I am so happy Al is my Senator.

Ouch.

Comments

  1. #1 Dan J
    July 20, 2011

    Al Franken alone is almost a good enough reason for me to move to Minnesota. :)

  2. #2 Heidi
    July 20, 2011

    Saw your RT on Twitter of this video. I LOVE Al Franken! “I would assume that nuclear family means husband and wife.” Al’s response? Very bluntly, “It doesn’t.” Fantastic. Thanks for sharing this.

  3. #3 Charles Sullivan
    July 20, 2011

    That was quite enjoyable.

  4. #4 Preston
    July 20, 2011

    That was fun!

  5. #5 Brook
    July 20, 2011

    Thank you for posting and retreating my tweet!

  6. #6 itzac
    July 20, 2011

    I love love love love love (yes, I typed each of those out) that Sen. Franken read the report.

  7. #7 Uncle Glenny
    July 20, 2011

    Wonderful!

  8. #8 Drivebyposter
    July 20, 2011

    God…what an idiot.
    Nuclear families are not headed by a mother and father. They are headed by glowing mutants.

  9. #9 Juice
    July 20, 2011

    What is the percentage of sciencebloggers from Minnesota or Michigan? It seems high.

  10. #10 gwen
    July 20, 2011

    I love that man. Now can we CLONE him??

  11. #11 Greg Laden
    July 20, 2011

    Juice: It only seems high because we are hugely important!

  12. #12 AK
    July 20, 2011

    Personally, I make a point of reading ref’s before citing them, even in a blog post.

    In defense of partial mitigation for Mr. Minnery, I’ve seen plenty of ref’s in peer reviewed papers that were used just as carelessly. Still, I’ve noticed that religious conservatives seem to use their own definitions for words, especially the word “literal” when applied to “Biblical Truth”. (I even know one person who insists that the “law of gravity” is a spiritual law, because it “comes from God”. Humpty Dumpty had a big fall.)

    Anybody wanting to read the actual report can go here. Greg… You’ll hear from me again if it turns out there were only 2 gay couples in the report, or some such nonsense as that.

  13. #13 William James
    July 20, 2011

    Al Franken SNL, a great. Dude I just read your article on the cold war…because I was in my 20s during Reagan’s second term… The ultimate answer to who really ended the cold war….? It was the pirated realease of “Rocky 4″ in East Germany, 1985.

    Watch Rocky 4 again, and let me know what you think?

    William James

  14. #14 paulmurray
    July 20, 2011

    Well, it wouldn’t surprise me if there are few gay couples. But even if there are only two – even if there are none in this particular study, that’s not the point. The point is that the dude is making up his facts.

  15. #15 AK
    July 20, 2011

    Tom Minnery is an idiot, Al Franken is an asshat.

    If Minnery had bothered to do his homework, or had somebody else do it, he’d have been able to tell Sen. Franken that while the report defined:

    A nuclear family consists of one or more children living with two parents who are married to one another and are each biological or adoptive parents to all children in the family,

    It got all its data from one short period:

    The interviewed sample for the 2001–2007 NHIS consisted of a total of 244,572 households, which yielded 630,884 persons in 249,570 families. There were 90,566 children aged 0–17 who were eligible for the Sample Child questionnaire. Data were collected for 82,553 children, a conditional response rate of 91.1%. The average final response rate for the Sample Child component during 2001–2007 was 79.3% (24–30). However, detailed family structure information was not available in the first and second quarters of 2004, so these sample child cases were omitted, and case weights for the sample child observations in the third and fourth quarters of 2004 were doubled to obtain an appropriate estimate of the U.S. child population for 2004. This adjustment yields a total of 83,849 observations for analysis. This sample results in a weighted, annualized estimate of 73.2 million children in the United States during 2001–2007.

    Note those years: 2001-2007

    According to Wiki, five states and the DC have legalized same-sex marriage:

    • Connecticut on November 12, 2008
    • Iowa on April 3, 2009.
    • Massachusetts on May 17, 2004,
    • New Hampshire on January 1, 2010
    • Vermont on September 1, 2009.
    • Washington, D.C. on December 18, 2009

    Only one state, Massachusetts, had legalized same-sex marriage during the survey period. According to a 2008 CNN story, about 10,000 couples had taken advantage of the law. According to Wiki(no link), the population of Massachusetts was 6,547,629 in 2010. I decided not to waste time trying to find out how many of those 6.5 million were married… You can see that same-sex couples are so tiny a proportion that they won’t affect the outcome. Minnery’s point is supported.

    While Sen. Franken is a politician, whose job is to represent his constituency, he’s still an asshat for taking advantage this way. He’s everything that’s wrong with our legislative system. And you can see why nobody trusts these types of politicians on Rapid Climate Change: they’re prepared to use any means to accomplish their socio-political agenda.

    (For the record, I don’t see anything more wrong with same-sex marriage than any other type. I think the guv ought to keep its hands off entirely, and not even take notice of it.)

