Tuesday, December 30, 2003


  • Merry Christmas Charlie Brown!
  • Cal Thomas' latest column has the same message as Charles M. Schulz' beloved cartoon "A Charlie Brown Christmas". Christmas is too commercial. While a genius like the late Mr. Schulz can make Charlie Brown's quest for meaning in Christmas both moving and funny, Mr. Thomas can only crank out a hackneyed, "holier-than-thou" lecture. His column's just a more elaborate version of those annoying bumper stickers that say "Jesus is the reason for the season". You can't argue with Mr. Thomas' recommendations to believers to make charitable contributions or do volunteer work. However, I've noticed many Christians lack generosity of spirit about the secular aspects of the holiday season that allow non-Christians to take part. And isn't the materialism Cal criticizes a crucial part of our capitalist system? How do we turn that off at Christmastime without damaging our economy? I need answers!

    This is my favorite quote from the column: "The richer we become, the more difficult it is to buy something someone actually needs. Retailers say that the purchase of luxury items will increase sharply this month. Not everyone can afford diamonds and cars as gifts, but the poor and needy we will always have with us." Once again Mr. Thomas stumbles upon an important truth but doesn't connect it with the big picture--that this is the inevitable outcome of the GOP's pro-class inequality policies. And telling yourself that poverty is an intractable problem is an easy way to comfort yourself about the effects of the disastrous policies you support.

    Of course this column takes the obligatory shot at the ACLU for "performing their annual ritual of keeping the public square (including the public school) clean of any mention of Jesus Christ". If Cal had his way the White House, the Capitol, and the Washington Monument would all have big crosses on top of them. But no more criticism! It's the holiday season. Merry Christmas Mr. Thomas.

    Monday, December 29, 2003

    11-26-03 Column 

  • Good stuff.
  • You have to give Cal Thomas some credit for placing conservative principles ahead of Republican Party power. Mr. Thomas blasts the Republican congress for "increasing spending, expanding big government", and "dishing out "$95 billion in tax breaks and pork-barrel projects". The GOP once ran as the party of smaller government but those days are gone as "Republicans, having tasted power, are now drunk with it." One searches this column in vain for a mention of the name of the most powerful drunk Republican of all: George W. Bush. Since they're his budgets Congress is passing, surely he should take some, if not most, of the blame for Congress' budget-busting ways. But let's not expect too much here. Where Mr. Thomas really strays from the truth is his belief "there is less than a dime's worth of difference between the two parties". Democrats (i.e. the Clinton administration) have actually balanced budgets in the recent past. True, Democrats are traditionally bigger fans of goverment spending. But the key difference between big-spending Democrats and big-spending Republicans is that Democrats actually strive to accomplish something with that money besides achieving re-election. The GOP's recent Medicare bill debacle illustrates the point. An honest reading of the bill shows it does nothing to alleviate the existing problems with Medicare. In fact it will create more problems in the long run. Those running the GOP know this but they're hoping the public won't become aware of this until after 2004. Before the day of reckoning, Bush can run as the man who "saved" Medicare and leave a future administration to clean up the mess. Social Security and Medicare are two of the finest achievements of the modern-day Democratic Party, achievements bitterly opposed by the Republicans, and those two programs prove government spending can serve a purpose other than to buy votes to assist a political party to attain or retain power. Government spending can be a positive good with responsible people in charge. Let's put them there.

    11-25-03 Column 

  • The Michael Jackson case shows us one thing.
  • That you should stop after your 15th nose job? No, that pedophilia will soon be accepted as normal behavior in America. Who in their right mind could ever come to that conclusion? Well, just look at all the evidence Cal Thomas has mustered: the Abercombrie & Fitch catalog and Calvin Klein billboards. Case closed? Let's take another look. (1) A & F pulled their catalog after massive public outrage from the public. Yes, outrage over sexual exploitation of children. See? It's still possible. (2) Other than a few blinded fans, everyone knows Michael Jackson is a seriously disturbed freak you would have to be insane to leave your child with him alone.

    In Mr. Thomas' world, because "divorce, premarital sex, abortion, homosexuality, group sex (?!), [and] domestic partnerships" are now common, pedophilia can't be far behind. Look Cal, millions of us have children. Most of us love our kids. No loving parent is going to put up with some freak molesting their kids. Really. Don't worry so much Cal. Consenting adults may do things you don't like, but it's their choice and it doesn't affect you. When children are involved, there's no legal consent. It's a different ballgame entirely. I don't care what some obscure English writer I never heard of who's quoted at the end of your piece says. He's a lunatic. So's Michael Jackson. Isn't one of the benefits of strong religious faith supposed to be inner peace and comfort? You wouldn't know it from the constant "end is near" hysteria regularly found in Mr. Thomas' columns.

