John Furie Zacharias
having a bad day in a strange place
Thunderstorms Anywhere

Thunderstorms in the Imajica

 The different ways I don't like you 
 in a list that may never become organized
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Friday, August 20, 2004
Split Ticket Issues?

The infamous Hanging Chad man
As a Libertarian for many years now, I have voted across political party lines or 'split my ticket' in elections based upon issues that are of concern to me personally.  More often than not, those issues are related to our U.S. Bill of Rights or basic constitutional principles: Free Expression versus Censorship, Seperation of Church and State, The Right to Keep and Bear Arms (RTKBA), Privacy, and State's Rights.  Voters with strong beliefs on a particular issue, while not going so far as to vote for an independent candidate outside the predominately Democratic and Republican political parties' stronghold on modern politics, will sometimes 'cross party lines' when they feel strongly enough on an issue.

Other times, people vote for candidates that espouse a belief that they share on broader topics, like the state of the economy, environmental issues, or foreign policy.  An even less specific description in our current two party political world might simply be liberal and conservative.

I wanted to follow up on a blog entry from last month, Dukesville - 2nd Amendment, because the dynamic graphic image I put in it and also on Dukesville tells us there is a only 4 weeks left until the Assault Weapons Ban Sunset occurs.  One of the reasons I made that entry into a link list was just in case the AWBsunset site folds up shop and goes offline, after the particulars of this RTKBA issue are no longer around.  That would be a shame as that site has a lot of useful info easily available to visitors.

Here's the current state of gun control in politics (in a nutshell), found on AWBsunset:
After the Democrat's stunning defeat in the 1994 elections following the passing of the "assault weapons" ban, the party began to rethink their strong anti-gun stance. Though the issue of gun control once was an effective campaign issue for the Democratic Party, it has fallen out of favor over the past several years.  After Al Gore's defeat in 2000, largely due to his anti-gun positions, Democrats have practically abandoned the issue altogether.
Personally, in 2000, I was interested how union members in the Detroit area who continually rattled on about being died-in-the-wool Democrats freaked out on the RTKBA issue and abandoned Al Gore.  Almost to a man, my fellow bricklayers were deer hunters.  While not a deer hunter myself, working daily in the some of the worst neighborhoods in Detroit where square mile automotive factories sit across the street from crime-ridden neighborhoods might make you think twice about the right to keep and bear arms, too.  The Democrats really stepped on their dick with that one, in 2000.

When I looked at the likely position House of Representatives members might take on the RTKBA issue, it is mostly split along Democratic and Republican lines.  What is curious to me, then, is when it is not neatly going down party lines -- when a Democrat is pro-gun and a Republican is not.

For example, when I looked at Michigan I found two pro-gun Democrats and when I looked at Florida I found two gun-control Republicans.  Why?  After some quick digging, it's easy to see.  In Michigan, Bart Stupak, 1st district, and John Dingell, 15th district, both represent pro-hunting areas. Stupak's district is huge, encompassing the entire U.P. and the NE region of the lower penninsula.

In Florida, then, why would a Republican be a gun control advocate?  Bill Young in the 10th district and Ilena Ros-Lehtinen in the 18th district are.  Both of these Republicans' districts are small and urban.  Young in Tampa, and Ros-Lehtinen in Miami.  It seems the RTKBA issue is first a traditional stance for a political party and then an urban/rural issue.

AWBsunset's Bottom Line:
If a replacement ban were voted on in the Senate, there is a good chance it would pass (if ban supporters were able to get it to the floor for a vote).  If it reached the President's desk, he would probably sign it. In the House of Representatives, however, the ban has a much tougher road ahead, and this is where our best chances for success are.  For an in-depth illustration of these factors, take a look at our AW Ban Scoreboard.

Republicans generally are pro-gun rights, so we can assume that the leadership in the House will not go out of their way to bring a renewal or replacement bill to the floor unless incredible pressure is brought to bear.  Because regaining control of Congress will be a top priority for Democrats in 2004, and they are no doubt acutely aware of the blow dealt to them in the past on this issue, they may not want to risk pushing for a renewal.

This would be a best-case scenario for us... majority party has no interest in the issue, minority party is afraid of it. Neither wants it to come up and force them to publicly take a position on it. Both would prefer that it simply be ignored, and remain bottled up in some dungeon committee.  The real bottom line is this: the more intelligently written, reasonable sounding letters our congressmen receive from us, the greater the chance the above will happen.

They have hit the nail on the head. I searched, and searched, and found nothing about any RTKBA issue on the four representatives' official web sites.  Perhaps, if this is a non-issue this election year, that is a good thing for the Second Amendment of the Constitution.

