Thursday, December 24, 2009

Last Call

Something to remember this Christmas Eve, Gallup's annual religion poll shows that 78% of Americans identify themselves as Christian, but that's down from 85% in 1998.

What Is Your Religious Preference? 1948-2009 Trend

The trend results are based on annual averages of Gallup's religious identity data in America that stretch back over 60 years. One of the most significant trends documented during this period is the substantial increase in the percentage of American adults who don't identify with any specific religion. In 1948, only 2% of Americans did not identify with a religion. That percentage began to rise in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Eleven years ago, in 1998, 6% of Americans did not identify with a religion, a number that rose to 10% by 2002. This year's average of 13% of Americans who claim no religious identity is the highest in Gallup records.

The percentage of Americans who identify as Catholic, Protestant, or some other non-Catholic Christian faith has been concomitantly decreasing over the years. This suggests that one of the major patterns of religious transition in America in recent decades has been the shift from identification as Christian to the status of having no specific religious identification.

In 1948, 91% of Americans identified with a Christian faith. Twenty years ago, in 1989, 82% of Americans identified as Christian. Ten years ago, it was 84%. This year, as noted, 78% of all American adults identify with a Christian faith.

There has also been a slight increase in the percentage of Americans who identify with a religion that is not specifically classified as Christian. Sixty years ago, for example, 4% of Americans identified with a non-Christian religion. By 1989, 9% of Americans were in this non-Christian religion category, the same percentage as today.
That's important.  There are a number of Americans out there who aren't Christian, but there are a growing number of Americans who simply don't see themselves as having a religion.  Keep in mind that 13% represents tens of millions of Americans, too.  So whatever religion you celebrate...or don't, for that matter...have a good one.

And remember, it's not an excuse to find a difference, but a similarity.

A Right Nasty Scrum, Mate

Quite the row over at BooMan's place, where he's even more strident that I am about Jane Hamsher's Devil's bargain with the teabaggers and is wondering when the rest of FDL's progressives will be looking for a way out of there as a result.  Best comments over there so far by Fighting Bill:
Hamsher is a breast cancer survivor, multiple times, and clearly there is a deep personal well to her feelings about reform. She was also a fierce anti-war voice who stepped out of the blogosphere shadows to take on national prominence in helping to lead Ned Lamont to the Democratic senatorial nomination in CT. The problem is that somewhere along the way, the spotlight has gone to her head and clouded her judgement. She didn't help Lamont to victory; instead, Joe Lieberman survived and has more power than ever before. His anemic presidential run in 2004 is a distant memory--he's a playa now.

She had good points to make about Caroline Kennedy's weaknesses as a Senate candidate, but she was strident and absolutist as she went about vilifiying her. We got Gillebrand in the deal.

Now this: she has adopted a self-defeating position that is all about HER and not at all about the 30 million people who can be helped by an imperfect bill. Like it or not, the bill is a foot in the door that will yield opportunities for improvement in short order. Anyone who looks to her for strategy, as so many in the left seem to be doing, are not paying enough attention.
Her passion, her reasoning, her fight, yes I respect it.  Her choice of allies and her all or nothing decision when "all" is impossible right now and nothing is untenable, immoral and unsustainable?  No.

And Yet Another Thing

John Cole makes this point about the totally screwball "Fire Rahmbo" coalition between Jane Hamsher and Grover Norquist:
Another thing that really pisses me off about this jihad against Rahm Emanuel is that the message it implicitly sends is that Obama is not calling the shots- he’s just Rahm’s puppet. That is explicitly a Republican frame- that Obama is weak and an empty suit.
I'll go a step further.  It's more than that, the "Obama is an empty suit meme" has always smacked of implied racism, the same "soft bigotry of low expectations"/"The Bell Curve" bullshit that Obama's just not quite bright enough to be Commander-In-Chief because he' know. Naturally, the theory goes, he needs a politically smart white guy to run the show for him while just smiles and nods and teaches him the ropes.  Obama's attitude is laissaze faire and all because he has no choice:  he's the just black guy on the outside of the cereal box, the real decisions are made by other, smarter, not_black folks.

