On the issue of hateful and violent outbursts at rallies.

Here’s another video from a McCain/Palin rally that shows some of the racism and contempt of the supporters present:

What struck me while watching the video is that the Obama supporters present at the location simply chanted his name the entire time. You can hear them in the background and see them several times during the course of the video. They’re in a line, holding up signs, and chanting “Obama” over and over again. Near as I can tell none of them says anything else nor do any of them step out of the line in an aggressive way. Not only is all the vitriol coming from the McCain/Palin supporters, but more than once various people make aggressive motions toward the Obama supporters.

Now I realize it’s entirely possible that the video has been edited to remove anything that might reflect poorly on the Obama supporters, but it seems to me based on personal experience and from news reports over the passing months that if someone is making racist or violent statements the majority of the time it’s coming from the McCain/Palin camp. I also realize that this may be confirmation bias on my own part.

So I did some digging and it turns out there’s been some Obama supporters who have had some angry words of their own to share. It meant forging onto various Conservative websites such as the always annoying Michelle Malkin blog to find them, but those are the most likely places stories like that would be collected and there’s certainly no shortage of people on the left acting out. Some of the complaints raised on the right seem a little over-hyped – they want to claim calling McCain a lair and that booing Palin is hate speech – but there’s plenty of wackos who have assaulted Republicans and come up with some pretty hateful and, yes, violent imagery. There’s the guys with the Sarah Palin is a cunt t-shirts which are definitely hateful, but hard to get too upset about considering McCain has called his own wife a cunt. There’s the artwork that designates Sarah Palin as a M.I.L.P. or Mother I’d Like to Punch which is definitely a violent image. It’s from a webcomic and as such is meant as a joke and I’m guilty of such hyperbole myself having once said that I want to punch Tony Sinclair in the mouth which was also meant as a joke, but I can see how fans of Sarah Palin (and Tony Sinclair) could take the statements as indicative of actual desire. There’s the two idiots who torched a McCain/Palin campaign sign with Molotov cocktails. And there are other examples such as the “Abort Sarah Palin” bumper stickers that have been floating around.

The emotional side of me wants to protest that the examples from the left, with a few rare exceptions, aren’t meant to be taken seriously whereas too many of the examples on the right seem to be very sincere and real, but that would be giving in to confirmation bias again. The truth is there are angry and hateful people on both sides and it’s easy, as humans, to let our frustrations boil over into hateful rhetoric if we’re not careful. We should strive to be mindful of this fact and work to remind not just ourselves, but each other when we’re stepping over that line. The hecklers on both sides should be challenged and chastised if they are sincere in their hate. Note that isn’t to say they should be suppressed as that would just drive the hate underground, but the art of shunning is one we could use a bit more of in these heated displays.

I seriously dislike what McCain has done to his principles in the pursuit of the Presidency and I dislike Sarah Palin’s political stance on just about every issue, but I don’t hate either person and I don’t wish harm on them or their supporters. Hopefully there are more folks out there who share that viewpoint on both sides of the debate than the ones who espouse violence and hate. It speaks to my optimism in humanity that I’d like to believe that that is the case.

John McCain’s lies have gotten so bad even Right-leaning journalists are calling him on it.

I never thought I’d see the day that FOX News would actually challenge John McCain’s campaign over some of the outright lies it’s been spreading in various speeches and campaign ads, but amazingly enough that day has come:

On Fox News today, host Megyn Kelly called out McCain campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds for the campaign’s lies about Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-IL) tax proposals. “I want to hold you accountable for what McCain is doing,” said Kelly. “Has your candidate gone too far, has he stretched the truth with the voters?”

Bounds initially attempted to dismiss her question, claiming that McCain has simply “gone to great lengths to discuss Barack Obama’s record.” “It is true that during a struggling economy, he proposes raising taxes,” declared Bounds.

“Not on the middle class,” shot back Kelly, noting that “virtually every independent analyst” has said that the McCain campaign is lying.

FOX News? Has Hell frozen over? Surely this is a sign of the apocalypse! But they’re not the only ones. Some Conservative pundits are getting in on the act as well. Take, for example, this op-ed piece by Richard Cohen:

I am one of the journalists accused over the years of being in the tank for McCain. Guilty. Those doing the accusing usually attributed my feelings to McCain being accessible. This is the journalist-as-puppy school of thought: Give us a treat, and we will leap into a politician’s lap.

Not so. What impressed me most about McCain was the effect he had on his audiences, particularly young people. When he talked about service to a cause greater than oneself, he struck a chord. He expressed his message in words, but he packaged it in the McCain story—that man, beaten to a pulp, who chose honor over freedom. This had nothing to do with access. It had to do with integrity.

