Saturday, March 14, 2009

not-god's hypocrites

It says a lot about Jim Wallis, who has the audacity to call his blog by the misnomer "God's Politlcs", to see whom he honors, and whom he attacks.

This passed week, he attacked Rush Limbaugh.

I Hope Rush Limbaugh Fails

And he does so in personal ways.

I have two boys, a five-year-old and a 10-year-old. And Rush Limbaugh ranks as one of the worst role models in the country for mine and other people’s kids. As a Little League baseball coach, I spend my time teaching my players values that are the direct opposite of the values of Rush Limbaugh—like respect for each other and other people, like helping each other out when somebody needs help, like lifting somebody up when they’re down, treating our opponents the way we would like to be treated, and knowing that there is more to life than “winning.” Rush Limbaugh is an almost perfect anti-role model for a Little League baseball coach.

Yep, as a Christian and even a Little League baseball coach, I hope that Rush Limbaugh and the world of values he stands for will fail. Limbaugh does not represent the vast majority of Republicans, and I don’t know any conservative parents that would hold up Rush as a role model for their children. The president shouldn’t waste his valuable time in debating Limbaugh. But I would like to make that offer. Hey Rush, I’ll debate you about the kind of country and world we want—especially for our kids. Bring it on!

Last year, he had this to say about someone else.

The Lion of the Senate

The nation got a shock this week. Edward Kennedy, the lion who has been in the U.S. Senate for nearly 50 years, was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. I know Ted Kennedy and his wife, Vicki, and have enjoyed personal conversations with them on a number of occasions over a wide range of issues, including the application of Christian faith to public life. I’ve found them both to be serious Catholics. And I have worked with Sen. Kennedy on a variety of issues, including legislation for a long-delayed increase in the minimum wage and for comprehensive immigration reform.
This genuine and generous outpouring of love and concern for Sen. Kennedy proves a very important thing. It shows that one can be an advocate, a passionate and relentless champion for clear and controversial causes and yet still be a bridge-builder, a reconciler, and a seeker of common ground. The conventional wisdom says you must be one or the other, an advocate or a bridge-builder, but never both. Ted Kennedy, once again, proves the conventional wisdom wrong. It is because he is a lawmaker who genuinely wants to get things done, to find real and concrete solutions — especially for people who really need them. Kennedy is known as a senator who truly wants to be effective and not just right, as so many others, on both sides of the aisle, are too often content to be.

Here is the kind of person Wallis thinks so highly of. Emphases mine.

Ted Kennedy

While still in law school, Kennedy met Virginia Joan Bennett, known as Joan, while delivering a speech at Manhattanville College in October 1957.[15] She was a senior there, had worked as a model and won beauty contests, but was unfamiliar with the world of politics.[15] After their engagement she grew nervous about marrying someone she did not know that well, but his father insisted the wedding not be put off.[15] They were married by Francis Cardinal Spellman on November 29, 1958, in Bronxville, New York.[2][7] They had three children together: Kara Anne (born February 27, 1960), Edward Jr. (born September 26, 1961), and Patrick (born July 14, 1967). By the mid-1960s, their marriage was troubled by his womanizing and her growing alcoholism.[16] They would divorce in 1982.

On the night of July 18, 1969, Kennedy was on Chappaquiddick Island at a party for the "Boiler Room Girls", a group of young women who had worked on his brother Robert's presidential campaign the year before.[35] Leaving the party, Kennedy was driving a 1967 Oldsmobile Delmont 88 with one of the women, 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne, as his passenger, when Kennedy drove off Dike Bridge into Poucha Pond between Chappaquiddick Island and Cape Poge barrier beach. Kennedy escaped the overturned vehicle and swam to safety, but Kopechne died in the car. Kennedy left the scene and did not call authorities until after Kopechne's body was discovered the following day.

On July 25, Kennedy pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and was given a sentence of two months in jail, suspended.[35] That night, Kennedy gave a national broadcast in which he said, "I regard as indefensible the fact that I did not report the accident to the police immediately," but denied driving under the influence of alcohol and denied any immoral conduct between him and Kopechne.[35] Kennedy asked the Massachusetts electorate whether he should stay in office, and after getting a favorable response, he did

Various interest groups have given Kennedy scores or grades as to how well his votes align with the positions of each group.[104] The American Civil Liberties Union gives him an 84 percent lifetime score as of 2009.[105] During the 1990s and 2000s, NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood typically gave Kennedy ratings of 100 percent, while the National Right to Life Committee typically gave him a rating of less than 10 percent.[104] The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence gave Kennedy a lifetime rating of 100 percent through 2002, while National Rifle Association gave Kennedy a lifetime grade of 'F' (failing) as of 2006.[104]

Perhaps this explains Wallis' infatuation with an other distasteful person--he supports all the right (read: left) things--abortion, gay marriage, socialistic health care and economic policies, the disarming of the American people. All that hides the womanizing, the morally repugnant positions, and so on.

