Saturday, June 10, 2006

Hey DeeK- You Coding God!

I put in a permalink on posts (you might have noticed) but we really need a link back to the home page from archived or permalink posty windows. Blah- did that make sense? It did in my head but not here,

Anyways- I've been trying to turn the header image into a link but I am incapable.

Help me Obi DeeK Kinobe- You're our only hope.

Weekend art blogging goes feminist

Hands of the puppeteer-1929

Tina Modotti has to have one of the most interesting stories in art. She was born in Italy but she lived in Austria, San Francisco, Spain, Russia, France and Mexico. She spoke 5 or 6 languages fluently. She started out as an actress and model and described her profession as "men". She was a photographer, spy, revolutionary and a romantic. She was absolutely my kind of girl.

Mexico became her adopted home and she was the photographer of choice for murals by people like Diego Rivera. Sadly, she was forced out of Mexico after her boyfriend, a fellow communist, was gunned down in the street while she watched. The police tried to put suspicion on her. She gave up photography for political activism and was dispatched by Moscow on secret missions throughout Europe, including working in Spain against the Fascists.

Mexican sombrero with hammer and sickle-1927

She returned to Mexico under an assumed name and died of mysterious heart problems. She is at the beginning of photography as an art instead of just a documenting media. Her images show beauty and grace in mundane objects. Her photograph of telephone wires is one of my favorite examples of minimalism.

Telephone wires-1925

What is Religion? What is Morality?

The queen, Mr. Cynic and I got into this little discussion stemming from the Moderate Christians need to restore image post that at this point has lead to the questions of: What is Religion? What is Morality.

Since it is after midnight, and I am still working on some nebulous coding, I leave the questions to everyone here. Of course, I will add more than my two cents worth as time allows, but I am sure everyone has a take on these not so simple queries.

The Red Queen never promised any of this would be easy!

Hallelujah! Rejoice in the laundry.

I am covered in the filth of war, lint sticks to me like the brains and blood splatter of a defeated foe. And defeat it I finally did!

There is lint everywhere. It trails from laundry room to kitchen to here- right in front of my desk. But it no longer blocks the path to true freedom and clean, dry laundry. It was a hard fought campaign. The Royal Family had been reduced to wearing the undies at the back of the dresser drawers and not exactly matching outfits. The carnage was fantastic and I was reduced to little better than an appliance butcher in order fight the fiendish chenille threads and downy fluff. I reached into the belly of the machine and blindly took the lint down. It was a sacrifice, but it is now done.

A few minutes ago I pulled out the first load from the newly conquered dryer. It was warm and clean and most importantly- dry. I buried my face in the cloth and breathed in the soap scented sweetness. Hallelujah!

The buck passes down

Bush email to Brown- Thanks for taking it up the ass for me on Katrina!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Travel Advice

As you can see- it's Friday and I can't seem to muster up the bitchy to write about anything serious. So I'm seeking travel advice.

In July I'm heading off to the Yucatan peninsula for a few weeks, flying in and out of Cancun. I have little desire to spend more than a day or two in Cancun. I may go down to Belize and/or Guatemala. Anyone been traveling that way before? Got suggestions for must see stuff? I am definitely going to Merida and would like to make it out to Palenque (sighs for Mayan ruins).

Moderate Christians need to restore image

Moderate Christians need to restore image.

Are we ahead of the curve or right on top of it? Christian or not, I think we should welcome this effort!

BTW, I post comments at the PI under "wsdeek".

When is a terrorist not a terrorist?

When he's a white Christian planning to blow up an abortion clinic.

Friday's name that tune, win the giant virtual cookie

This guy was the king of bitter and sarcastic, until he got married and happy. Fucker.

Don't tell me you don't know what love is
When you're old enough to know better
When you find strange hands in your sweater
When your dreamboat turns out to be a footnote
I'm a man with a mission in two or three editions

Drive by random 10

  1. The Goats- Hip-Hopola
  2. Talking Heads- Take me to the river
  3. They Might be Giants- Put your hand inside the puppet head
  4. Franz Ferdinand-Van Tango
  5. Marimba Conjunto Espija de Oro- La Jota
  6. Squirrel Nut Zippers-Pallin with Al
  7. The Ramones- I wanna be your boyfriend
  8. Neko Case- I wish I was the moon
  9. Paperboys- Still the night
  10. The Magnetic Fields- If you don't cry

I'll be out till this afternoon

Feel free to divulge your deepest, darkest secrets in comments. I promise I won't tell.

A final bit of Fursday Funny

I don't know how I have managed to miss the Museum of Bad Art. It is truly a thing of wonder (though not beauty).

