Sunday, November 30, 2008

Just in case you needed a reminder...

Because sometimes, it's easy to forget...


Don’t give up
It’s just the weight of the world
When your heart’s heavy, I
I will lift it for you
Don’t give up
Because you want to be heard
If silence keeps you, I
I will break it for you

Everybody wants to be understood
Well I can hear you
Everybody wants to be loved
Don’t give up
Because you are loved

Don’t give up
It’s just the hurt
That you hide
When you’re lost inside, I
I’ll be there to find you

Don’t give up
Because you want to burn bright
If darkness blinds you I
I will shine to guide you

Everybody wants to be understood
Well I can hear you
Everybody wants to be loved
Don’t give up
Because you are loved

You are loved

Don’t give up
It's just the weight of the world

Don't give up
Everyone needs to be heard

You are loved

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

If you haven't seen this clip from Jay Bakker's former Sundance Channel series One Punk Under God , you should. Even if you have seen it, take another look.

I've seen it many times, and even now, it still makes me cry...

God bless you, Jay!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Vive Le Mariage!

My hubby got a great book recently that was supposed to be one of my Christmas gifts, but patience is a condition with which I rarely suffer, so—with my wonderful enabling husband’s OK--I opened the heaviest present I got this year.

It is one of those huge coffee table books titled The New York Times: The Complete Front Pages: 1851-2008. The book itself does not contain every front page of the NYT ever printed (being as how the cover of the book says there are 54,267 front pages included; they have included inside the book itself selected dates of important events such as the Civil War, World Wars I & II, September 11, etc.), but the book also comes with 3 CDs from which you can pick nearly any date from 1851 to April, 2008, and view the front pages on your computer. Because, as with most newspapers, the front pages rarely contain entire articles, and refer you to pages further inside the newspaper, there are links that allow you to view—-as Paul Harvey says--“the rest of the story”--that begin on the front pages. The only problem with accessing anything beyond the first page is that you must either have or be willing to buy a subscription to the NYT. I may yet do it, but just seeing the headlines & the pictures (some of the older editions of which are unavoidably grainy & of poor quality) of past historical events & reading (even the partial) articles & noting how the writing styles have changed through the years is interesting enough to me, even if I don’t buy a subscription!

I went looking through the book & found the pages from my birthday (October 17, 1962), my husband’s birthday (April 2, 1976) & my mom’s birthday (February 12, 1938). It was while reading the page from my mom’s b-day that, below the fold (as they say in the newspaper biz), I found a news story that really caught my eye.

We’ve all been hearing for a good long time now about the “sanctity of marriage” & how important so many people think it is to keep marriage in its pristine traditional form. Considering the foregoing, I got a real kick reading this article from over 70 years ago, that shows how drastically the “obviously” frail institution of marriage has changed in just a relatively short span of human history. I know it deals with marriages in France, but it gives you an idea how marriage has indeed evolved not just here in the U.S. of A., but around the world.

Reading this article, it seems to me that a there have certainly been a few tweaks here & there to the “marriage contract” through the years, and so far it’s survived pretty well. Allowing me to marry the person I love seems to me to just be a logical next step…then again, why drag inconvenient logic into the marriage equality argument???

Hope you find this article as interesting as I did (in case the copy of the actual article is a little difficult to read, I have typed it up), and that you see, too, how sometimes, just because things are the way they are, doesn’t mean it’s right.

From the February 12, 1938 edition of The New York Times:

French Bill Drops ‘Obey’ in Marriage Vow,
Gives Wives Independent Legal Status

PARIS, Feb. 11 – French wives will no longer be obliged to promise to obey, it is provided in a bill passed by the Chamber of Deputies without debate early this morning. The bill, originating in the Senate, contains many other reforms in the status of married women which go further, some feminists believe, in their emancipation than if it gave French women the vote.

Under the French civil code to date a wife has been under the supervision of her husband almost to the same extent as minor children. Unless otherwise stipulated in the marriage contract, she could bring legal action only with her husband’s authorization, sign checks on her own bank account only with his countersignature and make a will, dispose of her goods or make a contract only with his approval. The bill passed today permits her to do all these things in her own right with the condition that she must not thereby pledge the family fortune in any way.

As to the marriage service, French brides used to be told on their wedding day by the Mayor: “The husband owes protection to his wife and the wife obedience to her husband.” Now he will say: “The husband is the head of the family.”

The old law forbade a wife to bring legal action without her husband’s authorization, even when she was authorized to have a separate business property. The new bill states that a married woman shall enjoy full independent exercise of her civil status. This cannot be restricted except by special legal provisions or by stipulations in the marriage contract.

French women, who since the war have faced a scarcity of husbands, complain frequently that men will not marry unless they obtain full charge of the community property in the marriage contract. Despite the new bill, this feature of the marital status stands.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Two Dads Are Better Than None...Sometimes....

Is it me, or does the sentence, “…it is clear that sexual orientation is not a predictor of a person's ability to parent” seem like just plain old (not-so) common sense to you??

Maybe it is in most places, but it seems that this “radical” idea has only now found its way to Florida.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Luci Baines Johnson, the daughter of former President Lyndon Baines Johnson, recently wrote a commentary for CNN about her father’s part in the election of Barack Obama.

She explains how her father laid the foundation, strengthened by Dr. King’s work, life & heart-but-not-dream breaking assassination, back in the 60s that paved the way for an African American with a decidedly African-sounding name 4 decades later to have a chance to prove to a still majority non-African American country that the content of one’s character & of one’s heart has always meant more than the color of one’s skin.

