« August 2008 | Main | October 2008 »

42 posts from September 2008

September 30, 2008

Australian and Portuguese Parliaments to consider same-sex couple rights

Pink News reports that the Same-Sex Entitlements Bill has passed the lower house of the Australian federal Parliament and will soon move to the Senate. The bill will remove discrimination against same-sex partners in areas like immigration, taxation, veterans' pensions and aged care.

The Australian bill sounds much like the civil union status enacted by several states here. It grows out of the Labour Party's victory in 2007. Although the previous government was hostile to recognition of same-sex couples, Labour endorsed the approach reflected in this bill, of remedying legal inequities between gay and straight couples, but maintaining that marriage is only between a man and a woman. 

Meanwhile, in Portugal, parliamentary leaders are set to meet on October 10 to take up the question of recognition for same sex couples.

According to Portugal News:

Gay marriage will be debated in Parliament next month following two proposals from the Left Bloc (BE) and ‘Green’ Party, though the remaining political parties are at loggerheads as to whether or not they will allow their deputies a say in the matter...

BE proposed in 2006 that homosexuals should be able to legally wed, though only now is the proposal to be discussed. The Left Bloc’s proposition suggests an alteration to the [current] law that defines marriage as a ‘contract between two people of opposite sexes’.

BE [advocates] that marriage should be defined as ‘a solemnly formalized meeting of wills between two people who intend to build a family in full communion of life’. This is also a view shared by the ‘Greens’, though [the Greens object to adoption of children by same-sex couples]....

September 29, 2008

Read the cert petition, then watch the video

After their summer recess, the Justices of the Supreme Court will meet in conference sessions starting today to decide whether to grant review in hundreds of pending cases in which cert petitions have been filed.  A week from today, on the first Monday in October, the Court will announce those decisions.

One of these cert petitions asks the Court to hear an appeal in Parker v. Hurley, 514 F.3d 87 (1st Cir. 2008), in which two sets of parents sued a Massachusetts school district for trying to "indoctrinate" their children that homosexuality and same-sex marriage are morally legitimate. The case involved elementary school classes in which the students were introduced to children's books featuring same-sex couples and families. The First Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the complaint, holding that the plaintiffs had not established a viable claim of indoctrination and that the school officials had acted appropriately. 

Because current case law invariably supports a public school district's authority in this kind of case, I predict that the Court will deny cert.  (If it doesn't, I'll have a lot more to say about this case.)   

Here's the new twist: the Family Research Council, a right-wing gaggle based in DC, has produced a video about the Parker case for use in the anti-gay marriage referenda fights in California, Florida and Arizona. Follow the link and watch for yourself.  The goal of this production - as FRC President Tony Perkins says point blank - is to answer the question of why allowing same-sex marriage will hurt anyone else's marriage. The answer: your kids will be taught that homosexuality is ok. This argument is their new theme song.

September 28, 2008

McCain's next move: let's have a wedding!

A collective hoot of derision is spreading across the web tonight as bloggers react to an article by Sarah Baxter in Sunday's Times of London reporting that 

Inside John McCain’s campaign the expectation is growing that there will be a popularity boosting pre-election wedding in Alaska between Bristol Palin, 17, and Levi Johnston, 18, her schoolmate and father of her baby. “It would be fantastic,” said a McCain insider. “You would have every TV camera there. The entire country would be watching. It would shut down the race for a week.”

Of course, this whole strategy (whoops - I think it's really a tactic) is strange. It's normally the guy who's ahead, not the guy behind, who wants to shut down the game. Anyway, whatever the plan was, if there was such a plan, it's toast now.  These two unlucky teens may get married next month, but don't hold your breath for a royal Alaskan wedding.

Frat boys for Obama ogle Palin in swimsuit

Feminists on the web are furious at the sneering posts by various boy commentators of a video of Sarah Palin competing in the Miss Alaska swimsuit competition. As Tennessee Guerilla Women and Feminist Law Professors point out, making fun of the daughter of a school teacher and a school secretary using a beauty pageant to get ahead in life is pretty slimy for guys who could not imagine making fun of a working class boy spending countless hours practicing jump shots or tackles.

