Saturday, February 16, 2013

News Flash to the GOP: Yes, Gay Families Do Exist.

This picture says it all and is an example of a growing trend.  While these gay dads are celebrities, they are part of an increasingly visible number of same sex headed families.  Will the GOP and Christofascists - and the U. S. Supreme Court - accept reality?

Behind Closed Doors, the GOP TriesTo Find Its Future

In the last post I said that the GOP is much like the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy: it thinks by placing a new face on the same failed policies and prejudices somehow a miraculous change in how the party is perceived by the very minorities that the party leadership and the party base despise will occur.  Any rational person can quickly figure out that such reasoning belongs in a fantasy world.  Only a change in policies and a move away from an increasingly vicious white Christofascist party base will bring change.  A piece in Politico looks at the behind close doors scheming of the GOP that continues to avoid facing the real source of the party's problems: its control by religious fanatics and white supremacists.  Here are article highlights:

It’s simple: House Republicans say that if they spend the next two years like they spent the past two, they’ll become irrelevant.

So for the past few days, GOP leaders have met behind closed doors to both craft an agenda that confronts the ghosts of Congresses past and figure out a way to sell it to the American people.

[T]here are some widely accepted fixes emerging from the week long talks.

Rule one: Stop talking like the world is going to end. Budgetary politics is important to the GOP, but voters are going to stop voting for a party that talks about gloom and doom around the clock.  “I think that we need to make being fiscally conservative cool,” said Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.), chairwoman of the Administration Committee and a close ally of Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

Rule two: Stop repealing regulations no one has heard of. It’s nice to be the party of cutting red tape, Republicans say, but no one has heard of boiler MACT or utility MACT. So spending time throwing these bills on the floor is absolutely useless. Package regulation cutting together, and explain that people’s energy will be cheaper, Republicans say.

Rule three: Sand down the party’s rough edges. Pass education bills and immigration legislation. Stop screaming about red ink and spending too much. This one is going to be tough, since House Republicans haven’t been able to pass a bill called the Violence Against Woman Act for more than a year.  It’s a nagging problem for the party, whose main legislative agenda has been opposing President Barack Obama.

And that’s what defines the GOP at the moment. For instance, they don’t want to raise the minimum wage. They aren’t looking to curb gun laws after children were slain in Connecticut and Chicago. Most of them don’t approve of a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants. They are cooling on tax reform. They aren’t looking to spend money to create manufacturing hubs.

GOP leadership is attending these sessions, and has become increasingly alarmed at how many lawmakers in the meeting think the party has a messaging problem, not a policy problem.  “I really believe it’s not the message, it’s the ideas,” Lankford said.

Then there’s the budget. House Republicans have centered their messaging around the Senate’s unwillingness to pass a budget, claiming it renders them fiscally irresponsible. But moderates are privately fretting about their 2014 budget, which Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Speaker John Boehner say will balance within 10 years.

“There could be a significant number of Republicans that say, ‘I’m not going there because it would be too dramatic.’ I have said to my constituents, nobody is talking about changing Social Security and Medicare if you’re 55 years or over.’ I’ve been selling it for three or four years that way. So have many other members. Well, to balance in 10, that 55 years is going to move up to 58, 59, 60. It makes us look like we’re going back on what we were telling people when we were trying to sell this.”

Quote of the Day: Gary Wills on The Hopelessness of Hoping for a Reformer Pope

As a ruling model, the Roman Catholic Church is based on the governing structure of the Roman Empire or a feudal monarchy with the king/emperor at the top, the cardinals and bishops as the equivalents of the feudal lords sworn by fealty to the king/emperor and the laity the equivalent of the serfs. Serf who are to obey their lords and financially support the entire structure that caters to the whims and conceits of the rulers.  And under the last two Popes, the system seems to have become even more disdainful of the laity/serfs.  Gary Wills has a piece in the New York Times that looks at the futility of hoping that somehow a reformer Pope could be elected by the coming conclave of cardinals who earned their positions by obsequiousness and sycophancy.  Here an on point excerpt:

[A] new pope will be elected by cardinals who were elevated to office by the very popes who reaffirmed “eternal truths” like the teaching on contraception. They were appointed for their loyalty, as were the American bishops who stubbornly upheld the contraception nonsense in our elections. 

Will the new conclave vote for a man who goes against the teachings of his predecessors? Even if they do, can the man chosen buck the structure through which he rose without kicking the structure down? These considerations have given the election of new popes the air of watching Charlie Brown keep trying to kick the football, hoping that Lucy will cooperate. 

As this election approaches, some hope that the shortage of priests, and their damaged reputation and morale, can be remedied by adding married priests, or women priests, or gay priests. But that misses the point. Whatever their sexual status, they will still be priests. They will not be chosen by their congregations (as was the practice in the early church). They will be appointed from above, by bishops approved for their loyalty to Rome, which will police their doctrinal views as it has with priests heretofore. The power structure will not be changed by giving it new faces. Monarchies die hard. 

In 1859, John Henry Newman published an article that led to his denunciation in Rome as “the most dangerous man in England.” It was called “On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine” and it showed that in history the laity had been more true to the Gospel than the hierarchy. That was an unacceptable position to Rome. It still is. 

The claim of priests and popes to be the sole conduits of grace is a remnant of the era of papal monarchy. We are watching that era fade. But some refuse to recognize its senescence. Such people will run peppily up, like Charlie Brown, to the coming of a new pope. But Lucy, as usual, still holds the football.  

Like the GOP which it parallels in many ways (e.g., denying scientific realities), the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy will cling to power and refuse all meaningful change until the church structure literally begins to collapse around them.  My prediction is that in the not too distant future the Catholic Church will become a black African denomination.  As it advances economically and socially, Latin America will follow the path of Europe, not Africa wher it will take many more generations to escape the ignorance and simple mindedness that are now prerequisites for the Church to thrive.

Saturday Morning Male Beauty

Cuccinelli Signs Insane Book for Kool-Aid Drinking Crowd

It is frightening at times just how insane some among the Virginia populous seem to be.  How else to explain an adoring crowd of reality and modernity denying Kool-Aid drinkers enthusiastically gathering around the certifiably insane Ken "Kookinelli" Cuccinelli as he signed copies of his anti-government screed that in truth describes the denial of liberty rather than its protection. looks at the scary display of insanity.  Here are highlights:

Virginia’s Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli signed about 100 copies of his new book for customers at the Barnes & Noble in Central Park Friday night.

“The Last Line of Defense: The New Fight for American Liberty,” which was released on Tuesday, “explores the numerous courtroom battles fought against the Obama administration,” according to Cuccinelli’s publicist. 

The book claims that the federal health care law, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Communications Commission and other agencies have violated the Constitution by exercising unparalleled control over Americans.

That message struck a chord with Rob Clark of Stafford, who arrived at Barnes & Noble almost two hours before the event started.  “We need to get back, as a nation, to the basics,” Clark said. “We’re not as strong of a country as we once were.”

