Saturday, July 15, 2006

Lebanon: The Bigger Monster

It's the Israelis. They're basic goal right now is to turn Lebanon into a gigantic prison or refugee camp. And they're doing a good job. They've destroyed much of Lebanon's economic infrastructure and cut Lebanon off from the world.

What did Hezbollah do? They kidnapped two Israeli soldiers while seeking leverage to have their own prisoners released from Israeli jails. It's bad negotiation technique, but there is no reason why the whole country of Lebanon had to pay such an enormous price.

The Israelis remind me of American slaveholders who were glad to whip innocent slaves rather than have one guilty one get away. They're punishing thousands of Lebanese to make sure that Hezbollah gets what it deserves.

Shopping Days to MLK's birthday: 183

Friday, July 14, 2006

Huffington on Hillary

Arianna Huffington goes after Hillary for "pandering to the red states" today in Huffington Post. What's this? Are progressives too good to pander?

But I'd be a lot happier with Hillary if she found a better way to appeal to heartland voters than reminding everybody that she was a Goldwater girl and a good Methodist. Nothing against either Goldwater or the Methodists, but Hillary should emphasize that she's smart enough, tough enough, and willing enough to work with the opposition to be an effective president.

Given all the problems we are going to have as a country in 2008, I'm supporting Hillary as a candidate who can get things done in a demanding environment.

Right now, that's better than anybody else can claim.

Daily Jesus Quote: (for workaholics)
Matthew 6: 25-28, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on . . . Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them . . . Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

Shopping Days to Martin Luther King's Birthday--184

Thursday, July 13, 2006

A Dying Metaphor

The metaphor is strength. Once upon a time, Dick Cheney said that “terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength. They are invited by the perception of weakness.”

And we certainly agreed, especially in the Red States.

Raised on Lethal Weapon, Die Hard, and Rambo, we in the RedStates agree that shows of strength silences our enemies.

But "strength" no longer means what it used to. We've learned a hard lesson in Iraq that demonstrations of military strength can stimulate rather than deter our opponents. North Korea's Kim Jong-il loves it when the Bushies talk dirty about overthowing him. The Israelis are about to learn the same lesson in Lebanon and Gaza. Watch for an escalation of terror attacks.

Daily Jesus Quote: Matthew 5: 43-44
"Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you."

There's very little comment on this saying in the U. S. , but it seems like an incredibly difficult ethic to follow.

Shopping Days to Martin Luther King's Birthday: 185

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Jesus and the Refusal of the Dispossessed

Daily Jesus Quote:
Matthew 5:39-41."But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil . . . And if any man will sue thee at the law and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain."

Not resisting evil means more than just turning the other cheek; it means giving enemies or evil people more than they seek. Jesus demands that we have a constant will to self-sacrifice and views humiliations such as loss of property or demands for menial service as special tests of our willingness to sacrifice ourselves. Being humiliated in these ways tempts us to reassert our own dignity. To the contrary, Jesus demands that we not only not give into that temptation, but that we go the extra mile in our sacrifice for our opponents and enemies.

In the United States, giving to the poor, downtrodden, and marginal is a particularly difficult test of our willingness to self-sacrifice. In the RedStates and elsewhere, people give gladly for the sake of their companies, communities, families, work, and churches. However, any effort to consider poor people, blacks, gays, immigrants, women, or the disabled is viewed as a special kind of burden. It's like those of us in the white mainstream think of the dispossessed as being thieves and oppressors and are always imagining ourselves as needing to reassert our dignity in the face of their demands. Whether the benefit is recognition of basic rights, providing access to social status, recognition of employee rights, or providing any kind of material benefit like health care or public assistance, Americans often treat any consideration for the poor and marginalized as the same kind of special burden as Jesus poses in the above quote.

And there can be little doubt that we as a nation fail to meet Jesus' standard of giving the dispossessed more than what they ask for.

Much of what specifically characterizes the RedStates is a constant resentment over anything that is sacrificed for those outside the sacred circle of the mainstream. Liberals and the Blue States don't do that much better, but resentment over the prospect of sacrificing for those outside the mainstream is one of the main reasons that the right-wing has so much political success in this region. This is another way in which the RedStates reject Jesus and it is helpful to keep in mind the Christian rejection of Jesus when seeking to understand the conservatism of the RedStates.

185 days to Martin Luther King's Birthday

Irrational Terrorists

Of course the Department of Homeland Security listed more terrorism targets in Wyoming and Indiana than New York and California. From the Red State perspective, that's just being rational. That the Mule Day Parade in Columbia, Tennessee is more important than the Golden Gate Bridge or the Lincoln Tunnel should go without saying. Here, people believe that places like Columbia, South Bend, Indiana, or Olney, Texas (home of the One-Armed Dove Hunt which I'm sure is on the list) are the real America. New York and San Francisco aren't.

