Sunday, December 21, 2008

Gone for the holidays

See you in 2009!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Rick Warren, third time's a charm

After thinking it through, after giving everyone a chance to speak, I am still pissed. I will not forgive, I will not forget, but we will move on because we must. I am not going to pull my support for Obama, yet.

Now it is time for Obama to prove me wrong. Come on Obama, be smarter than me and pull of this crazy hat trick.


More on Rick Warren

Obama's response [with video] and leaked talking points here.

The ladies of The View discussing this same topic; at least talking over each other about this topic.

Between my idealogical core, and my pragmatic thought process, my brain has exploded over the issue of Rick Warren speaking at President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration, and by proxy, gay marriage and really gay issues in general.

I'm not feeling well today (I'm actually home sick), but I wanted to say a few things. I will apoligize up front because I'm not at 100%, but I will do my best. Mostly, for now, letting others speak for me, while I try to really get my head around all of this.


Choosing Rev. Rick Warren – the evangelical pastor who has equated gay marriage to incest and pedophilia and strongly supported California’s gay marriage ban – to give the invocation at his inauguration on the heels of the community’s gut-wrenching Proposition 8 setback pushes past a simple insensitivity to seeming downright cruel.

How many times is the President-elect going to gouge this gaping wound before it even has a chance to scab over? He says he doesn’t play interest group politics – that he’s trying to rise above the fray of pitting one constituency against another. And yet, a sense of basic fair play dictates that you don’t kick a group when they’re down. No LGBT person expected the incoming president to choose a gay pastor to bless his inauguration, but neither did they in their darkest moments dream that he would be so tone deaf to our misery as to choose a man who compares our love to criminal offense.

Does he not remember that we can still be fired in 30 states simply for being gay without having any legal recourse?

Does he not realize that we have never had a single piece of major federal legislation protecting our rights signed into law?

Does he forget that we are still beaten and killed on America’s streets -- that ten years after a young man was strung to a fence and left to die, neither federal statute nor Wyoming law extends hate crimes protections to us?

The New York Times also reports:

The choice of Mr. Warren, pastor of a megachurch in Orange County, Calif., is an olive branch to conservative Christian evangelicals. Mr. Warren is an outspoken opponent of abortion and same-sex marriage — litmus-test issues for Christian conservatives. In fact, his selection set off a round of criticism by gay rights groups angered by his support for California’s ban on same-sex marriages.

But Mr. Warren has also been one of the most prominent evangelical leaders calling for Christians to expand their agenda and confront global problems like poverty, AIDS, climate change and genocide in Darfur.

Mr. Warren flaunted his clout this year when he managed to draw both John McCain and Barack Obama to his Saddleback Church for a forum in which he interviewed them on stage about faith issues. He has sometimes angered the older generation of conservative evangelical leaders aligned with the Republican Party, as when he invited Mr. Obama to speak about AIDS at an earlier event at his church.

But it isn't just liberals up in arms:
Unless Rick Warren has changed, he is very disappointing in the pro-life cause. Just ask pro-life leaders their opinion. He doesn't like to deal with it at his church. It just seems funny that he is known as 'pro-life' when he largely ignores the subject and teaches others to do the same. I fear God for these 'men of God'. We have lost 50 million babies, and most won't say a word. Reminds me of Nazi Germany or our slavery days. Very few spoke out. It was more comfortable to keep quiet.
And lastly, with many saying it's great Obama is smart enough to ignore the "far left" of his party, I just want to know, when did equal rights and basic human kindness become a "far left" value? I guess it was a "far left" idea to give mix race couples the right to marry too? Far left values that created the Civil Rights Act of 1964? A far left idea that drove a group of men to come together and proclam "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A letter to the Obama transition.

I wrote this letter to Parag Mehta, the LGBT liaison for Obama's transition team, and I think you should also write to voice your opinion on Rick Warren giving the invocation at President-elect Obama's inauguration. His e-mail is - please speak up.

Dear Mr. Mehta,

While I am sure you have received many e-mails regarding the choice of Rick Warren to give the invocation at President-elect Obama's inauguration, I felt so strongly about this I had to voice my frustration.