Actually - though you wouldn't know it from the FBO postings - Palin tried both routes, and is pretty clear-eyed about what worked and why.  She was point guard on her high school girls basketball team, which won the state championship after she iced a free throw in the final seconds of the game.

Palin bball

You can probably guess how many college scholarship offers she got from playing basketball: zero. She graduated from high school, attended college briefly (more yucks), dropped out and tried a different path out of the boonies, this time with more success: (follow link to video clip)

Beauty pageant

YouTube - Palin Beauty Pageant - Miss Alaska 1984

Frankly, I think her explanation is pretty good:

Reluctant beauty queen

I was in it for the scholarships

So, here's the last question for the frat boys brigade: did you ever stop to think that perhaps watching Palin's swimsuit moment might produce MORE votes for (McCain)- Palin, rather than less? 

September 27, 2008

Why no talk of "welfare kings"?

Darren Hutchinson (AU) has just published a zinger on blackprof.com,  on "Bringing back welfare as we knew it."  And I would nominate his earlier column, excerpted below, for a prescience award:

blackprof.com

March 17th, 2008 by Darren Hutchinson

Conservatives and liberals alike have maligned governmental subsidies to poor people. One of the most pejorative terms to come out of those debates is the “Welfare Queen.” She defies statistical data (most welfare beneficiaries are white), but she is the icon of waste and laziness. She is a black woman with countless children who have just as many fathers. She is robbing and bankrupting the government and “breeding” a generation of mess. And, certainly, the government should not reward her bad behavior. ...

... Bear Sterns did not have a highly diversified portfolio and was blown away by the subprime mess. The same story applies to Countrywide. Subsidizing its misconduct and irresponsible behavior would seem to raise the same issues as the welfare debate — but with greater force, given the impact of national banking decisions on the broader economy. Are bailed-out banks Welfare Kings? What distinguishes their poor behavior from the poor behavior of the poor (yes - 3 times in one sentence)?

September 26, 2008

Other countries see chickens coming home ...

Times of London

James Bone in New York

As the US sought to find a way out of the financial crisis, its critics at the United Nations were gloating over what they described as the crumbling of US capitalism.

Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann, the former Sandinista revolutionary in Nicaragua who is now serving as president of the UN 192-nation General Assembly, broke with protocol in his opening speech to denounce the “unbridled greed and irresponsibility of the powerful.”

“More than half the world’s people languish in hunger and poverty while more and more money is spent on weapons, war, luxuries and totally superfluous and unnecessary things,” he said....

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, meanwhile, baldly proclaimed: “The American Empire is reaching the end of the road.”

Even friends of the United States took aim at greed on Wall Street. “We must not allow the burden of the boundless greed of a few to be shouldered by all,” President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil told the assembly.

President Barrat Jagdeo of Guyana complained: “There is clear evidence that many of the standards and much of the scrutiny that are applied routinely to smaller countries were not applied to some larger countries which actually pose much greater systemic risk.”

Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said “economic uncertainty has moved like a terrible tsunami around the globe, wiping away gains, erasing progress - not just here in Manhattan island, but also in the many islands of the Philippines.” “Just when we thought the worst had passed, the light at the end of the tunnel became an oncoming train, hurtling forward with new shocks to the global financial system.”

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, told the visiting leaders: “We need a new understanding on business ethics and governance, with more compassion and less uncritical faith in the ‘magic’ of markets.

President Nicholas Sarkozy of France called for a wholesale overhaul of the “crazy” financial system. “Let us rebuild together a regulated capitalism in which whole swathes of financial activity are not left to the sole judgment of market operators,” Mr Sarkozy said.

September 25, 2008

Bush signs Feldblum bill

OK - so that's not really the name of the bill.  Its real name is the ADA Amendments Act. But the President is set to sign it this morning.  And I'm taking the liberty of giving it my girlfriend's name because I know how many hours of work went into it -- not just on her part, of course, but hey, this is my blog, so I get to play around with it.

