What happened to your little poll?

Little more than a month ago the American Family Association created a poll on their web site intended to query from their constituency their views on the question of gay marriage.  The AFA is a right-wing conservative group which strongly believes that only a select few should be entitled to the legal benefits afforded by marriage.  Their poll was intended to prove that point — and they had every intention of taking the poll's results to Congress to prove that all patriotic Americans believe in the class system and advocate bigotry, hatred and exclusionary laws.  Unfortunately for the AFA, the exercise did not turn out to be as straightforward as they had hoped.

When the poll first appeared on the AFA's site just before the end of 2003, they had every intention of keeping the poll isolated to like-minded people — an activity often referred to as "stacking the deck."  Given that the target audience for the poll was to include only those AFA supporters who believe that people who are different than their views are to be hated, reviled and excluded from any legal protections offered to others, it was with great displeasure that the AFA learned that their poll had leaked to the broader Internet audience.

As the URL for the poll spread across the Internet, a grass-roots drive to prove the AFA wrong began to spring up around the globe.

As of Jan. 19, 60 percent of respondents — more than 508,000 voters — said, "I favor legalization of homosexual marriage."  With an additional 7.89 percent — or 66,732 voters — replying, "I favor a 'civil union' with the full benefits of marriage except for the name," the AFA's chosen position, "I oppose legalization of homosexual marriage and 'civil unions,'" was being defeated by a 2-1 ratio.

In response to the bitter defeat they suffered at the hands of their own Internet poll, the AFA quickly announced it was annulling the poll and would no longer offer the results to Congress.

"We're very concerned that the traditional state of marriage is under threat in our country by homosexual activists," said AFA representative Buddy Smith.  "It just so happens that homosexual activist groups around the country got a hold of the poll — it was forwarded to them — and they decided to have a little fun, and turn their organizations around the country (onto) the poll to try to cause it to represent something other than what we wanted it to.  And so far, they succeeded with that."

Gee, Mr. Smith, would you like a little cheese with your "whine" today?

Despite finger-pointing at the "homosexual establishment" for the utter failure of the poll (at least so far as the AFA's goals are concerned), the results prove some valid considerations which the AFA failed to realize until it was too late.

(1)  The AFA learned an embarrassing lesson in how the Internet works.  If you put it on the Internet, expect it to spread on its own and to attract audiences well outside of your target market.

(2)  Hatred and exclusionary practices often bring out community-based efforts to fight them.  Assuming it was right and that there was no argument against its case kept the AFA blind to the response they would ultimately get.

The sad truth of this situation is that the AFA will use the results to galvanize their constituency into believing there is a vast "homosexual agenda" trying to destroy American life as we know it.

If for an instant they would remove the selfish religious blinders they have on and look beyond their own self-righteousness, they would realize that equal protection and treating all people fairly is as much a Constitutional protection as it is a religious directive (for all religions, not just Christianity, although very few religions practice that particular aspect of their beliefs).

For now, the AFA has learned a lesson about the Internet.

Let's just hope that, even if only a few, some of them have also seen that the hatred and exclusiveness with which they practice their beliefs and the law are only going to drive deeper wedges into American society.

We might as well dance

Editor's note: See the correction to this post here.

A few days ago my Mother sent an email to me that had been forwarded to her.  Well, you undoubtedly know my penchant toward derailing chain letters — the fodder for my biting sarcasm and the target of my loathing.  Still, once in a while just such an email comes across my radar screen that is atypical for such garbage (as was the case with another email I received almost a year ago).  This latest chain letter has a valid point to make although it tends toward the tawdry (as do most such messages).  Despite its religious overtones, I still felt it was worth sharing as another reminder that we so often lose sight of what's important in order to keep up with the hectic pace of life that we have created for ourselves.

This was written by an 83-year old…  The last line says it all.

I'm reading more and dusting less.  I'm sitting in the yard and admiring the view without fussing about the weeds in the garden.  I'm spending more time with my family and friends and less time working.  Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experiences to savor, not to endure.  I'm trying to recognize these moments now and cherish them.

I'm not "saving" anything; we use our good china and crystal for every special event such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, or the first Amaryllis blossom.

I wear my good blazer to the market.  My theory is if I look prosperous, I can shell out $28.49 for one small bag of groceries…

I'm not saving my good perfume for special parties, but wearing it for clerks in the hardware store and tellers at the bank.

"Someday" and "one of these days" are losing their grip on my vocabulary; if it's worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and hear and do it now.

I'm not sure what others would've done had they known they wouldn't be here for the tomorrow that we all take for granted.

I think they would have called family members and a few close friends.  They might have called a few former friends to apologize and mend fences for past squabbles.

I like to think they would have gone out for a Chinese dinner or for whatever their favorite food was.  I'm guessing; I'll never know.

It's those little things left undone that would make me angry if I knew my hours were limited.  Angry because I hadn't written certain letters that I intended to write one of these days.  Angry and sorry that I didn't tell my husband and parents often enough how much I truly love them.  I'm trying very hard not to put off, hold back, or save anything that would add laughter and luster to our lives.

And every morning when I open my eyes, I tell myself that it is special.  Every day, every minute, every breath truly is a gift from God.

If you received this, it is because someone cares for you.

If you're too busy to take the few minutes that it takes right now to forward this, would it be the first time you didn't do the little thing that would make a difference in your relationships?  I can tell you it certainly won't be the last.

Take a few minutes to send this to a few people you care about, just to let them know that you're thinking of them.

"People say true friends must always hold hands, but true friends don't need to hold hands because they know the other hand will always be there."

I don't believe in miracles.  I rely on them.

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance.

Inner peace

A good friend of mine forwarded this to me the other day.  If you were wondering how to achieve a true inner peace in your life, look no further — the answer is right here.


By following the simple advice I read in an article, I have finally found inner peace…

The article read:

"The way to achieve inner peace is to finish all the things you've started."

So I looked around the house to see all the things I started and hadn't finished…and before coming to work this morning I finished off a bottle of red wine, a bottle of white, the Bailey's, Kahlua and Wild Turkey, my Prozac, some valium, my cigarettes and a box of chocolates.

You have no idea how freakin' good I feel…


You may pass this on to those you feel are in need of Inner Peace…

Good news for coffee lovers

I'm one of those folks who needs his cup of Starbucks coffee every morning.  Oh, I can survive without my coffee, and caffeine isn't a problem for me (I don't get headaches without it and it doesn't keep me awake at night if I enjoy a cup of coffee or two before bed), but I do love coffee.  So you can imagine my joy when I stumbled across a recent Harvard School of Public Health study which appears to show that several cups of coffee per day can significantly reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.  For men who drink six or more cups of coffee per day, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes appears to be reduced by 50 percent or more while, for women, the reduction is about 30 percent.  As if I needed a reason to enjoy more coffee…  Go here to see the press release from Harvard.

A planet that heats its star

In what can only be described as a fascinating reversal of roles, Canadian astronomers announced the discovery of a planet 90 light-years away which appears to heat up the star around which it orbits.  This discovery is a first since, as is the case with Earth and the Sun, we know that planets are heated by their stars.  This new phenomena in which the planet causes an increase in the star's surface temperature (an increase of more than 750 degrees F/400 degrees C) appears to be a result of the powerful magnetic field around the planet transferring energy to the surface of the star.  You can read more details about the discovery in this article at CNN.com.