Category: "culture/news"

Palin Lies

Gov. Sarah Palin officially accepted the nomination for VP tonight. Then she proceeded to tell at least 6 lies:

Factchecking Palin

Sarah Palin

Since John McCain announced last week that his running mate would be Sarah Palin, the obscure first-term governor of Alaska, we have learned a few more interesting facts about her. None of them have made her look like a good choice.

Palin is presented as a reformer of the corrupt political system in Alaska. There is some truth to this, but that may be overshadowed by her ties with recently indicted Alaska Senator Ted Stevens. Palin served as the director of the 527 group that raised money to support Stevens. McCain is on record as saying that 527s are disgraceful and illegal. Though in her debut speech Palin criticized the "bridge to nowhere" that Ted Stevens tried to have built in Alaska, she previously supported it. In this video, which the campaign would like to disappear, Ted Stevens (and his vest) endorses Palin during her 2006 gubernatorial campaign.

Palin is in favor of more domestic drilling and seems uninterested in reducing our dependence on oil. In fact, she said "I beg to disagree with any candidate who would say we can't drill our way out of our problem." Her husband works for an oil company and she has publicly supported drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which McCain has opposed. Palin's oil policy will not bring down prices, but it will enrich the oil companies. We have seen the results of electing champions for big oil to the highest offices in the government.

Palin is currently under investigation for allegedly putting pressure on the public safety commissioner to fire a state trooper who happened to be her sister's ex-husband. When the commissioner didn't comply, he was fired. This investigation will continue to unfold over these last two months of the campaign.

Palin supports the teaching of creationism in public school classrooms. Several court cases have shown that creationism is religion and not science and therefore has no place in our public schools.

I agree with Barack Obama when he says that the recently disclosed pregnancy of Palin's 17-year-old daughter should be off-limits to political attack. However, it serves as a poignant reminder that abstinence-only sex education, which Palin emphatically supports, does not work.

Palin was asked if she was offended by the words "under God" in our Pledge of Allegiance. Her answer shows a startling ignorance of history: "Not on your life. If it was good enough for the founding fathers, its good enough for me and I’ll fight in defense of our Pledge of Allegiance." The pledge wasn't written until 1892 and "under God" wasn't added until 1954, so all of the founding fathers were long dead before the pledge was written and could never have recited it.

Religious radicals like James Dobson may be thrilled with the selection of Sarah Palin for Vice President, but I think that her inexperience and her misguided opinions make her a terrible choice.

Warren on atheists

The day after interviewing Barack Obama and John McCain on the stage in his church, Rick Warren said this:

"I could not vote for an atheist because an atheist says, 'I don't need God,' " Warren said. "They're saying, 'I'm totally self-sufficient by [myself].' And nobody is self-sufficient to be president by themselves. It's too big a job."
LA Times

As for as I'm concerned, anyone is free to vote or not vote for someone based on any criteria. Our Constitution forbids any official religious test for office, but individuals can take religion under consideration if they think it's important. However, I have some problems with the way Warren justified his statement.

First, atheists don't say "I don't need God." We say that there is no such thing as God. We also don't say "I hate God," "I'm running from God," "I love to sin" or "I'm angry at religious people." I cannot hate or run from something that doesn't exist. The fact that Warren said this shows that he either doesn't understand atheism or refuses to take it seriously.

Second, he's right that the president needs help, but shouldn't that help come from knowledgeable human advisors? I think that a good president should listen to advice from trusted staff, trained experts, public opinion and even political rivals.

Third, how, exactly, does God help a person govern? Does he send intra-office memos? Does he call the president on a private line? Does he attend cabinet meetings? Does he speak to the president in dreams? How does it work? Wouldn't it be better if our president sought and took the advice of humans rather than trying to puzzle out the will of a silent God?

Fourth, for the last seven years we've had a president who claimed to be called and guided by God. I don't think that's going very well. In fact, I think that the delusion of God's favor has made President Bush especially arrogant and reckless. Because he thinks God is on his side, he is capable of ignoring good advice and going it alone. An atheist president would understand better than anyone that all we have is each other, and that we should take care of the earth, the only home we have.

A real campaign sign

Eddie 'Bimbo' Hedrick

This is the sign from a real campaign for Northern Commissioner of Bates County, MO. Notice anything strange about it?

Tim Kaine

The DC speculators are convinced the Tim Kaine will be Obama's VP. Civil rights lawyer, law professor, new to high office (not a beltway insider). Sounds like a good fit. He's also pro-life, a Catholic and spent a year as a Christian missionary. That might help the ticket in some demographics. He was only elected governor in 2005, so that doesn't add a lot of experience to the ticket. My favorites are probably still Sebelius, Edwards and especially Richardson, but I think Kaine would be great.

