Bird, Fish Kills Blamed on Obama and DADT Repeal

J'ACCUSE! - A spontaneous demostration took place in Beebe, AR Sunday as Arkansas Game and Fish Commission officials named Barack Obama as the major cause of a huge fish and bird kill along the banks of the Arkansas River.

Beebe, AR – Arkansas game officials have announced that President Barack Obama has been implicated in the deaths of 4,000-5,000 birds – mostly blackbirds – and approximately 83,000 drum fish along a 20-mile stretch of the Arkansas River over the New Year holiday.

Billy Bob Hatfield, chairman of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, said toxicology tests have found no evidence of poisoning and necropsies that began on Monday have so far revealed no scientific explanation. Officials have also considered – but ruled out – fear of noise from thunderstorms and New Year’s fireworks and midair collisions between the birds. “With both fish and bird kills, it’s clear it wasn’t the noise or poison. And there were blackbird air traffic controllers on duty when the incident took place,” Hatfield said.

The commission settled on the Obama theory after a thorough search of the Holy Bible. “We prayed and the good Lord led us to a passage that says, “A man of dark color shall arrive in your country from Kenya and try to convert you to socialism,” said the chaplain for the Commission, Bob Billy McCoy.

Obama is the Anti-Christ
“We figured that since Obama has been conclusively proven to be a Kenyan and the anti-christ it must be his fault. “When we compared his color to the description of a ‘man of dark color’ found in the scriptures, it proved he was the true culprit,” McCoy said. “Then there’s that whole blackbird thing. Black man? Blackbird? That’s a coincidence? I think not.”

Some Republican officials and televangelist Pat Robertson have added “corroborating evidence” proving the initial trigger for the wildlife disaster was Obama repealing the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.

“There were thousands of gays swimming upstream of the fish kills in the Arkansas River. Some of the fish were sodomized by those secular homosexual humanists and swam upstream infected with AIDS,” Robertson said. “A dead fish washed ashore in the river and a bit of carcass from the fish was eaten by a blackbird who, in turn, infected the rest of his bird herd.”

“Gosh darn it. There can be no other explanation. God came to me in a vision I had during a nice veal scallopini dinner and told me it was so,” Robertson said.

Former Alaska Governor and Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin also weighed in on the subject via a Twitter message. “Yeah, ditto what Reverend Robertson said. BTW I’m not running for President in 2012, I just play like it on TV. I’m a rogue, God bless America.”

Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe (D) – no relation to the town – cautioned citizens to not consider this a final cause for the incident. “As a Democrat, I will work in a completely bipartisan manner with my Republican colleagues to investigate this matter,” Beebe said.

Too Late for Bipartisanship

However, the Governor may be too late in his calls for bipartisanship. Incoming Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, California Republican Darrell Issa, is already adding an investigation to his lengthening list of issues the committee will take on.

“I’m currently asking lobbyists – including those representing the blackbird and drum fish lobby and the Texas Board of Education – to rewrite new rules and textbooks loosening the stranglehold the Sierra Club and those other nature nuts have on good old American business,” Issa said.

“We’ve already found direct evidence that Barack Obama is a pedophile through his connection to National Public Radio. I’m sure my committee will find him guilty, especially since he isn’t a US citizen. I’m already working with my pastor to fashion an extradition agreement with the Kingdom of God if one is needed,” Issa Said.

“All I know is that under George W. Bush’s administration we had 10 straight years without a wildlife kill. Now, with two years of the Obama administration’s mismanagement, we’ve had socialist health care, oil rig explosions, and the mass die offs of thousands of birds and fish,” Issa said. “Republicans will prove they are the party of God by becoming strong advocates for ecological conservation – as long as it doesn’t involve oil companies, coal companies, or mining interests. ”

“I don’t know why Obama hates America,” he added.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

Can Jesus Discriminate?

Disclosure: The author is an Atheist.

There’s usually chirping when religion and hiring practices bump against each other and Monday’s Ninth Circuit decision in favor of Christian humanitarian organization World Vision is a case in point.

The 2-1 decision came from a suit contending that World Vision had discriminated by firing three employees who had been with them for 10 years and who didn’t, “believe in the divinity of Jesus or the doctrine of the Trinity.”

The court found that since World Vision is a religious organization, it can hire and fire because its employees directly work within the purview of its ministry and the bulk of its monies go to humanitarian aid, not proselytizing.

A Profound Sense of Religious Mission
In World View’s case, Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain wrote that, “World Vision has met its burden of showing that the ‘general picture’ of the organization is primarily religious.  World Vision is a nonprofit organization whose humanitarian relief efforts flow from a profound sense of religious mission.”

In other words, World Vision’s “religious” side and its “humanitarian relief” side are one and the same. Although why the three employees would join the organization knowing that and why the organization kept them around for 10 years before firing them is a bit of a mystery.

But then, what isn’t these days?

This case is fundamentally different from one a few years back in which Pat Robertson, and what was then known as his CBN University, ran afoul of discrimination laws.

