades after decades. I would ask only one thing from the right... if they see that small government was too simple and too uncomplicated... just be honest and allow the other side to try. What do you think... a full decade to try the small government thing?


1:19 PM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...


Well said my friend. I share your discomfort. The Body of Christ is but a microcosm of our greater society in many ways. Clearly the lessons of history are lost on much of our clergy.

2:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank goodness that those who formed our union weren't such zealots for the status quo. Texas Conservative's stumping for "what we have and the way things work" in this arena is a little reminiscent of Humpty Dumpty admiring his secure perch.

It may be an inevitability that all world powers must ultimately fall; social and political evolution may demand it, and progress in a global sense clearly requires the death of the outmoded. It stands to reason that those who are the most dominant and affluent are the least likely to adapt along with the rest of the world. I would venture to say that one of the first undeniable signs of this actually happening is the alienation of allies to suit some selfish end.

But back to more granular matters, when I look at our political landscape starting today and back over time, I have to wonder...

Where are the great thinkers?
Where are the people who inspire us?
Where are the ideas that change the way people think?

If they're out there, they're summarily quashed by the Cowboys and the Indians. Our bi-partisan status quo simply doesn't allow those who would challenge their existing notions to have a voice. When that sort of ideological repression happened in England a few hundred years ago, people up & left... but now there's nowhere to go, nowhere to go.

Personally, I don't think it's hopeless. But the 4th quarter has started, and I'm pretty sure we just fumbled.


2:38 PM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...


“You'd find reason to mourn on vacation.” Gee. You would think I was a dour and sad person. And I too was relieved that we didn’t have an election by litigation this time.

You forget a few important non-Demopublican candidates, though TR was probably one of the most significant. There was of course John Andersen who ran as an independent. And the candidate of the American Independent Party, George Wallace. Those of us who remember the 1968 election find that hard to forget.

You said, “Our system of government is not built on the idea of factions within our democracy that each vie for power much like parliamentary style in the UK. Two parties is what we have and that's how things work. Howard Dean and Michael Moore have realized this. Why can't you?”

True. Many of our founders absolutely abhorred the idea of political parties. Adams whole theory of factions had a big influence in how our government was organized. Every effort was made to attempt to dilute the possibility of factions gaining control of the government. Two parties may be how things evolved, but that doesn’t make it right or make it the way it was designed to work.

Frankly, I think your suggesting that I just get over it is amazingly simplistic. On the one hand, you criticize my not voting, yet on the other, you think I need to just get smart and deal with it. I suppose the fact that I find the two major parties to hold positions that I can not morally endorse is of no consequence? I am supposed to just shut-up and suffer and vote anyway because its my civic duty. I am supposed to choose between deep moral convictions like I might choose a brand of cologne.

Well, I’m not going to. The truth is that Howard Dean and Michael Moore are making their choices because they seek the power and notoriety. I am quite a bit different: I actually believe the things I say. And I believe that certain things are so important that they can not be compromised.

Cheney has already made great noise claiming their mandate. If I had voted for the Shrub Cabal, I would be adding to that claim. My number would be counted as a voice in favor of greater destruction of our civil liberties. If Kerry had won, they would be claiming a mandate and my number would be counted as a voice in favor of abortion rights.

It is easy to cast this criticism when you are one that has a comfortable choice available.

You said, “Oh, I know, Nth-parties are good for slaps and tickles in blogs but I don't think this is realistic.” This is the very notion that is at the heart of what I will continue to fight against. Your own example of Ross Perot is proof that a third party candidacy is realistic. The condition of our society is proof that viable third parties are necessary.

You said, “Seems like voters not aligning themselves with the incumbent always want change. Scratching my head I'm not sure I got that comment but I am a Bush supporter so I'm slower than the rest, slower than the rest.” Let me say it slower for you then. Cowboys don’t vote for Indians. Most voters feel they have no choice. That is exactly how I felt for over a decade of pulling the straight GOP lever (yes, I’m old enough to remember levers). This leads to an automatic strong bias in favor of the incumbent.

You admonished me, “I pray that you take a big whiff of all those things in our American system that DO smell really good.” That is fair. My joy over being an American seldom comes through in my writing here. Again, I think that is a hazard of genuine dissent. I am grateful to live in the richest nation in the history of the world and even more grateful to possess the protected Liberty that was bequeathed to us. But it is that very gratitude that gives me my passion and will to dissent.

I can not stand idly by and allow these great privileges to be stolen from our posterity. I will not be goaded into supporting an anti-American agenda no matter how carefully the political hucksters wrap it up in the language of baseball, apple pie and eternal damnation.

TexaCon, while we are strongly at odds over things political, know that my heart is truly burdened by the same issues as is yours. We just have radically different ideas of how to get to a better society. Only by having these frank discussions can either of us hope to make a difference. I truly enjoy and appreciate your contribution here and thank you for it.

No matter how misguided. :-D

3:04 PM  
Blogger Common Good said...


Where are the great thinkers?
Where are the people who inspire us?
Where are the ideas that change the way people think?
Exactly. --- We are talking a 280,000,000+ population. We should be blown away by BOTH candidates EVERY election. It should always be a tough choice, but not because we are voting between "not equipped for the job" and "smart enough, but a bit troublesome that his entire life seemed to be constructed towards being president". We deserve a candidate capable of the job AND one who views the job to be FOR THE PEOPLE, and not FOR THE PRESIDENT.

Ironically, Kevin Costner said it perfectly on Bill Mahre the other night. We deserve presidential candidates that "swing for the fences for the people all of the time" rather than plan and plot to win elections. A one term presidency was suggested, and I couldn't agree more. Think how much of this year (while supposedly under terrorist threat) Bush spent flying around the country campaigning. Is it just me, or shouldn't it be criminal to campaign while under terrorist threat?

A comment about "where are the ideas". I recently gave Plank my opinion that blaming everything on the 2 party system wasn't drilling down far enough. For example, the particular problem with the 2 party system is the plutocracy... $$$ owning the election process and policy when in office. But even that doesn't drill down far enough in my opinion. I don't think the problem is lack of ideas, but rather the apparent incapability of our elected to ever reach areas of aggreement which could be used as a foundation for iterative government improvement (i.e. we have the exact same arguments decade after decade). For example, the high level argument on federal involvement in public schools should happen. IMO, the answer to that is important enough to be a constitutional ammendment. If we can't nail down such high level issues, common sense dictates we will live with the same arguments and changes in direction as each party gains and falls from power. If we choose to get rid of the Department of Education, the debate narrows...actually in this case it becomes a state matter and the federal government can move on to other problems. Take the other side, and say the decision is to keep the federal government involved in public schools. Well, the details should be spelled out and also put in the constitution. We can only improve and address a problem iteratively if we have foundation points that can't be constantly taken out from under you. At the end of the day, and maybe after running multiple state pilot education projects, you may end up with minimum federal involvement, or major involvement. The final answer, however, should be the result of intelligent prototyping and honest appraisal of alternative solutions, rather than a marriage to ideology. We do everything backwards in our government... we talk about what our tax rate should be regardless of what the government revenue needs are. We talk about how the federal involvement in public schools is a disaster, without really having a consensus that they "will be involved". So, IMO, great ideas have very little chance in the current perpetual argument loop... same arguments admin after admin, decade after decade. Our culture likes competition so much, you would think someone would suggest ideology competition. For example, turn Texas (say Austin or Dallas) lose to do it's own thing on education, and pick a blue state in the Northeast to go 100% federally funded (not the idiotic state property tax scheme we use now). Give each 5 years, and see what they come up with. If both work great, maybe both can coexist... but if we only have the same arguments we are stuck. I think Tony's voucher approach is wrong, but bottom line, the two parties are stuck. Tony is right when he says try something. If the voucher thing can be tried in pilot tests, but we also get to try a pilot of fully federally funded approaches, both sides could try like heck to prove the other side wrong. That has to be constructive.

All just my fading interest opinion,


4:40 PM  
Blogger Common Good said...

RE: Previous post.

I am convinced Bush believes he is fighting a holy war for small government. I also believe that's about the extent of his curiosity... no desire to enumerate exceptions where small government and laissez-faire fail. That appears to be sufficient for average red state america as long as it is wrapped in the proper values. The public sets low goals for Bush, and he continues to fail to meet them.


4:48 PM  
Blogger Texas Conservative said...

I happen to have it on good authority that Humpty was pushed.