I would much rather children gain a respect for Limbaugh then for Kennedy. Yes, Rush's life has been far from perfect, but at least he has stood for what is right. Kennedy isn't even close.

Monday, March 9, 2009

movie review--watchmen

"Watchmen" is a long movie. It's a serious movie. There are occasional chuckles, but few laughs. It tries to deal with some rather serious matters. It has it's moments, and even has a couple of characters I rather respected.

But in the end, it's essentially an empty movie with an empty and depressing story whose moral is essentially a variation on "The enemy of my enemy is my friend".

It's set in some kind of alternate history, which I guess most comic books are. In "Watchmen", the famous photo of a soldier kissing a nurse in a victory celebration is turned into a lesbian kiss. The US wins the Vietnam War, though one wonders if that was a good thing. Nixon has somehow redone the Constitution so that he could be elected President for well passed the 2-term limit.

And costumed heroes have been outlawed for several years.

Probably the character the movie focuses most on is Rorschach, a 'crime noir' type of man who wears a mask that has ink blots on it that constantly shift, I don't recall really being told how or even why he chose that name and gimmick. He's street-wise, hard as nails, and while probably the weakest of the lot in terms of physical strength, tech gimmicks, or powers, he's probably also the one with the strongest character. Much of the movie is shown as entries to his journal, so is also told largely from his perspective. Comparisons to the Batman in the last two movies is almost unavoidable, considering that the actor uses much the same kind of husky gruff voice that Bale uses when in costume as Batman, but a better comparison may be with the Punisher or Wolverine.

Second in emphasis would be Dr. Manhattan. While Rorschach is a mostly normal man with a hefty amount of cynicism and rage, Manhattan is a man transformed in a scientific accident into a blue being, essentially manshaped, with powers of material manipulation, abilities to see his past and future, transportation, and others I think. Some in the movie seem to see him as a god-like being. His demeanor is calm, only once in the movie does he 'lose it'.

Although he's killed in the first few minutes, the Comedian haunts the movie by his death and by the things he did in life. I don't think it would be unfair to characterize him as a 'hero' in name only. He's at least as cynical as Rorschach but without the core of decency.

NIght Owl and Silk Spectre are kind of there to provide sexual tension, and of course the obligatory sex scene. Throw in the world' smartest man, a former hero who's gone corporate and then gone mad scientist, and that about round's out the main players.

One issue I had was with the sex and nudity. The scene with NO and SS doesn't skimp on the footage, and there are several scenes showing Manhattan's business (if you know what I mean).

The other issue I had was with the ending. It does recall "The Dark Knight", where someone blameless takes the rap for the real criminal because of some kind 'greater good'. It goes further, though, when one of them is killed so that he would not be able to tell the truth (though the movie ends with the impression that he had crossed them up on that front).

And that is one of the reason the movie ends on an empty and depressing note, because the 'peace' at the end of the movie is based on lies and manipulations, and when that is realized, nothing good can come from that. The illusion of world peace, based on the existence of a supposed common enemy, will not last.

Because the core issues have not been dealt with. The one 'hero', the smart corporate mad scientist, thinks that it's resources, particularly fuel, that is cause of wars, and that if he and Manhattan can solve the problem of energy, then the world will be a happy-go-lucky place. How that explains wars before cars, I don't know.

And the solution he does come up with--blowing up several of the world's major cities, killing millions of people, and doing it in such a way that Manhattan is blamed for it--is so shallow as to be almost laughable. Nothing is truly 'fixed', no one is truly 'changed', and while for a while the superpowers may be in agreement to stop what is the greater threat, when that is passed they will eye each other again.

It's all washing the outside of the cup, and not dealing with the filth inside it.

I think I can recommend it, though just barely. It is violent, and while that didn't bug me so much, for others it may be a problem. The nudity and sex are there, and they are graphic, and they add nothing to the story. It does give some things for thought, though, so if you can handle a bit of stuff, go for it. If not, you haven't really missed much.