RedStaters wonder why Osama bin Laden attacked the World Trade Center in New York City anyway? Sure, there were a lot of people in the building, but bin Laden acted like the World Trade Center was a leading symbol of America. To the contrary, people in the RedStates would have been really shaken if bin Laden had attacked Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY, the Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, or some of the famous wheatfields of Nebraska. The terrorist attack on New York was so shocking mostly because people in rural areas weren't used to thinking about New York City as part of the country. If the terrorists attacked Omaha, people would know they were attacking America.

That's why the Department of Homeland Security listed so many targets in places like Indiana. They know that any rational terrorist would strike there next.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Don't Let Your Daughters Have Coaches!

At least not in Texas. Texas newspapers reports that a girls basketball coach was arrested for sexual assault in Tarrant County while a girls wrestling coach was arrested for molesting his Leander, Texas wrestlers. Coaches have become a blight on the Red States as more and more of them have become more addicted to screaming at players with vein-popping, neck-bulging intensity. That's one reason why the Red States like the vein popping hysterics of televangelists or the over-the-top nastiness of Tom DeLay. We learn it from our coaches.

Jesus Quote for the Day:
Matthew 5: 38-39, "Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth; But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

Jesus must have been an Ann Coulter kind of liberal. He believed in submitting to the blows of evil-doers, but not in punishing them. That's why you hear a lot about the Ten Commandments but little about Jesus in the Red States.

Monday, July 10, 2006

That Zidane is RedState Tough!!

Here in the Red States, we were especially shocked by Zinedine Zidane's head butt. When in god's name did French guys get that tough? I mean that head butt was so vicious that Matarazzi was lucky he didn't break a couple of ribs. Ouch!

Aren't the French wimpy little wine drinkers? Damn, Zidane was the BOSS out there. A real take no crap, take no prisoners, middle-linebacker kind of guy. Bobby Knight and Barry Switzer are hard-hearded, but Zidane takes it to another level. Some of my buddies have already talked about naming their next sons Zidane rather than Josh or Brandon. Well, those names are kind of wimpy.

Hey, I'm going to listen the next time the French tell us not to invade a country!

Remembered in Nightmares

The first units of the 101 Airborne Division returned to Fort Campbell, Kentucky yesterday. Lots of wives, lots of kids, lots of flags. Bless them. The 101st was engaged in some of the heaviest fighting.

The 101st Airborne is also the unit from which at least four soldiers have been arrested for raping a fifteen year-old girl and murdering her and her family. The investigation of the crime and the cover-up continues and another four soldiers have been charged today.

Captain Mark Weinschreider was emphatic that the allegations of war crimes "don't affect me . . . All the good we're doing over there outweighs any bad stuff that happens."

Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. American soldiers work and fight and slog their way forward, but their good work is always being undone by the incompetence in Washington, sectarian animosity between Sunnis and Shiites, and the crimes being committed in the field. Forty years from now, the efforts of the 101st will be remembered primarily in nightmares--their own and those of the Iraqis they thought they were helping.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

College Guys as Gender Confederates

Today's NYT article on the college Gender Gap was right on the money in the Times' boring, pedantic way.

Let me add a little spice.

A lot of guys have not only gotten less ambitious about grades; they've lost their drive for sex as well.

Sex with women anyway.

What's emerging on campus' like mine is a big shift in male culture. Guys reject the traditional male role of breadwinner and head of family just as vehemently as any feminist. But they're less tolerant of equality with women than ever. Guys have turned to pornography, strip clubs, masturbation, and video games instead. For more guys than I care to imagine, sex means porn. But since porn means masturbation, sex also means masturbation. Lots of masturbation. One woman talked about a guy who masturbated when he got up in the morning, before class, after each of his classes, and when classes were over. Football coaches would say he had a "great motor."

What porn, stripping, masturbation, and video games do is keep sex within circles of other guys. I've heard that guys tease other guys who date women as "gay." Withdrawing or attempting to withdraw their sexual interest from women altogether, these guys form are "gender confederates" who have seceded from heterosexuality.

that's why you see so many Confederate flags in the Red States.

Real Red State Religion

Today's newspaper in Lexington, KY is dominated by not one, but two reports from the Nike All-America Camp. The Nike and Adidas camps serve the crucial functions of introducing new cult figures into Kentucky's most important religion--basketball. Hundreds of thousands of Kentucky basketball fans have been learning ab out Patrick Patterson, Jai Lucas, and Delvin Roe. We already knew about O. J. Mayo from his years in Kentucky.

Ann Coulter mocks liberalism by calling it a religion, but calling basketball the number 1 religion in Kentucky is only being realistic. Any Baptist ministers worth his salt would trade his eternal salvation for one percent of the devotion, fervor, and sense of mystery attached to Kentucky basketball.

Among the Red States, Kentucky and North Carolina are unique for putting most of their religious feeling into basketball. Football rules in Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Arizona, Colorado, Nebraska, and Kansas.

Even though we are monumental in our religiosity, it is absurd to refer to the Red States as Christian. We're all pagans intently focused on the local divinities.