Saturday, June 09, 2012

More Saturday Male Beauty

Top Tier Republican Fundraiser Launches Pro-Gay Marriage PAC

Heads must be exploding amongst the gay-hating Christianists who have heretofore pulled the puppet strings for much of the Republican Party.  Paul E. Singer (pictured at right), 67, a billionaire hedge fund manager who is among the most important Republican donors nationwide, has launched a pro-gay marriage PAC.  Although straight himself, Singer has a gay son who has married his partner.  Can you imagine the batshit crazy ravings that will be issuing from the lips of Tony Perkins, Bryan Fischer and the bovine Maggie Gallagher?  One will need full foul weather gear to be protected from the eruptions of spittle that must be flying in the Kool-Aid drinking Christianist circles.  Personally, I LOVE it.  And as more gays come out, more deep pocket political contributors are likely to be siding with their children and across the board civil equality.  I hope Mitt Romney is paying attention.  Here are highlights from a column in the New York Times that looks at the development: 

OVER the past year, the main story line in the push for marriage equality has been the ardor and success with which leading Democratic politicians have taken up the fight. The Democratic governors of New York, Maryland and Washington all promoted and signed same-sex marriage laws, for which President Obama expressed his support last month. 

But the progress within Republican ranks has also been pivotal, not to mention fascinating. And a compelling character in that subplot just added a new twist to the narrative, one that suggests the rapidly changing political dynamics of this issue and its potential import to a party dogged by an image of being culturally out of touch. 

That character is Paul E. Singer, 67, a billionaire hedge fund manager who is among the most important Republican donors nationwide. In just one Manhattan fund-raiser last month, he helped to collect more than $5 million for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. 

He steadfastly supports conservative candidates. He also steadfastly supports gay rights in general and marriage equality in particular. Along with a few other leading Wall Street financiers, he contributed and helped drum up the majority of the money — more than $1 million — that fueled the campaign for same-sex marriage in New York. 

He has given nearly $10 million of his own money to gay-rights initiatives, including the same-sex marriage efforts not only in New York but also in New Hampshire and New Jersey. And that figure doesn’t include his assistance in tapping a broad network of donors for individual candidates. He was pivotal in rounding up about $250,000 apiece for the Republican state senators in New York whose votes for same-sex marriage provided its margin of victory in the Legislature. 

Now, Singer says, he’s providing $1 million to start a new “super PAC” with several Republican compatriots. Named American Unity PAC, its sole mission will be to encourage Republican candidates to support same-sex marriage, in part by helping them to feel financially shielded from any blowback from well-funded groups that oppose it. 

In an interview on Tuesday, he told me that he’s confident that in Congressional races, which would most likely be the super PAC’s initial focus, there are more than a few Republicans “who could be on the verge of support” or are “harboring and hiding their views.”  “And this kind of effort could be catalytic in generating some more movement,” he said.

Although he is straight, he has a gay son and son-in-law who were married in Massachusetts, which legalized same-sex marriage in 2004.  

Our conversation also reflected a growing awareness among prominent Republicans that embracing marriage equality could broaden the party’s base and soften the party’s image in crucial ways.  .  .   .  .  “There’s a feeling among some people that the Republican party is harsh on some things,” acknowledged Singer, whose extended comments can be found in a blog post supplementing this column.

In a CNN/ORC International poll released Wednesday, a whopping 73 percent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 34 said they favored marriage equality. That’s the clear future of this issue, and Republicans are keenly aware that while the party’s formal opposition to abortion rights, for example, doesn’t contradict the prevailing sentiments of a majority of Americans or buck voter trends, opposition to same-sex marriage does. 

Singer said that it [same sex marriage] “very well fits within my framework of freedom,” adding that it promotes “family stability” and is a tribute to an institution in need of one. “Obviously, the institution of marriage in America has utterly collapsed,” he said. That gay and lesbian couples nonetheless want to wed “is kind of a lovely thing and a cool thing and a wonderful thing,” he added.

Singer’s super PAC, which, according to Singer, will soon have a budget “of a few million dollars,” factoring in expected support from collaborators and friends. .  .  .  .  he said, adding that with continued work on marriage equality, he expects to persuade more Republicans of its rightness, too. 

Again, the Christofascists will be beside themselves.  But money talks and the strong support for gay marriage among younger voters who will be replacing reactionary elderly voters as they die off makes the hand writing pretty clear for anyone who isn't a Kool-Aid drinker: change or die.

A Father Remembered

Today would have been my father's 91st birthday.  He died in September, 2006, on of all possible dates my son's birthday.  Needless to say, it's been a bitter sweet day for me with thoughts of my father lingering at the back of my mind.  As long time readers know, my relationship with my dad was not always that good.  In part because of his difficult childhood and youth since he was orphaned at the age of 3 years old.  Then there was the glass wall I erected between myself and virtually everyone as I struggled to try to deny to myself that I was gay and I feared letting anyone too close to me because of my fear that they'd discover "my secret" even though I had not even conceded to myself that I was gay.  Over my 37 years in the closet I missed so many opportunities to be close to others because of my fear of rejection.  

When I did finally come out I was blessed to have parents who accepted me totally and never flinched at standing by me.   So many gays have not been as lucky and have faced rejection by parents and family.  That's why in honor of my parents I funded the initial endowment for the Hamar/HRBOR Scholarship ( a four year scholarship) for graduating high school seniors who face financial need either because of family rejection or through financial  limitations.  My contribution allows for a grant every four years, but to offer the scholarship, HRBOR needs to raise another $75,000.00 - hence the contribution link on this blog.  I hope readers will consider making a tax deductible gift.

The photo of my dad above is from the World War II years when he served in the Army Corps of Engineers. He was likely somewhere between 19 and 23 when the portrait was done.  He served most of the war in France having crossed the English Channel the day after D-Day.  His last post was as Fire Marshall of Marseilles before mustering out and returning to Syracuse University where he met my mother.

It's been nearly six years but I still miss him.  I miss our talks and his pragmatic way of looking at things.  I still remember when he first met my former partner and summed the situation this way:  "I've gained another son."  They went on to bond well together.  One of the last times I saw him as we were getting ready to head back to Norfolk he said "you will always be my little boy."  Yes, I'm crying as I type this post.  I hope he knows what a wonderful gift he gave me when he accepted me just as I was.  I miss him everyday.

