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15 April 2005

The President’s iPod

Maybe you saw the story this week about what the President listens to on his iPod. And the accompanying sidebar on what’s on his playlist.

You can also read some speculation about what might be on the playlist of other politicians
(this is on the L.A. Times website, which requires registration, but
just go to and they’ve got a reg already set up for
you–even better, download the extension for Firefox and automate the
bugmenot process
).  Some examples:

Karl Rove: “Under My Thumb”; “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?”

Alberto Gonzales: “Whip It”

Colin Powell: “Free Bird”

John Bolton: “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine)”

Bill Clinton: “Sexual Healing”

Al Gore: “March of the Wooden Soldiers”

Tom DeLay: “Burnin’ Down the House”

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger: “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”

In that spirit, fire up your iPod in shuffle mode and put down the first 10 songs that come up.  Here’s mine:
Ultraviolet – U2
River Rat Jimmy – Kelly Joe Phelps
You’re Gonna Change – Emmylou Harris
The Ballad of Carol Lynn – Whiskeytown
Even Better than the Real Thing – U2
The Lighthouse’s Tale – Nickel Creek
Ain’t Misbehavin’ – Fats Waller
Big Rock Candy Mountain – Harry McClintock
Poses – Rufus Wainwright
Personal Jesus – Johnny Cash

Posted in Politicks on 15 April 2005 at 10:36 am by Nate

War against Christian(ist)s!

Yes, that’s apparently what’s going on in the fight over federal court nominees.  Religious groups have mobilized to head off “the filibuster against people of faith.”

As the Senate heads toward a showdown over the rules governing
judicial confirmations, Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader, has
agreed to join a handful of prominent Christian conservatives in a
telecast portraying Democrats as “against people of faith” for blocking
President Bush’s nominees.

Fliers for the telecast, organized by the Family Research Council
and scheduled to originate at a Kentucky megachurch the evening of
April 24, call the day “Justice Sunday” and depict a young man holding
a Bible in one hand and a gavel in the other. The flier does not name
participants, but under the heading “the filibuster against people of
faith,” it reads: “The filibuster was once abused to protect racial
bias, and it is now being used against people of faith.”…

The telecast also signals an escalation of the campaign for the rule
change by Christian conservatives who see the current court battle as
the climax of a 30-year culture war, a chance to reverse decades of
legal decisions about abortion, religion in public life, gay rights and

“As the liberal, anti-Christian dogma of the left has been
repudiated in almost every recent election, the courts have become the
last great bastion for liberalism,” Tony Perkins, president of the
Family Research Council and organizer of the telecast, wrote in a
message on the group’s Web site. “For years activist courts, aided by
liberal interest groups like the A.C.L.U., have been quietly working
under the veil of the judiciary, like thieves in the night, to rob us
of our Christian heritage and our religious freedoms.”

This is ridiculous.  Where do these people get off
speaking for “Christians”?  I certainly didn’t elect them to speak
for me, but I did elect my senators, all of whom happen to be Democrats
opposing the nominees, I might add.  I’m not going to get into the
details here, but these particular nominees not only hold views so far
out of the mainstream as to be out of touch probably with the majority
of the American people but also with the constituents of the churches
we’re talking about here.  Especially once you get outside of
issues like abortion or gay marriage.

First, let’s just call these people what they are: Christianists. 
They have an extraordinarily narrow view of the world that they seek to
impose on the rest of us in the style of a theocracy.  They want
us to teach only ideas approved by their (strict, antihistorical, and
historically unknown) view of a particular religious scripture (the NIV
version of the Christian Bible).  For example, evolution shouldn’t
be taught, because it goes against the Bible (so they say).  They
want to sanction no art except what they deem as acceptable by their
religious precepts.  They argue that only one socio-economic
system accord with the revealed truth of their scripture (and that
happens to be the system that would benefit them the most,
incidentally).  They move to institute their own version of a sharia
They are intent on setting up Ayatollah Dobson and Mullah Omar-Perkins
as the supreme leaders, to pass judgement on all that is good and right
and all that is evil and deviant.  Because all things are just so.

These Christianists even twist their own sacred scritpures to the
advantage of their pursuit of power.  Above, Perkins says,
“…activist courts…have been quietly working
under the veil of the judiciary, like thieves in the night,
to rob us
of our Christian heritage and our religious freedoms.”  The phrase
“thief in the night comes from I Thessalonians 5.2, which reads, “For
you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a
thief in the night.”  Evil is not coming like a thief in the
night; God is coming like a thief in the night.  If the phrase,
for example, were used in accord with the meaning of the original text
(and I know that a Christianist would never want to add, subtract,
interpet, or change the meaning of an original text), it would imply
that all acts of judicial “activism” were part of the coming of the day
of the Lord.  Christianist Perkins changes the meaning of his scripture.

These people are liars and hypocrites, and I’d like to note what the
Christianist Scripture (the NIV Bible) says about both sets of
people.  (Don’t piss off an ex-evangelical–I quote as many
Bible verses as you can, and just as righteously, too.)

“You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your
father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to
the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his
native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies (John 8.44).” 

From Matthew 23 (a good chapter in this case, and one I recommend in full):

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut
the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor
will you let those enter who are trying to.

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You
travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes
one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are….

to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give
a tenth of your spices–mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected
the more important matters of the law–justice, mercy and faithfulness.
You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.
You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel….

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are
like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the
inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same
way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside
you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

Posted in Politicks on 15 April 2005 at 9:49 am by Nate