The Blasphemy Challenge

We are not alone. Two people have begun the Rational Response Squad movement to raise awareness about atheism. There are elements of this which are long overdue. They are right, that atheists are currently fair game. They do not garner the respect afforded gays, Hispanics, or even Muslims. Hell, Bush Sr. stated that he didn’t believe atheists should be citizens and certainly weren’t patriots. After all, this is one nation under God. You have to go aways to find a group so irrelevant that a campaigning politician will openly strafe them. However, in fairness, we are hardly the last minority.

I think the education of the American people that atheists are just normal people who have a different (in this case absent) view of religion is a useful step. We are not immoral anarchists. Although, I’m not sure I can really get behind The Blasphemy Challenge. It is getting attention (and that seems to be 80% of its goal), but if we are going to get respect for our view, it will not be achieved by disrespecting other religions. This is not about de-godding the theists. It’s about acceptance and respect. Or at least it should be.

Encouraging News for Trekkies

Of 1,200 adults interviewed between Jan. 24 and Jan. 26, 31.9% rated a mate met online as the worst outcome for a daughter, followed closely by someone met in a bar (22.3%) and then a Trekkie (16.1%).

Now this could be interpreted as a bit of misguided fear. Clearly most people online are as harmless as most people in bars. However, a few in both locations are dangerous enough that caution is warranted. But that aside, the good news is that Trekkies rated as the best among the worst. While hardly high praise, it means that Mom & Dad may be on your side Ensign Skippy. Now, if only their daughter would give you the time of day. Too bad she’s online with all the drunk bikers.

“Live long and prosper.”

PC vs. PC

For any of you Daily Show fans out there, you may want to get a nap in tomorrow afternoon and plan to catch Monday’s show. The guest is Bill Gates, which could be interesting, but is not really the compelling reason. The interesting part could be (or damn well should be) the use of Daily Show Correspondent John Hodgeman.

If you haven’t made the connection yet, Hodgeman plays the hapless “PC” on those Apple commercials next to the hip and happening Mac. The possibilities here just boggle the mind. Now I realize that Daily Show guests don’t usually interact with anyone other than Jon Stewart. But they gotta make an exception this time. They just gotta!

The Second Option Congress Has

The news is rife lately with talk of the non-binding resolution passed by Congress against Bush’s Iraq “Surge”. Right behind it is talk that the only other option Congress has is to curtail military funding – not incidentally, the path taken by Congress 35 years ago to get us out of Vietnam. But while 2/3 of us now oppose a troop surge, a vast percentage of us (me included) oppose having Iraq end like Vietnam did. And this is what Congress rightfully fears if they play the budget card.

So what’s a poor Congress to do? The Constitution doesn’t provide them any direct control over the military, and Bush has been pretty adamant that he is the decider and he doesn’t give a flea’s left testicle what Congress or the American people think about Iraq. He has a plan, and dammit we’re gonna follow it.

But there is a lever left unpulled. The Constitution says, “The President, Vice President, and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” Now back on December 8th, I advocated for using this lever against President Bush as a threat to get him to accede to reasonableness. I now think I was wrong. At least wrong about the target. And I also fear that the nation isn’t really ready to be quagmired by another Presidential impeachment. Whether or not it is deserved, it probably isn’t healthy.

So let’s consider recent events. To Bush’s marginal credit, he has begun to at least acknowledge that mistakes were made (not that he made any, but let’s not dwell on semantics). He has at least shown that he has a wee little bit of capacity for change. But I suspect he still suffers from the blindness of his inner circle. The fact that he only listens to this small gaggle, means that he is still subject to manipulation by them. Add in that Cheney’s remarks since the State of the Union address minimally indicate that he is not acknowledging any missteps, and depending on your interpretation, sound like they might be an outright rebuttal to the President’s own speech. There is also pretty much universal agreement that Cheney has immense (if not paramount) influence over Bush.

Maybe, instead of going after the puppet, we go after the puppet master. I am proposing that Congress impeach Cheney. There are ample targets ranging from Iraq evidence tampering, the Plame debacle, or even Cheney’s conflict of interest in Haliburton and the fact that he lied about no longer having one. Further, getting a majority of the house to sign off on this would be a slam dunk. Getting 2/3 of the Senate would be a stretch, but a more realistic one than getting that 2/3 to vote against the President. Further, I think the public would rally behind such an impeachment. Even if this effort fails to get Cheney removed from office, it may create the impetus for the President to distance himself from Cheney. If for no other reason than the fear that he would be next. Either way, lessening Cheney’s influence would go a long way toward getting Bush to listen. And it stikes me that there is very little downside to trying. I don’t think you could field a football team of people who would claim that Cheney’s a valuable national asset at this point. So this is clearly worth a try.