It’s long been part of the uniquely American story that any child in the Land of the Free could hope to be President, if that child studied & worked hard & believed, but for too many of those children, it was but a theory. With the election of someone to the highest office in the land of someone who only LOOKS different than the 43 citizens who held the office before him, we’ve finally proven to ourselves & to future generations of American children that hope just isn't meant to be theoretical or exclusive to only "the right people."

This must be what it’s like to have a dream come true.

God has two dwellings: one in heaven, and the other in a meek and thankful heart.

The subject of this post is a quote from 17th Century British writer, Izaak Walton. It seemed to fit well here, as does this line whose author I am unable to determine:

I wake each morning with the thrill of expectation

and the joy of being alive.
And I'm thankful for this day.

Watching this video reminded me not only how short life is, but that it's not the quantity of our years that is important, but the quality of our years. Brenden had only 11 years of life, but he lived a real life, and was thankful for the time he was given.

As Thanksgiving Day approaches, it also personally reminds me that--while sometimes I may lose sight of it every now & again--I don't need a national holiday to be thankful for all the blessings in my life.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

“I don't want to be in your future. It's frustrating enough being in your present.”

The title of this post comes from a quote by former professional baseball player, Roger Erickson, and it seemed quite appropriate for this occasion.

I know that "This is not a scientific poll" because CNN tells me so, but still, it just makes me giggle a little to know that (as of 5:53 am Eastern Time on Sunday, Nov. 23, 2008) 191,000 random people in the world voted on this question, and three-quarters of them think that uber-hockey mom & former John McCain soul mate, Sarah Louise Heath Palin, should limit her future damage to the 663,268 square miles inside the state of Alaska. Besides, I'm sure that keeping an eye on Russian President, Vladimir Putin, as he "rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America" is more than enough to keep her busy when she's not fighting to make Alaskan women pay for their own rape examinations, or battling witchcraft.

Can you guess how I voted on this one??? I bet you can!

While this may not be a scientific poll, it's pretty well-known that our Mrs. Palin doesn't have much use for Science anyway.

No matter what this poll reveals about what some people may think of Sarah Palin, I'm sure she'd be the first to tell you that "success" is a relative term: while she may have been the co-runner-up in this year's political beauty pageant, at least it's a step up from her third place finish in the 1984 Miss Alaska pageant.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The G.O.P. & G-O-D

I never thought I'd agree with conservative syndicated columnist, Kathleen Parker, but in this piece she wrote for this past Wednesday's Washington Post regarding the Republican Party's "God" problem, I found myself not only agreeing with her, I even let out a little, "Amen!" when I finished reading it!

Of course, I'm no fan of the obviously self-destructive GOP, and there is no doubt that after all these years of sowing an ill wind, they are now most deservedly reaping the inevitable whirlwind of no good. The question is: Will whatever-is-left of the Republican Party own up to their mistakes & allow a little of some long-needed introspection to set them free, or do they decide to re-double their efforts at stubbornly careening down the hill at an even more rapid pace towards political oblivion by fueling their political Edsel with more of the same old snake oil they call "that Old-Time Religion"?

Giving Up on God

By Kathleen Parker

As Republicans sort out the reasons for their defeat, they likely will overlook or dismiss the gorilla in the pulpit.

Three little letters, great big problem: G-O-D.

I'm bathing in holy water as I type.

To be more specific, the evangelical, right-wing, oogedy-boogedy branch of the GOP is what ails the erstwhile conservative party and will continue to afflict and marginalize its constituents if reckoning doesn't soon cometh.

Simply put: Armband religion is killing the Republican Party. And, the truth -- as long as we're setting ourselves free -- is that if one were to eavesdrop on private conversations among the party intelligentsia, one would hear precisely that.

The choir has become absurdly off-key, and many Republicans know it.

But they need those votes!

So it has been for the Grand Old Party since the 1980s or so, as it has become increasingly beholden to an element that used to be relegated to wooden crates on street corners.

Short break as writer ties blindfold and smokes her last cigarette.

Which is to say, the GOP has surrendered its high ground to its lowest brows. In the process, the party has alienated its non-base constituents, including other people of faith (those who prefer a more private approach to worship), as well as secularists and conservative-leaning Democrats who otherwise might be tempted to cross the aisle.

Here's the deal, 'pubbies: Howard Dean was right.

It isn't that culture doesn't matter. It does. But preaching to the choir produces no converts. And shifting demographics suggest that the Republican Party -- and conservatism with it -- eventually will die out unless religion is returned to the privacy of one's heart where it belongs.

Religious conservatives become defensive at any suggestion that they've had something to do with the GOP's erosion. And, though the recent Democratic sweep can be attributed in large part to a referendum on Bush and the failing economy, three long-term trends identified by Emory University's Alan Abramowitz have been devastating to the Republican Party: increasing racial diversity, declining marriage rates and changes in religious beliefs.

Suffice it to say, the Republican Party is largely comprised of white, married Christians. Anyone watching the two conventions last summer can't have missed the stark differences: One party was brimming with energy, youth and diversity; the other felt like an annual Depends sales meeting.

With the exception of Miss Alaska, of course.

Even Sarah Palin has blamed Bush policies for the GOP loss. She's not entirely wrong, but she's also part of the problem. Her recent conjecture about whether to run for president in 2012 (does anyone really doubt she will?) speaks for itself:

"I'm like, okay, God, if there is an open door for me somewhere, this is what I always pray, I'm like, don't let me miss the open door. Show me where the open door is.... And if there is an open door in (20)12 or four years later, and if it's something that is going to be good for my family, for my state, for my nation, an opportunity for me, then I'll plow through that door."

Let's do pray that God shows Alaska's governor the door.