Saturday Morning Male Beauty

GOP House Bill Seeks to Slash Spending - And Damage Economy

Personally, I increasingly feel that the GOP's principal motivation is to destroy the U.S. economy in the hope that as the economy tanks voters will somehow take out their wrath on Obama rather than the GOP which has worked at the state and federal level to slash government employment and leave schools, fire departments and  police forces undermanned.  In the process there is no recognition that each fired government worker, teacher, fireman, or police officer represents a family that will be left struggling to survive financially.  There is also a total disconnect from the reality that with all of these laid off workers, consumer spending will plummet and consumers who are employed will cut back on spending as they worry about their own job security.  The result is a downward spiral with more average Americans poised to lose their homes - which pushes a still devastated housing market lower - and unable to provide for their families.  Meanwhile, the GOP proclaims itself as the party of faith and Christianity even as the Gospel message is flushed down the toilet.  The hypocrisy and callousness is enough to make one want to vomit.  A piece in the New York Times looks at the latest GOP blue print to make the economy worse even as the hypocrites claim they seek to save it.  Not surprisingly leading the effort is Eric Cantor of Virginia who makes the most tawdry whore look like a pillar of truth and veracity.  Here are highlights:

Financial regulators would lose hundreds of millions of dollars needed to implement the new Wall Street regulatory law. The Internal Revenue Service’s budget would not be increased, with a prohibition on cash transfers to implement the health care law. President Obama’s energy-efficiency and renewable energy efforts would be gutted, along with international climate change programs. And regulations to force new efficiency standards in federal buildings would be blocked.
Quietly, the House Appropriations Committee is working hard to undo much of the president’s first-term ambitions — or at least provoke a showdown with the White House ahead of the fall election. 

On Tuesday, the committee introduced a new agriculture spending bill that slashes the administration’s request for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission by 41 percent as the agency gears up to begin regulation of the $300 trillion swaps market, assigned it by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street regulatory law. On Wednesday, the House moved toward final passage of an energy and water spending bill that would bring spending on energy efficiency and renewable energy to its lowest level since 2006, during the more oil-friendly Bush years. 

At the root of the shearing is the House’s decision to cut domestic spending over all by $19 billion below the levels set last summer in the deal to end the debt-ceiling imbroglio. Senate Democrats and Republicans have pledged to abide by those caps, and Mr. Obama has threatened to veto any bill that cuts spending to the lower House level.  

And it jabs at the administration’s “green energy” efforts in a host of ways, curtailing eligibility for its program to “weatherize” homes, blocking implementation of new regulations to make federal buildings more energy-efficient, and cutting the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy by $886 million below the president’s budget request and $428 million below this year’s level. Solar and building efficiency programs would be cut in half. 

“The result of the House bill is to effectively put the interests of Wall Street ahead of those of the American public,” Mr. Gensler said Tuesday in a statement. 

Also on Tuesday, the committee introduced its financial services appropriations bill which also takes aim at White House achievements. The Securities and Exchange Commission’s requested $245 million increase was whittled down to $50 million, with the proviso that the extra money be spent on technology, not Dodd-Frank implementation.

HRBOR 5th Anniversary Event - June 21, 2012

Click image to enlarge
One of the things I am most proud of since first coming out and beginning to build a new life is my contribution to the founding of Hampton Roads Business OutReach ("HRBOR").  HRBOR first officially launched in May, 2007, and the first "Third Thursday" business networking event occurred in June, 2007.  But my collaboration with Christianna Flynn, my original co-conspirator if you will, began roughly a year earlier when we first met to talk about how to effectively market our businesses to the Hampton Roads LGBT community (I recently came across Christianna's original e-mail of May 9, 2006, to me asking to meet).  At that time the local LGBT community had no business related organizations at all .   The only available marketing tool was one "LGBT directory" where one could place ads.  None of the advertisers ever met and most of us knew little or nothing about each other.  

After months of talking the two of us decided that we needed to start a business networking group and this idea culminated in a impromptu meeting at the old library in the Ocean View area of Norfolk.  About 40 people attended to our amazement and joy.  From that group the original HRBOR founding board was derived.  From this effort I made a whole new circle of friends (I had become invisible to the vast majority of my "friends" from the closeted phase of my life) and made some enduring business connections.  Equally, important is that it was through HRBOR that the boyfriend and I got to know each other better and began dating.  HRBOR changed my life.   Time and time again when I am contacted by gays coming out later in life I stress that it is crucial that they get involved in LGBT organizations in their communities to rebuild what they've lost in the coming out process.  It takes a concerted effort and yes, one feels highly nervous and uncomfortable, but the long term result can be life changing.

Moving fast forward to this month's 5th anniversary of the launch of Third Thursdays, HRBOR's event should be wonderful.  We have a spectacular venue - the Harrison Opera House in Norfolk pictured below - and great event sponsors: SunTrust Bank, Distinctive Event Rentals (they did the tent for my daughter's wedding) and New Leaf Florist which produces simply amazing flower creations. I truly hope local readers will attend whether they own a business or not.  Admission is free and there's plenty of parking.  Here are more details:

What: 5th Anniversary Extravaganza & Membership Drive for HRBOR!! Bring your friends, business affiliates, associates, and anyone interested in Building Equality within business as we honor the founding members and look to current as well as prospective members for the future growth within the community.New and renewing members will receive a 25% discount on membership in honor of HRBOR's 5th Anniversary.

Where: The Harrison Opera House, Grand Lobby – 160 E. Virginia Beach Blvd, Norfolk VA 23510

When: Thursday June 21, 2012 from 6 - 8 pm

Admission: FREE
For those not in the know, the Virginia Opera Association (the venue host) is in its 37th year of operation, and is known and respected nationwide for the identification and presentation of the finest young artists, for the musical and dramatic integrity of its productions, and for the ingenuity and variety of its education and outreach programs.

Op Sail 2012 Pageantry

Approaching Fort Monroe and the HRBT Tunnel - Click image to enlarge
Driving in to work yesterday morning I was able to see the tall ships forming up for their parade of sail into Hampton Roads harbor.  Seeing all the towering masts gave a glimpse of what the views of incoming ships looked like more than a century ago.   And Hampton Roads does have its share of history when it comes to ships ranging from the shipping history which ranges from the first colonists landing at Cape Henry in Virginia Beach, Hampton's place a the oldest continuous English speaking city in the USA, to the battle of the Monitor and Merrimac just off shore from our the street the boyfriend and I live on, to the building of ships such as the fabled liner  S.S. United States to the Navy's biggest carriers at Newport News. The sea and ships are ever present.  Above and below are a few photos of the Op Sail pageantry with ships from South America and as far away as Indonesia (we had dinner with friends in Norfolk last evening and saw some of the tall ship cadets strolling on the side walk - they were HOT!).
Passing Fort Monroe

Sunrise yesterday off of Virginia Beach - Click image to enlarge
The Dewaruci from Indonesia - Click image to enlarge
The Cisne Branco from Brazil - Click image to enlarge
Cadets on the Guayas from Ecuador - Click image to enlarge

Friday, June 08, 2012

The Bible Belt and the GOP

This photo sums it up pretty well when it comes to the hypocrisy of the anti-gay bigots in the Bible Belt.  It applies equally to many in the GOP who continue to say that sexuality is a "choice" even as they treat religious belief as if it were genetic.  Of the three, obesity, being gay, and holding a particular religious belief, the last is clearly the one that's a voluntary "life style choice."

