HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » markpkessinger » Journal
Page: 1


Profile Information

Member since: Sat May 15, 2010, 03:48 PM
Number of posts: 7,571

Journal Archives

The wisdom of Roberts' reasoning (Wow - did I really just write that?)

I don't think I ever expected to be writing about so much as a shred of wisdom to be found in an opinion by Justice Roberts. But I guess stranger things have happened (although I can't quite think of any at the moment).

Justice Roberts quite rightly found that the distinction between "tax" and "penalty" is, in this case at least, one of mere semantics. The modest penalty imposed for non-compliance with the individual mandate is, functionally speaking, a tax designed as a revenue offset against the cost of providing care to those uninsured persons who present themselves at hospital emergency rooms for treatment and who ultimately do not have the resources to pay for such treatment. He recognized that Congress has the right to levy such a tax.

I think the President was quite foolish in his insistence some time back that the penalty was not a tax. It clearly is, right down to the agency designated to collect it, namely, the IRS. I think the President was afraid of the "t" word, and so tried to spin it as something else. I understand what his thinking likely was, but I believe it was misguided. The fact that the President tried to spin it as something other than a tax, however (for whatever reason), doesn't change the underlying functionality of what that penalty really is, as Justice Roberts correctly recognized.

A far better way for the President to present the issue would have been to characterize the non-compliance penalty as a tax to offset the costs borne by taxpayers of those who freeload off the system -- in other words, counter the emotionally laden "government is forcing you to do something" argument with another emotionally laden, and closer to the truth, argument about freeloading. Unfortunately, by insisting that the penalty was <i>not</i> a tax, he has left himself open to criticisms that he was attempting to mislead voters.

Ultimately, though, I don't think this will hurt the President.

Posted by markpkessinger | Thu Jun 28, 2012, 04:15 PM (0 replies)

A message to a younger generation of the LBGTQ community on the 43rd anniversary of Stonewall

Gay Pride weekend is always such a fun time to be in New York -- there is the parade, of course, and the Pier dance, plus any one of the various club and private parties that will start tonight and last well into Monday morning. But I've noticed a disturbing trend in recent years, in which certain elements of the LGBTQ community express their discomfort with some of the more, shall we say, overt and expressive elements within our community. The complaints seem to grow a little louder each year. Such complaints, I believe, are not only unhelpful, but they actually serve to play into the hands of the very forces that have long sought to repress us. And they are based, I believe, on a serious deficit in the knowledge of our community's history.The complaints usually go along the lines of, "If only there weren't so many (select one or more: drag queens|overtly sexual displays|topless "Dykes on Bikes", etc.), and if only people were more, well "normal," our community would be able to achieve full equality much sooner." They go on to claim that these more "outrageous" elements are the thing that holds the community back from full inclusion and equality. It's a tempting myth. It's always easier to focus on those who are different as being the source of our problems. But it is a complete fabrication that betrays a genuine ignorance of the history of repression of the LGBTQ community.

First, that approach (i.e., assimilation, being as "straight-acting" as possible, not drawing any attention to oneself) has already been tried. It was a colossal failure. In the 1950s and '60s, there were only a couple of organizations who were willing to brave the harassment of police and the FBI. The predominant activist organization was The Mattachine Society. The whole philosophy of The Mattachine Society was based on the idea that if only LGBTQ people could convince heterosexual society that we were "just like them," "straight" society would recognize just how irrational its prejudice had been, and repression would naturally cease. It didn't work. If anything, repression of the LGBTQ community increased during those years. The 1960s in New York were a time of random police raids of gay and lesbian bars and meeting places. People arrested in such raids were subject to having their names published in the newspapers as having been arrested on "morals" charges. As a result, people lost jobs, were shunned by families, and even lost their housing (as it was legal for a landlord to eject them on the basis of such arrests).

Second, the Mattachine theory rested on a totally false prior assumption; to wit, that bigotry and prejudice are, in the first instance, rationally based. Unfortunately, what the good folks of The Mattachine Society didn't quite grasp was that bigotry NEVER requires a rational basis (although bigots will be more than happy to adopt any rationale they can get away with in order to legitimize their bigotry).

The tide didn't begin to turn for the LGBTQ community until that hot, June night in 1969, when the NYPD set out on one of its usual raids, this one directed at the Stonewall Bar. Here's the thing about the crowd that frequented Stonewall in those days: with some possible exceptions, they were NOT the buff, scrubbed types with their Ivy League MBAs, lucrative jobs on Wall Street and summer shares in Provincetown or Fire Island Pines. No -- those types had far too much to lose to be caught in such an establishment. The Stonewall crowd was, rather, a rag-tag bunch of drag queens, street kids, trannies, hairdressers, struggling actors, kids who turned tricks on the street to survive, and the like. And it was this group -- not the modern, scrubbed and pressed, oh-so-normal gay man of today -- that finally had the courage to take a stand against the NYPD's oppression, resisting (sometimes violently) for three days. It was the birth of the modern gay rights struggle.