Aside from some really pessimistic views of our system, which coats most of the bottom of these comments like a thick layer of shortening at the bottom of a frying pan, I read a few good questions. Gene asked one - "Where are the great thinkers?" Hmm, yeah, where are they? I can think of Hawkings maybe but he was WAY OFF on that whole black hole thing. What a moron. It appears that the role of philosophers and poets have been replaced by innovators and entrepreneurs. When did the shift take place? We've replaced Plato and Socrates with Bill Gates and Tom Braniff. "The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance so where do you want to go today?" I look back to the industrial revolution, the cotton gin and the assembly-line process and I see that the platform once held by men of foresight - "Let them that would move the world first move themself" - were replaced with industrialists and self-made men of maximum wealth - "I think we can get 8 cylinders in there." Where is that arena where the philosophical ear wax flows like milk and honey from eternal fountains of manna-like intellect and non-partisan discussion. We can look to universities but I can only think of socialists with anemic views of present-day society. Maybe that was just my school. Where have they gone? Have they gone the way of Atlas Shrugged? Perhaps society has indeed pushed them away from contemporary life and they now work in train depots and on farms, never more to contribute the wealth of their wisdom on an America with declining moral and social values. (Perhaps they're on unCommonBrewd's Island of Lost Morals.) I've stayed here too long. Your pessimism is wearing on me like a dirty shirt. We've shown them little deference with our demagoguery-driven media society that spends months covering flaccid topics like OJ and what Alabama physical the pres. may or may not have taken 30 years ago.

If I had the answers maybe I'd stay away too.

5:18 PM  
Blogger Common Good said...

Red states know best - continued:

13) A new pact has been reached with the Plutocrats and Right-values crowd concerning healthcare coverage. From today forward, those who show up at a doctor's office or hospital without health insurance or cash, will be referred to their church network for assistance. If you do not belong to a church, you will be given a one-time offer to join a church and beg/ask for assistance. Both sides see this as a win win... either more church recruits or a thinning of the non-believer population. Rumor has it that some crude form of pooling of non-believer resources on WrongValuesIsland have been implemented, but this is of no concern of the theocratic federal oversight.

14) Importation of Canadian drugs will now be allowed, but only through the church network. As an added benefit for church members, since all church activities are now 100% tax free, church members should expect a drastic reduction in drug costs. Church members are encouraged to take advantage of the new drug franchise opportunities offered by Falwell and Robertson.

15) Hollywood.... you got some splainin to do. All proposed movies will now need to be screened by a red state review board. The movies will be screened against absolute truth doctrine, and only those movies that promote the RIGHT values will be allowed to be produced. Nudity ... out. On screen sex... are you kidding? Violence ... out, with the exception of 45 minute beating scenes concerning crucifixion. Bill Mahre, Jon Stewart... pack your bags... you are off to WrongValuesIsland. Michael Moore, you will be swimming to the Island... Good luck. The contractors putting up the wall in Israel have been contacted... and a wall will be coming to an Island near you soon.

16) Public schools, if we keep them. God back in, Evolution out. Pledge of Allegiance w/"Under God" to be immediately followed by mandatory Christian prayer sessions. There seems to be some disagreement among Christians which bible interpretations are to be taught, but Christians are expected to work that out amongst themselves.
New fundamentalism cariculum to include "United States, God's Favorite Nation" and "The Evils of Islam".

17) The era of whining over the cost of high school football stadiums is over. Every high school football program will now be supported by federal dollars. During football season, students will spend the entire day in the auditorium participating in a pep rally for the team. The football team will be allowed to beat up all male students that cut pep rally.

18) The Captitol is to be moved from D.C. to the Heartland. The location is to be determined, but opening White House windows is expected to be met with the aroma of cow sh*t.

more to follow.....

11:17 AM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...


I certainly hope you will reconsider and continue to contribute here. At the center of my beliefs on how we build a just society is vigorous discourse on the matters of the day. I believe that nothing proves an idea like competing in what others have termed the Arena of Ideas.

Ultimately I have every confidence that Christian beliefs will win the day. That we are losing battles now is of little consequence. What matters is in the long haul we “run the race” and try to make a difference for time as well as eternity. To affect eternity, we must win the world one heart at a time and part of winning those hearts is being fair players in our pluralistic society. Playing fair does not mean abandoning the struggle. May it never be! No, what I am talking about is going toe to toe in the Arena and letting the best ideas rise to the top. I have every confidence that over time those ideas will reflect and embody the Christian values you and I both hold so dear.

Part of the frailty of being but mere men is that neither your or I have a perfect understanding of what Truth is in all of its many facets. Only when thoughtful people such as you and I hash it out in the Arena do we as individuals come to a better understanding of what Truth is.

But if you should choose to move on, I certainly understand. Know that I will always count you a good friend and cherished Brother in Christ. And know also that all of the readership here at the Disenfranchised Curmudgeon will be poorer for your departure.

11:53 AM  
Blogger Common Good said...

"Ultimately I have every confidence that Christian beliefs will win the day. That we are losing battles now is of little consequence."

Losing battles but winning elections, eh? What does winning the day mean? I know you are not for theocracy, so how close does our society have to come (short of theocracy) for Christian beliefs to have won? Would making abortions illegal be the win, or do you have to also address issues like divorce to achieve the win... i.e. address all sins via government? Or maybe the win isn't measured by our government at all, but rather the Christian conversion percentages.

IMO, Christian beliefs won the day this government was formed with the right to worship as you please. It would appear that many's definition of winning is measured against the nature of our pluralistic society.... less pluralistic equals winning, more pluralistic equals losing.

Disclaimer: I am really, really bummed by the realization that aggregate Christian values in this country seem to provide a cloak for intolerance, and certainly do not map to pluralistic social justice in this country. The way I see it, our presidential candidates will be now trying to out-God each other for many elections to come.... don't see how that's healthy for a pluralistic nation.


12:24 PM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...


Winning to a Christian should mean only one thing: winning souls to Christ Jesus through serving our fellow man as God would direct us.

Serving is key.

What I mean by winning in the social context is that victory will take care of itself. As Christians we know that this World is doomed for evil. There is no America exception clause in the Bible. So as Christians, I think our first priority is to make a difference as and for individuals.

It isn’t that I believe that more pluralism is losing per se, but rather it is evidence of losing a temporal battle. God was the ultimate libertarian: he created free choice. Christ makes an invitation-you and I have a choice. No matter what laws we pass, we will still live in a society that is far-very far-from Christian homogeneity.

History teaches us, that the closer that men of faith come to political power, the more that power gets turned for evil and results in oppression (that is the outcome every time). It is sad that even some of the most prominent and well-educated of the Christian Church seem to have noticed this historically proven axiom.

I suppose that where I am out of sync with many of my Christian Brothers and Sisters is that I do not think passing a law preventing gays from getting married is nearly as important as is changing hearts so that people no longer desire to engage in homosexual activity. Obviously, this formula applies to any sinful behavior. But to me, that is really winning: when your ideas shape society because of the force of their reason and the strength of real Truth.

2:06 PM  
Blogger Andrew Dunlap said...

Tony what the h@%$& are you talking about? winning souls? The current religious establishment has the same attitude that Jonah had, save my enemies? well, that's too much like being Christian. Despite what's happened in the recent election, we are entering a period of darkness. What better can you ask of a politician than to do your religious work? heck, that's like shooting fish in a barrell. As we know from the Red state website, people are not really concerned about other's spiritual condition. They just want the world to be a little safer and nicer for people to go to hell in, sorta like Plano or Frisco. The Lordship of Christ? Not in my heaven.

3:43 PM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...


I'd be laughing if the matter where not so serious. As always, you paint the picture with great economy of words (definitely not my strong suite).

But I must say, if I were choosing a place in which to go to Hell, Frisco would be a very nice choice indeed.

3:47 PM  
Blogger Common Good said...

"as is changing hearts so that people no longer desire to engage in homosexual activity."

Wow... Let me try the logic... God created all life, some of that life is created homosexual, those created homosexual are suppose to believe God made an accident with them and they are suppose to ignore their chance for lifetime intimate companionship because ... even though God created them, he made a mistake. Next you are going to tell me all homosexuals choose that life so society can pass laws against them, and highlight them from the pulpit as REALLY BAD sinners, and have some of them dragged behind a truck until dead.... why... just because of bad free will choices.

4:15 PM  
Blogger Common Good said...

Ask yourself, in the fight against terrorism, would it scare you more to lose Bush 44, or a major chunk of lifetime intelligence folks serving behind the scenes. Hope the following doesn't represent a trend, our domestic safety depends much more on the guys behind the scenes then these arrogant show ponies we call presidents.

Cofer Black resigns

4:32 PM  
Blogger Prof. Ricardo said...

CG said: “I am convinced Bush believes he is fighting a holy war for small government.”

Was it the 49% increase in federal funding of education through a joint effort with Ted Kennedy that convinced you? Was it his affirmation of the Clintonian ban on “assault weapons?” Maybe it was his signing into law the intrusive McCain/Fiengold bill with the expanded government authority that prevents free political speech? Could it have been his manufacturing the new Medicare entitlement to drugs that convinced you?

The biggest delusion of the liberals has been that George Bush is a conservative. It just they have been starring at the pure pagan socialism of the Democrat party for so long that anything looks conservative by comparison. Oh, he dropped the top tax rate of the wealthy from 39.6% to 35%? Yea, killer tax cut. Billionaire Mz Hienz pays 12.8% effective rate and ½ of that is alternative minimum tax.

