Lyndon Baines Johnson, when referring to the difficulty he had been having with J. Edgar Hoover, then the all-powerful head of the FBI, once conceded, “I’d rather have him inside the tent pissing out than outside the tent pissing in”. Johnson hated Hoover, and the world knew it, but Johnson was politically savvy and knew that he needed Hoover and the power he wielded to help with his agenda.
We always appear willing to accept the most duplicitous, deceptive, dishonest and hypocritical among us as long as we believe that they are acting on our behalf.
In a court battle, the opposing attorney is always petty, sneaky, underhanded and opportunistic, obfuscating the facts with reckless disregard for the truth. We only wish our attorney was equally as much of a prick.
Our political leaders are expected to be transparent with us, bold in the face of our enemies, powerful in the face of our allies, fair in their treatment of our loved ones, and tough in the treatment of those who would take what is ours, either by force or deception.
If he is from a political party not fully symphonic with ours, then his attempts at any of the above will be the subject of ridicule. He’s going too far, not going far enough, never means what he says, never says what he means, is just trying to manipulate us for the benefit of getting re-elected, can’t be trusted, doesn’t love America…
Unless, that is, if he is from our side. Then, even if all of the above is true about OUR GUY, we are convinced that there must be a good reason for it. We believe that he would never do those things unless he was doing them for our benefit.
If their guy starts a war-it’s for oil, power or to protect his friends. If our guy starts a war, it’s to protect the homeland or fend off an attack. If their guy cuts taxes, it’s to benefit his rich friends. If our guy does the same, it’s to help the economy.
If their guy spends money, he’s a reckless Socialist. If our guy spends money, hey, some things are just too important to give up.
Pissing on yourself, as we all know, can literally give you a warm feeling. When it’s someone else’s piss, however, it’s quite repulsive.
And yet, in the end, it’s all just piss.
Tony Perkins, head of the suspiciously named Family Research Council (we’ve been making families for millions of years without his “research”, yet he seems to feel that we need some?) was on one of the Sunday morning talk-shows this week, speaking about the “studies” that his conservative Christian lobbying group has seen regarding gays, children and marriage.
These studies (in his interview there was no mention of who did them or where to find the raw data) have determined, according to Mr. Perkins, that children who have, not just two parents, but two parents of the opposite sex, “turn out better” than children of same sex couples. On their web site, the only mention of this study is as follows:
“Last summer, University of Texas sociologist Mark Regnerus published a groundbreaking study of homosexual parents in the journal, Social Science Research. It showed that children of homosexuals suffered disadvantages in numerous areas—“.
Please note that the sociologist, Mark Regnerus, works for The University of Texas, but did the study on his own. It was not done by the University, just him. The article does not mention what the disadvantages were nor what were the “numerous areas”. You would think that he’d want to hit those items pretty hard, wouldn’t you?
I’d like to explore the logic which must precede any studies on subjects such as these. Shall we?
1. The occurance of same-sex couples having children is a recent one. Only in the last ten years or so have gay couples been legally able to adopt children, so it’s quite soon to believe that there is enough empirical data to be a reliable predictor of family relationships. And that data is irrevocably constitutive to a properly done study.
2. On its face, if you look at the difference between how gay couples and straight couples have children you will see that:
a. Gay people (couple or singles) cannot reproduce, so any children they have is by choice, every time. There is no such thing as a surprise gay pregnancy.
b. Heterosexual people (couples or singles) can, and often do, have children due to poor planning, broken condoms, disregard of precautions, rape, errors in calculating ovulation times, etc., etc.
c. Gay people ALWAYS get married by choice. There is no reason for them to ever get married due to pregnancy, or dad pressuring them for grandchildren, or issues of biological clocks.
The takeaway from these self-evident facts is that gay couples have fewer reasons to have unhappy marriages and even fewer reasons to blame children for their own disadvantaged lives. We see this happening with straight couples all around us, were young girls fall in love too soon, get pregnant, and are faced with raising a child at too young an age, and resenting it, or foisting that responsibility on their parents. It is extremely prevalent in urban areas, where teen pregnancies have been rampant for years. These things cannot happen with gay couples.
