Tuesday, January 25, 2011

PHB Calls Out Madaleno

We mentioned recently that both houses of the Maryland legislature will be considering marriage equality bills: good. The press quoted Rich Madaleno, to no one's surprise, as Madaleno is an openly gay politician who has taken up LGB causes in the past.

Lurleen at Pam's House Blend takes Madaleno on this morning for ignoring the "T" in LGBT and not supporting a state gender-identity nondiscrimination bill similar to the one that was passed in Montgomery County.
Maryland state Senator Rich Madaleno (D-18) posted "Rich Madaleno's Equality Agenda" over at Maryland Politics Watch on Monday.  Saying he is "proud honor Dr. King's legacy through two civil rights initiatives I am working to pass this year in the Maryland General Assembly", he lists the marriage equality bill and...the Maryland DREAM Act.  What's glaringly absent from that short list is the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act.  Senator Madaleno, you're forgetting something.

Equality Maryland has assured us that the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act is on their equality agenda.  But one wonders why it isn't on Senator Madaleno's agenda because Senator Madaleno isn't some rabid Republican bigot.  He's an openly-gay pro-equality Democrat who invokes MLK, Jr. but fails to champion a non-discrimination bill that MLK, Jr. surely would have dubbed a no-brainer. Senator Madaleno, aren't you forgetting something?

Our Montgomery County officials have been courageous in tackling hard problems even when they don't have a vested interest in them. You shouldn't have to be gay, for instance, to realize that discrimination against gay people is wrong. Our County Council and Executive understood the injustice of discrimination against transgender citizens even though none of them are transgender. It's just wrong, and they passed a law to empower transgender people to protect themselves.

There is clearly a surge in favorable attitude toward marriage equality. More and more people realize that it's unfair, unkind, and counterproductive to prevent same-sex couples from marrying and starting a family. Politically it is not an especially risky or bold thing to propose, especially for someone like Madaleno who is clearly associated with gay rights already.

There is not the same surge in favor of transgender rights. This is probably because the proportion of transgender people in the population is quite small, most people have never met a transgender person and are completely unaware of the difficulties they face. But many transgender individuals suffer a constant stream of abuse when they go out in public, they have difficulty being hired for jobs they are qualified for, they have problems with police and even paramedics, they face discrimination everywhere they go.

It may be unfair to argue that because Madaleno is gay and supports gay rights that he should automatically support gender-identity rights as well. Though he is a friend to the LGB population he is not especially looked upon as a very progressive politician in general. Maybe Pam's House Blend is wrong to focus on him, expecting him to stand up for a group that he does not apparently identify with.

LGB people may not identify with transgender people as a group, but they face exactly the same kind of prejudice -- I would bet that most homophobes can't tell the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity. We are not surprised when a politician avoids controversy, but Madaleno is in a unique position to accomplish something good here. Let's see if he rises to the challenge.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Madeleno is a venal creep who is showing his true colors!


How dare he take the T outta GLBT!!

He has now ticked off the Plain White Ts!!!

January 25, 2011 5:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Madelono --Vote him out of office!

January 25, 2011 6:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Off topic, but I am fascinated to hear what you think of this article, Jim.

Timothy Ferris: Conservative Is Not Opposite Liberal: That's Totalitarianism
There are important distinctions made here, distinctions many of us had forgotten or allowed to become muddled.

By liberalism I mean the original political philosophy called by that name--the one espoused by John Locke and embodied in the Bill of Rights. Liberalism is based on the hypothesis that people ought to be maximally free, with the government intervening only to the extent required to protect their freedoms against abridgment by their compatriots or by enemies abroad. This was a radical idea in the eighteenth century, when few people had much education and the general public was routinely slandered as ignorant and untrustworthy. Locke himself feared that the public was so mired in "passion and superstition" as to be apt, as Voltaire put it, to act irrationally and "speak without thinking." Sharing such qualms, many of the American founders described the newborn United States as akin to a scientific experiment. "No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying," wrote Thomas Jefferson in 1804, "and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth."