I had come to have a deep trust in Mr. Obama's judgment over the course of the election and transition, but I can not say quiet; I see no good reason Mr. Obama and others could not find another person to give the invocation that has not continually tried to divide us by labeling me, and everyone else in the LGBT community, a second-class citizen at best and a disease to be cured at his worst.

Why Rick Warren? Is my future president asking me and brothers and sisters to swallow this pill of hate in the name of coming together? Because, in terms of the gay community, coming together is about finding common ground, not asking us to shut up and deal with this 19th century mentality towards gays and lesbians. By giving Mr. Warren this pulpit to speak from, Mr. Obama may not be outright endorsing his views, but he is saying it is okay to agree with Mr. Warren. He is saying it is okay to think that gays getting married is equally wrong as insest, molestration, and polygamy. How can Mr. Obama even agree this is a valid argument?

I am asking, through you Mr. Mehta, that Mr. Obama admit this misstep, apologize to the LGBT community, and find someone who not only loves all of God's children equally but someone who can bring us all together. Isn't that why Mr. Obama wanted to become President?

- David Williams III


Once again, please write to Parag Mehta, at, the LGBT liaison for Obama's transition team.

I hate being right

So, over at the Huffington Post, there is an article that confirmed what I have thought all along. We're being had.

Studies by the nonpartisan Tax Foundation have consistently shown that these Senators' states receive far more from the Federal government than they pay back in taxes. That's an irony that could lead to some Blue State bitterness: They love to preach about fiscal responsibility and lower taxes, but they keep dipping their beak into the Federal trough.

I believe the applicable Southern phrase is "a handful of gimme and a mouthful of much obliged."

The numbers in the Foundation's most recent study (warning: pdf) speak for themselves: Mitch McConnell's Kentucky took in $1.45 from the Feds for every dollar it paid in taxes. That's a 45 cent free ride. Bob Corker's Tennessee received at 30-cent Federal giveaway. And Richard Shelby's Alabama extracted a whopping 71-cent subsidy from Northern taxpayers.

What about Michigan? They lost 31 cents for every dollar they paid. In other words, McConnell, Shelby, and Corker have been skimming a percentage off these autoworkers' taxes for years on behalf of their constituents. Now, when the same Michigan taxpayers need help, these Senators are telling them to get lost.

So those damn tax and spend liberals have been taxing northern (Democratic) states and spending them on southern (Republican) states. And, as I am writing this, it looks like Chevrolet will be closing its plants for several weeks (into late January) because it doesn't have any money. So yeah, it's great that Senators Mitch McConnell, Bob Corker, Richard Shelby took that stand.

Don't you just love the way the country is run? God Bless America.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Obama and Design

The Obama geek in me meets the Design geek in me. And I exploded; with excitement.

With links.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Gays in America; a gay issues primer

I just want to thank Jon Stewart. If only we had more of him.

Ron Reagan also talked about several issues important to the gay community on his radio show on Air America last week, December 10th. 18:35 is where things get crazy. God bless crazy people talking about gays and people with, you know, facts on there side calling those crazies out.

And Colin Powell seems to jumping right in pushing Obama through the media. First up, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and Powell saying we need to take a new look at the policy and now.

We also have Keith Olbermann's special comment on gay marriage. And Keith talking to Candace Gingrich.

