Category Archives: Politics

Palin Criticized Unfairly

This week Sarah Palin was in the news for resigning from the Governorship of Alaska. If you’ve watched television in the past three days you’ve probably seen much mockery about Sarah Palin’s invocation of the federal government’s Department of Law, because DUH! it’s called the Department of Justice.

Her full quote was:

“I don’t think it will be the day after day after day of ethics violation charges that are frivolous, that are ridiculous. I think on a national level your department of law there in the White House would look at this, the things we have been charged with, and automatically throw them out, not make somebody hire their own personal attorney to get out there and fight.”

All over twitter, blogs, MSNBC, and Facebook people mocked Palin as ignorant.

One Daily Kos author wrote:

True, this was not the first sign of Palin’s extremely limited, ahem, knowhow about these matters (and everything else outside moose hunting, running for beauty contests, winking at the audiences, making babies and shopping at Neiman Marcus)

I think that many of these critics are latching on to this comment because it fits very well into the Sarah Palin is an ignorant yahoo story line.  Unfortunately, this time it seems that Palin made a simple and quite understandable mistake.

Mark Tushnet at Balkinization explains:

The liberal blogosphere is getting all snarky about Sarah Palin’s reference to the “department of Law” in Washington. I’d just like to point out that it doesn’t take much (a Google search) to discover that the Attorney General of Alaska runs the state’s Department of Law. Surely a governor is entitled to describe the legal office associated with the executive branch as the branch’s department of law. Emphasis is mine.

There are many much more serious issues than this and given this logical explanation for Palin’s comment, it seems like this would be a great time to drop it.

Here’s the google search that Tushnet refers to:

Picture 1


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Hillary Clinton has a USA elbow sling

As you may have heard, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton broke her elbow three weeks ago.  What you probably haven’t heard is that her sling has the official Great Seal of the United States, specifically the coat of arms.

This thing:US-GreatSeal-eagle.svg

According to wikipedia:

The Great Seal of the United States is used to authenticate certain documents issued by the United States federal government. The phrase is used both for the physical seal itself (which is kept by the United States Secretary of State), and more generally for the design impressed upon it. The Great Seal was first used publicly in 1782.

The design on the obverse of the great seal is the national coat of arms of the United States.[1] It is officially used on documents such as United States passports, military insigniaembassy placards, and various flags. As a coat of arms, the design has official colors; the physical Great Seal itself, as affixed to paper, is monochrome.

It’s also on her arm sling see:

With President Zelaya of Hondurus

With President Zelaya of Hondurus

Zoom on the sling:

zoomedMakes me wonder, are those arm slings available publicly? Is there other clothes branded with the coat of arms?


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John McCain Contradicts Himself on Twitter

On Twitter, John McCain decides to declare his support for democracy in Honduras and China.

Twitter 1

Thirty two minutes later, he decides that he only wants democracy in China.

Twitter 2Two quick comments:

1) It is NOT clear that Zelaya was in violation of his country’s constitution, and the military was certainly not carrying out orders from any governmental institution. McCain is not just wrong, he’s also contradicting most world leaders.

2) Whatever happened in Honduras, it was anti-democratic. So we should continue to stand up for human rights and democracy, except when inconvenient? That’s not what McCain has said before.

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Democratic 60? Check again.

With the inauguration of Al Franken, there are now 60 U.S. senators who are members of the Democratic party.  60 also happens to be the number of votes required to end debate on the Senate floor (stopping filibusters and allowing votes on bills).

Much of the media and Republicans are now adopting the story line that Democrats will run roughshod over the minority. You can bet that in the 2010 elections, Republicans will argue that you should vote Republican in order to restore some “balance” in the Congress.  Oh Look! They already did that:

This is silly.

The fact that there are now 60 (D) votes in the Senate will not change much from when there were 59.  First there’s the fact that two US Senators are rarely able to make it for a vote.  Senators Byrd (WV) and Kennedy (MA) both are suffering from serious health issues and have had great difficulty making it to work.  In addition, there are several Democratic Senators who are less than reliable votes.  These include recent convert Arlen Specter (PA) as well as Senators Ben Nelson (NE) and Mary Landrieu (LA).

