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Grateful and Orthodoxy . . . a Charles Shaughnessy blog

Grateful . . . . and 

I do not have a photo this time because the object of my gratitude is too modest and camera shy and she would kill me if I were to put one up. The gratitude is, however, in no way mitigated by this lack of pictoral representation! Janelle not only instigated this amazing contest, she has tirelessly and expertly steered it forward until it has taken on a scale and relevance that none of us predicted. I am so grateful for her support and work in all things “ Charlie”, but this one takes the cake!! Thanks, Janelle, I am so grateful.…and now on to something you know is also dear to me heart….

. . . . Orthodoxy

Hi y’all! Sorry it has been a while . . .

The trouble with an orthodoxy is that you can’t argue with it. Orthodoxy is about “facts” that are unshakeable, unquestionable and absolutely and fundamentally true. The trouble with the truth is that it can change. The world was once flat. That was the accepted truth. Anyone who disputed it was either crazy, ignorant or ungodly. Then science discovered that it was not flat but round, and the “truth” changed. The new truth was universally demonstrable as soon as a human sailed off to the east and came back from the west. When another “truth”, that the sun moved around the earth, was challenged by scientists, it was not so easily demonstrated for all to see. The Church found this new notion blasphemous and clung to its old “truth,” persecuting any who dared disagree. Even though we now know that the church’s stance was erroneous, at the time it was an unassailable orthodoxy. Science and human knowledge have always been the enemies of orthodoxy, because science is the means by which the curious human discovers new facts about his world, perpetually overturning the previous paradigm. This fits perfectly into the church’s story of Adam and Eve. Betrayed by their curiosity (and a snake,) they ate from the tree of knowledge and learnt stuff. Science was born in direct conflict with God’s word. Any fundamentalism is built on orthodoxy. By its very nature it must deny science and knowledge and instead cling to the old established truths that sprung originally from the mind, tongue or brain of some revered being, real or imagined. Thus the fundamental orthodoxies of the Christian Right, the Catholic Church, the Taliban or Al Quaeda are more or less the same. They are inspired by the teachings of a prophet or god and brook no argument, question or deviation. The orthodoxy is paramount and any intrusive “facts” that offer any counterpoint whatsoever must be denied, ignored or twisted to suit the original truth. To the fundamentalist, the 14th. century navigator must have gotten lost, lied or was borne along on the breath of the Devil. The fact that the earth was flat was indisputable.

We have the same kind of blind orthodoxies in our culture today. We hear orthodoxies that our President was not born on American soil, despite written, signed proof that he was. We hear that women’s bodies naturally reject the sperm of a rapist and that this country was founded as a Christian nation. Despite the evidence in front of their eyes and microscopes, the fundamentalists will not swerve from their beliefs. When a group of fundamentalists flew a plane into the twin towers on 9/ 11 they did so, convinced in their orthodoxy, that they were doing God’s work by destroying the unbeliever. When another group of fundamentalists blow up a women’s clinic they believe the same. In fact they both shout “God is great!” as they commit their ungodly acts of violence with the same clear-eyed, ecstasy of the fundamentalist martyr. What makes me very nervous at this point in our history is that a growing number of Americans, dulled by an inane addiction to mindless entertainment like Reality TV, too lazy to employ any critical thinking about anything and willing to let others do all their thinking and deciding for them, are happy to exchange scientifically supportable facts to be replaced by dogma, propaganda and rumor. We have stepped on the brakes of progress and seem determined to run the clock of our civilization back a few hundred years in terms of social justice, women’s and minority rights, religion and debate. The Tea Party, whose manifesto reads almost word for word like that of the Taliban in terms of a zealous adherence to an unshakeable orthodoxy have already dragged many reasonable Republicans into their madness and are intent on doing the same for the country. With an imagined history of America and perverted interpretation of the Constitution, these fundamentalists are taking advantage of the destabilizing forces at work in our economy and society to bring about an America as foreign and corrupted as the Taliban hope to do in Afghanistan. America has always been proud of its scientific, secular outlook. It was born out of the age of reason, not the Middle Ages. 

In conclusion let me remind you all of what John Adams signed his name to in the preamble to the Treaty of Tripoli in 1797:

"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion. . . .”

additional comments made by Charles Shaughnessy on 
Charles Shaughnessy30 August, 2012 13:01
30 August, 2012 11:07
01 September, 2012 14:15
02 September, 2012 13:03
02 September, 2012 13:03


  1. Truth is very simple and never changes. It holds no bias or opinion, only love for all things. It is only through our own selfish egos that we cling to beliefs such as religion, philosophy, party or creeds. Or as Buddha stated, “There is self and there is Truth; where self is, Truth is not; where Truth is, self is not.”

    I do not agree with you often with regard to your politics, but I have enjoyed you for many years and find you to be one of the handsomest men on television. You do a lot of great things for others which must be acknowledged (body/spirit). We may disagree philosophically, I mean really disagree, but I wish you well. This is me being less selfish and egotistical and more accepting and considerate toward those I do not agree. Have a love filled day.

  2. I love you Charlie and although I disagree with many of your writings, I choose to be very open minded and hear all sides whether they align with mine or not. I am at an age that discovery is a constant in dwellings of my mind & heart. That being said, it seems, and correct me if I'm wrong, that you would label everyone that disagrees with you a Fundamentalist. You sure point out a lot of examples of fundamentalism in your post, none of which you seem to agree with. Is there anyone you disagree with that you wouldn't call a Fundamentalist? Also, I didn't quit get your reference to Adam & Eve and them being a story given to us by the church. The story of Adam & Eve comes from the Bible, which many(not all) churches deem "The Word of God". There are many churches, not all of which believe in the God of the Bible, or even that the Bible is the inspired Word of God.

    Please, understand, I'm not writing this to argue.I started reading your blog because I was a BIG fan of your work as an actor. I continued following your blog because, although I disagree with much you say, I respect you as a human being and respect what you have to say. There is not a single person in this world that I can gain knowledge from in one way or another, so I choose to be open minded for change or at the least understanding.

    Thank you for giving us all a platform to share our thoughts.


  3. Charlie, we've had the theological discussions so many times over the years, so you know where I stand. I'm an Evangelical with a BS in Human Biochemistry, who has dissected a and science go hand in hand for me. Science PROVES my faith. Were there times in history when "religious leaders" believed things that weren't Scriptural, and they turned it into "church beliefs", such as a flat earth...of course. It seems though, that you are taking one example and extrapolating it to mean 'therefore all religious beliefs are unfounded'. The more complex and sophisticated our scientific research materials become, the more it PROVES the Bible, or at the very least, proves Intelligent Design. BTW, Adam and Eve did NOT eat from the Tree of Knowledge(thereby bringing knowledge and education in the world to be at odds with faith)...they ate from the Tree of the KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL, which brought evil in to the world(to be at odds with good)...which then becomes the main theme of the Bible. It has nothing to do with science or knowledge or education.
    As for Todd Akin's asinine that really fair to say we "learned" that rapists can't impregnate women? Did you not see/hear/read the disgust and outrage from people on the right, asking that he drop out of the race? Or did you only choose to hear the few who defended him(and they really weren't defending WHAT he said as much as his right to stay in the race and let the people of MO decide). Again, you took one extreme example and extrapolated it to fit your agenda! And every election cycle, Democrats dust off the "War on Women Card" and lay it on the table, right next to the new but well-used "Race Card". People aren't listening anymore. They know abortion isn't going anywhere, so they're not going to get all worked up over it AGAIN this time. They know that disagreeing with Obama's policies doesn't make you a racist, and that if Obama loses it won't mean that we've gone back to the days of "White only" drinking fountains. The memes are starting to sound like melodrama, probably the same as you hear when people on the "right" talk about "Socialism" I do understand that. It just makes me sick that with all that's going on in our economy...we are talking about getting free birth control. Seriously???

  4. Charlie…I’m going to focus on the Orthodoxy question, because that’s sort of up my alley as an historian who focuses on religious history. “Blind orthodoxies,” as you call them, are nothing new—to New England Puritans, orthodoxy meant you believe the same way they do, or else you would be punished—exiled, hung, pressed to death, etc. (those who dared to differ, suffered…kind of resembles some of the perspectives of the liberals today who preach tolerance yet want to boycott companies whose owners express different political and social views than their own). In order to vote, you had to be a church member (which was a more elaborate process than mere confirmation)—so those “orthodox” Puritans wanted to limit suffrage to those who they thought were worthy of the honor (and who would support their candidates for office). Yet the New England town meeting, where these Puritans exercised their rights, served as an example of democracy in action.

    Personally, I think it’s stupid for people to bomb abortion clinics in the name of preserving life. But I also think it’s ludicrous for people to lump all members of a political party into one group (e.g., Tea Partiers) just because a minority faction within a party hold extremist views. Fifty years ago, would you have called all Democrats racists because Democratic Governor George Wallace blocked an African American student from entering the University of Alabama? Would you have considered all Republicans to be war mongers because Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater supported the concept of the use of nuclear force to suppress the insurgents in Vietnam? The answer should be no to both, and it should be “NO!” to considering all Republicans to be Tea Partiers who want to roll back women’s rights to the Stone Age and think that all Republicans are out to destroy society. Yes, there are extremists in both political parties, but somehow the extremists in the left are viewed as “progressive” while the ones on the right are viewed as doctrinaire, fundamentalist, evil, etc.

    By the way…nice reference to the Treaty of Tripoli. However, it’s taken out of context--not only did Article 11 state that the United States was not founded on the Christian religion, but it also indicated that neither the Christian faith nor the Muslim faith were superior to the other. Furthermore, the treaty stated, “it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.” This obviously did not hold true, as in March 2011 President Barack Obama announced that the United States had intervened military in Libya to try to destabilize Gadhafi’s regime. Personally, I still prefer Washington’s statements in his Farewell Address that the nation should steer clear of foreign entanglements and his warnings about the evils of political parties and how they were destroying the nation.

    Finally, orthodoxy has nothing to do with fact. It’s all about adhering to accepted or traditional faiths and religious beliefs.

    Now I have to figure out how a human sailed off to the east and came back from the west…because all of the voyages of exploration I have learned about headed in the opposite direction. That 14th century navigator must have really gotten lost after all…

  5. Good to have you back blogging again! Was beginning to wonder... ;-) Hope everyone had a wonderful summer. Thank you Janelle for all your hard work! The contest has been fun as well as enlightening. Enjoyed looking at everyone's photos they had to share. Folks had some great ones and many that nearly bring tears to me eyes.

    Back to the blog.. I couldn't agree with you more. Also, i admire your passion about it even though the majority may not agree. Seems Charlie is clearly hoping for some changes in these areas that seem unjust and as a society we "Do" need to work on. And that takes Love! I'm also in appreciation of the the way the first two ladies that commented here were so respectful with their opinions.

    Thinking that my open minded ideas (although i may be a heathen) are largely why liberal views seem so appealing. Pride myself on the foundations of America as a free nation. Freedom of choices and ideas. Unfortunately religions do tend to ground or limit us to certain choices or ideas. I wish this were not the case but seems the way of mankind's tradition. Worse even; thinking there is so much pressure for us to continue on family traditions out of love and loyalty. Also, love and loyalty or obligation to the Lord as well make it even harder on folks. Seems to me, some folks purposely turn a blind eye to certain views because of religion. And who i am to say this is the wrong way. But as a non religious person: just seems to me tolerance and mutual respect to try and understand others is the key to getting along. We all know religions has spawned wars for centuries. As Rodney King (I think) once said; "Can't we all just get along!" Sounds good to me! Despite our different opinions and ideas. And much to the help of the internet cause i am so grounded, seems we are all VERY much alike. Although we don't always like to admit it.

    PS Great to be back!

