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Archive for December, 2008

Happy New Year!

Another year has gone.

I’m sorry for the lack of posts, but it’s okay, no one really cares anyway.  I spent some time away from the computer for Christmas and decided to just relax this week.  I promise to keep the posts coming in 2009.  Again, not that anyone cares.  I also want to wish everyone a great 2009.  Take care and have a good one.

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Why do I like this song so much?

The song is ‘Dreidel’ from Erran Baron Cohen’s album Songs in the Key of Hanukkah.

In my opinion, this is much better than that Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It) track.  However, I won’t post a video of myself dancing on YouTube.  I think we’ve seen enough of that.

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The outcry over Obama’s choice of Rick Warren has been loud and clear among the media, politicians and all over the web.  The gay community is outraged, and like I said, I’m very disappointed about Obama’s decision.  I don’t respect Rick Warren’s views on his fellow gay Americans.  He clearly doesn’t understand our right to be treated as equals and has made huge efforts to stop that fight.  So, it’s hard to accept this decision.  Especially since our right to marry the one we love, has been stripped away.  An action Warren contributed heavily to make happen.  Obama hasn’t had a chance to expand legislation to help the gay community.  He hasn’t had a chance to protect our rights.  He did have a chance to give us hope and a preview to what an Obama presidency will be like for the gay community.  And so far, for most, it doesn’t look good.  Representative Barney Frank, the first openly gay Representative, had a few words on the controversy.

I am very disappointed by President-elect Barack Obama’s decision to honor Reverend Rick Warren with a prominent role in his inauguration.

Religious leaders obviously have every right to speak out in opposition to anti-discrimination measures, even in the degrading terms that Rev. Warren has used with regard to same-sex marriage. But that does not confer upon them the right to a place of honor in the inauguration ceremony of a president whose stated commitment to LGBT rights won him the strong support of the great majority of those who support that cause.

It is irrelevant that Rev. Warren invited Senator Obama to address his congregation, since he extended an equal invitation to Senator McCain. Furthermore, the President-Elect has not simply invited Rev. Warren to give a speech as part of a series in which various views are presented. The selection of a member of the clergy to occupy this uniquely elevated position has always been considered a mark of respect and approval by those who are being inaugurated.

And then there is the lovely Rachel Maddow.

Now, I respect Rep. Barney Frank and Rachel Maddow, two prominent figures of the gay community. I commend their efforts to show their frustration and disappointment.   But again, it would be wrong, for me, to completely write off Obama, who hasn’t had a chance to push his civil rights agenda yet.  I’m not saying both Frank and Maddow have done that, but I have started to hear others believe Obama is anti-gay.  I think we should still express our disappointment and frustration, and spark debate and discussion.  However, we should be careful to not look so hateful doing so, and give Obama the benefit of the doubt.  Like the San Francisco mayor said, in the second video, we should engage and not spread angry bitter hate.

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What a surprise.  California Attorney General Jerry Brown believes Proposition 8 is invalid.  Brown called on the California Supreme Court to reject the initiative.

“Proposition 8 must be invalidated because the amendment process cannot be used to extinguish fundamental constitutional rights without compelling justification.”

Great! The state’s highest attorney stepped up to the plate and bravely spoke out against this proposition.  But, of course, not without some upsetting news.  Supporters of the same-sex marriage ban now want to nullify the thousands of marriages that were granted, after the state Supreme Court ruled it was a constitutional right.  Proposition 8 supporters responded to the three lawsuits filed against Proposition 8.  And I thought voting to protect the rights of a minority was wrong and unfair.  To go beyond that and nullify those marriages is just horrible,  mean-spirited, and upsetting. That is just sad to hear.

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I’ll admit it.  I was a little upset when I heard Rick Warren was chosen to deliver the invocation at Barack Obama’s inauguration.  Rick Warren was clearly outspoken about changing the state’s constitution to ban same-sex marriage.  He wrote in October that same-sex marriage is “a moral issue that God has spoken clearly about.”

“For 5,000 years,  every culture and every religion — not just Christianity — has defined marriage as a contract between men and women…There is no reason to change the universal, historical definition of marriage to appease 2 percent of our population.”

Rick Warren also talked about his reasons for supporting the same-sex marriage ban on Beliefnet.com.   His said, his primary concern was the threat of his right to free speech.  Warren also believed same-sex marriage would be the equivalent to marrying brothers and sisters, an “older guy marrying a child”, and men having multiple wives.  When asked why religious conservatives focus on same-sex marriage, Warren said, “We love to talk about other people’s sins.”

But, you know what?  Rick Warren is not going to serve in Obama’s Administration.   Obama may disagree on social issues with Rick Warren, however Obama is going to be our next President.  He will make the decisions.  I think it’s clear Obama wants his inauguration to  send a bipartisanship message to the country.  After all, Rick Warren received harsh criticism from his constituents when he invited Obama to speak at his church about AIDS.  Like gay activists urging to rescind Obama’s invitation, Warren was also asked to rescind his invitation because of Obama’s views on abortion and gay rights.  Earlier today, Obama talked about his visit to Warren’s church and defended his decision.

“I was invited to Rick Warren’s church to speak despite his awareness that I held views that are entirely contrary to his when it came to gay and lesbian rights and issues like abortion.  Nevertheless, I had an opportunity to speak.  And that dialogue, I think, is part of what my campaign is all about: that we’re not going to agree on every single issue, but what we have to do is be able to create an atmosphere where we can disagree without being disagreeable and then focus on those things that we hold in common as Americans.”

Yes, it’s disappointing.  Rick Warren, who disagrees on an issue that is very personal to me, will give the invocation at this historic inauguration.  However, I will respect Obama’s decision.  I don’t see this as a setback for gay rights.  Obama has said he wants to reach out “across the aisles” and listen to all points of views.  I haven’t given up on Obama.  He is not even in office yet!  I still believe he supports the LGBT community and I hope he’ll stick to his civil rights agenda and expand legislation in support of gay rights.

This historic inauguration is a day for all Americans to share, no matter what views we have.

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So, what is going on with the $700 billion taxpayer money?  Honestly, I’ve given up trying to understand how the Treasury is using taxpayer money to stabilize the economy.  Well, because no one really knows what is going on.

That’s where the Congressional Oversight Panel comes in.  What I find unsettling is the amount of information the panel doesn’t know.  Elizabeth Warren, the panel’s chair, explains the COP’s first report.  Ten questions to the Treasury about the use of these funds.

  1. What is the Treasury’s strategy?
  2. Is the strategy working to stabilize markets?
  3. Is the strategy helping to reduce foreclosures?
  4. What have financial institutions done with the taxpayers’ money received so far?
  5. Is the public receiving a fair deal?
  6. What is Treasury doing to help the American family?
  7. Is Treasury imposing reforms on financial institutions that are taking taxpayer money?
  8. How is Treasury deciding which institutions receive the money?
  9. What is the scope of Treasury’s Statutory Authority?
  10. Is Treasury looking ahead?

Don’t you think the American public should know the Treasury’s strategy?  We should at least know the  Treasury wants to help the American family.  I hope they do.

Elizabeth Warren talked more on the report on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross.  Warren told Terry Gross the frame of the report was important and needed to be fast and tough, which is why the report is basically a set of questions.  The biggest concern Warren raised was the foreclosure crisis.  She says 1 in 7 families will lose a home has hit and will continue to hurt investors.  She insisted the Treasury has to deal with the mortgage foreclosures crisis, saying America can’t be saved by just stuffing dollars into vaults.  Listen to the interview.  It’s a bit grim, but so informative.

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