Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Anita Creamer, bad journalism and intolerance.

Reading this morning's article by Anita Creamer, one could come away with the conclusion that the only intolerant and hate filled people in this land are (gasp) conservative Christians. What hypocrisy.
Creamer's conclusion that Dr. James Dobson was somehow 'outing' Spongebob is false and shows her bias and prejudice against conservatives, especially Christian conservatives.

So SpongeBob's a little light in the loofah.

Dobson, founder of the conservative Focus on the Family group, outed SpongeBob during an inaugural event speech.

"Does anyone here know SpongeBob?" he demanded.

Demanded? Hmm. I wonder if you have audio or video of that clip? Dobson sounds like he is asking a simple question to me. I have googled for an hour and found only one other quote from Dr. Dobson on this; Their inclusion of the reference to 'sexual identity" within their 'tolerance pledge' is not only unnecessary, but it crosses a moral line," James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, said in a statement released Thursday.

Maybe the problem here isn't James Dobson issue with using a very popular cartoon character to draw young children to a website that has content that is not age appropriate. Maybe the problem is parents that have watched Spongebob with their children, as I have, and like the cartoon's positive message will have no problem taking their kids to a website that Spongebob endorses only to have the question of sexual identity brought up to their five year old.

Creamer goes on to insult me again with this wonderful line of thinking.

SpongeBob teaches sweet little moral lessons, and he's tolerant of others, which has gone a long way toward turning him into a camp icon among some gay men.

Uh-oh. You see the problem here. Some people have no tolerance for tolerance, and for them, there's no bigger issue.

Way to keep your priorities in line, guys.

Don't place your values on me Anita.

Oh, I see, a Christian conservative cannot like Spongebob because he is tolerant. That is the most insulting aspect to her story. We are all a bunch of bible thumping hicks that are full of irrational fear and utter loathing?. I can't speak for all of Dr. Dobson's readers, but Christians are a very diverse group. Many of the people in my church would not have an issue with the tolerance pledge including sexual identity. I do.

I can't help but wonder how effective a tolerance pledge is? If a child takes this pledge then goes home to an environment of racism and bigotry, is this child going to be inoculated

Respect for others remains the ultimate diss to the especially narrow-minded.

Especially narrow minded, that's nice. Anyone who does not openly celebrate the gay-right agenda is especially narrow minded.? Who is prejudice and intolerance here? I am not intolerant of progressive liberal ideas, I think they are wrong. Going to the extreme, I think Osama Bin Laden's agenda is wrong, evil in fact, does this mean I am intolerant and especially narrow minded? No, it means a disagree with his ideas.

Anita, please let me raise my children. I teach my children about tolerance, respect for others, and keeping an open mind about people and cultures that you are not familiar with. I don't need a 'tolerance pledge' to teach my children that all men are created equal.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

A 'vox blogoli' response to Jonathan Rouch.

Thanks to Hugh Hewitt for the platform;

Jonathan, I learned early on that when someone insults you or gives you a back handed compliment and then says "just kidding" when you confront him, that person has just told you exactly what he thinks.

My two cents: "Better they [religious conservatives] should write anti-abortion planks into the Republican platform than bomb abortion clinics" is not a sentence I would have included if I had thought harder about it. It shows carelessness on my part, always blameworthy in a writer.

Your remarks do not show carelessness, they show your unconscious bias and prejudice towards Christian Conservatives. I have read your piece in full and have come away with many more questions than answers. Here are few.

The 2004 post-election maps, which looked almost identical to the 2000 ones, further entrenched the conventional wisdom, to the point where most newspaper readers can recite the tropes: red America is godly, moralistic, patriotic, predominantly white, masculine, less educated, and heavily rural and suburban; blue America is secular, relativistic, internationalist, multicultural, feminine, college educated, and heavily urban and cosmopolitan. Reds vote for guns and capital punishment and war in Iraq, blues for abortion rights and the environment. In red America, Saturday is for NASCAR and Sunday is for church. In blue America, Saturday is for the farmers' market (provided there are no actual farmers) and Sunday is for The New York Times . An odd thing, however, happened to many of the scholars who set out to map this culture war: they couldn't find it. If the country is split into culturally and politically distinct camps, they ought to be fairly easy to locate. Yet scholars investigating the phenomenon have often come back empty-handed.

