Thursday, October 30, 2008

Doubt is not necessarily a bad thing

"Doubt is the beginning not the end of wisdom" -- proverb


I just read one of the best essays on faith and atheism that I've read in awhile from a writer at The Times of South Africa:

... as an atheist, faith is one of the big issues I have with religion. Faith is not simply a religious concept - it is a concept of knowing, of being absolutely sure of your ideas, your leaders, your concept of right and wrong, to the point where any evidence to the contrary just annoys you, it doesn’t have the power to convince you.

This concept has caused immeasurable harm to the world - it is what made Stalin so sure that his five-year plans weren’t starving Russia, it is what made Hitler think that the Jews were the root of all the world’s problems ...

The criminals who rape, murder and pillage our country do not do so out of a lack of faith, out of a sense of doubt in the rightness of their actions, they do it rationalising that their victims deserve it. These criminals think that they are still good people.

It is as William Butler Yeats said in his oft-quoted poem: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”

This is not because the best are weak. This is because in terms of the people you want to know, the people who don’t go around flying planes into buildings, it isn’t faith that fuels their good, it is doubt. Doubt that they are right, doubt that they are always good, doubt that makes them stop and consider things from another point of view.

The dubious, the doubtful, the people who do not know what they know but, rather, think there is a good likelihood for something, these are the people who take us forward.

Atheism is not about what we know, it is what we don’t know. It is “I don’t believe in God” rather than “I believe there is no God”. Though there are atheists who subscribe to the latter, the former is all it takes to qualify as atheism. It is a philosophical concept, not even a fully formed idea, based on doubt, and in terms of crime, atheists are a disproportionately small portion of America’s prison system.

This is also reflected in crime stats on an international basis - highly atheist countries like Japan and the Scandinavian ones have crime under control. This is not atheism in and of itself, this is the virtue of doubt.

And it isn’t just in morality that doubt is good, that not taking things on faith is good.

We have seen over the past year the effect faith has had on business, with the faith-filled idea that the US’s housing market would always grow, that house prices were never coming down and that those sub-prime loans were structured to never fail. They failed.

The Titanic was a ship that the designers thought would never sink, and thus they didn’t have enough lifeboats or a plan to save the lower decks if it actually did begin to sink. It sank.

George W Bush had absolute faith that he was right, the US had faith that if they re-elected him to “stay the course” things would improve. He is probably going to go down as one of the worst presidents in the US’s history, if not the worst ...

... Faith is not a virtue to teach your children. The virtue is in faith’s opposite. It is in doubt we find caution, in doubt we find tolerance, in doubt that we find humility, in doubt we find ourselves and the best of our humanity.

In his poem, Yeats seems to have thought that in the best lacking all conviction there was a flaw, when it is the strength of lacking conviction that makes the best. It is the weakness of passionate intensity, of knowing beyond all evidence’s power to prove otherwise, that makes the worst.

"Doubt is uncomfortable, certainty is ridiculous." -- Voltaire


"Dubito ergo cogito; cogito ergo sum.
(I doubt, therefore I think; I think therefore I am)" -- Rene Descartes



Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Stranger in a Strange Land

I had a feeling tonight that I rarely experience. I was among people of a like mind and it gave me pause. Living in Arizona, among gun-toting, praise-the-lord, get-off-my-land types, I'd grown accustomed to feeling vaguely out of place. Like I couldn't really ever comfortably speak my mind.

I went to a Sierra Club Energy Committee meeting downtown tonight. It's part of my attempt at getting a little more involved in the things I believe in. After speaking with one of the main people of the state branch of the Sierra Club at the recent Green Summit, I volunteered for whatever they could use me for. She sent me invites to several of the committee meetings, this being the first one.

It was a fairly long meeting, about 2 and half hours, and discussed Cool Cities outreach (I'm going to get involved with encouraging Glendale to get on board) and a new solar thermal plant planned near Gila Bend. Though politics weren't really discussed directly, I couldn't help the feeling that everyone in the room would vote almost exactly like me. It was a feeling that I had recently when I saw Religulous, though admittedly not for the exact same reason. But you get the idea ... I was among friends, even though I may not know these people. Every day at work, at my son's school, in my neighborhood, even among family, I may "know" the people better, but they are mostly strangers in the ways that matter to me. I'm not saying I want to be surrounded by sycophants. I just don't want to be surrounded by zealots and the uninformed.

