Ever since 9/11, the GOP has made a habit of flaunting their support for our troops...while also accusing their adversaries of not doing so. Each time a Democrat criticized the Bush administration's handling of the war in Iraq, questioned the merits of continuing the war, or voiced concerns with the huge costs to fund the war, their patriotism was questioned.
You see, the bottom line is political expediency. When supporting the troops can be exploited for partisan advantage, the GOP couldn't talk long enough and loud enough about their commitment to our troops. Now that support for our troops has been transformed into a tangible benefit, the president and his clone are both leading the charge to defeat the measure.
Truth be told, these current actions only reinforce the assertions of Scott McClellan, the president's former Press Secretary. McClellan, in his newly released book, tells us that this president frequently placed his focus on the partisan benefits of his actions. The fact that the troops were a pawn in his political arsenal seems to be clear at this juncture.
It's also increasingly evident that John McCain, the former straight-talking maverick, has opted to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor. Our troops and the American public cannot afford four more years of supporting the political ambitions of men like George Bush...and his well-trained lap dog...John McCain.
Oh the joys of GodTube! It really is a gold mine of God fearing goodies.
In the following video (over eight minutes long), you will hear all of the Biblical recitations that forbid us from participating in "clubbing". Yes, if you go to a club with your friends, you're almost certain to drink too much booze...and we all know that a liquored up lad or lass is the devil's playground.
On the contrary, if one follows the word of God and goes to church on Saturday night, all thoughts of debauchery will disappear from your mind. Of course there is an important caveat...you never know what might be on the mind of your minister...he may well have his sites set on tapping your mother or your sister...or God forbid...your father or brother. Worst case, he may even have you in mind...because he undoubtedly knows how effective it is to write ridiculous rules that lead young people to feel sinful, repressed, conflicted...and in need of "counseling and comforting". I hear that's their specialty...if you catch my drift.
Yes, the more I think about it, one can never be sure who is a disciple of the devil. Why I'm so concerned with the cunning nature of satan and sin that I just won't be able to force myself to attend Saturday night mass. It's just not safe enough for me. I know, I know...the Pope has forbidden gay men from the priesthood...but what's to say the devil can't turn a manly minister into a maniacal molester in a matter of moments?
After all, look what the devil was able to do to Pastor Ted Haggard and so many other god fearing Christians. If only someone would make a video on how to identify the devil at work in locations other than clubs. I'll just have to hope that this video is only the first of many more. Then again, what if the devil is the motivation behind this video?
Oh it's all too complicated...where is the Rapture when you need it? Come to think of it, I saw a few videos on God Tube that might be able to give me an exact ETA. I guess I'll put on some music, grab a beer, and head back over to "Club Christ". Care to join me? Call your friends and head on over. I hear the Jesus rave is still on for tonight.
In the following video, John Safran, an Australian television personality known for edgy stunts and television segments on sensitive subjects, decides to head to Salt Lake City and have some fun giving members of the Latter Day Saints a taste of their own missionary medicine.
Once Safran and his director arrive in Utah, they gather up their atheist literature and propaganda, don white shirts and dark ties, put on name tags, jump on their bicycles, and set out on an early morning mission to the homes of unsuspecting Mormons.
Unfortunately, Safran and his pal encounter some rather indignant and intolerant folks while attempting to share their beliefs on atheism and evolution. It seems that many of these Mormons believe it is better to be on the giving end of a missionary message than it is to be in the unenviable position of receiving one.
I guess their training is only about puttin' it to the non-believer. Perhaps that's why the Mormons who knock on our doors have no compunction to keep sticking their pamphlets in our faces and looking for any possible opening to inject their ideology.
Needless to say, I couldn't help but enjoy watching my Mormon friends doing their best to avoid getting "stuck". Let's hope some of them now understand why Safran and many others like him aren't interested in "taking it" anymore.
In the following video segment, Stephen discusses the Bible and the recent ruling of the California Supreme Court on gay marriage with Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council. Perkins and his organization are rabidly anti-gay and it's obvious that he's uncomfortable throughout his conversation with Colbert (unfortunately many of these right wingers have no sense of humor).
