American Culture

Nota Bene #26 Part 1 of 2

Got hot links if you want ’em!

In an Esquire interview, Gore Vidal claims: “Nonprofit status is what created the Bible Belt. The tax code brought religion back to this country.”

In his his Washington Post column, “A Campaign to Hate,” Richard Cohen writes: “I am stunned by the numbers of people who have come out to vote against Barack Obama because he is black. I am even more stunned that many of these people have no compunction about telling a pollster they voted on account of race. . . . Those voters didn’t even know enough to lie.”

Hillary finally conceded. But earlier in the week, Maureen Dowd in her New York Times column, “She’s Still Here!,” that, “by broadcasting that she’s open to being Obama’s running mate, [Hillary] puts public pressure on him similar to the sort of pressure Walter Mondale was under from rampaging feminists when he put Geraldine Ferraro on the ticket. Mondale ended up seeming henpecked, as Obama would seem if he caved. . .”

In a New York Times article, “Calm in the Swirl of History,” Michael Powell quotes Obama: “‘I love when I’m shaking hands on a rope line and’ — he mimes the motion, hand over hand — ‘I see little old white ladies and big burly black guys and Latino girls and all their hands are entwining. They’re feeding on each other as much as on me.’ He shrugs; it’s that distancing eye of the author. ‘It’s like I’m just the excuse.'”

In his San Francisco Chronicle column, “Is Obama an Enlightened One?,” Mark Morford writes: “Many spiritually advanced people I know. . . identify Obama as a Lightworker, that rare kind of attuned being who. . . can actually help usher in a new way of being on the planet. . . . There’s a vast amount of positive energy swirling about that’s been held back by the armies of BushCo darkness, and this energy has now found a conduit, a lightning rod.”

Obama got off to a bad start with the Arab world. In “Arabs shocked by Obama speech at Al Jazeera,” Al Jazeera reports on the response to his AIPAC speech Wednesday: “Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, told Al Jazeera on Thursday: “This is the worst thing to happen to us since 1967. . . he has given ammunition to extremists across the region. . . . I say to Obama. . . please stop being more Israeli than the Israelis themselves.”

That zany Ayman al-Zawahiri is at it again. In “Zawahiri urges more Israel attacks,” Al Jazeera reports that the al-Qaeda second in command “has called on Palestinians to step up attacks on Israel, according to a new audio clip. . . . Step up your martyrdom-seeking operations, and increase your missiles and ambushes, as there is no solution but this.”

When Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, whose name seldom appears without the appellation “9/11 mastermind,” was seen in public for the first time since his arrest when he appeared in court Wednesday. In his Washington Post article, “A Mythic Figure, in Person,” Josh White reports: “When Marine Col. Ralph Kohlmann, the presiding judge, tried to interrupt Mohammed, Mohammed would hesitate and say, ‘Go ahead,’ essentially granting permission to Kohlmann to speak.”

In “McCain Aide Says Bush Knows Little About Economy” on, Matthew Benjamin reports: “A Bloomberg News analysis of McCain’s budget, which was released in April, shows it would increase the national debt by $1.8 trillion over eight years.” Obviously McCain knows much more than Bush about the economy — but zero times two still equals zero.

John McCain is opposed to medical marijuana, but “All Indicators Point to a Softening of America’s Harsh Marijuana Laws.” Alexander Zaitchik reports at AlterNet that the Republicans “don’t seem to realize is that a steadily shrinking minority of Americans oppose the controlled medicinal use of cannabis — around 20 percent, according to the last Gallup poll. It’s a safe bet that an even smaller number considers paramilitary raids on the homes of peaceful cancer patients to be a ‘basic function of the Executive Branch.'”

2 replies »

  1. “Tax the churches…tax the businesses owned by the churches.” ~FZ (But i say let them be tax exempt if they are using church money to help the needy. Though by “needy” i don’t mean “We need a newer, bigger church” or “The pastor needs a vacation or a raise or a new house.” And i certainly don’t mean, “We need a television station.”

    The last thing Obama needs is a writer from San Fransisco to start calling him a Buddha. And that’s what Morford’s doing, because the Sanskrit is Thataghata (one who abides in suchness/thusness…i.e. enlightened) and there is no limit to the number of Buddhas possible. In fact, they are as incalculable as the sands of the Ganges. Even to insinuate that Obama is a mere bodhisatva (enlightened one who keeps one foot in the cycle of birth and death until every blade of grass has cleansed its thataghatagarba – buddha embryo – and awakened to a state of enlightenment) still smacks of the cultish. And John McCain says, “See, look, those nutty liberals think he’s the Messiah.”

    What law enforcement/politicians fear about medical marijuana is that once it’s legitimate, people will realize that the stuff isn’t that bad…and then they’ll want to soften regulation on non-medical marijuana too. We can’t have that: it would make for a smaller, less expensive and less intrusive government. Everybody knows that Republicans don’t want smaller government and neither do the Democrats. (My Dem governor is hard against a medical marijuana referendum on the November ballot.)