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Why Conservatives Get A Bad Name

February 5, 2016

Hat Tip to Solly.

While stumping in Iowa for Ted Cruz on Sunday, “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson declared that gay marriage is a sign of growing “depravity” and “perversion” in America.

Robertson, notorious for his racist and anti-gay remarks, said of marriage equality: “It is evil, it’s wicked, it’s sinful and they want us to swallow it.”

“We have to run this bunch out of Washington D.C.,” Robertson said. “We have to rid the earth of them. Get them out of there.”

Cruz followed Robertson on stage, calling the reality TV star “a joyful, cheerful, unapologetic voice of truth.”

When Republicans Run Jesus Christ Up The Flag Pole

February 4, 2016

There is no way to miss the use of Jesus in the Republican presidential campaign.  During the campaign in Iowa where a large number of caucus goers on the GOP side are evangelical types it was not hard to understand why  some would resort to making it seem Christ was the very center of a candidate’s life.  But do not look too closely as in the same breath where someone is blessing himself they are also making it clear in harsh language no Syrian refugees are to arrive on our shores.  So much for living the faith.

The struggle to find a way to place religion in a context that allows for civil society to not wish to turn their head or utterly reject the comments seems to be lost on those such as Senator Marco Rubio.

This week he stated, “And I thank my lord and savior Jesus Christ and I thank God for allowing me the opportunity to come this far with each of you”. 
In no way am I denigrating or wish to undermine Rubio’s faith.    But his comments are not in line with a nation which has a wide and rich diversity of faiths.   While Rubio felt a strong political need to connect with evangelical voters it also sent a continuing and false message that somehow Jesus is a Republican and that the GOP runs a religious operation on the side.  This of course runs counter to the high hopes and hard work of the Founding Fathers who sought ways to limit the intrusions of religion into the affairs of state.

Rubio might wish to consider that the Founders could very well have placed Christian words and images into the Declaration of Independence, as an example. But they wisely chose not to do so.   They wanted to create a nation where the exercise of private religion would be without constraints but at the same time the public display of religion would be one where unity could prevail.

We should be mindful there have been attempts to place Jesus’ name into the constitution. That would be an affront to who we are as Americans.   By not making such a change in that document does not in any way mean we, as a people, are not religious.  As an example we all can feel the public tone of religion when we sing “God shed his grace on thee’.

I fully understand that candidates will say and do many a thing to attempt a connection with voters. But I also wish that more of them would add a dose of care to statements about religion which reflect poorly not only on themselves but on the history of our country.

Who Wouldn’t Want An Astronomical Clock In Their Home?

February 4, 2016

Here is the next idea when James is wondering what might make the next perfect gift for our home.

As analog clocks give way to lightweight digital timepieces, it seems increasingly amazing that mechanical clocks once not only told the time of day, but also kept track of the movement of the planets, the forming of constellations, the phases of the moon, and so much more. 

Centuries ago, astronomical clocks were the ultimate statement in horological prowess. During the heyday of grand astronomical clocks, between the 14th and 16th centuries in Europe, these massive constructions were often decorated as ornate pieces of art featuring multiple faces, moving figures, carved ornamentation, and intricately displayed figures. 

There is a 30,000+ piece clock at the Besançon Cathedral in eastern France, which tracks years (including leap years), sunrise and sunset, tides, and the time of 17 places around the globe. The astronomical clock in old Prague tracks the sun’s path through the zodiac constellations, and the phases of the moon, all surrounded by macabre carvings of skeletons and saints. A gothic astronomical clock in the Cathédrale Notre-Dame of Strasbourg has everything from a planetary orrery to a golden cockerel that activates each day at noon.



Pragmatic Governance Should Guide Democratic Voters

February 3, 2016

People can say a lot of things about me, and they most certainly do.   But there is one thing even my friends on the other side of the political aisle will have to agree with when it comes to my views.  I walk the talk.

Early in President Obama’s first term there were many gay Americans who were clamoring for a far more strident and determined approach to issues that impacted their lives.  Being gay, I too, wanted to see progress made and steps taken to remove DADT and work for marriage equality.

But I also knew the stimulus package, caring for the auto industry, and fashioning a health care plan was more than the most tip-top White House could handle all within the first year.  I stated at the time gay Americans needed to wait.  There was no doubt where Obama wanted to lead the nation about the issues which impacted me personally, but there was a need to govern with pragmatism given all the pressing needs of the country.