McCain has soiled all that. His opportunistic and irresponsible choice of Sarah Palin as his political heir—the person in whose hands he would leave the country—is a form of personal treason, a betrayal of all he once stood for. Palin, no matter what her other attributes, is shockingly unprepared to become president. McCain knows that. He means to win, which is all right; he means to win at all costs, which is not.

I’ve openly wondered here before if there was a low so low than a Conservative wouldn’t stoop to it. While it appears the answer is a resounding “no” for the McCain campaign, the same cannot be said for all Conservatives and I can’t tell you how much better than makes me feel. There’s at least some out there that consider their integrity more important than winning, unlike John McCain.

The most damning proof that McCain has gone off the deep end, however, comes from no less than Karl Rove himself:

“McCain has gone in some of his ads—similarly gone one step too far,” he told Fox News, “and sort of attributing to Obama things that are, you know, beyond the ‘100 percent truth’ test.”

When Karl Rove is saying, “Whoa dude! That’s some major league bullshit you’re pushing there.” then you know you’ve crossed a major line. As someone much smarter than me pointed out, it appears that John McCain would rather lose his integrity than the election.

And while we’re on the subject of Gov. Sarah Palin…

… I want to ask why the issue of her unmarried 17-year-old-daughter being pregnant is something that shouldn’t be discussed? When the announcement was made Sen. Obama himself said:

“I think people’s families are off-limits, and people’s children are especially off-limits.”

Doesn’t the GOP bill itself as the “party of values”? Isn’t Gov. Palin herself a staunch abstinence-only sex education endorser? Doesn’t the pregnancy of a minor child of one of the candidates represent a major failing of family values and abstinence-only education? Isn’t it a valid question to ask: If she cannot instill her much-hyped family values into her own child then why should we listen to anything she has to say on the subject?

It’s not that I give a damn that her daughter, Bristol, is pregnant at 17 as it is the simple fact that had this been a Democratic candidate the Republicans would be jumping all over it like a group of castaways fighting over the last drops of water on a desert island. It wouldn’t have been more than a few hours after the announcement before someone in the GOP would have a commercial airing in the swing states pointing at the “scandal” and using it as an illustration of how liberal values will be the downfall of America. Overall the reaction from the Religious Right has been the usual “we’re not perfect, just forgiven” bullshit they trot out whenever you point out that someone over there is being a hypocrite.

But us liberals; we’re the first to step up and try to play fair when shit like this happens and the conservatives are always so grateful when we do that. Doesn’t stop them from exploiting the hell out of any mistakes we make as an indication of how our values are corrupt, but they sure do appreciate it when we don’t do the same in reverse.

New Poll shows slight majority favors keeping religion out of politics.

It’s a very slim margin—only 52% of respondents—but it’s a majority just the same and hopefully the start of a continuing trend. The big surprise was in regards to where the shifts in opinion occurred:

The results suggest a potentially significant shift among conservative voters in particular. In 2004, 30% of conservatives said the church should stay out of politics while today 50% of conservatives today express that view.

Conservatives are now more in line with moderates and liberals when it comes to their views on mixing religion and politics. “Similarly, the sharp divisions between Republicans and Democrats that previously existed on this issue have disappeared,” Pew reports.

Increasingly voters say they are uncomfortable listening to politicians express religious views. In 2004, 40% said it made them uncomfortable versus 46% today.

Perhaps there’s a silver lining to the past seven and a half years after all. The best bit of news is that there may be a bit of a backlash in the Republican party. Though it seems us godless liberals are being held to similar standards:

The Democratic Party also made notable gains among voters who view the party as religion-friendly—a belief generally associated with the Republican Party. In 2006, 26% of voters said Democrats were religion-friendly, today 38% of voters said the same. More voters, 43%, also believe that non-religious liberals have too much sway over the party, versus 37% in August 2007.

The Republican Party still dominates as the friendliest toward religion, according to 52% of voters surveyed. However, that view also comes with backlash. Nearly half, 48%, said religious conservatives hold too much sway in the party ranks, up from 43% in August 2007.

I wish we had as much influence as some of these people seem to think, but it’s still good to see that the pendulum is swinging our way for a change.

President Bush: Clearly delusional and built to stay that way.

Today’s bit of President Bush failing to recognize irony when he’s giving a speech comes from the recent CPAC event.

Bush: “Peace And Prosperity” At Stake In Election – Politics on The Huffington Post

WASHINGTON — President Bush, rallying conservatives for a battle against Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, says “prosperity and peace” are at stake in the upcoming election for his successor.

