Daily Archives: 04/28/2004

Down The Rabbit Hole

I normally ignore Cal Thomas’ columns in the Pacific Daily News, his right wing demagoguery is not to my liking. But today’s column caught my eye, primarily because I just read an interesting article on Tom Paine.com about Al Smith and his disastrous 1928 bid for the presidency. Smith was the immensely popular Democratic governor of New York whose campaign was torpedoed because of his Catholic faith and Irish upbringing. Pundits and columnists questioned his fealty to the United States. “A prominent Episcopalian lawyer published an article in the Atlantic Monthly, questioning Smith’s ability to function as president as long as he owed ultimate allegiance to the Pope. Smith dismissed the idea as silly. He declared he had ‘never heard of those bulls and encyclicals and books.'” Yet Smith went down in crushing defeat to Herbert Hoover, losing even his home state of New York.

A curious inversion has taken place in the 21st century. Instead of Republicans questioning John Kerry’s allegiance to the United States, right wing idealogues like Cal Thomas are questioning whether a man that refuses to follow Church doctrine is fit to lead the United States. Thomas states “When Kerry and other Catholic politicians say they accept church teaching but selectively deny it when it comes to abortion, they place the state above the church and man above God. They mortgage their consciences to convenience and principle to pragmatism. Should such a person lead this nation?”

Funny what a difference 76 years makes. Now Republicans are saying that Catholic Democrats are beholden to the Pope, not the Constitution. Black is White, War is Peace.

The instigation for all this furor was the Cardinal Arinze, a potential successor to Pope John Paul II, who stated on Friday that politicians who support abortion should be denied communion. While the Cardinal refused to address whether John Kerry should be excluded from the holy sacrament, pro-choice Catholic Democrats rallied behind Kerry and incurred the usual fusillade of vitriol from the right wing attack dogs, including Cal Thomas.

More than a few things here give me pause. First, Cardinal Arinze is not the Pope, the titular head of the church and infallible authority on spiritual matters. Dude’s got no authority to speak for the church on this matter. Second, there are plenty of pro-choice Republicans out there, notably Governor George Pataki and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. I don’t hear the right wing idiots questioning their authority to govern because they support a woman’s right to choose. Lastly, this show of support for the Catholic Church on the abortion issue is rife with hypocrisy. Sure the Church opposes abortion; the church also vehemently condemns the death penalty, something near and dear to Republican’s hearts. Don’t hear Cal Thomas condemning politicians who authorize state institutionalized murder do you? Funny how folks only pick out the things they want to emphasize and totally ignore other issues. Or perhaps the whole idea of the church trying to dictate temporal, earthly policy in the 21st century is a non-issue and we would all be better off if we took religion out of the debate?

Testing, Testing, 1 – 2 – 3

For the first time in a long time I am farting around with different weblogging software and systems. I got myself a Xanga site, a TypePad page, even a Plone site. All this on top of the Radio Userland Salon blog that I never use. Hell, I even created a blogspot blog using blogger so I could check out the features they offered with that hosting service.

Why the flurry of signing up with all these different services? I’m evaluating options for a friend of mine and her family. They are leaving Guam next month and beginning an adventure. For the next two years they will be cruising around in a boat, working down the West Coast, through the Panama Canal and the Caribbean, up the East Coast, and finally into the Great Lakes. They really want a website to share their adventures, location, information and photos with friends and family. I agreed to help set them up with something easy to use. For what they want to do, I think going with a TypePad site is probably their best option. Of course, it is also one of the more expensive options, but hey – she’s a doctor and her husband is a banker. They can afford a few bucks a month for precious memories.

More Troubles At Air America

A new development for Air America, the nation’s liberal radio programming. The CEO of the fledgling company is stepping down to a smaller role in the company. In his place, Beloit College grad David Goodfriend, currently legal counsel for the network, will become interim CEO, according to fellow Beloit College graduate Evan Montvel-Cohen.

The other big shake-up is the departure of the programming director, Dave Logan, a long time radio professional. His duties will be assumed by the network’s morning show host, Liz Winstead. I like what San Francisco DJ Rick Stuart has to say about this affair: “Doesn’t seem like a good move and might be another sign of money problems dumping Logan and not replacing his salary. Clearly there was a rift with Walsh and Logan and other staffers. Do you think high paid comics take to programming direction well? Me neither.”

Stuart also posts an article taken from the Chicago Tribune about the changes at the network, and focuses in on Evan Montvel-Cohen:

With Walsh’s departure, Cohen has become the liberal network’s key spokesman and public advocate. He has an unlikely past for the role: He began his career as a Republican operative in his native Guam, serving as spokesman for Guam’s Republican Party and as chief of staff for Sen. Tommy Tanaka, a pro-life Republican legislator.

Tanaka pleaded guilty to corruption charges last year.

‘I am a progressive,’ said Cohen, adding that Guam’s political climate is quite different from the mainland’s. ‘Republicans in Guam are to the left of [late Democratic Senator] Paul Wellstone,’ he said.