The book-signing drew a crowd of Cuccinelli followers from the Fredericksburg area, as well as many from Richmond and from Northern Virginia. Leading up to the attorney general’s arrival, the crowd buzzed about his upcoming campaign for governor of Virginia. 

“There’s a great turnout here. It goes to show the momentum the attorney general has going into the race,” said Virginia Republican Sen. Bryce Reeves, who represents Orange and Fredericksburg, as well as parts of Culpeper, Louisa, Spotsylvania and Albemarle counties.

Cuccinelli’s book has also gotten plenty of attention from Democrats in Richmond, who are hoping the Republican’s candid opinions will hurt his election chances. Several of them even staged a dramatic reading of parts of it Tuesday in a Capitol Square office building.

Of course, for Kookinelli and his followers "getting back to basics" translates to increased special rights for Christofascists, the stigmatizing of LGBT Virginians, treating women as chattel to be controlled by angry white males, disenfranchising blacks and minorities and an utter disregard for the U. S. Constitution and U. S. Supreme Court rulings.

Benedict XVI's Failure to Revive Catholicism in the Western World

With Pope Benedict XVI scheduled to abdicate the throne of St. Peter at month end, much analysis of the overall failure of his papacy has commenced in earnest.  As have rumors that his resignation may have been part of a deal to clinch his protection from criminal prosecution:

The ITCCS report cites a letter from Rev. Kevin Annett to Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, written a week before the pope officially resigned.  The letter states, in part:

“On behalf of our Tribunal and people of conscience everywhere, and of the millions of victims of church abuse, I am making an appeal to you regarding your upcoming meeting with Joseph Ratzinger, who will retire soon as Pope Benedict, the Pontiff of the Church of Rome.

Our understanding is that, in the wake of pressure to have him resign his office because of his proven complicity in concealing child trafficking in his church and other crimes against humanity, Joseph Ratzinger is seeking the assistance of the Italian government in securing protection and immunity from legal prosecution.”

According to the letter, Benedict’s resignation is said to be part of an arrangement with the Italian government to avoid the arrest of a sitting pope.
Obviously, if these rumors prove true, it would be a bombshell that would further destroy the Vatican's credibility and authority.  But Benedict XVI's papacy is marred by other failures as well.  A piece in the New Republic looks at Benedict's failed goal of reviving Catholicism in Europe and the advanced world.  The irony is that rather than improving the position of the Catholic Church, Benedict's efforts likely accelerated its decline.  It's a phenomenon that is being mirrored in other reactionary denominations that are losing members as they ratchet down on orthodoxy and move to the extreme right.  Here are excerpts from the article:

Much of Benedict XVI's papacy necessarily consisted of damage control, most notably relating to the widening scandals relating to child molestation. But beyond the many crises he faced, Benedict's legacy deserves to be measured against the goals that he chose to devote himself to as leader of the Catholic Church. Indeed, the manner in which Benedict attempted to pursue one of his central ambitions—the re-evangelization of Europe—sheds revealing light on his other missteps and failures.

[T]he specific spiritual salvation of Europe has been a life-long concern for the current pope, one grounded in theology, as well as biography. Joseph Ratzinger grew up in a deeply traditional Bavaria in which the Church was a central part of religious, social, even political life. That pattern largely continued under the Nazis, and went on to flourish in the immediate years after World War II. Secularization seemed like a process confined to Europe's former Protestant heartlands like England and the Netherlands. 

Since the 1980s, however, even the most devout Europeans have found it impossible to ignore secularization's inexorable spread. Church attendance has plummeted even in such once faithful territories as Spain, Italy, and Ireland, as well as in Bavaria itself; in France, self-described Catholics have became a minority. Vocations to the priesthood have fallen precipitously; seminaries and convents are emptying.

[T]rue reconversion, Ratzinger believed, could only be achieved by small, dedicated groups of highly active and committed believers, like the small, super-loyalist movements that emerged during the sixteenth century, chiefly in Spain and Italy. The Jesuits and Opus Dei are the best-known examples, but also influential were the Italian Focolare, the Sant’Egidio Community, and Communion and Liberation, Spain’s Neocatechumenate, and the Mexican-founded Legionaries of Christ. So were charismatic offshoots like Rinnovamento nello Spirito Santo (“Renewal in the Holy Spirit”) and the Emmanuel Community. Like the early Jesuits, such groups demanded extremely high levels of participation and activism, and some were accused of cult-like behavior. 

But while Benedict's goals have been consistent, his achievements have been disappointing: Far from beginning a reconversion of Europe, Benedict’s papacy has actually witnessed an acceleration of European defections from the Church. Indeed, the Church’s position in Europe today is far worse than when he took office. The sex abuse scandals that have been revealed in a torrent in European countries since 2010, each quite as devastating as the American disasters of the previous decade and often implicating the church’s senior leaders, have gravely undermined the church’s claim to moral stature or spiritual leadership. A growing number of Catholic states are now openly defying Church authority; the rapid spread of gay marriage laws offers a gauge of the Catholic Church's fading influence.

It’s worth asking whether the emphasis on ecclesial movements actually contributed to the accumulating sequence of disasters.  .  .  .  .  the “ecclesial” strategy exacerbated other pervasive problems in the senior ranks of the hierarchy, especially a sense of elitism and a detachment from the ordinary faithful. Arguably, the new evangelism theme also took time and resources that might have been better used shoring up the church’s defenses against scandal—not least in developing a modern, professional public relations apparatus.

Europe now notionally accounts for just 24 percent of the world’s Catholics, but 53 percent of the Cardinal electors. In tilting the balance towards a European successor, Benedict was not slighting the rest of the world: Rather, he was declaring his intention to keep up the fight for Europe.

So the papal electors now face a strategic choice that goes far beyond personalities. Do they invest in success, choosing someone who can give even greater momentum to the church’s already thriving expansion in the Global South? Or do they hope that yet another European can succeed where Benedict failed, in staunching the losses in that continent?

Pro Soccer Player Robbie Rogers Comes Out

I am continuing my dialogue with Pastor Will Coats - I wrote a post a while ago about horrific anti-gay sermons Coats had published - which so far has been amazingly respectful and, admittedly much to my surprise shown Coats as wanting to understand how such preaching harms others regardless of how well intentioned it might be.   One of the issues that we've been addressing is the damage done by living a closeted life and the manner in which it isolates one from your loved ones.  Professional soccer player Robbie Rogers (pictured at left) has come out and on his personal blog he explains the difficulties of his years in the closet.  I completely identify with Rogers' narrative.  Here it is via his blog:

Things are never what they seem… My whole life I have felt different, different from my peers, even different from my family. In today’s society being different makes you brave.  To overcome your fears you must be strong and have faith in your purpose.

For the past 25 year I have been afraid, afraid to show whom I really was because of fear. Fear that judgment and rejection would hold me back from my dreams and aspirations.   Fear that my loved ones would be farthest from me if they knew my secret.  Fear that my secret would get in the way of my dreams.

