August 31st, 2008


Big breath!!

It is a beautiful morning, cool and clear, and fall is stirring the air.   It is a day to pop more blueberry muffins into the oven. 

I read the news and will not share any of it, since if you read it, you may be bubbling, too, or perhaps you were wise enough to give yourself a break.

I love the feel of a three day weekend.  People were out puttering yesterday and it is so refreshing to wake on Sunday, and know that Monday, also, is a day of play, though called Labor Day.

Oh, just one little snap. 

In Finland, both mothers and fathers are encouraged to take maternity leave because it is felt and proven that bonding with children is important.  Their children now test the highest in the world.  Sarah Palin went back to work three days after having a child with Down's Syndrome.  It never occurred to her, I suppose, to consider that four children was enough, and to look at the risks of having a child after forty.  Is this who we want leading the country, someone who plans so well, and then arrogantly heads off to ignore the salmon and the polar bears in the increased need for oil, because some people think it is their god-given right to have five children if that is what they want?

I read The Population Bomb in 1967.   I guess she missed it since she was, at the time, three.   I actually am happy to hand the reins over to those in their forties, if they have lived, learned, read, and responded intelligently to what is actually going on, rather than ignoring all the science that shows evolution and global warming are actually, amazingly, and, in the case of global warming,  frighteningly real.

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What is sport?

The native people of Alaska have survived for thousands of years without needing to shoot wolves from airplanes.  I've never been clear how that was sport and my sense is that most of the killings done that way are done for sport and by people who can afford to hire someone to fly them around, but Sarah Palin in her defense of oil and the Alaskan way, well, the Alaskan way as non-natives see it defends the practice.  After all, we wouldn't want anyone to starve would we, and we need to defend the native tradition of flying in airplanes and shooting wolves.

Also, I had the feeling the glasses were an affectation, some way she thought she could look smart.   Who wouldn't be wearing contact lens in this time period, if they did need sight augmentation, and it seems I am right.  She thinks glasses make her look smart and less threatening.  Let's hope people see right through the clear lens of that.

I don't know how she can live where she lives and not notice the diminishing glaciers, and not recognize that it is not environmentalist's "crock" that the polar bears are losing their places to live.  

I find it karmic that the weather cooperated so beautifully for the Democratic convention, despite the prayers of "Christians" for rain, and now, it seems the Republicans are the ones getting drenched, and I am deeply sorry for the people of New Orleans and those around it.  Imagine what might have been built in these last three years with the money we've spent and given away in Iraq.

McCain's VP pick defends right to shoot wolves

Sunday, August 31, 2008


We can't tell you how Republican vice presidential pick Sarah Palin would do on national defense, but when it comes to defending Alaska's right to shoot wolves, she's not afraid to pull the trigger.

Just ask Rep. George Miller.

Miller, D-Martinez, a member of the House Natural Resources Committee, introduced federal legislation last year to end Alaska's policy of allowing people to shoot wolves from airplanes - a practice used to keep the number of wolves in check so they don't eat all the state's moose and caribou.

Miller - who has strong support from environmental groups around the country - deemed the kills cruel and unnecessary to preserve the moose and caribou population. What's more, he said, they violate federal law banning airborne hunting.

Faster than you can cry wolf, Palin told the East Bay congressman and his Washington pals to butt out.

"Congressman Miller doesn't understand rural Alaska (and) doesn't comprehend wildlife management in the North," the Alaska governor said in a statement issued last September.

Miller is also clueless to the fact that game hunters rely on the moose and caribou "to put healthy food on their families' dinner tables," Palin said.

Miller, however, tells us there are plenty of moose and caribou for native Alaskans to hunt. He says his bill, still waiting to be heard in committee, is really about stopping the state from handing out licenses to sportsmen "in the name of predator control."

"Shooting wolves from airplanes probably doesn't look like a good deal to most Americans," he said.

Wolves aren't the only item on Palin's list. She's also taken on the federal government over polar bears, suing the Interior Department on Alaska's behalf in reaction to the feds' decision to list the animals as threatened.

She believes the listing will cripple oil and gas development in sensitive areas - and, in any case, says the enviro argument that global warming threatens to wipe out the polar bears' habitat is a crock.

In case you were wondering, Miller, who just returned from the Democratic National Convention, doesn't think much of Palin as a vice presidential candidate.

"I just don't get it," he says. "Her incredible lack of experience is serious."

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Bush's gift - debt -

This is from the speech of Rahm Emanuel at the Democratic Convention.  How unfortunately true!

You know, President Bush inherited the strongest economy in history and a huge budget surplus. He inherited an economy that created 23 million new jobs. I'm a little surprised. You would think the one thing President Bush was good at was inheriting things. Instead he turned a $236 billion surplus into a record deficit and added nearly $4 trillion in new debt. That's the one thing we can say about George Bush: Mr. President, we will be forever in your debt.

