Everybody loves a quickie

This’ll be a quick one, because my jobs are getting busier.

I read on About.com that some places are banning people from wearing political hats/shirts/shoes/etc to the polls. This surprised me, not because I think it’s unreasonable, but because I thought every state had that rule. Apparently, my state doesn’t have an explicit law against campaign outerwear! But I bet that if someone showed up wearing an Obama shirt, some people would try to tell them they can’t do that (I live in Georgia).

The author posted a poll: “Do you think campaign buttons and t-shirts should be allowed in polling places?”

Yes.
(1025)
56%
No.
(673)
37%
Not sure.
(102)
5%

I voted no.
Twice.

What surprised me was that so many people think that these things should be allowed. I always thought that nobody allowed that type of thing, so I never really thought about it.
I know that most people aren’t going to change their minds because they walk into a school and see that they’re surrounded by “McCain” when they want to vote “Obama.”
Then again, if I walked into a school and saw a bunch of people wearing campaign buttons or whatnot, I would get mildly paranoid. Are they staring at me, are they not, is anyone going to ask for whom I’m voting, should I lie? That sort of thing.

You can’t campaign within 100 feet of a polling area. Makes sense to me (see above). So why do you want to wear a campaigning shirt? I mean, if they don’t allow a sign saying, “VOTE McCAIN” then they shouldn’t allow people to wear a shirt that says the same thing.

Frankly, I see no reason to wear clothing that advertises for whom you’re voting on the day of the election. If I saw someone do that, I’d probably think, “Oookay, crazy fanatic. Stay away from me.”

If anyone out there is actually reading this, and has a different opinion, I would love to hear from you.

Oh, here’s the original article: http://urbanlegends.about.com/b/2008/09/24/what-not-to-wear-when-you-vote.htm

(The hilarious thing was that the “urban legend” that spawned the article all has people warning not to wear Obama shirts.)

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Published in: on September 29, 2008 at 2:39 pm  Comments (1)  
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Hate is a Strong Word, but…

I reallyreallyreally don’t like my representative (Phil Gingrey).
I subscribed to a weekly-ish email from Congress/MegaVote about recent votes in the House/Senate quite some time ago, and while sometimes I disagree with my senators, I almost always disagree with Gingrey. Judging by my MegaVote mails, just about everyone in the government feels the same way I do. See:

  • Passed – No Child Left Inside Act of 2008 – Voted NO
  • Passed – Comprehensive American Energy Security and Consumer Protect Act – Voted NO
  • Passed – Paycheck Fairness Act – Voted NO
    You’ll notice that although he voted “no” for all of those, the acts all passed.

That’s only a sample of his recent votes. Here’s some more of his voting record:

  • Voted NO on expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines. (Jan 2007)
  • Voted NO on allowing human embryonic stem cell research. (May 2005)
  • Voted YES on restricting interstate transport of minors to get abortions. (Apr 2005)
  • Voted NO on prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation. (Nov 2007)
  • Voted YES on making the Patriot Act permanent. (Dec 2005)
  • Voted NO on tax incentives for energy production and conservation. (Jun 2008)
  • Voted NO on tax incentives for renewable energy. (Feb 2008)
  • Voted NO on giving mental health full equity with physical health. (Mar 2008)
  • Voted NO on investigating Bush impeachment for lying about Iraq. (Jun 2008)
  • Why, why, why is he still in office? What on earth are people thinking?

    More to come later, specifically on the No Child Left Inside Act.

    Published in: on September 23, 2008 at 3:34 pm  Comments (6)  
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    If you’re looking for confusion, please continue reading

    So, I was talking to my mom the other day and ranting about how prostitution should be legalized. I thought it would make a great blog entry.
    I try to do a fair amount of research before publishing each blog post, which means that some of my blog posts are actually days old before they hit the press.

    In this case, what began as a blog entry for prostitution is now a blog entry very confused about prostitution.

    Prostitution is kind of a broad topic. To narrow it down, I was planning on responding, point by point, to this NY Times articles by Nicholas D. Kristof, possibly one of the greatest news columnists of all time. (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/13/opinion/13kristof.html?_r=1&oref=slogin)

    ~~~

    Kristof is a persuasive writer, enjoyable to read and easy to understand. I agree with many of his writings; I didn’t agree with all of Kristof’s reasoning, however, on this particle article. For instance, according to Kristof there is an abundance of evidence stating that almost half of all (US?) prostitutes have attempted suicide.

    • Many junior high students have attempted suicide. Therefore, junior high should be illegal.

    Yeah, you see the problem.

