Thursday, May 31, 2012


Delgaudio's on line photo album

Virginia may say it’s for lovers but oh how our elected officials love to hate.
We have an orange-hatted hate-monger, Loudoun County Supervisor Eugene “gotta go” Delgaudio, who spews poisonous epithets wide and far attacking any and all things gay, claiming to reach 300 million “love thy neighbor” Americans, because he’s afraid of the species that will evolve from gay marriages.  (Incidentally, I didn’t know that Delgaudio believed in evolution.) 
Delgaudio’s vehicle for distributing his propaganda, the Public Advocate, was declared an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.  Way to go, Gene!
When Delgaudio attacked the President for supporting gay marriage, Delgaudio charged that supporting same sex marriage “disrespects women.”  Somebody tell Gene that same sex marriage means women too. 
Delgaudio says that respecting gay men and women violates God’s values.  Really!  Is it the one that says love thy neighbor as thyself?  
Supervisor Delgaudio can’t sleep at night because there are 3,350 same-sex couples in Virginia raising more than 6,000 children.
Nor is Delgaudio alone.  Delegate Bob Marshall can’t abide gays either.  Last week, Marshall led the legislative charge that blocked a Richmond prosecutor and former Navy vet from becoming a General District Court Judge because, in Marshall’s words, he was an “aggressive activist for the pro-homosexual agenda.”    Bile-meister Marshall insisted, “Sodomy is not a civil right.”  Can you feel the love? 
Some individuals like Delgaudio espouse religious views to support their discrimination; there are, however, religions and priests and ministers who sanctify same sex unions.
Some ask why isn’t it enough if we allow gay couples to have domestic partnerships?  What’s “separate” and different is not “equal.”  Partnerships lack the meaning conveyed by marriage signifying love and commitment.
In the California trial court decision, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, upheld on appeal, attacking Proposition 8 for insisting that the only valid marriage is between a man and a woman, U. S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker reviewed the arguments and evidence for discriminating against same sex marriage.
Kristin Perry, the lead plaintiff, explained that the law denied her the ritual and language necessary to define and acknowledge her familial relationship as a lifetime commitment – and as a part of the social fabric. 
Psychologist Gregory Harek testified at that trial that homosexuality is a normal expression of human sexuality, and that most gays and lesbians have little or no choice in their orientation, and efforts to change their orientation have been found to pose a risk of harm. 
Historian Nancy Cott testified that civil law, and not religious custom, has always defined marriage in the United States and, most significantly, she said, “one’s ability to consent to marriage is a basic civil right.” 
Marriage has shed other discriminatory practices since colonial days.  Race is no longer a valid restriction, no woman is subsumed into a male-dominated relationship, the spouse’s sex does not define that spouse’s work, births occur outside of marriage, adoption is accepted and even encouraged, and we have no fault divorce and a somewhat alarming divorce rate. 
Judge Walker rightly concluded that the prohibition against same sex marriage was a private moral view that did not advance any legitimate government interest, and the constitutional right to marry protects an individual’s choice of the marital partner regardless of gender.  Six in Ten persons under 30 years of age agree with this assessment.  More should respect this personal choice, even as it differs from their own, as this is truly nothing more than another discriminatory practice tardily headed to the dust bin of history. 
Delgaudio and Marshall embrace the darkness while we can hope society turns toward the light.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), Chairman of the Budget Committee, apparently was never required to read the New Testament at whatever Roman Catholic Grammar School he attended.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote Congress on April 16, 2012, urging Congress to choose as a “central moral measure of any budget proposal” exactly “how it affects ‘the least of these,’” quoting the gospel of Matthew 25. 
The Conference of Bishops made it crystal clear, “the needs of those who are hungry and homeless, without work or in poverty should come first.”  The Catholic Bishops insisted, “every budget decision should be assessed by whether it protects or threatens human life and dignity.”  The Catholic Bishops protested, “for moral and human reasons,” the “unacceptable cuts to hunger and nutrition programs” because they “hurt hungry children, poor families, vulnerable seniors and workers who cannot find employment.”
Ryan nevertheless insists his budget is consistent with Catholic teachings even though it amounts to $5 trillion in cuts.  Ryan told the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) without any remorse that the government was simply not responsible for lifting its citizens out of poverty.
The Catholic Bishops told Congress that they feared reducing the deficit in this dramatic manner would wipe out Pell grants, workforce training and development, nutrition assistance, low income tax credits and safe and affordable housing for the less fortunate.
Ryan didn’t answer the charge; instead, he attacked the legitimacy of the Catholic Bishops to criticize him, saying, “These are not all the Catholic bishops.”  The Catholic Bishops explained that they did speak for “all” as they were “elected by their fellow bishops to represent all of the U.S. bishops…”
Ryan might have learned something as a child from the Dominican nuns that taught us kids the Sermon on the Mount.  Sister Augustine, God rest her immortal soul, would have cracked her long thin wooden stick across the palms of Ryan’s chalky crooked hands for his trash talk, advocating indifference to the poor and suffering.
Ryan believes Catholic “teaching” is what you say it is and took that message recently, on April 26, 2012, to Gaston Hall at Georgetown University to “teach” the Jesuits and their student body what it means to be “Christian.”
88 Jesuits, faculty and staff welcomed Ryan in a short letter, “challeng[ing]” his “continuing misuse of Catholic teaching to defend a budget plan that decimates food programs for struggling families, radically weakens protections for the elderly and sick, and gives more tax breaks to the wealthiest few.”
They noted that Ryan claimed to be inspired by the late Ayn Rand.  Ryan reportedly said, “The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand.”  Ryan reportedly instructed his Hill staffers to study Rand’s elitist philosophy with its felicific calculus favoring the wealthy, and declaiming the parasitic middle class and the poor.
The Jesuits and faculty wrote Ryan that his budget appeared to “reflect the values of your favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, rather than the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”  They explained that Rand’s “call to selfishness and her antagonism toward religion are antithetical to the Gospel values of compassion and love.”
Unbowed, once at the University, Ryan invoked Pope Benedict XVI but blithely disregarded what Benedict wrote in his very first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est (“God is Love”), that taught that three things made the Church the Holy Roman Catholic Church and one was caring for the poor, because “love of God and love of neighbor have become one: In the least of the brethren we find Jesus himself, and in Jesus we find God.”
Ryan, however, is as indifferent to the poor as his inspiration Rand was, and that puts him in opposition to the teachings of Jesus and Christ and Pope Benedict as well.  