We waited, but in the end gay people prevailed.  The other major needs of the nation were also addressed and in so doing a lesson should be clear for Democrats as we seek our party nominee.

The passion and energy unleashed by Bernie Sanders is stunning and there is no way not to listen and be caught up in the mood.  But the lower-key style and skilled approach to meeting the challenges of national and international issues in the manner that Hillary Clinton approaches them is also to be highly valued.

It is great to dream bold as Sanders does, but in the real world of Washington one has to work not only with a diverse and mostly uncontrollable Congress but also bring along an increasingly partisan electorate that seems more inclined to head to the fringes than seek common cause in the middle.  Any president must understand from the start the best way to succeed is knowing pragmatism and compromise must be constantly used in governing.  As I watch and listen to Sanders there is nothing in his speeches or interviews which proves to me that he has a grasp of this essential lesson.

There are cheerful pleas for his audience to start a revolution and believe that college is going to be a free commodity in this nation.    Sanders expresses that taxes are going to be increased (something I feel should happen) but the ease with which he makes voters think these things can happen in modern-day Washington is akin to the guy who showed up in Dodge City trying to sell an elixir.   In Gunsmoke Matt Dillon helped move that type of salesman out of town.

In today’s rancorous nominating process it is Clinton who is bringing sanity to the populace.    Democrats just need to be smart enough to know why it is happening.

Her appeal to me and to many others in the party is the fact she has been able to effectively deal with issues and move matters forward.    After the dysfunctional way Congress has worked over the past seven years should prove that we at least need to have one part of our national government that is grounded in reality.  We need at least one leader in Washington come 2017 who has a dose of pragmatism along with an interest in making government work.

Many agree with me that over the past years the level of disagreement and polarization from Washington has been more than we ever thought possible.  Everything seems intractable when it comes to how our national government responds to the needs of the people.  Too many ideas have become the victim of old-fashioned partisan gridlock.   We must vote smart when selecting our Democratic nominee so that matters do not get worse.  We need to be as pragmatic in our voting for a nominee as our next leader will be in governing.

Rand Paul Out Of Presidential Race, Rick Santorum Sure To Follow

February 3, 2016

They are dropping like bad fruit off an infected tree.

Rand Paul has dropped out of the race for the Republican nomination.  I have always stressed that his bid for the White House was an odd one to wage from with the GOP.  His views on foreign policy was never going to wed him to a powerful and needed segment of the party.    While I very much disagree with his positions there is no one that will not admit he makes for an interesting exchange of ideas.  Question is now how much passion he has for politics after failing to reach this goal.

Then there is  the papist, Rick Santorum.

It is hard to even place his name with that of Paul in the same post.  There is just so little of consequence with the former Pennsylvania senator who has stated that contraceptives are “not okay” or that gay parents are worse than convicts.   The reason he entered this race–one has to assume–was his hope that lightening would strike and somehow transform the populace into total idiots.    Short of that there was no way this man was ever going to register anywhere.

The reason Santorum needs to sneak away from this race and go back to where those who carry around miscarriages hang out is that he can not even get his own precinct captains to support him!  MSNBC interviewed a Santorum precinct captain who readily admitted that even he didn’t vote for the guy he was working for!


This is just too funny.

This Is How To Define Embarrassment

February 2, 2016

So Grandpa, what did you do this year?

On Iowa caucus night, former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore got twelve votes, National Review reports.

“That’s only twelve votes ahead of you, and you weren’t even running. He finished 107 votes behind ‘other.’”

Maybe Donald Trump’s Personality Is To Blame

February 2, 2016

Could this be the kernel of truth we are looking for to explain how Donald Trump was thrown off his high horse in Iowa?  Nate Silver explains.

There may have been a more basic reason for Trump’s loss: The dude just ain’t all that popular. Even among Republicans.

The final Des Moines Register poll before Monday’s vote showed Trump with a favorability rating of only 50 percent favorable against an unfavorable rating of 47 percent among Republican voters. (By contrast, Cruz had a favorable rating of 65 percent, and Rubio was at 70 percent.) It’s almost unprecedented for a candidate to win a caucus or a primary when he has break-even favorables within his own party.


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