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On Sex, Faith & Happiness

While completing work on my dissertation last fall, I found my mind sometimes wandering as I pondered two great issues, those of sex and of happiness.  As to the former, I continued my ongoing (and long-running) internal dialogue on where was the appropriate place for a single man to draw the line on sexual activity.  As to the latter, I noticed that on days when I was most productive, I usually felt happier than on those when I slacked off.

And as I drove around neighborhoods adjacent to my own where creative artistic types, many sporting tattoos on their incompletely covered bodies, live in close proximity to Hasidic Jews, most wearing near identical clothing almost entirely covering entire bodies (save their faces), I wondered if those who adopt more constraints on their clothing (as well as their personal appearance) could be as happy as those who have eschewed such religious constraints and dress however they please.

While I have been reminding myself to blog on these topics (and the intersection thereof) since I successfully defended my dissertation, this week it seems the universe has been reminding me as much.  While browsing at Barnes & Noble, I caught site of this display table, featuring books on happiness:

Then, this week, Memeorandum linked Ross Douthat’s column on monogamy where he wrote about research suggesting a “significant correlation between sexual restraint and emotional well-being, between monogamy and happiness“.  Later, Glenn Reynolds linked Douthat’s followup post where the Times columnist noted that in the wake of the sexual revolution:

Female happiness has dropped since the 1970s, despite enormous female economic gains. Marital happiness has dipped as well, even though fewer people get married and it’s easier to leave an unhappy union. (more…)

Log Cabin, like GOProud, Now Sounding like Republicans

In the twelve years following Log Cabin setting up shop in Washington, D.C. with a national office, its leadership did little to correct the false impression many gay people have of the GOP as a party whose guiding principle is maintaining straight while male privilege.  Indeed, to some degree, it contributed to that inaccurate impression by focusing its attacks not on big-government Democratic initiatives on Republican politicians.

At the same time, the national office did little to convince rank-and-file Republicans of the organization’s commitment to conservative principles of limited government, judicial restraint and a robust national defense.  That began to change in 2005, when Log Cabin signed on to support the Social Security reforms then-President George W. Bush was promoting.  Not only did this show the group’s commitment to conservative reforms, but Chris Barron, then its political director, showed how those conservative reforms would benefit gay people.

Now GOProud, the new gay conservative group Chris spearheaded, is pushing for similar reforms, calling on Congress to include personal savings accounts in any Social Security reform proposal. Executive Director Jimmy LaSalvia explains:

Personal savings accounts would provide gay and lesbian couples with the same opportunities as other Americans to provide for their retirement security. . . . Personal savings accounts are not just good for gays and lesbians; by creating wealth, empowering individuals to control their own retirement and improving the American economy, they are good for all Americans. [As] the property of the individual, they would . . . allow gays and lesbians to pass their hard earned money on to whoever they choose.

And as GOProud has shown how conservative ideas benefit gay people, Log Cabin has (finally!) begun to articulate a conservative approach on gay issues.  In taking issue with Speaker Boehner on the constitutionality of DOMA, R. Clarke Cooper, Log Cabin’s Executive Director praised the Ohio Republican in keeping the focus on fiscal discipline:

Americans sent Republicans to Congress to address our challenging economy, and thus far under Speaker Boehner’s leadership our party has kept its eye on the ball, cutting spending and beginning to confront the deficit. Now is not the time to fall for the president’s ploy to distract Republicans with divisive social issues like the Defense of Marriage Act. . . .  While Log Cabin Republicans firmly believe that DOMA is an unconstitutional intrusion on states’ rights and a violation of individual liberty, we agree with Speaker Boehner that the constitutionality of this law should be determined by the courts, not by the president unilaterally. (more…)

Wisconsin** law allows state to fund Democratic advocacy group

Democratic attacks on Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker notwithstanding, it appears that good man was indeed willing to compromise with Senate Democrats who fled the state.  It’s only that the state’s minority party proved intransigent:

It appears the Democrats had not accepted the concessions outlined by Walker in an email to some Dem senators (an email his office released). These were discussed below. They allowed collective bargaining over a broader range of issues, but kept the provision ending mandatory union dues checkoff, which is arguably the change unions fear the most. I doubt there was ever a route to a mutually acceptable compromise unless the dues-checkoff provision could itself have somehow been compromise

Read the whole thing (via Instapundit).  Moe Lane explains why unions fear ending that mandatory checkoff:

Simply put, what automatic checkoff does is make it trivially easy for unions to collect dues: the employer (in this case, the state government) simply deducts the money from an union member’s pay and sends it along. No fuss, no muss, no debate… it’s just one more thing that the government takes from your paycheck. This turns the collection of union dues into a guaranteed revenue stream (instead of the colossal pain in the neck that such things usually are); most people don’t even notice, frankly. And it’s from union dues that unions get the money that they use for political advocacy*.

Read that whole thing too.  In short, the bill is indeed about a “power grab” as some have described it; the unions and the Democrats have long since grabbed it.  Not, once the Walker reforms pass, Wisconsin Republicans will have taken the power away from a Democratic interest group — and restored it to individual public employees.

*”Which is, by the way, mostly being used on the behalf of Democrats, at a ratio far out of sync with how their members vote.” [Footnote in original]

**and California law (as well as that in other states).

If Michael Moore claims a right to rich people’s money. . .

. . . can we claim a right to his?

I mean, this guy who acts as if he is today, something he never was, a member of the working class, shocks the audience on Rachel Maddow’s show “by telling the rich and bankers that ‘we have a right to your money!’”  And well, with the success of his movies, the guy can really count himself among the rich.

Noting that Michael Moore had declared in the same clip that “This is War”, Glenn Reynolds quips,

I guess the “new civility bullshit” is officially over. Bear that in mind as you contemplate a response. I don’t think these people realize that they are setting precedents that they may come to regret. They are as feckless in this behavior as they are in their fiscal approach. The consequences are likely to be insalubrious.

As I was reading about the Wisconsin Senate’s vote to curtail the privileges the state had granted pubilc employee unions, I was watching Media Malpractice: How Obama Got Elected and Palin Was Targeted which provided footage of various MSM reporters concerned about allegedly violent rhetoric at McCain-Palin rallies and asking Republicans to denounce it.  Interesting how concerned they were about violent rhetoric when they had no actual evidence of such rhetoric.

I wonder how many reporters will call on Wisconsin Democrats — or any Democrats for that matter — to distance themselves from Mr. Moore’s incitement to violence.

UPDATE:  Yes, the media who seem obsessed with imaginary conservative violence seem oblivious to actual liberal antics as per Bryan Preston’s observation: (more…)

Wisconsin Democrats’ “Affront to Democracy”

You can learn a lot about the silliness of certain liberals just by going to the gym. I say that because that’s where I get my daily dose of CNN which seems to be constantly playing on the television monitors in the cardio area.

First, some background.  When Wisconsin Senate Democrats didn’t like some provisions in the budget bill that the state’s elected governor presented, they fled the state in order to prevent the elected state Senate from voting on the bill.  Democrats were unhappy that the party elected to majority status in the legislative chamber had the votes to pass the bill.  While Republicans had the votes, they lacked a quorum of “20 senators to be present for bills that authorize spending money.

Had Democrats remained in the state, they could have debated the bill, raised objections, offered amendments.  Instead, they preferred life on the lam.  So, after three weeks, Republicans, as John Hinderaker put it finally lost patience.  A committee ”stripped some financial elements from the bill, which they said allowed them to pass it with the presence of a simple majority.”  The remaining provisions curtail the privileges the state had long granted to public employee unions.

As Governor Walker reminded his fellow citizens in a statement, “The Senate Democrats have had three weeks to debate this bill and were offered repeated opportunities to come home, which they refused”.   And now with “exquisite irony,” Allahpundit quips, supporters of the truant Senators “are screeching, ‘This is not democracy!’(more…)