I always enjoy watching the holier than thou squirm when confronted with some of the inconsistencies found in their dogma...and Colbert is one of the best at exposing them. I'm sure Perkins couldn't wait for the segment to end.
Sometimes the best way to point out the absurdity of an opinion is to offer one that is even more absurd. The following video does just that.
In taking on the issue of banning homosexuality and offering seven reasons in favor of doing so, the video succeeds in making a credible argument in support of granting gays equal status.
No doubt many of the arguments against granting gays the same rights as their heterosexual counterparts lack rationality. This video helps to highlight the irrationality that is so often a part of prejudice.
In light of the ongoing efforts of creationists (now packaged as Intelligent Design) to discredit the theory of evolution, it seems appropriate for us to first have a clear understanding of what evolution is and what it isn't. The following two videos are the first offerings in a series designed to give us the basics on the theory of evolution.
Those who are insistent upon nothing less than divine creation have a seemingly limitless energy to craft clever (though contrived) rationales to explain away evolution or to distort its meaning in order to appeal to those of faith. Time and again, they ignore the basic premise of the scientific method...and therefore seek to establish this as an all or nothing debate.
The truth is that many scientists concede that they cannot disprove the existence of God. At the same time, they point out that the scientific method is compelling in its ability to support the theory of evolution. On the other hand, for many creationists, there can be no overlap or compatibility. They can only find comfort if God created everything in its final form at the moment of its origin. Anything short of a literal understanding of the Biblical version of creation will suffice...and that means that each and every component of evolutionary evidence must be undermined and rejected.
Hence, those who support Intelligent Design are engaged in a propaganda war designed to pit science against religion in order to suggest that it is impossible to believe in both. They do this because they want to force people of faith to fall on the side of religion and their arguments are designed to assist in characterizing science as the antithesis of religion. Sadly, this is simply the nature of literalism and the intransigence that it facilitates.
In the following video, Pastor Hagee seems to lament that times have changed. In that recognition, it appears that he yearns to return to the world as he used to know it...a world before television and a world where closets were for clothes (a reference to gays that he expands upon in the video).
From my perspective, I support his journey...so long as he returns to the past and the rest of us get to stay here in the present. If he did so, he wouldn't have the opportunity to spew his nonsense on television and those of us who came out of the closet could enjoy a world absent the bloviating and bigotry demonstrated by men of his ilk..
Unfortunately, I don't believe Hagee has any interest in returning to the past; rather he wants to meld the narrow mentality of yesteryear with an intransigent mindset similar to his own...one that seeks to force today's government to adopt his Biblical interpretation of morality.
Regardless, I know I wont be planning a return to the past. Further, if Pastor Hagee believes he can push the gay community back into the closet, he's probably going to be very disappointed.
Perhaps he should ask God to help him build a time machine so that he and his followers can travel as far back in time as they desire. I'll happily spring for the bon voyage party.
In the following video clips, Richard Dawkins shares his views on a wide range of topics surrounding his agnostic beliefs. He offers his opinions on the source of morality for non-believers and dispels the commonly held view that religion is the primary source of morality in our modern world. Dawkins also suggests that atheists have assumed the societal position homosexuals held fifty years ago...meaning that they are often the most reviled or rejected segment of society.
Dawkins also offers his opinion that science and religion are incompatible. In his defense of Darwinian theory, he contends that there is no need to interject notions that a divine being was also involved in the process. Dawkins argues that the beauty of the Darwinian theory is that it explains how we got from a place of simplicity to one of immense complexity without a designer.
One of the more compelling portions of the interview occurs in part four wherein Dawkins explains his harsh criticism of the God that appears in the old Testament. I note this portion because it demonstrates the blind willingness of many individuals to ignore the actual words found in the Bible.
In fact, the interviewer proves Dawkins' point when he insists that Dawkins' views may be too harsh or disrespectful. Unfortunately, the interviewer makes his admonition regardless of the evidence found in the Bible. This inclination to afford blind respect and erroneous attributions to religion is one of the primary criticisms Dawkins voices in his writings.
The Family Research Council has followed in the footsteps of Focus on the Family with the introduction a new video segment on their web site. FRC calls their program The Truth in Black & White, and it features Tony Perkins, the president of FRC, and Bishop Harry Jackson.
