AQUARIUS: Signs point to yes. PISCES: Don't count on it. ARIES: Without a doubt. TAURUS: Outlook good. GEMINI: Without a doubt. CANCER: Yes, definitely. LEO: Concentrate and ask again. VIRGO: Most likely. LIBRA: You may rely on it. SCORPIO: Cannot predict now. SAGITTARIUS: Ask again later. CAPRICORN: My reply is no.
Well, a few disgruntled folks have re-introduced summoning in response to the U.S. Supreme Court declaring all consenting adults have a right to marry, regardless of who they love. That's great, but I have to say with regard to this summoning, it's strictly amateur hour.
First up, GOP Presidential hopeful: Mike Huckabee.
He's threatened to call down fire from heaven. For starters, there's an aesthetic that needs to be followed here people. You never go with the big guns right out of the chute. For one thing, that kind of pulling and you're likely to pull or strain something. You have to start out light, and then work your way up to the big stuff. If you do pull something however, you can try to perfect that walking cane/staff look, it's always a nice visual. I did it for a while, but it kept leaving marks on the floors and sidewalks so I had to put a cut open tennis ball on the base.
Secondly, a warning is the preferred rule. Say, strike the public w/ a preference for annoying torso accoutrements and say it'll get worse if they don't stop paying so much damned attention to Michael Bolton. So we ditched MB and got fanny packs, sorry, my ears needed a break.
Second example: Todd Starnes.
He threatens to send hornets and cicadas at the president. Okay, such an attack probably wouldn't be fatal, (so he presumably avoids the obligatory, investigative Secret Service visit), but really he's aiming too low. It's a typical rookie blunder. As we are no longer a predominately agrarian society, this angle has really lost its bite. People will just stay inside and/or buy more bug zappers.
In order to be an effective conjurer, you have to keep up with the times. Threatening to cast down darkness? Yawn.
Threaten to bring down the wrath of slow internet service for forty days and forty nights? Full undivided attention.
I'd love to stay and chat, but I need to go invoke the fear of spiders and badgers on people that post about the Royal Family.
This week, Republican presidential contender Jeb Bush, said, "My aspiration for the country and I believe we can achieve it, is 4 percent growth as far as the eye can see. Which means we have to be a lot more productive, workforce participation has to rise from its all-time modern lows. It means that people need to work longer hours and, through their productivity, gain more income for their families. That's the only way we're going to get out of this rut that we're in.”
In Omaha, Nebraska in 2005, Jeb's brother, then-president George W. Bush told a divorced mother of three, “You work three jobs? Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you're doing that."
If you are a conservative, you most likely feel like you've had a pretty shitty week. In fact, I was so concerned about conservatives, I emailed a friend of mine in the South to see if they were thinking about a secession sequel. (His answer wasn't particularly comforting.)
First, the Confederate battle flag, waved as an obstinate "fuck you" to the rest of the U.S. (for beating them in the Civil War) and a constant reminder to people of color that they are in a region of the country where white folk actually went to war for the right to own them as slaves (also known as "states rights"), is falling all over the South. It's being relegated to the dustbin of history with the same contempt as one might treat a swastika.
Aside from the symbolism of racism (and a rallying point for traitors against the United States), it is a dead flag. What I mean is, loyalists didn't get to keep flying the Union Jack over government buildings after the Revolutionary War. Germany didn't get to keep flying the Nazi flag after World War II. The South lost in their rebellion. With loss comes some restrictions. While some southerners may think the flag represents heritage, it doesn't represent anything living, active and relevant in the world today.
The flag is history, it's true. And as history, the only place it belongs is a museum.
But then, this week also saw another challenge to Obamacare, and the Supreme Court, for the second time, upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. So, despite over 50 votes in congress to try and wreck affordable healthcare, it's the law of the land. This doesn't mean conservatives won't keep trying to wreck it (they're still trying to wreck Social Security too), but it seems very unlikely that it'll end up in front of the Supreme Court again, and even less likely it'll ever be ruled unconstitutional.
And finally, today the U.S Supreme Court ruled there is an absolute constitutional right to same sex marriage.
So, in the past week, conservatives lost the Confederate flag, the same sex marriage battle and their war on Obamacare.
Now, it's not all been a wash. After all, Republicans were able to get TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership, AKA, NAFTA Part 2) passed. Of course, this was a bill Obama wanted, but many Democrats and most progressives were opposed to it. So their big win this week was also a win for Obama. That's gotta be bittersweet.
And here in Maryland, Republican Governor Hogan was able to once again punish the Democratic stronghold of Baltimore city by putting the kibosh on the Red Line mass transit project.
