Quote of the Week — LaHood on Congress

So this just came across the TimeQuotes of the Day“, which at present provides the content for the “So they say” RSS widget in the sidebar:

“The strategy is to lay low and then blame them for not getting anything done. The truth is, we all lose.”

That classic line is attributed to Rep. Ray LaHood (R-IL), “when asked about congressional Republicans resisting initiatives by their Democratic colleagues”. The Internatinal Herald Tribune carried the same quote with the identical attribution in its own “Quotations of the day” on Friday, and Google News coughed up an associated Press article from the same day by Charles Babington:

Democrats, who sometimes seem incredulous at their inability to budge the GOP on tax, spending and war issues, say Republicans will pay dearly at the polls. “There is a sense they are digging their own grave,” Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said.

Some Republicans agree there is a risk in repeatedly blocking Democratic-crafted bills, especially if the chief beneficiaries appear to be big oil companies or wealthy investors.

The strategy is to lay low and then blame them for not getting anything done,” Republican Rep. Ray LaHood of Illinois said in an interview. “The truth is, we all lose.”

We trash each other and end up making the institution look bad,” LaHood said. “That’s why Congress’ approval ratings are so low.”

Not so old-tyme religion

Speaking of jolly ….

A skit at a local Christian youth group meeting had teenage boys taking off some of their clothes, wearing adult diapers, bibs and bonnets and being spoon-fed by girls as they sat in their laps.

Some say it’s just crazy, goofy teenage fun. But others, including one boy’s mother and the Mt. Lebanon School District, aren’t comfortable with it.

The skit took place during the Nov. 29 meeting of the Mt. Lebanon Young Life club, a nondenominational Christian youth group directed by youth minister O.J. Wandrisco.

Laurie Metz, whose 14-year-old son was one of the boys who took part in the skit, said she found it inappropriate, demeaning and sexually perverse.

Mr. Wandrisco and a national spokesman for Young Life say the skits are all in fun and meant to be used as “icebreakers” at the youth group meetings.

“The skits are designed for one reason and one reason only — for kids to have fun. It’s not a dirty joke. The skits are to break down the walls and let them have fun,” Mr. Wandrisco said.

Yeah. This one writes itself. Well, not actually. Mary Niederberger reports for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

“The whole premise of the skit is questionable,” Ms. Metz said. “I see no purpose that it would serve, especially not in a Christian youth group setting. It’s perverse.”

She said even if there is no police action taken, she felt it important to speak out so that other parents know what goes on at the meetings. She said at an earlier meeting girls ate jelly beans in chocolate pudding out of adult diapers.

Mr. Wandrisco, in an interview, acknowledged that the Nov. 29 skit had taken place as Ms. Metz described and that the group had also participated at an earlier date in the skit that involved eating chocolate pudding out of diapers.

I cannot disagree with Ms. Metz. I mean, I do not object to the perverse, per se, but this seems counterintuitive, even counterproductive. Dan Savage makes the point well enough:

Putting horny 14 year-old boys in diapers and then plopping them on the laps of teenage girls for a little spoon- and bottle-feeding… thus are life-long fetishes born. Not that I have anything against fetishes or the kind of formative life experiences that create ‘em. Far from it. I live in the house that fetishes bought.

But still. Could you imagine the uproar from Christian groups if, say, a gay youth group did something similar? Or a gay-straight student alliance?

Is this the going symptom this year? Or is this normal? I’m aware that it is a lot easier to pay attention these days if so many people are paying attention for you. Is this the kind of story that we just did not hear of before the most recent flare-up of the Catholic abuse scandal, and especially before the rise of the internet in the 1990s? Or is the obsession with sin and sex that fuels the evangelical fervor simply burning away its own boundaries as its history suggests it must from time to time?

But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

And he laid [his] hands on them, and departed thence.

The Year of Dying Famously

This can’t be good.

I mean … damn it. Keith Coffman reports for Reuters:

Police said a gunman opened fire outside the New Life Church in Colorado Springs after Sunday services and that three to five people had been taken to local hospitals. No fatalities were reported.

Police said they had detained a suspect but gave no details about his condition or a possible motive.

In an earlier incident, 70 miles away, two people were killed and two were wounded shortly after midnight when a gunman entered a training center for young missionaries in the Denver suburb of Arvada, police said.

Right. that New Life Church:

The New Life Church, which has about 14,000 members, was founded by pastor Ted Haggard, who resigned in disgrace in 2006 after admitting to sexually immoral conduct.

Right. That New Life Church. As Noel Black puts it:

Despite the homophobia that pervades the church and its teachings, almost everything about Haggard’s church is a flaming testament to his repressed homosexuality and meth-ish megalomania.

Don’t get me wrong; I was as surprised as anyone that Haggard actually got caught. Just because everyone knows you’re a repressed, hypocritical piece of shit doesn’t necessarily mean you’re stupid enough to get caught. But those of us who live in Colorado Springs knew something was up. And we knew because the church itself told us everything Haggard was hiding.

I’m caught between reports.  Another I just found says that there are five dead at New Life:

El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa told AFP there was “one gunman down” and “four deceased, possibly one wounded” in the incident but said the casualty toll was “preliminary.”

This is just not what anybody needs right now. The best we can hope for is a completely random tragedy. Anything remotely more complicated only detracts from the value of the human toll. What is it about the holiday season this year? What the hell is going on?

I guess we have to stay tuned.  Or not.  ‘Tis the season to be jolly, after all.