Tuesday, May 15, 2012


The law of the land is that corporations are people and that you can be strip-searched for a traffic stop. So I'm not hopeful that if they decide to hear the case, the Supreme Court will do right by the pregnant woman who was tazed three times for refusing to sign a speeding ticket.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Good Politics or Courageous Moral Stand?

Rachel Maddow laid it out that Obama has been kicking ass on LGBT issues for most of his term, and that his comments about marriage equality yesterday are the "icing on the cake" of his record as the most LGBT-friendly president in history.

Maddow makes some great points, and I highly recommend the video.  Meanwhile, over at The Nation, John Nichols argues that this actually was a brilliant political move. I hadn't considered that. His point is that this move will not hurt Obama, because the anti-gay rights vote is concentrated in states that Obama was not going to win anyway, and that this stance will energize the youth vote, who overwhelmingly support gay rights, and which was one of his key constituencies from the 2008 election.

Not only does Nichols contend that this doesn't hurt Obama and probably helps him, he also argues that it effectively baits his likely opponent into a more staunchly anti-gay position, one that will have an overwhelmingly negative impact on Romney's ability to connect with young voters. I can't really argue with that. So what I thought was a pretty courageous moral stand looks more and more like it might be superb politics as well. Well played, Mr. President.

Shorter Nichols: (Obama made the) bad guy fall in poop (H/T to Zandar at Balloon-Juice):

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Catholic Violence

On Monday nights I take an oil painting class, which is hosted at a local Catholic elementary school. I really like the space: it's an old-fashioned building, but it has character, and its walls are full of the trappings of a vibrant community. This poster hangs in the hallway:

Every time I use the bathroom or stop at the drinking fountain, I see it. It is an expansive definition of violence, but probably more accurate because it is so. It makes me think each time I see it.

The Catholic Church, reeling for years under the weight of scandal, has stormed back into the public sphere to reclaim its moral authority with its stances on public health issues and same-sex marriage. But using this poster as a lens, the Church's strident, unyielding positions on these complicated issues strikes me as a kind of violence: an assault on the dignity and security of a certain class of people. I wonder whether the Church's hierarchy can re-learn this profound message that it is trying to instill into its youth.