The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

Digest for May 7th

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for May 7th from 16:33 to 16:39:

  • Republicans: Wired for homophobia – AlterNet – Salon.com

    "According to the APA, the relevant science shows nothing of the kind. “Beliefs that lesbian and gay adults are not fit parents … have no empirical foundation,” concludes a recent publication from the organization. To the contrary, the association states, the “development, adjustment, and well-being of children with lesbian and gay parents do not differ markedly from that of children with heterosexual parents.”

    So how can Christian conservatives possibly claim otherwise?

    Well, one favored approach is literally citing the wrong studies. There is, after all, a vast amount of research on kids in heterosexual two-parent families, and mostly these kids do quite well — certainly better than kids in single-parent families (for obvious reasons). Christian conservatives cite these studies to argue that heterosexual families are best for kids, but there’s just one glaring problem. In the studies of heterosexual two-parent families where children fare well, the comparison group is families with one mother or one father — not two mothers or two fathers. So to leap from these studies to conclusions about same-sex parenting, explains University of Virginia social scientist Charlotte Patterson, is “what we call in the trade bad sampling techniques.”

    But wait: Don’t Christian conservatives want to be factually right and to believe what’s true about the world?"

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  • Method to Republican ‘Madness’ | Consortiumnews

    "Washington’s conventional wisdom for explaining the intensity of Republican obstructionism toward President Barack Obama breaks down one of two ways: either it’s a philosophical disagreement over the role of government or a desperate need to stay in line with a radicalized right-wing base.

    But there is another way to view the GOP political strategy, as neither principled nor reactive to the rantings of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and the Tea Partiers. It is that the Republicans are following a playbook that has evolved over more than four decades, to regain power by sabotaging Democratic presidents."

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  • 11 Strange, Horrific, or Just Plain Weird Ways Societies Have Policed Sex Throughout History | Gender | AlterNet

    "While the human needs for food, water and shelter can easily be met, the craving for sex is never fully satisfied. Even St. Augustine, who saw the sex urge as divine punishment for Adam and Eve's original sin and regarded the genitalia as satanic monsters, knew that he was helpless in the face of desire. "Grant me chastity," he begged God, "but not yet." In many ways, the history of civilization is a chronicle of our attempts to domesticate the chaotic urge for sexual fulfillment.

    Since the beginning of recorded history, lawmakers have tried to set limits on how people take their sexual pleasures, and they have doled out a range of controls and punishments to enforce them — from the slow impalement of unfaithful wives in Mesopotamia to the sterilization of masturbators in the United States. Anyone, no matter how highly placed, who engages in sexual conduct that is out of sync with prevailing attitudes risks being demonized and steamrolled by the legal system. Indeed, the intense pleasure we experience seeing powerful people brought down by their libidos is itself a fetish, one that demands a constant stream of scandals to be gratified.

    Given that sex and power politics often intersect, the history of sex law illuminates many of today's hot-button issues. For example, as gay marriage lurches though the courts and statehouses, it's helpful to know that loving and committed unions between men were sanctioned by Christian and secular law alike many centuries ago."

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  • Robert Kuttner: A Tale of Two Elections

    "Watching the jubilation at the Place de la Bastille last night, where the Socialist candidate Francois Hollande was declared the next President of France precisely at 8:00 p.m., followed by delirious chants of "Sarkozy, c'est fini!" I couldn't help thinking of Grant Park, November '08.

    I was thinking of the hopes and the huge intertwined challenges, economic and political; the immense power of entrenched elites to block real change; the inevitable letdown when a new, politically inexperienced leader cannot work miracles overnight.

    Hollande's slogan was The Change is Now. We should be so lucky.

    Here is some of what the new French President faces."

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  • America’s idiot rich – Income inequality – Salon.com

    "Some unknown but alarming number of ultra-rich Americans are now basically totally delusional and completely divorced from reality. This is now an inescapable fact, confirmed by multiple media accounts of billionaire thought and an entire special issue of the New York Times Magazine.

    Here’s a brief list of insane things that are apparently common knowledge among the billionaire class:"

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  • Those Revolting Europeans – NYTimes.com

    "The French are revolting. The Greeks, too. And it’s about time.

    Both countries held elections Sunday that were in effect referendums on the current European economic strategy, and in both countries voters turned two thumbs down. It’s far from clear how soon the votes will lead to changes in actual policy, but time is clearly running out for the strategy of recovery through austerity — and that’s a good thing. "

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  • Daily Kos: Falling off the economic treadmill

    " After World War II, a simple idea settled into the American character if not the American body politic. It goes like this: If you are willing to work hard and play by the rules, America is a place where an you can achieve success in any endeavor. Implicit in this idea, this American Dream if you will, is the idea that what success means is up to each individual. If success means a lot of money in the bank, you can get that. If it means uncovering the secrets of the atom, selling flowers, publishing a book, getting elected to public office, raising a child, or finding God, America is the place were any person with a little moxie could succeed. This also implies the inverse: If you don't achieve success, however you define it, there is something wrong with you, not America. Hold this thought. I have a brief story to tell. "

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  • A web of privilege supports this so-called meritocracy | Gary Younge | Comment is free | The Guardian

    "Shortly after Mitt Romney's failed 2008 campaign for the Republican nomination his son Tagg set up a private equity fund with the campaign's top fundraiser. One of the first donors was his mum, Anne. Next came several of his dad's financial backers. Tagg had no experience in the world of finance, but after two years in the middle of a deep recession the company had netted $244m from just 64 investors.

    Tagg insists that neither his name nor the fact that his father had made it clear he would run for the presidency again had anything to do with his success. "The reason people invested in us is that they liked our strategies,'' he told the New York Times.

    Class privilege, and the power it confers, is often conveniently misunderstood by its beneficiaries as the product of their own genius rather than generations of advantage, stoutly defended and faithfully bequeathed. Evidence of such advantages is not freely available. It is not in the powerful's interest for the rest of us to know how their influence is attained or exercised. But every now and then a dam bursts and the facts come flooding forth."

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