Sunday, August 31, 2008

Palin and McCain: Does it work? Part I

Preliminary Note: Permission is given to copy this piece, but ONLY in its entirety. Please link, also, if you like.

Since this is Sunday (well, was Sunday), I decided to begin with " creationism" and its sometimes partner " intelligent design" (ID); something of interest to every parent of school children, scientists, courts, constitutionalists and supporters of theocracy in the United States.

ID is not a science. Unlike scientific theory--and like creationism-- ID cannot be tested against accepted theory. It cannot be tested against anything since the basis for it is untestable. Please note that creationism and ID are NOT the same thing, though they do often point the same direction. Creationism is a "belief" perhps stretchable to a philosophy. ID is a philosophy that leads back to creationism.

Much on the net has been directed at McCain's choice of Sarah Palin, Alaska's "hockey mom"-turned Governor. No one really knows, at this point, exactly why the former runner up for Ms. Alaska was chosen by McCain, if, in fact, she was chosen by McCain.

There are a few really interesting things about Palin that make me personally believe she was NOT his choice, but perhaps the choice of Karl Rove--a man far more conservative than 72 year-old McCain who he is advising these days in order to get his sagging campaign back on track.

Here I will look at, and document to source, their positions on Creationism and Intelligent Design (ID).

Teaching Creationism/ID
John McCain
John McCain has been all over the map on this topic, hardly a first for a man who New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson addressed at the convention in saying:

"John McCain may pay hundreds for his shoes, but we're the ones that will pay for his flip-flops."

For instance, in February of 2007, ABC News reported on a Seattle luncheon co-sponsored by the right-wing associated Discovery Institute. The Institute--whose board members and funders include Howard Ahmanson whose wife sits on the TEC-Bashing Board of the Institute for Religion and Democracy (scroll down to read about IRD and Howard Ahmanson, specifically) along side other political and religious right wingers--is a major proponent for ID. ID has tremendous support by those who believe that America was created to be a Christian nation and/or others who support a theocratic government in the U.S.

____________________________________________________

"My goal is the total integration of biblical law into our lives."
--Howard Ahmanson to Orange County Register
___________________________________________

The wealthy Ahmansons, Howard Ahmanson being the eccentric and often rather bizarre supporter of dominionism and who is the wealthy heir of the Home Savings and Loan fortune, and his wife, Roberta, obviously support a theocratic American government, thus criticism from alleged "liberals" at McCains luncheon involvment with those that do support The Discovery Center and who make no secret of their penchance to a religion-based government. Politically speaking, support of creationism and ID are not just religious topics, but a pathway for many to American theocracy.

It appears to remain, however, that no one knows exactly where McCain stands. Please note that creationism and ID are not equivalent by definition, and one is not the other, though one can be used to support the other and it is clear that these are easily confused or can be combined. In reading below, please note that McCain has said (elsewhere) that decisions to include either ID or creationism should occur at the local level (school boards). Please note that I did not use quotes which could not be found but which were referred to in articles.

Daily Star: Should intelligent design be taught in schools? McCain: I think that there has to be all points of view presented. But they've got to be thoroughly presented. So to say that you can only teach one line of thinking I don't think is - or one belief on how people and the world was created - I think there's nothing wrong with teaching different schools of thought.

Daily Star: Does it belong in science? McCain: There's enough scientists that believe it does. I'm not a scientist. This is something that I think all points of view should be presented. (on ID)

--John McCain, Arizona Daily Star, 8/28/2005 Ed. Board Meeting (transcript in whole)

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Question: [What's your stance on teaching creationism in schools?]

McCain: I think that students should be exposed to every theory and every thought that we can...I don't like communism, but I think students should be exposed to communism.... There are people that believe this is the the way the earth was created. I'm not saying it should be forced on them, but I don't get this dispute....

Question: But in science class?

McCain: I'm not on the school board. I'd let them decide that. One of our fundamental beliefs is local control. --John McCain, July 6, 2006, CNN

*********

John McCain: “'I think Americans should be exposed to every point of view,' he said. 'I happen to believe in evolution. ... I respect those who think the world was created in seven days. Should it be taught as a science class? Probably not.'" (question is not quoted, but reported to be on creationism/evolution being taught in schools)
--John McCain, Aspen Times, July 2, 2006

*********
"On the issue of whether the teaching of evolution in public schools should also include "intelligent design" - the idea that life is too complex to have happened by accident - McCain said he agrees that "young people have a right to be told" about intelligent design. "It's a theory, just like evolution is a theory ... (even though) it may not be as plausible," given there's little scientific evidence to support it, he said. The "hand of God played a role," he said." (on ID)
--John McCain, Louisville Courier Journal, 2006 [unable to locate original article to substantiate. Mentioned here as second source.

*********

"Senator McCain believes evolution is supported by science, but that we shouldn’t be afraid to expose students to other theories." (creationism and ID)
--McCain Staff, The Hotline, May 9, 2007


*********

(This is a debate video, extremely short, where McCain says that he believes in evolution but sees the hand of God when he hikes the Grand Canyon)


--Republican Primary Debate, May 3, 2007 Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Simi Valley, CA


In McCain's book, Character Is Destiny, co-authored with Mark Salter a long time staffer, it is reported (but we have not verified) that he wrote:

"Darwin helped explain nature's laws," McCain and Salter wrote. "He did not speculate, in his published theories at least, on the origin of life. The only undeniable challenge the theory of evolution poses to Christian beliefs is its obvious contradiction of the idea that God created the world as it is in less than a week.

"But our faith is certainly not so weak that it can be shaken to learn that a biblical metaphor is not literal history," they added. "Nature does not threaten our faith. On the contrary, when we contemplate its beauty and mysteries we cannot quiet in our heart the insistent impulse of belief that for all its variations and inevitable change, before its creation, in a time before time, God let it be so, and, thus, its many splendors and purposes abide in His purpose."

So, here is my view:

Is McCain a creationist? No.

Does McCain believe in evolution? Yes.

Does McCain believe in God? Yes.

Does McCain believe ID should be taught in science classes? Probably not/Yes (note the yes is a little wiggly as he did not specifically SAY in science classes, nor did he deny it should be taught in science classes, but his answer, to me, clearly implies he does because of his use of the word "theory" in both cases. Since ID is NOT a science, I can only conclude he either really doesn't understand science (as he freely admits--which is troubling on its face), but that he cannot discern the difference between creationism, ID and evolution and whether each is a belief, philosophy, or a scientific theory. Most all articles on this, except found on science pages for the most part, don't seem to understand these differences, either, which is probably cause of much of this so-called confusion.

Does McCain believe creationism should be taught in school? Yes.

Does McCain believe ID has a place to be taught in schools? Yes.

Regligion? Is an Episcopalian attending a Baptist Church, identifies as a Southern Baptist.

Has McCain flip-flopped on teaching of ID in science classes? Yes.

Has McCain flip-flopped on teaching of creationism in science classes? Unclear.

