Bush used Christians

I first heard about this from Kyle, but it's worth repeating. There's a book coming out this week that is written by a conservative Christian who worked in the White House office for faith-based initiatives. He says that the Bush administration doesn't really believe in these causes, only used them for political points and privately referred to Christian leaders as 'nuts.' I know a lot of people have voted for Republican candidates because they think they belong to the party with the better moral values, but I believe it's becoming clear that the Republican moral high ground is just a political invention.

If you still think that you'll vote for the GOP this fall because it's the Christian thing to do, then here's a challenge for you. You make a list of verses where Jesus talks favorably about limiting gay rights, protecting the property of the rich, invading countries on false pretenses and covering up for pedophiles to consolidate power, and I'll make a list of times Jesus talks about taking care of the sick and poor, working for peace and respecting people you don't agree with. We'll compare our lists and see who is doing God's work in American politics.

This is the part of the discussion where my dad generally says, "You think the Democrats don't have problems, too?" I'm not saying they're perfect. God knows they've got their shortcomings, but at this point I would take them over party that's currently in power in a heartbeat.

There are some very important elections coming up in November, and the Senate seat in Missouri is one of the most important in the country. If you vote for Jim Talent, I hope you can do so with a sincere belief that he and his President (they agree 96% of the time) are really working in Washington with your best interests at heart. I hope that you're not a cheap vote that they won by paying lip-service to conservative values.

Contrary to what you may have heard, voting for Claire McCaskill will not lead to mandatory gay marriage and abortions for everyone. If the Democrats take control of Congress, I don't think we'll find the US surrendering to al Qaeda or millions of clones of Richard Simmons roaming the countryside.

b2evolution skins site

We've been talking about updating it for several weeks, but I finally decided to tackle the b2evolution skins directory. I upgraded it to the latest version, applied Francois' new site design, then I replaced the old text navigation system with a screenshot from each skin. It's also much easier to search. (Type Danny in the search bar to see the skins I've submitted). And you can sort by columns and colors. Finally I installed my star rating plugin, to which I added a nice notice popup with a pretty fade. Try it out by clicking the stars to submit a rating. We have 37 skins at the moment, but I'd like to see that get up over 100. (Yes, Dave and Henry, I'm looking at you.) There are links on the skins site for how to create and submit a skin. Open Source Web Design and Open Web Design provide some free designs that you can start with. Just follow these steps to turn the design into an evoskin.

At any rate, I'd like to hear what you think of the new skins site.

Firefox 2

I installed Firefox 2.0 beta today on my iMac. I had been having some problems with Firefox getting slow and eating up loads of memory. The Mac versions of browser haven't been all they could be and I heard that better Mac support was one of the priorities of version 2. So far it does seem to be doing much better. With six tabs open it's using 109 MB of RAM and 313 MB of virtual memory. Before the upgrade that was getting up around 500 and 1500, respectively. The interface has some minor improvements, which makes the fox more at home in this OS X habitat.

There are several new features that I should get some use out of. At this very moment I'm enjoying the built in spell checker. They've also added Xs on each tab to close them and an 'undo close tab' feature (one of the first extensions I always used to install). Built-in phishing protection, saved sessions and improved rss support also made this version. If you view an rss feed now you don't see the ugly source, but a nicely formatted version of the page with options for subscribing. All of these things were possible in extensions before, but having them built in is even better. The extension system gives the Firefox developers a great insight into what features people want. They're doing a great job of moving forward.

The new search engine manager makes it much easier to add more engines to the search window in the top right. Theme and extension management are now combined in an addon manager window.

I was nervous about upgrading because there are some extensions I can't do without, but I have Adblock, WebDev and Gmail notifier all working, so I'm pretty happy. Greasemonkey and all-in-one gestures aren't working at the moment, but I can live without them until they get updated.

The advanced bookmark system was pushed back to a later release, but I think this is going to be a very strong release with some great features and improvements. The world's best browser is about to get even better.

