Daniel Larison complains Obama’s critics have no sense for important distinctions in their zeal to criticize: When Orwell used the phrase “objectively fascist” during WWII to criticize pacifists, he at least had the advantage of talking about a situation in which there were actual fascists involved. Roger Simon, on the other hand, is complaining about Obama’s differing responses to the Iranian election and the Honduran coup/deposition and uses the differing responses to conclude that Obama is somehow “objectively fascist.” The… Read more

And her Republican colleagues afraid that Republcian supporters will follow Bachmann and essentially help disenfranchise themselves are trying to stop her: Three House Republicans on the subcommittee overseeing the 2010 Census are asking Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) to reverse her decision to boycott the national population count, fearing others will follow her lead. “Boycotting the constitutionally mandated Census is illogical, illegal and not in the best interest of our country,” Reps. Patrick McHenry (N.C.), Lynn Westmoreland (Ga.) and John Mica… Read more

Ted Olson and David Boies, the lawyers for Bush and Gore respectively in Bush v. Gore are beginning a federal challenge of Proposition 8 which would put the issue on a path towards the Supreme Court.  Pam’s House Blend has an in-depth account of how this has come about and the expected road ahead. Read more

Being alone is not a virtue.  It is just a fact and, for most of us, a source of insecurity, occasionally a source of relief, sometimes a real liability.  Loneliness, by contrast, is essentially a kind of felt deprivation (and we should note that one can feel lonely even in the presence of other people).  But solitude is something of an achievement. I sometimes give an assignment to my students (with all of the requisite mental health warnings).  I ask… Read more

The best covers are ones that bring things out of a great song (or even a mediocre one) that you never could have gotten out of the original and other versions.  I love covers because they reveal things about songs you thought you knew already and show their other possibilities.  Most of all they highlight the contribution of the artist him or herself in making a song what it is.  When the lyrics and basic melody, etc. serve as a… Read more

“”The only chance we have as a country right now is for Osama bin Laden to deploy and detonate a major weapon in the United States” Why?  Because only then will we defend America “violently” enough. See, we won’t defend ourselves adequately enough unless we are attacked.  Paradoxically, if we’re not attacked, we’re not safe. Read more

After I made this post replying to Jon Stewart’s and Daniel Florien’s remarks about the value of faith, I copied my remarks and posted them to the website Unreasonable Faith where Florien’s remarks had been found.  In reply to my comment another poster asked us non-believers there what motivates our morality since, having grown up a Christian, he does not see how the various secular options of which he knows could be terribly satisfactory.  What follows is my reply to… Read more

A reader of Andrew Sullivan’s blog brilliantly connects the dots: Part of Sarah Palin’s irresistible appeal to her fundamentalist base is her ability to look at the camera with utter conviction and declare black to be white. The ability to lie well is a valuable part of the fundamentalist psychology. My son isn’t gay, he just hasn’t found the right woman! Those rocks aren’t 50 million years old, they just look like it as a test of our faith! My… Read more

Neko Case’s stirring cover of Harry Nilsson never ceases to move me. It was recorded in her barn in Vermont on 6 pianos she got free off of Craigslist. This video about the album features footage of the song’s recording. Read more

Thank God: Asked if he has plans to run for public office, he replied, “I hope not. You know, I talked to God about that and he was like, ‘No.’” “I believe he’s gotten me on this grassroots movement. If I can encourage leaders to step up, that’s what I would like to do. That’s a heavy role. That’s something I don’t know if I am prepared to do yet.” But Wurzelbacher said he will keep that door open if… Read more

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