Where did these scholars look?

If you want to find the red state/blue state phenomenon you may look no further than Yolo County. A largely agricultural county near Sacramento, it is also home to UC Davis. The people's republic of Davis as we call it here in the country is not as 'progressive' as say UC Berkeley, but it is cobalt blue. Some 7 miles away is the City of Woodland, population 50,000 or so. The 62,000 folks in Davis voted for John Kerry in 51 of 52 the precicts. In Woodland, George W Bush carried 16 of the 29 precicts. President Bush won the vote in Woodland by a 53% - 47% margin, very close to the national average. In Davis, well let's say they will host the winter Olympics in Hell when Davis goes republican. Thanks to the liberals in Davis, Yolo County goes blue.

To Mr. Rouch's point that it is just a political divide and not a cultural one, a dark blue Davis resident has nothing in common with the construction worker or cattle rancher from the Capay Valley. Likewise the construction worker isn't going to the gay pride day march or the earth day celebrations in Davis. In my County, 20 miles may just as well be 2,000 miles. Take any Davis student or professor and transplant them to the east village and they would be very comfortable. Take that same person and transplant them to a cattle branding on a ranch just a few miles away and they would go into shock and run screaming as fast as their Birkenstocks could carry them.

Two different worlds in the same County.

As for your claim of independent voter status, I will tell you for whom I voted in the past 5 presidential elections, will you?
I'll wager you lunch at the best (only) restaurant in town that we have not voted for the same candidate once.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Starting a new book, without finishing the last one.

I now have 4 books I am trying to finish right now. I started on the first a month ago and since then I have purchased half a dozen others. I can't stop myself from reading the dust cover or just the forward, I find myself two chapters in and then stop after I realize I need to finish the other books I have started. It must be a sign of some sick twisted affliction I suffer from. Or I have a discipline problem and suffer from being a lazy slacker. I am trending toward the lazy slacker diagnosis.
Are there any others commitment phobic readers out there?

An attention span is a terrible thing to waste.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Are we seeing the last gasp of the Democratic party?

Ladies and Gentleman, I give you Dr. Howard Dean, Chairman of the Democratic National committee. Please tell me that will be the headline next month, pretty please with sugar on top. I cannot think of a more polarizing, unstable, liberal, scare the hell out of the red-state-voter, person to lead the Democratic Party. Well, maybe one, but I don't think Michael Moore will give up his multi-million dollar career making fraudumentaries to run the DNC. Besides, Christmas is over and you have to be thankful for what you have. Howard Dean will do just fine.

Having been a Democrat in my youth, I see the method to their madness. The Democratic leadership can't come to terms with the fact that more people like Republican ideas. It is that simple. If I hear the 'we didn't get our message out' line one more time I will laugh. Your message came through loud and clear, with extraordinary help from the old media. America heard your message and a majority rejected it.

Let's look at the modern face of the Democratic leadership. Who do you see on TV?
Barbara Boxer, Ted Kennedy, Joe Biden, Harry Reid. Are these the people who will win over the red-state voters? Can they bring back the cultural moderates who voted for Bush in 04?

Look, I like fire and brimstone conservative speakers who pull no punches and call it like they see it, but do I want these people the face of my party? No, I want to send Governor Schwarzenegger and Rudy Guiliani out to speak with Katie Couric and Larry King. You may call it bait and switch, but it's not. The Republican Party is far more inclusive than the Democrats. How many pro-life speakers were on stage at the Dems convention? Zero.
How many pro-gun rights speakers were on stage at the Dems convention? That's right, zero.

Here is the Canary in the Democratic coal mine, Michael Newdow, and the ACLU. When ever he files a motion to stop any and every form of religious expression from taking place in the public arena, who supports his efforts? It's not the GOP that's for sure. Taking the cross off the Los Angeles seal? It is not Republicans behind that effort either. The Democratic party doesn't get it. These are the issues that people remember, they do not care about an appropriations bill or an up-down vote on aid to Honduras, they care about people changing the America they grew up in.
Pretty simple stuff. But hey, us ignorant serfs and peasants can't figure out all that 'important stuff' like social security and Iraq, so I guess we have to go with what we know. We may be stupid, but when a school tells a history teacher that he can't teach about the declaration of independence because it mentions God, well we understand that just fine.

