Palin Place: Will The Antichrist Be A Homosexual?

It has been a while since we’ve looked in on our favorite soap opera, Palin Place. Like any successful soap, our story has expanded beyond the original characters of the Palin family. We have already met Sarah, the young earth creationist.  This leads to the question of whether any other characters could make Wasilla look even more absurd than Sarah has. Enter our soap opera’s latest character, Ron Hamman, pastor for the Independent Baptist Church of Wasilla. Hannon cites the bible to warn that the Antichrist might be a homosexual:

Sodomy is the only sin for which God came down from heaven to destroy. Though God dealt with many other sins in various ways, there is no other for which he came down from heaven to verify and destroy. In the New Testament, sodomy is declared to be “against nature.” And of the men, Paul in Romans 1 says they leave “the natural use of the woman….”  In effect, there is no greater sin against God than to reject how he made you, and no greater sin against women than to reject how God made them.

But will the Antichrist be a homosexual? Having seen what the Bible says of sodomy, we have no further to look than the book of Daniel, chapter 11 to find our answer. It says, “Neither shall he [Antichrist] regard… the desire of women….” As I said at the onset, I am not the first to draw attention to this, but the verbiage is clear.

From a lost perspective, the reason sex sells, pornography is profitable, and prostitution is “the world’s oldest profession” is mankind’s desire of women. From Christianity’s position, it is part of the glue for the bond of marriage and the propagation of a godly heritage. But homosexuality does not regard this — in their unbridled lusts they burn for their own gender.

But consider this: The time is ripe for such a leader. Indeed, it should not be surprising that the one who is against everything Biblical and Christian should be a partaker of so great a sin; there is no greater way to reject the Creator than to reject your gender and his design for it. And at what other time have we seen such perversion come out of the closets onto our streets, threatening violence if we do not accept their ways?

Is it any wonder that Revelation 13 says that this same Antichrist will make war with the saints of the tribulation, and overcome them? Are they not now readying themselves to make it illegal to “offend” them in any way, calling it hatred to preach against their sin? Is it because they love us? The time is ripe for such a man.

But remember that sodomy is the one sin that God left heaven and came to earth to destroy. Could it be that this will be the predominate sin on earth when Christ descends from the clouds to fight against the armies of wickedness? And will it be just a coincidence that the Antichrist will be the very first occupant of the lake of fire, tasting eternal death 1,000 years before even the devil himself?

You be the judge.

Is that the religious right’s sign off to go along with Fox’s “We Report, You Decide?”  More importantly, what of those who judge differently from where Hannan is leading,  and do not see  the point in using the bible to support one’s personal prejudices? While these questions might not be asked in Palin Place, the attention which Sarah Palin has brought to Wasilla has led to far more comments (mostly negative) than Hannan could ever have received before.

With what we have seen of Wasilla, the methamphatemine capital of Alaska, it  is a shame that Wasilla is real and Cicely, Alaska is the fictitious city.

How To Tell If You Are A Liberal or Conservative

Nicholas Kristof attacked the subject of differentiating liberals from conservatives. Any such attempt is bound to have some limitations considering that there are a wide variety of people falling under both labels, and to some degree the labels are fluid over the years. For example, Barry Goldwater spent most of his career as a conservative leader, considered himself a liberal in his later years and, while he wouldn’t fit in perfectly with either group, would be radically at odds with today’s  conservative movement.

For whatever it is worth, I’ll throw out Kristof’s way to tell if someone is liberal or conservative:

If you want to tell whether someone is conservative or liberal, what are a couple of completely nonpolitical questions that will give a good clue?

How’s this: Would you be willing to slap your father in the face, with his permission, as part of a comedy skit?

And, second: Does it disgust you to touch the faucet in a public restroom?

Studies suggest that conservatives are more often distressed by actions that seem disrespectful of authority, such as slapping Dad. Liberals don’t worry as long as Dad has given permission.

Likewise, conservatives are more likely than liberals to sense contamination or perceive disgust. People who would be disgusted to find that they had accidentally sipped from an acquaintance’s drink are more likely to identify as conservatives.

The upshot is that liberals and conservatives don’t just think differently, they also feel differently. This may even be a result, in part, of divergent neural responses…

One of the main divides between left and right is the dependence on different moral values. For liberals, morality derives mostly from fairness and prevention of harm. For conservatives, morality also involves upholding authority and loyalty — and revulsion at disgust.

