Quotable Quote of the Month

What does it take for Republicans to take off the flag pin and say, 'I am just too embarrassed to be on this team'?".- Bill Maher

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Religious Scholar Takes Fox News Host to School

On July 26, author and religious historian Reza Aslan was a guest on "Spirited Debate", a FoxNews.com webcast about religion hosted by Lauren Green. Aslan was on the program to promote his new book Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. The interview has gone viral and Ms. Green has been heavily criticized. Words such as "the worst", "most embarrassing", and "cringe-worthy" have been used to describe her interview with Aslan. You can watch and see if the criticism is apt or not.

The merits of Ms. Green's opening question regarding why a Muslim would write a book on Christianity is debatable. One could argue that it was designed for those not familiar with Aslan's work. This theory may be giving Ms. Green too much credit though. However, once Aslan gave his response, Ms. Green sounded downright silly when she asked why he'd be interested in the founder of Christianity. If Pamela Geller was on "Spirited Debate" promoting one of her books about Islam, do you think Ms. Green would have questioned why a Christian is writing about Islam?! After watching the interview, it may appear to some as if Aslan wears his academic credentials on his sleeve. However, I think it was unfortunately necessary for him to repeatedly state his credentials because Ms. Green couldn't get off her talking point of whether or not he was qualified to write the book in the first place. As a side note, I'm willing to bet Aslan knows more about Christianity than many of the so-called Christians walking around.

During the interview, Ms. Green read criticisms of the book by two theologians and someone watching the webcast. Nothing wrong with that. However, the interview would have been much better if she also read passages from the book itself and then asked Aslan questions related to them. Ms. Green also accuses Aslan of trying to conceal his Muslim background. At this point she should have stayed down because Aslan easily dismantled her claim.

Until this past weekend, I had never heard of Reza Aslan. However, I think this interview will serve to raise his profile in a positive way because he calmly and eloquently stated his reasons for writing the book. Although I was familiar with Ms. Green's previous work reading news updates on the Fox News channel, with this interview many others are probably seeing her for the first time. The word "inauspicious" comes to mind.

Reza Aslan's interview with Lauren Green has proved to be a win-win for him. In addition to thoroughly schooling Ms. Green, Aslan has seen sales of Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth skyrocket. While it was selling steadily before the interview, as I write this post it is the #1 book on Amazon.com.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Victoria Jackson Voices Her Concerns About Communism to Bill O'Reilly

As readers of this blog may recall, I have occasionally done humor-based posts called "Sunday Funnies". Now today's post has its share of humor, but it's of the unintentional variety. Recently, Bill O'Reilly did an interview with actress/comedian Victoria Jackson in which she discussed her political evolution. If you're familiar with Ms. Jackson's actions over the last few years, you know what to expect. At any rate, here is what she gave us:

Her rantings are so obviously off the charts that it's pointless to waste time debunking them. In the aftermath of her appearance on The O'Reilly Factor, Ms. Jackson wrote an article on her website in which she discusses how her segment was deceptively edited by someone at Fox News. When I first watched the segment, I was puzzled by Ms. Jackson's reference to "them" when she was talking about communists. It appears she was referring to her children, but Fox News apparently edited this out. If this is true, Fox News made Ms. Jackson look like a paranoid lunatic for thinking there are communists in our government who are going to kill her for being a Christian. If we are to believe Ms. Jackson was the victim of deceptive editing, she's only a paranoid lunatic for thinking there are communists in our government who are going to kill her kids for being Christians. Ms. Jackson also mentions that her comments about books which prove President Obama is a communist were edited out as well. If that's true, the folks at the Factor may have done her a favor by leaving that nonsense on the cutting room floor.

We often hear conservatives (in particular, the ones at Fox) slam Hollywood for its liberalism. However, these same people cannot wait to line up and kiss the proverbial asses of Hollywood conservatives. Since Fox's raison d'etre is to promote the Republican/conservative brand, you'd think they would do a better job of featuring prominent and credible Hollywood conservatives. Although I disagree with their politics, I haven't heard anything outrageous from the likes of Kelsey Grammer and Gary Sinise. Why not invite them on more often? Maybe Fox has and their calls aren't being returned, I don't know. At any rate, how is Fox News advancing Republicanism/conservatism by giving the time of day to a washed up D-lister (at best) with zero credibility like Victoria Jackson? 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Guest Post: Which Group is Most Identified With Being More Racist Than Others? The Answer May Surprise You

One of the goals of Progressive Soup is to allow people with differing viewpoints on a variety of issues to share them here. Last week, I came across a blog post (Which Group is Most Identified With Being More Racist Than Others? The Answer May Surprise You) about a recent Rasmussen poll on race. When I contacted the blogger (Teresa) to see if I could use it as a guest post here, she gave her consent. For a wording of the Rasmussen poll's survey questions, click here

This was posted by Teresa on her blog on July 6, 2013:

According to a poll more citizens believe blacks are more racist than whites or Hispanics. The poll revealed that a person's political affiliation played much more of a role in feelings towards various races rather than a person's ethnicity.

The poll's findings: "Overall, 37 percent of Americans feel that black Americans are the most racist among the three ethnic groups, 15 percent feel that whites are and 18 percent think Hispanics are." 

Do you think this poll is accurate? And accurately reflects the feelings and perceptions of the various groups of Americans?  The only thing I'll say is if blacks are brought up to believe they are a victim then they are buying into the false notion that they're not as good or can't be as good as people of other ethnicities. If blacks accept victim status then jealousy could breed resentment, which could ultimately lead to hatred and misconceptions about other races. But being taught to hate can happen within any ethnicity or race.  From my perspective I see a majority of the mob violence and hate coming from blacks and gang members which consist of a variety of races.