    Kristof also mentions the mortality rate is awful, women fear for their lives at times, 89% of prostitutes apparently want to find a 9-5 job, and a lot of prostitutes have drug dependencies/mental illnesses.
    Yes, that’s right; you’re sleeping with a crazy chick, but she’s the one getting paid. Sounds like she’s not the one needing medication & therapy, but okay.

    Still, all of Kristof’s reasoning at this point wasn’t impressing me. Of course prostitutes are going to fear for their lives, of course their mortality rate is obscenely high; they can’t go to the police or other authorities without revealing that they are breaking the law. If you’re a prostitute who trusts the cops, chances are it’s your first day.
    But Kristof is nothing if not thorough, so his next point caught my attention: he brought up my argument, the idea that if prostitution is legalized, then we can regulate it.
    Then he mentioned the Netherlands. Just about everyone knows that the Netherlands legalized prostitution. Any pro-prostitution activist will cite that info. What most won’t do, however, is talk about what’s happened since then.

    According to Kristof, “Legalization nurtured a large sex industry and criminal gangs that trafficked underage girls, and so trafficking, violence and child prostitution flourished rather than dying out.”
    Uh, what? Had to Google that one.
    Unfortunately, although I browsed Google, Google Scholar, WorldCat, JSTOR, and more, I couldn’t find any evidence to back up Kristof’s claims. The evidence must be out there; he’s not exactly the type to put a blatant lie in print. Maybe I was using the wrong string of search words, so if anyone has more information, I would love to see it.
    Of course, this wild goose chase wouldn’t be a problem if Kristof had cited his information on his article or on his blog. Maybe journalists don’t often tell their readers where they obtained their information when they’re writing articles for the New York Times; however, there was no reason not to do so on his blog. It makes the whole thing seem kind of sketch.

    Well, no matter. Kristof then wrote of Sweden. Evidently Sweden put into practice an entirely different law: prostitution is legal, but it’s illegal to buy sex.
    I’ve read that statement, like, 50 times over the past 24 hours, and I still don’t understand the logic behind that law. Prostitutes are safe, but not their customers, which is…odd. For one thing, if I was a prostitute, I would appreciate it if my customers could keep returning to me. Apparently, however, this policy has reduced sex trafficking (again, Kristof doesn’t say how he found this out).

    On his blog entry (http://kristof.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/03/10/) Kristof suggests experimenting with the Swedish way of doing things, which doesn’t sound like a bad idea, but who can know for sure?

    I don’t know about you, but the whole thing thoroughly confuses me. I have gone from knowing exactly what I believed about prostitution to being immersed in doubt. I think that might be a good thing.

    ~~~~

    To sum it all up, here’s what we’ve learned today:

    1. Cons of not legalizing prostitution: prostitutes are less likely to go to authorities if they suffer any type of violence. The government has no way of making (legit) money off the practice. And I suspect prostitutes are less likely to wear condoms if nobody’s making them. Ah, and there’s the double standard of allowing women to get paid to have sex, so long as they’re on camera (yes, I’m referring to porn).
    2. Cons of legalizing prostitution like they did in the Netherlands: sex trafficking, violence, and child prostitution might go up.
    3. Cons legalizing prostitution like they did in Sweden: some Swedish prostitutes complained that demand was reduced (which makes sense). Also…I really, really, really don’t get how it can be totally legal to sell sex, but not buy it. Could somebody please explain this concept to me?

    I hope you’re feeling just as confused as I am.

    Published in: on September 18, 2008 at 6:47 pm  Leave a Comment  
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    Taking More than Nothing

    Two of my favorite books are Alice in Wonderland andThrough the Looking Glass. The stories are filled with odd and witty conversations. You have to read almost every line at least three times before you “get it.”

    One of the best lines comes from a conversation between Alice and the Mad Hatter:
    Alice: I’ve had nothing yet, so I can’t take more.
    The Hatter: You mean you can’t take less; it’s very easy to take more than nothing.

    What Alice means, of course, is that she can’t have more of nothing. The Hatter, perhaps inadvertently, twists her meaning, implying that she was saying you can’t have more than nothing.
    Maybe it’s Alice’s fault; after all, she didn’t clarify. But I’m a bit cynical, so I like to think that the Hatter was tripping her up on purpose. He knew what she meant, that sneaky little Hatter, and he went and twisted her words anyway!

    You know who else does that? McCain. Or, at the very least, McCain’s campaign workers (who are reflections of McCain, whether he wants them to be or not).
    I’ll bet Obama does, too, but I’m not talking about him right now. I’ll rant about him another day.

