Monthly archives: February, 2007

Wil Wheaton In Exile

Well, we may remember him from other things (Stand By Me, Star Trek: The Next Generation), but Wil Wheaton has developed quite a blog. And, as opposed to other celebrity blogs, this one has substance, and we like it at Turning Left.

I like his politics.

This entry from January of this year is especially telling:

regarding hersay and coercion

I read at Netscape earlier today that the Pentagon has new rules for detainee trials:

“The Pentagon has drafted a manual for upcoming detainee trials that would allow convicted terrorists to be imprisoned or put to death using hearsay evidence and coerced testimony.”

It should come as no shock to anyone who’s read my blog for more than fifteen minutes that I find this appalling, and I figure the reasons should be obvious to all but about 30% of Americans (give or take 3-5%.)

He goes on to liken the new laws to what may happen in China. Very interesting read.

And I just may purchase his book.

Anglican Prelates Refuse Communion with U.S. Brethren Over Gay Issues

Unbelievable. The NYTimes reports today on the very strange choice made by Anglican archbishops visiting the Tanzania:

Seven archbishops who say they represent more than 30 million Anglicans worldwide refused to take Communion here on Friday with the new head of the American Episcopal Church, to protest her support of gay clergy members and blessings for same-sex unions.

Their action demonstrated the deep gulf between conservative and liberal wings of the Anglican Communion, the world’s third largest Christian denomination, with 77 million members. Conflict over the American branch’s acceptance of an openly gay bishop and same-sex unions has dominated a high-level Anglican meeting here.

Disagreement is one thing, but refusing to sit down and share communion? This type of a theological posturing is truly sad. Even if one disagrees with another, even if one actually believes the person at the table is a sinner of the worst kind (as these right-wing cone-heads obviously do), then certainly a cursory reading of one’s own scriptures would reveal the example of a simple Rabbi who not only ate with sinners, but entered their homes to do so.

But we’re not talking about sinners here. We’re talking about bishops refusing to share the Eucharist with bishops. Has it really come to that? Again? And again?

Hats off — or miters off — to the American Anglican bishops who have the courage to stand by their convictions and reach out to all in love.

And shame on the Tanzanian Seven who refused Christ.
How sad, and how silly it all is.

House Votes to Rebuke Bush

Well, at last. And the Senate is capping off the House vote Saturday with a “rare weekend session,” according to

Leave it to the Democrats to actually make Congress start to work.

The NYTimes reports that 17 Republicans broke ranks and voted with the Democrats in the House, and the Democrats in the House were virtually unanimous. The Republicans echoed the same-old, same-old that cost them Congress in the first place, the NYTimes reports:

And one Republican after another rose in opposition, accusing the Democrats of rushing to judgment without giving the president’s new security plan a chance to work and warning that a vote for the resolution would embolden America’s enemies and damage the morale of its fighting men and women.

The non-binding resolution passed by a healthy 246 to 182 vote.

Hurry it up, Blue, and get a clue, Red. 3,133 American soldiers dead in Iraq as of this writing, along with 56,468 to 62,189 Iraqi civilians.

Two Women

Two well-known women have died recently. Somehow the attention given their deaths has been disproportionate. True that Anna Nicole Smith was, because of a strangely tragic life (and lifestyle), a well-known subject for the tabloids.? The loss of? Molly Ivins however,? barely rated a mention on the national news. It’s only in the last few years that I became aware of this brash, outspoken, often profane, delightfully funny Texas woman. She has been given credit? for coining my favorite nicknames for the president: Shrub and Dubya.

Anyone who hasn’t yet read her books is in for a treat. Her colorful language was too much for the New York Times where she reportedly ran around the newsroom in her stocking feet accompanied by her dog to? whom she had given a vulgar name. After realizing the Times was a bad fit, she eventually returned to Texas where, when she? wrote “beer gut” it wasn’t changed by copy editors to “protuberant abdomen.” Her first book title was “Molly Ivins Can’t Say That, Can She?” Well, she could and she did and she continued to.