The Democratic Party is past the crossroads, it took the wrong turn years ago, the only hope they have is to look at the map and make a U-turn. Hitting the Nitrous button when your heading in the wrong direction doesn't get you back on track, it just speeds you further in the wrong direction.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

The Red Bluff Bull Sale, I spent a week there one night.

Ah January, it ushers in the new year and all the events that come with a new start. The new year's resolutions that by this time of the month have become new year's suggestions. The promise to start this project, or finish that one. January is full of lists, promises, and for me the Red Bluff Bull and Gelding Sale.

I have been going to the bull sale for twenty years or so, more if you count the times I went with my father when I was a boy. For Muslims it's a pilgrimage to Meca, to Christians it's a trip to the Holy land, to Cowboys, well to Cowboys there is nothing quite like The Palomino Room on Friday night of the bull sale. In my younger and wilder days, I would show up on Thursday of bull sale week with nothing more than my bedroll and 100 dollars spending money and come home broke on Sunday with a smile on my face that would last for a month. No hotels rooms, no warm showers, just a bedroll in the horse shavings and cold hose to wash the hangover away. Ah the good ol' bad ol' days.

About ten years ago, I brought a friend with me to the bull sale. We had a blast and the next year , we invited about two or three more, this year I bet half of Yolo County will be there. I bought a Brangus Bull up there two years ago, and I believe that is the only animal I have purchased. In the past I have made a point to leave the Gelding Sale long before I was intoxicated enough to bid on a $20,000 horse. It truly is a cowboy's paradise. You can purchase a finished bridle horse, a fantastic stock dog, and a range ready bull for $50,000 or just walk through all the exhibitors, watch the horses work and talk to some great people and never spend a dime.

If you have been to the sale, please post a comment.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Make your own damn sandwiches.

Sometimes living in rural community has it's own special challenges. Case in point, newspaper delivery. I was making breakfast for the family this morning and wanted to read the Sunday paper. As I looked out on the driveway, no paper. This is not a unique experience. Out here in the sticks paper delivery is about a three week career. With the price of gas I guess there is not much profit in this endeavor.

Having not thrown out Saturday's paper, I sat down to see what I may have missed. What I found is the best story I have read in the Sacramento Bee in some time. The column is written by Tim McGuire called 'More than work". It had a great story about a priest who fed the homeless with PBJ sandwiches. I googled around and found what I think was the original story.
Here is an excerpt-

Now, let me conclude by telling you a true story I heard this summer that continues to haunt me for a variety of reasons- many of them related to these remarks. My wife and I heard a speaker at Chautauqua tell the story of a friend of his who happened to be a priest. They had been friends for many years but in recent years they have been living a couple of hours apart and therefore did'nt get to see each other very often. But, still they stayed in touch.
In his parish the priest had organized a hunger center and apparently they specialized in providing sandwiches for the homeless and for those who needed a meal. I believe it was referred to as the "sandwich ministry".
Fairly recently the speaker had learned that the priest was suffering from a serious and fatal disease. Indeed, he knew and everyone else knew that his death was very near. The speaker wanted to see his friend one last time so he arranged to visit him. They spent a good day together and the speaker had an opportunity to see the "sandwich ministry" and was very impressed by it. When he returned home he wrote a note to the priest and included with it a check to support the sandwich ministry.
Within a few days two things happened. First, the speaker learned that his friend, the priest, had in fact died. But, second, at that same time he received an envelope in the mail with the name and address of the priest as the return address. Clearly the priest had written whatever was inside just before he died.
The speaker opened the envelope and unfolded the letter. As he did so, the check he had written and sent to the priest fell out and onto the floor. When he looked at what the priest had written just before he died, he read these words: "Make your own damn sandwiches."

The quote stays with me "Make your own damn sandwiches"
sometimes the tragedy is far away and making out a check to Worldvision is the best thing to do. But there are so many instances where warm bodies doing hard work can make such a difference in our local area. Giving is great, but doing helps both the giver and the recipient.