    There are two instances I’m stewing over. The first is the Lipstick Ad, which has been pulled off YouTube; I believe you can still access the ad on McCain’s site. The ad accuses Obama of calling Palin a “lipstick-wearing pig.” And at the end, there’s a quote from Katie Couric talking about the “continued and accepted role of sexism in American life.”
    The ad closes with a picture of Obama & this caption: “Ready to lead? No. Ready to smear? Yes.” (Haha, lipstick smears! Pun!)

    According to this ad, not only did Obama call Palin a “lipstick-wearing pig,” he also outraged Katie Couric by doing so. It certainly would be a smear tactic from Obama…if it were true.
    Yet funnily enough, Couric wasn’t talking about Obama or Palin or McCain. She was discussing the Democratic primary coverage of Hillary Clinton.
    As for the analogy of a lipstick-wearing pig, Obama said nothing about Palin. Here’s what he really said –

    John McCain says he’s about change, too, and so I guess his whole angle is, “Watch out George Bush.” Except for economic policy, health care policy, tax policy, education policy, foreign policy and Karl Rove-style politics … That’s not change. That’s just calling something the same thing, something different.
    But you know … you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig. You know, you can … wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change, it’s still going to stink after eight years.

    They’re actually great analogies, although it would have been better for his image if he said, “You can put a golden ring on a pig, but it’s still a pig,” which is a Biblical reference.
    Anyway, you can see from the quote that Obama was talking about McCain’s policies, not his running mate.

    Obama’s response? “Keep in mind that technically had I meant it this way — she would be the lipstick,” and McCain’s policies would be the pig. I think it would have been kind of sweet if he called her lipstick. He could even pick out a nice, pretty shade to call her.

    But keeping all of that in mind, don’t you think it’s a bit rich for McCain’s people to get all worked-up after the comment, considering that Palin recently compared herself, as a hockey mom, to a pit bull (“What is the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick.”)?

    Sadly, it doesn’t end there. McCain has also recently released another ad campaign focused on smear tactics, expressing outrage that Obama supports “comprehensive sex education” for kindergarten students. To understand this, you’ll have to travel back to 2003, when an Illinois bill hoping to modify the sex education laws was introduced. It received a fair amount of support, including from Illinois PTAs, State Medical Society, Public Health Association, and the Education Association.
    And yes, Obama voted for it, but the bill wasn’t saying, “I know! Let’s hand out condoms in kindergarten! Yay sex!”
    First, it would have made the sex education in question voluntary, allowing parents the option to withdraw their children, which makes sense.
    Second, Obama said back in 2004 that the idea was to protect children from sex predators. He claims to known friends & family members who were abused sexually at a very young age (which I believe).
    Third, the heavy topics – intercourse, homosexuality, and contraception/safe sex – would have been reserved for the older students.

    The Lipstick Ad, that’s just annoying and slightly amusing, particularly since McCain got caught. The distortion of the sex education legislature, on the other hand, is sick and shameful. McCain’s people took a good, wholesome idea and proclaimed it to be something entirely different.

     

    The Mad Hatter policy; that’s the McCain way.

     ~~~~~

    If you’re searching for a positive side about the whole sex education thing, at least McCain didn’t say anything as blatantly stupid as Mitt Romney. Check out this Romney quote (from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/77496.php):

    Sen. Obama is wrong if he thinks science-based sex education has any place in kindergarten. How much sex education is appropriate for a five-year-old? In my mind, zero is the right number.

    Bully for you, Romney! You just implied that to teach kids the difference between “good touch” and “bad touch” is dangerous information.

    Published in: on September 11, 2008 at 2:29 pm  Comments (1)  
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    Trust and Obey – There is no Other Way

    While some people are worried about Obama being the Antichrist, others have found the true deceiver:

    Oprah.

    Yep. She poses as a sweet, passionate, successful, charitable woman. But behind all those tear-jerking smiles lies a devil of a woman, biding her time until she can steal all our souls away.
    In case you haven’t heard, I’m referring to the Oprah incident when she “denies Christ.”

    Go to Google, type in “Oprah denies Christ” and a YouTube video on the subject will automatically pop up. Watch it. It’s interesting.
    Oprah apparently had some New Age guest on her show, talking about – what else? – spirituality. Sometime during the after-show discussion comes a question from an audience member who demands to know, “What about Jesus?!” (I’ll get into why later.)
    After some slightly heated discussion, Oprah says (rather unwisely, I’ll admit), “Jesus can’t possibly be the only Way!”

    Oh! Oh, no! The Truth is revealed: Oprah is not a kindly doer of good at all, but clearly a bitter, demonic woman who has abandoned her Baptist background to pursue a more, shall we say, worldly path.

