The corporate takeover of California is on hold according to the latest polls out of the nation’s largest state. Just nine days before the election, the Los Angeles Times and University of Southern California poll shows a nearly impossible uphill battle for the big business ticket of former eBay CEO Meg Whitman and former HP CEO Carly Fiorina.
Among likely voters in the governor’s race, Brown leads Whitman 50% to 38%. In the race for United States Senator, two term Senator Barbara Boxer maintained an 8% lead. The leads by Democrats come from a brand new constituency, those who "never" go to church. More on that later.
Whither the role of religion and spirituality in the current roiling cultural soup that is America today? The Obama grass roots revolution of progressive values and the faith-infused notion of "hope," and the pushback from the still-solid religious right are at odds in an economy where one out of six are unemployed or underemployed, when a third of homeowners are sacked with mortgages that cost more than the value of their homes, and a third of households have at least one person residing within it that is out of work.
This morning I wrote a rather in-depth commentary about the continuing plight of LGBTs in the Middle East, in particular Iraq, where more Iraqi gays have been found murdered recently.
I waited until today to let most of the Prop 8 writeups and blogger op-eds dry up so this piece could surface in the LGBT blogosphere.
For those you have not followed any of the articles (few and far between), Network news coverage (little if any) in regards to one of the fallouts of the invasion of Iraq, this may come as quite an eye opener.
In a new article at FOCUS I take a look at the recent horrors being committed by the Taliban in the name of religion.
Brutal murders and moving ever closer to the capitol of Pakistan, will this be the epicenter for an all out religious war, with at stake control of nuclear weapons in the region.
From The Nation:
Restoring Science to Its Proper Place
by John Nichols
President Obama got a lot of applause for declaring in his inaugural address that he would "restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost."
That was uplifting rhetoric, worthy of embrace and encouragement.
But the louder applause should come now, as the president follows through on his promise.
[...snip...] Rejecting Bush's notion that there is a dichotomy between science and morality, Obama said that, "I believe the two are not inconsistent. As a person of faith, I believe we are called to care for each other and work to ease human suffering. I believe we have been given the capacity and will to pursue this research -- and the humanity and conscience to do so responsibly."
From the Boston Globe:
Obama reins in signing statements Globe Staff
Rebuking his predecessor for the second time yesterday, President Obama declared that he will not use signing statements to disregard parts of laws because he disagrees on policy grounds, but only when he strongly believes provisions are unconstitutional.
In a presidential memo, Obama also ordered his top executive branch officials to seek advice from Attorney General Eric Holder about whether to enforce the hundreds of statements proffered by President George W. Bush. Critics contend Bush used such statements to expand his power, particularly on national security, by ignoring the intent or certain provisions of bills properly passed by Congress.
My, but that's refreshing. Meanwhile...
From the BBC:
'More bad news' on climate change
by Matt McGrath, BBC environment reporter
More bad news on climate change is expected as more than 2,000 climate scientists gather in Copenhagen.
They will be trying to pull together the latest research on global warming ahead of political negotiations later in the year.
The scientists are concerned that the 2007 reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are already out of date.
Their data suggests greater rises in sea levels this century.
There's still a lot of work to be done.
This is an Open Thread.
Times change. People change. Trends develop, thrive and fade. And political power and influence grows, adapts and sometimes swings like a pendulum from one extreme to another. Sometimes, it takes a while for people to notice that something has changed until it bites them in the backside.
The marriage of "Christian" conservatives -- including some extremist, radical fundamentalists, evangelicals and politically motivated pseudo-(psycho?)-cults -- to politics via the Republican Party's attempts to establish a core base of blindly faithful followers appears to be suffering some reality burns. According to a recent story by Cathy Lynn Grossman of USA TODAY, "Most religious groups in USA have lost ground, survey finds."
The percentage of people who call themselves in some way Christian has dropped more than 11% in a generation. The faithful have scattered out of their traditional bases: The Bible Belt is less Baptist. The Rust Belt is less Catholic. And everywhere, more people are exploring spiritual frontiers — or falling off the faith map completely.
These dramatic shifts in just 18 years are detailed in the new American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS), to be released today. It finds that, despite growth and immigration that has added nearly 50 million adults to the U.S. population, almost all religious denominations have lost ground since the first ARIS survey in 1990.
In other words, thank your God, gods and/or goddesses -- if you have any -- that the extreme (and sometimes militant) wings of the radical religious right have begun to lost power as the nation begins to shift course. The radical might think this will lead to an immoral, unethical populace, but they never did seem to "get" the fact that there was a blatant hypocrisy about whether religion actually led to a more just and chaste life. In truth, the opposite has often appeared to be the case, with extremist religions leading the way (Taliban, anyone? American or Middle Eastern, take your pick...or Christian Crusaders, perhaps?)
Below the fold, a quick dip into healthcare and stem cell research.
This is an Open Thread.
Oisted with the permission of Nicholas Benton, owner/editor of the Falls Church News Press.
Why Rick Warren Really Matters
by Nicholas Benton
It is misguided to view the persisting flap over the inclusion of the Rev. Rick Warren in the upcoming inauguration of Barack Obama as primarily a gay rights concern.