*****

Teaching Creationism/ID
Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin's father was a science teacher and also a Christian. What seems marginally clear, in Palin's case, is that she does not separate the two concepts of ID and creationism. Like many, she lumps them together. Because until recently there WAS no history, really, on Palin because she remained an obscure Governor in a state with 670K people, there have not been many opportunities for Palin to get on the record on this matter.

Here is what I am able to find, however:

Q: The education section of the Republican Party of Alaska’s platform states “We support giving Creation Science equal representation with other theories of the origin of life. If evolution is taught, it should be presented as only a theory.” Do you support this position? Why?

A: I support this plank in the Republican Party’s platform. I believe society can have healthy debates on scientific theories, so equal representation of creation and evolution shouldn’t be an offense.

--Sarah Palin, published written answer, August 24, 2002, Daily News-Miner (ID and creationism* see note below under "Does Palin believe ID should be taught in science classes?")

*********

Is Palin a creationist? Unknown.

Does Palin believe in evolution? Unknown.

Does Palin believe in God? Yes.

Does Palin believe ID should be taught in science classes? Yes. In the first Palin quote, she says she agrees with Alaska GOP's party plank. ([see section III(e)]. In this document, ID is specifically called out: We support teaching various models and theories for the origins of life and our universe, including Creation Science or Intelligent Design. If evolution outside a species (macro-evolution) is taught, evidence disputing the theory should also be presented.

Does Palin believe creationism should be taught in school? Yes, appears so. She does not state science classes specifically, rather concedes it should be taught along with "other theories" which would include evolution which IS taught in science classes.

Does Palin believe ID has a place to be taught in schools? Yes.

Religion: Baptized as a Roman Catholic, she was rebaptized into the pentecostal Assembly of God church as the age of 12 currently attending Wasilla Bible Church and an independent Christian church.

As of this writing, Palin has not flip-flopped.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Palin Lies About the "Bridge to Nowhere"

Gads. Palin's barely got her nose out of the closet and is already lying? Not good. In the three articles below, watch for the bridge subject. Fact is, it was all but dead when she finally tossed it altogether. She did not "stop" the bridge to nowhere. Nor did she, as she claimed on Friday, return the money to the federal government.

"I told congress thanks but no thanks on that bridge to nowhere."

This is her bit on Friday. Her solution to energy independence is the $28billion new gas pipeline in Alaska. Gee. Big thinker. McCain looks absolutely petrified in the video. Don't blame him. She never even endorsed him.

You may want to read these three articles in Editor and Publisher. The interviews are with journalists and editors in Alaska who know and/or report on Palin. They were wholly unimpressed.

The articles are, so far, in three parts, here, here, and here. They are quite interesting.
UPDATE: it is now clear that Palin did lie, without question. Another article is here

Palin and Wolves in Alaska: Info You Need To Know

PLEASE link directly to this post and send around. People need to be educated on Palin and arial wolf hunting. They need to experience this visually, not clinically in black and white on the face of a newspaper or in words from talking heads. This is a highly charged issue: The brutal killing of animals for profit. They need to understand how Palin ignores science in favor of profit. They need to understand that Palin is a hardened killer.

"We understand that every innocent life has wonderful potential.”
--Sarah Palin

Of course, Sarah doesn't feel that way about all innocent life. Just the two-legged sort.

Anyone paying attention has noted that McCain's VP choice, Sarah Palin, has played an ugly role in the torturous slaughter of wildlife in Alaska. While this angle may not play to NRA members overall, I can tell you that one of my woman friends, a weapon owner and long-time supporter of the NRA, is furious with Palin's far-reaching slaughter of Alaska's wolves. She is also a Republican. She will not be voting for McCain/Palin.

First, please watch this fabulous video on wolves, it is very educational on this species. It is DIFFICULT film to watch in the second half. Don't look if it bothers you. Go past it just listening, then watch the rest including the history on aerial killing. The aerial wolf killing history in Alaska is now playing out in the Rocky Mountain states where wolf extermination is under judicial review as this is being written.



Now, read this. This is an older document, but a very good one and one appropriate to today. The actors are different, but the results are just as terrible.

Alaska's actions, today supported by Palin, also point to something just as disturbing: Palin's lack of science understanding and disrespect for qualified biological assessment on a range of issues.

In the case of the Alaskan slaughter, the wolf hunt is NOT about controlling populations gone berzerk, it is about killing wildlife to serve economic needs of local populations and, largely, tourism (hunting). Read comments on the bad science used to allow this slaughter here, from a wildlife biologist and 30-year member of Alaska's Board of Game [BOG] followed by a quote from him.

"Having been involved with this issue for more than thirty years as a biologist and a BOG member, I was struck by the sheer volume of misinformation (disinformation?) that accompanied this latest eruption of one of the most volatile and controversial issues in Alaska. The wolf control advocates formulated an extensive mythology of mistruths, half-truths, and distorted facts to bolster their case. I'll identify some of the myths they used and comment on them." [insert not mine] [sic at mistruths]

This information is important to know. The wolf hunt is NOT about controlling populations gone berzerk, it is about killing wildlife to serve economic needs of local populations and, largely, tourism (hunting). In fact, Palin has offered a bounty of $150 for each front left forepaw brought in from a wolf. This is the alleged voice of conservative compassion.

Another group that has supported cessation of aerial wolf gunning--in fact the corrupt process which is pseudo-science at best--is Alaskan Wildlife Alliance. Here is a quote from a Ph.D. biologist studying both moose and bear in Alaska, and author of five books on Alaskan wildlife. Here is a link to his entire writing, which is very good reading.

So long as the State fails to address these and other controversial points, its truths will remain half-truths where advocacy trumps objectivity, and propaganda masquerades as education. Worse its battle against so-called “ballot box biology” will remain more fundamentally a battle against democracy – against having government policies guided by the pubic will rather than by politicians and special interest groups.

Wolves are not eaten, they are hunted for "sport". Put yourself, a mammal, with very similar biology into the place of these wolves. Ask yourself if threatening, exhausting then killing ANY animal is humane. And this is what Palin supports? What makes this any different than dog fighting, clubbing baby seals, or harpooning whales in the name of (non-existent) "research"?

As Christians, we cannot and must not allow the creation to suffer in the way these animals suffer. As humans, capable of logic, it is imperative, regardless of belief or lack of belief in God, to understand our place in the web of life and how our actions--especially brutal actions in the name of profit, such as this--squares with science and logic. As sentient beings, wolves experience fear, pain and suffering just like we do.

WHEN is it ever alright to cause suffering? How can we ever be proud of such actions? Is a woman like Palin, who believes in this kind of killing, the kind of human being we want in the White House?


Photo Credit: niked from: http://www.akwildlife.org/content/view/92/74/

Friday, August 29, 2008

This or This? Palin's Compassion Runs To Killing


OR



GOP Vice Presidential candidate Palin objects to the listing of polar bears as endangered. The bear's habitat is literally melting away due to global warming and the species is a candidate for listing under the endangered species list.
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OR


GOP Vice Presidential candidate Palin supports gunning down of wolves from airplanes (they run them nearly to death then shoot them) to attract hunters and preserve caribou FOR more hunters. Palin announced she would pay a $150 bounty for each left foreleg brought in from a wolf kill. Palin is obviously another "compassionate" conservative.

