Thursday, July 30, 2009

Mr. President,

Thank you very much.
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Harvey Milk to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

The Victory Fund has learned President Barack Obama plans to award America's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, to Harvey Milk, one of the country's first openly gay elected officials. The award will be accepted at a White House ceremony August 12 by Stuart Milk, the nephew of the late San Francisco Supervisor and civil rights activist.
Stuart Milk echoed Wolfe's praise, saying, "The President's action today touches the core of our very human hearts and my uncle would be so proud of this high honor. His election was, for him, a beginning-a chance to make real change. That change is happening, but we still have so far to go. I hope this recognition inspires LGBT Americans everywhere to heed Harvey's call to run for office, to serve openly, to live proudly with authenticity and to demand the equality that we all deserve."

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Friday, July 24, 2009

More on why I am coming to think that atheism is a good option.

People ask me if I am an atheist, and I usually answer, "I don't know." But I do know that if they are really asking if I subscribe to their notion of some wacked out meddlesome Bastard (I always capitalize names for G_d respecting common usage), the answer is, Yes I am definitely atheist. Mr. Morford does a pretty good job of explaining why. Take it away Mark!
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God is not your bitch

This just in: It is hugely unlikely God cares much about your sex life

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, still clinging to office after admitting to an extramarital affair, wrote in an opinion piece released Sunday that God will change him so he can emerge from the scandal a more humble and effective leader

OK wait. What God really loves is meddling and poking and maybe forgiving, and also psychoanalyzing and scrutinizing and prying, gossiping and complaining and moderating, sighing and punishing and condemning, all while He shakes His big, shaggy head in your general direction at your various petty sins and misbehaviors every single day regarding pretty much every single thought you have.

Did you know this about God? Of course you did.

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Matthew Shepherd remembered

July 22, 2011

The right wing is willing to keep LGBT people in harm's way to make a political point.” (HRC website)

The Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act passed. There will come a time when a needed protection and corrective measure does not have to be named for a victim of vicious homophobia. Take a look at the Yes and No votes and call your senator to thank them or chastise them. John McCain voted against the measure. Apparently the torture that Matthew suffered didn’t measure up to his personal standards.

I had no idea that the Senate was about to vote on the Matthew Sheperd Act during the Judiciary Committee hearings. The media apparently thinks that all posing, right wing sound bites, and left wing political correctness and ‘Justice’ Sotomayor’s responses were the only news that might interest anyone.

I think it’s high time to say enough is enough!

Today I noticed some well-dressed folks assembling on the sidewalk -- maybe a bit formal for street wear in my neighborhood, but not threatening or scary. They were listening to what sounded like a pep talk. Then I noticed that they were stuffing copies of “Awake” or “Watch Tower” in black leather carry bags. Ah, the Witnesses.

I stand by free speech. When the Witnesses ring my bell, I am always extremely courteous. I do not mention what I really think about the school of theologian/writers know as “J” in Hebrew Bible text studies -- they use “Jehovah” to point to the most powerful god. They were, as far as I can judge, self-serving nasty warmongers. But that was a few years ago. I don’t like what I saw of their influence in Michael Jackson’s life, but again these nice folks had nothing to do with that. So I say, “Thank you, not interested,” and close the door. There is no lying or deception.

Now let’s switch to Ms. Ex-governor Palin. In her rant, she said that others who resigned from high office were not held to the same standard that the liberal press, Democratic sleuths, whoever, holds her. She’s honorable and being harassed. Well, she is misinformed, or lying, or stretching the truth, or a patchwork of all of the above. She is the first to set aside the responsibilities of elected office for personal gain, and we’re letting her get away with it.

Politics and religion may be last refuge of scoundrels. Is it too much to ask that a public figure be informed, does not play to prejudice, and certainly acts in the interest of every citizen and not his or her own pocketbook? I have said politely, and with my vote, “Thank you, but definitely not interested.” But now this under-educated, nitwit is writing op ed pieces aimed at destroying or blocking a rational energy policy that is not just in my personal interest but, listening to near unanimity in the scientific world, in the interests of the health of our planet. It’s time to say, “Shut up. Had more than enough,” and her main man, Billy Kristol on Fox, tell him, “You are one stupid, self-serving low-life. Listening to you I have second thoughts about the First Amendment.”

It’s high time to take off the gloves.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Dan is a real American hero!

The only thing about this article that is a little off putting for me is the slight tone of a eulogy, and Dan is, as far as I know, still very much alive. He helped me really get what "faith" and "courage" mean, in action, not just nice sounding words.

Berrigan and the Peace Movement

View a selection of photographs from the life of Daniel Berrigan, S.J., and his long involvement in the Catholic peace movement. Father Berrigan talks with George Anderson, S.J., in the July 6 issue.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Republican push back to health care reform is just fear mongering.

The conversations are no more than a few months old, and already the conservatives are leading us to believe that only illness, death and poverty are going to result from Obama's plan to "fix" the health care delivery system. Isn't that odd -- they destroyed the housing market for the next decade, but never a word about that. Get real!

What do the world's "laboratories of democracy" tell us about health care?

Republicans, at least rhetorically, claim to value federalism and to believe that the states can function as "laboratories of democracy"-- places where policy experimentation can take place.
The number of people in other industrialized democracies who go bankrupt as a result of medical bills = 0
The number of people in other industrialized democracies who lack access to routine medical care = 0
The number of people in other industrialized democracies who feel trapped at their jobs for fear of losing their (or their family's) health insurance = 0.
That last number is particularly galling given conservative reverence for entrepreneurism. Though it's difficult to quantify, I would bet that our dysfunctional health care system, more than any other factor, discourages entrepreneurial risk-taking in this country. Which makes all this talk about free markets all the more absurd.
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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Robert McNamara, 1916—2009

He didn’t die a dove, but pretty damn close.

I chose not to remember McNamara as the architect and stubborn supporter of the American war in Viet Nam. I wish the war had never been; I wish the McNamara’s apology and open discussion of what went so terribly wrong had been sooner after the fact. But that does not tarnish or diminish what we can learn from the man.

Of course, I am going to recommend a book, one not mentioned in any of the obligatory obituaries: Wilson's Ghost: Reducing the Risk of Conflict, Killing, and Catastrophe in the 21st Century. I stumbled across it a few years ago in a remainder pile in one of the major bookstores, bought it and read it with fascination. Scholarly, insightful and collaborative. I put it high on my list of “must read’s" for any student activist, particularly a refugee from the 60’s. Following McNamara’s wishes, there will be no service, no memorial to mark his death. Reading his book would be a far better tribute.