Liberal democracy--the form of government in which a majority can elect leaders but not constrain human rights--has survived innumerable social experiments to become the choice of more than a third of all humanity and the stated preference of most of the remainder. (Even outright despots feel obliged to pay lip service to its inevitability, if only as a distant prospect to be realized once the populace is "ready.") Yet in the United States--and, increasingly, in parts of Europe as well--the term liberal has come to mean the political Left. This has served only to cloudy the political waters. Those on the Left are free to call themselves anything they like--such as progressive, a term many have been taking up lately--but they ought not to be called liberals. Liberalism is an independent political philosophy, with no inherent connection to either the Left or the Right.

In science it often happens that confusing phenomena can be better understood by adding a dimension. Einstein laid the foundations for modern cosmology, the study of the universe as a whole, by portraying three-dimensional space as a curved continuum embedded in a four-dimensional "space-time continuum." Contemporary cosmological models involving string theory and membrane theory invoke ten or more dimensions. (They're beautiful; the jury is still out as to whether they're true.) Drop in on a scientific conference nowadays and you'll see talk after talk illustrated with two-dimensional slices of hyperdimensional "phase spaces" that may have no physical reality but aid in comprehension.

Political dynamics become a lot clearer if we do something similar, by replacing the old, one-dimensional, Left/Right political spectrum--a relic of the way delegates happened to be seated in the National Assembly circa 1789--with a two-dimensional diamond:

Such diagrams have the virtue of putting opposing philosophies in opposite positions, rather than trying to squeeze them all into a one-dimensional line. The opposite of conservatism, which cherishes practices that experience has shown to work in the past, is progressivism, which looks to the future. The opposite of liberalism is not conservatism but totalitarianism, the elevation of state power at the expense of human rights.

As the diagram suggests, liberalism is equally accessible to conservatives and progressives alike.

Timothy Ferris: Conservative Is Not Opposite Liberal: That's Totalitarianism

January 25, 2011 7:14 PM  
Anonymous They can't do better than this? said...

Tea Party Spokesperson, Michele Bachmann, flunks history, again.


"Cooper: We begin as always, keeping them honest. Comments that are either a deliberate rewriting of our history or signs that Michele Bachmann has a shaky grasp on our history. Why does this matter? Is it just an attack on a controversial lawmaker? We don’t think so. Lots of lawmakers probably don’t know all they should about American history, TV show anchors as well. Michele Bachmann is repeatedly changing the history of the constitution. what she says matters, because people do listen to her, we think facts matter, particularly when it’s facts about our founding as a nation. Speaking to a group called Iowans for Tax Relief, Congressman Bachmann seemed to whitewash over our painful history of slavery. She air brushed herself some new history. Here she is talking about what people have faced throughout history when coming to America.

Bachmann: It didn’t matter the color of their skin. it didn’t matter their language, it didn’t matter their economic status. it didn’t matter whether they descended from know royalty or are of a higher class or a lower class. it made no difference, once you got here, we were all the same.

Cooper: As much as we wish that were the case, that’s simply not true. whether she was talking about the founding of our nation or the experience of immigrants throughout our history that were not treated the same. Irish immigrants didn’t feel the same, Japanese-Americans didn’t feel the same when they were placed in internment camps. and enslaved Africans didn’t feel the same when they were brought here against their will. She mentioned slavery, but only to say it was something the founding fathers couldn’t wait to get rid of.

Bachmann: We know that was slavery that was still tolerated when the nation began. We know that was an evil and a block and a stain upon our history. But we also know that the very founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the united states. and i think it is high time that we recognize the contribution of our fore-bearers who worked tirelessly, men like John Quincy Adams, who would not rest until slavery was extinguished in the country.

Cooper: Again, Congresswoman Bachmann has her facts wrong, many of the founders owned slaves, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson who wrote all men are created equal owned slaves. Jefferson was conflicted about it, but others were not. the constitution itself establishes slaves as 3/5 of a person, a political compromise. as for John Quincy Adams, Ms. Bachman is right, he was a tireless campaigner against slavery. But he was not a founding father as she implied. This is not the first time she’s gotten the facts wrong or invented her own facts. Just recently on 360, she claimed President Obama’s trip to Asia would cost $200 million a day. We proved how that was unfounded. Plenty of other examples, we focus on this tonight, not just because she’s going to be speak tomorrow night, but because we believe facts matter, particularly where our history is concerned. One of the many things that makes this country great is we are able to examine our best, we are at our best when we learn from the past. Rewriting history doesn’t do anyone any good. It doesn’t honor our history.'

