Gay blogger, and former Memphian, Chris Crain has an inciteful analysis of the Great Gay Migration and the impact on cities like Memphis. There is growing concern here in Memphis about the migration of wealth and tax revenue out of the city and the mounting financial crises and social problems left behind. Crain points out that cities that have benefited from the migration of upper income people have at least one thing in common--a large and influential gay community. This may explain part of the reason that cities like Nashville are more culturally and economically advanced than Memphis, which continues to suffer from poor race relations and the combination of homophobia and a small politically weak gay community.
According to CNN Poll, 75 percent of the U.S. will be glad when Bush is gone, but the suprising number is that 23% will miss him! I guess those are the idiots that still have the faded "W the President" stickers on their SUVs.
Barack Obama, on the other hand, is the most admired man in the United States. According to a USA Today poll, 32 % choose Obama, while only 5% choose Bush.
Although I am no longer a Christian, I still love Charles Dickens' A CHRISTMAS CAROL, probably the best celebration of what Christmas should be about! Peace, Social Justice, Love, Family, Community.. Progressive Values! If you watch A Christmas Carol (I like the George C. Scott version, or one of the old b&w ones), you will see the difference between conservative values (The Scrooge! "Aren't there enough poor houses?"), and liberal values (family, love, community, etc.)
The real "War on Christmas" is being waged by capitalism and materialism. By emphasizing consumerism and buying things, capitalism has subverted the true meaning of Christmas.
While I'm an atheist, I like to celebrate "Christmas" with my family and focus on peace, etc.
Like many people, I was unable to buy many Christmas gifts this year, but I'm spending tim with my mom and family here in Mountain Home, Arkansas. We don't have many presents under the tree, but we are celebrating the true meaning of Christmas.
Meanwhile, the religious right is using the "War on Christmas" to further their theocratic political agenda.
I was going to do another post on Obama's choice of Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inaugurationl, but I'm visiting my mom and family in Mountain Home, Arkansas for Christmas.
I was going to say how much I disagree with Thom Hartmann, Melissa Etheridge, and Chris Crain about how great it is that Obama reached out to the anti-gay Christian evangelicals. I still don't buy the Rick Warren PR that he is a "moderate" evangelical who accepts gays. Maybe he has been less of a bigot than Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and James Dobson, and I would welcome a dialogue between the LGBT community and Warren, but I agree with Rachel Maddow that this was a bad mistake for Obama. Obama has helped improve Rick Warren's national reputation as an important religious leader and sends the wrong message to gays and lesbians who supported him. After the last 8 years, and the passing of Prop. 8 in California, it would have been a nice change to have a more gay-friendly, inclusive religious figure give the inaugural invocation, or better yet, keep religion out of the inauguration all together.
And those pointing to Saddleback Church scrubbing the anti-gay stuff off their website, or Rick Warren's concillatory words to Melissa Etheride were premature: Now Warren has come out swinging against gay activists, accusing us of "Christophobia": Rachel Maddow: "Christophobia"? Rick Warren Scandal Getting Wierder
Bailed-Out Executives Got $1.6 Billion in 2007 ! Banks that have their hands out in Washington this year were handing out multimillion-dollar rewards to their executives last year. The 116 banks that so far have received taxpayer dollars to boost them through the economic crisis gave their top tier of executives nearly $1.6 billion in salaries, bonuses and other benefits in 2007, an Associated Press analysis found. That amount, spread among the 600 highest paid bank executives, would cover the bailout money given to 53 of the banks that have shared the $188 billion that Washington has doled out in rescue packages so far..
Merill Lynch executive got $83 million Goldman Sachs Exec. got $54 million
The corporate rich HATE paying taxes, but they love to get tax payers money!
I found these quotations from my bookmarked copy of the writings and speeches of Martin Luther King. It is from Letter from A Birmingham Jail, and it was about the problems of “white moderates” for the civil rights movement. If you substitute the references to “negro” and “white moderate” with “gay” and “heterosexual moderates” he articulates what many of us feel about the attitude of many moderate/liberals toward the gay community:
“I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the last few years I have ben gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizens Counciler or the Ku Klus Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which his the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says, “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action”: who paternalistically feels that he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advised the Negro to wait until a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection....
I had also hoped that the white moderate would reject the myth of time.... It is the strangely irrational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually time is neutral. It can be used either destructively or constructively. I am coming to feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than the people of good will.
We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people. We must come to see that human progress never rolls on the wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and persistent work of men willing to be co-workers with God, and without this hard work time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, and forever realize that the time is always right to do right. Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy, and transform our pending national elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.”
Wow! Wouldn’t that make a great inaugural invocation!
Like many LGBT people, I was "outraged" that Barack Obama picked "anti-gay" conservative evangelical Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration. I say "anti-gay" because despite Warren's claims to "love gays," his rhetoric against gays and lesbians gives a very different perception, and he was a very vocal supporter of the anti-gay marriage Prop. 8 in California.