Thursday, June 08, 2006

I get sick pleasure

from playing with the church sign generator.

White Progressive People Fight Racism

try this link

Now that's progressive!

It is a very good day indeed

Panel proposes guaranteed health care for everyone by 2012
In the long term — by 2012 — all Americans should have coverage for a core package of healthcare services, including preventive care, doctor visits, hospitalization and prescription drugs.
That's right, nationalized health care should no longer be dangled in front of us like some unobtainable socialist jewel.
"After 60 years of the same approach to healthcare reform, we wanted to try something different," said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), one of the authors of the legislation that created the panel. "In the past, influential people in Washington have made recommendations to the American people. Now, the hope is to see if a citizen-driven process can provide a general roadmap."
Click here for details on the report

To Go With Little Flower's Post

Ann Coulter spewing evil on the Today Show.

Anne Coulter: Godless

There is no better illustration of how screwed up this country is than the fact that a lascivious, hard-partying shrew with no discernable religious beliefs gets to write a book calling other people Godless.

No scratch that, the best illustration is that the book becomes a best-seller.

I like what Greg Palast, investigative journalist and author of a new book called Armed Madhouse, etc., had to say about Anne Coulter’s loopy theological treatise:

“You want to talk about Godless? OK, let’s go:
Would the Lord lie us into a war?
Would the Lord let thousands drown in New Orleans while chilling at a golf resort?
Would the Lord have removed tens of thousands of Black soldiers from the voter rolls as the Republican Party did in 2004?
You talk about being “Christian” — but with all your zeal to fire up electric chairs and Abrams tanks, you sound more like a Roman.”

That’s a great point -- one of the striking things that demonstrate how phony the Christian coalition types are is their lack of personal integrity. By this, I don’t mean that their political aims are unbiblical. Although I do think that, people can debate the meaning of Scripture.

No I mean just how generally crooked, mean and dishonest they are. For example, Tom DeLay spouting faith talk while laundering tax-free contributions to himself and his family. And Ralph Reed, feeling no guilt or shame about stealing from poor Native Americans to enrich himself and his Abramoff-fed cronies. Or James Dobson insinuating that Michael Schiavo murdered his wife. Or George Bush lying about -- well, just about everything.

I could go on at length, but it’s easy to see the point. As said by no less of an authority than Jesus the Christ, those who puff out their chests and boast about their spirituality are likely the ones who are truly godless.

I love agitprop art!

I do I do I do. Those of you who have seen my kitchen can vouch from my love of the propaganda art. Collages of themes cover each cabinet door. There's the Russian door, Word War II door, the Spanish door, a couple of doors on American fascism and a naughty pin up (where all the art is created by women) door.

So when I stumbled onto this little website today- I knew I had to share.

Caption this photo

Damn, since they didn't pass that death tax thingy, how am I gonna get my hands on Papa's money!

Oh Happy Day!

After years of hearing the Republicans bitch about the so-called “Death Tax” a measure to eliminate it permanently failed in the Senate today.

I would type more- but blogger bites monkey nuts. Link is in the title and spell check ain't working.

In keeping with the laundry theme

Since my dryer is still delivering nothing but steaming hot, wet clothes here is a reminder of why laundry is so important.

Dispute Resolution Rochambeau

Too funny.

Via Feministe

Home Sweet Home

You Belong in Dublin

Friendly and down to earth, you want to enjoy Europe without snobbery or pretensions.

You're the perfect person to go wild on a pub crawl... or enjoy a quiet bike ride through the old part of town.

Where Does Your Inner Californian Belong?

You Belong in San Diego

Laid back and friendly, you were meant to live most of your life on the beach.

You usually think everything is "all good"... except when the weather dips under 60F.

You stay classy - especially when you're in Tijuana!

Fursday Fun Is Here!

Time to rejoice and drink heavily! For it is Fursday, the funniest of all days here at the White Papers. This is the day where we stop making sense and start making silly. Whohooo!

Enjoy the yummy funniness that is John Stewart.

How much you wanna bet

that the Great Decider is going to use the death of Al-Zarqawi to "prove" that Iraq is on the mend and that the invasion has been "successful"?

Though he certainly needed some good news after Haditha and the defeat of the amendment that is the only thing keeping heterosexual marriages together.

I know you all are enraptured by...

the mundane trials regularly occurring at the Red Queen's castle. First there was the yard war, where I am happy to report that the cease fire is still in place. Now it appears that a suicide bombing by a chenille blanket has created serious chaos in the laundry room. I am not sure if the dryer will make it.

This chenille blanket had been put into the wash by the Kid. It was here that the blanket hatched it's terrible plan to self destruct and take a major appliance down with it. It tried to recruit other items in the wash with it. I am happy to say that my grey pencil skirt and black hoodie resisted.