Molly Ivins died of breast cancer at the age of 62. She didn’t keep her diagnosis secret. When she told her “beloved” readers in her column of her diagnosis, she finished by telling women to “Get. The.? Damn. Mammogram.” With all my heart I wish she had done so earlier.

Molly’s use of “beloved” is a real clue to her character. No matter how thoroughly she skewered her victims, she had respect and love for her readers. From the many tributes to her posted on the net, she was also gifted with great friends. One of them was the late Ann Richards, former Governor of Texas who was defeated by “Shrub.” Hopefully they are sharing a good laugh and maybe a beer in some celestial dimension at this very moment.

So, because there will be no more Molly on NPR, and perhaps no more scathingly funny books, I’m going to go back and reread “Bushwhacked” in her memory. Go with God! Molly, we hardly knew ya!

? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

? ” et.

Burn These Republican Words Into Your Mind

From AlterNet, posted by Evan Derkacz:

On January 17, 1961, Dwight D. Eisenhower said goodbye to public office with an address that concluded with the words below [strangely, the Eisenhower Library’s version and the audio in the video to the right, differ slightly. Brackets represent the text in the Library version omitted from the audio file…].

You’re familiar with the warnings in this speech against the “military-industrial complex,” but the subtler parts of the speech are every bit as powerful and refreshing…

As we peer into society’s future, we – you and I, and our government – must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without asking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.

Read the rest here. Watch the video. Take time to reflect.

Penn & Teller Tell It Like It Is

In this video, Penn & Teller tell it like it is with regards to psychic frauds, John Edwards (the dead talking guy, not the politician).

While it does have its fair share of profanity and may be offensive to some Christians, it’s worth watching and sharing.

Why I Dropped The Star Newspaper

There are many reasons to stay away from our local media in the south Chicagoland area. The newspapers have become the editor’s blog, opinion masquerading as news. Yes, we know Fox “News” is just a well-financed blog. But the local media drifts that way as well.

Welcome the absurd.

The Star Newspaper, published February 1, 2007, carries this for a front-page headline, complete with this bizarre image:

Chicago Bears and Non-science

A hex on Rex?

Star’s Starology columnist Marybeth Beechen tells us what she sees

What is a “Starologist”? And why is this front page news? Why is this news at all?

Yes, there’s a Superbowl on Sunday. Yes, the Chicago Bears are playing in the Superbowl. But The Star editors thought it necessary to put a “Starologist” on page one? This story sits in the print edition above a story, covered more fully at eNews Park Forest, about the arrest of a murder suspect. Park Forest sees less than one murder a year, so the arrest of a murder suspect within days of a man’s shooting death is news.

But The Star defers to the “Starologist”.

The article itself is even more distressing:

The Chicago Bears are returning to the Super Bowl for the first time in 21 years.

While the ’85 Bears “shuffling crew” were led by peripatetic coach Mike Ditka, today’s 2006 NFC champions follow a kinder, gentler fellow called “Lovie.”

Can sweet Lovie Smith bring the coveted Super Bowl trophy home to Chicago once again? Does his lean, mean and angry team have what it takes?

Perhaps the answer lies in their stars.

The article then goes on to give the details on key members of the Chicago Bears, starting with the coach:

Lovie Smith

Born May 8, 1958 in Gladewater, Texas, Coach Smith is thoroughly Taurus. Taurus is a fixed earth sign, grounded and strong.

Slow, steady and loyal are some key words used to describe the sign of the Bull. Is Smith slow? Listen to his considered speech when talking with reporters. Steady? No camera has yet to catch a frantic Lovie pacing on the sidelines.

Now there’s journalism for you! There’s scientific analysis! There’s front-page news in Chicagoland!

In this era of pseudo-science, this is bizarre and disappointing. So, that was the last straw for me. I called, canceled my subscription, and bid them adieu.

I’ll get my news from other sources.