Friday, February 15, 2008

Open Thread

Humorous Pictures
moar humorous pics

I've added a few new shared items via Google Reader.

Haloscan comment thread

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A time for saying "Yes"

I originally posted this on Friday at Street Prophets. Initially I didn't feel the need to crosspost it, but given the recent spate of accusations of "cultishness" against the supporters of Obama, I've come to change my mind

So here it is, the first Friday in Lent. Even if I weren’t tuned into the liturgical year, it would be hard not to notice the arrival of the season. Because everywhere I look, I see fast food places advertising their “limited time only” fish sandwiches. Incidentally, when I was growing up Catholic, I absolutely detested fish, so my most frequent, informal prayer on Fridays during Lent was, “Please let it be cheese pizza tonight!”

By the time I was in high school and was preparing my own breakfast, I would sometimes get halfway into preparing a ham and egg sandwich before realizing that it was Friday. With a quick glance upward, I would silently, rhetorically ask, “Wasting food would be worse than eating meat on Friday, right?” And then I would finish cooking and eating my breakfast.

At some point during elementary school, my religion teacher introduced the notion of doing something special during this season rather than “giving something up”. Mind you, that didn’t let me off the hook as far as meat on Fridays, but the idea of finding something positive to do really captured my imagination.

Many years later, after having children of my own, I would leave the Catholic church, spend some years “wandering in the desert”—or “church hopping”, if you want to be prosaic about it, before finally settling in the Episcopal church. But I’ve continued to think of Lent as a time to find something to say “yes” to.

In fact, it was four years ago on Ash Wednesday that I was officially received into the Episcopal church. I didn’t have to make things official in that way, as I was attending a progressive Episcopal church held the philosophy, “if you consider this your home church, then you’re a member”. But four years ago, you’ll recall, we were wrapping up another primary season. It was the first election that I’d really paid attention and actually gotten involved, and I’d been pretty disillusioned by the whole thing. When the media and the Democratic party leaders pushed the narrative that the nominee had been decided, way before I had a chance to vote, I was seriously ticked off. I wanted to find some meaningful way to tell the party where they could stick it, but it turned out that in Ohio, you declare your party by voting in a primary. So I didn’t have the option of leaving the Democratic party in some symbolic gesture.

What’s more, I was frustrated that, months away from the general election, I was stuck with a candidate I didn’t like, but had to vote for to get Bush out of office. And I would be going to the polls to say “no” to Bush, rather than “yes” to someone I genuinely believed in. Anyway, long story short, this was also the time when the Episcopal church was taking some heat for upholding the election of Bishop Gene Robinson, and some people were leaving the church. I thought, fine, you may be losing members, but you’ll gain at least one, because I believe in rewarding good behavior. And I really needed something to say “yes” to just then.

So, anyway, now that it's that time of year again, I'm thinking about what I can do that's positive...what I can say "yes" to. And, maybe this seems a bit remedial, but given that I've had such a long, relatively dry spell, I think that saying "yes" to blogging more is a step in the right direction.

Postscript...I had really resigned myself to this primary just being about saying "No!" to Hillary. (And it is a loud, powerful, resounding "No!") I only slowly, gingerly began to move toward sayind "Yes" to Barack Obama as a candidate. It can't be a "jumping in with both feet" kind of yes--I'm still too cautious for that. But even a little bit of optimism feels better than what I had before, which was just a glimmer of hope that Hillary's "inevitability" was not a foregone conclusion. And I'm not a strong enough person that it's easy for me to protect and nurture that small seedling of hope and optimism in settings that are rife with cynicism and punchbowl-p!ssing. 'Cause, dang it, it feels good to hope, and to say yes--even a little bit--and I'm not about to let go of that just now.

Haloscan comment thread

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Just as I snapped this photo earlier this week, the Common Redpoll chomped
down that bit of snow in about three bites ~ must have been very thirsty!

