Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sheila Mullowney Punishes Her Readers, Part 2

For those just joining us, this is part 2 of a 3-part series (part 1 is here) in which I fisk Cap'n Mike Caldwell's plaintive wingnut lament "Are we losing our nation's soul?", as seen in the July 29, 2008 edition of the Newport Daily News. Cap'n Mike thinks America is losing its national soul, and being the hopeless wingnut that he is, he's certain that whiny America-bashing liberals are to blame. Cap'n Mike has chosen six instances of America-bashing whiners whose America-bashing whining is unsouling this country. Mind you, this is America's cultural soul he's talking about here. Next month, Spaghedeity help us, Cap'n Mike is going to regale us with examples of political national-soul-elimination.

We pick up our fisking with Cap'n Mike's third example of cultural-soul-destroying America-bashing. Take it away, Cap'n Mike!

Noon meal prayer at the US Naval Academy, a tradition since its founding it 1845, has again come under attack.

Oh nooooooooes! Not again! Man, that noon meal prayer at Annapolis just can't seem to catch a break! Tell us, Cap'n Mike! Tell us who's trying to destroy America's cultural soul at the US Naval Academy!

The American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter on behalf of nine present and former midshipmen to the academy superintendent demanding an end to the 163-year-old tradition. The letter alleges those who don't participate feel they are forced to stand out among their peers.

As this Washington Post piece from June notes, the Anti-Defamation League has also asked the US Naval Academy to end its mandatory noon meal prayer, though for some weird reason Cap'n Mike didn't mention them. The WaPo piece also notes that the Virginia Military Academy's traditional noon meal prayer was ruled unconstitutional by a Virginia appeals court in 2003, and that the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs had to adopt guidelines that discourage public prayers at official events or meetings after a scandal involving, per the New York Times, "expressions of anti-Semitism, official sponsorship of a showing of The Passion of the Christ, and a locker room banner that said athletes played for 'Team Jesus'.” Both West Point and Annapolis have been feeling the heat since the Air Force Academy scandal brought officially sponsored religious activity at military facilities into the public discourse.

So, how does Cap'n Mike respond to these midshipmen, brave men and women who have chosen to serve their country in the United States Navy, but who find themselves being singled out because their own religious beliefs (or lack thereof) are out of favor with the Powers That Be at the Academy?

Poor lads. Wait until they get into combat.

I guess this is what conservatives mean when they talk about "supporting the troops". Cap'n Mike's classiness just shines through, doesn't it?

Oh well. Time for us to take a gander at cultural-soul-destroying America-basher #4. Who's the next contestant, Cap'n Mike?

The Supreme Court recently ruled that executions are too severe a punishment for child rapists. The ruling restricts the death penalty to murder and -- interestingly -- "crimes against the state". Forcibly raping a 5-year-old child may simply have one sent to the lockup for incarceration and perhaps even a college education (at taxpayer expense), but "crimes against the state" provide for execution. Swell.

Cap'n Mike's raising-of-eyebrows about the phrase "crimes against the state" seems odd coming from someone who -- interestingly -- has never publicly voiced any objections to the Bush administration's extra-legal policy of warrantless wiretapping, indefinite detentions, routine torture, and Kafkaesque military tribunals in pursuit of its Glorious War On Terror. If Cap'n Mike is really worried about the threat to individual liberty posed by an overbearing government, he's been curiously silent about it.

I also note that conservatives are never happier than when they're lamenting the fact that 1) the government isn't executing more criminals, and 2) the government is spending their tax dollars. Here Cap'n Mike manages the impressive feat of complaining about both at the same time! Well played, sir!

Curiously, the same conservatives who complain about their taxes being spent on criminals are the same conservatives who would rather see the government spend thirty million dollars on a prison than thirty thousand dollars on a social worker. This is why you can't trust conservatives with your money -- their ideology always trumps their (hypothetical) common sense.

And I would be remiss if I failed to honor Cap'n Mike for the trenchant social commentary implicit in his terminal "swell". With one word, Cap'n Mike has disproved that old saw about brevity being the soul of wit.

Well, that's it for this installment of "Sheila Mullowney Punishes Her Readers; or, The Fisking of Cap'n Mike". Tune in whenever for the thrilling conclusion!

(this post is cross-posted to The Spirit of 75)
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