  6. Me again Margaret! Forgot to add.. Think we are living in an rough or tough era with all these technological and scientific advances. This is not going to get any easier as time marches on. More and more of our questions are being answer and it is bound to make us question some things. Also encourage us to take a long hard look at ourselves. Advances in space exploration etc even making the lines between science and religion even more blurry. We need to find a way to incorporate or help the two get together. Can't one believe both scientific facts and In "God" ? I hear many folks say that the magnification of the universe only helps to prove to them the existence of "God". Course i am of the opposite view. Is amazing to me that we can view the same thing but have such oppose opinion. Just proves to me that folks simply see things differently. This is not going to get any easier as time marches on. Is worrisome of an all out war or more division of "sides". Which is just not what we need. No matter if the Bible or Koran or Gandhi says we are "Right" or not.
    Makes me think of those old 2 am movies with some guy stumbling onto an island of Indians with a lighter or flashlight in his pocket. Pulling it out and the Indians think he is some kind of magic man or God to have such possessions. Would be easy to find a Godlike influence if nowadays something landed with vast technology that we couldn't understand. As humans i feel there is like a need to look for God and that is great and normal. But, shouldn't we worry over one another tell he shows up or shows himself? Wouldn't he want us to if he loves us all? Just and opinion!! Sorry guys if i am rambling.

  7. Oh... a new blog!.. I'm getting the dictionary! Do you really speak using such big intellectual words?.. Oy.. I'm so out of my league here.
    I'm going to touch on one thing before I start absorbing everyone elses input. I don't think the Truth changes.. just the peoples understanding of the truth. The earth never really was flat.. but it took time realize it. The truth is out there, and WHAT people believe it to be, makes all the difference. Some things are indisputable with Science, and other things are opinionated with beliefs. Truth still.. I don't think it changes.. But, how can you tell what really is the truth? Sometimes you can't.. then we can only assume.. Some truths, we may never know until the end of our existence, revealed to us by what brought us here in the first place. (Faith is much more difficult truth to pinpoint, because everyone is free to chose what it may be).. Sometimes there is more than one truth involved and that makes things complicated.
    I'm re-reading what you've said and what others have written, wondering where this is going... Just throwing in my 2 cents.. not sure if I'll have any more to contribute.. I'll have to wait and see.. PS.. you are soo sweet to mention Janelle with such approbation. (dictionary! I hope it was said in the right context.;)

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  8. Truth is a funny word, a lot like the word love. Love means different things to different people and depending on many different relationships. What is the truth? As someone studying to be a counselor, truth is subjective. Someone can say they had a troubled childhood. That they weren't cared about. But what is the truth? To them having a trouble childhood is the truth, but that may or may not be so. Our perspectives change over the years. Growing up I thought my mom was the best cook ever, but as I have aged I realize her cooking isn't as good anymore. Has my mom lost her cooking ability or has my perspective changed or my taste buds (lol)? Who knows, maybe a little of both.

    As a Christian and a believer of the God of the Bible, I believe that God has each of us on a path...a journey in life. I don't believe it is the same for each and every one of us, nor do I believe that we all have the same thought processes. I believe that God is the only truth and that there is no other truth in life. Just revolving, learning, absorbing all there is in this great universe. I don't believe any of us know total truth nor will we. As we learn from history, things can change slowly or quickly. We read a text book in school and we believe what it says because our teachers tells us that is the truth. We, as Christians, sometimes interpret the Bible the way we were brought up to believe. We are all somewhat a product of our heritage, our environment and the people that have been a part of our journey. We believe TV...we believe newspapers.....we believe our parents.....we believe our teachers....and we believe our politicians. Is any of what we have learned over the years or hear today the truth? We believe it's the truth because 1) we want to & 2) because our minds are so closed to the possibilities of not knowing. We hate it when we don't know something. We hate it when we think we are wrong. We hate it when someone else challenges us on what we think. My 7 year old grandson loves to tell me I'm wrong because in his mind he knows everything there is. And you know what....he does.

    We are all so close to the knowing, but we can't stand it when we are questioned or challenged about our beliefs, feelings or journey. In my mind, I had a ideal or opinion that I wanted to get across to everyone about how I think, feel and discover. My truth is that I know what I am trying to say. Your truth is what you hear when you read my words. Both are truths and neither are truths.

    The God that I follow...that I walk with, see and speak to everyday tells me two main things daily. One, that I am His beloved and two, that everyone else is His beloved. If we are all His beloved, how can I not listen, hear and respect everyone's journey? We can all learn from each other, but we first have to open our ears, our hearts and the deepest parts of ourselves to our brothers and sisters.

  9. So glad you are back blogging! I have missed reading your blog as they are always so thought provoking.
    I believe that the truth doesn't change, but people can use the truth and twist it to suit their own purpose. That's what the fundamentalists do on all sides, and hence you have groups like Al Quaeda and the Taliban, and, to a lesser extent, the Tea Party. All are very dangerous in their own way and all twist the truth to suit them. They are even more dangerous when people get caught upin their rhetoric and blindly follow them, usually without much thought.
    I think the Tea Party will be the ruin of the Republican Party if it is allowed to get more powerful. Already, more liberal Republicans have a hard time and constantly have to back down and bow to the Tea Party to get anywhere. It is incredible to me that they garner so much support when they are trying to take away so much of what we have gained in the past fifty years.
    Our country has always been a forward thinking progressive country leading the world in scientific break throughs, political freedoms and still managing to be a Christian country. All these make this country great and I would hate to see them slip away.
    Sharon Hallett

  10. By the time you read this, I`ll be in the hospital, diagnosed with “bleeding eyes after reading too many difficult words-syndrome”! I`ve read your blogs for a couple of years now and even used some of them teaching students, but I have never responded to one before. I don`t know enough about American politics,(not smart enough I`m afraid…I thought the Tea Party meant a small gathering of housewifes enjoying Earl Grey and scones!) and I really don`t feel I have the right to speak my opinion, seeing as I`m not an American!
    I watch the news about your upcoming election, hear the speeches made by the candidates, and think: (Americans will hate me for saying this) It`s like a circus! Compared to elections in my own country, it really is. Still, interesting to watch, and sometimes, blogs like yours are quite educational. At least this blog made a pretty interesting conversation in the office today, and made more than one teacher late for class! (The students thank you!)
    Now, truth…I knew I couldn`t love any child as much as I loved my first son, until I had two more. The truth changed. I knew I was afraid of death, until I held the hand of a loved one when she died. The truth changed. I was sure my country wouldn`t suffer a terrorist attack, until it happened right in front of my eyes. My truth changed. I know my husband will forget our next anniversary …the truth is yet to be discovered.
    There is only one truth I know for certain! If you haven`t already bought Janelle flowers, Mr. Shaughnessy, you should!
    Thank you for blogging again. I may not comment on one ever again, unless lightning strikes and I suddenly become a genius, but I will keep reading them!

    1. Janne... can i adore you any more! you meshugenah of a women! I'm so glad we've become friends, I get to sit next to you at the Geneva convention. I like what you've said about truth. But the way I look at it though, is that your 'understanding' of the truth changed.. not truth itself.. it was always there, you just needed to find out what was possible. The number of your children changed, and your ability to love grew, but the truth remained the same. Just because you didn't know you could possibly love another child as much as your first, doesn't mean that you couldn't, the truth was, that you could, and now you have. I hope you don't mind my opinion on your post. I care very much for your friendship.. thank you for being you.. nan (with the lovely negative sign for my profile pic. :p)

  11. Janne--Your characterization of American politics as a circus is quite accurate. The fact that one of the political parties has an elephant as its mascot (the Republicans) certainly lends credence to the idea of all of this being a circus (the Democrats have a donkey, but I’m not too sure about donkeys being involved in circuses). We hold big parties (conventions) every four years in which the political parties celebrate the selection of a candidate after months (or, in some cases, years) of a variety of candidates from across the political spectrum deciding they would like to be president, and the people of each party choose the nominee from caucuses (a few people meet in one room to decide who gets their support) or from primaries (a bunch of people go to the polls and vote to decide who gets their support). That's a rather simplistic explanation, but essentially that is what happens, at least for the two major parties. The campaigning includes name-calling, mudslinging, personal attacks on family members, questions about the candidates' ethics and's a wonder anybody wants to run for president.

    At the end of the process, we elect someone who immediately will be despised by a portion of the population because he’s not of their political party (although some will continue to insist it’s because of his ethnic background, race, wealth, education, family background, etc.). Even the most popular presidents had their opponents and detractors, because not everyone thinks alike (thank goodness, or life would be awfully boring). Regardless of who gets elected, the system works, and honestly—the President cannot do much without the approval of Congress. He cannot declare war; he cannot spend money; he cannot negotiate treaties. He can, however, issue executive orders to bypass Congress and suspend the writ of habeas corpus, both of which the current president have done.

    I know that the American political system looks odd to people from other countries—that’s one of the quirks of the “democratic” process. We’re a republic, and political disagreements date back to colonial times. But the system has continued to work, even during times of internal unrest (the American Civil War) and economic crises (the Great Depression). I’m sure if the Founding Fathers came back to see how it’s working today they would be pretty impressed (although both Washington and Madison probably would be smirking, because they both warned about the dangers of political parties).

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  12. If you really want to be challenged, check out what you can about Relativity, quantum mechanics and the Higgs Boson particle. It gets VERY freaky. The truth is...there is actually no such thing as truth!!! But then, of course, that's not true either...........

    1. LOL! This Stuff is Just TOO AWESOME!! Love it!

    2. So then.. Does this mean we can't tell the truth or something but the truth so help us? Well that explains politicians..
      The God particle is so freaky!
      Seems to me that matter & energy were some of God's greater creations and not necessarily mankind. But perhaps we are still in the top ten...

    3. There are two positions one can take on truth. That it exists or it does not. And, that is the truth.

    4. Charlie: First, thank you for joining in the conversation--and for waiting until classes started before blogging again. Anyway, there is a reason why I became an historian (besides a love of history) and I didn't get along too well. Quasars to me are a type of television produced by Motorola. Relativity somehow ties in with family history and determining who has the most legitimate claim to the throne during the Wars of the Roses (or which of Queen Victoria's grandchildren were fighting each other during World War I). And I don't even want to hazard a guess at Higgs Boson particle, although I'm sure Wikipedia would give me an explanation (one that might or might not actually be accurate). But I have actually been inside a lunar module (I was smaller back then)—does that count?

      And about truth: "We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness." Jefferson seemed to know what "truth" was when he wrote the Declaration of Independence, and he was a far smarter person than I am. Who am I to question the wisdom of someone who while President fought a war, purchased land, and reduced the deficit? By the way, Jefferson was not a religious man (despite his reference to the Creator in the Declaration); he authored the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom that contributed to the “freedom of religion” part of the 1st amendment (which, by the way, also includes a freedom not to worship).

    5. Oh yes, it can get freaky! The truth is out there......somewhere!

    6. Ooyyy... the truth is, I didn`t really want to be challanged, but I ended up spending hours on the computer reading about this anyway.
      The truth is...there is actually no such thing as truth!!! But then, of course, that's not true either........... Mr. Shaughnessy, sometimes you go way overboard on the hyperbole (yes, I`ve learned a fancy word as well). The truth now seems to be a topic too big for me, and I`ve desided to stick to reality, my reality. I have work to be done,a house to clean, kids to feed, a cats funural to go to,and a meeting to attend in less than five minutes! The truth may be out there, but I won`t be looking for it! Not to day anyway!

