Monday, April 28, 2003

Tap, tap, tap...

Is this thing on?

I didn't think so.

Move along...apparently nothing to see here.

Freedom of Speech?

Here's a transcript of a great radio interview with Roger Ebert who discusses Michael Moore's Oscar speech, and how society reacts to celebrities speaking their minds.

Then here's a report about how NBC's The Today Show cut Tim Robbins off in the middle of an interview with Matt Lauer, apparently because the brass didn't like his views on, of all things, censorship. It's possible the cutoff was because of their standard practice to go to local news at :25 and :55 after the hour, though.

There's also this clip from You decide.

Conservatives lose, liberals win - liberals lose, conservatives win. Forget the labels, forget the parties, forget the movements, forget the competition. Both sides have good ideas and both sides have bad ones. While it's human nature to align yourself with the side that you agree with most consistently, it's foolish to believe every point of view that side espouses just as it's foolish to disbelieve every principle of the other side. Take them all on a case by case basis, and maybe we will all be a little more open-minded.

(Thanks to Mark Evanier's great News From Me site.)

Friday, April 25, 2003

Unexpected Loss

We had our first preview of Company last night, and it went well. A preview is basically the final dress rehearsal before opening night, but with an invited audience. The purpose of this is so we're able to gauge audience reaction to certain jokes, etc and be prepared for them so we don't step over crowd reaction with important lines. A numbe of folks were present last night, and it was a big success - in fact, it was much more like an opening night performance than a preview. We're ready now.

However, the evening was tempered with news that an old friend of mine, a theatre acquaintance from way back, had died a few weeks ago. Her name was Ashley, and she and I have known each other off and on for about 13 years. Her husband was at the preview and we spoke a few minutes after the show was over.

Thankfully, I avoided a very awkward situation. Until I began speaking with her husband, I had had no idea she'd passed away. He congratulated me on the performance, and just as I was about to ask how she was doing he apologized to me for not contacting me and asking me to sing at her funeral! I supposed I must have gaped for a moment, although I don't think he realized my ignorance, so I played along. Apparently she had had a heart attack in the middle of the night and he couldn't wake her up the next morning - which was the same day as our auditions for this show. I spoke to other cast members later who had known her, and they had found out that weekend.

It was very shocking, and I will miss her. She was a great, brassy performer (think Ms. Hannigan in Annie and you can imagine the types of roles she played) and the lights are a bit dimmer today. Take a bow, Ash.

Volunteer Tailgate Party - Vol. II

Rich at Shots Across the Bow has the 2nd Volunteer Tailgate Party, a bi-weekly compilation of the best and brightest blatherings of the Rocky Top Brigade. Check it out.

Thursday, April 24, 2003

Left Coast to see Short and Alexander in The Producers

Cool. I'd love to see this show with these guys...

Alexander and Short Join Producers Tour in San Fran, April 21-26, Prior to L.A. Run

"They have worked new muscles preparing for the Los Angeles sitdown of the national tour of The Producers, and on April 21 Tony Award winners Martin Short and Jason Alexander get to flex them in front of San Francisco audiences."

Tech Week

Here's tech week of a show for a full-time worker with a family.

1) Wake up, see family for ~45 minutes
2) Work
3) Go home, see family for ~10 minutes
4) Rehearse till 11:30
5) Sleep
6) Rinse, repeat for 7 days

However, production pictures are online if anyone's interested. I'm the one on the left in this one.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

The Broad Brush reports:

United Methodists take a moral Ba'ath

"The United Methodist Church are calling on Methodist George W. Bush to repent for overthrowing Saddam Hussain's regime in Iraq.
..and links to the following story: Liberal Methodist Leaders Call Bush to Repentance: Those Whose Stance Falls Outside Traditional Methodism Take President to Task

"Several officials of the United Methodist Church (UMC) are calling one of their fellow Methodists to repentance. While that, in and of itself, may not be unusual, it is noteworthy that the call appeared in a full-page magazine ad -- and the person called to repentance is President George W. Bush.

Among those signing the ad are UM Bishops Joseph Sprague and Melvin Talbert, and Board of Church and Society general secretary Jim Winkler."
Several things Samizdata forgot to mention or actually quote from this article:

"[Mark Tooley, head of the United Methodist committee of the Institute on Religion and Democracy] says that first of all, the signers of the ad 'are hardly symbols of strong, mainstream' United Methodist beliefs. He points out that Bishop Sprague denies that Jesus Christ is eternally divine, Bishop Talbert has endorsed same-sex 'marriage,' and Winkler is a pacifist.