That's the stuff that really burns me.  You really can distill much of the whisper campaign against him to racism, and the Right then finds a way to build on it, capturing the impatience of those on the Left to then serve to destroy the progressives altogether.

Now I'm no Annenberg School graduate, but even I can see this crap for what it is.

We Have A Winner, Folks

I knew the Wingers would grimly intone the end of the United States of America as we know it due to today's Senate bill passage, but two reactions stand out as some of the worst punditry I can recall seeing on the entire issue.  First, Rick Moran warms up paragraph after paragraph of mendacious warnings, calling the bill the "worst piece of legislation in my lifetime" while managing to absolve the GOP...
If some of this would have accomplished some of the goals the Democrats set out to fulfill, there’s a chance that reasonable conservatives could have supported it. After all, no bill is going to be perfect, and the opposition, working with the material you have at hand in order to improve it, might have achieved at least the appearance of bi-partisanship.

It’s not the the Democrats were necessarily not interested in bi-partisanship as it was they were not interested in the gradualist approach favored by those few lawmakers in the GOP who would have supported health care reform. When even Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins wouldn’t get on board, this should have been a sign that what the Democrats were proposing was a bridge too far even for moderate Republicans.

Married to process rather than sticking to substance, Harry Reid then took a bad bill and made it infinitely worse by trying to please all segments of his caucus. The buy offs, the favors - all the little ornaments Reid added to this Christmas tree of a bill made it less fair, more complex, and more expensive.
Look, Rick, there was zero amount of GOP Senators that ever would have voted for this bill.  Until 2013 at the minimum, the Republican Party has abdicated any and all responsibility for legislating anything.  They simply vote no and then complain they aren't allowed to run the country anymore.  Over a hundred cloture or procedural votes in 2009 alone, Rick.  You can't be that dense.  Nobody believes for a second the GOP is going to do anything but blockade this Congress.

But then we have a winner for worst Wingnut douchebaggery of 2009 hands down as Dan Riehl directly compares the passage to a terror attack on America:
Sixty suicidal terrorists aka Socialist-Democrat Senators strapped over 2,000 pages of dynamite to themselves in the Capitol this morning, as they vowed to blow up America's superior health care system in coming months. The group is being coordinated by a Washington, DC man identified as Barack Hussein Obama.
Reid opened the Senate floor at 7 a.m. and channeled Ted Kennedy: “The work goes on. The cause endures… and yet here we are, minutes away from doing what others have tried but none have achieved.”
Republican leader Mitch McConnell responded: “This fight isn’t over. My colleagues and I will work to stop this bill from becoming law. That’s the clear will of the American people — and we’re going to continue to fight on their behalf.”
Obama supplies the terrorists with funding through a large criminal enterprise referred to as an Internal Revenue Service, or IRS. The IRS steals monies from innocent Americans, including the unborn of future generations, to fund the groups destructive plans. Reports suggest the terrorists within the Capitol are prepared to die for their cause if they must.

Only citizen political militias scattered across the country stand between the terrorists and the destruction of what has long been hailed as the greatest and freest nation in the world. For Americans, the international war against totalitarianism has come home.
Cry havoc! and let loose the dogs of war, that this foul deed shall smell above the earth with carrion men, groaning for burial. *
Really.  This asshole just outright called them terrorists, called the President a terrorist mastermind, and called for the people to rise up against them.

Riehl is so far off the map he's in another year's atlas.  This is the kind of stuff that I've been talking about since I started this blog, the level of unbridled, blood-drunk hatred against the Democrats that borders on the delusional and sociopathic.

This is Obama Derangement Syndrome.  And it's only getting worse.


(slightly late edition.  Sorry, day off and overslept a bit.)

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