Monday, January 31, 2005

Keith Olbermann v. Dr. Dobson

I encourage you to read through the latest posts at Keith Olbermann's blog concerning the recent hateful intolerance preached by Dr. Dobson and his Focus on the White Straight Middle Class Right Wing Christian Family organization. That the intolerance spewed by Dobson and his followers is considered by them to be "Christian" is breathtaking to me. I keep thinking of a Bible verse... "Jesus wept."

Thursday, January 27, 2005

SpongeBob Goes to Church

Thanks to the United Church of Christ!

James Wolcott: Dubya's Zippity Do-Dah Day

James Wolcott quesions Bush's inability to comprehend the rising death toll in Iraq. I was stunned when I heard Bush say in his press conference that the loss of a soldier's life is a "sad moment." As though the pain passes quickly. Tell that to the families.

U.S. Forces Are Exhausted... What next?

Guardian | This Pollyanna army

Yesterday U.S. Forces suffered the worst day of casualties in the Iraq war. Today the UK Guardian publishes a commentary by Sidney Blumenthal revealing an internal memo from the chief of the Army Reserve expressing grave reservations about the ability of his troops to continue the effort at this level. It's a sobering piece about a terribly sobering war. The next few days, of course, are pivotal, and we'll see if the election actually comes off and has any credibility. And then what?

New Education Secretary's Goal: Teaching Intolerance

PBS's 'Buster' Gets An Education

First Dr. Dobson expresses outrage that cartoon characters encourage children to accept differences in others. Now Margaret Spellings is putting the kibosh on what seems to be a charming program which just happens to show a happy family with two moms.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Johnny Carson, R.I.P.

The death of the late night comedy king leaves this world a sadder place. Here's the Washington Post's account. No, we haven't seen much of Johnny lately, but his influence in incalculable. I can remember staying up late to watch him in high school days, how cool he was. I remember when my brother was able to buy a Johnny Carson suit and how cool it was--remember those? He really did have his own style. An incredible talent. A huge loss.

Here's Tom Shales's more personal take.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Maureen Dowd: A Bunch of Krabby Patties

As usual, Maureen Dowd goes a little over the top in Sunday's column, but her points are well taken. The whole SpongeBob controversy just amazes me. I've seen a segment of the alleged brainwashing piece and it's nothing but cute, with hundreds of kids' favorites, encouraging little ones to get along with everyone, no matter their skin color, religion, or, yes, sexual identity. That Dr. Dobson would be outraged by this is certainly telling. If he's not for tolerance, then he must be for intolerance. Is that Christian? Is he suggesting kids should start beating up their gay friends? It's just breathtakingly ignorant. Dowd ties this brouhaha into Bush's inaugural address, which has also lit a firestorm around the world. Can't we all just get along?

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Books I'm Reading Lately

I've got several books going, and you may want to check them out.

- Just finished the Marilynne Robinson novel Gilead, and it was charming and beautifully written. It sort of meanders lazily through the inner battleground of a man's soul. It's in the form of a long letter written by a 76-year-old preacher in the 1950s to his late-in-life son, aged 7.

- Before that I read Michael Chabon's delightful novella, The Final Solution, according to the jacket, "a short, suspenseful tale of compassion and wit that reimagines the classic nineteenth-century detective story." I heartily agree. Brilliant, as always.

- Now I've started reading this year's winner of the Man-Booker Prize (the famous UK award), Alan Hollinghurst's The Line of Beauty.

- Not long ago I finished Father Edward Beck's second book, Unlikely Ways Home, beautiful vignettes of the various pathways to God. I'm a huge fan of his first book, a spiritual autobiography entitled God Underneath.

Occasionally I am dipping into the latest collection of Krazy Kat comic strips, I believe the fifth volume of Krazy & Ignatz published by Fantagraphics. And, by my bedside, Volume 6 of The Essential Spider-Man.

- I'm enjoying a book of 365 Buddhist readings published recently by Pilgrim Press. And I'm reading a book about Christian icons and a recasting of the Psalms by Jim Cotter.

And a few other things here and there. What are you reading?

Friday, January 21, 2005

How balanced is the mainstream media?

Media Matters for America illustrates how unbalanced the news coverage was of the inauguration. It was a love-in!

Peggy Noonan on the Inauguration... Surprising!

Peggy Noonan's piece in the Wall Street Journal surprised me with its critical take on Bush's speech, since she is such a supporter--and one of the best known presidential speechwriters of our time. But I think she makes some very good points.

Visions in Need of a Little Realism (

Once again E. J. Dionne puts things into perspective, this time analyzing Bush's second inaugural address. We all want more liberty. So why does it feel increasingly like we aren't living in it?

Monday, January 17, 2005

Last week while I was in Los Angeles for meetings, I had the opportunity to meet one of my all-time heroes, Stan Lee. Stan of course is the co-creator of so many heroes and concepts they're hard to keep track of, but they include Spider-Man, Thor, Fantastic Four, Hulk, X-Men, and so many more. Here we are in his office on Santa Monica Blvd atop an office building. Currently he's got several projects going--a TV series, animated series, a graphic novel, children's book--hey, all the stuff I'd love to do too. Stan had a profound impact on me growing up, and I attribute my interest in writing and culture largely to him. He was the most gracious host. Excelsior! Nuff said. Posted by Hello

Monday, January 10, 2005

The New York Times' William Safire: Where Was God?

New York Times columnist William Safire offers a wise Bible lesson regarding the tsunami and its devastating effects. I don't often agree with him, but he makes some good points here.

Saturday, January 08, 2005 Bush Paints His Goals As 'Crises'

Jim VandeHei writes a terrific analysis on the administration's use of crisis and fear as a governing tool.

Friday, January 07, 2005

An atheist on faith and values

Kos makes a good point on his blog, DailyKos, for the need for progressive people of faith to preach God's word.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

What will happen tomorrow? Read this before then

From a diary on Daily Kos, here is a very well written overview of the problems with the Ohio election. You can read the intro and comments, but be sure to read Georgia10's "Eye on Ohio" guide.

Regardless of the outcome, doesn't the nation deserve a careful examination of the current methods of handling elections?