Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Santorum's 'agenda for the Dark Ages'

GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum reinforced his theocratic credentials recently by denouncing fellow Catholic John F. Kennedy's famous 1960 discourse on religious liberty. In it, Kennedy expressed his belief in the separation of church and state, said his first loyalty as president would be to America rather than the Pope and called on Americans to vote for or against him in his own right rather than solely because of his religion.

Santorum that JFK's speech "made him want to throw up, which should surprise exactly nobody who's been paying attention to the campaign or his political career.

Kennedy's speech was given at a time when anti-Catholic bigotry was quite common. Half a century later, anti-Catholic sentiment has virtually disappeared and been replaced with widespread anti-Muslim sentiment. Anti-atheist sentiment has increased as well.

Alternet has a piece about Santorum's five most extreme positions; it must've taken them a while to narrow it down: his 'Agenda for the Dark Ages'.

America has spent the last 10 years waging war against violent, pro-death religious extremists. It's a mystery why we'd then elect one for the presidency.

Update: apparently Santorum has denounced Islam as being stuck in the 7th century. I'm not sure why he said 'stuck.' That's still several centuries ahead of whatever Santorum believes in.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Moderate Republicans still exist

I keep hearing people say moderate Republican politicians are bordering on extinct. That's not true. It remains quite numerous. They are just now called Democrats.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Why don't men have to get a prostate exam before being prescribed Viagra?

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum has been the most prominent leader of the far right's war against women (and little girls), with his desire to drive the GOP women's vote as close to zero as possible, but hardly the only one. Frighteningly, the extreme right is becoming fairly mainstream within the Republican Party.

The Virginia legislature on track to approve a bill forcing women seeking a legal abortion to be subjected to an intrusive ultrasound; victims, I mean patients, don't have to look at the images so apparently it's okay. As satirist Jon Stewart points out, in the opinion of these medieval lawmakers, a TSA safety pat down at the airport is completely abhorrent but using forcing women to have a long metal rod shoved up their vagina for no purpose other than humiliation is perfectly acceptable.

Makes you wonder why men aren't compelled by law to get a prostate exam before being prescribed Viagra. Oh wait... I think we all know why.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Almanack, Explorer to partner

Two of the leading Adirondack media outlets, the Adirondack Almanack website and the Adirondack Explorer magazine and website, have formed a partnership. 

The agreement will integrate their online operations. [Almanack founder] Warren will continue to run the Almanack, which will now fall under the Explorer rubric, according to a release published in the Almanack.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Another look at the hydofracking debate

The Los Angeles Times takes a look at the hydofracking debate here in New York. Some residents of the Catskills and Southern Tier want to lease their land to natural gas drilling companies to stimulate the economy, while others warn of devastation to the supply of clean drinking water and more broad concerns about losing control of their land, concerns that would counteract any positive economic effect.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The media's complicity in the rush to war against Iran

In Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi has an article about the militaristic establishment's preparations for another military aggression, this time against Iran, and the media's complicity with this insanity.

The below graphic lists the dozens of US military bases in the region that surrounds Iran (the country in blue in the middle), thus showing how Iran is a threat to America.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Newspaper undermines civic engagement

Just a warning... if you attend a municipal or school district meeting and sign up to keep informed about issues electronically, Post-Star managing editor Ken Tingley has issued a fiat that your private email address becomes public information. He won’t say for what purpose his paper wants your private email address, what public interests this serves or what right he has to information you're not choosing to give to him but we’re supposed to just trust him.

And if the government entity tries to protect your private information – not the contact information of public officials, but that of private, law-abiding citizens – they will be the ones denounced.

What a fantastic way to encourage the public to engage in civic issues.

Or maybe the corporate daily wants people to not be proactive and to just swallow their interpretation of events uncritically.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Catholic Church's evaporating moral credibility

A friend of mine posted this sad and outrageous story about his godfather. It's a great example of why the Catholic Church in America is hemorrhaging members.

My friend's godfather was the music director for a Catholic parish in North Carolina. The parish knew the man was gay and that he lived with his partner and, surprisingly, were okay with that. The fact that he was apparently a good music director trumped those things. But then the man and his partner got married and immediately, the parish fired him.

Of course, this is legal. It's legal because the Catholic Church has fought very hard for its special right to be able to ignore anti-discrimination and employment laws (and tax-exempt status but that's an issue for another day). The fact that the Church has fought so aggressively to protect those special rights (while acting equally aggressively against gays having equal rights) was an indicator that it fully expected to use them.

Many people of faith act contend that religious institutions should be immune from any public criticism, that we must mindlessly respect them as they relentlessly disrespect others, that we can not call such actions by their real name, that we must not apply the Church's own standards of morality to its own actions and inactions. To put it far more mildly than this issue deserves, this is wrong.

Perhaps if the Catholic Church had acted as vigorously against priests abusing boys as it does against loving, married (and CONSENSUAL) same-sex couples, the Church's credibility wouldn't be in tatters in the eyes of so many former members, such as myself.

Update -- another friend commented on the same article: "I know someone who is the victim of domestic violence and teaches at a catholic school. She can't get a divorce or she'll be fired. She has to find a new job first. Social justice, my foot!"

A third friend remarked more succinctly: "Jim Crow is alive and well."

Friday, February 03, 2012

Green announces run for NNY Congressional seat

The Adirondack Daily Enterprise’s Chris Morris did a nice profile of Donald Hassig, the Green Party candidate for New York’s 23rd Congressional seat. The seat covers most of northern NY and his opponents will be (presumably) the incumbent Democrat Bill Owens and whomever the Republicans nominate. North Country Public Radio did a profile as well.

Hopefully this won’t be the only ADE and NCPR coverage of Mr. Hassig’s campaign. One would expect other major media outlets who claim to be responsible, such as The Watertown Daily Times and Plattsburgh Press-Republican, to present Hassig’s ideas to voters as well, alongside Owens’ and the Republican’s. So far, they have not done so.

Editor's note: an earlier version of this post incorrectly identified the author of the ADE piece. It has been corrected.