Saturday, August 13, 2011

Neutralizing Barton et al

In my time as an op-ed campaigner and, hopefully, truth teller, I would go after the usual suspects with all the energy, passion and bravado I could muster. My only regret was that I never had the opportunity to go one on one with any of the heavy hitters on the other side. But now that I’m more of a spectator I’ve begun to see how difficult it really is to pin these holy barbarians down. They may be loony and dangerous, but they ain’t dumb. They’ve mastered the art of rhetorical rope-a-dope to the point where no amount of logic, reason and scholarship, no matter how well presented, can score any significant points - except, of course, with our own choir.
So taking these people on head to head has become a no-win situation simply because they’re playing not to lose. All they need do is to stick obstinately to their absurd presumptions or toss out a veritable blizzard of cut and paste “history”, leaving us grinding our teeth in frustration as we try to extricate ourselves from their revisionist tar baby. Case in point, to me anyway, was how David Barton toyed with Jon Stewart last spring and never conceded a thing.
So I’m thinking maybe it’s time we stepped outside the box, pull a Kobayashi Maru and just rewrite the script. Why must we always feel that in order to gain the moral high ground with this lot we must thoroughly repudiate their nonsense point by point in order to be successful? How ‘bout instead we apply a little rhetorical jujitsu and force them off point for a change by turning their vaunted message discipline against them and getting them to play in our sandbox.
Forget about a frontal assault with the truth. Gets you absolutely nowhere. Perhaps it could be as simple as conceding their basic premise, hypothetically of course, and then hit whomever with something like: All right let’s imagine for a moment that you’re right and America is a Christian nation according to your criteria. Fine. Now what does that really mean? Why is it so important to you? How would this affect our day-to-day lives?
What, if anything, would change the way we the people view the five essential institutions of society - family, religion, education, economics and government? What changes in law and custom would need to be made in order to fulfill our Christian destiny? What would be the fate of dissenters or religious outsiders in this new Christian order?
Now they’re stuck to our tar baby because we’re not challenging their essential contention but rather the implications of what they’re proposing. They can no longer hide behind how many times George Washington may have uttered the word God in 1791 because now it’s totally immaterial to the discussion. People like David Barton don’t make it their life’s work to spuriously re-form the template of American history without a reason. Maybe it’s time we pull back the curtain and expose these charlatans not for what they’re saying but why they’re saying it.
At this juncture it should be said that we wouldn’t be able to pull this off without the dedicated efforts of all the right-minded historians and truth tellers who are steadfastly shoring up the firm foundation of what it really means to to be American. It is these people who keep reminding us that true history is not something that can be invented out of whole cloth at the whim of anyone who would promulgate the Big Lie for their own nefarious purposes.
As an old history teacher I find myself just now channeling Henry V when he snookered the French at Agincourt. Instead of playing by the established rules King Hal introduced a whole new set of weapons and tactics that decimated their more traditional enemy. Perhaps this is one history lesson we could all benefit from. Just a thought, folks.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

What's the Rush?