Dreams of going to a World Cup, dreams of The Olympics, dreams of making my family proud.  What would life be without these dreams? Could I live a life without them?

Life is only complete when your loved ones know you.  When they know your true feelings, when they know who and how you love. Life is simple when your secret is gone.  Gone is the pain that lurks in the stomach at work, the pain from avoiding questions, and at last the pain from hiding such a deep secret.

Secrets can cause so much internal damage. People love to preach about honesty, how honesty is so plain and simple.   Try explaining to your loved ones after 25 years you are gay. Try convincing yourself that your creator has the most wonderful purpose for you even though you were taught differently.

I always thought I could hide this secret. Football was my escape, my purpose, my identity. Football hid my secret, gave me more joy than I could have ever imagined… I will always be thankful for my career. I will remember Beijing, The MLS Cup, and most of all my teammates.  I will never forget the friends I have made a long the way and the friends that supported me once they knew my secret. 

Now is my time to step away. It’s time to discover myself away from football.  It’s 1 A.M. in London as I write this and I could not be happier with my decision. Life is so full of amazing things. I realized I could only truly enjoy my life once I was honest.  Honesty is a bitch but makes life so simple and clear.  My secret is gone, I am a free man, I can move on and live my life as my creator intended. 
 I wish Rogers success and happiness as he moves forward with his life.  I hope he reconsiders leaving pro-soccer.

The South: Racism and Insane Gun Ownership

While I was born in New York State, the vast majority of my life has been lived in the South - Virginia, Alabama and Texas and back to Virginia in the years after high school.  Having acquired more liberal sensibilities in New York moving to and living in the South at times feels like one has moved to an insane asylum peopled by schizophrenics who can demonstrate wonderful generous traits and in the next moment exhibit frightening levels of racism and bigotry.  The phenomenon surely isn't limited to the South, but the region seems to have brought it to a higher level than other regions of the country.   Two things are stark: latent racism and an insane love of guns. And opposition to any form of rational gun control.  Kathleen Parker - who seems to have once again sworn of GOP Kool-Aid, at least for the moment - has a column in the Washington Post that looks at the troubling love of guns.  Here are highlights:

Analysts seeking insight into the gun debate need look no further than the land of cotton, where nothing is ever forgotten. In a matter of days, citizens and lawmakers on both sides of the gun issue have advanced laws to:

Allow concealed weapons to be carried in bars and restaurants;
●Make it legal to purchase or own any weapon that could have been acquired legally at the end of 2012; and
●Strengthen background checks to identify people with mental illness.

The latter is the most serious of the batch and follows a recent near-tragedy at Ashley Hall, a private girls school in Charleston, S.C., where Barbara Bush, among other notables, was once a student. Several days ago, a woman with a long record of mental instability, including a 2005 court plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, brought a loaded semiautomatic pistol to the school and pulled the trigger several times while pointing the gun at a school administrator. 

Fortunately, the gun never fired, and Alice Boland, 28, was unable to complete her mission. What exactly that was isn’t easily discerned from her bond hearing rant, which covered a diverse collection of complaints:

The woman herself said she was crazy, yet she’s sane enough to buy a gun? More than 50 Ashley Hall parents have signed a letter sent to a dozen state and federal officials urging action to prevent people such as Boland from acquiring firearms. Boland managed to answer questions on a federal questionnaire adequately to purchase the gun. And because she has no criminal record, her name wasn’t flagged during a routine background check.

But Boland had another record that clearly should have disqualified her from gun ownership. Never mind an earlier diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia. She also had faced federal charges for threatening to kill President George W. Bush and “the entire U.S. Congress.” Her plea of not guilty by reason of insanity inarguably should have placed her in a database of those ineligible to purchase firearms. But because her charges were dismissed in 2009, she had no criminal record.

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, speaking in Washington on Wednesday, labeled the Ashley Hall case Exhibit A of a “broken system” and has vowed to introduce legislation that would enhance the background check process to include “prior exposure to court and . . . mental status.”

Meanwhile, state officials back home in Columbia were busy figuring out ways to skirt any new laws that might restrict gun ownership.   Citing an 1881 “unorganized militia” state law, state Sen. Tom Corbin (R) proposed legislation guaranteeing everyone’s right to own any weapon that could be purchased legally as of Dec. 31, 2012. Corbin’s claim that federal law could not preempt South Carolina law — in addition to being incorrect; federal law trumps state law — was rather dramatically disproved during the unpleasantness of 1861-65.

In other action, a state Senate panel approved a bill to allow concealed weapons in restaurants and bars so long as the carriers don’t drink. Noting the volatility of mixing guns and alcohol, some suggested that business owners could post signs banning guns in their establishments. But one speaker called that “un-American.” Another insisted that he should be allowed to have a glass of wine with his lasagna while packing heat.

So it goes in the state that James L. Petigru, anti-secessionist and former South Carolina attorney general, long ago described as “too small to be a republic and too large to be an insane asylum.”

As I said, it's like living in an insane asylum.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Ft. Lauderdale - Day Two

We had a wonderful day staying with our friends in Lighthouse Point, Florida, despite the rainy weather which should be gone tomorrow.  We had lunch and dimmer at the beautiful Lighthouse Point Yacht Club (pictured above) which has reciprocal privileges with the Hampton Yacht Club where the boyfriend and I are now members.  Tomorrow we are hosting a dinner party - the "Mo down" as our hosts call it with a group that has now grown to 16 people.

More Friday Male Beauty

Exciting Family News!!

I just found out that my oldest daughter will be having a baby boy sometime around July 1, 2013.  I have an amazing new grand daughter (pictured above) who is just over two months old. Soon I will have a grandson as well!  I find it ironic that the Christofascists try to claim that gays don't have families when in fact we do.  And every time they disseminate lies and malign us they drive our parents, siblings, nieces and nephews and yes, grandchildren away from their hate and fear based form of Christianity.  The further irony is that they claim that gays and secularism are attacking Christianity when it is they themselves who are inflicting the most harm and killing Christianity.

I firmly believe that my grandchildren will be part of a new generation that will fully accept LGBT individuals and that look back in horror at the hate and viciousness that have become the hallmarks of Christianity.   This new generation will see the common humanity in all of us and wonder how Christianity could have become something so evil at the hands of the hate merchants.

Why Did the Pope Really Quit?

As much fun as it is to know that Pope Benedict XVI will soon be off the throne of St. Peter, it's even more fun to watch the various conspiracy theories and whispers of new, as yet unknown scandals.  Obviously, it would be deliciously sweet if there were some new bomb shell scandal.  A piece in The Daily Beast looks at the swirling speculation.  Here are some excerpts:

Now that the shock of Pope Benedict XVI’s surprise resignation has settled in, conspiracy theorists are having a heyday trying to figure out if there is more to the story than meets the eye. With no papal funeral to prepare for and the pope’s final appearances fairly routine, Vatican watchers and bored reporters have been fleshing out a number of theories on why the pope may have really resigned.