"Nothing is so awesomely unfamiliar as the familiar that discloses itself at the end of a journey" -- Cynthia Ozick



Thursday, October 23, 2008

Vote Early, Vote Often


Today, I voted early for the first time. It was quick ... it was painless. There are about 10 early voting places in the Valley, including one near our library, which is where I voted. There were about a half dozen people there voting at the same time and after talking to the poll workers there, they apparently have a pretty steady flow and will all month. Laura at Sarchasm voted early too and shares some of her experiences here. For my AZ blog friends, here's a list of the locations: Early Voting Locations

I highly recommend for anyone that can, vote early. If you don't know who you are voting for by now, then you don't belong in a voting booth, you belong in a straitjacket. Hell, even a Goldwater and a Buckley have figured it out already and it ain't who you think:

Goldwater:
Being Barry Goldwater's granddaughter and living in Arizona, one would assume that I would be voting for our state's senator, John McCain. I am still struck by certain 'dyed in the wool' Republicans who are on the fence this election, as it seems like a no-brainer to me.

Myself, along with my siblings and a few cousins, will not be supporting the Republican presidential candidates this year. We believe strongly in what our grandfather stood for: honesty, integrity, and personal freedom, free from political maneuvering and fear tactics... Our generation of Goldwaters expects government to provide for constitutional protections. We reject the constant intrusion into our personal lives, along with other crucial policy issues of the McCain/Palin ticket.

My grandfather (Paka) would never suggest denying a woman's right to choose. My grandmother co-founded Planned Parenthood in Arizona in the 1930's, a cause my grandfather supported. I'm not sure about how he would feel about marriage rights based on same-sex orientation. I think he would feel that love and respect for ones privacy is what matters most and not the intolerance and poor judgment displayed by McCain over the years. Paka respected our civil liberties and passed on the message that that we should conduct our lives standing up for the basic freedoms we hold so dear.

For a while, there were several candidates who aligned themselves with the Goldwater version of Conservative thought. My grandfather had undying respect for the U.S. Constitution, and an understanding of its true meanings.

... the Republican brand has been tarnished in a shameless effort to gain votes and appeal to the lowest emotion, fear. Nothing about McCain, except for maybe a uniform, compares to the same ideology of what Goldwater stood for as a politician. The McCain/Palin plan is to appear diverse and inclusive, using women and minorities to push an agenda that makes us all financially vulnerable, fearful, and less safe.

When you see the candidate's in political ads, you can't help but be reminded of the 1964 presidential campaign of Johnson/Goldwater, the 'origin of spin', that twists the truth and obscures what really matters. Nothing about the Republican ticket offers the hope America needs to regain it's standing in the world, that's why we're going to support Barack Obama. I think that Obama has shown his ability and integrity.

After the last eight years, there's a lot of clean up do. Roll up your sleeves, Senators Obama and Biden, and we Goldwaters will roll ours up with you.

Buckley:
The National Review accepted the resignation of columnist Christopher Buckley last week, shortly after the humorist and editor -- son of the conservative biweekly's late founder, William F. Buckley Jr. -- endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, Mr. Buckley said Tuesday...

"I think they wanted to put as much daylight between Christopher Buckley and themselves as they could," Mr. Buckley said Tuesday, after publishing news of his resignation on The Daily Beast. "It's an odd situation, when the founder's son has suddenly become the turd in the punch bowl."

Mr. Buckley says his father, who endorsed a few Democrats in his time -- including Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman when he ran against Republican incumbent Lowell Weicker in 1988 -- was "quite tolerant of the surprising point of view" and never wanted his magazine's writers to be in intellectual lockstep.

"We seem to be living in a time of arteriosclerotic orthodoxy," Mr. Buckley said. "A lot of the fun has gone out of it. I mean, gee whiz."


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Magic Man, Griffith Observatory


Thanks to Michelle's show biz uncle, whom we were staying with in LA, we got to meet John Gaughan for a private tour this morning at his workshop. Who is John Gaughan ... you may ask? Well, he's one of the most sought out manufacturers of illusions for world famous magicians, including David Blaine, Criss Angel, David Copperfield, Doug Henning and has worked with other performers such as the Doors and Alice Cooper in the past.

