Archive | January, 2012

Are Liberals More Intelligent Than Conservatives?

30 Jan

Who Is Smarter?

Thank you to my friend Brad for inspiring me to write this article.  Brad is one of the kindest people I know.  We have been friends now for a quarter of a century.  Brad is also exceedingly brilliant and equally liberal, but this is not an empirical study of liberalism v. conservatism.  This is an article about genetics, science, and a link between intelligence and identifying as a liberal.

With that being said, I am going to inject my definition of “liberal.”  Liberal: one that believes in the greater good; one who shows solidarity for women to have reproductive rights; solidarity to fight racism, homophobia, ageism, misogyny, and all of the intersections of oppression.  One that subscribes to the belief: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”

In an article from Psychology Today, Satoshi Kanazawa examines the correlation between intelligence and being a conservative or being a liberal.  Kanazawa develops the hypothesis that:

…more intelligent individuals are more likely to espouse the value of liberalism than less intelligent individuals, possibly because liberalism is evolutionarily novel and conservatism is evolutionarily familiar.

While I agree with Kanazawa’s hypothesis, I do disagree with his conclusion that:

 Liberals do control the media, or the show business, or the academia, among other institutions, because, apart from a few areas in life (such as business) where countervailing circumstances may prevail, liberals control all institutions.  They control the institutions because liberals are on average more intelligent than conservatives and thus they are more likely to attain the highest status in any area of (evolutionarily novel) modern life.

Sadly, as the United States seems to continue to “Dumb Down” (I suspect a conservative conspiracy, for conservatives benefit from a stupid population that can be ruled by fear and superstition, thus vote against their best interests) Liberals do not control the media.

I strongly encourage you to read Kanazawa’s article.  The part regarding IQ and the graph are very interesting.  Of course, I would also ask that as one reads this post and Kanazawa’s article, please keep in mind distribution of power and access to resources as they pertain to marginalized and oppressed populations.

The Closing of Hull House: Sad Commentary on Our Times

28 Jan

Goodbye Hull House

Yesterday was a very sad day indeed. Hull House, founded by Social Work Pioneer Jane Addams, closed it’s doors.  In 1931, Addams was the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Addams may well be best known for starting Hull House in Chicago.  Here is the mission statement of Hull House:

Jane Addams Hull House Association improves social conditions for underserved people and communities by providing creative, innovative programs and advocating for related public policy reforms.

Jane Addams Hull House Association provides child care, domestic violence counseling and prevention, economic development, family services, job training, literacy training, senior services, foster care, independent living, and housing assistance for 60,000 children, families and community members each year in communities in and around Chicago.

Hull House also advocates for social and public policy reforms and initiatives that impact the lives of the men, women, and children in the communities we serve.

Now after 120 years, Hull House is closed.  It would be delightful to say that Hull House closed because services were no longer needed–that poverty and discrimination had ended.  Alas, that is so far from the truth.  The truth is that the need for services continued to increase exponentially, but sadly funding for Hull House decreased at an even faster rate.

What doses this say about American Culture?  We are witnessing multi-millionaires spending millions and millions of dollars to run for President of the United States, but we as a culture put up no resistance to social services for the poor and disenfranchised being cut by 1% Republicans like John Boehner.  As someone who is currently getting his MSW, I am horrified that Americans no longer seem engaged in the battle against the inequitable  distribution of power and wealth.  We seem to have grown either amazingly stupid or apathetic  as our silence and non-action, or voting against our best interests supports an all white, heterosexual, Christian, male power structure.

I leave you with the words of Jane Addams:

The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.

Educating People Who Hate Gays: The Right to Love

28 Jan

Right to Love

Thank you to my friend Eric Rosswood for sharing the information on this documentary The Right to Love: An American Family.  This election year has been a particularly difficult one for the LGBT community, with all of the GOP candidates signing a pledge to actively discriminate against an entire marginalized population.  The hypocritical sanctimony coming from all of the GOP candidates is enough to make me want to spit up.

My friend Eric brought to my attention a way to educate people and eliminate the efficacy of the fear-based tactics of millionaire hypocrites like Gingrich, Romney, and the closeted Santorum.  We need to show how similar families really are–how much we have in common as we struggle to have our children become successful and happy adults.  The documentary, The Right to Love: An American Family works to educate our homophobic brothers and sisters.

It is time we started focusing on facts, rather than myths about LGBT families! For more reading, click here to read Eric’s article.