According to Tooley, the UMC affirms Christ's full deity, opposes same-sex unions, and is not pacifist. "Yet these church officials claim it is President Bush who is violating his own church's teachings," he says.
Tooley does, however, go on to say:

"Bush is supposedly a bad Christian and a bad Methodist because, like most Methodists, he does not agree with these church officials in their equation of compassion with a large federal welfare state and in their opposition to a strong military defense for America."
...and he devolves into typical conservative anti-liberal rhetoric, but the crux of the matter is these ministers who placed the ad were not typical and not representative (nor did they officially represent) the United Methodist Church. Painting a denomination or religion with a broad brush based on the actions of a few of their members can be damaging in the long run.

And it's a trait I find I have to watch out for myself in considering the characteristics and motivations of Islamists. While extrememe fundamentalists cause most of the trouble, more traditional Muslims suffer by association. If I don't want people to believe that of my religion, I shouldn't believe it of theirs.

Monday, April 21, 2003

Company Starts This Friday

It's been an interesting five weeks.

As some of my readers know (all 2-3 of you) I've been involved in the musical Company at the Oak Ridge Playhouse these last few weeks. I had intented to chronicle my experiences as rehearsals went along, but pesky things like a war intervened. In fact, that night after our third rehearsal was March 19 and I came home to find out about the "surgical strike" in Baghdad. Every night for the next couple of weeks I'd come out to my car after pretending I was someone else, somewhere else and turn on the radio expecting to hear our troops had been hit with mustard gas. Or New York had been nuked. It was sobering.

When we started, I figured this would be the "sense memory" that stays with me most regarding Gulf War II - doing this show. I also figured we'd also still be in the middle of conflict through this weekend and the next - which might have put a damper on the public's enthusiasm for lighthearted musicals, but that hasn't been the case.

The show itself is interesting: Robert is a confirmed 35-year-old bachelor, and one the evening of his 35th birthday, he attends/doesn't attend a surprise party thrown by five sets of married couples he hangs out with. Each couple has its own quirks and eccentricities, as shown by musical and comedic flashbacks that mirror Robert's struggle to come to grips with the decisions he's made on staying single. Combined with three girlfriends who offer their own commentary on his character, Robert eventually comes to a decision - sort of.

I'm playing Peter, half of one of the afore-mentioned couples. When Company was first produced in 1970, Peter barely had a bit part - only to mention that he and his wife had recently divorced and were now best pals. When the show was updated in the 1990's, a scene was added that raised the possibility that the reason the couple had divorced was because Peter discovered he was gay. It's a scene that has been controversial with purists over the years.

There's also a bit of onstage undressing between Robert and April, one of his girlfriends, during their date which I believe has been toned down a bit.

Anyway, the music is killer, the dialogue is great and if you're married, ever been married, or even are a confirmed bachelor/bachelorette I think you'll get a kick out it.

Shows are this Friday, Saturday and Sunday (4/25-27) and next Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (5/2-4) at 8:00. In addition there's a free "preview" show for our final dress rehearsal this Thursday the 24th - I'm not certain of the time. You can call the Oak Ridge Playhouse for tickets at 482-9999 or go to their website for info and directions.

UPDATE (04/16/04): Company webpage updated to reflect move to ORCP archives.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Salam Pax Exposed?

I wrote a couple of days ago that the prolific and now silent Baghdad Blogger Salem Pax may have been a hoax, and now there's some evidence that that may indeed be true.

Rocky Top Brigade Update

Welcome to the newest members of the Rocky Top Brigade: Missives Anonymous, JaNell, The Bully Pulpit, and Lay Lines.

This brings the current total to around 503, I believe...

Monday, April 14, 2003

Update on Religious Harassment in Union County

The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that India Tracy and her parents were guests at a gathering of 120+ people at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville on Sunday.

India and her siblings Tyla and Garret were students at different times at Horace Maynard Middle School, where they were regularly harassed, ridiculed, and threatened because of their (lack of mainstream) religious beliefs. The Tracy's filed a lawsuit in February against the Union County school system.

