Monthly Archives: July 2013

John Corvino: What’s Wrong with Homosexuality

(Community Matters) Our friend, John Corvino. Super editorial about the Pope’s comment of not judging gays. John is an associate professor and Chair of Philosophy at Wayne State University.

new book

Federal Judgeships

(Community Matters) In The Big Bend Sentinel, I’m reading the senators Cornyn & Cruz are accepting applications for judgeships in Houston, Corpus Christi, Brownsville, Sherman, Texarkana, San Antonio, El Paso, Pecos, Midland and Alpine. Applications due by August 19

Pope on Gays

pope francis(Community Matters) Reuters, “Pope says gays must not be judged or marginalized” 

Politico Playbook: TOMORROW’S FRONT PAGE TODAY – “Pope says gays must not be judged or marginalized,” by Reuters’ Philip Pullella in Rome : “Pope Francis, in some of the most conciliatory words from any pontiff on gays, said they should not be judged or marginalised and should be integrated into society, but he reaffirmed Church teaching that homosexual acts are a sin. In a broad-ranging 80-minute conversation with journalists on the plane bringing him back from a week-long visit to Brazil, Francis also said the Roman Catholic Church’s ban on women priests was definitive, although he would like them to have more leadership roles in administration and pastoral activities. He expressed pain over scandals at the Vatican bank during a remarkably forthright press conference, his first since being elected in March to replace Benedict XVI, who became the first pontiff to resign in 600 years. Francis said there were saints in the Holy See but also ‘those who are not very saintly.’ The airborne encounter with journalists ranged over issues as varied as the pope’s insistence on low-key security to his desire to slip out of the shackles of the Vatican to go for walks.”

David Corn on Covert, Right Wing Group: Groundswell

groundswell(Community Matters) A covert, right wing group is planning “a 30 front war seeking to fundamentally transform the nation,” according to my friend David Corn of Mother Jones. Fearing immigration reform, the group has even crafted a message for Senator Rubio to face-savingly abandon the Gang of Eight, “we can’t trust Obama to enforce immigration laws after the amnesty.”

Dubbed Groundswell, this coalition convenes weekly in the offices of Judicial Watch, the conservative legal watchdog group. During these hush-hush sessions and through a Google group, the members of Groundswell—including aides to congressional Republicans—cook up battle plans for their ongoing fights against the Obama administration, congressional Democrats, progressive outfits, and the Republican establishment and “clueless” GOP congressional leaders. They devise strategies for killing immigration reform, hyping the Benghazi controversy, and countering the impression that the GOP exploits racism. And the Groundswell gang is mounting a behind-the-scenes organized effort to eradicate the outsize influence of GOP über-strategist/pundit Karl Rove within Republican and conservative ranks.

One of the influential conservatives guiding the group is Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, a columnist for the Daily Caller and a tea party consultant and lobbyist. Other Groundswell members include John Bolton, the former UN ambassador; Frank Gaffney, the president of the Center for Security Policy; Ken Blackwell and Jerry Boykin of the Family Research Council; Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch; Gayle Trotter, a fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum; Catherine Engelbrecht and Anita MonCrief of True the Vote; Allen West, the former GOP House member; Sue Myrick, also a former House GOPer; Diana Banister of the influential Shirley and Banister PR firm; and Max Pappas, a top aide to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

“Other memorable quotes from the group’s memos:

  • ‘We’re failing the propaganda battle with minorities.’
  • ‘Conservatives are so busy dealing with issues like immigration, gay marriage and boy scouts there is little time left to focus on other issues. These are the very issues the Left wants to avoid but we need to magnify.’
  • ‘We are in a real war; most conservatives are not prepared to fight.’
  • ‘We need to be more clever than the Left on this… Something amusing and easy for LIVs [low-information voters] to understand.’
  • ‘We must reclaim the language and put ‘a face’ on our messages; tell stories. Write articles on 4th grade level! ‘”

There are plenty of groups that meet and coordinate political efforts. If you read David’s article which quotes from their Google Group, the hypocrisy of the Right’s outcry about a “liberal media” while they are coordinating messaging and stories with journalists and pitching Obama scandals is illuminating.