January 25, 2011 7:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe Jim will want to read the entire opinion piece before he responds.


As a scientist, I think he'd particularly like this part:

"Science is inherently antiauthoritarian: If a theory fails experimental test it doesn't matter how smart or powerful its proponents may be. Science is also highly social: No one scientist knows enough to go it alone for long. Hence science thrives under liberalism, which protects freedom of property, speech, travel, and association. Their alliance has already freed more people from poverty, ignorance, and an early grave than every other approach in all recorded history combined.

It used to be thought that science was a neutral tool, like a shovel or an AK-47, equally serviceable for tyrants and free citizens alike. The Soviet Union and Fascist Germany perpetuated that myth by portraying themselves as gleaming powerhouses of scientific technology--but proved, once the curtains of their obsessive secrecy had dissolved away, to have been anything but. Today, China's Communist rulers are busy building laboratories, bestowing privileges on their indigenous scientists, and recruiting researchers from abroad in an effort to make China a world-class scientific power. Their efforts are unlikely to succeed, however, until the Chinese people are free.

Scientific creativity, like all creativity, is unpredictable and can be dangerous: To learn how the sun shines is also to learn how to make nuclear weapons. Global warming is the latest, and in some respects the most serious, example of this fact. It can be addressed neither by going back to ancient verities nor by marching in lockstep toward a progressive vision of a predetermined future. It may, however, yield to the potent combination of science and liberalism. Certainly there are resources available. The United States spends half a trillion dollars annually on importing foreign oil, while the world spends $7 trillion a year on energy; a fraction of that amount can put a dent in global warming. Should science and liberalism fail to meet this test, however, illiberal rule may well gain ascendance in the resulting emergency.

For as long as I have been alive, people have been saying that science is fine in its place but has inherent limitations. Science, it is said, can adjudicate questions of fact but not of value. It can weigh quantities but not qualities. It shows "how the heavens go, but not how to go to heaven." I wouldn't be so sure about that. We human beings all belong to one species, on a planet where all life is kin, and astronomers at their telescopes find no wall bifurcating the universe. To insist that we live in two worlds, one accessible to science and the other not, is to back the losing line in the winningest game ever yet played by humans. My money's on science and liberty."

Oh that reminds me, I'm glad to see you're going green rather than continuing to allow all your heating and air conditioning leak out to the environment. Weatherproofing may not seem very luxurious, but sitting in the sauna in an upscale health club probably does.

January 25, 2011 8:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

did you know that directly above Obama, Biden and Boehner last night is a phrase chiseled into the wall: "In God we trust" ?

if the camera had pulled back slightly, you'd be able to see it and America would see their President speaking under it

how did we get so far off track?

enterprises that exclude God will fail

the Post this morning:

"PRESIDENT OBAMA entered office promising to be a different kind of politician - one who would speak honestly with the American people about the hard choices they face and would help make those hard calls. Tuesday night's State of the Union Address would have been the moment to make good on that promise. He disappointed."

January 26, 2011 7:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

attack Madaleno if you will, but he is on to something:

transgenderism is a form of sexism

it shouldn't be encouraged by society

transgenders have bought into all kinds of stereotypes about gender and, based on that, decided they are actually another gender

they need help rather than enablement

January 26, 2011 7:29 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Joan Walsh on the two GOP rebuttals to SOTUS:

"The president was lucky to have not one but two GOP rebuttals, and they were equally strange and dishonest. Rep. Paul Ryan railed against the deficit without proposing even one specific cut. He didn't talk about his own infamous "Roadmap," maybe because most analysts have called it a budget buster, even though it essentially replaces Social Security and Medicare with vouchers. The Congressional Budget Office estimates Ryan's plan wouldn't balance the budget until 2063, and would add $62 trillion to the debt by then. Citizens for Tax Justice said Ryan's Roadmap raises taxes on 9 out of 10 taxpayers and while slashing them for the wealthiest.