While the Catholic Church sex-abuse scandal was obviously a huge weight on the pope’s shoulders, Vatican watchers say it was actually the VatiLeaks butler saga and allegations of impropriety at the Vatican Bank that played more important roles in his resignation. “Benedict may not have quit because of the pedophilia scandals or any other specific controversy,” says Vatican expert John Allen. “But it's hard to believe they didn’t play a role, at least as background.”

 There are also rampant rumors that the pope’s health is far worse than anyone realizes. Whispers of late-night helicopter trips to emergency rooms and hints that he is suffering some terminal illness like leukemia pushed forward by Italian gossip site Dagospia are unconfirmed, but still won’t go away.

Beyond the gossip about why the pope might have really resigned are growing conspiracies that there is a faction of cardinals who don’t think the pope should live inside Vatican City after he retires. Several unnamed cardinals have been quoted in the Italian press saying that it would have been better if he returned to Bavaria in Germany or lived out his days somewhere like Monte Cassino, a hilltop abbey south of Rome. 

But many Vatican experts in Rome have been writing that whether the former pope should stay will actually be up to the new pope. After all, he will have full charge of all the affairs inside Vatican City. Archbishop Rino Fisichella told Corriere della Sera that he thought the pope should “rethink his plans” even before that, saying that having two popes inside Vatican City can only lead to trouble. Citing a potential “cohabitation issue” Fisichella says that he believes the pope will eventually choose to move out.
Whether any of the rumors will prove true is anyone’s guess. But with little happening beyond cardinals lobbying for the pope’s old job from now until the conclave begins sometime after March 15, there is no question that the rumor mill will keep churning.

Gays - We Are Everywhere, Especially in Washington, D.C.

Gallup has released the results of a new survey that purports to state the percentage of citizens that self-identify as gay or lesbian (see the chart above).  Personally, I suspect that the numbers greatly under report the number of gays in anti-gay states such as Virginia where the number of closet cases seem to greatly out number gays who live openly.  Don't believe me?  Check out Craigslist's personals for Hampton Roads or dating/hookup sites like Adam4Adam.  The percentage listed as "not out" or seeking "discretion" is huge.  That's not to say there aren't good reasons to be in hiding in backward states like Virginia where even the state itself can fire LGBT employees simply because they are gay.  Here are highlights from Gallup:

The percentage of U.S. adults who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) ranges from 1.7% in North Dakota to 5.1% in Hawaii and 10% in the District of Columbia, according to Gallup surveys conducted from June-December 2012. Residents in the District of Columbia were most likely to identify as LGBT (10%). Among states, the highest percentage was in Hawaii (5.1%) and the lowest in North Dakota (1.7%), but all states are within two percentage points of the nationwide average of 3.5%.

These results are based on responses to the question, "Do you, personally, identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender?" included in 206,186 Gallup Daily tracking interviews conducted between June 1 and Dec. 30, 2012. This is the largest single study of the distribution of the LGBT population in the U.S. on record, and the first time a study has had large enough sample sizes to provide estimates of the LGBT population by state.

Overall, the results from this analysis of LGBT identity by state may run counter to some stereotypes that portray the LGBT community as heavily grouped in certain states of the union. With the exception of the District of Columbia, the range in percentage LGBT is 3.4 percentage points, from 1.7% in North Dakota to 5.1% in Hawaii.

Social climates that promote acceptance of or stigma toward LGBT individuals could affect how many adults disclose an LGBT identity. LGBT people who live in places where they feel accepted may be more likely than those who live in places where they feel stigmatized to reveal their sexual orientation or gender identity to a survey interviewer.

In general, states where residents express more liberal views are more accepting of LGBT individuals, while socially conservative areas are less accepting. Of the 10 states and D.C. where at least 4% of respondents identified as LGBT, seven are among the most liberal states in the country. Conversely, six of 10 states with the lowest percentage of LGBT-identified adults are among the top 10 conservative states in the country.

The states with proportionally larger LGBT populations generally have supportive LGBT legal climates. With the exception of South Dakota, all of the states that have LGBT populations of at least 4% have laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and allow same-sex couples to marry, enter into a civil union, or register as domestic partners. Of the 10 states with the lowest percentage of LGBT adults, only Iowa has such laws.  Higher proportions of LGBT individuals in a state could also suggest that LGBT individuals move there in higher proportions than the general population does.

States with high LGBT percentages tend to be more liberal and have more supportive LGBT legal climates, while those at the lower end of the LGBT spectrum are generally the most conservative. This suggests that one explanation for the variation across states is the relationship between the willingness to disclose LGBT identity and the environment of one's state of residence. It is also possible that LGBT adults make conscious choices to reside in certain states rather than others, but this possibility is difficult to assess and seems less likely.

Lindsey Graham - A Tired Queen Who Grows Ever More Delusional

It's getting to the point where I want to throw something at the television when I hear Lindsey Graham's whiny voice come on.  This peevish closeted queen's latest annoying rant focuses on wanting to know "what the president did personally when it came to the Benghazi debacle' while conveniently forgetting that the greatest security debacle since Pear Harbor occurred on the watch of the feckless George W. Bush and a GOP controlled Congress.  I truly wish someone would out this Nelly drama queen so he'd have to focus on the Christofascist voters of South Carolina who would turn on him lake a pack of rabid dogs.  A column in the Washington Post looks at Graham's disingenuous histrionics.   Here are highlights:

First, the Republican senator from South Carolina opposed Chuck Hagel’s nomination to be defense secretary because of Hagel’s foreign policy views. Then he argued that Hagel had not produced sufficient background material. Now he’s arguing against Hagel because of the administration’s handling of the attack on U.S. diplomats in Benghazi, Libya, last September — when Hagel was a professor at Georgetown University. 

“I am going to fight the idea of jamming somebody through until we get answers about what the president did personally when it came to the Benghazi debacle,” he said in the Senate TV studio Wednesday, a day before his unprecedented filibuster of a nominee to a national-security Cabinet post. 

“How do you respond to critics who say you’re just moving the goal posts?” CNN’s Dana Bash asked. .  .  .  .  “No!” Graham said, then explained how he was indeed moving the posts. “I’m going to hit you and keep hitting you, absolutely,” he said, raising his voice. Thumping the lectern, he added, “You better believe I’m not going to let this thing go.”

Fox News’s Chad Pergram pointed out that the treatment he was giving Hagel was in a “rare category.”  Graham made a fist. “Am I supposed to sit on the sidelines and be a good compliant Republican and just let this administration not account for what I think is a national security breakdown of monumental proportions?”

And I guaran-damn-tee you this: Graham’s antics have as much to do with events in Columbia, S.C., as with events in Washington. His sentiments are no doubt genuine, but the ferocity with which he has been attacking the Obama administration — taking a high-profile role on Benghazi, Susan Rice, Hagel and gun control — are helping him to repel a tea party primary challenge at home.  

