The Recession Can Aid in LGBT Equality

Freedom to Marry is touting today a World Magazine interview with Jim Daly, president and CEO of Focus on the Family, wherein the anti-gay leader admits the struggle for LGBT equality in marriage is all but lost for the religious right and their Republican bedmates.

“We’re losing on that one,” Daly says in the June 4 issue of the publication, “especially among the 20- and 30-somethings: 65 to 70 percent of them favor same-sex marriage. I don’t know if that’s going to change with a little more age – demographers would say probably not. We’ve probably lost that.”

But it’s not just young folks who are increasingly being turned off by the seemingly sex-crazed politics and wedge issues of the right. Recent polls are finding new majorities of voters in favor of marriage rights – or, at the very least, some sort of legal relationship recognition for same-sex couples. And, with the economy still in turmoil – gas prices rising and the like – progressive and LGBT advocates might just find entirely new demographics opened up to their support.

Read the rest of my latest at The Bilerico Project…



Baby steps: GOP taking a stab at jobs?

[Ed. Note — In the original version of this post, we incorrectly identified Josh Stein has a Republican. As testified to in the comments, Stein is not a Republican and has, in fact, been a great ally to many communities in this state, including LGBT people. We regret the error, and wish’d we’d had, perhaps, another cup or two of coffee before writing this morning. Thanks.]

Hey, at least it’s a start.

N.C. Sen. Pete Brunstetter (R-Forsyth) and Josh Stein (D-Wake) filed a bill yesterday to expand the duties and purpose of the (soon-to-be renamed?) Economic Development and Global Engagement Oversight Committee. (They also want to create a global engagement study committee.)

It’s nice to know that GOP legislators like Brunstetter have decided to take a stab at this jobs and economy thing. Though with such a simple bill, you have to wonder why it wasn’t filed last week (especially for a committee that’s yet to have been appointed members and hasn’t had a substantial meeting since last April). I don’t know about you, but I’m still waiting to see exactly what the GOP’s priorities are this session. It’s not looking good, so far.

Dear GOP: Surprise me, please, by doing the job you sold to Tar Heel voters last fall.

South Carolina’s Greenville News has a report on U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and his vision for the Republican Party.

Raju Chebium reports:

Since Democrats took control of Congress and the White House in January, the South Carolina Republican has sharpened his message of economic fundamentalism and is trying to get more Republicans to oppose what he calls the big-spending, big-government Democratic agenda.

But in the process he’s irked the moderate faction of the GOP, which accuses him of putting his ideology ahead of practicality and argues that the conservative wing has hijacked the party and tarnished its image.

“I see my role as reminding the American people of the principles that work, that made our country prosperous and successful — the principles of limited government, free markets and individual freedom,” DeMint told Gannett Washington Bureau in a recent interview.

Nothing about DeMint’s cute little soundbite is true. Time for a reality check, yes?

Continue reading this post…

A discussion relevent to today’s economic mess?

johnshermanI approach the discussion of this bill and the kindred bills and amendments pending in the two Houses with unaffected diffidence. No problem is submitted to us of equal importance and difficulty. Our action will affect the value of all the property of the people of the United States, and the wages of labor of every kind, and our trade and commerce with all the world. In the consieration of such a question we should not be controlled by previous opinions or bound by local interests, but with the lights of experience and full knowledge of all the complicated facts involved, give to the subject the best judgment which imperfect human nature allows. With the wide diversity of opinion that prevails, each of us must make concessions in order to secure a measure as will accomplish the objects sought for without impairing the public credit or the general interests of our people. This is no time for visionary theories of political economy. We must deal with facts as we find them and not as we wish them. We must aim at results based upon practical experience, for what has been will probably be. The best prophet of the future is the past.

– U.S Sen. John Sherman (R-Ohio), on silver coinage and treasury notes, June 5, 1890.


