Living Liberally Blog

Living Liberally Blog

The Power of Prayer

As we observe the passing of yet another September 11th, I pause to reflect on what I did on September 11th, 2001. I'll never forget it. After watching the tragic events unfold, I bowed my head and prayed. I prayed hard. I prayed that, in time, after the dust settled and the smoke cleared, that our government would use the attacks as a pretext to invade a country that had nothing to do with what happened that day.

Could Ted Haggard be Larry Craig's Knight in Shining (but "Completely Heterosexual") Armor?

Dear Senator Craig,

Congratulations! Yesterday, a Minnesota court granted your request to withdraw your guilty plea! But I'm still worried about you. At first I was sure you were straight as an arrow, framed by those determined to silence the Singing Senators, the quartet that sings truth to power whose reunion concert curiously took place a night after the sex sting. But then as the Republicans turned on you, doubt started to creep into my faith in your heterosexuality. And your recent behavior, pleading guilty and then withdrawing your plea, resigning and then reconsidering, suggests a strong bi-curious tendency that worries me.

But it's not too late to get your life back on track! You can't do it alone, though, and I think I know just the person to help you.

You may know Pastor Ted already, but if not, you should reach out to him ASAP. You two have so much in common. You are a family values-defending, homosexual agenda-fighting, god-fearing, married-with-children, conservative Republican who sometimes plays footsie with men in public bathrooms. He is a family values-defending, homosexual agenda-fighting, god-fearing, married-with-children conservative Republican who sometimes pays for massages and crystal meth (which he throws away before using) from male escorts. As a senator, you vote against protecting gays from hate crimes and for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. As a pastor, he preaches against homosexuality and same-sex marriage. You are both close to George Bush. Ted used to talk to the President once a week!

So you can trust his advice and follow his example. After Mike Jones came forward and announced he’d had a three-year long, sex and drug-filled relationship with Pastor Ted, Haggard confessed to being "guilty of sexual immorality." After being fired from the New Life Church, Ted attended a 12 step "spiritual restoration" program and emerged, a mere three weeks later, "completely heterosexual." And you can too, Senator Craig! Who knows how to deal with your particular dilemma— trying to save America from the sinning gays, but kind of sinning yourself—better than Ted? He's been there, done that! And, Ted, along with his wife, is going back to college for a degree in counseling, which will make him even more equipped to save others, starting with you!

Before Ted can help you, though, you need to help Ted. You see, as he explained in a recent letter, "It looks as though it will take two years for us to have adequate earning power again, so we are looking for people who will help us monthly for two years." He cannot survive on the $115,000 plus a $85,000 bonus he made last year, the $138,000 in severance pay through 2007, and the royalties from his literary ouvre, which includes which The Jerusalem Diet:The "One Day" Approach to Reach Your Ideal Weight--and Stay There
and From This Day Forward: Making Your Vows Last a Lifetime, which he co-wrote with his wife Gayle. What is Ted supposed to do? Sell his $715,000 Colorado Springs home? I don't think so.

According to Ted, any financial help be will "rewarded in Heaven." You can make a tax deductible donation to Pastor Ted through the organization Families With A Mission. They'll receive 10% of the donation, but that's OK because they are a worthy cause too, directed by Paul Huberty, an upstanding patriotic military man who was married with three children when his career was cut short by multiple sex crimes convictions, including sexually assaulting a minor and "dishonorably fondling his genitals." It's clear Huberty has spiritually recovered because the outgoing message on his answering machine says "God Bless You." So what are you waiting for Senator Craig? Donate today! In turn, heaven aside, you will have the best earthly guide to get your life back on the straight and narrow.

Now Larry (may I call you, Larry?) the liberals, as usual, have it all backwards. They think you and Pastor Ted are hypocrites. They don't mind that you're gay, they mind that while you preach homophobia on the one hand you practice homosexuality on the other. Well, I don't think you two are hypocrites. I think that when you're carrying the moral weight of the world on your Atlas-like shoulders, shielding America and our values with one hand, and spearing the homosexual agenda with another, it's easy to slip up with your other body parts. So, whatever you do Larry, don't come out of the closet or abandon your committed stance against the gays. Straighten yourself, and America, out one anti-gay bill at a time.

P.S. Remember you don't want to end up a "bad, dirty, nasty boy."