There's a lot more wrong--very wrong--with the choice of Palin for VP. But to animal advocates--those that work to do no harm--this is completely over the top. And anyone that knows the animal advocacy folks knows you shouldn't fool around with them. Most Americans will find her views repugnant.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Mark Tooley of IRD on Hillary Clinton

Mark Tooley, a former eight-year CIA employee working for the Institute for Religion and Democracy ( and maker of all right religious and political "right") penned a bizarre article on Hillary Clinton, Hillary's God, in a publication, Front Page Magazine, that can only make a reasonable human being giggle. Writers in this dis-mag include the likes of Ann Coulter and everyone to the right of her who inflame readers with articles on every thing from lgbt hits to the absolute debasing of religions not Christian right. Funny, except these whack-jobs are actually serious.

Given the POV of the known writers, one can only assume the readers dizzy and sophmoric (not to mention hard right wing, politically, which is what this is really all about in the name of God). But, in their defense, they DO have hard political connections to those in this country who have said that God told them to invade Iraq (Bush), and who view their opposition as Satan (almost everyone connected with Bush including some military leaders). Gee.

And to think there is a supposed separation of church and state let alone some sanity up there--behind the cloak of OZ.

But most of America knows that sanity doesn't reign in the White House anymore and hasn't for... gee at least almost eight whole years now. Not so according to some in the IRD who seek to see America as a theocratic (of course that would be their theocracy) state and whose SECULAR funders look like a corporate kill list. Interesting their name. Perhaps more appropriately, The Institute for Our Theocracy, or perhaps Institute for Right Wing Politics and Funders Theocracy. Afterall, they do have funders like the really weird Howard Ahmanson, and a super select bunch from the Coors Beer family (which BTW must have been chewing on rawhide during the recent Dem Convention in their beoved beer state which they have contributed a serious amount of pollution to as a corporation).

A werird bunch, but these guys have juice with Bush, Rove et. al. which, of course, figures.

IRD is a group which, in 1982, came together to fight for the political right in Latin America, the first founder associated with the infamous American criminal Ollie North. In the last decade, and particularly since 2000, IRD's focus has shifted (but only slightly) to include dismantling of the mainline US churches--Anglican, Methodist and Presbyterian--for their social gospel and work. They have also attacked tjhe UCC, Barack Obama's church. Their purpose is to drive these churches into the ground and their social witness out of context and existence. After all, Christ would only support wealthy conservatives who are right wing, right?

The IRD is attached to many groups which have fomented schism in The Episcopal Church in the last decade. If you are Episcopalian, Methodist, Presbyterian, UCC or other churches attacked, you know the names if, in fact, you understood what happened.

Well worth reading to get a feeling for their hyperbola and propaganda.

And oh, BTW--watch for them as considered experts on everything religious by corporate media. That is where their political stock is invested.

Always good to know your enemy.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sen. John Kerry: Really Strong Triple!

"They [Bush and McCain] misread the threat and mislead the country." (on Iraq)

Now he gets to the meat of it! He is talking about the Maverick that was McCain, turning into the candidate that now is. nice shot!

He spoke to Karl Rove, how McCain attacked him when Rove was after McCain, but who, now, is advising McCain. He's going right after talking and diplomacy v. war. Some great hits on McCain as an incompetent, "cold war" thinker.


He came out swinging about McCain's personal attacks on Obama.

Bill Clinton: Lightning Strikes!

"Our Nation is in trouble..."

"People the world over have always been more impressed by the power of our example than by the example of our power."

"Now, let's send them [McCain and the GOP] a message that will echo from the Rockies all across America, a simple message: Thanks, but no thanks."

Watch it here.

Wow, what a greeting this President Got!

No person in their right mind would take Bill Clinton to task for his public speaking ability. He is funny, sincere, at ease and an attentive speaker. Regardless of his incredibly inane mistake while in the White House, I remain holding nothing but respect for him and most of his policies. NAFTA and nuclear power for No. Korea are not among them.

I met him, after he had won his first election at the Reagan offices here in CA before he took office in January. We were protesting over a proposed California radioactive waste dump and he was amazingly friendly. He is extremely charismatic and there is no question he is extremely bright. Lots of interesting stories came out of that day.

There was barely a subject Clinton didn't address, including Katrina, HIV (including our badly needed domestic needs), energy, economics, military, health coverage, unions, wages, poverty, torture, national security, sexual orientation ...

He also just sent a wave of "sound familiar?" when he said that he was called too young and too inexperienced to be President. Home run, Bill! Nice hit! And he addressed one of the GOP's issues with Obama. And boy did he go after Bush and McSame!

Excellent job, Bill!

Biden Speaks At Dem Convention:This is America's Time!

"I've Never seen a time when so many people are getting knocked down and Washington does nothing to help them get back up."

"He [McCain] voted 19 times against the minimum wage."












Biden's son, Delaware Attorney General, Bo Biden, was spactacular in talking about his dad. Biden is also a natural speaker. Just comes across as a "regular Joe", though he is anything but. He comes across tough when he has to be, but very compassionate. It is evident he has a great heart for people.

He complimented McCain for his service, but went right after him for his 95% vote with Bush and his failure to see that the American economy is, at best, weak.

He addressed veterans, renewable energy, and the fact that we need change so badly. He addressed health care, affordable health care for every American. He talked about social secuity, equal pay for women, national security, US iolation, weapons, climate change, Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran. He addressed talking to Iran v. action. He addressed a time line for Iraq.

He did an EXCELLENT job of showing how on issues, Obama was right and McCain was right. He went through issue after issue showing it. He can speak on his feet, can be tough as nails, but is a compassionate man.

This is a smart, passionate man that should he have to take the position of Commander in Chief, he is clearly up to the task.

Then Obama came out! Wonderful!

What a GREAT day for Obama. Bruce Springsteen music is playing... so, excuse me, but I have to get up and dance!

Then, playing.... "We are Family"...

Come on folks, let's get this done!

Have you volunteered at an Obama office yet? If not, make that call... get down there!

Photo Credit: Times Online

It's Official: Barak Obama is the Dem Candidate for Pres

Hillary made the nomination from the floor, unanimously passed, by affirmation.

As it should be!

Hillary's Home Run

"It is time to take back the country that we love."

A great speech. If you have not seen it, here it is.




Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Season of Hope










I just finished reading at The Wayward Episcopalian (hat tip!) and saw the Kennedy video. I was literally crying. Here, me, on this blazing hot August day dressed ridiculously in my underwear and a T-shirt with an ice pack on my head sitting in front of the computer... crying. What a picture.

Even the dogs came to wonder what tragedy befell me that I was sitting here crying, my most faithful--Bootsie, a black semi-feral lab/pit/border collie mix--sitting in front of me with his head on my knees in concern. I don't do this often.