The problem is Graham, to get through the 2014 primary, needs to say “no” more often now. And Congress can hardly afford for one of its few remaining dealmakers to take an obstreperous turn. But perhaps Graham should be given some slack. The Republican primary system has gone haywire, and this may be the only way a sensible lawmaker can survive it. 

Not too long ago, Graham had been in deep trouble with South Carolina conservatives because of his talk about climate-change legislation, his votes for both of Obama’s Supreme Court nominees, his criticism of the Bush administration’s wiretapping and interrogation programs, and his championing of “Grahamnesty” immigration reforms.

Graham, who has voted the conservative line 90 percent of the time over his career, argues that his new positions are consistent with his previous ones — and they are. But the difference is in the emphasis. In order to survive the Republicans’ backward primary system, Graham needs to de-emphasize anything that might make him appear to be reasonable. 

Friday Morning Male Beauty

The Consequences of Parental Rejection of Their Gay Children

I've noted before that LGBT youth make up a disproportional percentage of homeless youth overall.  And much of the phenomenon tracks directly to these youth being rejected, disowned and thrown out by their "godly Christian" parents.  And the long term consequences of such rejection are often very damaging.  While these self-righteous, self-congratulatory parents are patting themselves on the back for their godliness and drinking up the snake oil peddled by fraudulent "ex-gay ministries" and homophobic pastors, their children are suffering and in some instances literally dying.  Kathy Baldock (pictured at left), who describes herself as an evangelical Christian, was recently ejected from an "ex-gathering" where she sought to highlight exactly what these foul consequences can include.  Here are highlights from her blog:

It was a message for parents with gay youth.

Do you know the consequences of rejecting your gay youth as opposed to accepting them?

If parents with gay children were to follow the teachings and therapeutic tools offered by Kent Paris, your gay youth are EIGHT times more apt to attempt suicide than those gay youth who are accepted.

They may suffer depression SIX times more often than those who are accepted.

They are THREE times more likely to get involved in drug and alcohol abuse than those gay youth that are accepted.

They are THREE times more likely to contract HIV and/or STDs than accepted gay youth

This is research; this is scientific, peer reviewed research.

If you are the parent of a gay youth, when you leave here, stop on the way home and buy a package of razors, a bottle of whiskey, a hypodermic needle and a lifetime supply of antibiotics because that is the life you will more often impose on your gay child through your rejection and shaming.

This is what you will be doing to the child you have been charged to raise in the way they should go.

Do not try to force your child to be something they are not, something to your liking. You will not only be responsible for the effects on their mental and physical health, you will also, in all likelihood, push them from God.

In my view, it is no coincidence that most of the "ex-gays for pay" - who seem to be the only "ex-gays" one can ever find - have histories of drug use, alcoholism, and/or HIV.  Their parents disowned them and they experienced precisely what Baldock describes.  And only after having largely destroyed their lives, they become victims of the charlatans of the "ex-gay" movement who recruit them with promises of money and false respectability when they have lost everything.  I've known a number of individuals who have been subjected to "ex-gay" ministries by their parents and in almost every case they were damaged by the experience.  Some come out of it and some have parents who come to realize the error of what they did to their children.  Other parents - those whose children found suicide to be their only means to stop being gay - don't have the luxury of reconciling with their children.  

And who profits from all of this tragedy?  The pastors and snake oil merchants, of course who pander for money peddling anti-gay hate and animus.  These folks make the nastiest whore look virtuous in comparison.

Kathy's blog has this that is forth reading:

Please watch this video to get the back story as to why I care about the GLBT community. I know that as recently as 2004, when asked, I did not believe I would see any gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people in heaven.

Ken Cuccinelli's Frightening Manifesto

While Marco Rubio and many in the GOP may be zombies and challenged when it comes to historical reality, Ken "Kookinelli" Cuccinelli is nothing short of freaking insane in a way that reminds one of the ayatollahs in Iran.  Kookinelli is not even remotely tethered to objective reality and rational sentient people ought to be terrified that such a deranged individual can be the as yet uncrowned GOP nominee for Governor of Virginia.  An article in Slate looks at Kookinelli in general and his new book "The Last Line of Defense: The New Fight for American Liberty."The irony is that under Kookinelli's vision of liberty, most of us lose all liberty and power is vested in insane Christofascists like Kookinelli and the knuckle draggers in the GOP base.  Kookinelli is a clear and present danger to all Virginians.  Here are highlights from the Slate article:

On Jan. 30, two weeks before The Last Line of Defense hit shelves and Kindle apps, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s own book was leaked to the Washington Post. In it, Cuccinelli would “echo Romney’s 47 percent” remarks, writing that Medicare, Social Security, and “outright welfare” all “make people dependent on government,” sapping the country’s verve. “Romney’s words, captured on a hidden camera, helped sink his campaign,” pointed out the paper, helpfully. “Time will tell how the similar language plays for Cuccinelli.”
The Washington Post keeps waiting for the time when Cuccinelli will be sunk. It never comes. “He doubts the science of global warming,” wrote the paper in a 2009 editorial, endorsing his opponent in the attorney general race. “He peddles outmoded, half-baked and prejudicial theories about homosexuals.” He won by 15 points. He spooked any possible Republican rival out of this year’s gubernatorial race—they remembered 2009, when Gadsen-flag-waving Cuccinelli fans took over the state party convention—and in the most recent poll, he’s winning.
Cuccinelli’s secret is simple: He runs when things are good for Republicans. Virginia holds state elections in odd-numbered years, so their A-team—Gov. Bob McDonnell, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, Cuccinelli—haven’t ever fought the tide of Obama turnout. In 2009, Virginia’s electorate was 78 percent white and 40 percent “conservative”  .  . .  .

The biggest threat to a Cuccinelli governorship comes from Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, who keeps threatening to run as an independent, and warns that Cuccinelli’s new tome will give Democrats “ammunition” to destroy him. If that’s the case, then 2013 will be the year the Tea Party finally croaks. Cuccinelli is the Tea Party in one body, an underrated and likeable politician who sees it as his mission on earth to unwind government power.

The bulk of his book recounts the history of the health care lawsuit, which the attorneys general lost—and which Cuccinelli, who sued the government independently of the main AG coalition, lost even more decisively. He tells the history that became less than relevant after the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision

Why did the good guys lose? Cuccinelli decides that the game was rigged against them. The media—he mentions columnists like Richard Cohen, excerpting their calumnies—never told the truth about the law, or the mandate to buy health insurance. “Imagine how apoplectic the big-government statists would get if Congress voted to force everyone to buy a gun,” he harrumphs. In his reading, conservatives absolutely won the argument, but President Obama—the head of a “group of lawbreakers”—browbeat the court into caving. 

The people responsible are either liars or dupes. In shorter chapters about his quest to get—then, one assumes, debunk—climate change data, Cuccinelli suggests that “climate researchers may have given up the purity of science to forward a global warming agenda … simply for the research money.” 

Kookinelli lies in a fantasy world.  If he somehow is elected governor, Virginians will find themselves living in a nightmare.  The man must be defeated.

