Sunday, November 28, 2004

Ohio and Ukraine

I've been reading some of the mainstream media accounts of the situation in Ukraine regarding the recent vote--in which the discrepancy between exit polls and the final result has thrown the whole election into chaos. Even the Bush administration has called it invalid. My question, why aren't people in Ohio and North Carolina and Florida also out in the streets demanding that something be done?

This trend chills me

The Atlanta Journal Constitution today has a major piece by John Blake about the latest wrinkle in the megachurch phenomenon: satellite congregations. That's all well and good, but some of them are actually beaming in the "pastors"--like Andy Stanley from North Point--by 3-D video to do the sermons. The story says some people who attended the Buckhead satellite didn't even realize he wasn't actually there! Talk about smoke and mirrors.

The whole megachurch phenomenon scares me. They are built on the cult of personality, and what if that personality can't handle the power? You know, there's an old saying about power and corruption. Not that any of these guys are corrupt. But what happens if they die? Then the whole church system has to find a replacement.

What the megachurch phenomenon has helped produce is a nation of church shoppers. They come to be entertained, their ears and eyes tickled, to feel good. Then they go home and come back next week. What happened to church as community, where you can actually talk with the pastor, hug him or her after the service? Get your spiritual and emotional needs met as a family of faith? Such churches usually are governed by outside authorities--e.g., denominational structures--to make sure they keep in line morally and theologically, and who provide resources of all kinds.

This trend is deeply troubling, and is I believe one symptom of the growing self-centeredness of the American population. That's what conservative Republicanism is about, after all--what's good for ME. Forget about helping others, or even tolerating others.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving to You

Just wanted to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. Hope it's fun and meaningful for you. I will be hopping on a plane for Charleston, West Virginia, on Thursday morning for a visit with my mom, dad, two brothers, sister, and their families. Then I'll be back home for a weekend of writing (revising my book manuscript), and then next week I'll be heading to Florida for a (too) brief vacation. Ciao!

Democrats Have Faith Too

Interesting and important piece in the New York Times the other day under the headline, "Some Democrats believe the party should get religion."

Monday, November 22, 2004

Keeping Up with Keith O.

Today's blog from Keith Olbermann brings us up to date on the various recount efforts. It's his usual thorough job, and much appreciated. To see what happens in other countries when exit polls and final results are so out of whack, check out the BBC's report of the Ukraine election.

Now THIS is funny!

I found the link at Mark Evanier's blog. It's the "preview" of a new movie on Dubya, featuring the one man who should play him.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Curiouser and Curiouser

Keith Olbermann is still on vacation from Countdown, but still blogging away. And today's installment (11/18) brings us some new tidbits of information. There's a ton of other stuff on a number of "tin-foil hat" websites, as Keith might call them. But he's a mainstream news anchor on an NBC cable channel. Huh.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Purple America

I like this map of America, which is far less red than some of the more commonly promoted but grossly misleading maps seen right after the election. As red as Georgia was, this shows my county is one of the nearly pure blue ones.

A Little Naive for This World, No?

Anne Applebaum's column in this morning's Washington Post rather pooh-pooh's the concern about voting irregularities. I truly think she's being a little naive. I myself reserve judgment about what the outcome of all these recount efforts will be, but I think they should be pursued.

And for the record, I always ask my ATM for a receipt, because in the past my bank has made an error or two. And I always print out a receipt for any online transaction for my records, because, well, you never know. And I trust most financial institutions to at least try to be honest. I do not trust the administration in this regard.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Catching Up with Some Blogs on a Tuesday Night

It took a while to warm up to him, but I have to say I enjoy Keith Olbermann's blog every day. He's one of the few national media figures giving the vote fraud allegations even half a hearing. He's on vacation this week from the nightly MSNBC show, but he's still blogging away.

It's fun to read some of the more rabid websites regarding the voting situation. I mean, what if they're even half true?

Discovered a new blog, courtesy of Talking Points Memo, that being The Daou Report, written by a former Kerry campaign staffer. It's really more of a convenient compendium of the latest from a politically-wide range of blogs.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Add This to Your Favorites List

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall

You can count on reasonable insight and sometimes blood-chilling revelations here at the very famous blog, Talking Points Memo. This morning I read Bob Jones letter to the President, which should make any sane Christian righteously indignant.

Election Map Makers, Exercising Some Latitude Election Map Makers, Exercising Some Latitude

Here's a fascinating overview of the various Red State/Blue State mapping scenarios that have popped up in the media and throughout the internet.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Frank Rich On 'Moral Values'

The New York Times, Frank Rich: On 'Moral Values,' It's Blue in a Landslide

Well worth reading.