Thursday, May 3, 2012


County Fire Marshalls spread the alarm last week that lit or smoldering cigarette butts can cause disaster and have.  For instance, a cigarette left in a plastic container damaged 13 apartments near the Algonkian Parkway, costing $2 Million.
As absolutely terrible as this is, we are skirting the even worse disaster that those who are smoking, inhaling these cancerous cigarette fumes, are killing themselves, and putting nearby friends, family, children and workers at risk, and the only saving grace is that smoking is an awful lot slower way to die than a full blaze five-alarm fire.
My Dad got cigarettes for free in the service, during World War II, as did many others in the armed services, then and since.  My Dad smoked his whole life after the service, the smoke traveling down his trachea, through his bronchial tubes until the cell lining became cancerous and turned his lungs into a hideous fleshy black and white cellular soup that cost him his life at 68.  He never suspected his addiction.  He just smoked.  My mother smoked because my Dad did.  I now visit the crypt their ashes share at Arlington National Cemetery.  The only saving grace about cancer is that you get to have those last words with those you love but you also watch them suffer.
These machines that are our bodies that carry around our consciousness work longer than any mechanical machine we use on a daily basis but smoking causes not only cancer but also heart disease, stroke and a variety of lung diseases that cut our lives short.
46 Million Adults are smoking on a daily basis as I write this.  88 million non-smoking Americans are being exposed to cigarette smoke, and here’s a real heart breaker for all responsible adults, 54% of children, ages 3 to 11 years old, are exposed to second hand smoke.
About 443,000 men and women nation-wide will die prematurely this year from smoking or from exposure to second hand smoke. 
I had a football coach in High School who told us that his pipe made him safe, as he sucked on it walking up and down the side lines at practice, but it took him (whom we trusted) years to find out that there are larynx, esophageal and oral cancers for those like our coach who thought smokeless tobacco, cigars and pipes were safe.
As for that hew and cry about jobs in America, we’re losing $97 Billion a year in productivity because of smoking.
Some can’t comprehend all this fuss about health care, even though smoking costs us about $96 Billion a year in medical costs. 
In Virginia, we live in one of the states that brought us tobacco – and, oh yes, slavery, so that the tobacco industry could be economically feasible when getting its “start;” now they keep costs down by banning collective bargaining, the workers banding together for better working conditions and wages.
You may remember that amazing scene, when seven Tobacco Executives appeared before Congress, raised their right hands and swore that “nicotine is not addictive.”  One executive who supported this junk science insisted that cigarettes were no more addictive than coffee, tea or Twinkies.  Congressman Henry Waxman dusted him with the rejoinder, “The difference between cigarettes and Twinkies is death.”
We are concerned as a society about a shooting in Florida.  We don’t, however, seem to care about the hundreds of thousands of others who die yearly from cigarettes, not the billions in wasted productivity, not the billions more in medical expenses, not the innocent bystanders including children whose only mistake was being near smokers.
We are going to have to save ourselves, our family, our children, and friends ourselves from this plague.  The tobacco industry is only concerned about its bottom line.  They are never going to do it.  In the meantime, while you are still smoking, figuring out how to quit, and save yourself, put out those butts so you don’t burn down your home – or your neighbor’s home either.