    7. Higgs-Boson is fascinating, and does NOT negate the existence of God at all. Yes, we *may have*(emphasis on *may*) something, thanks to increasingly sensitive technology. I have done intricate cross-stitch projects. Suppose some uber-nerd comes along and takes the whole thing apart, then uses high-tech gadgets to figure out which thread was the very first one I placed, then analyzes that thread to figure out where it came from and how it was made, etc etc and he gets to the original minute "cell" of thread that started the whole thing? Cool,huh? Great technology that we can use to improve our lives in other ways, no? Great....but where did the particle come from? And does that mean that I don't exist, because the final product can be broken down? Nooooo!
      THAT....does not negate the existence of God!! How did the Higg's-Boson particle get there in the first place? We can create microscopes that find the original atomic particle....doesn't answer the question of WHY we are here. The Bible says "In the beginning, God....". It doesn't say how He did it, which particles He used, what they all look like at their basic level. As I said...finding this particle doesn't make me question my faith, it STRENGTHENS it. Dissecting that cadaver and seeing how the intricate parts all work together in harmony made me believe MORE.
      And Jeannie...God bless you. Physics was the one and only "C" I ever received in my life and I was thankful for it(and only because my lab partner was an engineering student...he did the work, I wrote the reports). Physics says: You can determine the weight of this rock by measuring the amount of water displaced in a a beaker. Jo says:Why the H would you want to do that?! There's a scale right over there on the shelf! You handle the physics, I'll handle the biology...and together we'll help Charlie see that science and faith aren't mutually exclusive.
      Sermon over, Amen, go get coffee in the foyer. And yes...I did forget to say earlier, so excited to see you blogging again! xoxo

  13. I'm sitting on a log, in the middle of the Hundred Acre Woods.. tapping my temple... "Think, think... think... Alright, Mr. Shaughnessy.. don't know how far I can get, but I will check it out. :)

  14. I hear you Nan! Where is Jeannie when we need her? We will literally knock ourselves out trying to study all the info there on those topics. But i do have one question. Hope is not too silly. Here goes.. Beginning to wonder if the old Star Wars movies and books weren't onto something back in good ole 1977. Do you guys think there could in fact be this "one all power force that controls everything"? And somehow it was there or born somehow "this force" or massive energy. That part i get.. The Big bang. Yes, Insert God here. Or could this massive energy be God or the God we are searching. And that is how we could all be connected to the universe and each other by this unknown energy force thingy. (Insert laugh or eye roll here). Could i tap into it some way and build me a light saber? Power me car maybe so as not to be dependent on foreign oil?

    Anyway i agree with someone said. We obviously still don't have all these answers that we are searching for. But is exciting all the things that have been discovered and the prospects of more ahead.

    1. Roxy, it sounds like you are thinking like a physicists. Physicists for years have been searching for what they call "The Theory of Everything". The idea is to bring all of the laws of physics into one single theory, thus far, no such luck, but the quest continues. Please note, in scientific terms, theory does not mean just a random idea or thought, but rather it is "a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment." Thus, for example, the Theory of Relativity is not just an idea, but rather it is an observation that has been substantiated by many experiments.

  15. HI Charlie,

    It was very kind of you to take the time to recognize Janelle for her contribution to your “Photo Gratitude Contest” as well as for all she does for everything ‘Charlie’. Her modesty and shyness to the camera explains the difficulty in finding her picture on the web. Nevertheless, since she might have killed you had you provided one, I am glad you didn’t. Her dedicated work has definitely been crucial in making all of this a success. I am sure I speak for everyone when I add my thanks to her as well.

    Although I did not think I would have time to comment on this particular blog, you had to go and mention Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, and the Higgs Boson particle. I agree! These topics are “VERY freaky” and yet VERY amazing and interesting to study. The wireless technology that we currently enjoy on such a grand level, is based on the principles of Quantum Mechanics in spite of the common idea among physicists that nobody ‘really’ understands it. I cannot seem to stay away from a discussion that involves physics/science and truth, so here it goes.

    The word Orthodox comes from the Greek “orthos” which means ‘right’ or ‘true’ and “doxa” which means ‘belief’ or ‘opinion’. By definition, then, it means the truth according to one’s belief or opinion and as such is subject to change as one’s discovery of new truth emerges. Unfortunately this has often caused a chasm between science and religion. Throughout history it is apparent that there have been many times when the orthodoxy of the time has been the cause of such chasm. For example, in the early 17th century Johannes Kepler discovered through rigorous mathematical calculations that contrary to the accepted dogma of the day the planets rotated around the sun in an elliptical orbit with the sun at one foci. The accepted truth at the time was that only circular orbits were perfect and godly. Thus, Kepler’s ideas were rejected by many. Today we see evidence of such chasms when some religions reject new scientific discovery such as evolution or the age of the earth.

    Of course, science has its own responsibility in the matter. Too many in science reject that just as there are physical laws that govern the universe, there may be spiritual laws as well. What they cannot see or prove CANNOT be true! Yet, maybe there are simply spiritual truths that are beyond the comprehension of man--perhaps to teach such truths would be similar to trying to explain calculus to a one-year-old who has not yet even learned to count. Certainly to such a youngster the beauty and power of calculus is incomprehensible, but it does not make it any less real or true to those of us who have learned to harness its power.

    Ultimately, the goal of both science and religion should be one in the same. To both, the quest should be to seek truth in whatever form it may be found. That, of course, would require that there be absolute truths for both to seek, which I believe there is. I agree with Nan that although orthodoxy may ebb and sway, truth remains constant. Whether that truth comes through science or through spiritual confirmations I believe in seeking truth wherever it may be found.

    1. I wrote my comment last night and this morning after it was posted I reread it only to find that I made a huge error. I don't know what I was thinking. I promise I wasn't drunk, however I may have been exhausted. Our wireless technology is not based on Quantum Mechanics; it is based on Maxwell's equations for electricity and magnetism. Quantum, on the other hand, has applications in MRIs, lasers, and microchips, with current research in such applications as Quantum computers which will process information exponentially faster than classical computers. What an exciting time to be alive!

    2. Jeannie, my reply(up above this on the thread) was supposed to be a reply to you!! Sorry about that!

  16. Wow.... Jeannie can i adore YOU any more.. and Roxana,. my good friend... (I like everyone here --My name as been mentioned twice!! ;)) Yesterday I felt maybe I could respond to Roxy, and wasted 2 hours trying to write something. My husband finally said, 'let it go.. and see what happens'... I took his advice and good things came along.
    Jeannie, much of what you said, was what I was trying to say,. as well has my little, stuffed bear of a brain could say it. It was impossible for me,. but for you? Having more knowledge of things and truths, you were able to put quite it eloquently. Thank you for enlightening me today. (even though my brain may have just exploded... picking up the stuffing now and putting it back in my head.. :))
    And Mr. Shaughnessy, I've already reserved the DVD at the library made by NOVA about Quantum Physics.. but as Jeannie put it.. teaching a one year old calculus is difficult. I'm a willing student, though, and hopefully will learn something. (another hour + 6 cents).

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    1. Oh Roxy! Wonderful.. I hope it will be a successful journey.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  18. Wow, there are so many things I want to respond to, but I will have to write a book to do so! So, I will leave the politics out of it for now ( probably a waste of breath, anyway,) and address the science/religion stuff. You will not find anywhere in my posts anything to say that science and religion are mutually exclusive. They are quite definitely NOT, In fact, I have met many internationally respected physicists and many are very spiritual, even religious, and a lot believe in the Christian God. What IS mutually exclusive is Orthodox belief and science, simply because one is dynamic and constantly evolving as new information is discovered, the other is conservative by nature and finds any reversal, re-interpretation or change in its established position anathema. The "God's Word" that was in direct conflict with the "knowledge" gained by Adam and Eve, was part of a particular "belief" system that produced the judaeo/christian belief system. THAT is a particular Orthodoxy and should not be confused with religion in general or God as interpreted in countless ways across countless religions.

    1. Well Charlie, I wish you would write a book. If you did, I promise I would buy it. Will you do us all a favor, though, and provide an audio version by the author. I see (or hear) a best seller. ;-)

  19. ...and while we are on the subject of relative truth, today is the day that Hell experiences a blizzard. A commentator from Fox News...yes, THAT Fox News....speaks about Paul Ryan's convention speech as "deceiving" and refers to "the mountain of cow dung coming out of his mouth." I'm sure the Republicans among you will play the tit for tat game, but saying he went to church three time in May, when Obama really went two is hardly comparable to the blatant falsehoods, exaggerations and lies this man spewed forth in front of the American people. And this after another bunch of Tea Party yahoos shouted down an accented delegate from Puerto Rico with taunts of "USA! USA!" and the chairman did little to stop it nor were they ejected from the Hall. Do these people have no shame?

    1. Charlie--I've been watching the convention on PBS, so I don't get the biased interpretations of either Fox News or MSNBC (which seems to think that there aren't any women or minorities at the Republican National Convention...I guess they missed Condoleeza Rice's speech last night). I've looked at Ryan's budget plan, and I've tried looking for Obama's budget plan (still looking)...and draconian is the term that comes to mind. Paul Ryan did make a stirring speech, but I’ve sort of become immune to speeches that have a lot of rhetoric and not much substance (mainly because I hear them all the time when administrators address the faculty).

      Honestly, I was more impressed by Ann Romney's speech and Rice's. I also have been reading the "lies and falsehoods" links my liberal friends have posted to get a perspective of both sides--but, so far, none of them have been able to show me why Obama has earned a second term. That doesn't necessarily mean that I will vote for Romney; there are 3rd party candidates, and I have voted for them before (even if it essentially means that it's a wasted vote). I may be a registered Republican, but I don’t vote the party line (which I guess really makes me an Independent, but then I couldn’t vote in the primaries).

      About those yahoos who don't realize Puerto Rico is part of the United States--it's a statement on the declining quality of education more than anything. I have students who are geographically illiterate and probably think Alaska and Hawaii are next to each other because that's where they are placed in little boxes on a wall map. I do point out to them that Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens and are not immigrants (like you)--and thus are not subject to any immigration restrictions. Some get it; some don't. At home, I'm still trying to convince someone who grew up in a bilingual household that it's okay to have ballots in multiple languages so that everyone who is qualified to vote has the ability to do so (and her ancestors arrived in the early 1700s, so it’s not like my maternal grandparents were recent immigrants). Some of the Tea Partiers do have good ideas for economic change, but the good ones are drowned out by the idiots who show their ignorance, like the ones who stapled tea bags to their hats, trying (and failing) to draw a parallel to the Boston Tea Party, or the ones who don’t think Puerto Ricans—or any Latino/as—are U.S. citizens.

      And echoing Jeannie—I would buy your book, too, and I would read it. Print version is fine with me. I will hear your voice anyway while reading it... :-)

    2. Charlie I´m not up to this blog at present, I just read and observe this time.
      But I would like you to go to my timeline on FB and red the article I posted there.

    3. Unfortunately for ALL of us, politics are full of deception. I do not know which party does it more often, nor do I know which does it more blatantly. To me it seems like the Republicans, but to them, it probably appears to be the Democrats. Regardless of which party is literally more guilty, I hold the Republicans more so. Biased? Perhaps, but they are the self-professed righteous party. They are the party with God at their lead. They are the party from which all good things flow. If this is their claim, then they should be held to a higher standard.

      Paul Ryan's speech may have been perfect to excite the base, but it was full of deception. Now there is a conservative article saying that the fact checkers were wrong due to their bias in favor of Obama. Although I know Charlie doesn't typically want us to post links, I think he might be interested in this one so I'll post it. To me it was literally laughable--LAUGHABLE, because every point they made did not change the deception one iota. In addition, it is also filled with deception (ie "Ryan didn't suggest Obama was responsible for shutting the plant"). In addition, they didn't even address some of the deceptions--I guess they had no argument for those. Very disappointing indeed!

    4. Jeannie: I agree with the notion that politics is full of deception; it certainly has occurred many times throughout history. But both parties are equally guilty of exaggerating their importance/contributions in this campaign. For Ryan, it’s about the auto plant in Janesville (you would think he would be more aware of what goes on in his home town). For Obama, it’s stating that small business owners didn’t build their businesses; the government did. Now, to defend Obama, the government is indirectly involved through supporting small business loans and printing money at the mint…but really, business owners do the labor and build their businesses, and, in some cases, it might be easier if there were fewer regulations (which means the economy could grow more if the regulations were relaxed or removed).

      And, while we’re talking about religion and politics, it might be perceived that the Republicans have God at their lead, but the Democrats have in the past, too. I seem to remember a Baptist Sunday School teacher in the White House in the late 1970s…and the last time I checked, Jimmy Carter still considered himself a Democrat. Just because the liberal media chooses to mock the Republicans for their piety (and the conservative media views most Democrats as godless) doesn’t mean that both characterizations are accurate.

      Finally, if we’re going to talk about political candidates who seem to have issues with deception, perhaps the Democrats should look at the serial plagiarist who currently presides over the Senate.