I've blogged about this before here, here, and here. Christianity is being consistenly misinterpreted and mistaught by ultra-conservative denominations in this area - and that's probably nothing new to a lot of people. However, it's interesting that some people get it, and it's especially heartening when it's a kid:

"After the family told their story, they fielded questions from more than a dozen audience members who wanted to discuss the line between church and state.

One of them, 15-year-old Sean Golden of Knoxville, said the behavior of India's classmates and the school system appeared contrary to Christian teachings.

"They preach this Christian behavior, and then they don't practice it themselves," he said.
And some who aren't even Christian understand the meaning better than those who say they are:

"Sarajane Tracy replied that her family didn't want to trigger a religious confrontation.

'We don't want India to treat Christianity the way it has treated us," she said. "I think these people are caught up in ignorance or intolerance.'"
But there's a little more...

Earlier in the article, the statement is made:

"According to one of the family's attorneys, Margaret Held, the Tracys describe their religion as paganism, while Union County is overwhelmingly Christian."
Ok, I can see where there might be a misunderstanding but I think the more accurate statement would have been "...while the people of Union County are overwhelmingly affiliated with Christian churches."

You see, attending a Christian faith church (Baptist, Methodist, Episcopalian, Catholic, a host of others) or even being a member of one does not make you a Christian, nor should it allow you to be lumped into a category such as "Union County is overwhelmingly Christian". To be a Christian requires a personal, inward commitment to Jesus Christ and his teachings. There's a relationship between the Tracy story and this recent story out of Kuwait (and I commented on it the other day over at Pathetic Eartlings - feel free to take a look) but here's the gist: one's decision to become a Christian is always an internal one - you can't be baptized and become a Christian, anymore than taking communion or just attending church - it's a deliberate, personal decision. It can't be coerced, it can't be bargained for, it can't be threatened and it can't be bartered. If someone held my family at gunpoint and said "Accept Christ, become a Christian or they die", and I said "yes, indeed I do!" and spent the rest of my life as a preacher, and I didn't believe it in my heart I am not a Christian.

The chaplain required a solder who wanted a bath to be baptized first (after an hour-and-a-half sermon). This poor fellow believes, as do some people in Union County who profess to be Christian, that one can be bribed, or forced, or threatened, or coerced to become a Christian.

Unfortunately, that's now how you reveal to someone the greater truths of humanity, that's how you recruit an army. Right, Saddam?

Any army chaplain who only offers bathing water on the condition the soldier gets baptized is not doing anyone any good - they aren't going to convince the soldiers who aren't Christians to accept Christ. The baptism itself won't do this. And it may alienate these soldiers who may be leaning toward becoming Christians, and soldiers of other religions.

So don't say Union County is overwhelmingly Christian. Until it learns to lead by example, to be open minded, to love your neighbor....hey! that is to say, be'll continue to turn people away from your message. And that doesn't do you or any Christians any good.

Thanks to South Knox Bubba for the posting about the News Sentinel article. I hadn't seen it today.

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Volunteer Tailgate Party, Vol 1

Welcome to the Inaugaral Edition of the Volunteer Tailgate Party, representing the best of the Rocky Top Brigade. The Rocky Top Brigade is a collection of bloggers with ties to the great state of Tennessee. Representatives from Knoxville, Nashville, Memphis, Johnson City and all over Tennessee as well as points around the United States and even overseas come together to present their opinions on truth, justice, and the search for a good single malt Scotch whiskey for around $20.

The Rocky Top Brigade has a wide spectrum of political views and personal histories - from preachers to web designers to Australians to, well, Glenn. We comment on each other's sites, critique each other's posts, and support each other in time of need. It's Tennessee, we're Volunteers, and we're damn proud of it.

We'll rotate amongst various RTB Brigadiers every other Friday, so keep an eye out for us. Thanks for visiting, and enjoy.

Our first entry is from Mark Longmire at The (Almost) Daily Comment, who has the scoop on an "Intimidating" replacement statue for Saddam Hussein (Thursday's entry), plus discovers Baghdad Bob's new calling (Tuesday's entry). Truly shocking.

Next, Rocky Top Brigade founder South Knox Bubba brings to our attention a neglected art form: Jet Porn. Maybe Baghdad Bob will sell him one...