CBNU operated a hotel that did not deny non-Christians guest rooms, but did hire and fire staff based on religious beliefs. They also had similar problems hiring and firing technicians and others working for what was then the Christian Broadcasting Network in non-religious jobs.

In their case, the court found that Robertson ran the hotel and TV network primarily to make money. Most of the money was used for investments in everything from South African diamond mines to stock, but some of it was used to support various religious and charitable pursuits. They lost the suit and eventually divested the hotel and university from Robertson’s personal empire.

Religious and employment discrimination is sometimes a tough thing. Minor differences between how money is collected and spent can have a profound impact on specific cases. It’s easy to take a one-size fits all approach and either say no discrimination or no paid staff. However, when these split hairs mean the freedom to practice religion, it’s a harder decision.

All too often, people on both sides – religious and Atheist – want to make religious freedom an all or nothing proposition. Those simplistic reactions do nothing to help either side of the argument and fuel an ever-growing schism between Americans.

Ersatz Hysteria
Today’s Park51 controversy is a great example. Some want Muslims stopped from building a community center (in fact, some even want them out of the country all together). Others see no reason to stop anything. Still others would be happy if all religions just went away, which I admit is sometimes a tempting, though hypothetical, thought.

All those joining the argument deserve to be heard and all of them have good points to make, but at the end, Park51 is a simple, local zoning case run amok. “Discussion” fell apart long ago and devolved into an ersatz hysteria on both sides.

Enough talking. Let’s just get on with things and stop dancing on the head of a theological pin. Ben Franklin said something about an entirely different topic, but that fits this subject in America today, “We must all hang together or most assuredly we will all hang separately.

Let’s get back to hanging together on something. This whining is giving me a headache.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

 

Voting Out the Constitution

People usually remember the 1960s as a time of great strife over civil rights. If you were alive back in the day, the images of police dogs ripping into lines of civil rights marchers or white-sheeted thugs dancing around a burning cross is still a chilling thing and proof that America was indeed going through wrenching social change.

Many would also like to believe that the country has made great strides in the interim, and we have. But, there’s more to accomplish and the nation now finds itself spending much of its energy on fighting to simply hold onto the advances already made. Civil rights advancement is now threatened by organizations and morally dishonest politicians bent on carrying us back to 1864.

Yesterday’s decision to strike down California’s Prop 8 anti-gay marriage law was sound. The judge did an impressive job of listing all the factual and legal reasons – 80 in all – showing that the law is unconstitutional. A improvement to celebrate, but also an event that highlights anti-civil rights crudaders’ thinking.

Tim Wildmon of the sarcastically named American Family Association reacted with shocking vitriol, calling the court’s decision, “a tyrannical, abusive and utterly unconstitutional display of judicial arrogance.”

Wildmon Is Has a Queer Notion
Wildmon believes one of the principles at stake is ignoring the California voters, which he sees as unconstitutional. In doing so, Wildmon – who uses the 10th Amendment as a fig leaf himself – introduces the queer notion that the Constitution is up for a vote whenever you don’t like what it says.

Similar to the rabble rousing for amending the 14th Amendment in the immigration battle, what Wildmon is proposing is that the Constitution – designed to be difficult to amend – should change to bend to the will of the latest ideological blowhard to come on the scene.

Mr. Wildmon, I ask you…if Californians voted to outlaw heterosexual marriage would you express the same fondness to the validity of their vote?

Wildmon also believes the “tyrannical and abusive”, Bush-the-Elder-appointed, judge should have recused himself from the case.

“It’s also extremely problematic that Judge Walker is a practicing homosexual himself, ” Wildmon said. “He should have recused himself from this case, because his judgment is clearly compromised by his own sexual proclivity.”

What I find “problematic” about Wildmon’s charge is that he is exhibiting his  own “proclivity” to act as a heterosexual, homophobic, quasi-religious leader. In other words – or more correctly Wildmon’s – “[Wildmon] should have recused himself from this case, because his judgment is clearly compromised by his own sexual [and religious] proclivity.”

I suspect the only judge Wildmon would find acceptable is an ordained Christian minister with a demonstrated track record of ignoring the Constitution in favor of a Christian Sharia-like theocracy – or a teabagger – whichever pinhead stepped forward first.

Americans are becoming increasingly unfamiliar with the basic tennents of the Constitution.They apparently believe that any hot head’s cause can simply be enacted by a simple vote. The Constitution is not the “McConstitution”. You can’t vote cheeseburgers off the menu because you don’t like them.

They believe that if there is a “war” on, the President, under no one’s authority other than his own, is permitted to suspend the Constitution’s guarantees against warrantless search or to hold prisoners indefinitely without charge.

Many Americans believe that the Constitution guarantees them freedom of religion, but also support depriving anyone other than Christians (they’re aren’t too hot on the Catholics either) of their similar freedom. Don’t like mosques too close to your shrine? Protest and file suit as Pat Robertson’s minions have done, but don’t be honest enough to mention that if it had been a Christian church you would’ve been praising the idea like it came from, well, God.