  20. Oy....tell Satan to put his gloves and coat away, it's still hot there. Your Fox News(which I do not watch, much to the shock of those who believe that conservatives have blocked every channel BUT Fox) a twist on the real story. Yes, Fox News has a progressive liberal on staff named Sally Kohn, and they asked her to write the liberal response to Ryan's she did, as an op-ed piece. That does NOT translate into "Fox News Skewers at 11". If anything, it is proof that Fox does make an attempt to have other views. So yes, a Fox News opinion piece from their resident progressive hated Ryan's speech. I know...shocking isn't it? Typical of politicians...they tell stories that are half-true, or present facts that can be taken two ways. Politics is ugly business and they get away with it, because we let them. And by the way, CNN has said that the Fox News op-ed piece is incorrect.
    As for the Puerto Rican delegate...I'm trying to learn more. It sounds like perhaps the cheering started and grew, without awareness that they were causing a problem...and the chairman DID come out and put a stop to it. You don't know for sure that they were reacting to her ethnicity, do you? It's pretty typical for those chants to start and build momentum, and drown out a speaker or force them to stop. The fact that she's Latina MAY have been a coincidence. I'll counter with the liberal idiots who hacked Mia Love's wikipedia page on Tuesday night, calling her a whore, a "house N-word", and an Aunt Tom. That actually SOUNDS like real racial issues, not one that could be but we don't know all the facts yet.

  21. Going to speak frankly. I so understand what you are implying when it comes to these kinds of issues in politics. All kidding aside this time. Just feel powerless as what we can do at this point. Which is why i didn't address it the first day and comment. Honestly they think we (far left) are being paranoid and i guess have been trying to convince myself that i was. To soften the blow. Been telling myself "There has been Republicans in the white house before and we are okay." But YES i am scared! Scared you are right Charlie sir! Praying that you and i are being paranoid. Think being surrounded here in the south by Tea Parties, that i had kinda throwing in the towel. thinking what can i do to stop the madness part of propaganda? Seems all too familiar. Not to mention: flashbacks of my own person run ins with devout anti-government groups. KKK, skinheads, area nation, & fanatical Christians who want to take up arms to "get back their country". All this three ring circus stuff is unbelievable sometimes: seems like some crazy alternate reality. There are just too many examples to name: Sarah Palin and can i please see a copy of her educational degrees? She seems so stupid. And to have someone like Donald Trump (whom i assumed was smart)(0r not) sitting national tv telling bull crap about the Presidents birth certificate. WTF! I love freedom of speech but where is the respect? And then for the leader of our country to have to produce it. And that seems all about race to me. What started this ball rolling i mean. Because his Dad is from Kenya. And the Tea Party and their ideas.. Don't even get me started! It seems we have a Long way to go to improvement. With racism is obviously still around. It is so embarrassing. We are spoiled brats who are used to having our way and flaunt our freedom of speech everywhere. Don't know about you guy but i sit making faces at the tv and shaking my head at the downright craziness of it all.
    I know we can't have a democrat in the white house always to please me but agree with Charlie. Is scary to think that the far right or any fringe groups (liberals too) could drag our country down or back in time with their old world views. I don;t want to be embarrassed to be an American. Where is the self respect? And how is the Tea party any better than the Taliban? And what in the heck is with all these damn shootings? Worried our country is going down the crapper slowly. And for the record.. Religion extremist are not the only part of the problem. Mostly is that we all have our little groups and we are all right all the time. And he is right; that they are using the "well the economy needs to be fixed and jobs are needed" to get the Republicans in office. Because they know that is what the American people want to hear. Whether or not they are going to force some hidden (fringe) agenda? idk! I pray not!!.. That we could see the day that American will begin to loose it's freedoms. And oppression and propaganda or a freaking holy war will become our new military defense. Taking over the oil (greed) or siding with Israel or whatever. We know our country leaders have lied & their is corruption a foot. Don't let some hidden ploys of some fringe group try and take our FREE country away from us. Let's stick together no matter what party we belong to! As an American, (not as a democrat) please always look out for her future interests. We will sleep better at night with you guys help, knowing you (Republican Americans) have our interest too. United we stand. Divided we fall!

    PS My heart goes out to the flood victims in Louisiana. That could have been us here. The storms are really something anymore too.
    Now that i have made a fool out of myself yet again!!

  22. I am beginning to hear some real apprehension about the way the country is headed and I sympathize. It is easy to say " Oh, they are all bad. They ALL lie." BUT we have to take responsibility for the future of this country AND the planet by taking a hard, critical look at the FACTS: by which I mean....FACTS. It is one thing to say: " Obama ruined this country." I really have no problem with that as it is an opinion and I can agree or disagree. But when you say that he closed an auto plant in Wisconsin and is against the auto industry, where the indisputable, historical FACT is that the plant closed months before he took office AND he was the one who bailed out the auto industry! I have to take exception and say: NO, THAT is not the same as an opinion and NO both sides do NOT engage in the same level of deception. Remember, in 2004, the Republicans invented a group of "swiftboaters" to claim that Kerry was a coward and liar in Vietnam and not a hero. It was later accepted that they were lying as part of a smear campaign funded by the Koch brothers, but it was too late and Kerry lost the election. THAT is not an opinion. We all know that is true. Now, these same Koch brothers have been released by Citizens United to use their billions once again to indulge in this kind of deception. Paul Ryan's fantasy speech was just the start. In the next two months we will be bombarded by all kinds of lies and stories. Obama blew up the WTC, Obama is a pederast, Obama works for wait. Both sides engage in hyperbole and Spin, yes, but this is entirely different and extremely dangerous. Any of you who took my advice and read "1984" will know what am talking about! BUT all is not lost as long as we believe that we CAN make a difference. To think that Obama COULD have made any more difference than he has in four years is ridiculous, when you remember the disaster he inherited and the Congress dedicated ( and openly so,) to blocking EVERY piece of legislation it can. If he gets four more years, he will be able to complete his plan and you WILL see a stronger, more prosperous, healthier, fairer, happier America.
    Believe it or not, I could see myself voting for a Republican president. I like a lot of what the real Republican values stand for. I liked McCain, mach 1. If he had been running against Kerry in 2004, I might have voted for him as I think his stance against Campaign Finance was the most important thing anyone has stood for in decades and the Democrats were as opposed to it as the Republicans as they wanted Union money. I did NOT like McCain mach 2 as he sold the American people out for his own gain. I did NOT like Dukakis. BUT these people in Tampa last week were NOT those kind of Republicans. I do not recognize them as anyone we have seen before. Ignorant, dishonest, racist, self-serving, extremist and full of hate. No wonder so many decent Republicans are beginning to distance themselves. Obama has always said that he will compromise. The Left wing of his party hate him for it. The Israelis hate him for it. The Arabs hate him for it. The gays hate him for it. The "Public Optioners" hate him for it. If SO many on SO many extremes hate him, then he is probably doing something right. He IS our hope for the future. Do NOT be swayed by lies. Do NOT stay at home. Do NOT lose faith. Do NOT see it as equal. Do NOT let yourselves or the country down.
    It is ALWAYS harder before it gets better. 2008 was a beginning on a long hard road to recovery after eight years of war, poverty, rampant crooks on Wall Street and a failing Auto industry. At least let's have the same eight years to put it right!!

    1. Okay, Charlie, let’s start with the facts (and, if you want, I can provide the citations).

      Fact: In an interview with Matt Lauer in February 2009, when asked about the economy, Barack Obama stated, “If I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s going to be a one-term proposition.”

      Fact: The Democrats controlled both houses of Congress from 2009-2011 (and were voted out because of the lack of “change”). They could have moved forward with legislation, but not all Democrats were united (e.g., blue dog Democrats who opposed the Affordable Care Act).

      Fact: Ryan has presented the American public with a budget plan, as distasteful or draconian as it may be. It’s a plan. It’s not codified. It’s something to talk about and compare with Obama’s plan…the plan of someone who has not had a budget passed since he took office, and the last one was unanimously rejected by both houses of Congress.

      Fact: The swift boat attacks during the 2004 campaign were done by a PAC, not by the Republican National Committee. The recent advertisement blaming Mitt Romney for the death of a worker’s wife (who DID have health insurance) was made by a PAC. The information was a lie (just like the swift boat attacks supposedly were). But has the Democratic National Committee denounced it?

      Fact: You cannot blame Bush for the economic collapse in 2007-2008, just like you cannot solely blame Hoover for the Stock Market Crash and Great Depression in 1929. The economic collapse occurred because of the deregulation of the banking industry and the repeal of the Glass-Stegall Act when Bill Clinton was president; it just took time (just like German reparations after World War I took time to affect the U.S. economy).

      Fact: The Mitch McConnell quote about wanting to make Obama a one-term president (“The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president”) occurred after the Republicans gained control of the House following the 2010 midterm elections. Prior to that, the Democrats controlled both houses—and obviously they were able to pass legislation, as the Affordable Care Act was passed during Obama’s first two years in office.

      Fact: The United States is still holding political prisoners (for lack of a better phrase) at Gitmo, despite Obama signing an executive order on January 22, 2009 that the detention center would be closed within a year.

      Fact: You comment about the “rampant crooks on Wall Street” in 2008. Number of Wall Street prosecutions under Bush—1,300. Number under Obama—0.

      Fact: Congress passes laws, and presidents sign them into law. Obama was a member of Congress when the Bush tax cuts were passed (and when the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress). He was part of the problem that he inherited when he took office; it’s about time he (and his supporters) stopped blaming Bush for what he hasn’t accomplished. By the way, when will these tax cuts become the “Obama tax cuts,” since they're being continued under his watch? You would think he would want to take credit for them if they improved the economy.

      Fact/Opinion: I voted for Obama four years ago. I bought into the “hope and change” rhetoric. I expected great things. Unfortunately, those great things have not happened. What I have seen is a president who will not take responsibility for what has (or has not) happened, who will not admit that he made a mistake with Solyndra, whose Justice Department is more interested in prosecuting baseball players who may have used steroids instead of Wall Street financiers. I have asked many colleagues (who are liberals—try to find a moderate/conservative faculty member on a college campus) to explain to me why I should vote for Obama again, and they haven’t provided me with a single reason other than he’s not a Republican.

      Parting quotes from previous campaigns:
      Ronald Reagan, 1980: Are you better off now than you were four years ago?
      James Carville, 1992: It’s the economy, stupid.

    2. Charlie, these are the same arguments I have used many, many times. These lies are not innocent lies just to get elected. They are dangerous. I would say that I agree with you 100% on what you said, but unfortunately there is one part I do not. You are better than me, because you are still holding on to hope; I am losing it very quickly. Good for you, though! Maybe I can catch it.

    3. Well Said guys!! Thank goodness for those reasonable Republicans. Also thanks for your "wonderful" vote of confidence for everyone. Wishing i had a "way with words" like some of you guys. My writing tends to wander around the tree twice or veer off course before "finally" sitting down underneath it. And sorry guys for all the run on and punctuation mistakes back there.. uh.. was sleepy. Hard to visualize Charlie voting Republican. But then I have voted Republican a time or too. And FYI (And hope this is not disrespectful).. Charlie don't sound British (not that i know very many) He sounds like a die hard American if i ever heard one.