Rich Hailey of Shots Across the Bow has a smorgasbord of patriotic tributes from across the world, and has obtained a copy of a brand new UN Resolution that offer France and Germany a compromise in how Iraq is rebuilt after the war. Many Shots Across the Bow operatives died bringing back this information about the Emperor's plan for a new Death St---, oh wait, wrong movie. Well, read it anyway.

Pet Blogging! No, it's not what they do during downtime over at the Command Post, it's Jane from The Daily Rant with the cutest collection of critters north of Vonore. And no, Jay's not one of them.

Moving right along, Mason of Blogwash has a complementary story to Mark's - an exclusive interview with Baghdad Bob, aka Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, in which several completely ludicrous and ridiculous claims are made - which are absolutely true. Judge for yourself...

(The Rocky Top Brigade is nothing if not complementary and collaborative.)

SayUncle of, um, well, SayUncle describes A Shift in The Crazy, or how the extreme left is making claims about the right as outrageous as the extreme right did about the left several years ago (Tuesday, April 8, 12:16pm). Plus, in a Very Special Episode of SayUncle, our boy debates vicariously with other bloggers about the role of government as defined by liberals (Tuesday, April 8, 11:56pm) . Caution: direct links may not work - in this case look for posts from the dates and times above.

The lovely and talented Debbie of Sugarfused always brings a touch of class and culture to the RTB with her particularly pleasing postings of poetry, paintings, and pithy comments. Ahem. Anyhoo, she's selling an old trunk or something on Ebay. Go buy it and make her a happy blogger.

Whoops! We have our first update: Debbie's trunk has been sold!. However, now she's offering this.

Finally we bring this opening edition of the Volunteer Tailgate Party to a close with a little whistling in the dark about terrorism (or the lack thereof) from your host, Barry, of the Inn of the Last Home, and offers some friendly support to the anti-war folks by providing links to a number of stories that support their arguments. Also, I'd like to invite you to peruse my whole site - the doors of the Inn are wide open, and Otik's Spiced Potatoes are simmering!

Good night, everyone, and have a very pleasant tomorrow!

Fear My Wrath

Biomechanical Android Responsible for Repair and Yardwork

I hate yardwork, that's why I have such wrath. And sore knees.

(from via Sugarfused)

Right on Top of Things

Swiss Gov't Freezes Iraq's Bank Assets

"BERN, Switzerland - Switzerland said Wednesday it would freeze all Iraqi government and corporate assets in Swiss banks until the U.N. Security Council determines the rightful owners.

The decision was the government's "answer" to last month's U.S. demand that other countries confiscate frozen Iraqi assets so the money could be used by a postwar Iraqi government, a Foreign Ministry statement said."
Gee, thanks guys. Thanks for really stepping up to the plate when we needed ya...good thing you didn't do this a couple days after the war started, or Saddam wouldn't have had any time at all to pull everything out of the accounts.

Talk about closing the barn door after the horse's ass has escaped...

Some Links Supporting the Anti-War Movement

Ok, in the spirit of equal time I've found some links to news stories that support some of the Anti-war movement's claims:

First, this one:


That's a link to the news story about the terrorist attacks that occured against US and allied interests since the war began.

Here's another one:


That's a link to the big story how North Korea took advantage of the confusion and invaded South Korea.

Oh, and this:


That's the big story detailing the mind-numbing numbers of civilians and US Troops that were killed in the Iraqi conflict. The numbers seem to be doubling every couple of days. There's also a piece about how the Coalition began falling apart after Basra and Umm Qasr refused to fall, and resistance in Baghdad was much stiffer than imagined.

Glad to be of service.

Command Post

Interesting, this is the first day in a couple weeks I haven't been compelled to go to first thing in the morning (after Lileks, of course - you have to have priorities).

Salem Pax

I hope all those folks who might be searching for this guy and Baghdad, and all the bloggers who have followed his exploits won't be too disappointed if he doesn't turn up. I've never really thought he was for real in the first place.

Just too convenient, and too free access. I may be wrong but I'll be more surprised if he's real than if he's not.


The Daily Rant is hosting Pet Blogging Day! Visit Jane and Jay and join in the fun....

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Press in the Palestine Hotel

This is ridiculous:

The killer attack journalists never saw coming

"I thought the Iraqis were responsible. Americans would never do that - or so I believed. The crew member who fired the shot should be court-martialled. He's a war criminal."
Should the press who were holed up in the Palestine Hotel have been afforded the same priveliges of restraint that US troops have been giving Iraqi citizens?