But let's view it another way: By losing these three battles in the so-called "Culture Wars," Republicans were able to accomplish some much-needed house-keeping before their primaries.
First, let's look at this Confederate flag issue. Many Republicans don't really like the Rebel flag. They know what it represents (racism and anti-American traitors), and they wish the issue would go away as it hurts them with the rest of the country. And this is why Republicans were able to get the flag issue addressed so quickly (something progressives had been complaining about for years but were able to make no headway over). Remember, it's a Republican governor and a Republican state legislature that is taking the flag down in South Carolina.
During a Republican party primary, presidential hopefuls would, invariably, have to dodge the Confederate flag issue or pander to a racist conservative base in order to make it through the South Carolina primary. Now, with the flag coming down, it's an easier issue for candidates dodge or shrug off. The answer, "I've long held it's a states rights issue and South Carolina's Republicans decided on the issue," seems to be the best way to handle it.
With Obamacare, should the Supreme Court have knocked out the "affordable" portion of the Affordable Care Act, Republicans would have to come up with an alternative and pass it into law really quickly (and they're not really good at getting things done in congress). And they have no healthcare plan. So while they can still campaign on fighting Obamacare, they don't actually have to do anything about it.
And finally, with the Supreme Court ruling in favor of same sex marriage, Republicans can dodge this back-fired wedge issue in primaries by blaming activist Supreme Court Justices (even though it was a conservative who was the deciding vote). This was an issue of they also had to play to in order to pander to the bigots in their base (even thought 60% of Millennial Republicans support marriage equality), but now they can minimize this issue too by saying it's settled law and time to move on.
So, while conservatives had a really shitty week this week, it may help them not sound as extremist in the Republican primaries, making it easier for them to pander to an increasingly progressive mainstream. And these progressive victories might be a bridge too far. They may just be enough to rally the conservative base in a presidential election that may just hinge on which side can turn out the vote. And small victories do have a way of making liberals complacent.
But progressives needn't worry, there are still a lot of other issues Republicans can hang themselves up on in the primaries.
With a significant amount of attention being directed at South Carolina's flying of the offensive, racist and traitorous Confederate Rebel Flag over the state capitol, it's also an appropriate time for those in other states to reflect on themselves and clean up any lingering Confederate nastiness.
While the whole of the song is pretty messed up and we should probably scrap it, we at the VERY LEAST need to fix these Confederacy-sympathizing lyrics in our official state song immediately.
The despot's heel [Lincoln] is on thy shore, Maryland! His torch is at thy temple door, Maryland! Avenge the patriotic gore That flecked the streets of Baltimore, And be the battle queen of yore, Maryland! My Maryland!
Dear Mother! burst the tyrant's chain, Maryland! Virginia should not call in vain, Maryland! She meets her sisters on the plain- "Sic semper!" 'tis the proud refrain That baffles minions back amain, Maryland! My Maryland!
Thou wilt not yield the Vandal toll, Maryland! Thou wilt not crook to his control, Maryland! Better the fire upon thee roll, Better the blade, the shot, the bowl, Than crucifixion of the soul, Maryland! My Maryland!
I hear the distant thunder-hum, Maryland! The Old Line's bugle, fife, and drum, Maryland! She is not dead, nor deaf, nor dumb- Huzza! she spurns the Northern scum!
I vote we should dump the whole song for a new one, and I recommend Starbuck's "Moonlight Feels Right."
Taylor Road Baptist Church has been, until recently, a quiet church in Chesapeake Virginia that is so small one is hard pressed to find a website or a Facebook page for it or its pastor, Mel Kunkle.
This can be all the more frustrating for those who have questions as a result of a message the pastor posted on his church sign earlier this week and have no idea where to send them to have them addressed.
While the church's message is clearly provocative - equating demands for equal rights to Satan (that's right women, people of color, gays - your desire for equal rights is Satanic-level evil) - it is hardly original.
Sadly, Taylor Road Baptist Church isn't even original in their offensiveness.
But just so we're all clear, Baptists seem to believe demands for equal rights are evil, which serves to underline the point many of us have been making that much of organized religion exists to keep people down and to reinforce the white, hetero patriarchy.
SHOULD YOU ENTER THE REPUBLICAN PRIMARY FOR PRESIDENT?
AQUARIUS: Without a doubt. PISCES: Ask again later. ARIES: Better not tell you now. TAURUS: Most likely. GEMINI: Don't count on it. CANCER: Without a doubt. LEO: As I see it, yes. VIRGO: Reply hazy, try again. LIBRA: Outlook good. SCORPIO: Most likely. SAGITTARIUS: Very doubtful. CAPRICORN: My reply is no.