We drove up to a nondescript warehouse in LA, near Griffith Park, and were welcomed at the front door by Gaughan himself. He introduced us to his two birds (the ones mentioned in the Wikipedia article), one of which is 85 years old. John is very affable and very willing to answer any questions we had. He showed us a collector's room that he has that some of the most valuable and rare magician memorabilia in the world, including pieces once owned by Houdini, Harry Kellar and others, original posters from magicians dating back to the early 1800's, and full-size automatons that have been displayed in museums around the world. I'm afraid to even speculate the value of the items in that room. They are one of a kind pieces. We're talking in the millions of dollars.

Here's a great article on John from the New York Times:

Magicians Ask: What’s Up His Sleeve?

He created the trick wheelchair used by Gary Sinise in Forrest Gump, that helped to hide his legs.

Michelle's uncle, Marty Price, knows John because the show he works on, Numb3rs, is having an upcoming episode dealing with a magician and they filmed at John's workshop. I believe the episode airs November 14th. Check it out and you'll see where we were. Fascinating stuff.

Being close to Griffith Park, we spent the rest of the day at the Griffith Observatory. This is the one in many movie shots, most famously, Rebel Without a Cause, but also Terminator and Transformers:





I'd always wanted to go there but didn't take the time until today. The view is great up there, with clear views of the Hollywood sign:



... downtown:



... and the observatory itself:





There were a lot of cool space exhibits inside. The admission was free because it's a city park. Free educational and cultural exhibits -- a concept that seems to be understood in Europe, but is lost on the morons over here that would privatize everything. Learning cannot only be the domain of those who can afford it.

Overall, an outstanding day. Tomorrow, it's time for the trip back home to AZ.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Strand

Perhaps biting off a bit more than we could chew, we started off early this morning intent on biking all the way from the house in Manhattan Beach to the Santa Monica Pier ... a distance of about 13 miles one way. I had hauled Alex's and my bikes out with us in the trunk and Michelle borrowed her aunt's new beach bike.

The bike path along the ocean is called The Strand and extends 22 miles total from north of Santa Monica south to Torrance. It's very scenic, going right along the beach, and passes through Manhattan Beach, Venice Beach and Santa Monica. The weather was great, with a lot of eye candy, and freaks galore.

On the way up, just the other side of Venice, we stopped for a bite to eat:


... continued on up to the pier in Santa Monica:


... walked the boardwalk in Venice (ground zero for freaky people):


... and checked out a few organic clothing shops that I had researched ahead of time, Natural High Lifestyle in Santa Monica, which was so-so (a little foofy and expensive), and Arbor in Venice, which was a lot better and where I picked up a t-shirt.

All-in-all, it was a worthy way of spending a Friday. Nobody got too tired and we all got over 25 miles of riding in. Pretty impressive for the little one especially.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Manhattan Beach

We're leaving Wednesday afternoon for a long weekend in Manhattan Beach. Might try to hit Griffith Park. Or maybe go to Cardiff by the Sea and see Michelle's cousin.

I researched organic clothing retailers in LA and located several in Santa Monica and Venice. I'm hoping to pick up some shoes and shirts.

Will probably post something on the blog each day.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Art

I'm reading Art in our Times, by Peter Selz, right now. I'm pretty much an art moron, but I try. I own quite a few art books and every once in awhile will bury myself in one and try to learn a little bit. I've read quite a few on more historical art and architecture but hadn't really concentrated on one that focuses on the 20th century like this one does.

A couple of the entries amused me either because of their topical relevance or because the art presented there seemed to speak to me. The first of these was a passage talking about the architecture of the Pentagon:

"During the early 1940's, the world's largest office building, the Pentagon, was erected across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., in an area commonly known as "Hell's Bottom." According to esoteric lore, when a pentagon or pentagram is drawn on the ground with its chief point toward the south, it can be used for black magic and destructive purposes, and, indeed, the War Department's structure faces south."


Ahh ... it all makes sense now. I guess that Dick Cheney was probably too young to have had any part in that?

The other entries I like for a couple of reasons -- they're dark and skewer the Church a bit. They're paintings by Francis Bacon (the British painter) based on Velázquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X (1650). That's Velazquez's original on the left below:


Velazquez, considering the time in which he lived, and that the Pope viewed his portrait favorably, was not trying to cast a negative light upon the Church at all.

With Bacon, it's more ambiguous. His alteration to the original seems to express agony and pain. It's as though the Pope is screaming. Bacon didn't say that he had any problem with the Church or the Popes, but he did over 40 variations of the Pope and definitely seemed to have some kind of feeling. And it wasn't pleasant.