Meanwhile, it isn't necessary to evict the Creator from the public square, surrender Judeo-Christian values or diminish the value of faith in America. Belief in something greater than oneself has much to recommend it, including most of the world's architectural treasures, our universities and even our founding documents.

But, like it or not, we are a diverse nation, no longer predominantly white and Christian. The change Barack Obama promised has already occurred, which is why he won.

Among Jewish voters, 78 percent went for Obama. Sixty-six percent of under-30 voters did likewise. Forty-five percent of voters ages 18-29 are Democrats compared to just 26 percent Republican; in 2000, party affiliation was split almost evenly.

The young will get older, of course. Most eventually will marry, and some will become their parents. But nonwhites won't get whiter. And the nonreligious won't get religion through external conversion. It doesn't work that way.

Given those facts, the future of the GOP looks dim and dimmer if it stays the present course. Either the Republican Party needs a new base -- or the nation may need a new party.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Bless The Beasts & The Children

Bless the beasts and the children
For in this world they have no voice
They have no choice

Bless the beasts and the children
For the world can never be
The world they see

Light their way
When the darkness surrounds them
Give them love
Let it shine all around them

Bless the beasts and the children
Give them shelter from a storm
Keep them safe
Keep them warm

For the first time ever, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) endorsed a candidate for President: Barack Obama. Obviously the Humane Society is comprised of many kinds of people who are animal lovers & pet owners, and I'm sure they represent nearly every kind of ideology on the political spectrum, so the HSUS has resisted making presidential endorsements, although they do endorse congressional candidates.

Per Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF) President Mike Markarian, in regard to political endorsements:

One of the guiding principles of the Humane Society Legislative Fund is that we evaluate candidates based on a single criterion: where they stand on animal protection policies. We don't make decisions based on party affiliation, or any other social issue, or even how many pets they have. We care about their views and actions on the major policy debates relating to animal welfare.

In breaking with their long-standing tradition of refusing to endorse any candidate for the Highest Office In The Land, the HSLF explained on their website that an era of sweeping presidential power, we must weigh in on this most important political race in the country. Standing on the sidelines is no longer an option for us.

The HSLF Board of Directors (comprised of both Democrats and Republicans) was unanimous in its support of the Obama-Biden ticket. In urging their members to vote for the Democrats, they stated simply:

The Obama-Biden ticket is the better choice on animal protection, and we urge all voters who care about the humane treatment of animals, no matter what their party affiliation, to vote for them.

And, when the Humane Society urged a vote for "them", they meant them! In speaking of the next Vice President of the United States, the HSLF proclaimed Joe Biden

...a stalwart friend of animal welfare advocates in the Senate [who] has received high marks year after year on the Humane Scorecard.

As you may remember, President-Elect Obama, during his victory speech after winning the election, had promised his daughters, Sasha & Malia, a puppy when they moved into the White House; he even addressed the issue in his first post-election news conference.

He has said he’d also like to adopt a hypo-allergenic breed because of Malia’s allergy. Apparently there are quite a few breeds to choose from. He also said he’d like to get the girls a shelter dog, many of whom (in the future President’s own words) “are mutts like me.” I honestly had no idea that our next President is such an animal lover! For me, it just shows that Obama not only has a great mind, but a great heart, too, and that’s just icing on an already fantastic cake!

Oh yeah, if she’s not already been adopted, I personally would vote for Baby (the dog in the pic above).

According to Care2, a 9-million member online social network that helps to connect people who want to help with deserving causes:

The above photo shows Obama with "Baby," a three-legged dog that lost its fourth limb following years of mistreatment at a California puppy mill. The toy poodle spent much of its life locked in a small wire cage. The breeders cut out Baby's vocal chords so that they would not have to hear her cries. In cages next to her, other dogs literally went insane, spinning repetitively with blank stares. Still others were gravely ill, maimed and had filthy, matted coats. A number was tattooed on the inside of Baby's ear, marking her as just one of many dogs at the mill

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Surely, You Jest!

The Associated Press reports that Sarah Palin has just sounded the clarion call for the newly (and much deserved) diminished Republican Party to be the watchdogs of the new strengthened and widely-voter-approved Democratic majorities:
Sarah Palin called on fellow Republican governors to keep the new president and his strengthened Democratic majority in check on issues from taxes to health care as she signaled she'll take a leadership role in a party searching for a new standard-bearer.

The party which, for 8 years, not only eschewed any oversight & manipulated any & all levers of government to deflect the light of day from the ill-conceived schemes & shenanigans of their "good ol' boy" network but who--eyes wide open--recklessly maneuvered our country into the the sorry economic ditch in which we now find ourselves actually believes that it is in any position to play referee for a game to which elephants haven't even been invited? Just goes to show that the pachyderm party has still not come to terms with the fact that the American public cannot love a political party that it cannot trust.

And Sarah Palin's claim that she could become the party's "new standard-bearer"? All I can say is that it couldn't happen to a better group of unwitting soon-to-be-if-not-already-almost political has-beens! If our Mrs. Palin is trying to position herself as the archetype leader of the brand new Grand Old Party, and the true believers & movers & shakers of the Far Right fall for it, maybe American voters will mercifully put the this poor deluded band of political blood brothers & sisters out of their electoral misery once and for all.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

"...the Personal, Social, and Religious Pain and Trauma of Growing Up Gay in America"

If you haven't seen this yet, please take a few minutes to watch this interview conducted by Charlie Rose of Mitchell Gold (founder of Faith in America), who wrote the book Crisis: 40 Stories Revealing the Personal, Social, and Religious Pain and Trauma of Growing Up Gay in America.

The interview is broken up into 2 clips.