To turn time back, when John Kennedy was assassinated (note the TWO "ass"es in the front of that word), I was at the then-wee Orange County, CA airport getting ready to board a helicopter to LAX to then fly to visit relatives in Ann Arbor, Michigan for the Thanksgiving holiday. I was in eighth grade and had taken the studies for my eighth-grade constitutional test with me. There was a radio station booth at the airport, and that is how I learned of the tragedy. I remember looking at the broadcaster who had tears running down his face, the voice from the station warbly, at best. I was absolutely stunned. Who would shoot our president?

I ran and told my mom who was far more concerned about making the flight. My mom, who is 94 and remains an uneducated Republican (no dishonor meant, it's just the truth) has never, in my 55 year rememberance, read a thing about politics or history or looked herself for independent validation of fact. I thought her reaction was extremely cold and wrong. Her reaction to press over the holiday (including the funeral) was worse. It was painful for me, even as a child, to see my mom so uncaring about a president lost. Her words I remember, "I don't want to watch this again. I'm sick of it. Who cares."

I was watching the news (real time) when Bobby Kennedy was shot. I was alone and remember crying out, "No! No!" But it was done. I revered Bobby perhaps even more than his brother, John, because I understood better what he represented and was doing. I had to wonder what forces of hatred could commit such crimes. My mother's reaction? About the same.

What threat was so grave that an American would kill both John and Bobby (and Martin), I wondered.

My mother's daughter was different. I am compassionate to the core. I was deeply moved by both deaths, and Martin's death held a different meaning, and all lives. I have watched Senator Ted Kennedy, for most of my life, move gracefully in a political world of tripwires and accusation. He has never faltered. Ted is the real deal. He is what many can only aspire to be and there is NO senator that can even compare.

I am an activist born to a family whose activism past the Civil War died. Born of underground railroad family and a Native American judge. Me, the Black Sheep. The one that made family purse their lips, give a nod of the head and sigh, "Well, she is different."

I was too young to drive, so I rode my bike to Vietnam War protests or had older friends drive me. I scoured the Los Angeles Times (when it was a really good paper) every morning seeking to understand the world in the days of Walter Cronkeit, Life Magazine and television reporting that wasn't massaged by approved pool reporters their masters or editors. I lived in a day and time when news meant something, when journalists had integrity, when media would print truthful, if difficult, photographs and when the American public was viewed as able and smart enough to make their own decisions. I lived in the days of the first live war reporting. I cried many a time. People need to see war. They need to see it because words cannot describe it. Not Hemingway, and surely not news reporters. You have to see and hear it. Those days are all gone.

They are gone because of media manipulation, gone because of political manipulation and the FCC, and gone because the American public settles for the crap they call news as if we Americans were somehow unattached to the real world and the "rest" doesn't matter. We are too comfortable, spoiled, and we are international brats as individuals, collectively. We should be embarrassed. There's that "ass" word again. Maybe we should rightfully paste it on our foreheads and confess. We are a nation of asses.

We Americans stink sometimes. These days, the rest of the globe thinks we are backwards and stupid, and for the past twenty years, and particularly the last eight, we have, collectively, lived up to that sad assessment time and time again.

But not Ted Kennedy. This man does NOT live up to that assessment. His sights are true and higher. While he assigns the season of hope to now--to Barak Obama--I assign that to him. HE has been our season of hope.

Watch it! (Hanky alert!). If this doesn't touch your heart, you'd better check your pulse.




Photo credit: (Rick Wilking/Reuters)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Phoenix AZ Baptist Church Airs Portion of Saddleback Forum

Pretty creepy.

How many of you watched this in your church today?

At the North Phoenix Baptist Church Sunday, Pastor Dan Yeary aired clips of interviews McCain and Obama gave a week ago to Pastor Rick Warren. Seated, with his second wife, Cindy, at this side, McCain watched himself describe his "greatest moral failure" — the failure of his first marriage.

"I have been a very imperfect person," McCain said then. "It's my greatest moral failure."

Yeary described the exchange as a "seminal moment" in the presidential campaign. For balance, Yeary showed Democrat Barack Obama's confession in the same interview that he was too self-absorbed.

"I couldn't focus on other people," Obama said.

McCain, the hometown favorite, got a solid round of applause from the congregation, yet another odd moment in a presidential campaign where the two major rivals are growing increasingly isolated, even as voters use the convention season to begin paying attention to the campaign.

Read it here.

Politics and Faith: Biden's a Good Choice

The widely reviewed Saddleback presidential forum, held at Rick Warren's Saddleback Church in conservative Orange County, CA, resulted in many approaches to the oil and water mixture of politics and religion expressed on blogs, on e-news, blog news, and on television and print news. The takes were all over the map, politically and in terms of faith. Mine are here.

My greatest concern, the ugly face of theocracy stamped on American politics, has been growing for years as the uber-right has stolen the podium of religious belief and called it their own. Rick Warren, a literalist (reads the Bible literally) and a fundamentalist (ascribes all actions as accountable to the literal reading of the Bible) is particularly tricky even fooling some journalists who, apparently, do less research on their writing subjects than sixth grade kids.

I found the recent presidential forum at Saddleback alarming. Not only was attendance unaffordable for all but the extremely wealthy, or linked to membership in Warren's Baptist-driven fundamentalist church, the fact is that paying to attend any kind of two-candidate forum spins the concept of democracy on its head. Consider these costs:

DRAWING A: For FREE seats in Video Venues (Refinery, Tent 2, and Tent 3)

DRAWING B: Charter members who joined between 1980-84, Small Group Hosts, and Volunteers who serve in children’s or student ministries may apply for the drawing of FREE seats in the worship center.

DRAWING C: To buy a $500 Bleacher seat in the Worship Center.

DRAWING D: To buy a $1,000 Angled Floor seat in the Worship Center.

DRAWING E: To buy a $2,000 Front Center seat in the Worship Center.

For well over two decades, the uber religious right and the GOP have called "family values" their own. The mistaken Dems, on the other hand, ignored the problem believing it an anomaly and are directly responsible for letting the problem get so out of hand while liberal and progressive activists were rightfully slapping stickers on their cars and bikes reading, "Hate is not a family value."

The result is that anyone not uber-right, in terms of beliefs, doesn't even make it onto the laugh chart of family values. Enter soft-pedaling, Hawaiian shirt-wearing Rick Warren, clearly an uber-conservative, evangelical fundamentalist that doesn't like gays, believes Jews are going to hell, and states, clearly, at least the five key things the uber-right will not budge on.

As an Episcopalian, thus a Catholic, and a liberal in every sense of the word, I have been critical of the democratic party and remain incensed. I do have a window of hope, however, in Joe Biden.

As we all know, Joe Biden was chosen yesterday by Obama as his vice presidential running mate. While there are things I disagree with Biden on, on the whole, I can definitely get behind this choice. He is experienced and can fire off some whoppers when called upon to do it, like this one:

Biden said that if he runs for president, he intends to aggressively defend his own values as well as those of the Democratic Party.

"If I'm the nominee, Republicans will be sorry," he said. "The next Republican that tells me I'm not religious I'm going to shove my rosary beads down their throat.


