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My First Daily Beacon Column [Feb. 8th, 2007|06:10 pm]

My column debuted in last Monday's edition of the Daily Beacon, and will be appearing biweekly on Mondays. Enjoy!

Blanket Group Labels Inaccurate

Wow, it’s finally here! I would like to begin my first column with a word of thanks to the Beacon staff for giving the old guy a place to share a few thoughts and random ramblings. I hope that the twenty years that I have been a part of the UT community, both as an employee and as a student, have given me some unique perspectives that will provide you with a little food for thought.

I will start with a caveat: If you have an aversion to those right-wing religious fanatics who shove the Bible down people’s throats, then it’s only fair to warn you that I’m one of them. Okay, so that may be a bit of a stretch. While it is true that my political views generally lean right-of-center, I am not a blind partisan. You can be assured that I will not simply be regurgitating Rush Limbaugh’s latest talking points. And no, I won’t really shove a Bible down your throat.

Generally speaking, Evangelical Christians are not just a group of mind-numbed robots that blindly do the bidding of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. We have lives. We have hopes, dreams, joys and sorrows just like all other human beings. And contrary to popular belief, we do know how to think for ourselves. For example, try asking a group of Evangelicals about their opinion on the Iraq war, how to fix the economy or what to do about global warming. You might be pleasantly surprised at the diversity of opinion you would get in response!

My faith will be reflected in my writing, and I make no apologies for that. However, that does not mean that I will simply be giving you a theological treatise every time. To paraphrase T-Bone Burnett, sometimes you write about the Light, and other times you write about what the Light enables you to see. Often, following that Light puts you into categories that defy classification.

This is especially true in regards to politics. For all of the passion and animosity they provoke, "conservative" and "liberal" are actually very ambiguous terms. If you call yourself a conservative, exactly what is it you want to conserve? Historically, it has represented the desire to preserve positive things such as tradition, morality and patriotism. Unfortunately, it has also been used to defend atrocities such as racism, anti-intellectualism and blind allegiance to the status quo.

Similarly, the word "liberalism" bears the undertone of compassion and generosity, which obviously, are wonderful things. Yet even these noble motives can go horribly astray if they are not kept in proper perspective. In his book How I Accidentally Joined the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy (and Found Inner Peace), journalist Harry Stein sums it up well:
"I, for one, can respect serious souls who continue to believe that liberalism remains the road to an honorable and humane future. But a lot of contemporary liberal dogma is not so much forward looking as based on contempt for the past, including what many of us see as our best traditions and most essential values…”

For these reasons, many Americans (myself included) are finding it more and more difficult to fit in with organized political parties. In several states, voters have been registering as independents almost as often as they have registered as Republicans or Democrats. Perhaps more than ever, the U.S may be positioning for a major paradigm shift in which individual conscience will finally be more important than party labels.

As we sort through these issues, I do not claim that I will be totally objective (no one is), or that I will be an unbiased observer (this is the opinion page, after all). But I do pledge that I will always respect your intelligence, and that I will keep this column free from sensationalism and personal attacks. Honest, thoughtful dialogue is becoming a lost art in today’s world, and if I can make some small contributions to help remedy that, then my work will have been worthwhile. In the meantime, let’s enjoy the journey together!

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(no subject) [Nov. 14th, 2006|07:26 am]

Outrage as Church backs calls for severely disabled babies to be killed at birth
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Comcast news article Ms Magazine [Oct. 3rd, 2006|04:11 pm]

I've not liked this one since I first heard of it.

Crossposted several places


(I don't know what the tag is to make a word link thing)
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5 Fla. Clinics Blocked From Performing Abortions, Doctor Suspended [Aug. 17th, 2006|11:18 pm]

Thursday, August 17, 2006
Associated Press

MIAMI — State agencies have accused a doctor of failing to follow proper procedures in two late-term abortions, suspended his license and blocked his five clinics from performing abortions.

Dr. James Pendergraft denies the accusations and plans to appeal the order. Spokeswoman Marti Mackenzie said he was "the target of government agencies determined to limit the access of Florida women to safe and legal late-term abortions."

The emergency license suspension order filed last week by the Health Department said that Pendergraf prescribed drugs without appropriate authorization in two third-trimester abortions he performed in 2004 and 2005.

The suspension means Pendergraft cannot practice medicine until his case is reviewed by the state medical board.

The Agency for Health Care Administration barred new patients from obtaining abortions at clinics that Pendergraft partially owns in Orlando, Ocala, Tampa and Fort Lauderdale, according to agency documents.

The restrictions on the two Orlando clinics are indefinite; the others are to last until at least Wednesday, agency spokeswoman Brandi Brown said.

The 12-page suspension order said Pendergraft failed to obtain a required second opinion when performing a third-trimester abortion on a woman identified only as R.W. That procedure was also not performed at a hospital, as is required, the order said.

Full article
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Ed Bryant for U.S. Senate [Jul. 23rd, 2006|02:31 am]

Yesterday morning I took advantages our my county's early voting opportunities and cast my vote to replace the all-important senate seat being vacated by Majority Leader Bill Frist. After much consideration, I have cast my support behind former Rep. Ed Bryant.

