Friday, January 9, 2009

The Pink Is On Top of It

Dear Pagan,

Yesterday, the Senate passed a secretly drafted and fast-tracked resolution co-sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican Senator Mitch McConnell by unanimous voice vote (meaning there will be no written record of who voted yes or who abstained) "recognizing the right of Israel to defend itself against attacks from Gaza and reaffirming the United States' strong support for Israel in its battle with Hamas, and supporting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process." (You can read the full text of the bill here)

I am outraged but not surprised. WTF??????
It's Friday and I'm out to create a mood...
Be good kids. ;-)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Encouraging Study on Prop 8 Voting Patterns

I just received this email:

I am very excited to share with you a major study of voting patterns related to Proposition 8.

The study, authored by Professor Kenneth Sherrill of Hunter College-CUNY and Professor Patrick J. Egan of New York University, was funded by the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund and released in collaboration with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Freedom to Marry and Equality California Institute’s Let California Ring campaign.

Based on polling data funded by Equality California Institute and conducted by David Binder Research, the study found that voters who supported Prop 8 were primarily influenced by:

  • Ideology – 82% of voters who identify as conservatives voted “Yes”
  • Party – Republicans voted more than 80% in favor of Prop 8
  • Religiosity – 70% of weekly church goers voted “Yes”
  • Age – 67% of voters born before World War II voted “Yes”

The study also showed that race was not a driving factor in the election, as was purported by the National Election Pool (NEP) poll which said 70% of African-Americans voted for Prop 8. Our study found the number closer to 57% to 59%.

One of the most important--and rewarding--findings was the movement in all groups, except Republicans, toward support for full marriage equality. From 2000 to 2008 we moved Californians 9% in support of same-sex marriage – an amazing change in such a short time!

Find out more about voters and Proposition 8 and download the study at the Let California Ring website.

We will continue our outreach in all California communities and we encourage you to continue sharing your stories with the people in your life as a powerful tool to create change.


Geoff Kors
Executive Director
Equality California Institute

Some Good Articles on the Invasion of Gaza

Israeli Voices for Peace
Amy Goodman

Israel May Face War Crimes

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A Visit to the Smith College Museum of Art

This college campus museum, in bucolic western Massachusetts, is one of our local art treasures. With a nice sampling of art, it offers more than the typical number of art works by women. Here is a sampling of the works I most enjoyed. I threw in two of Robert Motherwell's paintings for Steve. Examining the Motherwell paintings in real life (for the first time; because truthfully, I used to just walk pass them) gave me a greater appreciation of his work. I still can't say I'm a huge fan but I do see the emotion in them and sometimes even playfulness and glee.

I apologize for the glare on the photos of the paintings. It was difficult for me to avoid due to both a lack of expertise with a camera and the lighting in the building.

WP told me that this Northampton, Massachusetts mansion was the setting for the film Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf.

Robert Motherwell


Woman with a Monkey

small panel of a study for A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte


click to enlarge and notice the details
(I loved this one)

Emma Amos

One Who Watches


(another favorite "new artist discovery")

Carmen Lomas Garza

The Blessing on Wedding Day

Mary Bauermeister
Eighteen Rows

Margarita Azurdia
La Libertad

More photos of this visit can be viewed on my Picassa web album.

I hope you're staying warm and dry. And if you live somewhere sunny and mild, I don't want to hear about it unless I can come visit! ;-)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Happy Birthday Michael Stipe


I just went over to the Random Man's blog and saw that among others, it's Michael Stipe's birthday today. A good excuse to play some REM, don't you think? :-)

This one goes out to Lisa, who has a new blog, replacing the old place Politits. Because I know she likes REM...that's why! Out with the old and in with the new, right?

Israel's Invasion of Gaza

Graphic by Ben Heine

It doesn't take a political mastermind to see the lopsidedness of Israel's invasion and bombing of Gaza. A few crude rockets sent off by the sealed-off and starving people of Gaza are met with a ground invasion and shelling that have killed over 400 people, including children.

I went over to Betmo's first thing to see what sources she had gathered on the topic. As usual, I did not come up disappointed. The first linked article discusses how things are possibly changing through a new outlook on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by organizations both in Israel and the U.S.

J Street is the political arm of the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement in the U.S. which is largely Jewish-American but has memberships of non-Jews as well. J Street is circulating a petition that calls for "strong U.S. leadership to bring about an immediate ceasefire". Consider going over there and learning more about their efforts

Am I just being naive or is Hamas a persecuted little bully who is ganged up on and pounded into the ground by a huge gang of thugs? Hamas talks tough about the total elimination of the state of Israel but they don't have the means. And in fact, this article from 2006 illustrates the position of Hamas on Israel's right to exist. Again, thank you, Betmo.

The Israeli government is perpetuating violence that will never end unless there is diplomacy toward a cease-fire and eventual lasting peace. What will this accomplish? Further violence and hatred and divisiveness.

Our government has suppored Israel militarily and politically for far too long. It's our duty as peace advocates to educate ourselves about how we can bring pressure on our government to support similar goals as J Street is advocating. The situation is complex but if we a have clear, well-defined position statement that we can use as reference when writing to our elected officials or taking our own positions on our blogs and in our other circles, we can make a difference in the way this decades-old warring between the Israeli government and Hamas.

Obama campaigned on a promise of renewed emphasis on this situation and reiterated that conviction during his new cabinet appointments. I don't mean to knock Clinton or Obama (why do I feel I even have to say that??) but it is my assumption that she is very sympathetic toward Isreael. I hope that this is not a hindrance in Obama's stated desire to bring U.S. diplomacy efforts to the region. And yet, MSNBC features this video news piece by Andrea Mitchell, touting Clinton as "credible in the Arab world". Let's hope so. Because as the video illustrates, the last time Clinton demonstrated some regard for the Arab world, the backlash was so strong in the U.S., that she went out of her way to embrace Israel, hookline and sinker.

Further, I wish that Obama would take a strong stand on the invasion of Gaza and not hide behind the "it's not my turn yet" facade. We know that Bush and Rice aren't going to do a damned thing differently.

And again, many thank yous to Betmo for helping me clarify my own ideas on this issue. She has sent me many links via email and provided much food for thought through the writing and links on her blog, Life's Journey. My dear friend, you are a tireless voice in the blogosphere, for peace and reason.

Thank you also to Ben Heine for allowing free distribution of the graphic above, for his own tireless voice on peace issues and justice and his immense talent as a cartoonist, artist and photographer.

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National Protest Against Prop 8

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