Maybe we are a nation of morons!
Ann Coulter's book Godless is no. 4 on the USA today best seller list as of June 11, 2006.
I'm all about understanding Ann Coulter nowadays. She's got a new book that's been staring out at me from the racks at Barnes and Noble and Costco, calling nice liberals like me "godless" (although she might have a point in my case), and in it she writes that the widows of 9/11 are just jumping in front of cameras because they get off on the attention.And, given our many problems (Iraq war, health care, people who are hurting economically), our Senate takes up FLAG BURNING?
"These self-obsessed women seem genuinely unaware that 9/11 was an attack on our nation and acted as if the terrorist attack only happened to them," Coulter writes. "They believe the entire country was required to marinate in their exquisite personal agony. Apparently, denouncing Bush was part of the closure process. These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by griefparazies. I have never seen people enjoying their husband's death so much."
Gee--"griefparazzies." Haven't heard a catchy neologism like that since Rush Limbaugh came up with "feminazis." And they say liberals can't take a joke. Holy cow, maybe they're right.
Maybe this wouldn't be so bad if Coulter didn't regularly hit the best-seller lists with her venomous screeds. Or if she weren't one of the top speakers on the right-wing collegiate Kinderfuhrer circuit, heading to college campuses to call liberal women hairy, smelly, man-hating lesbians. But the fact remains, she still regularly gets brought onto places like Fox News as some sort of "expert," and she still is a regular keynote speaker at places like the Conservative Political Action Conference, a kind of right-wing jamboree where even Vice President Dick Cheney has given the opening address. Say what you want about liberals, but when Bill Clinton was president Michael Moore wasn't the after-dinner speaker at any Democratic Leadership Council events.
Coulter's latest rampage comes because the 9/11 widows had the temerity to assail President Bush. I'm guessing that even though many of them were Bush voters in 2000, something about Bush fighting the creation of a 9/11 investigatory commission every step of the way, only funding it with $3 million, and then refusing to testify under oath, and only with Cheney there to hold his hand, might have sent them in the direction of John Kerry. But for Coulter, it burns her manly briefs that someone with actual standing might have a complaint, as she told NBC's Matt Lauer:
COULTER: If they have a point to make about the 9-11 commission, about how to fight the war on terrorism, how about sending in somebody we are allowed to respond to. No. No. No. We have to respond to someone who had a family member die. Because then if we respond, oh you are questioning their authenticity.
LAUER: So grieve but grieve quietly?
COULTER: No, the story is an attack on the nation. That requires a foreign policy response.
LAUER: By the way, they also criticized the Clinton administration.
COULTER: Not the ones I am talking about. No, no, no.
LAUER: Yeah they have.
COULTER: Oh no, no, no, no, no. They were cutting commercials for Kerry. They were using their grief to make a political point while preventing anyone from responding.
LAUER: So if you lose a husband, you no longer have the right to have a political point of view?
COULTER: No, but don't use the fact that you lost a husband as the basis for being able to talk about, while preventing people from responding. Let Matt Lauer make the point. Let Bill Clinton make the point. Don't put up someone I am not allowed to respond to without questioning the authenticity of their grief.
So she'll laugh all the way to the bank, whoring outrageous opinions with every new book. I just wish I could get the joke, except I guess it's on liberals like me.[...]
Flag-burning amendment heads to Senate floor
And this is no partisan rant either. Senator Clinton is as guilty as any of them:
By Andy Sullivan 42 minutes ago
A measure that would change the U.S. Constitution to let Congress ban burning the American flag was sent to the Senate floor on Thursday, setting up an election-year debate.
The amendment has already passed the U.S. House of Representatives by the needed two-thirds margin. The bill's sponsor, Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch (news, bio, voting record), said he believes it will pass the Senate.
"I know we have more than 67 votes, if people are allowed to vote their conscience," Hatch said after the Judiciary Committee's 11-7 vote, which fell largely along party lines.
The flag debate comes shortly after the Senate defeated a constitutional amendment to prohibit same-sex marriages. Democrats say Republicans are scheduling votes on a string of similar issues to win support from conservatives who might otherwise not vote in the November congressional elections.
The Supreme Court ruled in 1989 that flag burning was protected under constitutional free-speech guarantees, invalidating laws in 48 states and outraging veterans' groups and others who say that an important national symbol should be protected from defacement.
"You can't shout 'fire' in a crowded theater. There's restrictions on everything," said Richard Pedro, an adjutant with the American Legion of New York who observed the committee debate.
Other veterans' groups say the amendment would erode the freedom of expression that they fought for, a point echoed by Sen. Patrick Leahy (news, bio, voting record), a Democrat from Vermont.
"In America you do not stamp out a bad idea by repressing it, you stamp out a bad idea with a better idea," he said.
Leahy said veterans' groups should focus on improving health care and other government services owed them.
According to a CNN poll released on Wednesday, 56 percent of American adults support the flag-burning amendment, while 40 percent oppose it.
Hillary Clinton and Flag-Burning
This is a problem:Why are these Senators doing it? Because they know it will be popular with the public. So I blame the Senators for being cynical and the public (e. g., "we" as a whole, and I include myself) for being stupid.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is supporting new legislation to criminalize desecration of the United States flag _ though she still opposes a constitutional ban on flag attacks.
Clinton, D-N.Y., has agreed to co-sponsor a measure by Republican Sen. Bob Bennett of Utah, which has been written in hopes of surviving any constitutional challenge following a 2003 Supreme Court ruling on the subject.