"I am so sick and tired of this pontificating about us not being the party of faith," said Biden, a Roman Catholic who has served in the Senate since the Nixon administration.

Films and Cat Shuffle

Been a busy last couple of days. Thursday, I cooked for the local music night where fun was had by all (including me and the other three ladies that help serve). It's a lovely way to bring the community together once a month. The organizer, through the last couple of years of doing this, has been able to buy all our own stage equipment, mics, PA, stands, mixing board, etc. which the community also uses for our October 'Country Fair'. Everyone brings their own beach chairs and/or tables and sits on the lawn (after a snake search!) at the local community center/park, kids run around having fun with one another, and local musicians play for the community. It's a fun little deal in this wee community.

Last night I had the urge to watch a film, so I watched Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole in Hal Wallis' 2.5 hour-long production of Becket. I love this film. I've probably seen it ten times. I also watched (for the fourth time in as many days) The Prestige which stars, among others, Michael Caine, my all time favorite actor. If you have not seen this film, I highly recommend it. But SIT and watch it straight through. It has a lot of twists and turns and a very surprising ending. I had to watch it four times to get it--LOL.

I am one of those that 'suspends disbelief' the second the music shows up, so when I want to really understand a film, I have to watch it multiple times. Acting looks so easy and must be so hard when done by the caliber of actors in this film. Michael Caine in Educating Rita is one of my top five films. I think Caine is amazing.

Cats are notorious for being hard to photograph well, and mine are no different. What I didn't notice (in between a short rest to replace batteries) was that they had all changed places!

This comfy positioning (near an open window) was changed to the following in about two minutes.

Each of these cats is a rescue cat. The gray, Smokey, came from a terrible abandonment situation caused, in part, by the county closing down an illegal immigrant camp. They never thought about the animals, and dozens and dozens of cats/kittens were left behind (many kittens that we had not yet trapped crushed by bull dozers) and many dogs remaining free. Smokey was a natural to stay here, plus he had IBD (which he is now out from under thanks to a raw diet).

The black, Ace, is a fabulous shelter cat. I have a weakness for the blacks and have always owned one given both black cats and black dogs are the most frequently left unadopted, then killed.

The muted calico, Mommy-Mommy, was a feral. It took me four years to get her inside because she would NOT go into a trap. She's been in now for about five years and is an amazing cat.

These three are very close, obviously.

Friday, August 22, 2008

GREAT Political "Ad" for a Third Party Candidate

Go here. This is a hoot.

CA's Bishop Lamb to Send Second Letter to Clergy

You can read the full story here which indicates he received about a 30% response with most not wanting to stay in the Southern Cone's illegal diocese.

Previously, Bishop Lamb sent letters to clergy in TEC's San Joaquin Diocese, which we discussed here.

Some clergy were concerned that they did not receive a letter (information gotten from searching other sites). Bishop Lamb reflected that since diocese information is being held by former TEC Bishop Schofield, contact addresses were not all available.

I am happy to see Bishop Lamb reach out again to clergy in the San Joaquin Diocese.

UPDATE: The text of the letter, different in tone than the first, can be read here in its entirety.

Wonderful Video on Same Gender Marriage

Thanks to Susan Russell for posting this on her blog, An Inch At A Time.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

McCain: Rich, Out of Touch With the Average Joe

At the recent presidential candidates forum held at Saddleback Church in Orange County, CA--one of the wealthiest counties in the nation--John McCain said that "rich" is five million dollars. Obama, citing the top 2-3%, nationally, suggested $250,00.00.

While many struggle to pay bills, myself included, I have witnessed the tragedy from a different perspective; cat and dog rescue.

I now get, every single day, people begging me to take in their animals as they lose their homes. I can practically see the tear stains on the e-mails. It is painful and angering. I cannot possibly help more than I am. All rescues are in this position.

I have a permitted limit--for good reason--and I stick to it. For the first year since I have had my permit, I am running at full capacity ALL the time, and have been for at least ten months. The age of the animals I am getting is at least 50% higher than normal indicating that long time stability is suffering. Dogs and cats are staying longer as the adoption arena is flat, meaning I can take in fewer thus more stay at the shelter and are killed there. Shelters are killing more than ever. More are being abandoned in homes and on streets. You know the saying--Sh*@ runs downhill. And it runs right over the innocent.

People that bought into wild adjustable rate mortgages (I was always too scared of adjustables and stuck with the conventional 30-year, adding a few extra dollars every month above my payment), are finding their incomes--even with two jobs--impossible. The collapse of the housing market and the failure of several key lending institutions underlines the severity of the problem.

For someone literally having to move from their home, McCains recent admission that he really didn't know how many homes he owns, the statement must seem rather pathetic. While people are living in cars, campgrounds, hotels, with relatives and friends, under bridges and in temporary camps, McCain cannot remember what he owns.

There is a huge understanding gap between McCain and the average American. I have changed literally all my habits both for environmental and financial reasons while his wife bought a small plane to travel around Arizona in. McCain's heiress second wife, with an income estimated to be between $36 million and $100 million, cannot possibly know what it is like to struggle, and neither can McCain--a point driven home by his definition of "rich".

But this woman can.



UPDATE: Two more pieces, here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Fun D Kitteh Konsidrs Yr Theallogy

Common Cause Partnership and Bishop Duncan's Recent "Letter"

I am not going to link to Common Cause Partnership's site. If you want to read it first hand, use Google.

This was released today:

Bishop Duncan Shares Concerns on Windsor Continuation Group

A letter by Bishop Robert Duncan, moderator of the Common Cause Partnership, to Bishop Gary Lillibridge of the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas has been made public. In that letter, dated August 11, Bishop Duncan put in writing concerns of the dioceses of Pittsburgh, Fort Worth, Quincy and other members of the Common Cause Partnership caused by the suggestions of the Windsor Continuation Group for dealing with divisions in the Anglican Communion. Bishop Duncan had initially shared these concerns with those present at the Lambeth Conference of Bishops.

The August 11 letter was forwarded with permission by Bishop Lillibridge to members of the Windsor Continuation Group and subsequently leaked to liberal activists and published online and via email on August 18.

“I am happy to publicly acknowledge this letter and my description of the concerns we in the Common Cause Partnership have about the proposals of the Windsor Continuation Group. Nonetheless, it is disturbing to discover that at least one member of the Windsor Continuation Group, a body that is supposed to be working for reconciliation in the Anglican Communion, so quickly leaked private correspondence in an attempt to gain some passing political advantage,” said Bishop Duncan.

The full text of the letter follows:

Dear Gary,

It was very good to be with you at Lambeth. I especially appreciated the time we spent together looking at the relationship between the Common Cause Partners and the Communion Partners, as well as considering issues that are before the WCG.

I thought that you might appreciate hearing from me about concerns the approach of the WCG has caused for me and for all the Common Cause Partners.

The WCG proposes “cessation of all cross-border interventions and inter-provincial claims of jurisdiction.” There are at least four serious problems with the thinking surrounding the work of the Windsor Continuation Group in this regard.

The first difficulty is the moral equivalence implied between the three moratoria, a notion specifically rejected in the original Windsor Report and at Dromantine.

