Archive for November 17th, 2010

“Conservative” and “Liberal” need new definitions

| November 17, 2010 | 2 Replies
“Conservative” and “Liberal” need new definitions

I don’t know when it happened, but within the last year I started getting increasingly irritated at the use of the adjective “conservative”. “Liberal” has been a slur for a long time, but this last election taught me “conservative” is a required moniker. Much like no pol can speak in public without saying “God Bless America”, it seems the only way to get elected is to call oneself conservative.

Setting aside for the moment the dictionary definitions, words do, of course, take on new meanings all the time. But when I see “conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart”, or “conservative media outlet”, my teeth get a little smaller at the overuse and incorrect use of that particular word. So, I have been campaigning on a microcosmic level to have the following two definitions entered into the lexicon:

Conservative adj. – anti-Democratic Party

Liberal adj. – not anti-Democratic Party

I think those definitions are more accurate, particularly when looking at the “conservative” media today. As I am not “not anti-Democratic Party”, I must therefore be “liberal”. And if you ask anyone here in Texas who knows me, that’s probably one way I’d be described.

If they really knew me, they might see that I, like most rational people, can’t be pigeon-holed as a “conservative” or “liberal” – if using the traditional political definitions. I support elements of both sides of the political spectrum and from my perspective am extreme in none of them. Again, my perspective…but all things are relative. Though I’m learning without shades of gray. (If I were forced to actually codify my political position, it might be “progressive conservative.” ) Bottom line: I’d like to see the mainstream media stop including the word “conservative” when referring to websites, people, cable networks, radio shows, what have you.

But back to how people see me, yesterday morning I got a short email from one of my staff letting me know that late Monday he got an invitation to the George Bush Presidential Center groundbreaking ceremony and would be in later in the day. When I did see him in the afternoon, the conversation went something loosely like this:

Me: So how was it with you and 2,999 of your closest friends?

Him: (smiling) Pretty cool.

Me: Pretty cool is right! How’d you get the invitation?

Him: (still smiling) From […name withheld to protect...it doesn't matter....]

Me: (also smiling) You couldn’t snag an extra ticket?

Him: {hem…haw…} … for some reason… I don’t know… he’s got you pegged as a “hard core Democrat”

Me: {scrunched forehead} That’s funny, because I actually sit here (pointing to somewhere in the middle of my outstretched arms), but I suppose to someone sitting here (now pointing to the far right of the staff member), where I am (middle again) has to appear far left or … Democrat.

To my knowledge, around the person so pegging me, the only thing I have ever done to warrant such a judgment (not true, of course) is make a couple of jokes, in context and in the presence of a group, about Fox News…probably about climate science. (Fox makes it easy for me – the jokes pretty much write themselves). But that led me to having to add another definition to my mental dictionary:

Hard Core Democrat n. – anyone who does not profess love and adoration for, and a complete and total belief in, Fox News

By my newly acquired definition, I am such an animal. The reality? Surprise! I’m not a Democrat (nor Republican). I can be hard-core anti-Fox News, though.

I guess if I want to change perceptions, I now have to go make jokes about MSNBC. Help me out, Jon Stewart!

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Greatest health care system in the world?

| November 17, 2010 | Reply
Greatest health care system in the world?

In Mark Tiedermann’s post “The GOP Should Rename Itself As The Where’s Mine Party“, we learn of a newly elected Representative’s outrage at not being covered immediately by his new health insurance. Will that prompt true reform? If history has shown us anything, it’s not likely. So here’s another nugget to think about:

I received an Explanation of Benefits yesterday for two antibiotic prescriptions. My insurance was billed $107.43 for each set of 20 pills. Only $7.55 was allowed which included my $3.00 co-pay, which means…well…

My oldest son is currently unemployed (not by choice) and without health insurance (also not by choice and not yet able to take advantage of the new health laws that should allow him coverage under my insurance – even though he’s younger than 26 – due to my insurance being regulated by a different act…whew!)

He would have had to pay $214.86 for something my insurance felt was valued at only $15.10. About 7% of what was billed.

Yep. Greatest health care system in the world. Forgive the source of the quote, but I didn’t want folks complaining I pulled it from a “liberal” site, and we do want it fair and balanced. Although, I have a hard time respecting any elected official that feels the need to use a deliberately partisan inflammatory label such as “Obama Care”.

Where’s your outrage now?

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Did Anne Frank go to hell?

| November 17, 2010 | 17 Replies
Did Anne Frank go to hell?

Now here is a question I’d never thought to ask. Not of myself, mind you. I discarded belief in any afterlife long ago. But it is a good question to pose to fundamentalist Christians. And so Rachel Evans did. Credit where due, I found it via the Friendly Atheist.

If you read her post and comments, you see a lot of hemming and hawing from Chrisitans who believe a) in a kind, loving, and just God who b) sends everyone to hell except the most extreme sycophants. They try to have it both ways.

In brief, yes, all Jews go to Hell. But when considering this actual young, innocent person, who was a victim of Martin Luther’s plan enacted by a Catholic leader, they sputter.

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How to balance the budget in three days

| November 17, 2010 | 3 Replies
How to balance the budget in three days

When you take rancid partisan politics out of the process, you can balance the budget in three days, according to Gloria Shur Bilchik, of Occasional Planet. Bilchik was commenting on a recent story appearing in Esquire Magazine.

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