Shocked and Persuaded


Separating Fact From Fiction

Back Off Westboro Baptist Church

Last year we had a group of visitors here in Burlington from Topeka, Kansas affiliated with Fred Phelps‘ Westboro Baptist Church. For those not familiar this group you may be familiar with some of their pleasant slogans such as “God Hates Fags”, “Thank God For Dead Soldiers”, “Thank God for 9/11”, “Thank God for IEDs”, “Fags are Beasts, “God Hates Jews”, “Fags Doom Nations”, etc, etc. The list is long and oh so thoughtful. When this group came to Burlington they brought with them their signs and their children to protest Vermont being “most ‘gay’ friendly spot in DOOMED america.” This was not the first time they visited little ol’ Vermont they came a couple of years earlier to spew nonsense during the funeral of a Richmond man killed in Iraq by one of those IEDs they like to scream about so much.

During their most recent visit the anti-Westboro contingent was large, persistent, and peaceful following them from Montpelier to Burlington and all around town just letting them know we didn’t agree with their tactics or the hateful rhetoric that came forth from their mouths and those of their children. BUT I don’t know one person involved in the Burlington section of the anti-Westboro crew that thought they didn’t have the right to say what they wanted wherever they wanted. As common defense of Howard Stern goes: If you don’t like him change the station?

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Convenient Thomas Jefferson Fidelity

I just received an amazingly convenient reading of Thomas Jefferson today and I would like for the record to address some of the convenient stuff. First I am listing my rebuttal and below you will find the quotes from the email. Enjoy!

To All
I just can’t let this lauding of some of TJ’s work go without parsing the other side of the story.
OK I understand the admiration for TJ as I have tons myself, but keep in mind he was a willing owner of slaves.
This idea that there are tons of folks out there not willing to work and looking for those that are to bail them out is nonsense. The people that received the biggest bail out weren’t the bottom half or bottom 99% it was the top 0.001Percenters. Look at AIG, Goldman, Citi, hedge funds galore. They got bailed out because much of what we feel is sacrosanct about capitalism failed that is undeniable. I for one would be happy to work full-time for way less than the folks at the Big Banksters get paid PER WEEK!! But because the financial industry collapsed under CDOs, CDSs, leverage, and real-estate BS I can’t get a job and I know tons of folks like me. This argument that this all comes down to Obama and it is all his fault is so much nonsense if you believe honestly that what just happened stems from the last 2 years IN ISOLATION your crazy and need heavy dose of rationality. I know Socialists, I know Marxists, I know liberals and conservatives. Obama is hardly a left-winger and would laugh at the thought of embracing socialism I am sure. Read the rest of this entry »

Giffords and Judge Roll Would Be Ashamed

In the wake of the horrible and senseless actions in Tucson last weekend I was not surprised but definitely fearful of what the response would be among the political elites. Instead of hearing them say we need to get out into our communities more and spend less time wining and dining lobbyists and the political punditocracy in DC or make a pledge to stop bullshitting us about everything from the country’s long-term fiscal and monetary stability to Peak Oil….WE GET people like Robert Brady a Democratic Pennsylvanian congressman proposing Political Exceptionalism laws. Read the rest of this entry »

From the How Petty Can U B Department

This from a recent article about the schism between the Anglicans of England lead by Rowan Williams and the boys of the Holy See lead by Pope Benedict XVI:

“The trouble with the Anglican Church is that it has adopted a parliamentary model and one that presumes change and presumes everyone can have a say…I think it’s become a kind of fascist democracy.” from Reverend John Broadhurst an Anglican traditionalist Read the rest of this entry »

When the facts change I…

…change my mind? Wrong! You stay strong and resist waffling even if it means keeping a man wrongly accused of murder – by his own wife – in prison past the 35 years he has already served. Now I know most people wouldn’t choose this path in upholding the law, but one female Republican governor has decided to go rouge and in the name of politics. No no no I am not talking about the Mama Grizzly/hockey mom from Alaska Sarah Palin folks. I am talking about her mirror image in Arizona’s very own Prickly Pear Governor Jan Brewer. There are so many places I could go with the comparisons but most are totally inappropriate and mean spirited, which is what these 2 women appear to revel in along with their brothers and sisters in arms.

Anyway if there is anyone that reads this blog I urge you to call the AZ governor and demand that she abide by the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency’s unanimous 5-0 decision to release William Macumber given that the evidence against him is non-existent and another man has emphatically copped to the double murder of a couple outside Scottsdale, AZ that Mr. Macumber’s mean spirited and apparently slightly evil wife framed him for back in 1974. You can’t make this stuff up and on top of her Orwellian passage of the much publicized and downright cruel SB1070 Ms. Brewer has succeeded in topping what appeared to be the ultimate sign of ignorance with this prank.  As P. S. Ruckman Jr., a political science professor at Rock Valley College in Illinois said. “I have been following state clemency for 30 years, and this is easily, easily, the most disturbing. It’s borderline despicable.” Amazing! I must at this point apologize to the great John Maynard Keynes for paraphrasing one of his classic quotes to fit this post and know I must apologize to him for including his name in a post with the former governor of Alaska and current governor of Arizona. It will never happen again! I included this entry in the Education category as an example of what can happen if you never receive any or in the case of Ms. Palin actively seek it…What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate. Some men (women) you just can’t reach. So you get what we had here last week, which is the way he wants it… well, he gets it. I don’t like it any more than you men.

Misdirected Attention

From an interesting article by Joschka Fischer on Project Syndicate:

In Iraq, the question of power-sharing between Sunnis and Shia has neither been resolved or secured institutionally in such a way that would definitively prevent a slide back into civil war after the majority of US troops withdraw in 2011.

Quite simply the reply to this is that while Sunni v. Shia may be the short-term cyclical conflict of most importance it is clear from this reader’s perspective that the long-term structural problem is the Kurdish Northeast (Large concentrated oilfields) v. the predominantly Arab rest of Iraq (Small dispersed oilfields). The Trigger Line as this separation is known will prove a chronic issue and one that no amount of troops, drones, or Maliki/Obama DoubleSpeak will resolve.

Nuance is the name of the game in Iraq and the quicker we in the US brush up on it the quicker we will be equipped to hold our politicians feet to the fire on the off chance they show their faces around town. I would imagine the heat will turn up even more when water becomes more restricting…Again a short-term cyclical (Oil) v. long-term structural (Water) paradox, only this one will be a matter of life or internal combustion. In the words of Hindu priest Avimukteshwaranand Saraswati “Without electricity, you can survive. One can’t survive without water…”