Marco Rubio and the GOP Zombies

In previous posts this blog has noted the absence of any change in message of the Republican Party evidenced by Marco Rubio's less than inspiring GOP response to President Obama's State of the Union address.  The GOP continues to believe that all it has to change is the face of the messenger and the "tone" of the message.  Paul Krugman has a column in the New York Times that looks further at the zombie like state of today's Republican Party and its refusal to face the reality that it was the GOP's polices that lead to the 2008 economic meltdown.  When one refuses to accept reality, one is doomed to repeat past insanities.  Here are excerpts:

[T]he G.O.P. reply, delivered by Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, was both interesting and revelatory. And I mean that in the worst way. For Mr. Rubio is a rising star, to such an extent that Time magazine put him on its cover, calling him “The Republican Savior.” What we learned Tuesday, however, was that zombie economic ideas have eaten his brain. 

In case you’re wondering, a zombie idea is a proposition that has been thoroughly refuted by analysis and evidence, and should be dead — but won’t stay dead because it serves a political purpose, appeals to prejudices, or both. The classic zombie idea in U.S. political discourse is the notion that tax cuts for the wealthy pay for themselves, but there are many more. And, as I said, when it comes to economics it appears that Mr. Rubio’s mind is zombie-infested. 

Start with the big question: How did we get into the mess we’re in?   The financial crisis of 2008 and its painful aftermath, which we’re still dealing with, were a huge slap in the face for free-market fundamentalists. Circa 2005, the usual suspects — conservative publications, analysts at right-wing think tanks like the American Enterprise Institute and the Cato Institute, and so on — insisted that deregulated financial markets were doing just fine, and dismissed warnings about a housing bubble as liberal whining. Then the nonexistent bubble burst, and the financial system proved dangerously fragile; only huge government bailouts prevented a total collapse. 

Instead of learning from this experience, however, many on the right have chosen to rewrite history. Back then, they thought things were great, and their only complaint was that the government was getting in the way of even more mortgage lending; now they claim that government policies, somehow dictated by liberals even though the G.O.P. controlled both Congress and the White House, were promoting excessive borrowing and causing all the problems. 

What about responding to the crisis? Four years ago, right-wing economic analysts insisted that deficit spending would destroy jobs, because government borrowing would divert funds that would otherwise have gone into business investment, and also insisted that this borrowing would send interest rates soaring. The right thing, they claimed, was to balance the budget, even in a depressed economy. 

Now, this argument was obviously fallacious from the beginning. As people like me tried to point out, the whole reason our economy was depressed was that businesses weren’t willing to invest as much as consumers were trying to save. So government borrowing would not, in fact, drive up interest rates — and trying to balance the budget would simply deepen the depression.

[M]ore than five years into the worst economic slump since the Great Depression, and one of our two great political parties has seen its economic doctrine crash and burn twice: first in the run-up to crisis, then again in the aftermath. Yet that party has learned nothing; it apparently believes that all will be well if it just keeps repeating the old slogans, but louder.  It’s a disturbing picture, and one that bodes ill for our nation’s future.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

GOP Congressman: Obama Seeks to Destroy the Family, Reward Gays

The gratuitous GOP anti-gay batshitery and attacks on Barack Obama for recognizing that gays are - surprise, surprise - citizens too seems to never end.  The latest batshitery eruption comes from Republican Congressman Tim Huselskamp  (at right) who claims that President Obama is introducing gay marriage to destroy the family and that laws banning employment and housing discrimination against gays is "selectively rewarding" homosexual behavior.  One can only wonder how soon until Huselskamp is caught soliciting gay sex like some of his vitriolic homophobic predecessors in the GOP.  Gay Star News has details:

Republican Congressman Tim Huselskamp said that Obama is introducing gay marriage to destroy the family, and laws banning discrimination against gays 'selectively' 'rewards' homosexual behavior.

During a radio interview shortly before Obama's State of the Union speech (12 February), Huselskamp alleged that Obama has a 'radical new social agenda' that would 'destroy the family'.
Referring to gay marriage, the Congressman told host Tony Perkins, president of the US anti-gay right wing Family Research Council, that: 'This President has a radical social agenda and the media will probably give him a pass when instead of talking about the fact that mom and dad don’t have a job we’re going to talk about how to destroy the family and replace it with his view of a radical new social agenda'.

'Someone has to stand up and defend the seventy percent position that most Americans support traditional marriage, most Americans understand the value of family, they understand it’s under attack and they understand that, they see it, they believe it. So we got to stand up'.

The Congressman then went on to call the US Department of Defense’s extension of partnership benefits to same-sex couples and the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA) as 'radical ideas' that 'most Americans do not accept' because they 'specifically and selectively reward homosexual behavior'.

Huselskamp ranted: 'But whether it’s Obamacare, whether it’s these radical DoD [Department of Defense] proposals coming out of the White House or changing all the employment rules to specifically and selectively reward homosexual behavior, those are really radical ideas and most Americans do not accept them'.

Most polls, however, suggest that a majority of Americans do support laws that would ban work based discrimination against LGBT people.

Tim Tebow to Address Anti-Gay, Anti-Catholic, Anti-Mormon Megachurch

While the Christofascists nearly wet their pants and swoon over Tim Tebow, I for one have always found him to be a Pharisee like hypocrite who revels in making a public display of his supposed piety.  He apparently - like so many of the Christofascists selectively reads the Bible and is clueless about Christ's admonition to pray behind close doors, not making a show of one's piousness.  Now, Tebow is showing his true colors and is speaking at an anti-gay and anti-Catholic mega church.  Yes, Tebow is entitled to his views, but that doesn't mean one needs to like Tebow or his beliefs.  Right Wing Watch has details on Tebow's embrace of bigotry.  Here are highlights:

While Tim Tebow is struggling to find an NFL team that is willing to sign him, he is apparently having no problem booking speaking gigs as the Jets’ backup quarterback is scheduled to address a Texas megachurch whose pastor is notorious for extremist statements about Roman Catholics, Mormons, Muslims, gays and lesbians and President Obama.

Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Church Dallas gained national attention during his appearance at the Values Voter Summit where he urged Christians to oppose Mitt Romney’s candidacy for the GOP nomination for president because his Mormon faith makes him a member of a “cult” that is “from the pit of Hell.”

Besides Muslims, Jeffress labeled Roman Catholics, Hindus, Muslims, and Buddhists as cult followers. He has called Islam an “evil, evil religionand claimed that Muslims, Mormons and Jews are destined to Hell.   Jeffress also attacked Roman Catholicism, which he maintains represents “the genius of Satan,” and suggested that Catholics too will go to Hell.

The megachurch pastor reserves some of his most stringent rhetoric for gays and lesbians.  He has described gays and lesbians as “perverse,” “miserable” and “abnormal” people who engage in an “unnatural” and “filthy practice” that will lead to the “implosion of our country.” Jeffress argues that the gay community employs Chinese “brainwashing techniques” in order to have homosexuality “crammed down our throats.”