Lessons from Bush's Bio

Reading Bush's biography Dead Certain: The Presidency of George W. Bush is a truly enlightening experience.

Now we have known that the President has a penchant for nicknames.

Nickname for Alberto Gonzalez: "Fredo"
I think because Bush thought his name was Alfredo.


Nickname for Karl Rove: "Turd Blossom"
Because of his Turd Blossom hip-hop move

Nickname for Vladimir Putin: "Pootie-Poot" Because after you say this about someone: "I looked the man in the eye. I was able to get a sense of his soul," not using a nickname just makes no sense.

And now, thanks to Dead Certain, we know that Bush has a nickname for Dick Cheney. Referring to the decision to "mission accomplish" Iraq, Bush says: "This group-think of 'we all sat around and decided' -- there's only one person that can decide, and that's the president."

So, now we can add Bush's nickname for Dick Cheney: "the president."

Harry Terjanian at the Yearly KOS

Harry being 'the man' in Chicago.

Baratunde Thurston @ The Yearly KOS

Mr. Thurston brings down the house.

Katie Halper at the Yearly KOS

Katie brings it home at the Yearly KOS.

Lee Camp at the Yearly KOS

Lee Camp running wild in the windy city.

Freedom Censorship

Laughing Liberally's Lee Camp talks Thailand, censorship and what kids are seeing on YouTube these days.

Iraq, You Report

It's almost time for General Petraeus to present his report on Iraq's progress to Congress.

And a lot of folks are giving the Administration grief over the fact that, while General Petraeus will present the report, the President will prepare the report.

The criticism is unfair, I think.

Look at it from the President's point of view. This is a situation where the President is really just helping out a friend with a tough assignment. I'm sure when the President was in school and he had to present a report, he had someone else write it up for him.

He's just paying it forward.

You Don’t Have to be a Miner to be a Mine Hero

I was sure that the Liberal, Jewish, Gay, Vegan media would spend Labor Day podcasting renditions of the Internationale and running old footage of the Crandall Canyon accident in their ongoing attack on American and corporate values. I was wrong on both counts, the holiday passing with little media attention to workers and their “grievances” old and new. This leaves us free to celebrate true heroes, not your union-made Joe Hills and Mother Joneses, but unsung modern heroes of the mines, who eschew martyrdom yet sacrifice so much. I speak of Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, and MSHA president Richard Stickler, and, of course, CEO Robert Murray. To them I present the Awards for Non-Miner Mine Heroes. Because you don’t have to be a miner to be a mine hero.

I announce these awards just hours before the Senate holds what it calls an "investigatory hearing" -- and what I call a witch hunt-- on "The Utah Mine Disaster and Preventing Future Tragedies." Ironically, and undoubtedly, the heroes praised on these pages will be the scapegoats slandered on the hill.

Bronze Non-Miner Mine Hero Award goes to Elaine Chao. Hers is the typical American story of reward for hard work. The daughter of a shipping magnate, Chao left China for the United States in 1961 . She has labored as a banker, sweated as Bank of America vice-president, and worked herself to the bone at the conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation. She toiled tirelessly to raise $100,000 for George Bush, which earned her the honor of being a “Bush Pioneer.” Chao generously shared the keys to the kingdom of job security in an interview this summer: “American employees must be punctual, dress appropriately and have good personal hygiene…. They need anger-management and conflict-resolution skills, and they have to be able to accept direction.” Chao has already moved to organize an “independent” probe into the mine collapse, which, the indefatigable Chao will personally oversee, even if it cuts into time with her husband, Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, who received $100,000 in campaign contributions from CEO Murray. Like so many great non-miner mine heroes, Chao is now being persecuted by OCD senators like Ted Kennedy, who is demanding that Chao hand over a ridiculous number of documents related to the Crandall Canyon accident.

