Tuesday, September 26, 2006

When Wombats Congregate 

Speaking of Jesus, I wonder what he would think of the recent "Voter Values Summit."

In lieu of His comments, we can all enjoy Faithful Democrats' top five bizzaro moments from that gathering.

All you need to know about the Christian values of this group is that one of the featured speakers was Ann Coulter ("Being nice to people is, in fact, one of the incidental tenets of Christianity").

via Kevin Drum

Onward Christian Torturers? 

As is almost always the case, David Neiwert gets to the heart of the matter:
[Torture] is, in the end, a moral issue, and one drawn in stark black and white. As the late Joan Fitzpatrick put it: The torturer is the enemy of mankind.

Does America want to become known around the world as the nation that tortures? Does America, which likes to think of itself as the "beacon of democracy" around the world, want to instead become known as "the enemy of mankind"?

This is a question that can be put to any American, regardless of their faith.

But for the Christians out there -- including those who insist we are a "Christian nation" -- the question can be put in much simpler terms: Given the chance, would Jesus attach the electrodes and pull the switch? Would he waterboard? Would he dangle them in chains and beat their feet? Would he stand by and watch while others do it in his name?

Of course, there are plenty of "Jesus warrior" types who might resist, insisting that Christ would never relent in the face of the enemies of his faith. But their rationalizations cannot help but be convoluted and thin, a tangle of twisted words that obscure the moral clarity that Jesus himself conveyed through every word of his teachings.

If we become a nation of torturers, we will have truly lost our souls, not to mention any moral standing we might have in the eyes of the world. And Jesus himself would be the first to tell us so.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Dumming Down the Opinion Page 

Let's see . . . the Sun-Sentinel carries the syndicated columns of George Will, Cal Thomas, Thomas Sowell, Kathleeen Parker, and Bill O'Reilly. So who's missing?

Why National Review writer Jonah Goldberg, of course.

Perferable to Ann Coulter (who I was told was being seriously considered by the Sun-Sentinel about a year or so ago), but come on! Goldberg's opinions can best be summed up by a comment I saw on the internet (sorry, I forgot where):
This is the stupidest thing ever written, until Jonah Goldberg writes something else.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Logical Conclusion 

J. D. Henderson (Intel Dump) assesses the state of the American military and the direction in which the Bush administration seems to be taking it and asks,
Can anybody explain how this administration is effective, productive, and making America safer than other options we had, and have? In short, is this the "course" that we must "stay on" in order to be secure?
Read his post and see if you don't agree.

Unclear on the Concept 

The Pompano Sentry's "columnist," JP Bender, quotes an angry taxpayer:
"Nobody seems to accept responsibility and you blame each other. But it's my property taxes that keep going up and nobody seems to know why. I can'’t continue to live in South Florida with these rising taxes."
Mr. Bender doesn't seem to understand, either.

Now the anguished taxpayer is not identified, but if his property taxes are rising more than three percent this year it means that his property is either not homesteaded (that is, not his primary residence), investment property or he just moved from one residence to another. It also means that his property in increasing in value, a fact that I hear no one complaining about.

We do have a dysfunctionalonal property tax system in Florida, but for the most part it is not the fault of local municipal commissions or property tax assessors. Rather, the fault lies in Tallahassee, where was spawned the Save Our Property law that has created huge inequities in what people pay in taxes, as well as with Jeb Bush and his Republican toadies who never miss a chance to promote the idea that taxes for the common good are nothing more than robbery.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Green and Mean 

It's not quite beating swords into plowshares, but an interesting concept, nonetheless:
. . . one of the world's biggest arms manufacturers, is designing a new generation of "green"” munitions, including "lead-free"” bullets and rockets with reduced toxins.

It also wants to cut the dangerous compounds in its jets, fighting vehicles and artillery, which it warns "“can harm the environment and pose a risk to people"”.

The initiative is being backed by the Ministry of Defence, which has proposed quieter warheads to reduce noise pollution and grenades that produce less smoke. There have even been experiments to see if explosives can be turned into manure.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Round One 

As predicted, Crist and Davis will be the major party candidates for governor. Crist's very convincing victory should end Gallager's career as an elected official. Davis' win was closer, and although I voted for him, I'm not sure that Smith wouldn't have been a stronger candidate against Crist (who I think will probably win in November since he will have no enemies to the right).

In Broward County, the best news was that School Board member Darla Carter was defeated -- almost anyone would be a more effective officer-holder than she. I was surprised not that Gottlieb won, but that Lynch could not get 20 percent of the votes even through she was endorsed by the Sun-Sentinel.

A surprise (to me, at least) was Pompano Beach Mayor John Rayson's failure to win his race for judge of the Circuit Court -- he wasn't even close, gathering less than 35% of the votes.

A mild surprise was Jeremy Ring's victory over Ben Graber for the Florida Senate (Dist. 32). The campaign degenerated in the final weeks. Ring did a lot of mudslinging, but I think the real difference was that Graber was seen as "more of the same" whereas Ring was a fresh face.

In Florida House District 95, Jim Waldman won by a couple percentage points despite a concerted smear campaign. Had his opponent not had her own flaws (some of which did not play well with the big retirement communities)the outcome might have been different.

Joe Gibbons won the Florida House District 105 race -- he's articulate, hard working and intelligent, and should be a real asset to both Broward County and the Democratic Party.

OK, now on to the big fight.

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