What are the issues that would cause you to vote a 'split ticket' if your favored political party candidate expressed a view contrary to your own?

Thursday, August 19, 2004
Republican Evangelical Christians Embrace Kerry Presidency

Republicans for Kerry
This headline came across my Thunderstorms PRWeb political news feed today, "Republican Evangelical Christians Embrace Kerry Presidency" which is related to recently discussed topics.

Republican Evangelical Christians who have witnessed the decline of the public education system, the environment and the economy turn to John Kerry realizing that George Bush is using his faith as a wedge.

Sterling Heights, Michigan (PRWEB) August 19, 2004 -- Members of the ‘Christian Right’ resist the Bush campaign to politicize their faith and turn to vote for Kerry. Recently the Bush campaign called on evangelical churches to turn their members into political activists – church members like Dan and Julie Rakowski. Both Dan and Julie have been members of a nationwide grassroots organization “Republicans for Kerry ‘04” since this spring. “In many ways, I am typical of the ‘Christian Right’ you often hear about,” Dan said. “I’m passionately pro-life, moderately against gay-marriage, and pro-Second Amendment.” During the past four years, Dan and his family have witnessed the decline of the public education system, the environment and the economy. Dan regards the Bush campaign’s attempt to draft congregations into political service during this campaign season as an attempt to use the faith of theologically conservative Christians as a wedge. “If he keeps talking about social issues like homosexuality and abortion,” Rakowski observed, “Bush hopes we will look the other way with respect to his missteps of Iraq War, economy and education.”

The measure by which a Christian should judge a candidate is to see if the walk matches the talk,” suggested Carmen Smith, a Cuban immigrant, lifelong Republican, and Christian for 40 years, who lives in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Environment is a key issue for her decision to support John Kerry. “As a Christian Republican I value being a good steward of God’s earth, which means taking care of the precious and fragile resources such as air, water and soil. Our President needs to be responsible enough to make this a top priority.” Citing Bush’s “misuse of his authority in this area, over the last four years,” Smith concluded, “I have more trust in John Kerry to do this job right.”

John Bugay, a writer who lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is a registered Republican and a conservative Presbyterian. He has been a strong John Kerry supporter since early this year, creating the first “Republicans for Kerry” website. In the GOP call on church congregations to become part of the Bush campaign, Bugay writes, “ … Bush is not appealing to our better natures, but to our worst fears. We ought not to give in to that type of fear. Many conservative Christians can already say ‘Bush has governed badly and doesn’t deserve another chance.’ At the very least, then John Kerry deserves an honest look by honest Christians.”

Brenda Farrell from Southlake Texas agrees. Calling herself “an old-time Republican”, Farrell worked in a Republican administration during the Reagan years. A Christian and an advocate of the separation of Church and State, she asks that her fellow Republicans and Christians, “not be lured by tangential emotionally-charged issues [such as gay marriage, abortion, etc. that will remain unresolved for a long time. They are brought up to rile up conservative voters who this administration thinks are too blind to identify the real issues that face this country.”

Blog the Vote!

Wednesday, August 18, 2004
FOR Peace Organization Links

MLK Jr: Non-Violent Protester

FOR's Vision: We envision a world of justice, peace, and freedom. It is a revolutionary vision of a beloved community where differences are respected, conflicts are addressed nonviolently, oppressive structures are dismantled, and where people live in harmony with the earth, nurtured by diverse spiritual traditions that foster compassion, solidarity, and reconciliation.

FOR's Mission: FOR seeks to replace violence, war, racism, and economic injustice with nonviolence, peace, and justice. We are an interfaith organization committed to active nonviolence as a transforming way of life and as a means of radical change. We educate, train, build coalitions, and engage in nonviolent and compassionate actions locally, nationally, and globally.

Since 1915, The Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) has carried on programs and educational projects concerned with domestic and international peace and justice, nonviolent alternatives to conflict, and the rights of conscience. A Nonviolent, Interfaith, tax exempt organization, The FOR promotes nonviolence and has members from many religious and ethnic traditions. It is a part of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR), which has affiliates in over 40 countries.