    Before we get into the meat & potatoes of this post, let’s take a moment to review some of the more illuminating comments concerning Oprah’s blasphemy (grammatical errors and spelling mistakes are unchanged):

    ~This is probably the nicest one, so I’ll post it first: I won’t belittle or demean you or make fun of you Oprah, but I will pray that you in someway see the light, before it’s too late, and come to know that Jesus is your savior.
    ~Oprah is a moron. Can anyone tell me how this woman became as successful as she is???? It’s beyond me.
    ~In response to the above comment: She sold out, and the Devil doesn’t resist her. She doesn’t have to struggle.
    ~The OPRAH show…. Black Liberation Theology prep school. Whites only.
    ~She can (blank) off.
    ~(God) does not say only people that heard of me get to the Father. He does not say anything about those people. Oprah should read C.S.Lewis mere Christianity
    ~This is by far the most amusing: Obama is Oprah’s God.

    All right, that’s enough of that. Now that we’ve covered the negative responses (I won’t bother with the positive ones; they were few and far between), let’s talk about what Oprah actually said, and let’s try to keep it in context, please.

    To start with: an audience member, a woman, says that she believes there is a God, and also a power of darkness (Satan, if you will). The audience claps. Oprah asks the woman if you can choose to follow one or the other – “Absolutely,” says the woman. More applause.
    After a few more seconds of talking, Oprah brings up a certain book. She says this: “One of the mistakes human beings make is that there is only one way to live…there are millions of ways to be a human being.”
    The woman speaks up again, but I have no idea what she was trying to say, because Oprah interrupts with this – “There couldn’t possibly be one way!”
    Is she talking about more than one way to follow God, or is she talking about being a human being? Both, I believe. But don’t start fretting quite yet.

    Another woman starts arguing with an obnoxiously rude tone of voice, complete with aggravating hand gestures. She states, “There IS only one way!” and talk about people “buying into the lie” and accusing Oprah of intellectualizing the issue. I guess you could say she had a “righteous anger,” akin to Jesus when he wreaked havoc in the Temple, but personally, I felt she was just obnoxious.

    This is Oprah’s rebuttal:

    Oprah: Do you think, do you think that if you are somewhere on the planet…if you are somewhere on the planet and you never hear the name of Jesus, you never hear the name of Jesus, but yet you live with a loving heart, you lived as Jesus would have had you to live, you lived for the same purpose that Jesus came to the planet – to teach us all – but you are in some remote part of the earth, and you never hear the name of Jesus, you cannot get to heaven, you think? Does God care about your heart, or does God care about if you call his son Jesus?
    Woman (stammering):
    Well, Jesus cannot come back until that gospel is preached in the four corners of this earth. So, if you don’t figure it out… (trails off)
    Oprah: Okay. Okay, I cannot get into a religious argument with you.
    Woman: It’s not religion, Oprah!

    And the clip cuts off.

    Here’s how I see it. Oprah said a really stupid thing. She cut off an audience member and said, “There can’t possibly be only one way!” She insinuated that anyone who disagreed with her was an idiot.
    You almost can’t blame the other woman in the audience for becoming upset. But she ultimately made herself look like a fool. In my mind, Oprah brings up a valid point, a question that no theologian can comfortably answer. What about those people who never hear Jesus’ name? If they live a basically moral life, if they look at the trees and the sunset and believe that some heavenly being created it all, if they do their best to be good…what kind of a God would punish that person?
    Posed with that question, the woman goes off on a completely different subject. If you believe the Bible, Jesus won’t come back until the gospel reaches every place on earth (so there’s a good chance Jesus ain’t coming back, but that’s another topic for another day). But what does that have to do with all the people right now who don’t have the benefit of missionaries preaching the Word to them? Do those people just chill in limbo until Jesus comes back? Do they go to heaven? Do they go to hell? Or what about the people before Jesus? Where are they? And the people who lived during Jesus’ life?
    I like to think that there is a chance for those people to go to heaven. I can’t prove it; nobody can. Oprah can’t. That woman in the audience can’t disprove it, though, that’s for sure.

    Let’s face it: Oprah made a mistake. She should not have belittled anyone’s religious feelings – she has the right to, certainly, but at the very least it’s a bad PR move, and she’s had enough of those lately. But once the topic was open, she made some valid points that people are ignoring. Oprah didn’t say Buddhists go to heaven, or Muslims, or Satanists, or Taoists. The specific example she brought up didn’t concern other religions – it concerned what you believe in your heart.

    On a different, yet similar note, one of my favorite bands is the Newsboys. They’ve got this excellent, catchy song called “Step up to the Microphone.” I love it. I play it in the shower and sing along. But part of the chorus never fails to upset me.
    I said, hey man, there’s only one way. One God, one body, one faith alone, if you don’t know, then you need to be told.
    Essentially saying, “Have you not heard? TOUGH LUCK.”