Washington Post tempers the election tampering story Latest Conspiracy Theory -- Kerry Won -- Hits the Ether

This is probably as good a mainstream summary as there is out there regarding the voting anomalies. Still plenty of questions but it does put things into context.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004 Liberal Christians Challenge 'Values Vote' Liberal Christians Challenge 'Values Vote'

This is a hopeful start. I also saw an article this morning that Jerry Falwell is launching a new organization to help in the fundamentalist "revolution", a 21st century Moral Majority. Now he's calling it the Faith and Values Coalition. Unfortunately, I'm sure the donations will be rolling in.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Congressmen Want GAO to Investigate

Two letters from Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee requesting the GAO investigate election abuses:

Second Letter, Nov. 8, 2004

First Letter, Nov. 5, 2004

Daily Kos : Wingnut wants to secede

Daily Kos :: Wingnut wants to secede

Markos links to a Human Events Online piece arguing that the Blue States oughta be thrown out of the union. I like Kos's response.


Heidi MacDonald's The Beat: The News Blog of Comics Culture

And now for something completely different... my favorite comics blog!

Monday, November 08, 2004

Keith Olbermann on the Vote Count Scandal

MSNBC - Bloggerman - Keith Olbermann

Someone in the mainstream media is actually addressing the growing votergate scandal. Check out Keith's blog today.

Worse Than 2000: Tuesday's Electoral Disaster

t r u t h o u t - William Rivers Pitt | Worse Than 2000: Tuesday's Electoral Disaster

Well, the blogs are rife with reports of vote-tabulation irregularities, particularly with optical-reader machines as well as the computer-touchscreen versions, in states like Ohio and Florida. The evidence is mounting. But the media is apparently quiet on it. Here's a good summary of where we are today.

Susanna Rodell: Religious Progressives Need to Speak Up

As bigots spout off, religious liberals' silence not golden

Susanna Rodell of my old hometown paper, the Charleston (WV) Gazette (hey, I spent a college summer pasting up newspaper ads there long ago!), is quickly becoming one of my favorite columnists, and my current local paper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, carries her occasionally. Today's column is must read for people like me--religious progressives. Our marching orders.

The New York Times: President Feels Emboldened, Not Accidental, After Victory

The New York Times: President Feels Emboldened, Not Accidental, After Victory

This article chills my blood, frankly. Bush was restrained in his first term? So what does this mean about the second? What will keep him from doing just about anything to get his agenda into stone?

Here's one interesting excerpt:

One adviser said that Mr. Bush was showing more confidence, and that it was not insignificant that he joked to reporters at his news conference that "now that I've got the will of the people at my back, I'm going to start enforcing a one-question rule."

In Mr. Bush's first term, "he had two insecurities," said the adviser, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic.

"There were a large number of people who did not view him as a legitimate president, and there was the specter of his father's loss," the adviser said. "He didn't vocalize them, but those two things hung over him and all of his advisers."

If this feeling hung over him and his administration continually, what would keep them from doing anything to ensure that he would win? I'm starting to wonder.... Evangelicals Say They Led Charge For the GOP Evangelicals Say They Led Charge For the GOP

Has the Rove White House created a monster? A fascinating look at the power of the religious right in this year's election.

Friday, November 05, 2004

The New York Times -- Maureen Dowd: The Red Zone

The New York Times -- Maureen Dowd: The Red Zone

Mo comes through once again.

E. J. Dionne on the Election

Washington Post -- E. J. Dionne

I like E. J. Dionne and his column today is well worth reading. Particularly this paragraph jumped out at me:

"What's required is a sustained and intellectually serious effort by religious moderates and progressives to insist that social justice and inclusion are 'moral values' and that war and peace are 'life issues.'"


Wednesday, November 03, 2004

God Bless America

I'm stunned. I seriously thought there was a trend toward Kerry, and I believed he would win closely but comfortably. And I hoped he might have at least one house of Congress on his side.

But the pervasiveness of the GOP victory is breathtaking. I'm sure the pundits will parse this out for months and years, but the reportedly high turnout really didn't help Kerry all that much after all. Apparently youth didn't vote any more than they did 4 years ago.

Of course, Bush and his team will see this as a mandate. The next four years could be excruciating--more so than the last four. On the other hand, second term presidents so often find a way to get into serious trouble, so maybe Bush will be out before the end of his second term (e.g., Nixon, Clinton). I don't envy him one bit as he must deal with the huge problems we face. And the rest of the world, with one or two exceptions, will hardly be eager to help.

Or maybe Kerry will squeak by after all! Yeah! Heh.

America has spoken. God bless America.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Be sure to vote!

I woke up early this morning, around 5 or so instead of 6:30, so got up, read the paper, showered and dressed, and got to the polling place by 6:45. The line was long, but friendly. Once the doors opened at 7, it moved quickly. I had cast my vote and was out by 7:45.

There is a good feeling in the air. This could be big for Kerry. I hope that's not delusion. We'll see. Please go vote and we'll see how it turns out.