By the time they got to the dryer, there was no going back. The chenille blanket unleashed a furry of lint the likes of which have never been seen. The lint exploded into the vent hose and through the pipe to the outside, but because it is lint-it was silent in it's attack.

This morning, after running the dryer 3 times for one load, I knew something was up. I peered into the dryer and saw that my poor hoodie and skirt had been covered in the detritus of the blanket. Innocent victims of a terrible act. The clothing that had been tumbling in the dryer for 3 hours was hot, but still soaking wet. And then there was the smell- the smell of burning lint.

I have encountered this kind of attack before. I knew what had to be done. But first I had to go to work. I planned to launch a late night sneak attack by pulling the dryer out of it's place and attacking the hose directly. I was not prepared for what I saw next.

The hose was completely filled with lint, to the point that it had detached from the pipe that leads the steam outside. The pipe and the area around the cutout in the wall where the pipe comes out were also packed full with lint. The entire area surrounding the pipe and the dryer was, well, blanketed with lint.

I know at this point you are probably wondering- shouldn't the Red Queen have brave soldiers, or at least hapless minions, willing to do dangerous and grueling tasks of yard work peace negotiations and lint bombing clean-up. It's true, I should. But unlike the Great Decider (and most of the Republican party) I believe that a leader should not send troops to do something they would not do themselves. So I attacked the lint with a driving need for justice, as well as a broom and a bent wire coat hanger for scraping the hose and the pipe. I think my troops will respect me more for being willing to endure their same hardships.

Now I am up at one in the morning monitoring the dryer's condition. I did not feel it was safe to let it run on it's own. The remains of the offending blanket will join the weed wacker for funeral services.

Some of the lint after being taken into custody and placed in the paper bag detention center.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

John Stewart and a homobigot square off

This was recommended by the very cute and talented Peter from Daydream Vaccination.
It is absolutely a must see.

Stupid Blogger

Has locked me out since this morning. I know that masturbation is spelled wrong below- but I can't get in to edit it.

So if you too need to bitch about Blogger, feel free to do so in comments.

What Role Should Religion Play?

little flower's "Can Liberals Blend Religion and Politics?" raised many issues that inspired a few comments yesterday. The topic inspires another question in my mind:
What role should religion play in the post-modern world?

Being an agnostic, I feel questions of God and faith are personal. Leading a life that does no harm is all that should matter. But I know I am in the minority on this. Religion, like it or not, is a central character in many conflicts, domestic and international these days and must be dealt with. On the other hand, many feel science has replaced religion. Much of what was left to "God's Will" has now been explained by science. I don't think science replaces religion, but the point is a valid one.

Throughout written history at least, religion played a central role in society. Now, while still important, it does not hold the sway of science, politics and technology. So fellow bloggers, what is your take?

Happy Wednesday

Let's see if I can get through this without Blogger being a big whiny baby about it.

Congressional race in California to replace jailbird Randy "Duke" Cunningham was within 4 to 5 percentage points. Bilbray (R) narrowly beat Busby (D). Numbers I've seen are about 45% to 49%. In a district that is 60% Republican- that is fantastic.

Bilbray and Busby will face off again in November for the same seat. This was just a special election.

Oh- and Jerry Brown (my favorite California govenor ever) is running for California's Attorney General. Yay Jerry!

And did you know that Gays cause War and unchecked masturbation?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

I told you I'd be a benevolent dictator

For being such avid commenters (and because Ben Varkentine won last weeks big, fat virtual cookie) I have added some folks to our blogroll.

So go check out Jovial Cynic at New Protest and Ben Varkentine at Dictionopolis in Digitopolis.

(Ben has a thing for cheeto colored girls- but his site is pretty cool)

We've been too long without a Dune reference

So how cool is it that Spain has an internet provider called Arrakis?

Excellent news! It must be 6/6/6.

Tim Eyman (yes, I absolutely hate the man) did not get enough signatures to allow a vote to repeal WA state's gay rights bill. Go here.

Political Quiz

I took this little quiz before but was reminded of it today.

Results soooo not surprising.

Take it and post results in the comments.


I am dying to find out how voting went in California today, especially in the race for the congressional seat vacated by Randy Duke Cunningham.

If a woman's studies professor can win this Republican stronghold (Republicans outnumber Democrats in this district 3 to 2) then November will be sweet!

Must wait till later for results.

Conservative Rock? Not.

Charles Pierce is so good that I would feel remiss in adding my own commentary to his smackdown of National Review's pathetic attempt to find 50 conservative rock songs. The first sentence says it all: "Oh, Lord, sometimes, you make the fish so big and the barrel so small."

