My quick take on the news

After putting up 4 fairly long posts in less than 24 hours yesterday, I need to take some time to attend to the kiddies and my gardens. But I’d hate the leave my minions without their Upside Down World fix (that’s a joke, btw 🙂 ). So I thought I’d pass on my take on a couple of recent news events which have been bugging me.

1. Oil. Obviously oil costs too much. Obviously we need to find ways to cut back. Obviously what we are doing isn’t sustainable in the long term. However, the reality is that our best case scenario right now is to cut back and go through a transition period away from heavy dependence on oil. Which means that for the foreseeable future we will still need the stuff. So, it drives me nuts that we refuse to allow drilling and oil exploration either on or off shore in the USA. Now, I’m not saying we can become self-sufficient by drilling in the USA. However, the main protest against drilling seems to be environmental. Normally, I’m very sympathetic to environmental causes. However, do other oil producing countries not have environments? Are we to believe that Russia and Nigeria and Argentina are taking their oil from lifeless wastelands? Is the USA the only place on the planet where there is an environment worth preserving? Come on people! At least in the USA we can be assured that best practices will be used to protect the environment. Can we really have have any confidence that Gabon will do the same? It seems to me that from a global level, those who really want us to do the least amount of environmental damage possible would be trying to get oil production moved into the places like the USA. IMO, our current approach is silly and selfish.

2. Scott McClellan, as you have surely heard, has written a tell-all book which repeats the same things every other book about the Bush administration has said (ie he’s an incurious baboon). What I have found amusing about this is the press reaction to the book. Now, I know that the press, having dealt with McClellan as press secretary don’t care for the man. However, they keep saying, “why didn’t he say anything when he was in office?” Yeah, I can see how that would have worked: “Thank you for coming today, ladies and gentlemen of the press. The president has asked me to tell you that things are going well in Iraq and we’re making adjustments on the ground as needed. However, I would personally like to add that the president is delusional and he was picking lint from between his toes during the morning briefing, so I doubt he has any real idea what’s going on. I’ll open the floor for questions now.”

3. Kathleen Parker, the (I hate to say it) conservative columnist has apparently taken up the use of psychotropic drugs and is now acting as a propagandist for various white-power groups. If you were fortunate enough to miss it, Ms. Parker wrote a column about voters looking for a “full blooded American” to vote for. Continue reading “My quick take on the news”

The Context of Jeremiah Wright

Over at Christianity Today there’s an article titled “Black Power from the Pulpit” about Jeremiah Wright which places him and black liberation theology in the context of the black church and the message of Christianity. It is actually an interview with Thabiti Anyabwile who wrote the book: The Decline of African American Theology. Mr. Anyabwile is a critic of both black liberation theology and the state of many black churches, without being one of the many jingoists we’ve heard from lately who think saying, “they’re racist” constitutes a legitimate critique. He is speaking from a position of understanding and respecting the history and tradition of the black church as well as the struggles of African Americans. Wouldn’t it have been nice if more people who were disturbed by Rev. Wright’s ranting would have turned to someone with this perspective for their critiques rather than the craptastic nonsense we’ve been subjected to?

At any rate, I recommend reading the article, but here are some of my favorite take-away points:

On the way the controversy played out in the media:

Q: Has anything surprised you about the wave of indignation that has followed news of these sermons?

A: I’ve been surprised that so much effort has been made to saddle Obama with the views of his pastor . . . I’ve also been surprised at how deep the ignorance of the African American church and its preaching tradition goes.

It is interesting that some of those who were particularly upset over Wright’s remarks didn’t initially see them as being racial. They seemed to them to simply be anti-American. Continue reading “The Context of Jeremiah Wright”

Can I just say . . .

that of all the crap which has come out of people’s mouths regarding the Wright-Obama connection, there is one which takes the cake for stupid dishonesty.  That is the claim that Obama’s relationship with Wright is particularly relevant to the conversation because we just don’t know much about Obama and we need to look for information where we can get it.  I’m surprised the people … Continue reading Can I just say . . .

Conservative Delusions About Race, Part II

Last week I wrote a post titled “Transcending Race and Delusional Conservatives” outlining several ways that mainstream conservative thinking about race is wrong. (And I am coming at this as a conservative myself, mind you.) Today, in the Washington Post, Gary MacDougal wrote a column titled “Jeremiah Wright’s Wider Toll” which is one of the worst examples another conservative misconception about race that I have seen: the “if they would just get over it, they would be successful” meme. The premise of the column is that Jeremiah Wright’s worst offense is preaching a message of racial grievance which leads to a lack of personal responsibility and effort by those stuck in inner city communities.

Now, there is a grain of truth behind the idea that an emphasis on racial barriers can create the perception that it is not worth trying because failure is inevitable. It can also contribute to an inability to overcome normal setbacks and obstacles, since their presence may well be seen as evidence of the futility of trying to attain success as an African American. However, in the hands of many conservatives this relatively small factor in the disparity of outcomes between whites and blacks becomes the entire explanation for problems in black America. The thinking is that if African Americans would just let go of their anger and resentment, stop seeing themselves as victims and take responsibility for their own actions, African Americans would experience as much success as any other group in America.

There are many problems, fallacies and illogical assumptions with this line of thinking. I’ll start with the most obvious one as demonstrated by Mr. MacDougal’s column:

Imagine getting up each morning to go to work in a society that doesn’t want you, doesn’t respect you and seeks to hold you back. Your spiritual leader has told you this, after all. . . If this is the message you got from your mentor, would you expect that you could succeed? Would you try very hard, if at all?” [emphasis mine] Continue reading “Conservative Delusions About Race, Part II”

God Bless Peggy Noonan

I mean that really. I hope that God has and continues to bless Peggy Noonan greatly. Because she has stood in the face of the ridiculous demagoguery which has surrounded the whole Obama-Wright debacle and spoken sense where sense has not been welcomed. Writing in today’s Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan talks about her indifference to Pastor Wright’s ranting and puts it into some perspective:

I also think that if Hillary Clinton wins because of the Wright scandal, it will leave a sad taste in the mouths of many. Mr. Obama reveals many things in his books, speeches and interviews but polarity and a tropism toward the extreme are not among them. What happened with Mr. Wright should not determine the race. Mr. Obama’s stands, his ability to convince us he can make good change, his ability to be “one of us,” that great challenge for a national politician in a varied nation, should determine the race. . .

I do not feel a sense of honest anger or violation at his [Jeremiah Wrights’s] remarks, in part because I don’t think his views carry deep implications for our country. I have been watching America up close for many years – if you count a bright childhood, for half a century. I have seen, heard and respected the pain of a people who were forced to come here when they did not want to and made to live in a way that no one would want to. Who could deny them their grief or anger? I have seen radicalism and extremism, too. I have seen Stokely Carmichael, the Black Panthers, the Black National Anthem, Malcolm X, James Baldwin, Louis Farrakhan. I came to see their radicalism as, putting the morality of policy based on rage aside, essentially unhelpful and impractical. It wouldn’t work as an American movement, not long-term. Hatred plays itself out, has power in the short-term but is nonsustaining in the long. America, and this is one of its glories, has a conscience to which an appeal can be made. It may take a long time, it may take centuries, but in the end we try hard to do the right thing, and everyone knows it. Hatred is a form of energy that does not fuel this machine and cannot make it run.” Continue reading “God Bless Peggy Noonan”