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    • Inequality is Unnatural
      I’ve been reading UltraSociety, by Peter Turchin. Turchin’s a biologist turned to mathematical models of human society, and he’s done interesting work, not all of which I agree with (or agree is quite as radical as he claims.) But one of the points he makes in UltraSociety, which has been made by many archeologists and […]
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Friday, Friday

Before I head on down to the basement to do more painting, and more painting today on the hallways (gosh, I’m beginning to sound like Lambert and his endless painting chores), I’d just like to clear something up about Obama’s sudden revelation about marriage equality.

He came out for marriage equality.  Good.

He also said it should be left to the states.  Bad.

He said it should be left to the states *after* it had been defeated, stomped on, drawn, quartered, burned and left on a pole at the state house in Raleigh, North Carolina.  So, he took no risks by saying he was for it.  In fact, one might interpret his timing as a tacit approval of the actions of the conservative voters of North Carolina.  {{wink, wink, say no more, know what I mean, gov’nah?}} This way, he risks nothing.

So, why bother? It’s because he LGBT community was pissed at him for not preventing discrimination in government contracts, which, in my humble opinion is just as important.  From Greg Sargent’s post on the subject a few days ago:

Some leading gay and progressive donors are so angry over President Obama’s refusal to sign an executive order barring same sex discrimination by federal contractors that they are refusing to give any more money to the pro-Obama super PAC, a top gay fundraiser’s office tells me. In some cases, I’m told, big donations are being withheld.

Jonathan Lewis, the gay philanthropist and leading Democratic fundraiser, is one of many gay advocates who has been working behind the scenes to pressure Obama to change his mind. When Obama decided against the executive order last month, arguing that he would pursue a legislative solution instead, advocates were furious — such a solution will never pass Congress, the executive order has been a priority for advocates for years, and the move smacked of a political cave to conservatives who will not support Obama no matter what he does.

I’m sorry, but there is absolutely no excuse for him not to sign this executive order that has been hanging around for years.  In the four years that he’s been in office, he could have pursued a legislative solution but he hasn’t.  So, why not just sign the order?  Isn’t discrimination a bad thing, especially when it comes to government contracts?  Presumably, we want the best contractors to do the work for our country and some of them might be gay.  How can it ever be right to not hire or fire a person who is doing good work for you simply on the basis of sexual orientation?  I find it inexcusable, like keeping the Bush Conscience Clause on the books until three years after his inauguration.  Three fricking years.  And he only rescinded it in the midst of that stupid battle with the red beanie boys over birth control.  That conscience clause was severely impinging on women’s access to reproductive health measures and he only partially rescinded it.  Why did it take him three years to rescind a hated clause that his predecessor put in to please the religious right?

THREE YEARS.  Unbelievable. Ms. Magazine’s superfeminist shouldn’t have waited past the inaugural balls to rescind that wretched thing.  But Obama?  Where was the rush?  The immediacy?  Where indeed.

So, Obama was looking at a shortfall in campaign contributions.  To get back in the LGBT community’s good graces, he came out for marriage equality knowing very well that his endorsement was coupled with the idea that states could do anything they damn well please.  This cost him nothing politically.  The social conservatives who weren’t going to vote for him before aren’t going to vote for him now.  The social conservatives who like him but don’t like marriage equality know they can vote against it and Obama doesn’t care.

The only people who were hoodwinked and bamboozled by this are Obama fans.

Yes, it’s a victory for the LGBT community.  They’ve eeked support out of a sitting president. It’s too bad it came so late in his first term, has no teeth, doesn’t precipitate a move of the 2012 Democratic National Convention from North Carolina to some other state, like Vermont, and was *clearly* driven by the need to fundraise.  No, no, don’t even try to convince me that he feels passionately about this.  I’m guessing that he doesn’t really feel passion about anything that doesn’t affect him directly.  I mean, supposedly, he’s a pro-choice president but I doubt you’ll ever hear him say that women have the right to make their own decisions about abortion without the interference of half a dozen family members and social institutions.

He’s not a nice guy.  He’s not a great president.  He’s just an overconfident underperforming politician whose big money guys are stingy this year.  This is about Obama, not Hillary.  You can say all you want about Hillary.  She’s an adult and can take care of herself.  But please, give up trying to convince me that this man is God’s gift to the country and for god’s sakes, stop making excuses for his impotency.  We are really tired of excuses.  Maybe you guys are too chickenshit to ask him to step down for the good of the country but stop trying to convince, intimidate or whine to us about why we must choose him this fall.  We own our votes and we’ll give them to people who act like they actually believe in something.