I've included two of their videos below. In the first, Perkins and Jackson tackle stewardship of the earth and global warming. In the second, they take on the recent ruling of the California Supreme Court to overturn the ban on same-sex marriage.
The contrast found in the logic of these two videos is notable and indicative of the hypocrisy that is so often demonstrated by the religious right. Note that in the first video, Perkins and Jackson suggest that global warming hysteria is fear mongering and a fabrication of men like Al Gore. Apparently the God that speaks to Al Gore is a fraud...and men like Perkins and Jackson are here to tell us which God is real...and which problems the real God wants us to address.
They suggest that while we need to be good stewards of the earth, God knows what he is doing with his creation (the earth and its people) and he will sustain them according to his own plan. In fact, Perkins states that we shouldn't "surrender national autonomy nor do we need to sacrifice the family budget and the income that families are making" when addressing that stewardship. Little did I know that God finds it acceptable for us to put the interests of the United States above those of the rest of the world and that he doesn't expect us to give up any of our wealth in order to preserve his creation. Apparently God intends to subsidize this particular issue.
So let me see if I've got this straight. Men like Perkins and Jackson don't think Americans should sacrifice any of their income to protect the planet...at least not in accordance with Kyoto or any of the plans put forward by the likes of Al Gore. On the other hand, these are the same people who routinely expect their followers to open their wallets and contribute generously to the FRC and the causes they deem to be necessary and in need of immediate attention.
That brings us to the second video which is on the subject of same-sex marriage. In this instance, apparently Perkins and Jackson don't think God has a sufficient plan for addressing the issue of homosexuality...even though God would had to have known it would exist (and had a plan to address it) just like they contend he would have known that fears about the climate of the planet would eventually trouble some of its inhabitants.
Here's where we begin to see the inconsistency and the hypocrisy. Perkins and Jackson conclude that the FRC and the religious right need to step in and take an activist role in preventing gays from obtaining the rights afforded to their heterosexual counterparts. Is this because God's plan is lacking when it comes to gays? Funny how, in this instance, families are routinely asked to dig deep into their budgets to fund the FRC and their efforts to pass amendments in California and other states to ban same-sex marriage. Far be it for me to know what God deems a justified financial sacrifice...though Perkins and Jackson seem convinced they know.
In other words, with regards to global warming, God wants us to be good stewards but we need not and should not do anything drastic because he knows what he's doing and he doesn't expect us to crimp our budgets. On the other hand, he needs us to do everything we can to stop the gays. Is that because he doesn't have a plan or because gays have somehow figured out how to outsmart God? Apparently Perkins and Jackson have concluded that God needs his hetero human subjects to become his proxy warriors in addressing homosexuality because he just can't go it alone.
Perkins and Jackson seem to think all of this is completely black and white...but I contend it is merely more of the same cut and paste pontificating that has come to define their inane ideology. Talking in circles may suffice for those who are willing to suspend rational thought and ignore reasoned analysis...but I find it to be the equivalent of washing the windows with a bucket of dirty water.
Yes, the effort might make one feel better but it sure as hell does nothing to enhance one's view and one's understanding of what lies on the other side. Rather, it serves to preclude those on one side from ever having to consider arguments that might undermine the absolute ideology they embrace and the fears that endear them to it.
In the end, it's obvious that Perkins and Jackson believe that personal faith should intervene in public policy...but only when doing so furthers the issues of faith they have conveniently chosen to cherry pick. Perhaps they think that's black and white. I think it's about as clear as mud.
On Stewardship & Global Warming Hysteria
On The California Supreme Court Same-Sex Marriage Ruling
Now that the Democrats are approaching the point at which they have a nominee, they can begin to focus their attentions on John McCain and his kinship with none other than George W. Bush. In one of the best opening salvos, MoveOn.org has launched The Bush-McCain Challenge...a grassroots effort to help voters understand that a McCain presidency will, in fact, be a third term of the failed Bush presidency.
The following video is a primer on the campaign. Those interested in taking the challenge can find it here. On May 28th, MoveOn.org plans to take the challenge to the streets and they are looking for volunteers. If you would like to sign up to help out at a table near you, you can find that information here.