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Retro Mix Playlist for 7/13/13: Freedom Rock

Show Theme: Peace and Protest Songs from the 60s and early 70s

Normally I wouldn't post my radio show playlists here. However, because of theme of my show last Saturday, I thought I'd share it.

Hour 1

War- Edwin Starr
Mother Freedom- Bread
Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)- Melanie
Give Peace a Chance- John Lennon (Plastic Ono Band)
Blowin’ in the Wind- Bob Dylan
Chicago- Graham Nash
Bring the Boys Home- Freda Payne
People Got to Be Free- The Rascals

In Concert segment:
What Have They Done to the Rain- Joan Baez (rec. live in 1962)

Eve of Destruction- Barry McGuire
(For God’s Sake) Give More Power to the People- The Chi Lites
Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World Is Today)- The Temptations
Now That the Buffalo’s Gone- Buffy Sainte-Marie
Turn, Turn, Turn- The Byrds
Fortunate Son- CCR
We Gotta All Get Together- Paul Revere & the Raiders

Hour 2

What’s Goin’ On- Marvin Gaye
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised- Gil Scott-Heron
Reach Out of the Darkness- Friend & Lover
Ohio- Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young
Peace Train- Cat Stevens
Say It Loud-I’m Black and I’m Proud- James Brown
We’re a Winner- The Impressions
2+2=?- The Bob Seger System
Black and White- Three Dog Night

The Greatest Miss of the Week:
I Should Be Proud- Martha Reeves & the Vandellas (only reached #80 on the Billboard Hot 100)

Time Has Come Today- The Chambers Brothers
Signs- The Five Man Electrical Band
A Change Is Gonna Come- Sam Cooke
Handsome Johnny- Richie Havens
One Tin Soldier- Coven
Volunteers- Jefferson Airplane

Hour 3

Get Together- The Youngbloods
Laugh at Me- Sonny Bono
Everyday People- Sly & the Family Stone
Friendship Train- Gladys Knight & the Pips
I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing- The New Seekers
I Ain’t Marching Anymore- Phil Ochs
This Land Is Your Land- Peter, Paul, & Mary
Hallelujah Day- The Jackson Five
Save the Country- The 5th Dimension
For What It’s Worth (Stop, Hey What’s That Sound)- Buffalo Springfield
Something in the Air- Thunderclap Newman
Stoned Love- The Supremes
If 6 Was 9- The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Let’s Work Together- Canned Heat
Student Demonstration Time- The Beach Boys
All You Need Is Love- The Beatles

Did any of your favorite peace and protest songs from the 60s and early 70s make the playlist? What are some of your favorite peace and protest songs from that era which didn't make the playlist?

The Retro Mix Video of the Week: Volunteers by Jefferson Airplane

Sunday, July 14, 2013

More Thoughts on the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin Case

Last night, George Zimmerman was found not guilty in the death of Travyon Martin. Zimmerman's supporters and his detractors will never come to a consensus on his guilt or innocence. However, one thing we should all be able to agree on is that only two people know for sure what happened on the fateful night of February 26, 2012 and one of them isn't in the position to give his side of the story. 

One of the sad aspects of this case is how it became a left-right issue. I think it turned into one because of the involvement of the Rev. Al Sharpton and the comments made by President Barack Obama. Just to be clear, I don't think the actions and/or words of these men made it a political issue. It was how these actions and words were interpreted by many on the right which turned it into one. Because many on the right have a dislike/hatred for the Rev. Sharpton and President Obama, I think they automatically took what they perceived to be the opposite side. What many on the right seemed to have missed is that the Rev. Sharpton only became involved after being contacted by the lawyer for Travyon's family. It's not like he was combing the internet and thumbing through newspapers looking for a case in which the victim was black. Also, the Rev. Sharpton took action and President Obama said what he said (only after being asked to comment by a reporter) because they wanted justice to be served... which is perfectly understandable. 

"If anybody watching this show -- either live or on the Internet -- doesn’t believe that if an African-American shot a 17-year-old white boy walking through a neighborhood carrying ice tea and Skittles…if they do not believe that an arraignment would be scheduled by the next morning for the African-American shooter and that the white boy’s family would be called immediately…that an office would actually drive to the white boy’s home and sit down with the parents on the couch and console them because they have lost a 17-year-old son. If you don’t believe that this case and the handling of this case by the people in Florida has nothing to do with race, you are living in a fantasy world."- Joe Scarborough, 3/21/12

Here's my question for the righties: If one of your loved ones was killed and the killer was still walking the streets, wouldn't you want some answers?

With the not guilty verdict, the NRA folks must be dancing in the streets. I don't know about you, but I don't feel safe in those streets... especially if I was in Florida. You think I'm kidding?!

Monday, July 1, 2013

A Liberal Pundit and a GOP Politician Face Off on the Gay Marriage Debate

On Saturday night's installment of the Fox News program Geraldo at Large, liberal pundit Sally Kohn and Congressman Tim Walberg (R-MI) debated the issue of gay marriage. Their discussion stood out to me (in a positive way) for a couple of reasons. Too often, debates on cable news devolve into shouting matches that are more befitting the WWE. I think that Ms. Kohn made some excellent points and did so logically. Although I disagree with Rep. Walberg's stance on this issue, he stated his case in a calm manner. It was also refreshing to see Rivera stick to just moderating the debate. What normally happens is that the host will pick a side and it turns into a 2 against 1 scuffle. Although I can understand the temptation for a host to jump into the fray of a 1-on-1 debate, it's better when they leave it to their guests to engage with one another.

What are your thoughts on the debate between Ms. Kohn and Rep. Walberg?