I’m Voting for Chafee

I missed his voice of conscience in the Senate, where he was the only Republican to vote against the use of force in Iraq– one of the few who had the political courage to stand against a war of choice that still takes the lives of American soldiers and Iraqui civilians. He served a term as mayor of Warwick, and did a decent job. And it’s a good idea to have an independent voice.

And today, there’s this…

Obama is scheduled to visit Rhode Island on Monday, but according to The Providence Journal, won’t be endorsing anyone.
Fellow Democrat Frank Caprio tells WPRO-AM that Obama can “take his endorsement and shove it.”

Chafee has not run the best campaign, and I’ve been frustrated about that, because I think he’s the best candidate. Caprio’s temper tantrum on the air looks bad for him and doesn’t reflect well on the state.

I first saw this story on Salon. We’re national again, and it’s not even Chris Young this time. Rhode Island’s Future has more…

Caprio was referring to a news report in this morning’s Providence Journal that says that during President Obama’s campaign visit to the State today Caprio will not be receiving the endorsement of the President. Caprio went on to tell Depetro that Obama treats Rhode Island “like an ATM machine” and was critical of Mr. Obama’s decision not to visit the State during the flooding on 2009, comparing his disfavorably to Republican President George Bush, who is Caprio’s eyes, at least did a “fly over” after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005.

re: Rhode Island’s Katrina– I didn’t recall anyone dying in the floods last spring, forgive me if I’m wrong on that. It was certainly severe for the areas that got the worst of it.
Rhode Island got $111 million in federal aid–

Would a visit by the president have pumped out the basements faster?

Oh God, it’s even on CNN.

You won’t see many links to Anchor Rising on this site, but here’s a post about a rumored approach to the GOP by Caprio’s campaign early this year.

Job’s Friends and Pat Robertson

Every so often I visit a house or apartment and forget to ask the patient to turn off their TV. The 24-hour news is so ubiquitous it becomes a kind of white noise. There’s a lot of Fox out there, and I usually don’t pay it any attention. But once in a while something slips through so biased and outrageous that I turn around–it’s CBN.

Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network has simulated news programs that look like the real thing. Being accountable only to God, as Pat channels Him, they have no journalistic standards to worry about. Like our former president, they are fond of uniforms they never earned, and use the format of network news to pass themselves off as having a connection with reality.

Pat Robertson would be a harmless crank except for his media empire, vast fortune and political connections with former presidents and anyone who wants the hearts and votes of the religious right. Everything he publishes on his network is ‘religiously correct’ and filtered through his own self-serving take on the Bible. When he uncorks something really nasty the internet loves it and it travels at the speed of snark.

So I won’t quote him here, just to say that in the Book of Job, the lowest moment of Job’s suffering came when his friends visited him and told him that he must have done something really awful to be smited by God that way. ‘Repent’ they smugly exhorted.

In more recent times, the Americans caught in the devastation of Hurricane Katrina waited long, longer than they should have, while the TV networks painted them as vandals and insurgents. Will the Red Cross enter Haiti to give aid sooner than they did New Orleans? Possibly. False rumors cost lives.

Rush Limbaugh is trying to find a reason to blame President Obama for the earthquake and stake out a patch of ground where his fans can feel superior for not caring. Haiti has suffered much and the faint of heart need to assure themselves that it couldn’t happen here. There are tremors in California, but they are all libertines out there anyway, and God probably plans to off them soon.

The great advantage of being ‘faith-based’ is that you can invoke the supernatural to explain natural events. If the God of Earthquakes is out there crushing schools and homes and hospitals it’s so reassuring to know that he thinks you’re special. Like Job’s friends, take someone’s misfortune as proof they deserved it. Very Old Testament, and even in Old Testament times they saw through it. Jesus didn’t care for that kind of thing either. Pat Robertson, if you find you are afflicted with hemmorhoids don’t say the Bible didn’t warn you.

OKAY: If you have to see it, Nomi will link you to Pharyngula, with the Robertson quotes and many passionate comments.

I ALWAYS UNDERESTIMATE THEM: Washington Monthly says that Robertson tells his story about the Haitians being cursed as a lead-in to solicitations for his own charity. Would you trust ‘Job’s friends’ in a disaster?

