David Kirkpatrick

December 18, 2010

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell enters the dustbin of history

Filed under: et.al., Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:34 pm

And couldn’t come any sooner. We need willing and able soldiers of any stripe, and anyone who thinks the sexual orientation  of any one soldier is going to affect the performance of any other soldier ought to check in with the many, many militaries around the world that allow openly homosexual soldiers serve and ask them how that exercise is going (hint: pretty damn good.)

Here’s my favorite quote on the topic from a special operations soldier:

We have a gay guy [in the unit]. He’s big, he’s mean, and he kills lots of bad guys. No one cared that he was gay.

(Hat tip on the quote: the Daily Dish)

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August 27, 2010

From the department of, “no duh” …

… Fox News is a shill for GOP talking points. And that statement isn’t really fair to Fox News because in many ways it’s giving some measure of marching orders to the current Republican Party.

Either way you want to slice that one up, this chart is only the most recent “exhibit A” in the lack of balance (and fairness as far as it goes) in Fox News coverage of issues involving or affecting the GOP:

Mehlmanmention

What this chart refers to is Ken Mehlman, campaign manager of Bush 43’s 2004 successful reelection and subsequent chair of the Republican National Committee, recently announced he is gay. This announcement makes him one of, if not the, highest ranking members of the Republican Party to publicly come out as homosexual.

Although he is being given solid support by party leaders and insiders, this announcement can’t jibe well with the current GOP brand. The party as a whole is fighting the issue of gay marriage tooth-and-nail right now, and the christianist religious right leg of the party considers homosexuality an abomination deserving of nothing less than annihilation.

So what’s Fox News to do? Interview current party chair Michael Steele who said, “His announcement, often a very difficult decision which is only compounded when done on the public stage, reaffirms for me why we are friends and why I respect him personally and professionally.” Or maybe talk to his old boss, George W. Bush, who has also been supportive. Or how about the many GOP insiders in DC and around the country who have no truck with Mehlman’s declaration (or Dick Cheney’s daughter, or any other gay Republicans for that matter.)

No, instead of reporting on this bit of news involving the GOP — you know, the balance part of “fair and balanced” — Fox News just pretends Mehlman’s announcement didn’t happen and spends zero airtime on his coming out statement.

This type of selective reporting does a grave disservice to the Fox News viewers who get no input into the world of U.S. politics outside of the right wing echo chamber. There’s a lot of those people out there, and Fox News execs know it. I even bet some of these people will hear about Mehlman’s homosexuality and claim it’s a plot by socialist “lame-stream” media to sully his image since it can’t be true — Fox News didn’t report on it.

The one-sided reporting from Fox News is bad for the current GOP, bad for United States politics and in the end bad for democracy in America.

Here’s conservative pundit, former Bush 43 speechwriter and administration member; and current GOP apostate and mob-declared RINO, David Frum on the party making the mistake of grabbing a tiger by the tail, “Republicans originally thought that Fox worked for us, and now we are discovering we work for Fox.”

June 5, 2009

The “ick” factor and conservatives

One explanation given for opposition to same-sex marriage is the so-called “ick” factor. That is revulsion against the very idea of homosexuality by heterosexuals.

Take this for what it’s worth because it smells a lot like a solution in search of problem, but here’s research from Cornell connecting that very response with a group largely against same-sex marriage — political conservatives.

Food for thought if nothing else.

The release (yeah, I know I said the release dump was over with the last post):

Easily grossed out? You’re more likely a conservative,
says Cornell psychologist

Are you someone who squirms when confronted with slime, shudders at stickiness or gets grossed out by gore? Do crawly insects make you cringe or dead bodies make you blanch?

If so, chances are you’re more conservative — politically, and especially in your attitudes toward gays and lesbians — than your less-squeamish counterparts, according to two Cornell studies.

The results, said study leader David Pizarro, Cornell assistant professor of psychology, raise questions about the role of disgust — an emotion that likely evolved in humans to keep them safe from potentially hazardous or disease-carrying environments — in contemporary judgments of morality and purity.

In the first study, published in the journal Cognition & Emotion (Vol.23: No.4), Pizarro and co-authors Yoel Inbar of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and Paul Bloom of Yale University surveyed 181 U.S. adults from politically mixed “swing states.” They subjected these adults to two indexes: the Disgust Sensitivity Scale (DSS), which offers various scenarios to assess disgust sensitivity, and a political ideology scale. From this they found a correlation between being more easily disgusted and political conservatism.

To test whether disgust sensitivity is linked to specific conservative attitudes, the researchers then surveyed 91 Cornell undergraduates with the DSS, as well as with questions about their positions on issues including gay marriage, abortion, gun control, labor unions, tax cuts and affirmative action.

Participants who rated higher in disgust sensitivity were more likely to oppose gay marriage and abortion, issues that are related to notions of morality or purity. The researchers also found a weak correlation between disgust sensitivity and support for tax cuts, but no link between disgust sensitivity and the other issues.

And in a separate study in the current issue of the journal Emotion (Vol.9: No.3), Pizarro and colleagues found a link between higher disgust sensitivity and disapproval of gays and lesbians. For this study, the researchers used implicit measures (measures that have been shown to assess attitudes people may be unwilling to report explicitly; or that they may not even know they possess).

Liberals and conservatives disagree about whether disgust has a valid place in making moral judgments, Pizarro noted. Conservatives have argued that there is inherent wisdom in repugnance; that feeling disgusted about something — gay sex between consenting adults, for example — is cause enough to judge it wrong or immoral, even lacking a concrete reason. Liberals tend to disagree, and are more likely to base judgments on whether an action or a thing causes actual harm.

Studying the link between disgust and moral judgment could help explain the strong differences in people’s moral opinions, Pizarro said; and it could offer strategies for persuading some to change their views.

“People have pointed out for a long time that a lot of our moral values seem driven by emotion, and in particular, disgust appears to be one of those emotions that seems to be recruited for moral judgments,” said Pizarro.

That can have tragic effects — as in cases throughout history where minorities have been victims of discrimination by groups that perceived them as having disgusting characteristics.

The research speaks to a need for caution when forming moral judgments, Pizarro added. “Disgust really is about protecting yourself from disease; it didn’t really evolve for the purpose of human morality,” he said. “It clearly has become central to morality, but because of its origins in contamination and avoidance, we should be wary about its influences.”

The studies were funded by Cornell.

 

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