Happy Sunday!

Happy Sunday, everyone! As the sun comes up over the trees, I’m watching the high clouds disperse and relishing the thought of mowing the lawn in a few hours. The grass is still tender and new, and the Indian paintbrush is dotting the lawn. I’ll mow around it, and Willie will lie in the grass and watch the proceedings, I’ve no doubt.

I’m working to be aware and appreciative of each moment of good quality life that he has. It’s all a gift — and makes me aware, too, that it’s really the exact same gift for each of us — were it possible to tolerate a daily awareness of our mortality.

After a quick scan of the news, I was interested to learn a few things that I hadn’t known before this morning. For example, did you know that we are in danger — dire danger — from paganism? Yup. According to Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich who are, thankfully, spreading the word, our God fearing nation is losing ground to the pagan hordes amongst us.

Not only that, but did you know that the American revolutionaries’ victory over the British back in the 18th century was a miracle from God exactly like the miracle of the 21st century defeat of gay marriage in California?

If God is willing to reach down and defeat gay marriage in California one has to wonder why he would allow it in so many other places — not to mention why he would allow the pagans to run amok and upset Mike and Newt and probably 10 or 15 other easily upset conservative politicians and pundits. I am pleased to see that the GOP continues to zero in on the heart of what ails us as a nation, refusing to be distracted by things like the economy, health care, various wars, etc.

As further evidence of God’s hand in history, and the role that Republicans and the Bush administration have played in furthering God’s will, we have the emerging/clarifying picture of Dick Cheney working his little buns off trying to assure that US operatives were able to continue torturing prisoners as was necessary to keep America safe. Apparently, as questions about the practice intensified, Cheney left his undisclosed location more and more frequently to assure that his agenda remained in place.

The news doesn’t really come as a shock — indeed, some close observers had already guessed that the then-veep was involved in the briefings. But it does add to the picture of Cheney embarking during the middle years of the Bush administration on a focused, stealthy campaign to make sure the US didn’t give up what he saw as its right to torture.

It is electrifying bizarre to think that presumably intelligent and savvy public figures like Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee actually believe that pagans are a greater danger to the soul of America than Dick Cheney and those of his ilk are. Are they delusional enough to truly believe what they are saying, or just coldly exploiting the political calculus?

I went for help on this question to a recent study that finds that conservatives, on the whole, tend to be a bit more “queasy” or easily disgusted (torture excepted, of course) than their liberal compatriots are.

In one of the new studies, Cornell University psychology professor David Pizarro and colleagues surveyed 181 U.S. adults from politically mixed swing states. They used a Disgust Sensitivity Scale (DSS), which offers various scenarios to assess disgust sensitivity, as well as a political ideology scale. They found a correlation between being more easily disgusted and political conservatism.

Then they surveyed 91 Cornell undergraduates with the DSS, as well as with questions about their positions on issues including gay marriage, abortion, gun control, labor unions, tax cuts and affirmative action. Participants who rated higher in disgust sensitivity were more likely to oppose gay marriage and abortion, issues that are related to notions of morality or purity.

Finally, turning to the saner world of soccer, here’s a nice article about Megan Rapinoe who’s come back from two ACL injuries and is now thriving with the Red Stars. Then we’ve got Knapp Notes, looking ahead at today’s WPS match ups.

Have a good one!

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