Hat Tip: Towelroad 


(Community Matters) Good McDonald Observatory Board of Visitors and Marfa Public Radio board meetings this weekend. BOV dinner Friday night, dinner w/ Julie, Fran, Jane, Tana, Joe & Steven Saturday night and with Tom Jacobs at Cochineal last night. We like the Playboy installation just West of Marfa on Highway 90.

mafa playboy 0713 ES 1

Happy Anniversary, Steven

(Community Matters) Happy Anniversary to my husband, Steven Tomlinson 

(July 24, 2004, Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, Canada)


Geography Matters for Income Mobility

mobility-2-master495(Community Matters) A new study on income mobility shows where children are raised makes a significant difference in the likelihood they will rise in family income levels – the determinants appear to include: strong school systems, low & middle income families interspersed, and the quality of public transit.

both liberals and conservatives have grown worried about diminished opportunities following more than a decade of disappointing economic growth. After years of focusing more on inequality at a moment in time, economists have more recently turned their attention to people’s paths over their lifetimes.

In previous studies of mobility, economists have found that a smaller percentage of people escape childhood poverty in the United States than in several other rich countries, including Canada, Australia, France, Germany and Japan. The latest study is consistent with those findings.

Hat Tip: Lynn Meredith

Huff Post: A Message to Trayvon Martin Sympathizers

(Community Matters) Friends are posting this Romany Malco column from the HuffPost. It reminds me of a David Brooks piece – provocative and sorta silly logic but stated so eloquently it’s hard not to just go with it.

“The only reason people are even aware of Trayvon Martin is because it became a topic within mainstream news and pop culture” . . . well, ah, duh . . . but that doesn’t impact the facts or context of the case. And, absolutely, there are hundreds if not thousands of other cases similarly deserving, if not more, of attention and indignation but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t examine and investigate this case. Reminds me of the star fish story I learned in Leadership Austin.

As for the President’s comments – I hope anyone who has an opinion on this has read or watched his comments – there’s enough to piss off either side. Though, I’m pretty sure they were intended to remind each side of perspective, of context. I’ve included here

Saturday night, Steven and I hosted a dinner for two seminarians from Virginia Theological Seminary (not a liberal establishment). There was a diversity of guests around the table – age, wealth & ethnicity. The conversation around Trayvon was solemn. The African American men at our table and the mother and sister of African American men shared similar stories of profiling – similar to those shared by our President of being followed in department stores, feared by women in elevators, passengers clicking their car door locks as they pass, and the mom fearful for the life of her son around law enforcement – btw, her son is a capitol police officer in DC. I mean this as respectfully as i can say it – white people should not declare that we’re living in a post-race society. It’s something we ought to wait to hear from those who’ve experienced cumulative discrimination.


greer broderick carlos 0713(Community Matters) Such a treat to host to Virginia Theological Seminary students this weekend – Broderick Greer and Carlos de la Torre. For one, it makes my husband’s heart sing to engage in these conversations, and I thoroughly enjoyed both these bright, committed young men.

Super dinner at our place in their honor Saturday night. Eleven around the table for hours talking about St James, the seminary, one’s calling, being lifted up by one’s community, Trayvon Martin, Freedom Schools, and everything else. Many thanks to Rev Lisa Saunders for organizing their visit.


World’s Richest Women

(Community Matter) David Mixner linked

Anarchists of the House

(Community Matters) Excellent article by Jonathan Chait in the New York magazine.

Hat Tip: Huffington Post

Women’s Rights

(Community Matters) A fun parody by Full Frontal Freedom, a coalition of independent artists and media folks – who use their talents promoting civic engagement.