These three Senators now have more power than ever. They know that without their cooperation, the Democrats are vulnerable to Republican obstructionism. While there are some Republicans who have been willing to cooperate with Democrats (Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins), without Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd Democrats still need at least one of the three previously mentioned conservatives.

So will we see an epoch of Democratic tyranny? Don’t count on it.

Update: It’s worth noting that Franken’s first vote was against the administration.

Update II: The Political Animal comments on the above ad:

In a web video released this week, the NRSC shows Franken, who will be sworn into the Senate today with his hand on a Wellstone family Bible, telling the Wellstone-as-track-coach story not once, not twice but at least six times. Each time, you can see Franken mouthing the words of Wellstone “‘You can take this guy! You can take him. You can take this guy!” Like the ad during the campaign, viewers can’t actually hear Franken speaking so all it shows is a man pointing crazily

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Norm Coleman Concedes

From the New York Times:

Norm Coleman, the Republican incumbent, has conceded to the
Democrat Al Franken in the contested Senate race in
Minnesota, ending a seven-month battle over the seat. Earlier
Tuesday afternoon, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled
unanimously that Mr. Franken was the winner.

Much of this was covered in the early stages by my previous blog

See more here:

Did Coleman’s Attorney Vote for Franken?

Al Franken’s January Statement
Franken certified the winner
Senator Franken?
Minnesota Supreme Court’s December Decision
Recount Update: Can Franken Pull It Off?
Canvassing Update 2

Canvassing Update
December 5th Update
December 4th Update
Dececember 3rd Update
December 1st Update
MPR Ballots
Star-Tribune Ballots

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A Response To Sally Kern (via the Oklahoma Gazette)

One of the nice things about blogging in Oklahoma is the fact that there are people like Sally Kern. Sally Kern, her colleagues, and followers, go around saying many many ridiculous things which beg to be rebutted.  Normally what she says really just ought to be ignored, but this week she wrote a ‘counterpoint’ in the Gazette entitled “preserving traditional marriage.” Below I will post each part of her article and offer a rebuttal. Please feel free to rebut on your own in the comments.

For centuries, traditional marriage has been the bedrock institution of society, providing stability and sustainability. Only traditional marriage produces children, which perpetuates future generations.

This is the beginning of Representative Kern’s argument, and a common argument against gay marriage.  The first thing to notice is that she’s framing the debate in terms of “Preserving Traditional Marriage.” She is assuming, without any evidence at this point, that allowing homosexuals the right to form a union will jeopardize or end “traditional” marriage.

Further, from my understanding, marriage was only a source of stability in the sense that it was used as a business transaction.  Fathers would try and get their daughters engaged with a better-off man so that their family could be better regarded.  In many societies, adultery was common, and outside of the western world polygamy was common.

While same-sex couples can adopt or be inseminated, this is not the norm. For posterity, society has a vested interest in preserving traditional marriage. Countless studies prove that children thrive best when reared in a home with a mother and a father. Children need the unique qualities that each gender brings into the nurturing process. Also, a monogamous relationship between a man and a woman helps to protect from STDs.

The first sentence doesn’t make any sense. Is she saying that among same-sex couples it is not the norm to have a child? Or is she saying that it is not normal for that occur?

She claims “countless studies” have found that a home with a mother and father is better than same-sex parents for children.  Yet this LA times article says that the “American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Assn., the American Psychological Assn., the American Psychiatric Assn. and a variety of child welfare groups” have all endorsed the proposition that gay parents are no better and no worse than traditional parents.

The American Psychological Association says: “the research has been remarkably consistent in showing that lesbian and gay parents are every bit as fit and capable as heterosexual parents, and their children are as psychologically healthy and well-adjusted as children reared by heterosexual parents.”

So what exactly does Representative Kern mean by “countless”?

Biology is important in the same-sex marriage debate. It doesn’t take a genius to know that a man’s and a woman’s body parts naturally fit together. The anatomy of opposite sexes was made to complement each other. Two men or two women can’t physically complement one another. There are also other differences between the sexes than just physical. Emotional and psychological differences exist. A man cannot meet all the needs of another man and vice versa.