Matt (Charlie Sheen) - What's the difference between us and them?
Jed (Patrick Swayze) - We live here!
-- Red Dawn
You chose to be there, fellas, and accepted the risk. The civilians did not. The reporters were warned by the Pentagon several times that the US forces could not guarantee their safety, and they should leave as soon as possible. The reporters did not, or waited until it was too late. There was enemy fire coming from the hotel, where Iraqi fighters believed they would be safe from attack, and the US responded. And some of the reporters paid the price.

Baghdad Citizens Toppling Saddam Statue in Downtown

The Iraqi equivalent of tearing down the goalposts. And Tennessee fans think we were happy when we beat Florida in 1998? That was nothing. Congratulations, Iraq - now spike the ball.


Maybe I'm just whistling in the dark, but here goes...

Judging by the ineptitude of the Iraqi's to adequately defend their country, how in the world did international terrorists like the ones on 9/11 succeed in their plans?

I'm assuming for the sake of argument that the leaders of most Middle Eastern countries have basically the same experience and resources that Saddam has/had. I'm also assuming that ultra-religious groups like Al-Qaeda (who hop from country to country, whoever will take them) operate under roughly the same intelligence level or below.

9/11 took years of planning and financing. 19 suicide terrorists (20 if you count Zacharia Moussawi, and maybe as many as 20 more who may have been on other planes that weren't able to attempt a hijacking of their own planes) received money from Bin Laded, took flight training for years under our noses, planned synchronized airplane takeovers, and succeeded in 3 out of 4 hijackings to our horror. And, worst of all, our complete complacency and lack of security probably helped them as much as any other factor.

So, looking at the Iraqi example, how did they pull it off? And could they muster the courage, resources, and volunteers to pull something like that off again?

I realize at this point I'm sounding bigoted against Arabs or Muslims, but I don't mean to be. I simply am going under a given truth that a) all the 9/11 terrorists, plus Al-Qaeda plus Bin Laden plus Saddam & Sons plus the Iraqis plus the Taliban plus the Saudis plus.... all operate under a similar mindset and mentality.

After viewing the last 3 weeks of general ineptitude in the rules, conventions, strategies and tactics of modern warfare it's hard to believe they were able to successfully plan and execute 9/11.

Look at the US since 9/11. No overt terrorist attacks (unless the Anthrax mailer, mailbox bomber or DC snipers were supported by Al Qaeda, which hasn't been proven to my knowledge). It would be child's play for anyone to car bomb, suicide bomb, etc just about any lightly defended place in the US - but it hasn't happened. No chemical attacks, no bio attacks, no nuke/dirty bomb attacks. Is this really due to a lack of will? Effort? Increased security measures? Divine intervention? Maybe a combination of the four. However, I do thank God nothing else has happened like this so far. Could it? Maybe. Will it? Increasingly less likely, it seems. Again, maybe I'm whistling in the dark.

Was 9/11 a major fluke of Al Qaeda luck while America was asleep at the wheel? Can you really compare the Iraqi regime with the terrorists resources? Look at the renewed fears of terrorism that have surfaced in the months preceding and during the Iraqi war - unrealized. Because of the Orange Alerts? Maybe. The capture of Khalid Shekh Mohammed may have truly nipped any organized terrorist attacks in the bud, but who knows? So far no one has tried even the slightest hint of terrorism here or abroad (not counting the Iraqi suicide drivers).

I hope I'm right. Of course, it's possible that by the time you read this Seattle could be a radioactive slag, but in that case I'll retract everything. Lord protect us.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003


Let me tell you about my day.

Morning: wake up, feel a bit better than yesterday - my sinuses now only has a gross tonnage of about 13 metric tons. Oh, yeah, and on the couch after my wife kicked me out of the bed because my coughing was keeping her up.

Mid-morning: Doped up on Coracidin and Aleve for the massive headache my coughs are causing. If I don't maneuver my cough just the right way it feels like a nail gun is driving into the left side of the back of my neck.....!@&%@$&

Afternoon: Better, although the rain and low pressure's not helping. My lungs feel like they're made of steel wool.