Silver Non-Miner Mine Hero Award goes to Richard Stickler. The head of the Mine Safety and Health Administration isn’t named Stickler for nothing. Stickler has dedicated many years to the mines as a high-level executive, and it is this, no doubt, that allows him to creatively interpret the MINER safety act passed after the Sago mine tragedy. For instance, Stickler allows mine operators to meet deadlines by ordering safety equipment (like additional breathing devices), and not having it be on hand. Stickler’s qualifications outweigh the fact that a mine under his supervision had injury rates three times the national average and racked up 3,000 safety violations. Stickler is so bipartisanly respected in Washington that Bush appointed him during a recess after congress had twice rejected Stickler’s nomination. In true stickler character, Stickler is aggressively investigating the collapse: “We want to see if we can get an inkling if there may have been an indication there was a problem before this event.” I’m sure the Stickler means a sign that is more substantial than the cave-in that occurred in Crandall Canyon in March, which he knew about, but did not report, violating federal law. It’s no surprise that Stickler is being slandered by bleeding heart liberals like Arlen Spector, who say Stickler is not “the right man for the job” and cry baby Ted Kennedy, who is

particularly troubled by reports that roof failures, similar in kind to the August 6 collapse, previously occurred in sections of the mine where retreat mining was being conducted, and that this roof failure may not have been reported to MSHA regulators as required by law.

Of course, rather than being allowed to continue his already scrupulous investigation, Stickler will be dragged off to today's hearing and bombarded with endless rounds of questions.

Gold Non-Miner Mine Hero Award goes, of course, to Robert Murray. Like so many activists before him, Murray has many enemies, including several senators who, I'm sure, will attempt to crucify the CEO during today's hearings. Having gulped the liberal media’s poisonous Kool-Aid, Robert’s own workers have turned against him and “Lil Bob” piñatas are selling like hotcakes in both the U.S. and Mexico. An understandably outraged Murray responded to the Utah Republican Governor, who had called his behavior “unconscionable” and demanded inspections of all of Murray’s mines, by sending the Governor a “personal and confidential” letter threatening to cut Utah mine jobs if the governor continued to treat him like his “whipping boy.” And sure enough, four days later, Murray laid off 270 workers from his other Utah mine, explaining to the workers that the noisy governor, the “unfair” Salt Lake Tribune, and the vicious Ted Kennedy were responsible for the Tower Mine closing.

Murray insists the collapse was “totally unforeseen by anyone” and brought on by an earthquake and not retreat mining.

Yet there is evidence to the contrary: A similar incident in March caused a delay in mining – which was never reported to the MSHA, though required by federal law. Murray Co. repeatedly (and successfully) petitioned the MSHA for permission to do retreat mining in areas the previous company had left alone because it deemed that mining in the area would be too dangerous for “personnel and the environment.”

Before making the awards decision, I had to reconcile the words of this compassionate CEO with the facts that have surfaced. Liberal conspiracy theorists claim Robert Murray is a liar who puts profits over people, whose greed, unchecked by a complicit Bush administration, has resulted in the death of hard-working miners. And yet the truth, as always, is far more complicated and nuanced. Far from killing and injuring his workers through his ruthless avarice, Robert Murray is, himself, an injured worker, the victim of an occupational hazard, an on the job injury: early onset dementia. It is because Murray so identifies with his workers that, while his body is healthy, his soul is with his six missing employees suffocated and crushed in the depths of the Crandall Canyon mine. Murray is not lying about the retreat mining and the change in mining plans. He forgot about them. He did not invent an earthquake. He experienced it in his demented state.

Of course, my heart goes out to the six missing miners and the three miners who died while trying to rescue them. But these miners are gone. And besides, they have received more than enough attention and sympathy from the media, the church, and the self- serving unions, which are attempting to exploit this tragedy in order to organize miners so that tragedies like this do not happen again. After the accident, in fact, the family members asked the union to represent them. Luckily, the always impartial MSHA has said that only the miners themselves can ask to be represented. I guess the miners should have thought about that before they entered the mine for the last time on August 6th. While we must honor their memory, we must heal the victim who is still alive: Robert Murray. I hope the Non-Minor Mine Hero Gold Award helps to heal his battered soul and brain.

UPDATE: I have just learned that Robert Murray will not be testifying at Wednesday's Senate hearing on mine safety. As usual, Murray is thinking not of himself, but of his workers, explaining he would not be able to “give the situation in Utah the proper attention it needs if I have to travel to Washington to testify.” I like to think that receiving the GNMH (Gold Non-Miner Mine Hero) award emboldened the principled CEO to defy the Senate's Big Brother meddling. Even though we won’t be able to see Murray testify today, we can always see him testify here.