After listening carefully to all three GOP candidates (Bryant, former Rep. Van Hilleary and former Chatanooga mayor Bob Corker) I am convinced that all three are quality candidates and that any of them would make a fine Senator. However, I came to my decision based on a process of elimination particularly after watching a recent telivised debate.

Mr. Corker (the front runner) seems to be a good man and has ran a (mostly) positive, issue centered campaign that is actually quite refreshing in the current cutthroat political climate. In his TV ads, he strongly asserts that he is pro life and a committed conservative. Unfortunately, this has not always been the case. When he previously ran for the Senate in 1994, he espoused some outspokenly pro-choice views. Now I certainly believe that it is possible to have a genuine change of heart and I sincerely hope that Mr. Corker has done so. However, I am still more comfortable supporting a candidate with a proven record on issues I care most about.

In contrast, Mr. Hilleary has always been a solid conservative and has a very admirable military record. He was a strong leader in the U.S. House before he resigned from his seat to run for Governor in 2002. Unfortunately, I did not feel he ran a very effective campaign in that race, which he lost to current Gov. Phil Bredesen. His team largely ignored the largely Republican east Tennessee, which had serious consequences. He also did not perform very well in the debate I watched. Considering he would be facing Harold Ford, who is a very articulate speaker and one of the Democratic periy's brightes young stars, I am concerned that Mr. Hilleary would not be the candidate best equipped for such a battle.

Ed Bryant is a proven conservative leader who articulates his principles strongly and convincingly. Having taught law at West Point, he would have a unique perspective on military issues. He has stood unwaveringly for the right to life and other values oriented issues. This is why, of the three, I believe that Mr. Bryant offers the best choice to represent Tennessee in the Senate, and I would encourage my fellow tennesseans to give him your careful consideration.

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Yale University Under Investigation for Mismanaging Stem Cell Research Grants [Jul. 5th, 2006|04:02 pm]

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
July 5, 2006

New Haven, CT (LifeNews.com) -- Yale University has come under
federal investigation for apparently mismanaging federal stem
cell research grants. The Ivy League university is accused of
possible expense padding to obtain more funds that it deserved
for the research.

The Defense Department, the National Science Foundation and the
Department of Health and Human Services have requested 10 years
worth of financial documents related to grants the educational
institution has received.

Yale University president Richard Levin said faculty and staff
members have been told to give "top priority" to the federal
government's requests for information for its probe.

"Regardless of the outcome of the current investigation, we must
get all our processes right and make sure that we are good
stewards of the funds entrusted to us by the federal government,"
Levin told the Wall St. Journal.

The Journal reported that both Yale and government officials
would not say why the Pentagon is involved in the investigation.
Yale received subpoenas for the grant documents last week.

Federal authorities have already interviewed numerous Yale
employees involved with grant management, Levin said Friday in an
email to faculty and staff.
Full article
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Political Musings [Mar. 24th, 2006|04:42 pm]

Although its still early in the political season, I'm starting to emerge from my self-appointed exile and see how things are taking shape. My home state of Tennessee recently had a meeting of likely Presidential candidates, including our own Senator Bill Frist. Aside from some recent ethical allegations (which I am reserving judgment on until I know more) I think Frist has represented our state quite well overall. Although I hate to see him leave the Senate, I am a strong supporter of term limits and I am glad to see he is keeping his word to only serve two terms. He will likely be a strong contender in the Presidential primaries, but I am concerned that his status as Majority Leader could put the "insider" albatross around his neck and hurt him in the long run.

Personally, I have been impressed with what I have heard from Sen. Allen of Virginia. Although he is a long shot, I have to say that he is the candidate I am leaning toward supporting at this point. Among the other candidates, John McCain will obviously be a formidable presence. In my opinion, he gave one of the best speeches of the last GOP convention. I have to say, though, that I am not comfortable with him. The rather insulting remarks he made about Christian voters in the last election alienated a lot of potential supporters, myself included.

Another contender is Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Photogenic, personable and articulate, Gov. Romney hit the national scene after giving Ted Kennedy a serious challenge in the GOP Revolution of 1994. In 2003, he and two of his sons also saved a family from drowning in Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. Although it is refreshing to see a Massachusetts politician who actually SAVES people from drowning, Romney's pro-abortion views make him an unacceptable choice for me, and will cost him greatly among conservatiive primary voters.

In the Senate race to replace Frist, I have 90% decided to support Ed Bryant. I have nothing against Van Hileary and I would not have a problem supporting him if he gets the nomination. I just don't think he ran a very effective campaign when he lost his bid for Governor in 2002.

Anyway, I guess thats enough punditry for the moment. Have a great weekend!

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One year ago today a slow painful murder began [Mar. 18th, 2006|10:56 pm]

[mood |sadsad]

One year ago today The murder of Terri Schiavo began

Terri's feeding tube was removed one year ago today

“If we ever cease to be one nation under God, we will be a nation gone under” - Ronald Reagan
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Add Holland to the axis of evil! [Mar. 14th, 2006|10:09 am]

Holland has now legalized the active killing of disabled kids I'm not tslking about just witholding life support here this is ACTIVELY murdering disabled babies and kids . the law takes effect this week

Scumball murdering ASSHOLES!
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(no subject) [Mar. 9th, 2006|08:17 am]

Help stop Planned Parenthood tax fundingCollapse )
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