The basic thrust of the bill is to reinstate coverage for certain groups of people with disabilities whose protection under the original ADA was essentially interpreted out of existence by the federal courts. For example, under the ADAAA, the use of medication and devices such as hearing aids cannot be used as the basis for ruling that the person does not have a disability. This reverses Sutton v United Airlines, 527 U.S. 471 (1999) (and two other cases), which held that persons who used mitigating measures no longer fell within the statute's definition of disabled, and so could be discriminated against based on their disability. (Alice in Wonderland, anyone?) The ADAAA will have a major impact on people with conditions for which medication and other treatments are available, such as epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, and certain forms of mental illness.

In another change that I noted in a previous post, people with HIV/AIDS will be among those helped by a clarification that impairments to the functioning of the immune system are included in the definition of what constitutes "a major life activity." The ADAAA adds several other physiological functions to the explicit statutory language as well, such as the endocrine and neurological systems. Moreover, the new law rejects the "strict and demanding" standard set by the Supreme Court for defining the phrase "substantially limits" as applied to major life activities.

The ADAAA will have a broadly beneficial effect. Although I am highlighting the ramifications for people with HIV/AIDS because this blog is focused on issues related to sexuality, its scope is much more capacious.

The new amendments take effect next January 1. For further details, see the comprehensive ArchiveADA web site.

September 24, 2008

Shifting demographics of abortion and the political fall-out

An important new report from the Alan Guttmacher Institute analyzes trends in abortions from 1974 to 2004, a time frame that dramatically highlights generational shifts among American women. The key findings:

* The overall rate of abortions is at its lowest level today since 1974. It peaked in 1980, and the rate today has dropped almost one-third (from 29 per 1,000 women to 20 per 1,000 women) from the 1980 peak.

* BUT - the rates have fallen much less among non-white and low-income women. As a result, the net effect is that abortions are becoming more concentrated among women of color than among white women, and likewise for low-income, rather than middle- and upper-income women.   

About 70 per cent of all pregnancies among African-American women are unintended, compared with 48 per cent of pregnancies across other racial groups.

The social reality for each group is reflected in the fact that 5 per cent of black women had an abortion in 2004, compared to 3 per cent of Hispanic women and 1 per cent of white women.

The remarkable drop in the overall rate is proof that something is working to prevent unwanted pregnancy, since the abortion rate is an artifact of the unwanted pregnancy rate. It's frustrating that the fundies try to claim the credit for abstinence only programs - frustrating because many other studies show that those programs are generally failures. 

My bigger concern is about the potential political fall-out of these demographic changes for a woman's right to have an abortion. Some of the groups litigating abortion rights in the 1970's stressed that the lack of legal abortions had a disproportionate impact on poor women - there was a "poverty" amicus brief in Roe v Wade, built on an equal protection theory. But the face of the abortion issue was that of a white middle-class young woman, a face that - whatever its other problems - also signaled that this was a demand that cut across almost every segment of American society.

I worry that the AGI report data tell us that abortion is becoming more a minoritarian issue. If so, we are at a moment when social policy and law can move in one of two directions. Our society could move to change the life circumstances of the young women who now face unwanted pregnancy, and therefore seek abortion, at much greater rates than other American women, by providing real choices over their futures. Or, we could - silently, without acknowledgment - continue down the path of cutting them loose from whatever remains (not much, it seems in the moment) of the American vision of a decent middle-class life of work, family and aspiration.

New e/mail to people in Africa

Billionaires for Bush has come up with this hilarious variation on scam e/mails that we've all probably received. HT to Lisa Duggan ---

Dear Friend,

I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.

I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.

I am working with Mr. Phil Gramm, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transaction is 100% safe.

This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We can not directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.

Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to [email protected] so that we may speedily transfer your commision for this transaction. After I receive that information I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.

Yours Faithfully
Minister of Treasury Paulson
___________________________________________________________

September 23, 2008

The provocative Rebecca Walker on Palin

Rebecca Walker has become a controversial voice of third-wave feminism, calling on the feminist establishment to change its rhetoric by more clearly valuing the biological family. Here is an excerpt from her column from The Huffington Post on - what else - the Palin phenomenon.