Obama's defense is that he has said all along that he wants to change American politics to bridge the political divisions that have plagued us and kept us from making progress on areas we can agree. It's all in his book AUDACITY OF HOPE. We should not be surprised that he is reaching out to Republicans and evangelical Christians. The choice of Warren to give the invocation is a largely symbolic gesture, as is his choice of civil rights hero, and champion of gay rights, Rev. Joseph Lowery, to give the benediction.
There is no indication that Obama has changed any of his positions on gay rights. While he still opposes "gay marriage," he reiterated his support of civil unions, ENDA, etc. He claims to be a "ferocious" defender of gay rights. I respectfully challenge the "ferocious" part, but I still believe he is a supporter of the LGBT community, and his transition plan has a very promising list goals for LGBT rights, including lifting the DADT military policy and passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
I'm holding judgment on Obama and the Democratic congress to see if these promises are kept in his first term. If one or both are not done in the next four years, I will be re-evaluating my support of the Democratic Party (again). (I'm a Socialist and would prefer to join the Socialist Party anyway.)
I think the LGBT community is fired up and should keep the heat on Obama and the Democrats to take our rights seriously. Maybe reaching out to Rick Warren and the tens of millions of evangelicals who support him will begin a dialogue on LGBT issues. For example, if Rick Warren would come out forcefully against discrimination against LGBT people and support ENDA, that would be a great accomplishment for Obama. (I can't find the quotes, but I believe Warren has already said as much.)
I'm not a fan of Warren or evangelical Christianity. But the fact is that Obama and the Democratic Party will need their support to get us out of the Second Republican Great Depression. Unlike most conservative Christians, Warren supports helping the poor, etc.
I still think the choice of Warren, even though well intentioned, was a bad choice. There are many more "inclusive" religious leaders, even evangelicals, that Obama would have picked. I don't want Warren to be elevated any more as a national religious leader.
But the LGBT community cannot focus on this one decision to give up "hope" in Obama. He is still on our side, but political reality is that just electing someone who supports us is not enough. We have to help build public support for our rights and tear down the opposition so we can move forward. Politicians do not lead, they FOLLOW.
Here are some other perspectives on Warren from Progressive and gay activists who see some good coming out of it:
Obama Invites Anti-Gay Preacher to Give Inaugural Invocation The Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force have denounced the selection of Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at the Jan. 20 inauguration. Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in California, is an outspoken opponent of marriage equality, reproductive choice and stem-cell research. Warren has gone so far as to equate marriage between same-sex couples with incest and pedophilia.
Watch this video of Warren supporting anti-gay Prop. 8 in CA
Why is Obama reaching out to anti-gay bigots like Rick Warren and anti-gay groups like Focus on the Family?
Like many progressives who are concerned about Obama's "center-right" choices for economic and state cabinet positions, gays and lesbians have reason to be concerned. Obama has yet to show any political spine to stand up to the religious and political right.
While Obama felt obligated to denounce his pastor Jeremiah Wright (who supports equality for gays and lesbians), but does not feel obligated to denounce anti-gay religious bigots like Rick Warren? Why is Obama more afraid of offending the Religious Right than he is of offending progressives who supported him?
Bill Clinton made made many promises to gays and lesbians and campaigned to support our rights. Once in office, however, he broke every promise he made. He not only dropped his pledge to sign an executive order lifting the ban on gays in the U.S. military, he signed on the the anti-gay "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy which even makes publicly identifying as gay grounds for dismissal from the military. Even worse, Clinton supported the anti-gay "Defense of Marriage Act" (DOMA), probably the most anti-gay piece of legislation in modern American history, and ran ads on Christian radio stations bragging about it!
Will Obama *uck the gay community the way Clinton did? We should learn from the Clinton experience that just electing a "gay-friendly" liberal is not enough. We have to organize to force the "Change" we want. Electing Obama was a good thing, but it is only the beginning of a long hard fight.
If the Democrats blow this opportunity, again, it may be the last chance they have to deliver on their promises not only to gays and lesbians, but to all progressives.
V.P. Dick Cheney admits to ABC reporter that he authorized torture! Why hasn't the media been all over this? Will the Democrats in Congress do anything to hold Bush/Cheney accountable for their crimes?
The Republicans in the U.S. Senate, led by Bob Corker (R-TN), killed the $14 "bailout" of the auto companies because they think American auto workers should make more wage and benefit concessions. They supported the $700 billion bailout of Wall Street bankers, but oppose $14 billion to say 3 million America jobs??
This is class warfare! Will the Democrats stand up for the American working class?
Why don't the Democrats in the Senate either force the Republicans to fillibuster to kill American jobs, or change the rules in the Senate to require 55 votes instead of 60 to overide a fillibuster?
