Month: April 2009

Marriage Equality Gaining Traction

Good news from Vermont today. The legislature moved to override the governors veto of marriage equality.

Of course the Natioanl Organization for Marriage (An Oxymoron or I think I’ll just refer to them a NOMOXY’s now.) weighs in on it with a national ad campaign.

Here’s the gist of the NOMOXY message:

National Organization for Marriage will tomorrow launch a new national ad campaign that highlights how same-sex marriage undermines the core civil rights of those who believe in the simple truth that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.

I guarantee you that their national ad will pounce on the precious snowflake argument. It seems that is all the opposition has left to fight with, the children.

Like some of you I took Developmental Pyschology and general Psychology in college. Kids are much more resilient and intelligent than the NOMOXY’s will give them credit for. I mentioned to a friend that at the age of 8 years I knew there was no God. I certainly got some good things out of the 12 years of Catholic schools, a good example of which is that maybe we should try loving our neighbor as ourselves a bit more. Perhaps we should take care of the downtrodden. You know, the good stuff.

A friends 8 year old son recently told a nun that “Religion is bullshit!” and was promptly expelled from that Catholic school. Good for him. Like I said, I knew it was bovine effluent at the age of 8 but chose to stick with it, always know thine enemy.

But it gets better, I live in RI where we Atheist/Nones make up 19% of the population, but it’s even higher in VT where atheists number 34% and New Hampshire where 29% don’t believe, 30% are Catholic, and about 30% baptist. That’s progress as far as I’m concerned. Because discrimination against gay marriage is directly traceable to the religious. There’s more than enough evidence of that now.

But we now have three states in New England where marriage equality is real, and now one from the heartland, Iowa. I’m so happy we got at least one legislative grant of equality, it proves that a legislature can be convinced to vote for equality.

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Now playing: Marvin Gaye – Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)
via FoxyTunes

My experiences on RIPTA

I hadn’t ever thought to post about this but I use RIPTA every now and then. Been doing so for several years and in general after using MBTA commuter and subway system I find buses to be sub-optimal for transit services.

That said, I know I’ve read stories where RIPTA buses have hit moving vehicles, parked vehicles and even run over people. Up until a certain point I’d read about drivers being assaulted (Some rightfully so I’d imagine!).

About two years ago I watched a woman whale on a driver. Police were called and she was arrested.

But this evening I had my first “bus hits a parked car” experience. Pretty much crushed the drivers side of the car. But then the guy was parked in, you guessed it, a bus-only no-parking zone. Plus he was sticking out quite a bit on a tight street to begin with.

Total delay was about 20 minutes, enough time for the police to get there, take the report from the driver and car owner and then that was it. RIPTA buses hit things all the time and as I said, every once in awhile they run someone over. Par for the course really.

I’d venture that MBTA buses and NY’s MTA buses have the same parameters.

However I am one who says scrap the bus system as it exists. Drop track on the major routes in the city and then track to surrounding communities. Adopt the MBTA system where each host community chips in for the services. Leave the buses to do more narrow routes.

Future Wind Energy Could Meet All Our Needs

There is an article in the LA Times about wind power. The best area for wind just happens to be off the Atlantic coast of the U.S.

Shallow water wind projects could provide 20% of our energy needs. Going into deeper water would provide ALL of it.

I think we should plow straight ahead on wind and solar projects. Wind projects for the eastern half of the country, solar projects for the western half. We need to begin moving away from using coal, oil and natural gas to generate electricity.

The electrical generators in this country are only 2.45% that are fueled by oil. The rest are king coal and natural gas. Was use 1.053 billion tons of coal a year. We use 6.6 trillion cubic feet of gas per year to generate electricity. 23 trillion cubic feet overall going for heating water, spaces and industrial processes.

But the environmental benefit of cutting use of coal, gas and oil would be spectacular.

Then of course we’re seeing progress being made with electric vehicles. Ranges are popping up toward the 200 mile mark, and prices are still a bit high. I think we need strong government subsidies to stimulate the electric car market.

And look at this. This little1973 Datsun 1200. It smokes EVERYTHING. That is because right off the line, electric motors deliver 100% of their power, most of all torque is constant. They call the car the White Zombie.

An 11.554 quarter mile? And this thing does 0-60 in < 3 seconds. How freakin awesome is that. Now electric cars on the roads of course won’t be doing 11 second quarter miles. So the gear heads don’t need to worry, they’ll still be able to connect a batter to an electric motor and pretty much wipe out any competition.

The video lets you see the power of electricity over internal combustion. Why else do you think railroads use a diesel power generator to send current to the drive wheels? Phenomenal torque and power!

I do note our local transit authority is putting in for hybridized buses, these employ the same scheme as the trains, not the bizarro method used in motor vehicles. Not to mention, the average transit bus gets maybe 10MPG, hybridizing them quadruples it to 40MPG. Consider most buses ply city streets and you can add up the fuel savings.

