Obama (D) vs. Obama (R)

Romney’s opponents for the GOP nomination seem to be really pushing the argument that he is “too similar” to Obama on policies and positions. Not a stretch, to be fair, especially with the PPACA front and center in the news. Rick Santorum in particular, especially in his recent “bullshit” rant against NTY reporter Jeff Zeleny, appears to be hammering the issue that Romney is a terrible candidate because of perceived similarities between the PPACA and the Massachusetts healthcare insurance reform law that Romney signed.

But considering he’s the GOP frontrunner, it seems to me that Romney’s opponents are making the case that the vast majority of the country apparently wants either Obama… or someone who is not very different from Obama. So they are setting up the November vote to be a decision on whether people want to vote for the (current President) Democrat Obama or the Republican version of Obama, who is kind of similar if you squint.

Is that such a great position for the GOP to take, with Romney all but guaranteed the nomination?  Is that the message they really want to send?  That, hey, maybe this Obama guy’s ideas aren’t that bad after all, since we’re sending in a nominee that is kind of hard to distinguish from the guy who is already in the position…  It seems to undermine the call for change quite effectively.

Not that I am complaining.  Imitation, after all, is the sincerest form of flattery.


A “Bullshit” Moment

I actually think Santorum was right in calling out Zeleny: his statements about Romney being “worst Republican” seem to have always been in the context of positioning him as the least-desirable candidate to go up against Obama on healthcare, because of Romney’s MA healthcare initiative. The selective quoting is something we decry all the time when Fox News pulls quotes from our candidates out of context, so it’s fair play (and the right thing to do) to call out the NYT for doing it.

Don’t get me wrong, he’s still a bigoted ultra-right-wing fundie who shouldn’t even be running for President of his local homeowner’s association, so it’s not like I’m changing my mind on his candidacy.

I may be wrong about the contextual statement, and if anyone can show me video or audio of Santorum calling Romney the worst Republican outside of specific comparative contexts of “worst”, then I’ll reassess. But calling Zeleny out was correct.

The manner in which he did it, by shouting “bullshit!” over a dozen open mics? Well, there’s a lot to quibble about there, but his anger and profanity in a forum like that is a sign of something deeper that each side will spin their own way: his supporters as an example of his passion and frustration with the media, his detractors as a stain on his “family values conservative” image, and an example of how he doesn’t have the temperament and level-headedness to lead the country.

It doesn’t change my opinion much, since I find so many of his opinions and positions to be execrable, no matter which words he chooses to describe them. And I’ve used the same word to describe his overall campaign, so I can’t really complain much.

Useful to remember

we say KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON never gets old

An excellent idea, then AND now. (Photo credit: typebalance)

If you think that you would be better off in a world where there were no separation of Church and State, this is a useful graphic.  The National Post has put up a breakdown of the world’s major religions.  It is by no means exhaustive, and it provides the misleading impression that large groups like “Catholics” and “Orthodox” Christianities or “Hinduistic” Eastern religions are coherent and homogeneous.  They are not, by any stretch of the imagination, and have hundreds upon hundreds of subdivisions, sects and partitions, each with their own sets of contradictory (sometimes opposing) beliefs.

Remember: no matter what religion you believe in, the vast majority of people in the world think you are wrong.  Don’t assume that if we remove the wall of separation between Church and State that it will be your religion that everyone agrees to impose on the rest of the population; you may end up with a set of laws that force you to follow the religious law of a group with which you don’t especially agree.  This is why the Establishment Clause (“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”) together with the Free Exercise Clause (“… or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”) are SO critical your YOUR religious freedom.  It is up to you and I, no matter what our personal beliefs, to ensure that this separation continues.

Progress comes slowly, and unevenly distributed

Big boats turn slowly, but once they start…

This is interesting because, while the bill to repeal gay marriage in NH was sponsored by Republicans (as it always seems to be the case), there were 109 GOPers who voted against it, in opposition to the party’s own platform in the state. One wonders where they were a couple of years ago when the laws making same-sex marriage legal were passed along pretty strict party lines. I hope it just means they have noticed that NH has not become a cesspool of sin, and that they feel their marriages have not suddenly become undermined by providing equal rights to all.

