Friday, March 27, 2009

Did I Say How Much I Love Matt Alber???

Well, I do!

Such a beautiful voice, and so, so, so, so gay! :-)

The song is Monarch from his album, Hide Nothing.

Sound & Fury Signifying Nothing

...a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

--Macbeth, Act 5, Scene 5

Today's G.O.P. brought you by the number "ZERO" (ya know, as in the number of good ideas the G.O.P. has in trying to fix the economic systems they screwed up in the first place...)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Beannachtam na Feile Padraig + 2!

So, apparently those of homosexual persuasion were still not welcome in New York City’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, and it’s no surprise to me that some people think those of us in the GLBTQI community are no better than Nazis and Klansmen (ya know, the ones who would exterminate us like so many human pests, if they could). Remember, the Nazis in WWII had enough hate to spread around to almost everyone not of their beloved "master Aryan race." In my humble opinion, comparing gay people to Nazis is beyond insane; it is way, way below the belt. The US Holocaust Memorial Museum estimates that 100,000 men were arrested by Hitler's regime during World War II for simply being "suspected" homosexuals. 5,000 to 15,000 were estimated to have been killed for their “crime”.

Anyway, even though the boots of the NYC’s first openly-gay City Council Speaker, Christine Quinn, didn’t have the chance walk in this year’s St. Paddy’s Day parade, I’m pretty sure that Ms. Quinn quickly forgot about the little minds in the Big Apple, though, considering her cool consolation prize! Christine Quinn got to actually celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with our President! It’s still so amazing to me the difference one election can make. We still have a long way to go, of course, but it’s so good sometimes to be reminded that not everyone is motivated by ignorance & fear.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Julian Bond Stands & Delivers For The Gays!

Julian Bond, the head of the civil rights organization, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NCAAP), spoke at a Human Rights Campaign Gala in Los Angeles.

Mr. Bond is always eloquent. This speech is a prime example that Mr. Bond's dedication to true equality for all Americans. He cited Coretta Scott King (wife of slain American civil rights, Dr. Martin Luther King) and Mildred Loving (whose case regarding marriage between people of two different races was the first to be argued before the US Supreme Court, which finally pierced the evil heart of Miscegenation) and how they both saw the battle for marriage equality for same-sex couples as an integral part of the honorable, and on-going, battle of civil rights for all people.

He really makes a good pitch & reminds me again why I am so glad Julian Bond is on OUR side.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Give Me That Old Time Religion -- Or Not

Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut recently released the results from its 2008 American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS), conducted from February through November 2008 of over 54,000 adults in the 48 contiguous states, one of the largest surveys of its kind ever done.

For me, personally, beyond the fact that nearly 15% of the American population now claims no religion at all, the most interesting results of the ARIS 2008 survey show that, among other things:

The percentage of Americans self-identifying as “Christians” has dropped 10 percentage points overall from a high over over 86% (before the 1990s) to about 76% now. Most of that decrease occurred within what the survey calls “the non-Catholic segment of the Christian population” (i.e., Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Episcopalians/Anglicans, and the United Church of Christ). These groups, which represented nearly 19% of the American population in 1990, now account for less than 13% of the population.

While the overall percentage of people claiming to be some form of Christian is in decline, the number who identified as “non-denominational” or “evangelical/born again” has actually increased 40-fold from 200,000 in 1990 to nearly 8 million now. Mark Silk, director of the Public Values Program for Trinity College, explains that this survey indicates that, "A generic form of evangelicalism is emerging as the normative form of non-Catholic Christianity in the United States."

The number of Baptists (my former Religion) increased by about 2 million since 2001, but 7 years later, they account for a smaller proportion of the population overall.

The proportion of the population claiming an affiliation with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has held steady at just shy of 1.5% of the population.

The proportion of the population identifying as Muslim has doubled from 1990 to 2008, going from 0.3% of the population to 0.6% now.

Americans of Asian descent tend to be “substantially more likely to indicate no religious identity” than any other sub-set of the 2008 survey.

While those who identify as Jewish by ethnicity alone has “remained stable over the past two decades,” the number of Americans who identify religiously as Jewish has fallen from over 3 million in 1990 to 2.7 million in 2008, which represents about 1.2% of the overall American population.

It’s interesting, too, to note that, while less than 2% of those surveyed actually claimed the label of ”atheist” or “agnostic”, when respondents were asked specifically if they believe there is a God, 12% said "No" or were "Unsure." Another 12% said they believed in a “higher power” but not a “personal God”. In sheer numbers, the population of atheists grew from 900,000 in 2001 to 1.6 million in 2008, an increase of nearly 80%.

Those claiming what the survey calls “New Religious movements, including Wiccans and self-described pagans,” grew at a higher rate in this decade than in the last.

The northern part of the New England is now the “least religious” of the lower 48 states, overtaking the previous leader, the Pacific Northwest.