Friday Morning Male Beauty

Today's GOP Versus Reagan

I and many others have noted that Ronald Reagan - the claimed icon of the GP universe - could not secure the GOP nomination nowadays because he was not extreme enough, wasn't virulently anti-union, and did not preach religious based hatred.  Worse yet in the eyes of some who now constitute the reality untethered GOP base, Reagan would have likely rejected the current GOP's efforts to destroy the nation's economy for short term political gain.  Reagan for all his faults held some compassion for other humans.  That's a trait that has vanished from today's GOP and yet another reason I cannot be a Republican.  A column in the New York Times looks at Reagan's economic views versus those of Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and others who seem to care nothing about the damage their proposals would do to average Americans.  Here are some highlights:

There’s no question that America’s recovery from the financial crisis has been disappointing. In fact, I’ve been arguing that the era since 2007 is best viewed as a “depression,” an extended period of economic weakness and high unemployment that, like the Great Depression of the 1930s, persists despite episodes during which the economy grows. And Republicans are, of course, trying — with considerable success — to turn this dismal state of affairs to their political advantage. 

They love, in particular, to contrast President Obama’s record with that of Ronald Reagan . . .  the more relevant comparison is with George W. Bush, who, at this stage of his administration, was — unlike Mr. Obama — still presiding over a large loss in private-sector jobs. And, as I’ll explain shortly, the economic slump Reagan faced was very different from our current depression, and much easier to deal with. 

Still, the Reagan-Obama comparison is revealing in some ways. So let’s look at that comparison, shall we?
For the truth is that on at least one dimension, government spending, there was a large difference between the two presidencies, with total government spending adjusted for inflation and population growth rising much faster under one than under the other.

Reagan, not Obama, was the big spender. While there was a brief burst of government spending early in the Obama administration — mainly for emergency aid programs like unemployment insurance and food stamps — that burst is long past. Indeed, at this point, government spending is falling fast, with real per capita spending falling over the past year at a rate not seen since the demobilization that followed the Korean War. 

Why was government spending much stronger under Reagan than in the current slump? “Weaponized Keynesianism” — Reagan’s big military buildup — played some role. But the big difference was real per capita spending at the state and local level, which continued to rise under Reagan but has fallen significantly this time around. 

In short, if you want to see government responding to economic hard times with the “tax and spend” policies conservatives always denounce, you should look to the Reagan era — not the Obama years.  

[T]he slump of the 1980s — which was more or less deliberately caused by the Federal Reserve, as a way to bring down inflation — was very different from our current depression, which was brought on by private-sector excess: above all, the surge in household debt during the Bush years. The Reagan slump could be and was brought to a rapid end when the Fed decided to relent and cut interest rates, sparking a giant housing boom. That option isn’t available now because rates are already close to zero. 

America is currently suffering from a classic case of debt deflation: all across the economy people are trying to pay down debt by slashing spending, but, in so doing, they are causing a depression that makes their debt problems even worse. This is exactly the situation in which government spending should temporarily rise to offset the slump in private spending and give the private sector time to repair its finances. Yet that’s not happening. 

The point, then, is that we’d be in much better shape if we were following Reagan-style Keynesianism. Reagan may have preached small government, but in practice he presided over a lot of spending growth — and right now that’s exactly what America needs.

Op Sail to Dominate Weekend

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This weekend's events in Hampton Roads will be dominated by Op Sail 2012 which brigs a large number of tall ships to the region.  A parade of sail will begin momentarily as the flotilla of ships moves from off of Virginia Beach and sails through the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel to enter Hampton Roads harbor itself.  The image above shows some of the ships while the video below shows the ships early this morning at anchor. The Virginian Pilot has these descriptions of the event:

Tall ships with billowing sails, the kind that traveled the seas hundreds of years ago, will encircle Hampton Roads on Friday as the boats of OpSail parade through our waters and draw thousands of gawkers.

A flurry of festive events connected to the arrival of these ships includes concerts, air shows, symposiums and fireworks. It all culminates [today] with the Parade of Sail, the arrival of military and warships from different countries plying the waters of Virginia. The international fleet will be manned by hundreds of military officers and crew, with some ships open to tour.

[T]he ships will move through Hampton Roads and up the Elizabeth River to downtown Norfolk. The first ships in the parade will reach Town Point Park in downtown Norfolk at noon. Ships will then proceed to their docks in downtown Norfolk, or in other ports, before opening to the public for tours.

NOM’s Maggie Gallagher And Her ‘Wall of Hatred’

I will openly admit that I usually cannot stomach listening to anything the psychologically disturb, lying cow Maggie Gallagher has to say.  The woman has allowed her personal demons - all of which seem to track back to her getting knocked up in college and spurned by the guy that got her pregnant - to make a career out of making life hell for other human beings.  And she's laughed all the way to the bank in the process.  An opinion piece in The New Civil Rights Movement takes this despicable woman to task and calls her out as the hate merchant that she is in fact.  It makes it painfully clear that "protecting marriage" is not NOM's real agenda - no, the elimination of all rights for gays is the organization's real goal.  Here are some excerpts:

Nobody should expect any integrity from the National Organization of Marriage’s Maggie Gallagher, who routinely lies her head off to further her group’s hateful message that gays are sub-humans undeserving of rights.

NOM’s denial of gay people’s humanity is manifest in, for example, an all-day anti-gay hate fest held at Liberty University, where William Duncan, who is with NOM’s Ruth Institute, held a session titled “Homosexuals or Homo sapiens; Who Deserves  Protected Class Status.” Get it? NOM tells people that gays are not human.

Nonetheless, no matter how low you believe NOM may already have sunk, you can be sure it will always sink lower. Gallagher, for example, just last month published on The National Review a transparently duplicitous post “Is Maggie Gallagher a Victim?

