aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Sally Kern’s son isn’t gay
Remember the Oklahoma State pol, Rep. Sally Kern, who said gays are a bigger threat than terrorists?
Jesse Kern, son of Rep. Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City, said information purporting that he is gay, which has appeared on several blogs, is damaging to himself and his family.
Kern, 31, said he feels the media has a responsibility to seek out the truth, then report it.
Kern, who said he is affiliated with the Des Moines School of Metaphysics, said that he chooses to be celibate, but he is not homosexual.
“First of all, no one’s sexuality is anyone’s business. It is not even my mother’s business,” he said.
“I practice celibacy to give to my God,” he said.
Kern said metaphysics helps teach him such things such as concentration, which has helped him keep focused with all the adverse publicity surrounding his mother’s comments.
Kern said his mother’s comments apparently were taken out of context. He has not chosen to listen to the audio version that has been disseminated widely throughout the nation.
Kern’s views differ from those of his mother, although he applauds her for standing up for what she believes, and thanks his parents for his good upbringing. His father is a Baptist minister in Oklahoma City.
He said the purpose of sex is reproduction, and it is the function of the animal body."But we are more than animals, and we can use sex for a tool of deep relationship with another person.”
Kern added that what is more important than whether it be a relationship with someone of the same sex, is that there “needs to be honor in any relationship whether it is a straight or gay relationship.”
Sounds like we should let him alone and maybe one day he can get through to his mother!
“I would submit to you that the vast majority of the folks in our caucus, particularly those who consider themselves conservative, stand with and support Sally,” said state Rep. Randy Terrill.
Sunstein on ‘the Obama I know’
In The Chicago Tribune Cass Sunstein tells us that for more than a decade Obama was his colleague at the University of Chicago Law School. He details his admiration and concludes:
From knowing Obama for many years, I have no doubts about his ability to lead. He knows a great deal, and he is a quick learner. Even better, he knows what he does not know, and there is no question that he would assemble an accomplished, experienced team of advisers. His brilliant administration of his campaign provides helpful evidence here.
But there is some fragility to the public fervor that envelops him. Crowds and cults can be fickle, and if some of his decisions disappoint, or turn out badly, his support would diminish. Some people think it might even collapse.
My concern involves the importance of internal debate. The greatest American presidents (above all Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt) benefited from robust dialogue and advisers who avoided saying “how wonderful you are” and were willing to say, “Mr. President, your thinking about this is all wrong.”
Because Obama is exceptionally able, and because so many people are treating him as a near-messiah, his advisers might be too deferential, too unwilling to question. There is a real risk here. But I believe that his humility, and his intense desire to seek out dissenting views, will prove crucial safeguards.
In the 2000 campaign, Bush proclaimed himself a “uniter, not a divider,” only to turn out to be the most divisive president in memory. Because of his certainty and lack of curiosity about what others might think, Bush polarized the nation. Many of his most ambitious plans went nowhere as a result.
As president, Barack Obama would be a genuine uniter. If he proves able to achieve great things, for his nation and for the world, it will be above all for that reason.
$100 million for rural GA ethanol plant
The promised plant is, relatively speaking, in my neck of the woods.
It’s March Money Madness in clean tech these days.
Range Fuels, which says it can produce cellulosic ethanol out of wood scraps, has raised $100 million to build a 100-million-gallon-a-year plant in Georgia, according to VentureWire, which posted the news first. Investors in the round include Khosla Ventures (a previous investor) and an unnamed energy company.
Earlier, the company received grants from the U.S. Department of Energy worth up to $76 million, as well as other venture funds.
CEO Mitch Mandich, a former Apple guy, told us last year that the plant would cost around $150 million. Unlike Web 2.0 start-ups, energy companies require a lot of capital to get off the ground. The company is trying to get the plant running this year to the point where it can produce 20 million gallons a year.
Range Fuels uses thermochemical processes to convert forestry wastes into ethanol. The alcohol can be mixed into gas, or be turned into E85, which is 85 percent ethanol. There are only a few cars on the road that can run on E85 and only about 1,400 stations in the U.S. that sell it, but both numbers are expected to climb.