Her support of Bennett's bill follows her position in Congress last summer, when a constitutional ban on flag-burning was debated. Clinton said then she didn't support a constitutional ban, but did support federal legislation making it a crime to desecrate the flag.
In her public statements, she has compared the act of flag-burning to burning a cross, which can be considered a violation of federal civil rights law.
Flag burning is a stupid. We should wash the flag in protest, not burn it. But this embrace of symbolic reactionary politics is just bad news. There are red state Democrats who courageously vote against the flag burning Amendment even though it hurts them at home, and we have to take this sponsorship of something like this from a Senator from New York? That's just irresponsible politics, putting courageous partisan Democrats in jeopardy for 'optical' reasoning (ie. so you'll look better to suburban Moms in the exurbs). But whatever, not the biggest deal in the world, just a bit of of silly pandering. There might even be some interesting Senate negotiations to head off something worse, I really have no idea.
The deeply disturbing piece here is the awful comparison of flag burning to cross burning. Cross burning is well-understood as a sign of terrorism. It was used to suppress blacks organizing themselves in both the South and the North from the post-Civil War era until the late 1960s. It was a sign of intimidation, of terrorism, or impending hate crimes. It was often a death threat. Flag burning has usually been the province of hippies and countercultural movements, and these have been relatively benign. They are certainly not equivalent in any way shape or form to the KKK or the legacy of slavery and segregation that cross burning represents.
I am no fan of those who seek to ban flag burning, for a variety of reasons. I kind of get the political calculus, even from a blue stater running for President (Clark did the same thing). But really, must we seriously have to have a Democratic nominee who compares the actions of hippies in the 1960s with the actions of the KKK?
Then we have Texas raising its speed limit to 80 miles an hour, and some in Illinois who think it is a good idea:
Oh great! Now that we are supposed to be conserving oil, people think that we should drive even faster. Yes, I know, raising the speed limit to 80 won't mean that you have to drive 80, but anyone who has driven on a freeway where folks are driving like madmen and riding up your rear bumper (think: Houston, Texas during rush hour) knows that increasing the speed limit will "make" everyone drive faster.
And, let us remember one of our favorites: 42% of all people believe in an especially wierd form of creationism: that life, as it currently exists, has existed this way from the very start:
Religion A Strength And Weakness For Both Parties
Public Divided on Origins of Life
Released: August 30, 2005
Summary of FindingsBoth major political parties have a problem with their approach toward religion, in the eyes of many Americans. More than four-in-ten say that liberals who are not religious have too much control over the Democratic Party, while an almost identical percentage says that religious conservatives have too much influence over the Republican Party.
The public also has distinctly different perceptions of both parties when it comes to dealing with religion and personal freedoms. By a wide margin 51% to 28% the Republican Party is seen as most concerned with protecting religious values. By a nearly identical margin (52%-30%), the Democratic Party is perceived as most concerned with protecting the freedom of citizens to make personal choices.
Yet the Democrats' strength in this area is overshadowed by a sharp erosion in the number of Americans who believe the party is friendly toward religion. Only about three-in-ten (29%) see the Democrats as friendly toward religion, down from 40% last August. Meanwhile, a solid majority (55%) continues to view the Republicans as friendly toward religion.
However, independents are more critical of the influence of religious conservatives on the Republican Party than they are of the influence of secular liberals on the Democratic Party. Most independents (54%) think religious conservatives have too much influence over the Republican Party, while fewer, 43%, think secular liberals have too much sway on the Democratic Party.
The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, conducted July 7-17 among 2,000 adults, also finds deep religious and political differences over questions relating to evolution and the origins of life. Overall, about half the public (48%) says that humans and other living things have evolved over time, while 42% say that living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time. Fully 70% of white evangelical Protestants say that life has existed in its present form since the beginning of time; fewer than half as many white mainline Protestants (32%) and white Catholics (31%) agree.
Despite these fundamental differences, most Americans (64%) say they are open to the idea of teaching creationism along with evolution in the public schools, and a substantial minority (38%) favors replacing evolution with creationism in public school curricula. While much of this support comes from religious conservatives, these ideas particularly the idea of teaching both perspectives have a broader appeal. Even many who are politically liberal and who believe in evolution favor expanding the scope of public school education to include teaching creationism. But an analysis of the poll also reveals that there are considerable inconsistencies between people's beliefs and what they want taught in the schools, suggesting some confusion about the meaning of terms such as "creationism" and "evolution."
Despite the growing national debate over the teaching of evolution, there is little evidence that school discussions of evolution are upsetting to students. Just 6% of parents with children in school say their child has mentioned feeling uncomfortable when the subject of evolution comes up at school. Comparably small numbers of parents say their children have expressed unease when the subjects of religion or homosexuality have come up at their child's school.
The survey shows that large majorities of Americans believe that parents, scientists and school boards all should have a say in how evolution is taught in schools. But a plurality (41%) believes that parents rather than scientists (28%) or school boards (21%) should have the primary responsibility in this area.
The public remains generally comfortable with politicians mentioning their religious faith; in fact, more continue to say there is too little expression of religious faith by political leaders (39%), not too much (26%). However, a growing minority feels President Bush mentions his faith and prayer too much. The percentage expressing this view has doubled from 14% to 28% over the past two years.
What I have to say is "ARGGGGH"!!!!!!!!!!