Monday, July 28, 2003

So much for keeping Hope alive. Jesse Jackson could not be reached for comment.

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Thursday, July 24, 2003

Opposition to Gay Marriage Is Declining, Study Finds

We interrupt the List of Lists for a political post.

According to a recent poll by the Pew Research Center, opposition to gay marriage is declining. Only 53% of respondents oppose the idea, down from 65% in 1996. A more in-depth look at the poll can be found on the Pew website. While white mainline Protestants have been the biggest shift, going from 26%-65% opposed in 1996 to 45%-44% in favor in 2003, white American Catholics have had almost as sizeable shift, going from 31%-60% against to 47% to 41% in favor of gay marriage.

That's right. Except for (probably) Jews (who aren't listed), white Catholics are pretty much the religious group most supportive of gay marriage. This does not surprise me, though it might surprise you.

My interpretation of this data is that a) gay marriage in the United States is a matter of when and not if and b) when gay marriage becomes legal, it will be supported by at least 60% of Americans a few years after that happens. Catholics are a swing progressive political bloc in the United States. A rapid change in their political opinions tends to presage progessive reform. One of the key examples is opposition to the Vietnam War. The shift in American public opinion against the war was led by the change in the beliefs of American Catholics, not damn, dirty hippies. Heck, the hippies probably inhibited the war effort by offending Catholics.

I also expect American public opinion to swing in favor of gay marriage once it is legalized. Most likely, it will follow the chronological profile of American opinion on abortion. Before Roe v. Wade, the majority of Americans opposed abortion. Within a few years, most Americans, upon seeing that the world hadn't ended, decided that abortion wasn't so bad. Mostly, it was the typical preference for the status quo, so long as the present regime isn't a mess. Since I don't expect gay marriage to cause the end of the world, I rather expect that a majority of Americans will eventually swing in favor of it.

So this is me putting the skills I learned in college to use for some simple analysis.

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I've been meaning to get back to this list. A few events have caused this blog to lie fallow for a couple of weeks.

30. The Games 100--This annual list by GAMES magazine gives us insight into what games people are playing, or what games they should be playing.

No. 1: Dvonn (in 2003)

29. The Forbes 400--This annual list by Forbesmagazine tells us who has the cash.

No. 1: Bill Gates (for the ninth year in a row)

28. The U.S. News and World Report college rankings--Every high school kid going to college looks at this. Of course, I went to the school that ranked lowest in these rankings of the three schools that I applied to (all of which accepted me).

No. 1: Princeton (in 2003)

27. The NBA's 50 Greatest PlayersBetter than any other sport, and way better than baseball, the NBA knows how to promote itself. This list celebrated the 50th anniversary of the NBA. At the time Shaquille O'Neal was considered controversial, as he was still a relatively young pup without a ring.

No. 1: Kareem (alphabetically), whether you file him under Abdul-Jabbar or Alcindor.

26. People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People--Gossip rag People gives us some non-objective rankings of the "most beautiful people," giving us a mix of old standards, up-and-comers, and a few non-conventional choices to make us think that this isn't quite the exercise in shallowness that it is.

No.1: While there is no official No. 1, Halle Berry was the cover model of the 2003 issue.

25. The New York Times Best-seller List--It's what people are allegedly reading.

No. 1: For the current week, The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (hardcover fiction), Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton (hardcover non-fiction), The South Beach Diet by Arthur Agatston (hardcover advice), East of Eden by John Steinbeck (paperback fiction), Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand (paperback non-fiction), Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution by Robert C. Atkins (paperback advice).

24. The Syllabus of Errors--Pius IX ordered this 1864 compilation of "errors" of modernist, liberal thought that was seen at the time as the greatest threat to Catholic principles.

No. 1: 1. There exists no Supreme, all-wise, all-provident Divine Being, distinct from the universe, and God is identical with the nature of things, and is, therefore, subject to changes. In effect, God is produced in man and in the world, and all things are God and have the very substance of God, and God is one and the same thing with the world, and, therefore, spirit with matter, necessity with liberty, good with evil, justice with injustice.—Allocution "Maxima quidem," June 9, 1862.

23. VH1's 100 Greatest One Hit WondersWell, I had to pick one VH-1 list. Better than the 200 Greatest Pop Culture Icons. Better than the 100 Greatest Love Songs. This look at a lot of schlock is appropriately hosted by William Shatner. If you hate the RIAA, this is a good download list.

No. 1: "Macarena" by Los Del Rio.

22. Richard Nixon's enemies list--It makes you wonder what George W. Bush's enemies list looks like.

No. 1: Arnold Picker, a fundraiser for presidential candidate Edmund Muskie, on the original 1971 list

21. The Time 100--Millenium fever set off a lot of list-mania. One excellent example was Time's list of the greatest people of the century. Most amusing was an attempt by Turks to get Kemal Ataturk number one in an on-line vote.

No. 1: Albert Einstein

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Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Continuing the list of the 50 Top Lists. . . .

40. Milken Institute's Best Performing Cities--This annual list gives the best performing U.S. cities in terms of job creation and economic health.

No. 1: Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, Arkansas (in 2003)

39. Craig's List--Founded in 1995 by Craig Newmark, this website started out as a listing of cool events in the San Francisco area. A non-commercial site, it includes areas for jobs, housing, and stuff for sale and has expanded to include cities across the U.S., in the U.K., and in Canada.

No.1: n/a

38. Science magazine's Breakthrough of the Year issue--Published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, this weekly science publication takes an annual look at the big stories in the world of science in the past twelve months in the last issue of each year.

No. 1: Small RNA molecules

37. --George Carlin's "Seven Words You Can Never Say on TelevisionGeorge Carlin has since said there are more words that could be on his list, including three that he mentioned in a sequel routine "Filthy Words": fart, turd, and twat. Appearing on Carlin's 1973 comedy album Class Clown, it was played on a New York radio station, leading to the case F.C.C. v Pacifica Foundation.

No. 1: "Shit" is the first word on the list.

36. The disabled list. Fantasy baseball is all about keeping track of who's on the DL. And the DL gives us some funny stories. Who can forget pitcher Steve Sparks injuring himself trying to tear a phone book in half or Glenallen Hill dreaming that he was being attacked by spiders and injuring himself by crashing through a glass table? How about Kevin Mitchell straining himself while eating a cupcake, Tom Glavine breaking a rib after throwing up due to bad food on a flight?

No. 1: n/a

35. Democratic Underground's Top Ten Conservative Idiots--Hey, guess what, I'm a liberal.

No. 1: Ann Coulter (this week)

34. Index of Forbidden Books--The Index librorum prohibitorum was first compiled at the behest of Paul IV in 1559, although similar lists had been put together locally. Works were put on the Index for several reasons, mainly for containing heresy, superstition, or immorality.

No. 1: n/a

33. Entertainment Weekly's It List--Every June, this pop culture periodical comes out with what's hot and what's not.

No. 1: n/a, although Hugh Jackman is 2003's IT Leading Man, Elisa Zuritsky is the IT "Sex" Goddess, Snoop Dogg the ITzzle Fo' Shizzle, and Orlando Bloom the IT elf.

32. Seven Wonders of the Ancient World--There are several formulations of this list, and some have more than seven.

No. 1:The Great Pyramid at Giza was the first one built and the last one left standing.

31. The Lycos 50--A once popular search engine, Lycos has since been supplanted by Yahoo and then Google. Still, the Lycos 50 gives an eye into what people are looking for on the internet.

No. 1: Federal Do Not Call List (for the week ending in June 28, 2003), edging out Harry Potter, American Idol's Clay Aiken, and KaZaA.

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