Late Afternoon:

Evening: More Coracidin and Aleve - off to Company rehearsal. Was able to rest a bit while people worked on other numbers.

Later Evening: Time to practice 5 minute major production number, "Side by Side by Side". Lots of Bob Fosse type stuff, running out all over the audience, kick line, the works.

Night: Home. Lady. Vols. Lose...Can't...Breathe....Must...resssssssssssssssssssstttttt...............

Monday, April 07, 2003

This Just In...

The Jeruselam Post is reporting:

"The US Army's 3rd infantry division, 2-7 Mechanized Infantry Brigade, is involved in a fierce battle with Palestinian and Jordanian gunmen in the industrial area of southern Baghdad. The people shooting at US forces are using coordinated attacks using RPG's, suicide trucks, artillery, and sniper fire..."
In related news, sales of Dungeons and Dragons manuals and die-cast figurines are reportedly going through the roof at the Baghdad Hobby Hut. Owners say the new 3rd Edition Monstrous Compendium is an especially good seller, weighing in at a hefty 45 pounds and containing new stats for Fedayeen Sadaam soldiers, Special Republican Guards, and New Iraqi Gibbering Mouthers.

Good night, and have a pleasant tomorrow.

It's Coming...

The Volunteer Tailgate Party
Volume 1, Coming Friday, April 11, 2003.

Friday, April 04, 2003

Dog Tired

Mowed the yard today - back and front of jungle hacking with a pocket knife - and learned the first half of a fully choreographed number at Company rehearsal. My blisters have blisters and Nike left me a message chastising my treatment of their shoes. Also, Bob Fosse called from beyond the grave and threated to have Tommy Tune come and break my legs so I can't dance.

Since I stayed up till 2am to finish my manifesto below, my contacts now have this film over them reminiscent of the day I was caught in a snowstorm with no power to the windshield wipers. matbhyo sakyjwqihu mry9mh029y7uy*ht,,,,,, I mean my hands wander places over the keyboard that you don't want to know about, and I'm off to bed. Night, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.

Betrayal, Part 2

Thanks to all the folks who offered comments on Pt. 1.

Traditionally, at least in my experience, liberals have been the group to care about the power of the "other" or the group (as opposed to conservatives, who care about the power of the one). Some of its political and social philosophies include espouse raising children in a "village", having a federal government that has a lot of control over the things we use to live our lives, and promoting fairness and equity among the people. This is what brought about the rise of affirmative action and welfare - giving other people a helping hand to improve their status in life and in turn hopefully making them productive members of society, and also "political correctness" - recognizing that tact and fairness as a virtue affects us all. Liberals also seem to gravitate more to the arts and humanities in school, appreciating the relative lack of a rigid social structure that traditional conservatism offers, and they enjoy enhanced opportunity for self-expresion without boundaries of orthdoxy. Civil liberties based on personal freedoms and self-expressions are hallmarks of liberal causes. Criminals don't deserve to die for their crimes - vengeance killing breeds more killing.

Of course, socialism and communism political philosophies creep into the groupthink of a lot of liberals, based on the sharing of property and other reasons. This is a big reason so many socialist and communist groups seem to be supporting and financing the anti-war movement. However, where socialism and communism seem to fail the true liberal test is when it comes to a communities right to self-determination. The group should determine as a group the directions and decisions they make. A hallmark of democracy.

Again, liberals are about the "other", and the group - believing that when the group accomplishes great things, these great things are reflected on the individual. After all, accomplishments don't happen by themselves - they happen because of the hard work and dedication of the individuals who make up the group. I believe conservatives have a reverse, but equally valid philosophy -- and correct me if I'm wrong in interpreting this, folks -- that when the individual is able to accomplish great things, then the whole is stronger. The individual accomplishments are more worthy of celebration than the group's, since it is the individuals that make up the group. See, they have the same goals, but the ways they get there are different.

So how does this relate to the anti-war movement?
  • One would think the prospect of liberation - the liberation, mind you - of the people of Iraq would make liberals giddy. After all, a group of people is throwing off the yoke of oppression, and gaining the ability for self-determination. Of course, there would be sceptics of the US's position RE: post-war plans, but their voices would keep the administration on its toes.
  • One would think the prospect of protecting the group - in this case Our Group - from the horrors of WMD's by removing them from an evil dictators hands would be pleasing as well. The group is protected! By the government no less? And, plus, like I said before liberals want to physically help those who can't help themselves - the Iraqi people, and others - by protecting them from WMD's that may fall into terrorist hands.
  • One would thing liberals would recognize how money can corrupt people into doing things they normally wouldn't do - look at how the losses of Iraqi income seem to have influenced the governments of France, Germany and Russia. You'd think liberals would be massing in the streets protesting the hypocrisy of Chirac and Putin for their reasons to oppose this war.
There are other paradoxes as well.