And a Newsweek cover, by Lisa Miller.
If the bible doesn't give abundant examples of traditional marriage, then what are the gay-marriage opponents really exercised about? Well, homosexuality, of course—specifically sex between men. Sex between women has never, even in biblical times, raised as much ire. In its entry on "Homosexual Practices," the Anchor Bible Dictionary notes that nowhere in the Bible do its authors refer to sex between women, "possibly because it did not result in true physical 'union' (by male entry)." The Bible does condemn gay male sex in a handful of passages. Twice Leviticus refers to sex between men as "an abomination" (King James version), but these are throwaway lines in a peculiar text given over to codes for living in the ancient Jewish world, a text that devotes verse after verse to treatments for leprosy, cleanliness rituals for menstruating women and the correct way to sacrifice a goat—or a lamb or a turtle dove. Most of us no longer heed Leviticus on haircuts or blood sacrifices; our modern understanding of the world has surpassed its prescriptions. Why would we regard its condemnation of homosexuality with more seriousness than we regard its advice, which is far lengthier, on the best price to pay for a slave?
Which then got people to actually write Newsweek. Do you think these 40,000 letter writers actually read the article? And gave it some independent thought?
I was saddened but not surprised that NEWSWEEK would run a blatantly distorted interpretation of Scripture regarding homosexual marriage. As Christians, we are taught to love the sinner and not the sin. Well, you've taken it two steps further—condone the sin and then put it into law to validate it. The Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths agree that homosexuality is a sin. All that's left are the nonbelievers and agnostics who are trying to rewrite the Bible, like Lisa Miller.
Nancy McKay-Rosa
via internet
Your cover story on same-sex marriage is shameful. Lisa Miller's misunderstanding and dismissal of Scripture is astonishing. Voters in 30 states have recognized that marriage is the bringing together of the two sexes. They understood that gender matters, and that both husbands and wives matter to society and to children. Children need both a mother and father, and two men do not make a mom. If marriage is to mean anything political activists desire, then it will ultimately mean nothing to society.
Micah Clark
Noblesville, Ind.
Thank you, NEWSWEEK and Lisa Miller, for your timely and insightful article about equal marriage. Please know that many people of faith wish and hope for a more capacious and gracious world—one in which divergent faith and beliefs are respected and are given freedom to grow. Your article provides a much-needed rebuke for fundamentalists who would seek to keep others from the love of God and from civil marriage and all the joys and trials that might result. Thank you again for your courage and your voice.
Tim Johnson
Las Vegas, Nev.
And even looking at what President-elect Barack Obama says on his Web site gives some insight. Obama has a section titled "Support for the LGBT Community" with a quote.
"While we have come a long way since the Stonewall riots in 1969, we still have a lot of work to do. Too often, the issue of LGBT rights is exploited by those seeking to divide us. But at its core, this issue is about who we are as Americans. It's about whether this nation is going to live up to its founding promise of equality by treating all its citizens with dignity and respect."
-- Barack Obama, June 1, 2007
His lists "Support Full Civil Unions and Federal Rights for LGBT Couples" as well as "Oppose a Constitutional Ban on Same-Sex Marriage" and "Repeal Don't Ask-Don't Tell" among his stands. Be sure to check it out. Here.

Gay Rights Watch is a great site to keep up-to-date on what is going on.
Three-quarters of U.S. adults (75%) favor either marriage or domestic partnerships/civil unions for gay and lesbian couples. Only about two in 10 (22%) say gay and lesbian couples should have no legal recognition. (Gay and lesbian couples are able to marry in two states, and comprehensive civil union or domestic partnership laws exist in only five others and the District of Columbia.)

U.S. adults are now about evenly divided on whether they support allowing gay and lesbian couples to legally marry (47% favor to 49% oppose).

Almost two-thirds (64%) of U.S. adults favor allowing openly gay military personnel to serve in the armed forces. (The current “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law bans military service by openly gay personnel.)

And finally, we have our own gay focus here in Iowa.
DES MOINES — The Iowa Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Tuesday in a pivotal same-sex marriage case that could echo throughout the nation and be far more difficult to challenge at the ballot box than a high-profile ruling in California, legal experts say.

The lawsuit, filed by six same-sex Iowa couples, pits gay rights supporters against those who argue that gay marriage threatens traditional family values.

The case, Varnum v. Brien, could make Iowa the first state in the Midwest to legalize gay marriage, says University of Iowa law professor Angela Onwuachi-Willig. Other high-court decisions favorable to gay rights advocates have come from traditionally liberal, coastal states: California, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

- Grant Schulte, USA TODAY

It may be long, it will be hard, but for the first time in this fight, I actually think most people will stop seeing me and my fellow humans in the LGBT community as second-class citizens.

Now lets get to work.

Greatness Watch 12/14/08

This will be a short one this week. That kinda week. Even more so for Gov. Rod Blagojevich. What a week. Senate Republicans to Detroit: Drop Dead. Everyone to Blagojevich: Fuck You!

And yeah, don't we all want to know what is really going on between Blagojevich and Obama. No really, what is their connection? Tell me!

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) says Obama has mishanded the Blagojevich scanda. I agree Obama has mishandled this. I don't know what to think about Obama not being good at dealing with political corruption scandals. Maybe it is a good thing. Just maybe. But that is really neither here nor there.