CG: “... no desire to enumerate exceptions where small government and laissez-faire fail.”

For my intellectual curiosity, could you enumerate those for me? Email if you like so that we do not interupt the natural flow of despair that this current blog exudes.

Prof. Ricardo

4:33 PM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...


Gee, you sure put a lot of words into my mouth with that post.

You said, “God created all life, some of that life is created homosexual, those created homosexual are suppose to believe God made an accident with them and they are suppose to ignore their chance for lifetime intimate companionship because ... even though God created them, he made a mistake.”

First, I do not claim to know whether God created people with a homosexual nature or not. The Bible does not address the point. What the Bible does address is that we are not to engage in homosexual activity. It list that proscription along with many others and what many Christians love to side-step is that adultery is very high on the list.

The point is this: I don’t know too many people that would deny that we have a natural desire to do many things that God prohibits. The reason Billy Crystal’s line from “When Harry Met Sally”, “yeah, you pretty much want to nail them too.”, is funny is because it capture a lot of truth about human nature. We all have compulsions to do things that God prohibits. The Bible doesn’t qualify it and say, “but, if you really feel like to be fulfilled as a human being, feel free to nail all it take to satisfy your basic nature.” Neither does God exempt people who believe they were “made” homosexual.

Then you said, “Next you are going to tell me all homosexuals choose that life...” Yes of course they choose that life. I’m not saying that there isn’t some pain involved in the choice, but there is little doubt it is voluntary. People choose to be celibate. People choose to not engage in pre-marital sex. People make all kinds of choices that are not necessarily the easiest path. That does not mean it isn’t a choice.

Then you continue, “ society can pass laws against them, and highlight them from the pulpit as REALLY BAD sinners, and have some of them dragged behind a truck until dead.” That is pretty much an inappropriate and rude remark to address to me don’t you think? I don’t know too many Christians that have spent the time and personal capital that I have defending the rights of homosexuals. And, I never once have said that I think they are “REALLY BAD sinners”. Sure, there are a lot of idiots out there that make that case, but don’t accuse me of that. And don’t assume that those who do are properly representing the view of historic Orthodox Christianity either.

I know there is a lot of hate filled rhetoric out there, but please don’t project that crap on me. Jesus died for sinners like me, myself and I. And I try my best to be careful to understand that indeed, “there, but for the grace of God, go I.”

4:35 PM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...


Welcome back to the fray. At least we definitely agree that Shrub is no Conservative. Now, I do not share your view that this forum is despairing-maybe some individuals, but certainly not everybody. IMO, there is just a lot of emotion on the line these days.

4:49 PM  
Blogger Andrew Dunlap said...

let me get one thing straight with you yahoos who are referring to Bush as 44, He's still 43, you morons. It's obvious some red state conspiracy designed to get Bush 2 retirement checks and two libraries. No doubt it's a Bush "strategery" that you are trying to "explainify". (with lots of levity)

5:32 PM  
Blogger Texas Conservative said...

CommieG, now you know people tend to drop off like flies in just about every second presidential term right?

Enjoy some second-term resignation enlightenment here.Curmie, great points on that [second-to-] last comment. It's so easy to be insensitive about homosexuality and most conservatives blithely take that route. Having friends in that lifestyle brings perspective on just how bad some of us Christians handle the subject. As Curmie pointed it out, there are choices we make as sinners. God sees no sin different from another. I can't justify my sins to overeat for example, on some genetic propensity to power-stuff bear claws two at a time. Sure, there may be some propensity in me that attracts me more to sweets than you but I still have a choice on whether I will succumb to those feelings and wrap myself in a comfie blanket of gluttony. The best way to show people the love of God is with your own life. That's the most powerful witness. A lot of us are not so good at that but that doesn't mean we stop trying.

5:42 PM  
Blogger Common Good said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:31 PM  
Blogger Common Good said...


Exceptions to laissez-faire being best/only choice. Healthcare when it involves unprofitable widgets (i.e. sick people, old people, poor people... I thought we have already covered this).


We already covered this off-line, but for the rest... my "queer dragging" comment was to highlight the point that chosing homosexuality for grins and giggles is at best rare. The comment was not made suggesting Christian behavior or sentiment... jeeze, I'm not that bad. We have adults that tried to do the right thing for decades in hetersexual marriage knowing everyday they were fighting how they were built. You can ignore the noses on your face also if you want, but the nose is still there. If your Christian beliefs involve "not tolerating homosexual's having lifetime partnerships"... then you got to do what you got to do, but don't blame it on doubting whether folks are born into this world homosexual. You need a better argument.


Bush 44 works... Bush 43 was not legit. :)


CommieG here. My guess is many of our intelligence folks didn't appreciate Bush/Cheney hanging them out to dry as the bad guys [faulty intelligence]. I would not be surprised at all for many of them to tell arrogant silverspoon junior... knock yourself out, you can take this job and shove it. Our spooks behind the scenes are our lifelines, lifelines that are humans like the rest of us and will put up with only so much bs. Cheney and company forced what they already wanted to do down the throats of anyone who had opposing views or opposing evidence. Problem is... you can replace an Ashcroft in an afternoon... not so much with a Cofer Black. So you like your coach. Too bad you are losing your allstar running back and half of your offensive line. Good luck to us all. Can't you just see Bush looking at a CIA with a bunch of rookies giving his speech "I'm a strong leader, now tell me where the bad guys are. Rookies reply with: How do you boot this computer up?". Why is it the true heroes are always the ones behind the scenes, and the a$$holes are the one's taking the bows?

I thought you were moving on... something about us making your shirts smell dirty. I think you should stick around. Shirts are cheap... all of that outsourcing to cheap distressed labor.

It's been real... I hear Mark Twain's "The Gilded Age" calling me.

6:57 PM  
Blogger Prof. Ricardo said...

CG: “Exceptions to laissez-faire being best/only choice. Healthcare when it involves unprofitable widgets (.... I thought we have already covered this).”

We did. I won that argument, remember? :-D

Prof. Ricardo

7:40 AM  
Blogger Prof. Ricardo said...

“Bush 44 works... Bush 43 was not legit. :)”

So Al Gore was 43? There’s got to be a joke I can throw in here somewhere.

Prof. Ricardo

7:46 AM  
Blogger Common Good said...


Jon Stewart explained why you and I can't communicate:

Conservatives spend all of their energies longing for a romantic time of our founders, THAT NEVER EXISTEDLiberals spend all of their energies trying to make the perfect, fair world that turns into a constant stream of apologies:)

Go Bush.... Whore More Years.

10:02 AM  
Blogger Texas Conservative said...

Rumors of my departure have been greatly exaggerated.

I do recall that it was those spooks that were given "bs" about munition stores and WMD facilities though I think the information was accurate and the build up was too slow. I can't prove it in much the same way you can't readily prove your theories but in the end, that's all they are right?

There is plenty of room for criticism. Far be it for me to staunchly defend every single action and stance taken by this administration. I suppose the main difference with me is that I could see what I perceived to be the big picture and I was hoping we would go in there and take him out. I too felt that covertly was the best way but after reading Bob's book, it was clear that the CIA did not believe themselves that it could be done covertly because his circle was so tight. He had a long history of making examples of those within his inner circle that betrayed him by having their wives raped and children killed. I suppose we could have given him more time. Maybe he would have changed his ways. I hear he was actively pursuing a screenwriting career.

I agree that Cheney was zealous in his pursuit of taking down Saddam and that led to mistakes. But then again, I agreed with the premise itself so whilst I don't feel "thrilled" about the war, I believe the world is better for it.

I was very optimistic about the fact that the US had taken a page out of Israel's book in taking on this threat. You see, Israel doesn't really negotiate with these terrorists. Retaliation is swift and always double or triple in terms of response. They learned that you don't negotiate with people bent on killing your women and children (let's not forget SH made threats against ours on an almost daily basis). I don't know how I always get horned into this conversation.

I agree that it's the grunts in the trenches that get the shaft while the poli-wankers kiss all the babies. I don't believe that the spooks do it for the recognition, though. My father-in-law tells me how his recon unit always got dibs on the t-bones in Vietnam. I hope these spooks are taken care of in the same way.

I worry about the impending assault on Fallujah. I know that all hindsight and MMQBing aside, it's necessary and I pray that these guys are ok and that they have what they need. I recall a story of one of the first British casualties in Iraq dying due to lack of body armour. I hope all 13 of that 87 billion made it to those dudes encircled around Fallujah.


So you subscribe to the Sharpton Theory of the 2000 Election, huh. How sad. And here I had you as a thoughtful individual with whom I just happened to disagree. I suppose the only fairness would have been to count all the double-punched ballots in favor of Gore. Even the New York Times said that was the only way Gore would have came out on top of Florida. Aside from changing election rules midstream, how would Bush have been legitimate in the eyes of you and your friends?

