Thursday, February 18, 2010


This video was recorded yesterday at the libertarian Cato Institute. It's of a speech and debate on the topic "Is There a Place for Gay People in Conservatism and Conservative Politics?" It is fantastic.

The headline speech is from Nick Herbert, an openly gay, civilly partnered MP from the UK. I love the part of his speech where he shows his ring :-)

The following debate is between Andrew Sullivan and Maggie Gallagher. Andrew speaks passionately about his libertarian, non-Republican convictions and quite emotionally about his own marriage to his husband. (For the non-Catholics out there, yesterday was ash Wednesday. Sullivan is a practicing Catholic, which explains the ashes on his forehead.) Maggie Gallagher... well, I'll let her speak for herself.

Some of my own thoughts:
  1. I disagree with Herbert's statement that heterosexual couples as parents are superior to gay couples. In fact, many studies have investigated this area and have found that on virtually every metric studied, children of gay parents fare as well or better than children of heterosexual parents.

  2. Gallagher stated "if gay rights are understood as liberty interests and rights they are extremely compatible with American conservatism. But equality rights and arguments lead to the expansion of government power to repress, stigmatize, and marginalize those who advocate for and institutionalize around ideas that are contrary to basic democratic norms of equality." I think there is a nuance here that I don't quite understand, and I hope someone can explain it to me. I'm trying to substitute any other equality issue (e.g. race, gender, national origin) into her second sentence and make it make sense, but I can't.

  3. Gallagher lamented her perspective that the view that heterosexual marriage is superior to gay marriage is considered bigotry or a modern equivalent of racism. I don't think this is actually the case (yet) in the majority of the country, but I do think this public attitude is on it's way. And I actually think such a public attitude is acceptable--in the public sector. By the same token, I will happily fight alongside Gallagher (just as the ACLU would and indeed now does) for her to teach such things to her children in her home or teach other like-minded people in her personal club or faith community.

  4. Herbert bombed responding to a statement from the audience that implied hate crimes legislation was contrary to conservative values because they "give a different penalty for the same crime if it aimed at a gay person or a straight person." The correct response to this question is to identify that the claim is based on popular misconceptions of hate crimes law. Most people have not read the actual law, which makes it clear that American hate crimes legislation assign equivalent punishment intensifiers to crimes committed against straight people and gay people, provided the motivation for the crime is shown to be based on the victim's orientation--regardless of whether victim's orientation is gay or straight. So a gay criminal can be charged with a hate crime against a straight victim provided a jury is convinced beyond reasonable doubt that the crime was motivated by the criminal's opposition to the victim's heterosexual orientation.
I haven't quite finished the video, so I may have some more thoughts to follow. This is really good stuff. It was especially good for me to hear Maggie Gallagher articulate her opinion on the matter. I wish for more open debate like this instead of the slanderous soundbytes that have dominated the "culture war" on this issue.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Quest for the Most Awesome Workout Playlist

So it's past 8 on a work night. I have a little less than an hour of free time left in my day. Tomorrow is the day of the Illinois primary election; I probably should be online looking up candidates for obscure offices like County Coroner (they really have Republican and Democratic candidates for this?) or trying to figure out why Illinois has both a state Treasurer and a state Comptroller and what the difference is (totally baffled).

But no. Tonight there is a higher calling. Tonight is the night of [fanfare] The Quest for the Most Awesome Workout Playlist Ever.

One of the fitness blogs I follow recently posted its "definitive workout playlist." It has inspired me to do the same (although I hesitate to call what follows "definitive" by any stretch of the imagination--it's definitely a work in progress). BTW, just a disclaimer if you follow the link: I don't particularly like the guy's taste in workout music. I'd rate his list about a 4; he's way more into rock than I am.

Me? I prefer hip-hop, R&B, electronica, and the occasional loud, angsty white anthem (like "Uprising" by Muse, see video below). Basically anything with a driving beat that I can use to keep my heartrate up and my mind focused on the task at hand.

Okay, enough preamble. Here are some of my current favorites:

  • 3OH!3 "Don't trust me"
  • Asher Roth "I love college"
  • Beck "Diamond dogs"
  • Black Eyed Peas "Let's get it started"
  • Blu Cantrell "Swingin"
  • Bono, Gavin Friday, & Maruice Seezer "Children of the revolution"
  • Danzel, "Don't leave me with the light on"
  • Darude, "My game"
  • Eminem "Lose yourself"
  • Eminem "Till I collapse"
  • Enur "Calabria 2008"
  • Evanescence "Bring me to life"
  • Evanescence "Going under"
  • Fatboy Slim "Because we can"
  • Fatboy Slim "Right here, right now"
  • Finger Eleven "Paralyzer"
  • Geri Halliwell "It's raining men"
  • Glee "It's my life/Confessions part II"
  • Jazmine Sullivan "Bust your windows"
  • Justin Timberlake "Cry me a river"
  • Justin Timberlake "Lovestoned"
  • Kanye West "Stronger"
  • Katy Perry "I kissed a girl"
  • Lady Gaga "Poker face"
  • Linkin Park "Hit the floor"
  • Linkin Park "In the end"
  • Linkin Park & Jay Z "Numb/Encore"
  • Marc Anthony "I need to know"
  • Mary J. Blige "Family affair"
  • Maroon 5 "Shiver"
  • M.I.A. "Paper planes"
  • Muse "Uprising"
  • Nelly Furtado "Say it right"
  • P!nk "Cuz I can"
  • P!nk "So what"
  • Rihanna "Disturbia"
  • Rob Thomas "Lonely no more"
  • Sisqo "Thong song"
  • Studio All-Stars "American boy"
  • The Pussycat Dolls "Don't cha"
  • The Veronicas "Hook me up"
  • TI & Justin Timberlake "Dead and gone"
  • Timbaland & Justin Timberlake "Give it to me"
  • Timbaland & Justin Timberlake "Carry out"
  • Toby Mac "Gone"
  • US3 "Cantaloop"
  • Workout DJ's "Closer (workout remix")
  • Yellowcard "Only one"

I'm always looking for new stuff to complete the Most Awesome Workout Playlist ever. You guys have any suggestions? What's on your iPod when you hit the gym?