This fits in well with George Lakeoff’s strict father view of conservatives. This mindset based upon upholding authority explains why so many go ballistic in response to criticism of government activities and see liberal dissent as subversive and unpatriotic, along with their tendency to compromise civil liberties to support authority.

Conservative Conspiracy Theory On Auto Dealership Closings

Yesterday I commented on the ridiculous tactics being employed by the right to smear Sonia Sotomayor. There is another ridiculous attack from the right on another topic:

Evidence appears to be mounting that the Obama administration has systematically targeted for closing Chrysler dealers who contributed to Repubicans. What started earlier this week as mainly a rumbling on the Right side of the Blogosphere has gathered some steam today with revelations that among the dealers being shut down are a GOP congressman and closing of competitors to a dealership chain partly owned by former Clinton White House chief of staff Mack McLarty.

The basic issue raised here is this: How do we account for the fact millions of dollars were contributed to GOP candidates by Chrysler who are being closed by the government, but only one has been found so far that is being closed that contributed to the Obama campaign in 2008?

It seems to me that if there were really politically motivated moves than we wouldn’t be seeing any dealers who contributed to Obama being closed. This basically fits into the conspiracy theory mode which many on the far right think in. They see the result but have failed to really look at the facts, and they think that because the propose one possible theory for the results there is reason to think it is true.

Megan McArdle points out that ” Democratic and Republican dealers are unlikely to be found in the same place, and the rural counties that tend to be red are probably less profitable.”

Nate Silver actually did the leg work to look at the dealerships which were not closed and found that they were overwhelmingly owned by Republicans. If most dealerships were owned by Republicans it only makes sense that most of those which were closed would be owned by Republicans. He also points out:

It shouldn’t be any surprise, by the way, that car dealers tend to vote — and donate — Republican. They are usually male, they are usually older (you don’t own an auto dealership in your 20s), and they have obvious reasons to be pro-business, pro-tax cut, anti-green energy and anti-labor. Car dealerships need quite a bit of space and will tend to be located in suburban or rural areas. I can’t think of too many other occupations that are more natural fits for the Republican Party.

Update: The Auto Prophet reviewed the data and came to the same finding that there was no obvious political bias in the closings, finding “Chrysler dealers (and probably all auto dealers) who donated for the 2008 election cycle overwhelmingly supported the Republicans.”

Smear Campaign Against Sotomayor May Fizzle Out

While conservatives quickly launched a smear campaign full of misinformation on Sonia Sotomayor, it looks like it might already be fizzling out. There is no doubt that some right wing bloggers and talk radio propagandists will continue to repeat the same lies indefinitely. Those indocrinated in far right propaganda have a tough time shaking it off regardless of how much evidence is presented that they are wrong.  There are still some who claim that Obama isn’t a natural born American citizen and that the there is some validity to the discredited claims of the Swift Boat Liars against John Kerry. There are also some signs of rationality as some conservatives realize that, barring some unexpected revelations, none of their false claims will be enough to prevent Sotomayor’s nomination from being approved.

The right wing attacks have been based on limited and distorted evidence and are so weak that even some conservatives are not able to go along. Some such as Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich are making claims that she is a racist–a claim which certainely takes a lot of chutzpah considering the record of the GOP. These claims were based upon taking a few lines out of context from a lecture given in 2001. The simple fact that claims of racism are based upon a single lecture from almost eight years ago should already raise some red flags as to the validity of the argument. Rod Dreher reviewed the statements which earlier had him thinking she was racist in context and conceded,  I was wrong about Sotomayor speech.

They have made an even weaker argument in dishonest claims that sixty percent of her cases were overturned by the Supreme Court. This argument is so deceitful that it might help open a few more eyes as to the dishonest tactics regularly employed by the right wing noise machine. They leave out the important facts that she only had five cases reviewed by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court typically reverses 75% of circuit court decisions that rules on. Having three cases reversed is hardly meaningful. This actually represents 2% of her total cases, far less than the 60% number misleadingly cited by the right.

The attackers also claimed that Sotomayor has a far more liberal record than she actually has. Her decisions have offen been based upon narrow technical grounds specific to the individual case  as opposed to ideology. The conservatives who have actually looked at her record are finding that she is far more centrist and far less ideological than they first heard. She has a very limited record with regards to abortion, and opponents of abortion rights found that her record was not what they expected. Steven Waldman wrote:

One has to assume Obama wouldn’t have appointed Sonia Sotomayor without some indication that she’s pro-choice but — based on very, very little information — I wonder if she might not end up being an abortion centrist.