One could be cynical and note that since the Ninth Circuit decision on Prop 8’s constitutionality, even the Republicans in the NH House realized that they couldn’t sustain opposition to same-sex marriage once you already had people married in the state: it would create a group of citizens with different (fewer) rights than others, which would be unconstitutional. But it’s hard to not be cynical when so many of the Republicans who voted against same-sex marriage in 2007-2008 are now suddenly saying things like “small government” and “private rights” and “these people are just like you and me”. This wasn’t also true back then?

And yet here in MN, we’re not even where NH was in 2007: here we’re fighting to defeat amendments that would make same-sex marriage unconstitutional, not fighting to pass laws that would make it legal. Progress comes slowly, and unevenly distributed.

Live free or die!

Coercion negates consent. Always.

It’s good to finally hear from the doctors, even if it’s anonymously: this from a guest post over at John Scalzi’s blog.

I do not feel that it is reactionary or even inaccurate to describe an unwanted, non-indicated transvaginal ultrasound as “rape”. If I insert ANY object into ANY orifice without informed consent, it is rape. And coercion of any kind negates consent, informed or otherwise.

There is no POSSIBLE justification for these laws that doesn’t fall completely afoul for Fourth Amendment of protection of privacy and dignity. To force doctors to act as agents of the state and violate a woman’s body in a medically unnecessary way is so beyond the pale of what is acceptable that it should force the immediate removal from office of anyone who proposed or supported the law, on the basis that they are unfit to serve the public’s interest.


Wonder why we need separation of Church and State? Well, here’s a good example, just from tonight. Is this the kind of leadership you want? Lies about being forbidden from praying “in public places” and telling non-Christians to “get out” of the United States? Sprinkle in some ugly homophobia and you’ve got yourself a sermon.

What I always find amusing about these videos is that they are asking their god to “allow the man in office You want” (meaning Rick Santorum in this case), but they claim to know their own god’s will well enough to assume that has not already happened. How can they claim to know?

By the way, here’s a tax-exempt organization that is in dire need of losing that status, which doesn’t allow them to organize for or support any candidate. You pay taxes so that Pastor Dennis Terry and the Greenwell Springs Baptist Church don’t have to. But if you’re not a Christian, you’re not welcome in his version of this country.

You’re welcome in my version, though.  And I vote too.

Join us on Thursday 22nd at Sweeney’s Saloon to discuss this and many other separation issues!

Like, in person and everything.

Do you enjoy beverages? OH BOY, I DO!


Do you want to have beverages and conversations with people who are interested in or working on Separation of Church and State issues in Minnesota? OF COURSE I… WAIT, ARE YOU TRYING TO SELL ME SOMETHING?

Nope, just inviting you to come have a chat with us on Thursday March 22nd over at Sweeney’s Saloon (96 Dale Street North, Saint Paul, MN in the Ashland Room). No agenda, just freewheeling conversation and discussions, along with a fine selection of beverages for consumption. OK, THAT DOES KINDA SOUND LIKE FUN…

Doesn’t it, though? How about we meet there at 6:30? WHAT, IN THE MORNING? I CAN’T MAKE IT OUT THERE THAT EARLY, AND I HAVE TO GET THE KIDS TO SCHOOL.

No, in the evening. Post-meridian. OH, THAT’S A MUCH BETTER IDEA. WHAT SHOULD I WEAR?

Casual attire that will allow for movement in case we break out into a spontaneous dance flash mob. I’LL WEAR MY UNITARD THEN.

No. No, don’t do that. Just bring your questions for the board of MN Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and have fun. OK THEN. SEE YOU THURSDAY!

Cool, I’m looking forward to it. Will I still be talking to myself then? BOY WILL YOU EVER!

OK then.