And lets face it, most of our commutes are generally 40 miles round trip. Electric cars with ranges of even 150 miles would make perfect sense for us.

Marriage Equality in Iowa

This is great news. We now have three judicial acts(IA, MA, CT), and one legislative act (VT). Should Speaker Murphy allow H5744 to go to a full vote we may just see a legislative in RI too.

I liken the process of marriage equality to a snowball. It starts off tiny at first, but by the time it gets a third of the way down hill it is the size of a car.

Ultimately I see a U.S. Supreme Court challenge coming. This will play out just like Loving v. Virginia played out.

The whole thing makes me wonder about the obstinacy of the likes of Murphy, Codega et al. There are three points of attack I’ve seen from the opposition:

1) It would limit the rights of the religious class.

No it wouldn’t. There are specific limitations built into the marriage laws and in the proposed changes to the pre-requisites in RI State Senate bill S0136 and House bill H5744. Throughout my discussions with the Rev. Codega the same argument has been brought up time and again.

One of the more famous arguments was regarding the church property in NJ. The case in point comes from Mount Laurel, NJ and the church in question was Methodist. The property in question is a beach pavillion, not a consecrated church building. In fact the corporation that owns the pavillion is the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association and I’d lay odd that it is on the tax rolls of its host community.

Another limitation they bring up is the hate speech laws. A clear example of what would and would not qualify as hate speech:

Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 wouldn’t be classified as hate speech because they are biblical quotations. However using those passages to incite violence against gay people, that would be hate speech.

2) What about the children?

Another constant argument is that poor little snowflake would be irreconcilably crushed to find out that two men or two women can be as normal as their single parent. The most ridiculous of these cases is that of Robb and Robin Wirthlin.

Note Robb talking about the impacts of marriage equality. That these people participated in the Yes on 8 debacle makes me not like them very much at all.

And YouTube has a Yes on 8 group, look at their logo quickly and tell me what it looks like.

Yes On 8 Group Logo
Yes On 8 Group Logo

Would you say a well defined set of pectorals?

I’ve often said if you want to bring out every stripe of hater just run a black lesbian cripple for office. You cover the racial, homosexual, misogynistic and anti-disability angles in one person.

That is another lesson many of the religious fail to understand. Walk a mile in someone elses shoes. Try to have some empathy, to understand where the other person is coming from. That’s sort of how I’m dealing with the Rev. Codega, he specializes in collecting the lost among Catholics. I find that a laudable mission. But don’t use it to trample my rights.

3) The Parts don’t fit.

To paraphrase the gay moralist John Corvino, oh yes they do. Funny how that happens isn’t it. You’d think that a god who hates gay acts so much would have designed it so the parts wouldn’t fit. Once again another fine quote in that respect from Neil DeGrasse-Tyson, who would build an amusement park in the middle of a sewage treatment plant.

The argument also brings to mind the image of doing it in the dark, under the covers, and quietly. Hell I like ear splitting sex. Holler and moan all you want, just turns me on more. And it doesn’t have to be in the dark and under the covers.

Which brings up another thing. Straight people can be every bit as freaky as gay people. I feel sorry for people who’ve never been sexually liberated. They really don’t know what they’re missing.

Poll Data supports Marriage Equality

As you well know, I’ve been having a rather extended email conversation with the Rev. John Codega of Christ the Redeemer Church in West Warwick, RI. In that exchange a lot of statistical data gets thrown about from sources such as the American Religious Identification Survey(PDF), ProJo Polls, etc.

I’ve been making the point that more than half of RI’ers support the right of gay people to marry one another, otherwise known as marriage equality.

Apparently Gallup did a recent national poll on Catholic/Non Catholic attitudes towards many of the dividing social issues of today, but they did a further classification, they classified by regular church attendance and non-regular attendance, E.G. Catholic in name only. I know quite a few of the latter category.

I do applaud Gallup for indicating their study methodology:

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews with an aggregated sample of 3,022 national adults, aged 18 and older, interviewed in polls conducted in May 2006, May 2007, and May 2008. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±2 percentage points.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on land-line telephones (for respondents with a land-line telephone) and cellular phones (for respondents who are cell-phone only).

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

Anyhow, keep in mind that this is a NATIONAL study and there is a bit of data that intrigues me.

It’s under the heading “Moral Acceptability of Issues Among Catholics and Non-Catholics”, look down at the category “Homosexual Relations”. 54% find it morally acceptable. Now the really interesting part is that the Providence Journal had a poll asking if marriage equality should be granted in RI and guess what the percentages came out to, 54% in favor. I realize I’m comparing dissimilar items since the ProJo poll doesn’t have the additional data points of membership, and frequency.

But the reason I think this is interesting is because RI is still an overwhelmingly Catholic state, I dare say the northeast in general is that way.

We’re gaining support from all corners now, the tide is turning and I believe a lot has to do with our visibility.