So just go read it at The American Prospect site.

Political Porn

Sexiest picture of Al Gore ever.

There's an effort to draft Gore into the 2008 presidential race and I am going to throw my 2 cents in.

I think he can do.

I think he should do it.

I think he's proven that he can win a presidential election.

And he's gone through some changes. He lost the thing he'd been working for his entire life and then saw the damage that came from not fighting hard enough. I think if he comes back he will be tougher and less "wooden" than before. Personally, I saw him speak at a Jefferson-Jackson dinner in 1998 and never understood the wooden part, but he's lightened up.

So there's a Draft Gore in 2008 plan running. You should check out the site even if you don't like Gore because they are going for publicly funded elections. Can you imagine if corporate shills didn't get to fund elections?

Oh wow! Free, fair, non-corrupt elections and sexy denim-clad President Gore. I may faint.

( I stole the pic and the link from Shakespeare's Sister- she thinks he's hot hot hot too)

It must be 6/6/6

Because I am about to type something that is complete heresy.

Yay Wal-Mart! (Oh my god- is my hair on fire, am I going to be struck down by the progressive gods?)

From the AP
MADISON (AP) - A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by a pharmacist who claimed he was fired by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. for his refusal to fill birth control prescriptions.
But wait, there’s more.

Wal-Mart and the staffing agency that hired the guy tried to work with him on his beliefs. He was not required to fill birth control prescriptions because there was always another pharmacist on hand to fill them.

But that wasn’t enough for the guy. Instead, he left people calling about birth control on permanent hold and didn’t tell the other pharmacist when someone came to the counter to fill a birth control prescription, so the person went away thinking that the prescription could not be filled.

Wal-Mart fired him for insubordination, which is a lot more than I can say for Target*.

Damn, I hate it when evil empires do something good.

* That I have to link to Big Girl John Arovosis pisses me off, but it was the best thing I could find for a 7 month old story.

PS- This is our 300th post. Who knew we were so verbose?

Last words

I have to drop the marriage equality talk for a while because it physically pains me- I mean heart sick, nauseous, migraine inducing pain- to continue the argument with people I am friends with on something that is such an integral part of my character and values. It's easy to disagree so vehemently with people you don't respect, but I feel vicious anger coming on and I don't want to unleash that on someone I like.

With that, I ask you to try some empathy. You may not think that marriage equality is a life or death issue, but for some it is. For others it is just the day to day discrimination that wears them down. You can start with reading the stories at Freedom to Marry.

My Last Words on Same Sex Marriage (SSM)

First, I am not against same-sex marriage. It probably needs to happen and I look forward to the public debate toward its resolution.

I AM against falling on our swords to see it happen. Whether I am for it or against, I realize a passage of a ssm rights bill, either nationally or in the states is an uphill battle. It is one I hope happens, but one that I am assured has no chance at all under our current right-wing theocracy.

What I highly object to is using the black population to gain its passage. Blacks have never been in the position to deny this right to homosexuals. Does homophobia exist in the black community? Undoubtedly. Can the gay community work with the former to assuage its existence? Hopefully. But to say that the struggle for gay marriage is the same as the one for Black emancipation is both insensitive and irresponsible. If you want to pass ssm laws, find another tactic.

Many of the discussions about ssm point to how the families of gay lovers ignore the promises lovers may have made to one another. Is this a black issue, even it occurs among black families? No, it is a social issue that needs to be addressed for what it is.

I support, no, applaud and celebrate feminism. I feel the same about gay rights. But never have I said that I know what if feels like to suffer the oppression of women and gays; I simply don't know that experience. If I said I did, all would know that I am lying. I expect the same respect from the gay community, no matter if I support them or not.

Principles and Politics

Abraham Lincoln did not run on a platform to free the slaves. Nor did he win in 1860 because people thought he would. He ran on the promise to save the Union. Freeing the slaves in 1863 was as much political ploy as it was an attempt to tilt the war to the side of the north.

Lyndon Johnson did not win in 1964 on the promise of assuring Blacks could vote. No matter what nobility can be seen in his successful effort to pass the voting rights act, Johnson was ever aware of where he stood with the American public. A book entitled "Cannan's Edge" details the ultimately nasty reality of what really happened between and to both Johnson and Martin Luther King. Both for a time used each other for their own gains. That's how politics works. Don't take my word for this. Read the review..

Politicians who run solely on principle turn into "lobbyists". It is an ugly reality, one that the left needs to not only take to heart, but one that it needs to learn up and down, backwards and forwards.

Until then, pray for miracles, but cover your ass!

Can Liberals Blend Religion and Politics?