So the next time you find yourself squirming a bit at someone who strikes you as just a little too effeminate, too overt, too extravagant, or "too gay," remember who it was that had the courage to take a stand on your behalf all those years ago. Remember the folks whose efforts so long ago afforded you the luxury of being "normal." And remember that your rights sink, or swim, with theirs.
Posted by markpkessinger | Fri Jun 22, 2012, 07:17 PM (1 replies)

But don't you see, Nancy . . .

Nancy points to the fact that she could have had Karl Rove arrested, but didn't. But don't you see Nancy, that is precisely the problem with Congressional Democrats: when they are handed an opportunity to act, they don't. Instead, they do things like declaring impeachment to be "off the table" (remember that, Nancy?). And now you whine about the GOP doing something that was totally predictable from the outset to anyone who was paying any attention at all. Democrats collectively need to grow a pair and learn to play hardball!
Posted by markpkessinger | Wed Jun 20, 2012, 04:20 PM (0 replies)

An educational exchange with a right winger . . . ;)

Yesterday, on another site, some right winger tried to "educate" me by instructing me that the word "homosexual" can only be applied to humans because the root, homo-, means "man" in Latin. Here is how I responded:

Well now, you are certainly to be commended for your erudite command of Latin! And I thank you for so generously sharing of your linguistic knowledge.

So, in the same spirit of intellectual generosity, I would point out that the derivation of the root "homo-" in "homosexual" is not the Latin word "homo" (which you have correctly pointed out means "man", but rather the Greek word homos (meaning "same",. This, of course, enables it to pair rather nicely with its counterpart "heterosexual," which makes use of the Greek root "hetero-" (meaning "other"

and the Latin word sexualis. It is mrealy a coincidence that the Latin word for man is homo, but the Latin word is not the the etymological basis for "homosexual." So "homosexuality" can apply equally to humans or any other species.

Examining the etymological origin of a word in order to tease out its meaning is a great thing to do, and I highly recommend it. But if you are going to make a point in a public forum based upon an examination of the linguistic origins of a word's root, it is probably a good idea to be sure you are referencing thecorrect root source . . . and the correct source language. Otherwise, people might mistake you for one of those people who posts public comments without knowing anything about the subject at hand. And you wouldn't want that, would you? Just sayin'.

Snide? Yes, a bit. Condescending? Guilty as charged.

The guy deserved it, though.
Posted by markpkessinger | Thu Jun 14, 2012, 01:30 AM (5 replies)

Having seen the Tony Awards, i know what musical I will NOT be seeing . . .

. . . and that is "End of the Rainbow." The performance on the Tony Awards was one of the most embarrassingly bad, over-the-top caricatures of Judy Garland I have ever seen. Frankly, I've seen drag impersonators who did Ms. Garland greater justice. Simply appalling!
Posted by markpkessinger | Sun Jun 10, 2012, 09:00 PM (8 replies)

A friend gives a gas driller an attitude adjustment...

A friend of mine, whom I've known since I was a child and who still lives in the town in PA in which I grew up (an area that is Ground Zero for the Marcellus shale fracking that is going on) posted this on Facebook yesterday:

Just had an interesting experience while getting gas at Sheetz.....One of our inbred "drillinators" pulled up behind an elderly lady beside me ane started screaming obcenities at her for "taking HIS place in line"! Well, the Scot-Irish in me boiled over and I went and confronted the young man. He mouthed off to me and I noticed he didn't have his seatbelt on, so I simply pulled him out of his truck, and needless to say, this old fart has bloody knuckles and knees! A small crowd developed, and someone asked if I wanted him to call 911. For whatever reason I asked the young lad (from Texas....nothing against Texans), who had, by then, blood about his mouth and nose, if HE wanted anyone to call 911. At that point he stood up, brushed himself off, and said "no" then proceeded to apologize to me and the elderly woman, and the people around him for his actions in a very gentlemanly manner. Apparently his momma did something right!

LOL! Love it!
Posted by markpkessinger | Sun Jun 10, 2012, 04:47 PM (38 replies)

Fox News is at it again -- attacking Bill Press over his comments on the "Star Spangled Banner"

he debate over both the appropriateness and the singability of the Star Spangled Banner as the national anthem has come and gone for decades, yet FOX news is trying to cast it as being driven by some kind of anti-American hostility. Personally, I've always thought America, the Beautiful is more appropriate textually, is more appropriately reverent, is far more singable and far and away more aesthetic than the current drinking song!

I would also note that in the months following 9/11, it was America, the Beautiful that people took comfort in, not the bombastic SSB! And THAT is the mark of a culturally authentic national anthem!

Posted by markpkessinger | Sun Jun 10, 2012, 04:16 PM (33 replies)

A suggestion for NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg (from a Type II diabetic) . . .

If Mayor Bloomberg is really interested in making a dent in the obesity epidemic, rather than focusing on the size of soda beverages sold in movie theaters, restaurants and other concessions, he should follow the same principle his administration followed when it issued the ban on trans-fats. That is, instead of trying to regulate the size of the beverage, instead issue a ban on the sale of beverages sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup. Force soda manufacturers to return to the use of good old cane sugar!
Posted by markpkessinger | Sun Jun 10, 2012, 01:14 PM (17 replies)
Go to Page: 1