Sunday, November 21, 2010

Maddow @ Harvard, The Pope & Condoms, And Midterms: Where Do We Go From Here?


Greetings, my fellow Politicos! It's been a crazy-busy time around the Politico household, but I wanted to be sure to post a bit about all the goings-on that have been buzzing across the intertubes, the TV machine and my brain in the last couple of weeks. My apologies to my Politcos who have emailed me/prodded me with a stick to get a new post out...sometimes life gets in the way. Thanks for your patience. Ah, to live the leisurely life of a paid, full-time blogger...

First, enjoy this daily dose of smarts as Rachel Maddow speaks at Harvard discussing the media and politics. (By the way, the clip is downloadable using RealPlayer, with which I currently have a love-hate relationship, so no endorsement or link, just info.)

Rachel Maddow on Press, Policy, and Politics (2010 T.H. White Lecture at Harvard) from Boston Phoenix on Vimeo.


The Pope's latest is one small step for man, one big-ass leap for the papacy. Not only did Pope Benedict XVI is it o.k. for male prostitutes (German translation) or female prostitutes (Italian translation) to use condoms to save others from HIV. From The Huffington Post:

The English translation of the original German specified "male prostitute." The Italian translation in L'Osservatore Romano, however, used the feminine "prostitute." The discrepancy wasn't immediately clear.

The Pope is coming late to the party, which is no surprise, and neither is the fact that married folks, including couples that have one partner who is HIV positive, were excluded from the special dispensation. Apparently, if you want to use a condom, you need to decide if the German or Italian translation applies and then become a prostitute.

Actually, I see where His Holiness is going with this, although I think he's avoiding the real issue. If we consider holiness and sinfulness a spectrum, or even a footpath toward the heavenly gates, so to speak, the Holy Father is saying that, if a prostitute makes the moral choice to care about someone else's well-being, that's a step in the right direction, and he encourages them in taking that first, tiny, baby step toward living a better life. But the problem is that the Pope has opened a regular Catholic Pandora's box here, because there has been such a hard line on condom use in the Church for so very long.

Catholic doctrine has always favored the "Be fruitful and multiply" approach, since that provided, back in the day, for more little Catholics and thus more wealth and power for the Church. That made sense from their perspective in medieval times, I suppose. But in a world where overpopulation means starvation and death, in a world where people have more children than they can ethically care for and give attention to, one in which children are neglected and abused by parents too young to be parents, it is irresponsible of the Church to continue in its encouragement of the "Natural Method."  (Which, if you are unfamiliar, is a process in which couples refrain from marital relations during the times of the month when the woman is most fertile. This same method, for the record, gave my parents five daughters. Five. I'm just saying...)

Meanwhile, sex shops are breaking out the same Pope Condoms they gave out when the Pope made his comments about condoms spreading AIDS in Africa. A bonus for the sex shops who apparently had a backlog of these beauties (see above) after the first brouhaha died down. I'm sure that they'll be flying off the shelves, at least with German male prostitutes and Italian female prostitutes. See, here's where I could go into a rant about how many times The Bible has been translated and all the possible translation errors from Greek and Aramaic, German, Old English, etc. But since we're having enough trouble with translating whether German male prostitutes or Italian female prostitutes get to utilize condoms in their line of work, we'll leave it at that for now...

 As to the midterm elections, yes, we lost some seats, but still hold a majority. The question is still the same: will the Dems grow some backbone and get things done. Since some have nothing to lose, and will not be returning, it makes sense that they could be persuaded to simply do the right thing and vote for middle class tax relief, for example. And it's looking like that could happen. We are actually seeing signs of a spine, or of "spinefulness," as Rachel states so succinctly below:

"Put up or shut up," said the Dems, and forced the Rethugs to an up or down vote on unemployment. This should be the way Harry runs things from here on. When even Dick Luger is demanding a vote on the nuke treaty, because, by God, who's actually for nuclear proliferation??? And the Dems actually are moving forward on tax cuts for the middle class, isolating the vote to that portion only, and let the GOP show for whom they really work, allowing the American people to see the Rethugs the way they really are: the party of the rich. Hooray for the Dems in Congress for making sure they "run the calendar, frame the debate" as Rachel says. Let the GOP show they're for their Marie Antoinette-esque, "Let them eat cake" mentality. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Let the GOP filibuster. Let the American people see who has their best interests at heart. Force up or down votes, and let the names of those who want to screw the middle class of this country. It's good for 2012, it's good for the country. Lame Duck Congress can actually do some serious, postive work. If not now, then when?

While we're at it, let the President use an Executive order to stand for something. He could push through some of the He could use the TARP money and the loan money given to the car companies, most of which has already been paid back, already sent through appropriations, and use it to set up a jobs program like this country has never seen. Infrastructure: light rail, roads and bridges, schools, rural internet access and more. Create green jobs that could make the U.S. a world leader in clean energy. He can do that with the stroke of a pen. And with yet another stroke, he could end DADT. But, hey, maybe I am asking for too much. The Hubby said that Randi Rhodes had a great show about this a week or so ago, but damned if I can find it, or I'd give you the link. Yet another smart cookie, Randi...and The Hubby's no slack, either.

And now, since it's still technically the weekend, our friends at The Sporkful, a wonderful blog for "Eaters, not foodies," has a great interview with Our Gal Rachel on her variation on the Pina Colada. I'm not much of an umbrella drink kinda girl (I prefer a Jack Rose, thanks), but I have to admit that her more organic version sounds pretty darned good.

Have a great week, Politicos. What's your take on the Pope, condoms, backbones, Dems, GOP, taxes, or anything else that comes to mind? Hope you'll join the conversation here at Momma Politico.