    To find a similar discussion of this problematic question, I would advise you to read C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, particularly The Last Battle, which is the final book in the series. [Minor spoiler] There is a situation in the book in which a man who essentially followed Satan his entire life goes to heaven at the end. He’s confused as to why, since he finally realizes he’s been following the wrong deity. Aslan explains that a good deed cannot truly be done in the name of Tash (the Devil). And a bad deed cannot truly be done in the name of Aslan (God). [End spoiler]
    I like that philosophy. It’s sweet and merciful, like I believe God is.

    So if you’re going to rant and rave against Oprah, rant and rave against C.S. Lewis, too. Or at the very least, rant and rave against her for the Sarah Palin controversy, not for something she never, ever said.

    Published in: on September 10, 2008 at 9:08 pm  Comments (2)  
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    The Antichrist (or not)

    (Let me just say that I am not really an Obama supporter. I’m not planning on voting for him. But this anti-Obama stuff is just getting ridiculous.)

    Did you hear the news? Obama is a TERRORIST. He must be. Because he’s a closet MUSLIM. And all MUSLIMS are TERRORISTS.
    Or not.

    I don’t really know whether Obama was ever a practicing Muslim or not. I don’t care. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if our nation’s leader is a Christian, agnostic, atheist, Muslim, or Taoist. It doesn’t matter.

    I know a lot of Christians, and some “Christians,” are going to disagree with me there, pulling out examples from the Bible and maybe even from history of “godless” nations that are destroyed, evidently because of their lack of faith. Nevermind the fact that, sooner or later, all nations get replaced; it must be the hand of God, every time.
    Well, maybe it is.

    Until you can prove it, though – which you’ll never be able to do – I’m just going to go right along saying that in this nation, this pretty much excellent nation that claims to allow all sorts of beliefs – it doesn’t matter. Frankly, I’m all for the separation of church & state to begin with. And for another thing, even if Obama is a Muslim, he’s not a bloody terrorist. And let’s just say that he gets elected as President and then unveils his true colors as the ANTICHRIST and subsequently declares that Islam will be that nation’s religion…

    Do you really think it would stick? Do you think he could get away with it? Do you think he would even survive 24 hours after such a proclamation? No! Of course not!

    Some people have even gotten on his case because of his middle name: Hussein. He was named after his grandfather, a devout Muslim.
    I was almost named Polly Esther (no joke). Does that mean that I would have worn nothing but polyester for my entire life? Yeah, not so much. You can’t decide what your parents name you, and it’s really not uncommon for a child to be named after a close relative.

    But anyway, maybe Obama is or was a Muslim. Still doesn’t matter to me.

    Then again, maybe he’s NOT a Muslim. Maybe it’s just a bunch of hype seeping out from some McCain supporters and, of course, some religious folks. I read this one blog – Thoughts from a Conservative Christian. I read quite a few blog entries, but my favorite was all about how eeeeeevil Obama is, that dirty MUSLIM.
    This was the best part:

    In 1971, Obama enrolled in the Besuki Primary School, a government school, as Barry Soetoro, Muslim.
    All Indonesian students are required to study religion at school and a young Barry Soetoro, being a Muslim, would have been required to study Islam daily in school.

    Wow! “Barry” was essentially forced to study Islam. How dare he?! I don’t know know if it’s true that all Indonesian students are required to study religion – the Conservative Christian blog got the info from another blog – but the blogger in question certainly seems to believe it. And later we get this gem:

    According to Islamic scholars, reciting the Shahada, the Muslim declaration of faith, makes one a Muslim. This simple yet profound statement expresses a Muslim’s complete acceptance of, and total commitment to, the message of Islam. Obama chanted it with pride and finesse.

    This, of course, is entirely similar to the idea that calling on the name of Jesus Christ will redeem you. But even though Obama’s done that…it doesn’t matter. What matters is that he recited the Shahada (and I think one can safely assume he didn’t just randomly volunteer such information; if I’m wrong, let me know). For all I/we know, Obama doesn’t believe that reciting the Shahada makes you a Muslim. I mean, I could recite it right now and I wouldn’t consider myself a Muslim. Mr. Conservative Christian Blogger apparently doesn’t take this idea into consideration.

    By the way…let’s just say, again, for the sake of argument, that Obama really was a devout Muslim who changed his religion so that he could fulfill his dream of becoming President.
    Does that sound like something an extremist would do?

    Published in: on September 9, 2008 at 7:17 pm  Comments (6)  
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