The point that I’m making is not that gay couples, by definition, make better parents. I’m only suggesting that anyone who pretends to be able to measure the advantages or disadvantages of children being raised by gay couples has an obvious and potentially sinister motivation to do so, since the data is too new and the logic betrays their conclusions.
The other incredibly ironic thing about Mr. Perkins is that he wants to ensure, with his oft-repeated desire to see Roe-Wade overturned, and birth-control limited, that the girl I described above has no choice but to keep that unwanted child and raise it, happily or not, or give it up for adoption.
Then, if a gay couple was eager to adopt it, get married and raise it in a home where it was wanted, loved and cherished, well, sorry, no.
You see, they’ve got this study…
Already skin-soaked by the torrent of failure, you press on through the squall, and carry on, rejecting umbrellas as superfluous. This is the genesis of courage.
There was recently an occurrence in Brazil that illustrates among other things, the extraordinary chasm between genuine humanity and religious ideology. This particular event is so odious, so repulsive, so buried in that category of things that we know can happen, but never expect will, that I’ve also provided 3 different links to the story, lest any of my readers think it is merely hearsay.
A 23-year-old step-father in Pernambuco, Brazil, has been arrested following his repeated rape of his step-daughter, who is 9 years old. The abuse has been allegedly been happening since she was 6 years old.
No, dear readers, this isn’t the worst of it…
The girl had been at the doctor for a for severe stomach pains when it was discovered that she was pregnant…with twins.
Nope, we’re still not there yet…
The hospital, citing the fact that the girl’s hips and lower body were not developed enough to even consider letting her give birth, aborted both fetuses, with the consent of the girl’s mother. The little girl was 4 months pregnant.
It’s about to get worse…
Jose Cardoso Sobrinho, the conservative regional archbishop for Pernambuco, ordered that both the mother of the child and the doctor who performed the abortion be excommunicated for their role in saving the child’s life. The little girl was not excommunicated since she is considered not to have any culpability due to her age.
Here’s the really, really, bad part…
The step-father was not excommunicated by the church. Rape is apparently something for which one can receive absolution through the Sacrament of Penance in the Catholic Church, but abortion, even for a 9-year-old for whom taking the pregnancy to term would have been a certain death sentence, is not.
When questioned about this issue, Cardinal Giovanni Batista Re, who heads the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, justified the actions of the archbishop by saying that the girl could have taken the pregnancy to term, then “simply had a Cesarean section”, thereby sparing the life of the fetuses, so unnaturally and degenerately implanted in her by the step-father.
Subsequently, according to Church doctrine, this man would simply have to go to confession, say some Hail Marys, and be forever forgiven for what he had done. Neither the girl’s mother nor the doctor who made the decision to save her life would ever have that option again.
Contrary to my regular postings, I will offer no commentary. Nothing I can say will add any further dimensionality to this story. I will only say that those of you who are more repulsed by the event than the ideology behind it are the agents of its perpetuation.
Rob Portman, U.S. Senator from Ohio, in a complete break with the opinions he so strongly promulgated in the past, has changed his opinion on gay marriage. He now thinks it’s OK, since his son revealed that he is gay.
This revelation on his part made me realize that, with all the political and cultural division in the United States, there is a way to see which way the country is trending, which way the population is moving. There is a way of truly determining the will of the country, without the need for polls.
In order to truly tap into the general feelings of the country, you have to use a test that we used during the cold war.
Back then, anyone who suggested that the former Soviet Union was somehow a better place to live than the US; any time someone suggested that, just because it was a different way of life from ours, it was not necessarily a bad way of living; anyone who suggested that Communism and Capitalism were neither better nor worse than the other, just different, the question that would shut the conversation down was, “well, lots of people are defecting from the USSR to the USA, but how many are defecting back to the USSR?”
It was a reductive, disarming question, but it sharpened to crystal clarity the general feelings of the people in each country. The overwhelming trend was in one direction, but not back. There was no ambivalence. No need for a poll.
What does this have to do with Portman? Follow me on this one…
Mr. Portman is one more in a long line of people who have come from the more, for want of a better word, old-style way of living in society. (I’m trying to keep this apolitical). And I don’t see any moving back the other way. To wit:
In 1955, Rock-and-Roll was devil music, jungle music, the music of hoodlums. In time, it entered the main stream, and has never gone back.
In 1960, birth control was for loose women, baby-killers and generally used by the soft white underbelly of society. In time, it entered the main stream, and has never gone back.
In the fifties and sixties, equal rights of all races were frowned upon, rallied against and in some cases it was vowed that it would never be. In time, it entered the main stream, and has never gone back.
In the fifties and sixties, discrimination against women was defended as the natural order of things. Men fought to keep women in the home. Women’s liberation was a punch-line. In time, it entered the main stream, and has never gone back.
In 1968, questioning the morals and honesty of our political leaders was unheard of. It was considered insolent, impetuous, and un-patriotic. In time, it entered the main stream, and has never gone back.
Since then: Long hair on men, short skirts on women, acceptance of alternate lifestyles in society, gays in the military, gay marriage, women as equals in the workplace, women being entitled to equal pay, women in the military, acceptance of racial and ethnic diversity in our schools, our businesses, and government and, yes, a black President. And then, quite importantly, the re-election of that black President.
Now, a Latino pope.
None of this is not to say that there are not still some throw-backs to the days of the hula-hoop, corded phones and three TV channels with an antenna on the roof. Yes, there are some who throw tantrums, kicking and screaming for a return to the good-old-days, when straight, white men ran the world, cops, priests and politicians were above reproach, and owning a gun proved that you were a good guy.
Yes, there are some who still lag far behind the natural progression of intellect and compassion. There are some for whom being on the wrong side of history is still a badge of honor. They tend to start their arguments with, “Well all’s I know is…” apparently proud to display the boundaries of their synaptic wanderings.
To some, ignorance is more than bliss. It’s a freakin’ orgasm.
But just like I’ve yet to hear that someone from the US asked for asylum in North Korea, I’ve yet to hear a woman ask to return to second-class-citizen status, an African American asking to go back to the days of segregated schools, poll-taxes and lynchings, or women swearing off birth control in favor of the rhythm method. These issues are not bi-directional. Once they move, they stay moved.
The point is, those of you who are still holding out on these important issues, and the newer issues like gun control, abortion, gay marriage, and women’s rights, need to understand that the enlightened world will not continue to fight you forever. The rest of the world will give you lots of time to come around, but after some undefined period of time, will move on, with or without you.
And you will become something much worse than old-fashioned. You will become the worst thing any intellectually aware person could ever become. You will become irrelevant.
Rob Portman was smart enough to pick up on this at the last minute. It matters not that it was due to his son coming out. Either way, we welcome him.
Maybe soon another family member of Sen. Portman’s will admit that he’s poor and needs food stamps, or sick and can’t afford health care, or an undocumented immigrant who just wants a job, so that Sen. Portman might feel compassion for those people as well, just like he now does for gay people since his son came out.
Hey, we can only hope…
Marissa Mayer, CEO and Board Member of Yahoo has come under a lot of negative pressure recently, primarily for her new rule requiring Yahoo employees to cease telecommuting and either show up for work or quit.
I have to admit that I was ambivalent about it at first. The businessman in me says that you have to be able to see employees to confirm that they’re working. The human in me says that some people truly benefit from the option to telecommute. Then I looked at some facts.
First, since Ms. Mayer was appointed the youngest CEO in history in June of 2012, Yahoo’s stock price has increased more than 50% from around $14.00 to around $23.00. This woman is no slouch. But stock price isn’t everything.
Roughly 2% of the U.S. workforce now telecommutes at least one out of 30 days. It saves time, fuel and, in some cases, the stress of driving in traffic. Those who do it swear by it. Technology exists that can supposedly measure productivity of home workers (calls made and received, lines of code written, sales appointments confirmed, etc.) without the need for face time.
The issue with telecommuting isn’t the fact that you can’t actually see the employee, (Skype comes to mind). It is that when an employee works from home, it is often for reasons other than traffic. Many simply like the convenience of not having to live by a time-clock, or have children or other duties to attend to. They have genuine reasons to prefer working from home.
If they work from home in order to watch their children, then, by definition, those children must occasionally distract them-otherwise they wouldn’t need to be watched. The fact that children need attention is indisputable. Children distract their parents from whatever else their parents may be doing, be it watching television, reading a book, making love, or doing the job assigned by their employer, irrespective of the degree of importance attached to those other things. It is difficult to prove that any person who works at a particular level without distractions can work at the same level while being distracted.
There are also a multitude of studies that indicate that face-to-face interaction among employees fosters innovation and creativity, as well as company loyalty. The company “water cooler” tends to be a place where people talk shop and feed off of each other’s knowledge and experience. This is obviously impossible with telecommuters.
Now, I’m not going to ignore the fact that Marissa Mayer, having recently given birth to a son, has built, at company expense, a nursery right next door to her office! Aha! Hypocrisy you say! That proves it! Instead of working from home, she simply, err, ah, homes from work!
No, actually it’s just one of the benefits of being a CEO. She also has access to the company jet and other perquisites that most of us will never see, so the nursery only serves to prove that she is of a position that allows her to spend company money on her personal conveniences. When you or I get to be CEOs of global companies, we can do the same. But I digress…
There are those who claim to thrive on what has been colloquially called “multi-tasking”. This entire concept has been dis-proven time and time again, most recently by a joint Stanford/Harvard study which concluded that our brains are incapable of thoughtful multi-tasking. The best we can do is rapidly move our attention from one thing to another, but every time we move it back there is some cognitive lag until we are able to mentally pick-up where we left off. Distractions are distractions. If a person can produce a certain level of work while distracted, it is a simple truism that they can produce more work when not distracted.
Companies, for better or for worse, usually pay for the full attention of the employee. They have the right to demand as much and, at least in this case, Ms Mayer does not believe she was receiving the full attention for which she was paying.
What is surprising to me is how an enormously respected company like Google, with its free food, on-site gyms, barber shops and child-care, is praised for doing exactly what Marissa Mayer is being vilified for doing-inducing employees to actually come to work. Google cannot provide all those free things to people who aren’t on the Google campus. Yahoo provides many of the same free benefits as Google at their work-sites as well.
I don’t deny that, in many cases, there are benefits to telecommuting. Working in your pajamas has its benefits, I guess. But I’m not sure that the benefits of those pajama-clad workdays always accrue to the company which is paying for them.
Recently the Secret Service, facing cuts from the ludicrously named Sequester, decided that one way to cut $74,000 per week from its budget was to stop White House tours. This will disappoint many, inconvenience some and be considered by others as exceedingly petty.
Now, enter the budget slashing crowd with their strum und drang, wringing of hands and perpetual ridicule of all that this government does. They have been on the major networks, expounding upon the unbelievable agony under which these Boy Scout troops and 4th grade classes will now suffer, as a result of these tours having been cancelled. The premise that the President (even though it wasn’t him) would order White House tours eliminated until the Sequester is overturned is, in their minds, further proof of how poorly our economy is being managed.
These “patriots”, who, for the last 4 years have been clamoring ad infinitum for cuts to Social Security and Medicare, Unemployment insurance extensions, The Affordable Care Act, and virtually everything important that our government does, have once again revealed that the only cuts that are acceptable to them are those that they don’t notice.
These people want cuts to anything and everything (except the military) as long as it has no effect on them (remember “Stop Entitlements, but don’t touch my Medicare”?). These are the same small government, slash the budget at all costs protestors who now, faced with cuts to one of the most frivolous, non-critical government programs, one of the least important to the future of our democracy, scream once again that they want cuts, but not these cuts.
To these citizens, it’s acceptable for childhood education programs like Head Start, the EPA which protects our environment, the FDA which inspects our food, the FAA which keeps planes from crashing into each other, Aid to Dependent Children which provides food stamps for the hungry and many other important government programs to fail in the name of slashing government spending.
But, if you cut even one $2.2 billon B-1 bomber, one $5 billion aircraft carrier, one ridiculously cool but entirely useless $150 million F22 Raptor, or, apparently, tours of the White House, well then, you’ve just gone too far.