The International Fellowship of Reconciliation

FOR Religious Fellowships:

Baptist Peace Fellowship
Buddhist Peace Fellowship
Catholic Peace Fellowship
Episcopal Peace Fellowship
Jewish Peace Fellowship
Lutheran Peace Fellowship
Muslim Peace Fellowship
Orthodox Peace Fellowship
Presbyterian Peace Fellowship

FOR Local Groups and Affiliates:

Charlotte, NC FOR
Minnesota Fellowship of Reconciliation
Olympia, WA FOR
Western Washington FOR

Decade of Peace and Nonviolence:

IFOR's Culture of Nonviolence Page

Internship and Volunteer Search Sites:

Campus Access
Voluntarios Solidarios

Other Peace Link Sites: - A Progressive Portal

Middle East Peace Organizations

See FOR Middle East Links Page
Electronic Iraq
Palestinians and Israelis for Nonviolence

Online Magazines

American Prospect magazine
Common Dreams Newscenter
Mother Jones magazine
The Nation magazine
Now Age Press
People's Weekly World
Sojourners magazine
Yes! Magazine
Z magazine
The Mahatma Gandhi Canadian Foundation for World Peace:
Mahatma Gandhi Research and Media Service:

Peace Organizations
A.J. Muste Memorial Institute
U.S. Campaign To Stop The Use of Child Soldiers
Cities for Peace
CONTACT - Conflict Transformation Across Cultures
Culture of Peace News Network
National Network to End the War Against Iraq (NNEWAI)
Episcopal Peace Fellowship
Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL)
Global Coalition for Peace
Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space
Holy Land Trust
Light a Candle for Peace
Lutheran Peace Fellowship
National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund
National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee
New Internationalist Magazine
New Society Educational Foundation
Nonviolent Peaceforce
Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
IFCO/Pastors for Peace
Institute for Public Accuracy
Pax Christi USA
Peaceful Tomorrows
Reaching Critical Will
Sojourners Magazine
The Way Home - Stories of Forgiveness
Training for Change
Traprock Peace Center
U.S. Campaign to Free Mordechai Vanunu
U.S. Institute of Peace
Veterans Against the Iraq War
War Resisters League
World Conference on Religion and Peace
World Peacemakers
Peace Brigades International
SIPAZ, Service for Peace
United for Peace
Veterans for Peace

Blog the Vote!

Tuesday, August 17, 2004
Teams USA in Athens

Athens 2004 Team USA
Team USA

NBC Olympic TV
I have to be honest with you.  I much prefer to see images of young Americans overseas competing in the 2004 Olympic Games on MSNBC, Bravo, and NBC than seeing them with camo and kevlar on Fox news in Bush's Iraq.

I'm actually watching some of the Olympic coverage because I'm awake when they air it in the middle of the night.  Oddly, but perhaps out of corporate rivalry, I don't hear Fox News getting all uber-patriotic over U.S. athletes winning medals in Athens.  Maybe Rupert Murdoch will green-light an olympic story on Fox News if an Australian wins something cool.  It's too bad we can't vote someone else to be in charge of Fox News -- Oh Wait.  I forgot we can vote with our TV remote control.  I guess there is a place for Fox News in the media world, right along the lines of Al-Jazeera.  I always thought it was interesting that Fox News came after the Sci-Fi channel on the cable channel food chain.  Sorry, I'm just thinking out loud.

Have you been following the Summer Olympics in Athens?  I mean, you know, the athletes -- not just the pretty women that are making their mark in Playboy and FHM magazines.  Do you have a favorite sport in the Summer Olympics?  Are you any good at these sports?  Here's a list of the Summer Olympic sports to ease the burden on the few, tired and overworked brain cells you have left sparking between your ears:

 ArcheryUSA  Equestrian - USA  Shooting - USA  Trampoline - USA
 Badminton - USA  Fencing - USA  Soccer - USA  Triathlon - USA
 Baseball - USA  Field Hockey - USA  Softball - USA  Volleyball - USA
 Basketball - USA  Gymnastics - USA  Swimming - USA  Water Polo - USA
 Beach V-ball - USA  Judo - USA  Synch. Swim. - USA  Weight Lifting - USA
 Boxing - USA  Pentathlon - USA  Table Tennis - USA  Wrestling - USA
 Canoe/Kayak - USA  Rhythmic Gym. - USA  Tae Kwon Do - USA  Handball - USA
 Cycling - USA  Rowing - USA  Tennis - USA  Karate - USA
 Diving - USA  Sailing - USA  Track/Field - USA  Racquetball - USA

Click on the sport name to check out the latest news in Athens.  Click on USA to go to that sport's team USA web site.  I'm cheering for all the Teams USA to go for the Gold!

Monday, August 16, 2004
24 Hurricane Charley pix

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These photographs were taken by the intrepid staff photgraphers at the Naples Daily News.  If you wish to help the people in this area, there are many ways.

Go to the NDN How to Help page.

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