Andrew Sullivan

Died-in-the-scapular Catholic Buttboy Andrew Sullivan states:

Language is the first victim of an attempt to insist on ideology over reality. Orwell memorably described this. Here’s an update.

Tax “relief”. Repealment of “death tax”. “Trickle down economics.” The Kirkpatrick Doctrine.

Andrew’s ideologies really shine like the bright light of a Spring Day. Andrew’s nights, however, are spent riding his demagogic horse bareback. Either way, truth suffers from too much analysis.

If he agrees with Orwell, why does he write as if capricious use of language is a victimless crime?

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Unconscionable vs Tragic

Just leave it to the crazy christians.

Again.

I wasn’t about to say anything about Mary Cheney’s pregnancy mainly because I knew others would well-cover it. I was, however, going to extend my condolences to the Kim family, who lost husband and father, James, in the freezing cold of Oregon. He died trying to find help for his family, trying to save the lives of his wife and daughters bravely, selflessly—and unfortunately—at the expense of his own.

But how do you write about something like that? Not having children, I cannot say I would/could do the same as he did, but I expect I would. Why? Because my own parents would. And that will simply have to do for me.

I could make James into a Hero, but fabrication and exaggeration, even of a person’s better acts and traits is still a lie and still detracts from the essential humanity of James Kim’s act. He was a hero to his family. And, I’m sure, well loved. His seven-month old daughter, Sabine, will likely not remember her father and that is a bona fide tragedy. How do I know? I have parents myself and my mind recoils at the very idea that I would not have gotten to know my parents over all these years. And that will simply have to do.

I could even say that I know what Kati Kim is going through because I do know first hand what it’s like to lose your spouse, but I won’t because I wouldn’t assume that loss is the same for any two people. And that will simply have to do.

I say these things as a non-christian. I say these things as a person who has loved and lost and survived. I can empathize, but even empathy is not the same as knowing.

So here I sit. Gay man, super-ultra-liberal by nearly anyone’s standards (merely pragmatically forward-thinking to my own standards). No kids. No ready-attainability of being a father. And I can’t bring myself to politicize Mary Cheney’s pregnancy.

But that doesn’t mean others can’t!

A kind old lady by the name of Janice Crouse of the “Concerned Women for America” calls the miracle of new life “unconscionable”! But that lil lady has herself one of them cute Ph.D.’s. Can you imagine? They let women get educated these days! Next thing you know, they’ll be wanting to have some kind of say in what goes on in their reproductive plumbing! What a world.

Next up is a waxen pretty, effete feminine filly, Carrie Gordon Earll! She’s only got an M.A., not a Ph.D. M.A.? Mistress of Arts-and-crafts? So she’s, like, totally qualified! What does Ms. Miss Earll think of Mary Cheney’s pregnancy? She says, “Love can’t replace a mother and a father.”

Yeah? tell that to the Kim Family, you fucking cunt.

Can you tell I’m angry? These people, these Christians, who insist they corner the market on sympathy and grace and warmth are nothing even close to human. They are hideous, gaping caricatures of humanity, souless and horrible.

Is this what’s become of the teachings of a man whose only Commandment to his followers was “Love one another as I have loved you”?

That’s tragic, too.

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The Bush Twins

Yesterday on npr I heard excerpts from President Bush speaking to children of service men and women at the White House. Strains of “Get them while they’re young, Evita! Get them while they’re young!” echoed through my echoless, blocked sinuses. Or maybe it was just the fever.

Logo Npr 125President Bush was jovial and agreeable, as everyone who didn’t vote for him will tell you are the most important qualities to being a President. That, and not getting a hummer in the Oval Office. He stood there and said things like

I know it’s tough to have your mom or dad overseas, and we wish you all the best. But it’s really important work. And so we wanted to welcome you here to the White House to, first of all, thank you for your strength, and so that you would do me a favor and email your mom or dad who is overseas how much the Commander-in-Chief respects them, admires them and supports them.

He stood there in front of those children and talked about their parents who were overseas. His legions (now admittedly smaller in number) rallying around what he said, patting the agreeable man on the back and telling the word that that is how you support our troops overseas. Not cutting and running! Not bringing them home safe. None of that. His legions, though, ignore the fact that supporting our troops also costs money. It costs money to keep the barracks and military housing available. It costs money to provide healthcare for families of those in the service. It costs something that can’t be measured in dollars to send your father or mother, your son or daughter, off to a “war” (when did Congress actually issue a formal Declaration of War, by the way?).

