Archive for the 'Politics' Category

Perhaps on some level American politics has always had its share of game strategy. Maybe it's a myth that our so-called "founding fathers" set aside their own interests to form a new nation, and maybe all the key elements of the U.S. Constitution really just came from one influential leader trying to trick or embarrass a political enemy and that's the only way we actually have a freedom to assemble, for example. Seems unlikely, Even if such claims were true, we still have a major issue today with the poor quality of game being played.

Different Drummer: Dwight Eisenhower

If I had been younger when record companies began putting warning labels on albums and tapes, responding to pressure from the Parents Music Resource Center and others, I'm sure I would have responded like almost every teenager I observed while working in a record store. The "Tipper sticker" served as a beacon, telling them which albums to buy. Only very rarely did I observe this attempt at censorship (some associated with the PMRC openly hoped their approach would lead to album bans) go in the other direction, with the sticker telling "concerned parents" not to fund a purchase. It did reveal some significant ethics and intelligence lapses within the United States Senate. In that respect, the sad spectacle delivered some nominal value.

Different Drummer: Frank Zappa

Business author Jason Jennings once raised the question: what's the good business reason for doing this? It's a notion we should apply to other aspects of life. The church should mix this with "what would Jesus do?" slogans and challenge whether congregations have asked about the good Jesus reasons before taking a stand. Likewise, in the area of state secrets, our government leaders need to ask themselves tough questions before classifying documents. Making secrets out of things that either ought to be public or should not be done in the first place is abominable public policy.

Different Drummer: Edward Snowden

It is possible, from recent shows, that my tastes in music seem a bit soft. I've spoken about easy listening (The Ink Spots) and Christian music (Chris Rice) at some length lately. Truth is, my tastes vary wildly. Most people think they have a broad taste in music; typically, that means broadly within a genre. I cut both across and deep, with examples here that don't include any jazz (Anthony Braxton, for example), and at a length that had to skip things as obvious as Sepultura or Metallica and as niche as JFA (Jodie Foster's Army) and Laurie Anderson. Speaking of Anderson, here is her perspective: "So, sit bold, upright, in that straight-back chair. Button that top button. And get set for some difficult music ... ooh la ..." indeed.

Different Drummer: Henry Rollins

We may hesitate to conclude that it's an act of violence to deny that someone exists or that he or she is real.  So much damage has been done, though, by denying that people are who they say they are and their rights can be compromised as a result.  This may be a quiet violence, but it cuts to the very core of what "human" even means in the context of human rights.  Evangelical Christianity has been increasingly guilty of this during the past five decades, and I call out a podcast that I've praised in the past as a frustrating example.

Different Drummer: Harvey Milk

Human Sexuality Is Complicated

Lore of the United States' "founding fathers" is that they were brave, creative thinkers who were not afraid to discuss ideas and both learn from and break with the past to create a new vision of the future.  So why are our current leaders so frightened?  At election time, both Republican and Democrat candidates seem to be fearful about the future, their past, and anything resembling "truth."  Above all, they are afraid of independent political thought and 3rd parties -- meaning, non-RepubliCrats.

Different Drummer: Pier Paulo Pasolini

Most pro-life apologists have an issue with Judith Jarvis Thomson's position in "A Defense Of Abortion."  Of course!  They have come to opposite conclusions about one of the most divisive issues of our time.  My quarrel with a number of those apologists has nothing to do with abortion rights or the lives of unborn children.  No, my problem is with dishonesty, made worse since it comes from people who purport to stand up for "truth."

Different Drummer: Os Guinness

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