    4. Well as one of the "decent Republicans who left the party", I guess I'll offer my 2 cents(LOL). I'm a fiscally conservative, socially moderate basically no one represents me, and I have to figure out each time who is closest to my beliefs. I also voted for Bill Clinton twice, so I didn't vote the party line, and overlooked things that bothered me because I had to pick the hills on which I was willing to die. And I still do have to choose those hills.
      So...the Ryan Speech. I belong to a message board of people from all over the political spectrum, but most are fiscal conservatives. I'm not the only one who wishes Paul Ryan had chosen a different example of a plant that closed. People are pretty disappointed in how the story was told. And truthfully, he (like Obama and Biden, and Hillary, and Kerry, and...) need to fess up that they were in the Congress that passed this stuff! They're still blaming Bush for stuff that those guys voted for, and now Ryan is insinuating that things he voted for are Obama's fault. I wish he hadn't done it, but at the same time I'll say it "both sides do it". Presidential Candidates who come from Congress, love that the American people don't know that Congress runs the show. They hope no one looks at their voting record.
      Thank you for admitting that you like some of the conservative principles, and for acknowledging that the Dems are as greedy for Union money as the Reps are for corporate(and the Dems take corporate too). BUT...except for your anger about Ryan's speech, what convention were you watching, that you saw people who are"ignorant, dishonest, racist,self-serving, extremist, and full of hate"?! Did you watch on CSpan with no interruptions or commentary, or did you watch MSNBC? I understand that MSNBC did not air most of the minority speakers, and while Susana Martinez was speaking...cut to Chris Matthews interviewing a Latino man who was complaining about the lack of diversity! Isn't that all of those adjectives you just used to describe Republicans? I saw black and Hispanic Republicans...governors, Congresspeople, current candidates in their states. I saw women...successful, savvy and accomplished. Did you see the speech by liberal Democrat Jane Edmonds, who was Massachusetts Secretary of Workforce under Romney? A black woman, giving a speech at the other party's convention, talking about Romney's ability to work with both parties, his genius at being able to pair the right person to the right job, etc etc. I'm betting hardly anyone saw that, but please google it and watch.
      I didn't see hate and racism...I saw a party that was mocked as "dead and irrelevant" 4 yrs ago, rebuilding using the bright stars of the future...very diverse. You all complained that the Republican Party was all old white men, now it's not. I was very impressed.
      As for Obama, I don't see a man of compromise, I see a man who literally locked the Republicans out of the room during the back-room deals for Obamacare. He had control for the first 2 yrs, and had to bribe his own party to get Obamacare passed.
      So yes, I'm voting Romney and feel much better about it now. I am not the only woman who does not buy the "War on Women" business, and it was nice to see women speaking for ME last week. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz(you want to see lying???!!!) and I don't even live on the same planet much less have the same gender. Do I have some things that I disagree with?....yes I do. But they're not the hills on which I will die.

    5. I was a Republican, but right now, I cannot claim to be one anymore! It is no longer the party I knew. The Romney/Ryan ticket scares me!I really fear for the country when I think of it in the hands of the extreme right! I don't know what happened but most politicians put the good of their party ahead of the good of their country! It seems to me, and I'm not an expert,just a regular person who takes an interest in politics, but it seems to me that a lot of Republicans, (not all) will do anything to block whatever the Democrats are trying to do, because they are Democrats, even if it is to the benefit of the country. The Democrats did it as well, but not nearly to the extent it has been done since Obama took office.
      I agree with you, Charlie! President Obama needs another four years to get what he wants to do done. No one can complete their plan in four years! Maybe, when and if the Republicans can break free from the extreme right fringe, they will be able to put forward a candidate that we would not worry so much about. Right now, we need Obama back!

    6. I think i like this lady!
      Well Put!!

  23. As a chemistry major and a premed student, I spend a good deal of time trying to determine what truth is. My professors ramble on about quantum mechanics, the structure of the atom, and hybridization of orbitals--all merely aspects of theory that we use in an attempt to understand the world around us. Amidst all these theories, I have found but one truth...a truth that will never change. Jesus lives, and Jesus loves.

  24. One big fact/opinion:
    On August 14, Vice President Joe Biden told a largely African American audience in Virginia that Mitt Romney’s proposed Wall Street policies would put them “back in chains.” A few hours after Biden made this remark, an Obama campaign official said the president was “fine with it.” At another campaign event that same day, Biden said that the policies would put the African Americans “in shackles.” The slavery references were quite inappropriate, although they certainly fit into the Democratic Party’s contention that the Republican Party doesn’t value minorities (and anyone who watched all of the Republican National Convention, and not just the snippets on MSNBC that fit their agenda, knows this is not true), and it implies that the Republican Party advocates a return to slavery. Here’s the history lesson, folks: The Republican Party was the party that abolished slavery in the 1860s. The Democratic Party was the party that advocated slavery, that opposed the civil rights movement, that had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 20th century (with filibusters blocking progress). African Americans (at least those who were allowed to vote) supported the Republican Party until the 1930s, when New Deal social welfare programs led to them switching to the Democratic Party.

    Of course, we’re also taking about a man who said in the same speech that GM and the automotive industry would be leading the U.S. into the 20th century (by outsourcing production of automobiles?) and that with their support the Democrats could win North Carolina (by crossing state lines to vote? No wonder some states have instituted voter ID laws).

  25. Saw Ryan's speech. My opinion: he is painting a picture of some perfect white picket fence utopian society that he remembers from his childhood. If only life was really like that for EVERYONE. Yes, the middle class lawyers kids and successful businessmen. And then their peaceful community and the icing on the cake.. church on Sunday at the same one they have always went to. Yada Yada! What else..? Lets all get together and make a decision to wash our cars on Saturday too. At least President Obama lives in here in the REAL world and not some made up fantasy land that less than half of America actually lives. Hello, what about the folks who lost their homes, drugs, violence, teen pregnancy, lost their home in a flood, & disgruntled employes who shoot people? (they are snapping) Who gives a flying poop about them? We are going to just plop everyone into a job and that is just going to solve all our problems. Here son here is a job now play nice. Wouldn't that be wonderful if life were such a sweet deal like that. What about those who can't afford insurance still? Those who get a job and still can't afford a house or barley food and gas? How the flip do we get to work? I heard defense for Medicare. What about Medicaid? All the camera showed was white folks with blue eyes and loved their wife and kids. Wonderful for them!! At least the President wants Healthcare for ALL. Not just working Americans and you heard how many folks are not working. And without Medicaid how the freak are they going to get to the doctor. So us ghetto folks are going to sit outside the white picket fences with our noses pressed against it and look at how American is suppose to be. Are we POOR and unfortunate not JUST as American as y'all?

    "Our rights From Nature and God"! What in the hell does that mean? Did i hear that right. I am suppose to go outside and consult the tress for my rights? God? So our Rights will be handed down by the bible or the book of Mormon or something. Oh shit!
    Yeah, i am still worrying! Sounds like a smokescreen of a dreamland America. Sounds good if you could really by in to that. And could i have a plot of land with that job Romney sir? Gimme a freaking break. They are only attracting the middle class Christin folks. What a surprise? Come on poor people and minority's, we have to get together on election day!!..

    And Dr. G: You are speaking of the older party stances that the Democrats were against civil rights. That is true. But The Republicans actually switched their views. Making the old Democrat views are currently the Republican ones. The reason i know this is the majority of the older Democrats switched over to registered Republicans I heard this was because no one wanted the blue collar folks (which were largley southern) because of their fanatical type ranting and ravings (sound familiar) and the Republicans needed the votes at that so they rallied to get them by changing their views.

  26. I wish to add to this dinner... I have my dish of Jello to contribute.. Karen once told me, “sometimes we need a little bit of Jello”, being as such, the discussions can get heavy and not very easy to digest.

    First ...Jeannie,.. In this game of politics it has been obvious to me for a LONG time that you have to be as ruthless as you can, to gain position. Which is most unfortunate because we can see what people are really capable of, and to what length they will go to do it.. it happens in both parties.
    Even you Mr. Shaughnessy have said (in a Radio Blog) you wouldn't want to run for politics because it would compromise standards that you would prefer not to, (more or less from what I understood).. you went on to say, that you feel your words to the public can be just as beneficial being an avid supporter. (more or less, again, from what I understood).

    Mr. Shaughnessy, you say to us “Don't give up!”, Don't stay home!” Take responsibility for the future.. My question is.. How? I want to... I am very willing! But how?.. I don't feel like there are any handholds for me to grip. From what I understand about electoral votes, my vote is pointless anyway, it is the electoral that decides.. (as I am writing I am being to cry... I love this country so much, and feel hopeless in the change of making it better)
    Our democracy CAN work, it HAS worked, it is still functioning the best it can, at this point of misuse. But the men running the machine, have, for a long time, grown lazy and greedy and their agenda has become more important than the people. You say “Do not let your country down!” (very strong words to a simple housewife. ) What am I suppose to do ? (That is the real question I need the answer too.)

    So what am I getting too... Obama has a lot of 'Faith' in the country and I very much agree it is difficult to guide, direct, and change the runaway train this has been for a long time.
    Yet it is difficult for ANY man in that position, no matter the party. One thing I can see Romney has going for him is, .. 'Works.. Obama can only go so far on faith and I believe that faith without works is dead...

    Romney hasn't had the actual chance to take the reins and show us he can move this lumbering machine in a different direction,.. yet, his track record of picking up the shovel and digging the ditch with the rest of us... really,... is more that Obama had to offer on his last campaign.

    I'm not saying that Obama hasn't done some good. I think he has worked hard to try and make things better.. but there is a difference between trying and doing. His aggressiveness in taking care of a problem has been too passive, and is taking longer than it probably should. Romney seems to be his own man in making decisions and not someone who will take much from the puppeteer. The Tea Party can rant and rave, but will Romney give up on his work ethics to please them?.. At this point I don't think so. (I don't like the Tea Party much)

    I've very interested in watching what cards the Democrats play in their upcoming convention.. I'm like Karen, I like to look at all sides and make a choice.. The hardest part about this is that I don't even want to... I don't want to let my country down, I want to find a handhold to help and make a difference... It is not impossible. Just, I can't see the answer... where is it?

    PS, by the time I'm able to put this to paper, many moons will pass and other bloggers will post. I hope it makes sense to where it ends up in the thread... now I'll dismiss myself from Physics and Social Studies and return to Photography class...

    1. Well said Karen! It is so hard to know what to do. We do feel powerless sometimes but we can't give up! We have to say our piece, go out and vote and get others to as well! It is important! To many people think that their vote won't make a difference so they do nothing. Apathy is the biggest evil...

  27. Of course small business owners work hard to make them a success ( with the help of their employees, one assumes!) but does anyone seriously suggest ( and I suppose many of you do,) that they do not use government-built roads ( many constructed under the "infamous" public works programs of the 1930's) to deliver their product, take advantage of government-backed small business loans to get off the ground, apply to FEMA for funds to rebuild after a Katrina or Joplin? THAT"S what the President meant when he said that to some degree "we", all Americans have helped to build this economy and that government need not be an enemy to business, but a friend. Just because government intervenes to ensure certain safety standards at the workplace or consumer protection against toxic products or fair trade practices or regulations against the kind of "crooks" who imploded the housing market or faked the LIBOR - none of that is "anti" business, but "pro" Americans. And, by the way, I am talking about Government not Democrat or Republican but...GOVERNMENT!

    1. Charlie: The quote: “Look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own…. Somebody else made that happen.” Barack Obama, 13 July 2012.

      I am not disputing that the government hasn't helped businesses succeed. Even during the 1800s when the government was "hands off," it still helped big business with higher tariffs on imported goods (to reduce foreign competition), by subsidizing the construction of transcontinental railroads to deliver goods to markets, and by not imposing regulations on working conditions, etc. But that's not what Obama SAID. The way it came across to the small business owners to whom he was speaking is that the GOVERNMENT built the business, not the small business owner. Not that the government HELPED build the business through public works programs (like road construction), through small business loans, through FEMA funds to rebuild, etc. If you think about it--it's the people who pay taxes who are supporting the small businesses and helping them get started, because they are the ones who are providing the money for the government to spend when building roads, making loans, dispersing FEMA funds, etc. The government would not have the money to spend without tax revenue paid by the American people. Plus, it’s the businessmen themselves—and their employees—who are doing the “manual labor” involved in making the business a success. They are the ones who are working 16+ hour days, not the government. They are the ones who are completing the paperwork, purchasing the property, designing (or modifying) the physical space, hiring employees, etc. That’s the point being made by the Republicans.

      I don’t object to improved safety in the workplace. I like having railings at the stairs, although I hope that the sprinkler in my faculty office doesn’t go off. But at the same time, some of the safety regulations are contradictory or pointless—and, just like it probably will be easier for some employers to pay the fine/tax instead of providing health care to their employees, it’s easier for some to pay the fine instead of complying with the regulations.

      You refer to the "crooks" who imploded the housing market or faked the LIBOR…why hasn’t the Obama administration bothered to prosecute them for their crimes? Is it possible because some of them contributed toward his campaign?

      And those public works programs--they weren't "infamous." They put people to work (just like the road construction with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009-2010), and those roads still exist today. Most of the roads used today, however, were started during the 1950s with the development of the interstate highway system under Eisenhower.