First, in Center for Reproductive Law and Policy v. Bush, she actually ruled against the pro-choice group on Constitutional grounds.

Second, in Amnesty America v. Town of West Hartford, she ruled in favor of the rights of anti-abortion protestors.

Neither of these cases dealt with the merits of abortion. Nonetheless, it’s interesting that in the two cases we know of that related partly to abortion, she took the position that pro-life groups would have wanted (albeit for reasons unrelated to Roe v. Wade). At a minimum, these cases would seem to indicate that, if she is pro-choice, she didn’t let those views affect her view of the relevant law.

While some bloggers and right wing pundits will repeat any attack, the arguments are appearing to be too weak even for the Senate Republicans. Mike Allen reports that any Republican opposition to her is fizzling out quickly:

More than 24 hours after the White House unveiling, no senator has come out in opposition to Sotomayor’s confirmation.

“The sentiment is overwhelming that the Senate should do due diligence but should not make a mountain out of a molehill,” said a top Senate Republican aide. “If there’s no ‘there’ there, we shouldn’t try to create one.”

So far there is certainly no ‘there’ there in the accusations being fabricated by the right. The attacks upon Sotomayor are so weak, and so transparently false, that if they have any impact it should be to increase the backlash against the Republicans. It takes a certain amount of chutzpah for the Republicans to raise charges of racism against others and only their most hardcore supporters can even listen to such claims without chuckling at them. Maybe Joe Gandelman of The Moderate Voice is on to something and their attacks are being orchestrated by a mole out to further destroy the Republican Party:

In instance after instance since Obama’s 2008 election and the Democratic sweep of Congress, the GOP is proving itself to be not so much “stuck on stupid” as much as “stuck on preaching to its (already convinced) choir.” It seems oblivious to the fact that OTHER voters — from critically important ethnic and age demographics — need to be courted which means being at least partially on the same cultural wavelength. Today’s Republican party is seemingly Super-glued to the slash-and-burn, characterize and demonize conservative talk radio political culture.

It’s hard to imagine that a party that has problems with independent voters and Latino voters so going out of its way to repel voters it needs, unless there is a Democratic mole inside the GOP instigating these comments.

Calling her a racist will get lots of publicity but it’s going to drive many Hispanic voters away in droves. And so will the faces delivering this message: the well-fed, sizeable face of multi-millionaire private- jet-owner Limbaugh, sitting in front of his mike, and the very familiar face of Gingrich. Many Americans (who are not millionaires or who aren’t conservative Republicans) will look at and compare the two GOPers’ life narratives with that of Sotomayor.

Even worse:
many independent voters, Democrats who may not be enamored with Obama, and moderate Republicans have already distanced themselves from the GOP. This latest barrage at Sotomayor now clearly is part of a pattern: no matter what the issue, the GOP is responding now with demonization in attempts to stir up hot button resentments and/or political rage.

And even worse for the GOP: its unlikely to resonate among the younger voters the GOP will need to regain footing in the 21st century.

So, except for getting nods of approval and cries of “That’s the way, go get ‘em!” from Republicans, what gains will Republicans (via talk shows, Gingrich and weblogs) make in accusing Sotomayor of being a racist — except, rightfully or wrongfully, causing some on the fence to conclude that those Republicans raising the racism issue could perhaps be mistakenly talking about what they are seeing when they look in the mirror?

A mole might be the most rational explanation for the manner in which the Republicans persist in utilizing tactics which drive away rational voters, but unfortunately what we are seeing is the actual mindset of the conservative movement.

Barring any unexpected findings she will be easily confirmed. The manner of the right wing attacks are now one of the most  significant aspects of this story, considering that any pick would have been subjected to similar lies from the right wing. Their distortion of her judicial record is very similar to how the right typically distorts voting records, such as taking an up or down vote on an overall budget and then launching attacks based upon saying a Senator voted for or against a specific item in the budget.

In a democracy  it is an extremely serious issue when votes are being influenced not by the actual facts or serious discussion over different viewpoints but based upon repeated campaigns of distortion such as this. It is important for a democracy to work for the voters to be working from accurate information, not the misinformation regularly spread by the right. It would be both legitimate and healthy for the democratic process if conservatives responded to a nominee with an honest discussion of the areas where they disagreed. Instead they ignore her actual record, as they also do with political candidates, and launch attacks based upon fabrications created by distortions of the record and taking statements out of context.