The post is classic Gallagher, lying through her teeth while talking out both sides of her gay-bashing bigot mouth. She quotes Andrew Sullivan who said: “Listening to Maggie Gallagher this week, you may be struck by how she sees herself as the victim.” Gallagher of course does not inform her readers of the context in which Sullivan made his observation; she does not even link to his post. His post is titled “The Politics of Spite.” He describes spitefulness in Gallagher’s motives, and then says that despite her spiteful anti-gay motives, Gallagher disingenuously is claiming victimhood.

Sullivan of course was on to something essential about Gallagher in her current gay-bashing bigot’s evolution, but what he was on to needs further clarification.   The point is not that Gallagher cares most about portraying herself as a victim, though that is indispensable to her and she will not stop doing it. The most important thing to understand is that Gallagher is communicating to the anti-gay bigots in her target audience the dirty-tricks strategy by which they should fraudulently claim victimhood, the better to attempt to run a steamroller over gay people’s civil and human rights.

Gallagher is in essence telling her followers “You are victims of the homosexuals. Go forth and tell everybody that in our fight to defend our unwillingness to let the government extend anti-discrimination protections to homos, we are the victims.” Gallagher’s behavior in this is a textbook case study in scapegoating a minority.

If you do not act precisely as Gallagher and her bigot henchman believe you should be acting, according to their expectations for your gender, look for them to clobber you.  .  .  .  .  NOM and Gallagher want every last gay person stuffed back into the closet, and for no gay person ever again to mention the notion that a gay person should have rights. Gallagher has said that she is “unwilling” to live in a country with anti-discrimination protections for gay people.

Gallagher the gay-bashing bigot, in fact, wants to inflict hurt. Gallagher wants to lead an army of gay-bashing bigots to inflict harm on innocent people they do not even know. An anti-gay bigot is by definition malicious and sadistic, beating down cruelly on the minority, and alleging that unless the minority is beaten down, the bigot will not be able to live, and civilization will end.

Like a cockroach, Gallagher is a dark night feeder, grabbing up and digesting all of the nastiest, most unhygenic morsels of bigotry she can find in the blackness, and in the process, contaminating the living environment for others, leaving behind her a trail of bigot debris. When light shines on her bigot lies, she scampers away, to lie in wait for her next feelers-waving, skittering, repulsive attack on the environment.

Repeatedly on national television, Gallagher caught out in her absolutely endless lies has claimed she never said such things, but then immediately, the documentation that she did indeed say such things is found and published by multiple bloggers.  .  .  .  she knows no shame. Her fellow bigots love her; no decent person would. She is, in spirit, a nexus of horror of every schoolyard anti-gay bully who shoved a victim into lockers and yelled “Fag!” at them.

Gallagher the pathological bigot liar is instructing her bigot followers to say that the gay rights movement is about hatred, that gay rights supporters are motivated above all by hatred. Let it sink in, what Gallagher is doing, how she is lying about, and inciting others to lie about, gay human beings’ motivations in wanting their rights.

Gallagher simply has no shame. Where same-sex American couples are able to marry, she is in the malevolent fight of her life to get their marriages annulled against their wills, and to prevent all additional same-sex couples from marrying — ever  – whereas no outsider — Not. A. Single. One.  –  is trying to dissolve her marriage to Raman Srivastav

Gallagher has zero interest in helping people to have richly-developed, satisfying, enduring loving relationships. She does not in her person know anything about such relationships; she spent time separated from her cipher husband Raman Srivastav, dragging their child back and forth between different houses for visits;. . . .

Gallagher and NOM can fraudulently demonize gay human beings to NOM’s bigot supporters — and they can deny gay people’s humanity to those bigot supporters as well — but in court, under oath, NOM can not so readily get away with its gay-bashing lies. Relevant to Gallagher’s “wall of hatred” allegation, is that in every one of the campaign finance-related cases that NOM has brought, claiming that NOM’s supporters have received criminal threats and harassment, judges have ruled that those claims are without merit. Every single judge given to rule on that topic has ruled that NOM’s claims are without merit. 

The column continues on.  The picture that becomes very clear is that Gallagher and her fellow haters seek to destroy religious freedom in this country and force all citizens to abide by their sick , fear and hate based version of Christianity.  Gallagher makes the Pharisees of the Gospels look down right virtuous and honest.  She is despicable.

Gay Marriage Positions Won't Impact Virginia Presidential Vote

A new Quinnipiac University poll released yesterday shows Barack Obama leading Mitt Romney 47 to 42 in Virginia.  Probably more distressing to the Christofascists at The Family Foundation (which truly deserves a "hate group" designation in my view), most Virginians say that Barack Obama's personal endorsement of same sex marriage will have little or no effect on their vote in November,  Other bad news for Bob "Governor Ultrasound" McDonnell is that adding Taliban Bob to the GOP national ticket does nothing to boost Romney in Virginia.  The Richmond Times-Dispatch looks at the poll results.  Here are highlights:

President Barack Obama leads Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney 47 percent to 42 percent in Virginia, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released this morning that indicates that Obama's lead would remain if Gov. Bob McDonnell were the GOP running mate.

The survey also shows Virginia voters oppose same-sex marriage 49–42 percent, but only 25 percent say it is “extremely important” or “very important” in deciding how they will vote for president. Sixty percent of those polled said Obama’s support for same-sex marriage won’t affect their vote.

A Romney-McDonnell ticket facing Obama and Vice President Joe Biden puts the Democrats ahead 48–43 percent.  Obama still posts a wide lead among women, 51–35 percent, while men go 49–44 percent for Romney.

“President Barack Obama remains ahead in Virginia, but he is hearing Gov. Mitt Romney’s footsteps.  His lead over Romney is built upon a continuing gender gap that favors him – essentially the president stays close among men while he is very strong among women,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

On Obama's support for same-sex marriage, 14 percent of those polled said it made them more likely to vote for him while 24 percent said they were less likely. Because of Romney’s opposition to same-sex marriage, 21 percent of voters are more likely to support him while 23 percent are less likely and 53 percent said it will not affect their vote.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

More Thursday Male Beauty

What the Wisconsin Exit Polls Say About November

While I was not personally pleased with the outcome of the Wisconsin recall vote - I view Scott Walker as all too representative of the nasty elements in the GOP - there were some encouraging figures derived from the exit poll surveys in terms of what may happen in November.  Leaving a snake and sleaze bag in the Wisconsin governor's mansion is clearly preferable to having Mitt "I'm A Liar" Romney win the White House (of late Romney seems to be fully  embracing the Christianist view that the Commandment against lying and bearing false witness doesn't apply to them).   A piece in The Daily Beast looks at the Wisconsin exit polls which cannot be good news for Romney, particularly given a new poll that shows Obama leading in Virginia.  Here are highlights from the look at the Wisconsin exit polls:

The political outcome I really cared about was the exit poll question showing Obama beating Romney. By how much it's hard to say. The first wave had Obama plus six, then later on MSNBC I saw plus 12, which I also saw here, at Business Insider. The Washington Post put it at nine. So let's be conservative and call it seven.