BUT BLOGGING AIN’T ENOUGH: Feministe has a list of links to aid organizations and charities with good reputations and solid track records of using the money to help those who need it. I just used it myself for Doctors Without Borders and it didn’t hurt a bit.

UPDATE: According to Daily Kos, God and Jesus are boycotting the 700 Club. God is denying Robertson’s claims that they are in constant contact. So who are you gonna believe?

Jesus and the Devil down in New Orleans

There was nothing much left on the street but the bar. It was empty except for the Devil, who was able to make the place seem too small just by being there. He was wearing a cheap suit and drinking Caribbean rum — one of his favorites from the old days. He sprawled across his chair and orated across the room to the bartender.

“I got the best job.” he bragged, “I hardly have to do anything, I just go with the flow.”

“Some people say you’re pretty busy here.” the bartender said, pushing up her beehive hair.

“I’m never busy,” the Devil smirked, “I work smart, I have a system. Like this levee breach, once you have the system in place, the results are guaranteed. I just get people to look at the short-term gain.”

The bartender stared at him blankly.

“The short-term gain, Nola,” he laughed. “No new taxes! That’s one of my favorites. We just move some funds from line item A to line item B on the state budget and everyone’s happy. No one’s thinking about the levees, they’re thinking about how their politicians are stealing their tax money — and you bet, the politicians are on the take, I’ve got that covered too. I was there when the Army Corps of Engineers were doing it fast and cheap. I’ve got my guys in the Federal bureaucracy, timid and career-minded. They don’t want to be Chicken Little. I got so much mileage out of greed and denial I hardly even had to play the race card till after Katrina. Then I spread those lies about gangs of rampaging Negroes with guns and the reporters fell for it. The friggin’ Red Cross wouldn’t even go in. What a laugh– they go into Lebanon and Bosnia, but they were scared away from New Orleans when little old ladies were dying in their wheelchairs. The race card is my ace, it never fails.”

Right then, the door opened by itself, and a moment later Jesus walked in.

“What up, bro?” called the Devil, trying to sound Black. It sounded weird coming from him, because he was wearing the aspect of Jerry Falwell.

Jesus sat down next to the Devil. “The usual, Nola,” he said in a voice like violins. The bartender brought him a bottle of Fiji water.

“I love that stuff,” said the Devil, “It’s seriously underpriced when you consider the carbon footprint. Plastic bottle, transport, waste disposal, and those poor Fijians who ain’t got no water now. What a bargain!”

“I appreciate quality.” said Jesus meekly. He passed his hand over his glass and the water turned red as blood.

“Folks giving you credit for all this.” the Devil said, waving his hand at the window where boarded storefronts and weedy lots baked in the sun. “They say you sent Katrina because you don’t like sin.”

“Hey, I took a loss like everyone else.” Jesus said. “I had a church on every block, almost as many churches as you have bars. Anyway, I’m not a weather god, and even if I was, the hurricane didn’t do all this damage. It was the levees.”

The Devil smiled modestly. “You have to know how to work with human nature. Keep them focused on the short-term gain. Invite them to cut corners, steal a little when no one’s looking. I got to give you some of the credit too, keeping their eyes on the hereafter. If they built something for themselves instead of sending their money to our televangelists they might have had some clout. They might have got those levees fixed before the storm. They might have had some buses to take the old people out. But I’m working on a new trick for the race card. Listen to this…”

The Devil sat up straight and deepened his voice, just like a talk-show host. He sounded righteously indignant. “We gave billions of our tax dollars to these people and what good did it do? Murders are up, trash in the streets, they’re chronic, you can’t help them.”

Jesus looked pained. “You know that most of those billions are going to your friends in Washington, or tied up in red tape.”

“Yeah, pretty slick, huh?” chuckled the Devil.

A shadow passed across the door and a small dusty man walked in. He stood waiting for the bartender to notice him. “Nola, cherie, can I have a glass of water?”

“You ever going to buy a drink here, Least?”

Least smiled, a little embarrassed. Nola turned her back on him, and then turned around with a big glass of water with ice and a straw. As Least reached for the glass Jesus and the Devil vanished in a puff of cigar smoke and a whiff of dead carnations. It was as if they had never been.

“How’s the house coming, Least?”

“Got the windows in, Nola, in time for the rain. We’re still in the trailer but it’s getting there. Little by little, shovel by shovel, cherie, step by step we’re coming home.”