Right Wing Quick To Launch Smear Campaign Against Sonia Sotomayor

As expect, and widely predicted even before the choice of Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court was announced, portions of the right wing have been engaging in their usual politics of personal destruction to distort Sotomayor’s record and engage in character assassination. In this case the right is actually divided. Some conservatives see attacks on Sotomayor as part of their grand strategy for 2012 of painting Obama as a leftist, and many other conservatives  just fall into character assassination as a Pavolvian response to any action from a Democrat.

In contrast, some conservatives realize that it is counter to their goal of receiving greater Hispanic support to someone who is probably the first Hispanic nominee. I wonder if any on the right are also beginning to realize the degree to which their reliance on the politics of personal destruction has backfired, with even many who might not vote against them based upon their beliefs now wishing to disassociate themselves with the Republican Party and conservative movement due to their unsavory tactics.

There is far too much material and too little time to quote everything of relevance here so I will try to choose some of the best links. A case such as this is an example of both the blogosphere at its worst and best. At worst the blogs permit the right wing echo chamber to repeat the same lies and distortions, allowing good conservative sheep to quickly learn which lies to repeat. At best the blogoshpere has quickly presented far more actual analysis than has been present in the news media.

To begin, The Scotus Blog has presented a summary of her decisions in posts here, here, and here. Her decisions have often been on narrow, technical grounds and only provide limited insight into her views on the types of issues considered by the Supreme Court (despite attempts by the right to mischaracterize her as having a far left record ). There are some favorable signs with respect to her views on First Amendment rights.

There are many blog posts responding to the character assassination from the right, such as from Adam Server

Barefoot and Pregnant

Shorter Ross Douthat: Woman would be happier if barefoot and pregnant. We need to find a new way to be sexist about single women without being sexist because we are a kinder and gentler country than we were back in the days when women were happy.

Health Care Around The World

When conservatives use their scare tactics with regards to health care reform they speak of socialized medicine and total government control of health care. Many countries actually have hybrid private/government systems like the United States with one major difference–they also have universal coverage. The Denialism Blog is looking at health care around the world with information on the Netherlands and Australia.

Employees Paying Average of 41% of Health Care Costs

I posted a recent poll showing that Medicare beneficiaries are more satisfied with their coverage than those in employer-paid plans. This is one reason why the survey showed those in employer-paid plans were more likely to have problems with cost and access to care. Those in employer-paid plans are doing better than those trying to obtain insurance on the individual market and those with no insurance, but they are paying an increasing amount of their health care costs out of pocket:

A new national report shows U.S. residents enrolled in employer-sponsored health plans will cover an average of 41 percent of their families’ health care costs this year, the largest share to date, with increased premium contributions rising by 14.7 percent from 2008.

Frank Luntz Bingo

Conservatives have been fighting health care reform by using the same technitues they typically use to fight the modern world–misinformation and propaganda. I’ve recently discussed how they are once again using Frank Luntz to pick the right words to use in their scare tactics. Media Matters has responded with Frank Luntz Bingo. When you hear five of their buzz words along one row, you win.

SciFi Weekend: Science Fiction and Terrorism; Star Trek Time Travel Theories; Eliza Dushku on Dollhouse

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Just under  a year ago I had an item on how the Department of Homeland Security was picking the brains of science fiction writers for creative scientific ideas for fighting terrorism. The Washington Post describes how this is an annual event:

The line between what’s real and what’s not is thin and shifting, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has decided to explore both sides. Boldly going where few government bureaucracies have gone before, the agency is enlisting the expertise of science fiction writers.

Crazy? This week down at the Reagan Building, the 2009 Homeland Security Science & Technology Stakeholders Conference has been going on. Instead of just another wonkish series of meetings and a trade show, with contractors hustling business around every corner, this felt at times more like a convention of futuristic yarn-spinners…

The cost to taxpayers is minimal. The writers call this “science fiction in the national interest,” and they consult pro bono. They’ve been exploring the future, and “we owe it to mankind to come back and report what we’ve found,” said writer Arlan Andrews, who also is an engineer with the Navy in Corpus Christi, Tex.