When I traveled around the world, one of the most notable differences was the character and content of television news. The primary distinction seems to be a matter of depth...meaning the news in other regions isn't just presented in short sound bites. Granted, we have programs in the U.S. that provide detailed reports on topics of interest, however, they are in short supply when compared to many other countries and they aren't typically included as part and parcel of the traditional news cycle.
The following segment, from al Jazeera, on the growing global food crisis is an example of the kind of reporting we see less of in the United States. The report is a lengthy discussion intended to provide some understanding of the factors that are contributing to the food crisis as well as to explore the changes or solutions that might help alleviate it.
It is also notable in the format in which it is presented. When watching U.S. news...primarily on cable networks...the format usually includes participants with two diametrically opposing views offering the talking points of their political constituents and attempting to talk over each other...in segments that might last at most ten minutes...and frequently far shorter.
To understand the distinction, I would offer that the U.S. equivalent wouldn't be found in television broadcasting - rather it is in fact National Public Radio (NPR). If you've listened to NPR, they frequently explore topics that are receiving sparse coverage on the television networks. One can also find more in-depth stories on Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) though many of these programs follow the network format that includes a point - counterpoint approach.
Granted, my observations are more anecdotal than scientific but I suspect there is merit none the less. It appears that we Americans have become content with receiving our news in abbreviated form...delivered by partisans sharing talking points that have first been vetted by focus groups. I think it would make more sense if the American voter functioned like the focus group...taking the time to explore the ins and outs of a topic before making any conclusions while skipping the partisan spoon feeding we've come to accept. Don't hold your breath on that happening any time soon.
If you'll take the time to watch the following report, I suspect you may concur with my speculation. Regardless, you will certainly learn that the food crisis is far more complex than can be explained in thirty seconds. It might also demonstrate that our efforts to reduce every issue to a two-sided topic fully ignores that our world needs to be understood as a complicated multi-dimensional construct whereby every action has the potential for unintended consequences. Finally, it might begin to explain why much of the rest of the world has begun to suspect that Americans are increasingly tone deaf.
On the one hand, I can't wait for George Bush to be out of office...and on the other, I'll miss watching Keith Olbermann literally eviscerate the president on a regular basis with eagerly anticipated Special Comments. Lest there be any doubt, this iteration may well be one of Olbermann's best. Never let it be said that Olbermann pulled any of his punches in tonight's tongue lashing.
Olbermann's inspiration for tonight's tirade was an interview the president gave yesterday. In that interview, the president waded into the ill-conceived war in Iraq and all the justifications we've come to expect, his never ending effort to portray the Democrats as weak on terror and therefore likely to invite another terrorist attack should they win in November. As if that weren't enough, the president had the temerity to suggest that he has given up playing golf in deference to the families who have lost sons and daughters in his never ending wars.
This evening's Special Comment video is divided into two parts Consider this first part a warm up...because Keith certainly saves the best for last.
I don't really know that much about Gnarls Barkley outside of their hit song Crazy from a couple years back. Going On is from their new album The Odd Couple. I came across the music video for the song by chance and found it to be a refreshing deviation from what we would typically expect to see.
As I understand it, the video was filmed in Jamaica. BoingBoing summed it up with the following.
John Paul sez, "My sister Wendy went to Jamaica to make a music video for Gnarls Barkley. I've always found it fascinating how she listens to songs and just fantasizes about what imagery or story goes with the music, and then struggles to make the video happen in an incredibly short time frame and on a tight budget. This video is maybe her finest. The imagery comes out of her head, partly inspired by a trip we made to Africa, partly inspired by Jamaican dance hall glory.
While the song has an upbeat tempo, the story told in the song is much darker and deeper and perhaps that's what makes the combination of the minimalist video format with the traditional energetic dancers all the more intriguing. The videos coloration is muted except for the occasional yellow text...all of which is likely intended to allow the subtle though obvious symbolism to emerge...and does it ever!
Note that the video opens with a scene reminiscent of The Last Supper and proceeds to incorporate the use of a door as a representation of the cross that Jesus carried. Along the way, most of the "followers" drop off leaving only the protagonist and one woman to complete the journey. Once the door (cross) is put in place and opened, we see the woman toss a rock through the opening as if to represent Thomas, the doubting follower. As the rock passes through the door, a kaleidoscope of color (heaven) appears after which the man (Jesus) jumps through the doorway...soon followed by the woman.