Ok, looks like I’m done harshing your mellow.  Must go paint…

********************************

Wait, I’m not done yet after all.  A couple of days ago, James Carville told Democrats to STFU about how they’ve got the election in the bag this fall because they could easily lose.  Yes, there is a surplus of unearned overconfidence about trouncing Romney.  I’m going third party this year but I understand where Carville is coming from.  No matter what you say about Romney and his youthful indiscretions with hair clippers, he ran for office in Massachusetts and won.  As far as states go, it doesn’t get bluer than that.  And he’s already tied with Obama in latest polls well inside the margin of error.

As Carville says, voters will go with the person they think cares about them.  It doesn’t matter how many terrorists you slay, if your constituents have suffered through job losses, foreclosures and loss of health insurance, and there is still no end in sight, they will hold you personally responsible.  Obama’s campaign and other Democrats ignore this at their peril.

They also seem to be ignoring the effects of outsourcing our scientific infrastructure and the loss of high paying, middle class, suburban jobs who were once held by people who do not need additional education to fit in to the present job market.  Democrats are still in la-la land if they think we don’t notice how we’ve been abandoned by their party.  We will not forget who stood by and did nothing.

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The Confluence CCD Class for Incorrigible American Women

If anyone had told me two years ago that I would be teaching a CCD class for incorrigible women, I would have thought they were playing a practical joke on me.  For one thing, I’m the LAST person on earth who should be trying to whip anyone into line where Catholic theology is concerned.  That doesn’t mean I don’t have morals and ethics.  It’s just that until Bart Stupak and his Vatican campaign staff came along, I thought I had a choice of religion.  Silly me!  I’m just a woman.  An *American* woman.  In France, I am told by one of my colleagues, there was a recent bill passed that provided greater compensation to doctors who provided abortions.  Apparently, the doctors in France felt they were being underpaid for the service and fewer of them were willing to perform the procedure.  So they government decided to make it easier for women to get this service by paying doctors more. I’ll see if I can find a citation, er, that’s not in French.

But I digress.

See, American women are not French.  No, we need the guidance of our ministers and fathers and husbands and boyfriends and guys who belong to a 2000 year old men only club who only recently apologized to Gallileo for dissing his heliocentric theory and sell their sopranos to foreigners for sexual pleasure that they aren’t technically supposed to be dabbling in anyway.  (There’s probably some clause that they invoke about how the choirboys haven’t officially taken any vows of chastity)  THEY can get away with it.  YOU cannot. Why can’t you?  I have no frickin’ idea.  I’m just here to teach this CCD class, not make the rules.

Now, I know that some of you are not Catholic.  You may be Protestant or Buddhist or atheists or neo-pagan universalists.  You may have thought you had the right to decide for yourselves whether you believed that zygotes have immortal and innocent souls that needed protection and that you are tainted with original sin for having SEX(!) or being created from the union of two tainted individuals who had SEX(!).  See, this is where you are wrong.  It’s not up to you to decide this stuff.  I don’t know why you can’t decide.  That’s not my job.  As I said before, I don’t make the rules.

Anyway, enough of the groundwork.  Where shall we begin?  Well. let’s start with saints.  To me, saints look like a holdover from polytheism but that might just be my mother’s protestant influence on me.  Saints have feast days in the Catholic calendar.  Saints can intercede on our behalf with the head honchos in heaven.  But each one of them is in a different department and carry out only a single function.  Like St. Anthony is supposed to help you find things.  St. Christopher is supposed to help travelers.  If St. Anthony and St. Christopher got together, they might market their services to people who lose their luggage at airports.

Now, who is the saint for March 25?  You may be surprised to know (or not), that there are many saints available for March 25.  But I have found the perfect one for incorrigible American women who after yesterday’s executive order signing ceremony (that wasn’t televised at lunch to nauseate the unsuspecting diner) are newly converted Catholics.  Her name is St. Dula.

From the Saints and Angels page we learn that St Dula was a:

Virgin martyr at Nicomedia, in Asia Minor, also called Theodula. The slave of a pagan soldier, Dula died defending her chastity.

What a brave, shining example St. Dula sets for us.  We should all go out and do likewise.  She probably couldn’t help it that she was a slave but original sin is powerful.  Her parents were probably responsible for her misfortune because they had SEX(!).   Nevertheless, this poor woman, and by poor I mean a working class person making little or no money, died rather than submit herself to the indignities of having SEX(!).  I find this story strange because had Dula become pregnant from rape, she might have been able to qualify for a federally funded abortion.  But never mind the inconsistency.  Believers in 2000 year old religions have to live with such things and so do you.  From now on.  Until we elect a woman.  Next time.

I pray.

Now, be good and pure or it’s off to the laundries with you.

The Magdalene sisters will getcha if you don't watch out!