What’s the Rush? 3/12/09

If the ongoing kerfuffle over Rush Limbaugh has taught us anything it is to remind us that nature abhors a vacuum. Without a consistent coherent voice from within the Republican hierarchy, Rush has emerged from the usual staticky background noise to essentially inherit the mantle of party spokesman almost by default.
Not that the bloated bloviator of blighted blather isn’t enjoying himself. He’s probably reveling in his narcissistic glory even as we speak, especially since he now knows that he is essentially immune to any kind of concerted attempts by the Republican proletariat to rein him in. As we have already seen, every time Republican pols have tried to distance themselves from the Rushian onslaught they’ve gotten smacked down big time.
But let’s not entirely blame Rush for that. When you have a political movement that’s essentially been discredited, disavowed and disowned by a large majority of Americans, and whose message - such as it is - is one of desperate negativity utterly bereft of ideas and programs, about the only thing left is to act like spoiled brats and hold their breath til they turn blue (not exactly a favorite Republican color when you think about it). Under these circumstances, Rush has merely stepped into the void, finding himself, I suspect, a tad surprised at his sudden elevation to, take your pick, party elder, party leader or party spokesman.
But he’ll take it. Hell, why shouldn’t he? As someone who has spent the better part of two decades carrying the water for his beloved movement, to find himself not just the soundtrack but the figurehead of his malevolent brand of conservatism has to be a, well, rush, one you don’t even need a prescription for so how good is that.
The problem for Rush’s supporting cast, which is to say the national Republican delegation, is that those who have rhetorically stepped up have jumped the shark even more than Rush has, creating the dog and pony show that has short-circuited the efforts of the few remaining grownups in the party to craft a reasoned and effective Loyal Opposition.
So much for the Republicans. But the Democrats aren’t exactly covering themselves in glory either, sending mixed signals about how to handle this thing. To my mind they’re batting .500, showing us their dark side as well as their moxie. In turn: Rush should just shut up. Not cool. But taking Rush’s rhetoric and flinging it back in his and the Republicans’ face? Definitely cool.
It is counterintuitive for a progressive administration to start rattling sedition sabers. We need to keep the airwaves humming now more than ever, even if some of the stuff is as rank as anything put out by Father Coughlin or Westbrook Pegler in their respective heydays. If nothing else, it serves as a reminder that our fragile democracy ought never even consider repeating the mistakes of the Weimar Republic during their economic and social disorder. So no matter how ugly it gets it’s still better to have Rush broadcasting from his Florida estate than from an undisclosed location somewhere in Idaho.
On the other hand, it is refreshing to see that the Obama administration ain’t takin no crap either. Remember that this is a Chicago-based White House, a major sea change from the Texas mob we’re still cleaning up after. These guys understand the Chicago Way, so memorably evoked in The Untouchables, which I suspect has taken a lot of people by surprise. We’ve gone from Texas-style backslapping to big-city bitchslapping, and unless or until the Republicans get their act together they better get used to getting cuffed around for the rhetoric of their putative leader and the obsequious kowtowing of his cowering minions.
Rule of thumb? By all means keep bringing a gun to a knife fight, while at the same time celebrating and defending the absolute right of the Rush Limbaughs of this country to “entertain” us with the kind of programming that probably sounded a lot better in the original German.
Bottom line, it ain’t about Rush it’s about us. It’s about whether we the people actually got the memo. We’ve spent the first decade of the twenty-first century learning what civil liberties really mean to us through the simple expedient of having many of them systematically eroded, subverted or simply ignored. Dissent, a notion completely anathema to the Bushies, must now once again be allowed to flourish, even and perhaps especially the rhetorical excesses and political nihilism of Rush and all who sail in him.
So here’s where we find out if we’re better than that. Keep talkin’, Rush. It’s still public air, and thank heaven for that. But for the foreseeable keep in mind that when you take on this administration, remember the Sopranos because you better come heavy.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Trolling for trolls?

Crossposted from Daily Kos 9/9/08

“No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.”
HL Mencken

There’s been a lot of back and forth lately about allegedly nay-saying trolls posting diaries, which makes me wonder: Is anyone out there in blogville who is feeling more than a little antsy, whose sense of deja vu has their spider sense tingling, who can see Dukakis, Gore and Kerry clanking their chains like Marley’s ghost, and who has the temrerity to take their Cassandra-like angst public going to be automatically branded as a troll?

Regrettably the answer to that appears to be yes, and as a Democrat who’s been voting since ‘68, frankly I resent it. It’s one thing to have an honest difference of opinion with a fellow blogger, even to the point of a snarky reply, but to suggest that anyone who would deviate from the, dare I say it, party line is somehow in bed with the enemy makes us look and sound like, well, them.

So yes I’m worried. I’ve been through too many post-coital convention swoons only to wake up and find my wallet gone. Mike and Al and John were great dates, until we took ‘em home to meet the folks. And now, God help us, we’re bringing a really exotic specimen to the front door. All that’s left is to have “Society’s Child” as background music.

So yes, people, I worry that our fractious nation still believes in the quick fix. Like it or not, impulsive as McCain may have been, Palin is an inspired choice. It has enabled the bad guys to frame the agenda, once again sending the old and slow straight talk freight to a siding so the flashy streamliner can pass on through. That’s not troll-ish, that’s a fact.

The question is what can we do about it, and that’s what I think is driving the realists among us to wonder out loud if the illusoiry promise of quantum change will be enough this time around to trump the status quo. That’s not troll-ish, that’s a cry in the wilderness from those whose political diaspora has spanned many, many years, in my case decades. Keep reminding yourselves that Clinton, and Carter to a certain extent, were aberrations, not the norm. Also keep in mind that the last Republican who actually “won” an election outright was Reagan, and connect the dots from there.