    Sunday, December 28, 2003

    11-19-03 Column 

  • After two reasonable columns in a row, it was time for Cal Thomas to roll up his sleeves and write a stupid, offensive, bigoted piece of crap and he delivers in a big way!
  • It's strange that in a column claiming marriage was "was established by God as the best arrangement for fallen humanity to organize and protect itself and create and rear children", the writer would then go on to condemn marriage. Ah, the catch is Mr. Thomas condemns marriage between homosexuals. The state of Massachusetts may soon allow such marriages thanks to a recent decision by that state's supreme court. What's the problem with it? Yes, it might be an "affront to tradition and biblical wisdom" but luckily in a secular democracy religious traditions aren't the law. Americans are free to take the lord's name in vain, to not keep the Sabbath holy, and to covet their neighbor's wives.

    Are there any good reasons to ban homosexual marriages? Cal says "even secular sociologists have produced studies showing children need a mother and a father in the home". Brilliant. Apparently Mr. Thomas is unaware unmarried heterosexuals have been raising children for millenia. In fact, most children in this country are NOT being raised by a married couple. And many married couples don't have children. Strangely enough, I suspect most homosexuals aren't going to be producing that many children. I know, it's a real shocker. Many gays manage to make the necessary "arrangements" to have children but that's going to happen regardless of whether gay marriage becomes a reality or not. Mr. Thomas isn't just opposed to gay marriage, he's opposed to gays because of his religious beliefs. The guy lives in fundamentalist fantasy land. To him, showing tolerance and respect for those no different than anyone else other than in their preference for same-sex relationships isn't progress. It means our culture is "unravelling". What an idiot. Look Cal, religious freedom is a two-way street. Your religious beliefs aren't the law, but in return no government can pass a law forcing your church to respect gay marriages. Equal rights under the law is a different story.

    Saturday, December 27, 2003

    11-18-03 Column 

  • Not much to say about this one.
  • Mr. Thomas reminisces about the assassination of JFK. Apparently this was a required assignment for all Op-Ed writers this week. Mr. Thomas is surprisingly generous about the man who remains a liberal icon to this day.

    11-13-03 Column 

  • Interesting column.
  • Mr. Thomas advocates more lenient sentences for non-violent criminal offenders. We "should be focusing on restitution" rather than locking such people up given the fact that "states have become incapable or unwilling to pay the cost of housing record numbers of inmates". Well, when you're right you're right. Only problem is that thanks to Cal's buddies like Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich, it's impossible to have a reasoned debate on such a "hot-button" issue anymore. Democrats have moved farther and farther to the right on this stuff for fear of being painted as "soft on crime" by the GOP. As governor, Clinton had to execute a retarded guy so he (Clinton, not the retarded guy) could get elected president. Clearly it will be up to Republicans to lead the way in this area and I'm not holding my breath.

    Friday, December 26, 2003

    11-11-03 Column 

  • Cal Thomas
  • strays from the Republican reservation! His beloved president restated his commitment to establishing democracy in Iraq and the rest of the Muslim world. Mr. Thomas believes that to be a virtual impossibility as Islam, in his view, is incompatabile with liberty. Is that true? Well, any form of religous fundamentalism is incompatible with democracy and liberty whether that religion is Islam, Christianity, or something else. For example, the majority of Americans want abortions to remain legal. Christian fundamentalists, such as Mr. Thomas, want abortions outlawed based on their religious beliefs. Incompatibility. You don't think the Pilgrims and the Puritans left England so they could vote do you?. What they wanted was to practice strict Calvinism and make everyone else living in the colonies do the same. Read The Scarlet Letter sometime. Americans eventually traded in the "divine right of kings" for "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" so theoretically the same is possible anywhere else. But our move to liberty came from within; it wasn't forced from the outside. Mr. Thomas speaks for a large part of the GOP--its religious base. You know if he's thinking Muslims can't do democracy then they're all thinking it. It follows then that they must all hate squandering billions of dollars (and the lives of our soldiers) on those "heathens". It's vital the Democrats remember this for the 2004 campaign.

