Tuesday, August 31, 2004

School? Yikes.

Campus Life

Okay, not really any political ramblings here (yet). I'm more interested in school things at the moment. It's really early on day 7 of classes so far. Yet, I have to wonder . . . why do I feel so overwhelmed already? I mean, I know I'm taking the hardest classes required by my major, yet why should I feel this way already? Am I simply freaking out over nothing? Is this all a bad omen for the semester to come? Will I be sane by the end of the year?

So, apparently, as I mull over my post-graduation plans, doing grad. school at ISU is a possibility. At least, a highly recommended possibility, though more opinions would be worth getting. I just wonder, though . . . do I want to stay at ISU? Are the relationships I've made here worth taking advantage of for grad. school? And what about outside of that? Do I want to maintain the community I have found myself in? Do I want to hold onto the friends I have made?

Speaking of friends, the people here never cease to amaze me. Yesterday was day 2 of having my . . . facial anomaly (if you know, you know, and if you don't, just take a look at me). The surprise for me was that nobody said a single word about it! Is this just because they were feeling polite and didn't want to bring it up, or is it because self-interest blinded their eyes? Several people asked me how my weekend was, and when I replied, "Long," I received responses of, "Oh, I'm sorry, anyways . . ." or "Me too! First I had to . . . " Yeesh. Not that I'm looking for a pity party here or anything, but I think I'm more bothered by people not asking than by their asking.

Okay, on to the news.

GOP Convention

Oh, how I wish I had a television. Alas. All I can do is surf the internet in search of people's thoughts on this thing. Oh well. It looks like the convention has been interesting so far. I'm glad to hear that the "moderate" republicans are remembering that they are, indeed, republicans.

Relics of Barbarism

An interesting parallel the authors draw here. While I see a valid connection, I wonder if anyone else disagrees with his assessment? If you do, care to explain why? (I'm taking an ethics class right now, I need the practice!)

Pressure Cooker Theory

Heh, okay, so normally I wouldn't post this, as I don't think it adds much to the current debate, but the last line was so funny I just couldn't resist. "What if Bush is reelected? If they lose to him again, Democrats will need more than just consolation. They'll need therapy."

Hypocrisy and the 527's

This has me more than a little miffed. What happened to free speech? John Kerry has relied so heavily on these PAC groups for months, and now one comes along that is actually going against him, and suddenly these groups are unconstitutional, evil, and must disappear? Actually, just the one: Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

To make matters worse, President Bush has called for all 527 groups to keep out of the race. While I understand this as a purely political move, I still find it inappropriate. John Kerry's behavior much worse; he would have everyone condemn SBVT as liars and criminals without offering anything to disprove them. And where is the slander lawsuit if they are such liars?

Something I read elsewhere (sorry, no link), though I haven't been able to verify it anywhere else, is that President Bush has entered a lawsuit with John McCain against SBVT to get them to pull their ads off the air. If this is true, I can only express my shame at the President. I thought this was America, land of free speech? Urgh. Not that I won't be voting for him, as I don't see this as a huge deal breaker and it is unconfirmed yet, but he still should not do so. The Vietnam quagmire Kerry has found himself in, thanks in large part to SBVT, has helped the President tremendously in the polls. And while the group has said that it is, contrary to what the Democrats say, notBush's cronies and therefore won't take their ads off the air just because he says so, Bush should be thanking them with everything he has!

Well, that's it for now. Watch the convention everybody!


Monday, August 23, 2004

The summer hiatus is over

Back for more!

Wow, I can't believe how long it's been since I posted last. I guess the post-Japan period of my summer left me disinclined to share my thoughts on the world. Never mind the crummy dial-up connection at home. No matter. There's too much to talk about that happened over the summer, but I suppose I can just get right in to talking about some current issues. Nothing exciting is happening in my own life, and the news just doesn't have much non-political things that are exciting, but we'll see what we can come up with, okay?

Tax cuts favor who?

Many people don't know much about this, but I consider this big. One of the big complaints against Bush's tax cut is that it only favors the wealthy, the middle class is being hurt, and so on. These numbers, given by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, paint a much different picture.

Apparently, after the tax cut (which offered refunds on overpayments, e.g. you get back according to what you paid in), the people who earn $100k+ pay a larger percentage of the taxes than before. Interesting. Continuing along, it seems that some of the lowest income earners, who receive money from the government at tax time, now receive even more money. Why does this not seem as sinister as what people made it out to be before?

John Kerry and Vietnam

Here's the next bit of political fun. Personally, it doesn't matter to me what Kerry did in Vietnam, though it is telling of him if he earned awards which he didn't deserve because he lied about it. I guess by making his service in Vietnam such a centerpiece of his candidacy, he deserves whatever scrutiny he's receiving, and if we're finding out he's not as heroic as he made himself out to be, then it's his own stupid fault.

However, I agree with the author here: Kerry's post-war behavior is far more important, especially his senate voting record. Kerry claimed Vietnam was filled with American war criminals, and now comes around saying how proud he is of his fellow veterans? Kerry says he will be strong on national security, yet has consistently voted down every effort to improve the military? That just doesn't sound trustworthy to me. It just seems wrong, somehow. But whatever. Kerry's records, Vietname and Senate aside, Bush has called for the debate on the candidates to be about what they will do, not what they have done. I'll get more into that in the future.

Communion Denied

This I find absolutely ridiculous. The communion is not valid if it is not wheat based? How legalistic! Where does that even come from? Wheat as we know it was unheard of in Jerusalem in the time of Jesus. The bread he used was most likely barley.

The issues go beyond that, though. If the content of the host is so important, what about all of those churches in Africa? Many don't have access to wheat bread and grape wine, and make do with whatever substitute they can. Are their communions invalid too? What if the manufacturer made a mistake the diocese isn't aware of? What if the bread is stale or the wine has soured? How many priests world-wide, every day, "consecrate the host" and inadvertantly deprive the faithful of "the body and blood of Christ"?

I think it gets worse than that, though. This little girl cannot take communion, period. How is this different from excommunicating her? I mean, Catholics who are in sin or disagreement with the church are told not to partake. Non-Catholics are not allowed to partake. How is this any different? And didn't Jesus say that unless one partook of his body and blood, they had no life in them? In the Catholic sense, Jesus is denied her, but if this is followed to its logical conclusion, does this little girl have any hope of salvation in the eyes of the Catholic Church?

Y'know, the real ironic thing is that the Catholic Church can't come to a consensus whether or not John Kerry can receive communion.

All right, that's enough out of me for today. Hopefully, I shall have frequent updates again (now that my internet connection is back in the modern age), so if you're actually still reading my blog, stay tuned!