Tuesday, October 28, 2008

So much for seperation of Church and State.

A Mormon man named Joe Vogel wrote a very thought provoking and sincere article about California's Proposition 8, and how the Mormon Church has donated $19 million to try to help overturn the gay marriage amendment.

He says,

"With Proposition 8 it is time to stand for justice, not discrimination. It is time to stand for equality. It is time to be on the right side of history. Regardless of race, gender, or sexuality human beings are human beings and deserve to be treated as such. Today I voice my public support in favor of treating my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters as equals, and ask my fellow Mormons to do the same."

The entire article is very informative on the history of some important milestones in the church and in the world - from the Equal Rights Amendment for women, to Race Equality, and more.
I often find myself wondering why some of the most religious people seem to judge and condemn others when I was under the impression that most religions teach love and forgiveness, plus that "Judge not lest thee be judged" or "let he who has never sinned cast the first stone" stuff. Those aren't the exact quotes, but I recall learning those lessons as a kid.

I especially do not understand why some people have issues with other people being gay. I am of the impression that gay people are born gay, and the only "choice" they have in the matter is whether or not to be honest about that. Often, we see people who choose to deny their inner most feelings and try to "turn" themselves straight because they are taught that being gay is "wrong". This just encourages closeted, dangerous behavior where people like Larry Craig try to solicit sex in an airport bathroom.

Anyway, this is where Vogel breaks it all down -

"So here we are, in 2008, and now the threat is gay people who are already gay, who love each other and in many cases live together, and want to get married. How does this hurt the average Mormon family?

If the concern really was the practical welfare of the family, perhaps the Church could instead invest its vast resources into making healthcare universal and affordable, expanding the Family and Medical Leave Act, cracking down on child predators, and improving the quality of our educational system. All of these issues have a direct impact on my family and millions of others.

You hear of marriages ruined all the time because of abuse, neglect, or stress over finances. But I have personally never heard of a divorce caused by another gay couple getting married.

Yet instead of focusing on issues that can really help nourish our families we obsess over a word. A word we refuse to share. A word that has never been perfectly fixed. There was a time, after all, when inter-racial marriage was just as taboo and illegal as gay marriage. Marriage has been many things, but the common ideal has been and should continue to be a relationship built on love and commitment.

So to my fellow Mormons: I ask you to please re-consider. Take the time you would spend fighting this errant cause with your family. Go to a movie. Take a drive together. Watch the World Series.

Maybe you don't completely understand homosexuality. Maybe you think it's a sin. But shouldn't we leave that to God and allow others to be who they are and make their own choices? As followers of Christ, isn't it always better to err on the side of compassion and love? "

Saturday, October 18, 2008

When did "smart" become "elitist" and "bad"?

Literacy is important. To bow to the word-fad of recent years: "literacy matters."

While I'm not suggesting that Palin can't read - she reads her teleprompter gamely enough - it's not the first piece of evidence to suggest that she's no great friend of the written word and it all points to an alarming lack of intellectual curiosity. (As does getting her first passport a year ago.) I'm not saying she's stupid, but intelligence without intellectual curiosity is a blind and reckless force at best.

Listen to the profoundly empty "Joe Six-Pack", "Hockey Mom" blather that she's injected into the campaign, as John McCain's designated culture weapon, and it's no wonder that the Republican Party is shedding intellectuals faster than Karl Rove sheds subpoenas.

As conservative columnist David Brooks of the New York Times pointed out, Palin is the latest "cancer" to result from the virulent strain of populist anti-intellectualism that has come to define the modern Right. With Parker, and then William F. Buckley Jr. both being tarred and feathered by their conservative brethren, simply for voicing dissenting opinions and now with Brooks coming as close to a outright endorsement of Obama today as he likely ever will (unless he wants to change his home address) - one has to wonder how we got to such a crazy place; a place so crazy that brains have become a wedge issue.

It didn't start out this way.