In fact, it is a matter that cuts to the quick of the 233-year cultural struggle since 1776 from which Obama emerged as America's president-elect this November, and that's why it really does matter so much.
That said, one should ask whether, in the name of embracing differences, it would be appropriate to open the inaugural ceremony with an invocation by an outspoken racist.
Prejudice is prejudice, and bigotry is bigotry, especially when directed against an entire class of persons with perceived undesirable attributes, be they skin color, nationality, religious preference or sexual orientation.
The same simple reality fundamentally applies to the subjugation or determination of the inferiority of women by men.
Rick Warren is the very embodiment of all the above, and not as some unenlightened plumber, but as a high-profile quasi-celebrity figure, who because he speaks from behind a minister's collar using religious terminology, thinks he can get away with spouting barely-disguised hate with no consequence.
<Posted with permission of Nicholas Benton, Owner/Editor of the Falls Church News Press>
The Dismal Choice of Rich Warren
by Nicholas Benton
The decision by the Obama transition team to invite the snake-in-the-grass Rev. Rick Warren of the Saddleback Church of Orange County, Calif., to deliver the invocation at the presidential inauguration Jan. 20 has drawn fully justifiable, heartfelt pain and anger from Obama loyalists all across the land.
It is one thing to take a pragmatic approach to cabinet appointments, seeking a "team of rivals," based on their experience and talents in governing.
It's another thing, entirely, to reach out, embrace and give an unprecedented national spotlight to a man who stands as a bellicose spokesman against equal rights. Warren was a major ringleader of the effort to deny equal rights to gay and lesbian Americans in the passage of Proposition 8 in California last month.
His values, rooted in Christian "exceptionalism" and class-warfare hypocrisy, stand in stark contrast to those of the vast majority of the millions of Americans who, uplifted by the new hope they found embodied in the election of Obama, will be flooding the nation's capital to catch a glimpse of the inauguration.
I wasn't planning to battle the crowds, anyway. But were I younger, free to blow a full workday and willing to endure a severe shortage of porta-potties, my passion for attending in person would have been dealt a serious, if not fatal, blow by learning of the inclusion of such a bigoted thug as Rick Warren on the program.
Who knows, maybe Obama chose Warren in a deliberate attempt to thin out the crowds. Many, many Obama devotees feel as I do on this subject.
Minor adjustment by GreyHawk: reduced picture slightly and inserted break before the second section. -- GH
Most here have heard the indictment that Barack Obama's inauguration will include a "humiliating" (Maddow) slap at the LGBT community for the incoming administration's political benefit.
Rick Warren, pastor and author (at right), will deliver the invocation at Obama's swearing-in ceremony on the Capitol steps.
Warren possesses a bright mind, and happens to hold benighted and bigoted views on gays perforce making the man an ignoramus popular in rightwing circles.
Warren's delivery of the Obama invocation has brought down a shower of condemnation from the civil rights community summed up by Rachel Maddow and John Aravosis of AmericaBlog [wouldn't bother reading Andrew Sullivan ...—"[It's] shrewd politics, but if anyone is under any illusion that Obama is interested in advancing gay equality, they should probably sober up now... ."—Sullivan is of the couldn't-make-of-his-mind-to-support-Bush-or-Kerry fame in 2004; and Sullivan's a disingenuous showboat anyway].
(Image courtesy of indiesocial.com)
I walked onto the train platform in downtown Chicago today. A woman had just finished shopping at Macy's and had several red shopping bags. She was trying to put everything into one bag. The wind picked up and blew some of the empty bags down the platform. I took off running and stopped them from blowing out onto the street.
For over seven minutes last night, Jon Stewart grilled former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee on his opposition to gay marriage. Huckabee is touring the country to promote his new book, “Do The Right Thing.” When Stewart compared gay marriage bans to interracial marriage bans, Huckabee restated his view that homosexuality is simply a behavior choice:
STEWART: Segregation used to be the law until the courts intervened.
HUCK: There’s a big difference between a person being black and a person practicing a lifestyle and engaging in a marital relationship.
STEWART: Okay, actually this is helpful because it gets to the crux of it. … And I’ll tell you this: Religion is far more of a choice than homosexuality. And the protections that we have for religion — we protect religion. And talk about a lifestyle choice — that is absolutely a choice. Gay people don’t choose to be gay. At what age did you choose to not be gay?
Huckabee tried to insist that “60 percent of the American population” opposes gay marriage. Stewart interrupted him, calling it a “travesty” that gay Americans have to plead for their civil rights... (READ ON)
The truth is that being gay or lesbian is not likely a lifestyle choice. The facts would seem to suggest that it is the way you were when you born - in pretty much the exact same way that you are born black, white, whatever, etc. - and environment may only be a factor in how it can effect the genetic code that people are born with. And not just no, but HELL NO! I am not going down that Nazi like road of eugenics to "eliminate or treat" what some of you crazies want to call a disease... That is just sick.
Just caught this little interesting tidbit.
Could guilty consciouses and understanding of 'S*I*N!' finally be breaking into the christian? rights understanding of the true meaning of the book and teachings they say they follow?
Could they have finally realized the 'Liberal' leanings within?
S.C. School Says Culture Rather Than Biblical Teachings Led To Institutional Racist Policies