  16. #16 Uncle Glenny
    July 21, 2011

    @AK

    I’m not quite sure where you’re coming from, but i’ll leave a placeholder here and return late tomorrow if necessary (it’s way way past my bedtime, and neither my eyes nor my hands – mild neuropathy and dystonia – are working too well).

    (For the record, I don’t see anything more wrong with same-sex marriage than any other type. I think the guv ought to keep its hands off entirely, and not even take notice of it.)

    The abstraction I like to use for marriage, as it applies to same-sex marriage (in other words, how I think it should be and be thought about), is that there exists a contract which can be made among two people and the state called civil marriage. This is the term used in the decision from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial court, which as I remember (it’s been a while) is pretty good reading in in this regard. You could call it civil union, it doesn’t matter. This establishes legal obligations among those three parties; it confers various rights and benefits, which I believe you are already aware of.

    All in one simple action – because these two people now have the attribute that they are “civil-married” to each other, and by virtue of having that attribute, myriad laws and rules and regulations now apply to them.

    This is pretty much the system we have now. The only distinction is that in all those laws and rules and regulations the attribute is callled marriage. So we’ll call it that.

    I repeat: modulo the specification of the gender of those two people, this is the system we have now. The state is involved, not a religious authority; it’s a legal agreement.

    Now, we’ll add a feature for convenience: we will confer upon certain religious authorities the authority to put that contract in place. This way the groom and groom can have the marriage ceremony over at their UU church or whereever without having to go to the justice of the peace.

    I think this is a good way to view the current system (again, modulo the gender of the partners), and it also obviates a lot of the silliness spewing from the mouths of many religious authorities. (Somehow I doubt Imam Abdullah is required to marry Dick and Jane Catholic without running afoul of anti-discrimination laws; in the same fashion Father Catholic would have no obligation to marry Adam and Steve.)

    ====

    On Children and Franken

    For anyone reading, I’ll note that the report does not contain the words “gay” or “homosexual”. It also does appear, at first glance, to be gender-neutral in its category definitions.

    What Franken did was this: he got Minnery (whoever) to admit that the report didn’t say what he thought. This seems to be what you object to, and you are right that the number of children in same-sex nuclear families represented in the report is undoubtedly negligible. But this is also impugning the reliability of a witness. I’ve only seen the clip, but this guy is a witness. He comes in waving a report around, and it doesn’t actually say what he claims it says. (Bear with me.)

    Part 2: he finally gets Minnery to admit (and from the difficulty he had Minnery may have been smart enough to know where this was going) that by virtue of DOMA these children are being disadvantaged. If you want to be anal you can say this is a logical leap without blinded controls, but I think it’s pretty safe to say that children who, by virtue of being in a household with a same-sex couple as parents, cannot get medicaid, cannot inherit (or many other things including survivor benefits) without a horrendous tax disadvantage, could be subject to all sorts of screwy situations when traveling such as having one parent not be recognized as custodial and the disastrous consequences that could entail, those children are being disadvantaged.

    I mean, cause the disadvantage then attempt to use the report to say that because the parents are of the same sex the children are disadvantaged? Gimme a break.

    ======

    Two other things. Gay couples have been raising children together for a long time. While withouut the imprimatur of the label “marriage” they aren’t classified as nuclear families as defined in this report, there are two other classifications that they could fall under: unmarried biological or adoptive family or cohabiting family. I’m pretty sure that, due to oversight or loophole, some people of the same sex in some places were able to perform joint adoptions. That would be the first category; if not, the second. I’ll take a look at the report later after I’ve slept, but I might not because:

    Finally. This was the wrong damned study to use in the first place. The comparison that needs to be made is between households where the couple in the role of parents is the same sex against those where the couple is of opposite sex. Such studies have been done. Maybe some are referenced in the Mass. court decision. I assume GLAD and Lambda Legal know about them. My understanding (this is, technically, hearsay) is that (unless done by someone like the lying bastard Paul Cameron), children raised by same-sex couples do pretty damned well. If I had to guess? Because (I’ll assert) they are chosen. There is a higher cost associated with having them, whether by IVF, “impregnation by friend”, adoption, even, in the case of a pre-existing “heterosexual” marriage, gaining custody. I probably have missed something, but I really need to go to bed.

    Goodnight.

  17. #17 Paul
    July 21, 2011

    I had a Senator whom I loved, but WI replaced him with a fool named Ron Johnson.

  18. #18 AK
    July 21, 2011

    @Uncle Glenny…

    Well, I did say that Tom Minnery is an idiot. You’re probably right that it didn’t say what he thought it did. I suspect he only ever read the abstract, which is a darned stupid way to come into what he had to have known would be an adversarial situation. I suspect he thought it said what he wanted it to say. A very common human failing, and not just among Christian traditionalists, either.

    Of course, just hearing him say “I would assume…” is enough to discredit the witness. As for Franken, he behaved like and a**hole, whatever his reasons. Not to say I haven’t done the same when I thought it warranted.

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