The Power of Palin

Sarah Palin became mayor of her town, governor of her state, and has now secured the Vice Presidential nomination for the Republican Party of her country. She accomplished this using the basic doctrine of feminism: female empowerment.

Many feminists are now trying to distance themselves from the result of their own work by launching scathing critiques of Sarah Palin, conservative women, and anyone else with the audacity to point out the connection between Palin's rise and the last forty years of feminist ideology....

The [silencing of views other than the feminist party line] has created the very vulnerabilities now being exploited by Palin Power. Sarah Palin looking like a progressive, thinking like a conservative, and hiding from public scrutiny, is nothing more than conservatives exploiting the breach created by feminist leadership. This shrewd politic, crafted by right-wing think-tanks, individuals, and organizations is a turn-about of a page taken directly from the feminist playbook. Sarah Palin is being presented as the new and improved, moosehunting Gloria Steinem.

No matter who wins the election, feminism is going to come out of it with a bloody nose, and women will be at odds with each other at a level we have never seen in the history of our country. One thing is for sure though, if McCain wins, the proponents of Palin Power will feel confident that they exploited feminist vulnerabilities using feminist tactics, and won....


DP benefits for federal employees

Tomorrow (Wednesday) morning at 10 a.m., there will be a congressional hearing on domestic partner benefits for federal employees. You can watch it live or later on the web page of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.  Witnesses will include representatives from the Office of Personnel Management, two government employee unions, and a large private corporation. Senator Obama is a member of this committee, but I have a sneaking suspicion that he won't make it to the hearing. Just a guess.

September 22, 2008

Sexual realpolitik: searching for the middle of the road

From the always perceptive Lisa Keen in Bay Windows:

One candidate last week said that barring military recruiters from universities is a "mistake." Another said "I’m from a family and from a community with many, many members of many diverse backgrounds, and I’m not going to judge someone on whether they believe homosexuality is a choice or genetic."

The first was Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama, a candidate who simultaneously believes that Congress should repeal the military’s policy of excluding open gays. The latter was Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, who also expressed the opinion that the pro-gay book for kids, Daddy’s Roommate, should be banned from the public library.

This is what happens when the party conventions are over and campaigns begin running toward the political middle. But in close contests, candidates must fight for the middle while hanging on to the fringes.

The down-to-the-wire, razor-thin character of the 2008 presidential contest may explain why Palin seemed to choose her words so very carefully when asked by ABC’s Charles Gibson whether homosexuality is a matter of genetics or choice.

"Oh, I don’t -- I don’t know," said Palin, "but I’m not one to judge. And you know, I’m from a family and from a community with many, many members of many diverse backgrounds, and I’m not going to judge someone on whether they believe homosexuality is a choice or genetic. I’m not going to judge them."

It may also explain Obama’s response, when asked during the Sept. 11 forum whether universities that have excluded military recruiters from their campuses should "invite them back on campus?"

"Yes, I think we’ve made a mistake on that," said Obama.
The answer likely surprised those viewers who know of Obama’s own hard line position against the military’s policy of excluding gays. He obviously anticipated that.

"I recognize that there are students here who have differences in terms of military policy," continued Obama. "But, the notion that young people ... in any university aren’t offered the choice, the option of participating in military service, I think is a mistake. That does not mean we disregard any potential differences in various issues that are raised by the students here, but it does mean that we should have an honest debate while still offering opportunities for everybody to serve, and that’s something I’m pretty clear about."

Maybe not. Suddenly, the campaign was hosting a telephone conference call with reporters to "discuss the failure of ’Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy’." Speaking for the campaign Sept. 17, U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Penn.) said the positions are "very consistent" but he sidestepped the question of whether Obama’s remarks about recruiters signaled that the candidate believes the military’s need to recruit trumps a university’s non-discrimination policies. No opportunity for a follow-up was allowed....

September 21, 2008

The literary death - and legacy - of sexual identity

In an elegant essay in the current Boston Review, novelist Stacey D'Erasmo traces the diffusion of four tropes - the closet, passing, transformation and double lives, all central to the construction of "the gay novel" - into post-identity literature. Following is a short excerpt; if you're a fan of  literature or literary criticism, follow the link and read it in full.