One is known by the company they keep, and Tebow is keeping company with some pretty foul people

Ft. Lauderdale - Day One

Pool and covered terrace
The boyfriend and I had uneventful flights down to Ft. Lauderdale this morning after leaving the house at 6:00 AM.  We rendezvoused with one of our hosts at the airport and traveled to Lighthouse Point where their beautiful home is located.  As seems to be true to form for me, while checking my office e-mail, I discovered a mini-crisis had developed and I had to spend time on work matters this afternoon - as fortunately did one of our hosts who had to do an hour conference call with her office making my absence less obnoxious.  Now it's time to relax and get in the pool which is 88 degrees and have a cocktail!!  The photos are scenes in this post are of the back yard at our hosts' home..
View out our bedroom patio door
Tomorrow it's the beach and lunch with friends followed by taking our hosts to dinner at the Lighthouse Point Yacht Club - the boyfriend and I are now members of the Hampton Yacht Club and through it have reciprocal privileges at a number of other yacht clubs around the country.  Saturday night the boyfriend and I are hosting a dinner party for our hosts and eleven friends. It has become a tradition when we visit.

And yes, we will be checking out some of the gay night spots while we are in town.  It should be a nice long weekend.

Thursday Morning Male Beauty

The Corelation Between Religiosity and Obesity, High Divorce Rates, and Teen Pregnancies

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Gallup has a new report on religiosity by state and not surprisingly, other than Utah and Oklahoma, all of the most religious states are in the Deep South.  Meanwhile, the least religious states clustered in the Northwest and in the Northeast.  In a related report, Gallup also found that the highest rates of obesity, lack of health insurance coverage and struggles to subsist were correlated to the most religious states.  First these findings on levels of religiosity (see the chart above as well):

Overall, 40% of Americans nationwide were classified as very religious in 2012 -- based on saying religion is an important part of their daily life and that they attend religious services every week or almost every week. Thirty-one percent of Americans were nonreligious, saying religion is not an important part of their daily life and that they seldom or never attend religious services. The remaining 29% of Americans were moderately religious, saying religion is important in their lives but that they do not attend services regularly, or that religion is not important but that they still attend services.

Eight of the top 10 religious states are in the South -- basically comprising the entire Southern belt from Georgia and the two Carolinas on the Atlantic coast through Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi, to Louisiana and Arkansas in the west. The states outside the Southern belt are Utah -- with its strongly religious majority Mormon population -- and Oklahoma, which straddles the border between the South and the Midwest.

The 12 least religious states comprise the entirety of New England -- Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut -- along with the three most Northwestern states in the union, Alaska, Washington, and Oregon, plus the District of Columbia, Nevada, and Hawaii.

As for social malaise correlating to the most religious states, there are these highilights:

Texas residents continue to be the most likely in the U.S. to lack health insurance (25.5%) in 2012 and those in Massachusetts remain least likely (4.1%).
One in four Mississippi residents report lacking enough money to buy the food they or their families needed at times in the last 12 months -- more than any other state in 2012. North Dakotans were the least likely to struggle to afford food, at 9.6%.
A majority of American adults in all 50 states are either overweight or obese in 2012. West Virginia residents are the most likely to fall into one of these weight groups (69.3%), while Coloradans are least likely (55.1%).

Obesity rates remain highest in many Southern and Midwestern states. Western and Northeastern states still boast the lowest obesity rates in the country. Diabetes and high blood pressure rates follow the same geographic pattern.
As this blog has noted frequently, states in the Bible Belt also have the highest divorce rates and the highest teen pregnancy rates.   Obviously, there is a major discontent between claimed religiosity and actual behavior.  Some might call the phenomenon rank hypocrisy.

A Former Insider's View of Vatican Machinations and the Papal Race

Tony Adams, a/k/a Father Tony, is a columnist, editor, playwright and ex-priest that I first met at the LGBT Blogger Summit in Washington, D.C., in December, 2008.  Among other things, he is Senior Features Correspondent with South Florida Gay News and a contributor at PRIDE magazine and The Mirror. And, while he was a Catholic priest, he was stationed at the Vatican where he had a fist hand view of many in the Church hierarchy - the good, the bad and the ugly.  In the wake of Nazi Pope Benedict XVI's announced abdication, Tony has an insightful and interesting piece in the South Florida Gay News.  Here are excerpts:

Pope Benedict XVI has announced that he will retire the papacy on February 28. In hindsight, there were recent signs hinting at this. He made his beloved secretary Georg Gänswein an archbishop, assuring the handsome fellow a post-papal future in the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church. He promoted the servile head of his household, American James Harvey, to cardinal. These are the kind of loose ends tied up by an aged pope who had years ago stated his willingness to voluntarily vacate the papacy should he no longer be able to fulfill the duties of that office. No one ever expected him to exercise that option, given the obvious delight he took in the ermine, velvet and watered silk that perpetually swathed him as he seemed to float through the serene routine of his seven-year papacy.
From the immaculate soles of his Pradas to the jeweled tip of his gold-threaded mitre, Pope Benedict XVI has been a paragon of gilded denial whose brow furrowed briefly when confronted with news of pedophile priests, church cover-ups, condom use in Africa, unruly nuns, plummeting Sunday church attendance and a general lack of new and renewed subscription to a church that has kept its flock in line with the threat that disobedience to the infallible moral teaching of its pope would lead to eternal fire in hell.

What can we expect of the 117 voting-age cardinals who will lock themselves into the Sistine Chapel next month and smoke the place up with the burned ballots that will elect Benedict’s successor? Will they choose a man who will stop the anti-gay crusades of recent years? Will they elect a man who will hold women in such high regard that he will relinquish obsessive control over their lady parts and grant them access to that exclusively male club of the Catholic priesthood? Will they elevate a man who will understand how wallowing in ostentatious wealth irritates not only the poor but workers struggling to provide for the basic survival of their families? Will they tap a man who loves children in an honorable way and will cherish their innocence by getting rid of abusive priests with speed and transparency?

[C]ardinals are creatures who care little for popularity until such time as unpopularity means loss of revenue, the closing down of churches and schools, and the payment of millions of dollars in settlements for the victims of priestly abuse.  As they enter the Sistine Chapel, those fiscal realities will be writ with red ink on the ballots they burn to produce white smoke.

Among the American cardinals who will take part in the conclave are men I knew in Rome in the ‘70s, including Tim Dolan, Don Wuerl, Ray Burke, Jim Harvey, Justin Rigali and Dan DiNardo.
Most of them are celibate gay men who will never admit to being gay because they have that uncanny ability to feel same-sex attraction while eschewing the gay nametag.  DiNardo and Harvey may have some skeletons in their closets. Burke is a good henchman but not a charismatic leader. Rigali is an elegant diplomat but is not considered an antidote to the priest abuse scandal.  Wuerl persecuted bad priests when other bishops were wringing their hands but he may be slightly too refined for his own good.  That leaves Dolan  .  .  .  . Cardinal Dolan has always been a rule-follower and one of his appetites is his desire to please his boss as perfectly as possible. If he finds himself answering to no higher earthly authority, we will finally see what is in his heart as he tries to discern what god really wants of him.