From a article, not exactly a conservative source:
Completing two partial recounts that Gore unsuccessfully pursued in court showed Bush maintaining a lead ranging between 225 and 493 votes -- meaning Bush still would have won if the U.S. Supreme Court had allowed a partial statewide recount to continue.
If Gore would have just accepted the results like Kerry this year and Nixon in '60, the nation would NOT have been so dividied the last 4 years. Just another reason to thank Al Gore.

Thanks Al.

10:56 AM  
Blogger Common Good said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:46 PM  
Blogger Common Good said...


Glad you are staying, unless you keep calling me Sharpton. Actually, I'm not one of those who thinks the election was stolen... at least not by the Supreme Court. It would not suprise me at all if Brother Jeb or Harris effectively stole it... I mean we were only talking about a couple hundred votes. By then, we were close to meltdown, and I was actually hoping the Supreme Court put an end to it. Of course, back then I was a Republican and was for Bush. It took Bush's tax break for millionaires for me to figure out who was in charge of the GOP, and I could no longer stand the smell or look the other way because it seemed to benefit me financially. Truth be told, even though I think the prosecution of the Iraq war will add decades to the war on terrorism, I primarily jumped ship because of the stinkin greed sponsored by the GOP. Social policy did it for me... not the usual Dove label everyone likes to throw around. BTW... all of the RightValues crowd calls the other side elitist. What's more elitist than thinking your kind is the only one's going to heaven? You may or may not be correct, but the RightValues crowd is certainly elitist.

e·lit·ism or é·lit·ism ( P ) Pronunciation Key (-ltzm, -l-)
The belief that certain persons or members of certain classes or groups deserve favored treatment by virtue of their perceived superiority, as in intellect, social status, or financial resources.

The sense of entitlement enjoyed by such a group or class.
Control, rule, or domination by such a group or class.

I was very optimistic about the fact that the US had taken a page out of Israel's book in taking on this threat. You see, Israel doesn't really negotiate with these terrorists. Retaliation is swift and always double or triple in terms of response.How is that working out for them? I would have as little mercy on a population that seems to condone killing women and children as the next guy... but only if it was that simple. It's a very weak argument to always call the other side "weak" when in reality they just don't agree with the strategy.

I think Bill Mahre is correct. The Dems are going to have to out-Moral the Reps. He suggested outlawing all drinking on Christmas, and a few disgusting things I won't repeat.

On a lighter note, did anyone catch Leno when he said: "Who is the only one in the Republican party that doesn't have a mandate? Answer: Mary Cheney". pawaaaaa!!!! LOL!!!!

Jesse... you and I are at each other throats because we have a president that was willing to stir up wedge issues for the sole purpose to stay in power. In fact he played games with the Constitutional ammendment process just to inflame the public at a time of war. Terrorism is the fight of our lifetime, not the two nice ladies living together next door just trying to make it through a tough world just like the rest of us. The RightValues crowd needs to back off their moral high horse, and the left needs to be more magnanimous towards other's religious beliefs. Of course some on the left have the same religious beliefs, and some on the right to not force their religious beliefs on others. They pray in the blue states also. Until Bush, and this election, it never occured to me to be concerned with your private religious beliefs. Large blocks of this country voting during a time of terrorism on "moral values" shoves religion right into the middle of our government. Good thing, bad thing... opinions vary, but for sure I am forced to deal with YOUR religious beliefs... I have been given no choice. IMO, that shouldn't be the case, it doesn't seem healthy or safe in a pluralistic society. Many on the right need to answer that question for themselves... do they want to do away with a pluralistic society... do they want Christianity to dictate to the rest what our society will be. Just be honest and don't mask that ... argue it that way. I still am waiting for someone draw the line for me between "more Christian values" but "not theocracy". How do you know when you have crossed the line? Religious freedom doesn't get much better than the USA... it would be foolish to mess with that just because one had to have THIER religion dictate society for EVERYONE. I feel the same way about wealthy folks in our country. It's obvious they could remain very wealthy even if taxed heavy enough to deal with the strife of the lower economic spectrum... i.e. they have very little to lose other than principle and principal :)... most are guaranteed to be wealthy no matter what. Maybe or maybe not leaving the have nots in a struggling state still leaves them wealthy... but why take the risk. I would call it common sense wealth insurance. But hey, you have to admire those who would put it all on the line for principle.

btw... the movie Alphi sucks. I've heard Ray is really good... plan to see that next.

Oh yeah, one last thought. Manhattan New York was the home of 911 attacks, still remains as a high risk target, has more gays then you can shake a stick at.... and voted 85% against Bush in this election. That doesn't matter, the red states who for the most part probably isn't on the target list, overuled any voice Manhattan had in chosing their protectors. I guess that's fair, most in the red state would be against "all of that thinking stuff the elites do".

Blog on comrades (that was for TexasCon)

I'm not ready to unite yet

5:02 PM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...


You asked, “I still am waiting for someone draw the line for me between ‘more Christian values’ but ‘not theocracy’". Didn’t mean to skirt a question. In fact, I don’t think I did. But I can tread that territory again if you like.

Christians are given the command to be salt and light to the world-not conquerors. It is often said that we are to be “in but not of this world”. While that saying is somewhat trite, it is so because of its truth. Jesus promised to make his disciples Fishers of Men, not Potentates. It would be easy to over-simplify and say that as Christians, we are not to concern ourselves of the worldly matters of politics-but that would be misleading. As Salt, we are clearly intended to season the affairs of the world in a positive way. I see no proscription in the Bible toward our participation in government as long as we do so consistently with the will of God.

Salt is not meat. We are not to be so worldly as to be indistinguishable from the World. This could be examined from many facets, not the least of which would be my personal introspection and confession of inadequacy, however it does seem clear that we are never more indistinguishable from the World as when we fully embrace the political class.

I have no issue with Christians participating in politics and indeed believe that we as a society will be richer for that participation. Where things “go over the line” is when Christians start marking out political candidates or positions as being clearly Christian. There is a big difference between opposing abortion and supporting the GOP as the party that stands against abortion. The latter dirties our hands when the political leadership inevitably fails us.

Here is how I said it to my minister after his endorsement of Shrub from the pulpit: “A great example of how dangerous [political endorsement] is can be seen in the Abu Graib prison torture scandal. There is little doubt that the tendrils of this scandal reach very near the top-Rumsfeld has admitted this. In an era where ‘plausible deniability’ speaks of ordinary matters, it is very reasonable to conclude, that the President was at least partially complicit. There is no doubt that a political defense can be mounted to counter these claims: the administration has done exactly that.” To paraphrase, I continued and expressed that I can see how many people would be reluctant to cast their lot with nominal Christians after having reached this reasonable conclusion, yet they see Christians continue to stand by their man without wavering.

So this is the line in politics, what of the line in policy? As I have often said, God was the first libertarian. As Christians, I think we have a duty to stick up for the rights of the minority and extol the virtue of God’s gift of freedom. We owe it to the God who gave us choice to allow those in our society that might choose to partake of the forbidden fruit to do so. We should take our model from Christ and rather than impose our beliefs with the force of law, instead practice our beliefs and extend a hand of help and love.

I do not call for Christians to stand idly mute either. We also owe our God the service of resolutely standing for truth and refusing to equivocate on the morality of homosexuality, adultery and idolatry. That steadfast stand for truth, however, should not translate into oppressive laws because of the temptations of power. Instead, we should stand by our laws that protect individuals from the majority because ultimately, those laws protect all of us: especially Christians.

You see, I believe a day not too distant will come where perhaps it will not be the Christians with the power. A day when the power to oppress will be firmly in the hands of the secularists. And when that day comes, I want to be on the side that stood for the God given human rights of the minority when taking such a stand was unpopular. Because in that day, I pray that the new majority will remember my stand for Liberty and that thereby the hand of retribution might be stayed.

I do believe we are all in God’s hands and ultimately his way will win. In the mean time, it does matter how we treat others and we should wash the feet of even those who vigorously stand against us. Perhaps we will not be spared retribution in that day which I fear is far closer than many imagine, but then we will be able to bear the cost of those stripes with humility for our Lord. And only through such humility now and in that day to come can we make a difference not just for Time, but also for Eternity.

12:41 PM  
Blogger Texas Conservative said...

CommieBert and Curmi,

WHAT are we talking about here? What issue is at stake that is blurring the line of church and state/salt and meat?

Commie, you argue from a policy standpoint that this line is being blurred and you cite hyperbolic examples of how the Repubs will impose Religial Law now that Bush professes a faith in God. Curmi, you argue from a biblical standpoint on how we as Christians “should not translate [the stand for truth] into oppressive laws because of the temptations of power.”

Again, WHAT are we talking about? Are we talking about gay marriage? Bush has said this should be determined at the state level. The amendment was to put into stone something that has been recognized by our civilization for 2000 years (that a court in Mass. wanted to single-handedly impose on everyone) and that is that marriage should be defined as between a man and a woman. That does NOT exclude civil unions between homosexuals. How is that an “oppressive law?” How is that a RELIGIOUS law? Studies/surveys/polls have shown that a large majority of people in the US support the idea that marriage is best kept as an institution between a man and a woman. That’s not a Republican idea. That’s not a Democrat idea. This is an issue that has transcended party and even spiritual beliefs. The idea that this is some type of inroad to a governmentally-controlled religion is nonsense.

What other policies are we talking about here. Let’s leave out all the hyperbole and let’s discuss this like people that pay bills. Where is this administration treading this line between Jefferson’s ‘[wall between] church and state’?

How ‘bout the faith-based-initiatives (fbi)? Is that another battle cry for this tip toeing of the church and state line? Let’s not forget that PRWORA, started under CLINTON, opened the door to religious organizations by prohibiting discrimination to these organizations seeking government contracts. Bush expanded that in order to provide federal funds to states ALREADY funding fbi initiatives in states like Ohio, New Hampshire and Wisconsin. The majority of the collaboration between the faith-based organizations and our government is in welfare and prison programs. I submit to you again, how is providing contracts in this manner that does not exclude non-religious nor specific religions (Islam, Buddhism, etc.) blur this line? This is helping people. There is more than one way to help, why CG would your way be the only way?

I look forward to some great examples of how this administration is imposing its religion on the people of the United States because short of extreme jugular tirades, I haven’t seen any. It’s funny how if you say something over and over and over again, despite it being wrong, it somehow becomes true. That is the same thing with this issue. The media says this so many times that it becomes a Tony-Robbins-like affirmation that drives people to say that Bush is imposing his faith on everyone.

1:41 PM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...


I thought I was being pretty clear what I was talking about, but perhaps not. I was addressing CG’s inquiry about how Christians define “winning” in the public debate and how we are to engage with the world in terms of drawing the line between belief and policy. Unlike CG, I’m not too concerned about Shrub imposing his views on anyone: he doesn’t have the votes to do that in any meaningful long-term way. I am far more concerned about a bare majority trying to impose its beliefs on a pluralistic society and the alienation that has already resulted because of those attempts. Most importantly, I was trying to lay out how I think Christians should approach politics, therein suggesting we should keep politicians at arms length rather than embracing them as symbols of virtue.

I hope that clarifies.

1:49 PM  
Blogger Common Good said...

Tony said: "I am far more concerned about a bare majority trying to impose its beliefs on a pluralistic society and the alienation that has already resulted because of those attempts."

I would agree with that... for now. Bush just got elected by engaging in a religious Jihad which had NOTHING to do with the fight of our lives... terrorism. Ask yourself what kind of person would be willing to inflame and divide our population on a social issue at a time of war? I was going to list motivations for his action, but would that matter much with the question. I believe the nation is still mourning 911... and our leader the uniter decides to tackle gay marriage with a constitutional ammendment. Ask yourself if you think the Prez knew in advance it would not pass. Of course the answer is yes. So if he really felt in his heart this needed to be done, but knew it would not pass... what could be any justification for going through with the inflaming. If you come to the conclusion, as I do, this man was willing to propose a divisive constitutional ammendment that could not pass, and alienate our population at a time of war just to win an election... then you have to see right through the soul of our professed king of morals and right values. The fact that 59 million voters in our country couldn't discern such evil gives me very little hope for the future. I used to argue with Curm all of the time that the american public usually "gets it"... I had faith in the aggregate wisdom. To put it bluntly.... Christian and/or moral beliefs are not good enough excuses for such ignorance.

Maureen Dowd of the NYTimes says it much better than I can:

"W. doesn't see division as a danger. He sees it as a wingman."

"W. ran a jihad in America so he can fight one in Iraq - drawing a devoted flock of evangelicals, or "values voters," as they call themselves, to the polls by opposing abortion, suffocating stem cell research and supporting a constitutional amendment against gay marriage."


Let's discuss "Religous" marriage and "citizen rights" again. I believe Curm has covered it well in one of his blogs before, but let's do it again. We are suppose to have equal rights in this country... i.e. no faction is suppose to have SPECIAL or EXTRA rights. Like it or not, Christians are just another faction in this country.... not special citizens. In your faction, you and your faction members get your panties all in a wad if queer folks get a religious marriage. That's fine in my book, I view Church's as private clubs. What's not fine is any "citizen rights" that result from ceremonies in your private club. As a society, we should decide if any "rights" should be given to people who commit to permanent relationships. Also should there be any additional "rights" due to child raising. You may have religious convictions about what religious marriage should be, including only for popping out kids... that's your right in your private club but has no business setting government rights for citizens. The civil union argument does not solve the problem. Seperate but equal is NOT EQUAL... period. Once citizen rights are divorced from religious institutions, churches are free to define thier religious ceremonies any way they want to. States (or in my opinion this kind of right really should be federal) would then be free to define citizen rights I would label as "transfer rights or something... Curm the lawyer can tell us the correct terminology". These are the rights one person can transfer to another (or others).... inheritance, hospital visitation, etc. Citizen rights come from civil unions, contracts, lawyer-ease. No faction, including religious factions, should be empowered with the ability to dole out citizen rights. On the same token, there should be no such thing as tax free churches. Why should a church be tax free in a pluralistic society?

Curm, I appreciate the effort in your post to try and define where the line is between winning (theocracy-lite) and theocracy, but I'm not buying it. IMO, you either have a society where the bible rules our society, or laws. Pushing for "a little more bible" is like being a little pregnant. Post-election (Jihad) the Falwell's, Robertson's and James Dobson are on the airwaves selling that Christian humility ... NOT!!! Dobson was giving out warnings to Senator Arlen Specter on ThisWeek as if he had won the presidency... as if he was calling the shots on who led each senate committee. Jesse... that's the theocracy worry... the Dobson's are just as much power mongers as any other politician. That's the prelude to the collapsing of church and state. To me, I stick to my original belief. Religion should be a private matter... we are asking for trouble when it becomes a public matter.

btw... I viewed the "under god" pledge of allegiance issue to be a trivial issue before this election. Not any more. If a major part of this country insists on thier religious beliefs being some kind of blueprint for our government and our schools, then ignoring "small trivial" issues will cease. I was happy with "let's all just get along", but don't expect to give me the "we've got better morals so we should run the country" bs and expect me to not engage. Many from the right will call it religious persecution... I call it fighting for a pluralistic society. Curm, I noticed you swallowed hard on that answer. My guess is more pluralistic is LOSING in your opinion. IMO, religious persecution cuts both ways... when Dobson is on TV defining Senate committees this blogger feels religious persecution.

All of this is pretty much bs anyway. Very high odds our fearless leader in the White House will construct a man-made armageddon in the near future.


3:59 PM  
Blogger Texas Conservative said...

I believe the nation is still mourning 911... and our leader the uniter decides to tackle gay marriage with a constitutional ammendment.Wait a minute, let's inject some fairness here. The ONLY reason this became an issue now is because of the decision in Massachusettsas as well as the Mayor in San Francisco shoving us full steam ahead into this debate. We can sprinkle partisanship or opinions as we like but let’s have some perspective on how this came about. Also, as of last week, Rove stated this WILL be a main issue and an amendment will be sought. Time will tell if they have true intent and you are free to be skeptical of course, but I will reserve judgment on their motive of this for at least a little while longer.

If you come to the conclusion, as I do, this man was willing to propose a divisive constitutional ammendment that could not pass, and alienate our population at a time of war just to win an electionNow, have you stopped to think just for a minute that maybe the decision to choose between Bush and Kerry can fundamentally and with great consequence be considered on the grounds that their positions on these social issues are SO COMPLETELY DIFFERENT? That doesn’t mean that EVERYONE believes this to be important. Certainly others believe Iraq was number one and never left that spot. Others, perhaps like you CG, believed that it was the tax breaks that were number one or other issues. For A LOT of people, the social issues are extremely important and clearly delineate the differences between these two men. You don’t deny that do you? It’s perfectly fine that this is not a major issue for you. You share company with a multitude of others. However, to dismiss this issue as merely a motive to “inflame and divide our population” is a bit self-indulgent for your own personal O---PI---nionated reasons (as Theresa may say). Would you agree? This issue was very important to me and millions of others as was the tax breaks though not in such high order. Why do you hold the patent on THE important issues and that from which we should derive all of our decisions pertaining to this election? Seems a bit like you may have a mandate on morality would you agree?

Maureen Dowd? New York Times? Ugh. Isn’t she the one that called for secession on Face the Nation yesterday? I will dissect her comment here though:

opposing abortion, A lot of people are on this side of the issue. Religious and non-religious. Even people that voted FOR Kerry.

“…suffocating stem cell research…”Hmm, that’s not accurate in the least. This is the first president to fund it and there is no suffocating since it is not ILLEGAL and there is NO BAN on it. After 23 years of embryonic stem cell research, do you know how many uses we have been able to derive from that research? 0. Nada. Zip. Goose egg. Why do you think private funding is not flocking to it. A la Deep Throat – follow the money. If they’re [private investors] not putting money into it, even if you don’t agree with the social aspects, why would it pay off? Adult stem cells have led to thousands of medical uses including the treatment of Parkinsons. That's got a substantial amount of federal funding and he increased that too.

”… and supporting a constitutional amendment against gay marriage."Ah! It is NOT an amendment AGAINST GAY MARRIAGE! You quote her so you have to live with it’s viability in this argument. It has no legs. It doesn’t ban gay marriage. It doesn’t prevent states from allowing two people to join together. It doesn’t prevent 2 people from leaving assets to each other and all that other good stuff. Does it? Can you honestly, all partisan rancor aside, really say that this effort to define marriage as a man and woman deal PREVENTS these unions from taking place? Honestly, let’s not kid ourselves here. Let’s disagree on what we believe is important and not important but at least agree on the basis of facts so that our discussion stays above the fray of juvenile shouting matches.

I want to tackle your last few paragraphs soon because there is some meat and potatoes in those. There’s actually something I could grab a hold of and chew on for a spell; unlike your Maureen Dowd-ology up there. That's just knee-jerk stuff.

5:40 PM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...


Hey, just a quick response for now. First, I don't support embryonic stem cell research. But, I have it on some pretty well educated authority that the whole fetal stem cells not being useful is simply a crock. Fetal stem cells do not have cell surface receptors that will trigger a non-self immune response. They are unique in this regard.

I think the argument of the Rabid Right hinges on the words that treatments have not been developed. I am uncertain as to whether that much is true or not, but regardless of the merits of that argument, there is little doubt that fetal stem cells represent a unique and valuable resource for research. As I've said, I'm opposed to using fetal stem cells, but I think it is important to be completely honest in our arguments.

5:57 PM  
Blogger Common Good said...


Meat and potato summary:

1) president going for a constitutional ammendment that is major league divisive on a social issue at a time of war knowing full well it would not pass in the Senate. Acknowledge if your really believe Bush didn't know it had no chance to pass. IMO, who picked the fight (judges) is of very little consequence regarding the President's situation. He is suppose to be the wise leader out of 280,000,000+ million. I really good junior high student could have figured out it wasn't worth inflaming the public over something that couldn't pass. Please acknowlege if you really believe this was anything other than a political stunt.

2) Christians and the church network being a faction.

3) A faction's belief system and ceremonies being the gate keeper for citizen rights.

4) Seperate and equal is NEVER equal.

5) Analogy that church's should be considered private clubs.

6) Church's have no right to tax free status over any other faction.

7) Each church would make it's own private club rules regarding gay marriage. A church would not be able to tell another church what to do on that matter. Regardless, religious marriage ceremonies have nothing to do with citizen "transfer rights". Such rights happen via contracts, civil unions and established law... preferably federal law.

8) When and if a James Dobson (unelected) really has a say in Senate committee chairmanship's... we have a dangerous merging of church and state. Dobson spent much personal time in Penn campaigning against Specter... is that what folks from the right want?

9) The irony that the primary generic ideology of the Dem party (liberal, hollywood, Moore, anyone else the right hates) is taking care of the poor. Seriously, if you cut to the chase, and forget all of the yelling and screaming and misinformation, the Dems are motivated primarily by taking care of the poor. You have to see the irony of the Christian right honing in on gays and abortion, and therefore calling the "poor advocates" lacking in morals. It's like you really can't be a good Christian and be for federal help with the poor... strange Christian belief system. And a repeat but a golden oldie... Christians proudly jumping up to discern between the deserving and undeserving poor. Or even better, Christians defending the party of lake homes and family dynasty wealth by getting rid of the estate tax (renamed death tax for effect). Wouldn't it be fair to say those for getting rid of the estate tax are not really for a meritocracy... earning your way rather than inheriting it.

That should be enough meat and potatoes to keep you busy.

6:16 PM  
Blogger Texas Conservative said...

I am uncertain as to whether that much is true or not, but regardless of the merits of that argument, there is little doubt that fetal stem cells represent a unique and valuable resource for research.I challenge you to name 1, just 1 development that has came about from using embryonic stem cells. You and I agree for what is probably the same reason that the government should not fund this but I challenge you to identify one development from this type of research. Anywhere. Globally. I know of none and I have looked and I've heard others say the same thing. ALL the developments have came from adult stem cells. Here is a good article with links to some other studies and articles. It's specific to Christopher Reeve but links to some other good information.

I don't see how I wasn't "completely honest in [my] argument." :)


1 - I don't know how repeating your argument is a new argument. What we know from surveys/polls is that MUCH of the country doesn't support the idea of marriage between between 2 men and 2 women. There are PLENTY of Senators representing red state constituencies that agree. I don't believe getting to the 60 is impossible nor improbable. You need look no further than Daschle to watch a constituency get fed up with those that forget from where they came in their votes. As to the stunt, I believe that there was a very concentrated effort to go after a base of people that will vote based on the actions the administration will take on social issues. I think EVERY decision in a campaing is politically motivated. The difference is, is there a fundamentally sound motive to these actions. For millions, these social-issue-related actions are very important.

2 - He's also meeting with Muslims too, you know that right? Is that to what you refer?

3 - This is an opinion not an argument.

4 - So you're drawing a relationship between African Americans enslaved by this country to homosexuality? The difference is we're not making separate water fountains for homosexuals and making them sit in the back of the bus. There are way more differences than similarities.

5 - Not sure I total see your logic here but I'll read it again and respond soon.

6 - There are plenty of organizations that enjoy a tax-free status. If you look to Europe as a model, you will see that there is almost no such thing as "donations" in Europe and the reason we are such large donors is because of this system. This is a valid argument but have you considered the consequences?

7 - Aren't you the one saying we shouldn't make SPECIAL RIGHTS for people? Did I read that wrong? Read this paragraph again and see what you are asking of people because homosexuals want to call their union marriage.

8 - A church should be active on the issues. They are essential to the fabric of its congregation. It's up to the non-partisan IRS to determine whether those actions are against the code. We have a system for this.

9 - This is such a tired red herring. Taking care of the poor, c'mon. Kerry argued that though when confronted with the option of contributing to charity on his tax return in Mass he opted against it. You know, what have Democrats done for the poor since Kennedy? To take a page out of Curms book, Democrats are as money-hungry as Republicans. The idea that your Dems have the moral superiority of the "feed-the-poor" effort is quite hypocritical. You claim that conservatives seem to dicate this moral authority but you counter it with your own.

"Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for life."

That verse is the fundamental difference between libs and conservatives. Don't kid yourself.

And I mean that in the nicest way possible... :)

6:38 PM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...


I really was not suggesting that you were not being honest in your argument. More precisely what I mean is that those who you are relying to form your opinion are not being honest in their argument. The National Review article you linked is a case study in what I mean.

Therein, the author says, “Embryonic stem cells have produced nothing like this — in fact, their tendency toward uncontrollable growth and tumor formation has so far made them unfit for any trials in humans. Even in animal trials they have not been able to treat long-lasting or chronic injury.”

The key language is “so far made them unfit for any trials in humans”. This is probably a correct statement-I have not done my own research on the latest developments. But the truth is that there is a lot of research that goes on that is far removed from clinical trials. Because a person’s physical malady can not be helped by specific methods it does not follow that research using fetal stem cells is automatically worthless.

I hesitate to go farther in my explanation because my own understanding of the biology is extraordinarily poor. I rely primarily on a certain Ph.D. in Molecular Biology with whom I am very well acquainted. Fetal stem cells are unique, as even the NRO article points out, in several aspects. The very fact that the tend toward uncontrollable growth is itself evidence of the unique service they might provide if fully understood. Understanding how they operate and specifically, how they specialize, is an area of intense interest. It has ramifications for medical science that go far beyond your and my simple ability to understand such things. Science is working toward an understanding that will lead to the eventual ability to coax normal adult somatic tissue to behave in ways that mimic embryonic stem cell behavior. The potential applications of this knowledge are staggering.

One thing I have learned over the last twenty years is how slow and complex medical research has become. That embryonic stem cell research has not yet yielded clinical results is in no way indicative of whether that research may be profitable for the advancement of science. That these logically fallacious statements have gone virtually unchallenged is yet another symptom of the tragic condition of our society.

8:47 AM  
Blogger Texas Conservative said...

Certainly "some day" we may find that embryonic stem cell research will yield "staggering" developments. I won't dare say this will never happen and indeed, it may happen sooner than we/I think. Even with that presumption, the idea of having our government fund the destruction of these cells in the process when 23 years of work in the private sector has yet to yield something of significance (would you agree with that) is not a responsible use of money given the moral implications. We can leave that up to socially bankrupt states like California to fund cloning with tax payer money. Just the idea of going 5 or 10 years destroying thousands if not hundreds of thousands of these fetal stem cells at the tax payers expense is unconscionable.

Switching gears a bit, I purchased a copy of FahrenHYPE 9/11 which dispels "that other movie" point-by-point. I offer a free viewing of it to anyone who is interested. I'll be happy to pay for the shipping to and from your house. It describes in one scene the unequivocal way in which the Patriot Act provided the ability to foil a plot to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge that was later confirmed with the capture of one of the terrorists. Again, not enough to convince you and others but still the most powerful example of its usage since 9/11. Let me know if you'd like to borrow it - first come first serve -

9:53 AM  
Blogger Common Good said...


Well, you chose not to engage with any form of intellect on the meat and potatoes list. Just as well... I need to take a break from fighting hypocrisy and saving the world. :) Come back when you can defend one faction in our country getting special privilege in our country. Come back when you can defend a faction being gatekeeper for citizen rights in a pluralistic society. I never read that in the constitution... churches and other god fearing establishments will be given special rights over the other rift raft. Tax free churches are wrong, and Indian casinos are wrong. We are not a Christian nation, we are a nation where the majority of it's citizens are Christians... huge difference. Your stance and other's truly do force issues that should have remained trivial to no longer be trivial.... one of those equal and opposite reaction laws of nature.

btw... read Tony's comments about embryonic stem cell research and your response again. He clearly is just calling for honest reasoning... something I suggested earlier regarding theocracy-lite dreams and aspirations. You reply with "show me one case where any cures have occured....". Uh.. well, all research starts with a hope for success and not the actual success. Have an honest argument and say you are against it for RightValues reasons... you look silly when you tackle it on scientific reasons.

"Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for life."

"That verse is the fundamental difference between libs and conservatives. Don't kid yourself."

< Don't kid yourself > Anyone with common sense is for personal responsibility, and helping those in need become productive citizens... our economic system depends on the majority being productive. Here is the fundamental difference: The aggregate effect of the GOP is to allow a few to own the lake where your newly skilled fisherman fish. In my America, we would all own the lake... in your America those Godly and Wealthy own the lake. < Don't kid yourself >

Sanctity of life? Murder, Rape, Starvation, Cancer, guilt of birth, mass inequality...

You keep voting for God, Guns, Gays and Greed. I will keep voting for a more collective American spirit where have nots will not be sacrificed for more lake homes. Both parties corrupted... you bet... both parties equal... not even close... sorry Curm. To each his own conscience, that's the best we can do. My conscience is clean... I didn't vote for the "way too average RightValues guy stumping for the Wealthy elite" in the White House. Mahre is right, Bush doesn't have a second term agenda, he has second term obligations for laws to be delivered to his corporate donors... Whore More Years. Let's see what is delivered for the fundamentalist right... anyone want to speculate. How many elections can you guys get played before you get it? The RightValues crowd are passionate and naive... only a problem because they allow themselves to be played by the real enemy... the greed mongers that are clever enough to say the right things to retain power over this country. Democracy in our Republic is an illusion. Whether that happened because of citizen apathy and ignorance or because of evil finding a way to get elected is a matter of opinion. IMO, in aggregate our population is in the process of choosing greed and inequality for our future... the conservative movement has been a cancer and it's now in the lymph nodes. Reagan was no hero... he was a nice smile wrapped around the cancer. Look around... this is our high-water mark... turns out the knuckle draggers are afraid to step out of the cave.

Good luck Curm... you have much work ahead of you.


10:01 AM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...


No, I simply can't agree that nothing of significance has came out of stem cell research. That is a hyperbolic statement created by people with a polticial agenda.

Ironically, this is one issue where I agree with Shrub's approach. I am just not content to allow disinformation to go unchallenged because that disinformation happens to support my point of view.

10:12 AM  
Blogger Common Good said...


If you leave embryonic stem cell research up to California, you should be required to sign a pact that your family members including any children pledge to never accept medical procedure that came from embyonic stem cell research. When you child is dying in the hospital, you will be required to stand on your moral principals and let that child die. Deal?

You mentioned Farenheit 911. I saw the movie twice. The first time was out of curiosity, and the second time was looking for the lies that were being charged by the Hannities of the world. I respect David Brooks of the NYTimes, and he wrote an entire Op-Ed trying to point out the lies. To this day, I have not heard any proof of lies ... just pissed off chatter. Take the personality out of it... just take on Moore's points in the film and point to lies. For example:

1) He points out how the personal fortunes and relationships of the Bush family are tied to Saudi. Try and make that smell ok. Read American Dynasty by Kevin Phillips... very enlightening...

2) Moore points out the Taliban was flown into Houston before 2000 to discuss the Afghanistan Unical pipeline. They said no... can't you just imagine how enraged that makes the oil barons and their presidents.

3) Oil barons get to take out the Taliban after 911. Karzai put in charge. Where did Karzai come from. Unical consulting. Who is now the elected president... Mr. Unical. Make this smell ok.

4) Saudi embassy in the US guarded by special service, Saudi billions invested in the US, Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar smoking stogies with the President in the White House... make this smell ok.

5) Moore asking Congressmen at the capital to sign thier kids up for the Iraq war... PERFECT. Outrageous yes, but then a society that sends it's poor to fight it's wars is pretty outrageious. Which one of those outrages is more OUTRAGEOUS do you think. Make that smell ok.

6) President in a nuclear age glued to his chair with the kids for 7 minutes. Worse, sticking around the school for another 30 minutes. Even worse, getting a final photo op before leaving the school. When he addressed the nation about the terrorist attacks, he had scared children line up behind him (like he always gets someone lined up behind him).

7) Oh yeah... Photo Ops... flight suit, Mission Accomplished. Did you ever ask yourself if he truly did all of that for troop moral, why the need for the media at all. Surely a private appearance by the Prez would have spread to the rest of the troops word of mouth. Make that smell ok.

8) I thought the most important part of the movie was the second part. The part where the military recruiters go to the mall on the poor side of town on purpose, because recruiting is better over there. TexasConRightValues... that's the America you are defending, and that is the America I will fight against until I drop. That's not meritocracy... that's the "one with the gold makes the rules".

As far as the Patriot Act, I differ with Tony on what our nation should be willing to compromise in a time of terrorism. I think he is a bit zealot on the civil rights issues, but he certainly comes to that opinion with a knowledgable eye towards history. That said, I agree with Tony 100% that this kind of fundamental change should have required a constitutional ammendment. I also believed in sunsetting provisions, where Tony did not. I believe we should allow data mining reguarding terrorism, and Tony does not. Maybe we can save the city getting nuked with data mining... maybe not. For sure old fashioned police work will fail. These kind of descisions all come down to where you draw your civil rights line in the sand. Impossible that we would all come to the same consensus on where that line should be drawn.

So... anyone have proof of Farenheit lies I'm still waiting. I'm not saying there wasn't any, just that I haven't seen any proof yet.

10:31 AM  
Blogger Texas Conservative said...


When you child is dying in the hospital, you will be required to stand on your moral principals and let that child die. Deal?Nothing you have ever written more clearly distinguishes the difference between you and I. You think that if my child was dying in a hospital somewhere I would be looking to MEDICINE to save him? This is the beauty of the redemptive power of the blood of Jesus Christ CommonGood. I believe that I am healed. Period. The bible doesn't tell me I'm healed until I'm sick. It doesn't tell me I'm healed until I'm in the hospital. It tells me I'm healed. There IS a life with the father after this time on earth so passage from here to there is welcome should the circumstances require this. "For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain". I won't look to California and indeed, who I will be looking to is that whom is the Alpha and the Omega.

Send me your address and I'll ship you this movie. It will summarily refute what is in Fahrenheit 911 and I suggest you know what the other side believes to be the truth. It describes Unical, the Taliban in Texas, the 5 minutes at the school, the recruiters, Iraq, the Saudis...seriously, I'll be happy to lend you the movie just send me your address/po box -

Quoting Bill Mahrer doesn't make your argument stronger when discussing matters of policy and politics with a conservative. Conservatives will tend to dismiss your arguments out of hand in the shadow of Bill Mahrer quotes. It’s the equivalent of me quoting Ann Coulter. I could because I agree with almost everything she believes in but I might as well quote my wife because it doesn't add strength to my argument.

You did help me realize something in your [second to] last post, though. And for that I am grateful. You and I stand on different sides of the fence that is our perception of morality. Your last response has saved many future keystrokes for the both of us since I realized just how fundamentally we disagree about the direction this country should take. Maybe finding areas where we both agree would be a much more effective use of both of our time and energy. I will keep looking for those opportunities to agree with you since I enjoy these comments so much. There really does need to be a better system of posting comments though because these threads take forever to load and the previous comments should collapse somehow.

