aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Politics: the 4th part of the Trinity
Wow! I watched to hear the headline - “You name the important Christian leader and I have heard them mocked by serious people in serious places.” - But I stayed to listen to all that David Kuo had to say. There was plenty.
David Kuo, once the number two guy in the president’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, is my king of fundamentalist Christian. A man with a Biblical Worldview that would no doubt keep him from voting my way on many issues, I can admire and respect his views just the same.
A “pioneer of the Compassionate Conservative movement” once dazzled by Bush’s compassion, he wants to talk about the poor:
[D]uring the 2000 campaign...Bush proposed for the first time that he would spend $8 billion dollars on programs for the poor.
“I think it’s one of the most important political speeches given in the last generation. I really do,” says Kuo. “It laid out a whole new philosophy for Republicans.”
After the election, to much fanfare, President Bush created the office of faith-based initiatives to increase funds to religious charities.
But Kuo says there were problems right off the bat. For one, he says the office dropped very quickly down the list of priorities.
His story, his book,Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction, and his 60 Minutes interview are about what he learned from his disappointment:
Part of the problem, he says, was indifference from “the base,” the religious right. He took 60 Minutes to a convention of evangelical groups - his old stomping ground - and walked around the display booths, looking for any reference to the poor.
“You’ve got homosexuality in your kid’s school, and you’ve got human cloning, and partial birth abortion and divorce and stem cell,” Kuo remarked. “Not a mention of the poor.”
“This message that has been sent out to Christians for a long time now: that Jesus came primarily for a political agenda, and recently primarily a right-wing political agenda - as if this culture war is a war for God. And it’s not a war for God, it’s a war for politics. And that’s a huge difference,” says Kuo. [...]
“God and politics had become very much fused together into a sort of a single entity. Where, in a way, politics was the fourth part of the trinity. God the father, God the son, God the holy spirit, God the politician,” says Kuo.
Jim Towey, his old boss at the faith based office, calls Kuo “naive and simplistic.” Towey had the look, feel and language of the slick DC politician, even if he learned it as Mother Teresa’s lawyer. I’m thinking my neighbors will identify much more with Kuo. That is, of course, if ever they hear him. He suffers from a malignant brain tumor:
“I have this burden on my heart that the name of God is just being destroyed in the name of politics,” Kuo says. “I felt like I had to write this.”
“You’re calling for a fast. That’s your expression,” Stahl remarks.
“Yes. I think that Christians, particularly evangelical Christians need to take a step back. To have a fast from politics,” he replies. “People are being manipulated. Good well-meaning people are being told, ‘Send your money to this Christian advocacy group or that.’ And that’s the answer. It’s just not the answer. It’s not the answer.”
Asked if he thinks the White House is going to view his book as a betrayal and may go after him, Kuo says, “Of course they will. I can hear the attacks, right? ‘Oh, he’s really a liberal.’ or, ‘Oh, maybe that brain tumor really messed up his head.’ Or, you know, ‘He’s an idealist.’”
To that end, I quote liberally:
The Gay Old Party Comes Out
by Frank Rich
PAGING Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council: Here’s a gay Republican story you probably did not hear last week. On Tuesday a card-carrying homosexual, Mark Dybul, was sworn into office at the State Department with his partner holding the Bible. Dr. Dybul, the administration’s new global AIDS coordinator, was flanked by Laura Bush and Condi Rice. In her official remarks, the secretary of state referred to the mother of Dr. Dybul’s partner as his “mother-in-law.”
Could wedding bells be far behind? It was all on display, photo included, on http://www.state.gov. And while you’re cruising the Internet, a little creative Googling will yield a long list of who else is gay, openly and not, in the highest ranks of both the Bush administration and the Republican hierarchy. The openly gay range from Steve Herbits, the prescient right-hand consultant to Donald Rumsfeld who foresees disaster in Iraq in Bob Woodward’s book “State of Denial,” to Israel Hernandez, the former Bush personal aide and current Commerce Department official whom the president nicknamed ”Altoid boy.” (Let’s not go there.)
If anything good has come out of the Foley scandal, it is surely this: The revelation that the political party fond of demonizing homosexuals each election year is as well-stocked with trusted and accomplished gay leaders as virtually every other power center in America. “What you’re really seeing is the Republican Party on the Hill,” says Rich Tafel, the former leader of the gay Log Cabin Republicans whom George W. Bush refused to meet with during the 2000 campaign. “Across the board gay people are in leadership positions.” Yet it is this same party’s Congressional leadership that in 2006 did almost nothing about government spending, Iraq, immigration or ethics reform, but did drop everything to focus on a doomed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
The split between the Republicans’ outward homophobia and inner gayness isn’t just hypocrisy; it’s pathology. Take the bizarre case of Karl Rove. Every one of his Bush campaigns has been marked by a dirty dealing of the gay card, dating back to the lesbian whispers that pursued Ann Richards when Mr. Bush ousted her as Texas governor in 1994. Yet we now learn from “The Architect,” the recent book by the Texas journalists James Moore and Wayne Slater, that Mr. Rove’s own (and beloved) adoptive father, Louis Rove, was openly gay in the years before his death in 2004. This will be a future case study for psychiatric clinicians as well as historians.
Stalking the iPod killer
We have run the iPod Killers for Christmas/Summer series since 2004. In that time we reported on 149 portable players and NOT one iPod killer from the bunch. That said, we may actually have a couple of genuine challengers to Apple. This holiday season will see Microsoft pump tens-of-millions of dollars to hawk their new Zune portable and SanDisk’s 8GB e280 flash unit is compelling high-end users. Both can realistically grab double-digit market share from the iPod, particularly because the iPod only got a modest facelift this season. Whether they do or not waits to be seen.
The struggle of all brands is to find that secret sauce of features, look and that highly elusive “cool factor”. Disney is showing success with kiddies thanks to strong product branding (a touch wheel with mouse ears). If you can argue that part of the “iPod Aura” is really a fashion thing, then we should factor in the fact that fashion changes and some consumers will shift to new players simply because they are not an iPod. But Apple is not playing Versace, which would require the iPod to morph dramatically every year. Instead Apple takes the role of Anne Klein or Polo, a classic look that evolves within the context of popular consumer taste.
But seriously, is there really a player out there to challenge the iPod? In truth, one manufacturer has already found a secret sauce that makes it the second best selling portable digital player today. This player sells one unit for every 2.3 iPod’s and is the the best portable media player on the market in our opinion. That player is the Sony PSP…
Southern unmarrieds: largest of any region
In its article reporting that, for the first time, unmarried households outnumber married household, there’s this little tidbit on the South:
The highest share of male couples was in San Francisco, where, according to the census, they accounted for nearly 2 percent of all households. In Manhattan, they made up 1 percent of households. Hampshire County, Mass., home to Northampton, had the highest proportion of female couples, at 1.7 percent. Some of the highest numbers of unmarried couples were recorded in the South, which as defined by the census, has the largest population of any region.