Big Tent

So, the GOP is in New York pretending they are a party of inclusion this week. Given the speakers, you'd almost think they were a moderate party what with pro-choice Republicans like Pataki and Guiliani and pro-gay rights Republicans like Governor Terminator, John McCain (well, he opposed the FMA, anyway), and Dick Cheney apparently. But they are making sure their far right base knows that they'll be taken care of when it matters. Sure, McCain will get trotted out to make W. seem moderate, but behind his back, you'll see reassurances made to the hyper-conservatives that their needs will be met. The GOP knows that to be elected, you have to play to the middle, assuring America that will seek coalitions and cooperation instead of simply imposing an ideology on the country. Democrats do that, too, except we mean. We are about building coalitions and working together with people of different ideologies. Doesn't mean we've abandoned our left-wing base, as some leftists often complain. Its just a nod to the fiercely divided political climate we live with. We need to compramise to get anything done. The only other solution is to just outright lie.

That, it would seem, is the GOP solution.

For all the talk of a "Big Tent" and all the moderate voices that will be seen in prime time this week, its all just a big lie. The GOP makes little plays for the far right knowing that they can count on them to be understanding. There is some concern that they might express discontent at some speakers, but those people will be prodded into speeches that don't offend right-wing sensibilities. Play moderate, but don't mean it. Because the GOP knows that it would look very bad if a prime time speaker, say, compared gay marriage to the Nazi's slaughter of the Jews. But that doesn't mean they really have a problem with it. Why, they'll just have them lead the opening prayer.

Think I'm exaggerating? I wish. Alas, the woman who led the opening prayer for the Republican National Convention DID suggest that gay marriage was an equivilant to Hitler's Final Solution. Not decades ago. Not even privately. It was in March at a high profile meeting of a Conservative group. Specifically, she said that those who do not oppose gay marriage are akin to those who did nothing to stop Hitler's rise to power. Atrios has a more extended text for you to read if you think can stomach it.

The true face of the GOP. What happens this week in NYC is just a bit of theater.

Although this was clearly the most offensive thing I read from a Republican today, it was not the stupidist. That honor goes to none other than the Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert. Showing that clearly there are no depths the GOP won't sink to smear people who disagree with them, he suggested on FoxNews Sunday that financier George Soros ( who supports liberal causes like MoveOn.org) was a drug dealer. His proof? Um, he doesn't have any. But of course, he was really just saying that we "don't know" if Soros is a drug dealer. Much how I don't know that Dennis Hastert isn't really an alien sent to enslave the Earth. I mean, we don't know, right?


Swift Boat Liars get Debunked

Daily Kos links to a great article in the NY Times which carefully reviews the claims made by the ironically titled group "Swift Boat Vets for Truth" and discovers (drumroll) its all a lie. This condenses all of the truth behind why these people don't merit any consideration all in one helpful source. Even with diagrams! Check it out.


See, this is why I'm not a Catholic

The folks over at Jesus' General (a wickedly funny satire blog I should read more often) have shined a spotlight on an unforgivably stupid offense by the Catholic Church. Sure, we all know about the whole rabid anti-gay thing and the institutional discrimination of women. We're used to such annoyances. Heck, most Catholics I know have just gotten used to tuning the church out on such things. I can respect that position. Although such issues prevented me from joining the Church at a time I felt some pull to do so, I can understand why others who agree that these positions are wrong would still be a member of the church and even do little to influence the church.

Lately, though, the Church has started attempting to enforce Republican voting on its members, with bishops suggesting the denial of communion to a Catholic who takes the public position of being pro-choice. Well, if they are a Democrat, anyway. For all the denoucements of Kerry, there seems to be little said of Pro-Choice Catholic Republicans (and there are more than a few of them). The blatent political bias even led to an employee of the national Bishop's Conference getting fired for organizing a Catholics for Kerry discussion group. The singular focus on Democrats is all the more questionable when you see the chart Senator Durbin put together examining voting patterns in the Senate and their relation to Catholic teachings. Guess which party's Catholics consistantly vote more "Catholic".

It upsets me and reinforces my disagreement with the Church. I know lots of good Catholics, even went to a Catholic university, but the Church shouldn't be threatening people of faith with a denial of their faith simply because those people acting on their conscience. It just seems wrong to me, but such is the way of the things.

This, however, I cannot even remotely begin to understand. Denying someone religious rites because they don't vote how you want them to vote is wrong, but denying them religious rites because having them exactly as you require would KILL them is just outrageous. I cannot see how that is defensible. Why should an 8 year old girl be damned to Hell because she has a rare diagestive disorder. This girl has faith, is practicing her faith, and that's a good thing. For the Church to slam the door in her face over something some minor strikes me as absurdly inflexible and cruel. Jesus' General writes to the Bishop responsible in his appropriately sarcastic manner. I think I might right, too. I have a profound respect for those who practice faith, even as it is something I cannot do myself. So to deny this girl's chance to practice faith just seems terribly wrong to me. Its just not right, and I felt compelled to say so.


Important Things

So, to kick off my second year of blogging, I thought I would tackle a very important issue. Sports jerseys! (for visual aids, might I suggest this site)

Actually, this has been on my mind a bit for a couple weeks. Living and working in a diverse community like Boston, I very frequently see men on the subway wearing Soccer Jerseys. Now, while Soccer is gaining in popularity in these United States, its not there yet. Mostly, I'm seeing these on men who are presumably immigrants who proudly show the colors of their native country's soccer teams. And the occassional poser who wears British jerseys. Well, and the occassional super-Irish guy who wears their Jersey. Its a sharp relief from all the folks sporting football, basketball, hockey, and of course, baseball jerseys.