Hero of the Week Award: January 27, The Amelia Bloomer Project

27 Jan

Hero of the Week

This week’s HWA goes to the great work of the American Library Association’s Feminist Task Force. Every year, they receive hundreds of nominations for the Amelia Bloomer Project, a list of the best feminist books for young readers, ages birth through 18.  The list is subdivided by age group and fiction / non-fiction. This important work identifies books that emphasize strong girls and women and the contributions they make to improving our society and themselves. The 2011 selections were just announced this week, introduced by this wonderful historical quote from Amelia Earhart:

One of my favorite phobias is that girls, especially those whose tastes aren’t routine, often don’t get a fair break… It has come down through the generations, an inheritance of age-old customs which produced the corollary that women are bred to timidity.

From the amazing list of honorees, the Task Force also selects a Top Ten each year. Here are the 2011 winners:

  1. Addie on the Inside by James Howe (Atheneum Books for Young Readers)
  2. Basketball Belles: How Two Teams and One Scrappy Player Put Women’s Hoops on the Map by Sue Macy, illus. by Matt Collins (Holiday House)
  3. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray (Scholastic)
  4. Deadly by Julie Chibbaro (Atheneum Books for Young Readers)
  5. The Dressmaker of Khair Khana: Five Sisters, One Remarkable Family, and the Woman Who Risked Everything to Keep Them Safe by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon (Harper Collins)
  6. Ruth Bader Ginsburg: U. S. Supreme Court Justice by Paul McCaffrey (Chelsea House)
  7. Tillie the Terrible Swede: How One Woman, a Sewing Needle, and a Bicycle Changed History by Sue Stauffacher, illus. by Sarah McMenemy (Alfred A. Knopf)
  8. Women Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue by Kathryn J. Atwood (Chicago Review Press)
  9. Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With a Few Flat Tires Along the Way) by Sue Macy (National Geographic)
  10. When She Woke by Hillary Jordan (Algonquin Books)

Congratulations to all the selected books and a big thank you to the Task Force and for their hard work in identifying books for all young readers that show the power of girls and women.

Bigot of the Week Award: January 27, Pastor Patrick Wooden

27 Jan

Bigot of the Week

Thank you to my friend Ken for nominating Wooden for this week’s BWA.  How sad to see yet another religious leader spewing such venom and hate in the guise of Christianity, or what I like to call the new KKKristianity. Pastor Wooden, like many homophobes, is obsessed with men having sex with men.  He appeared with Peter LaBarbera (huge closet queen) to deliver his words of HATE.  Wooden said:

The God of the Bible made the human sperm, the God of the Bible designed it and it was not designed to be emptied into an area that is filled with feces, there is nothing for it to germinate with, it will most certainly mean the extinction of the human race. My belief is that if the medical community would just step forward and just would share with the American people what happens to the male anus, the problems that homosexuals have with their rectums, the damage that is done, the operations that are needed to sew up their bodies if you will, and how many of the men don’t even give these stitches time to heal before they are back out there practicing that wicked behavior. Some are bleeders, men who are not turned off by ingesting the feces of other men.

If the truth was told, people would literally gag and no one would want to be in a lifestyle like that. Who wants to practice anything that is going to ultimately lead a grown man to about the time he’s in his 40s or 50s, or what not, having to wear a diaper or a butt plug just to be able to contain their bowels?

Wow!  Wooden sure does think about anal sex an awful lot.  I suspect he probably owns a butt plug of his own.  Forgive me for injecting actual truth here, but heterosexuals engage in anal sex as well!  I did not realize that people’s sex lives was any of Wooden’s business. I suppose he isn’t interested in being troubled by any medical facts while he spews out his lies and exaggerations; those pesky facts are so troublesome when you have hate to spread.

What worries me more is that Wooden is African-American and the message he is sending out to young people of color is dangerous!  We need to support and raise up our LGBT Black brothers and sisters!  Shame on you, Pastor Wooden.  How long before your boy toy jumps out of the closet?

Happy Birthday, Bessie Coleman

26 Jan

Happy Birthday, Bessie Coleman

Happy Birthday to pioneer Bessie Coleman.  Coleman holds two very significant firsts: she was the first African-American woman pilot and the first African-American to hold an international pilot’s license.

Coleman was tenth of 13 children.  Born in 1892 in Texas, she was part of a family who were not strangers to racial barriers and overt racism in the United States, as evidenced by she and her family picking cotton.  Her father (part Cherokee) was finally fed up with the racism in Texas and returned to “Indian Territory,” what is now Oklahoma.

In 1920, Bessie Coleman went to France and learned to fly in Paris.  She did a bit of traveling through Europe and learned her craft as a pilot.  Upon returning to the United States, she became known as “Queen Bess.”

Upon her death in 1926, people like the amazing Ida B. Wells attended her funeral.