One of the other variants shows the Pope between sides of beef. I couldn't even begin to guess what that means, but I like the fact that Bacon doesn't consider the subject matter to be above parody or criticism -- a sacred "cow", as it were.


Bacon reminds me of another 20th Century artist I like, Marshall Arisman, and even of David Fincher, the director of Se7en, in his choice of colors and subject matter.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Vote Yes for Bigotry on Prop 102

Arizona has got to be one of the stupidest states when it comes to our yearly avalanche of pointless ballot propositions (some states call them referendums). I'm sure the original intentions of propositions were noble, but it has turned into an outlet for any wingnut with too much time on their hands and too much money to hijack our state laws.

Every year we have to wade through about 20 of these things. Most people don't research what they are very much before voting and so assume that things like the Payday Loans Reform Act are actually something good. Payday loans are ridiculously priced and able to get around normal interest rate limits. Places that give these loans prey on those of us least able to pay. So, when you see something that says that it is going to reform how payday loan places operate and limit the amount they can charge, you assume that is a good thing. But, then you see who is funding the promotion of the act -- the payday loan places themselves. Fishy. It turns out they are just trying to get their version of a bill out there because an existing law that gave payday loan places a pass on having to observe the states 36% usury rate limit is set to expire soon. The effective rate of interest on payday loans approaches 400%.

You'll have to forgive me, but letting these places write their own law would be like ... well, it would be like letting energy companies write our energy policy. Wait ... I guess that's actually what happened. Bad example. But you get the point.

The real point of my post is Proposition 102 - "Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state." They can dress it up any way they want, but it's straight-up hate mongering. I'm sick of people who hide behind their bibles and use it to ease their conscience of bigotry, racism and war-loving.


I just love the happy, peppy graphics and the family-oriented video. If Hitler would have had this ad agency, people might not have thought he was such a bad dude. The flyer I got in the mail today is more of the same. I'm fighting the urge to do some creative editing to it and send it back to them.

Again, like in the case of payday loan proposition, it's important to see who wants it to pass. In the immortal words of Deep Throat, "Follow the money."

The biggest contributors are :

The Crisis Pregnancy Center - whose answer to teen pregnancy is:

Unlike so-called "comprehensive" sex education, we desire to communicate a clear message: one solution and one approach that never changes and is always 100 percent effective. That solution and approach to teen sexuality is abstinence-until-marriage (ATM)

They are actively against abortion, contraception ... anything other than abstinence.

Focus on the Family Action - Do I really even need to say anything about this? I give you two words -- James Dobson. 'Nuff said.

And finally, a huge number of Mormon Church members:

... of the 190 contributions of $10,000 or higher, 70 came from Mesa Arizona — home to Arizona’s oldest LDS Temple and a very significant Mormon population. Mesa contributors include three of the four $100,000 contributors. In fact, the temple is located on a street named for the family of one of those $100,000 contributors — David and Nancy LeSueur.

Mesa is basically Salt Lake City South. I love the irony of a bunch of Mormons pushing a law that defines marriage as being between "one man and ONE woman". It's apparently intentional so that they can convince people that their polygamist days are behind them. Whatever. They may convince people that they are not polygamists, but they can't convince me that they are not bigots.

Here's a full list of the contributors: Notifications of Contributions to Ballot Measure Committees

Monday, October 06, 2008

Religulous



Religulous is most effective when it's funny. This isn't a movie trying to beat you over the head with in-depth philosophical discussions. It's not a serious documentary. It's meant to be entertaining, but also to poke fun at many of the ridiculous assumptions of organized religion. No one is spared: Mormonism, Catholicism, Judaism, Islam, Scientology, you name it.

Religulous is a road movie, of sorts, with Bill Maher traveling around the world talking to religious people of all types at churches, museums, the Vatican, etc. The biggest source of laughs is the earnestness of people's blind faith. They live by reason in every other aspect of their lives except in their religion. People are more than happy to use all the benefits of science (medicine, computers, transportation) but do not see the disconnect between a belief in science and a belief in God. They drive around in a car that runs on fossil fuels (they are called "fossil fuels" for a reason) but still cling to the belief that the world is 5,000 years old.

Even more ridiculous that those that ignore the disconnect between religion and science are those that try to reconcile the two. For example, the Creation Museum. Dinosaurs with saddles on them ... right.

Jewish Atheist made an interesting point in his review of the movie (Religulous: A Review) ... that it felt cool, and unusual, to be in a movie theater where you pretty much knew everybody else was an atheist, skeptic, agnostic. I don't get that feeling very much in real life. There were 10 other people in the small theater, and they were all laughing just as hard as I was.

