Random Liberals

We are random liberals (who knew?). Collectively, we make up the greatest blog in the history of ourselves. We will blog about anything that suits us; mostly politics, with a little bit of religion and randomness to make the blog exciting.


Friday, August 13, 2004

On marriage and anniversaries

Today is my grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary. My father's parents were married on Friday, August 13, 1954 in Miami, Florida. Yes, Friday the 13th. I only found that part out last week. I'm not quite sure why they did that, but if their sense of humor is anything like mine or my dad's, they probably did it to be funny. Now, they celebrate 50 years of being together. Unfortunately, it will be without me. My father and step-mother left two days ago so that they could spend a week with my dad's family in celebration. I will of course be calling my grandparents this evening to wish them a happy anniversary.

This is actually the 2nd 50th anniversary my family has seen this year. My mother's parents' 50th anniversary was last February. That was one of the more interesting days of my life. It was supposed to be a celebration, but it wound up being dampered because, on the way to the church with my sister, I wrecked my car. Still, it was a good weekend overall, and it was great commemorating such a wonderful, and rare, mark.

On a related note, the California Supreme Court annulled approximately 4000 marriages that were performed in San Francisco earlier this year, a move unprecedented in its scale. 4000 couples who have once again had their hearts ripped out and stomped on. 4000 couples who have an incredibly deep love for each other. 8000 human beings who deserve better. 8000 people who are denied the right to publicly and proudly proclaim their profound feelings simply because they are homosexual. While they are married in the eyes of God, we are denying them the right to be married in the eyes of humankind. What kind of people are we to withhold that right? This is the United States, the land of dreams. What is a bigger dream than to marry the one you love?

May God forgive us and our bigotry.


Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Iraq and music

Last Friday, I went to a concert that my old roommate's band played at. They are called Shadowed Beneath, and they play doom metal. Doom is one of my absolute favorite musical styles. It is very dark, and very melodic. I can't really give a good example of who they sound like, because mainstream radio doesn't play their style of music. Ever. But that's another gripe for another day. The closest band in terms of style is probably Metallica, circa the Black Album. But even that isn't quite right.

The concert itself was great. Shadowed Beneath isn't all that big, even on the local scene, but a decent-sized crowd was there in time to see them play. They were the opening act for a concert that included two of the biggest rock acts in the Fort Worth/Dallas Metroplex, The Guns of August (a band which, despite its cool and historically aware name, I cannot stand) and Element 80 (a band with decent talent and an awesome live show to go along with its great name). Shadowed Beneath got a good response, which I was of course very glad to see.

Unfortunately, they also had some bad news. Their drummer, a member of the Texas National Guard, has been called up with his unit. This weekend, he goes to Ft. Hood, TX for six months of training. After that, he goes to Iraq for what will be at least a one year tour. This is a huge blow to my roommate and his band. They have been together for over two years, and were just starting to make some headway on the local metal scene. Now, they are going to be forced to hope and pray while their friend and bandmate is sent off to Dubya's War. Chances are, he'll come back and be fine, but we are all left in limbo. His life is interrupted, and ours are altered, even if only slightly. This is what war does.


Monday, August 02, 2004

Kerry unknown?

So I was watching ABC World News Tonight with Peter Jennings' Replacement (I never caught her name), and they did a segment on the latest ABC News poll. In it, Kerry leads by wide margins in several categories, including the economy, and who would make the best "commander-in-chief," and by a slim margin in the "who best to lead us on the war on terror" category. Not that any of that really matters, because there are still exactly three months left until the election. The statistic that struck me was this: only slightly more than half of the respondents think they have at least a good idea of what John Kerry stands for. At first, I found that kind of hard to believe, mostly because this is the most important election in a very long time, and everyone knows it. Given that, it would seem to me that more people would be paying attention more closely to the issues of this election, and therefore by now would have a very good idea of what both President Bush and Senator Kerry stand for.

Then something hit me. A couple of somethings, actually, both of them having at least a little bit to do with the media. One of them was an obvious observation, one that has been made many times before. The media for a very long time have been covering horse race very well in elections, but have done a very poor job reporting on the issues. The segment about the poll on ABC was a perfect example. The entire segment (which I believe ran about five minutes) was devoted to their poll, with exactly zero issues coverage. As a result, challegers to an elective office are going to have a hard time getting their views on the issues out into the general public. Without the media to report what his stances are, Senator Kerry has to rely on the Internet, which everyone does not have access to (and when they do, they don't always use it for such noble purposes as reading about a candidate), and stump speeches, which not everyone hears. He can also use commercials, but studies show that those are very increasingly ineffective in getting across to voters. Senator Kerry simply cannot rely on the traditional media (especially television) to report on him anymore, even though television is how most people get their news now.

Second has to do with sheepdom. The media report in various polls and news stories that many, if not most, people do not know very much about John Kerry. On the stump, President Bush tells us that we don't know much about Senator Kerry, and that what we do know is incredibly bad. People keep hearing that many, if not most, people do not know much about Senator Kerry, and so they believe it. People believe that they don't know much, when in fact they may know plenty. They are told again and again that Senator Kerry is a flip-flopper who doesn't know himself from one day to the next where he stands on the issues, and so they believe it. I think, however, that if the people who don't think they know much about Senator Kerry were asked specific questions about his stances (for example, "Where does Senator Kerry stand on taxes?"), a good portion of them would discover than they know more than they thought, and actually do have a good idea of where he stands.

Then again, I could be off my rocker about the last point. But I think it should be tried. In any case, it's good to be back.