"All this chitter-chatter, chitter-chatter, chitter-chatter 'bout schmatte, schmatte, schmatte..."The Rolling Stones

It may cause me physical pain to admit this, but Bill O’Reilly has a point. Not that Jennifer Aniston herself is destructive to society (although her movies are another matter entirely), but the sentiment that she expressed in support of her new film, The Switch, may be. There is a huge difference between the situation of the average single mother and the situation of a wealthy, older woman who has reached a point where she has doubts about finding a suitable mate but no doubt about the fact that she wants a child. Read more…»

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30 Jul, 2010

Keep Beach Driving in Volusia County

Posted by: arabellasays In: Around Florida| Media Frenzy

Maybe I’m just too rational. It’s not that I don’t sympathize with the families of Aiden Patrick and Ellie Bland. I do.  Both children’s deaths were tragic accidents. But that doesn’t mean that we should automatically ban vehicles from Volusia County beaches.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, five people have been killed being struck by vehicles on Volusia beaches since 1987. Until this year, it had been 14 years since the last death. The two this year were 4 year olds who were not being sufficiently supervised. A two-year-old,  Roland “Lanny” Hotard IV, was struck and killed in 1988 after running into the path of a vehicle. The other two were DUI’s.  How many millions of visitors have gone to Volusia beaches in those 14 years? But suddenly, it’s imperative that driving be banned?

There are more miles of Volusia county beaches that prohibit driving than allow it. Is there some reason why parents of young children (and anyone else who doesn’t want to deal with cars on the beach) can’t use these areas? It doesn’t seem that it’s an all or nothing situation. People already have choices. Let’s keep it that way.

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16 Jun, 2010

Abolish government sanctioned marriage

Posted by: arabellasays In: Religious Fervor| Social Issues

I have no problem with defining marriage as existing only between a man and a woman.  If fundamentalists believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, fine, let them have the term. But then the word needs to apply only to religious recognition of a relationship. If marriage must be defined as strictly between a man and a woman, it has been made an inherently religious-based term and the government, federal or state, should have no role in it. Nor should benefits be bestowed based on marriage. The state shouldn’t be doling out privileges based on a person’s religion.

The only government sanctioned contract should be a civil union – between any two consenting adults. Religious institutions don’t want government nosing into their
territory – except when it would allow them to institute discriminatory practices on those who do not subscribe to their religious beliefs. Read more…»

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29 May, 2010

Mosque Near Ground Zero

Posted by: arabellasays In: Media Frenzy| Social Issues

Do we really want a moderate Islam? Islam is not going to go away. We obsess over the radical Muslims who, clearly, are the enemies of America. But we do little to encourage and engage Muslims who want to be a functional part of America.

There is a huge uproar over the proposed development of a mosque and community center to be located two blocks from the site of the World Trade Center.  According to the New York Times, the center “would include a prayer space, as well as a 500-seat performing arts center, a culinary school, a swimming pool, a restaurant and other amenities.” The center will be open to the public. The group developing the project, the Cordoba Initiative, is headed by  by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, a moderate Muslim leader who has been advocating a move to a more modern, tolerant, and, yes, peaceful version of Islam. (Slate’s review of his book ) Active in the Lower Manhattan area since 1983 and at the forefront of advancing interfaith relations,  Rauf is now being vilified because it makes some uncomfortable that a mosque might be located near Ground Zero. Read more…»

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John Dickerson over at Slate wants to know what Obama promised to Joe Sestak if he would drop out of the Senate race.  Sestak claims that an administration official offered him a job if he would drop out.  I don’t know what some unnamed administration official said to Joe Sestak.  John Dickerson doesn’t know, and the right-wing reactionaries who are swarming all over this “news” don’t either.  All we really know is that Joe Sestak is running for Senate against a long-time incumbent and thinks that saying the Whitehouse offered him a job to step aside is more likely to help his campaign than hurt it.  Given the general consensus on the anti-incumbent vibe sweeping the country, he’s probably right.

Did he get offered a position within the administration? Maybe.  If so, would taking the position preclude continuing his campaign for the Senate? Probably.  Would an Obama administration official explicitly make the connection in a conversation with Sestak?  No chance in hell.  Dickerson even admits as much in his article.  What’s got him all worked up is the Whitehouse response to these allegations.  He quotes Whitehouse spokesman Robert Gibbs:

Lawyers in the White House and others have looked into conversations that were had with Congressman Sestak and nothing inappropriate happened.

According to Dickerson that’s not enough.  That sounds too much like the Bush Whitehouse.  But I don’t see what he wants.  Even if Sestak was offered a position, every reasonable person acknowledges that it would never have been explicitly tied to his dropping out of the Senate race.  Since this is the only potentially inappropriate subject under consideration, what is the Whitehouse supposed to say?  Sometimes there is no conspiracy, no cover-up.  Sometimes “nothing inappropriate happened” means nothing inappropriate happened.

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Some may call us unfocused. We prefer "well-rounded" or "intellectually curious." Whatever. The fact is we have a broad range of interests and will probably cover a lot of ground here. Consider this a buffet (or a tapas restaurant, if you're determined to be one of the cool kids). A bit of this, a taste of that. We may eventually settle into a single groove, but, yeah, probably not. Just sayin...