One of the problems I do have with the movie is in how Maher misrepresents atheism. He perpetuates the common myth that atheism means certainty that there is no God. That's not what it means. It means a lack of belief in God. Though Maher's beliefs are really no different than mine, he gives the impression that they are by singling out atheists. And that does atheism a disservice.

The movie is directed by Larry Charles, who also directed Borat, and in many ways mirrors that movie in how it doesn't necessarily try to present some broad philosophical take or ideology, but rather just wants to use real people to get a laugh and to maybe make you think.

I like this movie quite a bit. I laughed throughout the movie and I believe that even some religious people would find it entertaining. If they don't, then that only proves Maher's point even more. I read another review that just about sums it up:
Steve Persall of the St. Petersburg Times ... commented: "If he offends your particular faith, Maher will soon have you laughing at someone else's, wondering how 'those people' could be so gullible."

I recommend this film. Grade: A

In only 5 minutes this morning, looking at news sites, I found two articles that go even further to show how stupid people of faith can be:

Jewish "Modesty Patrols"

JERUSALEM — In Israel's ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, where the rule of law sometimes takes a back seat to the rule of God, zealots are on a campaign to stamp out behavior they consider unchaste. They hurl stones at women for such "sins" as wearing a red blouse, and attack stores selling devices that can access the Internet.

In recent weeks, self-styled "modesty patrols" have been accused of breaking into the apartment of a Jerusalem woman and beating her for allegedly consorting with men. They have torched a store that sells MP4 players, fearing devout Jews would use them to download pornography.

"These breaches of purity and modesty endanger our community," said 38-year-old Elchanan Blau, defending the bearded, black-robed zealots. "If it takes fire to get them to stop, then so be it."


Female fan's kiss ends music concert in Kuwait

KUWAIT CITY - A Kuwaiti official says authorities abruptly ended a music concert by an Egyptian singer in this conservative Muslim country when a young female fan jumped on stage, hugged the male singer and gave him a kiss.

Qanas al-Adwani, who heads the government department that monitors public entertainment, says the girl's behavior at Friday's concert "defied the conservative traditions" of Kuwait.

Al-Adwani also said Sunday that the fan's behavior broke controls on public entertainment, which were imposed by influential Muslim fundamentalists after they failed in 1997 to ban concerts altogether. Concerts have to be licensed by the government, and monitors from the Information Ministry watch the crowd to make sure nobody stands up to dance.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Freedom IS Free

One of my biggest pet peeves is those mini-propaganda films by the National Guard that you get when you are waiting for your movie to start at the theater. They get some pop act to make a "music video", but in reality, they are thinly veiled advertisements pimping patriotism and armed service. Last year, it was 3 Doors Down with "Citizen Soldier". This year it is Kid Rock with "Warrior" . Now, I don't have anything against Kid. I've even liked some of his songs. He seems to have a sense of humor. Or I had thought that in the past. I'm sitting there in the theater tonight, waiting to watch Religulous (I'll review tomorrow), and "Warrior" comes on:

... So don't tell me who's wrong and right
When liberty starts slipping away
And if you ain't gonna fight
Get out of the way

'Cause freedom ain't so free
When you breathe red, white and blue
I'm giving all of myself
How 'bout you?

Holding back the urge to vomit in my mouth, I reflected on how big a hypocrite Kid Rock is. I saw an interview with him recently:

"I truly believe that people like myself, who are in a position of entertainers in the limelight, should keep their mouth shut on politics.Because at the end of the day, I'm good at writing songs and singing. What I'm not educated in is the field of political science. And so for me to be sharing my views and influencing people of who I think they should be voting for ... I think would be very irresponsible on my part.I think celebrity endorsements hurt politicians. As soon as somebody comes out for a politician, especially in Hollywood, when they all go, 'I'm voting for this guy!' – I go, 'That's not who I'm voting for!' "

So ... you won't endorse a political candidate but you will co-opt a political slogan from one ("freedom isn't free") and, in your songs, will criticize people ("don't tell me who's wrong and right") who don't just blindly follow.

I don't mean to belittle the military. I understand the value of service to one's country. I have a father and brother who both served. But criticizing people who don't serve, questioning their patriotism, and serving up a slice of propaganda that the Third Reich would be proud of, is not the answer.

