Tea Party letter to Republican leadership calls for unified vision

November 4, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Washington (CNN) - In a sign the conservative movement intends to hold the newly-emboldened Republican leadership accountable in the wake of Tuesday’s midterm elections, over 60 prominent activists on the right sent a letter Wednesday to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker-designate John Boehner and Republican Governors Association Chairman Haley Barbour urging the new GOP leadership to unify around a set of core principles.

Read full letter (pdf)

The letter, obtained Thursday by CNN, was co-signed by a fleet of top conservative activists including former Reagan Attorney General Ed Meese, Media Research Center President Brent Bozell, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, Let Freedom Ring founder Colin Hanna and Tea Party Express chairman Amy Kremer.

It asks McConnell, Boehner and Barbour to “go before the American people jointly and present a unified vision of what this Republican victory will stand for” - namely lower taxes, reducing the size of government, a commitment to “restoring traditional moral values” and a muscular foreign policy.

“You are in positions to lead Republicans in putting aside personal ambitions and desires to retain positions of power and use the public offices entrusted to the Republican Party to address the momentous economic, moral and national security challenges our nation faces today, as our Founding Fathers did before us,” the letter reads.


CNN Political Ticker

The Unified Mind, Ctd

September 26, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

A reader dissents:

Which idea of the soul is Mr. Weisman talking about? Certainly not the one formulated by Aristotle. For Aristotle, the soul was simply the essence of what humans are made for. He said that if a knife had a soul, it would be the act of cutting. Aquinas and several Arab scholars elaborated on this concept so as to make the soul a kind of first principle of the body. Many traditions don't even consider the soul to be a single thing.

In the Jewish Kabbalah, there are at least three different levels of the soul (some add additional ones): Nefesh, Ruach, and Neshamah, which can be thought of as analogous to Freud's Id, Ego, and Superego. Similarly, Plato divided the soul into three parts: Logos, Thymos, and Eros. In fact, one word the Greeks used for soul was "psyche," from which we get the term "psychology," or "psychosis." The idea that the soul might become fractured as a result of disturbances in the body is not all that perplexing to someone who's actually studied the history of the concept.

Mr. Weisman's article is a perfect example of the arrogance of those who use science to rebut philosophical and theological concepts which they can't be bothered to actually study.





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Soul - Aristotle - Kabbalah - Human - Psychology


The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

The Unified Mind

September 26, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

David Weisman rails against the idea of a soul, in the face of neurological damage that can render a patient unable to recognize his or her own left arm and unable to know that anything is wrong:

Now consider yourself. Consider your own left arm. It feels perfect, under your control, a part of you, exactly where it should be. But this unified perception relies on neuronal machinery humming in the background, far beneath conscious awareness. Your sense of unity, only perceptible to you, is a sheen on the surface, not a deeper layer of reality.

Where does this leave the soul?

Does the soul make any sense in the face of a brain and mind so easily fractured by ischemia? A soul is immaterial, eternal, a little god, impervious to injury, able to survive our deaths. Yet here we see one injured, tethered so close to the injured brain that there is no string. We see a hole, and through it we get a glimpse into the brain’s inner workings. One part is damaged; another part falsely thinks it is whole. How does the idea of a unified soul make any sense in the face of this data?





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Soul - Brain - Brain damage - Health - Neurological Disorders


The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

Forbes’ grand unified theory

September 13, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Forbes’ cover story this week, condensed by Newt Gingrich, is that Obama hails from an intellectual tradition foreign to America, and is wildly more radical than all his predecessors.

The piece is weirdly sloppy in its details, as has been widely noted: Its lead anecdote depends on a willful misunderstanding of the Ex-Im Bank, which was in any case under the control of Bush appointees at the time. Other anecdotes meant to be central are about utterly marginal policy items.

(What is it with these lead anecdotes anyway? Authors of future takedowns take note: The first anecdote is really important for your credibility.)

More broadly, though, D’Souza is trying to raise the question of whether — as Krauthammer sometimes says — Obama is operating between the 40-yard lines, where American politics is traditionally played, or whether he’s pushing the American government far beyond its normal policy bounds. Few of Obama’s supporters believe he’s this ambitious. Some wish he was. His critics, meanwhile, are not eager to allow that any of the loathing for him is somehow cultural or (worse) racial, so they’re left to argue (and it’s sometimes done better than this) that it’s all about his policies. 

The Forbes piece is a bid to resolve that tension, synthesizing the cultural discomfort with Obama and the policy objections.

(This form of argument does seem to be the way, incidentally, much of America looks at its presidents. Obama’s recent predecessors have all been, to substantial segments of the country, the absolute worst president ever for reasons that extend far beyond policy, but which help explain it.)





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Ben Smith’s Blog

A hitch in the grand unified Koch theory

September 8, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

David Koch and his wife have given $ 74,000 to Andrew Cuomo.





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