    Once in a while Mr. Thomas stumbles across the truth, but he never takes the final step of connecting the dots. Bush and the neoconservatives sold the American people this pipe dream of establishing by force a friendly pro-Israel democracy in Iraq that would ultimately result in a democratic tidal wave sweeping over the Arab world ending the root cause of terrorism: Islamic fundamentalism. Mr. Thomas understands how ridiculous and naive that idea was. Yet he would never question Bush's judgment in going to war in the first place. The inglorious result: thousands of dead and wounded for lies (WMD's, terrorist ties) and fantasies.

    11-06-03 Column 

    Mr. Thomas is all excited about the 2004 elections.  The election of Republican governors in Kentucky and Mississippi (plus Ah-nold in CA) is a harbinger of GOP success next year.  His expert witness? None other than Democrat Senator from Georgia Zell Miller.  Now Miller is obviously no longer a Democrat for whatever reason but as he's leaving the Senate and can afford to burn his bridges I suspect there's something more going on to his apostasy than his belief Bush's "fabulous" job.  As to the larger point, do the GOP gubernatorial victories herald "a bigger blowout than Ronald Reagan's 1984 reelection sweep"? Well, looking at the whole picture helps answer that.  Democrats won elections in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and won the governorship of (surpise!) of Louisiana too.  Looks to me like all we can take from the 2003 elections is that the south keeps getting more and more Republican, while the Democrats may be gaining strength in the northern industrial (and more populous) states.  No big surpise and a long way from 1984 redux.    

    To me, the important thing to take from this column is that Republicans are overconfident. Not the ones in the White House, but their hard-core supporters. Check out the approval ratings sometime for Reagan in November 1983, Bush Sr. in November 1987, and Clinton in November 1996. If you had used those polls as a guide for predicting the subsequent year's election result you would have been 0 for 3. Nobody has any idea what will happen in November 2004. But the people who think they do have more of a chance of being wrong than those who don't.

    11-04-03 Column 

    Former Fox News producer Charlie Reina posted a memo on the web proving "higher-ups at Fox compose a daily memo to the staff, ordering them to slant news coverage to the right." This is no big deal to Mr. Thomas, a Fox News employee, because he admits Fox is conservative. He pats himself on the back for suggesting years ago, before the blessed birth of Fox News, that there was a market for conservative "news". Those poor conservatives, a previously ignored demographic. Of course they were an ignored demographic! Why would respectable journalists try to slant coverage towards any part of the political spectrum? So now we get the disrespectable Fox News. Yeah, right-wingers flock to it because they get to hear what they want to hear (and disregard the rest). If you just set forth the details of Bush's disastrous economic and foreigh policies, it's obvious he's a "miserable failure". That's probably why Cal thinks the networks are liberal. The truth hurts. (Though the networks bend over backwards to sugarcoat or bury the obvious). Fox News has to lie and distort the record to please it's "demographic". Despite what Mr. Thomas would have you believe, there's another ignored demographic out there: Liberals! We want our shows too, and if they were out there (and were any good), Cal might be surprised by how big their ratings would be. No boring NPR-droning. No mewling Alan Colmeses. Honest-to-goodness ballsy in-your-face liberals. Just give us the truth. Oh yeah. It's coming Cal.

    10-30-03 Column 

    Cal Thomas demonstrates his mastery of economics here through a simple syllogism: 1) Bush cut taxes. 2) The economy is growing. 3) Therefore, tax cuts have produced an economic recovery. Well, Bush has been cutting taxes for the rich for his entire term, plus he's had three years of wild, drunken deficit spending, and he's been financing a war of late. And don't forget historically low interest rates. Here's the real economic formula: Unlimited government spending creates economic growth. It's classic Keynesian theory. That's never been in doubt. The real questions are is the growth sustainable? Do the deficits imperil long-term economic growth? Are massive tax breaks for the upper income brackets the best way to create jobs and growth? Of course Mr. Thomas ignores those questions. Just like his beloved president. Those who genuflect at the altar of tax cuts for the rich as a panacea for everything never mention that Clinton RAISED income taxes on the rich. All we got from that was unprecented peacetime prosperity and, oh yeah, JOBS! That last part seems to be missing from the "Bush boom". Oh, and don't forget the surpluses we used to have. A respected economist like Paul Krugman can toss out all kinds of numbers and formulas, plus actual insight, to explain how supply-side econimis is a gigantic fraud. I only took a few economics courses in college so I know just enough to know Cal is full of it. Bush cut taxes on the rich because he wanted to, pure and simple. He planned to do it in economic good times. He did it during a recession. He did it again during a recovery. In wartime and in peacetime. Does that make any sense?

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