Folks, if ever there was a day in the history of Wisconsin polling that should have shown Romney within spitting distance of Obama--or even ahead, given the obviously massive pro-Walker turnout--it should have been yesterday, which was the biggest and most enthusiastic day for Republican politics in recent state history. Yes, Romney should have been ahead, or at the very least tied. Instead, the same electorate that gave Walker this huge win said it would reelect the president handily. On the presidential level, Wisconsin is a blue state. Let's look at a few numbers.
First, turnout. Yesterday, about 2.5 million people voted. In 2010, it was 2.15 million. In 2008, it was 2.93 million. Assume a turnout in November of around 2.7 million, maybe 2.8. In general, higher turnout favors Democrats, as we know. So the plus six or 11 or whatever Obama advantage from yesterday is probably, if anything, a tad low.
Second, one interesting exit-poll question showed that 17 percent of Obama supporters voted for Walker. These are probably independents for whom the whole public-employee fight is old news and who never really had a dog in that fight in the first place. They presumably just didn't feel recalling a governor who was doing, after all, what he said as a candidate he was going to do was fair. So that's quite a lot of votes that went to Walker that are presumptive Obama voters in the fall.

I'm telling you and have been telling you: I don't know whether Obama wins Wisconsin by 10 or two, but he'll win it. This media drivel today is silly.  .  .  .  . Obama ain't gonna be outspent by no seven to one.
We'll see some polls a month from now, after this has settled down. If I'm wrong, I'm wrong. I'm perfectly willing to point out things that are problematic for my side. North Carolina and Florida, for example, are obviously big hurdles for Obama. Pennsylvania could be a sleeper problem. But very little about Wisconsin suggests a GOP win there.

Growing Up Gay in America - Not a Pretty Picture Thanks to "Godly Christians"

The Christianist enemies of LGBT equality whine incessantly about being concerned about the welfare of children.  The results of a new HRC sponsored survey of LGBT youth makes it clear that the welfare of LGBT youth is nowhere on the radar of these supposed protectors of child welfare.  Indeed, thanks to the handiwork of the Christianists in fanning the flames of homophobia and disseminating the lie that sexuality is a "choice" and changeable" LGBT youth suffer much more in many ways than their heterosexual counterparts.  Do the "godly Christians" give a damn about these victims?  Of course not.  Their sole focus is on power, forcing their religious views on all citizens and, last but not least the money they rake in using the "gay agenda" as a bogey man t frighten the ignorant and the simple minded.  Here is a sampling of what the HRC survey revealed: 

The deck is stacked against young people growing up lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender in America. Official government discrimination or indifference along with social ostracism leaves many teens disaffected and disconnected in their own homes and neighborhoods.  With an increase in public awareness about anti-LGBT bullying and harassment and the strikingly high number of LGBT youth who are homeless, in foster care, or living in high-risk situations, it is critical that we get a better understanding of the experiences, needs, and concerns of LGBT youth.

This groundbreaking research among more than 10,000 LGBT-identified youth ages 13-17 provides a stark picture of the difficulties they face. The impact on their well-being is profound, however these youth are quite resilient. They find safe havens among their peers, online and in their schools. They remain optimistic and believe things will get better. Nevertheless, the findings of Growing Up LGBT in America are a call to action for all adults who want to ensure that young people can thrive.  The survey measured key factors that impact the daily lives of LGBT youth .  .  . 

Compared with their peers, LGBT youth in this survey report a greater sense of isolation or separation from their community in general, and among specific community activities. Fewer LGBT youth have an adult in their community to talk with if they feel worried or sad, compared with their peers. When thinking of their future, LGBT youth believe to a greater extent than their peers that they must leave their community to make their hopes and dreams come true.

LGBT youth are twice as likely as their peers to say they will need to move to another town or part of the country to feel accepted. Among LGBT youth, 63% say they will need to move, while 31% of their peers report the same.
LGBT youth are about twice as likely as their peers to have been verbally harassed and called names outside of school (in the neighborhood or mall, etc.) as well as to have been physically assaulted outside of school.
LGBT youth are more than two times as likely as non-LGBT youth to say they have been verbally harassed and called names at school. Among LGBT youth, half (51%) have been verbally harassed at school, compared to 25% among non-LGBT students.

Nearly six in ten LGBT youth (57%) say that churches or places of worship in their community are not accepting of LGBT people; a third (35%) say their own church or place of worship is not accepting.

Less than a third of LGBT youth (32%) chose their family among a list of places where they most often hear
positive messages about being LGBT; nearly half (46%) chose their family among a list of places where they most often hear negative messages about being LGBT.
You get the drift.  For more details, read the report.  So much of the unhappiness tracks directly or indirectly back to the poisonous atmosphere in society for LGBT individuals that is kept alive by fundamentalist religious belief, one of the great evils of our time.  So much pain and so much unhappiness just so self-congratulatory bigots like Maggie Gallagher, Tony Perkins, Bryan Fischer, Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Timoth Dolan, Albert Mohler, et al, can feel good about themselves while raking in the bucks from the misery they sow.  It is disgusting.  And it's one of the main reasons why I want nothing to do with the name "Christian."

Thursday Morning Male Beauty

Boy Scouts to Consider Allowing Gays

I was a boy scout as was my son.  But that was some years ago before the Boy Scouts of America proved to be a decidedly anti-gay organization and adopted increasingly anti-gay policies and went on a purge of gay scouts and gay troop leaders such as the Ohio lesbian mother recently ridden out of the Scouts on a rail.  Now, after losing funding in many areas (I ceased all financial support to scouting year back) and certainly wracking up often disastrous PR, the national office of the Boy Scouts of America has admitted that it is considering altering its policies to allow local chapters to be gay inclusive.  Adding to the public pressure was the delivery of over 300,000 petitions calling for a change that were delivered by former Eagle Scout Zack Wahls (pictured above).  Needless to say, if the change is approved, the Christofascists will be sputtering and spraying spittle as they fall into convulsions.  Here are highlights from The Advocate:

The Boy Scouts confirmed today that it is considering a change of policy that lets gay scouts and leaders serve openly in local chapters.