I think & hope it will bless you, as it did me.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Veterans Day!

I didn't want to let this day pass without honoring the real-live American veteran-heroes who gave so much , so that we may ensure the blessings of liberty to ourselves & our posterity.

We, as a country, could never ever be thankful enough for those who placed their own personal lives in harm's way, so that we can all continue to enjoy the fruit of their hard-fought labors.

"Thank you" seems so woefully inadequate in expressing how much we appreciate our true American heroes giving their all in service to the country they so deeply love.

So Happy Veterans Day to all of you who shed blood, sweat & tears & to their families back home for making such a sacred sacrifice for an always-grateful country.

Thank you, Keith.

Just. Thank. You.


Finally tonight as promised, a Special Comment on the passage, last week, of Proposition Eight in California, which rescinded the right of same-sex couples to marry, and tilted the balance on this issue, from coast to coast.

Some parameters, as preface. This isn't about yelling, and this isn't about politics, and this isn't really just about Prop-8, and I don't have a personal investment in this: I'm not gay, I had to strain to think of one member of even my very extended family who is, I have no personal stories of close friends or colleagues fighting the prejudice that still pervades their lives.

And yet to me this vote is horrible. Horrible. Because this isn't about yelling, and this isn't about politics; this is about the human heart, and if that sounds corny, so be it.

If you voted for this Proposition or support those who did, or the sentiment they expressed, I have some questions, because, truly, I do not understand. Why does this matter to you? What is it to you? In a time of impermanence and fly-by-night relationships, these people over here want the same chance at permanence and happiness that is your option. They don't want to deny you yours. They don't want to take anything away from you. They want what you want—a chance to be a little less alone in the world.

Only now you are saying to them, "No You can't have it on these terms; maybe something similar--if they behave, if they don't cause too much trouble. You'll even give them all the same legal rights—even as you're taking away the legal right, which they already had. A world around them, still anchored in love and marriage, and you are saying, "No, you can't marry." What if somebody passed a law that said you couldn't marry?

I keep hearing this term "re-defining" marriage. If this country hadn't re-defined marriage, black people still couldn't marry white people. Sixteen states had laws on the books which made that illegal in 1967. 1967.

The parents of the President-Elect of the United States couldn't have married in nearly one third of the states of the country their son grew up to lead. But it's worse than that: If this country had not "re-defined" marriage, some black people still couldn't marry black people. It is one of the most overlooked and cruelest parts of our sad story of slavery. Marriages were not legally recognized, if the people were slaves. Since slaves were property, they could not legally be husband and wife, or mother and child. Their marriage vows were different: not "Until Death Do You Part," but "Until Death or Distance Do You Part." Marriages among slaves were not legally recognized. You know, just like marriages today in California are not legally recognized, if the people are gay.

And uncountable in our history are the number of men and women, forced by society into marrying the opposite sex, in sham marriages, or marriages of convenience, or just marriages of not knowing, centuries of men and women who have lived their lives in shame and unhappiness, and who have, through a lie to themselves or others, broken countless other lives, of spouses and children, all because we said a man couldn't marry another man, or a woman couldn't marry another woman.

The sanctity of marriage.

How many marriages like that have there been and how on earth do they increase the "sanctity" of marriage rather than render the term meaningless?

What is this to you? Nobody is asking you to embrace their expression of love, but don't you, as human beings, have to embrace...that love? The world is barren enough: it is stacked against love, and against hope, and against those very few and precious emotions that enable us to go forward. Your marriage only stands a 50-50 chance of lasting, no matter how much you feel and how hard you work.

And here are people overjoyed at the prospect of just that chance and that work, just for the hope of having that feeling. With so much hate in the world, with so much meaningless division, and people pitted against people for no good reason, this is what your religion tells you to do? With your experience of life and this world and all its sadnesses, this is what your conscience tells you to do?

With your knowledge that life, with endless vigor, seems to tilt the playing field on which we all live, in favor of unhappiness and hate...this is what your heart tells you to do? You want to sanctify marriage? You want to honor your God and the universal love you believe He represents? Then Spread happiness—this tiny, symbolic, semantical grain of happiness—share it with all those who seek it. Quote me anything from your religious leader or book of choice telling you to stand against this, and then tell me how you can believe both that statement and another statement, another one which reads only "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

You are asked now, by your country, and perhaps by your creator, to stand on one side or another. You are asked now to stand, not on a question of politics, not on a question of religion, not on a question of gay or straight. You are asked now to stand on a question of love. All you need do is stand, and let the tiny ember of love meet its own fate: you don't have to help it, you don't have it applaud it, you don't have to fight for it. Just don't put it out. Just don't extinguish it. Because while it may at first look like that love is between two people you don't know and you don't understand and maybe you don't even want to know, it is, in fact, the ember of your love for your fellow person just because this is the only world we have, and the other guy counts, too.

This is the second time in ten days I find myself concluding by turning to, of all things, the closing plea for mercy by Clarence Darrow in a murder trial.

But what he said fits what is really at the heart of this:

"I was reading last night of the aspiration of the old Persian poet, Omar-Khayyam," he told the judge. It appealed to me as the highest that I can vision. I wish it was in my heart, and I wish it was in the hearts of all: So I be written in the Book of Love; I do not care about that Book above. Erase my name, or write it as you will, So I be written in the Book of Love."

Sunday, November 9, 2008

How about taking away THEIR rights???

I am not 100% if this is legitimate and/or if it’s even a good idea (I’m not usually one for taking rights away from citizens, being that I'm usually on the receiving end of such propositions), but if the Right is so intent on really, truly honoring & saving marriage, why not outlaw divorce?

What do you think???