From Constitutional Ignorance, Instability Flows
From Constitutional ignorance, great instability flows. Unfortunately, those with such beliefs fail to see the unintended blow back from their muddled position.

Teabaggers and their similar-thinking ilk, like to wear tri-cornered hats and screech about keeping Big Gummint off their backs. If allowing someone to marry the person of their choosing is too much government involvement, then why isn’t government being on a gay person’s back equally bad?

Bush the Lesser did much to chip away at many civil rights during his reign and in areas like the conduct of our misbegotten wars and gay rights,  The Messiah™ continues walking the same swampy path.

One day, the blow back from their actions will come to haunt them and the people who cheered them. One day an administration will take office that isn’t so tolerant of their cavalier positions and decides to warrantlessly tap their phones, close their churches, or collect deep background on twerps like Wildmon.

And when they do, they’ll claim the same Constitutional protections because they changed the Constitution to allow it.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

 

Christian Coalition Declares Support For John Kerry’s Climate Efforts

It’s official: the religious right no longer dominates evangelical politics. The movement has outgrown its narrow focus on school prayer, abortion, and homophobia. Evangelicals have been trending this way for several years, but concrete change came today as the Christian Coalition endorsed John Kerry and Lindsey Graham's efforts to pass a major clean energy and climate change bill. (If you’re unfamiliar with the Christian Coalition, it’s the organization formed out of the remnants of Pat Robertson’s 1988 presidential campaign and brought to prominence by Ralph Reed – what Democracy for America is to Howard Dean, and the backbone of the religious right in the early 1990s.)

I have long been intrigued by the changing nature of evangelical politics. It was the subject of my undergraduate thesis: evangelicals never cease their political involvement, but every few decades, the nature of that involvement changes. Since the mid-1970s, evangelical politics have been in the era of the “religious right,” but that era is coming to a close. Evangelicals aren’t abandoning their positions on the aforementioned wedge issues, but they are changing their rhetoric and beginning to care about justice issues. All the evidence, though, has been circumstantial, with plenty to counter it: Individual megachurch pastors, like Rick Warren, call for a more civil discourse and a focus on more than just two or three issue, but always meet with sharp rebukes from the likes of James Dobson. A poll showed young evangelicals, while as pro-life as their parents, are also pro-civil-unions, but there’s no sign of political action to back it up. The Christian Coalition elected a president concerned with creation care (climate change) and poverty in 2006, but ousted him before he took office.

So while thousands of evangelical churches are “greening” their congregations, whether or not personal commitment to “creation care” would translate to political action has always been a slippery question. Today, I think, we finally have a solid answer. This isn’t just a generational shift like in the above poll; it’s the old guard seeing the light and braodening their focus. The current leader, Roberta Combs, took over as president for Pat Robertson in 2001 and led the aforementioned ouster of her 2006 replacement, but says the following in a new radio ad:

President Bush was right: our addiction to foreign oil threatens our national security and economic prosperity. America spends almost a billion dollars a day on foreign oil and a lot of that goes to countries that do not like us and harbor terrorists. Washington's failure to act puts our national security at risk, and drains our economy. I've heard from so many Christian Coalition supporters that energy is one of the most important issues we face today. America is a can-do country. We've got to take the lead to explore energy alternatives and protect our national security. We have to make our country safer by creating jobs with the made-in-America energy plan. I would like to ask you to call Sen. Lindsey Graham and encourage him to continue fighting for our families.

Evangelical politics are same-old same-old on abortion and, for now, gay rights. They are and always will be fundamentally conservative, but that doesn’t mean the progressive movement should reject a strong partner on specific issues such as the fight against climate change. With the forced ouster of James Dobson at Focus on the Family, the movement’s rhetoric and willingness to cooperate seems to be changing, and that’s an outstretched hand I say we take where we can. Assuming the KGL bill doesn’t give too much away to coal, we need to do whatever it takes to pass it. This just might be the “change” voters were looking for: not just in policy outcomes, but in rhetoric and advocacy as well.

Even John McCain Wouldn't Vote for John McCain

(cross-posted at Motley Moose and Clintonistas for Obama)

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Straight talk.

Apparently it's a dying art.

John McCain was never a maverick. He was a staunch Republican whose positions deviated from those of his party only on occasion. But the one thing he had going for him was honesty and sincerity. He told the country what he believed and why he believed it, firmly and unapologetically. He stood up for his beliefs even if they were unpopular. He defended his principles. But somewhere along the line John McCain gave up. He sacrificed his principles, he surrendered to the sordid tactics of his party, the tactics he once despised and vocally denounced. To fully understand the magnitude of his fall, one must look back -- a glance at the McCain of a month ago, really, is sufficient to understand the duplicity of his statements and positions, but the differences between the McCain of 2000 and the McCain of 2008 are staggering. A brief list compiled by blogger Alex Valentine shows the stark contrast between the two McCains:

There's more...

Diaries

Advertise Blogads