    2. Dr. G. You have been so gracious and a good friend. I wanted to give you a shout out. First, i researched about the history of the democrat party switch and found that both parties did evolve over time. Therefor i am not sure that my information that i posted during my last rant or comment was in fact true or not. Should have known better than to try and an correct a historian. Also thank you for pointing out to me in confidence that Ryan's final statement "We get our Rights from Nature and God!" was in fact a historical reference. So here i am with some egg on my face and i wish to apologize for my reaction to everyone and kinda acting like he was an idiot or something when he was simply quoting historical phrase. And i know many of you guys are believers and i probably shouldn't have sweared or reacted that way. I wish to be respectful to everyone and i forgot my manners. (the politics made me do it) Sorry i get fired up sometimes. Please forgive a ranting redneck. My mother would not be proud today. If it is offensive to anyone i will be more than happy to delete it. Let me know. Sorry too Mr. Shaughnessy! Need to try and calm down before a post.

    3. @Karen:

      Doesn't the fact that you have to edit Obama's speech to get the meaning you want give you pause? Here is the relevant part of the speech:


      "There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me -- because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t -- look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something -- there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.

      "If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business -- you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

      "The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.

      "So we say to ourselves, ever since the founding of this country, you know what, there are some things we do better together. That’s how we funded the G.I. Bill. That’s how we created the middle class. That’s how we built the Golden Gate Bridge or the Hoover Dam. That’s how we invented the Internet. That’s how we sent a man to the moon. We rise or fall together as one nation and as one people, and that’s the reason I’m running for President -- because I still believe in that idea. You’re not on your own, we’re in this together."


      Where does Obama say individuals didn't build businesses? He said the exact opposite -- "we succeed "because of our individual initiative." But he pointed out, quite rightly, that businesses do not exist in isolation and people don't become successful without help in a lot of ways that are influenced by government.

  28. Charlie,

    Your post is fascinating to me in light of some recent discussions I've had elsewhere and some reading I've been doing. There is a new book called "The Republican Brain" that seems to focus on some of the issues that you point out, namely, how is it that so many people in the Republican party just seem to be immune to objective facts. One thing that author talks about in an essay he wrote for Mother Jones is that this wing of the Republican party seems to reject what you and I think that any logical person would accept as obvious scientific, economic, and political facts. Not only that, but in the face of obvious proof of their validity, they continue to deny them.

    Now I'm not just talking about evolution and global warming, though those are obvious examples. (Only 45% of Republicans and 43% of Tea Party members accept evolution.) Particularly apt to the discussion that has already taken place here, the author focuses on a strong conservative attempt to refute the Theory of Relativity. In doing so, they rely on dubious claims to debunk relativity, including, among other things, that it has never led to any fruitful scientific technologies (GPS and PET scans, notwithstanding). Even when confronted of the evidence of science that supports relativity, the denial remains absolute.

    So is it any wonder that there is a significant group that continues to cling to the idea that Obama was not born in this country (despite birth certificates and birth announcements), that Obamacare means government control over health care (instead of a huge giveaway to insurance companies), and that the stimulus didn't result in job creation? These are people who well after the Iraq war still believed that Iraq had WMD or that Saddam Hussein supported Al Qaeda.

    Many liberals, myself included, are astounded at this type of denial. To us -- and from some of your comments here, I think you think similarly -- the solution to this kind of misguided thinking is education. We think that all these people need are the “real” facts and they will see what we see. But that just isn't how this group views issues. They accept what supports their existing views, and anything contrary is ignored. And that is the flaw of the “Democratic Brain”: We think logic and facts will fix the problem.

    With that in mind, the convention and the Republican lies make sense. They can say whatever they want, because they are catering to an audience that wants to reinforce their belief that Obama destroyed America. According to them, in 2008, this country was on the right track. Despite overwhelming evidence that we have made economic gains since Obama's election, they insist that things are worse. The wars? Don't mention them. Or, if you're Clint Eastwood, blame Obama for not checking with the Russians to find out how they fared in Afghanistan.

    Do all Republicans think like that? No. But I think it is a view that is prevalent among the base of the party and in a terrifying, increasing number of its politicians like Akin, Bachmann and Palin.

    It also is not correct to dismiss the magnitude of lies from the right simply by saying "both sides do it." There is nothing remotely comparable to this from the left. From Mitt's speech about the ideal America that never existed to Ryan's flat-out lies to the entire "We Built It" meme that relied on a distorted, edited version of Obama speech, the entire convention was built on lies and half-truths. Meanwhile, they parade businessmen to claim they “built” their businesses, but don’t mention the amounts they received in government contracts. And Mitt continues to air the welfare ad that every major fact-checker says is 100% false. The Democrats, despite plenty of faults, have not campaigned on a mountain of lies like the Republicans are doing.

  29. Thanks jwsel. I'm glad you quoted the entire passage regarding the "You didn't build that" meme. I find it interesting to know that anyone can access the internet to find that quote in its entirety and yet the 'right' will only acknowledge one minute misleading portion from which they seem to be gaining a very large following. Ironically, one can also find on the internet a video of Mitt Romney speaking to the 2002 Olympians wherein he tells them that none of them did this on their own. They had coaches, teachers, parents, venues built, etc. Perhaps a clip of that would be a good advertisement for Obama!

    1. Jeannie, and jwsel, i too went and looked into that passage in it's entirety, when it came out. I like trying to see all sides of something before I make a decision on what it means to me. I just wish I could see more of what Obama has done that has made a difference for this country. (he has had time and yet hasn't been aggressive enough).
      I want to also clear up one thing from my earlier post that I have been thinking about. It is about saying that 'the men running the machine have grown lazy and greedy'. I want everyone to know that I don't believe that every politician is like that. But the ones that are, really slow progress down. There are those who are willing to move forward, and do what is best for the country, but are hung up and waiting for the slackers, that are only interested in their agenda.
      I read Matt's post (further down).. I would be very interested in hearing from some of your pals and what they think... I like hearing from many points of view. I hope that I am following the rules of this blog, I'm a worrier by nature, (sorry, I can't help it) I try to notice if I'm saying too much nothingness and not do it. I AM learning from everyone. .thank you.. I'd like to hear from new bloggers also.. I hope there are more that join in..

  30. Warning—this will take 3 comments until I’m finished.

    Jwsel: First, if you’re going to rely on Mother Jones for an interpretation of the Republican Party’s ideals—guess what, that magazine makes MSNBC look right-wing. Now if the National Review had said the similar thing, I might actually accept it as a valid interpretation/explanation. That’s why I don’t rely on Fox News for my information, because of the perception that the viewpoint is biased. On the plus, side, I did appreciate reading the “shout out” to Mother Jones on Labor Day.

    (2) about evolution and global warning—you have provided percentages of Republicans and Tea Party members (thank you for not lumping them together) who accept evolution. What about the percentage of Democrats? It’s probably not 100%; there are Democrats who are “creationists” who don’t support evolution. They just aren’t as vocal about it as the Tea Partiers (who, by the way, are vocal because they are a minority fringe within the Republican Party). When was the last time you heard of a majority faction being vocal? Again, I see the problem about the theory of relativity, etc., as a problem with the education system—one that has failed our students, based on what I have seen when teaching college (and it was a problem long before No Child Left Behind, which was an attempt to solve the problem).

    (3) about the birthers—again, it’s a minority (yet vocal) faction within the Republican Party who rational Republicans have denounced (and ignore), not a “significant” group as you claim. They are only “significant” to the Democrats who choose to believe that it’s a problem. And notice how the Democrats are choosing to continue to demand Romney provide more tax returns than is required by law while not complying with the request to provide Obama’s college records to show that he attended college as a U.S. resident and not as a foreign student.

    (4) the stimulus DID result in job creation; it was just temporary (just like the public works programs during the New Deal were a temporary solution to the unemployment problem). People WERE put to work repairing roads (and possibly making the signs telling us that the road construction was funded through the American Recovery and Readjustment Act). I do know as a fact that the end of the stimulus funding led to job LOSS, as seven faculty members at the university where I work lost their jobs because of the loss of stimulus funding after FY 2010-2011.

    (5) the idea that Iraq had WMD—blame Bill Clinton and the New York Times for that. Clinton said they were there; the New York Times reported they were there (the NYT recanted after it was found their reporting was based on inaccurate intelligence from the Clinton administration).

    (6) Look at gas prices when Obama took office (national average $1.83 per gallon on 1/20/09, $3.837 per gallon on 9/2/12), and look at the unemployment rate (7.6% in January 2009, 8.3% in July 2012). You can’t honestly blame the Republicans for that. If anything, you can directly blame Obama for not supporting efforts to search for other resources (e.g., Keystone XL Pipeline, offshore drilling) out of concerns for the impact on the environment. Before you get excited, I live in an area that has been affected by natural gas drilling (and yes, the environment has been affected, as we do occasionally have flammable water coming out of the spigot), but it has led to job creation and lower natural gas prices.
    (end of part 1)

  31. (part 2--continuation of reply to jwsel)

    (7) True, there has been nothing comparable from the left to what the Republicans have done (or said). The difference is, when Republicans have been president and the Democrats controlled Congress, the Republican president has been willing to cross the aisle, talk with the leaders of the Democratic Party, and work with them. Obama has said that he has done it, but when was the last time he invited John Boehner to the White House? When was the last time Harry Reid offered to work with Mitch McConnell? Woodrow Wilson found out the folly of not including the leader of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (Republican Senator Henry Cabot Lodge)—or any Republican—when he went to France to negotiate the Treaty of Versailles after World War I; the Senate rejected the treaty. Bill Clinton understood the need to work with the Republican-controlled Congress his last six years in office, and the economy thrived (even if one of the laws, the Gramm-Leach-Billey Act, repealed the Glass-Steagall Act and led to the banking crisis during the end of Bush 43’s second term). The Republicans didn’t control both houses of Congress when Reagan was president, yet he succeeded because he knew he needed to work with Tip O’Neill in order to get legislation passed. Instead, Obama has chosen to attack and blame the Republicans for his inability to work “across the aisle” while neglecting to mention that the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress during his first two years in office—when they could have passed whatever laws they wanted without Republican support (and, if you recall, Obamacare did have bipartisan support and bipartisan opposition).

    (8) About the welfare ad—it’s not 100% false. Who is doing the fact-checking? Liberals/Democrats. While Obama hasn’t completely ended the work-for-welfare program, it is being phased out to a certain extent by allowing states to develop alternative programs—so technically, Romney’s statement is correct. Why don’t the fact checkers talk about the number of Wall Street prosecutions by the Department of Justice while Obama has been in office? Because you don’t need any fingers to calculate the number (or percentage).

    You see a mountain of Republican lies. I see a mountain of Democratic attacks and half-truths and an inability to admit when they have made a mistake. At what point will Barack Obama take responsibility for what has occurred while he has been president and not blame the Republicans for what has NOT happened? He can’t blame the Republicans for advocating the extension of the Bush tax cuts (if they were so bad, why does he continue them? It’s because he’s still trying to help the economy recover); he can’t blame the Republicans for still detaining prisoners at Gitmo; he can’t blame the Republicans for expanding U.S. military presence around the globe (funny how the first sitting president to win the Nobel Peace Prize now has us involved in military action in more regions of the world than his predecessors). Barack Obama has suspended the writ of habeas corpus. Barack Obama has U.S. troops involved in Africa (and not just to help topple Ghaddafi). While we’re at it—what about the meme with Romney saying “we will repeal Obamacare,” when his actual statement was “we will repeal and replace Obamacare”? That is distortion, pure and simple.
    (end of part 2)

  32. (part 3 of reply to jwsel)
    By the way, when was the last time you saw a political convention during which the party that is running the convention didn’t cater to their base and the speakers attacked the opponent’s policies (especially if the opponent was the incumbent president)? And yet, you seem shocked that the Republicans attacked Obama’s policies (through what you refer to as Republican lies). Guess what, the Democrats lie, too. They will attack Ryan’s budget plan (without providing one for the American public to see as a contrast), thinking that it is the Republican budget plan, when Romney has already said that they are campaigning on HIS budget plan, not Ryan’s. They will exaggerate how the Ryan plan will destroy Medicare (example: the cartoon with Boy Scout Ryan walking Grandma into an open manhole) without actually discussing HOW the plan will affect Medicare. And, if you are wondering why Romney didn’t provide more details of his plans at the convention—if you were Mitt Romney, would you share everything a week before your opponent’s convention is held, so your plan could be co-opted or ridiculed for being different?

