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April 2009

Washington Irving on the American Mind

From his Sketch Book, published in 1832:

Governed, as we are, entirely by public opinion, the utmost care should be taken to preserve the purity of the public mind.  Knowledge is power, and truth is knowledge; whoever, therefore, knowingly propogates a prejudice, wilfully saps the foundation of this country's strength.

The members of a republic, above all other men, should be candid and dispassionate.  They are, individually, portions of the sovereign mind and sovereign will, and should be enabled to come to all questions of national concern with calm and unbiassed judgments.

Arlen Specter

The most interesting thing in the news reports I heard was that 200,000 Pennyslvanians last year changed their party affiliation from Republican to Democrat.

I think that Specter's leaving the party is not simply an effect of the party sliding to the right but will also be a cause for it sliding even further.  As fewer and fewer of the national leadership with seniority are traditional Republicans, the party will slide further and further into being a marginalized, regional, extremist party.

I'm glad I left in 2003.

Precedence overrides Rules?

A ruling in the State House yesterday claimed that precedence on the floor overrides the established rules of the chamber.  Wha?

Dorman, a former member of the American Institute of Parliamentarians, said it marked the first time he is aware of that any legislative body had ruled that precedent superseded rules voted on by the members.

"Precedence outweighs any of our rules. We can't write a new rule and we can't suspend the rules," Dorman said. If a bad ruling by the presiding officer is placed into the House's book of precedents, then the chamber will forever be governed by that bad ruling, he said.

"That's insane," Dorman said.

Rock Band Pix

Thanks to Charles Martin for these images from the dinner party at his and Karen's house Sunday night, which included the playing of Rock Band.  Marty and I look like we should have been in a band together.





I've Irked the State GOP

This is funny, especially since I was a Republican for 14 years.

Yesterday I was e-mailed the new Oklahoma Republican Party Platform.  I scanned the first five pages or so, taking in their statements on the "family," which included their attacks on homosexuals.  Then I filed it away and went on with my day.

When Michael came home, he said, "Did you see we made the Republican Party Platform?"  Excitedly I ran to look again. 

And, sure enough, there on page 29:

We commend state Representatives Wright, Blackwell, Christian, Coody, Duncan, Enns, Faught, Johnson, Kern, Key, Liebmann, Moore, Murphey, Osborn, Ownbey, Reynolds, Ritze, Sanders, Terrill, and Thomsen for opposing inclusion in the House Journal, the introduction of an openly homosexual minister’s male “fiancé”.

Well, this is exciting!  A few reflections:

1)  They really took time to discuss this in their platform committee?

2)  You know, most of the GOP, including the House leadership, voted for the prayer.  So, now we've got them fighting each other over this silliness.

3)  Winning the language battle is an essential part of winning these political battles.  For a generation the Right has been successful at winning the language battle with even liberals using the charged terms of the Right (hopefully unwittingly).  I'm constantly trying to get people to correct their terminology.  For instance, I'm not a supporter of "gay marriage."  I don't want to get "gay married," I want to get married.  Therefore, I am a supporter of marriage equality.  See how that works?  Anyway, though they used the term "homosexual," which gay people just do not use to self-describe, they, surprising described me as a minister, when I would have thought they would not have acknowledged my ordination in the Christian church.  And they used the term "fiance," even if it was in quotes.  In a round-about way, their own platform now acknowledges that homosexuals have fiances.

4)  A reminder that introductions do not enter into the House Journal, as the Speaker has explained.  Therefore, they were not voting on whether to include my introduction or not, but on the prayer itself.  And, since I did not say "fiance" in my spoken remarks but the term first appeared in the Oklahoman the following day, that is NOT what the 20 were voting on, even though they have repeatedly said that it is.