Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I wouldn't wipe myself with the Colorado Springs Gazette

...I would either find a tree, or chafe.

I'm in Colorado this week - wife and I have a house up here which I occasionally escape to, to write, to relax, to smoke a cigar or to unwind.

This is a military state. This is a conservative state. This town, back in the '80s, set up a "evangelical zone" (my term) and invited the religious right to take root here, and boy did they. It's the home of "Focus On The Family," and it's tyrannical patriarch, James Dobson.

It's also home of the Colorado Springs Gazette, which purports to be a newspaper, but is really just a third arm of the military and church. FISA arguments in congress: Page one story about how wiretapping busted some drug dealers. Barack Obama's visit to Colorado Springs?

Below the flap coverage in the Metro Section. THE SECOND SECTION OF THE PAPER.

Let repeat this in terms even someone at Focus On The Family could understand:

An historic presidential candidate who is making faith part of his campaign is coming to ground zero of the evangelical Christian movement in the same week he plans on announcing his support of faith based programs AND James Dobson decides to go after him, and they give the story all the coverage of a Cow getting caught on the street.

What was above the Obama story in Metro?

* A teen arrested in a killing. (Which, by the way, is bad.)
* A huge story about the dangers of fireworks (Which, by the way, is obvious.)
* Barry Noreen's surprisingly positioned story about how the community should welcome immigrants. (Which, by the way, is left of everything else in this paper, and more than a little surprising.)

What made the front page that pushed Obama to the second section?

* A story about how a hospital is using "Guerrilla ads" to advertise itself. (A little news about our advertisers!)
* A poll about how oil drilling is more of a priority (Good news, oil companies!)
* A story about how bad the housing market was the first half of '08 (Breaking news!)

At best, this is a turd of a paper who had already laid out the days news, and nobody bothered to realize Obama was a lead story until it was too late. At worst, it's a calculated fish wrap that buried the lead about Obama coming to the springs, all the while knowing it would move every single story on the front page to the classified section, to cover James Dobson farting.

What a waste of tree, paper, and journalistic integrity.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Monday, June 23, 2008

A President who can admit when something is wrong.


Muslim Lawmaker Confronted Obama Behind Closed Doors on Head Scarf Gaffe
@ 5:40 pm by Andy Barr
When Barack Obama apologized in person last week to two women at a rally in Detroit wearing head scarves, he did it only after Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), one of two Muslim members of Congress, confronted him about the incident. An Obama campaign volunteer removed the women from Obama's backdrop so they would not appear behind him on camera.

Sources tell Betsy Rothstein, editor of The Hill's In the Know, that Ellison confronted Obama last Thursday during a closed-door meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC).

Holding the numbers of the two women, Ellison told Obama the actions of his volunteers were wrong, saying his campaign needed to maintain an air of openness, not discrimination.

The conversation got so heated that CBC Chairwoman Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-Mich.) banged her gavel to try and quiet Ellison. Obama though asked Kilpatrick to let Ellison speak.

After Ellison finished, Obama told the caucus that he regretted the incident, but said that he had not ordered the women to be removed. Following the meeting, Obama called the women to apologize.

An Ellison spokesman says the meeting satisfied the Minnesota lawmaker's concerns.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

More converts, pun intended.

Young evangelicals aim to broaden agenda
By Deborah Jian Lee
Sun Jun 22, 9:58 AM ET

Matt Dunbar is not your typical evangelical Christian.

With his tousled hair, sideburns and a scruffy "soul patch" beard, the 26-year-old New Yorker belongs to a growing minority of young evangelicals who want to broaden their political agenda beyond the traditional opposition to abortion and gay marriage.

Evangelicals like Dunbar are eager to move on and tackle such hot topics as global warming and social justice.

As they move to the center of the political spectrum, they are deciding whether Republican presidential candidate John McCain or Democrat Barack Obama aligns best with their values and deserves their vote in the November presidential election.

A former Republican, Dunbar's political views began to change with the war in Iraq. "I couldn't keep my political affiliation with the Republican Party at that point," he said.

Research shows many young white evangelical Christians are moving away from the Republican Party.

Surveys by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life show a 15 percentage point drop in the alliance of white evangelicals aged 18 to 29 with the Republican Party over the past two years.

"This group is going to be definitely worth watching," said Dan Cox, a Pew research associate and author of the report. "If anything, they're becoming more independent in their outlook."

Most favor stricter laws to protect the environment, for example, an issue not typically associated with Republican platforms, yet remain conservative on issues like opposition to abortion and support for the death penalty.


Several hundred young evangelicals gathered last week at Princeton University in New Jersey to meet with Christian leaders, discuss the evangelical agenda and look at the role of religion in public life. The conference was called "Envision: the Gospel, Politics and the Future."

Tattoos, scruffy facial hair and flip-flops abounded among the young attendees.

Shane Claiborne, author of "The Irresistible Revolution -- Living as an Ordinary Radical," called on young Christians to get politically and personally involved on issues of justice.

"I see an entire generation of young people who want a Christianity they can wrap their hands around," said Claiborne, who wears his hair in shoulder-length dreadlocks. "They don't want to just believe stuff. They're saying if you want to know what I believe, then watch how I live."

Claiborne and others at the conference pressed the crowd to move beyond the typical platform of the religious right.

One in four Americans consider themselves evangelical Christians, and some four-fifths of evangelical voters backed Republican President George W. Bush as he sought reelection in 2004.

McCain is regarded with suspicion in conservative evangelical circles because of his past support for stem cell research, his failure to support a federal ban on gay marriage, and his support for immigration reform, among other things.

Both McCain and Obama will be hard pressed to attract voters like Tonya Grant, a 23-year-old Bible college student from New Jersey, who said she voted for Bush in 2004.

"It seems like he (McCain) is playing the evangelical Jesus card," she said. But she's not sold on Obama either, and she doesn't favor his health-care reform proposals.

"I'm completely torn," she said.

Amy Coffin, 27, of Los Angeles said she is drawn to Obama because of his health-care plan and desire to end the war in Iraq.

She does not align herself with any political party and is critical of how so many evangelicals supported Bush. "I think a lot of that is apathy and laziness, letting people tell them how to vote," she said.

She is not looking to the election to further social change, but is pushing for change in her own life. A year ago she moved to India, where she is helping start a church in New Delhi.

"Hopefully by living with the poor, you end up doing social justice naturally," she said.

(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Chris Wilson)