    Finally, about the “we built it” comment—read what I actually wrote, not just the snippet from the speech that I posted. I know that it was just one part of the speech; it’s the part that the Republicans have focused on in their discussions (while, at the same time, Obama’s campaign has denied that he said the words I included in the excerpt). Both sides lie, manipulate, distort—it’s not just one party. Why haven’t the Democrats denied the advertisement where the guy says Romney killed his wife (instead, Robert Gibbs doesn’t want to talk about it)? Because they think it will leave the impression that Romneycare is WORSE than Obamacare (when, actually, it’s Obamacare on a smaller scale but without the blatant pandering to insurance companies). My point was that by saying “the government built that” (and yes, I know that Obama didn’t use those exact words)—it’s the tax money from the American people that did it, not the government. The government distributes the funds through appropriations, but the government is spending OUR money to support small businesses, to put people to work, etc. And think about it for a moment—you are a president talking to a group of small businessmen, trying to elicit their support for your reelection campaign, and you tell them they didn’t build their businesses? The word “insensitive” comes to mind. Then you are shocked when they take your words out of context, not realizing that, if you had phrased it differently and focused on how the American people helped you because they are the consumers buying your product and are the taxpayers who provided the money for the government to use to assist you, you probably wouldn’t have received such an angry response. By the way—it wasn’t government research that created the Internet; it was government-funded research. There is a difference between the two.

    1. I’m trying to avoid getting into a tit-for-tat because I thought that was not supposed to be done on this blog. I will say this, Karen, that some of your post does seem to support the ideas that the author of The Republican Brain was pointing out.

      For instance, my example about Iraq having WMDs being an example of political orthodoxy by a significant part of the Republican base has nothing to do with what Bill Clinton said in 1998 before the Operation Desert Fox bombing mission. It has nothing to do with what members of Congress said in 2002 when they were given misleading and incomplete intelligence designed to suggest Iraq had WMD. What I was talking about is polling data from well after the Iraq War in which self-identified Republicans continue to subscribe to the false belief that Saddam Hussein had WMD in 2003 when we invaded Iraq. Just to give you an example of such a poll, in May-June of this year, a Dartmouth poll found that 62.9% of Republicans said it was true that “Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when the United States invaded in 2003.” Only 14.9% of Democrats and 26.9% of Independents said that was true in 2012.

      To say that “Democrats said Iraq had WMDs” (at some point before the war) is not a response. The point is that, since the war, we know the truth. We know Iraq did not have WMDs when we invaded. Yet, despite the facts being available, a substantial majority of Republicans continue to believe otherwise. And when someone tries to question how a large segment of our population can adhere to that belief, the conservative response is to toss out some irrelevant assertion about the Democrats instead of acknowledging that we now know there were no WMD and people should stop acting so ignorant.

      The same is true with the birthers. You say birthers are a minority of the Republican party and, technically, 45% of registered Republicans is a minority (per CBS/New York Times in April 2011). But 45% is more than a fringe. Of the first 26 states to have caucuses and primaries, Romney won 45% or more of the vote in only eight of those states. In other words, 45% of the Republican party is a significant percentage, not a minority to be dismissed.

      The issue I raised is not simply that different sides of the political debate can toss out facts – and I can and repudiate some of the facts you offer, because they are cherry-picked and misleading. My point is that there are some facts that are undeniable, but no matter how often they are presented, they won’t change the minds of people who are already subscribe to a political orthodoxy with which those facts cannot be reconciled.

      Also, I mentioned Mother Jones, because that is where the author's essay about his book is in case anyone wants to read more about it.

    2. (waves white flag)...jwsel, I don't want to get into a tit-for-tat, either. I do, however, have a couple of questions I hope you can help me understand:

      1) Do you think the "birthers" would have even thought of questioning Obama's citizenship if his literary agent hadn't promoted him as Kenyan-born? While I don't have a literary agent, I do know that I had to approve the language on any promotional materials for my books, which to me implies that Obama should have been aware of what his literary agent was doing (and could have corrected the problem back in 1995, when his book was first published). And, to clarify, I'm not one of the birthers, nor have I ever been. If I had been, I certainly wouldn't have voted for him in 2008.

      2) Why is the Obama administration trying to keep "Operation Fast and Furious" under wraps? Refusing to release documents that might indicate wrong-doing sounds a lot like what happened with Watergate. I would think one thing we should have learned from what happened with the WMD fiasco was that you would admit you made a mistake (instead of dodging subpoenas, even if the subpoenas are politically-motivated--like they sort of were during Watergate).


  33. JWSels, I'm so glad that you're here. It's nice to have a voice from the other side of the aisle, looking forward to some interesting discussions. I do have to heave a big sigh though., you and Charlie are posting facts and logic? This blog is full of facts, you may not like them, but they're there. I know I have criticized things the Romney campaign is doing, and so has Karen. Do you only want to acknowledge some far right extreme that gets all the media attention(and the more outlandish, the better), or do you want to talk with REAL people out there? We can't continue to debate if every time the Republican name comes up, it's followed by fear and lies about how they are taking control of the world. They're NOT, no matter how much Mother Jones tells you they are. Did you watch the video I mentioned above, re:Jane Edmonds' speech at the RNC? That video made a huge impact on voters, esp. undecided ones.
    There is one quick thing before I head to my main point. Please go to and search for "Democrats WMD". He had them, we know he had them, and the Dems said so themselves. Did it mean the Iraq invasion was right, no. But it also doesn't mean people should be mocked as ignorant for believing he had WMDs.
    My main focus is "Republicans wouldn't let him do what he wanted". That is a LIE, and 50% of America knows it. Obama had control of the Presidency and both Houses of Congress, with 60 Dems in the Senate. He could have done whatever he wanted, and they were gloating about it(I won, the Republicans can come along but they have to ride in the back, now we can pass all of these great programs and the Republicans can't stop us). He said that the HC debate would be on C-Span so we could see who was trying to wheel and deal with lobbies. THEN....he goes into a room with the lobbyists, literally LOCKS THE DOORS, and comes out waving a plan and smiling. Then they had to bribe other Democrats to sign on to get it passed. The people HATED it, so then it became the Republican's fault...the people who were on the other side of a locked door. And that story..the birth of what caused the 2010 mid-term election results. People saw that whole thing unfold and voted to stop the train. THAT'S when McConnell made his line about Obama being a one term President, not the day after Inauguration Day. The people told the politicians they were unhappy and wanted him stopped. They saw the way he operated and broke promises.
    Third point, as I mentioned above., MSNBC's coverage of the RNC. Do you really approve of them not showing the minority speeches? Of talking about the lack of diversity while Susana Martinez talked in the background? How is that not deceitful and manipulative? People will insist that they only saw white people at the RNC, because that's what Chris Matthews showed them(and there's an unbiased tingle up your leg). The Republican Party is rebuilding...with young, diverse, conservative people. What I see on the DNC speaker line-up, is that we are in for 3 days of a "War on Women"....based on lies and misrepresentations.

    1. JoAnn:

      I appreciate what you are saying about facts being offered by the other side on this blog, but my point was that when dealing with the type of orthodox views Charlie described in his original blog (religious, political, or other), facts and logic don’t really matter. We may think they should matter, but they don’t. We can show birthers Obama’s birth certificate and the newspaper birth announcement; they will still believe he was born in Kenya. We can point to months and months of futile searching for WMDs and admissions that the pre-war intelligence about WMDs was false, but 60% of Republicans will still insist Saddam had WMDs in 2003. They either won’t accept the facts or they will throw out their own “facts” that they use to justify their denial.

      Still, I will address some of Karen’s facts, because I think they illustrate how “facts” can be offered in misleading fashion. When you look at some of Karen’s facts critically, they don’t supporting her conclusions.

      For instance, Karen points to gas prices increasing between January 2009 (the month Obama took office) and today, and claims Obama is to blame for rising gas prices because he didn’t support Keystone and domestic drilling. That argument has been largely repudiated. Domestic oil production increased under Obama and PolitiFact has a pretty detailed analysis of why the price increase has nothing to do with Obama or Keystone. The main reason these fact are misleading has to do with the January 2009 price of gasoline. The reason gas prices were so low at that time had nothing to do with production. They were low because gas prices fell when the financial markets crashed in the fall of 2008. In fact, a few months earlier, in July 2008, the national average for gas was $4.11 a gallon -- higher than gas prices are now. I could turn things around and say that gas prices now are actually lower than they were during approximately the same point in time during the Bush administration. Does that mean Obama deserves credit for lowering gas prices during his administration?

      As for unemployment, Karen again cherry-picks data points – 7.6% in January 2009 to compare with 8.5% in July 2012. (Actually, it’s 7.8% in January 2009 and 8.3% in July 2012 according to the Bureau of Labor Studies, but that’s minor). What Karen doesn’t mention is that unemployment hit 8.3% within a few weeks of Obama taking office in February 2009, a downward trend that began at 5.0% in April 2008, months before the election, and bottomed out at 10.0% in October 2009. Any rational person knows it takes time for policies to take effect. The President doesn’t wave a magic wand and the economy instantly turns around. Under Obama, the massive increases in unemployment continued for several months, held steady for several more months, and then slowly improved. That we are now at 8.3% unemployment is an improvement and it is undeniable that, for the past 29 months, we have had positive, albeit slow, private sector job growth.

      Karen also disputes my claim that the welfare ad is false even though pretty much every major fact-checking source has acknowledged it to be false. But Karen seems to adopt the new conservative strategy, which is to condemn the fact checking sites as “liberal” and untrustworthy. PolitiFact is operated by the Tampa Bay Tribune -- not exactly a left-wing media outlet – and won the Pulitzer. It rates the welfare claim a “pants on fire” lie. Other sources that call the welfare ad false include, (the Annenberg Public Policy Center), Washington Post’s Fact Check by Glen Kessler, the New York Times, and CNN, but those are all “liberal” by conservative standards, so they can’t be trusted. Well, if they are not conservative enough, how about Chris Matthews (calling the ad “dishonest”) or Joe Scarborough (“completely false”)? Not good enough? Then, I guess I’ll just have to live with Herbert Cain, who admitted the ad was false in his interview on the Daily Show when confronted with the fact check.

  34. @Jwsel Great to see you! :) And that book sounds interesting. Kudos!

  35. Roxy, you are far more gracious and restrained than I could ever be. I cannot see much for you to apologize for. It is easy for either side of this debate to ferret out details and minutiae with which to "prove" a point. At this point in time, we are all pretty much decided on who is the better party and President for America. The only good thing about this partisanship is that it is not difficult to see the differences behind the minutiae. This is a very emotional and passionate election and probably the most important we will have as a nation, so yes, we must all watch our manners and, yes, apologize when we "go too far," but no one is getting personal and nasty in this debate ( at least here on the Blog!) so have at it! As for myself, I am going to step away for a short while and find something else to talk about. At least until the DNC Convention!! :-)

    1. Wow!! Not sure you should have given me permission to go on future mini meltdowns but; thank you! Me and Jeannie were just saying how we needed to a political vacation now. Yes, The DNC Convention is something to look forward to. We bloggers will be ready!..

  36. I love your blogs Charlie, and like many, really admire and respect your intellect and kindness and generosity, but when it comes to your blogs, there are a bunch of us that just wish people would follow the rules. Weren't there rules?

    We don't need to see one doctoral thesis after another, over and over and over again hitting those of us who have another opinion, over the head, in the eyes, smacking us in the face, and several times a day, with information that we too can google.

    We know, we can choose which replies we read, and we do, but sometimes, it's like a train wreck. You want to look away . . . . Are we wrong? Weren't there rules? Have conversations with each other in our own words, expressing our own frustrations, opinions, emotions?

    It makes us laugh because we always say It's like the kid in class that raises their hand trying to get the teacher to call on them, to pay attention to them, but the teacher won't call on them anymore, so they raise it higher and higher, waiving it around in the air until they almost fall out of their desk!