I have no problems with being both religious and political, but the “Christian left” as a movement is pretty much doomed.
Now that’s not to say that some individual liberal Christians will not become more active politically, and maybe help remove some of the odious Republicans from office. But there will never be a Christian left the way there is a Christian right.
There are many reasons why, but one fundamental one stands out: Liberal Christians just aren’t willing to do -- maybe they don’t have -- what it takes to be successful in the political context.
What do I mean by that? Bottom line is that there is only one way to affect policy in American politics, and that is to elect candidates who will go to the wall for your proposals. Liberal Christians want to focus on the policy part without getting involved in the election part. As a result, their influence in the aggregate is practically nil.
If there is such a thing as a card-carrying member of the Christian left, that would be me. Raised in a Christian home, educated at Christian colleges, I came to the conclusion at a young age that Jesus would have fit in more on the “liberal” side of the fence if he were alive today. If you translate the Bible’s message to policy, it would side more with food stamps than stamping out gays.
For years I read Sojourners, the first and maybe still most influential Christian left publication run by the Rev. Jim Wallis, who is the poster boy for the movement. But Wallis is so dead set against being perceived as partisan, his writings became almost comically evenhanded. I found myself continually frustrated and angry by his “on-the-other-handism.” Even on issues where the magazine clearly sided with Democrats, he couldn’t come right out and defend the Democratic position. A negative comment about the Republican’s voting for something like funding “Star Wars” had to be followed by a swat at the minority Democrats -- who voted the way Wallis wanted -- for some trivial slight.
During the 2000 election, when it was clear that Al Gore represented a far more worthy clear choice when it came to the issues that concerned liberal Christians, Wallis was ridiculously evenhanded, obsessing over George W. Bush’s patently phony compassionate conservative rhetoric and faith-based pandering. On core Sojourners issues like racial and gender equality, war and peace and justice for the poor, Al Gore was a screaming better choice. Wallis, however, focused on the splinter issues without noticing the beams getting rammed into his eye.
The point is that getting things done in politics is a fairly dirty business. You win, you get the spoils. With their “God is Neither a Republican nor a Democrat” mantra, Wallis and his ilk remain smartly above the fray but also unable to produce any results. Christian liberals can have the warm fuzzy knowledge that they are technically right about Yahweh’s political affiliations. Meanwhile, the poor are getting poorer, bigots are running the roost and World War III is on the horizon.
No matter how much I despise Jim Dobson and the evil snakes of the Religious Right, I have to admit they know how the system works. They have created influence by getting people elected -- they bang their shoe on the table and the Republican establishment quakes.
Now I don’t think that it is the proper thing for Christian liberals to become Democrats in the way evangelical churches have become outposts of the GOP. That is a debasement of religion. And I don’t have all the answers to what is no doubt a thorny and age-old problem.
But some first steps need to be taken. One is that liberals have to admit that there is a dichotomy. Another is that they have to clearly denounce evil for what it is, and if that sounds partisan, well, so be it. There is no truth or justice in phony evenhandedness. Christian liberals like to draw inspiration from Biblical prophets, and that is not the way they operated.

Monday, June 05, 2006

It's my biggest fear too!

Mexico's Politics

The NY Times magazine has a fantastic piece on the presidential race in Mexico and the left-wing candidate.

Something to consider while reading -Mexico is at the same economic stage the Spain was at when it joined the European Union. If Spain could improve rather quickly- so can Mexico.

Go read the article.

My positions

Anyway who knows me knows I am on the extreme left on most issues. I do have my doubts about the gay marriage issue, but let's disregard that for the moment.

On this forum I have sometimes taken a middle-ground, devil's advocate stance. Face it. We live in very liberal, accepting Seattle. Right or wrong, we are often clouded by where we live. As the last few elections have shown, our views are not shared by many in this nation. As musch as I like The White Papers, I don't enjoy preaching to the choir; I will sometimes take a more middle ground to foster debate (sorry, I don't know how to be a right-wing Nazi!). Please understand my strategy and motivation in this.

Having said that, if I had to choose between a politician who will lose based on his/her principles and one who might win because s/he knows how to make intelligent compromises, I will pick the latter in almost all cases. I am liberal (progressive, whatever) but I am not blind.


The Kid has a pretty severe fear of heights. Tall buildings and bridges make him dizzy.

I have 2 really unusual phobias. When people hear about them they are shocked that a relatively fearless girl could be afraid of something so mundane. The 2 are related though.