Better yet, I wonder what those people so in love with hetero marriage think???

Speak now, or forever hold your peace, as they say!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Why Can't the State of Florida Be More Like Key West???

Just found out that Monroe County (a.k.a. Key West) was the one & only of Florida’s 67 counties where the majority of voters did NOT approve Amendment 2. Only 7 other counties in Florida gave the Amendment more than 50% of the vote but less than the required 60% to pass (Alachua, Broward, Hillsborough, Leon, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Pinellas)

Of course, if you know anything at all about Key West, that just would not surprise you! Still, nearly half (48%)of the residents of the open-minded, fun-loving, welcoming Conch Republic crossed over to the dark side Tuesday.

Obama & McCain By The Numbers

Of the 28 states, plus the District of Columbia, whose electoral votes Barack Obama has garnered from last Tuesday’s election, 27 were won with a higher percentage of the popular vote than John Kerry earned in 2004. The sole exception was in John Kerry’s home state of Massachusetts, where Obama earned an identical 62% of the votes as Kerry did last time around. That’s right, Obama from Illinois got the same proportion of total votes cast in the Bay State this year as did that state’s current junior U.S. Senator in 2004. Interestingly but not really suprisingly, the largest increase in vote percentage in a Kerry-blue state from 2004 to an Obama-blue state in 2008 was in the state where Obama was born, Hawaii, where he received 72% of the vote, which was 18 points higher than Kerry’s 54%.

Of the 22 states won by John McCain in 2008, however, 16 were by smaller percentages than George Bush won in 2004. One of the biggest surprises was that Bush earned a slightly higher percentage of overall votes than did McCain in McCain’s own home state of Arizona: 55% for Bush vs. 54% for McCain. Contrast that with Obama’s win of 62% of the votes in the Land of Lincoln (Kerry had carried Illinois with 55% of the vote in 2004). Of the remaining 6 states, Oklahoma, Tennessee and West Virginia were won with the same percentage as Bush earned in 2004. Only in Alaska (from whence comes McCain’s political soul mate), Louisiana & Arkansas with 1%, 2% & 5% respectively, did McCain fare better than Bush before him. I guess having Sarah The Mooseslayer on the GOP ticket actually did help McCain after the deepest of deep-red states, Alaska, and it was only enough to get him a measly one percentage point more than Bush got last time around.

Also interesting (to me anyway) is how the so-called “Swing States” actually swung on Tueday. Of the 5 states listed as such by the New York Times (Florida, Indiana, North Carolina Ohio & Missouri), all but one of them went to Obama this year. It bears reminding that all 5 of these states went for Bush in 2004, so the fact that they were even in doubt even towards the end of the campaign was just not good news for the political pachyderms.

Of these Fab 5, it seems that only Missouri went for McCain this year, and that was by less than half the vote (McCain won 49%, only a fraction of a percentage more than Obama). The other 4 had the political red bled out of them : Florida (won by Obama with 51%), Indiana (which Obama won by besting Kerry’s percentage by 11 points, up to 50%), North Carolina (where Obama added 6 percentage points to Kerry’s 44%, ending up with 50% of the vote), and fence-sitting Ohio (with a 51% win). Now, it is for sure that the win percentages in these states are not (at least on their face) earth-shattering. Even if you put aside the glaring fact that Barack Obama is the first African-American to be elected to the nation's highest office, if you consider that the home state of racist & homophobe extraordinaire Jesse Helms, North Carolina, last cast its electoral votes for a Democrat 32 years ago when the Tarheels voted for Jimmy Carter, and that crimson Indiana (like Virginia, which Obama also surprisingly won) hadn’t voted (D) since Lyndon Johnson in 1964, it really puts into perspective just how truly historical Obama's win is.

Of course, Obama's election, in and of itself, & hopeful as is seems, doesn't mean fear & prejudice in our country are dead, and, unfortunately, it doesn't mean that racism as we know it has breathed its last; such plagues of humankind--just like poverty & sickness--will undoubtedly always be with us, in one form or another. I am hopeful that--at least where electing a leader is concerned--our country has brought Dr. King's all-too-elusive dream of judging a human being not by the color of his or her skin, but by the content of his or her character one step closer to reality.

One last thing, I was reading Information Please’s website, and I noticed that (no surprise) Barack Obama has received the most votes ever for a U.S. Presidential candidate (65+ million), but I didn’t know that at least the preliminary figures show that, while the junior Senator from Illinois set a record for the sheer number of votes received by a presidential candidate (over 3 million more votes than Bush in 2004), McCain’s vote total (about 57.1 million) is actually less than the previous 2nd place finisher, John Kerry, who “only” racked up a little over 59 million votes.

I also found some interesting info on those who did vote Tuesday. National exit polls show that President-Elect Obama's Hope & Change message apparently resounded with a good part of the electorate.

As regards demographics, in just about every category measured by exit polls since 1980, Obama seems to have outperformed the average Democratic Party candidate in every category (and even outperformed the average Republican Party candidate in most categories; notable exceptions: the numbers for the average Republican candidate were higher for Males, Whites, Voters aged 45 and older, Protestants, Suburban & Rural voters...none of those numbers are really surprising, though).

The numbers are really interesting, but I am personally most impressed by the Obama advantage in voters under the age of 30, and first-time voters. Those numbers are very telling, because the political party for whom the first-time voter casts his or her sacred vote tends to be the party with which they identify for most of their lives. As if the obvious political & even physical differences between Obama & McCain (not to mention their respective life stories) weren't enough, at the same time that Obama was establishing all-time highs in these categories for any presidential candidate, McCain was--as he has been all along in this campaign--Obama's polar opposite, garnering the lowest scores in these particular categories (even lower than Poppa Bush in his landslide loss to Bill Clinton in 1992) for any major political candidate since they've been keeping record.

