Wednesday, January 28, 2009

O'Reilly: "We don't report rumours"

Hilarious video of Stephen Colbert mocking Bill O'Reilly's coverage of the NY senate seat. Amazingly unprofessional.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Rick Warren and the Inauguration Controversy

On the actual day of the inauguration, most people who watched didn't come away thinking about the two preachers who opened and closed the ceremonies. Of Pastor Rick Warren, some remember how creepy it was when he mispronounced Sasha and Malia's names. Some will remember Rev. Joseph Lowery, a civil rights activist, and his humorous benediction that called for justice for all races in rhyme: "we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around...". What many missed though was the outrage that the selection of Rick Warren as invocation speaker sparked in the LGBT. President Obama, as I mentioned in my previous post, made multiple statements affirming his commitment to equal rights for LGBT individuals despite his opposition to gay marriage. Saddleback Church's notoriously anti-gay Rick Warren is an anti-choice preacher who was strong proponent of California's prop. 8 and he has repeatedly equated gay relationships with pedophilia, incest and adultery on video, as seen below.

Anderson Cooper had 3 CNN correspondents on his show Anderson Cooper 360 to debate the issue. One of the three, Hillary Rosen probably best capture the outrage felt at the Obama team's decision to have Rick Warren speak:

The decision was not just politically opportunistic: it was also homophobic. After already suffering the crushing defeat of Prop. 8's passage, the last thing the LGBT community needed was another high profile slap to the face. It was The Rachel Maddow Show's resident pop culturist Kent Jones who had the best quote of the night though:

"Apparently in his invocation Warren is going to be asking God not only to bless America, but also to make it a lot less gay.".

That's the change America voted for, huh? Needless to say, this incident has caused a fair amount of suspicion and bad blood between the LGBT community and the Obama administration right off the bat. The move was designed to bring Obama political capital; perhaps to give him a "Sister Souljah moment" ( of sorts. The only way to keep Obama from throwing the LGBT community under the bus for cheap political capital in the future is to generate such a public outcry that it no longer benefits him to do so. Despite our collective hope, the LGBT community will have to be ever-vigilant under the new Obama administration. Once we've forced the Obama administration to respect us as they would any other group, maybe then the LGBT community can achieve its long yearned for progress.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

LGBT Rights, Gay Marriage and Obama

For the class I'm taking this semester, Politics 101, we have been asked to pick a specific area of public policy to focus on in our blogs. For me I'm going to pick gay rights. This is an issue close to my heart for personal reasons and because I was involved in the failed "No on 8" campaign here in California.

A common mistake made by many political observers is the conflation of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) rights with gay marriage. To merge these two concepts is fallacious, ignorant, and lazy. For most of the gay community and almost every gay rights activist, gay marriage is a long-term goal that is secondary to the more pressing problems of legal discrimination, workplace discrimination and homophobia in the media. That being said, the media and political discourse have made gay marriage the big scary proxy issue that stands in for any and all enfranchisement of LGBT individuals. As such it will be unavoidable as a chief topic of interest in this blog. Whenever the Obama administration, Congressional leaders or media pundits talk about gay marriage, they are speaking too about the larger concept of LGBT equality.

With the massive Republican defeat in all levels of government this election cycle and hence the reduced clout of social conservatives, there would appear to be hope for LGBT rights activists. President Obama stated in an open letter to LGBT Americans in February that:

I talked about the need to fight homophobia when I announced my candidacy for President, and I have been talking about LGBT equality to a number of groups during this campaign – from local LGBT activists to rural farmers to parishioners at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where Dr. Martin Luther King once preached. Just as important, I have been listening to what all Americans have to say. I will never compromise on my commitment to equal rights for all LGBT Americans. But neither will I close my ears to the voices of those who still need to be convinced. That is the work we must do to move forward together. (

Needless to say, there is ample reason to feel that LGBT rights will see great progress in the Obama administration. The Bush presidency certainly didn't set the bar very high. In 2004 President Bush called for an anti-gay marriage amendment stating:

"Today I call upon the Congress to promptly pass, and to send to the states for ratification, an amendment to our Constitution defining and protecting marriage as a union of man and woman as husband and wife." (February 24, 2004,

The tides of civil rights are changing. I hope as many LGBT activists do that a new administration means more federal action for LGBT civil rights not against them. The hope is tempered by political reality. Nobody believes that LGBT rights are near the top of President Obama's agenda right now. With constant pressure from LGBT activists and the LGBT community though, I believe that the promises of "full equality in their [LGBT] family and adoption laws" ( that President Obama promised in his campaign could be realized within his first time. With momentum on our side, the movement for LGBT equality just might come to the White House.

Friday, January 23, 2009

DeMint and the Freedom Fighters

I don't know if these extremists could sound more like Big Brother if they tried. I mean what's next, loyalty oaths?

Video Courtesy of the "Rachel Maddow Show", 1-22-09.

You'd think that the far right reactionaries in the Republican party would attempt to remain relevant by toning down their rhetoric. Former President (!) GW Bush was only to happy to use the divisive us vs. them rhetoric that Sen. DeMint so classily wields in this video. Maybe he didn't get the memo, but that's not such a good way to become relevant in the Obama administration. As Obama himself reminded Senate Republicans: he won. There's a reason for that.

America is not crying out for more Reactionary faux-patriotic rhetoric: we voted that out of office. The man who championed and put in the spotlight the "freedom fighter" McCarthyist rhetoric left office three days ago with a 22% approval rating, the lowest ever excepting Nixon. Let the long slide into irrelevavence continue for Demint and his ilk. The reasonable Republicans will moderate themselves for the new administration and shifting public opinion. Demint and his fellow "freedom fighters" are in for a rude awakening.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

New Blog Location!

To anyone who might read this, I'm reviving this blog under the new title "Power to the Pundits". The new blog will be at The old URL now redirects to this new blog! It has all of the old posts contained here and is designed to be my long-term blog. I'll put my political musings and whatever else I have an opinion on up. But don't worry-- it'll be self-pity free! I hope to see you around here!

Much love,