I am afraid of walking barefoot in grass. I can walk barefoot on just about anything else, but grass freaks me out. Even feeling it tickle my ankles when I am wearing shoes makes me squeamish. I am also afraid of swimming in water that is not in a swimming pool or Lake Tahoe (which is where I grew up mostly and is as familiar to me as my own hand ). I get freaked out by the thought of something living in the water touching my feet- like the sting rays on the Gulf Coast of Florida.

Neither of these things will send me into a panic attack, but I avoid them. I think very carefully and have to steal myself before taking a step on grass, and if it's more than a few steps I will find another way to go, even if it's longer or more difficult.

So Kids- Is it just me with the fucked up phobias or is there something really ridiculous that freaks you out.

Gay Marriage Round Up

First- to keep me from getting headaches trying to follow the marriage equality comments, please post all comments on the last post by DeeK: Gay Marriage and Color part II.

The rest of the posts regarding gay marriage are:
Red Queen: Veil of Ignorance
DeeK: The Left, Gay Marriage and Color
And the one that started it all (though DeeK I think has been spoiling to have this debate for months)
Red Queen: The Tyranny of the Christian Right

Losing Greatest Nation Status

Allow me to take a short paragraph to gloat. For years I have railed against the "United States is the greatest country in the world" bullshit. First, there is no such thing. Second, the admittted advantage the US gained was built upon the death of previous natives and the slavery of many. Some legacy. But now it is becoming obvious to people who are other than liberal like myself that this greatness is an illusion. We are, in comparison to others, not all that great in many areas. So I am gloating. Woohoo!

Okay, gloating over.

The evidence: our health care sucks compared to others though we spend more than any other country. Our education system is woefully inadequate. Our infrastructure is crumbling. We consume way more energy that we need to, contribute one-third of climate changing gases though our population is less than one-tenths of the world's. We are highly in debt to other countries with no solution in site. Our murder and incarceration rates are among the top five on the planet. And as of late, our supposed miltary might is looking less capable than advertised. If anyone is keeping score. We ain't doing so good. And this is a shortlist

So what does it mean for us? My hope is that we get off our high horse and realize that we are just like everyone else. That being the world's policeman is a lose-lose situation. That we are lucky, not good. That much of our hard work only goes toward making the "man" richer and ourselves poorer on a relative basis. That we cannot depend on politicians to make decisions for us.

Okay, so I am hoping for a lot. But isn't the first part of solving your problem realizing that you have one?

Of course, the converse is that 'mericans will stick to their stubborn ways or worse. In a land that worships weapons and killing, the danger is that when things get worse, people will turn on others.

May you live in interesting times!

Gay Marriage and Color, Part II

As a black man I am somewhat offended by equation of the gay marriage issue with the one of color. They are not the same.

People who want to marry their gay lover did not represent the ecomomic backbone that allowed European economies (this means all of them, Europe, Australia and the Americas) to dominate over all others. People who want to marry their gay lovers were not lynched as most of the population looked the other way. People who want to marry their gay lovers are not denied housing, education and the most of the same rights that the majority of the population enjoys. People who want to marry their gay lovers were not ripped from their homeland, made to serve an economy, while enduring substandard housing, healthcare and basic nutrtition. People who want to marry their gay lover have not had to endure flesh-ripping dogs, high-pressure firehoses, beatings and killings to gain their rights. They did not have to sit at the back of the bus, nor were they made to drink from specially designated water-fountains, eat at segregated lunch counters or denied the same opportunities that a more priveledged population did. No, they endured none of these gross injustices.

Does this mean I think they should have to go through the same experience? Obviously not. Nor does it mean that I don't think that they should be denied any rights. But do I think gay marriage is the same as heterosexual marriage? No I do not. For one, gay marriage brings up the conception issue. Though certainly it is not the case of all of gay marriage--not everyone who marries wants children--the need for invitro-fertilization is increased. And yes, the whole babies coming from laboratories bothers me. We are already so removed from nature already that maybe it shouldn't matter, but yes it bothers me to a great degree.

Beyond that gay marriage brings up other issues such as inheritance, divorce and child custody that have not been resolved. All of these need to be worked before many like me will wholly support it.

So no, I do not think right to gay marriage is the same as the right to worship as one wishes or just to live, love and fuck like everyone else. It is much more complicated and unresolved for me to throw myself on that sword. Work out the details, resolve unsettled issues, convince me that losing the rights we have all fought for are worth losing and I will support it. Until then I will not discriminate, but I will sit on the fence.

Slouching Toward Haditha

For an intelligent take on the massacre in Haditha, it makes sense to quote Justin Raimondo, one who has been consistently right about the situation in Iraq from Day One.

Raimondo, editorial director for the libertarian site, reported last year about the administration's "El Salvador Strategy," a plan to ratchet up the brutality in Iraq similar to force used in Latin America in the 1980s.