I think that many gay men would say that other men are able to meet their needs. Most lesbians seem to also believe that other women meet their needs.

Homosexuals say same-sex marriage is their civil right, comparing their quest for marriage equality to blacks in their struggle for equality. But homosexuals have always had all the rights of citizenship, unlike blacks. They can vote, own property, hold a job. They’ve never been bought and sold as slaves, or had separate bathrooms or drinking fountains. Homosexuality is not self-evident the way black is.

I think we can agree that homosexuals have not been harmed in the same way African-Americans were in this country.  Just because it’s not the same does not mean that African-Americans have a claim to the civil-rights “tag” and gays don’t.  This is Representative Kern’s divide and conquer paragraph.

Homosexuality is not inborn. If it were, from which parent was it inherited? No validated scientific study has ever proven there is a “gay gene.” Everyone is equal and worthy of respect, but not all ideas or behaviors are equal. Granting legal status to a behavior is wrong. Is adultery morally equal to fidelity?

Scientists who study the nature of homosexuality can stop. Sally Kern has the answer. “Homosexuality is not inborn.” I guess that means it’s a choice.  I must say, that’s a pretty interesting choice for people to make despite the significant social repercussions that still exist and were much more common in the past.  Those gays must just be deviants who are looking to mess up society.  It sure is inconvenient that there are so many biological correlates to homosexuality.  It’s also inconvenient that there seem to be gay animals in nature.

While it is not clear why certain people are gay and others are not, studies do seem to bear out that it is not a choice. The Boston Globe did a great article on this question here. Also the fact that we haven’t found a “gay gene” is terrible evidence that homosexuality is not “inbred.”  The human genome was only decode within the last decade, and much of the genome is still a mystery. Further, homosexuality could be a biological process without being genetic.

The book “Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality” reinterprets Scripture to support homosexuality. The book is contrary to historical Christianity and sound biblical interpretation. It does not change God’s standard.

In Matthew 19:4-5, Jesus affirmed the Genesis account and upheld marriage as between one man and one woman. The high divorce rate among heterosexuals is no more pleasing to God than same-sex marriage. Jesus’ silence on homosexuality is not an endorsement of it. He also said nothing about rape, incest, drugs or pedophilia. Surely, these aren’t acceptable?

Here we get some religious arguments.  Jesus said nothing about rape, incest, drugs, pedophilia, or homosexuality, so he must be against all of them, he’s pretty much against everything that Sally Kern thinks is bad, but just forgot to mention those things.  Mmmhm. As support, Kern cites Matthew 19:4-5, where Jesus says that men cannot divorce their wives unless their wife has committed adultery.  Verses 4-5 say that God created man and woman to be together etc.  Jesus never says that homosexuality is a sin, but he does say

1“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

3“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7 1-5 New International Version

This is also a great opportunity to show President Bartlett’s biblical response to the “homosexuality is an abomination” argument.

Sally Kern’s grand finale:

Marriage is more than just an institution for romantic love, adult convenience or social acceptability. To redefine it is to make it something different. Same-sex marriage will devalue marriage and weaken society. This has been proven in Norway, where the rates of traditional and same-sex marriage have declined and the number of out-of-wedlock births has increased since same-sex marriage was legalized.

Granting marriage status to homosexuals who comprise little more than 3 percent of the population would be like granting all applicants admission to a prestigious college just because a few meet the qualifications. That school’s status would fall. Likewise, the status of marriage will fall if same-sex marriage is legalized.

The last paragraph makes no sense to me.  Marriage = an elite school? Letting people in makes it less valuable?

By the same argument we should exclude some people from our most important rights, you know, in order to keep them desirable. Civil Rights, Political Rights, Social Rights, all need someone excluded from them.  Is that what you’re saying Representative Kern?

Read the “point” that Kern is replying to here.

Update: Clark Matthews at the Lost Ogle, has his own response to Sally Kern

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GOP and Fast Food: The Hidden Connection

Hamburger is GOPNow, don’t get excited. This isn’t a logo change à la Brand New, I just wanted to draw your attention to a – perhaps subconscious – endorsement of American fast food by the Republican Party. How much like a hamburger does that elephant look! With a yummy sesame-seed bun, too!

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