Male voters
Ave. Democratic Candidate: 41%
Obama: 49%
Obama +8%

Ave. Republican Candidate: 52%
McCain: 48%
McCain -4%

Female voters
Ave. Democratic Candidate: 49%
Obama: 56%
Obama +7%

Ave. Republican Candidate: 46%
McCain: 43%
McCain -3%

White voters
Ave. Democratic Candidate: 39%
Obama: 43%
Obama +4%

Ave. Republican Candidate: 54%
McCain: 55%
McCain +1%

Black voters
Ave. Democratic Candidate: 87%
Obama: 95%
Obama +8%

Ave. Republican Candidate: 10%
McCain: 3%
McCain -7%

Non-white Hispanic voters
Ave. Democratic Candidate: 63%
Obama: 67%
Obama +4%

Ave. Republican Candidate: 32%
McCain: 31%
McCain -1%

Voters aged 18-29
Ave. Democratic Candidate: 47%
Obama: 66%
Obama +19%

Ave. Republican Candidate: 45%
McCain: 32%
McCain -13%

Voters aged 30-44
Ave. Democratic Candidate: 44%
Obama: 52%
Obama +8%

Ave. Republican Candidate: 50%
McCain: 46%
McCain -4%

Voters aged 45-59
Ave. Democratic Candidate: 44%
Obama: 49%
Obama +5%

Ave. Republican Candidate: 50%
McCain: 49%
McCain -1%

Voters aged 60+
Ave. Democratic Candidate: 46%
Obama: 47%
Obama +1%

Ave. Republican Candidate: 50%
McCain: 51%
McCain +1%

Voters who are High School Graduates
Ave. Democratic Candidate: 48%
Obama: 52%
Obama +4%

Ave. Republican Candidate: 40%
McCain: 35%
McCain -5%

Voters with College or higher education
Ave. Democratic Candidate: 44%
Obama: 53%
Obama +9%

Ave. Republican Candidate: 49%
McCain: 45%
McCain -4%

First-Time Voters (info available starting in 1984)
Ave. Democratic Candidate: 48%
Obama: 69%
Obama +21%

Ave. Republican Candidate: 45%
McCain: 30%
McCain -15%

Protestant Voters
Ave. Democratic Candidate: 37%
Obama: 45%
Obama +8%

Ave. Republican Candidate: 57%
McCain: 54%
McCain -3%

Catholic Voters
Ave. Democratic Candidate: 47%
Obama: 54%
Obama +7%

Ave. Republican Candidate: 47%
McCain: 45%
McCain -2%

Jewish Voters
Ave. Democratic Candidate: 70%
Obama: 78%
Obama +8%

Ave. Republican Candidate: 25%
McCain: 21%
McCain -4%

Voters in Big Cities
Ave. Democratic Candidate: 64%
Obama: 70%
Obama +6%

Ave. Republican Candidate: 31%
McCain: 28%
McCain -3%

Voters in Suburbs (info available beginning 1988)
Ave. Democratic Candidate: 42%
Obama: 50%
Obama +8%

Ave. Republican Candidate: 51%
McCain: 48%
McCain -3%

Voters in Rural Areas
Ave. Democratic Candidate: 39%
Obama: 45%
Obama +6%

Ave. Republican Candidate: 53%
McCain: 53%
McCain 0%

Add all the foregoing presidential particulars to the fact that as the remaining few as-of-yet un-called U.S. Senate races come to their electoral end, the Democrats are edging closer & closer to the not-necessarily-magical-but-just-plain-old-politically-satisfying 60 votes to the news of Nancy Pelosi being awarded at least a dozen and a half new House Democrats, and you couldn’t blame the ruddy-red Republicans for feeling just a tad blue.

(As an FYI, other sources for the political numbers listed above are CNN and The New York Times.)

P.S. Just finished reading this article showing the further historical-ness (is that a real word???) of the election of 2008, to wit:

Obama's Democratic Party also gained seats in Congress for the second successive legislative election -- the first time since the Great Depression in the early 20th century that they have achieved that...

The article also provides the elephant party with a little of what I consider good advice as they do some long overdue political soul-searching, especially if they want to remain relevant at all in the new Post-Bush/Post-Neocon world:

US voters want the Republican Party, which took a beating in this week's general elections, to embrace progressiveness and work with Democratic president-elect Barack Obama to get America back on track, a poll showed Friday. ...71 percent said Republicans "should give Obama the benefit of the doubt and help him achieve his plans," against 24 percent who said it should oppose the progressive changes proposed by Obama...

Just in case you forgot... ;-)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

"You Take The Good, You Take The Bad..."

You take the good,
You take the bad,

You take 'em both,

And there you have,

The Facts of Life,

The Facts of Life...

For those of you golden oldies (like me), I am sure you remember the theme song of The Facts of Life. No doubt, you recall Mrs. Garrett, Tootie, Blair, Natalie & Jo.

Well, yesterday was my own Facts of Life election.

No, not because it was funny or wacky or reminiscent of my early days at Eastland School.

It was my Facts of Life election because, while the electoral news I got yesterday was overwhelmingly "good", I also had to take my share of the "bad," too.

Whether you voted for or supported Barack Obama or not, you have to acknowledge the historical significance of the first African-American to be elected as President of the United States. Considering our country's shameful record where African Americans are concerned, this is a huge, huge, huge deal. Barack Obama's election will not fix all that is broken where race relations in this country is concerned, but it is a very welcome sign that we can and should do better in that arena. Barack Obama obviously inspires many millions of people & gave us more than a reason to vote for him, but to Hope again. Yes He Did.