It was reported today that of Vermont's 23 superdelgates, 7 are free delegates.
Five have declared for Obama, one for Clinton, and the other one is just not saying
because he needs to remain neutral in his role as the DNC Chair!
Vermont has the most super superdelegate of all, because Howard Dean is first! ♥

~ listener

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Like hope, but different

Hat tip to Plunderbund for pointing out this parody of the Yes We Can video.

Haloscan comment thread


Dr. Philip Zimbardo, professor at Stamford University, author of The Lucifer Effect
was a guest on The Colbert Report on Monday, 11 February 2008.

In his book, The Lucifer Effect, Professor Zimbardo suggests that we have a tendency to conform, and we shouldn't conform mindlessly. We shouldn't obey authority unjustifiably. We need to use critical thinking.
Zimbardo: "We underestimate the power of social situations. We think everything comes from within us, that we are born with good or bad genes, we have good or bad personality characteristics."

Colbert: "The Garden of Eden. That's where good and evil started."

Zimbardo: Well, why did the Devil make Adam and Eve eat the apple? What was he thinking of?

Colbert (emphatically): Because he disobeyed the authority of God! He was 'non-conformist,' doing his own thing, letting it all hang out, did not want to serve the ultimate authority like you say he shouldn't, and I'm sorry the title of the book turns the argument [that ordinary people given roles of authority will act cruelly] on its head.

Zimbardo: "Lucifer is God's favorite angel."

Colbert interjects: "Until he disobeys. Go ahead-"

Zimbardo: "But why does he disobey? It's because God says, 'I have created this perfect creature, Adam; and everybody has to obey him.' Lucifer says, 'Wait a minute, he's a mortal. Mortals are corruptible; we're angels. I refuse.' And that's disobedience of authority. So the reason Lucifer, as the devil, seduced Adam is to say, 'God, I'm right and you're wrong. This guy is corruptible; he's not someone we should respect. He is an ordinary mortal.'"

Colbert: "But in that case Lucifer was right."

Zimbardo: "Lucifer was right, and God was wrong..."

Colbert: "Heyyy."

Zimbardo: "If God was into reconciliation, he would say, 'I made a mistake.' Okay?
God created hell. Paradoxically it was God who created hell as a place to put Lucifer and the fallen angels. If he had not created hell then evil would not exist. So you would not have had this..."

Colbert interrupts: "Evil exists because of the disobedience of Satan! God gave Lucifer and the angels and men free will. Satan used his free will and abused it by not obeying authority. Hell was created by Satan's disobedience to God and his purposeful removal from God's love. Which is what hell is: removing yourself from God's love. You send yourself to hell; God does not send you there."

Zimbardo: Obviously, you learned well in Sunday School.

Colbert: I teach Sunday School, you *bleep*!


HOLY HURRAH, Stephen Colbert!!
As a person who meets with people seeking spiritual guidance, both clergy and lay people, I stand in joyful ovation at hearing such a theologically sound and succinct explanation of evil and hell. I am greatly encouraged to know that someone out there is teaching this to children today, and (imagine!) in church! Seminarians would do well to take notes.
God must be grinning tonight.

Gratefully, listener

Haloscan comment thread

Monday, February 11, 2008

Clinton sees no momentum problem

Via MSNBC's First Read: Clinton Sees No Momentum Problem

And from CNN's Political Ticker: Clinton dismisses weekend losses

In other words, "It's just a flesh wound!"

Yeah, I know. Not the most substantive/mature post. But I think Clinton is showing amazing arrogance in her dismissal of Obama's wins. To wit:

The Clinton camp hopes to stop the Obama bandwagon by winning Texas and Ohio primaries on March 4, after which Mrs Clinton is planning to call on party grandees including Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives and Harry Reid, the party's leader in the Senate, to persuade Mr Obama to stand down.
Gotta hand it to her, I guess. Few mere mortals can pull of that kind of chutzpah and maintain a straight face.

Haloscan comment thread

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Interesting post on Booman about the delegate situation.

But mostly, we needed a new thread.

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