I saw Barack with Keith last night, heard him calmly keepin’ on and trusting in his message. Hey I’m a believer. Hell he had me at hello way back when. But the belief is in Barack, which is not enough. To really make it work we have to believe not just in ourselves, which is to say the progressive core of the electorate, but in those folks for whom you’d think voting Democratic would be a no-brainer. Ay there’s the rub. If we can’t convince enough people that enlightened self-interest is preferable to indulgent self-interest we’ve had it. That’s not troll-ish, that’s reality.

Now part of my own particular angst stems from living in western Mass., the heart iof the People’s Republic of New England, where if we get any bluer we’ll need to add a new color band to the spectrum. So while the battle is joined elsewhere we sit in splendid isolation, like the Washington swells in 1861 who packed picnic lunches and watched from a comfortably safe distance as their boys got smashed at Bull Run. If I hadn’t spent three weeks in Oregon this summer visiting family I might never have known there was a real horse race out there beyond our blue horizon. This isolation only adds to the frustration, since out here we’re all registered and committed. About the only political battles we fight in this neck of the woods are with some of our over-the-top PC types, but come crunch time we’ll all vote the same.

So I watch and listen as this life-or-death struggle for the future of the American experiment plays out on a distant plain, secure in the knowledge that my region will show the flag and do the right thing. Meanwhile, out in the real world it’s some bad shit happenin’ and there ain’t a damn thing I can do about it except hope beyond all expectation that this time our guy will actually get the dust to settle in the rest of the country just long enough for his clarity of vision to penetrate the force field of denial and self-absorption and give us back our beloved country.

And if my reading of history and bitter past experience renders me less sanguine than blogville might wish, if my presumed lack of enthusiasm makes me a troll by default, so be it. Lord knows I’d love to bring my aging bones in from the cold and darkness of our political nuclear winter and find warmth at Barack’s fireside, but I’m not holding my breath. Big truth is castor oil. A big lie is cotton candy. So we better find some sugar to help that medicine go down, and do it damn quick, or else it’s just going to get darker and colder out there come November.

“This concludes our emotional weather report. Now back to the eleven o’clock blues.”
Tom Waits

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Scarier than you think

Sarah Palin, asked what she thought about the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance: "If it was good enough for the Founding Fathers it's good enough for me..."

As the house pessimist, or realist depending on your point of view, I see this observation as yet one more indicator of how we could very easily lose this election.

Put simply, the Republicans have mastered the black political art of validating ignorance. Tie this in with the insidious and pervasive Orwellian re-writing of American history going on in home and public schools across the land, and you have a political weapon that would make Josefs Goebbels and Stalin green with envy.

Remember, we inhabit a political universe in which truth and fact no longer matter. History is what the Republicans say it is, and the pervasive, unspoken subtext is that America is, was, and always will be a Christian nation.

What concerns me about this is that we progressives actually, if not naively, believe that through the simple expedient of truth-telling we can re-educate the True Believers and shame the Rs' campaign into sticking with the facts (got yer deed t'th' Brooklyn Bridge right heah if you buy that one).

But what's truly scary about all this is how the Rs' political jujitsu can turn a progressive response into a backlash in a New York minute. The moment we correctly tag Sarah Palin, or anyone else of importance in the campaign, as the profound ignoramus she is - or they are - the Rs fire back with the latest variation of the egghead smear that's been their weapon of choice since Stevenson.

Works every time, neighbors. No one likes to be shown up, especially by some elitist lefty (which is to say anyone who knows the score who's telling you you're wrong), and the Rs know it. Consider how many people we all know who can't won't or don't make the distinction between ignorance and intelligence. Mention the fact that someone might be ignorant of the situation at hand and what do you hear? "You calling me stupid?" Nuff said.

So I'd be careful with how we, and the Obama campaign, deal with this. Joe Biden could easily shred Palin and her credibility in their debate, but watch out for the Rs' response. I can hear it now. Biden's just another glib pointy-headed liberal. Do we really want someone that articulate, that smart, talking over our heads all the time? Bad enough we have to deal with this uppity colored guy, but two eggheads in the same administration? Why that's un-American.

