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October 21, 2003
Religion, gender, and politics

And, you know, other stuff.

It's all very well for a Pentagon spokesman to say they don't know why some things were deleted from Boykin's 'apology' for being a crazy religious extremist offending a huge chunk of the world, but you only have to read what was deleted for the reasons to be obvious. No one wanted it to appear that his religious freedom was being curtailed (thus the deletion of his promise to stop speaking at religious events) and no one wanted the public to be treated, once again, to a public statement of belief that god takes a hand in USofA politics, because enough people in the country already think the neocons are dangerous lunatics.

Okay, maybe I'm speculating a bit on that second one. It could be that the statement was removed because the religious right had a coronary at the idea that god might have picked Clinton to be prez, who knows?

Anyhow, much as I dislike Boykin and all his ilk, and much as I dislike Rumsfeld, I have to say that I think Rumsfeld was right. Freedom of speech is the point.

Of course, the point is also that you should appoint extremists to positions of power and influence but whatever.

The article calls what we're doing "religious warmongering" and that might be a significant portion of the truth. There's a distinct bigotry in the Bush Administration.

In other news, you are what you are and no amount of denial or organized persecution is going to change that. male, female, shemale, hemale, whatever.

For example, the two hemispheres of the brain appeared more symmetrical in females than in males.

Women are more balanced than men. Big surprise.

Now I'll sit back and await the protests from some of the many, many, well-balanced men out there. And there are a lot of them, I know.

For instance, Tom Hayden makes a lot of sense. Well, okay, most people whose opinions agree with mine seem to me to be fair and balanced (nyah, nyah, Fox!), but this is a must-read.

Be aware, of course, that there are those who think the shift is in the other direction.

For what it's worth?

"In terms of the percentage of voters who identify themselves as Democrats, the Democratic party is currently in its weakest position since the dawn of the New Deal." -- Mark Penn, Democratic Pollster

We didn't leave the Democratic Party. It left us. We're all still over here on the Left, where we've always been. The party leadership strayed over to the middle, and even to the wrong side of the road, long ago.

David Brooks has an opinion on the subject and it's not that far from mine.

Speaking of democracy, they might consider practicing a little of it in Israel. Announcing that people who want to put an end to war are guilty of treason is...well...it's very neocon.

No loans for Iraq. I believed that from the beginning, although I'm not against a partial loan. It's a matter of pride, you see. I think that if the Iraqi people have to pay back a certain amount of what it costs to rebuild their infrastructure, it will be good for them. They won't be living in a country that's essentially built on hand-outs from the USofA. They'll have the pride of pulling together to pay their own way and I honestly do think there's value in that.

On the other hand, I think we need to be careful how much of the aid is in the form of a loan. We don't want to go too far and I think there's a very real danger than cripplingly large loans could provoke unpleasant consequences.

It's always a questions of balance, isn't it? You have to balance this or this against this.

Hee. Hee. It's official -- watching Fox News makes you ignorant. Yeah, we've all known about this one for days, but this article is still interesting and the line was too funny to pass up.

And this is one of the dumbest things I've ever read, but then I've never understood women who insist upon dragging reluctant and unwilling spouses along on shopping trips. If you're shopping for yourself, just buy what you like. If he's the one who needs clothes, he can buy them or do without. (I have never understood why marriage means people no longer have responsibility for themselves.) Of course, I do understand that in other countries, there may be a dearth of two-car families where everyone can just take themselves off and do whatever they want.

Kaspi thinks the French don't know enough about us because they don't study the USofA enough. There are a lot more USofA historians studying France and French history, you see, than French historians studying the USofA. What Kaspi may be missing is that those 2,000 historians in the USofA have thousands of years of French/European history to dissect, while anyone studying the USofA has just over 200 years to consider.

I don't want to move to Moscow, but there's no doubt that on the face of it, this building is gorgeous.

And this article on history versus social studies was interesting. I don't see that there's a need for an either-or approach, but at the same time, I clearly see how misleading or even dangerous bias could be introduced into the social studies approach. (If you doubt me, take a moment and imagine how the neocons would write a social studies text about the Clinton Administration.)

Posted by AnneZook at 09:34 AM


Quality post, as usual. I think what people miss about the free speech thing is yes, you can say whatever you want, but with the knowledge that you have to take responsibility for your words, so you have to be prepared to be scoffed at (hey, scoffing is free speech too!) and treated like a moron if you say something stupid.

Posted by: Elayne Riggs at October 22, 2003 08:53 AM

Exactly. It's also kind of like the "shouting fire" thing. We've got free speech, but with the privilege comes the expectation that we'll bring a little intelligence to what we say.

And that goes double for people in positions of power. If you stand up and make an idiot out of yourself and offend a huge portion of the world's, much less the country's, population, you need to suck it up and accept that those offended are going to be exercising their free speech right to point out that you're a jackass.

(My, I'm in a bad mood today, aren't I? Sorry.)

The man should be removed from his position. There's no way any commission or committee he's sitting on that's tasked with evaluating and debating Muslim issues is going to be able to produce results that aren't viewed as tainted.

I just...maybe it's a hot button of mine or something (maybe?) but these public denunciations of entire sections of humanity based on what mythological superstition they choose to promote just make me crazy. Even a greedy lust to control the world's oil supply strikes me as a more sensible (although not necessarily more laudable) reason to diss, or even kill, a bunch of strangers. But then, I think it's clear to all of us by now that I just Do. Not. Get. Religion.

Posted by: Anne at October 22, 2003 09:49 AM