Marriage Equality: Good for Business

25 Jan

Support Pro-Equality Businesses

Since Gov. Christine Gregoire‘s passionate speech launching a push for full marriage equality in Washington state, things have moved forward quickly. Enough members of the Washington House and Senate have indicated support for a marriage equality bill to make its passage very likely. It looks like our neighbor to the north will become the seventh state to offer full equality to same-sex couples some time this year.

One pleasant surprise in this effort has been the outspoken support from the Northwest business community. A number of powerful companies are headquartered in Washington (including Microsoft and Starbucks). Seven regional companies have written to the Governor and the Legislature indicating their support for marriage equality. After watching the anti-gay efforts of companies like Target, let’s take a moment to celebrate these firms. Three cheers to:

  • Starbucks,
  • Microsoft,
  • Nike,
  • Vulcan,
  • RealNetworks,
  • Concur, and
  • GroupHealth.

Other major companies from Washington score very high on the HRC Corporate equality index, including Amazon.com (90), Costco (90), and Boeing (85). Let’s hope they add their vocal support to this equality effort. As Starbucks Vice-President Kalen Holmes so eloquently states:

Starbucks is proud to join other leading Northwest employers in support of Washington State legislation recognizing marriage equality for same-sex couples. Starbucks strives to create a company culture that puts our partners first, and our company has a lengthy history of leading and supporting policies that promote equality and inclusion. This important legislation is aligned with Starbucks business practices and upholds our belief in the equal treatment of partners. It is core to who we are and what we value as a company.

Bravo to businesses that understand the value of all their customers.

Poor Rand Paul: He Found Out He is not Above the Law

24 Jan

I am Above the Law!

When will Americans learns that elected Tea Party officials are allowed to be governed by a completely different set of rules than us everyday Americans?  I want to know what kind of Tea the Party is brewing and who is drinking it.  All Rand Paul had to do was get through security at the Airport in Nashville.

Apparently a millimeter wave scanner detected an “anomaly” in the area of his knee, according to Senator Paul, and TSA agents then said he’d have to undergo a full-body pat-down. Paul said he wouldn’t submit to such a search and offered to show agents his knee, instead. They said that wouldn’t suffice. There are rules in place (however excessive we might find them) to protect all passengers, even senators. as aTSA representative observed:

Passengers who refuse to complete the screening process cannot be granted access to the secure area in order to ensure the safety of others traveling.

But of course Sen. Paul feels there are separate but equal rules that his position entitles him to apply.  Yes, Plessy V. Ferguson is alive and well.  How sad that our poor old, sad old, dear old Rand was treated like any average American at the airport.  I’m sure his unpleasant and bitter brew of tea at the airport will only give him the stamina he needs to go forward and strip away the 14th amendment to block folk from voting. After that, Rand can finally conquer and put a stop to the unstoppable Gay Agenda.  Then he can get on to the business he was headed to Washington for when he ran afoul of the TSA, stopping women and ensuring they can’t be trusted with choices around their own bodies.  He is kind of like a Papa Stalin.

Happy Birthday, Maria Tallchief

24 Jan

Maria Tallchief

Happy Birthday, Maria Tallchief. Tallchief was the first Native American, indeed the first American, to achieve the title Prima Ballerina. She was with the New York City Ballet from 1947-1965. Her father was Alexander Joseph Tallchief, a Chief of the Osage Nation in Oklahoma; her mother was Scots-Irish. She described herself as:

But in many ways, I was a typical Indian girl — shy, docile, introverted. I loved being outdoors and spent most of my time wandering around my big front yard, where there was an old swing and a garden. I’d also ramble around the grounds of our summer cottage hunting for arrowheads in the grass. Finding one made me shiver with excitement. Mostly, I longed to be in the pasture, running around where the horses were.

In regards to ballet, her life’s work, she said:

A ballerina takes steps given to her and makes them her own. Each individual brings something different to the same role.

Tallchief’s grandfather not only helped to ensure the stabilization of the reservation, but he also helped to secure its mineral rights. I only wish there were more information regarding the indigenous peoples of North America before the Native American Holocaust.

Progress for Transgender Brothers and Sisters

23 Jan

Nice Job Massachusetts

Thank you to my dear friend and LGBT ally, Jennifer Carey, for inspiring this story.  Last week we witnessed a move forward in the civil rights movement.  Governor Deval Patrick, of Massachusetts signed bill H.3810 into law.  Massachusetts is now the 16th state to offer protection from discrimination to transgender men and women.

Governor Patrick was quoted:

No individual should face discrimination because of who they are. This legislation gives Massachusetts the necessary tools to stop hate crimes against transgender people and to treat others fairly. I am proud to sign it.

Very nice, Governor Patrick.  Now let us hope that the next senator for Massachusetts will be Elizabeth Warren.

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