Wisely, Ryan talked about none of that. He promised to repeal "Obamacare" and replace it with "fiscally responsible patient-centered reform," but didn't say word one about what it would entail. Most dishonestly, Ryan said Democrats had overspent "to the point where the president is now urging Congress to increase the debt limit," ignoring the fact that Congress raised it seven times under President Bush. That's your new chair of the House Budget Committee. (Update: Somehow I missed the best line in Ryan's rebuttal, in which he worries we're headed toward "a future in which we will transform our social safety net into a hammock, which lulls able-bodied people into lives of complacency and dependency." I want to ask the 14.5 million unemployed Americans, and the millions more who are underemployed, how they're enjoying their hammocks. Leave it to a Republican to come up with such vivid metaphors of leisure to talk about suffering. It's the only way they can relate.)

Tea Party leader Michele Bachmann followed Ryan, and CNN chose to broadcast her talk while other networks didn't. Bachmann has actually proposed budget cuts – eradicating the Department of Education and saving money (?) by repealing the Dodd-Frank Financial Regulation act. But she didn't talk specifics in her SOTU rebuttal, either. Luckily, she didn't get into American history, after her disastrous Iowa speech sugarcoating slavery and otherwise distorting the American past. (Note to Bachmann: George Jefferson was definitely not one of the founders.) She flashed Perot-style charts blaming rising unemployment solely on Obama, and ranted about 16,500 new IRS agents supposedly hired to enforce Obamacare (Factcheck.org has already debunked that myth).

Bachmann ended with a shot of soldiers raising the flag at Iwo Jima (which she mispronounced) and compared it to Americans fighting the debt crisis. "We will proclaim liberty throughout the land," she concluded. "We the people will never give up." Unfortunately, she was looking at the wrong camera for the entire speech, so she always seemed to be looking over the viewer's left shoulder (in my case, at my dog Sadie.) It was a little creepy.

Throughout his career, Barack Obama has benefited from having lame opponents, and that trend is clearly continuing thanks to the new leadership of the GOP. He looked presidential; Ryan and Bachmann looked small and lost. The worst response was from GOP Rep. Paul Broun, the one who was afraid Democrats wanted to play "kissy-kissy" by sharing seats during the SOTU. He skipped the address and spent it on Twitter, where he declared, "Mr. President, you don’t believe in the Constitution. You believe in socialism." That's probably better than Rep. Joe Wilson interrupting an Obama address to the House by screaming "You lie," but not by much."

January 26, 2011 7:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's nice that Bea apparently has enough reading comprehension skills to determine the general theme of opinion pieces but I wonder:

does she ever have any thoughts of her own?

BO's speech did have it's humorous moments:

after having raised Federal expenditures through the roof the last two years, he wants to buckle down and freeeze spending?

I bet he does, since Republicans are already planning to roll spending back to pre-Obama levels

we'll see if Obama has the guts- or stupidity- to veto

Republicans hold the trump card though- they can refuse to lift the debt ceiling

that's better than a veto-proof majority in the Senate

remember what happened when they demanded that the President not raise taxes on the super-rich?

similar situation

"Throughout his career, Barack Obama has benefited from having lame opponents, and that trend is clearly continuing thanks to the new leadership of the GOP."

yes, that must account for his good fortune in the 2010 elections

all his opponents were lame

wonder how it would have gone if they weren't...

January 26, 2011 8:51 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Republicans hold the trump card though- they can refuse to lift the debt ceiling

Oh sure, and Republicans can thereby cause the US to default on its loans. What a great trump card to play! I'm sure American seniors will be so happy to forgo their Social Security checks while the GOTP plays cards. Maybe House Republicans will even shut down the federal government again. After all, it worked so well for them in 1995 and 1996.

< eye roll >

January 26, 2011 4:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anonymous" Even more amusing than the President's remarks are your continual misuse of the English language: "BO's speech did have it's humorous moments:"

It's = it is

We can forgive your usual doofiness, though.