Talent on lobbying

I couldn't find anything on Jim Talent's site about lobby reform, so I emailed to ask about it. Here's the reply:

Dear Mr. Ferguson:

Thank you for contacting me to voice your concerns
regarding lobbying and ethics reform. I appreciate the time you
have taken to share your views with me, and I welcome the
opportunity to respond.

I am pleased to report that with my support the Senate
overwhelmingly passed the bipartisan Legislative Transparency
and Accountability Act of 2006, on March 29, 2006. It is the first
lobbying reform bill considered by Congress in over a decade. The
legislation was strongly supported by Republicans and Democrats
alike, passing by a vote of 90-8.

Among its many provisions, the bill will enhance public
disclosure of lobbyist activities and campaign contributions, ban
gifts and meals from registered lobbyists to Senators and staff, and
require enhanced scrutiny and Ethics Committee pre-approval for
privately funded travel. There were some provisions that I
supported that were not included in the final bill, but I think the
Senate has taken a big step forward toward changing the system.

Again, thank you for contacting me. If you would like to
continue this discussion, please don't hesitate to call or write.

If you would like to contact me via e-mail, please visit
http://talent.senate.gov/Contact/default.cfm

Sincerely,

Senator Jim Talent

I was glad to hear Talent respond to this issue. Unfortunately, when this bill went to the House it was weakened even further. The Washington Post called the house version diluted snake oil peddled as bold reform. I haven't been able to learn what became of this legislation. Did they go into conference? Did it ever get signed into law?

Senate debate

We spent Thursday through Saturday at the Missouri Press Association convention. On Friday morning the MPA hosted a debate for the candidates running for Missouri State Auditor and for the US Senate. C-Span will be airing the senate debate next week. I took the opportunity to ask a question of the candidates. I'll try to post video of that when I can. The debate confirmed my original inclination that we really need Claire McCaskill to win this race.

Jim Talent is a former lobbyist who took money from convicted felon Jack Abramoff (and later returned it) and Tom DeLay, the K Street Project founder, former House Majority Leader and suspected money launderer. Talent has yet to return the money from DeLay. Despite his efforts to distance himself from the President, Talent votes as Bush wants him to 94% of the time.

Claire McCaskill, on the other hand, plans to use her experience as State Auditor to crack down on government waste, no-bid contracts, special interest influence and deficit spending. You can read her positions on her web site. McCaskill has plans for lobbying reform and a raise in the federal minimum wage.

McCaskill and Talent will appear on Meet the Press for a debate on Sunday morning, October 8. If you're a Missouri citizen then do your homework on the candidates' websites and watch the debate, then be sure to vote in this important election in November. I'll try to have some more information here between now and then.

TMBGLOTD

The Edison Museum, once a bustling factory
Today is but a darkened, cobweb covered hive of industry
The tallest, widest and most famous haunted mansion in New Jersey

Lyrics:The Edison Museum

TMBGLOTD

I could never sleep my way to the top
'Cause my alarm clock always wakes me right up
And since my options had been whittled away
I struck a bargain with my radio DJ
I said I'd like this song to be number one
He said 'I'd really really like to help you my son'
And then I knew that I would have him to thank
Because he asked me how much I had in the bank

Hey, Mr. DJ, I Thought You Said We Had A Deal

TMBGLOTD

Youth culture killed my dog
And I don't think it's fair

Youth Culture Killed My Dog

TMBGLOTD

Hats off to the new age hairstyle made of bones
Hats off to the use of hats as megaphones
Speak softly, drive a Sherman tank
Laugh hard, it's a long way to the bank

Rhythm Section Want Ad

TMBGLOTD

Why did you grow a beard?
Why did you grow a beard?
I can't leave you alone for five minutes
What the Christ?
What the devil?
Why did you grow a beard?
Why did you grow a beard?
Is there nowhere in the world for a no goodnik
Is there nowhere in the
Freedom-loving
Sister-hugging
Screaming, yelling

Why Did You Grow A Beard?

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