I am Democrat. I am pretty sure that anyone who knows me well at all knows that. No surprise. Also, it can't be a big surprise that I am simply over-joyed at the fact that President-elect Obama (GOD, I LOVE WRITING AND SAYING THOSE WORDS!!) will be taking a lot more Democrats with him to Washington. I pray they will work hard to keep the pretty promises they made us, and that they have learned a grand lesson from the Grand Old Party in how to NOT run a country. I hope that their integrity & the sacred trust we have placed on their shoulders means as much to them as it does to those of us who are looking to them to lead us out of the Economic Valley of the Shadow of Death. I hope they really, truly understand--in the deepest, truest part of their being--that business as usual has long passed its expiration date, and that political & ethical shenanigans will not be tolerated by the voters whether you have an (R) or a (D) after your name. I hope my party (of whom I have been ashamed from time to time through the years) knows that--unlike the Republicans who used to be good at being elected but horrible at running a government--the American people desperately want & instinctively need leaders who love their country too much to just say anything to get elected & then leave a trail of broken promises after the limelight has dimmed. I hope my party knows that the American people are ready to get down to business & to work to fix all the things that so badly need fixing. I hope they understand the trust they have earned in the votes cast for them are sacred beyond words, and should be treated as such. I hope they know that We, The People will follow where leaders with true hearts & a clear vision beckon us to go, as we prepare to face the myriad challenges of the post-Bush era.

Last night was a long night for me. I cheered & I cried & I began to feel that good old American pride again. It was almost more than I could have hoped for...almost.

As I took stock last night of all the blessings that liberty brought me & my fellow citizens on this quadrennial first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, and as I realized the true heights to which an American, of even the lowest of station can soar with but a sacred vote, I was soon brought back to earth by cruel reality, a.k.a those "bad" facts of life.

Though I had somehow dared to hope for better, apparently I thought more of my fellow citizens than they think of me.

Here in Florida, even with the bar being set relatively high when it comes to adding an amendment to our state's constitution (60% of the vote + 1 is needed), 62% of Sunshine State voters insisted on raining on my parade. Apparently, I present such a threat to the precious sanctity of their marriages that 4 separate statutes in Florida law weren't enough to protect them. I, obviously of lesser humanity, seeking to destroy what heterosexuals claim to have honored since time immemorial, deserved extra-special punishment; I deserve my second-class citizenship enshrined in this state's most sacred legal document. No doubt they know they have done their God's work by pressing their figurative boots deeper into my figurative throat; doing all within their power to squeeze the very breath out of the hope I had so naively placed in the supposed better angels of their nature.

I am smote, and all is well in the world again. Or is it? What further castigation awaits me in the recesses of their minds & in the darkness of their proud & haughty hearts, should I yet again displease God's chosen? What remains in their Religious bag of tricks for those like me who dare to flagrantly follow our hearts? What more can be taken from me? What else of my life is at their mercy? My life itself??

And, my dear Golden State of California. I lived part of my life there when I was a child, and I grew to love that place. It was truly Golden for me. I didn't leave my heart in San Francisco, but I did leave it in Baldwin Park, California a very long time ago. I know that the heart I left there must be sad & broken & feeling as if it was only ever fool's gold.

I will not pretend to know what it must be like to have your heart's desire & to finally have your government honor your family, only to see your neighbors & fellow citizens cruelly throw it all away, as if it were nothing but garbage, and to do it with such sheer, perverse, ugly joy:

Look long & hard at this picture. These are the champions, my friends. How full their own hearts must be right now knowing they have stopped same-gender couples from making families. They have no idea the perversity of their victory, nor any inkling that they cannot possibly stop two hearts from doing what hearts do, even after life is taken from them & they permanently stop beating. How, in their lust for the knowledge of waging spiritual war without end, can they not fully grasp the simple idea that Love Conquers All?

Can they be so self-centered & so bloodthirsty that they cannot grasp this most obvious Fact of Life?

So, I have said my piece & I have made it known how I hurt & how I resent being seen as less than those who believe they are more-than-deserving of the right to banish me from their Kingdom of Make-Believe Morality.

I choose to not dwell on all this because my life means more to me than constantly seething over the evil that men (and women) seek to do to people like me in the name of the Lord. My life is filled with people who love me & whom I love so very much in return. I have had many, many years to come to terms with the fact that part of my reality, by obvious necessity, is that I live in a world with people who unnecessarily fear me & hate me without knowing anything at all about me, except that I am not completely like them, but--in spite of it all--I know I am blessed, and, now, with a new President ready to shake things up that have long needed shaking, I am hopeful that we are all due for a little more of "the good."

Sunday, November 2, 2008

"We're here to take away your rights..."

I am not a Mormon-hater, and I realize that there is good & bad in all religions, but the Latter-Day Saints have put up some BIG, BIG money in California to take rights away from people who are guilty only of simply following their hearts & loving another human being of the same gender so much, they want to create a government-sanctioned pact with one another promising to take care of & love each other. No matter the scare tactics the Yes-On-8 (or the Yes-On-2 supporters here in Florida) employ, here's their ugly bottom line:

Plain & simple: These people are committing their millions & their energy to stopping love.

You'd think they'd have something better to do as they seek God's heart.

Watch the video. It's truly disturbing...

How About a tall, freshly-brewed Brazil Ipanema Bourbon™ Coffee with your Obama vote???

Go by Starbucks this Tuesday, tell them you voted (hopefully for Obama), and you get free coffee!*

Sounds like a deal to me!

Besides my own small print, you may want to visit the Starbucks website for any of their small print where this offer is concerned.