Obama should learn from this. Move fast, follow your gut, and do the right thing. Just like Obama handling problems in the campaign, he learned fast. So, he's just learning again, this time about acting as more than a great candidate, but rather a great president.

So, what do the people think? Well, it seems Obama is more popular than Bush is unpopular. How about that?

So, can we just take one big fucking breath and let Obama get into office before we hit him with everything? I'm not surprised the GOP does not agree.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mainstream Media Madness

So, I was having a discussion the other day with a friend about the news. And after thinking about it, I think he was mostly right. The way we frame our news coverage is a huge problem. But I'm not sure there is any silver bullet to fix it.

First, the surface problem. The drug that isn't helping America get better. The so-called "mainstream media" is often not only telling us the news, but driving the stories to feed our hunger for drama, and then to top it all off, telling us what to think about the story they just fed us. While the herd mentality "the media" tend to have has always been horrible, it has only been amplified 10-fold by the 24-hour, cable-news mentality we have taken on as a society. America today cannot understand the news without having it explained to them. And by the media framing the context, they are really framing reality.

And in an attempt to create drama and create ratings we have seen the rise of FOX News and its conservative message be countered by MSNBC and its supposed ultra-liberal bias.

[I could debate the difference in pushing your own (or the White House's) message and reporting the news through an idealogical (and albeit liberal/progressive) lens all day long, but I shall move on.]

Regardless of your of political views, we can agree that, while news outlets have tried to maintain news value, they have often favored marketing over news value. And this has always been a problem. When you have a privately run (or a government run) news agency, there is always someone with a perspective and an agenda that will always affect news coverage.

So how do you get the news out without a bias? You don't. You can't. But what you can do is focus on the medium which can best filter out bias: newspapers. I know, it's boring and dull. We want TV! And I understand, but a lot of the bias problems come from two places: the bias of the "news reader" no matter if it is a commentator, anchor, host or whatever title you give them; and from the money coming into the media pockets.

With newspapers the bias of delivery can be closely reviewed by editors to minimize that bias, and the amount of money coming into newspapers is nothing when compared with TV or even radio. So it is simply because the newspaper is "yesterday's news" and that it's not really popular, it becomes the best source of news. Newspapers best shot at staying important is by being really fucking good at what they do.

But, while I brought it up, I have no solutions to the problem. Except to watch, read, and digest every bit of news you can find, and then figure out what is going on. It's not perfect, far from it actually. It's time consuming and difficult. I think of myself as a fairly intelligent person, but even I find it hard to understand everything I try to while keeping it the context of the big picture. Really, it's fucking hard because that is the job of the news. So, what do I find myself doing? Falling back on a few sources of news.

Which brings me to the underlying problem. The cancer eating away at you while you only notice that you're losing weight. Most American's don't care about what is going on, and if they do, they just believe almost anything they are told. Obama is a Muslim? Okay. Invading Iraq a good idea? Cool. We have to recycle, we really need to! Why not.

America is not playing a role in any major discussion anymore. It's turned it's back on most media, and has thrown in the towel on politics. It doesn't trust the media, with no real reason other than we have been lied to by everyone, and is passive in politics, only voting if they feel like it. Maybe Barack Obama brought hope back to America, but Rod Blagojevich just sold that for some power, and we all got fucked.

So what is an average American to do? Shun the media and turn to John Stewart? Start crawling toward Bill O'Reilly or laughing all the way with Stephen Colbert? Start worshiping Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow? Will Gwen Ifill, Jim Lehrer, Brian Williams, and Katie Couric save us? The answer to all the questions is yes. Take in everything. Understand and deal with the biases, and then find the news and use your own brain to understand it. It's hard. It's annoying. And it's messy, but it is really the only answer.

And while each of us need to work harder to understand the news (and, by proxy, our world), the only way America is going to start to understand the news and start playing a more active role in politics again is if newspapers, cable news, radio talk shows, Washington, Congress and the President do their jobs, and do that job better than it has been done in the last eight years.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The state of Obama, 12/10/08

So, Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested on a federal conspiracy complaint. Among many things, he was trying to sell the open Senate seat left by President-elect Barack Obama to the highest bidder. And if he didn't get enough in return, it seems he was planning to take the seat himself. What a fucktard.