A declaration calling for an end to the criminalisation of same-sex relationships is expected to be put before the United Nations General Assembly in the next two weeks, probably around 15 to 20 December, according to latest reports. It will be the first time in its history that the UN General Assembly has had before it a declaration in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) human rights.
Although not binding on the member states, the declaration of principle will have immense symbolic value, given the six decades in which homophobic persecution has been ignored by the UN General Assembly (although LGBT human rights has been previously raised in other UN forums and commissions).
Even today, not a single international human rights convention explicitly acknowledges the human rights of LGBT people. The right to physically love the person of one's choice is nowhere enshrined in any global humanitarian law. No convention specifically recognises sexual rights as human rights. None offer explicit protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Yet 86 countries (nearly half the nations on Earth) still have a total ban on male homosexuality and a smaller number also ban sex between women. The penalties in these countries range from a few years jail to life imprisonment. In at least seven countries or regions of countries (all under Islamist jurisdiction), the sentence is death, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Yemen, Sudan, Mauritania and parts of Nigeria and Pakistan.
The UN decriminalisation declaration will be tabled in the General Assembly with the backing of all 27 member states of the European Union.
South Africa and the US are among the many countries that have not indicated their backing. In the run up to the presentation of the declaration in the UN General Assembly, countries that have not signed up so far, are likely to confirm their support.
An all-out lobbying effort in the next week will increase our chances of a large roll-call of UN member states in support of the declaration.
Today is Day Without A Gay Day Organized by the same folks who organized the Join the Impact/Fight the H8 protests, today's action is to protest the anti-gay ballot initiatives that passed in California, Florida and Arkansas. Dec. 10 is also International Human Rights Day.
Update: Day Without Gay Proves Lackluster One reason is that most of us HAVE to go to work. We cannot risk losing our jobs, especially in this economy! Guess we need to find other ways to flex our economic/political muscle...
WORKERS OCCUPYING the Republic Windows & Doors factoryslated for closure are vowing to remain in the Chicago plant until they win the $1.5 million in severance and vacation pay owed them by management. In a tactic rarely used in the U.S. since the labor struggles of the 1930s, the workers, members of United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) Local 1110, refused to leave the plant on December 5, its last scheduled day of operation.
Barack Obama and other Democratic leaders have spoken out in support of the workers (what a change from 1981 when Ronald Reagan launched a war PATCO's striking workers!)
The Republic workers have become the focus of a a rejuvenated labor movement under attack by the Republican policies of Bush and the current crisis of American capitalism. While Wall Street and banks (like Bank of America) got a massive bailout, Republicans are trying to block a bailout for the U.S. auto industry. The Republic workers struggle highlights the current class struggle in the U.S.
Gus Savant's MILK opens this week at a theater near you, hopefully. The movie is about Harvey Milk, the (first) openly gay person elected city Supervisor in San Francisco in the 1970s who was murdered 30 years ago.
The movie is getting great reviews (I haven't seen it yet), but you can view the Trailer and get an idea on how good it is, especially the performance of Sean Pean as Harvey Milk. (Hopefully Penn will not be cheated out of an Oscar like Heath Ledger.)
The movie is very timely, focusing on an anti-gay Proposition (Prop. 6) in California, and showing how Harvey Milk inspired the gay community to get political organized, active, and fight for their rights. We could really use more Harvey Milks in the gay movement!
Go see the movie this weekend, take your friends, family, mom, dad, brothers, sisters, grandmas, etc. Straight people need to see this movie!
Also, rent or BUY the even better Award-winning documentary, The Times of Harvey Milk to learn more about Harvey Milk and progressive gay politics.
A star-studded cast, including Margaret Cho, Jack Black, and Neil Patrick Harris acts out a stage show about California's contested constitutional gay marriage ban in the following clip, courtesy of Funny Or Die:
With the costs (tuition, books, etc.) of college skyrocketing, and less "financial aid", more and more college students are relying on "student loans" to pay for college. There are many sad cases, I'm one of them, of people who leave college or graduate school with $50,000-$100,000 in student loan debt they cannot pay back. Student Loan debt CANNOT be forgiven or wiped out, even in bankruptcy, except under very specific circumstances (teaching in certain areas, military service, etc.) and Congress just recently passed some help that will forgive student loans if you work in "public service" (teaching, police, non-profit, etc.) for 10 years.
Ever had a waiter with a Ph.D. in Philosophy? I have. I know people with Ph.D's who CANNOT FIND A JOB! And they have more education and loan debt than most lawyers and doctors!
Most programs (e.g., AmeriCorp) to pay off student loans are geared to undergraduates and don't even apply to graduate students, and cannot be used to pay off debt after the fact.
So where is the "bailout" for those who are slaves to student loan debt they cannot pay? Why do Americans rely on student loans to pay for college? In most Western European countries, public college tuition is FREE (like our public schools). In France, Germany, etc. you don't need student loans to go to college or graduate school! It's all paid!
Why aren't U.S. political leaders even discussing this problem?