January 27, 2011 10:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Oh sure, and Republicans can thereby cause the US to default on its loans. What a great trump card to play!"

no, we'll pay our debts

the Department of Education, the NEA and PBS are toast though, not to mention much of the AID

"I'm sure American seniors will be so happy to forgo their Social Security checks while the GOTP plays cards."

I think we'll have enough money for that too. Changes will be coming though. You're aren't retiring until 70.

"Maybe House Republicans will even shut down the federal government again."

Based on Obama's recent behavior, that will hardly be necessary. He'll cave at the least sign of resistance.

Remember the tax cuts for the super-rich?

We'll approve a small increase in the debt but only after significant cuts in the liberal programs favored by Democrats.

Or else, Barry.

"After all, it worked so well for them in 1995 and 1996."

The times have a-changed, my friend!

"< eye roll >"

what, did you just snort some bath crystals?

""Anonymous" Even more amusing than the President's remarks are your continual misuse of the English language: "BO's speech did have it's humorous moments:"

It's = it is

We can forgive your usual doofiness, though."

yeah, I'm a real doof

I can that mixed up all the time

its a shame

the way Obama messed up our country

its a shame

the way he hurt us

January 27, 2011 3:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obama hasn't hurt anyone. He has helped millions of Americans in many different ways.

He bailed out, reorganized, and made profitable the American automobile industry, not just American automobile manufacturers, but smaller businesses that supply the manufacturers too.

He made it so health insurers can't deny children with pre-existing conditions insurance thereby forcing families to choose between bankruptcy and allowing their ill children to suffer and/or die (not fetuses mind you, but born living human children).

He helped seniors fill the donut hole in prescription coverage created by Bush's unfunded Medicare revision

He stopped the economic freefall created by the Bush Administration

He saved 500,000 homeowners from foreclosure in 2010

He restored protections against pay discrimination against women and others.

He renewed dialogue with NATO and restored America's reputation with our allies Bush's crowd called "Old Europe"

He approved $15 billion to boost lending to small businesses, the backbone of the American economy

He limited lobbyists access to the White House, as opposed to Bush/Cheney who let the oil companies dictate our energy policy

He provided federal funding for science and research laboratories

He empowered States to enact fuel efficiency standards above federal standards

He eliminated the US torture policy and brought the US into compliance with the Geneva Convention standards

He purchased fuel efficient American-made fleet of vehicles for the federal government (ask Theresa how much money can be saved by being more fuel efficient)

He helped reverse the downward spiral of the stock market left by Bush

He increased funding for student loans and pell grants so more American students can afford to go to college

He cut taxes for 95% of American families through tax credits.

He signed the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act and provided better body armor for our troops

Appointed the most diverse Cabinet in history including more women appointees than any other incoming president

Google "Obama's accomplishments as President" and read some of the 17+ million listings of the good things he's done for American citizens.

January 27, 2011 11:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Obama hasn't hurt anyone."

do you know how much our national debt has increased since he became President?

do you most doctors believe the quality of health care will decline under Obamacare?

those are a couple of overarching things

now, a couple of examples on a smaller scale:

how about the kids in DC who will have to go to dangerous failing hellholes that cost twice what vouchers do because Obama cancelled their program to kiss up to teacher unions?

how about the traffic delays all over the country from stimulus projects that were completely unnecessary?

January 28, 2011 6:58 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Oh right, you're so concerned with hell hole schools that you want to eliminate the Department of Education and not pay taxes that will enable our nation's capital to build new schools and pay teachers and school administrators decent wages.

< eye roll >

You get what you pay for.

January 28, 2011 8:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rich Madeleno has more morality, ethics, and courage in his pinkie than any of the so-called, cowardly "Anonymous" pirate posters in here have in their entire bodies...bodies that are wracked with evil and hatred and pseudo-Christianity!

Get a life!


January 30, 2011 3:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You get what you pay for."

hasn't happened yet

try comparing the academic stats of schools before the Dept of Education began with now

"Rich Madeleno has more morality, ethics, and courage in his pinkie"


can we have an example?

January 30, 2011 11:10 PM  

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