Fighting the army

Fighting the Army - PBS NOW

If you're looking for ways to cut military spending, denying disability benefits to veterans with PTSD is not a good way to do it. This story follows two soldiers who fought bravely and were damaged by what they experienced in the war. The army mishandled their treatment and found excuses to kick them out and strip them of their benefits. This is a 24 minute program and you can watch video, download an mp3 or read the transcript. I urge everyone to take a look at this. How we treat these young men and women says a lot about who we are as Americans and as humans.

Buy a car, get a free gun

US car dealer in free gun offer - That dealership is in Butler, MO, 10 miles south of here.

Quick poll

I'd like to take a quick poll. Please leave a comment with your answers to these questions:

1. Who is your first choice of McCain, Clinton and Obama?
2. If it's Obama vs McCain, who will you vote for?
3. If it's Clinton vs McCain, who will you vote for?

Feel free to elaborate, but try to also give a simple answer to those three questions. If your answer is "I won't bother to vote," then say so.

My hypothesis is that Obama can get almost all of Clinton's supporters if he gets the nomination, but Clinton will get a much smaller percentage of Obama supporters if she somehow wins the nomination. My answers are

1. Obama
2. Obama
3. Clinton, but with much less enthusiasm

The atheist candidate

I guess I won't be running for the Missouri House of Representatives.

I went to a meeting of the Bates County Democratic Party for the first time last Thursday. They were having their caucus for selecting delegates to the regional convention. Bates county has 4 delegates, and although Hillary Clinton beat Barack Obama 1427-676, the delegates were split 2-2. At the caucus, we split up into Obama and Clinton groups. The Clinton side of the room had about 12 people, and the Obama side had five. We needed to choose two delegates and two alternates. Two people in our group immediately said they didn't want to or couldn't make it to the convention. I said I was willing to go and so I'm headed to Warsaw, MO later this month to help select delegates to the state convention (where they will select delegates to the national convention.)

At the meeting I met the chairman of the county party and we discussed their website and the possibility of me helping them with it. I came home feeling good about being involved.

Today (four days after the caucus) I got a call from the spouse of a party official. She asked me if I would be interested in running for the State House of Representatives. She said that I would be getting calls from some people in the party, including the campaign of Jay Nixon, who is running for governor, and the representative from a neighboring district.

The fighting 125thI live in the 125th district and our Rep in Jefferson City is Republican Barney Fisher. He's a former Marine fighter pilot who rose to Lieutenant Colonel before he retired and he's running for his third term in the Missouri House. Fisher won in 2006 by a count of 3,146 to 2,550 (55%-45%) and he'll probably have no problem winning in 2008.

The fact that the Democrats don't have a candidate yet is a bad sign. The fact that they tried to draft a 27-year-old computer programmer who had come to only one party meeting may be an even worse sign. That's not to say that I wasn't flattered. I like to think that I'm well-informed and well-liked. I like to think that my occasionally political blog is worth something. But surely someone in the 125th has a better shot at this than me. It was all about to be a moot point, anyway.

I said, "Now you should probably know that I'm an atheist."

She said, "Oh, is that widely known?"

"I'm very open about it."

"Why are you an atheist?"

"Because I don't believe in god."

Then I mentioned the poll that Gallup released last year, which says that 53% of Americans would not vote for an atheist. It was the only item in the poll with higher than 50% negative. Mormons, homosexuals, blacks, women and 72-year-olds all did better. The person on the phone agreed that it would be hard to run against a conservative Christian incumbent in a conservative Christian district when you go around saying that god doesn't exist.

She said, "That, as they say, puts a turd in the punch bowl. I'll stop the calls, then." Thus ended my very short political career.

That was probably one of the strangest things I've ever experienced. I was, in rapid succession, confused, flattered, disappointed and relieved. I wish my local party was organized better and had already chosen a good candidate. I think it's very nice that they thought of me. I wish that people who didn't believe in invisible beings were not de facto disqualified from public office. Yet I'm relieved that I won't be sinking time and money into a campaign that would very likely fail. And though it would probably be quite an adventure, I wouldn't have been thrilled about having a job that's three hours away from my home.

I don't blame the party for not wanting to run me, but I do wish that the people of this district (and the whole country) could understand that non-believers can be morally upstanding, sensible and compassionate public servants.

AMC Best Picture Showcase

Sara and I went to the AMC Best Picture Showcase on Saturday. It ran from 11 am to 11 pm, with about a 20 minute break between each film. The $30 ticket included all 5 movies and unlimited popcorn.

12 hours is a long time to be in a theater, but it's still nothing compared to the 24-hour Butt-Numb-a-Thon that Brendan went to in 2003. There were over 400 of us in the theater and it did start to smell by the end of the day.

Sara watched Juno with some friends in December, but other than that, we had not seen any of the movies. I thought they were all good films.

Juno was my favorite, though I wasn't surprised that it didn't win. Daniel Day-Lewis deserved the Best Actor Oscar and Diablo Coty did write the best original script.

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