“We have had good debates and soon we will have a nominee who will carry the conservative banner into this election and beyond,” Bush said in prepared remarks of a speech he was to give Friday to the Conservative Political Action Conference.

“Prosperity and peace are in the balance,” the president said in speech excerpts the White House released on Thursday night. “So with confidence in our vision and faith in our values, let us go forward … fight for victory … and keep the White House in 2008.”

The man responsible for five years of war started under false pretenses and an ever burgeoning and record breaking deficit has the gall to imply that if a Democrat wins the election then peace and prosperity will be in danger? My irony meter doth asplode!

Protect your Christmas tree with a soldier fetus!

Say you’re a committed anti-abortionist and gung-ho support-the-troops-right-or-wrong conservative who’s looking for the ultimate Christmas tree ornament that can demonstrate your two passions in a single decoration. Surely there’s nothing that fits the bill, right?

Wrong! The folks at “MissPoppy.com” (tagline:What a trend we have in Jesus™) are offering this clever Soldier Fetus Ornament just in time for the holidays!

Protect our troops – from the womb to the war. What if the fetus you were going to abort would grow up to be a soldier bringing democracy to a godless dictatorship?

Plastic replica of an 11-12 week old fetus, 3” long, holding a firearm in its precious little hand, with an assortment of other military paraphernalia, encased in a translucent plastic ornament, with a patriotic yellow ribbon on top. Includes a metal ornament hanger. If only a womb were this safe, attractive and reasonably priced!

Show that you support the “culture of life” by buying and proudly displaying one of these patriotic unborn Americans.

Also available in a “Brown” model

You gotta love that dig at atheists they managed to squeeze in there with the comment on “godless dictatorships” and the fact that they’re also offering a “brown” model for all you “brown” conservatives out there. The message is clear: By aborting that baby you could be condemning millions of innocent people to lives under Godless dictators by destroying a possible Christian warrior! Why it’s a wonder these ornaments aren’t convincing people to have as many babies as possible so they might grow up to be a whole platoon of Holy Warriors unto themselves!

I’ve see some tacky Christmas decorations in my time, but this one takes the cake. Oh, and in case you think this just HAS to be a gag, the folks at MissPoppy have you covered:

Note to the confused:This is a real product, from a real site. The product is a satire, but it is also a real product – FOR SALE. This is a real store.

I can’t bring myself to look through the rest of the site, but I’m sure it’s filled with even more fun products if you’re brave enough to poke around. Me, I’m already sore from laughing so hard.

New study shows Liberal and Conservative brains are wired differently.

Here an interesting study on how liberal and conservative brains differ:

Dozens of previous studies have established a strong link between political persuasion and certain personality traits.

Conservatives tend to crave order and structure in their lives, and are more consistent in the way they make decisions. Liberals, by contrast, show a higher tolerance for ambiguity and complexity, and adapt more easily to unexpected circumstances.

The affinity between political views and “cognitive style” has also been shown to be heritable, handed down from parents to children, said the study, published in the British journal Nature Neuroscience.

Intrigued by these correlations, New York University political scientist David Amodio and colleagues decided to find out if the brains of liberals and conservatives reacted differently to the same stimuli.

So they set up an experiment where they took a bunch of people and presented them with a scenario that involved some form of daily routine, such as driving home from work, which you do so often it’s almost automatic. Then they presented them with an interruption to that routine, say an automobile accident on the road, that required them to respond to the interruption in routine and then monitored their brains with electroencephalographs to see what they could see.

The match-up was unmistakable: respondents who had described themselves as liberals showed “significantly greater conflict-related neural activity” when the hypothetical situation called for an unscheduled break in routine.

Conservatives, however, were less flexible, refusing to deviate from old habits “despite signals that this … should be changed.”

Whether that is good or bad, of course, depends on one’s perspective: one could interpret the results to mean that liberals are nimble-minded and conservatives rigid and stubborn.

Or one could, with equal justice, conclude that wishy-washy liberals don’t stick to their guns, while conservatives are steadfast and loyal.

Or one could say that conservatives are just fucked in the head.

OK, that’s probably a tad bit unfair. Still the differences would go a long way to explaining why both sides often look at the other and wonder how in the hell the other side manages to tie their laces in the morning without drooling all over their shoes in the process. I think a lot of folks probably suspected as much to begin with (that our brains work differently, not the shoe thing) so the real question becomes how to we communicate in a way that overcomes these differences in response and results in at least some form of compromise? It would probably help if I didn’t make jokes about conservatives being brain damaged, but it’s what I do.