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Columns, Ideas, Not Your Average Prom Queen, Politics, Religion »

We’ve all been taught (in anecdote or in practice) that discussing religion, politics and baseball is a fast way to ruin friendships, or at least offend polite company. But, if this is true, then what do we talk about on a first date?

Favored sports teams might be a suitable topic that inspires playful rivalry (especially if one of you doesn’t really care about sports), but, to some, the religious and political beliefs of your potential mate are defining characteristics in the calculations of your potential for success.

Ideas, Politics »

Over the past two months there has been a rise in organized, often violent, resistance and riotous activity. The true cause is not something we can immediately identify and therefore should hesitate in pointing any fingers or instituting reactionary policy. The worst result of this displaced anger and frustration among the youth is perhaps an increased gap in any form of productive dialogue. In both the reactions abroad and at home the press releases and public statements sound more like chiding parents berating their children for misbehavior and punishing them by taking away their privileges, a grand “grounding” of a generation. Instead it might be more productive to explore the roots of this misbehavior or at the very least acknowledge that there is a growing chasm of disparity.

Politics »

Facing the most daunting political and economic climate in years, AIDS activists have relaunched efforts to follow presidential candidates on the campaign trail, challenging them to commit to funding the fight against global AIDS.

The tactic, called birddogging, has been used for years by activists to get politicians to go on record saying they’ll ramp up AIDS funding. Sometimes, activists merely attend a town hall, step up to the mic, and ask a candidate for a pledge. Other times, participants get more aggressive, interrupting speeches, waving signs and participating in acts of civil disobedience.

Politics »

For some reason pundits and policymakers haven’t grasped the reality that debt ceiling debates and promises of job creation won’t spur young people (generations Y, Z, etc.) to political action.

My generation was born in the era of Bush, Clinton and Bush – more importantly in the time of the rapid growth of televised news, a method of ‘learning about the world’ that is so clearly and laughably dogmatic to anyone under the age of 40. Our political environment is not real to us, we have not experienced in a direct way how changes in Washington affect our lives.

One element to this is a rote learning process that has affected every generation: Why should 21 year olds give up late night binge drinking to organize to ‘Save Medicare’?

Politics »

Did you watch the GOP debate the other night? I didn’t either.

However, I did catch some interesting tweets in my news feed suggesting well-known homophobe Rick Santorum was for the rights of gays, at least those gays in Iran.

Hey, that’s great if Santorum really cares about people he will never be able to hurt through legislation or venomous rhetoric, but don’t let the man behind the curtain fool you. If you do it could get pretty messy.

Commentary, Ideas, Politics, Rants »

I want nothing more than for President Obama to succeed. I voted for him and I was there in Grant Park in Chicago on the night he won. It was an exhilarating moment, for all of us there, and the millions across the country who were riding the wave of Obama’s brand of “Hope”. I would have put my money on seeing George W. Bush and Dick Cheney get gay-married over seeing my home state of Indiana go blue and vote for a Democrat for President, but it happened.

Politics »

Without debating, analyzing, and criticizing we may allow the continued perpetuation of social injustices within our community or even accept what the hegemonic society has told us is “normal.”

In the end, criticism must come out of love and respect, because if this isn’t the case we will cease to be a movement.

Maybe some of our leaders in the queer community should take note of the Poverty Tour and highlight the plight of queer individuals in America: “The Queer Liberation Tour,” anyone?

Politics »

It’s difficult, when reading and seeing coverage of the riots in England, to not see a negative of our own pacification Stateside. Of course, the riots there emerged, and continue to emerge in some places, in response to a specific set of contingencies–the police killing of Mark Duggan, an already volatile cultural climate in the wake of anti-cuts rallies earlier this year, growing dissatisfaction with government austerity measures. But, let’s not forget, we have our own oppressive circumstances to deal with here too. The ranks of unemployed are growing and stagnating in tragic degrees. The chasm of divide between the racial majority and racial and ethnic minorities is wider than ever. And we even have a similar police killing in San Francisco for a catalyst. So why the quiet?

Politics »

On Tuesday, 2 August 2011, our representatives — flying under a 61% poor performance rating (Survey of 1,000 Likely Voters June 24-25, 2011 Rasmussen Reports) — put citizens’ futures on the firing line with their tweaking fingers at the trigger. The impacts of the final compromise on the ‘debt-ceiling crisis’ will be run through the usual mill of analysis for the next several months: insiders, political talking heads, and elected officials will point fingers to polarize their bases, but the actual path of their hubris may never be known. The decision is nothing less than acrid. For those individuals already feeling malnourished by our country’s economic state, it offers a daftly inspired mirage which upon approach reveals nothing more than a dysphoric desert reality. It is increasingly evident that the bargains to maintain the promises of American social institutions have ended in a stalemate between those that have and those that have more. Thus, as professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University and New York Times columnist Dr. Paul Krugman forebodes in his article The President Surrenders, “…how can American democracy work if whichever party is most prepared to be ruthless, to threaten the nation’s economic security, gets to dictate policy? And the answer is, maybe it can’t.”

Politics »

Before you think this is some commentary written by one of those self-loathing Family Research Council members or some other wing-nut—and God knows there are a ton of them—this is how I’ve chosen to describe whoever was responsible for dis-inviting Republican Congressman Allen West from attending a meeting which was scheduled to be held Monday, August 8.

The meeting was to be between Rep. West and the members of the Wilton Manors Business Association (WMBA). The by-laws of WMBA states: “The purpose of the association is to promote the development and growth of the Wilton Manors business community.”