Says Raimondo: "We are now seeing the results of this policy of desperation in practice. Haditha is not just an "isolated incident," but evidence of a new strategic orientation by the U.S. military – a scorched-earth policy designed to stave off the humiliating prospect of impending defeat ...

A pattern emerges: Haditha, Abu Sifa, Abu Ghraib, and all the others now bound to come out in horrifying detail. These place names will become the new slogans of the Iraqi insurgency, which will be fueled as never before – and perhaps immeasurably strengthened by rising Shi'ite anger. As we said in the beginning – nay, before the beginning – the occupation of Iraq will soon take on all the familiar earmarks of the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Both Iraqis and Americans will be locked in a deadly embrace of indignities that will soon escalate into everyday atrocities. The Iraqis, like the Palestinians, will become captives in their own land, and their jailers will get progressively more abusive and cruel as a matter of sheer necessity."

Fact is that the debate over the moral quality of the troops is besides the point. The real culprits are the people who put the troops in a situation that had little chance of success and an excellent chance of quagmire. Putting troops in a strange country amongst people who don't want them there with no plan to win them over, and little effort to provide for the population's basic needs, it's a tinderbox waiting to explode that should be obvious to people who have ever read history.

It is difficult enough for a benevolent empire to control a conquered nation let alone one that has imprisoned and tortured large swatches of innocents whose hearts and minds we were supposed to be winning. The problem with Haditha is that it demonstrates an escalation in violence that is inevitable, unless U.S. policy changes dramatically. Unfortunately, George W. Bush doesn't do change, which means bloodshed is likely to get worse.

Veil Of Ignorance

I am not gay, and the likelihood of my ever marrying anyone, male or female is about the same as the likelihood of Cary Grant returning from the grave to pop the question. But my ambivalence towards marriage is mine and not forced on me by legal restrictions.

I am also not Black or Latino or Asian or Arab and the chances of my race changing are even worse than the chance that I'll ever marry the ghost of Cary Grant in a Venetian elopement.

I come to my opinions on equality using what John Rawls called "the veil of ignorance". The idea is that when designing a just society, the only way to do it is to imagine a veil that shields you from knowing what your place in the society you create will be.

So when I say you either believe people are equal or you don't, it is because I have used that veil. If I came into society as a Muslim, I would want to be judged on my own behavior and not automatically presumed to be a violent terrorist. If I came into society as a black man, I would want to be given the same opportunity to work that everyone else gets. If I came into society as a gay man, I would still want to be free to elope with Cary Grant to Venice. I would not want to be handicapped by "civil unions" which are not real marriages and do not provide the same benefits, like healthcare or pensions or social security or tax breaks.

I don't believe in compromise when it comes to equal rights. I know, there's always supposed to be a middle ground- but not when it comes to basic equality. People deserve the right to live, love, fuck, work and believe however they wish as long as their living, loving, fucking, working, and believing doesn't impinge on someone else's right to live, love, fuck, work or believe.

Marriage equity does not impinge on straight marriage. There is nothing about giving gays the right to marry who they want that prevents straights from marrying who they want. Nothing. But straights not allowing gays to marry does impinge on someone else's right to live, love and fuck.

So yeah, I think it is cowardice to back away from equal rights issues because they are not politically popular. It assures us that we will end up with the worst sort of "politicians" instead of the better sort of "statesmen" because only the cowards will get pushed through.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

The Left, Gay Marriage and Color

This issue has come up before, but I feel a clearer definition is required.

The temptation to equate gay marriage movement with the civil rights of the 60s is high. But should they be equated or are they separate issues? I already know what the Red Queen feels: " You either believe that all people are equal or you don't." I on the other hand am more cautious in this assumption. While I support civil unions, I am not sure I support gay marriage. And, being a little more centrist, believe many share my views.

To be more revealing, I feel that bringing up the gay marriage issue during the 2004 election was damaging to the Dems; and that fully embracing falls into the trap the right has set out: by falling on our sword for gay marriage proves to the ever important middle where we stand on everything in American life. RQ sees putting the issue on the back-burner as cowardice or worse.

Will we reach resolution on our differences? Probably not. But I don't think there is one right answer either. A quick perusal of the Internet proves the same. In that light I am posting some links on the issue:

Pro-marriage ads rally people of color

Chinese Americans unsettled on same-sex marriage

Navajo Head Vetoes Gay Marriage Measure

California NAACP Endorses Same-Sex Marriage Bill

Gaily ever after: is gay marriage the new civil rights struggle or has it co-opted a legacy?

Is Gay Marriage Anti-Black?