The second is the notion that, even if the moratoria are held to be equally necessary, there would be some way to “freeze” the situation as it now stands for those of us in the process of separating from The Episcopal Church. The three dioceses of Pittsburgh, Quincy and Fort Worth have taken first constitutional votes on separation with second votes just weeks away. We all anticipate coming under Southern Cone this fall, thus to join San Joaquin. This process cannot be stopped — constitutions require an automatic second vote, and to recommend against passage without guarantees from the other side would be suicidal.

The third reality is that those already separated parishes and missionary jurisdictions under Rwanda, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Southern Cone (including Recife) will never consent to the “holding tank” whose stated purpose is eventual “reconciliation” with TEC or the Anglican Church of Canada. (It was obvious to all at Lambeth that the majorities in the US and Canada have no intention of reversing direction.)

The fourth matter is that the legal proceedings brought by TEC and ACC against many of us have been nowhere suspended by these aggressor provinces, with no willingness to mediate or negotiate though we have proposed it repeatedly, not least since Dar es Salaam.

For your information, I have written to John Chew and Donald Mtetemela in a similar way. I have also written to the Global South Primates who signed the open letter dated 3 August.

I hope this finds you well. As I pledged when we saw each other, I will do what I can to keep you informed of thinking among the Common Cause Partners, and will do what I can to see that any solutions imagined include both the Communion Partners (on the inside) and the Common Cause Partners (most of whom are on the outside of TEC, or on their way out.)

Blessings to you and yours,

+Bob


Posted 2008-08-20 09:14:22

My thoughts:

With the close of Lambeth and the Windsor Continuation Group's (WCG) members known, it is clear that the POINT and context of Duncan's Letter to the WCG was to effect change positive to the CCP. There is simply no other way to view the letter in context. Bishop Gary Lillibridge is a member of the WCG.

Obviously, Duncan knows who his friends are and where they are placed and this letter obviously seeks sympathy and action to benefit the CCP.

No one in their right mind could doubt the deliberate bent of the WCG. That the letter was addressed to them, however, was not understood until today.

If, at any time, you had believed that that Archbishop Rowan Williams or anyone else at that level was in any way sympathetic to TEC, it should be perfectly clear he/they is/are not and that his actions have come down clearly on the side of CCP in this nifty arrangement.

Not only that, their arrangment is clearly hostile to TEC.

UPDATE: I will link to other articles as they come up. For now, there are stories up at several sites which shall not be named.

Rick Warren, TEC and the Common Cause Partnership

As many of you have surmised, Rick Warren's fundamentalist, evangelical Saddleback Church in Orange County, CA--recent host of the controversial Obama/McCain forum--has a history of affiliations with some in The Episcopal Church (TEC) and the Anglican Communion Network (ACN) a group moderated by Bishop Duncan. This would explain a few things I have come across in reading that I did not understand but creates even more questions.

What is clear is Warren has been working with some in TEC for at lest five years. Warren has been involved with several lgbt violence promoting African GAFCON/FOCA Archbishops likewise.

1. On July 24, 2008, I found Warren's church, Saddleback Community, named on a Common Cause Partnership (CCP) list. Puzzling since he is a fundamentalist Baptist not Anglican of any stripe. Apparently a slip, CCP removed the name within 72 hours of my finding it as reported here by the infamous Father Christian Troll. Things like this don't just "happen". Names on lists mean something. In this case, he was on a list of TEC churches/dioceses which have left, are in the process of leaving, or who have made known they are considering leaving TEC. He has much in common with these folks:

Warren is part of the ultra-conservative Southern Baptist Convention, and all his senior staff sign on to the SBC's doctrines, such as the literal and infallible Bible and exclusion of women as senior pastors. Yet Warren's pastor-training programs welcome Catholics, Methodists, Mormons, Jews and ordained women. "I'm not going to get into a debate over the non-essentials. I won't try to change other denominations. Why be divisive?" he asks, citing as his model Billy Graham, "a statesman for Christ ministering across barriers." [emphasis mine]

("This evangelist has a 'Purpose," by Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA TODAY, 7/21/2003)

2. Back in November 2005, the Anglican Communion Network (ACN, now morphed into the CCP) held a three-day conference in Pittsburgh, PA entitled “Hope and a Future”. As reported by the Living Church Foundation (link available on Google):

The call for volunteers to the reforming of Anglicanism was an ecumenical one and extended beyond the Anglican Mission in America and the members of the “Common Cause” partners of the Anglican Continuum. Keynote speaker Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., and author of The Purpose Driven Life, said Christianity was “on the precipice of a new Reformation, and I believe God wants to use Anglicans like he did Moses.” There will be trials ahead, he said, “but God is at work in the Anglican Communion. He has raised up leaders for a movement.

“They may get the building, but you will get the blessing,” he added. “What God is looking for is your faith, not your facilities.”

During his address, Pastor Warren praised the six congregations which recently decided to withdraw from the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Florida. Later in remarks to The Living Church, Pastor Warren said he was eager to work more closely with Anglicans and said he admired everyone who stands up for the courage of their convictions. “Too often today tolerance has come to mean that all ideas are equally right,” he said. “That’s ridiculous.”

Compare that to this (from Warren's first quote): "I'm not going to get into a debate over the non-essentials. I won't try to change other denominations. Why be divisive?" he asks, citing as his model Billy Graham, "a statesman for Christ ministering across barriers."

Of course, what this implies is that he will get in a debate about the essentials, which were listed, pretty much, in this post on specific topics, but this USA article, above, pretty much shows the context of everything he believes in: "Warren is part of the ultra-conservative Southern Baptist Convention, and all his senior staff sign on to the SBC's doctrines, such as the literal and infallible Bible and exclusion of women as senior pastors." [emphasis mine]

From this standpoint, it is pretty easy to see how he was matched up with CCP and its affiliates. Of course it does not address the lgbt issue in a straightforward way other than the issue of same gender marriage, but he pretty much wrapped that up here in speaking to The Monitor in Kampala, late March of 2008.

The bottom line is this: Warren is locked in-step with the most fundamentalist leaders in TEC and is helping to drive their division from TEC. That much is quite obvious. If you are planning on any "purpose driven" book work, please do not contribute to Warren by buying new books. find them at used book stores. Believe me, there they are aplenty. And remember this:

Thee Anglican Communion Network promised to make the road to the 2008 Lambeth Conference of bishops an increasingly problematic one unless the Episcopal Church starts paying more attention to the recommendations contained in the Windsor Report. (as reported by The Living Church.)

It is these folks--those that work to threaten TEC--that Warren has attached himself to.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Quote of the Day: Rick Warren

This is part of a letter sent to the 22,000 member congregation of evangelical Saddleback Church in Orange County, CA by its pastor, fundamentalist Rick Warren in 2004:

The U.S. election of 2000 was a clear reminder that every vote counts and that every voter has a duty to be involved. As church leaders, we know our congregations are not allowed to endorse specific candidates, and it's important for us to recognize that there can be multiple opinions among Bible-believing Christians when it comes to debatable issues such as the economy, social programs, social security, and the war in Iraq.