Republicans love ignorance and fact-bending. They thrive on it, and have co-opted it as a political stratagem, which means we should attack it not frontally but obliquely. To go after Palin directly springs the Rovian trap, so we nibble at the edges.

Put some quick references into ads and stump speeches, maybe give Joe Biden a zinger or two like "Y'know I've recited the Pledge of Allegiance all my life, and I believe in it with all my heart. But I also paid attention in history class, so I know that the Pledge wasn't written until 1892, which means that if Sarah Palin is right about the Founding Fathers endorsing it they would have had to live another hundred years. Now for someone running for vice-president, maybe to be off by a few years wouldn't matter all that much, but to be off by that much makes me wonder what other serious misconceptions Gov. Palin might be laboring under."

And under no circumstances do we go directly after Palin's pregnant daughter. Instead, let Obama, or the right group of surrogates, offer up something like this: "Now we've heard a lot from the Republicans, and will hear a lot more I'm sure, about good old fashioned family values. So I suggest you now to take a good long, hard look at the respective tickets, Obama-Biden and McCain-Palin. You've heard our stories, read all about us, so now ask yourselves which of these sets of candidates really represents the kind of values you'd want to see in your own families."

And don't belabor the point. Get in and get out. Journalist George Seldes, whose remarkable career spanned nearly the entire 20th century, and of whom too many progressives are, yes, ignorant, lived by a very simple mantra: "Tell the truth and run." He didn't mean it in a cowardly way. Instead he was all about get in, get the facts, tell the story and move on to the next one before anyone can draw a bead on the messenger.

So it's all about guerrilla tactics. Hit and run, in and out. Strike quick, strike hard, and then get back on message. Will it work? Who knows. This election hinges on whether or not we the people actually think we've hit bottom. Problem is that the Republicans are the bottom-feeders in this race, and know how to stir up the muck to obscure the truth. Our job is to keep blupping up bubbles of truth and reason through the primordial ooze of ignorance and fear that has pandemically infected the American electoral mindset, in the hope of some of that message actually getting through.

And I wish us all luck, because as we all know the fate of the American experiment hangs in the balance. If we don't find a bigger choir to preach to we've had it...

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Questions for Palin

Okay, despite my overall lack of complete confidence in the Democrats finally getting their act together, and in the voters actually getting it this time around, I do think there’s a chance to neutralize Sarah Palin early on, and maybe gain a measure of redemption for letting Dan Quayle skate back in ‘88.
Of course this would depend on whether there are still working journalists out there with the wherewithal and the stones to ask the really tough and meaningful questions of the gentlelady from Alaska that would help fill in a significant number of blanks. So as a freelance with a few tough interviews under his belt, here are some questions I would put to Gov. Palin had I the opportunity:

You have embraced the religious right’s attempts to force the teaching of biblical creationism in public school science classes, under the rubric of “intelligent design” and the Discovery Insitute’s campaign to “teach the controversy.” That being the case, would you say that you were a creationist, and if so are you a young-earth or an old-earth creationist?

[Followup] In the Dover, Pa. case, a federal judge appointed by Bush II ruled that introducing a blatantly theological and theocratic agenda into the science curriculum was patently unconstitutional. Do you agree with that decision? Is Judge Jones your kind of Republican? And do you think that promoting a religious agenda in science or history classes is, or ought to be, considered constitutional, and would you favor changing the First Amendment to reflect that belief?

There’s been some confusion on where you stand regarding spousal benefits for committed gay couples. Do you believe in, at the very least, civil unions as an alternative to actual marriage, or is even that off the table?

You are on record as being opposed to abortion in all cases, including rape and incest. Back in ‘88 a twelve-year-old girl hypothetically asked Dan Quayle what he would do for her if she were made pregnant by incestutous rape. Quayle’s now-infamous reply was “I’ll pray for you.” So let’s put the same hypothetical in play now, and ask you tell us what your response would be to that young person if she were to put the same question to you today.

Even if Barack Obama were a Muslim, which he most assuredly is not, should that preclude or otherwise disqualify him from running for, or being, president? And in a related manner, do you believe, as many of your fellow Republicans do and is thus reflected in many state GOP platforms, that America is a Christian nation?