Although the LGBT community has decried his strenuous efforts to thwart marriage equality, I know him as someone who took the time to write me a “let’s do lunch” letter after I sent him an email welcoming him to New York. He did not have to do that. He knew my situation, and also, he counts many gay priests among his close friends. I do not know if Tim Dolan is gay or straight. He was never the kind of guy who talked sex. I do know that I would rather have a straight pope who was our ally than another closeted gay pope who is our foe.

[T]he sad fact is that most of the LGBT community has shed anti-gay Catholicism, and is critical of those of us who wish for its reform. “Why bother with it?” they ask me.  Maybe the five years I spent marrying people, baptizing their babies, holding their hands on their deathbeds and absolving their tearful guilt in the secrecy of the confessional made me a better person.  Maybe I just want to see those good Catholics get the good pope they deserve . . .

Yes, I shed Catholicism.  Remaining a Catholic would have been like staying in an abusive marriage where one was regularly beaten and subjected to psychological abuse.   That said, I would be over joyed to see Catholicism reformed and brought into the 21st century.  Will it happen?  I am not going to be holding my breath.

Limited Posting Today

The boyfriend and I are flying to Florida on a crack of dawn flight this morning to visit friends who own a spectacular home north of Ft. Lauderdale.  The bags are packed, the house sitter/dog sitter arrangements have been made and we will be up well before dawn.  As a result, postings will be reduced.  I will post photos and blog entries as our travel schedule permits.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The GOP's Big Asian-American Problem

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There is much political dialogue about the Republican Party's "Hispanic problem."  But as the last presidential election revealed Asian-Americans showed a similar disdain for Mitt Romney and the GOP in general and, like the Hispanic population, Asian Americans represent another exploding demographic.  By chance and happen stance - as well as respectful treatment and competent legal services - I have built a sizable law practice with Asian American clients, those of Indian descent in particular.   Some know that I am gay, some do not.  Those who do seemingly could care less about who I love.  My perception is, however, they deeply care about the GOP's constant racism and immigrant bashing and the GOP's allegiance to Christofascists who want to trample on the religious freedom of non-Christians and other Americans who do not subscribe to the Christofascists' ugly version of Christianity.  A piece in American Prospect looks at the growing problem that the GOP faces with Asian American voters.  Here are highlights:

Still overlooked in the immigration discussion are Asian Americans, who are the fastest growing demographic group in the country—and one of the most diverse. The bulk of Asian American immigrants (83 percent) come from China, the Philippines, India, Vietnam, Korea, and Japan. At present, they’re 5.8 percent of the total population, nearly half of whom live in the West, with a large concentration on the Pacific coast. Seventy-four percent of Asian American adults were born outside of the United States, and in 2009—according to the Pew Research Center—Asian American immigration outpaced Hispanic immigration for the first time in recent history.

The Republican Party’s standing with Latinos is solid compared to where it is with Asian Americans. A whopping 73 percent of Asians supported Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election, up 11 percent from four years ago. When you disaggregate by nationality, the difference between Asian support for Obama and Romney is even more stark and begins to approach African American-levels of support for the president.

Obama won the three largest demographic groups—Chinese, Indian, and Filipino Americans—with more than 76 percent support. Filipino identification with the GOP is as large as you would expect—26 percent are enrolled in the Republican Party—but only 9 percent of Indian and Chinese Americans identify with the GOP.

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Simply put, the Republican Party has an “Asian problem” that rivals their “Latino problem” in size and scope. So far, it’s gone under the radar. But given the pace of Asian immigration to the United States—and the growing Asian populations of states like Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia—Republicans can’t ignore it for long.
Asian Americans have clearly figured out that if you aren't an angry white conservative Christian or a billionaire, then the Republican Party is not your friend.  Until the GOP can see the common humanity in all of us,  the allegiance of Asian Americans to Democrats will grow - as it has among minorities - who can plainly see that they are despised by the GOP almost as much as gays and blacks.  Long term, the GOP is committing suicide.

Wednesday Morning Male Beauty

Farewell to a Horrible Pope

Not to beat a dead horse, but many are thrilled about the abdication of Pope Benedict XVI even if they have trepidation about what new reactionary may well be elected as his successor.  Throughout his reign - I use that term because Benedict XVI has acted as an absolute monarch - this Pope has fought modernity, sought to repress women, and participated in a criminal conspiracy that has subjected unknown thousands of children and youths to sexual abuse by priests.  And for all of his misdeeds, Benedict XVI has shown no real remorse - something I guess is to be expected from a former Hitler Youth.  An op-ed in the New York Times bids this foul Pope a dieu.  Here are excerpts:

POPE BENEDICT XVI quit. Good. He was utterly bereft of charm, tone-deaf and a protector of priests who abused children. He’d been a member of the Hitler Youth. In addition to this woeful résumé, he had no use for women. 

The Roman Catholic Church, which in so many ways has been a great boon to the City of New York, has been choked and bludgeoned into insignificance by a small group of men based in Italy. 

Priests cannot marry. Why? I will tell you why. Priests cannot marry because they would have to marry women. Women cannot be priests. 

Why? Women cannot become priests because of a bunch of old men. These old men justify their beliefs with a brace of ridiculous arguments that Jesus would have overturned in a minute. “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” What about that is hard to understand? If you can become a priest, I can become a priest. Period. Equality. 

Benedict has not been idle. He has put in place a lot of other old guys who have no interest in sharing power with anyone outside the club. The last pope we had who showed signs of spiritual vision was John XXIII. That was a long time ago. He had humility and a good heart. These more recent appointments have been disheartening in the extreme.

I have watched the wealth of the Catholic Church turned into a subsidy for wrongdoing and a prop for the continuing campaign against women’s rights and homosexuality. Neighborhood churches, built with the hard-earned money of working-class people, are being sold off. The sacrifices that were made to build these churches were significant and local. The decision to close them has been made antiseptically, by remote control. The men who make these decisions are at a remove, very much involved in protecting their power and comfort. 

I have little reason to hope that the Church of Rome will suddenly realize that without women, the Catholic Church is doomed, and should be doomed. I think of those good nuns who educated me, of their lifelong devotion and sacrifice. They have been treated like cattle by a crowd of domineering fools. 

In Benedict, the Catholic Church got the pope it deserved. I can only hope, for the sake of my parents, who loved the church so much, that a miracle of divine grace alters the writing on the wall. If not, the Catholic Church will suffer the fate it deserves. 

Sadly, Benedict XVI and his equally foul predecessor, John Paul II have stacked the college of cardinals with equally foul men, so the likelihood of any wished for miracle is likely nonexistent.  I expect that the Church will continue its slide toward an African based church that has been abandoned by most of the modern world.