The announcement comes after activist Zach Wahls delivered 275,000 petition signatures to the group and met with its leadership. Wahls, an Eagle Scout who has two moms, was outraged that a lesbian mother had been removed as den leader for a Cub Scout troop. And he got back into his uniform and delivered the petition on her behalf last week.

"I love the organization and I refuse to stand by idly as it forfeits its cultural relevancy at the very moment this country needs it most," said Wahls, author of My Two Moms: Lessons of Love, Strength, and What Makes a Family.

Ohioan Jennifer Tyrrell was a volunteer for her 7-year-old son's troop and said that after a year of service she lost the post and had her membership revoked "just because I happen to be gay." Tyrrell was told that being gay meant she did "not meet the high standards of membership that the BSA seeks."

Now nearly 300,000 people have signed Tyrrell's petition on And that includes a growing list of celebrities such as The Hunger Games's Josh Hutcherson, singer Ricky Martin and Glee's Dianna Agron.

If the policy change is approved this time, the Boy Scouts wouldn't make any change until 2013, but Tyrrell said in reaction that it "is definitely a huge step in the right direction."

Europe’s Woes Give Democrats a New Line of Attack Against the GOP

If one wants to see where the economic policies favored by Mitt Romney and the GOP will lead, it's a simple matter.  Look across the Atlantic to Europe where from the UK to Germany the budget cutting and austerity policies are a mirror of what the GOP would unleash on America should they win the White House and continue to control the House of Representatives.  It's not a pretty picture - at least for average citizens who don't have huge family inheritances that enable them to survive whatever rough economic waters might lay ahead.  For them - e.g., Ann Romney - a bad economy might mean having only three rather than four Cadillacs or keeping that high end BMW or S Class Mercedes Benz for a extra year or two.  For most of us it means losing our home, having to dip into retirement funds just to survive or not being able to provide for our children.   A piece in the New York Times looks at how the European/GOP model is breathing life into the Democrats.  Here are excerpts:

In American politics, being European is bad again. But these days, President Obama and the Democrats, not the Republicans, are holding up their allies across the Atlantic as the poster children for bad policies. 
In a new line of attack, top Democrats are arguing that Mitt Romney and the Republicans, with their focus on spending cuts, are following Europe’s austerity-first example, to dismal effect so far: Greece over the edge; Italy, Spain, Portugal on the edge; Britain in recession; and the United States suffering through a needlessly weak recovery because of government cuts. 

Former President Bill Clinton offered the clearest version of the case on Monday night, when, introducing Mr. Obama at a fund-raiser in New York, he listed the steps that Mr. Obama had taken to spur the economy, and then asked: “Why aren’t things roaring along now? Because Europe is in trouble and because the Republican Congress has adopted the European economic policy.” 

Mr. Clinton added, “Who would have thought, after years and years, even decades, in which the Republican right attacked ‘old Europe,’ that they would embrace the economic policies of the euro zone — austerity and unemployment now at all costs.” 

At a time when the American economy is looking weaker than it had seemed only a few weeks ago, the European analogy gives Democrats a story to tell about why the recovery has been slower than they had hoped. Romney campaign officials and other Republicans are not entirely unhappy about the new Democratic message, in part because it keeps the debate focused on Mr. Obama’s biggest weakness: the state of the economy. 
The prime example for Democrats is the European country that has long seemed most similar to the United States — Britain — where Prime Minister David Cameron came into office in 2010 arguing that excessive spending by his Labor predecessors had spurred the country’s economic woes. Mr. Cameron, a conservative, slashed spending and eliminated hundreds of thousands of public sector jobs in a bid to reduce the deficit. Two years later, Britain’s Office for National Statistics says the country is experiencing a double-dip recession and is doing even worse than only a few months ago. 

We have a laboratory experiment going on for what the Republicans want to do here, and that’s Europe,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York. “Particularly England, because they had the equivalent of a Democratic government, and Cameron comes in with austerity, and now they’re in a recession.” 

Obama advisers argue that the budget proposal of Representative Paul D. Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, which Mr. Romney has called “marvelous,” is actually a radical vision that would deepen the inequality in American society. They say that Mr. Ryan’s call for overhauling Medicare could drive up costs for future retirees and fundamentally change the popular health plan. 

“The Republican budget approach is far more extreme than austerity measures considered in Europe, in terms of both underlying goals and specific short-run policies, and the lack of any balance in approach,” said Jason Furman, principal deputy director of the National Economic Council. “Republican plans in Congress would be even more detrimental to longer-term growth because their refusal to consider any revenues necessitates even deeper spending cuts. In contrast, even conservative governments abroad have taken a more balanced approach to deficit reduction.” 

Virginia GOP Goes Further Off the Rails - Supports Cuccinelli By Large Majority

If there is anyone in Virginia who is the Christian equivalent of ayatollahs governing Iran its Ken "Kookinelli" Cuccinelli who in some ways makes Rick "Frothy Mix" Santorum look fairly rational.  Kooch thinks that he and Virginia are above the U.S. Constitution and he never hesitates to inflict his extremist religious views into the civil laws.  The very thought of him as governor must send the Christofascists at The Family Foundation into near orgasm.  For those not clinically insane or favoring a Christian Taliban like theocracy, Cuccinelli ought to make one's blood run cold.  The man is a menace and would destroy what's left of Virginia's reputation on both the national and international scene.  Yet the ever more extreme and backward thinking Virginia GOP seems to think Kooch is their man for 2013.  One can only hope that something arises to derail the insanity - perhaps one of the unconfirmed claims I receive from time to time that that Kooch likes cock will be verified (he certainly seems to fit the profile of the self-loathing closet case revealed in the University of Rochester study of homophobes).    Here are highlights from a Virginian Pilot article on the Virginia GOP's growing insanity:

Six months after jumping into the race, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli holds an overwhelming lead over Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling in the contest for the 2013 Republican nomination for governor, according to a poll released Wednesday.

Among 549 Republican and Republican-leaning voters surveyed May 30 through Monday, Cuccinelli has more than a 3-1 edge, 51 percent to 15 percent, in the Quinnipiac University poll.

Cuccinelli's huge advantage extends across all GOP demographic groups. He leads among Republican men 55-20 percent, women 46-9 percent, conservatives 54-15 percent, moderates 45-15 percent, white evangelical Christians 51-15 percent, and tea-party supporters 67-8 percent.

His lead over Bolling in the new survey is much wider than in previous polls, said Larry Sabato, a political scientist at the University of Virginia. But Sabato cautioned against taking any poll too seriously a year before the nomination.