One thing I've noticed is how much nicer the Soccer jerseys are. I mean, they all look so designer. Many have the sharp collar, the empowered stripe, colors balanced so delicately as to create a smooth appearance. Sure, they are the early adopter for sports uniform advertising, but its almost balanced by the inconspicuous nature of the team logos. They are always small, usually either center top of the chest or top left. Very different from the bombastic logos often seen on Hockey and baseball Jerseys. Soccer jerseys are always so contemporary without feeling forced.

America sports teams haven't quite grasped that concept.

Baseball I think had the best overall record. Baseball Jersey's have their own simplicity. Sure, the team logo will be broadcast across the chest, but the designs are usually quite fetching and iconic. The current trend is for a retro look that harkens back to the 50's and 60's. Simple lines, understated stripes, attractive use of pinstripes. Sure, there are too many alternate uniforms (inevitably black) and some of the newer uniforms are too self-consciously contemporary (I'm looking at you Arizona Diamondbacks), but the overall record is quite good.

Even the goofy uniforms of the 70's and 80's that are the rage among the throwback set are still very cool. They were VERY 70's and are just so individualistic. Can't beat the powder blue of the 1980 Phillies or the Astros rainbow with matching orange hat. Sure, there were miscues. Like the all burgandy get up the Phillies briefly wore of the awful shorts and wide collar offered by the Chicago White Sox. But even some of the bad uniforms have an endeering quality to them, like the all yellow and all green variations on the 1973 Oakland A's uniform.

Football isn't awful, but the jerseys themselves tend to be quite plain. Probably for the best. The teams that have tried to do something creative tend to make it look just stupid. The best football jerseys are the simple ones.

Basketball is a total mixed bag. Some are cool and iconic, others are disgustingly modern and "futuristic". Even the iconic ones get mixed up in black alternate uniforms now a days. It looked cool the first couple of times I saw it, now it just looks dumb.

And then we have hockey. I just hate Hockey sweaters. The old-school ones are cool, but the newer ones all look too busy. They took the idea of Soccer jerseys and just screwed it up. And don't even get me started on all the "modern" team logos and uniform design. They all have the designed by committee look to them. I swear, its like no one can design good sports logos, anymore.

Anyway, that's all I have to say about that.


obligatory happy birthday

Well, today is the 1 year anniversary/birthday of my blog. It all started with my first posts on August 10, 2003 as I sat around my apartment on a lazy Sunday afternoon and was ceremonously interrupted by a parade marching down my little side-street. Of course back then the name of my blog was obligatory title, which still exists out in cyber space for any of my old-school fans. All of the posts have been transferred over here, though, so don't feel like you are missing out. Ah, those young and innocent days when all of my titles were uncapitalized for self-conscious effect and when I wasn't getting troll attacks on a semi-daily basis.

I've been reading back through my archives in advance of my Blog Birthday. I've been struck by a few things. First off, I'm a really awful speller. I mean, I knew that, but even I'm blown away by how bad I get. Blogger really needs to add a spell check to save the world from my pitiful attempts and spelling. I always was surprised how frequently I used to post and how well I did concentrating on the pop culture commentary and poliblogging. I've kind of let both things flounder as I've allowed myself to wallow and seethe here on occassion. My apologies. I'll try to be better.

Overall, I meant my blogging to reinvigorate my writing sensibilities. I think it did that at times, but its also exposed a lot of my flaws as a writer. It has kept me more actively thinking about writing and I have been scribbling notes for a script to a few graphic novels I intend to write one of these days. But I never seem to have the time to get as much work done on them as I'd like.

Its also drawn me into the political blogging community, and I obviously have become quite taken with it. Also just a little bit jealous that these folks have the time and talent I lack to post so aggressively about progressive causes. I've gone back and forth on my favorites. I always love Atrios and Pandagon. I don't read Talking Points Memo and Daily Kos in the last month and have occassionally contributed diary entries there.

Over all, I don't think its been as good as I want it to be, but its had some good moments. I'm a harsh critic of myself, but a fair one, I think. I hope in the next year, I can manage to be at least a little bit better for both of my readers.


Oh, the OTHER evil dictator with WMDs!

North Korea has gotten a hold of weapons systems that would allow them to stage a nuclear attack on the United States. How the hell did that happen?

Because the publisher of the hyper-Conservative Washington Times GAVE IT TO THEM.

I could on about the faults of Unification "Church" founder Rev. Moon's faults. There are so many. The man George H.W. Bush has called a "Man of Vision" has called for Genocide against gays. He has been repeatedly recognized by the Bush administration and even got $450,000 from the government to teach faith-based sex education. Because I know I want my kids taught sex-ed from someone who wants all gays killed and who suggests people being raped should commit suicide. Regretably, Democrats and Republicans both have given the rub to Rev. Moon, such as the bipartisan Coronation (yes, Coronation) at the Senate office building earlier this year. Lets just say, there is a LOT wrong about Rev. Moon.

But I'm guessing supplying a sworn enemy of the United States with the technology to stage a nuclear attack on the US is going to push to front of the line of his faults. And still, we have no interest in confronting North Korea, a dictatorship we KNOW has WMDs, the technology to use them against us, and the desire to do so. Gotta love that Bush doctrine.