But for those of us who accept the Bible as God's Word and know that God has a unique, sovereign purpose for every life, I believe there are 5 issues that are non-negotiable. To me, they're not even debatable because God's Word is clear on these issues. In order to live a purpose-driven life - to affirm what God has clearly stated about his purpose for every person he creates - we must take a stand by finding out what the candidates believe about these five issues, and then vote accordingly.

Here are five questions to ask when considering who to vote for in this election:

1. What does each candidate believe about abortion and protecting the lives of unborn children?

2. What does each candidate believe about using unborn babies for stem-cell harvesting?

3. What does each candidate believe about homosexual marriage?

4. What does each candidate believe about human cloning?

5. What does each candidate believe about euthanasia - the killing of elderly and invalids?


You can read the entire letter here.

Now ask yourself how Obama's campaign staff could have been so naive as to believes that when Obama walked into Baptist evangelical fundamentalist Warren's church he wouldn't be asked the SAME questions?

And this is how you try to slice off a couple percentage points of the fundamentalist right? You must be kidding.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Theocracy of the US Elections

Of late, I have been thinking a great deal about theocracy and how it continues its intrepid creep into every corner of American political life and, unfortunately, the media. This is especially noticeable in reading on the topic of Rick Warren's recent political forum held at Saddleback Church in Orange County, CA with presidential candidates Obama and McCain and in continued reading on the Institute for Religion and Democracy (the name alone is scary).

Were I an atheist, I would be screaming from the tops of the buildings though I am finding myself, as an Episcopalian, wanting to do likewise.

One well seated political hack even called for Warren to take one of the three moderator positions in the upcoming presidental debate. You could have knocked me over with a feather.

In reading today, I came across commentary on Warren's sunday night presidential forum written by Al Jazeera's New York Political Analyst Marwan Bishara. Bishara was reading my mind. I highly recommend this articulate and thought provoking piece. Here's a take:

Such theological/political journalism is unthinkable anywhere in Europe or in so-called democracies around the world. Calling one's enemy or their ideology or religion evil is the language normally used by such groups as al-Qaeda, not constitutional democracies.

If religious interviews were done with such fanfare and influence in a Muslim country, democratic or otherwise, western and especially US media would have made a mockery of such an imposition of religious fundamentalism on political process. [my emphasis]

Fundamentalism, in the 20th century Protestant sense, is the literal reading of the Bible: The "God said it, I believe it, and that's that" crowd. The Merriam Webster dictionary defines its other usage, thus: a movement or attitude stressing strict and literal adherence to a set of basic principles, then goes on to use it in by example in two forms: Islamic fundamentalism and political fundamentalism. Trust me, the examples were not lost on me.

If you have done much reading on Warren's forum, you undoubtedly came across multiple discussions on his "evil" question:

"Does evil exist, and if it does, do we ignore it, do we negotiate with it, do we contain it or do we defeat it.?"

Now surely that question is understood in plain English, right? Wrong. Some will read the question framed by Bush's "axis of evil". Others, myself included, read it differently. I read it considering the framer of the question, Warren, a fundamentalist.

Various readings in print and from talking heads across the political scale seemed to have missed the point, too. What the pundits analyzed were the answers, not the question. The question, coming from a fundamentalist Christian, has specific meaning. Warren was asking, really, how are you going to address "my" Bible's plain written, literal evil? What other "evil" could he possibly be referencing? Mine? Yours? The "evil" of another belief?

Consider these examples:

On the issues of abortion, same gender marriage, divorce, prayer in school, and sex education: Are you going to ignore it, negotiate with it, contain it or defeat it?

These are no small questions and I am incredulous that he would ask it of political candidates who must deal with other world leaders, various cultures within and without the US and thousands of religions likewise in the context of fundamentalist "evil". Words mean things and in essence, both Obama and McCain made a promise to interject the Bible in their secular presidential responsibility, something apparently mandatory if Warren's quote from an interview with Atlantic.com's Jeffrey Goldberg on August 15, 2008 is considered:

"I believe in the separation of church and state, but I do not believe in the separation of politics from religion. Faith is simply a worldview. A person who says he puts his faith on the shelf when he's making decisions is either an idiot or a liar. It's entirely appropriate for me to ask what is their frame of reference." [sic]

I am even more incredulous that McCain and Obama--especially Obama since he is obviously the brighter of the two--would even meet at a church and I don't care if that is Mom and Pop's Bozo Church or megachurch Saddleback. Gentlemen, if you want to speak to the American public, get the hell out of the church and into a secular forum and discuss secular issues in a context not Christian or fundamentalist or any other religion or understanding.

And to the media as well as the candidates and their advisors: Please note: America is not a theocracy. At least not yet.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Whoopee! I Kicked It!

How fun is this?!

I got my very first blogger award! Yeah! I got a Kick Ass award:) Is that kewl or WHAT? Here it is!


Okay, I know you are calling for a speech... So I'd like to thank Leonardo, Padre Mickey, my 6th grade teacher Ms. Freece, the world for such fascinating material and especially you politicians and religious types--that need your asses kicked.

Tank U!

Update: Okay my awards and links
This was NOT EASY:)

1. For my favorite extremely passionate extrovert, Leonardo, waaaaaay down south who I would love to visit someday (vakayshun... um wht iz dat?), and because his art is as colorful and passionate as he is, and because everyone should have a volcano like his and I'm envious!


2. For extraordinary insight into Anglican-land using sarcasm and wit, for being who he is, the really kewl sunglasses, and for the many, many :snorts: enjoyed on this end of the intertubes, The Reverend Doctor Christian Troll at GAFCON.

3. For really excellent writing and content and for the love that drips through my monitor when reading his blog, and who makes me wish I lived farther north, James


4. For a beautiful site to eye and mind, thought provoking content beautifully put (though I wish he would post more, I really like this site), Mike, Lavender Wolves

5. For a co-op of great writers from diverse backgrounds, consistently good writing and content and because (unlike me) they keep it to a reasonable length instead of a novelette, and because, well, you guys just rock, IT, Padre Mickey, David, Eileen and Ann at Friends of Jake


UPDATE: GADS! I left IT off the friends-of-jake blogspot. SO very sorry, IT -- forgive me.

Did McCain Lie Again? Rick Warren And Other Such Wonders

There have been rumbles all day about the story McCain told last night at the Saddleback Church forum, led by its evangelical pastor Rick Warren, about the "cross in the sand". If you heard it last night, apparently, in lo these many years, this is the first time the story has been told. Go here and read on Daily Kos. It's an interesting read.

And speaking of Saddleback Church, Andrew Sullivan at Atlantic.com shares his impressions in a short, very nifty article on the first major Obama v. McCain "encounter" taking place in a church. I admit, as devout as I am, I don't like it either. Not one bit. In the article, Warren is quoted, as making this statement in an interview with Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg which I admit finding quite chilling:

"I believe in the separation of church and state, but I do not believe in the separation of politics from religion. Faith is simply a worldview. A person who says he puts his faith on the shelf when he's making decisions is either an idiot or a liar. It's entirely appropriate for me to ask what is their frame of reference." [sic]

Gads. There is just so much wrong with this statement.