And don't get me started on the "freedom isn't free" thing. I read a great article this week on that overused, contradictory, and meaningless slogan:

It's one of those Orwellian phrases that re-emerged out of 9/11 mania: "Freedom is not free." ... freedom itself, far from being costly, was cheapened to a slogan in whose name sacrifice at home was for fools and war abroad freedom's calling card.

The dogmatic negative at the heart of "freedom isn't free" should have been a clue. The phrase has been attributed to Dean Rusk, secretary of state under John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, though The New York Times used it in a small headline in 1945 to describe an American cemetery in Normandy. Gen. Matthew Ridgway, Army Chief of Staff in 1953, used it to define freedom as the difference between those who "torture their captives" and "those to whom the individual and his individual rights are sacred."

But the phrase really took off as a national verbal tick after 2001. George and Laura Bush and Dick Cheney have used the phrase at least nine times since 2001. For understandable reasons, they never defined it the way Gen. Ridgway did. They never defined it at all.

Ridgway's nuances aside, the phrase is fortune-cookie bunk anyway. Of course, freedom is free, and self-evidently so. Unless Thomas Jefferson had it wrong in the Declaration of Independence, freedom is one of the "unalienable rights." It's not a privilege. You're born with it. If you're in an unfree country, as most people are, you're owed it.

If you're in a free country, by all means, count your blessings, but you're entitled to your freedom. You shouldn't have to justify it, qualify it, tailor it to someone else's idea of it (unless you live in a homeowners association) let alone buy it, as countless slaves in this country had to.

Unless you infringe on somebody else's freedom, it's not even conditional. Those who make conditions are the chain-wielders who dangle freedom by the reins of its antonyms. They're those to whom "freedom is not free," by which they mean to say -- you're not.

Unquestionably, the way the phrase may have been intended -- the way Martin Luther King Jr. supposedly said it when he was hauled off to jail in Birmingham, the way it's inscribed on the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. -- is to point out that sometimes there's a price to pay to preserve what we cherish or to claim what we're owed.

Those soldiers in Normandy's sands died protecting civilization. King and countless civil rights activists died claiming the right they'd been denied for three centuries. A price was paid for freedom's sake, but never to diminish the value of freedom itself, let alone to use freedom to diminish that of others ...


Saturday, October 04, 2008

"Balanced" is not necessarily "Fair"

"Don't take the wrong side of an argument just because your opponent has taken the right side." -- Baltasar Gracian (Spanish Philosopher and Write, 1601 - 1658)


Campbell Brown from CNN, anchor of "Election Center", when singled out by some in the McCain campaign for what they perceive as criticism of their candidate:

“So when you have Candidate A saying the sky is blue, and Candidate B saying it’s a cloudy day, I look outside and I see, well, it’s a cloudy day,” she said. “I should be able to tell my viewers, ‘Candidate A is wrong, Candidate B is right.’ And not have to say, ‘Well, you decide.’ Then it would be like I’m an idiot. And I’d be treating the audience like idiots.”

Giving equal weight to two views that are not equal in validity is not "fairness".

It's kinda ironic -- conservatives are the ones most against the Fairness Doctrine, yet they have the biggest problem when the media sources that they perceive as liberally-biased (CNN, NBC, New York Times) don't jump when they say jump.

Speaking of McCain - David Letterman in his monologue the other night gave one of the funniest lines about McCain that I've heard lately:

"John McCain loved Palin's debate performance. Matter of fact, he applauded so much, all the lights in his home kept on going on and off."

Letterman's increasing amount of jokes at McCain's expense is no coincidence. McCain spurned an appearance on Letterman during the bailout crisis, yet kept most of his other commitments.

Some more Letterman, Top Ten "Things Overheard At Palin Debate Camp":

10. "Let's practice your bewildered silence."

9. "Can you try saying 'yes' instead of 'you betcha'?"

8. "Hey, I can see Mexico from here!"

7. "Maybe we'll get lucky and there won't be any questions about Iraq, taxes or healthcare."

6. "We're screwed!"

5. "Can I just use that lipstick-pit bull thing again?"

4. "We have to wrap it up for the day -- McCain eats dinner at 4:30."

3. "Can we get Congress to bail us out of this debate?"

2. "John Edwards wants to know if you'd like some private tutoring in his van."

1. "Any way we can just get Tina Fey to do it?"


Thursday, October 02, 2008

Homer Tries to Vote

This is pretty good.