Crisis hits Charlotte’s wealthy

The Charlotte Observer says the financial crisis has finally begun to strike at Charlotte’s wealth.

Bank job losses and stock declines are making the once booming Charlotte a town of uncertainty. The above-average per capita income ($65,700 in 2007, compared to national average of $50,230) is in threat as the unemployment rate continues to rise. Right now it is at 8.3 percent, the highest the city’s seen in years.

The largest personal decline:

Bank of America’s biggest individual shareholders are C.D. and Meredith Spangler, a Charlotte couple who own 32million shares within their family and other entities.

C.D. Spangler, a businessman, investor and philanthropist who is a mainstay on Forbes magazine’s annual billionaire list, gained his first shares in the bank in 1982 when he sold a small community bank to Bank of America’s predecessor. Meredith Spangler is a current board member.

Their stake was worth $210million as of Friday, down from $850 million in September. The Spanglers’ dividend this year will likely be around $1.3 million, down from $76.8million in 2007.

The paper says the current decline in Charlotte’s banking industry will have an effect on other businesses. The Observer spends the most ink on luxury services:

That could especially hurt businesses that cater to the wealthy, such as La Concierge, a personal assistant service, said Lashawnda Becoats, who started the company in 2006.

At the time, Charlotte seemed full of executives willing to pay someone to shop for groceries or pick up dry cleaning. Now, many of those executives are running their own errands, she said.

“People don’t have any disposable income anymore,” said Becoats, 37, whose service has four regular clients. “People are still living, but people are really cutting back.”


Even Becoats, the personal assistant, has hope – after all, there will always be people who don’t feel the pain of a recession, she said.

“For the average person, we’re on the forefront of losing our job, but when I’m out shopping, I still see women in mink coats, and there are still people who will go into Louis Vuitton and spend $2,000 on a bag,” she said. “I know the economy will change, and I know I’ll get more clients. I just don’t know when.”

Meantime, wealth management firms continue fielding calls from worried investors.

“It is concerns about the general economy and how the downturn is going to affect retirement,” said Larry Carroll of Carroll Financial Associates Inc. “People realize that things that are bad for Bank of America and Wachovia are bad for Charlotte.”

With the way Americans love to rack up debt on credit cards, I doubt we’ll see South Park Mall empty any time soon.

Before the Christmas holiday, Mark Creech, the president of the N.C. Christian Action League announced the anti-gay organization was more than $15,000 in debt. He pleaded for churches to help solve the debt before the end of the year.

It didn’t happen.

Now, the Christian Action League needs more money and they want their 2008 debt paid off by Jan. 28, the beginning of the new state legislative session.

You know, though, if the tables were reversed and it was EqualityNC that was going broke, the Christian Action folks would be saying the debt was God’s punishment for sin. I wonder what Mark Creech could have done to offend God that he’d cause a $15,000 deficit?


Oh, the automakers

Via The Daily Beast:

The auto bailout is dead, causing the nervous markets to head south. “It’s over with,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Democrats and Republicans seemed near a deal several times, but talks eventually broke down with the Republicans’ insistence that automakers reach wage parity with foreign automakers by 2009. The vote failed 52-35, eight votes short of the 60 needed to break a Republican filibuster. Automakers now hope the White House will relent on its refusal to allow the Treasury to provide emergency loans from the $700 billion Wall Street bailout. Both GM and Chrysler are consulting bankruptcy lawyers. The news spells a rocky day on Wall Street: domestic market futures dropped following skids in Europe and Asia.

Not to sound entirely unsympathetic to big business plight, but I’m kind of with the Republicans, just this one time.

File for bankruptcy. A hand-out isn’t going to come to every other business that’s facing tough times in this economic collapse. Enough with the bail outs, unless, of course, the government, and most important, the taxpayers, actually get something in return.

Wouldn’t that be awesome: Government-owned automakers. Now we just need an administration that might actually push for better fuel efficiency and cutting edge technology.