Which leads me to the concept of betrayal. I feel that for some reason, liberals in the US have latched onto the idea that Saddam Hussein really isn't (or wasn't) as powerful as we say he is, that he either doesn't have WMD or if he did he destroyed them or wouldn't let them be given to terrorists, that he can be contained, that a war of liberation could somehow be described as "pre-emptive" in the same way Iraq's invasion of Kuwait could be, or the Russian invasion of Afghanistan was "pre-emptive". They believe that Saddam has no connection to Al Quaeda/9-11, when it's not an actual link that's important, it's that fact that his activities and beliefs mirror the ones of the terrorists and are very similar.

I've also made clear on here before a large number of anti-war protestors are pacifists, and oppose conflict of any kind.

I don't think any of these aforemention beliefs most liberals seem to hold regarding the war ring true. I find it especially difficult and galling to understand why the liberation of a horribly oppressed people can't help but pave the way for a Democratic and free Iraq. And this will be a shining example to the rest of the Middle East that democracy works, freedom works and liberty works.

But Liberals persist in their accusations, their protests, their sit-ins, their work-ins, their close-mindedness and their shame.

It's difficult to listen to talk radio and hear people spouting off about "The liberals are all against the war and are all commie pinko peaceniks". I think, "But..I'm a liberal - I'm proud to adhere to this philosophy - but I believe like you do, I care about the people of Iraq and bring stability to the region and ensuring our safety. You're insulting me, but I don't deserve it - I'm on your side on this one!"

And this is why I feel the Liberals who protest, who disrupt the normal workings of a city and show horrible violent civil disobediance (Thoreau would be ashamed), and who feel so strongly that we threaten the Iraqi people they volunteer to become human shields - I feel they've betrayed me and betrayed the true liberal philosophy. In some ways now I feel a bit lost. I'm definitely not a conservative - I don't think that way. But liberals seem to have redefined the philosophy to fit their own ends. Democratic politicians show their true colors as political animals only and suddenly become anti-war as well. Not because they suddenly have a new philosophy, but because their liberal constituents might get mad and not vote for him for reelection (Republican politicians would, of course , do the exact same thing).

So here I am, betwixt and between.

And I can't stay silent any more. I would hope any who think as I do would speak out themselves in compassionate opposition to the hijacking of our philosophy, and admonish these new liberal fundamentalists that create so much media attention, demand air-time, and distract from the liberation in the minds of the American People. We are a nation divided when we should most be united.

I'd ask you to remember where you came from, and what brought you here. Don't fall for the false facts of others - dig into the data, find out things for yourself. Speak out, don't be silent - discuss, argue civilly and don't rely on others to tell you what to think. Be true to yourself and your soul. Your children are listening.

P.S. That's all I can manifest out of the deep dark pit at the moment. I may come back to this and follow up as other thoughts strike me (or in response to comments). Right now that's all the coherant thoughts I can rub together at one time.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

Betrayal, Part 1

I have a big internal rant that's been building for 2 weeks now, and it's trying to find its way out. Unfortunately, I don't feel I'm a good enough writer to be confident it will make its way out the way I want it to.

Here's the gist of it... First a parallel:

One of the many criticisms and unanswered questions in the wake of 9/11 is why didn't (or hasn't) the American Islamic culture rise up and publicly condemn the actions of the fundamentalist militant offshoots of Islam personified in Al Quaeda? Many articles were written portraying Islam as the "Religion of Peace", yet there was no organized, publicized, unified condemnation of the fundamentalists here in America. Many then became confused, and soon suspicious that perhaps the fundamentalists weren't quite as much an offshoot as we thought, and that perhaps their views regarding America, Jews, Christians, women, etc were more mainstream than not.