"You can argue about whether he is a substantial favorite or a heavy favorite, but it's one or the other," Sabato said. "That doesn't mean that he'll win. Lots of things change once you actually get into the election campaign."

For one thing, he said, McDonnell is expected to campaign extensively for Bolling. For another, if Republican Mitt Romney manages to defeat President Barack Obama this fall, he would be likely to lend Bolling a hand as well.
Let's hope Sabato is correct and Cuccinelli is tossed onto the trash heap of history where he belongs - or admitted to a mental institution.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

More Wednesday Male Beauty

Romney Not Very Welcome in La Jolla

I've mentioned before how Mitt Romney wants to bulldoze his $12 Million vacation home in La Jolla, California (pictured above) and quadruple its size and add elevators for his and his wife's multiple cars.  It's not exactly the type of activities that down play Romney's out of touch image.  Worse yet, even in this wealthy neighborhood many are not too happy with the Romneys' presence.  Particularly the gays in the neighborhood who Romney wants to make 4th class citizens or worse.  The New York Times looks at the growing controversy surrounding Romney's efforts to throw his money and weight around in La Jolla.   Here are highlights:

ON Dunemere Drive, it seems as if just about everyone has a gripe against the owners of No. 311.
The elderly woman next door complains that her car is constantly boxed into her driveway. A few houses over, a gay couple grumbles that their beloved ocean views are in jeopardy. And down the street, a widow grouses that her children’s favorite dog-walking route has been disrupted. 

Four years ago, when he was just a well-heeled civilian in search of a quiet beach house, Mr. Romney paid $12 million for a three-bedroom Spanish-style villa with unobstructed views of the Pacific and a rich history: Maureen O’Connor, the former mayor of San Diego, once lived there, and Richard Gere had used it as a vacation rental. 

[M]any of the residents of this exclusive tract in La Jolla say they are rankled by what they see from their decks and patios as the Romneys’ blindness to their impact on the neighborhood. And personal politics is fueling their frustration as much as anything else, several days of interviews with about a dozen residents suggest. 

It turns out that Mr. Romney — who has likened President Obama’s policies to socialism, called for cutting back on federal funding to PBS and wants to outlaw same-sex marriagehas moved into a neighborhood that evokes “Modern Family” far more than “All in the Family.” (There are six gay households within a three-block radius of his house, neighbors said.) 

Four doors up the street from the Romneys is the home of Randy Clark and Tom Maddox, a gay couple who meet regularly with other residents worried by the candidate’s renovation plans. 

The men, who married in San Francisco four years ago, were asked by Mr. Romney’s architect to sign a document that stated they have no objections to his planned renovations, which would obscure a portion of their ocean view. They refused.  

A few houses up on Dunemere are Michael Duddy and his partner, James Geiger, who make no secret of their discomfort with some of Mr. Romney’s politics. Chatting with Mr. Maddox and Mr. Clark a few weekends ago, Mr. Geiger playfully proposed hanging a gay-pride flag from the Italian stone pine tree in his yard “so that Romney’s motorcade has to drive under it.” 

Three houses away from Mr. Romney is Mark Quint, a Democrat who said that he is tired of watching neighboring homeowners bulldoze small beach houses to make way for McMansions, fearing a “nightmare of construction.” He sees a discrepancy in Mr. Romney’s ambitious renovation plan. 

“The only thing he wants small is government and taxes,” Mr. Quint said. “He likes big houses, big families and big religion.”

On paper, the house sounds luxurious: it is 3,000 square feet, with vaulted ceilings, five bathrooms, a 20-yard lap pool and Jacuzzi shaded by a Torrey pine, a wraparound second-level deck and a lawn that slopes down to the ocean.

 The Romneys have said that the current configuration cannot accommodate their family of 5 children and 18 grandchildren. The new house, by contrast, will be 11,000 square feet with a split-level four-car garage equipped with an elevator to ferry cars up and down. 

“There are plenty of other big houses they could have purchased,” said a Dunemere resident who spoke on condition of anonymity, worried about antagonizing the Romneys and their friends. “This is a quaint little one-way street.” 

Mr. Romney has hired a lawyer to shepherd the project through the local zoning process and has spent about $22,000 to lobby city officials for various permits. But construction is not expected to begin anytime soon.  In fact, among his immediate neighbors, there are rumors that Mr. Romney has given up on building his dream home and will instead purchase the bigger and grander estate of his longtime friend Mr. Miller.

Despite attempts to blend in, though, the Romneys retain all the inconspicuousness of a neon billboard these days. Their comings and goings are heralded by sudden spasms of security: Secret Service agents fan out across the street. S.U.V.’s move into place. Traffic is stopped. A motorcade arrives. And whenever Mr. Romney is at home, a giant S.U.V. is parked diagonally across the entry to the cul-de-sac at the bottom of Dunemere, blocking all incoming traffic.  

Mr. Clark eyed a couple of Secret Service men polishing a black S.U.V. and playfully asked if they would mind washing his car.  One of them gave him a knowing look. “You’ll be fourth in line behind Mrs. Romney,” he retorted playfully. “She’s always asking, ‘When will you do my car?’ ”
 Children in this country are going hungry and millions still lack access to decent medical care.  Romney seems to be trying to make himself look as clueless and out of touch as George Bush Sr. did when  he seemed bewildered by a grocery check out lane.  I hope the Obama campaign is taking notes.

Another Federal Judge Strikes Down DOMA

More bad news today for the Christofascists and their boot licking political prostitutes in the Congressional GOP.   Yet another federal court decision was handed down holding that the Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional under the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.  This ruling was handed down in the case of Edie Windsor (pictured at right), who was seeking a refund of the federal estate tax paid by the estate of her late wife (unlike heterosexual couples, legally married same sex couples cannot transfer assets tax free to their spouses upon their death).  DOMA has no rational basis for its discrimination against same sex couples other than the improper intertwining of anti-gay religious beliefs into the nation's laws.  Here are highlights from Think Progress on this new ruling against DOMA:

Another federal judge has struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), finding the law unconstitutional. 

The victory comes in the case of Edie Windsor, who was seeking a refund of the federal estate tax paid by the estate of her late wife. From the ruling:
The Court declares that section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional as applied to the Plaintiff. Plaintiff is awarded judgment in the amount of $353,053.00, plus interest and costs allowed by law.
“It does not follow from the exclusion of one group from federal benefits (same-sex married persons) that another group of people (opposite-sex married couples) will be incentivized to take any action, whether that is marriage or procreations.”