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quotes from the Democratic Convention

Ted Strickland:

You know, it was once said of the first George Bush that he was born on third base and thought he'd hit a triple. Well, with the 22 million new jobs and the budget surplus Bill Clinton left behind, George W. Bush came into office on third base-and then he stole second. And John McCain cheered him every step of the way.

Brian Schweitzer:

Even leaders in the oil industry know that Senator McCain has it wrong. We simply can't drill our way to energy independence, even if you drilled in all of John McCain's backyards, including the ones he can't even remember.

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Palin's one claim to fame is not actually true -

from the New Republic:

Did Palin Really Fight The “Bridge To Nowhere”?

Republicans have been heavily touting Sarah Palin's reformist credentials, with her supposed opposition to Alaska's "Bridge to Nowhere" as Exhibit A.  But how hard did she really fight the project? Not very, it seems. Here's what she told the Anchorage Daily News on October 22, 2006, during the race for the governor's seat (via Nexis):

5. Would you continue state funding for the proposed Knik Arm and Gravina Island bridges?

Yes. I would like to see Alaska's infrastructure projects built sooner rather than later. The window is now--while our congressional delegation is in a strong position to assist.

So she was very much for the bridge and insisted that Alaska had to act quickly—the party of Ted Stevens and Don Young might soon lose its majority, after all. By that point, the project was endangered for reasons that had nothing to do with Palin—the bridge had become a national laughingstock, Congress had stripped away the offending earmark, shifting the money back to the state's general fund, and future federal support seemed unlikely. True, after Palin was sworn into office that fall, her first budget didn't allocate any money for the bridge. But when the Daily News asked on December 16, 2006, if she now opposed the project, Palin demurred and said she was just trying to figure out where the bridge fit on the state's list of transportation priorities, given the lack of support from Congress. Finally, on September 19, 2007, she decided to redirect funds away from the project altogether with this sorry-sounding statement:

"Ketchikan desires a better way to reach the airport, but the $398 million bridge is not the answer," said Governor Palin. "Despite the work of our congressional delegation, we are about $329 million short of full funding for the bridge project, and it's clear that Congress has little interest in spending any more money on a bridge between Ketchikan and Gravina Island," Governor Palin added. "Much of the public's attitude toward Alaska bridges is based on inaccurate portrayals of the projects here. But we need to focus on what we can do, rather than fight over what has happened."

Maybe I've missed something, but it sure looks like she was fine with the bridge in principle, never had a problem with the earmarks, bristled at all the mockery, and only gave up on the project when it was clear that federal support wasn't forthcoming. Now, Charles Homans, who knows Alaska well, says Palin's anti-corruption instincts are fairly solid (she sold off the gubenatorial jet upon taking office, for one), and a casual Nexis search suggests that she's fiscally conservative (insofar as that term makes sense in a quasi-socialist state like Alaska), but this hardly looks like the "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington" moment everyone's making it out to be.

P.S. Here's a piece that Palin's special counsel, John Katz, wrote in March of this year for the Juneau Empire, assuring the Alaskan public that Palin was still very much in favor of earmarks, but sadly needed to scale back her requests somewhat (to "only" 31 earmarks this year—down from 54 last year) in response to "unwanted attention" from Congress and the press. 

--Bradford Plumer

Book Cover

Remind you of anyone -

My brother sends me this on the subject of power.  It seems now that Sarah Palin has been told what the vice-president does, she knows she can do it.  I thought the Bible said "The meek shall inherit the earth."

Give a man a cape and he thinks he’s superman!

I'm wondering if there is going to be anyone at the Republican convention.  How sad!   No Bush, Cheney or Schwarzenegger!  I'm sure McCain and Schwarzenegger are thrilled about that.  There may be a saying that there is no such thing as bad publicity, but I think Schwarzenegger straddles a fine line as governor of CA and he wasn't too thrilled about going anyway.

The Republicans don't want to look  like they are partying while people are having to leave their homes.   I guess they forgot how many are still struggling from three years ago.  They just now realized a party might not be well-received while so many are suffering, and maybe shortening the convention will save a few balloons, since they also didn't recognize that dropping balloons is not considered "green."

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Separation of church and state -

Personally I think the religion of the candidates should not be an issue, but, as we know it is.   Joan brings up something I had no idea of. It seems you can become a post-demonimational Christian, like Ms. Palin, and then you are not tied to a dogma so you won't get hit like Joe Biden with the two sides of being Catholic and also pro-choice. You get to have your cake and eat it too, so you gather votes by "being one" with a huge group of people while actually not really committing to any particular thing.   You get praise without blame.  I like it.  Clever indeed, and she is not the only one.  I wonder what God thinks of this.  It sounds a little new agey to me. 