*To be fair, it doesn't matter who you voted for, Starbucks will still give you a free coffee.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Hateful Liars or Lying Haters?

This time, the supporters of California's mean-spirited Proposition 8 are saying that Barack Obama actually supports their hateful message.

Read here on Vote No On 8's website about the Obama Campaign's response to this outrageous lie.

To me, it's this simple: a group of people willing to lie to the voters of the state of California about the threat that equal marriage rights for same-sex couples represents to the "sanctity" of heterosexual marriages has no compunction whatever in lying about the position of the presidential candidate they know will bring the most voters to the polls in the Golden State, Barack Obama.

These people know that they have misrepresented what Barack Obama and Joe Biden stand for & they know that, with the close race on Prop 8, even a bold-faced lie will take time to fight & they know that even if a relatively small number of people believe the lie, it may just create enough Pro-Prop-8-Pro-Obama voters (as oxymoronic as that may sound) in California to take them to magic number of 50% + 1.

If they'll lie to get it on the ballot in the first place, of course they'll like to push it over the top in the few remaining moments of election season.

This people are not just wrong, they're dishonest & they have no problem in doing whatever sleazy thing they think it takes to hitch their (hopefully) sinking ship to Senator Obama's rising star.

I hope the people of California finally see these phonies for what they are.

Amendment 2 411 4 U...

A blog entry from my nearly-defunct MySpace & LiveJournal pages, dated March 11, 2007. It's all still just as valid today, though! Read on...

I saw a bumper sticker online at the Press For Progress website that I thought was pretty interesting. It was wordy for a bumper sticker, but it read, "If gay marriage is so destructive to straight marriage, why does Massachusetts have the lowest divorce rate?" I guess that some bumper sticker issues can't always be broken down to a couple words, can they? Anyway, I had not been aware of that fact and was wondering if it was just something some kind-hearted-but-poorly-misguided liberal came up with to help out our argument, so I went to work investigating on those wonderful tubes called the internets! While searching the Google, I actually found on the website of the U.S. Census info on divorce statistics. It seems the last year that is available for divorce statistics (for all the states who keep such records) for all the states is 2004, just coincidentally the year that marriage equality became the law in the Bay State, and guess what I found?!?! (DRUM ROLL, PLEASE) In 2004 (according to the Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2006, the link to which is, Massachusetts, in fact, did have the lowest divorce rate (per 1,000 population), with 2.2 (the District of Columbia did have a lower rate at 1.7, however. Also, to be fair, 6 states—California, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Louisiana and Oklahoma--did not report divorce info, for one reason or another, so we are just talking about states that provide divorce stats). The state with the highest rate was Nevada (their rate was 6.4. I guess quickie marriages can sometimes lead to quickie divorces, too. Especially when you wake up the next morning wondering who the smelly drunk next to you is and why you have this hunk of metal adorning the ring finger on your left hand and a Marriage Certificate shoved under your mattress. Makes perfect sense to me why Nevada has such a high divorce rate, but I digress…)

I also remember a couple of the MANY quotes from the fear-peddling Henny Pennys on the Right who foretold the inevitable dangers of the falling sky and who swore that "the end of the world as we know it" was at hand. Just a refresher: "It's like a rolling ball of snow. It gets bigger and bigger. You allow it in Massachusetts, it'll spread to God knows where." - Massachusetts Democratic State Representative Emile J. Goguen, as quoted by the "Traditional Values Coalition" website and "We can look at those places where same-sex marriage has been legalized to see what the future looks like" - Ron Crews, President of The Massachusetts Family Institute, as quoted in the Washington Times, March 10, 2004.

Even more interesting with all this "end of all that is good and Godly" stuff that these people love to push is that the 2004 marriage rate for Massachusetts is the LOWEST rate of the three years they reported! In 1990, the rate for Massachusetts was 2.8 and in 2000, it was 3.0. Could it be things are actually IMPROVING in Massachusetts, where divorce rates are concerned?!?! I'm sure the too-perfectly coiffed ex-gov of the Bay State, Willard Mitt Romney, will do his best to take the credit for this fact, if he finds he needs it to bolster his standing amongst the far-right who owns his party.

In a similar vein, I thought it was oh-so-interesting that, taking a look at these state-by-state numbers, the so-called Red States (in this instance, those that voted for Bush in 2004—which represented 27 of the 44 states that reported divorce info in 2004) had an average divorce rate of 4.3 per 1,000 pop. vs. a rate for the so-called Blue States (the ones that voted for Kerry in 2004, 17 of the 44 states –plus DC--that reported divorce info in 2004) of 3.2. That's a nearly 35% higher average rate in those supposedly more conservative parts of America than in the supposedly "Godless" (one of Coultergeist's favorite words) liberal heathen holes! Wow! That's gotta hurt! ;-)

I realize that for those with a vested interest in pushing the same old "Rapture"-ous End Times ® theory of an angry God coming to kick @$$ & take names & toss the homosexules & their profligate enablers & cohorts in the burning ring of fire that these numbers and pesky annoying new-fangled "facts" and my blasphemous observations simply divert from their Constant Christian Crusade to push the illusion of actually doing something worthy for the Kingdom of God instead of what Christ ordained his people to do (ya know, the dirty, ugly work of feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, healing the hurting--thankless work like that). What I say and what I write just don't really amount to much to them. As Stephen Colbert once said, "Reality has a well-known liberal bias." But, I gotta say, that, if what "God's people" say is true, and if this is a sign of those much-longed-for-by-some End Times ®, and Gabriel's getting ready to blow that horn, as R.E.M. so colorfully puts it, "It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine."