Sunday, October 18, 2015

Correct answer: I'm a progressive

Stuff that's been accumulating in my browser tabs...

I'm not on Facebook (though I have to figure out what to do with my dad's account) because it is too invasive of privacy. Even so, the company can do some interesting things with all that data. For example, it has tracked the number of people who have changed their profile to "express a same-gender attraction or custom gender." That rate of coming out was fairly steady through March of this year, then began rising. There is also a huge spike the day that the Supremes announced marriage equality.

Facebook also created a map showing the percentage of Facebook users who have identified as LGBT in each state. At the top are New York and Nevada at over 4% and Mississippi is at the bottom at 2%. Michigan is at the low side of the middle around 3%.

The State of Michigan has paid over $1.9 million in legal fees to the team that challenged Michigan's same-sex marriage ban. There was also a great deal spent by the state to defend the ban.

The students of Oak Park High School in Kansas City, MO elected a transgender student as homecoming queen. Westboro Baptist Church showed up to protest. The counterprotest was so strong that WBC fled after only a few minutes.

Evan Wolfson was the head of Freedom to Marry, an organization that was instrumental over the long term in bringing marriage equality to America. Freedom to Marry has already celebrated its "going out of business" party. But Wolfson's job isn't done. US embassies in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland have invited him to be a consultant. These three countries have civil unions and not full marriage equality and appear open to Wolfson's help. Wolfson's services might also be useful in Northern Ireland, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, and Malta (these have civil unions) as well as Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia (these have no partner recognition).

Worth thinking this one through. From Ragen Chastain of Dances with Fat:
Nobody can prove that fat causes the health issues that it gets blamed for. Nobody knows for sure why nearly every health problem that is correlated with being fat is also correlated with being under constant stress. Nobody knows for sure the long term health effects of living in a society that constantly stigmatizes you and tells you that you can’t possible be healthy. Nobody knows what would happen to fat people’s health if they didn’t live in a society that constantly stigmatizes them. Nobody knows of a single study in which more than a tiny fraction of people have maintained long-term weight loss, and nobody knows what that weight loss means for people’s health since it has not been studied.

That’s a lot of “nobody knows”.

I had written that the Alabama Secretary of State had decided to close all but four branch offices due to budget constraints. I had also written that such a move was quite suspicious for a state that requires an ID to vote. Here's another mighty suspicious detail:
Every single county in which blacks make up more than 75 percent of registered voters will see their driver license office closed. Every one.

Terrance Heath has a few things to say about the recent debate by Democratic presidential candidates. Progressives have been envious of the power the Tea Party holds over the GOP (see the current House Speaker mess). Though progressive movements haven't been in the news as much as the Tea Party, that debate shows their work has moved the candidates. The correct answer for a Dem candidate is now "I am a progressive." The candidates saw that it was politically expedient to oppose the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal because of the work of progressives. For the same reasons candidates have embraced the Black Lives Matter movement and are learning how to deal with structural racism. And none of the candidates were asked about LGBT issues – because there was no need to ask. The party's pro-gay stance is already well known.

Dr. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has been a fierce opponent of gay people. So when he says that reparative therapy doesn't work, that's a big deal.

Timothy Kincaid of Box Turtle Bulletin says Mohler might be a bit surprised by the implications of that statement. It prompts the question: What is homosexual sin? The answer to that used to be easy. The Southern Baptists say that Johnnie getting his jollies (as my mother used to say) while looking at pictures of women is a sin, but not worth special mention from the pulpit. But what if Johnnie is looking at pictures of men? The younger generation is much more willing to point out any disparity in treatment. There are rules for heterosexual dating (no kissing). What about rules for gay dating? There are rules about no sex before marriage. What to tell gay kids who are currently told they can't ever get married in the church? This debate could get very interesting to watch.

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