It would appear that in Warren's mind, the laws of the US and the force of the Constitution have little place in the White House. Hardly a surprise, anymore, when Bush has said God told him to attack Iraq which had many of us speculating that he belonged in a psychiatrist's office, not the oval office.

Faith is also not a world view. There are plenty of extremely bright leaders that are atheists and agnostics. I don't vote for a candidate because they do or do not believe in God. I vote for their secular positions on issues and whether or not I believe they be able to play well with others in the world. I am a "talk, not bombs" kind of person. Anyone that knows our blog friend IT, a co-blogger here with Christians, knows that intelligence and great communication are not tied to Christianity or any other belief.

As for idiots and liars, well, Rick, McCain fits the latter category most surely and the fact that you are willing to brand disbelievers in this way, well tsk, tsk my dear. After your recent quote about disagreement where you said, "People can disagree without being disagreeable," I find your name calling, well... disagreeable. I'm sure glad I'm not the one that said it.

And, while I'm at it, I might point out an irony for ol Obama: The IRD is after your church, UCC, too.

Hanging out with folks like Rick Warren who buddies on the African continent with folks like Orombi and Akinola--each having an interest in jailing everything and everyone gay (if these lgbt folks are not killed first) -- does reflect on you, buddy. And it just ain't Christian. And oh, Obama, did I mention that the IRD thinks that Orombi, Akinola and their pals in the US are just fine? Pals like Rick Warren and the CCP? Have YOU a clue what the IRD has in store for your church?

Dear, you can't pass the stink test right now. You need to get straight on this.

Finally, to give you a smile:





IRD Exec Speaks On Obama/McCain Forum with Rick Warren

It is hardly surprising that Alan Wisedom (there's a name for ya!), a self-titled "expert" hailing from the Institute of Religion and Democracy (IRD), was featured this morning on Fox News offering a four minute 24 second analysis on the Obama/McCain Forum held last night at evangelical megachurch Saddleback Valley Church located in Orange County, CA. You can view this here (note link runs a 6 second spot on "cotton" then gets to it).

Nor is it surprising that Fox News calls on this uber right wing group to pronounce truth. One of Fox's own political contributors, Fred Barnes, co-host of Fox's "Beltway Boys" and editor of the Weekly Standard, sits on the Board of Directors of the IRD. In fact, the IRD boasts of their media abilities, and clearly they are good at it.

What do YOU see in this video?

This is exactly how they gain their legitimacy, and while Fox wouldn't care one whit about letters they receive regarding IRD's real agenda, keep it in mind for other stations and opportunities.

There are plenty of other experts out there.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Holy Tamole! Strong Words for Both Obama and Warren

OOOOOOOOOOOOO Doggies! If any one of you have ever thought perhaps your words were strong, worry no more! Read this.

BTW, this whole Obama/Warren thing is proving to be an embarrassment to Anglicanism in general and that doesn't have nice implications for TEC, either, especially in Orange County where right wing zealots outnumber those that can read.

Whewie!

I hope some of you will comment on how we see exactly the same problem with Obama and Orombi, Akinola, Bul et. al.

We need to set ourselves apart, as we know we walk apart.

Storm Warning: Bishop Duncan and Philly and Other Stuff On My Mind

Mark Harris has done a super job covering the situation in Pittsburgh which TEC Bishop Duncan has brought about. Well worth the reading, and follow the links which explain a great deal of the history and point to groups/clergy opposing his moves. Mark summarizes a number of things which could happen in the next 2+ months.

When I was reading it, I thought immediately of Bonnie Raitt's gorgeous song, Storm Warning from her powerful Longing in Their Hearts album. Even if you don't feel like reading about Philly, this should touch your heart. Duncan doesn't have it goin' on, but Bonnie sure does.

On other fronts, I have been pondering the coming winter with, admittedly, some trepidation. Last October 21, we had terrible fires here resulting in our evacuation for 14 days during which time many in the community (animals in tow) lived in a local grocery store parking lot.

It was a very emotional momentous time.

Filled with emotion, I finally broke down and sobbed when I saw on the news that friends D & J, and S & B had lost their homes, the footage showing J standing amid the ashes with tiny trinkets of their life otherwise carried away by the wind. The first photo shows D & J embracing, just to the left of the plume, amidst the ashes of their home. The second photo is S & B's home--only the bronze horse statue remaining.

These homes, in fact all of the lost homes, are still not rebuilt, while many in San Diego, thankfully, have already moved back in to their rebuilt homes. Here it is different because of the striking--and difficult--terrain. J & D finally received their building permit--the first issued--on July 15.

My hillside home of 26 years, standing under a canopy of oak trees--one tree at least a thousand years of age according to my degreed arborist friend--was thankfully spared. It was a very emotional time and the fact that I now have tears rolling down my cheeks says that I am not over it. For those of you who have gone through fires, floods, hurricanes and other things like this, you understand. For those of you that haven't, trust me it's life changing.

Returning, I sobbed all the way home. To see some of the blackened landscape and the skeletal remains of once dense oak forests was absolutely devastating for me. My mind couldn't even address the horrible loss of wildlife which had no place to go in the face of the wind-whipped flames that traveled miles in just hours. These are lands I cherish and know well, in some cases lands I worked for years to see preserved versus developed.

They have never caught the arsonist.

Winter, my favorite season here, now bring a whole new problem--debris flows. There is literally nothing but luck holding hillsides, some near vertical, together. Last year, the luck ran out for several people whose homes were so damaged they were red tagged, and like those who lost their homes to fires, they are still gone as well.

But what brought this all back to me was the early loss of acorns from the California live oaks this year. Normally, acorns start falling in numbers in mid-late September. This year, they began falling in early August. The last time this happened (I remember it well... I lost a bet based on it in 1997!), we had a hugely large rainfall. It was an "El Nino" year. So I am hoping that the relationship is, in fact, nada. If we get rains like '97 this winter, hundreds of people will lose their homes and many whose homes will remain standing will not be able to get in or out.

It also means, for me, loading, boarding, reloading and boarding the rescue animals--no easy task with the number here should I be evacuated again. I doubt, though, I would ever leave again. I would send the animals out to safety, but I would stay behind. I do keep over a thousand pounds of food here for them at all times, and several hundred gallons of water. But in 1969, people had to be helicoptered out of here as ALL the roads were impassable for months on end, and many homes were eight feet deep in mud. That was a 3-hour 50-year storm amid months of unending rain, the ground was saturated.

Now the conditions are so different and experts say these conditions will be persistent for at least 5 years, depending on the summer fire/winter precipitation cycles each year. It's scary and depressing. I think I need to go and have a good cry followed by a scotch and water. Who would have thought that acorns could have produced such a flow of emotion.

I checked the long term forecasts (which are usually wrong) and let's hope they are right this time. The oaks are telling me something, though. I just don't know what it is.

Photos: Orange County Register