Andrews founded an organization of sci-fi writers to offer imaginative services in return for travel expenses only. Called Sigma, the group has about 40 writers. Over the years, members have addressed meetings organized by the Department of Energy, the Army, Air Force, NATO and other agencies they care not to name. At first, “to pass the Beltway giggle-factor test,” Andrews recruited only sci-fi writers who had conventional science or engineering chops on their résumés. Now about a third of the writers have PhDs.

…Homeland Security first reached out to science fiction writers a couple of years ago. At last year’s conference, the attendees rated a panel led by the writers as the best of the week “by far,” said Chris Christopher, the agency’s conference director for science and technology.

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J.J. Abrams has discussed some of the theories discussed by Star Trek fans. Abrams used time travel to get around established Star Trek canon but there were some changes which are not still not easily explained even considering the changes made in the time  line by Nero.

The “Kelvin Crew Knows Who Romulans Are” Theory: In the classic “Trek” series, humans didn’t know what Romulans looked like prior to Captain Kirk’s time; in the new film, a Romulan craft kills the humans aboard the U.S.S. Kelvin. According to one fan theory, the attack on the Kelvin leads to a slip-up by Abrams, because the human crew recognize their attackers as Romulans.

“It’s not mentioned in the scene on the Kelvin, but they are aware of it,” Abrams confirmed, agreeing with the sharp-sighted fans. “Because later in the movie, Kirk mentions that they were Romulan. And we very purposely begin the film with a moment that, for fans of ‘Star Trek,’ is a left turn from the timeline they are familiar with.” For anyone who thinks they “caught” Abrams, however, the director is quick to point out the opposite. “For fans of ‘Trek,’ yes, the Romulans appearing breaks with what is known to be ‘Trek’ canon. But that is on purpose.”

The “Sleeker, Faster Response” Theory: If the new “Trek” gives us the Enterprise equivalent of a Blu-Ray disk, then the ship on the original “Trek” looks like a Betamax tape. One fan theory is that the attack on the Kelvin forced the Federation to build sleeker, faster spacecraft in the movie’s new reality.

“Right,” agreed Abrams. “The idea of the story is that at the beginning of the film something happens that changes the course of history. They cross paths with this futuristic ship, and it changes everything that would’ve been the classic series ‘Trek’ fans are familiar with. … One could argue that, based on the readings they got from the [Romulan] ship that showed up, it inspired ideas and technology that wouldn’t have advanced otherwise.” Hence, the huge difference between the old Enterprise and his version. “On the one hand, you could answer the question by saying that history got a boost, an adjustment, from this moment at the beginning of the film,” he grinned. “And if you don’t want to answer the question, you could say it’s just a movie.”

At least on the interior views I would prefer to stick with saying it is just a movie as opposed to questionable theories such as these. Who would really expect a movie released in 2009 to stick to the cardboard effects of the 1960’s? I’m willing to accept a newer view of the Enterprise without need for an explanation.

Changing the time line does solve one problem. One of the reasons William Shatner was not used in Abram’s first Star Trek movie is that in the Roddenberry Star Trek universe James Kirk was killed.  Now that they are in a new time line, Abrams has said this leaves open the possibility of old Kirk or Kahn appearing. Unfortunately using Shatner as old Kirk would mean yet more time travel, which has been over used. I would prefer not to see time travel used in the next few Star Trek movies unless they have a really good idea, or they use it to repair the time line.  There is really no reason to bring back the older Kahn as they can retell the original meeting between Kahn and the Enterprise if they desire, possibly with differences in the Abrams time line.

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Eliza Dushku was interviewed by TV Guide after Dollhouse was renewed:

TVGuide.com: Will the “missing” 13th episode, “Epitaph One,” now serve as the Season 2 premiere? Or is it still DVD-only?
Dushku: You know, I dont know. I just got off the plane, so I dont know.

TVGuide.com: “Epitaph One,” which was produced on the studio’s own dime, was used to convince Fox that Dollhouse can be delivered on a smaller budget. Are there any differences the viewer might pick up on?
Dushku: No, our set is pretty solid and top dollar. I think the show will continue to be visually stunning.

TVGuide.com: So, as you filmed it, you didn’t pick up on anything different?
Dushku: Well, it was faster — and that’s always nice!

TVGuide.com: How will Echo be different going forward, considering the events of the season finale?
Dushku: Being downloaded with all the personalities, the build-up was about Echo becoming self-aware. It will give the audience a chance to connect with Echo more, because she’s not just that blank slate. There’s something behind her eyes creeping out. That’s the center of the show — can you really erase someone’s identity? The answer seems to be no.