Once upon a time we had leaders who were both highly intelligent and intellectually curious. While our current president struggles with English, our Founding Fathers spoke four to five languages. They weren't just politicians but diplomats and inventors, scientists, authors and public intellectuals.

And they were, to a man, extremely well read.

In college, Thomas Jefferson often read fifteen hours a day - and he read important works in the original - as it was a given that, along with mathematics, history and philosophy, an educated person should know Latin, Greek and French. There was a crazy idea at the time that if you wanted to play a role in the affairs of the world, you should learn a thing or two about it first.
There was a time when America's leaders neither aspired to be average nor pretended to be. They weren't Joe Six-Pack (or more aptly - Josiah Six-Ale). They were the best among us. They were the elite. In fact, they were our leaders precisely because they were the best among us. And that kind of made sense.

There are a number of qualities essential to good leadership. Courage is important, to be sure, but a cool head and a firm hand are important as well. Knowledge both wide and deep and the judgment to wield it- wisdom in other words - is perhaps the most essential quality of all.
Plato talked about the "philosopher king" ...well we've had almost 8 years of an idiot-king who flew by the seat of his flightpants and it's nearly ruined us; leaving us mired in two wars abroad with quaking markets and a gaping deficit at home.

Now, in a highly touted "change" election, one party is running a former D student who himself admits to being hot-headed and impulsive, whose low-road campaigning has tarnished both the electoral process and his own reputation and whose political ideas become less credible with every emerging reality. As his running mate this man has, either recklessly or cynically, chosen a woman who believes instead of thinking, who knows little of the world and whose every tortured sentence is an affront to the logic of language itself.

Forget the White House. The only public building these people should be heading for is the library.

At the worst of times we need to turn to our best. So bring on the bookworms, bring on the deep-thinkers, bring on the leaders who make decisions with their minds and not with their guts or their bibles.

from the article Sarah Palin... If You Don't Read, You Don't Lead.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

end "fat talk"

"fat talk" means saying things like "do i look fat in this" and "you look good, did you lose weight?" and this short video talks about how there are more women in america with an eating disorder than with breast cancer. eating disorders and body image issues are a real problem for many women and we can change that by rethinking how we interact.

Friday, October 10, 2008

my thoughts exactly

"If you are a woman who believes that every home should have an assault weapon, that government should have dominion over our bodies, that the future defender of our educational system has yet to have a child who made it past high school, that stem cell research is evil, that Adam and Eve kept pet dinosaurs, that shooting wolves from helicopters makes for a fun afternoon -- then by all means, vote for McCain-Palin.

But if you are voting because there is a woman on the ticket, then you have fallen for one of the cynically sexist scams in campaign history.

Palin is on the ticket because of the same triumph of allure over ability that has denied women opportunities for decades."

full article here.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

hindsight is 20/20

way back in february of this year, an attorney named sean olender wrote an article warning about the fannie/freddie bailout fiasco and it turns out, many, many others [like major economists] predicted just such a thing. at that time, no one was paying attention to the warnings because everyone was out spending their stimulus packages or something. if there is one thing our government really knows how to do, it is distract the public.

the original article can be found here. the following paragraph from the article really made me shake my head and sigh. can you believe it has come to this?

In support of the economic stimulus bill, Bush will have to face "working American families" and explain that some of their tax money is going to be spent guaranteeing $730,000 mortgages on $1 million homes. It's like some sort of upside-down communism where the poor pay the rich welfare. Why should taxes from families earning $48,000 a year be used to support expensive mortgages in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco? Welfare for the hungry and homeless is evil, but welfare for million-dollar homeowners facing a tough refi ... well, that's called "helping the economy."

If we're going to have a government-financed intervention, it should be to make sure that Social Security benefits go to those who paid for them, that the poor are fed and housed, or that the army of uninsured receive health benefits. If, as they say, we don't have enough money for those important things, then I think we don't have enough money to bail out banks and bond investors.