We’ve come to the end of sexual identity. Not, that is, in the real world, where sexual identities of all sorts still roam, both free and fettered, privileged and disenfranchised; love is still exciting; sex still matters. Real people still come out, or don’t, and consequences still attach to those choices. In art, however, the sturdy house of the novel of sexual identity, with its secret passageways and walk-in/walk-out closets and tempting garden paths and labyrinths, lies in ruins. We don’t really care who enters or leaves it; we pretty much know what goes on inside; we are not trying to peep through the windows.

One can no longer write, or hide with any degree of conviction, a novel such as E.M. Forster’s Maurice, with its tortured Cambridge student and its luscious gamekeeper. After Jeanette Winterson’s first coming-out novel Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, she went on to describe many others in the basket. Will there be anything, really, in Susan Sontag’s forthcoming journals that will shock us? ....

...We seem to find ourselves, as writers, standing amidst the last century’s discarded tropes of sexual identity. Recently, writers of all sexual permutations have been recycling this narrative architecture; reworking its stones and walls and windows; borrowing and transforming the old, four-square structures of identity into Gehry-like fantasias, curves, and spires. Detached, to whatever degree, from their original purpose, these tropes are experiencing a surprisingly transformative disapora, passing from one writer to another, from one era to another, and changing as they go. In the culture generally, it may be that identity sorting only becomes more rigid and balkanized by the day. Witness the micro-categories of identity and ultra-specific consumer targeting via Facebook searches (Anglo-Irish Jewish gay men’s science fiction with a dash of cyberpunk, anyone?) and shelves marked “gay men’s fiction.” But we are, in fact, polyglot, polymorphous, and, narratively speaking, polygamous. Love’s mansion has many rooms, and the occupants tend to shift around quite a bit, particularly in the middle of the night. This is sometimes inconvenient in life, but it is, or should be, a bonanza for art. As is nearly always the case when one culture comes into contact with another, no matter what the official policies and restrictions are, intermarriage and intermingling take place; categories dissolve; we enter one another’s fantasies and get under one another’s skin. The imagination reveals itself once again to be protean, ungovernable, a constant seeker....

Like electricity, ideas travel. Sparks fly unpredictably, ignite previously solid structures, and we are changed. Perhaps the most inspiring aspect of these tropological exchanges in modern fiction is the abundant evidence they offer to the effect that categories, whether of marketing or of identity, are so obviously permeable. We look at one another, we read one another, and something happens, on both sides. We connect. We long to be like, to be similes. We can’t help it, and, in fact, it may be that there is no other way to get there, to whatever that place is toward which art relentlessly drives. It is an odd sort of falling in love, writer to writer, book to book, metaphor to metaphor. It happens both with and without us, but the profundity of its effects is undeniable.

September 19, 2008

Federal judge rules that refusal to hire based on gender identity is sex discrimination

Today, in the first ever victory directly on this point, the ACLU won a federal court decision holding that discrimination against a transgender person constitutes per se sex discrimination in violation of Title VII. In Schroer_v_Billington, Judge James Robertson of the U. S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the Library of Congress discriminated against Diane Schroer when it rescinded a job offer to her after Schroer disclosed that she was transitioning from male to female.

After a full trial (described in previous posts here and here), the judge found that Schroer should prevail on both of the legal theories offered by her lawyers.  First, the judge found that there was "compelling evidence that the Library's hiring decision was infected by sex stereotypes." On that basis, Schroer was entitled to relief under the line of cases beginning with Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, 490 U.S. 228 (1989), which created the sex stereotyping doctine. In that case, the Court found that Title VII was violated when a woman was denied a job after being told to wear make-up and take a course at charm school. Evidence in the Schroer trial established that the negative reaction to Schroer grew out of her not fitting gender stereotypes by virtue of her decision to change genders.

More important was the second theory: that discrimination based on gender transition is literally discrimination based on sex. Schorer's lawyers argued, and the judge agreed, that gender identity is a component of sex and therefore discrimination based on gender identity is sex discrimination.  This might sound like a simple proposition, but previous federal courts have "carved [transgender] persons out of the statute by concluding that 'transsexuality' is unprotected by Title VII."