Where religious affiliation is concerned, the only category that saw an increase between 1990 and 2008 in every one of the 48 states was “None”. Vermont (of course, located in New England) led all states with one-third of those surveyed there claiming no affiliation; 9 points higher than any other state.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Be Careful What You Wish For...

David Frum, a well-known conservative who works with the right-wing American Enterprise Institute and is editor of the equally right-wing website, New, penned a column recently for Newsweek in which he attempts to lay out the case against Rush Limbaugh from a die-hard Republican point of view.

I agree with Mr. Frum on very few things, but I certainly agree with him on one point: if Rush Limbaugh, with his gargantuan ego, keeps on insisting that he is the Chosen One--the anointed guardian of conservative Republican purity--as well as the party's biggest & loudest mouth, the pusillanimous political pachyderms will more than earn their electoral & historical fate.

The ever-shrinking Elephant Party, who've been actually behaving for so (too) long like bulls in a china shop, have left the shop (i.e., our country) in shambles, and have been properly politically punished for the mess they've left for the next guy. You'd think that the few Republicans that are still left standing might have actually learned something from the past couple of national elections, and that they'd be thankful enough to still have a job that they'd want to who work to help fix what they've so blithely broken, but apparent repeated mass repudiation of their neo-con agenda means nothing at all to a party more beholden to ideology than to anyting resembing the common good. Nope. No, sir. Rush say that's socialist talk, maybe even communinism.

If the minority Republicans buy Rush's line that it's not the message that's defective, it's that the volume at which said message has been broadcast hasn't been cranked up enough & if the "R's" insist on simply standing in President Obama's way complaining about the mess & the smell they have made as he & the other Democrats attempt to sweep out the shards & the elephant droppings, they might as well get used to their well-earned status as the increasingly-irrelevant Party of "No". I have to say, it couldn't happen to a more-deserving group of dittoheads.

I've included some of my favorite parts of Frum's article below, and I've highlighted one sentence in particular that shows that at least SOMEONE in the Republican party has been paying attention.


Every day, Rush Limbaugh reassures millions of core Republican voters that no change is needed: if people don't appreciate what we are saying, then say it louder. Isn't that what happened in 1994? Certainly this is a good approach for Rush himself. He claims 20 million listeners per week, and that suffices to make him a very wealthy man. And if another 100 million people cannot stand him, what does he care? What can they do to him other than … not listen? It's not as if they can vote against him.

But they can vote against Republican candidates for Congress. They can vote against Republican nominees for president. And if we allow ourselves to be overidentified with somebody who earns his fortune by giving offense, they will vote against us. Two months into 2009, President Obama and the Democratic Congress have already enacted into law the most ambitious liberal program since the mid-1960s. More, much more is to come. Through this burst of activism, the Republican Party has been flat on its back.

We need to modulate our social conservatism (not jettison—modulate). The GOP will remain a predominantly conservative party and a predominantly pro-life party. But especially on gay-rights issues, the under-30 generation has arrived at a new consensus. Our party seems to be running to govern a country that no longer exists. The rule that both our presidential and vice presidential candidates must always be pro-life has become counterproductive: McCain's only hope of winning the presidency in 2008 was to carry Pennsylvania, and yet Pennsylvania's most successful Republican vote winner, former governor Tom Ridge, was barred from the ticket because he's pro-choice.

We need an environmental message. You don't have to accept Al Gore's predictions of imminent gloom to accept that it cannot be healthy to pump gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. We are rightly mistrustful of liberal environmentalist disrespect for property rights. But property owners also care about property values, about conservation, and as a party of property owners we should be taking those values more seriously.

Above all, we need to take governing seriously again. Voters have long associated Democrats with corrupt urban machines, Republicans with personal integrity and fiscal responsibility. Even ultraliberal states like Massachusetts would elect Republican governors like Frank Sargent, Leverett Saltonstall, William Weld and Mitt Romney precisely to keep an austere eye on the depredations of Democratic legislators. After Iraq, Katrina and Harriet Miers, Democrats surged to a five-to-three advantage on the competence and ethics questions. And that was before we put Sarah Palin on our national ticket.

In the days since I stumbled into this controversy, I've received a great deal of e-mail. (Most of it on days when Levin or Hannity or Hugh Hewitt or Limbaugh himself has had something especially disobliging to say about me.) Most of these e-mails say some version of the same thing: if you don't agree with Rush, quit calling yourself a conservative and get out of the Republican Party. There's the perfect culmination of the outlook Rush Limbaugh has taught his fans and followers: we want to transform the party of Lincoln, Eisenhower and Reagan into a party of unanimous dittoheads—and we don't care how much the party has to shrink to do it. That's not the language of politics. It's the language of a cult.

I'm a pretty conservative guy. On most issues, I doubt Limbaugh and I even disagree very much. But the issues on which we do disagree are maybe the most important to the future of the conservative movement and the Republican Party: Should conservatives be trying to provoke or persuade? To narrow our coalition or enlarge it? To enflame or govern? And finally (and above all): to profit—or to serve?