This article is from the Episcopal Cafe.

McCain picks post-denominational Palin

John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter says that John McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin is an example of a post-denominational Christian. No longer identified by particular practices or beliefs of separate Christian traditions, a post-denominational Christian has a style of believing that draws from many sources and is highly individualized.

The initial confusion surrounding Palin’s denominational identity, therefore, has a simple explanation: She doesn’t have one. Instead, Palin appears to be part of that rapidly expanding galaxy of “post-denominational” Christianity, where elements of Evangelical and Pentecostal styles of faith and worship fuse into a myriad of unique local combinations, and where old denominational loyalties are essentially dead.

Though post-denominationalists are, by definition, difficult to catalog and index, they’re unquestionably numerous. 2007 survey conducted by LifeWay found that fully one-third of American Protestants were contemplating attending a different church in the future, and of that group, only one in four said it would be important that their future church belong to the same denomination as the one they currently attend.

Indeed, Ron Dreher over at Crunchy Con has noticed the same thing about Palin, asking "What kind of Christian is Sarah Palin?"

It's hard to say. People say she's an Evangelical, but what does that mean, really? Is she a Pentecostal? A Bible churcher? Christianity Today reports that she was baptized a Catholic as an infant, but her parents raised her in Bible churches. She has attended Pentecostal churches in recent years. It sounds like she's like a lot of US Christians today: a little of this, a little of that.

Allen says to that we should not confuse post-denominationals for Evangelicals.

Not all post-denominationalists are conservative Evangelicals. The “emergent church” movement, for example, is often considered an expression of independent Christianity, and the relatively loose and flexible approach to creedal matters of some emerging churches – sometimes called “generous orthodoxy” – is regarded as unacceptably fuzzy by many Evangelicals. Globally, however, the largest share of the post-denominational universe is occupied by various forms of Evangelical and Pentecostal spirituality, with a strong emphasis on Biblical literalism and a lively sense of the supernatural.

Some of these independent Christians are even hesitant to adopt descriptive labels such as “Evangelical” or “Pentecostal,” for fear that such terminology could breed a new form of denominationalism. This is part of what makes estimating the total Evangelical or Pentecostal population in America, or the world, such a maddening exercise, because depending upon the day of the week and what mood they’re in, many believers these days (including, perhaps, Palin) might consider themselves both, or neither.

Post-denominational Christians share a common identity and have formed their own culture. They may look like generic evangelicals to us main-liners, but they know each other when they meet:

Although independent Christians spurn membership cards, they typically have little difficulty recognizing one other – in part, because there’s a shared culture formed by music, conventions in praise and worship, and spiritual language, which different congregations dip in and out of to varying degrees.

For example, those who watched Palin’s announcement speech yesterday in Dayton, Ohio, might have noticed a throaty roar from the crowd when she said, “We are expected to govern with integrity and goodwill and clear convictions and a servant’s heart.”

That reaction wasn’t simply about approval of good government; the phrase “servant’s heart” is a popular bit of Evangelical terminology, used as a short-hand for Christian humility. A quick web search reveals thousands of churches, ministries, and bands that use some variation of “servant’s heart” in the title; there’s even a residential cleaning service in Calgary called “Servant’s Heart.”

Ironically, traditional Catholics may leans toward Palin while many post-denominationals will tend to identify with Biden:

There’s a bit of political irony for [Roman] Catholics. Given Palin’s strong pro-life credentials, it’s likely she will appeal to the most strongly “denominational” Catholics, those most devoted to traditional Catholic identity and teaching. Meanwhile, what one might call “post-denominational Catholics,” meaning those for whom religious branding carries less theological significance, may embrace Palin’s Democratic rival, Delaware Senator Joseph Biden, the lone Roman Catholic on either ticket, because of his progressive stands on social and political matters. In other words, the denominationalists on the Catholic side will back the post-denominationalist, while the Catholic post-denominationalists will probably pick the candidate who bears the Catholic denominational label.

Read the rest of Allen's column here.

HT to Diocese of Bethlehem blog newSpin.

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Whining -

I have now watched several youtube videos where Sarah Palin whines about Hillary Clinton whining.  Sarah says she would not vote for Hillary.

It is important to remember than McCain doesn't use the internet, so he doesn't know what is out there, and what continues to be out there.   He actually thinks Hillary Clinton supporters will vote for this woman who was so insulting to Hillary while Hillary was breaking the cracks in the glass ceiling so Sarah could step daintily through.


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Accountability -

A part of today for each of us is what is going on in New Orleans. We are one country and we are one world. There are disasters every day, natural ones, and then there are the man-made ones.

If you feel Bush should be brought up for impeachment, sign here.