The Schroer court held that just as discrimination against converts from one to faith to another is still discrimination based on religion, so too discrimination against transgender persons is still sex discrimination. Although doubtless Congress did not have transgender persons in mind when Title VII was enacted in 1964, the court found that the plain text of the statute covers this situation.

This is huge, both legally and politically. It's an enormous breakthrough in the law.  The caveat is that it is a trial-level court decision, and the Justice Department (which represents all federal agencies in court) is likely to appeal it. It's impossible to predict what the outcome of the appeal will be.  One cause for optimism is that the decision is based on a full factual record, including expert testimony on the key issue of gender identity being considered a component of sex. That will make it more difficult (though not impossible) for the court of appeals to reverse it.  Also, because the case does not involve a challenge to the validity of a federal statute, but only to the lawfulness of one hiring decision, the Justice Department could elect not to appeal (perhaps under a new AG?).

Politically, it recuperates the argument that Title VII already prohibits discrimination against transgender persons.  Yes, that's right, irrespective of ENDA.  In fact, the Justice Department argued in this case that the passage of ENDA last year by the House of Representatives without gender identity protection signaled congressional intent not to protect transgender persons. Maybe, said Judge Robertson, or maybe Congress believes that Title VII, properly interpreted, solves the problem. In any event, the language of Title VII settled the question for him. This issue, too, of the legal consequence, if any, of the House vote last year could be re-argued if there is an appeal.

In the meantime, this is a major victory.  Mucho, mucho congratulations to lead counsel Sharon McGowan who, together with James Esseks and Ken Choe, represented Diane Schroer!

Arrogant, obnoxious and profoundly stupid arguments for Obama

Meet Exhibit A: Michael Seitzman. What a guy - amazingly, he's also Exhibit B.  (HT - Feminist Law Professors)

Just pause for a moment and consider what a powerful strategic thinker Michael Seitzman is.  He supports a candidate who has two big hurdles to clear, or else he will lose what seems like an impossible to lose race for the Democratic nominee in 2008 BBE (Before the Bailout Era). Yet even with the ebbing of the Palin bounce, Obama finds himself only a point or two up in the polls, and, as of today, much more importantly, a bit behind in the Electoral College projections. So Seitzman is really, really trying to help him out with these two problems by publishing his insightful commentary on how Sarah Palin would be good for sex, but only a stupid person would vote for her.

First big problem: there are millions of p'd off women who are still steaming from the gauntlet of misogyny that the press directed against Hillary Clinton during the primary races. They heard Clinton deliver what was imho the best in show speech at the Democratic convention (and I supported Obama, not Clinton, in the primaries). And they are now watching as Joe Biden turns in a predictably mediocre performance as a veep candidate, except perhaps for the moment when he acknowledged that Clinton would have probably been a better choice for that position than he was.

Second, out there in Reagan Democrat land (you know, those people who decide the outcome of national elections), Obama faces a witches' brew of racism and class anxiety. White middle- and lower-middle-class voters are trying to decide if they want to replace the guy they trusted who has failed them with a Ivy League cosmopolitan or an aging fighter pilot. The only familiar character they see in this line-up - the only person like them - is Palin, who Seitzman and many, many others tell them is a dolt. A joke of a nominee.

She is, in fact, not experienced or knowledgeable enough for the job.  Nor do I trust her judgment or agree with her values. For lots of reasons, I agree that she should never have been nominated.  But not smart enough?  Really? That would be, compared to ... W's father? Gerald Ford? Geraldine Ferraro? Lloyd Bentsen? Dan Quayle? Joe Lieberman? John Edwards? Or, dare I say it, Joe Biden?

I don't know how intelligent Sarah Palin is. I think you're kidding yourself if you think it's easy to assess the quality of thought coming from most politicians, in this era of thoroughly packaged candidacies. But I do know that ridiculing the people whose support your candidate needs is a poor way to wage a political campaign. Seitzman and his ilk need to wise up.