The Stakes in the Gay-Marriage Wars

Radical Women statement at the Seattle rally against a Constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage

Racial Divide in Queer Communities on Marriage Debate

Okay, I admit, its a bit of work, but a quick glance shows there is no easy answer on the issue, even among the left. If so, why commit ourselves to falling into a dangerous trap when even the left is not of one voice?

The smart thing may be to let the issue advance to Congress with little commitment; as bad as we think the atmosphere is, the likelihhood of the Marriage Amendment passing is small. By letting the right show their true colors, we may be able to open up debate on the issue in a less volatile way. It ain't the 60s anymore so why act like it is?

News from the plant wars

As you all know, there is a battle going on in my backyard between the Morning Glories and the Blackberries. After what I thought were successful negotiations last summer and a quite winter, the two plants were back at it with a force this spring.

This weekend, after hostilities were no longer tolerable to peaceful neighbors, my trusty crew of rake, weedeater and I initiated UN style peacekeeping operations. The only way this was going to work was by cutting back both sides to a bare minimum. I am proud to say that after much struggle, peace has been achieved.

Morning Glories (top) and Blackberries after battle.
There were some unexpected finds during battle: a long lost sandal, half a dozen roof tiles, an Olympia beer can that must have come from a party last August and some pretty pink flowers that have no business in war.

Unfortunately, as in any war, there were casualties. First, I broke a nail. I know, you're probably railing against the injustice in that. I certainly am. Next, my trusty weedwacker lost it's head and started to smoke after tackling a particularly nasty blackberry branch. Funeral will be held at the dumpster sometime before trash pickup on Wednesday.
Let's hope the plants don't catch on that I have lost my trusty weedwacker. It is only their fear that keeps them in line now.

Tyranny of the Christian Right

Alternet has an excerpt from Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism by Michelle Goldberg. It's a strong call to arms for secular humanists and she makes some good points.

"The top three 'gainers' in America's vast religious marketplace appear to be
Evangelical Christians, those describing themselves as Non-Denominational
Christians and those who profess no religion," the survey found. (The percentage
of other religious minorities remained small, totaling less than 4 percent of
the population).

This is a recipe for polarization. As Christian nationalism becomes more militant, secularists and religious minorities will mobilize in opposition, ratcheting up the hostility. Thus we're likely to see a shrinking middle ground, with both camps increasingly viewing each other across a chasm of mutual incomprehension and contempt.

Maybe, the loss of the middle in this context is exactly what is needed. Maybe it's time we brought the battle to a head. I'm not one of those people that believes there is always a middle ground, there are certain things that are either true or not. If we were reduced to a country of Christian nationalism, then those of us who are fiercely agnostic or atheist would be forced to worship a religion we do not believe in. The converse is not true. If we are a country of secular humanists, then anyone can worship or not worship however they choose, but they cannot inflict their choice on someone else.

I know there are quite a few of you who are religious progressives, and my declaring that the loss of a middle ground (which would include religious progressives) may seem like I wish to discount your beliefs. I don't and honestly, the only way you all will be able to continue being religious progressives is to side the secular humanists. It is not just us non-believers that will be forced into the tyrannical religious mold of the right, but if you have a different view of Christianity from the right wing version, you are going to be forced to practice religion in a way that goes against your beliefs.

Let me give you an example of what I mean. After reading John Krakauer's Under the Banner of Heaven I discovered that Mormonism is the fastest growing religion in the western hemisphere, there are now Mormons on the planet than Jews. Because of their rapid growth, and within 60 years it is expected that it will be impossible to govern the United States without the cooperation of the Mormons and the Church of Latter Day Saints. If polygamy is a central tenet in the fulfillment of Joseph Smith's religious ideal and it was outlawed by the church only because of political pressure, then polygamy and forced marriage becoming legal is a definite possibility with an increase numbers and political influence.

In her article, Goldberg suggests that the solution is to fight the "anti-urban bias built into the structure of our democracy". Sounds like someone read The Stranger's Urban Archipelago article after the last presidential election and took it to heart.

The Stranger:

The Republicans have the federal government--for now. But we've got Seattle,
Portland, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego, New York City
(Bloomberg is a Republican in name only), and every college town in the country.
We're everywhere any sane person wants to be. Let them have the shitholes, the
Oklahomas, Wyomings, and Alabamas. We'll take Manhattan.


According to Steven Hill of the Center for Voting and Democracy, the combined
populations of Montana, Wyoming, Nevada, North and South Dakota, Colorado,
Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arizona, and Alaska equal that of New York and
Massachusetts, but the former states have a total of nine more votes in the
Electoral College (as well as over five times the votes in the Senate). In
America, conservatives literally count for more.
I'm tired of conservatives counting for more. Aren't you?