I've included the lyrics below so readers can sync the imagery with the words. Oh, by the way, I really like the sound and the song as well. Let me know what you think.
I've seen it with my own eyes
How we're gettin' otherwise
Without the luxury of leavin'
The touch and feeling of breath
And times you're both technically
Something you've got to believe in
Connect the cause and effect
One foot in front of the next
This is the start of a journey.
And my rhyme is already gone
Somehow this doesn't concern me.
And you can stand right there if you want
But I'm going on
And I'm prepared to go it alone
I'm going on
To a place in the sun that's nice and warm
I'm going on
And I'm sure they'll have a place for you to oohoohooo
Anyone that needs what they want, and doesn't want what they need
I want nothing to do with
And to do what I want
And to do what I please
Is first vual my to do list
But every once in a while I think about her smile
One of the few things I do miss
But baby I've to go
Baby I've got to know
Baby I've got to prove it
And I'll see you when you get there
But I'm going on
And I'm prepared to go it alone
I'm going on
May my love lift you up to the place you belong
I'm going on
And I promise I'll be waiting for you oohoohooo
Still I try I never know what to do
Don't follow me...
Jonny McGovern is one of the cast members of Logo's The Big Gay Sketch. The show features a number of comedy skits that focus on all things LGBT. McGovern is a stand-up comic who often plays a character called The Gay Pimp.
In the following video, The Gay Pimp shares his latest creation, a music video for the song, Don't Fall In Love With A Homo...an ode to straight women who might be tempted to fall for their male gay friends. McGovern and friends want straight women to know that doing so is a recipe for disappointment. They also want them to know that there are plenty of lesbians who would be happy to oblige their need for amorous adventure. Needless to say, all of this is an ideal subject for a tongue-in-cheek video.
I think it's pretty funny but I'll offer a word of caution that it contains adult language that some may find offensive.
In this episode of The Onion News, the network takes a look at the Gap's new clothing line...the one that is made by kids for kids. Nothing like American children being able to wear the right tags...even if those tags are sewn on by children in sweat shops.
After all, isn't that why we Americans are the envy of the world...what with giving our children generous allowances to buy the products they need instead of having to sell them into virtual slavery to make those products.
Yes, without capitalism, what would parents in third world countries do with their children? Thank goodness we provide the demand that allows them to be productive individuals. Otherwise, they might spend their time playing video games, participating in club sports, and trying to one up the neighbor's children by wearing the latest fashions.
Now if we can only get these same foreign children trained in providing first rate customer support for American companies that have been "forced" to hire adults in third world countries. Thank goodness these folks are willing to do the jobs that Americans won't do.
It certainly makes one feel good to know that we're continuing our efforts to prove our unyielding commitment to assisting the underprivileged people of the world...at a significant profit to U.S. corporations, of course!
In the following video clip from The Daily Show, Lewis Black shares his skepticism regarding the recently authorized stimulus checks that are intended to jump start our stalled economy. Needless to say, Black has some choice words for a...
If you've never seen Pam Ann perform, you don't know what you're missing. I first saw her on a cruise a few years back and thought she was hysterical. The following videos give the viewer a sense of her...
I remember when Richard Carmona was appointed as the U.S. Surgeon General by George W. Bush. At the time, it was uncertain as to his actual ideological leanings though he seemed to be a thoughtful individual. As it turned...
This is priceless. The following video is apparently a legitimate advertisement for men seeking to overcome their homosexuality. The fact that it is filled with homoeroticism only reinforces my belief that many of these men are tortured Christians with...
The following series of videos comprise the 48 Hours special title The Lord's Boot Camp. Much like the previous documentary, Jesus Camp, the piece chronicles a group of teen aged children; including their attendance at a Christian boot camp...
We've all heard about the images of Jesus, Mary, or some other godly persons face being found in the strangest of places...whether it be on a pancake, a potato chip, a section of tree bark, or the reflection on...
Two recent news items led me to today's musing. The first is the Texas polygamists and the second is the Vanity Fair photo of Miley Cyrus. Both serve to demonstrate the fact that numerous American's have yet to resolve...
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