Sunday, July 30, 2006

These people are crazy

I just finished reading a NYT article for tomorrow about a pastor who has alienated the white, suburbanite, conservative base of his church by lending a more moderate tone to his sermon. Though Rev. Gregory A. Boyd has so far lost a fifth of his 5,000-strong congregation, it is claimed that his is now a more ethnically- and economically-diverse one.

Both unsurprisingly yet astoundingly, the more shrill ex-members of the church are taken aback at the notion that one can be Christian and have differing views than that of other Christians. Said one woman responding to a book written by the pastor:
“So why NOT us? If we contain the wisdom and grace and love and creativity of Jesus, why shouldn’t we be the ones involved in politics and setting laws?”
I think it really is about time we started to define the word "we." As much as liberals want God out of the American system altogether, this is, in the end, a Christian nation. A very large Christian nation. To imply that "we" speak as one voice is just ridiculous. In my family of five, we didn't even agree on what to have for dinner sometimes. How is it possible to get a consensus, let alone unanimity, among the American Christian community on issues like abortion, homosexuality, and the death penalty?

If it were up to me, I'd say simply to let God handle it in the end. Letting the church handle it is just way too risky.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

English as the Official Wedge Issue

Republicans sure feel they have to dig deep this year to salvage their majority. Stem cells, gay marriage, flag burning, immigration laws, and just recently, English as the official language. There will be a House hearing tomorrow to examine how Spanish really is the reason people's lives are in the gutter.

Let's put it this way: in New York, the ultimate uber-conservative model for a city that should be fractured and frayed from its immigrant, cultural and class divisions, English has survived. In fact, if you consider that most media outlets operate out of New York and Los Angeles, another area constantly threatened by brown people and Chinese laundromat operators, you would think that the bumpkin redneck English (come on, I watch Raising the Roofs and NASCAR) that comes out of the heartland is more of the exception than the rule about the international language of commerce.

James Crawford, Director of the Institute for Language and Education Policy, explains the frivolity of English legislation better than I can in this written House testimony.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Jon Stewart has an off-night

I rushed home from the city just so I can watch FX and see the parts of "Phone Booth" that I keep missing (now my questions are answered), and then flip to Comedy Central to watch The Daily Show. John McCain, a stand-up moderate Republican found pandering to his base and, in a pair of episodes in April, painted by Jon Stewart as a politician willing to throw principles away after all, was interviewed tonight. Now, I get that the two are close and the senator has appeared on the show many times, but I at least expected a very intelligent dialogue about current affairs in between the comedic, disarming banter that keeps life from becoming too depressing.

What I did hear, from a reputed statesman who never ducks the tough questions, was alot of ducking. After his satellite interview in April, in which Stewart grills McCain on his giving the commencement address at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, the senator was well prepared for as strong a confrontation, and proceeded to filibuster his way through two segments of the show.

The sad part is that even Stewart saw right through it in the beginning, when McCain evaded the question of American safety during the Bush administration. Stewart, however, let it slide, as he did with most every other question he posed. What's sad about that is he didn't ask that many, and just let McCain meander over his talking points.

When Stewart appeared on Crossfire and, according to blogosphere legend, singlehandedly killed the show, he made it perfectly clear that his was not a news show and was not to be taken as seriously as the real news shows should be, if network news directors ever got around to doing their job. Tonight's episode appears to be the first example why. In the end, he is a comic on a comedy show, and has license to waive any journalistic responsibilities those of us wish we could bestow upon him, no matter how big we fans of him are.

Let's just hope he has other good nights ahead of him.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Overheard: No consensus on racism

Mind you, without my two favorite political blogs, Crooks and Liars and Political Wire, I would be in the dark on alot of things. Which is why I can't take credit for finding this link, where Tony Snow, in a previous life as host of Fox News Sunday (the current press secretary used to be so biased, can you imagine that?), contradicts the President. Even the latter admits the presence of racism, while the former has other ideas.

I've spent considerable amounts of time in other countries. Racism hasn't disappeared there, and it certainly hasn't disappeared in America.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

One more thing though...

From what I can tell after watching the reserve game tonight, if RBNY has to count on its reserve team for anything, they will be in serious trouble.

No goals allowed in 327 minutes

I just got back from the Red Bulls game, the first I've been able to go to since moving back home. I'd write a longer post but I took a few wrong turns on the Merritt Parkway after waiting in line at a crowded Jersey gas station, so I have no energy left.

But I will say this: I still worry about the parts of the team, but together they seem to have the chemistry to grind it out and produce results. I mean, the defense is horrible, but that means Conway has his chances to put in some stellar performances. The offense can't put it on goal often enough, but they do just enough to get points. And the midfield doesn't know how to pass into space, but they can pack numbers in the back when they absolutely need to.

Still needs alot of work, and the wins aren't that impressive if only one of the three victories came against a team currently fighting for a playoff spot, and the last one in the West at that. But RBNY has definitely taken advantage of their best opportunities. Things really are looking up.

Oh, and I forgot how expensive a hot dog was at Giants Stadium. I really should put in more hours at work.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

One month

No posts since last month. Yeah, I was really down. I don't even think I have the heart to post the pictures and videos from USA-Ghana. It just reminds me too much, is all. Maybe sometime when I'm free, especially if you bug me about it.

Let's see, what's happening lately? Nothing too much out of the ordinary. I have been busy with family reunions and re-entry shopping (something I've coined to mean shopping necessary to adjust to life in the States again). The one thing I do want to do is rebuild infiniteDeferral, and that starts with creating a website for Japanese lessons. I've already installed a portal, now I need a catchy name and enough lessons for the thing to be called a website. Yeah, that's gonna take time.

In the meantime, I have applied for hosting Japanese panels at AnimeUSA in Virginia (November) and Katsucon in Washington (next February). Both applications look promising, and I hope to have some new stuff mixed in with the old, in my ongoing effort to develop Japanese Language Basics. It's my baby, I have to nurture it.

Did you notice how the world began to fall apart shortly after the end of the World Cup? I don't believe it's a coincidence.

New York beat Columbus, for a season-high two-game winning streak. Two of the best games put together this season...and Djorkaeff hasn't played either one. Sadly, I don't think it's a coincidence either. He and Guevara never really played for each other, so the latter has begun to shine in the former's absence. Wonder what would happen when Youri comes back.

You know, every time a conservative brings up global warming, in their subconscious lies the urge to make a crack about how cold it is outside, since it's February and every street is a wind tunnel. God, that kind of day seems like ages ago.

Speaking of which, the mileage on my Scion, which I bought because of the supposedly great gas mileage, horribly fails my expectations. And I leased it the very week before the Yaris came out. I would love to have one of those now.

The water's boiling. Time to put in the pasta.