Two years ago you stated for the record that you were in favor of any and all public works projects that came your way, including the so-called bridge to nowhere, and now you’ve come out foursquare against that project. Would you describe the thought process that led to that decision?

Much has been made of the current problems with our military, the laundry list being very well known so we won’t get into it here. Do you believe that the new GI Bill was the right piece of legislation, or do you believe that John McCain’s defeated alternative would have been the preferred choice?

[Followup] Should our military continue to be led by a cadre of Christian fundamentalists, as it is now by all accounts, who believe that we should be fighting an apoalyptic holy war in the Middle East and Central Asia?
Do you believe it is proper and appropriate for our servicepeople to actively attempt to convert the Iraqi people to their particular brand of Christianity, or any other faith for that matter?
Do you believe that evangelicals in the military throughout the ranks have the right to aggressively evangelize or proselytize their fellow servicepeople while on active duty? Should the service academies and installation commanders be permitted to coerce cadets to attend sectarian activities in exchange for free time or lighter duty?

Which are the two largest Islamic factions in Iraq? Which holds the population majority, and what would you do to help promote stability between the two?

Should you somehow become president:
Under what circumstances do you believe we should go to war with Iran?
Under what circumstances would you consider the use of nuclear weapons?
Would you consider actively pursuing any constitutional amendments, and if so what would they be?
What sort of approach would you take towards Russia?

Do you truly believe that expanded oil drilling in Alaska or elsewhere, or enacting a gas tax holiday, will provide us with the short-term relief we so desperately need at the moment? Are there no unintended consequences to consider as a result of such actions?

Have you read Jerome Corsi’s book about Obama, and if so what did you think of it?

Define the following terms, as you understand them: fascism and appeasement, and how these two concepts figure into current domestic and world affairs.

Let me offer you a few observations made by various Americans throughout our history, presented anonymously, and ask in the best Republican tradition of black or white, yes or no, up or down, whether you agree with them. Names will be supplied after your replies:
1) “We should invade them all, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.”
(Ann Coulter)
2) “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military/industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”
3) "Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites."
4) “I believe a marriage is between a man and a woman.”
(Bush II)
5) "The same human activity that has brought freedom and opportunity to billions has also increased the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. Increased atmospheric carbon has a warming effect on the earth."
(Republican platform, 2008)
6) “The experience of the United States is a happy disproof of the error so long rooted in the unenlightened minds of well-meaning Christians, as well as in the corrupt hearts of persecuting usurpers, that without a legal incorporation of religious and civil polity, neither could be supported. A mutual independence is found most friendly to practical Religion, to social harmony, and to political prosperity.”
7) “Oh Lord! Do you think that a Protestant Popedom is annihilated in America? Do you recollect, or have you ever attended to the ecclesiastical Strifes in Maryland, Pennsilvania, New York, and every part of New England? What a mercy it is that these People cannot whip and crop, and pillory and roast, AS YET in the U.S.! If they could they would.”
(John Adams)

So if you had half an hour with Governor Palin, just you and her and a voice recorder, what would you want to know?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

