Turkeys in favor of Thanksgiving: Why the culture war works for the right.

After the failure of the Federal Marriage Amendment, it is clear to most people that the so called "culture war" is no more that Republican pandering. They don't really care about gay marriage, or abortion, school prayer, or any of the other "hot button" issues. They just want to keep the issues hot for the voters.

Thomas Frank famously noted this in "What's the Matter With Kansas." So have plenty of other liberal commentators including E.J. Dionne.

However, "social conservatives" don't seem to either believe the obvious or they don't care about it.

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Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC) is in trouble

SC Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC) has not been a very effective Governor, to put it mildly. The highlights of his four years in office have constant conflict with the General Assembly (which is also Republican controlled) multiple overridden vetoes, a constant decline in the state's economy, leading to one of the nations highest unemployment rates, and a crusade bent on destroying the state's already woefully underfunded public education system.

His accomplishments have included being "honored" as one of the nation's worst Governors by Time magazine (along with such dubious company as Bob Taft and Kathleen Blanco) and getting covered with pig shit in the lobby of the State House.

However, there are indications that Mark Sanford's days as Governor may be numbered.

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Apples and Oranges, and free trade

I am very discouraged to see so many progressives opposing free trade. However, I can see why. Many recent free trade pacts have not been beneficial to either country. That being said, protectionism is not the answer.

Truly free trade works. Each side gets more goods and services for less effort, otherwise there would be no trading, free or otherwise.

However, many of the so-called "free trade" policies are not free trade at all and do not benefit anyone other than the large multinational corporations at the expense of the citizens of both nations.

An example of what is right about free trade and how it can go terribly wrong is in the extended entry.

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Failure of leadership.

The crisis in New Orleans is a classic example of a complete failure of leadership. There are no other words to describe it. While he is not responsible for every problem in the Gulf, I place blame for this failure right at President Bush's doorstep.

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Conservativism vs. Liberalism

It is no suprise that the United States has become more politically and ideologically polarized over the past few years. The middle is shrinking, political discourse has continued to disintegrate, and the idea of a common good is dying.

The reason for this is that conservatives and liberals have a very different philosophy of government and laws. Quite simply, both sides are talking past each other.

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Rethinking the abortion debate.

With the nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court, there has been a considerable amount of discussion about the abortion issue.

I have talked with a considerable number of people on both sides of the debate, and have come to the conclusion that the traditional "pro-life"/"pro-choice" dichotomy is very misleading when it comes to characterizing people's attitudes and agendas when it comes to abortion.

The problem is that this mischaracterization of the debate and the issues at stake gives a considerable advantage to the Republican Party and a considerable disadvantage to the Democratic Party.

More after the bump.

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Virginity or death!

I usually don't agree with much of what The Nation's Katha Pollitt writes, but this article was quite simply jaw dropping.

Imagine a vaccine that would protect women from a serious gynecological cancer. Wouldn't that be great? Well, both Merck and GlaxoSmithKline recently announced that they have conducted successful trials of vaccines that protect against the human papilloma virus. HPV is not only an incredibly widespread sexually transmitted infection but is responsible for at least 70 percent of cases of cervical cancer, which is diagnosed in 10,000 American women a year and kills 4,000. Wonderful, you are probably thinking, all we need to do is vaccinate girls (and boys too for good measure) before they become sexually active, around puberty, and HPV--and, in thirty or forty years, seven in ten cases of cervical cancer--goes poof. Not so fast: We're living in God's country now. The Christian right doesn't like the sound of this vaccine at all. "Giving the HPV vaccine to young women could be potentially harmful," Bridget Maher of the Family Research Council told the British magazine New Scientist, "because they may see it as a license to engage in premarital sex."

You can read the rest at http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20050530&s=pollitt

Continued in the extended entry...

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Social Security - can't we do better?

As much as I have seen posted on the need to "save Social Security", I've started to wonder if we can do better...

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Fake peace rallies, and other conservative hijinks

When I got the e-mail from a friend saying there was a peace rally at Clemson University THIS Saturday, I was a bit suspicious. I was even more suspicious when I didn't see any flyers posted on campus or displayed in the usual places. Turns out I had good reason to be...

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The Conservative Worldview

I recently got our local right-wing rag delivered to my house the other day. I read the articles, even though I disagreed with a large part of what they said.

In doing so, I came to the conclusion that it seems like too many on the left do not understand the conservative "worldview", especially that of evangelicals or "religious conservatives", especially of those living in the "red states".

Simply put, the conservative worldview is simple, orderly, highly structured, and mostly logical. It's just not based in reality.

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Diaries

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