More on Stossel’s Age of Consent
A background report asking what should the age of consent be? gives plenty of space for Family Research Council spokesman Peter Sprigg to make his case that the laws should be stricter.
I have no problem with that. Like the parent who wants to beat up the kid for having sex with his daughter, then have the cop come and arrest him, they can’t deal. The argument has no legitimacy. Sprigg makes the same oft and easily refuted std/depression/pregnancy arguments before summing up:
“...young people today need more time before marriage, but they don’t need sex before marriage.”
The article concludes:
There’s no proof that age of consent laws are a deterrent to sex before marriage. Many kids don’t even know what the age of consent is.
Whatever the age of consent is, or should be, something is very wrong when some young people, doing what hundreds of thousands of other kids do, are severely punished, branded for life on sex registries next to rapists and real pedophiles. There’s no justice in that.
I point back to some of the more reputable understanding of the topic that I’m happy to see ABC air:
Family counselor Marty Klein calls this criminalization of sex, “America’s War on Sex.”
“The idea that we have to criminalize 14-year-olds having oral sex or sexual intercourse with 16-year-olds, that’s a horrible solution to a subtle and complex issue,” he said.
Klein points out that throughout history even younger teens have had sex.
“Back in the 1850s, the age of puberty and the age of first marriage were very, very close together. People got married pretty much as soon as their bodies matured,” Klein said. “Their bodies matured around 14 and 15, and they got married around 14 or 15.”
Today, however, Klein said “we live in a time when kids are going through puberty when they’re 10, and they’re getting married for the first time when they’re 25 or 26. ... Telling a kid just say no, and expecting them to not have sex, that’s like telling somebody who’s depressed, ‘have a nice day,’ and expecting that to lift their depression.” [...]
“We trust 15-year-olds to make decisions all the time,” Klein said, pointing out that we give them access to credit cards, let them play dangerous sports, let 16- and 17-year-olds drive cars.
“The idea that somebody who’s behind the wheel of a car can’t make good sexual decisions, I think, is more about our anxiety about sex than it is about any clear thinking about 17-year-olds,” he said.
I agree. Our problem with kids having sex is about our problem with kids having sex! We don’t want to deal with it; we don’t want to talk to them about it. It’s too difficult for us, not them!
Yes, it is complex and difficult and challenging and we may make mistakes and not know the right answers. But it is also an opportunity for us to grow closer and help and provide support and understand and know and accept our kids in ways we otherwise can’t.
I’m a gay man so what do I know from parenting anyway? Well I do now have my nephew living with me so I do now have some small inkling. I’m also aware that it is only an inkling. Still, my experience is at least suggestive.
Parents use police to lock-up daughters’ boyfriends
It has consistently been my contention that adults—and most especially parents—must STOP sexualizing kids and START talking to kids about sex.
We are using kids to market our clothes and cars and dreams and youthful longings at the expense of those kids bright and happy future. And we’re skipping out on our adult responsibilities to parent them, teach them, and face the difficult challenges that come with all of that!
Parents may not want to hear it, but it’s just a fact: Lots of teenagers are having sex.
About a quarter of 15-year-old girls and boys, almost 40 percent of 16-year-olds and about half of 17-year-olds say they’ve had sex. But what if parents of the girl find out? And they’re furious? In many cases, they can use the law to punish the boy.
The story tells the tale of parents having teenage boys arrested for having sex with their daughters. Some parents have regrets; some don’t. All of the boys are branded as sex offenders for life:
Kids are clueless about the legal consequences of teenage sex, says Arizona public defender Chris Phillis.
“We tell them you could get pregnant, you could get a disease. But we don’t tell them they could be locked up for the rest of their life,” she said. “Even if everyone says it’s OK, that you know, they’re consenting to the touching, the kissing, you could still go to jail.”
Part of the crime in all of this—beyond the immorality of locking up these boys for the simple human failings that should and could be handled in more appropriate ways—is that our limited resources are wasted on cases like these when it is needed for those much more serious cases of the very real and dangerous and violent sexual predators that are out there threatening our children.