But, since this broke, I have thought if Obama tap dances through this mess, it will be for the best. Best to get your first scandal (even if it really isn't yours) over and done with. This should be a testing ground on how to handle any sticky situation in the future.

So far, you have Illinois's Lt. Gov., Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) and now Obama calling for Blagojevich to resign. And I'm with David Gergen.
"I have a hard time pronouncing his name. I just call him the idiot."
- David Gergen, CNN, talking about Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Now, with all of this going on, how is everyone seeing Obama?

71% have a favorable view of Obama? That's what Gallup says. CNN says that number is more like 79%.
A new CNN poll finds 79% of Americans approve of President-elect Obama's performance so far during transition, with just 18% disapproving.

Obama's approval rating is 14 points higher than the approval rating for President-elect George Bush in 2001 and 17 points higher than President-elect Clinton's rating in 1992.

Said analyst Bill Schneider: "An Obama job approval rating of 79% -- that's the sort of rating you see when the public rallies around a leader after a national disaster. To many Americans, the Bush administration was a national disaster."

- Political Wire
How do we know Obama is getting one hell of a honeymoon? This. Well, cool. What does America think of Bush? You know, Bush, the current President.

28% job approval? 13% Satisfied with the State of the Nation? Well, low as it is, Bush is set to gain a couple of points as he leaves office.

This is all crazy. And just so you know, even before yesterday, Blagojevich's approval was at 13%. He makes Bush look like Santa.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Greatness Watch (& another Senator Kennedy)

Well, these will be the longest 43 days before this man gets to be President. Come on! So it seems we can start calling President-elect Obama Mr. New Deal. I don't know why, but the idea of Obama backing massive infrastructure spending (oh infrastructure!) makes me so happy.

Funny stuff.

Not so funny stuff.

So okay, I didn't post a Greatness Watch last week because of Thanksgiving and this week will be a short one because while I'm 25-years-old, it seems I am just my father's tool.

First, Obama nominates retired Gen. Eric K. Shinseki to be secretary of the Veterans Affairs Department. Experience? Check. Diversity? Check. Balls? Check. Go Obama, go!

Second, new-mom Amy Poehler returned to "Saturday Night Live," reprising her role as Hillary Clinton to address her selection as Secretary of State. Then Darrell Hammond then stopped in as Bill Clinton. "You voted for change, but you ain't never gonna change this."

"Like the South, vampires and Britney Spears, we will rise again."

And finally, while Hillary Clinton is getting ready to head to the State Department, the battle for her Senate seat is heating up. One of the leading contenders now is Caroline Kennedy. Some have hailed the idea, while other knock it down. I think that, mainly because she has avoided politics, is the best reason for her to get involved. I'm happy to hear that Ted Kennedy is working to help her. From my little understanding of Caroline and why she stayed out of the public eye, it is the right time for all of us to get involved.

Caroline has been moved by Obama like millions of Americans were moved by her father more than 45 years ago. It's starting to look like the start of a new day in Washington, and in politics in general. A fresh face like Caroline Kennedy is just what this nation needs.

Even more symbolic is handing over the New York Senate seat (which Robert Kennedy held till his death 40 years ago) from a Clinton, and all the politics of the past 16 years, to a Kennedy with an eye on a new way of doing business much different than the same politics of the past.

And the list of U.S. Senators who will be forever tied to Barack Obama by coming to power in 2009?
  • Mark Udall (D-CO)
  • Tom Udall (D-NM)
  • Mike Johanns (R-NE)
  • Mark Warner (D-VA)
  • Jim Risch (R-ID)
  • Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
  • Kay Hagan (D-NC)
  • Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
  • Mark Begich (D-AK)
  • Ted Kaufman (D-DE)*
  • Al Franken (D-MN)**
  • Caroline Kennedy (D-NY)***
  • Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)***

* Said to be the man to take over Joe Biden's seat for the next two years.
Franken is in the middle of a recount battle, and depending on who you ask (Star Tribune or Franken's campaign) the count is all over the place (Coleman up 192, Franken up 4, respectively) so the seat is still up in the air.
Seats open, or due to be open, because of Obama and Clinton getting better jobs. I have put the people I want to see in those seats.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Hey, "Prop 8 the Musical"

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

NPH and Allison Janney? Yay! And what, Jack Black?! :-D