Another parallel:

For years, Christian fundamentalists have drawn media attention with their misinterpretation of Scripture. Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell had a well-publicized rant placing blame on the "degenerate" American society as the cause for the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Abortion clinics and physicians are routinely targeted and sometimes attacked in the name of Christ. Bob Jones University recently lifted its ban on interracial dating and its leader has called the Catholic Church a "cult". Yet the more moderate Christians in America have done little publicly to denounce these people and their actions, or to take a stand and clarify that fundamentalist beliefs do not accurately reflect the more widely accepted mainstream Christian views.

In both cases, fundamentalism flourishes because the more level-headed, clearer thinking, open minded did nothing to stop it.

But that's not what's been gnawing at me.

I want to bring up a new kind of fundamentalism that's suddenly thrust itself into the American - and global - mainstream, although the American version is the one I'll comment on. And what I'm feeling is a deep and profound sense of betrayal. I've alluded to it here and in comments on other sites recently, but now I need to get it out in the open.

I'm a liberal, yes. I'm a Democrat, too, though that fact is really immaterial in this context but it becomes important later. I'm a Christian as well, and while that does have a good deal of relevance in my own life not all liberals are Christians and I can't force my religious beliefs on others or expect them to have the same beliefs. However, a lot of my principles in which I live my life I've learned through my relationship with Christ and his teachings. This has allowed me to define my view of the world around me, and how I feel I should relate to others. For a number of years, the liberal philosophy has paralleled my own beliefs and practices.

And for two weeks now (and even longer, although it now has come to a head) I have felt deeply, deeply betrayed. And confused, and frustrated, and unsure of which way to turn politically and socially. I feel the American liberals have betrayed me, betrayed their philosophy, betrayed their principles and betrayed themselves.

Ok, introductions are out of the way. I need time to clear my thoughts and proceed - I'll post more on this tomorrow....

To Be Continued...

So, we meet again at last.

The circle is now complete - when I left you, I was but the learner. Now, I am the master.

is a
Porridge-Eating Psycho Monkey

...with a Battle Rating of 7.7

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Wednesday, April 02, 2003


Take a look at this site I saw on my referral list...

Does it, like, look familiar or something? What, is this guy just stealing my site design? Admittedly it's based on a regular Blogger template but, I mean, all my blogroll links, even my email address is there.........

Dead and Deader

Ok, which has the better chance of being dead (as of 04/02/03): Osama Bin Laden or Saddam Hussein? Cast your vote here.

Some Modest Proposals

I've been a proud member of the Rocky Top Brigade for a couple of months now (since January 15, to be precise) and I'd like to make a couple of proposals.
  1. A number of us have participated in the Carnival of the Vanities, the rorating weekly roundup of blogging highlights. Since a number of us discuss different aspects of similar topics on our sites, how about a weekly or bi-weekly RTB "Carnival"? There are currently, at last count, 33 members of the RTB - a good number to provide a periodic "sampling" of facts, figure, rants, screeds, and unacceptable language. I'd be willing to host the first one or two, and maybe we could rotate it around. It might be a good way to enhance traffic (to those who need it) and might be fun. What do you say?

    PS - I'll leave it to the witty among you to come up with a name. "The Volunteer Tailgate Party" is all I've come up with so far...

  2. I've got all the RTB members listed in my blogroll to the right, and a couple other members do too. Some of us have just a few and some have no RTB links at all (other than the obligatory Instapundit link). I think it'd be nice to see the whole groups listed together on all our sites, but maybe that's just me....
Thank you for your time and attention, and we now return you to your regularly scheduled warblogging.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Cubs Win!!!

Yesterday was Opening Day, and all is right with the world. (Well, sort of)

However, and you heard it here first - the Chicago Cubs will win the National League Pennant this year. Mark it down and break the pencil - I won't go so far as to say they'll win it all, but they'll get to the Big Dance. The real Dance, not the fake one they're having in New Orleans right now ;) The Fall Classic, the Big October...they're in.

"Ray, people will come, Ray. They'll come to Iowa for reasons they can't even fathom. They'll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they're doing it. They'll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. Of course, we won't mind if you look around, you'll say. It's only $20 per person. They'll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it's money they have and peace they lack. And they'll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They'll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered they're heroes. And they'll watch the game and it'll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. And the memories will be so thick they'll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh... people will come Ray. People will most definitely come."

-- Terence Mann (James Earl Jones): Field of Dreams
People will come.