Another song comes to mind, this one by Elvis Costello, written about Margaret Thatcher and her stone heart. It’s called Tramp the Dirt Down. An excerpt:

And now the cynical ones say that it all ends the same in the long run<br/> Try telling that to the desperate father who just squeezed the life from his only son<br/> And how it’s only voices in your head and dreams you never dreamt<br/> Try telling him the subtle difference between justice and contempt<br/> Try telling me she isn’t angry with this pitiful discontent<br/> When they flaunt it in your face as you line up for punishment<br/> And then expect you to say “Thank you” straighten up, look proud and pleased<br/> Because you’ve only got the symptoms, you haven’t got the whole disease<br/> Just like a schoolboy, whose head’s like a tin-can<br/> filled up with dreams then poured down the drain<br/> Try telling that to the boys on both sides, being blown to bits or beaten and maimed<br/> Who takes all the glory and none of the shame

And remember that the macho shithead policies that used to be cultural mandates but have mostly been kicked to the curb by, y’know, common sense? Be a man! Walk it off! Rub some dirt in it! Mental illness is just an excuse! Depression is for sissies! Don’t ask, Don’t tell! Oh, they all still exist. Soldiers bandy them about like they’re the Commandments 11-20 (ok, technically the 11th Commandment was from Jesus Himself: “Love one another as I have loved you”). Never mind that seeing your friends blown up, or seeing the bloody results of your own trigger finger, might cause you some severe distress. The Army doesn’t care; in fact, they’ll punish you for complaining about it!

Of course, none of this kind of supporting of our troops matters to President Bush, as he continues to cut taxes and cut funding for military personnel. Legions? What say you?

Apparently, the Bush Twins can’t be bothered with even minimal solemnity.

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Jenna & Barbara in Argentina

No, they’re off partying in Argentina. But hey, they’re 21 and so they managed to escape a 3rd strike (and they’re out!) conviction. And it’s no one’s business what they do or don’t do. You shouldn’t punish them for their parentage. It’s not like I’ve become a monk—well, ok, maybe I have, but not because of the war.

Anyway, Michael Kinsley wrote about the twins:

But no amount of eloquence can overcome the bald contrast between that rhetoric and how his own family lives. His daughters are over 21, and he can’t control them, but that doesn’t let them off the hook. They are now independent moral actors, and their situation requires that they either publicly oppose their father’s war or do something to support it. Is it unfair to expect Jenna and Barbara to shape their lives around their father’s folly? Of course it’s unfair. If this is war, then unfairness comes with the territory.

What’s my point? I’m fucking tired of hearing from the rightwing blogosphere that they own the recipe for supporting those who sacrifice. Hell, they think they own the definition of what sacrifice is. Sacrifice for others takes many forms, and I don’t suppose that I possess the authority to claim that nationalism is a better cause than feeding the poor, that losing your life in violent action for the religion of patriotism is more laudable that devoting your life to defending the Bill of Rights.

I’m tired of those legions of fanatical Bush apologists vilifying Those Who Question while saying nothing about Bush’s own family. Not every consistency is foolish, right?

Right, Right?

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5 By 5

Saw this one on D.Lo’s:

Your Five Factor Personality Profile
Extroversion:

You have high extroversion.
You are outgoing and engaging, with both strangers and friends.
You truly enjoy being with people and bring energy into any situation.
Enthusiastic and fun, you’re the first to say “let’s go!”

Conscientiousness:

You have medium conscientiousness.
You’re generally good at balancing work and play.
When you need to buckle down, you can usually get tasks done.
But you’ve been known to goof off when you know you can get away with it.

Agreeableness:

You have high agreeableness.
You are easy to get along with, and you value harmony highly.
Helpful and generous, you are willing to compromise with almost anyone.
You give people the benefit of the doubt and don’t mind giving someone a second chance.

Neuroticism:

You have medium neuroticism.
You’re generally cool and collected, but sometimes you do panic.
Little worries or problems can consume you, draining your energy.
Your life is pretty smooth, but there’s a few emotional bumps you’d like to get rid of.

Openness to experience:

Your openness to new experiences is high.
In life, you tend to be an early adopter of all new things and ideas.
You’ll try almost anything interesting, and you’re constantly pushing your own limits.
A great connoisseir of art and beauty, you can find the positive side of almost anything.

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Bush’s View of Murder

PRESIDENT BUSH: Well that’s — killers taking innocent life is, in some cases, sectarian. I happen to view it as criminal, as well as sectarian. I think any time you murder somebody, you’re a criminal. And I believe a just society and a society of — that holds people to account and believes in rule of law protects innocent people from murderers, no matter what their political party is.

That’s from a White House Press Release

So I’m going to go ahead and assume that President Bush believes that the 100,000+ Iraqi civilians killed by the United States over the past few years are all guilty as Christian Sin.

Or, he’s saying that America is not a Just Society.

Neocons out there want you to believe that there’s a Good and an Evil. No nuance. No subtlety. No context. Yet watch them provide context for this, and then carefully and irresponsibly substitute Bush’s vagueness for subtlety and nuance.

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