It’s another loss for Paul Clement and House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the House of Representatives (“BLAG”), who had claimed that her homosexuality was a “choice.”

Windsor’s attorneys had argued that “DOMA violates the Equal Protection principles of the U.S. Constitution because it recognizes existing marriages of heterosexual couples, but not of same-sex couples, despite the fact that New York State treats all marriages the same.”


Wednesday Morning Male Beauty

Catholic Church Loses Ontario Battle Against Gay Straight Alliances

In an example in my view of who all schools that receive any government funding ought to be treated the Ontario legislature has enacted the Accepting Schools Act, known as Bill 13, which mandates that all schools in the province must allow GSA's regardless of whether they are public or Catholic schools.  The Globe and Mail has details.  Needless to say the child rapist protecting members of the Church hierarchy are beside themselves and playing the victim card - even though the Catholic schools are publicly funded due to a historic deal that was made back in the early days of Canada's split from Great Britain.  Obviously, the next issue will be whether that public funding should end in the event the Catholic schools refuse to abide with Bill 13 - something that seems to be gaining popular support as reported here.  Here are highlights on the bill's passage:

The Ontario government’s anti-bullying legislation is well on its way to becoming law, making it clear that sexual assault, gender-based violence and incidents based on homophobia will not be tolerated in the province’s elementary and secondary schools.

The Accepting Schools Act, known as Bill 13, passed third and final reading on Tuesday with a vote of 65 to 36. It was the first bill to pass since the Liberals won a minority in last October’s provincial election. The New Democratic Party supported the bill and all 36 Progressive Conservative MPPs voted against it.

“Today is about saying to Ontario students, ‘You can be who you are. You will be safe and accepted at school and the Ontario government supports you in that desire,’ ” a visibly relieved Education Minister Laurel Broten told reporters just minutes after the vote.

The bill amends the province’s Education Act and every school must comply with it, regardless of whether they are public or Catholic, Ms. Broten said.  The bill has opened up a rift between Roman Catholic church leaders and the government over an amendment which removes schools’ veto over allowing students to set up clubs called Gay Straight Alliances.

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario praised the bill, saying students must be protected from discrimination, including homophobia.  “We’re pleased that neither a board nor principal may prevent students from using the name ‘gay-straight alliance’ if they wish to start such a student organization,’” ETFO President Sam Hammond said in a statement.

Even as the bishops pout and stamp their feet, the lay trustees of the provinces Catholic schools seem to be getting the message that the bishops may be cutting the schools' financial throats.  Here are these highlights:

Ontario’s Catholic school trustees fear that they have lost the support of their communities in their opposition to gay-straight alliances, and that the issue has eroded public support for Catholic education, a document obtained by The Globe and Mail shows.

The OCSTA memo amounts to an acknowledgement that the trustees are “out of step with where the rest of the culture is at” by taking a hard line against GSA’s, said Peter Tabuns, the New Democratic Party’s education critic.

He suggested that trustees may be raising questions about the McGuinty government’s commitment to funding Catholic education as a “rallying cry” to try to pull people together. “But I can’t see how it would be successful,” he said. “I don’t see the signals that would indicate the whole landscape is about to change.”

[T]he bill has turned into a debate on whether it will continue funding Catholic schools, Ms. MacLeod said.  “This has opened up a Pandora’s box,” she said.

Religiosity Inversely Related to Upward Mobility

It seems that increasingly religiosity - certainly of the Christian fundamentalist variety - correlates with an embracing of ignorance and a rejection of science and modernity in general.  This does have real world consequences if one seeks to move upward economically both for individuals and states.  Not surprisingly, a new Pew study and analysis by Richard Florida find that the lowest economic upward mobility is in the Bible belt states (Note: the results for Georgia and Tennessee are likely skewed by Atlanta and Nashville) .  Likewise median incomes are higher in states where there is less extreme religious fervor.  The message: innovative individuals and companies are attracted to more tolerant and diverse states.  It's a message that Virginia ought to get as the Republican Party of Virginia works to drag the state backwards in time and to establish a quasi-theocracy run by The Family Foundation and its Christianist extremist allies.  Here are highlights from Richard Florida's article on the phenomenon:

Economic mobility - the quintessentially American idea (ideal, really) that any one, no matter how humble their origins, can become wealthy - has taken some terrible hits in the last few years. Writing in The New Republic, Timothy Noah notes that. . . .  “Mobility in the United States has fallen dramatically behind mobility in other comparably developed democracies," . . . we can now add Switzerland, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and Pakistan to the list of societies that are more mobile than the United States.

[E]conomic mobility varies by geography within the United States as well. The map above shows that economic mobility is highest in the New England and the mid-atlantic states, especially New York, New Jersey, and Maryland. The states where residents experience the least economic mobility are all in the south, with Louisiana, Oklahoma, and South Carolina scoring at the bottom.

I enlisted my Martin Prosperity Institute colleague Charlotta Mellander to help me examine the possible effects on economic mobility at the state level of factors like economic output and income, poverty, inequality, knowledge/ high-tech economies versus working class structures, college grads, religion, openness to immigrants, artistic creative and gays, and political affiliation. 

Education is a key driver of economic development. Incomes and wages are higher in states with more highly educated people. So it stands to reason that mobility would favor states with more highly educated populations.  .  .  .  .  absolute national mobility to be positively associated with public education spending per student . . . .

Openness matters to mobility. Places that are more open to outsiders appear to have more mobility. Immigrants, for example, signal openness. And there are positive correlations between immigrants and national relative upward mobility (.57) and regional relative upward mobility. . . .

Despite President Obama’s embrace of same sex marriage, gays and lesbian remain among the most discriminated-against groups in society. Recent successful moves to ban same-sex marriage in a number of states reflect this. We found positive correlations between the Gay Index and national relative upward mobility (.37) and regional relative upward mobility (.21).

Click image to enlarge

Religion factors in as well. The percentage of adults who say they are "very religious” according to Gallup polls is negatively associated with national relative upward mobility (-.51)—a pattern that is graphically represented on the above scatter graph.

Much has been made of America’s sorting across political lines, into the proverbial “red” versus “blue” states. Economic mobility maps onto this divide. Mobility is higher in blue states and lower in red ones.  .  .  .  .  There is a positive correlation between national relative downward mobility (.46) and whether or not a state voted for McCain.

In its slavish obedience to The Family Foundation and its support for religious extremism, the Republican Party of Virginia may well be killing Virginia's future.  Ignorance and bigotry carry a high economic price.