Curmie, hyperbole? Here is the definition of hyperbole:

: extravagant exaggeration (as "mile-high ice-cream cones")I don’t see how saying there hasn’t been any developments/applications from fetal stem cell research is hyperbole. Name me one and I’ll change future references to “next to no developments/applications”. I just want to make it perfectly clear what I believe about this science. I am not naive enough to think that the first rat we gave a cigarette to told us everything we need to know about the harmful effects of smoking. I know there is a process to research though I don’t know it as well as you, I am sure. The problem for me is that when I hear and read that in 23 years we can’t identify a single application of this research it strikes me as still “in process” and no-where-near ready to help us regenerate tissue or organs. I’ve read that adult stem cell research on the other hand has led to (by some accounts) over 400,000 applications/developments that can be used today. Would you agree that those numbers pale in comparison? There is PLENTY of private funding for adult stem cell research (follow the money) because of its viability. Whether CG agrees or not, there are ramifications for federally funding morally divisive procedures like abortions and ess.

This doesn’t mean that this research could not yield something of benefit later on but I, along with millions of others, could not support something that takes life to give life. I know, to someone like CG this may appear to border on the insanity and I hope I don’t have to face this decision later but it won’t change what I believe to be morally and spiritually right.

11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Proceeding from the idea that we can now use myth as a guideline for Constitutional amendments, I have a few proposals.

» No arachnid may assume a seated position in the proximity of any citizen, regardless of sex, physical stature, or marital status.

» The blood of a citizen shall be considered personal property, and may not be seized by any agent, public or private, living or undead.

» Upon death, any serial killer shall remain dead, without regard to:
º Athletic equipment worn at the time of death
º Box office grosses
º Cloning

» Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of The League of Justice.

» No sea-bound pineapple-dwelling Sponge may, in time of peace be quartered in any house or body of water therein, without the consent of the Owner.

» Any water transported between states for the purpose of miraculous conversion to wine shall be taxed at the time of transport as if the conversion had already occurred. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


11:38 AM  
Blogger Common Good said...


"Send me your address and I'll ship you this movie."

I have NetFlix, and I don't give my address out to crazy people.... even if I like them. :)

Gene. LOL!!!!

12:06 PM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...


Our ships keep passing in the night on this one. What I am saying is twenty-three years is not dispositive of the merit of the research. Watson and Crick first elucidated the structure of DNA in 1953. By 1976, practical applications for the knowledge were limited and few. Twenty-three years is nothing in basic research.

The fundamental science here is instructive. Adult stems cells are simpler to understand and use. Because they are recognized as self by the immune system, they lend themselves naturally to quicker clinical trials. Embryonic stems cells are a much more complex thing. Weighing one line of research against the other is pointless. It is like saying in 1926 (Kitty Hawk + 23 years) “nothing has come of these jet engine things yet so it couldn’t possibly be worth while”.

Saying that there has been no profit from embryonic stem cell research is hyperbole because much has been learned from studying those lines. Much more will be learned.

You can choose to oppose embryonic stem cell research on this irrational basis if you choose. I just think it distorts the argument and makes Christians look silly those who actually are involved in science. If we want to be credible in society, I believe we need to quit arguing that the Earth is the center of the universe and focus our energy on intelligent application of God’s word to the actual world in which we live.

The argument against embryonic stem cell research is a strong one if we stand on what the Bible actually tells us rather than indulging in the political rhetoric which currently pollutes the Body of Christ.

1:06 PM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...

TexaCon and CG,

I could broker the tape exchange. I know where you both live. :-D

1:10 PM  
Blogger Texas Conservative said...


You're right about the ships because I didn't read anywhere in my comment that we hadn't learned anything from this research. Geeze. I wouldn't say that. Thanks for the history lesson, though.

Nor did I say that we have not "profitted" from this research. I'm sure researchers know quite a bit more than they did 23 years ago.

Thanks for the word lunch but I'll use my own words, please.

I also don't think objectively stating that there have been no applications of this research as with adult stem cells (one alternative that I don't believe is akin to your jet engine analogy) is "political rhetoric."

I urge you to re-read my comment and point out where I obfuscated the knowledge gained/profitted by the research. I stayed on point and that is that "The problem for me is that when I hear and read that in 23 years we can’t identify a single application of this research it strikes me as still “in process” and no-where-near ready to help us regenerate tissue or organs.". Surely some applications came from the research in developing jet engines in 23 years right? We didn't go from sticks and paper to jet engines. I respectfully dismiss your analogy as lacking objective relevance.

That's just me, though.

CommieG - In light of your condition, I'll send it via Tony. Don't mind the powdery white substance. :O)

2:15 PM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...


I was, as you can imagine, being quite purposeful when I changed from discussing “application” to “learning anything”. There is a huge difference and it is important to the discussion.

The rhetoric you are using is intended to leave the impression that embryonic stem cell research has yielded no benefit. That is exactly what narrow politically motivated statements such as this are designed to do: give a small part of the story and imply all kinds of broad conclusions. If you are comfortable that you are being complete, I won’t try harder to convince you otherwise.

Twenty-three years is nothing in basic research. And yes, that does mean that the field of study is “no-where-near ready to help us regenerate tissue or organs”. Guess what? Studying anti-matter is no where near ready to help us create a warp drive either. That is a particularly illogical way of testing what is useful research and not.

2:38 PM  
Blogger Texas Conservative said...


You would HAVE to agree that MOST people that support this type of research are not supporting it because they remember how long it took to come up with the jet engine and are sympathetic to the need for a warp drive. A lot of people believe that this research will "help people get out of their wheelchair", solve Alzheimers and provide mobility to those with spinal cord injuries. I KNOW RESEARCH TAKES A LONG TIME. Please don't waste font trying to teach me this.

And studying anti-matter doesn't necessarily involve the moral implications in ess research. I know it's just an analogy but it's confuses the real issue.

It may be "useful research" but my position is that I would rather my tax dollars NOT go to that. You and others are entitled to your own beliefs.

Illogical as they may be. :O)

CommieG - as to the plausibility of this amendment passing, you should know this. I count 45 states that either have a law banning same-sex marriage or have already defined in their state constitution that marriage is between a man and a woman only. I wouldn't exactly call that a stretch or an implausible vie at an amendment. It DOES NOT mean that it will or even SHOULD pass, all it means is that there is viable reason for a debate on the issue. It would be much different if the states hadn't already supported it like they have. Given that, there may be a substantial amount of pressure on congress to at least debate it.

Remember Daschle?

So much for Bush knowing full well it would not pass in the Senate. With 45 states already on board with the argument, how is it a long shot?

3:06 PM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...


HAHAHA... you are amazing. You first prattle on endlessly that in 23 years, no application has come from embryonic stem cell research then when I finally get through to you, you complain that you know it takes a long time and ask that I not lecture you.

I’m not trying to saying anything more than that your specific argument applying adult stem cell research results to judge research using fetal stem cells is not logical. Finally, you grudgingly acknowledge: “It may be ‘useful research’ but my position is that I would rather my tax dollars NOT go to that.”...which is a weakly worded expression of what my only point to begin with.

3:15 PM  
Blogger Texas Conservative said...

I refuse to concede that to you. Though I have been comfortable enough to concede other points to you. I still stand by the fact (awaiting you to refut it) that there have been NO applications or developments from this research in 23 years. Again, prove me wrong, it's been done before. I know the research takes a long time to bring about fruits but with the moral implications, again, we're going in circles.

So laugh all you want you've gained nothing. :OP

3:31 PM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...


Facts? What would constitute a fact in your world? Frankly, I could spend the money to subscribe to Med-line (which my wife sorely wishes she had anyway) and dig out the papers for you, but I don't think there is even a shred of a chance that even THAT would convince you that important research is happening using fetal stem cells. You will stubbornly insist on clinging to the non-sense that embryonic stem cell research isn't useful, so I will not bother.

3:42 PM  
Blogger Texas Conservative said...


Did you just use the "I could prove it to you but what's the use" argument?

That's Rich!

From A Few Good Men:

It doesn't matter what I believe. It only matters what I can prove. So don't tell me what I know, or don't know. I know the LAW.

4:01 PM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...


Yes, I did. The honest truth is that I don't know enough about biology to intelligently prove it to you. I took just enough cellular biology to have a superficial understanding of how obviously unique embryonic stem cells are and I just happen to have a molecular biologist I trust COMPLETELY. I am more than happy to let her be my guide-thirteen years of post-graduate education is something I don't have the energy to question when there are so many other things that deserve my time.

You asking me to prove it is kind of like asking me to prove Shrub is stupid. Yeah, I could, but the only thing that would happen is I would waste a lot of time trying to convince you of something that would only have a shot of changing your mind if you did your own reseach.

Med-line is very cool. You should check it out.

4:07 PM  

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