    Every day "I am correct. Those of you that disagree with me are wrong. Especially you Charlie and I will use more and more words and more and more postings to prove that to you and if you don't believe that you are wrong, just try and post something back that I disagree with and I will prove you wrong again with information from the Internet & books & other people's words, interspersed with a tiny bit of my own original thought, because you are all too incapable to garner this information on your own. Oh and I will accuse you Charlie, of doing exactly the same thing that I am doing, except that you are the only one doing it because you are a didactic despot, who by the way is wrong, even though this is your blog!"

    We thought our replies were supposed to be in our own words. Charlie's blog - Charlie can say whatever he wants in whatever way he wants with words as big as the sky. He can jab and poke, stirring the pot to get us to think. I believe he has said that was part of his purpose in blogging. The rest of us. I thought there were rules. Our own thoughts and words, as if we were having a conversation with each other as so many have so eloquently done!! No more rules Charlie?

    When people reply in their own words, struggling to make sense of what this country has become because of the politicos, & their too, too, many words and accusations, and TV ads and gimmicks, those replies we read with appreciation, even if we are of another mind. Those we appreciate. The others though, sorry Charlie . . . they finally get old.

    We believe you are too polite to say so, to say, hey, enough, and that is finally why you even give it a rest from expressing your thoughts and replying and so do those of us who genuinely want to find answers by having discourse with others, in conversational words, before November.

    We think that when your blogs become like what we have now, it must give even you a headache from beating your head against the wall. Luckily for us however, you give it a respite and then blog with a new topic.

    Oh yeah, we know this will be an unpopular post, but these are our own thoughts, in our own words at least. Maybe some will feel we should have just kept talking about this amongst ourselves, and not posted it, because a bunch of us have been discussing this amongst ourselves. Every blog actually!! I just volunteered to be the one that posted about it.

    Now I am going to go celebrate labor day with a bunch of my buddies out on the lake, fishing. Stay safe everyone!

    Matt Washington

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  37. Finally !!!
    Thank you, Matt for a well written reply, and for speaking on behalf of many bloggers. I really enjoy Mr. Shaughnessys blogs, and as I have already mentioned, I do find them quite educational. I like to read his opinions and thoughts, I love it when people like Miss JoAnn challenge him, and I find it both embarrassing and amusing when middle aged women reply to the blogs like lovesick 14 year olds at a Justin Bieber concert. I started reading these blogs for one reason, and that was to learn what the citizens of America think about the politics of their country. The real debates, between real people, and their own thoughts on different subjects is what got me into this blog in the first place! So, when people start quoting speeches or history books that is when I throw in my towel. That is when readers like me, who do not speak English as a first language stop reading the blog, and do other things instead.(in my case, watch reruns of “Bonanza” and eat huge amounts of comfort food!) So guys, help me stick to a healthy diet by writing replies that do not include quotes from speeches, cause I`ve already seen those on the news! Please discuss the upcoming election and not the past ones because I already know how they turned out. And if you disagree with Mr.Shaughnessy, that`s fine, that is even a bit entertaining, but please don`t write “novels” to try to change his opinions, because that is when I close my laptop, and eat!
    ( I hope this made sense in English…In my head, in Norwegian,it does, but in English…oyyy)

    1. Thank you Janne, that was very sweet of you to mention me. But I'm guilty too...I can wander down rabbit holes with the best of them, and can take 100 words to say what normal people can say in 10(even in real life). I'll try to be more conscious of doing that, and please tell me when I need to get a grip. I've tried to be very friendly and conversational, just with a LOT of words.

  38. I am offended--after all, I am not a middle-aged woman, I am an OLD woman. In fact, I am fat too. Hmmm! I think next time I'll post a picture to get Charlie's attention. That should work!

    1. ROFLOL Jeannie! I'm right there with you. It is frustrating to see people pop in to say "I agree with you Charlie, you took the words right out of my mouth, you should run for office, is my lipstick bleeding through to your shorts?" without giving their opinions, telling us how they feel, etc. I'm so glad that you and JWsels will stay and discuss things. I hope more folks feel comfortable joining in now, like a big round-table(with lots of comfort food, of course).

  39. Janne: I'm the one with the historical references--it's a curse of my academic training and profession. I'm still stuck with George Santayana's quote in my mind ("those who do not learn the lessons of the past are doomed to repeat them," or something like that). I will try to be more cautious in the future (notice I said try--I'm not about to make a promise I can't keep).

    Charlie: A couple of blogs ago you referred to the "Crazy Party from Mars." Is it too late to support that option? Maybe Curiosity could find a viable candidate while it's exploring, because I'm not really happy about either of the choices I'll have this November.

    Jeannie: I prefer "pleasingly plump" or "full-figured" instead of "fat." But I will agree that I'm old. I hate seeing the blank stares when I talk about ancient history in when Reagan was president.

    Finally, I consistently see and hear comments about how the nation will collapse/be destroyed if Candidate X wins (and I see it on both sides--Democrats attacking Republicans and vice versa). We'll survive--unless someone decides to put "None of the Above" on the ballot and it wins...then Congress gets to make the decision (and honestly, that scares me more than either candidate winning).

    1. I'm with you Karen... I've been debating long and hard about even going to the polls. If, or when I do, it is because I've been inspired by this site, that is for sure.. I should do my duty as a citizen.. (Whether or not I think it will make a difference).. I really don't just want to give up either.. Sorry, that my faith in the system has long since faltered. Enough said... Please,.. more new bloggers join in, I want to hear more opinions. (my 2 cents is back!):)

    2. Oh Nan!!! Please vote! We make a big deal out of the POTUS election, when it's the local, state and Congressional seats that are the most important. That's where you voice will be heard,and where important decisions about your area's specific issues will be addressed. I do have to admit though..just a hunch, but I think Utah's gonna go to Romney ;)

  40. There is another subject in this blog that was only touched upon and then forgotten as the politics began to run their course.. I still think it is a very important subject, because it has to do with everything we do and say.. I'm speaking about Truth. It's a thread that runs through everything in the fabric of life. What is 'truth'.. as defined in Websters :
    fidelity, constancy
    : sincerity in action, character, and utterance
    : the state of being the case : fact
    : the body of real things, events, and facts : actuality

    Now the question: WHO determines what is the truth? Where science is concerned, there are many truths that are indisputable.. As we have discovered.. the earth is round, we orbit the sun, Mr. Shaughnessy is very clever and charming (blush & a wink).. some things we just can't deny... but what about personal truths? I believe that we are here with a free agency to choose what we will.

    I indicated in one of my other posts, that “sometimes there is more than one truth and that is when it gets complicated”. What one person may see as the truth, another may see the same thing and perceive their own truth in completely different light. Many times this is unfortunate, and confusing.. whom do you believe? Gratefully we have the free agency to choose that also..

    A few years ago a person I knew, confronted me in public and told me some things about myself, (in an inappropriate manner), that were not true at all. Whenever I tried to defend myself, I was shouted at, that I was in denial. This was very damaging to my self esteem and is hard to talk about.
    I realized from this, that: First, not everyone thinks of things the same way as I (which I did actually know, but didn't realize by how much). Second, no matter what I could have said in defense of myself, it wouldn't have mattered, this person was absolutely convinced by 'hearsay' whatever I had to say was wrong.
    This was very confusing for me, I didn't think of myself as a bad person, how can what they say be true? They didn't think my thoughts, walk in my shoes, or live in my life... I couldn't even comprehend their realm of thinking nor did I want to after they had put me down. They were only convinced of their own truth and nothing else.

    So how could their truth be true? It wasn't... Who determines what is true? In some cases you, yourself, have to be the only one who believes in something. (again, we have the free agency to do that.) At this point I feel sorry for that person, who seems very unhappy with their life. I don't know if I have fully forgiven them for what they did, but that is between me and my God to discuss.. but I do pity them.

    Back to the subject.. when many truths are running side by side and occasionally bump together and join.. or cross each other and cause havoc, it is difficult to tell which truth is which. Just because I may examine something from all sides doesn't mean I will perceive it the same as,. Say Karen or JoAnn, or even you Mr. S.. There is a well know story of 6 blind men and an elephant... if you know of this story, what they all understood to be true was different.

    Mr. Shaughnessy. you said earlier, “The truth is...there is actually no such thing as truth!! But then, of course, that's not true either......(quoted, I know)..... and what I am understanding that to mean,.. could be.. that everyone has their own personal truths that don't apply to anyone but themselves. (that is why it is complicated)
    Sometimes I find truth as much of a mystery as quantum physics. I believe one day all truths will be revealed and that will be a very long day as everyone will be seeking each other out to ask forgiveness of one another.

    (One thing that is true, is that I hate the negative profile picture that I can't seem to change.. sorry folks, I really don't wish to be that picture, it is discouraging).

  41. Matt & Janne Find it very odd yet very interesting that you have suddenly became so knowledgeable and so caring of the workings & posting of Charlie's blog. Not to mention: foreigners taking such an interest and history of American politics. But if you want your blog back so badly that you are willing to go so far as to publicly embarrass people. Well, Here you go.. Cheers

  42. Hi Folks . I'm on vacation in Las Vegas, so I don't have much time to read your posts .I am so disappointed . There are a lot of posts that have been written, so I scoured some of them.

    About the elections, I think that everyone has a different opinions, thoughts, and you can't change that. Each person see things differently . You can't blame someone not to be agreed with you .

    For the truth, personally , it's means "RESPECT" a person you can trust, humanity, But in this world, there is unfortunately no longer truth,respect or even humanity, For me , we always want proof to prove the truth. This is the way I see our world at this time

    Charlie , I wish you good luck for your book,

    1. I DO believe there is still respect, truth and humanity in the world, just, not always where we would like it be. Good to hear from you 'the frenchy'.

  43. I have often heard the question as to what Obama has done to deserve re-election. Although I could give many reasons, I want to focus on one--one that I know is very unpopular with some participants. I think many years from now when we look back on Obama’s record, one of his great achievements will be that of The Affordable Care Act. I’ll wait a minute for some of you to pick yourselves up off the ground, but I truly believe this. I know that many say ‘the country doesn’t want this’. However, immediately after the Supreme Court ruling on the law, a Reuter’s poll showed that among registered voters 48% approved of the law. Sure that is a minority, but it is not a number to be dismissed. Had the Democrats done a better job at controlling the talking points, that number would be much higher. Now, be assured that I am not saying that everything about TACA is perfect--it is not. Are there or will there be horror stories? Probably! But guess what? There is a horror story everyday under our current system (The TACA is not fully in place). What has TACA done for me and other Americans:

    1. My daughter, who was uninsurable because of preexisting conditions, now has insurance. My daughter was not irresponsible--on the contrary. She was covered under our family policy her entire life until she reached the age wherein she was ineligible. As someone with preexisting conditions, insurance companies would not underwrite her. We worried constantly about her condition and whether she or we would go bankrupt to cover an illness or accident.
    2. Insurance companies must use 80% of health insurance premiums towards healthcare. My husband sells health insurance and to their utter surprise and delight, many of his groups received LARGE rebates this year in order for the insurance companies to meet this requirement.
    3. Young people can stay on their parents policy until 26 years old. I have 4 children right now--all of whom would be uninsured if not for this requirement.

    I am sure that some of you could come back with negatives, but to tell you the truth, I’m not interested. I’ve already seen many of them. For the record, my husband’s commissions on health insurance have gone down by 50%. It is not in my economic best interest to support TACA, but I believe it is what is right for the country. Now, if Mitt Romney is elected POTUS, he will have a very, very busy first day doing all of the things that he has promised to do on “Day One”, one of which is to repeal and replace TACA. Well, if that is true, good for him. I personally don’t care if TACA is replaced--IF it is replaced by something better. Healthcare is not something that should be available only to the most wealthy in this country. It has been becoming more and more out of reach for the masses. Do we really want to sit by as a country and allow this? Where are our priorities? Yes, I do believe that TACA will someday be considered a great achievement even if it has long since been replaced (and here is the most important part of my argument) for if it ultimately accomplishes no more than to force the Republicans hand into doing something themselves, it is a success--it is a great achievement and I applaud the President for what will someday be known without disdain as “Obamacare”!

    1. thank you for sharing Jeannie, this is one thing that i am very interested in and have looked the closest at in all of what Obama has done.. I believe it can be a good thing for the people, but also that there are a lot of wrinkles to iron out and strings that need to not be attached. I can see where it can go and have hopes for a better system.. thanks for your opinion.


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