Big Smoke

'cause it's hard to see from where I'm standin'

Brevity Isn’t Inherently Witty

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Even the interview is insipidly trite. But then, so is this post.

A Nudge and a Wink

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After a series of particularly egregious field trips for seniors in my high school, the lead teacher of the forays into the real world was asked a question by students not wanting to be led back to the school for the sole purpose of being dismissed:

“Why we gotta go back? It’s quicker if I go home from here! Can’t you just dismiss us?”

The answer was we had a legal obligation to accompany them until we could dismiss them either at an appointed time (alas, too far away to continue dealing with these pills) or an appointed place (admittedly, also very far). However, we also had no real recourse were they to up and leave on their own. But as a responsible authority, the teacher gave the loaded answer,

“I can’t tell you to go home.”

Hint.

As such, Barack Obama basically leaked out a hair-raising expose on how the Bush administration made it a policy to torture. Of course, as there is a tradition for a current administration not to criticize the policies of a previous administration, Obama cannot lead the charge to indict them.

That said, he’s not stopping anyone else who is willing.

Hint.*

*Of course, if the US public is anything like my students, they’ll keep pressing him to say the one thing he cannot while never taking any fucking initiative of their own.

Da Hell?

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I’m beginning to doubt the veracity of MSNBC’s supposed liberal convictions. Just sayin’. I mean, here’s an article that posits the reasons behind high costs of American health care that doesn’t even mention HMOs.

New York Mag’s Gabriel Sherman must be given props for actually recording the whining of the rich with a straight face. The hypocrisy and sense of entitlement of these spoiled bastards is stunning, and so help me when the revolution comes…

The Only Thing Worse

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than having to go to Staten Island on a miserable rainy day is having to go to Staten Island when it’s warm and sunny out. What a waste. At least I now know where the Bensonhurst accent emigrated to.

Is Anyone Actually Swayed

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by these “tea parties?”

The biggest irony of all is that practically all of the protestors the GOP staged in their astroturf campaign actually got tax cuts.

Locke was Post-Christian

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Or at least his points about constitutional democracy were, so says an article on Salon. So says one quote in reference to George Washington’s farewell address – “Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports,”

The idea that religion is important because it educates democratic citizens in morality is actually quite demeaning to religion. It imposes a political test on religion, as it were — religions are not true or false, but merely useful or dangerous, when it comes to encouraging the civic virtues that are desirable in citizens of a constitutional, democratic republic.

and then goes on to make the point that religion is not complementary to democracy because of its moral system or even “civic virtues,” but because it produces a convenient voting bloc. Indeed, the Salon article argues that America isn’t a Christian nation so much as its leaders pay lip service to a Christian majority to remain in power – quoting Eisenhower and McCain on the concept.

What, then, was the point of the article? As a refutation to conservatives when Obama let slip that America wasn’t a Christian nation, the conclusion seemed only to highlight that if it wasn’t a de jure plurality, it was a de facto one. That the article also made the argument, however, that long-term democracies in Europe and Asia have become less religious overall seems to come very close to positing that religion as a power structure is working in counter to that of a secular state, and that the state’s continued existence in its present form relies on a manipulation of its adversary – or vice versa.

Well, duh, but then which one is happening? George Washington’s farewell address can be taken as probably the most tongue-in-cheek digs at political hegemony possible, at least from a 20th century perspective, but he probably meant it in earnest, and in America now, evangelism is on the rise. The solace granted, at least in my perspective, is that the party of the Moral Majority or the Religious Right isn’t in power now, but that’s anything but a permanent prospect.

I always had a problem with religion. Well, not religion per se, but monotheistic religions that require proselytization – active conscription. In a government ostensibly founded on mutual tolerance, how can it wrap around the paradox of having to tolerate intolerance?

It doesn’t, that’s how.

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