PBS "Carrier": A Mixed Blessing

The PBS documentary “Carrier” was an eye-opener, especially for an old civilian such as me. As a retired high school teacher I was particularly interested in the kids as they told their stories, especially since, as any teacher watching the series would attest, we’ve known these kids, shared their lives and heard these same stories.
We’ve nurtured these kids, wheedled and cajoled them, laughed and cried with them, and when all the motivational tricks failed we’ve probably all thrown up our hands and sent ‘em down to the office. So it was a revelation to see that archetypal wiseass who was the bane of your existence for up to four years trying real life on for size, and for the most part finding it a pretty good fit.
From that perspective, then, the series was a truly rewarding experience. But certain aspects of the show were troubling, particularly segment on religion and faith. I approached the hour with a fair measure of misgiving, having been following, and covering, the heavy-handed attempt to Christianize the military that has reached crisis proportions and shows no signs of letting up.
Frankly, I expected this hour to reveal a bunch of wild-eyed Christian warriors piloting the USS Jesus, nee Nimitz, toward her inevitable rendezvous with her millennial destiny. Instead, we were shown what appeared to be a paradigm of religious tolerance and diversity, with any number of Protestant and Catholic observances taking place. There was even a small coven of practicing Wiccans aboard, a handful of Muslims and at least one token Jew who maintained he’d not been hassled at all.
Part of me wanted desperately to believe what I was seeing, since it seemed to fly in the face of all that I’d heard, read and reported. Perhaps, I thought, there may still be some reasonably enlightened religious folk, especially among the chaplain corps, who actually get it and were playing by the rules because they thought it was the right thing to do.
On the other hand, I told myself, this series was produced by Mel Gibson, whose own track record on religious tolerance is of course dubious at best. What also started bouncing around in my brain pan was the old adage that if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. So I got in touch with Mikey Weinstein of the MIlitary Religious Freedom Foundation, who has been the point man on this issue for some time now, to get his take on the series, particularly the religion segment.
Weinstein had indeed watched the show, and he too was concerned that art was not exactly imitating life where matters of shipboard faith were concerned. In fact, among the nearly 8,000 service people and their families who have contacted the MRFF with concerns, complaints and anguished cries for help are a dozen or so from the Nimitz. Because of sensitivity and security concerns, and that fact that these are open cases, Weinstein would not elaborate on the nature of the grievances, but he did characterize a couple of the incidents as “vicious.”
Regrettably, this appears to be consistent with the tone and substance of many of the cases that have been widely reported, from the Weinstein family’s own ordeals at the Air Force Academy to the story of Jeremy Hall, the atheist GI whose personal safety has been threatened by fellow soldiers after news of his lawsuit against the Army went public.
So, as much as I would like to believe what I saw in the faith segment, it appears that we may have been shown a Potemkin facade, at least as far as a truly balanced presentation is concerned. And that’s a shame, because a lot of what we did see appeared to portray the American religious experience at its freewheeling best. But just as much of a large ship’s activity takes place below the water line, and therefore remains largely unseen, so too, it seems, can a similar case be made for an unseen current of religious extremism flowing unchecked below the line, under the radar, out of sight, out of mind.
On balance, therefore, “Carrier” was a mixed blessing. It was well crafted, and at its best insightful and moving. It’s just too bad that there couldn’t have been a little more filmic and intellectual honesty devoted to an issue that remains, to our national detriment, the elephant in the room.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Short Hits

Is anyone else out there fed up with this “elite” nonsense? Yeah I know the far-right wingnuts have latched onto it like a junkyard dog on an alley cat, but surely we can begin to neutralize it as an issue by beginning to point out that there’s plenty of elitism to go around, especially over on the dark side. Can you say corporate elite? If the Republicans want a knife fight, let’s give ‘em one: Hollywood vs. Halliburton, last one standing gets to the White House.

Over on Americans United there’s a story about an Ohio science teacher who’s refused an order to remove his Bible from his desk. This came after the guy was told to remove the Ten Commandments from his classroom door, which he did. The teacher is one of those hard-core Christians who just can’t bring himself to check his theocratic views at the door, offhandedly dissing the wall of separation and pushing so-called intelligent design on his students.
The real kicker is that this guy wants to sue the school district by saying his rights have been violated. It’s a dead-cert loser, but the Republican “qaeda” has already broken out the torches and pitchforks and are ready to ride this broke-down jalopy right over the cliff.
As a retired HS social studies teacher it saddens me every time I run across a story like this. In my psychology, sociology and history classes I was all over religion as a uniquely human experience. My kids got a good look at everything from Cotton Mather to Amazon animism, always backstopped by the idea that when you boil it down you’ll find the same archetypal human dynamics at work, and that we’re a helluva lot more alike than we think.
Then you run into a bozo like this, who brings church sermons into science class and makes a mockery of everything the human race has managed to accomplish over the past two millennia. To my mind, while the man has committed no crime his actions in his classroom border on the criminal, nothing short of intellectual child abuse.
Ah well, such is life among the deluded who say the religious right is dead. Then again, Ben Stein’s movie tanked, so we takes our small victories as we finds ‘em.

Meanwhile this old cynic still thinks this election is McCain’s to lose. Once the fear and smear machine cranks up in the general it’ll be the same-old same-old. Republicans are masters of gut-think, and they have tapped so deeply into the American psyche that it’ll take the equivalent of a political nuke to finally get us off the schneid.
On the other hand, if McCain’s down by twenty points in the polls come October, feel free to serve up my words and I’ll eat ‘em stewed, boiled or fried. Mind you I ain’t holdin’ me breath on that one.